Clinique Acne Solutions Liquid Makeup

I have high standards for Clinique. It’s been around forever, and it’s pricy, for usually good reason — Clinique generally has high-quality products. But, for $30, this bottle of foundation is just meh.

I was looking for something with a little more oil control than my usual foundations, and perhaps something a little lighter in general. Herein lies my great foundation conundrum. I always want something that’s heavy enough to cover all my blemishes, but light enough to make me not feel like I’m super-clogging my pores. This is basically an impossible ask, and equally impossible to find. This foundation was no exception: it did not meet both of those criteria.

But it is light, for sure. This comes out of the tube with very little pressure needed on the bottle. It’s somewhat watery, but not runny. It spreads easily, but absorbs quickly into the skin, so I kept finding myself needing to get more product out of the tube to cover my entire face.

What I do like about this foundation is that it’s buildable. It won’t necessarily cause issues if you try to apply layers shortly after the other, but I recommend waiting for each layer to set for at least five minutes, because the foundation will thicken and show a bit more coverage in that time. But don’t mistake buildable for “can become full coverage” — it’s still incredibly light, and won’t cover deeper-set scars.

The foundation has a natural matte finish that lasts… maybe five hours. It does do it’s job in the time it’s on. It maintains an even finish with minimal creasing (although it absolutely is NOT transfer proof so, try to avoid touching your face), and it does control oil as stated. It doesn’t feel heavy while it’s on. But once that five hour mark hits… POOF! It’s just gone, somehow. As if you never put it on. (Although, to be fair, I would prefer makeup to “suddenly vanish” instead leaving patchy areas of foundation behind…)

Now let’s discuss the acne-fighting feature of this foundation. This contains salicylic acid, a BHA. I don’t think this really improved my blemishes or overall skin quality at all, despite the BHA. I didn’t experience any burning, per se, but neither the lightness of the foundation’s weight or the addition of BHA’s were beneficial to me in this case. I continued to break out just the same, as always 🙂 Other users could potentially experience burning from this foundation because of the BHAs. And, finally, BHA’s conflict with Vitamin C if used at the same time. This is terrible for me, lover of Vitamin C treatments in my morning routines.

To wrap up my review of Clinique’s Acne Solutions Foundation in a few shorter sentences: Is it a light makeup? Yes. Does it last a long time? No. Does it fight acne? Not for me, personally. This won’t be a rebuy of mine.

If you still think this foundation seems like a good fit for you, my most favorite YouTube MUA thataylaa did a review of it here. Her experience was a bit different from mine, but the video does a great job of showing the finish. ~A

Perceived efficacy: 2.5/5

Longevity: 2/5

How much I actually like this product: 2.5/5

Recommended for sensitive skin: If intolerant to exfoliants, no

L’Oreal True Match Super Blendable Makeup

Loreal True Match

Not bad for $5! I wasn’t expecting much from this for the price point, but L’oreal’s True Match ended up surprising me.

The product itself is pretty small, but the makeup is very watery, and you don’t need very much of it to get coverage. Application is easy: despite being watery, the product spreads evenly without too much effort — you won’t have many creases or areas where the product simply stops. A brush can negate any of the issues you might have with the spread. It dries quickly, and plays well with other moisturizers and makeup.

There’s a ton of shades for this product. Now, what’s weird was that I had N1 — it went on a tad too “bright” with pink undertones, and I was concerned that I was going to look too pale for the rest of the day, but within 10 minutes the product had oxidized yellow just enough to actually match my skin color exactly. So that might be something to keep in mind while choosing your shade: what you see on your skin initially might not be your end result.

Given that it was watery, my assumption was that the coverage would be light, but it was a lot more medium than I expected. I didn’t find that this had any particular type of finish — it was just flat, normal makeup, not skewing either dewy or matte. Works for me! And, to the same end that I thought this coverage would be light, I also thought the longevity would be short as well, but it’s actually held up a lot longer than some of my super-stay 24/25 hour makeups. Heck it’s gone to the gym on my face, and still stuck around afterwards without oil breakthroughs or clinging to dry patches.

