Saturday, April 30, 2016

Foundation Comparison & Review: Avon, Maybelline and Younique

This morning I was feeling ambitious and decided to do a little comparison of 3 varieties of foundation I had on hand.  I compared these three.

First we have Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse in classic ivory.  It comes in a small glass jar & you apply it with your fingertips.  It's a mousse/cream foundation.  This is the foundation I've been wearing most recently.  I get it at my local CVS for about $7-9 depending on sales.  {Note:  there is also a Maybelline Dream Smooth compact/sponge version of this product that I actually liked much better for the coverage but it appears to have been discontinued, so I switched to this mousse version last fall.}

Next we have Younique's Mineral Touch liquid foundation in Organza.  This color has been out of stock for months & months, so it's been a long time coming.  When it's in stock, it sells out rapidly so you have to know someone who sells to get the heads-up when it'll be available and buy quickly or you'll miss it.  Several friends of mine sell Younique and I've seen dozens of videos online that made me want to try it.  But more about those videos in a minute.  It is $39 (plus shipping, which makes it $48 total.)  You must use a foundation brush to apply this.  Younique sells one ($32) but I found one that I like at CVS for $15.  So the foundation itself is nearly $50 (with shipping) & the brush is around $15 (if you get a drug store version).

And last we have Avon's Anew Age-Transforming 2-in-1 compact foundation.  It's got a wrinkle cream component built into the foundation so that's where the 'Age-Transforming 2 in 1' part comes in.  This one is in the Ivory shade.  It's in a compact and you apply it with a small sponge.  I paid about $8 for this one, but like the Maybelline one, the price varies slightly depending on sales.


I need to make a couple disclaimers here.
1.  I sell Avon, so I clearly went into this with the hopes of proving Avon to be the best product.  They have a good reputation.  They're affordable.  Plus anyone who buys their products earn me money!  Local ladies: let me know if you need an Avon lady!  Or visit my website:
2.  I have tons of friends who sell Younique and I've seen a million videos like these that made me want to try their foundation.  and  I really figured it was a "too good to be true" sort of deal, so I bought it out of a cross between skepticism and curiosity.  After all, this girl is getting older every minute and my pores are widening. Younique claims to fix my pores and make me look 21 with their magic foundation.
3.  Maybelline/Cover Girl/Loreal & other drug store brands are generally my go-to foundations because they are most readily available and I can look at them in the store to make sure they are the right shade for me without worries about having to return something if it's NOT the right shade.  So while I order a lot of Avon products from myself, foundation & powder are items that I typically buy in person for the color matching issue.  Plus, I suppose, if I get one that doesn't quite cut it for me, I don't feel bad about tossing a product that I spent under $10 on.

And a little info about my needs for a foundation:
I am generally a Classic Ivory shade in all foundations.  Pretty much a glowing white girl, but not quite pasty porcelain doll white. I have pink/blue undertones (not yellow).  I burn easily, peel and go back to glowing white.  I have combination skin.  I'm mostly dry but have times when I get oily, so I can't buy a product solely based on whether it's good for dry or oily skin because I kind of need both.  I don't have any major wrinkles just yet, but I am beginning to see a few small ones.  My pores are pretty big on my nose & across my cheeks near my nose.  I have some redness in the same areas that has to be covered.  And while I don't typically have trouble with blemishes (thank you genetics!), I still have a wacky mid-life acne crisis now and then with a big honkin' zit that takes 2 weeks to break the surface, then turns into a giant red scab before it completely goes away.  At the moment I have one those trying to surface on my chin.  You'll see it in the pics below.  I need medium to full coverage on a day to day basis to even out my skin tone and cover the redness, pores & occasional zits.

Now....on with the review & comparisons.

I started the day with a clean face, but to sure, I used my cleanser and washed it anyway.  I re-washed my face in between each type of make-up and took a new clean face pic, so the clean face pics below are not just repeats of the 1st shot.  I wanted to be sure to show you that I started fresh each time.  I did not apply any primer, moisturizer or anything else before applying the foundations.  In normal daily use I would apply my Avon Nurtura cream (moisturizer) first but today I wanted it to be foundation ONLY so I could get a good comparison of the products.

