Saturday, September 29, 2012

September Sample Society

It's been box mania around here. Normally I try to post these earlier but I've been too busy to really use most of my samples. I like to at least try things once before putting in my 2 cents. So on to this month's Sample Society.

September 2012 Sample Society

  • CellCeuticals Extremely Gentle Cleanser Deluxe Sample 2 oz  (Full Size Retail $35) Ideal for even the most sensitive skin, CellCeuticals Extremely Gentle Cleanser removes impurities and makeup without drying out the skin. This daily cleanser hydrates the skin and leaves it feeling supple as it removes facial and eye makeup. I wasn't expecting this to have such a thin texture so I got more out than I had bargained for. This is a very gentle cleanser. I like it so far. I have tons of sample cleansers to work through though.
  • Borghese B Gloss Deluxe Sample .16 oz in Fiore (Full Size Retail .21 oz $18.50) Borghese B Gloss Lip Gloss is a lush, glossy color that accentuates lips and provides high-shine looks. Moisturizers deliver a soothing treat while high style pigments add luminosity. Has a long-wearing formula. Vitamins A and E deliver moisture. Avocado oil, jojoba oil and aloe vera soothe lips. The color I received is very close to my natural lip color with just a little shine. It's nice and subtle. Wear time was pretty good but it comes at a cost. This lip gloss is very sticky feeling. I really don't care for glosses that are really sticky. I'd rather reapply more often.
borghese b gloss swatch fiore

  • Diptyque Vetyverio Eau de Toilette Sample Vial .06(Full Size Retail 1.7 oz $88) Made for both women and men, the Diptyque Eaux de Toilette use the finest raw materials. Vetyverio is in Diptyque's Woody Family. Has the essence of forest vegetation. I normally like the more uni-sex fragrances since I'm not really into girly florals. I don't care for this one. I may give it another try though. My first experiment with it made it smell really strong.
  • Stila Cosmetics Smudge Crayon Waterproof Primer + Shadow + Liner in Umber Deluxe Sample (Full Size Retail $22) Stila Smudge Crayon Waterproof Eye Primer + Shadow + Liner Dazzle is a 3-in-1 gel-based product that glides on with ease and stays in place until you say when. This creamy, multi-pearl formula is infused with emollients for a smooth, comfortable application. Stila Smudge Crayon Waterproof Eye Primer + Shadow + Line Dazzle also provides rich, bold color for more than 6 hours of continuous wear that won't crease over time. The best part: There's a pull-out sharpener conveniently hidden in the base so your product can be ├┤on pointo no matter where you are. I haven't had a chance to use this yet either except to try to swatch it. I love this color and think it can go well with some of the colors from MUA's Heaven & Earth palette.

Stila Cosmetics Smudge Crayon Waterproof Primer + Shadow + Liner in Umber

  • Ahava Purifying Mud Mask Deluxe Sample .9 oz (Full Size Retail 4.4 oz $30) Apply this unique mineral mud mask once or twice a week. It contains purifying and softening qualities, clears skin of excess oils, roots out the grime and blackheads, and prevents the formation of blemishes. This is the only product I haven't had a chance to use yet. I'm hoping to get to it this week. I don't do a lot of masks other than my weekly Ren mask. So this will be a nice change of pace.
Sample Society continues to be my favorite box. I like that it's balanced and sends out brands I wouldn't normally try on my own.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

September Beauty Army

September marked my second month with Beauty Army. Beauty Army is a montly subscription service that allows you to choose your own samples and you can skip a month if you want. Yay. I really enjoyed my first box last month so I was really excited for my window to open up this month. I have seven items this month since one of mine leaked last month.

