Review: RCMA VK 11 Foundation Palette

Foundation: It’s one of the most important aspects to any makeup look. If something is not quite right with the foundation-be it colour or formula-it can throw off the entire look. As a professional makeup artist I have to carry an extensive range of colours, undertones, and formulas that read well on camera as well as in real life.

When it came time to replace my stock of foundation I had two professional brands in mind: RCMA and Graftobian. I began doing some research on both brands and their respective products, and finally settled upon RCMA’s VK 11 Foundation Palette.

About the Brand
RCMA, or The Research Council of Makeup Artists, was founded by renowned make-up artist Vincent JR Kehoe in 1962. RCMA was organized to further the research and development of specialized professional make-up products for the film, television and stage industry. Mr. Kehoe developed and designed a special foundation formula for professional working make-up artists which he called “Color Process Foundation”–which is considered the number one choice foundation by professionals. Today the brand is run by Kehoe’s grandsons who meticulously produce and hand-pour every single product, working in small batches to ensure colour consistency.

The Product
What makes RCMA so special? There’s actually a number of things that set RCMA aside from all the rest;

  • Neutralizes and perfects skin instantly–no colour corrector or concealer needed!
  • It is manufactured under very stringent, small batch conditions where the ingredients are weighed out to the gram to maintain both consistency and color standards exactly.

  • It contains only vegetable oils, pure waxes and FDA approved colors.

  • It does NOT contain any perfume, lanolin, petrolatum or mineral oil.

  • It is VEGAN and SAFE to use on everyone, including pregnant women!
  • Made with at least 50% pigments to waxes and oils so that a VERY little goes a long way on the skin. (Most commercial liquid foundations have a ratio of about 18 to 23% of pigment–hardly any!)

  • Produces as “skin color” rather than a heavy coat of make-up.

  • Lightweight enough for daily wear.
  • RCMA Foundations last better throughout a long shooting day than comparably employed theatrical or commercial foundations, and require less (if any) touch-up.

The VK 11 Palette
Because most of my clients are either fair-skinned or olive toned I decided upon the VK 11, the lighter counter part to the VK 10. The palette contains 18 shades that can be used on their own or mixed together and act as both a concealer and foundation in one step.

VK 11 Swatch

SH-I, SH-II, SH-III, SH-IV, SH-V, SH-VI | SH-VII, SH-VIII, Porcelain, Ivory, Gena Beige, Tantone | Olive-1, Olive-2, Olive-3, Olive-4, S-1, CS-2

I purchased my palette through the Beautylish Boutique and got an amazing deal–they offer $20 off your first purchase and I also qualified for free shipping! (To Canada!) With all of the discounts I ended up getting my RCMA Highlight and Contour palette for FREE! Besides the great deal, I received my package THE NEXT DAY without having paid for speedy shipping, and right inside the box was a sweet hand-written letter from Beautylish. You seriously can’t ask for better customer service, I highly recommend you check them out!


The Application
Im going to be completely honest–if it wasn’t for Kevin James Bennett’s how-to video, I probably wouldn’t have bought this palette. I’ve never worked with a cream foundation before and I had no idea where to start…which seems so silly now, because after watching the video you’ll feel like someone just pointed out the obvious, and application is a breeze!

The cream formula is best suited for those who have normal to dry skin. I prep the skin by applying a moisturizer or suitable primer and let that absorb into the skin for a few minutes while I gather the rest of the tools; a spatula, mixing palette (the back of your hand is fine–actually, preferred), a foundation brush (it can be the flat kind though I prefer my round kabuki, but it must be made of synthetic hairs), and a DRY beauty blender/sponge.

Using the spatula, I scoop a VERY small amount of the shade(s) Im going to use and put it onto the back of my hand, using the spatula to warm up the product by mixing it around. Once it’s workable, I use my clean fingers to dot the foundation onto the skin and buff it in using my beloved Sigma F82 round kabuki brush. (Some people use a dry beauty blender or classic flat foundation brush to work it into the skin, I just prefer the airbrushed finish the kabuki leaves.) I finish off with Model in a Bottle setting spray or RCMA No Color Powder.

