makeup application backstage of runway

More Honest Reviews: Westman Atelier Foundation + More.

*Image above from Westman Atelier.

I’m back with more honest reviews of recently-tested, heavily-hyped products. The TL;DR: out of everything on this list, you need this foundation stick if you are looking for matte, full coverage that is a dream to apply.

+Hourglass Eyebrow Gel. I love this product and have recommended it to two close friends in the past few weeks. To be honest, most mornings, I just don’t have the energy or time to use an eyebrow pencil. It feels so tedious to fill in all the little sparse spots and even things out. I find this eyebrow gel is a perfect alternative — the color fills things out while also giving the brow shape and definition with a few quick flicks of a wrist. Bonus: eyebrows do not feel stiff afterward like they do with ELF, which I have to say I also like because it is $2 and clear; perfect when using with a pencil. I’ll stick with this Hourglass stuff for everyday — it’s a one-stop shop for my daily makeup routine.

+Westman Atelier Foundation Stick. (You can buy this from multiple online boutiques, but Credo is the only one I could find that offered a 10% discount for new users with code CLEAN10 and a generous return policy, which was important given that I didn’t know for certain what shade I would be.) This stick is amazing — I would liken it to Cle de Peau concealer, but as a foundation. Like CDP, it glides on and melts into skin effortlessly so long as (and this is critical) skin is well-moisturized before application. I use my Artis brush to blend. It is matte as matte can be, so I often find myself wanting to soften things up with a lot of highlighting fluid afterward (I love this), but it stays put and offers exceptional coverage. At first, because of how matte it reads, I thought I would only use this when getting dolled up in the evening or when I have a breakout, and planned to continue to use a tinted moisturizer for everyday wear. I have found myself using it almost daily, though, much to my surprise. It really evens out and smooths skin and wears beautifully throughout the day. Bonus points: even the packaging of this foundation stick is cool (the cap is magnetic).

+Parade Underwear. In pursuit of comfortable nighttime unders, I kept seeing this pair highly recommended, nearly always reading that they were “insanely comfortable.” But they just weren’t my speed — I realized I prefer something with a slightly lower rise, and in a soft pima cotton, I think. (These ended up being the winner for me.)

+Hyper Serum. I was desperate to love this product (I admire the founder and have read countless rave reviews), which promises to lighten hyperpigmentation and clear skin, but it did not play well with my complexion. I broke out and was left with dry skin after using it for two weeks, and everything cleared up when I returned to my former regimen. However, I do think — as with most skincare products — that your skin may react differently to this than it did mine; perhaps my skin is too sensitive for it. (Similarly, so many people have raved about Necessaire products but I literally broke out in a rash after using their body wash and have avoided it since!) I will say that the product glides into skin effortlessly — it was easier to apply than my Mad Hippie serum (which I think requires more attentive blending with fingertips and leaves skin a bit tacky).

+Pantene Rescue Shots. These inexpensive deep conditioning treatment ampoules have worked wonders on my dry hair, which I think I have damaged from all of the blow-drying and the minimal hair cuts. My hair appeared so deeply hydrated and tangle free after use. Strongly recommend if you’re going through a rough (dry) patch yourself.

+Olay Ultimate Eye Cream. I was looking for something to help with my ultra-dark under-eye circles and this came highly recommended from so many people. Honestly, I did not see a big difference in the dark circles beneath my eyes after studying the area in the mirror for weeks on end after application. I think I am now resigning myself to the fact that there is probably nothing that can impact this genetically-born feature–so concealer it is. I did like the cream overall, though. It was hydrating and easy to apply and absorb — almost a whipped quality to it. For the price, a very good cream.

