Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick

Another treasure in the beauty community.

Stila was offering matte liquid lipsticks way before they went viral in the beauty community. These days, every brand is offering their take on the trend made popular by Kylie Jenner.

Personally, I love a good matte lipstick. I also enjoy the occasional liquid lipstick, though I’m more picky about the formulas I go for. My first introduction to liquid lipsticks was also through Stila (and Birchbox), but this is before they were truly popular and I didn’t understand how they worked. This was also back when the shades offered were much brighter. I received a color that ended up looking clownish orange. Needless to say, I was not impressed.

Luckily, I didn’t give up on liquid lipsticks and got to try many more formulas and colors. Now, given the right formula and shade, I love them. Stila’s Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick (USD $24.00, full size) is very well known in the beauty community. The formula is one that people either rave about or don’t like at all.

I got to give Stila a second chance when the shade Patina was included in a Birchbox. Patina is a cult favorite dusty rose shade that you can find all over Instagram and YouTube. I can see why. It’s just muted enough to be a good neutral without washing out the skin. The dusty rose shade is a bit pinker on tan and deep complexions, yet still works wonderfully.

Ah, last year’s summer tan. How I miss it so.

I have nothing bad to say about this shade. The color payoff is wonderful and I got full opacity with just one stroke. I don’t think that’s constant across all shades (you tend to get more patchiness with the lighter and darker colors), but there were no streaks in this neutral.

This is an especially great shade if you want to wear an on trend muted color, but don’t want to venture into the concealer colored nudes or the more cool toned gray/taupe shades. It’s safe, but not boring.

Yes, yes. I admit the hype around this color is real.

Now as for the formula. There are some very polarizing views. Some people say that it’s one of the best formulas out there. Others say it’s way too drying. I’m somewhere in the middle.

Whether you like this formula is going to depend on what you want out of a liquid lipstick. This is not the thinnest, drying formula I’ve ever tried. While thinner in comparison to OFRA or Lonely Planet (which are more mousse like), it’s still whipped enough that I don’t cringe when I put it on. Now, because it’s slightly thinner it’s not going to be as moisturizing or comfortable as the more mousse like liquid lipstick.

That being said, Stila’s formula wore really comfortably on me for about 6 hours. I’d say it’s a step above the Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in comfort.

Because it was a little thinner, it had a bit more staying power and did fade quite nicely. Of course, after several hours of wear I started noticing some breaking down around the inside of the lip. I personally prefer fully removing a liquid lip and applying a new coat versus layering. But I did try to layer in the areas that had faded and it did apply well. There was bit of residue, but nothing I couldn’t brush out once the new coat had dried.

So while this isn’t my favorite liquid lipstick formula (that title belongs to both Smashbox and Lonely Planet), it’s still solid.

Bottom line: If you’re looking for a true powder matte finish, but need something with a bit more comfort, I would try out Stila’s liquid lipstick. Though it doesn’t have the same staying power as the more drying formulas, the finish is beautiful and will feel better on the lips while still lasting a good bit. You can layer it as it fades, though I don’t recommend doing this with any liquid lipstick. And yes, Patina is just as beautiful a shade as everyone claims it is. It’s one of those nudes that’s going to be extremely universal, from the fairest to richest complexion.

I received my sample through Birchbox*. If you’d like to sign up, you can do so here.

*Quick update on my Birchbox subscription. Just as I was contemplating saying good-bye Birchbox has offered another option. For and additional $7 per month for monthly subscriber and $6 for yearly subscribers, you can now get access to a “premium subscription”. What this means is (from Birchbox):

  • Monthly Category Choice: Select a product category you’d like to receive a sample from in your next box and/or a product category you’d like to exclude (i.e. “Send me a cleanser this month, skip the shampoo!”). The samples themselves will still be a surprise!
  • Beauty Fix-It Boxes: Choose from a selection of curated boxes filled with samples that address specific beauty needs (i.e. acne-prone skin or frizzy hair). Try out something you’ve had your eye on—or give a new trend a go! You can opt to receive one of these boxes instead of your personalized box.
  • Swap for Points: Opt to receive Birchbox Points in place of your Birchbox for that month. We’ll add your Points (matching the value of your monthly subscription payment) into your account on the 1st of the month.
  • Exclusive Shop Discounts: As part of the premium subscription you will get adiscount on the full size versions of the samples you receive so you can save on new and familiar favorites.
  • Fast Track to ACE status: Your monthly subscription counts towards your dollars spent towards ACE status, so you’ll get there quicker with a premium subscription.

