Styling Products -Garnier - Fructis Style - Smoothing Milk
memepunk 6/28/2007 12:15:00 PM
I seem to be in the minority with this product. I found it did absolutely nothing to smooth my coarse, thick, wavy hair at all, no matter how I applied it. I wasn't looking for a straight, slick style--just something to take away a bit of the frizz and flyaway-prone look the top layer of my hair gets. When I applied it to damp hair, my hair ended up looking and feeling a little greasy, but still frizzy and flyaway. When I applied it on dry hair there was no change at all in texture or appearance, no matter how much I used. And the smell is overpoweringly perfumy and does not fade substantially over time, so, if you don't like it or don't want it to clash with your fragrance, you're out of luck (I'm in the former category). Garnier does get points for packaging--the pump dispenser is just right for this type of product, but that's the only good thing about it.
I spent way too much time un- or under-protected in the sun when I was younger, so I'm very into prevention now. That's why I splurged on this product, which is probably the most expensive skin care item I've ever bought. What can I say? The hype on the company's web site was very convincing. :) It was a disappointing experience from the moment I opened the box. Skinceuticals had something on the site about how you can return it within 60 days if not satisfied, but ONLY if the level of liquid in the bottle is not below the top of the label. Naturally, the bottles they showed in photos on the site were full right up to the neck. The level of liquid in my bottle was already less than a millimeter above the top of the label, even though the seal was unbroken. I should have returned it right then, but I didn't. I opened it. Problem number two: the liquid was already brown, which means that the ascorbic acid in it has oxidized and very likely become ineffective. I called the company, explained about the color and the level of the liquid and my worry that, should the oxidation make the treatment useless, I would be unable to return it since the liquid was almost at the specified level already. Of course the customer service person was very certain that the liquid had not lost its potency and assured me that every bottle was filled with exactly one fluid ounce, despite the obvious discrepancy between the level in my bottle and the level in the bottle pictured on the site. I should have argued with her. I mean, come on, it's not like a box of cereal. Liquid doesn't "settle" during shipping. But I let it go. Moreover, once again, I should have just returned the darn stuff. But I didn't. I started using it. I used it as directed for over two months. I never detected any beneficial effect on my skin, and although the problems were subtle, they were discouraging. It stung on application, and the stinging sensation didn't diminish after the first several weeks of use, as the web site suggested it would. The elevated acidity of my skin after using it meant that my foundation took on a slightly orangey cast, no matter what I used or how I applied it. I experienced more breakouts than usual, and they lasted longer and the red marks that remained afterwards took longer than usual to fade. Of course, by the time I discovered that it was not the product for me, the level of liquid in the bottle was a quarter of an inch below the top of the label, so I couldn't return it. This all happened a couple of years ago. I'm just writing the review now because I held onto the bottle until now, foolishly unwilling to just throw the remains of a sixty-dollar product in the trash--which is where it's about to go today, finally. I'm poorer but wiser, and, in the intervening two years, a whole bunch of antioxidant-rich products have reached the market--ones that are better formulated and which don't cost an arm and a leg, so I can reap the benefits without feeling so guilty and cheated if something doesn't work out the way it's supposed to.
I found this to be pretty mediocre. It's not the best or the worst clay mask I've ever used, although, considering the price ($14US for 3.4oz.), I did expect more of it. I didn't experience any irritation, which is a little surprising considering that it contains both cinnamon and ginger oils, which are responsible for the warming sensation you get when you apply it. It did a reasonable job of absorbing oil, but the oil-mitigating effect was shorter-lived than with other masks I've used. And any other effect it may have had was too subtle to notice.