I took a picture of my bare face (eeek!) and then applied the Younique foundation.  As per the million videos I've seen I put 5 drops of foundation on my brush, dotted it around my face, then began spreading it around or painting my face as I like to think of it.  ha ha!  I ended up having to add 2 more drops to get the results below.  The coverage is good and while it dries to a powdery finish, I still would use powder over it to set it.  This is the side by side comparison of before/after with that one.  You can click the pic & blow it up bigger to see the redness and imperfections it covered.  I'd say the coverage is medium to full. While I didn't see quite as dramatic a difference as all the videos I've seen online where this foundation is called "Photoshop in a bottle", it did cover well and the color was a good match for me.  Application was really fast.

I washed off the Younique foundation and took a new clean face pic and then applied the Avon foundation.  Again, you can click the picture to blow it up bigger.  I noticed that it took several dips into the compact to get it to the right thickness on my face to cover the zit on my chin but then again, you don't typically only swipe the sponge once when applying cream foundations so no shocker there. However, it bugged me that I had to add more a couple times to get it to the level of coverage I wanted.  Once I did, the coverage was about the same as the Younique foundation and the color was good.  However, in looking at these pics, it appears a tad lighter in color than the Younique foundation pic above.  I think that's just the lighting in my bathroom.  Coverage was medium to full, but took several "layers" to get to that point.  It took a tad longer to put on than the first one.

I washed off the Avon foundation, took a new picture and applied the Maybelline foundation.  It is what I'm most used to so application was fast.  You swipe your fingers across the top of the jar, dot it on your cheeks, forehead, chin, nose and then use your fingers to spread it around.  The coverage is light to medium with this one.  Because of the way it dries (quickly) to a matte finish, adding another layer for better coverage would be difficult, because you'd sort of wipe off the first layer to add more.  Recently, I've noticed that by 1-2 PM it appears that all of my make up has disappeared.  I don't know if my skin soaks it all in or what but that's why I ordered the Younique and Avon products to compare.  This is my side by side pic of the Maybelline foundation.

So, what's my take on these three products?

Pros/Cons of each:
I like the Younique foundation for coverage & the fact that it would last forever since you use so little with each use.  However I don't like that the Younique product is very expensive. It is WAY more expensive than anything else in my make up collection and it would be cost prohibitive for me to buy it regularly.  However, since you use so little of it, I feel like the bottle would last about 6 months at least, which helps ease the ouch factor of the cost.  Since it is so often out of stock, it might be hard to acquire if I run out & need it right away.  Their shipping was very fast, though.  I ordered it Monday online & it was in my hands Thursday afternoon.

I like the Avon foundation because it's the one I sell and let's be honest, I wanted to prove the Younique product to be false/exaggerated advertising.  ha ha!  I got the same sort of coverage as with the Younique foundation, however, it took a bit more of the product to achieve the same level of coverage.  Given the cost, I might be able to afford buying more of it and feel just as happy with the use/coverage.  It is affordable and I can get my hands on it fairly quickly since I sell it.  (But do I want to buy 2-3 of them to match the cost of the other product for the same sort of results?)

I like the Maybelline product because it's cheap & so readily available. The coverage is not so great and it absorbs (or disappears?) from my face mid-day.  Irritating.  But it's cheap and I can get it in my hands within 10 minutes.  (I live near a CVS.)  If I was 21 and didn't need much coverage, it probably wouldn't bother me as much to use this one, but I think I've probably aged out of the use of this one.

So what will I put on my face & wear to church tomorrow?  Which one will I continue to wear regularly?

I am torn.  It's definitely between the Younique product & the Avon product.  Both offer good coverage and benefit someone individually rather than the big chain stores.  {I like to buy from an individual when I can if there is a good product I need/want/enjoy.}  While the Avon product is MUCH cheaper & benefits ME when I sell it, it does require heavier use to get the same coverage as the Younique product.  The cost to coverage ratio is where my dilemma comes in.  Since budgetary concerns are an issue for me, I did some math.

Assuming the Younique product & brush last me 6 months, it costs me about .33 a day to use it.  (Of course, the brush may need to be replaced sooner--or might last fast longer than 6 months-- so there might be some variance in price where that's concerned.)  And assuming that the Avon product lasts about 2 months (so I'd have to buy 3 to make an equivalent use to the Younique product), it would cost me about .13 a day to use it.  But the coverage not being equivalent with just one "layer" of the Avon product I'd have to use more of it to get the same results, thus increasing my overall cost for the Avon product.

So does it even out in the end cost-wise?  Maybe.  The Younique foundation is still a little pricier than the Avon product, but I really like the way it covers so I won't have an issue buying it again.  {Plus I get to support my girlfriends who sell it.  Check out the sweet friend I bought it from this time here:}  But there are times, like when I travel, that liquid foundation is kind of a pain in the neck so in those instances, I'll carry the Avon product with me instead.

