I'm extremely fickle when it comes to mascara - it's probably the only product in my lineup that I am genuinely not concerned about. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't be seen without a few lashings in place - I just have no brand that I consistently turn to, and I rarely look for any reviews when it comes to this kind of product. As a result, my normal go-to is whatever is currently on offer at the drug store. I'm always loathe to spend the kind of money that I blow away on high-end/department store foundations/blush/lipsticks on something like mascara - call me weird, but that's always how I've felt! I bought Max Factor's False Lash Effect Fusion when it was discounted by a few pounds at a local store. I normally consider Max Factor to be a little more reliable than the likes of Maybelline or Rimmel (apologies to any fans of these brands - I have just never got on with them personally), so I thought this would pretty much be a fool-proof choice. My lashes are quite long but relatively sparse and poker-straight, so I generally need to curl and apply a few coats of mascara to build up the volume. Fusion promises a blend of length and volume, distinguishing it from the standard product. It comes in a generic Max Factor convex tube; plasticky, cheap and cheerful, and certainly nothing to be wowed by. The brush head is conical and quite broad, which for me makes it tricky to reach the corner lashes. It's also solid plastic (i.e. not soft bristles), which can lead to inevitable mascara-wand injuries if you blink while applying! In my experience, solid mascara brushes are far better for defining lashes rather than adding volume, and this certainly seemed to be the case here. While my lashes did look a little longer, they did not appear any denser and I honestly could not see much impact following application. I tend to like a slightly exaggerated lash; not mega-volume in the vein of Bourjois' Clubbing Volume, but certainly a little oomph to make my eyes stand out. This product pretty much just looked like my normal, bare lashes, but a little longer and defined. Not the kind of impact I was expecting from a product claiming to offer a "false lash effect". I also found that the product did flake during the day, leaving attractive (not) black specks under my eyes. I didn't experience any transfer or irritation of any kind. This product also does nothing to add curl, so you will need to manually curl your lashes before application. In conclusion, I would personally not purchase this again; it was quite expensive for a drug store mascara (I cannot remember the exact price but it was somewhere in the region of £10 with the discount applied) and doesn't offer anything significant to justify this. I am currently enjoying Shu Uemura's Ultimate Expression mascara, and will continue using that for the foreseeable future - meaning that sadly Max Factor's offering will be resigned to the garbage.
I'm really surprised by the number of negative reviews for this product...I'm guessing that a number of people may feel a little put out by the price and therefore more likely to judge harshly, which I suppose is understandable. For me, this mascara was a pleasant surprise; I was not expecting the level of curl and volume that it imbued! I bought this product pretty much sight-unseen; I had gone into the store specifically looking to purchase Shu's Smooth Fit foundation, and thought I would ask for a mascara recommendation from the MUA just on a whim. I explained that I was looking for a mascara that would add volume to my long but sparse eyelashes, and this was her Shu suggestion. I'm normally very fickle when it comes to mascara - I'll use pretty much anything once, and just grab whichever drug store brand is on offer - so the thought of paying £20 for this shocked the heck out of me; however, since the Shu stockist was somewhat out of my way and I wasn't planning on coming back anytime soon, I decided to take a risk a splurge. My first impression on this was regarding the tube; it's incredibly sturdy, a far cry from the plasticky tubes of drug store mascaras (I imagine a chunk of the £20 pricetag went on the packaging). It's also very stylish; a matte black tube with the brand name stamped in white on the side. The lid "clicks" when you've closed it fully, and the surface feels slightly rubberised. All in all very premium and pretty. The soft brush is of relatively standard width, and is slightly curved to enable you to reach your corner lashes easily. Application can be tricky, as the formula does seem to be prone to clumping (in my experience all volumising mascaras can clump if applied too liberally - after all, they achieve maximum volume by building up product on your lashes and "gluing" them together to build up exaggerated thickness at the sacrifice of the perceived "number" of visible lashes). I didn't find it too troublesome to comb a couple of layers through my lashes though - certainly no more so than any of the other volumising mascaras I've used in the past. My lashes did look much thicker and dramatic, but not unnaturally so; more emphasised than really outrageous, which is what I was going for. Prior to buying this I had been using a free sample of MAC's "Haute and Naughty"; I would say that the volume of this is not quite on par with the Haute brush and is much drier in texture; it offers markedly more volume than L'Oreal's Volume Million Lashes Excess and Max Factor's False Lash Effect Fusion. Personally, I think I like the application and overall depth of colour of Haute a little more - however Ultimate Expression does have a few more tricks up it's sleeve that make it a real contender for me. For starters, UE adds a superb curl to your lashes. As previously mentioned I have quite long but sparse lashes (probably down to my half-Asian half-European genes), and they are typically poker-straight. A couple of coats adds the most remarkable curl to my lashes, so much so that I don't actually need to curl them separately. That's a big deal for me, as I am spectacularly lazy and love to cut out a step wherever possible! Secondly, this product never flakes or wears away during the day for me; admittedly this isn't a problem that I have ever had with Haute and Naughty, but is a serial issue with the drugstore brands I've used. I've fallen asleep in this and it has not flaked or rubbed off at all. I have quite temperamental eyelids that veer between bone try and extremely oily, and never have any issues with the product drifting or irritating. It's not waterproof and can easily be removed with a makeup wipe. It's worth noting that, when I use a wipe to remove this, I never find that I've lost any lashes during the removal process; this is pretty unusual for me, as I usually expect to see a lash or two come away with the product, so I don't know if perhaps it's strengthening my lashes? If so, bonus! Is it worth £20? Honestly, I'm not sure any mascara is worth £20. However, I am very pleased with this product and certainly will not reach for any of my other mascaras while I have any of this left. The fact that it curls my lashes so beautifully - and maintains the curl all day - is a wonderful bonus, and likely to be the real pulling factor for me repurchasing. I imagine a number of people won't feel that it's dramatic enough to justify the price tag; for me, I think this product does offer some pretty special benefits, and I think I could certainly be swayed to buy again in the future.
