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Ipsy June 2014

27 Jun

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This month’s Ipsy bag was kind of a slow burn for me. When I first peeked in my Glam Room I thought it would be another disaster like last month where I really only liked the bag. And I mean, the bag is awesome. Retro pineapples? Yes please. I actually got two bags this month (why? it’s a mystery!) and I want to swipe my mom’s. Don’t worry, I’m not really a thief, I’d totally trade her something. In fact, we did trade this month! I gave her the lotion and sunscreen from May in exchange for her eyeliner. Which, you know, I forgot to put a review in for here.

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I think that this is a really practical bag, much like my June Birchbox. Nothing that immediately makes you go “oh wow, I’m so excited for this!” but a few things that I will use pretty constantly. Or, well, two–I’m thinking of doing a giveaway for the extras in my mystery double bag!

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Nyx Butter Gloss in Creme Brulee (full size/$4.99): I love NYX. I don’t love lipgloss. But I actually have a few shades of this formula already (Tiramisu and Vanilla Cream Pie) and enjoy them, so this is probably the item I was most excited for. It’s a soft pinky-nude and it smells like cupcakes. Plus it’s not overly tacky and it’s pretty hydrating.

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Be a Bombshell Lash Out Mascara (fullsize/$15): This mascara has gotten some complaints, and for good reasons. It smells really weird. But Ipsy has assured everyone that it’s safe to use and so far my eyes haven’t exploded so I trust them on that one. To be frank, most mascara works well on me: I have long lashes that curl on their own, so I’m not at all picky. This works really well as a “no makeup makeup” mascara for me, it’s very natural looking which is pretty hard to achieve usually. Most brands make me look like I have falsies on, which is nice… but not what I want every day. So I’m a happy camper.

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Marc Anhony Dream Waves Beach Spray (45ml/$3.15): This is the 3rd beach spray I’ve gotten from a beauty box. They usually work pretty well with my hair, but I hate doing stuff to my hair. I’m hoping this is a “spray it in and leave it” sort of thing, which is right up my alley. Low maintenance haircare is about all I’m willing to do with my crazy mane.

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Realtree Perfume for Her (5ml/$1): Apparently this company makes camo prom dresses, so I wasn’t expecting anything spectacular. It’s a little floral, a little… um… okay, so it’s a mush of notes. It kind of smells like Axe for girls. But it makes a really nice sheet spray, oddly enough! I’m not going to put it on my body but it makes my pillow smell like a camo’d up flower. My mom got the other perfume option and it is sooo much nicer. Ipsy, why? This was such an odd choice.

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Ofra Universal Eyebrow Pencil (fullsize/$13): Let’s get one thing clear, there’s no such think as a “universal” eyebrow pencil. This is a dark, rich brown. Guess what color my brows are? Dark, rich brown! And I hate shelling out for brow items for some reason (I only want to spend money on things that are sparkly or smell nice), so this is a godsend for me. Very natural looking, since I kind of have natural power brows I only need to fill in juuuust a little. And, you know, I’ve got two of these puppies so they’ll probably last me the rest of my life.

Total Box Value: $37.14

At first I was very “meh” about this box. But a fullsize mascara and a brow pencil that matches me perfectly, plus a lovely shade of NYX gloss? I became happier and happier with this bag the more I realized how very practical it was. Even the hairspray will get a lot of use, and while there is one total throwaway item (Realtree perfume) I find it totally hilarious to own a scent from a company that makes camo prom dresses. Definitely a conversation starter.

If you want to sign up for Ipsy, please feel free to use my referral link!

Birchbox June 2014

25 Jun

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I know many people have a love-hate relationship with Birchbox, but I fall pretty firmly on the “love” side and I think this month is a perfect example of why! So come with me on a magical journey of looking at tiny samples. And one really, really big one.

