I've been using this regularly since discovering it in Sephora about 3 years ago. When I started looking for a primer I was mostly curious whether it would make any difference to my make up routine. I wasn't too worried about the longevity of my foundation (Max factor age renew seems to wear pretty well and I favour a natural look anyway) but I do find that this primer makes it easier to apply foundation more evenly. I'd actually tested both Smashbox & Napolean Perdis Autopilot primers on the back of my hand in the store but the texture of both felt really thick and sticky and (probably noticing the acne prone tendency of my skin) the sales assistant suggested Aquaprime as being an oil free, silicone free, fragrance free alternative. The product is a clear gel, with a texture that feels very cool & soothing to apply. It doesn't irritate my skin at all, sinks in immediately and let's me get straight on with applying my foundation. I get a smoother, more even result and it seems to plump out those fine lines in my forehead that would otherwise accumulate excess foundation. It's not that cheap (around the $30 mark) but you only need one or two pumps for your whole face so it lasts quite a long time (a 1.35fl oz. tube lasts me about 7 months with daily application) The black and white packaging looks quite stylish and the inverted pump tube is a convenient size for traveling (fits in a zip lock bag according to TSA rules) and keeps the product hygienic right to the end. My only gripes are that its difficult to purchase outside the US and that the little clear plastic cap is a bit brittle & prone to breakage. I will repurchase when my current supply runs out.
As some other reviewers have noted - the "feelgood" factor may outweigh the results, but it does feel pretty good and I look forward to using it as a weekly facial treat. I bought this mask in Sephora based on the rave reviews on this site. I wasn't expecting any earth shattering improvements in wrinkles etc - but I do find it calms redness, reduces pore size & gives me a subtle glow after using it. (While using it I look like some sort of "mud monster from the deep" lol) The smell is quite herbal/muddy - which I find quite relaxing, but if you're more into fresh or floral scents it might not be for you. I have the tube style packaging and definitely prefer that over a jar for hygiene and ease of application. With the tube you can neatly squeeze a little blob into your palm or onto your fingertips and then spread over your face without getting gritty bits under your fingernails. It's a pretty pricey product but a little bit goes a long way. A wet face makes for easier application - seems to thin the base of the product out and allows coverage of your whole face with less product. Applying the mask thinly also makes it less messy to wash off at the end. You do need lots of warm water to get the last traces off and if you have white towels (like I do) beware. On a couple of occasions I've left dark green streaks behind after missing a few spots under my chin or getting a little bit into my hairline. It comes out fine in the wash - just a bit annoying if you've used a freshly washed towel. Despite the price - I will probably repurchase when my current tube runs out.
I've been using Simple's soothing skin toner for about five years - since I discovered it on a visit to the UK. In the past I'd mostly avoided using toners because the alcohol content irritates or dries out my skin. This toner is completely different - it's gentle, non-irritating (doesn't sting at all - even on blemishes or on my eyelids) and actually seems to help with calming any redness and reducing breakouts. My personal HG toner. I mostly use it in the evening applied to a cotton cleansing wipe to get my face completely clean before my nighttime moisturising routine and sometimes also in the morning before makeup. It doesn't dry my skin like many toners but removes those last traces of oil or make up & makes the surface of my skin feel fresh, clean & soft. The bottle is sturdy & hygienic - doesn't leak when travelling, is has a very neutral scent and the price is excellent which means you can be liberal with the application and not feel guilty. (To me there is nothing worse than expensive toner being soaked up by a cotton wipe so that you hardly get any on your face!)
Cleansers -DERMAdoctor - Wrinkle Revenge 2 Cleanser
Clairabell 8/23/2010 1:37:00 PM
I bought this cleanser in Sephora about a month ago when I ran out of my usual glycolic cleanser (MD formulations). At first I suspected that it might just be a slightly more expensive product in a smaller tube - but the texture is thick & luxurious so you only need a really small amount (the size of 2-3 peas) to cleanse your whole face. As a result the tube seems to be lasting quite well. In terms of performance - it definitely matches up to MD formulations. Very nice to use and leaves my face feeling clean, refreshed & without the clogged pores that plague me when I use a non-glycolic cleanser. I apply a little blob with my fingers & then follow up with my Clarisonic - before rinsing with warm water. It really provides a great smooth basis for applying daily moisturiser & foundation. This type of squeeze tube usually ends up squeezing itself into my suitcase so when I travel I'll probably transfer it to a sturdy little Nalgene bottle - but at home, it's nice & easy to stand next to the bathroom sink. My only complaint is the name - it's a fair enough claim (since glycolic does seem to help against fine lines) but I'm not sure I want to announce my battle with wrinkles to all visitors who use our bathroom!
