The Forum: Answer My Beauty Questions and Ask Your Own!

Published in: Guest Post, Just For Fun

KIKO Wanderlust Free Spirit Lips & Cheek Free Flamingo Swatch

Let’s chat!

Are you down to mix things up a little?



Well, that’s just awesome, because today I’d like to open up a forum! My idea is that you can all ask for product recommendations or general beauty advice down in the comments. At the same time, it would be great if you could answer any questions from the other readers — and obviously, I’ll do the same!

Let me go first!

Real Techniques Retractable Kabuki Brush Laura Mercier Invisible Loose Setting Powder Universal

I need alternatives to these products!

False lashes for long lashlines?

Honestly, I’m not the biggest fan of falsies and only like those natural styles that basically just make you look like you were born with great lashes.

Individuals work quite well for that, but I’d also like to get a few full-strip styles that give the same effect. The problem is that in Italy it’s pretty hard to find any falsies other than MAC’s and MUFE’s, and I don’t really want to spend that much on lashes.

I can get other brands online, but it’s not easy to choose the right ones, you know? Like, I got a pair of Ardell Demi Wispies, but the strip is too short for my big eyes… Do you think I should get the Wispies, then?

Do you have any other recommendations? What I need is affordable, natural-looking lashes with a pretty long, clear strip.

Setting powder for a dry under-eye area?

I’ve already told you numerous times that I have oily skin, but I don’t think I told you that my eye area isn’t. It’s actually more normal to dry, and I find that most setting powders tend to emphasize the dryness.

So, what’s your favorite setting powder for a dry under-eye area?

A brush for cream blush/bronzer?

I’ve mentioned here and there that lately I’ve been all about cream blushes and bronzers. I normally use my fingers to apply blushes and my Real Techniques Retractable Kabuki Brush for bronzers, but that’s the brush I usually keep in my handbag, so I’d like to get another one.

What do you think of the Real Techniques Stippling Brush? Any other recommendations?

Now it’s your turn, ladies! Shoot any beauty-related questions you may have, and answer mine or those of the other readers if you can.

C’mon, don’t be shy. It’ll be fun! 😉

Carolina Braina

Hey, ladies (and gents), it’s Carolina here, reporting live from Bologna, Italy, to bring you the latest and greatest in beauty from the good ol’ continent! For an extra dose of that timeless Italian glam with a touch of humor and self-irony (because, you know, laughter is the best makeup), come say hi at and Instagram.


Like this post? Tell your friends!

So far, 61 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Kendra Miller says:

    I would love to know your thoughts about Hourglass’ Ambient Lighting Powders. I’m thinking of investing in one but not sure which one would be the most useful. Do you have any suggestions?

    • With the Ambient Lighting Powders you have to take into consideration your skin tone and the effect you want to achieve. I’m not the biggest expert on this since we don’t get Hourglass here in Italy, but I picked up Dim Light on a trip to Scotland and also swatched the other powders. Dim Light is peach-toned and not particularly luminous, so in my opinion it’s ideal to use all over the face to set makeup on a medium skin tone (at the moment I use it whenever I start my base with a bronzing powder, otherwise I feel like it’s too dark for me). I love that it’s very silky and not powdery at all, and that it does have a very faint luminosity which keeps it from looking too flat.
      I remember Radiant Light being pretty warm and luminous, so I personally wouldn’t use it all over, but more as some sort of subtle highlighter/bronzer topper.
      Also, I’ve heard many fair-skinned ladies rave about Ethereal Glow…
      I hope this helps a little and that the other readers have more suggestions.
      Carolina Braina recently posted … May 2016: Current Crushes & Time Flies

  2. Oh same here! Very oily skin, except for the under eye area so I don’t use powder there.
    Kiss & Make-up recently posted … Review | Makeup Geek Full Spectrum Eye Liner Pencil in Plumeria + Ocean

  3. Efrain says:

    Hi Carolina!

