After several weeks of use I'm bumping this to 5 stars. I actually enjoy cleansing my face with this at night because of the wonderful light apricot/nectarine scent! Very gentle and does a good job taking makeup off. Plus the dry patches on my cheeks (combo skin) have softened. Not good for deep cleansing, heavy makeup removal, or use in the shower. It it works best applied to dry skin, followed by massage and warm water rinse. But if you're looking for a gentle natural cleanser for your nightly skin care routine, this is definitely worth a try.
Loose Powders -E.L.F. - Studio High Definition Powder
Rina7 5/25/2010 12:48:00 PM
I used to use BE Mineral Veil, and I was skeptical how a $6 powder would perform, but this is now my go-to for setting both powder and liquid makeup as well as concealer. Stays matte for longer than Mineral Veil (but not very long if you have oily skin). Does have a white cast if applied too heavily, but on my combo skin that disappears in an hour.
Eyeliner -Milani - Liquif'eye Metallic Eyeliner Pencil - brown
Rina7 5/22/2010 5:01:00 PM
Revised review: Great eyeliner if you don't have oily lids or perennial problems with eyeliner transferring onto your lower lid. The pencil glides on smoothly without dragging at all, and the brown is very dark, almost black. Unfortunately, after several uses I had to admit that despite various precautionary steps, this liner still smudged onto my lower lid within 4 hours. Also noticed that the liner never seemed to completely set; a gentle dab of finger or tissue always came away with a line of pigment. Because of this I've finally given up on liner pencils, and will stick to liquids from now on.
I have this in Rosey and Brownie, which both have a creamy sheen (no frost). Nice color payoff for a tinted lip balm, basically a sheer lipstick with moisture. Requires re-app every couple of hours but since it looks like a lip balm instead of a lipstick, I feel free to apply it anywhere--for instance on the trail with my hiking buddies-- without feeling ridiculous for putting "makeup" on in public. For me, Rosey is almost like raspberry (pinky rose with a blue undertone) except a bit lighter. A nice fresh color except I think it's a bit "young" for me. Brownie is more sophisticated, a pinky-brown. Both feel smooth on my lips. Also have Orange which is more sheer, not crazy about the color because it doesn't layer well with my berry toned lips.
Revised review: This is one of the most expensive products in the Dream line, $15 for a half ounce tub. Fairly good eye area moisturizer, but otherwise no "lift" or other improvement for me after several weeks of use. The Good: I got to order it unscented, and it is non-greasy. The So-So: Cream texture is almost too lightweight for an eye cream and it takes a bit of massaging (rather than light tapping) to make it soak into the skin. I did custom order a richer version but still found it too light to keep it moisturized long enough to keep those end-of-day crow's feet at bay--an issue for someone pushing 40. I switched over to the Samphire eye cream by Body Time, which is richer.
Skincare - Face -Dream Products - Face Dream Night Lotion
Rina7 5/21/2010 1:58:00 PM
Lately my skin needs more moisturizing power, but all the products I've tried break me out or are scented (which I can't stand). After reading MUA reviews, I ordered Face Dram Night Lotion in medium consistency, without AHA/BHA or scents. I liked the way my face positively drank it up, and requested a sample of a richer formulation for night, and an SPF formulation for day. Gotta hand it to Denise for great customer service there. The samples, like the original, smell like baby powder which I'm not too crazy about. Anyway, I now use the richer formulation (still very fast absorbing) under sunscreen for day. The SPF formulation seems to have no physical sunblocks like zinc oxide and has a stronger smell, so I don't really use it. For night use I'm going with a jojoba cream from Body Time for the time being, which does a better job balancing my combo skin.
Edit: I've downgraded this review after trying an Estee Lauder concealer is a much better color match, and Hanskin BB cream works much better as a brightener without accentuating the bags under my eyes. --- Original review: I'm on the fence about this product but (fortunately or unfortunately) it's the best I've found so far. On the plus side, it stays put a long time and doesn't flake or look chalky after a long day of wear (applied over eye cream with a stiff concealer brush, and under bit of loose powder). The Medium matches my skin okay, considering it is pink and I have yellow-undertone fair-medium skin (NC25). It doesn't seem to accentuate fine lines but has a subtle (not sparkly) brightening effect. On the minus side, I wish it came in more shades and that it did a better job concealing dark circles. Also, this product slighly accentuates the bags under my eyes and makes my lower lids look a bit more crepey. I still use it because, overall, my undereye area looks better with it than without it. But there's definite room for improvement so I'm still on the hunt for my HG concealer. ETA: I'm adding 1 lippie because I find myself using it every day and getting better at applying it. Now I blend it in most of the way with a brush and then pat finish with a fingertip. Still hunting for my HG concealer though.
