Review: Acne Pimple Master Patch by COSRX, plus a skin story

One envelope of Acne Pimple Master Patches by COSRX (partially used).

You guys, my skin has HATED me for the last few months. It's been a stress point. Things are finally looking up, and this is one of the products I tried on the way.

Before I go further, here's some background on my skin:

I had terrible acne through my adolescent years and early adulthood, but three rounds of Accutane (yes, THREE), each about a year apart, did the trick. The first two rounds worked, and I was clear for about a year before the dreaded acne returned. The third round kept me mostly clear for good—and I was so thankful. A few years ago, acne cysts kept popping up on my chin nearly every month, but I wasn't comfortable going back on Accutane for acne that wasn't severe. It really is an intense drug. So I decided to try Chinese medicine—more specifically, acupuncture and herbs. And it worked! Each visit kept me clear for about eight months. (If you're interested and you live in Vancouver, I visit Black Sheep Acupuncture and Herbs on Main Street. Brent is great.)

Then, a few months ago, all *%$# broke loose. My chin and jawline went nuts with cysts, whiteheads and pimples. I was also way more sensitive than before. (Thank goodness for makeup, right?)

Problem skin: Culprits?

I couldn't nail down the culprit—I cleanse, tone and moisturize religiously, so that couldn't have been it. I even visited my acupuncturist a couple of times, and he got rid of existing cysts, but not the acne. I figured possibilities included the following:

  • Stress. I've been doing a new job for the last year, and I do a little too much on the side, so my professional life is a little intense.
  • Hormones. They say acne on adult women in that area is related to hormones. Who knows how to moderate that....
  • Diet. I have to say my diet isn't awesome these days. I'm busy, and I like chocolate and red wine. A lot. Nothing has really changed there since my good skin days, but the body is unpredictable.
  • The weather change. Summer to fall—am I right?
  • Age. I know, I know. I'm young. But 32 does NOT feel the same as 25. At all. If you're under 30, enjoy it while you can! My skin issues may have been related to my aging body.
  • The wrong skin products. This is a tough one. Even when my skin was pretty good, I always wanted it to be better. When a facial tech told me my skin was congested and I needed a moisturizer with a smaller molecular structure, I dished out. It's right around then that my skin freaked out. Are the two things connected? Maybe.

Finding the magic formula (or trying)

So I started obsessively trying to figure out how to get my skin to calm down. I tried a few strategies:

  1. Going back to skin products I used when my skin was better. This includes Clinique Cityblock moisturizer, which is a great daytime moisturizer with SPF.
  2. Listening carefully to my skin—what products didn't feel comfortable anymore? As it turned out, the extra-gentle Clinique toner I'd been using for years had started to burn.
  3. Carefully integrating simple products for sensitive skin into my regimen. Thanks to recommendations by Beautezine, I tried Avene—and so far, I really like it!
  4. Prioritizing gentle and targeted acne treatments. I find that acne-specific products are often harsh. If I have a few spots on my chin to take care of, I'm not going to use an acne-fighting ingredient on my whole face.

Strategy #4 is where today's product comes in: Clinical Skin Care Acne Pimple Master Patches by COSRX seemed to be the gold standard of medicated acne patches according to my research. The concept appealed to me for a few reasons:

  1. As I said above, I didn't want to slather acne-fighting products, such as medicated moisturizers and serums, all over my face when I was just dealing with a specific area. That seemed like a recipe for irritation.
  2. I know extracted blemishes are like wounds—they bleed, after all. Promoting gentle healing rather than drying it out with alcohol or other harsh products seemed like a good idea.
  3. Common treatments like benzoyl peroxyde don't do much for me.

Tactic: Pimple patches?

Acne patches—essentially tiny bandages with a bit of treatment—seemed like the perfect option. I ordered these patches online from a company called Soko Glam for about $15 Canadian (including shipping).

The package comes with one sheet of patches. There are 24 in total, with three different sizes. There are nine large ones, which are just shy of a centimetre in diameter. There are five medium-sized ones at about three-quarters of a centimetre. Finally, there are ten tiny ones, which measure about half a centimetre.

