Ipsy Bag: July 2015 Review.

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To round up my July subscription box/bag reviews, I wanted to end with Ipsy. Over the past few months, I’ve grown increasingly frustrated with the company- who I’ve been subscribed to for roughly two years now. For every decent product I receive, I tend to get double the amount in disappointing or poor-quality samples. I’ve mentioned in the past (more than once, I’m sure,) that for $10 a month, I do not expect to be blown away over and over again- but I like diversity in brands and in the types of products/samples I’m given- and despite the fact that I re-take the preferences quiz and satisfaction review surveys fairly often in an attempt to mix it up a little- I still get the same products by the same brands and with the same results.

Last month, after another disappointing bag- I had said I would give Ipsy one more chance to keep me interested before I opted to continue with my subscription or try something else. This was a similar “three strike” rule I had adhered to back when I was subscribed to BeautyArmy, and I never regretted canceling that subscription after giving them multiple chances to get it right.

July’s bag, a multi-colored and pretty Summery pattern, contained one full-sized product and four decently sized samples. I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best as I tried each of them!

What I Received:

Eau Thermale Avène Cleanance Gel Soapless Cleanser

tarte deluxe Amazonian clay waterproof bronzer

Be A Bombshell Cosmetics Lip Balm in “French Kiss” (*Full Size!*)

Octavio Molina Hair La Playa Salt Spray

City Color Cosmetics HD Powder


Product # 1: Eau Thermale Avène Cleanance Gel Soapless Cleanser ($20)

I had to do a little research online before I tried this cleanser since there wasn’t a lot of information written on the small bottle or on Ipsy’s website. When I think “soapless cleanser,” I think of cleansing oils- which can be hit or miss for me and my sensitive skin. Fortunately, this product worked just like a regular face wash- including lathering up nicely- but without the parabens. I did like the way this cleanser made my skin feel, and any tightness following my rinsing it off my face was quickly resolved with a lightweight moisturizer and daily SPF. I think the only downside to this cleanser is the fragrance. This wash smells really, really strong- like straight-up perfume- and can be overpowering and worrisome to those like me who are prone to bad reactions or break-outs, especially when it comes to added or artificial fragrances.

Would I Purchase?: Maybe. So far, I haven’t experienced any horrific reactions or painful blemishes with this cleanser- despite it’s potent scent- and it does make my skin feel clean (although a little tight/dry) after each use, but I’m not 100% sold on it yet and I don’t know if this is something I would necessarily re-purchase right away when I already use cleansers that not only thoroughly clean my face, but condition it, too.


Product # 2: tarte deluxe Amazonian clay waterproof bronzer ($30)

I’ve said it before and I will happily say it again- I love tarte Cosmetics. I love their products, their pigmentation, and their packaging. Although applying bronzer on my skin type (see: pasty) is like playing “will it turn me orange?” Russian roulette- this product went on smoothly and gave me a subtle hint of natural-looking sun-kissed color without appearing like it was caked on. It was easy to blend with the golden-hued blush I’ve been using as of late to give me a healthy glow, and a little goes a long way- so I know this sample will carry me through the end of the Summer!

Would I Purchase?: Yes! tarte has done it again. I really love this bronzer. It’s light, easy to apply, even easier to blend- and stays in place all day without making me look like an Oompa Loompa. While this sample will last me quite a while, I would definitely consider re-purchasing a full-sized compact next Spring/Summer when I want to look like a golden goddess without having to actually tan!



Product # 3: Be A Bombshell Cosmetics Lip Balm in “French Kiss” ($14)

Ipsy, we need to have a heart-to-heart about your somewhat excessive use of ‘Be A Bombshell Cosmetics’ products. I’m not saying that it’s a terrible brand or that all of their products are bad. I’ve received a few that I’ve enjoyed in the past, and their price points are pretty reasonable- but not everything I’ve tried has been particularly high in quality, and I’d like to get through just one month (or two) without finding another lipstick or eye shadow from them in my bag when I open it. Part of the reason I signed up with Ipsy to begin with was to try new brands and new products- so to continually receive things from ‘Be A Bombshell’ over and over is a bit frustrating.

This balm unfortunately falls under the aforementioned “not particularly high in quality” category. The color, a baby pink- was not flattering with my complexion at all- and the formula was more waxy in texture than it was softening and hydrating. I noticed small, thin flakes of balm after each application that just sort of rested on top of my lips (similar to pieces of dry skin for lack of a better example) rather than rubbing in smoothly. Overall, it was a let down.

Would I Purchase?: No. I’m better off just using regular or tinted chap stick than I am using this balm. The not-pale-friendly-at-all color aside, this product didn’t moisturize or even stay on my lips for a long time before it all but slid off- and is definitely not worth the $14.


Product # 4: Octavio Molina Hair La Playa Salt Spray ($15.50)

When it comes to sea salt sprays, I pay special attention to the ingredients. There are certain brands that, while drying (when used without proper conditioners or other hydrating styling products,) are color-safe for my red curls- and vice versa. This spray, with an unusual fragrance that isn’t “beachy” like other brands- has pretty much every ingredient possible in it to fade my red to orange in no time at all- which is why I waited to try this product until I was just a few days shy of getting a color touch-up at my salon to see how it made my hair look and feel.

This spray, while already being harmful to my color- is also extremely drying. I tried this product in my hair both on it’s own, as well as with a rich curl-cream- and my hair was left dry, frizzy, and crunchy both times. I think I’ll scrap this product and stick to the sea salt sprays that I’ve grown accustomed to over the years, instead.

Would I Purchase?: No. Between the color-compromising ingredients, the overly drying finish, and the fragrance I wasn’t really keen on- this product was a dud for me. It might work better for those who have virgin hair, but steer clear if your hair is color-treated or highlighted (or if it’s prone to frizz or split ends!)


Product # 5: City Color Cosmetics HD Powder ($5.99)

I’ve been using a Laura Mercier finishing powder for a really long time now. It’s lightweight, keeps my makeup in place, and helps hide blemishes and imperfections. I’ve been running low on my current jar as of late, so this sample of transparent powder arrived at a good time so that I could try it for a few days and compare it with what I’ve been used to.

I don’t know if it’s just the style or size of the sample, but this product was kind of difficult to shake loose. Even though it’s advertised as a “high definition” powder- it isn’t ground as fine as my Laura Mercier one, which made the application process a bit difficult in terms of getting the product on my brush and applied evenly to my skin.

The powder doesn’t discolor my fair skin and hasn’t caused any kind of breakouts or reaction- which is nice- but it didn’t do much in regards to keeping my makeup in place. After a few hours, I noticed that my pores were still visible and that some of my foundation had started to run- which never happens with my LM powder. This powder was, unfortunately, another bust in the bag.

Would I Purchase?: No. At $5.99 for a full-sized tub, this powder would seem like a steal to most- but it’s a pain to get the product out of the container and only holds makeup in place for a short amount of time before it all but vanishes and shine returns to more oily areas. I’ll be sticking with my Laura Mercier powder and re-purchasing another full-sized container of that, instead.

With one of the products out of the five I received being a big win for me, and another still having me on the fence as to whether or not I’d commit to re-purchasing a full-sized bottle- that leaves three unsatisfactory samples/products.

Ipsy, it’s been a lot of fun- it really, really has- but I think I need a break. I can’t go through another month of Be A Bombshell or hair care/styling products that I simply can’t use.

I’m going to be canceling my subscription over the next day or so. That’s not to say I won’t return to Ipsy eventually, but like BeautyArmy’s downfall way back when- the company needs to really focus more on the quality of what they’re sending subscribers as opposed to arranging samples for pretty photos on Instagram and hoping we won’t notice it’s the same products every month.

I’ve got another subscription service I’ll be checking out for August- so I’m hoping that’s a more fun review to write!


Ipsy Bag: June 2015 Review.

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The last of June’s subscription services to arrive was this month’s Ipsy bag. The theme, “Swim Into Beauty,” was a nod to the hot Summer months. Everything came packaged in a black, waterproof bag that felt as though it was made from bathing suit material. As someone who spends a significant amount of time at the beach during the Summer, it’s nice to have something I can carry my keys and my phone in when I head to the water and not have to worry about things getting splashed and ruined!

The products, which were a mix of long-lasting makeup and skin care, were tied into the beach/poolside-ready theme.