Blush -Liz Earle - Healthy Glow Cream Blush in Nectar 06
Johelian 11/7/2012 4:56:00 PM
have splurged like crazy on Liz Earle products as of late, and - touch wood - I have to say that I have not experienced buyer's remorse once. Normally when I go nuts buying up a new product my excitement quickly dwindles when the products don't look quite so wonderful applied in the cold light of day; my introduction to Liz Earle really could not have gone better, as I literally love every product that I have come home with. I picked up this creme blush just recently after taking a risk on Rose 04 and absolutely loving it. I had also just become enamoured with Liz Earle's Signature Foundation in Ivory, which is the best foundation discovery I have made for years. Nectar is desribed as 'fresh rose-pink', and seemed like the ideal Yin to Rose 04's Yang - one uplifting, brightening shade and one warm, inviting shade. It's a lovely cheerful, vibrant pink, not too cool-toned, but rather beautifully balanced and I think would look lovely on both warm and cool skin tones. I am a fan of Bobbi Brown's Pot Rouge in Pale Pink, which adds a real brightening pop to my face - however, I have to say that Nectar is a far more univerally-flattering colour, and is significantly more natural and subtle without being boring or garish. This is my go-to for daily wear to team with cooler-toned colours, such as Liz Earle's Signature Lip Colour in Heather (which I adore), with Rose 04 being my right-hand blusher if I am opting for warmer tones. The texture of these creme blushes is to die far - far superior on my option to Bobbi Brown's Pot Rouge, which has always been a staple of mine. They are gloriously creamy and slippable, and moderately pigmented (not quite so much so as BB). I apply this using a blush brush, and the colour is easy to pick up and glides beautifully into the skin without clumping or spotting - a problem that I frequently experience with highly-pigmented blushes, such as Ellis Faas. A thin layer can be gently swept over the cheeks to offer a subtle hint of colour, or layered on to give a more dramatic flush. For me, I prefer not to have too heavily rouged cheeks, so the soft sweep is perfect for every-day. The product lasts for a full work day, though is significantly faded towards the evening - no worse or better than BB's Pot Rouge. You can boost lasting power and colour saturation with a dusting of the matching Powder blush on top; for me, the whole appeal of creme blush is that it helps my bone-dry cheeks to retain a bit of youthful dewiness, so I personally avoid powdering. Liz Earle's Creme Blush comes in a signature navy round compact with mirror. The downside for this product for me is that you get very little product for the money - only 2g of creme blush. Compare this to 3.7g for the BB formula, and you are getting just over half the product for nearly the same price. However, because of the decent pigmentation and the easy slippage, you really do not need a lot; I imagine this will last a good couple of months, and I am far more likely to reach for this than any of my other blushes. In conclusion, I am super-impressed by Liz Earle's make up offerings; absolutely the best discovery I have made for years. I highly recommend giving this creme blush a try.
Blush -Liz Earle - Healthy Glow Cream Blush in Rose 04
Johelian 11/7/2012 4:48:00 PM
I have splurged like crazy on Liz Earle products as of late, and - touch wood - I have to say that I have not experienced buyer's remorse once. Normally when I go nuts buying up a new product my excitement quickly dwindles when the products don't look quite so wonderful applied in the cold light of day; my introduction to Liz Earle really could not have gone better, as I literally love every product that I have come home with. I picked up this creme blush along with the Signature Foundation in Ivory and the Signature Lip Colour in Dusk. Rose is desribed as 'a warm rose-pink. A must-have colour'. It's incredibly flattering on my NC20-25 skin, and very closely matches my normal blush colouration - a rare feat, as so many blushes are too red/brown and look dirty on my skin, or too pink and look garish. I'd say that the closest BB match would be the Pot Rouge of the same name, 'Rose' - though I personally find the Liz Earle far more warming and flattering, not to mention far easier to apply effectively. This is my go-to for daily wear if I am wearing warm colours, with Nectar being my staple if I want a slightly fresher look. The texture of these creme blushes is to die far - far superior on my option to Bobbi Brown's Pot Rouge, which has always been a staple of mine. They are gloriously creamy and slippable, and moderately pigmented (not quite so much so as BB). I apply this using a blush brush, and the colour is easy to pick up and glides beautifully into the skin without clumping or spotting - a problem that I frequently experience with highly-pigmented blushes, such as Ellis Faas. A thin layer can be gently swept over the cheeks to offer a subtle hint of colour, or layered on to give a more dramatic flush. For me, I prefer not to have too heavily rouged cheeks, so the soft sweep is perfect for every-day. The product lasts for a full work day, though is significantly faded towards the evening - no worse or better than BB's Pot Rouge. You can boost lasting power and colour saturation with a dusting of the matching Powder blush on top; for me, the whole appeal of creme blush is that it helps my bone-dry cheeks to retain a bit of youthful dewiness, so I personally avoid powdering. Liz Earle's Creme Blush comes in a signature navy round compact with mirror. The downside for this product for me is that you get very little product for the money - only 2g of creme blush. Compare this to 3.7g for the BB formula, and you are getting just over half the product for nearly the same price. However, because of the decent pigmentation and the easy slippage, you really do not need a lot; I imagine this will last a good couple of months, and I am far more likely to reach for this than any of my other blushes. In conclusion, I am super-impressed by Liz Earle's make up offerings; absolutely the best discovery I have made for years. I highly recommend giving this creme blush a try.
