BeautyArmy: June 2013 Review.

Comment 1 Standard

BeautyArmyJune2013

BeautyArmyJune20132

I’ve been growing increasingly frustrated with BeautyArmy lately. For $12 a month, I don’t expect anything particularly mind blowing in terms of sample sizes or brands, but I would hope to at least have more variety in my selection window. This month, as well as in May and in April, I was offered products that I had not only tried in past boxes, but ones that I also hadn’t particularly liked that much, either. I had to alter my profile and preferences on the site numerous (and when I say numerous times, I’m talking close to 19-20 modifications and page refreshes), and even then, I had to settle for a couple of products that I had no desire to try/use in order to process my order.

I’m going to tough it out with this service until July’s selection window. If it’s anything like it has been in the past few months, I’ll be cancelling my subscription and switching over to a different beauty box company.

What I Received (Chose):

Nelson J., Beverly Hills – Argan Oil 7 Non-Foaming Shampoo

Lash Card Mascara Shields *

Addiction NV Lip Gloss in “Girls Night Out”

Mini Kittour 100ml Refillable Bottle *

Lift Lab Lift & Moisturizing Cream

COLORSMASH Hair Shadow in “Party Pink”

June2013BeautyArmyUnused

* What I Didn’t Use

Lash Card Mascara Shields

Why Not: I’ve never had any issues with applying mascara. The only times I’ve ever had mascara smudge off of my lashes was when I sneezed directly after application. That’s a rare occurrence, so these shields aren’t really needed. I plan on giving them away to anyone who may need them at some point down the line.

Mini Kittour 100ml Refillable Bottle

Why Not: I should clarify that I do actually plan on using this container when I travel to store shampoo or moisturizer since it meets TSA regulations, but I didn’t think it was necessary to review a basic travel bottle. It is what it is!

Product #1: Nelson J., Beverly Hills – Argan Oil 7 Non-Foaming Shampoo ($20)

I’ve said in more than one review that I’m not a fan of non-foaming shampoos. I like a little lather when I’m washing my hair and when I don’t have any, I feel as though my hair isn’t thoroughly cleansed. I AM a fan of Argan oil, however, and put aside my disdain for the foam-less variety of shampoo to try this sample, which listed it’s conditioning and detangling benefits right on the bottle.

The product had the same color, consistency, and scent as mint toothpaste- which took a little getting used to. After massaging the shampoo into my scalp and coming it through my hair as instructed, I let it sit in place while I finished up my shower to make sure it had a chance to really sink in. When I rinsed it out, I noticed my hair did feel very silky and smooth, which was nice- but it didn’t necessarily feel clean. It was like I had used a very hydrating conditioner instead of a shampoo.

Would I Purchase?: Maybe. Although the the silkiness of my hair was a pleasant surprise, I (again) like my hair to feel clean when I wash it. I think I’d probably stick to my color-safe, sulfate-free shampoo for redheads that I’ve been using for a long time, but I wouldn’t be opposed to trying the matching conditioner to this sample at some point.

Product #2: Addiction NV Lip Gloss in “Girls Night Out” ($16)

There was nothing really noteworthy about this sheer burgundy lip gloss, which applied more like a lip stain in terms of it’s consistency and longevity. Lightweight, non-tacky, and not particularly long-lasting, the color was nice, although more suitable for the Fall rather than the Summer, I think- but overall the gloss was forgettable. Nothing about it really stood out to me.

GirlsNightOutGloss

Would I Purchase?: No. Although there was nothing wrong with the lip gloss itself, it was just really simple to me. I wasn’t in love with the color, and while the non-sticky formula was nice enough- it’s not something I would run out to buy right away.

Product #3: Lift Lab Lift & Moisturizing Cream ($130)

I wasn’t provided with enough of this moisturizer to really see long-term results. I had enough to get me through one day, and I feel I would need at least 4-5 days to determine whether or not this product really works or not. From just the one day, my skin did, in fact, feel hydrated, and even a little taut- but like the lip gloss in this month’s box- I wasn’t really blown away. I feel I could achieve the same results with another, less-expensive cream (that would also have SPF benefits to it, which this product did not).

Would I Purchase?: No. I’m at an age where I still use preventative facial products to sort of nip fine lines and age spots in the bud before they start to show, so I don’t really need firming or lifting creams just yet. If and when I do in the future, I’d like to invest in quality, affordable products that will give me results. $130 for a cream is a little steep for me, and although it was definitely nourishing to my skin- there are so many creams and serums out there that will give me the same feeling for half the price.

Product #4: COLORSMASH Hair Shadow in “Party Pink” ($15)

I haven’t colored my hair anything wild in years. I think the last time I did anything outrageous, apart from the 7-month span when I was 17 where I went platinum blonde, was the year I had bright purple streaks going through my curls. In hindsight, it looked ridiculous- but at the time I thought it was bad. ass.

COLORSMASH lets me re-live my Manic Panic hair dye days without the mess, commitment, or post-coloring regret. Their hair shadow line is easy to use, and more importantly- temporary. You simply apply the powdered hair color as desired (I’ve heard of people using brushes to get a precise application. I, on the other hand, went balls to the wall and just applied it with my fingertips), seal it in with hairspray, and when you’re ready to change the color or lose it entirely- you just wash your hair.

