Product Review: Fresh Sugar Berry Tinted Lip Treatment SPF 15

fresh sugar berry tinted lip treatment 02

Name: Sugar Berry Tinted Lip Treatment SPF 15
Brand: Fresh
Size: 4.3g
Price: $22.50

From Fresh’s website:
An ultra-nourishing tinted lip treatment that moisturizes, protects, and smoothes the lips while leaving a flirty berry tint.

What I liked:
– good colour payoff
– lightweight, creamy texture glides smoothly on the lips
– hydrating, leaves lips soft and smooth for 2 to 3 hours
– has SPF
– pretty packaging

What I didn’t like:
– if you have dry or chapped lips, this won’t be moisturizing enough for you
– unpleasant scent

Usually, most tinted lip balms do more moisturizng than colour tinting. Fresh Sugar Berry Tinted Lip Treatment SPF 15 does the opposite. It provides more colour than moisture.

In the tube, Berry is a scary, warm, and dark plummy red shade. I briefly wondered whether I should use a lip brush to apply it, like I do with the darkest shades in the Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter range, but that wasn’t necessary.

Fresh Sugar Berry isn’t that pigmented, but it’s more moisturizing, making it a great, but pricier, alternative for those who find the Revlon Lip Butters too intense but not hydrating enough. Fresh Sugar Berry strikes a better balance.

fresh sugar berry tinted lip treatment 03

Once on the lips, Berry turns into a pinkish purple. One coat provides one soft wash of colour that shows up even on pigmented lips, but if that’s not intense enough for you, you can always build it up. Yet, no matter how much you apply, the colour remains wearable. Perfect for the cold winter months, it’s a great choice for those who want to try a vampy shade but fear they can’t pull off anything too intense.

Its lightweight and creamy formula is infused with several natural oils that nourish lips. Castor oil and jojoba oil are occlusive moisturizers that prevent water from evaporating. This helps to keep lips hydrated. Grape seed oil has powerful antioxidant properties that help protect skin from sun damage. It’s not a substitute for sunscreen, but then this lip balm has SPF 15 so it offers adequate protection from UV rays as well.

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This tinted lip balm leaves my lips soft, smooth, and hydrated for two to three hours, depending on whether I’m having a light snack or not. But it’s not as rich and moisturizing as my favourite lip balms, Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm Shea Butter & Vitamin E SPF 25 and I Provenzali Burro di Karité.

They are the lip balms I turn to in winter when I’m trying to prevent or heal chapped lips. Fresh Sugar Berry, instead, is for days when I just want a bit of colour that also offers some hydration.

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There’s also another reason why I don’t use this too often. The scent. Usually, I’m a sucker for citrusy scents, but I find this one very unappealing. Rather than fresh and sparkling, it is bitter and sugary. And synthetic. Luckily, I can’t smell it once it’s on the lips, but its scent doesn’t make application very pleasant for me.

Available at: Amazon and Sephora

Fresh Sugar Berry Tinted Lip Treatment provides more colour than hydration. The creamy texture glides smoothly on the lips, leaving them nourished, protected, and tinted with a lovely pinkish purple shade for about 3 hours. But it’s not moisturizing enough for dry and chapped lips.

Rating: 4/5

Disclosure: a sample of this item was in a gift sent a friend gave me for Christmas. In addition, the review contains an affiliate link. For more information, please see my disclaimer.

What Are The Best Foundations For Mature Skin?

best foundations mature skin

Shopping for makeup is so much fun. Unless you’re looking for your HG foundation. Then, an exciting shopping spree soon turns into a frustrating mission impossible. Although we’re inundated with options, there seems to be something wrong with almost all of them.

If one formula works well for our skin type, then it either comes in only a few, too pink or yellow based shades that don’t match our skintone well, or it doesn’t last long, or looks cakey on. Argh!

And things only get worse as we age. Then, skin starts to lose its luminosity, look flat, and often, gets drier too. To combat this, a moisturizing and dewy foundation is a must. But what if our skin gets oilier and even starts to breakout? Then, you need something matte, but not too flat-looking.

