I have extremely sensitive skin that clogs easily and ranges from dry to dry-combination depending on the time of year. I don't have much to cover other than some old acne scarring on my chin/jaw (substantially faded due to prescription retinoids) and the uneven skintone with redness that my skin sensitivity sometimes produces. In foundation I look for light, but buildable, coverage, tenacious wear, a satin or slightly dewy finish, and a formula that flatters dryness and flaking when they occur. The shade needs to be fair and slightly, but not dramatically, cool-toned, to suit a >NW15. Most importantly, it must not irritate my reactive skin. Makeup Forever Face & Body Foundation claims to be a long-lasting, water resistant product that evens out skintone and leaves a natural finish, perfect for a no makeup makeup look. Having made it through two bottles I feel qualified to say that in my experience most of that is true. As other reviewers have pointed out, if you're seeking full coverage you'll be disappointed by this. The coverage is light, buildable to medium by layering, and does a good job of producing an even, radiant canvas. It blurs imperfections but doesn't cover them totally (unless they're minor) so for the confidence of a fuller coverage you'll need to use this in conjunction with a concealer. The finish is gorgeous, healthy and slightly dewy but not in the way that apes oil. Having said that, oily/combination or oily-skinned people would probably prefer a more matte finish. This is a water-based gel foundation and requires shaking before every use. The new generation pump bottles are much easier to work with than the old version without a pump. It's very liquid (but not as watery as MAC Face & Body Foundation) and feels refreshing on the skin. I find fingers or a foundation brush to be the most effective ways of applying this. A sponge would soak up most of the product immediately. I have tried several shades and prefer #38 for my skintone. #20 is too warm, too beige and a bit too dark, although as I lean neutral and the foundation is sheer I can get away with it. This would be a good shade for NC15-20 but those on the paler end of that range might find #20 too dark. Those on the darker end of the NW15-20 range might want to look at #2. Despite being fragranced (often problematic for me) MUFE F&B is very benign to my sensitive skin, having never caused a reaction, immediate or delayed. It's also, in my experience, extremely kind and flattering to flaky skin - as I discovered during my adjustment phase to Retin A. Another point in this foundation's favour is that it photographs extremely well. I have used this for friends' bridal makeup on both dry and combination skins (with Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage or Shu Uemura Nobara stick foundation on blemishes) and it looks flawlessly beautiful in all lighting, including under flash. I have repurchased and would do so again. My only hesitation is that I find MAC Face & Body wears better and for longer *on me* and transfers less to clothing, phones etc. Your mileage may vary - other reviewers have found the very opposite. MAC is also buildable more quickly for me, although as I prefer a sheer coverage anyway this is not particularly significant. (For reference my shade in MAC Face & Body is N1). Overall, for my needs, an excellent choice. It's quite hard to find in the UK - I purchased from Guru Makeup Emporium, which has excellent customer service. The staff were also very sweet to my bewildered fiance when he went in to pick some up for me. UK price: £28.95 (plus shipping) for 50ml, gurumakeupemporium.com.
I was in pursuit of a good waterline brightener for a while before I found this one. None of the other contenders I experimented with quite hit the spot. I'm fair-skinned with warm undertones (approximately NC15) and not pale or cool-toned enough for white pencil to look convincing; Benefit Eye Bright (pale pink) was too cool; Stila Kajal in Topaz and similar "nude" shades were too dark. Vow is described by Illamasqua as a "cool apricot yellow", but it's not noticeably cool, to me anyway. Swatched on white paper it's a light creamy buff shade that's perfect for my colouring but would probably suit most people with fair or fair-bordering-on-medium complexions, except for those whose undertones are very obviously cool. The effect isn't harsh but eliminates redness in a very pseudo-natural way, making this a great shortcut to looking awake, perky and naturally pulled together. I mainly wear it on the waterline, but it also works well at bringing light to the inner eye corners, the cupid's bow and the browbone. Colour aside, the formula of this pencil is another point in its favour. Illamasqua Medium Pencils aren't specifically marketed as long-lasting products, so I was prepared for some maintenance to be necessary. I've been surprised to find that on my waterline this lasts the duration of an average day (barring tears, heavy rain etc) without needing a touch-up. I have sensitive eyes and wear contact lenses, but have experienced no irritation at all. My success with this shade has meant that I now own another colour in the Medium Pencil (Fidelity, "milk chocolate brown") and am considering others, so the clear cap for the minimal black-and-cream packaging is helpful for distinguishing between colours in my stash. It's not inexpensive, but nor is sampling and rejecting myriad other eyeliners, drugstore or otherwise. Overall, a staple, a secret weapon, and highly recommended. Available in the UK at selected branches of Debenhams and illamasqua.com, £13/1.5g.
