Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer : Coverage, Ultimate Guide & Swatches

A bit of a holy grail of foundation and one that has been firmly in my kit for many years now, the Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer really is a powerhouse of a foundation and I’m here to tell you all about it.

I had awful acne problems when I was growing up and during my teen years I had become a master at the art of concealing and perfecting imperfect skin. I have tried most concealers & full-coverage foundations that are on the market in my quest to find the perfect one for me and my clients : high end, low end, every end. All I ever want is something that gives perfect-looking skin without looking like I have anything on : is that too hard to ask?


I have lots of different foundations and I can safely say I will realistically switch between about 5 for myself personally depending on what I want that day and how my skin is. In my professional kit I will carry usually around 8 brands so I can chop and change depending on the look / the client’s skin and how I want it to wear.

When choosing a foundation, you need to take into account some factors:

1.) Your budget
2.)  The coverage you want
3.) The finish you want
4. )How you like to apply

This will start narrowing it down so you can get a better idea of what you are after and what is accessible to you. There are thousands of foundations on the market so it can be really daunting (and expensive) to find your perfect match.

Foundation Application Tips

Here is a quick *how-to* for application. The main things I like to remember when applying foundation, is placement and blending. I always apply foundation BEFORE concealer as it will start to conceal anyway, so less concealer will be needed, and a lighter amount of makeup on the face. I apply foundation more in the central zones of the face as this is where the most discolouration and redness usually lies, and once blended out, I attack with concealer!

I use a range of foundation brushes to apply foundation, sometimes fingertips will suffice depending on the consistency. Some of my favourite brushes to use are the Tom Ford foundation brush & Crownbrush C466. Due to the size of the pot, I also find the Laura Mercier concealer brush really good with the sensual skin enhancers as it fits in the pot perfectly and because of the pointed tip you only get the minuscule dollop that you need of this concentrated foundation.

I wanted to review and show you this Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer (SSE) as it is one of the best that I have found for my skin and is one that I seem to use pretty much use every single day. I have used it since it launched into the UK around 4 years ago and the SSE has been my foundation secret for years. The ultimate goal for me is to achieve flawless skin, glowing, dewy and to look like I am not wearing a load of makeup.

 A lot of people ask me about this foundation and how to use it as I think most people are pretty scared by the look of this suspicious looking pot. It’s not your typical liquid, pump-application foundation so you have to work with it a bit more but once you do, the results are REALLY fabulous.

It is a concealer and foundation in-one and super pigmented, I’m yet to find one more-so on the UK market. I use it for both foundation & concealer, just in different ways. For concealer, it is best used ‘neat’: it is excellent for under the eyes, redness and spots and I only need literally a speck of it
on my precision concealer brush for it to knock out ANY marks. If you wear the SSE ‘neat’ as foundation all over the face it will look pretty heavy ; it’s bordering on theatrical makeup with it’s full coverage so I find the best way to apply is to sheer it down and by doing this, you can even get it to the most natural, light, tinted moisturiser-esque finish. I sheer it down with moisturiser / primer or highlighter (My *mixers*) depending on the finish
I want.

 How to apply the sensual skin enhancer

 It comes in this small plastic screw-top pot, it’s the only way that it can come really as the texture of the SSE is VERY thick and paste-like. I have jiggled around with ways to apply this over the years and I think the best way to use this is to:

1.) Apply your moisturiser / mixer quite generously with fingertips all over your face, pretty much so you can see it on your skin (as below). This ensures the product is sheered down on application to a lovely light and glowing finish. Some people may mix it up on the back of their hand, but I find it easier to mix and apply at the same time.

 2.) Whilst your *mixer* it is still tacky, get a foundation brush, and dip it into the pot so you get a teeny amount of product on the brush and then apply to the face, starting from the nose outwards.

3.) Buff the SSE seamlessly into your skin.

 4.) CONCEAL. Stipple SSE lightly in areas you can still see spots, redness or uneven skin tone(there usually isn’t much!) I also apply a teeny amount under my eyes to brighten and lift starting from the inner corner and blending out. (I use this one from Laura Mercier)

  Another great thing about this foundation/concealer duo is that it is also waterproof so it is super long-wearing and budge-proof. When apply in the morning, I simply set it lightly with a translucent powder then I don’t have to worry about it for the rest of the day. I rarely use powder throughout
the day and my skin is combination.

For those of you who are into your Estee Lauder maximum cover and more likely the infamous DOUBLE WEAR…this is definitely one you should consider trying. Don’t just categorize it as your full coverage foundation though, as I have said,  if blended down more, you can honestly get the most sheer, beautiful, tinted moisturiser-esque finish. I love the versatility of this product and the size is great for travel.

Shade Selection

One thing which I know can be a problem is finding that perfect colour match with the shades that they do (16 in total) as they are SO pigmented there isn’t much room for blagging, you have to get your match pretty bang on. I am lucky, being that the SX10 is absolutely perfect for me, but on my clients, I often have to blend two together. I can only suggest that you skip down to your nearest counter to try on
the product and get a match.

I wear SX10 and in MAC I am a NC35(ish), Laura Mercier ‘Sand’ tinted moist, NARS Sante Fe, Illamasqua Skinbase I can wear a 5.5 /6.5 / 9 in case you are any of the above. Below are swatches of all the shades that I currently have for my professional makeup kit.

It’s not cheap at £39 for a 18g pot but I have had this actual pot for over a year now and it’s still going strong. You are using about a 1/5 peasize amount for full face application…at the most. I have even heard rumours that they are even planning to make it smaller because customers will never come back and replace for 2-3 years, which is insane! You can buy the SSE at Space NK and Cult Beauty in the UK.

Have you tried any of the Kevyn Aucoin foundations? I hope this makes it easier to master the art of the Sensual Skin enhancer! I’d love to know your thoughts.

Shop the post: