Birthday Goodies

Yo World!  It was my birthday this month, and to celebrate I took my happy butt to both Ulta and Sephora for their birthday “freebies”.  I’m putting freebies in quotation marks because really, who just waltzes into either of those stores, slaps their loyalty card on the counter, and says, “I’d like my free shit please!”

No one.  That’s who.  Well, I guess someone does, and if that’s you then you’re a stronger person than I.  You possess willpower.

I went a little wild at Sephora.  I got another pack of the Shiseido cotton pads because they really are the best cotton ball I’ve ever tried.  They don’t shred or pull or have any little rough bits like the ones you find at the drugstore.  I did find some at Walgreens once that were some kind of ultra premium nonsense, and they were pretty nice.  But I haven’t seen them since, so it’s back to the Shiseido ones.

20170419_074354There may have been a purchase of another Clinique Chubby stick, this time one of the Crayola ones in Melon.  There’s not much color, but it’s very moisturizing.  I guess I was on a lip kick that day because I also got the Sephora brand lip balm in coconut that’s very nice too.

20170419_073437And then I was sucked in at the checkout line with their PILES of tiny, wildly overpriced travel sizes of all sorts of fun things.  They are the masters of getting you to spend more, because when you’re in line and you know nothing in your basket is under $18, spending $10 on something that full sized is $50 feels quite thrifty really.  SO I picked up the Becca Glow on the Go Highlighter set that includes travel sizes (tiny) of Shimmering Skin Perfector in liquid and powder form.  I love it, the powder especially isn’t over the top glittery, just a nice glow.  I was going to get the Sephora brand highlighter kit that I’ve been eyeing for a while, but that seemed like overkill with the Becca one.  So I nobly put it back.

20170419_073357This year’s birthday gift at Sephora is from Tarte, it’s a mini Amazonian Clay blush and a lip stain.  I like the blush, it’s pretty.  The lip stain is thick and a too-nude-deadening shade for me.  I might have to play with it to see if I can get it to work with my skin tone.

20170419_073505I only got a tiny thing of eye makeup remover at Ulta in addition to my birthday gift, which was Lancome’s Monsieur Big Mascara.  I LOVE IT.  I didn’t think I would, but it builds volume quickly and it’s very black and it doesn’t flake or smudge but it also comes off easily with soap and water.  SOLD.  I don’t ask for much else in a mascara.

(Sidenote here, I tried the “Cover Girl blastPRO So Lashy!” – yeah, that’s the name- mascara and it kind of sucks.  The wand is weird and holds way too much product so your lashes clump up.  It dries hard so I have spiky lashes.  Also, it DOES NOT BUDGE.  I have to use vaseline to get it off, and even then I still wake up with mascara smudged under my eyes.  I’m pretty sure that the formula will break my lashes if I use it too much.)

So that’s all the cosmetics news that’s fit to write at the moment.  Have you tried any birthday gifts?  Were they worth the price tag of “free”?

Am I Too Fussy? Or, Why I Don’t Do Subscription Boxes Anymore

I quit subscription boxes cold turkey.  There were a few things that I discovered through them that I liked, but to get to those I had to wade through tons of colors that didn’t do my skin tone any justice, textures that were off-putting, and hair products that made me look a hot greasy mess.  Not to mention crap sample packaging that didn’t work for the product itself- one particular example is a brow product from a company that I will give the benefit of the doubt (see what I did there?), that was lacking a wiper in the tube so all of the product came out when I pulled the wand out.  Ew.

I.  Was. Over. It.

Most of the useless samples have been tossed in the trash or passed on to someone who they would flatter.  Or someone who had completely different hair from me.  But a few have been hanging around for 6 months or so… let’s take a peek, shall we?

