Mask Me Monday: Leaders Coconut Gel Mask with Orange

Its Monday again, so its time to review a face mask! Here’s this week’s selection:

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The Leaders Coconut Gel Mask with Orange, which I received from Allure Beauty Box in June.

What they say about it:This natural coconut gel mask with orange extract brightens the skin and improves skin texture by cleansing and tightening the pores. Orange extract is abundant in Vitamin C which boosts collagen and brightens skin, while AHA improves texture by exfoliating.

Recommended For: Dull/Uneven Skin Tones + Blemishes

Though this mask says it is made of coconut gel, it applies in one piece, which is generally referred to as a sheet mask. These have gotten very popular lately, but I often have trouble positioning them, and keeping them in place. This one was just as awkward to open and place as other I’ve tried,  but, unlike some masks I’ve tried in the past, this one was not constantly dripping the whole time, and I didn’t have trouble keeping it on my face, so those factors definitely raise my opinion of this mask.  But, if we’re going to talk sheet masks we have to address this one fact:

Hello from Nightmare Town!
Can you stand the glamour on this blog?

Yeah, Sheet masks can look freaky and weird when you’re wearing them. But honestly, covering your face with colored goo doesn’t look totally normal either, so  I guess its just a question of whats comfortable for you.

This mask recommends you leave it on for 10-20 minutes, and once I had it in place, it was actually comfortable enough that I easily let 20 minutes pass before removing it.  With this mask, you’re directed to “gently pat your face until all serum is absorbed” after removing it.   This didn’t take too long, maybe 15 seconds at most, but it left my face feeling a little tacky, even five minutes later. I did notice a nice sheen to my skin though, and it looked brighter and fresher.  It wasn’t until I washed my face to get ready for bed that the tackiness subsided, but at that point I noticed that my skin did feel a bit softer and smoother.

Overall, this is a decent mask. It was a little difficult to apply, but it was comfortable to wear and easy to remove, and I did feel it provided some improvement to the skin. It was nice, but I didn’t find the experience or result all that noteworthy, so its not likely I will go out of my way to repurchase.

Disclaimer: I received this mask in my Allure Beauty Box, which I pay for. I have received no compensation from Allure or Leaders for this review.

Review it: Smashbox X-rated mascara

I love mascara samples, because they are one of the samples that really allow you to get a feel for the product.

I received the Smashbox X-rated mascara in my May Ipsy bag.  To refresh your memory, here’s a shot of the tube and brush:

Ta da!!
Ta da!!

So what is this mascara about? In Smashbox’s own words:

Smashbox’s Triple Threat brush was designed with 3 deep channels to hold the perfect amount of formula for mega-coating lashes plus 3 rows of bristles to isolate and extend lashes while Tripod fibers wrap around each lash for amplified volume. Maximize all 3 sides by rolling brush up and out as you work from base to tip of lashes, taking lashes from PG to X-Rated.

I happen to really like the rolling method for applying mascara, so that appealed to me right away. I find rolling the brush up and out through the lashes really helps not only get a good thorough application, but helps avoid clumps. ( If you’ve never tried it, I would warn you to try it when you’re not in a rush, it can take a few tries to get the hang of the movement and not smudge mascara on yourself. )

Personally, I have kind of short lashes that are rather straight on their own. So I had a little trouble getting you a before shot where you could even see my lashes, but I persevered:

[insert obvious eye pun here]
[insert obvious eye pun here]
As you can see, I do have lashes, but they don’t go terribly far. However. After curling my lashes and applying this mascara:

Pow! Hello there!
Pow! Hello there!

And this is only one coat. This mascara dries pretty quickly, so if you like building up multiple coats, I think this would work well for that. I tend to keep it light, as i’m usually wearing my makeup to work.

