October 2016 Beauty Subscriptions

It’s time for another subscription box unboxing! Sephora Play was the last one to arrive and it came just in time before October ended and November spoilers started popping up in the beauty community.

October was an interesting mix. Usually, October is an exceptional month for beauty subscriptions, but this year was a mix of good and bad, which is disappointing. Still, there was one subscription box that was a clear winner.

Let’s start with the $10/month services: Birchbox, Ipsy, and Sephora Play.

Birchbox’s October offerings.

The fact that Birchbox is in financial trouble is starting to show in their sample selection. It has been increasingly lack luster since July. This month, I did opt for the themed Revive and Restore box, because none of the other sample choices excited me. Now, there are some good things in here, but there are two samples that make me role my eyes.

  • This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray. This is one of the annoying samples. I don’t mind it when Birchbox throws in these non beauty items as a bonus, but when it’s one of the five samples I’m paying for…no. It’s this sort of foolishness that makes me think we’re going back to that period of terrible boxes in 2013. (It was three years ago and I still remember…which should tell you how bad it was.)
  • Oribe Gold Lust Dry Shampoo. I love some of Oribe’s products, so I’ll be glad to try their dry shampoo. Though, I did see Tati’s video on it and my initial thoughts are that a $40 dry shampoo is pretty ridiculous. Still, I do like getting ridiculously expensive product samples, since I typically won’t buy them for myself.
  • Avene Hydrating Cream RICH. Avene is a pretty solid French brand. I do like some of there skincare, though I know I’ll need to use this super moisturizing cream in my nighttime routine. It’ll be great to try if I get any dry patches as the air gets drier.
  • GlamGlow POWERMUD DualCleanse Treatment. I’m probable one of the few people on the planet that isn’t a huge fan of GlamGlow masks. They work wonders at first, but then tend to irritate my skin. Still, I like getting samples from this brand to see if I’ll fall in love with any of their products. Here’s hoping this one works!
  • MAKE Silk Cream Lipstick. While not the most ridiculous lipstick sample I’ve received (that award goes to Milk), it’s still super dinky and cheap looking. The formula looks decent, but unfortunately Birchbox sent me a color that simply won’t work on my skin tone. It’s too light. So I’m placing it in my box of samples to give away and won’t be reviewing it for the blog. If I can’t wear it all day because of the color, then I can’t give the product a fair shot for a review.

Despite getting three great samples, I can’t help but feel disappointed. I just get the sense that the quality of the boxes has taken a turn for mediocre since the company changes announced in July. Especially after the November sample reveal, I’m assuming this is the beginning of the end for Birchbox. I have a yearly subscription that will be up for renewal in March, but if things don’t improve I don’t see myself keeping my subscription.

On to a subscription service that seems to be on the uptick: Ipsy.

Cutest. Bag. Ever.

I mean, first I have to brag about the bag itself. In my opinion, it’s the best physical makeup bag we’ve gotten from Ipsy since I subscribed last year. I absolutely am not parting ways with this bag. Ipsy partnered with Valfre to design the October bag, and the result is so adorable. You can also see that the zipper is actually a cute ghost waving hello! Ugh, I cannot. It’s too much!

Ok, on to what’s inside.

I’m still not over how cute that bag is.

Ipsy was way better than Birchbox, though there were some samples that were more exciting than the others.

