Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Topbox July 2014 review

Hello readers! For those who don't know, Topbox is a monthly beauty subscription box that allows you to "Get 4 hand-picked deluxe samples delivered to your door for $12 a month". They also have special Privé boxes you can add on your wishlist to replace the regular Topbox and the sometimes the option of getting the $10 mystery add-on. My review is for the July 2014 Topbox.

- LA Splash Nail Splash in Foolish (full size - $7.50)
- TheBalm Cosmetics INSTAIN Long-Wearing Powdering Staining Blush in Swiss Dot (0.5 g - $1.81)
- Clinique All About the Eyes (5 mL - $11.07)
- Bioderma Atoderm Moisturising Stick (full size - $6.95)
- Ceramic Glaze Nail Lacquer in Blueberry Bubblegum (full size - $11)

Total Value: $38.33
Paid: $13.56

According to my product card, the Ceramic Glaze nail polish was just a random extra so without it, it would have been a $27.33 value for my July Topbox.
EDIT: Apparently this could be part of the $10 mystery add-on

Like the LA. Splash Nail Splash I received in my April 2014 Topbox, I'm not really a fan of this colour. It's a very bright hot pink that seems to verge on neon. It's better than that green I got but I already have plenty of pinks that I do love so I'm hesitant to try this. The Ceramic Glaze polish is nice though and seems like a sea foam green. I've tried the white one from my May 2014 Topbox so I'm looking forward to trying this :)

As for the Clinique All About Eyes, I already have plenty of eye cream samples but this is a very generous sample that I will probably try next. Clinique isn't my favourite skincare brand but I know that some of there stuff is really great so this is nice to try. Bioderma Atoderm is probably my favourite product of this box! I love lip balms and this one smells like blue raspberry candy! This is a great brand so it'll be nice to try something other than their Sensibio Micelle Solution (which I also love)

Lastly, I'm also really excited to try TheBalm's Blush! It is a deep matte peach shade and the formula seems very buttery and long wearing (it did not wash off when I scrubbed my arm with water). My only complaint is the sample's surface is so small that I may have trouble getting my brush to get enough powder.

This month I also opted for the $10 mystery surprise. It was the Be a Bombshell eyeshadow quad in madrid. The colours seem pretty nice but unfortunately I've tried their eye shadows before and have gotten an allergic reaction :( I've emailed Topbox about this to see if anything can be done but it might just be a lost cause.

This was an okay Topbox but unfortunately I need to start saving up or tuition so this will be my last Topbox. It's been pretty great while it lasted so maybe I'll re-subscribe later on, but for now, goodbye Topbox!

What did you get in your July Topbox?


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Tarte Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Finishing Powder review

After making the transition to liquid foundation, I was on a hunt for a great setting/finishing powder and I settled on the Tarte Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Finishing Powder.

This translucent, silky finishing powder keeps makeup in place without ever appearing chalky and mattifies skin by removing excess surface oil. This powder can even be used alone as a treatment to reap all the benefits of Amazonian clay.

It is a white powder that goes on translucent and despite the whiteness, I never see any white cast in flash photography. I’ve heard a lot about Tarte and their Amazonian clay products being awesome for oil control and being long lasting so I finally decided to try this. Amazonian Clay: Acts as a total skin balancer by hydrating all skin types, reducing the appearance of dry, flaky skin, improving clarity and texture, and removing surface oil.

Since using this powder, I have noticed that my skin gets oily less quickly and that my foundation lasts for longer. It also makes my skin feel super smooth especially with the Covergirl Outlast foundation I recently started using. It definitely helps keep makeup on for longer and is my go to setting powder (okay it’s pretty much my only powder). I don’t carry it with me on the go so I have never used it for touch ups but I think that this would be a great powder for after that mid-day blotting session.