The next thing i always consider with mascara is how it wears. I have trouble keeping eye makeup in place, and mascara is definitely one of the culprits there.  I often get smudges below the bottom lash line, even when I’m only wearing mascara on the top lashes. I’m happy to report this mascara was NOT guilty of that dreaded smudge! After a full 12 hour day where I even got sweaty (this is August people, it happens) this mascara happily stayed where it belonged!

For a mascara that does not list itself as waterproof, I am super impressed. Usually to avoid that smudge and keep the curl in my lashes, I have to reach for waterproof mascaras, but this one holds its own beautifully. This is a mascara I would not only buy again, but recommend to friends!

 

Disclaimer: I received this mascara in my Ipsy glam bag, which I pay for. I have received no compensation from Ipsy or Smashbox for this review.

Mask Me Monday: Dead Sea Wash-off Mask

Face masks have become quite popular recently. However,  face masks have been around a long time, even Cleopatra was known for using one made with egg whites to keep her face looking youthful. The search for the best skin care has caused some crazy ingredients to be used in facials; in the 1500-1600s there was lead, in the 1900’s there was raw meat and radium being utilized, and even today, there are facials being done with bird poop and snail mucus. (yes, those are real.) But many of us would prefer to keep things a little bit simpler than that.  (I much prefer to leave snails & birds out of my beauty routine, but hey, do what you like.)

If you prefer the less exciting route like myself, all sorts of face masks can be found in pretty much any drugstore, department store, and of course specialty spots like Sephora.  Since I receive a few beauty box subscriptions (face masks are a popular sample!), and I am always on the lookout for that Amazing Product that will give me insanely perfect skin; I find myself with a hearty supply of masks ready and waiting to be used. So, as a way to push myself to use them more often, and post more often, I am introducing Mask Me Monday! Today’s mask is the Global Beauty Care Dead Sea Wash-Off Mask.  I received this in my March Ipsy Glam bag. So lets check it out!

This sample is a full ounce of product!
ooooh, muddy!

According to their own description, this mask is “formulated with a unique blend of salts & minerals from the Dead Sea in Israel. This gentle mud treatment draws out dirt and impurities from your skin and peels away dead skin cells.”

This mask claims to:

  • Helps to restore elasticity and fortify the skin with essential moisturizers
  • Stimulates and beautifies your skin and body
  • Deep cleansing formula is good for all skin types

The ingredients are: aqua (water), diatomaceous earth, polyvinyl alcohol, maris sal (dead sea salt), algin, dimethicone, glycoproteins, beta-glucan, cetyl alcohol, betaine, l-ascorbic acid, carbomer, triethanolamine, dmdm hydantoin, parfum, carbon black.

I have heard about diatomaceous earth (or DE) before, so I did a little looking, and found some information about it. DE  is made up of fossilized, hard-shelled algae called Diatoms, and has a very high Silica content. This makes a lot of sense as an ingredient to me, given that this is a Dead Sea mask.  DE has an abrasive quality which is good for exfoliating, but the particles are fine enough that they are not likely to cause skin irritation, and the silica content is able to sort of “sweep” the dirt that may be clogging the pores.  At least that is what I was able to learn after I did some digging.  Since it was the second ingredient listed (after water), I wanted to know what its purpose was.  I was also curious about the polyvinyl alcohol, since it came before the actual Dead Sea Salt in the ingredients list. A quick search informed me that this is a thickener and/or binding product often used in cosmetics; given how much I liked the texture of this mask, I’m ok with that.

The very first thing I noticed is the color, a deep grey, almost blue color. Also, despite being a “mud” treatment, this has a very fresh scent, it actually reminded me of body lotion or soap, something with a soft, clean scent that wasn’t at all overwhelming.  Also, for the sake of truly showing you what this mask is like….

Such GLAMOUR!
GLAMOUR!

