Cleansers -Boscia - MakeUp-BreakUp Cool Cleansing Oil
kmb584 9/10/2012 5:51:00 PM
I use MakeUp-BreakUp solely as a make-up remover (this is a dual action product and can also be used as a one step remover and cleanser) and have been nothing but pleased with the results. Most make-up removers on the market are designed to remove eye make-up, not full face, and those designed for the latter often made me break out. I've been using MUBU for well over 6 months and not only has it not led to any breakouts, it's also helped to speed the healing process when a pimple does rise to the surface. I have combination oily skin and use a long-wearing foundation layered over a BB cream in order to prevent a mid-day make-up slide. Before I began using MUBU, and even with the use of my Clarisonic, I would typically have to wash my face twice to remove all traces but one pump of this product followed by cleansing with my normal facial wash = squeaky clean skin. Also, don't be afraid of the word "oil" if you, like me, have oily skin. This product does not increase the oiliness and, in fact, it dries my skin, sometimes a little too much (hence the 4 lippies instead of 5).
In a previous review I stated that Boscia's Detoxifying Black Cleanser was the one cleanser that I could absolutely never be without; that opinion has changed! About 8 weeks ago I placed an order on Boscia's website for the Revitalizing Black Hydration Gel (this remains the only moisturizer that I use) and due to an awesome promotion I received over $150 in free items with that purchased - the Purifying Cleansing Gel was among the included items. As I had a previous loyalty to the Detoxifying Cleanser the PCF was an item that I set aside for later use though I honestly had no intention of using it. One morning I found my bottle of DBC empty and opted to try this cleanser in its place. I had never been so happy to run out of a favorite facial cleanser; the Purifying Cleansing Gel is, in one word, incredible. I have combination skin and often find to hard to find suitable products, from skincare to make-up, that control my oily t-zone without over drying my cheeks. And, for me, gel cleansers have always been the worst: the oily areas were controlled but the dry were overly so, often flaking. However, this gel cleanser left my face perfectly balanced! A little bit (I use 1.5 pumps) is ample to thoroughly cleanse my face and remove make-up. After use, my skin feels incredibly smooth and looks brighter. The biggest difference that I've noticed, and the one that I consider to be of utmost importance, is the reduction to breakouts that I've experienced since using this cleanser. I don't have horrible acne, but rather experience hormonal breakouts during that time of the month. Cystic acne and whiteheads were at the top of that list and while they do still occur, the numbers are nowhere near what they used to be. Furthermore, healing time has been cut in half and without the use of targeted acne spot treatments. The biggest bonus where Boscia products are concerned are that they are made with all-natural, eco-friendly ingredients: Hydrangea Leaf, Botanical Amino Acids, Jojoba Leaf, Willowherb. This cleanser deserves more then 5 lippies, in my opinion!
For years I've been reading and hearing positive reviews on Kate Somerville's entire product line and as enticed as I was to purchase said products, ExfoliKate in particular, the price tags simply were not a justifiable expense. Then, early one morning I happened to turn on the television and catch pieces of Kate's infomercial: 6 full size products for $120 was a price that I could swallow, especially since the kit contained a full range of skincare products, most of which I had been wanting to try. When it comes to exfoliating the skin, ExfoliKate does its job and does it well. I used it once, sometimes twice, each week until my 1oz tube was gone (approximately 3 months) and each time found myself with smooth, glowing skin. I have combination skin and as I mainly use oil-free products I can sometimes be left with dry, rough patches of skin on my nose and chin: ExfoliKate sloughed those areas off. That said, smooth skin was the only benefit that I attained. The product description touts that it "cleans" pores and as someone who is forever searching for a product that truly does, ExfoliKate does not. I saw no reduction whatsoever in the amount of blackheads on and around my nose nor did this exfoliator aid in combating acne, another of its claims. In fact, if my face was broken out (I suffer from hormonal breakouts) I found that it actually made it worse and I had to stray from using it until the affected areas healed. I mentioned above that my complexion was glowing after use but that was merely a short term benefit, undoubtedly due to the increased circulation that exfoliators provide, not long term. I cannot comment on its claim of reducing lines and wrinkles as, fortunately, I do not suffer from those. So, 2 lippies it is from me as far as ratings go. For $5 I can purchase a drugstore brand exfoliator and achieve the same skin smoothing results.
