Tag Archives: review

Review it! Dove body scrub

When the oppressive summer heat hits a solid stride, that makes me reach for body scrubs.  Something about the weather being all hot and sticky makes the idea of exfoliating extra appealing.   Whatever the reason, Dove’s new body scrubs arrived on the scene just in time for me.

These scrubs come in three scents: Kiwi seeds and Aloe, Pomegranate seeds and Shea butter and Crushed Macadamia and Rice Milk. I was fortunate enough to receive all three of these to try out.

Honestly? I love these. Each scent is pleasant and fresh, and not overpowering. The texture is very nice, its almost totally opaque when you first smooth it on; it does start to thin out as you scrub, but it doesn’t dissipate too quickly.

See that rich texture?

The packaging on these is also very good. The  lids on the jars have just enough grip to make opening them in the shower easy, and the protective inner lid keeps things tidy and pops out easily, there’s even a little pull-tab. I have also noticed that the open jar sits quite steadily inside the outer lid, which is great when you don’t have a lot of shelf space.

Close up detail of the inner lid

So I have to say, these scrubs are a total win for me. All of the scents are nice, the texture is totally luxurious, and it’s consistent between the different scents.  For a drugstore item, I think these are totally worth it, even at a higher price point, I think these would still be worth it to me. The hardest decision here is which scent to use next!

 

 

Disclaimer: I received these from a promotional giveaway, with no obligation or compensation.

Beauty Box Battle: July!

Its that time again!

Mail’s in!

Last month, I called the winner as Sephora Play! so lets start there:

Goodness, apparently!

Sephora Play contained:

Tarte Amazonian Clay 14-hour blush in Paaarty

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.

 

 

 

Fresh Sugar Advanced Therapy Lip Treatment in Dream

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.

Easy to swatch too

 

 

 

 

 

 

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:

No really – EIGHT items!

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.

Beauty Box Battle: Allure Beauty Box, Ipsy and Sephora Play

Shiiiiiny

One of the most common questions I see regarding subscription boxes is “which is the best one?”  I always think the best way to make that determination is to compare the contents. They vary month to month, so lets compare Ipsy, Allure Beauty Box, and Sephora Play, and see which box was the best for June!

Ipsy:

Love that pride shout out <3

Doucce Lucious Lipstain in Passion Peach, which is an incredibly bright coral color. This color is outside my normal comfort zone, but does seem summery. I have seen this brand before but previously had only tried their eyeshadow. Also it was really hard to get this swatch entirely off my  hand, so I can see this formula really stays put!

O_O  HAI CORAL

Firma Beauty 102 Elite Blush Brush  -this brush seems well constructed, and densely packed while still having a soft feel and good movement. The brand is new to me but I’m happy with the brush.

Soo Ae Charcoal Clay Bubble Mask  –another new-to-me brand, but it is packed with both trendy and well established skincare ingredients, such as charcoal, green tea, and kaolin clay and bentonite. And a bubble mask is always fun! I’m also pleased that they sent two packets, since each one is a one-time use item.

KVOSSNYC Macaroon lip balm – another new brand for me, this seems like a standard tub of lip balm, but doesn’t have much scent or flavor, which is a little disappointing. Given that its called macaroon, I was hoping for a vanilla or almond scent, or at least something more cookie-like, and the balm itself is a bit thin, so not my favorite.

Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizing Hydrating Primer – now here is a brand I know! I have gotten samples from them before, but never this item. I’ve been having a lot of dry skin issues lately, so I’m rather please to get this hydrating version of their primer!

Overall the ipsy bag is ok. Its a nice variety of products, a tool, some skin care, some color makeup, but nothing that really excited me. I’d say the bag overall is maybe a B.

Allure beauty box (Kat Von D collab)

A special box!

I know, you’re thinking, “when did Allure Beauty Box go goth??” As I mentioned above, this month’s Allure box was a special collaboration with Kat Von D cosmetics, so not only are four of the five products from Kat Von D, we even get a unique box design, very removed from the usual bright red with Allure logo. This was not a special edition box, this came with a normal subscription.

