Even though there’s technically still a couple of weeks of Summer left- schools are starting up classes again, the early morning humidity has been replaced by a hint of chilly air, my urge to wear boots and hoodies has begun to come back- and coffee shops are releasing their Pumpkin Spice flavored beverages early. Yes, Fall is approaching- and even though it’s the prequel to the season I despise the most- I’m so excited.
Ipsy, getting into the Autumn spirit right along with me- sent out their August bags, themed “Beauty School(ed)” recently. The bag itself, which is supposed to be a tube shape with fun orange polka dots- arrived warped beyond repair to the point where it was comical. After multiple attempts to fix it to get a halfway decent photo, I called it quits and instead focused on the products that had been tucked inside of it.
What I Received:
Jersey Shore Sun ‘Mongongo’ Lip Conditioner (*Full Size!*)
Dr. Brandt ‘Pores No More’ Pore Refiner
J. Cat Beauty Flying Solo Eye Shadow in “Half Naked” (*Full Size!*)
Urban Decay ‘Perversion’ Mascara
Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk
Right away, I knew I was going to like this lip balm- not only because of it’s name (which is fun to say,) but because it smelled like Jolly Ranchers candies the second I twisted it up to apply. ‘Mongongo’ is organic- loaded with anti-oxidants, UV protection, anti-aging components- and no artificial ingredients. I’ve been using it non-stop for the past few days and have really noticed an improvement in the overall softness and smoothness of my lips. The color-less, flavor-less formula is non-tacky, non-greasy, and stays on my pout for hours for long-term hydration. I can easily see this becoming my go-to for the days where I want to go natural and wear something on my lips that isn’t bright or bold, or even just as an everyday lip moisturizer.
Would I Purchase?: Yes! On the surface, this admittedly looks like any generic chapstick you’d find at the drug store- but I’m really liking the formula, the fragrance, and the results. Unlike most chapsticks, this isn’t harsh or loaded with chemicals that can actually cause more dryness, peeling, or cracking to the lips. It’s gentle and effective- and definitely something I’d purchase in the future for myself and for friends.
Years ago, when I worked for Clinique, I used a “Pore Minimizing” primer that had the same light, fluffy texture as this pore refiner. There was roughly the same amount of product in the tube- but it was half the price. That’s not to say this isn’t a lovely primer, however. Although I was a little nervous with how dark it appeared at first, the product quickly and effortlessly blended into my skin- instantly mattifying it and making my face soft and smooth prior to applying my foundation. This formula is also anti-bacterial, which is a huge plus for people like me with sensitive skin that is occasionally prone to breakouts.
Did it reduce the look of my pores? Not really. I didn’t notice much of a difference both before my foundation had been applied and after- and I had to resort to my usual blending and powder techniques to give me a flawless finish.
Would I Purchase?: Maybe. While I was a bit disappointed that this primer, specifically for pores- didn’t do much for mine- I did enjoy how it evened out and softened my skin before I applied my makeup. The $45 price tag is a little steep, especially for something that only delivered some of the promised benefits and results- but I liked the mattifying effect, the antibacterial benefits, and the finish- and I wouldn’t be completely opposed to eventually making the switch from my current primer to this.
This eye-shadow, described as being “vividly pigmented,” came in a flip-up compact with a small mirror and sponge applicator. Although the shade appeared almost orange in the container, it actually applied and set as a shimmery champagne color- but it wasn’t nearly as pigmented as I would have hoped for or expected. The color would have worked great as a subtle highlighter had it not been for the lack of staying power. Even when applied over a primer, this shadow creased and faded almost entirely in no time at all. Although the packaging is convenient and the price is pretty awesome for the amount of product within it- overall, this shadow was a let-down.
Would I Purchase?: No. Between the lack of pigmentation and longevity, this product was a dud. I’m fine with spending a little bit more money for a shadow that I know will not only show up on my lids, but will stay in place for a lot longer, too.
Of all the cosmetics brands in the world, I think I’m most loyal to Urban Decay. I love their palettes, their pigmentation, and their prices. Of all their things I’ve purchased and of all the things from their brand that I’ve tried over the years- I’ve only ever been unsatisfied with one or two things. Overall, my experiences with Urban Decay have been positive. My love affair carries over into their newest mascara, “Perversion,” as well. With a big, thick brush and a blackest-black formula- this mascara made my lashes look long, dark, and dramatic with just two coats. There was no flaking, clumping, or smudging. Just a bold all-day look that required no touch-ups or reapplications.
Would I Purchase?: Yes! Urban Decay has done it again. Although I’ve been quite content with my current mascara, I will absolutely be purchasing a full-sized tube of “Perversion” once I’ve run out. This is a great mascara that is perfect for those who love the “false lash” look (without the glue or hassle) as much as I do. This particular formula can be partnered with a primer, “Subversion,” as well- but with the results I’ve achieved with just the mascara by itself- the primer may not be necessary.
For as long as I can remember, dry shampoos- specifically aerosol ones- have been one of my biggest enemies. I have yet to find one that hasn’t left behind some sort of residue, or smelled foul, or made my hair somehow feel LESS clean than before I’d applied it. I don’t know if it’s because of my curls, or because my hair is pretty thick- but I always inwardly cringe whenever I receive one in a beauty subscription service- and August’s Ipsy bag was no exception. Despite my skepticism, I tried this spray from Klorane anyway- covering just my roots from a few inches away and letting it absorb into my scalp for a couple of minutes before I attempted to brush away the excess. I say “attempted” because much like the other dry shampoos I’ve tried- this one didn’t absorb well at all- and instead left chalky residue on my scalp.
I will say that this product smelled a lot better than other dry shampoos I’ve received in the past- but it wasn’t enough to win me over.
Would I Purchase?: No. Again, these aerosol sprays are just not for me at all. I think this shampoo would work fine for someone with straight or fine hair, where it would be easier to distribute evenly and brush through- but for me- it was just messy.
August’s Ipsy Bag wasn’t the worst I’ve received by any means, but with only two products I really liked and one I’m still on the fence about- I’m hoping September’s will have a better selection of quality samples to try.