Thursday, September 12, 2013

IPSY September Bag

I was surprised when I went to get the mail today, I haven't received any announcements from IPSY about shipment or my glam room. But my glam bag has already arrived. I'm thinking that DHL is trying to reestablish itself and not have ipsy switch services, because of the big issues they had last month. I did want to mention we did receive a one use sample of 3 eye shadows and 1 blush from a life palette from the EM line. I have tried the blush, which was a beautiful light peachy coral, it didn't retain any color on my light skin, and there was only enough product for one cheek.

The actual bag of this month is a cobalt blue with a black lace print. There are a ton of different types of lace prints, when I look at this I think of patterns from doilies, lace, and a lot of different overlays. It's kind of just a mishmash of different patterns, but I don't dislike it.

This months bag is themed around a classic beauty. When I think of a classic beauty I think of Marilyn Monroe and those types of figures that wear the winged liner, big voluminous lashes, and the red statement lip. Typically I see lighter shadows that are similar to the skin color of that person when I think about the classic beauty. But I do sometimes think of a matte natural smoky eye. So it all just really depends on who you think is iconic for the classic beauty look. I was impressed that four out of five products were full-size this month.

The first product that I got was the Starlooks khol eye pencil in Obsidian. It isn't the darkest shade that this company makes which is, onyx. So I was a little disappointed in the pigmentation, but it is a lighter black but definitely not gray. This is a full-size product and retails for $12.

The next thing I got was from Victoria Jackson, which is a makeup brand that I had never heard of before. Off the bat looking at their website it looks like a little bit more expensive version of Victoria's Secret type of make up line. There really isn't a ton of make up on the website. Victoria Jackson had their taupe eyebrow pencil, and after looking I found that this is the only color that the company makes, which I thought was a little weird, but I am excited to try it out. I am labeling this as a full-size product, but there isn't much information about how much product is in the package online. To me it seems like a full-size container, but with not as much product. The box states it has .23 grams, and for comparison I grabbed my Essence eyebrow designer pencil which contains 1 gram of product. So I'm really not sure if this is actually a full-size product, but retail is $14.95.

I was excited to see another Cailyn products in the bag of this month. I think everybody received the same color who got this product, which is the tinted lip balm in big apple, which is a nice classic red shade. I was a little bit curious to see how much pigment came from the tinted lip balm, and it really has an immense amount of color to it, which you will see in the swatch below. Cailyn offers 17 other shades in this tinted lip balm. This is a full-size product and retails for $19.

The one product that we all knew was going to be coming in our bag was the NYX single eyeshadow. We received an email early in the month stating that we would all get one of these. So with my understanding every single person got this product with variations of colors, I assume. I have to say I've been pretty spot on with the classic beauty that I personally think of, until now. I feel bad complaining about products when we really get an amazing deal for $10 a month. But I got a baby blue eyeshadow from NYX in the shade velvet suede. It is a frosty baby blue, which has small shimmer particles as well. The formula is extremely sheer with one layer of product, and if it were my first time trying and NYX eyeshadow I would think twice about purchasing one from them. I do know they have a ton of great quality single eyeshadows, I just really dislike this formula, as well as the color. It's products like this that are being sent out in mass quantities that kind of bother me. Typically they send out colors that nobody is buying, in my opinion. We already completely made the $10 from the bag with the three previous products, I almost just wish that they would've left this out or given it to someone who would've actually enjoyed it. I feel guilty having this product and possibly throwing it away because I know that I won't use it. I will probably save it and take a ton of products that either didn't work for me to the local women's shelter soon. It is a full-size product, and retails for $4.99.

The one deluxe size sample that we did get was the Elizabeth Mott it's so big volumizing mascara. I was a little bit hesitant to even open the sample, because of how terrible the Pixi lash booster that we received a sample of last month was. I don't think I've ever run into a mascara that was so bad, and especially one that was $17.00. I do think I will be trying this product out, it has a semi interesting brush That has a normal size middle and widens as it reaches both ends into an hourglass shape. This full-size product retails for $19.99, which is 10 mL. The sample we received was a 4 mL, or $8.00 work.

3 layers of NYX shadow, Starlooks Obsidian,
Victoria Jackson Taupe, Cailyn Big Apple
Overall, I do think I will use most of the products, other than the eyeshadow from this month. The entire bag that totals $58.94, which is a steal in comparison to the measly $10 a month we spend to get this bag to us.

