Ipsy: Three Months Later

Ipsy: Three Months Later

After being less-than-satisfied with Birchbox, I successfully subscribed to Ipsy. The wait list had been a long one but I received the notification email shortly after unsubscribing from Birchbox. I figured I would give each monthly subscription box three months to impress me. This company also supposedly bases the contents off a personal preference quiz, but after my previous experience, I figured this wouldn’t affect what was inside the bag. As I learned though, Ipsy seems to be much better at matching up people and beauty stuff. Granted, some of the stuff I still haven’t used but nothing made me sigh with frustration upon opening the bag.

Ipsy March 2014From the first month, I could tell this was a much more beauty-centered subscription than Birchbox. Rather than receiving tea and stinky soap, I got products that I could actually wear on my face. I played with the primer and the creamy lipstick and found both to be pretty nice. The lipstick is a miniature size that I was easily able to fit in the smallest of bags. Pixi’s Flawless Beauty Primer was closer to a shimmery moisturizer with a bit of dimethicone. My face tends to be dry so it wasn’t so bad but other people may deal with a greasy feeling. The real loser in this bag was the bag itself; the pattern reminds me of a 4th grader’s rendition of cells composed of gummy candy.Ipsy April 2014In April 2014’s bag, I used everything except the lashes. The Urban Decay 24/7 Velvet miniature eyeliner is nice, though it is definitely not waterproof as the company claims. I did not use the St. Tropez face lotion long enough to tell a difference in my skin tone. I tend to jump between face lotions a lot because of commitment issues. Also, I tend to shower at night and didn’t want this to end up on my pillow case. I’ll get around to using it…someday. The White Gold Shadow & Highlight Mousse was the loser of this bag. It was patchy as an eye shadow, though it is fairly nice as a highlighter for cheekbones. The Cailyn tinted lip balm in Apple Pink is a horrible lip balm–but a great cream lipstick! Holy crap, guys! This stuff gave great coverage and a smooth, matte finish. It also has a lip brush built in. I highly recommended hunting this down and buying it.

Ipsy May 2014By May 2014’s bag, I had re-taken the quiz just to change things up. I have used everything but the Pacifica eyeshadow duo. First off, the bag is a winner. It is flexible canvas and while it doesn’t have the wipe-clean interior, it can just be thrown in the wash. I hadn’t used the Eva NYC Therapy Session Hair Mask until it came with me to Mexico. I figured between the ocean, pools, and humidity, my curly hair would be parched and frizzy simultaneously. I was right, but this fixed it. I used it as an everyday conditioner and let it sit while I did other shower-ly stuff. Amazing. I also packed and used the Hang Ten spf 50 Classic Sport sunscreen. It disappeared into my skin and did not irritate my Rosacea. I could take or leave the Avene; it isn’t bad but it’s just water and nitrogen. The Too Faced Chocolate Soleil bronzer is nice and I have often used it to contour my cheeks. Though the packaging is cardboard, it closes well and doesn’t show the risk opening opening up at random.

Overall, I would recommend Ipsy as a subscription box for those new to makeup, but knowledgeable enough to dabble. It is only $10 a month and is just a fun subscription to try out. Be honest on the quiz and see what the post office brings you!

Coppertone CLEARLYSheer

Coppertone CLEARLYSheer

Hey, all! It’s been quite some time since I last posted because well, I’ve had a really rough past…year. Now that summer has come about, I’m able to go to the beach during any down-time to try to ease the past stresses and future stresses (kitchen renovation, need a full-time job, travelling with my mother, losing my health insurance!). Full disclaimer: I am pale as hell and will burn if I so much as look at a light bulb funny. Naturally, protection is fairly necessary for me and when BzzAgent caught onto that through their many personal surveys, they sent me a complimentary box of Coppertone ClearlySheer sprays and lotions to test out and review. The line is fairly new to their brand and it claims to have a minimal feel on the skin, perhaps as a response to people complaining about how greasy regular lotion is. I’ve had experience with both creams and sprays, the latter being my preferred method of application for the past few years.

