I usually check MUA reviews before I buy anything, but with this product I am glad I did not. I'm sure the low rating would have stopped me from buying this, but I'm actually very happy with this product! Consistency: the product is a very thin (almost water-like) consistency. Therefore it doesn't really even out the surface of your mani like some topcoats can do. It does even it out a little but if you have big bumps or something it won't help with that. I don't find this bothersome because I always make sure my colors are evenly applied. Also it is quite nice when you want to use it with a textured polish like the OPI liquid sands, because I can wear this on top of that without losing the liquid sand texture. Application: it's very easy to apply because the product is so watery. It doesn't 'drag' polish even when I apply it right after my color without letting it dry first. Drying time: the drying time is average. It's not a super fast drying topcoat, but it also doesn't take any longer than a regular polish/topcoat. I have no complaints. I must say that I always apply my polish in the evening at least an hour before I go to bed. Finish: it adds a nice shine to my polish. Staying power: that's the best part about this top coat. It really makes my manicures last longer. Mani's last long on me anyway (about a week chip free) but with this topcoat I can go 1.5 - 2 weeks chip free with only minimal tip wear. I usually end up changing my mani's because I'm bored of the color or because it has 'grown out' too much, not because of chips/damage. Price: it's expensive for a topcoat, but to me it's worth the price. Conclusion: excellent product. I'll buy it again.
This product has made a visible difference to my skin. My skin is more even toned and more clear. First some info about my skin: slighty sensitive, dehydrated, clog prone, combination (oily t-zone, normal cheeks). Since I made some diet changes I have no more break-outs (cut out dairy, reduced sugar, added omega 3), but I still suffered from unsightly blackheads and sebacious filaments on my nose and chin. My nose has been referred to as a 'strawberry' nose. I've tried everything to get rid of them: pore strips, gelatin mask, aha, bha, oil cleansing, honey, clarisonic, etc. Nothing really worked. Before I tried this product I started with just adding some l-ascorbic acid to my serum (in the exact same way as you use this). The problem with that was that a) it was difficult to measure out the right amount and b) it took a couple of minutes for the powder to dissolve. Because of those two reasons I just didn't use it consistently and so I saw no difference. When I purchased this product, I actually just purchased it for the convenient little spoon that comes with it, thinking I'd just refill the bottle with l-ascorbic acid when I finished it. However, I fell in love with the ease of using this product. This vitamin c dissolves instantly in my serum. It literally only takes seconds, whereas I used to have to wait minutes with my regular vitamin c powder. It might seem trivial and spoiled, but this just makes it so much easier to use that I now actually do use this consistently. Results: my skin is brighter, smoother, more even toned and above all, clearer. I used to have some small whiteheads that have sort of 'opened' up into blackheads first and then just disappeared. The sebacious filaments/blackheads (I'm still not certain what they are) are slowly starting to disappear. One thing that's very important though, is that this only works if I use it consistently for a long time. I did not notice a difference right away, not even after a week or even two. It was after about a month that I started noticing a difference. Because consistency is such an important factor for the way it works, I will repurchase this product when I run out instead of just refilling the bottle with l-ascorbic acid. I just find this so much easier to use that it makes the difference for me in wether or not I use it every single day. Bottom line: if you're low on cash or just don't want to spend this much, you could get the same results with much cheaper plain l-ascorbic acid. However, if you are lazy like me and find the time it needs to dissolve a hassle, this product is really worth getting. The rest of my skincare routine is very cheap, so I don't feel bad about splurging on this. How I apply: I apply this at night and I mix one full spoon in with my serum. I stir it a little with a knuckle of my finger, it disolves right away, and I apply it to my face. I do not stir it with the tip of my finger, because I found out this stains my nails yellow! I could use the end of the spoon to stir as well, but I find it then takes longer to dissolve. I guess the warmth of my finger makes it dissolve faster. Afterwards I apply either nothing or my nightcream (plain old vaseline). Overall, I think this is a great product that actually works and makes a visible difference to my skin. I'm thrilled with the results and I will repurchase this in a hearbeat.
