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May 8, 1998

For those of you with sensitive skin, finding products that really make a difference can be a frustrating, and sometimes painful, experience. Although everyone's version of sensitive skin can be different, I was interested to know if any of the lines specifically created for sensitive skin actually work.

One of the first complete lines of products for sensitive skin is Vérité for "truly sensitive skin" from Estee Lauder. While Vérité is geared toward minimizing the chances of irritation from emulsifiers and fillers that most skin care products contain, I didn't find that the products work any miracles. That's not to say that I didn't like them, but I think for what you are paying, they should be able to noticeably calm and soothe red, irritated skin better than they do.

LightLotion Cleanser ($22.50 for 6.7 ounces) (5 out of 5 stars)
The product's name really says it all. If you favor a lotion cleanser, this is an excellent choice for any skin type. It removes makeup easily and leaves the skin soft and supple. As with any of these products, its effectiveness for sensitive skin really depends on the individual.

SoftFoam Cleanser ($22.50 for 4.2 ounce tube) (5 out of 5 stars)
The only product in the Vérité line that I was truly impressed with was this foaming cleanser. Many people with sensitive skin can't tolerate the drying, stripping feeling from most foaming cleansers, but this one is really different. The low lather and high concentration of moisturizers keeps the skin from drying out, so it actually feels better, not worse, after cleansing.

Soothing Spray Toner ($22.50 for 6.7 ounces) (4.5 out of 5 stars)
Toners can often be irritating to sensitive skin, but this spray is surprisingly soothing. On a warm day, or when you need a little extra moisture under your moisturizer, this spray is cooling and refreshing. Spray it on after cleansing, then immediately apply your moisturizer to get the best moisturizing benefits.

Calming Fluid ($60 for 1.7 ounces) (4 out of 5 stars)
For many people with sensitive skin, the thickeners and emulsifiers (ingredients that keep other ingredients in a product combined together) can be the very cause of irritation. Calming Fluid is very lightweight and emulsifier free, perfect for slightly oily, normal, or combination skin. I didn't notice any immediate soothing or reduction in redness, but my skin did feel better with this light fluid than it has with some heavier creams.

I must get a dozen or more email every day from women wondering how to get rid of dark undereye circles and puffiness. Let me tell you, I am right there with you! I recently added to my vast collection of eye treatment gels and creams the new Eye Solution hydrating eye gel ($45) from English Ideas, the maker of Lip Last lipstick sealant. While I think $45 is a little steep for this tiny .33 ounce bottle of gel, it is one of the most cooling eye gels I've tried. Designed primarily to minimize puffiness, Eye Solution contains witch hazel, aloe gel, vitamin E, vitamin A, and three forms of vitamin C along with glycerin and panthenol to cool, soothe, and moisturize. One pump is all you need for both eyes, and you can really feel the cooling effect for several minutes after you apply it. I like it, but I also like several other eye gels from Garden Botanika, Beauty Without Cruelty, and Kiehl's that all cost less and work just as well. Eye Solution gets 3.5 out of 5 stars.

After you've tackled undereye puffiness, English Ideas has another nifty new product for your lashes. Duo Lash treatment mascara ($28) has a white primer coat on one end designed to repair and strengthen your lashes, and a light reflective color pigment on the other. While the primer won't work miracles, it does cling to lashes to make them look a bit thicker and longer. The colored pigment defines lashes and adds a bit of color with no clumps or blobs for natural looking lashes. Again, much like the English Ideas eye gel, I like this product, but the price is a bit high for what you get. I give Duo Lash 3 out of 5 stars.

If trying to find makeup colors that work together and look great on you leaves you frazzled, Origins Greatest Hits makeup kit ($25, for a limited time) is for you. Each of the three kits comes with three eye shadows, a blush, and a lipstick, all color coordinated for your complexion in volume 1 (warm), 2 (neutral), or 3 (cool). Although I tend to favor cool colors, volume 3 (cool) is mostly deep plums and berries (a little darker than I wanted), so I chose volume 2 (neutral) with soft browns and a bronzer blush. All the colors are soft and blendable, and completely portable in a cardboard CD style case. I even got a free promotional size Fringe Benefits mascara with my kit. I give Greatest Hits 4 out of 5 stars.

Tired of spending a fortune on department store products? You don't have to when there are so many great drugstore cosmetics and skin care to choose from. This month I've compiled my list of the Top Ten best products that are all under $10 . Don't go shopping without it!

May's Feature: Top Ten under $10

The Makeup Diva is in! For most of us, figuring out the best day-to-day makeup and skin care routine for our skin is challenging enough without subjecting our poor skin to the stresses of travel. This week Miss Diva offers some helpful advice and product recommendations this week to save your skin from the dreaded airplane air!



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