I've used Retin A, Retin A Micro and Renova in the past. Nothing beats retinoids for fine wrinkles. Refissa is by far the best of those I have tried if you follow your dermatologist's directions perfectly. It does not have fragrance :-) I use a pea size for my entire face, every other night. I do not apply until at least 30 minutes after cleansing and toning my skin. My blackheads are gone, my skin is visibly more even toned and fine wrinkles lessened. Super important to wear sunscreen every day while using this product as your skin will be more sensitive. If you cannot tolerate every other night, go once every two to three nights until you find what works for you. I use Paula's Choice retinol serum on the nights I do not use Refissa. The results are fantastic!
BB Cream -Laura Geller - All in One Skin Perfecting Beauty Balm
mom2sam 4/12/2013 10:23:00 AM
I tried this BB cream in fair which I thought was going to be too dark for me, but it blended in seamlessly and my skin really glowed. The directions say to wear it over a makeup primer, but I do not use primers. It doesn't need one if you have decent skin already. The sunscreens are titanium dioxide and zinc oxide at 5% each for an SPF of 21. This BB is loaded with anti-oxidants. It did not break out my very sensitive skin, and contains no fragrance, always a plus! It comes in a clear tube. I wish the tube were opaque to keep the anti-oxidants stable, but I store it in a drawer away from light which should be sufficient. The cost was $34 for 1.33 oz which is typical for prestige BB creams based on others I have seen. Will definitely buy again. This was my first Laura Geller product and I will definitely need to check out some of her other items since this was such a hit.
Treatments -Infusium 23 - (Repair)ologie Leave In Treatment
mom2sam 3/29/2013 9:29:00 PM
It seems this same product is being reviewed under various names. I have the leave in treatment, third step, restore and repair formula. My naturally wavy, chemically altered hair loves this product. It leaves my hair soft, without weighing down the natural curl. I also like that it doesn't have a strong perfume scent and doesn't make me break out where my hair touches my face. That's a huge deal! It comes in a very large bottle but then you put it into a spray bottle and spray it into your hair after shampooing and do not rinse it out. Great detangler and protects against damage from heat styling tools. The price is definitely right - about $5 for a bottle that will last about a year. I may try adding an essential oil or two, just a couple drops to see what effect, if any that might have on the product and will Re-review with results.
Conditioner -Desert Essence - Fragrance Free Conditioner
mom2sam 3/29/2013 9:13:00 PM
I thought I like this conditioner initially. It is probably better for someone who doesn't need much. Little too light for me.
I seriously question the reviews I read here. It is hard to tell whether they think this is a drying shampoo because they didn't follow with a conditioner or not. I would never wash my hair without also conditioning it. So, here is my take: My scalp got very irritated from a dye job at my salon, followed by a shampoo/conditioner that made matters worse. My dermatologist had to prescribe a steroid lotion for my scalp to soothe the irritation, bumps and itching. She further instructed to use a shampoo and conditioner without fragrance for at least a month to let my scalp calm down. I found this shampoo at Whole Foods and thought I'd give it a whirl. It cleans well and rinses easily and has no scent whatsoever. When I follow up with the conditioner, my naturally wavy, chemically-treAted hair is happy. If your scalp is truly sensitive, this shampoo will work for you. But don't skip the conditioner. Ever.
Living in Wisconsin is rough on skin in winter. My hands are always the first body part to let me know it is winter! But I bought this for my husband and I to keep by our bathroom sinks because it was fragrance free and seemed to have some nice emollients. It really does moisturize. My hands are soft and hubby is glad he doesn't have to smell like a girl from using it! Price is right, too. Will definitely buy again.
