GLOSSYBOX: July 2015 Review.

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The second of my three monthly subscription service reviews goes to GlossyBox (my Ipsy review will be up on the blog tomorrow morning!) which included four full-sized products and one deluxe sample, which exceeded the $21 per month fee for the service. That by itself was enough to impress me- but of course- I had to review each product at length to determine whether or not July 2015’s GlossyBox was up to par with the fun red, white and blue/patriotic-inspired box I had received around this time last year!

WHAT I RECEIVED:

Naked Lips Organic Lip Balm (*Full Size!*)

Hey Honey “I Peel Good” Biomimetic Creamy Honey Peel Cream

Kueshi Anticellulite Booster (*Full Size!*)

Face Stockholm Lip Liner in “Fall” (*Full Size!*)

SESHA Skin Therapy Rejuvenating Anti-Wrinkle Mask (*Full Size!*)

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Product # 1: Naked Lips Organic Lip Balm ($5.50)

There are certain products that are so simple and self-explanatory that it’s hard to write a thorough review of them that extends beyond just a couple of sentences. Chap stick is one of those products- and I’m not going to waste anyone’s time, including my own- by attempting to write a long-winded and whimsical review of this. It’s not necessary, because we all know what it does and how it works.

Here’s all  you need to know about this clear Naked Lips balm: it’s organic, it smells like peppermint, and it keeps your lips soft and smooth for a long time. That’s about it.

Would I Purchase?: Maybe. The other problem with reviewing chap stick is that there’s never really been anything “wow!” worthy about it that would make me want to run out and re-purchase it immediately or order it online in bulk. This product works well enough, is reasonably priced considering it’s natural and organic ingredients- and can/will come in handy for someone like me who tends to misplace tubes of this stuff on a regular basis. If I saw this product while I was out and about- I’d probably pick one up just to keep in my purse as a backup.

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Product # 2: Hey Honey “I Peel Good” Biomimetic Creamy Honey Peel Cream ($59)

July’s GlossyBox included what was my second sample of a “Hey Honey!” product, and unlike the silk serum I had received back in April’s Ipsy Bag– I actually saw and felt noticeable results with this peel. I’ve been using a small amount of this product every few days, continuously massaging it into my skin for about 3-5 minutes before I rinse it off- and my skin looks smoother, feels softer, and blemishes/pores are noticeably diminished. There’s been no weird reactions or irritation since I implemented this into my weekly skincare regimen- and best of all? It actually smells like honey!

Would I Purchase?: Yes! I’ve really been enjoying this product, from it’s thin consistency, to it’s sweet fragrance- and most importantly- to the results I’ve been seeing when I use it. Although the $59 price tag is slightly intimidating at first glance, a little goes a long way with this peel and it’s not something that has to (or should be) used every day- so one full-sized tube should last for quite a while!

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Product # 3: Kueshi Anticellulite Booster ($22)

Alright, ladies and gentlemen- let me just cut straight through the B.S. right now. Most people- if not all- have cellulite and/or stretch marks. The visibility of said cellulite varies from person to person, but it’s there and it’s nothing to be ashamed of and shouldn’t serve as some sort of indication as to whether someone is “in shape” or not. Skinny people get cellulite. Fitness buffs get cellulite. It happens- and I’ve always been skeptical of creams, lotions, or washes that boldly (and falsely) state that they can get rid of cellulite just with daily applications. No. That’s not how it works.

A healthy diet and fitness regimen can help tone and tighten the body, and regular exfoliation and moisturizing can help hydrate and replenish the skin- but there is no miracle cure for cellulite and stretch marks. Sorry to be a Debbie Downer, everyone.

I used this lotion knowing fully well that I wouldn’t see any mind-blowing results, which helped prevent any major disappointment. It was lightweight, absorbed quickly into my skin, and didn’t really have a strong fragrance. It softened my skin- but that’s pretty much it. Exactly what I expected.

Would I Purchase?: No.  Don’t be scammed by the “anti-cellulite” aspect of this lotion. Is it a good moisturizer? Sure. Are there cheaper ones out there that do the exact same thing as this one? Yep. Will it diminish the appearance of cellulite and stretch marks? Not at all. Save your money and invest in a regular daily moisturizer to slather all over yourself. This one just isn’t worth the money.

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Product # 4: Face Stockholm Lip Liner in “Fall” ($17)

I feel like a bit of a broken record when I say how much I dislike “hard” pencils, be it eyeliner or lip liner, because I really do say it all the time. I’m a fan of softer pencils or gel liners, since they don’t feel quite like a Medieval torture device when I use them. I wasn’t exactly thrilled when I saw this hard penciled lip liner- both because of it’s texture and because of it’s darker brown shade (called “Fall”, which of course is more suitable for the Autumn months.) Regardless, I decided to try this product- paired with a clear lip gloss to diffuse the color a bit- to see if it was worth a re-purchase.

Like most hard pencil liners- this product was a pain (literally) to apply. It didn’t go on smoothly and required multiple do-overs in certain areas to get the color to show a bit more. Once I had my lips lined, filled, and sealed with my gloss- I went about my daily activities (including drinking a coffee!) and was pleased that it didn’t smudge or come off on everything. It actually lasted for quite some time before I needed to do a touch-up, which was impressive- but the hassle of the application process by itself was enough to keep me away.

Would I Purchase?: No. While the longevity of this liner was nice and the bolder, brown color would look lovely in the chillier months when my darker, heavier clothes re-emerge from the back of my closet- I did NOT like the way it applied at all. If this came in a softer formula, perhaps in a twist-up tube with a crayon-like consistency- I’d be sold- but this is yet another hard pencil that I’ll be passing on.

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Product # 5: SESHA Skin Therapy Rejuvenating Anti-Wrinkle Mask ($9 per mask)

In October of last year, I had received a different mask from SESHA that I had really liked despite the fact that it’s proportions were twice the size of my head. SESHA apparently didn’t read my review, because this mask- with an anti-wrinkle formula this time around- was still pretty big when I tried to rest it on my face. The consistency of the gel that coated this product was similar to the brightening one I’d previously received, so I had an idea of what to expect when I went to lay down to hold the mask in place for 15-30 minutes (45 minutes since I ended up falling asleep with it on!)

When I peeled the mask off, my skin was soft, smooth and felt a bit tighter overall. Fine lines and wrinkles aren’t really a concern for me right now since my skin hasn’t reached the “mature” stage just yet- but I did like the way it looked and felt long after I’d used this mask!

Would I Purchase?: Maybe. With my age and skin type, I think I’ll stick to SESHA’s skin brightening masks for the time being- but this will definitely be something I’d look towards when I feel it’s time for me to switch from preventative skin care products to repairing/anti-aging ones!

Oh dear. With only one product out of the five I received in July’s GlossyBox being a definitive “yes!” to re-purchasing, I have to say I was a bit disappointed with this month’s assortment of items. The mask and the lip balm, while nice- didn’t “wow!” me the way the honey peel did- and the liner and lotion were beyond underwhelming.

Given GlossyBox’s track record of quality, especially in recent months as they’ve re-vamped their brand and drastically improved their shipping methods- July’s blasé box was surprising.

I’m hoping there’s a better selection of products in August!

xx

GLOSSYBOX: June 2015 Review.

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I’ve been a little lax with my subscription box reviews this month, and with posting in general. I’ve been putting in some overtime at work before everyone in my office takes some vacation time, helping a couple of people close to me move into a new home, and preparing plans for the coming weeks that will see me spending some time out of town. I also recently came back from a Tour de Force around NYC that has left me recovering from a touch of fatigue (I’ll be sharing that story and the photos that accompany it soon!)

I most certainly have received my usual assortment of monthly beauty products and geeky goodies- and I’ll be reviewing them in the order in which they arrived- starting with June’s GlossyBox! May’s box, which garnered a mostly positive review, had consisted of a nice arrangement of makeup, skin care, hair care, and nail polish- and June’s box was very similar to that. There was a nice mix of different things to try and the items that weren’t full-sized were still deluxe samples- so right off the bat I was pretty pleased!

What I Received:

Too Faced Cosmetics “Better Than Sex” Mascara

être belle Cosmetics Aloe Vera Ultra Moisturizing Gel (*Full Size!*)

NEXXUS New York Color Assure Restoring Conditioner

City Cosmetics City Lips Gloss – Clear Formula (*Full Size!*)

ORLY Nail Lacquer in “Red Flare”

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Product # 1: Too Faced Cosmetics “Better Than Sex” Mascara ($23)

I’ve actually purchased “Better Than Sex” mascara in the past, and I’ve loved it- so receiving a travel sized tube in June’s GlossyBox was a treat (I’ve already stored it in my overnight bag for the next time I hit the road for a weekend.) This formula makes my lashes look longer, darker, fuller and more dramatic overall with just a couple of swipes of the hourglass shaped wand- and it doesn’t flake, clump, or smudge all day long.