What I Received:

LAVANILA LABORATORIES The Healthy Body Butter in “Pure Vanilla”

tre’StiQue Mini Shadow Crayon in “Kona Coffee”

J. Cat Beauty Liptitude Hydrating Lip Stain in “Blow Your Mind” (*Full Size!*)

Smashbox Cosmetics Photo Finish Foundation Primer

IT Cosmetics Brow Power Universal Eyebrow Pencil (*Full Size!*)


Product # 1: LAVANILA LABORATORIES The Healthy Body Butter in “Pure Vanilla” ($19)

I’m not quite sure how it happened, but upon going to use this sample for the first time- it seems that there was only a small amount of product in the tube. It wasn’t even half full (and believe me, I shook and squeezed it in every conceivable way to be 100% positive!) I could only get enough body butter to cover one of my legs and that was it. Needless to say, I was disappointed, since I had hoped to write a more thorough review. All I can really say about the amount of product I was able to use is that it smells strongly of vanilla, and the scent lingered on my skin overnight- and that while it did not absorb easily by any means- once it did, it left my skin (including dryer areas around my knee) very, very soft. There was no greasy residue or sticky feeling left behind.

Would I Purchase?: Maybe. I won’t let the aforementioned packaging issue push me away entirely from this body butter. It smells really nice and it hydrated the skin I was able to apply it to, which is really all I ask from a product like this. The only thing I’m on the fence about is the amount of time it took to absorb into my skin. I like lightweight lotions and creams that don’t require a lot of effort to apply since I’m usually rushing between work and home, etc.- so this might be better reserved for those days where I’m able to relax and pamper myself without being in a hurry.



Product # 2: tre’StiQue Mini Shadow Crayon in “Kona Coffee” ($26)

Because it’s Summer, I’ve been wearing a lot of golds, aqua tones, and corals on my eyes and lips. When I first saw this shadow stick, I was a bit concerned about how dark the color looked but still intrigued at how it applied. The pencil- soft to the touch and highly pigmented- did appear very dark on my lids, and did NOT blend easily- which was a bit frustrating. The photo above shows the “Kona Coffee” shade on my eyes after I blended it to the best of my ability. As you can probably see, it looks a bit uneven and patchy. The only upside to this product was it’s longevity. The shadow didn’t budge, crease, or flake all day and well into the evening.

Would I Purchase?: No. As much as I appreciated the pigmentation and how long this shadow lasted on my lids, applying it was nothing short of a hassle. Once it was on, it was on- and it couldn’t be evened out or blended without using other products and utilizing a lot of time. For that reason alone, I’ll have to pass and stick with the shadows I’ve been using regularly that are much easier to apply and last just as long.



Product # 3: J. Cat Beauty Liptitude Hydrating Lip Stain in “Blow Your Mind” ($5.99)

At first glance of the bottle, this lip stain seemed bright, fun, and perfect for the Summer. Although the applicator was an odd shape, which made working the product around my lips to achieve an even look a little awkward- the stain itself was VERY rich and pigmented. A little goes a long way, and it didn’t take much to make my mouth pop with a vibrant pink/peach color. Like it’s name indicates- this stain was in no way drying, and it lasted a very, very long time before it required a touch-up.

All of those perks are great, but the one downside to this stain was how messy it was. Because of the rich/thick consistency of this product, it came off on pretty much everything- my coffee mug, my breakfast/lunch,  my fingertips when I accidentally grazed my lips, my teeth, etc. and it seemed that whatever it touched- it would NOT come off of. If you wear this stain, you have to be extremely careful not to transfer any of it onto your skin or clothes!

Would I Purchase?: No. Don’t get me wrong, the pigmentation, the bright color, and the longevity are all great- but this product was entirely too messy for my tastes. I like my lip stains to be lightweight, and this one was heavy and came off in thick globs on anything and everything it came in contact with. It was almost like having wet paint on my mouth. I’ll just continue using my Summer stand-bys of balms and glosses.


Product # 4: Smashbox Cosmetics Photo Finish Foundation Primer ($36)

In my skincare and makeup regimen, I’ve never really had a need for a foundation primer. In the Summer I use BB creams, and when I require more coverage- the long-wear foundation I use has a primer already added to it- so I typically gloss over this additional step. Even still, I’ve heard great things about this oil-free Smashbox primer from multiple sources, and decided to give it a try to see if it made any difference in how long it could hold my makeup in place and keep me looking fresh.

Firstly, I really liked the texture of this foundation primer. It was lightweight, almost “fluffy” feeling (if that makes sense) and it absorbed very quickly into my skin without making me look shiny. It also kept my foundation in place all day. No touch-ups were necessary at all. That’s a great thing.

The bad news is that this primer- despite being oil-free- made me break out really bad all over my face. After using a deep cleansing mask and a harsher facial scrub for a couple of days- my skin returned to normal. I wanted to be absolutely sure the bad reaction was the result of this product, so I applied it- and only the primer- to my face again. Sure enough, the same thing happened- and I had to scrap what was left in the tube while I cleared my skin up from the painful blemishes once more.

Would I Purchase?: No. While this may be an excellent foundation primer to those looking for all-day wear, I can’t use it. I don’t know exactly what it is that is causing such an adverse reaction, but I have to stay away from it. If anyone has any recommendations for other, similar primers- but won’t cause such bad breakouts- please let me know!


Product # 5: IT Cosmetics Brow Power Universal Eyebrow Pencil ($12)

Eyebrow products are tricky for me, because I’m fortunate enough to have brows that never seem to get too bushy and have a natural and noticeable arch to them. Even when I let them grow out for a few weeks, they sustain the arch and require a minimum amount of waxing/plucking around the edges. I rarely use pencils on them and only swipe a clear gel formula over a couple of stray hairs now and then until I can find the time to visit the spa. That’s really all I do for brow maintenance.

I decided to go for a darker brow look using this taupe twist-up pencil, which was thin enough to be very precise but not too thin where it would crumble or snap on contact. A little bit went a long way, and my brows looked fuller and darker with only a couple of light sweeps. I liked that a lot- and the other half of the pencil served as a mascara-like wand to comb everything into place. I liked that, too. While I don’t think I’d use this product every day, it’s a good thing to have on hand!

Would I Purchase?: Yes! This is definitely a product I would keep in my makeup bag for those days between waxings where my brows require just a little touching up or when I want them to look a darker and more defined. The pencil isn’t flimsy and the brush is very helpful at keeping hairs in place. The color is universal, too. It’s not too light and not too dark- so it’s perfect on me.

Oh dear. June’s Ipsy bag has found itself in the same territory as last month’s bag. I wasn’t impressed. At all. Sure, the bag itself is great and I liked the full-sized eyebrow pencil very much- but the lip stain was a mess (literally), the shadow stick was a pain, the primer broke me out- and then there was the issue with the barely filled body butter tube.

I don’t want to complain about a $10 a month service, because things could be a lot worse in terms of quality and quantity- but Ipsy has found itself in a slump as of late. They continue to stick with the same brands (some of which just aren’t good no matter what they send out,) the same type of products, or samples that are just poor quality overall. I understand I’m not paying a fortune for the bag every month- and that there are services that are FAR more expensive out there- but I’d like just a little more effort to keep me interested. Please!

I’m going to see how July’s bag compares to the last couple I’ve received and go from there. Here’s hoping it’s an improvement.


Ipsy Bag: May 2015 Review.

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While nearly all of the Ipsy bags I receive are cute and fun with their designs and colors- every once in a while I get one that just wins me over before I even see what’s inside. May’s bag did just that. I thought the simple and clever lipstick logo printed on the side of the bag was fun (and yes, I’ve since stored my now minimized lipstick collection in it!) and a nice change from the usual floral prints I receive this time of year.

What I Received:

Briogeo Rosarco Milk Reparative Leave-In Conditioning Spray

AMIE Morning Dew Matte-Finish Moisturizer

BelláPierre Cosmetics Waterproof Mineral Gel Eyeliner Pencil in “Ebony” (*Full Size!*)

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide on Lip Pencil

Products I Didn’t Use:


Product # 1: Luxie Beauty Tapered Blending Eye Brush 205 ($12)

Why Not?: I say this pretty much any time I receive a brush in a beauty subscription service- but I have so many makeup brushes as is, that using this one seemed unnecessary! Sure, the handle is a pretty pastel pink and the bristles felt super soft when I grazed them with my fingertips as I removed the brush from my bag- but I’d much rather give this away- brand new- to a friend than use it on myself just for the sake of writing a quick review about it! If anyone is really curious about the quality of this brush, and any of Luxie’s other brushes- I’m sure there are plenty of reviews floating around YouTube and the Blog-o-sphere!

