For reference, I'm also something of a hair coloring veteran, and also tend to color and/or highlight my hair around twice a month, depending upon my mood/season/product availability. In addition, I've also heard it claimed by hair care professionals--stylists, etc, that at-home coloring is pretty risky because you never know what you'll get out of a box. However, based upon my (ahem) lengthy experience, I'd say that largely depends. I think that determining which home hair colorant product is a good fit for you and your hair, depends upon your hair coloring expectations and experience. By extension, understanding your base color goes a long way towards interpreting how the results may turn out. So, I purchased this in "Soft Light Blond' with mediocre expectations and was pleasantly surprised. A complete, blond, no-brainer, I'm happy to report. For it's airy consistency, it blended well, and didn't drip. No acrid, nose or eye watering smell. Fast and effective. Non-drying. However, I do tend to 'masque' my hair immediately following rinsing the color product out, which does make quite a difference to the silkiness of the end-result. Granted, the packaging and consistency may not be for all hair colorists-but it's simply impossible to please everyone all of the time. To wit; I just got myself another box on clearance from CVS.
Treatments -Unlisted Brand - clindamycin phosphate topical gel 1%
PrettyInPlaidChic 10/7/2011 7:48:00 PM
For reference, I've never really gotten acne to any great degree, however, since I hit motherhood at 32, I've suspected I've had rosacea. Yet, I'd never really done anything about my skin condition (other than a gentle cleanser, sunscreen, and a Chanel mask). Then, in recent weeks, my skin descended into complete chaos and made me miserable, with itchy, stinging, burning eruptions on my cheeks and jawline that simply couldn't be concealed or comforted by the application of anything. Since I work in a clinical environment, I figured that this wasn't something that I could or should keep ignoring. Particularly now that I'm 38. So, somewhat reluctantly, I hauled myself off to my primary care provider. They confirmed the dx of roascea and also noted that I had some mild, facial sun damage (not surprising after so many hot, sun-exposed New Zealand Summers-even though I applied susnscreen religiously from the age of 12). In addition, I'm naturally very very fair-complexioned. Immediately, they suggested and prescribed topical clindamycin phosphate topical gel 1% (Greenstone Brand) (Cleocin/Clinda-Derm) It wasn't covered by my insurance, so cost me about US$27 for 30g. Directions were to apply topically, twice a day for 30 days. Within just a few days, my worst skin eruptions have faded considerably, together with the accompanying irritation. So far, I haven't noticed any dryness or other side effects, either. The best part, is the restoration of my self-confidence. This has made a real difference, and I don't know why I hesitated so long before opting for some real 'treatment' to tackle it. This is definitely worth every penny, even if it's not covered by your insurance plan.
Tinted Moisturizer -Artistry - Tinted Moisturizer SPF 15
PrettyInPlaidChic 10/5/2011 3:58:00 PM
Ah, Tinted Moisturizers-I've tried a few, and liked even fewer, ultimately. For some inexplicable reason, the TMs that I've tried previously are either oil-slicks-in-waiting. Or, the colors that I've tried for my PPP complexion are too orange, or simply end up being too dark altogether. For reference, in my past, I've extensively used Covergirl, Wet n Wild, Physician's Formula, Aveeno, Nivea, Neutrogena, Olay, Lancome, Shiseido, Bobbi Brown, Boots #7, Sonia Kushak, Salma Hayek, Estee Lauder, Laura Mercier, Urban Decay, Stila, etc, etc, and each one has fallen short in the longer-term, for one reason or another. So, I very reluctantly shelled out US$22 for 30 mls (plus the silly, exhorbitant, Amway shipping fee) for this TM from Artistry online. Since I've also recently been diagnosed with rosacea and early, mild sun damage (at 37), and am on a month's course of topical clindamycin, I've additional motivation to be concerned with my TMs. However, this one from Artistry is proving to be a delightful exception. Color (Tint #1) is quite neutral: not pink, not peachy, not yellow. Check!. Has SPF15. Check!. Blends easily and gently, whilst offering adequate coverage. Check!. Color does not oxidize, budge, smudge or transfer on to clothing (or scrubs, in my case-or on to my patients, for that matter). Double check!. Fragrance-free. Check!. Wears ALL day with zero touchups. Check!. Finally, this has sleek, black packaging that dispenses and caps securely. Homerun!. Seriously, if you're serious about TMs, then this one is well worth giving a shot. I'll also be interested to compare this with Missha M's BB Cream TM in #13, which I also now prefer (primarily for the high SPF and wearability).
