Has anyone else tried Tarte’s latest cleanser?

I have become extremely particular about my foaming cleansers in the last year. No SLS, little to no fragrance, no mineral oil, and absolutely must be ph-balanced – I test the ph now. My skin is less irritated for it. I’m always hesitant to try a new cleanser, even if it tests ph neutral.

Tarte’s Deep Dive Cleansing Gel is advertised as formulated without parabens, mineral oil,  phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfates, and gluten (haha). I know that Tarte is owned by the reputable Japanese brand, Kose…and I had just finished up a bottle of my current cleanser, when I received a sample packet of it. After ph testing came up as safe, I gave it a whirl. I swear it felt a little tingly and weird for the first 10 seconds of massaging, but when I rinsed, my skin felt clean, super soft, not irritated, and not stripped of moisture A day later, and no breakouts. I may actually pick this up when I run out my current cleanser.

I would definitely grab a sample of it if you are in the market for a new foaming cleanser.

Tarte Deep Dive Cleansing Gel – Ph 6!

Where is the Diorskin Forever Perfect Cushion?

The reason I have posted an official image of the Diorskin Forever Perfect Cushion, is because I don’t yet have it. It is supposed to be part of the Dior Spring 2017 line, but it is not available in the US. Parts of Asia, the UK, they already have it. What’s up Dior? I need you to lighten my wallet and perfect my skin! Anyway… If you haven’t heard about this new long-lasting foundation cushion from Dior, take a look at their commercial – from January!?!?!?

What tools do you use for applying your foundation?

After applying my makeup today, I dutifully cleaned all of the tools – yes, I do this every single day and you should too! I was spraying/soaping/scrubbing and thought about how many tools I have, and which ones I am using today versus what I used just a few months ago, and even years ago. I didn’t say I was contemplating how to unify all the people of the world! I was just washing my brushes and stuff…

Anyway, let’s explore the timeline, shall we?

1993: Messy finger application!

2000: In 1998 I worked at a cosmetics counter, and learned the wonders of using a flat brush and small concealer brush.

2009: I started exploring Korean bb creams, I used the ‘palming’ method – looked good, but full coverage and messy!!!

2012: Switched to the much-less-messy beauty blender.

2015: Then Korea introduced liquid cushion makeup, and the puff that goes with it.

The beauty blender/puff, and small concealer brush were my go-to for the past few years. I would only apply powder over my t-zone, thinking it was just because I was getting older and my skin texture was less smooth. Really, it was because the beauty blender didn’t really buff the base into my skin enough. So, now…

My current foundation tools

Left to right: Etude House Secret Brush 121 Skin, Sigma Flat Kabuki F80, Sigma 3DHD® Precision Brush, Sephora The Pointer Blending Sponge, beautyblender nude, Utowa Round Face Brush 27

2017: I am using a flat kabuki, or other densely bristled brush for the foundation/bb and then touching up with an angled concealer brush or small hydro sponge under my eyes and around my nose. I save the beauty blender for the end, and just tap it over my face to blend the edges and blur. Now, if I choose to wear setting powder, it taps on smoothly with a flat powder brush.

I’m curious, what tools or methods do you use? Have you switched over the years or remained faithful to one?

Review: NuFACE Trinity

My first official review is a big one. Go big or go home, it’s the American way. The NuFACE Trinity is a device that is supposed to ‘train’ your facial skin to be firmer, by subjecting it micro-currents (yes, that’s electricity) which in turn help to promote collagen regeneration. Obviously this is for the 30+ crew. I believe it was originally marketed towards men and women over age 50, however now it is being promoted to those of us in our 30s as well. The idea is that not only will it help to firm up skin that is beginning to age and lose collagen, but it will help to prevent sagging in the future.

Bottom line: It works, immediate results, and long-term. YAY!!!

Don’t go and buy it just yet. There are caveats, and they are sizable. Let’s go over the key points, because if you object to any of the following, this review is tldr;

  • It is expensive. My set came with the original Trainer attachment, and the ELE targeted trainer and some of the gel. From a 3rd party distributer, it ran about $300. The IR Wrinkle Reducer attachment is an additional $150. Ouch.
  • It is a big upfront time investment. Minimum of 5 minutes a day, 5 days a week, for 60 days. Using all 3 attachments, my daily time investment was 20 minutes a day. This is not a joke.
  • Longterm time investment, 2-3 days a week, to keep results.
  • The primer gel you must use with it, is $30 for 5 oz. I went through 1+ tube for my initial 60 days. I would estimate that the long-term routine would be about half of that.