Onto what I did try, though.


Product # 2: Briogeo Rosarco Milk Reparative Leave-In Conditioning Spray ($20)

First things first, if you have curly and unruly hair like I do- this lightweight but VERY strongly scented spray is not going to be enough to simply style-and-go. It’s not very effective at taming frizz or giving the hair any type of texture or definition- and you will need to use another product/products to get your desired look.

That small set-back aside, I liked how soft and shiny my curls felt and looked each time I spritzed some of this product from my roots to my ends while my hair was damp after the shower. There was no crunchiness, no greasy residue, no scalp irritation and no flakes. The product helps mend split strands and protects the hair from UV damage and free-radicals- which is especially great in the Summer when I spend a lot of time outdoors in the city.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! While the floral fragrance can be a little overpowering at first, it doesn’t last long- but the results from this spray certainly do. This is a quick and easy addition to any post-shower styling routine, and I’d definitely purchase a full-sized bottle in the future to have on hand.


Product # 3: AMIE Morning Dew Matte-Finish Moisturizer ($9.40)

Until now, I wasn’t familiar with the brand Amie- but I was intrigued by it’s natural ingredients and was quick to try this moisturizer. The yellow color, the light texture, and the fragrance sort of reminded me of Clinique’s ‘Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion,’ but once I applied this product- I noticed my skin felt a bit tighter once it had fully absorbed. It wasn’t uncomfortable by any means, but it was unexpected- and it would probably please those who are looking for something with firming benefits.

The downside to this moisturizer, though- is that it made me break out. After a few days of use, I had painful blemishes along my chin, the bridge of my nose, and my forehead- all of which cleared up once I stopped using this product. That was a bit of a let down.

Would I Purchase?: No, for obvious bad reaction reasons. This moisturizer might be great for someone with less sensitive skin and who is looking for something lightweight that will hydrate and firm- but for me- it just didn’t work out.


Product # 4: BelláPierre Cosmetics Waterproof Mineral Gel Eyeliner Pencil in “Ebony” ($14.99)

And now, for my least favorite product in May’s Ipsy bag- this black eyeliner from BellaPierre. I typically post a picture of how the liner looks on my lids after I apply it, but this time there is no such photo- because the second I gently pressed this pencil to my lid- the tip completely broke off. Thinking maybe it had just dried out a bit while in transport, I attempted to sharpen the pencil down to a point- only to have it continually crumble over and over (and over.) Considering this was the only other full-sized product I received- I was really disappointed that I couldn’t even use it.

Would I Purchase?: No. This product was a mess from start to finish. I can’t describe it’s pigmentation or staying power- because I couldn’t apply it! I’ll skip over this liner in the future and stick to my tried and true, instead.



Product # 5: Urban Decay 24/7 Glide on Lip Pencil ($20)

Oh, Urban Decay- how I love you. Your shadows. Your liners. Your lipsticks. You are a bright, shimmering, and highly pigmented beacon of light in the cosmetics world. I’ve been meaning to try UD’s new Revolution Lip Glosses for a while now, but haven’t had the chance to head to Sephora just yet- so I was pretty excited to receive two different samples of the gloss alongside an *almost* full-sized version of their lip liner in the clear formula, called “O-Zone.” Now, it was kind of hard to determine whether or not the liner stayed in place- what with it being colorless and all- but it didn’t feel drying and it didn’t feel greasy after I’d applied it to the best of my ability.

Now, the glosses. Out of the two, “Bittersweet,” the purple color shown above- was my favorite- but both glosses went on easily and stayed in place for hours before they began to fade. I loved how pigmented they were, and really the only downside to the formula was that they felt a little sticky for a while after they were first applied- but that’s only a minor setback in what was otherwise great gloss.

Would I Purchase?: Maybe on the pencil- but yes to the glosses! I’d like to try the lip liner in a subtle but more noticeable shade to get a better idea of it’s staying power since “O-Zone” was a little difficult to gauge- but I am head over heels in love with the Revolution Glosses and will be stocking up when I finally get to Sephora to replenish some of my skin care next month!

May’s bag was more like the “Meh” bag (I’m so clever,) because while I loved the Urban Decay products and the leave-in conditioner sample- the moisturizer caused a bad reaction, the eyeliner was a crumbling, dried-out mess- and I didn’t use the brush at all. I just wasn’t all that impressed this month.

I think it’s great that Ipsy occasionally ventures away from the usual brands they collaborate with and mix it up a little with new companies- but I’d like more of a variety in terms of products. No more black eyeliners or oily moisturizers- and PLEASE– no more brushes! I’ve altered my profile on their site countless times but I still get brushes every other month. I have plenty!

Here’s hoping June features a better selection.

Ipsy Bag: April 2015 Review.

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I started this review while I took a break from packing my bag for a weekend away in beautiful Bethel, New York- where I channeled my inner flower child and embraced nature and the very rustic culture in the Catskills for a couple of days. It seemed fitting, then, that April’s Ipsy Bag was themed “Beautifully Bohemian” and came in a bright, hippie-esque woven pouch. Consisting mostly of makeup, I ended up packing some of the items to take with me on my trip to try out on the road.

My post-Bethel write-up (with plenty of photos!) is coming up shortly- but first- let’s get to the products!

What I Received:

theBalm Cosmetics NUDE Dude Eyeshadow Single in “Fit”

Gallany Cosmetics Lipstick in “Petal”

Hey Honey Good Morning – Honey Silk Facial Serum

JulieG Nail Color in “Damsel” (*Full Size!*)

Mullein & Sparrow Mini Lip & Cheek Tint




Product # 1: theBalm Cosmetics NUDE Dude Eyeshadow Single in “Fit” ($36 for palette)

I’m a sucker for clever and cute packaging (which is partly why I love “Soap & Glory” products so much,) so when I saw the half-naked cartoon male models used in theBalm’s “NUDE Dude” palette, I was amused and nearly sold. There are twelve colors total in the palette- two per dude- and I received the shade “Fit,” which is a shimmery gold tone. Of course, as funny as the packaging was/is- I’m all about quality- so I gave this shadow a test run to see if it held up.

“Fit” applied smoothly and with very little fallout, and was pigmented enough where just a couple of sweeps over my lids gave me a bold, noticeable pop of color that I think will look really great come Summertime when I pair it with some bronzer and brighter lipsticks and glosses. Best of all? The shadow didn’t budge. It stayed in place all day and well into the evening without flaking, smudging, or creasing. I was thrilled!

Would I Purchase?: Yes! If the other shades in the “NUDE Dude” palette are half as great as the shade “Fit” was, I’ll happily splurge on it in a heartbeat. I’ve already gushed about the packaging, but the product itself was great in quality, coverage, and longevity. I was so pleased with this sample and grateful I got to try it out!



Product # 2: Gallany Cosmetics Lipstick in “Petal” ($21.50)

After I got done angrily screaming into a pillow at the fact that I received another rose-hued lipstick from Ipsy, I sucked up my frustration and tried this creamy and highly pigmented formula for the sake of reviewing purposes. The bland and boring color aside, which applied as a deep mauve- this product was comfortable and non-drying on my lips, and didn’t require a touch-up or reapplication for hours- even after eating and drinking. Those perks alone were enough to convince me to explore more of what Gallany has to offer.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! I don’t think I’d re-purchase “Petal” again, since I’m so over this type of color and have been for months now- but I really liked the formula of this lipstick and I’m not opposed to trying some of the other available shades. I’d personally like something a little more coral-toned for the Summer.


Product # 3: Hey Honey Good Morning – Honey Silk Facial Serum ($41)

For something with the word “honey” in it’s name more than once, I have to admit I was a little disappointed with the lack of honey-like fragrance in this product (especially because I love the scent so much!) I digress, this lightweight serum- which really only shares the same color as it’s namesake- absorbed into my skin quickly and left it feeling soft and hydrated prior to my makeup application. Overall, however- I wasn’t really all that impressed with this product. Even after days of continuous and diligent use- my skin’s texture and tone didn’t particularly look and feel much different or improved. This serum was a nice way to start the day’s skincare, and acted as a great primer for my foundation and blush- but for $41 for a full-sized container- I’d like visible and long-lasting results.