The packaging is very simple and sleek and is flat topped so you can stack your other products on top if necessary. It dispenses just through a tiny hole in the centre of the lid so it is a bit hard to get out. I find that when I turn it upside down onto the lid and shake the container side to side 2-3 times, I get enough powder. Unfortunately, one of the first few times I did this, the sifter part ended up coming off and a powder exploded everywhere :( I debated exchanging it for another but just ended up super gluing the sifter back on. I’m not sure if it was just mine that was like this, but beware! Make sure to test if the sifter is really stuck in before shaking this container.

I really like this powder and it does not take too much to cover your whole face so I can see it lasting me very long. I purchased this in November and I think I have only used (and lost) less than half of it. I'm going to keep using it until I'm done and am a bit undecided about repurchasing but I think I likely will :) It is sold in 0.32 oz. size at Sephora for $38.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Josie Maran Bear Naked Nail Wipes and Whipped Argain Oil Intensive Hand Cream review

Part of my Black Friday Haul was the Josie Maran Argan Hand Healers Set which came with 20 Bear Naked Nail Wipes and a 30 mL tube of their Whipped Argan Oil Intensive Hand Cream. Although the set is no longer available, the individual products are so here’s my review on them!

First up is the Bear Naked Nail Wipes: These portable three-in-one nail wipes remove nail polish, repair dry cuticles, and promote healthy nails—naturally. Acetone free and grapefruit-scented, Bear Naked Nail Wipes are infused with organic Argan oil to moisturize cuticles and support nail growth. They are small circular wipes that are a little smaller than a cotton pad. They are grapefruit scented which I really love but I remember they had peppermint around Christmas time!

(compared to a cotton round for size)

These wipes seem pretty effective in removing nail polish despite them being acetone free. I don’t use them often but when I do, it only takes one nail wipe to remove all the nail polish from both my hands. I think it takes the same amount of rubbing as acetone nail polish remover does. A downside of it is that I have only used them on dark polish so far and when I do, the polish ends up staining my fingers because I think it gets transferred off the wipes. The stains wash off though and my fingers are still left moisturized from the argan oil. I don’t think I use them often enough to see if it improves nail growth but it has kept my cuticles looking a bit healthier :) They are sold at Sephora for $11 for 20 wipes and 40 wipes for $19.

Next, the Whipped Argain Oil Intensive Hand Cream: This rich, never greasy, super hydrating cream keeps hands looking and feeling good. Josie's signature ingredient, argan oil, is spun into a creamy butter to revitalize skin and restore softness while improving skin's texture. Lightly scented with natural essences of vanilla and apricot and infused with shea butter, it's nature's most luxurious moisturizer—hands down. This is labelled as ‘vanilla apricot’ scented but I can only smell the apricot part of it. It was also a somewhat light scent that seemed to disappear after 30 minutes or so.

Unlike the description says, this is a little bit greasy at the beginning but it is quite hydrating so that makes up for it. It is not my favourite hand cream but I think it is still pretty awesome. It was a great deal in the set but on it's own, I would prefer another hand cream for that price. This can only be bought in the 2.37 oz. size and is $26 at Sephora.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Loose Button Luxe Box Summer 2014 Review

I purchased a 2 season subscription to Loose Button's Luxe Box for $25+tax/box (shipping included) and here's my review of the Summer 2014 box. This box comes every 3 months and comes with "7 to 8 trial sized beauty and lifestyle discoveries". There are 3 membership options so that you can pay $24 - 26 for each box, depending on your membership. This is my second box and came in the usual white silky bag in a sturdy white box.

