Cleansers -Clinique - Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm
Mikeswife 2/8/2013 12:44:00 PM
This is a fantastic cleanser, particularly for people with dry skin. Price: At almost $30, this stuff is certainly not inexpensive, particularly when I'd been using Pond's cold cream for years at $5 a jar. However, I grew disenchanted with the idea of having to use a towel / washcloth to remove my cleanser and so began the hunt for something that was water soluble, but wouldn't make my already-dry skin feel tight, dry or stripped of moisture. Packaging: I feel there is a large amount of product in the package; I've been using it daily for almost 2 months and still have more than half the jar left. Product: I did extensive research on cleansing oils, and was thisclose to buying one after trying samples from BB and DHC. (Note: I liked both of those, but can't truly say that I LOVED either). A giant detriment to oil though, was the travel factor--which I did over Christmas--a complete and utter disaster, plastic bags notwithstanding. I love that TTDO applies to dry skin, rinses cleanly and completely with nothing more than water, removes all of my makeup (including on my eyes; I wear liner, mascara, and sometimes shadow and brow pencil) has zero smell or irritants, and leaves my skin feeling soft and ready for my nighttime routine. Once I counted all of the benefits TTDO held--travel ease included--I realized I didn't need to keep looking for an oil--I'd found my HG cleanser.
This is something I should have tried as a sample first, as I've found other much better products that serve the same purpose. Price: I got this for $30-some dollars. It's a decent size tube, and Clarins is a more upscale brand, so not outrageous, but certainly not comparable in price to most drugstore-level scrubs. Packaging: tube is nice, easy to travel with, doesn't leak. Product: on the plus side, the granules in this exfoliator are very very small, so definitely gentle. It also has a very mild pleasant smell. And to be honest, this product DID do what it was supposed to do--remove the congestion and flakes on my cheeks and nose that always seem to crop up when our weather turns really cold. However, about two weeks after buying (and using this), I stumbled on a glycolic cream line, bought some of that, and have never looked back. Had I found that other stuff first, this exfoliator purchase wouldn't have been necessary.
I think Dermalogica and I are just incompatible, as this is another of their products that I've tried and can't see what the big deal is. This is an exfoliators that you apply it to your skin and let it sit for awhile before washing it off. I thought it smelled bad and did an average to below-average job combating dryness or the flakes that always pop up around my nose during winter. I had better luck with Clarins for a wash-off exfoliator, and NeoStrata for a cream leave-on. Between this stuff and the bad experience I had with their Super Rich moisturizer, I think Dermalogica is just not the line for me.
I haven't had good luck with any Dermalogica products, this included. This is the only moisturizer I have ever put on my face and had to wash off 30 minutes later because it still felt so tacky and heavy. I feel bad giving this a crappy review because as I said--it may be just me--but I've tried a lot of different moisturizers over the past few months to combat my dry winter skin and this was by far the worst.
Moisturizers -Neostrata - Ultra-Smoothing Cream (10% Glycolic Acid)
Mikeswife 2/8/2013 12:05:00 PM
This has been a lifesaver for my dry, tired skin. Price: This stuff runs 30-some dollars for a full tube, not outrageous when you consider the amount you get and what it does. Packaging: bare bones, very basic. It's okay--I don't need fancy jars. Product: I picked up a 5-pack sample of this on ebay after desperately searching the internet (and MUA) for solutions to my dry, flaky winter skin. I tried exfoliating scrubs, La Mer, a bunch of "dry skin" labeled stuff (including several products by Dermalogica that are far more expensive) and was still waking every morning to flakes, and finding them on my face by mid afternoon. Not everyone's skin may be able to tolerate glycolic acid, but after three weeks of using this once a day (before bed), I can honestly say my skin looks brighter, clearer, less dry and less run down. The texture of my face has also greatly improved, as the skin on my cheeks and forehead feels so smooth. I like that this is a cream and not anything I have to apply and wash off, and I also like that it exfoliates without being a scrub. As a sidenote, this gets some criticism online as it is really 8% glycolic acid / 2% citric, but as I stated earlier, if you're not sure about how your skin will handle glycolic, it's probably better to start low. It definitely tingles a bit when on. As another note, it also has a slightly weird smell, but it's given me such results that I can overlook it. A+.
