Finally, a makeup artist showed me how to use SSE to achieve sheer or medium coverage. Now that I know what to do, I love this stuff! For reference, my skin tone is NC20/25, depending on season. I use SSE in SX05 and 07, in about a 1/3:2/3 ratio, mixing it on the back of my hand with a drop or two of a hydrating serum (over well-moisturized skin). Depending on coverage desired, I either dab a bit of the mixture on my face or pick up some with a damp BB, then blend, blend, blend. It takes about 2 minutes to do my face - longer than using a liquid foundation, but with far superior results. I find SSE lasts about 10 hours, and doesn't oxidize. I don't look like I'm wearing a mask; I can (and do) sheer it out to ensure that my skin shows through. My only complaint is that I have to mix - but my I do get a shade darker during golf season, so I'd have to have two shades of SSE, anyway.
I finally realized I had to let go of the Bobbi Brown pitch that yellow tones are the best for everyone's complexion. I am fair/neutral, an N20, and I thought I was bringing a lift to my face when I used BB skin foundation in sand. But I read (and I totally agree being an artist as a hobby) that yellow tones are aging. When I switched to some of my less yellow foundations, Nars Deauville or Armani Luminous Silk #4, I saw immediately that my skin looked brighter, had more clarity and overall appeared more youthful. The Space NK sales associate gave me 05 which is a true neutral and it looks amazing. I apply it with Shiseido's foundation brush which is very dense and angled. You must have a quality brush for this product. I dip it in the jar lightly picking up product equivalent in volume to a half a grain of rice. Then dot it around one side of my face and blend. Dip in again and do the other side. Finished in seconds and it is natural looking (more natural than mineral foundations), has a smooth semi-matte finish and it lasts - no powdering. You must have a good moisturizer on first. As expected the rest of my makeup looks so much better too. If you are neutral stay away from those warm foundations. It will make a world of difference.
UPDATE: I had to knock the rating down to 3 because as the day went on this became drier and drier. I used a lot of moisturizer on application but that didn't make any difference.
I so wanted to like this! The color match was good, but this made my skin look too shiny--even with a dusting of powder, the shine came through. It must be the mineral oil in it (first ingredient). Also, made my pores look big. Although this is expensive, it would have been a good value since it requires such a tiny bit of product for each application.
I don't like this product at all. The texture is really weird, it seems thick but the coverage is sheer. Never sets, even with powder on it.
What a waste of money.
I've been yearning for this product for months, however no where stocks it near to where I live. Was loath to spend £41 inc p&p on product without testing shades however desire won out. After reading loads of reviews and comparing swatches I bought sx 05. I'm approx mac nc 20 at the moment. This shade, thankfully, is perfect for me right now although as soon as I get a tan I'll need to change up. Love the fact that one pot does so much. My main issue was what to mix it with to provide me with a light to medium foundation. Tried collagen gel (rubbish), moisturiser - ok but not amazing. Am currently mixing it with maybelline bb cream. I don't like this product by itself but with skin perfector I get amazing coverage but natural looking skin and SPF 30! Win win! Can't imagine I'll run out of this anytime soon but I'll definately purchase in a deeper colour for summer months.
I just cannot make myself like this product, and I've been trying for over 3 months. I find that while it's much too thick on its own (even as concealer, it's completely dry and unblendable), any blending I've tried with various moisturizers just makes it too sheer, plus it's a hassle to do. So when it does has enough coverage, it's unblendable. I just did not like the feel of it, or working with it. Not for me.
This is my HG concealer. I don't even need foundation. I just put this on the spots that I need: undereye, around the lips, under the nose--that's all I need. I've never encountered a product like this formula. It is so pigmented and creamy. It does, however, show a bit of creasing under the eye that I just blot away with my finger.
This took some getting used to, but now that I figured it out, this might very well be HG for me.
First, color selection is crucial. I was matched to SSE6 at first (in store lighting-- should've known better). Anytime I tried to use it, no matter how much I sheered it out, it made me look dead and/or masklike. So sheering out some foundations that are a little off can work, but this one not so much. On the plus side, the color won't oxidize at all, and it stays put even after a night out dancing. Then I swapped for 05 and it's love.
Second, the moisturizer or primer you mix it with is very important. I've found ones that have a consistency on the thin side, and a finish that gives you slippy, almost greasy feel work best. Gels, moisturizers, primers can all work. Off the top of my head, these work well: 1) CO Bigelow spf15 deluxe facial moisturizer replenishing formula 2) Neutrogena healthy skin moisturizer spf15 3) Victoria's Secret sexy little things Wake Me Up skin booster gel 4) Kevyn Aucoin primer. Note: some of these moisturizers are too slippy for me to use on their own. But I find the SSE will counter some of that, b/c it has such a thick, creamy texture... and I've found this mix gives you the most natural skin-like texture, even if you need a heavy application. Meanwhile, trying to mix it into a thicker cream makes it harder to spread, and gives you a cakey finish even if it's relatively sheer.