Would I Purchase?: No. It’s not that this serum was awful or anything, but it lacked the “wow!” factor that would make me want to rush out and purchase more of it.  I liked the consistency, I liked that there were no adverse reactions after I applied it, but it wasn’t an extraordinary product for me- and I’ve achieved similar, if not better results with my every day skincare regimen and other samples I’ve received in past bags and through other subscription services. This product was just “okay.”



Product # 4: JulieG Nail Color in “Damsel” ($3.99)

I feel like I need to apologize- profusely- for how ghastly my nails look in the above photo. I haven’t had time to sit down for a proper manicure in a couple of weeks now, so the above D.I.Y. job is pretty offensive to look at. I’m so sorry!

Anyway, I really loved this bright pink polish when I first saw it. I thought it would be perfect for the Spring/Summer, and it was a nice change from the usual pale pinks I receive in subscription services. I was especially pleased with how rich the cream formula was. I got full coverage with just one coat (as depicted above,) and a beautiful shine- even before I applied a top coat! I’ve been sporting “Damsel” for a few days now, and there hasn’t been any chipping or peeling yet. For $3.99 a bottle- that’s pretty impressive!

Would I Purchase?: Yes! This brand/formula is actually available in a chain of local drugstores in my area. I really loved this color, the long-lasting and strong formula- and of course, the price- so I fully plan on repurchasing “Damsel” once I run out- as well as a bunch of the other available colors, too!


Product # 5: Mullein & Sparrow Mini Lip & Cheek Tint ($10)

I did a double-take when I first laid eyes on this deep plum cheek and lip tint from Mullein & Sparrow. I’m pale- super pale- and I was worried this product would look really, really harsh on my skin if I tried to use it as a blush. I ran my finger across the top just to get an idea of the texture (which felt like a balm) and pigmentation- and was a little surprised when the color barely showed up on my fingertip. It took multiple swabs to get the product to be even the slightest bit visible on my skin- and the results didn’t vary much when I worked up the nerve to apply it to the apples of my cheeks as a comparison. This tint just did NOT show up on me.

I tried using it on my lips, as well- and while it softened my pout- I encountered the same problem in terms of color. This product was pretty much transparent on me. I was a bit disappointed. I didn’t want something that was too bold to wear- but I wasn’t expecting something that was practically invisible, either.

Would I Purchase?: No. I will use the remainder of this tin (which is cute, by the way,) as a clear-ish balm on my lips for quick hydration- but this product was pretty much a dud in terms of it’s intended purpose. I’ll stick with my more pigmented powder blushers, thanks!

With three out of the five products I received being hits- April’s “Beautifully Bohemian” bag was a good one for me! The serum and the cheek and lip tint were forgettable- although not outright awful- but I am completely smitten with the eye shadow, the nail lacquer, and the lipstick formula. While I love a nice assortment of products that cover skin care, makeup, hair care, etc.- I thought this bag was a nice way to introduce me to some makeup products and brands I otherwise may not have known about! Especially since I’m always refreshing my collection for the coming seasons.

Bring on May’s bag!


Ipsy Bag: March 2015 Review.

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Nothing brightens up my day like opening up the first of my monthly subscription services and immediately being greeted by beautiful packaging. Such was the case with March’s Ipsy bag, which came in a lovely floral-printed pouch (the month’s theme was “Floral Fantasy.”) chock-full of Springtime skin care and bright, beautiful makeup. Yesterday marked the first official day of Spring, and although we saw plenty of snow- again- I’ve been using the bag to keep some of my cosmetics secure inside my purse, and I feel a little happier every time I catch a glimpse of it’s pretty blues, pinks, and yellows.

What I Received:

NYX Cosmetics Butter Lipstick in “Hunk” (*Full Size!*)

Pūr~lisse Beauty Pūr~Delicate Gentle Soymilk Cleanser & Makeup Remover

Boo-Boo Cover-Up: Medium Shade

Dr. Brandt Skincare “Pores No More” Anti-Aging Mattifying Lotion

VINTAGE by Jessica Liebeskind Illuminating Face Highlighter



Product # 1: NYX Cosmetics Butter Lipstick in “Hunk” ($6)

Last March, while visiting SoHo, I had stopped by the Bite Beauty Lip Lab to concoct what I considered to be the perfect purple lipstick, Since then, I’ve been trying to conserve what’s left of my tube before I can head back and replenish (and maybe create another color while I’m there,) and holding out hope for finding a suitable shade to hold me over ’til then. Enter “Hunk” from NYX Cosmetics’ Butter Lipstick line- a formula I’ve heard a lot of really great things about.

While the color of the lipstick in the tube appears to be a very dark, very deep and true violet- it actually looked a bit more fuchsia on my lips- although it was still pretty and very pigmented. Like the name suggests, this lipstick glided on my lips smoothly- like butter- leaving them soft and smooth. Even more impressive was how long-lasting this formula was. Touch-ups and re-applications were far and few between- even after eating, drinking, lip-licking, etc. The color stayed in place for hours- which was one of the most important selling points. That, and it’s $6 price tag. I think I’ve found a winner!

Would I Purchase?: Yes! Not only would I re-purchase “Hunk” in the future, but I think I’d also collect quite a few of the other available shades in this collection, too. These are richly pigmented, non-drying, and long-lasting lipsticks that are incredibly affordable considering their quality. Nicely done, NYX! I still adore my Bite Beauty lipstick more than words can say, but this was a really great find for me!


Product # 2: Pūr~lisse Beauty Pūr~Delicate Gentle Soymilk Cleanser & Makeup Remover ($36)

Hello Pur~lisse Beauty. We meet again- this time in the form of a sample size of your cleanser/makeup remover. Last Summer, I had fallen head over heels in love with the company’s lightweight moisturizer with sunscreen- so when I received a different product from their line in March’s Ipsy bag, I was excited and eager to give it a try.

At the moment, I’ve been using exfoliating (but gentle) makeup remover pads at night to buff away any dead skin cells made more visible by a brutal winter- and following it up with an extra mild cleanser to prevent my face from drying out. It’s been working well, but I recently swapped my Clinique formula for this cleaning milk sample to see how it measured up. The results have been fairly similar. This cleanser smells nice, doesn’t lather up- but deeply cleanses my skin and removes any makeup I may have missed without leaving my face feeling tight or dry. I like the formula, but to date I haven’t really been “blown away” by it.

Would I Purchase?: Maybe. This is a nice cleanser, don’t get me wrong- but it’s missing the “WOW!” factor that would allow me to justify splurging on a $36 full-sized bottle of it. I’ve seen good results, sure- but they match the ones I was getting with a cleansing milk that is half the price of this one. I like Pur~lisse, and the products I’ve seen from them so far have been of fantastic quality and have given me great results- but I’m still on the fence when it comes to this one.


Product # 3: Boo-Boo Cover-Up: Medium Shade ($20)

By now we are all aware that I am paler than pale. I’m practically translucent- which makes being matched for foundations and concealers a tad difficult since it’s easy for formulas to turn me various shades of yellow, orange, or in some cases- unnaturally bronzed. I typically purchase the lightest shades imaginable with neutral undertones and hope for the best. Sometimes it works, other times- not so much- but over the years I’ve found a handful of products that work well with my skin tone and that I’ve rarely strayed from for long periods of time.

I received this tube of liquid cover-up just in time to try it on some pre-PMS blemishes that recently emerged along my cheek and the side of my nose. Despite the “medium” shade pretty much acting as the brightest of bright red flags that this wasn’t going to work out- I gave it a shot anyway.

So, here’s the good things about this concealer/cover-up: it’s not heavy, it’s not oily, it didn’t make my skin shiny, and it didn’t make my blemishes worse.

The bad thing? It didn’t match my skin tone. At all. Even after trying every possible technique under the sun to blend it- it was still very clearly visible against my pasty New Englander skin.

Would I Purchase?: Maybe. I mean, I definitely would NOT purchase the “medium” shade ever again- but after checking Boo-Boo’s official website, it looks like the formula comes in a lighter color that might better closely match my skin tone. Overall, I liked the feel and finish of the product (apart from the color, obviously,) and after doing some research it looks like the ingredients in the cover-up/concealer are natural and promote the healing of the blemishes it’s applied to- which is awesome- so I might take a chance and try the lightest shade sometime in the future to see if it’s a better match for me.


