EDIT 2: I just thought I'd come back and update. I've used 10 bottles of this product now and can definitely say it's HG and I hope they never change the formula or stop production. It doesn't break me out, it goes on perfectly clear and I actually look forward to applying it daily. I've never been able to say that about a sunscreen before! ------------------------------------------------------------------- EDIT: I am upgrading this to a 5. I am about to open my sixth bottle and it's still working like a dream for me. By the way, does anyone know why the UK version is different to the US version? It's a different colour and only specifies UVB protection (not UVA). ------------------------------------------------------------------- I, too, am conflicted as to the rating this product deserves, because it really does not offer the best UVA protection. However, the texture and finish for me is unbeatable. For the last year and a half I have been using tinted physical sunblocks; in particular, Peter Thomas Roth Make-Up Less SPF30 and Hydropeptide SPF 30. Both have their benefits, but I find myself not wanting to use a tinted block anymore, as it looks like I am wearing makeup. The problem is that traditional white/clear sunscreens make my olive skintone look sullen and sick. This is the first non-tinted SPF that I can wear without worrying about looking unhealthy. It dries absolutely clear and I can put quite a lot on my face, without a white caste or any other effects. I like this aspect, because traditionally I have applied less than I should, so as not to look sick or makeup-y. For this reason, I've repurchased twice already and will continue to use it, even if the protection is not perfect. For the beach I will have to find something more suitable, with a higher PPD rating. It is very expensive and I find that the bottle will only last me one month with daily applications to face, neck and chest. If you find it lasting much longer, I'm sorry to say that you're probably not using enough to get a real spf30.
I do like this, I really do - but the price of AU$200 is very prohibative.
This is not your typical scrub, but more of a clay mask with very small, sharp diamond/quartz fragments in it. It is quite good at balancing oil production and refining the top layers of skin.
That said, I am looking for more gentle scrubbing products, because I have noticed that in broad daylight, my skin takes on a slightly rough appearance, as though it has been scratched unevenly. If this product was less than half its current price and if it didn't stick to the face so well, I might consider repurchasing.
Treatments (Eye) -Unlisted Brand - Remergent Microcirculation Therapy
stopthesmap 3/26/2010 7:53:00 PM
The first problem I have with this product is that the pump dispenses too much - so much that I could cover my face, neck, hands (and arms if I really wanted to).
The second problem is that it just doesn't do anything except make the skin under my eyes red. Yes, I can feel it heating up, but honestly it doesn't get rid of dark circles - just makes the skin on top red!
The final problem is that it's not moisturising at all. Do not buy it.
I have had my 60ml tube of Skin Polisher for around 3 months now and it is almost empty. I have been alternating this scrub with the La Mer Refining Facial (ugh.. why did I buy that!?) and have found it to be very, very gentle. However, I just can't rave about it because the tube is just too small for the price. For $75 I received a 200ml tube of Refining Facial, yet the Skin Polisher was 60ml for $40. I just can't justify that sort of price for basic scrub.
That said, I am giving it a 4 because it really is quite gentle and it is also unlike any other scrub I've used before. It is made up of extremely fine little wax particles that aren't abrasive like La Mer's 'diamonds' but yet they effectively slough off all dead skin. There is also the added benefit of an moisturising base, instead of a drying clay one, so you definitely do not dry out your skin at all.
So if I received 200ml for $40, I would definitely repurchase, but as it stands, I'll be on the look out for something cheaper.
I am going to tentatively give this a rating of 5 for the following reasons:
- The container keeps the product from oxidizing (something that has always kept me from buying Obagi Pro-C, Cellex-C or Skinceuticals)
- This not only contains lipid soluble Vitamin C, but also water soluble C. After reading 'The New Science of Perfect Skin' by Daniel Yarosh (Creator of Remergent and the father of DNA Repair... get the book.. seriously!) I remembered something about each cell needing both water soluble antioxidants as well as lipid soluble ones. I will update this once I get my book back from my friend.
- It contains 15% Vit C in total and from memory the pH is ideal for absorption (b/w 4 and 6). There is also the added benefit of Vitamin E, which keeps the Vitamin C working longer. Unfortunately there is no Ferulic Acid! But I wouldn't substitute Skinceuticals CE+Ferulic for this because of their dodgy packaging. Don't believe the hype about stabilized C serums, they will ALL degrade once exposed to light and air.
Anyway, on paper this serum reads wonderfully and as I'm using it to boost the effectiveness of my sunscreen + prevent sun damage, I can't really test it's efficacy for a few months (in reality.. years). However, I like the texture and will continue using it! I will update in a few months.
Sunscreen -SkinMedica - Environmental Defense Sunscreen SPF30+
stopthesmap 3/3/2010 7:50:00 PM
I was not going to try this sunscreen, as other MUA members have noticed a white cast left on their faces, but I'm so glad that I took the plunge! However, I had a look into the Z-COTE® MAX™ ingredient produced by BASF and found that it was a nano sized particle of Zinc Oxide, that was just large enough so that it doesn't absorb into the skin (a necessary point for physical SPF) and small enough that it turns transparent once rubbed onto the skin.
