Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Best Bite : Product Review

I kind of waffled on writing this review, because surprise surprise, this was a limited edition item that I happened to pick up late in the game. It is not available online at this time, but the last time I was in my Sephora, there were a ton of these sets, so if you're interested, I would call and see if they have some (they are a Sephora exclusive).

With that little disclaimer mentioned, I also want to mention that I felt compelled to write this review because I like these pencils so much that I felt like it was good to review them. Also, even though this set is limited edition, Bite Beauty does sell these pencils individually (the set is $25) except for Cranberry, which is exclusive to this kit.

So what comes in this kit? It comes with 4 "matte" (more on this later) lip pencils which are housed in a cute little tin that has a mirror inside. I believe that these pencils are a bit smaller than the regular pencils since the suggested value on this kit is only a smidge more than two regular pencils. 

There is a fairly nice shade range in this kit with a nude shade, a dusty rose, and two brighter, more vibrant colors. If you've ever wondered if you could pull colors like these off, this would definitely be a good intro kit.

The reason I wrote the word matte in quotations up above is because these are marketed as matte, but they aren't true mattes; they do have a bit of a sheen to them and I would describe them more like creams. The colors are extremely pigmented and it only takes on swipe to get the color to show up beautifully on the lips. I've read that some people find these to be drying, but I don't really find that to be the case, at all. I think that these apply incredibly smoothly and stay nice and creamy for hours. Yes, after about 6 hours or so, my lips might be a bit dry, but my lips would be dry after 6 hours anyway if I hadn't applied a balm. 

I like Bite Beauty because of several reasons. First and foremost, every product of theirs that I have tried has been insanely pigmented and shows up the same color as it looks in the tube. They also say that each lipstick has as much reservatrol as 5 glasses of red wine, but that doesn't do much for me. However, they also create their lip sticks using food grade ingredients as mentioned by Sephora here "This product is free of synthetics, polybutenes, and petroleum byproducts and made exclusively with lip nurturing food-grade ingredients that are healthy enough to eat.". 

From left to right: Cranberry, Quince, Rhubarb, and Madeira.

(Ignore that smudge on the left side, this was the last one I applied and I smudge Quince!) Cranberry is a very lovely rich red shade that pulls a little bit cool, but isn't overly pink toned. I have warm undertones, so if a red has a lot of blue in it, it just looks fuchsia on me. Luckily, Cranberry is only a bit blue toned and stays fairly true to red on my skin.

(these next few pictures are out of focus because I'm incompetent...)

Quince is definitely a bold color, but it's very very pretty. Sephora's website describes this as a "rose berry", but I find it to be much bolder than that description. In the photos, it tends to look similar to Cranberry, but Quince is definitely much more pink in real life. I think I would describe this more a darkened magenta but don't let "darkened" fool you, it's a very standout color.

Rhubarb is your standard dusty rose color that for some people will be a MLBB shade. It's a touch too dark for MLBB for me, but it's still a beautiful neutral shade that could be worn with a myriad of looks and is also work appropriate.

Nude shades mostly make me look like a living corpse, but this is one that I feel like I can kind of pull off. It's a little bit more pink than most "nudes" which I guess makes sense since Sephora describes this one as "nude pink". I still practice caution with this since I'm mildly terrified of anything even close to this color, but maybe I'll have to venture into the world of lip gloss and the Kardashians and bust this one out from time to time.

I only have two complaints about these lip pencils and for some, these might be deal breakers. One being that since these shades are so creamy (except for Madeira, which is the most true matte shade in here), that they tend to transfer very easily. This could be remedied by applying, blotting, and then reapplying, but I am lazy, so I tend not to do that. The other complaint is that Cranberry and Quince appeared to feather around the lip line. I have scars and some fine lines around my lips and those two shades definitely try to creep into them. The solution to that is lipliner, which is easy, but I wanted to inform you lovely readers that they can feather!

My verdict on these? Pick these up if you can find them. Yes, the feathering can be a touch annoying, but it's nothing compared to the pigmentation and feeling of these lip products!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Laura Mercier Illuminating Eye Colour : Gilded Rose Gold

Back to regular posting! I didn't want to post anything while the giveaway was going on so that people could easily find that post and read the details and enter and so on. I have picked up some new items in the mean time and wanted to review one them that I was the most excited about; the Laura Mercier Illuminating Eye Colour in Gilded Rose Gold. I picked this up while it was on sale at Sephora (do you guys notice that they sometimes mark down brand new items?) and now I can't find it at all on the Sephora website. I did find it on the Laura Mercier website here, but it appears to be sold out at the time being.