Shampoo -Farouk CHI - CHI Organics Olive Nutrient Therapy Shampoo
jootje 11/18/2012 6:51:00 AM
This is my HG daily shampoo. Pro's: - sulfate free - silicone free - lathers well - cleans well - leaves hair soft, shiny and bouncy Con's - expensive This is the best sulfate free shampoo I've come across (I've tried many) and it has finally stopped my search for the perfect one. It lathers up nicely, it cleans well and it doesn't strip my hair like sulfates do. It leaves my hair shiny, soft and bouncy without weighing it down. Many sulfate free shampoos only work for me in the beginning and then they'll leave my hair lifeless and limp, but I've used up two bottles of this and the results have been consistently awesome. It is mild but it still prevents build-up for me. The matchting conditioner of this -does- contain silicones, and they work perfectly together without causing build-up. It is not the best smelling product line. The smell is a bit citrus/herbal-y. In this shampoo its more citrus than herbal. It smells okay, I'm neutral towards it. I can't say the same about the serum/oil in this line, which smells more herbal than citrus and it is so bad I just don't like using it. I haven't repurchased the conditioner because while it is nice, it's also very expensive and not special enough to warrant the price for me. But this shampoo is a gem and definitely worth the price tag for me. So overall I am very satisfied with this product. It's the perfect sulfate and silicone free shampoo that is very mild but still cleans well. I've already used up two bottles and have purchased a back-up. I will not be without this.
This is my go-to daily blush. I can't wear most powder blushes because my skin is very clog-prone and most of them break me out with daily use. I do much better with tints as they usually have very few ingredients. I first tried the red kind of tints but I could never get the color to work for me. I have fair skin with neutral undertones. Even though my skin is even toned and I don't have any break-outs, the red tints (like benetint, but I tried several others too) always made my cheeks just look irritated instead of giving me that nice rosy flush. I was always put off by the bright pink color of posietint, thinking it would be too cool toned for me. But since the red ones never worked for me, I decided to give it a try and it was perfect! In the bottle it looks very bright and cool toned, but when applied it's more like a soft coral pink on me. It's not warm but also not that cool. Neutral probably. I think it's less cool than those red tints. Either way, it does not clash with my skin tone at all and it finally gives me that naturally flushed and fresh color. It also goes fine with the rest of my make-up which is usually more warm. I guess this is just a very natural blush color. I think I am one of the few people who doesn't have a problem with the packaging or application. I just put a few dots of this on my cheek and blend it with my fingers. It's never uneven. I do work per cheek though, if I wait too long it will get uneven. I apply this after my skincare and before or after my powder (I don't wear foundation). Overall I really like this product as a blush. It's a very natural looking color that doesn't break me out and it stays put all day. I will repurchase if I run out. Don't be put off by the bright cool color, it does not come out as bright or cool. Not on me at least.
Lipstick -Clinique - Chubby Stick - Super Strawberry
jootje 11/15/2012 11:44:00 AM
I just love this product. It feels like a lipbalm, but it has great color pay-off. It's actually moisturizing and it doesn't accentuate flakes. The balm wears off as quick as regular lip balms do I guess, but the color does stain the lips so even when it wears off you still have color on your lips. I find the applicator very easy to use. I can pop this on without a mirror, though I also find that the back of the toplid can function as a mirror. The color is a nice berry color, that is more rasberry than strawberry on me. It's a very day-time appropriate color. Overall I love this product because it's very effortless, pretty and multifunctional (no need for seperate lipbalm). I highly recommend it and I'll be buying different shades.
Concealers -Estee Lauder - Double Wear Stay-in-Place Concealer
jootje 10/20/2012 11:13:00 AM
This is my favourite concealer of all time. I have terrible dark circles and this does the best job at covering them. I only need to use a tiny amount to cover them and it stays put all day. It doesn't crease or settle into lines. The product comes out a bit creamy but then it sets and won't budge. If you apply too much it'll become cakey, but because of the great coverage you don't need to use much. I really had to get used to how little product I need with this. Because I need to use so little this looks very natural on. I like that it has SPF because my eye area is definitely something I want to protect from wrinkle-causing-UV rays. Though because of the SPF it's not the best for flash photography. If I know I'm going to be taking pictures I'll use something without SPF, but for daily wear this is great. I am fair skinned and use the lightest shade, which is a perfect match for me. I know there are many people with even paler skin though, so I don't think it would suit the palest skin. For people who need something lighter I'd recommend looking at collection 2000 as their lightest shade is lighter than this. Overall I think this product is very expensive but I think it's worth it due to the unrivalled coverage and staying power. I had a gift card so I didn't pay the full price, but I would buy it again for full price.
