Ipsy – July 2016

Ipsy - July 2016

If you’re not familiar with it, Ipsy is a $10 (USD)/month subscription service (shipping included for the US; with an additional shipping fee for Canada).  Each month, subscribers receive 4-5 deluxe sample or full-size beauty and skincare products.  You also get a (sometimes) cute makeup bag containing all of the samples.

If you find yourself interested and want to sign up using my referral link, you can click here.  If you want to sign up sans referral, this link’s for you.

Ipsy - July 2016

Make Up For Ever Excessive Lash Mascara (full size 0.15oz, $25; sample size 0.08oz, $13) – Okay, so I know I was just saying in my July Birchbox review that I had a backlog of mascara samples to work though, but when I received this one I had to test it.  Verdict?  I kinda love it.  The wand is quite thin, which allows you to get closer to your lash line, closer to your inner corner, and you can easily coat your lower lashes without worrying about a bulky brush getting in the way.  I also felt that it was long-lasting without flaking or transferring to my lid (too often a problem).

Mellow Baked Eye Shadow in Coco (full size 0.10oz, $8) and J Cat Perfect Duo Brow Pencil in Dark Brown (full size 0.25g, $3.99)  – I’m going to go ahead and put these two together since I won’t be using either.  Nothing against the products, I just have so many brown shadows and I don’t really use brow pencils.

Ipsy - July 2016

Trust Fund Beauty Nail Polish in No Filter (full size, $15) – LOVE LOVE LOVE this polish.  It definitely needs two coats for complete coverage, but the color? Yes, please.  A lovely neutral greyish purple.

Eva NYC Get Glossed Hair Serum (full size 50ml, $14.99; sample size 10ml, $3) – I like getting these small samples of hair oils, because they seem to last forever.  I use them only occasionally and only on the tips of my hair… a little goes a long way.  This particular oil doesn’t do anything spectacular, but the sweet vanilla scent makes it worth using.

 

Bag Value: ~$43

Birchbox – July 2016

Birchbox - July 2016

Birchbox is a $10 (USD)/month subscription service (shipping included).  Each month, subscribers receive at least five beauty, grooming, and/or lifestyle samples.  Birchbox is also available in France, Spain, and the UK.

If you want to sign up using my referral link, you can click here.  If you want to sign up sans referral, this link’s for you.

Keep reading to see what I received this month!

Birchbox - July 2016

Beautiful Nutrition Fadeless Citrus Antioxidant Shampoo and Conditioner (full size $12 each; sample size ~$3.50 each) – This shampoo and conditioner duo are meant for color-treated hair and contain citrus antioxidants to help “maintain hair’s vibrancy” and repair damage.  I’m a big fan of citrus scents when it comes to shampoo/conditioner, so I was definitely pleased with the scent (I already own the Beautiful Nutrition Lemon Rinse, so I was familiar the bright, crisp scent).  The duo performs well; I’ve used better and I’ve used worse.  I feel as though I’d need to use it longer to test their claims.

Birchbox - July 2016

Molinard Muguet Eau de Parfum (full size $65, sample size $1) – This scent was an unexpected surprise! When I saw the packaging, I assumed I would get lily-of-the-valley (as the name suggests), but perhaps a heavier version.  Maybe it was the darker colors of the card?  In any case, this is a straight-forward green floral.  The lily-of-the-valley is right at the top, with some jasmine, lilac, and sandalwood to round it out.  If that sounds good to you, give it a shot!

Marcelle Xtension Plus Curl Mascara (full size $14, sample size ~$7) – I haven’t tried this one, even though it was my sample choice for the month.  This is probably an example of “subscription box problems”, but I have so many mascara samples that this one will have to wait.

Balance Me Radiance Face Mask (full size 75ml, $34; sample size 15ml, $6.80) – Another one I haven’t used.  Again with the “subscription box problems”… so many face masks, only once face.

 

Box Value: ~$22

Ipsy – June 2016

Ipsy - June 2016

If you’re not familiar with it, Ipsy is a $10 (USD)/month subscription service (shipping included for the US; with an additional shipping fee for Canada).  Each month, subscribers receive 4-5 deluxe sample or full-size beauty and skincare products.  You also get a (sometimes) cute makeup bag containing all of the samples.

