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.


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!

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


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.

from left to right, Caramel, Jelly and Gumdrop

Overall, a great lipbalm that I highly recommend!



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.


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.) ūüėČ

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.

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‚Äôs 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‚Äôs 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‚Äôs 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. ūüôā

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‚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


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.)



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.


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



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.

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 if you would prefer not to use my link.

Disclosure: I pay for my ipsy subscription myself.

Sephora Play! for May

I’ve been wanting to try the Sephora Play! box since it was announced, and just a few weeks ago, I finally got the opportunity to sign up.

Let's take a look inside!
Let’s take a look inside!

It ships in a sturdy cardboard box, and all the samples are tucked inside a cute cloth drawstring bag. When the box arrived, all the items seemed very tightly secured, so it traveled well. And whats in it?

First, there’s the Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! deep conditioning mask. This is a hair mask (no parabens, silicones or phthalates) that claims to repair, enhance shine, and reduce breakage by up to 81%. It smells absolutely wonderful, which is always a bonus. The sample is a full 1oz, ¬†so I feel confident I’ll be able to get a full use out of the sample, possibly more than one, depending on how easily it disperses into the hair.

Came in a nice handy tube, something easy to open with wet hands!
A nice handy tube, something easy to open with wet hands!

Next I have the Korres Wild Rose Advanced Brightening Sleeping Facial. Its an intensive moisturizer you apply before sleep that is supposed to improve your skin while you sleep, but this one claims to be a lightweight souffle that will “melt” into the skin. Night masks have become quite popular lately, and I have a few favorites, so after testing this out I may do a write-up of all the different ones I’ve tried. ¬†This also has a definite scent of rose to it, so anyone sensitive to fragrance might not appreciate that. ¬†But some night masks can leave an odd feel on the skin, so that’s something I’ll be looking for when I try this out. I do appreciate that in a box going out to a wide-range of subscribers, they chose a product that specifically states it is good for all skin types.

Also a tube, this one is .34 oz of product
Also a tube, this one is .34 oz of product

Next up, there’s a tarte tarteist lip crayon in latergram. I have a few tarte products, and even a lip product or two, so I was looking forward to this. It is a nice, neutral pinky brown tone, and I’m sure I can put it to use. However, it is very tiny, at .04g of product! I am not sure how many uses I will get, but I’m still looking forward to trying it.

Small! but pretty
Small! but pretty

Next up is a brand new product from Origins. Maskimizer skin optimizing mask primer. This is apparently a spray you put on your face before using a facial mask, which claims to make it easier to apply and remove masks, and make them more effective. The description notes it is not for use with peel-off masks. What I like about this sample the most is that they included samples of TWO of their own masks to try with the product, which I think is a fairly thoughtful inclusion.One is a charcoal pore cleansing mask, and one is an overnight hydration mask (see? overnight treatments ARE everywhere!), so I look forward to getting a good couple of tests out of this sample.

Masks are foil packets, the spray treatment is a tiny spray bottle
Masks are foil packets, the pre-treatment is a tiny spray vial.

Next up we have a cologne sample from Atelier Cologne, Orange Sanguine. ¬†I’m a big fan of citrus smells, so even though I don’t wear a lot of fragrance, I was looking forward to this one. From the website, the notes of this cologne are :¬†Blood Orange, Bitter Orange, Jasmine, Geranium, Amber Woods, Tonka Beans, Sandalwood.¬† The scent of this is rich and bright, anyone that likes orange would enjoy it. The only downside is that this is a plain vial with a plug, which I always find messy to use. I prefer sample vials with a sprayer.

Mmmmm, blood orange.
Mmmmm, blood orange.

I saved my favorite sample for last. Its a Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche lipstick in Kimchi. I have several Bite Beauty lipsticks, though none from the Amuse Bouche line, and I was excited to try this style. Their lipsticks are known for excellent pigmentation and moisture, and also known for being made with food grade ingredients.  The packaging is a mini version of their normal packaging, and there is a subtle sweet scent to the product, but it seems to fade quickly. The color is a lovely, bright pink and I cannot wait to wear it.

I love mini-lipsticks, so cute!
I love mini-lipsticks, so cute!

Also included in the box is a short booklet with a few details about the products, which was nice, but even better was the included Play Pass. This is a card I can bring into Sephora next time I make a purchase, and I will get an additional 50 Beauty Insider points on my account! (Beauty Insider is a loyalty reward program where you get points for purchases which you can redeem for bonus products)

Overall I am pretty happy with this subscription. The samples seem generous and I felt like I got a nice mix of makeup, hair and skin-care.  For $10 a month, I feel like I got good value for my money, and some very fun new things to try.

Do you get the Sephora Play!? What do you think? Do you want to know more about it? Want to tell me about a subscription you think I’d love? Please comment below and let me know!

Wonder Woman Makeup!

