[REVIEW] August Ipsy Glam Bag: “Glamour Academy”

ipsy is an online beauty subscription service. Each month, subscribers receive a makeup bag filled with deluxe samples and full-sized products. With many people going back to school this month, the theme of August’s glam bag was “Glamour Academy.”

Pacifica Alight Multi-Mineral BB Cream
sample size (0.34 fl oz) – $16 retail for full size (1.0 fl oz)
When I first saw “BB Cream,” I was excited. I had never used a BB cream before, and I wanted to give this kind of product a try because of everything I had heard about them. I wish I had read Pacifica’s note on the product before using it, though: “Don’t expect this to be a heavy foundation. This is more close to a tinted moisturizer leaving you with a natural finish.” I was expecting an all-in-one product with full coverage, eliminating the need for a moisturizer, concealer, and foundation. I was a little disappointed when I didn’t get the coverage I was expecting. As a tinted moisturizer, however, it’s pretty effective. It leaves a soft finish, similar to the matte finish of a primer. It also did a better job than other tinted moisturizers I have used at minimizing the appearance of oil throughout the day. If you’re looking for a tinted moisturizer, this might be worth a try. If your skin is like mine and needs heavier coverage, stick to a regular foundation or try a different BB cream.

Noya Beauty Cherry Lip Balm
full size (0.15 oz) – $3.99 retail
I’m pretty partial to my Arbonne Lip Saver lip balm. It is incredibly moisturizing and long lasting, so I am usually hesitant to try new products. Noya gives Arbonne a run for its money. Like Arbonne’s balm, this product lasts forever. I applied it before bed one night, and it felt fresh the next morning. When I wear it under tinted gloss, it keeps my lips soft and lasts through most of the day. It also has a great cherry flavor, though it lacks the cooling, tingling sensation of balms like Arbonne or Burt’s Bees. While it’s a few dollars more than cherry Chapstick, Noya’s lip balm is kosher and natural with very few ingredients, including organic extra virgin olive oil and organic stevia. It is available online and in select health food/kosher markets in Illinois, New York, and New Jersey. Unfortunately, not everyone can access Noya’s products: “We do not currently ship abroad or to Ohio.” Sorry, Ohio.

Michael Todd Jojoba Charcoal Facial Scrub
sample size (30 ml) – $18 retail for full size (100 ml)
This was a fun product to try, because I’ve mostly been receiving makeup and hair products in my glam bags. This was the first skin treatment I received, and I hope I receive more like it! It’s a gentle scrub that doesn’t make you feel like you’re scraping your skin off with apricot pits or walnut shells. Instead it lightly exfoliates with jojoba wax beads, and it also left my skin feeling soft and moisturized. I wouldn’t mind adding this to a regular skin care regimen!

Pixi Lash Booster Mascara in Blackest Black
sample size (3.0 g) – $17 retail for full size (7.0 g)
I normally don’t wear mascara, because I sometimes wear glasses instead of contacts. Mascara + glasses = dirty lenses. Since receiving this product, though, I’ve been wearing mascara (and contact lenses) nearly every day. It’s not clumpy, separates my lashes pretty effectively, and doesn’t irritate my eyes. With other mascaras, I have had to wipe off the excess product from the wand before application, but I did not have that problem with Pixi’s mascara. I actually like the small sample size, because the shorter wand makes it easier to apply and reach the lashes in the corners. If I decide to make mascara a permanent part of my everyday look, I might order the full size of this product.

Chella Eyebrow Color Pencil in Dazzling Dark Brown
full size (0.09 g) – $18 retail ($45 for eyebrow color kit)
Like mascara, I don’t normally use eyebrow pencils, mostly because I don’t know what to do with them. The last time I used product on my eyebrows, it was for my dance recital in May so that I wouldn’t appear eyebrow-less to the audience members in back row. What I like about this pencil was the color. It is a dark brown, which is not too dark and looks more natural than black. It also doesn’t leave my eyebrows looking shiny or waxy like eyeliners can do. While I won’t be purchasing this product for myself, I recommend it to anyone who is in the market for an eyebrow pencil.

This bag is worth approximately $40, far more than the $10 subscription fee. A great value! If you would like to subscribe to ipsy’s glam bag service, let me know, and I’ll set you up with a referral link.

[REVIEW] July Ipsy Glam Bag: “Beach Beauty”

ipsy is an online beauty subscription service. Each month, subscribers receive a makeup bag filled with deluxe samples and full-sized products. With July coming to a close and August’s glam bag scheduled to arrive in a few weeks, it’s probably time to review the July glam bag: “Beach Beauty.”

Nailtini Straight Up Color Nail Lacquer in Mai Tai
full size (0.5 fl oz) – $13 retail
Mai Tai is a “vibrant sunrise coral,” which seems to be the color of the summer this year. As I might have mentioned in previous reviews, I am fairly new to nail polish, and I’m getting used to wearing different colors. Mai Tai is much brighter than I’m used to so far. The polish itself is excellent quality. Two coats provides full opaque coverage, and one coat might actually be enough. It dries quickly, too. There aren’t any local retailers that sell Nailtini products, but I might be tempted to use this month’s ipsy sale code on tinibeauty.com to try some of their more neutral tones. (I think the color is really pretty and fun, but I don’t think it’s for me, so I’m doing a giveaway! Keep reading for info on how to win this polish for free!)

COOLA Face SPF 20 Unscented Mineral Sunscreen
sample size (0.23 fl oz) – $36 retail for full size (1.7 oz)
Even though this is labeled as a “mineral” sunscreen, it is indeed a liquid product. It is truly unscented – no typical sunscreen smell here. It is not greasy like typical sunscreens, either. It leaves a matte finish and moisturizes the skin, too. I think this particular product is best for those with fairer skin tones. I noticed that on my skin, it leaves a gray or bluish cast if you apply too much.

POP Pouty Pop Crayon in Coral Crush
full size (0.1 oz) – $25 retail for kit of six crayons
Here’s that coral again! This is on the more pink end of the coral spectrum, while the Mai Tai polish is on the orange end. This product is like the chunky version of the lip pencil in June’s glam bag. Instead of a wooden pencil, it’s a plastic twist-up crayon, which I like much better. No sharpener needed. Much like the pencil, though, it is smooth and creamy, and it provides full coverage with long-lasting color. This is also a little brighter than what I would normally wear, so I have been toning it down with a neutral gloss.

BH Cosmetics California Collection Eyeshadow Sample
$17.95 retail for full size eyeshadow and blush palette
So this product is a sample palette (with magnetic closure!) of three eyeshadows: Hollywood, San Francisco, and Malibu. Each eyeshadow comes from its own palette of four blushes and 16 eyeshadows from BH’s California Collection. The Hollywood palette has warm, bright and vibrant colors, San Francisco has neutral and earthy tones, and Malibu has cooler colors with a beach vibe. The sample I received has a matte deep purple shadow for Hollywood, a shimmering warm brown for San Francisco, and a shimmering gold for Malibu. All three have great pigmentation for easy application with a blending brush. The San Francisco shadow has become an everyday wear for me, and out of the three full size palette, I would be most likely to buy the San Francisco one.

Not Pictured: Healthy Sexy Hair Soy Renewal Beach Spray
sample size (1.7 fl oz) – $19.95 retail for full size (5.1 fl oz)
According to my Glam Room, I was supposed to receive a sample of the Soy Renewal Beach Spray from Sexy Hair. It didn’t arrive in my original glam bag, but after a quick email to ipsy care, they put one in the mail for me. I was excited to see that this product came with a spray pump for easy application. A few months ago, I received the Big Sexy Hair Texturizing Powder, but I like this spray better, because it is easier to use and adds texture without making my hair feel dirty. It also has a fresh, summery fragrance.

I don’t know the value of this particular bag, because the nail polish was the only full size product. (The lip crayon was full size, but it is only available for purchase as part of a six-piece kit.) However, the nail polish alone was worth $13 retail, so this bag is already worth more than the $10 subscription fee. If you would like to subscribe to ipsy’s glam bag service, let me know, and I’ll set you up with a referral link.

GIVEAWAY INFO! If you want the Nailtini Mai Tai polish (and don’t mind that I’ve used it once), leave a comment below telling me your go-to nail color. On August 1, 2013, I’ll choose one person at random to receive the polish for free! Good luck!

[REVIEW] June Ipsy Glam Bag: “On the Wild Side”

ipsy is an online beauty subscription service. Each month, subscribers receive a makeup bag filled with deluxe samples and full-sized products. June’s theme was “On the Wild Side.” Here is my WAY overdue review!

NYX Rouge Cream Blush in Tickled
deluxe sample (0.12 oz) – $6 retail for full size (0.19 oz)
Tickled is a “shimmering peachy-pink,” but at first look, it has an orange hue. On the skin, it is a much more natural blush tone than I would have expected. As a cream blush, it goes on smooth and is best applied with your fingers, starting at the apples of your cheeks and spreading back toward your temples. In the compact, it feels greasy, but on the skin it just feels soft and smooth. I think the only downside is that it takes more application versus a powder blush to get the color to build up. My compact also broke a little during shipping (the window in the lid popped loose), but it’s nothing a little glue can’t fix.