This is a fluid sunscreen with a higher SPF, suitable for wearing under makeup. It is my HG sunscreen for any time I wear base makeup. Price: At $30 for 1 ounce, this stuff certainly isn't inexpensive. I read up on the pros and cons of choosing a sunscreen vs a moisturizer with SPF and ultimately decided that separate products (meaning an extra step in the morning) was the way I wanted to go. I had this and two products from Clinique (Cityblock Sheer and Sun) on my list to try, and got a sample of this off ebay to start. Packaging: snap top, easy to handle. Product: I stopped at the Clinique counter (in mid-winter) and was able to test their Cityblock Sheer without help, but had to get the salesperson to dig a tube of Sun out of a drawer, as they normally don't display that until summer. As a comparison, I think both of Clinique's products are certainly a good value--neither was overly scented, or felt sticky, heavy, or tacky on the skin--everything you'd want in a product you're going to put something over (like foundation). However, I felt the texture of Clinique Sun was definitely more like a sunscreen you'd wear sans makeup for a day at the beach, and the Cityblock Sheer I tried was tinted, which I don't need under makeup. I'll be looking at CBS again for the summer when I tend to ease off a full makeup routine. However, both of the Clinique products--which was absolutely not the case with the Shiseido--were thick enough that they required squeezing to get them from their respective tube containers, and I had a fair amount of separation oil in my hand from the CBS, which I'm fairly sure can be remedied by vigorous shaking. In any case, UE from Shiseido had the best application and feel of the three--it's a lightweight fluid that pours from the packaging and disappears into my skin like water. My skin is dry and was fairly acne-prone a few years back, but after using this for about 3 weeks, I haven't had any issues at all with breakouts. I use this over my regular moisturizer, and then apply my foundation on top without issue. Best of all, after deciding I wanted to continue to use this product (despite its high price tag), I was able to find some on sale. This is good stuff and definitely worth it if you can stomach the price tag.
Eyeliner -MAC - Fluidline Eye-Liner Gel in Blacktrack
Mikeswife 1/14/2013 2:03:00 PM
This is my HG eyeliner for tightlining. Price: At $15, this is less than other gel liners I've seen by other dept store brands (LM, BB, etc). Packaging: Sturdy glass pot with lid. Product: I apply this in the early a.m. with a bent liner brush. After a few rounds of trial and error (staying as close to the lash line as possible, keeping off the water line so the product doesn't transfer), this stuff stays all day.
This is a good moisturizing cream for those with very dry skin. Price: I paid $16 at Walgreens for the tub, then found the same thing at Walmart for $3 less. Either way, it's a very large amount of product for the price. Packaging: I read somewhere that this also comes in a travel pack of 2 tubes, which I haven't seen. While this is a great tub to keep in a bathroom, there is no way I'd try to travel with this anywhere, as it's way too large, and transferring some in a smaller container seems weird and unsanitary to me. Product: I did a two week test with this on half of my face and First Aid Beauty's Ultra Repair cream on the other half. I noticed absolutely no difference in how they moisturized. FAB is 4x the price (if you buy their large tub) and has an unpleasant smell. Cerave, by contrast, is completely unscented, but a bit thinner in texture. Bottom line: I liked this, but I don't love it. It did an adequate job of moisturizing, but I did find that I had to reapply some mornings to combat those winter flakes that sometimes appear around my nose. Additionally, I also occasionally felt my skin was a bit tight after application, like this was just a hair shy of being really moisturizing. I live in a climate with extremely dry, harsh winters, and think that Cerave will probably be perfect to use once the weather warms up. But for now, I'm still on the hunt for an HG cold weather moisturizer.
Moisturizers -First Aid Beauty - Ultra Repair Cream
Mikeswife 1/13/2013 8:27:00 PM
I bought this in the tube. It is an adequate moisturizer. Price: the smallest tube is $12, so not really in line with drugstore moisturizer pricing, but not quite as bad as more deluxe brands. Packaging: I like the tube-easy to dispense and travel with. However, this isn't the most economical way to buy the product. Product: I did a two week run of this in an attempt to find a new HG moisturizer for my very dry skin during this winter. I did half my face with this and Cerave cream on the other half, and saw absolutely no difference in how they moisturized. Cerave only comes in a giant tub, so rhis got points for better packaging, and I liked the texture of this cream vs Crave, which is thinner and slightly more liquid. For the moisturizing properties though, Cerave is 1/4 the price, and I must echo many of the reviews here and say that this cream smells bad-like wet laundry left overnight in the washing machine (Cerave is completely unscented.) For that reason alone, I won't repurchase.
This is a heavy duty moisturizer. Price: for what you get, and what it does, I think it's dirt cheap. Packaging: I got the blue tin, manufactured in Germany. Some are bothered by tin / jar packaging. I'm not. Product: I bought this after reading several online comparisons of this and La Mer, and wanted to try for myself. I have very dry skin and live in a climate with very harsh winters and am on the hunt for an HG moisturizer. (I also had a small sample of LM when I used this.) My results: It smells like La Mer. It looks like La Mer. At 1/20 the price, I wanted very badly for this to be a facial alternative. However, like many of the blog comparisons I read, I didn't find it to have the same absorbency as La Mer. It sat on my face rather than sinking in, and felt a bit heavy. On elbows, feet, hands, however, it's wonderful. And I say this as someone who generally prefers moisturizers to be as unscented as possible, which this is not. So, for me, that said, this is a great creme, particularly for body areas that need really heavy duty moisture, but for my face, I'll keep looking. I'll most certainly buy it again for everything below the neck.
