Wednesday, July 26, 2017

July Ipsy Review

A primer for the uninitiated. Ipsy is a $10 a month beauty subscription service that sends subscribers a unique bag design, and 5 items ranging from skincare, hair care, makeup, tools, polish and fragrances. Items are curated for subscribers based on a personal profile that is set up upon subscription. Disgusting, I know but it was my first and gateway subscription, leading to Birchbox, Target and now Sephora Play! but so far I want to say Ipsy does it best. The items are more closely tailored to my preferences than any of the other subscriptions, thus far, and the points system is superior to Birchbox (if you can manage to earn enough points, that is). The sample sizes are pretty decent and often include deluxe and full sized items. One thing to note though is that Ipsy's  inventory ranges from high end to drugstore so if that is an issue for you you may want to opt for Sephora Play! which has better sample sizes and more makeup items or Birchbox which has high end products and the occasional full sized item.


Quick and to the pointless: not the best month, Ipsy. Not bad, just not the best. This month was a collaboration with the Sanrio character Gudetama, the world's laziest egg. I see a depressed egg and I'm pretty sure if he had an opposable thumb he'd pull the trigger. Poor little guy. I can't say I'm a fan of the bag design, nor am I a fan of the zipper position but it's very well constructed. The bag has a bit of a pearlized finish, a matching yellow satin lining and the outside feels waterproof/easy to clean. The contents were equally underwhelming: staples but boring. Side note: I've already updated my profile last month to mix up the items I will receive but I believe it takes a month or two to for any changes to reflect. This month's bag included:

Saturday, July 22, 2017

July Birchbox Review

Hey guys, dropping off a July Birchbox review before August then catching up on some Game of Thrones premiers because... kids... so let's get this ball rolling.



For those of you who don't know, Birchbox is a monthly subscription box that sends various items like skincare, makeup, haircare and fragrances based on a personal profile you create for $10 a month. Birchbox has a system where you can choose one of your five samples, often a choice between three featured samples that month, you may choose the curated box which is often curated by a collaborator or an editor (these boxes tend to have a higher retail value), and the final option which is just sit back and let the algorithm choose all five of your samples for you based off of a profile you created. This time none of the three sample choices (Air Repair Complexion Boosting Moisturizer, Jouer Lip Enhancer and Marcelle 3-in-1 Eye Makeup Remover Gel) nothing really stood out to me so I went balls to the wall and opted for the curated box. Probably not doing that again. The curated box was supposed to contain Kiehl's Rare Earth Deep Pore Daily Cleanser,Juliette Has a Gun AnywayOribe Matte Waves Texture LotionMAC Cosmetics Prep + Prime Skin, and Beautaniq Beauty Blush Serum in Sunrise. I ended up with:
CF = Cruelty Free, V = Vegan

Friday, July 14, 2017

Long Overdue ColourPop Haul

I know I've mentioned getting around to doing a post about a ColourPop mini haul in the past; sorry this is too little too late. Back in May I had finally gave into the voices in my head telling me to buy ColourPop shadows and let me tell you, I was not disappointed.

ColourPop, I learned, is a fairly new entrant into the beauty community. "Morgan, you're full of shit, they've been around for a while." Yes, true. BUT I use the term "fairly new" because they only came into existence in in 2014. Three years is pretty neonatal in the beauty world considering they had to go against industry giants that have had anywhere from 20 to 100 years of name recognition. ColourPop is also pretty virulent; they're EVERYWHERE in social media and blogs and there's a huge reason for that: their eyeshadows are freaking amazing. My only experience with the brand in the past is through their eyeliners, also amazing shades and formulas.

ColourPop seems to be more known for their super shock shadows than anything else. The packaging is pretty cute while being simplistic and I don't think I can rave enough about the formulation. I purchased a range of shadow finishes from matte to satin to outright glitter. Each shadow is incredibly creamy and pigmented (even the pressed shadow) and very easy to blend out. I did notice that these apply much better with my finger than with my brush. The textures are very spongy which took some getting used. This spongy texture made it easier to pick up pigment with my finger and more evenly distribute it rather than accidentally get too much on a brush or inadvertently cram it in on one small section of my eye and have to clean it up afterwards.

Part of my motivation for buying ColourPop shadows, other than wanting to try the texture out for myself, was the fact that at the time I was lacking any red shadows and that's a step I'd wanting to lean towards for quite a while now. It didn't help that I caught a deal that was buy two super shock shadows get one free. The current deal is spend $20 on their Karreuche collaboration to receive a free lip gloss. I purchased the shades Central Perk, Paradox, Porter, Stereo, Hydroplane and Get out (a pressed shadow). I had to get the pressed shadow because it was matte and just in case I was not a fan of the super shock shadow texture. Fortunately the latter was a non-issue for me.

