A bronzer that doesn't turn me orange! Score. Don't need a lot of product and definitely use a huge big face brush to apply it, gives the most even, natural effect. I just take a tiny bit and swipe it over my entire face, neck and down a bit. It feels like I'm barely putting it on but then when I glance in the mirror later in the day I think 'Hey, I look quite healthy today'. Update: I have discovered another way to use this bronzer when I asked the MAC sales girl for a contouring powder! She just used this one, with a blusher brush, to sweep a tiny bit under my cheekbone and topped my cheeks with Style blush. Very nice 'sculpted' effect and since I already had this product I didn't need to buy anything :)
Cleansers -Aveda - Tourmaline Charged Exfoliating Cleanser
MsHepburn 2/11/2012 8:12:00 PM
Smells lovely and felt very good too when my beautician used it on me. However, when I use it myself somehow it doesn't really do the trick. It is so creamy and the grains are so few and far between that it seems like they simply glide over my skin instead of actually removing any dead skin cells. Lovely smell though. I don't know. It feels like I'm trying to exfoliate with a very rich body butter. As far as creamy, mild scrubs go, I prefer Clinuque's 7 day scrub cream.
I have a love-hate relationship with Clinique. Some of their products are so freakin' harsh, when they are meant to be for sensitive skin, it's not funny. The three-step system, even though I keep going back to it every few years like a fool because it seems so appealing, always ends in drama for me. I recently tried the pore minimiser thermal scrub thingy, and it was awful... gave me a rash, itched like hell etcetera. However, I got a sample of this scrub with it and I actually really liked it, even though Paula Begoun says this is not for oily skin. My pores get clogged really easily and supposedly this stuff would be too emollient for me, but I haven't had any problems. I find it very gentle. I make sure to rinse it very well, but my skin feels lovely and soft afterwards. So... I went back to the shop and exchanged the horrible gadgety muck for this lovely, basic, gentle scrub and am a happy camper. Similar to this (very fine, small, rounded grains, but still feeling gritty enough to make you feel that you are using a scrub) is Avene purifying scrub: also quite nice but a little more drying, I think.
Primer/ Corrector -Yves Saint Laurent - Touche Eclat (Radiant Touch)
MsHepburn 2/11/2012 7:56:00 PM
Something about this product gives me a distinct 'the emperor has no clothes' feeling. Everybody is raving about it, it's like your akeup bag isn't complete without it and you can't board a plane without it in your bag even though you left all your other makeup at home. For me, it hasn't worked, ever. I have bought into it on more than one occasion and tried a bunch of different colours, however, I end up wiping it around under my eye with the brush and it just doesn't seem to 'stick'. Either I end up with weird orange stains under my eyes, or it looks the exact same as the eye I haven't touched. However, one of my friends has always had a bit of a problem with dark circles (so have I) and one day I was with her when she went to try this in the department store. Of course I was very skeptical since it had done nothing for me, but lo and behold: her dark circles totally vanished. I was quite amazed. Unfortunately the lady on call tried to make the same thing happen for me, and it just didn't work. Oh well. This so called Holy Grail is not for me, but I think everyone should just try it out in the shop and see for themselves. My friend won't be parted from hers and I have to say she looks gorgeous with it on. Update 24 February 2012: I found a highlighter pen that works on me: the Clarins Instant Light thingy :)
Eyeliner -MAC - Penultimate Eye Liner - Rapidblack
MsHepburn 2/11/2012 7:47:00 PM
This is Liquid Eyeliner for Dummies. I used to use Clinique's liquid eyeliner, which is gorgeous and also quite easy to use after some practice but I still always needed a quick swipe with a cotton bud to get rid of little irregularities in my 'line'. The penultimate liner is basically a felt tip pen, like the ones you used to use in preschool. You can't really mess this up. The felt tip isn't quite as hard/solid/rigid as the ones I used when I was 5 but still sturdy enough for a clean line. I have had this for over 6 months and use it almost every day, and it's still working perfectly. I saw in some of the reviews that people were saying it was drying out or not coming out really black anymore after a while, but for me that hasn't been the case. Just out of curiosity I also purchased the Shiseido pen liner, but that is a bit harder to apply properly as it is more of a tiny brush than a felt tip and also didn't stay on as long. The MAC one I can wear all day and it will stay put, but the Shiseido one had more or less come off when I came home and looked in the mirror. Anyway for people with a steady hand and a knack for this sort of thing I still think the Clinique one is very nice, as unfortunately the MAC one only comes in black and not in dark brown or other softer colours. I'm quite dark myself so I don' mind, but if you're very fair this might be too harsh.
