I've had moderate, persistent acne for over 15 years; my skin has never been covered in pimples, but it's never without at least a few, and in the severe forms. I fared pretty well with a BHA/BP combo, and was reasonably happy with Diacneal, but I was really, really hoping the move to rx retinoids would be exactly what I needed to be completely clear. Unfortunately, after close to 6 months of religiously using Differin, I have to say it's just not the one for me. My skin can be sensitive, so I have been thrilled with how non-irritating Differin was for me...It never dried me out, never irritated me, never even so much as tingled. But it also never did anything. I purged really badly in the beginning, rode it out because I thought it would get better... And it did get better than the purging stage, but never back to as good as my skin was with just the BHA and BP routine. After months of feeling far worse about my skin while using the product I had such high hopes for, I've given up and returned to BHA and BP (plus Finacea), and things are already looking up.
Liquid -Make Up For Ever - Mat Velvet PLUS Matifying Foundation
EternalKudra 2/7/2009 7:19:00 PM
I tried a generous sample of this from Sephora a few months ago, and I liked the finish and the lasting power, but it broke me out. Not big, deep, vicious pimples, but the little bitty ones I generally only get from products my skin disagrees with. I kept waiting a while and trying it again, and it was obvious that this was the culprit. Also, even though I liked the way it looked, I felt like it took a lot to get the coverage I wanted, which surprised me since I had heard this was pretty heavy stuff. I think it's worth trying a sample of, but I personally obviously wouldn't purchase.
Liquid -Shiseido - Sun Protection Liquid Foundation SPF 42 PA+++
EternalKudra 2/7/2009 7:08:00 PM
Knocking on wood here, but it's possible that I've found my HG foundation. I've used mineral foundations for quite a few years, and there have always been things I wasn't 100% happy with about them, but I still preferred them to liquid. I love, love, love Shiseido's spf 55 cream, though, so I thought it was worth trying the foundation version. So far, I'm thrilled. It feels even lighter than my minerals on, not much different than the sunscreen, but it's still decent coverage without having to pile it on. It's pretty matte (which I like), but not in a too-flat way. My skin tends to not be an oil slick on its own but turns into an oil slick when I wear foundation; I've had this stuff on for about 7 hours now and I could use a blot, but it's still there, still providing coverage, and still looks good. I'm an NC15ish, and I got SP10. I know some NCs have said that shade is too pink, but I'm more warm-neutral than extremely yellow undertoned. This is the most I've ever spent on a foundation, but a little goes a long way (even on my pretty awful skin), and as long as it doesn't break me out, I'll repurchase for sure. Update 2/14: A week later, I'm just loving this stuff more and more. I can't believe it's possible for something with such good coverage to feel so weightless on. No breakouts, and while I know they can take a while to surface, I tend to at least get tiny bumps within a few days if a product is going to cause me trouble. Update 3/6: Yup, definitely HG status. I would know by now for sure if this stuff was going to break me out, and it hasn't. I just keep loving it more and more. It's everything I never thought I'd find in a foundation. I will add, though, that it will accentuate flakes if you don't moisturize first...but don't all foundations do that? This is as close to foundation perfection as I think I'll ever come.
Concealers -Make Up For Ever - Extreme Camouflage Cream
EternalKudra 8/30/2008 8:41:00 PM
I never review products after only one use, but wow. This one deserves it. I wore this stuff for the first time today, and spent 6 hours in the sun, in 85+ degree weather, and in and out of a pool, and it still looks like I just applied it. I mean, a concealer that survives those kind of conditions? I didn't think there was any such thing. It's matte, full coverage, and doesn't feel bad on. Of course it picks up on flaky spots a touch, I think any matte product will, but I'd rather be concealed and flaky than bright red and flaky. I'm purging badly from Differin right now, so until I can (hopefully!) have clear skin, being able to at least feel better about being seen in public is well worth the $30 I spent on this stuff. And a little really does go a long, long way; the fine tip on the tube makes it very easy to dispense a really small amount. I'm an NC15-20, and I'm using this in 4.
