Saturday, March 29, 2014

Ipsy bag March 2014

Hi friends! Today I want to share with you the contents of this month's Ipsy bag, so let's get started!

First of all, the bag itself is...dreadful. It's the first in what I believe will be a series of bags designed by artists. I love the concept,, is this thing ugly. And the plastic material feels gross, too. If you happen to like this bag, it will be on its way to a Goodwill store near you (or, okay, me) quite soon!

Now for the products!

First up is a decent-sized sample tube of bareMinerals Marvelous Moxie lipstick in the shade Get Ready. I've never tried any lipsticks (or much of anything at all, really) from this brand, but I've read lots of great things about it, so I'm excited to try this! And the mini-tube is pretty substantial.

Next is a NYX Love in Rio eyeshadow trio. I always enjoy NYX products, so this is a great addition to this month's bag. And neutral shades always come in handy!

Next is a mini tube of Pixi Flawless Beauty Primer. I've loved everything I've ever tried from Pixi (which, admittedly, isn't all that much), so I'm excited to try this, too!

And finally, we have a Chella liquid eyeliner pen in a lovely royal blue shade. Alas, I'm highly dubious about this eyeliner; I tried it on the back of my hand, and it is extremely NOT waterproof. I don't have any idea how it would perform on my eyes, but it dissolved almost instantly in water, so I'm not very optimistic.

So that's my whole bag this month! It's a bit disappointing to receive only four products, but considering I only pay $10/month for my subscription, I really can't complain. I still think it's a great deal and fun to get a surprise in the mail. If you're considering signing up for Ipsy, I hope you'll use my referral link!

What did you get from your beauty subscriptions this month?

Friday, March 21, 2014

Radical Skincare Age-Defying Exfoliating Pads

Happy weekend, everyone! Today I wanted to share with you my thoughts on a product that was sent to me for review: the Radical Skincare Age-Defying Exfoliating Pads. (Some of you may remember that I previously reviewed the Instant Revitalizing Mask from this same brand.)

This product is intended as an at-home peel to help exfoliate and reveal healthy, glowing skin. The front of the box says this product "Refines, Primes, Boosts" - whatever that means, LOL.

Trylacel Technology info

ingredient list
This brand focuses a lot on something called "Trylacel Technology," which is featured in both the products I've tried. They don't come right out and say what it is, but it seems to translate to BHA (beta hydroxy acid - aka salicyclic acid) and AHA (glycolic acid), along with some citric acids.

The directions on the package say to use one pad every night. The jar contains 60 pads, so this is a two-month supply. These pads retail for $75 from Sephora.

The pads are thoroughly saturated with solution and not at all dry. They have a textured side and a smooth side and are made of a thick enough cotton so that they don't bunch or roll as I swipe them across my skin. The jar closes tightly to keep them from drying out.

Overall, I like these pads. My skin can't tolerate using them every single night as directed, but every other night seems to be fine. I think they do a good job of exfoliating and would probably work well for most skin types (except for the super sensitive). Those with drier skin might want to use these only once or twice a week, while oilier types could probably tolerate daily use.

I do think the price is a bit high on these. It's hard not to compare them to similar products I've used and enjoyed, like the Avon Anew Clinical Advanced Retexturizing Peel, which does an equally good job and costs less than half as much. Still, when I take price out of the equation, I can't deny that this is a good product that works well for me.

Have you ever tried any products from Radical Skincare? What did you think?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Birchbox February & March 2014

Hi everyone! So I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I'm so behind in my blog posts, but I'm afraid February totally got away from me and I never managed to share the contents of that month's Birchbox. This month, I'm going to remedy that by sharing the contents of my Birchboxes from the last TWO months - so let's get started!

First, February: This month's theme was Step and Repeat...whatever that means, LOL.

