You might belong in Hufflepuff,
Where they are just and loyal,
Those patient Hufflepuffs are true
And unafraid of toil.
🐿 theBalm Meet Matt(e) Trimony: Matt Evans, Matt Lin, Matt Ahmed
🐿 Maybelline Color Tattoo: Creamy Beige
🐿 ColourPop x KathleenLights: Telepathy
🐿 LOC x Tati: On Point
🐿 Physicians Formula EyeBoost Liner: Black
🐿 Vasanti Kajal Waterline Eyeliner
🐿 Marcelle Curling & Lengthening Mascara
🐿 Japonesque Luminous Foundation: 07
🐿 Too Faced Love Flush Blush: Baby Love
🐿 Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Palette: Medium to Tan
🐿 Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector: Moonstone
In honor of the debut of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (yes, I did in fact preorder my copy of the script), a makeup series inspired by the four Hogwarts Houses.
You might belong in Gryffindor,
Where dwell the brave at heart,
Their daring, nerve, and chivalry
Set Gryffindor apart.
🦁 theBalm Meet Matt(e) Trimony: Matt Evans, Matt Lopez, Matt Lin, Matt Kumar
🦁 Too Faced Semi-Sweet: Caramel
🦁 Tarte Tarteist Liquid Liner: Bronze
🦁 Marcelle Curling & Lengthening Mascara
🦁 Milani 2-in-1 Conceal & Perfect Foundation: 07 Sand
🦁 SheaMoisture Mineral Blush: Sand
🦁 Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Palette: Medium to Tan
🦁 Cougar Mineral Face & Body Shimmer: Diamon Kiss
I’m not happy that I’m waiting so long to share the subscription boxes I get. I want to get my first impressions out there faster. So instead of waiting for a sneak peak right before I start posting that month’s reviews, I’ve decided to do a first impressions post when all my subscription services for that month come in.
That being said, I’ll need to do some catching up and post first impressions on May and June’s boxes! Let’s take a look at May.
This year, Birchbox has been stellar. With just one fluke in February, they’ve been hitting it out of the park ever since. May’s box was no exception. I opted for the pre-curated box because they’ve just been so great lately.
May’s Birchbox was well rounded with products in every category: makeup, hair, skincare, and fragrance. I’m not the biggest fan of perfume samples, but I can tell you this one wasn’t bad. Plus, do you see that deluxe size Benefit Hoola bronzer sample? That alone is what sold me. I’ve reviewed the shampoo in the past back when I was blogging on Tumblr, but I think I’ll do a summary review of it over here.
In the battle between the $10 subscriptions, Birchbox definitely won in May. Ipsy’s wasn’t bad, but it definitely wasn’t my favorite.
I’ve reached that point in the year where I’m over mascara samples. I just accumulate too many and since I do try them for reviews, I end up having multiples open at a time. This drives my anal retentive self insane. The polish color is traffic cone orange, which isn’t my cup of tea upon first impression. However, I don’t mind leaving my comfort zone when it comes to polish. That lipstick though? Just you wait till I get to talk about it.
And then there’s Boxycharm, which continued its winning streak with this box. While still not quite as stellar as the March box that set the bar, it was still super impressive.
First, we have two well known brands in the box: MakeupGeek and PUR. I’m a huge fan of both brands and was stoked to see full sized products (one of them brand new to the market) in the box. Please, Boxycharm, keep this up! That clear brow gel was also an impressive product and I do like seeing pretty polish colors in the box. The only downside upon first impression was that Catherine Malandrino perfume. I’ve already reviewed the Romance de Provence scent. I can safely say I’d rather not see anymore perfumes from this brand in any of my future boxes.
Overall, May was a pretty great month. Now, let’s look at June!
Yet again, I decided to go with the pre-curated box. This one was not bad at all! They killed it by giving a good variety: hair, skincare, and makeup. I love that we got both an eyeshadow stick (hiding at the very bottom of the box) and a lip crayon. Sadly, as you’ll see when I review, this shade definitely didn’t work for my complexion. That’s one thing that Birchbox needs to get better at in the pre-curated boxes. They should have a variety of lip shades that suite different complexions. But other than that, I was satisfied with my haul.