Product # 4: Dr. Brandt Skincare “Pores No More” Anti-Aging Mattifying Lotion ($60)

Like “Be A Bombshell” Cosmetics, Ipsy seems to be loyal to the Dr. Brandt skincare line- this is the third one I’ve received from them. The brand itself, a bit on the pricier side, has been hit or miss with me so far. I really liked a scrub I had received from them last Spring, but a pore refiner that arrived a couple of months later didn’t quite win me over. Once again, I find myself on the fence when it comes to this medicinal-smelling facial lotion- formulated with apple stem cells to slow down the signs of aging. It felt nice on my skin, spreading evenly and absorbing quickly without leaving behind any residue- but even with daily uses, morning and night, and nearly being out of my sample- I haven’t really noticed or felt any results. My skin still looks and feels exactly the same as it does when I use my usual skin care products.

Would I Purchase?: No. Maybe I need to use this lotion a little longer to start noticing results, but I’m basing my opinion on what I saw (or in this case, didn’t see,) with the limited amount I was provided with in March’s Ipsy bag. While I enjoyed the clean fragrance and how mess-free it was to apply, this product didn’t really impress me- and I don’t think I would hand over $60 in the hopes that having more product on hand would allow me to see whatever mattifying, anti-aging benefits this lotion was advertising.


Product # 5: VINTAGE by Jessica Liebeskind Illuminating Face Highlighter ($26)

When I saw that I was getting yet another highlighter in a beauty subscription service this month, I was admittedly a little frustrated. I have more nude-toned highlighters from Ipsy and Glossybox combined than I know what to do with- and I couldn’t imagine adding one more to the collection. The difference between the ones I’ve already received in past boxes/bags and this soft, pressed powder from Jessica Liebeskind is that this product has a beautiful and subtle pop of pink. I’ve been wearing it on the apples of my cheeks and along my brow bone seemingly non-stop as of late, and I’ve completely fallen in love with the healthy, natural glow it gives my skin without making me look shiny or like I’m really wearing any kind of blush at all. It’s a gorgeous shade to wear in the warmer months when I tend to lean more towards lightweight and natural looking makeup.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! This was probably the product I was most pleasantly surprised with in this month’s Ipsy bag. I love the subtle shimmer of this highlighter. It really makes me skin look radiant without appearing overdone or too garish against my fair complexion. I would definitely re-purchase another full-sized compact of this powder in the future- no questions about it!

March’s Ipsy bag may have not been my favorite, what with only two of the products winning me over (and another two I’m still undecided on,) but I really loved the floral bag everything came packaged in, which made up for the one sample I received- the mattifying lotion- that I didn’t really like that much.

I’ll continue to use and enjoy my highlighter and full-sized NYX lipstick, but I’m hoping I have better luck with the products I receive in April’s bag!


Ipsy Bag: February 2015 Review.

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One of the more concerning things about my area being hit with non-stop snowstorms in recent weeks is that it can, and has, caused a delay with some of my mail. Important bills, tax documents, packages, etc. often arrive later than expected due to inclement weather- but when the sky opens up and the roads are (briefly) clear- everything arrives all at once- leaving me with a lot of stuff to open!

February’s Ipsy Bag was just one of those things- showing up in my postbox earlier this week. The month’s theme, “IpsyLOVE,” inspired by Valentine’s Day, included mostly makeup packaged up in a cute pink, white, and silver bag that I’ll be passing along to my niece the next time I see her.

What I Received:

ModelCo BLUSH Cheek Powder in “Peach Bellini”

Rob Scheppy for ‘Tini Beauty Eyeshadow in “Pearl Fizz”


City Color Cosmetics Creamy Lip Stain in “Flirtini” (*Full Size!*)

Mitchell and Peach Fine Radiance Face Oil



Product # 1: ModelCo BLUSH Cheek Powder in “Peach Bellini” ($22)

It could just be me and the fact that I’m up to my neck in snow (literally. The snowbanks outside my door currently reach my neck,) but it seems a little early and unseasonal to start dipping into the coral and peach shades of makeup- which I usually reserve for the Spring and Summer months. Even still, I was curious about this matte, pressed powder blush, which appeared almost orange in it’s packaging. Despite it’s high pigmentation, the blush didn’t look nearly as tangerine-toned on my cheeks once I applied it. After a couple of sweeps with my brush, the finished color was a natural and neutral soft peach-tone that complimented my fair skin and didn’t give me the appearance of looking overly made-up. I really liked this product, and plan on giving it more use once the weather warms up and my makeup and wardrobe color palettes are integrated with brighter, fresher shades.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! Another great thing about this blush is that a little goes a long way- so even though I received a deluxe sample size instead of a full-sized compact- it will still last me a very long time. When I do need to replenish, however- I plan on purchasing a full-sized “Peach Bellini.” It was a lovely shade and I was really impressed with it’s quality.



Product # 2: Rob Scheppy for ‘Tini Beauty Eyeshadow in “Pearl Fizz” ($39.50)

A while back, I had voiced my annoyances with beauty subscription services’ overdoing it with rose-hued lipsticks and glosses and the same boring, bland pink nail polishes. Sadly, I feel that champagne-toned eye shadows are about to join them in the “so sick of receiving these” product pile. Enough already! I understand that universally flattering shades are the go-to when curating collections and boxes, but you have to mix it up- just a little- from time to time. Case in point: “Pearl Fizz,” which is just one of the four shimmery shades included in makeup artist Rob Scheppy’s palette designed for ‘Tini Beauty.

The shadow itself applied easily enough- but despite it’s name- was so close to my natural skin tone that it was barely noticeable, even when I tried using it as a highlighter. Even worse, despite using a primer prior to applying this shadow, was that by the end of the day it looked as though it had faded and creased anyway- leaving me overall disappointed with it.

Would I Purchase?: No. From the unremarkable color to it’s lack of staying power- this shadow was a bust for me. The full-sized palette also includes four matte shades- and I’m curious to know if they had more impressive pigmentation and longevity than what I got from “Pearl Fizz,” so if anyone reading this has tried them- please feel free to weigh in on this in the comments!


Product # 3: GLAMGLOW BRIGHTMUD Eye Treatment ($69)

I’m a big fan of GLAMGLOW, as the masks I’ve owned and the samples I’ve tried over the past couple of years have given my skin really great, noticeable results. I turn to their “SuperMud Clearing Treatment” when my pores are in dire need of a deep cleansing and their “YouthMud TingleExfoliate Treatment” when my skin looks or feels a little dull- but I’ve never actually gotten around to trying their eye treatment- which I’d also heard great things about.

February’s Ipsy Bag came with two samples of “BrightMud Eye Treatment,” both packaged separately like contact lens cases and labeled with “right eye” and “left eye.” The product itself, brownish in color, gel-like in consistency- and cool to the touch- is tapped on under and around the eyes and left on for three minutes before being gently wiped off to brighten, tighten, and reduce the appearance of dark circles and puffiness. It was easy enough to apply without making a mess, and almost immediately I could feel a cool, tingling sensation (that wasn’t uncomfortable or painful,) as I let it set. When it came time to dab the gel off, the area around my eyes DID look brighter and felt softer- which can come in handy after long days at the office where I spend most of my time reading. Not bad for just three minutes!

Would I Purchase?: Yes! GLAMGLOW has done it again. I really liked the lightweight feel, the hassle-free application, and the results I saw from these eye treatments- which only take a few minutes to use. I’ll definitely be picking up a full-sized box of in the future to bring with me to my office or when I travel to keep my eyes looking and feeling great.



Product # 4: City Color Cosmetics Creamy Lip Stain in “Flirtini” ($4.99)

To call this raspberry-toned lip color a “stain” isn’t exactly accurate or doing it justice. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when I went to apply it for the first time, but the highly pigmented pop of color, the semi-addictive feeling it left on my lips after it had dried to a matte finish (like velvet!) or the HOURS of smudge and fade-proof wear easily surpassed any and all of my expectations. Even more fantastic is the price point. At just under $5 per tube, this “stain” from City Color Cosmetics might easily be one of the most pleasant surprise finds I’ve discovered in a beauty subscription service.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! This was a great product overall. The pigmentation, the long-lasting (and non-drying) formula, and the price tag. It looks like CCC is currently out of stock on most of the other available shades on their website, which isn’t surprising- but I’ll be keeping an eye out to purchase a few more colors when they’re available again.


Product # 5: Mitchell and Peach Fine Radiance Face Oil ($42)

By now, most people have heard/read about, or even tried the benefits of oil-cleansing their skin- myself being one of them. As someone who has typically oily skin, the idea of putting MORE oil on my face was a little unsettling at first- but with the right ingredients, the right literature, and the right application- it can do wonders for your complexion!

