This green gold kohl liner helps to counteract the reddish/purple tones that can sometimes linger around my eyes due to allergies/lack of sleep. I never would have guessed a green would be so flattering on my blue eyes. It's surprisingly proven to be a wonderful work-safe neutral that's easy to swipe on early in the morning without looking heavy-handed. The lasting power is actually quite good as well. Quite a nice change from my usual brown/taupe liners.
My skin-type: sensitive, acne-prone and dry in the winter. My skin-tone: Between NC10-NC15. Neutral, fair olive (cool yellow, almost green) undertones with some pink on the surface. Foundations are often either too pink or too orange (If interested, feel free to check out my notepad for other notes on my foundation quest.) Lancome Teint Miracle foundation in shade Ivoire 1N has both a wonderful formula and great shade match for my skin. It has been my go-to foundation this winter. It hasn't caused me any irritation or breakouts. I like that it doesn't have any discernable fragrance, and I love the subtle luminous glow it leaves on my skin. It also doesn't sink into or emphasize pores in any way. While some foundation's application really depends on the particular tool, Teint Miracle has proven to be probably the most fool-proof foundation I've found in terms of application. I've applied it with a traditional foundation brush, a flat-top brush, a stippling brush, a damp sponge (beauty blender) and my fingers and it applies nicely no matter what. I love that I can literally just slap it on with my fingers. It lasts pretty well all day yet it doesn't take a heavy-duty oil cleanser to remove; I find it removes easily with my usual foaming cleanser. I'm not sure if it will hold up in the summer when my skin is a lot more oily, but it has proven to be a wonderful foundation for my dehydrated skin this winter.
As I've been using this consistently for about three months now, I suppose it's time I give this a review. MUFE F&B in shade #38 is awesome for my acne-prone, dry and sensitive, NC15ish neutral-toned skin. It applies sheer but is easily buildable, and like others have mentioned, it truly looks like second skin. It has been a miracle for covering up post-acne red marks and as odd as it sounds, I actually find it soothing to my skin. The texture is indeed strange. I never experienced it before they added the pump, but I can imagine that it was a needed improvement. The foundation doesn't stick to the sides of the bottle the way that, say, Revlon Colorstay does. It sort of stays in its own blob. After trying a variety of application techniques, I find that dabbing it on with a damp sponge over freshly-moisturized skin gives the most natural look. I also like the sponge as opposed to brushes because I find it most gentle for my sensitive skin. 99% of the time I will forgo concealer and just apply another coat of the F&B where needed. The formula is very forgiving and never looks cakey even with multiple layers. I give it a couple minutes to "set" and then usually finish it off with Maybelline Dream Matte pressed powder for a very natural, satin-matte finish that wears well all day. If you prefer a more dewy look though, the F&B wears well and looks great as is. As an added benefit I've also been using it in place of my usual TFSI eyeshadow primer with great results. It covers up the redness on my eyelids and makes my eyeshadow last nearly as long as when wearing primer. I love the generous-sized clear bottle and the pump packaging. I've only used about 1/4 of the bottle with regular use over the past few months, so I think it is absolutely worth the price ($38 last time I checked). Just as a heads up, I will say that I think the name of the shade I use (Pink Porcelain 38) is a bit misleading. It is much more neutral than pink and it might even be too yellow-toned for very pink skintones. Also, the foundation DOES have a slight fragrance (vaguely citrusy & soapy), but it isn't very strong. I can only smell it if I sniff it directly, and not at all after application. I am very sensitive to fragrance and it doesn't bother me, but I know this can be a deal-breaker for many. 4/20/11 UPDATE: Still using & loving, but I have noticed one annoying thing: a tiny glob of dried-out foundation usually comes out in the first pump. It's probably just the nature of the pump design, but I thought I'd mention it. I've also found myself applying it with my fingers lately instead of a damp sponge (mostly out of laziness) and getting good results. Whether using a sponge, brush or my fingers, the key for me is to dab it on (as opposed to rubbing or swirling it around).
I believe I've found my HG daily lip balm. Moisturizing, lightweight, has SPF 15, and most importantly NO flavor whatsoever. So many SPF balms I've bought in the past have been super bitter and chemically-tasting. I love that it's so cheap and widely available. Nice looking, simple packaging too.