In both cases, we probably need higher coverage than the foundations we used in the past provided. Now, dark spots and deeper wrinkles have likely appeared, and we need a formula that can hide those without making us look like we’re wearing a mask.

Fear you’ll never find such a foundation? Fret not, I’m here to help. Here are my favourite options for mature skin:

clinique supermoisture makeup

Clinique Supermoisture Makeup ($25.00)

If you have dry skin, you should check out Clinique Supermoisture Makeup. This foundation has a soft and moisturizing texture that provides light to medium coverage to even out the skintone and cover minor imperfections while leaving skin hydrated and glowy for hours. It is available in 11 shades, so most people will be able to find a good match.

makeup forever hd invisible cover foundation

Make Up For Ever HD Invisible Cover Foundation ($42.00)

Available in 25 shades, Make Up For Ever HD Invisible Cover Foundation is a fantastic option for mature, oily, prone-to-breakouts skin. Its creamy texture glides smoothly on the skin, providing medium to full coverage with a natural matte finish to hide any imperfections your skin may have. It photographs really well too, making it ideal for special occasions such as weddings, when you know you’re going to get your picture taken.

neutrogena healthy skin enhancer

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Enhancer SPF 20 ($12.99)

Gone are the days when you needed to spend a lot of money to bring home a good foundation. Neutrogena Healthy Skin Enhancer SPF 20 is one of the best options available today, and not just at the drugstore. Unlike most foundations (including pricey ones), it features retinol and antioxidants in doses high enough to prevent and reduce the signs of aging.

Unfortunately, the see-through packaging doesn’t protect them adequately from light, so store it in a box or bag to prevent these beneficial ingredients from losing their effectiveness. The foundation also has a light, creamy texture that provides light to medium coverage and a satin finish. I just wish there were more than 6 shades available.

diorskin airflash foundation

Dior DiorSkin AirFlash Spray Foundation ($62.00)

Available in 10 shades, Dior DiorSkin AirFlash is a pain to use, but the results are so worth it. You can spray it straight on your face (eyes closed!), or on your hands and then apply it on your face with your fingers. Just be quick because, while the foundation is easy to blend, it dries really fast. The coverage is buildable, up to full, so it can cover any imperfections, yet, once applied, it looks natural and feels lightweight, like you have nothing on. The finish? Silky matte.


Laura Mercier Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 ($43.00)

If you have dry skin and want something with a sheer coverage, opt for a tinted moisturizer. My favourite is Laura Mercier Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20. A available in five shades, it provides a natural, non-sparkly glow. The formula contains silicones that can fill in your fine lines and wrinkles, making them look temporarily smaller, antioxidants that can help prevent further signs of aging, and broad spectrum protection to help boost the effectiveness of your sunscreen (but never use it as a substitute for it!)

Have you tried any of these foundations? What are your favourite foundations for mature skin?

Product Review: Blinc Mascara Amplified

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Name: Mascara Amplified
Brand: Blinc
Price: $20.00

From Blinc’s website:
As with our original blinc mascara (formerly known as Kiss Me), blinc’s AMPLIFIED mascara coats lashes with a glossy, volumizing and extending coat that forms tiny water resistant “tubes” around the lash. Unlike our original formula, blinc mascara AMPLIFIED applies more like a traditional mascara, giving you the ability to add as many coats as you want to build your desired look!

What I liked:
– gives lashes some length and volume
– provides a natural look perfect for daytime
– formula is not too wet and easy to build up
– doesn’t clump
– lasts long without smudges nor flaking
– big chunky wand is easy to use, depositing colour on each lash, but not on the skin
– easy to take off with just water

What I didn’t like:
– if you want a false lash effect, this is not for you
– excessive packaging

How has painting your lashes been working out for you so far? If not that well, you may want to give tubing them a go. Yes, I said tubing, as in coating them with a formula that forms a little “tube” around each lash.

