Home » Community » Elite User » hiddenexpose's Profile » Reviews
Here are all my reviews:
  • Almay Smart Shade CC Cream
    8.0

    Almay Smart Shade CC Cream

    CC a difference.

    Almay has been stepping up their makeup game with some noteworthy additions, and we're happy to report their CC cream is no exception! Before we get down to business, if you're wondering what the difference is between CC creams and BB creams, here's the answer: It's all about marketing language, nothing more. Generally, a BB cream from US cosmetics brands is similar to a tinted moisturizer, while a CC cream is more like a liquid foundation, but not always. BB and CC creams typically provide sun protection and may or may not include beneficial ingredients like antioxidants or skin-lightening agents. Neither BB nor CC creams are as revolutionary as they are made out to be, and there is certainly no consistency among products from different brands. Almay's CC cream is a worthwhile option if you're looking for a lightweight foundation for normal to dry skin. It provides great broad-spectrum sun protection with both synthetic and mineral active ingredients. It also contains an impressive array of skin-beneficial ingredients. The liquid formula applies easily and sets quickly, providing medium coverage for redness and other imperfections. The result is a natural finish that doesn't look "made up" at all, although it is a bit dewy, and so is not recommended for people with oily skin or with combination skin that tends to be more oily. This CC Cream wears well most of the day, with some fading after about seven hours of wear. It comes in only three shades, but all three are natural looking for their intended skin tones. Overall, if you're looking for a lightweight foundation that has some sun-protection benefits, this CC Cream is worth a look the next time you're at the drugstore!

    July 24, 2013

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful

    Was this review helpful to you? Yes | No

  • Almay Smart Shade Smart Balance Skin Balancing Makeup

    This liquid foundation with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide as the only sunscreen ingredients is Almay's latest version of their Smart Shade makeup. The original formula, with the same name, is still available, at least for now; the only differences are the price (this one is $5 more) and the claims Almay makes. This improved version not only carries on the skin-matching pigment technology claim of its predecessor, but also adds the claim of being able to sense where skin is oily and where it’s dry and act accordingly. We've seen this claim before, and it never works. Simply put, there's no way a makeup can know where skin is dry or oily and then be able to deposit the right ingredients to improve these disparate conditions. Where would the moisturizing ingredients go when the oil-absorbing ingredients are "activated," and vice versa? In terms of moisturizing, this silky foundation provides little moisture; the ingredients are primarily about absorbing oil and moisture. It goes on smoothly, blends readily, and sets to a soft matte finish that becomes powdery a short time later. The finish is incredibly skin-like, making this one of the most natural-looking foundations available. Coverage goes from sheer to light. Only four shades are available, and they're said to self-adjust to each level (light, medium, and dark), depending on your skin tone. They can't really do that, of course, but the shades are versatile enough to work for most people with light to slightly tan skin. Note: this foundation dispenses white with small colored specks. The specks "burst" as you blend, and the whiteness disappears, so there's no ghostly look to be concerned about. This foundation is best for normal to oily skin. Due to concerns about people not applying sunscreen liberally enough to get the amount of SPF protection stated on the label, it is often recommended to look for SPFs with ratings higher than 15. If you plan to use foundation as your sole source of facial sun protection, consider using one rated SPF 20 or greater. If the foundation with sunscreen you choose is rated less than an SPF 20, we strongly advise applying it over a daytime moisturizer rated SPF 15 or greater and following it with a pressed powder rated SPF 15 or greater. That way, you’re ensuring sufficient broad-spectrum protection which is essential for having and maintaining healthy, younger-looking skin at any age.

    July 24, 2013

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

    Was this review helpful to you? Yes | No

  • Almay Smart Shade Mousse Makeup

    In a more extreme way than most foundations, the color you see in each jar of Smart Shade Mousse Makeup isn't necessarily what you get. Upon application, this foundation appears grayish white, but as you blend the creamy, mousse-like texture, the color develops into a natural-looking flesh tone. The limited shade range is categorized for light to deep skin tones, but not every color is flattering (the Medium/Deep shade is on the orangey side). This foundation's mousse-like texture means it has a bouncy feel that is easy to blend. It offers medium coverage that makes skin tone look seamlessly even. The formula sets to a soft matte finish that works well for all skin types, even oily. If you can find a shade that works for you, this is an excellent option. Because this is packaged in a jar, use a clean brush or sponge (not your fingers) for the most hygienic application. Also, the formula contains fragrance in the form of ethylene brassylate, but in such a low amount it's not likely to be irritating.