[For reference – I am of mixed Filipino/English descent, with light olive skin-tone that leans towards warm/yellow. Skin-type is Combination/Sensitive, with redness on my nose & cheeks. Pronounced pores. NC20-25] Having found the best foundation going in Sisley's Phyto Teint Eclat, and thinking that my foundation search was finally over, I was somewhat nonplussed to find myself idly browsing makeup counters again. What was the reason for my dissatisfaction? The simple reason was that PTE was just too damn expensive for me to shell out on on a regular basis; I had to find a cheaper alternative for every-day wear. While reading through pages of reviews online, I noticed that one product came up time and time again - Liz Earle's Signature Foundation. More than likely this was just due to timing; LE sent out a mass of samples to various British beauty bloggers earlier this year, and every single one (well, all bar one) raved about this foundation. Seeing as I had a LE store in a neighbouring town, I thought it would be rude not to check out the hype. Liz Earle are a British company specialising in simple, but effective, skincare and makeup products. They have only two foundation lines - a tinted moisturiser and the Signature Foundation - supporting their ethos of straightforward products that just 'work'. No need for countless products for different skin types, finishes...just one really great product that suits everyone. Sounds like they're living in a dreamworld? Well, LE are so assured that everyone will love their product that they are currently offering a money-back scheme online if you don't love the product. Now that's confidence. The Signature Foundation comes in nine shades that are, for the most part, relatively neutral. I guess the intention then is that they will suit the broadest range of skin tones. I take 02 Ivory, which is described on the website as being 'suitable for fair skin with yellow tones'. In reality Ivory is - again - more neutral than warm, and looks a tiny bit pink on my skin (which needs true yellow to balance the colour), but this is easily workable. 03 Nude is described as being 'suitable for most caucasian skins' - for me this is too darkly orange, so I guess perhaps this is for tanned/fake tanned caucasians? Anyway, colour selection is easily the only downside of the product. Everything else is, dare I say it - eerily perfect. The product comes in a classy frosted glass bottle with signature LE navy lid and a pump. One pump is more than enough for my whole face, but you can half-pump which saves wastage. It's moderately thick, I suppose a touch more liquid than Revlon's Colorstay, and I find the best application is with the Sigma Kabuki buffing brush. LE recommend applying with a foundation paddle brush; for me, this gives too much coverage and the neutral colour of Ivory stands out too much on my skin, so I opt for the buffing brush. Coverage is a glorious medium - not at all mask-like (unless you slap gallons on), with just a hint of dewiness to give a natural appearance. It neutralises all of my redness, and - and this is VERY rare for decent-coverage foundations - actually just makes my skin look better. Not made up - just better. Set with a touch of powder this lasts easily all day, from application until I take it off at night, without breaking up on my nose (95% of foundations do this) or fading away. The best way to describe this is Estee Lauder Double Wear, without the chalky mask effect. I realise that that's a big claim - and I absolutely stand by it. I have never had a foundation last so long and look so good. Best of all, it comes off with water and cleanser at the end of the day. It has a vaguely plant like scent to it, possibly from the plant extracts present - inoffensive (if a bit odd), and dissipates quickly. I have been using this for a couple of weeks now, and have not experienced any breakouts; rather, my skin looks and feels calmed and even better than before I started. Liz Earle is best known for the inclusion of 'natural' (in inverted commas because the products do still contain some chemicals) ingredients in their products, so perhaps these are offering some skin-improving properties. At either rate, I am incredibly happy with this product, and cannot really think of a bad thing to say (other than the lack of truly yellow shades)...oh wait, it can transfer a little due to the satin finish. If I blow my nose for instance there will be some product on the tissue. Thankfully it wears down very nicely and does not leave a tidemark - really NEVER enough of a problem to even bother me. And the price? A measly £21 at the time of writing. This is a massive £9 cheaper than my beloved Bobbi Brown foundations, and approximately 1/3 the price of the Grail of foundations, Sisley Phyto Teint Eclat. This is my new every-day foundation, and I feel terribly disappointed that I did not discover this earlier - I would have saved a fortune buying and throwing away countless foundations that promised so much and fulfilled so little. If you try one foundation in this price range this year, make it Liz Earle's Signature Foundation. The Good 1) VERY reasonably priced for the quality of the product 2) True all-day lasting power without becoming oily AND while looking natural 3) Did not cause breakouts on my super-sensitive skin, and in fact made my skin feel better 4) Bottle with pump 5) Medium coverage, buidable 6) Easy to remove at the end of the day 7) No oxidisation 8) Returns policy available at the moment. The Bad 1) Limited colour range 2) No SPF 3) Some dodgy ingredients (though no moreso than many other foundations I'm sure) 4) May transfer a little. The Bottom Line You owe it to yourself to try LE Signature Foundation, especially while they are offering the opportunity to return it if you are not happy. And no, they are not paying me.
