Reviva Labs Vitamin E Stick

I impulsively picked this up at Fresh Market for… way more expensive than it normally retails, $8, compared to the going rate on Amazon, $4. I don’t know a whole ton about Reviva Labs so this was my first glance into the brand, although apparently they’ve been around for at least 20 years. Reviva touts themselves as all natural, and while the meaning of “all natural” tends to… vary… A LOT, from brand to brand, I tend to give reverence to brands that use safer ingredients.

This can be used as lip protection/”chapstick” for your lips, or directly applied to the skin around your eye. Ingredient listing has some pretty standard chapstick-like ingredients, like lanolin oil, olive oil, canola oil, beeswax and seed butter. The added bonuses are octyl methoxycinnamate/SPF 15, and Vitamin E for scar healing.

Sounds good, doesn’t it? Great in theory, bad in practice. This definitely dried out the skin around my eye. Maybe not “burning” level of dry, but it was definitely tighter. I noticed “cracking” in that area with makeup, and cracking without. As a chapstick, this won’t last for more than five minutes on your lips. It’s not hydrating or occlusive whatsoever. I didn’t use this long enough to see if it was going to make any headway on scar healing, but, I mean, if it can’t even keep my lips hydrated for more than five minutes, then how is this going to be conducive to scar healing?

The only benefit I can see to this is the ability to apply SPF near the very thin skin around the eye. Normal sunscreens can be incredibly irritating if they get in, or around the eye, but that won’t happen with this stick. Still, SPF 15 is only going to block out 93% of UVB rays — you might as well opt for something in the market that’s at least SPF 30.

In short, I don’t get the point of this. It won’t keep your lips hydrated, and there are better options in the skincare world for applying sunscreen around your eyes. ~A

Perceived efficacy: 2.5/5

Longevity: 1/5

How much I actually like this product: 1.5/5

Recommended for sensitive skin: Maybe (fatty-oil sensitive users, beware)

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

Rimmel Lasting Finish 25 Hr Breathable

Rimmel 25HR

During the worst of my acne, I really underestimated this foundation because it’s not full coverage like Rimmel Stay Matte. In retrospect, I should have used it more often because it is extremely lightweight, yet gradually buildable — I think my skin would have fared a lot better! 

The initial application is pretty strange all around. There’s a wand applicator which is… fine? But not really helpful? I’d rather use a sponge or my fingers, since the wand isn’t absorbent enough to hold onto much product. So it ends up sort of getting in the way.

Also, after spreading, you’re going to look in the mirror and say “wtf, where is it?” and want to apply 20 more coats. But the foundation should start to noticeably thicken up after about five minutes — once that happens, it looks great! The color is gorgeous, and accurate to it’s description. The overall texture is very smooth and “glowy”. No cakey-ness whatsoever.

Now, as I mentioned, the coverage is medium, and it won’t cover huge spots very well. In fact, it’s not really great at covering even small spots, so keep your concealer handy if that’s an issue. However, I can confirm that this makeup has not caused MORE spots for me, which is great!

After a nine hour day of work, this held up really well. The vibrancy had definitely faded, sure, but I didn’t have any crazy oil breakthroughs, and I still felt fully covered. Now, as for the advertised 25 hours… I’m not so sure about that. I have worn it later into the night and definitely thought “I need to reapply this”, but it doesn’t break down as badly as most foundations I’ve tried.

Foundations are really tough for me to find and buy in exactly my color without being cake-y or breaking down after hour six, so this was a solid purchase. And, bonus, this has SPF in it! Happy Halloween, everyone! ~A

Update, one week later: this foundation plays best with my Clinique Dramatically Different moisturizer, and not so well with anything else in my rotation. Also, as with most foundations, warmer weather will knock the longevity of this product down to about six hours instead of eight, so I dropped the longevity score a bit. I still love this stuff, though!

Perceived efficacy: 4.5/5

Longevity: 4/5

How much I actually like this product: 4.5/5

Avene Mineral Ultra-Light Hydrating Sunscreen Lotion 50 SPF+

Avene Ultra Light Sunscreen

Euch. Nothing I dislike more than a product that doesn’t live up to it’s claims.

I made a year long switch to physical sunscreens only, whilst navigating my insane hormonal acne, to see if the ingredients typically used in chemical sunscreens were making my break outs worse. This was the third? I tried, I believe. Not good. First of all, it just doesn’t smell good — no expectations of fragrance and florals here, I just wanted it to smell like nothing. I can’t explain it — it smelled like a slightly-damp basement, almost. I know I really need to work on my adjectives and descriptors, but that’s the only thing I can come up with. Either way, smelling that smell on your face all day is just… eugh.

No amount of rubbing this product in or hybrid “let it sit then rub” or “rub it then let it sit” will fully get the product to go in, without leaving some type of residual white cast. And if you have tiny baby hairs growing on your skin, FORGET IT! White cast all over the place, and it goes without saying, this pills like crazy, with or without makeup. Again, physical sunscreens =/= absorbent, but this one was tougher than the others I’ve tried. So throw the whole, “Sheer, non-whitening” advertisement in the can.

Then, 3pm comes. My makeup and/or moisturizer show signs of starting to break down. And so does my sunscreen. Hello, pilly, white-cast-y, oily mess! Get ready for whiteness to cling like crazy to your dry spots, while you’re at it.

I know that physical sunscreens are supposed to be more effective than chemical ones, in general and particularly with long periods of exposure to the sun, but MAN, I am so happy to make the return to chemical sunscreens. I was stoked to throw this little bottle of Avene in the trash. Physical sunscreens are tough, either way you slice it, but there’s definitely much better out there that beat the $28 price mark here. ~A

Perceived efficacy: 2/5 (I mean, it probably works as a sunscreen, but the sheer/non-whitening part? Pschtt..)

Longevity: 2.5/5

How much I actually like this product: 1/5