You may be asking yourself, why would you buy this when you just picked up the Naked3 palette? And my answer is this: Because. I really love rose gold eye shadows and I also really love Laura Mercier and I really love sales, therefore this was the perfect thing to buy. 

So what can you expect from this shadow? Everything that you have ever learned from Laura Mercier, basically. The shadow is pigmented, soft, and applies beautifully. I know that rose gold isn't everyone's cup of tea, but there's something really cool about this shadow that might make you change your mind about it. It has the ability to shift its color quite dramatically depending on how you apply it. I, for one, always apply an eye base or primer under my shadows because I have oilier lids. When I swatched this on my hand, with nothing underneath, it was very coppery, but when I swatched it over my Trish McEvoy Eye Base Essentials in Demure, it changed to a much more rose gold tone. 

Since the above picture didn't show the difference well enough, I decided to bust out the trusty old camera on my phone to see if I could capture it any better with that. 

In this picture, you can see the radical difference that the eye base made! This legitimately looks like two different eye shadows with the eye base underneath it. The crazy thing is that Demure (you can see it here) is a nude color and almost matches my skin perfectly (I wear Buff in Revlon Color Stay and Gobi in NARS Sheer Glow), so I don't understand the drastic difference it makes. It does, however, make me want to play with all of my cream shadows and different eye primers and see how much I can make this shadow morph.

This is just a sheer wash of it on my lid, but I wanted to include it so you could see how it appears with my skin tone. I applied it with a Sigma E25 brush (MAC 217, The Coastal Scents Pro Fluff Brush, etc. are all similar) so that I could get color all over the lid and the blend out with the same brush. Any of the brushes that I listed above will do the same thing and it's what I like to do when I'm feeling particularly lazy.

All in all, I'm very pleased with this purchase. If you love rose golds and maybe aren't feeling the Naked3 palette and just want a simple, awesome, rose gold, then I highly suggest this shadow. The quality is impeccable, just like most Laura Mercier products, and the price (it's still listed at $12 on LM's website) is pretty awesome right now. Snatch it up if you can!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Holiday Giveaway!

FINALLY, the time is here! This promised giveaway has finally arrived! I'll break down what everything is and include supplemental photos (tomorrow!), but first, the rules.

Rules for the Giveaway
  • You must be 18 or older; no exceptions
  • You must enter using the Rafflecopter app provided below, no other submissions accepted.
  • All entries must be received by December 24th, 2013 by 12 a.m. CST.
  • Winner will receive (1) Package of Fatty Sundays PB&J Milk Chocolate Covered Pretzels, (1) "I Need Lipstick" cosmetics bag, (1) Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in Native, (1) Stila Sample Pack [that includes (1) mini Stay All Day Liquid Liner, (1) mini Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Beso, and (1) mini Kitten eye shadow], (1) Benefit Primer Trio [that includes (1) mini That Gal primer, (1) The Porefessional primer, and (1) mini Stay Don't Stray primer].

Other general info:

This is open internationally, so anyone over 18 can enter. I will post the winner on December 24th and I will send you an email to let you know that you have won. I will mail the winnings to you, so you must provide your mailing address within 48 hours of winning; if you don’t provide me your mailing address within 48 hours, I will re-draw and there will be a new winner.  All items are brand new and have never been used.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Birchbox : December 2013

I got my Birchbox super duper early this month (I think it arrived here on the 10th, but it might have been the 11th), so in turn, I get to bring it to you guys a little bit earlier than normal; at least it feels earlier than normal. The theme of this month's box is "Sparkle and Shine" which you know, is kind of the sentiment around the holidays. I feel like glitter and metallics get busted out big time around the holidays, so I get their theme.

What I Received:

  • Laqa & Co. Fat Lip Pencil in Ring of Fire
  • Arcona Magic White Ice
  • La Fresh Travel Lite Antiperspirant Wipes
  • Hayadie Pure Happy Smooth
  • Ahmad Teas

My Thoughts: 

My initial thoughts when I peeked at what I was getting (box pages update on the site on the 10th, so I looked before my box arrived) were "hmmph". When I got the box, my thoughts were still "hmmph" and I'm still undecided on whether I like this box or not. 

I am not a tea drinker. I was at one point in my life, but it's when I lived abroad and had tea with milk and sugar pretty much every day. The main take away from that sentence was "when I lived abroad"; I think American tea is pretty much horrible. When I saw that I was getting tea bags in my box, I was definitely put off. However, this is not American tea, this is British tea and when I opened up my box, I was taken back with the amazing smell of these three tea bags. I've only consumed one so far, but it was magical and wonderful and I take back my sentiments of being upset with tea bags.