Sunscreen -Unlisted Brand - Vanicream for Sensitive Skin SPF 30 and SPF 60
surrealmeal 5/3/2010 12:56:00 PM
Vanicream SPF 30 First off, I'll say that I totally understand why the rating is low. This stuff is THICK and would probably be greasy for most people. But for my fair, dry, sensitive and very acne-prone skin, Vanicream SPF 30 is a godsend. I've had a hell of a time finding a sunscreen that works for me--I avoid chemical blockers, glycerin (in too high of amounts it is a breakout/ irritation trigger for me), and "ane" silicones (like cyclopentasiloxane, also breaks me out). Those preferences alone reduce my selection by probably 90%. My experience with Vanicream was positive from the start. I contacted the parent company PSI (www.psico.com) and asked if I'd be able to try out samples of the sunblock. They were happy to help and within a week of contacting them, I received a generous package of samples of several of their products (including the cutest tiny box of their Vanicream cleansing bar, which is also great). It was nice being able to try it first before committing to buying a big tube and potentially wasting more money on what seemed like my never-ending sunscreen quest (I know many of you can probably relate!) I have also seen Vanicream sunblock samples on ebay for very cheap so there are a couple ways to try before committing to a full-size tube. Here's my routine for using the Vanicream SPF 30: -cleanse -moisturize (I use grapeseed, safflower or camellia oil and I find that moisturizing a little first helps the Vanicream spread a lot more easily.) -smooth on a glob of the Vanicream -wait 10 minutes or so to let it absorb, rub it in a little more and then lightly blot & apply makeup (I use Silk Naturals loose powder mineral makeup.) The routine might sound involved with the waiting and blotting but I just do it while I'm getting ready and it doesn't seem to take any extra time out of my day. Sometimes I'll mix in a few shakes of my loose powder foundation with the Vanicream and it makes an awesome tinted moisturizer! The Silk Naturals has zinc oxide & titanium dioxide too so I find the two products really complementary. I'm thrilled to have found an all-physical sunblock that doesn't break me out or leave an awful white cast (it's called "Vani"-cream because it's supposed to "vanish.") I find it soothing (probably from the zinc oxide) and it has been especially helpful since I started using Retin-A. In summary, Pros: -soothing -great for dry, sensitive skin -uses only zinc oxide & titanium dioxide -doesn't leave a white cast -doesn't break me out -inexpensive (huge 4 oz tube for around $12...the other sunscreen I like (Neutrogena Healthy Defense Daily Moisturizer SPF 45) is only 1 oz for around $12 Cons (why I couldn't rate it a 5/5) -thick, may be greasy for most people -not widely available (I have to order mine online)
Don't let the teeny-bopper Bonne Bell marketing fool you. This is a fantastic mascara. In fact, for my stubbornly blonde lashes, it is my HG. It is pretty basic--more on the wet side and doesn't provide much volume or length--but it darkens lashes beautifully and lasts all day without irritation or flaking. While other mascaras dry up, a tube can last me months and still feel as good as the day it was opened. It looks super natural (never spidery or clumpy) and it holds a curl like nobody's business. If you're looking for dramatic lashes, this honestly probably isn't the mascara for you. But if you're looking for a comfortable, natural-looking and highly pigmented mascara for everyday use, that's insanely affordable (around $3 a tube) then I highly recommend it!
I will say that it does have a slight sweet/rosy scent to it, which might bother some people. I can only smell it if I directly sniff the wand or tube--I don't smell it while applying it or at any point while wearing it. Thought I'd mention it though to anyone who might be bothered by it.
Wow I can't believe there aren't more reviews for this! Sally Girl eye shadow in Snow is hands down my favorite shimmering, pigmented, true white shade. It can be used as a highlight shade, or applied all over to create a blank slate for bright shades to show up more vividly. I like the packaging too--a small rectangular pan with a clear lid so you can easily identify which shade it is. Also, the lid gives a good, satisfyingly loud "snap" when closed, and all Sally Girl eye shadow singles have a cool little feature that allows them to snap together so you can create your own interchangeable palettes. I will say that Snow does need a good primer for it to last. It is also really difficult to de-pot any Sally Girl eye shadow singles because they crumble easily, the metal pan is too flimsy, and they are glued in to their compacts a little too well. Despite these minor cons, I wholeheartedly recommend Snow. For less than $1 you really can't go wrong.
This is a decent basic foaming cleanser best for normal to oily skin. It lathers nicely and removes makeup pretty well, but I could not stand the scent. It smells like an overly-sweet men's cologne. I was really surprised when I saw that it had fragrance/parfum as the last ingredient. Not what I'd expect from a natural company like Earth Science. Bottom like: worth a shot if the scent doesn't bother you.
