Blush -Maybelline - Dream Bouncy Blush - Orchid Hush
BRABKIN 2/14/2013 9:05:00 AM
Sheer, natural-looking pinky-lavender colored blush. This blush is easy to apply, and, depending on how much of it you use, you can vary it between just the slightest hint of color and a more noticeable, darker, pink shade though it remains pretty sheer regardless of how much you use. I found it was creamy enough that it did not accentuate wrinkles, but not at all shiny. I couldn't see the sparkles that some other reviewers mentioned, but then again, I apply it with a fairly light hand. This particular color is a muted pink and looks soft and pretty, but neutral, on my fair skin. I have found this blush to be equal or better in quality as compared to department-store brand blushes that cost around four or five times as much, and I also like the fact that it has no obvious scent.
Conditioner -TiGi - Bed Head Self Absorbed Conditioner
BRABKIN 2/14/2013 7:46:00 AM
If you want a conditioner that straightens your hair, look elsewhere, but if you want a conditioner that keeps the frizz down without affecting any natural curl, I would definitely recommend giving this a try. I have such dry, coarse, wavy, hair that most of the time I only wash it every three or four days. Over the years, I've probably tried just about every conditioner and mask, and leave in treatment there is from very expensive "salon" brands to cheap drugstore ones. I keep coming back to "Self-Absorbed" for several reasons. First, so long as I leave it in for the recommended 3-5 minutes (and then rinse out), it smooths the fly-aways and frizzies without weighing my hair down or leaving build up. Second, unlike a lot of conditioners that seem to "straighten" my curly hair, this one leaves the natural wave alone. Third, while I usually avoid scented hair products, (and I especially avoid floral-scented anything because it turns me into a bee-magnet!), my husband really likes the scent of this one and it is NOT a floral scent at all. I didn't give it 5 stars not because of the product, but because of the pump. The product is quite thick (which is a good thing), but the pump is not up to the task of dispensing anything that thick and gets clogged easily. It comes in various sizes some of which have pumps and some of which don't. For sure, don't buy it for the pump! I also discovered (by accident when I was at a hotel that had a clogged shower drain!) that if you mix it with some warm water and soak your feet in it for 5 minures or so and then rinse, it makes a great skin conditioner for rough, dry feet.
Cleansers -L'Oreal - Go 360 Clean Deep Facial Cleanser for Sensitive Skin
BRABKIN 6/13/2012 8:34:00 AM
The trick to using L'Oreal go 360 Clean Deep Facial Cleanser for Sensitive Skin (or, for that matter, any gylcerin-based cleanser) is to leave it on your face for a minute or two before you rinse it off. If you put it on, lather up (with the attached soft scrublet), and then rinse right away, it won't get your face nearly as clean as if you wait 60 to 90 seconds - maybe closer to two minutes if you are using it to remove make-up. With that proviso, I love this cleanser. It rinses clean without residue, but doesn't strip or leave my sensitive face feeling dry or tight, just smooth and comfortable. Some other reviewers have commented on a scent. I usually notice (and avoid) scents in facial products, but I honestly can't detect any particular scent with this cleanser, and the label touts "fragrance free.". Pirated products often have a lot of added perfumes - I wonder if some of the deeply discounted versions of this product mentioned by other reviewers were actually knock offs with added fragrances. In any event, after using this cleanser day in and day out year-round for over a year, this L'oreal product has, in all seasons, worked better for me than other "sensitive" skin cleansers that cost double or triple the price. And I found a six-ounce bottle lasted me through about four months of using it twice a day every day.
Lip Treatments -SoftLips - 100% Natural Pure Lip Polish
BRABKIN 9/18/2011 9:34:00 AM
This felt good when I first rubbed it on my lips, and my lips seemed softer immediately after I wiped it off, but hours later (and even more with daily use over time), I found it actually dried out my lips and accentuated lines. After some experimentation, I am now using a homemade combination of sugar and Aquaphor Healing Ointment which works much better than this "lip polish", and costs very little (since I buy the Aquaphor in the big jars). I wanted to like this product, but it just didn't hold up in the long term.
I use this when outdoor winter sports/wind have made the skin on my face raw, and it does not irritate at all. The reason I gave it 4 instead of 5 lippies is the packaging - you only need a little but it's hard not to get too much because of the relatively large opening at the top. Having said that, when I accidentally overdo the quantity, I rub it on my knees, neck, elbows, and anywhere else that is dry, where it feels good and soothes dryness without being too greasy. The other problem with the packaging is that it is a glass bottle which is kind of heavy and not well suited to travel for that reason. It's not so much that it is breakable - it actually feels pretty sturdy - it is more just the weight of it. On the other hand, the glass seems to keep the product more pure than plastic probably would. This face oil has a scent, but it is sort of oriental-ish, not a floral scent, and a little spicy which I like. Sometimes in the winter I'll use a drop of this instead of perfume! You have to give it at least ten minutes to sink in before you put make-up or anything else on top of it, but at least on my dry skin it is very well absorbed, you just have to be a little patient as it does not absorb instantly.