I did notice that there was a plethora of different brands this month, which means that there aren't going to be a lot of similar bags sent out. I'm interested to see what you guys got, what products you're excited about, what color eyeshadow did you get. Just let me know, I'd love to hear back from you!

Monday, September 9, 2013

NYC Sparkle Eye Dust

Recently NYC, or New York color released what I thought was a new product called the sparkle eye dusts, turns out they just repackaged an old product. It's a shame, since my only complaint is the packaging. They come in 10 shades, and retail for $2.99 (ranges from 2.74-2.99) for 2.1 grams of product. I was assuming they were going to be a type of pigment style, which they are. I think the name is a little bit of a misnomer, I don't think they're much of a sparkle shadow, but more so a light metallic sheen. However, I don't think they're extremely metallic like a liquid metal type, if that makes any sense.

I picked up two shades, the first one in 881 pink topaz, and 880 golden champagne. Like I mentioned before they come in 10 colors, and all but 3 are extremely neutral shades. The main problem that I have with this product is it's packaging. Typically when products are more inexpensive like these, packaging is their first priority. This comes in what would normally be seen as a lipgloss with a doe foot applicator. At first I thought that the applicator was a good way to get the product out of the tube and on to my eye, but with more testing there was an immense amount of fallout. The more I dipped into the product, the more came out from being up on the stem of the applicator.

I've actually seen a lot of people depot the product into a mineral eyeshadow type of container with a sifter. I think that would be a great way to utilize the product with less fall out and waste, but I will also upload a DIY that I found works best, soon. I found the best way to actually get the product to stay on the eyes is to use your fingers in a patting motion. A lot of people might not like that, but you just have more control and again less fall out, but there's still going to be a lot of fallout still through the applicator just through the process of opening it. 

The pigmentation of these are great, and  they last really well over a primer. I think if you can find a sticky type of primer, like the NYX one, it will bond better with the product and you'll get a longer lasting finish. For $2.99 I really don't think that you can beat this type of product, if you're willing to kind of work with the packaging. Again, there's other options like depotting or make it into something else. I think I'll pick up a few more shades that I'm really interested in, since I've had such good luck with this product so far.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Studio M Baked Highlighter

I picked up a Studio M baked highlighter because I had always walked by the displays and have been curious about the brand and its quality, because it is mostly baked products. Studio M is a Meijer house brand of products. They previously were called Massini, and have since switched their name to studio M a couple of years ago. Until I did some research on the brand, I remembered using their nail polish all throughout middle and high school.  They offer a wide variety of colors and finishes, for $2.99. 

In case you're not from the Midwest region of the US, Meijer is a grocery store similar to Walmart and Target, but it definitely leans more towards a Target type of style and quality, in my opinion.

The baked highlighter is 5 grams of product and retails for $8.99. They only have one shade option for the highlighter, and it is a light champagne color. When swatching and applying this highlighter it is extremely creamy and finely mailed. It applies the perfect amount of sheen to the skin without having any shimmer or glitter particles, which is my biggest pet peeve in highlighters.

This type of champagne shade is something that I would typically go for in an eyeshadow as well. I figured if I didn't like the finish of the product as a highlighter, using it as an eyeshadow would be my backup for it. I think it would be an amazing product for anyone to try out, but those who are more fair to medium like myself would love this color.  Since it is a lighter shade, the product almost melts into the skin and becomes so natural looking. 

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Ageless Derma Stem Cell and Peptide Anti-Wrinkle Cream

I've been testing out a new nightly skin routine for a couple months now.  Some skin issues that I've been experiencing is mild acne, lack of luster with the skin, and uneven pigmentation and texture.  The Agless Derma Stem Cell and Peptide Anti-Wrinkle Cream has quickly worked it's way into my everyday routine. I know you're thinking, you didn't mention anything about wrinkles in your skin issues AND you're 23!  But, there are a few different reasons for this product, besides helping the prevention of wrinkles in my case. 
I start off cleansing with an activated charcoal product and use a toner infused with lemon, for brightening. Afterwards, I focus this anti-wrinkle cream at the center of my face and around the eyes, and work my way outward. The claims for this specific product from the website are:
"Ageless Derma stem cell and peptide anti-wrinkle cream is a revolutionary new product to protect and revitalize your skin from the signs of aging. Combining seven scientifically proven antiaging ingredients into one product, ageless derma stem cell and peptide anti-wrinkle cream eliminates the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improves the firmness and elasticity of skin, removes crows feet and re-energizes the skin for a smoother, firmer and younger look."
This is an extremely light weight cream that absorbs into the skin tremendously fast, without the greasy aftermath that similar products can leave. I do have some fine lines around my eyes that i've had ever since I can remember, but my main anticipation with this product, since I don't have prominient wrinkles, was to help the uneven texture of my skin. I have to say within a week I noticed my skin was smoother and more balanced. My skin just felt plump and moisturized, which is a hard for someone with oily/combo skin to maintain. The cream doesn't clog my pores, which was a main concern, since I do have such acne prone skin.