I am excited to use the Magic White Ice, which is a moisturizer designed for winter skin. The real thing that is selling me on it though is that it's a gel moisturizer, which is what I use every day. I honestly don't think that it's going to replace my holy grail of moisturizers (Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel), but I will definitely try it out.

The Laqa lip color will be put to use as is almost every single lip item that I receive from Birchbox. I'm glad that I got the color that I did; it's a great, slightly blue based red. Nice and opaque and great for the holida season.

The Pure Happy Smooth is a hair product that you apply to prevent frizz from blow drying your hair (it's a "thermal protector"). My hair is still pretty short, but I suppose I can keep this around until it gets longer. 

The big fail for me is the La Fresh Antiperspirant Wipes. Why? Why do you do this to me Birchbox? There are certain brands that get thrown into pretty much every single subscription service at some point or another and La Fresh is one of those brands. It's nothing personal, La Fresh didn't wrong me in any sort of manner, but I just think that their products suck. I know it's not fair to judge all of their products off of the ones that I have already used, but I am expecting not to be blown away by these. Also, deodorant is not hard to apply nor is it cumbersome to carry around... just sayin.

Monetary Values:

Laqa & Co. Fat Lip Pencil: $8 (taking value from their mini lip duos, which are $16/two)
Arcona Magic White Ice: $13.20 for .33 fl oz (full size: 1 fl oz/$40)
La Fresh Travel Lite Antiperspirant Wipes: $1.66 for 2 individual wipes (full size: 3 wipes/$2.49)
Hayadie Pure Happy Smooth: $4.38 for 1 fl oz. (full size: 4 fl. oz/$17.50)
Ahmad Teas: $0.53 for 3 bags (full size: $7/40 bags)
Full Monetary Value: $27.77

Final Thoughts: Meh, this box is a little lackluster and it doesn't have anything that really stood out to me as ah-maz-ing. I'm sure I'll use it all up, but perhaps not as joyfully as I would have hoped. Birchbox usually seems to have pretty lackluster boxes in December (this is my third December with them), so I guess I'll just see what next month has in store.

If you want to subscribe to Birchbox, you can follow my referral link here or visit birchbox.com

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Naked 3 : Swatches & First Impressions

I just finished filming a two look tutorial using the Naked 3 palette, but before that video goes up, I wanted to write a blogpost talking about my first impressions of the palette and to show you some swatches. Continue to read this post to see what I thought about it!

You get 12 shades of rosy hued neutrals and double sided brush for $52 in this palette; some of the shades are warm and some are cool toned, but it's a pretty good mix of both. Since it contains such a good mix, people with all skin tones should be able to partake. The first three shades, Strange, Dust, and Burnout, are the lighter shades and are a matte, shimmer, and satin finish (respectively). Limit, Buzz, Trick, Nooner, and Liar are your more mid range shades and are a grab bag of finishes. The last four shades are the darker shades and they are Factory, Mugshot, Darkside, and Blackheart which are almost all shimmer shades except for Blackheart which has glitter.

There isn't a substantial amount of fallout for most of the shades in this palette, but the shades that do have fallout have a massive amount of fallout. The shade with the worst amount of fallout is Dust, which might as well not even be in this palette. If you put dust on your finger and then wipe it across your hand, it barely applies any color and it flakes off. That's the biggest disappointment in this palette, but the other 12 shades are fantastic. Buzz and Trick also have a bit of fallout, but it's nothing that can't be controlled with careful application. If you have a base that is somewhat sticky (like NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Milk), Buzz and Trick will stick to it very easily and stay in place. 

I've heard that some people have found that the matte shades are chalky, but I don't agree in the slightest. All of the matte shades in this palette are buttery and smooth and apply and blend like a dream. The shimmer shades are very typical Urban Decay shimmers, beautiful and smooth.

1) Strange
2) Dust
3) Burnout
4) Limit
5) Buzz
6) Trick
7) Nooner 
8) Liar
9) Factory
10) Mugshot
11) Darkside
12) Blackheart

Slightly different lighting

The palette also comes with samples of Urban Decay's Primer Potions; all four of them. I'm not a big fan of Primer Potion, it doesn't work very well with my skin, but I will probably try these out to see if they can change my mind. As for the brush that comes with the palette, it's decent, but it's nothing to write too much about. It's a synthetic brush, which isn't great for powder products, so I highly suggest using different brushes for this. I might use the supplied brush for creme shadows and concealers; we'll see. 

Overall, I think this palette is pretty great. I love rosy and rose gold shadows, so this is something that I was highly anticipating. I have a warmer skin tone and greenish eyes, so this is something that feels like it was made explicitly for me. If you're on the fence about this palette, I would highly suggest checking it out in person and swatching against your own skin. It's available now in Ulta and Sephora, so go check it out!

