Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Wipeout Color Correcting Palette and Tarte Rainforest of the Sea The Airbrusher Double-Ended Concealer Brush Reviews

 

Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Wipeout Color Correcting Palette and Tarte Rainforest of the Sea The Airbrusher Double-Ended Concealer Brush Reviews

Tarte has just released two exclusive sets: the Rainforest of the Sea Collection, exclusive to Sephora, and the Double Duty Collection, exclusive to Ulta. Both collections are also available on the Tarte official website. We will be reviewing several products from these collections, beginning with the Wipeout Color Correcting Palette and corresponding brush today!

What the palette includes:

The Rainforest of the Sea Wipeout Color Correcting Palette includes six “color correcting” shades (including one that qualifies as a “contour” shade and two that could qualify as regular “concealers.”) There is a smaller sized pan of yellow color correction, two peach shade correction pans, one green shade correction pan, one orange correction pan, and a brown contour shade. The texture of these is very creamy, with the peach and brown shades a thicker creaminess than the other shades.

There is a very good mirror under the lid, and the packaging is metallic gold with sea green embellishment on the lid in a wave pattern. The packaging is high quality, and feels substantial. A color correction guide sheet is also included with advice on how to use the product.

What the palette colors do:

Color correction is based on the color wheel, with colors diffusing the color that appears opposite on the wheel. The green color corrector is for reducing redness, and is great for rosacea, minimizing the appearance of blemishes, or other general redness. Orange is primarily used to diffuse the appearance of under-eye dark circles. Yellow has a brightening effect, and can also sometimes be used to help control minor redness. The peach shades may be used as flesh-toned concealers. These two shades will accommodate different skin tones, or could be combined to increase the number of suitable skin tones depending on the ratio that you mix them. For darker skin tones, the brown “contour” shade could also be used for this purpose, mixed with the peach shades or not, depending on your needs. The brown shade may also be used as a contour, either during the color correcting phase of your makeup routine or after you apply your foundation.

The verdict:

There are pros and cons with this palette. The pros include:

  • Great texture, full coverage, with the green and orange covering very well while still looking natural under your foundation.
  • Not as greasy as some of the other color correcting products on the market; provides a great canvas for primer and foundation (especially the green, orange, and yellow)
  • Beautiful packaging including a great mirror, and the convenience of having several color correcting shades in one palette

The cons include:

  • No light lavender or light blue shade (would have liked to have one of those replace one of the peach shades)
  • The yellow, one of the most popular color correcting shades, is the smallest
  • The peach shades would be more practical if a stiffer texture so that it could both cover-up imperfections and fill in scars

Given the fact that the green, orange, yellow, and brown work so well, especially compared to other products on the market, I recommend this product for anyone serious about color correcting. The texture of these is outstanding, covering well without feeling greasy and looking natural enough under foundation that the fact you are wearing these color correctors is not at all evident. They dry well on the face to provide a nice canvas for your primer and foundation, unlike some others that can stay a bit tacky, sticky, or greasy. The contour shade blends very well, making it a good choice for a wide range of skin tones. However, that said, if you want a lavender or blue shade you will need to supplement this with another product. I have been using the Urban Decay Naked Skin Color Correcting Fluid in Lavender; it complements the Tarte palette very well. Finally, the peach shades are underwhelming, and the texture too creamy to be as versatile as I’d like. A dryer, thicker texture for the peach shades would have provided a better base for your primer and foundation, and would have been useful for filling in any scars, which is another all-too-important part of “correcting!”

I should mention that I have both rosacea and severe dark circles, and was able to serve as a good test case for how full coverage the green and orange shades are – and I can report that they worked better on both my rosacea and dark circles than any other color correcting product I have used!

What the brush does:

The brush is a double-ended brush in a high quality metallic finish of gold and purple ombre. I was very skeptical about this brush because I generally pass on double-ended brushes due to the fact that the storage system I use for my brushes, standing vertically in an upright organizer, risks damaging the bristles on the bottom end. However, I wasn’t satisfied with the brush I was previously using, and was impressed by the shape and density of the bristles in the store, which seemed highly suitable for color correction. Testing showed that this was absolutely the case. There have been some reviews out that the bristles are too dense, but I disagree. They have just the right amount of firmness to target exactly the areas you want to target while still feeling very soft against the skin. I found the smaller brush end was perfect for smaller targeted areas (for example, on the under-eye area) while the larger end was great for covering larger areas of the face (in my case, since I have rosacea, this would be the green.) The larger end is also angled and the perfect thinness for use with the contour shade.

The verdict:

This brush is an outstanding compliment to the Rainforest of the Sea Color Correcting Palette, and also worked well with the Urban Decay Naked Skin color correcting fluid, as well as with the concealer I used, the Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer. I have many brushes in my collection, and I did not have a “dupe” for this; this is one I will be using every day! I highly recommend this brush for color correcting and concealing, whether or not you are purchasing the Rainforest of the Sea Wipeout Color Correcting Palette.

