Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Ipsy Review - November 2016

What: Ipsy Glam Bag contains 5 deluxe samples and full sized beauty products (mostly makeup) in an exclusive makeup bag.
When: Glam Bags ship monthly on the 10th
Cost: $10/month (free shipping within the US)
Fun Extra: You can review your products each month to earn ipsyPoints which can be redeemed for bonus items.

Yay! It's officially the holiday season and this year I'm determined to be festive. Thanksgiving has come and gone but I'm still incredibly thankful for my loving family and friends. Who else would answer a text at 11 PM asking if I can swing by right now to pick up a bunch of plastic containers because I had a last minute idea to make a shit ton of shrinky dinks...by tomorrow? (The answer was yes, by the way *screams in delight*) I thank my lucky stars that my mom saves her plastic containers and that she was still up at eleven. Speaking of stars...
Check out this month's makeup bag - makeup constellations! I suppose if you look hard enough at the night sky you can make a constellation for anything. Like your pet hamster, perhaps. Or the ice cream sundae you're craving at the moment. I'm leaning toward the latter.

Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara (0.17oz, value $14.50) - I'm not much of a mascara person, but apparently 8 out of 10 people (so 4 out of 5...I like to simplify things) say this is the best one they've used. Supposedly the hourglass-shaped wand grabs every single lash and coats it with wonderul black magic.

Luxie Rose Gold Small Duo Fiber Brush (value $12) - If you like the airbrushed makeup look, stipple brushes are the way to go. These brushes have two lengths of fibers (only the longer ones actually touch anything). Just dip the tip of the brush in some makeup, tap it on, and swirl to blend.

BH Cosmetics Foil Eyes To Go 6 Color Eyeshadow Palette (value $4) - At first I was kind of bummed to see all these metallic colors because I'm horrible at avoiding glitter fallout. And I'm pretty plain Jane so things like azure and...is that orange??...freak me out. But I swatched it anyway and it's not half as bad as I expected. Fallout is still a problem, but the colors aren't incredibly pigmented and actually look pretty once it's on my skin. And the orange? It's really more of a peach and to my surprise it was the closest to my natural skin tone. 
BH Cosmetics Foil Eyes To Go Palette swatches

Formula X Nail Polish in Huntress (4ml, value $4) - Although it looks black in the photo, this nail polish is supposed to be a deep iridescent emerald color with flecks of gold. I can see the gold and iridescence, but I honestly don't see anything emerald or green about it. Perhaps it's one of those that looks dark in the bottle but lighter once it dries...

Verb Ghost Oil (0.57oz, value $4) - With a name like ghost oil, I think this would have been perfect for last month's bag. This is a moringa oil blend that virtually disappears when you apply it to hair. Or that's what the company claims, anyway. If you promise me a disappearing act, you can bet I'm all ears. Or hair or whatever. But I was actually intrigued enough to try it right away. And just as the claims stated, I couldn't tell it was there. But hair oils rarely make my hair greasy so you  may not want to take my word to grave. Ha. Ghost oil, grave. *sigh* I'm still celebrating Halloween, I guess. 

November Glam Bag Verdict: I'm quite happy. I don't say that very often with Ipsy, but I'm saying it now. I'll probably get some use out of everything except the mascara, and even though that's the big ticket thing in here I still got my money's worth. The biggest surprise in here is the palette. Who knew I'd ever voluntarily whip out a palette with non-neutrals??! You really can't judge a book by its cover. Well played, Ipsy.

If you want lots of fun makeup that you wouldn't normally pick out yourself (like bold-looking palettes!) click here to sign up for Ipsy. At just $10 it's one of the most affordable beauty subscriptions you can find and the value you get is mind blowing!

Note: This post contains referral links. All opinions expressed in this review are my own

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Stickii Sticker Club Cute Pack Review - November 2016

What: Stickii Club is a sticker subscription that sends an envelope full of Cute, Retro or Pop themed stickers every month (you get to choose the category). This review is for the Cute pack.
When: Ships on the 11th or 21st of each month depending on your signup date
Cost: $10 per month (free shipping)

Lately it seems like no matter how many stickers I use, I can't keep up with the rate that I'm getting them (not that it's a bad thing). Stickii has some of the cutest stickers I've seen and I'm tempted to just stick 'em everywhere, including random places in my office building. That place would definitely benefit from a dose of fun.

