this stuff is pretty close to HG status for me by now. though of course tempted to try other concealers on occasion (this IS mua, after all), i've been coming back to it for years.
the trick is to know its strengths and weaknesses.
- colour: for me, this is huge. i have pale, semi-yellow-toned, half-asian skin that is a massive PITA to match with foundation (it's inevitably too pink/orange/dark/pasty light/bright yellow). this is the only concealer/foundationish-thing i've ever found in any brand - and i am a makeup junkie - where i don't have to worry about sheering things out to avoid looking like a kabuki artist/snookie. (shade: NC20)
- this is THE BOMB for covering up slightly faded old acne scars. it's just amazing. but you have to know the right technique! if you try to rub it on, it'll just sheer out. what i do for flawless coverage is squeeze a sizable drop onto my middle finger (around the end knuckle joint, if that makes sense - not at the very tip of the finger) and then basically slap it onto my face using the middle and ring finger. i use repeated light slapping motions spreading the concealer around my lower cheeks (where scarring is most concentrated) till it's nearly blended, then use a large stippling blush (mac 187/sephora hd) to go over everything.
*note: before the brush, i use the residue on fingers on gently swipe/pat around the eye and side-of-nose area, where i don't need as much coverage but want a bit of brightening-up. swiping gently seems to work nicely here for smooth, sheer coverage, but i wouldn't try it on actual discoloured areas bc i need more coverage there.
(this last step, with the brush, isn't strictly necessary - i did it for years w/o the brush - but i find it adds just a touch of extra natural texture in case i missed blending any spots, and helps makeup last longer.)
using this technique, i'm consistently amazed by how my sallow, uneven-toned, red- and brown-marked facial areas are rendered smooth and radiant in a matter of seconds. the concealer somehow manages to melt into the skin, covering basically everything i want to cover yet looking natural (i haaaate chalky obvious concealer, which MUFE full cover, as hefty as its coverage is, *always* looks like on me).
- portable little tube that's easy to throw in my bag just in case i want to touch up later (99% of the time i don't have to - it lasts pretty well), yet still somehow manages to last forever. i think a tube lasts me a good 3-4 months, and i use this daily as basically foundation.
- doesn't break me out, as far as i can tell (hard to tell since my skin is generally nuts and will flare up randomly, but i've had long periods of good skin in the past while using this, so i really don't think it breaks me out - not like mac MSFs where i instantly noticed new pimples, probably due to the talc) . and this might be nuts, but i almost feel like it helps to heal the skin a bit. when i've gone without it a few days in the past, trying to be all virtuous and let the skin 'breathe' with no makeup, new pimples like to make themselves known - i break out more easily *without* this stuff than with it.
- it's essentially useless to try and cover a severely discoloured spot with this, e.g. a bright red cystic pimple you attempted to pop despite knowing full well it would just leak unsatisfyingly then lurk, taunting, on your face for months scarlet letter style. for these spots, i have to use tiny dot-like amounts of MUFE full cover (which is way too unnatural/obvious to use all over the face, for me) patted on gently over the spot.
- i guess it's kind of expensive for such a small tube - what is it, $14? $18? still, as mentioned above, the tube tends to last forever on me, so this part i don't quite mind so much.
... and that's it. i really love this stuff, and in no small part credit it with the astonishing hyde-to-jekyllesque transformation i undergo every morning. because no one but myself and my SO really needs to know about my blotchy skin.
EDITED TO ADD: i just remembered, i think the sunscreen i use (shiseido extra smooth lotion spf33) plays a fairly large part in enhancing this stuff's effectiveness. it acts as a nice smooth primer and helps to catch more pigmentation somehow, or make it stick. really any sunscreen might do. i just know that when i've tried to put this stuff on without anything underneath in the past (a v. rare occurrence, as i'm almost always wearing sunscreen), i've found the coverage to be lackluster and difficult to build.
i was SO disappointed in this mascara. luckily i received it as a gift so didn't personally shell out whatever exorbitant amount it cost in hk ($30 US, maybe?), but still, blegh. this did NOT live up to the hype for me. the formula was a really wet, soft black, which immediately undid any curl or definition in my lashes and made them kind of hang down indistinguishably in a sodden fringe. for the record, my lashes are long but thin, and this just made them look... invisible from a head-on view (i'm sure they looked long from above, or so my SO commented, but eh). any attempts to build on coverage just resulted in stumpy, ashy little clumps. i've never seen my lashes look so bad! the packaging is gorgeous, yes, but now that i've gotten ahold of my HG again (l'oreal voluminous waterproof in black) i fear it's just going to sit around looking decorative. guess i'll have to find some non-squeamish friend who's willing to try and take this off my hands. MASSIVE waste of money for me. if you're going to go for a high-end mascara with beautiful packaging, at least do ysl's faux cils, which actually works nicely.
