Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Birchbox Swatches and Review: December 2013 - Bliss, Camille Beckman, Klorane, Miracle Skin Transformer, LAQA and Co.

I love that even the shipping box got a holiday makeover this month!

And, so did the actual Birchbox!

This is how everything came inside.

And here are my December Birchbox goodies all laid out!

Bliss That's Incredi-'Peel' Glycolic Resurfacing Pads
Sample Size 1 Pad - Full Size 30 Pads & Fabulous Foaming Face Wash 6.6 fl.oz. $58
This was the "beauty extra" this month.  I love Bliss products and was excited to try it, but it is hard to say too much about it after only one use.  The direction are to use it once daily after cleansing.  The pad was very moist.  There was plenty of product for my face and neck.  You do not rinse this product off, but it does leave a bit of a residue behind.  It goes away, but I probably felt it on my skin for about an hour after.  My skin felt softer in the morning, but it wasn't a huge difference after only one use.  The high price tag will keep me from buying the full size without trying it more.

Miracle Skin Transformer SPF20 Face
Sample Size .17 fl.oz. - Full Size 1.7 fl.oz. $48
I know this brand has a huge following, but I have never been a fan.  I have tried the clear version before and I just didn't see what the hype was all about.  This month I received a sample of the tinted version in Medium so I gave it a try.  It goes on silky smooth and feels like a primer.  It also covers quite well.  I also was pleased with the SPF 20.  That is where the positive points end.  When I applied this it clung to every dry patch and looked terrible.  I had to take it off immediately. Now my skin is dryer in the winter, but this was crazy.  Even if my skin was as smooth as glass, I found the coverage and smooth texture of the Miracle Skin Transformer to be comparable to my Covergirl & Olay Tone Rehab foundation, which I love.  So basically all of the good properties of the Miracle Skin Transformer (and none of the bad) can be found in Covergirl & Olay's Tone Rehab Foundation at a tiny fraction of that hefty price tag.

Camille Beckman Body Butter - Scent: Morelia Monarch
Sample Size .25 oz. - Full Size 5.25 oz. $15
This thick, rich body butter moisturizes with shea butter, sweet almond oil and glycerin.  It is thick and rich, but it does not feel greasy.  I love creams like this for the Fall and Winter, but it would be too heavy for me in the Summertime.  I have been loving it on my dry hands and on my growing (almost 9 months pregnant) belly.  The scent is called Morelia Monarch and it smells amazing, although I had to look up exactly what the scent is on the birchbox website.  It is green tea and amber over a base of vanilla orchid. It smells fresh, but complex.  I think this would make a great gift because it is unusual, but impossible not to love.  I'm adding the full size to my shopping cart now :)

Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk 
Sample Size 1.06 oz. - Full Size 3.2 oz. $19.50
I do love my dry shampoos so I was very excited to try this one!  I have very long hair right now and my second day hair is always better than my just washed hair, but I do get oily by my roots and that combined with the weight of my long hair, makes my hair quite flat.  I love to use dry shampoos to boost up the volume and this one did a great job!  You just spray it on your roots, wait two minutes so it can absorb the oils, and then brush and style as usual. Like most dry shampoos, this one comes out white but it does disappear completely when you brush it through, even in my very dark hair.  It absorbs oil and boosts volume and is completely fragrance free.  This is the first dry shampoo I have found that truly is fragrance free.  Sometimes dry shampoos can leave my hair looking dull, but this one left my hair looking shiny and healthy.  This one is now at the top of my dry shampoo list!

LAQA & Co. Fat Lip Pencil - Ring of Fire?
Lil' Lip Duo $16 - Full Size $18
I have always wanted to try these, but was always scared away by the price tag.  I was thrilled to get one in my birchbox and to see that they are now sold in a mini size!  The card included says that the colors we received are Ring of Fire, a bright red or Bossy Boots, a velvety red.  I'm going to say that this must be Ring of Fire, but I would describe it as more of a bright pink red.  Whatever color, it is really pigmented and I love the shine!  I wouldn't call it moisturizing, though.  I would probably wear it with a balm or gloss over it.  It is not drying either, though.  I think the formula is just dry enough to make it long lasting.  The color really stayed put!  Oh and they twist up! No sharpening here! I am definitely going to check out more colors in the Lil' Lip duos!

This digimate is a little extra this month.  It sticks to your phone and you can use it to clean your screen.  It is included to announce and celebrate the launch of the new Birchbox app.  It says you can track your box and even shop from the app.  When you download the app you get a 20% off coupon code, too.  I'm excited to see how it works and I'm surprised it took this long!

So, that's about it! Do you subscribe to Birchbox?
What did you get this month?
Want to sign up? Click Here! It is only $10 a month and I think it is totally worth it!  I love trying new things and I have found so many great products through birchbox that I never would have discovered on my own.
The link is my referral link and when you sign up, I will get points to use toward free products.  When you sign up, you can earn referral points, too.