Are the Avon product & the Younique product equivalent?  In some ways, yes.  In others, no.  I think the Avon compact is a more travel-friendly & convenient product.  But the Younique one offers really good coverage with very little product and it takes a minimal amount of time to apply.

So.... I will continue to buy both products!  I'll use the Younique one on a regular daily basis and the Avon one as a touch-up or for travel.  But I'm gonna go toss the Maybelline one in the garbage.  Or give it to my young beautiful daughters who don't yet need much help in the beautiful skin department!

Have you tried these same products?  Which one did you like best?

UPDATE July 6, 2016:
Alright...when I wrote this blog on April 30, I felt a lot of things about the Younique Liquid Touch foundation.  You could say I had all the feels as the kids are saying now days.  LOL  It was new & fresh & different. It covered well & stayed on pretty much all day.  I was impressed, even though it was pricey.  But I have to update this post for honesty & fairness.  If someone were to google & find this blog I feel like it's only fair for them to get the whole story.

1.  I'm already out of it.  Like, I just poured the TEENY amount that is left into this container.  There is enough in there for MAYBEEEEE 1-2 more uses.  But I couldn't get it out of the bottle anymore because the little dropper thing doesn't reach deep enough down to get the last little bit out.

Folks, I had high hopes that it would last me upwards of 6 months.  I was thinking that, if I only used 4-5 DROPS a day, it would last a longggg time.  But here's the kicker.  The bottle is only .68 ounces.  An average bottle of foundation from the drugstore or Avon or whatever other company you might buy from is usually in the neighborhood of 1-1.3 ounces.  So the bottle is teeny.  (Actually, the bottle itself isn't teeny, but its contents are less than the average bottle of liquid foundation.  It is not full when you buy it.)  And after use, I discovered that 4-5 drops is really about all I'd ever use of any other type of liquid foundation, so the marketing tool of proclaiming how little you use is really just that....a good marketing tool.

In barely over 2 months, the entire bottle is gone y'all.  Which leads me to point #2.

2.  Cost is a huge factor for many of us.  When I bought the Younique foundation, I was a little shocked at the initial cost.  Between the foundation itself plus shipping plus the cost of the brush I used, I spent about $60.  When I was thinking that it would last me 6 months, I had figured the daily cost at 33 cents.  However, now that I know it really only lasted a smidge over 2 months, the daily cost sky rockets to 92 cents a day.  Ouch.  I realize that if I continued to buy it, I would not have to buy a new brush with every new bottle, so that does lessen the overall cost some.  But still, it's very pricey.  So if budget is an issue for you, you might want to consider another type of make up.

3.  With daily use I discovered a few things about the Younique foundation that I would like to mention.
a)  It is not very forgiving of skin texture.  If you have rough spots or dry patches, it sort of clings to those.  And if you don't have time to apply moisturizer, then a primer, then concealer before use every single day, you may not look the way the foundation looks on you.  (Honestly, most days I put on moisturizer & then the foundation.  I don't use a primer 95% of the time.  I have some, but it's not in my usual routine and I kind of hate it when I'm forced to use 2-3 other products in conjunction with a new product just to make it work.  Ya know? I know...wahhhh....whine, whine....but really, I don't want to have to add more products into my routine & onto my face if I don't have to.)
b)  It is not quite the photoshop in a bottle that all the videos I saw online claim it to be.  I'm not sure WHAT those women did who made it look like it covered sharpie & lipstick & eyeliner and whatever else they put on their faces, but I tried it.  I actually drew on my face with a sharpie.  The foundation did NOT cover it.  In fact, it didn't even fully cover zits & freckles.  Now, I don't have to have full coverage...I can own my imperfections.  But when it's advertised that way & it didn't do that for me, I was a little disappointed.  I was kind of hoping for some super voodoo magic that would make me look 25 again.  LOL
c)  While the foundation had pretty good staying power in May, once late May/early June hit and the Texas heat was hitting the mid-upper 90s daily, I found that by mid-afternoon, my make up was not looking so great.  I kind of despise having to touch up make up, but really this would've been the case with any type of foundation.  I just had high hopes that it would last longer in the heat as it had done when it was a little cooler.

