The foundation report – find a fabulous foundation

Skin like a gardenia petalSummer might seem like a strange time to write about foundation, but it’s really not. Foundation can make your skin look fabulous in summer’s unforgiving light, especially when you learn to pick the perfect shade for your skin and how to apply it. 
Never apply foundation to your entire face. Put it only where you need it; where you have shadows, redness, or other slight blemishes. Never follow the advice of some experts and apply foundation down to your collar. You will only stain your clothes. Some women have more colour on their faces than on their necks and décolleté. If this is your issue you will need to use a slightly yellower foundation to tone down the redness. Some experts use a green or mauve colour corrector under foundation for this problem. But most women find this too much trouble — and too heavy for every day. If you can not figure out the colour, go to department store. Or use a line the labels colours cool and warm. L’Oreal True Match is a drugstore line that does this. The warm tone will usually cover red best, but check the shade on your own skin. The best place to match your foundation is along your jaw bone. Always check the match in daylight. If you can not test the colour directly on your skin – as in a drugstore – walk to window with the tester or package. In a department store, apply the colour to your skin and go outside.
Buying online is tricky, but they offer help online and accept returns. Also never buy make-up any place that does not offer a full return policy with the package and sale slip, after you try it. Too many women think they can not return a product after they try it. That is the point of the policy, to be able to try it!
The new foundations can also make your skin look more luminous and brighter. They also add a layer of protection between your skin and aging rays of the sun, and damaging free radicals from pollution. And unless you are in clean country air, foundation acts as a barrier between your skin and dirty city air. It will not clog your pores as some old fashioned and misguided thinkers would have you believe.
One of my mentors, now in her 80’s, has fabulous skin. She credits it in part to always having worn foundation.
In the past year we have tested many different foundations to find the very best. They have been tried by our DolceDolceteam who ranges in age from 16 to 70-plus. I have personally tried them all.
I have divided them in to three categories: department store luxe, boutique, and drugstore. Don’t assume that the more expensive foundations are the best; all the products we are going to mention here are fabulous in some way. We have decided not to waste space on products we didn’t like. Also do not expect our list to match any "reader’s best or reader’s choice" you may find in other magazines. Those lists are good, but many readers use the first or second foundation they buy. We used exacting criteria for appearance, feel, and value.
Foundation often looks better when worn over primer or moisturizer. However, in the daytime it can be too heavy to add a primer over sun block, and the SPF 15 in foundation is not strong enough for outside wear! (Manufacturers please note, higher SPF please!) All of our foundations look good over sun block alone. A couple of the best foundation primers we have tried are: Laura Mercier Flawless Face Oil-Free Primer and Bioelements Oxygen Cocktail. Both of these products are good value and very hydrating. Oxygen Cocktail is not actually a primer but super-hydrating under make-up and used as one by make-up artists. A little goes a long way.
When it comes to luxurious department store foundations, Chanel Pro Lumiere Professional Finish Make-up is one of the best. The texture is gorgeous as is the finish. The shades are fabulous too. They are not too yellow or pink. This a pricey foundation at $54 US and $68 CND, but a little goes along way. It is essential to apply it with a light hand. I adore this foundation as it covers small flaws, but does not look heavy. It stays in place for hours. Make-up artists love it too. They also love its new incarnation Chanel Lift Lumiere. This foundation has special polymers to lift and tighten” but is basically a dewier version of demi-mat Pro-Lumiere.
Chanel foundation is definitely the crème de la crème of department store foundation. The coverage and the finish are superb. Their cream foundation Teint Innocence is also very soft and provides good coverage.
Other big make-up companies make very good foundations. Our goal was to find the best. We found Chanel has the edge with texture, shades, and overall appearance. There are new and interesting products made by smaller make-up companies sold in smaller exclusive smaller department stores and at beauty boutiques such as Ulta. But as they are not easy for all our reader to find and try, we did not include them in our report.
In the boutique or smaller online category there were two clear winners: Motives by Loren Ridigner Liquid Powder Mineral Foundation and Redpoint Transformative Dual foundation.
Motives by Loren Ridigner Liquid Powder Mineral Foundation is an all-in-one product containing primer, antioxidants, foundation and power, all in one tube. I am crazy about this foundation. It feels weightless and makes my skin look luminous and flawless. It has an SPF of 15, but I wear it over sun block as SPF is inadequate for anything but indoor wear. It is nice not to bother with a primer and still have the make-up go on smooth as glass. Every time I wear this, people tell me I look fabulous. At just under $25 this is good value for money.
