essence Fresh & Fit Awake Primer

essence Fresh & Fit Awake Primer

When essence released their new foundation I was so busy getting it that I didn’t even notice they had also released a primer to go with it. Weeks later I’m at the drugstore and I go, hey, what’s that thing with the “new” sticker on? Why, it is the Fresh & Fit Awake Primer that promises you a healthy glow and a pore minimizing effect.

Like the foundation, it actually does contain all those promised vitamins and in fact, more than that. Like the foundation, the back of the packaging (not pictured) promised you “vitamin b3, vitamin e, provitamin b5 & cranberry water”. Looking at the ingredients there is also retinol in and vitamin c, but vitamin c is the lowest on the list, so there’s probably not all that much. Neither the foundation nor the primer promise SPF, but both contain some iron oxides and titanium oxide, so it might give a little bit of SPF. Still, personally I also put on my normal sun protection when using this, especially since retinol makes you sensitive to light.

Unlike the foundation the primer does not contain alcohol, so if that was a no-go for you for the foundation or the foundation color didn’t work for you, you might get happy with the primer. So, seriously, even though this is sold only as a makeup item, it packs more skin care punch than most of the regular skin care in the drugstore! If you have trouble finding a good cream you might as well just use this.

But for now, on to the makeup part:

The product comes out like this, a little peachy and shimmery.

But when you blend it out, it is colorless so it will work for every skintone. In this pic, the top half is covered in primer and the bottom half isn’t. So one half is all glowy and the other is just dry skin. So yes, it delivery on the promised glow, but keep in mind this isn’t a liquid highlighter. Five years ago you might have called it a highlighter, but today it really isn’t. And to be quite honest when you put foundation on top you won’t see much of the glow anymore. Combining it with the Fresh & Fit foundation will give you a “glowy” face but that’s because the foundation has such a “glowy” finish. I put that word in scare quotes because one person’s glow is another one’s oil slick.

Anyway you can use this primer with whatever foundation you want but with a full coverage you won’t see much of the shine anymore. Which personally I prefer (see oil slick).

I super love the texture of this it feels like you’re putting on a much more expensive thing! It just glides on. This is a silicone primer, but feels less siliconey than my other silicone primers. Being silicone based helps it minimize the appearance of pores, as promised on the packaging. However, this will only work if you then put foundation on top. Because the primer makes your face smoother physically, but it will not cover your pores optically, especially with that glow going on. So keep that in mind if you want to use it alone.

As a primer it worked well for me aka it was easy to apply makeup on top and it made makeup last longer (compared to using no primer). It did not last any better than my usual primers and it did not keep me shine free on my T-zone at all (well, it IS called a glow primer).

Let’s go back to the skin care properties. This isn’t sold as such and isn’t making any promises, but I think that using this for a while did help my skin. In the long run it was a bit annyoing to use as a primer because I always had to put on extra sun protection as well. So sometimes I’d just use it on normal, no makeup days as well.

Note that this product includes both niacinamide and vitamin c, which many blogs will tell you not to mix. There’s an interesting thread on reddit about it here, if you want to read up more on that. You will also find advice not to mix retinol with vitamin c. This cream obviously does not care, it just throws all of it together.  Here‘s a link to Paula’s Choice talking about retinol myths. I just wanna mention it in case that’s something you personally don’t wanna combine on your face.

Me, I’ve been using a vitamin c toner with a niacinamide serum for six months now and I had no problems with that. They don’t seem to cancel each other out. Worst thing that happens is that my face flushes for a few minutes (less than five) but that happens whenever I apply niacinamide and is normal.

Word of caution if your skin is not used to niacinamide or retinol you might get some redness or small pimples at first, but this is normal and should stop soon. If you have any worse reactions or if it doesn’t stop after two weeks, stop using product.

Whoa this post eneded up longer than I thought. So long in fact, that this is posting on a thursday instead of wednesday. I guess I was very happy to find a good quality primer in the drugstore. I hope you enjoyed this post. Tomorrow there’ll be another perfume review up. Next week there might be some more lipsticks (highly probable).


