Wednesday, March 14, 2018

December 2017 Sephora Play Review

I loved the December theme so much. I’d already been in a very Art Deco leaning Streamline Moderne mood so the undeniable Gatsby vibe of this box made me giggle. Even the curation of the box seemed to add to the pre-war vibe. *squee!*

Also, sorry about the lack of price points. I'm seriously backlogged and while I haven't lost interest in blogging, I've been a bit bummed about the shit photo quality that I haven't had funds to fix, on top of being tied up with a mother-in-law, kids, and 6 days of work a week at 8-10 hours. End Rant. BoopBeepBoop. 

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Birchbox December 2017

Well this is unfortunate... I’m backed up enough that it’s come down to doing double posts over the next few days/couple of weeks. What month are we in again?

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Ipsy Review December 2017

Ipsy is a beauty subscription service that sends subscribers 5 beauty, hair care, skincare and fragrance samples and a cute makeup bag for $10 a month. Samples vary in size from sample sized to full sized items and it's a great way for someone who doesn't necessarily care about brands (products range from drugstore to mid-range with the occasional high-end product) and wants to build up a makeup and brush collection quickly and affordably.

My December bag consisted of:

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Birchbox November 2017 Review

Can I just say I loved the design of the box this month? The colors, the scallops, it was just a beautiful box. I am going to have a hard time trying to re-purpose this as a gift box because I'm that selfish of a person. The contents of the box were pretty strong too.

This month I received:

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Ipsy Review November 2017

I got ahead of myself a bit. I was just about to hit publish on a post and realized it was for my December Ipsy bag, having totally ignored my November bag. Oops. Ipsy is a beauty subscription service that sends subscribers 5 beauty, hair care, skincare and fragrance samples and a makeup bag for $10 a month. Samples vary in size from sample sized to full sized items and it's ideal for people who aren't brand conscious and don't mind potentially receiving indie, up and coming and drugstore brands.

Here’s some of the stuff I received in November:

Nomad brow duo in fading natural light without flash
NOMAD COSMETICS Brow Powder in Brunetta Brillante was probably the biggest disappointment of the entire November bag. In what possible way does this look like a brow powder? Not only is it too light to function as a brunette shade but both shades in this duo are shimmery. I thought “Hey Self, maybe I can use this as a neutral lid shade instead” but it was just a little too ashy and patchy to be effective as an eyeshadow. The brow duo is not sold alone on their website but it is sold as part of a palette (found here) for $47.

The second disappointment of the month is the SKYN ICELAND Berry Lip Fix with Wintered Red Algae. Perhaps disappointment is too strong of a word but it was definitely underwhelming. The balm had a distinct berry scent which warred with the with the actual mint flavor of the balm. The texture was oddly gritty and felt more drying over time than anything, but I’m not sure if that was due to the change in the season at the time. I’ve started wearing it again just trying to kill it off and I’m still finding it to be very unhelpful in the hydration department. It’s like a drying, mint flavored Crunchberry.

On to something I actually did enjoy! I did not known what to expect from TARTE Deluxe Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush but I was impressed. I got the shade Feisty which is a deeper nude rose blush that works amazingly well on my skin tone. The blush is quite pigmented and buttery so it blends out quite easily for a natural flush, which is great since I tend to be heavy handed with my blush application at times. The lasting power is there too. I don’t usually apply throughout the day: what I walk out of the house in is it for the day. I wouldn’t say 12 hours but I will say that this blush lasted long enough throughout a work day that I did not look crazy by the time I got back home.

Being an fan of the brand ColourPop I was excited to get a chance to try out their Ultra Satin Lip in the shade Baracuda. I love the formula. It is reminiscent of the Tarte Creamy Matte liquid lipstick but a little less messy and a bit longer lasting. The Ultra Satin Lip cannot hold up to meals well without reapplying and I did notice some smudging throughout the day at the corners of my mouth and my lip line but the formula is definitely workable without bring hideous. The berry shade isn’t my favorite though as I have many shade so similar to it and I don’t find berry or mauve shades to be the most flattering on me. If this was more of a brown-ish shade I would be all over it.

The hero of this bag was hands down the NAKED COSMETICS eyeshadow in Mother Nature #06. The shade is beautiful, basically a loose powder form of a teal and brick red duo chrome shadow. I typically hate loose powder shadows because of the mess they create but the medium works out in my favor in this case. It makes it so much easier to pick up an ideal amount of product on a shader brush and distribute it in an even, non-patchy manner. It also made blending out the shadow much easier and it’s simple to create a one shadow look since it is a duochrome.

