Monday, August 21, 2017

August 2017 Ipsy Review UPDATED

Glam Bag Time! I seriously look forward to getting my Ipsy bag in the mail every month and in fact I've begun stalking the mailbox like cheetah approaching the watering hole. All with the dexterity of a dumpy puma. Ipsy is my first and perhaps my favorite subscription box so far. It costs $10 a month including tax and shipping and provides subscribers with 5 items curated based off of a profile created upon signing up. The 5 items subscribers receive can be anything from makeup, skincare, haircare, fragrance, tools and bath and body, based off of profile settings (both full sized and deluxe or sample). Every month subscribers also receive a makeup bag exclusive to that month. For example: so far I have not received any fragrance or nail polish samples in an Ipsy bag. Subscribers can also earn points through reviewing items every month and having people sign up through their referral link. Points can then be used to redeem items in the Ipsy shop.

This month's bag came in a gold mailer with a booklet explaining the burgeoning Ipsy Cash system. Love that pink poodle!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Target Beauty Box August 2017

Every month Target releases a beauty box , usually ranging from $5-$10 with sample sized and full sized beauty and personal items that can be purchased in store or through their online website. Shipments also arrive within the first week or two of the month. Here it is mid month so I've had a little time to play with my Target Beauty Box and drop off an opinion.

The August box cost $7 and is still available online. Target values the box at $21 (we will see why this is bullshit later). This month's box included:

Monday, August 14, 2017

Curl Definition for Toddlers?

I was holding Lizzie saturdayand had an "Aha!" moment. I looked into her nest of curls and noticed her 3A/3B curls glowing in the diffused sunlight of an overcast day. She never sits very still and for ease of grooming I always have hair in one or two ponytails but for whatever reason I wanted to let her run around as a free cavebaby for the day. This post is pic heavy so sorry about that.
Image result for donnie the wild thornberrys
This looks about how our Sunday went.

Monday, July 31, 2017

July Target Beauty Box Review

Like a borderline burnout trying to kite that paper in on time under the professor's door, here's the August Target Beauty Box review.

Every month Target unveils a beauty box for anywhere between $5 and $10 and they usually sell out within a couple of days. The coolest thing about these boxes is that everything in them can be found either inside of Target or online at Even though everything at Target is technically drugstore, I suppose, every now and they they throw in a higher priced brand here, here, here, and particularly here.

The box this month was pretty much filled to the brim. Isn't it beautiful? Right off the bat I was excited for this box. I immediately saw two things I intended to get heavy use out of. This month's box featured:

ELF Illuminating Mist & Set
I really need to invest in some lighting.
I already have the Smashbox Photo Finish Priming Water which I already do not use so I cannot see myself getting much use out of this product, even though it's hot as monkey balls outside. The spray can be a little aggressive but holding the bottle further away from my face or swapping the product into a bottle with a finer mist will solve this problem. I may end up just using this for days when I don't have makeup on but I'm roasting alive outside. It has a ton of vitamins so it's worth a shot, particularly for aging concerns, of which I have very few.

Secret Cool Waterlily Clear Gel Deodorant

Much like last month, the most exciting item in this box is the most practical, every day use item. I went to Costco about 4 months ago and bought deodorant that I don't necessarily care for but it was the only ladies' brand there and it more or less does the job, sort of. Up until that point I had only been using Secret Outlast Gel deodorant which might be the only deodorant I've found other than Old Spice that prevents me from smelling like a builder. It fits perfectly in my purse which is great since every now and then I, TMI, forget to put on deodorant before I leave the house. I'm always late and half dressed, tbh. I also keep a shit dollar store deodorant in my desk at work for the same reason.

Scünci Soft Cashmere Blend Headbands

I did not intend to get any use out of these but I stand very corrected. They've been a life saver keeping my hair out of my wash off or peel off masks. My hair is not straight, and therefore isn't as slippery as other hair when wearing these. They are extremely soft and do not have a textured grippy side. Ive been wearing these very frequently just for a quick faux attempt at doing something with my hair.

Neotrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Moisturizer

This little guy was a pretty interesting find. It applies like a serum and it's absolutely worth it considering how much I hate thick moisturizers. It applies so smoothly, I didn't notice any particular scent to the product. This will be one of my future purchases.

Neutrogena Makeup Removing Cleansing Towelettes

This might be the best makeup removing wipes I've ever used. They thoroughly remove makeup, hydrate my skin and I don't have to rub my face until i have exposed flesh to remove makeup. I know what I'm buying in the near-ish future.

ACURE Day Cream

Love it. It's light enough to be work outside, even in the middle of summer, and prevents my face from melting off in a pool in my own lap. The cream itself feels amazing and has this almost crisp musky scent to it until you sniff hard and are surrounded by a eucalyptus forest and become overwhelmed. I have not been impressed with other ACURE items but I can see myself repurchasing this item.


John Frieda Frizz Ease Secret Weapon was a bit of a letdown. The website promised about 2 oz but angry customers have been calling into Target stating that they were unhappy paying for a foil packet and Target has been kind enough to get complainers a $2-3 discount. Alas, I have not used this hair product yet.

Que Bella Dead Sea Mud Mask & Pineapple Peel Off Mask

Now I love a good wash-off/peel-off mask as much as the next guy. I love that this box had two different samples inside. The Dead Sea Mud Mask was not a bad mask by any means. It brightened, it cleared out my pores and it wasn't overly drying. It smelled/felt medicinal but that was not entirely offputting. The Pineapple pee-off mask was just nauseating. I love the smell of pineapple but this mask just took that and ran with it. Forever. Like Forest Gump's cross country run. I really tried with this mask and I should have had fun peeling the mask off but my god, the smell was so strong that it wasn't worth going back and repurchasing.

I think I'm ok with this month's Target Beauty Box. The value wasn't amazing but thank god we didn't get any makeup this month. The masks were a refreshing way to wind down at the end of the day and the makeup removers are more than useful at home. Neutrogena, you are my life saver.

P.S. please any cryptic reviews you see. I have been nodding off for over an hour at the computer but I swore I would have reviews done within the month that I received the products. It almost didn't work out that way this month. Off to bed I go.

P.P.S. Holy shit, this post was so heavily edited. Day after edits. I should have left it untouched as a relic to my drowsiness and stubborn attempt to get this posted at some point in July. I'm sorry, I know I'm a drunk and illiterate person. I know.

July Play! by Sephora Review

I finally gave in and subscribed to Play! by Sephora. I love the store, I love skincare and Play! seems pretty heavy on skincare, the products are easily obtained i.e. they are all available within Sephora, and the products range from moderate to high-end. I must admit it feels pretty nice getting high end items in volumes large enough for multiple uses to determine whether or not it's worth purchasing a full size of. I've waffled back and forth on whether or not I wanted to subscribe to Sephora's box. My primary deterrent was seeing the curation off the boxes. Like many other subscription boxes, Sephora allows you to create a profile based off of your coloring, skin type and preferences. There doesn't seem to be any complex algorithm beyond this point. Each month features four or five curated boxes that individuals will received based off of their profile settings, leading to less customization than other subscription services. Doesn't change the fact that the items are still usually high end and decently sized though. From reviews I've read elsewhere, each box will receive 5 products ranging from makeup, skincare and hair care and a bonus perfume sample. I'm on board with this. My first box included two makeup items, two skincare items, one hair care item and a perfume sample.

Thursday, July 27, 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

      Sunday, May 28, 2017

      On the Road

      So I'm on the road and I don't have access to a computer uploads so I plan on just doing quickie posts on Instagram if sights and products till I get back home. That being said, I've already dropped an Instagram post about Garnier Fructis Sleek &a Shine Zero. I'm trying to go through as many samples and foil packets as I can as we go along (I already missed an opportunity with bath bombs, boo) so expect something every couple of days, minimum.

      Thursday, May 18, 2017

      The Gameplan

      I have an upcoming vacation and a few posts in the works for the next month including but not limited to:
      • a ColourPop Haul
      • a sample and freebie haul
      • a nightly skincare routine
      • a favorites/fails post
      • I'm toying with the idea of an interpretation of my last year of subscription boxes through makeup looks
      There might be some other things thrown in there but so far that's what it looks like.

