Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer: Review and Demonstration [Video]

An oldie but a goodie. The application and merits of the Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer are not exactly straight forward- apparently I had a lot to say so get some snacks.

 

Breakdown of the makeup I was wearing in this video
Click here

Rough Guideline of the Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer shades:
NB: I derived this guideline with the help of the lovely people at Makeupalley in addition to online reviews. There was some variation in shade matches so don’t take this information as gospel.
SX01 – NC10 (somewhat neutral)
SX02 – NW10-15 (cooler undertones)
SX03 – NW15 (olive toned)
SX04 – NC15 (strong yellow undertones)
SX05 – NW20/NC20 (leans cool, in my experience)
SX06 – NC25-30 (strong yellow undertones)
SX07 – NC22 (lighter and more neutral toned than SX06)
SX08 – NC35 (strong yellow undertones)
SX09 – NW25-30
SX10 – NC30 (neutral leaning warm)
SX11 – NC37-42
SX12 – **
SX13 – NC45
SX14 – **
SX15 – **
SX16 – **

** denotes shades that I was unable to define (with confidence). If you match one of these shades, please contact me so we can complete the chart!

EDITED TO ADD: You can now buy Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer samples on Camera Ready Cosmetics, I really urge all of you wanting to determine your shade to purchase some samples because this product calls for a near perfect match.

Additional Shade References that you may want to check out:
Beauty Professor Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer Swatches
Lovebeautyxo Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer Swatches

Available for purchase at…
Nordstrom for $46ish dollars. Australians and UKers can purchase from MiseBeauty.

Disclaimer
I am not affiliated with Kevyn Aucoin or any of their stockists.

*rapid inhale*

xxkarima

Video Transcript

Hi, everyone. Welcome back. I feel like I haven't done a video in a little while now. I may or may not have choked water all over my MacBook Air and I really rely on that thing. But I do have a video today. I'm going to be doing a review and demonstration of the Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer. Now you may or may not have heard of this product. It's either a concealer or a foundation depending on how you apply it. So I'm sure that many of you out there are looking at this tiny pot and thinking, how on earth could that constitute a foundation, like I'll be purchasing that every month? No. I should preface this review with one statement. This will be quite possibly the most pigmented base product that you'd ever encounter. You need like a pin head size amount to conceal a blemish, or a few rice grains worth to create a completely flawless foundation base. So it is really really pigmented.

But it's not limited to you know high coverage application. You can sheer it out to almost nothing. Now I've made this sound like God's gift to man. Some people will love this and some will hate it. And that's the purpose of this review to make that distinction. So I'm going to chat now about the details and the specifics about the product but if you're more interested in the demonstration, I'm going to try pop a little bubble here and let you know what time frame I perform that demonstration. You can fast forward at your own leisure. Right, so let's talk about some initial things that you might notice about this product. Yes, it's a very small pot. It is 18 grams. And the product inside is a thick creamy consistency. So if I tip it upside down, it's not going anywhere. Now despite the fact that it's thick, it's not waxy like a lip balm or some other pot style concealers you may have tried.

Now shade wise, the shades range from Essex 01 which is quite pail. It's a NC10 or so, all the way to Essex 16 which is quite deep. It's a chocolatey shade. Now between these two extremes, we have a variety of dips obviously. We would hope so, and also a variety of tones, undertones. So neutral, warm, cool, even olive, which is fantastic. Now if you're looking to find a match to the Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer, I'm going to be posting a rough guideline on my blog. Now I stress ‘rough guideline'. Please don't rush out and purchase based on that information. It was a chart that I derived from talking to lots of people and reading lots of reviews but there is always some room for human error and other discrepancy. So do your research, google, and contact me if you're really struggling. I will try to push you in the right direction.

Right, let's talk about application. If you're planning to use this product as a concealer, which is my preferred method. This is my holy grail concealer. I went there. Then I prefer to take something like a fine tip brush, so perhaps an eyeliner brush, and picking up a pin head's worth of product, dab on to the blemish and blend with the warm finger. In terms of under eye concealing, I don't like the Kevyn Aucoin for that purpose. I feel as though it always look a bit heavy and sometimes cakey and if you have any fine lines around your eyes, I think that this would really emphasize it. That being said, lots of people do use this around the eyes and love it. So you might each may vary on that point. If you plan on using this as a foundation, there are a few ways you can go about it. You can take a saturated beauty blender and again picking up a very small amount of product, slowly build coverage in to the skin.