I really enjoyed this mask. Not only was the mask easy to apply and comfortable to wear the entire time (does not dry up and get tight, nor did the mask drip or run in any way), but it rinsed of very quickly and easily. And my skin felt smooth and soft and refreshed after using it. This sample pack was a full ounce, one application only used about one third to half of the packet, so I’ll be able to get at least one more use out of it, which is always nice in a sample.  When I looked it up to see what the purchase price would be, I found out the full size of this mask is five ounces, so you would get quite a lot of uses from it. While its price seemed to vary from site to site, all of the sites I found had it for under $20. So i’d call this mask a pretty good value. 

For me, the most important aspects of a face mask are ease of application & wear, comfort, and skin results.  With those factors in mind, this mask gets top marks from me. It was easy to apply, easy to wear, easy to remove, and left my skin feeling much better than before I used it.  So, I would call this is an Easy mask: low effort with solid results.

Does this mask sound good to you? Do you have a favorite face mask you think I should try out? Let me know in the comments!

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! 🙂

This month I received:

theBalm Cosmetics Meet Matt(e) Trimony eyeshadow in Matt Kumar – a 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 – this 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 – blotterazi: 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 “Oh Sugar!” 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!

Battle of the Beauty Boxes! Allure vs. Sephora

The June beauty box from Allure and the Sephora Play! box arrived within days of each other, so I thought, rather than just review them, why not compare them?

Who will win the month?
Who will win the month?

What Allure sent me:

What Sephora sent me:

First comparison is dead even: both boxes sent six items. One might argue that the Allure box has a lesser value because it includes a drugstore bronzer and a one-use sheet mask.  However, Sephora’s fragrance sample is unfortunately the same simple vial you would get for free if you requested a sample in-store, and the mascara sample is even smaller than the travel version of the same mascara they sell in store, which goes for a nearly drugstore level price.

In variety of items, I would have to say the boxes are pretty close there as well. Even though Allure sent two products from the same skincare line, they have different purposes; and the remaining items are varied enough to keep the box interesting. Sephora also did well on variety, sending three different makeup related products, a skin care product, a hair care product and a fragrance.

Lets take a closer look at the products:

Kardashian Cabana Bronzer
Kardashian Cabana Bronzer-as you can see, there’s a nice hint of shimmer!

This bronzer from the Allure box is a standard powder bronzer. The powder is silky and goes on smoothly, and the three stripes of color in the compact allow for a lot of control – you can adjust how light or dark it goes on by controlling which colors you put your brush into.

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Here we have the serum bronzer from the Sephora box. As you can see this is a lightweight liquid that you blend into the skin. I included several shots because I realized you can control how dark this appears as well, it starts out dark, and the more you blend it, the lighter it gets. I also noted that, given how thin the product is, you could probably use this to deepen a liquid foundation, to compensate for a change of skin tone due to sun exposure. This product is extremely lightweight and had the barest hint of a sheen to it, definitely not as much shimmer as the powder bronzer.

Both boxes also included a hair product. Here I initially gave the advantage to Sephora, because they had provided me with a sample size (indeed, handy purse size of 1oz) of a product I already use often. This is a simple cream product that you apply when hair is still damp, and it helps the hair to air dry into a smoother state, more like what you normally need a blow dryer to achieve (at least with my fine hair!).  As you can imagine, this stuff is very welcome to receive as the warm weather comes in, because I am not using my heat styling tools much at all.

Don't Blow it by Bumble & Bumble
Don’t Blow it by Bumble & Bumble

However, the Allure product is not to be dismissed. First of all, this shampoo smells EXCELLENT, and I say that as someone that doesn’t even like mangoes! I’d point out that its not just scent, this shampoo is made with actual mango butter as one of the moisturizers.  The other point is simply quantity. I can say without a doubt, this is the largest shampoo sample I have ever gotten, at 3.36oz! As someone with long hair, I appreciate a shampoo sample that can last beyond 2 hair washings.

