Like many of the reviewers here, I've been using these pencils for years. I have medium brown hair, but my brows are much darker, almost black.Black pencil doesn't look right, though. It's harsh and unnatural on me. Most brown pencils look funny too. The color isn't deep enough to blend in properly. By chance I picked up these charcoal pencils one day and found the answer I needed. They're cheap, they last all day and the bright red packaging makes them easy to spot at the bottom of a purse or makeup drawer. Fyi, I recently appeared briefly on a TV talk show and had my makeup done professionally right before I went on. Guess which eyebrow pencil the makeup artist used on me? I couldn't believe it when I saw the bright red pencils on her table next to all the high-end stuff she uses. She said that Maybelline eyebrow pencils are the best, and I have to say I agree!
This is one of the best products I have ever used! My cuticles were horribly ragged and dry, and this cream started improving them from DAY ONE. I really am impressed at how well it works, and so is everyone else I know who's tried it. I use it two to three times a day, and my weekly manicures are no longer a bloodbath. I also use it on my toes every few days, and my last pedicure took less than 20 minutes because there was hardly anything to nip. I especially appreciate what it does for my pinky toes, which have small nails that quickly become overgrown between pedicures. With this cream, they stay out and proud. The only I don't like about Cuticle Eraser is that I can't find it anywhere. I have to order it online and pay shipping charges, but I love it so much I am more than willing to do that--again and again. This is a holy grail product for me.
Treatments -Sally Hansen - Age Correct Strength Dry and Brittle Care
writerjill 10/23/2007 10:57:00 PM
I really like SH Age Correct Growth treatment and was curious about this one. I picked it up on sale one day and have been comparing the two. This formula is thinner and dries faster than the Growth treatment, but it looks similar on my nails (maybe a little less coverage?). Since I find they both need to be reapplied every couple of days or so, I'm now leaning toward this one because application is easier and it seems to wear better on me. For someone struggling with dry nails, though, I think either formula will help a lot. FYI, both SH treatments look nice layered with Revlon's post-trauma nail treatment, which is a pale pink. The packaging could definitely be better for both as well. The opaque pink bottles don't let you see how much is left.
Treatments -Sally Hansen - Age Correct Growth Treatment [DISCONTINUED]
writerjill 10/23/2007 10:50:00 PM
I really dried out my nails using Revlon Colorstay nail polish, and this product helped get them healthy again. The soft white pearlish color is very pretty, although I wish it provided a bit more coverage. I find this formula too thick for two coats, and one doesn't quite cut it. It also doesn't last long; I usually have to add another coat within two to three days or else it chips badly and I have to start all over. Fyi, I've gotten a nice, natural look from layering this with Revlon's post-trauma treatment, which is a light pink. Recently I've been trying SH's Age Correct Strength treatment, which looks similar on my nails, but is thinner and dries faster. For those who find the Growth treatment too thick, or don't like that it takes so long to dry, you may want to try the Strength treatment. And I agree that the packaging is not ideal. The pink bottles are cute, but you can't see how much is left and that drives me nuts for some reason.
Polishes -Revlon - ColorStay Always On Nail Enamel [DISCONTINUED]
writerjill 10/23/2007 10:36:00 PM
Okay, I have a real love/hate thing going with this line of nail polishes. First, I love that the color really stays on and I also love the color selection. But this polish has a negative side: it can really dry out your nails! I used it continuously for over a year (various shades, including the sheer ones and the really dark ones), and my nails cracked, peeled and split down to the nub. I could not for the life of me figure out what was wrong. The ladies at my local salon kept commenting on how dry my nails were, and how discolored they had become from applying the polish directly without using base coat (which is what the package instructions say you're supposed to do). Finally I quit polishing my nails and started using Sally Hansen's Age Correct treatments. Within several weeks, my nails were looking much better. I decided to use the SH as a base coat and put Colorstay on top and--my nails started splitting and peeling again. So, if you have dry, brittle fingernails, I would advise against using this line of polishes. However, I still use the darker shades for my pedicures. (My favorite is Always Vintage.) I've found that you CAN use base coat underneath (my salon uses NailTek) and still get long-lasting wear without damaging your toe nails. My big toes are still partly discolored from when I didn't use base coat, but that's almost all grown out now. Also, as other reviewers have mentioned, you can use the clear sealant with other types of nail polish to extend their life as well. I did my last pedicure with Sally Hansen's Glossy, a color that's nearly black, and with the Colorstay sealant on top, it stayed shiny for weeks and needed only occasional touch ups.