Now if you prefer tools such as powder brushes, stippling brushes, then I would strongly recommend mixing this product with something else. So maybe your favorite moisturizer or a primer that suits your skin type or even an illuminating product. Now the reason I make this suggestion is the Kevyn Aucoin doesn't have much slip alone. So if you mix it with something else, you'll find that it maneuvers much better on the skin and it spreads easily and you have a much nicer finish. So who is this product ideal for? Number one, I'd say make up artists. I think the versatility of this product would make a great addition to any kit. If you have skin prone to flakiness, I would really hesitate to recommend this to you because it's so densely pigmented. It has the tendency to catch on flakes and emphasize that sort of texture. So if you mix this with an emollient moisturizer, you might have a different experience. It's hard to say.

If you have dry skin, I'd say mix this with an illuminating product to stop it from looking too flat. But otherwise, I think it would mesh well with dry skin types. If you have oily skin, mix this with the matte primer. I think that that would really enhance longevity and the finish on your skin. Now if you have acne prone skin, this product does have a horrible oil in it. Now I'm not insinuating that oils are catastrophic on all acne prone skin types. But it is worth to mention. It's not oil free so read your ingredient list. Finally, if you are a slap and dash kind of person, you know, you want a five-minute face, you rub it on and leave the house, this product is going to really frustrate you. It requires a little bit more effort blending, a little bit more time mixing, and it's not a five-minute face sort of product. Maybe more of a special event thing for people like that.

Okay, so quick overview of everything I've said. The Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer is really what you make it. The coverage can range from super high coverage to quite sheer depending on how you mix it. It can be dewy finish or it can have a matte finish depending on what you mix it with. So it's quite hard to talk about those points. However, if you're using this product alone, the coverage is like wow, like really high and the finish is about satin. So I hope that I've covered all the points. If I haven't, let me know in the comment section below. Let's go straight to the demonstration.

For the purpose of today's demonstration, I have my beautiful best friend, Elena.

[Elena says hi.]

Now prior to filming, I primed and moisturized Elena's skin with the Embryolisse Lait Crème Concentrate. And we also spoke about color. Could you quickly describe your shade.

Elena: I'm an NC30 in MAC terms.
Karima: In MAC terminology, yeah.

Elena: Generally. Sometimes I'm a little bit darker.

Karima: Okay, and your skin type briefly.

Elena: I'm combination. I tend to be a little bit oily around my nose.

Karima: Fantastic!

So today, I'll be using the Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer in 6. And this is about an NC25 to NC 30 in MAC terminology and it has quite a strong yellow undertone. We're going to start off by using this product as a foundation. So I'm using a q-tip to dispense a little bit of product on the back of my hand. I'm mainly using this for hygiene purposes since it's a pot and I'm not going to mix with anything today. I'm just going to go straight ahead with the beauty blender and get cracking. So I'm picking up a little bit of product on my beauty blender which is very saturated right now. And I'm going to start building coverage on Elena's skin. So I'm using a dabbing and rolling motion. This is pretty standard practice with the beauty blender. But it's also a helpful hint when using this product as it helps blend the product and also melt it in to the skin.

So I've started off really slow. You can always go back in for more. With this product, it's really about thin layers and building coverage as oppose to starting with a lot of product. Next, we're going to use this product as a pinpoint concealer. So I'm not using underneath the eyes. As I said earlier, I'm not a huge fan of the Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer for that purpose but I do love it for pin point concealing. So the brush that I'm using is the Chanel #24 and I believe this is actually an eye shadow brush. It's very fine and also very soft, so fantastic for minor imperfections. So I'm going to take a very small amount of product on this brush like literally a little bit of residue is all that you would require. Using a dotting and scribbling motion and placing that on to any marks, you can go ahead and blend that a little bit more with a warm finger. That completes our Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer demonstration. I am now going to pass the mirror to Elena and see what she thinks of the final look.

Elena: I like the finish. I noticed that a lot of the redness that's usually around my nose is gone. A few spots as well that I have, it's covered really well. And I've used high coverage foundations in the past, a lot of the time they can look really cakey whereas with this one, I can barely notice that it's there. I'm very happy with it. It's good.

Karima: You like the finish. Oh wonderful. Thank you very much for coming in, Elena. We'll see you guys next time. B-bye.

Elena: Bye.


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42 Comments

  1. This girl has some Very great swatches, helped me choose sx02

    http://www.beautyprofessor.net/2012/07/kevyn-aucoin-sensual-skin-enhancer-all.html

    This is an incredible foundation/concealer. Sadly, Beeswax is not an ingredient that agrees with my skin very much. Wax based products have a tendency to clog me, great for a special event wear but too much for daily. A tiny bit of oil, like a drop or less, (if you don’t have issues with oils) will serious spread this foundation out on the face. I did love how versatile this product is. Also this is a foundation that needs to be “warmed up” by your body heat so it will be easier to use.

