I love this foundation. I have it in several shades - Warm Golden, Natural Tan, and Golden Caramel, all for combination/oily skin. These shades work really well for Asian skin with yellow undertones. I can build up the coverage to get rid of sun damage and acne scars without it looking like I have foundation caked on. It wears well, but I still need to blot my T-zone throughout the day. The finish is great and it doesn't require powder, but I usually top this off with the Colorstay powder, MAC Studiocare, or Peter Thomas Roth Unwrinkle powder. I like this just as much as my Lancome Teint Idole Ultra 24H and it's much more affordable.
I have a hard time finding brow powder that matches my hair/eyebrow color. I'm Asian and my hair is very dark brown, nearly black. This is the only brow powder that truly matches my eyebrow color and looks completely natural. I don't like the brush that comes with the compact, so I use a different angled brush for application. Just use a light hand so you don't end up looking like a drag queen. I've had the same compact for ages and it looks like I've barely used it. So while it's initially expensive, you should get several months of use before you need to buy another. Great stuff!
Mascara -Christian Dior - Diorshow Iconic Extreme (Waterproof)
taltman11 5/31/2012 10:44:00 AM
Wow! I'm surprised this mascara is rated so low. I love this stuff! My short, straight Asian lashes really put mascara to the test. My main concern is smudging. I don't like to look as if I've been punched in the face and have black eyes. This mascara provides a good amount of volume and length, but it's not exactly dramatic. It's my daily wear mascara. The brush is great and the formula doesn't clump, flake, or give the spider legs look. I pick up a few tubes when Sephora has their VIB sales every year. I also use Givenchy Phenomeneyes (my "date night" mascara, better volume than DiorShow Iconic, but can get clumpy) and Cover Girl LashBlast Waterproof (my cheapy backup to the Dior and Givenchy). For removal, I use DHC's cleansing oil. A few gentle massages over the eye area and it's gone.
Ugh...racoon eyes. This stuff is awful. It has no staying power and most of the product ended up on my under-eye area. As I mentioned in another review of Smashbox mascara, when I went to return this, the sales clerk told me she gets tons of returns on this mascara. I really like some other Smashbox products, like the Halo powder, and I was hoping this mascara would be of equal quality, but that's not the case. This purchase made me realize I just need to stick with my reliable standbys and stop experimenting with new brands. So my mascara motto is now "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."
I picked this up at Ulta...and it went right back to Ulta. This was a disaster for me. After an hour, I looked like someone punched me in the face. I have short, straight Asian eyelashes that hit the under-eye area when I blink, so I normally stick with waterproof mascaras. I only tried this because it was on sale. When I returned it, the sales associate said they get tons of returns on this mascara and the Smashbox Bionic Mascara. I can see why. My cheap Cover Girl Lashblash Waterproof is way better than this stuff.
I picked up two bottles of this foundation during Lancome's recent "friends & family" online sale. I bought one bottle for use in the fall and winter and another for spring and summer when I pick up a little more color from sun exposure. I was hesitant to try it because of the alcohol content, but I seriously love the results. I don't rely on this for any sun protection; I use Studio Gear's SPF primer underneath. I apply it with my fingers. I haven't yet tried applying it with my Smashbox foundation brush (my holy grail of foundation brushes). This foundation goes on smoothly and can be easily layered for more coverage. I have sun damage and acne scarring and this covers it all. The finish is wonderful - not shiny, but not a dead-looking matte. I don't think setting powder is required, but I occasionally top this off with either Bare Minerals Mineral Veil with SPF or Lancome's powder foundation. I was able to find two shades that work well for me. I am of Korean descent, with a light skin tone and finding a foundation match can be tough. I kinda feel like Goldilocks after finding two shades that are just right. I literally have a box of foundations that are the wrong shade, but looked great in the store. The only reasons I didn't rate this a 5 is due to the alcohol content and the lack of reliable SPF. It's also spendy, so I don't wear this every day. While the coverage is long lasting, it's nowhere near a 24-hour foundation. I still get T-zone oil breakthrough by mid-day, but a quick blot takes care of that and doesn't mess with the foundation.
I've fallen in love with this stuff. It eats through makeup easily, even waterproof mascara. I alternate between Diorshow Iconic Waterproof, Givenchy Phenomeneyes Waterproof, Cover Girl Lash Blast Waterproof, and Lancome Hypnose Waterproof. The DHC oil removes every last trace of these mascaras and works way better than most eye makeup remover products. It doesn't irritate my skin or cause clogged pores or acne. I initially bought this because I had a totalbeauty.com voucher, but I'll definitely be buying more. It's a little expensive when you consider the ingredients are pretty basic, but the results are worth the price.