No break outs for me with this product. Also it’s got SPF, so that’s… cool. Side note, I think it’s funny how they always add in random amounts of SPF, like 17, 18. I am pretty sure I read somewhere that anything under 30 is more or less ineffective, so I don’t really… get it… I suppose it’s a nice placebo effect for the consumer.

All in all, I’m pretty happy with this foundation. It’s not going to change your life by any means in terms of finish, but it’s extremely effective for such a tiny, cheap product. ~A

For this small and simplistic foundation, click here: https://amzn.to/2REUUvU

Perceived efficacy: 5/5

Longevity: 4.5/5

How much I actually like this product: 4.5/5

 

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti Wrinkle Cream

This product was one of my very first moisturizers and retinol products. I don’t know how I feel about that, to be honest — I probably could have started with something a little bit more low-key, without the retinol, but I must have figured 20 or 21 was a good as time as any to hop on the anti-wrinkle train.

I definitely did not know what I  was doing with anything retinol related at the time, so there is a possibility I used this way too much — every morning/night, or at least, every day. I probably wasn’t wearing any sunscreen with it, either. Bad. But I can say with confidence that it never broke me out (any more than I already was at the time, anyway — this was before my cystic acne, so I suspect at the time those breakouts were more due to my poor eating/sleep/stress habits), and the packaging does specify that it’s oil-free.

It is a white cream, that quickly sinks into your skin without having to vigorous rub in. It’s can be a little bit pilly if you don’t let it set or you put too much in one area, etc., but as long as it goes on smoothly from the onset, it should be relatively lightweight. There’s no fragrance.

As it is a retinol cream, this should be worn at night, not during the day, or if you’re going to wear it during the day, put some sunscreen over it. So you probably shouldn’t need to put makeup on over it, but if you do, that should go on fine as well, again as long as you’ve allowed the product time to set. I haven’t used this in awhile, so it’s possible that reformulations have occurred in the time that’s lapsed thus changing the structure of the product, but I don’t notice any substantial ingredient changes.

While this product does boast retinol, they don’t disclose the percentage, and I read somewhere on Reddit once that the percentage is actually relatively low, or that it merely contains it’s lesser form, retinyl palmitate. But regardless of the amount of retinol, my word of caution is still to read up on retinol and how to use it properly before applying (especially if you’re acne prone, cause the retinol purging period can be real!)

But if you like to live a more carefree lifestyle (like me, at age 20) and do absolutely zero research before using a product, this is certainly the product to do it with. It’s probably not a miracle worker, but it won’t kill your skin, and there’s just enough good stuff in it to convince yourself that it’s actually doing something. ~A

Perceived efficacy: 3.5/5

Longevity: 5/5

How much I actually like this product: 4/5

Recommended for sensitive skin: Maybe

Timeless Vitamin C 20% + Ferulic Acid

Timeless Vit C 20

My perfect Vitamin C quest has thus far been short lived, which is unfortunate since Vit C is touted to undo sun damage, which I undoubtedly have.

Prior to buying this product by Timeless (which, by the way, is pretty cheap on Amazon for $10-13), I had used some… unknown… concoction of Matrixyl and Vit C 10% that I purchased on Ebay for $5. As in, there was literally no branded name on the label. Probably not safe. Do as I say, not as I do. I didn’t really think that particular 10% product was doing anything, so I thought I’d up the ante to 20%, and use a product that was actually somewhat “heard of”, at least in the Reddit space.

I actually did patch test this one, since I’m a little leery of exfoliants — but nothing notable happened. So I went on with a full face of it at night. I did this every three nights, for about four nights total. It was slightly irritating each time I applied it, but nothing I haven’t experienced more profoundly with other exfoliants, and only for a few seconds. This liquid comes out clear, and very runny (if it’s orange or yellow, that means it’s going bad) — you don’t need very much of it for your full face. It actually smells like a really bitter/sour orange (“this is under-ripe” sour, not “spoiled” sour)

Ultimately, this was bad idea for me. Every morning I woke up with tiny whiteheads, which is usually indicative of me being sensitive to the product. I’m going to guess it was the 20% strength that did me in, not necessarily the product formulation itself — although, I have had issues with other Timeless products in the past, so who knows. It did make the still intact skin feel softer, but other than that, I didn’t notice any visible difference. In fairness, though, I didn’t try it out for very long. The end result of fresh break-outs really put me off of this.