Wrong Color- way too blue-pink for this girl:

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Wrong color- way too BROWN:

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Could not get this guy open at all most of the time.  Also, the bronzer was sparkly and entirely too dark for me:

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Icky sticky texture:

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Icky dry texture:

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Eyeliner that melted off of my eyes and accentuated my under-eye creases:

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Two products featuring the fattest of fat eyeliner tips.  Are you kidding me with this??  That Eyeko one would take up my ENTIRE lid:

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Here’s a swatch (Eyeko is in the middle.  One positive note: It didn’t come off.  Even with waterproof remover it left a blue stain on my hand for the rest of the day):

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The bottom swatch in that picture is this- good brush but the product didn’t dry before it ran into my eyes and made those little black congealed worms at the inner corners.  NOT APPEALING.  I do not put on makeup to look like a rotten zombie girl.  Ew:

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I think that about sums it up.  How many duds have been in your beauty box/bag subscriptions?  Is it still worth it for you?

P.S. I will say that one thing I do still get is the Walmart Beauty Box, and that’s because it’s $5 to cover shipping and you get a good selection of drugstore product samples to try out along with some coupons.  Mostly bath and skincare, but still fun to try and cheap enough that I don’t feel robbed.  Heck, sometimes they even throw a full sized product in there!  I don’t count it as a subscription box because it’s only three or four times a year.

 

Reds! (Or, why we all need Kat Von D)

 

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Yes, it was brought to my attention that I haven’t blogged in… forever. Almost a year, and months before that last post.  I’d say that I was just too busy but honestly the blog hasn’t been a priority. HOWEVER, I was going through my makeup yesterdayday and kept thinking, “Oh, that needs to be a blog post!” Then I took some pictures… and now I’m writing. So it looks like I’m back.

I’m back to share red lipstick.

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(I need to let the world know that in reality, my hands do not look like veiny albino gorilla hands and my fingers are not fat sausage fingers.  The camera adds 10 lbs.  To my fingers.)

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Left to right:

Clinic Chubby Stick Intense in Mightiest Maraschino

Maybelline Color Jolt in Red-dy or Not

Rimmel Provocalips in  Play With Fire

Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Outlaw

Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Nahz Fur Atoo

Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Amsterdam

Top to bottom:

NYX Extra Creamy Lipstick in Snow White

Maybelline Matte Lipstick in Rich Ruby

MAC Cremesheen  in Dare You

What smudged?  I dragged a tissue across the back of my hand once, here’s what happened:

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What stayed on after soap and water?  This was following a serious hand-washing:

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The Kat Von D shades and the Rimmel needed waterproof makeup remover, and even then it took some scrubbing with a cotton pad.  This answers the question- we all need some Kat Von D in our lives.  This lipstick doesn’t budge until you eat something oily, and yet it doesn’t dry lips out either.  (Within reason- don’t apply the stuff to chapped lips thinking it’s going to make that situation better.  It so won’t.  But if you are consistent with lip balm and you don’t have any dry patches, this goes on nicely and doesn’t turn your poor mouth into the Sahara Desert of your face.)

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What’s your favorite red lip?  I think mine is the Kat Von D in Nahz Fur Atoo.  It’s got enough of a brown undertone to be very wearable.  I’m also a big fan of the NYX Soft Matte Lipcream, it feels great to wear.

More posts coming, my little box of blog topics has been emptied out and all the bloggy goodness will be coming at you soon.

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Yeah, I Freaked Out

Hey Internet Makeup Lovers.  You might have noticed that I’ve been gone for umm… about 6 months.  It was a completely unplanned absence.  For a while I felt guilty but then I decided to let it go until I was feeling better about things, and now I think I’m ready to come back.

Why the long disappearing act?  I freaked out a little bit.  I started getting offers for free product from a couple of companies and I didn’t know if that was something I wanted to be involved in.  Does free makeup mean I have to give glowing reviews since I didn’t pay for it?  Does it mean that I wouldn’t have any control over my content?  Do I have to come up with a way to firmly tell companies that just because they send me something doesn’t mean I will mention it, let alone rave about it?

I don’t know!  Still, 6 months of pondering has gotten me no closer to a decision.  For now, rest assured that all content is my own and any products I talk about are purchased with my own money from a regular store.  If I’m lucky they’re on sale or I used a coupon.

Anyway, here’s a few things to tease you with until there’s another post:

I went to New Orleans in February and visited a local perfume shop.Hove

I took this selfie in December because I liked how my lip color, and this picture is fun since you can see the reflection of my phone and my face in my sunglasses.  So artsy.  Like I did that on purpose.selfie

I’ve been playing with a couple of cushion foundations and I actually like them (at least for the times when I can be bothered to wear foundation).