    About the falsies, have you tried using them only in the outer lash line? I’ve seen many people do it to get a more natural look, they even cut them to make them shorter, just for half of the eye.

    About the powder, what about using a radiance powder? When I really care about eye concealer (most of the time I only use foundation and the same setting powder) I use one from Physicians Formula which is more of a radiance powder it’s between a highlighter and Guerlain meteorites.

    I mostly use my fingers for cream products but I’ve found that a flat foundation brush works for cream blush but at the end I finish the blending with my fingers.

    Now my questions:

    Do you have any of a low-cost serum to try your method of using serum instead of moisturizer to avoid becoming an oil mess?

    Also do you now about a setting spray without alcohol? My T-zone is a really oily mess but my lower cheeks, chin and around my mouth is dry and sensitive.

    • Hi Efrain, thank you so much for your tips! I’ll try making my falsies shorter (since I have pretty short lashes) and only use them on the outer half of the eye.

      I think the Make Up For Ever Mist & Fix is alcohol-free, but I’ve never used it so I don’t really know how good it is.

      As for the low-cost serum, I’ll have to think about it a little bit longer! 😉
      Carolina Braina recently posted … May 2016: Current Crushes & Time Flies

    • Amy says:

      Efrain, have you tried Beauty Without Cruelty or Avalon Organics vitamin C serums? You can get both online for $13-15, which isn’t bad. They are great non-greasy hydrators! I use them in the summer when it’s hot and sweaty and I can’t bear to put on lotion. I saw one at recently for a good price. Maybe there is a good drugstore brand, too, either in el DF (si vivas aqui) or online?!

      • Efrain says:

        ¡Hola Amy! ¿De dónde eres?

        I’ll look for them in iHerb or in some naturist store, for that price they sound good.

        Do you know if ships to Mexico?

        • Amy says:

          Hola! Vivo en Ohio. 🙂 But I used to live in California, and before that in Cuernevaca for a short while. Yes overstock ships to Mexico! I’m not sure of their shipping rate, but I think you can see before checking out (and cancel if it’s too high). I hope you find something you like!

    • I’m back! I’ve heard good things about the OZ Naturals Vitamin C serum, but again, I’ve never used it myself. I wish I could be of more help!
      Carolina Braina recently posted … May 2016: Current Crushes & Time Flies

  4. Mickey says:

    Because of my oily grease ball face even in this Bay Area heat wave, cream blushes/bronzers are a no go for me. But for these, I happen to like using two things– fingers and a sponge.

    Question for everyone out there: how do u use the benefit erase paste? This has been my challenge for MONTHS!!! I feel like going back to concealers over color correctors.

    • I actually prefer cream blushes/bronzers in the heat, because they last longer on me and don’t go patchy. They need to have the right formula though, which is usually a cream-to-powder rather than a dewy one. I’ve never tried using a sponge, I’ll definitely give it a go. Thank you!

      I feel like the Erase Paste (and correctors in general) only works if you have severe dark circles and you find the right shade for you (and since it only comes in three shades it’s not that easy). For instance, shade 3 (which is the one I have) has the best undertone to neutralize my dark circles, but it’s a little bit two dark for my skin tone at the moment. Shade 2 is too pinky and makes my dark circles go grey.

      The best way to use it for me is to pat a very small amount with my finger only in the darkest area (inner corner and inner half of my under-eye). Then I apply a beige concealer on top. I hope this helps!
      Carolina Braina recently posted … May 2016: Current Crushes & Time Flies

  5. Amy says:

    Yes I would skip powder there too! I have normal/dry skin under my eyes and use Laura mercier pat-on concealer. Plus a little fixing spray? I never use powder at all on my combo-dry face, it looks yucky too fast!

    My question for you: what sunscreen do you use that doesn’t clog your pores or feel greasy? Or since Italians like to be tan, maybe you don’t use any?! Also what is your favorite mascara?