All in all, this is definitely not a product for those with sensitive or acne-prone skin. If you want to try out Vitamin C, I would recommend trying out 10% first. ~A

Perceived efficacy: 1.8/5

Longevity: n/a

How much I actually like this product: 1/5

 

Dermacol Make-Up Cover

Dermacol

Oh man. Where to begin.

I tried this at the height of my cystic acne. I saw a ton of Youtubers swear by this stuff as the ultimate cover. It is used for stage makeup, after all! Girls with cystic acne, the same and even worse than mine, used this to cover up all of their flaws, no problem.

After hours of scouring the internet to make sure I was buying a real item and not a fake, because naturally the actual Dermacol website/retailer had spontaneously somehow run out of the 207 color, I was able to snag this for $13 a piece (although I think normally it retails for somewhere in the ballpark of $8).

To be on the safe side, I purchased 207, 208 and 209. 207 is darker/yellower than 208 (why it’s ordered like that numerically.. no idea), 208 is basically white, and 209 was way too dark for me. I ended up mixing 207 with a tiny bit of 208.

This stuff comes out of the tube HEAVY. It reminds me of that Rimmel Stay Matte foundation, but way heavier. A TINY, smaller-than-pea-sized amount of this will cover your entire cheek. Don’t even bother with your beauty blender, just smear this stuff on with your fingers and hope for the best. A brush will help blending into your forehead or your jawline, but if you’re hoping to use it for the rest of your face, all it will do is push the product around, further into an area you won’t necessarily want it in. What I’m trying to say is, this foundation/concealer is REALLY hard to work with, and it’s difficult to keep it applied evenly across your face. Probably goes without saying that it needs a good fifteen minutes to fully set.

Oxidation? Absolutely. 207 will skew pink/red and 208 will turn more orange, a few minutes after application. I had to mix the two of them anyway, but I recommend you mix them anyway, for that reason.

But Dermacol does cover, and it covers immediately, even before it sets. All redness and pockmarks on your skin = GONE. It is truly full coverage. I wouldn’t say the finish is “beautiful” — I mean, it’s really just a total concealer, so the finish is very flat, and paint-like. But if the goal is wiping out blemishes, then Dermacol will accomplish that, very much so.

This does not play well with other makeup that needs to be applied directly to skin. I recommend using a setting powder, not a setting spray or finishing spray (except possibly Ben Nye finishing spray), but go VERY lighthanded on the brush to set the powder, or else you’ll smear the foundation. Yes, even after you’ve waited for it to set.

Dermacol will hold up for the better half of the day — around five or six hours — but when it breaks down, it really breaks down. Dry patches will cling. Oil will break through. Entire sections of the makeup will mysteriously go missing (or maybe I just touch my face too much… I don’t know. You get the point, though).

This review was an emotional rollercoaster just writing it. It was so stressful to use, but I so desparately wanted to cover the insane blemishes on my face!! Cause it definitely did. I covered the craziest of cysts and scabs and blemishes that should not have been possible to cover. But it was an art to get this on in the first place — and to keep it on. Rimmel’s Stay Matte foundation (link to my review of that here!) has pretty close coverage to Dermacol, and comparatively less stressful to deal with — I would recommend that, instead.  ~A

Still want to take the plunge? Click here: https://amzn.to/2CfvwmZ

Perceived efficacy: 4.5/5

Longevity: 2.5/5

How much I actually like this product: 2/5

FLOWER Beauty Light Illusion Liquid Foundation

Flower Illusion

I wanted this to be my HG so very badly. What beautiful packaging! What rave reviews it got from reddit and my favorite MUA Youtuber, thataylaa! Breathable! Dewy! Contains SPF! It all starts off okay, but around hour four, it fails to live up to my unreasonable expectations.