The only downside I’ve encountered with the full-sized tube I owned was that the handle/wand somehow broke- coming loose and making it impossible to get excess mascara off of the brush. That was a bit upsetting, especially considering the product is $23 a pop- but other than that- I really like this mascara and I recommend it for those who love a good dramatic eyelash look without having to apply falsies.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! I don’t think I’d be opposed to re-purchasing another full-sized tube of “Better Than Sex” (I love the name, by the way,) although I plan on using up this travel-sized one first just to see if I have a similar issue with the handle. If I don’t, then I’ll know it was just bad luck with my first tube- but if this handle comes loose, too- then Too Faced seriously needs to fix their packaging. We’ll see how it goes.

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Product # 2: être belle Cosmetics Aloe Vera Ultra Moisturizing Gel ($24.95)

When I was little and took dance classes, aloe vera gel became a lifesaver to my dance troupe and I- especially around recital and competition season. My teacher at the time- bless her heart- seemed to have a penchant for putting us in the scratchiest, most uncomfortable sequined and glitter-covered costumes imaginable.  By the end of the day- our skin would be red, raw, sore and splotchy (and our faces wouldn’t look much better, since we’d be crying a lot because of it.) After years of suffering this same fate over and over- our moms FINALLY began bringing aloe vera gel to every class, every rehearsal, and every competition leading up to the final recital in the Summer. Before and after each performance, we’d line up and get some of the cooling gel rubbed onto our skin to soothe us and keep us from itching.

Since then, I’ve rarely used aloe vera gel (maybe because it gives me flashbacks to those agonizing days?) only rubbing some on after I’ve been out in the sun for a while to keep my face from looking and feeling dry- but I liked the way this product smelled (very clean and refreshing,) and felt compelled to use it on my face and neck for a few days just to try it out. Sure enough, my skin felt softer and looked more supple almost instantaneously. Even with makeup applied over it- my complexion stayed bright and youthful- and my skin felt tight but hydrated all day.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! I think I’m finally over my trauma of past uses of aloe vera gel, and it’s all thanks to this product. This is a great moisturizer to keep on hand when you need a boost of hydration (especially in the Summer months when the sun is beating down) or just some fast relief when your skin gets dry or irritated. I also think that every little girl currently suffering through dance recitals in uncomfortable costumes would love this- so take notice, parents out there reading this post!

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Product # 3: NEXXUS New York Color Assure Restoring Conditioner ($16.99)

I haven’t used NEXXUS shampoo or conditioner in a long time- not since my platinum blonde days, anyway- when my stylist at the time swore by them and convinced me to purchase full-sized bottles of their shampoo and conditioner set. After repeated usage, I came to the conclusion that the shampoo dried out my already-damaged hair a bit too much and that the conditioner was overpriced considering how much of it I’d use to hydrate and untangle my thick, unruly curls. I’ve steered clear since then. I always see their products at the pharmacy or at the grocery store- but I tend to skip right over them and go straight for my usual hair care arsenal that hasn’t failed me over the years.

I was surprised to see such a large sized bottle of their “Color Assure” conditioner in June’s GlossyBox, and having recently touched up the red in my hair- I figured what better time to see if this product worked better for me than the NEXXUS conditioner I’d tried in the past?

This product smelled pretty strong, and I wasn’t a fan of how overpowering it was as I worked it through my hair- but thankfully the fragrance didn’t linger for too long once I’d combed it through (with difficulty) and rinsed it out. The other downfall to this conditioner was that it didn’t really soften my hair. I still had a hard time working my comb through my curls while it was wet and my fingers through as it dried.

The perks of the “Color Assure” conditioner was that it didn’t weigh my hair down or make it feel greasy- and my color hasn’t faded since I’ve been using it- which is nice to know when I’m going over products that are safe for my hair and won’t make my red run orange.

Would I Purchase?: No. Like my first try with NEXXUS, I just wasn’t really impressed with this product. It wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever used in my hair by any means, but it just didn’t give me the softness and manageability I would expect from something that costs close to $20 per bottle. I like that it didn’t fade my color (seriously- I’m always so happy when I find something that doesn’t!) but I can achieve similar, if not better results with what I use on a regular basis for a fraction of the price.

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Product # 4: City Cosmetics City Lips Gloss – Clear Formula ($35)

There was a time- long before I settled on the good ‘ol lip liner and gloss method- where I was on the prowl for a certified “miracle in a tube” lip gloss that would give me fuller, almost cartoon-like lips in one quick, easy step. I’m not stranger to “Lip Venom” or any of it’s competitors/imitators- and I’ve toughed it through enough of the warming, tingling sensations the ingredients in plumping formulas provide, so I had no problem giving City Cosmetics’ clear formula a shot.

First, the good: the formula didn’t burn, and it also didn’t feel sticky or tacky on my lips. Because this particular color was clear, it was hard to really get an idea of it’s longevity, but I felt the gloss on my lips for quite some time after I’d first applied it- even after eating and drinking- so I think it’s safe to assume that it stays in place.

BUT (here comes the bad,) this gloss didn’t plump my lips. At all. Not even a little. You can see no difference whatsoever in the above comparative photos I took- or at least I can’t. I essentially applied clear gloss and that was it. For $35 dollars for a relatively small tube, I expected SOMETHING noticeable.

Would I Purchase?: No. This product was a let-down. While I appreciate a non-sticky gloss as much as the next person, that alone is not enough to convince me to throw away money for another tube of this. There were no results. My lips didn’t look any plumper- and I could achieve the same look and feel this gloss gave me with a significantly less expensive balm, instead.

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Product # 5: ORLY Nail Lacquer in “Red Flare” ($8.50)

First, I must apologize for the state of my nails. I’m long overdue for a proper manicure and my last attempt at a DIY-job left them little more short and rounded than what I’m used to. I wanted desperately to show off this lovely shade I received in June’s GlossyBox, however- and snapped a quick photo of the color in natural lighting. Although “Red Flare” looks like a bright cherry tone, there’s a bit of purple in there too, which may be hard to notice at first glance. I’m really liking this formula so far, which has been pretty resilient. There hasn’t been any chipping or peeling or anything in the days since I’ve applied it- which is always a good thing if you don’t like doing or can’t find the time to retouch your nails every other day (which I absolutely don’t/can’t.)

Would I Purchase?: Yes! I don’t know if I’d re-purchase “Red Flare” again, not because I don’t think it’s lovely but because I already own a lot of red shades- but I’d love to try some of the different colors ORLY has available. It applies smoothly, dries quickly, and stays on strong- and for $8.50 a bottle- you can’t really go wrong!

With three out of five products being very much to my liking, June’s box- like May’s- wasn’t half bad. As noted above, the assortment of items was good and the sizes of the samples were even better. While I wasn’t a fan of the conditioner or the lip gloss- the other products I received made up for it.

I’m looking forward to seeing what GlossyBox has in store for July. I’m hoping it’s another themed box to commemorate Independence Day!

xx

GLOSSYBOX: May 2015 Review.

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The first GlossyBox that arrives after receiving an impressive curated/themed box (like the one from this past April, for example,) always has big shoes to fill- and it can be easy to get one’s hopes up that it will be equally, if not more of an incredible assortment of products- which is why I make it a point to approach each box with an open mind so I’m not left disappointed. Although May’s GlossyBox arrived in the usual (and slightly bland by comparison) pink and black box, packed with the expected ribbon and confetti- and didn’t have a particularly specific theme for the month- I did receive two full-sized products and three deluxe samples to try- meaning it’s total value surpassed the monthly $21 cost I pay for the service- which is always nice!

What I Received:

GLAMGLOW POWERMUD Dualcleanse Treatment

Doucce Mineral Matt Lipstick in “Cherry Blossom” (*Full Size!*)

Sebastian StylBrid 9 Hair Spray

teeez Head over Heels Nail Lacquer Top Coat (*Full Size!*)

Clearista Retexturizing Gel

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Product # 1: GLAMGLOW POWERMUD Dualcleanse Treatment ($69)

I’ll never say no to receiving GLAMGLOW samples, since I have yet to try a product of theirs that I haven’t liked. The POWERMUD Dualcleanse is one of the newest additions to their line, and acts as a pore-refining mask when applied to clean, dry skin. After ten minutes, once the mask has set and dried- it turns into a deep-cleansing oil when met with water that doesn’t leave behind any kind of greasy residue and won’t make my skin look shiny.

I’ve used this a couple of times, spacing out the applications about 2-3 times a week, and I’ve been really happy with the results so far. My skin feels so clean and soft after I use this product- NOT dried out. It’s really refreshing and comes in handy on those days where I feel like my face just needs a little something extra in terms of deep-cleansing. GLAMGLOW has done it again!

Would I Purchase?: Yes! Is it any surprise? I love how quick and easy this product is to use, and how it gives such great results in such a short amount of time. I’ll definitely be picking up a full-sized tub of this mask/cleanser combo- especially before the hotter months when I’ll need that deeper clean to rid my pores of sweat, dirt, oil, and makeup that my daily cleanser may not get rid of entirely.

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Product # 2: Doucce Mineral Matt Lipstick in “Cherry Blossom” ($20)

I was ecstatic when I saw another rose-hued lipstick sitting in May’s GlossyBox and couldn’t wait to try it!