There will be more reviews upcoming from the Tarte Rainforest of the Sea and Double Duty Collections! Thank you for reading this review which has hopefully been helpful to you! This post is not sponsored, and all products were purchased by the reviewer, so you can rest assured you are getting an honest review!

Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Wipeout Color Correcting Palette and Tarte Rainforest of the Sea The Airbrusher Double-Ended Concealer Brush Reviews

Tarte has just released two exclusive sets: the Rainforest of the Sea Collection, exclusive to Sephora, and the Double Duty Collection, exclusive to Ulta. Both collections are also available on the Tarte official website. We will be reviewing several products from these collections, beginning with the Wipeout Color Correcting Palette and corresponding brush today!

What the palette includes:

The Rainforest of the Sea Wipeout Color Correcting Palette includes six “color correcting” shades (including one that qualifies as a “contour” shade and two that could qualify as regular “concealers.”) There is a smaller sized pan of yellow color correction, two peach shade correction pans, one green shade correction pan, one orange correction pan, and a brown contour shade. The texture of these is very creamy, with the peach and brown shades a thicker creaminess than the other shades.

There is a very good mirror under the lid, and the packaging is metallic gold with sea green embellishment on the lid in a wave pattern. The packaging is high quality, and feels substantial. A color correction guide sheet is also included with advice on how to use the product.

What the palette colors do:

Color correction is based on the color wheel, with colors diffusing the color that appears opposite on the wheel. The green color corrector is for reducing redness, and is great for rosacea, minimizing the appearance of blemishes, or other general redness. Orange is primarily used to diffuse the appearance of under-eye dark circles. Yellow has a brightening effect, and can also sometimes be used to help control minor redness. The peach shades may be used as flesh-toned concealers. These two shades will accommodate different skin tones, or could be combined to increase the number of suitable skin tones depending on the ratio that you mix them. For darker skin tones, the brown “contour” shade could also be used for this purpose, mixed with the peach shades or not, depending on your needs. The brown shade may also be used as a contour, either during the color correcting phase of your makeup routine or after you apply your foundation.

The verdict:

There are pros and cons with this palette. The pros include:

  • Great texture, full coverage, with the green and orange covering very well while still looking natural under your foundation.
  • Not as greasy as some of the other color correcting products on the market; provides a great canvas for primer and foundation (especially the green, orange, and yellow)
  • Beautiful packaging including a great mirror, and the convenience of having several color correcting shades in one palette

The cons include:

  • No light lavender or light blue shade (would have liked to have one of those replace one of the peach shades)
  • The yellow, one of the most popular color correcting shades, is the smallest
  • The peach shades would be more practical if a stiffer texture so that it could both cover-up imperfections and fill in scars

Given the fact that the green, orange, yellow, and brown work so well, especially compared to other products on the market, I recommend this product for anyone serious about color correcting. The texture of these is outstanding, covering well without feeling greasy and looking natural enough under foundation that the fact you are wearing these color correctors is not at all evident. They dry well on the face to provide a nice canvas for your primer and foundation, unlike some others that can stay a bit tacky, sticky, or greasy. The contour shade blends very well, making it a good choice for a wide range of skin tones. However, that said, if you want a lavender or blue shade you will need to supplement this with another product. I have been using the Urban Decay Naked Skin Color Correcting Fluid in Lavender; it complements the Tarte palette very well. Finally, the peach shades are underwhelming, and the texture too creamy to be as versatile as I’d like. A dryer, thicker texture for the peach shades would have provided a better base for your primer and foundation, and would have been useful for filling in any scars, which is another all-too-important part of “correcting!”

I should mention that I have both rosacea and severe dark circles, and was able to serve as a good test case for how full coverage the green and orange shades are – and I can report that they worked better on both my rosacea and dark circles than any other color correcting product I have used!

What the brush does:

The brush is a double-ended brush in a high quality metallic finish of gold and purple ombre. I was very skeptical about this brush because I generally pass on double-ended brushes due to the fact that the storage system I use for my brushes, standing vertically in an upright organizer, risks damaging the bristles on the bottom end. However, I wasn’t satisfied with the brush I was previously using, and was impressed by the shape and density of the bristles in the store, which seemed highly suitable for color correction. Testing showed that this was absolutely the case. There have been some reviews out that the bristles are too dense, but I disagree. They have just the right amount of firmness to target exactly the areas you want to target while still feeling very soft against the skin. I found the smaller brush end was perfect for smaller targeted areas (for example, on the under-eye area) while the larger end was great for covering larger areas of the face (in my case, since I have rosacea, this would be the green.) The larger end is also angled and the perfect thinness for use with the contour shade.

The verdict:

This brush is an outstanding compliment to the Rainforest of the Sea Color Correcting Palette, and also worked well with the Urban Decay Naked Skin color correcting fluid, as well as with the concealer I used, the Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer. I have many brushes in my collection, and I did not have a “dupe” for this; this is one I will be using every day! I highly recommend this brush for color correcting and concealing, whether or not you are purchasing the Rainforest of the Sea Wipeout Color Correcting Palette.

