Alpha Skin Care Gentle Cleansing Refreshing Face Wash

Product:  Alpha Skin Care Gentle Cleansing Refreshing Face Wash.  Good skin begins with clean skin.  This cleanser delivers exactly what a cleanser should with none of the harsh side effects.

Overall Rating  = 5 stars5 Stars – Exceptional, Blew Me Away

Cost: $7.99 for 6 oz. ($1.33 per fluid ounce)  Price Category: Inexpensive

Sold By:  NeotericCosmetics (Parent Company); Wal-mart; Ulta

Container:  Plastic bottle with flip cap, outer carton.

Description:  Alpha Skin Care Gentle Cleansing Refreshing Face Wash was formerly known as Alpha Hydrox Foaming Face Wash.  The parent company, Neoteric Cosmetics, changed the name of this line from Alpha Hydrox to Alpha Skin Care a couple of years agoThe company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Scott’s Liquid Gold.  (Yes, the floor care products.)

Formula:   Alpha Skin Care Gentle Cleansing Face Wash contains citric alpha hydroxy acid derived from fruit.  The concentration is not listed.  I suspect the concentration is mild, as this is a gentle cleanser.  Alpha hydroxy acids aid the skin with exfoliation and cell turnover even in limited amounts.  The cleanser is pH balanced to avoid stripping the acid mantle of the skin or causing the irritation and dryness associated with most cleansers.

The cleanser is a slightly milky liquid.  It has a very light clean citrus scent.  This would be a good cleanser to use with a sonic facial brush or similar type of cleansing device.  It foams a little, but not so much as to make a mess with a mechanical cleanser.

Sensitivity:  This is a fragrance-free and dye-free product.  (Yeah!)  It is also free from soap, alcohol and parabens.

Animal Friendly:  The company’s products are cruelty-free and are never tested on animals.

Company Claims:

“What it is –

This gentle soap-free formula uses Citric Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) to whisk away make-up, dirt and excess oil from your skin’s surface and pores. It is also free of alcohol and parabens.

What it does –

  • Gently cleanses without over-drying skin
  • Restores ideal pH for effective use with Alpha Skin Care products
  • Gently removes make-up & skin impurities
  • Leaves skin feeling soft, smooth & fresh

Who it’s for – All Skin Types”

How To Use: With warm water, gently massage onto your face and neck. Rinse thoroughly. Follow with your favorite Alpha® Skin Care products. Use morning and evening.”

Discussion:  Alpha Skin Care Gentle Cleansing Face Wash is intended to be used twice a day, morning and evening.  A good cleanser gently cleanses the skin without stripping the skin of its natural oils or upsetting the naturally acidic pH nature of the skin.  Clean skin is essential prior to the application of other skin care products or makeup.

This cleanser is pH balanced, which is important because drastic changes in pH affect enzyme activity and interfere with the skin’s normal shedding and cell turnover process (desquamation).

Daily Review:  Alpha Skin Care Gentle Cleansing Face Wash is a medium weight liquid cleanser.  It is not clear, nor opaque.  It has a slight milky or even pearly quality.  It has a very light citrus scent from the ingredients, not fragrance.  The scent is pleasant and clean smelling.  The cleanser feels silky and foams very slightly.  A small amount about the size of a dime is enough for an entire face.  After my first use, I thought I was imagining how soft my face felt.  I could not imagine that a cleanser that doesn’t possess any exfoliating or scrubbing ingredients would leave my face feeling like silk.

I then put on a full face of makeup, washed my face with the cleanser, and used a makeup wipe to see how much makeup was left on my skin.  There was almost no residue on the wipe, so it was not my imagination, and the cleanser really is effective.

I have always had a love/hate relationship with cleansers.  I know they are important, but they usually leave my sensitive skin irritated, stripped, or not feeling clean.  This cleanser left my face clean, soft and not irritated at all.

I checked with my other tester to see if their results were as impressive, and to my amazement, they agreed and gave this cleanser our highest rating.

Overall Review:  Alpha Skin Care Gentle Cleansing Refreshing Face Wash is an excellent product and is less expensive than comparable high-end cleansers.   This is not just for women and is an excellent product for men, too.

Alpha Skin Care Gentle Cleansing Refreshing Face Wash is suitable for the following skin types:

  • All ethnicities;
  • All ages;
  • All sexes;
  • All skin types.

Please see the Help page to determine your skin type.

RATINGS REPORT:

Daily Rating = 5 stars5 Stars;

Average from Other Testers = 5 stars5 Stars;

Value Rating  = 5 stars5 Stars;

Overall Rating  =5 stars 5 Stars – Blew Me Away.

(Please review the About 365 Cosmetic Reviews page for the rating info.)

Ingredients:  Water, Decyl Glucoside, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, PEG-200 Hydrogenated Glyceryl Palmate, Glycerin, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, PEG-3 Distearate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Citric Acid, Propylene Glycol, Diazolidinyl Urea, Idopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Sodium Chloride.

Formulated Without:  Artificial Fragrance, Alcohol, Parabens, Artificial Colors.

Milani Brow Shaping Clear Wax

Product:  Milani Brow Shaping Clear Wax.  Keep your unruly eyebrow hairs tame in any kind of weather with this affordable pencil that is an exact dupe for a much more expensive product.

Overall Rating = 4 stars4 Stars – Excellent.

Cost Best: $3.97 (.09 oz.) ($44.11 per ounce)  Price Category: Inexpensive

Sold By:  MilaniCosmetics; Walmart; Retailers everywhere.

Container:  Chubby wooden pencil with outer plastic cap

Description:  Milani Brow Shaping Clear Wax is a clear wax pencil that you use either by itself or with tinted brow powder to control eyebrow hairs and keep them neat and in place.

Formula:  Milani Brow Shaping Clear Wax is waterproof, completely clear and is somewhat thick.  It is slightly tacky feeling until it dries.  I usually set this with tinted powder on female clients.  I use it by itself or with translucent powder on male clients.  This is great for taming thick wiry eyebrow hairs on men.

Sensitivity:  Milani Brow Shaping Clear Wax is fragrance and paraben free and is suitable for those with sensitive eyes or contacts.

Company Claims:

“For naturally beautiful brows, tame and sculpt with one sweep of the easy-to-use Brow Shaping Clear Wax Pencil. The transparent shade works well on all hair colors and the non-sticky medium to strong hold formula blends well with other brow beautifiers. This pencil dries to a weightless, matte finish and when it’s time to sharpen your brow-shaping skills, the Duo Sharpener does the trick.”

Discussion:  I have been a fan of clear brow waxes for decades.  The best one I ever found was a retractable pencil by Femme Couture that was discontinued.  I then had to begin my search for an alternative.  The next best thing I found was Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Primer at $21 each.

Product Dupe:  Milani Brow Shaping Clear Wax is a dupe for the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Primer and performs exactly the same.  I’ve even included the ingredients list for the Anastasia Brow Primer below so you can see just how similar they are.  The key difference in the ingredients occurs near the end.  The Milani product does not contain any parabens and the Anastasia product does.  They look, smell, and feel identical when you use them.  The cap stays on better on the more expensive Anastasia pencil.  Since the Milani pencil costs $17 less, I can live with the cap issue.

Colors:  Milani Brow Shaping Clear Wax only comes in one color, 01 Clear.

Morning Review:  Before applying tinted brow powder, I stroke the Milani Brow Shaping Clear Wax in the direction of the hair growth of the eyebrow hairs.  The wax glides on easily and has no odor.  The wax not only keeps the brow hairs in place, but it also serves as a primer and gives the powder something to cling to.  If you are using an eyebrow pencil without powder, then I would put the wax on after the pencil.  The wax can be applied prior to or following other products and it is just as effective either way.

Evening Review:  After many hours, my eyebrows are still neat, in place and there has not been any flaking or fading.

Overall Review:  Milani Brow Shaping Clear Wax is fast, easy, and helps to keep eyebrows looking their best.

