This review is one of those sad, ignorant tales told about how bad a product is but the likely scenario is possibly user-error rather than ineffectualness of the product itself.
I have used the Tea Tree & E spot treatment by Derma E for awhile now... it is very thick and can be annoying to use, and takes patience and time to work, but using it I can usually fight the occasional painful bumps and more severe blemishes. Due to the difficult creme texture but the seemingly successful properties of the TTO in it, I decided to try the pure 100% tea tree oil (brand Cococare, purchased on iHerb) instead, without diluting it and without any real care or caution in the application.
And sadly I can count myself among those with a completely negative skin reaction to it. It dried out one bad pimple I had which I was excited about initially and used it on more smaller blemishes on the left side of my face with some success, but soon thereafter it purged drastically in the same areas, and three weeks later, it still is. :( I've made no changes otherwise in my skincare routine, drink enough water every day and TTOTM is past, and my skin is clear everywhere save for the left side where this was used, where I have a two serious clusters of multiple deep pimples badly near my chin and a less serious (still unpleasant) one on my cheek. My routine is not helping those consistently worsening areas like it is the rest of my skin, it's very discouraging and I don't really know what to do to correct it now. So, my advice is just to really know what you're doing before you use this on sensitive acne-prone skin, and proceed with utmost caution if you do go for it, because I am fully certain this is the cause of these current problems I'm having.
Moisturizers -Clinique - Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel
emgb 5/7/2013 5:17:00 PM
Another dud which makes me sad. :( The gel formula is very nice and it absorbed easily and hydrated my skin well. It was also great under my makeup but then, clogging and breakout mania. The worst move on my part is that I did patch-test on the side and back of my neck for about a week and got acne, but still risked it and tried using it on my face. I was asking for it, I guess. Still then, I recommend if you're acne-prone to do that first and decide whether or not to take the chance.
Eye Shadow -Stila - Travel Palette - Vibrant in Vancouver
emgb 5/6/2013 6:03:00 PM
This is my first Stila purchase and I love it! :) I don't often review eyeshadow but I have to for this palette! It at $10 from Sephora includes five eyeshadows and one convertible color for lips and cheeks. The compact is super cute and convenient! Perfect packaging with the magnet closure and a good mirror. I am very, very fair-skinned with dark hair and have brownish-hazel eyes, and these shades are really perfect and complimentary. I'm not always the best at being able to create a good, subtle smokey eye for the day, and this palette makes it completely doable. I haven't tried the convertible color as a blush yet, but it has a very plastic scent that didn't make it the most appealing lip product, but it is a pretty color! The shadows are 'English Bay' (shimmery pale pink highlight), 'Cypress' (shimmery olive-gold), 'Seaplane' (shimmery, gorgeous goldish-green), 'Granville' (matte taupe) and 'Cool Harbour' (matte deep brown). The convertible color is 'Tiger Lily', a shimmery rosey-coral pink. My only complaint if there was one is about that color.. maybe instead of it another light, matte shadow would have been nice but it's ok regardless! Worth the buy for fair skin tones, and great for brown and hazel (and I'm sure for green!) eyes! :)
Hair Color -L'Oreal - Healthy Look Creme Gloss Color
emgb 5/6/2013 5:13:00 PM
I hope that they never discontinue this. It is the only semi-permanent dye left that I really love since Natural Instincts changed their formula. I have used two shades, the #3 Darkest Brown (Espresso) which I colored my hair with earlier in the year, and #4 Dark Brown (Dark Chocolate) this past weekend. The #3 is as expected, a very dark brown/soft black. The color was great and exactly what I wanted at the time. The #4 is even better and exactly what I wanted this time. It is a dark brown with more brownish-red highlights.
I think the application is really easy and the results are even. I leave it in for 20 minutes, also. I don't love the conditioner that comes with it as it isn't very hydrating on my hair, but that's a very small con to what otherwise is a very nice hair color. Apart from that, once I again use my regular conditioner, my hair is very shiny and soft. Lastly, I agree with some that it does last much longer than a month.. my hair was still pretty dark when I redyed it. Still, it still looked pretty natural and nowhere near as crazy root grow-out, fade-city as a permanent dye would have after 4-5 months. I will continue to use it and maybe explore some other shades! :)
Blargh! And yet again I fall for an overhyped and overpriced product. I'm tired of those two things coinciding and willingly falling victim. :P Sadly, I have nothing good to say for this tanner. I'm as white and ghostly as it gets, which in spite of receiving some great ridicule for throughout the years, I for the most part happily embrace and have no problems with being pale. It then is a big deal when I state that this winter has been so long, cold and depressing and being trapped indoors for months and months has made even me cringe at how dull my skintone is and thought I should do something about it. I was persuaded by all of the rave reviews that said this mousse gives a natural-looking tan and smells good, but nothing about it worked and I followed the instructions to the tee. I'm guess I'm just too fair for it, and a natural-looking tan it was not. I tested it/applied it on my legs only to be on the safe side in case I needed to hide potentially bad results. The application was easy and came out evenly, but it reeks just like every other self-tanner does after a few hours and the color was totally orange. Honestly a terrible color result, and I have tried a few other gradual tanners (Jergens and Banana Boat) and even those turned out better. Worst of all, I had a reaction to this product consisting of bumps and itchiness that have not subsided. :( Hate to be a kill-joy amidst all of the love for it, but it was just a complete bomb for me.