Questions, comments? Leave them below!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Holiday Smokey Eye Makeup : Tutorial

Hey everyone! Like, I said, I would start to do more videos once I got a new camera and here you are, already into the second video. The folks over at Studio Gear Cosmetics were kind enough to send me their Holiday Smokey Eye Palette and I created this look with it (and a few other things). If you are interested in the palette, you can find it right here (and it's on sale right now!) and use code SGHOLIDAY for 10% off. 

Questions or comments? Let me know down below!

This palette was provided to me by Studio Gear Cosmetics

Monday, December 9, 2013

Super Massive Mega Haul : Video

Hey guys! I posted a new video over the weekend, the first one I filmed with the new camera. I'm still a bit of a n00b here with the filming (so much more comfortable with photography, not these new fangled moving pictures), but I wanted to show you guys everything that I've picked up in the last few months. The majority of these items are going to make their way onto the blog for a review (except for things like MAC Fluidline), so make sure to keep an eye out for them. 

I filmed a tutorial over the weekend, so that will be going up later tonight or tomorrow morning. Make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel so that you can stay caught up with all of the happenings. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Jouer Creme Eyeshadow Crayon : Product Review

I am a big fan of Jouer products. I love the Matte Moisture Tint and used it pretty much every other day this past summer. I think that their eye shadows are great, I think that their blushes are great, and I like their lip conditioner and (sort of like) lipglosses. I picked up the Creme Eyeshadow Crayon through the Birchbox shop because I have been on a major cream shadow kick recently. I was so excited when this came, but the results weren't exactly what I was expecting. Keep reading to find out more.

The Facts

Price: $24
Amount of Product: .07 oz.
Number of Shades: 5
Claim: "Jouer Crème Eyeshadow Crayons in 5 beautiful, wearable colors. Effortless application and rich pearl finish, this fast-drying formula is designed to prevent creasing and fading. Built-in sharpener included. Waterproof, Crease Resistant, Paraben Free, Dermatologist Tested."

Shade that I used: Renaissance

Wear Time: Not great. I know that's not a specific amount of time, but if something is going to be touted as crease resistant and made to resist fading, then I expect it to be pretty damn good. When I wore this without primer, it lasted maybe 5 hours before creasing; with primer, it lasted about 9.

Does it deliver on its claim? No. I don't think that this is incredibly fast drying or crease resistant and fading is not prevented without the use of a separate primer. It might be waterproof, but it removes easily with makeup remover, so I can't be certain on that claim.2

Thoughts:  I had extremely high hopes for this item since I know and love Jouer and I know and love creme shadow sticks, but it was a pretty big let down. Like I said above, without a primer, this maybe lasts for 5 hours without creasing. I'm not talking about slight creasing, I mean like massive, heavy, color migration creasing. I do have slightly oil lids, but nothing out of the ordinary. I can wear Laura Mercier Caviar Sticks, Trish McEvoy 24hr Creme Shadow Sticks, and Maybelline Color Tattoos without primer and without creasing. When I did wear this with primer, the creasing didn't happen so fast, but it did happen eventually. 

Something else about these sticks that was a bit annoying was the fact that my shade, Renaissance, didn't glide very easily. It is very pigmented, but it wasn't effortless to pull it across my lid; instead it tugged a bit and made it so it had to be blended out thoroughly. Renaissance is meant to be very plummy, but when blended, it turns to kind of a muddy purple brown. It made a great base color for NYX's Rust eyeshadow, but I want to be wowed by the stick's color, not its ability to transform my eye shadow.

Final Verdict: I don't plan on buying any more of these (I actually have two of these, but that's because one came damaged) and will stick with my Laura Mercier and Trish McEvoy sticks for the time being. 

If you have questions or comments, feel free to leave them below!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Revlon Matte Balm : Product Review/Follow Up

Remember when I did my first review on these? And I absolutely hated the color that I had gotten? Well, after stalking and talking on Reddit and Youtube, I decided that I should give this product another chance. Everyone said that this shade, Standout, was awesome and that it wasn't drying and it didn't flake and so forth and so on. Walgreens is having a 40% off sale on Revlon products this week and partnered with some coupons, I got this for $2. I decided I could test it out again for $2.

The Facts

Price: $8.99/each (this was at Walgreens in Kansas)
Amount of Product: .095 oz
Number of Shades: 10 

Shade that I used: Stand Out
Coverage: Full (Matte)
Application: Tube to lips!

Wear Time: The wear time for this shade is about 10x more impressive than the other shade that I had, Unapologetic. This wear for a solid work day with minimal touch ups.