Pros:

  • Applies quickly and easily
  • Stays on for many hours
  • Waterproof
  • Removes easily with eye makeup remover
  • Hypoallergenic formula does not cause any irritation
  • Inexpensive

Cons:

  • It is not retractable and needs to be sharpened.
  • The pencil does not fit in regular or oversized sharpeners. You need to use the Milani Duo Sharpener.
  • The outer plastic cap keeps falling off.

Suitability:  Milani Brow Shaping Clear Wax is suitable for the following users:

  • All users.  (This is a very good product for men to use as well as women.)

RATINGS REPORT:

Morning Rating = 4 stars4 Stars;

Evening Rating = 4 stars4 Stars;

Average from Other Testers = 4 stars4 Stars;

Value Rating = 4 stars4 Stars;

Overall Rating = 4 stars4 Stars = Excellent.

Would Buy Again?  Yes.

(Please review the About 365 Cosmetic Reviews page for the rating info.)

Milani Brow Shaping Clear Wax Package

Milani Brow Shaping Clear Wax Package

Milani Brow Shaping Clear Wax

Milani Brow Shaping Clear Wax

Milani Brow Shaping Clear Wax

Milani Brow Shaping Clear Wax

Milani Brow Shaping Clear Wax Tip

Milani Brow Shaping Clear Wax Tip

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Primer

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Primer

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Primer

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Primer

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Primer Tip

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Primer Tip

Ingredients Milani Brow Shaping Clear Wax:  Cera Microcristallina (Microcrystalline Wax), Polyisubutene, Cetyl Palmitate, Talc, VP/Hexadecene, Copolymer, Myristyl Lactate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Euphorbia Cerifera Cera (Candelilla) Wax, Octyldodecanol, Myristyl Alcohol, Stearalkonium Hectorite, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Propylene Carbonate, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-di-t-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract.

Ingredients Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Primer:  Microcrystalline Wax / Cera Microcristallina, Polyisobutene, Cetyl Palmitate, Talc, VP/Hexadecene Copolymer, Myristyl Lactate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax / Candelilla Cera, Octyldodecanol, Myristyl Alcohol, Stearalkonium Hectorite, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Propylene Carbonate, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Tocopherol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract.

Important:  Please read our full Disclaimer before using this or any product.

Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture Sensitive Skin

Product:  Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture Sensitive Skin.  Is this drugstore brand really as gentle as it claims to be?

Overall Rating4 stars4 Stars – Excellent

Cost:  $8.46 for 4 oz. ($2.12 per fluid ounce)  Price Category:  Inexpensive

Sold By:  Neutrogena; Walgreen’s; Wal-mart; Retailers everywhere.

Container:  Plastic bottle with twist-off pump, outer carton.

Description:  Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture Sensitive Skin is a no-frills water-based moisturizer.  This is a basic fragrance-free moisturizer that is readily available at most retailers.

Formula:  This does not contain any anti-aging antioxidants, cell-communicating ingredients or fancy bells and whistles.  It also doesn’t have any alcohol, stinky perfume or dye.  Sometimes, less is better.

Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture Sensitive Skin is intended to be used twice a day following cleansing and after the application of lighter products such as serums.

Please Note:  Please do not use this product if you have a soy allergy.  Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture Sensitive Skin contains soybean sterols so you will need to stay away from this one.

Company Claims:

“Oil-Free Moisture for Sensitive Skin is a lightweight, water-based moisturizer that provides gentle yet effective moisturization for even the most sensitive skin.

This feather-light, dermatologist-tested formula vanishes into skin—without leaving it greasy or shiny. Extra gentle and irritant-free, it is ideal for sensitive skin. And it contains no alcohol, which can dry skin.”

Morning Review:  Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture Sensitive is a medium weight white lotion.  A little goes a long way, and for me, a full pump is too much product.  It is almost as thick as a cream but it does not feel heavy.  I don’t like thick creams on my face.  I also don’t normally use or like products with any amount of petrolatum as they usually feel too heavy on my skin and feel tacky and sticky.  I do not have that reaction with this moisturizer.

It is fragrance-free and has almost no detectable scent.  The lotion feels silky and it absorbs quickly into the skin.  My very dry, hypersensitive skin likes this product.  I do not experience any redness, itching, burning, nose running, eyes watering, or other negative reaction.  This moisturizer leaves my face feeling soft, hydrated and velvety smooth.  Makeup goes on very well on top of this moisturizer.

Please Note:  If you have Rosacea, this should be mild enough and should be quite safe for you, but please check with your dermatologist.

Please Also Note:  Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture Sensitive Skin does not contain any sunscreen.  Please use a good quality sunscreen with this product.  If using a chemical sunscreen, apply the sunscreen first.  If using a physical sunscreen, apply the sunscreen last.  (I’ll discuss this in detail in a future post.)

Morning Rating = 4 stars4 Stars

Evening Review:  After several hours my skin stayed soft and did not get dry or tight.  Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture Sensitive Skin really kept my skin hydrated without any irritation.  Normally, products with any amount of petrolatum make my T-zone oily and cause breakouts.  For some reason, I do not have that reaction with this product.

Overall Review:  Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture Sensitive Skin is a basic moisturizer that simply does what it claims to do.  This is a good moisturizer for those who use topical products for acne or Retin-A.  If you use too many anti-aging products at once you can create a recipe for disaster.  Sometimes simple is a good thing.  This is the moisturizer that I mix with the AHA products that are too harsh for my skin.

Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture Sensitive Skin is suitable for men as well as women.  Users with very oily skin may find this too moisturizing for them.  If it makes your skin feel oily, try using less, or mixing it with a little water to dilute it

Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture Sensitive Skin is suitable for the following skin types:

  • All ethnicities;
  • All ages;
  • All sexes;
  • Oily (may need to dilute with water);
  • Dry;
  • Sensitive;
  • Consistent;
  • Combination.

Please see the Help page to determine your skin type.

RATINGS REPORT:

Morning Rating = 4 stars4 Stars;

Evening Rating = 4 stars4 Stars;

Average from Other Testers = 4 stars4 Stars;

Value Rating  = 4 stars4 Stars;

Overall Rating = 4 stars4 Stars, Excellent

(Please review the About 365 Cosmetic Reviews page for the rating info.)

Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture Sensitive Skin

Neutrogena Box Front & Bottle

Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture Sensitive Skin

Neutrogena Box Back

Ingredients:  Water, Glycerin, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Dimethicone, Petrolatum, Cyclomethicone, Soybean (Glycine Soja) Sterols , Isopropyl Isostearate, Cetyl Alcohol, PEG-10 Soy Sterol, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Carbomer, Tetrasodium EDTA, Sodium Hydroxide, Diazolidinyl Urea, Ethylparaben, Methylparaben, Propylparaben.

Formulated Without:  Alcohol, Artificial Fragrance, Artificial Color, Oil.

Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Aqua Foundation

Product:  Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Aqua Foundation.  If you don’t like to feel like you are wearing makeup, this high-definition foundation may spoil you from ever wearing anything else.

Overall Rating = 4 stars4 Stars – Excellent

Cost: $62.00 (1.0 fl. oz.) ($62 per fluid ounce)  Price Category: Expensive

Sold By:  KohGenDo; Nordstrom; Sephora.

Container:  Glass bottle with pump, outer plastic cap, paper carton.

Description:  If you are not familiar with Koh Gen Do, this is another Japanese company.  I don’t know what it is with companies from Japan, but they have some exceptional products.  The line was formulated for use in the film industry and the entire product line functions well under the rigors of long hours on movie sets and flaw-enhancing high-definition cameras.  I have been using this line for over a decade.  I was introduced to the line on the set of a TV show and became an instant fan.

Formula:  Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Aqua Foundation is a lightweight cream.  The formula provides light-coverage opacity and dries to a slightly velvety finish.  It feels silky to the touch and is hydrating.  The product was reformulated a few years ago and the bottle used to state that the SPF was 15.  The SPF is no longer listed, but it still contains Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide, so there is sun protection in the formula.  Please note that the ingredients listed on Sephora are the old formula and are not current or correct.

Sensitivity:  Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Aqua Foundation is free from fragrance, mineral oil, parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and synthetic pigments and is appropriate for those with sensitive skin.