That’s what Blinc Mascara Amplified does. Apparently, it took the brand almost ten years to come up with this original formula. Its advantages? These little tubes act as shields against rain and tears, and prevent lashes from clumping together.

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So, how do you apply these tubes to your lashes? In the same way you apply any other mascara. By brushing the formula on with the provided wand. Big, chubby, and tapered at the end, I was sure this wand would leave smears all over my lid, ruining my eye makeup.

But either Blind has figured out something other brands haven’t or I’m getting better at applying mascara, application was a breeze. The black colour ended up on my lashes (even the tiniest ones), not on my skin.

Blinc Mascara Amplified 04

But does it amplify lashes? Yes and no. Two coats give your lashes some length and volume, but the result is still quite natural. It makes you look like you actually have lashes, but not like you are heading to a party straight after work. It’s perfect for the office or any other daytime activity, but I was expecting a lot more.

Maybe, by building it up even more, I’d get better results. Because the formula is not very wet, Blinc says you can apply as many coats as you want to get the desired effect without worrying about clumps or making a mess. But I just can’t be bothered to apply more than two. I want something that works quickly and doesn’t require too much effort (like Pupa Vamp! Mascara). I haven’t got all day to apply my mascara, you know?

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Although not as volumizing as I wished, Amplified Mascara has other good things going for it. It easily lasts all day, without flaking and smudging. And you don’t even need a makeup remover to take it off. Just wet your fingers with warm water, apply some pressure, and the tubes will slide off. You can actually see them on your hands! Cool, eh?

I also tried taking it off with a makeup remover (I’m lazy and want to take eyeshadow and eyeliner off at the same time too), but that made the little tubes disintegrate. I ended up with tiny black flakes all over the eye area. Not cool.

Blinc Mascara Amplified 01

Blinc doesn’t just put your lashes in a tube. It put the mascara tube in another tube too. I’m not sure about how I feel about it. The bigger purple tube is a lot prettier than the minimalistic one it houses inside. It’s also a nice way to illustrate the concept of the mascara.

But it’s unnecessary and, therefore, a waste. At least both tubes sport the Green Dot, a green (sometimes black or white) round symbol formed by two embracing arrows that indicates Blinc has made a financial contribution towards the recycling of packaging.

Available at: Amazon, Beauty Bay, and Sephora

Blinc Mascara Amplified coates lashes with a black, buildable, formula that forms a little “tube” around each lash, preventing clumping, flaking, and smudging. Two coats provide some length and volume, but the effect is still quite natural.

Rating: 3.5/5

Disclosure: this item a gift from my friend and enabler Janessa (thank you!). In addition, the review contains an affiliate link. For more information, please see my disclaimer.

Are They Dupes?: Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector VS Equate Beauty Ultimate Dark Spot Corrector


Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus is the not the only product from this brand Equate duped. Walmart’s house brand has also recreated the formula of Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector, and is selling it at a much lower price tag. But is it just as good?

Ingredient Analysis

ascorbyl glucoside

Ascorbyl Glucoside

Vitamin C is a very powerful antioxidant that also acts as a skin lightening agent. It’s not just one ingredient. Many forms of it exist and are used in skincare. For this serum, Clinique chose Ascorbyl Glucoside, one of the most recent, more stable, but also less researched forms currently available.

When applied on the skin, Ascorbyl Glucoside breaks down into L-Ascorbic Acid (pure Vitamin C), which has been shown to inhibit the synthesis of melanin. But there’s a catch. We don’t know how much L-Ascorbyl Acid Ascorbyl Glucoside releases into the skin. It may be high enough to work well as a skin-lightening agent. It may be low enough to do nothing.

There’s only one study showing that Ascorbyl Glucoside is effective at treating hyperpigmentation, but its results are inconclusive. Why? Because, in this study, Ascorbyl Glucoside was used together with Niacinamide, another proven skin-lightener. Which of the two is responsible for the efficacy of the treatment? Ascorbyl Glucoside? Niacinamide? Both?

