I LOVE this sponge. I always wanted a Beauty Blender, but couldn't bring myself to pay so much for a sponge... Although they seem to have come down in price a bit lately. I want to say that Beauty Blenders used to retail for something crazy like $20 a piece when they came out?! Anyway, I got a set for around $10 with a pink Sonia Kashuk sponge and a bottle of spray cleaner. The cleanser is fabulous. It has a strong sort of disinfectant smell and I use it to clean this sponge and my Clarisonic brush heads. The sponge is great. It is nothing like those little foam wedges or anything else I've tried. It's very heavy and dense. It absorbs some of the oil (or silicone?) from the foundation without just drinking the product up. It leaves my skin looking really smooth and well blended. I've started applying foundation with my hands and then using the "big end" of the sponge to blot everything out and blend it out. The pointy end is really great for blending around facial crevices like the eyes and nose. After I apply blush and everything on my cheeks, I go back over with the sides of the sponge to lightly blend all the edges out. I've had the sponge for a year and have used/ washed it regularly. It is just now starting to look like it's deteriorating and needs to be replaced. At $10/ year, I think it's a worthwhile beauty expense. I will definitely repurchase. I guess my only complaint is that the sponge is SO dense, it's a bit difficult to clean and get all of the makeup out of it. Also, I feel like $10 is a fair price compared to a Beauty Blender and I love the product, but how much does it really cost to manufacture a sponge? Target could probably charge half as much and still make a huge profit.
Makeup Brushes -NYX - Stippling Flat Top Brush-B 07
seven12 9/20/2012 10:36:00 AM
I can't remember exactly how much I paid for this brush (I've had it a few years now), but I want to say it was around $15. For the price, I am happy with it. I originally wanted to use it for foundation, but it sheds too much. I basically only use it for blush and highlighter or sometimes to lightly buff a finishing spray on. It doesn't shed at all when I use it for blending or powders/blushes. Because of using it with blushes, the bristles are stained pink, but the brush washes well otherwise and comes out fluffy and soft each time. I actually bought a real MAC 187 around the same time I bought this one, and I reach for this NYX brush more often. I think it has held up a lot better over time than the MAC. My real 187 has a badly chipped handle and sheds every single time I use it. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this brush.
I am very pale, but not a beautiful porcelain sort of pale. I have a lot of redness and unevenness and my natural complexion is quite sallow. A light coat of self tanner a few times a month helps keep my skin looking smoother and more even-toned. I do it more for that reason than to look tan. This tanner is ridiculously expensive, but it's the only one I've tried that hasn't broken my face out. To conserve product, I only use Clarins Delicous on my face, neck and decollete and then I use various sprays on the rest of my body. With self-tanners, I ALWAYS use gloved hands and blend well, despite what the directions say to do. I never have a problem with streaking. I find this one really easy to apply. The color helps me to see exactly where and how much I've applied and the results are instant. As for the smell, they load this product with cocoa, but no self tanner smells delicious. That gross "self tanner smell" is the result of DHA reacting with your skin's amino acids. This chemical reaction is what causes your skin to change color, and ALL self tanners use this technology, therefore they all produce that same smell. The packaging is just a plastic pot, nothing special. It would be nice if they could do a heavier glass jar for the price, but with a product this expensive I am just glad it's not in a tube. I like being able to see exactly how much is in there and easily get every last bit out.
This is my favorite concealer. I have eczema and one of my problem areas is an angry red patch that randomly appears on my neck. This concealer is thick and creamy, so it doesn't exacerbate the already sensitive area. Previously I was using Dermablend Cover Creme, which I loved and it was a fantastic color match, but it's $35. This is only $6 and comes in a hygienic squeeze tube (my favorite type of packaging). I am NC20 and Glamoflage in Light is a perfect color match for me. It has a lot of yellow in it, which is good for balancing both redness and blue tones (like dark undereye circles). I've tried probably 30+ concealers from various drugstore and prestige brands, and this is among the very best I've used. If you're very, very fair or cool toned, you might not find a good color match or if you're very oily this might not work for you. Otherwise I highly recommend. I will repurchase this concealer as long as it keeps being manufactured.