Eye Makeup Remover -Boots - Botanics Soothing Eye Makeup Remover
ClariceD 7/11/2010 7:39:00 AM
My skin/eye area: dry, very sensitive, prone to dermatitis, redness and clogs, retin A user (0.01%) due to use of a prescription drug that induces acne in chin/jaw area. Contact lens wearer, prone to milia from overly rich formulations, but also to irritation and flaking on the lids if products are too drying or harsh. I wear makeup perhaps four days out of seven. When I do, I always use 1-2 coats of waterproof mascara and often a gel or long-lasting pencil liner, as well as concealer on the eye area (Lancome Effacernes or MAC Studio Sculpt at the moment). I keep a dual-phase remover on hand to remove it all. My method is pretty standard: 1. Shake the bottle vigorously in all directions. 2.. Lay a cotton pad saturated with remover over my closed eye for 10 seconds or so, pinched in the middle to capture the undersides of my top lashes. 3. Wipe downwards. 4. Occasionally follow with a cotton bud dipped in product for any pesky traces of mascara or liner on the lashline. 5. Continue with my usual cleansing routine, which gets rid of any oily residue. A good remover takes most of the makeup off at stage 2, only requires gentle strokes and eliminates the need for rubbing and tugging at stages 3 and 4, which invariably causes me soreness and irritation. I was attracted to this particular remover by its price rather than its soothing claims. Here in the UK there isn't a huge array of drugstore dual-phase eye makeup removers. This is among the cheapest. I was excited by the prospect of finding a staple product at such a low price. The ingredients are fairly typical of this type of product - silicones in water with a couple of humectants for hydration. The only supposedly calming addition seemed to be the Iceland moss extract that "hydrates and soothes", according to the packaging. Like a lot of sensitive-skinned people, I'm pretty wary of such claims and try to pay more attention to the total formula than one heavily emphasised ingredient. This product is undeniably economical. A 150ml bottle lasted me around eight months - for someone who wears waterproof eye makeup every day without fail, that's at least four months of daily usage. As it didn't cause me any direct adverse reactions, I wanted to use it up. Eventually I found myself willing it to run out so that I could go on to something more effective. However I used it - large quantity, small quantity, extra time held over eye, different shaking techniques - it simply wasn't thorough or gentle enough for my liking. Firm wiping and rubbing for a decent length of time was required to get a satisfactory amount of mascara/liner off - I've had comparable results with products that aren't intended to remove waterproof makeup. I then followed with makeup/sunscreen remover for the rest of my face (Earth Science ADE Creamy Cleanser) and a mild Avene gel cleanser. Even then, there was often a slight grey shadow under my eyes after showering the next morning. If I spent as long as was necessary trying to remove my makeup, the usual result was dry, flaky lids. I have no real complaints about the packaging, although a pump might be useful to reassure me that I'm not just pouring out the top layer of product, as it separates quickly from the top down after shaking. It's aesthetically pleasing and functional - dual-phase removers by nature can be awkward to dispense and I don't think the design of this one particularly adds to the challenge. I've had no issues with this product as a contact lens wearer, but I take my lenses out before removing eye makeup and don't usually put them in again until the next day. Overall the annoyances about this product outweigh any positives, the major one of which remains the price. I much prefer Boots No7 Cleanse & Care (£7.50), which, when Boots issue their £5 off No7 vouchers, works out marginally cheaper than the Botanics version. I'll neither repurchase nor recommend this. The search continues... Ingredients (added to box at top of page): Aqua, cyclopentasiloxane, isohexadecane, cyclohexasiloxane, butylene glycol, cetraria islandica (Iceland moss) extract, propylene glycol, methylparaben, sodium citrate, benzophenone-4, 2-bromo-2-nitroprophane-1, 3-diol, sorbitol, phenoxyethanol, butylparaben, ethylparaben, isobutylparaben, propylparaben, CI 19140, CI 42090. UK RRP: £2.99/150ml, from Boots nationwide.
Conditioner -John Masters - Citrus & Neroli Detangler
ClariceD 10/22/2009 6:51:00 AM
My hair: fine strands, but thick in quantity. Straight, mid-length. Coloured every couple of months, washed every two to three days, blow-dried three times a week, briefly flat-ironed a couple of times a week (for cow's lick/double crown control rather than actual straightness). Sensitive scalp, prone to dermatitis. My hair is in good condition but "sensitised" by processing and is also responsive to life stuff - ill health and prescription medication. I've been using this product on and off for over a year and have attempted to review it before, but my opinion on it has oscillated during that time and I found it tricky to pin down. It's an aesthetically pleasing and cosmetically elegant conditioner - lightweight, with an almost gel-like texture (thanks, I guess, to the aloe vera gel base) and a beautiful fragrance which alone makes it incredibly pleasant and uplifting to use. Its excellent slip makes it easy to spread and distribute. Although many botanical ingredients irritate my skin and scalp, I haven't noticed any adverse reactions to this. So far so good. However, once the happy shower experience is over, I've had varying results. Initially, I was hoping for a "where have you been all my life?" moment with this conditioner. I was disappointed. I first used it when my hair was going through a very rare damaged, brittle phase following a colour error/colour stripper/re-colouring incident at the salon. I needed a light conditioner that performed more like an intensive one for regular use that contained some protein. This didn't fulfil its potential on any of those fronts, left a greasy residue and managed to tangle my normally tangle-resistant hair. I tried it again six months or so later when my hair was no longer damaged but was drier through the lengths/ends. This time round I found that as an occasional treatment it works nicely to moisturise and reinforce - plus gives a nice shine, pretty smell etc. On the other hand regular use provides more protein than my hair needs, dries it out and renders it dull, since the rest of the ingredients aren't sufficiently moisturising to combat the effects of the protein. As a leave-in it makes my fine, straight hair strangely wavy and flyaway. I can envisage this working well for people with coarse and/or damaged hair, and as a good leave-in for waves or curls, in addition to another conditioner that offers more hardcore moisture. I'm giving this lippies for its consistency and wonderful scent, for the effects it does give (however occasionally) and because I support the ethos of the brand. I'm not sure I'd repurchase - although I like having it to hand, the UK price is a lot for me to invest in something that doesn't outperform all its rivals. If you can get a sample, I urge you to try this, and a trial/travel size is also available. Ingredients can be accessed by clicking the box next to the product specifics. UK details: £15.69/236ml (8oz) or £4.25/59ml (approx 2oz), lovelula.com. The 236ml bottle is also available at larger Debenhams branches and feelunique.com (free Euro shipping).