Thanksgiving is still a couple of days away but it seems like everywhere is gearing up for the holidays already, including a couple of houses in my neighborhood. What happened to putting up holiday decor the day after Thanksgiving? I suppose it's because everybody will be too busy shopping? Anyway, Stickii followed suit and sent a Christmas-themed pack to their subscribers this month. Read on to see what holiday cuteness awaits.

First of all, I cannot ignore how awesome that Wonder Woman stamp on the mailer is. I was never one to collect stamps but if there are superhero ones out there I may consider getting into the hobby...

On to the stickers!

Santa, Santa, SANTAS EVERYWHERE. My favorite is the drunk/delirious Santa on the sticker sheet to the right because it makes me think of eggnog which makes me feel all warm and Christmas-y inside. The circle stickers are perfect for sealing Christmas cards. I was planning to be all crafty and make all my cards this year and so far I have made a total of...zero. Well, I guess that will be next year's project. *sigh* life of a procrastinator. 

I should take a lesson from this sheet of Christmas tree stickers. I'm always looking for different ways to trim my tree because every year it looks exactly the same. Noted. Next year I will make a patchwork tree like the one on the left hand side. And Stickii always includes something for the planner lovers; this month it's sticker flags and Christmas washi tape. Time to make my planner look a little festive!

I guess since it's only November they didn't want to make a sticker pack ENTIRELY devoted to the holidays. These are the non-holiday stickers. I think my favorite here are the hearts with the cute animals. I'm partial to the shiba heart because it looks almost like my beloved Macho but they're all 100% adorable. 

This month's pack is really getting me into the Christmas spirit but I can't help but feel a little bad since it's not even Thanksgiving yet. Maybe I'll set this aside until Friday so I can gush over it guilt-free. :)

The holidays are the best time for cute things and warm fuzzy feelings. You can be sure to find that in a Stickii pack. Click here to subscribe to Stickii Club. You can choose from Cute, Retro, or Pop, though I think all are pretty cute. 

Note: No referral links were used in this post. All opinions are my own.

3B Box Review - November 2016

 What: The 3B Box (short for Beyond Beauty Borders) contains 4-5 deluxe or full-sized beauty items from Korea, Japan, or Taiwan
When: Ships during the first week of each month
Cost: $15/month with free shipping to US (or as low as $12/month with longer commitments)

I feel like it was just yesterday that I was talking about October's 3B Box, and November's one is here already! *sigh* I love getting things in the mail. :D This month is all about skin care. The info card outlined the main steps in a typical Asian skin care routine:

It might seem overwhelming compared to the typical cleanser-toner-moisturizer deal that a lot of us are used to, but like anything else once you incorporate it into your nighttime routine it gets easier.

Manyo Factory Deep Pore Cleansing Soda Foam - Cleansing foams are good for removing dirt after using an oil cleanser to remove excess oil from your skin. This foam cleanser is enriched with green tea extract and papaya fruit extract for its antioxidant and antibacterial properties. It's especially good for oily skin, enlarged pores, acne and hyperpigmentation - in other words, my skin!

Etude House Honey Cera Toner - Over the past few months 3B has sent out a number of Honey Cera products, two of them being in this box alone. Add that to the serum and cream from a couple of months ago and I've got my own little Honey Cera skin care regimen. The Honey Cera collection is packed with honey extract, royal jelly extract and ceramide to nourish dry skin. This toner is milky and even though it does contain alcohol way down on the ingredient list, my skin can't even tell it's there.

Hada Labo Tokyo Anti-Aging Hydrator - This hydrator is an essence used after toning. Essences add another layer of hydration before applying a serum. My experience with Hada Labo is that their products are very hydrating, and although I haven't tried this particular one yet, with an ingredient like Super Hyaluronic Acid I'd bet it's pretty moisturizing. Bonus: it's fragrance free!