Animal Friendly:  The brand is cruelty-free and does not test on animals.

Company Claims:

“Designed to give skin the same youthful glow you experience right after a facial, Aqua Foundation’s long-wearing liquid formula instantly illuminates dull skin. Formulated with light-diffusing minerals to brighten and minimize pores, this lightweight serum foundation contains weightless skin-conditioning emollients that improve the hydration and health of skin for a flawless and comfortable complexion all day.

  • Nourishes skin with minerals from the deep waters of Bretagne
  • Contains soft focus pigments to brighten while reducing the appearance of pores and discoloration
  • Contains T3 Oil—our signature blend of jojoba oil, olive squalane and shea butter—to leave skin soft and supple
  • For all skin types
  • Sheer to medium buildable coverage
  • Natural, dewy finish

Discussion:  The Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Aqua Foundation feels so light on the skin you can’t imagine that it is going to actually do anything to make your skin look better, yet somehow it does.  If you like a full-coverage makeup, this is definitely not the one for you.  This is for people who don’t want to look or feel like they are wearing any makeup on their skin.  If you like a “no makeup” natural makeup look, this foundation is one of the best to accomplish that look.  If you typically wear BB creams or tinted moisturizers you may love the feel of this.

Colors:  Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Aqua Foundation comes in seven colors: 002-Cool; 012-Cool; 013-Cool; 113-Warm; 123-Warm; 143-Warm; and 213-Warm.  The cool tones have a slightly pink undertone.  If you prefer a neutral, ivory or yellow undertone, go with one of the warm shades.  Because the coverage is so light and it blends into the skin, the shades are pretty forgiving.  If you have very deep skin, there is not going to be a color in this foundation dark enough for you.  The shades are only for fair to medium-tan skin tones.

Shade Descriptions (In my experience):

002: Very pale beige for fair skin with a slight pink undertone

012: Very light beige for fair skin with a definite pink undertone

013: Light beige for fair to light skin with a neutral to pink undertone

113: Light beige for light skin with a neutral undertone

123: Beige for light to medium skin with a warm yellow undertone

143: Dark warm beige to light tan for medium to tan skin with a yellow undertone

213: Medium beige for light to medium skin with a neutral to yellow undertone

Morning Review:  I have used several bottles of this over the years, so I’m not new to this product.  For purposes of this review, after cleansing, I applied the Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Aqua Foundation to bare skin.  (If I’m using this on a client or on set, I’d definitely apply primer first.)  There is no odor of any kind.  It disappears into my skin, makes pores appear smaller, and offers a light blurring coverage.  My freckles still show through but they aren’t obvious.  My skin feels softer and hydrated after application.  One pump is enough for a spot application; two pumps are required for full-face coverage.

Application Tips:  I applied this with fingers, a foundation brush and a blender sponge to see which worked the best.  I liked the finish the best with a flat-head foundation brush, but this foundation is fool proof and looks good no matter how you apply it.  If you don’t have a brush, just use your fingers.  If you have oily or combination skin, you will definitely want to set this with powder.  This dries to a natural, slightly velvety finish.  It takes a couple of minutes to set up completely.

Evening Review:  On my dry skin, Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Aqua Foundation looked good for about 7-8 hours without any oxidation or color change.  It never cracked and my skin stayed hydrated all day.  My testers with consistent skin and combination skin got 6-7 hours of wear.  My tester with oily skin needed a touchup in about 4-5 hours.  Of course your results will depend upon many factors and may be different.

Overall Review:  I never wore foundation very often until I discovered Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Aqua Foundation.  I don’t like the feeling of anything heavy on my face.  I also don’t like to look like I’m wearing makeup and prefer a more natural look.  Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Aqua Foundation allows me to just make my skin look better rather than covered up.  This is also the only foundation I have ever found that I can wear every day that never makes me break out.  If you have been searching for a light weight looking and feeling foundation, this might be the answer.

Additional Information:  If you would like a little more coverage, you may prefer the Koh Gen Do Moisture Foundation which is slightly heavier and offers more of a medium coverage.  The Koh Gen Do Moisture Foundation also offers deeper colors and a greater twelve-color shade range.  If you would like to try either foundation, you can get samples for $3.75-$4.00 directly from the website with free shipping.  You will also receive a $10.00 discount coupon with your purchase of the samples that you can apply to a full-size bottle if you like it.

Here is the link to the samples page:  Koh Gen Do Foundation Samples

Pros:

  • Professional quality
  • Skin-nourishing ingredients
  • Light coverage blurs skin imperfections
  • Skin looks natural and not heavy
  • Quick and easy to use
  • Blends flawlessly
  • Good for those with allergies and sensitivities to fragrances, mineral oil, and other irritating chemicals
  • Pump keeps product sanitary

Cons:

  • Price
  • Some darker skin tones may not find a compatible match

Suitability:  Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Aqua Foundation is suitable for the following users:

  • All users

RATINGS REPORT:

Morning Rating = 5 stars5 Stars;

Evening Rating = 5 stars5 Stars;

Average from Other Testers = 4 stars4 Stars;

Value Rating = 2 stars2 Stars;

Overall Rating = 4 stars4 Stars = Excellent.

Would Buy Again?  Yes. (If I can afford it.)

(Please review the About 365 Cosmetic Reviews page for the rating info.)

Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Aqua Foundation Bottle BoxKoh Gen Do Maifanshi Aqua Foundation Pump

Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Aqua Foundation Color Shade Chart

Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Aqua Foundation Color 113

Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Aqua Foundation Color 113

Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Aqua Foundation Color 113

Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Aqua Foundation Color 113

INGREDIENTS:  WATER, CYCLOPENTASILOXANE, TITANIUM DIOXIDE, DIPHENYLSILOXY PHENYL TRIMETHICONE, ZINC OXIDE, HDI/TRIMETHYLOL HEXYLLACTONE CROSSPOLYMER, ISONONYL ISONONANOATE, PEG-9 POLYDIMETHYLSILOXYETHYL DIMETHICONE, PENTYLENE GLYCOL, PEG-10 DIMETHICONE, MICA, DIGLYCERIN, SORBITAN SESQUIISOSTEARATE, PHYTOSTERYL/OCTYLDODECYL LAUROYL GLUTAMATE, GLYCERIN, SQUALANE, SORBITAN SESQUIOLEATE, SEA SALT, ALUMINUM HYDROXIDE, ACRYLATES/POLYTRIMETHYL SILOXYMETHACRYLATE COPOLYMER, SODIUM CHLORIDE, SILICA, BUTYLENE GLYCOL, DIMETHICONE, PHENOXYETHANOL, STEARIC ACID, SIMMONDSIA CHINENSIS (JOJOBA) SEED OIL, ALUMINUM DIMYRISTATE, NYLON-12, TALC, ZIRCONIUM DIOXIDE, TOCOPHEROL, LAUROYL LYSINE, POLYMETHYLSILSESQUIOXANE, ISOSTEARYL SEBACATE, ZINC MYRISTATE, ALUMINA, BUTYROSPERMUM PARKII (SHEA) BUTTER, CAMELLIA SINENSIS LEAF EXTRACT, DISODIUM STEAROYL GLUTAMATE, GLYCYRRHIZA GLABRA (LICORICE) ROOT EXTRACT, GLUCOSYL HESPERIDIN, MAGNESIUM ASCORBYL PHOSPHATE, SODIUM HYDROXIDE, BETULA ALBA BARK EXTRACT, KJELLMANIELLA GYRATA EXTRACT, ALPHA-GLUCAN, ALGAE EXTRACT, ALPINIA SPECIOSA LEAF EXTRACT, GLUCOSYL CERAMIDE, HYDROLYZED CONCHIOLIN PROTEIN, ACETYL HEXAPEPTIDE-8, IRON OXIDES.

Important:  Please read our full Disclaimer before using this or any product.

Hard Candy Glamoflauge Pigment Drops

Product:  Hard Candy Glamoflauge Pigment Drops.  Don’t want to spend the money for Cover FX Custom Cover Drops?  With this Hard Candy dupe (almost), you don’t have to!

