March 2016 Ipsy Review #4: Nourish Organic Rosehip and Rosewater Body Oil Mist

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Always love travel size body moisturizers.

These past few months, I’d really been needing some travel size body moisturizers. I spent the first four months of the year traveling back and forth between where I live and the next state over while completing a certification program. Even driving, I’m not a fan of taking my full size products. Space saving is key in my packing.

This sample of Rose Hip and Rosewater Body Oil Mist from Nourish Organic (USD 19.00, full size for 3 fl. oz). The full size comes in a spray bottle, which is better for application, though I was able to use the sample squeeze tube just fine. You also get a ton of product for $19.00. A little higher priced than a drug store moisturizer, but still affordable.

I really like trying natural and organic products, as I’m very ingredient conscious when it comes to skincare. I do have a little more flexibility when it comes to body skin care on things like fragrance, but I try to keep it as clean as possible. Nourish Organic, true to its name, keeps the ingredient list very simple. You are basically getting straight rose oil, so if you don’t care for the smell of roses or don’t react well to rose oil, then you’ll want to avoid this.

Of course, as I’ve seen with other organic makeup/skincare brands, not everything found in nature is necessarily good for the skin. I needed to check up on the ingredients to make sure everything was safe. Paula’s Choice has great cosmetic dictionary that has an almost complete list of every ingredient you could find in cosmetics. It’s what I go to when I’m looking at a new product. What I can’t find there, I google.

The first ingredient listed is sunflower seed oil, which is a great natural emollient for the skin. There’s also some yeast, which has been shown to help the skin repair (though this doesn’t have a definite scientific conclusion).

The rose ingredients in this product are a mix. The rose hip oil is a really good, non irritating emollient for the skin that can soften and smooth it. The rosa damascena flower distillate (aka rosewater) can be problematic for some. It does have anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants, which are really great for skin. But even though this is organic, it is a highly fragrant part of the rose flower. This can be super irritating to the skin and can cause reactions in some people.

Personally, I didn’t have any inflammatory reaction. My skin absorbed the oil without any problems. I didn’t notice any bumps or redness the entire time I was using it. But if you’re trying out rose products and have a reaction, look for that ingredient. It could be the source of your problems.

Since I didn’t react, I had no problem using up the rest of my sample. The oil did leave my skin feeling very soft after showering. I also noted a temporary brightening effect wherever I applied it, which I really liked! This isn’t quite as moisturizing as I like my body creams to be, but if you need something lighter this could be for you. I’d probably bring along an oil like this on vacation to nourish my skin after spending all day at the beach.

I very much enjoyed this oil.

Rating: 4/5. This Rose Hip and Rosewater Oil is true to its organic name. Certified USDA organic, Nourish Organic isn’t hiding anything behind its ingredients. For people who don’t react badly to the fragrance in rosewater, this can be a light but still nourishing moisturizer for the body. However, if you’ve had reactions to other floral oils or perfumes in the past, it’s probably best that you avoid this product.

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March 2016 Ipsy Review #3: NYX Liquid Suede

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When you get a product you’ve been dying to try.

While I’ve gotten some really exciting products in beauty subscriptions, I’ve rarely gotten something I’d been wanting to try for a while. When that happens, I’m extra happy with the subscription services. This is one of those “dying to try” products.

I’m such a huge fan of the NYX brand. I can safely say that they’re my favorite drugstore makeup, especially for lip products. (Milani is a close second.) I’d heard mixed reviews about the Liquid Suede Line (USD $6.99), which made we want to try it but scared about investing in a product I wouldn’t like. Yes, I can always return it, but that’s such a hassle. Much of the discussion was around the formula of these liquid lipsticks. Some loved it, some hated it. I wanted to see what the fuss was about.

Ipsy sent a FULL SIZE Liquid Suede to some of us, and I was stoked to see I was one of them! They could probably do this because NYX is so affordable, but I’m always down for a full size product in a $10 subscription, affordable or otherwise. I got the color Pink Lust, which, as you’ll see in the pictures is an incredibly bright hot pink.

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Almost positive they could see my lips from outer space.

Liquid Suede is one of three options NYX currently offers in the matte liquid lipstick form. The Soft Matte Lip Cremes are one and the other is the Lip Lingerie. These three formulas are really different from one another. I own a few from the other two lines, so I think it’s fair to compare what each has to offer.

The Soft Matte Lip Cremes do set to a powdery finish and I’d say they have the better lasting power of the three. This does make them the more drying of the three, but with proper lip conditioning they can be very comfortable to wear for a few hours. I don’t really feel a need to reapply these, plus some can get a wee bit chunky if you do try to layer them.

