Category Archives: Review

Subscription Box Showdown! Ipsy vs Allure Beauty Box vs Sephora Play!

This month, I thought it would be fun to compare all three of the subscriptions I got, head to head (to head?) and declare a best of the month.  Lets just dive in and have a look!

To start off, here’s Ipsy:

Dig that shiny bag! :)
Dig that shiny bag! ūüôā

This month I received:

theBalm Cosmetics Meet Matt(e) Trimony eyeshadow in Matt Kumar Рa small version of one of the eyeshadows from this palette, this is a generous sample and I know from experience, a good quality shadow. I own a handful of the Balm products, and they never disappoint.

bareminerals Gen Nude Matte Liquid Lipcolor in Swag Рthis is a liquid lipstick that dries down to a matte finish for that long wearing style that has been very popular lately.

Sedona Lace Synthetic Blender, EB13¬†–¬†I’ve only heard of the Sedona Lace brand from some makeup artists online, so its neat to get one to try out. The brush feels solidly constructed and the bristles are soft but not too flimsy or sparse, overall the quality seems very good.

Not Soap, Radio When life gives you one too many lemons (and you’ve misplaced your happy place) joy inducing hand/body lotion¬†– and yes, that is the actual name of the product! I love getting hand cream in these boxes! The sample sizes are always great to throw in my bag, and this one has an especially nice texture, absorbing very quickly, and it has a great lemon scent to it, so that was a big favorite for me this month.

Bellapierre Cosmetics Banana Setting Powder¬†– ¬†I’ve gotten products from Bellapierre from Ipsy before. One was a loose powder blush that I quite like, so I am looking forward to trying out their setting powder, its quite soft and blended very smoothly when I swatched it. (see the swatch below with other swatches from this bag.)

I’m a big fan of the Balm, and do not have this palette, so getting a color from it was pretty cool. Its a nice, warm shade:

Nice smooth texture and blends easily!
Nice smooth texture and blends easily!

I’m only loosely familiar with bareminerals, but everything I’ve tried from them has been very nice quality. This liquid lipstick seems to be no exception. It has no noticeable¬†scent, and the color is a soft,¬†neutral pink I am sure to get plenty of wear from:

A decent sized sample, and very nice packaging!
A decent sized sample, and very nice packaging!

And of course, the setting powder:

Banana powder!
Banana powder! (named for its yellowish tint- does not contain banana!)

This month from Ipsy I also redeemed points for a bonus – a very nice one too!

Yay Bonus!
Yay Bonus!

With the Ipsy subscription you have the opportunity to earn points by answering short surveys about each item you get. The points are not the only benefit, your selections each month are also affected by your survey responses, so if you like a brand (like I mentioned Bellapierre), its likely they’ll send you other samples from it, or send you similar products to ones you like. ¬†You can also earn points from sharing your bag on social media, or referring friends to sign up. (I get most of my points from the review surveys.) I was lucky enough to have enough points saved up¬†when they announced they were offering the TooFaced Born this Way concealer as a bonus for July, before it was even available for sale.

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I guessed at my color – its always hard to tell online isn’t it? – and it looks like i guessed well.(Obviously it doesn’t match my hand, but it matched my face very well) This concealer is very pigmented but super thin and lightweight, and I haven’t noticed any creasing so far. As you can see it came in a glass tube with a doe-foot applicator. A full-sized, high-end concealer is pretty sweet bonus item in my book.

Overall the Ipsy selection this month was pretty fun. It was a mix of brands I was familiar with and brands that I’m not as familiar with, and none of the items were a repeat. ¬†The bag was also a mix of useful and fun items, which I always like.

Next up, Sephora Play!

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Loving that popsicle totebag – so cute!

This month included:

beautyblender Рblotterazi: This is a flat sponge designed to replace blotting papers. I actually already own the full size of this, which is a compact with mirror and two sponges, so its nice to have an extra sponge for my compact! This is a cool sample to send out, because it is exactly what you get in the full size product, simply without the compact and the backup sponge, so you can really get an idea of whether this product is for you.

First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser: ¬†I have used some really fantastic moisturizers from this brand so I’m happy to get one of their cleansers. This has a nice creamy feel to it, and the scent reminds me of ivory soap.¬†A travel size of a mild cleanser good for all skin types.

Ouai Wave Spray: a texture mist for hair, for those low-maintenance, soft wavy looks often referred to as “beachy waves”. I love doing this sort of easy-going hair style, so I am looking forward to testing this one out. This has a light, clean scent to it; many sprays of this style tend to have beachy scents like coconut, this one feels a little more versatile to me.

Smashbox Photofinish Primer: a foundation primer, and ¬†its one I’ve gotten samples of a number of times before, it is very welcome, as it is a fantastic primer! It smooths the skin texture and helps your foundation last.