There will be more reviews upcoming from the Tarte Rainforest of the Sea and Double Duty Collections! Thank you for reading this review which has hopefully been helpful to you! This post is not sponsored, and all products were purchased by the reviewer, so you can rest assured you are getting an honest review!

Boxycharm vs. Glossybox Unboxing and Review, May 2015!

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Boxycharm, May 2015

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Glossybox, May 2015

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“Purple Rain” (top) and “907” (bottom)

Another close matchup this month! Here is the lowdown!:

Boxycharm

ModelCo Bronze Shimmer

This is going to be more of a review of Boxycharm’s customer service than the product – because it arrived completely broken. I was not able to use the bronzer to review it, however I can say that it appeared very shimmery. I contacted customer service, and was promised another one with the next box. There will be a review with that box (but it will not be counted in the June competition!) I was satisfied with Boxycharm’s response, although when I received a broken product from Ipsy they sent another right away, so your opinion of their customer service may be based at least in part to your level of patience.

The Lip Bar Lipstick in “Purple Rain”

The first thing I noticed about this lipstick was the elaborate and lovely packaging. It comes in a stain-glass like black and clear case contained in a velvet bag with “The Lip Bar” logo. The bag could be used for more than just show – it’s a great way to carry your lipsticks that you want to protect before you throw them in your purse for the day. As for the lipstick itself, it’s a very creamy pinkish lavender purple with a satin finish. It had good staying power through eating and drinking; it began to appear more matte and less satiny, but it still looked good as the day continued. I would certainly recommend this, especially if you’re in the market for a satin-matte finish lipstick.

Bodyography Essential Brow Trio

This set contains three eyebrow powder taupe-tinted shades: a beige, a brown, and a dark brown. With the exception of redheads, most hair colors will work with these colors. Conveniently, you can use the enclosed brush (see below) to apply this product. This seems to be Bodyography’s answer to Anastasia’s brow powder duos, and it is very similar in texture and application. Applying a powder like this works to make brows appear neater and fuller. I prefer Anastasia’s brow powder duo because it suits my hair color more accurately, but this is a good product too if it includes the shade you need. As an alternative for redheads and blondes, I recommend Anastasia’s “Auburn” and “Blonde” brow powder duos.

Bodyography Brow Brush

The brush is the perfect size, shape, and stiffness for applying brow powders, and the spoolie on the opposite end is useful for combing and taming of brows or separating of lashes. You could use it to break up clumps in mascara, but I would not want to do that unless I was not using it on bare brows and lashes as well. The spoolie is much fatter than the one on the Anastasia Brow Wiz, which I prefer the size of. But if you need a spoolie and a brush rather than a spoolie and a liner, this product does the job.

Lauren B. Beauty Nail Polish in “Sunset Boulevard”

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Considering the retail price of this full size bottle is $18, I was expecting to be “wowed,” but it just wasn’t to be. Granted, some subscribers received different colors which may have been more interesting, but the shade I received translated to my nails as another “been there done that” lightly coral pink under most lighting conditions. I was so unimpressed with the shade that I quickly resorted to applying a glitter topcoat. If you’re interested in checking out this brand, I don’t recommend this shade, but I have no complaints as far as the formula goes, and it was opaque in two coats. The photo shows it under optimal lighting conditions; under dimmer light it translates to a more medium pink and less of a coral.

Glossybox

Teeez Trend Cosmetics Head Over Heels Nail Lacquer Top Coat

This topcoat comes in a rectangular bottle similar to Julep polishes. The gold cap has a cute, pink flower design. The brush is quite wide, which would not be ideal for colored polish but is perfect for topcoat. The formula was great; it went on smooth and glossy. My nails even felt smooth after applying it over a glitter polish. This is a Dutch brand, and in the tradition of great Dutch painters came in very artistic, beautiful packaging!

Doucce Mineral Matt Lipstick #907

This lipstick has a “velvet matte” finish, and is a very conservative shade of nude pink. One could almost have mistaken my lips for being bare while I was wearing this it was so close to my lip color. If you’re after a really natural look then this definitely fits the bill. It went on very smooth and evenly, but touchups will be necessary if you want to wear this all day.

Clearista Retexturizing Gel

This exfoliator was somewhat too rough for my sensitive skin. If you are interested in a heavy duty exfoliant, this does just that. It has a “plastic” like scent. Furthermore, some of the granules stuck to my face even after rinsing, which I was bothered by. When I touched my face (feeling the foreign object, in a natural reaction to brush it off) it rubbed with that roughness again, after I thought I was finished with the treatment. I don’t expect to use this product again.

Glamglow Powermud Dualcleanse Treatment

This is a “four clay blend,” and includes cleansers and exfoliants. I did not notice the feel of exfoliants, so this product is very useable on sensitive skin. The scent is like a green apple – very pleasant. My skin felt smooth and clean after using the product. I look forward to using the rest of this sample.