Very interesting. Also, I didn’t know they had taken away having the subscription count towards ACE status in the regular subscriptions. Way to be shady again, Birchbox. I’m intrigued by what they’re offering. I’ve already switched my subscription from yearly to monthly, so I’ll have to shell out the extra money. However, I’m willing to see if this makes the boxes any better. But at $17 a month, this is getting into Boxycharm price territory. And they at least offer full sized products. Plus, Sephora keeps their box at $10 (plus tax) and still counts what you spend on Play towards rewards points/VIB status. We’ll have to see just how this plays out.

In all honesty, unless Birchbox starts offering more sample variety and brings back some form of their reviews for reward points system, I’m not really seeing how this will be enough to tempt people into coming back.


Too Faced Cult Classics:Hangover Rx Primer and Better Than Sex Mascara

One of the biggest complaints about subscription services is that a lot of the makeup included comes from the lesser known brands. However, it’s been a good 5 years since the first subscription services launched and well known favorites have been finding their way into monthly boxes and bags. Ipsy has been partnering quite a bit with Too Faced, which has let me try two tried and true cult favorites: The Hangover Rx Primer and the Better than Sex Mascara.

Here are my thoughts.

The Hangover Rx Primer is well loved amongst the most famous beauty gurus.

Like many online beauty enthusiasts I first heard about this makeup primer from Kathleen Lights. She sold us hard on why this primer was the best thing since sliced bread. Hearing from one of the queens for YouTube beauty space (and one of my personal favorites), I’ve had this on my radar as something to try. But since this is high end makeup, I’m always hesitant to invest in the full size based off of hype.

The Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Facial Primer (USD $32.00, full size for 1.35 oz), is described as a makeup primer “that’s infused with coconut water, a probiotic-based ingredient, and skin revivers which work together to boost skin’s radiance, promote elasticity, and help hydrate while locking down makeup for fresher, longer, and more flawless wear.” Reading between the lines, this is a hydrating primer that’s great for dry skin that needs the extra plumping.

While I’m all for plumping and firming primers, I have to be careful with hydrating primers. As someone with normal/combination skins, more emollient primers can leave my skin feeling too tacky and give me a look that’s too dewy for my taste. I’m all for a natural finish, but there’s dewy and then there’s just plain greasy.

Minus the small amount of fragrance, I’m a huge fan of the ingredients. We’ve got some real winners for keeping the skin hydrated, such as coconut water and olive oil extract. Do be careful and read the ingredients to make sure there’s not anything you’re allergic to. Because of the fragrance in there, those with very sensitive skin should also be cautious. It didn’t cause an adverse reaction on my skin, but always best to play it safe.

In the end, this primer was a wee bit too hydrating for my skin type. It ended up feeling and sitting on my skin more like a moisturizer than a makeup primer. While I didn’t get a bad tacky sensation, I need something that’s a bit more mattifying. In the end, I wasn’t a huge fan of how my makeup sat on my skin.

That’s not to say it’s a bad product. I can see how this could be wonderful for those with dry skin and fine lines. But if you have any oily spots, you may want to pass on this one. If you have dry/oily combination skin, you could probably use this in conjunction with a more matte primer on your oily zones, especially if your dry patches need that hydration boost.

Bottom Line: A true hydrating primer that those with dry skin will love, but are best avoided by those with normal to oily skin. Sensitive skin people need to double check the ingredients to make sure there are no irritants or allergens.

But is it better than sex?

Practically every beauty guru and their mother swear by the Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara (USD $23.00, full size). After trying it out for a few months I can see why they praise it.

On the plus, this is one of the most beautiful volumizing mascaras I’ve ever used. It gives just enough clump without looking like a huge mess. And if you already have a generous amount of lashes like me, you’re going to look like you have a great set of falsies on.

As beautiful of a finish as it has, there is one big negative that I cannot get past. This flakes and smudges like nobody’s business, especially on the lower lash line. Because it’s a clumpier mascara the formula is a little drier. I didn’t have much of a flaking problem when the tube was freshly open, but as the weeks went on there was more and more.

I’d even give the flaking a pass if it weren’t for the smudging problem. I get that a lot of people will buy a separate lower lash line mascara, but if I’m going to be paying more that $20 for a mascara, I don’t see why I’d have to purchase yet another mascara. I want something that can get the job done at that price point.

Now, there is a waterproof version, but some reviews I’ve seen on this says that the smudging and flaking problem still persists.

Bottom Line: While I love the gorgeous voluminous finish, I cannot get over the smudge factor enough to invest in a full size tube. I’ll happily use up any free travel sizes I receive in the future, but I’ll make sure to pair them up with a mascara I know won’t smudge on the lower lash line.