I was honestly too excited about this collection to think of a clever title. This collection, from what I’ve been able to gather, is a Walgreens exclusive, but also available via (Thank goodness!) I first heard about it when this flyer hit the internet, and I immediately started watching out for it. None of the Walgreens around me seemed to receive the collection (aside from a few pieces, more on that later), so once I heard it had hit, I placed an order.

WOOO! (me when i opened the shipment)
WOOO! -me when i opened the shipment

If you compare this to the flyer, ¬†I was not able to get everything. I have not be able to find the lip balm tins anywhere, which was disappointing. I saw the brush kit at a¬†store, but frankly, it looked fairly cheap and the brushes didn’t seem very useful or unique so I passed on it. I haven’t seen the bronzer & brush set for sale anywhere, so that was not an option either. ¬†But lets focus on what I DID get!

Liquid liners!
Liquid liners!

As you can see, they are pretty standard liquid liners with a fine brush applicator. The bottles feel like hard plastic, and the caps are bright red with the logo in gold foil, pretty!

The names are on the bottoms, Warrior Black, Golden Lasso and Superhero
The names are on the bottoms, Warrior Black, Golden Lasso and Superhero

I found these liners to be inconsistent. If you are looking for a deep, glossy black liner that’s fully opaque in one pass, you WILL be happy with Warrior Black, but if you want that result from the other two, you will be disappointed. ¬†Golden Lasso is gold glitter in a clear base, so like any other glitter liner, requires several passes to even begin to show up as a solid line. ¬†Superhero was a bit of a let down. It is a satin finish bright blue, and was rather watery on one pass, I had to go over it several times for it to finally resemble the color in the tube, and while it looks pretty opaque in the photo, it did not look quite as rich in person.

the black is one pass, the blue and the gold were each 3-4passes with the brush
the black is one pass, the blue and the gold were each 3-4 passes with the applicator

Next up I have the solo eye palette (Paradise Eye-land). This is a small red plastic case with mirror (the Wonder Woman design is a plastic overlay that feels removable), and contains 8 eyeshadows.

Colors are Olympia, Wisdom, Strength, Heroic Beauty, Spitfire, Spirit of Truth, Victorious and Freedom Fighter
Colors are Olympia, Wisdom, Strength, Heroic Beauty, Spitfire, Spirit of Truth, Victorious and Freedom Fighter

As you can see, the palette is very sleek, not much excess packaging at all. I found the eyeshadows in this set to be very creamy and smooth, the texture is lovely. I was actually surprised at how wearable I found the shades, since Wonder Woman tends to be associated with fairly bold colors.  Despite that, this is a pretty, neutral palette.


I would point out that the first few shades there do look sheer, but its actually just that they are pale, they were just as smooth to use as the other colors.  That shiny blue (Spirit of Truth!) is clearly the standout of the palette, and I plan to feature it in a look soon.

Next up, the lipgloss set. I almost didn’t buy these, as I don’t wear a ton of lip gloss, but I am SO glad I did. These really surprised me! This comes as a set of three squeezy tubes with an angled tip applicator; with red caps and gold foil logo and star accents. They also have a hard-to-pin-down scent, somewhere between cake and candy, but I find it very pleasant, and not too strong. ¬†As you will see below, these actually have a good amount of pigment to them! The sheerest of the set is the darkest one, which actually works out well, as it makes it a very flattering and wearable color. They are also very smooth feeling on the lips, and not at all sticky, which is nice.

Colors are Athena's Kiss, Mighty Aphrodite and Wonder Woman
Colors are Athena’s Kiss,Mighty Aphrodite and Wonder Woman (order of the swatches)

Of course, the collection had to include a red lipstick. Unlike the glosses, I noticed no discernible scent from it, and the finish seemed fairly matte, and very nicely opaque in just one pass. The packaging is very lightweight, but the red plastic case features a very nice illustration of Wonder Woman, making this an awesome piece of the collection.

The color is Heroine- take that Mac! ;)
The color is Heroine- take that Mac! ūüėČ

Finally, the biggest piece of the collection, and frankly my favorite, the Beauty Book.

The cover flips open to show two different look suggestions
The cover flips open to show two different look suggestions

This really is my favorite piece of the collection. It contains 9 eyeshadows, one blush/bronzer, one liquid eyeliner, one tube of eyeshadow primer, a small lipstick and a sponge eyeshadow applicator. ¬†I’ll start by answering the first two questions I had: ¬†Is that the same lipstick, and is that eyeliner from the other set? ¬†The lipstick¬†is not the same color. The one is this set is called Amazonian Red and its definitely a different shade of red from the standalone lipstick. The standalone is more of a berry red and matte, while the one from the set is a deeper, more true-red color, and has a more satin finish:

Top color is Heroine, bottom color is Amazonian Red
Top color is Heroine, bottom color is Amazonian Red

As for the liner, it is the same. It is also called Warrior Black, and the formula feels exactly the same. Though the packaging is different(and smaller), it is the same sort of fine brush applicator.