Now, my hair is BRIGHT red, and I was hoping that the equally bright pink I received would show up nicely, but alas- it was barely noticeable:

ColorSmashHairShadow1

ColorSmashHairShadow2

You can kinda’, sorta’ see it on the ends there- but keep in mind I had actually applied about 2-3 layers to try and get it to show up. That’s not to say any of the other, darker colors wouldn’t show up if I tried them. There’s a blue and a green listed on Sephora that caught my attention.

Would I Purchase?: Maybe. I like the concept of this product. It seems like it’d be a lot of fun for a night out or if you just want to do something different with your hair for a few hours. It’s infinitely safer than those temporary hair color sprays they sell at costume shops, and a lot easier to correct than actual hair dyes are, but I was a little disappointed that the pink didn’t show up more in my hair. I don’t know if I would actually buy any of the other shades right away, but I would definitely try them if samples were to be made available to me.

I’m hoping July will prove to be a better BeautyArmy experience for me. I love the idea of actually being able to research and choose your samples instead of just receiving a box of wild card stuff, but their poor execution of an otherwise great idea has left me feeling a little skeptical.

xx

BeautyArmy: May 2013 Review.

Comments 4 Standard

BeautyArmyMay20131

BeautyArmyMay20132

May is Women’s Health Month, and to raise awareness, BeautyArmy offered a few selections in their sample choices this month to introduce subscribers to new products and companies that focus on promoting fitness and well-being. I was only given a couple of these options in my selection window, but I took advantage of them.

What I Received (Chose):

KORRES Wild Rose 24-Hour Moisturizing & Brightening Cream

OWN Lifting Eye Cream

YES TO Cucumber Facial Towelettes

NAILUV Gel Polish in “Berry Sweetie”

Mighty Leaf Tea in Green Tea Tropical

iTrain Downloadable Workouts Gift Card

Product #1: KORRES Wild Rose 24-Hour Moisturizing & Brightening Cream ($35.00)

With temperatures in New England steadily on the rise, my skin is starting to get oily again, as it does every Spring/Summer. Even still, I decided to treat myself with this rich moisturizer before work earlier this week to see if it really did brighten my skin and even out it’s texture & tone the way it was advertised.

The first thing I noticed was that despite rose oil being the main ingredient, this moisturizer didn’t smell floral at all. It didn’t have a specific fragrance, and absorbed quickly into my skin without leaving a residue behind. While I didn’t notice any particular improvement in my skin’s brightness, texture, or tone (and I suspect those results may come with continued use with more than what I was provided with in the sample), my face did feel hydrated all day, and even most of the night, long after I’d washed the product off. Best of all? I didn’t have any bumps or breakouts pop up despite the extra oil on my skin.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! A little goes a long way with this cream, so it’s not something I would have to continually slather on throughout the day. I wish I had been given more of the sample so I could evaluate the results after a week or so of use, but from what I saw in just one day, specifically how soft and supple my skin felt- I’m a fan.

Product #2: OWN Lifting Eye Cream ($23.99)

This sample kept popping up in my selection window, despite my specifying that I’m not having issues with droopiness or fine lines around my eye area. I relented, and gave it a shot- FOR SCIENCE! The sample was small, but I used the product sparingly and managed to prolong it’s longevity into a 3-day test where I used a little of the cream every night before bed and documented my results in the morning.

After the first night, in which I felt minor irritation after applying (my eyes watered a little but nothing too serious), the area around my eyes did, admittedly, feel a little softer, but it was nothing that my usual swab of Vaseline before bed couldn’t do.

The second night, there was a little more irritation than the first night. My eyes watered, and the area where I’d applied the cream stung briefly. In the morning, the results were the same as the first night. It wasn’t anything extraordinary.

The third and final night of the test, I ended up having to flush my eyes out with cold water for ten minutes almost immediately after application because the pain was so bad. Not only were my eyes watering to the point where I couldn’t see, but the area around my eye were I’d applied the cream became red and inflamed. I’m still experiencing some discomfort as I write this that I’m hoping will go away in the coming days.

Would I Purchase?: No. Dear God, no. I can’t even stress how problematic this product was for the minimal, barely note-worthy results I saw before it wreaked havoc around my eyes. That’s not to say it wouldn’t work for others, but my experience has completely put me off of ever trying this brand again.

Product #3: YES TO Cucumber Facial Towelettes ($5.99)

Every night before I start my P.M. skin care regime, I use basic Olay makeup removal towelettes to swipe away the day’s BB cream, blush, powder, etc. I’ve done it for years, and have never really considered any other alternatives since that seemed to be the most convenient way.

I’ve grown quite fond of the YES TO products, though, and decided to go ahead and check out this cucumber-infused towelette. I’m a little weary of putting anything scented on my face, but this towel was instantly cooling to the touch and did a phenomenal job of removing all of my makeup without drying my skin out. When I was done, my face felt clean, tingly, and refreshed.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! For convenience, results, and especially the price- you couldn’t ask for a better product.

