Thursday, July 22, 2010

Benefit Posietint & Benetint: comparison and review

I don't know where I got the old fashioned belief that I should only wear powder blush when I'm wearing foundation or powder, and use cream blush or stains when I don't need foundation. Thanks for my beloved Laneige regimen, I have been clear for a week now. Even though I still use foundation to cover some of my post acne marks, I only apply sunscreen on most days now. Therefore, I have been on the prowl for a good cream/gel/stain blush for quite some time.
Some of my current favorites include:
1. Posietint
2. Bobbi Brown Pale Pink Pot Rouge
3. Tarte Ten Cheek Stain (limited edition)
I will review the latter two products later, but in this post, I will talk about posietint.

Posietint is probably the most controversial of the products I use. Some people swear by it, while others deplore it. I found that I am one of the people who love it. Posietint is the poppy pink sister to the famous rosy colored benetint. It is of a gel like liquid consistency, and applies very sheer.  The fact that it goes on sheer is one of its biggest problems. Some ladies would layer on more posietint in order to achieve a more noticeable flush. However, a few minutes after it dries (say 10 minutes after application?), posietint will darken in color, suddenly giving you bright pink cheeks if you overapplied. I found this very difficult to work with because at the initial stage of application, I didn't know how much to apply, knowing it would darken later. After a few times, you probably will get an idea of how much to apply even though you cannot see the effect right away.

The color is quite perfect, at least for me. I blush pink when I exercise for a long time, and this is that exact same color. However, I can understand how this might be too bright on darker skintones. I do not use this on my lips not only because it's a little drying, but because it doesn't really show up that well on my pigmented lips. Also, when I do apply a lot for it to show up, my lips turn a barbie pink, a look that I do not really favor most of the time.

Another thing that's quite interesting about posietint is that when you actually blush, the posietint you applied will become brighter on your cheeks. This is supposed to be the fact that when you blush, you cheeks are hotter, and more heat feeds the color of posietint, thus making it brighter. I used to hate this about posietint, because once in a board meeting, I was giving my first presentation, and was so nervous. I was very pale that morning when I applied makeup, so I over-applied my blush, wanting to look more normal. After I finished the presentation, I went to the bathroom and noticed bright splotches of color on my pale skin. I was so embarrassed that I wanted to scream.

However, afterwards, I actually came to like this about posietint. As long as you don't apply very much in the morning, the color will not look unnaturally bright when you blush. I like it that even though you are wearing blush, people can still realize it when you actually blush. :)

This blush lasts on me all day, which is both a blessing and a bane. When applied well, it lasts all day, but when I didn't apply well, it may not go off even if I washed my whole face and started over.
The only other thing I hate about posietint is that you have to work quickly blending it out, or it will stain your cheeks in areas where the most product was.

Now I'll move on the benetint:
This is the very original cheek stain (I believe the first of its kind) that was supposed to look good on everyone because it was a rosy color. It contained very feel ingredients, and is a very liquid consistency. It dries very quickly, and like posietint, darkens within a few minutes.
It is very hard to review this stain because as one of the first stains, it really defines cheek stains, but I'll start with the color.
I like this color much less than that of posietint. Yes, this looks very natural on me, almost the exact same color I would acquire if I stayed out in the cold for too long, but that is a color I hated. Redish rose colors look ruddy on me rather than a natural flush. However, I do love this on my lips because 1). the color is perfect on my lips; and 2) this is the only true lip stain I've ever used, that stays through greasy meals. The color also doesn't fade if I rub lip balm onto it. 

Now for the comparison:
Color: Posietint is a poppy pink that can be very bright when applied too much. On suitable skintones, it will look a somewhat bright pink that will brighten your face and still looks natural.
Benetint is a rose colored blush that is really a mix between pink and rose. On me, it shows up more red than pink, but I imagine the reverse might happen on others. I've seen both benetint and posietint show up the same color on a girl. 