    July 24, 2013

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful

    Was this review helpful to you? Yes | No

  • Olay Total Effects Fragrance-Free Moisturizer With Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 15

    I will admit, I was a bit skeptical about using a "drugstore" brand moisturizer but after thoroughly researching its ingredients I realized that it was perfect for me. It has a hefty dose of niacinamide (vitamin B3), plus vitamin C, and green tea. I love that this product comes in a pump because it is easy to use, and helps reassure that the ingredients remain stable in the packaging. It has a creamy, yet silky consistency that does take a bit of time to sink in, so you must make sure you rub it in thoroughly. One pump is enough to cover your face, neck, and decolletage. Niacinamide- is a potent cell-communicating ingredient that offers multiple benefits for aging skin. Assuming skin is being protected from sun exposure, niacinamide can improve skin's elasticity, dramatically enhance its barrier function, help erase discolorations, and revive skin's healthy tone and texture. Topically applied niacinamide has been shown to increase ceramide and free fatty acid levels in skin, prevent skin from losing water content, and stimulate microcirculation in the dermis. It also has a growing reputation for being able to treat an uneven skin tone and to mitigate acne and the red marks it leaves behind (known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation). It is an excellent ingredient for those struggling with wrinkles and breakouts. Niacinamide is stable in the presence of heat and light. Vitamin C - Water-soluble vitamin that is considered a potent antioxidant for skin. It has been shown to increase collagen production (including dermal collagen, which is significant for wrinkle reduction), reduce the appearance of skin discolorations, strengthen skin’s barrier response, enhance skin’s repair process, reduce inflammation, and help skin better withstand exposure to sunlight, whether protected by sunscreen or not. Vitamin C is an excellent ingredient to include in your skin-care routine, particularly if signs of aging are a concern. Just keep in mind that no single ingredient is the be all, end all for skin care. Just like your body needs a healthy, balanced diet to function optimally, your skin needs a broad range of ingredients to help it look its best. Vitamin C comes in many forms, with ascorbic acid being the most common. Other forms of vitamin C include magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, L-ascorbic acid, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, ascorbyl palmitate, ascorbyl glucosamine, sodium ascorbyl phosphate, ascorbyl glucoside, and ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate. Note that vitamin C in any anti-aging product must be packaged to protect it from excess light and air exposure. Although ascorbic acid and L-ascorbic acid are most prone to breaking down with repeated light and air exposure, even stabilized forms of vitamin C won't remain as potent if they are not packaged to minimize or eliminate light and air exposure. That means avoid any vitamin C product packaged in a jar, unless what's inside the jar are individually-sealed, single-use capsules. Green tea - Most researchers agree that tea (black, green, or white) has potent anti-inflammatory properties and that it is a potent antioxidant whether consumed orally or applied topically. Current research also indicates that epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), an extract of tea, can prevent collagen breakdown and reduce UV damage to skin, which is a very good reason to use skin-care products that contain one or more forms of tea.

    May 1, 2013

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

    Was this review helpful to you? Yes | No

  • ReVive Les Yeux Presse
    1.0

    ReVive Les Yeux Presse

    More cosmetic than skincare

    The second ingredient in this eye cream is fragrant orange fruit water, which isn’t what you want to apply around your eyes, or elsewhere on the face for that matter. Fragrance is never skin care. For an obscene price, you’re getting mostly fragrant plant water, silicone, water-binding agent, and a film-forming agent (think hairspray) that can make skin look temporarily smoother. ReVive includes some antioxidants and an anti-irritant, but the main point of difference this brand has is its use of growth factors. Epidermal growth factor (EGF) and fibroblast growth factor (FGF; fibroblasts are specialized cells that generate skin’s collagen) are included in teeny amounts in this formula. There is no research showing that topical application of these growth factors can firm or lift skin or remedy any other eye-area woe, such as puffiness or dark circles. Topical application of growth factors is controversial for many reasons, but the primary concern is that growth factors may stimulate the proliferation of cells to the point where their normal, healthy growth goes haywire. Such uncontrolled growth is the blueprint for cancer, and that’s not a good tradeoff for lineless skin (which this product doesn’t provide). The inclusion of growth factors makes this a product I can’t recommend despite the inclusion of some beneficial ingredients. The good news is that growth factors are not expected to have much, if any, effect when applied topically because, according to the textbook Cosmetic Dermatology (2nd Edition, 2009, by Dr. Leslie Baumann MD), it is unknown if growth factors in skin-care products, which aren’t required to prove their claims, “are stable, can be absorbed adequately, or exert a functionally significant outcome to induce dermal remodeling and reverse photoaging” due to the lack of well-controlled studies. Still, it is precisely the unknowns surrounding topical application of various growth factors that warrant a cautionary approach to their use, if you even use them at all. By the way, the glow this product provides is a cosmetic brightening effect, courtesy of titanium dioxide and talc. This product is neither special nor worth the price ReVive charges, but there you have it.