Coppertone CLEARLYSheer

I was diagnosed with Rosacea recently and am on a prescription sunscreen for the face, so I did all the testing on my body. For those who don’t have dermatologist-driven face-care routines, Coppertone also has a CLEARLYSheer face lotion. It won’t clog pores and I’ve heard it layers well under makeup. Nothing discourages wearing sunscreen every day like a sunscreen that doesn’t work with your everyday look, you know?

My first experience with the spray was at the Jones Beach Airshow and I turned out quite burned, but I chalked it up to bad timing with the application. The second experience was with the cream for sunny days. I rubbed it into my legs before walking around a park for a few hours and I did not burn at all, which was great. It has a light lemony smell and absorbed well into my legs. I forgot I was wearing sunscreen! Also, a little goes a long way with this stuff. The next two experiences I had with the spray were pretty awful. During the first, I had some respiratory problems that lasted for about a half hour after applying. During the second experience, I outsmarted that problem by spraying one body part then running away to the opposite corner of the room to breathe until the remaining mist hit the floor. Spraying and running. Spraying and running. I was at the beach for a bit under two hours. A few hours after I got home, I noticed some redness on my abs. An hour or two after that, as I went into work, people were remarking on how burnt I was. I had sprayed two to three layers on these areas!

Coppertone CLEARLYSheer

Overall, I would recommend the cream formulas but would stay away from the spray if you are looking for serious coverage. The smell is nice and unisex (though nothing beats the original Coppertone scent) and it rubs in completely without leaving a sticky feel.

Rite Aid, Ulta, and Marshalls Haul

Rite Aid, Ulta, and Marshalls Haul

Sales are not an uncommon thing in the world of cosmetics. I constantly see ads for BOGO 50% off, which is not really that worth it on it’s own. The ones I look out for instead are the less-often-seen 40% off sales. Rite Aid recently had one of these for their Revlon products, and they’re lip products are usually winners. I’m a fiend for lip products and I also wanted to check out some face items, as I had a $3 dollar off one face product coupon to layer on top of the sale. Recently I’ve subscribed to Maggie G’s Youtube channel and she raved about how Revlon’s Colorstay Whipped Creme Foundation is great for those with dry skin. Upon further research, I found a lot of people agreed with that and so I gave it a go and used my coupon for it. After trying it with and without primer, I had to return it. It just made my skin look awful. It did the same thing most foundations do with my skin–made my skin look worse. It was cakey and blotchy and it just made me look old and scaly. Fortunately, this gave me the chance to exchange it for an item I thought I’d never be able to try–the Revlon Cream Blush! I was still pretty happy with my purchases, and as you can see, most of the purchases are lip stuff. Lip products are probably my favorite beauty items because they make the most amount of difference for the least amount of money. Not shown here is the Revlon Colorstay Eyeliner in Navy, which I was able to get a coupon on. Also purchased…my potentially holy grail product, the Maybelline Dream Smooth Mousse!

Rite Aid Haul
From left: Revlon Colorburst Balm Stain in Sweetheart Valentine, Revlon Colorburst Lacquer Balm in Tease, Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm in Mischievous, Revlon Moon Drops Lipstick in Persian Melon and Blase Apricot, Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Cherries in The Snow and Demure, Wet n Wild Lipstick in Sugar Plum Fairy and Just Peachy

