Primer/ Corrector -Shu Uemura - Stage Performer Instant Glow
proximitythe53rd 11/13/2012 7:15:00 PM
Stage Performer is a bit of an unusual product, which tends to cause some confusion as a result. It is not a moisturizer (though some find that it has a moisturizing effect), and I am reluctant to say whether I think it has any actual skincare benefits. (In fact, I've got the sinking suspicion that when I wear this too often, I get more break-outs; but that's just my very sensitive/reactive skin, and I won't rate the product down on that account. Based on the ingredients list, Stage Performer shouldn't cause problems for most, but obviously YMMV.)
Stage Performer isn't really a primer, either ... though it is similar, I suppose, to a primer which is a bit illuminating, with a bit of a tint for lightly evening out skin-tone. Many people enjoy using it as a primer and I think it does a fine job in that role, but again, that's not quite what the product is. It's also absolutely not a highlighting liquid, though it does give a bit of a glowing/light reflective finish to the skin. Furthermore, I wouldn't call it a foundation, a tinted moisturizer, a BB cream, or a color-corrector: all of those products tend to have, IMO, more coverage than Stage Performer.
So then, what is this magical unicorn? I guess I'd say that it's some kind of skin-appearance-enhancer, providing 1.) a really nice finish, 2.) a bit of a glow, 3.) a gentle warm tint of color, subtle enough to flatter a pretty wide range of skin-tones.
So in a way, I think wearing it as a primer is kinda a waste - if you apply foundation over Stage Performer, you'll cover most of its nice effect. Then again, this isn't a product that you would want to use *over* foundation. (It is a decent mixer with some foundations, so that's worth experimenting with if you enjoy that sort of thing.) I think Stage Performer is a hero product for people with excellent skin looking to just make what already looks great look even better. It's also excellent for no-makeup-makeup. (Unless this product seriously doesn't suit you, or you use way too much, it should not be detectable on your skin, even at close examination.) Another great way to use Stage Performer (this is the most common way for me to use it) is as your all-over base, and then add a bit of concealer or a sheer foundation only as needed to areas you want to touch-up.
This is the kind of product I want to pass back in time to my teenage/college self - it's just the right sort of thing to bring along if you're going to crash at a party and use as a no-makeup skin pick-me-up the morning after, when you don't want to face your crush *totally* bare-faced.
To be more specific about what Stage Performer *is*:
In terms of COLOR it's ... well, yellow-ish? Beige-yellow, I suppose. I am quite fair (a bit lighter than the NC/W15 family in MAC's line) with fairly neutral skin, *but* I have a lot of redness in my cheeks, and irritation/pigmentation redness/blotchiness I like to tone down. (I don't see redness from pigmentation/irritation as actually being my skin-tone, if that makes sense.) If I put Stage Performer on one side of my face, I can tell that it looks warmer/more even, but even people who know me well don't notice that I'm wearing any base with this product. The yellow-ish color tones down redness a bit, and warms the skin slightly. It's not so yellow that I'd recommend against it for cool-toned skin, unless you're on that extreme end of the scale where even a hint of warmth looks all wrong on you. Similarly, if you are warmer-toned this shouldn't make you look all yellow/sallow unless your skin is having that issue already. In general, I tend not to believe in products which are "universal" ... and this one isn't. But it is so sheer that it really will suit a whole host of differently colored faces. Just to be totally clear - this is *not* a product that has "coverage" ... I wouldn't even call it "light coverage", it's more like "no coverage" it's a bit of a tint, but it's not going to hide anything.
In terms of FINISH, Stage Performer doesn't have shimmer, nor is it particularly 'dewy' (in the sense of looking like a more moist skin), but it does have a 'glow'. Which makes it hard to pin down where that 'glow' comes from ... my personal opinion? I think it does some pore-minimizing (a subtle effect, don't get *too* excited) which works to smooth the skin surface a bit (again, a subtle effect) so that it reflects more light/reflects light more evenly. Maybe it's got some of that fancy light-reflecting technology like we see in those under-eye click-up concealer pens too, what do I know? End result - your face has a 'glow' without being at all shimmery or oily-looking. It feels like it sort of 'sets' on the skin, in a dry-but-not-drying sort of way. I definitely feel no need to powder. Another bonus is that it genuinely does not make dry-patches jump out at you; if you ever get flakey skin you'll know how awesome it is to find a product that doesn't make it look awful.The lasting power is excellent (on me at least), which was a surprise, as I tend not to think of such a sheer product as something which will endure a long day.
Just to wrap-up by mentioning APPLICATION: I think it would be easy to use too much. You don't need much! Think a reasonably plump pea for your whole face; a broad-bean would be a bit too much. I just use fingers, dotting the Stage Performer around and then smoothing it in, but I'm sure it would be fine with a brush, too. I focus a little more on my red-ish areas, but pretty much blend it all over (haven't had any sensitivity using it near the eye area). I give it a minute or two before I continue with any additional base makeup, and like I said before ... it really doesn't need to be powdered, though you might want to if you have oily skin.
Overall, this is the sort of product that makeup perfectionists and geeks may love (hi!), and which the general population is unlikely to see much point i
Pai's Camellia and Rose cleanser has been a fantastic change to my skincare routine! I have highly acne prone combination (but more dry/dehydrated than oily) skin which is very reactive and easily upset ... irritation is one of the factors that can cause my skin to break out, and most cleansers are just too harsh and drying.
Based on my experience with this the Camellia and Rose cleanser, I would recommend sampling this to those with SENSITIVE skin; including those with non-severe acne whose skin has been failing to respond to more mainstream approaches; anyone with dry/dehydrated or delicate skin; for gentle cleansing of mature skin; and to those with normal skin looking for a luxurious-feeling and -smelling cleanser with really pure/transparent high-quality natural/organic ingredients.
Now, just because this product is designed for sensitive skin does not mean it will be right for YOUR skin ... however the good news is that the relatively short ingredient list is very clearly listed online, so you should be able to check for any known sensitivities. Pai also has a sampling program, so it is possible to try out this product prior to purchase.
