I've searched for many years for a "complete" palette that compactly includes as close to everything as possible, so that when traveling, I'm not carrying a zillion little containers that take me forever to coordinate and pack. Having received Smashbox's Holiday 2009 "Wish For The Perfect Palette" as a Christmas gift from my stepkids last year, I can say that I have indeed found my HG travel solution! The only things the palette doesn't include are foundation, concealer, powder, mascara, and (useful) brushes, although there actually is enough room in the brush bins for a couple extra travel-sized brushes and a thin mascara. You'll also need lipstick if you want more coverage than a gloss. The palette includes the expected plethora of eyeshadow colors, and although there are a few funky (and IMO unwearable) standouts (yellow, pink, orange), it excels in its HUGE selection of browns and golds (in pearls, shimmers, and mattes), and a gorgeous group of greens. (A few blues and purples are also included, but the palette lacks very many grays.) If you're already familiar with Smashbox's eyeshadows, the application and finish will be familiar to you, but if you're not, please be aware that they tend to a) provide somewhat sheer (but buildable) color, and b) they are light on binder ingredients, so you will definitely need to wear a primer to get good cling. Low-binder eyeshadow also means that it kind of makes a mess when you take a brush to it, so make SURE you have the trays slid closed over the cream items (liner, lip gloss) on the lower level, or you'll get eyeshadow in them! There are only two blush colors, which seems disproportionally low compared to the 64 eyeshadows, but there is also a bronzer and a "complexion brightener", both of which can be included in the general blush category. The included highlighter is a very light, neutral-colored shimmer. The lip glosses are emollient and varied, although I would have wished for some cream lipsticks with heavier coverage to be included as well. The surprise bonus features here are the full complement of Brow Tech Powders and Brow Tech Wax, and eight beeeeauuuutiful Cream Liner colors! I love Smashbox's Cream Liners, but be aware that they can be kind of smeary. It's best to set them with eyeshadow. The packaging is cheap (it's the same exact palette used by 57 other brands, including E.L.F. and many Chinese knock-offs), but it's functional enough. I should also say that I believe this palette best suits those with fair through medium complexions, and it favors the warm family.
Treatments (Eye) -Mario Badescu - Glycolic Eye Cream
ShelliM 9/28/2007 8:05:00 AM
As soon as I applied this product, my eyes immediately became watery, burny, and irritated. To be fair, this happens to me to some degree with many, many eye products, but I have to say that this one was worse than most. I'm not sure what ingredient might have caused such a reaction, but I'm a little suspicious of the carnation oil, since carnations are very fragrant flowers. Unfortunately, because I had to wash this product off immediately, I have nothing to contribute about its efficacy or lack thereof.
I have to wonder whose faces the product designers of these product-soaked paper masks had in mind when they created the template! If you stretch it out flat, it looks like it would best fit some sort of alien humanoid. Needless to say, it doesn't really fit my face - it won't like flat on my upper nose and doesn't cover the sides of my forehead or temples at all (where, unfortunately, much of my uneven pigmentation is), and I have to lie down while I have it on or it simply falls off. I haven't noticed much of a difference using this mask regularly, but even if I did, the fact that alpha-arbutin is derived from hydroquinone is enough to give me pause. Most of the backlash against hydroquinone is simply hysterical and Chicken Little-esque, but I'd like to see more research getting a bit more specific about how much is "too much" before getting serious about skin lightening with hydroquinone or arbutin products.
Moisturizers -Eucerin - Redness Relief Perfecting Lotion with spf 15
ShelliM 9/28/2007 7:15:00 AM
I am a big fan of the judicious use of green-tinted products to correct redness, but most people, even those of us with the most severe rosacea, are not uniformly red over our entire faces. Therefore, this product applied over the whole face may give appropriate color correction in some areas, but cause a strange pale greenish cast over areas that are less red. Spot treating with this product is out of the question, as I think it's trying to also be a moisturizer and/or primer, and makeup will absorb differently over it vs. over bare skin. Rather than using an all-over product like this, I'd recommend using powdered minerals and some good-quality concealer brushes to spot-treat your red areas; in addition to only getting coverage where you need it, you can also find a variety of shades of green from mint to greenish-yellow that work best with your skin tone.
