Tuesday, February 2, 2016

MAKE UP FOR EVER Ultra HD Foundation & STEP1 Skin Equallizer Review + Swatches

Another year, another foundation that's hopped aboard the hype train! I have seen this foundation all over YouTube and Instagram lately as well as my local Sephora raving about it so I thought I would review it for you guys as well as compare it to the older Make Up For Ever HD Foundation formula which I absolutely loved. If you are interested in a review of the old formula, check it out HERE

Sadly the old formula has been discontinued and has been replaced with the new Ultra HD foundation. With 4k technology, the next generation of digital devices will display images with unbelievable detail, stunning clarity, and heightened color than existing HD technology. Make Up For Ever claims this foundation is completely invisible under the latest, ultra-magnified resolution, and that the new formula looks completely natural on camera—and to the naked eye. 

Some or all products shown in this post may have been provided by the said brand(s) and/or website(s) for potential review and/or use. For more information, please read my DISCLAIMER.


Make Up For Ever claims that this is a medium-buildable coverage foundation which I happen to agree with. My skin is combination/oily with acne scars and some discoloration and it covered and evened out my skin tone quite well, although I did need some extra help with concealer. I do like that the product is buildable but for some reason, it didn't look natural on me. You can clearly tell that there is foundation on my skin and it's actually a little powdery looking on me. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it's not what the product claims. It does however photograph and film beautifully.


One of the absolute best things about this product is the HUGE range of shades that they have available. Currently, there are 40 shades in various undertones which is amazing! You are bound to find a shade that matches you. I was sent the three lightest shades available in the range and I was impressed at how light Y205 Alabaster is! It is too light for me which rarely happens so it will be perfect for you extra fair people out there! My match is Y215 Yellow Alabaster and as you can see from the swatches, it's hardly noticeable.
Taken with flash indoors
Taken with no flash and natural light


I wore this every day for about two weeks, and while it's not a bad foundation, I feel like their older formula was a lot better. This one is a lot thinner in consistency and it does not stand up against the oily parts of my face, even with a primer. After about 3 hours, it's almost completely worn off on my nose and chin. Before it wears off though, it does look nice and it looks great in photos and video. I feel like this foundation is best to be worn for short periods of time, like for photo/video shoots which I feel like is it's main purpose. The foundation does not irritate my sensitive skin and has no detectable scent.


Although this is a highly raved about product, I do not think it's worth the hype, at least not for my skin type. Like I stated before, it is by no means a bad foundation and I believe that it would be amazing for someone with normal skin with little to no skin issues, or for someone who works in front of the camera often. It just doesn't work for me and I really wanted to love it, especially since I was such a big fan of the original HD foundation. The color range is wonderful, as well as the packaging (gotta love pumps)! As for my rating, I give it 3 out of 5 stars. I do suggest going to your local Sephora to get a sample of this before purchasing if you want to try it out. You can also get color-matched while you're there. 
I was also sent four of their Step1 Skin Equalizers which are basically a primer. 

From MAKE UP FOR EVER's website:

MATTIFYING PRIMER is the answer to unwanted shine, fighting against excess oil to ensure a matte makeup result. Formulated with our specific Sebustop Vegetal Complex, this first step equalizer instantly reduces pore size and controls shine for a flawless makeup all day long.

SMOOTHING PRIMER instantly fills in and blurs imperfections for silky soft skin. This satiny, non-oily formula evens out skin texture by minimizing pores, wrinkles and fine lines. Skin looks resurfaced and perfectly smooth for a flawless makeup all day long.

HYDRATING PRIMER instantly quenches skin's thirst by helping boost and refreshing tired skin. Formulated with our specific H₂O Complex, it provides moisture transforming dehydrated skin into a supple, healthy, plump surface for a flawless makeup all day long.

NOURISHING PRIMER instantly replenishes dry and dehydrated skin with a moisture-rich soothing formula. Our specific Vegetal Complex feeds skin, hydrating and reviving it while antioxidants protect from the elements. Its rich and creamy texture melts on the skin to nourish and sooth. Restores elasticity and revitalizes skin to ensure a more uniform texture and a flawless makeup all day long.


As you can see in the photo above, these primers all have a very different consistency and they also perform differently from each other.

Mattifying Primer: This stuff is no joke - it's seriously matte. Like, paper matte. It dries really quickly so it's best to use this one on targeted areas such as the nose, chin, cheeks and forehead. A little goes a long way and if you use too much it feels heavy. It minimized my pores and although this does keep my skin looking matte, it also can make me look a little dry. I think this will work better for me once spring and summer are here.

Smoothing Primer: This does what it claims - it smooths and blurs my pores and fine lines giving my skin a soft focus effect. It glides on and feels and looks satiny against the skin. I'm a huge fan of this one! I try not to use too much though because if I do, it tends to ball up with my foundation. I also like to let it set for about five minutes before applying foundation.