Let me preface this by saying this is day four of trying. I’ve tried all different combos of application. Hands, brush, blender (blender was best, BTW). Primers. Finishing powder, no finishing powder. Setting spray, no setting spray. No matter what you do, this foundation, in the beginning, is beautiful. Once it has time to set, it looks incredibly light and fresh. As I mentioned before, breathable and dewy (though not necessarily glowy). The color, for me, was pretty good – perhaps a tad dark with the slightest bit of oxidation after a few more minutes, but nothing that couldn’t be blended out. Other makeup goes over it just fine.

Then hour four hits. You walk into the bathroom and there it is. The makeup clinging onto every. Single. Dry patch. This makeup made me ACUTELY AWARE of all the hot spots of my dryness, by clinging to the edges and creating a perfect jagged border around them. Even where there was once normal, non-dry skin, it seemed as though the foundation had matted down and created dry edges around that, as well. I know this is all very colorful imagery that I’m using, but it’s just the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen a makeup do. I’ve seen clinging to dry spots, but not like this. It didn’t matter what product I used in the morning either — each day with this foundation always ended the same!

Weirdly, from really far away, it looked like I still had coverage. Granted, the dewiness was completely gone, and the coverage was entirely matte. But if anyone got up close, they’d be in for a shock. I looked like a crocodile.

This makeup was REALLY hard to wash off — I suspect this is due to the dry-spot cling-age, not necessarily because of the advertised “all day stay”. Unless that’s what they meant. “It’ll stay on all the dry spots!”

For $13, I’m not really digging this. I do wonder if it would work better for oilier girls than myself (although weirdly, I consider myself pretty oily still — combination skin, in fact, but this foundation is making me question everything…) I’d grab for Rimmel Breathable over this in a heartbeat — it’s basically the same foundation, for half the price, and doesn’t hold onto all the dry spots for dear life. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! ~A

Perceived efficacy: 3/5

Longevity: 1.5/5

How much I actually like this product: 2.8/5 (darn you, pretty packaging!)

Recommended for sensitive skin: No

Wet n Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow Trio

Wet n Wild Eyeshadow

Eyeshadow has never really been my thing, but once in awhile, I decide that I want to dip my toes back into the eyeshadow arena. The idea is, if I go for one of these little Wet n Wild cheapie eyeshadows, then I can figure out my color and then move onto a higher-end product. I should have learned my lesson after almost a decade of doing this, that Wet n Wild eyeshadows unfortunately still fall into that category of “makeup you would buy for your twelve year old”, and ultimately turn me away from the idea of eyeshadow.

The foam applicator they provide is more or less garbage, the foam tends to rip through even after light use, and the “brush” has bristles that are hard plastic, too painful to use — so use your own brushes!

I swiped some primer on just to get some staying power since I know, from past experience, that these eyeshadows tend to disappear after an hour after application. I have the exact palette as pictured above, and several others, and they all seem to suffer the same problem in terms of coloration — the mid-level colors, like magentas, blues, greens, are near impossible to get to show up. They have absolutely no staying power even after you’ve gone over it a few times, AND applied primer.

The darker colors, well, are more pigmented of course, but not by much — the longevity is still poor, and they colors are not very malleable (okay, that’s not a good word to use, but you get the point). Once you put it on, no amount of good skill, light-handedness, or times spent swiping it over, regardless of tool that you’re using, will get that powder to “move over” where you need it. It’s very smudge-y.

The one thing WnW does do a bit better with are the lighter colors. I have a few one-shade palettes in my drawer (that are way too old, now that I think about it, so I should probably throw them out…) that are beige/sand/off-white colored. The longevity on these is a bit longer, maybe four hours, but there honestly isn’t really much color differentiation once you get the product on your skin — ie: doesn’t really look on the palette how it will ultimately look on your skin, and all of the lighter colors sort of look the same.

The powder on these eyeshadows WILL fall off. If you’re a contact lens user, beware! More than any other eyeshadow product I’ve used, I have the biggest issue with powder fall with WnW.

