Treatments -Derma E - DMAE - Alpha Lipoic - C Ester Retexturizing Creme
DLYNN 4/24/2013 2:09:00 PM
I have mixed feelings about this product. Although it did help tighten my skin, in a reference photo of my face following four weeks of use I actually saw lines that were formed in and around my chin from the skin being pulled too taught! On the one hand, DERMA E DMAE, Alpha Lipoic Acid and C-Ester Retexturizing Creme seems to have helped make my skin tone become more even. On the other hand, I have developed a lot of Milia pearly flesh-white bumps that won't go away now! Based on my reading of how DMAE works on the skin I believe the DERMA E DMAE, Alpha Lipoc Acid and C-Ester Retexturizing Creme may be the chief culprit. It is also possible that the downsides of this product are amplified alongside other products that have an entirely different action on skin cell turnover rates. (Disclosure: Other products I use contain pycnogenol, aloa vera, vitamin E, coconut oil, hyaluronic acid, peptides, retinol and AHAs.) The result of the regimen I started for anti-aging some three months ago is that I appear far less tired. Dark circles, in particular, have faded considerably. Wrinkles are indeed diminished and age spots have faded for a more even and radiant skin tone. Sadly, these gains are offset by the fact that in looking too closely my facial skin is now peppered with small flesh-tone bumps, a condition I formerly did not suffer from. Without getting too technical, DMAE would appear to be the chief suspect in the proliferation of Milia. I am making this educated guess because it plumps up the skin with more fluid, while bolstering some of the underlying collagen and muscle tone to reduce skin sagging. To achieve these impressive results, DMAE apparently slows the action of certain components of skin fibroblasts* therefore I suspect the Milia are an accumulation of fluid/sebum that are trapped by a breakdown in the cellular turnover process. For exfoliation purposes, I use Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque (clay) or an AHA Masque (Freeman Pineapple) once a week. I also use an apricot scrub (Freeman) about once a month. Twice a week I use a 10% glycolic lotion. On the other nights of the week I use a Retinol "rescue" product (the latter products by Alpha Hydrox). To hold my mostly hormonal breakouts at bay I use Clean & Clear Continuous Control (benzyol peroxide) each morning and a 2% salicylic acid face wash at night (this pre-dates my anti-aging regimen by several years). None of this has prevented or eliminated the development of Milia. To troubleshoot my skin care routine, I will eliminate various products in my anti-aging regimen to see if the Milia halt. First in line, is the Swanson Vitamins Pycnogenol Creme (the product with the coconut oil in it). If in cutting back on one or more of the products I typically use I learn that the Milia are eliminated even though I have continued to apply this DERMA E DMAE product, I will update my review accordingly. CONCLUSION For the first month of use I thought the Milia were a fluke and because of this I have continued to use the DERMA E creme. The Milia started out on my forehead but they are now running the length of my cheekbones, too. If that were not bad enough, I have also begun to suffer more breakouts of the more commonplace sort, too! So the long and the short of it is, yes DERMA E DMAE retexturizing creme does tighten and even out skin tone; however, skin cell turnover is intended to progress at a certain rate and if part of that process is interrupted with the result being a retention of water and sebum it can result in skin problems of another sort hardly a desirable form of "retexturizing" at all! That's the theory anyhow, and I'm sticking to it! * DMAE and skin cell turnover: http://www.truthinaging.com/ingredient-spotlight/what-is-it-dmae-anti-ager-or-cell-killer
Treatments (Eye) -Yes To Carrots - Yes to Cucumbers - Soothing Eye Gel
DLYNN 4/10/2013 4:16:00 PM
When this brand originally came out with the "Yes to Carrots" moniker I found it clever but a bit off-putting because I am actually allergic to carrots. When I found "Yes to Cucumbers" Soothing Eye Gel I gave it a try although it seemed a bit over-priced, $14.99 even at Walmart where items tend to run a bit cheaper. This product has a lot of natural ingredients that sound healthy for the skin. The pump is nice and dispenses the gel reliably. I do find that the gel does not play as nice under makeup or other skin-care products as my more typical aloe vera gel from GNC. A small tube of pure aloe vera gel from GNC is $1.99, a heck of a lot cheaper. And honestly, I find the GNC product more soothing. There is something in this formula that has a tendency to sting around the eyes, despite its name. If there is any pre-existing irritation or sensitivity it will burn. In looking at the ingredients I suspect the only way they've gotten away from the paraben preservatives is to replace them with alcohol (because they've got to preserve all those natural ingredients somehow!). I suspect the alcohol-based preservative is the culprit. This gel can be used at night on unbroken or non-irritated skin but it doesn't play nice under makeup or oil-based lotions. It tends to ball up and scale when layered with other skin-care products. At first I thought that all gels behave this way but the GNC product doesn't. I can add anything above or below their brand aloe vera gel. So it's something else in this product that makes it suitable only for non-makeup use. It dries with a bit of a tightening/shiny look. Although I am drawn to products offering more natural ingredients, I probably won't repurchase this product again for the price given the above-mentioned drawbacks. I just can't see any obvious benefits to this formula over plain old aloe vera gel.