Product #4: NAILUV Gel Polish in “Berry Sweetie” ($14.95)

I have a small container full of nail polishes that I’ve been persistently trying to use up in recent months. However none of those polishes are gel-based, and having rediscovered my love for the quick and long-lasting effects of a gel manicure, I opted for a small bottle of “Berry Sweetie”. I brought it down to my nail salon yesterday for my manicurist, Nina, to apply on my tips.

NailLuvBerrySweetie1

NailLuvBerrySweetie2

I LOVE the color. It’s gorgeous. It’s the perfect deep, reddish-pink that really stands out on my pale skin and goes well with nearly everything I wear, and with it being gel-based, I know it won’t flake or fade for a few weeks.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! I don’t think I’d necessarily run out and buy a full bottle of “Berry Sweetie” anytime soon, since this sample will last me quite a while, but I would love to try other colors by this brand.

Product #5: Mighty Leaf Tea in Green Tea Tropical ($9.95)

I’m fairly sure that by now everyone knows how much I enjoy (or depend on, whichever way you want to look at it) coffee and teas. I love trying new ones, and the sweeter, the better. The last time I tried a tea from Mighty Leaf, their “Vanilla Bean” tea, I wasn’t a fan. It was very bland to me, but I was hoping that this tea would taste a little better.

This tea had the same problem, however. It smelled better than it tasted- even after I added a pinch of sugar. It was just a very watered down, dull, fruit-flavor.

Would I Purchase?: No. I’ll pass on this one, and stick to my iced chai teas.

Product #6: iTrain Downloadable Workouts Gift Card ($25)

I have a monthly gym subscription to a local, up-to-date, very modern facility that I enjoy. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy working out in the comfort of my own home on the days when I lack the motivation to get up and go sweat with a bunch of strangers. I saw this gift card, valid for different downloadable workout programs, playlists, and trainer voice-overs that can be used both at home or at the gym up for grabs, and managed to snag one.

In order to use the voucher, I first had to register at iTrain.com, enter the gift card information, and peruse the available downloads. One of the programs I was interested in trying, a 60-minute beach body workout, was a little more than what I had available on the card, so upon checking-out, I only owed four dollars and some change.

After making the payment, I navigated to the section of the site where I could download my workout file, and low and behold- I can’t. It shows up that I purchased the program, but I can’t click on it or make use of it.

What’s worse, is that the site has saved my credit card information and I can’t erase it. I can’t cancel my account. I can’t do anything.

I’ve sent an e-mail to customer service regarding the whole ordeal and asking for an account cancellation, but have yet to hear back from anyone apart from an automated e-mail reply saying my account should be cancelled in 30 days if I’ve met the 3-month membership minimum- which means I’m going to have to monitor my bank account activity carefully in the coming weeks to make sure no additional funds go missing.

Would I Purchase?: No. This one was self-explanatory. The whole ordeal was stressful and I’m better off just sticking to classes at the gym than attempting anything like this through iTrain ever again.

Apart from the disastrous iTrain incident and the painful eye cream reaction, this month’s box wasn’t too bad. In the future, however, I will not be selecting gift cards or vouchers should BeautyArmy offer them.

BeautyArmy: April 2013 Review.

Comment 1 Standard

April2013BeautyArmyBox

Let’s get right to it, shall we?

What I Received (Chose):

YES TO Tomatoes Daily Pore Scrub

New York Streets Dry Shampoo

Mark. Hook-Up Lip Gloss in “Honey”

GG Gatsby “Raise Volume” Conditioner

Amlactin Moisturizing Body Lotion

COTZ Face Tint SPF 40

Product #1: YES TO Tomatoes Daily Pore Scrub ($9.99)

Back in February, I had given YES TO Carrots Body Butter a glowing review. Seeing another YES TO product available to try this month, this time a pore scrub, I didn’t hesitate to select it as one of my samples. The scrub, which didn’t smell too much like tomato (only a little bit, but it wasn’t grossly overpowering), was gentle enough on my face where it didn’t hurt to apply, and yet it was powerful enough that when I rinsed it off, my skin felt really smooth and exfoliated. I wish I had gotten a bigger sample so I could see the results over the course of a few days as opposed to just a one time only use, but I liked what I saw and what I felt, and I wouldn’t be opposed to trying it again.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! This product is pretty inexpensive compared to other pore scrubs and exfoliators on the market, and as I mentioned, the results after just one use were impressive. I’d like to try to see if the results stay consistent with continued use, and I’d be willing to make the purchase to find out.

Product #2: New York Streets Dry Shampoo ($17.99)

Having hair as curly as mine poses an issue with dry shampoo, especially in the warmer seasons. A lot of dry shampoos I’ve tried in the past either make me look like I have dandruff (ew) by not absorbing properly and just being stubborn when it comes time to brush it through my hair, or they disappear almost instantly on my scalp and I’m left with hair that feels a little greasy. I’m selective with dry shampoos, usually sticking with my trusty Lush one, but I decided to give this aerosol dry shampoo a try.