As pretty much any form of Vitamin C has some skin-lightening properties, I’m inclined to believe the same is true for Ascorbyl Glucoside. But is it the best form of Vitamin C for this purpose? And does it perform as well as 4% hydroquinone (the gold standard treatment for hyperpigmentation), as Clinique claims? No one knows.


Mulberry Extract

Ascorbyl Glucoside isn’t the only skin-lightening agent present in both formulas. Mulberries also feature compounds that can inhibit the formation of melanin, thus helping to reduce dark spots. But there’s a catch here too. So far, all the studies on mulberries and their skin-lightening properties have been performed either on animals or in vitro, so it’s not clear yet how well they work on human skin.


Salicylic Acid

Salicylic Acid is one of my favourite exfoliating agents. It doesn’t just remove the dead cells on the surface of the skin, but also penetrates inside the pores, unplugging them from within. This helps prevent breakouts. However, Salicylic Acid is present in small amounts in both formulas, and it is unlikely their ph will allow it to work properly. *sighs*


Grapefruit Peel Extract

Both formula also contain grapefruit peel extract. It’s natural, so it should be good, right? well, not really. According to Paula Begoun, “the peel from this fruit is loaded with a class of ingredients known as furanocoumarins and coumarins which are primarily responsible for what’s known as a phototoxic reaction when skin is exposed to the sun—the result can leave skin discolored!” That’s the opposite of what you want when you buy a serum to reduce skin discolourations!

But there’s some hope. Just because it can cause discolourations, it doesn’t mean it will. It depends on the concentration. The smaller the dose, the less likely any side effects are to occur. Here, it should be present in about 1%, so most people should be able to use it safely. But, to be on the safe side, always apply a broad spectrum sunscreen afterwards.

Further Considerations On The Formula

Both Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector and Equate Beauty Ultimate Dark Spot Corrector are silicone-based. Contrary to popular opinion, silicones don’t suffocate skin. Instead, they provide several benefits: they allow serums to spread evenly, make skin silky soft and smooth to the touch, and even help active ingredients penetrate into the skin. Both also contain a small number of antioxidants to help fight premature aging.

They also contain a third skin-lightening agent, but, this time, not the same one. Clinique has opted for Dimethoxytolyl Propylresorcinol (it’s derived from the Dianella ensifolia plant), while Equate for Tetrapeptide-30. These ingredients have two things in common. One: both have been proven in scientific studies to reduce hyperpigmentation. Two: all these studies were conducted by the manufacturers, so, until they are verified by independent scientists, take their results with a grain of salt.

Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector Ingredients

Water, Dimethicone, Isododecane, Cyclopentasiloxane, Polysilicone-11, Butylene Glycol, Ascorbyl Glucoside, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Turmeric Root Extract, Rice Bran Extract, Grapefruit Peel Extract, Barley Extract, Wheat Germ Extract, Birch Bark Extract, Cucumber Fruit Extract, Dimethoxytolyl Propylresorcinol, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Mulberry Root Extract, Trametes Versicolor Extract, Saccharomyces Lysate Extract, Yeast Extract, PEG-6, Tromethamine, Salicylic Acid, Polysorbate 20, Cholesterol, Isohexadecane, Propylene Glycol Dicaprate, Sunflower Seedcake, Caffeine, Tocopheryl Acetate, Acetyl Glucosamine, Simethicone, Glycyrrhetinic Acid, Polysorbate 80, Sodium Hyaluronate, Di-C12-18 Alkyl Dimonium Chloride, Sodium RNA, Squalane, Sodium Sulfite, Sodium Metabisulfite, Caprylyl Glycol, Hexylene Glycol, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate VP/Copolymer, Acrylamide/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Yellow 6, Yellow 5

