Aloette Aloepure Time Repair Serum: An (Almost) Ideal Product

img_4024
I really want to love you, but…

I’m almost never on board with getting full sized skincare items in box subscriptions since they can be very hit or miss. If they’re a miss, I almost feel obligated to go through them all.

Sometimes, I’ll get something I absolutely love, but there’s an ingredient in there that keeps me from reinvesting in it. This is one of those cases.

Boxycharm included this Time Repair Serum (USD $48.00, full size), now known as the Time Repair Anti-Wrinkle Serum in one of our boxes. When I first looked into the product, I really loved what I was hearing. This is a company that basis its products in the properties of Aloe Vera leaf. I love using aloe vera in my nighttime skincare routine, since it acts as a hydrator and a natural antiseptic for the skin (aka, it’s a gentle way of preventing breakouts). Plus, it has a lot more beneficial properties that make it an excellent skincare ingredient.

Additionally, this serum kind of acts as your all in one. It has both AHA and BHA (salicylic acid) exfoliants, which are great for getting off all remnants of dead skin cells and residue that contribute to cellular breakdown and breakouts. It also has lemon extract, another great astringent, as well as lactic acid and rice bran extract, all great exfoliators.

And you know what? This worked beautifully as a serum. My skin did look fresher as I used it. I liked it enough that I also used up my sister’s bottle, which she was looking to pass on. So that was roughly six months that I had using this product.

When I finally scraped out the last of the serum, I started looking into buying it. That’s how much I liked it.

Here I was totally ready to purchase this when I took a deeper look at the ingredients. Everything was great until I found the number one offender in skincare.

Fragrance.

Yes, it’s near the bottom of the ingredient list, but why on earth would I spend almost $50 on great skincare ingredients when they also come with one of the most sneakily damaging ingredients?

This was about to be a real winner, especially for people who want to invest in good skin exfoliants, but can’t afford to buy a mix of Sunday Riley and Drunk Elephant products. You get all that you really need from one product.

But with fragrance included, I just can’t get on board.

Verdict: If Aloette were to get rid of the fragrance in their formula, this could be a huge winner for affordable skincare. It may not seem so with the $48 price point, but this serum is packed with a lot of ingredients that would cover you on almost all basis when it comes to exfoliants. (I would just suggest adding benzoyl peroxide if you’re very acne prone.) But until they get rid of that pesky ingredient, I sadly won’t be purchasing this.

Advertisements

March 2017 Boxycharm!

IMG_4792
Boxycharm is on a roll!

It’s time to unbox my favorite beauty subscription! Boxycharm has been setting the bar high for 2017 from the get go. January: amazing. February: even better. March couldn’t possibly be as good.

Oh, just you wait.

I was excited for March from the first sneak peak. (Are you one of those people who needs the sneak peaks? I’m so nosy and love how My Subscription Addiction gives out spoilers.) The theme for this month is Creepy Cute. Boxycharm has finally had themes that correlate with the items in the box. However, this box didn’t exactly have items I would associate with “Creepy Cute”. I think more pastels or outlandish and adventurous colors or bolder choices in makeup items. Aside from one item, this isn’t exactly what was in the box. Still, it was a pretty beautiful selection.

Let’s take a look.

IMG_4791
A palette for someone building up their bolder colors.

Naked Cosmetics Urban Rustic Trio Pressed Eyeshadow Palette (USD $39.99)

Naked Cosmetics is really making a comeback in the beauty space. Their pigments use to be the hype of YouTube back in the old days, and now they’re creeping back into subscription boxes.

And I’m not mad. Their loose pigments are really great. These pressed pigment colors look really great on first impression. Granted, you can’t really use these together, but I think they’re meant to be complemented by a matte, neutral palette or colors. I do think these colors are great for people just dipping their toes into non neutral colors. You have an olive green, a rusty orange, and a reddish purple, all with a metallic/shimmery finish.

I think this palette may put off some people, but for a makeup enthusiast like me, I love getting something so exciting, yet wearable, to add to my collection.