  • theBalm Cabana Boy Blush. I flipping love theBalm, especially their blushes! Even though the sample is small, it’s taken me a while to get through them whenever I get them. My favorite every day blush, Frat Boy, is from theBalm. I cannot wait to try this  this is plum dusky-rose blush.
  • Sally’s Box Aqua Moist Gel Cream. I like trying Korean skin care, and gel moisturizers are just right for me, since I have combination skin. While I normally scoff at skin cream samples, I’m not mad at getting this.
  • Trust Fund Beauty Gimme Good Face Primer. Trust Fund Beauty’s nail polishes are awesome, though I had less luck with their lipsticks. However, I’m willing to try this primer and see if it’s good! It is dimethicone based, so I’ll need to limit just how much I wear it.
  • Kokie Nail Polish in Heavenly. I’m always game for a new nail polish brand, and this bluish lavender is a pretty color. It’ll be good as we get into the holiday season. However, I’ve gotten a lot of lilac shades from Ipsy in the past, so I’d like to see more variety in my polishes (though NOT neon orange, please!).
  • Teeez Cosmetics Eve’s Ready to Wear Lipstick in Romantic Red. Well, if that isn’t a mouthful! This is a very bold, red lipstick. It might be a little too bold for me. I really don’t like wearing reds unless they’re earthy tones, especially in creamy formulas. I’m afraid they’ll get everywhere. Still, I’ll give this a go and see how it performs.

Ipsy was very good. But the real winner of all the subscriptions was Sephora Play.

Out of the park!

The duster the products come in is really cute. I’m definitely keeping this one. Sephora Play is just doing such a good job of picking products from familiar and newer brands to Sephora customers. The theme this month was the “cool cut”, or products that are hip and on trend. There were a couple of variations this month. Here’s what I got.

  • Nudestix Intense Matte Lip + Cheek Pencil in Belle. I’ve been dying to try Nudestix, as the people who love it rave about it. I’m not normally into duo lip and cheek products, but I’ve heard that the color payoff on these products is impressive. The color I got is described as a “plum nude”, which is right up my alley. I also love that it’s a matte finish, which is super on trend for both lips and cheeks (and my favorite).
  • Too Cool for School Egg Mellow Cream. I love trying Korean Beauty skincare. I’ve used a sheet mask from Too Cool for School, which I enjoyed. This time, I got a firming cream that’s enriched with collagen. I’ll definitely be trying this out in my nighttime routine.
  • Skin Inc. Pure Revival Skin Peel. I love at home peels, especially since I can’t always make it to an esthetician. But ever the (incresingly) sensitive skin gal, I like it when peels are gentle. It’ll be cool to see how well this works.
  • Smashbox Always On Matte Liquid Lipstick in Driver’s Seat. I already know I LOVE Smashbox’s liquid lipstick formulation. It’s my absolute favorite. I own the color Out Loud, a deep orange, and am happy to try out this warm pink shade.
  • Verb Leave-In Mist Spray. Leave in conditioners aren’t my favorite, but I don’t mind using them whenever I get close to a hair cut appointment. That’s when my ends could use the most help.
  • Tom Ford Orchid Soleil. The fragrance choice for me this month was interesting. It’s definitely a good choice for the box theme. The fragrance reminds me of exclusive, “cool” people. I could imagine a super chic person wearing this. I’m not a 100% sure this fragrance goes well with my body chemistry (maybe I’m not cool enough for it), but I definitely don’t hate it.

This month knocked the previous bar set by the July box out of the park. Sephora Play is quickly becoming my favorite subscription service.

October’s Boxycharm offering.

I’m on the fence on how I feel about Boxycharm. I think what was offered in the box is great, over all, for subscribers. Personally, though, I wasn’t feeling it. There were some variations in the box this month, and there are a couple of products I wish I would have gotten over others in the box.