Moisturizers -Avene - skin recovery cream (US name: cream for intolerant skin)
ClariceD 10/14/2009 5:52:00 AM
Me: Dry-to-combination, very sensitive skin, prone to dermatitis and redness, clog-prone, mild-to-moderate drug-induced acne on chin/jaw until recently (10/2007-02/2009). An excellent basic moisturiser for sensitive, reactive skin. This is lightweight but relatively intensive, making it suitable for a range of oil outputs - combination through to dry. I suspect that those with outright oily skin might find this too rich due to its mineral oil content and those with very dry skin would need something richer. N.B. in Europe, Avène has recently launched a "rich formula" of this product - same ingredients in different quantities, with the addition of shea butter. As always with products designed for intolerant (or any, for that matter) skin, there will be some people who should avoid this due to the presence of one or more ingredients known to cause them a reaction. By and large, those with skin sensitivities or allergies know or are in the process of figuring out what they can and can’t comfortably use. That aside, a major point in this moisturiser’s favour is its bland, minimal, but efficient ingredients list. It’s an oil-in-water emulsion: Avène thermal water (supposedly soothing to inflammatory skin conditions, see separate reviews and the company’s website) and mineral oil. My skin happens to like mineral oil – protective, no active components with the potential to irritate, and doesn't cause clogging. The rest of the ingredients comprise cyclomethicone (a silicone-based oil that acts as a carrier for other substances but remains on the skin surface), humectants to draw and hold water to the skin, solvents and emulsifiers, squalane for moisture, and preservatives. Those who have seborrheic dermatitis and control it partly by avoiding glycerin, glycols etc may want to give this a miss, although if your SD is mild and/or not flared by those ingredients, they appear in the middle of the listing so aren’t present in huge amounts. No fragrance, either, which is key for me as I tend to react to them. I’ve used Skin Recovery Cream for some years. It’s marketed for the care of sensitive or “normal” but sensitised skin, both at specific times. Initially I took the name to heart and limited it to use an emergency cream to sort out marked irritation and redness. More recently it’s been my everyday moisturiser. I find it applies and absorbs better on slightly damp skin - on dry skin, a slight film may appear after a few hours, since several of the ingredients aren't designed to be or capable of being absorbed by the skin. As an SOS it’s noticeably calming. Apply it at night to angry but not broken areas of skin, for instance, and by morning I have an even skintone and no itching, burning or other signs of discomfort. On skin flaky from prescription and OTC acne treatments it was very soothing and made those sections of skin much less obvious. I find it applies and absorbs better on slightly damp skin - on dry skin, a slight film may appear after a few hours, since several of the ingredients aren't designed to be or capable of being absorbed. You’d think Skin Recovery Cream had the properties of a fine regular day or night cream for drier, very sensitive skin. However, while it does provide no-frills moisture, the benefits that it brings during a skin crisis become somewhat flattened over time and it doesn’t seem to offer much support. I presume this is because while the ingredients go a long way towards restoring my skin’s equilibrium when upset, it doesn’t contain anything that might nourish and strengthen it long term. If the former is what you want, this is great used daily or twice daily for shorter term complaints. The drawback of its simplicity is that it won’t do much for insidious sensitivity (uncomfortable sensations, ruddiness etc) or related skin conditions in the very long term if used alone. It's also not sufficiently moisturising for me to use exclusively in the winter. (I probably won't be trying the new rich version as shea butter irritates my skin.) However, if you use a separate product to address these concerns, this might be a good choice of additional moisturiser. I’ll continue to use and recommend it indefinitely for those purposes. Other notes - good, functional, elegant squeezable tube packaging and cardboard outer box, both recyclable (tube is PET plastic, code 1, for UK recycling purposes). Five lippies for doing what it claims to do and doing it impressively without causing me secondary irritation or breakouts. Ingredients: Avène thermal water (Avène aqua), mineral oil (paraffinium liquidium), cyclomethicone, butylene glycol, glycerin, glyceryl stearate, squalane, benzoic acid, carbomer, chlorphenesin, phenoxyethanol, tetrasodium EDTA, triethanolamine. UK details: £11.70 (due to 2009's reduced VAT rate, formerly £12)/40ml at Boots.