Redpoint Transformative Dual Foundation comes with two blendable shades that create the shade you need or can be used to highlight and conceal certain areas of the face. It contains a peptide blend and light diffusing pigments that combine to help fill in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, so skin looks and feels more youthful. The make-up glides on and is light as a feather, but still provides fabulous coverage. At $42, it isn’t cheap, but it may be great choice if you have issues with make-up settling into lines and creases. It’s offered in three dual shade compacts from light to dark that are truly flattering. We can not recommend their Airbrush Blush as it streaks.
If you are on a tight budget, don’t despair, there are truly beautiful foundations at the drugstore. One of my favourite foundations for years has been L’Oreal Paris True Match. I like the entire line. When it was first introduced it was a fabulous liquid make-up in 27 shades. There is still a wide range of shades. An easy-to-use system of warm and cool coding makes it possible for even a novice to get a “true match”. Finally, I could send my Indian and Asian friends to the drugstore, confident they too could find a good make-up! They could even buy the same brand as I did – and I wear porcelain. How fabulous is that?
Now it has been improved with the addition of True Match Super Blendale Compact Make-up. This is an easy-to-apply make-up in 24 shades that uses the same easy-
The entire True Match range of concealer, powder, and bronze glow are great value. They work well for almost any skin tone or age and you can always find your shade. You can usually buy True Match for under $10 US and $12 CND. 
Cover Girl Simply Ageless with Olay Regenerist and SPF 15 is different type of foundation. It is designed to float over fine lines and give good coverage. I wear very sheer foundation and always have, but women who want and need a bit more coverage love this foundation. It has a creamy texture, and it does not cake. The shades are lovely; not too yellow or pink. This is an excellent option for any woman looking for more coverage at an excellent price.
At the opposite end of the spectrum some of us only want a more hint of colour and coverage; for us tinted moisturizer is the way to go.
Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer comes in both a regular and oil-free formula. I prefer the oil-free. It comes in a range of shades and looks dewy and natural. It provides a hint of coverage. It has an SPF of 20 and is packed with anti-oxidants. Make-up artists, fashion editors, and socialites adore this product for its natural look. It costs $42 US and $57 CND.
Olay Definity Colour Recapture has an SPF of 15 combines Definity’s anti-aging complexion brightening qualities with a touch of colour. The lightweight moisturizer gives faces definite luminosity. This product left skin soft, moist, and lovely. Even ladies who only use higher-priced cosmetics liked this one. 
I have worn both products and like both equally. I am a dedicated foundation wearer, but I like to have tinted moistener on hand. It the only thing I can wear during a bad cold when my skin is ultra sensitive. I also mix it into my foundation during the winter, when my skin can be overly dry. Give this a try; it stands up well to the higher-priced product.
We also tested and tried the now popular mineral make-ups. Minerals are popular with acne sufferers as well as those who have sensitivities, and women who find it settles less into lines. To do this, we enlisted a few die-hard mineral lovers. Their conclusion: the best-selling and best-known brands are not the best-looking or -wearing. And one of our testers had been wearing it for years – and paying a top price for it.
Youngblood Mineral Cosmetics was very popular with our mineral make-up aficionados. The line has luminous colours and stays on really well. They aren’t inexpensive, buy they are fabulous.
E.l.f. or eyes, lips, and face is an inexpensive line of mineral make-up that some of our testers loved. For $15 you can buy enough make-up to do your entire face.
According to our test group, mineral make-up from the Body Shop, Sonia Kushuk for Target, Cover Girl and L’Oreal Paris are all fabulous. You do not have pay a premium for good mineral make-up.
Darlings, foundation make-up is a beautiful thing. It smoothes out all the little flaws and make some thing fabulous – you even more so! Many women use tons of concealer when a little properly-chosen and applied foundation would do the trick. Light reflecting foundations can banish dark circles better than layers of stuff! Others go bare faced when a touch of make-up is magic.
Darlings, no one says you need to paint your face to be loved or successful. Beauty and artistry (that is why they call them make-up artists) is – and should be — a joy! It’s fun to sparkle and shine. I have never believed that fashion, beauty, or any of the good things in life should be aspirational. No darlings, beauty is attainable and we are here to help you get it all! Remember, beauty has never been more economical or attainable! Isn’t that fabulous?