Great foundation once you figure out how to use it properly! The first time I bought this foundation, I disregarded the insert. I was unhappy with the result and I returned it. After other failed attempts in trying to find a great foundation, I saw a review on this that said you have to follow the instructions. So I bought it again, read the insert and followed the instructions. WOW - what a difference! Just one pump of foundation covered my whole face perfectly. Shake the bottle very well. Then, you HAVE to warm it up in the palm of your hand first until the consistency changes somewhat and press it gently into your skin, patting and pressing the entire face. I admit it takes more time than other foundations, but for going out at night, it is totally worth it. Once you have it patted into the skin, I use a foundation brush very lightly to blend any areas that still needed it. I had flawless coverage - even around the nose where my pores tend to be larger. I use chanel powder to set and NARS orgasm blush. As for breaking out, the trick here is to really cleanse well after wearing it to make sure you get everything out of your pores. After using a good cleanser and rinsing, I go back over with my olay rotating face brush after washing it off with water and make sure everything is off and follow with toner. I didn't give it a 5 because it is cumbersome to apply, but if you have the time, it is totally worth it. Price was on the expensive side. The 3 on the packaging quality is because it does not come with a pump. This can be purchased separately for about $7 and is reusable.
I wanted to like it because it made my skin look great. However, something in the formula ended up giving me black heads in the T-Zone. I stopped for a few days and cleared them up, then tried it again and had the same result. So I returned it. If you don't have an issue with blackheads, it makes your skin look great. The brush they sell separately I bought and ended up keeping and use it with my other foundation. It is a really nice brush that makes other foundations go on better, too.
Toners -Paula's Choice - Moisture Boost Hydrating Toner
mom2sam 9/9/2012 10:49:00 PM
The HG of toners as far as I am concerned. I was a teenager back when Sea Breeze was all the rage (before we found out it was full of stuff that actually hurt vs helped our skin). While it of is true that you actually don't need a toner, as someone with dry skin, it just feels REALLY great! Also, there are many mornings when I need to get out of the house quickly and I will just use this toner before my tinted moisturizer with SPF and I am good to go for running errands and the like. Fragrance free and chock full of great antioxidants which really provide visible benefit to the skin. I never watch infomercials, but one day the line for Cindy Crawford came on and they kept talking about how it had this special, rare antioxidant from a melon grown somewhere in Europe. Did my research, found out that was called "superoxide dismutase" and began looking at the products I was already using. Sure enough, this toner actually already had it. It's not cheap - I think about $18 for 6 oz. but the Paula's Choice website often has sales or free shipping on a certain amount and so I will stock up then. There is not a day in the month I don't use a toner both morning and evening. During the two weeks of my cycle when my skin is not breaking out, I use this toner. The other two weeks, I use the Paula's Choice toner from her "Clear" line which keeps any PMS breakouts away. Love most of her stuff. And of the toners I have tried (probably over 15 in my lifetime, from Clinique, Boots, Estee Lauder, Sea Breeze . . . ), this is by far my favorite. It will leave your skin feeling soft and silky and bathe it in antioxidants without leaving any residue whatsoever.
Very surprised by the negative comments on this eye gel as, in my years of using eye serums/moisturizers (about 15), I think this is one of the better formulations. Erase Eye Gel is a fragrance-free serum and contains many antioxidants to help reduce signs of aging. It contains caffeine, which, for me at least, is the best at reducing puffiness from water retention. This is a gel, which is great, because you can apply your concealer afterwards without any slipping issues. It helps the concealer to blend very evenly and not look cakey. When I use this religiously (after cleansing in the morning and again at night, after cleansing), my eyes are nice and tight and lifted. Even in the morning, I don't have the same puffiness that I have on nights when I do not use it. It's pricey. But the packaging keeps the ingredients stable so you will get your moneys worth.
I'm surprised by the negative reviews. Age is a factor. If I was young, I wouldn't bother with this product. For those of us who are in the category of needing a little help, this is a great product. This is just a light eye cream, almost gel like. It's not a concealer, although you could use it for that purpose if there's not a lot to hide under your eye. I wanted something to lightly moisturize my eye area prior to makeup application. It makes a smooth canvas which allows me to apply my concealer below the eye with ease. The caffeine in the formula works on reducing some of the puffiness I have in the morning from water retention. As for eye makeup on top of the product, I think it gives it a little more staying power, but then again, I'm not going out dancing all night and looking in the mirror at 2 am to see if my makeup is still intact. But if I put on my eye makeup at 6 pm for an evening out with my husband, it is still on when I'm removing it around 11. Be sure not to use too much product. I do 1/2 pump for each eye, not a full pump for each eye - this may help with some of the greasiness that I've seen others talk about. If you don't like it, return it. Cost was $30 for .5 oz which is dept store brand appropriate. Packaging is good - a pump which dispenses and will help to maintain the stability of the antioxidants of which there are many and this is beneficial to our eyes.
