August 31, 2016

My 2 cents on: Curtis Collection

It's been a fair few months since I put fingers to keyboard on here, and I don't want to bore you with excuses for my absence, but let's just say I'm glad to be back, and what better way to start than to talk about beauty; my favourite topic of all time. I will give you my 2 cents review on a couple of items from a makeup brand that I have been admiring and following from afar. 

Curtis Collection is an Australian makeup brand founded by Australian makeup artist; Victoria Curtis. As far back as I can remember, the makeup is exclusively stocked at selected beauty and hair salons in Australia and New Zealand, but Ry have recently stocked these on their websiteI was sent a few products from the lovely people at Ry, of whom I'm a regular customer, to see what my thoughts are on a few Curtis Collection face products.

These three products were sent to me sight unseen and as usual,I like to test skin related products over a few weeks. I've been able to use the products on and off on myself for almost a month, and also a couple of times on clients. But I'll start off with my current skin condition and concerns to give a point of reference for my experience:
  • We're at the end of winter, but my skin has still been dry, dry, dry. Think tight feeling after showers, and a bit parched feeling after leaving an air conditioned office.
  • I don't have many spots (hurrah!) but I do have some small shadowy scars from previous spots that look like freckles.
  • My main gripes lately have been:
    • Dry around the nose and surrounding mouth area,
    • Dry under eye with a bit of panda to boot,
    • Slight pigmentation on tops of the cheeks like freckles,
    • Visible pores in between the brows, on the nose, sides of the nose, and
    • I tend to get oily in the T-zone by the end of the day
  • To tend to all of the above I've been using a lot of hydrating moisturisers and hydrating serums. And I'm still going strong with the Pixi Glow Tonic, Nip and Fab Glycolic face pads and the occasional Aesop Parsley seed cleansing mask, Alpha-H  Liquid Gold and Bobbi Brown Skin Nourish Mask for treatment time. 
So with all the above in mind, here are my 2 cents on the three things that I have tried.

This CC (colour correcting) cream comes in 4 shades; fair, light, medium, medium/deep and what was sent to me was "light". I normally err on the side of choosing "medium" when I select shades that use simple colour scales. As I haven't seen much sun in the last few months though, it was probably right for Ry to send through the shade "light". For reference, I am currently using a mixture of "light" and "medium" in the IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream as my daily face base, which translates to be a MAC foundation shade NC30-NC35 or a NARS foundation shade in "Stromboli". This cream squeezes out of the tube white in colour, flecked with tiny flesh tone beads, and then on application the cream slowly blends into your skin tone as you gently rub it in. It has the faintest smell of sunscreen, like the the typical "no fragrance" lotion smell, but the scent was unnoticeable to me after the cream is blended in.

Upon reading the website description of the cream, it promises to keep skin hydrated while eliminating redness, pores, shine and pigmentation AND also blur out fine lines and wrinkles. Hydrating yet oil controlling is exactly what I need as the areas around my nose, mouth and sometimes cheeks is regularly dry as the day progresses in an air-conditioned environment, and then my T-zone always turns slick by midday and then by 5pm, my face usually feels sucked dry. I don't suffer from a lot of high colour or extremely uneven skin tone, however on the coldest days in winter, the areas around the edge of my nose do go pink. On first go, I tried this cream after applying my toner and moisturiser, around my nose, upper lip, chin, forehead and along my cheekbones where I get slight discolouration. I didn't notice anything really at all until I noticed that I didn't need to use as much base makeup or colour correction concealer as my skim tone seemed more even!

Over the following few weeks, I used it on and off and have come to the conclusion that this is more suited to everyday use, for days when you don't feel like wearing much makeup and just need a bit of concealer and powder to top it up. It didn't clog my skin and it felt lightweight and non-greasy. It definitely didn't make me any oilier than normal after all day wear. If chemical fragrances or that "no fragrance" fragrance ain't your thing though, you may be bothered by the smell because the scent is still there every time I open the tube. 

For fun, you can also see Chloe Morello use this cream on her latest video about minimal makeup here!