    April 15, 2013

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

    Was this review helpful to you? Yes | No

  • Origins A Perfect World Deep cleanser with White Tea

    It's not even close to a perfect world for your skin when your cleanser contains irritants such as bergamot, spearmint, and lemon peel oils. All of these and many more plant ingredients in this water soluble cleanser are problematic for skin, and are a must to keep away from the eye area. As for Origins' rarefied silver-tipped white tea, it is barely present. Even if the white tea was a major ingredient this cleanser, its positive benefit is negated by the litany of irritants present and the fact that it would be rinsed down the drain before it could have a benefit.

    April 15, 2013

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

    Was this review helpful to you? Yes | No

  • IS Clinical Pro-Heal Serum
    1.0

    IS Clinical Pro-Heal Serum

    C no difference

    This water-based serum is said to be excellent for treating cystic acne, rosacea, and insect bites—quite a diverse range of problems. Pro-Heal Serum has a formula that differs little from the other vitamin C–based serums from iS Clinical, although those others are sold with quite different claims. I suspect iS Clinical didn’t think anyone would notice. As it turns out, this serum is neither healing nor helpful for any skin problem, especially rosacea, because it contains alcohol. Alcohol causes free-radical damage and irritation, and hurts the skin’s ability to heal. The amount of alcohol isn’t considerable, but its mere presence isn’t good news for skin battling acne or rosacea; plus, it’s listed before the beneficial ingredients such as retinol and tocopherol (vitamin E). Particularly troubling is the claim that this serum can treat cystic acne. This type of acne, which can lead to disfiguring scars, is not treatable with over-the-counter skin-care products. Even well-formulated anti-acne products that contain ingredients that research has shown to be the gold standard for acne (i.e., benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid) don’t offer much relief for this severe condition. Medical intervention is needed to get this type of acne to heal. Moreover, there is minimal research indicating vitamin C (the main “active” ingredient in this serum) is a winning ingredient for any type of acne. It is definitely not preferred to retinol or salicylic acid, and the form of vitamin C used in published studies on treating acne isn’t the same kind that iS Clinical uses (Sources: International Journal of Cosmetic Science, February 2009, pages 41–46; and Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy, April 2008, pages 955–971). What about rosacea? Unfortunately, the acid component of ascorbic acid (vitamin C’s native form, which is what’s in this serum) can be too irritating for rosacea-affected skin. Stabilized forms of vitamin C (e.g., magnesium ascorbyl phosphate or tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate) may prove helpful for rosacea due to their anti-inflammatory action. However, anyone struggling with rosacea should avoid products or ingredients that cause flare-ups, regardless of any specific ingredient’s traits.

    April 15, 2013

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

    Was this review helpful to you? Yes | No

  • Clarins Super Restorative Serum
    1.0

    Clarins Super Restorative Serum

    Too much fragrance

    Super Restorative Serum is one of Clarins’ most expensive skin-care products, but this is also a classic case of a product’s name, price, and marketing agenda not adding up to what’s inside the bottle, which, for all intents and purposes, is just another thin-textured moisturizer (it really doesn't have a standard serum look or feel; in fact, the finish is a bit tacky, not silky). The Clarins sales staff would no doubt blanch at that statement, as most of the counter personnel we spoke to treated this product as if it were the fountain of youth, yet they clearly must be entranced by their company’s assertions, because nothing in this product can firm, lift, restore, or tone the skin. This product contains mostly water, slip agents, thickeners, emollient, silicone, film-forming agent, water-binding agent, fragrance (lots of fragrance), several plant extracts (all present in minute amounts), caffeine, preservatives, and coloring agents. Clarins tends to favor exotic-sounding plants over state-of-the-art skin-care ingredients such as proven antioxidants or anti-irritants. Obviously, although that is undeniably enticing to some consumers, it doesn’t help skin and it often causes undue irritation. There is no reason to consider this product an anti-aging treatment option. If you’re shopping for serums or moisturizers at the department store and want a selection of modern, elegant formulas, your skin and pocketbook would be better off exploring the options from Estee Lauder, Peter Thomas Roth, DDF, or Clinique before just about anything Clarins offers.