Kat Von D: Tattoo Liner in Trooper Black, Studded Kiss Creme Lipstick in Double Dare, Everlasting Lip Liner in Lolita, Wax Seal Travel Mirror – (not available on her site,but they do have a full size version)

Lolita liner and Double Dare lipstick

Ole Henriksen Transforming Walnut Scrub

Honestly this selection was a little underwhelming. I have multiple samples of the Kat Von D tattoo liner in trooper (black), and the mirror felt like a bit of a cheap-out. I got a similar mirror to this in a 500 point reward from Sephora. The lipstick and liner are nice, and the full size of the Henriksen face scrub is definitely a cool item, but the super common liner, and the mirror left this box feeling a bit meh, so maybe a C.

Sephora Play for June:

Loving that neon style bag

Milk Makeup Kush High Volume Mascara in Boom Black – this mascara has some interesting claims. It states that it contains cannabis oil, and that it has heart shaped fibers.  The fibers apparently prevent the spidery look that more cylindrical fibers can cause, and are supposed to help provide length and volume. The hemp-derived oil is supposed to provide hydration, and help make your lashes healthier over time.  I’m always wary of hydrating mascara formulas, as most tend to smudge or transfer on me rather quickly, but I’m always willing to try a new mascara.

Clinique Take the Day Off Makeup Remover – this is not only a familiar brand for me, but a solid product. Getting a trial size of an effective makeup remover is always great, good for travel, or for keeping by my makeup for quick corrections. Always great to have!

Too Faced Melted Matte Liquified Long Wear Lipstick in Queen B. This is a familiar brand but a new product for me, and I have to say I’m impressed. Its a lovely color, dries quick, and stays put and stays comfortable! Plus I think this color is wearable for a lot of skin-tones, so I appreciate that consideration for inclusion in a sample box.

Queen B! bzzzzz…i’ll stop now.

Belif the True Cream Aqua Bomb  -I have tried this before, but I am not mad to get a new sample! This is a really nice moisturizer that has a light feel but is still powerful enough to provide some serious hydration, happy to get more of it!

Alterna Haircare Caviar Anti-Aging Miracle Multiplying Volume Mist funny enough, i’ve gotten this before too, I still have a bottle with my hair products! It has a nice scent, and I think it does give my hair a bit of a boost, so I definitely don’t mind more of this one!

Prada Candy Sugar Pop  this is considered the “bonus” item, but most Sephora boxes include a perfume sample.  I do appreciate that this one came fully sealed in a plastic packet, which protects your other items from leaks.  However, this scent confuses me.  According to their own copy, its key notes are Green Bergamot, Apple and Vanilla. And the scent is a “powdery floral,” something I wouldn’t expect from the name Candy Sugar Pop. But further into their description, I see them referring to the scent as having an “ironic twist”.  This is not a bad scent, but it was so far removed from what the name and packaging made me expect, that I really think its misleading, and could be a very unpleasant surprise for someone.

Overall, I like the products from Play! this month, although only 3 of the six products are new to me, everything I got is pretty good. I do love the cloth bag they sent with the fun 80’s neon design too. So this box didn’t deliver too many exciting new things, but it did deliver some good products, so I’d say it’s a B+.

 

Looking at my grades, looks like Sephora Play! had my favorite collection this month, but it was pretty close! One of the reasons I get each of these is that often times, they are very similar in quality, like this month, and I find it hard to choose a clear favorite.  But I look forward to comparing them month to month to see what major differences and similarities become apparent about them.

 

Esqido Lashes: Made to Lash

This post is rather special to me.  Why is that? Because this is the first time I was independently contacted by a company to be sent their product to review. While I have been sent a product to review before (and they are STILL a favorite, believe me!), I got connected to that company through a supportive friend.  So unless someone at this other company is secretly a friend of mine, this is solely based on my online presence.

 

What was I sent to review?

Ta Da!

Esqido lashes – and they were kind enough to include a full size tube of their lash glue! I was given my option of their various styles of lashes, and after trying the guide on their site, I opted for the style, “Starlet”*.

As you may recall, I’ve only just gotten into lashes,  so you can imagine how pleased I was at the timing on this. I just figure out how to wear the darn things, and here comes a high end pair for me to try!

They arrived packed neatly and compactly in a padded mailer – no excess shipping material- and the packaging is quite nice. the lash container has a magnetic closure. They also included their lash glue, which comes in a hard tube with a brush applicator.

These lashes have a nice cotton band, and while I know for many, the preference tends to be for a thinner and less detectable band, as someone newer to false lashes I quite like the band. It helps a great deal not only with have a solid place to put the glue, but with positioning them on the eye. They were very comfortable to wear too. I didn’t find the  band cumbersome at all, and once I got them in place I didn’t find it that obvious either, as you can see.

