Pressed Powders -MAC - Mineralize Skinfinish Natural - Medium
whisper 12/25/2010 4:10:00 PM
I've been curious to try this for a long time (what feels like years, no lie). I had literally visited this powder probably about 5 or 6 different times during previous trips to Saks. So I finally caved and purchased it last month. Something that always kind of bugged me about it was that none of the shades matched me well – the light was far too light; the light-medium was also too light (although closer to my skintone than the medium); the medium was just right in terms of degree (it was the right 'lightness' for my face) but the undertone was wrong (too neutral/beige, bordering on pink undertone; being Asian, I need yellow); and the medium plus was simply too dark. I ended up buying the 'Medium' because it was really the best out of the bunch for me, even though, as I said, it really is too 'beigey' and not nearly yellow-toned enough. As I planned on using it over my base makeup and not as my sole face makeup, I figured it wouldn't be that noticeable if it was a tad off. And I was right about that; it doesn't look like the 'wrong color' on my face when I wear it over my foundation. So I like that about it. I also like the finish it provides, which I would describe as luminous – this is definitely not a mattifying powder (but then again I think most people know that much about it by now). It's good for dusting on a light coat as the very last step of doing your face (which is how I use it). It does work well for that, I guess what I dislike about it is that I have to make sure I'm using some sort of anti-blemish or acne-preventative lotion/toner when I decide to use this powder (as in prior to applying AND after removing it at night), because if i I skip that step, it causes a few pimples. So I just use something with salicylic acid in it and that seems to do adequate damage control. I know it's the powder too, because I have done several experiments which have convinced me (to about 95% certainty) of this being the case. It's sort of a shame, because I do like the glowy look it gives. But that brings me to another beef I have. And it's not a huge deal I guess, because it's not enough to where it makes me not want to use it anymore, but, the finish doesn't last. It stays looking amazing for about an hour and a half. After that, it just begins to look downright shiny. I don't have oily skin, in fact my skin's a bit 'dry' because of retinoids that I use (although I get a bit of shine on my T-zone no matter what, so I'm pretty typical combination skin). Anyway, it doesn't take but 2 hrs or so before I start to really look, well, I'm just going to say it – greasy. Which I obviously don't like. Before using this powder, I used to finish my face with MUFE microfinish HD powder, and I didn't have to use blotting paper even once throughout my day. At night even, before taking my makeup off, my face would look pretty much the same as it did after applying it that morning. But with this MAC mineralize stuff, I definitely have to carry blotting papers with me, or else I just have to use a square of TP when I've forgotten or whatever. The shine is that extreme. So I don't particularly like that about it. The price isn't bad, I think I paid $26. But it's not exactly inexpensive. I don't know. Given the shade (mis)match for me, and the disappointing lack of long-wearingness it has, I don't think I love this product. I think it is just OK. I'll use it, but if I'm being honest, it's probably only because I bought it, therefore I have it here with me, and I don't want to waste it. It seems fine but, needless to say, I'm not impressed. EDIT (19 Mar 2011): I ended up returning it a few wks ago; got a refund, no questions asked. So I will say that MAC has excellent customer service. (At least the counter I purchased from does, which is located in a Saks.)
