I'm a long-time fan of MAC MSFN but was drawn to this powder based on the early glowing reviews. I can now say that I definitely prefer this to MSFN. I think the coverage is better and the shade I use (Nude) is a better match to my skin tone than the comparable choices available for MSFN. Normally I wear this over moisturizer and NARS oil-free primer, and I apply with Sephora's mineral powder brush.. When I don't use a primer I do sometimes notice a little minor build-up/creasing by the end of the day, but it's not a big deal. One thing I love about this product is that it doesn't seem to irritate my breakout-prone skin. My skin looks natural and the finish is not too matte nor shiny/glowing - just right. I will be repurchasing for sure!
Primer/ Corrector -NARS - Pore Refining Primer - Oil Free
annie_b 12/21/2011 11:36:00 AM
I see this product is drawing a lot of mixed reviews, but I will throw in my two cents. I have tried primers from a number of brands including Smashbox, Sephora, Laura Mercier, MAC, etc., and never really liked how they felt or just didn't see the point. So I was wary when a Sephora sales associate introduced me to this primer. For the first time, I really, really like such a product! I love the thin gel consistency, which feels light and cool all over my face and not like some sort of coating. I was able to use significantly less foundation for the same - actually better - effect. The primer doesn't seem to control oil, and yet I don't look shiny either. I'm not sure how that works but I can say that my foundation still looks even and smooth after 8-10 hours, even if I do notice oil. And so far this doesn't seem to be breaking me out. I will update if I have anything new to report, but after a week's use I am really liking this product!
I am not a fan of toner in general, but this product appealed to me because of its interesting botanical scent and natural ingredients. I got the small size in a "Caudalie favorites" set from Sephora on a recent Caudalie haul. I had used Caudalie skin care in the past and was so excited to go back and to add the beauty elixir to my routine. It is like a little luxury. I would apply it morning and evening just before my moisturizer. Unfortunately, within a couple of days of using this I developed two massive blemishes in areas of my face where I seldom break out. Since I'd used Caudalie face wash and moisturizer in the past with no problems, I figured it was the beauty elixir. Sure enough, once I took it out of my routine, the blemishes slowly faded and I didn't have any other weird breakouts. Now what do I do with this beauty elixir? Because I like the scent and the slight tingle on my skin, I use it more or less like a light body mist. And that is how I will use it until it runs out, after which point I will not repurchase.
I never would have noticed this concealer if a Sephora sales associate hadn't recommended it. She showed me how easy it is to swipe over the orbital bone and gently pat in to brighten my under-eye area. Sold! I am NC15-ish and Vanilla was a perfect match for me. I prefer stick concealer formulas (I also use Bobbi Brown's blemish stick concealer) and this has all the qualities I need - effortless, lightweight, non-caking, and covers nicely.
I bought this during the Nordstrom anniversary sale on a whim. I was curious about a neutral pink, non-shimmer JC blush, and when I tried it on I was sold. Then I took it home, and - I'll be honest - at first it was a bit of a letdown. I wear my Orchid Rose JC all the time and have grown really fond of the subtle shimmer that gives a depth and richness to the color. Obviously, I didn't get the same effect from Rose Ecrin. Yet, I kept reaching for it, and it really grew on me. The quality of this blush is so amazing. It's so finely milled, has excellent staying power, and doesn't change color or migrate across my face over the course of the day. It is also very, very pretty. A clean, classic, neutral pink that gives a gorgeous and natural looking flush of color on my NC15-20 skin. And as I've warmed to it, it's become a staple in my workday makeup routine. No shimmer, no problem! Love the scent too.
OK, let's get one thing straight: there is nothing "extreme" about this mascara. It's a darn good, non-waterproof, everyday mascara that builds length and volume and washes away easily. And it's non-irritating. Allegedly it is formulated to be easily touched up (the SA described it as "re-wetting technology" which I found hilarious). I haven't tried re-applying after drying so I can't comment on this feature. However, I can say that if your lashes do get even a little it wet then this will run. If you want a mascara that won't budge in a hurricane, get Bobbi's No Smudge Mascara. But if you like an easily washed off formula that builds moderate length and volume, you might try this. Admittedly, Extreme Party mascara is a tad pricey for what you get. I pay because a lot of mascaras are mildly irritating, but this one isn't. As ever, your mileage may vary.
I bought this as an alternative to MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural when I realized that I: (a) needed a little more coverage, and (b) needed a better shade match. I have used or tried several lines of loose mineral foundation in the past, including Everyday Minerals, philosophy, Bare Minerals, Alima, Prescriptives, and Physicians Formula. Laura Mercier's mineral powder is at the top of the heap. It is a very finely milled powder that applies like a dream and leaves a soft glow. The glow is more noticeable just after application and fades to leave a satiny, medium coverage finish. I have light skin with yellow undertones (about NC20) and Real Sand was an excellent match for me. I have combination skin, and during the day I have a little shine breakthrough, but not much. If I blot once or twice over the course of a day I'm good. One feature I really love about this product is that it does not accentuate dry patches, particularly if they are well moisturized before application. I have eczema that sometimes affects my face, so this is important to me. Some mineral products instantly draw attention to dry areas, but not this one. I apply with Sephora's mineral powder brush, using light, circular strokes, and I get nice medium coverage very quickly. I am on the lookout for any increase in breakouts in my sensitive skin, but so far I don't have anything conclusive to say about this foundation. I'm loving this product and look forward to using it through winter. EDIT 8/18/2011: I think this is contributing to clogged pores. I have had a hard time with blackheads and cystic acne since shortly after I began using this powder, which is bizarre because other mineral foundations don't do this to me. At first I thought the breakouts were because the summer heat and humidity were making me oilier, but since I switched to another foundation my skin has been clearing up. Since other reviewers don't seem to be having this problem it is probably just a quirk of my skin.