Here's what I got!
  • Beauty Protector Protect & Oil 
  • Coola Tinted Matte SPF 30 for Face
  • Ruby Wing Color Changing Nail Polish in Kitten Heels
  • Smashbox Full Exposure Mascara
  • Beauty Extra: Smashbox Full Exposure Palette (paper sampler)
Boy, what a totally underwhelming month for Birchbox. I hate hate HATE cardboard samplers of powder products like this one from Smashbox, and I already own the mascara.

I like Coola as a brand, but I don't get too excited about tinted moisturizers like this one because I'd rather just use a separate SPF lotion and put a full-coverage foundation over the top of it.

The oil will be a perfectly fine product, although not terribly exciting; I might have saved it for travel, but the bottle is glass instead of plastic, so...nope. And don't get me started about receiving yet another nail polish.

Now, onto March! Things got better this month, thankfully. This month's theme is Spring Forward.

Here's what I got: 
  • Air Repair Rescue Balm
  • Michael Todd Citrus Cream Moisturizer
  • OmniPotent Duosity Hair Treatment
  • theBalm How 'Bout Them Apples Cheek & Lip Cream in Pie
  • Beauty Extra: Benefit Big Easy (paper sample) 
  • Ghirardelli Intense Dark Cherry Tango chocolate square
Now that's more like it! I was SUPER excited to get the sample from theBalm's new palette of cream blushes/lip colors, since I've been considering buying the full size whenever I can find it on sale.

I actually already had a sample of the Michael Todd moisturizer, but I gave it to my husband to use as hand cream at his desk at work, so I never got to try it on my face. Now I'll have the chance! I really like Michael Todd products, and this is a generously sized sample. Win!

I'm not too excited about the Air Repair balm; I generally hate products like this (similar to Aquaphor) because I just never know what the heck to DO with them. Guess I'll use this one as a lip balm...?

The OmniPotent hair treatment is nice, but this is only one use. Wish I'd gotten at least one more packet's worth to try out.

And of course, I'm annoyed about the paper sample from Benefit, but this one is more forgivable simply because there are better products in this month's box. And a Ghirardelli chocolate square put a more positive spin on everything for me. ;)

So there you have it - those are my Birchboxes from the last two months! If you're considering subscribing, I hope you'll use my referral link to do so. It's only $10 a month, and the Birchbox points system (you earn points to spend on products in exchange for reviews) is really generous!

What did you get in your beauty subscription boxes this month (or in February)?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Vita K Professional Laser Recovery Cream with SPF 30 review

Hi everyone! Today I have a quick review for you of a product I've been testing out for the last few months: Vita K Professional Laser Recovery Cream with SPF 30.

This product is something I got in a Mystery Box from the Freeman Beauty website several months back. It was apparently developed for use by people recovering from in-office laser treatments, meaning it's gentle and non-irritating to the skin and would also be great for people with generally sensitive skin.

I found the formula to be very moisturizing, but also quite heavy for my combination/oily skin, even in the dead of winter. It never really seems to sink completely into the skin, and any products I put on top of it felt like they might slide off at any moment. I also noticed my makeup (foundation, concealer, blush, etc.) often pilling up (forming into little balls) on top of this product, which is seriously annoying.

Here's a swatch of the product on the back of my hand. You can kind of tell how thick it is: 

I don't think this made my skin any oilier throughout the day, but it made it so that my skin started off pretty darn oily and never had much of a chance to be matte.

Overall, I'd say this would be a decent SPF moisturizer if you have very dry, sensitive skin AND you don't tend to put makeup on top of your moisturizer. Otherwise, skip it!

Have you ever tried any Vita K skincare products? What did you think? 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

It's Estee Lauder Gift with Purchase time at Macy's!

Attention, dear readers: It's currently Estee Lauder Gift with Purchase time at Macy's!

They're offering a seven-piece gift set with a $35 Estee Lauder purchase, or that same set plus four extra products with a $70 purchase. The deal is available in-store and online now through March 23.

I went over to Macy's the other day and picked up enough products to get the larger gift, so I thought I'd show you guys what I got!