    • Thank you, Amy!
      I use the La Roche-Posay Anthelios Dry Touch Gel-Cream SPF 30 and it’s great for my oily skin. It’s very matte and doesn’t break me out. You can’t get the exact same thing in the US, but the La Roche-Posay Anthelios Clear Skin sounds like its American counterpart.
      My favorite mascara is the Too Faced Better Than Sex because it’s super dramatic (if you like very natural, defined lashes, you probably won’t like it).
      Carolina Braina recently posted … May 2016: Current Crushes & Time Flies

  6. Chris25 says:

    Has anyone figured out how to conceal hollowness under the eyes?

    What is the best mattifying powder for the face?

    Has anyone successfully reduced the appearance of stretch marks? If so, how did you do it?

    How do you make uneven skin tone even?

    What’s the best eye cream for fine lines under the eyes?
    Chris25 recently posted … Deborah Lippmann Nail Color in On The Beach

    • Suzanne C says:

      Chris25, one thing that will help an uneven skin tone is using primer under your makeup. My mom has a couple of brownish age spots on her face and they fade under her foundation when she uses a primer. Primer isn’t a solution, but it’s a good quick fix.

    • Hi Chris! I’ve heard so many times that the best oil-absorbing powder is rice powder but I’ve never tried it myself. I’ve seen that Palladio makes a very inexpensive one, if you ever want to give it a go…
      As for uneven skin tone, have you ever tried using retinol?
      Carolina Braina recently posted … May 2016: Current Crushes & Time Flies

    • susan says:

      Uneven skin tone- Vitamin C serum daily BUT must be low pH and 15% concentration. Skinceuticals C + Ferulic is excellent, but very expensive. Paula’s Choice is a very good option, Drunk Elephant is more expensive but also good. The vitamin C powder from philosophy is also a good option, you mix a scoop into your moisturizer, but there is uncertainty about the pH of the moisturizer. Niacinamide is another good option for evening skin tone. Olay makes several good serums high in it, but there are lots of good options out there.

  7. I’ve had dry under eyes for years and even emollient seeming concealers can look cakey by the end of the day – what I’ve found that best avoids dry look and keeps most concealer from creasing on my rather large creases and lines is the NARS Light Reflecting Setting Powder Pressed. A cheaper alternative that I’ve found with exactly the same is the Sonia Kashuk Chic Luminosity powder. There can be a sort of crust on the top that can pick up stuff from your brushes but once you get through that, it’ll noticeably transfer to your finger in a swatch or show up on the bristles. It’s not invisible 😛
    Nicole – paleandfreckled recently posted … The Highlighter Tag – with swatches on very fair/pale skin

  8. Melissa Hays says:

    I also have a oily skin and a dry Undereye .tbe Laura Mercier translucent powder is great. I’ve also been using the Smashbox primer oil under concealer and really like it. For a stippling brush, I recommend the ones from ELF and Wet & Wild

  9. Tatiana says:

    Carolina, have you tried lashes from Eylure? They’re available on Feel Unique.
    The one set I like in particular is this one by Fleur de Force.
    They’re a little too long for my eyes, so I trim them. So hopefully that means they’re long enough for your eyes. If you ever find the style in the green accented box those are 3/4 length and probably too short for you. They’re meant as a dramatic outside accent. They’d be perfect for me, but I’ve never found them anywhere that ships to the U.S.

    What I’d really like to find is a foundation for older skin that doesn’t settle in my pore or lines after 45 minutes. (really hate that polka dotted, lined look) And since I have combo skin, I’d also like one that doesn’t dry me out, cling to my dry patches or slide away on my oily spots. Oh, I’m also looking for natural coverage, since I don’t want to look like I’m wearing too much foundation. I’m not asking for much, am I?

    • Tatiana says:

      Oh, I just searched and those Eylure lashes are also available at the Boots international website and on ASOS, if either of those two companies deliver to Italy.