Texture: Posietint is definitely thicker than benetint, very much like benefit's high beam. Benetint is a very liquid consistency. I heard many people say that benetint is harder to spread, and stains more easily. However, I've found that both colors are equally fast to stain, so you must work fast with both products. 

Longevity: I suppose benetint is more of a real stain than posietint, because on my face benetint cannot be washed off until it really fades on its own, whereas posietint can with a lot of effort. However, I feel that both lasts through the day for me, which is adequate. 

Who I recommend posietint to: I imagine that young girls might wear the bright pink more easily than older people, but there is really no limitations based on age as long as you apply sheerly. This is more natural looking on lighter skintones because they are more likely to blush pink. People with heavy yellow undertones should try this out before buying because pink will bring out the yellow. 

Who I recommend benetint to: This is very appropriate for everyone looking for a classic flush. People with pale skin and cool undertones should proceed with caution, because this might make cheeks look ruddy instead of flushed. 

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Differences between Chemical Sunscreen and Physical Sunblock

I have got this question many times: what is the difference between a sunscreen and a sunblock? I've also found that many people have some misunderstandings about physical sunblock, dreading it as something you have to apply a lot, which will in turn become cakey and leave a white cast. One reader even told me that it seems like a product of the last century. :) So I've decided to take it upon myself to debunk those myths by answering some questions, and then do a comparison between the two types of sunscreens. 

Question 1: How much sunscreen/sunblock do you have to apply?

Answer: For chemical sunscreens, you have to apply at least a third of a teaspoon in order to have a degree of protection. Many dermatologists also suggest their clients to at least apply 1/2 teaspoon or 1 teaspoon to cover their entire face and neck. 

For physical sunblock, it depends on the product. Yes, in the 1990s, there have been some sunblocks that actually require you to use 1 tablespoon for sufficient protection. However, the Laneige sunblock and most other modern physical sunblocks only requires you to use a pea sized amount to cover your face (not including your neck), so that you actually apply less than chemical sunscreen. Why? Modern formulas have found a way to press the zinc and titanium dioxide closer together so that they are more densely packed. So a modern pea sized sunblock actually contain as much zinc and titanium dioxide as a tablespoon of sunblock made in the 1980s.

Question 2: How do those two products work?

Answer: Chemical Sunscreen work by absorbing the UVA and UVB sunrays so that they do not touch your skin. You have to reapply frequently because the sunscreen can only absorb a certain amount of rays before it becomes void.

Physical Sunblock work by reflecting the UVA and UVB rays so that they cannot touch your skin. The reflecting properties of sunblock wear off eventually so you have to reapply.

Question 3: Which one is better for sensitive skin?

Answer: I find that I and many others react better to physical sunblock, because it does not have an excessive amount of chemicals in them (hence the name). zinc and titanium dioxide are minerals that some people say are good for your skin. Chemical sunscreens usually contain ingredients like avobenzone, which is not bad for your skin either, but most people are more likely to be allergic to avobenzone than to zinc and titanium dioxide. 

In addition, chemical sunscreen has to be absorbed into your skin before it can work (hence wait 15 minutes after application before running out), while physical sunblock lies on top of your skin, so that people with sensitive skins are more likely to be allergic to chemical sunscreen.

Lastly, if you apply sunscreen immediately after moisturizer before it fully absorbs, it might react to some ingredients in your moisturizer, causing allergies. 

Question 4: Which product will give me a better appearance, i.e. not being oily and shiny and not leaving a white cast?

Answer: This question is tricky because both products can be made to be almost invisible after application, so it really depends on the product you purchase. For example, I've used chemical sunscreens that disappears after 5 minute of application, giving me no white cast or oiliness, but I have also used ones that makes me oil up within an hour of use. It is the same with physical sunblock, so it really depends on the product you purchase.

Question 5: Which product is more convenient?