I sprayed some of this product on my scalp, and immediately noticed that it turned my roots white- which wouldn’t be an issue except that it would NOT fade, even after excessive massaging and brushing. I eventually had to apply styling product on top of it, thus wetting the shampoo and pretty much defeating it’s purpose- and making my hair feel not very refreshed at all.

Would I Purchase?: No. This product was a dud for me. The one good thing was that it had a pretty scent to it, but I could get the same result- without the powdered wig effect, that is- from hairspray.

Product #3: Mark. Hook-Up Lip Gloss in “Honey” ($6.50)

I have an addiction to lip color that can’t be controlled or stopped. I’ve come to terms with it. I’ve accepted it. It’s part of who I am. I love to try all kinds, colors, textures, and finishes. I’ve heard good things about Mark. lip gloss, and seeing this pretty pink-ish, neutral tone up for grabs, I couldn’t resist.

MarkHookUpHoney1

MarkHookUpHoney2

One of the things that I loved about this lip gloss, apart from the flattering shade that’s perfect for everyday wear, was that even though it looked thick on the sponge applicator, it actually applied smoothly and didn’t feel sticky or tacky on my lips. It gave a great glassy shine finish, but it wasn’t as long lasting as other formulas I’ve tried. I had to re-apply shortly after I finished my morning coffee.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! Longevity downfall aside, this is a nice gloss with a decent and reasonable price tag attached to it. I’d love to see more shades!

Product #4: GG Gatsby “Raise Volume” Conditioner ($14.99)

In February, I also reviewed GG Gatsby’s “Raise Volume” shampoo. I was on the fence about it, since certain aspects like the color-safe formula and the scent were nice, but it didn’t quite give me the results it advertised. The same can be said about this conditioner. Like the shampoo, the scent to this creamy, light-weight formula was lovely, and it detangled and moisturized my hair without making it feel greasy- but I didn’t quite get the shine or the volume the packaging promised.

Would I Purchase?: Maybe. I’m still a little indecisive about this brand and their products, since they seem to only make it halfway with their results. I liked this conditioner, but I wasn’t in love with it. However, the price isn’t obscene, which is definitely a plus and might weigh in on my decision to eventually purchase a full size bottle.

Product #5: Amlactin Moisturizing Body Lotion ($11.99)

I have a drawer full of body lotions, body butters, body oils, etc., but the exfoliating aspect of this body lotion caught my attention and I wanted to see what type of results I’d get with it. Advertised as being deeply and intensely hydrating, and for being capable of boosting cell turnover to promote radiant, glowing skin- I slathered some of this on after a morning shower and again before bed. While the formula absorbed into my skin quickly and didn’t feel greasy or leave any kind of film behind, I had a couple of reddened, itchy patches pop up a short time later, signaling a small, but noticeable reaction to the product.

Also, the lotion is fragrance-free, which is great for people with sensitive skin, but it seemed that the ingredients that make up the moisturizer developed a scent of their own, and in this case- it was sort of medicinal, like something I imagine you could find in a hospital ward.

Would I Purchase?: No. I’d pass on this one. The combination of the weird smell, the irritated patches on my skin after applying, and my skin not feeling all that hydrated was the deal breaker for me. I’ll stick to nicer smelling, less abrasive lotions and body butters.

Product $6: COTZ Face Tint SPF 40 ($19.99)

I swear by SPF, and I try to make sure it’s in everything I use- whether it be my facial moisturizer, BB cream, body lotion, etc. I have fair skin and I burn entirely too easy (my last accidental sunburn from a couple of years ago resulted in my missing nearly a week of work and almost being hospitalized for how severe it was), so I have to be careful and conscientiousness about sun protection. I decided to see if this tinted mineral sunscreen was worthy of praise.

When I first got a look at the color, I had a sinking feeling I was in for a messy situation. The shade was entirely too dark for my skin tone, so even after some of it had absorbed, I was left discolored, like I had dirt on my face, and had to apply my BB cream over it to conceal both the SPF tint and any imperfections it didn’t cover. Also, the texture, almost foamy in a way, wasn’t my cup of tea and made applying it evenly a little bit of a pain. On the plus side, it had a matte finish, and seemed to be long-lasting from what I could tell.

Would I Purchase?: No. The shade, which I believe is the only one this SPF comes in,  was too dark for my complexion, and the consistency made obtaining an even application a hassle. I’d recommend a creamier, un-tinted sunscreen to wear under makeup, or even a BB cream that has a decent amount of SPF added to it if you’re looking for sun protection and good coverage.

With the exception of the tomato pore scrub and the rose-colored lip gloss, this month’s box was kind of a let down. Admittedly, I’m the one choosing the samples for this particular brand of beauty box, but it seemed my options were sort of limited during my selection window. I’m hoping for a wider, more diverse selection of products to choose from in May.

BeautyArmy: March 2013 Review.

Leave a comment Standard

BeautyArmyMarch2013

I’m taking a break from packing my suitcase for an early flight I’m catching tomorrow morning to the West Coast for a long weekend getaway. I recently finished the trials in my March 2013 BeautyArmy box, and wanted to post my reviews before I move on to the samples I received yesterday when this month’s GlossyBox arrived at my door.