An interview with the lady who knows the “ real Jane Eyre”

If you fell in love with the novel Jane Eyre as so many us of did, you won’t want to miss a word of this interview with Syrie James, the author of The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Brontë. I adored Jane Eyre when I first read it as young girl and I could not put down Syrie James’ compelling portrait of its author. I reveled in the details of Charlotte’s life and those of her creative sisters Emily and Anne. This intelligent and sensitive book is a must-read for all fans of Brontë sisters.

DD: What inspired you to write this book?
SJ: I have always adored the novel Jane Eyre. I felt compelled to know and understand the woman who wrote it. As I delved into my research, I was captivated not only by the engrossing saga of Charlotte Brontë’s relationship with her family and her emergence as a novelist, but by what I saw as the missing link: the untold story of her relationship with Arthur Bell Nicholls. To think that this tall, dark, and handsome man carried a silent torch for Charlotte for seven and a half years, and that her feelings for him went from intense dislike to deep and abiding love, I knew that would make a fabulous story!
DD: How did you research the book?
SJ: I pored over countless Brontë biographies. I read all their poetry, their published novels, the juvenilia, and Charlotte‘s voluminous personal correspondence. I studied the art of the Brontës (quite remarkable!). I read everything I could find about the life of Arthur Bell Nicholls. Then I went to Haworth, England. The stone buildings in the village’s narrow main street still look very much as they did in Charlotte‘s day. I made an extended visit to the BrontëParsonageMuseum, which has been preserved to reflect the way it looked when the Brontës lived there, and is furnished with many of their possessions.
What a thrill it was to "haunt" the rooms and lanes where Charlotte and Emily and Anne actually lived and walked, and to stroll through that gloomy graveyard in the pouring rain! At the Brontë library, I was allowed to read a selection of original letters and manuscripts penned by Charlotte and other members of the Brontë family. While in Yorkshire, I was also granted a private tour of the former RoeHeadSchool, which still actively functions as a private school — and where the legend of that mysterious attic dweller, the Ghost of Roe Head, still abides!
DD: Is the book mostly true or did you have to imagine most of it?
SJ: The novel is based almost entirely on fact. All the details of Charlotte’s family life, her experiences at school, her friendship with Ellen, her feelings for Monsieur Heger, the evolution of her writing career, and her relationship with her publisher, George Smith, are all true and based on information from her letters and biographies. All the critical notices the sisters read about their poetry and novels are real. The details about Mr. Nicholls’s childhood and Charlotte‘s experiences with the Bell family in Ireland are factual.
Most of the characters in the book — even the girls at RoeHeadSchool — are based on real people. The details of Mr. Nicholls’s passionate and agonized proposal of marriage, as well as its stormy aftermath and Patrick Bronte’s vehement opposition, are all based on fact, and were meticulously recorded in Charlotte’s correspondence. Charlotte and Mr. Nicholls’s strolls from Haworth to Oxenhope during those bitingly cold days in January, 1854 are so well known, that the path came to be called "Charlotte‘s Lane."
I invented some of the characters in Haworth village to add local color or dramatic conflict. I was obliged to conjecture some of the events during the earlier years of Charlotte and Mr. Nicholls’s acquaintance, to flesh out their love story — but based on what we do know, I feel that this telling is very close to the truth. And the "conjecturing" was a great part of the fun of writing the novel!
DD: How do you feel the Brontes influenced each other?
SJ: The four Brontë siblings were isolated from other children in the neighborhood, and became a unit of creativity unto themselves. They invented stories, newspapers, and entire worlds together. This childhood rivalry and wealth of imagination continued into adulthood. Once the three sisters admitted to the writing they were still doing in secret, they began working together to review and comment on each other’s novels — an association that was beneficial to all, as they challenged each other to be the best writers they could be. Branwell’s descent into alcoholism also had a profound influence on their lives, and on the characters in Emily and Anne’s novels.
Syrie JamesDD: Do you think Charlotte was happy and fulfilled as a woman and as a writer? Did she manage to have it all?
SJ:Charlotte was both stunned and thrilled by the success of Jane Eyre. After that, frustration followed. She felt she did not have enough experience in the world to write on a great variety of subjects, and although she labored long and devotedly on her next books, they were not as enthusiastically received. Critical reaction was confusing as well. While some adored “Jane Eyre,” others deemed it coarse and melodramatic. When she tried to tone down those elements in her next books, some people were disappointed. What they really wanted was another book as thrilling as “Jane Eyre”! As for her fulfillment as a woman — you will have to read the book to find out!
DD: You wrote a similar book about Jane Austen. Did you find any similarities between the two women?
SJ:Both were daughters of clergymen, had very close relationships with a sister, and felt frustrated in their search for true love. Both were extremely well-read, and were educated for a majority of their lives at home by their fathers. And of course both were incredibly imaginative and brilliant writers!
DD: Why do you think the appeal of Jane Eyre is so timeless?
SJ: The immense popularity of Jane Eyre stems from a variety of reasons. It contains many popular elements of the Gothic novel, such as mystery, horror, and the classic medieval castle setting. Jane Eyre’s story is also very appealing: the rise of a poor orphan girl against seemingly insurmountable odds, whose love and determination ultimately redeem a tormented hero. The novel also has serious things to say about issues that are still very relevant today: women’s struggle for equality, the realization of self, relations between men and women, and the nature of true love. The novel appeals not only to the audience’s heart, but also to their heads.
DD: You mentioned seeing the Bronte’s art work during your research; can you describe it?
SJ:Their works are incredibly detailed portraits of women and animals, landscapes, and depictions of nature. Some are pencil sketches; others are beautiful watercolors. Although they did draw from life, many of Charlotte’s works of art were copies of other pictures and engravings, which she painstakingly executed dot by dot. To see all of their art in one terrific volume, check out “The Art of the Brontes” by Christine Alexander and Jane Sellars.
DD: There seems to have been a great deal of creativity and pent-up passion in the women from these isolated families in England and New England.  Jane Austen, the Brontes, the Alcotts come to mind, and I am sure there are more. What do you think sparked it?
SJ: I think all women felt a similar pent-up passion and frustration during that time, which was so restrictive for women. These ladies were just educated and talented enough – and filled with enough creative drive and imaginative to write about it!