In my opinion, Wet n Wild definitely does a few things really, really well, particularly over the past few years as they’ve attempted to become more competitive with their drugstore peers. Their highlighting powders really blow me away. But these $2-$3 eyeshadows still stay firmly in the arena of “kid’s first makeup”. Even then, I probably still wouldn’t recommend it, based on the powder-fall alone.  ~A

Perceived efficacy: 1/5

Longevity: 1/5

How much I actually like this product: 1/5

Cerave Foaming Facial Cleanser

Cerave Foaming Cleanser

This cleanser is highly coveted by many, but I personally am just not feeling it. The caveat here is that I have a tough time with cleansers, generally speaking, and I try to avoid using them when I can.  I originally picked this up when I realized that the Cerave Hydrating Cleanser isn’t super-phenomenal at taking off makeup. I figured, hey this one is a foaming cleanser ergo it will remove my makeup, and it’s from Cerave who has never let me down in terms of pumping their products full of hydrating ingredients, so I won’t feel like I’ve completely stripped off the first layer of my skin after washing.

The product comes out as a clear liquid from a pump. It doesn’t really smell like anything in particular, maybe a bit like something you would smell from a generic handsoap, with substantially less fragrance. It’s supposed to foam up when you apply water and rub it against your skin, but I… don’t really think it does that? Am I wrong? Ok, it foams a TINY bit. Doesn’t matter. The next issue is, no matter how much product I pump out, it’s seemingly never enough to get my entire face, and I need to pump out more. Good thing this is kind of a big bottle, right?

In terms of makeup removal, it does… okay. Again, not great, but it’s not like this product is exactly screaming out “makeup removal” on the packaging (rather, not at all), so I’ll give it some credit. Certainly, it does a better job of stripping off oil and product than it’s sister hydrating cleanser.

What this product is really good at, though, is making your skin feel dry as a desert after you’re done washing. As I mentioned before, I try to avoid cleansers and it’s for this very reason — that is their purpose, to strip you dry of all the gunk on your face. But considering Cerave goes out of their way to advertise the ceramides and HA, I just feel like… I shouldn’t feel like that? I don’t know. I certainly feel like my skin barrier’s been disrupted.

Over time, I’ve discovered my secret combo: mix the Cerave hydrating cleanser and the foaming cleanser together! That way, it’ll take off my makeup and ever-so-slightly keep my skin hydrated, simultaneously. So I guess I’ll keep the foaming cleanser around, so long as it’s sister cleanser stays on my bathroom sink. ~A

Perceived efficacy: 2.75/5

Longevity: 5/5

How much I actually like this product: 2.5/5

Recommended for sensitive skin: Yes

Rimmel Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation

Rimmel Stay Matte Foundation

This is going to sound really ridiculous, but I feel a little emotional, writing this post. This foundation right here got me through YEARS of mediocre to bad skin, and did a pretty good job even during the very worst of it. Strangely, this is not the best foundation that I’ve ever used in my entire life — but it served me well for so many years that I wanted to give it some credit for how good of coverage this has. I have at least six bottles of this in six different shades on standby in the my dresser drawer.

This is a mousse foundation that comes in a squeezable tube. When you squeeze it out, you’ll see the color come out with little “air pockets” — normal for a mousse. You would think that a little would go a long way with this, but it can be tough to spread, due to the thickness. Honestly I would put the initial layer on with my hands, and use a beauty blender only occasionally to smooth out some creases. This WILL OXIDIZE into a darker color. I’m sure it didn’t help that I used my hands to apply, but even with blender application, it will still oxidize anyway.

After the initial struggle to try to apply this stuff and make it appear smooth, you will find that the coverage is AMAZING — I’d say more full coverage than medium, in fact. I have covered up some spots that… well, should not have been able to be covered up. Redness, gone. Raised spots, gone (well not really, but it sort of looked like it). Also, this stuff played surprisingly pretty well with makeup — it needs a bit longer than most foundations to set on your face, but once it’s set, you’re good to splash blush and bronzer on to your heart’s content.

But the price to pay for coverage was large. This stuff is really messy, and also difficult to wash off. Even if your finger gets a microscopic distance away from your face, it WILL transfer to your skin. It WILL somehow magically transfer to your purse handles and your car steering wheel. Don’t even think about hugging people. “Oh but I can just use a setting spray/powder!” Wrong! Yes, use the setting spray, but don’t expect it to save you!