Marshalls, as you know from my previous post, is a great (but unexpected) place to find beauty products. The one near me doesn’t offer cosmetics of any sort but it does offer a random selection of body, face, and haircare products. Marshalls being Marshalls, there is never one certain product or brand guaranteed to be there. I went there for fun, no sole purpose. There were so many Elizabeth Arden face creams that it was hard to choose which to buy. I don’t have a smartphone so I couldn’t check MakeupAlley or any reviews so I took a risk and bought the Perpetual Moisture Creme, which I have using every day and will review eventually. They also had a few boxes of Crabtree & Evelyn lotions but for whatever reason, I chose Deep Steep’s Honeydew and Spearmint Hand Cream. It is a f*ucking winner! I WILL TELL YOU. It is made in the USA, is cruelty free, has no parabens, no sulfates, no mineral oil, no chemical preservatives, no fake fragrances, and is vegan. I don’t really care about most of those but what I do know is that fixed my hand problem. This shit is the new Robitussin. Got dry skin? Put Deep Steep on it. Got a cold? Smell some Deep Steep. Femur fracture? Pour some Deep Steep on it! I also bought the Korres Evening Primrose Eye Cream, which I will review soon.

Marshalls Haul

Ulta, Ulta, how did I ever live without you? With much more money, that’s for sure. Through a recent fixation on Youtube beauty videos, I was hypnotized to purchase more Real Techniques brushes (I already own the Expert Face Brush). Using my $3.50 off $10 coupon, I took advantage of the BOGO 50% off sale and bought the Real Techniques Core Collection and the Real Techniques Stippling brush, which I now use all the time. It is awesome for applying makeup to dry skin, because it doesn’t lift up or disturb any potential flakes. Also, they threw in a free 2 oz bottle of It’s A 10 Miracle Leave-In Product. Awesome place, that Ulta!

Ulta Haul

Happy shopping!

Birchbox: Three Months Later

Birchbox: Three Months Later

Recently, I jumped back on the subscription box bandwagon. Several years ago, I had a stint with Beauty Fix for a short period of time. My interest in cosmetics tends to wax and wane and more recently, it has been growing and I began some research into different boxes. I ultimately settled on Birchbox, mostly because people raved about it and there seemed to be great products that people would get.

I however, wound up not being one of those people. What one receives in his or her box is supposedly based off questions and the subscriber’s profile. It asks what sort of products you prefer and the like. For whatever reason, I seemed to always receive exactly opposite of what I put my preferences to be in my profile. Needless to say, this made me a bit sad, especially considering that each month I would see Youtube gurus get these great Birchboxes. As my first box was tremendously disappointing, I decided to give Birchbox a fair three months to impress me. If not, I would move on to the second box I had my eye on, Ipsy.

Birchbox

I can’t use nail polish, partly because of work and partly because of a recent medical problem. I did try on this mini polish and within the same day, it peeled off. Not chipped–peeled. The whole thing just peeled off, like one of those nail polishes for children. The chocolate with pop-rocks was fine, because, really, who doesn’t like that? The Embryolisse, which came in a tiny tube, is a pretty well-known mineral oil-based moisturizer. The leave in conditioning spray smelled phenomenal but it sprayed in one stream, leaving hair greasy on some strands and dry on others. I wound up pouring the contents into my V05 Detangle & Shine Leave-In Conditoner, combining the formulas. It sprays fine now. The ChapStick, which came as a bonus product, had almost no wear time. I expect this from lip balms, but not ones that claim to last eight hours. It couldn’t even give three. The best product in this box was the Harvey Prince Hello EDT. It smells so good, like nothing else in my fragrance wardrobe. I keep it in my purse to spray when I’m out and about.

Birchbox

Another nail product that I can’t use. Surprise, surprise. A couple teas, a couple sugar-sized packets of coconut lotion…A face polish was included, which gave the option of rinsing off or leaving on. I feel like a face polish is not the kind of product that should have that kind of option. It worked fine under my makeup, but overall, it felt unnccessary. The most well-known product in this box was a mini dry shampoo by Klorane. Dry shampoos are useful for me, because my fine but curly hair means my ends are dry and by roots are flat. Despite being a useful product category for me, I’ve only used this spray once. My favorite product in this box was the tea, which shouldn’t really happen in a beauty box.