Just kidding. I was actually pretty disappointed, and not even the slick shape of the tube, the SPF it contains, or the matte finish the product’s description promised me could get me excited about it. I digress, I went ahead and tried this lipstick to see/feel the formula and longevity for reviewing purposes. The first thing I noticed was that this lipstick does not apply easily. It took multiple swipes to get the color to show up on my lips and even more swipes to get the product to look even and not patchy. The second thing I noticed was that even though the finish was matte- this lipstick didn’t feel heavy or drying (always a plus!)

Finally, this lipstick lasted a really, really, really long time before it faded. I got nearly a full day’s worth of wear with just one application and didn’t require one touch-up! That’s pretty impressive- and definitely won me over.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! I might have been quick to pass judgment on this product, mainly because I’m so sick of rose tones and have been for a while now- and even though the initial application process is a bit tedious- once the lipstick is on, it’s comfortable and long-lasting. I don’t think I’d re-purchase “Cherry Blossom” again after I run out of the one I received, but I’d love to try some of the other colors Doucce has available!

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Product # 3: Sebastian StylBrid 9 Hair Spray ($14)

I’ve tried some Sebastian products in the past that I’ve really enjoyed, and despite the fact that I’m not a fan of aerosol sprays that shoot out of the bottle unnecessarily  hard and feel like a sucker punch to the head- I was eager to give this multi-purpose hairspray a try to see if it met the standards set by the samples that came before it.

On damp hair, this spray held my curls in place and gave me a nice boost of volume as I let it air dry- and on already dry hair- it tamed my frizz and gave my ends a little bit of a bounce. That’s all well and good, of course- but like most aerosol sprays- this product also made my hair feel crunchy and hard in certain spots around my scalp. I can’t stand that, and sadly had to shelf this bottle for the time being and stick to my usual styling products,

Would I Purchase?: No. I have yet to find an aerosol spray that gives me fantastic results without the crunchy finish or without making my hair look/feel greasy. It’s always one or the other and for that reason, I stick to mists, creams, and/or oils. I’m still fond of my other Sebastian samples- but I’ll be skipping over this one in the future.

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Product # 4: teeez Head over Heels Nail Lacquer Top Coat ($14)

It’s hard to write more than a couple of sentences about a top coat nail lacquer. I mean, what can be said that isn’t stating the obvious? It’s clear. It makes my nails shiny. It protects the polish underneath from chipping or peeling. It’s all pretty standard, really. This lacquer did it’s job- which is appreciated- and came in some bright, colorful, and cute packaging. Other than that, it wasn’t anything groundbreaking or memorable.

Would I Purchase?: Maybe. I think if I were ordering any other polishes from teeez, I’d probably add another bottle of this just to have in my collection where it’d be easily available for whenever I needed it- but for $5 I can buy a top coat in almost any other brand and it’d do the exact same thing as this top coat. It’s not awful by any means, but it’s not something I absolutely need to have.

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Product # 5: Clearista Retexturizing Gel ($79.99)

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this sample- although it being called a “gel” made me think that it was possibly a spot-treatment for blemishes. In actuality, it’s a non-abrasive scrub that is to be used twice daily- once in the morning and then again at night- to clear pores, smooth and soften the skin, and brighten the complexion. I’ve been using this for a few days now (and a little goes a long way,) and have noticed an improvement in my skin’s overall tone and texture. My face looks brighter, clearer, and feels really soft- but I’ve also achieved similar results with similar and less-expensive scrubs, which makes the $80 price tag a little disheartening.

Would I Purchase?: Maybe. I think I’d splurge on this product if I had some extra cash I didn’t mind putting towards it, because it is good quality and gives very nice results- but in an attempt to be more mindful with my money- I’ll be sticking to the aforementioned similar and more affordable scrubs until that day comes.

May’s box, while not as awesome as April’s Pop Art-inspired one- wasn’t a complete disappointment. I really liked two of the products I received (one being full-sized,) and was left on the fence about another two- which leaves one sample that was underwhelming. That’s not bad at all!

I recently received my May Ipsy Bag, which is the only other beauty subscription service I’m currently subscribed to- so we’ll see how that one is. The post will be up soon!

GLOSSYBOX: April 2015 Review.

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I think someone at GlossyBox found and read my semi-scathing review of March’s assortment of items- not only because what I received this month was infinitely better in quality, but because my April box arrived WAY ahead of schedule- reaching my door before this month’s Ipsy Bag and Loot Crate even shipped! If that weren’t enough to surprise me, the box itself was really neat looking- featuring a funky, Pop Art styled blonde applying makeup on the top. I loved it- especially because the boxes come in handy when I’m gifting things throughout the year.

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Also included in April’s bag was a neat little makeup pouch with a bedazzled lip print in the same Pop Art-ish style, I was already impressed with how different April’s box was shaping up to be- and that was before I even saw the actual products and samples that were inside!

What I Received:

Julep Gel Eye Glider in “Smoky Taupe Shimmer” (*Full Size!*)

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Stained Gloss in “Meta” (*Full Size!*)

Estee Lauder Enlighten Dark Spot Correcting Night Serum

Aerin Waterlily Sun Perfume

Marrakesh Endz Split End Mender & Preventer

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Product # 1: Julep Gel Eye Glider in “Smoky Taupe Shimmer” ($16)

Whenever I write about pencil or liquid liners, I almost always end up comparing them to my favorite liner type- gels. I love the easy, painless, and mess-free application that comes with gel liners. I love how pigmented most versions are. More than anything- I love their longevity. I rarely have to worry about gel eyeliners smudging, fading, or flaking- which is exactly what I need and what I’m looking for since I rarely have time during the day for touch-ups. My only (very minor) problem with gel liners is that carrying around a brush and a pot of the product can be a little inconvenient- especially when I’m traveling since I tend to forget one or the other or they get mixed around and misplaced in my makeup bag. Thankfully, Julep have come to my rescue with this one-step pencil version of the gel liner.

I fully admit I was skeptical at first prior to trying this product, but the second I felt and saw how smoothly the pencil glided across my lids without any nicking or pulling, saw the beautiful charcoal color as I swept it upwards to give myself a nice and even cat eye- and then watched as the liner did not budge in the slightest throughout the day- I was thrilled. Julep completely won be over with this!

Would I Purchase?: Yes! This product combined the best of both worlds for me- all the aforementioned perks of a gel liner, but with the convenience of an easy-to-store and sharpen pencil. I loved the color of “Smoky Taupe Shimmer,” and will definitely re-purchase again once I’ve run out- but I’d love to try some of the other available shades, too!

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Product # 2: Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Stained Gloss in “Meta” ($18)

The last OCC lip product I tried was a deep crimson and matte-finish Lip Tar that I had liked very much despite how drying the formula felt without the aid of a balm or gloss under/over the product. When I received a similar shaped tube in this month’s GlossyBox, this time filled with a bright pink/coral color- and saw that it was a gloss instead of a matte finish- I was intrigued and hopeful. Unless there’s a serious screw-up with the ingredients somewhere- glosses don’t usually dry my lips out.

Like the Lip Tar, this gloss was highly pigmented and lasted a very long time without bleeding towards the outer edges of my lips or flaking off. A little of this product went a long way, and it looked very bold and vivid once I’d applied enough to my liking. It took a few seconds to adjust to the shade at first, but once I did- I loved it. It’s very Summer-appropriate. When the color did begin to fade after a few hours, it left behind a nice and even-looking stain on my lips- which meant I didn’t have to make a mad dash to the closest mirror to re-apply. .

Unlike the Lip Tar, this product had a shiny finish and wasn’t drying at all. My lips felt comfortable the entire time I had this gloss on- and even long after it had finally come off entirely near the end of the day. I think I’ve found a winner!

Would I Purchase?: Yes! I was so pleased with this gloss for having all the components I loved about the Lip Tar I had previously received, and for also being better formulated to get rid of the drying effect. This is a great, vibrant color that I can and will be wearing for the remainder of the Spring and Summer to give my otherwise natural makeup look a nice and fresh pop of glossy, pigmented color.

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Product # 3: Estee Lauder Enlighten Dark Spot Correcting Night Serum ($62 – $92)

A long, long time ago- in a faraway place that feels like a lifetime away- I worked as a Clinique Consultant within a department store. Across from my work space was Estee Lauder, Clinique’s parent company- as well as a couple of friends who worked as representatives for the brand. During slow days and nights where I would work ’til close, I’d often find myself over at their counter, perusing their makeup and skincare. Being in my late teens/very early twenties at the time, I liked the packaging of Lauder’s products- but I mistakenly thought their skin care was for more “mature” skin (i.e. women in their forties/fifties and up,) and at the time- their pricing was well beyond my available budget. When purchasing Lauder, usually to assist my friends with annual “Gift With Purchase” events- I stuck to lip glosses and bronzers- and that was about it.