Cleansers -Yes To Carrots - Yes To Cucumbers Face Cleanser Towelettes
DLYNN 4/10/2013 4:07:00 PM
"Yes to Cucumbers" makeup-removing towelettes are not all that bad except when it comes to the eye area. They don't do a good job removing eye makeup, particularly mascara, and rubbing harder only creates a stinging sensation and transient redness of the sensitive eye area. They smell good and work acceptably if you go over the face about three times with a very light touch. I purchased a small packet for travel but probably would not repurchase for regular use, which is disappointing because I am drawn to the appeal of more natural ingredients that this brand offers. I prefer the Equate (Walmart) brand exfoliating makeup-removing wipes with green tea and cucumber, which I previously reviewed here on MUA.
Cleansers -Equate - Moisturizing Exfoliating Towelettes
DLYNN 3/5/2013 2:53:00 PM
This is a review for the Equate Exfoliating Wet Cleansing Towelettes with Cucumber, Aloe and Green Tea. I'm normally not a fan of specialty makeup removers, brand name or otherwise, and I tend to use them only in a pinch or while traveling. This one, however, is a keeper. The ingredients are calming to the skin, they are neither too wet or too dry, there is no obnoxious scent and the dimpled surface pattern really does help exfoliate. I use these to remove facial masques, and they work great even for getting off mud/clay-based products. For me, this is the first facial towelette I've purchased that doesn't feel or smell like an over-priced baby wipe. I will definitely repurchase. The ingredients are as follows: water, cetearyl isononanoate, ceteareth-20, alcohol, glyceryl stearate, glycerin, cetyl palmitate, ceteareth-12, propylene glycol, chamomilla recutita (matricaria) flower extract, centaurea cyanus flower extract, cucumis stativus (cucumber fruit extract), camellia oleifera (green tea) extract, tocopheryl (vitamin e) acetate, aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice, fragrance, methylparaben, propylparaben, sodium citrate, citric acid, disodium edta, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol. Although the FDA, WebMD and other sources claim that parabens are not a proven health risk in the quantities people are typically exposed to, I have deducted one lippie because I wish the formula contained an alternative preservative. Aside from that, this exfoliating facial towelette merits HG status in my book!
At first I was off-put by the excessive creaminess of the product, relative to the seemingly few exfoliating ingredients. For years I had used St. Ives apricot scrub, exclusively. I was skeptical that this scrub would work as well as the other one. That impression didn't last long, though. I soon appreciated that this Freeman Creamy Apricot Scrub, given the finer texture, makes it easier to work in. The super-fine walnut granules make a great mechanical exfoliator. What I didn't like, and the reason I have to knock a few lippies off the rating, is that the tube and plastic cap, in particular, are cheap and poorly designed. Within the first week, I dropped it and the flip-top lid entirely split off. I've dropped products before but never had them break like that. I turned the tube upside down and left it in my medicine cabinet, still 98 percent full, but now I am concerned it is unsanitary because it is unsealed. In this case the packaging needs to be redesigned to feature less brittle plastic and a wider stance not the tall and narrow profile so prone to tipping over. I formerly applied my St. Ives scrub in the shower, leaving it on a shower rack, but I can't do that with this one because the tall tube perched atop the flimsy plastic cap doesn't stay balanced. Until Freeman redesigns the package, the only way I can make use of this product is with the intent to decant it into an empty cosmetic jar before it has a chance to fall over and break.