My skin is dehydrated and a bit flaky from acne treatments but still prone to getting somewhat oily throughout the day, so I'm always searching for the elusive sunscreen that will be slightly moisturizing but still fairly matte. I picked this one up as a temporary replacement for my HG Shiseido 55 cream, and I must say I'm pretty impressed with it. I think calling it a moisturizer is a bit of a stretch, as it still feels more like a sunscreen than anything else and I don't think it would be enough for those in need of some heavy duty moisture. But it's moisturizing enough for me, without being greasy or slimy. It's not as matte as the Shiseido, and I get a bit shinier as the day goes on with this one, but it's a pretty nice, relatively matte finish. I'll still be buying the Shiseido when this one runs out, but it's definitely something I would buy again if I'm in need of something cheaper.
Words cannot express my love of this blush. It's the most gorgeous, natural, sandy, rosy, golden color. How's that for a clear description? It's one of those colors that has dimension; it looks more like a very light, almost taupe-y bronze in the jar, but when applied it has a golden rose sheen to it. It's a subtle color, but buildable, and even when applied very lightly it just has a super nice glow. I've never quite gotten used to blush on myself; I can do a dramatic eye and think nothing of it, but I always feel just a little "overdone" with blush. Not so with this one! I own and love so many EM blushes, and yet I find myself reaching for this one constantly now. Hands down, my absolute HG everyday blush.
This might finally be my HG cleanser, or at least the closest I'll come. When I first started using it, I thought it left a slight residue that irritated me. But I think that was due to it not thoroughly removing m/u and sunscreen. Now, I pre-cleanse with safflower oil at night at then follow with Aquanil, and I'm left with super soft skin. I have never had a cleanser I could use both morning and night without being dry, but this one is working just fine for twice daily use (I've used it twice a day consistently for about a month now). Even though I've started using retinoids, my skin is still less dry now than it was with less harsh treatments and my old cleanser. I also really like the feel of this stuff on my skin, and the price is certainly right. The reason I'm giving it a 4 and not a 5 is because it would really be ideal if it also removed makeup well, but I'm kind of thinking there's no such thing as a cleanser this gentle that also removes makeup. Oh well! All things considered, I'm really happy with Aquanil.
Treatments -Avene - Diacneal Acne Treatment [DISCONTINUED]
EternalKudra 7/13/2008 4:52:00 AM
I'm entering into my 4th week of Diacneal use, so it's still early to judge a retinoid. But I figured I'd offer my experience so far, and I'll update if anything changes. Overall, I'm pretty darn happy with the results I'm getting from this. I used it every other night for a little over a week, then moved up to nightly. I've had some super dry days, one near the beginning where my skin actually felt like it was cracking, but that's passed and I can use it nightly without irritation. I had a little breakout that I think was purging in the second-third week, I was afraid it was clogging me, but that seems to have subsided. I only have 2 little active pimples right now, but it's that time of the month when I typically have gigantic cysts, and the fact that I don't is truly amazing. This also faded old red marks from healed cysts almost immediately, which I'm assuming is more due to the glycolic acid rather than the retinoid. Some of the more comedonal, persistent, closed bumps on my face have become temporarily inflamed but then quickly turned into small dry patches which peeled off leaving smooth skin underneath. And overall, the texture of my skin is very nice and smooth, my enlarged pores are looking a bit better. The only thing I haven't found it to be effective for yet are blackheads; mine return if I don't keep up with using BHA at least a few times a week in addition to this. My acne is fairly moderate in quantity but severe in type and persistence (usually always at least a few majorly inflamed pimples or cysts at any given time) so I went into this expecting Diacneal to be my entry level retinoid before I moved up to something stronger, and the jury is still out on whether that will be the case. But for anyone with mild acne, or easily irritated skin who wants to start slow with retinoids, I think this is a really excellent product. Edit: since moving on to Differin, I find that even *less* irritating than Diacneal. If you can get a stronger retinoid with less irritation, often less expensively, it seems to me that Differin might be the more logical place to start. It's worth noting that I have no idea if the Differin would have been more irritating had I not already used the Diacneal first, though.
Oh, how I hate falling in love with expensive products. I asked for a sample of this at Sephora, and they gave me a really generous sample, so I've been test-driving it for almost a week now. I love that it sinks in and dries quickly and matte, yet isn't drying like the Neutrogena I usually use is. In fact, if I'm in a hurry and don't have time to let moisturizer sink in before I apply sunscreen, this stuff is okay on my skin even without moisturizer under it. I don't love the scent, but I don't hate it either. I do love that it feels like I'm putting some kind of nice cream on my face every morning instead of slathering it with hard to spread goop, which is how sunscreens usually make me feel. I'm not thrilled about the price. But still, this is the kind of product that makes me willing to spend more than I normally would.