Moisturizers -Sisley - Botanical moisturizer w/ cucumber
BRABKIN 9/5/2011 2:10:00 AM
Even though I have dry skin, I found this to be greasy/sticky and not well-absorbed. It didn't make me break out in the one week I used it, but it felt like it might if I continued to try it. I threw it away because I felt like it was not reaching my skin enough to combat dryness, and it just made my skin feel coated from the outside, so it was pointless to keep it.
Left residue on my face that would not rinse off with water. Maybe OK if you use a toner afterwards, but left my face sticky and filmy. I like other Clarins products, but not this one.
Simply didn't clean or remove anything, and in fact left residue that would not come off with water. Pretty worthless cleanser in my experience, however good some of the other NIA 24 products may be.
This product cleans well and feels good BUT I could not get past a lingering smell, which remained noticeable ( to me anyway) long after I had thoroughly rinsed my face. Would have been a keeper if not for the scent.
Skincare - Face -Skinceuticals - SkinCeuticals Eye Balm
BRABKIN 9/5/2011 1:40:00 AM
This has been my go-to winter eye cream for over fifteen years now! I find it to be very soothing and non-irritating. It is so rich that I tend not to use it in the summer unless I am going to be on a plane or in a very dry climate, but it feels good and eases dryness in the eye area. It is a not a "miracle" erase-your-wrinkles cream, but in my experience those kinds of products irritate and make the area feel tight. "Balm: is an accurate description for this very comforting product, and a little lasts a long time - it takes me years to go through a jar! I also like the fact that it has no noticeable scent. (In the summer I now use Chagrin Valley Whipped Squalane" face and eye mousse - and I have posted a Makeup Alley review of that product).
Great at first, not good long term. I agree with the other reviewers who said nice things happen when you apply this product. What I found, however, was that while it softened the look and feel of my under eye area quite nicely at first, it had the odd effect of drying the area over time - after about three weeks of use. I tried the experiment a second time six months later (because I still had plenty of the product), and the exact same thing happened again, at a different season of the year.
This product is probably great on youngish skins that are not all that dry. For myself with post-menopausal dry skin, all it seemed to do was accentuate fine lines and wrinkles! In addition, even though it supposedly has no added fragrance, it does have a noticeable smell, and I found it off-putting ( I think the smell is similar to that of a lot of Amore Pacific products which I don't like either). Finally, be aware that if you are supposed to be avoiding soy for any reason, this product does contain soy. Not for me, but glad it works for younger skins.
Make sure you like what is a very distinctive and lingering scent before you shell out large sums of money for this product! I know that many people love "Time Response" , and some even specifically mention its fragrance as a positive thing. In my own experience, this was not well-absorbed (even though my skin is dry), and in addition I did not like the scent at all. I know there are many who would disagree, but I could not stand what seemed to me like a "dirty socks" smell. Obviously scent is a very individual thing, so I would just say smell it first!
Treatments -Chagrin Valley - Whipped Squalane Face & Eye Mousse
BRABKIN 5/24/2011 7:14:00 AM
I've been using Chagrin Valley Whipped Squalane Face and Eye Mousse as a nighttime eye cream all spring and summer, and while it may be a little heavy as a summer product for oilier skins, this product is a keeper for me. (By the way, 'Squalane' is the spelling on the package, not 'Squalene') I stumbled on this product because my husband likes the Chagrin Valley Shea butter in the winter. Having tried many other nighttime eye creams, most of which are far more expensive than Chagrin Valley Whipped Squalane, I have now thrown almost all the others away and use this one only! Most of the other products I had tried either felt uncomfortable, hurt my eyes, caused puffiness, or actually made fine lines more visible. This softens lines, feels good, doesn't hurt or sting, and doesn't leave any residue or puffing as long as you are careful not to use too much (it is tempting to use too much because it is packaged in a simple twist-cap, wide-top jar.) The ingredients, as listed on the package are: "Shea Olein, Olive Squalane, Olive Butter, Jojoba, and Lavender essential oil." Don't be put off by the lavender oil. I don't usually like scented products, but this has a very subtle smell that doesn't jump out and is a very soft, subtle, hint of lavender rather than the in-your-face sickly sweet lavender that is all too common. In other words if you are looking for something with a strong lavender scent, this isn't it, but if you are OK with just the slightest touch of scent, this is great. Two thumbs up for a great product at a reasonable price!
Please note that this review applies only to the color "Carol." I only tried "Carol" which is a soft mauve color, so I can't speak for all the other colors, but I did not notice any smell or taste, objectionable or otherwise with "Carol" lip balm, and I'm pretty sensitive to scents. "Carol" is a very sheer color, and if your lips are naturally medium to darkly pigmented, you probably won't notice much difference whether you are wearing this product or not. For me, being pale, "Carol" adds just a hint of color and it does not dry out my lips at all. In fact, I would say it moisturizes a bit, though not as much as a heavy-duty balm. I would also describe it as only very slightly glossy. It is not matte, but it is not sticky nor as shiny as most glosses. I have been using this product for about six months now and it has become my go-to lip product when I want just the sheerest hint of color for a no-makeup look. The package is tiny, making it easy to carry and you apply it right from the package - no fingers or brushes needed. If you want something that says "I'm wearing lip color", this probably isn't right for you, but if you are someone who normally shies away from most colored lip products, this might be a nice way to perk up your lips without looking "made up".