Makeup Brushes -MAC - 191 Square Foundation Paint Brush
Endit 4/25/2010 9:13:00 PM
(Updated Feb 18, 2012) I got this with Studio Sculpt foundation cause it was promoted at the same time. It's like a usual paddle foundation brush but it's not tapered, it's extra flat, and the bristles are firmer. PROS: The firmness is good, it's got a "spring" action to it when it bends; it's not floppy or smushy. The bristles are not overly soft too. MAC told me to use in short downward strokes, and that seems to work well enough. It is a bit like "painting the wall" and it isn't streaky if done correctly. The strokes need to be SHORT and quick, like when stippling, the action of place/press/release/next is quick. Short strokes create minimal to no streaks and also blends some streaks together if you in a different direction. If that's not enough, you can also press/pat the brush on it's side into the skin to remove streaks. GossMakeupArtist says to mainly use this patting motion, as in quickly distribute product then pat everything, but I think short strokes work better. The brush absorbs a lot more when you pat and you get fuller coverage with strokes. CONS: Can be annoying to clean. Whenever you wet the brush, the bristles in the middle stick together and then NOTHING will get them clean. Sure, you can get the brush clean enough so it can be used over and over, but the center is always dirty! And I'm not even talking about the ferrule, I mean 0.3cm from the tip and down, I measured it. I even diluted a cup of clarifying shampoo, stuck the 191 in, and tried working it underwater, and it was STILL DIRTY THERE. So to really get the 191 truly clean, you can't get it that wet. This isn't possible if the brush is really dirty, but if it's dry and only the middle bristles are dirty, you can take a tiny bit of brush cleaner on your hand and swirl the brush on the flat side for a minute, or you can duplicate how you used the brush normally with cleanser to get cleaner deeper. As long as the brush starts off DRY, it should reach the middle bristles because they aren't stuck together yet. And the 191's performance with Studio Sculpt - it absorbs a MASSIVE amount product. I know it's the 191 because if I apply with my fingers, I get high coverage whereas with the 191, it's light/natural looking. You know when you first apply foundation, it might look too thick/heavy, but once it's blended, it looks lighter and better? With the 191, it does a bit of that blending/absorbing/lighter thing WHILE spreading it so you lose a lot of coverage and product. If you want it to absorb less, just run it under a fosset and squeeze/shake excess out. Simply spraying the brush does nothing, it must be damp. SS (and most makeup) is water resistant anyways, so the water acts as a barrier on the bristles the brush doesn't absorb as much and works better. Plus with the center bristles "stuck together", less product is prone to getting inside them. OVERALL: The reason I'm giving it a 1 is because I don't think it's worth the MAC price. Had I known this, I would have returned it while I could. But I've had it for too long, so I might as well use it. It works just fine however, it's not a bad brush. If you like the 190 you might like this spin on it. There must have been some need to introduce an upgrade/alternative. The straight edge works fine too. A certain wholesale cosmetics site has it a lot cheaper and it'll probably be there forever (hint hint if you want to try it).
Toners -Alba Botanica - Hawaiian Hibiscus Facial Toner
Endit 4/16/2010 1:08:00 AM
This is my third, and final, edit of this review. This is just a love-hate item. The problem with this is consistency. When I first started using it, I was not impressed, but I continued, then it got better, but then it took a step backwards. Pros: Moisturizer works better and my skin seems a bit "oily". For me it's a good oily since I have dry skin and it helps makeup apply better too. Cons: This does not agree with my skin. First off, it just feels drying upon application (if I skip this my skin stays wetter and feels better for moisturizer). Somehow this coexists with the Pro though, I have no idea how. I think it breaks me out too and nothing breaks me out! Just the texture of skin seems not as great when using this. Cleaning wise, I really don't see much of a difference, especially if I do the double cleansing method with what I use now. And it sting a bit if you really cover your face, not just baby swipes. Plus the packaging is horrible. The cap is really stiff (no sprayer), not see through at all bottle. So I'm really mixed on this. If it works good, my skin is a lot more hydrated, however it might break me out and feel drying.
