Ipsy Bag: September 2013 Review.

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For September, ipsy went with a “Classic Beauty” theme, featuring products to create timeless looks that have been in style for decades: smoldering smoky eyes, perfectly defined liner, or a bold red lip. I’ve been playing around with the products these past few days, either using them all at once or mixing and matching- and while I didn’t exactly fall in love with this month’s bag, it was fun to doll myself up like Marilyn Monroe for a bit.

What I Received:

Chella “Ivory Lace” Highlighter Pencil

Starlooks Obsidian Kohl Eye Pencil

NYX Single Eye Shadow in “White Pearl”

Elizabeth Mott “It’s So Big” Volumizing Mascara

Cailyn Cosmetics Tinted Lip Balm in “Big Apple”

Product # 1: Chella “Ivory Lace” Highlighter Pencil ($18)

Typically when I highlight the inner corners of my eyes or under the arch of my eyebrows, I use a light/neutral matte eye shadow and blend accordingly. This pencil, which is less of an ivory color and closer to a fair skin-tone, was a surprisingly nice substitute. The pencil went on creamy, not scratchy, and was easy to blend with my fingertips. My eye area looked brighter, making me appear more awake (which proved to be a lifesaver after I stayed out nearly all night over the weekend,) and apart from that little miracle, the pencil was also nice for quick touch-ups around the rest of my face, too- i.e. covering freckles and/or imperfections.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! This highlighter is mess-free and easy to carry, making it one of those products that fit conveniently into your bag in the case of what I call a “out all night- need a pick me up” emergency. Even better? You don’t need to use a lot of this pencil to get decent coverage and color- which means you get your money’s worth.

Product # 2: Starlooks Obsidian Kohl Eye Pencil ($12)

Despite this black matte eyeliner being advertised as “ultra-soft” and “creamy”, I found it to be stiff and almost painful to apply. Maybe it’s because I’m so used to gel liners, or maybe I just got a dud pencil that had somehow hardened up, but this pencil did NOT go on smoothly, even after I used a primer along my lid and lash line. It took a few attempts to get my cat-eye to look semi-even and not flaky, but the liner only lasted a few hours. When I checked a mirror about four hours after I’d first applied it, it had already started to smudge and fade down into the outer corners of my eyes.

Would I Purchase?: No. This eyeliner was a hassle to apply, and even more of a hassle to keep in place. I’ll stick to my gel liners, which glide on easily and don’t budge or require reapplications for 10x longer than this pencil did.

Product # 3: NYX Single Eye Shadow in “White Pearl” ($4.50)


I’ve heard some good things about NYX. Their pricing is reasonable and their products apparently give great results. I was looking forward to trying one of their highly pigmented shadows in this month’s bag. To my dismay, I received a very bright, very shimmery silvery-white color. I haven’t worn a shade like this since I was in Jr. High (back when pink frosted lipstick was also a thing.) Even still, I applied it. The color, not very pigmented at all, gave my eyelids a sort of weird sheen that, even with primer, didn’t last all that long. By mid-day, the sheen was nearly gone, leaving just my eyeliner and mascara behind, and although I didn’t much care for the color in the first place- I wasn’t impressed with the formula at all.

Would I Purchase?: Maybe. I wouldn’t try this color again, but I really would like to give NYX shadows a second chance after all the hype I’ve heard about them. I wouldn’t be opposed to spending the $4.50 to try a brighter, bolder shade to compare pigmentation and longevity.

Product # 4: Elizabeth Mott “It’s So Big” Volumizing Mascara ($19.99)

I’m a sucker for clever or cutely named cosmetics. This mascara was no exception. The name wasn’t the only thing that caught my attention when trying this product, but also the hourglass shaped brush. When I first opened the tube, I noticed the mascara itself seemed to clump on the bristles, which I should have taken as some kind of warning. It didn’t get much better when I actually applied it to my lashes. After two coats, my lashes were definitely thicker, and by “thicker”, I mean “stuck together.” I had to use a brush to separate my lashes and work the mascara through from base to tip- which, admittedly, didn’t make them look half bad when I was done.

Would I Purchase?: No. The finished look, after applying and combing the mascara through my lashes- wasn’t horrible– but it definitely wasn’t worth the extra steps and this mascara definitely isn’t worth the $20 price tag. I can achieve better results (sans-brush and with one coat) with other mascaras. “It’s So Big” fell flat.

Product # 5: Cailyn Cosmetics Tinted Lip Balm in “Big Apple” ($19)



The unusual and unique shape of this balm’s container, which features a built in brush handle, piqued my interest once I’d opened my ipsy bag and had me eager to try the deep, apple red matte shade- which seemed more daytime appropriate than other, brighter red lipsticks and lip balms I’ve tried in the past. This balm applied easily enough with the tiny brush, and gave decent color with only a few swipes across my lips- however, it didn’t last. After a couple of hours, the color had faded, peeled, and sort of feathered out to the edges of my mouth, making my lips looked more chapped and dry than anything.

Speaking of dry- this balm pretty much sucked ANY moisture out of my lips. After I’d carefully removed it, I had to continually apply copious amounts of chapstick, hydrating balms, moisture-rich lipsticks, and finally, Vaseline, for DAYS afterwards to get my lips to feel even mildly comfortable again. Even now as I write this, they still feel a little dry. Not as bad as a few days ago- but still dry.

Would I Purchase?: No. This lip balm was such a disappointment. As nice as the color was, it didn’t last long at all- and the extremely drying, cracked, and otherwise unpleasant feeling it gave my lips long after I’d removed it was horrid.


With the exception of the highlighter pencil, this month’s ipsy bag was pretty underwhelming. I don’t expect to be blown away each and every month (especially for a $10 subscription) but overall, the September bag was a let down. I’m hoping October’s will be better.

One thought on “Ipsy Bag: September 2013 Review.

  1. Oh too bad you didn’t love the Mascara. I love it, but it doesn’t clump on me. I’m actually going to purchase it before the discount code expires this month.

    Totally agree on Cailyn’s lip balm. I love the color and it stayed beautifully, but it is not moisturizing at all. it makes my lips feel dry if I don’t put something on top or under the Balm.


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