Expectation management: this cleanser is in a price range most people will consider expensive. 100ml is not gigantic, and especially if you are using this twice a day, and using the recommended number of pumps of product, I imagine you'll go through a bottle fairly quickly. But here's a bit of good news: the Pai website has *just* started offering different sizes, and the pricing is friendly to those who know they love this product and want a larger quantity. (Standard size: 100ml w/ muslin cloth - £25; 50ml travel size (no cloth) - £14; 200ml large size w/ cloth - £35.)
Expectation management part 2: Pai's muslin cloths are not awesome. They are, in my opinion, just-this-side of acceptable. They're a bit scratchy. However, it's worth noting that you really really should wash the cloth before using it, which will reduce some of the scratchiness. So if you don't like these cloths, DON'T USE THEM. There's no point in buying a nice cleanser that you love and then destroying the experience by using a cloth you hate. Do I hear you say that you loved the idea of soil-association certified 100% organic unbleached 2-ply cotton muslin face cloths, but weren't impressed with the reality? Well, my friend, you're in luck because I know where you need to go to find what you're looking for: Suti. At the same price (£5 for 2 cloths), Suti (another up-and-coming organic UK skincare brand) offers soil-association certified 100% organic unbleached 2-ply cotton muslin face cloths which ARE NOT scratchy (but which also should be washed before use). Unless you find all muslin scratchy, (in which case, why are you using muslin cloths to cleanse your face?) I really think you'll be pleased with these. (Chase up a sample of their Rejuvenate Face Oil while you're there; it's amazing.)
Expectation management part 3: this is not a makeup remover. I find that the Camellia and Rose cleanser can effectively remove a light face of makeup, but I would never reach for this first if I was wearing a truly full face of makeup. It can remove eye makeup (and does not irritate my eyes) but if I'm wearing more than a wash of eyeshadow and a hint of mascara, I use an oil-cleanser first. When I have used this cleanser to remove a larger amount of makeup, I feel that I have to use more product and more patience than I prefer to if I want the job done gently and effectively. (I do agree with a prior reviewer who said that eye makeup removal with a muslin cloth is easier than with a cotton pad.)
Things I love: - it smells fantastic, really clean/natural/fresh ... it's that sort of thing that makes you look forward to using the product - it feels great on the skin. I really feel like I'm doing something good for my skin while I cleanse, and it's a product I don't mind leaving on my skin for longer so that I can do a facial massage, or really let it 'sink in'. I actually love massaging it over my skin, and then draping a hot, damp muslin cloth over my face for a few minutes before starting to remove the cleanser. - this is a *hydrating* cleanser. I am not sure how it would perform on extremely dry/dehydrated skin, but on my skin it is not at all stripping, and leaves my skin feeling soothed, calm, and soft. It's definitely not so hydrating that you would skip moisturizer after (and I always apply moisturizer to still-damp skin) but I also don't find it leaves a residue. (Though if you're used to harsher cleansers, do be aware that your skin will feel different than you're used to post-cleansing.)
I haven't had any problems with the packaging, but I will update my review if I do.
Cleansers -Unlisted Brand - Suti - Cleanse Facial Cleanser
proximitythe53rd 7/21/2012 8:57:00 PM
Suti's Cleanse Facial Cleanser is a good product ... but it's just not right for me. This is a balm-type cleanser: it's yellow-ish and soft, but appears 'grainy' in texture due to the unrefined shea butter – it pretty much melts onto your skin as you apply it, and becomes a thick (not runny) oil. The directions indicate that you should apply a small amount to damp skin and massage, then use a warm or hot damp muslin cloth to remove the balm in 'small brisk circular movements'.
My review is based on a sample I received with the purchase of another item from Suti. I initially thought this little sample was small ... a similarly sized sample of Pai's cleanser only lasted a few washes ... but actually there's easily over a week's worth of product in this tiny jar. Because this cleanser is so concentrated, a little bit goes a long way, which means that the 50ml jar really will last you a while.
The first thing I found to love about Cleanse Facial Cleanser is the smell. It's just lovely. Smoothly citrus-y with a slight herbal/floral character and a hint of beeswax. A little dab gives enough slip over damp skin for a good facial massage. Skin feels moisturized/hydrated and nourished; I think people with dry skin would enjoy this most; oily-skinned people would probably feel like it was turning them into a big oil-slick. My sensitive skin agreed well with the Cleanse balm – I didn't get any irritation, or redness (not even after removal) and my skin did feel sort of 'plumped'.
Removing with a muslin cloth (review of Suti's muslin clothes yet to come ...) does still leave a remaining film/residue. (You could remove this if you double-cleansed, but then you would be defeating the point of all the ingredients aiming to help your skin.) The suggested removal method of 'small brisk circular movements' is a lot more action-y than I usually get with my skin, but I did find that the balm was coating and protective enough to allow me to do this without causing irritation. I felt like this removal method did exfoliate slightly, but not beyond what my skin can handle on a daily basis; I kept my 'small brisk circular movements' gentle.
Everything sounds great, right? So, why is it not for me?
1.) Makeup removal fail. You know ... usually I can pull off removing-my-make-up-and-washing-my-face during an average commercial break if the man-fellow and I are chilling out in the evening, with time to spare for the -and-moisturize bit. Nope, nope, nope, nope, nope. I really wasn't sure how this cleanser was going to tackle a full face of makeup ... it may not have been fair of me to attempt eye-makeup removal. The Cleanse balm seemed to handle my fairly light base makeup alright (we're talking sheered out foundation, a couple dots of liquid blush, and liquid highlighter, a super-light dusting of powder). But with my eye makeup, it lacked that ability to cut through and actually *break down* mascara and eyeliner; even a fairly everyday amount of pencil liner and non-waterproof mascara. In the end, it was more the muslin cloth that got my makeup off than the cleanser. To get the last of the eyeliner and mascara I had to double-cleanse using my oil cleanser. In subsequent trials, I used the oil cleanser first if I was wearing eye makeup. I will give Cleanse credit for not irritating my eyes at all despite makeup-removal fail. However, I think a cleanser should be able to take off your makeup (or at least, I want *mine* to) ... and it does happen that this one claims it "purifies the skin of dirt, pollutants and make-up".
