Great product. After purchasing Sephora brushes, I wanted to make sure I took care of my investment properly. From cleaning watercolor/acrylic paintbrushes in the past, I know that the wrong kind of soap can ruin them. That's why I tried Sephora's brush shampoo. It is very gentle, cleanses with some suds and gets most of the make-up off. I say "most" because the formula doesn't completely clean off long-lasting foundation from the brushes (like Revlon Colorstay). That's okay, because it does a good job getting facial oils and built up powder/shadow/blush residue off. If this could get EVERYTHING off, then I would give it 5 lippies, but I understand that the soap has to be gentle enough to the brushes, all things considered. Overall, my brushes are left fluffy and clean - and best of all, very few if no hairs come out during the process!
Makeup Brushes -Ecotools - Bamboo Foundation Brush
mschumps 1/9/2013 3:00:00 PM
I'm not a fan of this brush. I find that my foundation goes on a bit streaky and the brush makes it hard to control my application. Most of all, I find I have to use a lot more foundation while using this brush. Overall, I much prefer applying my make up with a wedge sponge, which gives me better control over my look and gives me a dewier (rather than pasty) appearance. This also saves my foundation from being used up too quickly.
LOVE these brushes. The set includes 6 full-sized brushes. Great basic set that comes in a handy travel pouch to keep the brush hairs safe and intact when on the go. Here's a review of each one: -Powder brush: nice, large fluffy brush great for sweeping on finishing powder or bronzer. -Blush brush: applies blush nicely, though could be a bit bigger -Eye shadow blending brush: great, all-purpose shadow brush. -Eye shadow detail brush: I use this to apply darker color closer to my eyeliner. Loads up color well and gives good, even application. -Concealer brush: I don't use liquid concealer, so I don't use this often. I do use it to apply foundation to my lids as a primer. -Retractable lip brush: Love this! Makes my lipstick last longer on my lips and gives great, even application. Overall, I find this set good quality for the value ($47 in Canada), and the brush hairs don't come out on me. I've had them for two years now, and am glad I made the investment. Just make sure you take care of them by standing them up in a jar (and not chucking them together in your make-up drawer) - and give them a nice wash with brush shampoo once in a while. One note: I do wish this came with a foundation brush and eyeliner brush, but I found EcoTools versions that were very decent.
Liquid -L'Oreal - True Match Super-Blendable Makeup SPF 17
mschumps 1/9/2013 2:27:00 PM
I have combination skin with yellow undertones (I'm Asian) so I can't wear a lot of foundations out there with pinks in them. So far, I have found a really great match with W4. Regarding sparkles, as someone has mentioned, I have never found sparkles in my TM foundation, even when I used to use this 7 years ago. (Maybe ours are sparkle-less in Canada?) Anyway, here are the pros and cons: PROs: -Great colour selection in cool and warm shades -Matte, and does a good job controlling my oilier parts -Doesn't dry out and look cakey -Good coverage and staying power when used with a setting powder -Washes off easily at end of day (unlike my usual HG Revlon Colorstay) -Has spf 17 -Good price! -Doesn't have a scent CONs: -Doesn't last as long in hotter weather -No applicator/pump; just a hole It's nice to know that even after 7 years, L'Oreal has kept the formula pretty much the same and I hope they continue to produce it, despite all the changes in the make-up industry! TIP: I apply this with a sponge by dabbing it on my face. Much better than when I used to use my fingers, which results in a pasty look rather than natural coverage.
Because I live in a part of Canada that gets swelteringly hot and humid in the summer, I find this sunscreen too thick for summer. It's best used in winter, but I still find it a bit too thick. I do feel it sits on top of my skin instead of being absorbed into it. There is nothing all that bad about it, or that great, which is why I gave it 3 lippies. Also, because this tiny tube cost about $20, I would not repurchase. There is nothing all that "wow" about it. Oh, and every time I use it, I have to get rid of an icky dried blob of it around the opening. Not a big deal, but annoying nonetheless.
Liquid -Revlon - PhotoReady Airbrush Mousse Makeup
mschumps 1/8/2013 2:11:00 PM
The other day, I looked at myself in the car just as the sun hit my face, and I looked just like Edward Cullen sparkling like an idiot in the Twilight movies. If you want a MATTE foundation, this is NOT for you. I had seen on MUA reviews that the sparkles were rather large and plentiful but got drawn in by the foam marketing, and a desire to try something other than Colorstay, which is impossible to remove at the end of the day. PROs: -Gives a nice, even finish when applied with a sponge -Lots of color choices to choose from, with plenty of yellow-based ones for me! CONs: -sparkles. Some may like the effect. My husband said he really liked the look, but all I could see in the mirror were big, flashy sparkles saying, "HEY, look at my make-up!!!" -lasting power is so-so -expensive for a drugstore brand. In Canada, Revlon foundations can cost as much as $20 a bottle! This product is just average and all gimmicky. I would just stay with my HG colorstay overall.
Treatments -L'Oreal - Nutri-Sleek Anti-Frizz Serum
mschumps 1/8/2013 2:01:00 PM
First off, my hair type is very coarse, voluminous and somewhat frizzy. I am always looking for a leave-in treatment that will take out some volume, soften the frizz and give it some shine without sitting on top of my hair. I find L'Oreal's the best of the argan oil and leave-in treatments that I have tried (Marc Antony argan oil, John Freida No-Frizz, L'Oreal PRO). For those with thinner hair, I wouldn't recommend using a lot or you may end up looking greasy. However, those who don't find this product to have enough effect, you may not be using enough. I have so much hair, and it is so coarse that I have to use up to 4 pumps. It leaves my hair very soft, shiny, more controlled and less poofy. I have already repurchased this twice!