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Davines All in One Milk, Love Smoothing Shampoo & Conditioner (combined value $9.70): Why, oh why do I always get tiny conditioner packets. This is not enough for my hair. But holy crap, the shampoo! It’s massive. I get so many conditioner/shampoo samples from beauty boxes, Sephora/Ulta orders and other assorted freebies that I honestly haven’t purchased either in over… 6 months? So while some people might complain about yet another friggin shampoo I just think “aw yeah, another few days without having to buy shampoo!” In some ways I am very frugal. It’s because I want to spend all my money on makeup.

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Caudalie Polyphenol C15 Anti-Wrinkle Defense Serum (2ml/$4.12): Serum, another thing I get so damn much of. It’s one of those things I would never buy for myself (too expensive, overhyped) but I actually have so many samples I mix a serum with my moisturizer every morning. And Caudalie is pretty fancy, so I was happy to add this to the ever-growing pile of “things I like to use but am too cheap to buy” pile.

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Benefit They’re Real! Mascara (0.1oz/$7.67): Another thing I don’t buy anymore: mascara. Are you sensing a trend? There’s definitely a trend with this box. I live off of mini mascara samples and They’re Real is one of my absolute favorites, so I was a bit giddy to find this in my box.

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Perlier Body Cream (10z/$4.06): Do you know how much lotion I have? I will give you a hint: more than my shampoos, mini mascaras and serums combined. Because, you know, I both buy a ton (Body Shop body butters are my weakness) and I get a ton in beauty boxes. But I never get tired of them. This one smells like marzipan so I can pretend that I’m a cookie when I put it on. Not, you know, that I do weird stuff like that. It’s purely hypothetical.

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Catherine Malandrino Style de Paris (2ml/$2.20): I’d like to break the obvious flow going here and say “I really DON’T have a whole lot of perfume samples” but anyone who does even a small amount of online makeup shopping knows that would be a lie. I have many, many fancy perfume samples… and that’s ignoring the hundreds of indie ones that are taking over my life. But I like perfume and this is a pleasant, vaguely citrusy if a bit fruity for my taste scent that I’ll probably use up this summer. It’s bright and smells like the niece of a fancy rich old lady. That was a great description, right? Just picture it in your mind.

Total Box Value: $27.75

If you lost count, I got 7 samples in this box… and yes, they let me review all of them! Meaning I technically only paid $3 for all this stuff (I redeem my points frequently and with wild abandon so those 70 will get used quickly). Sure, it’s all staple-type stuff, but… I like not paying for staple-type stuff! I feel like this is a box that might disappoint a lot of people but I was really pleased with it.

If you want to sign up for a Birchbox of your own, please feel free to use my referral link!

Memebox Mini #2

7 Jun

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So I actually got Memebox Mini #1 in the same shipment as #2, and to be honest I opened #2 first,  but I decided to go for chronological order and will be tackling this one second. Like #1 it comes in a happy pink box, but this time there’s no cute bag holding all the contents. Which is probably good, I don’t need any more tiny cute makeup bags to hoard.

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The contents! Some of the samples are significantly bigger than the ones in Mini #1, but others are smaller… so I guess it balances out?

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At first I thought these were just one sheet of  Blacklees Nail Stickers and was kind of bummed, but I opened the little sealed plastick wrap and found 3! And the middle one has OWLS. I am obsessed with owls right now so I kind of squealed a little when I saw them. However, apparently they were selected randomly so I doubt everyone got these amazing owls. Which are perfect. I love them.

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Next up is a tiny TolyMoly Delight Tony Tint #2 Red! The top is actually a little heart, it’s so cute. And it smells AMAZING. Like fresh squished berries. But be careful, this is a pretty strong stain (for lips and cheeks!). Not like I accidentally got a ton on my nose when sniffing it or anything and ended up with a giant red nose stain.

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I am fairly certain that under no circumstances could this Caolion Pore Mool Pool Deep Cleansing be classified as a sample. Maybe a mini size, if you are not feeling generous. It’s just really big. AND it’s an oil-free makeup remover/cleanser! It’s got a weird sticky texture that they describe as “spiderweb-like” which sounds kind of gross but is actually awesome. I’m in love with this product already.