      May 2017 Ipsy Review

      Ipsy is a beauty subscription box that sends out 5 samples in a (sometimes) cute bag every month and it costs $10 a month. Ipsy is perhaps one of the best valued beauty subscription boxes out there in terms of cost-to-value ratio. Members often receive a mix of full sized and deluxe/sample sized items. I've had months where I've received only one full sized item and other months where I got four full sized items but I would say two seems to be about average for me. Keep in mind I also have brushes selected as one of my preferred items so those do contribute to the number of full sized items I receive. Of course items received are based on the user profile and preferences members create. I recently realized I was in a comfortable beauty rut so I mixed up my profile so I could receive items I'm unfamiliar and uncomfortable with in order to force some change on my part and keep things interesting. If you're interested I've dropped a referral link for you here.

      This month's theme was pool parties. Being mid-May in the Midwest this theme feels a little premature but I can't fault Ipsy for trying. If I were back on the West Coast I don't doubt I'd be feeling pool vibes already. The bag itself was pretty effing hideous this month, but to each her own. I do appreciate how they kept with the inflatable pool toy theme though: the bag itself is a cheap see-through vinyl with a plastic zipper and childish cute ice cream printed all over. The only thing I do like about this bag is how wide the zipper spans making it one of the largest opening bags I've received so far. Unfortunately that does not help me like the crumpled plastic any more. I've never been a fan of clear bags or cabinets because it always makes me feel exposed and cluttered. 

      At least the contents were better? I received:
      May 2017 inflatable pool float Ipsy Bag

      I am not sure how I feel about the Briogio Rosarco Milk Reparative Leave-In Conditioning Spray. It only lasted a day so I did not get much experience with it for myself but it worked wonders on the tots' hair. Lizzie has 3A hair so hers is fairly easy to work with if not a little dry or occasionally matted. Liv, my 3B/3C baby, is a pain in the ass to comb out because she just turned a year old so sitting her down is a taxing job to begin with. This formula was so moisturizing and made an extremely difficult job much less painful. Between the three of us we blasted through a 22mL (0.75oz) bottle in one day so I am hesitant to spend $20 on a 5 oz bottle, but holy damn is it tempting after being able to comb through Coconut's hair. I can see myself biting the bullet on this soon. If you know of any dupes please let me know.

      I think I like this highlighter but the jury is still out on that. It is a decent sized deluxe sample and had a very soft formula for a powder while not feeling like a cream-to-powder finish. It is a very pretty champagne color with a high shimmer while not looking glittery. I would say it definitely looks like the grown-up way to shimmer. I did find it rather difficult to blend out properly and not have it look patchy though. If I blended even the slightest bit too much I would lose the color on my face but I want to chalk that up to some combination of not knowing to highlight and not having the proper tools for the job. I am also a little concerned that the shade isn't right for my skin tone and might come off as a bit ashy in person. Any patchiness in the photo below is due to my complete makeup noobishness, not the product itself as that blends beautifully.

      Jelly Pong Pong without flash (above) and with flash (below)
      It only took 13 months but I finally got a non-brown shade of eyeshadow (sort of). Jelly Pong Pong Supercharged Super Intense Eyeshadow Duo in Electric is a beautifully creamy eyeshadow duo with really cute packaging and its own mirror. The fact that it's cruelty free and vegan is a bonus. I honestly did not know it was possible to get such a creamy formula for a vegan pressed powder eyeshadow. The colors are very neutral but with a very subtle "pop" of color that is great for everyday, shimmery but not glittery, creamy, and quite pigmented. I also noticed that the shades apply much better with my fingers than with a brush, for whatever reason. Swatches will be dropped below.
      Eyebrows distracting from applied highlighter, eyeshadow and mascara from this months bag under poor lighting

      It Cosmetics Superhero Stretch Mascara

      The aptly named superhero of this glambag, I fell in love with my IT Cosmetics Superhero Elastic Stretch Mascara. It lengthens and defines so well and it isn't even a fiber mascara. I haven't loved a mascara this much since the Smashbox X-Rated mascara from last April which I did not realize until recently actually has fibers. Two coats gives a "falsies" look without clumping and I haven't noticed any flaking or drifting at the end of the day either. I had been wearing a deluxe size of the Smashbox Full Exposure mascara but it's been more or less entirely replaced with this little dude. Definitely my favorite item this month.