  • Japonesque Pro Perform Lipgloss. I like the Japonesque brand (you can find them at Ulta) and own a couple of brushes from them. The gloss that was included was a decent formula, but the color was way too light on me. It was a light pink that came off really bright on me. It wasn’t my cup of tea. Since I’ll be passing this along and can’t give it a fair shot, I won’t be reviewing it. Like I’ve said before, this is the downside to Boxycharm. Sometimes they do a terrible job with matching the color to the subscriber’s skin tone since they don’t take beauty profiles into consideration.
  • IBY Three’s Company Trio Eyeshadow. This is a cute little nude shadow trio that’s a great basic to have. Pan sizes look generous and the first swatches are promising. I love receiving eyeshadow in my Boxycharm. While not as great as the Studio Makeup palette we got in September, this is still a great product to have in the box. Makeup newbies will definitely appreciate this simple, but versatile, trio.
  • Briogeo Blow Dry Perfection Heat Protectant. I love the Briogeo brand a lot. It’s a natural ingredient hair care line whose products, I have to say, are really effective. Their volumizing spray is my favorite. While I don’t really blow dry my hair, unless I’m straightening it or in a rush, I can definitely use this heat protectant when curling my hair.
  • Temptu Shimmer Bronzer. I got this liquid bronzer in the sample size version in a past Ipsy bag. It’s not a bad liquid bronzer, by any means. I’m just not into liquid bronzers all that much. Boxycharm was really trying to sell the versatility of this product on social media. While I think it can have multiple uses, I’m just not that into it and will be passing it along. Really, I wish I would have gotten the OFRA highlighter or Cargo powder blushes and bronzers that were in other box variations.
  • Luxie Beauty Eye Blender Brush Pack. This is what I’m most excited about. I love Luxie brushes and have raved about them on the blog over and over again. They’re excellent quality and perform beautifully. I have yet to try a bad brush from them. This time, Boxycharm included a trio of eye brushes! All of these are blending brushes that vary a little from the 231 small tapered blending brush I already own. Like I keep saying, Ipsy and Boxycharm should keep including these fabulous brushes!

While it was irritating to get a lip color that didn’t work for me (again!) and a liquid bronzer I already know I don’t use, the other products in here do pick up the slack. However, I don’t think even the brush trio quite makes up for my disappointment in the other products. I’m paying $21 a month, so really I expect, at least on first impression, to like everything I get in the box. Still, not the worst I’ve seen from Boxycharm.

So October wasn’t as good as last year. Ipsy’s adorable bag, Sephora Play’s great box, and that trio of Luxie brushes from Boxycharm did make this a pretty good month for beauty subscriptions. I’m hoping November will be better.


Boxycharm Review: Makeup Geek Powder Blush

One of my favorite Boxycharm contributors.

If there’s an online cosmetics brand I highly respect, it’s got to be Makeup Geek. (No shade to other online indie brands, as there are plenty of others I adore). I think Makeup Geek is a great role model for up and coming brands. They provide high quality products, cater to a wide range of skin tones, and always keep their customers first, accepting feedback on new products with an open mind. I also have mad respect for Marlena’s hustle. She’s one of the hardest working ladies in the makeup field.

I say all this because with all the Instagram brands and influencer affiliates, it’s become harder and harder for the consumer to separate the trustworthy brands from the gimmicky ones out to make a quick buck. Makeup Geek definitely falls in the former category.

Since a lot of these “Instabrands” do end up in Boxycharm and other subscription services, you can imagine my excitement to see, not just another Makeup Geek product, but a recently launched product, in the box.

This past summer, Makeup Geek added Powder Blushes (USD $15.00 for compact, $10.00 for pans). Right before they made these available to the public, Boxycharm subscribers got to try these out in the May box. This was a great idea, both for Makeup Geek and Boxycharm. Boxycharm subscribers got early access to a new product from a well known brand, and Makeup Geek got some early feedback right before the release.

Makeup Geek (and other brands, I might add), if you’d like to do this again, I know the Boxycharm community would love it!

Great packaging.

Getting into the blush itself, right off the bat there are two things I love. Looking at the website, the first thing I can appreciate is that there is a tremendous range of colors that will flatter all color preferences and skin tones. For example, if you’re looking for a nude blush, you’ll see that Makeup Geek doesn’t offer just one or two nudes, but several that flatter porcelain, fair, medium, tan, and deep complexions. That’s amazing.

Next, the packaging. The purple gunmetal compact is just beautiful, and I love that they chose to have a magnetic closure (my favorite). It has great weight to it, is well constructed, and feels so luxurious. I easily feel like I’m holding a $30 blush instead of a $15. You also have a nice mirror inside, so you can throw it in your bag and use to touch up your makeup on the go.