Eye Shadow -Bobbi Brown - Long Wear Cream Eye Shadow in Heather
Johelian 11/6/2012 2:57:00 PM
I toyed with the idea of getting one (or two...or three, as it transpired) of the Bobbi Brown Long Wear Eyeshadows just recently, and convinced myself that Orchid would be the perfect shade for me - until I saw Heather on a girl with an NC25-ish oriental skintone and realised just how flattering it was. Being of half oriental/half caucasian descent with NC20-25 / fair-medium warm tones myself, I knew then that I had to get my hands on Heather! What I love about this colour is the easy-glide, slippable, non-crease texture and the gorgeous, yet subtle, tones. Heather is a very slightly warmed grey-purple that perfectly neutralises the reddish tones of my lids and makes my dark brown eyes look really fresh and striking. It applies like a dream; I apply with a brush for a heavier swatch of colour, or with a finger if I am in a rush/for everyday wear, and both are a breeze. If I layer too much on it starts to look a little dark and bruisy, so I do prefer to have a light/medium wash. Paired with a black liner and mascara this is without fail my daily staple - subtle enough to wear to work, but offering a refreshing alternative to browns/greys. Paired with Sand Dollar on the inner corners of the eye this is a really flattering shade. The product comes in a small glass bottle, essentially a squared version of the BB eyeliner pot - but with a smaller neck. As some have already mentioned it is tricky to fit a fingertip into the pot once you've depleted the product beyond the top of the neck, which is a bit of a nuisance. The product does not transfer, and lasts around 5 hours for me without a primer - and I do have oily lids. There is no product left on my lids by the end of the day; however, it does wear quite evenly, and I have never experienced any creasing or clumping. I heartily recommend this shade to anyone with a skintone in the region of NC20-25, as it's a beautiful colour that is universally flattering to all eye colours. I personally doubt that this colour would be as flattering to cooler skintones, where it might clash a little with the pink undertone and look a little dingy.
I have very sensitive combination skin - it can be dry, red and itchy one moment, oily and congested the next. I suffer from both acne and eczema outbreaks periodically on my face, so I'm always cautious about the products that I use. Having read so many positive reviews on here about Kiehl's Ultra-Facial line, I thought I would give this a go. Its a thick cleanser that does not foam easily, but if mixed with enough water gives a reasonable lather. I use a Clarasonic Mia, and I normally have to manually rub the cleanser into the brush for a few seconds to encourage a foam before use. That being said, it's a fantastic product for my skin; it cleans away any remaining traces of my makeup (I remove makeup first using a cleansing wipe, and then follow up with this) and doesn't leave my skin feeling dry or tight. It also doesn't aggravate my eczema or acne, which is fantastic as so many other products cause irritation. The product is unscented, and has a neutral, slightly soapy chemical odour to it - it's not offensive to me, but comes as a bit of a surprise during the first use if you're used to more cosmetic cleansers. I used to use Clinique's 3 Step system, but had to discontinue use as my skin was either burnt by the clarifying lotions or left congested by the moisturiser; I feel I am having a great deal more success with my Ultra-Facial Cleanser, Origin's alcohol-free toner (though I am going to try the Ultra-Facial toner once this runs out) and Aveeno. I am currently on my second tube of this, and since I am very fickle and rarely stick with the same product once it runs out, I think this speaks volumes for me! The only real downside to this is the price; it is expensive at around £17 for a tube, and I'm sure that people with less unpredictable skin will be able to find a product that works well for a lot less money. As far as I am concerned, I am tired of trying product after product that gives mediocre results and leaves me with irritated skin; I am happy to stick with Kiehls for the immediate future, as it just alleviates any of those concerns.
Liquid -Sisley - Phyto Tient Eclat Oil-Free Foundation
Johelian 6/20/2012 5:35:00 AM
[For reference – I am of mixed Filipino/English descent, with light olive skin-tone that leans towards warm/yellow. Skin-type is Combination/Sensitive, with redness on my nose & cheeks. Pronounced pores. NC20-25] In my hunt for the perfect foundation – i.e. one that matches my pale yellow skin without being too dark/pink, does not slide off my red cheeks and lasts for a full work-day with little-to-no touchups – I have tried almost every brand under the sun. Bobbi Brown, MAC, Estee Lauder, Lancome, Chanel, Maybelline, Revlon, Bourjois, UNE...as a matter of fact, you can read my reviews on many of these here! So - Sisley Phyto Teint Eclat Foundation. £65.00 a bottle - the most expensive foundation I have ever bought. How does it stack up against the Bobbi Browns/Laura Merciers of the world? Let me start by saying that I only bought this because I received some gift vouchers - I do think that £65.00 is a crazy amount to pay for foundation (I even begrudge the £29.00 I pay for my BB Skin). That being said, this is without a doubt one of the best foundations I have worn. It literally blows anything else I have tried out of the water. The consistency is thin, a touch thicker than BB Skin; however only the thinnest layer is needed for reasonable coverage, and it blends easily with a stippling brush (trustly old MAC 187 is my tool of choice here). I would recommend working fairly quickly though, as a thin layer of the product will dry very quickly. I get a perfect colour match on my NC20-25 skin with Nude+1, which leans towards a yellow (the + shades are more yellow) undertone hence evening out my red cheeks. The finish is perfectly natural, indisputably the best finish I have had from any foundation; light-medium coverage that masks my redness perfectly, though does not completely hide my acne scars. The product does not aggravate my super-sensitive, acne prone skin in the slightest; as a matter of fact, my skin has never been in better condition since using it. It lasts easily all day without touchup; even my oiliest areas only have a slight sheen to them by the end of the day, by which point all of the other foundations I have used (bar Estee Lauder Double Wear, which eats oil for breakfast) would need some serious blotting. Also, I normally experience some breakdown of my foundation around my nose during the day, leaving unsightly tide marks; this does not happen with Phyto Teint (I'm guessing because you need so little that the product doesn't "bunch up" on your face). Even so, removal is a breeze; the product comes off easily with a face wipe. Take THAT DW! This is also beyond a shadow of a doubt the best foundation I have used for flash photography - in fact, if I know pictures are going to be taken, I make it a point to be wearing PTE as I know it will not let me down. It comes in a cute, rounded glass bottle with a pump. Now for the downsides. The product WILL highlight any dryness in your skin. Now that we are (apparently) in the summer months here in the UK my skin is not as dry as during winter; even so I need to ensure that it's well moisturised before using PTE, as I