This is my first dalliance with a retinol product and after getting through half the bottle, I can see quite a significant improvement in my skin texture & in the appearance of the expression lines in my forehead. The texture of the cream is pleasant and the fragrance is not offensive but as per the warning on the bottle, I did get some peeling when I first started using it. Not just minor flakiness but whole patches of skin rubbing away, which made it impossible to apply foundation evenly for a few days. Reducing the frequency of use (& switching back to a regular moisturiser for a few days) helped somewhat but I found what really made a difference (and allowed me to use it every night without side effects) was a rubbing in 3-4 drops of Trilogy Rosehip oil after the lotion before going to bed. It looks a little shiny when you go to bed but the combined effect is really potent - in that the oil seems to balance out the drying side effects of the retinol and you get the best of both products. After a quick cleanse with my Clarisonic in the morning (together with a small blob of glycolic cleanser) Voila - glowing complexion. More expensive than most other products I use but I will probably re-purchase (or experiment with another retinol product) just to see if I get continual improvement.
As a recent convert to several other organic skincare lines I was really excited to find this cleanser offered as part of a trial kit along with a suki toner & moisturiser. Unfortunately, as much as I enjoy the fresh lemon fragrance and the somewhat magical way the grainy scrub turns into a smooth foamy paste between my palms - I have to agree with the reviewers who've commented that this product is overly harsh. Even being super careful to dissolve most of the grains of sugar before applying it to my face, and then being even more careful not to rub too hard - my face was left feeling tight and stripped - something that the toner & moisturiser did little to counteract. Someone with oilier or less sensitive/acne prone skin might see better results - the other reviews certainly suggest that other users have fallen head over heels for this scrub so it must being something for them. I felt the product was significantly overpriced considering its size, ingredient list and the amount that you need to use. The packaging (a glass jar) is solid & the bold yellow and black colour scheme looks very stylish in my bathroom - but having to dig out oily sugar with my finger doesn't feel very hygienic and getting the lid back on once a little of the scrub gets into the threads is a nightmare. I give it 2 lippies because it smells nice and being organic - I feel better about putting in on my skin (no artificial nasties).
Treatments -MD Formulations - Continiuous Renewal Serum
Clairabell 11/7/2009 4:45:00 PM
I have the sensitive skin version of this product which was recommended to me by one of the beauticians at a local salon. I was already using the MD formulations cleanser but am really impressed by how quickly this treatment serum has made a visible difference to my skin. Clearer, better texture, less bumps, less flaky patches, makeup goes on more easily. It also seems to be easier to get impurities to surface after using a warm cloth. Together with the Decleor moisturiser that I was advised to apply after the serum, I have actually noticed an improvement in the expression lines that were starting to appear on my forehead. It's not cheap but you don't need to use a lot of product. Nothing really wrong with the packaging per se - it is sturdy, hygenic & has a pleasantly minimalistic design but I took two lippies off because I hate having to screw the rather awkward top back on every morning and the bottle doesn't make it easy to dispense small quantities of the serum.
Skincare - Body -NADS - Hair Removal System - No-Heat Hair Removal Gel
Clairabell 9/7/2009 3:32:00 PM
I'm surprised this gets such a low rating. I've been using NADs for a few years and it's an absolutely excellent product. It's not the cheapest hair removal product on the market but the pot lasts for ages and you only need the thinnest layer. I actually find the results are better if you don't smear on too much. The best part is that its water soluble (unlike a lot of waxes) and is totally non toxic. If you live in a colder climate - standing the pot on the central heating or letting it sit on your skin for a minute before trying to spread helps with application. I use it with Body shop's organic cotton strips.
Misc Beauty Tools -Clarisonic - Pro Skincare Brush
Clairabell 8/19/2009 1:42:00 PM
Nervous though I was to spend so much money on a skincare product - the Clarisonic was completely worth the investment. Just 1 minute every morning and evening with the sensitive head and a little Cetaphil has made a big difference to the overall appearance of my skin - giving me more even skintone and less flakiness. Every few days I use a little MD formulations glycolic cleanser beforehand - and this seems to really help soften the surface layer of skin and help the brush do its job. I still get a little hormonal acne (under the surface bumps) but my skin tone is much improved - glowing even - and the little uneven bumps around my chin & cheeks have disappeared, as have the blackheads on my nose. I purchased mine online from DermaDoctor with the international adapter kit - and just use a standard US to European converter plug. The brush takes a long time to fully charge (about 24hrs) but seems to hold charge for several weeks worth of use - making it convenient to leave in the bathroom cabinet. I drop the brush head in a cup of boiling water once a week to keep it clean. Update: Still a regular user & still loving my Clarisonic. I really notice a difference if I stop using it for a few days - my skin just doesn't feel as clean or as smooth. After using the sensitive brush for a long time - I've converted to the softer delicate brush which is gentler on my skin with daily use and works well with my glycolic cleanser. I've also purchased the Mia so I can take my skincare regime with me when I travel. The Mia has no beeps but the performance is much the same & the brush heads are identical - it's just a lighter more compact version with a much more travel friendly charger.