My lip product of choice for several months now, and I can see it being a permanent favourite. I'm usually very skeptical of marketing claims, but so far Medieval lives up to the hype and my expectations. It's described by Lipstick Queen as a universally flattering and comfortable "tinted lip treatment". It's sheer, containing less pigment than the LQ Sanits' 10%, and allows some natural lip colour to peep through, so will look different on everyone. A bold true (verging on cool) red in the tube, it creates a beautiful wash of pinky red when applied. I can imagine this product looking slightly different against warm and cool-toned skin, and fairly bright on pale lips. I think this would work for the majority, but people with very dark lips might want to opt for one of the darker Saints. For most people, the look it creates will be in the region of a bitten lip shade. On me (NC/W15, dark hair, green eyes) Medieval plays up the contrast between my fair skin and dark hair nicely, without looking overdone. The overall look is pretty and quite vibrant, but very natural. It looks similar to a stain, but with the creamy satin finish of a lipstick. Between my colouring and my wardrobe (lots of vintage), my default look is quite Snow White-eqsue. Medieval complements this well, but its chameleon qualities mean it would look equally good on lots of different people. It adds oomph for daytime, but is understated enough to work with quite strong eye make-up in the evening. On any occasion requiring a YLBB lip colour, Medieval can be substituted. Application is silky - the colour is deposited very consistently. The wear is good for something so emollient - it has the texture of a balm, but in terms of lasting power it resembles a stain. Subtle effects continue for several hours, but I reapply more frequently (every couple of hours) to maintain the initial look. I wore a fairly intensive lip balm underneath Medieval during the winter, but now that summer's hit I'm successfully wearing it alone with no signs of dryness. My lips feel much more plump and smoother than they usually do with other comparable lipsticks, but I don't rely on it for moisture. I don't tend to carry make-up around with me, but panic ensues if I find that Medieval isn't in my bag. I thought that by this point, I'd be dealing with a scratched and battered tube, but the sleek red brushed metal container looks good as new. Bonus. (I've also kept, and love, the illustration of Eve on the packaging. Lipstickqueen.com explains parts of the image, so that was a fun few moments of nerdery for me - fond memories of Christ in Late Medieval and Renaissance Art as a theology undergrad.) It's expensive, but not unreasonable for its quality and versatility. Cost: UK £19.09 (at time of writing; I paid less) from SpaceNK or SpaceNK concessions at Harvey Nichols. Ingredients (from packaging - NB, these differ from the ingredients listed on LQ's website): Phenyl trimethicone, silica, nylon-12, octyldodecanol, ozokerite, shea butter, methyl methacrylate/glycol dimethacrylate crosspolymer, candelilla wax, octyldodecyl stearoyl stearate, carnauba wax, polyisobutene, avocado oil, beeswax, jojoba oil, vegetable oil, castor oil, meadowfoam seed oil, hydrogenated vegetable oil, willow bark extract, kiwi fruit extract, honey extract, grape extract, green tea extract, tocopherol acetate, retinyl palmitate, butylene glycol, water, microcrystalline cellulose, polysorbate 20, butylparaben, propylparaben, iron oxides.
Shampoo -Unlisted Brand - Green People - Organic Base No Scent Shampoo
ClariceD 5/18/2009 5:57:00 PM
My hair: fine, abundant, straight; length changes from short to mid-length and back again quite frequently; coloured. I wash and blow-dry every other day; I flat iron my hair about once a week. Perpetually itchy and dermatitis-prone scalp. The product: Basic, minimal, more "natural" shampoo. Its ingredients are mild enough for use on babies and other sensitively-scalped souls. Apart from the cleasing base, the only additional ingredients are anti-inflammatory aloe vera, humectant vegetable glycerin, and antioxidant green tea. As per its name, OBNSS contains no fragrance whatsoever, including essential oils, which in many cases I am sensitive to. While I applaud this, do be aware that it means that the shampoo will arrive in your expectant palm smelling very slightly odd. Fortunately this dissipates quickly. The payoff for a minimal formula is that it's very concentrated. While it lathers well and rapidly, the concentration combined with the alkaline surfactants make it too drying to my hair and scalp for frequent use. Recent studies have made much of the soothing powers of aloe vera (the first ingredient) for seborrheic dermatitis, but if anything, my scalp was more itchy than ever while using this. I also noticed more hair loss during washing with this product and subtle but definite fading of my colour. In fairness, though, many sulfate-free shampoos I've tried seem to have had this effect and using this shampoo coincided with some changes in long term medication. If your hair is damaged, tends towards dryness, or you have an irritable scalp, this shampoo is best avoided. For sensitive scalps and/or dandruff, Green People's Rosemary Shampoo is well worth seeking out. For drier hair, Essential Care Gentle Herb Shampoo is very effective, also sulfate-free and a similar price. Neither of those options is fragrance-free; both are fragranced with essential oils. Otherwise, this is a good multi-purpose product to have around. I use it as a body wash and to clean make-up and hair brushes with synthetic bristles. At least one lippy is due to that, since as a shampoo this is mediocre at best. Ingredients: *Aloe vera, decyl glucoside, glycerin, cocamidopropyl betaine, cocamoniumcarbamyochloride, *green tea (*denotes organically grown). GBP£8.80/200ml, independent health food shops, greenpeople.co.uk, and other online retailers.
