Tuesday, October 22, 2013

What's in the Box?? (October 2013)

Guys, I've been meaning to confess, I've been a subscriber to Birchbox for a few months now.

Voraciously watching my email for my notification of "your box has shipped!" and checking and double checking the tracking link until my box arrives and I can tear into it like Christmas Morning. IT'S SO FUN!

I haven't been too excited about any of the boxes, some of the products have been fine. The random nail polish, the random lip color, etc. None have really caught my attention quite as well as two of the five products I received for October.

This Month's Box
My October Birchbox (photo from Birchbox.com)

Beauty Queen 900x900
photo from Birchbox.com
I'm familiar with The Balm Cosmetics, having purchased a concealer pot from them several years ago and never hitting pan no matter how much I used it. Which, is incredible. So even though I knew their products were great and affordable, I never really purchased more.

I might actually buy this when I run out!

The Balm Staniac is a little tube, about the size of a cotton swab, of cherry colored jelly with a doe-foot applicator that is easily used as a lip stain or cheek stain.  Yes the tube is small for a price point of $17, BUT it travels better than the fantastic lip and cheek stain BeneTint by BeneFit. (Which is widely recognized as the best lip & cheek stain)
photo from Birchbox.com

I'm a big fan of lip balm, BIG fan. From my first swipe of a LipSmacker, I was IN. But ChapStick, never really was appealing to me. Too waxy, smelled weird, etc.

This little beauty, ChapStick Hydration Lock, was a special "find" from Birchbox. Which means it wasn't really a part of the monthly box, but IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN! 

 Reluctantly, I opened the package and swiped on the product and was instantly impressed! My lips felt smoother but not waxed over (a huge complaint of mine for ChapStick products) and they looked smoother! I've been battling with a super dry and flaky patch on my lower lip for weeks and the ChapStick Hydration Lock completely obliterated the look of it! And did so for at LEAST 4 hours. Which to me, is an eternity when it comes to lip balm reapplication!

The product states that the "flavor" is Vanilla Creme, but I couldn't smell or taste anything. I'm probably desensitized by my use of the EOS lip balms. 
There is no price point on Birchbox.com for this product since it's a "find", but I'm sure you could find it in your local drugstore or box store.

I can't wait to see what's in my next Birchbox!!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

It's time for WEN Fall Seasonal scent, but not Pumpkin???

Fall Apple Spice WEN
Last year, I professed my undying love for the WEN Fall Seasonal Scent in Ginger Pumpkin, and I'm still deeply in love with it's warm and delicious scent (still available on Amazon.com if you can find it!) and was looking forward to the Fall Season on QVC and restocking my beloved Fall WEN.

Much to my dismay...THE SCENT CHANGED!! After gasping and clutching my pearls, swooning in shock; I saw that the new scent is Fall Apple Spice. So I closed my eyes and clicked here, ordering my first 16oz bottle. 

Naturally, as soon as my regular sized bottle had shipped; QVC offered the BIG MAMA 32oz Fall Apple Spice WEN (pictured above). Not wanting to repeat last years mistake and NOT purchasing the BIG MAMA straight away, I ordered again. Blindly. 

I'm very pleased that I did! The Fall Apple Spice scent is delightful! All the benefits of regular WEN, but with a soft warm but fruity-sweet smell that lasts while your hair is damp (longer if you use it as a leave-in too), and fades away as the other scents do (as far as I've noticed, I don't spend a lot of time sniffing my own hair throughout the day.)

Slightly spicy, and I mean slightly, the scent is fruity and pink (yeah, the product is pink and it smells pink) but without a powdery linger. More sweet than anything, it's less a cinnamon spiced apple cider and more of a Candied Apple from the Farmers Market or Local Fair. 

Last years delicious Ginger Pumpkin smelled warm to me, and while this Fall Apple Spice has a similar push, it's not nearly as warm smelling as it's predecessor.

Do I like it? YES!! Is it as good as the Ginger Pumpkin? Well...no. But I still like it and still recommend it to people who enjoy WEN and all of Chaz Dean's WEN products.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

It may stay for long, if I don't WASH IT OFF FIRST!!!

Ugh, Gross. 
THAT is my FACE with the BeneFit Stay Flawless 15 hour Primer and a foundation over the top.

I know it's out of focus, but you can still SEE THE PORES and the surface dryness that I don't have in real life!!! Ok, well, everyone has pores but I work really hard to make mine as invisible as possible!

I'm going out of order. Sorry! Let me begin.

I was super excited to hear about the BeneFit Stay Flawless 15 hour Primer stick, it looked amazing in the demos! A few swipes here and there and presto! Your foundation would remain in place!
WELL, it does. With a few problems.

It's sticky. Like, "Just rubbed a glue stick on my face" sticky. It has a cooling sensation when it first goes on, but there's zero dry down. It stays tacky until you put something over it. And then, the nightmare began for me.

I used this with BB cream (solid and liquid) and it beaded up like crazy! No matter how much I buffed and buffed, I wound up with CLUMPS all over my face. BLECH!