      • Hi Tatiana, all of the companies you mentioned ship to Italy, thank you so much! I did try some Eyelure lashes in the past, but can’t remember which style. The Fleure De Force style you linked really sounds like what I need. Thank you for being so helpful.

        As for the foundation, at this very moment I really feel your pain! My mom’s getting married at the end of the month and she wants me to do her makeup, but I have no experience whatsoever in making up someone older than me. Finding the right foundation is the biggest challenge I’m facing. As you said, they all seem to settle into her pores… Have you ever tried the MAC Face & Body?
        Carolina Braina recently posted … May 2016: Current Crushes & Time Flies

        • Amy says:

          Carolina – use a pore filler! After moisturizer, before foundation. I don’t know who ships to Italy but Dr. Brandt’s is very good. Andalie Naturals is a great organic alternative. I’ve heard good things about Smashbox and Benefit pore fillers, too.

          • Amy says:

            I meant to address this to Tatiana, too!! I have the same issue and this fixes it. In a few places I have to blend the fillers a lot to get past the “polka dotted” look, but with the right amount of product and blending, it really works well. The dr. Brandt’s is tinted to about my medium skin tone. But other people swear by clear or colorless formulas.

          • Tatiana says:

            Amy thanks for this. I will have to try the clear formula, as I’m as pale as a ghost. Part of my reluctance to try these is the feeling like I already put a ton of stuff on my face. Toner, serum, moisture, SPF. I feel like primer then foundation just adds more stuff. Lately, I’ve just been trying to get away with a CC cream in lieu of foundation for day.

            Carolina- MAC Face & Body is probably the one foundation I have not tried. And I’ve tried tons. My daughter says I have infinite patience when it comes to trying foundations to find the “One”.

          • Amy says:

            I know what you mean, Tatiana. Sometimes I find I can use just the tinted primer and sunscreen. I’m kind of a minimalist with makeup. But filling primers do make a really big difference!

          • Thank you, Amy. I’ve tried with the MUFE Smoothing Primer and another one from MADINA, and, although they helped a little, I feel like they weren’t enough (they both work amazingly well on me). I have a sample of the Benefit Professional, I’ll try using that too.
            Carolina Braina recently posted … May 2016: Current Crushes & Time Flies

  10. Sakura says:

    For dry under-eyes I use Too Faced Primed and Poreless loose powder. I apply it with a small fluffy brush (which I think is a contour brush.)

    @Chris25, vitamin C serum helps get rid of uneven skin tone overtime. I use SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic. You can buy sample vials on Amazon for a fraction of the cost. This is one of the very few serums that are formulated correctly (pH & form of Vitamin C. This is better because overtime Vitamin C will go bad (oxidize.)

    So does anyone know of a DIY hair treatment that helps moisturize over processed hair (bleached)?

  11. Suzanne C says:

    Carolina, I just use my fingers and a beauty blender for my cream blush. Then I set it with the tiniest bit of Too Faced Primed and Poreless, because Florida humidity wreaks havoc with makeup.

    Does anyone have a recommendation for concealing dark circles under the eyes? My problem is that my skin is super-light and most concealers are too dark for me. And again, I’m fighting humidity. Thanks!

    • Hi Suzanne! I tend to use my fingers for cream blush, too, but I feel like with bronzer I’m better off using a brush.

      Have you ever tried the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Chantilly? It looks super light to me. If you have very dark circles, you may need to use a corrector first, like Bobbi Brown’s Porcelain Bisque or Porcelain Peach.
      Carolina Braina recently posted … May 2016: Current Crushes & Time Flies

  12. Sakura says:

    @Suzanne-I found that Rimmel’s Lasting Finish 25 H foundation works great under eyes! There are many colors to choose from. It really lasts even for oily skin in the humidity. Just apply with a foundation brush, dab off the excess and set with a fine finishing powder.