Overall Rating = 4 stars 4 Stars – Excellent

Cost: $7.00 (.5 fl. oz.) ($14.00 per fluid ounce)  Price Category: Inexpensive

Sold By:  HardCandy; Walmart.

Container:  Glass bottle, twist-off cap with attached dropper.  As with the Cover FX product, the packaging is not ideal.  A squeeze tube would have been better.

Description:  I previously reviewed Cover FX Custom Cover Drops.  Hard Candy Glamoflauge Pigment Drops is almost a duplicate product.  This is a small bottle of pure pigment in liquid form.  The concentrated drops allow you to increase the coverage or alter the color of any liquid or cream foundation.  You can also add color and/or coverage to a colorless sunscreen or moisturizer.

Formula:  Hard Candy Glamoflauge Pigment Drops is a thin liquid.  This formula is slightly thinner and less pigmented than the Cover FX Custom Cover Drops.  The tinted liquid is not intended to be used by itself.  It must be mixed with another product.  On its own, the formula has a matte finish, but not as matte as the Cover FX drops.  Shockingly, I actually prefer this formula to the more expensive Cover FX drops, as it blends easier.

Vegan Friendly:  Yes.  This product is free from animal ingredients.

Cruelty Free:  Yes.  Hard Candy does not test on animals.  This product is made in the USA.  Despite the fact that the brand is now exclusively sold at Walmart, I have not found any evidence that the brand is sold in China.

Sensitivity:  Hard Candy Glamoflauge Pigment Drops is free of fragrance, alcohol, gluten, mineral oil, parabens, phthalates, sulfates and talc and is appropriate for those with sensitive skin.  ALLERGY WARNING:  This does contain a small amount of mushroom extract, so stay away from this if you are allergic to mushrooms.

Company Claims:

“Highly concentrated liquid pigments that  allow you to customize any face product for coverage or shade.

Squeeze the dropper and add drops to any daily moisturizer or primer to create a custom foundation.

The more drops you add, the higher the coverage. You can also add light or dark drops to any liquid makeup to custom match your skin tone.”

Discussion:  If you haven’t tried this brand that is exclusively sold at Walmart, you may be pleasantly surprised by some of their products.  The quality and performance of many of their products rival other brands that cost significantly more.  I’m looking forward to exploring this line further.  I picked up several different items and will be reviewing more of them soon.

The only downside to Hard Candy Glamoflauge Pigment Drops is that Hard Candy developed these to compete with Cover FX.  It is a shame Hard Candy chose to copy the FX bottle because it is the bottle that is the worst characteristic of the product.  Hard Candy could have produced a far superior product had they not copied the inferior bottle and dropper delivery system.

If you have a bit of mad scientist in you, then you will have fun custom mixing these drops into many different products.  For clients, they afford me customization in mixing foundations for superior matching.  For personal use, I can make my own BB and CC creams with these drops.

Colors:  Hard Candy Glamoflauge Pigment Drops comes in ten colors: Fair 1, Fair 2, Light 1, Light 2, Light 3, Light 4, Medium 1, Medium 2, Medium 3, and Deep 1.  I have fair skin and usually buy the lightest or second lightest shade in any foundation.  In this product, I bought Light 1.  Fair 1 and Fair 2 were too light for me.  Light 1 corresponds to N25 in the Cover FX drops.  For all of you porcelain girls that can’t ever find anything light enough, Fair 1 may be just what you need to lighten up all of the foundations that are too dark.  For professional makeup artists, buy a Fair 1 and a Deep 1 to customize perfect matches for your clients.

Finishes:  Hard Candy also makes Liquid Radiant Turn Me Bronze, Turn Me Radiant, Turn Me Matte and Look Pro! Illuminate and Strobing drops to compete with the Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops.  With all of these choices, you can completely customize your products to suit your needs.

Daily Review:  The wear that you will achieve from using Hard Candy Glamoflauge Pigment Drops depends purely upon the medium that the drops are mixed with.  I do have to use more of the Hard Candy Glamoflauge Pigment Drops to achieve the same tint or coverage that I would get with the Cover FX drops.  If I normally use one drop of Cover FX, I will use two drops with Hard Candy.

Application Tips:

  • Shake the bottle well to mix the contents as separation will occur.
  • Load the dropper while the cap is still on the bottle.
  • Begin with two drops and add more as needed.
  • Mix the drops with whatever you are tinting on a small sterilized palette or something similar.
  • Mix the drops with whatever you are tinting before applying to the face.  If you try to blend these on the face, they will streak.
  • To avoid air bubbles, don’t empty the dropper back into the bottle prior to replacing the cap.
  • Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.
  • If the product gets too thick, it is time for a new one. It is not a good idea to add water to these.  If you need to dilute them, add a drop of sterile eyedrops.

Overall Review:  I was pleasantly surprised that the Hard Candy Glamoflauge Pigment Drops performed as well as the Cover FX Custom Cover drops.  This is a useful product at a great price.

Hard Candy Glamoflauge Pigment Drops serve many purposes:

  • Correct foundations that are too light or too dark
  • Add color to a ghostly-white sunscreen
  • Allow you to make your own tinted moisturizer
  • Achieve a match for hard-to-match skin tones
  • Add coverage to a foundation that is too sheer

Pros:

  • Mixes well with a variety of products
  • Provides customization for many skin tones

Cons:

  • Not as many colors available as the Cover FX drops
  • The bottle and dropper are messy, expose the contents to air and potential bacteria,  and cause the product to dry out faster.  A squeeze tube would have been a superior delivery system.

Suitability:  Hard Candy Glamoflauge Pigment Drops is suitable for the following users:

  • All users

RATINGS REPORT:

Daily Rating = 4 stars4 Stars;

Average from Other Testers = 4 stars4 Stars;

Value Rating = 4 stars4 Stars;

Overall Rating = 4 stars4 Stars = Excellent.

Would Buy Again?  Yes.

(Please review the About 365 Cosmetic Reviews page for the rating info.)

Hard Candy Glamoflauge Pigment DropsHard Candy Glamoflauge Pigment DropsCover FX Custom Cover Drops Hard Candy Glamoflauge Pigment DropsHard Candy Glamoflauge Pigment Drops Swatch

Ingredients:  Dimethicone, Water, Isododecane, Hydrogenated Polydecene, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Lauryl PEG/PPG-18/18 Methicone, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Polymethyl Methacrylate, HDL/Trimethylol, Hexyllactone Crosspolymer, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Silica Silyate, Sodium Chloride, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Butylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Propylene Carbonate, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Fomes Officinalis (Mushroom Extract), Silica.  May contain:  Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Mica (CI 77019), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499).

Important:  Please read our full Disclaimer before using this or any product.

There Are Dead Bugs in Your Lipstick!

There Are Dead Bugs in Your Lipstick!  Do you think I’m kidding?  I am not and I have the scientific research to prove it.

I Read the Ingredients on Labels:  Okay, I know I’m a bit of a freak when it comes to the science and chemistry of cosmetics.  I actually do read every label of every product and study the ingredients before I put them on my face.  I’m allergic to so many things that it is a necessity.  Also, I want to know what I am putting on my clients.  I feel a responsibility to them to be sure the products are safe.

Do the Ingredients Matter to You?  I have always been fascinated by the myriad of ingredients that comprise most cosmetics.  I’m sure many of you: a) don’t read the ingredients; b) aren’t interested as long as the stuff works; and c) think that because you can’t pronounce them, the ingredients really aren’t important.  Even so, don’t you want to know what is in the products you are putting on your lips?  After all, you are going to be licking this stuff off, essentially eating it.

What Are the Dead Bugs?  There is one ingredient that I find particularly startling, Carmine or Cochineal Extract.  Carmine and Cochineal are the same thing… the ground up bodies of dead bugs known as Dactylopius Coccus.  Cochineal are found in Arizona, Mexico and South America.  Contrary to popular belief, the Cochineal is a scaled insect as opposed to a beetle.

Cochineal Insects Cluster Photo by Frank Vincentz

Cochineal Insects Cluster
Photo by Frank Vincentz

How Are they Harvested?  The Cochineals live on prickly pear a.k.a. nopal cacti.  Small nests are placed on the cacti, the bugs crawl into them, and then they are brushed off of the cacti or collected from the nest.

