I haven't written a review for a few years (probably because I haven't found any product outstanding enough to merit one), but GA Maestro has perked me up and made me want to sing its praises. I'm also hoping this will be particularly helpful to those of us who have been mourning the demise of what was a HG foundation to many on MUA: Estee Lauder Enlighten. (Just to clarify, I had never used an EL foundation before Enlighten and have never used one since, but Enlighten was a truly unique formula). I have spent both years and a small fortune since it was discontinued trying to find a replacement. Since Estee Lauder bought out so many other brands, I figured it was only a matter of time before they brought back the formulation (or even a close facsimile) in one of their other lines or under a different name. So I have relentlessly tried out every single foundation, TM and BB Cream that has been released, always keeping my fingers crossed that SOMETHING would at least strike a chord of similarity. I kept my box with Enlighten's ingredients and have compared them to every new product, to no avail.
Let me be clear: Maestro is in no way a dupe or substitute for Enlighten. But to those who adored one very special quality about that particular formula, I do think it's worth a test drive. From the minute I applied the first drop of Maestro, its liquidity felt similar to the one outstanding thing I loved about my old foundation - and what I have been trying to duplicate - a light, weightless feeling that still offered superb coverage. To me, this is the thing most worth mentioning about Maestro. It goes on watery, yet still magically seems to cover more imperfections than does every one of my heavier foundations. I find it works on both the dry and oily parts of my combination skin, doesn't catch on dry patches and wears perfectly throughout the day. Doesn't oxidize and seems to maybe look even better by the end of the day than it did when it first went on. The liquid texture is what keeps it from sliding into fine lines, so it looks much less aging than a heavier, creamy formula. And it has a perfect finish: dewy, not greasy. It feels clean and almost like nothing on the skin. Works to cover up pores to some degree as well.
I do have two small issues: I find the dropper messy to deal with and think it would have been better packaged in a pump (even with the liquid texture, this could have worked fine) or in a squeeze tube with a pointed tip. And the color selection is a bit vexing: the intensity of 5.5 would be my perfect match, but I need a more yellow undertone. There is no 6.0, so I had to go to 6.5, which is actually a perfect yellow undertone, but is just a little too dark. Wonder what happened to 6.0? And finally: only one thing almost stopped me from even testing Maestro: I am acne-prone and generally do not do well with the ingredient cyclohexasiloxane, especially when it is almost first in the list. But I have not broken out from this and have been wearing it for months now. My theory is that its thin texture is what makes it easier for my skin to tolerate. It is not nearly as occlusive as the other formulas I had difficulties with in the past, so perhaps the liquid formula is light enough to not clog pores.
In any event, this is (in my opinion) one of the actual innovative foundations that has been released in quite some time. So for that reason alone, it is probably worth a try. And to my fellow MUA'ers who have been on a futile search for an Enlighten replacement, I hope this helps fill the void just a little bit:)
Eye Primer -Too Faced - Shadow Insurance, Anti-Crease Eye Shadow Primer
jeri55 5/18/2008 5:13:00 PM
Oh I wanted to like this. UDPP is the most perfect product ever, but I can't stand the packaging and I don't want to cut up that stupid genie tube in order to get most of the product out. But Shadow Insurance failed test after test miserably for me. I kept trying for weeks, because after comparing the ingredient list, it seemed so very similar to UDPP that I kept hoping it would perform close enough to work! But nope - not even close. It creased within a half-hour, while UDPP will last through the day for me, except in extreme conditions. In this case, similar ingredients do not equal similar performance at all. I'm back to Primer Potion, but I've still got my fingers crossed that Urban Decay will switch their packaging to a nice, simple, sanitary squeeze tube.
This probably deserves the hype it's getting, if only because there are so few excellent choices in drugstore foundations lately. The formula of the Carmindy is the standout here - I find it to be very hydrating and moisturizing without being overly greasy: dewy yet natural. The main selling point on this one for me is that it's almost the only formula I've ever found which doesn't really highlight flakes - it almost seems to smooth them away like a good moisturizer and that's rare in a fuller coverage foundation. Make no mistake - this isn't sheer. It's not really a true full-coverage either, but it's still much more than a TM. This CAN be thinned out however, and it can also be built over minor skin issues. My main personal gripe with this one is the colors though. At first glance, they appear absolutely great - largely neutral and not a heavily pink or peach undertone in the bunch. But upon further investigation, they're slightly problematic. The main shortcoming is the lack of testers. The frosted glass bottles make it impossible to see the actual colors so you have to guess - and the colors are kind of odd. Porcelain is a rarely found, truly pale color for PPP's, but keep in mind that you have to be REALLY light to use it: I'm usually the first and lightest color in foundations and it was too light for me. Ecru Beige is the next one up and while I appreciate the lack of pink tones, it tends to look a little grey on. The next color up is Nude Beige and it has a tiny bit of a pink undertone, so by the time you get to the next step up, Creamy Beige, you're already getting way too dark with a tendency to turn orange after application. I do think that most MAC NC and/or NW 20's would be okay with Ecru Beige though - I'd always rather look beige/grey than pink, yellow or orange! And the color can be warmed up with the right blush or bronzer. All in all, this is definitely worth trying out and is a great find if you can locate it. I appreciate the lack of parabens, the perfect, functioning pump bottle and the truly lovely, workable finish.