  • Emani Foundation Primer & Serum (Full Size Retail .84 oz $28) Velvety in texture, it absorbs excess oils and minimizes the appearance of pores. Hydrating Primer Serum contains 10 different organic extracts to aid and prep your skin for an ultimate foundation application. It deeply nourishes, moisturizes, and softens the skin, creating a soft, luminous effect. I'm always up for trying out new primers. 
  • Bath & Body Works Shower Gel in Japanese Cherry Blossom (Full Size Retail 10 oz $11) Bath & Body Works' exclusive formula is now enriched with Shea Butter for softer, cleaner skin in their bubbliest lather ever! Moisturizing Aloe Vera and skin-loving Vitamin E combine with our exclusive, award-winning Japanese Cherry Blossom for lather that bursts with fragrance! Japanese Cherry Blossom is a seductive and mysterious floral scent. Top Notes: Asian Pear, Fuji Apple and Ume Plum. Mid Notes: Japanese Cherry Blossom, Butterfly Lily, Kyoto Rose, Mimosa Petals. I really enjoyed the version of this I got last month in Twilight Woods. That is definitely a more masculine woody scent which is right up my alley. This is definitely a floral. It's almost too light and girly for me. Given the choice I'd pick Twilight Woods.
  • SUNTEGRITY BB Cream SPF30 in Light (Full Size Retail 1.7 oz $45) An all in one, natural Beauty Benefit cream that treats, hydrates, protects, primes and covers the skin. Supercharged with youth promoting antioxidants that fight free radical damage, this cream also provides mineral Broad Spectrum SPF 30 coverage. Red algae and Certified Organic: aloe vera, jojoba, sunflower, pomegranate, cucumber, and green tea provide the face with additional sun defense and hydration. Non-nano sized zinc-oxide protects the skin while providing anti-inflammatory properties that help with rosacea, acne, and melasma. Carefully made for all skin types. Vegan and Cruelty Free (PETA & Leaping Bunny Cert.).  I love true BBs. This seems a bit pricey. I swatched this on my arm before slathering it all over my face. Too yellow! booo. To the trade piles.
  • Egyptian Magic All Purpose Skin Cream (Full Size Retail 4 oz $37.20) This miraculous all-purpose formula will amaze you. This non-greasy blend of all natural ingredients serves an astounding variety of purposes. Use it on your face as a night moisturizer and eye cream. Apply as a split end mending hair conditioner and defrizzer. Try it as a lip balm and as a healing nail and cuticle conditioner. May be used to smooth rough areas and treat conditions like eczema, psoriasis and atopic dermatitis. Egyptain Magic All Purpose Skin Cream has antibacterial properties and contains no toxins, making it a perfect stretch mark prevention cream for use during pregnancy. May also be used to soothe redness, fade scars, and even heal blemishes. I've read a lot about this lately and was excited to get the opportunity to try it out. I'm a bit hesitant to use this. I have a pretty small sample and if it's as amazing as people say it is, I'll want more more more! I'm not on a strict no buy again but I've definitely been weighing need v. want a lot lately. 
  • LIPSI COSMETICS Aphrodite Power (Full Size Retail .74 oz $20) This fine finishing powder is designed to absorb the excess oil, allowing your skin to glow. Aphrodite Power sets makeup and absorbs shine while keeping your cosmetics fresh and natural all day long. This powder suits all skin types and tones. I'm a powder girl. I always set my BB or foundation with powder. I have combination skin and find that powdering really helps. The sample is a bit small and I can't seem to get a decent amount out. I can't imagine trying to do my whole face. So I used it in targeted areas like under my eyes to keep my mascara from smudging.
  •  NAILTIQUES  Formula 2 (Full Size retail .25 fl oz $9.50) Formula 2 is a treatment for soft, peeling, bitten, weak or thin nails. The salon-tested formulation offers a special combination of ingredients, including hydrolyzed keratin and protein in combination with gelatin and calcium to build a healthy nail foundation. The protein formula bonds the nail layers together building a strong nail foundation resistant to peeling, chipping and splitting. My nails aren't in the best of shape. I don't really invest a lot of time into making them look nice and healthy. I worked with my hands for some many years that they always looked torn up anyhoo. So it's taken me a bit of time to get into the habit of taking care of my nails and cuticles. I'm hoping this builds up my nails some. Hopefully, I can remember to apply it daily. Two days in and I do see a difference.
  • Delizioso Skincare Mangosteen & Acai Super Anti-Aging Facial Cream Deluxe Sample (Full Size Retail 1 oz $58) 100% Natural Mangosteen & Acai extracts along with Alpha Hydroxy Acids use a potent anti-aging system of antioxidants to perfect dull skin. Organic oils nourish while aloe and pure juices of cucumber and blueberry rehydrate. As you apply the moisturizer Vita Burst Beads infused with a potent dose of Vitamin E, Acai, and Mangosteen pop and start to act immediately. This technology helps keep the potent ingredients at their very peak of action. This was my bonus sample. I could have gotten something else but I wasn't thinking fast on my feet when she asked me if I wanted this sample again or something else. I loved this last month though and used what was left in the jar up completely. I would consider buying this product. 
Overall, I'm still really happy with Beauty Army. Taking the profile test over and over can be a pain but I've been happy with the samples I've ended up with.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