That volume though! <3

 

The glue that they sent was so easy to use, I nearly forgot to include it when I was making notes for this article! Lash glue is one of those things where, if it works well, you barely think about it. The brush was super easy to work with, and the formula was a nice even consistency that was easy to get exactly where you want it without making a mess. Their formula is latex and formaldehyde free, and is $10, not unreasonable for the 5.5ml you get in the tube. It also doesn’t take forever to dry, and held until I used remover to take the lashes off at the end of my day.

One thing I’m getting used to is how dramatic a difference false lashes makes on my appearance.  The difference is quite striking, and I felt it was worthy of a side-by-side comparison:

yes I know the lighting is weird.

If you are trying to make your eyes stand out, I have to say false lashes are a great way to help you get there. I think anything that makes my smaller eyes look bigger and pop is a marvel.  And don’t think glasses are a barrier to them either! I was a little concerned, given how bold these lashes seemed when I got them, but they don’t touch my glasses at all, and look totally fine with them:

After another look at Esqido’s line, I discovered that these are considered a “medium volume” lash. They also have light and full volume, so they really have a wide variety of styles to choose from.

While these are great, they are definitely a higher end item, at $29.00 a pair for the Starlett style I am wearing.  So if you’re looking to spend a little bit of money, and want something high quality, these are definitely worth it, they are soft and lush, but also very well constructed and comfortable to wear, and they will definitely hold up through multiple wearings. The packaging is nice as well, so you can hold onto it and store your lashes in it for as long as you have them.

*at the time when I was selecting my option for review, they had not yet released their synthetic line, Unisyn, which is now available on their site. The lashes I received and tested are mink hair. 

 

Disclosure: This product was sent to me by the manufacturer for review purposes.

A FAB Moisturizer!

Honestly I’m not sure how I didn’t write about this  sooner.  I’m not even going to keep you guessing. This isn’t so much a review as me extolling the virtues of a fantastic product. And yes, this is skincare, not makeup, but the first step to making your makeup look good is taking good care of your skin.

I found this product as a result of research, believe it or not.  A few years back, during a rather brutal winter, both my husband and I were suffering some skin trauma from the bitter wind, particularly on our faces. The moisturizer I’d been using at the time (long since forgotten!) simply wasn’t enough to protect either of us, and we were not only uncomfortably dry, but our cheeks were getting very red, and neither of us really cared for that look.

At this point in my life, my knowledge of skin care was fairly basic; Wash face, moisturize face, exfoliate face sometimes, use face masks to feel…fancy?  So I started reading up on skincare. Looking into the whats and hows of what makes a moisturizer effective, learning about emollients and moisture barriers; learning about ceramides and Hyaluronic acid. Then I looked for information on relieving persistent redness, and found marshmallow root and Feverfew. So armed with a list of ingredients I started googling, and one of the first ones I found contained all the best things I was seeking out! Initially I was a little put off by the price tag – a 6oz tub for $30!

However, to my delight, it was also available in a travel size (a nice 2 ounce tube) for only $12. Having only purchased drugstore skin care prior to this, I was a little wary of stepping up to the higher end level, and being able to start with a smaller size took some sting out of the process.

The difference this stuff made nearly had me singing. My face actually still felt moisturized when I woke up the next morning. And no dryness during the day either! Over a week or two I was pleased to note that the redness in my cheeks started to fade as well. My husband and I noted some other welcome ingredients, such as tea tree oil, and we were quite pleased to have found something chock full of useful ingredients.

Just this month, I discovered another thing this moisturizer could do for me. I was only just starting to feel better from a cold, and I’d run out of lotion tissues (which is how i normally avoid red  & chapped “sick person” nose). I noticed my nose was just starting to chap; something that always frustrates me. It takes forever to heal and you end up looking sick long after you’re feeling better! I looked at some of my various skin products and considered what to do, before picking up the FAB repair cream and applying it to the area.

For a few minutes? Thought I’d made a GRAVE, GRAVE mistake. It tingled….no, it STUNG. I thought to myself – Oh NO, I thought: I have gravely irritated my skin, it will look awful! – But soon after, the sting died right out. I took a look in the mirror, and it wasn’t red. I gingerly touched the area that had felt chapped earlier to see how it was, and i found SMOOTH skin.  Honestly, I wouldn’t recommend this if the skin is already broken, but if you can get yourself to remember to treat your skin while tending to a cold, the recovery process can be less frustrating. 