What I Received (Chose):

SKYN ICELAND Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels

INEKE Hothouse Flower Perfume

Immuno-Viva “Sunset” Tea

Whip Hand Cosmetics, Loose Pigment Eyeshadow in “Green Beret”

SKINN COSMETICS Color Touch Eye, Cheek, & Lip Glow in “Teen Tone”.

GRAND CENTRAL BEAUTY Skin Perfecting Polisher

Product #1: SKYN ICELAND Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels ($30.00 for 8 pairs)

I’m weary of putting any kind of firming/anti-aging cream or gel near my eyes. I rarely stray from my “Vaseline around the eyes at nighttime” routine, as I’ve mentioned in the past, but these cooling eye gel pads caught my attention, and most of the reviews I read were extremely positive, so I decided to break with tradition and give them a shot. I received one pair of the pads, and applied them earlier tonight while I was going through my itinerary of what to pack for my trip.

The pads were mess-free, which was automatically an improvement from the Vaseline regime, and they stayed in place after I pressed them onto my skin. The directions on the package said to leave the pads on for up to ten minutes. I decided to live dangerously and keep them on for 15 before removing them, and even now I can still feel the tingling, cool sensation that started almost immediately after the application. Around my eyes looked firmer and smoother, and felt soft to the touch. I was, and still am, impressed!

Would I Purchase?: Yes! The price for these pads is a little steep, especially just for eight pairs, but they aren’t something someone like me would use every day. They’d be perfect for having after a long, exhausting day, or for packing in your purse for an emergency pick-me-up before going into a big meeting at work or for freshening up before going out for a night on the town.

Product #2: INEKE Hothouse Flower Perfume ($95.00)

This perfume, advertised as being “highly addictive” (and thus making me want to see/smell it for myself), was pretty potent when I first spritzed some on the insides of my wrists. Smelling strongly of florals, musk, and a hint of citrus, it was powerful, but gradually weakened as it blended with my skin. What I was left with was a lightweight, more musky scent. Unfortunately, it didn’t last like other fragrances I’ve used and tried in the past, and within a few hours, it had all but faded completely.

Would I Purchase?: No. The scent was lovely, but the longevity could use some improvement. I like my fragrances to last so that I don’t have to frequently reapply them throughout the day, but this one just all but disappeared a little too quickly for my liking.

Product #3: Immuno-Viva “Sunset” Tea ($11.95 for 20 teabags)

In February’s BeautyArmy box, I had tried the Immuno-Viva “Sunrise” tea and really enjoyed it. I saw it’s counterpart, the “Sunset” tea, available, and wanted to see if I liked it just as much. Like “Sunrise”, this white tea is packed with antioxidants to help boost immune health and concentration. Unlike “Sunrise”, however, which is supposed to energize and awaken, this blend is made to naturally relax and help support a more restful sleep.

Taste wise, this tea was a little bland. It wasn’t strong, which to me, is a good thing- but I felt it could have used a little something extra to give it’s flavor a kick. Maybe a hint of vanilla, or even mint. I’m sure it’s nothing a little extra sugar couldn’t take care of, but adding sugar to a nighttime relaxation tea just seems a little contradictory to me.

“Sunrise” tea hadn’t made me feel anymore energized or alert than usual, but the “Sunset” tea did seem to relax me quite well. Granted, I was drinking it in bed, wrapped up in fleece blankets, and was pretty tired to begin with, so there’s a good chance there were some other contributing factors that assisted in my overall sleepy feeling, but I’ll go ahead and give the tea all the credit.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! I’m sure there are ways to boost what is otherwise a pretty blasé flavor, but this is a good, light, end-of-the-day tea, and it’s filled with natural ingredients that are good for you, too.

Product #4: Whip Hand Cosmetics, Loose Pigment Eyeshadow in “Green Beret” ($11.90)

Also in February’s BeautyArmy box, I had tried Whip Hand Cosmetics’ “Medal of Honor” loose pigment eyeshadow, and had loved it’s shimmer and long-last wear. I wanted to check out other shades, and when I saw that this green shadow was available, I jumped at the chance.

Upon applying this shadow over my primer, two things were clear right away: 1. the color appeared more grey than green, and 2. I needed to use a lot of it since I could absolutely NOT get it to spread evenly over my eyelid. Once I got the shadow as even and as dark as I could, and blended it a little, the finished color wasn’t bad- but it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, either.

GreenBeretShadow1

GreenBeretShadow2

Would I Purchase?: No. As much as I loved “Medal of Honor” last month, this product was a let-down. I have other green eyeshadows in my makeup collection that are more vibrant and easier to apply than this particular one was. I’ll stick with those and pass on “Green Beret”.

Product #5: SKINN COSMETICS Color Touch Eye, Cheek, & Lip Glow in “Teen Tone” ($17.00)

The second I ran my finger across the top of this creamy 3-in-1 makeup and began applying it to the apples of my cheeks, I was smitten. This lightweight formula, in a beautiful, natural looking rosy shade, applied like a dream and stayed put almost all day- giving me a glow throughout my workday and well into the evening.