Etude House Honey Cera Emulsion - The next step (if not using a serum) is to apply an emulsion, which is basically a lightweight moisturizer. To be honest, I usually skip the cream and just end my skin routine with an emulsion. But if you have drier skin and crave the added hydration, especially in the winter months, then use an emulsion along with a cream. This emulsion is quite stringy and almost impossible to get out of the bottle, but it is very hydrating and looks like honey and now I'm craving some honey toast. :-/

Ladykin Affinitic Snail Cream - I don't use creams very often, but when I do I like to use watery gel creams like this one because they feel so much lighter while being moisturizing at the same time, minus the oily feeling. Korean brands love to put snail extract in their products due to its hydrating properties and tendency to even out complexion. This particular cream contains 80% snail mucin filtrate! And who can resist that adorable packaging?!

I think this month's 3B Box did a great job with Skin Care 101. The info card is helpful to have on hand in case you have trouble remembering one of the many skin care steps. I'm most excited to try the foam cleanser because it sounds like my match made in heaven. :) If you're interested in immersing yourself in all things skin care, click here to subscribe to 3B Box. At only $15/month (with free shipping!) it's definitely one of the more affordable Asian beauty boxes out there.

Note: All opinions expressed in this review are my own. Post does not contain any referral links.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

3B Box Review - October 2016

What: The 3B Box (short for Beyond Beauty Borders) contains 4-5 deluxe or full-sized beauty items from Korea, Japan, or Taiwan
When: Ships during the first week of each month
Cost: $15/month with free shipping to US (or as low as $12/month with longer commitments)

3B experienced a small hiccup in October and didn't receive one of the items from the manufacturer by the anticipated ship date. They really wanted to include the item in October's haul and as a result the bags went out late. But it's here now and I'm here to share what was in it. :)

The first thing I noticed is that 3B now has their very own branded box! They've come a long way in terms of packaging since that flimsy white wraparound style that would let everything fall out. I'm very happy with this improvement. Now on to the contents!

It's Skin Todak Todak Pack (Pore) - It's Skin makes several versions of Todak Todak wash off packs; they're basically single serve masks (actually, it has about two uses) that you apply then wash off after 15-20 minutes. The Pore (aka green) variety contains green apple and egg white and is supposed to reduce the appearance of pores. You can't permanently reduce the size of your pores, but it is possible to make it look like you did, at least for a couple of days at a time. My pores are huge - Bring it!

Etude House Moistfull Collagen Deep Cream - This cream is 49% collagen. BUT just because something contains collagen doesn't mean it'll magically transfer to you. Applied topically, collagen won't sink right into your face because collagen is a huge molecule and is inefficiently absorbed by the skin. You're better off boosting collagen production naturally by eating Vitamin A- & C-rich foods.

Neogence Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Lotion - Before you start adding this to your list of moisturizers to buy, note that "lotion" here really means toner. The main purpose of a toner is to restore your skin's pH in preparation for the rest of your skincare routine, but in addition to that this toner contains hyaluronic acid for an extra boost of hydration. I guess it does have moisturizer properties after all, huh?

When 10:00 PM Sheet Mask - As the name suggests, this is a nighttime mask which means it's intensely hydrating. It contains hydrolyzed collagen which is supposedly readily absorbed by the skin, but it also contains vitamin C and antioxidants to boost your own collagen production as well. 

Lador Damage Protector Acid Shampoo - Most shampoos are slightly acidic in order to maintain hair's natural acidity; the low pH keeps hair cuticles smooth and oriented in the same direction so that hair appears shiny and healthy. I measured a pH of 4 which is on the lower end, so that means this shampoo would be great to smooth out dry or damaged hair. Plus it contains argan oil which I personally feel is my hair's best friend when it comes to blow drying and taming flyaways. And what's even better is that 3B sent a full sized bottle of this stuff!

Verdict: While I probably won't be using everything this month, I'm sill pretty happy with what I will. If you can't tell, I'm super excited about the shampoo. My hair is super long so I go through shampoos like crazy. And because it's so long the ends are over three years old and definitely fall into the "damaged" category. I'm also curious to see if the Todak Todak pack actually makes your pores look smaller - I have some yucky sebaceous filaments on my nose and I go through a time-consuming ritual twice a week to make them not as obvious. If I can cut that time down in half I'd be such a happy camper.