2.) I think I've been seeing a few more clogged pores since using this cleanser. It's such a drag, and my skin will break out at the drop of a hat, so just because this seems to be the case for me doesn't mean it would be how your skin would react too. I'm not *sure* of what my culprit is, but I'm guessing it's probably beeswax or one of the avocado oils. I think this cleanser is just too rich for my skin; I tend to prefer something that rinses a little cleaner (without stripping!) and lets my skin feel like it can 'breathe'. I'm not really rating it down for this, since break-outs are so personal, but I'm not entirely sure about the 'for all skin types' indication here. This is the main reason why I wouldn't buy this cleanser; I could work around the makeup-removal problem, but my cleanser needs to suit my skin type.
However, I won't be having any trouble using up the rest of my sample ... it feels gorgeous as a soothing balm on the backs of my hands, and I wouldn't hesitate to use it as a calming/moisturizing mask again if my skin were feeling dry, since it was only after a few days of use that I started noticing more clogged pores.
To use Cleanse as a mask, Suti suggests you apply the balm and then relax in the bath, allowing the active ingredients and steam from the bath to do their thing before removing with a muslin and refreshing skin with cold water or toner. I don't actually have a tub, so I drape warm damp muslin cloths over my face instead.
I think this could be an excellent cleanser for the right person: someone with dryer, non-breakout-prone sensitive skin, who is okay with using a separate eye-makeup remover, and wants to use more natural/organic products.
Ingredients: Vitellaria Niloteca (Shea Butter)*, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Seed Butter, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil*, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil*, Cera Alba (Beeswax)*, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter*, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil*, Limonene**, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract*, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil*, Citrus Reticula (Mandarin) Oil*, Tocopherol, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil*, Pelargonium Graveolens (Geranium)Flower Oil*, Linalool**, Geraniol**, Citronellol**
* Certified Organic ** Naturally occurring in essential oil
I've got a lot of love for this cute little tub.
I've always had problems with my nails and cuticles, especially when I am in Colorado, because of the dry climate. I have problems with nails peeling and being brittle/breaking easily, and even more chronic problems with my cuticles being dry, and rough, catching on things, tearing, and just generally being in horrible shape. None of this is helped by the fact that I'm a very 'hands on' person - I do a lot with my hands, and I'm not very careful with them. I've got a bad tendency to use my nails as tools in a pinch, too.
So I need a good treatment product to sort out this damage and keep my nails and cuticles in good condition. I've tried a number of different products such as cuticle creams/balms and oils. Most things do help, but healthy hoof has helped so much more than anything else I've used that I'm going to be sticking with this.
If I use Healthy Hoof regularly, my cuticles stay in great shape, (better than ever before!) and my nails seem to be harder/stronger and more flexible. Things that would have made a nail snap just … don't anymore. They're so much more resilient. I don't mean that I never break a nail anymore, but it's no longer a chronic problem. My fingers feel softer, less likely to catch on fine fabrics, … I feel like my hands have improved in appearance and feel so much. I mostly just keep it on a little side table near where I usually sit to chill out/watch TV in the evenings, and absentmindedly use it … probably about 4-5 times a week, though I'm theoretically trying to use it every day. If my nails/cuticles are in bad shape, I use it a couple times a day.
You get a nice big tub of Healthy Hoof, for such a low price. There's so much, and it's so inexpensive that I don't hesitate to use this product on other areas of quite rough skin, like elsewhere on my hands, on my feet, knees, or elbows. I've also used it over small recent scars on my hands and seen improvement faster than I feel I would have without doing anything to look after them.
The smell is more of lavender than anything else, it's not offensive or bothersome to me. I do feel like this can leave your fingers a little … ummmm ... sticky? Anyhow, if I'm using this during the daytime, I just put on some hand cream or lotion afterward, and that seems to normalize everything. The texture is more like a really thick body butter than a balm. You don't need to warm up the product or use anything but a finger-tip to get plenty out, so it's a lot more user-friendly than something like Burt's Bees Lemon Cuticle Butter. For travel, I'd suggest putting a healthy glob of this in a small sample jar, just so your cuticle cream isn't taking up so much space.
One last suggestion - you can totally use this when you're pushing your cuticles back. Just put on a bit more than you actually need, so there's like a small white dab along each cuticle, let it sink in a bit, and then do the usual thing with an orange stick.
It hardly seems fair for me to list this product as a 'scrub' since it's probably the most sensitive-skin-friendly exfoliator I've tried ... but there didn't seem to be a more suitable option, so here it is.
This stuff is great!
I am basing this review off a sample of this product, which was big enough to allow me to use it once a week for 3 weeks. I do currently plan to acquire the full size product when my budget permits. (It's £20 for 30ml).
I have very sensitive skin which is easily irritated, especially on my usually-quite-red cheeks. My skin can be very reactive, and I break out easily, so finding products that work for me can be a challenge. Usually physical exfoliation is a major no-no for me ... anything beyond carefully gentle use of a soft muslin cloth with a gentle cleanser will usually leave me beet red, with hot, angry cheeks. (And my skin is much more likely to break out when irritated!) For this reason, I usually only use chemical exfoliants like AHAs, and keep them away from my cheeks entirely.
I am giving you this background information so that you will know that when I say this:
*This exfoliator left my skin refreshed, calm, happy, brighter, well-exfoliated, and not at all irritated.*
... you know it means something.
Because, wow. I'm impressed. Obviously YMMV, but for my skin Pai's Kukui & Jojoba Bead Skin Brightening Exfoliator was a GREAT compromise between effective exfoliation, actual skin benefits, and zero irritation. My skin has been doing great while using this product, so I am pretty confident in saying that it does not cause break-outs for me.
This product is yellow, with a gel-type consistency; it has small visible exfoliating beads in it, and a really lovely scent which is citrus-y and fresh smelling; mildly fruity but not in a too-sweet or sickly way - it smells refreshing.
When you first spread it on clean dry skin, it can feel a little thick/sticky/rich. It is a bit difficult to spread a small amount over a large area, which I imagine has something to do with why they suggest you use two pumps of product. I only massage very gently, and I'm especially careful over my cheeks at this 'sticky' stage. You are meant to gently massage your skin in an upward circular motion, avoiding the eye area.