If you said yes, I’m totally cool with all of those key points, then you are as crazy as me. Read on!

The Machine and it’s attachments

The futuristic NuFACE Trinity. Fixes your face and helps you communicate with alien life forms.

Left to Right: NuFACE Trinity, Trainer, ELE, Wrinkle Reducer

The NuFACE Trinity et al, looks like a futuristic personal defense weapon. And when you use it on your face it blinks and makes noise. My hubby kept asking me if I was getting signals from the mother ship. It honestly does not feel that solid and well put together, but it fits well in my hand. Let’s go over the pros and cons.


  • One device, several attachments so you can target different issues without buying separate devices.
  • Rechargeable via sitting it on a base that plugs into a two prong outlet.
  • Holds a charge through several 20 minute uses.


  • One device, several attachments. Changing out the attachments feels clunky, and they do not always connect well with the base device. I had to remove and reattach on several occasions. It always feels a little loose and misaligned. I think this should be a magnetic mechanism, so everything aligns well.
  • The device does not always align with the rechargeable base.
  • You have to keep the Facial Trainer and ELE free from oil, so you really need to clean them with rubbing alcohol after each use. It says you can use a water dampened cloth, but they recommend rubbing alcohol.
Recharging dock and adapter

Using the NuFACE

As I stated above, you have to use this 5 days a week for 60 days. I adhered to a 20+ minute routine, that utilized all of the attachments. Though there are immediate effects (reducing puffiness and superficial firming/lifting), I did not experience lasting results until after week 6.

Let’s go over the general steps and what the overall experience is.



This is a thick, clear gel (I never used the 24k gold primer). You generously spread it on, but do not massage in. It is simply a layer that allows the metal attachments to glide over your skin and conduct the electricity. Do not skimp on it. A thin layer will cause you to feel too much of the electricity. Believe me, that sucks. Also, if it gets dry, you have to add more, or lightly moisten it with some kind of water based spray. Otherwise it won’t glide, and again, you will feel the pain. I applied and ‘massaged’ my face in two parts, chin to temples, and then forehead/brow. You remove the gel afterwards with a damp cloth. I washed it off, because I didn’t want it to be part of my skincare product routine.



This is the basic attachment. You glide both balls over you skin, in upward movements, or hold it in place. The device beeps in 5 second intervals to signal when to move to another place. The basic routine from chin to forehead should last about 5 minutes. It feels great, and weird. The cooling metal rolling over my skin immediately helped to reduce puffiness and fluid in my face. The electrical pulses felt like barely perceptible static electricity. If my primer was dry or too thin, it was VERY perceptible static electricity – which is a no-no. I do a bit more than the basic routine, to help target my cheekbones, under my chin, and forehead lines. From the reduction of swelling, and what I am guessing is the electricity, my face looked more firm, smaller, and more lifted. Of course, it only lasted through the day, until week six.



After I finished my entire face with the Trainer, I attached the ELE. I only used it on my brow and between my brows. I have monolids, and as I am aging, they are puffier and droopier. It is extremely important that you never apply the NuFace directly to your upper eyelids below your orbital bone. Overall, this was the area where I saw the fewest results. My eye shape may or may not have something to do with the lack of results.

Wrinkle Reducer


This attachment uses red-light technology to penetrate deeper into the layers of skin to help stimulate collagen and elastin production. It supposedly helps to reduce wrinkles below the surface of the skin, instead of topical treatments that apply only to the outer layers. It’s a very odd experience, because of the bright, constantly flashing red lights. The device will beep every 3 minutes to indicate when to move to the next area. It can get warm after continued use, so if you use it on many areas of your face, you will need to let it cool off for a minute before continuing. I used it in my forehead wrinkles, under my eyes, and on my fine smile lines. That is 15 minutes! I started out doing this in the morning after the Trainer and ELE. The last 2 weeks, I switched to using it at night, because I had not realized I could use it after applying my skincare products. It helps them to absorb and allegedly increase the effectiveness of those products.