discovered when it left a flaky mess around my nose (I had hayfever and the tissue soaked up my moisturiser). I would strongly recommend that anyone with dry skin get a sample before committing, as I don't feel this is a great formula for this skin type. The pump is a great source of frustration for me, as it's simply not possible to "half pump"; this means that you cannot pump out the exact amount you need, which will undoubtedly lead to wastage. That being said - and this leads nicely to my next issue - I tend to find that I need a comparatively large quantity to cover my face compared to the other foundations that I use. It takes at least 2 pumps to cover my face with a thin layer plus a second light stippling on my red cheeks. Don't get me wrong - the coverage is perfect at this level, though it doesn't completely hide my acne scars (to be honest this doesn't really bother me). At this rate I can see the foundation not lasting very long at all - and while this may not be a problem for cheaper department store products, I am loathe to fork out £65 every few weeks because I'm getting through the foundation too quickly! I also find that this does little for my crater-like pores; this won't be a problem for those with "normal" skin texture, but my skin literally resembles the surface of a sponge and a fine layer of this does not mask my pores. Again, this is something I can live with personally as it would take some serious spackle to fill in my pores and I am not expecting miracles! Finally, I also experienced a very slight level of oxidisation - not enough for me to need to change shades, but it may be worth bearing in mind if you're already pushing the workability of a particular shade. The product does not contain SPF. In conclusion; I would undoubtedly buy this product again, simply because it delivers on almost every level. I am a strong believer that your foundation should be the most expensive piece in your makeup kit, as this is the item that will make or break your look; and Phyto Teint is easily worth the money for me. The only sticking point for me is the amount I need to use to get the coverage I want; I cannot justify spending this amount of money more frequently than I would buy BB Skin or Laura Mercier Creme Smooth. For that reason I will be looking for a sample of La Mer's Treatment Foundation next, as I hear it similar skin-improving ingredients but needs less product to give reasonable coverage. If that is a dud then I will most certainly be buying PTE once more. Wonderful product. EDIT - I picked up La Mer's treatment foundation today. I was not impressed. Sisley is the best foundation I have ever used. Period. EDIT - One criticism - today the glass bottle shattered by the pump for no apparent reason. On the plus I found I actually had quite a bit left after all!
Lotions/ Creams -Aveeno - Daily Moisturizing Lotion
Johelian 6/15/2012 10:15:00 PM
I have used Aveeno lotion for about 13 years now, and it will always be my staple moisturiser. I was recommended this by my doctor when I suffered a nasty outbreak of eczema on my eyelids; it is literally the only moisturiser that does not aggravate my eczema and hand dermatitis. Even supposedly neutral formulations like E45 make me unbearably itchy. I use it on its own every morning after toning, and mixed with a couple of drops of jojoba oil at night. I will never switch (for the AM at least) as any other moisturiser I have used causes too much irritation. I have tried on and off with alternative night creams to try and fight my signs of ageing, but as of yet have not found anything that does not congest my super-sensitive skin. Aveeno lotion is super-light and non-greasy, easily absorbed and moisturises all day. As others have mentioned it is unscented (the natural oaty smell is inoffensive). It soothes all of my skin irritations. Absolutely a desert island product for me.
[For reference – I am of mixed Filipino/English descent, with light olive skin-tone that leans towards warm/yellow. Skin-type is Combination/Sensitive, with redness on my nose & cheeks. Pronounced pores. NC20-25] In my hunt for the perfect foundation – i.e. one that matches my pale yellow skin without being too dark/pink, does not slide off my red cheeks and lasts for a full work-day with little-to-no touchups – I have tried almost every brand under the sun. Bobbi Brown, MAC, Estee Lauder, Lancome, Chanel, Maybelline, Revlon, Bourjois, UNE...as a matter of fact, you can read my reviews on many of these here! When I comes to Bobbi Brown, my heart is often torn. I love their whole ethos of enhanced natural beauty over artifice; however, no matter how much I try, I just cannot love all of their products as much as I want to. I am very fond of BB Skin, which has always been a great safety net for me over the years when I get into a foundation rut; I just needed more coverage, and I needed a foundation to hold shine at bay for at least the majority of the day, which is not Skin’s forte. With this in mind, I reached out in desperation to Natural Finish LLF. It’s typically priced for a BB foundation at £29.00, and comes in a frosted glass bottle with pump. It’s the only product marketed as being long-lasting in Bobbi Brown’s foundation line. Bobbi Brown has, in my opinion, the best colour range of any foundation line. In fact, it’s the only product that I feel I have had a truly perfect match in. NFLLF runs slightly lighter than Skin foundation, so it’s well worth getting a new match even if you have used her products before; that being said I was actually matched to my Skin equivalent, which is Warm Sand 2.5 (I guess I am even paler this year!). The coverage is light to medium, and can be built up to an extent. The finish is satiny and very natural. It does not dry particularly quickly, so it’s easy to work with. It did not adhere particularly well to my shiny red cheeks, so I had to layer it on quite extensively; even then I could still see some redness. Only the plus side, this doesn’t look mask-like as so many other long-lasting foundations do (I’m looking at you EL Double Wear!); it allows things like freckles etc to show through. Truly your skin but better. I didn’t notice any oxidisation, although I did observe that this foundation smells very, very slightly like rubber to me! Unfortunately the foundation did not last a full day without PLENTY of touching up; I needed to blot regularly every couple of hours, and the product did transfer quite copiously onto my tissue. I also ended with tidemarks here and there where it was slowly melting off my face. My oily chin and nose really suffered, losing almost all coverage by the end of the day even with powder and primer applied; my red cheeks were also quite naked. I even tried pairing this with my BB Foundation Stick for slightly heavier-duty coverage, but it still struggled. It’s such a shame, as the colour match is absolutely wonderful and I would love to love this product; I just cannot justify buying this again. The Good: 1) Unparalleled, “natural” shade range. 2) Smooth and easy application. 3) No oxidisation. The Bad: 1) Expensive compared to other department store brands. 2) Does not appear to last that long, even with touch-ups. 3) Seemingly no oil control in spite of blurb. The Verdict I would love to love this; alas it does not love me back. Wonderful if you want sheer cover with moderate lastability, but not much good for oilier skin types. As much as I wish otherwise I would not rebuy.