I tried a fake tattoo and I really liked it!tattoo new

Until Next Time,

Heather

 

Updates, Things to Check Out….

Hey Y’all!  Blogging is not for the faint of heart!  I am in the middle of testing a number of matte lipsticks, and some eyeliners.  I also got my Ipsy bag and Birchbox recently, as well as a couple of Sephora sets, so I am buried in samples and new products to try out at the moment.  More blog posts are coming, but I wanted to check in with you about a couple of things.

Thing #1:  Check out gift sets coming out at Sephora and Ulta right now.  They have high and lower end products in value sets that are pretty amazing deals.  Get one and try everything in it, get one and give it away, get one and break it up into pieces for your friends or co-workers for Christmas….

Here’s what has caught my eye:  Sephora has a brow set that includes several full size products that are GREAT.  I discovered the Smashbox Brow Tech Gloss Stick in this one, and while it is something I never would have tried if I was just wandering around the store, I am in love with it.  Worth checking out if you are as brow-involved as I am.  Last year I discovered the Laura Mercier Caviar Sticks in a little gift set, and I’m still using them.  Sephora also has a variety of “ornaments” with one or two products in pretty packaging that are definitely gift-worthy.

Over at Ulta they have a Benefit 3-piece set that is a good value if you like their Push-Up eyeliner (I’m not a fan, but you might be!), a great deal on Bare Minerals eye shadows, and a Philosophy bath and shower duo in Fresh Cream, which is my favorite fragrance they’ve done.  They also have a gift guide by price point and interest… I could spend all afternoon poking around on their website.

Thing #2, if you’re feeling nerdy and want a scientific breakdown of some lipstick ingredients, one of my favorite Youtubers has done a really extensive comparison of liquid lipstick ingredients vs price vs value.  Go check that out, it’s really amazing.  She also does some fantastic perfume reviews, if you’re into, you know, smelling good.

More reviews coming soon guys!

Heather

Review: Blotterazzi by Beautyblender

I went on a bit of a binge at good ol’ Sephora this week.  I keep an on-going tally of products I want to check out and there are some incredible deals coming out in holiday gift sets, so I like to think I am a smart shopper who is oh-so-loyal to my many readers.  That’s right, Dear Reader, I do this all for you.  This isn’t a blog to support a makeup shopping habit that probably should be curbed.  Oh no, writing this blog is an act of altruism.  (And if you believe that…  you will pretty much believe anything.  Hey, did you know Abraham Lincoln invented the internet?)IMG_20151028_164519

The first purchase I want to talk about is the very polarizing Blotterazzi blotting sponge by BeautyBlender.  The first time I heard of this thing was when Allison Janney famously threw hers off-stage at the Emmy Awards this year, which was held in hell (I only assume so because everyone was sweating and shiny).  (I’m reading over this and “famously” seems like a stretch.  Famously to the beauty-obsessed maybe.)  Lo and behold: unless Lady Gaga is planning to make a dress out of hundreds of them, Blotterazzi probably got the best free publicity any company could ever hope for when it comes to a product like this.  Since I love Allison Janney and basically want to be just like her when I grow up, I was curious about this blotting product she was using.  I, like many many others out there, use the BeautyBlender sponge for applying makeup, so I just had to try the blotter.IMG_20151028_164552

I don’t have oily skin, in fact my skin veers more towards the dry side of the spectrum.  But sometimes products just sit on my face all day, and never really sink in.  There seem to be certain combinations of moisturizers and powders that make this happen, and by lunch I have to drag out the blotting papers and dab off some grease.  Enter the BLOTTERAZZI!IMG_20151028_164618

The reviews on makeupalley and on the Sephora website are decidedly mixed.  People either love or hate this thing.  I think part of the trick is that since this is a  dry sponge you have to hold it to your face for several seconds to let the sponge soak up any oils that are there.  It won’t instantly take shine down the way blotting papers do.  But I have to say I am impressed with the finish it leaves.  It hasn’t disturbed my makeup, and it doesn’t take away ALL of the shine.  It leaves my skin slightly, naturally, dewy.  Not flat-matte.  I also really like the shape- this can fit all of the contours of your face just by re-positioning the sponge.IMG_20151028_164637

