I figured out this year that I really shouldn't use any fragranced products (along with anything containing alcohol, citrus- or lavender oils, etc), so I sort of left this product on the shelf for a while, even though I'd been really fond of it in my mysteriously dry and acne-prone but very luxe recent past (how I miss you, super-fragranced and super-fancy French skincare!). One day when I'd accidentally put on way too much foundation and just wanted to get it all OFF, I took a chance with this cleanser again and I was surprised to see that I didn't feel tight or itchy afterward. I've been using it now when I wear both sunscreen and foundation, and haven't noticed any negative effects even after repeated use. This works like a good oil cleanser should, and is gentle on the eye area. It has a really satisfying amount of "slip," and leaves your skin feeling a little moisturized (what some people would call slightly greasy--resist the urge to double-cleanse unless you're going with something really gentle like a cream cleanser, alcohol-free toning lotion, or honey mask, though!). I do wish it was slightly less fragranced, though, as I don't even find the smell that pleasant. It has a really typical, lilies-and-powder funeral parlor/department store perfume feel.
Treatments (Eye) -Shiseido - Bioperformance Super Eye Contour
dashcrabtree 5/21/2013 5:19:00 AM
I can't really explain what my hopes were when I was buying this eye cream, because I just had the idea that I should start wearing one ("It's time," I thought, casting an internal eye over my 23 years and my new paycheck) and the Shiseido SA directed me to this one as it was "on sale." I didn't realize how much money I would be spending even at a reduced price, and it definitely effects how I view the results. I don't have any wrinkles yet, but I worry about it because I have very sun-sensitive skin and can never get sunscreen all in my eye contour area (I tend to cry it away). Speaking of crying: that's basically my big problem with my eyes. I cry easily from, you know, stress and sadness, but also from allergies and sensitivities (one point for this cream is that it doesn't make my eyes water, which is remarkable considering I have trouble with anything fragranced, and this is pretty fragranced). This, combined with an uneven sleep schedule and nights with too much alcohol and/or sugar, mean that I'm usually just kind of puffy and blue-ringed. This cream helps in the long run: it makes my eyes skin-colored again (even fairly immediately), and reduces the chances that I get really, grotesquely puffy from any indulgences/setbacks. One weird thing, which other people have noted, is that it actually makes you a bit puffier in the short term. I keep this in the fridge, which helps mitigate this effect, but it's still noticeable--I personally think it's a "healthy" sort of puffy, but I might just be fooling myself. I usually take too much product, as you need only the tiniest pinprick to cover both eye areas completely (making this eventually ALMOST cost-effective), so I usually run a little along my upper lip. The puffing effect is really obvious here, which is super-satisfying, since this is where I actually do have teeny tiny fine lines (teen smoker!). This is a rambling review, but I think this is product is a sneaky sort of likeable rather than something I would wholeheartedly rave about. At first, I really hated myself for this purchase (leading to more eye puffiness, I guess) but I think it's been worth it for the flesh-colored eyelids WITHOUT concealer.
Lotions/ Creams -Unlisted Brand - EXTRA VIRGIN Coconut Oil (All brands)
dashcrabtree 3/17/2013 6:00:00 AM
I've used this every way you can, and some ways work better than others in my case. I was really hoping I'd be one of the people who can use this on the face, as my skin is super-dry. Unfortunately, I'm one of the unlucky ones who find it comedogenic. I didn't have one of the monster breakouts people sometimes write about, but I did get two or three new blemishes which were definitely not the 'purging' type -- they weren't perfect little whiteheads but rather hard, red bumps. I also noticed my pores looked clogged. I'm back to using almond and/or argan oil instead... I wanted to get the negative out of the way first! On my body and hair, I find coconut oil simply amazing. It's the best hair masque I've used, actually, and I often have trouble rinsing out even normal, light conditioners. I have very fine individual hairs but just tons and tons and tons of them. I leave the coconut oil on overnight, and by the morning it's almost dried into my hair. It rinses out easily with a normal amount of shampoo, and my hair is shiny and frizz-free. I would recommend this once a week, but you could use it more often if you have a lot of damage. As a body lotion, it sinks in quickly and leaves me hydrated for at least a day (I have very flaky skin in the winter, so this is a big deal). I make sure to spread it under my arms, as it works well as a deodorant. I noticed that it also did good work repairing my skin, and not just moisturizing. I had horrible bumps along my upper thighs from wearing tights on dry skin all winter, and they're almost gone after just a few weeks using coconut oil!