I received this as a Christmas present (bless my 65-year-old father for braving the MAC Pro shop) and have noticed people posting their recent CCO/eBay sightings of it on the make-up board, so figured a review might be timely. The palette contains two columns of three shadows each, one brown-themed and one grey-themed. The browns aren't overly warm and the greys, while cooler than the browns are warm, aren't drastically cool. The fairly neutral colour range should suit all skin tones, even those that are noticeably either warm or cool. Scant (Frost) - a limited edition pale golden shimmery beige. Similar to the permanent Frost shade Next to Nothing (even in name). Satin Taupe (Frost) - permanent; MAC's website describes it as "taupe brown with silvery bronze shimmer". It sometimes looks a tad purple/plummy on me. Dark Devotion (I think of this as matte but have seen it described as satin) - a limited edition dark, strong, rich brown without shimmer, somewhere between Espresso (dark golden brown) and Embark (dark reddish brown). Gorgeous (Frost) - limited edition, a very pale silvery blue-grey, shimmer aplenty. Ambiance (Velvet) - limited edition, a blue-tinged slate grey with fine blue glitter, a little chalky, some fallout. Carbon (Matte) - a permanent shade; black, decent intensity, doesn't blend as well as Matte Squared shadows. Although some people would prefer not to have repromoted shades in limited edition palettes, I really like the fact that two of MAC's most versatile and popular shades, Carbon and Satin Taupe, have made its way into this one. They help make this collection absolutely ideal for travel, and useful for all sorts of looks, not just smoky eyes. Of the limited edition shades, Dark Devotion is perhaps my favourite. I rarely use Gorgeous or Ambiance outside the smoky eye formula prescribed by the palette, but together with Carbon (or Dark Devotion) they create an excellent '60s-esque sultry eye. I'm currently feeling all inspired by the eye make-up in the Tommy Hilfiger Dreaming campaign (heavy, rounded grey crease, black cat's eye liner with a flick) and these combos make for a good recreation of that. The first time I wore Ambiance, I was startled by how blue it looked in some lighting - this is due to the shimmer, rather than the base shade. Although I can understand why the packaging really wouldn't appeal to some, I like its brash tackiness, textured surface, and of course, the ruddy great gem. I hope to reuse the palette once I've exhausted its present contents - which I actually think I will. A special edition #213 brush is enclosed - MAC's "fluff" brush but with a smaller handle (good for the short-sighted among us) - that you may want to remove from its groove inside the palette, as it may flick shimmer onto the matte shades in transit. I'm not sure whether I'd purchase all of these shadows as singles were they available, but I'd recommend the palette overall if you travel widely or have nothing else like it. It would also be particularly good for make-up novices. For those who enjoy making their own palettes, I'd pass it up and instead create your own version based on the idea.
Mascara -Maybelline - Volum' Express Turbo Boost Waterproof
ClariceD 3/6/2009 8:44:00 PM
Thickening mascara is a must on my long but fine and pale (in contrast with my dark hair) lashes, and I always wear waterproof (contact lenses and sensitive, allergy-prone eyes; also lashes have very little natural curl and need a waterproof formula to set the one I give them). A fat, feathery, but plausibly natural fringe of lashes is my ideal. VETB comes surprisingly close to delivering. It has a very user-friendly brush - slim and not too bushy - that makes accessing roots and eye corners easy. The downside of this is that the bristles are quite separated - presumably to help achieve the volume potential lost by not having a large, dense wand - so without careful application clumps tend to appear after the first layer. A few quick swipes with a metal eyelash comb fixes that. Usefully buildable without looking brittle, from subtle definition and beefing up through to Bambi meets Barbie - an advantage if, like me, you occasionally wear glasses and require different looks from one mascara. Feels weightless on yet holds a curl beautifully - no drooping throughout the day. Matte, true black shade leaves a slight grey residue under the eye by nightfall, but no noticeable smudges, and removes swiftly with an oil-based cleanser (homemade cleansing oil or jojoba oil followed by Avene Extremely Gentle Cleanser here). Cheap and replaceable at a time when drugstore mascaras seem to be creeping ever upwards in price. I'd prefer a slightly glossier finish and a brush of the same size and width with more bristles. Otherwise, a good, overlooked all-rounder. Ingredients (from outer packaging): Isododecane, cera microcristallina (microcrystalline wax), C8-9 isoparaffin, cera alba (beeswax), disteardimonium hectorite, carnauba wax, aqua (water), propylene carbonate, allyl stearate/VA copolymer, lecithin, ethylenediamine/stearyl dimer dilinoleate, copolymer, oryza stiva (rice starch), polyvinyl laurate, sodium polymethacrylate, propylparaben, PEG/PPG-17/18 dimethicone, hydrogenated jojoba oil, polyquarternium-10, silica, panthenol, calcium sodium borosilicate, phenoxyethanol, methylparaben, ethylparaben, isobutylparaben, butylparaben (may contain CI 77492, CI 77491, CI 77499/iron oxides, CI 77891/titanium dioxide, CI 75470/carmine, CI 77007/ultramarines, CI 77288/chromium oxide greens, CI 77289/chromium hydroxide green, CI 77742/manganese violet, mica, CI 77510/ferric ferrocyanide). UK: £4.87, from Boots, Superdrug and independent chemists nationwide.