When I need a readily-available, competitively-priced and long-wearing foundation with better-than-average coverage and a better-than-average color selection, Revlon ColorStay Makeup is what I turn to. In my search for a long-wearing liquid foundation that just wouldn't budge, oxidize or turn to an oil slick, I started off with Estee Lauder Double Wear Light. I switched to Revlon's ColorStay foundation because it sets better, smudging and transferring less, while also feeling lighter and wearing roughly as long. Although it's a close runner up, I wouldn't call Revlon ColorStay makeup my HG foundation. A couple of years back, I found my HG in Physician's Formula CoverToxTen50 Liquid Foundation, in the shade "Creamy Natural" (once I learned to ditch the ineffective brush-on applicator). The reason I liked PF's formula better is that it did a better job imparting a corrective "healthy glow" skin tone. PF's formula, which apparently has recently been discontinued, felt somewhat lighter, more breathable and less drying. Wearing ColorStay I definitely feel that make-up look, although nowhere near as bad as the Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation, which bordered on mask-like. IMHO, however, PF's CoverToxTen50 formula did one step better, allowing me to forget that I was wearing makeup at all. While I am sad to learn that my HG Physician's Formula foundation has seemingly been discontinued it's currently impossible to find anywhere online or off Revlon ColorStay is still around. It's a huge relief to know that there are still quality drugstore-brand foundations to be found in just about any store, thanks to Revlon ColorStay Makeup!
Liquid -Estee Lauder - Double Wear LIGHT Foundation SPF10
DLYNN 2/26/2013 5:28:00 PM
I purchased this foundation for my wedding a couple of years ago and I was immediately impressed at the coverage and the long-wearing nature of Estee Lauder Double Wear Light. It offers a dewy finish, but not so overt that it comes off shiny in photos when set with powder and a spritz of water. Although it worked great for photos, I would not repurchase this foundation for day-to-day use. The color the SA set me up with, intensity #2, ran a tad too yellow, in my opinion, but more than anything it felt too heavy for regular use. In my observation, silicones, such as Dimethicone, are responsible for some of the foundations that wear the longest and are most resistant to oil and water. Unfortunately, they don't always breathe all that well. In short, silicone-heavy formulas don't feel all that natural or healthy. As such, I would reserve Estee Lauder Double Wear Light for special occasions, especially those where re-touching one's makeup is out of the question. When I need a long-wearing foundation for daytime or casual use, I feel the equally-effective, lighter-on-the-skin alternative is Revlon's ColorStay Foundation. Of course, it doesn't hurt that the price and the color choices are better too.
This Cover Girl classic blush in "soft mink" was my HG blush for as long as I can remember, dislodged only when I discovered Physicians Formula Mineral Wear pressed-powder, talc-free blushes. I suspect this CG blush will again become my HG blush because PF's Mineral Wear line has undergone a reformulation that has dropped the colors I most loved, "Natural Glow", having been my all-time favorite. Those with warm, fair-medium skin really can't go wrong with "Soft Mink" because it hits that perfect blend of rose and peach. It has a slight sheen to it, not as matt as the PF Mineral Wear line, but otherwise the staying power is good, imparting a healthful glow. There's a reason this is one of the few cosmetics to have survived the test of time. I hope Cover Girl never opts to discontinue it!