IMG_4790
An interesting tool I’ve been dying to try.

Crown Brush SS023 Deluxe Fan Brush (USD $18.99)

You know how much I love my beauty tools! And a complexion one? YES.

I’ve seen this jumbo kabuki style fan brush floating around the internet and have been intrigued. While I like using more precise brushes for highlight (I only use traditional fan brushes for really strong formulas), I think it could be great for applying and blending contour and bronzer.

Crown brushes aren’t my favorite in quality, but this one appears to be made well with soft bristles.

IMG_4789
A cult classic.

Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer (USD $16.00, travel size)

This is the OG dimethicone pore filling primer. This stuff is really good, though like any pore filling primer, I have to use it sparingly or I start getting small breakouts. Still, I’ve used it many times in the past and it’s a really great smoothing primer. I’m glad to have this deluxe size back in my collection. It will definitely get used.

IMG_4788
And even more, beautiful neutral lip colors.

Real Her Lady Love Matte Liquid Lipstick (USD $15.00) and Expert Advice Lip Liner (USD $12.50)

I really loved the traditional lipstick from Real Her I got in last month’s Boxycharm. So I was super stoked to see more lip products from this brand in March’s box. I received a set in nude colors, which are gorgeous. The liner will absolutely work on my skin tone, but I’m a little scared that the liquid lipstick will be too light on its own. However, I think blending it with the liner will make it more wearable on me. Still, I’m so excited to see Boxycharm actually offering nude and neutral lip shades!

Over all, Boxycharm continues to prove itself to be one of the best beauty subscription services currently on the market. I’m so excited for each item! Not a single one is a throwaway.

Also, I’ve noticed on Boxycharm’s website that they’ve added a profile quiz where you can tell them about your appearance and preferences. Hopefully, this will lead to better product and color matches for subscribers.

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

March 2017: Birchbox vs. Ipsy vs. Play! By Sephora

IMG_4760
These $10 subscriptions can be a lot of fun.

It’s time again for battle of the $10 subscription boxes! I’ve decided to change up my unboxings and try out this style. Boxycharm is really in a category all it’s own, since it’s twice the amount of these other subscriptions.

So were there any clear winners this month? Let’s find out!

IMG_4761
Contemplating whether Birchbox downgraded my boxes since I changed my subscription plan…

First up is the OG beauty box. Y’all know about my rollercoaster with Birchbox. The last two boxes got me hoping they were on the uptick. Unfortunately, it seems that it’s “a two steps forward, one step back” situation.

I wasn’t impressed with any of the sample choices or pre selected box for March. And,  yes, what I got were old, tired recycled samples and brands.

IMG_4762
I mean, it could be good for a new subscriber…

I do love that they did a collab with Reese Witherspoon’s company, Draper James. The box itself is absolutely adorable. The samples didn’t leave me excited, though.

IMG_4763
Cleansers, cleansers. I don’t really want you in my boxes.

Real Chemistry Fresh Start Foaming Cleanser (USD $24.00, full size)

I like what I’ve tried from Real Chemistry, but I’m not in the market for a new every day cleanser. I’ll probably keep this on hand for travel, but it’s a bit of a miss for me.

IMG_4764
A hair product I might use.

Beauty Protector Protect + Volume Spray (USD $23.50, full size)

I do like this brand, and volume is something I deal with, though mainly at the roots with second and third day hair. This could possibly fit into my routine, but I’m so overwhelmed with hair care products at the moment. It’s going to be a while before I can try this. Or maybe I’ll use it once and if it’s not impressive enough declutter it out of my collection.

IMG_4765
Please stop.

TOCCA Emelia Eau de Parfum (USD $72.00, full size)

Ah, how Birchbox loves throwing in perfume samples into non-pre selected boxes. This isn’t the worst I’ve gotten from Birchbox, but it’s nowhere near close to what my profile indicates I would like. A bit too fresh smelling, since I prefer warmer fragrances. It’s a waste of a sample on me.