Monday, December 30, 2013

IPSY Glam Bag Swatches and Review: December 2013 - Be a Bombshell, J.Cat, Mirabella, POP Beauty, Nicka K

With all of the holiday craziness, it took me longer than usual to play with all my fun IPSY stuff this month!  I am again impressed with this month's selection.  IPSY has become my favorite monthly subscription!  So let's see what I got!

Nicka K. New York Nail Polish – Ripe Apple $4.99

I always welcome a new polish!  I had never tried Nicka K. polishes before.  I love the packaging!  It is a very pretty bottle.  The polish applied easily.  Ripe Apple is a very beautiful, creamy, classic Red.  Perfect not only for the Holiday season, but all year round.  Everyone needs a deep, classic Red like this one in their collection.  My only negative is that it is only available online and it is always hard to tell what a color is really like from those weird little swatch squares.

POP Beauty – Bright Up Your Life Eye Shadow Trio – Naturally Bare (10 pan palette $24)

I was very happy with this little trio.  The colors are neutral and easily wearable and they also have a nice metallic sheen to them.  I like that they have a luster to them without being glittery or sparkly.  They all felt creamy, applied easily and lasted throughout the day.  I don’t see POP Beauty around too much, I think just at Ulta, so I have not tried many of their products, but I am really impressed with these!  I’m going to get a lot of use out of this little trio! 

 J. Cat Beauty – The Big Lip Pencil – Caramel Mocha $3.99 at jcatbeauty.com

I liked this too!  Good job this month IPSY!  The color is a nice neutral that would be flattering on many complexions.  The formula is what I really went crazy for!  It feels just like a lip balm and has a nice lip balm like sheen, but also has really good color payoff and a decent wear time.  And, at only $3.99 each I could get a bunch of shades without breaking the bank.  My only negatives are that you need to sharpen the pencil and you have to order online.  I have never seen this brand in any stores, but someone please correct me if I’m wrong!  I would love to see more of these in person before buying!

Top:Lip Pencil          Bottom:The One Stick

Be a Bombshell – The One Stick – Sunset $16

I always like the idea of these multipurpose products, but find that they rarely work for all of the purposes they claim.  This product is for lips, eyes and cheeks and I think it wins 2 out of 3, so not bad.  Sunset is a deep Coral with a very subtle gold shimmer.  A nice shade for lips and cheeks, but I wouldn’t use this color near my eyes.  I like it most on my lips, but it works very well as a blush, too.  I usually prefer powder blush products and once blended out, the one stick has a powder like finish.  Once blended out, it is not at all tacky or even dewy looking, which I like.

Mirabella Eye Blender Brush - $27 at mirabellabeauty.com

I love this brush.  Many times when you get a brush in a kit or a subscription, it is not of the greatest quality.  But, this brush is certainly not a throwaway!  Its handle is made of brushed aluminum and it feels quite weighty in your hand.  The bristles are soft and blend out my eye shadows beautifully.  I would definitely like to see more brushes like this one!

So, that was my December IPSY bag!  
Do you subscribe to IPSY?
What did you get this month?

If you are interested in joining IPSY, it is just $10 a month.  If you Click Here you can sign up and I will get referral points that I can redeem for free products.  The IPSY referral program is fairly new.   For more information about their referral program, check out IPSY.com.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sunday Samples: Bare Minerals Flawless Definition Mascara Review

 This week's sample lasted me all month long!  I got this deluxe sample of Bare Minerals Flawless Definition Mascara as a Gift with Purchase.  It is certainly in my top three favorite mascaras if its not my all time favorite! I love this mascara.
This mascara really delivers on its promises!  It promises to lengthen, darken, lift and define every lash and it certainly does.  It wears amazingly.  It stays all day long with absolutely no smudging or flaking.  I never have to worry about raccoon eyes when I wear this mascara.  It is also easily buildable.  One coat can look very natural or you can build it up to look more dramatic.  I especially love that my lashes remain soft when I wear this mascara.  I hate hard, crunchy lashes. Because it keeps your lashes soft, you can add extra coats of mascara at any time.  If you need to take your look from day to night you can easily reapply this mascara at any time.
Full Size available at Sephora, Ulta, Bare Escentuals, etc.
Bare Minerals Flawless Definition Mascara $18

I have used this mascara before and I will certainly use it again!  I like to keep an eye out for sets that includes the mascara because even though it is worth every penny, I hate spending $18 on a mascara.  Luckily, this mascara is often included in sets so it is easy to find at an even better value.  I definitely recommend checking it out!

Have you tried this mascara?
What is your all time favorite holy grail mascara?

Monday, December 23, 2013

Julep Maven It Girl October 2013 - Missy, Kendra and Ciara Swatches and Review

October 2013 The Rebel Set

I never posted about my Julep Maven October Box, so I thought I would try to catch up a bit before the new year :)  I chose to receive the It Girl Box this month.  The It Girl Box always has 3 polishes.  This month they were Missy, Kendra and Ciara.