The last thing i'll mention is about the packaging, which I LOVE! It's a nice black cylinder with a pump on the top. It's just so much more sanitary than continually redipping your fingers into creams, and dispenses the perfect amount of product at a time.

I have a before and after photo around my eyes, since I did focus most of the product there. You can see the texture underneath my eye in the before, and although it isn't perfect after two months of use, it has dramatically soften that delicate area. I will say that I do struggle with insomnia off and on, and that is really shown in the before shot in my under eye darkness. I just wanted to mention that this didn't help my under eye circles, but it did help tone down the redness around my nose.

After I finish this product, I plan to start focusing a lot of attention on more of a brightening moisturizer/serum, since my acne is under control now. I definitely think this is a product I will purchase in the future, and it something I recommend not just to those people who currently have wrinkles. This product is 1 ounce and retails for $65, and can be purchased on

Disclosure: I recieved this press sample for my honest review, the opinions are 100% my own.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

E.l.f. Lip Exfoliator

One of products that I've been eyeing on the e.l.f. website for quite some time was their lip exfoliator. Usually when I planned to make an order through the website, it was always out of stock. I went to target recently and saw that it was stocked there, so I picked one up. It's really exactly that it was what I thought it was going to be, and what you would expect from something labeled a lip exfoliator. 

What is so different about this exfoliator compared to homemade ones or similar types from lush for example, is that it's in the form of a lipstick. Since it's in the bullet and the lipstick case, it makes it really easy to travel with and do it quite frequently, which I think will be a specially handy in the winter time.

When I first opened the packaging it seemed like it was pumice stones formed in a clear lip balm. It's not out right called a balm, but the clear base that the exfoliator is in is infused with is vitamin D, Shea butter, avocado, grape and jojoba oil to really nourish your lips while exfoliating. While reading the ingredients, I noticed the first one was sugar, which is obviously the ingredient that exfoliates, and not actual pumice stone pieces.

One thing that I was a bit worried about because it was in the shape of a lipstick, was that it was going to either crumble from dryness or be too soft to with stand actual circular motions against your lips to do its job. Much to my surprise it withheld all of that, and is a very sturdy product. What surprised me the most was that it really didn't seem like you were using much of the product, so I feel like this is going to last a long time before you would have to repurchase it. My guess is I've used it about six or seven times, and it looks like I have used it once. For $3.00 you're getting 4.4 g of product, and I think that's going to last you an extremely long time. If you're in the market for something like this, or you suffer from chapped lips at all, this should be a product on your list of things to try!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Guide to CVS ExtraBucks Rewards

One of my favorite places to purchase drugstore makeup is CVS pharmacy. If you would've asked me that a year ago, I would've always said my grocery store, but never a pharmacy. CVS in particular tends to be a bit more expensive on certain items, but definitely not everything so pay attention to prices. 

I really started to make up shop for the traditional drugstore brands at CVS, obviously certain brands you can only get at certain places, because of the extrabucks rewards program that CVS launched. Specifically, for make up they offer an additional beauty rewards program, which is also a great incentive. Before I get too in depth about the best ways to save money at CVS, it will be helpful to understand what exactly it is. 

Extrabucks rewards: these are incentives that CVS offers that is basically "CVS cash". Each week the extrabucks rewards sale change, so look online or in their circular to see what they're offering at that time.

