Friday, July 3, 2015

Bonus Birchbox Reivew

I asked my friend Sam to give me a second opinion on my first Birchbox selections.  

Full disclosure:  I threatened Sam with bodily harm if I didn't get the Marcelle Golden Glow BB Cream or Vasanti BrightenUp! back in enough quantity to use again.  

More full disclosure:  I have a thing or two to learn from Sam about beauty reviews.

Tell Us About Yourself:
Hi, I'm Sam, Jeanne's genderbending friend! 
I really have no idea what else to put here, because anonymity in the south!

What Types of Skin/Beauty Product Do You Usually Use?
My usual daily prettification is foundation (I like Cover Girl True Match, N2), powder (Rimmel Stay Matte), and - currently - the insane Manga mascara from L'Oreal, over a base of NYX primer, and finished as well as NYX matte finishing spray. I use Organix Eucalyptus Mint Shampoo/conditioner and Dr. Bronner's castille soap and an endless rotation of moisturizers, depending on what I can find. I haven't found one I really love, though a mix of Dr. Bronner's and coconut oil works nicely. I also use, usually, Organix Surf Paste on my hair (which is in a perpeptual punk pixie), and my wife is intending to color my gray into a lavender/mint/silver via either Ion or Pravana. Yay being married to a cosmetologist!

Reviews:
Kerastase Elixir Ultime:
I was so ready to hate this. My experiences with anything involving a) oil and b) my hair have all ended in tears and long sessions of shampooing. So ready to hate that, even though I completely forgot to style my hair one morning, I preferred to let it be a frumpy mess atop my head than try this until I couldn't stand it any longer. You know what wavy, gray hair does in humidity? It turns into a horror of coarse, uncontrollable strands. You know what the Kerastase did? Made it suddenly become a sleek, soft, shiny, agreeable pixie. Seriously, my hair is soft. It's never soft. I'm putting this on my "may seriously purchase" list.

ADDENDUM: As noted above, my wife's a cosmetologist. I got this out of my satchel and put on the counter and she did a literal spit-take about Kerastase being in her house. Apparently, we areordering this ASAP.

Vasanti BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Scrub:
After being out in the heat at Pride, chasing my daughter around Target, moving the lawnmower to the shed, and general daily filth, I decided to use this. I'm not sure it was the best decision for being objective, as I could have taken Lava soap and bleach to my face and been happy with the result, but at the time I was impressed with the cleaning. The real decision was the next morning, when my face was still clean, the skin was soft and happy, and even post-shaving it was toned and oh-so-soft. 
Monday, two days after the initial wash, it's still awesome. 
I found the amount of exfoliation to be perfect - not like the sandpaper experience of an apricot scrub, but somewhat more strident than most. Maybe my accurs'd Y chromosome toughens my skin a bit. It went on smoothly, and felt refreshing and very slightly tingly. If there is an objection, it's my standard one to face scrubs that someone needs to formulate them to rinse off more easily.

Marcelle B*B Golden Glow
It goes on smoothly and provides good coverage with only a little used. The instructions say it can be used as a makeup base, so I swapped it for my normal NYX primer. I use neutrals for foundation/powder, and the Marcelle provided warmer undertones to the overall look. That said...I'm not sold on it. Maybe in a different tone, I'd like it more. The formula was great, but the color wasn't for me. However, if you look good in warmer tones, definitely pick this up. The product itself was fantastic.

Laura Geller Baked Blush - Bali:
I've included a side-by-side with my normal blush for contrast. 
Formula and Application: Went on fine, wasn't too "dusty". I like the subtle amount of shimmer to the blush, and was pleasantly shocked that it was not as vivid on the skin as it appeared in the tray. It was definitely more vivid than my normal neutral-pink, and I liked the look - a subtle pink shimmer that really accentuated the cheekbones. It's not an everyday blush for me, but I'd pick it up for special occasions. 

La Fresh Eco-Beauty Makeup Removal Towelette:
Review: The package was easy to open (much like those moist towelettes they have at wing/rib/messy food restaurants). The product itself was your standard facial cleansing wipe with a lovely lavender scent. The feel was fresh and clean, no oily residue, but I'd have preferred to have the liquid itself more than the towelette, as end-of-day stubble turns those into a shredded mess. Again, stupid Y chromosome. It cleaned extremely well, though, and seemed to tone the skin a bit.

HOWEVER
Personal pet peeve - La Fresh advertises itself as an eco-friendly company. They place a huge emphasis on water conservation.
I cannot find anywhere on their site or documentation that they are also cruelty-free. They say their products are free of animal byproducts, but that's not the same. While I confess to not being as observant of this as I should be, I do try to stick to cruelty-free products as much as possible, and their overall advertising and packaging actually made me check, because it seemed like this would be an ideal makeup remover if it wasn't tested on animals.
However, that doesn't seem to be the case, so I'll stick with my homebrew of Dr. Bronner's and Coconut Oil.

Individual Products get Stars!:
Kerastase: * * * * *
Vasanti: * * * * 1/2
Marcelle: * * * *
Laura Geller Baked Blush: * * * *
La Fresh Eco-Beauty Makeup Removal Towelette: **** for the product, ** for not bothering to be Cruelty Free while pushing all Eco everything

*This post contains referral links.  If you sign up for Birchbox or ipsy through the links I may receive points towards future purchases.  This is not a sponsored post.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Reviews and Re-Runs

I took these photos at the end of the day yesterday, so the cosmetics reviewed from my June ipsy Glam Bag had been on for about 11 hours.  I was pleased by how the primer kept my foundation looking fresh, and the eye products stayed firmly in place.

Dress, eshakti.com; shrug, It's Our Time, thrifted; shoes, Mossimo, Target; earrings, thrifted; necklace, handmade by me.