Now that I’m a bit older and (a little) wiser- I’m comfortable with experimenting with different brands and products that are outside of my comfort zone or what I’m typically used to. I received this travel-sized jar of Estee Lauder’s “Enlighten” serum and, forgetting my previously mentioned “mature skin” way of thinking- gave it a try. While the box and jar said this is a nighttime serum, I read in the pamphlet included in my April GlossyBox that this product can be used during the day as well before moisturizer and SPF. As is the case with most serums, I only needed a small amount to cover my face- which meant I was able to try this sample for quite a while before I began to run out.

The serum itself is lightweight and absorbs quickly without leaving behind a residue or a shine on my skin. It’s fragranced- which had me a little worried since my skin can be sensitive to perfumes- but thankfully this product didn’t cause any sort of painful reaction. In fact, after a few days of night and day use- my face was GLOWING. I couldn’t believe how clear and even my complexion looked and how soft and smooth my skin felt. It was unreal and had me kicking myself for not trying this product sooner.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! Okay, so the price point- even now that I’m more financially responsible- is a little staggering, I know- but this serum is incredible. It has been working wonders on my skin and I haven’t even had to use a lot to achieve such amazing results. I would, and will- happily splurge on a full-size bottle of this, sooner rather than later. My skin feels healthy and soft, and it looks so much brighter!

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Product # 4: Aerin Waterlily Sun Perfume ($110)

My best friend Sean and I spend a considerable amount of time in NYC- specifically at the McKittrick Hotel, home of “Sleep No More,” where we attend dinners, parties, special events, etc. The place has such a unique vibe, including the way it smells. There’s a certain fragrance in the air whenever Sean and I don our “Sleep No More” masks and step into the performance area. It’s this sort of earthy, musky scent that wafts throughout the rooms as we wander. It’s not awful, but it’s definitely distinctive- and not necessarily something I would want to smell like on an average day at my office, for example…

… It’s also very, very close to how this perfume from Aerin smells. A long-lasting combination of florals and musk, the first thing I thought of when I first spritzed some of this perfume on was the McKittrick. Like I said, it’s not terrible- but I don’t think it’s something I could see myself wearing on a regular basis. Also, $110 a bottle? Yikes.

Would I Purchase?: No. By all means, if earthy musks are your thing- you’d probably enjoy this perfume very much. It’s powerful and stays on for a long time- but I’m a fan of lighter, more floral fragrances. This one was just a little too heavy for me.

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Product # 5: Marrakesh Endz Split End Mender & Preventer ($5.99 – $17.99)

Having recently touched up my red highlights and using heat on my hair to temporarily straighten my curls for a couple of days- my hair was in need of some TLC to repair any damage sustained in the process. I figured there was no better time to run some of this lightweight cream through the ends of my hair and see if it could do the trick. First things first- like the bottle says- there’s hemp oil in this product. Your hair WILL smell like it all day unless you use additional styling products to mask it. I personally like the fragrance- and have been using this cream all by itself. It makes my hair soft, manageable, and even a little glossy looking as it fights frizz and flyaway strands- NOT greasy. Also, the price point is reasonable considering the quality!

Would I Purchase?: Yes! This is one of those fantastic products I never would have known existed if not for GlossyBox. I love the results I’ve been seeing with this cream, the ease of how it’s applied, and sure- the scent. It’s just an overall great addition to my hair care regimen and I plan on ordering a full-sized bottle once I’ve run out of this sample.

Wow, GlossyBox. You really went above and beyond with this month’s assortment of products and samples. With the exception of the perfume, which just wasn’t really my sort of scent- this box was incredible. From the cool design, to the bonus makeup pouch, to the timely shipping- and of course- the great products that were included: I was thrilled. This more than made up for March’s lackluster box, and I’m excited to see what’s in store for May!

GLOSSYBOX: March 2015 Review.

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GlossyBox had started off 2015 with the best of intentions. Impressive product selections, more prompt delivery- and I had expressed hope on more than one occasion throughout January and February that their attempts at tweaking and improving their service for new and longtime subscribers alike would last throughout the remainder of the year. By doing so, I think I may have unintentionally jinxed myself- because a late winter storm (that was surprisingly not affecting anywhere near where I live,) caused a delay in March’s shipping schedule. I was notified via e-mail, which was a good and appreciated move by GlossyBox’s customer service- and I was therefore prepared for when my box finally turned up a little more than a week ago.

Shipping hiccup aside, March’s box contained not one, or two- but three full-sized items, as well as two samples of a product valued at over $100. I dove right in!

What I Received:

Ouidad Color Sense Color Preserving Shampoo & Color Preserving Conditioner

ModelCO More Brows Eyebrow Thickening Gel in Medium/Dark (*Full Size!*)

Orogold COSMETICS 24K Multi-Vitamin Day Moisturizer

So Susan Cosmetics Concealer Quad (*Full Size!*)

Bellapierre Cosmetics Cheek&Lip Stain in Pink (*Full Size!*)

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Product # 1: Ouidad Color Sense Color Preserving Shampoo & Color Preserving Conditioner ($18 – $65)

In the spectrum of “First World Problems,” taking care of color-treated hair is right up there near the top. It’s taken me a couple of years, but I’ve finally found and developed a cleansing, conditioning, and styling system that works well with both my curls and my red dye job. I try not to stray from it too far or too often- and usually only do so when it’s to try a different product I’ve received a sample of or that has come highly recommended to me. This lightly fragranced, sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner duo from Ouidad- created specifically for curly and color-treated hair to protect it from UV rays, drying out, frizz, etc.- seemed like it was designed just for me. I was so excited to see what kind of results I’d get.

First, the shampoo. I fully admit I’m picky about my shampoo. I like it to lather, but I don’t like it to strip my hair of it’s natural nutrients and especially not of my color (and who does?) While this shampoo did lather, albeit with a little difficulty- it didn’t make my hair feel necessarily clean. Each time I used this sample, I ended up washing my hair 2-3 times per shower just to make sure it wasn’t my imagination. Each time I rinsed, my hair felt a little oily- which kind of grossed me out.

The conditioner didn’t fare much better. The consistency of this product, almost too thick to get it out of the bottle without having to unscrew the cap and vigorously shake it- made it difficult to distribute evenly through my thick hair without using almost the entire sample. I even left the conditioner in my hair a little longer than the recommended three minutes before combing through and rinsing- but it didn’t soften or help de-tangle my curls at all. My hair actually looked and felt coarse and frizzy after I’d used this product. So disappointing.

Would I Purchase?: No, to both. This shampoo and conditioner were just not for me at all, which is a shame- because it’s not very often I can find products that are supposed to be beneficial to both curly hair AND color treated hair (it’s either one of the other, and results in a lot of mixing and matching on my part.) The shampoo actually made my hair feel dirtier than before I’d washed it, and I saw absolutely no improvement with the conditioner whatsoever. I’ll stick to the system I have going right now, since that seems to be working out well for me so far. 

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Product # 2: ModelCO More Brows Eyebrow Thickening Gel in Medium/Dark ($18)

Ever since I started using makeup/cosmetics back in my mid-teens- I’ve gone through countless lipsticks, glosses, blushes, and eyeliners- but only a handful of brow gels and powders. My eyebrows have always had a manageable thickness to them, and a natural arch- so be it my own laziness in the morning or just never seeing the need to fill them in between tweezings/waxings- but I very rarely use products like this ModelCo gel.

I digress- thicker, fuller brows are most definitely “in” right now- and not content with just throwing out my tweezers and letting nature take it’s course, I decided to give this modified mascara wand a try to see if I could achieve my own version of the Cara Delevingne unkempt look.

The gel applied easily enough. It wasn’t clumpy or watery, and it very closely matched the natural color of my own brows where it didn’t look like I had applied anything at all- which is what I had hoped for. The gel did give my brows a fuller look without making them appear TOO outrageous- and held any rouge hairs in place- which was also nice. It took a little getting used to at first, but I’ve really started to enjoy the results the more I use this product.

Would I Purchase?: Maybe. Don’t get me wrong. I like this gel- and I like the way it made my eyebrows look for the most part- but I don’t know if this is something I’d re-purchase in the future quite just yet. Taking my minimal and hassle-free Spring and Summer makeup routine into consideration- this is just an extra step I’m not sure I’m ready to take in the a.m. when I’m getting ready for work or getting ready to go out for a weekend. I think I’ll know eventually after I get used to using the tube I have now every day!

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Product # 3: Orogold COSMETICS 24K Multi-Vitamin Day Moisturizer ($118)

At a whopping $118 for a full-sized jar of this daily moisturizer, I ended up staring at the two capsules I received in March’s GlossyBox prior to use- half expecting a unicorn or a leprechaun to spring out of the samples once I’d opened them. For that much money, I was ready to see instant results and had my sunglasses within reach to shield my eyes from the luminous glow I was sure to achieve after applying this perfumed and fast-absorbing cream, which contains actual 24 karat gold- on my face and neck area.

Here’s what happened instead- I broke out. BAD. After two days of using this product, my face was all but covered in painful blotches. They thankfully went away after I stopped using the cream for another two days (and after a nice detoxifying mask,) but I wanted to be sure it was this moisturizer and not just a weird reaction to something else that had caused such a horrible reaction. Just in case. I tried using this cream one more time- and immediately saw another fresh crop of sore-to-the-touch blemishes pop up in the area where I’d applied it.