First impression: The glass bottle is nice, the small cap is functional but it's tough stuff to get out of the jar! Second impression: There's a trick to getting this foundation out of the bottle. By removing the cap and using a (clean) finger to cap off the small opening, while shaking the contents, it is possible to dispense just enough foundation to dot on one's face without digging in a pinkie finger or pounding the back of one's hand black-and-blue. (The Oil Control formula, in particular, is tricky because it's thicker and doesn't run out of the jar quite as easily as the Normal Skin version.) I first bought the new Clean Makeup formula for Oil Control only because I got it on clearance for less than $4, in the shade "Classic Ivory". I thought, "What the heck, I haven't tried this stuff since high school." Having used the oil-control version of this product for a couple of weeks now, I've found it can look streaky/chalky, exaggerating flaws such as wrinkles or dry patches on combo skin. I had no problem, however, once I began to apply it over Trader Joe's sunscreen and/or Pycnogenol cream, the latter of which acts like a primer and serves to make it blendable, albeit not all that buildable. I then set it with powder followed by a spritz of water, which gives it fairly good staying power for a product at this price point. In Classic Ivory, the tone is fairly neutral, swinging slightly pink but not too much so for my somewhat sallow skin tone. I particularly like that the Oil Control formula does not have much of a scent, if any. To its credit, Cover Girl Clean Makeup does feel more breathable than Revlon ColorStay, L'Oreal Visible Lift, Estee Lauder Double Wear Light, and other foundations I've tried. The downside, of course, is that it doesn't have the staying power of the likes of Revlon ColorStay foundation (Revlon ColorStay is the gold standard of long-wearing drugstore foundation brands, in my experience). I suspect the lightweight and breathable feel of Cover Girl Clean Makeup has to do with the fact that they are water-based formulas, and secondarily that these less expensive, less exotic formulas tend to contain less silicone. Dimethicone is a silicone-based emollient, which in my unfortunate experience causes skin irritation in high concentrations, hence I became particularly interested recently in trying Cover Girl's Clean Makeup for Normal Skin because it is the only liquid foundation I've come across so far that isn't loaded with this semi-occlusive ingredient. (The Normal Skin version would appear to be the only CG Clean Makeup that is silicone-free, however.) Unfortunately, after cracking open the lid on Cover Girl's Clean Makeup for Normal Skin, the odor of menthol/clove/eucalyptus became overwhelming. This stuff could substitute for Vic's Vapo Rub it's that strong! Alas, it's difficult to contemplate the return of a foundation based on scent alone, especially when I really need a silicone-free liquid foundation, so I went ahead and applied it anyhow. Although it looked as if "Creamy Natural" would be the best match, I bought the Normal Skin formula in Classic Ivory because that's the shade I have in the Oil Control version. Turns out, the two colors, while identically named, aren't an exact match: Classic Ivory for Normal Skin is a tad more on the orange side. (I would say that if you are fair-skinned, go a shade lighter than you might otherwise and you shouldn't have issues with "carrot face".) With the hope that the medicinal smell would wear off, I got to work applying it. The bad news? The medicinal smell does not wear off quickly (40 minutes later, I'm still catching a whiff). It would also appear that some combination of the fragrance and essential oils has potential to create skin irritation, due to the fact that my usual spritz of water, to set the look after I powdered my face, triggered a slightly itchy/tingling sensation (it quickly passed, fortunately). [3/5/2013 EDIT: I had to stop using this foundation because the bridge of my nose broke out into small red bumps!] In comparing the Oil Control and Normal Skin formulas, they both go on very differently. The Oil Control formula is not cakey if applied over any type of moisturizer, even over gels, such as aloe vera. The Normal Skin formula, however, balled up when applied over that same gel, to the point where I had to remove it and start from scratch with nothing else on my face. In short, the Normal Skin formula is tricky to apply because while it builds better than the Oil Control version it is not quite as blendable and therefore easy to over-apply. This Normal Skin formula, in fact, blends best when applied to dampened skin (moistened with alcohol-free Witch Hazel, for instance). Long story short, IF you can get the technique down, this foundation has decent coverage, especially considering it isn't loaded down with silicones. Still, I see this product being best for those who have youthful, smooth skin without many fine lines or wrinkles. (Translation: Using this product after age 40 is pushing it, and I definitely wouldn't recommend this product to the 50+ set!) Truth be told, if it weren't for the fact that this Normal Skin formula is silicone free, I would return it because it is too hard to work with. But because I want to give my skin some Dimethicone-free days, I'll probably stick with it for occasional use, medicinal smell and all. For those who aren't sensitive to silicones, however, I can't really recommend this product, except on price alone (just under $6 at Target). [EDIT: I am returning the Normal Skin version of this foundation due to skin irritation from the eucalyptus/clove oil. My conclusion? The Oil Control formula is the gentler of the two regardless of skin type.] Lasting Impression? To make a "clean" convert out of me, Cover Girl needs to bring out a fragrance-free, SLS-free, silicone-free, paraben-free version of this product.