So, my overall impression and feelings about the Younique foundation changed a bit with use.  I really did like the product (even if it wasn't quite as magical as I hoped) and would probably continue buying it regularly if it was cheaper.  I simply don't have the funds to keep up with a $40+ bottle of foundation on a regular basis.  Given how quickly the bottle emptied & the high cost, I can't recommend as highly as I did before.  But if cost is no issue for you, then go for it!  You'd probably really like the product!

As for me, I have a new Avon foundation coming in a shipment tomorrow.  I'm making the switch to Extra Long Lasting liquid foundation.

Friday, April 1, 2016

I don't have cancer!

I have walked through a breast cancer scare these past couple weeks.  All my friends and family already know this story, but I am hoping that, by documenting it here someone else will find it when they are frantically googling like I was a couple weeks ago. My hope is that they'll find a bit of comfort in knowing someone else has "been there, done that" before.  If you are that person, feel free to email me privately if you have questions beyond what I answer here.  My email address is at the top right of this page.

My husband's mom and grandmother both had breast cancer years ago.  When I was about 25, he started asking me to get a mammogram to set his mind at ease. I had to explain that they don't do mammograms on 25 year olds unless there is a problem suspected.  So for the past 15 years, he's anxiously awaited a time when I was old enough to get it done. I, on the other hand, was a little less enthusiastic about the test.  But I went anyway because I'm a rule follower and you're supposed to start doing these lovely tests when you're 40.  I turned 40 back in November.  So on March 8, I went in for my first mammogram ever.

I had been told ahead of time that it's not uncommon for first timers to be called back for additional images. Since the doctor who looks at your mammogram Xrays doesn't have a previous year's records to compare to, they have a tough time determining what's normal for you. So I went in knowing that was a possibility.  While doing the test, the tech showed me on the screen where one breast had an area of dense tissue -- a very common thing where you have spots in your tissue that are simply thicker than the rest.  It doesn't "mean" anything, but sometimes the radiologist will ask for more magnified pictures of that area to be sure there's nothing hidden in that thicker tissue. The tech told me not to panic if they called for more pictures in a few days.  She made sure to tell me that she didn't think there was anything wrong, but she wanted to give me a heads-up so I wouldn't be concerned.  But she said "If you get a letter, it's even better!"  So in my mind, that meant a phone call in a few days meant there was reason for concern (or more pictures) and a letter meant everything was okay.

Almost a week passed without any word from them, so I assumed everything was fine. But then I got a letter in the mail.  I almost threw it away, thinking that a letter meant everything was normal. I almost threw it away because I felt like it was just going to say things were fine, but I went ahead and opened it.  I scanned down the page looking for the words "normal" or "everything is okay" but instead found that there was "reason for further evaluation" of my right breast. It instructed me to call ASAP to schedule a diagnostic mammogram.  I immediately called & scheduled it for Good Friday because I was off work that day. It was about a week and a half out, but it was a convenient time. While scheduling, the lady on the phone slipped & mentioned the "suspicious finding" on my chart. It worried me briefly but I convinced myself that's probably just what they call any need for more images. But in the days leading up to the diagnostic appointment, I couldn't help but get nervous that there was something more going on.

Good Friday came and I went in for the tests. I had been told my husband could be there to hear the news with me, so he sat in the waiting room for 2 1/2 hours while I paraded around the back of the office among other half-dressed women, all wringing our hands and praying nothing was wrong.  I had the mammogram first.  I was positioned in several odd poses, compressed in all sorts of crazy ways while the tech circled me & adjusted the machine over and over. When she swung a screen around to see where to position the machine, I saw it. On the screen, there was a little red circle around a strange little white rectangle with a bumpy top.  It looked like a Lego block inside my breast.  I pointed & asked what that was. The tech said "That's why you're here.  That's the spot he was concerned about due to the irregular shape, so we're getting some magnified images of that particular spot."

That's when I knew that it wasn't just dense tissue they were looking at.  I had an actual THING in there.  A lump.  A mass.  Some thing was growing inside me when it shouldn't be there at all. The panic set in and I had to work hard to keep from crying and hyperventilating.  The tech sat me down in a chair after she was done & said to hang out for a minute.  She was going to show the doc my pictures and see if she'd gotten everything he needed.  When she returned, I had talked myself off the cliff.  She said the doctor felt like he needed to see it under ultrasound as well, so they moved me to that room.