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Another item I’m excited to try out! It’s Goodal Repair Plus Essential Oil, a generous size of it to boot. While it is meant to be a moisturizer I think the mixture of sunflower, jojoba, green tea, argan, olive, macadamia and camellia oils will work perfectly for a gentle oil cleanse method.

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Last and, yeah, kind of least is Kocostar Nail Therapy, which is basically a face mask… for your nails. I have really healthy nails already so I guess I will try this out, but it’s not a product I really need in my life. Also you have to leave it on for 30-60 minutes. What am I supposed to do for an hour that doesn’t use my hands? I’m a hardcore multitasker. I can’t just watch tv or a movie. I need to be reading or browsing the internet or something. This is just a terribly inconvenient product.

Unlike Mini #1, this didn’t come with an extra bonus sample, but given the super large sizes for the cleanser and oil I’m not complaining. And right after I finished writing up the first post and was bemoaning missing Mini #3 I got an email stating that Memebox was preparing to ship…. my order of Memebox Mini #3! Which I forgot ordering. Haha, I don’t have a shopping problem, what are you talking about?

Memebox Mini #1

5 Jun

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Memebox, a Korean beauty box that runs on individual purchases instead of subscriptions, has had my attention for some time. But it’s got a pretty high base price, ranging from $25-60 depending on the type, plus a steep shipping fee of $7. I mean, it is shipping from Korea, but still! I like cheap beauty boxes, which is why I am still subbed to only Ipsy and Birchbox. So of course the Memebox Mini, priced at $15 including shipping, was right up my alley. I ordered #1 and #2, and used points for both of them so they came to around ~$10 each. No way to be disappointed, right?

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Such cute packaging! You also get a card full of info on all your goodies… which is nice, because I’m not nearly as familiar with Asian cosmetics as I wish I was.

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Item number one, Verikos Ultra Matte Velvet Primer! This is a tinted primer that melds right into my skin and leaves a satin-soft finish. It reminds me of Smashbox’s famous primer, but that tends to leave me feeling sleek but also… greasy? This is basically a matte version. A full size is pretty expensive at $39 (and small at 30ml) but aside from all its other virtues it’s also scented like roses soooo I kind of need it. Right now.

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These are not on the card, so I assume it’s some kind of bonus free sample? Witch’s Pouch Real Skin Moisture Ampoule Base! Basically a moisturizing primer. I have yet to try these out but apparently they have glitter in them (whyyy) but it rubs out.

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This is a duo set, but they don’t seem to be designed to be used in tandem. Botanical Hill Boh Moist Youth Ampoule & Boh Radiant Youth Ampoule. These names are so long. I have been wanting to try some ampoules, basically because it’s a fun word to say. But also because, you know, they’re like serums only… different somehow. In a way I suppose I will find out when I use them!

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More face stuff! This box is actually all skincare, which is fine by me. It’s Holika Holika Skin & Good Cera Super Cream. Apparently it’s super hydrating and lasts for 72 hours! How does that even work? Do you not wash it off for 72 hours? Ew. I’m really hoping it’s more of a “the essence soaks into your skin” kind of thing.

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More creamy stuff. For your health! This is A True Black Tea All Day Long Sun Cream. Tea-based skincare? Sign. Me. Up. This is only SPF 50 so of course I wouldn’t use it as a sunscreen, but I’ll certainly use it as lotion! Because, you know, it smells like tea and other wonderful things. The texture is fantastic as well.

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Okay, so I said there was only skincare and no makeup, but this is kind of a fusion. Also umm I didn’t count the primers. Basically, I am a total liar. This is Hanskin Bio Origin Royal Ampoule BB SPF 30 PA++. Basically, it’s an ampoule AND a BB cream? And one drop gives you basic coverage? And it comes in the world’s cutest bottle? That seems like a huge claim, way too good to be true, but it does function as a pretty basic tinted moisturizer with lots of skincare benefits.

