Friday, October 6, 2017

Play! by Sephora Review September 2017

Sephora has come into the beauty box scene nearly two years ago with their own Play! by Sephora box and of the three months I've received so far I can't really complain much. The cost is $10 a month plus tax and like Birchbox and Ipsy, Sephora sends out a number of box variations each month. Unlike Ipsy and to a lesser extent Birchbox, Sephora does not have a very broad range of boxes, even though they state boxes are tailored to your personal profile you set up upon applying. What they're really saying is "We have 3-9 pre-curated boxes each month and whichever box you hit the most benchmarks for is the box you're getting." Unfortunately, this means if skin tone was rated as most important by Sephora that month than you may end up with a box that is tailored to your skin type (based off of what you fill out in the profile) but the skin type (oily/combination/dry) may be completely off. It's a gamble I'm willing to take (so far) with this box because I do love that the samples, while not the largest, are not foil packets and all samples are from brands that can be found in store or online meaning the labels range from mid-range to high-end. This month's box was one of the stronger ones. Items included:



V = Vegan
CF = Cruelty Free

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Birchbox Review for September 2017

I was just sitting back washing my face and masking (something I haven't had time to do for most of this month) and I had a quick feeling of what bliss is. My husband is out working, the kids are in bed (and actually quiet), my mother-in-law is visiting her other son and his wife for most of the evening. I have found silence. And as I type this I hear the door and slowly whither inside. It was sweet while it lasted. But in my short reverie I decided I'm going to color with Lizzie when I wake up tomorrow.

What does any of this have to do with a Birchbox review, you ask?


This!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

September 2017 Ipsy Review

Ipsy is a $10 a month subscription service that provides subscribers with 5 sample, deluxe and sometimes full sized items as well as an exclusive-to-that-month cosmetic bag. Brands represented range from drugstore and indie to high-end and it's a great way to build up a makeup collection or experiment with new-to-you brands on the cheap. Ipsy has also recently provided an option for subscribers to skip a month. (Referral Link enclosed). The bag itself was really nice this month. It has a blue inner lining (that I forgot to photograph), a classy gold zipper and the outer portion of the bag is a pretty minimalist studded black faux leather design. It reminds me of the evening version of the January Glam Bag somehow.






Sunday, September 24, 2017

First SuperShock shadow down!

remember ther ColourPop haul I did a while back? Well we finally have the first casualty. I thought the patchiness of the shade Porter was a formulation issue but apparently I was wrong. I have a slightly longer post up on Instagram and hey, I started a Tumblr for absolutely no reason that I actually understand.

Sorry for the sparse posts. Living situations have changed a bit (a lot) and I have photos taken of Ipsy, Birchbox and Sephora but haven't had the chance to sit and actually work yet. My goal is to have those done by the end of the month. I truly want to use my cold as an excuse but I don't think I can right now so I guess it's time to stop screwing around and get to it.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Target Beauty Box September 2017

Every month Target releases a non-subscription beauty box that ranges from anywhere between $5-10. Items included in the box are typically things one would find in the store and samples are sometimes foil packets but more often than not deluxe sized samples with the occasional full sized item thrown in. This month two boxes were released but since I'm a lazy blogger I only purchased the Your New Basics box for $7 (the other box contained mostly foil packets of brands and items that were not new to me). Both the Your New Basics and Total Hydration boxes are still available for purchase at $7 if you're interested.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

August Birchbox Review

Birchbox is a $10 a month subscription that sends out a box with 5 beauty samples. Samples range from beauty to skincare, hair care, fragrances and the occasional snack or lifestyle item of which I have yet to receive. It's August 31st and I'm just now getting around to reviewing my Birchbox because according to the company's site they partnered with a new shipping company and shit met fan. Full disclosure: It's not my favorite subscription box but if you're into poorly matched lip shades and tiny samples of high end brands I'll just drop my referral link right here.


 


I loved the box design itself this month. It reminded me so much of home and my heart did swell just a little bit seeing the sunset and palm trees. Up to this point I didn't really realize I was homesick.