Years ago, when the mineral makeup craze was at its height, I tried the Bare Minerals original formula. Though I liked the overall look, I couldn't stand how it made my skin itch even when I broke the slightest sweat. I moved on to other brands. As other reviewers have said, I had a nagging curiosity about the bismuth-free matte formula and what it might do for me. So... back to Bare Minerals, 6 years later. For reference, I have light combo skin with yellow undertones. I have enlarged pores on and around my nose. The first thing I noticed about the matte formula is that it made my pores look enormous. OMG. Blending helped some, but I haven't had a product do that to me in a while. The shade itself (Fairly Light) was a good match and looked natural, and I was able to get nice medium coverage pretty easily. I did indeed go walking in the heat - and no itching. Unexpectedly, I did not get much in the way of oil control. My skin felt weirdly slippery toward the end of the day, and I though that the staying power was mediocre. Overall, this product was not terrible, just not in the ballpark of other products that cost as much or less.
Blush -Tarte - Amazonian Clay Long-Wear Blush in Tipsy
annie_b 4/8/2011 3:42:00 PM
Problem: I loved the color of Tipsy as a cheek stain but never could fully get behind the cheek stain formula. Solution: Amazonian Clay blush in Tipsy Tarte's Amazonian Clay blush is so far superior to the cheek stain in terms of finish and wear and offers the same beautiful shade. This intensely pigmented blush is easy to apply and blend and wears like a dream. No color change, no disappearing acts - just pure matte peachy coral prettiness. It's a fantastic spring/summer shade. You could go very bright with this quite easily, though I've found that I can easily ramp down the intensity with blending. My cheeks are not super oily, so I have not noticed much in the way of shine control, though I can say that this has not irritated my skin in the slightest. I could take or leave most of Tarte's product line, but this blush is a winner.
Deodorants -The Body Shop - DeoDry Dry-Effect Deodorant
annie_b 1/3/2011 3:56:00 PM
On most days I prefer to wear deodorant, not antiperspirant. The latter results in ugly sweat stains and doesn't really keep me that much drier. Unfortunately, the most effective B.O.-controlling products on the market seem to be in the traditional men's deodorant lines, and, I'm sorry, I'm not going to walk around smelling like cheap men's cologne. So I'm always interested in checking out new options for women. The Body Shop's DeoDry joins a long list of women's deodorants that miss the mark by a long shot. I bought this in Fresh & Floral on a whim while Christmas shopping. The floral smell is light and pleasant, and the liquid evaporates quickly once applied. This seemed to control my odor, but only for about half the day, after which point I need to either reapply or keep my arms locked by my sides. And let's face it, in an indoor setting most of us can get by without any deodorant until about noon or so. Therefore, my conclusion is that this is minimally effective, if at ALL, as a deodorant. Weirdly, DeoDry does seem to keep me a little drier than usual, though I know this isn't a true antiperspirant. The trade-off for this small bonus is that it irritated the heck out of my recently-shaved skin, so now I have The Body Shop to thank for a hundred little red bumps on my armpits. Oh well. I tried. I'm going back to Kiss My Face Liquid Rock, which is cheaper, gentler, and more effective.
Bobbi Brown mascaras stand out for me in that they are non-irritating and seem to hold up well over the course of the day. After a not-so-good experience with Everything Mascara, which I found too wet on application, I came back to Bobbi Brown. This was during a bout of allergies in which I really needed to minimize any extra irritation in the eye area. The sales associate directed me to this mascara. The formula is definitely drier and easier (for me) to work with, and I get nice volume and adequate length with just one coat. No flaking. None. Even after sleeping in this mascara. And no irritation! Just pretty lashes with minimal clumping, provided I use a light hand and build gradually. BUT - and this is the reason for the 4 rating rather than 5 - I have to work too hard to get this mascara off. I normally prefer non-waterproof formulas simply because I dislike the removal step, but I made an exception in this case. I have to use an oil-based cleanser to get this off, and even so I feel like I am doing subtle damage to the delicate skin around my eyes with all the rubbing and tugging it takes to get it all off. So I'll enjoy the benefits of this mascara, and maybe I'll come back if my needs call more strongly for a no-budge mascara in the future, but after I'm done with this tube I'll switch to a formula that's easier to remove.