I didn’t do value breakdowns of every single thing because I don’t want to math, but it’s well over what I paid. Lots of new skincare to try out and tiny bottles and jars to coo over! Though now I am tempted by some of the larger bottles, which is not good for my wallet…

Ipsy May 2014

18 May

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Ipsy’s main sells are 1) mostly full-sized products and 2) a much larger focus on makeup than other subscription boxes. If these are the things that attracted you to Ipsy, this is pretty much the worst bag ever. One full-sized item, one makeup item… oh, and they’re the same one. Sigh.

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On the plus side, this month’s bag is perfect. Sturdy canvas with a very spring-y theme, and it’s decently sized. But is it worth the $10 I spent on this month’s subscription? Ehh…. sure.

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Pacifica Mineral Eyeshadow Duo (full size/no price): This is a new Pacifica item I suppose, because it’s not on their site and there’s no traces of it on the web. Thus it is kind of hard to price, but considering that they sell palettes with 4 pans of shadow for $14 I’m guessing not that high. It is a really nice shadow though: smooth and super pigmented.

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This is one swipe of shadow onto dry skin. Look at how pigmented the copper is! And I swear the light pink is there, it’s just… the same color as my skin. It has a lovely almost opal-like sift, and makes a great highlighter.

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Hang Ten Classic Sport SPF 50 (1oz/$2.20): It’s a nice gesture to include sunscreen, but as I’ve mentioned in other posts I don’t use anything under SPF 75 and I am very attached to my current one (Neutrogena Dry Touch). And at a whopping one ounce, this is the largest item in the bag. Urgh. I guess I’ll use it on my body, but it’s still not as much sun protection as I prefer.

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derma e Microdermabrasion Scrub (1oz/$15): I’d be more excited about this if I hadn’t received a derma e item in last month’s Birchbox, AND a microdermabrasion scrub from Ipsy in April. I’m almost literally swimming in exfoliants from my boxes. I mean, I’ll use it, but I don’t know if I like bouncing my skin between so many products. I have both physical and chemical exfoliants in full size that I love… please stop giving them to me, Ipsy. Please.

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Pur-lisse pur~moist hydra balance moisturizer (.5oz/$16): I literally already own a full-sized moisturizer from Pur-lisse. Not this exact one, but I really, really do not need this. Ipsy, I have so much skincare. I don’t need more. I get enough from Birchbox. I just want makeup ;~;

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Hey Honey, Take It Off! Exfoliating Honey Peel Off Mask (10ml/$7): This is actually the only skincare item I’m actually somewhat excited for. I love masks, and there’s enough in this tiny sample for 2 applications if you apply it lightly. The full-sized one is kind of pricey though: I’d never actually buy this, but it’s nice to have around.

Total box value: $40.20 + eyeshadow

The box value looks really high, but that’s due to how overpriced most skincare items are. There were tons of things I would have actually liked in my box this month: the Revlon balm, the brushes, the Too Faced Bronzer. And my profile is set for no skincare and lots of makeup. So why did I get this abomination (which I’m sure could have gone to a better home?). I really do wonder if Ipsy’s quiz matters at all. If you feel like signing up for Ipsy, please feel free to use my referral link!

Birchbox May 2014

16 May

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You know how Birchbox has spoilers every month, but you never actually get any of the cool items they show off? Well finally the tides of fate have turned and I received one of these items that, up until now, I assumed were cruel torture devices. This also marks the second month in a row that I am very, very satisfied by my BB. What is going on?!

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But before we get to the contents of my May box, let’s take a moment to appreciate how fucking high the person packing it must have been. The little cute folder is always for fragile makeup items–except for this time! It totally makes sense to mangle a paper-held sample into there, along with… a foil conditioner packet. What.

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Smarty Pants Adult Complete Multi-Vitamins (2 gummies/.32 cents): I am an adult. I can take regular vitamins. I do take regular vitamins. Being an adult, I have no problem swallowing pills. I don’t get the trend of “adult gummies:” in fact, I find it kind of insulting. You really think I’m so lazy I need to be cajoled into taking vitamins? And there’s no bonus to gummie vitamins: they still taste like vitamins (just coated in sugary gummies, eurgh) and they add unneeded calories. Okay, so it’s 17 calories in the 2 gummies, but still. I don’t want the extra sugar, I want fucking vitamins. Birchbox, this is the lamest “lifestyle extra” of all time.