Thoughts: Like I wrote up above, I was ready to write this product off after that first experience, but after much internet sleuthing, I found this shade. I've seen lots of reviews that are good and bad and I've come to the conclusion that the quality really really depends on the shade that you pick up. Since these are so cheap at Walgreens this week (sale runs through tomorrow and you can pick up a coupon in the coupon books at the front of the store for extra money off!), I think I might pick up one or two more. Standout is amazing quality and I really like this. I am a big fan of matte reds and this one does not fail to impress. It's a semi-dark and flattering-for-many-skin-tones red. It applies like a dream, doesn't emphasize any flakes I might have on my lips, and it stays on without excessive drying. I've worn this several times since I got it and it wears amazingly. 

(after 8 hours of wear)

(freshly applied)

Sorry that the pictures above are in soft focus, but I wanted to show you how it wears after an 8 hours work day. It's almost completely intact and that's after a bag of cheetos, a granola bar, string cheese, a sandwich, and pudding (and several cups of water). 

Final Verdict: This red is definitely worth the cost of this Matte Balm, but please be wary when purchasing other shades as the quality differs greatly from color to color. Check for reviews from YouTubers and other bloggers if you are interested in a shade other than this or Unapologetic!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Let's Talk Skin Care

This is going to be a full text post, no pictures, so if you aren't in the mood to read, I suggest coming back another time (like tomorrow when I review another Revlon Matte Balm shade!). I just wanted to do a write up on skin care and routines since my skin and I have been having a tumultuous relationship for the past six months or so.

I am not going to preach too much about what you have to do to have good skin, because I don't know; I don't have great skin. I think that a lot of it comes down to genetics and environmental/lifestyle choices. We all know that people who smoke tend to age faster than those who don't, same with those who are in constant sun exposure and those that drink heavily; those things are changeable, genetics are not. The first step to being happy with your skin is acknowledging what you cannot change. For me, I know that the pores on my nose and cheeks will always be "large"; my mom and dad both have large pores and so do about 90% of my family members. Pore size is not something I can change and I have just learned to be ok with it.

There are very general things that work for most people out there, but keep in mind that these techniques don't work for everyone. I am going to speak about these general techniques and then I will link you to other methods in case these ones have never worked for you. So keep reading!

1) Figure out how often you need to cleanse your face.

  • Just like everyone has different skin, everyone has different needs when it comes to fully cleansing your face. I would recommend cleansing your face no more than twice a day since more than that can lead to some serious dryness and stripping of your skin's natural oils. Some of you out there are definitely going to fall into the category of cleansing your face once a day or maybe not even at all. Not at all? Let me clarify; if you are not wearing makeup or sunscreen every day, the need to full on cleanse may not be there. Some folks can get away with just splashing some water on their faces (e.g. my boyfriend, who should be wearing sunscreen but I can only convince him of so much). 
  • However, if you are wearing makeup or something on your skin each day, you should be cleansing it at night. You might not see the effects now, but honestly, I don't think every dermatologist in America is wrong when they say that this contributes to premature aging. Plus, your pores will thank you when they are able to breath at the end of the day.
  • For oily folks (and those who just like to cleanse, I suppose), twice a day will probably be good. If you wake up in the morning and your skin has some excess oil, you should be ok to go ahead and cleanse in the morning as well. 
  • For the rest of you, sometimes you don't need to cleanse in the mornings and might be better off just splashing luke-warm or cool water on your face and patting dry. Too much cleansing can lead to dehydrated skin.

2) Use a gentle cleanser & cool/luke warm water

  • This may seem counterintuitive for those who have suffered with acne, but it's one of the best methods out there. Scrubbing your skin or severely drying it isn't going to make your skin magically look better. If you are suffering from acne, the number one thing you should not be doing is scrubbing your active breakouts; you are contributing to the spread of the bacteria on your face. If you think you need to exfoliate, look into chemical exfoliants, such as salicylic acid (more on this to come, but you can avoid cleansers with it, it isn't doing much to help).
  • Cool or luke warm water is your best friend! I think we've all heard our entire lives that taking long, hot showers is not great for you skin and that translates directly to your face. Dry skin tends to be rougher, which leads to uneven texture of your face. 