If you find yourself interested and want to sign up using my referral link, you can click here.  If you want to sign up sans referral, this link’s for you.

Ipsy - June 2016

Seraphine Botanicals Happy Hibiscus Blush (full size, $18) – This blush is a slightly shimmery neutral that I can see myself using as a blush and an eye shadow.  It also seems fairly long-wearing, which is a plus.

Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Fireball (full size 0.05oz/$19, sample size 0.03oz/$11.40) – If the great peach to pink shift on this shadow wasn’t enough, it’s also highly pigmented, applies smoothly, blends well, and is long-lasting (with a primer).  Can’t ask for much more!

Ipsy - June 2016

Formula X Nail Polish in Wingwoman (full size 0.4oz/$10.50, sample size 0.13oz/$3.40) – I actually didn’t test this one out since I have other shades like it and reds/pinks aren’t shades I typically go for on my nails.  I can say that the other Formula X polishes I’ve tried applied easily and were fairly long-lasting.

Royal & Langnickel Crease/Smudge Brush (full size ~$5.99) – This 100% vegan double-sided brush is… average.  Not as soft as some of my other brushes, but not scratchy.

Clarisea Sea Salt Solutions Deep Pore Detox Activated Charcoal Exfoliating Mask (full size 5oz/$18, sample size 1oz/$3.60) –  Whoa.  That name is a mouthful.  Despite the name, this product can be used both as a mask and as a cleanser.  To use it as a mask you mix with a few drops of water to form a paste, apply to your face, wait until dry, and rinse.  To use it as a cleanser you simply mix it with your regular cleanser, massage into your skin, and rinse.  I don’t use it as a whole-face treatment; instead, I focus on my nose and chin area as they seem to need the most ‘deep pore’ attention.  It’s a good product, but I’d suggest moisturizing after use.

 

Total Value: ~$42

Birchbox – June 2016

Birchbox - June 2016

Birchbox is a $10 (USD)/month subscription service (shipping included).  Each month, subscribers receive at least five beauty, grooming, and/or lifestyle samples.  Birchbox is also available in France, Spain, and the UK.

If you want to sign up using my referral link, you can click here.  If you want to sign up sans referral, this link’s for you.

Keep reading to see what I received this month!

Birchbox - June 2016

Jane Iredale Smooth Affair Facial Primer & Brightener (full size 1.7oz/$48, sample size 0.24oz/~$7) – I have used this a couple of times and found it to be a fairly average primer. One of the things it is meant to do is minimize the look of pores, which I could use, but I didn’t see any improvement.  Also, it didn’t extend the wear of my makeup any more than most drugstore primers, which is a shame given the price.

Evologie Intensive Blemish Serum (full size 15ml/$35, sample size 10ml/$23) – Wow, I didn’t expect this sample to be so close to the full size!  Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), I haven’t had the opportunity to try it.  I wanted to put it to the test on an actual blemish, but none have made an appearance.  The serum is also supposed to handle discoloration and surface scars… quite the multi-tasker. A quick Google shows that it reviews well, so there’s that.

Benefit Cosmetics Gimme Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel in 3 Medium (full size 0.1oz/$24, sample size 0.03oz/~$7) – For Birchbox’s sample choice this month, I was able to choose which shade of Gimme Brow I wanted.  Of course, I wanted/needed/picked the new Medium shade.  It’s the same formula as before, albeit in new packaging, so I get the that great application and performance in a more flattering color.

Birchbox - June 2016

Davines SU Hair & Body Wash (full size 250ml/$22.50, sample size 75ml/~$7) – This is an after-sun wash for hair and body, meant to “prevent sun damage” to hair and “prolong the life of your tan”.  Does it do those things?  I have no idea.  Perhaps I’ll have a more informed opinion after my vacation, but for now…  eh.  It does smell nice; a delicate, clean, fruity floral scent with camellia, mimosa, and apple.

By Rosie Jane Leila Lou (full size $39-49, sample size $1) – I know there are people out there who hate receiving perfume samples, but I am not one of them.  I just ordered two fragrance sample sets from Sephora – that’s how into perfume samples I am.  Something else I’m into?  Leila Lou.  It’s just… lovely.  Fresh. Clean. Springtime in a vial.