I spent an agonizing 10 months desperately wanting to give this a 5-star rating, but as of about a week ago, have finally given up - and my skin is on its knees (so to speak) thanking me. I'm back to Benzaclin, and will be getting ahold of some Differin gel soon, and maybe will finally be able to leave the house without concealer on in about a year if I'm lucky. A quick summary of my skin: since the age of 13 (I'm 22 now), I've been grappling with acne. Finally, after years of trying every single drugstore product available at the time (including the particularly disastrous Neutrogena line), I saw a dermatologist and went on a routine of Benzamycin + Differin which cleared up my skin. Then, the Benzamycin stopped working so well (and was annoying, having to be kept in the fridge) so I tried Benzaclin at night with the Differin during the day. Perfection. After a year or so of this routine, my skin could actually see the light of day without heavy makeup (well, not actually 'the light of day', being slathered in Shiseido SPF33 Extra Smooth lotion, but you know). Just a dusting of Benefit's Dandelion on hurried days, and I was set to go. Yet I was tantalized by Tazorac - its purportedly better anti-aging benefits compared to Differin, the way everyone raved over the glowing skin it gave them (though my skin, in retrospect, was already glowing), how simple it was - no waiting for Benzaclin to dry at night, no layering Differin on during the day. So I went off Benzaclin and Differin, and tried just Tazorac at night, in all its different application methods. I really, REALLY, *REALLY* wanted this to work. I tried short-contact therapy, I tried applying just a tiny bit as some recommended, I tried applying it generously, I tried layering it over moisturizer, I tried it bare-faced, I tried applying bits of Benzaclin over the existing pimples, I tried pretty much every method I can think of short of boiling the Taz over an open fire and letting the fumes penetrate my skin whilst performing small ritualistic sacrifices. I tried each method for a considerable amount of time before switching, convincing myself that it WOULD work eventually since it worked for almost everyone else. Yet each time, the results were essentially the same - it would shrink some zits and reduce redness, but never prevent anything new from popping up. On particularly stubborn existing pimples, it would have absolutely no effect. At the same time, it was making my usual glutton-for-strongest-products-ever skin blotchily red overall, sensitive and shockingly aged-looking - no matter how lightly I used the Taz or how much I moisturized. I was starting to notice all sorts ofl laugh lines and forehead lines I'd NEVER seen before, as well as an overall grainy redness to the skin. Even on the BEST of days, when I had maybe two pimples, my usually trusty and light MAC tube concealer would sort of 'break' on the skin, flake away throughout the day, and look generally horrific. About a week ago, I couldn't take it anymore and have now totally given it up. Even if my Benzaclin-Differin routine won't have as many anti-aging benefits, I'd rather have nice-looking skin NOW and slightly worse skin at, say, 50 rather than having hideous skin till it possibly clears up when entering my sixth decade. With just the Benzaclin over the past week (can't get ahold of the Differin just yet as am living internationally), my skin has finally returned to its normal color, gotten exponentially smoother and less pimply, and, best of all, actually looks like smooth, GOOD skin with just the MAC concealer and a bit of bronzer over. Every time I look in the mirror, I give vehement praise for the fact that I finally gave up on Tazorac. Oh, and all those freaky little lines that had stealthily been appearing? Now completely gone. Taz clearly works excellently on so many people, so I'm just going to take this as testament to the fact that one thing just can't work for everyone - even those who fiendishly refuse to accept it isn't good for their skin and repeatedly foist various incarnations of it upon themselves for almost a year. I'm ALMOST tempted to try the cream formulation, since many raves seem to be about the cream rather than the gel, but I just can't risk it again - I'm sticking to Differin/Benzaclin, and going to rely on occasional peels and things to help the fading.