I love this product so much that holy grail seems like an understatement. Without it, I really would break down and cry. I have been using this since 2008, and nothing has ever come close to it. For the heck of it I have tried other BP treatments throughout the years, from Oxy, Clean & Clear, etc., and they all dried out my skin instantly and broke me out more. I've learned not to stray from this, because it just doesn't fail. It is a miracle in a bottle if you are consistent with it. The gel is light and gentle on my skin, I know it is varies with everyone but personally I find any drying to be very minimal with this product compared to others, and I use it with a strong BP cleanser (X-Out.. and which isn't recommended for the regimen, whoops :P), and I still have little to no dryness combining it with this treatment. The amount of BP is perfectly effective without being overboard and I'm thankful for Dan Kern's help on how to properly cleanse and treat your skin too as he instructs on their website. I have learned a lot from his method, and while my skin isn't completely and flawlessly clear (diet and hormone related acne, typically), this helps control it unlike anything else. When I routinely use this, I never have to worry about about some sudden, massive breakout. If I slack on using this, it is a totally different story and I know this is what makes the difference.
Masks -Unlisted Brand - Aztec - Indian Healing Clay
emgb 4/1/2013 1:53:00 AM
Upon reading all of the hype, I had to give this mask a chance! I have extremely sensitive skin that is acne-prone and even if it is said to be safe and recommended, there is no way I am using ACV on it. I feel my skin begin to burn and turn bright red at the mere thought. So, I have used this mask three times, mixing it with water and applying it with a foundation brush, leaving it to dry for about 15-20 minutes. I do get the pulsating effect that is a bit annoying but not unbearable. Unbearable is when I have applied it to my neck, even just under my jawline and chin, and it gets extremely itchy and tight, very uncomfortable, so never again will I make that mistake. My skin is definitely brighter after use, it does deep clean my pores and minimizes the blackheads on my nose that ordinarily nothing will cure. This stuff is harsh, however, and I do find it to be drying. Also having such acne-prone skin that I **finally** have learned to manage in the last few years makes using this mask less appealing because I know it does purge pimples from beneath the surface, even within the matter of time I use it, when acne appears that wasn't there 20 minutes before. It could be true that the blemish would have surfaced eventually anyway, that this helps you deal with it now rather than later, but I'm not completely sure about that given the success I have had with my skincare routine at keeping breakouts from forming. I feel discouraged when that happens w/ this mask because it is like I'm needlessly tampering with the effective routine I have by using something so powerful that immediately causes breakouts, so with all that said, I don't think this product is for me. Hopefully I can find a different mask with the same good cleansing and blackhead-eliminating effects that this does, that doesn't make me an instant pizza face in the process and dry out my skin at the same time.
UPDATE, 4/12/13: Upped rating from 3 lippies to 4. I tried mixing this with witch hazel (Dickinson's 100%) and now we're getting somewhere! It worked much better than water at making the consistency of the mask easier to work with and my skin was even brighter and actually soft and smooth. Also not drying, which is weird because sometimes witch hazel is on my skin. I still broke out a little but not as bad this time and I recovered from it faster. I recommend trying with WH if water isn't working or if you're scared of ACV like me! :) & I know I swore it off sort of before, but I just have so much of it and it really does deep clean my pores... I have to use it up and if I have success again, I may repurchase.
Update, número dos! 4/23/13: Ok, now I caved with the ACV and have used it with the mask twice. It turned my skin every shade of red that I thought it would and my skin felt the most dry of anything I have used it with, but it seriously cleaned out my pores best. Despite the acne and some redness I have, my skin looks so clean and smooth. With moisturizer and an hour or so, the redness went away, also. I'm a believer.. because I think this will be a good weekly mask to help clarify my skin after a week of makeup, foundation, etc. and such. :D (I think this is the most obnoxious review I've ever written with all of the updates)
This is a really great foundation! Like a dumdum, I tore off most of the seal/sticker and now do not know exactly which shade I'm using, but I believe it's LF1 which is one of the fairest shades with yellow undertones. The shade selection for pale skintones is unlike any other drugstore brand, including L'Oreal who I usually feel has the best light shades. I have very fair white skin (the kind that never sees the sun) and when that is the case and in my experience, you often are looking for even one shade lighter of liquid fdtn and then use slightly darker powder on top so you don't look like a wacko. That said, this is the most perfect match I have found so far. It is a great, natural match for me and to make it even more perfect, it doesn't oxidize and turn orange on me! It is moisturizing and the lasting power is very good with primer underneath and a quality powder. On the negative, I think it did break me out a tad (took one lippie off for that) and also settles into my smile lines, but most all products do and for a shade and formula otherwise so perfect, I'm not going to complain. Well worth the price and I'm excited to try more products from this line!
