This is a HG product for me and has been (in a different iteration - they changed it at some point) since high school. Given that I'm now 30, I've probably been using this half my life. However, I do NOT use this as a foundation. I use it as a concealer. I buy it in 01 Creamy Ivory and use the most imperceptibly tiny amount to cover trouble spots every morning: a tiny scar on my cheek, a small dark burst capillary above my upper lip, and any more temporary blemishes like breakouts or even just weird red spots (I have very sensitive skin). I follow up with a mineral powder sunscreen and that's it - no foundation. This formula has a lot of advantages over most of the "real" concealers I've tried: it blends better than most concealers, it stubbornly stays put (the older version I used was even waterproof), and it covers so well as to render red spots almost completely invisible. Plus, my sensitive, acne-prone combination skin doesn't react to it at all. HIGHLY recommended. PROS: neutralizes red spots, blends well (keep the amount tiny), wears all day, doesn't cause any skin reaction CONS: honestly can't think of any except the price... and because a little goes a long way, I only have to re-buy every couple years--which actually makes it a shockingly good deal
Mascara -Christian Dior - Diorshow Iconic High Definition Lash Curler Mascara
marijean 2/10/2012 4:35:00 PM
I should start out by saying that I already have a HG mascara: that old standby, Diorshow. I ended up with Diorshow Iconic last month, however, when I ran out of my normal mascara in Tokyo and (after an ill-advised experiment with a disgusting drugstore mascara) broke down and went to the Dior counter there. To my horror, the saleswoman told me that they didn't carry regular Diorshow anymore--only Iconic. Resigned, I put the 4,300 yen tube on my credit card and took it home. Iconic feels like a very different formula from regular Diorshow. It's slightly wetter and produces a more toned-down effect, at least on my lashes. When I first saw the wand I thought I would hate it, but it lays the formula on evenly and without clumps. Notably, it produces and holds a curl very well--something the original Diorshow is terrible at. I assume this is why they've decided to market Iconic in Tokyo and not the original. This is a very good mascara for daytime professional situations. As long as you stop yourself at one or two coats, it creates a refined-looking lashline with no clumps and no smudging. It gives length and definition without tacky spidery-ness. However, it lacks the drama of regular Diorshow on my lashes, which are already long and have a natural curl but need definition and volume. PROS: Creates and holds a slight curl, no clumps, layers well, smooth and elegant formula you would expect from a Dior product CONS: Just doesn't produce the drama I'm used to from Diorshow--in particular, doesn't volumize as much TAKEAWAY: This is a great alternative to original Diorshow if you need something that will hold a curl. My lashes don't need that, but I'll probably keep a tube on hand anyway because it's practically smudge-proof with my eye cream and creates a nice, classy conservative look for those days I'm the only woman in a meeting with a bunch of old men.
Sunscreen -Bare Escentuals - SPF 30 Natural Sunscreen
marijean 1/30/2012 1:17:00 AM
Now that they've improved the packaging, I can finally write a 5-lippy review for this super convenient sunscreen. PROS: SPF 30 with no oil or emollients, good for people who are sensitive to chemical sunscreens, doesn't break me out, has a subtle mattifying and tone-evening effect, they finally designed a dispensing system that works CONS: Even with the new dispensing system where I can remove the brush for cleaning, the brush gets pretty gross This is the ONLY beauty product I use every single day. Why? It's simple, convenient, serves an important purpose, and has never caused a breakout. I don't use any other BA products, but I'm glad I switched to this one (from Peter Thomas Roth's version of the same thing) a couple years ago. The $28 price tag doesn't seem bad to me for a daily use product like this that lasts several months and serves multiple purposes.
I should have known better than to buy a mascara that is clearly meant for teenagers, but I was in a bind when my boyfriend brought the wrong shade of my usual mascara for me from New York and I was stuck in Tokyo rapidly running out of my usual big lash mascara. So I bought this at my local drugstore to tide me over for the month until I returned to the US myself. Clearly, I wasn't thinking straight. I abhor this mascara. PROS: Pretty cheap by Tokyo standards (about 1500 yen, when my normal mascara is 4300 yen) CONS: Clumpy, inconsistent texture, poor finish, tacky flashy packaging I wouldn't want to carry in my purse Bottom line: Not appropriate for women who go for a more polished look. I used it once and won't again. Instead, I broke down and went to buy my regular Dior mascara even though it costs more than twice as much here as it does in NY. I like big lashes, but they have to look soft and classy. This product just left them looking spidery and clumpy.