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Number 4 Volumizing Shampoo & Conditioner (combined value $5): I’ve never gotten matching shampoo & conditioner samples in different sizes. I’d appreciate it if they were reversed (bigger conditioner, smaller shampoo) because I have a lot of hair. But, hey, it’s an extra sample I get to redeem points for! And while it’s a pretty average shampoo, it smells absolutely amazing.

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Whish Shave Cream in Acai Grapefruit (.75oz/$3): I’ve been waiting pretty much the entire length of my subscription to get some Whish Shave Cream, so I was pretty damn excited about this one. It’s silky-smooth, smells amazing and leaves your legs very moisturized. Basically it’s everything I dreamed of, and I’ll definitely be redeeming some points for a full-size.

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LAQA & CO Sheer Lip Lube in Purple (full size/$18): Doesn’t look like a full size, does it? Well, apparently LAQA & CO love deceptive packaging. This sample is .07 oz, and the full size is…. .07 oz, just in a much longer tube! It’s a lovely lip crayon, with enough color for a nice pop but it goes on moisturizing and semi-sheer.

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The color, uhnf. So perfect for the radiant orchid trend. It’s so lovely!

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CoTZ Face Natural Skin Tone SPF 40 (2.0g/$1): This is the world’s smallest sample. I mean, 2 grams? Is this a sample for ants? Thankfully it is of something I definitely do not need: tinted sunscreen in 3 shades too dark for my skin. I also don’t use anything with SPF of less than 75 (because I am a vampire). Also, having a bland tan as “natural skin tone” is kind of insulting to the people on the darker and lighter end of the spectrum: are we not natural toned? Hmmmmmm, CoTZ? Just kidding, I really don’t care about the stupid names of these products.

Total box value: $27.32

Even there are really only two items I love in this month’s box (shaving cream and the lip pencil), I feel like $5 after points is WELL worth a friggin full sized pencil lip color. It’s PURPLE. Purple. And, you know, I got to be snarky about gummies. Gonna chalk this one up as a win.

If you want to sign up for a Birchbox of your own, please feel free to use my referral link!

Birchbox April 2014

26 Apr

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Birchbox always comes before Ipsy. Always. Their shipping is fast and efficient, while Ipsy’s is notoriously slow and sketchy. But this month, I got my April Ipsy almost a week before Birchbox! Thankfully it’s one of my favorite BBs to date, so it was well worth the wait.

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KIND Maple & Pumpkin Seeds Healthy Grains Bar (0.79/bar): The “lifestyle extras” are usually pretty lame: a hairtie, boring tea bags. But this, uhnf. I could get behind one of these in every box. I friggin LOVE KIND so getting this was like Christmas. Granola Christmas. With maple and sea salt. Memories of eating this linger sweetly in my mind.

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Gilchrist & Soames Spa Therapy Body Wash (1.35oz/$2.46): This stuff smells amazing. Very spa-like and fresh: cucumber, sea breeze, very soft florals. It’s delectable, and a very generous sample size. Not like the big one is expensive, though: at $15 for 8oz, this is something I might actually buy a full size of…

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Derma E Hydrating Night Creme (.5 oz/$7.38): Birchbox’s face cream samples are usually very tiny, so I was surprised at how large this one was. Half an ounce, and a little goes a long way! A dab pretty much covers your whole face. It smells great and it’s super hydrating. I will definitely use all of this, and then use the jar to concoct some franken-cosmetics.

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Color Club Gala Gem Collection in Gold Struck (0.25oz/$3.25): Whenever I get nail polish in a beauty box, it’s always some variant of gold or champagne. Always. (Except of course for Rainbow Honey, but I’m convinced that was a magical accident) And here we go, another pale gold. Sigh. Okay, it’s nice, but I have SO MANY POLISHES IN THIS COLOR. Including… one from Color Club. Guys, send me pinks and lilacs please.

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(please forgive how dark this shot is, the light was fading fast!)