September Little Black Bag

I had been doing so well resisting the temptation of Little Black Bag for the last two months but I saw a purse I liked and gave in. LBB had also teamed up with Benefit Cosmetics and there were bonus Benefit goodies to be had. Win Win. Over the course of my trading, I fell out of love with my purse and wound up trading it for a two item trade. I ended up with five items plus two Benefit samples.

  • Spring Street - Snake Print Cosmetic Bag (Retail Value $25) This is a cute shiny snakeskin print makeup bag. I'm not exactly sure why I was drawn to it. Shiny? It's a good size but will still fit comfortably in purse. 
  • 'ZAD - Cheveron Cut Out Cuff in Silver (Retail Value $26) If you've looked at my past LBB videos and posts, you know I love a good bracelet. This bracelet isn't really my usual style but the good thing about LBB is that it let's you try things you wouldn't normally try while minimizing the financial risk. I've actually worn this bracelet a few times since I got my bag and I love it!
  • Kenneth Cole New York - Beaded Y Necklace (Retail Value $42)  This wound up being the most expensive single item in my bag and I wouldn't have paid $42 for it on it's own. I like that's not a symmetrical design. The beads are light and clear. I know if I decide that I don't love it my Mom will.
  • Lydell NYC - 2 Row Chain & Circle Necklace (Retail Value $28) Oddly enough this is my favorite item from this bag. The necklace has a good length to it The simple circle design will go with just about any outfit. My only complaint was that it was a pretty big knot when I took it out of the box. 
  • Kenneth Cole New York - Cherry Orbital Earrings (Retail $26) I'm not really amazed by the earrings. I kept trying to trade them and couldn't seem to shake them unless I went with something well under this value and I wasn't really willing to do that. Not to mention there hasn't been much on LBB lately that I've actually liked. These earrings are bad earrings. They just don't WOW me. Again, I can always gift these to my Mom.
  • Benefit Cosmetics - They’re Real Mascara (Full Size Retail $23) If you've been reading my posts for awhile you are also aware that I've been on a mascara hunt. This was one of the mascaras that was recommended to me. Now I'm not going to spend $23 on a mascara unless I know I'm going to love it. So I jumped at the chance to get a sample in my bag. Preliminary testing is going well. I'm definitely impressed with the length and curl.
  • Benefit Cosmetics - It's Potent! Eye Cream (Full Size Retail $32) Despite my best efforts, I still haven't found anything that really makes my dark circles go away. Sometimes they aren't as bad but they never go away completely. I haven't had a chance to try this yet but I'm always up for eye creams.
There was also a card with a sample of Benefit's Porefessional Primer. This is my absolute favorite primer so I'm excited to get a little extra. The retail value of my bag this month minus the samples is $122 which is pretty modest for LBB. I place more value on getting several items I really love.

What was in your LBB?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

September Birchbox

If you've been reading my blog the last few months, you know that I've had a pretty tumultuous relationship with Birchbox. I finally decided that this month would be the month that would decide if we were going to break up or stay together.