Most expensive breakout ever.

Would I Purchase?: No. God, no. Never. Look, this might work fantastic for other people. For someone with less sensitive skin than me, this might be a Godsend. It might hydrate and get rid of fine lines and wrinkles almost immediately- but for me- it caused a week’s worth of skin problems and is simply not worth a penny of it’s price.

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Product # 4: So Susan Cosmetics Concealer Quad ($30.95)

Let’s just cut to the chase. I can only use one, maybe two of the shades in this quad- those two being the pearl white and the lightest nude tone available as a highlighter and concealer, respectively. The waste of the two other product shades aside- I was fully ready to be pleased with this product since I’ve been so smitten with a quality So Susan blush I had received in a recent GlossyBox as of late.

First things first- this concealer is not easy to apply. At all. The texture is waxy, too waxy, really- which made getting any on my concealer brush (and then my finger when I got desperate,) near impossible. Secondly, when I was able to get enough of the product on my brush/finger after swabbing multiple times to apply to my face- it barely covered anything. Not a blemish and definitely not any dark circles under my eyes. Even the pearl white highlighter, which I applied- with difficulty- around my brow bone hardly showed up. I ended up scrapping this quad completely and going back to my liquid concealers to cover any imperfections.

Would I Purchase?: No. Much like the Ouidad shampoo and conditioner I received last month, this product was a dud for me. With two shades of the quad going to waste even before I’d opened it, the unnecessary difficulty in applying the shades I could use- and topped off with the complete lack of coverage whatsoever- this one is getting thrown out.

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Product # 5: Bellapierre Cosmetics Cheek&Lip Stain in Pink ($19.99)

Having been fairly discouraged with March’s GlossyBox so far, I was bracing myself for one last bit of disappointment before I’d even opened this highly pigmented pink solid lip and cheek stain from Bellapierre. From past experiences, anything designed for the lips AND cheeks is usually drying and disastrous on my complexion. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case with this product- which blended easily along the apples of my cheeks and gave me a natural, flushed finish that complimented most makeup looks I’ve been wearing recently. This is a nice go-to for those days when I need a hint of more color since there’s no shimmer and it stays in place all day without getting patchy or fading completely.

I haven’t tried this product on my lips, however- and don’t plan to. I like the lip balms I’m wearing now and I don’t really have a need for yet another pink to add to the collection.

Would I Purchase?: Maybe. This was a nice product that applied with no mess and didn’t budge until I washed my face. It didn’t dry my skin out or otherwise cause any kind of bad reaction like a certain aforementioned moisturizer- but I wasn’t necessarily blown away by this stain. I will definitely be using more of the full-sized jar I received in last month’s GlossyBox, but I don’t know if I feel inspired enough by it to rush and purchase another one if and when I run out.

I’m not a complainer. That’s not who I am by any means- but wow, was March’s GlossyBox a let-down. With only two products being “okay” out of a box otherwise filled with things that were just not that great- I’m really hoping that April’s selection of items and samples is a vast improvement. I don’t expect every month to blow me away- because that’d be a difficult standard to uphold time and time again- but following up a great assortment in January and February with what I received in March’s box was pretty surprising.

We’ll see what happens when this month’s box arrives.

GLOSSYBOX: February 2015 Review.

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February marked the second month in a row that I’ve received my GlossyBox earlier than expected- even with the snowstorms slowing down mail delivery to a crawl! I was thrilled, especially when I saw the cute, Valentine’s Day themed design of the box’s exterior and all the pink and red products packed away inside. While February’s Ipsy Bag consisted primarily of makeup products, GlossyBox covered the bath/shower end of the spectrum this month- featuring a body wash, a bar of soap, and a shampoo.

With the products being a mix of both full-sized and deluxe sample sized, I was impressed right away with the overall value of February’s box- but of course, I had to see if I’d actually like everything I was sent.

What I Received:

Julep Nail Polish in “Hartleigh” (*Full Size!*)

Teadora Nourishing Beauty Bar

Royal Apothic Tinties Lip Butter in Pink (*Full Size!*)

Unwash Bio-Cleansing Conditioner

RITUALS Yogi Flow Indian Rose & Sweet Almond Oil Foaming Shower Gel (*Full Size!*)

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Product # 1: Julep Nail Polish in “Hartleigh” ($14)

I’ve always been a sucker for a little bit of sparkle, be it in my jewelry, my clothing, or my makeup- so when I saw this glitter-packed lacquer from Julep (with tiny heart-shaped pieces mixed into it-) I couldn’t wait to try it out despite Valentine’s Day being over and done with. This formula can be used by itself (as pictured above- where I applied two coats,) or as a top coat over other polish. While it dried quickly and has yet to chip or smudge, this lacquer was actually kind of a pain to apply. As glittery as it looks in the bottle, the sparkle doesn’t transfer onto nails quite as well without a lot of dabbing and re-dipping into the container.

Would I Purchase?: No. I really like the overall formula of Julep polishes, which are long-lasting and richly pigmented- but I don’t think I’d run out to re-purchase another full-sized bottle of “Hartleigh” right away- not only because this one will undoubtedly last me a long time, but because applying it was a a bit of a hassle. I think I’ll stick to some of the other available colors that glide on smoother, instead.

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Product # 2: Teadora Nourishing Beauty Bar ($5 – $12)

Upon opening February’s GlossyBox, I immediately smelled the sweet floral fragrance from this travel-sized bar soap from Teadora with ingredients derived from Brazilian rainforests. Although I’ve been quite content with my all-natural and locally produced soaps throughout the past couple of years, I really liked how clean and firm this bar made my skin feel. I wasn’t left with any residue on my skin and more importantly- I wasn’t left feeling dry and/or itchy after I’d rinsed and dried off. As strong as the fragrance of this soap was in the box, nearly enveloping everything packaged around it- the scent didn’t linger on me for too long- fading a short time after I’d gone about my day- which was a bit of a shame because it smelled really fresh and clean.

Would I Purchase?: Maybe. In all honesty, I don’t see myself running out to scoop up multiple bars of this soap because I absolutely HAVE to have it or anything. I liked it well enough. It cleansed my skin, wasn’t over-drying. and smelled nice- and I think if I came across this while I was traveling, I’d purchase a couple since they would come in handy as opposed to lugging around bottles of body wash in my bag(s). Plus, they’d make everything in my luggage smell nice, too!

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Product # 3: Royal Apothic Tinties Lip Butter in “Pink” ($14)

I was nearly ready to bury my head in my hands when I saw yet another pink gloss in a beauty box, but the cute tin it came in almost won me over all on it’s own. This lightweight balm- a bubblegum hue with buildable coverage- hydrated and softened my lips significantly after it was applied, but the longevity- as is the case with most balms- left a lot to be desired since it faded within the hour and multiple re-applications were necessary. I think this product is great for a quick-fix if your lips are dry and you need a pop of color on the go, but if you want something that lasts a lot longer than just an hour or so at the most- then you’re better off looking elsewhere.

Would I Purchase?: No.  While I definitely appreciated the soft, buttery feel of this balm- and the unique packaging- I need color and results that will last longer than what I got from this product.

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Product # 4: Unwash Bio-Cleansing Conditioner ($34.95)

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this “cleansing conditioner,” which I used to replace my shampoo like the directions instructed me to do. This product was lightweight, didn’t seem to have much of a fragrance (not one that I could really detect, anyway,) and didn’t lather up like my usual shampoo when I attempted to massage it into my scalp and down to the ends of my hair- but oh what a difference I felt when I combed and rinsed it through! Not only did my hair feel squeaky clean- not stripped dry- but this product softened and untangled my curls dramatically. I usually dislike shampoos/shampoo substitutes that don’t lather up on my hair, but this was great- and after looking into the product a little more- it turns out it’s actually great for my color-treated curls!

Would I Purchase?: Yes! I’d actually pick up a full-sized tube of this product for when I travel, since it acts as a richly hydrating shampoo that both thoroughly cleanses and conditions my hair in a matter of minutes and would help save some space in my suitcase. I love that it’s free of harmful, drying, and color-fading ingredients and truly makes my hair look and feel fantastic.

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Product # 5: RITUALS Yogi Flow Indian Rose & Sweet Almond Oil Foaming Shower Gel ($15)

My favorite product included in February’s GlossyBox was this rich and heavenly scented body wash from RITUALS. Packaged in a shaving gel style aerosol can, this product foams on contact with the skin and lathers up nicely when water hits it. After massaging it over my skin and rinsing, it leaves my body moisturized, ridiculously soft- and lightly fragranced for hours. I’ve found myself getting addicted to how it makes my skin feel, the way it smells, and it’s mess-free application. No soapy residue is left behind in my shower!

Would I Purchase?: Yes! This is such a lovely and luxurious body wash. I’d definitely re-purchase another bottle(s) in the future, and will probably pick some up for a few of my friends, too!