I CAN have the mango! (if you get that reference, bless you.)
I CAN have the mango! (if you get that reference, thank you.) 😉

Lets look at the rest of the Sephora items. The Sephora box provided a perfume sample. While I did point out this is the sort of sample you can get for free in store, this happens to be a particularly lovely fragrance, so I don’t mind as much. The notes of the cologne are: Italian Bergamot, Grapefruit Leaves, Green Pear, Apple, Ivory Gardenia, Crushed Violet Petals, Jasmine, Tuberose, Blue Iris, Blonde Wood, and White Musk.

Tocca's packaging is very pretty, even for samples.
Tocca’s packaging is very pretty, even for samples.

Next in the Sephora box, Benefit’s They’re Real! mascara. While this is a small sample, I would point out that this is a high end mascara, and an extremely popular one. With good reason! I have used it myself, and this mascara provides excellent length with minimal clumping issues. While I have experienced a bit of smudging with this mascara, my eyes are particularly hard on non-waterproof mascaras, and most people I’ve heard from about this mascara do not experience that issue.

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This brush is great at picking out every lash!

The penultimate product from the Sephora box is a a facial sunscreen, the tarte Tarteguard. I have heard a lot of people rave about this product, so I am curious to see how it matches up to my go-to facial sunscreen – perhaps a drugstore vs. high end comparison will be coming soon.  In tarte’s own words, “Tarteguard is tarte’s first sunscreen lotion to deliver the powerful protection of a non-chemical SPF 30 sunscreen, but that feels like a luxurious moisturizer that can be applied in the morning or before sun exposure. Ultra-lightweight and breathable with a signature fresh, ocean’s lily scent that feels like a day at the spa”.

Regardless of anything else, the packaging is a great color!
Regardless of anything else, the packaging is a great color!

Finally from Sephora, we have the Becca backlighting primer. Becca is a brand that’s quickly become famous for having high quality products, in particular their highlighting products. So I am looking forward to trying their take on an illuminating primer. In their own words, “Backlighting acts as an instant filter, creating a diffused, soft-focused radiance that allows your complexion to catch light for a glowing look. Infused with Becca’s proprietary blend of crushed pearls, this primer achieves a lit-from-within, healthy-looking effect. ” While I think you can quite clearly see sheen on my hand in this picture, I do not think it adequately captures the serious punch of shimmer that it gave off in person!

Shine on you crazy diamond!
Shine on you crazy diamond!

The Allure box still has a few things to share as well. There’s the Pur-lisse Blue Lotus moisturizer and eye cream. According to their website, “Blue Lotus extract is a powerhouse antioxidant with anti-inflammatory benefits known to combat against free radical damage.” Of course, the claims sound good, but I won’t know until I try it out. I kind of like getting complementary products like this, and the samples are generous enough to give the products a good trial run, so you can see if they benefit your skin or not.IMG_20160622_235415859 IMG_20160622_235429356

Next in the beauty box, a sheet mask by Leaders 7. Honestly, their website explains it best: “This natural coconut gel mask with orange extract brightens the skin and improves skin texture by cleansing and tightening the pores. Orange extract is abundant in Vitamin C which boosts collagen and brightens skin, while AHA improves texture by exfoliating.” Sounds pretty good doesn’t it? While I have tried a number of sheet masks, and still have a handful in my collection to use, this one stands out to me because it indicates one of the longest wait times I’ve seen: 30-40 minutes. I do not know if this is a good or a bad thing, but i am certainly curious if this proves more effective than a mask that directs you to leave it on for 10 minutes.

I also suspect this will smell great, like oranges!
I also suspect this will smell great, like oranges!

And finally, from the Allure box, the most colorful item out of this whole post. a polish from Julep. While I initally considered this a standard item to be included (meaning, just a nail polish), when I looked it up, I was surprised at the description: “Breakthrough Oxygen Technology powers this fast-drying, long-lasting nail polish to get nails healthy and more beautiful at the same time. Our proprietary 5-free, vegan-friendly formula also includes strengthening Hexanal and antioxidant green coffee extract.” Pretty big claims for a little bottle of polish. I am looking forward to testing this out, and the bright, pretty metallic purple color definitely is part of that!