Cynthia Rowley Beauty Eyeliner in Silver (.03oz/$12): This is almost full size: the “large” one is .04oz. BB is known for being skimpy, so this was a nice surprise. I was hoping to get a more unusual color, but it’s silver: I have lots of silver liners, sigh. It’s a really nice one, soft and crazy easy to apply, and I like it more than my existing silver pencils. Which makes me really want to order this in sky blue. It’s silk and perfect for smudging but it stays in place all day once it’s “set.” Pretty much, it’s a perfect pencil liner. Even stays put on the waterline.

Total box value: 25.88

This was a month of huuuge samples and great products. While many of them are things I have already (gold polish, silver liner), I’m so happy with the derma e cream and Cynthia Rowley product that I can forgive the Color Club foible. And more KIND products please, Birchbox.

If you want to sign up for a Birchbox of your own, please feel free to use my referral link!

Ipsy April 2014

20 Apr

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Spring has sprung, the trees are budding, the birds are making baby birds, so it’s about time for makeup boxes to get a little less gloomy. Ipsy, I am so tired of hair products. So very tired. Thankfully, this month’s box was bright and cheery–okay, maybe not the colors, but I certainly felt happy opening it all up.

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This month’s bag seemed to get a lot of hate, but I really love it. Mainly because my boyfriend has a huge record collection–you might have noticed the record player I’ve taken several photoshoots on. Yeah, that used to be the living room table. Now it’s the music table. My dad has an exponentially larger record collection, so this bag makes me feel all nostalgic. I’m definitely using it next time I take a trip home!

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Urban Decay 24/7 Velvet Liner in Black Velvet (0.03oz/$15): The UD liner was this month’s big hyped item, because… well, it’s Urban Decay! And everyone got one, unlike most higher end brands that only end up in a handful of bags. Personally, I have at least two other black pencil liners from UD, along with a liquid one, so technically I don’t really *need* this but I want it. It’s soft and made specifically for smudging: it’s great for a grunge/rocker look, but I’ve found it to not be as opaque as their usual blacks and also much softer. Basically, not great for a crisp wing, but lord knows I have enough black pencils/gels/etc that fill that slot.

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Mary Kay At Play Jelly Lipgloss in Teddy Bear (fullsize/$10): I have one item of Mary Kay makeup: a tiny, super-copper bronzer that makes a decent shadow. I got it for $2 on eBay. And hey, I like it, so this can’t be THAT bad… right? Wrong. So wrong. There are many gloss formulas I can tolerate: Buxom, Dior and NARS, for starters. Not too sticky, but with the right amount of shine. This is none of that. It’s thick, tacky, feels disgusting on your lips, yet somehow manages to sink into cracks and highlight them like a matte lipstick would? And it’s a gross nude shade, concealer-toned. Oh, and the color is almost sheer and not even that glossy. I am loathe to waste a product, though, so I plan on mixing it with a balm formula and adding some pigments for color. I will Franken this into a useable product one way or another!

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Swatches of the gloss and liner. I’m not sure why my hand looks so giant, but now I am very self-conscious of hand-size in photos. You can see that the UD isn’t 100% opaque, but aww a flower! Seriously, it’s awesome for smudging. The gloss? Yeah, it’s awful. Nude-tinted-orange. Who wants that on their face?

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Big Sexy Hair Root Pump (1.6oz/$2.71): I am not a person who does things with her hair. My hair is super thick and annoyingly long: it has volume for days and is perfectly shiny with only washing and brushing. Before I started subbing to beauty boxes, I had no hair products. Now I have a dozen (not counting shampoo or conditioner). One of these days I will take a picture, it’s pretty funny. I usually toss them in a cabinet and say “yeah, I am so gonna use this!” but never do.

This, though? I will so use it. I will give myself crazy, volume-filled 80′s hair. Mousse is so low-maintenance. I don’t have to think “ahh, is this too much oil? Wait, do I scrunch my hair BEFORE the spray or AFTER?” Put it in and aha, Farrah Fawcett.