I love the quotes that are included every month and the seasonal candies are not bad either!  I know they are gross, but I love candy corn!

Missy - Titanium Metallic
I'm not usually a big fan of silver polishes, but I really like the finish of this one.  It applied easily and covered well after 2 coats.  Many metallics leave brush strokes, but this one was quite lovely and easy to apply.  I still wouldn't rock a whole mani, but I like it as an accent or it would be lovely for nail art because its not too fussy.

Kendra - Army Green Frost
Kendra was my favorite this month.  I would describe it as a dark, smoky green with a shimmer finish.  I love dark, almost black colors like this one for the Fall and Winter.  I think it would be a nice, subtle polish for Christmas.   It is green without being a crazy, bright emerald green. 

Ciara - Vampy Magenta with Teal Microglitter
I expected Ciara to be my favorite, because it is so unusual.  I did really like this polish, but I felt like it somehow didn't suit me.  It was just a bit off for my skin tone.  I'll have to give it another try in the Spring or Summer maybe.  It was a little thin, but it still covered well with 2 coats.  It was difficult to photograph, but the flash of the teal microglitter was very strong both indoors and out. Ciara is very pretty and different.  I'll have to give it another try when I'm more tan.

Are you a Julep Maven?

Right now you can join the Julep Maven monthly subscription program for FREE!  First time members can get their first box for FREE by Clicking Here, choose which intro box you want and enter FREEBOX at checkout. The links included are my referral links.  When you sign up you get one too and you can earn credits for more free polish :)

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sunday Samples: Calvin Klein CK One Color Foundation - 300 Sand

Image Source: Ulta.com
For today's Sunday Sample I gave Calvin Klein's CK One Color 3 in 1 Foundation a try.  It is an oil free Serum, Primer and Foundation with an SPF 8.

I got this sample with one of my Ulta orders as this foundation is available exclusively at Ulta and Ulta.com.  The full size is $30.

It is available in 11 shades and my sample was 300 Sand.

This card tells you some of the claims this foundation makes.  It is a Serum, Primer and Foundation in one.  

As a Serum, it nourishes with Vitamins A, C, and E.
Because I only tried this once, I can't speak to the serum aspect of this foundation, but vitamins are always good!

As a Primer, it gives a smooth, flawless finish with shine control and extends the wear of makeup for up to 11 hours.  
I can totally support this claim! I wore this foundation for 12 hours and not only did the foundation look good all day long, but my bronzer and highlighter stayed put longer as well.

As a Foundation, it gives a natural look while perfecting your skin tone and it's Oil Free with and SPF 8.
This foundation has light-medium coverage and a very natural look.  I have a lot of redness and it was able to cover and even out it all, while still looking natural.  This time of year I spend very little time outdoors and SPF 8 is enough for me, but come Spring I would need more.  

 As you can see, shade 300 Sand is a bit too dark for me.  Once I applied it to my face and blended it out it worked for me, and would probably be my perfect Summer shade, but if I were to buy the full size I would go a shade lighter.  
Here you can see it blended out.  Do you see that bit of sparkle?  It wasn't noticeable to me on my face, but again, this time of year I do not spend a lot of time outside so maybe it would be more apparent in brighter lighting.  

Final Thoughts: I would buy the full size of this foundation for the winter, but because of the low SPF and the shimmer I would have to try it out again in the Spring and Summer to see how it works for me then.

Have you tried the CK one color Foundation?
How do you like it?
What foundation are you using now and how is it working for you?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Julep Maven Boho Glam December 2013 Glitterati Collection - Misti and Joelle Swatches and Review

Ready to see what was in my Julep Maven Box this month?

The collection for December was called Glitterati, perfect for the Holidays!

 This month we got a little something extra.  I can always use a couple more twistbands!

Now for the polish and the palette! I was so excited to see what this eyeshadow palette would be like.  It is a bit smaller than I thought it would be as you can see with it next to the polishes above.

The palette is made out of paper and has a magnetic closure and a decent sized mirror.

The colors are all neutral and universally flattering.  I'm sure I will get a lot of use out of this palette!

December 2013 The Glitterati Collection

Misti - Smoky Blue Gray Creme
This is 2 easy, no fuss coats of Misti, which I would call more of a smoky teal.  It not only applied easily, but it also wore really well. I wore this mani for 5 days before it chipped!

Joelle - Full Coverage Smoky Holographic Glitter
I only applied one coat of Joelle on my ring finger so as you can see, it really could be a full coverage glitter.  I prefer to wear glitter as a top coat.  Joelle applied smoothly and was very sparkly! A perfect polish for this Holiday Season :)

Are you a Julep Maven?
What did you get this month?

Right now you can join the Julep Maven monthly subscription program for FREE!  First time members can get their first box for only FREE by Clicking Here, choose which intro box you want and enter FREEBOX at checkout. The links included are my referral links.  When you sign up you get one too and you can earn credits for more free polish :)