You're supposed to wear them overnight, or for several hours during the day, and replace them when they turn cloudy or white—that means the patch has absorbed your blemish's gunk. (Great mental image, right?)

I tried these on several blemishes of varying sizes and stages over several days, and here is my verdict:

  • I found these to be virtually useless on blemishes that haven't yet come to a head. The patches seem to need an opening through which to absorb the oils.
  • They don't work magic on pimples that have come to a head. They do seem to help a little, but you should still expect your blemish to take a few days to several days to heal completely.
  • I like them best for pimples that I've extracted—the ones that weep a little. (Sorry if you have a weak stomach. I'm just trying to be real.) Covering the wound with a gently medicated patch seems to do a good job of keeping it clean, facilitating healing, and absorbing any of the excess fluid that needs to come out.

The verdict: Meh

Overall? I'd say these patches are okay. I may repurchase again because I like the idea of protecting the wound of an extracted blemish—those can be problematic for me, and often get worse before they get better. But these patches aren't miracle workers, and they're far from essential.

Have you ever tried a product like this? What did you think? What are your best solutions for sensitive, acne-prone skin? Let me know in the comments!

Disclosure: This product was purchased by Eyeshadow Addict.

Bobbi Brown's Paris Palette: Review and a Look

Bobbi Brown's new Paris Eye and Cheek Palette.

Put "Paris" on anything and I'm toast. Seriously. I have this silly obsession with all things Parisian, because I not-so-secretly wish I could live there. I want to sip chic drinks at French cafés, look effortlessly chic all the time, be fit without trying (ha!) because I walk everywhere, and eat croissants for breakfast every day. I own not one, but two pairs of Eiffel Tower earrings. Real Parisian girls are probably too cool and chic for those (sigh), but I tell myself they're meant to remind me to go someday soon.

So when, as part of Bobbi Brown's 25th anniversary, the brand released the Paris Eye and Cheek Palette as part of the City Collection, I was instantly intrigued. It didn't matter that the palette is dupe-able collection of neutrals. It didn't matter that I own more brown and taupe shades than I'll ever be able to finish. I was pretty. It was Paris. (Just look at that art by Richard Haines.) Beautezine said it was must-have. And it was limited edition. (Evil, evil ploy to lure addicts like me.) So, of course, I needed it. Off to Nordstrom to fetch it I went.

Here's the low-down:

It's a double-decker-style palette, which is common in the Bobbi Brown line. I like it because the palettes feel more portable this way. They're certainly easier to handle. On the top "shelf" you'll find four shadows: Ivory, a matte cream shade, Stormy Grey, a shimmery, cool grey, Brushed Granite, a shimmery, cool, greyish brown (they say it's metallic, but it just looks like a shimmer to me), and Eclipse, a matte charcoal-grey—almost black.

On the bottom "shelf," which you pull out after opening the palette, you'll find a matte, bright, blue-toned pink called French Pink.

Ivory and Eclipse have light-to-medium pigmentation. They're not really meant for opaque blocks of colour, in my opinion. I use Ivory all over the lid as a base and to blend. I use Eclipse as a soft liner, to darken my crease and outer corner, or both. Stormy Grey and Brushed Granite are much more pigmented, and really sing when packed onto the lid. They're not quite as pigmented as, say, a Make Up For Ever Artist Shadow, but you can definitely get opaque or almost opaque colour with some layering. There is fallout, but I expect that with most dark eyeshadows. I always do my concealer after my eyeshadow as a precaution.

French Pink has just the right amount of pigmentation for me. I'm not always a fan of blushes that I can easily overdo (I'm talking to you, Illamasqua and NARS). They're beautiful, but I reach for them much less often because they make me nervous—I don't want to be trying to fix clown cheeks when I'm running late for work!

Longevity in a blush is much more important to me than high pigmentation—and this blush delivers. I get a lovely, girlish flush on my cheeks with a couple of swipes of my favourite blush blush, and the colour is still there when I remove my makeup at the end of the day.

