I've only been using this for a week, but I do want to comment on the consistency at the beginning of the bottle. Honestly, it freaked me out the first 3 pumps or so. Very weird texture, because the cream and gel hadn't mixed yet. But now that it has, I do like the product. Less than one pump is good to cover the area around both eyes, and it leaves the skin luxuriously silky, which is great for those of us who use undereye concealer religiously. I am trying this product because I need a lightweight product that has actual beneficial ingredients to replace my lovely Pond's Age DefEYE (dc'd). I have noticed this is more for puffiness (my chronic issue) but it does have some brightening properties, so I will continue to use this product. I plan on reporting back once I have finished all of it, since I know that with Murad products you have to stick with them to see results (at least finishing half before deciding).
This product has saved my skin. I have sensitive but combination skin, and this serum keeps my pores clear and calm. Just like a previous reviewer mentioned, this product changes the texture of the skin. And it also helps the skin's clarity--making it naturally radiant and even. The only down side to it is the price (I paid US$40 at Sephora), but this first bottle has lasted me so long (I think it's been 5 months!), I will have no problem buying another one next week. The smell was slightly obnoxiously fruity in the beginning, but I don't even smell it anymore. I have used other Murad products in the past, and they did a good job, but this has been the best so far for my skin. I use this along with Clinique liquid soap mild, Alba Botanica toner (green bottle), Clinique superdefense spf 25 (type 3) day cream, and their Continuous rescue night cream (type 2). Those products build up my natural moisture barrier to keep my skin strong (so I rarely have sensitive skin reactions). This has been the perfect regimen for my skin for the past 5 months or so. If I miss using the T-zone gel, my skin looks ruddy and appears to break out a little. So consistency is the key (esp since as soon as I go back to using it twice daily, my skin bounces right back). My skin never looked this radiant and firm when I was a teen and I am currently 26 y/o. I love this stuff!! Also, my trick to making the bottle last a long time is applying only a tiny amount to slightly damp skin. That allows it to spread easily over the skin and you use less. Seal it in with your moisturizer, and your skin will drink it all up and look amazing.
I am very happy with this brush!! It is meant to be used for brushing off loose powder after setting foundation with a puff, and it leaves the skin with a nice natural finish. I bought my brush at Sephora and have experienced no shedding or dye issues when washing, and I clean my brushes pretty often because I have sensitive skin. I also have a red Shu powder brush and I never use it because I always reach for this one when I wear liquid makeup and need to set it. I do like to use conditioner on my brush every few deep cleanings to preserve the firm yet soft bristles. This brush has a "grip" that the Shu brush just doesn't have, and therefore is superior. Would re-purchase if I ever lost it or something like that. **To the previous reviewer: Sorry you had such a bad experience with this brush, but because you paid $18 on Ebay for a $46-50 brush, I cannot help but think that you bought a fake. Hopefully you will get a chance to try a real one and your experience about this brush turns for the better.
This burns my eyes. Everyone at work is asking why my eyes are so red! Not good. This is day two of using this; Day 1 I noticed a tingling, but thought it was just the caffeine...Taking this back asap. I do like the packaging and my eye area feels soft, but also sore, so I can't use this...(Very sensitive skin, so I really shouldn't be looking to MAC skin care...)
I have been using Orly Nail Defense as a base coat under Orly Bonder for almost a year now since I realized that Bonder was yellowing my nails (toes). Nail Defense + Bonder + 2 coats of polish (preferably China Glaze) + Seche Vite or Poshe topcoat = Perfect pedi for 2 weeks or more, seriously. Nail Defense has also kept my toes strong, as they are naturally weak and prone to tearing. On my second bottle and will continue to repurchase. Since I am running out of Nail Envy at the moment I may try it out on my fingers as well...