Treatments (Eye) -Clarins - Sun Wrinkle Control Eye Contour Care SPF 30
marijean 1/30/2012 12:52:00 AM
I wanted to love this, but it has one flaw that keeps me from using it daily. PROS: Doesn't irritate my eyes, doesn't migrate, appropriate level of sun protection CONS: Leaves white-ish cast that makes me look like a zombie I'm giving it a generous 4 lippies primarily because it doesn't irritate my eyes, which is something of a miracle given my super sensitive eyes. It's also non-greasy, which I really appreciate. But the white-ish cast is its fatal flaw--it means I can't bring myself to put the stuff on when I want to look good. That means I only actually use it once or twice a week, which defeats the purpose. The effect is subtle, but enough that it makes me look very slightly sickly. Maybe this won't matter so much to people who use undereye concealer, but I don't usually wear any. Definitely a high quality product worth trying, but not worth re-buying in my case.
Treatments -Eucerin - Redness Relief Anti-Aging Serum [DISCONTINUED]
marijean 8/23/2011 5:57:00 PM
This is a serum that could be used as a lightweight moisturizer on oily or combination skin. I bought it because my super-sensitive skin flares up red at the slightest irritation, including being washed with Cetaphil and lukewarm water. Based on the MUA reviews, I hoped it might work as a lightweight day moisturizer and tone down my angry skin after my morning shower (I already have a HG Clinique night moisturizer that soothes my skin). The serum is packaged well - very hygenic and easy to dispense. It is light (almost watery) and absorbs well. I like the feel of the product because it doesn't feel like a mask of chemicals sitting on my face. Sadly, my skin reacts to this product by becoming red and mildly itchy. A little over a week later, I broke out in the spots where I had applied it. I've tried using it multiple times since I first used it during allergy season (for me, spring) and had the same reaction, so I am throwing it out. For someone who is not sensitive to it, this could be a very good product. However, I assume that many people looking for a redness reducer have highly reactive skin like mine. If your skin is highly reactive, be careful.
This review applies to the brown shade. I bought this after trying it out on my hand at Sephora. The texture is good, and the brown color is good for my coloring, so I bought it on a whim. The problem is that this product leaves a red shadow wherever it is applied and then washed off. Whatever they use as their red pigment to give it a chestnut color is very, very stubborn. This is a BIG problem, and not just when I'm trying to remove it at the end of the night. If I make any mistake on my eyeline (which is always) I usually just wet a q-tip and clean it up... but this eyeliner leaves a red blotch or makes it look like my eyes are lined in redness. Not really my look. Like I said, this review applies to the brown shade of this product. The other shades may be perfectly fine, but fellow pale people should steer clear of the brown eyeliner.
Of the two lash conditioning products I've tried, this is my favorite. It took two months, but my lashes are indeed noticeably longer, darker, and somewhat thicker. They're not better looking than ever before, but they are as good looking as they have ever been. Pros: Smooth texture, non-irritating to my sensitive eyes, genuinely improved look of lashes (with considerable patience.) Best of all, it works well as a primer under mascara, so I can use it day and night. Cons: I wish the brush had a soft tip for applying along the lash line as well as to lashes themselves.
This is a review for L'Oreal Lash Boosting Serum that was bought in Japan, where it is called Lash Renewal. From what I can tell it is otherwise identical to the product sold in North America. I bought this because after a summer of waterproof mascara, my normally thin-but-long lashes were looking a little sad. (I would love to try something like Latisse, but I also love my gold-flecked green eyes and am not willing to risk them turning brown.) This product certainly doesn't work any miracles, but I wasn't expecting that. I went into it thinking of it as a conditioner for my eyelashes. I condition my long hair, so why not my lashes? PROS: Feels nice and cool on my lash line, has very slightly darkened the base of my lashes over the course of about 28 days, unlike most people I do like the feel of the applicator, lashes do look slightly healthier. CONS: Very expensive for what it is (basically conditioner), **totally unusable under my mascara**, no discernible improvement in length (not a serious expectation anyway), no real improvement in fullness. OVERALL: Since this seems to basically be a way of delivering panthenol to condition my eyelashes, I will buy a cheaper product in a second if it becomes available. I'm on the fence as to whether I would buy this specific item again. I sort of like the ritual of putting it on every night and it does help a little, but it also seems overpriced for what it is.