If there’s something I would have liked to have seen in the packaging, it would have been a blush compact that allows me to switch up the pan. Of course, I’m not sure if this is feasible, but I think it could have been neat to see a magnetic compact (à la Z palette) that would allow you to pop different pans in and out as you use them. But that’s just me speculating. As is, the compact they offer is just lovely.

The color XOXO is a gorgeous watermelon pink.

There were a few color variations, and I received the shade XOXO. Makeup Geek describes this as a “watermelon pink with a matte finish” that is best suited for a medium skin tone. I’d say they got the description spot on.

In the picture, my skin tone was tan leaning more towards medium since it was May and I had yet to spend a lot of time outside in the summer sun. The swatch you’re looking at was done with my Tarte blush brush. As you can see, that’s a ton of pigment! On my medium tan skin, it was really coming off as a watermelon pink, which is perfect for the spring and summer. I only needed to dip my brush into the pan once to get the true color to show up.

Throughout the summer, as my complexion got more tan, I was still able to wear the blush. If I applied it as I did at the beginning of the summer, I’d have a nice pink flush to the skin. In order to get more color payoff, I just had to dip back in once more.

Pretty in pink.

The swatch might look a little intimidating, but trust me when I say the blush formula was very easy to work with.

Yes, there’s a lot of pigmentation but since the formula of the powder is soft, the blush is very easy to blend into the skin. You won’t end up with clown cheeks, though this particular color might be too strong for people with very porcelain skin. I use synthetic brushes, which work well with this formula. As you can see, I ended up with a nice watermelon pink flush on the skin that looks natural and pretty.

(FYI: This formulation is talc and paraben free, for those who are conscious or have sensitivities. It is also cruelty free, though I do not see a vegan claim.)

A closer look at the color.

Matte blushes are also very much in style, so I appreciate that Boxycharm included a product that had an on trend finish and color. I also like that these blushes are matte, because it allows me to apply a separate highlight to build my own glow and not look like a greasy mess.

The matte formulation also has some great staying power. I could get this to last about 5 hours before I noticed some color fading. It was nothing a quick touch up couldn’t fix if, say, you wore this to work and then went out for drinks. While not the longest lasting blush I own, it’s still solid.

Pan sizes are also great. You’re getting 0.15 oz of product, which is about as much as a NARS Blush (0.16 oz), though smaller than a Becca or Tarte blush (0.2 oz). Plenty of product that will be hard to get through. (Honestly, I almost never go through a whole blush pan.)

Bottom Line: Makeup Geek continues to hit it out the park. These blushes are a fantastic addition to their product lineup. The soft formula is pigmented and blendable, with good lasting power. The color range is envy worthy, with perfect shades in different color families for all people of color (something I hold in high regard). This is absolutely a great product in which to invest your money.

If you’d like to subscribe to Boxycharm, follow the link!

Boxycharm Review: The Brow Gal Clear Brow Gel

A good brow gel is a must.

One of the basics I recommend every person keep in their makeup stash is a good brow gel. Be it tinted or clear, brow gels are great for keeping the brows groomed and unruly hairs at bay.

My brow hair tend to be unruly, so I absolutely need a brow gel to keep my brows from looking askew. (And yet, I still have one unruly hair that, no matter what, is always slightly out of place. Oh, well).

They’re also great to wear as a clear mascara, if you don’t really like wearing makeup, but want to curl and set your lashes. When I was first allowed to wear makeup in middle school, my mom let me buy a clear brow gel from CoverGirl, which I loved to death. It’s a great option for middle school/high schoolers who want to start playing with makeup but don’t want to wear anything heavy. I’m personally a huge advocate for younger teens wearing lighter makeup that enhances the youthful glow and beauty rather than heavier stuff that covers it up. Teens, I’m not kidding, that radiance y’all have doesn’t stick around forever and you’ll be craving it when it starts to disappear (hello, late twenties…).