February’s GlossyBox was split right down the middle- with two products I really liked, two I didn’t much care for, and one that I wasn’t swayed either way by. Overall, however- with the value of the box taken into consideration and it’s presentation- I was quite impressed. There have been months in the past where I’ve almost considered canceling my subscription because of shipping issues or just the lackluster quality of what I’d been receiving at the time- but lately GlossyBox has been knocking it out of the park with their product selections and greatly improved shipping, and I’m really hoping they continue with that tradition in the coming months!

GLOSSYBOX: January 2015 Review.

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Much to my shock (and delight,) my January GlossyBox actually arrived a few days before I flew out to California last week as opposed to showing up during the last couple of days of the current month/first few days of the following month. For packing purposes, this was great- because I could just take the (mostly) travel-sized products with me in my luggage and try them on the road! Best of all, January’s GlossyBox included a cleanser, toner, and serum- which meant I didn’t have to pack all of my full-sized products from home.

I don’t know if more prompt shipping is a 2015 resolution for GlossyBox, but I certainly hope it is!

What I Received:

Teeez Trend Cosmetics Beautiful Flat Stiff Brush (*Full Size!*)

VICHY Purete Thermale 3-In-1 One Step Cleanser

Kueshi Revitalizing Face Toner (*Full Size!*)

Skin&Co Roma Truffle Therapy Serum

Lollipops Eye Pencil in “Goodbye Moon” (*Full Size!*)

Products I Didn’t Use:

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Teeez Trend Cosmetics Beautiful Flat Stiff Brush ($23.50)

Why Not?: In my recent review of January’s Ipsy bag, I had also received a makeup brush, and opted to gift it to a friend who is currently replacing her brush collection since I had received an entirely new set of my own for Christmas. Although I loved the design on the handle of this natural-hair brush, I don’t really have a use for it right now and would hate to only try it once or twice for the sake of a review instead of passing it forward to someone who needs it or who would appreciate it more.

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Product # 1: VICHY Purete Thermale 3-In-1 One Step Cleanser ($19.50)

I’ve heard of facial cleansers that doubled as makeup removers and vice versa, but never a cleanser that worked as a makeup remover AND a toner. When I think toner, I think of the cool, tingling sensation that comes when I swipe some over my face with a cotton ball. This alcohol-free formula, which can be used with or without water- left my face feeling soft, clean, and comfortable- and helped gently remove excess makeup that I may have otherwise missed with just a regular cleansing pad (or with only my facial soap) without drying out my skin or causing any type of bad reaction. It’s an interesting product that really came in handy while I was traveling because of it’s multiple purposes.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! I like a product that saves me a little time and space in my bag/shower by doing more than one thing. I used this cleanser twice a day, every day while I was in California- and my skin continued to feel and look fantastic. I’d definitely purchase a full-sized tube of this in the future- especially for when I travel again!

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Product # 2: Kueshi Revitalizing Face Toner ($13.50)

See, THIS is the type of product I think about when it comes to contemplating toner. This not-harsh-at-all pink liquid ended up being a lifesaver while I was on vacation (and again when I was snowed in during the recent blizzard.) My skin, after being on an airplane for a few hours and adjusting to changing climates- tends to get a little crazy- either producing too much oil (and making me look shiny all over,) or not enough oil (and making me look dry and patchy.) This toner evens out the skin’s texture and tone, hydrating dry areas while absorbing excess oil in slicker ones. My skin felt refreshed for hours after use- and the product itself reminded me of candy with the way it was scented- although that could have just been my imagination.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! I loved this product, and was so tempted to carry it around in my purse to use for when I was done working out or walking in the warm San Diego sun. It evened out my complexion and the overall feel of my skin without stripping it the way some other, harsher toners tend to do. I’m absolutely going to purchase another bottle of this when I’m done with the full-sized one I was lucky to receive this month!

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Product # 3: Skin&Co Roma Truffle Therapy Serum ($80)

In February of last year, I had received a sample of this very same lightweight serum in my GlossyBox and had enjoyed it very much. Nearly a year later, and my feelings haven’t changed at all. This product still makes my skin feel soft, smooth- and it still smells like a delicious dessert. Although I have yet to see a considerable difference in the brightness of my skin or any noticeable changes as far as the anti-aging aspects go from just the serum by itself- it’s still a great warm-up to my daily moisturizers.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! Although I still feel the price tag on this product is a little outrageous, it really is a great serum that gives phenomenal results- and when I’m ready for my next big splurge- I’ll be picking up a full-sized bottle of this.

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Product # 4: Lollipops Eye Pencil in “Goodbye Moon” ($14)

Between the unique packaging and the unconventional name of this retractable black eyeliner, I was eager to try this product to see how it stacked up against the (also retractable) liner I had received in January’s Ipsy bag. I had finished giving myself a fine-lined cat-eye on one eye, noticing that the pencil was considerably softer and more pigmented than it’s Ipsy competition- but when I went to apply the same look to my other eye- the tip broke off. I twisted the liner up slightly and went to try again- but it broke once more- and then one more time. When I did finally finish applying the liner to my other eye, it had come out thicker and more uneven due to the repetitive breakage and consequent uneven tip. I was so frustrated that I ended up just removing the liner from my eyes all together.

Would I Purchase?: No. Despite it’s pretty packaging, this liner was pretty much a disaster from the second the tip first broke until I eventually called it quits. I liked the pigmentation and how soft it felt when applying pre-breakage, but I’ll be sticking with more reliable formulas from now on when I want a dark, dramatic cat-eye.

With the exception of the eyeliner, January’s GlossyBox was pretty great. I loved the skin care products- and even though I will be giving away the brush I received- the overall value and quality of nearly everything in the box was impressive.

With the on-time shipping and great assortment of products, I’m having a good feeling in the direction GlossyBox is taking this year. I hope they keep up the great work!

GLOSSYBOX: December 2014 Review.

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Where this past December’s Ipsy Bag fell flat for me, capping off an otherwise impressive year with a disappointing holiday bag- GlossyBox went above and beyond for their last assortment of samples for 2014. From four of the five products I received being full-sized, to the variety of what was included, all the way to their lovely and festive packaging (which I will most certainly keep and use for storage or shipping in the future-) I was blown away by the quality and generosity from the subscription service last month, and I hope to see more of it as I begin my third year as a subscriber.

Of course, I have to determine whether or not I enjoyed and/or saw results with what I received in December’s box (enough to re-purchase them in the future, anyway,) so without further delay!

What I Received:

Nuxe Masque Crème Fraîche de Beauté (*Full Size!*)

Bellápierre Cosmetics Mineral Lipstick in “Burlesque” (*Full Size!*)

Ciaté London Mini Paint Pot in “Humbug”

Rituals Cosmetics Miracle Scrub in Ginseng & Ginkgo Biloba (*Full Size!*)

TONI&GUY Hair Meet Wardrobe Leave In Conditioner (*Full Size!*)

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Product # 1: Nuxe Masque Crème Fraîche de Beauté ($32)

Whenever I hear the words “Crème Fraîche,” I always think of the ‘South Park’ episode where Randy is obsessed with The Food Network and cooking elaborate meals. I digress, the colder temperatures and fighting off a nasty little cold has taken a toll on my skin in recent weeks and I decided to treat my face to this mask, which is supposed to be ultra-hydrating and nurturing to skin in distress. The first thing I noticed was that the mask, thin in texture, smelled like plants (and given that many of the ingredients are derived from plants and blossoms, it’s not surprising,) and spread evenly and easily. Once applied, I left the product- which felt more like a moisturizer than an actual replenishing mask- on my face for the instructed time before massaging the rest into my skin.

My skin did feel somewhat better after I used this mask, although it left my face looking a little shiny (which was resolved with powder when I applied my makeup later on,) but the feeling didn’t last for as long as advertised (24 hours.) It wasn’t an awful product by any means, but I wasn’t exactly blown away by it.

Would I Purchase?: Maybe. I think if I re-purchased this product in the future, I’d use it as a moisturizer (and probably over my oil-free one to give my skin an extra boost of hydration,) but as a replenishing mask- it fell a little flat. I think if it had fully repaired my dry skin and lasted longer, I’d be sold on it for sure- because the consistency is nice and it’s convenient enough to use regularly.

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Product # 2: Bellápierre Cosmetics Mineral Lipstick in “Burlesque” ($19.99)

In April of 2014, I had received a Bellápierre Cosmetics lip gloss in my GlossyBox that I had been on the fence about. I had loved the texture, the color, the finish- and even the fragrance- but it’s lack of longevity had been a bit of a deal breaker. When I saw this bright, berry lipstick in December’s box- I had been prepared to have the same reaction. Fortunately, this highly pigmented and creamy formula not only went on smoothly, but it stayed in place for much, much longer than the aforementioned gloss without drying my lips out. The color was beautiful and bold- and is perfect for this time of year when I’m wearing darker shades in my wardrobe and on my eyes!