I love baking soda for household uses (like cleaning stainless appliances & bath/kitchen fixtures) but I tried using it as an exfoliant on my face and had pretty undesirable results. I would hope that someone might learn from my awful experience. The first time I used it, my face immediately felt and looked amazing. The next morning, my face looked and felt even better. I was really sold on this 'baking soda as an all-natural exfoliant' thing. I got excited about my awesome results (and perhaps a wee bit overzealous) and went ahead and did it the following night (skipping that night so as not to do it 2 days in a row). Well, the second time I used it, it kind of wrecked my face. I have good skin, and I take stringent care of it, but the baking soda just wreaked havoc on my poor face! Even though I did the exact same thing I had done before, for whatever reason it did not yield me positive results –– just the opposite. I was left with a 'burn' on the side of my mouth, which was this sort of red and slightly raised patch of skin that was extremely inflamed (painful and unsightly). That patch took about 4 days to fade to where it wasn't AS visible under concealer, but it remains irritated even still (this whole self-inflicted debacle I should explain occurred just about a week and a half ago to the day). That wasn't even the worst of it. About 3 days after it was healing, the patch 'morphed' into a cold sore. I know it was from the baking soda and the irritation it caused my skin, because I changed not a single other thing about my skin care routine (or my anything-else routine, for that matter; like diet, etc...that was/is all the same). My uncle is a dermatologist, and I called to ask him whether something like this was possible, because it has been a long time since I'd gotten a cold sore on my lip (like 4 or 5 yrs). He said that fatigue, stress, hormonal factors, and abrasion to the area/excessive irritation caused by weather extremities or any similar physical harshness can be causes of cold sores. I know it was the baking soda. The cold sore popped up in the form of 4 tiny blister sacs less than a millimeter away from the aforementioned irritated 'burn' patch from where I must've rubbed just a bit too hard, or for too long. I should also mention that I was VERY gentle when doing this. I barely touched the surface of my skin with my fingertips, in fact! I rubbed gently, in tiny circular movements, for less than 2 minutes. And this happened. I am currently recovering from the cold sore, as I type! Taking Famvir tabs (prescribed by my uncle, the derm I mentioned) and also applying Zovicar cream to my breakout every 3 hrs. Suffice to say that I learned my lesson, and will be sticking to using baking soda exclusively for household purposes from now on (which it is a superior product for; nothing cleans my stainless and sinks/tub like this, hence the stellar rating in case you were confused). But as far as for my face goes, never again.
Concealers -Make Up For Ever - Full Cover Concealer
whisper 11/24/2010 6:45:00 PM
Just got back from Sephora w/a generous––quarter-sized glob!!!––sample of the Make Up For Ever 'Full Cover Extreme Camouflage Cream' (Huge thanks btw to the lovely sales associate who helped me out! They really are wonderful there. But I digress...) The shade that matched me, and rather perfectly, was #6. For reference: I'm half Korean and have a very typically yellow-undertoned Asian complexion; I'm neither pale/ultra-fair nor am I classic "medium" but rather somewhat in between––like a light-medium (but warm). So now that that's out of the way, lol, this concealer is pretty amazing from what I can tell so far. Just testing it on a scar I have on the back of my hand, it completely disappeared w/a single swipe; I didn't even properly blend it, and the scar was totally gone (when I did blend it, it looked even more flawless and amazing). I honestly couldn't believe my eyes. It was great. Imagine what it could do for the few little (annoying!!!) acne scars on my face! (Not to mention the inevitable hormonal blemish that arises every couple of wks...) What sort of impressed me most was the amount necessary in order to achieve such a perfect result––the scar on my hand is small, about the size of the end of a ball-point pen (not the writing end; the opposite end, where you keep the cap while you're writing) and I only needed a SPECK of this stuff, I'm talking barely touching the nozzle to my skin and really not even squeezing any product out of the tube!! (Just using the residual stuff around the rim of the nozzle!) I didn't mind testing it in this manner, since it was on my hand. (I would never use a store tester directly on my face, just for the record. lol.) So the only drawback, and why I was hesitating just purchasing it right then and there, was the price! It's like $30 for the tube. Honestly, for the performance, it's probably well worth it. I don't know how much $$$ I have shelled out on drugstore concealers, only to have them stashed away in my train case, literally collecting dust. It's a waste. Of product AND money. So I asked for a sample, and I was not expecting him to squeeze me out SO MUCH! I mean, I'm glad that he did, but seriously, this sample is likely to last me a year. And I'm not even joking. Long story short (TOO LATE! lol) this cover cream in my opinion is worth $30. For what it does, and the amount you get, plus the packaging which I didn't even mention but is fantastic (simple, airtight & hygienic), I would purchase it with absolutely no reservations. (Or of course you can just do what I did and swing by a Sephora for a FREE sample! heee!!)