I personally prefer clear brow gels, since I use either a powder or pencil to take care of filling in any sparse spots. My go to is the one from Anastasia Beverly Hills. However, I more than welcome brow gels in my subscription boxes to use in between purchases.

Boxycharm included this Eyebrow Gel from TheBrowGal by Tonya Crooks (USD $20.00, full size) in one of our boxes. I was stoked, as my latest tube from ABH was starting to get gross. Reading up on this brand, it does remind me a lot of Anastasia Beverly Hills. Tonya Crooks is a celebrity brow and makeup artist who decided to venture out and create her own brand. I can really appreciate that what motivated her was, what she felt, was a lack of eyebrow makeup shades that were able to suite a majority of her products. We can all relate to how it feels when you try a brow product and it’s too ashy, warm, or just an odd color.

The brow struggle is real.

The price also seems fair for what’s being offered. Using ABH’s Brow Gel as a comparison reference point, ABH runs about $22 for 8.5 mL, where as TheBrowGal’s version  is $20 for 5.o mL. So you’re paying $2 less, but getting less product. I’d say the price here is comparable.

Good wand.

The bristles from the wand are also the same as I’ve seen on other clear brow gels. It’s a good, sturdy wand that does a fine job of combing the brow hairs into place.

I do like the formula of this brow gel. Like it says in the description, I’d say this gives a medium hold to the brows, which is enough to keep them in place without feeling like super glue. ABH’s is basically superglue for your brows, so if you don’t like how that feels, this might be a good alternative formula.

However, because it does give a medium hold I’d say this is more suited for people whose brows aren’t quite as full. I did find that after several hours wear, some of my more unruly hairs would be slipping out of place. This is something I don’t experience with ABH, which keeps things in place all day long. This didn’t bother me, but it is worth noting for those with harder to work with brows.

Great medium hold.

I do love how it felt lightweight on the brows and didn’t leave them feeling super stiff (the drawback of ABH). Also, this was very easy to remove with eye makeup remover. It didn’t take half my brow hairs with it.

Bottom line: This is a really promising introduction to a company that’s new to me. Comparable to the prices you’d pay at Sephora, TheBrowGal’s Brow Gel is a great clear gel option for those looking for a light to medium hold to help set their brows. Because it’s not a stronger hold, those with thicker brows may find that its holding power fades throughout the day. Still, this is absolutely a great product! I’d love to see more from this brand in the future.

If you’d like to subscribe to BoxyCharm, follow the link!

Ipsy Review: Smashbox X-Rated Mascara

One of the latest mascaras from Smashbox.

I have a love/hate relationship with Smashbox mascaras. Most of the time, I love the way they make my lashes look. However, I also hate how their high end formulas always end up flaking on my lower lashes.

Not a cute look.

Still, every brand has mascaras that I love and hate, so I always hold out hope that one day Smashbox will put out something I can get behind. In all honesty, until recently, I had yet to find a high end mascara that didn’t give me this flaking problem. One of the major reasons I swear by CoverGirl Clump Crusher is because I know it won’t leave me with raccoon eyes courtesy of mascara flakes at the end of the day. Plus, its drugstore price is hard to beat.

So for me to get behind any mascara over $15, it’s gotta give me great performance and no flaking.

This past spring, Smashbox released the latest in their mascara lines: the X-Rated Mascara  (USD $22.00, full size). Ipsy subscribers got a deluxe sample in their May bags. The full size comes in a twisted tube that looks like an infinite X. Definitely some cool packaging.

The formula, aptly named X rated, is suppose to give you an “obscene” amount of volume. I like volumizing mascaras, but the more “extreme” ones aren’t my favorite since they tend to be clumpier than I like. (There’s a reason I like that CoverGirl mascara and it’s in the name.) But I can definitely appreciate why people like these clumpier formulas. They can translate to some really cool lash looks.

The design of the wand is suppose to be key to this formula.

In its description, Smashbox focuses on how the wand gives you the perfect amount of product application that separates and lifts so you don’t need to dip the wand back in the tube multiple times. The result is suppose to be an extreme, voluminous look.