I think this a good product, just not for me. I have very oily hair but I bought this anyway because I thought 'the more nourishing the better'. It turned out that this is not true. I found this shampoo to be very mild and nourishing. After washing my hair with this, it feels as if I've also conditioned it. At first I kept rinsing my hair because it felt as if there was still conditioner in it, but it turned out that's just how this shampoo makes my hair feel. If I had dry hair (what this product is targeted for) that would be great. But I find it's just too rich for my oily hair. It'll get greasy a lot faster. So I won't buy this again. But I'm not going to rate it down because it didn't work for me, since it's not targeted for my hair type & I knew that. I think it's great that it is sulfate & cone free and I think it would be great for people with dry hair. But I wouldn't recommend it to people with oily hair. If my hair ever gets dry though, I will buy this again. For now I will just use this on lazy days when I want to give my hair a break. I absolutely love the conditioner of this line though, even with my hairtype. I'll just use a different shampoo with it.
Concealers -Collection 2000 - Lasting Perfection Ultimate Wear Concealer
jootje 10/20/2012 10:50:00 AM
This is a great concealer. It reminds me a bit of ELDW consistency and coverage wise. It has very good coverage. It comes out a bit creamy but then it 'sets'. You shouldn't use too much otherwise it'll get cakey, but because of the good coverage you don't need to use much anyway. A little goes a long way and it does a great job of concealing my very bad dark circles. It also lasts all day. I'm not too sure if it would be best for people with dry under eye skin though. I'd recommend Rimmel Match Perfection for that. Besides the good coverage and lasting power, another thing I like about this product is the shade range. I have fair skin and the lightest shade of everything is usually a good match for me. But I know there are many people who are even paler than me, so the lightest shade of many products would still be to dark for them. I was surprised to find out that for this product the lightest shade was actually too light for me, so I needed to get the second lightest shade (no 2). I guess what I'm saying is that if you have really pale skin and products are usually too dark for you, you might have luck with this one. The lighest shade is really very light. Overall I think this is a great product with great coverage, lasting power and a good shade range. The price is a steal. Highly recommend.
I think this is a very good product. I have really bad dark circles so I can't live without concealer and I've tried many different ones. My favourite is ELDW but this one is a close second. What I love about this one is that it has pretty good coverage and it's sort of creamy. As such it's very buidable without getting cakey. It gives a very natural and smooth looking finish. Usually creamy-type concealers like this don't last well, but this one stays put all day. The coverage is slightly less than ELDW, but still rather good and satisfactory for my bad dark circles. It says on the packaging that it is 'highlighting'. I don't really notice any of that though. I use it to conceal redness/blemishes in my face (things I don't want to highlight!) as well and this works great. I prefer this one over the ELDW for that. Overall I like ELDW just a tad more for my dark circles because of the slightly better coverage, but ELDW does get cakey if you put on too much. That won't happen with this one. Therefore I think this one is better for people with dry (under eye) skin. I don't usually use the brush thingy on my face directly because that can be unsanitary, so I usually put a bit of it on the back of my hand and then apply it to my face with another brush or my fingers. I also cleaned the brush on the packaging once with brush cleanser and this worked fine. Overall I think this is the best drugstore concealer I've come across because it has good coverage that is buildable without getting cakey, it gives a smooth finish and it lasts all day. I highly recommend it.
Treatments -Nailtek - nail tek III protection plus
jootje 9/23/2012 2:02:00 PM
This product is a miracle worker. It really saved my nails! The III formula is for hard nails that peel/are brittle. That's what I have: hard nails that don't bend or break, but peel. Regular nail strenghteners make your nails harder and that's not what I need - I need moisture. After a bit of a drama with a remover I turned out to be allergic to, my nails were a complete mess and they just wouldn't get better. They were peeling like crazy and I had these weird horizontal ridges on my nails. From the moment I started using this I noticed a big improvement, and after a couple of weeks my nails were totally fine again! They have stopped peeling completely and on the new growth of my nails the ridges are gone. My nails are now strong and long again. I'm so amazed, because I think it actually glues the nail plates back together or something. It even worked on 'existing' peelies. I would've thought it would only work on the new growth and the peelies had to grow out, but they're just gone and my nails are only 1/3 new (I can tell because of the ridges). The only downside to this product is that if I wear this underneath colored polish, my manicure doesn't last as long. My mani starts chipping after 2-3 days, while without this I can make my manicure last chip-free for at least 7 days. So if I wear a color on my nails, I won't wear this. When I wear color I want it to last, because it's much more of a hassle to put on. In the beginning I used to have this on my nails every day, but now that my nails are healthy again I use it as a treatment in between manicures. I'll put it on, without adding color, and apply a new layer every day for 3-4 days. The good thing is that my nails are so healthy now, that they actually look pretty good naturally without color and I don't mind not wearing any. After 3-4 days it starts to chip so I'll remove it and then I'll either do the same over again or I'll put on a colored mani for about a week. After that I'll do a treatment again and so on. This keeps my nails in perfect shape. If you don't usually wear the same polish for more than 3 days, there should be no problem at all. I also purchased the hydration therapy III, and I don't really know what the difference is. Both work equally well for my nails, though I feel that the hydration therapy has to be sealed in by another polish or else it'll come right off. Both work the same miracles for me. I use them interchangeably or sometimes at the same time (one layer of therapy, then a layer of protection). When I run out I don't know which one I'll repurchase. Probably protection plus because does better on it's own. Pro's: - actually works: no more peeling & no more ridges Con's: - makes nail polish chip faster on me Overall I am extremely pleased with this product, and despite that it makes my polish chip faster, I'll definitely repurchase. I just use it as a treatment in between manicure's and thanks to this product my nails look great without a manicure anyway.
