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Saturday, August 19, 2017

#365 Days of Samples: Week 19

Time for another #365 Days of Samples, albeit it a bit late.  Life is busy, blah blah blah, you know how it is. Seems like it's going to be that way for quite a while, so I'll be posting as I can. I will say I'm trying out a lot of new (to me) makeup and skincare, so the well is definitely not dry :-) Also, I learned about the concept for this series from Youtuber Elle S, if you would like to delve into it more. It really is a great way to work through sample build up, of which I obviously have a lot.
Let's see what I thought of this current crop of finished samples, as there were some definite hits and and one definite miss.  Let's start with the miss first.
I've actually got the wrong product showing in the group shot (Ouidad Moisture Lock Leave In Conditioner, which I like).  The Ouidad Climate Control Heat & Humidity Gel ($26 for 8.5 oz.), however?  No, no, no.  I felt like I had a bad hair day every time I used it. I live in a climate that is humid to the extreme, so I had hopes for this, but I couldn't really tell it made a difference in that area.  It will act as a styling gel if you want to go that route, but I always blow dry my hair as opposed to letting it air dry. So, a definite no go for me.
The other hair product in this week's used up products was not bad. DevaCurl is marketed towards the curly headed lasses, but it works just fine for us stick straight headed girls as well. The Waves Ahead Low-Poo Delight Weightless Waves Low Lather Cleanser ($22 for 12oz.) is a gentle, low lather shampoo that still did a good job of cleansing my hair.  I do find I need to use a clarifying shampoo every few weeks to remove product build up when I'm using gentle shampoos like this, but that's not a biggie. No plans to purchase however, as I've got other less expensive shampoos (from Hask, for example) that I like better.
The Skynn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Neck Gel ($35 for 4) does indeed feel cool on the skin, and it did a good job of staying adhered to my neck, which is something that I've not always had luck with when it comes to neck masks. My neck is showing some age with both sagging and crepiness, This mask has some nice ingredients, such as Niacinamide, Adenosine, Rubus Chameamorus (Arctic Cloudberry) Seed Oil, Oxycoccus Palustris (Arctic Cranberry) Seed Oil, Chenopodium Quinoa Seed Extract, Buddleja Davidii Extract, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Thymus Vulgaris (Thyme) Flower/Leaf Extract, Daucus Carota Sative (Carrot) Root Extract, and Panax Ginseng Root Extract. Seven dollars a mask is a bit steep, however, so I would not purchase.
The It Cosmetics Confidence in a Cream Transforming Moisturizer Super Cream ($48 for 2 oz.) foil sample only gave me about 2 uses, so not enough to really form a strong impression.  My initial impression is that it may be too heavy for my oilier complexion, but I'd need to try more to really say. No plans to purchase.
I've used a Farmhouse Fresh Three Milk Ageless Moisturizer ($33 for 2.5 oz) foil sample in this series before, and my impressions are positive so far.  The foil size is not really enough for more than one or two uses, so what I'm going to try to do going forward when I pull a foil sample that I know I have others of is to pull all of them and use them in one go. No plans to purchase right now, but I do like it.
Praise the deities, I finally finished the Milk Makeup Sunshine Oil ($38 for .5 oz.) sample!  This has been in the series since March, and it took finding a way that I would consistently use it before I started making any real progress on it.  I started using it on the back of my hands in the mornings when I was applying my makeup.  If I used tape on the edges of my eyes when applying eyeshadow, I would put the tape on the back of my oiled up hands first.  This made the tape less adhesive so that it does not pull my skin when removing, yet it still sticks nicely to my skin. I've moved on to another oil for this purpose, but I've got to thank the Sunshine Oil for forcing me to innovate!  I can't say I like the rollerball applicator for anything else, however, and I would not purchase.
Now, for an uber expensive oil balm cleanser, let's talk about the Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm ($110 for 1.7 oz. or $32 for the sample sized jar). I was curious but skeptical about this cleansing balm that features Hungarian Moor Mud which is supposed to detoxify and purify the skin. I was especially resistant to the method of applying over my skin and then only using a warm cloth to remove, as I'm so used to oil based cleansers that rinse well with water.  This one does not, and you absolutely need to remove it using a wet/warm cloth. However, when you use it as directed, it really does a great job of removing all makeup and leaving skin feeling soft and clean.  