  • Vastanti Brighten Up! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator 20g deluxe sample (Full Size Retail $ 34)Vasanti’s multi-action exfoliator includes both enzymes and micro crystals, plus healing natural ingredients. The result? Renewed, decongested skin without any redness.  Wow that's a name! I thought my skin looked brighter after using this but I don't really care for the gritty texture. I'll probably finish up the tube at some point but I don't see myself buying this.
  • Fekkai Technician Color Care Shampoo & Conditioner Foil packs (Full Size Retail $28 8oz)  Plant-based proteins keep color-treated looks looking true-to-hue, while moisture-restoring avocado oil hydrates dry, brittle strands. A potent blend of peach, apricot, and callendula flower extracts helps protect hair from discoloration and fading. Foil packs for shampoo are really hard to open in the shower. grr. I have actually been using this shampoo conditioner for the last month or so. I actually bought a sample kit after I fell in love with the Fekkai Gloss in my March Sample Society (that sample was a true deluxe size. I'm still using it after all these months and I use it regularly). I like this formula but I don't know if I like it enough to fork over $28 a bottle.
  • Twistband Hair Tie 1 full size (Full Size Retail $18 12ct) Each Twistband is made of high-quality elastic that keeps braids, buns, and ponytails secured. Because they’re thicker than regular hair ties, they don’t leave crimps in hair.  Well that sounds nice and these may actually work if you have a normal amount of hair. Even after getting mine thinned out, I have a LOT of hair. I could only wrap this around my hair twice. Instead of a perky and cute ponytail, I got limp and sad. Some ladies mentioned that their cats loved these. Mia is just about as interested in it as am. Not to mention this is pink. I don't a single article of clothing or accessory that is pink and I'd like to keep it that way. 
  • Birchbox & Color Club Custom Collection Insta This! Deluxe Sample (Full Size Retail $8) We designed this share-worthy custom collection with Color Club for all the social media addicts out there. You’ll be inspired to tweet, pin, tag, and post these four gorgeous shades with your followers.  The only thing I feel inspired to Instagram about this is a big sad face. Every time Birchbox gets a new batch of Color Club polishes, I get one. I'm really not that interested in nail polish and this color just is not something I see myself wearing. To the trade list it goes. 
  • Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse Beauty Balm SPF 25+ 3ml Deluxe Sample (Full Size Retail $32 25ml) A moisturizer, sunscreen, and treatment serum all-in-one, this tinted BB cream even helps hide imperfections—so there’s no need for foundation or cover-up.  These have been making the Birchbox rounds for a few months as well. When they first started appearing, subscribers were getting near empty tubes. Mine was about three quarters full which is a decent amount for trying this out. I love Korean BBs. I wear my Holika Holika nearly everyday. I've also tried and really liked Skin79. I wasn't really into this one. The coverage wasn't as great as some of the other BBs I've tried. The color is just ever so slightly too dark. Normal people (non makeup obsessed) would probably not even notice but I do and it kinda bothers me.
  • The Brush Guard Variety Pack  Lifestyle extra 3ct (Full Size $5.50 4ct) The cross-stitched plastic guard holds the shape of a makeup brush. It also protects it from dust and dirt. And the snug fit keeps all our favorite tools safe. Try the ¼” for your shadow or liner brushes, and the ⅖” size for blush accents. We like the ¾” guard for foundation brushes, and the 1” for powder or Kabuki brushes to keep your all-over application tools extra clean. I actually haven't tried these out yet. It seems like a good idea though. I can't see myself actually spending money on these though. Usually when I travel with my brushes, I put them in a case by themselves so they're already protected.
There was also a digital download for some Tristan Prettyman tracks. Pretty cool if you're into that kind of music. I listened to the previews and decided it wasn't worth the space on my hard drive. 