I had heard some good things about the concealer, so I decided to give it a shot, despite my reservations about the packaging... I have deep, dark circles. Not only is my undereye area somewhat sunken in, I look like I have 2 black eyes at all times. Sleep, diet and products don't help whatsoever. I have pictures of myself as a toddler with these circles; it's always been a problem. So basically, I don't expect any product to completely cover them. This product does do a decent job reflecting light away from my eyes, though it doesn't mask the bluish color of my circles. I have to layer this over heavier, more camouflaging concealers to get the effect I need. It's not really moisturizing, but it's not drying either. It sinks in quickly and doesn't smudge my mascara when I blink, so that's another plus. As for the color, I bought it in Fair, which is a bit too light for me, but still wearable (I'm about NC20 now). Like most people, I'd rather have a concealer be a shade too light than too dark. The only con, and it is a HUGE con, is the packaging. You turn the bottle to click and it dispenses some product into the round sponge tip. Makeup sponges are notoriously dirty and germy. I've used this about 10 times and tube is still totally full of product... but the sponge is already DISGUSTING. Also, the sponge is glued into the applicator, but it started tearing off. So I will be applying this and the sponge pops off and I scratch my eye with the plastic underneath. Maybelline really needs to put this in squeeze tube, or at least a regular tube with a doe-foot applicator. The product is decent, but the packaging is so gross. I probably will not rebuy for that reason.
Liquid -Estee Lauder - Double Wear LIGHT Foundation SPF10
seven12 9/17/2012 3:17:00 PM
I have combo normal/dry skin and I hated this foundation at first, but that's because I wasn't applying it right. This is my new routine for the foundation: no primer, just apply a tiny amount with my hands while my moisturizer (or sunscreen) is still a little "sticky" and then I sort of blot it with a Sonia Kashuk sponge (Beautyblender dupe), conceal whatever needs to be concealed (this fdtn is light-med coverage, so dark circles or spots will need a separate concealer) and then set with a light powder. It looks perfect all day and it sort of seals in my moisturizer and becomes sort of matte, but velvety. It's a really nice finish and it lasts all day without smudging or caking. This foundation does dry super fast and it's not loaded with silicone (like SO many other fdtns nowadays), so it doesn't have that slippery texture. If your skin is drier, you have to use a good moisturizer underneath, and work fast, applying a small amount to smaller areas at a time. The color Intensity 1.0 is a bit dark, considering it's the lightest shade they make. I would guess the color is probably closest to NW20 in MAC or maybe N3 in L'Oreal True Match. It's pretty neutral, but if you're very yellow-toned (or super pale), you'll probably want to skip this one or look at regular Double Wear, which comes in more shades. Overall, I really like this. It doesn't break me out or irritate my skin (which is sensitive), the shade is neutral and it gives a nice finish that isn't too dewy or dry looking and lasts all day. I also LOVE that it comes in a hygienic squeezy-tube. Even the tube itself is lightweight and travel friendly. I will definitely repurchase this. If you're interested in buying it, I strongly recommend looking for the kit that comes with the full size foundation and DVD, and try to get it when there's a GWP going on, because for only $6.50 more than the foundation alone, you get tons of other stuff to try.
I got a deluxe sample of Buxom lash from Sephora a while back. It's not something I ever would have bought on my own. Admittedly, the sample sat in its box for many months before I opened it. I was so surprised by this mascara when I finally tried it-- I actually love it! Idk what is going on, but my eyes have gotten SO sensitive lately. I can't use 9/10 mascaras without severe eye irritation. My eyes itch and burn so badly I have to take out my contacts and wash my face to be able to see. I haven't been able to pinpoint which ingredients are causing the problem, and on top of that I am VERY picky about wands. I honestly really hate silicone wands and prefer regular bristles (hence the reason I took so long to open this mascara and try it). So finding a good mascara is tough. This mascara isn't phenomenal. The wand is good at coating lashes and keeping them separated (no tarantula eyes!), however, for a mascara called "Buxom" it doesn't really deliver. It's good at defining lashes, not so much at increasing volume. Compared to original Diorshow, for instance, this mascara is ineffective at thickening. Compared to Maybelline Lash Stiletto or any mascara that contains fibers or tubes, Buxom does not do a good job at lengthening either. It's good for just a basic, natural look. But the reason I love this mascara is that it doesn't flake or smudge, it stays put all day. And it doesn't irritate my eyes whatsoever and I'm at a point where pretty much everything else is causing allergic reactions. I also like that I don't need to comb my lashes with this-- it doesn't clump. For these reasons I would repurchase. There's apparently a few versions of Buxom with different wands. I think next time I will try the one with the more spread-out bristles.