Answer: I would say sunblock for three reasons:
A. I can run out the door as soon as I finish applying sunblock, whereas I have to wait 30 minutes to be safe with sunscreen.
B. Sunscreen must be applied on your skin before any makeup item, or even before your moisturizer if it does not absorb fully and leaves a residue. This is because sunscreen has to be absorbed into your skin before it can work, and having anything on before you apply it can hinder its absorption. 
For this very reason, reapplication is tricky because you have to wash off mostly anything you have on your face.
C. Scientists have recently found that the sun will do more damage to your skin if you applied chemical sunscreen and did not reapply than if you did not apply sunscreen/sunblock at all. (Don't ask me why :))

Friday, July 16, 2010

Laneige Sunblock SPF 40 PA++

I recently went to Korea, and since summer is here, I decided to look for a sun block. Laneige's sunblock does not really have the reputation of being the best or most popular in Korea. I believe Neutrogena has that honor, but I still wanted to try this sunblock for two reasons:
1. With my poor Korean, I vaguely heard the sales assistant say that this is a physical sunblock and I have been looking for a physical sunscreen for quite some time. (for a comparison of physical and chemical sunscreen, read my next entry)
2. I have been using the laneige skincare for some time, so overall I trust this brand and I prefer to use products from the same brand (it is just me, I just feel better this way and I know some people hate this kind of thinking, so sorry)

I've checked the reviews on this before buying, and the reviews are quite controversial. Some people love it, while others hate it, so I was curious as to what I would think.

Before I go into what I think about this sunblock, I should mention that this sunblock is special from most sunscreen/sunblocks. This promises to be illuminating and provide some covering function. Also, it is supposed to repair your skin.

Overall, I love this sunscreen because it does exactly what it promises, and has most things I look for in a sunscreen.
This sunblock turns out to be quite illuminating, but not in a bad way. It gives me the glowy finish I love, but is not shiny (as my laneige foundation sometimes tend to be). However, keep in mind that I applied 0.4 ml of product, as advised on the laneige website. I imagine if you apply more, you would end up a little shiny. 
Another thing that I love about this product is that the zinc and titanium dioxide (the sun protecting properties) are put together so densely that I only need to apply a pea sized amount, as compared to the handful I need when using neutrogena sunscreen. 
However, I found that this sunblock provides sheer coverage at best (I actually didn't notice any coverage), and unlike the foundations which last me through a day without powder, this can become a little shiny around the nose after 6 hours of wear (without powder). I solved this little problem by dabbing some of their sunscreen powder on (to be reviewed soon). :)

Overall, a good product. I would give it a 4.5 rating. 

Benefit Silky Finish My Treat lipstick, aka the perfect lipstick

Lately, I have not touched my huge stash of lip colors except to access one product--benefit my treat lipstick. The lipstick is a perfect warm-toned pink color with a hint of coral that is almost the color of my lips when I bite them really hard. 
I usually favor cool-toned pink lipsticks (and blushes) and can't tolerate anything with the tiniest hint of peach or coral in it. This is because I learnt at an early age (say 12?) that you usually wear best the colors that you are most attracted to, be it clothing or makeup (but you have to use a certain restrain with makeup, e.g. I love aqua colored dresses, but I don't wear aqua colored blushes or lippies). I never understood the logic behind this, but apparently your mind works very efficiently to determine what colors would look good on you, and you instinctively like those colors. 
Anyway, while browsing sephora, I passed right over this lip product because I wasn't attracted to the color. I only saw how perfect the color was while my mother tried it on (and then promptly hated it because it was too bright). I tried it on because it looked pink on my mother (rather than the orangish color it looked in the tube) and I wear bright colors well. It turned out to be perfect. Only later did I realize that at sephora, some people try on lip colors directly from the tube, and then without wiping, tries on another color, therefore mixing the two colors....

I have not tried other silky finish lipsticks, but this lipstick is moisturizing, and gives medium coverage in terms of color. When first applied, the color looks rather glossy on my lips, but the product sinks in within an hour, leaving a beautiful stain like color behind, which I prefer (because it's so natural). I especially love the pair this color with red dresses, because they match very well. (Why? I don't know, maybe because it has a slight coral undertone in it that matches the warm color of red?)

If I were to rate this, I'd give it a five. 

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