Hydrating Primer: The great things about this primer are that it is super lightweight and it feels moisturizing. Sadly, this one doesn't work for me since I have oilier skin and it makes my foundation slip off. However, this is great for someone that has dry skin!

Nourishing Primer: This one is my favorite of the bunch! I feel like it's the perfect balance of the previous three primers. It helps my makeup stay on longer, it makes my foundation look smoother and my skin feels nourished. After applying this primer, it has a bit of a tacky/sticky finish which I like because I believe it helps my foundation stick to my face a lot better than without.
Have you tried or own this foundation and/or primer(s)? If so, what are your thoughts?

Find the MAKE UP FOR EVER Ultra HD Foundation and the STEP1 Equalizers at the following links or at your local Sephora store:

Thursday, January 14, 2016

2016 Goals and Ambitions

Happy New Year, everyone! For me, 2016 will be the year of milestones and making positive changes in my life. Bows and Curtseys will be turning five and I will be turning thirty. Both are huge milestones in my book. I will never forget the day I decided to start this blog, and thinking that it would never go anywhere. Of course, I was pleasantly surprised. I remember being SO excited when I saw my first few followers, and the day I hit 100 followers was such a surreal experience for me. I've come a long way, and I still feel the same way about it all today.

I will also be saying goodbye to my "roaring 20s" this year. My 20s were definitely a roller-coaster ride full of ups, downs, loops, twists and turns. I experienced the best moments of my life as well and the most devastating, and everything in between. Through it all, I sit here today and look back at my life and realize that no matter what has happened in my life, even if it was good or bad, it has shaped who I am today and has led me to where I am as well. I have learned so much and I have grown tremendously and now at the end of 29, I can confidently and comfortably say that I finally know what life is all about for me. It's about making myself happy. It's about not worrying what others say or think about me. It's about being comfortable in who I am as a person. Once you focus on looking out for #1, everything else will fall into place. It took me a while to realize that, but once I understood it, life seemed to make sense. I'm hoping my 30s will be even more amazing than my 20s were (and hopefully have more ups than downs) and I am so ready to start this new chapter of my life!

This blog is my baby, and it has brought me many amazing opportunities and I have met some lovely people and have even made lifelong friends along the way. I have grown and changed a lot since it's conception, but change is a necessary thing in life; it's how we blossom, learn and grow. This year, I want Bows and Curtseys to be more than just a beauty blog. I want to expand my horizons and share more things that matter to me in my life. I want to share things about my lifestyle whether it be fitness, health, my favorite recipes, even advice on certain topics. I also want to start filming more tutorials!

From the outside, a makeup and beauty blog seems like something superficial when in fact, it's been quite the opposite for me. It has been an outlet to share and showcase my art to the world (when will people stop saying that makeup isn't an art?). Most of my makeup looks have been a form of expression in one way or another and it's a way for me to share what I'm feeling without getting too personal.

To those of you that have been with me from the very beginning, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I would not be where I am today if it weren't for your constant love and support for me and my work. I truly and wholeheartedly am so eternally grateful. To my new readers, hello and thank you for being here as well. I look forward to continuing on with this blog and create more content for you all to enjoy! I am excited to see where 2016 and beyond will take us and I am glad you're all here for the ride!

Take care,

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Laura Geller Baked Gelato Swril Illuminator in Gilded Honey Review

Many trends come in and out of the makeup world, and one of the more recent and popular ones is called "strobing" which is essentially hardcore highlighting and ditching the contour. Not a look for me, but to each their own! However, I am a fan of highlighting my cheekbones and the more light my cheeks catch the better. I want to give a disco ball a run for it's money! 

This new highlighting product from Laura Geller is not only pretty to look at, but it also gives you that lit-from-within glow if applied sheerly, or in-your-face disco ball goodness if you decide to pack it on. It has a unique 3D design that resembles delicious Italian gelato and a hybrid texture that applies like a powder but feels like a cream which leaves a sheer, yet luminous glow that can almost be seen from space!

When I received this package in the mail, I was stunned by how pretty and metallic the highlighter was! Also, Laura Geller was awesome enough to also send out a Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 which I used to take some photos of me with the product. The highlighter comes in a sleek and simple packaging, though it's not as high end looking as other high-end highlighters on the market. The actual product itself is absolutely beautiful with it's swirl pattern which emphasizes it's texture and brilliance. The texture of this highlighter is unique; it isn't powdery, nor is it creamy but it applies smoothly with little to no fallout.

Some or all products shown in this post may have been provided by the said brand(s) and/or website(s) for potential review and/or use. For more information, please read my DISCLAIMER.