[For reference – I am of mixed Filipino/English descent, with light olive skin-tone that leans towards warm/yellow. Skin-type is Combination/Sensitive, with redness on my nose & cheeks. Pronounced pores. NC20-25] In my hunt for the perfect foundation – i.e. one that matches my pale yellow skin without being too dark/pink, does not slide off my red cheeks and lasts for a full work-day with little-to-no touchups – I have tried almost every brand under the sun. Bobbi Brown, MAC, Estee Lauder, Lancome, Chanel, Maybelline, Revlon, Bourjois, UNE...as a matter of fact, you can read my reviews on many of these here! MAC Face & Body is one of the most popular foundations I have read about online, and I had to give it a go. I had the idea that this could be a decent summer foundation, when I didn’t want to wear anything too heavy on my skin. Since MAC concessions don’t stock this product – only the Pro stand-alone shops – I had to guess my best match from swatches online (in typical MAC fashion the photos online are absolutely useless). I guessed that I would be around a C2-C3; since these are quite sheer you can get away with a shade lighter or darker in most cases. I actually chose C3 in the end, which turned out to be slightly too dark; however it is just workable for my NC20-25 skin, and would suit me with a tan. MF&B is water based, and extremely fluid. It comes in a huge 120ml squeezy bottle, and costs £23.50; considering that most foundations come in around 30ml bottles, this is a lot of product! Of course, this is balanced out by the fact that the product is very sheer, and you will end up using a lot if you want to build up coverage to any degree. Many people recommend warming the product in your hands and applying with your fingers; I HATE blending with my fingers, and have used both flat foundation and kabuki brushes with success using F&B. One-layer application offers slightly more coverage than a tinted moisturiser, and will not hide any significant sins such as spots or marks; rather, it will just even out the colour of the skin. I personally found that a second layer looked a bit plastic-y and was not at all flattering, but it did disguise my redness quite well. It does take quite a white to dry, and remains tacky to the touch even after powdering. It does not contain any SPF. Almost immediately after squeezing the product out of the tube, you will not fail to notice F&B’s distinctive smell. It reminds me for some reason of heavy plant leaves, like geraniums; it’s odd, and, as far as I’m concerned, a little off-putting! It does not last thankfully, and I can’t smell it at all once the product’s on. As the name suggests, you can use this all over your body to improve skin tone; I would be wary however, as the product does transfer quite easily and I imagine would stain your clothes if you’re not careful. The Good: 1) Huge amount of product for a reasonable price. 2) Decent colour selection. 3) Natural/sheer finish, that can be build up to light/medium. 4) Moderate lastibility. 5) Can be used all over the body. 6) No oxidisation The Bad: 1) Only available in pro stores. 2) Might be too sheer for some – only really ideal for skin that’s ok to begin with. 3) Hard to remove from skin due to water resistance – may cause outbreaks. 4) Bizarre scent. 5) Little to no oil control for oilier skin-types, so you will get shiny unless you're happy to commit to regular blotting and powdering. 6) Not transfer resistant, particularly during extensive drying time. The Verdict Overall a good product; light, easy coverage, and lots of it in the bottle! Possibly not enough coverage for some, and it does start look very artificial the more layers you put on. I personally will not repurchase as the coverage is too low for me and I find the scent hideous. I also find that it gets too oily on me on the average work day.