Concealers -L'Oreal - visible lift line minimizing concealer
whisper 10/27/2010 7:03:00 PM
This is a pretty decent concealer. I'm not impressed, but it gets the job done; I'm satisfied enough. The click-pen packaging w/synthetic (concealer-type) brush doesn't bother me at all––what I do to clean it in between uses is simply wipe the brush w/a bit of plain rubbing alcohol on a tissue. It works very well and keeps it hygienic. I bought shade FAIR/LIGHT 191 and it seems to be a suitable match. (I have a fair-ish Asian complexion.) I haven't tried using it on blemishes, only because I have none at the moment (that'll change though in, like, a week. lol)...anyway, for under the eyes, I think this is really good. It did not crease or 'melt' off my skin, even after 10 hrs of wear. In fact it looks just as flawless at the end of the day as it does 10 min after applying it in the morning. And it has SPF 20, which is fantastic. Don't use too much product, and that goes for any concealer actually, not just this one! If you're able to get this on sale or w/a coupon, which L'oreal always has, then I do think it's worth trying it. I will definitely use it until it's gone before I decide to try something else. UPDATE: I no longer use this because I found it to dry to a chalky finish that aged me a good 5 yrs – no thank you! To be fair, maybe it's just the cold winter air that is not agreeing with the consistency of this product at this time. At any rate, there it sits on a shelf in my closet, unused, basically in storage. LATEST UPDATE (15 Feb 2011): So I ran out of my BB corrector and saw this in my train case, decided to give it another shot – pretty massive fail I'm sorry to say. It was dried out (despite the package design of it being in an apparently air-tight click-pen applicator...and it's not that old either...so, don't know what that's about). It went on so roughly and looked so poor that I ended up swiping my under eye area w/some grape seed oil on a cotton bud to remove it before leaving the house. I regret ever paying money for this product as it has zero use and I feel gutted to have to toss it in the trash, where, sadly, it belongs in my opinion.
Sunscreen -NIA 24 - Sun Damage Prevention 100% Mineral Sunscreen
whisper 10/22/2010 4:46:00 PM
This is a very decent sunblock––among the best of all the physical sunblocks I've tried to date. (BTW, physical blocks tend to be less irritating and are recommended for sensitive & acne-prone skin.) Makeup application following this product is fine, but it's not mind-blowingly fantastic, and for the price tag (~ $45, maybe $40 if you're lucky) I just can't justify raving about it. It was definitely not as good as Elta MD UV Clear 46, which I personally found to be superior to the NIA in every aspect (and I'm currently continuing to use the Elta, because of this very reason). Since I have it, I'll use the NIA on my body I guess. It's a fine product, don't get me wrong, just nothing special in my opinion. There are much better sunblocks available (especially for how much costs).
Just wanted to inform people who may be confused or maybe do not know (or maybe do know but don't care? Not sure) –– this is the same 'product' as any old grape seed oil, just packaged as a 'cosmetic' skin care item. What I'm trying to say is, you can just go to the grocery store and buy a container with 4x the amount of grape seed oil than this product, for less than half the price. I'm not sure why somebody who knows this would go out of their way to purchase this particular oil, but it seems that people prefer it because it's 'for the face'...when in actuality, it's just plain ol' grape seed oil that is repackaged and ridiculously overpriced. Same stuff that's in the cooking oils aisle at any grocery store.
Excellent as a hand soap (haven't used it in the bath/shower so I can't comment on how it serves as an all-over body soap). I keep a bar of this next to my kitchen and guest bathroom sinks for hand washing purposes; it's really great! And pretty inexpensive, especially when your'e using it exclusively as a hand soap. It doesn't get soft and mushy over time (no messy soap dishes, hallelujah). Ingredient list is short, which I like––simpler is better I think. Like this soap a lot and would definitely recommend trying it!