Let’s look at my completely bare skin before and after photos! I just want to say, how excited I am to reveal my morning, tired, makeup-free face to the world in my second blog post. It can only get better when you start at the bottom, right? Hehe. I have many friends who say, well, you don’t look like you are in your late 30s, but…that is after applying full makeup. Mid-week, without enough sleep, and in the morning , I don’t look 20, that is for sure.

Also, I really apologize for the dark ‘before’ photos. I should have used a flash, since it was mid-winter and still dark outside at 7 AM. I tried to brighten them a bit during post-processing.


Before: Left side of face
Before: Right side of face
Before: Forehead – lines from too many WTF? expressions


After: Left side of face
After: Right side of face
After: Forehead – Expression lines are reduced in center of forehead

Do you guys see the difference? The lower half of my face is significantly firmer and lifted. My jowl area and under my chin is firmer and less flabby. Smile lines are reduced. My brow and forehead is smoother.

Not joking, I now get carded when I’m not wearing anything more than minimal concealer and some eyebrow groomer. For those of you with more aging concerns, I think the results will be magnified. I’m going to continue using this 2-3 days a week. I will report back in about 6 months.

Sneak peek: This is the next device I’m going to check out. VERY EXCITED!!

How about you guys? Have you tried the NuFACE, or any other devices? How did they work out for you? If you have any more questions, just let me know. Have a great weekend!

Cool Weather Base Makeup

Hey friends! This is my first official post! Cue the confetti and streamers! No balloons, as Tatsu is afraid of them. It’s a bit later in the season, especially with the unusually warm weather we’ve had here in the northeast U.S. However, Mother Nature must have heeded my intentions, because it is blowing and snowing outside as I type this.

This is the intended sister post to my first video about general tips and techniques on applying base makeup. I am still dealing with my general hatred of photographing and filming myself, never mind hearing my own voice or the dreaded editing. So…you will have to wait. I can tell you are crying.

As I mentioned, I live in western Pennsylvania and the weather has been up, down, and all around. I still have to use base makeup that is geared towards cold, dry weather, as my skin is aging, and it just doesn’t hold moisture the way it used to.


When I was 16, I worked at a department store cosmetic counter at my local mall. I wish primers had existed then, because I always had to touch up my foundation and concealer, and frankly I needed some color correction too. Luckily, there are tons of options today. I have a drawer full of them, for redness, brightening, pore minimizing (really just hiding), and even specifically for using with BB creams and cushions.

Primers on rotation this winter

Right to left: NARS Smooth & Protect Primer, Becca First Light Priming Filter, CLIO Kill Cover Cushion Bonding Primer

NARS Smooth & Protect Primer is pretty new. I was skeptical, because I don’t find that many primers that are ‘smoothing’ are what I think a smoothing primer ought to be. They are usually thick, and are either too drying or too oily. I don’t really like the other NARS primers either, but hey, I like base makeup, so in the cart it went. Surprise, surprise, I love it. It has a creamy, consistency, but it isn’t too waxy. It fills the pores on and around my nose, but doesn’t cause dry patches to crop up on my cheeks or in the corners of my nose and mouth. I’d say it is for normal, or combo/dry skin.

Becca First Light Priming Filter is also somewhat new for this season. It is pretty much my go-to primer. I love the original Backlight Priming Filter, so a version that reduces dullness is definitely ideal. It it a hydrating, oil-free liquid (about the same consistency of a liquid foundation), with violet particles that a luminescent. It won’t leave you oily, and the luminescent effect is subtle – not chunks of glitter. I like that it is hydrating without the use of oil, so it won’t interact poorly with other makeup that may break down when coming in contact with oil. Also, the hydration comes by way of sodium hyaluronate, so those of you with somewhat oily skin can probably use it. Remember, somewhat oily skin can still be parched and in need of hydration.

CLIO Kill Cover Cushion Bonding Primer is specifically designed to provide a base for cushion makeup. There are lots of cushion primers out there now, at least from manufacturers in Asia. I have tried a ones from Etude House, Missha, and CLIO. Clio is my favorite. I also love their Kill Cover cushion make as well. Not a lot to say here. It is thin, non-drying, and seems to provide layer that is sheer and bonds the equally thin cushion makeup quite well. I find using thicker primers under a cushion base can sometimes be too much, and then the cushion doesn’t blend as well.

Tatsu the cat
Tatsu’s Tip!