IMG_4766
A repeat, but worse.

Coastal Scents Revealed Smoky Palette (USD $19.95, full size — and NOT a $40 value, as they claim)

Yes, Coastal Scents has come back to haunt me again. I decluttered this palette, which Boxycharm sent two years ago, out of my collection and now have two dinky shadow samples back in my possession. My beef with brands like Coastal Scents is that they just try to dupe high end brands instead of putting out unique palette. I don’t need a cheaper take on an Urban Decay Naked palette. Into the donation bin you go!

IMG_4781
A potential winner?

ARROW Enhance Waterproof Liner + Brightener (USD $16.00, full size)

This is what I picked for the box. I have other brightening nude liners in my collection, so I wasn’t excited when I picked it. However, now that I looked at it, I’m intrigued. My other nude liners are a very true nude, which does brighten my eyes but sometimes is too much of a stark contrast (aka, they give me the crazy eyes). I wonder if this more pinky formula would work better. Color me surprised, but I’m really interested in trying this out.

Verdict: Birchbox was a definite miss for me. This tends to happen in February/March, but this was particularly disappointing because of the improvement in my January and February boxes. I hope they do better, because if not I will nix by subscription.

Maybe you’re looking at my box and actually think it’s pretty great. Hey, why not give it a shot? If Birchbox appeals to you, you can sign up here.

Up next, is Ipsy.

IMG_4767
When you’re slightly more excited about the bag than the samples.

Ok, ok. That’s a bit of an exaggeration. But I am in love with this blush tone bag. It’s really cute for spring and the color is incredibly on trend. Plus, this is one of Ipsy’s bigger bags, so I’ll be able to stick a couple of more things in there when I travel.

The samples weren’t bad. I’m just not really enthused on first impression. If anything, I feel much better about this bag than I do what Birchbox sent.

IMG_4768
Great affordable brand. Not my favorite form of concealer.

City Color Photo Chic Dark Spot Corrector (USD $3.99, full size)

Ipsy got the tone of this color collector just right, since I wear peachy correctors on my tan complexion to even out dark spots (especially in the under eye area). City Color is one of my favorite affordable makeup brands. However, I just don’t like cream concealers that come in compacts. It gets way too messy and unsanitary.

I’ll be adding this to the donation bin.

IMG_4769
This poor company doesn’t have the most English language friendly name

Doucce Freematic Eyeshadow (USD $10.00, single or $35.00 if you build your own quad)

Doucce is one of those brands that you see all over the beauty subscription box market. I’ve tried some mascaras from them. Some I liked, others not so much. I’ve yet to try their eyeshadows, though. I was sent a wee single pan in the shade Marissa.

This is totally something I would wear. I also like that the pan is magnetized, so I can stick it in a magnetic palette. If the formula works out, this could be a great little addition to my eyeshadow collection!

IMG_4770
When you’re not so sure about that blush color.

OFRA Pressed Blush in Peach (USD $15.00, full size)

Man, do I love getting Ofra products in my bag. I’ve heard great things about their blushes, so I was pumped when I saw I was getting one. This peach shade looks incredibly pretty.

However…

I’m not sure if that tone will show up on me. If it has enough pigmentation, I think it’ll be fine. But with peachy shades, I need a saturated blush for it to work. Still, I’m a big fan of Ofra and am glad to at least try out the formula.

IMG_4771
My favorite type of skincare to get in subscriptions!

MUDMASKY Facial Detox Purifying Recovery Mask (USD $75.00*, full size)

*Wow, I did not see that high price tag coming!

I love getting masks for pampering in my subscription boxes. Of course, the majority of the time they don’t make any real difference, but they’re still fun to try. The ingredients look good for this mask, minus the inclusion of fragrance. I really don’t understand skincare brands’ desire to add so much fragrance to facial skincare. Body stuff, I get. But the skin on our face is so sensitive and the majority of the time we want ingredients that will fight inflammation and treat skin.

Anyway, this will still be fun to try.

