Review of Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer SX-05 by 3jane
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.