Exceptional light, basic oil-free moisturiser containing minimal ingredients and no artificial fragrance. High in La Roche-Posay's signature soothing thermal water with a humectant "delivery system" of glycerine and squalane. Packaged in a hygenic opaque 40ml pump bottle, clinical but stylish. Stands alone or can be used alongside other members of the Toleriane range for reactive skin. Sounds boring and generic, but is really quite fabulous. I've been using this for the past two months on my very sensitive, dry-to-combination skin during the most testing time for any moisturiser - midwinter in Scotland. I originally intended to layer it, serum style, with a heavier lotion (Avene Skin Recovery Cream) over the top when/where necessary. This approach has worked well for me, but I've been surprised to find that the Fluide alone sometimes provides ample hydration and moisture for daytime. Oilier skintypes would probably be able to use this without anything on top to seal it in. Outside is cold with strong winds and the relative dryness of the east coast of Scotland; home is a draughty 17th century tenement and central heating needs must, but since using TF my skin hasn't become dehydrated as it usually would (read: parched underneath, greasy shine on the surface). Quite the opposite: it looks plumped up and glowing, fine "thirst lines" all but gone. Zero irritation - skin is in fact much calmer overall - and pores mercifully devoid of clogs (unlike some unfortunate reviewers). On initial application the Fluide leaves a slight dewy finish, suggestive of healthy radiance rather than oil slick. One full pump is enough for face and neck. It's rapidly absorbed and makes an excellent base for whatever you care to put on top, be it a richer cream, sunscreen, make-up or all three. Foundation wears well and evenly over this - until recently I was debating whether to invest in a primer, but finding a suitable moisturiser has made the question redundant. It can also be applied over treatment products without redistributing them to the wrong bits of face, which was a pleasant discovery. A tentative HG - and I never use that term for fear of tempting fate (caution born of a lifetime in irritable skin) - and a loud recommendation for people who share my skin type/concerns, or who are at the oilier end of the spectrum and find most lotions too heavy or emollient, but experience dehydrated skin. Now for the major con: LRP's parent company is L'Oreal, which occasions a personal dilemma on the animal testing front. Can be difficult to lay your hands on - in the UK, large Boots stores now stock La Roche-Posay (allegedly - it hasn't yet materialised in some). If you happen to be Edinburgh-based, the Royal Mile Pharmacy (Canongate end, by the Netherbow Well) and Newington Pharmacy (Clerk St) both stock LRP. Otherwise garden.co.uk or zest-essentials.com are reliable online stockists, or skinstore.com for those outside Europe. EDITED TO ADD 10/09: As this has similar ingredients to many makeup finishing sprays, which are often essentially water and glycerin mixtures, I've been experimenting with using this over foundation if it ever looks cakey, too matte etc. It can't be spritzed in its current packaging but dabbed and smoothed on with a damp sponge or even fingers, it gives an identical and lovely radiance. Ingredients: Water, squalene, glycerin, dipropylene glycol, sodium carbomer, ethylhexyloxyglycerin/ethylhexylglycerin, capryl glycol. £14 (US$24) /40ml (1.4fl.oz)
Moisturizers -Unlisted Brand - Pai - Chamomile & Rosehip Sensitive Skin Cream
ClariceD 2/27/2009 2:45:00 AM
Background: Maori for 'goodness', Pai products are made from certified organic ingredients and exclude all petrochemicals, phthlates, parabens, artificial colours and fragrances. The range includes a cleanser/make-up remover (camellia and rose, to be removed with a damp cloth), moisturisers for "normal" (avocado and jojoba), dry (macadamia and rose), combination (geranium and thistle) and sensitive (chamomile and rosehip) skins, and a lip balm. I have very sensitive, slightly dry skin and when I used Pai's sensitive skin cream (twice daily during winter 07-08) I was developing mild acne on my chin as a result of some long-term medication. Pros: I enjoyed the unctuous, rich texture - a little goes a long way. Pai products are handmade in small batches and preservatives are limited to rosemary extract and vitamin E, so for maximum shelf-life they should be refridgerated. A little effort was required to work the cream into my skin when cold, but the added massage was soothing, especially at night. I found that it provided an ideal amount of moisture, leaving me well protected from the drying effects of winter weather. I expected a moisturiser with this consistency to give a slightly greasy finish. Instead my skin looked smooth and matte, a very receptive canvas for make-up. Even by itself, the cream seemed to even out the tone in certain areas of my face. My nose can become a bit ruddy in winter, so this was no mean feat. Cons: Rarely for a "natural" product, which often aggravate my intolerant skin, I didn't have any immediate or short-term reaction to this. As the months went on my cheeks began to display signs of irritation (red, inflamed bumps, itching, a slightly tight feeling). Although the essential oils in this product - lavender, manuka, neroli and geranium - have antiseptic, soothing and balancing qualities that may make them valuable in skin care, certain chemical constituents of the oils may be irritating to sensitive skins (limonene, coumarin etc). I also found that the product clogged pores on my chin, and stopped using it there. I've since managed to isolate shea butter used regularly as one of my personal cloggers, but like irritation comedogenicity is subjective - others may not have this problem. I also suspect the "corn-based emulsifier" - probably an emulsifying wax of vegetable origin. A more minor complaint is the clear glass packaging. While very pretty and sturdy, it seems odd for Pai to eliminate all preservatives but basic antioxidants and then fail to use packaging that slows the degradation of plant oils, such as dark glass. Overall: A pleasant enough moisturiser, but I had fairly compelling reasons to stop using it. I suspect Pai products are more suitable for those without problematic skin, as there seems to be a lack of subtlety in the company's understanding of different skin conditions. The sensitive skin cream, for example, is a great match for somebody not sensitive to essential oils or topical vitamin A, as long as their skin is also dry. There's no attempt to cater for the significant number of people who are oily, sensitive and oily, or acne-prone. Those with drier, fairly resistant skins looking for simple products without synthetic ingredients should explore Pai further. Ingredients: Purified water, chamomile water*, apricot kernel oil*, corn-based emulsifier, jojoba oil*, rosehip oil*, thistle oil*, shea butter*, vegetable-based glycerine, vitamin E, vitamin A, chamomile extract*, rosehip seed extract*, manuka oil*, rosemary antioxidant*, lavender oil*, neroli oil*, rose geranium oil*. * denotes certified organic.