IMG_4772
Tools in subscriptions are the way to my heart.

Elizabeth Mott Blending Brush (USD $15.00)

I can always use a blending brush, especially since I get lazy about cleaning my brushes. (Don’t worry, I do wash them. But it’s still such a pain in the ass.) This one from Elizabeth Mott is a nice, synthetic brush that’s soft and seems well made. I prefer synthetic brushes for the type of eyeshadow I use. I also love the aesthetic of the brush. The Tiffany Blue is a nice touch.

Verdict: Ipsy did a solid job. Again, this isn’t my favorite bag, but they’re still doing a good job of matching up products with my profile and feedback. In theory, all of these should be a hit with me, but there are some personal preferences that just don’t line up with a few of the samples. Still, I love the eyeshadow, brush, and the mask. Plus, this is probably the prettiest bag I’ve every gotten from Ipsy. It’s nice enough that you could probably get away with using it as a party clutch.

Ipsy really does get better with each feedback I give them. I think they’re doing a great job of offering a variety of samples so each month it really feels like you’re getting new things. Birchbox could learn a thing or two from Ipsy. If you want to try them out, you can sign up here.

Now, we have Play! by Sephora:

IMG_4773
Probably not your favorite box if you’re a fan of the matte look.

It was all about the glow over at Sephora this month. Personally, I love the theme because they’re showing how to achieve the radiant, glowy look without having to resort solely to glittery or shimmery highlighter.

I have to say, though, now that Sephora is doing box variations, I was a little disappointed with some of the products I received in my box. They’re not bad, but not as good as what was previewed for some boxes.

IMG_4774
You’ve got that multi purpose highlight.

Josie Maran Surreal Skin Argan Finishing Balm (USD $36.00, full size)

Apparently, this can be used as both an illuminating primer or a cream highlighter. I don’t think I would use this quite as an illuminating primer because Josie Maran’s products tend to be slightly too oily to go all over my skin. Still, I’ve been loving using cream highlighters lately under powder to boost the glow.

IMG_4775
And the priming, glowing moisturizer.

GLAMGLOW GLOWSTARTER Mega Illuminating Moisturizer in Nude Glow (USD $49.00, full size)

I haven’t had much luck with GlamGlow masks in the past (I just don’t see anything to justify the price), but maybe I’ll have better luck with this. I do love using an illuminating primer under matte foundation. The combination gives a beautiful finish to my skin without leaving me looking to oily. I’m excited to try this.

IMG_4776
Good cult classic, but…

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion (USD $20.00, full size)

This is where I give Sephora the side-eye. Yes, Urban Decay Primer Potion is a cult classic, which is great for makeup newbies to try. (Though personally, I prefer Milani’s formula.) But, the other option in box variations was a Bobbi Brown shadow stick.

I’d much rather get the Bobbi Brown product. This is the original formula, and not even one of the new primers that have come out. I just think if you’re going to offer this as an alternate to Bobbi Brown, at least make it one of the newer launches.

IMG_4777
Hair oil. I have so much of this.

VERB Ghost Oil (USD $14.00, full size)

Another hair oil to add to my growing stash. The other variation was a texturizing spray, which I go through like candy and would gladly welcome.

Yeah, I’ll probably go through this eventually. But now that there are box variations, I wish  there was a way to let Sephora know that there are certain products we’d prefer in out boxes.

Or just don’t do as many variations.

IMG_4778
And the traditional cream highlight.

Benefit Cosmetics Watts Up! (USD $30.00, full size)

I’ve never tried this highlighter, but I’ve heard good things. Stick highlighters aren’t my favorite, but maybe this cream to powder formula will be more in line with what I like.

 

IMG_4780
A nice, citrusy scent.

Atelier Cologne Clementine California (USD $75.00 for 1 oz.)

I really like what I’ve sampled from Atelier Cologne. It’s a pricey fragrance brand, but if you’re a citrus lover you should really take a look at what they have to offer.

This isn’t my absolute favorite of their citrus scents, but it still smells really good. It’s a great fragrance to include in the box as we hop into spring. Very season appropriate.