Skin Refining Face Primer 28gm AUD49

Now this skin primer promises to prep your skin for base makeup by reducing shine, refining pores and colour correct. It contains salicylic acid to control breakouts, silica for skin smoothing, vitamin E and something called "Dermat Complex" to mattify your skin and control any unwanted shine. Because of these things that the product boasts to do, I expected it to have a silky, slippy, silicony texture like the Benefit Porefessional  Pro Balm, however this primer applies more like a cream. I have spread a pea size amount to my t-zone and all the areas where I feel my pores are most visible. On first impression the primer really blurred the look of my skin and gave a semi-matte satin finish. I haven't had any special occasion to wear it, so I've been using it on and off underneath my IT Cosmetics CC cream during the day at work. While I have enjoyed how my skin looks straight after application, I have noticed the my face makeup starts to shift and separate a bit after a couple of hours. If I had to choose, I would much prefer using the Hourglass Mineral Primer on myself as this has given me much longer extended wear of base makeup.  However, I wouldn't dismiss it too soon as I have used the primer on 2 clients who have "normal" skin condition and their makeup looked pretty amazing and sat well under my kit favourite; MAC Pro Longwear Nourishing Waterproof foundation (a gel foundation). 
 The blurred effect of this lotion is pretty impressive though, I just don't think it has longevity on my skin. I probably didn't use this product consistently enough to prove whether it controls breakout but I can report that I have suffered only 2 spots on my face in the last few weeks of using it, and they weren't on the areas where I applied it!

The primer is meant to be lightweight and it definitely is that, if you apply it with a light hand. I've found that using too much will make any other base makeup start to bauble when you apply it on top.

The primer is meant to be excellent for men to use post shaving, but I have yet to try this on Jase to see if this is true! 

Liquid Illuminator Bronze 14ml AUD28

For some reason, I've always thought of liquid bronzing products  for the face as something that would clog or leave your face looking muddy and orange, so I've never tried any liquid bronzers on my face. This little gem however does not do that. I've enjoyed mixing a little bit of this bronze illuminator with my "light" IT Cosmetics CC cream, instead of my usual "light" and "medium" shade mix, and it has given me the nicest sheen to my skin. It wears beautifully and luminously for most of the day but I did notice in some light that my face looked a bit shimmery - this was only upon extreme close check up against the mirror though.

The texture comes out like a gel and if you use it on its own, it gives a nice illuminating bronzy gold effect on fair skin. I probably wouldn't use it on its own all over the entire face, unless of course you wanted to use it for an editorial shoot/swimwear campaign etc. Applying it along the tops of your cheek bones and temples looks great.

After trying this illuminator I also tried the NARS Liquid Laguna Bronzer and would have to say this liquid illuminator is a good dupe for that if you don't want to commit to the AUD59 price tag of the NARS one. You get half the amount of product but it works out the same price per ml.

Okie doke. Trust me to turn a "2 cents" post into a bit of a novel, so it's time to go.
When I unboxed the three items, I was impressed that they were all made in USA and while the packaging didn't feel high-end like say, the glossy, weighty and luxurious monochrome  packaging of Bobbi Brown cosmetics, I appreciated that the tubes were all lightweight and therefore very portable. This is a big tick for those that travel a lot, are regular gym goers or perfect for a makeup artist's pro kit!). 

The things I liked: 

  • I didn't notice my skin reacting or clogging up with any of the three items. 
  • The liquid illuminator worked well on my skin and gave me some great luminosity without looking slick.
  • The portability of the tubes and no risk of makeup bag mess
  • I liked the CC cream the best out of the three as it allowed me to use less makeup

The thing that I don't prefer:

  • The skin refining primer - while it was nice to use on a couple of my clients that had pretty normal skin, it didn't work so well on my skin. This is definitely a testament to the fact that the primer is recommended for Normal to Oily skin!

Would I repurchase any of these?:
  • I'll most likely repurchase the CC cream, and will definitely be bringing this along with me on sunny holidays as there is the added bonus that it contains SPF 20! 
  • I don't think I will need to repurchase the liquid bronze for awhile as I also have the NARS Liquid Laguna to use up, but I intend to continue mixing it with my CC cream to get that added warmth on my face.
  • The skin refining cream will be going into my pro kit to use on normal/oily skinned clients.

So there you go, that was my 2 cents on a few Curtis Collection products. As always, I wouldn't ever feature product on my blog unless I thought it was worth sharing. These products were kindly sent to me by Ry for review, but I was not paid or obliged to say anything positive. I'm not affiliated with either Curtis Collection & Ry etc etc etc blah blah blah you get it.

p.s. if you're wondering what I'm up to while I'm not writing here, come say hi to me on Instagram! :)

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