Next, you add a little bit of water, just with your finger tips. The gel melts quickly into a white "hydrating milk". This stage feels great. The beads mostly stick around, but you get that 'slip' that you need to massage your skin more easily. This stage feels like I'm simultaneously exfoliating and soothing my skin, which is a totally alien concept to me! I'm still careful with my cheeks, but I do give my skin a good gentle massage. It seems like some of the beads sort of melt away, and some of them stick around until you rinse off the hydrating milk.
You rinse with warm water; I've also used a soft, wet muslin cloth just to make sure I've gotten rid of any remaining jojoba beads. It leaves a slight residue, but when I look at my face, it's ... guys ... it's less red than how it used to look after cleansing! Yes, absolutely 'brighter' and softer, but still calm. Since my skin is showing/telling me that it's happy, I don't worry about the slight feeling of residue, and just proceed with moisturizer etc. But I think if this bothered you, you could probably do an extra rinse/wipe and/or use a separate cleanser.
This isn't a product I would recommend to *everyone*. If you've got normal skin which can tolerate a lot, I guess you'd probably feel like it wasn't doing a very efficient job of exfoliating. I'm also not sure if people with very oily skin would like it, since it does have a 'hydrating' feel, and contains Omega 3 and 6 as well as a range of oils. Then again, what do I know, you might love it.
The people who I would recommend this to are those with sensitive skin, who want a non-irritating exfoliator which also has some good skin-nourishing ingredients; particularly if you're interested in more organic/natural skincare. I would suggest that you try before you buy; fortunately Pai has a sampling program available on their website which makes this a lot easier. (All ingredients are also clearly stated online, so I'll entrust you to Google to find those details.)
Lip Treatments -Fresh - Sugar Plum Lip Treatment SPF 15
proximitythe53rd 7/13/2012 10:27:00 AM
I liked the original Sugar Lip Treatment, and I'm on my second tube of that now, but Sugar Plum is the first of the colored ones I've tried.
It's really nice! A lot of times when they put color into a product like this, some of the best things about its texture and performance are lost, or compromised. This hasn't happened with Sugar Plum - I think if my eyes were closed, I wouldn't be able to tell the difference. It's all the good things about the original lip treatment, but with a pretty hint of color.
The color is along the lines of Clinique's Black Honey Almost Lipstick (which I've liked for a long time, despite it not feeling that good on my lips). It's a color which is sheer, but dark, which goes on evenly. The color you end up with will depend upon your lips' pigmentation, so I think try-before-you-buy if you're 1. unsure about the color or 2. the formula, considering that this is lipstick-price, not lipbalm-price. Expect a sheer hint of color, which will not cover your lip color, just alter it a bit.
On my lips it's that just-right hint of color that can never be too much, but keeps my lips looking alive and pretty. It's sheer enough that I'm totally comfortable applying this without a mirror, which is at least 1/2 the point of this type of product.
I love that it has SPF 15 so I'm giving my lips a bit of protection when I use it on the go. The lasting power isn't notable ... I just use it about as often as I would use a balm - AKA when I think of it. I'm a fan of the sturdy metal tubes, nothing here is going to crack or break in your bag ... though maybe the writing could wear off the tube? (Not sure, hasn't happened to mine yet, anyhow.) I especially like that the tube SCREWS CLOSED. There is no way it could pop open in my bag. It feels secure. This tube is, if anything, more beautiful than the original because of its color, which also helpfully gives you a good rough idea of the shade of the tint. The metal tube is nicely weighty without being silly-heavy.
The main drawback (aside from price) is the same as with the original lip treatment ... this product is very soft. Especially in warmer temperatures, you need to be careful with it. It would be easy to break the balm off its base, or mush it into the side of the container. It's at risk of going too soft if it's kept in your pocket, or left in a hot place. I imagine if you leave it in a hot parked car or similar it could actually melt. However, my experience thus far is that if you're reasonably careful with these, you should be OK.
Eyeliner -Giorgio Armani - Smooth Silk Eye Pencil in No. 8
proximitythe53rd 7/13/2012 9:38:00 AM
I'm very happy with this eyeliner, which was an impulse buy at Heathrow. I'd heard that the texture of these was lovely, and I didn't have a gray eyeliner I was really happy with.
The texture does not disappoint, it is indeed very smooth, and goes on evenly and easily. If you've got a decent point on the liner it's easy to make a precise line, but it also smudges out nicely whether with a brush, fingers, or the smudger (a nice one, not scratchy) on the reverse side. I have had no problems with lasting power. I can use this on the waterline without irritation. The effect is more subtle than a black, and it fades off the waterline quickly, but stays in the lash line.
The color is a true gray, not pulling blue or taupe. It's a dark enough gray to work well as a liner, but it's absolutely not black. (You'd have to do careful sheering out with a black liner to get the same sort of look, unless you've got a black liner that's ... well ... not very black.) The best thing about this liner in this shade is that it's super quick, easy, and foolproof. Since the gray is a lot less stark than black, it's much more forgiving. This means it's great when you're in a rush, or if you're wearing no other eye makeup (or just mascara). It's a simple everyday basic that I find myself reaching for frequently. Also because of its foolproof nature, it's easy to grab if you've finished your eye makeup and then realized that you wanted to define your lash line a little more without having to be really careful or take a lot of time. Similarly it's handy for taking with you to change up your makeup a little on the go.
I've given the packaging top marks not so much for the box (which was perfectly nice) but rather for the following reasons ... The smudger is nice to have, and better than some. Both caps fit on securely with no risk of falling off or jamming the pencil into the top of the cap. The pencil's appearance is simple but elegant, with a color stripe down the side to let you know which one it is. It sharpens easily (doesn't need to go in the freezer first, not much waste). I guess they could have included a sharpener, but ... well, we've all already got plenty of those, right? I wouldn't say no to one, but I wouldn't want a price hike just to include a sharpener. I think the price is on the high side, but I feel like it was money well spent, so I'm pleased.
Good basics are always essential.
So much has already been said, I'm keeping this review brief and to the point (not bothering to describe the product in detail):
- my shade is Siberia, it's quite yellow, but it's a cool yellow
- you need to prep your skin well, as with most foundations, or this can look awful, really sitting on top of skin, not looking natural
- have had good luck with: flat foundation brush, mini flat foundation brush, damp sponge, fingers. Have had bad luck with: brushes that use more of a buffing action, dry sponge
- less is more, somewhat buildable coverage, stop when you're still thinking you could add more
- averageish lasting power
- I only need to lightly powder it sometimes; never heavily powder, sometimes skip powder
- not sure if it has much of a 'glow' I find it more like demi-matte? don't believe it has any shimmer.