Before & After using RCMA VK 11palette. No colour correcting or concealer.

Before & After using RCMA VK 11palette. No colour correcting or concealer.

Why I love it
The colour payoff is absolutely amazing, especially for such a lightweight formula! You can sheer it out to show off those freckles or build it up for fuller coverage. Its the first foundation that truly looks like skin, you literally cannot tell where the makeup ends & begins. It’s photo-friendly, looks great in person AND on-camera, its vegan, compact to carry, has global skin tones…there is not ONE THING I don’t love about this! If you’re a pro looking to re-stock your foundation, take your kit to the next level, or are looking for something to use in the medias, look no further! RCMA is the one for all of the above!


Review: Nerium AD Age Defying Treatment

NeriumSkincare is a major part of makeup artistry. As a makeup artist and someone who suffers from blemish prone skin, Im always on the lookout for skincare products that deliver results. Nerium AD is a name some of you may be familiar with, while others like myself may not have discovered it yet. In the United States Nerium AD is a well known skincare line that is now expanding into Mexico and Canada as of April 2014. As part of Canada’s “soft product launch” I have been asked by a representative to take part in a 7 day trial and to review my results and experience. With that being said, all opinions in this review are my own and I was not compensated in any way by Nerium AD or by any representatives.

The Product
Nerium AD Age Defying treatment derives its name from which the main active ingredient comes from: the Nerium Oleander. Normally a toxic plant, researchers have discovered an extract and protein blend (NAE-8) that targets the skin cells responsible for aging the skin. The Night Treatment holds the highest concentration of NAE-8 making it the perfect choice for someone who wants to wake up to results. With the addition of the Day Cream’s lightweight formula you can enjoy Nerium’s benefits 24 hours a day. Both products are also gluten free, paraben free, cruelty free, noncomedogenic, and ideal for all skin types and ages making it a safe choice for everyone!

The Claim
Nerium AD claims to dramatically reduce the appearance of:

  • Fine Lines and Wrinkles
  • Discoloration
  • Uneven Skin Texture
  • Enlarged Pores
  • Aging and Loose Skin

First Impressions
I received my 7 day trial from my local representative, Beth. In my package was 1 full sized Night Treatment, 1 full sized Day Cream, and a couple pamphlets with information about Nerium and the science behind it. I read all of the information provided, took a look at the products and decided I wasn’t going to do any online research or read any reviews about Nerium until I had tried it out for myself.

Im in my twenties so I don’t have any noticeable lines, wrinkles or sagging skin yet so the “problem areas” I was hoping to target were the enlarged pores on my nose and my uneven skin tone.

Night Treatment: The night treatment is thick and yellow but applies clear to slightly damp skin. It smells very organic and plant-like but not unpleasant (think damp leaves after a rainfall) which goes away after 5-10 minutes once its absorbed into the skin. The directions on the bottle suggest using 4 pumps of the serum but I found using 1.5 was plenty. After it absorbed into my skin there was no residue and it left my skin soft and velvety smooth, slightly tight but not at all uncomfortable.

Day Cream: White, lightweight formula packed with anti-oxidants, peptides and proteins. Almost unnoticeable “lotion” scent. Applies easily to a clean, dry face and absorbs within 5-10 minutes. After a few days of use I found this cream to be a bit too rich for my already oily skin, but it would be perfect for normal/dry skin.


My Experience
First Morning: I started my trial on a Wednesday evening with the night treatment, applying it to my entire face. When I woke up in the morning I had already noticed a few slight changes– the redness around my nose had settled and the skin on my nose felt a bit tighter. I rinsed my face with my face wipe and applied 1 pump of the day cream to my face and carried on with my day.

3rd Morning: After 2 full days of use, I had definitely noticed some changes in my skin. My skin was tighter and looked more even-toned and radiant, especially for mid-winter. The pores on my nose were continuing to shrink *yay!* and I was using less makeup in my routine, almost completely skipping colour correction and concealer. After my makeup was applied it was smoother than before, particularly on my nose which no longer resembled an orange peel. (Not a good look on anybody!) So far, so good.