As a single mom who works full-time as a registered nursing supervisor, my days are too long and nights too short. I came across the wake-up makeup line at a large retailer and was so intrigued that I purchased the undereye concealer, blush/highlighter duo and an eyeshadow pallet. Much to my surprise, those 3 products delivered their claims (something I'm not used to with drugstore brands) and even though I had had only 4 hours of sleep the night prior my skin looked bright, refreshed, and well-rested. At that time I was highly disappointed that the only foundation in the wake-up line was a mineral powder; powders and my combination skin are not a good combination. Two days ago I happened to stumble across a display featuring the LIQUID wake-up makeup and didn't hesitate in purchasing in. The foundation itself went on smooth and the Ivory (shade) matched my very fair, NC15 skin almost perfectly. There was also no oxidation that left me looking like I tanned my face and nothing else. Once I got to work people kept commenting that my face was "sparkling" and, at first, I took their words as compliments. It wasn't until an Alzheimer's resident asked, "Did you glue glitter on your face?" that I entered the nearest mirror to get a look at myself. Sure enough, I was sparkling - A LOT. This foundation is jam packed with micro glitter and when outside in the sun I looked like one of the Twilight characters. At the age of 28, the glitter/sparkle phase has long since passed and the only sparkle I wear now is in the form of jewelry. By mid-day the foundation was separating and slipping off of my face, despite the fact that I used my favorite BB Cream prior to application as a primer. Since I began use of said BB Cream, I have had no issue with makeup staying on and in place. For those with oily or combination oily skin, steer clear. For those with dry skin, you may like this. If you don't want to glitter like a kid's school project, run away.
Foundations -Tarte - Amazonian Clay 12-hour Full-Coverage Foundation SPF 15
kmb584 4/12/2012 7:56:00 PM
I've tried a lot of foundations throughout the last decade, from Dior to Revlon, and never stayed with one for long. I have very fair, combination oily skin and always found it difficult to find a foundation that worked with my skin rather than highlight its flaws. Then, I came across Tarte's Amazonian Clay 12-hour foundation -- I fell in love. As I mentioned above, I have very fair skin but found the fair shade to be too light, almost pasty. "Light" however was a perfect match. The foundation itself is thick but surprisingly not heavy; it applies evenly and covers without making me look like I'm wearing makeup, The name states "full coverage" but alas, it is not. It can be, it's an easily buildable product, but initial coverage is medium. The true test came on my recent voyage to Florida, the land of heat and humidity. It's also the state where my face tends to melt off. Not the case with Amazonian Clay! I spent a full 12-hour day in the Magic Kingdom and waltzed into dinner that evening with my makeup looking the same as it did that morning. No oily t-zone, no dry patches, no splotches -- just a flawless complexion.