Top/Base Coats -Sally Hansen - Ultimate shield fortifying base and top coat
memepunk 6/27/2007 5:44:00 PM
I used this as a base and top coat, with three layers of color applied in between and plenty of drying time allowed between each new coat. Everything seemed to be going okay until I got to the top coat. It seemed very difficult to apply; the brush seemed to drag and catch on the polish beneath, even though it had been dry to the touch when I started the top coat. A short while after I finished the top coat, the bubbling started. Not tiny bubbles that you can touch up later--big soft bubbles that didn't fully surface and which completely warped and distorted the very neat polishing job I'd spent so much time on. I thought I'd see if, by some miracle, they would smooth out as the polish dried, so I left everything in place. Four hours later, the polish was still not dry and had, in fact, become softer and more malleable than it was before I applied the top coat. Everything I touched left an impression or scrape on the polish. I had to take it all off, because I'm quite convinced it would never have dried at all. Something in the formulation of this is just not right. I've no idea if it might have worked okay as a base coat if I hadn't used it as a top coat as well, but I'm disinclined to experiment with it and waste any more time. I would have returned it, but I left it too long, so I'm just tossing it instead. Like reviewers before me, I wish I'd looked it up on this site first! :)
SO many problems with this foundation. First, the color range is ridiculously narrow (only five shades to choose from), so I actually had to buy two shades and blend them to get something to match my skin. Second, the watery formula separates, which is not too much of a problem, but it requires an insane amount of vigorous shaking to get it remixed, and even then it still looks streaky inside the bottle. I couldn't ever be sure I'd gotten it fully mixed up. Third, considering that that second and third ingredients on the list are silicones (for slip), how is it possible for this foundation to be so unblendable? I tried it every which way--with fingers, with a dry sponge, with a damp sponge--and nothing would smooth this evenly into my skin. I tried it over bare skin, over primers, and over lightweight moisturizers and sunscreens, and it was never blendable and always left my face looking chalky and feeling greasy/sticky. Fourth, there is no middle range of coverage, no matter how carefully you build it up. The level of coverage is either so light that it verges on invisible or so heavy that it sinks into every pore and fine line and makes me look ten years older than I am. Fifth, this is water-based and full of ingredients that should absorb oil and minimize the look of oily skin. But it doesn't. My face was shiny within half an hour of application, even with a generous dusting of powder. I wanted so much to like this foundation because the formulation looked ideal for my skin (in theory only, as I discovered), but it was a huge and expensive disappoinment.
This mask didn't provide nearly as much in the way of exfoliation as the other AHA/BHA products I've used, or even granular scrubs. My face didn't feel smoother after using it, and I found it painfully irritating and sensitizing. I toughed it out and finished the (small, for the money) jar, but I wish I'd been courageous enough to simply return it. At the time, I thought my sensitivity came from the salycilic acid (they should really call it AHA/BHA enzyme peel, as it does contain both), but I've since used other products containing BHA and had no problem. I suspect this product's pH balance is off, because I've found several other products with both AHAs and BHAs, none of which sting or redden and sensitize my skin when I use them, and the exfoliating effects are totally satisfactory. I just looked at the product page on sephora.com, and I notice they've added the following to the product description: "Note: A mild, tingling sensation is normal with the Green Apple Peel. Test the product on a small area behind the ear for 10 minutes. If no irritation develops, resume application." I guess I'm not the only one who had a problem. What a shame this note wasn't on the site or the box when I bought it--it would have saved me from an expensive mistake!
I received a free sample of this and thought I'd give it a try, despite my extreme skepticism. As I expected, it had absolutely no effect on the fine lines I applied it to. The "active" ingredient, GABA, has no effect with topical application, so I wasn't expecting miracles. But I thought that it might at least prove to be a decent moisturizing cream and thereby diminish the appearance of my first tiny lines. Not so. If anything, the extra manipulation I had to do (the instructions tell you to "work it deeply into the skin") probably emphasized my lines rather than decreasing them. Also, the cream is rather sticky and dry, so getting your skin to absorb it at all is a bit of a trick. Glad I didn't spend any money on this, and I'm happy to be vindicated in my inclination to laugh at all topical "better than Botox" claims from this and other cosmetic companies! :)
Lip Gloss -TheBalm - Plump Your Pucker lip plumper
memepunk 6/4/2007 7:00:00 PM
I tried this a few years ago in "Pepper My Mint." The active ingredient for short-term plumping is menthol, and it had no effect on my lips, not even a tingle. The long-term ingredient is palmitoyl oligopeptide, which might have, only I didn't use it long enough to find out. The balm sat on my lips without ever feeling as if it penetrated. Eventually, it would slide off to the edges of my lips, requiring both clean-up with a tissue and reapplication to the part of my lips where I wanted it to stay. Good thing it wasn't tinted, or it would have looked a lot messier! After a few days, my lips began to feel dry and chapped, so I stopped using it, and the problem immediately went away. The concentration of menthol must have been just enough to irritate without causing the desired "plumping" effect. It might work for someone whose lips respond in the desired way to the active ingredients, and for those folks, it's a bargain, as lip plumper prices go. Not for me, though.
Moisturizers -Caudalie - Vinopure Matte Moisturizing Fluid
memepunk 6/4/2007 6:50:00 PM
I found this to be a pretty decent moisturizer for combination/oily skin, although it wasn't quite rich enough to satisfy my neck and under-eye areas. However, I didn't note any particular mattifying effect; by an hour or so after use (under makeup), my skin was as shiny as it is if I use a different moisturizer or none at all. If you're looking for a product to tame oily skin, this is probably not the best choice. It has a pleasant fragrance, and I never experienced any irritation from the one tube I used. However, I won't repurchase it because, aside from the fact that I've found a mattifying moisturizer I prefer (one with sunscreen, to boot!), the price is utterly outrageous for a merely adequate product.
