I have a really hard time finding concealers that work for me. Either they’re too pink, too yellow or just not pale enough. Or the color is right but the texture is off — too drying or cakey-looking for my dry skin. OR all that is fine but they’re not pigmented enough. I’d much rather work with something *super* pigmented and have to sheer it out than add layer upon layer of product and run the risk of things looking thick and gross.
While my skin is ok I do have some areas that need serious concealing. I get hormonal/cystic acne and so I have acne scars that show up as purple-red areas. The areas where I get acne consistently are just purple all the time now (while Avalon Organics Vitamin C serum is helping, it does take a while, plus I have new acne scars every month). Plus I have some natural and hereditary discoloration around my eyes that, if not concealed, makes me look tired and sometimes ill.
After asking around and looking through the blogosphere, a friend recommended Kevyn Aucoin’s Sensual Skin Enhancer (henceforth abbreviated to SSE). I’ve heard a lot about this line of products and about this one in particular. I decided to order from Beauty.com because if the color didn’t work I could easily exchange it due to their “100% Color Guarantee” program. I was really surprised and a little saddened that no local stores carry his line, despite the fact that he was born and raised near the area where I live. In any case, I decided to try the lightest shade — SX01 — in the hope that it would be a decent color match for me.
My friend warned me that while the jar is TINY (and it is!) the product is so pigmented that you only need the tiniest amount. Since I was planning on using this for concealing, not as an all-over foundation, the small size didn’t worry me too much.
I was initially worried the color might be a little too yellow for me, but once blended, it really matched beautifully and seemed to help counteract any redness in my skin.
When using this on my face, I use a Real Techniques Deluxe crease brush, which comes in their Starter Kit. I barely touch the brush to the product, then I swirl the brush in the cap of the SSE to emulsify it a little bit. One tiny dab is enough to conceal the area around my skin and around my eyes. The brush works perfectly to apply and then blend out the product. If I have other areas to conceal, like a pimple then another tiny tiny dab will more than take care of them. The Sensual Skin Enhancer is very creamy and almost-but-not-quite dewy — and it will crease and feel a bit tacky on the skin unless you set it with powder. (I use Bare Essentials Mineral Veil for that.) Once set with a powder, it lasts all day on my dry skin and doesn’t wear off.
Another thing that’s great about SSE is that you can layer it to get even more coverage. Adding several layers doesn’t seem to make it cake up or look gross — it always just looks like skin. This stuff is crazy pigmented and I think one layer will help hide many imperfections. In the pictures below I’ve used ONE thin layer and I think it has made a huge difference. These were taken before I added any powder so you can see the true texture of this product:
(I didn’t bother covering up the freckle near my lip, btw because it’s not something that bothers me or that I think of as an imperfection.)
All in all, I am extremely pleased! While the price is a bit dear ($45 for 0.63 oz), it’s quality stuff — richly pigmented, easy to use and has a beautiful skin-like finish. If you’re on the lookout for the perfect concealer, you might want to give this one a try.
It’s funny but this is my first Kevyn Aucoin purchase and I feel good about supporting his brand as I’m such a HUGE fan of his. He has been a true inspiration to me over the years and I count myself as so incredibly lucky and fortunate to have met him once at a book signing in his home town of Lafayette, Louisiana. But that may be a tale for another post if anyone cares to read it.
RIP Kevyn <3