Top Notes: Nectarine + Fresh Cut Grass

Middle Notes: Pear Blossom + Jasmine

Base Notes: Vanilla + Cotton Musk

The card has little descriptors on it – “lazy mornings in bed”, “the perfect white t-shirt and great jeans” – pretty accurate.  Now that I think about it, I could see this ‘pairing’ well with the hair & body wash from this Birchbox.  That’s a thing that will definitely happen soon!

Box Value: ~$45

Ipsy – May 2016

Ipsy May 2016

If you’re not familiar with it, Ipsy is a $10 (USD)/month subscription service (shipping included for the US; with an additional shipping fee for Canada).  Each month, subscribers receive 4-5 deluxe sample or full-size beauty and skincare products.  You also get a (sometimes) cute makeup bag containing all of the samples.

If you find yourself interested and want to sign up using my referral link, you can click here.  If you want to sign up sans referral, this link’s for you.

I’m late on this, but figured it was still worth posting.  Here’s what I received:

Ipsy May 2016

Hikari Shimmer Bronzer in Radiate (full size, $17) – I know I’m not likely to use this, so I haven’t even swatched it.  The bronzer looks lovely, but I’d rather pass it along to someone than have it sitting around, not seeing any use.  The packaging does feel pretty cheap though, which is a bummer.

Pacifica Natural Mineral Coconut Eye Shadow Trio (nearly full size, 0.07 vs 0.10oz, ~$10) – This trio has three shades: Skinny Dip, Crush, and Lovely.  They don’t look particularly shimmery in the image above, but they all have some degree of shimmer… the lightest shade has the least amount (barely any) and the darkest shade has the most.  They’re all decently pigmented and apply well.

Ipsy May 2016

Hanalei Lip Treatment (full size $25/15g, sample size $8.33/5g) – Hanalei says this lip treatment “uses pure kukui oil, which is known to moisturize and rejuvenate dry lips. Agave and grape seed oil provide high levels of anti-oxidants that help sooth and protect lips from harmful radicals. Shea butter delivers intense moisture and silkiness to lips without leaving any residue.”  My verdict?  I agree that it soothes and protects lips.  I like to use this before bed to moisturize, and I’ve been pleased with the results.  The feel/consistency is similar to any other lanolin-based lip product.

Smashbox X-Rated Mascara (full size $22, sample size ~$10) – Yet another product I have yet to try.  I just don’t want to open it before I’m done with the ones I’m currently working my way through.  I am excited to try it; this mascara is designed to be buildable so you can go from an everyday look to something super thick and dramatic.

Eva NYC Hungry Hair Oil Treatment (full size $20/100ml; sample size $2/10ml) – I love a good hair oil, even on my thin, fine hair.  As long as I stick to the ends of my hair and take care with the amount I apply,  I’m often happy with the results.  Eva NYC’s treatment is no exception.  It contains Argan oil and Keravis protein to increases strength and flexibility.  It also acts as a heat shield and is free of sulfates, parabens, and artificial colors.  Aaaaand it smells great!

 

Bag Value: ~$47

Birchbox – May 2016

Birchbox May 2016

Birchbox is a $10 (USD)/month subscription service (shipping included).  Each month, subscribers receive at least five beauty, grooming, and/or lifestyle samples.  Birchbox is also available in France, Spain, and the UK.

If you want to sign up using my referral link, you can click here.  If you want to sign up sans referral, this link’s for you.

This month’s box is very summery… a bronzer (and blush), two sunscreens, a hair oil, and coconut body scrub!

Birchbox May 2016

Cargo Blush and Bronzer Duo in Catalina and Medium (full size blush is 0.31 oz for $26, full size bronzer is 0.31 oz for $29; sample size duo is 0.105 oz with a value of around $9) –  I don’t plan to use this duo, so I simply swatched it for a quick review before passing it along.   Though the shades aren’t for me, I did like how they applied.  One swipe of the bronzer put down enough color to blend out, while the blush was faint on first swipe, but could be built up (I almost prefer it that way).  The bronzer is shimmery, but the blush is matte despite looking a bit shimmery in the tin.  Also worth noting is the sample packaging; it’s a pain to use a typical blush or bronzer brush to pick up just one side alone.

