Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Series of Unfortunate Events

Alternate titles: A Sort-of Review of Guerlain Lingerie de Peau; The One That Got Away
Last month, I decided to make my foray into ~fancy makeup~ and buy my first high-end foundation (yes, really.) After doing a lot of blog lurking research, I was determined to snag Guerlain's Lingerie de Peau, loved the web-over for its weightless feel and my-skin-but-way-better finish (it was even given an A+ by Temptalia!) So I asked the Guerlain rep at Murale to help me find a shade match for Lingerie de Peau. And here's where my first-ever bad-makeup-rep experience starts (not because I've always had great makeup counter experiences, but because I rarely visit them.) Recap:
  • rep puts on super-hydrating serums to prep my face but does not wait for it to sink in, and applies foundation on immediately after, causing the foundation to look cakey, "unsettled", and rather unflattering
  • repeats this process several times with the same results; am starting to worry that the repeated makeup removal will irritate my skin
  • I realize none of the foundations she has been putting on me are Lingerie de Peau
  • when I ask for it, she picks up a bottle which again is not Lingerie de Peau; I have to get off my chair and find the bottle for her
  • finally, she applies Lingerie de Peau and it actually looks great on me
  • I ask her to finish my makeup with Meteorites in Teint Beige since I was thinking of buying them as well; she applies Perles du Dragon
  • insists on completing my look with a lip colour and before I can even protest, applies a lipstick straight from the tube to my lips
I guess it should speak to how impressed I was by Lingerie de Peau that I bought it even after the whole ordeal, or maybe it was some kind of initiation ceremony for the right to hold that lovely glass bottle in my hands. Either way, I nursed an irritated lip/mouth area from hurriedly removing the lipstick for a few days before I finally opened my new purchase.

Ahhh just look at that beautiful glass bottle. It has some weight to it, which feels good in the hand and lends to the luxurious experience of using it. Underneath the black plastic cap is a pump that was easy to control. I applied it with the #56 foundation brush from Sephora's Advanced Airbrush set, and wow, my skin looked so naturally amazing and even better than when I had tried it in Murale. It truly applied and felt light-as-air on my face. For reference, I'm roughly NC20 in MAC and Lingerie de Peau in Beige Clair 02 was a perfect match.

Here's where the story takes an unfortunate turn though: after removing this foundation after a full day of wear, I would notice some mild redness and dryness around my undereyes and forehead. Because it wasn't too bad, I chalked it up to winter weather. Clearly I wasn't getting the politely-worded message my skin was sending, so my face decided to escalate its tone. After the third time, I was shocked as my face exploded into the worst eczema breakout I had ever experienced; parts of my face that had never given me trouble before were super irritated and only my cheeks were spared. When I scanned the ingredients list, I spotted the most likely culprit almost immediately: alcohol, and very high up as the fourth ingredient listed.

Yes, the foundation that makes my skin look
this awesome has to be the one that irritates it
I genuinely believe that pre-irritation, this foundation gave me the most luminous and flawless-looking skin I have ever had. But in retrospect, looking at this photo now, I can see the skin under my eyes is already becoming slightly red and irritated. I loved the results so much that I was a bit in denial about the irritation, especially since my skin is not the type to be irritated by products or ingredients (it's more sensitive to changes in climate). If Lingerie de Peau was a set of underwear, it would be the nude set that made my body look really awesome but the lace is itching me like crazy.

While I do believe alcohol has its uses in skin care to help more beneficial ingredients penetrate the skin, having alcohol so high on the ingredients list and in foundation probably dried-out and seriously aggravated my skin. My search for just why alcohol was necessary in a foundation lead to this Wikipedia article (not the most reliable source, I know) that suggests that alcohol-based foundations provide the most lightweight feel and avoid the use of potentially pore-clogging emollients and binders. I found out that several other foundations marketed as lightweight are alcohol-based, which I now have to avoid--including the Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua I really wanted to try ;Д;

In any case, my intention of this post is not to scare anybody off from trying it or buying it, as judging by other reviews online, many people use it very happily with no problems at all and I am just in a very sad minority. I would still recommend it to those who prefer light-coverage foundations with a very natural finish and a "no-makeup" feel on the skin. If you suffer from eczema or otherwise sensitive/dry skin, a patch test (which I should have done myself, ahem) is in order. Make sure to get a sample first or buy from a retailer with a good return policy--the manager at Murale was amazing and very understanding about my return.

At the time of this post--more than a month since I wore Lingerie de Peau for the last time--I am still in damage control mode. The irritation, dryness, and sensitivity have all put me in a serious beauty blogging funk for the past several weeks, but it is almost back to normal. I am still determined to find a new, mind-blowing foundation and have squirreled away lots of samples for a Great Foundation Testing once my skin is ready.

Re: the post title, do two bad things happening count as a "series" of unfortunate events? They were both pretty bad so they should really count as more than two anyway. I thought it sounded like a catchy title so I rolled with it.

Ingredients: water, methyltrimethicone, dimethicone, alcohol, PEG-9 polydimethylsiloxyethyl dimethicone, pentylene glycol, mica, phenyltrimethicone, silica, acrylates dimethicone copolymer, acrylates copolymer, aluminum hydroxide, butylene glycol dicaprylate/dicaprate, stearic acid, sorbitan sesquioleate, phenoxyethanol, alumina, sodium myristoyl glutamate, hydroxyethylcellulose, lecithin, tetrasodium EDTA, fragrance, hexyl cinnamal, sericin, hydroxycitronellal, BHT, citronellol, alpha-isomethyl ionone, hydrolyzed linseed extract, sorbic acid
(titanium dioxide 3.16%, octinoxate (ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate) 3%)

Sephora, Murale, Holt Renfrew: ~$63 / 30mL (1 fl. oz)

Have you ever had your skin react badly to a product?

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