REVIEW: Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment

I am very picky about skincare products in general, so when I find something that I really like — it definitely means something. As of late, I’ve been dabbling into Kate Somerville products. My most recent find is the ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment. As a “dual-action exfoliation method that seemingly smooths away years in as little as two minutes,” the concept of this mask/treatment/exfoliator is fast, easy, and truly effective. You can refer to RAEVIEW’s “Best of Kate Somerville Skincare Video for another additional information on some of her favorite KS products. As a warning, the product does feel tingly on the skin, and I like to leave it on for as long as my skin can tolerate it. Right when it’s border-line burning feeling, I wash the product off. There is a sensitive skin version of this as well, but for me, I think rinsing it off before the 2-minute mark is just as effective.

016

017

Personally, I don’t physical exfoliants like this because I prefer a chemical peel or chemical exfoliant. However, this leave-on product does wonders for my skin. “This signature, expert formula works both physically and enzymatically to deliver safe, dramatic results in one application—and in the comfort of your own home. It effectively combats acne and blackheads, reduces discoloration, and polishes skin for a smooth complexion. Ideal for all skin types except sensitive skin, it harnesses the power of fruit enzymes to clarify skin by removing dead cells and eliminating bacteria. Skin will appear healthy, youthful, and vibrant.” While it is stupidly expensive, it’s worth having in my skincare arsenal since it’s a good product to use for maintenance purposes.

018

019

It exfoliates evenly and my skin is back to baby-smooth and fresh feeling after each use. For me, my routine is to use it when I shower since it can be kind of messy. I remove my makeup at the sink and jump in the shower to wash my hair. After I apply a hair mask to my hair and it’s all pinned up in a claw clip (that I leave in my shower), I apply the ExfoliKate to my damp skin, scrub gently, and leave it on while I’m washing my body, shaving, and letting my hair mask also do its magic. I rinse my hair and body, then gently rub whatever is left of the ExfoliKate on my skin. I rinse and I’m left with baby-smooth skin. I recommend this product if you’re looking to find a good exfoliator as a way to maintain your skin.

Item contains 2 oz.
Retails for $85.00 USD.

Make up For Ever Rouge Artist Natural Lipstick in N51

Previously, I wrote about the Make up For Ever Rouge Artist Natural Lipstick in N52, and shared that it was the most perfect nude-peachy-pink shade for me. After being so enthusiastic about that shade, I admit my curiosity for N51 came into play, so naturally, I had to pick this up at my next Sephora visit. So far, I’m pretty satisfied with the shade, and I would recommend it to those who are looking for a shade like this one.

009

I’m very picky about coral or peachy-pink shades, and often, I find that I’m dissatisfied with a shade being too orange or too red. I also think that with my skintone, I have to find a good in-between shade of both peachy and pink because I want it to still be flattering. For me, N51 does that without looking like too much on my lips. Since my lips are naturally a reddish shade, anything too orange will come off red-orange rather than coral.

010

011

I think in general I’m pretty happy with the lipstick range that Make Up For Ever has to provide. I also think that it’s worth looking into different shades. If you’re a Make Up For Ever fan and curious about the lipstick range, I’d recommend looking for a shade that you’re interested in. I think the HD foundation is a phenomenal product, and I’d also recommend the HD cream blushes as well. As for the lipsticks, some of the colors are good, but the others I can live without.

Made in France.
Retails for $20.00 USD.

VDL Beauty Metal Cushion Foundation SPF 50+ in A201

The VDL Beauty Metal Cushion Foundation has been all the rage in Korea as of late, so as per usual, I had to get my hands on this product. It’s difficult to get, but you can find it on eBay if you’re interested. While this product follows the “cushion compact” design, the metal plate is designed to “maintain the moisturizing foundation’s cooling components and fresh use.” The traditional cushion compact foundations/BB/CC creams come with literally a cushion like here in my review about the Innisfree Mineral Melting BB Cushion Compact. This metal plate is an interesting twist — even though, in my opinion it doesn’t necessarily change the consistency, formula, or application process of the foundation.

001

002

Metal Cushion Foundation

The VDL Beauty Metal Cushion Foundation is said to “deliver 24-hour lasting, bright, clear skin” while providing a “glowing radiance through hydro-rich prune water.” The metal plates allegedly preserves the foundation, releasing a fresh pump’s worth of product each time to press down on the compact. The “radiance complex” consists of “reflecting board-effects [that] controls light to efficiently cover any imperfections and deliver glowing, bright skin without darkening.”