Since that first purchase of this stuff, in the 2oz tube, I now happily hand over $36 for the value sized 8oz tube. (I also prefer the tube format to a tub, less opportunity for contamination) While that might seem like a lot for some moisturizer, this is hard working stuff that we use on any stubborn dry skin, not just our faces, and that 8oz tube lasts for months and months.

The glorious 8oz tube!

Is there a never-fail product in your arsenal that you always keep in stock? So dependable you might forget about it sometimes? Tell me about it in the comments!

Amazing skin treatment for $2?

Is that headline a little gimmicky? Maybe. But honestly? I am too excited about this find to care. ARE YOU READY?

Actual images of me right now.

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:

I’ve passed masks like these in the drugstore plenty of times, haven’t you?

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….

GLAMOUR SHOT!

Shiny yet terrifying!

(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!

I may have celebrated like this in front of others. I think I take this stuff too personally.

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!

 

Review it! Colourpop Blotted Lip

When summer approaches, natural makeup looks become a more common topic, for good reason.  A full face of makeup on a hot humid day is generally not long for this world, so why put in the effort?

When I’m going for a more natural look, I don’t usually like wearing bright opaque lip colors.  In fact if I’m not wearing anything else,  I like having at least a little tint on my lips. So when I spotted Colourpop’s new lip products, the Blotted Lip and the Ultra Blotted Lip I was very excited to try them out!

Colourpop Blotted Lipstick in Bee’s Knees

The Colourpop Blotted Lip is a 1 ounce lipstick that comes in a matte white tube that clicks shut (very satisfyingly!). The product itself is matte and incredibly lightweight, and yet highly pigmented.  Here’s a comparison of my bare lips with one coat of the shade Bee’s Knees:

Ready for a date with Two-Face! 😉

I found it dryer than I expected, most tinted products are some sort of balm or gloss, but despite that, it applies very smoothly. And you can build it up for a richer payoff, if you want, easily:

This is about 3 coats.

While this isn’t as long lasting as a liquid lipstick that dries down, it has some pretty good staying power. it took quite a long day of eating & drinking to wear it out, and even then it faded pretty evenly.

I think these are an excellent product. They come in 11 colors, and are only $5 each! in fact, right now a few of them are on sale for $4.  (Incidentally, if you were ever a fan of the Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey, you might want to check out the shade Lolly – I’m planning to get one myself!)

Is this your kind of lip color?  Do you already have a color you like, but the finish isn’t the look you want right now? If so, my next post is for you – I’m going to be talking about the versatility of the good old fashioned classic lipstick. You can even follow me on Facebook, InstagramTwitter  or Tumblr to make sure you don’t miss my next post.

 

Disclaimer: I have no arrangements with Colourpop, I purchased this product with my own money.

Subscription Showdown: February!

Yes I know its March, but whats my favorite thing to do while I wait for this month’s subscriptions to arrive? Compare last month’s subscription boxes!

Exciting!

Lets open them up and see who made the best February box. First up: Ipsy!

This month has a cute denim bag with a lip shaped zipper tab.

In this month’s Ipsy glam bag I got:

Not a bad haul! The thing that immediately caught my eye was the NYX lipstick. I already am a big fan of the brand, and this lipstick definitely didn’t let me down:

love the color coordinated packaging!

This lipstick is lightweight and goes on creamy and smooth. There’s no shimmer to it, but its a moisturizing formula so the finish has a nice shine to it.

The Bellapierre mascara looks promising as well:

This mascara has a full, straight bristle brush, dense enough that I think it will easily get every lash. The formula doesn’t seem too wet either, which I like because it makes it a little harder to accidentally smudge some on your skin.  Since my eyes are a bit oily, I prefer waterproof mascaras in general, as they are less likely to transfer during the day, so I think this will be a good one for me.

The makeup brush is either the second or third I’ve gotten from Luxie, and I was happy to see it. Their brushes are super soft, dense, and well constructed; this will definitely be well used. The finishing powder from Naked Cosmetics is very nice, finely milled and smooth, and will do fine job setting foundation & concealer. I have a number of setting powders, maybe I should do a comparison breakdown sometime, see if these higher end ones are worth the money – comment below if that is of interest to you! The final item, the face mask, looks interesting. It promises to exfoliate and hydrate, so I’ll definitely have to test this out and see how their promises hold up.

Next up: Allure Beauty Box!