I've experimented with a substantial number of facial cleansers in my time, and this one is by far the worst. I only bought it because the store was out of my preferred cleanser (Eucerin Gentle Hydrating), and it seemed like a plausible temporary replacement. Boy, was I wrong.
I foolishly allowed myself to be drawn in by the label's promises to "bring out skin's natural radiance" and "even out skin tone and texture." Looking over the ingredients now, there doesn't seem to be anything in it that could accomplish either of those goals, especially considering how brief a period any cleanser is in contact with your skin. The only thing that might account for this marketing hype is the presence of mica in the formula, which makes the product sparkly but doesn't make your skin any brighter looking unless you leave it on your face. This could certainly be effective in a foundation or shimmer lotion, but it has no place in a product that is meant to be rinsed off immediately after use.
One of the most objectionable features of this cleanser is immediately and inescapably noticeable: the fragrance. Not only is it not a particularly pleasant scent--it reminds me of nail polish remover--but it is cloyingly strong, so strong that, even after very thorough rinsing, I could still smell it on my face when I woke up after using it the previous night. I prefer facial products to be unscented, and the overwhelming amount of fragrance may have contributed to the cleanser's effect on my skin. More about that in a moment.
The label instructs you to "work cleanser into a lather and massage onto face." Well, I couldn't get it to lather, no matter what I did. I tried using it plain on moist skin and, when that didn't work, mixing it with a little water first, but nothing I tried and no amount of rubbing the cleanser in my hands would result in even the slightest sign of lather. I've never found non-lathering cleansers effective; they always leave my skin feeling considerably less than clean.
Even if the previously noted flaws hadn't tipped the scales, the fact that it left my skin in very poor condition after only three days of use would have. In addition to never feeling fully clean, my skin developed a number of dry, flaky patches while bizarrely seeming to exhibit increased oil production in the very same areas. My pores seemed more prone to being clogged, probably because it wasn't fully cleansing my skin, and I certainly didn't notice any of the promised radiance or evening of tone and texture. Now, I've learned from experience not to really expect noticeable results in the latter department, but, due to the dry patches, my skin looked more uneven than it ever has, which is quite contrary to the effect Aveeno promises. I speculate that the fragrance is part of the problem. Further, the product contains sodium hydroxide, AKA lye. And although it's fairly far down on the ingredient list, I wonder if even that small amount is causing a sensitivity reaction. For the record, I'm very careful about reviewing the ingredients in products I use, and I've never seen lye/sodium hydroxide in anything else, which makes me wonder why they added it.
If I could find the receipt I'd return this for a refund, as it was not particularly cheap for a drugstore product. (It was a dollar or so more than my preferred brand, for 1.3 ounces less.) However, I suspect in the end, it will probably go down the drain, and the empty container will hyperactively perfume my recycling bin until the next collection day.
Shampoo -John Frieda - Brilliant Brunette Shine Release Shampoo
memepunk 10/22/2004 4:32:00 PM
I have naturally light reddish-brown hair which I color a slightly ashier, browner shade. My hair is also coarse and wavy and very thick. I tried the "Amber to Maple" version of this shampoo.
The product bills itself as being "for natural, color-treated, or highlighted brunettes," and says it will "bring out the multi-dimensional richness of brown hair while enhancing highlights." What I found this to mean in practice is that it quickly strips my hair of the dyed color, leaving it an unpleasantly brassy shade of lighter brown. It also makes my hair feel stiff and fragile, even while I'm still in the shower, forcing me to use more conditioner to try and regain some semblance of manageability. It also made my scalp feel odd--sort of achy and stretched, like when you wear a tight ponytail all day and finally take your hair down at night. That sort of feeling.
It's quite perplexing, really, as I've looked over the ingredient list and can't figure out what's causing these problems. The shampoo even contains tea leaf extract, which ought to slightly darken or redden my hair, if anything, but I had the exact opposite experience.
I very much wanted to like this delicious-smelling shampoo, and I do wish it had the effects it advertises (doesn't the models' hair in the TV ads look gorgeous?), but it was not to be. I've used about a third of the tube now, and the rest is going in the trash, with no intention of repurchasing.
3:42 - Apply generous quantity of Lip Venom to clean lips.
3:44 - Tingling/slight burning sensation noticeable.
3:46 - Lips FEEL plumper, thanks to the tingling, but they don't look any different.
3:50 - Lips are very slightly pinker, and a few of the most superficial lines might be less obvious, but they may just be less noticeable due to the shininess, as with plain glosses. Tingling beginning to diminish.