New Trend: Strobing

New Trend: Strobing

(note: I’m taking a few days off; it’s too hot to blog. love you guys)

The trend

You probably saw it already: the new trend is called ‘strobing’. Unsurprisingly, it basically means ‘a whole lot of highlighting’. I think it’s the perfect trend for summer, for a lady doesn’t sweat, she glows! 😉

Nikkie has a great tutorial for it. I love her; she’s so funny.

Basically, you’ve got two options to go about it: either you start with a mostly matte base, powder down and then use powder highlighter, or you go for the full glow with a luminous base and cream or liquid highlighters.

the products


Here are some base products that I use for a subtle glow:

Dior BB Creme, not overly shiny, but certainly not matte and a perfect base for me. Attention fellow Austrians: the lightest color 01 is being phased out! I stocked up on it. 😦 The other colors are staying.

Then I’ve got my usual concealer: Clinique airbrush. This is an undereye concealer with a bit of highlighting properties. Undereyes only, we don’t want our spots highlighted! For blemishes I used my normal, non highlighting concealer (not pictured).

In the middle of the pic I put what should have chronologically come first: two primers. Both are only subtle illuminating primers, not full on glow. First there’s the MAC CC Cream in Illuminate. Illuminate is a light purple color and the only MAC CC cream light enough for me. It is less shimmery than my previous primer from MAC (Fortified Skin Enhancer), but it has a bit of shimmer. Second primer is Clarins Beauty Flash Balm. This is what I use if I want a perfect finish. Somehow Beauty Flash Balm makes all layers go together in perfection. It has a bit of peachy shimmer, but also not too visible. If you want more shimmer in the primer, there are many options out there, from Clarins to pretty much every brand. Personally I think a primer is necessary for a look with a strong highlight, because the primer makes the skin more even. I never had a problem with highlighters enhancing my pores if I wore a good primer.

And last I packed a body glow product onto the pic: Soap & Glory Glow Lotion. I think if we’re going overboard with the face glow we might as well have a matching body. Any shimmery body product will do.


And now on to the actual highlighters:

For a more champagney glow I’ve got Benefit Watt’s up, an easy to use cream highlighter. For a pink highlight, the liquid high beam, also by Benefit. For a light golden glow I have my alverde Schimmerfluid Meeresglanz. This was sadly a limited item, but there are many good options at the drugstore these days.

And for powder highlighter I’ve got the MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Lightscapade. Not pictured, but Kiko has released some great new powder highlighters: beam of light (review upcoming).

And if you don’t have a powder highlighter, there’s no need to rush out and buy one (unless you want to) because in reality a light shimmery eyeshadow will the do the trick just as well. Here I’ve got my Extra Dimension Shadow in A Natural Flirt, simply because it was on top of the makeup drawer. You only need to make sure it is not too shimmery and blends well. 🙂

the application

With liquid highlighters (and the creamy stick of Watt’s up) I still use my fingers for application; I simply use more than I would use for a subtle look. The biggest change for me was in appliction of powder products: I used apply them with a fan brush, but it never quite looked like I wanted. Not enough, not well blended etc. For strobing I started to use a blush brush instead and finally it looks the way I want it to look! I’ll stick with the blush brush. (actually I’m using the Bobbi Brown Face Blender. That thing blends everything like a charm.) For smaller parts (inner corner, top of lip etc) I’ll use either fingers or a small eye blending brush.

So that’s it, have fun with your highlight and ditch the contour. 😀 Let’s all be faeries, wheee!

Urban Decay Primer Potion Sin & Original – worth the hype?

Urban Decay Primer Potion Sin & Original – worth the hype?

I have complicated lids. I wouldn’t call them oily as such, but often eyeshadow just melts off or wanders off to party in my crease. Not a good look (although it works for a really grungy look).

I tried drugstore eye primers; I tried MAC eye primer; I tried layering cream shadow and powder shadow. None worked perfectly; although cream-powder shadow layering has been my biggest success.

Finally I decided to try the hyped Urban Decay Primers. Well, I guess they are hyped for a reason.


I went with Original first. Please ignore the other products here, pics are originally from a haul post. XD


Original is a silicony primer. It comes out a little peachy, but applies invisible. So there’s no swatch; you wouldn’t see much.

I have found that the secret to applying Original is to not get out too much. A little dab all over the lid is enough, else it gets crumbly.