I like to apply this highlighter using either my finger tips or a large fluffy blending brush (sometimes both if I'm feeling fancy). Using your fingers will give you a much more concentrated look whilst using a brush will give you a more diffused finish. It's highly pigmented yet buildable so it's hard to go overboard with this.

Here it is applied to the cheek area:
I like to apply highlighter on the high points of my face. Here I have it applied on my cheek bones, tip of my nose, a little on the bridge of my nose and my cupid's bow.

Glided Honey is a gorgeous gold shade with a warn undertone. My skin is fair/light with neutral undertones and I feel like I can still pull off this highlight since I have warm toned hair and eyes, but I think it will best on people with light-medium to tan/darker skin. This highlighter also comes in a Rose Gold shade called Ballerina which I think would be more flattering for me and even lighter complexions. I love that this product doesn't have noticeable chunky glitter. It's more of a shimmer, similar to a metallic eyeshadow.
Also, this product is a lot more affordable than other highly-coveted highlighters on the market. At 4.5 g, the Laura Geller Baked Gelato Swirl Illuminator has a $26 price tag.
Overall, I this highlighter is great! It leaves my skin looking luminous, radiant, and glowy. It wears for a good 6-8 hours without fading AND it doesn't accentuate my pores. I'm definitely considering purchasing the Ballerina shade! Have you tried this highlighter before? If so, I would love to hear your thoughts on it. If you haven't, what is your all-time favorite highlighter?

Where to find the Laura Geller Baked Gelato Swril Illuminator:

Sunday, January 3, 2016

PÜR COSMETICS Cameo Contour Dual-Ended Contour Stick Review

Unless you've been living under a rock, you and your grandmother know about contouring. It doesn't seem like it, but contouring is actually pretty easy once you get the hang of it and these contouring sticks by PÜR Cosmetics makes it even easier! Just like any other makeup technique, contouring takes practice.

PÜR Cosmetics Cameo Contour Sticks come in five different shades (Light, Medium, Tan, Deep and Dark) and each come with an amazing blending sponge and a set of instructions. These are medium-full coverage and dry to a matte/powder finish. The contour shades are cool toned which is the preferred method for contouring rather than a warm bronze shade. These come in a convenient plastic twist-tube that's small enough to carry in a makeup mag. They are creamy, pigmented and blend like a dream.

Some or all products shown in this post may have been provided by the said brand(s) and/or website(s) for potential review and/or use. For more information, please read my DISCLAIMER.
When you break it down, contouring is pretty simple. All it is is adding dimension to your face. All you're doing by contouring is shading the areas you would like to recede or appear smaller. Highlighting is basically bringing forward the areas you would like to emphasize. It's literally that easy!

Here's my complete bare face - no foundation, no contour, no highlight! While nothing is wrong with a bare face, adding shadows and light can greatly bring out your features.

Here I map out where I usually apply highlight and contour. Depending on your face shape and what features you want to enhance or diminish, your placement might be a little different from mine. 
Before I contour, I like to apply my foundation first. The only problem I have with this product is that the light shade isn't light enough; it's actually about the same shade as my regular foundation! So when I use this product, I try to use a darker foundation or apply just a thin layer since the Cameo Contour sticks are pretty bendable and buildable. 

One of the main areas people like to contour are the cheeks. If you make a fishy face, you can make out the hollow area where you would apply the contour shade. If this doesn't work for you, you can also feel around with your fingers and you should be able to feel your cheekbone. If your forehead is on the smaller side, skip the forehead contouring. I also like to contour my nose by adding the darker shades on the sides and the light shade on the center. Lastly I contour along my jaw. I add the highlight shade where I want more light to hit and to appear brighter, so my forehead, under eyes, cupid's bow, chin and smile lines.

The key to successful contouring is BLENDING. Seriously, blend blend blend! The PÜR Cosmetics Cameo Contour Stick comes with an awesome blending sponge which is really similar to the Beauty Blender except PÜR's comes with a flattened, angled area that makes it super easy to press into the skin and get into hard to reach areas like under the eye. It's best if you use it damp; just make sure you squeeze out all the excess water. 

I suggest blending the light shade first as opposed to the darker shade. Other wise you'll end up with dark product on your sponge and your light areas will become muddy. If you feel like some areas are too dark, simply apply the light end and carefully blend that area. You'll know you've blended properly when you can't see any harsh lines.

Here's my contoured face with my eyes, lips and blush applied as well.
Voila! That's all it takes and now your face should be beautifully defined and enhanced.

