The Sensual Skin Enhancer (SSE) by Kevyn Aucoin Beauty (KAB) is a like a mythical beast. At least for me it was... While there are some true believers out there it had never crossed my path so I was still pretty skeptical. KAB makes some pretty high falootin promises also.
Taken from the KAB site:
A multi-tasking formula for creating a gorgeous, flawless complexion.
• Mimics the appearance of healthy, radiant skin
• May be used as a spot foundation, concealer, all-over foundation and more
• Silky, hydrating formula with honey and jojoba oil
• Creates a smooth, radiant finish
With the promises like that I half expected fairy dust to fly out of the jar when it's opened.
All foundations make similar promises but there are few instances when I actually expect it to make good on them. But I'll tell ya what... For $45 bucks it had better do all this OR do the laundry and come with bacon.
I was expecting a bit more from the ingredient list though.
Ingredients: Mineral Oil, Polybutene, Diethylhexyl Succinate, Polyethylene, Quaternium-18 Hectorite, Calcium Carbonate, Dextrin Palmitate, Honey, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Beeswax, Butylene Glycol, Cholesterol, Lecithin, Talc, Triethylhexanoin, Methylparaben, Fragrance (Parfum). May Contain (+/-): Iron Oxides (CI 77491), Iron Oxides (CI 77492), Iron Oxides (CI 77499), Mica, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77491).I was surprised to see mineral oil as the first ingredient. Along with the fairy dust I was also expecting baby tears and unicorn essence. I was quite disappointed to find them both missing. I was also very worried that my skin would stage a revolt for trying this stuff.
I have been wearing it for almost a week now and I am quite smitten. It its a bit tricky to get right though. There is a fine line between a natural finish and a mask. SSE wallows without shame all over this line. It's the most pigmented foundation that I have ever got my hands on. The instructions say to "apply sparingly (a pin sized amount)". They aren't too far off. This is foundation is so versatile that it can easily go form light (just all a bit of moisturizer) to as heavy as you want. Though with full coverage I would definitely recommend contouring to counter the mask-esquesness (it is so a word, lol).
You definitely want to be sure that you use a primer. At the very least I would say be very well moisturized. I recently started on Retin-A (I really need to do a post on this stuff. It's the bee's knees.) and my skin is drier than usual. I tried this initially on bare skin and blending was a chore to say the least.
After trying different brushes, I have settled with on the 187. Other foundation brushes work just as well for blending. The long white bristles of the 187 allowed me to pick a very small amount of product and still be able to dot it on my face. I tried using a concealer brush but I kept getting too much on the brush.
The mineral oil hasn't been a problem. I figure it's because you're only using this much. This jar is easily going to last for at least year. It feels very light on the skin. I wouldn't go as far as saying it's wieghtless but it's no hearvier than MAC Studio Fix Fluid or Revlon Colorstay. It does indeed look rather natural on the skin. If your looking for a matte finish though, than this isn't for you. The finish is somewhere between dewy and matte, depending on your skin type and primer used. I used it with Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion SPF 55 sunscreen and was more matte than when I used MAC Prep+ Prime Face Protect SPF 50 or Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch (which is one dang good primer). A good dusting with a rice powder or a silica powder gets closer to matte but still allows some natural glow. I can't pull of a totally matte finish so I was really digging this.
Overall, this is a solid product. It wears well and actually looks after it has sat on the skin a while. I can't really complain about the price because this stuff is going to last until the day before forever. Is this HG? Ummm... The jury is still out. I ordered shade #14 and the undertones are a bit too red for me so I am waiting on #13 to come in the mail. From what I've read around the web, most people have had to mix too or three shades of SSE to get a match. This is where I have a prblem... I am used to having to mix shades to get a match. That's not an issue when we're talking drugstore prices. At $45 a pop though, I am having a hard time wrapping my mind around this. If I do end up keeping both it's because I have truly acheived foundation nirvana and search has come to an end. Yeah right... I make me laugh! Lol!
On a professional note... SSE is the truth ruth! A workhorse of a product that photgraphs well and plays nice with other makeup. I haven't been able to find any info regarding a pro discount anywhere. It would be nice to have a few key shades in you kit though so you can mix shades for your needs.
It's a small jar. That is HIP cream liner, SSE and a MAC e/s.
The nekkid truth. I told ya'll hyperpigmentation is the debil!
All you need is just a wee bit.
I just stippled it on my cheeks and chin. I've learned that if it doens't need coverage than just leave it alone. SSE blends out like a dream.
The finished FOTD.
Face- Clarins Perfect Touch Prime, SSE X14, NAR Taj Mahal, Maybelline Retro Rouge
Eyes- TFSI, About Face Cometics Over Coiffed, Tattered and Torn, The Golden Rule (pictures don't these colors justice! you gotta get on these ladies), some random mascara that I picked up.
Lips- Revlon Colorstay Sheer Coral
Let me know what you think ladies. HG material? To darn expensive to even consider it HG (yeah... I ain't even mad. $45 is shoe money)?