As a pale person who goes from zero to red faster than a lobster in a broiler, this stuff has shielded me on beach vacations, afternoon runs, waterskiing, rafting, hiking, and other adventures. The high concentrations of physical and chemical sunscreens make it effective, and the film-forming ingredients will keep it on your face and not on your clothes. The high concentration of sunscreens in this formulation means that protection will last a bit longer than an SPF 30 or so, as all sunscreens are broken down by the sun and need to be reapplied after several hours of direct sun exposure. The ability of this stuff to stick to your skin despiite sweat or oil also makes for an awesome hack: mix a raspberry sized glob of sunscreen with a few dabs of concealer that matches your skin (I.e. NYX's HD concealer) and presto, you have a budge-proof tinted moisturizer that matches your skin, won't look greasy, won't turn orange, won't settle into pores, and protects your skin like you wouldn't believe! Coverage looks natural and flawless, even if you have oily skin. This stuff will sting your eyes, so leave a zone of a few millimeters around the eye area. I haven't had problems with this breaking me out, but this will vary from person to person.
Secret Camouflage is almost an exact duplicate for Tarte's Dark Circle Defense concealer, which is now discontinued. Secret Camouflage is an emollient (moisturizing) concealer that tends to come in pinky-orange shades. The warm shade range allows this concealer to counteract the cool, blue/purple/green shades that make up dark circles fairly effectively. Overall, I feel that this does an o.k. job of concealing, but you might need to reapply after several hours of wear. Unfortunately, the moisturizing properties of this concealer are also it's achilles heel. The amount of slip this has allows it to simply fade away to nothing on my somewhat oily skin after several hours, even though my undereye area isn't very oily at all! The amount of slip in the concealer will let it migrate everywhere else, no matter how carefully you blend this over your discolored areas and then set it. This also doesn't work well with other concealers, and tends to flake off or even crack when set with powder, which just looks terrible. When you blend on a thin layer, it isn't quite pigmented enough to effectively cover your dark circles. This also tends to collect in any little creases or folds in your skin, and can also collect around your eyelashes. This can be easily blended away though. If you're willing to carry a pot of makeup and reapply on the fly, regardless of contamination risk, this might be a good option. I do feel that this concealer would be a good option for dry-skinned women in a dry climate with mild dark circles and few wrinkles around the eye area. I think this would have a tendency to melt in humid climates, migrate everywhere on people with oily skin, and crease into wrinkles after a few hours on people with any little creases.
Foundations -Cover Girl - Natureluxe Liquid Silk Foundation
KMG 7/30/2011 1:00:00 PM
With it's neutral shade range, no-nonsense packaging and sheer finish I really wanted to like this foundation. I thought I would be a prefect fit for this foundation, as it has been marketed with a young spokeswoman (Taylor Swift) with fair and probably oily skin. However this product is definitely comedogenic. Glycerin and crosspolymer silicone are some of the first few ingredients listed, both of which are efficient pore cloggers. These ingredients also give this foundation a moisturizing feel, making it a better bet for cold, dry winters or women with more mature skin. These ingredients also make this foundation easy to blend. For women with oily skin, this probably won't dry down very well and is apt to stay greasy and slide off your face after several hours. My skin is generally not very reactive but this product definitely gave me a few whiteheads after wearing it for only a few hours.The neutral shades also looked weirdly dull and unnatural on my skin, almost as if there is a grayish cast to the makeup. The resulting finish was a little dull, and looked almost heavy. It doesn't cover blemishes well, so be prepared to be use some concealer with this! Although a little oily and a little dull, I do feel like this product is a good imitation of some more outrageously priced tinted moisturizers, like Laura Mercier or even Sonia Kashuk. What I don't understand is why Cover Girl is marketing this so aggressively to a younger demographic that is likely to be unimpressed with this product. This is a product that would definitely be more appreciated by women with normal to dry skin who normally wear a tinted moisturizer to even tone or cover redness. Also, the packaging could use a little work. Makeup tends to bubble out of the tube and get everywhere, making a mess.
So, this hair spray was banned from the U.S. sometime back in the 70's due to the fact that it was formulated with CFCs as the propellants. (CFCs - chlorofluorocarbons - break down the ozone layer by generating oxide radicals from ozone molecules, creating a chain reaction of sorts.) Supposedly, high end stylists would smuggle this stuff out of Europe (where it was still sold, ozone layer be damned) for their celebrity clients. The hype was that this product is some sort of gold standard for creating good hold without stickiness. The reality: like leisure suits and the Ford Pinto, this stuff is better left in the 70's. It holds curls well if you have fine, thin hair. If you want to do an elaborate up-do you should look elsewhere. This product can flake, but is generally only noticeable on darker hair. For this reason, I wouldn't recommend using this if you have black or brown hair. It also has a smell that is very cloying, very strong, and very artificial. Definitely smell this before buying. So, if you have fine blonde hair, no sense of smell, and a fat wallet, you can buy this and probably be pleased. For the rest of us who aren't David Lee Roth or Brett Michaels, you can buy a better product for cheaper.