+Sunday Riley Luna Retinol Sleeping Oil. I received a very generously sized sample of this and have been using it for about two weeks and will order more. I have grown increasingly reluctant to add any new oils and serums to my regimen — I mean, how many does a single woman need?! I really love Vintner’s Daughter and Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum and tend to alternate between them, and I’m skeptical that I need much else. However. I will say. I used this oil and noticed — without having read it on the label in advance — that my pores were basically nonexistent on my cheeks especially. I mean, it was like perfect baby skin! I checked the label and saw that this oil specifically shrinks pores (among other things, like reducing redness and smoothing wrinkles). For the pore treatment alone, I will continue to use this. I find that the VD and MH serums have more of a brightening/evening-out effect on my skintone overall, in case you’re wondering how this complements or differs from those items.

+Kosas Concealer. (<<The shade-finding tool on their site was really helpful, FYI, and I got the perfect shade without having used any products from the brand prior.) I thought this concealer was very good but not exceptional (i.e., it will not dethrone CDP). So many reviews cited its creaminess but its consistency doesn’t have a patch on Cle de Peau in my opinion, which — despite existing in stick form — truly glides on like a gel of some kind and then just melts into the skin. I had a little bit of trouble figuring out how to apply Kosas properly — it has a somewhat thin consistency but if applying with the built-in applicator, you can easily apply way too much (i.e., the thin consistency is deceptive: a little goes a long way). Where Kosas excels, however, is in coverage and staying power — it really blocks out the dark undereye circles and redness around my nose, and it lasts! I will be using this when I need to bring in ammo in breakouts and the like. I also appreciate the price tag, which is far more reasonable than Cle de Peau. All in, I’ll be keeping this in my cosmetics bag as an alternate for CDP when I need lasting coverage.

+Laura Mercier Signature Eye Shadow Palette. This is not new, but I use this eye shadow palette constantly. I don’t think I’ve been tempted by another eye shadow from any other brand in years — this palette has everything you need. The formula is excellent and the colors are so easy to wear on an everyday basis. I love the cashmere color especially (sort of a mauve-pink) and then the nude is great for brightening the eye when I look tired.

Thinking back across all the products I’ve reviewed so far in 2020, I do have to say that the standout for me has been these vitamin C-serum-infused cleansing wipes. I love them so much. They are inexpensive, effective, and they smell like fresh laundry to me. I also love that they show up at my doorstep as a part of my subscription to Billie, which — I would say — is my second favorite discovery thus far this year. I know, razors?! So weird — but I love not having to think about buying razor blades (you let them know how often you shave and they automatically send you replacement blades). It is also so much more affordable than Gillette, especially given the free shipping! Honestly, a no brainer. I can’t complete this paragraph without also one more time singing the praises of my Revlon One-Step. Maybe it ties for first place with the wipes. It is SO good and it has made keeping my hair presentable possible. If I had my druthers (and infinite resources), I would get my hair blown out every few days by a professional. I hate washing and blow-drying my hair — it is fine in texture, but I have a ton of it, and it takes forever to dry. The One-Step has made the process infinitely more palatable and easy to maneuver — I now scarcely mind it.

What are your holy grail new discoveries from 2020? Anything else you’re itching to try? (I love being your guinea pig!) I am currently eyeing more from the Westman Atelier line since I was so impressed with their foundation stick. I’m specifically eyeing their “Lit Up” Highlight stick and their blush sticks. I would also eventually like to try Augustinus Bader’s heavily-touted and crazy expensive cream, but I’m scared I might become addicted…

You can read more honest reviews of hyped products here, here, and here.

P.S. If you’re new here, welcome! I’d love to get to know you.

P.P.S. Remembrances of my grandfather.

P.P.P.S. Fly-fishing and writing.

