Looking at this month’s subscriptions! Continue reading Beauty Box Battle: August!
Looking at this month’s subscriptions! Continue reading Beauty Box Battle: August!
Its that time again!
Last month, I called the winner as Sephora Play! so lets start there:
Sephora Play contained:
I actually have several of these tarte blushes, all of them from sample boxes actually. They are good quality, and very easy to use, and I never have gotten the same shade twice, so its always nice to add to my collection. Also, despite the packaging making me think this would be more of a bronzey color, when I swatched it (as you can see here), the color is a lovely natural pink flush.
As you can see, this is a very subtle tint, as its more of a lip treatment than a makeup item. I have had lipbalms from Fresh before, but never one of the Advanced Therapy ones, so I look forward to seeing if this makes any difference in the fine lines I get around my lips, as their copy promises it will do!
Next item is Youth To the People’s Superfood Air-Whip Hyaluronic Acid Moisture Cream , which is quite the mouthful for this little tub! I have actually received this moisturizer before, possibly from Allure’s box, and I found it felt nice enough, but I remember that I actually needed quite a bit to cover my entire face, so the tiny sample did not last very long. So its nice to have some extra moisturizer on hand, but this one isn’t very exciting.
Tarte Deep Dive Cleansing gel (rainforest of the sea collection) – My second skin care item is another one I’ve had before, but I got that one from a 500-point sephora reward kit that I selected. This is a nice cleanser that I liked using, not too drying or anything, so its nice to have more of it.
Algenist Genius Liquid Collagen the final skin care item in the box is not only new to me, but a fairly high end item, as I see that the full size bottle (one ounce/30ml) goes for about $115. The sample tube is .13 ounces, or 3.7 ml, which seems like a fairly decent size for a serum sample. I’m always happy to try some fancy skincare, and I love a nice hydrating serum so I’m sure I’ll enjoy this one!
The final item in the box is specifically cited as being the “bonus” item, but even so I find it disappointing. The Rahua Freestyle Texturizer is a foil packet containing 5ml of product, and the product itself is for creating a “voluminous, tousled look.” With my hair down to the small of my back, texturizers aren’t really something I reach for. So with the one-time use packaging, and the fact that its a miss for my hair type/style, this one is a bit of a let-down.
Overall this is not a bad selection, 4 out of the 6 items I’m quite pleased about. I would give this box a solid B.
Next up, Ipsy!
FEEL Restored Warming Clay Mask I love trying new face masks, and I especially love masks that warm up on your face as you use them, but I’m kind of suprised to get one in a summer bag, it feels like more of a cool weather item? But I do enjoy that in a face mask, so I’m delighted to try this one, totally new brand for me too!
AHAVA Facial Mud Exfoliator – this promises to be a gentle and moisturizing facial exfoliant, which is the only kind my skin seems to tolerate lately! I’ve tried a few things from AHAVA already and been happy enough with them, so I’m glad to try this one next.
LORD & BERRY Ultimate Lipliner in Mandarin – this lipliner feels very smooth and easy to apply, but the orangey tone is not my usual thing. But it is summery so I guess it makes sense for a July bag, and I’ll give it a try.
OFRA COSMETICS Eyeshadow in Exquisite I have gotten some OFRA products before, some highlight and blush, so I know they make good powder products, but I was quite happy to get this sparkly black shadow, as I don’t have a lot of colors like it:
As you can see, the swatch is kind of light, so this winds up being more of a charcoal color than a black, but I’m happy with that because I think that is a more versatile, wearable option. I can see myself using a damp brush to wear this powder as an eyeliner for sure!
SUGAR COSMETICS Stroke of Genius Heavy-Duty Kohl in 02 Purple Rain the final standard item in this box was this lovely full size eyeliner:
As you can see, this is a deep rich purple, which I was totally delighted to get. The formula glides on very smooth, and I can’t wait to use it!
Anyone who has gotten a beauty subscription for a while can tell you, its SO great to get a colorful liner instead of a black! Black eyeliner is useful, and a common standard for sure, but subscription boxes tend to send them far too often, so you can easily wind up with a larger supply than you need. I think Ipsy must have heard this feedback, because this item was only sent out to subscribers in purple or green, nice one Ipsy!