I thought this was fantastic mascara for the first two weeks of use. Gradually and progressively, I developed what I thought was an unrelated problem: Pinkeye. After a visit to an eye doctor, I stopped using this mascara and switched brands. That's when the eye irritation disappeared (it wasn't Pinkeye). I can no longer wear any L'Oreal mascaras due to some as-of-yet-unidentified ingredient that I'm apparently allergic to. Sad but true....
Mascara -Almay - Intense i-color w/ Light Interplay Technology
DLYNN 2/25/2013 5:57:00 PM
This is it! I've found my HG mascara**! A few years ago I thought I was done with mascara for good because I couldn't find one that wouldn't irritate my eyes. I had just come off a bad experience with L'Oreal Voluminous Mascara, which I had thought was fantastic until, just a week prior to my wedding, I thought I was coming down with Pinkeye due to persistent redness/itching (the product was only about three weeks old when serious eye irritations set in)! After a visit to an eye doctor, I stopped using the L'Oreal mascara. Still, I needed something else because my wedding was just around the corner. I had long ago given up on Physicians Formula Organic Wear mascara due to excessive smudging/transfer (loved the look of the tube, though!) and I had also outgrown Maybelline's Great Lash due to excessive flaking of the waterproof formula. With L'Oreal mascaras now out of the question, it seemed as if I might never find a product gentle enough for my dry, sensitive eyes again! Thankfully, I turned to Almay. I remembered a product I had used years before that didn't seem to plump up my lashes all that much but stayed put and wasn't irritating. Based on that history, I bought Almay Intense iColor with Light Interplay for Brown Eyes. In particular, I love the applicator brush. My lashes are long and this one doesn't turn them into spider lashes, the way so many mascara brushes do. Better yet, transfer, flaking and smudging are minimal too. I hope Almay never discontinues this product because I'm sticking with what works! ** Edit/FYI: This review pertains to the black tube with the silver cap and the silver type on the sides, the same as currently pictured. There is another Almay product featuring an all-black or charcoal color tube with the same name, but a smaller/thinner brush. The ingredients are different, too, although the name is the same. I suspect the original version of Almay Intense iColor with Light Interplay is discontinued, with this confusingly named product its replacement. Just when I find my HG mascara. Go figure...
Eye Shadow -Almay - Intense i-Color Eye Shadow smoky-i for browns
DLYNN 2/25/2013 5:33:00 PM
I am normally not a big eye-shadow wearer, mostly because my eyelids don't show much (not due to age, just the way it has always been). Because my eyelids are more deep set than some, there are only a few eye-shadows I've tried that don't transfer and crease severely, to come out looking like a muddy mess after a few hours. Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips and Almay Intense i-Color Eye Shadow for browns are the exceptions to my otherwise, steer-clear rule. I like the color choices in this palette, and it takes only a small bit to do the job. It can be applied lightly for a hint of subtle color or built up for the smokey-eyed look. Prior to buying this product, I dared not go for the smokey-eye look because I didn't want to look like someone punched me in the eye. These colors, because they are designed to complement one's eye color, don't give me the "scare" of choosing decent colors on my own. I would definitely recommend this product, also, because the instructions on how to apply it are easy to follow (eye shadow are among the few cosmetics where it is easy to go wrong without proper technique). I also use Almay's matching mascara from this line. It's great on sensitive eyes that don't tolerate other mascaras all that well. Kudos to Almay!