Within the formula, “skin cell pigments” — which claim to be “similar to actual skin structure” — keeps the skin hydrated for 24 hours, and said to look fresh throughout the day without looking cakey or messy on the skin. Prune water, the active ingredient in this product, is made of “moisture keeping formula perserves” to maintain the hydration balance to keep the skin dewy and healthy looking.

003

004

The formula is quite thin for a foundation, and the texture is very smooth and light on the skin. As with all cushion products, it’s best to pat the puff onto the skin with product on it and “bounce” the foundation on. With continuous patting, the foundation will disperse and blend into the skin seamlessly — and is superb at drying semi-matte, concealing pores and redness, and controls oil pretty well around my nose. The scent is clean and perfumey but it doesn’t bother me at all.

This foundation covers impeccably — and, it of course, can be adjusted with a lighter layer of application if you don’t need much coverage. It’s very easy to use and stays put even during hot, humid summer months in Texas. It’s also travel-friendly as it’s easy to apply and you don’t need any additional tools to apply this product.

005

The shade A201 is a good match for me, but I find that all Korean products generally match me pretty well anyway. I think out of all the cushion products I’ve tried, I really like this one the best. “A” apparently stands for an “apricot” base tone, so the balance of pinkish and beige tones is a good match for me. The product is long-lasting, user-friendly, and looks pretty on the skin without looking too dewy/wet or dry/matte. It’s difficult to find in the US, but the products are worth checking out in my opinion!

Made in Korea.
Retails for 30,000 won (roughly $30.00 USD).

Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Face Primer

I’m back on my primer kick so I picked up the Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Face Primer after reading some reviews. As a “replenishing face primer that hydrates, smoothes, and brightens skin for a dewy, healthy looking finish,” this primer is very soothing and helps the skin look and feel good (hence, the name of the product, I suppose). Although it’s as a way to “cure your next beauty hangover,” I find that this primer helped condition my skin allowing it to look healthy and natural, and most of all, I liked that it didn’t interfere with my makeup application process afterwards.

001

002

Too Faced claims that this is “a revolutionary makeup primer that’s infused with coconut water, a probiotic-based ingredient, and skin revivers which work together to boost skin’s radiance, promote elasticity.” The product has a light coconut scent but it’s not strong and it doesn’t linger after application. It feels cooling on the skin and spreads easily onto the cheeks, forehead, nose, and chin. It absorbs quickly without feeling overly matte or sticky; and, I found that the primer helped hydrate my skin while “locking down makeup for fresher, longer, and more flawless wear.”

003

004

“Too Faced harnessed the science of hydration to create a creamy, penetrating primer that acts like an energy drink for the skin by replenishing moisture levels. It can be worn alone for a dewy, healthy looking finish, or under bronzers, foundations, and powders to create the perfect canvas.” I like primers that work double-duty — meaning that it does everything it needs to in conjunction with base/face makeup + it wears wonderfully on its own. For no makeup days, I like to apply some primer to keep my skin, pores, and imperfections somewhat in check. This primer is lightweight and feels very breathable on the skin. Makeup applies smoothly because your skin is smoothed out without any silicones.

005

My only gripe is that it’s really not that great at controlling oil, but then again, it never claimed to. While it doesn’t necessarily plug in pores or blur imperfections like the Tarte Clean Slate Timeless Smoothing Primer, the liquidy texture is perfect for slapping on the face before heading out the door. It provides superb hydration so your skin feels and look awake and healthy; and, it somehow seems to plump your skin up — which is probably why it’s a great “hangover” option, lol. I recommend this primer and I think your skin will drink it right up — especially in this summer heat!

Made in Italy.
Retails for $32.00 USD.
Item contains 1.35 oz.

Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelée in “Pink Escape”

I was recently swayed by the travel-size display at the checkout counter, and purchased the Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelée. Described as “innovative coconut water-infused cheek gelée with up to 14 hours of color and hydration,” this product is fun to use and is surprisingly user-friendly. I expected this product to be scented, but it isn’t! I like having this travel-sized version in my makeup bag for “on-the-go” purposes; and, I think it’s perfect for traveling or for when you don’t have access to a blush brush.

002

003

Keep in my mind I purchased the travel-size version of this, and it’s a teeny tiny product for $13.00 USD. (0.095 oz.). For that reason, it’s hard to reach into the teeny tiny pot to get the product onto your fingertip. But I use my pinky finger to dab and apply to my skin, so it’s not a big deal for me.