Nest Fragrances in Citrine: Every Play box includes a fragrance sample. This one claims that it layers fresh lotus flower, freesia, bright citrus with a base of “precious” woods. This is a clean,¬†bright floral scent without being overly cloying. I don’t usually like floral perfumes but this one I could actually see myself wearing. The vial has a sprayer on top, which I also really appreciate.

Benefit Cosmetics Dew the Hoola soft matte liquid bronzer: This is a light cream that gives a soft bronze tone to the skin without any shimmer or sheen. ¬†I’ve never done much with bronzers, so I’m pleased to get a sample to play with and¬†try the look.

The only¬†product with color to it in this box, so here’s a quick swatch:

Some blended in and some straight out of the tube.
Some blended in and some straight out of the tube.

This is a pretty nice selection of products, and in my opinion, seasonally appropriate. The cosmetic related items are all things I would use in warmer weather, the blotter, the primer and the bronzer. The hair product is designed for giving your hair that “beach day” look, ideal for weather where its too hot to heat-style. The fragrance is bright, clean and not too heavy,¬†definitely a good choice for summer. And the skin product, a gentle face wash in a convenient size, is perfect for a season when you might not only need something gentle for your face, but something portable!

And finally, Allure Beauty Box!

Lots to see here!
Lots to see here!

This month’s items:

Smashbox Photofinish Primer: No, I didn’t accidentally type it twice, I actually got this sample in two of my subscriptions this month! As I said above, this is a wonderful product, and I know I’m definitely not the first or last person on the internet to talk about liking this primer. Since I became a fan of this primer through a sample, I am never surprised to see it pop up, and never disappointed with it either.

Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Color Balm in Super Strawberry: I have tried this line of lip crayons before, but I’ve never had this shade. These are very moisturizing, sheer lip color with no noticeable¬†fragrance or taste, but very comfortable to wear.

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II¬†: a nighttime skin serum that claims to reduce signs of aging. I like using serums, especially in summer, since they absorb quickly and you can layer them with other products more easily. This¬†serum¬†is no exception. It has a very light consistency and absorbs very fast; there is a subtle scent when you first apply but it seems to fade quickly as the product sinks in.¬† I’ve received some other items from this line before, so I’m curious to try this one out.

GlamGlow SuperMud Clearing Treatment: a facial mask for oily or combination skin that claims¬†to clear up skin imperfections. I have been hearing about how amazing the products from this brand are for ages now, but their high prices have kept me away. I was legitimately excited to receive this, and ¬†can’t wait to use it!

La Mer The Moisturizing Soft Cream:  This is a luxury skin cream, which claims to provide intense moisturization and restore radiance to the skin.  The sample is small, but given its high prices ($170 for one ounce!); that is not too surprising. The cream is rich but spreads easily and absorbs nice and quick. I think I will be able to get a decent couple of uses from it, and I can come back to you guys with a full review and let you all know if I think this cream is worth the hype (and price)!

In my hand for scale, look at the tiny cute jar!
In my hand for scale, look at the tiny cute jar!
A quick peek at this mask also revealed that it smells great, like tea!
A quick peek at this mask treatment also revealed that it smells great, like tea!
A lovely sheer berry color, perfect for summertime
A lovely sheer berry color, perfect for summertime

Not going to lie, Allure’s box impressed me this month. All the products are things I’m happy to receive, and frankly, fancier than I expect from these subscriptions, which is pretty cool. This box is pretty heavy on skin care, so the variety is not as exciting as the other boxes, but despite that I was still very pleased with¬†this month’s selections. When I reviewed the mini magazine however, my opinion of the box this month dropped. It turns out there was another item available this month, but it had to be redeemed in person at a Nordstrom’s. There is no Nordstrom’s convenient to my home, so I was never able to pick it up. For me, one of the major benefits¬†of these subscriptions is to arrive home from work and have a happy little parcel of new things to try waiting for me. Discovering I missed out on an item because I wasn’t prepared to go on a road trip to track it down is rather disappointing.

Deciding on a winner this month actually took me quite a while, but when I really thought about it, I realized that this month’s winner is definitely Ipsy! ¬†This month’s bag was full of interesting and fun products I was excited to try when I opened it up, and that excitement definitely put this subscription above the other two boxes. ¬†The Sephora Play! had some great products this month, and definitely kept my interest, but just didn’t have the same “wow” factor as Ipsy. Allure nearly had it, as I’m definitely looking forward to trying those samples; but my disappointment in the in-store item I missed out on really drove my opinion of the box down for the month.

All in all, I still enjoy all three subscriptions, but right now, Ipsy, I am totally playing favorites for you!

Do you disagree with my ruling? Do you have a favorite subscription box I’ve never mentioned? Tell me about it in the comments!

Disclaimer: I pay for these subscriptions with my own money.

 

Review time: Covergirl Oh Sugar! lip balms

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When I initially saw these, I dismissed them as a regular lip balm with a cute advertising gimmick. When I received one in a sample box in the very neutral Caramel shade, I was surprised. The moisturizing effect was a decent,lasting one, and though it was very subtle I could see that it left a bit of color on the lip. And I was pleasantly surprised by the scent, very sweet, not quite cake or fruity, but absolutely making the ‚ÄúOh Sugar!‚ÄĚ name make sense.