My only problem, and this usually happens with most multi-purpose makeups like this, is that while the color was gorgeous on my cheeks and my eyes, it looked a little chalky when I applied it on my lips. It also went on to dry my lips out pretty bad, and I eventually had to wipe it off and apply a different lip color.

TeenToneColorCream

Would I Purchase?: Yes! Despite the bad result I got with my lips, this product was gorgeous everywhere else I applied it. You don’t need a lot of it, either- which means that it’ll last you a long time.

Product #6: GRAND CENTRAL BEAUTY Skin Perfecting Polisher ($38.00)

I wasn’t entirely sure what this product was or how it was used until it arrived in my box and I had the chance to review the directions and feel the texture. I don’t know how many of you have ever been badgered by mall kiosk people (the people who have booths in the middle of the mall who always try to stop you so they can show you some overpriced miracle beauty/haircare product that never works quite as well when you get it home as it did when they were applying it or using it on you), but this reminded me of a mask I tried once in my late teens after being stopped while I was doing some shopping.

To use this product, which feels almost like a serum and less like an exfoliator, you apply it to your face, and then massage it in for about 30 seconds to a minute. After that, you’ll feel dead “skin cells” begin to roll away. From there, you can either rinse or pat your face with a towel, and your skin is supposed to look and feel more exfoliated, radiant, and  toned.

While my skin did feel a little tighter after I tried this product a few times, I didn’t notice a visible difference in my skin’s texture or tone, and it certainly didn’t feel any more exfoliated than it does when I use a scrub or a clarifying lotion.

Would I Purchase?: No. I’ll stick to my usual pore cleansing scrubs and moisturizers to obtain a smooth, toned texture. This product just seems like a waste of money for something that can be achieved with other, less expensive products.

So 3 yes products, and 3 no products. I’d say my March 2013 BeautyArmy box was a pretty even turn-out.

And now I’ve got to finish packing.

See you all in sunny San Diego!

xox

BeautyArmy: February 2013 Review.

Comment 1 Standard

BeautyArmyFebruary2013

I received my February Beauty Army Box last week, and just finished using the last of the samples this morning. I had significantly more luck with this box than I did with the January 2013 one, thanks in part to my researching the samples that were available to me before I selected them.

What I Received (Chose):

GG Gatsby “Raise Volume” Shampoo

YES TO Carrots Super Rich Body Butter

Olive Natural Beauty Bar – Lemon & Lavender Bar

Immuno-Viva “Sunrise” Tea

Whip Hand Cosmetics, Loose Pigment Eyeshadow in “Medal of Honor”

Mighty Tea Leaf “Vanilla Bean” Tea

Product #1: GG GATSBY “Raise Volume” Shampoo ($14.99)

This sulfate-free shampoo was advertised as not only being capable of giving my hair intense and long-lasting volume and fullness, but also a “mirror like” shine. The formula smelled lovely, like a floral perfume, but it didn’t lather up well. Maybe it’s just me, but the lack of suds made me wonder if it was really doing a well enough job at cleansing my hair.

Upon rinsing, my hair definitely felt smoother and silkier, Once I let it dry, I didn’t really notice a difference in volume or fullness, but this could also be attributed to my curls being big and wild anyway, even when I’m not using any kind of volumizing shampoo, conditioner, or styling product. If someone has straight or typically “flat” hair, they may notice more of a difference.

Would I Purchase?: Maybe. I liked that the shampoo was sulfate-free to protect my locks from losing their red luster, I liked the scent, and I liked how soft my hair felt after I used it, but I don’t know if it necessarily made up for the difficulty in getting it to lather up in my hair. I want to feel like my hair is being thoroughly washed, not like I’m simply adding more product to it.

Product #2: YES TO Carrots Super Rich Body Butter ($12.99)

I was a little skeptical about slathering anything on my body that had the word “carrots” in it’s name, but I was delightfully surprised with how nice this smelled. Texture wise, this is more of a lotion than a body butter, since it’s so lightweight- but it spread easily and absorbed quickly into my skin without leaving a greasy residue. There wasn’t much in the pouch I received, so I focused on applying what I had in problem areas I typically have in the winter: my elbows, knees, and ankles. My skin stayed soft, smooth, and hydrated all day and well into the night.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! I loved how this product made my skin feel. It was so much lighter in terms of the formula and the fragrance compared to other body butters I’ve tried.

Product #3: Olive Natural Beauty Bar – Lemon & Lavender ($10.00)

I’ve been fiercely loyal to the all-natural, Vermont-based soap company, Scentastics, for a couple of years now, but I decided to try something new and selected a sample of this 100% organic soap.

I could actually smell the citrus notes in this soap before I even finished removing the tissue paper from the box. It was strong, but it smelled fresh and clean. I also thought the packaging was really cute:

TheOliveNaturalBeautyBar1

TheOliveNaturalBeautyBar2

The soap was really rich and hydrating, and my skin felt moisturized long after I showered, which was nice. The only downside, as is with most organic soaps that aren’t loaded down with chemicals, is that is wears down and melts away very quickly. My sample was gone after just the one wash, so it should be used sparingly if you want to keep it for a longer period of time without having to repurchase right away.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! I still love my Scentastics soaps, but I wouldn’t be opposed to picking up a bar of this sometime.