"Orchid Irridescent Chrome" apparently - I just say its pretty!
“Orchid Irridescent Chrome” apparently – I just say its pretty!

And now, as in every battle, a winner must be declared. These are both pretty great boxes, and initially I had some trouble trying to determine who would be the June winner here. In considering the pros and cons of each, I asked myself why I signed up for these subscriptions in the first place. The main reason I like getting these boxes is I love trying out new products; whether its a new type of product altogether or simply a brand I haven’t used before.

And when I look at it from that perspective, the June winner of this Battle of the Boxes is: The Allure Beauty Box. 

While they are both excellent boxes, this month Allure simply delivered more unique things I haven’t seen or tried before.  While I do like the items I received from Sephora, I was already quite familiar with 3 out of the 6 items sent.

I hope you enjoyed this breakdown, and if you disagree with my winner, please tell me why in the comments below, I’d love to hear your perspective!

Disclaimer: I pay for these subscriptions myself.

June Ipsy Bag!

This month’s bag had some serious winners!

Some new discoveries and even an old favorite!
Some new discoveries and even an old favorite!

To start off, the item I was most excited about, this eyeshadow from Urban Decay, in the shade Lounge. This is a duo-chrome style shadow that is reddish-brown topped with teal-green shimmer.  The shimmer and shift of this shadow is absolutely gorgeous, but it is incredibly hard to capture with a standard phone’s camera. So, like in my last post, I got some much needed help from Stats Kravetz Photography. All the photos of this eyeshadow are by Stas Kravetz Photography.

reflective green copy

these are both the same eyeshadow!
these are both the same eyeshadow!

Urban Decay really does some great eye-shadows, so I’m quite happy to receive this little beauty.As you can see, depending on the light and the angle you look at it from, this shadow’s appearance can totally change. And just to help show that these colors do exist together,here’s a swatch:

reflective 2 copy
So pretty!

Next up, is the cutest little bottle of nail polish. Formula X nail polish in the shade Wing woman to be exact:

Tiny polish bottle!
Tiny polish bottle!

I know some people would not be happy to get a mini polish, but as someone that does not wear a lot of nail polish, I’m sort of hoping this is one I might actually use up before it goes bad. I’m glad its such a fun bright color, perfect for summer!

Next, we have this nice little blush/bronzer/highlighter compact from Crown Brush. This is a sample size, and the standard product is slightly different in appearance. 

definitely sample sized, but plenty of product to use!
definitely sample sized, but plenty of product to use!

They do make of point of explaining how you can use the three shades separately,but in a compact this small I think its a bit easier to just swirl them together, and that produces a very pretty shade that works very well for summer.

The three combine to make a very pretty, soft, shimmery color
The three combine to make a very pretty, soft, shimmery color

Then we have this little compact of cream lip color from Liptini, in the color Pinktini. (Maybe over using that naming convention a wee bit?) This is a satin-finish lip color, in a nice neutral mauve-y pink. According to their site, it can be used on the cheeks as well, and the color would definitely work well for both.

a great every day color!
a great every day color!

The final item is another one I was happy to get, but not because I wanted to try it, but because I was happy to have more of it! This is Marc Anthony Dream Waves Beach Spray.

This stuff smells AMAZING
This stuff smells AMAZING

This product is also great for summer because you can spray it into your hair after a shower, and it helps the hair air dry in good condition, and encourages any natural curl your hair has (my hair is a bit wavy, so this works out very well for me).

Overall I am quite happy with this month. While nothing was full sized, the samples are all quite ample, and good quality products. Nice one Ipsy. 🙂

If you enjoy my ipsy posts and think you’d like it too, you can sign up here – I will get some bonus points if you do! (This is a standard customer feature, I have no special arrangement with them.)

DIsclaimer: I purchased this subscription myself.