Sebastian Professional Stylbrid 9

I really appreciate the fact that this spray is paraben and alcohol free, because I tend to “choke” on hairsprays with alcohol. It gave my hair good hold without making it feel “crunchy.” It left my hair soft and smooth. The scent is neutral and not unpleasant. As far as hairsprays go, I like this one a lot and would recommend it if you are adverse to alcohol hairsprays.

The Verdict

This was another tough month for a verdict, but Boxycharm wins the day with special thanks to the exceptional Lipstick Bar lipstick! Getting a brush is always a nice bonus as well, and customer service proved to be satisfactory in response to the issue I experienced.

Thanks for visiting! The site may be going down after this post to begin installing improvements within the next few days, so thanks for your patience! The upgrade is tremendous, and it will be worth the wait!

May 2015 Beauty and Skin Care Favorites!

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May Beauty and Makeup Favorites

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May Skin Care and Pampering Favorites

..May, 2015 Beauty and Skin Care Favorites!

May was an exceptional month for skin care and makeup. There were so many favorites that the list had to be pared down! Hopefully there will be later opportunities to talk about the other products that deserved an honorable mention! When it’s spring and approaching summer, I get particularly excited about colorful eye palettes, bright nail polishes, and glow-y bronzers, and May delivered!

Eye Makeup Products

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Anastasia “Artist Palette” eye shadow palette

Anastasia “Artist” Palette” Eye Shadow Palette

This palette has so many shades and so much to talk about that it will need to be covered in a full review with swatches in June, but I couldn’t resist putting it in favorites this month because the colors are so bold and exciting, the formula is fantastic, and they last all day long, so I’ve been reaching for this palette quite often this month. There are so many unique and interesting combinations possible here, and as a result it is so much fun to use. You really do feel like an “artist!” I usually end up supplementing with a light, more nude shade for under the brown bone before I use this because there is only one shade that is suitable for that given my skin tone (and I don’t want to hit pan on that one long before the rest!) But that is no problem at all – I would have missed any of these great colors if they’d put a nude shade or two in instead! I found myself using Be a Bombshell’s “Halo” or Makeup Geek’s “Shimma Shimma” with most of these, and they complimented the shades here well. Watch for more photos, swatches, reviews, and color combination favorites in an upcoming post.

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Lorac “Heartbreaker” eye shadow palette

Lorac “Heartbreaker” Palette

A full review was posted on Lorac’s two new eyeshadow palettes: “Heartbreaker” and “Dream Girl,” earlier this month. It was a tough decision which one to feature in favorites this month, but I finally went with “Heartbreaker” because I felt the shades in it combo’d better than the ones in “Dream Girl.” “Heartbreaker” is exclusive to Ulta, and contains ten shades in a bold assortment of colors. The review goes in depth about each color and provides swatches, if you’d like to read more! I really liked the way this palette broke out of the “nude matte” phase that was so prevalent before it came out. I like those too, but I was ready for something fresh and new for spring, and this fit the bill!

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Swatches of Urban Decay “Assassin” lipgloss (top) and Butter London “Holland Park” eye liner (bottom)

Butter London Wink Eye Pencil in “Holland Park”

Eyeliners that are soft and smooth enough to glide on easily and give you a nice even, consistent line can be difficult to find, but I’ve found another one in Butter London’s Wink Eye Pencil. This was so easy and foolproof to apply, no awkward patchy line, eyelid tugging, or tape. The color “Holland Park” is a really nice blue with a hint of teal. The all-day wear was outstanding. I really like this formula and would certainly try more of their colors in the future. There aren’t many eye liners I can say that about!

Bronzer/Highlighting Products

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Make Up For Ever Pro Sculpting Duo bronzer/highlighter in “Light”

Make Up For Ever “Pro Sculpting Duo” in “Light”

We’re getting into “bronzer season” again, and this highlighter/bronzer duo is meant to be foolproof and easy for even the most uninitiated bronzer user. It accomplishes this very well, as the bronzer is subtle enough even for lighter skin tones and blends very well. It has the slightest hint of orange, but once applied to my face I did not notice that at all, just a nice hint of a tan. The highlighter gives a beautiful, subtly pink glow. The majority of highlighters I’ve found are more of a champagne color, so this was a nice alternative. (If you get the “Medium” version of the duo, the highlighter is a champagne rather than pink, if you prefer that.) This isn’t my “favorite” bronzer or highlighter, but I like it, and it’s a nice set for someone looking to pick up both together for a good value or for anyone who is intimidated by the idea of trying bronzer for the first time.