Here’s my next gripe: this foundation touts itself as oil-free, so I was excited as a crazy acne sufferer. After hour six, this foundation had completely broken down, but I don’t think it was just from my own face. I found this picture on reddit awhile back:

Oil test

there’s our friend circled in the middle. What IS that?? is that water or oil separation? In any case — this foundation breaks down pretty quickly and will create swamp-like conditions on your face.

So, I realize that I’ve complained a lot about this foundation. There are a lot of issues with it and I don’t really think it’s the best option for day-to-day casual wear. It can definitely a big perpetrator of “cake face”, since it’s medium to full coverage. I’m also not really positive it was “good”, from a biological standpoint, to wear while I had such bad acne. But let the six tubes of this in my drawer be a testament to how much I loved it, for many many years. The coverage is awesome. The shade range is awesome, possibly one of the only foundations that’s been able to match my skin tone through every single season. The price point is phenomenal as well, from $5-7 a pop.  Thanks for getting me through it all, Rimmel! ~A

If coverage is your issue, I strongly recommend picking up a tube of Stay Matte here: https://amzn.to/2M10jZa

Perceived efficacy: 3.75/5

Longevity: 2.75/5

How much I actually like this product: 4/5

About Me

Whenever I look for beauty product reviews, points of reference are always huge for me. When I first started really getting into makeup and skincare, I suffered from acne — initially, it was the standard run-of-the-mill acne, and then once I hit my mid-late 20s, BAM, it blew up into insane cystic acne. Devastating! You’re supposed to be done with that stuff after your early 20s, but apparently not for me (and thousands of other women and men). So, until I got it treated, this little issue of mine forced me to read between the lines of all the reviews. For example, just because someone on Reddit posted a ~*flawless*~ “after” photo when reviewing a product, I had to ascertain a) whether or not they had any pre-existing skin conditions, or b) if they photoshopped the life out of their face.

It is unlikely that I will ever post a picture of myself, but, for all of those who are wondering what kind of person I am, and if my personal situation is relevant to your life, here it is:

  • I am in my late 20s.
  • Dark brown hair and light-colored eyes
  • To reference the MAC scale of skin shades, I’m going to say NC20 as a generality. But I’ve also scooped up NW-20-like shades. My personal description would be “pale-ish, with yellow undertones, and super red cheeks.” That’s as scientific as I can get.
  • As I mentioned before, I had absolutely terrible, insane, crazy hormonal cystic acne that was ultimately cured by spironolactone and Epiduo (more on that later) so I ALWAYS take that into consideration for product reviews since it was ingrained into me to look for oil-free products at that time
  • Now that I’m “cured”, I still have a lot of pretty deep scars, and I still get small breakouts from time to time.

Now that we’ve got all that out of the way, I am going to do a little explanation of how I’m going to run things on this website (at least until I change my mind, which happens… a lot).

  • All products are bought with my own money, and I am not what you would call a rich person, so unfortunately swatching multiple products will be out of the question — I’ve likely only bought the one product for myself, so there wouldn’t be anything to compare it against.
  • I won’t be taking any pictures of myself with the product on, or during application. I’ll likely find the most recent stock photo of the product itself, or take a picture with my six-year-old Android phone of the product sitting on my bathroom sink. High quality, here we come!

Onto the rating system! Everything is rated out of five. There’s no scientific system in which things are rated, nor do the ratings for one category impact another (except maybe the last one), they’re just my own opinion.

Perceived efficacy: Do I think, or see the product actually working, based on the claims the outward label made?

Longevity: How long does it last?

How much I actually like this product: All things considered, how much did I like this? This includes things like physical characteristics of the products and the price point.

Now that I’ve set the stage, all I can hope for is that someone else who is searching for an honest and non-sponsored review will stumble across this page, and find the review that will make or break their purchasing decision. The beauty industry is really tough to navigate, and it’s hard to determine what’s best for you versus what’s being shilled to you strictly for a profit (I still struggle with figuring that out). Worst case scenario? I’ll keep this blog around to remind me the reasons of why I should not to go into Ulta and say “Oh, but the packaging is so pretty, I should give them another shot!”

~ A