The ultrasound tech came in, did her measurements of this thing in me and then called in the doctor.  He looked at it, did a quick exam and then said to meet him in the room next door after I got dressed so we could discuss it.  They called Larry from the waiting room to be there, too.  He explained that I have a tumor in my right breast but he believes it's a benign tumor called a Fibroadenoma. Of course he couldn't guarantee that's what it was, but he offered us two options.  (1) Wait six months & then look at it again to see if it had changed/grown, etc. or (2) Biopsy it to confirm the diagnosis.  Larry and I took about 5 seconds to decide we wanted a biopsy! The idea of leaving it there without knowing for sure what it was for six months put my stomach in knots.  No thank you.  Let's figure this out!  I'm a bit of an information hog, so getting answers and info is vital to me.

My biopsy was the following Wednesday. Leading up to it I was a nervous wreck.  I didn't think I was, but as the test approached, I realized how worried I really was.  I just wanted to get it over with & have some answers!

The procedure itself wasn't so bad, aside from baring myself to yet more people I don't know. By the time it was over, I realized that 6 people had seen or touched me. Eeeeek!  For the biopsy, I was laid on a bed and they gave me several shots of lidocaine to numb the area.  They used a needle biopsy gun tool to do it.  Basically it's a long, thick needle that they feed other needles through.  They are attached to the handle with a trigger that sort of shoots them out when they get it positioned right.  Those needles have a grabber thing on the end which snip off little pieces of tissue and pull it back out.  They also inserted a small metal clip into the tumor so that they could find it later on future mammograms. Or if it turned out to be malignant they could use the marker to measure the tumor and locate it during Xrays. Fortunately, the lidocaine shots numbed the surface, the underlying tissue and the tumor itself so once I got those shots, I was completely numb for the entire thing and watched it all on the ultrasound screen.  It was really sort of interesting to watch.  When it was over they put steri-strips over the tiny incision (about 1/4" long) and a bigger bandage over that, then taped an icepack on top of it all.  Of course, this is all before I got moved to the mammogram room for a "gentle" mammogram to check and make sure the clip they inserted was placed well and had not migrated to a less optimal spot.

They told me that the samples they took would have to soak in some sort of solution for 24 hours before they were looked at, so I would not hear anything for at least 24 hours. But since it was late in the day on Wednesday, they suspected it would be Friday morning before the doctor called with results.  The nurse, the ultrasound tech who assisted during the biopsy and the doctor himself all confirmed my phone number and assured me over & over that he'd call Friday morning.

On Thursday I was at work (I work at a school) when my phone rang in class.  All the teachers knew what was going on, so when I grabbed my phone and ran out of class the teachers who were in the room knew exactly what was going on.  I was a couple doors away from the school cafeteria so I went there to be able to sit in a quiet room and hear the doctor and talk.  He told me that my biopsy had shown NO cancer cells, that the tumor was indeed benign and was absolutely a fibroadenoma like he'd originally suspected. He told me I didn't have to be looked at again for 12 months and I could just go back to a normal mammogram routine at that time.  When I hung up, I cried. Tears of happiness, tears of relief, tears of anxiety releasing from my tense shoulders. I texted my family and a couple close friends, then got up to return to the classroom but I couldn't stop crying.  When I reached the classroom door where I had been the teachers in the room were looking out and spotted me and gave me the "WELL????" look.  I was crying and wiping tears but I was able to mouth the words "It's not cancer" and give them a thumbs up.  They cheered, they yelled, they ran into the hall to hug me and cry with me....which made me laugh & cry some more.  The kids in the room were stunned, not sure what was happening at the door way.  When they asked what was happening I said "I don't have cancer!" and they were shocked---of course they had no idea there had been an issue before. Some of them stood in shock while others ran over to join the cheering and hugging party.  It was a really sweet time!

It took a few hours for the high to wear off and life to sort of resume some normalcy. 600+ friends on facebook cheered along with me at the "It's NOT cancer!!" post I made.  For a few hours, I felt more loved and a little like a rockstar, than I ever have before.  When you're wrapped up in that much love and joy, you can't help but feel like the queen of the world.

24 hours later, I'm still elated to have received such good news.  Who knew I would ever be praying for a diagnosis ending in -oma, but in this case a fibroadenoma is the absolutely best case scenario.  Unless it grows or starts hurting, I don't have to have it removed or do anything about it.  It is literally marked for life (with the little metal clip from the biopsy) so we can always keep an eye on it.  It does not increase my chances of having cancer. No one really knows what causes these tumors, but they are 100% benign.

And so, it's with great happiness I can say I DON'T HAVE CANCER!