Lip Products

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Urban Decay “Assassin” lipgloss

.Urban Decay High Color Lipgloss in “Assassin”

I have to be honest; I’m not a fan of lipgloss. The sheer, natural-looking, “your lips but better” feature of lipgloss is something that appeals to a lot of people, but it’s just not my style. I prefer bold lip colors. So boy was I surprised when I received two samples of Urban Decay’s High Color Lipgloss in my Ipsy box and found that I could love a lipgloss! In the photo is the packaging from Ipsy, showing all of the shades that are available. I was drawn to “Assassin.” Since I liked the formula of the samples, I picked up the full size of “Assassin” and I can’t put it down! For one thing, the color is bold and opaque, and doesn’t come across as “sheer” at all. Secondly, it has a gorgeous shimmery quality to it, and I feel so glamorous wearing it. The taste is pleasant and sweet, and it’s not tacky or sticky. On the downside, the packaging is in a long oval shape that doesn’t fit in my ByAlegory lipgloss storage system with my other glosses. But that’s okay; I may as well leave it laying out on my vanity since I’m using it so much now! I highly, highly recommend this to anyone, even if they think they don’t like lipgloss that likes a bold lip. I am interested in trying more of the shades – I loved all three I’ve tried thus far (“Failbait,” a slightly peach dusty rose, and “Bittersweet,” a deep purple, were the samples I received from Ipsy.)

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Urban Decay High Color Lipgloss Swatch Pamphlet

Nail Products

KBWeBeJammin

KB Shimmer “We Be Jammin” nail polish

KB Shimmer “We Be Jammin’” Nail Polish

I wasn’t sure if I needed “another purple,” but this shade is anything but! I’ve never seen anything quite like it; its super shimmery with what appears to be very micro holo glitter. The shine is gorgeous, and the base color is an interesting hybrid of fuchsia and purple. This is an awesome color for a night out on the town, so glitzy and bright, but on the other hand, even in ordinary daylight the sunlight gives it such a beautiful glow. No matter what the time of day or occasion this polish is so pleasing to wear. As for the formula, it was very good: opaque in two coats and easy application all the way. It dried fairly fast too! A thorough review of more of indie nail polish brand KB Shimmer’s summer collection is coming in June.

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Julep “Denise” nail polish

Julep “Denise” Nail Polish

This shade is definitely an all-time favorite nail polish now. If it wasn’t enough that it’s a beautiful bright orchid purple color, I had the added benefit of tons of compliments while wearing it. The formula is outstanding – two coats to perfect opacity and so easy to apply. You do need to use a topcoat with this one to bring out the glossiness and really make the color stand out – it is a bit dull without the topcoat, but if you regularly use one anyway like I do that won’t pose any inconvenience.

Skin Care and Pampering Products

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Lush “Pink” bath bomb and samples of Marcelle Hydra-C Energizing, Hydrating Gel and Cailyn It Foaming O2 Scrub

Lush Bath Bomb in “Pink Bath Bomb”

According to Lush, this bomb combines “Tonka bean, neroli, and vanilla absolute” to create an intoxicatingly calming floral and slightly sweet scent that lingers on your skin long after you exit the tub. The smoothness and softness of your skin lasts a long time too! To add fun to the experience, it colors your tub water pink. Best of all, this is one of the more inexpensive bath bombs Lush offers at $4.95. And the flower décor is perfect for spring and particularly attractive if you keep your lush products on display in a glass jar.

Marcelle Hydra-C Energizing, Hydrating Gel

This arrived from Birchbox this month, and the gel/cream hybrid formula felt so silky and refreshing going on. The scent is like marzipan and fresh/clean in one. This is definitely a moisturizer I will be reaching for very often!

Cailyn It Foaming 02 Scrub

In the “Birchbox vs. Ipsy” post, I mentioned that this was a bit of a rough scrub, but I’ve since discovered that you can actually let the crystals dissolve some by rubbing them with wet hands, so you can get the scrub texture to be just the way you like it. I already loved the product before I tried that, so now it’s gone from “great” status to “even greater”! It provides excellent exfoliation, leaves my skin feeling tight and smooth, and smells of lemon and bubblegum. This is the ultimate in pampering! I would definitely replenish this when it runs out.

Thanks for reading! The brand new website is in progress, and hopefully will be up and running soon!

Birchbox vs. Ipsy Unboxing and Review, May 2015!

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Welcome to the Unboxing and Review of Birchbox vs. Ipsy, May 2015!

May, 2015 was very hit-or-miss with Birchbox and Ipsy. There certainly were a few standout products. These beauty subscriptions send out new makeup and skin care products every month for about $10, and the value of the products included always considerably exceeds that amount each month, so it’s a great way to build up your makeup collection and try new brands and products without a big financial commitment. Here’s the review of this month’s beauty products:

Birchbox

Cailyn Spa Cosmetics IT Foaming O2 Scrub

This is a sugar scrub that may safely be used on the face. Although I have sensitive skin and this is not a “gentle” scrub, it did not irritate my skin. It provides excellent exfoliation, smells like lemonade and bubblegum, and leaves my skin feeling tight and smooth. I wish it was a tad less rough: if you have very sensitive skin “try before you buy” if possible. As for the claim of this being a “foaming” scrub, it does not foam in my experience. It’s possible that the reason is I didn’t’t scrub vigorously enough to get a foam going because of the roughness of the product and sensitivity of my skin. But that’s ok – I’m so pleased with how great my skin feels after using this, the amazing scent, and how well it exfoliates that I don’t miss the “foaming” feature at all. This product is definitely recommended!