31 Comments

  1. P.S. looking for a face cleanser rec…. Sunday Riley ( I swear I don’t work for them ha!) recently send me a tube of the Ceramic Slip as an apology for slow shipping, and I wanted to love it…but…it does make my skin soft, but it feels like it kinda just sits on top of my skin, and doesn’t really get in there, ya know? I love Tata Harper, but can’t pull the trigger on your beloved cleanser, but the it sounds like what I’m looking for… and recs for a kinder priced cleanser? xo

    1. Hi Jessica! I also really like Indie Lee’s brightening cleanser, which is about half the price of Tata:

      https://bit.ly/35yK1SO

      It doesn’t have that scrubbiness that I like about Tata (I’ve been addicted to scrub-style cleansers since I used Proactiv as a teen), but it really leaves skin feeling clean and smooth. I use this while traveling.

      xx

  2. Oooh I love these posts. So excited you reviewed the Westman Atelier…I’ve been very intrigued but hesitant to pull the trigger; one the price, but also my annoyingly finicky skin. The other option I’m considering is the Chantecaille Just Skin… I tried a sample a while back and really liked it, but that was before my darling melasma reared it’s ugly head. If you’re not familiar (and I hope you’re not!!), most foundations can make the discolorations look grey instead of covering it up. SO, I’m excited to try the Westman because of their return policy! One last question about it….what do you wear underneath it, during the day? I wear sunscreen religiously, and wondering how it sits on top, in your experience!

    Putting my two cents in about Luna: I also use Good Genes ( you might use a similar product), Sunday Riley says to use Luna first, but my skincare goddess Caroline Hirons uses Luna AFTER Good Genes or a similar product. I’ve been doing that, and notice much less irritation and “pilling”.
    I’m sorry the Hyper Serum made you break out!! I have pretty sensitive skin, and have so far (half bottle in) have had no issues with Sunday Riley CEO Rapid Flash Serum. I wear it during the day, under my sunscreen.
    Keep us posted! xo

    1. Hi Jessica! So fun to write these posts and glad you like them, too 🙂 Re: Westman Atelier. I start with really well hydrated skin (I think it’s super important — if my skin isn’t freshly moisturized, it just doesn’t blend in as well) — I wash my face, apply vitamin C serum, my daily moisturizer fluid (I use La Roche Posay), and then my lightweight moisturizer (right now, I use Avene Hydrance). I let that all sink in/absorb for a minute and then apply the W.A. stick with an Artis brush.

      Good to know about the order with Luna!!

      xx

  3. I’m double commenting on this one because I feel that strongly – the Charlotte Tilbury Flawless foundation is the best I have ever used. I really liked the Westman Atelier, but the CT coverage is insane. Love love love those Billies wipes- a total desert island product for me now! Xo

    1. Ooo this is super compelling. Thanks for writing in on this. Always game to try new products — that will be next. Totally agree on the Billie wipes. Surprise dark horse winner of the year!

      xx

  4. Do you know if Westman Atelier is in any of the big-box beauty stores like ulta or sephora? dying to try in person so I can find the right shade for the foundation stick!

  5. Oooh I’m so tempted on the Westman Atelier now!! One of my favorite beauty/fashion instagrammers (Alex Ayuab) RAVES about all Westman products. She did a gorgeous smoky eye with the ‘eye pods’ that almost convinced me to splash out and try a few things. Do you think you’ll try any other products??

    Also I loooove the Kosas concealer and only use the applicator to dab a few dots under my eye then tap in/around with my finger.

    Thanks for being our trusted scout!!! xx

    1. Yay – so glad! I am definitely intrigued by other Westman Atelier products, especially their highlighting stick and I’ve also been eyeing those eye pods too although I am not as adept using eyeshadow so I tend to stick to neutrals…We shall see! xx

  6. Great reviews, I love reading about what works (or doesn’t!) for people. Cosign the Pantene rescue shots – they’re great. I’ve spent about two months now putting Vitner’s Daughter in a shopping card, leaving the tab open for a few days, then chickening out. Maybe as the seasons change I’ll finally bite the bullet and work it into my routine.