Powder -Chanel - poudre universelle libre(natural finish loose powder)
mom2sam 9/6/2012 8:36:00 PM
Best powder out there in my humble opinion. While I usually go fragrance free, there is a very small hint of rose due to the small amount of rosewater in it but it doesn't make me break out or have any sensitivity whatsoever. My skin is not oily, and can be dry in the winter. This powder works in every season for me. It sets makeup beautifully all day with no need for touch ups. Looks very natural. It's the only Chanel product I use but I am definitely going to be a "lifer" with this powder. Yes, it's a little pricey - $52 - but I think mine lasts about two years. Seems I buy a new one every other Christmas. Granted, I don't wear it every day, but maybe it would last a year if you wore it every day.
Treatments -Paula's Choice - RESIST Intensive Wrinkle-Repair Retinol Serum
mom2sam 9/6/2012 8:28:00 PM
If I could only keep one beauty product in my arsenal (and it is truly an arsenal), it would be this product. I have dealt with rosacea for years and have done much to get it under control. The problem with rosacea is trying to find a product to limit wrinkling without exacerbating the redness. But this works! I have used this serum for the past 9 months, every night after cleansing, toning and using a 1% BHA product. This product not only helps deter wrinkles, but makes my skin smooth, even-toned, blackhead and blemish free, too. It is fragrance free. Start out slow with the product. Maybe use every other night for the first couple of weeks, then increase to every night. Don't use too much. A dime size is enough for your whole face and neck. You might experience a little breaking out initially and I did too, but it is very temporary. Stick with it and it will clear up. Might be a good idea to start it during a good time in your "cycle" as many of us tend to blame products where it may just be our hormones. The packaging is genius. No waste. Dispenses exactly the right amount and keeps the retinol stable. If you are looking at other retinol products, be sure their packaging is such that it keeps the retinol stable or you will be throwing out your money. The cost is $30 for 1 oz. but it will last 4 months or more which is pretty cost effective compared to other retinol products. I am actually thinking about giving it as Christmas gifts to all the women I love this year because I think it is just that extraordinary!
If you have good skin, but just want a little something to make it more polished, this is a great foundation for you. If you need more coverage, keep looking. This is sheer, but gorgeous - almost like a tinted moisturizer in terms of the effect on the skin, just without the moisture. I wear the 2WN1 in this foundation during the summer months. I have yet to wear it in winter. I would not recommend this foundation for those with dry skin unless you have a great moisturizer and serum to get your skin in great shape before you apply it. In summer, I have fairly normal skin - not oily and not dry. It is important to shake the foundation EVERY time just prior to application and shake it WELLor it won't blend properly. I like using this with a makeup sponge for application as a foundation brush takes too long because the texture is so thin and there is a lot of slip. My sensitive skin tends to break out but this foundation has not caused any issues for me. It is fragrance free. The packaging seems appropriate. The cost is $35 for 1 oz. which is pretty standard for department store brands.
If not for the jar packaging, this would have gotten a "5" from me. I have super sensitive skin with rosacea that took years for me to get under control. This is one of the best products I have found that doesn't aggravate my rosacea, doesn't break me out, while also giving me reliable, broad spectrum sun protection (SPF25 - with avobenzone). It is fragrance free. The texture is silky and it makes my skin soft and happy. This is my late spring, summer, fall daytime moisturizer. It is not enough to hydrate my skin once the furnaces kick in but that is okay as I have another brand I use during those months. The only drawback (which downgraded my rating from a "5" to a "4") is the packaging - it's in a jar. Which means that the antioxidant potency greatly decreases every time you open it. Clinique should put this in a tube like the Super Rescue Night Moisturizer so that our skin would benefit more from the many wonderful antioxidants the product contains. But, with picky skin, I am happy to find a product that doesn't make it angry. I rated the product a "4" on cost. It is $45 for 1.7 oz., but you don't use all that much. One jar will last three months, which is probably fine since the antioxidant potency is likely gone by then.