Beauty Protector Protect and Detangle Leave-In Conditioner Spray

It is very convenient to have this leave in conditioner in a spray form rather than a tube like many others. It is easy to use, and to control the amount you are applying, which is nice. It has a nice vanilla scent, and left my hair soft and smooth. On the downside, it is slightly oily, but not as much as many other products of this type.

Cynthia Rowley Beauty Creamy Lip Stain in “Poppy”

This lip “stain” is not sticky or tacky, and may appeal to you if you like a sheer, “my lips but better” kind of natural look. It performed like more of a slightly matte lip “gloss” than a “stain.” It tastes a bit waxy. If you prefer a bolder look this would not be the ideal lip gloss.

Dr. Jart+ BB Night Beauty Balm

Unlike the many cream and gel skin hydrators on the market, this one is a liquid. It has a clean smell and refreshed and cooled my face, however, my face felt somewhat sticky after application. Given some time it did dry, but the initial inconvenience was kind of a deal breaker considering how much competition is out there for this type of product.

Marcelle Hydra-C 24 Hour Energizing Hydrating Gel

This is like a gel/cream hybrid, making it cool and hydrating as well as smooth and silky at the same time. Has a marzipan-fresh scent that is out of this world. Very refreshing! This is a product I would definitely consider replenishing and adding to my regular skin care routine.

Ipsy

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Lip Pencil Plus Bonus Revolution High Color Lip Gloss in “Failbait” and “Bittersweet”

This sample set included a travel size uncolored lip liner and two blister packs of lip gloss in the colors “Failbait” and “Bittersweet.” The blister packs were small, but a little goes a long way, so multiple uses were available. These have good opacity for lip gloss, and are great for people who prefer more of a bolder lip in their lip gloss. They provided decent wear for lip gloss, and did not feel sticky or tacky. The lip liner glides on soft and easy and looks white but goes on without color so you can use it with any lipstick, and if your lipstick begins wearing of you won’t be left with an odd halo effect. For this reason, I prefer clear or same-as-my-lips colored lip liners, and this fits the bill. It worked well to prevent bleeding and feathering.

 Bellapierre Waterproof Mineral Gel Eyeliner Pencil

I had been pleased with other Bellapierre products I’d received in subscription boxes in the past, and even followed up with a purchase on the Bellapiere website, but this one was a little disappointing. The tip had broken off the pencil, so I had to sharpen it again, which is fine, but wouldn’t sharpen evenly. I swatched it, and it seemed soft, so I thought it would go on nice and smoothly on my eyelid, however, that was not the case. I could not get a nice, smooth even line. So many eyeliners have this problem, and given that I would probably call it “better than average,” but I would not re-purchase it.

Nuxe Reve de Miel Facial Cleansing and Makeup Removing Gel

I was very pleasantly surprised by the honey scent of this cleanser, which was very noticeable. This cleanser did a good job of cleaning my face. Although it seemed to be strongly perfumed, it did not irritate my sensitive skin the way other perfumed skin products have in the past. If you love honey scented products, you should definitely check it out!

Luxie Beauty Tapered Blending Eye Blush 205

I am always very excited to get new brushes in my subscription boxes, but unfortunately I felt that this one was a little too soft. It can still be used for blending, but only for blending, (I generally prefer more versatile brushes) and is not as effective as it would be if it were a tad less soft. I may reach for it for blending now that I have it, but I can’t recommend it as a purchase.

CoTZ Face Natural SPF 40

This is kind of a hybrid sunscreen, primer, and tinted moisturizer all in one. I didn’t care for the thick texture that results in combining these, it was almost like a very soft clay, and seemed to mildly have the scent of clay as well. On the upside, it would be a great product for people who have relatively good complexions (don’t need more dedicated primers and concealers) to just put on and be out the door very quickly and easily. If you are looking for a very low-maintenance makeup product, you may have met your match, otherwise, I would pass.

The Verdict

Upon first unboxing the Birchbox package, I didn’t expect that it would ultimately be the winner, because it was so heavy on skin care products and I usually prefer to get a couple more makeup products. And the one makeup product they did include was tiny. In the end, however, I enjoyed the Cailyn scrub and the Marcelle gel so much that the one product that did stand out from Ipsy, the Urban Decay set, could not push Ipsy to the top, especially given the less impressive quality of the other products included in the box. Check back soon for Boxycharm vs. Glossybox, as well as the big website upgrade!

Allure Sample Society Beauty Box, May 2015!