This stuff has saved my skin. I've had moderate, persistent, (and sometimes cystic) acne for the past year and this is the only product that has improved my skin significantly. I first tried Neutrogena On the Spot 2.5% BP, and saw a little improvement but encountered clogs which I believe were caused by the base. I then tried Differin for several months followed by Finacea for a few months. I saw initial improvement but then increased breakouts with both products. I was so fed up. I finally picked up a box of Nature's Cure about 2 months ago as a last resort. The online reviews were good and the simple ingredient list was impressive, so I figured for $10 I didn't have much to lose. After a couple weeks my skin began to improve and after a month my skin was the clearest it had been in over a year. Since that point my skin has remained at a level of about 90% clarity and continues to improve. Clogs have disappeared and I've only had one hormonal chin cyst in the entire two months. This is huge for me! To be able to consider my acne mild and my skin somewhat normal is a great feeling. I don't take the pills. I just apply a generous layer (Acne.org style) over my face every night before bed, after cleansing with Earth Science A-D-E creamy cleanser, toning with Earth Science Clarifying Herbal Astringent, and moisturizing with a safflower oil/aloe vera gel combo. This particular product regimen works for me, but the main idea is to cleanse gently & moisturize. The only negative is that my eyes water/sting for about a minute or two after I apply the cream (similar to cutting onions). I just close my eyes & wait it out. It's well worth it.
Pressed Powders -Maybelline - Dream Matte Pressed Powder
surrealmeal 12/12/2008 8:26:00 PM
I love this powder. I'm very acne-prone and it has never broken me out. I apply it with a kabuki brush and it really helps to even out my skin tone, reduce redness, and mattify without drying me out. It has NO scent, is oil-free, and has none of the problematic silicones (the kind that end in 'ane') that a lot of other powders seem to have. I honestly like it better than MAC Blot.
Makeup Brushes -Ecotools - Bamboo 6 Piece Brush Set
surrealmeal 12/12/2008 8:13:00 PM
I purchased the Ecotools 5 piece brush set with the bamboo cup from Walgreens for $9.99 and I am very impressed. The brushes are high quality & incredibly soft. Synthetic taklon fibers make up the bristles, recycled aluminum makes up the ferrule, and ever-sustainable bamboo make up the handles. The slanted eye liner brush is probably my favorite out of the set. It provides a smooth, firm line and makes it easy to line as close to my lashes as possible. It makes for a much more neat & natural look.
Scrubs -St. Ives - Apricot Scrub Blemish and Blackhead Control
surrealmeal 9/30/2008 10:42:00 PM
I give this a 3 as a face scrub, but a solid 5 as a body scrub! Even though it makes my face feel super smooth right afterwards, I always end up a bit irritated. On a recent derm visit, the esthetician recommended that I stop using it as the irritation could actually be breaking my sensitive skin out further. Well, she was right. My skin has been doing much better since I stopped using it. That's just me and my sensitive skin though, others could find it just fine. Now, as a body scrub it's a completely different story. This stuff is amazing for clearing up bumps on the back of your arms, for making feet baby soft, and as a pre-shave scrub to prevent ingrown hairs.
I have dry, sensitive, acne-prone skin and Purpose is one cleanser I find myself coming back to time and time again. It has simple, gentle ingredients, a nice lather, and it removes makeup quite well without being drying. I sometimes make the mistake of straying because I think I need a cleanser to"do" more (like treat acne), but the truth is that my skin is always better off with a simple cleanser that does nothing more than cleanse, and Purpose is just that.
This is a surprisingly good drugstore lipgloss. It's moisturizing, not too sticky, has a nice scent and a slight tingle. I got this in Boast, which is a reddish-brown nude and a great shade for Fall.
The reasons why I love this mascara are the same reasons that others hate it. The formula is wet and thin (providing no volume), non-lengthening, and boring. It really only adds color and a little hold. I have long, thick, but annoyingly blonde eyelashes and have a hard time finding a mascara that doesn't look fake and gloppy, and I've tried a lot. I end up coming back to Great Lash at least a couple times a year because I know I can depend on it. The formula is simple, non-irritating, and doesn't flake, and I find that the small, spoolie-type wand is easier to work with than the larger, 'teddy bear' style wands. It was the first mascara I ever bought in 7th grade, and I'll probably be using it forever. (Note: The waterproof version of Great Lash is a different story. I hate that crap.)