So I tried it with liquid foundation twice. Again, with a brush because I've grown accustomed to using a brush. And lo and behold the clumps the clumps! I thought I was using too heavy a hand, so I lightened up my grip on my brush, tried to stipple, tried to lighten my stroke.

Nope. No matter what technique I tried I got the clumps. The only positive I have to say about BeneFit Stay Flawless 15 hour Primer stick is that yes, my makeup DID stay on for about 15 hours. It just didn't look the way I wanted it to look for those 15 hours.

I wanted to like it, I wanted to love it but I don't. I really don't. I made my $32+tax(US) purchase at Ulta and that's precisely where it's going back. 

Below is a picture from CanadianFashionista.net (with a post that likes the product so you can read both), I highly recommend you make up your own mind before blindly purchasing like I did. 

That's just how I am though, I'll read posts here and there, but ultimately if it's something I desperately want to try, I'm buying it. 

Image from http://www.canadianfashionista.net (it's a good post!)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Top 10 Beauty items in my Beach Bag

Let's be clear: I'm not really a "Beach Person". I'm barely a "Pool Person". But, it's Summer and Beach/Pool products are flying off shelves.
Here are 10 I would keep in my arsenal.
1. Sunglasses. That's a "duh"
2. Sunscreen: my favorite spray is Neutrogena Fresh Cooling Body Mist Sunscreen SPF 70 since I'm super fair.
3. Sunscreen Face: YES YOU NEED TWO. Clairins used to make a broad spectrum 55+ oil-free for face, which I still own but can't seem to find on clairinsusa.com now.
4. Contigo water bottle, the trigger one. It's just easier!
5. Giant towel and small towel. One to lay on,  one to use as a pillow or actual drying.
6. Contact solution and lens case. (See below) Because there's nothing worse than trying to rest and relax while wearing lenses. If you manage to nap, it feels like potato chips in your eyes once you wake up.
7. Decently SPF-d lip balm, colored or not. A little lip balm color isn't tacky, I promise.
8. Some sort of bag to carry all your stuff,  preferably one that is easily washed.
9. A wide tooth comb and some sort of leave in treatment, like an Argan oil for your hair. DON'T oil your face and bod.
10. Some sort of cleaning wipe that can be used on face or body. Somehow, somewhere you're going to touch something sticky or dirty. Have baby wipes in your bag, trust me.


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Contour? Bronzer? YES PLEASE TO BOTH!

I've been meaning to post about this next little gem for a month.
With summer (in this part of the hemisphere) threatening to burn us at every new dawn; it occurred to me "HOLY BIKES, I AM PALE!!" Normally this doesn't bother me, but now and again...YIKERS!
I'd been reading and seeing a lot of this next little beauty product for several weeks and decided, what the hey, I'll bite and try it and so far I'm very pleased!

CHANEL Soleil Tan de Chanel is a cream/gel bronzer that LOOKS scary but performs beautifully with minimal effort. I'd seen it used on Pixiwoo all the time. The more I saw it used, the more obsessed with it I became! I HAD TO HAVE IT. So I called up my nearest Macy's, connected to the Chanel counter and made sure they would have this must have item. With it being Spring, I really doubted they would have it in stock. Luckily for me, they did! At a hefty $48.00 (U.S.) this was a major purchase for me. Needless to say, I did a fair amount of research and testing before I laid my money down.

Much to my happy surprise, there's little to no shimmer! There is a teeny tiny amount, but it's not truly visible to the naked eye. It's more of a blurring element than a sparkle. The texture is dreamy; smooth and creamy, easily picked up with a dry brush, easily spread over bare skin or foundation (in my case I used it over this BB Creme and continue to be impressed by the results.
On the LEFT I used the Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel as a contour (pre-blended, obviously); and on the RIGHT I used the same product with the same brush as a bronzer. The effect is much more subtle, you may not even be able to see the difference, but it's there. I promise.

Real Techniques - Expert Face Brush (I purchased at Ulta) is the perfect tool for the creamy bronzer. It's not-too-soft, not-too-hard synthetic bristles are almost stubby in the rounded shape but that is exactly what gives you all the control you need! I also used the same type of brush for my BB Creme, but to insure I keep the brushes separate, I painted the bottom of the brush handle with a gold nail polish to remind me this one is for BRONZER. With the brush price point of $8.99, having multiples of this brush is virtually guilt-free.

Recommendation: If you can afford it, I say go for it! The consensus in the vlog/blogosphere is that the product lasts for years and is easily used every day for every look. The blendability is off the charts; while being so emollient, it's not greasy at all which made me even happier with my purchase.

The Essentials: A Solid BB Cream and a GREAT brush? What a concept!

I've been a fan of the BB Cream, specifically SmashBox BB Cream in Light. So when a solid/cream form of my favorite almost-foundation I was desperate to get my little hands on it!

Enter in Too Faced Air-Buffed BB Creme Complete Coverage Makeup! It's got the lightweight feel of a BB Cream and tinted moisturizer (once applied), but the coverage is so much better! It's build-able but still feels like there's barely anything on my skin! And you can't argue with the result:

On the LEFT: My bare face. On the RIGHT: My face with the BB Creme!