Birchbox teamed up with Madewell clothing and put together a little fall fashion guide. I don't take pains to be on trend every season. I like what I like and that's that. They included a $25 "gift card" (good on purchases of $75 or more) to redeem at Madewell. To me their clothing was a little pricey and boring. They also only carry up to a size 12. I can sometimes where a 12 on my top half but no way on the bottom half. My code is up for grabs if anyone wants it just leave me a message. 

So what's the final verdict?! This is definitely a better box than last month. There are some products I like but it's too little too late. This will be my last Birchbox for awhile. I'm consistently happy with Sample Society and I've liked my last two Beauty Army kits. Sure it's only $10 a month but that adds up and I'd rather save my money or buy a few products I really like instead. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

100 Followers! Thank you!

When I started this blog back in January, I thought that maybe a few of my friends and family would read it. I never dreamt that so many other people would start reading it! Sometimes I don't have as much time to devote to my blog as I'd like to but it inspires me and pushes me to know there are people out there reading this and enjoying it. I love all of your comments and feedback.

In appreciation of hitting the 100+ follower mark, I'd like to send out a small thank you gift. I've chosen the e.l.f. 11 piece Studio Brush set because I think it's a good basic set of brushes. Many of these I use everyday. These are also fully synthetic and vegan friendly. The set includes: Eyeshadow "C" Brush, Small Smudge Brush, Small Angled Brush, Small Precision Brush, Contouring Brush, Concealer Brush, Blush Brush, Complexion Brush, Angled Foundation Brush, Powder Brush, and Fan Brush.

I'm also giving away my two favorite colors of the NYX Xtreme Lip Creams. My reviews of those are my most read posts. I'm giving away Buttery Nude and Absolute Red. NYX products are cruelty free.

You can read about them here and here.  I know NYX isn't a brand that is easily accessible to everyone. So I wanted to spread the love.

This will be open to my international readers as well. Winner will have 48hours to respond. If a response is not received, a new winner will be chosen. I really hope one of my actual readers wins this so you will not find a "Tweet About This Giveaway" or "Blog About This" option. Of course, if you feel like sharing it you can . :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 3, 2012

August Favorites

The month of August flew by! This month I have been using some new products and some products that have been sitting in my makeup drawer neglected for awhile.

August Favorites
e.l.f. Kabuki Face Brush, UD 24/7 Stray Dog, MUA Heaven & Earth, Macadamia Healing Oil, e.l.f. Makeup Mist & Set

  • e.l.f. Kabuki Face Brush This brush is so soft! I've been using it lately in place of my Estee Lauder powder brush and I love it. It's only $6 from e.l.f. I picked this up last month when they were having a sale for only $3. I'm really amazed at the quality for the price. This brush is fully synthetic and vegan.
  • Urban Decay 24/7 Eyeliner in Stray Dog This was party of the 24/7 Travel Set in Naked. I don't believe this color is part of the permanent range. I picked the set up when it was Hautelook last time. The color is a nice taupe brown. It just happens to go perfectly with the eyeshadow combination I've been using from my MUA palette.
  • MUA Heaven & Earth Palette MUA is a UK drugstore brand that lots of bloggers rave about. I finally got my hands on some of their products. Here's my haul post if you missed it. Their products are well priced even with the exchange rate. I'm happy to report that they live up to the hype. This palette is pigmented with a nice texture. I've been creating some really nice smokey daytime looks. I'll try to do a full review soon. 
  • Macadamia Healing Oil Treatment This was from my first Beauty Army. This smells amazing and leaves my hair very shiny and soft. I definitely plan on purchasing the full size version in the future. 
  • e.l.f. Makeup Mist & Set This is another of those products that I use everyday and tend to take for granted. I really notice a difference in how long my makeup lasts when I don't use it. The ingredients include aloe, green Tea, cucumber and vitamins A, C & E. There are probably better setting sprays out there but for $3 I don't think you can beat this one. It also tends to last. I've had this bottle for awhile and I'm just now getting to the halfway point..
What are your August favorites?
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