So, when I forgot my makeup bag one day and was in dire need of something for my lips, I got  2 more shades; Jelly and Gumdrop. I’ve been using them non stop. They provide a beautiful sheer color that manages to remain natural looking, never too bright or too glossy.  Jelly is more of a pink, while Gumdrop is a sheer berry. This makes them a quick favorite for summer, when I tend to wear less makeup and want sheer, easy to maintain lip colors.  The type you can reapply without a mirror and feel confident that it looks fine.

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from left to right, Caramel, Jelly and Gumdrop

Overall, a great lipbalm that I highly recommend!

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Do you have a favorite tinted balm? Or a go-to summer lip product? Tell me about it!

Review! Jesse’s Girl Liquid Liners

Well this is exciting; I not only have a review for you today, but it is the first time I was sent products for review purposes! Today we’re talking about liquid liner. I know a lot of people that are not¬†comfortable with¬†makeup find liquid liner too scary, as it seems so bold and permanent. I am here to tell you that liquid liner is totally usable, and in fact, can be pretty awesome and fun.

So today, we have Jesse’s Girl liquid liner, but not just one, we’ve got their FULL LINE of colors!

Lovely packing on these, and not hard to open either!

I have actually used the black liner from this line (the center one) before. I received it in an Ipsy bag a while back and became a fast fan, so when the opportunity to receive these to review came up, I was DELIGHTED! But the reason for the review came about because of the three colors to the right – they are brand new to the line – and they are gorgeous!

out of the package and ready to party!
out of the package and ready to party!
Swatch time!
Swatch time!

From left to right, these are Snow White, Violet, and Blue Hawaii. As you can see from the swatches, despite being very light colors, these have excellent opacity. I had been a little concerned when I opened the box, but these swatches instantly put my concerns to rest. They are opaque in one swipe, and the brush is SUPER fine, doing detail work with these is a breeze! From their website: “With the ability to create lines as fine as 1mm‚Ķ our Super Fine Applicator makes it possible to apply the most precise lines for your desired looks.”¬†I must agree with their copy. The brush tip is very well constructed, the fine tip shows no hint of bending or fraying. ¬†The colors go on smooth and evenly, and once they dry (which does not take long!) they stay in place very well.

This doesn’t just apply to the new colors by any means.

Seriously, these go on so nicely!
Seriously, these go on so nicely!

The other colors in the line are Olive, Dark Brown, Blue and Black. They all go on just as beautifully. These have a slightly different tip than the new shades, but they are all super easy to control and apply. These shades here have a bit of a sheen, like a satin finish, where the new colors appear to all dry down to a matte finish.

I’ve always said the pen style liquid liner was the easiest to use, and these certainly help my case. They go on super easy, no excess pressure is needed, the pen never drags, or drips, or splays out.

All the colors together
All the colors together!

Another major benefit of these really nice liners is that they are very affordable, according to the website, $6.99, and the line can also be found at Rite-Aid.  These liners really seems to have everything in my eyes. Good colors, good application, good staying power and affordability! I plan to make these a staple in my collection.

I would like to point out that the high quality photos in this ¬†post are all thanks to Stas Kravetz Photography, and I’m very grateful for his efforts!

Disclaimer: Jessie’s Girl sent me these liners for review purposes.

Review time: L’oreal True Match Lumi Cushion Compact

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I’ve been hearing about cushion compacts for a while now, first from Korean beauty brands, and now brands more local to me are joining in. Now that they’re hitting my local stores, I thought I would try one out.

This comes in a large plastic compact, when first open it you see a nice, large mirror, and a thin, soft applicator sponge with a ribbon on the back (makes it  much easier to hold and control.)

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And here’s the famous cushion!¬†The tray where this sponge sits opens with an audible snap, revealing the actual product. Its nice when dealing with a liquid product to see that it seals so well.

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There are brief directions printed on the back, with images.

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The first time I used this, I was a little confused. The process seemed too short, surely I missed something? But no, one of the major benefits of this format is how quickly you can apply it.  This is a light coverage foundation for sure, but it still is able to smooth out the appearance of the skin for a more perfected look.

The thinner, less absorbent applicator is actually quite nice to use, and make blending the foundation into the skin very quick and easy. ¬†This is a great foundation for when you don’t want a lot of coverage and/or you need to get your face done quickly.

Even though it is a liquid, this foundation does not require much setting. If you have oily skin you will probably want to set it with powder to help it last longer. I have combination skin, so I generally only need to set my T-zone when using this foundation.

Overall, I find this a very easy to use and likable product, and one I will likely repurchase when I finish it.

Have you tried this product? Tell me what you think! Is there a better cushion foundation I should try? Let me know in the comments!

Disclosure: I purchased this product myself.