Psssst! Instant Dry Shampoo Spray
travel size – $2.99 retail
I’m hesitant to use anything that lists butane and propane as its first two ingredients. The can also advises you not to smoke until your hair is completely dry. I’ve seen some sites and blogs refer to dry shampoo as “spray-on lighter fluid,” and that doesn’t seem too far off. All that aside, I did try the product. It smells like styling mousse, so that’s not bad. And the product does what it claims to do. It refreshes your hair and absorbs oils on days when you don’t wash it in the shower. I have been trying it out the morning after I take night showers, and I find that my hair doesn’t get too greasy during the day or get that “you didn’t wash your hair” smell. As effective as the product may be, I do not plan on purchasing it for myself.

Cailyn Line-Fix Gel Eyeliner in Purple
full size – $21 retail
I was a little worried when I saw “purple.” I have never used any color eyeliner other than black and brown. When I tried it on, though, I realized that it is not a very vibrant purple but more like a warm black. This was also my first time trying a gel eyeliner. Lately I just use black eyeshadow applied with a small brush. The gel liner goes on smoothly, and it lasts all day. The Cailyn gel liners come with a built-in brush, which is very helpful. It cuts down on brushes that I have to pack if I choose to travel with this product. The brush has a tapered end, but for eyeliners, I prefer an angled or chiseled end that doesn’t give so much under light pressure.

J.cat Sparkling Cream Palette in Sizie
full size – $4.49 retail
This is some serious stuff. This product is not for the subtle shimmer. This is GLITTER. Ginormous flakes of glitter held together with a creamy base. It’s not just an eyeshadow (actually, the product info advises “attentive application around the eye area”) but can be used, I suppose, anywhere. It is best used with the applicator wands, two of which come in the palette. If you apply with your fingers, good luck getting the glitter off. And be gentle if you choose to use this as an eyeshadow. Some of the glitter feels a little coarse, so rough application can irritate your eyelids, like you’re scraping sand across them. Ouch! I will probably reserve this product for days when I need to look a little more glamorous, and even then, I will probably tone it down with a more matte shadow in neutral tones.

Starlooks Lip Pencil in Tipsy
full size – $12 retail
I can’t remember the last time I used an actual pencil beauty product! I’m glad I still have my pencil sharpeners… I can’t decide how I feel about the color of this product. Sometimes it looks like a bright coral, and other times it seems like Barbie pink. I usually tone down the brightness of it with a neutral gloss. Like many of the other products in this bag, this product goes on smooth and creamy – much more smoothly than I would have expected from a lip pencil. And this is not just a lip liner. I have been wearing it for all-over color, because it is fairly long lasting. You won’t need much of it, either. I normally apply just a little around the edges and press my lips together for full, all-over coverage.

BONUS: BaubleBar O-Ring Stud Wrap
~$20 retail
Two of my friends subscribed to Ipsy, so as a thank you gift for the referrals, Ipsy gave me this bracelet as a bonus gift. I’m generally not a bracelet person. I’m on the computer all day for work, so bracelets always seem in the way. This bracelet, however, I like. It’s delicate and unobtrusive. It’s an elegant approach to simple string jewelry. The bracelet I received had peach string woven around the gold cord, and I found that the gold cord made it easier to adjust and kept the desired size without constantly slipping loose.

This month’s glam bag was a great value, with over $40 worth of products (plus the bonus bracelet) for only $10. If you would like to subscribe to ipsy’s glam bag service, let me know, and I’ll set you up with a referral link.

[REVIEW] May Ipsy Glam Bag: “Spring Fling”

ipsy is an online beauty subscription service. Each month, subscribers receive a makeup bag filled with deluxe samples and full-sized products. May’s theme was “Spring Fling.”

yaby Cream Concealer in Vanilla
full size – $4.85 CAD retail
This product is actually a refill designed for a magnetic palette, so it does not come in its own compact. At first I thought this was a creamy eyeshadow, but when I visited the yaby website, I realized it was actually concealer. This is far too light a concealer for my skin tone, but I’m thinking about using it as a highlighter. It applies easily with my fingertips, and it doesn’t feel heavy or greasy. As a concealer, it leaves a smooth, matte finish. Coverage isn’t very full, though, and for problem areas, I would couple this with a correcting product.

NuMe Finishing Serum
sample size (0.33 oz) – $29 retail for full size (2 oz)
Straight out of the bottle, this product is a little intimidating at first. It seems too thick and goopy to be easy to use. However, I followed the directions on the bottle and rubbed a few drops of it between my palms and then massaged it onto my hair. I applied it to the ends of my wet hair, and I could feel how much silkier my hair was. The product has a light, clean scent, and it didn’t leave any residue on my hands. I don’t know if I would ever buy the full size, but I will definitely enjoy using up the sample I received.

Zoya Nail Polish in Piaf
full size – $8 retail
Piaf is a light yellow with a metallic shimmer. With two coats, it provides a full coverage opaque finish. The shimmer is pretty subtle, so it doesn’t look too glittery. I think I prefer the sheer look of one coat, because the opaque gold slightly clashes with my skin tone. I think in the future, I will use this as a top coat with other colors for a bit of gold shimmer. As far as quality, I like how it applies smoothly and evenly. This polish uses Zoya’s “BIG5FREE Healthy Formula,” which contains no formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, toluene, dibutyl phtalate, or camphor and is vegan friendly.

Juice Beauty Reflecting Gloss in Pink
sample size (0.14 fl oz) – $15 retail for full size (0.28 fl oz)
Even though what I received isn’t a “full size” product – it’s half the size of the retail product – it’s the perfect size to carry around in my purse or pocket for on-the-go touchups. I have a feeling this is going to become my go-to gloss for both color, shine, and moisture. I’ve only used this a couple times since I received my glam bag, but I love it. Made with certified organic ingredients, including various seed oils, this gloss leaves a high shine and subtle shimmer without feeling sticky at all. The shine and moisture are long lasting, and the natural fragrance/flavor from the oils is delicious. When this “sample” runs out, I just might take a trip to Ulta and buy the full size.

Pacifica Island Vanilla Perfume Roll-On
full size – $12 retail
I like the roll-on application with this perfume. It makes it easy to apply without worrying about spilling the entire bottle or using too much. The scent is pretty delicate, with the dominant scent note being vanilla with a subtle floral aroma. I like that it doesn’t smell like alcohol, as some perfumes tend to do. The fragrance is long-lasting, and you don’t really need much of it. I’m not much of a perfume person, so I won’t be holding on to this product. If you are interested in getting this product for FREE, read below for giveaway instructions!

BONUS: Urban Decay Moondust Eyeshadow in Stargazer
full size – $20 retail
If you’re planning on attending any Great Gatsby-themed parties, this is the shadow for you. Stargazer is a “lime-gold” shadow with high metallic shimmer. It’s perfect for an evening party look that can range from elegant to wild. It applies easily – and probably best – with a clean fingertip. Applied dry, it can add a gold sparkle on top of other shadows or bare lids. For a bolder look with more solid color, apply wet. This probably won’t be my everyday shadow, but I’m definitely holding on to this one for special occasions.

This month’s glam bag was an incredible value, with over $50 worth of products for only $10. If you would like to subscribe to ipsy’s glam bag service, let me know, and I’ll set you up with a referral link. And if you would like the Pacifica Perfume Roll-On, leave a comment below – I’ll give it away to the first person to request it!

[REVIEW] April Ipsy Glam Bag: “Pretty in Pink”

ipsy is an online beauty subscription service. Each month, subscribers receive a makeup bag filled with deluxe samples and full-sized products. April’s theme was “Pretty in Pink.” This review is far overdue, considering I just received my May bag…

Sation Nail Lacquer in Of Corset I’ll Call You
full size – $5 retail
I just started wearing nail polish recently, so I’m still getting the hang of application. I can’t really tell if the quality is great or not, but I wasn’t really happy with the way the color looked on me. It was very Barbie pink, so I wasn’t a fan. One pro to note: this polish is free of DBP, toluene, and formaldehyde.

Big Sexy Hair Powder Play
sample size (0.07 oz) – $15.95 retail for full size (0.53 oz)
I’ve never used volumizing powder before. I think the weight of my long hair (it’s down to the middle of my back) pulls against any volumizing effect of the powder. I’ll have to give this another try when I chop all of my hair off and get a pixie cut next week.

Two Cosmetics Duo Eye Shadow in Heartache
full size – $6.99 retail
“1 gorgeous shade in 2 finishes, shimmer & matte packaged in a clean, convenient & professional compact.” I was a little unsure about the shade I received, because I have been unsuccessful with pink eye shadows before. The last time I wore a pink-ish shade of eye shadow, I looked sick or like I was having an allergic reaction to something. I was pleasantly surprised when I tried this product out, though! I used the matte finish, and it was almost like a mauve that paired well with a taupe shadow and black liner. I like to use this shadow when I need a slightly more than ordinary look. For every product purchased from Two Cosmetics, they “donate a product to a nonprofit that benefits women to make them feel beautiful inside and out.”

Be a Bombshell Blush in Beach Please
full size – $16 retail
I was REALLY worried about the color when I first opened my glam bag. It’s a very intense, very bright pink. But there is no need to worry. It’s not as intense on the skin as it looks in the palette. Applied gently with a contour brush, it builds nicely from a natural flushed look to a more vibrant look. This has become my go-to blush for the everyday. This was my favorite product in the April glam bag.

For $10, I received over $28 in products – a pleasing investment. If you would like to subscribe to ipsy’s glam bag service, let me know, and I’ll set you up with a referral link. And if you would like the Sation Nail Lacquer, leave a comment below – I’ll give it away to the first person to request it!