First off, here are the items I paid for. I had wanted to try Double Wear foundation for AGES, so I figured this was a great opportunity to pick it up! My shade is the lightest cool-toned one, Cool Bone. Along with that I also got one of the brand's gorgeous Pure Color Blushes in Electric Pink and a Double Wear Stay in Place Eye Pencil in Coffee (which is pretty neat because it has a smudge-tip on the opposite end!). I've only tried each of these once so far, so I'm a long way off from being ready to review them, but I'll try to write reviews eventually!

And now onto the freebies! First, the gift includes a Lily Pulitzer floral makeup bag with a pink lining - very cute!

The gift also included a smattering of other products, like a mascara, Take It Away Makeup Remover Lotion, a dual-ended lip gloss and Double Wear Concealer and samples of DayWear lotion with SPF 15 and the brand's famous Advanced Night Repair serum. Also included is a little pocket-sized mirror in the same style as the Lily Pulitzer bag. I'm super happy to have this because the mirror I have in my purse is much larger and bulkier than this one; It will be nice to switch it out for something lighter!

The gift included three lip products in the shades Rose Tea (above left), Pink Parfait (above right) and a clear Lip Conditioner shade. (I seem to always remember my mom having one of those Lip Conditioners in her purse when I was a kid!)

Finally, there was a little eyeshadow quad, also with a Lily Pulitzer design on the front and a large mirror inside. There were two shade options available for the gift, and I chose the cool one, so this is the cool-toned shadow quad. I'm sad to say I tried these this morning and the shadows leave a lot to be desired; I've gotten far better shadows from Clinique as part of their Bonus Time freebies. These ones are dry and not terribly pigmented, so I don't think I'll get much use out of this.

Anyway, that's the whole kit and caboodle! If you've been curious to try some Estee Lauder products, or if you're already a fan of the brand and just want to stock up on your favorites, this would be a great time to do it - so get thee to Macy's, stat! Happy shopping! :)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ipsy bag February 2014

Happy Hump Day, everyone! Today I wanted to bring you a (very belated) post about my February Ipsy bag!

First of all, the bag itself this month is pink with a white zipper and a pink, flowered interior. It's nice enough, but not terribly exciting:

Now, onto the products!

Zoya Nail Polish in Odette

This is a nice purple shade with a bit of grey in it. I tried it and it was actually quite nice! It lasted totally chip-free for about three days, and then with just minor chips for another four days or so.

City Color Be Matte Blush in Fresh Melon

I love blushes, and especially matte ones, so I was thrilled to get this! The color is really unique, too, and unlike anything else I have in my collection. It definitely reminds me of a melon!

Mally Beauty Evercolor Starlight Waterproof Eyeliner in Starshine

This is not the color I would've chosen, but I know from experience that Mally Beauty eyeliners are the real deal - very creamy, pigmented and long-wearing. I'm not exactly sure how to wear silver, but I'll give it a shot in my waterline.

POP Beauty Plump Pout Mini in Peony Petal

This is a little lip gloss in a tube. It's a nice color, but I've read some reviews that a lot of people who got this thought it had a funky smell to it. I haven't opened mine, so I guess I'll find out when I do! Hopefully it doesn't smell weird and I can get some use out of it, because I do like the rosy-pink shade.

J. Cat Beauty Eyelashes & Lash Glue

This is the one major disappointment in this month's bag. As some of you may recall, I received this very same product in an Ipsy bag several months back. I tried them at the time and thought they were HORRIBLE, and I don't have any reason to think these will be any better. I think it was because the lash band was too stuff and wouldn't bend properly to adhere to my lashes. I might be throwing these straight in the trash, sadly.

And now for the bonus item: I redeemed my Ipsy points for a free Benefit High Beam! This is a product I'd never tried before, but always wanted to, so it's great to get to try it for free. Many thanks to those of you who have signed up for Ipsy using my referral link; I really appreciate it!

So that's my February Ipsy bag! I'm generally pleased with this month's products and think it was well worth the $10 subscription fee.

I hope this was fun to read and would love to hear what you got in your beauty subscription boxes/bags this month. Let me know in the comments!