Bronzers -New York Color - Smooth Skin Bronzing Face Powder in Sunny 720
Rina7 5/17/2010 12:56:00 AM
I think the correct name for this is NYC Smooth Skin Bronzing Powder, which looks exactly like the picture shown. Anyway, I like that it is matte and doesn't scream "bronzer" on my skin (Asian fair-medium, NC-25). Looks natural and subtle when applied with a loose-bristle face brush. I also apply it with a flat-headed blush brush contour my cheeks, and like how natural it looks (as opposed to aggressively contoured.) The packaging sucks (annoying clasp that doesn't work unless I slide the lid sideways) and the applicator sponge is useless. But otherwise quite functional and a steal for less than 3 bucks.
Concealers -Revlon - Age Defying Moisturizing Concealer (New) [DISCONTINUED]
Rina7 5/13/2010 3:04:00 PM
Found the Light-Medium way too light for my NC25 skin (surprising because my eye area is lighter than the rest of my face). I like the light texture of the concealer, it applies well with a stiff concealer brush and it has decent coverage--I would say slightly more coverage than Neutrogena 3-in-1 concealer (which is also labeled as moisturizing). However, it's a bit drying, and looked a little flaky by the end of the day. I'm going to withhold judgment on that part until I find a better eye cream and try the Medium to see if that eliminates the "dry" look that too-light concealer can create.
My favorite shower gel! If you're looking for a gentle shower gel that isn't t over-loaded with lotion or perfume, this is for you. It is lightly moisturizing, doesn't leave a sticky film but a clean, light layer of moisture. I love the Yuzu (citrus) scent in particular, nice wake-up in the mornings. Note: TJ's swapped this out for their own brand (especially the citrus scented one), but it's not the same formula and doesn't have colloidal oatmeal like Shi Kai, so it's not as gentle. Bummed because now I have to pay full price at Whole Food's.
Cleansers -Unlisted Brand - Body Time Clarifying Cleanser for All Skin Types
Rina7 5/13/2010 2:40:00 PM
This is an unscented liquid cleanser that is gentle and rinses off clean without over-stripping your skin. Great for my combination, sensitive skin. Removes makeup, except for some products that always require a special makeup remover. It comes in functional, no-frills packaging just like all Body Time products--in this case a squeeze bottle with a flip top. It's a little bit more expensive than a typical drug store brand, though: $10.75 for 8 oz (also comes in 4oz and 16 oz). You can find it in one of the Body Time stores in and around Berkeley, CA or online. It really cut down on my acne when I switched over years ago to this from (gasp!) soap. My husband started to use it recently because it's so much less drying than soap. I always follow up with Body Time Aloe Vera Freshener (a gentle witch hazel based toner) and moisturizer. I'm looking for a different cleanser now that my skin is aging and needs more moisture, but so far this outperforms much more expensive products.
Treatments (Eye) -Burt's Bees - Repair Serum with Attar of Rose
Rina7 5/13/2010 2:19:00 PM
First impressions: I was hoping this would be a good sub for Decelor oil which I had to return because it broke me out, but the Burt's Bees Repair Serum doesn't have anything a dewy, instant brightening effect. It's okay for night use but I was surprised to find that it still leaves my cheeks kind of dry. In fact, I tried another cream on top of the dry patches but the oil seems to act as a barrier to the oil-free moisturizer, so that my cheeks were still dry afterwards. During the day I tried using it just around my eyes, but it really messes with my makeup, and doesn't have the all-day moisturizing power that I need to keep crows feet from appearing at the end of the day.
Revised review: It does feel like rubbing lotion on your face and rinsing it off, and it leaves a film... unless, it turns out, you ignore the directions and use really warm water instead of the recommended lukewarm water. Then it does a better job of cleansing and rinsing off. I like that it doesn't leave my skin dry. However, it's not as good at cleaning my pores or removing makeup as my old cleanser, and gets in the way of exfoliating with a face cloth. I like Earth Science A-D-E Cream Cleanser much better.
Moisturizers -Aveda - green science Firming Face Creme
Rina7 5/2/2010 3:59:00 AM
It's been very hard for me to find a moisturizer for my (increasingly dry) face that doesn't make me break out and that doesn't have perfume. This is the best thing I've found so far on both counts. My skin is pretty sensitive but this doesn't make me react. Not sure about firming, but it's not making things worse. Works pretty decently as an eye cream too. The biggest downside is the heavy texture, which means I can only use it as a night cream and on cold/dry days. For this kind of heavy texture I expect more hydration than this cream delivers. Good enough to use until it runs out, then it's onto another.
Eyes -Bare Escentuals - Weather Everything Liner Sealer
Rina7 4/30/2010 1:11:00 PM
The liner on my upper lid always smudges onto my lower lid, even if it's waterproof/"smudgeproof". This product worked pretty well for a while sealing in eyeliner for most of the day--both BE liner and regular liner, though it changed the color of the latter a bit. Sad to say that after a couple of weeks of near-daily use, I got a small sty/whitehead on my eyelid (I guess this seals pores too) and had to stop using it.