You can also get other types of coupons from the CVS kiosk, which is basically a coupon machine. These are red machines that are inside CVS, typically towards the front entrance. You scan your card and coupons and even extrabucks rewards will print (the beauty rewards extra bucks print here) to help save on purchases. 
Some other points that are needed to understand the usage of extrabucks are:
-extrabucks can only be redeemed only on the card used to earn them
-You can pay with extra bucks rewards to generate more extra bucks rewards
-extra buck rewards are combined when you purchase everything in one transaction, if you were to get three dollars back from one sale and two dollars back from another, you'll get five dollar extra buck coupon at the register.
-Extra bucks rewards are essentially CVS cash, but you can't purchase alcohol, prescriptions, or tobacco.
-Extra buck rewards do expire after three weeks, so watch dates and use them before you lose out. If you lose the extrabuck or the coupon gets disfigured CVS typically wont reissue them.
- You can use the kiosk twice in a row to receive more coupons.
- If the extra bucks do not cover the entire cost of the transaction you will lose that amount.
One thing I was extremely confused about when first learning about the CVS rewards program was how much I actually had to spend. CVS has a 98% purchase rule in order for extra rewards to print.  That means if you need to spend $10 to earn $3 in extra bucks, they will only generate when you spend $9.80, or 98%. 

One of the biggest pros with CVS and their extrabucks rewards program is you can do more than 1 transaction at one time. For example, if you purchased two items that both generated extra buck coupons, the extra bucks will print directly after that transaction. Specifically, with CVS you can use the extra bucks the very next transaction. Typically, I will break mine into two transactions to utilize the most rewards.

 You can also use extrabucks rewards with coupons. Technically, you could use four different types of coupons at one time. However, you would have to use a manufacturers coupon, a store specific so CVS coupon,  a percentage off coupon (typically comes from the kiosk machine), and a certain amount off a purchase amount coupon (again, typically comes from register or kiosk). You cannot combine any of the like coupons in one transaction. For example, I have a $3 off any $10 oral care purchase, as well as a $4 off a purchase of $20 or more. These two cannot be combined together because of the CVS policy. I could use both coupons in two separate transactions though.

I'm going to show you two transactions I made yesterday to explain a little bit better.

The two extrabucks rewards sales I benefited from was:
- Spend $10 on any Milani product(s), and receive $5 dollars in extrabucks rewards. 
- Spend $10 on any physicians formula product(s), and receive $6 dollars in extrabucks rewards. 

So my first transaction was 
-One Milani illuminating powder in amber nectar, retail $9.99. 
-One physicians formula organic wear jumbo lash mascara, retail $9.99. 

Just to reiterate, because of the 98% rule, I would only need to spend $9.80 to receive the extra buck rewards for these specific sales. For this transaction I used one CVS extra buck for $5 dollars, which came from the kiosk for spending $50 from the beauty rewards program, as well as a 20% off your total purchase coupon which also came from the kiosk. 

So after the purchase of both products which were $9.99 each, subtracting the $5 extra buck reward, and subtracting the 20% off my total purchase which came to $3, my grand total was $11.98 prior to tax and I gained $11 dollars in extra buck rewards that printed from the register. (If the cashier would have rang up the 20% off coupon before the extra bucks, I would've $4 instead of $3, so watch carefully!)

My second transaction was for 
-one Pantene mousse triple action volume which was on sale for $3.50.
-one Essie nail color in for the twill of it, retail $8. 

I used a $1.50 off coupon from the kiosk for any hair product, as well as the $11 in extra bucks from the previous transaction. I ended it with $1 extra in the extrabucks rewards (because the hair product wasn't labeled on sale) which are lost if you don't buy anything. The cashier suggested just to buy candy a bar (who couldn't resist) and my total prior to tax was $0.19.

I could earn more extrabucks rewards in the second transaction if I purchased things that were on sale. I typically buy things that aren't on sale or that don't normally go on sale for example the Essie nail polish.  

I recommend before going into a CVS, look at what deals are currently going on with the extra bucks, find products that you're interested in, then see what types of coupons come from the kiosk work with the sale and what you wanted to buy. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Quick Tip Tuesday: Cleaning Hair Tools

I have never met a girl who didn't use a straightener or curling iron at least every once in a while.  With continuous use of these heat tools, some can get a lot of product build up on them. I vividly remember my mom curling her bangs every morning and spraying hairspray while her hair was still in the iron! I still scream inside from hair memories of the 90's. Her curling iron would get extremely, dare I say, crusty from the product burning on it. That memory has always made me clean my hair tools, so I'd never have to witness that again.

Not only does that product redistribute back onto your hair the next time you use the tool, but it can create uneven heat through the iron or curler after a while. To keep your styling tools clean wipe straighteners plates and barrels of curling irons with alcohol gently, every once in a while. I've also heard that baking soda and acetone works too, but you need to be careful not to be harsh with it. If you clean it too much though, it can ruin finish of the tool, so be diligent with how repetitive you are.