Equate Beauty Ultimate Dark Spot Corrector Ingredients

Water (Aqua) Dimethicone, Simethicone, Isododecane, Cyclopentasiloxane, Peg-10 Dimethicone, Polysilicone-11, Butylene Glycol, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Extract, Hordeum Vulgare Extract, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Extract, Betula Alba Bark Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Tetrahydrodiferuloylmethane, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Morus Bombycis Root Extract, Trametes Versicolor Extract, Saccharomyces Lysate Extract, Yeast Extract, Peg-6, Tromethamine, Saliylic Acid, Polysorbate 20, Cholesterol, Isohexadecane, Propylene Glycol Dicaprate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seedcake, Caffeine, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tetrapeptide-30, Glycyrrhetinic Acid, Polysorbate 80, Sodium Hyaluronate, Lauryl Peg/Ppg-18/18 Dimethicone, Squalane, Sodium Sulfite, Sodium Metabisulfite, Caprylyl Glycol, Glycerin, Hexylene Glycol, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/Vp Copolymer, Acrylamide/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer, Disodium Edta, Phenoxyethanol, Yellow 6 (Ci 15985), Yellow 5 (Ci 19140).


Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector is available in two sizes, 1oz ($49.50) and 1.7oz ($76.00). You can buy it at Sephora. Equate Beauty Ultimate Dark Spot Corrector, available at Walmart, is packaged in a 1 fl oz, and costs only $16.87.

The Bottom Line

Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector and Equate Beauty Ultimate Dark Spot Corrector are two silicone-based serums with a smooth texture and anti-aging and skin-lightening properties. Both can help reduce minor discolourations, so, if budget is a concern, definitely opt for the Equate dupe. But, for really serious discolourations, hydroquinone is still your best bet.

Have you tried Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector or its Equate dupe?

Product Review: HQ Gel “Effetto Lifting”

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Name: Gel “Effetto Lifting”
Brand: HQ
Size: 15ml
Price: €2,80

From the packaging:
Gel “Effetto Lifting” helps to smooth out skin and reduce micro wrinkles, brightening up the complexion.

What I liked:
– hydrating, makes skin soft and smooth
– temporarily, slightly reduces the appearance of wrinkles
– gel texture is just right, and absorbs quickly into the skin
– practical packaging

What I didn’t like:
– basic formula, can only hydrate skin

HQ Crema Idratante Intensa wasn’t the only skincare product I left lying in a drawer for ages, neglected and forgotten. Fellow HQ Gel “Effetto Lifting” suffered the same fate too.

I’m glad that I rediscovered it when the weather is still cold, though, because that’s when my combination skin, which tends to get a bit dryer in winter, appreciates hydrating humectant-based gels like this the most. Humectant is a fancy word to define those ingredients, like Glycerin and Sodium Hylauronate, that have the ability to draw moisture from the environment into the skin.

This added moisture helps keep skin hydrated. And hydrated skin feels softer, and looks plumper and smoother. As long as the hydration lasts, wrinkles and fine lines look slightly smaller, giving your face a more youthful appearance.

I was pleased Sodium Hyaluronate was added to this formula. It’s one of my favourite humectants because it works well both in high and low humidity conditions. And it can hold 1000 times its weight in water! Impressive, isn’t?

hq gel effetto lifting 01

Instead, I was frustrated by the inclusion of Ammonium Acryloyldimethyaqua. Why? Because I have no idea of what it is and what it does. I’ve consulted all my usual sources, but nothing. None mentioned it. My guess is that it’s used to adjust the consistency of gel products, but I can’t be 100% sure about that. If anyone has any information about it, please let me know. :)

The rest of the formula is quite boring. It contains a couple of antioxidants, but not in concentrations high enough to do much for the skin. HQ Gel “Effetto Lifting” is a simple humectant treatment that keeps dry skin soft, smooth and well-hydrated when used regularly. Just don’t expect anything more than that.