Treatments -Nailtiques - Formula 2 PLUS Nail Protein
taltman11 5/31/2012 10:04:00 AM
This nail protein is a miracle worker. I have soft nails prone to breakage and the Nailtiques improves the strength of my nails with only one coat. The only downside is that it tends to peel pretty easily, which isn't a huge deal if you put a fresh coat on every day. Even when I get super lazy and don't add additional coats every day, my nails still improve. I like the way it makes my nails look, too. Not too glossy, but not matte. I've been using this stuff for years and have tried similar, less expensive products that are nowhere near as effective, so I now stay loyal to Nailtiques. Some drugstores carry a 2-pack of Formula 2 Plus, so I pick this up when I see it.
Cleansers -Peter Thomas Roth - Anti-Aging Cleansing Gel
taltman11 5/31/2012 9:57:00 AM
I scored the giant 32 oz. bottle of this cleanser during an online clearance sale. It only takes 1/2 a pump to cover my face and cleansing cloth or Clarisonic brush head. I have acne-prone skin that ranges from dry to oily depending on the season. This cleanser removes my makeup and leaves my skin feeling comfortable, not dry. So far, I'm loving this stuff, especially considering the price I paid.
Skincare - Face -MD Forte - Glycare Cleansing Gel for Oily Skin
taltman11 5/31/2012 9:52:00 AM
This facial wash is a staple in our house. I keep spare bottles on hand so we don't run out. My husband uses this wash every day. He has oily skin, but few breakouts, and gives this product the credit for keeping his skin clear. I use it during the summer months when my face turns into an oil slick. It doesn't dry out our skin or cause irritation. We love this stuff! As I mentioned in another review, I order MD Forte products from a major beauty website that almost always has this product line on sale for 20% off. Oh, just as background, my husband is 42 and suffered from acne in his teens and 20's. His skin is clear now, but he still has oily skin. My skin changes with the seasons and once the weather warms up, my face produces more oil than Saudi Arabia.
Skincare - Face -MD Forte - Replenish Hydrating Cream
taltman11 5/31/2012 9:47:00 AM
This is a great moisturizer for me during the fall and winter months when my acne-prone skin becomes normal/dry combination (as opposed to normal/oily in spring and oily in summer). It has no real scent, goes on smoothly, and doesn't cause clogged pores or acne. It's especially soothing if I've overdone it with other treatments and irritated my skin. The only flaw is the jar packaging. I wish MD Forte would change the packaging to keep the product sanitary. I can usually find this on sale for 20% off on some of the well-known online beauty websites, so that makes it much more affordable.
Unfortunately, I didn't see any change in my sun damage or acne scarring. I used this every evening until the bottle was gone and it was ineffective. I gave it two stars because it didn't cause any acne flare-ups and worked well as a basic nighttime moisturizer.
Treatments -Clinique - Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector
taltman11 5/30/2012 5:13:00 PM
I went through two bottles of Even Better Clinical and saw absolutely no difference in my skin. I have acne that started in my mid 30's when I lost a good deal of weight and my hormones went crazy. I still deal with breakouts even though I'm nearly 40. I also have sun damage from spending my childhood summers sailing, sans sunscreen. Anyway, I paired the Even Better Clinical with the Even Better SPF day cream and used both products religiously. It aggravated my acne, causing more dark spots. I was so disappointed in this product. I recently ordered the Even Better SPF lotion, hoping that a lighter formula might work. I'll try to remember to review the lotion when I've been using it for a few weeks.
Primer/ Corrector -Studio Gear - Prime Objective Skin Perfecting Face Primer
taltman11 5/30/2012 5:07:00 PM
This is my favorite primer, but I only use it when wearing foundation with no or very low SPF. I use the version of this primer that has SPF 20. I don't use it every day because of the cost; if money were no object, I'd definitely use it more often. Anyway, this really helps with covering large pores and keeping my oily T-zone in check. It does not seem to cause clogged pores or pimples. I purchased this primer at Ulta with a 20% off coupon, which takes some of the sting out of the $35 price tag.
Whie expensive, this little bottle goes a long way. I usually wet my face down pretty good, then add on the mask in a circular motion. Otherwise, your mask will be dry and cracking off within 5 minutes. Some tips: 1. Don't leave it on too long or it can irritate skin. 2. Use cool water to slowly buff the beads off your face. I do this in the shower. 3. Wash your hair and face afterwards because the mask leaves a waxy residue. This mask works well for me. It gets rid of scaly dry skin, some acne scars, and I do notice a temporary improvement in the tone of my skin. It also does not irritate my skin at all. Love it!