Cochineal Insect Nests Photo by Oscar Carrizosa

Cochineal Insect Nests
Photo by Oscar Carrizosa

How Long Have Cochineal Bugs Been Used in Makeup?  The practice dates back to ancient Egyptian times.  It is estimated that these bugs have been used for approximately 5,000 years.

How Many Bugs Are in a Tube of Lipstick?  It takes 40,000 to 70,000 Cochineals to yield a pound of Carmine dye.  The number depends on the size of the insect.  The most desirable insects are pregnant females with expanded abdomens.  It is impossible to say how many would be used in a formula, but it would be more than a few.

One Crushed Cochineal Insect

One Crushed Cochineal Insect

Labeling Practices / What to Look for: (This is how Carmine will be listed on a label.)

  • B Rose Liquid;
  • Carmine 5297;
  • Carmine Lake;
  • Carmine Ultra-Fine;
  • Carminic Acid;
  • Carminic Acid Lake;
  • C.I. 75470;
  • Coccus Cacti L.;
  • Cochineal Extract;
  • Crimson Lake;
  • E 120;
  • Natural Red 4;
  • Red 40.

If a Product Is Labeled Organic Is It Free from Carmine?  No, since Cochineal is an insect occurring in nature and not synthetically created, it still fits within the definition of an organic product.

Are So-Called “Natural Brands” Free from Carmine?  No, even brands like Burt’s Bees use Carmine in their lip balm.

Burts Bees Replenishing Lip Balm Pomegranate Flavor Contains Cochineal Carmine

Burts Bees Replenishing Lip Balm Pomegranate Flavor Contains Cochineal Carmine

Do Expensive or Cheap Brands Contain Carmine?  Almost every brand in every price range uses some form of Carmine to color their products.  It can be found in everything from e.l.f. to Chantecaille.

There Are Dead Bugs In Your M-A-C Lipstick

There Are Dead Bugs In Your M-A-C Lipstick

If a Product Is Labeled Cruelty Free Is It Free from Carmine?  No, that simply means that the product did not undergo animal testing at the time the product was packaged.  Cruelty free does not apply to insects.  Cruelty free also does not tell you whether or not the company previously participated in animal testing.  Also, many companies designate themselves as cruelty free when in fact they are not.  Any company that sells their product in China is not cruelty free because the Chinese government actually requires animal testing before a product can be sold there even if it was not manufactured there.

What Else Is Carmine Used In?  Basically, anything that has a red color might contain Carmine.  This is just a small sampling of products (there are thousands).  EWG (The Environmental Working Group) currently has 2,199 products in their cosmetics database alone that contain Carmine.

  • Candy
  • Cosmetics (Blush, Eyeliner, Eye Shadow, Face Powder, Lipstick, Mascara, Nail Polish)
  • Cough Syrup
  • Food (Dannon and Oiko yogurts)
  • Fruit Juices (Long list)
  • Prescription Medications
There Are Also Dead Bugs in Your NYX Blush

There Are Also Dead Bugs in Your NYX Blush

Is Carmine Dangerous?  No, for the great majority of people there is absolutely no evidence that Carmine presents any type of health hazard.  I have used many products that contain Carmine for many years with no ill effects whatsoever.  It is next to impossible to be a makeup artist and not use products that contain some form of Carmine.  Like any substance on Earth, anyone can have an allergic reaction to a substance.  There are people who claim to be allergic to water.  While extremely rare, there have been reports of serious allergic reactions to Carmine.

If Carmine Isn’t Dangerous Why Should You Care?  I don’t have a problem with companies using Carmine.  I do have a problem with companies naming and listing a coloring agent that misleads people as to what is actually in it.  I think Carmine should be listed as “Cochineal Insects” because that is indeed what it is.  By coming up with all of the different misleading names, it is impossible for a consumer to differentiate an insect-based colorant from a fruit or vegetable-based colorant.

If You Want to Avoid Carmine, How Do You Do That?  The only way to avoid Carmine completely is to read every ingredient of every label and only buy products that are certified “Vegan”.  As Carmine is derived from an insect, it cannot be used in vegan products.

What Do the Vegan Companies Use for Coloring Agents Instead of Bugs?  They primarily use:

  • Beets;
  • Carrots;
  • Cranberries;
  • Grape Skins;
  • Pomegranates; and
  • Tomatoes.

If Companies Can Use Fruits and Vegetables Instead of Bugs Why Don’t They?  I have no idea.  I assume because the bugs are cheaper.  Doesn’t it usually come down to the bottom line and profits for most companies?  I researched the cost and one pound of ground up Cochineal bugs is selling for $26 versus $38 for a pound of beet root powder.

What Can Be Done to Get the Bugs Out of Cosmetics?  Tell them.  Voice your opinions to the companies whose products you purchase.  If enough people start asking for fruits and vegetables to replace bugs, it will happen.

Conclusion:  Whether you do or don’t care if there are dead bugs in your lipstick, at least now you know how to watch out for them on the ingredients labels.  I hope you found this post informative.  Please let me know if you would like to see more of these types of research posts.  Thanks!

Research Sources:

AOEC (Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics). 2009. AEOC exposures codes and asthmagen designation.

CTFA (Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association). 2006. International Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary and Handbook, 11th Edition. Color Additive Information. Washington, DC.

EC (Environment Canada). 2008. Domestic Substances List Categorization. Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) Environmental Registry.

FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) 2006. Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. Color Additive Status List. September 2006.

FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration). 2008. EAFUS [Everything Added to Food]: A Food Additive Database. FDA Office of Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

NLM (National Library of Medicine). 2012. PubMed online scientific bibliography data. http://www.pubmed.gov.

https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/701120/CARMINE/#

https://www.fda.gov/ForIndustry/ColorAdditives/RegulatoryProcessHistoricalPerspectives/default.htm

https://www.fda.gov/ForIndustry/ColorAdditives/ColorAdditivesinSpecificProducts/InCosmetics/ucm110032.htm

https://www.fda.gov/ForIndustry/ColorAdditives/ColorAdditiveInventories/ucm115641.htm

https://www.fda.gov/forindustry/coloradditives/guidancecomplianceregulatoryinformation/ucm153038.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cochineal

Cover FX Custom Cover Drops

Product:  Cover FX Custom Cover Drops.  Is your foundation too light, dark, warm, cool or too sheer?  This product actually changes the color and the coverage!

Overall Rating = 3+ stars3.33 Stars – Good

Cost: $42.00 (.5 fl. oz.) ($84.00 per fluid ounce)  Price Category: Expensive

Sold By:  Cover FX; Sephora.

Container:  Glass bottle, twist-off cap with attached dropper, outer carton.  (The container is not ideal.  Please see Cons below.)

Description:  Cover FX Custom Cover Drops is a small bottle of pure pigments in liquid form.  The concentrated drops allow you to tint or change the color of any lotion or cream makeup.  You can also add color and/or coverage to any mixing medium such as colorless primer, sunscreen or moisturizer.

Formula:  Cover FX Custom Cover Drops is a pigmented liquid.  The formula is not intended to be used by itself.  It must be mixed with another product which I am referring to as the mixing medium.  The finish is more of a matte finish than a dewy finish.

Sensitivity:  Cover FX Custom Cover Drops is free of fragrance, gluten, mineral oil, parabens, phthalates, sulfates and talc and is appropriate for those with sensitive skin.  The product contains a small amount of alcohol and the scent dissipates once the alcohol evaporates.

Company Claims:

“Create your ideal foundation or tinted moisturizer by mixing these revolutionary drops of pure pigment with your favorite liquid beauty products.

What it Does:

These award winning, revolutionary drops of pure pigment were not designed to be worn alone but instead allow you to transform all of your favorite liquid beauty products into your ideal foundation or tinted moisturizer.  With this breakthrough formula you can customize both your level of coverage and desired finish.  What you choose to mix Custom Cover Drops with will determine your finish.  For a radiant finish, add to products like oils, serums, or creams.  For a matte finish, mix with a mattifying primer or lightweight lotion.  The possibilities are endless!  Then, simply adjust your coverage by the number of drops you add.