This is a great product, and while U.S.$5.99 seemed like a lot to pay for two pins it was absolutely worth every penny. I have been dancing since age 4, and pulling my hair up into a reasonably secure and attractive bun never stopped being an awful, 20-minute trial that made me question my own competence. The spin pins reduce this process to 20 ridiculously easy seconds. I have long, layered hair. Hair stylists always comment that while each hair is actually quite fine and slippery, I have a LOT of hair on my head. This means that it often defeats even the most secure mechanisms for keeping it swept up nicely. If I insert the spin pins securely, they hold all my layers in securely for around 4 active hours without the aid of any other product (i.e. hairspray, gel, pins, etc.). After than, it literally only takes another 20 seconds to redo the bun, even for an incompetent like myself. One thing to note: the spin pins will only secure whatever quality of bun you have formed before inserting them. Twist your hair into a tight, no-nonsense bun and they will secure it. But twist your hair into a looser or uneven bun and the results will be both messier and much shorter lasting. Recommended.
Primer/ Corrector -Philosophy - The Present Clear Makeup
marijean 2/21/2009 7:57:00 PM
I bought this while I was traveling last summer and used it for just a week or two. It holds my foundation powder well and makes my skin feel soft, but also brings out every flake on the sides of my cheeks. I also notice that my super-sensitive combination skin turns red and even a bit itchy when I first put it on. I would recommend this to non-sensitive normal skin types looking for a primer to use under moderate-to-heavy coverage powder foundation. It is non-oily and leaves a soft, matte feeling. But I do NOT recommend to very sensitive skin types, people looking for makeup-less coverage, or people priming for a liquid foundation.
Moisturizers -Clinique - Super Rescue Antioxidant Night Moisturizer
marijean 1/29/2009 6:03:00 AM
When my combination skin was stressed by Differin and winter winds, it got red and simultaneously dry and oily. Even worse, my old moisturizer (Philosophy Hope in a Jar) didn't play will with the Differin and I had to abandon it. I couldn't seem to find a moisturizer that balanced it back out, and I tried many. After doing some research on MA, I decided to try this product. I'm using the Very Dry to Dry version. In my former life with acne prone skin I never would have put anything this heavy anywhere near my skin, but with the Differin I need some major nourishment. After a few days using this every night and some mornings, the redness and flakiness finally went away completely. After a month of use I have not have a single breakout. I like this so much that I'm using it in the mornings as well (under a mineral SPF 30.) Once the spring comes it will certainly be too heavy, but I have high hopes for the ligher formulations. PROS: Rich, a little goes a long time. Tube packaging makes me think the antioxidants might actually do something. Seems to soothe dry, red skin immediately. Did not make me break out even though it seems heavy. CONS: Price might be a bit steep for some, but I'm just glad to have found something that makes my skin look and feel good.
Sunscreen -Peter Thomas Roth - Instant Mineral SPF 30
marijean 1/29/2009 4:19:00 AM
I have hated every sunscreen I ever tried and been sensitive to most of them--until I found this. Now I'm wearing sunscreen daily for the first time in my life, and for that alone it deserves 4 lippies. Pros: Good for people with sensitivity to chemical sunscreen, oily skin, or just sunblock phobia. Convenient, quick application--no mirror required. Cons: Infuriating packaging took weeks to dispense powder consistently and evenly--NOT what you want in the product that is supposed to come between you and the sun. Expensive.
I have very long but relatively fine lashes with a natural curl. My usual non-waterproof mascara is Diorshow. I left my beloved Diorshow at home when I visited my family at Christmas, and took the opportunity to experiment with a couple drugstore options. This was my favorite of the bunch. PROS: Really does bring out a lot of fullness with very little clumping. Good brush for a drugstore mascara; particularly good at catching every one of my fine lashes without depositing clumps. Great price. CONS: The black-brown shade lists more to the black end of the spectrum than I prefer (I think it looks harsh with my fair hair and complexion.) IN SHORT: This is definitely worth a try, especially for the price. I like it so much I've found myself using it as my workday mascara all month. Just wish I could buy it here in Japan!
I bought this product because I wanted a mascara that wouldn't budge and that came in chestnut brown so as not to look too harsh with my fair hair and complexion. I have very long but relatively thin natural lashes. My usual non-waterproof mascara is Diorshow. This is not a bad mascara, but it's not anything special--and for the price I would expect something special (approximately US$30 here in Japan). The packaging is cute, but the brush does nothing to catch and define my lashes and I have to be excruciatingly careful to keep it from dumping clumps on my lashes or making them look spidery. Once this stuff is on, it's not going anywhere--which is generally a good thing in a waterproof mascara, but with this mascara too often results in my lashes becoming hard and difficult to separate. PROS: This stuff doesn't go anywhere. For days. Even with eye makeup remover. Also, the brown shade is an excellent color for natural blondes. CONS: Mediocre to poor in terms of lash separation and definition, even for a waterproof. Makes lashes a bit brittle and, if not careful, spidery. IN SHORT: If this were a drugstore mascara I would buy it again, but for this price I'll keep looking.