I had hopes of a redeeming quality for this box, because I told myself that I’d give them three boxes to impress me. It just didn’t happen. The unusable nail product was a given at this point. I haven’t even opened it and will probably pass it along to my mother, though she usually gets hers done by professionals. I was actually excited for the Skin Transformer and put it to use quite quickly. It is basically a sunscreen that feels like a primer, with built-in bronze glitter. Because size can be hard to tell in pictures, the tube is shorter than a small index finger. I’ll probably get the most use of this during the summer, on lazy days about town. There was a Juicy Couture perfume in here, which is not my favorite, but I’ll relegate it to summer use because of its scent. The Ayres soap on the other hand, smells like complete garbage. How lucky that soap smell usually is literally washed down the drain! Despite that hope, I haven’t opened this bar because I’m afraid of death by bad smells. It’s a thing. I also haven’t opened the one-time-use Agave Oil Treatment, mostly because there is no directions for use. I will definitely use it eventually though, because I’m a swim instructor with curly ends and the chlorine really does a job on my hair.

After I received the third box, I went ahead and cancelled my subscription. I will say that it was a very easy process, both to subscribe and unsubscribe. I don’t regret my Birchbox subscription though, because it is better to have tried and known. A couple weeks later, coincidentally, Ipsy emailed me that I was off the wait list and finally subscribed. That subscription will be reviewed at a later time.

Proper Haul Post!

Proper Haul Post!

Unlike my last post, of which the contents were purchased over a long period of time, this is a proper haul post. The items were purchased between two stores, Rite Aid and Perfumania. I’m not stranger to bargain buying but it really reared its ugly head when I walked into Rite Aid and discovered it had been completely redone. The changes were so grand, it really took me by surprise. A few feet into the door, another surprise–two huge clearance tables/bins clearing out old stock! It was meant to be a short visit accompanying my mother but it turned into a bit of a binge. Sorting through nail polishes and binders that were thrown about, I came upon some items I really cared about: cosmetics.

Olay BB Cream, Bed Head Control Freak, Revlon burgundy dye, airbrush legs, sublime sun, missoni perfumeI left the store with Olay Fresh Effects BB Cream in Fair to Light (3.49), Physicians Formula Happy Booster Powder in Beige (6.40), Physicians Formula Powder Palette Custom Blush in Brunettes (6.40), Physicians Formula 100% Natural Origin 2-in-1 Bronzer and Blush in Bronzer/Rose (3.48), Revlon Luxurious Colorsilk Buttercream in Burgundy (1.62), Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs in Medium Glow (3.49), L’Oreal Sublime Sun Sunscreen 50+ Liquid Silk Lotion for Face (4.99), Dr. Scholl’s For Her Open Shoe Insoles (3.12), and Mustang Cologne Spray (4.99). Total win, right?!

At Tanger Outlet in Deer Park, I finally got a chance to go into Perfumania. I’m a wee bit of a fragrance addict and upon first look, I was pretty turned off by the high prices. A woman offered her help to see what I was looking for and what I currently wear. We got into some conversation and she showed me different fragrances based on what I like and wear. The deeper I looked into the store, the more I realized that the prices for a good amount of products were actually reasonable. Customer service won! I purchased a 1.0 oz Missoni EDP for 14.99 and TIGI Bed Head Control Freak Shampoo/Conditioner Set for 5.39.

Shit I’ve Acquired Relatively Recently

Shit I’ve Acquired Relatively Recently

I was contemplating calling this a haul post, but that would insinuate timely reporting on single or double store purchases. If there is one thing I have commitment issues with, it is ambition. It’s like I want to write about things when I get them, but I lose the energy and inspiration to. Anyway, I’ve come around to putting some recent purchases together in attempt to record my belongings. I do this because I like to appreciate what I have and having it in writing feels more permanent than just the feeling of having something.