Is this palette especially unique? No. Is it perfect? No. Is it a little overpriced? I think so. But do I love it? YES! To me, it's a perfect mix of sultry and sophisticated. And I smile whenever I look at it. Therefore, it's worth it.

Here's the look I came up with today:

Eyes and Brows



BITE Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstick in Musk (discontinued—sorry!)

If you'd like to give the Bobbi Brown Paris Eye and Cheek Palette a whirl, you can find it at and at Nordstrom for $75 Canadian.

What do you think? Is the Bobbi Brown Paris Eye and Cheek Palette something you'd like to try? Have you tried any of the other City Palettes (New York and London)? Let me know in the comments!

Disclosure: All products except the bronzer were purchased by Eyeshadow Addict.

Make Up For Ever Artist Rouge Lipstick: A Buffet of Loveliness

Make Up For Ever Artist Rouge Lipsticks. Left column, top to bottom: C506, M102, C211, and C105. Right column, top to bottom: C502, M401, C207, and C603.

Would you believe that when I started wearing makeup, I was afraid of lipstick? I thought it made me look like a clown. I think it had to do with being surrounded by people who didn't wear makeup...but these days I just own it! And now, my makeup just doesn't look done to me without a lip product. Even just a dab of gloss can pull a look together and give it that extra bit of polish.

The key is to find the perfect storm of a lipstick formula that is both comfortable and long-wearing. The more comfortable the lipstick, the more slippy it often is, and the more likely it is to rub right off. And I can't even talk about ultra matte or liquid lipsticks. I hate them—I can't stand my lips feeling so dry, and I can't stand the way liquid lipsticks in particular seem to come off in patches. Yuck.

But I digress. There are a few lipstick formulas out there that I truly love. If they look great and feel great, and they still look good a few hours after applying, I'm in! Make Up For Ever's Artist Rouge Lipstick is up there with my favourites—I'd put it solidly in my top three. My other two favourite formulas are NARS Audacious and Charlotte Tilbury (both her matte and KISSING formulas). Marc Jacobs' lip creme is a close fourth.

A big win for Arist Rouge Lipstick is the incredible range of colours it comes in, from wearable to "brave," in both matte and cream formulas (identified in the shade number with an M or a C). The mattes are more of a satiny matte—not too flat or uncomfortable (similar to Charlotte Tilbury's formula but a little thicker). The creams are shiny without being over the top. In other words, I like. A lot.

I also love the Artist Rouge bullet—it comes to a beautiful point that's great for precision application. If only it would last!

Here's a look at the lovely, bold shade range. I have eight colours:

Here are the swatches. These are two swipes each.

Two important notes:

  • This formula is VERY pigmented. The swatches left stains on my arms that lasted for two days!
  • The formula is VERY soft. I learned this the hard way when I broke not one, but TWO of my bullets as I swatched these. Of course they were my two favourite shades. (*Sob*)

Make Up For Ever Artist Rouge Lipsticks. Top to bottom:  C603, C207, M401 and C502.

Left to right: C506, M102, C211, and C105.

Excuse my first swatch photo. They're surprisingly difficult for me!

Here's what my favourite shades look like on the lips (alas, I couldn't do lip swatches for all of them).

Make Up For Ever Artist Rouge Lipstick in C211, a lovely MLBB shade.

Make Up For Ever Artist Rouge Lipstick in M102, a lovely reddish brown that has a strong 90s vibe. It brings me back to my high school days!

Finally, Artist Rouge C207 is a bold, cool pink. It's so much fun, yet still wearable for the office. I think it's my favourite of the bunch!

If you're still in search of that perfect lipstick formiula and you like the idea of a unique colour selection, definitely check out Make Up For Ever's new Artist Rouge Lipsticks. I have only eight here, but the entire collection consists of a whopping 45 shades. You can get them at Sephora for C$27 each.

Have you tried any of these? Do you plan to? What shades speak to you the most? Let me know in the comments!

Disclosure: Most of these were provided by PR for my consideration. Opinions are always my own.