On my eyes: Makeup Geek eyeshadows in Beaches and Cream, Cocoa Bear, Corrupt and Uptopia.
On my lips: Colourpop Ultra-Matte Liquid Lipstick in Bumble 
As for wear, I have combination/oily skin and this wore beautifully. I got a good 4-5 hours worth of wear without having to touch up. It didn't irritate my sensitive skin and they have no noticeable scent which is a plus. Since they are on the creamy side though, I do not think these would work well for me in the summer time when my skin becomes a lot more oily. But if your skin is dry to combination, then these will work well for you.
 Where to find PÜR Cosmetics Cameo Contour Sticks: 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Review - SHISEIDO IBUKI Multi Solution Gel

In my 29 years, I have tried many different types and brands of face moisturizers/skin treatments. I've encountered amazing ones and some not-so-stellar ones as well. When I was contacted by Shiseido I was definitely looking forward to trying their products since I've always heard great things about them. I received their Ibuki Multi-Solution Gel which is a totally unique formula and offers properties that seem to be beneficial for my skin type which is sensitive, acne prone, combination/oily and with fine lines.

The Ibuki Multi-Solution Gel is a high- impact gel that has a interesting bouncy texture and helps skin make an easy comeback from the effects of stress, erratic schedules, and the environment. It features PhytoTarget Complex that claims to help skin build resistance to external aggressors and Salicylic Acid that helps reduce acne. It's formulated for all skin types, non-comedogenic, dermatologist-tested, and can be applied under or over makeup. It also helps reduce the appearance of pores.

Some or all products shown in this post may have been provided by the said brand(s) and/or website(s) for potential review and/or use. For more information, please read my DISCLAIMER.


Always seeking to identify new, richer sources of value and to use them to create a beautiful lifestyle, Shiseido finds wisdom in all things that are innovative and elegant. Founded in 1872, Shiseido is one of the oldest beauty companies in the world. And yet, its dedication to scientific advancement continues to yield numerous discoveries. Offering a full range of prestige skincare, makeup, and expert tools, the luxury Japanese line combines the rich tradition of total well-being with leading product technology for a higher level of beauty.


Ibuki (which means inner strength) is all about bringing your skin back to life so you look and feel your best around the clock. Their exclusive Shape Memorizing Cell Technology restores moisture to help remove dead cells for strong, healthy skin. Helping cells memorize their ideal, most powerful shape boosts skin's resistance to breakouts, visible pores and roughness. The result? Smooth, soft, problem-free skin that's ready for anything.
The texture of this gel is so unusual, but in a good way. It's bouncy, and reacts sort of like memory foam in the sense that if you mess around with it in the pot, it'll slowly bounce back to it's original state. It reminds me of flubber! The product is light green but applies transparent and has a light, pleasant scent that isn't over-powering. Due to its unique skin-conforming texture, it adheres well to problem areas, under and over makeup, to deliver effective ingredients.

I like to use this as a spot treatment and I use it day and night depending on the condition of my skin at the time. If I use this along with my skin care regimen, I make sure that this is the last step. It absorbs quickly and my face feels refreshed, supple and smooth. I also love how lightweight it is; I cannot stand when face products are thick and heavy.

After using this for about a month, I have to say that my skin is looking outstanding. It's is clearer, more even and supple and it hasn't caused any sensitivity. Theses photos were taken three weeks apart. I apologize for the lighting difference here, but you can still clearly see that my skin tone appears to move more smooth, even and less red with diminished blemishes. I do recommened using a good moisturizer while using this product because the salicylic acid can be pretty drying even on oily skin like mine.


In a consumer survey of the results the next day after use:

- 80% felt skin's roughness improved 
- 89% felt areas with skin troubles become softer and more supple 
- 80% felt areas with skin troubles became smoother

-Salicylic Acid 0.5%: Acne treatment.

Water, Butylene Glycol, Sd Alcohol 40-B, Dimethicone, Peg/Ppg-14/7 Dimethyl Ether, Peg-240/Hdi Copolymer Bis-Decyltetradeceth-20 Ether, Glycyl Glycine, Peg-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Silica, Trehalose, Sodium Chloride, Gellan Gum, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Serine, Polyquaternium-51, Paeonia Suffruticosa Root Extract, Aesculus Hippocastanum (Horse Chestnut) Seed Extract, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Potassium Hydroxide, Disodium Edta, Sodium Citrate, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Alcohol, Citric Acid, Glycerin, Bht, Peg-30 Soy Sterol, Trisodium Edta, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance, Yellow 5, Blue 1.
All in all, I am impressed with this product, especially since I didn't really expect it to do much for my skin. The key is to be consistent with your skin care regimen and to make sure that your skin concern falls into the category that this product caters to. This was my first time ever trying Shiseido and I've gotta say that I've become a fan and I'll definitely be purchasing some products in the future.

If you are interested in the Shiseido Ibuki Multi Solution Gel, here are some places where it is available to purchase:


I hope you enjoyed this review and that it was helpful to you. Have you tried Shiseido products before? If so, what are your favorites? Let me know in the comments below!