Rimmel Scandaleyes Retro Glam Mascara

Rimmel Scandaleyes Retro Glam Mascara

Rimmel Scandaleyes Retro Glam Mascara

I recently received the Rose Voxbox, courtesy of Influenster. In it was Scandaleyes Retro Glam Mascara by Rimmel, sent for testing purposes. I am fairly new to mascara, as I have only worn it in the past two years and even then only occasionally. My glasses have enough smudge-marks without mascara to add to the mix. For nights out, I have contacts and this mascara is pretty perfect for a night out. This mascara is a fairly new product, only having been introduced to the US market in November 2013 and I am glad to be one of the first testers.

Rimmel Scandaleyes Retro Glam Mascara

The tube is quite large and so it grabs my attention each time I open my makeup drawer. The brush inside is quite large as well and it has an hourglass shape that I haven’t seen before. Because it is large, it is hard for a newbie such as myself to get it close to the root of the lash without getting the formula on my eyelid. To overcome (hide) this and to create the retro look it was intended for, I use liner to create a cat-eye look. The mascara did clump a bit if you apply many coats without taking a bit of time to fan them into separation. Once on one eye, it was a fairly dramatic difference between my two eyes.

Rimmel Scandaleyes Retro Glam Mascara

When it came time to take the mascara off, I only needed one soap. This was refreshing because the last thing I need when I come home from a night out is stubborn mascara staining my eyes. If you’re going to use the mascara alone without lining the eye, I would recommend just using a wet Q-tip to remove any formula from the eyelid. It came off pretty easily that way.

Sometimes on Target…

Sometimes on Target…

I went to Target tonight, as I am feeling a bit sick (glands swollen, ears hurt), for a small pick me up in the form of a new lipstick. By new, I mean age-old. I tend to like things that have a history to them…Habanita de Molinard, tarnished silver-plated anything, hardcover science books with yellowing pages and cracked leather…and the recently relaunched Revlon 1952’s “Fire & Ice” Super Lustrous Lipstick. It will look very nice on my silver serving tray that is currently housing some of my cosmetics. I picked up a tube and I could have stopped there, but I didn’t. I may as well check the small clearance section, right? I picked up a got2b Guardian Angel Gloss Finish Flat Iron Balm for $3.08 because I haven’t owned a protectant spray since college and now that I work in a professional environment, I do find myself using my straightener more often. Now, I’m not saying I do my whole head; I am a firm believer in standing behind my natural curls. I tend to only straighten to right above my ears. Across the aisle was of course the misses section. Don’t judge me. Ha!

Right away, my eyes were drawn to a rack with several fit-and-flare dresses. You can’t see it from the picture but there is a cutout right above the chest and surprise!, it didn’t expose my bra straps. Also, the real silhouette is much more shapely. These are dresses I love because, at 5′ with my waist being the smallest part of me and my bust only tolerating seamed-at-the-natural-waist waistlines, they usually work for me. They aren’t clearanced on the website but they were $17ish at the store. I picked some out in a few sizes (SM, MD) and went onto another rack where I picked up something I figured wouldn’t work. A high neck peter pan collar dress? Meh, I don’t know about this… Both wound up fitting really well. My 30H bust usually either doesn’t fit the top part of the dress or the armholes of the dress wind up showing like 1/4th of my bra. A small amount of the bra did show through the armholes but not nearly as much as what usually happens. Also, it would be an even less amount with a bra that is maybe a bit more narrow; I was wearing the Parfait by Affinitas Charlotte. High neck anything is often unflattering on large busts but the fact that the upper section was unlined lace with the lining neckline being sweetheart, it gave the illusion that it wasn’t a high neckline and made the bust look not so low.

At last, I pulled away from the clearance rack and headed over to check out, but not before spotting some real beauties that I will be stalking until the price drops. I did not have a chance to try on the top dress, as they only had my size in the navy color, which had horses on it. I hate horses. What?! They’re tall, scary, stinky, and smart enough to kick people they don’t like. What’s not to hate? The second dress I tried on in a small and while the waist fit, the bust was a stretch and the pulling made the pintucking detail not lay as it should. I believe a medium would solve this. So alas, I stalk. Screen shot 2013-10-20 at 1.21.52 AM