Cleansers -Avene - Cleansing and Make-Up Remover Micellar Lotion
MsHepburn 2/11/2012 7:37:00 PM
I'm a lazy girl. I don't like fussing around with the taps, trying to get the water to not be freezing cold or scorching hot, waiting for the right temperature. In the shower, I use regular cleansers and scrubs, but when I am out of the shower I just want to wipe makeup and grime off my face in one go and not be bothering with using make-up remover, then washing my face, then fumbling for a towel and then moisturising. The less steps, the better. Also, anything that dries my face out too much ends up breaking me out... So, I have been looking for a one step only cleanser that doesn't involve water, and I have finally found a good one! One look at the cotton pad tells you that it works. I need two sides of a cotton pad to get everything off my face but it glides off pretty easily, no need to rub harshly. Then I chuck the pad, apply moisturiser and voila. Morning or evening, that's all it takes. It's super gentle, effective and it has not caused any break-outs so I think I will stick with this if I can resist the lure of the cosmetics counter sirens calling me to try yet another three step system that costs a fortune, just because I'm curious. I am satisfied with this product, it's not very fancy or exciting but it works.
Please note: this review is for the Hydrationist Maximum Moisture Lotion, in a pump, so it's not for the richer cream in a pot. Seriously though: WOW. I have been searching and searching (not to mention spending and wasting a ton of money) for a decent moisturiser that doesn't break me out but does actually moisturise. Haven't had any luck so far and believe me, I have tried every big brand out there: Clinique, Kanebo, Avene, Vichy... most gave me spots, others just didn't make much of a difference. I have recently bought the Estee Lauder Daywear Spf 15 lotion for oily/combination oily skin and that's another one that actually agrees with my skin, so I use that one for daytime, however it didn't seem to really do anything for the dryness-lines at the top of my cheeks, where they go into my temples. I just turned 31 so am starting to notice these things now... So I wanted something that would help with them without clogging my pores. Unfortunately I got talked into buying Clinique's super rescue anti-oxidant night cream, which of course broke me out like mad. Thankfully I could exchange it, so since the other Estee Lauder lotion in a pump turned out so well I decided to give this one a try and boy, does it work! Since I started to use it, the lines have completely disappeared and not returned. Also, no breakouts so far. If it continues to deliver like this I will most definitely repurchase. Oh yeah, two more pro's on this one: the smell (very light and fresh) and the fact that it comes in a pump and is easy to spread. One pump dispenses a tiny amount that is enough to spread across the entire face and does the trick. Like all top-end products it feels overpriced (fancy packaging, shitloads of marketing etc) but since I haven't been able to find a drugstore moisturiser that doesn't cause my skin any trouble I am OK with shelling out for this.
Foundations -Bare Escentuals - bareMinerals SPF 15 Foundation
MsHepburn 2/11/2012 10:49:00 AM
I love that this stuff doesn't break me out and even seems to calm existing acne when I've foolishly used something else. The main reason I keep going back to other makeup is that the packaging is so, well, not handy. If applied correctly, I must say it looks amazing: very natural, glowy, exactly matching my olive skin tone (I use 'light' in winter and 'medium gold' in summer)... but if I'm in a hurry and don't take enough time to really cover acne-scarred areas and buff and blend like mad, you can really see it sitting on top of my skin. So applying it properly is not hard, but it does take more than the minute I am sometimes willing to spend. The best way for me to put this on is to dip the concealer brush into the powder first, and use that to cover up any blemishes properly. I then tip a tiny amount into the lid and use the full flawless face brush to buff it into my skin all over my face and neck. Really don't need much once any blemishes are covered first. I know the reason this works so nicely is that it DOESN'T come in a compact, but I sure wish science would bring me a version of this that does and still doesn't clog my pores... ;) Anyway for the results this gives me I am going to do my best to not be a lazy cow and to stay true to it.