Tinted Moisturizer -Tarte - Amazonian Clay BB Tinted Mosturizer (Smooth Operator)
jeri55 5/31/2004 2:56:00 PM
This is one of the best I've used and I've tried literally every sheer foundation and TM on the market - they've all had at least one flaw. Skin type is sensitive and acne-prone/ oily, yet dehydrated. Looking for light, but discernible coverage with a dewy, natural finish, fragrance-free and an all physical, broad spectrum sunscreen. Problems I've run into range from too-heavy formulas which catch on dry patches or leave too matte a finish (accentuating fine lines); greasy formulas which leave an oil slick; chemical sunscreen ingredients which irritate, yet ironically don't protect; too-sheer formulations which are fine for evening out skintone, but not sufficient for anyone except those with perfect skin to begin with. But by far, my biggest issue has been color choices: I'm a yellow based PPP, which most companies apparently don't believe exist. If a color is light enough, it's pink or peach toned. The next shade up may be yellow based, but it's invariably too dark. Enter Tarte Smooth Operator: the lightest color, Facade, is truly neutral and the next shade up, Conceal, is also a perfect slightly yellow-toned shade, that's still light enough for most PPP's. Next best part: a partly zinc oxide based sunscreen - SPF 20. This contains both titanium dioxide and zinc (most pure physicals just use titanium - the mix of both offers better protection), with no chemical screens. I find zinc less pore-clogging than titanium, so this is a huge plus as far as I'm concerned. This has nice coverage, yet it's still very lightweight - it goes on smooth and silky, DOESN'T catch onto dry patches and has a slightly dewy finish (not greasy and not matte). It does have a tiny amount of that shimmering, gold mica, which seems to be in every TM these days (allegedly for an "illuminating" effect, but which usually just accentuates flaws), but it's in a MUCH smaller concentration than in most similar products, so to me it's almost imperceptible. The packaging is also perfect: a nice, sanitary tube. One thing to note is that there are a few potential pore-cloggers in the ingredient list, but this hasn't caused any problems for me so far and it has everything else going for it! I gave it almost a month before writing this review and so far, I'm head over heels happy with it - so happy in fact, that I've put you to sleep reading this, but I couldn't help it - it's not everyday that something this great comes along and I wanted to provide enough info to help anyone who might be curious about it. Overall, this is by far the best product of its type I've discovered recently!! INGREDIENTS: Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide, water, cyclomethicone, PEG/PPG 18/18 dimethicone, octyldodecyl neopentanoate, glycerin, dimethicone, calcium sodium phosphosillicate, sugar cane extract, apple fruit extract, lemon fruit extract, orange fruit extract, camelia oleifera leaf extract, panax ginseng root extract, ginkgo biloba root extract, anthemis nobilis leaf extract, phytantroil, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, retinyl palmitate, tocopheryl acetate, tocopherol, tretahexyldecyl ascorbate, boron nitride, palmitic acid, dextrin palmitate, sodium hyaluronate, sodium chloride, sodium dehydroacetate, phenoxyethanol, methylparaben, propylparaben.
Lip Gloss -Delux Beauty - Denton Lipgloss [DISCONTINUED]
jeri55 3/8/2004 3:06:00 PM
If you're looking for the quintessential clear gloss, this is a great option. Sheer pale pink with silver sparkles in the tube, this applies almost clear, but way better - your lips, but sparkly! Great texture and the perfect size tube.
Lip Gloss -Delux Beauty - Jasper Lipgloss [DISCONTINUED]
jeri55 3/8/2004 2:59:00 PM
Sheer shimmery pink that stays pink - not too bright or too pale - just right. Summery and girly without being too Barbie, this is a perfectly fun color. Great texture, no scent, perfect size tube - love these!
Rosy mauve pink with subtle silver shimmer, this just slightly deepens my lips and looks very natural - not as purple as Odin, but still having some mauve undertones, this gives a very pretty, simple look. This is one of the newer Delux glosses and if you like them, I'd check this one out - really nice addition to the line!
Lip Gloss -Delux Beauty - Odin Lipgloss [DISCONTINUED]
jeri55 3/8/2004 2:39:00 PM
Slightly sheer mauvey, plum berry without shimmer - it's a YLBB for me and one of my favorites ever. Very similar to Stila Natalie in a gloss, this one is perfect - adds color to my already pigmented lips, but is still very understated.