This has been a great night time moisturizer for my combination skin. I know you can use it day and night, but the ingredients seem very rich and I don't need all that for the day time. Night time is perfect for my skin because my skin will absorb all it needs to repair damage at night, and then I can use a basic spf moisturizer in the morning (for which I use Olay spf 15 moisturizer for sensitive skin). I have never paid $42 for a moisturizer before, but because I only use a little bit each night, it has been ok. Plus looking at my even-toned, taut, glowing skin in the morning makes it more than worth it. I tend to be bad about keeping up my regimen consistently, but when I do, I can totally tell a difference. Will repurchase as long as Sephora continues to sell this (the only place I found it since Clinique. com only provides the updated formula).
Top/Base Coats -Essie - Good to Go! The Fastest Drying Top Coat
artemis513 7/4/2009 8:12:00 PM
So far, I am agreeing with the previous reviewer. My nail polish peeled off the next morning as well with Essie G2G. I had to start over. I also used Nail Envy as my base coat. It also did not dry that fast. I gave my nails 30 full minutes just to be sure. So far the only fast dry topcoat that I have tried that actually dries 'quickly' is Seche Vite (meaning I can put my freshly manicured hands into my jean pockets after 5 minutes with no consequences), but that stuff shrinks almost immediately. Maybe it works best with other Essie products...Will try with the Essie protein base coat. For now, though, I don't think I will repurchase.
Conditioner -L'anza - Healing Moisture Kukui Nut Conditioner
artemis513 7/1/2009 10:44:00 PM
Wow! I am more than pleased with this conditioner (and its matching shampoo, although I hated the detangler). Perfect for chemically treated hair (mine is relaxed and recovering from damage). Rinsing out in the shower left me with no tangles, even with over one inch of kinky 4a new growth. Very lightweight. Expensive but worth it.
Shampoo -L'anza - Healing Moisture Tamanu Cream Shampoo
artemis513 7/1/2009 10:40:00 PM
So yummy and luxurious! At first when I tried this, I thought it might be too much for my fine relaxed hair. But at that time, my hair was going through some issues. I've come back to it now, and it's amazing. I'll never be without this. Most moisturizing shampoo (and conditioner) I've tried to date. Very lightweight. Expensive but worth it.
Treatments -Joico - Moisture Recovery Treatment Balm for thick or coarse hair
artemis513 6/29/2009 7:26:00 PM
I was afraid that this balm would be too thick for my fine hair, but my hair is pretty strong and you only need a tiny bit so it's been working really well for my relaxed hair. I love all the Joico products I've tried (esp. K-pak) and this just adds to that list. Really good for deep conditioning after hardcore protein treatments like the Aphogee 2-step. (I also want to point out that this product DOES NOT contain denatured alcohol. An earlier review has the ingredients listed with this ingredient and I am looking at my tube of this balm and it is not listed on mine. So don't worry about that if that's a factor for whether or not you want to purchase.)
Shampoo -Unlisted Brand - Keracare detangling moisturizing shampoo
artemis513 6/27/2009 4:00:00 PM
I have been using this shampoo for one month straight. I waited until I had some new growth (I have relaxed hair) so I could test out its detangling abilities. I have used it before, but my hair was really damaged back then and I didn't use it long because I was jumping around with products. Anyways after my one month of using this, I'll say that it's a pretty decent product. Good for moisturizing and detangling unruly hair. For me, though, the thrill died down after the month. My hair was starting to feel a little dry, so I thought it might be the coating ingredients. I clarified and tried again, but it's still not as good as the first few times I started using it. So I'm going to switch to something else for awhile and then come back to it. I think I would repurchase this because it keeps my new growth soft but the rest of my hair just feels weird until I condition it. UPDATE Dec 2009: This shampoo remains a staple in my haircare product collection. Over time, this product prevents damage and leaves the hair silky and manageable. Clarifying refreshes any dullness that may occur. By the way, the company [Avlon Industries] now offers a SULFATE-FREE version of this shampoo for anyone who might be wary of the old formula's ingredients. I hope to review that version of this product soon.