I ended up buying no.18 immediately, after I tried it out on my hand in-store and it reminded me exactly of Revlon's dearly-departed Strawberry Suede. I was so excited to put it on that I just slapped it on with no balm underneath, which in the dry, below-freezing Swedish winter is basically the stupidest thing you can do with lipstick (well, maybe). I was really surprised how comfortable it was, and I made it all day with no extra dryness. I was also sort of shocked at how bright the color is -- it may just be this shade, but it was practically neon. It's easy to just smudge a little on, though, and even with a pretty thin starting layer and a few bottles of water, it made it all day. I think all in all it's even better than the old Revlon matte formula, and I'm looking forward to trying more!
This is by far my favorite mascara, and I've tried basically everything, apart from recent releases (I don't feel the need to try out mascaras since I've found 2000 Calorie!). It gives a very long, full look without going clumpy or over-the-top. You can really pile it on and work it in and it will always look elegant. My only quibble is that the 'Black Brown' shade (which is the only shade I ever find other than Black) is only the former and not at all the latter color. I don't think it gives a softer effect than plain old Black, but it doesn't really matter much as the overall look is very natural.
I found this product very much by accident. I asked the MAC SA if they had any non-glittery white highlighters, and she thought about it for a long while before saying, "Well, we have a skincare product that may work for you." I've never been the biggest MAC fan, so I didn't even know they had skincare products! She applied some on my hand, and at first I found it pretty but actually quite glittery indeed. In the time it took me to read the ingredients on the bottle, though, I was impressed by both the claims and the way it looked on my hand. It really does have a skin-friendly ingredient list, and I have horrible sensitive skin that rejects most products. I use this after a light oil (I have very dry skin and need extra moisture, but I do find this to be effective -- it will never give a very shiny, creamy look like the average moisturizer, but it does still help quite a bit in keeping flakes away) and often just wear it alone with spot concealer. It does work well as a primer or mixed into foundations, but its own finish is amazing. Don't be put off by the way it looks in the first few minutes: it won't always be glittery. Throughout the day, this gives more of a soft, dewy look on my dry skin, without any pink/white/gold cast or sparkle. I can't think of any product that's at all similar, so I recommend Strobe Cream wholeheartedly!
I had been using this along with the Iris day cream for a few months, as I had had success with Weleda's Almond line and I thought this would be a richer, but still very gentle option. I was very mistaken. This has a lot of irritating ingredients that no one with sensitive skin should ever use, but it should probably be avoided in general. It did a fine job making my skin feel smooth, except for the very red, inflamed blemishes that it turns out were this product's fault. As I wrote in my review for the day cream, I actually thought I was developing rosacea! I've started using actual, natural oils for moisturizing now and my skin is back on its way to being clear (both in terms of acne and redness). This is probably the worst product I've ever tried on my skin.
I had been using Weleda's Almond lotion with great results, so I switched to this as winter came along with the hope that it would be even better for my dry and sensitive skin. I started breaking out a lot the past few months, which I blamed on an unavoidable mixture of hormones and flakiness, but I'm pretty sure it was due mostly to this moisturizer (as well as the night cream)! This has several VERY irritating ingredients in it, unlike the Almond lotion. Now that I've stopped using it, my skin is clearer -- fewer blemishes and a much more even tone. I'd started thinking I had rosacea! Be very careful with this line. I'll be buying pure almond oil from now on and giving Weleda a pass.
Tinted Moisturizer -Laura Mercier - Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20
dashcrabtree 1/29/2013 6:23:00 AM
I used to use the oil-free version, but have recently switched to the original. There is a really irritating problem with the product leaking out (pooling in the cap) that I never noticed before in several years of use with the oil-free one. I feel that I like the original TM quite a bit better in general, though; even beside it being better suited to my dry skin, I find that it gives a less made-up look. This is of course either positive or negative, depending on your skin quality. I have to admit that I have pretty sad skin right now in its bare state -- it's red and covered in hormonal breakouts every other week, and I have flaky dry patches on my forehead and nose. This tinted moisturizer gives a soft, dewy look while also blurring the problems a bit. Wearing a light all-over base like this just means that I can use heavy concealers on my problem areas without it being too stark, and overall my skin looks fairly healthy. The color match works well for me (Porcelain), but be warned that there's a big jump between the lightest and second-lightest shades... I'm not sure if the rest of the spectrum follows suit.
Treatments -Unlisted Brand - Scott Cornwall - Colour B4
dashcrabtree 1/27/2013 1:55:00 PM
I've used this twice now, mostly to remove color build up to get back to a lighter, more receptive base. Both times, I've had layers of ashy brown, intense copper, and chocolate dyes due to my natural indecisiveness about my hair color. Colour B4 really does what it promises. Yes, your hair will most likely be reddish (as even dark dyes have "secret" lightening agents in them--that's why even neutral dyes go brassy without being touched up), and yes, this smells pretty horrible. If you're going to be turned off by the way a product like this smells, though, you must not need it very badly. This really is only for emergencies in my opinion, because it leaves the hair pretty dry... Deep conditioning afterward is a must.