Foundations -Garnier - BB Cream Miracle Skin Perfector Daily All-In-One
kmb584 4/6/2012 5:49:00 PM
I discovered B.B. Cream several years ago while browsing through posts on a make-up forum. I had never heard of the product, not surprising as at that time the creams were foreign to the western market, and I soon found myself sampling cream after cream until I found the one that married my skin perfectly. It's now 4 years later and B.B. Cream has taken the US by storm, but with one incredible downfall: compared to those manufactured in Asia the ones produced here aren't a true B.B. Cream. I purchased Garnier's Miracle Skin Perfector after receiving a coupon from the company in the mail and, quite honestly, would not accept a second tube if it were given to me for free. I have fair (NC15) skin and the light/medium color Garnier offers is much too dark while leaving my face with an orange hue. "I want to look like an Oompa Loompa" is NEVER a thought that enters my head. Ever. A true B.B. Cream moisturizes the skin; this one does not. At first it left my face feeling incredibly dry, by mid-morning my t-zone was an oil slick. B.B. Creams will typically cover any and all skin imperfections, from blemishes to freckles to areas of hyperpigmentation; this one does not. Where I would only need a small, dime-sized amount of a true B.B. Cream to conceal the areas that need concealing I would need more than triple that with MSP. I would far surpass Oompa Loompa Orange if I applied that much. B.B. Creams, in their true formulation, not only act as a make-up but as a skin healer. For me, I look for one that aids in treating blemishes while brightening the complexion. MSP had the opposite effect; two days after use I broke out on my forehead, chin and jawline, and immediately after use my complexion looked dull. If you're itching to jump into the B.B. Cream market please consider purchasing one produced in Asia. They created the product and have perfected it. It can be a daunting task to find the perfect one but when you do, you'll know it. The cream will fit your skin like a glove, provide incredible benefits both immediately and long term, and leave you in awe. Browse online, you'll find a lot of companies offering sample bundles for free or at a very low cost. But please do your skin a favor and steer clear of this "B.B. Cream".
Hair Color -L'Oreal - Couleur Experte -hair dye / highlight
kmb584 3/13/2012 10:36:00 AM
Way back in 2003, as a 19-year-old college sophomore, I decided to ditch my natural blonde in favor of being a redhead. I had virgin hair and after scanning the shelves of hair dye, Couleur Experte in 6.3 seemed to be the best choice. It's now 9 years later and I've stuck to the same brand. A lot can be said for that. I've switched it up, now favoring 6.4, but the excellent results are still present. CE takes a bit longer to apply than your average drugstore brand hair dye as the highlights aren't built-in but I don't mind. The color mixes well and applies evenly, one bottle is enough for my 4" past shoulder length hair, and the end result is a rich, beautiful, red.
Moisturizers -Boscia - Revitalizing Black Hydration Gel
kmb584 2/27/2012 6:14:00 PM
I purchased this moisturizer in conjunction with the cleanser from the same collection and am 100% convinced they are the perfect duo for my combination oily skin. The gel is black with micro glitter scattered throughout, though I don't understand why as it does not (thankfully) leave skin glittery. The glitter is the only negative where this moisturizer is concerned and even I'm not convinced that it's a true negative. It has also a pretty great cooling effect, a feature that I appreciate now but will appreciate even more during the warmer months. I use this every morning after cleansing (I use a retinol cream at night) and it brightens my complexion immediately upon application. My skin glows! It moisturizes perfectly, controlling my oily t-zone while keeping the rest of my face hydrated. I've been battling blackheads for over a decade and Boscia's Black's cleanser and moisturizer duo have significantly decreased the number of them. They aren't completely eradicated but I'm 75% of the way there - a number that I can happily live with. My pores have also diminished in size since I began using these products!
I am the type of person who typically does not stick with one product for too long as the allure of a new product - whether new to me or new to the market - has a tendency to draw me in with its claims. That's precisely what happened with I came across this cleanser; it had all of the benefits that I look for in a facial cleanser and I didn't hesitate to purchase when I came across it at Sephora. I have combination oily skin that could use a blackhead vacuum, it's prone to blemishes, and has areas of discoloration (I'm so fair skinned that even a light freckle looks dark). It's been almost 3 months since I purchased the Detoxifying Black Cleanser and am currently 1/4 of the way through my 2nd bottle. This cleanser is incredible and actually does what it claims to do, a rarity among facial products these days. First, it's a gel, a consistency that usually doesn't work for me despite having combination oily skin. Every gel cleanser that I tried before this made my skin TOO dry - my oily t-zone was controlled but the rest of my face would be so dry it'd flake. That isn't the case here. This one makes my skin perfectly balanced. The warming effect is also pretty fantastic though admittedly it doesn't last for more than a couple of seconds. Second, it has eliminated my need to use a make-up remover before cleansing as it effectively washes away all traces including eye make-up! I use this product morning and night and it makes my face glow, almost literally. My skin has NEVER looked as good as it does now. It's even in texture and my skin tone is improving every day. It hasn't eradicated my freckles or "dark spots" but they are slowly fading. The blackheads I had grown accustom to have diminished greatly and aside from a hormonal blemish or two during *that* time of the month I haven't had a breakout since I began use. Boscia's Detoxifying Black Cleanser gets two thumbs up from me!