Cleansers -Eucerin - Redness Relief Soothing Cleanser
ShelliM 9/28/2007 6:57:00 AM
I got a sample of the 4-piece Redness Relief line in the mail, including this cleanser, the Soothing Night Cream, the Daily Perfecting Lotion with SPF 15, and the Redness Reducing Concealer (although I believe there are now more than 4 products in the line). I was immediately struck by the cushiony texture of this gel-based cleanser; it feels very cool and soothing immediately upon application - certainly something any skin having a rosacea flareup will appreciate. As long as you don't use more than a very small amount (it's very concentrated!), you'll find it rinses off easily with no residue. (Be sure to use cool water to enhance the calming effect!) That first time, I immediately followed with the Soothing Night Cream, and I literally broke into tears, because I had not seen my natural skin tone with no redness in years. Although I often use other cleansers depending on the immediate needs of my skin, whenever I'm having a rosacea flareup that causes pain and heat in my cheeks, I turn again and again to this cleanser in conjunction with the Soothing Night Cream for immediate relief. (N.B. I am not as found of the line's Daily Perfecting Lotion with SPF 15 or Redness Reducing Concealer; see my individual reviews on each of them for more information.) I believe that this product is best suited for those whose redness is caused by rosacea, which is most likely a vascular disorder rather than a skin disorder per se. Those with other causes of redness and irritation will probably benefit more from other cleansers more specifically suited to their conditions.
My primary complaint about this product is that the particulate (little bead-like things) included in the cleanser for the purpose of exfoliation are not round and smooth, but in fact rough and jagged. This may contribute to the "polishing" effect that some users like, but for anyone with sensitive or fragile skin, this is like massaging your face with ground glass! Even if you have skin of steel, abrading active blemishes is going to slow their healing, as well as be kind of painful. Additionally, the inclusion of benzoyl peroxide in a wash-off cleanser is pretty much useless; benzoyl peroxide must be left on to penetrate in order to be effective, and in a cleanser it's all just washing down the drain when you rinse. With these big complaints it may sound like just an additional nitpick, but I also really hate the way this stuff smells!
Because I have rosacea and very fragile skin, I never even bother to try manual exfoliants, let alone use one on a regular basis. However, I received this as part of Mario Badescu's generous sample kit, and it smelled soooo good that I just had to give it a try! Although its product description says that it is for all skin types, I found it quite suitable for my sensitive skin - the strawberry seeds it contains are smooth, and its ingredients mild. I found it rinsed quite clean, and I loved the soft feel of my skin afterward. Additionally, the little dry flakes that congregate around my healing blemishes were gone, and my blackheads were definitely diminished. After using up my sample, I will purchase a full-size of this product!
Product description: Made with real Strawberry seeds that gently buff away flaky skin while natural AHA’s breakdown dull build-up to unclog pores. It improves overall texture to the skin by revealing healthy, glowing skin while preventing blackheads.
Ingredients: Deionized Water, Stearic Acid, Strawberry Extract, Seamollient, Propylene Glycol Dipelargonate, Polyglycol Ester, Myristate DEA.
Eye Primer -Urban Decay - Eyeshadow Primer Potion - Original (UDPP)
ShelliM 4/7/2007 12:16:00 AM
It seems almost redundant to add my voice to the thundering roar of approval for this miracle product, but I just have to chime in. Since junior high school, I have tried everything under the sun to prevent eyeshadow from settling completely into the creases of my super-oily lids, and I had never found anything that even REMOTELY worked, until I met Urban Decay's Eyeshadow Primer Potion. I use the applicator as intended, but then I use my finger to make sure it's distributed evenly across each lid. I have been using mineral eyeshadows, and have not had any problems blending them on top of the Primer Potion. People report 8, 10, or 12 hours of eye makeup longevity - so far, I have not been able to stay awake long enough for my eyeshadow to fade, crease, flake, migrate, or otherwise look anything but freshly applied. If you try out one new beauty product this year, make it this one.
Lotions/ Creams -Paula's Choice - Weightless Body Treatment with 2% BHA
ShelliM 4/6/2007 11:59:00 PM
I had been trying out a variety of Paula's Choice BHA products on my face, desperately trying to find one whose texture I didn't find funky (and I don't mean funky in a good way). Upon reading reviews here on MUA and talking with a representative on the phone at Paula's Choice, I decided to try this Weightless Body Treatment with 2% BHA with the intention of using it on my face. Does it work? I couldn't tell you, because I CANNOT GET PAST THE HORRIBLE SMELL. As other reviewers have noted, it does dissipate after a few minutes, but it smells so strongly like high school chemistry lab that I would get nearly nauseous from the stench. I am giving it 2 lippies because I managed to use up the rest of my sample on the keratosis pilaris on my upper arms (a bit further away from my nose!) and it definitely does take care of that problem with only a few days of repeated use. However, I've found that any of her facial BHA products, funky though their texture may be, also do a fabulous job of eliminating keratosis pilaris. So while I did find what I was looking for in terms of a nicely-textured BHA product, I just don't see myself using noseplugs every time I apply it!