The wand is well made and is of the bristle variety. Personally, I prefer a rubber wand, but I’ve used mascaras in the past with bristles that I enjoyed. Bristles are more ideal for building volume, as it deposits more product on the lashes. This wand did, in fact, make application pretty easy. I had enough on the bristles to get one coat on each eye and it was able to apply on all of my lashes, including those closer to the inner corner.

Pretty lashes, but where’s the extreme volume?

I was expecting a whole lot of clumpy volume with the claims being made. The results? As you can see, it’s a pretty lash effect, but I’m not really getting a ton of volume.

Naturally, I have pretty full and long lashes (thanks, genetics!). What you’re seeing here is basically my lash with a little more lift. It’s a pretty look, but much more on the natural side than what I was anticipating. Frankly, I fail to see what’s so extreme about the mascara.

I was going to keep using it, but on the first day of wear I already had signs of flaking, something this mascara claims it doesn’t do. I gave it a week of wear before I got annoyed with the flaking and decided to stop using it.

Bottom Line: Unfortunately, Smashbox’s X-Rated Mascara fails to live up to its name. You do get pretty, lifted lashes with just one coat. However, there isn’t enough drama in this volumizing mascara. On top of which, this formula still flaked and left me with raccoon eyes. For $22, it’s a bit of a disappointment.

If you’d like to subscribe to Ipsy, follow the link!

(Belated) September Beauty Subscriptions

Oh my goodness. Please excuse my long absence! It’s been an insane few weeks, with classwork, vacation, and a bachelorette party getting in the way of my blogging.

While I was away, I got all of my beauty subscriptions for September. Y’all, September was a really great month. I think September may have even beaten March (the best month of 2016) or is a very close second.

Let’s see what I got.

Birch box’s September offerings.

September is normally a great month for Birchbox because it’s their anniversary and, therefore, customer appreciation month. This year, however, wasn’t the best.

First, we’re coming off of Birchbox announcing they’re getting rid of their beloved reviews for reward points system. That’s still left a sour taste in a lot of people’s mouths, and honestly I’m not completely over it. #NeverGonnaBeOverIt. On top of that, the Customer Appreciation Day sale was nowhere near as good as years past.

I wasn’t a big fan of this month’s pre curated box. Instead, I opted for a sample choice and four other surprise samples.

  • Milk Makeup Highlighter in Lit. This is the sample I chose, and I’m glad I did! I had a meh impression of Milk when it first launched at Birchbox, as they sent the tiniest lipstick sample known to man. This sample, though, is a great size that will last you a long time.
  • LOC Ultra Glossy Lip Pencil in Cherry Bomb. I love getting samples for Birchbox’s LOC brand, but I’m not so sure about this one. 1) It’s a very bright red. 2) It has an ultra glossy finish. I like wearing reds, but do not like them in glossy finishes. I much prefer a matte to counteract the brightness of the color.
  • Bioderma Sensibio H20. I already love Bioderma and was stoked to get a sample. I was thinking it would be a travel size bottle. However, I got a super dinky, plastic container much like the ones from single use eye drops. Which broke in transit. Not cool, Birchbox.
  • Avene Thermal Water. Ok, y’all. This is just thermal water in a spray bottle. I’m probably not going to bother reviewing this because there’s not much to review. In my experience, this is a great thing to drop in your purse if you’re going to be in the heat for a long time or working out. It does refresh the face. But it’s just water. There aren’t too many benefits to be had here. (For the best water benefits, DRINK IT.)
  • R+Co ANALOG Cleansing Foam Conditioner. Mmm, I’m not really in the market for a new conditioner, but I do like what I’ve tried from R+Co in the past. Plus, I’ve never tried a foaming conditioner. So none the less, it’ll be interesting.

Overall, an ok box from Birchbox. There are some great sample sizes, but I’m still bitter over the dinky, broken BioDerma sample.