Whatever look I'm trying to achieve with eyeliner, I invariably tightline as a first step, sometimes adding more above the upper lashes. I've always liked the smudgy effect of pencils, but if this is combined with a habit of tightlining, the potential for disastrous smearing looms. For days when gel eyeliner seems too precise and high-maintenance, a waterproof pencil is very appealing. Prestige offers two versions - its waterproof eyeliner is a marriage of a traditional kohl pencil with a creamy, slightly gel-like formula, while the waterproof automatic eyeliners are similarly smooth but with a smaller, firmer "lead" that allows sharper lines to be drawn. I have the waterproof eyeliner in 09 Teakwood, an aptly named shade. I had been searching for a dark chocolate brown with the barest hint of red to enrich it and highlight my green eyes. I find most browns too black (harsh), too taupe (dulling), too bronze (light) or too chestnut (pink-eye) for either neutral everyday looks or to combine well with eyeshadows in the purple family. I swatched many before I found Teakwood, which is spot on. All of the colours in this line are nicely pigmented; there's a wide variety available and I haven't spotted any duds, although I don't pay equal attention to them all. Application is simple; the consistency makes it fairly glide on, and quite a lot can be deposited quite quickly. This is excellent for tightlining, as any tiny globules that adhere to lash roots contribute to the illusion of a thick fringe there. It also eliminates eye-pokery, a definite bonus. Lines stay eminently smudgeable; ideal for kohl devotees. And therein lies the rub. This liner is waterproof, certainly (an oil-based cleanser is necessary for removal) but not budgeproof. It doesn't seem to set after application. I don't have particularly oily eyelids that might cause or worsen smearing, yet it creates panda eyes to rival any conventional eyeliner. I've experimented by wearing this plenty of different ways, in case tightlining was simply not its forte, with almost identical results. I have sensitive eyes and am finding that this irritates them, so I'll be passing it on to someone else who can enjoy it. Two lippies to reflect the great colour range and texture. A note on sharpening - the consistency of the pencil means that it requires regular sharpening, so may not last as long as non-waterproof rivals. Prestige suggest that - surprisingly enough - their own-brand sharpener is the best for this, and initially the point does look unusually shaped. However, I've had great results using my Trish McEvoy sharpener, so rise above the sales ploy! £4.87/1.2g (0.05oz), at Boots.
Jojoba oil has been a staple of mine for years now, but I realised anew today just how great it is and felt compelled to write a review to that effect. I keep a bottle of jojoba on standby in the bathroom and reach for it on a regular basis for the following purposes: * Eye make-up removal. It's one of the most efficient oils at removing waterproof mascara, on a dampened cotton wool pad (or cotton bud/Q tip for the tricky residue). I find it causes milia unless it's used as a pre-cleanse, followed with a facial cleanser that's gentle on the eyes. You could also add an oil-soluble emulsifier to make a rinsable cleansing oil. * Exfoliation. I have extremely sensitive skin that won't tolerate most manual exfoliants. A couple of drops of jojoba massaged into affected areas does an incredible job of removing flakes and scales without irritation. I follow with my usual cleanser on a soft washcloth. I used this method when I had mild acne on either side of my chin, as the skin could become very flaky and tender from treatments. *Shaving. A small amount spread over damp legs gives a very smooth shave and, for me, minimises any itching or unsightly red blotches afterwards. Has the bonus of transparency, so you can see what you're doing. Also moisturises and brings a lovely sheen to the legs. *An addition to lotions, creams etc. A few drops intensifies the soothing and moisturising effect of any ready-made product. These will essentially be oil and water combined using emulsifiers, so jojoba should mix in perfectly. * Intensive hair conditioner. People with coarse and/or curly and/or particularly dry hair might find coconut or macadamia oil suits them better. Jojoba is ideal for my fine but thick, coloured, jaw-length locks. In fact, jojoba bounce is unrivalled bounce. Think the swishy gloss of a shampoo advert. About once a week, I work a teaspoonful (5ml) of jojoba into the ends and midlengths of my hair. I then give myself a scalp massage with the residue on my fingers and don a fetching floral shower cap plus a warm towel for an hour or so (the longer the better, anything from 20 minutes to overnight). To rinse, I shampoo twice, then follow with a tiny amount of my normal conditioner. I tend to be more diligent about this routine if my hair is overdue for a cut, as it keeps dry ends in check and makes my hair seem to slip into place when I style it. My (brutally frank) hairdresser always compliments me on the condition of my hair, and she's not one to suffer bad hair gladly, so make of that what you will. *Regular hair conditioner. When I first started taking my current medication, it wrought disaster upon my hair. Hyper-sensitive scalp, dry lengths, generally limp and unhappy. I started to use jojoba on my scalp and hair every time I washed my it (wet hair, jojoba, then shampoo). I can't say if the steady improvements in my hair's appearance were due to this. However, the increased hair loss normalised, my scalp became less touchy and my hair began to look much healthier within a few months. *Hair serum/leave-in conditioner. Rub literally a drop between your palms and distribute evenly through the ends and midlengths of your hair before styling. I wouldn't recommend using only this before tongs or straighteners, but as a general styling aid it leaves hair soft, sleek and flexible. Definitely a tip for thicker, coarser hair - fine hair might be overwhelmed. Almost without exception I use organic jojoba, mainly for environmental reasons. I buy online from aromatherapy suppliers as their prices are always cheaper than retail. Look for dark glass containers as they preserve the oil longer and store in a dark, fairly warm place. As it's a liquid wax, jojoba can start to solidify at much below room temperature, but this is easily reversed. It spreads more easily on damp skin and a little goes a long way. Two or three drops should be enough for the whole face if using as a moisturiser, for example. For more precise and economical use, decant into a bottle with a dropper dispenser or buy an eye dropper/pipette. There's no skintype that jojoba categorically shouldn't be used on, but it's not for everyone. If you have acne, rosacea, reactive skin etc, research and patch test it before committing it to your face.