This is a review for the Mia 2 after 3 months of use. Will update if anything changes. My skin: slightly sensitive, dehydrated, VERY clog prone, combination skin (oily t-zone, normal cheeks). I used to have terrible acne but Iíve gotten rid of that by changing my diet (cut out dairy, reduced sugar & added omega 3). My skin is pretty Ďthickí- it renews very quickly and never scars. It needs a lot of exfoliation to prevent clogged pores. The skin problems Iím still battling are all in my t-zone: oiliness, large pores, blackheads and sebaceous filaments. The main reason I bought the clarisonic is because my skin needs daily exfoliation and the products I was using for that (BHA & AHA, muslin cloth) had some drawbacks. I love BHA and AHA - they got rid of many of my Ďclosedí clogged pores/whiteheads - but I canít use them daily. That thins out my skin too much (scars wonít heal) and it also causes a lot of flakiness, for which I then still need to manually exfoliate. The combination of chemical + manual exfoliation is too much. So I use BHA/AHA max. once in 2 weeks all over, though I use BHA more often as a spot treatment on clogged pores. Purging: I was really afraid and a bit skeptical of this purging period a lot of people experienced and I thought it might be because of irritation. I thought only actives could cause purging and I know irritation can cause break-outs as well. So I started out by using it once a day instead of twice, just to be sure. My skin purged a little, but itís really not as bad as it sounds and it was not due to irritation. I know what irritation break-outs look like on me: flat, raised, red, unpoppable bumps (if I do try to pop them only a clear liquid comes out). All that happened since I started using the clarisonic was that a few existing smaller impurities (whiteheads, clogged pores) that wouldnít come to a head, now actually came to the surface as whiteheads. I could easily extract them, after which they were invisible. My skin never looked worse since I started using the clarisonic. So the purging was minor and only happened on areas where I had impurities prior to starting the clarisonic. It was very similar to the purging I experienced when I first started using BHA and AHA, which was also minor like this. The purging lasted for about 2 weeks. After around 2 months I noticed my skin loved the clarisonic so much that I decided to try and use it twice a day. This was fine with my skin (which I didn't expect), no irritation. But after a month or so I didn't notice any improvement from just using once a day, so I went back to using it once a day. I can use it 2x a day but don't find it necessary so I don't. It's important that you don't press the clarisonic onto your skin though. That makes the sonic movements less effective and also more aggravating. I just place it onto my skin, no pressure, and make circular motions. Results: when I used the clarisonic for the first time I didnít notice a massive difference like some people described. My skin was soft indeed, but itís also soft after using a muslin cloth. The difference to me was that it stayed soft for much longer. It was still soft by the next evening and that was new to me. It got softer and softer as the days progressed. Now I do feel that my skin is softer than it has ever been. I also do really feel like my products absorb better/faster because of this product. As for my blackheads: it did not clear them overnight. The first couple of times I still noticed the blackheads sticking out of my pores after the shower as usual, but after a couple of days I noticed this getting less and less. They were still there and just as visible, it just felt like theyíd been decapitated (haha). The surface feels a lot smoother. The pores are just as big I suppose, but there is much less gunk in it so they are less apparent. Overall, I notice my skin has become more clear as well. I just noticed that I had to wear less and less concealer on my face, up to a point I now only use it under my eyes. Concluding I can say that his has made my skin softer than it has ever been, even compared to muslin cloth/exfoliating facewash/bha/aha, and most importantly: without any flakiness. It also makes my products absorb better. So the clarisonic did what I bought it for. It replaced my other exfoliants and my skin is now softer than it has ever been - without flakiness! My make-up goes on much smoother and my skin glows. I only use BHA and AHA every once in a while now (and skip the clarisonic for a day if I do). I do still use BHA as my go to spot treatment, but there isnít much to spot treat anymore. I just like to emphasize that the change didn't happen overnight for me. It was a very gradual process. So if you don't see results right away, give it some time. In the end I am very happy with this purchase and I wonít go a day without it. If Iím traveling, this comes with me. I canít speak for any other skin types than my own, but I would recommend it if you have skin similar to mine. If I lost this I would repurchase it in a hearbeat.