Cleansers -L'Oreal - Go 360 Clean Deep Facial Cleanser for Sensitive Skin
Endit 3/8/2010 11:27:00 PM
The scrubblet drew me, but I was also really interested in the cleanser as well. PROS: It removes EVERYTHING (full makeup and even thick layers of sunscreen), while rising off easily and not needing a washcloth. Foams easily too and produces a good lather - even with my Skinsonic! Fragrance free, easily available, and cheap. The scrubblet is fun and it helps lather up the product too. Compared to the other Go 360s, this one lacks fragrance, menthol, huge amounts of SLS, and salicylic acid. CONS: Too much glycerin! Glycerin's purpose is to draw moisture to the top layer of skin by extracting it from the air or bottom layers of skin. The effect of glycerin can linger even when it's rinsed off and a lot of moisturizers contain it too. By having "two layers" (the cleanser and then the moisturizer after), my skin can become TOO moist. If I moisturize directly after using this cleanser, to really lock in moisture, nothing absorbs. Everything just sits on top of my skin and never dries (this also causes foundation to oxidize faster). Even if blot my face and wait before applying moisturizer, it still does it. Things have a hard time drying when I use this. CeraVe PM in combintion with this does it consistently. Another thing, while it is quite gentle, I feel something in it kind of irritates my skin. Not sure what. I wish there was something cushiony like petroleum or an anti-irritant in it. And while the scrubblet is nice, it's not the "OMG, WOW" product that some make it out to be. It's purpose isn't exfoliation either, it's to create friction so it foams/expands/cleans better. OTHER: This smells like pure Elmer's Glue. I was ready to return it because it really looks, smells, and acts like glue too! It's even sticky! Somebody said it smells like oranges with a hint of Elmer's Glue, but for me, the two are reversed. I really don't care about it's smell or similarity to glue but I find it really strange so I have to mention it. OVERALL: This is almost the perfect cleanser. I will always keep this on hand. At the least, it is a fantastic deep cleanser or makeup remover. I don't use wipes or any pre-cleanse products because they aren't that economical plus they can sometimes leave residue. You could even use it as brush cleanser! Unfortunately it's useless for day use... I don't want my face to feel wet or emollient, etc..
Moisturizers -Olay - Active Hydrating Cream - Original
Endit 2/23/2010 12:15:00 AM
This was an unexpected disappointment. For one, it is not hydrating at all. There is nothing "active" about it and you would think that because it has mineral oil in it, it would do something at least. No, it does nothing. My skin is incredibly dry with it. Oh and it's LOADED with cones... it just leaves skin feeling unnaturally smooth. And you can even tell it's loaded when you apply it. And it slightly breaks me out too, which is rare. To top it off, it is EXTREMELY fragranced. I can take mostly anything, but this really pushes the envelope. It is a mix of overly feminine, hotel, and soap. And it is just so strong! And it lingers too. So, what do we have here? A non-hydrating cream loaded with cones that breaks me out and smells ridiculous. 1 lip.
Cleansers -L'Oreal - Skin Genesis Deep Purifying Foaming Cream Cleanser
Endit 2/9/2010 5:25:00 AM
Before I actually used this, I was really impressed. However, upon use, like the gel cleanser, it's WAY drying. It just works too good... DEEP purifying is right (and if you want even deeper try the gel cleanser). Left my face feeling stripped after I rinsed it off. It does an ok job of exfoliating, but not that deep. I'll take walnut powder based products over this. The menthol and fragrance were not needed either. Though I do really like how it smells.
(Updated August 10, 2011 - it still sucks) Tried the old formula out a while ago, didn't think it was anything special. Couple years later got the new version thinking I'd try it again, maybe the "Silk Luxe Complex" was an actual improvement(it's one thing to reformulate a product that doesn't sell well vs the opposite, so I was thinking they'd play it safe or actually deliver a better version). - Nope. This is the definition of a "!@#$". One of the WORST conditioners I have ever used. Makes my hair feel so soft and moisturized when it's in my hair and rinsing it out, like "THIS IT IS, THE ONE!"... it is really that dramatic but as soon as my hair dries, forget it! So unmoisturized, ratty looking ends, and just a weird coated/plastic feel. I don't feel it moisturizes at all! It makes hair soft but not because it's healthy, it just whips it into submission. I also believe this because it really leaves with way straighter hair as well, it really softens texture. But I don't even have any damage and sometimes it makes my hair look worse than the condition it should look (which is virgin). + Redken is everywhere so it's easy to find. Nice smell. Besides that, nothing.
Cleansers -L'Oreal - Skin Genesis Pore Minimizing Gel Cleanser [DISCONTINUED]
Endit 1/23/2010 11:11:00 AM
This removes makeup and cleanses, but it also sucks every last bit of moisture from my skin! It's a shame since I love the consistency, price, and packaging (huge points for see through bottle and air free pump that supposedly protects it from contaminants in the air). If your skin can handle this, it would be great. Even though it dried out my skin, the salicylic acid prevented ANY breakouts and really left my skin smooth and clean. It foams up like crazy and 8oz is a lot of product.pH balanced and pain free if you get it in your eyes. But even after using a richer moisturizer, saw no change in my skin. High amount of SLS, menthol, and the salicylic acid are too much to handle. Fragrance is very strong too, but it's the 2nd to last ingredient. Smells amazing though.