- can sink into pores
- will absolutely show dry/flaky patches
- color is a good neutralizer of my red cheeks
- for once, I seem to have found a foundation I can wear frequently without seeing an increase in acne. This is WHY this foundation is my go-to at the moment.
- however I have not seen any skincare benefits (nor did I expect to)
- shake before use
Bonus Section - Packaging Woes: ARGH. I didn't buy the pump. Later I thought about it, but if you buy only the pump from the NARS website, along with shipping etc. the price becomes ridiculous for what you'll get. (AKA something that should have come with the product for free.) The rubberized big square part of the cap IS REMOVABLE. If you pull that sucker off, you won't be doomed to have an ugly foundation top covered in foundation-y fingerprints. However, the small plastic cap underneath is WEAK. Mine cracked (and I'm pretty gentle on makeup products). Now I'm having to put plastic wrap over the bottle before putting the cap on to make sure I get an airtight seal. I am ordering a little bottle from Muji to decant the foundation into, and then I won't have these packaging woes anymore. Haha!
Moisturizers -Unlisted Brand - Suti - Rejuvenate Face Oil
proximitythe53rd 7/13/2012 8:38:00 AM
I am absolutely in love with this oil, and it has worked wonders for my skin. I'll give you some information/more objective observations first, and follow with some my-picky-skin specifics.
I use two drops of this oil after cleansing in the evening (though it's also fine for day-time use). Massaged gently over damp skin, this very small amount of product is plenty to cover my whole face and jawline. It has a lovely scent which isn't too strong or lasting, but feels uplifting and soothing (the tangerine and neroli come through most). It is a light oil which sinks in quickly, but spreads easily, though I think if your skin wasn't damp you'd use way too much product. It leaves skin feeling adequately hydrated, but more importantly, revived and balanced. This is really not a thick, pore clogging, scary oil. My skin feels like it can breathe after using this oil, and it's not coated, tacky, or oily.
My skin absolutely feels more supple, elastic, softer and smoother since introducing this oil into my routine. I'm also seeing a general improvement in the appearance of pores. Furthermore, it gives my skin that glow; the kind that only comes from nourished, non-irritated, happy skin.
I have very reactive combination/dehydrated acne-prone sensitive skin. Yeah, that's a mouthful, and it's hard to deal with, too.
Though my acne has never been severe, I usually have a few blemishes at any one time, and sometimes more major break-outs. As I've gotten older (I'll turn 30 this winter) I've been seeing more and more of the cumulative effects my largely hormonal acne has had on my skin - scarring, pigmentation/dark spots which can take months to fade, and uneven texture in particular. Add that to a bit of sun damage, pores looking more visible than they used to, and cheeks that are usually red/flushed/at least semi-irritated; and you can understand why I've been looking for something to soothe/calm my skin, reduce (or at least not aggravate!) current break-outs AND start healing some of this damage.
Hello Rejuvenate Oil!
I was lucky enough to get a generous sample of this product (about 5ml) so I could test out how it worked for me. I'm very picky about my purchases, but ordering the full bottle was pretty much a no-brainer when I saw the evidence of how well this works writ upon mine own face.
Since starting to use the Rejuvenate Face Oil (once a day, as part of a simple, gentle skincare routine) in addition to the benefits I've already described above, the most break-out prone areas of my face (chin in particular!) have calmed down significantly. Significantly as in "people who are not just me are noticing". Significantly as in "wow, I feel so much more confident makeup-free" and "OMG why haven't I been using this for years?"
Granted, this oil isn't the only thing I'm using, but the other acne-fighters have existed in my routine for an extended period of time ... though I'm using them a lot less than I used to: clindimycin (prescription antibiotic from my dermatologist), and tiny dots of LRP Effaclar A.I. for those under-the-surface spots. I also take Works With Water ClearSkin supplements (active: lactoferrin) which has helped a lot with my acne in general (less spots, spots are smaller and less red).
The BEST THING about this oil is that it really has been IMPROVING my skin. Scars and red marks are fading a lot faster than they used to, and my skin texture is feeling noticeably improved. Seriously, I haven't even been using my retinol, because I'm getting better results with this, and zero irritation/flaking. Areas of my skin that almost always feel like they're about 10 seconds away from having a breakout are feeling more 'normal'. This has left me feeling a lot more hopeful about being able to reduce the damage to my skin, avoid further damage, and keep working toward that fresh, clear, alive complexion we all desire.
I'm not saying this product will be a miracle achiever for anyone who tries it ... a lot of its merits lay in not irritating sensitive skin ... if your skin is happy with aggressive treatment, retinol, AHAs etc. then you will probably wonder if this is doing anything, I suppose. I also wouldn't say it's an acne cure ... there's not a lot in this to really *treat* acne, so again I think a lot of the benefit for me is that it is calming my skin into a state where it doesn't produce acne as easily.
I would suggest layering an additional moisturizer over this if your skin is particularly dry, or if you feel like you need more hydration. In my opinion, using more than about 3 drops of this oil would be unwise. (Ignore that voice that says "if a little bit is good, then more will be better!")
Ingredients (from the Suti website): Rosa Rubiginosa (Rosehip) Seed Oil*, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil*, Argania (Argan) Spinosa Kernel Oil*, Limonene**, Citrus Reticulata (Tangerine) Peel Oil*, Tocopherol, Santalum Austrocalendonicum (Sandalwood), Olibanum (Frankincense)*, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Flower Oil*, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil*, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Seed Extract*, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil*, Linalool**, Geraniol**, Citral**
* Certified Organic ** Naturally occurring in essential oils
Prices as of this post: £28 in the UK through the Suti website, $52 in the US through beautyhabit. The bottle is 30ml.
Conditioner -Unlisted Brand - Rahua - Voluminous Conditioner
proximitythe53rd 4/6/2012 11:33:00 AM
This review is based on a sample of this product. I'll tell you about my hair at the bottom to give you a better idea of the context for this review.
This is the first Rahua product I have tried, and I must admit that I had high expectations. I have been hearing good things about this line, and was eager to try it out. I chose the Voluminous Conditioner to try because I am looking for a new conditioner to fall in love with.