  13. Trude says:

    I’m the same, my undereyes are dry but I can’t go without setting powder. I use Laura Mercier’s Secret Brightening powder and dip my slightly damp Beauty Blender in it to apply (it’s a small container but lasted me about a year with daily use just under the eyes). I ran out about a week ago and have been trying to do without, but it’s just not the same!

    For contour I use the Real Techniques Sculpting brush, it fits on my face nicely and lets me blend out all the edges. And if I happen to use cream blush or highlighter I use my Beauty Blender to blend it out.

  14. Too Bad I am late to the party ahm forum.
    I am no expert on falsies, but I have read about using only half a strip on the outer part as well.
    For my undereye area I use Clarins translucent powder if I use anything, but most of the time I don’t bother.
    And I use a Zoeva stippling brush for my cream products, it has long brush hair and is very fluffy, that way you can build up intensity. The denser ones pick up too much product in my opinion, so they apply very intense. But fingers are my preferred option.
    LindaLibraLoca recently posted … May 2016 Favorites

  15. Irene says:

    My undereyes are dry as well and undereye concealer is the only makeup product I absolutely don’t leave the house without, so I understand your problem! I cant find a powder that doesn’t settle into lines, so I just use thick, matte cream concealers that don’t need powder on top. the most natural looking one I’ve found so far is theBalm time balm concealer. if you try it, I’d love to read your review!

    • Irene, you sound like my twin sister: concealer is the only makeup product I absolutely don’t leave the house without! At the moment I’m using one from Sisley that I really like, but it was super expensive, so I don’t see myself getting another one anytime soon. Thank you for your recommendation, though, I’ll try to keep it in mind for when I need a new concealer.
      Carolina Braina recently posted … May 2016: Current Crushes & Time Flies

  16. For cream blushes, I use my fingers to apply, then either the ecotools blush brush of the real techniques foundation brush to buff out. Sometimes when I am using my beauty blender, I would use that too to blend out.
    TravelingBlush recently posted … Makeup as Skin Care

  17. Becky says:

    Oooh gosh, I’m super late to the party here too!

    I’m the same as you, Carolina – oily everywhere, except under eyes! I use RCMA No-Colour Powder, or Laura Mercier’s Secret Brightening Powder, and those seem to work just great!

    As for cream products – I only really use my fingers. Old school, I know. The product warms up nicely and can be “tapped” in for really seamless blending!

    My beauty question is – I get REALLY dry lips. Like, cracking dry. I seem to go through lip balms at an incredible rate! What’s the best lip balm you’ve tried?

    Beekeyper – Latest post – Top Travel Tips to Eliminate Stress this Summer

    • Hi Becky, thanks for your recommendations!
      My favorite lip balm is the NUXE Rêve de Miel, but since it comes in a pot I only use it at home. For on the go, I like the Fresh Sugar Lip Treatments (very expensive, though) or the Lavera Classic Lip Balm.
      As a general rule, I tend to avoid balms with mineral oil (because I feel like they don’t really moisturize my lips) and look for natural butters and oils, instead.
      Carolina Braina recently posted … May 2016: Current Crushes & Time Flies

  18. laura says:

    Hi Carolina,
    About falsies, my absolute favorites are House of Lashes ‘au naturale’. They are very lightweight and comfortable and they look natural. The band is thin and bendable so they are easy to apply as well.
    Still natural looking but a bit more out there, you should try Socialeyes ‘glamorous shorty’. They look amazing and like the previous ones they are easy to work with.
    Hope it helps.

  19. Lauren says:

    Hi Carolina, can you get “Flutter” lashes online without paying a fortune? The ones called “Kim” are perfect.

    Same issues here with an oily face and try undereyes…I moisturize the back out of them, let it dry and very lightly dust a small amount of powder over my concealer or just over the eye cream when it has dried.

  20. Erin says:

    I like Armani for undereyes. I’ve used NARS and it’s alright. Most people I know swear by hourglass though.
    Erin recently posted … Ponzi Vineyards 2014 Pinot Gris

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge