Foundation Routine: Winter 2018

Without a good canvas, we can’t expect our foundation to look good.

I’m not saying we have to have pore-free, breakout-free, flawless skin (I don’t)- this is why we use foundation, to minimize undesired problems and to enhance our own skin. Nevertheless, it certainly is important that we treat rather than cover up. The end result will only look better when you treat your skin better, regardless of whether you choose to pile on your foundation or to wear none at all. Aside from diet and other factors such as hormones, we pretty much at least already have all the amazing green beauty brands out there working to beautify our skin: Earthwise Beauty, moss skincare, AMBAR Beauty, Osmia Organics, Yüli, and that’s just naming a few of the best. I remember when I started getting into green beauty, I was always excited to try out skincare brands more than makeup, just because I’m obsessed with all things skin and we’ve all heard for so long how conventional makeup performs and lasts ‘so much better.’ I wasn’t too scared of switching my foundation though, I already didn’t like any I used. They looked too cakey, made my skin worse, etc. I wasn’t scared of switching my skincare products either because I knew the benefits to be had- and it was indeed greener on the other side 😉 (get it hah). But my mascara? That was the one thing I was most scared to switch- I love thick dark lashes with extra volume. Give me mascara with natural formulations but non-natural results! Of course, now, that fear is certainly not the case anymore. I have successfully switched everything I put on my skin/hair to be non-toxic. Once you start switching, you realize how much better you and your body feel, and it can become quite addictive. My ‘canvas’ is now as good as I can get it through diet and skincare products, and my foundation routine has been perfected to be non-toxic, healing, and look as natural as possible.

My first non-toxic, green foundation purchase was from W3ll People. I had tried a sample of their powder from Integrity Botanicals, and ordered a batch straight away. When that finished, I went for the Narcissist Stick. After that, I tried out the Minimalist Corrective Serum Foundation from Gressa. I also tried out Kjaer Weis, Vapor Beauty, Priia Cosmetics, and Nu Evolution. My streak of foundation experimenting pretty much slowed down from Gressa because with the product it was love at first use. There was a slight catch though- they only had the shade 3 at the time, and no 3.5. I was walking around with quite the yellow-tinted face for a while let me tell you. Safe to say, with foundation comes patience and you need to try samples. I was so lazy I would just order the full size assuming the shade would work out (still guilty), and at times I was so wrong. But even then, I never felt the urge to switch back, ever.

Now a days, I have perfected my makeup routine to suit my skin. When 2018 rolled around, I had a few resolutions in mind, and being more diligent about sun protection was one of them. I know I can be super lazy in some areas, with sunscreen being one of them, and I wanted to make a habit of wearing it, whether I’m indoors or outdoors. I reviewed Earthwise Beauty’s Faizad’s Veil (click here) before, and have fallen in love with the product more ever since I have incorporated it into my every-day foundation routine.


Prep Work

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After I cleanse, tone, and hydrate, it’s time to reach for my D.A.P. (review here). With the new labels that are more durable, and clean/crisp packaging, the outside aesthetic is now complementary to the wonderful product inside. This is a product I have repurchased, and will continue to in the future. I wasn’t using it for about a month in order to try other products, and I missed its unique place in my skincare routine. Aside from being silky smooth and spreading like butter on the face, its formulated to mimic the look of silicone. This is the main reason why it helps to prep my skin beautifully for application. I’m not interested in trying any other primers in the green world as of now because most of them I just consider additional skincare products that I’ll pointlessly be piling on my skin, but with Celestyna’s product which actually emulates a silicone-like effect while maintaining a role as an effective moisturizer and antioxidant powerhouse, I find it’s the perfect hybrid product that cannot be easily replaced in my routine or shelf. I am always hoping she comes out with a foundation under her AMBAR line!


Shades

As evident, Farizad’s Veil is a white powder, and although it contains powdered aloe to lessen the harsh whitening effect of zinc oxide, it can nevertheless still pose a problem for darker skin tones- as I mentioned in my previous review, it did even for me and I would say I’m of light/medium skin tone. That being said, I do think the right decision was made by choosing to lessen the harshness through a natural means such as aloe leaves rather than attempting to eliminate it through tinting the product. There are simply many skin tones, which would mean that even just one or three tinted shades wouldn’t do the trick – such as in the case of Josh Rosebrook’s singular tinted Nutrient Day Cream and many other natural sunscreen brands. Thus, even though it can still be whitening, I think that by not tinting the product Ava actually made it more of a universal sunscreen product than if she did do so. I admit, however, that my solution caters to those who wear makeup and can thus buy darker shades to eliminate this issue, in which case perhaps a tinted sunscreen isn’t a bad alternative even if it is limited in shade range. I really appreciate the thoughtfulness and creativity involved when natural, plant-based alternatives are brought out in products, such as the silicone-mimicking ingredients of bamboo extract and muru muru butter in AMBAR’s Daily Antioxidant Primer, the Indian Senna Seed that Josh Rosebrook utilizes as nature’s hyaluronic acid, and now the aloe leaves in this product which not only help fight inflammation but also soften the harshness color-wise. In my case, to counteract it,  I simply decided to purchase Gressa in Shade 4, as opposed to the usual 3.5, and I must say this addresses the effect perfectly. In fact, when I use a sponge and apply a little bit of the product, shade 4 still works just fine- note that I’m not going for a shade that is drastically darker.

Nu Evolution’s shade range for a while was impractical for me and I’m not all too sure how their numbering system works for their colors. My sister agrees that finding the right shade for your skin type can be difficult from just looking at the website or reading the descriptions (we’ve both bought the wrong shades before). For this brand especially, I highly recommend you try samples first before committing. As you can see from the picture below, the lighter color, 106, works quite well, but you can still tell there’s a slight undertone that doesn’t match up perfectly with my skin. If you don’t pile on your foundation, these subtleties won’t be a big deal; it’ll blend just fine into your skin. My skin also tans and darkens with more sun exposure, so I also decided to get the darker shade in 102. I actually found that when I mix the two, it forms a more preferable color. Now I can say I’m satisfied with the shades from the line.

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From left to right: Gressa in 3.5, Gressa in 4, Nu Evolution in 102, Nu Evolution in 106, Farizad’s Veil
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Lightly smudged out; keep in mind the underside of my arm is lighter than my face. The shades look very different from each other now, but wait until the blending progresses.
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I blended each section into my skin using my finger; note how Gressa’s Minimalist Serum in 3.5 & Nu Evolution’s Complete Coverage Foundation in 106 can be blended well enough, whereas the other two shades are darker or have more of a different undertone.
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Lightly brushed Farizad’s Veil over each color- can you see how they get a little lighter? This effect will be further observable once applied on your face. Now it becomes more clear how the two darker shades can balance out the lighter ones without such dramatic contrast.

Application

With Gressa’s Minimalist Serum, you only need a few drops for your whole face. It’s that good. Of course, you can layer it on if you need more coverage, and the good news is it won’t look cakey if you do so. It works very well with the Gressa Foundation Brush, a sponge, or your fingers.

For Nu Evolution, I use about 2 pumps. I find it doesn’t work as well with a sponge and prefer to use either a brush or my fingers.

When I mix the products, I will add two pumps of each Nu Evolution Shade, 4 drops of Gressa, and a sprinkle of Farizad’s Veil. I do end up having leftover product, which again could be lessened if the pumps allowed more control. I often use either a brush or my fingers to apply. I will then use a sponge over my skin.


Finish & Wear

Now as much as I love my Minimalist Foundation, I can’t wear it alone because I do notice my skin gets oilier as the day progresses. For the longest time I did just that, however, because as I have said before I absolutely hate powders. I would just blot throughout the day and appreciate the foundation regardless. Ever since Farizad’s Veil, I have found a perfect companion to the oil/serum hybrid. I find that when I combine it with the powder, it makes for a perfect combination: matte yet still that satin, skin-like finish famously provided by Gressa.

Nu Evolution, on the other hand, keeps me matte but is also missing the dewy/glowing look. So it’s a little too matte for my taste. It’s formula and texture is actually thus far the most reminiscent of traditional foundations- it’s a mousse/cream texture. I have worn it alone with Farizad’s Veil as well after taking a break from Gressa, but since the formula was already mattifying, I stopped using the veil completely and thus it became one of my least used Earthwise Beauty Products. It also has great pigment and coverage, and lasts throughout the day.

What I started doing is combining the two formulas to get the best of both worlds while adding a sprinkle of Farizad’s Veil. And I. love. it. Because I’ve incorporated the darker shades, I can actually use more of the product now as opposed to before- even up to the full 1/8th recommendation listen on the jar- and it’s crazy how excellent it is. I feel I can fully appreciate the product more now that I can comfortably use it in a greater amount. It plays with the liquid and mousse formulas of the two foundations and mixes almost imperceptibly, simply thickening the mixture a little and lightening the color. I have no issues with looking cakey, it doesn’t ‘dry’ me out and give me a super matte look, and I still have a satin/skin-like finish. Not to mention it truly does help blur your imperfections.

The product is literally perfectly named- it’s a beautiful veil for your face: it doesn’t cake and completely cover you up, but rather protects your skin from the sun and plays so well with your foundation to let your skin still shine through.


Packaging

Gressa’s foundation and bronzer have the same dropper application and packaging, and I am honestly waiting for the day this changes. I don’t have any issues when it comes to their eye or lip boost pots, and I think they have a great aesthetic going for them. But why for the foundation and bronzer it has to be disappointing packaging when everything else is spot on I’m not sure. This isn’t the first time I have purchased these products, either- they have been bought time and time again. And each time, there is spillage around the cap of the bottle. At this point, I have accepted it and work with it as best I can, occasionally cleaning the leaks around the edges. The results are just so good that I’ll continue re-purchasing them.

Nu Evolution, on the other hand, has excellent packagingGranted it is a case of plastic versus the glass casing of Gressa- their plastic lipstick cases are nowhere near as impressive as the lip boost pots of Gressa- yet the performance regardless for the foundation bottle is great. In fact, the packaging is so close to being five stars for me. The product gets pushed up as you use it, and the bottle is see-through, so you can actually know exactly when you are running out of the product. You simply press on the lid and walla. My only criticism here is that sometimes I want just a little more product- whether it’s to get an additional smidgeon for a breakout or I missed a tiny spot- but that’s not possible with this pump. You have to press down all the way to dispense product, and you’ll get a good-sized amount. Yet at other times, not enough product will come out. This is too small of an issue to be a deal-breaker, however it would be nice to see improvement in how smoothly the pump works.


Ingredients

If you don’t already know, I’m on a full anti-coconut-rampage. I don’t like it on my skin because it breaks me out, and I had so much of the oil/sugar/butter due to its overuse in healthy recipes that I’m absolutely spent out on it. It’s such a huge plus for me that the Nu Evolution foundation doesn’t contain coconut oil or its derivatives. The foundation serum from Gressa doesn’t contain the oil itself, but it does contain Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, which is derived from coconut oil and glycerin (more info here). Although there are different sides to the debate, with some saying this ingredient is comedogenic and others saying it is not, in the end it’s based on how your own skin will handle it. I will notice I do feel congested from this product, however not as much as from the Kjaer Weis or RMS Beauty foundations. Aside from that inclusion, I do appreciate the Gressa Minimalist Serum Foundation because throughout all the years I’ve been wearing it, my skin has always felt so lightweight and looked so natural. Although I will feel congested from the foundation from time to time, my skin will actually look better as the day progresses; it’s a weird duality. It is a serum, after all, formulated with a “Healing Complex,” which according to Gressa consists of a “proprietary powerhouse blend of carefully selected botanical extracts that care for your skin by providing it with overall balance, radiance and clarity.” Thus, I believe the inclusion of beneficial ingredients and the impeccable finish on the skin balance out the cons of having medium-rated comedogenic ingredients. I’ll be very happy if that ingredient is removed, but until then, I will continue to repurchase for reasons stated. Again, your skin may react very differently, possibly not feeling it is comedogenic at all. The same applies to the silica contained in the product; I want to also emphasize that ‘silica’ is not the same thing as silicone, the ingredient I was mentioning with regards to AMBAR. There are many great articles discussing the differences, and one such example can be found by clicking here. As a brilliant and creative chemist, I hope Svetlana can find better plant-based alternatives to potential pore-clogging ingredients.