Lip Treatments -Nivea - Mint and Minerals Refreshing Lip Care
PrettyInPlaidChic 10/2/2011 1:13:00 PM
For reference, I've tried the German versions of Nivea, as well as the CT ones available in US drugstores, together with the Labello versions from Europe. The Labello versions are a close dupe for German Nivea versions. I purchased this Nivea version from a CVS, as a temporary replacement for my Labello Classic Care that accidentally went through the laundry and didn't survive. These Nivea versions aren't as creamy in their application and wear, imo. But this light aqua-colored stick, is a pleasant surprise-a hint of mint, slip and sheen. Comforting and conditioning, both. I've been working in a clinical environment underneath a lot of artificial light, air conditioning and sterile environments, and this has restored and revitalized my lips much better than anything else that I've tried recently (Burt's Bees, Labello, Carmex, Blistex). The mint isn't obtrusive, or annoying (aka "Junior Mints" or Menthol). Rather, it's just 'present'. This was just over US$4 after tax, on sale at CVS. I would re-purchase again, at full-price. Definitely. Also, it's a good, soothing base for the application of my various Chanel, Revlon, and other lipcolors. A happy, surprising addition to my extensive conditioning lip balm and treatment collection.
A little mystified by the mixed reviews on this particular product. I have this in "Purple Rescue" and I rather like it-as with a reviewer below, this makes a pleasant change from the everlasting mauves, lilacs, nudes and orange-reds that are saturating the lip shade market, at the moment. When applied with a gentle hand, this lends some subtle vibrancy, sheen and conditioning to my late Summer look. In fact, used carefully and precisely, I can wear this while commuting to and fro my conservative clinical environment, as well as not be concerned about sun protection (a bonus as far as I'm concerned). Since I layer this lip gloss over the top of Labello Classic Care, the 'moisture renew' component isn't quite as important to me as it might otherwise be. The flavor/scent isn't overpoweringly offensive, either, and if you've ever had anything to do with other Rimmel products, you'll likely find that it's in-line with their product line as a whole. My only fault with this product is with the packaging: it does not strike me as being sturdy at all, either in design or execution. The outer package is flimsy, as is the applicator wand. One other, potential limitation worth mentioning, is with the seemingly small shade range, especially if you're after a non-frosty, non-glittery rose or pink. For me, "Purple Rescue" is as close as it gets.
The composition and packaging of this lip treatment is almost identical to Belesdorf's Nivea stick version, the only visible difference being that this Labello version is a more blue shade of pink. I sometimes use it underneath my Nars "Roman Holiday" lip color, for that very reason. It has a slightly sweet fragrance/taste, and applies smoothly. Requires several applications to show up on my lips to any great degree/depth on its own. Condtioned my lips nicely. However, not as conditioning as their "Classic Care" product. I prefer the Classic Care Labello, or the Nivea ones, myself. However, they are reasonably priced, and are available online here in the U.S.
On sale at Sephora, this Summer, this was US$10 (usually around $38). I purchased this in this shade, together with the Sheer Tinted Moisturizer, SPF15 in "Light". I use this very conservatively because I work in a clinical environment, and looking like a glow-worm/glitter-disco-ball is not too professional. That said, this is slightly more subtle than some 'illuminators' that I could care to name. I like that the packaging isn't trying to be something that the product is or isn't. Straightforward, portable and practical. It's pretty, and for some days, there's something to be said for including something a bit more sophisticated in my daily routine-Summer, Fall, Spring or Winter. This adapts well, and if you like this kind of product, it'll likely hold its universal appeal. Otherwise, at full retail price, it's not that outstanding. I am a bit spoiled, since I already have a favorite product from La Prairie. A lovely change, but I am still not 'forever' sold on this.