Six items!

This month, Allure sent:

First off, the Cargo color stick, which is a cream color you can apply to eyes, cheeks or lips. The color we got is Champagne, which is a highlighting shade (a pretty soft pink) and gives a beautiful, not glittery sheen when applied:

This is a full size sample!

The mascara in this box is from Beauty Counter:

A skinny brush and tube

According to Beauty Counter, this is a lengthening mascara that will condition lashes when you wear it. The brush is very tiny, so it will be easy to get to every lash without getting mascara smudges all over while applying, which I appreciate.  I’m concerned that the oils and hydration in it will make it more likely to transfer, but maybe I’ll be surprised!

This month also included a lip plumper from GrandeLips. I myself have found many lip plumpers to be rather uncomfortable, with overpowering mint or cinnamon scents and strong tingling sensations. This one has a softer vanilla scent, and contains hylauronic acid to maintain moisture, so I’m optimistic that this one will prove to be more comfortable than some I have previously tried.

Also this month, we got a trial packet of First Aid beauty “radiance” pads, which promise to exfoliate, tone & brighten. I’ve tried this sort of product before, and while I found them effective, they do cause some sharp stinging right after use. Since First Aid beauty always has sensitive skin-friendly products, I am hoping these will be a bit gentler.

Next up, we got a tube of Olay Pro-Retinol Eye Treatment. They make some great skin care products, and I have some fine lines around my eyes, so I was quite happy to receive this, I believe its a full size sample, which is pretty great too! The final product was a tea-light size candle from Red Flower. I’m not really big on scented candles so this is kind of a take it or leave it product for me, but it does have a nice rose scent.

There was one final item included in the Allure box, a card indicating a code that would provide subscribers a free month with a custom prescription skin care company called Curology. I did not include it in the photo because both sides of the card include the code. Since the box already had six items without this, its not a bad bonus.

Last but never least, we have Sephora Play!

This month’s selection came in this cute pink satin bag- very nice!

This box contains:

This month’s sephora box included a mascara- their own brand, and i believe this is a new one:

Note the unusual paddle-shaped brush

As you can see, this mascara has an atypical brush, it is a little similar to the Lorac Cobra mascara brush, only that one is also curved. I have found that this paddle-style brush offers a surprisingly good amount of control in application, so I look forward to trying this one out.

This month also included the tinted lip balm from tarte, a very light, basic color:

Tiny but cute packaging!

Its very sheer,  lacking in fragrance, and feels very moisturizing.  This looks to be a great one to throw in my bag for quick touch ups when I just want a bit of color and need some moisture.

Next, this box also included a plumping lip gloss, this one from Too Faced:

Pretty packaging, a glass tube and brushed goldtone cap!

This is a creamy, glossy lip gloss, a bit stickier than I generally go for, and the color is kind of pale too, but it might be fun to layer with a brighter lipstick. This also didn’t remind me of some of the harsher plumping lip glosses I remember, which were very uncomfortable, so its nice that plumping can be achieved more comfortably.

Sephora’s box always includes a perfume, and this month’s is Prada Candy. I was not excited about this, because I’m picky about cologne, and honestly I expected this to be a very sweet, light & flowery young fragrance. And i was genuinely surprised! This has deeper, vanilla and caramel scents to it, and was a stronger, more mature scent that I think I may actually wear. Fun surprise!

The last two products, an eye cream and a moisturizer, I’m happy to get. I don’t really have a favorite of either right now, so i like trying new ones. The clinique moisturizer is apparently also something of a primer, and I love products that can do multiple things, so this i may keep with my makeup to use when I need a more hydrating primer.  The “refreshing” eye cream sounds great for the morning, so I will be trying that out soon.

It was fun to discover that for February, all these boxes had some things in common!  Each box had at least one lip product, and each had a mascara.  All three boxes had some great stuff this month, and I’m pretty happy with all three. I feel like both Sephora and Allure had a focus on skin care, or a natural look, whereas my ipsy bag was decidedly more makeup focused. So for that alone, i’m hailing Ipsy as my February winner Being more of a makeup lover,  Ipsy had the stuff i was most excited about this month.

What were your favorites? Did I get anything you want a more in-depth review of?  Let me know in the comments, or drop me a line on my Facebook page, I’d love to hear from you!

Anniversary Face Mask Mega-review!