Would I Purchase?: Yes! I’m so glad Bellápierre has seemingly corrected it’s staying power with their lip products, because the quality of their merchandise is otherwise fantastic. I’d definitely re-purchase “Burlesque” again in the future, as well as some of the other available shades, too (especially “Mandarina” and “LA Diva.”)

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Product # 3: Ciaté London Mini Paint Pot in “Humbug” ($10)

For New Year’s Eve, I traded in a sparkly (and itchy) dress or top in lieu of a backless, little black dress I’ve had since my teens, but hadn’t worn for a long time. Of course, SOME sparkle is required for such an evening- be it in the form of accessories or makeup. I opted for sparkly nails, however- and this mini paint pot from Ciaté arrived just in time. The perfect mix of black glitter and small, silver sequins- the formula of this polish was a little gloopy, and it took three coats to get the finish pictured above.

As far as staying power- it didn’t take long for the polish, rough to the touch even with a top coat- to snag on random surfaces and fabrics and flake off in certain areas- although it wasn’t as noticeable as when solid color polishes begin to chip and peel. It got me through New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day- and barely a day or two after that before I had to scrape it off.

Would I Purchase?: No. Even though I liked the concept of this polish, it was a hassle to apply, had an uncomfortably scratchy finish, and didn’t last as long as I would have hoped. Next time, I’ll stick to a metallic finish without all the glitter and sequins- and go back to wearing itchy dresses again- instead.

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Product # 4: Rituals Cosmetics Miracle Scrub in Ginseng & Ginkgo Biloba ($17)

Every weekend, I like to take a half hour or so to go to my local nail salon and get a manicure. I’m rubbish with applying polish evenly, and keeping my cuticles maintained is a whole other nightmare in itself. My manicurist is quick, diligent, and very talented when I feel like trying a design or otherwise attempting something different- and I look forward to catching up with her about her week while we sit across from each other.

Sometimes, though, I can’t always make it to the salon (such is the case this week,) and I have to take matters into my own hands (pun intended) to get my palms and digits ready for the work week. One of the most relaxing stages of my manicure is the exfoliating scrub, which buffs away the dry skin and leaves my hands super soft. This scrub- designed specifically for the hands- does just that. Lightly fragranced, this product is applied to dry hands and vigorously rubbed in for a minute or so before it’s rinsed off. Afterwards, my hands were left so, so soft and supple. They felt amazing.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! I loved this scrub- which would be perfect for a weekly treatment in between manicures. I plan on re-purchasing this when I run out, and may even bring it into the salon to show my manicurist. It’s a great product!

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Product # 5: TONI&GUY Hair Meet Wardrobe Leave In Conditioner ($14.99)

One of the good things about my hair type is that leave in conditioners work well as both a repairing treatment and as a styling product- since they rarely make my hair look and/or feel oily or greasy. My curls are left healthy and full of volume- so adding extra products afterwards isn’t always necessary. Such was the case with this lightweight leave-in from TONI&GUY. With a mild fragrance that didn’t overpower me, I’ve been combing this product through my hair after showering and letting it air dry. The result is frizz-free, shiny, bouncy curls that aren’t stiff or crunchy to the touch and feel hydrated until my next wash. I’m impressed!

Would I Purchase?: Yes! I’m a big fan of this conditioner. It kept my hair soft, manageable, and moisturized- and with a $14.99 price tag- you can’t really go wrong since a little goes a long way. I’ll definitely be stocking up on more of this product down the line.

With three products I loved, one I wasn’t a fan of, and one I’m still on the fence about- December’s GlossyBox was an impressive collection of value and variety. I loved that so many of the products were full-sized, covered the spectrum of hair care, skin care, makeup, and nails- and came in such creative, cute packaging. I look forward to seeing what the subscription service has in store for this coming year!

GLOSSYBOX: November 2014 Review.

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As the end of the year approaches, monthly subscription services almost always kick it up a notch for the holidays- offering more luxurious, high-end (and often full-sized) products, limited edition merchandise, multiple promotions and special offers. It’s exciting, especially when the value of what’s in the boxes can be worth more than what you spent on the subscription fee. I always look forward to November and December’s Ipsy Bags and GlossyBoxes (and this will be my first year receiving December’s Loot Crate!)

November’s GlossyBox arrived at my door not too long ago, and I’ve been using the products that were included on a regular basis. With skin care, hair care, nail polish, and bath products covered- I’m ready to share my thoughts!

What I Received:

Juice Beauty Green Apple Age Defy Moisturizer

12 Benefits Instant Healthy Hair Treatment

So Susan Cosmetics Universal Blush (*Full Size!*)

Kneipp Lavender Balancing Herbal Bath

O.P.I “Pink Outside the GLOSSYBOX” Nail Lacquer (*Full Size!*)

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Product # 1: Juice Beauty Green Apple Age Defy Moisturizer ($45)

I’m a big fan of green apple-flavored or scented anything, really. Candies, perfumes (DKNY’s “Be Delicious” being my favorite,) body lotions, hair care products, etc. Even in the Fall, you can sometimes catch me tying up my hair with my green apple printed scarf that I’ve had for years and years. It was only a matter of time before the sweet, citrus-y fragrance infiltrated my skin care regimen, too. Juice Beauty, an organic and cruelty-free skin care company based out of California, has combined natural fruit juices and anti-aging antioxidants to form this lightweight night and day moisturizer.

While it does have the faintest of citrus scents upon application- the product sinks into the skin effortlessly and doesn’t leave behind any sort of residue (and didn’t cause any kind of adverse reaction on my skin!) I’ve been using it for a couple of weeks now and my skin does feel softer and smoother- although the brightness and anti-aging perks have yet to be seen. All in all, it’s an average moisturizer that keeps skin hydrated- but the $45 price tag is a little obscene.

Would I Purchase?: Maybe. This was an “okay” moisturizer, but it didn’t necessarily blow me away to where I would deliberately seek it out while replenishing my skin care. It did a good enough job moisturizing my skin without making me look or feel greasy and shiny- but in my opinion, it’s quality does not warrant such a costly price. It’s not awful- but it’s not extraordinary, either.

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Product # 2: 12 Benefits Instant Healthy Hair Treatment ($20)

This product honestly had me at the “spritz and go” part of it’s description. It’s been well established that I have curly, often unruly hair that I rarely flat-iron and straighten with irons and heat. I like to run Moroccan oil through my curls and let them air dry while I apply my makeup and pack up my purse for the day- as I find my hair is soft, shiny, and manageable by the time I’m out the door. It’s a simple system that has worked well for me for months, but I liked all the benefits of this sweet-smelling spray that were listed on GlossyBox’s product card (and on the bottle!) and decided to give it a try.

While this spray didn’t add a particular amount of shine to my curls, it did make them soft and de-tangled. It also kept my frizz to a minimum and didn’t compromise my reds. My hair was smooth and thankfully free of any type of residue or “stiffness” that I can often get with other leave-in treatments. I was impressed!

Would I Purchase?: Yes! I’m always on the prowl for hair care that is fast and easy to use in my morning routine and won’t make my hair look or feel crunchy or weighed down with product. This spray was convenient and did a great job at keeping my curls refreshed and tamed. I’d absolutely purchase a full-sized bottle in the future to use by itself or mix with my Moroccan oil for added shine.

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Product # 3: So Susan Cosmetics Universal Blush ($27.95)

Now that Autumn is over and done, I’ve transitioned my everyday makeup to better suit the colder season. My blush, which was previously a more copper tone on my skin- complimented my nude matte lipsticks and brown and gold eyeshadows through Halloween and Thanksgiving. Now, my cheeks are looking a little rosier alongside my pink/red lip colors and plum and green eye palettes. I liked the look of this blush when I first saw it in my November GlossyBox. It seemed to have a warm rose tone that would compliment nearly every complexion. Once applied, it was more of a subtly-sheen pink that gave my pale cheeks a beautiful, natural-looking glow. I’ve been wearing it non-stop since I’ve started using it- and I don’t see myself switching to a different blush anytime soon!

Would I Purchase?: Yes! I am absolutely head over heels in love with this blush and the natural looking flush it gives me. The product itself is packed with Buriti Fruit Oil that supposedly heals and nourishes skin. I can’t say for certain if that worked out for me or not, but the color alone was enough to sell me on this blush and I would definitely re-purchase this in the future once I run out of the full-sized one GlossyBox so generously provided for me!

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Product # 4: Kneipp Lavender Balancing Herbal Bath ($20)

I am very much a hot shower kind of gal. Long soaks in the tub are a rarity, mostly because of my schedule or because I find it hard to get myself to relax long enough to truly enjoy one without interruption or distraction. I decided to give this lavender scented oil a chance, though, after reading that it was designed to combat mental fatigue and nerves. I waited until I could put aside a substantial amount of time (which happened to be after a day spent Christmas shopping, go figure-) to rest my eyes and mind in some hot water up to my neck.

First things first- the oil turned the water in the tub a shocking shade of blue, which I didn’t expect, but it smelled strong (and divine!) and once I had settled in I could feel myself relaxing in no time at all. I stayed still in the tub, soaking the oil in, for a good 15-20 minutes before I showered and prepared to bundle up in my fleece pajamas. I noticed that my skin was not only lightly fragranced with the lavender smell, which was nice- especially at bed time- but that it was super soft, too!