    I’ve been doing a few intense laser treatments (Halo lasers) for acne scarring, so trying to space out new products until I finish my set of those… the recovery afterwards is not for the faint of heart. Attempting to take advantage of this at-home work period to do some skin maintenance that I would otherwise never have time to do/recover from, with a forward-facing job! I’ve started using a derm-recommended retinoid (la roche posay adapalene) once a week too, trying to ease into that, but thankfully not having any noticeable skin irritation yet (fingers remain crossed…)

    Please keep up this series!

    1. Hi! Yay! I’m so glad you like this series. They are so fun for me, too.

      I so hear you – I do the same thing on higher-end beauty products, adding them and removing them for weeks on end until one day the wind blows right and I pull the trigger. Ha!

      So smart to take care of these skin treatments while we’re all separated and able to hide — ha!

      xx

  7. I also ordered the Pantene Rescue Shots after you mentioned them last but haven’t used them yet. Glad to know they’ve worked! I feel like I’m constantly on the hunt for a good shampoo/conditioner, that doesn’t cost a fortune, and come back to Pantene.

    Agree on the Olay eye cream – I tried it years ago and was unimpressed. I loved that it had a neutral tint to it (?), but it really didn’t do much.

    However, I did not have a good experience with the Sunday Riley Luna Oil. I also had a large sample and used it for about two weeks. The smell and blue color were a real turn off for me, although I did notice it did made a slight improvement in my skin. I ended up tossing it, though, as I noticed some irritation, too.

    I have been trying to incorporate more retinol into my routine, despite the initial irritation that my sensitive skin often experiences with it (to note, I’ve heard it is not recommended to use retinol during pregnancy). I just started using the Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Cream, and I really like it so far! It’s fragrance free and moisturizing. The packaging said it can be used daily, and I’ve been doing so without issue each night.

    Last, I concur on the Revlon One-Step! Great round-up! xo

    1. Thanks, April! I hear you on the SR Luna Oil — the color and scent are…distinctive. I should have mentioned that in my review. I could see those elements putting off users that are sensitive to fragrance. Good to know on the night cream from Olay! I love an affordable beauty find like that — thank you!

      xx

  8. I popped into a cosbar and was able to checkout the Westman Atlier foundation stick. I forgot what color I tried on I guess I have to go back before I order, ugh! I did like it when tested on my inside wrist. If you are interested in clean beauty products, Beauty counter is a wonderful one to try. Their new foundation line skin twin has really nice coverage and you know the ingredients are good, no toxic junk. I’m always looking for a good concealer I may give kosas a try before I resort to Botox to reduce the darn fat pads under my eye! Agree with Nancy, love your great blog sister!
    Cheers to le blog!

    1. Thank you, Carleen! So happy to have you here. Thanks also for the Beauty Counter rec! I do think Kosas is a good option for serious coverage — that might be a good choice for you.

      xx

  9. skip the regular Augustinus Baeder (the rich is the way to go) – the Goopgenes nourishing face cream is AMAZING (only $90) and has blown the regular AG cream out of the water in my opinion.

    1. I agree with Lucie on the Goopgenes! This may be in unpopular opinion but I think the AB cream is totally overrated. It separates in the bottle and it didn’t do much for my skin. Oh and the customer service is terrible, which is always such a turn-off for me. I much prefer a good hydraluronic acid serum (like PCA) with a night cream.

  10. Yes yes yes! I’ve been eyeing the Westman Atelier products and this has me ready to finally purchase some nicer items for my upcoming pandemic wedding.

    Would love to hear if you’ve tried the Olaplex hair treatment or Skinceuticals Vitamin C or Phloretin CF. Both products that I feel like I need but can’t quite seem to add to my cart yet.

    1. Hi Sofia! Yay for Westman Atelier! I’m sure you’ll be impressed. It’s definitely one of the best new cosmetics I’ve tried in a long, long time. I’ve also heard good things about Skinceuticals but am hesitant to swap it in for my trusted Mad Hippie (which is way less expensive but contains many of the same ingredients) since my skin is in a good spot right now, but it’s certainly on my radar. I have wanted to try Olaplex for awhile — will add to my testing list!

      xx

  11. Good morning! I have a similar question to Nancy- how do you use the wipes? I have them and typically use them to remove makeup and grime from the day, but then still want to wash my face properly after use, and it feels like I am then taking off the serum and thus eliminating any extra benefits. A minor thing, but I feel like I’m missing something from all the rave reviews. Maybe I need to switch my order?