Scrubs -Queen Helene - Apricot Natural Facial Scrub
Endit 12/22/2009 12:35:00 AM
This is a really strong scrub. If you aren't gentle it can be really harsh. It also has a tendency to be slightly drying and leave me red after I use it. But it does work, my skin feels smoother after and you can just tell from the abrasiveness that it's working. Also, it's cheap, not elusive to track down, and it has a bit of plant extracts. I would have gave this a 3 except some of the micro beads DO NOT go away... they don't dissolve! After splashing my face with water or wiping it off, I keep finding ones over and over. Highly annoying. And it happens every time too!
Update: This does work best as an overnight treat after all. I've used it after as a leave in but it doesn't do much for me like that. Instead, just put it in your hair before you go to bed. When you lay on your hair it really like pushes it into it. I really do feel the results after doing it this way instead of leave in. Like that it only has amodimethicone and protein is near the bottom. One con is that the bottle is NOT see through, so you have no idea how much is left. I will end up cutting it in half like I do most non-jar products, but this looks like it will quite difficult.
At first this shampoo was too gentle. It didn't foam that much, so I had to double shampoo but then my hair came out dry so what's the point? Later on, it just left my hair feeling a bit hard and not right.
+ Iron Repair really protects from heat. My hair doesn't feel so hot or fired after going over it (I've used other products that I couldn't even tell if they were protecting). Also, I love how it's a lotion, it doesn't like there's anything in my hair after. It has no hold too, so you can work it through hair first rather than section by section, and you can still make changes after, like with hairspray or other products - It's a lightweight, thin lotion. It doesn't really have any umph to it. I would say you have to use a couple pumps every time as a result. Also, I don't feel like I can work it in as much as some no hold sprays... sprays feel more wet, and they do spray after all, where as with Iron you only have your hands, so you need to make sure you cover everything. It has potato starch in it too. It might give your hair a weird feeling, like Spray Starch 15, but nowhere near as much.
Now I'm jaded. These are the most amazing clips ever invented. They can hold CHUNKS of hair in place, but also work on thin sections as well. And nothing will ever move. You only get 2 of them per a pack, but even with 1 clip you can do an entire head! And the design is really cool looking and futuristic. I don't give out 5's easily, but I was blown away with these so they deserve it.
I hate this stuff. I only got it to hold me over till I could get Purity Made Simple again on sale. I don't use many foaming cleansers and this reminded me why - it feels so wimpy and thin, like I need to use more, and it doesn't rinse off, it just gets absorbed or disappears. Plus it has a strong, really medicinal smell, like if I got stuck in the hospital and this is all they had. After using this for a couple weeks, my skin is reverting back to it's old texture, which isn't nice, and I'm having small breakouts with it. Never again.
Hair Styling Tools -T3 - Tourmaline Original Duality Irons (yellow plates)
Endit 8/15/2008 12:47:00 AM
At first I was disappointed. I had the original T3 iron, the one with the yellow plates, and that one worked really good, so when I upgraded to the Bespoke Labs Edition (authentic from Ulta) I didn't expect to be questioning it. I've changed some of the products I've used, and now it works MUCH better, but I still don't know. Everything else about it is perfect though - it's cheaper than other super high-end irons like FHI/GHD/ProSleeker, heats up lightning fast (maybe like 10-15 seconds), and hasn't caused me any damage. Plus it looks really sharp. Most flat irons have a plain, matte black, boring appearance, but T3 has a glossy black and gray striped appearance, with a white cord and plates, and some crystals too. The temperature control is really ingenious as well. Most times I only see the huge boxy things with small dials, but the T3 has NO box, just a small dial with an on button that's flush against the body. Why this way isn't standard on all irons is beyond me. Straightening wise I am kinda on the fence about. You can't really get pin straight. You can get the naturally straight look though.
This worked so well when I first started using it, then it just went to hell! It feels great when it's in my hair but when you rinse it out, nothing. Not moisturizing, not smoothing, and somehow it makes my hair look flatter and fuller at the same time (what a horrible combinatio). Just very coating and heavy. Since I don't use that much heat, I believe what little protein it has my hair doesn't like. What a waste of money.