Would I Purchase?: Yes! I’m planning on purchasing a full-sized bottle of this concentrated oil for myself now that I’ve vowed to take more “me” time every so often to use it, but I think this would be a great gift for anyone looking for a nice, easy way to unwind and relax in the tub, too. A little goes a long way and this stuff works amazingly well!

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Product # 5: O.P.I “Pink Outside the GLOSSYBOX” Nail Lacquer ($9.50)

Not too long ago, I voiced a complaint about the multiple variations of the too-safe-for-my-liking lipsticks and lip glosses I frequently received in beauty subscription services. I wanted companies to mix it up a little- to take some risks and give subscribers something unique and daring to break up the monotony of the pink/rose tones that seemed to be plaguing their every box and bag. I think the same thing can be said in terms of nail polish. I get such a thrill when I receive a bright, bold, glittery or textured lacquer for my nails- and while I enjoy a soft, pretty pink from time to time- like the lipsticks/glosses- it can get repetitive and boring after a while.

Needless to say, I was underwhelmed when I first saw this pale pink bottle of O.P.I.- the color being a limited edition solely made for GlossyBox subscribers, which was admittedly kind of cool. Ever a fan of the company itself, I knew the application and longevity of the formula would be just fine- and it was. After two coats I had a slightly translucent pink on my tips that was pretty, albeit not very seasonal looking. I wasn’t dazzled, however.

Would I Purchase?: No. Not only is this shade limited edition, so I don’t think I could re-purchase it in the future even if I wanted to, but the color was safe and dare I say it- dull. I actually own a couple of different variations of this shade, so re-purchasing this particular one won’t be necessary.

With three products that I was thrilled with and two I wasn’t exactly head-over-heels in love with- November’s GlossyBox was still good, but could have used a little improvement. With December’s box already rumored to be a high value collection for the end of the year, I’m hoping it will make up for the mediocre moisturizer and lackluster lacquer I received last month! We’ll just have to wait and see!

GLOSSYBOX: October 2014 Review.

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I know it’s hard to believe that I managed to squeeze in reviewing my October GlossyBox in between all of my adventures and posts- but I pulled it off. I received the box a little earlier than usual, which was a pleasant surprise, and with three full-sized items and two deluxe-sized samples- this time covering the full beauty box spectrum of skin care, hair care, cosmetics, fragrance, and nail-related products- the overall quality of the box made it’s unexpected arrival even better.

What I Received:

Proganix Repair Reparative Oil + Anti-Breakage (*Full Size!*)

Tarte Power Pigment in ‘Flush’ (*Full Size!*)

Vince Camuto ‘Amore’ Perfume

SESHA Skin Therapy Cell-White Brightening Mask

nails inc. ‘Westminster Bridge’ Matte Top Coat (*Full Size!*)

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Product # 1: Proganix Repair Reparative Oil + Anti-Breakage ($11.99)

What on Earth did I ever do before I introduced oil into my daily hair care regimen? I cringe to think back to the days of frizzy fly-aways and unmanageable split ends. Moroccan oil, Argan oil. It works wonders and now that I’m hooked, I don’t think I’ll ever look back. I was excited to try this product, lightweight and loaded with Vitamin E, after my shower each morning before I headed to work. Not only does it smell lovely, but it makes my hair soft, sleek, shiny, and smooth. Frizz is tamed effortlessly and my curls are hydrated without looking or feeling greasy, crunchy, or weighed down the way some other products can leave my strands after use. I’ve mostly been using this oil on it’s own, but on days when I need a little more hold- I add another product like a curl cream/serum or sea salt spray, too.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! This oil worked really, really well. It conditioned and styled my hair without a messy application or leaving behind any kind of greasy, sticky, or flaky residue in my curls or on my scalp. It’s great by itself or mixed with other products. Best of all is the price. $11.99 per bottle is beyond reasonable for something that works this good and doesn’t require a ton of oil per use (a little goes a long way!)

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Product # 2: Tarte Power Pigment in ‘Flush’ ($24)

Even though I don’t use many Tarte products, I’ve always been a fan of their pigmentation and their packaging. This twist-up lipstick, antioxidant rich and in a bold reddish-pink hue, applied smoothly and kept my lips hydrated- however the longevity wasn’t up to par when compared to other Tarte lipsticks I’ve tried in the past. It didn’t take long for this product to fade and feather away off my lips. It did leave behind a stain, but the tint didn’t appear even and wasn’t able to be left alone on it’s own (and even made my lips appear slightly-chapped looking,) so multiple reapplications were needed throughout the day to keep the color in place and vivid. It was inconvenient, to say the least.

Would I Purchase?: No. While I thought the color was pretty and and flattering against my skin tone- and the formula was pleasantly moisturizing- the $24 per tube price tag isn’t justified seeing as how this product didn’t stay on nearly long enough for me to consider re-purchasing it in the future. I’m better off sticking to my Urban Decay lipsticks, which pack the same amount of pigment and hydrating benefits but last 10x longer.

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Product # 3: Vince Camuto ‘Amore’ Perfume ($78)

Firstly, how cute is this little bottle? This perfume arrived in a mini-version of the full-sized bottle, same fancy topper and all. Now, I’m unfamiliar with this particular fragrance, but it’s described on GlossyBox’s website as: “Floriental Fruity, a radiant lush floral with sparkling fruits and sensual, lasting back notes,” whatever that means. I definitely detected a lot of floral in this perfume- but hardly any fruity notes at all. It was just a strong flowery scent with maybe the faintest hint of spice. Overall, it wasn’t bad- appropriately heavy for the Fall/Winter- and it lasted all day, from morning through well into the evening.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! I really liked this perfume. It was nice, strong, and it’s staying power packed a punch. I could easily see myself purchasing a full-sized bottle in the future to get me through the colder months since this scent is more potent and not for the Spring/Summer where more light, crisp fragrances are in style.

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Product # 4: SESHA Skin Therapy Cell-White Brightening Mask ($9)

I held off on using this mask right away, opting to save it for a day when my skin was in a desperate need of a brightening pick-me-up. As it turns out, that day, and more specifically- early morning- was fairly recently after a night of five/six hours of restless sleep. My skin looked dull, drab, and dreary, and no amount of cleanser or moisturizer could save it. I tore this individually packaged mask open, hoping for a miracle before I braved my office. Before I get into the results- I have to ask- why are these things made SO big? I completely understand that not everyone has the same shaped face, but I also don’t believe I know of anyone- past or present, living or dead- that has/had such a large head that this size mask would be appropriate or convenient. This thing was enormous on me to the point where it was uncomfortable since I had to keep readjusting the slits cut open for my eyes and mouth so I could see and speak normally while it worked it’s magic. SESHA, please, just make them a little smaller. Just a little.  Just so they stay in place.

Anyway, after swimming in this thing for about 15-20 minutes, I peeled it off and gently dabbed at the excess product that hadn’t quite sank in around my jaw and hair line to find skin that looked and felt considerably brighter- and tighter! There were no reactions, no excessive drying, or the opposite- breakouts. My skin just felt refreshed and stayed bright-looking all day. I looked as though I’d almost- ALMOST– gotten enough sleep.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! Despite the unusual sizing of these masks, they really do work wonders and I’d gladly pick up more for those days I need to give my skin a little extra TLC or for when I travel and need to rejuvenate my complexion after a long flight or change in climate/temperatures. At $9 per mask, the price isn’t half-bad, either. A handful of these are enough to last for a couple of months since they’re only needed every so often and aren’t intended to be used on a daily basis.

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Product # 5: nails inc. ‘Westminster Bridge’ Matte Top Coat ($10)

I think it’s safe to say that my makeup look this Fall has been all matte- all the time. Matte eye shadow, matte lipstick, and matte finishing powder. Even without the sparkle, my complexion and makeup has looked flawless and even, dare I say it- radiant. I shouldn’t have been surprised that the trend would extend beyond the face by now. This top coat from Nails, Inc. is said to give even the shiniest of nail lacquers a velvety texture. I chose the above neutral shade from Essie, which had a regular glossy finish- and applied the top coat shortly thereafter. Within minutes, the sheen was gone and was replaced by the matte look. It was actually pretty neat to see, and it’s been a couple of days with no signs of chipping- so it does work as an excellent and protective top coat, too!

Would I Purchase?: Yes! This is a really cool alternative to use for those who want a unique matte nail look but don’t want to buy a bunch of bottles of matte colors. This top coat seals in the shade and can transform pretty much any polish in just minutes. I’m a big fan and would absolutely re-purchase this in the future when I run out of the full-sized bottle I was provided in October’s box.

With the exception of the Tarte lipstick, I was quite pleased with October’s GlossyBox. There was a good variety of products with great value, which is all I really need when it comes to beauty box subscription services. I discovered a couple of new, exciting brands I’ll definitely be checking out more within the coming months- and I’m looking forward to seeing what I receive in November!