I just love vaseline. Whenever I have a skin issue this always fixes it in no time! It cures damaged/wounded skin better than anything else. If I have a wound this is the best for healing it. When I was in the hospital after an accident, they also only put vaseline on my wounds and they healed very fast. I also find it very moisturizing. It works wonders on dry feet, elbows & hands. But I even like it for my face. My skin is very clog prone and this does not clog my pores actually (shocking, I know). It's one of the few things I can use on my face that doesn't clog me! It's way too shiny to use during the day, but I like to use a very thin layer at night when my (oily) skin is feeling tight. I especially love it if I put a hyaluronic acid on my skin first and then seal it in with the vaseline. I buy the version in the tube for hygiene. The best of it all, it's dirt cheap! I am never without this.
This is an OK concealer. Pro's: - natural looking texture - doesn't crease/settle in to lines (if applied in moderation) - stays put all day Con's: - average coverage - packaging is very unconvenient This is a very watery product. It took a while to get used to that, as at first I blended it away completely. I find that it works best if you pat this on and then just let it dry. If you blend it, it will just disappear. You can apply multiple layers, but i find that if I apply more than one layer it becomes kind of cakey and it will settle in to lines. So I only apply one layer and for me the coverage is not enough that way. I have pretty bad dark circles and this just doesn't cut it. It does help, but my estee lauder double wear concealer blows this one out of the water. It is designed for under the eyes, but I also use it on my face and I actually like it better for that. What bothers me most is the packaging. The product is very watery and it just constantly spills over the tube, even though I never even squeeze the tube. I have to be careful to hold it upright and not to squeeze the tube, and even then there's always way too much on the nozzle and it's dripping down the sides etc. It's really frustrating. Overall I think this is an OK concealer. It's not terrible but for me it doesn't cut it. If you have light dark circles then this might be nice because it's very natural looking, but you would still have to put up with the annoying packaging. If your dark circles are medium to bad, then don't bother. I will use up the tube but I won't repurchase this.
Cleansers -Philosophy - Purity Made Simple (Real Purity Cleanser)
jootje 8/2/2012 11:46:00 AM
This didn't work out for me. I bought it based on the positive reviews. I have dehydrated combination skin (very oily t-zone, normal cheeks) and I usually stay away from sulfates. I knew before I purchased this that it has a sulfate in it but it's not one I've ever used before so I thought it was worth a shot. Unfortunately, it was a miss. It smells gorgeous and when I put it on my face it feels very mild and it just glides over the skin very smoothly. But afterwards my face feels tight. There was a time when I thought this was normal/inevitable, but I know better now. My face should not feel tight after washing. So this is too drying/dehydrating for me. I'm glad I bought a travel size to test it out first. I'm now using it as a shaving cream and it works surprisingly well for that, but needless to say I won't be repurchasing this. It's not a terrible product and I can see why people with normal skin might like it, but I wouldn't recommend this to anyone with dehydrated skin (and oily skin can be dehydrated as well). If you know that your skin doesn't like sulfates, don't bother trying this.
I hated this product. It's acetone free, but I found this to be extremely harsh. Sure, it removed my polish fine, but my nails looked like crap since I started using this. Even worse, this stuff has an overpowering smell that lingered and it even gave me nose bleeds. It took me a while to figure it out, because I wouldn't never thought a remover could do that. But it did. It gave my boyfriend a nosebleed too when he was in the same room as me while I was using this. Since I stopped using it, the nosebleeds have stopped as well. So needless to say I do not recommend this product and I will never buy it again.