Why I Don’t Like the Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer

I love a cult-fave, hyped up product as much as the next person. Really, I do. Look at the Too Faced Sweet Peach Palette, or the ABH Modern Renaissance Palette, or the L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation: all popular, all hyped up in the makeup world, and all products I love!

That being said, the Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer is one popular product that I’m just not getting along with.

It’s essentially a pot of super-concentrated cream pigment. I purchased mine to use as an under-eye concealer, but you can also use it to spot conceal depending on what shade you get. What’s more, you can mix it in with any number of products – a moisturizer, a primer, an oil, you name it – to create your perfect foundation or tinted moisturizer.

Now, I believe in a balanced review, so here’s the good: this stuff is full coverage. When I use it, my dark circles are gone, baby, gone. You also get a lot of product – based on how much you get, on a price-per-mL level, it’s a pretty good deal. The initial investment is high, though, at $58. Here’s how it stacks up to my other faves, price- and shade-wise:

For reference, I wear Nars Radiant Creamy in Amande, Urban Decay Naked Skin in Dark Golden, Too Faced Born This Way in Dark, and Tarte Shape Tape in Deep.

With the happy stuff out of the way, here’s why I don’t like it:

The packaging. I hate dipping my finger or my concealer brush in there. It feels so unhygienic. If you have a spatula that could make it work, but combined with all the other issues I have with this product, I’m just not willing to put in that kind of effort.

The texture. Specifically, the way it sits on my skin. Even if I moisturize and prime the heck out of my skin, this stuff emphasizes texture – big time. The teeny-tiny, barely noticeable lines under my eyes look roughly two thousand times deeper and more noticeable when I apply the KA SSE.

It also looks bad when I use it around my mouth and chin. It just kind of sits on top of my skin, never quite melting in or meshing with it the way that my favourite concealers do. This look is neither sensual nor skin-like, and I do not feel enhanced. Of course, this texture issue could probably be corrected by mixing in a little bit of oil or cream each time I go to use it, but again, I don’t know if it’s worth the hassle when I have 4 perfectly good concealers that I love as they are.

The shade range. It’s weird, man. So weird that I didn’t order it online, and waited until I visited a (US) Sephora that had the line to get it. I got the shade SX13, which is so peachy it’s almost a colour corrector. SX12 is more golden but too light for me; SX14 is even more peachy and too dark for a highlight right now. You see my dilemma? My bud CC also had issues choosing a shade (I remember her ordering online more than once to try to match herself) and she is a white person. So if the shades don’t really work for white folks, and they don’t really work for black folks, who do they work for?

If you’re a makeup artist, maybe a few of these are worth having in your kit. But if you’re an average person, I’d say skip it and go for a more user-friendly concealer (or foundation, if that’s what you’re looking for).

I’m gonna hang onto it and keep trying to make it work. Y’know – because I paid $58 for it. If you really want something versatile, the CoverFX Custom Cover Drops are a great alternative that looks better on the skin and is easier to use.

Artemis thought I was trying to take photos of her, not products. It happens more often than you think.

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  • Could not agree more with you on this review — and yet I still really like my SSE! Yes, it sits on the skin more than other foundations at full strength, and yes, the shade range makes NO sense.

    But I LOVE the way this product blends with my moisturizer. I use it for light coverage all over, and it’s invisible on my skin at that level of pigment. I can’t use things like the Cover FX Custom Color Drops because of their silicone content, so SSE is one of the only ways that I can custom-mix a foundation!

    I find the trick is that you have to blend it into a moisturizer or primer first, and then apply. Hope you can find some way to make this one work for you, too!

    • Ahh, that makes sense! I’ll give it a try. Thanks Rae!