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This was a fantastic month overall for Allure. At first glance, I wasn’t crazy about getting two hair products, since I usually don’t have time for a fussy hair routine, but one of them was a pleasant surprise and the rest of the products were outstanding! If you aren’t familiar with the Allure Sample Society beauty subscription box, it’s a box full of beauty related goodies you can receive in your mailbox every month for $15, and the value of the products always well exceeds that amount. Allure also allows you to purchase boxes “a la carte” for a month that featured products you particularly like. This is one of those months that I would definitely recommend that to someone who didn’t want to subscribe but wanted a good value on some good beauty products. Here’s the rundown on what was included with this Allure box:

Avene “Thermal Spring Water” Facial Spray

This facial spray for sensitive skin feels very cool and refreshing! I don’t detect any particular scent; it just comes across as fresh, pure, and soothing. I especially like to spray this mist on my face after applying my moisturizer at night, for added moisture without disturbing the product I’ve already applied (or waiting for it to dry.) But this is also great in the morning to help refresh you for the start of the day, or if you’re having a bout of eczema or redness that you want to help relieve. I certainly recommend this product for refreshing and soothing your face, and I will definitely replace it when this can runs out.

Caviar Repair RX “Multi Vitamin Heat Protection Spray”

It is very important to protect your hair from heat damage, so if you blow dry your hair on a regular basis this is a product that may interest you. This product has a formula that smells good, did not choke me or irritate my scalp, skin or eyes, and seems to do what it claims to do.

John Frieda “7 Day Volume” In-Shower Hair Treatment

I was skeptical of a product of this type being able to actually add volume to my hair, but I have to say I was surprised that it did seem to make some difference. It’s possible that there may be some “placebo effect” involved, since I can’t “measure” the volume of my hair in any scientific way, but it seemed somewhat more voluminous. I definitely want to continue using this product and see how it goes, but so far I’m happy with it. The formula is a conditioner type cream with the kind of slightly off but clean scent I’ve become accustomed to with conditioners as well. If you love volume like I do, you may want to give it a try. It isn’t a miracle product but every little bit counts!

Julep Lip Gloss in “Graceful”

This is a nice light pink very glossy lip gloss product. Longevity is good and it tastes like vanilla frosting. The texture is ideal for a lip gloss; it feels creamy rather than tacky or sticky. I’m not a big fan of lip gloss, but as far as lip glosses go this is a good formula in a nice sheer pink but glossy color. The pink is subtle, so it is versatile for using over lipstick, even ones that aren’t necessarily pink. I used it over Lorac’s “Southern Belle,” a light peach, and it complimented the lipstick quite nicely. In the Lorac Alter Ego Lipsticks review I mentioned that “Southern Belle” was patchy – this gloss helped minimize that problem, smoothing it out and making any patches less noticeable. Julep is proving more and more that they are competent to produce a wide variety of quality makeup products, not just nail polish.

Versace “Eros” (Pour Femme) Perfume

This is a nice size bottle, and a very attractive one at that, for a beauty subscription box sample. “Eros” was the Greek god of love, and I must say that is VERY appropriate – both because the scent is sensual and romantic and because I absolutely LOVE this perfume! I am really happy to have found it, because it is one I would replenish and add to my permanent perfume rotation – and that’s saying a lot because I have enough favorites that I had no intention of adding any more anytime soon! The notes include: Sicilian lemon, Calabrian bergamot, pomegranate, lemon flower, Sambac jasmine absolute, jasmine infusion, peony, sandalwood, ambrox, musks, and sensual wood. It is mainly floral, faintly musky, a little bit fresh, and very complex in a way that marries these different scent categories in perfect harmony. The only drawback was the way the bottle dispenses the product – I had to use repeated attempts to get enough product out. Hopefully the full size bottle does not share that disadvantage. Highly recommended!

Laneige “Water Sleeping Mask”

I was absolutely thrilled with this Korean brand nighttime skin care product. It feels so much like the old formula of Clinique’s “Moisture Surge” that Clinique has changed to a new formula I do not like. The old formula was more of a gel – like this Laneige product: a smooth, never clumpy, gel. I have missed the old “Moisture Surge” so much, but thanks to this I don’t have to miss that wonderful, ultra-refreshing, soothing feeling any more because this is almost the same except that it’s light blue in color rather than pink. This is super moisturizing and feels so good to put on at night. I have eczema, so there are times when my skin is parched and sore, and this is very comforting. This also is very soothing on sunburned skin. I highly recommend this!

The Verdict

Allure definitely hit a home run this month. Usually I prefer to receive more makeup in a beauty box, but once I tried these skin care products I was very glad they were included. Five out of six of these products I would consider replacing when these run out, and one in particular I literally don’t want to live without (the “Water Sleeping Mask,” which I consider a dupe for the old “Moisture Surge” that I missed so much for so long)! Although reviews aren’t posted yet for the other beauty subscription boxes, I have received them all now, and can say that this one was definitely a standout for May.

Lorac Alter Ego Eyeshadow Palettes: “Heartbreaker” and “Dream Girl” Reviews!