Laura Mercier Creme Smooth Foundation [For reference – I am of mixed Filipino/English descent, with light olive skin-tone that leans towards warm/yellow. Skin-type is Combination/Sensitive, with redness on my nose & cheeks. Pronounced pores. NC20-25] In my hunt for the perfect foundation – i.e. one that matches my pale yellow skin without being too dark/pink, does not slide off my red cheeks and lasts for a full work-day with little-to-no touchups – I have tried almost every brand under the sun. Bobbi Brown, MAC, Estee Lauder, Lancome, Chanel, Maybelline, Revlon, Bourjois, UNE...as a matter of fact, you can read my reviews on many of these here! About the Foundation: “Laura created this modern, lightweight foundation that floats over skin without visibly settling into fine lines. The hydrating formula includes a multipeptide complex infused with Dermaxyl and advanced optical diffusers that help to visibly smooth out lines and wrinkles.” Essentially, this is a treatment foundation that actively works to improve the texture and appearance of your skin while it’s applied. On first glance it appears quite frighteningly thick, with a buttery texture; however, it melts easily into the skin and is a doddle to apply if you use a sparing hand. It is easy to slap far too much on your face the first time round, as a little goes a surprisingly long way! The finish is dewy, and most will probably want to set it with a powder to prevent it from getting too shiny during the day; I have normal skin on mt cheeks and forehead, but my nose and chin can get a bit oily and need blotting during the day. The postive slant on this though is that the foundation does not appear to break up on my face; even in the areas that become a bit shiny the colour and coverage remains even. I personally find that a buffing brush like the Sigma Flat Top Kabuki or a paddle brush are the best for very thick foundation; the paddle brush is certainly my tool of choice when it comes to LMCSF, as I tend to find that the sigma can actually buff this away! I use shade "Warm Ivory" in winter (a good match, if a tiny bit too neutral to balance my redness), though would need to step up to Sunny Beige once I get any sun on my skin (more yellow toned, would be great if not too dark right now). The Good: - Amazing coverage that is medium to full, yet manages to refrain from looking cakey or artificial. - Is actually good for the skin, let alone non-comedogenic! Even after a week of use my skin looks and feels great – all the more impressive as I have been fighting back a Revlon CS-related breakout lately. - Reasonable colour selection. I managed to get a good match with “Warm Ivory”, which is a miracle for me as so many light foundations tend to lean too pink for me. - Will last forever, as so little is needed on application. - Dewy, natural finish. - Lasts a full day with blotting/powdering. - Samples usually available on request. Some of the “higher-end” department store brands don’t offer samples, but I got a very generous sample of this to take away and try (at least a couple of weeks worth). The Bad: - Not cheap at £41.50 per container. - Is designed for drier skin-types, so can become overly greasy on combination/oily skin (though still retains moderate levels of coverage). Will almost certainly need setting with powder. - Transfers very easily. - Some people will not like the glass container packaging. The Verdict: Laura Mercier is a great department store brand; I love this foundation, and it’s great go-to in winter/on drier days (not so much summer since I oil up too quickly in the heat). To me, it’s well-worth the extra money for a product that a) matches my colouration well and b) doesn’t destroy my skin while it’s at it. I highly recommend this, particularly if you have drier/mature skin. I'm not currently using this having discovered Boots No.7 Essentially Natural, which is the light, cheap every-day foundation I have been looking for forever, but I am definitely contemplating picking this up once that runs out. EDIT 12.05.2012 - I have purchased this today, once more in Warm Ivory, and am just as enamoured as ever. I was given the product in Sunny Beige by my mother, who doesn't really like full foundation and didn't get on with this; I love the fact that Sunny Beige is a bit more yellow (its very similar to Warm Beige in the Bobbi Brown line, which looks fantastic on my complexion but which is unwearable once I start paling down in winter), but right now its just too dark for me. Hopefully with these two I will be able to switch up in Winter and Summer! Problem is that this foundation lasts so long that it will probaby expire before I get through the two...champagne problems?
Blush -Bobbi Brown - Pot Rouge for Lips and Cheeks in Pale Pink
Johelian 3/8/2012 11:13:00 AM
I really do love the BB Pot Rouges. Since I suffer quite badly from dry cheeks I really wanted a creamy product that would add a subtle sheen to my skin rather than leaving a powdery residue. I was initially a bit sceptical about the Pale Pink colour - I'm an NC20-25 half-Asian lass, and bright cool pink was the opposite of what I would normally choose. However, when the MU applied this, it absolutely brightened up my complexion and make me look fresh and radiant. It is a rich, creamy texture that is very easily to blend without scraping off the rest of your foundation. I personally apply using a brush (I get too much streaking and blotching with fingers with all of my products - plus I like to avoid getting any oils from my hands on my face as I am very break-out prone), but I guess most people would just dab on and blend with their hands to get a good result. I would say that this is very highly-pigmented, so a gentle hand is needed (particularly with such a bold colour) - but since a little goes a very long way, this should last for ages. I personally do not use this on my lips; it just does not last at all on me and I get horrible tidemarks. Many people wont like the glass jar; personally I don't have an issue with this for blushes, and I think its pretty cute. A good product that has found its way into my daily kit - can't wait to try some of the other shades!