Application: I usually just put a dab of moisturizer (or primer or w/e) on the back of my hand, and smear a bit of SSE (maybe rice-grain worth of product?) adjacent to it -- think artist's paint palette. When you mix them, you'll find the SSE sticks to the skin more, it's a bit reluctant to mix in. So... I use this to my advantage! When you start mixing the two, you'll first get a lot of moisturizer with a little bit of color. Use most this for an all over tinted moisturizer/base on your face-- undereyes too. Now you're left with a little bit of moisturizer on your hand, and like half of the SSE still stuck on. Mix these remainders a bit more and you'll get a thicker, heavier paste/concealer you can dab on top of the TM, or even rub/massage into your skin for larger surfaces, adding coverage as you need it. (This is why a slippier moisturizer's works so well!!) This gives you a really natural flawless application that's not too heavy and masklike. I can even dab on SSE from the pot for brown spots afterwards and still have it blend seamlessly. And, best of all, this application takes less than a minute because, critically, it actually blends well now. Except for covering tiny spots, I use my fingers because it's the fastest, easiest, and gives me the best finish (b/c warming up the product in your fingers helps, imo).
Ok, now color. From KA's site: SX 05 is a light shade with beige undertones.
To give you an idea, I wear or have tried the following in other lines:
1) Lancome Teint Idole Ultra in Buff 2 (w) -- this is probably the closest match to my skin, and looks identical to SSE05 in sunlight. So if you're considering buying SSE05 sight-unseen, see if you can get a sample of this for an idea of the color.
2) Smashbox HD foundation in Light (L1) -- this goes on my skin and matches beautifully, but I find it darkens a little after a few minutes... so this is more of a summer foundation, looks a teeny bit darker in the packaging, but maybe about a full shade darker than SSE05 b/c of the oxidizing
3) NARS Firming Foundation in Deauville -- compared to SSE05 in sunlight, looks a bit "brighter"... like there's less beige in it. But the tones/depth of color seem pretty matched otherwise, and I can wear the NARS just as well as the more beigey Lancome and SSE.
I'll try to update with other moisturizers or foundation comparisons if I come across good ones. continued >>
I have never EVER been disappointed with a Kevyn Aucoin product and this is no exception. Although a wee light for my summer toned skin, it is such a great product that it doesn't matter. I am 42 and been looking for something that would GLOW without SHINING all day long, and this is it. It's perfectly wonderful. I use my fingers to spread tiny amounts all over my face following my Jan Marini tinted moisturizer. Then a light touch of Jane Iredale powder in the areas I tend to get shiny. It didn't budge, smudge or change color in any way, all day. And even though I 'eek' at the prices of his stuff, you get SO MUCH quality product for the money I think it is a far better deal than most other products. And some how, my face feels loved when I wear his stuff, because I know he saw beauty in everyone and really knew how to enhance rather than cover-up. It's hard to explain, but I have several of his products and LOVE love LOVE every one. He was a true genius and I so wish he was still around.
I wear SX05, which I'd peg as neutral (neither strongly yellow nor strongly pink). I tried 06, and holy cow is it yellow, it looked like I schmeared egg yolk under my eyes. For reference, I wear Px Traceless #2, Px Flawless in Vellum, Px Virtual Matte in Vellum. I use this strictly as an under-eye concealer, and it does the job quite well. It is creamy and relatively easy to spread, so no pulling/tugging on the eye area. It dries down to a demi-matte finish that doesn't require powdering to lock it in place - a big plus, since powder tends to age my eye area greatly. Creasing is minimal and generally only occurs if I apply layers too thickly. There are two tricks to using this, and if you get them right you will be rewarded, this product delivers. The first is that the shade MUST match the skin tone well. If the shade is off, it is going to look terrible, this product is NOT forgiving. Too light, too dark, wrong undertone - can't get away with any of that with the SSE, it isn't going to blend out to look acceptable like a lot of foundations do. Second, application is key. Simple, but key. It is best applied in very thin layers, building up the coverage gradually. If try to apply to heavily right out of the gate, it doesn't blend as well and balls up a bit, looks heavy, and also has a tendency to crease. I moisturize well first and let that absorb thoroughly, then use a natural bristle brush (I like MAC 224) to dab on very tiny dots and gently blend out. I then tap/blend gently with my ring finger. The heat from my finger helps the foundation mesh with the skin. If I need more coverage (unfortunately, I always do...), I continue to apply thin layers as above. I prefer a natural bristle brush to taklon because I find the taklon applies too much at once whereas the natural bristles allow me to apply a thinner layer. Really, I'm not kidding - thin layers are key here for natural-looking coverage. After about a minute on the skin it sets to a solid finish and looks great, powdering to set isn't needed, is optional. Don't balk at the price - *so little* of this is needed, and I mean *a tiny amount*, that jar will last YEARS, I've been using this over a month now and still am using the small amount of product that was on the inside cap when I first opened it. It is rather strongly scented, and my nose smells rose - a cloying rose scent. I do find it dissipates, and I've actually gotten used to it. Not thrilled about the packaging, but the product itself is thick, and I can't see how it could be dispensed from a tube, way too much - much more than you'd need to do your entire face - would end up coming out at once, so a jar is probably the best packaging for this particular product. This is an excellent product if you learn how to apply it properly, and I do recommend it to those who need the coverage.