Tinted Moisturizer -Stila - Sheer Color Tinted Moisturizer SPF 15
PrettyInPlaidChic 9/1/2011 2:13:00 AM
Snapped this up on sale @ Sephora for US$10, instead of US$38. I'm presuming that this precedes the recently reformulated "Oil Free" version (and I can literally see why-this one is shiny on my N/C skin). I have this in "Light" (SPF15) which isn't too hideously orange on my PPP skin. I was looking for something that wasn't foundation, but which would add a teensy bit of polish and moisturization to my face in a busy clinical setting, where OSHA regulations mandate us to keep our hands way from our faces while in all patient care areas. In addition, I still wanted to be able to layer a little of Covergirl's Clean, Oil Control Pressed Powder over this for everyday or Givenchy's Prisime Mat. This smells like sunscreen and looks rather glowy, even after it settles on my skin. Packaging is a bit on the clunky/chunky side, and I don't care much for the threaded lid, and the dispensing nozzle. Altogether, it reminds me rather a lot of Boots No 7 Sheer Tinted Moisturizer, only less orange, and it's definitely more of a liquid, than a cream. Overall, a standard product for daytime wear, yet, it is still far from being a standout nor signature 'star' product. But, hey, for $10, not a bad compromise at all, really.
Foundations -Elizabeth Arden - Flawless Finish - Mousse Makeup
PrettyInPlaidChic 8/12/2011 12:39:00 AM
An absolute, standout star in my foundation collection. Time and time again, I find myself giving this my unconditional love. Which is extremely easy to do, given the ease of the coverage, the grace of the color match (Vanilla). My shade isn't too muddy. Stays true, as in does not turn orange, nor brown (a pet peeve of mine with any foundation). The whipped texture is a joy of a medium to work with, and can be readily adapted or built to anything you desire, from a light wash, to a veil, to a smooth, softly lit canvas. I've worn this in New Zealand, in Australia, Japan, and North America. I've worn this under stage lighting, to job interviews (and gotten the job), on casual weekends, and every day in-between. For me, a cannister lasts anywhere between 12-18 months, which, in of itself, is quite remarkable. I've re-purchased it four times. Categorically, unequivocally, one of the best foundations on the market.It's forgiving, and makes me feel 'pretty'. What more can I say?.
I'm still, slowly getting accustomed to this cleanser-not because this is a bad cleanser (far from it). Rather, I'm erratic and fickle when it comes to sticking with a particular skin care regimen. Especially anything to do with rinsable cleansers. What I like about this cleanser are its calming, conditioning qualities, and effective, reliable rinsability. At 38, and a veteran of having tried many, different cleansers, in every imaginable formulation, I'm now feeling as if I need to do everything possible to give back to and to preserve my skin, for the better. Further, this cleanser easily and comfortably takes off everything, with the exception of mascara/eyeliner. True to its claims, it's soothing and gentle. No offensive fragrance. Or, excessive sudsing. Pricey, for what it is, and since I also recently stocked up on an additional, generous, travel-sized bonus of this, I can't see myself re-purchasing this in the future. Yet, I'd definitely still slate this as a positive re-buy. So, if you're like me and want something a little more advanced and effective than some of the standard, drugstore finds (like Purpose, Cetaphil, etc), this is still a great, worthwhile indulgence and investment.
For reference, I use this for redness correction and blemish coverage, and this is a fair and reasonable product, taking into consideration baseline consumer factors such as DS brand, price-point, availablility and effectiveness. I have this in "Light" which applies and dries sheer and transluscent on my PPP complexion. While the stick formula may seem to be slightly outdated, and I have mild misgivings re bacterial contamination with covering active blemishes, this product isn't really that much of a let-down (and I've literally most likely tried the majority of concealers across many different formulations and presentations). It isn't what I'd call an overly sticky nor thick consistency, but that said, I wouldn't personally use it for concealing undereye circles. While there are possibly better concealers out there, this one definitely isn't all that bad.