First off, the previous reviewer (mudpie1964) wrote a very accurate description of this color – well done!! Now, I have to say that I personally don't get the grandmother reference AT ALL when I see/wear this, but I respect her opinion nonetheless. :) I like this color a lot, it looks so fresh and modern and fun – and most of all I think it really flatters my yellow-based Asian skin. I find that pinks and purples generally complement and brighten my complexion the most. What I so love about this polish, as well as other OPI shades that I own, is the ease-of-application formula along w/the incredibly long wear I get. I can get a solid 2 wks when I do my pedicures w/OPI polish (although I end up taking it off at around the 10-12 day mark simply because I get the urge to have a change of color). And manicures, which I also do myself, generally last a solid 8 days before I start to notice any signs of wear. This color, I find, ends up looking incredibly accurate to what you see through the bottle. So if you don't like how it looks when you see it there, you prob won't care for it on your nails! But I love it. I think it's totally yummy-looking, so pretty and feminine. I'm actually using my 2nd bottle of this, because my sister loved it so much that I gave her mine on the spot and therefore had to go out and purchase one for myself so I'd have it again! :)
I really like this cleanser; I use it frequently (alternating w/generic Cetaphil). What I believe is most important in choosing a facial cleanser is gentleness. It's been my experience that, the harsher the cleanser, the more irritating and damaging it is to my face. It makes me cringe to see people rubbing and scrubbing their faces! The skin on the face is delicate and specialized and requires proper (gentle!!) care. What I love about Dr. Hauschka's Cleansing Milk is the thoroughness of cleansing and makeup removal I get, in addition to it being soothing and – you guessed it! – GENTLE. This never causes a reaction, never strips my skin, never leaves any residue behind. It is just a simple product that works well. It is on the expensive side, but I don't mind spending money on products that do what they promise (because often what happens is you end up spending more in the long run, purchasing product after product that either doesn't work effectively or wreaks havoc on your face). The packaging is glass, yes, and there's a pump. Personally, I don't take this bottle w/me when I travel (I use travel containers that I transfer a small amt of product in) so I actually like the 'heaviness' of this. It somehow adds to the luxuriousness of it sitting atop my vanity. It looks noticeably 'fancier' than a typical drugstore cleanser (although I have no prob w/those and in fact love certain bargain items).
One last point: I think some people get confused about facial cleansers, thinking that 'foaming' products that produce loads of lather somehow equal better or more thorough cleansing – that couldn't be any more inaccurate. Creamy cleansers, or non-soapy ones that don't lather, simply lack the (often harsh, chemical) ingredients that make those other cleansers behave that way. So please just try and keep that in mind; suds do not mean better cleansing!
UPDATE: Took the rating down a notch because the brush part came detached from the handle :( I will probably not replace it with the same one, knowing that it breaks in several months' time. Might try an essence of beauty brush or something similar. I refuse to but expensive high-end brushes, but I'll have to find some other affordable line besides this one I guess... I own a few Eco Tools brushes and am overall satisfied w/each of them. I think they're a phenomenal value considering the quality and durability. As for the blush brush, I purchased it w/the intention of using it to apply my face powder (MUFE HD microfinish), and that's exactly – and only – what I do use this for. (I have not even tried applying blush w/it, so I cannot comment on its effectiveness for that.) I find that this brush does a pretty great job at applying powder to the face. It's smaller, and thus easier to control, than a traditional powder brush (which just tends to distribute powder everywhere, like the hairline, lashes, and brows – in other words, all the places you don't really wan't it. So it's critical for me to have a slightly smaller-headed brush for powder, which is why I chose to get this one. I do like the bristles, they're soft and just dense enough (not overly 'floppy' or feathery). I've cleaned it on a number of occasions since I bought it and have yet to see a single hair shed or even warp/bend. It's good quality construction, you can tell. I guess the only reason I'm not rating it a '5' is that I happen to have another brush that is superior to the Eco Tools for powder application (the Suqqu face brush, which is tapered beautifully and SO soft, but only available in Japan as far as I know...). Anyway, I don't have anything negative to say about the Eco Tools blush brush. I think it's a nice spare to have around, and its price definitely makes it affordable for use as a 'back up' powder brush (or blush obviously, but again, haven't personally tried it for that). All in all, I would recommend it. And do try it for applying face powder, it's truly wonderful for that purpose.