Shitty apartment overhead light

Shitty iPhone flash
From Left to Right are Central Perk, Paradox, Porter, Stereo, Hydroplane and Get Out. The application was very creamy. Like I said earlier the shadow pans have an almost spongy texture. The one exception would be Get Out which was a pressed powder and therefore a different formulation, but even then it was still a pretty buttery shadow to apply. I should also note that each of those shadows swatched were only one swipe. Unfortunately Porter and Hydroplane are no longer available through the ColourPop website. I did not realize they were limited edition shadows. They have been on their website forever despite being collaboration shade, Porter belonging to the Kathleen Lights line and Hydroplane belonging to the Amanda Steele line. At least Porter can still be found for sale online though.


Central perk without flash (left), with flash ( right)
Central Perk (far left) is already looking a little patchy when swatched which might be what lobs it into the "matte" category and not "satin". This shade is also much darker in person than what it is showing on the website. Otherwise it is a gorgeous shade. Described as "a matte deep warm burgundy" this shade is on the deeper side of daytime wearable for me. I have to be careful in my blending and eyeliner and just go overall light on the face to begin with to be able to pull off this look during the day. It can add to a very light, naturally sultry look if I wanted to enhance my eyes and pretend I just woke up that way. A pretty neat trick considering I usually wake up looking like one of the animation cells from Ren & Stimpy.


Paradox without flash (left), with flash (right)
ColourPop describes Paradox  as a "satin burgundy red." This is easily my favorite purchase of the haul (of ever?). It has such a bright and vivid red which might look garish on most skin tones but it actually shows up on me without shouting it out from the rooftops if blended properly. I love it for a look that I have some makeup on but that actually shows color as opposed to the zillion shades of nude that I have that enhance a no makeup-makeup look. The other reason why I love this shadow is because it doesn't have an excessive amount of sheen or glitter, just a satin look which honestly, is more of a non-dusty looking matte.

Porter without flash (left) with flash (right). Love this shade!

Porter, a "warm cranberry with a pearl finish" according to the brand, is a beautiful shade. It is a deeper red that leans more toward an evening look and I believe it works great for me as an all over lid shade because it is such a warm hue.

Get Out no flash (left), with flash (right)
On the other side of that coin is the shade Get Out \ which is described as a "matte cool cranberry."  Perhaps the coolness is why I don't gravitate toward this shade. That and the texture isn't as addictive as the super shock shadows. It's just your average yet very velvety traditional pressed powder.

Stereo without flash (left), with flash (right)
Stereo  is described as a "blackened purple with gold and pink glitter." The shadow does not come off this way on their website (I was honestly hoping it would look closer to the product pictured) when swatched I have to say their description is pretty spot on. It is difficult for me to try to pull this shade off at work. The glitter is pretty out of control in this shade as well. If you blend it out too much you get a sheer blackened purple that is really just mostly patchy black and a shit load of glitter. It actually looks like a MAC eyeshadow I wore for my senior homecoming. Thank god that picture either got lost in a move or burned in a fire somewhere, ugh. Is MAC the requisite "high end" makeup for high school kids? Has society evolved beyond that point? I feel like every high school girl had at least one MAC product, even if they didn't know what to do with it because it was MAC.

Hydroplane without flash (left), with flash (right)
My least favorite shadow overall is Hydroplane. I knew this shade would be an issue from square one but I had to purchase it anyway because it is unlike anything else I own. I felt obligated to at least try something I was pretty positive I would hate just to ensure I gave it a fair condemnation. The formula is similar to the other super shock shadows so that's not the issue I have with it. My aversion is entirely based off of the shade and the insane amount of glitter in the product.



For formulation I would rank Paradox and Porter highest (in no particular order) followed by Stereo and Hydroplane, Get Out and lastly with Central Perk. My preference for which shades to wear starting with the favorite down are Paradox, Porter, Central Perk. Stereo, Hydroplane on my lower lash line and Get out last because it is less likely to dry out and I prefer the texture/color of Paradox. This was absolutely worth the $19.98 I spent. The shades are gorgeous, the formulas are amazing and I filled a void that I had in my makeup collection that was mocking me on the daily.

I really should have gone for a purple or green shade that I know I would never wear. Hindsight is 20/20.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

No-Buy. Aka I've probably already failed this

I looked on my vanity today and was overwhelmed by the sheer mass of sample and deluxe sized crap I've accumulated over the past year. I might have a horarding problem and I don't know how it got this bad.