Be sure to wait at least 20 minutes after applying your skin care and sunblock before applying primer. It is less likely to cake and break up later in the day. It will also minimize ‘pilling’ when applying your base foundation.


Other pre-makeup prep products

Right to left: CLIO Water Me Please CC cream, Pony Effect Radiance Glow Hydrating Starter, Etude House Glow On Hydra Base

Sometimes I want to have a bit of extra hydration, or even a bit more coverage underneath my base makeup. So I use one of these.

CLIO Water Me Please CC cream is as all Asian CC creams are, a tone correcting base. It is used instead of a traditional primer, or even instead of foundation, etc. I use it as a primer. This one is nice, because most CC creams are targeted towards oily skin. This one is not, and it does even out my skin tone. Plus, SPF 50!!!

Pony Effect Radiance Glow Hydrating Starter is hydrating, plumping, and adds a bit of slightly pink radiance to your skin. I use it on days without base makeup, or instead of/beneath/mixed with primer.

Etude House Glow On Hydra Base is a clear, thin, liquid/gel and purely for adding extra hydration and plumps skin prior to primer, or sometimes I mix it into my primer. It is non-oily.

All your Base…makeup

Winter BB creams, foundations, and cushions.

Clockwise starting bottom right: Signature Essence Cushion Intensive Cover, J.One Jelly Cushion foundation, CLIO VF21 BB Cream, Dr. Jart+ Premium Beauty Balm, Skin79 Purple Super Plus BB Cream, NARS Sheer Glow Foundation, Lancôme Photôgenic Lumessence Foundation

So, these are my go-to winter foundations for this season.

Signature Essence Cushion Intensive Cover is for when I want a decent amount of coverage, in a cushion. It is moisturizing, and with one layer, my skin is k-pop perfect. SPF 50, as well. As with many Asian foundations, there are only a couple of colors, so if you are medium or darker, this is not for you 😦

J.One Jelly Cushion foundation is a more traditional cushion, as the consistency is thinner, and the coverage is more sheer. It is highly moisturizing, and gives my skin a glowing, youthful aura. I use it on a normal makeup day, but it doesn’t have night out on the town staying power. SPF 50, but also only comes in two colors. I know I know, but in Korea, you are only supposed to be very pale and pale.

CLIO VF21 BB Cream comes in one color. Ugh. Luckily I can wear it. Fair to light skin can wear it. It is somewhat moisturizing, with light to medium coverage, that is radiant and build-able. SPF 30+. It’s also pretty affordable at under $20.

Dr. Jart+ Premium Beauty Balm is my other normal makeup day BB cream. Light to medium natural coverage, and somewhat moisturizing. SPF 45, but again, only one shade. I will say that I think this shade can work for light to light-medium skin tones. It is more self-adjusting than the products I listed above.

Skin79 Purple Super Plus BB Cream is pretty much the only Skin79 BB cream I like. The others are either too fair, or too drying, or too something else. This is one of the darker Skin79 BB creams, and should work for light to light-medium skin tones. It is nicely moisturizing, SPF 40, and has medium coverage. I actually really like it, and I may stop buying the Dr. Jart+.

Lancôme Photôgenic Lumessence Foundation is a glowing, non-drying, build-able foundation that has a a slight blurring, luminescent effect. Only SPF 15 though, and it does oxidize. It is not for oily skin, and maybe not even combo skin. I used to use the Teint Idole in my teens and early twenties, but it is a bit drying for me now. I’m also somewhat in between the Lancôme shades in many of their other foundation formulas. This and the Teint Idole Cushion are the exception, but that one is another review.

NARS Sheer Glow Foundation is what I wear when I want perfectly, photographic (no SPF so no photo flash back), glowing, skin. It has staying power if you use a primer. It is not as sheer as the name leads you to think. Light to medium coverage, that can be layered more heavily, but with good concealer use, you won’t need to. It isn’t hydrating per se, but it isn’t drying either. I would use it every day, but I like extra SPF, and the bottle is kind of annoying. They have the best range of colors of any brand as far as I’m concerned. If only they would come out with a cushion!

Tatsu the cat
Tatsu’s Tip!

Blend a bit of makeup under your chin and part way down your neck. Blend the edge well. It will help to transition the shade of your makeup into your neck so it looks more natural.

There you have it! Tell me, how is your winter going? What are your fave primers and foundations, BB’s, etc?