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Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Skin Exfoliant (.25oz/$9.75): Oh, another physical exfoliant! I don’t have enough of those. Dr. Brandt is one of those insanely overpriced brands I’d never, ever buy for myself but I loooove getting samples of. I can pretend I’m wealthy enough to pay $78 for an exfoliant! Though, honestly, even if I could I wouldn’t: I plan on continuing sample-hoarding until I am stocked for life.

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Rainbow Honey Polish in Midnight Fountain (mini/$5): There were two big ticket items in this month’s bag aside from the UD liner: this polish, and the Benefit Lolitint. I plan on snatching up a tint on eBay, so I was hoping for the polish. It was crazy rare: I’ve only seen a handful of boxes with it, and I was thrilled to get it in mine! It’s so freaking pretty. Many indies overdo the glitter but Rainbow Honey gets it just right. I’ve already ordered the mini surprise bag for April, and I’ll be back again soon for some of the Sweet Talk collection.

Total Bag Value: $42.46

While I hate the Mary Kay gloss with the passion of a thousand suns, everything else is totally spot-on. If you feel like signing up for Ipsy, please feel free to use my referral link!

Ipsy March 2014

24 Mar

Of my humble two subscription boxes, Ipsy is definitely my favorite. While the products aren’t as high-end as Birchbox’s offerings they are almost always full-sized and are far more makeup-oriented. Plus, you get a cute bag in the mail too!

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Or, you know, usually you get a cute bag. March’s is kind of a monstrosity. Like weird 80′s pop art. But the contents are much better!

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I joined Ipsy in May 2013, and every bag since that date has had five items. I had heard rumors of the times of desolate, 4-item bags but this is my first experience with this particular brand of horror in the flesh. Just kidding, it’s not so bad! You tend to get better brands when there are fewer things. At least there’s no POP Beauty, right? My bag seems to be the most common configuration, and it features the two items I really wanted–the lipstick and liner–though once again I missed out on the Pacifica lotion.

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NYX Love in Rio Palette in No Tan Lines Allowed ($6/full size): Ahh, NYX. There are products from them that I adore: anything they make for lips, most of their cheek & face items, but eyeshadow… is not their forte. Or rather, I am quite picky when it comes to shadow. I’ll wear drugstore mascara every day of my life, but try to take away my Lancome shadows and I will bite you like I’m some kind of wild animal.

So for now, this little palette is staying sealed. I might trade it, but I’ll probably wind up giving it to my mom instead: she loves neutrals and I have WAY too many neutral palettes. It’s kind of an issue.

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Pixi Flawless Beauty Primer ($9/mini size): Don’t let the name fool you, this is not actually a primer. Unless when you think “makeup primer” you also think “shiny tan-orange sparkly spackle for your face.” That’s right, this is not only glittery but tinted. Why have a tinted primer if it is not for color correcting? Truly, a mystery. But it does make an okay highlighter if you use it very minimally. Or, you know, have any sort of pigmentation at all and aren’t a vampire.

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bareMinerals Marvelous Moxie Lipstick in Get Ready ($18/.12oz, mini size $7.50/.05): Ahh, my beautiful baby. This was the one thing I REALLY wanted from this bag, and there was about a 50/50 shot of getting it. It’s a gorgeous my lips but better shade and I’m very fond of the Moxie formula so this was worth the bag to me.

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Chella Indigo Blue Eyeliner ($24/full size): Thankfully, I don’t have to rely JUST on the lipstick for this bag to be a winner. While Chella’s prices seem to be a bit inflated to keep up with the rate they stuff their items in subscriptions, this liner is still worth over twice the value of the bag by itself. Also, it’s amazing. The felt tip is very precise, the color is gorgeous, and (on me at least) it lasts longer than Stila’s Stay All Day formula which is very hard to beat.

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Wow, that is an unfortunate swatch shot, isn’t it? Yeah, next time I am enlisting some help because let me tell you, it is VERY hard to take pictures of your own arm with one hand using a 50mm lens. In any case, it gets the point across well enough: the Chella eyeliner is magic (that flower was on my damn arm for over a day), the lipstick shade is gorgeous, and that is NOT a primer.