Following a sudden acne attack at the age of 30 - and subsequently a massive knock on my self-esteem - I was desperate to try anything that would help with obliterate the huge, painful and rapidly-multiplying pustules on my face. This was the point that I decided to finally succumb to the Clarisonic Mia. I feel obliged at this point to say that many recommend against using anything too aggressive on acned skin as it can increase the likelihood of scarring and/or aggravating your condition; for me, individual pustules were lasting literally for over a week and eventually becoming so inflamed that they would rupture and scar really easily anyway, so I figured I didn't have much to lose. I had waited for ages for a promotion to get a discount on the Mia, but unfortunately in the UK there are very few stockists to chose from so I ended up paying the full whack (£120). The standard Mia pack I chose came with a sensitive brush head and a UK charger, which is magnetic so it kind of snaps onto the unit. The unit is quite ergonomic in design, and I don't suffer any aggravation from the vibrations. The pack comes with a foaming cleanser, but I am a big fan of my Kiehls Ultra Facial (even though this doesn't foam too much) so I have only used my own product with the Mia. You can use your usual cleanser with this - just bear in mind that foaming cleansers appear to work better, as they work up a great lather. The instructions suggest using twice a day; 10 seconds on each cheek, 20 seconds on the forehead and 20 seconds on the nose and chin, using light circular motions. The Mia will automatically turn off after 60 seconds, and will vibrate and flash if it needs charging (I have charged mine twice in a month). The motion is a kind of pulsing rather than rotating; I was expecting something like my electric toothbrush, and was worried about the abrasiveness of the brush, so this was a pleasant surprise. All the same I personally use mine once a day as my skin is pretty sensitive and it gets a bit too red if I use twice a day. My routine basically looks like this; remove makeup with facial wipe; wet skin; wet Mia; add Kiehl's Ultra Facial to brush and rub a little to start a lather (it doesn't foam easily); work to schedule above; rinse skin and Mia; MOISTURISE! Brush heads should be replaced every 3 months. The unit is completely enclosed so can be used in the shower without risk of water seeping in. There were several issues that I had with my skin at the start of my Mia experience (approx. 1 month ago); oily t-zone; fine lines; dry patches around cheeks and jaw; redness over centre of face/cheeks; blackheads on nose and chin; acne/breakout zones under cheekbones; acne scarring; large pores; general uneven texture. I'll break down my personal experience below in each area. 1) Oily T-Zone. This is one area of massive improvement. My forehead and nose used to be extremely oily; I would now consider them to be "normal". Admittedly part of this may be as a result of the current season; however I have never had a t-zone that has been anything BUT oily, even in winter, before. I noticed an improvement within a week. 2) Fine Lines. I have some fine lines appearing on my forehead and near my nose; I noticed some improvement in this area within a month. My forehead lines are a little deeper and still just about visible, but (touch wood) my naso-labial lines have pretty much gone. I didn't think the Mia would have much impact here, but I definitely see an improvement in the texture of the skin in this area. 3) Dry Patches. Absolutely gone. I think the combination of improving skin texture and allowing product to absorb more easily means that my skin is retaining more of my moisturiser. 4) Redness. Greatly reduced. Considering this was one of my biggest problems, I am really happy about this. It takes less make up to hide my uneven skin tone. I do notice that the skin is a little red after use (I only use this at night) but in the morning my skin looks great. 5) Blackheads. Small improvement, but I still have quite a few. I have had these as long as I can remember, so was not expecting a miracle, but was a bit disappointed here. As another member mentioned I think the shape of the brush makes it tricky to really get at the sides of the nose. 6) Acne breakout. Touch wood - no breakout since use. I had a short period of purging for a couple of days, but nothing since. I did use PanOxyl 2.5% to initially help clear the breakout, but I have not used it since the spots started to shrink, and have had no new breakouts. Wonderful! 7) Acne scarring. No visible change to existing scars. 8) Large pores. Very slight reduction, barely noticeable. 9) Uneven texture. This is one area I was massively impressed with. I had quite bumpy skin on my forehead from my teen years (this was where all my zits congregated) that has never improved. After literally first use I noticed a big improvement in the texture of my forehead. It was ridiculously smooth. Now, after a month, all the rest of my face feels the same way; it literally feels like flawless marble when I rinse off the cleanser (I wish it looked the same way - damn you, scars!). I would not have believed that this could have happened after day one. In conclusion, I am really happy with my purchase and highly recommend the Mia if you can afford the splurge (for me, the fact that I'm now using less toner and fewer products overall means that this will eventually work out more cost effective anyway!). I am impressed overall with the changes to the texture and appearance of my skin, and, once my scars finally fade, I make even start to go makeupless! I have removed one point for the fact that, although this is now the star of my cleansing routine, it has not completely resolved all of my skin issues. Is there a product that will ever do that? I don't know - but for now, Mia brings me one step closer.
L203 is a slightly browned rose shade, a deep burgundy with a touch of cooling blue that is flattering on my warm NC20-25 skin tone. It does not particularly resemble the swatch on the Ellis Faas website, which to me looks quite purple, whereas the actual product looks a tad more brown to me (maybe its just my monitor). Nevertheless I love this colour! This, along with L207, have become my two staple lip products; L207 for an every-day nude lip (I have quite pigmented lips naturally) and L203 for a bit of added "oomph". What I really love about this product is that it adds a bit of extra glamour without the really over-the-top exaggeration of L201 - it emphasises my existing lip colour without looking completely artificial. I tend to like lip and blush colours with a little brown pigmentation for a more natural look, but it can be hard to find products that then do not look muddy on my warm skin; typically I don't tend to find this is a problem with Ellis Faas products, and L203 is no exception. The Milky Lips formula is more gel-like in consistency than Creamy Lips, and moisturises the lips quite well; it also does not last quite as long without touch-up, though it fades down very nicely to an even stain without leaving any blotchiness or tide-marks. I have worn the product through eating/drinking, and again it fades very nicely leaving a pretty tint on the lips - in this respect none of the other lipsticks I use regularly (mostly Bobbi Brown) come close to matching the lasting power (note that I do not use any of the "super-long-lasting" lip colour/conditioner combos that are out there, as they dry out my lips completely - so if you are a fan of these then Milky Lips will be a bit of a change of pace). Like the rest of the Milky Lips range, L203 comes in a pretty silver bullet-pen dispenser with a brush applicator - I love whipping these out for touch-ups in the ladies room as they are so swanky! I must admit that the Milky Lips pens are my favourite out of all of the applicators; I don't get as many issues with the tips clogging or clumping, as I do with the sponge-heads. Again like the other pens it is very easy to over-prime and end up with a glob of product on the end of the brush (or more leaking out after application). I would say that you should only click a couple of times once the pen has been initially primed, and then wait and see if you can spot the product pushing up through the bristles. If you can see product beyond the tip of the bristles you have probably clicked too much!