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Welcome to the review of two new eyeshadow palettes from Lorac: “Heartbreaker,” which is an Ulta exclusive, and “Dream Girl,” an exclusive from Kohl’s and the Lorac website. The most exciting feature of these palettes may be the way they break away from the “nude matte” makeup trend and gives us some vibrant, bold colors for spring. Each palette has a mirror under the lid, and they are each a relatively thin, small size that would be good for travel. Each one includes ten beautiful colors; here’s the breakdown:

“Heartbreaker” Palette

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This one has a bright pink soft plastic case that feels nice in the hands.There are two matte shades here – one light beige and one light milk chocolate. There is one shade with a lot of shimmer, the red tinted “Dr. Pepper” brown on the far right. The rest have a satiny relatively subtle shimmer: a vanilla cream shade, a coral pink, a very light rosy burgundy, a light cocoa brown, a vibrant dark aquamarine blue, a standard silver, and a really nice light seafoam-ish blue. Each shade has very good pigment, and they last all day. There are a number of good color combinations you can make with these, making this a versatile palette. The amount of shimmer in the shimmery shades is just right to be practical for regular use, not just for the nightclub. The blues, rosy burgundy, and reddish brown on the end have the best pigment and are, in my opinion, the most interesting colors. I felt pretty “been there done that” about the milk chocolate and cocoa browns, but they were nice versions of these common shades. This eyeshadow palette is exclusive to Ulta.

“Dream Girl” Palette

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This one also has a soft plastic case, this time in a bright peach color. It also has two matte shades: a light beige and a very slightly rose tinted milk chocolate brown. There are two very shimmery shades: a copper gold and a bright sparkly lavender purple. The colors with a more satiny subtle shimmer include a golden banana yellow, a pinky peach, an olive green, and a dark chocolate brown. There is also a teal green that appears satin in the pan but looks matte when applied. Again, these had long wear and very good pigmentation. The pinky peach and shimmery olive green are particularly nice, but I felt there wasn’t a dud in the bunch. This is definitely one of the more exciting palettes I’ve seen for someone who’s into bright, bold pops of color – and for the same reason this won’t be for everyone. This eyeshadow palette is exclusively at Kohl’s and the Lorac website.

The Verdict

These makeup palettes are quite different, so if you’re interested in both but worried about overlap – don’t worry. There is a milk chocolate brown in both, but they are not identical, and the two lighter shades at the bottom of each are similar but definitely not alike. As for the rest of the shades – they’re completely different, with “Dream Girl” having a more daytime, playful, girly feel and “Heartbreaker” more of a night-time, sexy, diva feel. The designation of this collection as “Alter Ego” makes sense in that regard! If you’re into bright, vibrant colors I highly recommend checking these out. If you’re into a more nude, natural look then you probably want to take a pass on these. I am very pleased with the quality of the products and originality of the colors, and they are very suitable for the current spring, and later summer, seasons.

NARS Dual Intensity Blushes Review!

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There have been a lot of mixed reviews floating around on the Nars Dual Intensity blushes that recently released. A lot of the negative reactions arise because of the fact that you’ve got to pick it up with the right kind of brush to be able to transfer good pigment to your cheeks. It’s very dense in the pan, and soft brushes, including typical “blush” brushes won’t work well. Nars sells a brush specifically for these, but purchasing that is not necessary. Any stiff, thick brush will work great! I use a stiff kabuki brush I already had in my collection, and it works perfectly!

Once you have your brush, you have another choice to make: wet or dry? That’s right – this product can be applied wet or dry depending on your preference or the occasion. The shades tend to be slightly more pigmented wet, but the difference is not major. Personally I prefer not to put wet makeup over my foundation, but if you’re fine with that or have great skin and are going “au natural,” you may enjoy using this product wet.

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With the right brush, these shades are well pigmented and very buildable. It’s easy to get anything from a subtle, natural look to a dramatic, theatrical look with these depending on how much you build them, making them very versatile. There is absolutely no fall out or kickback – the product is very dense in the pan as I mentioned. There are two “blush” colors in each (I say “blush” because some of these are definitely more of a highlight). There are six duos total in the line. The colors are beautiful; I have the following three duos to review:

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Fervor

This is my favorite duo and the one I would recommend the most highly if you are interested in picking up only one. Both colors are suitable as a blush, provide you with two very different looks, and the second shade, a satiny coppery rose, is fairly unique as far as blushes go, and very flattering. A lot of blushes with a copper tone look more like bronzer than blush, or, worse, give the face a “dirty” look, but this one has just the right amount of rose tint to be a very flattering blush. The other shade is a slightly satiny pale rosy peach.

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Adoration

This one has a light baby pink shimmery shade that works as a blush but could potentially work as a highlight too on some skin tones. The second shade is a vibrant hot pink – it’s so bright that the idea of putting it on the cheeks may be intimidating but it is far more subtle, but buildable, on the cheeks than it appears swatched.

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Frenzy

This includes a shimmery gold highlight shade that would only work as a highlight along with a unique satin tangerine shade that turns out to be very flattering on the cheeks. Again, it’s very buildable, so it won’t be as bold on the cheeks as it is in this swatch unless you choose to build it up to that level.

The Verdict

I can only recommend these if you either already have or intend to purchase a stiff brush to use with them. If you do, then I recommend them for the great colors, pigment, and buildability. They are very flattering, and the wide variety of shades are practical for a wide variety of ocassions. The duo of shades in each can be used separately or together, and add value to the product. If this all sounds good to you, check them out!

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