Super gentle cleanser that cleans my skin without stripping the moisture out of it. After splashing my face with some warm water I apply Cetaphil in a thin layer all over and then use my Clarisonic brush. At the end of the day I use a Jurlique make up remover first - and then follow up with Cetaphil & Clarisonic. My face has never felt smoother or cleaner. Great product that comes in a decent sized, robust plastic bottle & lasts for ages.
Treatments -Trilogy - Booster Capsules with CoQ10 and Tamanu Oil Complex
Clairabell 8/19/2009 1:06:00 PM
I bought Trilogy's booster capsules from an online organic skincare store based on the reviews here on MUA and I am pleasantly surprised by how good they are. My skin is combination/acne prone and easily irritated by cleansing products but one of these capsules leaves my skin feeling calm, hydrated and smooth. The capsules can be a bit tricky to pop - but really hygienic and easy to pack for weekends away. I've just re-purchased. Update: Trilogy now sell this in a glass bottle with a dropper - like their organic rosehip oil. The new packaging is by no means bad but I will miss being able to pack a handful of these magic capsules into a tiny plastic container when traveling light.
I'm really surprised by the low ratings for this product - which I've been a fan of for several years. I have straightish shoulder length hair which tends to get a bit dry/frizzy at the ends and static in the winter. This product makes my hair feel silky & manageable - I typically use it once a week or the day before a special occasion where I want manageable shiny hair. It also seems to help in maintaining overall condition after swimming in saltwater or chlorinated pools. The key is to apply it to damp hair and shampoo out really thoroughly. The individual doses are perfect for popping in a gym bag, easy to open under the shower without needing scissors & are easily warmed up by running them under the hot tap.
I got this mask as a "freebie" with ProActiv's 3 step system. I'm neither a lover or a hater of ProActiv - it hasn't "wrecked my skin" but nor has it solved my acne - I dislike the cleanser formulation, though the toner & repair lotion are products that I go back to once in while - with continuous use they seem to lose their effectiveness. The mask is my least favourite product to actually use. It feels quite drying and is really difficult to wash off with warm water alone - I always end up needing a wash cloth and even then it feels like a "film" of the stuff is still left on my face. As everyone has mentioned, it smells terrible. The smell is even worse if you make the mistake of using the toner _after_ the mask...sulfur plus glycolic acid = rotten eggs! The packaging is pretty boring - small, lightweight plastic tube. Practical but nothing special. In terms of performance - I probably use it too rarely to get much benefit - mostly because I don't enjoy using it. But it does seem to have a drying/antibacterial effect so I sometimes apply it to treat specific areas like my chin and it seems to help a little - hence the 2 stars,
Jurlique's neck serum is definitely in the category of "expensive luxury" (it seems extravagant to buy a product specifically for my neck when facial moisturiser would probably suffice) but it's a lovely lightweight formula that sinks in quickly and leaves my neck feeling soft, supple and toned. The smell is herbal/floral rather than chemical & while it may not look appealing coming out of the bottle (a sort of brown goo) it feels really nice as you rub it in - not greasy, not drying but still making the skin feel smooth & taut. The ceramic bottle is of high quality & is nice to display on the sink at home but not good for traveling. I have been a fan of Jurlique for a few years and actually preferred their old packaging, both in terms of the design & convenience - but they've always avoided using plastic which means the bottles are all pretty heavy. (Not good for the hand luggage allowance when stocking up at the airport duty free!) The pump works fine but it's difficult to get the last bit of serum out without turning the bottle upside down - hence I've deducted a couple of stars on the packaging.
I have mixed feelings on this product but will most likely not repurchase. It does make my lips feel a tiny bit fuller - though the effect is not long lasting so it needs frequent reapplication and you certainly shouldn't expect to end up with lips like Angelina Jolie! The plumping effect is partly due to increased blood flow but also partly due to the highly shiny, sticky & thick formulation - which frankly, you can achieve with a much cheaper regular lip gloss. Despite being a clear product it also darkens my lips quite a bit. This is sometimes the effect I'm after - a more natural looking, less messy alternative to wearing lipstick or coloured gloss - but during the day, I usually prefer my natural lip colour or a pale pink/nude gloss. I don't mind the cinnamon flavour though I don't like it as much as my other lip balms & glosses. The main downsides of this product are that it stings - not unbearably so but enough to be a bit unpleasant - and it's very sticky, without being long lasting. My final peeve is that the packaging is so messy - it looks cute, but the cardboard tube quickly degrades (fades & picks up moisture) and the glass bottle gets impossibly sticky.