1 Drop = Sheer Coverage

2 Drops = Medium Coverage

3 Drops = Full Coverage

4 Drops = Extra Full Coverage

Custom Cover Drops are NOT designed to be used alone. Failure to shake well before adding drops to your favorite product will distort the coverage and result in less than desirable results.”

Discussion:  There was a lot of buzz in the beauty industry when these were introduced a couple of years ago.  People seem to have a love/hate relationship with them.  If used properly, they are a wonderful product that allow you to customize colors and achieve perfect matches to almost every skin tone.  When they haven’t worked for people it is probably because they used too much.  The pigments are highly concentrated, so more is not better with these drops.

I have always custom mixed foundations to achieve the proper color for clients, so when these came out I was hoping they would make the matching process easier and they have.  If you don’t want to fuss with blending and mixing products together, you won’t like these.

Colors:  Cover FX Custom Cover Drops comes in twenty-four colors.  I won’t list all of them here.  I will explain their color system for this product:  There are four colors that begin with “P” for Pink undertones; there are 13 colors that begin with “N” for Neutral undertones; and there are 7 colors that begin with “G” for Golden undertones.  It is important that you know your undertone before purchasing this product.  There is a shade for everyone from very fair to deep.

Finishes:  Cover FX also makes a product called Custom Enhancer Drops that comes in two bronzing shades and four illuminating or highlighting shades.  Those drops will add a glow and a pearlescent finish to any foundation, moisturizer or primer.

Daily Review:  The hours of wear that you will achieve from using Cover FX Custom Cover Drops depends purely upon the mixing medium that the drops are combined with.  I really like to add one drop to sunscreen to turn the sunscreen from a ghostly white product to a nice natural tint.  Also, one drop is all it takes to completely change the color of an airbrush foundation.  A little goes a long way with this product and it works the best if you use the least amount possible.  If a foundation is too light and needs to be darkened or warmed up, one or two drops is all that is required for an entire face.

Application Tips:

  • Shake the bottle well to mix the contents as separation will occur.
  • Fill the dropper while the cap is still on the bottle.
  • Begin with one drop.  I never use more than two drops.
  • Combine the drops and mixing medium on a small sterilized palette or something similar.  Mix with a clean makeup spatula or small brush.
  • Make sure the drops and mixing medium are completely blended prior to applying them to the face.
  • If you apply the drops full strength to the face, the finish will be thick and unnatural due to the concentration of pigment.
  • Don’t empty the dropper back into the bottle prior to replacing the cap to avoid air bubbles.
  • Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.
  • Using 4 drops to achieve full coverage is simply too much and the finish will not look natural.
  • I cannot tell you what application method works best, i.e. brush, fingers, or sponge because I don’t know what you will be mixing it with.

Overall Review:  Cover FX Custom Cover Drops perform very well for their intended purpose.  The drops sound gimmicky, but they actually do serve a very useful purpose.  If you have a bunch of expensive bottles of foundation that you have only used once because they were too light or too dark, you can change the color with these drops.  If you don’t like to wear foundation and only wear sunscreen or tinted moisturizer, you can get a little better coverage or color by adding a drop or two.  As a makeup artist, they really help with custom matching and offer a lot of versatility.

If you like the idea of this product, but not the cost, I’m going to review similar products (one is supposedly a dupe) from Clinique, Hard Candy and NYX in the coming weeks.  The Hard Candy and NYX products are only $7 and $10, respectively.  We’ll see if they perform as well and if so, I will definitely let you know.  Please sign up so you don’t miss the future posts.

Pros:

  • Mixes well with a variety of products
  • Provides customization for hard-to-match skin tones
  • Wide range of colors will match all skin tones

Cons:

  • Price
  • Product dries out quickly once exposed to air
  • The bottle with dropper delivery system is messy, exposes the liquid to bacteria, and reduces the longevity of the product.  A squeeze tube would have been far superior.

Suitability:  Cover FX Custom Cover Drops is suitable for the following users:

  • All users

RATINGS REPORT:

Daily Rating = 4 stars4 Stars;

Average from Other Testers = 4 Stars;

Value Rating = 2 stars2 Stars;

Overall Rating = 3+ stars3.33 Stars = Good.

Would Buy Again?  Yes.

(Please review the About 365 Cosmetic Reviews page for the rating info.)

Cover FX Custom Cover DropsCover FX Custom Cover Drops BoxCover FX Custom Cover Drops IngredientsCover FX Custom Cover Drops ShadesIngredients:  Ethyl Trisiloxane, Caprylyl Methicone, Bis-Hydroxyethoxypropyl Dimethicone, Isododecane, Dimethicone, Mica, Jojoba Esters, Triethylhexanoin, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Silica, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Wax, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Water (Aqua, Eau), Alcohol, Acacia Decurrens Flower Wax, Polyglycerin-3. May Contain: Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499)

Important:  Please read our full Disclaimer before using this or any product.

L’Oréal Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream

Product:  L’Oréal Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream.  This product comes out of the tube white and then changes color supposedly to match your skin.  Weird, right?

Overall Rating = 3+ stars3.75 Stars – Very Good to Excellent

Cost: $10.95 (1.0 fl. oz.) ($10.95 per fluid ounce)  Price Category: Inxepensive

Sold By:  L’Oréal Paris USA; Walgreen’s; Walmart; Ulta; Retailers everywhere.

Container:  Plastic squeeze tube, twist-off cap. (Nice small, pointed tip.)

Description:   L’Oréal Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream is a white lotion with encapsulated pigments that are released when the lotion is blended into the skin.  This product contains four elements (primer, moisturizer, foundation and a color corrector) in one.  In this case, “BB” stands for “Beautifying Beads” instead of Beauty Balm or Blemish Balm.

Formula:   L’Oréal Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream has more of a lotion consistency than a cream.  The formula provides light-coverage opacity and dries to a slightly powdery finish.  It feels silky to the touch and is hydrating.  This does NOT contain any sunscreen and offers 0 SPF.  I like my BB creams to contain sunscreen, so I regard the lack of SPF as a negative.

Sensitivity:  L’Oréal Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream is fragrance and oil free and is appropriate for those with sensitive skin.

Company Claims:

“4 Beautifying Actions in 1.  Primes, Corrects, Hydrates, Perfects.  Flawless Bare Skin Finish.

Meet the Magic all-in-one skin BB cream, with Beautifying Beads; encapsulated pigments infused in an ultra-light lotion with antioxidants Vitamins C & E. This multi-tasking skin beautifier delivers 4 beautifying actions in 1: primes to smooth skin’s texture, corrects skin for a healthy looking even complexion, hydrates for all day moisture, perfects to hide imperfections.  Instantly transforms to your perfect shade for a flawless, bare skin finish. Over time, more beautiful skin.”

Discussion:  I previously discussed BB Creams in my post reviewing Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35If you want to read more about BB, CC or DD creams, please see that post.

Colors:  L’Oréal Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream comes in four colors: 810-Fair; 812-Light; 814-Medium; and 816-Deep.  Because the coverage is so light and it blends into the skin, the shades are pretty forgiving.  I tried the Medium on my fair skin and it didn’t look overly dark once blended.  The Light color is off and is too peachy.  The Fair color is better than the Light.

Morning Review:  I have used several tubes of this over the years, so I’m not new to this product.  For purposes of this review, after cleansing, I applied the L’Oréal Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream to bare skin.  (If you are going outside in the daylight, you should definitely apply sunscreen first.)  The lotion  has very little odor to it.  I don’t know how to describe the scent other than a slight chemical smell that disappears once applied.  It feels slippery to the touch.  You can definitely feel the silicone primer elements.  It does not feel oily or greasy on the skin at all; it just feels silky.  It blends nicely and offers a light blurring coverage.

Application Tips:  You will need to be careful with the tube.  The tube has a tendency to squirt out product as soon as the cap is removed, so be prepared to catch any drips.