$20 US gets you 2 blotting sponges, a plastic, teardrop shaped, vented compact with a mirror,  and a clear plastic divider to keep oils from transferring from the dirty sponge to the clean one.  My package also had a sample of their liquid blendercleanser, but any water-soluble cleanser will work on Beautyblenders.  You need to wash these fairly often to keep from transferring bacteria back on to your face (ew).  There’s a story that this is more environmentally friendly than blotting papers but I don’t know about all that.  The process of manufacturing a rubber sponge can’t be any better than paper, and washing these with water vs throwing out tissue paper seems like a wash to me.  But I feel like this is a really innovative product on the market and I’m enjoying mine.  The compact is light but has a nice feel to it, and it fits easily into my purse.IMG_20151028_164546

Confession – Glam Glow (And the September Ipsy Bag)

I thought I had talked about this in an Ipsy or BirchBox overview, but I can’t find it.  I remember really specifically saying that something had ingredients that are terrible for you and I’d maybe use it up on my feet…  but where did that post go?  Hmmmmm….  I have all of the pictures loaded.  Did wordpress lose my post?  This is very strange.IMG_20151016_212607

ANYWAY, the good news is I don’t have to make this a retraction post!  Just a confession.  The September Ipsy bag had a sample of the Glam Glow Flashmud Brightening Treatment mask.  I tried the original Glam Glow mask a few years ago and returned it because it irritated the living shit out of my face (we’re talking red to the point where I was wondering if I’d gotten a chemical burn).  This particular mask has also earned terrible marks on Beautypedia for being harsh and terrible for your skin with damaging ingredients that will do harm over time but I tried it anyway (I am so dedicated) and…  I LOVE IT.

So you apply this mask to clean skin and leave it on for 20 minutes and let the mud (and the little plant bits, are you kidding me?), do its thing, and then it’s pretty much dry, so you get your hands wet and massage your skin for a couple of minutes (if your skin can handle that).  This mask is full of really scrubby little particles that are reminiscent of those in “microdermabrasion” scrubs that are probably awful for your skin, but it feels AWESOME.  And of course the mask?  It looks dead sexy on:

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Why HELLO there. How you doin’? Do you love the leaves on my face? Plant bits are the new pole dancing. Also, I’m probably wearing clothes in this picture, they’re just out of the frame.

Will I buy a full size tub of this?  No.  It is $69 and that is completely outrageous.  Will I love this tiny sample with all my heart and carefully ration it so I can stretch the tiny tube to maybe 4 uses?  Absolutely I will.

And will I re-write a post on the damn September Ipsy bag?  No, but I’ll show you what I got real quick:IMG_20150916_165409

Glam Glow Mask- covered.

Lotion in The Phoenix by Not Soap Radio.  Or Not Radio Soap.  Or Soap Not Radio?  I don’t know.  It had a really sweet plummy fragrance that I didn’t love, but the texture felt nice.

Pixi Brow Kit- Super powdery and didn’t show up on me at all.

City Color City Chic lipstick.  This is completely not the shade for me.  I’m giving it to a friend if I ever remember to ship it to her.  She can pull off a cool fuchsia.  I can’t.

NYX for Ipsy eye shadow trio.  SNOOZE.

See?  You missed nothing.  I wrote that post to go up while I was on vacation, no wonder it got lost in the shuffle.

Any thoughts on Glam Glow?  Any products you know are probably terrible for your skin but you’re using them anyway, you little rebel?

Color Club Holographic Nail Polish in Halo

OOOoooohhhh I have found an awesome nail polish for anyone who likes sparkle.  Or rainbows.  Or an ’80s throwback.  It’s available on amazon for under $8.00.  It isn’t Prime shipping but I got it within 4 days.  The drying time is good, this lasts a couple of days before it chips but I don’t care how long it lasts (or doesn’t) because here’s what happens:

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At first it just looks like a light pink super shimmery nail polish.  What’s the big deal?

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Until you start looking at your fingers in different lights.

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And then in the glitter you start to see a bunch of irridescent “holographic” effects.

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And it is SO hard to photograph and do it justice!