Right to left in natural light: Nomad brow duo, Tarte blush, Nomad eyeshadow, ColourPop lippie

Everything washed out with flash
Flash: Wearing both Nomad shades as eyeshadow, Tarte blush, ColourPop lippie, and Skyn Iceland lip balm

Natural light

In November I paid $10.00 for $39.59 worth of product. I won’t even bitch about the low value of my bag because I got to try a couple of new items and formulae and I also scored what is my absolutely favorite eyeshadow in my collection right now. Not to mention the valid of the eyeshadow exceeds the cost of the subscription. In the time since I received my bag I’ve only gotten any real use out of the eyeshadow and blush with an occasional appearance from the not too great lip balm. Still worth it.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Play! by Sephora Review November 2017

Sephora Play is a monthly subscription box that sends our 5 makeup or beauty samples and a bonus fragrance monthly for $10 plus tax. It’s a great subscription service if you care about product accessibility and mid-range to high-end brands that are also available in store and online. Sephora Play tends to be skincare heavy so if you are more interested in makeup I would recommend Ipsy as a similarly priced alternative. Usually Sephora ships out around the 15th of each month so imagine my shock and awe when I received my box on the 7th of November so why is this going up on the 25th 28th the day after Christmas?

This November I received:
Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Mascara - $13.81
Sephora Collect Ultra Shine Lip Gel -$5.00
Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask - $8.10
Caudalie Vinosource Thirst Quenching Serum - $16.33
Moroccanoil Treatment - $6.80
Burberry My Burberry Blush - $3.60

Lately I've been so overrun with mascara so that I don't care if I get a mascara sample but oh my lord, I love this Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir. To date my favorite mascara has been the Smashbox X-Rated mascara followed my either IT Cosmetics Superhero Stretch and with Urban Decay rounding out the list. Velvet Noir however defines beautifully as well as lengthens. I'm not positive it actually added any volume but I would say it holds silver medal to X-Rated, displacing my previous number 2 and 3 mascaras by one rank. I also didn't experience any flaking or smudging throughout the day and I absolutely love the wand which resembled the IT Cosmetics Superhero Stretch wand. Update: My beloved Lizzie grabbed my mascara wand out of my hand as I was taking photos and may have ruined the mascara. And her clothes. I tried cleaning the swans but it doesn’t work nearly as well as it used to. Shortest mascara lifespan ever.

That moment when you realize it's time to invest in a lightbox...
So far I have enjoyed all of the Sephora Collection products I've tried and the Ultra Shine Lip Gloss was no exception. This formula is more gloss than pigment and the color provides a beautiful, sheer, natural flush to the lips. The formula is hydrating and has minimal stickiness. I also love the hourglass shape of the applicator for a more even finish. I really didn't expect to like this gloss that much between the color I knew was being offered this month and the simple fact that I am not really a fan of super glossy lips-it just looks so passe and artificial in general. Different strokes, I guess.

I enjoyed using the Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask. I’m biased though, I love charcoal masks. I loved feeling that tightening effect of certain clay wash off masks that lets me know that they’re actually working. That said, it did. Or dry out my skin, but I did feel like it cleared and brightened up my complexion a bit. It also wasn’t a beast to wash off like other wash off masks I’ve used in the past. I did try this to spot great two blemishes on my face and that... well that was wholly ineffective. At least it didn’t aggravate the situation.

I gave the Caudalie Vinosource Serum a little love now. I love how my skin feels after application. I have to be honest though, the price is a little steep for anything I would ever pay for and I have a few variants of the Vinosource line now and I have yet to see what advantage one serum might have over the other. Well shit, I guess that was a bit of a mixed-to-contradictory review. Sorry about that.

I’m never excited to see a hair oil in a subscription box but at least Moroccanoil was a thicker one and smelled nice. A little went a long way in the kids’ hair but alas the sample was only 10mL so I only got about 2 uses per child out of this. It did soften and help detangle and add some much needed sheen and hydration to the typically straw-like hair.

I’m growing to love getting perfume samples in my Sephora Play boxes. In the beginning I was ambivalent at best but now I almost look forward to getting them. My Burberry Blush is a beautiful fragrance that just smells classically light and floral with notes of pomegranate, rose and jasmine. The pomegranate sold it, I think.

Wearing the Sephora Collection lip gloss and Marc Jacobs mascara (not that you can tell) in fading natural light

Same lighting with flash
All in all I loved November’s box. The value was definitely (maybe?) there at $53.64, according to my public school math. The skin care was great, the mascara and fragrance were fabulous where the mascara might even be worth purchasing, the lip gloss was a wearable color and the hair item was somewhat usable.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Target Beauty Box Review November 2017

November had barely even started and my Target Beauty Box had arrived in the mail. Yes, my busy (lazy?) ass hasn't gotten around to reviewing it until halfway through the month but let's pretend that gave me more time to experience the items within, shall we?