3) Treat the issues you have not the issues you think you have

  • We are all our own worst critics. Believe me, I know this very, very well. If you can not be objective, ask someone who will tell you the truth to evaluate your skin. Some issues are fixable, some are not. You cannot change the size of your pores, sorry (unless you want them bigger? You can do that). You can work on clogged pores, acne, texture, and signs of premature aging.
4) For the sake of all that is holy, wear a moisturizer EVERY DAY

  • You know how if you go a day without drinking anything, you would be incredibly dehydrated? That's probably how your skin feels without moisturizer. I don't care if you have some of the oiliest skin on the mofo'ing planet, slap a moisturizer on. You don't need something fancy out of a department store, just something that is simple and doesn't contain high amounts of alcohol or fragrance (which, coincidentally, is usually an alcohol). Hydrated skin is happy skin and it's also young looking skin. We are a youth obsessed culture and one of the best ways to keep your skin happy is to feed it with moisture. 
  • On top of wearing moisturizer, make sure to drink water. Aside from being great for your entire body (and I mean, it's fucking great for your entire body), it keeps your skin, which is your largest organ, happy. I don't mean drink liquids, I mean you need to be drinking water, at least a few cups a day. Just drink it, please.
5) Wear sunscreen

  • Ok, I know that there are a lot of people out there that don't wear sunscreen every day... including me. I'm going to break this down a bit and you can decide where you fall on the sunscreen debate. Honestly, I'm a pretty big believer in genetics having the most important role in your aging process. 
  • If you are going to be exposed to the sun for really, any amount of time past about 30 minutes a day, I would recommend wearing sunscreen. If you are exposed for less than 30 minutes (like me most days), then you can maybe skip the sunscreen. The reason I say this is because your body needs vitamin D and one of the best ways to get it is through sunlight (you can read this highly scientific article /s or just google it).
  • However, consistent sun exposure has been linked to premature aging and the most obvious thing of all, skin cancer. It's your choice whether you wear sunscreen every day, so keep in mind all of the above. Cancer is not discriminatory, it affects everyone, so don't put yourself at a high risk just because I said you might need some sun every day.
6) Do NOT exfoliate every day (unless it's chemical)

  • This goes back to the whole idea of being nice to your skin; don't scrub the life out of it every single day. Scrubbing your skin ruins, can you guess (?), the natural barrier of your skin. Scrubbing every day can lead to excess oil production and dehydrated skin. It's recommended to physically exfoliate 1-2x a week, but I think it's pretty ok to do it 3 times. Everyone has different skin and some people can tolerate physical exfoliation better. 
  • I unfortunately call into a group of people who don't react well to this, but there is also chemical exfoliation. This is using Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs - such as glycolic or lactic acid) and/or BHAs (salicylic acid) to exfoliate the skin in a gentle way. If you have acne, BHAs are your best friends as they gently get rid of dead skin that can cause clogged pores (which then lead to acne). 
7) Cut out the bad shit to make your skin look younger

  • I know that was kind of harsh (I swore!), but it's true. If you smoke, drink in excess often, and fill your body with crap... it will come through on your skin. Besides all of the other horrible things that smoking will do to you, it's going to manifest in your face and make you look a lot older. Just stop smoking, seriously, you will thank yourself for it later. Excess alcohol consumption? Yes, getting drunk, a lot, messes with your skin as well. I'm not saying you can't have fun and getting a little wastey faced every once in a while, but if you do it multiple times a week, every week, you're ruining your skin. You know how you wake up and feel like crap after a rough night out? Your body is dehydrated and what have we learned about bodies being dehyrdated? Yup, your skin is going to manifest that loveliness.
  • In regards to putting crap in your body, again, I don't mean you can't eat some delicious, delicious McDonalds or Taco Bell or Cheetos, but don't make that your diet every single day. There are healthy fatty acids and natural anti-oxidants that your body and skin will thank you for. 
8) Just be nice to your skin

  • Because honestly, you have one skin and you're kind of stuck with it. If you want to pick that zit until it bleeds, deal with that fact that you might have a nice scar because of it. If you want to have horrible wrinkles around your mouth from sucking on you cigarettes, deal with it. Treat your skin nicely.
9) Don't pick your skin

  • This is pretty stupid for me to say, because I am a picker and quite honestly, I think I have a very small case of dermatillomania. If I could go back and not pick at the things on my face, I would. I have scars, albeit small ones, on my face from my compulsive need to pick. Popping an angry zit is one thing and I won't admonish you for it, but picking at your skin until you bleed or trying to get something out that is very clearly under the skin is another. If you have issues with picking, look online for methods to help you stop. 

If you have tried the above and nothing has worked for you, there are other methods of cleansing to make your skin happy. A lot of people have found success in the Oil Cleansing Method (I actually double cleanse sometimes if my skin is feeling particularly icky), which you can find out about at Crunchy Betty's Website <- This is seriously one of the best articles that I've read on it.

Also, I want to note, these are just tips and suggestions. Like I've stated a bunch up above, everyone has different skin and this is just a mass generalization. Some people's skin responds fantastically to different things. If you have a routine that works for you and your skin looks fantastic, then don't feel the need to change anything. If you have skin that bugs the crap out of you, why not try some of the above? 