This nail polish comes in a bunch of different colors.  I also have a color called Beyond which is a dark grey with the same effect on it.  I wish I could get pictures but none of them have really captured the way this polish looks in the sun in real life!  The pink wears better because little chips don’t really show, (and they will definitely show up in the gray) but again, I don’t care.  The effect is beautiful.

If you’d like to see all the colors, I have found this blog really helpful for swatches of almost any nail polish you can imagine.

Lorac Pro 2 Palette

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This is one of my top two palettes.  (The other is also a Lorac palette, but I’ll get into that one on another day.)  I have been using this for at least 6 months and you can hardly tell.  (Snow got dented by a fingernail- let’s don’t judge her.)  The packaging is very flat and light cardboard, I’d bring it on a trip if I was very careful because it doesn’t have a super strong closing mechanism, just a couple of magnets I’m guessing.  I do appreciate the good-sized mirror!  Let’s go through this fantastic collection of eye shadows.

The top row is all mattes.  They are creamy, not powdery or chalky, and they blend extremely well.  I never used to understand what people meant when they said powders were “powdery”.  I mean, they’re POWDER, right?  Shouldn’t you expect some chalkiness?  Well, no.  Once you start dipping your fingers into a variety of makeup products you start to get acquainted with the difference in textures between powder products.  You want something that feels smooth and silky, not chalky and definitely NOT grainy.  The more finely milled a powder is, the better it is going to blend on your skin.  But I digress- back to the palette!  I haven’t used the blue on my eyes, but I’ve used every other matte color.

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The bottom row is all shimmers, from white to black, and they are AWESOME.  I use Beige, Rose, Mocha, and Chrome all the time.  The silver is intense and I haven’t really had much reason to use it yet.  I haven’t used the jade much either.  But everything else is very wearable for me.  Getting a palette where you actually use 13 out of 16 colors is impressive.

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The Lorac Pro 2 palette is my go-to. It rivals any of my Urban Decay shadows for sure.  And is definitely better than the samples I’ve had from Lancome or Clinique (talk about chalky). The shades are so pigmented that I’ll be using this for a long time- a little goes a long LONG way- at least until it gets too gross to use.  Then I’ll probably buy another one.  It is worth it.  You can find it at Ulta for $42, and I know it is sold at Kohls as well.

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Birch Box September 2015

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Why do I feel like all of my subscription box posts are hyper-critical?  And why do I feel like they’re all I write?  Frankly I’m getting a little bored with myself writing endless snippets of what I think of teeny samples.  After this I have one more Ipsy box review, but I’m not going to do them right in a row.

This month’s Birchbox subscription was comprised of:

Model Co lipstick in Smitten.  SO PRETTY!  I love this shade, it’s a really good red on me.  The lipstick arrived broken in the tube, so the top was a little smashed up, but that’s not the end of the world for me.  I found this to be long-lasting but not drying.

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Sumbody Detox Cleanser.  I am just not a fan of charcoal based cleansers I guess.  This was really drying and the sampling packaging was horrible because I couldn’t get anything out of the package too easily.

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Parlor by Jeff Chastain Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner.   I have oily hair so the shampoo was way too rich for me, but I liked the conditioner.  This stuff smells amazing.

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POP Beauty Trio.  (Representative of the Beauty POP Portfolio Eyeshadow Palette)  Excellent eye shadow.  It is creamy in texture and very pigmented.  This trio came with a buttery shimmer, a purple shimmer, and a taupe shimmer.  I probably wouldn’t buy the entire palette because I have plenty of palettes and plenty of shimmer, but if I were just starting out I would consider the 36 shade palette.  If all of the shades behave like these, I would find this a bargain at the $26 price on birchbox.com.

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Harvey Prince Fragrance in Sincerely.  Very fresh blend of tuberose, cyclamen, and mandarin.  This is sweet but I didn’t find it overpowering.  I’m not going to buy it, I have PLENTY of perfume. (Someday I might do a full perfume collection post.  You know, when I can actually post on some sort of schedule.)

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So this one was 60/40 for me.  I didn’t like the shampoo or the facial cleanser, but I liked everything else.  Maybe not enough to buy them, but I am certainly enjoying the samples.