This month, I also redeemed some of the points I’ve accumulated on Ipsy. I dont’ really count this along with the rest of the bag, as I chose this item myself from a list of options. You get points by giving them feedback on your monthly items, and I chose to redeem mine in the form of a lip scrub:
The lipscrub is from Naked Cosmetics, and its their Vanilla Creme lipscrub. the scent is a nice rich vanilla without being super strong, and the sugar texture is present enough to exfoliate without being overly harsh,so I’ll definitely make use of this.
Overall I’m pretty happy with Ipsy this month. The makeup items are fun interesting colors (of good quality) and the skin care items look useful and are large enough samples to really get an idea of the products. While I don’t really include the lipscrub among the items they send since I chose it, I DO consider that Ipsy has a reward program generous enough that I can get a bonus item a handful of times each year. I’d give this bag an A!
Finally, lets look at the little red box:
Wow, Allure kind of went ham this month! I am not complaining, so lets take a look!
Ouai Haircare Leave-In Conditioner – I have tried Ouai before, but not this particular product (I got the wave spray previously). I am delighted to see that this has the same fresh, gently floral scent as their other product I’ve used, and I can’t wait to see if I like this as much as their wave spray!
Derma-E Essentials Mineral Powder (SPF 30) This powder can be used to set your makeup, or simply combat shine, and as a bonus contains SPF. I usually wear a sunscreen under my makeup, but its nice to get a little extra SPF boost in your finishing product, so I’ll definitely try this out.
Feel Harmony Rose Petal Facial Mask Ok guys, this is funny. I’ve got a second product from Feel! I’ve gotten doubles from different boxes before, but this time I got two different items from the same line in the same month, and i’m amused! This mask looks like its right up my alley. Its super hydrating AND reduces redness according to their copy. They even recommend putting this gel formula in the fridge to make it extra refreshing in the summer weather, so I cannot wait to try this out on a hot day.
Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil I am so excited! I have tried several Sunday Riley products before, including a full size of their vitamin C serum from a prior Allure box. This has been one of the most talked about items in their line, so I’m super excited to try it out, this is a hydrating retinol oil that is supposed to alleviate fine lines and wrinkles, and dryness and rough texture, all things that I have been dealing with.
Olay Regenerist Whip Moisturizer – I’ve been familiar with Olay products since I was a teen, and they’ve always had nice lightweight moisturizers. This new “whipped” line promises a super light finish, but with powerful moisturizers and anti-aging, so I’ll definitely give this a go and see if they’re as good as I remember.
The Organic Pharmacy Antioxidant Lip Balm – This is a new brand to me, but I always like getting another lip balm, I keep them everywhere! This one has some excellent ingredients, like shea butter and rosehip seed oil, with a light texture that doesn’t feel too greasy, and little to no fragrance, so I will definitely make use of it.
Make Up For Ever Artist Color Pencil in Full Red – At first glance this may look like a lipliner, but to my delight its far more interesting than that:
According to Make Up For Ever, the Artist Color Pencils are safe for use anywhere on the face, so it can be eyeliner, eyebrows, lip liner… anything you decide! I’m curious to see how well it serves these different jobs, so I will definitely have to play with this.
Doucce Ultra Precision Eyeliner in Blue – I guess Allure was tipped off to black eyeliner overload too, because here’s a bright royal blue liner!
This is a nice rich, bright blue color, in a lovely smooth formula. I am again delighted to get a fun bright color over having another black eyeliner, so this does not disappoint.
Guess what? Allure didn’t stop there. They emailed me a week before the box came to alert me that there was a “loyal subscriber” gift on the way, and it was included with the regular box:
A lovely set of earrings! These are a genuinely fun surprise, and I like them a lot! Also included was a $20 off coupon for Bauble Bar, but I’m not sure if that came along with the earrings, or if it was part of the regular box. Either way, little surprises like this are an awesome part of getting the allure beauty box. I’ve gotten surprise gifts from them at least two other times prior since becoming a subscriber.
Honestly, not a single item in this box was a disappointment. I’m floored at the sheer amount of products, usually its between 5-7, but to get EIGHT samples and a bonus gift? I can’t help but wonder if they saw my C-grade review of last month’s box!
Considering everything in the box, I think I have to give the Allure box an A+, winning the July battle! Quite the upset from them being my least favorite last month. This is exactly why I like getting a few different ones, I never know which one is going to be the best.
Nothing like dull, cold winter to make me look for face masks with words like “glow” and “purifying” in their names. It made this one feel like a no-brainer: The Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask.