Just remember, if you are trying out new products, introduce them one at a time in case you have an allergic reaction to something. It is much easier to identify one product that is irritating your skin rather than have to decide between 4 different things.

If you have any questions or are looking for product recommendations, please feel free to ask me. I have been dealing with my skin for about 6 months after a lovely allergic reaction and mild chemical burn during a product testing for a company. My skin is finally almost back to normal after trying a whole bunch of different things until finally going back to this routine. I'm all ears, so ask if you are curious!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Influenster : Rose Vox Box

If you haven't figured it out by now, I sometimes get free boxes o' stuff because of websites that I use. One of those websites is Influenster, which is kind of difficult to explain rather than to say that they are a mass accumulation of reviews of products, but all types of products. If you want to check out the site, you can go to www.influenster.com

I "qualified" for their Rose Vox Box, which was kind of billed as a fall box full of fun samples. It came to me in a very nice, bright pink, box and upon opening it, it had all of these lovelies inside.

(missing the Belvita Breakfast Biscuits.... because I ate them)

In my box, I received:

  • Kiss Gradation Polishes
  • Rimmel ScandalEyes Retro Glam Mascara
  • Lindt Lindor Truffle
  • Belvita Breakfast Biscuits
  • Dr. Scholls Cozy Cushions

And now that I've had this box for a bit, I can give you some educated opinions on the items. I'm going to skate over the two food items because this isn't a food blog. So, the food? It was yummy. I don't have a picture of the Belvita biscuits because I ate them as soon as I got the box. I also ate the Lindt truffle, but luckily that came in a bag that my dog didn't immediately destroy. Food = good.

The next thing that I'll talk about, but only briefly are the Dr. Scholls inserts; which I have also thoroughly enjoyed. In fact, these are probably my favorite thing out of the entire box. I just bought some new rain boots and I shoved these in there to provide some nice "cozy cushion" for my feet. They're pretty awesome and since I wear a size 10, I didn't have to cut them down to fit in my shoes. A+ for the cushions, I would definitely buy them if I had another pair of boots that could stand some cushion.

On to the beauty items!

I used this mascara for about a week, so I feel like I can give you some pretty firm opinions about it; it's really just a "meh" mascara. The brush is a modified hourglass shape, but that's probably the only intriguing thing about it. I don't know if it's just my tube, but the formula was pretty dry to begin with, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it was for this. The bristles on the brush are really close together, so it's hard for your lashes to fit in between the bristles; this means less product on your lashes. The dry formula in addition to the tightly knit bristles means that your not getting much lash action. 

(photo from Rimmel)

The statement on Rimmel's website is this: "Bold, wide-eyed false lash look. Hour-glass brush shaped to the lash line to plump lashes, fanning them up and out for bold, wide-eyed volume. Coats lashes individually for a big, false lash look in one simple stroke. No clumps!" Sorry, but I'm calling bullshit on most of those claims. It did not plump them, fan them, or create volume. I would skip this and if you're already at the drugstore, just go for some Maybelline Full N Soft.

And last, the Kiss Gradation Polishes. This took a little bit of figuring out exactly how to use it, but I did like this concept. Since ombré has proven to be the trend that never dies, I think it's safe to say that ombré nails are still pretty on trend. The idea here is to paint your entire nail with one shade, then 1/3 of the nail with the darker shade, and then layer the glitter topcoat to get a seamless gradation. Sounds simple, but it's a little harder to execute.

First and foremost, you need to use a base coat and top coat with these polishes. I painted my nails with these and had every intention of taking a photo, but they were already chipped the next morning (I painted them at 9 p.m.). I'm sure the life of the polish could be extended with a good base and top; positive of it.

The thing that made this application somewhat tricky is how fast the polish dries in step one and two. The polish is thin to begin with, which is actually preferable to me for gradation work, but it starts to dry in about a minute.Since the polish dries so quickly, you have to be speedy with step three unless you want a clear cut, obvious line where your gradation should be. I messed up my first hand, but on the second hand, I realized it was easier to apply step two and three finger by finger.

It's fun to do if you want to sit down for a manicure and at $6.97, it's not too horrible a price point. I don't think I would buy this for myself, but since the polishes are so quick to dry and are fairly sheer, it might make a nice gift for someone younger.

And that was my Rose Vox Box. I don't think that there was anything too mind blowing in this box, but the Dr. Scholls were awesome!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Birchbox : November 2013

Here I go, changing up the fonts again! I keep changing the design on my blog little by little until I find what I truly like. I think I'm digging this classy design, so it might take over the entire blog in a few days... we'll see. Anyhow, it is time for Beauty Box Roundup  Birchbox review! Since I used to do Beauty Box Roundup, but have subsequently cancelled all my other subscription boxes (aside from Julep, but I'll post my November box for that next week), I wanted to at least keep you guys up to date with my Birchbox. Surprisingly, I am not missing my other beauty boxes and I am kind of excited that I can take that extra $35 a month and spend it on cosmetics that I can choose. I'm sure at some point, my box envy will strike and I'll resub, but for now, I'm golden.