After walking away while shaking my head in shame, I decided I need to start a no-buy period for at least a few months, probably throughout the rest of the year. I have amassed so many samples through subscription boxes, namely Ipsy, Birchbox, Target and soon Sephora Play! (yeah, I may have a problem) that I should really be getting my $360 a year's worth utilizing only items in the boxes I get.

Now, I understand the entire point, from a marketing perspective anyway, of subscription boxes is to try to entice the consumer to buy full sized items of a product that is sent out for little cost to the company in a demo format. In fact this tactic has worked fantastically on me. Some of my recent purchases have been a result of discovering a sample I loved in a subscription box.

I will continue to buy products (soap and hair products) for the tots but at this point I will either use the products I get in subscriptions, even repurposing some for loc maintenance in an attempt to achieve this goal, or I will sneak into my kids' stash of items like oil or leave-in conditioner if I run out of my own products. Whatever items I am lacking through subscription services I might try to supplant through redeeming points or trading otherwise useless items with coworkers for something I actually can and will use.

I have bought a few products in the past couple of weeks-I was running dangerously low on tinted moisturizer, I needed a powder foundation (it was the one key makeup item I was entirely lacking) and I bought both a liquid and a stick foundation, in case one failed me. In the past two months or so I purchased one lip liner and three eyeliners and two three liquid suede matte lipsticks through Nyx (swatched here in Instagram) and five super shock shadows through ColourPop. I also bought L'Oreal Revitalift Triple Action Serum; see rational above regarding marketing and previous samples. It was at this point that I realized I'm an idiot and I still have tons of sample and deluxe sized samples I need to go through.

Quickie reviews will be posted of the items I have purchased and perhaps a small collection of quickie reviews of things I kill off as I go along, along with the usual "hey I got this crap this month" first impression reviews. In fact, I will start the ColourPop haul right now.

Editors note: please excuse any typos. This post is coming from an iPhone.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

June 2017 Birchbox Review

Hey guys, so I'm finally getting around to reviewing the final box of the month. 'Bout damn time, non? For those of you who don't know, Birchbox is a subscription box that sends out 5 deluxe or sample sized items a month for $10 and no shipping cost. Items sent out are based on a profile you create upon subscribing so my box is just one of the variations sent out to people in the month of June. This month's bag was surprisingly makeup heavy and had 7 samples instead of the standard 5. It included:

The box itself was pretty cute, giving off a more vibrant mid-century vibe. So far I can only attest to four of the boxes being cute, December 2016, March 2017, April 2017 and tentatively June 2017.

Unfortunately I was unable to use the Oribe Gold Lust shampoo and conditioner. I just recently got my starter locs done out on my trip back home so washes have been less frequent and aggressive. It's a shame too because Oribe usually smells fantastic and I was excited to get a chance to try something from them that isn't a dry shampoo or texturizing spray. Unfortunately my decision to get locs was more of an afterthought: I had talked about my desire to do it back home for years (it's easier to find someone to do a two strand twist method vs the palm roll method) but I hadn't actually gone through the steps to set up an appointment until very last minute.

I feel like I just lost everybody's attention with that last monologue.


I haven't had too much time with this product yet but I'm enjoying the Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair serum. It absorbs well and doesn't feel tacky or oily. I loved that I had Estée Lauder included in my box. Not only is it a high end brand that I've been wanting to try out but it's a product I'd actually use. Tiny as it is, it's still a pretty valuable sample. And to be perfectly honest, this is a larger sized sample than one would usually expect from Birchbox. I recently purchased a serum so this little guy is going to hang out as a backup when I run out of the serum I actually purchased.


The Beauty Crop made yet another appearance in one of my Birchboxes, this time in the form of a blush. I was wondering if Birchbox ever sends full sized samples anymore (they used to drop the occasional brush or nail polish in a box but that was before my time) all while failing to realize my blush that I received is full  sized. The richer cream shade provides so much pigment that it's almost too difficult for me to work with. Just the slightest tap of your finger will give you blush for days to work with. It also blends fairly easily. The peach powder shade was far less impressive. It has a satin finish to it but it's so difficult to pick up any pigment with this shade. Any swatches just look muted, and unfortunately the peach shade does not show up at all on my cheeks. I had to be pretty aggressive to get the peach shade to even show up in the swatch below. If I combine both of these on my face the guava (coral?) shade gives a punch of color while the satin peach shade gives the most subtle glow. I'm sure it would look amazing on a fair skinned person but unfortunately I am too warm and dark for this compact to be overly noticeable.