Gels/Soaps -Philosophy - Crispy Marshmallow Bars 3-in-1 Shower Gel
annie_b 10/6/2010 9:49:00 AM
I love Rice Krispy treats, don't you? Crispy little bits of puffed rice bound together by gooey sugar and butter - what's not to love? The smell might be the best part. I'm a big fan of philosophy's 3-in-1 shower gels. Naturally, when I saw that philosophy has attempted to replicate that wonderful smell, I had to try it. The sales associate in Sephora held it to my nose and when I inhaled.... yum. Warm vanilla, butter, a hint of caramel. The scent is not perfectly spot-on like a few of philosophy's 3-in-1's, but it's very, very good. Unfortunately, the scent was less complex when I actually used it in the shower on a puff. This "breakdown" of the scent doesn't happen with all of the 3-in-1's, but it did happen with this one. However, it still smelled really yummy, and the scent didn't turn into something different altogether. As usual, the lather was very rich and foamy, and a hint of the warm smell lingered on my skin after the shower. In summary, while I am not going to put this in my "greatest hits" lineup, this is a solid product that I would repurchase. This product appears to be paraben-free. Ingredients are: water⁄aqua⁄eau, sodium laureth sulfate, ppg-2 hydroxyethyl cocamide, lauryl betaine, disodium laureth sulfosuccinate, glycerin, glycol stearate, fragrance⁄parfum, allantoin, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, panthenol, phytosterols, tocopherol, tocotrienols, squalene, oryza sativa (rice) bran wax, althaea officinalis root extract, vanilla planifolia fruit extract, camellia sinensis leaf extract, butylene glycol, polyquaternium-7, polyquaternium-10, isostearamidopropyl morpholine lactate, methyl gluceth-20, sodium benzotriazolyl butylphenol sulfonate, buteth-3, tributyl citrate, sodium chloride, citric acid, disodium edta, methylchloroisothiazolinone, methylisothiazolinone, yellow 5 (ci 19140), red 40 (ci 16035).
This is an awesome product that I re-discovered recently while searching for a solution for the dry, cracked skin on my feet. This beats any other moisturizer I've tried for my feet. Plus, it exfoliates and feels cooling and cushy all at the same time! My feet are chronically cracked and scaly due to a skin condition (see below), and it gets especially bad in cold, dry weather and sandals weather. Without exaggeration, my feet go from OMGWTF to sandals-presentable if I use this every night for a few nights. The Origins web site description reads: "When it feels like you've walked too many miles in your own shoes, heel thyself. This heavy cream soothes your soles with the richness of Rose Fruit and Jojoba Oils. Super-sloughing Salicylic Acid gets rid of pesky rough patches. Softening Shea Butter smoothes cracks to put feet back on easy street. And tingly Menthol provides a refreshing kick. " Origins advises against using this product on sensitive skin (due to the menthol and the salicylic acid, I guess). However, eczema affects the skin on my right foot and I have not had any problems with this product. As always, your mileage may vary.
Concealers -Revlon - Age Defying Moisturizing Concealer (New) [DISCONTINUED]
annie_b 6/19/2010 12:57:00 PM
For starters, I am not a concealer person. The vast majority of my concealer experiences have been disappointing. This is especially true of undereye concealers, so many of which make me look freakish. Only mineral concealer has worked for me in the past. Nevertheless, I still take a stab in the dark here and there, looking for gold. This is the first cream concealer I've ever used that I truly like. It is so natural looking on me (I'm NC20 and light-medium is a great match), and covers well without, you know, LOOKING like concealer. Is the coverage absolutely 100% opaque? No. Is this a dupe for MUFE Full Cover? No. But this is a solid, easy to wear, very blendable product that tames my undereye circles and redness around my nose and mouth. In my experience it is slightly less effective for covering blemishes, but it makes a good base for topping with an extra layer of mineral concealer. I'm glad I bought this at the beginning of summer. With this product, I feel comfortable dabbing some on the areas that need it, patting on a little lip/cheek stain, doing a quick eye shadow wash and swipe of mascara, and heading out the door. No need for a long drawn-out foundation routine for an easy everyday look. My face but better. This is what I had hoped concealer could be.
Gels/Soaps -Philosophy - Apricots and Cream 3-in-1
annie_b 6/4/2010 11:50:00 PM
Oh, I so wanted to love this. One smell in Sephora and I had to have it! But after using it in the shower, I have to agree with a previous reviewer that this particular 3-in-1 has an unusual undertone that quickly takes the place of the lovely, creamy, fruity scent. I wouldn't describe it as like plastic.. more like "unscented" soap. For some reason the smell made me think of Purpose face wash. Anyway, it was a real letdown because normally, philosophy 3-in-1's maintain their wonderful scents while you lather up and they even linger a little bit after rinsing. By the time I was ready to rinse I had very little in the way of that initial lovely apricots-and-cream smell any longer. Other reviewers seem to disagree. Granted, this could be a product inconsistency issue. Or something peculiar to my nose. But I can say that, having used a number of philosophy 3-in-1's, some delicately scented, others more strongly, this one way underperformed in the scent department for me. On the other hand, as a cleanser this still provided the wonderful, cushiony, easy-to-rinse foam that is typical of these shower gels. So I'll probably hold on to this for that aspect alone. I'm just let down that I don't get the nice smell all the way through.