Product #4: Immuno-Viva Sunrise Tea ($11.95 for 20 teabags)

I’m a coffee girl, and have been for a long time, but I wanted to give this energizing morning tea a try to see if it did the trick to get me going for the day. A mixture of white, green, and black teas, this fruit & cinnamon flavored blend is supposed to boost immune health, fight free-radicals, and improve concentration.

It tasted sweeter than other teas I’ve tried, which was nice, but I didn’t feel particularly more awake or alert, and ended up grabbing my usual coffee by the afternoon to keep me going.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! Even if I wasn’t exactly energized, this tea tasted good, and would be a nice substitute on the mornings when I don’t want to be completely hyped up on caffeine.

Product #5: Whip Hand Cosmetics, Loose Pigment Eyeshadow in “Medal of Honor” ($14.00)

I have blue eyes, and there are a couple of colors I can wear that really make them pop. For example, purples and golds. The name of this gold/copper, shimmery eye-shadow caught my attention (it comes from a special edition collection with military themed names), and seeing that it was highly pigmented, I decided to give it a shot.

I used a gold tinted primer, and then applied “Medal of Honor” all over my lid and up to my crease. I did not add any additional colors or shadows. It was definitely bold and bright, and lasted all day, only starting to fade in the late hours of last night/early this morning.

WhipHandMedalOfHonor

My only gripe with the shadow was the container. Loose powder shadows are messy, which is why I prefer pots of them as opposed to tubes, since you can control how much you get on your brush and any shadow left over isn’t wasted. The directions on “Medal of Honor” say it’s best to pour some of the shadow into the cap, which I tried to do, but it ended up going everywhere anyway, and the bit of shadow that I didn’t use was so difficult to get back into the tube that I ended up throwing it away.

Even still, a little goes a long way with this shadow, and as small as the sample was, I feel like I have enough of it left to use for a while.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! I loved the color, and I’d really like to try some of the other shadows in this collection.

Product #6: Mighty Tea Leaf in “Vanilla Bean” ($9.95 for 15 Pouches)

I must have been in a tea mood when I selected my samples for this month, since choosing the Sunrise tea seemingly wasn’t enough for me. I selected this black loose leaf tea, fused with vanilla bean bits and kept in a cute, silken pouch, and hoped for the best. I’d had good luck with the Sunrise tea the other morning, and thought I’d have a similar experience when I brewed this tea earlier today.

Unfortunately, this tea was very bland, even after I added a bit of milk and sugar to try and perk up the flavor. It didn’t taste bad, but it was very boring, and I couldn’t detect a hint of vanilla in it at all, which was disappointing.

Would I Purchase?: No. This was the only sample I received this month that I’d definitely pass on buying in the future.

Overall, I enjoyed this month’s box, and was pleased to discover new brands and products that worked well for me. As I had said in the beginning of this entry, this box was a considerable improvement compared to the one I received in January. Here’s hoping I have the same luck in March!

xx

Vaccinated (and a Beauty Box Review.)

Leave a comment Standard

TheVaccinesDrums

TheVaccines

TheVaccines2

TheVaccines3

TheVaccines4

Last night I caught a set by London’s finest, The Vaccines at what I feel is the best venue in the city, The ‘Dise (Paradise Rock Club). They’re brilliant, and probably some of the sweetest and funniest guys around. The show was great, and loud. My ears are still ringing a little, but it was a blast.

The show was my first with my new camera in tow. I’m still getting the hang of using it since it’s a lot more complex than past cameras I’ve owned. I like the shots above, especially the ones that feature Árni’s 1970’s California surfer-style hair. I’m used to taking photos of abandoned buildings or cosmetics for reviews, however, so I tried to snap some pictures of the boys in the same manner- but abandoned buildings and cosmetics don’t flail rapidly or jump around a stage when you’re trying to shoot them, and since The Vaccines do pretty much everything but stand still for long moments at a time- it definitely proved to be a challenge.

I learned a few new things about my camera, and about photographing a show with it in the process that I’m looking forward to utilizing for the next gig, though. Practice makes perfect, after all.

BeautyArmyJanuary20131

Speaking of photographing cosmetics, I recently received my first beauty box from BeautyArmy. For those of you who aren’t familiar with BA, it’s a monthly subscription service where for $12 per month, you can select 6 samples of various skin care/cosmetic/wellness products from a collection that is specifically fitted to your skin/hair/personality type after you answer a quick but somewhat detailed questionnaire about yourself and the type of physical features you have. My co-worker is a big fan of it, and urged me to try it since she knows how much I love experimenting with new things. I finally caved, and received my carefully wrapped pink and black box a couple of weeks ago- plenty of time to play around with the samples.