    Also This is a foundation/concealer that will last you very easily a year at least. Some people have had this product for 5 years and still have a good amount left from a single pot purchase. It really depends on how you use it.

    I really am glad you did such a comprehensive video on it, and I am glad to see your Computer is OKAY XD
    Nikole recently posted..Once Upon a time

    • Interesting, Nikole! I’ve heard that some mix this with oils. Shame that the formulation didn’t mesh well with your skintype.
      I’ve had my pot for a few years now and I’ve barely made a dent, it’s crazyyyy. I’m glad you liked the video :) My computer is turning on again but time for a new one me thinks, I don’t think this is the end of the issues ;)
      xxkarima

  2. She is so happy looking! Thanks for the demo — it was so thorough!

  3. H.

    I have SX10 and would describe it as close to NC30, but with a more neutral undertone (maybe leaning slightly warm, but not strongly yellow–more beige).

  4. Hi
    i love this demo and you sold me on the product! I’m an mac n4, which color would work best?

    • Hey there!
      I don’t own MAC N4 but it seems to be a N35 or so? So technically you could be an SX08 but if you don’t have strong yellow undertones, I think SX10 would be a good bet. xxkarima

  5. Kaz

    Thanks so much for this video! I was getting so dizzy and confused reading all the reviews. I purchased SX08 which is a bit light for my yellow undertoned asian skin. I have severe hyperpigmentation and need a suggestion on what shade(s) you would recommend to conceal those very dark spots. I know I have yellow undertones but have been told that pink/peach tones do best to correct very dark hyperpigmentation. Please help with any suggestions you might have. I was thinking of purchasing the SX11?

    • Hey there, Kaz :)
      I think that SX11 would be your next best bet, actually! It’s the next level deeper in terms of depth. The undertones will still be somewhat warm but the KA SSE doesn’t really cater for pink undertones in that depth. Hope this helps :) xx

  6. Jane

    I’ve been eyeing the Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer for a WHILE and I’m still at a dilemma with my shades, as it is IMPOSSIBLE to find the SSE, let alone other Kevyn Aucoin Face products, in Sydney.
    I’ve talked to several online beauty chats to beauticians and read countless reviews about comparing shades of the SSE to other foundation shades of other brands, some of which I one, most of which I don’t. I’ve looked all over for places which might provide samples but have failed to find one that does.
    I am a rather fair Australian born Korean, so naturally I have yellow undertones, but compared to others it is slightly more neutral in my opinion. I’ve been told I’m between a N(something) 15-20. I own the Bourjois Healthy Mix serum in 52 Vanilla and it is a good match for me, evening out the darker skin tone of my forehead with my paler cheeks and neck. However I do notice a slight orange tint when it oxidises on my cheeks and it isn’t fully blended in, as i am looking for a tone that mostly matches my face to my neck, in which the only case that doesn’t naturally match (without makeup of course) is my forhead and slightly darker T-zone where there is some pigmentation). I also own the Laura Mercier Oil-Free Tinted Moisturiser in porcelain, which was quite like and honestly quite pink toned when I first swatched it but oxidised to a ever so slightly lighter version of my own skin tone, which I was very please with (although it is only a tinted moisturiser and not a foundation).
    The online beauty chat matches that I got from department stores overseas both said SX 02 would be a good match but I’m still unsure because it is quite a splurge and buying online in Australia mostly means a next-to-nothing returns policy on make-up products.
    I was wondering if you did know of places which could send the smallest of samples for colour matching or perhaps give me a list of CLOSELY matching colours to the SX 02, 03 and 04 just for reference which are from brands readily available in Sydney?

    • Jane

      by slightly more neutral I mean still a yellow tone but not very strong.

      and the porcelain was quite LIGHT, and the lightness between the Tinted Moisturiser and my skin is not a ghostly lightness but a SLIGHTLY lighter sheen if you will.