4:00 - Product keeps accumulating along the outer edges of my lips, as with most lip glosses. Lips have not become any pinker or plumper since last checked. Tingling almost gone.
4:12 - Tingling completely gone; lips still feel slightly warm. Color has returned to normal pale shade. Product almost fully absorbed into lips (small amount still accumulating around edges). Now that glossy look is almost gone, I can definitely see that the most superficial vertical lines on my lips are SLIGHTLY less noticeable, but that doesn't really count as "plumping" in my book.
4:37 - Lips completely back to normal.
Evaluation: Bubble-gummy scent and flavor were not objectionable. Tingling, while not the most pleasant sensation, was bearable and not painful. Would have kept me from kissing my husband, though (he's got sensitive lips). It isn't very effective as a lip gloss, and the much-vaunted plumping and coloring effects were barely noticeable. Perhaps I'm just not sensitive enough to cinnamon oil, or perhaps one must have very thin or flat lips to notice a difference. In any case, I'm very glad to have had a free sample of this to try, because it's certainly not worth the price, and I'm not tempted to purchase it.
ADDENDUM: I tried the sample again in December, with much the same results. This time, however, my lips did seem to get a nicer, deeper shade of pinky red--a very nice, natural shade. Alas, the effect is so fleeting that I fear I'd have to keep putting more on every fifteen minutes or so to keep the color going. It does look nice, though, so I might use the remaining sample if I'm having a formal photo taken, or something like that. Still no plumping effect, though!
I received a generous sample of this (almost one-third the full product size) with a Sephora purchase, and I have mixed feelings about it.
It was definitely too rich for my face--when I tried using it under my eyes, I developed a few tiny milia which eventually went away when I stopped using it there. However, it's exactly the right richness and consistency for my neck. It make the skin of my throat feel perfectly moisturized and comfortable without any heavy, greasy feeling. Since the skin of my neck is much finer and drier than that of my face (which is fair and combination with a tendency to clog easily) I conclude that this would be a fine moisturizer for anyone with fairly dry skin, but that those with any tendency at all to break out should stay far away from it.
Other good features include that it is fragrance-free and dye-free and that, with the exception of squalane at number six on the ingredient list, it appears to be oil-free. Bad feature: the price. It's a good moisturizer, but it's definitely overpriced for what it is. I would repurchase it only if I had some extra money to throw around. (But I bet I could find something just as good for less.)
This is an excellent manual exfoliant. It beats the hell out of Clinique's 7-Day Scrub, my former exfoliant HG, which is very coarse and scratchy by comparison. The crystals are fine-grained enough to be comfortable (go easy on bony area such as chin and cheekbones!), but they get the job done. My skin feels very smooth and polished after using this, and other products definitely seem to absorb more readily and evenly. Additionally, the smooth feeling persists for a couple of days before my skin becomes rough-feeling again.
Downsides include the fact that it doesn't make a visible difference--while my skin feels great, it doesn't look any different. The fragrance is definitely a problem for some users; I don't mind it at all, but other reviewers have accurately compared it to that of furniture polish. If having that lemony, Pledge-y smell on your face for the requisite one to three minutes really bothers you, consider carefully before using this.
Finally, the price is completely unreasonable. A good but basic scrub like this should not cost what this one does. Fortunately, I received a very generous sample, so I was able to evaluate it at no cost, but although I put "Yes" on the repurchase question, I will definitely be looking for something equally good at a lower price. If I can't find one, however, I will certainly consider investing in Dr. Brandt's.
Formerly known as "The Great One," Philosophy's Microdelivery Peel is actually a gentle exfoliating scrub with the added benefit of some vitamin C supplementation. I can't attest to other users' comparisons to salon/dermatologist peels, having never had one of those myself, but I would hope that results from such a treatment would beat what I experienced while using this product.
On the plus side, it is a very good exfoliating scrub. The crystals that you scrub on before adding the activation gel are comfortably fine, yet they did smooth the surface of my skin quite nicely. My face felt beautifully silky after I used it, and this effect persisted for a day or two before the old rough feeling returned.
On the down side, I experienced none of the "glowy" effects described by other users, nor did it even out my pigmentation, diminish the size of my pores, or fulfill any of the other "de-aging" claims Philosophy makes. My skin looked exactly the same before and after. I also have some doubts about how much vitamin C is really being delivered, since you leave the product on for a relatively short period of time and since the jar containing the vitamin C portion of this two-part treatment exposes the product to the oxidative powers of air and light every time you open it.
The exorbitant price means I won't be re-purchasing this, and, really, there are many equally good exfoliation products (I stop far short of calling this a "peel") for quite a bit less. Get a sample before buying it, if you can, and take its claims with a large grain of salt.