Spa in a jar

Canadain Glacial ClayIcky sticky summer weather can play havoc with your skin. The best fast-fix I know is a good masque. Some dermatologists claim masques are useless, yet many offer many treatments in their “medi-spas” which are no more than glorified facials at a steep price. I’d rather invest the cost of one treatment in a couple of good masques. I can put my feet up at home and soak in a tub before a night out, save my cash, and still have skin like a gardenia petal!
A good masque can make your skin look and feel fabulous before a special occasion, and that is exactly what I want. I save major skin tune-ups for my doctor or cosmetic acupuncturist Fang Wang.
During the stickiest days of summer I sometimes use a masque two to three times a week. I find it leaves my skin looking flawless and feeling refreshed.
I  combine masques for a custome beauty treatmentThe hot weather makes my normally-dry skin oily in places. So I combine two masques for a “custom treatment”. Two of my favourites are Elizabeth Grant’s European Spa Collection Thermal Mud Masque. I love its mineral-rich Canadian glacial clay. It is not too drying, but removes impurities and leaves my face soft. I combine it with Torricelumn Caviar Avocado Rehydrating Masque, which is a super moisturizing treat.  

A soft, sexy steal

pearlized minerals fabulus on --soft and lovelyThere are just a few products and colours that are universally flattering. Motives Pink Lace Pressed Eye Shadow is one of those special products. It is slightly pearlized, so it reflects light and disguises small flaws. The warm peachy-pink tone is perfect with mascara and liner for an up-to-the-minute look that can be natural or dramatic depending on how heavily you apply the liner. But it always looks soft and sexy! This is a fabulous product and costs $12 US. It also looks wonderful with deeper colours of the same shadow used as a liner. Shadows of similar quality usually sell for at least twice as much. This may be the prettiest steal you’ll make all year.