This gelée is kind of like a cream blush, but the texture of it like a smooth jelly. It’s bouncy so I try to not dent the product with my fingernail on accident. As a “buildable, blendable blush hybrid [this] provides the natural look of a cream blush with the long-lasting hydrating color of a gel stain.” The color “Pink Escape” is very subtle, so I have to dip back into the pot to get more product. I don’t mind though because it allows me to build the color on my cheeks without going overboard.

004

This product is “infused with 50 percent pure coconut water [and] it instantly hydrates while nourishing with the powerful benefits of vitamin E-rich argan oil. Like a refreshing sip of coconut water for your skin, this moisture-packed blush instantly drenches cheeks in a cool veil of color.” I agree that this provides the skin with “a cool veil of color,” and I like it for that reason. It’s very natural and subtle without looking too heavy or too stained. It applies easily and stays put without feeling dry on the skin. I recommend this for traveling, the weekends, and on days when you just want a quick pop of color on the cheeks without doing too much.

Retails for $13.00 USD.
Item contains 0.095 oz. (travel-size)

REVIEW: Etude House Wonder Pore Freshner — Total Pore Solution

Nothing is more annoying than to have to deal with big pores. No matter what brands promise, “shrinking” pores is not possible — and, unfortunately, the best we can do is to keep them clean and clear so it doesn’t look worse. I don’t have huge pores, but my pores are visible. It’s important for me to use foundations and BB creams that conceal pores since that’s the look and finish I prefer. Occasionally, using a primer before base products helps with pores and oil control as well. Currently, my favorite primers are the Benefit The POREfessional primer and the Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer Broad Spectrum SPF 15.

001

Lately, I’ve been using the Etude House Wonder Pore Freshner that can be found here on eBay. I can’t say that it’s been doing anything magical for my skin or pores, but it’s great for controlling oil — which is a bonus for me. This product claims to be a 7-in-1 toner that:

1. deep cleanses pores
2. maintains ph balance
3. controls a large amount of sebum
4. minimizes appearance of pores
5. refines skin tone
6. keeps the elasticity of pores
7. moisturizes inside and outside of the skin

wonder pore freshner

The toner feels nice and refreshing on the skin, so it’s nice to apply it in the mornings. I like the toner for its oil-controlling abilities, but it really doesn’t clean my pores or minimize the appearance of them either. I think I will continue to use this throughout the summer since it feels nice and it controls oil, but I think doing regular masks and exfoliating your skin is more important for caring for your pores than anything else.

Etude House is a Korean roadshop brand, so it’s budget-friendly even though it’s not readily available here in the U.S. I recommend this toner for those with oily and combination skin.

Made in Korea.

Concealer Update

Sometimes concealers can make or break the way your skin looks. If I’m lucky on a particular day and my skin is doing pretty well, I skip foundation all together and wear concealer with a light dust of powder. Not all concealers are equal; and, as with all makeup products, it’s important to choose one that suits your skin and its needs. For me, I like to have an array of formulas since it depends on my mood and my skin needs. I’ve learned that powder foundations apply well over a creamier concealer; stick concealers are portable and convenient; and, liquid concealers spread easily so it’s best to use that on areas of coverage that more wide.

Now, pigmented concealers are all over the market — whether it’s high end or low end. Indeed, the coverage is important, but for me, the texture and formula are essentials as well!

001

002

Benefit Boi-Ing $20.00 USD – SHADE 01
The Benefit Boi-Ing is an “industrial-strength concealer” that “camouflages dark circles, shadows, and discoloration without creasing or fading.” It’s smooth and lightweight and provides strong coverage. It spreads easily, so I like to use it when I have a problem area that needs extra attention under base makeup. Usually, I don’t like to wear this alone because I like to pair it under powder foundation or over liquid foundation. While this isn’t my favorite go-to concealer, I have it on hand for days when my skin needs kind of creamy formula.

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer $28.00 USD SHADE Vanilla
This is by far my favorite concealer. It is a “creamy concealer with hydrating, multiaction skincare benefits and light diffusing technology to create a softer, smoother complexion.” It is a “multiaction formula that instantly obscures imperfections, blurs the appearance of lines and wrinkles, and hides dark circles and signs of fatigue. Hydrating and luxuriously smooth, it layers lightly for buildable medium-to-full coverage and a natural luminous finish.” The formula “hydrates, firms, reduces redness, and strengthens the skin by helping its barrier retain vital moisture. It also delivers antioxidant protection to protect the skin against damaging free radicals.” The texture is smooth and light; and, best of all, it blends easily.