Final Morning: On the final morning I gave my face one last examination under a magnifying mirror–not something I’d recommend to those faint of heart! To my surprise, the shallow “frown line” that once adorned my forehead was no longer there, but nice, tight skin in its place. Overall, my skin looked and felt great. Everything was evenly toned–the dark circles were no longer under my eyes and the redness around my nose had disappeared. By now I was using WAY less makeup, now completely skipping concealer, colour correction and opting for a sheer-medium coverage foundation saving me time, product, and the amount of chemicals I put on my face each day. And the horrendous pores on my nose? They had all but vanished! With or without makeup you could not see a single pore and I could not have been happier as this was my main “goal” to target with Nerium AD.

Bottom Line
As far as Im concerned, Nerium AD worked for me. The problem areas I was hoping to target showed noticeable (well, to me) results and overall I had a pleasant experience. Does this mean it will work for everybody? Not necessarily, although it is worth mentioning that I have seen some pretty convincing before and after shots of men and women with Psoriasis, Eczema and other skin issues who seem to be clearing up nicely thanks to this stuff. Of course, as with any other skincare product, consult your Dermatologist and research the ingredients to determine whether its the right product for you before you slather it all over your face.

Try It Yourself
So, how do you get your hands on this stuff? Nerium is currently only available through independent representatives, similar to Avon or Mary Kay. Many representatives will offer a Try Before You Buy sample like the 7day trial I received, as well as loyal customer programs and benefits. To find a Representative in your area you can search Google, or even become a Brand Partner yourself.

Have you heard of or tried Nerium AD? What was your experience like? Did you receive the results you were hoping for? Share your story!

Peace Love and Lipgloss xx

Battle of the Balms: Eos vs. Baby Lips

babylipss-1024x416Hi beauties!

Let me just take a minute to apologize for my absence! My personal life has been incredibly busy the last two weeks and I found myself with barely enough time to catch up on my blog reading, let alone writing. But Im back now so lets get to it.

I’ve been a loyal Baby Lips lover for over a year now. It was actually the cherry red tinted lip balm that first caught my attention. I use it throughout the day to rehydrate my lips when I’m rocking a classic matte red lip. It keeps my lips soft while still producing colour payoff. Win-win!

I eventually found myself picking up some of the other colours (Peach Kiss is my absolute fave, I always have a tube in my purse!) as well as the peppermint scented colourless balm. I really like that the Baby Lips formula contains SPF, making it a smart choice for summer or when you’ll be spending some time outdoors.


I soon became addicted. And I don’t mean “oh I love the smell/colour of this so I’m gunna re-apply it every half-hour” I mean addicted to the point where my lips craved it and it only took me two weeks to go thru a whole bullet of the peppermint balm, which can become quite expensive since Baby Lips sells for a ridiculous $5 in Canada. (Vs. $3.50 at Target US)

The worst part about my Baby Lips addiction wasn’t the price tag, but the way my lips were starting to feel. At first my beloved lip balm would soothe me of tight, thin lips but now it was starting to create that feeling. If I didn’t reapply every 30-45mins, my lips would start to show signs of dehydration and damage thanks to the petroleum included in the formula.

While at Target one day I noticed that they had Eos on sale for $3, so I hopped right on the bandwagon and picked up the Honeysuckle Honeydew flavour. Let me tell you, after the very first application of this heavenly scented balm I totally understood all the rave and hype behind these little gems. My lips were instantly revitalized and most importantly, conditioned.Not only do these little guys smell amazing, but they’re 100% Organic and 95% Natural, so go ahead and lick your lips! They’re also safe for use on children and pregnant women since they don’t contain toxins, which is always a bonus in my book.

Overall, Im still a fan of Baby Lips. They offer a sheer wash of colour that I look for somedays. But when it comes down to performance and hydration, Eos is the winner everytime. I can tell that the Eos formula actually penetrates my skin and conditions it from the inside out (so I don’t have to apply it nearly as often) while the Baby Lips just sits on top of the skin and eventually makes the damage worse. Not to mention, Eos is over a dollar cheaper and offers a huge variety of flavour/scent combinations, so there is a lip balm for everyone! (I even caught my hubby using mine so often that I bought him his own!)