Cotz Face Natural Skin Tone SPF 40 (full size 1.5 oz, $20; sample size 0.18 oz, ~$2) –  I was super worried when I first squeezed this sunscreen out of the tube; it looked way too dark for my skin.  Imagine my surprise when I rubbed it in and it it not only matched my skin’s tone, it left a non-greasy, matte finish!  It’s an amazing primer, and also great for days without makeup.  Cotz just needs to step up their packaging game.  So boring. haha

Birchbox May 2016

Obliphica Professional Seaberry Hair Serum (full size 65 ml, $38; sample 15 ml, ~$9) – This hair oil contains sea buckthorn, an antioxidant-rich berry, to help treat and repair dry, damaged fine/medium hair.  I like to use it on the ends of my hair, but a little goes a long way.  I have a feeling it would be too heavy to use near my roots or in liberal amounts.  I don’t know whether it is actually repairing anything, but it does make the ends appear healthier.  And the scent? SO GOOD.

Kopari Coconut Crush Scrub (full size 6.8 oz, $28; sample 1.7 oz, $7) –  I haven’t used this yet because I’m almost done with a body scrub and want to finish it before moving on to something new.  However, I did try a bit on the back of my hand just to see what was what.  And let me say – squeezing the scrub out of the tube was a chore.  It’s super thick, and the tube’s opening is rather narrow.  Not a good combination.  The scrub itself contains coconut oil, brown sugar, and crushed coconut shell.  Due to the crushed shell the scrub is almost too abrasive, so I’ll need to be careful when I use it.  But, man, it smells amazing.  Coconut and brown sugar goodness.

Supergoop! Sun Defying Sunscreen Oil (full size 5 fl oz, $34; travel size 0.34 fl oz, $8 on site) –  This was my sample choice for May, mostly because the other options were totally unappealing.  I usually stick with Sun Bum sunscreen, but switching it up with Supergoop’s oil could be a good idea.  I like that it absorbs into the skin quickly and doesn’t leave behind a greasy, sticky mess (which is what I assumed before application).  No one wants to be a sand magnet.  Oh, and to mention scent for the third product in a row… this sunscreen also smells great.  It’s a combination of citrus and that typical sunscreen scent.

 

May’s Box Value: ~$35

Gillette Venus Swirl Review #ChooseToSmooth

Gillette Venus Swirl

I recently qualified for the Gillette Venus Swirl box from Influenster, and while I’ve used various Gillette women’s razors over the years, I hadn’t ever tried the Swirl.

I’m always on the lookout for a razor that gives me a quick, close shave and smooth skin, so I was excited to receive the Swirl.

Gillette Venus Swirl

First things first, let me say how much I appreciate the packaging.  The plastic shell had a perforated seam which made opening it nearly effortless.  Certainly a step up from the razor packaging I typically see.  That may seem like such a small detail, but it was so helpful.

Anyway, on with my thoughts on the razor itself!

Gillette Venus Swirl

The handle has a nice curve and soft sides for maximum grip, though I feel that’s fairly standard for razors of this type.  There’s also a soft spot near the Flexiball where your finger goes to give you more control over the movement.

Speaking of the Flexiball… Upon seeing the razor, I assumed the ball would move in all four directions (up, down, left, and right).  Instead, it simply has a slight side-to-side movement to help contour to the body.  I don’t feel as though it’s able to “reach spots other razors may miss”, as the packaging suggests, but I do find that the extra movement makes it easier to get spots in one pass.  The Flexiball also helped the razor glide over trouble spots, such as the knees and underarms.

Gillette Venus Swirl

The head of the razor has five blades along with a MicroFine comb which guides hair to the blades.  I’m not sure the comb actually made a difference, but I can’t discount it either.  The cartridge also contains a water-activated MoistureGlide serum to help the blades glide over the skin for a smoother shave.  The serum certainly did just that.

Overall, I was pleased with the Gillette Venus Swirl.  I felt that it met most of my expectations and gave me the close, smooth shave I desire.  I look forward to using it again, and would definitely recommend it if you’ve been searching for a better razor.

 

Disclosure:  I received this item courtesy of Influenster for testing and review purposes.