This radiance oil from Mitchell and Peach is loaded with anti-oxidants, vitamins, and nutrients (and also contains traces of nuts- so please be mindful if you have allergies!) that absorb quickly into the skin and leave it feeling soft and smooth. I’ve been using a few drops prior to moisturizing in the morning and at night, and I’ve noticed that my skin’s overall texture has improved- which is especially important considering the sub-zero temperatures outside!

Would I Purchase?: Yes! Although the $42 price tag is a little bit steep, a little goes a long way with this oil- so having to frequently re-purchase bottle after bottle wouldn’t necessarily be a concern when used sparingly. I liked the quick-absorption, the natural fragrance, and the results I’ve been seeing since I started using this product- so I think I’d be fine with splurging on a full-sized bottle in the future!

With the exception of the eye-shadow sample I received, February’s Ipsy bag was a huge success. I was introduced to some awesome products that I’m looking forward to using/re-purchasing the full-sized versions. With January’s bag being a good one, as well- and now this month’s- I’m hoping Ipsy can continue their streak of great sample selections into March!

Ipsy Bag: January 2015 Review.

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A new year brings a new series of monthly subscription service reviews. To kick off these posts for 2015, I decided to begin with my January Ipsy bag, themed “Fresh Start.” The bag itself, a plain, kind of boring blue and white pouch that gave me a sort of clinical-vibe- came packed with mostly makeup- and only had one product in it that I didn’t use.

What I Received:

Elizabeth Mott All Over Shadow Brush (*Full Size!*)

Hikari Cosmetics Mechanical Eye Liner in “Storm” (*Full Size!*)

Probelle “Into The Blue” Nail Lacquer (*Full Size!*)

Pacifica Natural Mineral Coconut Eye Shadow in “Ethereal”

La Fresh Eco-Beauty Be Good. Good Day. Day Moisturizer

Products I Didn’t Use:


Elizabeth Mott All Over Shadow Brush ($9.99)

Why Not?: For Christmas last month, my mother was kind enough to purchase an entire new set of  really great makeup brushes for me. For that reason, I didn’t see a point in using this one- despite it’s cute pink handle and brightly tipped synthetic bristles- and will instead be gifting it to a friend of mine who is looking to replace some of her own brushes in the coming weeks. I will say that price-wise, I think $9.99 is a steal for something that seems to be such good quality when I’ve seen other brushes like this being sold for much, much more.



Product # 1: Hikari Cosmetics Mechanical Eye Liner in “Storm” ($13)

I have to admit I was relieved when I first twisted up this retractable liner and saw that the color wasn’t black. I have so many black eyeliners from various subscription services over the years that to get something different- even a slate grey like “Storm”- is a breath of fresh air. After priming my lids, I gave this product a try to test it’s pigmentation and longevity- the two biggest selling points for me. The liner felt kind of hard, almost scratchy- as I applied it- not at all like the creamy pencils I’ve grown accustomed to- and it required more than one sweep to get the grey to really show up the way I wanted.

Application and poor pigmentation aside, this liner did have one saving grace- and that was it’s staying power. I wore “Storm” in the midst of a torrential downpour, oddly enough- and while some of the rain had caused my hair to frizz and some of my mascara to smudge- the liner didn’t budge at all. Sadly, that wasn’t enough for me to fall in love with it.

Would I Purchase?: No. As impressive as the longevity of this eyeliner was, the application process was a hassle and the lack of pigmentation was a let-down. I’ll stick to my Urban Decay liners and gel liners (like I usually do,) since they apply easily, show up with one stroke, and stay in place all day.



Product # 2: Probelle “Into The Blue” Nail Lacquer ($6)

Blue nail polish seems to be THE color these days, having made appearances in my Ipsy bags and GlossyBoxes in the past. I’ve been wearing my powder blue “Provocative” Formula X lacquer from Sephora non-stop as of late, and this shade from Probelle- free of Formaldehyde- is a little bit darker but goes on just as smoothly. The photo above was after three fast drying-coats. So far, there hasn’t been any signs of chipping or peeling- so I think it’s safe to say I’m a fan!

Would I Purchase?: Yes! I don’t think I’d re-purchase “Into The Blue” again, because I already have a variety of blue-toned polishes in my collection, but I’d love to try some of Probelle’s other available colors.



Product # 3: Pacifica Natural Mineral Coconut Eye Shadow in “Ethereal” ($14 for Full Palette)

When I was reading about the formula for this Pacifica eye shadow, I was really intrigued by it’s being infused with coconut water. I don’t believe I’ve ever tried anything like that before, but I noticed right away that it certainly made a difference in the shadow’s texture- which applied almost like a cream despite being a powder. “Ethereal,” a light nude hue, felt comfortable on my lids and stayed in place all day without creasing or flaking. Pigmentation wise, the color looked pretty light with my skin tone- and might be more suitable as a highlighter, instead- but overall I was impressed.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! Sadly, I don’t believe Pacifica carries individual shades in this formula- but I don’t think I would hesitate to splurge on a palette in the future if the other included colors were half as nice as “Ethereal” was!


Product # 4: La Fresh Eco-Beauty Be Good. Good Day. Day Moisturizer ($40)

I’ve never heard of La Fresh or Eco-Beauty, and after receiving this moisturizer and doing a little research on the brand, I’m kicking myself for not being introduced to them or discovering them sooner. The company, which uses all-natural ingredients and is cruelty-free- has a series of products for nearly every skin concern in interesting, clever packaging. This lightweight day cream, which smelled strongly of plants (but not in a gross way,) absorbed into my skin quickly and left it feeling soft and supple without any greasy residue. After a few days of dedicated use- I noticed my face looked brighter, more even-toned, and smoother. I was pleasantly surprised!

Would I Purchase?: Yes! I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first began using this sample of day cream, but I found myself frantically squeezing the tube to get the last little drops out of it when I’d run out because I loved it so much. I am definitely purchasing a full-sized tub of this cream in the future, and might even splurge to get the matching night cream and serum (and maybe their facial masks, too!)

In conclusion, January’s Ipsy bag featured three products I loved, one I wasn’t a fan of, and one I’ll actually be gifting. While the design of the bag was a bore and it wasn’t a “five-out-of-five sample success”- overall I still enjoyed the bag very much. I found a moisturizer that gave me amazing results, a lovely blue nail polish, and a great, long-lasting shadow to use as a highlighter.

Not a bad way for Ipsy to start off the year!

Ipsy Bag: December 2014 Review.

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I had said it in my last couple of beauty box posts, but from my own, personal experience- it seems that November and December are typically the months where subscription services pull out all the stops to impress and dazzle their customers to coincide with the holidays and New Year’s Eve. Products are usually full-sized, high-end, or limited edition- and give subscribers just enough incentive to stick around for another year. Those are the boxes I look forward to the most (apart from Loot Crate’s October box, now!) so I was really excited to receive the final Ipsy bag of 2014, themed “Thinking of You,” which was a sweet nod to the subscribers.

The bag itself, a sleek black pouch with a pink, plastic heart-shaped “Ipsy” charm- was really cute- and all but one product was able to fit inside of it.

What I Received:

Swissco Electroplated Eyelash Curler (*Full Size!*)

tarte deluxe “lights, camera, lashes” 4-in-1 mascara

Pixi by Petra Fairy Dust in “Brightening Bare” (*Full Size!*)

Coolway Boost Repair Treatment

NYX Cosmetics Butter Lip Balm in “Red Velvet” (*Full Size!*)

Now, right away there were two products included in the bag that I didn’t use, so let me just get those out of the way real quick.

Products I Didn’t Use:


Swissco Electroplated Eyelash Curler ($5)

I have been blessed by the powers that be with what I consider to be good eyebrows (although I admit that I’m a tad overdue for a wax,) and long, naturally curly eyelashes that seem to match my naturally curly hair. For that reason- I’ve never really needed an eyelash curler- just a few coats of mascara to get my eyes to look dramatic. Also, I’ve been rubbish each and every time I’ve tried to use one properly just out of my own curiosity. For that reason, this purple curler will be gifted as a stocking stuffer this Christmas!


tarte deluxe “lights, camera, lashes” 4-in-1 mascara ($20)

I’m a big fan of tarte mascaras, and have actually received a sample of this very same formula in the past- which I loved. Because I’m familiar enough with the brand and the mascara to the point where I would absolutely buy a full-sized tube of this in the future, I decided not to waste this sample on myself, and am instead pairing it up with the aforementioned eyelash curler from Swissco as a cute little gift for someone who might be interested in trying this formula for themselves!