And then the promised magic happened. Eyeshadows that worked well already stayed on until evening; eyeshadows that were troublesome at least managed five hours now! Praise the Makeup Gods!

The downside of Original is that it works very well with matte shadows, but shimmers get dulled. Some still work, others are a mere shadow of their usual self (Woodwinked for example). So I guess the brand knows what they are doing, as they also offer a shimmery base for all your shimmery needs. Why sell one primer to the masses when you can sell two (or more)?

Urban Decay Sin 1

Enter Sin. The tube is already so golden and shimmery!

Urban Decay Sin 2

I like the little apple on the back of the tube. 🙂

Urban Decay Sin Swatch 1

Since Sin isn’t invisible you get swatches! Here is a little dab of product. It looks small, but this would be too much for two eye lids.

Urban Decay Sin Swatch 2

Same dab blended out. It looks so good! Ungh. Best champagne shimmer right there!

Sin can be worn on its own and I did because sometimes its hard to cover the pretty. But alone it does not hold all day. Like my cream-powder layering method, two products generally hold better than one.

Now while Original killed the shimmer in my beloved Woodwinked, Sin amplified it. The combination also holds all day long. Another favorite combination is Sin and the Chanel eyeshadow sticks.

Overall, I think Original might stick a little better, but we’re talking nuances here. Both primers have ascended into my ‘daily items’ box. So for me, these were absolutely worth the hype. I’m so glad to finally know how to get my eyeshadow to stay! However, I cannot promise it’ll work the same way for everybody. I have read many ‘foolproof method’ posts on blogs and they didn’t work for me. Also, the very best primer might not help on a very hot and humid day.

By the way, the package is being revamped. New tubes should come with applicator.

Which primers do you use? Or do you have other tricks to get shadow to stay?

All Used Up March 2015

All Used Up March 2015

It’s going to be a very short empties post today, promise.


First empty was a sample of Versace Vanitas EdT. This is a very fresh floral perfume. I found it nice, but not overly special. Longevity is good, sillage more on the strong side.


The obligatory hand cream: Douglas nails hands feet daily ageless handbalm. This claims to have SPF in, but does not say how high so I assume it’s low. The cream itself smelled a bit grapefruity, I liked that. It was nourishing, but not special enough to buy a full size imho.


And here’s another hand cream: LCN Candy Eggs Butterflies handcream. This was part of a giftset from a beauty salon; I guess from some kind of LE. From the design I expected it to smell very sweet, but it was disappointing. It did have some kind of perfume, but I really didn’t like it. The cream itself was okay. Even if it wasn’t LE I wouldn’t buy it because of the scent.

And last empty of the month is MAC Prep & Prime Fortified Skin Enhancer in pink. This has SPF 35, so I used it both as primer and as skin protection. The color is pink with a little shimmer, but it goes on mostly sheer. The shimmer and the color do give some illumination, though. As a primer it was okay, it did make my makeup last longer and it was mattifying to a degree. I made the experience that it helped very well with drugstore makeup, but when I switched to a MAC foundation I didn’t feel like I needed the MAC primer as much anymore.

The feeling is very rubbery, silicony. I am sure it clogged my pores, but that is typical for products designed to stay on very long. There’s a reason people say you shouldn’t wear face primer every day. But I wore it almost every day because it was my face product with the highest SPF. And it worked well in that regard. When I started wearing it I was NC 20, now I am lighter than NC 15.

For now I won’t repurchase it. I want to try other products and see what happens. 🙂

And these were last month’s empties. If I don’t manage any empties in April, there’ll be another ‘not used up’ post. And I really have to stop switching shower gels around I have way too many half used bottles.

Little Basics Haul

Little Basics Haul


Today I have a little haul to share, three basic items:

1. MAC Mineralize Compact Foundation: this was my foundation discovery of 2014. I used it so much that I already hit pan on my first one. It’s nowhere near empty, but I bought a back up anyway.

2. MAC Prep + Prime Lip: So far I used either nothing or lip balm underneath a lipstick, but at the moment most of my balms are colored and I thought I’d try a proper primer.

3. Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion: My MAC eye primer didn’t really work for me and as Urban Decay is now available in Austria I picked it up. So far I’m happy with it.

And that was the haul. Sorta unglamorous, but helpful basics. Which are your must-have basics?