The Eau de Parfum sample I got from Kensie is beautiful. From the scent to the packaging, everything about this sample was just perfect. My profile states that I want to receive a bonus perfume sample no more than 6 times a year and oh my god, am I glad that this was one of those times. Would I spend the $55 for a full bottle of it? Probably not since I so rarely wear perfumes anyway. Kensie describes their fragrance as having top notes of peach, mandarin and green, middle notes of cyclamen, rose, jasmine, orange flower, oakmoss and violet, and bottom notes of musk, amber, cedarwood, sandalwood, tonka and vanilla. My nose doesn't work that way so let's say it smells slightly heady and musky while smelling very fresh and clean. It's not too perfumey or floral smelling to me with an almost crisp scent of fruit but it's not quite there, if you catch my meaning (you don't). I'll just stick with the manufacturer's description.



The Mellow Cosmetics Liquid Lip Paint was a nice addition to the box. It is a creamy matte formula that has great staying power but it does transfer quite a bit. It's hard to apply and not be messy about it though. It's a very pretty deep berry shade, even though it's a shade I cannot see myself ever reaching for. It seems more like an autumn color than a summer color too. The value was estimated because once again, it would appear that Birchbox has listed the incorrect volume on their site. It usually happens for at least one of my items every month.


Ah, the great disappointment of this month's box: Manna Kadar Priming Shadow Stick. I received mine broken. Reading reviews for this product, it looks like 99.9% of subscribers received a broken shadow stick. I complained to Birchbox about my shadow stick but at that point they had run out of stock to replace mine so I ended up with 50 Birchbox points, which translates to $5.00 credit in their store. This is perfect, especially considering that I for the most part am not planning on buying anything through Birchbox within the next 6 months before my points expire.

Complaints aside, this shadow stick is incredibly creamy and has a nice silvery-taupe shade that probably will not work on my skin tone without looking too 90's frosty. However, if I ever want to work on a throwback Spice Girls look I can use this and a dark brown lipstick, lose like 50-75 lbs and let my ass hang out in some platform shoes. It's settled, I think I may have just figured out my Halloween costume.

My total box value this month was $51.29. That looks completely wrong and I'm now forced to admit that math is not my forté. It cannot be right simply by virtue of my Birchboxes never having a very high value. This value would be almost entirely due to the Estée Lauder serum, Beauty Crop blush and perhaps the Manna Kadar shadow stick though i almost don't want to include that in the total because it arrived annihilated. The dark horse superhero of this box was the Kensie perfume, hands down. It has a very soothing, beautiful (musky?) scent that is just masculine enough to draw me in without giving the impression that I should be wearing my flannel and Doc Martens. Side note: I really miss my flannel shirt and Doc Martens my husband threw in the Goodwill pile when we were purging my closet just before The Big Move out to Chicago. Those were late teens/early 20's staples of my life.



Swatched left to right: The Beauty Crop blush (powder on the left, cream on the right), Mellow Cosmetics liquid lipstick in New York, and a Nyx Gotcha Covered Concealer in medium from my Target Beauty Box that somehow sneaked its way onto this post.









Sunday, July 2, 2017

Target Beauty Box June 2017

Wow, look at that! A month where I was genuinely excited about a Target Beauty Box! So this is the review for June and I'm sorry it's going up so late but I spent half the month on the road and the other half being at work and considering celebrating my return by updating my resume and CV. Also, I'm inebriated so sorry if there are more typos and grammatical errors than usual tonight.

Most importantly, every bag comes with a $3 coupon off of anybody bath or beauty purchase over $15 or more.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

June 2017 Ipsy Review

Hey guys. My Ipsy post is way late this month because I had to get some shit settled through Ipsycare. I had collected enough points over the months to redeem like 11 items, of which I only got one. After a ton of back and forth and fighting the temptation to tantrum quit Ipsy I finally got almost all of my points back minus two foundations and a concealer worth (which I'm calling bullshit on but I digress). And by back and forth I mean a shit load of angry one-sided emails that were completely ignored.



My bag itself was pretty strong this month. Items included:
    Beauty For Real I-Line 24-7 Eyeliner in Chocolate Fix - $14.00 FULL SIZED, CF
    skyn ICELAND Glacial Face Wash with White Willow Bark - $4.00 CF, V
    Vasanti Cosmetics Power Oils Lip Gloss in Super Mom - $5.85 CF, V
    theBalm Cosmetics INStain Blush in Pinstripe - $3.38 CF
    Doucce MaxLash Volumizer Mascara - $4.58 CF
      CF = Cruelty Free, V = Vegan