Bronzers -L'Oreal - Glam Bronze Duo Sun Powder - Blonde Harmony 101
dashcrabtree 1/27/2013 6:03:00 AM
This is my first bronzer purchase. I've always been happy with my very fair skin, and am used to just using blush and highlighter to add "health" to my face when I'm not actually feeling very healthy. All of a sudden I've become very curious about bronzer, though; I think I'm just not able to get excited about beauty products anymore because I've tested everything, and this was the one thing I've never gotten into (until now?). Anyway, that means I went out and tested a ton of bronzing powders, gels, creams, etc. on my hands and arms, and this was what looked best out of all the high-end and drugstore things I managed to try. When I tested it, it seemed more like a gold highlighter than anything else, but I liked the texture and thought it would be a good place to start. When applying it to my face, though, I find that it's a bit patchy (even when using a better brush than the included mini, which is actually not so terrible). When I get it right, it looks very natural and soft, not really like a tan but just as though I have a warmer, more peachy complexion (I am naturally cool-toned). When I get it wrong, it looks like a very light layer of dirt. I do think it's worth playing with, though, and if nothing else the light shade is great for running along the tops of my cheekbones and down my nose. Back to highlighting for me!
Lip Gloss -Victoria's Secret - Beauty Rush Gloss -all
dashcrabtree 1/27/2013 5:50:00 AM
I received the Cherry and Strawberry colors as a Christmas present. I would never have chosen Victoria's Secret brand beauty items for myself, as I rarely go for "sexy" or even really "girly" in any of my makeup looks. That's exactly the effect of these glosses, and I was surprised by just how much I enjoy it. The Cherry one in particular is really fantastic. It gives an incredible plump look, especially when layered over a bit of clear balm (which also keeps the sticky feeling off my actual lips, because as noted in many reviews, these are very sticky indeed) and the glitter and sweet smell are actually pretty subtle when on. The Strawberry one I almost never use, because I find the taste/smell really cloying and somehow more present. It also looks basically like a clear gloss on my pigmented lips. The Cherry color is a nice bright pink, not too candyish but almost rosy. I don't know if I'd be tempted to buy more, as I wasn't happy with one of the two I have, and that's not a great way to start out. I would recommend at least that one gloss to anyone, though!
This was recommended to me by a veteran skin care SA as the best of all hydrating masks, so I was really excited to try it considering my face is so dry this year that I have to layer hydrating serums, oils, and creams before it feels even a bit normal. I really like Nuxe products and find them to be very decently priced, considering the quality. This mask IS very refreshing upon application, and I like that it can be spread into the eye area -- I definitely haven't had any problems with it irritating my skin or breaking me out, and in fact it helps to clear up my acne a bit, as this is mostly caused by dryness. Unfortunately, the moisturizing results I get from it are very short term. The next time I wash my face, I seem to lose all results (except for the relief in acne!). I end up using this more often than you would normally use the mask, and in some bad weeks I end up basically using it as my nightly moisturizer. I want to recommend it as a lovely product, but I do find it a bit disappointing that it doesn't seem to work as I'm used to masks working (hence the reason why you usually only need them once or twice a week!).
Treatments -Yves Saint Laurent - Forever Youth Liberator
dashcrabtree 1/12/2013 1:43:00 PM
I got a very generous sample of this, so I can't comment on long-term usage but I have to rave about it anyway. This serum allowed me to wear foundation again! My skin is so dry this winter that no primer/foundation mix has worked so far; they just accentuate the flakes. That I could now easily apply even a sightly matte foundation was a surprising but very welcome side effect of this serum. I'm excited to try a whole bottle, especially as even my young skin benefited very noticeably from my several uses and became much brighter and plumper.
Mascara -Kanebo - Sensai Mascara 38 C (Volumising)
dashcrabtree 1/12/2013 1:34:00 PM
I was really excited about the 'gimmick' behind this mascara, because I have very watery eyes in the winter as well as specific allergy seasons throughout the year, but hate the feeling of removing waterproof mascara (or rather the feeling of the little flakes that are left). I do love the wear of this product -- it's true that it really doesn't budge from the lashes. However, I don't think the removal is as magical as promised. In fact, I find it to be roughly the same as any waterproof mascara (after rinsing several times, there are still little tubes coating my lashes, and flakes falling on my cheekbones!) with the added 'bonus' that it doesn't respond particularly well to my normal cleansing oil. I'm not rating it too poorly because it may just be my cleansing method that is at fault, and I do really appreciate how it looks when I'm wearing it. I just hate getting my hopes up like this about a product, only to be left with classic raccoon eyes!