Today marks one year of my blog’s existence, and though the anniversary caught me by surprise, I still want to commemorate the occasion, so I’m bringing you FOUR face masks reviews at once!

Face Mask Bonanza!

Here’s the masks we’re looking at today:

Lets look at the Sephora Honey Mask. These are sold individually, so I purchased one to try at Sephora. According to their site, this mask “nourishes and balances to soothe and refresh dry or sensitive skin.” This one’s a sheet mask so you know what that means:

Creepy Sheet Mask!

Obviously sheet masks are fairly quick to apply, but this one particularly made me feel like I have a tiny(!) face. here’s an even better shot of the excess material:

SUCH Glamour

Obviously these masks need to be able to fit everyone, so the excess fabric I get, but the mask itself slid around a lot, I spent most of the 15 minutes I wore it trying to make it stay out of my eyes.  These masks can also be a bit drippy, so I’m glad I was just wearing pjs when I tried it.

When time was up, I easily pulled the mask off and discarded it, and proceeded to try and rub the remaining serum into my skin as the packaging directs (and there was quite a lot on me). I found it took at least ten minutes for all the product to finally be absorbed, and my skin to no longer feel tacky.  Once it was finally done though? My face felt wonderfully soft and smooth.

Next we have the Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask to clear pores. (Quite a long name!)  No sheet for this one, its just directly applied to the face:

Like my sassy hair towel?

This one went on fairly easily, and didn’t run or drip, despite having a thinner texture. It did dry, but didn’t get very tight.  I also found that it was a bit stubborn to remove – it took a couple minutes at least to get all traces off.  I didn’t feel like I saw or felt a huge difference in my skin, but I did note in the directions for the full size that they want you to use this twice a week in conjunction with daily use of their “cleansing powder” to see improvement. Since I only had a sample packet with enough for one use, I can’t really gauge if their claims are accurate. Once I finally got it all off, I felt the need to apply my usual moisturizers, and my skin felt ok afterward, but nothing unique.

The First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Instant Oatmeal mask seems focused on convenience to me. Its light texture allowed it to be applied fast, it only needs to stay on for ten minutes to be effective, and it rinses away very easily.

So light, but oat-filled!

This mask’s claim is that it  ” calms, nourishes, and smooths distressed skin.” And it may not be dramatic, but I think it gets the job done. It contains colloidal oatmeal and feverfew – both of which are great for soothing and reducing redness. My skin felt nourished and looked calmer after I rinsed this one off. This mask also recommends use two to three times a week as needed, but the sample pack I received of this mask contained enough for at least 3 applications, and I felt I saw improvement after only one use.

Last but not least, we have the Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment. Given the large amount of positive press/reviews this line has received and its high price tag, I was very excited to receive a sample tube of this to try out.  This mask’s goal is clearing your complexion of  blemishes, redness, scars, razor bumps, and in-grown hair, as well as softening and brightening your complexion.  A tall order!  This mask was not as creamy as I expected, so it took a bit longer to apply, and already felt a bit dry when first applied:

Fancy time?!

The instructions also note that as this mask dries, you will see dots appear where the mask is extracting from your pores and/or blemishes, which it refers to as “Pore-Matrix Technology”.  I can’t speak to the science of that, but I can show you how the mask looks after 15 minutes:

Do forgive the closeup, I wanted to show how the pores became visible as the product did its work. The darker spots do correspond to where I had some small blemishes.  As this mask dried, it got extremely tight, almost to an uncomfortable degree. However, I was surprised to find that this mask rinsed away very easily for a mask that dried down so much.  I also have to say that I felt like my skin felt tighter and brighter after using it; and blemishes seemed reduced as well. The sample I received was small, but I suspect I can get another use, possibly two out of it.

Overall, I enjoying using face masks, its nice to take a little time just for pampering your skin. While these masks don’t all do the same things, these all serve a purpose. The Sephora sheet mask was nice except for the long absorption time, but from what I have read, this may be unique to the honey variety, so I will likely try other versions of this one, as sheet masks can be quite convenient, even when they don’t fit perfectly. The First Aid Beauty Oatmeal mask is a great quick soother, and I’ll definitely use the rest of it up. My favorite  of this group was probably the Glamglow, because of the easy removal and the visible results in one use. My least favorite was the Origins mask, because of its lackluster result and difficult removal.

Is there a facemask out there that you think I just HAVE to try? Do you disagree with my assessment of any of these? Let me know in the comments!

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:

IMG_20160821_214133311

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.