I need to get back in practice for posing for photos.  I just feel awkward doing it right now.

You may notice that I'm wearing the same shoes and necklace as I was in my last OOTD photos.  Access to my wardrobe is limited right now because I'm in the midst of home improvement.  The large majority of my shoes and nearly all of my jewelry is inaccessible, and all of my clothes are crammed into a corner of my living room.
You can see my bed in the lower right-hand corner of the frame.
I'm roughing it a bit until my floors are refinished.
Soon my floors will be refinished, my walls will be painted, and all of my duds, kicks, and baubles will be at my fingertips once more.  Until then, I'll dream with my head six inches from my dresses and my toes six feet from my dogs.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Swimming Into Beauty with Ipsy

The theme of the June ipsy GlamBag is "Swim Into Beauty," and it is perfectly tailored for a summer look.  The Smashbox Cosmetics Photo Finish Foundation Primer keeps your makeup in place in the heat, the tre'StiQue Mini Shadow Crayon and OFRA Cosmetics Turquoise Eyeliner work together to create a smokey but summery eye look, the Formula X Power Source Nail Color is an electric pink coral that is perfect for the beach or pool, and the Lavanila Laboratories The Healthy Body Butter in Pure Vanilla has a subtle, tropical scent.  
  • Makeup bag:  The bag was nice enough. It is black neoprene with a neon coral zipper.  I forgot to take a picture of mine, but it looks like this.
    Image credit: Ipsy.com
  • Smashbox Cosmetics Photo Finish Foundation Primer:  I was excited to try this because it is a product I've actually heard of.  I don't use a primer, but after trying this I think I will start.  It went on easily and made my face incredibly smooth.  My foundation was easier to apply and felt better than it ever has before.  I used my normal Almay Smart Shade Makeup**, and I skipped the blush.  My foundation stayed put all day, even though I took a walk in the 90+ degree sunshine at lunch.  
I fail at product display.  The Primer is facing
the wrong way.
I got this one facing the right way, but
it is casting a weird shadow on my face.
  • tre'StiQue Mini Shadow Crayon in Kona Coffee:  I really like stick-based makeup.  It's easy to use and tends to wear well.  The shadow crayon went on with a smooth, bold line, and easily smudged into a lighter color that stayed put all day.
Step 1: Dark lines
Step 2: Smudgy eyes
  • OFRA Cosmetics Turquoise Eyeliner:  I usually use liquid liner because it go on in a smoother, more definite line, but this eyeliner pencil was nearly as smooth.  The color is perfect to accent my eyes.  I read a number of reviews from people who didn't like the color, but for blue eyes it is perfect.
The OFRA Cosmetics Turquoise Eyeliner
Turquoise lines
  • Formula X Power Source Nail Color:  The color is vibrant and summery, and it stayed on in spite spending last weekend doing home improvement.  Where my nails look a little chipped, they are actually covered in oat bran colored latex paint.  
Power source nails
I don't have anything  to show you here except
the packaging.
  • Lavanila Laboratories The Healthy Body Butter in Pure Vanilla:  I don't use much lotion, and what I do use is mostly unscented.  I probably wouldn't buy this lotion, but I liked it a lot better than I like a lot of scented products.  The vanilla scent was subtle and mature.  It didn't smell like cupcakes or cookies.  The texture was rich but not greasy.  
I finished with a coat of CoverGirl Lashblast Mascara.  I've used more expensive mascaras than this one, but I keep going back to Lashblast because it gives dramatic length and fullness without clumping.  
I'm happy with this look, but holy crap do I need
under-eye concealer.  
The products in the ipsy June Glam Bag are generously sized.  The tre'StiQue Mini Shadow Crayon and OFRA Cosmetics Turquoise Eyeliner will last me through the summer, even with frequent use.  I could absolutely bathe in the Smashbox Cosmetics Photo Finish Foundation Primer.  I like it so much I'm going to add a makeup primer in my daily routine.  The nail polish is a great color for summer.  The only product I'm not terribly excited by is the lotion, but overall it was a great selection.  I can't wait for next month's Glam Bag.

*This post contains referral links.  If you sign up for Birchbox or ipsy through the links I may receive points towards future purchases.  This is not a sponsored post.

**This post contains Amazon affiliate links.  If you make a purchase through those links, I will receive a small commission.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Ipsy: Glam is in the Bag

Last week I reviewed my first Birchbox subscription.  This week I'll tear open my Ipsy Glam Bag.

Ipsy” derived its name from the Latin word ipse, meaning “sense of self.” Sense of self is important.  Sense of self is why I'm here.  

Do you see how cute the mailing envelope is?  It is metallic 
fuchsia.  I am going to reuse it to send a gift to a friend.

Ipsy has a slightly different take on the beauty subscription game.  Each ipsy shipment comes in a cute makeup bag, which they market as a Glam Bag.  I'm crazy for little bags, so getting a new one each month is a fun treat.  This kind of bag comes in handy for everything from electronics to travel items to crafting and, of course, beauty.  

According to the ipsy site, the June bag is valued at $40.  That's not too shabby for a $10 purchase cost.  I certainly feel like I got my money's worth.

Here's what's inside:
  • Makeup bag
  • OFRA Cosmetics Turquoise Eyeliner
  • Smashbox Cosmetics Photo Finish Foundation Primer
  • Lavanila Laboratories The Healthy Body Butter in Pure Vanilla
  • Formula X Power Source Nail Color
  • tre'StiQue Mini Shadow Crayon
I'll try and review all the products in my first ipsy Glam Bag tomorrow.  Check back soon!

*This post contains referral links.  If you sign up for Birchbox or ipsy through the links I may receive points towards future purchases.  This is not a sponsored post.