Ipsy’s bag choice was interesting in theory. I love graffiti art, but I’m not really feeling this bag design so much. Well, we’re not really here for the outer bag, but this one I found a bit ugly.
The products inside the bag were good. We got the tiniest Urban Decay eyeshadow pan sample, but honestly it’s a duchrome shade that will take me forever to get through anyway. One thing to note: mine arrived completely broken. I contacted Ipsy’s customer service and they got back to me incredibly quickly. The next day, I got a shipment notification order for my replacement and it arrive two days later. Props for awesome customer service.
Other than the broken shadow (which I managed to salvage as a loose pigment), the rest of the items were nice. I’ve tried that ClariSea scrub/mask before and liked it, so I was glad to have another one in my stash. Not so exciting was the black eyeliner. I just have so much black eyeliner, I’d rather receive different shades. Still, this one is suppose to be designed for the waterline, so that’ll be an interesting aspect to test.
I really can’t decide just how I feel about June’s Boxycharm. It isn’t bad, by any means. However, it’s nowhere near as good (on first impression) as March and May’s boxes.Now, we did get a good variety of makeup: an eyeliner from Girlactik, shine control powder from OFRA, and highlight from Cougar. Maybe it’s the black liner (again, I have so many), but I felt a little uninspired by the box.
I did like that we got a three pack of sheet masks to try. This really lets me see if they’re doing what they claim to do. The nail polish is a pretty color, but nail polish isn’t my favorite item to get in boxes. I don’t mind them, but after getting one or two I’m kind of done with them for the rest of the year.
I’ve already gotten all my subscription boxes for July, but I want to hold off for a few days on giving you my first impressions on those. But for now, I can’t wait to post more in-depth about some of the stellar products that I got to try through subscription services.
Not counting LipSmackers chapstick, mineral makeup is my beauty roots. Because I had acne prone oily skin that hated almost anything I put on it, mineral makeup was a savior when it appeared in my early teens. (That and Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation when I had to cover several breakouts. Literally cannot believe the online beauty community is just not discovering that amazing stuff.)
I still enjoy a lot of mineral makeup, though my complexion has calmed down enough that now I can branch out past it. But I do enjoy trying new makeup from my classic brands (looking at you Bareminerals and PUR) and from new independent brands.
Boxycharm sent out this beautiful shimmery eye color from yourMinerals Sweden. I received their Eye Glimmer (USD $23.00, full size) in Brown Hypnotic. I love this color, because it’s a good neutral but with that extra kick of shimmer to keep it from being too basic. My one complaint with Boxycharm is that they tend to lean too much towards neutrals and aren’t more bold with their makeup offerings. Good for mass appeal, but it can get pretty boring when you’re just accumulating a bunch of neutrals. The shimmer definitely takes it out of that category. The price point puts it in the Sephora or department store brand range, which is fine as long as the shadow performs well.
True to its mineral makeup claim, this shadow only contains 4 ingredients: mica, iron oxides, titanium oxides, and ferric ferrocyanide. No talc to be found, which is great for those who are sensitive to it, but I’ve seen some people claim sensitivity to mica as well. Just note that it is in there. I didn’t have an adverse reaction.
Because it’s a loose pigment I expect packaging to come with a filter to prevent powder from going everywhere when you open the container. yourMinerals delivers there. Though their filter isn’t my favorite, as it has four larger openings (I prefer those with central nets), I appreciate that it keeps my shadows safely in the container. You’ll need to be careful when tapping out product as it can go from not releasing much to dumping out a good amount of pigment. This isn’t a deal breaker for me, because you get so much powder I’m going to have trouble getting through all of the product before it expires.
Being a pigment, color payment is phenomenal. Applying dry over primer and matte shadows, the color showed up as a soft brown shimmer that was noticeable but subtle enough to wear during the day. Like most shimmer shadows (especially pigments) this applies best either with your fingers or a flat shadow brush. I didn’t get any fall out from the pigment when I was applying and blending.