Lip Gloss -Delux Beauty - Norris Lipgloss [DISCONTINUED]
jeri55 3/8/2004 2:32:00 PM
Probably my favorite Delux gloss - this is the one I grab when I'm undecided on what to wear and in a hurry. Pretty, sheer raspberry with gold shimmer - just brightens up your face without clashing with anything and instantly looks more finished. Also, whenever I wear Chanel Spark, I take my Norris with me for touch-ups instead - perfect little tube which fits everywhere and doesn't leak.....(yes, Glossimers - I'm talking to you......)
Lip Gloss -Delux Beauty - Lip Gloss [DISCONTINUED]
jeri55 3/8/2004 2:20:00 PM
These are such pretty glosses, but my favorite thing about them seems to be what I notice others sometime complain about - their size! What a lot of people fail to recognize is that these (unlike a lot of other brands with tiny tubes) actually have the same amount of gloss in them as a MAC Lipglass: both Deluxe and MAC contain exactly 0.17 oz. (As a further comparison, Bobbi Brown's are only 0.15 oz - they're $18 and their tube is still a little longer.) I actually love that Delux cut down the tube (less bulk, less waste) and still have the same amount of product. Deluxe's advantage is that they're easier to stash in a tiny purse - every centimeter counts when you're trying to fit a cell phone, wallet, keys, brush and makeup into a purse that's only meant for show! - and that means I reach for these many times over my other glosses.
Eye Shadow -Lancome - Color Dose - Waterproof Cream Eye Colour
jeri55 3/8/2004 1:58:00 PM
This review is really only for their use as a shadow base - I use Montego Beige and it's just great. (MAC Paints creased on me big time and this is even a slightly better color than Bare Canvas as well.) The texture of the Colour Doses is just a little silkier, lighter and easier to spread than the Paints and literally held onto my shadow like iron all day. I've tried FYEye, Fade Not Crease Not, Laura Mercier's Eye Basics, DeCrease, Almay Amazing Lasting, Quo, Chanel - even Lancome's own 2 versions of their shadow base - (I know I'm leaving some out too!) and none of them even came close to this in staying power on my super oily lids. I can see this not working for everyone - it might be a little thick or powdery if you don't have an extreme oily lid problem, but if you have continuous trouble with melted creases, definitely give it a try. I use just the tiniest little dab spread thinly, only on the lid to just above the crease, and this cuts down on the heavy factor. The metal tubes are a pain (though they seem to ooze a tiny bit less than the Paints) and I wish these could be packaged in plastic squeeze tubes, so they wouldn't look as battered, but it's still WAY better than packaging them in a pot.
This is my favorite way to do a unique smoky eye. It's a deep, DARK purple color, almost an egglant, with faint golden shimmer and without any obvious red undertones. This is a purple I can actually use without looking like I just lost a fight or stayed up all night. It's very messy to apply, even with a base (which is a necessity with all the pigments), but the results are worth the effort. Gorgeous and smolder-y - that's not actually a word, but you get the point!
Okay, so maybe there are other shimmery, copper brown colors, but Coco Beach is one of the most beautiful versions you'll ever find. Shame it was LE, it's a classic, and I can see it looking good in one form or another (lid, crease or liner) on a lot of people. Even though I know realistically that I'll never run out of my very full jar, I'm so careful with this, because I never want to use it up!
As more than a few very wise reviewers said below, pigments are definitely not for the faint of heart nor are they great for those with time constraints. They're messy and a pain in the neck to use - (it's almost impossible to keep the dark ones from falling all over your cheeks when you're using them as shadows.) Nevertheless, I love these things with a passion! Maybe it's their addictive qualities, maybe it's their unique and complex colors, maybe it's the interesting and fun effects that are difficult to duplicate without them - whatever - they're just fun - and that's why some of us love makeup, isn't it?
Skincare - Face -Unlisted Brand - Twinlabs NaPCA spray
jeri55 2/11/2004 2:36:00 PM
This is an excellent product that I think anyone's skin can benefit from. A super-light moisturizing mist, its only ingredients are Pure aloe vera gel, Na-PCA (sodium salt of pyrrolidone carboxylic acid), purified water and methylparaben: (there are 2 versions of this spray made by Twinlabs - this review is for the one with aloe.) Unlike plain aloe vera gel, using this alone doesn't leave your face feeling dry and tight. Instead, it's a great hydrator for dry surface skin if you're oily and breakout-prone, as well as sensitive. It's definitely a find for these skin types, as it's so hard to find something that hydrates without causing additional problems, but drier skins can probably also benefit from using it under a more emollient moisturizer as well. Na-PCA is found naturally in the skin and this product simply adds back whatever we strip from the skin using drying treatment products. So simple, yet so effective.