And I’ve hit my word count on just the title. Kidding! (also, no one’s paying me for this, why would I have a word count minimum?)
Sometimes I want to treat my skin but I don’t have a lot of time, so I’ll check the wear times of various masks in my stash. This one (which I received as a bonus in-store sample when I made a purchase) boasted a 5-10 minute wear-time, so I picked it out on a weeknight when my skin felt a bit rough and looked a bit dull.
This packaging, while it made getting this picture simple,and reading the directions easy enough, made accessing the actual mask rather difficult. This is a thin, grainy mask, and it was very hard to squeeze out of the packet, so it took awhile to put on. By the time I was done, it had already started drying, feeling tight and yet also lumpy somehow? And I was wondering if I’d made a terrible mistake.
But, since I already had it on, and it washed off of my fingers easily enough, I figured I may as well finish it out. The directions indicated that for removal you should apply some warm water, and scrub in circular motions before rinsing it off. That sounded like it could get messy, so I opted to take this off while showering. I got my shower ready while I waited for it to finish drying. Once it dried, it seemed to be more like other masks, which was reassuring.
Once I got it wet and started scrubbing (gently! please don’t ever exfoliate roughly, your face just wants to be loved!) it broke down pretty quickly, and then it rinsed away very easily, without feeling overly dried out.
While I didn’t feel like there was any special sort of visual result or “glow” after I dried off, my face did feel very smooth, and applying my usual skin care afterward went very easily, and my face did definitely feel refreshed. The lumpy, grainy texture that alarmed me initially was probably mostly due to the exfoliating ingredients in the mask, and I probably should have thought of that at the time, but…yeah. I could probably write an entire post about scaring myself with beauty product mishaps. Please leave a comment if you want to see that!
Overall this mask definitely works, and I imagine the full size product (which comes in a jar) would be far easier to apply, which was the biggest problem I encountered with this sample. I think this is a perfectly good mask, but it wasn’t anything ground-breaking for me. The Body Shop sells this mask for $28.00, and that is honestly not a bad price considering you get a 3 ounce jar for that. I’ve had 1oz masks that have lasted me four or more uses, so the per-mask usage would probably work out fairly reasonable. If I was looking for a small splurge and felt like my face needed a treat, I might buy the full size of this one.
What kind of face masks do you like best? Is there a weird face mask you want to see me try? Let me know in the comments!
Is that headline a little gimmicky? Maybe. But honestly? I am too excited about this find to care. ARE YOU READY?
So an awesome friend of mine sent me a little care package recently and among the other goodies were two packets of face mask. This one here:
Looks pretty unassuming right? But we always send each other fun little items so I figured I’d give it a shot.
But its a face mask so you know what that means….
(i’m probably the only person that is amused by those…and yet i continue to post them…)
So when i was younger (just after the earth’s crust cooled) peel-off masks were around, but I don’t think they were terribly popular. I tried them, but I stopped buying them because they always seemed damn near impossible to remove, and i’d wind up scratching up my face trying to remove them. So honestly I was a little nervous going in, and definitely made sure to apply this generously.
The removal process was so simple it was even kind of fun! This mask peeled off quick and easy and nearly stayed in a complete piece! I would have tried to take a picture of it but I managed to destroy it almost immediately after removal, because I am so graceful.
After I peeled it off, i put on my usual nighttime moisturizer and went to bed, noting that my skin was not at all irritated, so I was happy enough. In the morning, when I washed up, I noticed my skin was SUPER soft, and in fact, looked clearer too. Since my friend was awesome enough to send me two packets of this mask, I tried it again about a week later and found that my skin was amazingly soft and clear again.
Finding that I was a little sad that I had no more packets of this mask, I ventured onto the internet to see if I was able to order it and what the damage would be. So imagine my DELIGHT when I found it at Ulta for $1.99 each!
So I have to say, this is a fantastic mask. I have tried a lot of face masks in recent history, and this one gave me such great results, for it to be so cheap I am definitely excited. Especially since this line apparently has a TON of different masks, and yes, some more peel-off ones! So I’m calling this a total rave, because for such quality results and low price, where could the downside possibly be?
Do you get overly excited about bargain products that work well too? Do you have a face mask that you think beats this one? Let me know in the comments!
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:
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:
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:
And of course, the setting powder:
This month from Ipsy I also redeemed points for a bonus – a very nice one too!
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!
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:
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!
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)!
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.