One of the brands' original "hero" products, Kevyn Aucoin's The Sensual Skin Enhancer is marketed as a multi-tasking formula that works as both concealer and foundation. In our experience, this works far better as a concealer (more on that in a moment), but we'll agree this is a formula worthy of its hype. There is a learning curve to its use, but for those seeking a near complete coverage product that works for the face or eye area, The Sensual Skin Enhancer stands out as one of the more exceptional choices available today.
Packaged in a pot container, The Sensual Skin Enhancer is still the original formula Kevyn Aucoin produced in 2001. Though it appears the amount you get is small, the amount needed per application is so slight that one jar should easily last you for an entire year of daily use, if not longer.
The impressive concentration of pigment from the tiniest amount of product is one of the unique traits of this formula—we found it was a bit more pigmented than many concealers carrying the "full coverage" claim. Though it can be sheered out if desired (for application over larger areas, for example), we found this looked considerably more natural when spot applied as a concealer. Dark circles? What dark circles?!
Where all-over application is concerned, the effect isn't nearly as natural looking—the level of coverage afforded leaves skin looking a little too perfect. However, The Sensual Skin Enhancer works well when mixed or diluted into a moisturizer for a custom skin tint—its moisturizing finish (which remains so throughout the day, thanks to its base of oils and emollients) is ideal for those with dry skin.
However, given you need only the tiniest amount for spot application or the under-eye area, its emolliency isn't as much of a concern if you have combination to oily skin and want to use this as a concealer (especially when set with a fine, loose or pressed powder). Those with acne-prone skin may or may not find this tricky given its thicker texture—but it's certainly worth experimenting with given its brilliant ability to hide just about anything. In fact, you need so little to cover most discolorations it proves to be a bit of a learning curve! You need only a fraction of the amount of product you are accustomed to applying of other concealers—plus, for best results, a brush that allows for precise placement and blending.
We should note this contains a small amount of fragrance, but it isn't enough to make it problematic for most (especially given how little is applied to skin). The added fragrance was likely to help offset the natural scent of the formula's ingredients—the mix of pigment and thickeners—which is noticeable upon opening the jar.
The Sensual Skin Enhancer is available in 16 shades, with options for the super fair to very deep skin tones. However, the shades are tricky to choose from without testing them in person—the numbering system isn't intuitive and the undertones vary substantially from one to another. Thus, while the range is varied and mostly neutral, the degree of coverage as well as the trickiness of the shade classification system makes this a product we strongly recommend testing in person to find your best match.
Kevyn Aucoin's The Sensual Skin Enhancer is a classic makeup product among fans of this line, and one that earns our top rating for its highly pigmented and flexible formula and extensive shade range. Despite the price tag, we would venture to describe it as almost economical given the fact one container will last you a long (long) time—especially if you're only using it as a spot concealer or around the eyes.
Kevyn Aucoin was arguably one of the most iconic makeup artists of the 20th century. A self-trained, highly sought celebrity makeup artist and best-selling author, his work appeared regularly in countless fashion magazines, as well as his monthly column in Allure. Not surprisingly, his work has influenced countless makeup artists and YouTube beauty vloggers—whether they know it or not—and at the time of his passing in 2002, he had just launched a small range of products under the Kevyn Aucoin brand. Although Aucoin left us far too soon, at least his products serve to compliment his lasting legacy.
Today, the Kevyn Aucoin brand continues with his motto that anyone should be able to experiment with makeup and feel beautiful while doing so. The brand's range of unique products reflects the emphasis on makeup’s role in our lives as more than just utilitarian—it should be enjoyable, accessible, fun, and the outcome always rewarding. The approach is enhancing one’s self-esteem rather than using makeup to cover up what you or others might perceive as unattractive.
Thus, the products themselves are something of an experience to use—from their packaging (beautiful) to their focus on perfecting skin and mix of basic to bold color options. This line isn’t for those who think of makeup as a chore!
The price points are higher, to be sure, but there are also quite a few exceptional and unique standouts that allow this brand to nicely distinguish itself in a sea of makeup artist-fronted lines. There are some shortfalls here and there, but overall, it is a range that is well worth experimenting with should you happen upon a Kevyn Aucoin counter at your local Nordstrom or Neiman Marcus. (Note: Kevyn Aucoin is sold online at a number of beauty sites, from Sephora to Beautylish.)
For Beautypedia, we have chosen some of what we feel are Aucoin’s best products along with those that are OK, but for one reason or another may not be worth the expense.
The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.
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