The theme for this month's Birchbox is "More Good", which has more to do with the month than the box itself. They wrote on the little included card "All month, we'll be bringing you ideas for how you can bring more good to your life, from a roundup of our favorite charitable beauty brands to easy ways to give back. In addition, we're donating a portion of the proceeds from the Birchbox shop to No Kid Hungry, a nationwide organization that works to end childhood hunger." I am actually really stoked that they are donating to an organization for children in the US since I feel that people often forget about helping those in their own, immediate surroundings and there are a ton of hungry children in this country. 1 out of every 5 children in America live in a household where it's a struggle to put food on the table; for more info on the organization, click the link above or seriously consider donating to a local food pantry! Ok... I'll get off my soapbox and back to the actual blogpost.

What I Received:

  • Color Club Nail Polish in Baldwin Blues
  • DDF Amplifying Elixir
  • Eyeko Black Magic Mascara
  • TOCCA Crema da Mano in Cleopatra
  • Fatty Sundays Chocolate Covered Pretzel in Toffee Crunch (which I promptly ate... hence the ripped open packaging. I COULDN'T WAIT, OK?)

My Thoughts: Spoiler; I love this box. You're going to see down below that this is among some of the highest value Birchboxes that I've ever received, but that's not what makes it so good. What does make it so good is that all of the sample sizes are amazing AND I got a chocolate covered pretzel. Why does the chocolate covered pretzel make it so good? Because I love it when they include delicious food in my box as an "extra" instead of stupid crap that I'll never use (hellooooo to those cheap ear buds that they sent out like two years ago).

Color Club nail polish isn't the best in the entire world, but I'm down with this color. I don't own very much in the way of dark blue/navy polishes, but I just got one in my Julep box (which is a lot darker than this) and this one, so I feel like the universe is trying to tell me to really embrace the navy. With a base coat and a top coat, the Color Club will actually last a decent amount of time and I use my hands every day at work. Also, I think I automatically like this because I live in Kansas City and we have a company named Baldwin Denim here, so the name and color makes me think of them! (and I do realize that this color is NOT named for them)

The DDF elixir is actually what I'm most excited about since I've started looking into adding a serum (let's face it, this is a serum) into my skin care routine. Since my skin is finally starting to clear up, thanks to going back to my old school skin care routine, I feel like I'll be comfortable to add another product in a few more weeks. I've already heard great things about this and it's a hefty sample size, so if I do like it, it will last a long time.

The Eyeko mascara intrigues me; the last time I got a mascara in a squeeze tube format was a Jane Iredale mascara and I hated it. I do like Eyeko's skinny liners, so I'm definitely interested to see if I like this as well. However, I just bought three, yes three, new tubes of mascara during Nordstrom's mascara madness. I think I will delay the testing of those so that I can open this first and try it. And last but not least, the Tocca hand cream. This sample is the best hand cream sample I have ever gotten from Birchbox because of a few simple things; it has a seal on it, it has a pop cap top, and it's not in a foil package. Has Birchbox been listening to the incessant bitching from everyone about the foils? I hope so. I like Tocca and their scents and this one doesn't let me down. It's a weird mix of cucumber and grapefruit, but I dig it.

As for the sample that I already ate... it was delicious. Seriously though, I got this box last night and the first thing I did upon opening was rip open the pretzel package and shove that thing in my mouth. It was really small, but really delicious. I'm extremely happy that it was good because I have a box of them (in the PB&J flavor) being delivered today.... and a second package being delivered next week because of an order mix up. So yes, I have two boxes of chocolate covered pretzels on their way to my house. Sorry that I'm not sorry?

Monetary Values:

Color Club Nail Polish$4 for .25 fl oz (full size: .5 fl oz/$8)
DDF Elixir: $20.59 for .5 fl oz (full size: 1.7 fl oz/$70)
Eyeko Mascara: $10.78 for .13 fl oz. (full size: .29 fl oz/$24)
Tocca Hand Cream: $5 for 1 fl oz (full size: 4 fl oz/$20)
Pretzel:???? $0.50?
Full Monetary Value: $40.85

Final Thoughts: I love this box and I will use every single thing that came in it. Seriously, best box that I've gotten in the past few months. L♥VE.

If you want to subscribe to Birchbox, you can follow my referral link here or visit birchbox.com