BB Cream -Too Faced - Tinted Beauty Balm Multi-Benefit Skin Care Makeup
emgb 2/21/2013 5:29:00 PM
This is my first go with a BB cream. I resisted the hype for a long time until I stumbled on this while shopping Sephora and was entirely drawn in by the Snow Glow shade. I am extremely pale year round, with problem skin, and this winter has made it much more difficult to deal with my fair tone, acne problems and blotchy, dry skin. As it happens, initially the color matched perfectly and I was impressed by how well it evened out my skin. I still needed foundation and concealer, but it canceled out so much of the redness beforehand, is very hydrating and primed the skin nicely and my other makeup applied like a dream. By mid-morning/noon, it turned orange and maybe it was just bad to apply it under that fdtn, but still super disappointing. I have used it a few times since, once with with just concealer and powder over it, and tried again with a different fdtn, and the perfect light shade changed again each time. Most pressing complaint, add me to the list of those breaking out because of it. :( I have many small bumps all over and a more severe, icky breakout on my chin. For that, I must discontinue use. Even though it didn't work for long, however, hats off to Too Faced for this shade. It is/was pretty perfect. :/
Toners -Thayers - Rose Petal Alcohol Free Witch Hazel
emgb 1/16/2013 2:57:00 PM
This is a very good toner! I used to include it more regularly in my routine until the cold weather kicked in and I feel this dried out my skin a bit if I used it daily (which worked just fine in the summer). Hence the four lippies! So I use it now if I want to quickly refresh my skin and get rid of shine when I can't truly wash my face. My skin feels soft and clean, not tight like it would after using Dickinson's Witch Hazel. I don't feel like it ever broke me out so that is a big plus, and a little goes a long way so you get a lot of use out of one bottle. I've always been somewhat skeptical of toners but I think this one is legitimate and lives up to the hype.
Moisturizers -Boscia - Oil Free Daily Hydration SPF 15
emgb 12/23/2012 8:29:00 PM
If you have oily skin or deal with makeup meltdown because of it (or due to your makeup and moisturizer maybe), this cream really knocks out that problem for me. I don't know why or how or what ingredient is so effective, but it really keeps oil at bay so well and my makeup really stays put with this underneath it. Negatives are that for a 1.4 oz tube, I don't see why it can't cost a bit less than $36 at Sephora. Put it in an actual bottle and make it more cost effective and I would be totally sold. Also it is not ideal for this time of year. It wouldn't be best for dry winter skin if you have it; not really hydrating enough. Still an impressive cream though for how well it banishes oil. Please someone just lower the price or make it more worth the price by offering it in a larger size.
I too received the deluxe sample of this mascara in a Sephora order and I'm impressed with it. The brush I was like 'huh?' when I first looked at it but it really works with the shape of my eyes and I'm able to really get every lash and corner, and I've never had such ease with my bottom lashes as I do with this. I don't have very long lashes but they are thick, and after curling them this mascara I feel does a good job of lengthening and adding extra volume. The result is long and thick, but very natural looking at the same time. It doesn't give me the full, false lash look at all, which I generally prefer but I like this more subtle result too. At $28 for a full size, I'm probably going to stick to Maybelline/The Falsies, but it has been worth the try and the price is the worst thing I can say about it. If it was a bit less expensive, I would purchase it.
Amazing, amazing, amazing powder. Best ever for me. Expensive, but not remotely unhappy with the purchase! Well worth the price over any inexpensive powder that gives me a cakeface look. The shade (OC-1 natural light ochre) is great; my skin is very fair with yellow undertones. As a standalone foundation, it didn't do much as I have some acne and scarring that I need more coverage for. It definitely won't cover acne on its own, I'm afraid. As a finishing powder over my regular True Match liquid foundation, it is amazing. I use the E.L.F. studio flat powder brush for this and it looks flawless. Blemishes disappear, redness is canceled out and as the other reviewer stated, the powder finish is just like natural skin. No cakey matte look, and no fake glittery glow either. It just makes my skin look so much healthier and NO makeup meltdown or fading with it either. It stays in place all day and with very little to no shine. This is a really quality product and I will certainly buy it again, also I hope to try more from this brand. This again is pricey, and as far as packaging, I'm disappointed that the compact is not included with it, but it's definitely worth the buy.