The Lip Lingerie also sets down to a very matte finish. The range is all nudes and neutral, unlike the Soft Matte Lip Cremes, which come in a variety of colors. Despite being completely matte, these definitely wear away throughout the day, though not as quickly as a traditional lipstick. I have to reapply these once or twice to get them to last eight hours. Since the finish is really matte, these are the more uncomfortable of the three.

So how does Liquid Suede compare? NYX describes them as cream lipsticks that set into a “striking matte finish” and are waterproof. I have to respectfully disagree. These to have a matte finish to them. However, they do not settle into the powdery finish of traditional matte liquid lipsticks. They look more like a traditional matte lipstick. They also don’t 100% set on the lips, like a Milani Amore Matte Lip Cream. Because they don’t set, they might be waterproof, but they are in no way transfer proof. You absolutely need to reapply these after eating and drinking.

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Surprisingly wearable.

Despite these not being transfer proof or drying down to that powdery finish, these aren’t duds. You do get the liquid lip look, but get a very comfortable product in exchange for the longevity of other formulas. This is ideal for people that have dry lips and just cannot tolerate liquid lipstick but want to get the look.

Honestly, these were so comfortable that I went out and bought three other colors: Soft Spoken (brown nude), Cherry Skies (vampy red), and Tea and Cookies (light pink). This gave me a better idea of the formula and application in the overall range.

Application is going to vary depending on the color. Like other liquid lipsticks, the lighter colors tend to be streakier. Tea and Cookies is actually quite streaky and I can’t wear it on its own without my natural lip color showing through. I do use it, however, to mix with some of my darker brown liquid lipsticks to lighten them up.

Pink Lust, the color Ipsy sent, is really neon and was also a wee bit streaky. However, it wasn’t as bad as Tea and Cookies. I actually got full opacity with two coats. The formula also allowed the lipstick to still feel comfortable with two coats. It doesn’t ball up or get chunky, which can happen with some other formulas. Because it’s a neon, it does leave behind a stain, so you don’t look like you have chunks missing from your lips between applications.

Soft Spoken and Cherry Skies had the best application. This tends to happen with darker colors. Both went on smoothly with full opacity in one swipe. Be careful with Cherry Skies, as it can transfer everywhere, especially when eating. But then again, you have to be that careful with vampy colors normally. If you’re looking for the color lock guarantee of a liquid lipstick, I’d go with another brand.

Soft Spoken, a darker pinky nude color, was actually the one that settled the best on the lips. I actually didn’t have to reapply this color! I’m not sure what was so different about the formula, because it was equally comfortable, but it actually set on the lips.

All colors were fairly easy to remove with makeup wipes, though Pink Lust needed an extra dose of micellar water.

Rating: 3.5/5. These liquid lipsticks are very different from their description and I can understand why people are so divided. If you’re looking for a powdery finish, completely color locked formula, you’re not going to like this. But if you want the look of a liquid lipstick and are willing to sacrifice longevity for comfort, you’ll really enjoy these. Be careful with the lighter colors, as they can be streaky.But for $6, you’re getting a pretty good product. NYX is extending the color line, so I’m excited to see what they’ll be adding.

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March 2016 Ipsy Review #2: TEMPTU Warm Glow Bronzer

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A lot bronzer, not ideal packaging.

Liquid bronzer has made its comeback this summer. Almost every brand is coming out with a liquid version for all of us to enjoy. I love powder bronzer, but I’m always down to try a different form of makeup favorites.

Ipsy has sort of given us a taste of this trend by including a sample of the TEMPTU Warm Glow Bronzer(USD $35, full size + spray gun). Now, this is not a regular liquid bronzer. This is meant to be spray on makeup. I understand that Ipsy can’t include a “sample” airbrush machine along with the sample, but honestly, I think they should have put the sample in an aerosol can so we can truly get the “airbrush makeup” effect. Still, onward and upward.

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Liquidy goodness.

This spray bronzer is suppose to give you a very natural look. No faked bake look here. I have to say that the swatch was really promising. Sheered out, the bronzer gave a nice tan effect and had just enough iridescence to give a glow without making you look like you’d been glitter bombed.

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That glow tho.

It was time to put the formula to the test. Again, it would have been much better to get this sample in a spray can so I could test just how well the particles landed on the skin and how much control I had over application versus with a powder.