I got to try both of these Too Faced samples through my Ipsy subscription, so if you’d like to try them out you can sign up here.

January 2017 Beauty Subscriptions

Posting this a little late, but my subscriptions didn’t trickle in until the end of the month.

It’s a new year and we have 12 months of beauty subscriptions to look forward to! And these days, I could use as many little joys as I can get. January isn’t always the most exciting month for subscriptions. I feel like companies are tired from the holiday offerings, so January can be a little lack luster. I try not to set my expectations too high.

True to form, January’s beauty samples were a mix of good and ok. Though, there were some that surprised me.

A good mix from Birchbox.

Man, the box is super cute this month. It helps that I’m a yoga and workout enthusiast. I’ll definitely be hanging on to this one. The contents of the box were a mix.

  • Juliette Has a Gun Mmm…: “Mmm…” is right. Yet another perfume sample that I hate. The scent is just way too sweet and sickly for my taste. Birchbox does a pretty terrible job of picking perfume samples. They also feel like such a waste of a sample, since I almost never use them. I have my profile set to limit my perfume samples to five times a year, though I wish I could opt out of them all together.
  • R+Co OBLIVION Clarifying Gel and Restorative Conditioner: I don’t mind shampoo samples in my boxes, and I love clarifying shampoo as I’m a heavy texturizing spray and dry shampoo user. I need something to get all the residue out of my hair when I finally wash it, so I can really appreciate this sample. I know the conditioner is in there as a bonus sample, but I wish I either wouldn’t get it at all (I prefer using hair masks) or getting it in a non foil packet. Even a smaller bottle would be better.
  • ARROW ENDURE Waterproof Mascara: I was about to roll my eyes at a mascara sample, but this one was really generous. Plus, (spoiler alert) the formula of this mascara pleasantly surprised me.
  • Sunday Riley Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment: This is the sample I picked out, and I’m really happy with my choice. Sunday Riley is a really expensive brand with a great reputation. I’ve been wanting to incorporate some of their products into my skincare, but they come with a hefty price tag. Good Genes alone is $105 for the full size. Of course, the sample size is super tiny, but you don’t need to use much of this.
  • Avene Soothing Moisture Mask: I want to like Avene products because they mesh well with my skin. But….that mineral oil and fragrance in the ingredients keeps me from doing so. Yet again, like in their other Hydrance line products, this has both of these offenders. It’s really too bad.

Overall, three products I want to try, one that I want to like but already know I hate the ingredients, and one that’s a complete throwaway. Three out of five isn’t bad, but in my opinion 90% of the samples should be good to justify a $10 subscription.

My Birchbox subscription is up for renewal in March, and I’m still on the fence about quitting. I’ve been with them so long and the loyalty is holding me back from cutting ties. But then again, the sample offerings haven’t been as varied or good as the other subscription services. At this point, especially after getting my January Box, I’m leaning towards changing my subscription to a monthly payment basis and seeing where they go. If the boxes don’t pick up, I’ll cancel.

Still, if Birchbox seems to speak to you, you can subscribe here.

Ipsy’s starting off the year strong.

The bag itself wasn’t anything super exciting, which is too bad because there were some super cute bags last year. Still, the bags aren’t always eye pleasers. This one isn’t ugly, but I’ll probably be passing it on.

Now, the samples are another story.

  • Sally’s Box Loverecipe AcaiBerry and Aloe Masks: I love trying sheet masks, especially those from K-Beauty brands. Ipsy is always generous about including two sheet masks whenever they put it in a bag. Aloe masks have actually become some of my favorite for their anti inflammatory properties. I cannot wait to try these.
  • Manna Kadar Paradise Blush: I love Manna Kadar, and this blush is a beautiful warm tone that I’ve really been favoring in my blushes these days. The sample is generous, but  packaging was hell to open. I finally figured it out, but geez! They definitely need to choose better packaging.
  • SLMissGlam Blend Beauty Brush L34: You know I love my brushes in subscriptions! SLMissGlam is the newest in trending internet brands on Youtube, so I’m glad Ipsy is giving us a chance to sample the brand. This is the second brush I’ve gotten from the brand and so far I’m really enjoying them.
  • TEMPTU Base Smooth and Matte Primer: I’m not a fan of receiving Temptu samples, because their makeup is made to work with an airbrush. So while you can absolutely use their makeup on its own, it’s kind of a bummer because you can’t test it to its full effect. Also, this is a dimethicone based primer, which I don’t like to use all over the face because I inevitably get blackheads and small breakouts. Though I have discovered that using a little in my under eye area keeps my concealer from creasing. I’ll find a use for this.
  • Naked Cosmetics Mica Pigment in Desert Sunset: Loose eyeshadow pigments aren’t my favorite because of how messy they can get. The pro is that they tend to be more vividly pigmented than pressed shadows. This is great for makeup artists, but personally I’d rather sacrifice a little color impact for the convenience of a pressed shadow. Still, this shimmery light gold shade is really stunning and I will definitely play with it.