- Crest 3D White Whitestrips Professional Effects (3 strips - $6.38)
- Crest 3D White Vivid Toothpaste (6 x 2.5 mL - $0.40)
- eslor introductory collection: Soothing Refiner and Cleanser, Replinishing Scrub, Comforting Mask, Soothing Cream (4 x 5mL - 2.33, 2.80, 3.80, 6.50)
- Nexxus Youth Renewal Rejuvenating Elixir (4 mL - $2.28)
- Tweezers ($5?)
- eyecko London Skinny Liquid Eyeliner in Black (full size - $19)
- DERMAdoctor KP duty lotion (10 mL - $10)
- Nicole by OPI mini in Something About Spring (3.75 mL - $3?)
- be a bombshell the One Stick in Southern Belle (full size - $16)

Retail Value: $77.49
Paid: $28.25

This box seemed like a way better value than the one from Spring 2014!  I use some of the Crest 3D products already but these strips and toothpaste are new so it'll be nice to compare with their older products. I received 3 of these Crest 3D sample brochures.

DERMAdoctor's KP duty lotion is a 'dermatologist AHA moisturizing therapy for dry skin'. My body's skin isn't that problematic so I'm hoping that this lotion won't be too heavy for the summer time.

Nexxus Youth Renewal is a line to help 'combat 8 signs of aging hair'. Was aging hair always a thing? I guess it'll be nice to try this and see if my hair looks less...old.

The nail polish for this box was a Nicole by OPI mini (I never knew they had mini bottles until this sample). I have plenty of hot pink polishes already but this tiny size was disappointing. They should've included a full size bottle!

I already received a be a bombshell one stick in my December Ipsy Glam bag and I gave it away since I'm not into cream products. Southern Belle is 'a warm coral with light shimmer' and I am into corals so maybe I will keep this one stick. It'll be great for touchups at work

esclor is a brand that I have never heard of so it seems pretty intriguing to me. I really like that I have 4 different samples and can try their full skincare system.

Lastly, my favourite product of this box is the eyecko skinny liquid eyeliner. Eyecko is supposed to be a great brand and I've heard great things about this eyeliner. It is a felt-tip pen applicator so it's good for those just learning to use liquid eyeliner. It isn't waterproof but is still very smudgeproof :)

Luxe Box is an interesting idea and they do give good products but I think that I have enough samples/products to try for a while and will be deactivating my membership. I think that if someone has the money to spare and enjoys getting a surprise every 3 months (I actually forgot this was coming in June), then Luxe Box could be a good choice!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Topbox June 2014 Review

Hello everybody! Looks like I haven't posted in a while and I have no excuse other than laziness, but I'll break this streak with a post about my June 2014 Topbox!

Topbox is a monthly beauty subscription box that allows you to "Get 4 hand-picked deluxe samples delivered to your door for $12 a month". They also have special Privé boxes you can add on your wishlist to replace the regular Topbox and the sometimes the option of getting the $10 mystery add-on.

- China Glaze Wait N' Seal ($10-12 - full size)
- Barefoot Venus Lip Fable Bazooka ($7.50 - full size)
- Vasanti BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator ($5.67 - 20 g)
- Bioderma Atoderm Gentle shower gel ($3.95 - 100 mL)

The China Glaze polish is a really nice aqua blue creme colour. I've only ever tried some of China Glaze's top coats so this is my first colour and it went on pretty well. It seems like a great bright summer colour and I did a quick swatch of it (it's the first nail).

Barefoot Venus Lip Fable Bazooka is a bubble gum scented lip balm. I think this was a decent product to include in the box, but I wish I had gotten another scent. This bubble gum scent is a bit too sweet and strong for me. To my gift/give away pile it is haha. For whoever's interested, here's a code to get 20% off their store.

Bioderma Atoderm is a shower gel intended for dry sensitive skin. Although I'm a soap bar person, I think I will end up trying this. The 100 mL also makes it a good size for travel and if I don't use it, my mom always will :P

Vasanti is a brand I've never heard of but BrightenUp! seems like a really intriguing product. It is an "exfoliating cleanser enriched with papaya, micro-crystals, and alice" I'm not sure what alice is, but as long as it is able to exfoliate my dry skin, that's all that matters to me! It has a bit of a soapy type perfumed smell so not sure how my face will react to that. I tested some of it on dry skin (you should use wet) and it seems to work up a bit of foam and the exfoliating beads are not too harsh or course.