And now, moving onto the products I DID try/review:



Product # 1: Pixi by Petra Fairy Dust in “Brightening Bare” ($10)

Okay, so here’s the thing- I feel like I may have asked “what is this?” and “why is this happening?” out loud each time I tried applying this semi-loose, but sorta’ damp powder to my eyes before I gave up completely. The small, rounded applicator is in no way convenient, and had to be dipped back into the tube multiple times in an attempt to get enough product on the tip to actually cover my lid area. The texture and consistency of the shadow itself is bizarre- almost like a chalky, sandy feeling- and at first I thought it was one of those “applies wet – dries to a powder finish” type of products. Unfortunately, when applied wet or dry (and I did try both recommended methods-) this shadow flaked EVERYWHERE. It was a disaster.

Color-wise, I wasn’t a fan of the shade. It didn’t show up much once it was blended- and the shadow didn’t last very long at all before it began to crease and flake off as the day wore on. I was disappointed from start to finish.

Would I Purchase?: No. I’ll stick to my usual cream and powder shadows from my current makeup collection. Between the messy, often confusing application process- all the way to the lack of staying power once I had the shadow (kind of) where I wanted it- this is a product I would steer clear from.


Product # 2: Coolway Boost Repair Treatment ($29.95)

As someone with curly, color-treated hair- I have to take special care of my locks- especially in the winter when the cold dries out more than just my skin. Weekly deep repair hair masks are life savers for me, since they replenish the moisture and strengthen my curls with each application. I was eager to try this color-safe treatment, which is also free of harmful chemicals and toxic additives. The first thing I noticed was how nice this product smelled- like a combination of mint and cologne- if that makes any sense. I just really enjoyed the fragrance.

The container said to use this product generously from my roots to the ends of my hair- which I did- and consequently was only able to get two uses out of the tube. Application wise, the product spread easily enough through my hair and didn’t cause any bizarre reactions for the few minutes I left it on before rinsing it out as directed- but unfortunately- I didn’t see or feel any dramatic results. My hair looked and felt the same as it did prior to using the mask. Whether more than two uses are required to obtain any noticeable results is still up for debate- but I wasn’t blown away by this.

Would I Purchase?: No. I have hair masks that I use regularly that give me nearly instantaneous results (and I’ll do a post on them soon!) for a fraction of the $29.95 price tacked onto this particular product. While the fragrance is pleasant and the texture of the mask is nice enough- it wasn’t exactly a “must-have” product that I’d consider purchasing.



Product # 3: NYX Cosmetics Butter Lip Balm in “Red Velvet” ($4)

I’ve heard good things about NYX’s Butter Lip Balms in recent months, but had yet to try one for myself- so when I received a full-sized tube in a bright, bold red- I was pretty excited! Like the name suggests, this balm glides on the lips like butter- instantly softening and smoothing- which was lovely. However- the shade wasn’t as flattering as I would have hoped. It looked more like an orange/red against my fair complexion- and it didn’t last long at all before the color bled outwards to the edges of my lips and had to be reapplied quite a few times to prevent my lips from looking like they were severely chapped. I would have been disappointed if it didn’t feel so nice when I applied it!

Would I Purchase?: Maybe. I think I’d consider picking up one of these butter balms in a more neutral, nearly nude shade so I could get all the benefits of it’s hydration perks without feeling self-conscious about having to constantly re-apply the color to keep it looking fresh. It really does feel divine on the lips- I just wish it would last longer!

With two products I couldn’t/didn’t use, two products I didn’t care for- and one product I’m still a little on the fence about- December’s Ipsy bag was, unfortunately, one of my least favorite to date. It’s a shame, with it being the end of the year and all- but nearly everything in the bag was a let down! Has it deterred me from continuing my subscription with Ipsy through 2015? No- but I really hope that with the new year, the company branches out a little more to incorporate more brands and different types of products to keep myself and others interested and satisfied. A lot of products and shades I received in 2014 felt repetitive after a while- so I’d really like to see Ipsy make some changes and not be afraid to take a few risks now and then.

I can’t wait to see how December’s GlossyBox compares when I receive it!


Ipsy Bag: November 2014 Review.

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When Ipsy began releasing teases and spoilers for their November bag, “Girl Meets Glitter,” I was a little worried. I won’t deny that I love all things shiny and sparkly (my father used to call me a “crow” because of how glittery my handbags, dresses, shoes, and jewelry were/are,) but I haven’t worn makeup with a significant amount of sparkle in it since Jr. High- back when tube tops and thong straps peeking over low rise jeans were in style. I know- horrifying, right? I’ve hid so many photos over the years from those troubling times that I hope will NEVER see the light of day.

I digress. While the actual Ipsy bag itself was nothing short of a sparkly, prism explosion- the products inside were surprisingly free of glitter overload. With makeup products comprising most of the bag, I’ve been trying them out over the past few days and have finally reached a verdict on each!

What I Received:

Be A Bombshell Cosmetics Eye Base in “Submissive” (*Full Size!*)

J. Cat Beauty Wonder Lip Paint in “Red Potion” (*Full Size!*)

Elizabeth Mott you’re so FINE Eyeliner in “Glitterati” (*Full Size!*)

Marc Anthony Oil of Morocco Argan Oil Volume Shine Hairspray

TEMPTU S/B Highlighter in “Pink Pearl”



Product # 1: Be A Bombshell Cosmetics Eye Base in “Submissive” ($14)

In past GlossyBox reviews, I’ve joked that the subscription service had a torrid relationship with Bvlgari considering how often I received their products. In Ipsy’s case, they have a solid bond with Be A Bombshell Cosmetics. I think I’ve tried each of their products in the time I’ve been subscribed to Ipsy- from lipsticks to blushes to eye shadows to mascaras. Some products have been hits, and others have been misses. This creamy primer, which applied easily and dried to a brassy, metallic finish- started off with so much potential. I thought for sure it would be a color that was beautiful enough on it’s own that I wouldn’t need to apply shadow over it.

Unfortunately, this product didn’t last at all. Within a couple of hours, both by itself and with powder shadow blended over it- this primer had faded and crumbled in the crease of my eyes. Multiple re-applications were necessary throughout the day to keep my eyes looking fresh, which was a shame considering how beautiful the color was by itself.

Would I Purchase?: No. Had the color of this primer lasted longer, I’d have probably been sold on it- because it really is a lovely metallic on the lids- but the longevity is beyond disappointing and that’s enough to make me stick with my usual Urban Decay Primer Potions and toss this one in the rubbish bin.



Product # 2: J. Cat Beauty Wonder Lip Paint in “Red Potion” ($4.99)

In September’s GlossyBox, I had received a full-sized tube of  OCC Lip Tar that I had liked despite how drying it was. When I saw this tube of J.Cat Lip Paint (which had unfortunately leaked a little bit in it’s packaging,) I immediately drew comparisons to the OCC product. The shade, “Red Potion,” started off looking like an almost plum hue- but it’s red tones deepened as it dried. This Lip Paint wasn’t a matte finish, and it wasn’t as drying as the OCC Lip Tar. In terms of longetivity, this product did last for hours without fading- and when it eventually did- it left behind a nice, subtle stain. I was impressed- especially considering the $4.99 price point.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! “Red Potion” is a long-lasting, comfortable, and festive shade that’s perfect for the upcoming holidays, and with the quality and reasonable cost of these paints, I would love to try more in some of the other available shades.



Product # 3: Elizabeth Mott you’re so FINE Eyeliner in “Glitterati” ($17.99)

Oh, liquid liner- we meet again. I’ve had quite a few disastrous experiences when it comes to liquid liners I’ve received in past beauty boxes- usually preferring gel liners or soft pencils, instead. This waterproof liner, a basic black with a sparkly twist- not only applied easier than I thought it would (it’s ultra fine brush and long handle definitely helped,) but it lasted all day without smudging, flaking, or fading. I was pleasantly surprised! Also, the amount of glitter in the formula isn’t over-the-top and it doesn’t cause any irritation along the lash line. It’s just a hint of sparkle that’s eye-catching under certain lighting.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! I think if I ever decide to make the commitment to liquid liners, this Elizabeth Mott formula is a good place to start. The only downside to this liner is that it only comes in two shades- black, and ‘Glitterati,’ which as described- is black with sparkle. That minor setback aside, this really is a great, long-lasting liner.