 

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… 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

IMG_20160603_094928321

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.)

IMG_20160603_095017832

 

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.

IMG_20160603_095029718

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

IMG_20160603_095059287

 

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.

Whats in my May Ipsy bag?

Destination: MY FACE (my jokes need work)
Destination: MY FACE (my jokes need work)

This month’s ipsy doesn’t have the most colorful items, but its still a solid selection, one made even better by the fun and unique bag we got this month. Not only is the pattern great, but the envelope style opening is unique (especially among ipsy bags, most have a top zipper) and a fun way to change things up.

What did I get this month?

First up, the Organic Pharmacy antioxidant lip balm. This is a basic, clear lip balm with a thin texture. Its packaging is a familiar plastic tube with angle tip applicator. Its fine, and its handy to have, but not ground-breaking. I will probably throw it in one of my bags for use on the go.

Nice, but likely forgettable
Nice, but likely forgettable

Next, the Bella Pierre lipliner. I feel like lip liner is something incredibly useful that I am always forgetting to add to my collection, so I like receiving neutral ones in these subscriptions (Sephora Play! helped me out with this too!) This is a nice neutral pinky-brown, and goes on very creamy and smooth. Unlike the sephora sample (from tarte), this is a full-size pencil, which is nice, because I don’t have to wonder if I will run out of product mid-application.

A nice simple lip pencil, the gel texture is very nice.
Its a nice pencil, no drag at all when applying.

I feel like hair oil can be a sort of polarizing product. Some people can’t live without it, some people won’t touch it! I haven’t really formed an opinion about the stuff myself, so I’m glad to have a small sample of this oil from Eva NYC to try out and play with. The oil has a very light, clean, almost powdery scent.

Will I like it? The SUSPENSE!
Will I like it? The SUSPENSE!

I was actually excited to get this next item, because its something I’m familiar with. I have gotten a single of these shadows before, and I’m happy to say the texture of these is just like the single I have. The Pacifica Natural Mineral eye shadow trio is not only a good sized sample, but its also a good trio! I plan on wearing these soon, these shadows have a lovely, creamy, rich texture, and a beautiful sheen.

2016-05-25-22-19-29
So pretty!

Final product, we have a Smashbox mascara. I have never tried the X-rated one before, so I will give it a try. In addition to having very wispy bristles, as you will see below, the brush is also triangular (so there are three sets of bristles positioned around the wand), which is interesting.  I am curious, but many mascaras that are not waterproof smudge on me, so I tend to be skeptical of new mascaras.

Do you have what it takes, little mascara?
Do you have what it takes, little mascara?

But WAIT. That is not all i received this month! One thing that is cool about Ipsy is that you can give them feedback on each item you receive, and for doing so you accumulate points. The points section of the site has a selection of rewards that is constantly being updated, so I decided to get myself a bonus, the Folium Medica Healing Oil

Who doesn't like a bonus?
Who doesn’t like a bonus?

From the website, this oil is supposed to

  • Helps diminish blemishes and scaring
  • Reduces hyper-pigmentation and sebum production
  • Repairs damaged skin cells, anti-inflammatory

These are all things that appealed to me, since I do still have to deal with breakouts. (Adult acne sucks, its true.)  So i’m hopeful trying this as well. Its a fairly large bottle for a free bonus,5 ounces, so I definitely feel like I got a good value. It has a fairly strong scent, an herbal, almost medicinal smell, but it seems to fade fairly quickly.

All in all, this may not be the most exciting bag I’ve ever gotten, but its definitely a good haul, I feel I’ve gotten a good value and some interesting new stuff to try, which is all I ever really want out of a subscription sample box.

Like the sound of Ipsy? If you are interested in signing up, this is my referral link. I get points for anyone that signs up using it, which I could redeem for more bonus items! You can just go to ipsy.com if you would prefer not to use my link.

Disclosure: I pay for my ipsy subscription myself.