The total overall value of this bag is $46.50. Yup, almost $50 for a $10 sub. Which is why, even if half of an Ipsy bag is junk, it is totally worth it to me personally. Even if I ditch the NYX shadow and primer, it’s $31.50 worth of items. And I’ll probably use the primer for, uh, pretending to be a faerie princess. I mean normal adult things. If you too would like to be an adult while playing with makeup (or a vastly superior faerie princes), feel free to use my referral link!

Birchbox March 2014

21 Mar

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I have a love/hate relationship with Birchbox. They tend to give me endless hair products that I have no idea how to use, the samples are tiny, and there is nowhere near as much makeup as I expected. On the positive side I get tons of skincare that is usually far outside my budget, I am a sucker for surprises in the mail, and their points system and customer service rock my theoretical world.

Thankfully, March was definitely on the “love” side. Which is a bit odd because when I saw the list of items online I was a bit disappointed, especially since many people got 6-7 and my box only had 5. I think the ridiculously huge “sample” sizes changed my mind pretty much the instant this showed up. Though I do still wish they would give me some chocolate.

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Keims Cleanshine Energizing Shampoo ($9.50/250ml, sample size $1.90/50ml) I get so much shampoo from Birchbox, I barely even have to buy my own anymore. The problem with their samples is that they are usually give you tiny tiny samples with one use. This is big enough to actually test out several times, even on my too-long mane that I am dying to chop off. So this goes in the plus column.

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Michael Todd Tropical Fruit Enzyme Exfoliating Scrub ($18/100ml, sample size $ 7.20/40ml) I looove Michael Todd products. I got a charcoal scrub ages ago in Ipsy that I am almost through, so this came just in time. Definitely my favorite thing from the box. It smells so good, but you probably shouldn’t eat it unless you want to exfoliate your esophagus.

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Jergens BB Body Perfecting Skin Cream ($12.99/7.5oz sample size $1.73/1oz) This tube is full of lies. BB Body makes it seem like a BB cream for your body, right? WRONG. It’s a tanning lotion! Imagine the surprise for pale girls who didn’t get the memo on that one. Since I am roughly the same shade as a ghost, I am not sure what to do with this. I mean, my arms are about 1 shade less ghostly than my legs so… maybe I actually will use it. It’s pretty decently sized.

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Coola Tinted Matte SPF 30 ($36/1.7oz sample size $3.60/.17oz) Ugh, THIS STUFF AGAIN. I already got a miniscule Coola sample once from Ipsy. They are so tiny, barely enough for a full application, and the price for a full bottle is insane. SPF 30 is also insufficient for everyday wear, especially when mixed with a moisturizer. I don’t even know what to do with this.

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theBalm How ‘Bout Them Apples? ($32/.7oz) No sample size was given for this one, but I am going to assume that it is about 1/3rd the size of the fullsize “Pie” putting it at about $1.75. It seems like there were a lot of makeup items in March’s box, and this was one of the more coveted one. However… I am a bit bummed I got it, because I plan on purchasing a fullsized palette with my BB points. Sigh. I guess now I get to judge the texture, which is very creamy–much better on lips than cheeks.

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Check out these AMAZING SWATCHING SKILLS. Pie goes on sheer, which of course you want in a blush. Not so much in a lipcolor, unless a tint is what you are going for. But really, I have more than enough lipsticks: this is a blush all the way in my eyes.

Total Box Value: 16.18

That may seem a little low, but BB is only $5 a month after points. The Michael Todd sample was worth the whole box for me, really, and I will definitely use the shampoo. The BB body… yeah, I guess I’ll try it. Let’s be adventurous! I mean, it’s spring, if I look like an oompa loompa I can just wear sheer pink & purple tights for a month. theBalm sample solidified that I do indeed want the palette, so the only waste was the Coola sample. Damn you, Coola, get out of my boxes!

If  you feel particularly motivated to join Birchbox, feel free to use my referral link!