Ripe Lips

If you hate sticky, smeary lipstick or gloss – especially as the mercury rises — check out Cover Girl Outlast Lipstain. It looks like a sharpie for your lips. It may take a little getting used to, if you usually wear lipstick or gloss, but you just may learn to love it. I did! The clear berry-like stains stay on all day or night — even through meals. There are 10 shades and you can buy one for about $5 to $6.
I confess, I usually put a shimmery pink gloss over it even on a scorcher of a day. It looks hot – even after the gloss has melted away! 

Ready, set, smile

Who has time to waste on beauty treatments in the summer time? There is much to do, but you also want to look smashing as you decorate sidewalk cafes, attend soirées and BBQs. So what’s a beauty to?  Be efficient! Put a masque on your face while you colour or condition your hair. Shave your legs in the shower. There are a million ways to speed up your beauty routine and stay gorgeous.
One of the best is the Rembrandt 2-Hour Whitening Kit. It makes teeth shades whiter in just a single afternoon.
We have 2 kits to give away — one for the U.S. and one for Canada. To win, be the first to email with you name, address, and phone number — and the phrase: “I want whiter teeth in 2 hours!”

Lemon Tree

Hiam Abass and Ali SulmanHollywood’s preoccupation with movies to interest adolescent boys is tiresome and a bore. We relish the few good Hollywood movies that escape this sophomoric curse, but they seem few and far between. Luckily, there is an alternative. We find we gravitate to foreign and independent films for movies made to entertain adults.

Lemon Tree is about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is a brave little movie because it dares to see both sides, and is made by an Israeli director and a Palestinian writer.
Israeli director Eran Riklis and his Palestinian co-writer, Suha Arraf set the story on the frontier between Israeli and Palestinian territory and cultures. The Israeli Defense Minister builds a new house. Its back yard sits right next to a lemon grove owned by Palestinian widow Salma Zidane. The grove was her husband’s, until he died, so it represents much more than her only source of income.
When Israeli security officers declare the grove a threat to the minister’s home and family, it is ordered destroyed. The widow is devastated, but mounts a legal battle to save her trees, and the life she has known for so long. The widow is championed by young, idealistic, and ambitious Palestinian lawyer. Slowly, her battle for her grove becomes an international cause celebre.
She finds an unlikely ally in the defense minister’s wife, Mira. In an interview, Mira longs wistfully to be able to speak with her neighbour.
The film is an allegory for bigger and more troubling issues than a disputed lemon grove. It features exceptional performances by all, especially Hiam Abbass who portrays Salma Zidane. All the cast, even those in the smallest roles, bring nuances to their performances that lend meaning to this touching and troubling tale. 
If you are tempted to avoid this movie because you dislike “political films”, please reconsider. This is a film full of heart, soul, and beauty – not rhetoric. It’s worth searching out this summer.

A moisture boquet

Nova Moist is a new product to treat dry skin. Two doctors — a gynecologist and oncologist – created this blend of 100 percent natural essential oils. It is sealed in a slender tube with a pump. Nova Moist has a delightful natural scent of lavender, rose and bergamot are three of oils in the blend. The scent quickly disappears as the oil seeps into the skin, leaving it moist, but greaseless. Geranium, clary sage, juniper and fennel in sesame oil complete the Nova Moist blend. It’s anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial too.
According to the company, the product has been used to clinically for eight years to treat pre- and post-menopausal skin, cracked cuticles, dry elbows and knees, peels, skin after chemo and radiation, eczemas, rocesacea., psoriasis, and lupus redness.
It makes a fabulous eye treatment. It is wonderful worn under make-up or alone. It sinks into skin and it’s easy to carry in your bag as it can’t spill. This is a fabulous product to have for all types of uses, particularly if you are recovering or suffering from an inflammatory skin condition. It’s designed to be used a few drops at a time, so while the tube may look small it actually holds about 200 drops of Nova Moist.