I applied this with fingers, a foundation brush and a blender sponge to see which worked the best.  Due to the thinner consistency, I liked the finish the best with a blending sponge.  If you have oily or combination skin, you will definitely want to set this with powder.  This dries fairly quickly to a semi-matte or satin finish.

Evening Review:  On my dry skin, L’Oréal Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream looked good for about 6-7 hours.  My testers with consistent skin and combination skin got 5-6 hours of wear.  My tester with oily skin needed a touch up in about 4-5 hours.  Of course your results will depend upon many factors and may be different.

Overall Review:  L’Oréal Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream is a quick and easy product for those who don’t want the bother of applying several layers to their skin each day.  Unfortunately, you will need to apply sunscreen underneath this during the daytime, as it contains no sun protection whatsoever.  (But still, two layers are easier than five.)  If you mostly wear makeup at night, you may not always need a sunscreen.

Pros:

  • Four products in one tube
  • Light coverage blurs skin imperfections
  • Skin looks natural and not heavy
  • Quick and easy to use
  • Blends easily
  • Lack of sunscreen means there is no risk of white flashback in photos

Cons:

  • Does not contain sunscreen
  • Some skin tones may not find a compatible match
  • “Light” color is too peachy for most skin tones

Suitability:  L’Oréal Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream is suitable for the following users:

  • All users

RATINGS REPORT:

Morning Rating = 3 stars4 Stars – 1 Star for lack of sunscreen = 3 Stars;

Evening Rating = 4 stars4 Stars;

Average from Other Testers =4 stars 4 Stars;

Value Rating = 4 stars4 Stars;

Overall Rating = 3+ stars3.75 Stars = Very Good.

Would Buy Again?  Yes.

(Please review the About 365 Cosmetic Reviews page for the rating info.)

L’Oreal Magic Skin Beautifier BB CreamL’Oreal Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream ReverseL’Oreal Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream TipL’Oreal Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream Swatch Blended

INGREDIENTS:  AQUA/WATER/EAU; ISODODECANE; CYCLOPENTASILOXANE; GLYCERIN; CYCLOHEXASILOXANE; PEG-10 DIMETHICONE; METHYL METHACRYLATE CROSS POLYMER; BUTYLENE GLYCOL; DIMETHICONE; ISOEICOSANE; DISTEARDIMONIUM HECTORITE; BORON NITRIDE; PHENOXYETHANOL; CETYL PEG/PPG-10/1 DIMETHICONE; SODIUM CHLORIDE; POLYGLYCERYL-4 ISOSTEARATE; HEXYL LAURATE; ACRYLATES/AMMONIUM METHACRYLATE COPOLYMER; ISOSTEARYL NEOPENTANOATE; CAPRYLYL GLYCOL; TRIETHYL CITRATE; METHYLPARABEN; C9-15 FLUOROALCOHOL PHOSPHATES/C9-15 FLUOROALCOHOL PHOSPHATE; TOCOPHEROL; PANTHENOL; [+/- MAY CONTAIN: CI 77891/TITANIUM DIOXIDE; CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499/ IRON OXIDES]; FIL D49725/2.

Important:  Please read our full Disclaimer before using this or any product.

Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35

Product:  Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35.  Five creams in one tube?  If you don’t want to pile a bunch of different products onto your skin, you may like this time-saving cream.

Overall Rating = 3+ stars3.5 Stars – Very Good

Cost: $39.00 (1.0 fl. oz.) ($39 per fluid ounce)  Price Category: Expensive

Sold By:  Smashbox; Sephora; Ulta; Major Department Stores.

Container:  Plastic squeeze tube, twist-off cap, outer carton.

Description:  Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35 is a beauty balm with a nice amount of broad-spectrum sun protection.  This product contains five elements (moisturizer, primer, foundation, sunscreen and a mattifying agent) in one tinted cream.

Formula:  Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35 is a lightweight cream.  The formula provides light-coverage opacity and dries to a slightly powdery but not dry-looking finish.  It is slightly hydrating and moisturizing but not overly so.

Sensitivity:  Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35 is free of fragrance, oil, parabens, phthalates and talc and is appropriate for those with sensitive skin.

Company Claims:

“The 5-in-1 Miracle Worker!

Wonder why models in our L.A. photo studio hoard this 5-in-1 miracle-worker BB cream? It cuts down on prep time and instantly creates even, radiant skin.

    • Primes. Perfects. Hydrates. Banishes shine. Protects with SPF 35
    • Reduces appearance of fine lines & wrinkles in just 4 weeks
    • Wear alone or under foundation for more coverage”

Discussion: 

What is a BB Cream? 

BB Creams, or beauty balms, are just a fancy way of marketing tinted moisturizers that also contain sunscreen.  They provide slightly more coverage than a tinted moisturizer and less coverage than a foundation.

Who are they good for?

  • Anyone who likes a more natural look than a full-coverage foundation
  • Anyone who doesn’t like heavy-feeling products on their skin
  • Anyone who doesn’t have the time to apply separate moisturizer, primer, sunscreen and foundation
  • Anyone who wants only one tube of product to travel with

What is the difference between a BB Cream, a CC Cream and a DD Cream?

A CC Cream is the same as a BB Cream except they supposedly also contain color-correcting agents.  I have not found this to be true and when I use them, I see no difference in the products.  It is all about marketing.

A DD Cream is a product that stands for Dermatologically Defining, Daily Defense, or Dynamic Do-All, or any number of things depending upon the brand.  Once again, it is simply a cream that has a lot of ingredients so that you can use one product instead of three, four, or five.  (Some claim to replace eight, but that is just stupid.)

Colors:  Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35 added three colors to the initial lineup and it now comes in eight colors: Fair, Fair/Light, Light, Light/Neutral, Light/Medium, Medium, Medium/Dark and Dark.  This a nice range of shades and there should be one to match your skin tone.

Morning Review:  I don’t like to wear a lot of makeup, so five products in one tube appeals to me.  Also, sometimes I have very little time to work on a lot of clients, so eliminating steps is a huge bonus.  After cleansing, I applied the Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35 to bare skin.  This BB Cream has primer, moisturizer and sunscreen built in so you don’t need all of those extra layers.  It does feel slightly moisturizing to my dry skin.  If you have severely dry skin you may need a moisturizer underneath.  I would describe the coverage as light.  Even though it is not heavy, it definitely blurs imperfections and makes the skin look better.

Application Tips:  You will need to be careful with the tube.  The tube has a tendency to squirt out more product than you need, so to avoid this, hold the tube vertically and this won’t happen.

I have a lot of experience using this.  Over the years I have applied this with fingers, a foundation brush and a blender sponge to see which worked the best.  I like buffing it on with a flat-head brush.  A sponge with a dabbing motion will provide slightly greater coverage.  If you need thicker coverage, you can build this up a little, but if you are wanting full coverage this is not the product for you.  If you have oily skin, you will definitely want to set this with powder.  This sets up fairly quickly and dries to a semi-matte or satin finish.

Evening Review:  On my dry skin, Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35 looks good for about 6-7 hours.  When I use this on clients with consistent skin and combination skin, they can expect to get 5-6 hours of wear.  Clients with oily skin will need touchups in about 4-5 hours.  Of course your results will depend upon many factors and may be different.

Overall Review:  Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35 is a quick and easy product for those who don’t want the bother of applying several layers to their skin each day.

Pros:

  • Five products in one tube
  • Light coverage blurs skin imperfections
  • Skin looks natural and not “mask” like
  • Broad-spectrum SPF of 35
  • Quick and easy to use
  • Blends well

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • May not be hydrating enough for very dry skin

Suitability:  Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35 is suitable for the following users:

  • All users except those with very dry skin (You may need a moisturizer underneath.)
  • This does not have any obvious reflective ingredients so this is also a good product for male actors, models and performers that need something lighter than a full-coverage foundation.

RATINGS REPORT:

Morning Rating = 4 stars4 Stars;

Evening Rating = 4 stars4 Stars;

Average from Other Testers = 4 stars4 Stars;

Value Rating = 2 stars2 Stars;

Overall Rating = 3+ stars3.5 Stars = Very Good.

Would Buy Again?  Yes.

(Please review the About 365 Cosmetic Reviews page for the rating info.)

Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35 Fair

Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35 Tube Box

Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35 Ingredients Box

Wow, what a list of ingredients!

Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35 Color Fair

Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35 Color Fair

Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35 Color Swatch Chart

INGREDIENTS:  Active Ingredients: Octinoxate 7.5 %; Octisalate 4%; Oxybenzone 2.5 %; Titanium Dioxide 1.10%

Other Ingredients: Water, Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Phenyl Trimethicone, Pentylene Glycol, Glyceryl Stearate, Behenyl Alcohol, Trioctyldodecyl Citrate, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate, PEG-40 Stearate, Polyglyceryl-10 Pentastearate, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Extract, Hordeum Vulgare (Barley) Extract , Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Laminaria Saccharina Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Polyquaternium-51, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Trehalose, Oryzanol, Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate, Urea, Polyglyceryl-6 Polyricinoleate, Propylene Glycol Laurate, Glycyrrhetinic Acid, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sucrose, Glycerin, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Caffeine, Linoleic Acid, Cholesterol, Lecithin, Squalane, Sodium PCA, Isopropyl Titanium Triisostearate, Propylene Glycol Stearate, Stearic Acid, Polysorbate 20, Sorbitan Laurate, Xanthan Gum, Aluminum Hydroxide, Sodium Hyaluronate, Silica, Disodium EDTA, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Chlorphenesin, Phenoxyethanol.

May Contain: Mica, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Zinc Oxide(CI 77947), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Mica.

Important:  Please read our full Disclaimer before using this or any product.

Do Makeup Finishing Fixing Setting Sprays Actually Work?

Do Makeup Finishing Fixing Setting Sprays Actually Work?  Are these just expensive water or will they keep your makeup looking good for hours?

Rather than just review one brand of product, I thought I would discuss a type of product that I receive a lot of questions about.  In future posts, I’ll go into detail for some different brands of setting sprays and their positive and negative features.

Are makeup finishing, fixing or setting sprays new?  No, absolutely not.  I have been using them my entire career.  Makeup artists used to simply make them from distilled water, witch hazel, and glycerin.  I guess that is one of the major changes in makeup artistry from decades ago to today.  Makeup artists used to make a lot of their own products.  Now, everything is for sale already made, and in a plastic bottle.  Another change is that mainstream consumers are using the same products that were once only for sale to professionals.

What is a makeup finishing, fixing or setting spray?  The intent of the product is to help makeup last longer.  Some sprays also have waterproofing agents.  Some products do double duty, such as MAC Prep + Prime Fix +.  The MAC spray is intended to be sprayed on both before foundation and then again after you are completely finished with all of the powdered makeup products.  The MAC Prep + Prime works very well but I had to stop using it because I’m allergic to the fragrance in it.  Most setting or finishing sprays are only designed to be used once the makeup is completed and not as a primer, too.

Do they really make a difference or are they just a waste of money?  Yes, they do make a difference, especially for those with oily skin.  Makeup just doesn’t stay put very long on oily skin.  A setting spray can help the makeup to not fade, cake, run or settle into fine lines and wrinkles.

What is in a makeup finishing, fixing or setting spray?  That really depends upon the brand.  There are huge differences from one brand to another.  Some of them are essentially watered down hair spray.  (Yes, hair spray will keep your makeup on longer, but it is not healthy for your skin and I would never advise using it on your face.)

Makeup finishing, fixing or setting sprays for oily skin typically contain alcohol along with some acrylates and copolymers.  (These more closely resemble hair sprays.)

Makeup finishing, fixing or setting sprays for dry skin tend to be free of alcohol and they have some skin-friendly hydration ingredients.  (These more closely resemble toners.)

Is there a difference between a finishing, fixing or setting spray?  Once upon a time, yes.  But now, no there is not.  As more and more companies try to come up with names for their products that haven’t already been used or taken, the terms have become interchangeable.  The only way to really determine what a spray is good for is to read the ingredients.  Most sprays come down to basically being either spray toners or hairspray-type setting liquids.

Are they good or bad for your skin?  That depends upon the product you are using and how you are using it.  If you are only using the spray once your makeup is complete, it is not going to be absorbed by your skin due to the layers of makeup that are acting as a buffer.  If you are also using the spray as a primer, it is important that the ingredients are healthy for your skin.

Are they expensive?  The ones I’m discussing today range in price from $3.00 for 2.02 ounces to $31.00 for 4 ounces.

What is the best way to use a makeup finishing, fixing or setting spray?

  • If you have oily skin, spray some onto your beauty blender sponge instead of water.  This will help foundation to last longer.
  • To keep eye shadow from having so much fallout, spray an eye shadow brush prior to application.  (Note, doing this will intensify the color of the eye shadow, so don’t do this if you are going for a very light, soft or natural look.)
  • Once the makeup is complete with everything except lipstick, hold the bottle approximately eight to ten inches from the face.  Spray two sprays in an “X” pattern.  Spray a third spray on the center of the face to get the “T” zone.
  • When your makeup starts to fade and needs to be touched up, first blot any oily areas with a blotting paper.  Next, lightly powder the areas you blotted.  Finally, spray one or two sprays on the areas that were powdered.  Your makeup will last for another couple of hours this way.
  • Don’t hold the bottle too close to the face.
  • Don’t saturate the face; the idea is to apply the spray lightly.

What are some good and bad makeup finishing, fixing or setting sprays?  I wouldn’t say that any of them are all good or all bad.  They have different qualities and you have to select the appropriate product for your particular needs and skin type.  Personally, I can’t use any of the products that contain fragrance on myself or my clients due to my severe fragrance allergy.  Some people like products that are perfume-filled.  Here are some of the ones I have tried and which skin types they will work best for.  (Please note that as opposed to “Normal”, I use the term “Consistent” for skin that is neither dry nor oily.)

Description Size Price Alcohol Free Fragrance Free Recommended Skin Type(s) Claims
e.l.f. Makeup Mist & Set 2.02 fl. oz. $3.00 Yes Yes Combination, Consistent, Dry, Sensitive Keeps makeup in place, moisturizes and soothes
e.l.f. Matte Magic Mist & Set 2.02 fl. oz. $4.00 No Yes Consistent, Oily Controls shine, vitamin infused
L. A. Girl Pro HD Setting Spray 1.0 fl. oz. $7.00 No Yes Consistent, Oily Matte finish, lightweight, non-sticky formula
M-A-C Prep + Prime + Fix + 3.4 fl. oz. $24.00 Yes No Combination, Consistent, Dry Water mist gently soothes and refreshes skin and finishes makeup
NYX Dewy Finish Setting Spray 2.02 fl. oz. $7.99 No Yes Combination, Consistent, Oily Long lasting, dewy finish
NYX Matte Finish Setting Spray 2.02 fl. oz. $7.99 No Yes Consistent, Oily Long lasting, matte finish
Physicians Formula InstaReady Setting Spray 3.4 fl. oz. $12.99 No Yes Combination, Consistent, Oily, Sensitive High-tech formula works to instantly mattify, blur, and visibly retexturize skin
Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray 4.00 fl. oz. $31.00 No No, has LOTS of fragrance Consistent, Oily Keeps makeup looking gorgeously just-applied for up to 16 hours
Urban Decay De-Slick Makeup Setting Spray 4.00 fl. oz. $31.00 No No Oily Prevents makeup meltdown, controls oil, deflects surface shine and keeps skin matte

 

e.l.f. Studio Makeup Mist & Sete.l.f. Studio Matte Magic Mist & SetL. A. Girl Pro High Definition Setting SprayMAC Prep + Prime Fix +NYX Cosmetics Dewy Finish Setting SprayNYX Cosmetics Matte Finish Setting SprayPhysicians Formula InstaReady Setting SprayUrban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting SprayUrban Decay De-Slick Makeup Setting Spray

Where can I get more information on a particular product?  I’m going to review some of my favorites in depth in the coming weeks.  If there is a particular spray you have questions about, I’ll be happy to address those if you write to me.

Which ones work/don’t work for you?  Do you have a lot of experience with a particular brand?  Please let me know what works for you so I can share the results.  Thanks!