      Second shittiest liquid lipstick ever
      Naturally I wanted to save the worst for last: CAILYN Cosmetics Pure Lust Extreme Matte Tint + Velvet in #32 Practicable. Finally, a liquid lipstick in a mauve shade that isn't red. So now you say "Look, ho. You've received like 4 various formulas in this exact shade since October. What's your deal?" Well you see, I traded for those. I am fortunate enough to have friends that receive Ipsy bags who happen to be a bit melanin deficient, if you will. So while I trade shades that are far too pink for my skin tone I receive colors they would never wear outside because they are too dark on them for everyday wear (we are lab nerds so we don't get all Prom'ed out often and when they do, they wear reds). This is actually the first time I've had one of the shades sent in my bag. It is almost unwearable because it is a little more pink than mauve, but that is an issue I can overlook (swatched below). What I cannot overlook is this hideous formula. I dropped some photos below of this god awful lipstick. At least it lives up to its waterproof claim but unfortunately it just does awful things to lips. It dries and flakes and leaves such horrible lines in the lips that I look like I tried to apply sfx to look like a wizened great grandmother of 27. When I pursed my lips together the lipstick came off of my top lip and had adhered on top of the layer on my bottom lip. I also tried to apply this multiple ways: over a liner, over a stick balm, over a liquid balm, over petroleum jelly, alone, under gloss. The end result remained the same: dry, cracked wrinkled abominations of lips.

      Cakeface and mustache exhibiting the shittiness that is Cailyn liquid lipstick immediately after application

      I cheated. Lipstick worn is NYX Stone Fox and Ciate London Pin-up, Eyeshadow worn is ColourPop Paradox, Stereo and Porter
      Left to right (without flash): Cailyn liquid lipstick, Urban Decay highlighter and Jelly Pong Pong eyeshadow duo

      Left to right (with flash): Cailyn liquid lipstick, Urban Decay highlighter and Jelly Pong Pong eyeshadow duo

      I really enjoyed the contents of this bag overall. Aside from the liquid lipstick that couldn't, the only unfortunate thing about my bag this month was that I got a non-neutral eyeshadow shade after I dropped some cash on ColourPop (to be reviewed soon). I don't regret a thing though since the shades I bought would be too intense for an every day look while I could get away with Jelly Pong Pong for a wash of color and shimmer (my preferred style, really). I don't hate anybody in my life enough to give them a Cailyn lippie so I will see what I can do with it (not much really, not much). This month's value was $67.73 which is pretty incredible since I now have a highlighter to play around with, a new everyday eyeshadow, a holy grail mascara and a new hair product that Mother Nature is more or less strong-arming me into purchasing (thanks, kids!). While the bag design wasn't a favorite, everything inside is new to me, most of it is useful to me and most I can get tons of future use out of.

      Friday, May 12, 2017

      Birchbox Review May 2017

      Every month Birchbox sends out a box (sometimes cute, usually not) with 5 samples at a cost of $10. Birchbox likes to send higher end brands so sample sizes tend to be on the smaller side but I won't complain about that unless they're sending foil packets. Another Birchbox trait is that they are more skincare/haircare heavy as opposed to Ipsy or GlossyBox which are more makeup heavy. This is fine with me (the skincare side at least) since I am also subscribed to Ipsy so that more or less covers my makeup fix. If you're interested, you can click my referral link here. This month was pretty decent. I received:

      Monday, May 8, 2017

      May Target Beauty Box

      Target Beauty Box time! My mother-in-law buys these for me every month because she sees my eyes light up every time I pass by the makeup aisle in Target. That being said, I am a total ungrateful bitch but I look forward to these far less than my Birchbox and Ipsy subscriptions, but most things in the boxes are pretty useful and the value is always above the $5-10 price point. Knowing that I'm such a great salesperson (har) I threw in a link for you guys if you wanted to grab it since it's still available at $10.