Anyway, like all the other Skin Medica products my derm put me onto, this one has not disappointed me in the least. In the beginning I was putting too much on and ended up feeling sticky/white. This did eventually dry, but it wasn't nice. Then I started to apply only the amount of 1 digit (first knuckle to fingertip) and generously rubbed it over my Vit C+E complex. Long story short, it works like a dream. Not greasy to touch and invisible.
Just like the Ultra Sheer, I broke out for the first couple of weeks whilst my skin adjusted to this, and now I have no trouble at all. If I'm going for a run in the middle of the day, I simply apply a second coat after the first has dried.
Because you get 3oz of this product in a bottle, I think it's quite a bargain!! It will probably last me about 3 months of proper daily use . Just a tip if you are looking for an alternative SScreen, try ZO Oclipse SPF 30 from Obagi. It's tinted and also works quite nicely. As it's so much more expensive than Skin Medica, I use it only every few days, or just around my eyes as it really conceals darkness and brightens them up!
Have fun in the sun!
Moisturizers -SkinMedica - ULTRA SHEER MOISTURIZER
stopthesmap 2/4/2010 7:06:00 PM
In early December of last year, my whole skincare regime changed after a visit to a dermatologist who recommended that I try SkinMedica products. I was having good results with Paula's Choice, in that they were maintaining my skin, but they weren't doing anything amazing for my skin. So I reluctantly handed over a lot of money and have been using SkinMedica for the last two months.
The Ultra Sheer Moisturizer was recommended to me as I was travelling through Mexico and Cuba, and wanted something that I could use despite the humid weather. At first I thought the moisturizer was breaking me out and was quick to dismiss the whole line as a waste of money, but I stuck with it for 3 weeks and suddenly everything changed. The moisturizer started absorbing into my skin, rather than coating the top and then I started to see those fine dehydration lines (around the eyes and in the naso. folds) really plump up from inside. The initial breakout quickly went away and I really enjoy using this product now (as I do all the SM products).
What was most impressive was that after being in humid weather for a month, I went to the snow for January and that was a shock for my skin! It was suddenly so dry. So I put a layer of Ultra Sheer on my skin straight after cleansing and then before it had dried, I locked it in with a quarter size amount of TNS Ceramide Treatment Cream. Within about 3 days, my skin was balanced and calm.
This isn't a groundbreaking moisturizer or one that's going to dispell your wrinkles, but it WILL hydrate your skin if you give it a chance. Mine took 3 weeks to adjust, but I'm so glad it did!
If this isn't the Holy Grail of cleansers... I don't know what is!
SkinMedica's facial cleanser has never once irritated my skin and combined with my Clarisonic Mia, I have had fantastic results - completely clean pores, smooth texture and a pretty nice glow. Plus my skin is never, ever tight or dry.
I didn't realise how much grime I was leaving behind in my pores using MB Enzyme Cleanser, or even Paula's Choice Skin Recovery Cleanser, until I started using this! Now I can actually remove my sunscreen at the end of the day, without washing 3 times, or using a scrub. Fantastic!
Paula has become a bit of an angel in my books! This is the latest product I purchased from her and I just love it. It feels like I have absolutely no sunscreen on! I know.. I write this every time, but I think I have finally found my HG daily moisturiser and sunscreen!
I no longer feel I need an SPF 50 - my skin wasn't meant to be paper white. Hell, even an SPF 35 had me looking like I was born in the reflex paper factory, but using an SPF 15, I finally have no white caste, no dry patches, no shiny/greasy look and I can reapply as much as I like during the day (which i would probably do around noon during summer). Best of all, my skin is back to a nice and balanced shade of olive.
If I feel the need to apply more protection on hot days, I will. But for every day use, this is a absolute winner!
Sunscreen -Unlisted Brand - IQQU - Advance Sunscreen SPF 35 UVA/UVB
stopthesmap 8/27/2009 9:07:00 PM
MAJOR EDIT: This product is rubbish for all the reasons stated in other reviews above - near the end of the tube it started the break me out HORRIBLY... Huge cysts formed all along my jawline.
My skin tone is an olive colour which looks slightly yellow and dull in winter, but turns a deep mahogany colour in summer. I have combination skin, with blackheads around the nose being a problem area. I also have feint lines around my eyes which show up with any drying product.