The September Glam Bag

In September, Ipsy always does a theme around Fashion Week. The bag has models in poses that spell out Ipsy. Not my favorite bag design, but still a cute concept. But seriously, we’re all here for what’s inside the bag.

Ipsy was definitely better than Birchbox, on first impression. My bag this month was more makeup heavy, with two skincare items. I do like it when my bags have more makeup. Here’s what I got:

  • Dirty Little Secrets Cosmetic Eyeshadow in Tease. I have a feeling this brand is going to pop up in more makeup subscriptions, as it was also in August’s Boxycharm. There, I got their liquid lipstick, which I will be reviewing. Spoiler alert: I wasn’t very impressed. However, I’m always down for a peachy toned eyeshadow, so I’m excited to see if their eye makeup formula is better than their liquid lipstick.
  • Too Faced Lip Injection Extreme. Not gonna lie, I’m a little terrified of this. I remember ten years ago trying a lip plumping product and ending up with a stinging mouth and a red ring around my lips. Not cute. I’ve heard this formula isn’t as bad as others, but it’s still a lip plumper that works by causing skin irritation. I’ll give it a go and report back.
  • Nuxe Moisturizing Mask Crème Fraîche de Beauté. Nuxe is one of those high end skincare brands I want to love, but haven’t been able to because of the heavy fragrance they put in all of their products. I’m a wee bit more forgiving of fragrance in wash-off masks, but already I’m a little skeptical.
  • Seraphine Botanicals Guava Butter Lip & Cheek Cream. Back in my “no makeup” phase, a creamy lip and cheek stain would have been right up my ally. These days, I definitely prefer keeping my lip and cheek products separate and opt for powder blushes over cream or liquid. Still, I love trying these out to see what I can recommend to those looking for very light, natural looking makeup.
  • BeFine Food Skin Care Exfoliating Cleanser. Since I saw that Marcelle has discontinued their old formula of their Hydra-C Exfoliating cleanser, I have been on the hunt for a replacement. I’ve found out that they’ve come out with a new formula, which I’ve ordered, but I don’t know if I’ll like it. So these cleanser samples have really been coming in handy to see if I can find a suitable alternative in case the new formula doesn’t work out. I like natural based cleansers, so I’m excited to give this a go.

All in all, a good Ipsy. I’m excited about that peachy shadow and the cleanser, and the other products are also solid (even the scary lip plumper).

September’s Boxycharm.

I’m not really sure why Boxycharm continues with these random themes that don’t really seem to apply to the products inside. This month’s theme was “Glamping” (glamorous camping). Not really sure what these makeup products have to do with bougie camping, but alright.

Regardless of the random theme, I was very excited about the majority of this box. It’s been the best I’ve seen in a while.

  • Hikari Cosmetics Eye Liner. We’ve reached that point in the year where I’m sick of receiving eyeliner. I have this organizational thing where I can’t stand having multiple mascaras and eyeliners of the same color and formula open at the same time. I’ve tried a lipgloss from Hikari in the past (too sticky, IMO), so it’ll be interesting to revisit this brand. I think this is a good combo with the eyeshadow palette in the box, especially for subscribers who are just starting to build their makeup collection. It’s just going to be a while before I get around to trying this black eyeliner.
  • Studio Makeup On-The-Go Palette. This is the star of this month’s box. The YouTube beauty gurus have been hyping this eye palette up so much, it’s piqued my curiosity. At first glance, I can see that this looks like a possible dupe to the Kylie Cosmetics eyeshadow palette. More obtainable and in a subscription box? That’s pretty exciting. The colors are great neutrals that are right up my alley, so I’m very happy to get this in a box.
  • PÜR Cosmetics Lip Lure. I love PÜR and am always more than happy when we get one of their products in subscription boxes. I’m also a lip product junkie, so a lip color from this brand speaks to me. I got the color Belle, which is a pinky nude. When I got my box, I was very tan from a late summer beach trip and the shade was too light for me. But now my tan isn’t as intense and I think I’ll be able to make the color work as my skin lightens.
  • butterLONDON Trend Nail Lacquer in Yummy Mummy. Polishes from this brand are very pricey, but also some of my favorite. This color is absolutely PERFECT and so on trend for the fall. When I get nail products, this is what I like seeing in my subscriptions: season appropriate shades that are on trend, not throwaway colors you can find in the discount session. I’m in love!
  • Project Beauty Hairgurt – Smoothing Yogurt Hair Masque. This is the one product that kind of felt like a throw away. It’s a hair conditioning mask you could probably find in your drug store. I love a good hair mask, but I’m also loving what I’m currently using, so I’ve kind of reached my limit with hair masks in subscription boxes. This will probably get one use for reviews, but then will be passed on to someone else.