The bad news first -- as a conditioner, this isn't right for me. Don't get me wrong, it conditioned my hair nicely, and my hair feels pretty good and soft. But I think I need something richer - I had to use a LOT of product to properly condition my hair. So at this price, I won't be choosing this as my conditioner, because I'd just go through a bottle too fast. I don't think this is the fault of the product, after all, it's supposed to be light-weight and volumising, so you don't generally WANT a richer conditioner which will weigh your hair down. If I had shoulder length hair, I'd probably be really happy with this, but since I have long (just over bra-strap length) hair, and we're just coming out of winter, I need more moisturization. I think the standard conditioner would be a better match for me, most likely. HOWEVER, it didn't weigh my hair down at all, which I really appreciate. I also really like the smell, which was quite fresh and natural (lavender and lemongrass are most of what I smell, I think), but the smell didn't linger.
But when I saw this little sentence: "Rahua Voluminous Conditioner is a double duty hair beautifier, use when styling to add control and prevent frizz," I found my best usage for this product. First off, I should clarify - it doesn't add control, as far as I'm concerned at least. Unless you just mean "control of frizz" but that's not what we mean when we say "add control" in the sense of a hair styling product. What it does do is prevent frizz nicely (with no silicones!), add a nice shine (with no silicones!), a bit of moisture, increased softness and manageability ... all without weighing my hair down. And I didn't just put it in mid-length through the ends (which I have to with silicone products to avoid looking greasy), I put about the size of a broad bean, or two or three peas worth all through my hair, combed it through, let it air dry for a bit and then finished it off with the hair dryer. I later put a touch more just through the ends
Overall I think this is a good product, and I LOVE that it's multi-purpose! If I cut my hair, I'll definitely think about getting this, but for now I'm holding off. I want to try the Rahua finishing treatment, and see what I think of that! I'm also interested in trying the standard conditioner. (Still loving my Pureology Nanoworks shampoo though, so I don't tend to try out many shampoos these days.)
My hair is on the fine side, though there is some variation in thickness, and I've got a lot of it. It's just over bra-strap length. My scalp gets oily at a fairly normal rate, I suppose? I usually wash every-other-day, or let it go an extra day if I can get away with it. It's dry though not horribly so from about the middle of my hair and then increasingly toward the ends. Abuse/damage level is medium-ish - it's been a long time since I've chemically colored my hair, and I'm an on-and-off henna user. I get some breakage ... I wear my hair up too much and I'm not always careful/patient with it. I rarely dry my hair all the way from wet, but I also usually use the hairdryer to finish it off from air drying most times. My hair is gently wavy naturally, prone to a bit of frizz (especially with all the shorter bits from breakage) and I take it easy with styling products. I usually put something through it when it's damp, more for moisture and smoothing than for hold. Sometimes I use something with a bit of hold for the ends when it looks too "fluffy". I have trouble getting volume into my hair, mainly because of the length, and it can easily look flat and 'blah'. It's easily weighed down by products, especially anything that goes in higher up than about mid-length.
I'm totally in love.
But first of all, I do have to tell you, that it does crease. Probably not on everyone, probably not with a primer, but it can and does crease on me when used on its own, especially if I have recently used an eye cream, or my eyelids are more oily.
I don't really mind. Especially with cream eyeshadows, I'm generally happy to just give them a re-smudge midday, and I know how to make it *not* crease if I'm feeling fussy about that.
OK, moving on to the important bits. The color of Ebloui is gorgeous. It's a brownish, berry-ish, reddish color, with just the right dose of very fine shimmer - something Chanel does so well. The texture is highly blendable, so it is very easy to apply this extremely sheerly, however the color is also buildable and rich, so if you want drama, you will have no trouble creating it. You can even use Ebloui like a liner, if you like. I love how flexible this shade is, because a light wash can easily be a work-friendly easy makeup (the only other thing you need to do your eyes is a bit of mascara ... though if you have decent lashes it looks fine without as well!). I typically apply with fingers, and it only takes seconds. On the other hand, if it's evening, or you're going out, you can use this shade to create a smoky look, or a defined look, all depending on how you choose to apply. Illusion D'Ombre work fine with brushes, but I find I rarely use brushes as fingers are such simple tools and achieve such excellent results. It's not even difficult to remove the eye shadow residue from your fingers with water alone - amazing for a shadow that has such great lasting power.
This shadow is much, much easier to blend than something like Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes. You don't have that same time limit, and need for caution and control - Illusion D'Ombre is much more forgiving. It's more like Bobbi Brown's metallic cream eyeshadow in that respect ... however those tend towards a virtually un-buildable sheerness (if you build enough for real color, you're really caking it on). Again, Illusion D'Ombre wins out as it's easy as pie to get full color payoff. Like most high quality cream eyeshadows, Ebloui works well alongside powder eyeshadows. I've never been a huge fan of the "use a cream eyeshadow as your base" method ... because I love cream eyeshadows, and I feel like if you completely cover them, they loose a lot of their beauty (duh). Instead I prefer to use powder eyeshadows to intensify or define. Speaking of which, if you're not afraid of reddish eyeshadow looks, Provocative eyeshadow from Rock & Republic (a berry-ish burgundy) is dynamite in combination with Ebloui. Another great companion for a cooler look is that limited edition Bobbi Brown shade Pewter which so many people went nuts for not long ago. A light dusting in the center of the lid adds great dimension.
I am someone with very fair skin (currently wearing NARS Sheer Glow in Siberia), who does have quite red cheeks, and blue/green/gray eyes. If you have similar coloring, I really do suggest Ebloui. This color really makes blue eyes pop. I don't feel that it brings out the red in your eyes, or that it makes redness elsewhere on my face look garish ... but I do try to tone down my red cheeks and cover any blemishes. It is a bit of a bruised tone, and depending on your application, could make some people look a bit tired, but ... well that's not always unattractive.
This is just one of those products which is absolutely not made for everyone ... and that's what makes it fantastic.
If you aren't paler than MAC NC/W 15 or so, this probably won't do anything for you. If you either a.) only like pigmented blushes or b.) need/want more than a whisper of color on your cheeks, or c.) definitely never want to have to have to dip your brush more than once, Sex Appeal will be a big disappointment. On the other hand, if these factors do describe you - good for you! like 90% of the blushes in the world are more or less aimed at pleasing you.