While not my favorite Ipsy bag (January’s never is), there are some great things in here. I love the two sheet masks, the blush, and adding another brush to my ever growing collection. I would have passed on the primer.

If you’d like to sign up for Ipsy, you can do so here.

Even Sephora succumbed to the “meh” January trend.

Play! by Sephora is still, hands down, my favorite $10 subscription box. While this month was good, it definitely wasn’t as good as prior months. I do like that they changed the bag’s appearance and material to reflect the fitness theme for the month.

  • Tory Burch Love Relentlessly: Sephora always includes a sixth fragrance sample. Where is mine pictured? Well, mine arrived shattered. I’m not mad at this, as it was just a perfume sample and a scent that isn’t my favorite. Still, it’s always a bummer when a sample is lost in transit. I didn’t ask for a replacement because it was the fragrance sample, so I haven’t had to contact customer service yet.
  • Tarte FRXXTION Stick Exfoliating Cleanser: While Tarte’s makeup offerings haven’t been impressing me, I have really been enjoying the Maracuja Oil sample I got in a subscription box and am happy to try something else from their skincare line. I’m a huge fan of exfoliators, since I use them at least twice a week.
  • Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey: This is one of those “color changing” lipsticks that has light coverage. I personally prefer a fully pigmented lipstick, but I’ll give it a try. Plus, I’ve been wanting to try out something from Clinique’s honey collection.
  • Farmacy Honey Potion Renewing Mask Antioxidant Mask: I love a good mask! I’ve actually been eyeing a value kit from this line, so I’m glad I get to try one of the products before deciding to purchase the kit.
  • OUAI Treatment Mask: I’ve been loving everything I’ve tried from the OUAI line, so this was a welcomed addition to my bathroom counter. I’ve basically forgone conditioner in favor of hair masks since I only wash my hair twice a week.
  • Amore Pacific Color Control Cushion Compact: This is the sample I’m not in love with. When I saw I was getting a cushion foundation compact, I was really hoping it would be a mini cushion compact. Instead, it’s two single use pods with mini saturated cushions and one application sponge. That’s disappointing. I would much rather have a mini compact. Kind of a throwaway, which I’ve never really gotten from Sephora, but oh well!

No referrals for Sephora Play. You’ll need to sign up for the wait list and see if they’re available in your area.

Boxycharm wins January!

And now for the $21 subscription. Boxycharm did an extraordinary job in January. While there was one product in the box that disappointed, overall this is an impressive job for what is usually a lackluster month. And yet again, they actually matched the products to this month’s theme of awards season! All of these products are perfect for being “red carpet ready”. I hope Boxycharm keeps this up!

  • Gorge Konjac Sponge: I’ve been dying to try this exfoliating sponge! My sister use to swear by it before she invested in a Foreo Luna 2. I do need some light exfoliation at the end of the day to keep my skin clear, and a facial sponge seems like a good option. I didn’t see this in any of the online spoilers, so I was happy to see it in my box!
  • So Susan Fan Brush: With a highlight in the box, it was perfect to pair it with a fan brush. While fan brushes aren’t my favorite way to apply highlight, I do like using them when I want a certain level of intensity. Absolutely perfect.
  • PUR Mineral Glow Bronzer. I love PUR cosmetics. Their bronzer was one of my OG favorites when I was in my “no makeup” makeup phase back in the day. I’m happy to see it again!
  • Vintage Highlighter Double: We got a warmer/peachier highlight from this line in a previous box. While the formula is a bit more sparkly than I like, it’s still a really good highlight. It was great to get two more cool toned shades from this line. I actually prefer to wear cooler tones in the winter.
  • English Laundry Pour Femme Deluxe Roller Ball: You guessed it. This was the dud product in the box. This perfume is too sweet and too mature at the same time. Not a good combination. It will definitely be passed on to someone who enjoys this more.

Despite the dud fragrance, I loved everything else in the box. Granted, this is just a first impression, but Boxycharm did a great job.

If you’d like to subscribe to Boxycharm, you can sign up here.

Boxycharm aside, January was an ok start to 2017. There are definitely some great samples in the mix, but there are just enough duds to take down my excitement a couple of notches. Hopefully, things will start picking up in February. (Though really, they don’t until March.)