    Also, thank you for the CDP recommendation. I love the concealer- I am a brand new mom and swiping on some concealer and mascara has made me feel more human on the tired days!

    All the best!!

    1. Hi Caroline! So glad you are liking the CDP. It’s just the best on the market. I keep looking around for something less expensive but it’s simply worth the investment.

      For the wipes — I use them without washing off afterward. I feel as though the wipes thoroughly cleanse my face — and then I scrub everything off the next morning when I wake up. I do think you’re right that they are best if used without washing after, so you’re not rinsing off the serum. Maybe they would be a better fit to use first thing in the morning for you? Or to have on hand for days you want to take off your makeup and reapply (I often do this in the late afternoon, after showering).

      xx

  12. Oooo … I want to try the Pantene Rescue Shots! I was just thinking that my hair looked a bit dry yesterday morning. Added to cart!

    xx

  13. Good Morning- I LOVE LOVE LOVE these posts and appreciate your honesty. Question on the Billie wipes…do you pat them on so the serum “stays” on your face and why do you still use the Mad Hippie C Serum too? I am intrigued about the foundation stick BUT even with my current YSL foundation…when the bottle is close to empty…wondering if I should go back to a NARS one…big diff. in price /not a
    huge diff. in coverage. Plus I don’t think I would ever try to pick a color without actually seeing it in person…too big of margin for error. Lets see what can I share I have really liked recently…my Pureology Volume Shampoo/Conditioner…for my fine, color treated, dried out hair…used Kerastase for past few years so maybe any change would have shown a noticeable diff….not sure. One other recommendation; when I was wearing full makeup (pre-Covid) I found that for my oily eyelids the L. Mercier eye shadow sticks really lasted well all day. 100% agreement on the Revlon dryer…a game changer. Thanks again for all you do it putting this blog out Jennifer. I am always so happy to see you have a new post to enjoy.

    1. Hi Nancy! I’m so glad. These are fun to write. I LOVE testing all these new products! For Billie wipes: I use them either in the late afternoon, just after showering (I often shower then while I still have childcare!) to clean my makeup off before applying it afresh and/or at the end of the day, before bed. I use them to clean and remove makeup and I do not apply anything else after (i.e., do not scrub my face with cleanser after) — just add a nighttime serum or an overnight mask and climb into bed. When I wake up in the morning, I scrub my face. Writing this out, I’m actually wondering if it makes more sense to invert the order, i.e., scrub my face at night and then just use a wipe in the morning. But anyhow, my point is that I JUST use the wipe and then leave it on to take advantage of the serum.

      I double up with the Mad Hippie serum because it also has other ingredients — Ferulic Acid, Hyaluronic Acid, and Vitamin E. I think all of those ingredients together really brighten, hydrate, and even out my skin and I also personally think the application (dropper bottle that you work into skin) ensures that the serum really absorbs everywhere on my face. I think it’s possible you could drop the stand alone serum from your regimen if you are using the wipes religiously but then you might miss out on the benefits of some of the other ingredients in the serum.

      I hear you on the price of these foundations — they get steep, especially if you use every day. Let me report back on how long the stick lasts. I find some foundations disappear before you even know it. I have a feeling that the Westman Atelier stick will last a long time just because of the formula — sort of a creamy stick versus a fluid that you might run through really quickly? Not sure. Will monitor…

      I love those Laura Mercier shadow sticks!!! They are incredible. My mom introduced them to me a few years ago!

      Thank you for reading, Nancy! You are such a treasure to have in this community. I always appreciate your thoughts/input/feedback.

      xx

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