And last but definitely not least, I'm proud to announce the long-awaited launch of the 3B shop! You can browse past box items by brand or skin concern and pick up more of the things you love.

Speaking of love, if you love Asian beauty and especially skincare, click here to subscribe to 3B Box. At only $15/month (with free shipping!) it's easily one of the more affordable Asian beauty boxes out there.

Note: All opinions expressed in this review are my own. Post does not contain any referral links.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Ipsy Review - October 2016

What: Ipsy Glam Bag contains 5 deluxe samples and full sized beauty products (mostly makeup) in an exclusive makeup bag.
When: Glam Bags ship monthly on the 10th
Cost: $10/month (free shipping within the US)
Fun Extra: You can review your products each month to earn ipsyPoints which can be redeemed for bonus items.

I have to apologize for this late post-Halloween post. I've been lazy and haven't been keeping up with sub boxes. Blame it on the lovely weather or candy overload or whatever, but I've been slacking. A LOT. But it's a new month now and I need to get October's stuff squared away so here's my overdue October (Halloween) Ipsy glam bag review!

First order of business: Is this not the cutest makeup bag you've ever seen?! It's so festive. Definitely in my Top 3. The pale pink with black is an awesome color combo, and those ghosts! There's absolutely nothing scary about them and that's what makes it so wonderful. Yup, I'm certainly going to be using this one even if it's no longer Halloween.

Cosmoholic Liquid Lipstick in Mysterious Mocha (5.5 ml, value $15) - I'm a sucker for lipsticks that smell yummy and THIS ONE SMELLS LIKE CHOCOLATE. I'm completely suckered. This is a shiny lipstick (aka lipgloss) that moisturizes with Vitamin E, jojoba, and macadamia nut oil. There's even a mirror on the side so you can be sure to color within the lines. And if you buy the full size you'll also get a built-in LED light for extra help. The fact that I love the cocoa color makes this perfect for me. It's pretty pigmented but I think worn thinly it'll look great.
Cosmoholic Liquid Lipstick in Mysterious Mocha

Lottie London Perfectly Precise Eyeshadow Brush (value $22) - I can never have too many eye shadow brushes. It's one of the things I keep telling Ipsy I want more of and they keep sending them my way. Maybe they do listen to their feedback, after all. Not much else to say except that it's going straight to my brush collection right now. :)

Ciate Fierce Flicks Eyeliner (0.03oz, full size, value $19) - Does anybody else have a problem with felt tip eyeliners drying out on them? Within a couple of months the tip will be dried out and hard and unusable. Maybe it just means I don't use eyeliner enough? Anywho, this liner has one of those aforementioned precision felt tips but if you use it daily you should have no problem. But for now I'll stick to my gel-pencil types.

theBalm Cosmetics CabanaBoy Blush (0.02 oz, value $1.50) - This is described as a dusty rose blush with plum undertones. The color sounds perfect for me; it's more of a deeper pink. The only thing I don't care for is the subtle shimmer because it makes me look shiny, but if you're able to play well with shimmer then go for it!
theBalm Cosmetics CabanaBoy Blush

Sally's Box Aqua Moist Gel Cream (5 ml, value $4) - I love how gel creams moisturize without leaving my skin sticky and a little goes a long way. I use about half a dime size at night and that's enough to cover my face and decolletage with a little left to spare. That means this tiny 5 ml container is likely enough to last me two months if I use it once per day. (If you have drier skin though it might soak in faster so you may end up using a bit more)

October Glam Bag Verdict: There were five products this month and I'll end up using three of them so that's not too bad. I think my favorite is the lipstick because it smells like freakin' chocolate. My arm still smells like chocolate from the swatch and people must think I'm crazy because I keep sniffing my wrist. The aqua cream comes in second place, but I opened a 50ml container not too long ago and that one will last me well over a year. The makeup brush is nothing outstanding, but I always welcome eye shadow brushes and it will definitely be getting some use.

If you want to pick up a subscription click here to sign up. Ipsy glam bag is one of the most affordable beauty subscriptions and the value you get for just $10 is ahh-mazing!

Note: This post contains referral links. All opinions expressed in this review are my own