I experimented using it alone and with a foaming cleanser afterwards, although using a foaming cleanser afterwards potentially negates the benefits as you are washing away the mineral complex that is supposed to benefit your skin.  To see if the balm on it's own was doing a good enough job of thoroughly cleansing, I used a toner afterwards and there was minimal makeup left behind. Minimal, as in probably areas around the edge of my face that I did not do a good job of cleansing to begin with.  So, I've got to say I was impressed, but not enough to spend $110 on a jar.  I can see the appeal though, and the orange blossom scent is a plus for me.
Okay, now for the new batch of samples for week 20 of my #365 Days of Samples series! I'll list the new samples first, followed by those I'm still working on.

  1. Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Multipurpose Dry Oil (foil , no longer sold in US)
  2. Japonesque Pro Performance Makeup Wipes (foil, 1 wipe)
  3. Cane+Austen Miracle Pad+ (foil, 1 pad)
  4. Sonoma Scent Studio's Fig Tree (vial sample)
  5. Oribe Cote d'Azur Restorative Body Cream (deluxe sample)
  6. SK-II Facial Treatment Essence (deluxe sample)
  7. DERMAdoctor kakadu C Intensive Vitamin C Peel Pad (foil, 1 pad)
  8. DHC Dry Skin Care Cream (foil sample)
  9. Julep Love Your Bare Face Hydrating Cleansing Oil (foil sample)
  10. Urban Decay Gwen Stefani Lipstick (deluxe sampler, discontinued)
  11. Miu Miu perfume (vial)
  12. Innisfree Green Tea Balancing Cream (deluxe sample)
  13. Ulta Beauty Mattifying Balm (deluxe sample)
  14. Estee Edit Pink Peony Overnight Water Pack (deluxe sample, discontinued)

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

NOTD: Gorramit by Nerdlacquer

Disclaimer: I purchased this.
Nerdlacquer was/is my favorite of the indie polish brands, but purchasing from them became such a crap shoot that I gave up after my last buy in 2015. Pulling out Gorramit to wear reminded once again of what I loved about the brand though, and it looks like the Nerdlacquer site is up and running and has new products, so who knows?
Gorramit is one of the "vintage" Nerds (but apparently still available) and is described as "a cantankerous golden yellow with silver sheen plus red, copper, rust and gold glitter. A little feisty, but easy on the eyes, and quite opaque in two coats. Keep away from liquor, women, and firearms."
Yellow is not the easiest polish color to make or wear, but the formula on this is superb. I've been wearing it for over a week now and had zero tip wear when I decided to clip my nails back after about 5 days, as they were getting a little long for my taste.
These glitter intensive polishes are top coat hungry, and I used two coats of Gelous to smooth things out and there is still a bit of texture. I don't know if Gelous is why Gorramit is wearing so well, but my bottle of Gelous is still going strong after several years with no signs of thickening/drying out, which is saying something.
I dunno if I'll be dipping my toe back into purchasing any new Nerdlacquers, but I do cherish the ones I own!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Julep 5-in-1 Skin Perfector with Turmeric in Nude and Beige

Disclaimer: I purchased these.
I'm a bit behind in posting my Julep Maven box from July, but it actually works out well as I wanted to get another shade in one of the products I selected: the 5-in-1 Cushion Complexion Skin Perfector with Turmeric ($30). I was able to accomplish that with my August box, so now I've got a shade that works as foundation (beige) and one that works an under eye concealer (nude).
I'm really liking the Skin Perfector so far as both a foundation and a concealer. This multi-tasker is supposed to conceal, correct, blur, brighten and illuminate and has a thin consistency with medium coverage. I use the cushion tip to apply stripes on my face and then buff it out with a damp Beauty Blender. The finish is matte, which works well with my oilier skin. I have noticed that it will settle into fine lines, but making sure to smooth out those areas so that excess foundation is not building up seems to work to fix that problem.
July Maven box from Julep
Per Ulta's web site:
  • Turmeric extract provides long-term brightening benefits and contains anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Camellia seed oil (sourced from Jeju Island, Korea) contains skin - calming properties and provides nourishing & moisturizing benefits.
  • Soft-Focus Powders blur the look of fine lines & imperfections while creating a smooth, demi - matte finish that's never flat.