Tinted Moisturizer -MAC - Prep + Prime Beauty Balm SPF 35
kmb584 2/27/2012 4:32:00 PM
As someone with combination oily skin it's often hard for me to find face products that don't cause my t-zone the dreaded midday shine. I discovered BB Cream in 2010 and, after sampling different brands for well over 2 months, I began to faithfully use BRTC's Gold Caviar BB Cream -- until I came across MAC's P&P BB, that is! Last year, US companies caught on to the BB Cream craze and I found myself purchasing them. None of them did for my skin what BRTC's did, but nevertheless when MAC's P&P BB caught my eye in-store I ran to the register with it. I'm a NC20 and this cream blends well with my coloring, provides decent coverage and an awesome make-up base while warding off midday shine. If you, like me, began your BB Cream journey with Korean brands, give this one by MAC a try. It's the closest formulation I've found to them and worth every penny!
Treatments -TheFACEShop - Blackhead EX Charcoal Pore Strip
kmb584 2/17/2012 6:33:00 PM
The Face Shop, offering high quality and high performing skincare products, is an incredible Korean brand that I came across several years ago. To date I have yet to encounter a product that I didn't like, the charcoal pore strips were no different. I've battled with blackheads on my nose, t-zone and chin for the last decade. Name a product aimed at ridding the skin of the nasty little plugs and the odds are good that I tried it. Some helped, some didn't, but at the end of the day each one was a product that I wouldn't buy again - until now. The Blackhead EX pore strips are unlike anything I've tried before. After I peeled off the very first strip I just sat there and stared at the blackhead forest in front of me. The amount of gunk on the strip was unbelievable, the fact that my pores had been clogged by said gunk was just flat out disgusting. My nose looked pristine, not a blackhead in sight. I continue to use TFS's pore strips twice weekly (one Aloe, one Charcoal) and my formerly blackhead infested areas are no more. The Face Shop products aren't readily available in the US but 2 minutes of shopping around will lead to numerous retailers on eBay and Amazon. In my case, I purchased a box of 7 for $4.50 from a reputable seller on the latter.
Primer/ Corrector -Urban Decay - Complexion Primer Potion - Pore Perfecting
kmb584 5/2/2011 6:14:00 PM
I was very disappointed with this product. The consistency is thick (think: Elmer's Glue) but it went on surprisingly well and my foundation was easily layered on top. The big, huge, massive downfall: it caused one colossal breakout. My entire forehead, chin, and areas of my cheeks were littered with pimples by the end of the day.
I have wavy, frizzy hair that takes a lot of effort to get under control so when I saw this product at the drugstore I couldn't help but purchase it. It seemed like such a great concept and it would have been.. if it worked. I followed the directions word for word and have seen very minimal results in the 5 days since I applied the treatment. That first day my hair *did* come out a lot straighter and less frizzy when I blew it dry but the results stopped there. I should also mention that my hair felt like straw after I used a flat iron that day, and every day since for that matter. After washes I haven't seen much difference in the amount of frizz and am required to use all of the products that I did beforehand. I'd also like to address the smell. I understand that it's a chemical process but they should consider inserting a scent package to be added. I'm a wound care nurse and the mom of a toddler and when I say that this is, hands down, the absolute worst thing that I have ever smelled I'm not joking, and that says a lot. I had both bathroom windows open, the exhaust fan and a floor fan on and an odor-neutralizing candle but nothing seemed to help. The perfecting cream doesn't smell that great either but it's a step up. All in all, this is not something that I'd purchase again. It might be an awesome product for some people but not for me!