For the purposes of this review, I will be using Chanel UV Essentiel SPF 50+ as a point of comparison, as that is the sunscreen I used for a year prior to buying IQQU Advance Sunscreen. The Chanel sunscreen on its own is a viscous liquid that goes on very lightly, but leaves my skin feeling 'cold', hard and heavy with quite a noticeable sheen. It is also 30ml and I paid around AU$60 online for it. I used this sunscreen because it had a very high SPF and was the lightest I could find. However, after a while the cold feeling and sheen really annoyed me so I started to mix it with other moisturisers to try and blend out those annoying factors. The first time I tried IQQU Advance Sunscreen, I put too much on, around the size of an Australian 50c coin. It was a disaster as my natural skintone was lightened to that of paper and it made me look quite sick. However, I was at how soft and light it felt on the skin, despite this. The next day I tried it again with a small amount and it had a much greater effect.
As the weather is slowly warming here in Australia, I have started to mix one part Advance Sunscreen with half a part of matte bronzing fluid and the results are fantastic. I stay matte all day and have never burnt, even when playing sport or being outside all day.
There are a couple of small faults with the formula. Firstly, I think that the level of talc included is a little bit too high and that it is responsible for the 'white cast' I sometimes have if I don't mix the sunscreen with a bronze fluid. Also, there seem to be some little white balls in the formula that haven't mixed in and I have to pick these off of my skin afterwards. Overall, these things are a minor annoyance as the sunscreen is so light and creamy - the first that hasn't accentuated things like fine lines and pores.
People with lighter skin tones will absolutely love this product. If they use it by itself, it will defintely even out their skintone for a flawless finish.
I have stopped using my Chanel sunscreen and will continue to purchase this product! I also look forward to seeing any new formulations in the future.
Cleansers -Paula's Choice - Skin Recovery Cleanser
stopthesmap 8/14/2009 2:33:00 AM
Paula has formulated a really lovely cleanser that doesn't strip my skin at all and yet leaves it perfectly cleansed! It is a milky emulsion (a bit hard for the shower as I seem to spill it out of my palm all them time!) that doesn't foam on the skin.
This is not a 'wow' product that will make you want to touch your skin and sit in front of the mirror - for that you will probably need an exfoliating cleanser. However, it is a great staple product that you can use morning and night every day to combat the winter flakies.
There really isn't much to say, other than it does not aggravate my skin and I highly recommend it!
The only flaw is that I seem to be going through this cleanser so quickly! The smaller size bottle has only lasted a month and with Paula's Australian prices, it makes it very expensive for a no-frills cleanser. This time, I have purchased the larger size and am going to be more conservative with my usage (and try not to spill it in the shower too!)
Treatments -Paula's Choice - Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Lotion Exfoliant
stopthesmap 8/14/2009 2:23:00 AM
I originally started on the 2% BHA gel, as it was my first Paula's Choice product, and being unaware of the consistencies thought, that it would be the best for my slightly dry, combination skin.
I was really pleased with the product, but stopped using a moisturiser over the top of it about 2 months ago. My skin became really dry and flakey, and when I started using retinol a month ago I knew I had to change something. I decided to switch to the lotion, because I was no longer worried so much about black heads as I was about flakiness and parched skin!
Well the BHA lotion has been a terrific success! I love it and would not go back to the gel for anything. I use it at night and find that it dries very evenly without feeling sticky at all, but the best part is that I do not have severe flakiness (as I use a tiny bit of manual exfoliant in the morning shower). My blackheads have also stayed away, which was the reason I chose a BHA to start with.
My success with the original gel has prompted me to use more products from the Paula's Choice line, so if you are put off by the plain packaging and high price (for a non-luxe product), do give them a go as I am yet to find a bad item.
I hate the packaging because I feel as though I'm contaminating the product - but don't let that stop you!
It will make your skin sooooooo smooth and seriously rid you of those under-the-skin bumps that plague us all. It also does not dry out your skin, unlike masks containing feral Kaolin. Most importantly, it lasts a very long time, so it is economical (1 jar = 6 months of bi-weekly use).
Cleansers -Mario Badescu - Glycolic Foaming Cleanser
stopthesmap 6/10/2009 12:30:00 AM
I don't really understand what the fuss is with this product. It's a pretty basic SLS cleanser that didn't actually give me a deep clean. In fact, the Enzyme cleanser seems to work a lot better for me.
The only thing it does do on a weekly basis (seeing as you're only supposed to use this v. sparingly) is give me a small amount of red pimples on my forehead. I can't wait until the bottle is finished.. I might add it to the small amount of AHA body wash I have left and use it in the shower.
Treatments (Eye) -Mario Badescu - Hyaluronic Eye Cream
stopthesmap 6/10/2009 12:28:00 AM
Note: I have used a sample of this product and it lasted me 3 months! Okay, so that forenote out of the way, this is a great product. It really really helps to plump up the skin under my eyes and in turn reduces my dark circles and those pesky 'smile' lines that occur where the depth in skin changed from undereye to cheek. It doesn't promise anything else and seeing as I don't really need help with anything other than dark circles, I was not disappointed with this product. However, I won't be purchasing a full size yet because I have found that if I let my first squirt of Buttermilk Moist. dry under my eyes and then apply another dose - I'm all set, no matter if it's day or night!