I have both acne and rosacea, so I need a concealer that can cover well. I normally use PC liquid concealer in light neutral, but sometimes I have red marks or bumps that need some extra help. I bought this CG concealer in "Neutralizer" on the way cheap, and it has been a great investment. I find it works best when I layer it on top of my PC concealer and pat it down. It helps even out my skin for several hours. I do wish the coverage lasted longer--although I wish that for every concealer I've tried. I actually like the packaging, btw. It's just a very simple, lipstick-style container that travels well and makes it easy to reapply when the coverage wears off. If you can find a shade that works for you, give this one a try.
Gels/Soaps -St. Ives - Oatmeal and Shea Butter Body Wash
writerjill 10/23/2007 10:08:00 PM
I'm a big fan of this bodywash. My skin doesn't like bar soaps, so I've been using body wash for years and have tried many different kinds. In fact, I've tried several from St. Ives that I didn't like at all: a Vanilla one, a Collagen one and a Mineral one. They were all drying and smelled funny to me. Based on those bad experiences, I almost passed this one up, but I liked the color, the smell and the fact that it was on sale for $1.50. The first time I used it, I knew it was a winner. This body wash really feels nice on my skin and smells wonderful too. It's touted as being "moisturizing," but it's more accurate to say that it isn't drying. (I still use moisturizer after showing.) Another thing I like is the consistency and the packaging. This body wash isn't too thin or too thick, and when you get near the bottom of the bottle, you can turn it upside down without product leaking out through the lid. My HG body wash is still Johnson's Extra Care, but it's way more expensive and harder to find, so I think this one from St. Ives is a keeper.
Sunscreen -Banana Boat - Sun Wear Faces Daily Sunblock Lotion SPF 30
writerjill 10/23/2007 1:51:00 PM
This is the best sunscreen I have ever used! I'm so glad I found it here on MUA. I've had a lot of problems with chemical sunscreens in the past. They stung my skin and made my rosacea worse. Many years ago I was advised to stick with mineral sunscreens, and I dutifully applied zinc oxide- and titantium oxide-based products to my face every day. Unfortunately, these ingredients clogged my pores and exacerbated my breakouts, but I needed sun protection, so I went on using them. When this new generation of chemical sunscreens came out I was afraid to try them, but thanks to all the reviews here, I plucked up some courage and did. Most of the other formulas I tried were too oily for me, but this one is just about perfect. It sinks in right away, doesn't leave a white cast, doesn't irritate my skin, doesn't clog my pores, gives my skin a nice sheen, and helps my makeup go on smoothly! I actually think my skin looks BETTER with this sunscreen on, which is something I thought I would never say. I am taking off one lippee for the scent. It fades quickly, but I really wish they would make an unscented version. If they ever do, that would be my HG.
After using Pond's classic cold cream for several weeks and loving the results but hating the scent, I decided to try Albolene Unscented. I got it on sale at Walgreen's for $9.99 (it's normally about $12). I find it has the same wonderful moisturizing properties as Pond's, but with a very different consistency. Albolene looks and feels kind of hard in the jar, but then melts almost immediately when you apply it to the skin. It doesn't change color like Pond's; you just rub it in until you're satisfied. On the whole, I like the whipped consistency of Pond's better, but the fact that Albolene is unscented is a huge plus for me. I've also noticed that it moisturizes better than Pond's. Fyi, my routine is as follows: I massage a small amount into my skin, wipe it off with a clean, wet washcloth and follow up with Purpose cleanser. My skin is looking and feeling a lot better since I've been using this routine. It's much softer and less dry, and I haven't experienced breakouts or clogged pores from either Pond's or Albolene. ------- Update 2/29/2008: I've found that Albolene works even better if you moisten your skin with warm water before rubbing it in. I was using it on dry skin before my shower and then one day while in the shower realized I'd forgotten to use it. I applied it in the shower, wiped my face with a washcloth and then used Purpose. I was really surprised at how much better Albolene cleared out my pores when used this way! Now I always use it in the shower, or apply a warm wet washcloth to my face for a few seconds before rubbing it in. Another bonus: you can use much less product when your skin is warm and moist. Just a tiny bit melts right in and cleans out your pores.
I struggle with both acne and rosacea, which means that my skin is oily underneath and dry on top. I've been searching for an effective cleanser that will remove makeup and sunscreen without stripping my face further. An acquaintance of mine with lovely skin mentioned that she uses Pond's. I filed that away, but didn't think it applied to me because I'm very prone to breakouts and couldn't imagine how putting something oily on my face would help. Was I ever wrong! After reading how many MUAers successfully use Pond's to pre-cleanse and pre-moisturize before washing with their regular cleansers, I decided to try it. The difference in my skin was apparent overnight! It's much softer, less red and much healthier looking after several weeks of use. Also, I have not experienced additional breakouts; in fact, I would say I've had fewer breakouts and clogged pores. The only think I don't like about Pond's (fyi, I use the classic cold cream), is the scent. It bothers my eyes and so, paradoxically, I don't like it as an eye makeup remover. I'm now experimenting with Albolene because it's a similar product but unscented. I would encourage breakout-prone MUAers who have dry surface skin to try Pond's before cleansing. I would not advise using Pond's by itself, however. I tried that just to see what would happen, and my skin felt tacky and uncomfortable all day, plus my makeup kept sliding around.