BeautyArmyJanuary20132

What I Received (Chose):

Ruddy Water Blushed Fragrance Pouch

Egyptian Magic All-Purpose Skin Cream

Bath & Body Works “Sweet Pea” Shower Gel*

Jonathan “Dirt” Texturizing Paste

EnSpri Ultra Collagen 5-Minute Facial

Yes To Blueberries “Age Refresh Eye Firming Cream*

Mark Scandi-Lash Mascara (in brown)* (BONUS SAMPLE)

*What I didn’t Use:

Bath & Body Works “Sweet Pea” Shower Gel

Why Not: I have so many bath and shower products that I don’t even know what to do with them all. As much as I love the “Sweet Pea” scent, this was something I picked to give to my mother.

Yes To Blueberries “Age Refresh Eye Firming Cream

Why Not: I’m a stickler when it comes to certain regimens, my eye care being one of them. My grandmother on my mom’s side used nothing but a little Vaseline around her eyes before bed time every night and she always looked amazing. She swore by it, and for the past few years, it’s become my own routine as well. My pillowcase might look a little greasy in the morning, but my eye area is still smooth and bright. I chose this sample, again, to give to someone else to try.

Mark Scandi-Lash Mascara (in brown)

Why Not: I don’t think I’ll ever be able to give up my Diorshow Black Out mascara. It just makes my lashes look exactly how I want them to without irritating my eyes. Like the Bath & Body Works shower gel, this sample was for my mother to try. Where I use the blackest of black mascaras to obtain a dramatic look, my mother is more reserved with brown, natural looking mascara.

Product #1: EnSpri Ultra Collagen 5-Minute Facial ($99.50)

One of the selling points to me trying this facial was that it was not only suitable for all skin types, but that it would soften my skin and shrink my pores. The packet is perforated, dividing the collagen powder and the gel hydrator activator. The directions on the packet state you need only mix the powder with the activator, apply to skin, wait until it dries, rinse, and voila! Insta-soft skin.

However, when I tried it, two things became clear very quickly: the powder packet contained, in my opinion, a little too much powder, and there wasn’t nearly enough activator to get the two to mix evenly. My bathroom counter ended up looking like Tony Montana’s desk in “Scarface”.

TonyMontanaDesk

The other thing that became clear was that this product smelled HORRIBLE. I mean gag-worthy. It was supposed to be less harsh than other masks, but it smelled strongly of burning chemicals.

When I did manage to apply enough of the product, as grainy and uncomfortable as it was, and waited until it dried to rinse- I didn’t feel or notice any dramatic improvement in my skin’s tone or texture. It just felt like I’d exfoliated a little bit, and the gross smell lingered on my face, much to my dismay, long after washing the mask off.

Would I Purchase?: No. I’d just stick to a daily scrub to achieve the same feeling. It’d be cheaper, smell better, and probably be less messy, too.

Product #2: Jonathan “Dirt” Texturizing Paste ($26.00)

I honestly don’t know why I picked this product considering I have medium-length and very curly hair. I’ve been told glues and pastes are for shorter hair, but I thought I’d give this a shot and see how it worked.

The product smelled like vanilla cake, which was a nice change from the Godawful collagen mask’s smell, but the texture was VERY dense and hard, making it difficult to work through my curls. I added a little water, hoping that it would spread a little easier, but to no avail. My hair didn’t look as “volumized” as the product description suggested it would, as much as it looked stringy and lifeless. I ended up giving up and resorting back to my usual cream and serum to get my bounce back.

Would I Purchase?: No. For shorter, straighter hair, this product might work really well, but it’s not for me at all. It does smell delicious, though.

Product #3: Egyptian Magic All-Purpose Skin Cream ($37.20)

I had mentioned in my Winter Essentials post that my skin is sensitive and can be problematic. I saw this moisturizer available, and upon reading it’s description, saw that it was suitable for all skin types. Throwing caution to the wind, I decided to say to hell with it and give it a try. The instructions were simple enough- rub the moisturizer into your palms until it turns into an oil for easier absorption, and then apply. I opted to try this product before bed to give it a chance to sink into my skin.

I cleansed my face as normal, used my toner, and tore open the packet. The second I started spreading it over my palms, I knew I was in trouble, because I’d never felt anything so unbelievably oily in my life. The product didn’t smell bad, but it didn’t smell good, either. Even still, I applied only a small amount to my face- but it still made me ridiculously shiny and made my skin feel greasy to the touch like I’d dived head first into a deep fryer at a fast-food restaurant.

This is a product that should NOT be applied during the day because of it’s consistency. I can’t imagine makeup staying in place if this stuff is slathered on your face. It’d just make it run.

I slept in it, and when I woke up the next morning, I will admit that my skin had a bit of a nice glow to it. It didn’t necessarily feel more hydrated than usual, but the texture and the tone looked a little more fresh and radiant.

Would I Purchase?: Maybe. I think for a weekly hydrating treatment, especially in the winter, this would be really great- but I couldn’t imagine using it every day (or every night) simply because it’s just so greasy.

It would also make a great cuticle cream, too.

The only thing missing from this list is the Ruddy Water Blushed Fragrance Pouch, which I haven’t had the chance to try. I plan on reviewing it once I do. The pouch is currently in my gym bag, and will more than likely be opened after my next work-out.

Overall, I was a little underwhelmed with the box- although it’s mainly my fault since I selected the samples. Hopefully next month they’ll have some stuff that works a little better for me.

xx