I'm a huge fan of turmeric in both my diet and skincare, so I'm excited to see it in a foundation/concealer product! I add turmeric to my green smoothies and a new favorite way to consume it is something I'm calling spicy lemonade, which consists of the juice of one organic lemon, half a teaspoon of turmeric, a dash of cayenne and black pepper, and some stevia to sweeten. I fill a 48 oz. tumbler with water, ice and my spicy lemonade concoction and I'm good to go all day. Just make sure to drink using a straw, as lemon juice is acidic and can hurt your tooth enamel and turmeric can stain your teeth. Turmeric really is wonderful on several levels, especially with it's anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.
Nude on top, Beige on bottom
If you are using these as a foundation, I could see where the size at .16 oz would be a downside.  I'll be interested to see how long the beige one lasts for me, as I'm using it for foundation. The thinness and pigmentation of the formula may work in my favor however, as I really don't have to use much to get good coverage.
Beige on left, Nude on right
The formula does contain silicones, so if you use a primer make sure to pick one that works in tandem with 'cones.  I've been using Julep's Mattifying Treatment Primer (one of the few face primers I like), and so far so good.
August Maven box from Julep
Other items I chose for my July and August boxes are the No Excuses Sunscreen SPF 30 (my second bottle, really like it) and the polishes Wilma and Peyton.
I think Julep is doing a really good job with new product development when it comes to their skincare and makeup offerings! The Maven subscription allows me to purchase items at a substantial discount, which means trying new items is low risk and if I like them, repurchasing is also at prices much below their normal retail price.  I like :-)