Received this in Skincarerx's (most recent) Summer "Beauty Cache", and have been extremely impressed and surprised by the performance of this product. I like the slender, utilitarian packaging, together with the liquidity and blendability of this neutral-tinted, physical ss. I have PPP combination skin that has a lot of known and well-documented sensitivities (particularly to products containing chemical ss). So, the titanium dioxide in this product is a welcomed addition to this product's stated ingredients/drug facts. A single application of this, either worn alone, or with tinted moisturizer/powder, easily lasts all day, even in temps and humidity topping out into the mid-90's. It has no fragrance worth mentioning, and while it's very waterproof, it removes easily and cleanly with a standard makeup remover. A Summer staple in my kit!. Absolute re-buy.
I'm a little surprised that there aren't more reviews for this product. My first introduction to this handcream was back in 2003, when I was gifted a full-sized bonus of this at a Lancome makeover promo event. Initially, I was skeptical, but after a few applications, I noticed a visible difference to my hands. After that, I gifted some to my mother (who loved it), as well as to a friend (who also raved about it). My first tube lasted around a year, even with daily applications. After that, my hands were so soft and supple!. However, the price-tag really made me cringe, and for a lot of years afterwards, I couldn't justify the expense. After all...it's just hand-cream, right?. Yes, except that this isn't just 'any' hand-cream!. It's non-greasy, absorbs fast, leaves hands velevety and smooth, and has SPF15. Lancome touts this as being replenishing, which I happen to agree with, in this case. The fragrance has been slightly reformulated-and now has a slight fresh/green edge to it. It does remind me slightly of the scent found in Bobbi Brown's TMs, too. My husband loves the fragrance!. I recently picked up a tube from Macy's when I was purchasing a Lancome exfoliant. Around US$42 for 3.5 ozs (100g). This product seems thicker than the original one that I remember, but it still does its job. I'm a clinical student who is 'forever' bathing their hands in Purel or anti-bac soap and gloves, so a good hand-cream is an important investment. A luxury, but worth it, if you don't wish to have your hands betraying your 'real' age!.
I used up about half of a bottle of this, before I gave up in disappointment, with disgustingly dried out skin, to boot. After that, my husband 'appropriated' it, and now uses it as a hand-wash. The fragrance seems a little too much like Johnson's Baby Shampoo for me. Left my NC skin taut and dry. Also, I developed recurring red, scaly patches around the edges of my nose and on my cheeks, which were subsequently really difficult to treat and repair. Rinsed poorly, too. Very thick and gloopy consistency. Frankly, any skincare product that creates more problems than it solves simply comes off as being entirely counter-productive. As much as I wanted to appreciate this product for its effectiveness and simplicity, it was the equivalent of faithfully washing my face in something akin to "Dawn". Finally, as other reviewers have observed, the pump is a practical packaging consideration, however is rendered virtually useless for portability, as it fails to lock.
Cleansers -Bliss Labs - Fabulous Foaming Face Wash
PrettyInPlaidChic 5/12/2011 3:17:00 PM
As a Beauty Mini purchased from Sephora, this was a surprisngly good find, particularly considering the many harsh, critical reviews on here. Far, far better than Purpose!. Has a sweet fragrance that is really pleasant. Not overpowering. It's just 'there'. Slightly more drying than my Obagi NuDerm facial cleanser, but then, I expected that. It does foam-in a minimalist kind of a way. Not buckets of suds, however, too many suds=too much detergent-like irritation for me. As to the exfoliant qualities-this easily removed my flakes, without feeling as if I was scraping away mindlessly at my skin with ground-up apricot pits, walnut shells or something equally over-abrasive and destructive (aka. St Ive's). I use this as a once-weekly treatment. Rinsed a lot more easily than a lot of other exfoliant-type cleansers that I've used, so I'll be keeping a mini bottle of this in my skincare stash. My gut feeling is that this may be a little too harsh for me to use every day. A fair product, anyway. I suggest getting the mini version, because a little goes a long way, and the smaller size seems to be much more sensible than their over-sized, next size up, imo.