Aside from the hair mask and eyeliner, this was a phenomenal box. Not quite as amazing as that March box, but still pretty up there. Boxycharm was definitely the winning beauty subscription in September.

September’s Sephora Play!

Last, we have Sephora Play! The best part about this subscription is that you can easily find all of these mainstream brands in September. Sephora’s theme (which actually goes with the products — take note, Boxycharm) is all about the basics in beauty. There are some truly fantastic samples:

  • SEPHORA Collection Rouge Shine Lipstick. I like getting samples from Sephora’s brand, because I feel like I don’t hear or know enough about it. Their eyeliners are some of my favorite, and we did get a decent sample size of it last month. But keeping it real, this is a super dinky lip color sample. The packaging itself makes it look like it might be a good size, but when you twist up the lipstick it’s so tiny! The color is somewhat pretty, but it might be too light for my complexion. I do wish Sephora would take our skin tones more into account when picking samples.
  • Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Gel. I’m already a huge fan of this clear brow gel (my holy grail), but I’m so glad I’ll be able to review it for you guys! The sample is incredibly generous and will last you at least two months before you’ll need to pick up the full size. This is a great makeup basic everyone should have in their collection.
  • Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper. After bitching about too much eyeliner earlier, I’m a little more excited to try this one. Kat Von D’s Tattoo Liner is a lot of people’s holy grail. My black pen eyeliner just so happens to be running low, so I don’t mind replacing it with this sample to see if it’s worth the hype.
  • Ole Henrik Sheer Transformation. This is an oil-free moisturizer (great for combo/oily skin) that is suppose to include AHA exfoliants to brighten the skin tone. I’m running low on my day time moisturizer, so I’ll be glad to include this in my daytime routine and give it a try.
  • Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Overnight Cap. I’ve tried this in the past and have enjoyed it. I don’t really see this overnight conditioning treatment as an “essential” (you can also just use a hair oil), but I can vouch that this is a solid product for people to try. The sample size is also very generous.
  • Atelier Cologne Sud Magnolia. The fragrance sample this month is absolutely divine! The notes are magnolia, bitter orange, and cedar would. It’s citrusy without being overpowering and I’m thoroughly enjoying the bottle. The only thing keeping me from purchasing this is just how pricey Atelier is! But this might be on my Christmas wishlist.

Phenomenal job, Sephora. This is a great way to introduce makeup newbies to basics they should have in their collection and more seasoned user to different brands and products.

While not the most impressive month, I really enjoyed most of what I got in September. I’m hoping October will be even better. The mailing notifications have started to come in, so I’ll be back soon with another monthly first impressions post soon.

Metallic Cranberry Eyes & Deep Lips


img_4255It’s still 80 degrees, but still gonna rock a blown out metallic cranberry eye and deep berry lips.


Eyes: Makeup by Mario x Anastasia Beverly Hills Master Palette
🍂 Base: Isabel
🍂 Crease: Violeta
🍂 Lid: Muse + Kim
🍂 Inner Corner: Hollywood
🍂ColourPop Ultra Matte Lip + Liner: Rooch
🍂Jouer Cosmetics Lip Topper: Tan Lines


Sorry I’ve been so abscent! Work, school, vacation, and a bachelorette party have been keeping me away from the blog, but I’ll be back with product reviews and more makeup looks soon!