Eyeliner -L'Oreal - HIP Color Truth Cream Eyeliner in Brown
writerjill 10/23/2007 1:11:00 PM
I've been looking for an eyeliner that will stay on without smudging, and after reading all the great reviews on this drugstore product, decided to give it a try. Unfortunately it didn't work well for me. First, application is a BEAR. I used a good quality angled brush, and still struggled to apply it evenly, especially to my upper lashes. I admit I'm not a makup pro, but the crumbly texture really was a problem for me. Once it was--finally!--on, it looked great...for about 2 hours. Then the smearage started. After a week, I decided it just wasn't worth the effort. I can get longer-lasting results from Colorstay and WNW H20 proof pencils, which cost much less than this $12.99 product.
Cleansers -Cetaphil - Daily Facial Cleanser (Normal to Oily Skin)
writerjill 8/9/2007 2:53:00 AM
I have a long history with this product. I used it off and on for years, but recently found that I can't use it anymore. My skin is oily and sensitive. I have rosacea and am blemish-prone. In the past, this Cetaphil cleanser did a good job of cleaning my skin without irritating it, and that's pretty much all I asked. More recently, however, I began wearing makeup and that's when the problems started. This cleanser simply does not remove makeup well at all! I had to wash multiple times and/or scrub with a washcloth to get my face clean, which needless to say wasn't great for my rosacea. Then I incorporated alpha hydroxy and beta hydroxy exfoliants into my skin care regimen. The new products began clearing my skin, but they also made it more sensitive. Now every time I wash with this cleanser it stings my face and eyes badly. I began looking for a new cleanser, and so far Purpose seems to work much better for me.
Tinted Moisturizer -Paula's Choice - Barely There Sheer Matte Tint SPF 20
writerjill 8/9/2007 2:44:00 AM
I've used this product for a while now, and although I've had a few problems with it, I like it and use it regularly. I have fair skin and rosacea, so I need good UVA/UVB sun protection. This product provides that, plus the the yellow-based sheet tint really tones down my skin's redness. So far, so good. The problems are that it also emphasizes every flake or dry patch on my face and it tends to pool in my pores. For the most part I've just been living with the downside, but recently I started using Paula's alpha hydroxy gel and beta hydroxy liquid, and now the flakes are practically gone and my pores are much clearer! So if you experience the same problems I did, give exfoliation a try. FYI, I was surprised to find that the two lightest shades of this product did NOT give me a good color match; it turned out that Light Neutral (a medium shade) was the right one for me. I recommend trying samples of the various shades before buying!
Blush -Paula's Choice - Barely There Sheer Matte Blush [DISCONTINUED]
writerjill 8/9/2007 2:26:00 AM
I have rosacea and have always been wary of blush. Goodness knows, I don't need to look redder! However, I wanted to upgrade my look, and since my rosacea is under control, I decided to try two of Paula's sheer matte blushes: Flawless Nude and Translucent Rose. I really like them both! On my fair skin, Flawless Nude looks like a light bronzer, giving me a summery glow that's subtle but flattering. Translucent Rose, on the other hand, gives me more color, but in a very natural-looking shade. My favorite look, though, is to combine the two together (a hint I got from Paula's web site). First I apply a few strokes of Flawless Nude UNDER my cheek bones and along my temples. Then I apply Translucent Rose on the apples of my cheeks. This give me a glow and some contouring without looking like I've got too much makeup on. Also, I really like the product packaging of these blushes. The cases are easy to open and close, and the round shape works perfectly with the kabuki brush I use to apply the blushes.
Cleansers -Ponds - Fresh Start Daily Exfoliating Cleanser [DISCONTINUED]
writerjill 8/9/2007 2:14:00 AM
I was looking for a cleanser that would remove makeup well and help exfoliate my skin. After reading all the great reviews here, I ran over to Walgreens and purchased this one. Unfortunately, it was a disaster! The exfoliating beads felt like shards of glass on my skin, and my face became red, irritated and tight. By the next morning, the redness had gone down--only to be replaced by dozens of pus-filled blemishes all around the perimeter of my face! I have had problems with foaming cleansers in the past, so I don't think it's Ponds, I think it's me. Anyway, I returned this one and purchased Purpose instead. That is working much better for my sensitive but oily skin.