Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer.

Before reading reviews on the Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer, I really didn't know what the hell it was. It's not really evident in the name, is it? It sounds like it would be a luminizing primer of sorts, but it's definitely not. 

The Sensual Skin Enhancer is an richly concentrated foundation-like product that can be used in many different ways. It comes in 16 different shades ranging from SX01 to SX16, and I have the shade SX05, a great match for my NC20 skin.

The SSE is an ultra-thick cream so densely pigmented that I only need roughly half a pea-sized amount per foundation application. I scoop a bit out of the tub using a cotton swab, plop it down onto the back of my hand, mix it with one of several products discussed later in this post before finally applying it with my Real Techniques Stippling Brush.

In terms of foundation application, here are the products I've mixed the SSE with:
:: Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Moonstone :: Perfect for adding dewiness and extra glow and luminosity. I once mixed the SSE only with Moonstone (so I had to use just as much product as I would if I had used a moisturizer), and the finish was a bit too glowy for my taste. Possibly a good option for dry or dull skin types though.
:: Embryollise Lait-Crème Concentrè :: Mixing it with a moisturizer creates a tinted moisturizer, essentially. The overall finish will vary. The Embryollise Lait-Crème Concentrè and SSE combination makes the skin look healthy, but not quite dewy.
:: Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer :: A silicone-based primer makes the SSE immensely more spreadable. A little bit is all you need since silicone adds quite a bit of slip.The finish is quite satin-like.

I never mix the SSE with the Becca Moonstone exclusively anymore, I sometimes mix it with either the Embryollise or Smashbox primer on its own, but my go-to combination is: SSE + Becca Moonstone + Smashbox primerMoonstone perks up my complexion instantly, but the addition of the Smashbox primer aids in the spreadability so that I don't have to use so much Moonstone that my face looks greasy.

Below is the winning combo pre-mix on the back of my hand (My apologies for the crappy lighting - I had to take the picture early this morning before I applied my makeup for work):

At the end of a 9-hour work day:
Not too shabby, eh?

I have yet to try the SSE applied on its own as foundation because I don't believe I currently own a tool appropriate to apply it. It's extremely thick and I would imagine it would be difficult to spread such a little amount of product across your whole face. Karima from Shameless Fripperies has an excellent video discussing the SSE and how to apply it, and I'm planning on ordering the Beauty Blender soon to use it with the SSE. I'll keep you guys updated if it turns out well.

The SSE also makes an excellent concealer. I haven't tried it under my eyes because that area on me is quite dry and sensitive and I'm afraid it might be a bit cakey, but it's amazing on blemishes. Again, I use a cotton swab to scoop up a tiny amount of the SSE, plop it onto the back of my hand, and use my Sephora Pro Airbrush Concealer Brush #57 to dab into the product and apply it to my face. I apply it using a patting motion to work the pigment into my skin with the brush, and I find that it works great. It covers blemishes flawlessly due to its concentrated pigment, but it also blends with minimal effort. 

The SSE is housed in a tiny tub that would make for the perfect travel companion. It contains 0.63 oz of product (quite a bit less than most foundations that typically contain 1 oz.), but keep in mind you need so little product per application that I truly believe this tub will last me far longer than most/all other foundations. It has a less than appealing floral/powder scent that I tend to associate with makeup more from my grandmother's era, but it dissipates rather quickly after application.

If you're having trouble finding the perfect shade for your skin tone, I'd suggest taking a peek at Beauty Professor's post, where she has nearly every shade swatched.

The Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer is available from Nordstrom for $45.


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