I'm not sure why this color has gotten such mediocre reviews! I have this on my nails right now, and it's absolutely beautiful (if I do say so myself lol). Also not sure why so many people are describing the shade using words like "coppery" and "bronzy" – in my opinion, it's neither. But then again, everyone's skin tone is different. To me anyway, 'Cozu-melted in the Sun' wears like a warm peachy-pink metallic shimmer w/pale pink and what looks like silver flecks (micro-glitter). This color reminds me a lot of Chanel Glossimer lipgloss in 'Pin-up.' It's a pretty unique color; perfect for the warmer months. It's one of those colors that looks quite different depending on the lighting. Admittedly, I wouldn't say this is a favorite or 'must-have' shade, mostly because I feel it's rather seasonal, and also, I just personally prefer creme formulas as opposed to shimmer/frost or metallic polishes. This one gleams and flashes like mad under incandescent light; the overall effect of which is beautiful and certainly well-suited for those occasional 'sparkly' mood moments we all tend to have :-)
This is one of the few OPI's (or any other brand of nail polish for that matter) that I've repurchased. 'Big Apple Red' is, for me anyway, the perfect vibrant RED red color. It's classic and beautiful on both the fingernails and toes. It just makes you feel happy when you've got your nails painted w/this! I LOVE this formula, too. I tend to like OPI in general (I mean it's a well known fact: they make fab polish) but this shade is particularly amazing. This color is a high gloss creme (cream?) red and has what I believe to be the ideal balance of cool and warm toned red – it's neither too blue-based, nor is it too orangey. Can be worn year-round, because it's not particularly seasonal, and it's definitely not trendy. Goes well w/all kinds of clothing and many diff styles of dress, as well. It also has this amazing quality of flattering your hands (unless your hands are in really bad shape). Like one of the previous reviewers pointed out, it has almost a "jelly" appearance. Which I love. Just looks totally clean, fresh, glamorous, and well put-together on the nails. And I find that I get compliments left and right when I've done my nails w/this :) I highly recommend this shade. OPI is a little pricey, but you won't regret investing in this one. In my opinion, every woman should have 'Big Apple Red' in their polish wardrobe.
Lipstick -L'Oreal - Colour Riche Lipstick in Drumbeat Red
whisper 7/6/2010 6:31:00 PM
This is a very pretty, wearable red lipstick (wearable in terms of color family). The shade is a classic bright red – almost like a deep tomato color (no blue-toned base that I can detect). I feel like it complements my yellow-toned Asian skin quite nicely, but I find that I have to be in the right mood to wear this, because it can be painstaking to apply (like any red lip color actually) and, perhaps most important/bothersome, it DOES NOT LAST! I appreciate that the formula isn't drying, but maybe certain colors of lipstick need to be a tad drying, otherwise they simply will not stay put no matter what lengths you go to to make that happen. This just isn't very practical I'm afraid. But it is rather beautiful, which is why I've rated it mediocre in the end. And it's inexpensive ($5 on sale). I think I'm going to have to try a matte formulation if I want a bulletproof red lip. This one disappoints in terms of the wear factor for me. Which, again, is a shame, because it really is quite lovely otherwise. (Those are my lips wearing 'Drumbeat Red' up there in the pics section btw! hehe)
Beautiful, sophisticated, classic, elegant, chic. (Ran out of adjectives, lol) This lipstick is very nice. I tend not to wear it "full on" but rather as a lip stain, using my fingers. It looks absolutely amazing applied this way. Your lips will look so luscious. It gives a really nice finished appearance w/out looking like you even did anything. I'd describe the color as a warm-toned deep berry. It's redder than I expected, and again, a very warm (brown-toned) red as opposed to a blue or orange-based. I think it would be universally flattering. When I want added impact (like at night) I just apply it like I normally do, as a stain, then I blot and do another layer on top (using a lip brush). My lip color lasts for hours when I do this. I happen to think that L'Oreal makes the best drugstore lipstick. Formula-wise, I don't find that any of my high-end lipsticks are particularly superior. And that's the truth! :)
THIS LIPSTICK IS GORGEOUS. 'Sea Fleur' is a beautiful shade – it's a true fuchsia w/blue-violet undertones. It's richly pigmented and as always I love the Colour Riche formula which is velvety smooth and satin (as opposed to over-the-top shiny/gloss). This color looks so sophisticated yet HOT. Give it a chance, because I must admit that, at first glance, it looks a little wacko in the tube! Almost like it could look uber tacky and dated when worn (ick). But it totally doesn't. I love what this does for my complexion (I'm fair-medium w/yellow undertones, and I have long dk brown hair). It makes my skin look amazing, and my hair as well; it just seems to wake my features up in the most amazing flattering way (if I do say so myself lol). I can see wearing this during the day as well as in the evening. It's cheerful and bright – beautiful and certainly appropriate for daytime – but like I mentioned it does have a major hotness factor, a definite 'night out' head-turner lipstick. All for just $5. Love. (I've uploaded a pic of me wearing this lipstick; see above image!)