Shampoo -Jason Natural Cosmetics - Dandruff Relief Dandruff Shampoo
ClariceD 2/4/2009 4:27:00 AM
I'm reviewing this on behalf of my boyfriend, who considers himself a modern gentleman but would draw the line at having his own Makeup Alley account. He has seborrheic dermatitis on his scalp and over the years has tried all the usual suspects to control it, with mixed results, but nothing emerged as a clear winner until this. It contains 2% colloidal sulphur and 2% salicylic acid to treat and prevent itching, scaling, flaking etc. The main detergents in the shampoo base are pretty mild. It is SLS/SLES free, and moisturising ingredients are included to compensate for the exfoliating effect. JNC recommend that this is used every other day "for good results", or once/twice weekly for maintenance. Him Indoors has found that this advice is about right; he can use other shampoos without immediate retaliation from his scalp, but not for more than a few washes. However, with this his scalp is calm, balanced, flake-free, and leaves him confident to wear black tops with abandon. Greasiness also seems to be delayed for a day longer after washing compared to any other product. His hair always looks healthy, well-conditioned and shiny, like some kind of pedigree dog. The only drawback is that it does make towels smell rather sulphuric, but as (a) we don't spend a whole lot of time inhaling our towels, (b) the slight odour doesn't linger post-laundry and (c) hair smells clean and fresh, not of volcano/egg/fart, this is a minor complaint. Granted the reassuringly clinical packaging calls to mind '70s office wallpaper, but whoever heard of a stylish dandruff shampoo? Edited Aug '09 to add: I've now been using this myself regularly for the past couple of months. Not only is it the first shampoo (of many) to truly combat my itchy scalp, but my fine (but abundant) colour-treated hair seems to love it. My hair is easily pushed out of sorts, becoming either dry through the lengths or oily at the roots, by the wong product. Apart from being very effective as a medicated shampoo, this leaves my hair balanced, glossy and bouncy, and keeps grease at bay for 2-3 days rather than the 1-2 days my hair/scalp will manage when they're unhappy. ACTIVE INGREDIENTS: See text of review. INACTIVE INGREDIENTS (less "natural" than the company name and marketing might lead you to assume): Water, sodium cocoyl isethionate, disodium cocoamphodiacetate, potassium cocoyl glutamate, cocamidopropoyl betaine, PEG-80 sorbitan laurate, sodium tricedeth sulfate, sodium lauramphoacetate, PEG-150 distearate, sodium laureth-13 carboxylate, citric acid, tetrasodium EDTA, stearic acid, retinyl palmitate, pyridoxine HCI, tocopheryl acetate, grapefruit extract, oat kernel flour, aloe vera gel*, spirulina extract, white willow extract, rosemary oil*, jojoba oil*, olive oil,* tea tree oil*, neem oil, apple cider vinegar, xanthan gum, vegetable gycerine, PEG-12 dimethicone, methylsulfonylmethane, methyl salicylate, potassium hydroxide, natural menthol, cyclomethicone, dimethiconol, disodium EDTA, capryoyl glycine, undecylenol glycine, vegetable squalane, panthenol, camphor, folic acid, fragrance oil blend. * denotes certified organic.
In texture, Moisture Drench Lipstick easily competes with higher end rivals. It's a happy marriage of the emollience of a moisturising lippy with the firmness and durability of a long-wear product. Feels comfortable - non-greasy but equally non-drying - and actually leaves my lips smooth after wearing. The ingredients list contains cholesterol and ceramides, usually the preserve of more expensive products or those especially designed to rebuild the skin barrier. "Moisture Drench" is an overstatement but if like me you have dry lips it shouldn't highlight or worsen them. The colour range could be more imaginative, but should cater for most if not all skintones. Shades are mostly variations on subtle, everyday colours for different complexions. The few casualties are those that stray too far from this agenda. There are two main finishes, one slightly pearlescent and the other more matte, though creamy. I own #60 Chic, one of the matte variety. I'm pale (~NW15) but my lips are strongly pigmented and this shade is pretty much my definitive nude. Rosy pink meets caramel brown, plenty of depth. YBB on me but would look polished and striking on someone with a paler natural lip colour. (#35 Paradise is similar but more sheer and contains shimmer). Chic looks fleshy and fulsome on, even when blotted down and worn as a stain. Lovely alone or with gloss, great for everyday or for just a touch of definition to balance heavier eye make-up. So far, so faultless. INGREDIENTS (source: cosmeticsdatabase.com): Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil; Ethylhexyl Palmitate; Polyethylene; Octyldodecanol; Lanolin; Cera Microcristallina (Microcrystalline Wax); Polybutene; Polydecene; Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil; Lecithin; Tocopheryl Acetate; Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter); Cholesterol; Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil; Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil; Paraffinum Liquidum (Mineral Oil); Diisopropyl Dimer Dilinoleate; Panthenol; C10-30 Cholesterol/Lanosterol Esters; Silica; Retinyl Palmitate; Dunaliella Salina Extract; BHT; Ceramide 3; Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract; Tocopherol; Butylparaben; [+/- (May Contain) CI 15850 (Red 7 Lake); CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide); CI 77491 (Iron Oxides); CI 77499 (Iron Oxides); CI 19140 (Yellow 5 Lake); CI 15850 (Red 6); CI 75470 (Carmine)]. £9.50, at most branches of Boots.