I treated this like a liquid bronzer and used my various contour brushes to apply. To give some dimension and warmth to the face I applied it around the perimeters with a big angled kabuki brush. Then, I took a small contour brush to apply some under my cheekbones, and a compact contour brush down the sides of my nose.

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Natural glow, indeed!

On initial application, I was super pleased with how well this formula blended out and sat on the skin. It melted in and made it look as if I had a little color boost without looking too orangey. This was actually a good color for my skin tone to do very mild, natural looking contour.

I was ready to be sold on this when at the end of the day I noticed that the formula was breaking down in patches. By the time I was removing my makeup the patches were incredibly noticeable. I was really bummed by this! I have a feeling this is because the sample wasn’t applied the way it’s suppose to: as a spray.

I was just about to toss the rest of the sample when I decided to try it out as a foundation color corrector. I had my Jouer Matte Moisture Tint sitting around, because it was two shades too light for my complexion. I mixed in the TEMPTU and BOOM. The foundation was darkened to just my shade and I had an added color boost. The formula of the Jouer tint also wasn’t altered. It still had the same wear time and did not, I was happy to see, break down into patches.

I’m really happy I found a way to use this sample.

Rating: Undecided. I don’t think it’s fair for me to give a final rating, because I didn’t get to really see this product perform the way it was suppose to. I did see a lot of promise. The shade was great and didn’t leave the skin with an orange tinge. It also wasn’t overly glittery, instead giving a soft glow. I would have loved to see this perform as airbrush makeup, but sadly the sample packaging prevents this.

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March 2016 Ipsy Review #1: Me me me Loose Powder Brush

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Getting brushes in subscriptions is my favorite!

I love getting a good brush in a box subscription. We all know just how lazy I am about purchasing my own brushes. While the difference between a good and bad tool can make or break your look, I’m still meh about purchasing my own brushes. Plus, there are so many on the market that it’s pretty overwhelming to pick the right one.

Ipsy started off March right by including this Loose Powder Brush from MeMeMe Cosmetics (GBP £14, full size). This company is from the UK and I could only get the pricing in British Pounds, but it’s the equivalent to USD $20. On their website, MeMeMe claims to deliver quality brushes at an affordable price. I’m not sure if the concept of “affordable” is a bit different in the UK, but in my mind a $20 brush is not affordable. It’s definitely mid range. Affordable to me is e.l.f. prices, from $1 to $15. Anything more expensive, and we’ve hit midrange. At $20, I expect the construction and quality I would find in Real Techniques (on the more affordable side of midrange) or Sephora brushes.

The brush itself is nicely made. The bristles are quite even and well packed in a dome shape. I couldn’t find any information on the materials used, but they appear to be synthetic. I prefer synthetic brushes, so this is a plus. This can definitely be used for loose powder, but it’s a little smaller than the brush size I prefer for applying full face powder. However, it is the perfect size for applying powder in the under eye area — super ideal for setting concealer.

The handle is a thick plastic. If I’m being candid, I expected nicer materials for the price point. The construction of the brush is wonderful, but the materials remind me very much of e.l.f.’s brushes. This isn’t a bad thing, but it makes me think that this brush definitely isn’t worth $20. To compare, over at e.l.f.’s website you can buy an 11 piece brush set, with a case, that includes a similar looking powder brush for just $10 more.

It does perform really well at applying powder, so it definitely gets the job done and done right. The synthetic bristles are easy to clean and don’t shed. But then again, neither do e.l.f.’s. I’m just having such a hard time justifying the price point. If they come over to the US, I think they’ll have to lower them to be more competitive.

Rating: 3/5. This is a good loose powder brush that everyone should have in their collection. It applies product evenly and is well constructed. However, I’m perplexed by the price. You are getting a nice brush, but definitely not one worth $20. I’d love to try more, but why would I when I get the same thing from other brands at a truly affordable price?

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March 2016 Birchbox Review #5: Milk Makeup Lip Color

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Actually not the worst lipstick sample I’ve seen.

Everyone has been talking about the latest makeup brand to launch: Milk Makeup. I took a look at their website and it’s the epitome of hipster makeup. I could see Portlandia doing a spoof on something similar. Check it out for your self.

Regardless of how much Milk’s website made me chuckle, I was curious to sample what they had to offer. Birchbox announced that they’d be including a sample of their Lip Color in the shade C.R.E.A.M. (USD $22.00, full size) in the Ready For Anything box. Excellent. I love trying before investing in a new brand.

The price point puts these lipsticks in the range of Urban Decay lipsticks (moment of silence for the recently discontinued Revolution Lipsticks). These had better perform like Urban Decay.