I have sort of a mixed review for this product, and that is because I have been using it for a year, but just found out how expensive it is... To elaborate, I saw 0.5 ounce jars of Absolue Premium at an outlet for $6 a piece. I literally knew nothing about the product, but I was intrigued by it and the sales associate stressed that it was a REALLY nice cream for a VERY good price. I bought 2 and I've kept one in my purse to use on my hands and face as needed throughout the day. I have very dry skin and it's nice to have something small, portable and inexpensive (yet effective) that I can carry around all the time. It beats having to carry around a big tub of greasy Aquaphor. I like the cream. It smells good (although the scent is very strong) and it sinks in quickly. It hydrates without being greasy or heavy. I like the texture/ formulation a lot, actually. I planned on buying more... until I saw the price!!! I cannot believe this product retails for $150! Had I known that, I would have bought 10 of the little clearance pots at the CCO. I am sad, because I really wanted more, but I am not willing to pay that price. I think there are other products at a much lower price point that work just as well. For me anyway, a product has got to work miracles if I'm going to shell out $150 for it, and basically this is just a really nice moisturizer, nothing *that* special.
I have 2 of these polishes and they are drastically different, so it's hard to write one review. The first one I have is Green with Envy. I got it at Walgreens for less than $3. It's a thick creme, goes on smoothly in 1-2 coats and dries quickly and evenly. It's long-wearing, but no more so than any decent polish with a good base and top coat. I'm ghostly pale and I love this color on my toes in the Summer. I always get lots of compliments on it. The second one I purchased was Vibrant Violet, which I got on clearance at Target for only $1.24. In the bottle it looked like a possible dupe for Essie Bermuda Shorts, which I would describe as a neon purple-fuchsia-berry creme. I like bright pinks and purples, so I couldn't pass it up. Well... it's been a LONG time since I've encountered a polish like this. I remember some polishes in the 80's and 90's having this consistency, but I haven't seen one in a long time. It's runny, milky and has no shine whatsoever (but not matte, just dull). The first 2 coats went on smoothly and dried fast. By the 3rd coat it was a still a bit streaky, but to do a 4th coat I would have needed a UV nail dryer or it never would have dried in this humidity. 3 coats looks fine from far away, but up close you can tell it's a little uneven. Once it had dried, I put 2 coats of Seche on it and it looked much better. It's nowhere near the creamy neon shade it looks in the bottle, though-- the color is like opaque grape jelly. It's unique. I don't have anything like it, so I'll keep it and keep using it. The formula of this one is crap, though. Overall, I like these polishes. The color selection is good and they are long-wearing. Because they're so cheap, I will likely buy more. I just wish they all had the consistency of Green with Envy!
I've probably tried close to 20 various top coats ranging in price from $1-15. This is hands down my favorite. It dries very glossy and smooth. If you're careful not to paint all over your cuticles, it will look like you have a salon manicure. The finish looks very similar to Seche Vite, and although it dries a little slower, it's half the price and you can actually finish the bottle, because it doesn't seize up. I would definitely recommend this over Seche Vite, OPI, Essie or anything you can buy in a drug store.
I don't think I can deal with this product. I love the *concept* of a white eye primer or base for someone N20 or lighter. But the texture of this product is just gross. It's kind of waxy and greasy at the same time. I kept applying more and more and more, trying to get even coverage on my lids. It's weirdly translucent and went on really splotchy. It sort of reminded me of a dried-out MAC Paint Pot, which I'm also not a fan of. I was hoping for a richer, more velvety texture. I guess for $6 my expectations were just too high. If this product had the smooth texture of Ultima II Fade Not Crease Not or Laura Geller Spackle, I'd pay 3-4x more for it and it would be holy grail. But just thinking about putting my finger back in the pot of this stuff kinda gives me shivers. Ugh.