Verdict: Sephora did a great job with this theme, with the exception of the variations that don’t really act as good alternates to some of the products in the other boxes. Still, there are some really interesting products in here. Sephora continues to offer a strong beauty subscription.

Sign up for the waitlist as soon as it’s available in your area. This beauty subscription is absolutely worth it.

So out of the three, were there any clear winners this month?

Honestly, Birchbox was the worst but both Ipsy and Sephora were good, though not terribly exciting. If I had to pick one, I’d give it to Sephora this month for having a few more samples that I’m enthusiastic to have. Not really a stand out, but not a bad month for subscriptions either.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Eyebrow Gel: Worth It?

I’m really glad Play! By Sephora included this cult classic in one of the monthly boxes. People who are new to makeup may be asking themselves, “What’s the big deal with eyebrow gel?”

Well, as a gal with unruly brows, let me tell you that this can be your best friend, especially now that brows are so important and the bushy boy brow is all the rage.

img_4195
Such a simple product that’s a necessity, IMO

So really, what’s all the fuss about?

If you’re like me and your brows have a mind of their own, this is your new best friend. Yes, I understand that the fact that Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Gel runs $22.00 for the full size is off putting. But honestly, this stuff is like super glue for your brows without feeling like hairspray on the face.

Lately, I’ve been doing the bushy brow technique where I brush brow gel through my hairs in the reverse direction and then taking a brow brush to arrange the hairs that look out of place. It’s a great way to get the runway boy brow without looking crazy in real life. The ABH clear brow gel has been great for me, because it keeps my work in place through a full day, including 2 hours of working out. The rest of my makeup may be faded but at the end of the day my brow hairs are still in place.

Alright, I can admit that if you have very sparse brows that easily stay in place, this probably isn’t the product from you. I can safely say you can pass on this and be alright. You’re better off just investing in a tinted brow gel and some brow powder to get a polished, but full brow. You can find great brow products at both high end and more affordable prices (personally, I love Essie’s brow gel, if you need more cool toned shades).

I’ve been on the search, but I just can’t find an affordable alternative that does for me what ABH does. If I could I would, but for now I’d say this is a purchase worth your money. Plus, it lasts a really long time before it either dries out or gets gross.

Bottom line: Yes, it’s just a clear brow gel. Yes, you’re paying over $20. But honestly, if you have unruly brows that don’t stay in place, this is worth while.

Soft Pink Weekend Glam

Lately, I’ve been wearing a lot of warmer tones paired with nude lips. That makes for great, easy every day looks but I wanted to venture into my cooler toned shadows and pops of color.

I decided to go for pink toned shadows from the Lorac Pro palette blended with Bitten from Makeup Geek to bring in subtle red tones (yes, red compliments cool pinks beautifully). I also did a natural eyeliner look right against the top lashline and the outer corner of the bottom lashline.

img_4734
Red shadows can be applied carefully and blended to make a great daytime look.

All week, I’ve been sporting nudes and browns on the lips. Time for a pop of color.

img_4733
Also, I got a new haircut and am 100% in love.

Voila! Daytime friendly pinky/red eye look.

Face:
🌸 Maybelline Matte + Poreless Foundation in 238 Rich Tan (great for neutral toned medium tan skin!)
🌸 Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer
🌸 Benefit Hoola Bronzer
🌸 Studio Makeup Soft Blend Blush in Wildflower
🌸 Essence Pure Nude Highlighter

Eyes:
🌸 Lorac Pro Palette: Cream (brow bone), Light Pink (lid), & Mauve (outer crease)
🌸 Makeup Geek Bitten from February’s Boxcharm (crease and lower lashline)
🌸 Covergirl Clump Crusher Mascara

Lips:
🌸 ColourPop Ultra Matte Lip in Bad Habit + Lippie Pencil in Lyin’ King.

February 2017 Beauty Subscriptions!