Cle de Peau Beauté Concealer $70.00 USD SHADE Ivory
As a “perennial makeup-artist favorite, [the] Clé de Peau Beauté concealer is highly editorialized and continues to win major awards year after year.” It is also the most expensive concealer I’ve ever owned and re-purchased. While there are other concealers that are more budget-friendly, there’s something magical about this formula and there is not dupe for it. “Enhanced with Revitalizing Moisture Complex, this concealer is designed “to lock in moisture, smooth out texture, and blends sublimely to expertly conceal dark circles, spots and imperfections.” The “high-performance powders ensure flawless skin in any light, providing maximum coverage with a smooth, even finish that does not crease.” It’s lightweight, blends easily, and stays perfect all day.

Candy Doll Concealer Color SHADE 01
This concealer’s peachy undertone is important to me since none of my other concealers have it. It’s great for cancelling out pigmentation like a healing pimple or darkness under the eyes. I would say that this is the concealer that provides me with the most coverage; however, it’s difficult to use because you only need a teeny tiny bit to achieve full coverage. For this reason, I think I tend to waste this product because I keep having to wipe it off. When in a pinch, even when I’m skipping foundation, this concealer can provide me with enough coverage. You have to order it on eBay, but because a little bit goes a long ways, it’s not a bad trade-off.

Untitled_1

003

If I had to recommend one concealer out of the ones I’ve written about, I’d say go for the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer. It’s way more versatile and the price is decent for the brand. Generally, I tend to prefer the NARS concealer because it’s always performed so well.

What are the concealers in your makeup arsenal? Are they essentials?

Current Summertime Glow

Glowy, summer time makeup is prettiest when it looks effortless and natural. And, it also helps that it looks and feels light on the skin since the temperature is so hot outside. For me, less is more when it comes to putting together the summertime glow routine. What I like to maintain is proper skin moisture and a subtle glow that will mix well with your natural oils (along with the humid weather).

001

Clarins HydraQuench Intensive Serum Bi-Phase
This is the best moisturizer/serum for me currently. But, best of all, it’s perfectly light and fluid for the summertime. It feels like an oil but applies like a moisturizer; and, its effects are that of a serum. I’ve reviewed it here if you’re curious, but I highly recommend it for all-year purposes.

Chanel Les Beiges All-In-One Healthy Glow Fluid
For really light coverage and some subtle glow, I’ve been really enjoying my new Chanel Les Beiges All-In-One Healthy Glow Fluid. I reviewed it here recently, but it’s definitely worth checking out if you want something light and minimal. This product is really for “good skin days,” so keep that in mind especially if you require more coverage.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette
As my newest gem, I’d recommend the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette for any kind of powdering. While I’m normally against powdering the skin in general, this palette is a great way to have three shades that work well all-year — but especially for the summer. The highlighting shade and the bronzey tone work well together on my fair skin; and, it imparts the most beautiful natural-looking glow without looking dry or powdery. My review here has pictures and swatches if you’re interested.

Shu Uemura Glow on Blush
Nothing is more important that a pretty pink blush to go with the effortless, glowy summertime look. I’m a big fan of the Shu Uemura Glow on Blushes, but this season, the shade “P Soft Pink 324” is my absolute favorite. As an “enhance and glow” kind of product, this blush enhances the cheeks, gives pretty color that’s not over the top, and provides a glow without the shimmer/glimmer/glitter. The pigmentation is on point and it lasts long on the skin. The refill blush will need a separate duo custom case, but the product is totally worth it.

What are your summertime glow essentials?

REVIEW: La Mer The Oil Absorbing Tonic

Toners and softeners are not skin care essentials for me — unless I feel like my skin really needs it. I tend to use moisturizing or skin conditioning toners as a pre-prep product before I apply additional skin care products, but I wanted to something to specifically address my oily t-zone issues since it’s the summer time. It’s important for me to apply toners that are gentle and non-irritating, but at the same time, I want it to be useful as well.

I purchased the La Mer The Oil Absorbing Tonic, but I admit I was skeptical at first. While I do invest in quality skin care products, I never gravitated towards La Mer’s products because I felt that my skin wasn’t mature enough for it. I was interested in the Oil Absorbing Tonic because of the oil-absorbing powders within the product, and had expectations because of that!

