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Battle of the Beauty Boxes! Allure vs. Sephora

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

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

What Allure sent me:

What Sephora sent me:

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

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

Lets take a closer look at the products:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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This brush is great at picking out every lash!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Disclaimer: I pay for these subscriptions myself.

Review! Jesse’s Girl Liquid Liners

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All the colors together
All the colors together!

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

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

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

Review time: L’oreal True Match Lumi Cushion Compact

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Disclosure: I purchased this product myself.