Homesick
I'm perfectly fine with my broken, bushy brows but I found myself falling into the Benefit Brow craze. Fortunately I scored the Benefit Cosmetics Gimme Brow this month and I must say I do like it. I got the shade 5 deep and it's a really nice, cool toned match for my brows. I was a bit concerned that it would pull more red than ashy and look strangely warm and brown against my face but my fears were all for naught. I really really need to go get my brows threaded but at least now I feel confident enough to get them done a bit thinner to fit my face shape and my ginormous glasses. Last time I got them done I was not assertive enough and ended up with a straight brow. While I do like the straight brow style on Cara D, mine looked nowhere near as glamorous in part due to my huge Maurice Moss sized glasses.


The Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Cream is the second Dr. Jart+ product I've received and so far they're not really scoring many points with me. This moisturizer is a fairly thick cream that is full of ceramides, waxy fatty acids that help the skin maintain moisture and is also a component of vernix caeseosa (or baby cheese) on newborn babies. Cool beans, I can respect that. Except I have combination leaning toward oily skin so... no dice. Unfortunately this cream is just a bit too thick and tacky for my taste but I imagine it would work wonders on somebody with normal or dry skin. My biggest hangup is that it has that thicker tacky consistency after application which drives me insane (yeah, I know it's probably more mental than anything) so it's definitely an evening cream for me.



I received another perfume this month called Like This. It is a collaboration between the brand by Etat Libre d'Orange and Tilda Swinton, whom I've had a total girl crush on since Constantine. This fragrance has a very deep, woodsy, musky, almost gourmand scent to it. I'm not sure if what I'm smelling is gourmand or floral though because the scent tends to evolve on me rapidly for the first 10 minutes then gradually over the next few hours. It definitely has a deep autumn scent to it (love!). The info card describes it as having notes of ginger, rose and pumpkin. Omg I just want to roll in a pile of leaves with every sniff.
 

I received Glamglow Thirsty Mud H this month! Please excuse my excitement but teeny samples by this brand were part of the reason I had subscribed to Play! by Sephora so I was too excited to receive this tiny sample in my Birchbox instead of say, another dry shampoo. This is a wash-off mud mask that you apply to a damp face and leave on for roughly 20 minutes. It contains hylauronic acid, raw honey and ginger and smells amazing. I applied this before bed and my skin felt calm and refreshed and moisturized without that tacky post-moisturizer feeling I get. It did take quite a while to wash off though so if that's a point of annoyance this mask might not be for you.


For the love of fuck I wish Birchbox would either take my skin tone into consideration or just stop sending me colored lip products entirely. I had been eyeballing Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipsticks for a while on Hautelook while never biting the bullet and buying one. I got the shade Perla, a rosey "nude" shade. My husband worded it best: "I imagine a manatee floating dead, absorbing all that water. Turning sort of sickly purple/gray with hints of what used to be pink. That's what your lips look like in that color." Mind you, this is after I attempted to fix the color with a nude toned NYX lip liner in the shade Coffee. It smells the way fondant tastes. It applies a bit patchy on my lips and requires at least two coats. The downside to this is that after the second coat the lipstick begins to pearl (no pun intended) a bit on itself. It has a very offputting fragrance that smells almost exactly what cake fondant tastes like and has a bit of a sweet flavor to it as well. The formula is not transfer proof and it dries to leave a powdery finish on my lips. Overall this product was a resounding no with me but I wonder if I would have given it a higher rating if I were able to at least wear it for an extended period of time.



Stila Perla swatched in very shitty lighting

Left: Stila Stay All Day in Perla alone, Right: Stila Stay All day on top of NYX lip pencil in coffee

Too cool that I got two bonus foil packets this month. It feels like that has been happening more frequently, actually. This month's foil bonuses were Oribe Shampoo and Conditioner for Brilliance And Shine. I'll be honest, I didn't get a chance to use these yet because my box came in  after weekly wash day. Please somebody explain to me though why the full size of the shampoo and conditioner are $49 and $52 respectively? Is it the brand we're supposed to be paying for or are these comprised of some form of infant tears and unicorn farts? I would also love to meet the people who are willing to shell out that kind of money for a shampoo and conditioner because I will take that opportunity to ask him or her to buy me a latte.