Late again, but only because my Play! By Sephora box took so long to get here! I’ve been dying to talk about the February boxes for a few weeks now. Guys, it’s so good, which is so surprising because February usually sucks. Each subscription had a majority of products that I’m excited to try. Let’s get into it.

img_4704
Probably the best February Birchbox I’ve ever gotten.

Right when I’m ready to say good-bye I get sucked back in. While I did downgrade my subscription from year round to monthly, I am going to stick it out with Birchbox. From emails and surveys I’ve been getting from them, it looks like they’ve noticed the customer dissatisfaction with the changes (and shadiness) and are going to do something to address it. What exactly? I’m not sure. Plus, Birchbox is now carrying MAC cosmetics. I’d like to see what MAC samples pop up in our boxes.

Anyway, let’s look at what I got in February. I opted for the preselected box this round since there were more items I wanted to try.

  • Bumble & Bumble Repair Blow Dry. This is a styling cream that’s a throwaway sample for me. I love Bumble & Bumble but since I have short hair right now I avoid using a lot of styling cream to keep my hair from being weighed down. Still, I’ve used this in the past when I had longer hair and it’s an excellent product that does a good job of helping the hair to be styled and heat protected.
  • The Beauty Crop PBJ Smoothie Stick. Keeping it 100, this sample is why I went for the box. I was so bummed when last spring I was sent a color of this that was totally unwearable on my skin tone. This time around I got the shade Saucy Marsala, which is a beautiful brownish brick red — which is exactly how I like my red lipsticks. And it’s full sized. So pumped!
  • CLEAN Reserve Amber Saffron. You may notice this sample is missing. It’s because Birchbox failed and only sent me the cardboard holder of the perfume sample without the actual perfume. Of course, the fragrances are never my favorite, but I do like a lot of CLEAN’s scents and have been wanting to try this one for a while. Bummer, but at least Birchbox gifted me 50 reward points for the missing sample.
  • Acure Organics Purifying Fruit Peel. This was the second reason I went for the pre selected box. I love a lot of Acure’s skin treatments and this peel has been on my wishlist for a while.
  • Vasanti Eye Wonder 2.0 Super Powered Eye Cream with Ceramic Tip. Talk about a mouthful! Geez, what a name. Vasanti’s skincare isn’t my favorite (I much prefer their makeup tools), but I’m always down for trying a high end eye cream. I have yet to find one that tempts me away from my affordable and awesome Cerave Eye Cream.

Excited about three out of the five samples, I’m happy with this Birchbox. I’m also glad they replaced the missing samples with reward points that amount to $5 in their shop. It’s good customer service. The pre selected box for March wasn’t as exciting and had a lot of repeat products that I’ve already sampled, but here’s hoping their generator picks some good stuff at random.

If Birchbox seems like something you’d like to try, you can sign up here.

Moving on to Ipsy.

img_4705
They just keep killing it.

The physical bag itself is nothing to write home about. It reminds me of the denim + bright orange trend that was around when I was in middle school. I have a feeling 13 year old me would have been very into this bag (even though I only wore eyeliner, lip gloss, and a shit ton of glitter. Pretty sure I have some still embedded in my skin from the glitter explosion that was the early 2000s.). Bag aside, this was a great roundup of samples from Ipsy:

  • Briogeo Rosarco Blow Dry Perfection Heat Protectant Creme. I’d be excited to get this if Boxycharm hadn’t just sent a full sized version! Of course, since a lot of the same brands send their products to the different subscription services, this was bound to happen. I’m going to set this aside to give away since I don’t use blow dry cremes anyway. Briogeo products are legit tho. I love their moisture mask and volumizing spray.
  • NYX Butter Lipstick in Ripe Berry. Another lip product in the same month? Yes please! And it’s a berry shade, which is totally up my alley. I love NYX’s lipsticks, though I haven’t tried the butter formula. I’ll definitely get some use out of this.
  • Seraphine Botanicals Luminude in Primrose. I’ve been really into liquid illuminators, especially under my BB cream for a luminous look. I’ve swatched this and am pretty impressed with the shade and finish. On initial swatch, it also looks like this formula might be great for those with more oily skin.
  • Hikari Cosmetics Cream Pigmented Eyeshadow in Latte. I love getting individual shadow pans to fill up my Z Palette! This is a really pretty bronzed copper shade, which is perfect for the more natural, bronzy looks I’ve been into.
  • Luxie Beauty Rose Gold Blush Brush 514. I love brushes in subscriptions, especially complexion brushes. And ones from Luxie just make it extra special. Holy smokes, I’m so happy this was in my bag and that Ipsy listened to my feedback for more complexion beauty tools!