    • Hey Jane,
      As a Sydney sider myself, I understand your frustration- I have the same access (or lack thereof) of Kevyn Aucoin products. If you are truly a N15-20, SX02 will be a tad light for you. I have not encountered any places that will send these samples to Australia (you could give it a go) and because I don’t personally own SX02, 03 or 04, I cannot give you exact matches in other foundations. As I said in the video, this is really only a guideline and for many of us, it’s been an expensive experiment!
      Good luck, xxkarima

    • Omar

      I have both 03 and 05, and I am somewhere between N10/15, with neutral undertones, I compared both of them with other foundations or samples I own, and my verdict is: SX03 can work for someone between nc10-15 with cool yellow/green (olive) undertones, (it has no peach or pink AT ALL, it actually looks khaki in the pot) or also for someone neutral/yellow with lots of redness to conceal, cause it definitely has some green in it. It has the exact same depth as LM smooth creme in porcelain ivory -also yellow based- but slightly different undertone (SX03 being more cool olive), another almost exact color is the becca radiant skin satin finish foundation in ‘shell” which i have read works for most NC10-15 with neutral, slightly yellowish tones… also in the same paleness depth were both CS in “ivory” BUT in completely opposite undertones (CS very pink vs SX03 greenish) and MAC SS NC15 (which most of us know runs at least a full shade lighter than any other NC15 and its really and NC10) but the MAC looked very peachy compared to SX03

      Now with the SX05: this one is a very neutral muted beige shade, no yellow, no peach, no pink, no green, just plain beige, and the most forgiving for a neutral NW15, it has the exact depth as MAC SS NW15 but of course mac NW15 looked bright copper/orange next to it, same thing with BB extra repair in porcelain which btw just found out is the exact same color of MAC SS NW15…both the BB and MAC samples show up too dark ruddy in me….. the most comparable color i found to SX05 is Alima in Olive 0, (alima olives are NOT green, but a plain taupe, earthy beige with no undertones) being the SX05 just a teensie lighter, but only noticeable if you reeeeally stare at both swatches and very next to each other.

      Then at the store I swatched: SX04: this has a strong and bright warm apricot type of yellow (golden) undertone, in the depth of an NC20, obviously way darker and warmer than SX05 (think a lighter version of Jennifer Aniston coloring) ….and last and not least SX01 and SX02 have similar depth, around NCW 05-10, but SX01 is a neutral/yellow, whereas SX02 has definitely some pink in it, which makes it look slightly darker than SX01.

      I only tried the first five but I
      hope it helps. :)

  7. Lena

    Hello!

    I just wanted to ask what you would suggest for my skin tone? I ordered the SX07, however it seemed to be too light on me.

    I am NC30 in MAC foundation and 123/125 in MakeupForever Foundation. I am a light olive skin tone, light medium.

    Would you suggest the 6 since I am a perfect NC30 in MAC ?

    I got the 7 thinking it would be perfect, but it turned out to be too light/ashy looking on my skin tone, so I think I need something warmer/darker/ or more golden…

    Do you think the 6 would be a better fit, or maybe even the 9 or 10?

    Thank you so much!!!

    • 6 *sounds* right, IMO. It’s warmer and darker than SX07. Again, I can’t be sure but that would be my guess.
      Hope that helps :) xxkarima

  8. Rosy gonzalez

    Why don’t you interchange samples of foundations/products between all of you, specially in australia where it seems to be very hard to find products? It would be cheap to ship them. You can even make an “interchangeable club” and have more options to try different products

  9. Lyn

    hi! what shade would u recommend if I’m an NC20-25 with strong yellow undertones?
    i’m thinking 04 might be too light but 06 will be too dark.
    Thanks

    • I agree, 4 will be too light and 6 may be too dark. I think 7 would be the best match in the range (but maybe not a perfect match, hard to say) x

  10. Harriet Carruthers

    Hello! Love your videos!
    Ive been trying to find a match for ages yet am always to scared to complete any form of online purchase incase I have chosen poorly! I am a shade 5 in Armani Maestro and B40 in YSL touch Eclat foundation and sommetimes use NW20 MAC, wondering if you could point me in the right direction!

    • Hmm I’m not sure you’ll have a perfect match in KA SSE, but I think the closest would be 7 (I think SX05 might be a tad light). If you plan to use it as a concealer, I think SX07 would work but as a foundation, you kinda need a perfect match. Hope this helps :) xx

  11. Good morning, I just found your blog and channel and thank first to share your experience with us all, I write because I work for Kevin Aucoin Spain, and it may seem that I have interesting review of all sensua skin, and I do not know many blogs have swatches entrance, excuse my english, greetings and thanks.

    http://esteemakeupartist.wordpress.com/2013/08/02/tonos-y-equivalencias-del-sensual-skin-enhancer-kevyn-aucoin/

    Hope you like it and you will guide

    Best regards
    Estee Makeuo recently posted..TONOS Y EQUIVALENCIAS DEL SENSUAL SKIN ENHANCER KEVYN AUCOIN

  12. Chelsey

    Hi i’m an NW30 in mac and looking to purchase the KA SSE as an undereye concealer to really brighten the area, like the Kim Kardashian look.