Farizad’s Veil is a star product which only contains just a few ingredients. Of course, Ava knows we love us some aloe, and the veil contains finely milled aloe leaf powder, which adds anti-inflammatory benefits to the skin. Earthwise Beauty explains the benefits of the two main ingredients best:

There are several skin care benefits from zinc oxide itself, from anti-acne and anti-inflammatory action to protective and soothing properties. The anti-acne benefits only shine if you use zinc oxide in a noncomedogenic, acne-skin-appropriate facial oil or serum.  The second ingredient in Farizad’s Veil is pure powdered aloe leaves, which perform many functions here, from moisturizing, skin damage preventing, and skin damage correcting to cooling, repairing, and soothing. With how many skin care products do you get to wear the actual powdered herbs on your skin all day? That is a mask session in itself. The aloe also softens the stark white color of the zinc oxide, making it less-than-typically skin whitening. 

How great of a point is that? You are literally in a mask session all day. You know how much I love my masks ;).

Gressa: *Brassica oleracea (Broccoli) Seed Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Silica, GRESSA Healing Complex™ *Silymarin, *Neem (Azadirachta indica) Extract,*Horsetail (Equisetum arvense) Extract, *Lemon Balm (Melissa officianalis) Extract, *Barberry (Berberis vulgaris) Extract, *Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) Seed Extract, *Elder Flower (Sambucus nigra) Extract, *Bitter Melon (Momordica charantia) Extract, Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate Non-GMO, Coenzyme Q10, Ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate, (Vitamin C), *lecithin, *glycerin, mica, iron oxides, titanium oxide {*Certified Organic Ingredient}

Nu Evolution: Water/Aqua, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Extract, Glycerin 8043-29-6, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Cera Alba (Beeswax), Carnauba Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Stearic Acid, Lecithin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Origanum Vulgare (Oregano) Leaf Extract, Thymus Vulgaris (Thyme) Extract, Cinnamomum Zeylanicum (Cinnamon) Bark Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Extract, Hydrastis Canadensis (Goldenseal) Root Extract, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Leaf Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E). May Contain: Titanium Dioxide (CI-77891), Mica (CI-77019), Iron Oxides (CI-77491), (CI-77492), (CI-77499).

Farizad’s Veil: Active ingredient: non-nano uncoated zinc oxide 94% (Canada); others: aloe barbadensis leaf powder*, hexane-free Rosa centifolia (rose) absolute (Morocco; organic whenever available), wildcrafted hexane-free pink champaca absolute (India), organic Pelargonium graveolens (geranium bourbon) oil (Madagascar), Pelargonium roseum (rose geranium) oil*, wildcrafted frankincense oil {*Certified organic}


Is it extra that I mix my own special concoction for my foundation? Perhaps. But it’s what’s working for me at the moment! I suggest you try at least one of the mentioned foundations, and certainly incorporate Farziad’s Veil if you’re also like me and hate powders/sunscreen. The Daily Antioxidant Primer serves as a great precursor to makeup, and I recommend the product as well for its moisturizing/antioxidant benefits.

If you’re interested, I list the vendors I purchase these products from:

D.A.P: http://mosskincare.com/product/ambar-daily-antioxidant-primer/

Minimalist Corrective Serum: https://www.integritybotanicals.com/products/minimalist-corrective-serum-foundation

Complete Coverage Foundation: https://www.safeandchic.com/products/complete-coverage-foundation-102

Farizad’s Veil: https://earthwisebeauty.com/products/farizads-veil-sun-protective-powder