Am I happy? Yes and no. I could absolutely do without shipping delays and poorly matching shades. I hate the liquid lipstick shade (as I often do because I highly doubt they take my profile's skin tone into consideration) but I did get Glam Glow, Oribe foil packets, a questionably nice smelling perfume and Benefit Gimme Brow (score!). I accidentally ended up with two boxes this month. I had sent an email around August 21st saying I never received my box and my shipping hadn't updated since the original notice on August 9th so they apologized to me and sent a replacement box. My original "lost" box arrived 4 days ago while my replacement box just showed up in the mail today. Oops. My one comfort is that I'm not the only person who has had shipping issues and concerns. I've also been toeing the line about whether or not I wanted to cancel but I believe this shipping issue is the last straw. My subscription is up for renewal in December but I think I feel more comfortable moving to a monthly plan from my current annual subscription. Shipping delays and vendor changes make me pretty nervous.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Play! by Sephora Review for August 2017


The end of the month is still acceptable to get a monthly box review up, yeah? This time it's Play! by Sephora, a box that I was on the fence about subscribing to for the longest and I finally took the plunge if only to answer the siren call of skincare. Play! by Sephora is a beauty box curated by the Cosmetics retailer Sephora that provides 5 skincare, haircare and makeup items a month in a drawstring bag (meh) and a bonus perfume sample. Perfume is not really my thing and an easy freebie that one can get with any purchase but if it doesn't count as one of my 5 samples then I really don't give a shit. Play provides subscribers with a profile they can fill out to best "personalize" their box each month. I say "personalize" in quotations because unlike other subscription boxes I've encountered, Play only sends out relatively few items and very few box varieties (5-10 types maybe) a month and your profile is used to pigeonhole you into the closest-but-still-not-quite-right box variety.

Geeking out over makeup!
The bag is never my favorite part.

The theme this month was Makeup geek and omg, was the info sheet that was shipped so freaking cute. I loved that they had a very basic yet informational periodic table of the elements basically outlining how various ingredients commonly found in skincare (and featured in this box) affect skin, hair and makeup. I did find this theme odd considering there is a makeup line called Makeup Geek. This month's Sephora Play box was different from any of the previous ones that I've seen and the one previous box I've received in that it offered two colored beauty products and one tool.

Beauty Blender Micro.Mini - $9 or 2 for $18
Kat Von D Lock-It Conceal Crème in #33 - $7.40
Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick in Golden Almond - $7.36
Clarins Body Fit Anti-Cellulite Contouring Expert - $10.14
Qhmet Biologics Cocoa Tree Detangling Ghee - $2.59
Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue - $2.38















I was excited about the idea of getting a Beauty Blender Micro.Mini in my Play! box but the reality did not justify my excitement. What the shit is the point of a beauty blender that is so freaking tiny? I haven't even brought myself to use it yet because I'm fully capable of turning my current blending sponge around and using the pointed end for precise application. I guess this is functional for some people but it's just an extra step and an extra item to clean.


   
Dry Micro.Mini
Wet Micro.Mini. Not much of a difference.
 
I wanted so much to love the Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick in Golden Almond.


The texture is great, it's medium to full coverage where a little goes a very long way and it blends out easier than I expected but I cannot provide any feedback on how well this works because well...

(Left) Kat Von D Lock-it Concealer in #33, (Right) Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish in Golden Almond in indirect sunlight

There is no fucking way I can get away with wearing this outside. It is so incredibly dark that I cannot get away with wearing it as a base but unfortunately it is too orange to pass as a contour shade. That and I just have no idea how I would even go about beginning to contour. I tried it as a bronzing shade but that was pretty offensively orange as well. I love how Play! says they sent this item based on my skin tone in my profile and yet anybody who got my box combination #221 got the exact same shade as the Kat Von D Lock-It concealer that I did. And on that note...