Conditioner -Unlisted Brand - Avlon - KeraCare Humecto Creme Conditioner
artemis513 6/27/2009 3:55:00 PM
I have tried both the original formula and the "richer, thicker" version, and my hair hated both. This was not moisturizing in any way. I am African-American with relaxed hair, so it is "supposed" to work for me, but it doesn't. I suspect it is due to the mineral oil, as any "moisturizing" conditioner I use with that in it has only left my hair dry and crispy. I tried using this with heat and without heat. I ended up having to return it and get my money back...Horrible experience. UPDATE: After talking it over with my stylist and after asking questions of the master chemist and founder of Avlon Industries [Dr. Syed] on his blog, I decided to repurchase the "richer, thicker" formula. I realized that I had been expecting much more out of this product than I should have. This product is NOT meant to be used as a deep conditioner/intensive treatment, but rather as a frequent-use regular conditioner. To that end, it's a pretty good product. I found that if I didn't towel-blot my hair (which is what I do for deep conditioning) then Humecto spread better over my hair and felt nice. I also applied it in dime-sized portions to small sections of my hair at a time. After letting Humecto sit on my hair for 15 minutes (no heat) I rinsed it very very well in the shower like my stylist suggested. Styling wet and dry hair produced much better results. My hair is shiny, moist and bouncy. I also used other Keracare products when I washed and styled my hair, which I think makes a difference with this brand. So all in all, I am pleased now with this product (now that I know how to use it) and technically give this product 3.5 lippies. I will continue to use it up and see how my hair responds to the entire line. I will also be using something more penetrating for my "deep" treatments.
As much I like this product, I will not be repurchasing based simply on the fact that I feel like this is nothing more than glorified Vaseline with the MAC packaging. I love MAC, but I will stick to my other lip balms because this does not last like the others (one being Rosebud's Strawberry balm!!) and it really interferes with lipstick for me. I hate lipstick and I need to use all the tubes I've purchased over the years before they go off, and this product does not help matters much. I also have the Hello Kitty lip conditioners, but haven't tried them yet, so I can't compare, but I do think that maybe I'd enjoy this in a different formulation, like the pot or the stick, but for now I enjoy the squeezy tube, and when I am done, it will get B2M'd. **Update: Drops down to 2 lippies, this product turned to baby oil in the summer and became completely unusable. I began storing it in the freezer to try to use it up but that didn't work. I recently bought the one in the jar and I love that one!!
Styling Products -Paul Mitchell - Super Skinny Serum
artemis513 3/19/2009 9:25:00 PM
To the person who said this doesn't hold a candle to Kerastase Ciment Thermique...well, it shouldn't. Two totally different products with two totally different functions. Anyhoo, I love this product. Aside from the fact that a little goes a long way and it takes forever to finish a bottle (which makes it not expensive at all), this stuff seals in all the moisture and nutrients you've put in your strands, and then protects from the heat and dries your hair in record time when blow drying. It's also a great frizz smoother if airdrying first, then flat ironing. If I ever finish my bottle (which I've had for over a year, using it 2x weekly), I will definitely re-purchase.
Styling Products -Joico - Moisture Recovery Styling Creme
artemis513 3/19/2009 1:52:00 AM
New product from the Moisture Recovery line. It has the same smell as the other products from the line. This cream is not sticky and a little goes a long way. I have fine relaxed hair and I found that my hair was thoroughly moisturized after using this to blowdry, especially the ends of my hair. Typically heat styling can suck all the moisture out of chemically-treated hair, so I guess that's why Joico made this. I do have a lot of products I need to use up, but I would re-purchase if I ever ran out of this because I really like this product. I bought this from sleekhair.com for $12.99 (5.1 oz). Update 3/12/2011: I no longer relax my hair so I pulled this product out to style my now naturally curly (3c/4a) hair. It gives a nice hold and definition without leaving hair crunchy, plus the softness is amazing. Especially if I use this after the Moisture Recovery Treatment Balm. So yeah, still a great product!