This Topbox was an okay one for me, not overly excited but not really disappointed either (okay maybe with the Bazooka). It has a good value and it does seem like I will try everything or at least find some use with it. Looking forward to what July's Topbox has for me :) What did you get in your Topbox this month?

Retail Value: $27.12
Paid: $13.56

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Philosophy Purity Made Simple Cleanser review

Purity Made Simple cleanser really is a ‘simple’ cleanser. I was hesitant to try this cleanser since I am not a fan of Philosophy’s smells but I’m really glad I did try it.

Philosophy Purity Made Simple is a pH-balanced formula that rapidly dissolves dirt and makeup while deep cleaning pores. The bestselling cleanser contains infusions of sage, chamomile, and carrot.

It is a very lightweight yet somewhat creamy cleanser that works up a small lather. You need about a quarter sized dallop of this in order to cover your whole face and neck. This product really does what it claims as since it helps remove any makeup or oil from my face. I always use a toner after cleansing in order to close my pores and I never see any residual makeup left on the cotton pad after using Purity. It even effectively takes off light eye makeup! To go with the lightweight feel of it, Purity also has a very light smell. I smell the chamomile and a bit of sage, but not the carrot of it. This cleanser is great for all skin types since it is so gentle.

I mainly use this cleanser for days of heavy makeup since I already have a daily cleanser to use up. It hasn’t broken me up or caused any dry skin patches so I can see using it as a daily cleanser if necessary. Another great use for this cleanser is as a makeup brush cleaner! You do need a bit more of the product to clean your brushes and work up a richer lather to get in between bristles, but it is great for deep cleaning brushes.

It is very pricey since it is a high-end cleanser but I actually think it is worth it. I purchased this for $12 as yet another Sephora Black Friday deal ;) (regular price is $26). It was actually supposed to be the 12 oz. size but those seemed to be sold out by the time I got there. I also received a few 2 oz. bottles from Hudson's Bay makeup galas. This $12 Purity deal seems to be a recurring deal for either Black Friday or Boxing Day from the blogs I’ve read so remember to stock up on it then, I definitely will!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Laura Mercier Lip Glacé review + swatch

I received this Laura Mercier Lip Glacé in a Sephora 500 point perk several months ago (November I think) but only started using it now. It came as a mini that is 2.8 g/1.0 oz. which is pretty generous considering the full size is 0.15 oz.! I also love the size because it makes it very compact since it is the same length as a chapstick. The point perk came with the shade Rose which is a soft pink shimmer.

This sheer, high-shine gloss can be worn alone or layered over lip color to add a touch of luster to lips.

The first thing I noticed about this gloss is that there is a bit of scent to it. It smells like some sort of vanilla candy to me and although I hate vanilla scents, I don't think that it is too strong and it also doesn't linger for long. This lip gloss is a little bit thick and slightly sticky but still very easy to apply. It comes with the usual doe-foot applicator so it isn't too messy to apply. Once it is on your lips, it feels a bit sticky but not sticky enough to take a strong hold of your hair. The colour is very true to the ‘Rose’ shade and is similar to the fresh Sugar Lip Treatment in Rose. This makes it quite natural looking for my lips since it is a bit sheer.

It looks pretty shimmery in the bottle but is less so when you wear it. The finish is slightly glossy so people that like high shine probably wouldn’t like this gloss. I always apply it on top of a lip balm so I am not sure if this would be moisturizing enough on it's own, but it was not drying to me at all. The wear of this lip gloss is fairly average as the colour seems to fade after 3 hours and the shimmer lasts a bit longer than that. It also stays a little even after eating and drinking. I’m not much of a gloss person but this product has definitely impressed me! The shade and the finish make it a great everyday lip product.

The full size (0.15 oz.) sells for $29 at Sephora.
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