While Kat Von D Lock-It Conceal Crème in #33 is almost a perfect shade for my face (I know it looks out of control on my arm but that is due to my constant donning of hoodies and long sleeves), I cannot get away with wearing it out because my face and body are two completely different shades. Oddly enough, the difference starts around the neck and is so stark that matching anything to my face makes me look more novice than I actually am, and I admit I'm pretty freaking novice at applying makeup. It is a very full coverage, which looking at Kat Von D's overall aesthetic, this is not surprising. I was stunned that the shade was nearly a perfect match for me but I'm disappointed that my face does not agree with the rest of my body. Is it worth risking finding self tanners for brown girls? Probably not. Maybe if I find myself in daylight or a pool one day this can come in handy.


I got a nice but severely overpriced body lotion in my box this month. Clarins Body Fit Anti-Cellulite Contouring Expert costs an exorbitant $70 for 200mL. The claim: it reduces cellulite. I think I need to stop bitching about anti-cellulite skincare. Kind of. I will just  leave this here. This podcast/blog post show that I am an idiot for discrediting any effect caffeine may have but I also cannot help but feel a little vindicated because of it. Basically, the oils and emollients in lotions and the sheer quantities of caffeine needed to see any anti-aging effects more or less negate the effect of caffeine in a lot of skin care items. So long story short, cosmetics companies are overselling (and overcharging for) the effects of their products on cellulite and aging while preying on our insecurities and collective gullibility. If I just wanted a nice non-greasy feeling body lotion and I had a ton of money (think Emily Gilmore or Blair Waldorf loaded) I could see myself blowing money on something like this. But then I'd also have a bathroom entirely stocked in Lush products.


Or  I could just pay for liposuction

Every time I receive a hair item in a subscription box I try it on my kids. In the past this was because items often did not fit my hair type. A recently added issue is I have loc'd my hair so I'm limited on product types to use. Qhmet Biologics Qhmet Biologics Cocoa Tree Detangling Ghee is no different as it markets itself as a detangling cream. Let me tell you! This stuff works magic on Livy's hair. She's got the curlier hair of the two of my kids and just a spritz of water and a small amount of this and it's pretty easy to comb through without entirely coating her head or using too much product and she smells like a little chocolate chip running around! The best part? 8.5 oz of this stuff is totally affordable so not only do I love it but I am absolutely going to buy more instead of hoping I end up with more in a subscription box down the line. This works great with the Garnier Sleek & Shine (reviewed here) but the smell mixes to make her smell like a chocolate covered fruit, but a fruit that doesn't get chocolate like kiwi.

Qhmet Biologics at work. Sorry for the frizzy Day2 Curls.

Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue is a fragrance actually works on me. I'd be lying if I said I didn't have my heart set on the Kat Von D Sinner and Saint perfumes that were offered this month but I really do appreciate this D&G sample. It is described as feminine, floral and fruity and the notes I'm catching are granny smith apples, citron and a little bit of musk. Other notes listed on the website are bluebells, jasmine, bamboo, white rose, cedar wood, amber and musk. It smells like the beach to me, really because of that clean crispness of the granny smith apples though it smells more fruity than apple-y.


Holy crap, this month was full of a lot of pissing and moaning from me about Sephora. Sorry, guys. At least the box value was pretty high at a value of $38.87 and I got to try some mid-range to high-end brands. Credit where credit's due: I got a decent body lotion that costs way too much, a pretty awesome smelling perfume sample, a decent and affordable hair product for one of the tots, and I got to try two pretty freaking awesome brands of face base. I've always wanted to try the Hourglass Vanish foundation formulas and I finally got a chance to try. I may even consider snagging one if I ever see an incredible deal come up (Ipsy had them available for almost a month at some point back in 2016, maybe it will happen again?). There are so many shades that risking ordering online can prove to be a highly dangerous game so at least this sample allows me to narrow down the field just a little bit. I had been wanting a concealer and I'm thrilled I got to try the KVD formula. It's pretty hardcore and if you want something covered it absolutely won't disappoint. I recently bought some drugstore foundations I keep saying I will review someday but I erroneously bought shades that are slightly too dark so maybe I can work this concealer with those. Little beauty blender, I don't know what to do with you. Maybe I can find someone who will love it? Ultimately the box was decent but that's just because I only started subscribing to this box for the bath, body and skincare with the occasional hair find for the kids.

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 Target.com. 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.