Tinted Moisturizer -NARS - Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer
Mikeswife 12/13/2012 2:42:00 PM
I really wanted to love this, but alas, it's going back. Price: At $42, certainly not drugstore-level pricing, but in line with other high-end TM's, like BB or LM. Packaging: My tube came with a broken top. I ordered direct from NARS. Product: I normally use BB TM in XL Tint, so I ordered this in Finland, even though on the screen it looks very pale. I was surprised to find that it blended evenly into my skin and did not look unnatural. It has a nice finish, and provides good coverage for a TM, pretty well masking the reddish pigmentation in my skin. It also has a slightly fruity smell, not at all unpleasant. Bonus points for the high SPF. So what's the problem? I also have very dry skin, especially on my T-zone, for which I heavily moisturize and exfoliate. Unlike BB's TM, this product seems to cling to, crease in and settle on all of my dry areas, particularly my cheeks, nose and forehead. I don't know if this is due to the OF formulation or if it's something else in their product. It's only noticeable when I hold a hand mirror right up close to inspect, but no matter.
Tinted Moisturizer -Bobbi Brown - Extra Spf 25 Tinted Moisturizing Balm
Mikeswife 12/5/2012 10:49:00 AM
This is a very dewy, very sheer tinted moisturizer. Price: At $52, certainly one of the more expensive products in BB's foundation line. Packaging: I know others are squicky over using a jar product (vs a pump or tube), but the jar doesn't bother me. However, I could see how traveling with this could be an issue. Product: I have extremely dry skin, live in a very dry climate and have slight reddish pigmentation in both of my cheeks. I don't wear regular foundation as I have yet to try one that doesn't end up cakey, and my skin is clear aside from the slight redness. Before trying this balm I was using BB's OF TM, which I like, but was wondering if there was anything else in her line that would be slightly more hydrating. The first day I used this I looked at my face in several different lights--natural indoors, outside (sunny), fluorescent indoors. Outside, I thought my face looked glowing and fresh. Inside, sometimes I thought it looked nice, other times I thought it looked a tad greasy. Aside from my concerns about the finish, I also wasn't sure about the coverage. I know this can be layered, and I don't use primer or powder, but for a single application, it seemed very, very thin. This was confirmed on the second day, when I was able to do half my face with the OF TM and the other half with this. By far, the OF TM gave better coverage (for "one coat", if you will), especially on my slightly reddish cheeks. This is going back and I may opt to order the BB regular TM to see if that solves my problem of wanting something with a tad more coverage with more moisture.
Lip Treatments -Fresh - Sugar Plum Lip Treatment SPF 15
Mikeswife 12/1/2012 3:39:00 PM
This is an amazing, but extremely soft, tinted lip balm. Price: I bought this as part of a sample trio with two other colors (Honey, Rose) and this was the only one of the three that I kept. (Honey was too orangey on me, Rose was too berry). The price for the trio wasn't bad, but individually, these are expensive for lip balms. Packaging: Very sleek, screw-in aluminum tubes. My gripe with this will come below. Color: this is just about a perfect shade for me. It applies so easily and smoothly, has a slightly sweet flavor, smells divine and lasts about 4 hours. Product: I didn't read all of the prior reviews on this, but now looking at them, I fell victim to the same mistake as many others and had this--almost brand new--in my pocket during the summer. When I took it out to apply it, almost 1/3 of it fell off into the street. This happened again coming out of my purse after walking outside for awhile on a warm day. The product got mushed down into the tube and I found it almost impossible to try and fix and / or salvage. I would buy this again for the color, application, taste and SPF, but would be really cautious to keep / use when it's no warmer than room temperature.
Lipstick -Revlon - Colorstay Ultimate Liquid Lipstick in #1 NUDE
Mikeswife 12/1/2012 3:04:00 PM
I didn't like this color or product at all; picked it up after reading about it on a makeup website. Price: I paid $9 at Target, which I think about average nowadays for drugstore lipsticks. Packaging: decent, nice wand, tube has some heft Color: I have pale skin, but am an ash-brown brunette, and this read awful on me, some shade of burnt orange with a peachy undertone and not anything like an enhanced natural lip color. While it went on slick, it dried tacky and chalky looking. This part was my mistake though, as this is supposed to be a long-wear product, and I should have realized from experience that I'm no fan of how those make my lips feel. I tend to gravitate towards sheer plums and nude pinks (NARS Stolen Kisses is an HG of mine), and although I've worn MAC's Spice (which this has been compared to), the two look completely different on my lips. I think I've learned my lesson about buying when I can't try it first.
Lotions/ Creams -Bath and Body Works - Rice Flower and Shea Body Lotion
Mikeswife 11/7/2012 11:33:00 AM
I love this stuff so much that I hoard it. Price--not bad. I think the last time I was able to find it at B&BW was during one of their January sales where they bring back discontinued scents for a limited time, so I got 4 bottles for like $20 or something. I worry about not being able to find it ever again, so I use it very sparingly. Packaging--decent size for the price. Product--Note--I am not a lotion person by any means. My HG everyday body lotion is completely devoid of any scent at all. But sometimes I want a little something more than that, and when I do, this is one of the two that I will reach for Love, love, love this scent. Very subtle and clean. My absolute favorite and the only thing I ever go into B&BW for (aside from their C.O. Bigelow lip balms). Why they chose to discontinue this in favor of some of the other overpowering, sickly sweet stuff they carry is beyond me.