    April 15, 2013

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

    Was this review helpful to you? Yes | No

  • Bio-Oil PurCellin Oil
    1.0

    Bio-Oil PurCellin Oil

    Don't bother

    he company maintains that it uses a “breakthrough ingredient” known as PurCellin oil. As it turns out, this oil is derived from ducks (it is the substance ducks secrete from their skin to keep their feathers waterproof), but it has absolutely no research proving it affects the skin concerns that Bio-Oil is touted as being able to treat. In fact, PurCellin oil isn’t even included on Bio-Oil’s ingredient list. Instead, you’re applying a mix of mineral oil and emollients to your skin, along with commonplace vitamins and some irritating fragrant plant oils (which is at best confusing and strangely misleading). Several irritating fragrance ingredients are included, too, all of which adds up to an unabashedly poor product that should not be taken seriously because it simply doesn’t make scars and stretch marks less apparent. All this can realistically do (beyond irritating skin) is provide some moisturizing benefit. That can help minimally if your skin is dry, but it won’t change any other aspect of scarring, nor will it improve an uneven skin tone. Of particular concern is the lavender oil, which smells great but causes havoc on skin. Research indicates that components of lavender, specifically linalool, can be cytotoxic, which means that topical application causes skin-cell death (Source: Cell Proliferation, June 2004, pages 221–229). Lavender leaves contain camphor, which is a known skin irritant. Because the fragrance constituents in lavender oil oxidize when exposed to air, lavender oil is a pro-oxidant, and this enhanced oxidation increases its irritancy on skin (Source: Contact Dermatitis, September 2008, pages 143–150). Lavender oil is the most potent form, and even small amounts of it (0.25% or less) are problematic. Although it’s fine as an aromatherapy agent for inhalation or relaxation, it is a must to avoid in skin-care products. (Source: Psychiatry Research, February 2007, pages 89–96)

    April 15, 2013

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful

    Was this review helpful to you? Yes | No

  • Chantecaille Nano Gold Energizing Cream
    1.0

    Chantecaille Nano Gold Energizing Cream

    All that glitters is not gold.

    Given the price and size, this ends up being $520 an ounce, yet the core ingredients in this moisturizer are so basic and so boring that the price defies all logic beyond the fact that the cosmetics industry has skillfully convinced many consumers that expensive means better and that hyper-expensive must mean the product works brilliantly. There are outstanding and disappointing products in all price ranges, and this one falls into the disappointing category. The light-diffusing claims are tied to the high amount of titanium dioxide and mica in this eye cream, which brighten and add shine to the eye area, although the shine isn’t the best if your eye area is wrinkled because it will only make those lines more noticeable. However, the shine and whiteness effect is cosmetic and readily available from countless products costing significantly less than this. Beyond the light-diffusing trickery, all of the intriguing ingredients in this eye cream are listed after the preservative. The fact that it’s packaged in a jar won’t help many of the beneficial ingredients, present only in minute amounts, remain stable during use, which is a huge letdown at any price. What about the gold? Well, as it turns out, gold in any amount isn’t a precious ingredient for your skin. It is a relatively common allergen that can induce dermatitis about the face and eyelids (Sources: Inflammation and Allergy Drug Targets, September 2008, pages 145–162; Dermatologic Therapy, volume 17, 2004, pages 321–327; and Cutis, May 2000, pages 323–326). And if it is really nano-sized as claimed that would be even more problematic for your body because gold compounds are associated with many side effects. Gold compounds used to treat arthritis have been shown to cause birth defects, they also pass into breast milk, they can interact with other drugs, and they can cause sun sensitivity, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, fainting, and increased sweating. There is zero research proving topical application of gold has any anti-wrinkle or rejuvenating effect on skin. This cream also contains fragrant plant waxes that shouldn’t be used near the eyes.

    April 15, 2013

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

    Was this review helpful to you? Yes | No

Welcome to TotalBeauty.com!
Ready to unleash your inner beauty junkie? Enter your email and check the boxes below to get free samples, exclusive deals, discounts at Total Beauty Shops, and expert beauty tips delivered straight to your inbox!
Email to a friend