Moisturizers -Estee Lauder - Estee Lauder Daywear Lotion SPF 15
MsHepburn 2/11/2012 10:41:00 AM
Have been using this for about a week and so far, no breakouts which I was worried about becaus this is not a gel and doesn't say ' oil free' or anything. My skin feels quite smooth with it but I can't really tell if it is moisurising enough since the pesky 'dryness lines' at the top of my cheeks, beside my eyes, don't really seem to have diminished. Also, weirdly, my hands feel dry after using this. Not sure if I am just imagining it. Maybe it's the sun screen in it: can remember any sun screen that sinks in rather than sits on top of my skin always made it feel like there is this slight 'dry' veil over it. Have bought the Hydrationist lotion in a pump today so will start using that at night to see if it makes a difference. Update 29 April 2012: Have been using this as a daytime moisturiser and Hydrationist at night and my skin has never looked better. Hydrationist is definitely more hydrating. Neither break me out so hallelujah to that! This one has more antioxidants and of course the benefit of an spf so am sticking with it for daytime. I find it slightly weird that Estee Lauder markets this for day and night... I wouldnt feel comfortable wearing an SPF to bed... They are still pretty harsh chemicals, after all. I can feel them burning my eyes when I accidentally rub my eyes when using this. Although Hydrationist also has fragrance, it doesn't burn my eyes. On the other hand Estee Lauder sure knows its skincare so I hope I can trust that they wouldn't put anything harmful in their creams... So far, I'm impressed so I will keep using this. Am glad to have found some age-appropriate skincare products that don't make me look like a spotty teenager ;) Update 8 August 2012: Well, I ran out of DayWear and haven't replaced it yet. In the meantime I have been using Hydrationist for day as well as night, and only now do I fully appreciate the oil-control benefits of DayWear. Am keeping Hydrationist for night but will buy DayWear again (for, well, day wear) as soon as possible: my face is an oil slick by 4 pm!
Treatments -Clinique - Pore Minimizer Thermal-Active Skin Refiner
MsHepburn 2/11/2012 10:09:00 AM
Yikes! As soon as I had rinsed this stuff off, my face was all blotchy with red patches and I NEVER get reactions like that. I never thought of my skin as 'sensitive' so I didn't expect a reaction like this, especially with Clinique's claims of allergy testing and what not. Not impressed. I gave it another chance a few days later thinking maybe the water I had used was too hot or I rubbed it around too much, but even using a tiny bit for only a few seconds it inflamed my skin. Took a while for the reaction to clear and my skin is still a little sore in those spots even though it doesn't show anymore. Funnily enough I got a sample of the 7 day scrub with this (which happens to be much cheaper) and that appears to agree with me fine, even though Paula Begoun says it's not good for oily skin like mine. I actually really like it, makes my skin quite soft and I don't break out from it so I am taking back this gadgety crap and exchanging it for a full-size tube of the 7 day scrub.
Moisturizers -Clinique - Super Rescue Antioxidant Night Moisturizer
MsHepburn 2/11/2012 10:03:00 AM
When I tried this product on my hand in the shop, I could already feel it was too thick for my acne-prone skin even though the version I got it is targeted at combination and oily skin. However, the nice sales lady assured me it would not clog pores, so I decided to give in to the lure of Clinique once again. Mistake (as always)...! I gave it a 2 night trial, but after the first night I already woke up with 2 itchy bumps on my temple (and I really didn't use much of it). The day after that, there were more and they were itchier. It took all my strength not to touch them. Thankfully I saved the receipt and the box and I could take it back today without any hassle.