The gel consistency is just right. Not too runny, not too thick, it spreads easily on the skin, sinking in quickly. Because a little goes a long way (unless your skin is super dry), the gel will last you more than the 10 applications guaranteed by the packaging. The satchel is also convenient to bring on your trips with you. It doesn’t take up much room and, if you go somewhere with a harsh climate that sucks the moisture out of your skin, its contents helps you replenish it.

Aqua, Cyclopentasiloxane, Butylene Glycol, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyaqua, Glycerin, PPG-26-Buteth-26, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Buddleja Davidii Extract, Thymus Vulgaris Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Carbomer, Chondrus Crispus Extract, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Sodium Hydroxide, Parfum, Mannitol, Dextrin, Disodium EDTA, Saccharide Isomerate, Dextran, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Xanthan Gum, Ceramide 3, Ceramide 6 II, Ceramide 1, Cholesterol, Phytosphingosine, Carrageenan, Linalool, Benzyl Salicylate, Hexyl Cinnamol, Limonene, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, CI 16035, Methylsothiazolinone, CI 17200.

Available at: Beauty 2 Buy

HQ Gel “Effetto Lifting” is a humectant-based gel that hydrates skin well. As a result, skin looks softer and plumper, and the appearance of wrinkles is reduced.

Rating: 3.5/5

Product Review: Benefit Watt’s Up Highlighter

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Name: Watt’s Up!
Brand: Benefit
Size: 9.4g
Price: $30.00

From Benefit’s website:
Our soft focus highlighter turns on “watt” ya got with a delicate champagne glow that’s gorgeous. With a cream-to-powder finish…it’s a switch on “wow” for all complexions. You’ll adore the smooth applicator & luminous sheen.

What I liked:
– provides a subtle, lit-from-within glow
– good colour payoff
– versatile shades, suits both cool, neutral, and warm toned complexions
– creamy texture, blends easily
– cute packaging

What I didn’t like:
– average staying power, especially on oily skin
– some people may find the built-in applicator unhygienic

Watt’s Up, buttercup?

Have you got any exciting plans for this week? An important meeting at work, a romantic date with a special someone, or a fun night out with your girlfriends, and want your skin to look spectacular for it? Like it’s lit-from-within? Then, take Benefit Watt’s Up along with you.

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A luminous peachy champagne shade, I expected Watt’s Up to be too shimmery and sheer. It is neither. Unless you apply it too generously, it provides a subtle and natural sheen that’s suitable even for the office (In the swatch below, I did apply it generously cos the camera refused to capture the glow otherwise).

And while the colour is soft, it is pigmented enough to show up even on medium skintones. Plus the shade is neutral enough to flatter both cool and warm toned complexions. Don’t you love its versatility?

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It is easy to apply too. Its creamy, not too thick texture, glides smoothly on the skin, and blends out nicely. The full size comes with a sponge that’s supposed to make application easier, but also gets dirty quickly, requiring frequent washing (something I wouldn’t be bothered to do). But my mini size, part of a holiday set my friend Janessa gave me for Christmas, comes without the in-built applicator.

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That’s ok. I prefer to use my fingers to blend highlighters anyway. Blending out Watt’s Up takes a tiny bit more effort than I’m used two with my two favourite highlighters (Rouge Bunny Rouge Sea Sea Of Cloud Highlighting Liquid and Benefit High Beam), but is still quite easy to do.

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Its formula, though, is not as longlasting as theirs. Its cream-to-powder and lasts fairly long – about 8 hours – on my dry cheekbones. But, when I apply it to my oilier areas, like the bridge of my nose, it starts fading after six. Because of this, it’s not my highlighter of choice when I’m out of the house for a whole day, but for a night out or an afternoon of shopping, it works very well.

Available at: Boots, Look Fantastic, Sephora, and Ulta

Flattering on both warm and cool complexions, Benefit Watt’s Up is a peachy champagne shade that provides a subtle, lit-from-within glow. It’s easy to blend, but doesn’t last more than 6 hours on slightly oily skin.

Rating: 4/5

Disclosure: the review contains an affiliate link. For more information, please see my disclaimer.