Like most people who will really love Sex Appeal, I am very pale, and have a lot of red in my cheeks that I don't really want to play up. NARS Sheer Glow in Siberia is my current foundation of choice, and it does a great job of knocking back the red in my cheeks. Such a good job, in fact, that I am much more inclined to play around with blush - something which I once feared. But even the old me who was scared of blush still would have loved Sex Appeal. It's absolutely fool proof. If I take out most or all of the red in my cheeks, Sex Appeal can restore that perfect level of barely discernible but natural healthy pink. If I am just wearing tinted moisturizer or a very light foundation and the red of my cheeks is merely toned down, Sex Appeal adds a bit of focus and shape.
This behaves well with most brushes, but I like my Medium Pointed Yachio from Hakuhodo the best. But then again ... it's my favorite blush brush in general, so that shouldn't be a surprise. Still, the precision of a smaller brush is excellent in this case, and the aforementioned brush is excellent for blending. You can layer on quite a bit of Sex Appeal without it looking cake-y, thick, or anything less than perfectly natural (at least on someone with my skin-tone. I imagine it would look very chalky on darker skin-tones.)
Sex Appeal is just so ... easy. This is the blush I reach for when I don't feel like *thinking* about it. Blush can be a minefield for someone like me, and this one always guarantees a good result. If I lost it, I'd buy it again in a heartbeat.
This review is really for the scent of Pumpkin Queen. I have reviewed Haus of Gloi's Pumpkin Butter itself (texture, moisturization, ingredients etc.) separately. Please read that review if you'd like to know what Pumpkin Butter is like!
Pumpkin Queen is part of Haus of Goi's Autumn collection, and this review is based on a mini-sized (2oz) jar, costing $4.50. The scent description is: "Gentle hay pillows, pumpkin, ripe peaches dusted with clove and nutmeg, dried summer herbs and lastly, a glowing crown of amber".
When I first tried this jar of body butter, I thought I wasn't going to be a big fan of the Pumpkin Queen scent. When you just open the jar and sniff, it smells a little too sweet/foody, and just not like something I would really enjoy having on my skin all day long. It smells like something I might enjoy as a body wash, but not as a lasting scented product. Wow was I wrong!
Because the thing is, Pumpkin Queen doesn't smell much at all on the skin like it does in the jar. Even in the first few minutes/hours when the scent is strongest, the smell on skin is still less sweet and foody than on initial sniff. In the jar it even smells a bit cloying, but on the skin it is more of a warming, spiced, ambery skin scent. Yes, it absolutely is still sweet, a bit pumpkin-y, autumnal and a touch gourmand, but in a really lovely warming veil of fragrance which is all at once comforting, just complex enough to keep you interested, and gently sexy.
To be honest, when I first received my Haus of Gloi order last fall, Pumpkin Queen was rather overshadowed by my enthusiasm for Samhain (which I have also reviewed). And I am still head over heels for Samhain, but as winter has progressed, and we're now in the cold, post-holiday days, I am just loving the warmth of Pumpkin Queen. I am looking forward to purchasing full sizes of both of these scents next fall (if they are offered again) and I might just stash most of the Pumpkin Queen away for the later parts of winter.
My favorite time to use Pumpkin Queen is right after a warm shower in the evening (still bemoaning my current lack of a bathtub!!). Its excellent performance as a body butter aside (please read about the Pumpkin Butter formula in my separate review), Pumpkin Queen is a wonderful scent to enjoy on a cold evening, warm and cozy inside. The scent is strong enough to transfer lightly onto your towel, your clothes, and even a little onto your sheets without seeming obtrusive or shouting its presence. I drift off to sleep with an extra veil of warmth and softness. It's gotta be the amber, I think, which gives this scent a nice bit of lasting power, because I can still smell its shadow on my skin in the morning. A shadow which seems to play nicely with any perfume I might choose to layer over it ... though it's worth noting that I am likely to be wearing a scent with notes like tobacco, incense, woods, vanilla, musk, amber, hay, etc. rather than some sort of tropical fruity or strawberry concoction.
As far as I can gather, most of the positive associations which people have with spiced-pumpkin based fragrances are rather American-centric. I am American, so I have all these positive associations, however my English husband does not. I have been disappointed by his lack of appreciation of pumpkin scents in the past ... not so this time! Though he is not a fan of how it smells in the jar, the husband really seems to enjoy the actual smell of Pumpkin Queen when I use it as a moisturizer. (I think this scent is too sweet for most people to consider it masculine.) It rarely fails to elicit a fragrance compliment when up close, which is a lot to say for a body butter - let alone one so inexpensive!
Just to be clear - this review is based on a sample, not a full bottle. As to whether this is worth the price, I guess it depends how dear that price is to you. I can't afford it. If I could, I'd buy Epic, and never doubt whether it was worth it, I'm sure. And someday, I think I plan to.
Epic is a beautiful scent. The main players here are probably rose and oud. There are a lot of scents which marry these gorgeous notes - and to much success. They go so perfectly together. The outcome in this case is deep, intellectual, somewhat melancholy but with a feeling of purpose. There are hints of incense (frankincense) earthiness (patchouli) and resinous (amber) woody (sandalwood, guiac wood, oud) notes ensuring that the gorgeous depth of Epic resounds throughout the fragrance's composition. All the ingredients here are of the highest quality, and you can smell the difference. Juliette Has A Gun can pull off a nice rose/oud type of fragrance, but measure it up against Amouage's offerings and you will find it lacking. Some ingredients really let you smell the quality, and Epic is packed with them. A blend like Montale's Black Aoud can knock you down, but compared to this scent, seems to lack artistry (no offense, Black Aoud). Ormonde Jayne's Ta'if is a lighter blend, almost perhaps the same heroine, but living a very different life. A slight bitterness can weave its way in and out of Epic's composition, but it never takes over, just brings an independent strength or a slight stand-offish quality to this scent. It helps to keep Epic interesting and original feeling. It can have green (dark green, almost dried) notes to it, but as soon as this aspect (or the tea) begin to cool the fragrance, spices inevitably ground the fragrance in a soothing but strengthening warmth. Sweetness, similarly, never truly wins out but weaves its way through Epic supported by jasmine, amber, and vanilla. Towards the heart, Epic becomes warmer, richer. I don't always like fragrances *more* as they settle and develop on the skin, but Epic is an example of a scent that is gorgeous at the beginning, but becomes heartbreaking as it melds into your skin, and settles in for the duration. Epic's sweetness (more apparent at this stage) that almost lends a heart of vulnerability to this adventurer - at times the rose can even smell lightly candied to me, without ever becoming syrupy or candy-shop. The base is comforting, without ever being tame. I have read elsewhere that Epic is fundamentally an introspective fragrance, and I agree wholeheartedly. The combination of warmth with coolness, intimacy with reserve is irresistible to me.