You can see the major difference! My skin looks smoother, more uniform without looking flat. The redness is virtually non-existent with the Too Faced BB Creme! AWESOME! The color that matched my skin was Vanilla Glow.

The Air-Buffed BB Creme comes with a little brush that clicks directly into the top of the cap. Convenient? Yes! Did I want to use it all the time? Nope. It'll do in a pinch, but with regular wear, I was going to need something more substantial.  To which I purchased a Real Techniques Expert Face Brush from Ulta and could not be happier. The brush is terrific, I highly recommend spending the $8.99 and picking one up. (Actually I bought 2! The price is so great, and you never can have enough good brushes!)

The Expert Face brush is synthetic fiber shaped in a short dome which makes applying creamy products absolutely effortless. Building the coverage of the BB Creme was easy; I just stippled some of the product where I needed the extra help then blended further out. The finish is a soft matte, so I  could set with a translucent powder or let it dry down on it's own. Voila! 

The BB Creme retails for $39 (U.S.) and comes in a small range of colors, only 5 to date that I could find. Which isn't the best, but it's what's happening right now. If the product sells well I hope the color options will increase. 

Recommendation: I say go check it out! Find your nearest retailer that carries Too Faced and see how the Air-Buffed BB Creme works with your skin! I purchased the products myself, and I love them!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

BIIIIIIG volume without needing earplugs!

I have thin hair, a lot of hair, but it's thin. It's also long, longer than it probably should be (...yeeeeah I really need a haircut) which means that it gets flat against my head pretty much daily.


I can hear you thinking "Duh, why not just backcomb it?" I'll answer, because I can't seem to do it successfully and I'm a hair-toucher. I have a tendency to run my fingers through my hair or touch it in some way, and if it's back combed my fingers get stuck and while that's hilarious to watch I'm sure, it's not very awesome.

I've used volumizing shampoo, conditioner, gel, mousse, and *deep breath* even a Bump-It to try and get a lift outta my locks!

One day while shopping at Ulta, I came across Got2b Powder'ful Volumizing Styling Powder and thought "Well, I like hair powders, I'll give it a shot!"


The good: It's relatively inexpensive (I paid $5.99 plus tax US) and while the bottle is very small and yeah, I shook several bottles to make sure that I wasn't buying an empty bottle, the product is virtually weightless in the container! It's not really powdery, the only way I can describe it is "teeny-tiny-plumping plastic". It feels like gum in your hair, but dry. HEAR ME OUT!! I know, "gum in your hair??? GROSS!" except it FATTENS your hair and changes the texture to what I can only describe as able to hold up the Moon. Plus you hardly need any to get the height and texture you want.

The wacky: It feels weird! It shakes out like powder, but looks like teeny tiny granules. When you go to "emulsify" it between your hands, it doesn't disperse. It disappears.  But it's still there, the texture is on your fingers now, so you can place the product directly at the root of your hair with your fingertips. This takes a bit of getting used to. You can also try and lightly shake the product onto the roots of your hair, but it's harder to control and you might wind up dumping a bunch onto your noggin. (...yes, that happened to me)

The meh: You really can only use it the one time as you're getting your style together. It bulks up the hair so much, you will have a hard time re-styling should you change your mind and want to curl or brush or comb through your hair. Once it's in there, it's IN there. You can't really style around it, or at least I couldn't, but my hair is long so maybe that was part of the problem.

The verdict: This stuff is AWESOME! Once I got used to how it worked, I found it easy! And it is completely undetectable! Unlike dry shampoos that can leave a white residue or colored residue depending on the brand you're using, this product VANISHES completely. I really like it! 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Happy New-Groundhog-Valen-Patrick's...oh ok, I've been lazy!

I have been lazy. I've had bunches of posts in my noggin but haven't put finger-to-keyboard! Sorry!

Now, to jump back in! What's one of my peeves? Texture! Bumpy, bubbly polish makes me want to scratch the paint right off, as exhibited in this post, UGH! That being said, there's a new trend coming out in full swing this spring: Liquid Sand by OPI.

The color above is "What Wizardry is this?" purchased by my pal, Barb (HI BARB!) and loaned to me to see how it looked. I believe she made her purchase at Ulta earlier this week.

My thoughts: It's a PRETTY COLOR! Bronze-y, gilded and sparkly. But the more it dried, the more the bumpy sandpaper texture came out. Granted, I used a supa-fast-quick-dry top coat, which the OPI website says to avoid, in fact the bottle says "Dries to a textured matte finish infulsed with reflective glints of light. Apply base coat and two coats of color. Do not use top coat." But I'm impatient and didn't want to be forced to walk helplessly around with my fingers up in the air waiting for them to dry.

Verdict: I like it, but I don't think I'll make any purchases of them This bottle was a loaner and I think the owner is going to be pleased, but the texture just isn't my style. If the top coat had smoothed it over, then I'd probably be ok with it. But it didn't. I'm not sure anything short of 6 coats of a top coat would actually smooth the texture.

If you like trends and aren't afraid of texture, then HAVE AT IT! OPI always has terrific color choices.