001

“The Oil Absorbing Tonic is infused with soothing algae extracts and significantly reduces excess sebum so your skin is rejuvenated and re-balanced. The formula features Miracle Broth™ which infuses skin with precious nutrients, immersing it in moisture and energy.” The toner includes an oil-absorbing powder, so you need to shake the bottle to mix it all together before applying. After cleansing, moisten a cotton pad and sweep gently over your face and neck and follow with your skincare routine. It feels really refreshing on the skin because it feels cooling on the skin. I’ve also noticed that it still helps keep my cheeks comfortable, which are not as oily as my t-zone area.

I also like to do some extra sweeps around my nose and chin before moving onto a serum or moisturizer for the day time.

002

At first, I didn’t notice much with this toner. It felt nice on the skin and I liked how my skin felt, but I didn’t notice any drastic effects or anything like that. Effects such as absorbing oil or controlling oil on the skin seemed minimal but not non-existent. After about a week or so, however, I felt like my skin was more balanced but I still had a somewhat oily t-zone. For me, I like to use this during the day since I don’t really care about oil-control at night. I can’t say that it’s made such a huge difference in my morning routine, but I like the way it makes my skin feel so I keep it around for that reason. In general, I think it’s difficult to think that just a toner can control oil; but anything to minimize oiliness is still good enough for me.

La Mer is an expensive, luxurious skin care range so I don’t recommend this product if you don’t need it. And, because it wasn’t a life-changing item, there’s probably other toners out there that provide similar effects. I like this toner but it’s still not better than the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence or the SK-II Facial Treatment Clear Lotion.

Made in USA.
Contains 6.7 oz.
Retails for $75.00 USD.

REVIEW: Chanel Les Beiges All-In-One Healthy Glow Fluid

Lately, I’ve been using the Chanel Les Beiges All-In-One Healthy Glow Fluid as a light, summer foundation because it provides the most perfect glow and dewiness on the skin. I’m still thoroughly enjoying the Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Colour and it pairs nicely with the All-In-One Healthy Glow Fluid. The Chanel CC Cream – Complete Correction Sunscreen is packaged similarly and retails for $55.00 USD. However, I believe that the two products are entirely different — with different results, finish, and texture!

004

005

The Chanel Les Beiges All-In-One Healthy Glow Fluid “is an ultra-light, sheer foundation with added sun protection to keep your skin healthy, protected and hydrated while smoothing and evening out your complexion.” It is designed to “enhance all skin types with lasting radiance” and allows the “complexion [to] look fresh and rested.” The “soft focus powder and gel blend together to smooth out skin irregularities and…reduce the appearance of pores.” The concept, to me, is just like a BB cream or CC cream because this product is not quite a foundation and shouldn’t be used as such. The plus side of the Les Beiges All-In-One Healthy Glow Fluid is that it keeps the skin supple, soft, and hydrated. The texture is light and creamy, but almost gel-like so it’s blendable and dries down semi-matte. My skin felt comfortable and soothed; but, best of all, my skin looked radiant and smooth without looking cakey or heavy (like foundation can).

Coverage is super minimal; in fact, this is probably the sheerest base product I’ve ever owned. At first, it seems like you’ve done/applied nothing because the effects are so subtle. The soft focus abilities of this product is truly the best part because it looks so natural and your skin looks like skin. The “glow” seems to come from super tiny shimmer particles; but, overall, it doesn’t look like much on the skin.

006

007

I chose the shade N10, which is the lightest shade available and correlates with the Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Colour powder in N10. The shades can be pretty forgiving since it’s so blendable, so I think it will be quite flexible if you tan during the summer. Another great thing about the All-In-One Healthy Glow Fluid is that it’s perfect for the summer time — since your skin will look so fresh and dewy. I think it allows the skin to breathe and just look healthy, so it will be great for the day time or for when it’s the weekend. I’d recommend to pair this with a higher coverage concealer if this is all you plan on wearing. I think paired with a powder foundation, this will be a great base/primer as well. Worn alone — it would be best to wait for one of those “good skin days,” lol. It’s super easy to apply — if I’m not using a synthetic buffing brush, I’m slapping this stuff on with my hands.

I recommend this product and I really love it so far. However, coverage is minimal so it may be a hassle for those who require more coverage. For me, I like it best for its abilities to even out the skin, soothe irritation, and impart a subtle glow.

Made in France.
Retails for $45.00 USD.