I bought this in Cinnamon Crush, which is a pure nude shade with a very light brown tone. I'm so in love with this formula! It is soft, creamy, and smells so good. The color is really pretty. A little lighter of a nude than I usually wear, it's just a smidge darker than the concealer-light type nude shade, because I have very fair skin I wasn't sure about it at first, but it is very flattering and the smooth, matte appearance is gorgeous. I feel like the lasting power is pretty average.. maybe a few hours at best for me before needing to reapply but I don't mind. The color and finish is so pretty and it is not a drying formula, so I look forward to trying more of the shades.
Skincare - Face -Pro Activ - X Out Acne Wash-In Treatment
emgb 11/14/2012 2:35:00 AM
I haven't seen many written, detailed reviews for this online so I thought I would start! This will be long, but only because I have had success with it and hope others will too! I began to see ads for this earlier in the year and was skeptical of it because of all of my acne problems throughout the years with nothing really helping (ProActiv system being one of those disappointments) and not really knowing how to care for my skin. But, as I know benzoyl peroxide does work best for me I decided to give it a try. Onto the review!
ORDERING/PRICING: The ordering system I assume is similar to ProActiv, so you have to be on top of things and postpone the renewal if you don't want to be billed and receive a new kit every month. That part is a joke and seems sort of like robbery to me, so be forewarned. When I called to postpone it, the girl I spoke to was very nice and set it back to January, saying the 1 month supply should last a long time and she was right, as my bottle from early July seems to still be going strong. It is just something to be careful about. Order it when you need it, don't let them ship it to you every month... totally unnecessary.
PRODUCT DETAILS: It contains 8.5% benzoyl peroxide, some sort of coconut extract/cleanser, vitamin F (fatty acids) and glycerin for moisturizing, and menthol because... to make it tingly and smell minty I guess? :P The texture of it is much like toothpaste; thick and has a grainy consistency. The scent I have become so used to that I don't even notice it anymore, but at first it could be a bit strong, just the combination of benzoyl peroxide and menthol is how it smells. The bar of soap you receive with the kit (it contains salicylic acid) is good if you have any acne on your shoulders, back, etc. but could be irritating if used too often. It has a very grainy/scratchy texture (like so much so that it will scratch your skin if you aren't careful) and is very soapy. I don't plan to throw it out, it isn't bad, but just my opinion that it could be drying if used too roughly or too often.
EFFECTIVENESS: I have used this since July 2012. I regret that I didn't do a week-by-week analysis of it starting out but I can say that it took a good 2-3 months before I began to see my skin clearing. Patience was there which was an absolute must because it paid off big time. At first it caused a lot of redness, which I attribute to myself for not being gentle enough. It is definitely more on the exfoliant level, think the ProActiv cleanser but even thicker consistency, so you don't have to be rough. On first impression, aside from the redness, I really liked how well it cleansed my skin. It really powers through your pores, rids of oil and makeup. Doesn't do much for the blackheads on my nose, sadly.. but otherwise, it is effective at cleansing. It rinses clean, no oily feeling or residue, but no tight, dry skin either. After use, my skin is smooth and visibly clean. You only need a pea size amount for each use, and forget the "cleanse for 2 minutes" instruction, just 30-60 seconds is a-ok for me. Once the graniness of it dissolves and it is smooth, that is when I rinse it off. Over time I began to mix it with my previous cleanser choice (L'Oreal Go 360 Clean for sensitive skin), and I have been happy with that. I know that the big draw of it is that along with being a cleanser, it is a treatment too but given the severity of my acne problem, that wasn't really enough so I continue to use my Acne.org BP treatment daily. These products in unison have not been drying. I use Derma E's Tea Tree & E cream for spot treatments now, and that has taken control over painful bumps. I don't mean to scoff at the 'leave-in' treatment note because X-Out being that really does help make it easy to keep up a routine and does do a few extra steps with the cleansing + exfoliating quality with a medicated product.
CONCLUSION: After over 5 months of use along with the other products listed, my skin has gone from constant, significant breakouts to generally clear skin with very small acne recurrences. As I type this, I have four small pimples and a few tiny spots here and there. But the general acne I used to struggle with every day is seemingly over. It isn't all gone, but a huge improvement over the dozens of zits I had before. I strongly feel the worst is over, as this routine has worked and I am getting past the teenage/hormonal acne stage which also helps a great deal. As a standalone product, I don't know what my result would have been but the combination with my other HG choices made it happen. If you're looking and feel hopeless, give it a shot and be patient, find your own routine to make it work for you, and I do think and hope that you will see improvement too! :)