What do you use to keep your lips hydrated?

Do you have a favorite scent of Eos? Let me know in the comments below!

Peace Love and Lipgloss,

-M. xx

Review: Revlon ColorStay Foundation for Oily/Combination Skin

I came across this foundation while researching its counterpart, Revlon’s PhotoReady foundation. I needed to restock my kit with photo-friendly foundation that could be found in a plethora of shades. One of my models had actually brought the PhotoReady along one day and I ended up trying it out on her. During application it seemed fine, but after the test shot I was shocked. My model’s face was white. I had properly color matched, but the foundation that claims to be “photo ready” actually contains zinc oxide, which reflects in photos and makes you look like a ghost. Back to the research it was; but not for long. I quickly came across MakeupGeekTV’s kind words about Revlon’s ColorStay foundation and just how beautiful it was in person AND photos. I just had to pick up a few bottles and find out for myself.

My Shade: 110 Ivory. Im Casper white, I revlon colorstay

Price: $19.99 at Shopper’s Drug Mart, a bit pricey for a drugstore brand but I’ve also seen it for as low as $16 at Target.
Packaging: Sleek, but could do with a pump.

Color Selection: For being a drugstore foundation, the color selection is quite good! There’s currently 20 shades ranging from very light Ivory to dark Espresso, for both Oily/Combination skin and Normal/Dry skin. Downside: They aren’t designed for specific skin tones such as Warm, Cool or Neutral, so not everyone will have a match, but a good 90% should.

Scent: It has a light “cosmetic” scent that is unnoticeable throughout the day.

SPF: This foundation contains SPF 6, which I find quite useless. It’s not enough to protect your skin, but luckily the zinc oxide doesn’t reflect in photos as usual!

Revlon ColorStay Swatches

Revlon ColorStay Swatches

Texture: Although the foundation is a bit runny, I don’t find it to be watery. It applies easily with both my Sigma F82 Kabuki and damp Beauty Blender without absorbing a lot of the product.

Coverage: I’ve heard this is 100% full coverage, thick, cakey, ect. I disagree. I’d say this has medium coverage that is definitely buildable. For sheer/medium coverage when I want to see some of my freckles I use a damp Beauty Blender, and for those days when I want full coverage I stipple it into my skin with my Sigma Kabuki or a dry latex wedge sponge. Remember, “less is more” and too much of ANY foundation will look cakey!

Blendability: Maybe it’s because of my oily skin, but I find this has a decent amount of “play time”. It blends easily and seamlessly into my neck and hairline, and doesn’t dry in patches while I’m still applying it. Although, once it does dry, it’s there to stay! Use jojoba oil, coconut oil or your favourite makeup remover to take it off before bed.

Finish: As most foundations, this has a semi-matte finish, leaving a natural looking complexion without looking cakey or greasy!

Wearability/Longevity: I can wear this all day and not have to worry about multiple trips to the “powder room”. I usually have to blot and powder my T-zone throughout the day and I haven’t had to do that since wearing this foundation! I just use a bit of setting powder after application and voila, Im ready to conquer the world!

Comparison of Ivory Foundations

Comparison of Ivory Foundations

Photo Friendliness: This foundation photographs beautifully, despite the “SPF 6”. I’ve used it for a few indoor photoshoots with loads of studio lighting+flash and it came out perfect every single time! (Even better than the Revlon PhotoReady Foundation!)

Who is it best for: As it says on the package, its designed to suit people with combination-oily skin; but there is a formula for Normal/Dry skin as well.

Bottom Line
Would I re-purchase this foundation? Absolutely! It’s the only foundation I’ve found that A) matches my super pale skin tone and B) actually wears and looks good all day! …And to find all of that in a drugstore brand was quite a surprise, although it seems the DS brands have been amping up their game the past few years. At $15-20 a bottle it can seem like a lot to pay at first but I promise it is well worth every penny, and easily comparable to high-end brands such as Estée Launder’s double wear foundation.

Have you tried this product? Would you try it? Let me know what you think below!