Update: Swatches of SX03, SX04 and SX05 can be found here.
The Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer has quite a reputation within the beauty community and tons of people swear by it. Highly pigmented and extremely concentrated, a small 18 gram jar can function as concealer, foundation and highlighter and last you for years! It’s notorious for being difficult to work with because it’s not a slap it on and go type of product but one that requires time and effort to look good. I was up for the challenge though and got mine off of Nordstrom.com.
Choosing the right shade was definitely the hardest part but after reading and viewing countless numbers of reviews and swatches, I settled on SX03 and SX05. The general consensus is that SX03 is best suited for NC15 skin tones while SX05 is neutral and suitable for NC/NW20 skin tones. I’m currently between NC15 and NC20 so I got both. I considered getting SX04 too but ultimately decided against it because it’s supposed to be extremely yellow.
The Sensual Skin Enhancers arrived over the weekend and after trying both shades out I have to say that the colors aren’t very different. The shade depths appear pretty similar to me and I can wear either shade fine. It’s just that SX03 has a greenish yellow tinge to it whereas SX05 is more neutral.
The finish of SSE on its own is satin and looks incredibly natural on the skin. The product has a strong, lingering scent that I’d describe as predominantly floral (rose?) with a hint of Lipton black tea.
And after working with the product I have to say it’s not as intimidating as people make it sound. If you’ve ever used Tarte’s Maracuja Creaseless Concealer, the Sensual Skin Enhancer isn’t all that different texture-wise. I love Tarte’s concealer but its super thick consistency makes it difficult to work with for some people. The trick is to use the product sparingly — a little dab will do ya — and blend well or else it’ll look cakey. The same rules apply with the SSE except that in addition to being super thick and creamy it’s also super pigmented.
Although one can use the SSE in a multitude of ways I prefer to use it as foundation and spot concealer. As an under eye concealer I find it’s not moisturizing enough and can look cakey, even when mixed with moisturizer.
To use as a foundation, I remove a tiny bit of product from the pot (about the size of 1-2 grains of rice) and mix that with some moisturizer to make it easier to spread and blend over the skin. For people with very dry skin, like myself, I wouldn’t recommend using the SSE on its own as it will catch on and emphasize any patches of dry skin. I’ve tried mixing the SSE with rich creams, light moisturizers such as aloe vera gel, and even super dewy foundations like L’Oreal Smooth Absolute and they’ve all worked well. As for tools, I prefer either stippling (not buffing) with the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush and then going over everything with a clean, damp Beautyblender sponge or stippling with just a damp Beautyblender for a lighter application.
To use as a spot concealer, I like to dip a fine-tipped lip brush (the e.l.f. Studio Small Smudge Brush works too) directly into the product — just the very tip of the brush, mind you — and then apply it to the area I want to conceal. Then to blend, I use a clean finger and pat, pat, pat. The warmth from my finger really melts the concealer into the skin. [To keep things more hygienic I remove a small amount of product (a few days worth) into a small, clean sample jar and work from that. I clean the sample jar periodically and refill as necessary.]
Verdict: A versatile product with customizable coverage (sheer to full) and a natural finish, the Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer is definitely worth the hype. Just be prepared to spend more time and effort applying it and blending it than you’re probably used to with your usual foundation or concealer. The SSE is not the type of product that you can just slap on in a jiffy and there’s definitely a learning curve when it comes to figuring out how best to use it (e.g. which tool to use, how much to use, what to mix with it).
What they say:
Available in 15 radiance-enhancing shades, the Sensual Skin Enhancer gives your skin the look of perfection! Versatility is the key to the Sensual Skin Enhancer, and you have complete control. Sheer wash of color or complete coverage, no problem. The ultimate concealing product or the perfect highlighter, it can do it all.
How to use it:
The key to using The Sensual Skin Enhancer comes down to this: use sparingly and blend. The product is naturally full coverage; however you have total control as to the desired finish. Always start with a freshly moisturized and primed skin. We suggest using The Sensual Skin Primer for a flawless canvas. Start by putting a small amount of product onto the heel of the hand for added control, from there blend small amounts into the skin where you need it, build coverage as desired – it’s that simple!
As a concealer:
Start with a small amount of product on the heel of the hand for added control. Blend into desired area, adding more product until you have achieved the coverage you need.
As an allover foundation:
Start with a small amount of product on the heel of the hand for added control. Blend product into the skin until you have achieved your desired coverage. For a sheerer look we recommend incorporating the Sensual Skin Primer with the Sensual Skin Enhancer until you have the coverage that is right for you. You can also mix the product with your favorite moisturizer and get the look of a sheer tint.
As a highlighter:
Choose a color one shade lighter than your actual skin tone, blend into the skin where light naturally hits the skin; the brow bone, center of the eyelid, bridge of the nose, center of the chin and the cheek bone. This will create a luminous glow to the skin.
Things to know:
- Sheer to complete coverage.
- Mix with your moisturizer for the look of a medium liquid foundation or tinted moisturizer.
- Choose a shade lighter than your skin tone and use as a highlighter.
- Contains jojoba and honey to help moisturize the skin.
- Waterproof and crease proof.
- Highly pigmented for full coverage benefits while maintaining the look of naturally perfect skin.
- Transfer resistant.
- Use as a concealer, highlighter, foundation or as an all over body foundation.
$48. (Net Wt. 18 g / 0.63 oz)