Dig that cute eyeliner bottle!
Dig that cute eyeliner bottle!

The set also includes an eyeshadow primer. While the packaging only references Walgreens as the distributor, some of my reading about the collection revealed that the company Markwins was involved in the production. They are responsible for Wet & Wild and Black Radiance, among other drugstore brands. I mention this now, because they are responsible for my BFF eye primer, the Wet & Wild Fergie Take On The Day primer (this is no longer available, but I believe their new Photofocus one is the same formula-I’ll be testing that soon). ¬†Having only given this a quick look (and test on my arm) I suspect this might also be the same formula. It looks and feels the same so far, but I haven’t tested the durability yet.

The tube is all red with gold foil logo and says "Bulletproof"
The tube is all red with gold foil logo and says “Bulletproof”

That leaves the ten powder products: one blush/bronzer and nine eyeshadows. The blush is Grace and Power, the eye-shadows are Golden Age, Legendary Pink, Modern Age, Golden Tiara, Amazon Princess, Marine Ultra, Secret Identity, Emancipation and Valiant.¬†Happily, I found that these shadows have the same texture as the Paradise Eye-land palette, smooth and almost creamy feeling. But even better, none of the colors are the same, so you aren’t doubling up any colors if you get both items. The bronzer/blush has a slighty firmer texture, but it was still smooth and easy to work with.

I love the color names.
I love the color names.

And I was quite happy with the color payoff on them. Just like in the other palette, the lightest shades are a bit weak, but those deeper colors are just fabulous.


The sheen on Golden Tiara and Amazon Princess was even prettier in person. ¬†Honestly these are great shadows and i’m excited to try them out, maybe I’ll test out the looks in the foldout cover too.

Overall, I’m happy with the collection. I think the packaging is gorgeous and really fun, and the products are ones I think I will happily use repeatedly. One of the most amazing parts of the collection is its affordability. The most expensive item here, the Beauty Book, only cost $11.99, and I thought the pricing on everything was more than reasonable. In fact, the lipstick, at $2.99, almost feels like a steal!

I’m glad to see a collection like this come out, I like the recognition that girls like being heroes too! I did notice something on the spine of the Beauty Book while putting this post together, and I have to wonder, does Walgreens have more up their sleeve? I for one would be quite excited!


V.1? like, Volume 1????

Could it be? Well, in my opinion: MORE SUPERHERO COLLECTIONS YES PLEASE!

April Ipsy Bag

Ipsy sends everything in a cute bag each month!
Ipsy sends everything in a cute bag each month!

If you are not familiar, Ipsy is a monthly beauty sample subscription service. Unlike the Allure box, this one is much more customized; with ipsy, you can compare bags with friends, and its possible that you all got different items! I always look forward to discussing the items with other subscribers.

You take a quiz when you sign up, and you select preferences on the types of items you like (for example, if you’re more into nail polish than lip gloss), they select your samples based on that. Another way you inform them of your preferences is by reviewing your samples every month.

Something else I enjoy about Ipsy is that each month you get your samples in a new makeup bag. The styles are always different, if one isn’t your taste, it’s likely you’ll get one you love in another month. ¬†I do like this one, but there have been a few major favorites in past months.

The products this month are pretty awesome too!

I’ve had tarte Lipsurgence products before, and this one is a very pretty warm pink. I’ve always found that while these lip colors don’t have a lot of staying power, they are very comfortable on the lips and easy to apply quickly.

I’ve never tried Pretty Woman nail polish before, but this purpley-pink (almost orchid?) color is really fun and I will definitely use it- possibly for a pedicure.

I’ve gotten products from City Color before, in fact, I got those from Ipsy too! This highlighter set is very nicely made, and the powders are nice and smooth. I don’t use a ton of highlighter, but these make me want to play around with highlighting more!

This bag feels very well put together, receiving a highlight palette and a highlight brush in the same bag is very handy! The brush is full and soft, and I think will work quite well for its intended use.

This last item kind of surprised me, I don’t often get fancy skincare items from Ipsy, but I certainly don’t mind- I wouldn’t subscribe if I didn’t like trying new things! ¬†“Resurfacing” pads are essentially a chemically-soaked exfoliant disc, which can seem scary but its just another way to slough away dead skin cells to make the skin smoother and more radiant. Some exfoliants can be very hard on the skin, so whether it’s primarily physical or chemical, its important to be gentle when exfoliating! ¬†When I haven’t tried a new exfoliant, I prefer to test them first. I will likely to test one of these pads on one of my arms and then wait a day to make sure there is no reaction before using it on my face.

I have been getting Ipsy for about 3 years now, and I always look forward to that puffy pink mailer arriving ; I have discovered some great products through it, but I also have learned what I¬†don’t¬†like in different beauty products, which is very helpful to figure out.

Do you get Ipsy? What  do you think of my bag this month? Do you get an entirely different subscription? Tell me about it, I would love to hear from you!