    By reading comments and googling I was thinking SX07 but what do you think?

    • Hey Chelsey, as I mentioned in the video, I’m not really a fan of the KA SSE under the eyes (a bit too dry, sometimes cakey and heavy). I’d recommend something like MAC Light Boost for that purpose. To answer your question about shade, SX07 would likely be a good shade should you choose to use it for that purpose. x

  13. Trish

    Hello!

    I’ve just discovered you on you tube. I’ve been seeing this product on a few tutorials. I live in Australia so don’t know what colours are suitable. I would love to try Kevin Aucoin’s sensual skin concealer. Are you able to help please??
    The concealer I use is Bobbi brown corrector is m-dark bisque or dark peach. Mac mineralize concealer nw35. My under eyes circles are quite dark so most times hard to cover. (Very,very dark brown)
    My foundation at the moment is mehron pro medium dark 4. Mac mineralize Powder medium dark and Dark.
    I would truly appreciate your help in any way.
    Trish

    • Hey Trish! I’m not a colour matching expert but I’ll try help. Are you planning to use this as an undereye concealer or a facial pinpoint concealer? Just as a side note, I’m not really a fan of the KA SSE under the eyes (as I mentioned in the video) because I find the texture to be a bit heavy for that area. Some people love it for that purpose, though! x

  14. Emma

    Hi Karima,

    Was hoping for some advice. My skin tone is a medium (in winter) and a medium beige tan colour in winter. What shade would you recommend? Am I better to get a shade lighter then normal??

    Thanks

    • Hey Emma,
      The Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer really calls for an almost perfect colour match, since it’s so pigmented. Terms like ‘medium’ are a reflection of perception or the demographic where you live, so I’m afraid I can’t recommend a shade based on that info. I do think you should try get a decent match (no lighter, no darker) and the good news is: you can buy samples of the KA SSE on CameraReadyCosmetics.com! So check that out, buy a few samples and see which one matches best before buying full size.
      Hope this helps :) xx

  15. Catherine

    Is it just my screen or… For me it’s very hard, to not say impossible, to tell the difference after using this (what appears to be) little miracle on your friend, because of the incredibly intense light you used by filming this. Would’ve been nice if you had put some photo’s to show some clear result :/ (as you generally do when reviewing foundations). Don’t like to say this, because I truly love your work and reviews!

    • Hey Catherine,
      This demonstration was designed to address application issues that many were having with the Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer (since it’s a very tricky product). It was less of a before/after review because Elena didn’t sign up for that :P Next time I have a planet sized blemish, I’ll take some clear before and after shots using the KA SSE, I much prefer it as a concealer used in this way. xx

  16. Jenna W

    Wow this comparison to MAC shades has helped so much! I now know what samples numbers I should get. Thank you!! :)

  17. Janmed

    Hi, Karima! I love your videos and really enjoy your lasts “get ready with me”. I have SSE and been using it for over a year, but I tend to have problem blending it so it looks very cakey, specially around the mouth area. Have you find a way to avoid that? how do you use it? I’ve tried with some moisturizer, but it looses its coverage. Help please!

    • Hey there!
      I tend to use the Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer for spot concealing but if you’d like to use it all over, I’d recommend a primer and a beauty blender! x

  18. Taylor

    Hey Karima,
    Do you have an alternative to this concealer with the same coverage that is free from mineral oil?

    • Hey Taylor,
      You’ll have to do some research as to ingredients but two other concealers that have similar/high coverage are the Dermablend Fluid Corrective (very comparable to the KA SSE) and the Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage. xx

  19. Kara

    Hello!
    Thank-you for this extremely insightful post!!!
    I can’t seem to decide between SX03 and SX04 and would love your opinion.
    I have really strong yellow (perhaps olive?) undertones, but I’m very very pale.
    Nars Sheer Glow Gobi and Bourjois Healthy Mix in 51 are my shades in foundation…I haven’t tried mac because the NC15 pulls quite pink and slightly dark (because of the pink) whenever I’ve swatched it.
    Which of the two (SX03 or SX04) would you recommend?

    Thank-you Karima :)

  20. Carla

    Is that your boyfriend at the end of the video?! He has the best and most.infectious.laugh.everrr.xxx :D

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