Skincare - Face -Unlisted Brand - High Linoleic Safflower Oil
EternalKudra 7/9/2008 3:56:00 PM
I've only been using this for a few days so I'll update if something changes, but right now I'm in love. I can't believe an oil is the thing that finally solved my cleanser issues! Thanks to this oil thoroughly removing makeup, I can finally use a super gentle cleanser both morning and night instead of using something drying for the sake of getting my makeup off. I use the oil on dry skin, wipe off with a dry cloth, and then follow with a gentle cleanser. After, my skin feels softer than it has ever felt post-cleansing, like I've actually done something slightly hydrating instead of stripping. I don't mind the way the oil feels on my skin, and it has no scent. Unless it starts breaking me out, I'll keep using this forever.
Treatments -Paula's Choice - Blemish Fighting Solution
EternalKudra 6/19/2008 4:39:00 AM
My skin is slightly oily but easily dried out by products, and I was a bit flaky when I first started using this as an all over treatment, but my skin adjusted fairly quickly and now it leaves my skin feeling great. I usually use it at night, but it sinks in so quickly and leaves such a nice finish, I can use it in the day on spots I feel need the twice a day treatment. You don't get much for the price, but it's thin and liquidy and a little goes a long way. And of course the most important factor: It works well for me for preventing blemishes and treating small ones. I do disagree, though, that 2.5% BP is as effective as higher concentrations. When I get large nasty pimples, Persagel used one or two nights as a spot treatment clears those up much, much more quickly than this stuff alone. But for an all over treatment, which my skin requires, this stuff is effective and gentle at the same time.
Sunscreen -Neutrogena - Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock SPF 30
EternalKudra 6/19/2008 4:29:00 AM
I'm having a love/hate relationship with this sunscreen. It's cheap and easy to find, doesn't sting my sensitive skin when I apply it, leaves my skin feeling really soft and matte, and doesn't turn greasy on me. But I also have to wait a really long time before applying it after my moisturizer or else it kind of balls up, I feel like it's drying my skin out a bit overall, and I think it might be contributing to some clogged pores. For now I'll keep repurchasing it as there's enough I like about it (and am also going to try the spf 55 version, as that one is stabilized), but I'm seriously considering coughing up the money for Sheseido. I wish Neutrogena would make an SPF version of my HG moisturizer (Fresh Ultra Light), then all my problems would be solved!
Eye Shadow -Everyday Minerals - Cypress Eye Shadow
EternalKudra 6/12/2008 1:44:00 AM
I am a green e/s junkie, and this is the shade I have been looking for forever and have never quite been able to find. It's a shimmery, warm, golden olive green. Not too light, not too dark, not gray like some olives are. I've bought so many colors I hoped would be just like this, and have discovered quite a few lovely green shadows along the way, but they were always a little different than what I had in mind. This one is it. I'm taking off one lippie because I have to use it wet or else it slides off my eyelid midday (even with primer). But the extra step in application is worth it for this color.
This was my first fluidline, and it replaced Teddy kohl and Bountiful Brown powerpoint as my most frequently reached for eyeliner. On me, this isn't anywhere close to too light, it's a nice rich color. I feel like I can do anything from minimalist to dramatic with it depending on the shadows I pair it with. I agree with everything that has been said about the amazing staying power. I've bought two more fluidlines since buying this one, but this is still my default color.
Makeup Brushes -Sephora - Professional Angle Brush
EternalKudra 6/6/2008 12:35:00 AM
Angled brush, where have you been all my life? I've wanted the MAC 266 for years and just have never brought myself to spend almost $20 on it. Finally I decided to give this Sephora one a shot for $13 (the black Professional #15 one with the short handle, not the platinum one), and I absolutely love it. I was using fine point craft brushes for my fluidlines before, and I was afraid the angled brush would be hard to get used to, but it's SO easy to create a perfect line. This is a really nice quality brush that feels soft but still firm. And I like the short handle, especially as I have to lean so darn close to the mirror to put eyeliner on with my glasses off. I'll definitely be checking out more of these brushes for a good mid-priced option.