Milk describes these lip colors as having a 30% increase in pigmentation over other lipsticks, giving you fully opaque color in one swipe. The finish is a demi-matte and has some natural oils for added hydration. I love super matte finishes, but those can beat up my lips so I appreciate a good demi matte formula. Initially the boosted pigmentation claim seemed a little gimmicky, but there are high end lipsticks that have boosted color payoff so I kept an open mind.

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This swatch came off a little more pink than the actual color.

C.R.E.A.M. is a described as a true nude color. I’d say this is accurate, though it has just enough pink in there so the color isn’t completely flat. I had to be really careful swatching this because the sample packaging is, quite frankly, awful. Not only do you get a dinky amount of lipstick, but this is one of those cheaply packaged plastic cases where they just plop a mini lipstick bullet on top. It doesn’t make for the most stable packaging. My sister also got this and the lipstick fell out of the packaging almost immediately. Come on, Milk. You’re not making a very good first impression.

Bad packaging aside, the initial swatch was very promising. I did see a good amount of color payoff, though not quite as color boosted as more expensive lipsticks, like the NARS Audacious or Bite Beauty’s Amuse Bouche. Still, it was about the same as Urban Decay’s Revolution line, which is what I’m looking for at this price.

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Really, this is a great nude.

The nude shade itself is incredibly pretty. On my tan skin tone, it looked like a “your lips but better”. It wasn’t so brown that it made me look dead and didn’t have so much white that it was too light. I think I could get away using this color during the summer when I’m darker.

On the lips, this did apply well. With one coat I did get opacity, but I still felt the need to go back and add a second coat to get a more polished look. The finish is gorgeous. It gives you the matte trend you want without being so over drying. I think this is a great option for folks who want to rock a matte lip but need the hydration of a cream lipsticks. It’s a good compromise.

Rating: 4/5. I would give this a perfect score if it weren’t for the horrible sample packaging. This is just one step above those annoying foil package lip samples. Bad packaging aside, the lipstick itself is beautifully formulated and pigmented. You’re getting your money’s worth when you purchase this, though I’d have to see the packaging in person to make sure it will protect the product. All in all, not a bad launch for Milk! I’d love to see what else they offer.

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March 2016 Birchbox Review #4: PARLOR Smoothing Blowout Spray

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Birchbox keeps trying to make Parlor happen.

Oh, Birchbox. Why am I not surprised that you’ve, yet again, snuck a PARLOR product into one of our boxes? Well, it shouldn’t come as a surprise because it is a hair care line that’s exclusive to their shop. It’s amazing because they sell lines like Bumble & Bumble, yet I never see a sample from them in a box. I just have to chuckle and shake my head.

I’ve had mixed luck from this line. PARLOR products are either a huge hit or miss. The best thing they have going for them is the scent — a heavenly peachy, woodsy fragrance. I’ve talked the scent to death in past reviews, so I won’t write another essay on it. But trust me: I wish all hair products smelled like this line.

Luckily, the scent continues with this Smoothing Blowout Spray (USD $24.00, full size). The great thing about PARLOR is that they do a great job of packaging their samples. It’s the same quality as the full size products, which I really appreciate. Like all blowout products, this is suppose to make it easier to style hair with a blow dryer. I blow out my hair whenever I wash it, whether I style it with a curling wand or straightener. It just gives me a good base to work with.

What I’m looking for in a good styling cream is something that’s lightly conditioning and helps smooth out frizzy texture. My natural hair texture is smack in the middle between straight and wavy. It’s easy to style, but with the humidity here in the South I definitely need something to help tame frizz.

This product comes in a spray bottle versus a squeeze tube. I think both work well for distributing the product evenly on hair. The bottle is better for this formula because it is more liquidity in consistency and I find that the product doesn’t build up at the end of nozzle, clogging it.

Overall, this blowout spray did a great job that was comparable to what I’m currently using, Living Proof’s Perfect Hair Day 5-in-1 styling treatment. The only thing I noted was that my hair was a little shinier when I used Living Proof, but that could be fixed by touching up with a hair oil after styling. That’s probably the only thing that’s keeping me from switching over. I like that I get that extra shine boost from Living Proof. But still, this is a great product.

Rating: 5/5. This is a PARLOR product I can highly recommend. While it doesn’t give the shine boost of Living Proof’s styling treatment, it is a few bucks less and still makes hair easy to style with the blowdryer without weighing it down. Plus, that scent tho.

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