I did experiment wearing it wet, which looked really great. I stupidly only got a picture of the swatch, but you can see that wet you get even more shimmer payoff.
The only drawback I see to this is because it’s a mineral shadow, it’s incredibly soft. I found that even with primer this shadow did crease some after several (6+) hours of wear. However, this is something I get with every mineral shadow I try, so again it’s not a deal breaker. And frankly, the majority of the time I wore the shadow it looked great. It was just closer to the evening/night that it started creasing.
Bottom line: yourSweden stays true to its claim by delivering truly mineral makeup that only has four ingredients. Despite the natural formula, this pigment is gorgeous. You get a ton of color and shimmer payoff, both wet and dry. For the price point you get a ton of product that you could only use up if you used it every day. I’m quite impressed and would love to try more from this brand!
I’ve already raved about OFRA’s Long Lasting Liquid Lipstick (USD $19.90, full size — but there are a million affiliate discount codes out there. Pick your favorite beauty guru and use their code) before. Boxycharm actually included the shade Americano in an earlier box this year, which was an on trend brown color that I adore. Feel free to check out my previous review that goes more in-depth into the formula and such. This may be a social media brand, but their mousse like, comfortable liquid lipsticks are some of my favorite. The hype is real.
This time around they sent the shade Manhattan from their New York collection. Manhattan is a darker mauve purple that, again, is super on trend with the 90s makeup making a comeback. (TBH: I’m so glad these colors are back, as I love the 90s lip shades. And crop tops. And high waisted pants. Basically everything except the pencil thin eyebrows.)
Like other liquid lipstick brands, the consistency in color and formula is going to vary a little from color to color. With more purple shades, liquid lipsticks tend to go on more patchy and sometimes flake off a bit.
I love purple lipstick, even the whackier colors, so I’m willing to put up with the issues that come with them.
Upon first application, Manhattan was slightly patchier with one swipe. However, a second coating got me to full opacity without the lipstick feeling bulky on the lip. It’s a formula that builds really well, especially in this color. To compare, Americano, Brooklyn, and Miami Fever all apply fully opaque in one swipe. Havana Nights, a vampy burgundy, takes two coats. Dubai, a true nude, also takes two coats.
Like the other OFRA liquid lipsticks I tried, the formula dried down completely, though not to a super powdery matte finish that you would get from a Kat Von D or Stila Liquid Lipstick. It’s not 100% transfer proof because it’s the “comfort matte” of liquid lipsticks. Still, I’d say it’s about 98% transfer proof, meaning I do have to reapply after meals and such.
The shade itself is gorgeous. It’s a mauve purple that works really well on my tan skin tone. This shade doesn’t wash out my skin, though I have a neutral undertone that leans more towards warm. If you’re super cool toned, you may want to make sure this shade doesn’t grey wash your skin.
Bottom line: This is a winner from OFRA’s Long Lasting Liquid Lipstick line. If you want to bring back that early 90s purple, this is a great option. The comfort matte of liquid lipsticks, the comfy yet long wearing formula is consistent with this shade. Just be aware you won’t get the powdery dry finish that you see from other brands.
Let’s be real. When it comes to lip balms, I do want a good formula that will keep my lips soft and maybe have some SPF for added protection against UV rays. (People, please remember that your lips can, indeed, get sun damage. So remember to protect them!) In all honesty, I can get that just fine at the drugstore. Here’s what I currently use:
Looking at the ingredients, there are some promising ones that provide a good source of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, and some skin repairing agents. All things I love. The one ingredient towards the end of the list is Orange Peel Extract, which provides some fragrance to the balm. I wish this wasn’t there, as fragrance isn’t the best thing to put on delicate skin, but it’s also not a total deal breaker. Still, look out for it if you’re sensitive to that sort of thing.
The consistency of this product is liquid like a glaze. It comes in a squeeze tube and you just need a small amount to cover the surface of your lips. Even though it’s a glaze, the formula does allow it to sink into the lips in about 10 to 15 minutes, which I really do appreciate.