Product # 4: Marc Anthony Oil of Morocco Argan Oil Volume Shine Hairspray ($8.29)

Not that long ago, I was raving about how much I’ve come to love Moroccan Argan oil in my hair. It softens, it smooths, it conditions- and it’s color-safe. Naturally, someone would take those benefits and put them in aerosol spray that shoots out so hard from the canister that it can be compared to an air rifle. As you can probably guess, I’m not a fan of “hard” hairsprays- the ones that come out with such force no matter how gently you press down on the button. They always make my curls crunchy, stiff, and usually leave behind some sort of flaky residue after they’ve dried. This spray was unfortunately no exception. After a few uses- each time hoping there would be some redeeming quality to this product- there was no change. My hair felt stiff to the touch, and even looked dull after a few spritzes. The only good thing about this spray was that it smelled nice, but that’s unfortunately not enough for me.

Would I Purchase?: No. I’ll stick to my actual oils instead of relying on aerosols to get the desired results I like so much. This spray, like the much dreaded dry shampoos that sometimes turn up in GlossyBox or other Ipsy bags, was sadly just a dud for me.


Product # 5: TEMPTU S/B Highlighter in “Pink Pearl” ($27.50)

I’ve been getting a lot of use out of recently received cream highlighers as of late, so I was a little unsure of what to make out of this little tube of liquid illuminator- which can be mixed with foundation or applied on it’s own along cheekbones and brow bones. Although it looks pearly white at first, this product actually has a fairly good amount of pink to it once it’s applied and blended. The result was a lightweight, non-greasy, and natural looking glow to my skin that lasted from early morning until the late afternoon. I really liked the color, the finish, and how long this highlighter lasts. You don’t have to worry about it running down your cheeks or fading too fast. You can just dab it on and go!

Would I Purchase?: Yes! I think once I’ve used up the last of my cream highlighters, which I do love, I’ll be purchasing a full-sized bottle of this TEMPTU one. A little goes a long way and it really does add an amazing finish to any makeup look- be it natural or dramatic.

With the exception of the hairspray and the eye shadow base, I enjoyed November’s Ipsy Bag. The products were good quality and the pouch will definitely come in handy around the holidays when it’s time to break out the party dresses and sparkly jewelry. I’m curious to see if Ipsy will pull out all the stops for their December bag- since most subscription services go all out for the end of the year!

Ipsy Bag: October 2014 Review.

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Since early September, I’ve been fully immersed in all things Fall- from fashion to the foliage- so when October’s Ipsy bag arrived, a bright, glossy teal that was reminiscent of Summer shades- I was a bit surprised. As it turns out, October’s theme is “Beauty Candy,” meant to be colorful and eye-catching. This month’s products covered skin care and makeup- and with the exception of one sample I received- was a great collection of items.

What I Received:

Épicé International Purifying Exfoliant

MicaBeauty Mineral Eye Shadow in ‘Reluctance’ (*Full Size!*)

Starlooks Lip Gloss in ‘Guilty Pleasure’

Figs & Rouge Hand Cream in ‘Mango Mandarin’ (*Full Size!*)

Doll 10 Beauty H2Glo Highlighter in ‘Champagne’


Product # 1: Épicé International Purifying Exfoliant ($32)

When it comes to skin care in subscription boxes, one of the things I most like to receive samples of are scrubs and exfoliants. I’m always on the hunt for a nice, gentle facial scrub that will smooth my skin and clear out my pores without drying me out with harsh chemicals or scratchy seeds. This creamy textured exfoliant from Épicé, with a light, refreshing and clean scent- gently sloughed away dead cells from the surface of my skin and helped get rid of any bacteria lurking in my pores. The results were smooth, soft skin and a visibly brighter complexion. This isn’t a daily scrub, either- it’s only meant to be used every few days- which means you won’t have to continually replenish the $32 full-sized bottle on a weekly basis- which is always a good thing to hear.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! I loved that this scrub wasn’t loaded with perfumes or drying and damaging ingredients. I achieved great results with only a couple of uses and with only a small amount of product per each use. The scrub is gentle and effective- and a little goes a long way. I’d definitely splurge on this in the future.



Product # 2: MicaBeauty Mineral Eye Shadow in ‘Reluctance’ ($14.95)

I do not have the best of relationships when it comes to loose powder eye shadows. A lot of formulas I’ve tried in the past crease like crazy, have no pigment at all, or end up everywhere on my face EXCEPT my eyes by the end of the day. I took a look at this green/gold shadow when I first opened my Ipsy bag, thinking the color looked pretty at first glance. Then I dipped my brush into it, closed my eyes- and hoped for the best…

… And I was pleasantly surprised! This shadow applies with incredible ease- with no flaking or creasing. The color is true to how it looks in the container, a beautiful and subtle-shimmered ivy green with flecks of gold throughout it- and it stayed in place on my lids all day without fading at all. I received so many compliments on this particular shade, too- which complimented my blue eyes and my recently refreshed red curls. The photo above is before I blended the shadow with a shimmery brown I have in my collection.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! I absolutely loved the longevity of this shadow, it’s pigmentation, and how easy and mess-free it was to apply. I’ve been wearing ‘Reluctance’ non-stop, but I’ve already started picking out other shades to purchase in the coming weeks because I’m so smitten with the quality of this product.



Product # 3: Starlooks Lip Gloss in ‘Guilty Pleasure’ ($12)

Can I just take a moment to get something off my chest when it comes to beauty subscription services? I am sick- BEYOND tired- of receiving the same safe, boring rose-hued lip glosses. I get that companies want to send out universally flattering shades- but some of us out there want to try something bold and different to mix up the drab, redundant colors we’ve already stored from past boxes and bags. Give me a daring red! A deep plum! Hell, I’ll experiment with navy blue- but please, PLEASE- no more rose shades. I’m begging you.

My exhaustion with the color aside, I wasn’t a fan of this gloss from Starlooks. It applied easily and evenly enough- with a nice vanilla/honey-esque scent and no stickiness- but it didn’t last long at all. I’d say maybe 10-15 minutes after I’d applied it, and it was already coming off of my lips- and that was before I’d even had my morning coffee. I’ll stick to my current Fall trend- a neutral matte lipstick.

Would I Purchase?: No. Even if I had liked the color, this gloss didn’t last nearly long enough for me to want to go out and purchase a full-sized tube of it. I need something that is going to stay in place a little longer than this since I can’t continuously stop to re-apply it.


Product # 4: Figs & Rouge Hand Cream in ‘Mango Mandarin’ ($6.56)

In past beauty boxes/bags, I’ve received Figs & Rouge’s lip gloss- which I am a big fan of. I haven’t had the opportunity to try their hand creams until now, however- so I was pretty excited to receive a full-sized tube of this product. Despite getting the ‘Mango Mandarin’ scent, I couldn’t help but think this cream smelled a little bit like bubble gum. Was it just me? Or am I going crazy? Anyway- the formula is nice. It absorbed into my hands quickly without leaving behind any kind of residue, which meant I could resume what I was doing before application- and my hands and cuticles stayed soft and moisturized for hours. The only downside to this product is that the full-sized tube is actually quite small, so if you tend to go through hand creams as often as I do- you may need to stock up on a few of these at a time so you won’t run out.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! The quick absorption was the selling point for me. This cream is thankfully grease-free and works wonderfully. I’d buy lots of these tubes (and would probably give some as gifts, too!)


Product # 5: Doll 10 Beauty H2Glo Highlighter in ‘Champagne’ ($30)

Lately, my go-to Fall look has been the above-mentioned neutral matte lipstick, subtle color on my cheeks, and soft greens/golds/browns on my eyes. I decided to implement this creamy highlighter into the mix, too- by adding a touch along my cheekbones, down the bridge of my nose, and along my brow. Despite minimum application, the results were really noticeable. My skin looked like it had a beautiful, healthy glow, and the best part is that the highlighter didn’t fade or budge for hours- so I didn’t have to constantly keep touching it up throughout the day. I think this is a great must-have for any makeup collection, especially since it’s perfect for year-round use.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! This highlighter wasn’t too light, too dark, or too shimmery. It gave me a natural glow with just a couple of quick swipes. I anticipate this nicely sized sample will last me a while for that very reason, so I would definitely purchase the full-sized compact when I run out of the one I received in my bag.

With the exception of the lip gloss, this month’s bag was a hit for me. I really enjoyed the products I received- and discovered a couple of new brands I will be experimenting with more in the future!