Yeah, this was an amazing Ipsy. I’m excited to use each sample, and the sample I’m passing on isn’t even bad. It’s just something I don’t use, but I know whoever gets it will love it.

Ipsy is definitely on the up and up, so if you want to try it out you can subscribe here.

The last of the $10 subscriptions I get is Play! By Sephora (which took its sweet time getting here).

img_4706
Great theme and product selections that are growing on me…

Now that it’s bigger, Play! is doing more box variations. Great, because they can be customized to our beauty profiles. Not so great, because sometimes there are items I really wanted but didn’t get. I absolutely loved February’s theme, which is about the softer, more neutral side of makeup (all about those nudes, y’all). Overall, I’m happy with it, though I’m left wanting one sample in particular.

  • TARTE Rainforest of the Sea Quench Lip Rescue in Nude. This is a great sample from Tarte of one of their tinted lip balms. I’m happy with the nude shade, but I’m more into full coverage lip products. I really wanted the Bite Beauty Multi Stick that some other subscribers got. Still, I’ll give this a chance.
  • Prada CANDY. The perfume sample was a bit of a miss for me this time around. I know some people absolutely adore this sent but it’s a bit too sweet for me. Luckily, my sister wanted the sample so I passed it on to her.
  • Clinique Pep Start Hydro Blur. I’ve been really curious about this moisturizer, especially since it’s the gel formula that I prefer. My sister just gifted me a deluxe size that didn’t work for her (she has drier skin), so I’ll use that first before deciding whether or not I want to open this sample.
  • Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream. Again, I love trying high end eye creams. My mom swears by this one, which has some light reflecting particles to brighten the undereye. I love a lot of Origins products and am happy I get to try this one.
  • Too Faced Lip Injection Gloss in Milkshake. Y’all know I’m not about the Lip Injection formula. I got a sample of the clear gloss in an Ipsy and was not a fan of the allergic reaction look it left behind. (But man, I love the scent that reminds me of Children’s Motrin Liquid — my fave medicine as a kid.) I’m tempted to just put this aside unopened, but the shade is a really, really pretty nude that’s right up my alley. Maybe I’ll give it a go and then pass it. Or maybe I’ll force myself to like it? Maybe the formula won’t be as strong as the clear??? Man, I wish this wasn’t lip plumping!…Or that I’d gotten the Bite Multi Stick in place of the gloss. #NeverGonnaBeOverIt
  • Sephora Lash Craft Length & Volume Mascara. Lord, Sephora continues giving out the dinkiest sample sizes for their in-house brand! C’mon, Sephora, you really need to step it up and at least give a size comparable to the Urban Decay or Too Faced sample sizes. I don’t believe you when you say the sample is worth $12…lies…

While I’ve gotten a little snarky with Sephora, this month was still good. I’m happy to have four out of the six samples, though I do wish there was a way to opt out of lip plumping products. Still, they’ve given a great box for $10.

I can’t refer y’all to Play, but check out Sephora’s website to see if it’s available in your area. If it is, I highly recommend getting on the waitlist. Once you subscribe, you can also earn reward points towards VIB/VIB Rouge status for what you pay for the subscription.

So we’ve looked at the $10 subscriptions. Now let’s look at $21/month Boxycharm.

img_4707
Yes, yes, and YES!!!