Absolue Eye is Absolute Crap! I knew this the moment I realized that the mysterious SPARKLES on my fingers after my cleansing routine were from the Lancome Absolue Eye cream I had been using. If an expensive eye "treatment" cream claims to renew the look of your skin but has sparkles in it, then I know the product is relying on cosmetic improvement rather than actual skin improvement. Additionally, after about a week of using this, I had an allergic reaction to it, resulting in red, itchy eyes. I am 99% sure it was this product, as it was the only new product I started using ... AND was an eye cream. To the garbage this went!
Let me just say that this bar is such a treat, especially for winter and parched, flaky skin! My skin feels amazingly silky after using this. (note - this product is categorized under "scrubs" on MUA, but it is actually considered a "body butter" at Lush) PROs: -Moisturizing cocoa and almond butters with exfoliating almond bits result in soft, buttery skin -Has a light, but sweet scent that stays on your skin CONs: -Expensive -Leaves your shower floor slippery and greasy Yes, it is expensive, but I would repurchase again. (I already have 3 or 4 times) TIP: Though not a soap, keep your body butter out of water or a well-draining dish tray. It will melt!
Bronzers -New York Color - Smooth Skin Bronzing Face Powder in Sunny 720
mschumps 1/8/2013 10:58:00 AM
I love this bronzer. I only use this to give me some color during winter months when I'm looking overly pale. My favourite part (aside from it being dirt cheap), is that it is MATTE. No sparkles! yay! I love using this for a natural glow without looking obviously made up. Would definitely repurchase. My only complaint is the little applicator sponge it comes with. When I first used this product, I thought it applied very unevenly. You really have to use this with a kabuki brush to control how much color you want and to get an even finish.
Lotions/ Creams -Aveeno - Intense Relief Hand Cream
mschumps 1/8/2013 10:45:00 AM
GREAT product. The packaging claims that this cream acts as a glove to hold in moisture and protect your skin, even after handwashing. As for acting like a glove - it totally does. It goes on a bit tacky, but absorbs quickly. My hands don't feel sticky at all, but very soft. I now live in New Brunswick, which has super harsh, dry winters. My hands, after handwashing and weather, becomes very dry and more prone to paper cuts! This cream is really effective. Additionally, I find that this is helping with a little eczema that has developed on an eyelid. It's a bit pricey for a tube, but it is a very, very effective hand/dry skin cream.
Moisturizers -Jamieson - Vitamin E 30 000 IU Rich Moisturizing Cream
mschumps 1/8/2013 10:41:00 AM
Skin type: combination. Dry in harsh Canadian winters with some oily t-zone; oilier in summer. Non sensitive. Let me say that this is my 4th jar of this cream. I first bought it to reduce stretch marks on my belly during pregnancy, but started using it as a night cream in winter time. Since I moved to a very dry and cold area of Canada (New Brunswick), my skin became dull and flaky. I rub it in at night time and end up with smooth, soft skin in the morning. It goes on a little greasy, but absorbs soon enough. I even wear this during the day under make-up, and find that it does not make me look greasy, but gives me a nice glow instead. I also think the Vitamin E has helped lighten some acne scars. I would have to say this is a MUST for those living in extremely cold and dry climates! However, I would not recommend using this in the summer. It is a very heavy cream, and in this part of Canada, it gets nasty humid!
This product claims to brighten the eye area of puffiness and dark circles, but it seems to do nothing for me. It has a very strong floral smell (the same scent used in the Smart Essentials line) and seems to irritate my eyes if the product gets rubbed in. It is also peculiar that the bottle says to keep the product away from the eyes and rinse with water if product gets in. You'd think that an under-eye product would be formulated to be safe for eyes.
Skin type: Combination; not very sensitive; Asian with some freckles and a few purplish acne scars and uneven skin tone. This review is for the ENTIRE line (4 steps) used together. I think that the negative reviews are a result of people using only one or two of the products. It really pays off to use all 4 steps, day and night, or it may not have much effect. This is an expensive line, but I was lucky to be given a full travel set of the Enbrightenment line as a promotion from a spa, complete with cleanser, toner, serum and cream. I've been using this for 2 months, and have noticed that my skin has started looking brighter and healthier. It is winter right now, and I always have problems with dry patches with an oilier t-zone. Cleanser: lightly foaming. Gently cleanses. Toner: cleans off excess dirt/make-up Serum: absorbs into skin and tightens pores nicely Cream: thick cream that hydrates without breaking me out. Overall: When used all together, I think this line has helped in reducing the colour of my acne scars and brightened/evened out my skin tone. It's not a miracle product line by any means, but I do think my skin is not as dull as it looked after the summer and fall weather change.
With very dry skin in the winter (Canadian!) and oily skin in summer, I find this product to cleanse very nicely and gently. Though it has SLS in it, it doesn't lather, but has a gel-like consistency with gentle beads that don't scratch. The only con I have with this is the smell. It is very strong, with a musky floral scent.