it's been about 5 months since i started using this, and my lashes - which were once gorgeous in my early teens, but had gotten really sparse & bleh a decade later - are now pretty much fully restored to their once-lush little selves. i should also mention that about a week ago, i started using ardell's lash accelerator in conjunction with this (i only use revitalash at night, so i brush ardell on at night and use it as a primer in the morning), and the results have been STUNNING: long, fringey, thick lashes. i don't know if this is due to the combination or due to the fact that it's been around 5 months so revitalash is now kicking in, but the ardell makes a great primer and certainly doesn't seem to be hurting, so i'm going to continue using the combination. the only cons: - price ($100 or so on ebay, i think? can't remember now, but NOT cheap - probably the most expensive beauty-related item i've ever purchased, but well worth it as i'm v. into natural, easy beauty, and great lashes are hugely important for this imo) - stings REALLY badly - it's odd, though; it occasionally stings like mad and other times doesn't hurt at all. i console myself by thinking that stinging = increased effectivity, and try not to get any into my eyes! how i do it (i do this nightly, never in the morning as i think the packet said something about not getting sun exposure w/ this? at any rate, i don't want it to interfere w/ my eyeliner): - after washing face, wipe top lashline gently with a tissue (to get rid of any moisturizer/excess oil that may be there) - apply the stuff on top lashline as if putting on liquid eyeliner, concentrating on the outer corners (as i love the look of loooong outer-corner lashes! so put extra there just in case) - wait for stinging to subside, whisk on ardell on most of the top lashes (taking care not to touch the lashline, where the revitalash is drying) and the bottom lashes, working it into the bottom lashline. (i don't use revitalash on the bottom lashline, after reading reports of it turning the lashline black) - the end! this stuff really does work with meticulous application - i don't have to curl my lashes anymore, and a friend commented today on how "insanely long" my eyelashes were, which hasn't happened since they started getting sparser a couple years ago!
Blush -Prescriptives - Pressed Powder Leaves [DISCONTINUED]
cat9 12/11/2006 4:36:00 PM
holy freaking crap. i've never been so amazed at a blush - not with chanel, nars, or any other highly touted blushes (don't get me wrong, i love them too but was never wowed to this degree before). when i first applied this stuff on, my jaw literally dropped. maybe it was the gorgeous glowy prescriptives-counter lighting, but my skin actually looked angelic: luminous, soft, not noticeably shimmery - the color sort of melted instantly into my cheeks, leaving what looked like natural-looking perfection. my skin isn't awful to begin with, but i have NEVER seen it look like this before. this was w/ rose baroque, btw, and i'm a pale yellow-toned NC20. i tried the other two shades as well, but they looked muddy on me (it's quite possible i over-applied, however - but that's impossible to do w/ the rose baroque shade). oh, and i just checked my fluorescent-lit reflection & the stuff looks as incredible as it did at the px counter. why isn't this blush more well-known?! it is AMAZING!!
HUGE rave! i'm still skeptical as to whether this stuff actually makes new lashes grow or whether it's just an incredible primer/conditioner, but either way, after a couple weeks' use of this stuff my lashes are back to their formerly lush selves (had stopped using this for awhile, and my left lashes had gone all limp & sparse, prob. 'cause i used w/p masacara daily). after applying this, i don't even have to curl lashes; i just apply l'oreal voluminous waterproof afterwards (HG) and my lashes stay thick, perfectly separated & looong all day - so long that i sometimes have to 'pat' them down to keep them from reaching my browbones! it's not that expensive ($15 or so and free shipping from strawberrynet.com, and they'll deliver internationally which is great for frequent travelers), and i'd def. repurchase, though as i recall from owning this before the bottle lasts at least a good few months. the applicator, btw, is one thing i WOULD change - i'd add a soft, spongy end to the mascara applicator in order to dab between lashes without pain (it's nice to have a mascara applicator rather than JUST a sponge, but when trying to get the product on the *base* of lashes, you have to use the semi-painful and hardened end of the wand with this stuff). on the other hand, this might just be a great primer/conditioner with no need to dab it on the base of lashes anyway!
YUM delicious! definitely my new summer scent. smells like some amazingly good sparkling orange flower. i don't like cool water too much, but loooove this (the drydown is quite similar, but has SOMEthing about it to make it incredible).
ahhh, i love it. got it off ebay so was originally skeptical if it was actually the real scent or not (it smelled much more sparkly than when i'd tested it in stores), but now i've adjusted to and love this bright, elegant, rosy fragrance - both rosy in the sense that it smells faintly of roses, and also in that it just smells pink somehow, v. girly & bubbly & sweet (but in a different way from the thousands of fruity scents out there). and the bottle is probably 75% of why i bought it in the first place - got the largest size off ebay for around $40 incl. shipping & handling (it's ether $65 or $85 in stores, can't remember which) and it's gorgeous, though huge, doubling as a brick-like weapon to club potential intruders with should the need ever arise. oh & also, i didn't think it lasted at first, but then got a compliment on it mid-afternoon (after having sprayed it on that morning) - so while it fades to my nose, it apparently still remains. yesssss!