Adding my 2’ to the nearly 4,000 mostly-glowing reviews already here on behalf of Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque: The sulfur in this masque is not only good for treating acne-prone skin but for softening any skin type. The Kaolin and Bentonite clay the "mud" helps alleviate blocked pores. This product is one of the oldie-but-goodies, and no masque I've tried can touch it. For radiant, even-toned skin, this masque is a must, no matter one's age. Once or twice a month is sufficient to see benefits, and a single tube will last a long, long time.
Ponds Dry Skin Cream is one of the few face creams I have been able to find that evokes no redness or irritation whatsoever. A dermatologist who patch tested me years ago indicated that I am sensitive/allergic to Dimethicone which was news to me because I have never actually broken out into hives. The problem? Dimethicone is an ingredient in over 98 percent of cosmetic and skin care items on store shelves. About to give up, I discovered Ponds Dry Skin Cream, the "caring classic", one of the few drugstore brands that fit the bill. Most products I buy don't impress me all that much in terms of packaging or labeling aesthetics, but something about the classic look of this product, especially in the smaller sizes, does. A light, white cream, it comes packaged in a cute little translucent tub, with an attractive powder blue cap. (Blue isn't even my favorite color, but if I were painting a room blue, I'd take this cap down to a paint store and have them match it absolutely love it!) I also like the fact that the jar-type packaging allows me to get at every last bit. (And no, I don't worry about contaminating it with my hands because I buy in smaller quantities and use exclusively after I shower. Besides, that's what the preservatives are for. :-) For years I stuck exclusively with Ponds Dry Skin Cream for my facial moisturizing needs, until I recently got the itch to try anti-aging products in earnest. (It was literally an "itch" --- I had an allergic reaction to an MRI with contrast, with the result being I underwent weeks of persistent, itchy bags under my eyes. That's when I suspended my Ponds ritual in favor of stronger ingredients to bring down the puffy/baggy/deflated balloon appearance.) While I want to give each anti-aging product I'm currently experimenting with a chance to work and early results suggest they are working because even my spouse has commented that my under-eye area has improved some of those products contain Dimethicone (silicone). Consequently, I have recently begun to note some mild redness upon waking in the morning, something I did not experience when relying upon Ponds Dry Skin Cream to moisturize my face and under-eye area. In the end, because I can't get entirely away from Dimethicone during the day I refuse to give up wearing cosmetics thanks to issues with hyper-pigmentation brought on by occasional hormonal breakouts I've settled for giving my skin a break at night, thanks in no small part to Ponds Dry Skin Cream. In addition to being extremely gentle and deeply moisturizing, I even find the light scent comforting. Ponds Dry Skin Cream is a nightly ritual I'll no doubt stick to in the long run.
Misc Beauty Tools -Conair - Oval Polished Chrome Makeup Mirror
DLYNN 2/16/2013 11:46:00 PM
I've used a standard non-electric vanity mirror before. After obtaining this Conair Chrome Illuminated Makeup Mirror, model BE47, I am now asking myself: How did I live without this for soooo long? There are many makeup mirrors on the market. There are far fewer that are lighted. There are fewer illuminated makeup mirrors still that people do not complain are too bright, too dim, too yellow. There are increasingly few lighted makeup mirrors that allow for replaceable bulbs this one does. There are no competing models that I know of that offer an oval, face-sized mirror. Similarly, there are NO lighted vanity mirrors offering these generous dimensions and quality looks for the price between $22-$40 depending where you shop! The nice thing about this mirror is that it stands 7.0 x 8.0 x 17.0, so no more crouching over a too-short vanity mirror. While not super bright, it isn't super dim, either. If you have any other ambient light this ought to be sufficient. It is particularly ideal for those of us with oval, not round faces! My understanding is that these illuminated vanity mirrors are on clearance at some Walmart stores (and online) as of this date. Get yours while they last!