I don't get irritated from shaving (at least not my legs or my armpits), so I haven't tried this for its primary intended use. However, I suffer from rosacea, and when I get out of the shower, the combination of hot water, steam, and having washed my face leaves it a lovely shade of fire engine red. I use a purchased-separately pump to spritz the Skin Relief Treatment on my face, so as to give myself a sporting chance at identifying my actual skin tone by the time I put on my makeup. I find it works reasonably well to that end, but frankly, so does Mychelle's Fruit Enzyme Mist. And heaven help you if, when you spritz the Skin Relief Treatment on your face, you get some on your lips. You don't even have to lick them before the disgusting taste starts to permeate your mouth! At least with Mychelle's Fruit Enzyme Mist, when you get it on your lips, it tastes deliciously fruity, to go along with it's heavenly smell. Considering how much Paula goes on about the chemical technology of skin care, I'm surprised to see that other products like Mychelle's have more "advanced" ingredients that her Skin Relief Treatment does. I like many of Paula's products, but I won't be repurchasing this one.
I am utterly mystified as to how an oil-based cleanser, whose main ingredient is - after all - oil, can be water-based and simply rinsed off. It may be weird, but it's my HG makeup remover!
With super sensitive (and, ahem, aging) skin, I don't like to rub my eyes with a washcloth, cotton balls, or tissue to get my eye makeup off, yet this is exactly what most makeup removers instruct you to do. If I try to avoid the rubbing and pulling by using a stronger agent as a remover, then my occular rosacea and allergies flare up, and I have red, sore eyes for hours. DHC's Deep Cleansing Oil makes your face so slippery that you couldn't pull your skin if you tried, and it truly lives up to its marketing claim of literally "melting" your makeup away, including waterproof eye makeup! I've only started using it this winter, and I live in a very dry climate, but I have *not* needed to use an additional cleanser afterward! I have fairly oily skin in my t-zone, but the Deep Cleansing Oil did not make me feel like I hadn't gotten my face clean enough. It hasn't given me so much as a whitehead, and I think it has helped improve my blackheads (my theory is that the oil and massage softens up the blackheads and makes it easier for my BHA product to exfoliate them away).
Here are the ingredients, according to DHC's Web site:
olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, caprylic/capric triglyceride, sorbeth-30 tetraoleate, tocopherol, phenoxyethanol, propylparaben, stearyl glycyrrhetinate, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf oil
Many rosacea sufferers like myself cannot tolerate benzoyl peroxide on their skin, but still suffer from breakouts. I bought this because it seemed like a good alternative (I'm also conveniently allergic to tea tree oil). And I've been delighted! I have no irritation from using it, and I don't notice the "chalky white" effect that some reviewers have reported, although I am very fair and so it probably just matches my skin tone :-) I also love the fact that it has a mattifying effect on my T-zone, although that translates into a bit of dryness on my cheeks. Finally, keep in mind that hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is fundamentally *bad* for your skin in that it causes free radical damage, so don't forget to eat your antioxidants, and apply some to your skin each morning.
Edit: I have since learned that in addition to the oxidyzing properties of hydrogen peroxide, it also kills healthy skin cells and delays wound healing. I now use a preparation with no benzoyl or hydrogen peroxide.
This product reminded me of those clear lip glosses with the rollerball applicators and that we used to wear as tweens in the late 70s, with that super-wet, thick, shiny, goopy look. I really don't want my lips that shiny or heavy anymore, and Cinnamon Buns Lip Shine makes them feel that way. Additionally, I don't find that it adds an iota of emolliance or moisturizing; my lips feel kind of squeaky and dry by the time the shiny wetness wears off, which is quickly. Frankly, I have never found anything for my lips that does as good a job at both moisturizing and glossing than Bonne Bell Lip Smackers; Cinnamon Buns Lip Shine certainly does not, and I find its glazy consistency messy, and its wet look without color or sparkle a bit dated.
Unlike many other reviewers, I really LIKE the fact that Soul Owner isn't a super-greasy salve-like goop. I also love the exfoliation; I live in Colorado and have developed the gruesome hardened feet of the chronically dry climate. This is the first and only foot treatment that has prevented my soles from getting deep (and painful!) cracks during the winter months. As for the smell -- I have a very sensitive nose and a general aversion to strong perfumes in skincare products, but this one doesn't bother me at all. I think it's just a matter of taste.
Cleansers -Cetaphil - Daily Facial Cleanser (Normal to Oily Skin)
ShelliM 1/7/2007 2:15:00 AM
This is the one product I can't live without! I have very sensitive, allergy-prone skin with rosacea, and some perimenopausal acne thrown in just to keep me on my toes. I find this cleanser to be as gentle as I need it to be for my skin, but strong enough to remove my makeup and leave my skin very clean (neither of which Cetaphil's other product, the Gentle Skin Cleanser, does for me). Like many other reviewers, I wish the fragrance weren't so strong and perfumey. For those with normal-acting skin, I can understand that none of Cetaphil's products would seem particularly noteworthy, but for many of us with rosacea and/or allergy-prone skin, this is the only stuff we can let near our face!