      This month's box included:

      Friday, May 5, 2017

      April 2017 Ipsy Review

      It has taken me a while to write up a rundown of my April Ipsy bag (we’re rapidly creeping toward mid-May here) but here you go. I’m tired of coming up with the excuse of “I couldn’t find the time” but it remains the truest excuse I can provide. At least this month was a winner?

      The April Bag included:

      Ofra Blush Godet in Rendezvous $12.00, Cruelty Free, Vegan
      Hanalei Soothing Aloe Gel $3.00, Cruelty Free
      ColourPop Gel Crème Eyeliner in DTLA $5, Cruelty Free
      Hey Honey Besame Mucho Lip Balm $7.47, Cruelty Free

      Let’s focus on that bag. I know I’m a trashy ho, but how cute is this bag? It’s been a pretty polarizing bag but I think it’s fucking adorable. And whomever comes up with the themes for Ipsy does a great job. Perhaps my favorite bag in the year I’ve been subscribed!

      My last blush I received I got a year ago and I find myself never reaching for it because it is poorly pigmented. Ofra Rendezvous more than made up for that previous blush. It is ridiculously pigmented, a beautiful shade, and a full size godet (pan refill). It’s my first experience with Ofra and I promise you I will be making future purchases from the brand. All swatches can be found at the bottom of the page.

      Ofra Blush in Rendezvous, Hikari Cream Pigment in Honey Dew, ColourPop Liner in DTLA
      I am not sure how I will go about using the Hanalei Soothing Aloe Gel. I have no idea what the sun is and I live in a small cave of a lab so I never actually see natural sunlight. I cannot imagine suffering from a sunburn anytime in the foreseeable future. The gel is not very thick, but it left my skin feeling somewhat sticky. I tried using this as a serum but it just didn’t work. The purpose of this gel eludes me while the texture once applied angers me.

      Hey Honey Besame Mucho, Hanalei Aloe Soothing Gel
      Whoo! Another eyeshadow in the same, super light, highlighter shade! This time in cream format. I’ve effed around Hikari Cream Pigment a little bit. I tried to apply it with a traditional shader brush, I bought an ELF Concealer blush which while stiff enough to pick up product is absolutely tiny, I’ve tried applying with Q-tips, everything. This shadow picks up easily onto fingertips but it turns out the only away to swatch and apply it is using fingers, which I worry might break down the composition a bit. It’s very similar to my Naked Cosmetics pigment from January but the cream texture makes it much easier to work with. I’ve been using this shade as a highlighter. I feel like Ipsy only has various nude/taupe shades of shadow to offer.

      I nearly crapped myself in excitement when I saw that I received a ColourPop Eyeliner in DTLA. I would have been happy with any shade but that I got DTLA, a very deep navy blue, had me over the moon. It provides a beautiful subtle pop of color, is a full sized automatic liner and gives some color without looking over the top. I feel like this liner is a little creamier than the shade Swerve, reviewed here, and I cannot apply it as a liner for my upper lash line because I have non-existent lids that swallow up any liner I apply causing a huge mess in my crease.

      I’m a sucker for lip balms, especially if it’s the liquidy, non-stick type so Hey Honey Besame Mucho was right up my alley. This came just in time to replace my Pur-Lisse Mango Lip Butter I got in October and the formula is pretty similar but I would argue that Hey Honey is less drying. I love the feeling (of both, really) upon application but I feel like this formula is nicer to my lips over the course of a couple of hours. 

      Total value: $33.97, pretty low. Total happiness: about 7.5/10. Most of that score comes from Ofra and ColourPop. Holy crap that blush though. And I've been in love with ColourPop since my first encounter with the brand last year. My next purchase will probably be their Super Shock Shadows (I've already perused NYX a little and that post will be up soon enough).  

      Left to right: Hikari, Ofra, Colourpop (no flash)

      Left to Right: Hikari, Ofra, ColourPop (with flash)
      Wearing ColourPop, Hikari and Ofra (no flash)

      Wearing ColourPop, Hikari and Ofra (with flash)