Boxycharm is setting the bar HIGH right out of the gate in 2017. I was expecting the box to be a little more lackluster after such a great January box. But I was so wrong. Boxycharm already outdid January and I’m so happy!

  • Realher Moisturizing Lipstick in I Define Beauty Myself (Mauve). Oh my god, Boxycharm actually sent me a neutral nude shade lipstick that can work on my skin tone. I’m PUMPED. Out of all the lip variations, this is the one I was hoping to get! The company also seems to have a great philosophy of empowering girls. I hope the formula is as great as their company philosophy.
  • Makeup Geek Eyeshadow Pans. Two eyeshadows from MUG again!!! I hope this becomes a regular thing, because I’m loving this trend. Honestly, they could include any products from MUG and I’d be happy. I got the shades Bitten (earthy maroon) and Desert Sands (medium caramel brown with yellow undertones).
  • Royal & Langnickel OMNIA Eye Kit. You know I love my brushes in subscription boxes! These feel soft and super well made. I cannot wait to put them to the test.
  • Z Palette (small). Despite the recent poor decisions Z Palette made in their PR department (pro tip: don’t insult your customers on social media, even if they’re giving you negative feedback), Z palette still makes an amazing product. I’m glad to get this travel size small palette, which is perfect when I want to take a few of my individual pans to compliment a palette I take on vacation or a business trip. It also pair very well with the two MUG shadows for those subscribers who don’t have an empty magnetic palette in their collection.
  • Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion. When I saw we were getting the full size version of this, I was surprised. I’d gotten sample sizes in past subscriptions and in Sephora rewards, but the full size? Wow. I say this because it retails for $79. That’s not an inflated price that you can then use an affiliate link to get a “discount” that reflects the real price. It’s really almost $80. That’s impressive, Boxycharm.

What did I tell you? An AMAZING Boxycharm. If they’re performing so well at the start of the year, I can only imagine what’s in store. If you want to subscribe, you can do so here.

With several lip products (my fave), great brushes, and some good skincare, I’m absolutely floored by February’s subscription services. How did your subscriptions leave you feeling?

Make Up For Ever Eyeshadows

img_4115
A small sample that goes a long way.

If you’re a makeup newbie, you may not be aware of just how great Make Up For Ever eyeshadows are. Since one was included in a Play! By Sephora box, you may want to sign up for the subscription service (if available in your area). It’s a good way to try Sephora’s brands.

Those of us who are enthusiasts already know, so do I even need to talk about it?

img_4116
Back when I took my blog pictures on an iPhone camera. Pardon the quality.

I’ll be brief, but there’s a reason MUFE’s single shadows are pricey (one will run you $21.00). They tend to be very pigmented, smooth, and incredibly blendable. I’ve used a few in different finishes and have yet to run across a bad shadow. So the good news is that even though you’re paying $21 a pan you’re getting a quality product made in Italy.

That being said, is it really worth paying the full price for the shadows?

img_4117
This particular shade is Pink Granite in a iridescent finish.

I think full price could be worth it if there’s a really unique shade that you know you’ll use all the time. Otherwise, there’s a  better way to try out these shadows.

 

Though you’ll be getting a slightly smaller pan size, I think newbies to MUFE should go for the collection palettes they put out every new season. MUFE will look at the trends and put together colors that exist in their catalog into a pretty palette that comes with instructions.

Some palettes will come in a particular finish. The fall’s version, Vol. 4, was all matte for the matte eye trend. These palettes are $44 and have 9 shadows, a great value. The florals collection is currently on sale for $34. If you’re a real novice and aren’t adventurous enough to try colors, go for Volume 1 Nudes. It’s got great basic colors that are user friendly as you build up your eye makeup skills.

img_4132
Speaking of neutral makeup…

Bottom line: While pricey, MUFE shadows deliver. Personally, I would go for their collections for the value, but if you already have the basics and none of the collection colors speak to you I’d swatch the colors that have caught your eye in person and invest in a pan or two. Can you find similar colors for a lower price? Yes. But if you see something unique, I think you’ll get your money’s worth.