Did you ever see that movie 'The Fall' (2006)? If you haven't, go watch it. I'd make Epic the scent of that movie -- the aesthetics, the mood, the honoring of the intellectual while overwhelming the senses with beauty, and the melancholy heart underlying an ultimately strengthening and strangely uplifting whole all fit perfectly.
My husband, having only smelled the drydown (he keeps missing the opening) has said that to him it smells sweet, and buttery, and a little bit like Turkish Delight - an observation that made me realize that this scent is not entirely dissimilar from Keiko Mecheri Loukhoum Parfum du Soir in feel (though that fragrance is simpler, sweeter, and doesn't take the same journey to get where it's going). Another dark rose which I love, Frederic Malle's Une Rose is, I would say, completely different. That scent actually is a rose, growing in a dark place, complete with earthy, rooty, animalic, and even boozy notes. Le Labo's Rose 31 is more woody, the spices are more distinct, but it does dry down into something that feels almost creamy, and it shares this in common with Epic, at least. Epic is not a repetition of anything I've smelled before, despite its classic feel. It is the sort of fragrance that actually makes spending well over $200 on a bottle of perfume feel perfectly sane.
This review is really for the scent of Samhain. I have reviewed Haus of Gloi's Pumpkin Butter itself (texture, moisturization, ingredients etc.) separately. Please read that review if you'd like to know what Pumpkin Butter is like!
Samhain is part of Haus of Goi's Autumn collection, and this review is based on a full-sized (6oz) jar, costing $10.00. The scent description is: Freshly turned earth, wet leaves, and a cool, spectre ridden wind."
The first thing I have to say is that I'm a bit of a perfume nut, usually I go for really unscented moisturizer so it doesn't interfere with my perfume choice of the day. I like mostly niche fragrances that keep me interested and intellectually and emotionally engaged, or which feel cheering, calming, soothing, meditative, energizing or renewing. In other words, I ask for a lot from a fragrance, but I like a wide range of things. I'm not snobby, but I am picky.
I bought Samhain out of curiosity, to enjoy as a moisturizer, to see what the scent was like, and possibly to use for layering purposes, or to wear on its own for a nice veil of autumn-appropriate fragrance. It has fully satisfied on all counts! In terms of complexity, Samhain is on par with a perfume - this shouldn't be a surprise since it is also offered as a perfume oil. This body butter does have top notes, a settling-in period, and long-lasting basenotes. The scent is quite strong at the beginning, but settles down nicely after a few minutes into a very wearable, enveloping but not projecting fragrance. It exists at more or less this level for a while (I imagine depending on how dry your skin is) losing some top notes after about 1/2 an hour, then fading gently for a few hours before it starts to be more of a skin scent comprised of its base notes. I can usually still catch a hint of these base notes the morning after.
As for the scent itself ... this is the hardest part. I find myself wishing for a list of notes, but since that's not available, I'll just have to tell you what I think I smell, and risk being utterly utterly wrong :)
Samhain is the most green in its top notes. I smell something grassy or hay-like (I wouldn't be too surprised if I read vetiver in a list of notes). It does smell a bit like wet leaves in this stage, as well as smelling a bit mossy. However it is not entirely a green scent, even in this opening stage. I also smell something a bit like dried fruits, though not the sort of thing you'd expect from the latest Serge Lutens release, this is simpler, and more gentle. I imagine that I smell a hint of pumpkin, though obviously that is difficult to separate from the "Pumpkin Butter" association. It is also somewhat herbal, again it's difficult to say what I might be smelling, but bay is my best guess. I would be surprised if patchouli didn't make an appearance on the ingredient list. This stage smells both green and earthy, but also with a hint of the kitchen. Not gourmand, like you want to eat what you're smelling, rather somewhat herbal or hearth-y. It does smell a little like wet leaves, and the scent is lively on the skin, not cloying or heavy. (Sniffing the jar or the first minute or two after application could be a bit much for some people, but at least on my skin it does quickly calm down, and I enjoy the initial big hit of fragrance.)
When Samhain settles into the skin, it loses some of the greenness, and smells more earthy and lightly spiced. I believe I smell a hint of amber (of the darker, resinous, as opposed to powdery sort), and I do still smell a bit of patchouli helping to give that earthy feel (without making you smell like a hippie, just in case you were worried). It is very lightly sweet, and a little bit nutty, but still not gourmand. I don't so much smell wet leaves at this stage, but I could easily imagine dried leaves. It is earthy. My best reference point for earthy smelling scents is the frequently-occurring earth/dirt accord in the CB I Hate Perfume line – this doesn't smell like that. It's a bit less graphically real-earth, but still highly pleasurable, and more evocative of the feeling/mood/imagination of earth than the real thing. (This is a big compliment, because I'm a fan of the CBIHP line.) I sometimes think I smell a hint of something floral in this scent, but it doesn't make it smell flowery or feminine, it just rounds out the scent and keeps it feeling complex. There is probably something woody, but not loud in the base, possibly sandalwood, though it is all so smooth that it's quite tricky to even attempt to pick out individual notes (espeically for someone like me who's not very good at it).
When Samhain has had time to sink into your skin, it's not something you smell constantly, it's something you catch little whiffs of. I find it: comforting/comfortable, outdoorsy/picturesque, and cheering/encouraging to wear. Sort of like thinking that you have somewhere rustic, simple and friendly to return to at the end of your day. The husband thinks it smells "different, but really good". He likes the drydown more than he likes how it smells when it first goes on.