However, sometimes you can have great ingredients and for some reason the product is just lackluster. That’s what happened here. After the product sunk into the skin, the hydrating effect sort of disappeared. That’s not totally surprising, as you do need to reapply lip balms, but the hydration went away almost immediately after sinking into the skin. It only lasted a few minutes. My lips looked nice, but they felt a little dry and like I had to put something back on.
I just can’t use this as a standalone product. Instead, what I do is put this on, let it sink in, and then apply my lip balm over it. It’s basically become an extra step in my skincare routine until this stuff runs out.
Bottom line: Despite promising, wonderful ingredients, this lip balm from Pur-Lisse just didn’t work for me. I can appreciate the lightweight, liquid texture. I do think that whatever is in the formula that allows it to sink into the skin so quickly cuts down on the hydrating effect. In my opinion, it’s just not worth the $16 price point. Still, if you want to try it out, it’s not so terribly expensive that you’ll regret purchasing it. It’s really up to you.
My first experience with Blinc was literally irritating. The tube mascara that Boxycharm included in a previous box this year made my eyes itch and burn like never before. I’m not one to claim having sensitive eyes, even though I’m a contact lens wearer. I can even take some of the heavily fragranced mascaras from luxury brands (but really, why do they do this? No one needs perfume in makeup that’s coming that close to the eyeball.) But the tube mascara didn’t even last 15 minutes on my eyes before I had to wash off all my eye makeup.
Needless to say, I wasn’t enthused when Boxycharm announced they were including Blinc’s Black Lash Primer (USD $26.00, full size) in April’s box. Still, I like to give products a fair chance, even if the brands past products were a dud. Out the gate, what seemed promising was that this was NOT the same tube mascara formula. I have a feeling that an ingredient that causes the tubing effect is what irritated my eyes.
The wand was also promising. I prefer rubber wands to bristles, as they do a better job of separating my lashes. Since my lashes are already long and thick (thanks, Mom and Dad!), I go more for mascara that gives a wispy effect instead of clumping for volume.
The concept of a mascara primer can seem kind of gimmicky, and in the past I’ve found that most lash primers don’t do much in terms of amplifying the performance of my mascaras. The only one that I’ve seen do this is Benefit’s They’re Real! Tinted Lash Primer. It’s my absolute favorite, which I use every day both as a primer and a standalone product. So it’s what I measured Blinc’s primer against.
Per Blinc’s product description, it delivers a base of length and volume while coating the lashes in a black finishing. They also claim that the ingredient Pentapeptide-17 will help lashes grow longer and thicker over time. I can’t speak to that particular claim, but I definitely could test out the first claims.
Overall, the effect was…ok. The rubber was bristle did help to separate the lashes, like I prefer. But the formula of the primer itself was lack luster. It did add a black coloring, but I could see any difference in the thickness of the lash. It looked just like my normal lashes with a black coating. Not a bad look, by any means, but not what I was expecting from a primer.
What I like about Benefit’s version is that despite the fact that it’s dark brown, it still adds some noticeable volume, length, and drama to lashes, even if the look is more natural overall. This is why I can wear it as a stand alone mascara and feel like there’s a difference with my look. Blinc’s version didn’t really deliver.
Of course, I tried it with several of my favorite black mascaras to see if it gave them an added boost. Honestly, I didn’t really see a difference. My other mascaras performed the same as if I hadn’t used any sort of lash primer. Again, this is where Benefit wins out. Whenever I use it combined with another mascara (dark brown or black), I notice a huge difference in the performance of my mascaras.
On the plus side, Blinc’s formula didn’t make my mascaras clumpy or flaky (something a lot of other lash primers do). But it also didn’t give the added oomph promised.
Bottom Line: While I appreciate the great rubber wand and a formula that didn’t irritate my eyes, for the price point I wasn’t wowed by Blinc’s mascara. By itself, it didn’t make enough of a difference in the look of my lashes. As a primer, I couldn’t see a difference. My advice is if you’re in the market for a lash primer, go with Benefit instead. It’s a little cheaper and delivers great results.