Hair -Unlisted Brand - Head & Shoulders Dry Scalp Shampoo
cat9 1/2/2006 8:56:00 AM
love this stuff. the packaging is rather ugly, and i wasn't initially sure how i felt about spreading chalky-looking blue goo over my head, but after using this for awhile i have to recommend this amazing stuff. it smells great and leaves hair softer and shinier than any other shampoo i've tried (and i've tried many, including kerastase). i can't really comment on how effective it is for dandruff, since i didn't have too much of it before, and just bought this for the occasional bout - and now i don't plan to stop using it, it's lovely. what with this, finesse's color care conditioner and paul mitchell's super skinny serum, my long fine hair is completely recovered from the dry, frizzy mess pantene left it in - hurrah!
Lip Treatments -Perfumeria Gal - Red Currant Lip Balm
cat9 8/2/2005 8:16:00 AM
i'm on my 2nd v. pretty tin of this excellent stuff. it multitasks: makes lips flushed & shiny & slippery (perfect for pre-kissing balm, though see if the taste bothers you first), moisturizes the eye area overnight, serves as eye gloss, brow shaper, cheek highlighter, cuticle moisturizer... so basically does all the things vaseline does since it is, apparently, glorified vaseline, BUT! comes in an adorable tin and different delicious scents. think will try peach next.
i use this mainly in the winter to look alive. indispensible. i dust it liberally all over & it gives a glow to skin. "you look so gorgeous, all flushed and pink from the cold!" a friend said to me when i was wearing this. little did she know that, left to its own devices, my skin will just redden blotchily in the cold... with a little concealer & benefit dandelion (and some more blush if i want an extra flush), i can trick nature! AHAHAHAHA!!! what i love most about it is how it diffuses light & adds a soft flush - if i wake up late & have no time for skin prep, i can just quickly dust some of this on and skin actually looks decent (love how blush can sometimes sort of replace concealer, at least when it comes to faint acne scars). this stuff definitely shows up on me, and i never thought of myself as THAT fair - i'm an NC20 & if i accidentally put too much of this on cheeks, it's *super* pink w/ lots of gold shimmer. i can't use it in the summer, since my body's more yellow-toned than my face, and if i dusted pink shimmer all over my face while wearing a skimpy top, the difference between face & body color would be too odd. in winter, though, this is the perfect powder. sets concealer, brightens, blushes, flushes! love it.
the perfect nude shade of almay's nude lipbalm-thing, but in the most silky, light texture imaginable (almay's was thick, cakey & drying, and only worth using for the excellent color). seems to be *slightly* less orangey than almay's too. boring black but functional packaging. painfully expensive but so worth it.
i really wanted to hate this & be able to exchange it for the absurdly priced lipfusion (for some reason i'd be ok w/ exchanging something for lipfusion, but not buying it on its own... which makes sense... yes). alas, the laguna gave a natural glowing tan and the orgasm made the perfect highlight. i hoped this would look oily & hideous in pictures so THEN i could return it. but i took some test pics w/ the digital, and in all of them, skin looked glowy & shiny in a healthy non-oily way. GRR. so then i was hoping the packaging would somehow end up sucking, or i wouldn't be able to use the blush w/out picking up the bronzer on the brush, or something. but turns out each pan is the perfect shape, and they're far enough apart so that you can use just one if you like. in conclusion, buy only if you want another high-end addiction that will ultimately raise your standard of living (or give you pretty skin, same thing), but will crash-diet your wallet to smithereens. (hence the 1 lipstick off for price, btw; it may be a "bargain" in that it's a duo, but it's still $35 for colored powder which is rather insane.)
lasted about half an hour on me, but smelled pleasant enough when it was actually there (and was way more tolerable than the vomitous Blush). used a sample, so technically couldn't "buy again", but if i had the full size i wouldn't either, since the perfume is just kinda nice in an inoffensive way and i'd use it maybe twice more in my life. the bottle's almost cute, like a pale-yellow baby present. those not going for the sexy 'baby-present'-themed boudoir might be displeased with it. it also smells kind of like a happy milky baby as it fades (rapidly) away. this review makes me feel baby-obsessed, but seriously it feels like a baby fragrance.
the first time i found myself utterly baffled by this mascara was after some tearjerker movie during pms time. when pms-ing, i cry easily & like a hose, so was amazed to walk into the bathroom afterwards and find... NO SMEARS. no smudges, nothing. what??! not even sure i want to know what's in this stuff, but whatever it is, i love it. it holds like iron, doesn't clump, curls on its own (but i like almost freakishly long lashes, so i curl them first too), and once i used a tube for a year - i know it was wrong, but it just kept working! - and while it got drier, it still gave gorgeous hold. comes off easily w/ a bifacil-dabbed cotton pad held over the eye for a moment, then there's some swiping effort needed, but it's worth it. excellent mascara!