Concealers -BeneFit Cosmetics - Erase Paste in Fair
KMG 4/15/2011 2:07:00 AM
This concealer is a great shade for cancelling out the discoloration associated with undereye shadows. The light salmon shade works for a lot of skin tones without leaving a pale halo on your eye socket. Unfortunately, there is a lot of slip agents in this product. It probably works best on normal to dry skin with few wrinkles...which is a pretty small demographic, if you think about it. I find that just a dab of this stuff will end up in any creases around the eye in few hours, even if set with powder. Also, this product just seems to 'disappear' after a few hours on my oily skin. It literally seems to thin out with skin oils and migrate away from it's intended place, leaving my dark circles looking worse than ever about 6-8 hours after application. This concealer works well when I'm going out for the evening or for touch-ups, but it doesn't make it through a full work day. Because of this, I feel like this concealer is too expensive for something that isn't usable 24/7. I would recommend getting a sample and trying this concealer before buying.
Blush -L'Oreal - True Match Superblendable Blush in Baby Blossom
KMG 4/15/2011 1:46:00 AM
This blush is one of the better budget blushes. It doesn't look chalky, and doesn't oxidize to a strange orange tone when worn on oily skin. It has a very, very minimal amount of shimmer - nothing that would show up sparkling in direct sunlight. The powder is milled well and has never been gritty. The budget aspect of this blush is a bit of a trade-off. This is not a heavily pigmented product, which makes it very user-friendly. You would have to layer and layer in order to approach the dreaded 'clown face' look. However, unlike Nars or a more color saturated product, you do have to have more on your skin in order for the color to appear. I've bought this blush many times, and generally I go through about 3 pans of this blush throughout the course of a year. Nars blush, which costs about 3x as much, lasts at least a year. If you're new to makeup and application and need to refine your technique, this is a good fit. Otherwise, I've found that a more pigmented product is usually worth your money.
Cleansers -Olay - Sensitive Skin Foaming Face Wash
KMG 4/8/2011 7:02:00 AM
I really like this face wash. It isn't great at taking off waterproof mascara, but it does a good job at removing most cosmetics. It's a very gentle formula, with no unnecessary irritants. It doesn't cause breakouts or acne. It also has a fair amount of glycerol in it, which is a great addition. Glycerol is a humectant that tends to attract water. This creates a product that has a detergent action without stripping your skin of moisture. (It also works great for creating a vitreous solid when freezing plasmids or other small bits of DNA, FYI.) This face wash will get your skin clean without the 'squeeky clean'.
Powders -Guerlain - Meteorites powder for the face in Mythic 01
KMG 4/8/2011 6:33:00 AM
This product is ok, not great, certainly a little over-priced... It's basically a talc-based powder pressed into little balls with the help of mineral oil and a minimal dash of shimmer. It's difficult to get much powder to rub off on your brush, and the little balls are easily lost. The finish is similar to a dusting of Coty AirSpun. This works alright for women with fair skin, but will probably look ashy on women with deeper skin colors. The oil coverage is also similar to Coty or other loose powders with older formulations. The package may look neat, but don't be fooled- it's just a cardboard box. It also smells like cheap violet perfume- phew! For $50, I can't help but think that money would be better spent elsewhere. A silica-based face powder provides much better oil control. There's also much better luminous powders on the market than this one. The packaging may look pretty; but it isn't sturdy, portable, or practical. If you want my opinion, save your money for a swans down puff and a powder with a modern formulation.
I tried this mascara, and I can't recommend it. The first thing I noticed when I opened the package was the smell. Mascaras and other eye products shouldn't be strongly perfumed, as perfumes tend to be strong irritants. Having a heavily fragranced mascara is such an unnecessary irritation risk that I really wonder what the cosmetics chemists at Dior were thinking. This definitely irritated my heretofore stoic eyes. This mascara tends to flake and run, especially if you have oily skin. If you're rocking a raccoon look, that's cool. For the rest of us, probably not. The brush is too large, and difficult to maneuver in the corners of your eyes, leaving lots of small lashes untouched. This formula is also rather thick, leaving lashes clumped together and spidery-looking. Finally, a note about the price. Cosmetics that are a cream or liquid formulation in a dispensor with a wand (i.e. mascara, concealer, lipgloss) are magnets for bacteria! Due to mascara's proximity to the delicate eye area, mascaras should be replaced about every 2 months to avoid infections. If the price of a mascara would make you hesitate before doing that, you should perhaps reevaluate buying an expensive high end mascara.