Treatments (Eye) -StriVectin - SD Eye Concentrate for Wrinkles
seven12 8/18/2012 3:47:00 PM
I don't have deep lines yet, but I'm at the age where I'm getting dry around my eye area and that makes some little fine lines show. I can't just use a regular moisturizer like I used to; I need something a little more heavy duty. This product appealed to me, because A) I had a gift card to a retailer that sells it and B) because it's supposed to help with dark circles. I've been using it maybe 6 weeks and my dark circles are still here in full force. So what I do love about this product is the packaging. I have this sort of phobia about sticking my finger into pots. This is a squeeze tube (and a pretty generously sized one at that. It dispenses the perfect pea sized amount, nothing gets wasted and you're not sticking your hands into goop (and contaminating an expensive product with bacteria!). It does a good job moisturizing. What I don't love, I guess, is the price. Compared to something like Chanel Rectifiance, the price is very reasonable. However, all this has really done for me is moisturize, and there's cheaper products that can get the job done. For a cheaper alternative, I'd suggest Mario Badescu Glycolic Cream, which I think is around $20. It's very moisturizing and more gentle than StriVectin. Unfortunately, it comes in a pot, but I think I can get past that with the amount of money I'll save. I would not pay $60 for this again. If it was heavily discounted, or given to me as a freebie or gift, I'd gladly use it. But my bottom line is that this is just an overpriced, over-hyped eye moisturizer (in a REALLY nice squeezy tube).
I hated this moisturizer when I first bought it. Another reviewer described this as more of a "sealant" and said it made her sunscreen pill. This is what it did to me as well. It's super greasy and it would just sit on my skin and never really sink in. When I tried to apply foundation (or heaven forbid, primer!) on top, it would turn into this cakey, pasty disgusting mess. I shelved it and forgot about it. However this Summer, while shopping my stash, I rediscovered it. I've been having issues with eczema and contact dermatitis lately, and I find this product incredibly soothing. I don't know that it makes redness disappear (which it claims to do), but it doesn't exacerbate the existing situation. The only other thing I can put on my whole face and neck right now is Aquaphor, which feels super disgusting. I don't know if it's the heat or that my skin is a little oilier in the summer, but I do find that this moisturizer is sinking in nicely. Another bonus: because this moisturizer is so greasy, I can wear foundations over it that I couldn't wear before. Any long-wearing foundations geared for oilier skin (like MAC ProLongwear or EL Double Wear) used to do disgusting things on my dry skin, but now they look amazing with this moisturizer. It's like the foundation soaks up the grease from the moisturizer and just leaves my skin satiny and smooth all day. On the flip side, if I try to apply moisturizing foundations over this product, they slide right off. All in all, I am liking this product now. I wish it came in a bigger bottle for the price, though. I went through 2oz in under 3 months. I am used to buying huge tubs of CeraVe or Cetaphil (for less money) and they last forever.
BB Cream -Garnier - BB Cream Miracle Skin Perfector - Light/Medium
seven12 4/16/2012 9:44:00 PM
I like the texture of this product. It's lightweight and sinks in quickly. However, I find it to be a bit drying. Even with a heavy moisturizer underneath, I sometimes get a flaky forehead when I use this. This is not a problem I have with other products. The coverage is very light. If you have dark circles or any sort of blemishes, you will need an additional concealer. The staying power is minimal. It also has a heavy fragrance which, although pleasant-smelling, might bother sensitive users. As for the color, I am NC15 and the Light to Medium blended in and wasn't too dark or orange on me. I would prefer it a tad lighter, but the shade works surprisingly well. I strongly feel that Garnier should at the very least make this product in 3 shades: Fair, Light/ Medium, and Dark. Trying to cover the entire spectrum of skintones in just 2 shades is ludicrous. Last but not least, this product broke me out HORRIBLY. I am 30 years old with skin that tends to be a bit dry. I am not oily or acne-prone whatsoever. After using this for a week, I now have about 5 small blemishes. I am disappointed, as the concept of a BB Cream really appealed to me, but I will never rebuy this particular product.
Primer/ Corrector -Maybelline - Maybelline Coverstick Corrector Concealer
seven12 5/18/2011 3:06:00 PM
As a concealer, this didn't work for me. It's too thick and dry to blend. Also the color isn't exactly right for my under eye area. I'm very pale right now, maybe nc15, so I bought Ivory. It matches my skintone, but it's too yellow to conceal my dark circles. I need something more salmon toned, like Erase Paste. However, this makes a great primer. The packaging is super cheap, but I like the stick, because it's easy to apply. It's more sanitary than a pot or jar, but unlike a squeeze tube, you can get out every last bit. To apply, I dot it on directly and then use my ring finger or pinky to blend it out. I find that the heat from my fingers makes it more workable than if I use a brush. It dries to a nice finish, doesn't crease, doesn't interfere with the color of my shadows AND it lasts all day. I've also used it as a base on my lips and it works well for that, too. I like it 100x more than any expensive primer I've tried. The best part is I think I only paid about $4 for this!