Monday, July 31, 2017

#365 Days of Samples Week 18

It's actually been two weeks since my last #365 Days of Samples post, but that's okay as it gives me more time to use up samples and not feel rushed or like I can't use some of my other products when the mood strikes. Plus, life has been HECTIC lately. I had 7 trees removed from my yard this past week, including 6 monster pine trees, plus the day the tree company called saying they wanted to start was also the day I was taking both Maggie and Lily to the vet. Suffice it to say I was basically comatose on Saturday, my first day with no commotion.
But, let's talk about the samples I used up and/or decided to toss without finishing. There was only one item I did not like enough to finish, so let's start there. The It Cosmetics Confidence in a Compact with SPF 50+ ($38) has a lot going for it, at least based on it's claims and ingredient list. It is supposed to provide full coverage, anti-aging benefits and SPF 50+ in it's solid serum formula. It can definitely be built up in coverage and the medium shade was a good match for me, but I just did not like how it looked on my skin.
It swatches really nice but I thought it looked cakey and not as natural as I prefer in a foundation. I do prefer BB/CC creams over full coverage foundations, however, so this just is not for me. I wore it 3 times, which is usually enough for me to get a good feel for a product, but I have no desire to revisit it again.
That's actually too bad, as there is a very generous amount in this deluxe sample size, at least enough for 2 weeks of everyday wear, if not more.  I think one of it's downfalls for me is how many silicones are in the formula - I'm counting five within the first ten ingredients.
Confidence in a Compact SPF50+ in Medium
Now on to the products I did like, although this next one I would not purchase because it costs an unbelievable amount. I'm talking about the Chantecaille La Creme Riche Anti-Age + Biolifting Cream + Aromacologie, which is $342 for 1.7 oz.
This uber expensive facial cream claims to reveal a perfect 3D re-contoured like look to your face with its five extraordinary plant stem cells: Bionymph Stem Cell Extract, Plantago Stem Cell Extract, Caffeine Free Coffee Stem Cell Extract, Daphne Stem Cell Extract and Raspberry Stem Cell Extract. 
Per Bergdorf's web site:
  • Caffeine Free Coffee Stem Cell Extract provides a three-pronged approach that plumps and hydrates skin, helping it appear more supple and beautiful*
  • Plantago Stem Cell Extract reveals denser-looking skin and notably lightens the appearances of age spots*
  • Bionymph Peptide Stem Cell Extract fights the anti-aging process on all fronts, softening the appearance of fine lines*
  • Matrixyl™ 3000 Tripeptide is a unique blend of peptides that helps promote a more toned appearance while lessening the visible appearance of wrinkles*
  • Anti-Wrinkle Hexapeptide softens the look of expression wrinkles*
  • Raspberry Stem Cell Extract is a major anti-oxidant that soothes visible redness. Prevents oxidative damage. Delivers immediate and long-term soothing effects*
  • Daphne Stem Cell extract comes from Winter Daphne, a plant that is known for its ability to thrive in freezing alpine climates. It moisturizes dry skin shielding it from harsh environmental factors such as wind and freezing temperatures. Skin moisturization is increased*
  • Imperata Cylindrica Extract, known for its ability to thrive in arid climates, helps skin retain moisture efficiently – even in the driest weather. Moisturizes the upper layers of the skin for up to 24 hours*
  • Jasmine/Narcissus/Mimosa Flower Waxes are emollient and softening to skin
I will say that you do not need much of the cream at all, and that it is probably the most emollient moisturizer I have ever tried and I found the rose scent pleasant and not overwhelming.  A small pea size was enough to cover my face and neck, and it feels extremely moisturizing. I did not experience any breakouts during the almost one month of use, but I can't say I noticed any extraordinary benefits either. I'm at the age where I'm realistic about what any moisturizer is going to be able to do for me, and am more likely to invest my money in skin actives such as Vitamin C or Retin-A when it comes to expensive skincare items.
Next up is a product that I had zero expectations of and that pleasantly surprised me: Deva Curl's Buildup Buster Micellar Water Cleansing Serum ($28). I know this line is targeted at the curly haired, but it works fine on my stick straight hair as well. 
This is a clear gel-like serum that is supposed to gently cleanse your hair of product buildup using micellar technology, and I thought it did a good job. On the days I used it I did not follow up with shampoo but did use a conditioner and my hair felt clean and soft. The sample is a generous 1 ounce and I got about 4 uses from it. I would consider purchasing.
I've got to admit that some of Ulta's house brand products have been impressing me lately, which has not always been the case.  The nectarine/rose fragrance on this one  ($9.50 for 10 oz.) was surprisingly nice and I was able to make out both the nectarine and the rose, so I thought it was fairly realistic. 
I prefer a more moisturizing/heavy duty body cream, but this was did a good job if you prefer lighter lotions. I'm not in the market for any body lotions and will not purchase, but I would use up more samples for sure. I think Ulta is stepping up their game in general, including the quality of their house brand.
DHC's Deep Cleansing Oil ($28) is my holy grail cleansing oil, and has been for years now. I use other brands periodically just to see if there is something I like more, and to date there isn't. During my birthday month this past year I bought two bottles with the birthday coupon code they sent me, so I'm well stocked up.
Last up of the samples I finished this go-around are Tarte's Pack Your Bags 911 Under Eye Rescue Patches ($22 for 4 pair). This did a good job of plumping and smoothing out my under eye area and I would use any other samples that came my way, but I have no plans to purchase. I do think products like these are great for special events or when you've had a late night/lack of sleep, so they definitely have their place! 
Now, let's see what items I chose from my overflowing sample box for week 18 of my next round of sample use up.
I'll list the newest items first, followed by the samples I am still working on. For the Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm, I pulled a deluxe sample from my collection to go with the foil so that I can get a better idea of the product.
  1. Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Neck Gel (1 neck gel)
  2. Farmhouse Fresh Three Milk Ageless Moisturizer (foil sample)
  3. DHC Dry Skin Care Cream (foil sample)
  4. Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm (foil sample + deluxe sample)
  5. Julep Love Your Bare Face Hydrating Cleansing Oil (foil sample)
  6. Urban Decay Gwen Stefani Lipstick (deluxe sampler, discontinued)
  7. Miu Miu perfume (vial)
  8. Deva Curl Waves Ahead Low-Poo Delight (deluxe sample)
  9. Innisfree Green Tea Balancing Cream (deluxe sample)
  10. It Cosmetics Confidence in a Cream (foil)
  11. Ulta Beauty Mattifying Balm (deluxe sample)
  12. Estee Edit Pink Peony Overnight Water Pack (deluxe sample)
  13. Ouidad Climate Control Heat & Humidity Gel (foil)
  14. Sunshine Oil by Milk Makeup (deluxe sample)

Monday, July 24, 2017

Golden Sugar 2 Rose Gold Ultra Blush Palette by Makeup Revolution

Disclaimer: I purchased this.
I purchased the Golden Sugar 2 Rose Gold blush palette ($10) by Makeup Revolution last August, so I guess it's about time to give it a review. I mean, a year should be enough time to form a firm impression ;-)
This is my first (and only to date) Makeup Revolution product, so I don't have much experience with the brand. They are one of several brands owned by the parent company Tam Beauty, and an "About Us" section on their website says "we love disrupting the traditional beauty world with innovative and fast, exciting beauty brands."
Factor in the uber reasonable prices, and I can see the appeal. Of course, if the quality isn't there, that's a deal breaker, but plenty of drugstore priced brands are giving more mid to high end range brands a run for their money.
This particular palette has two blushes, one bronzer and 5 shimmery shades that can work as highlighters or eyeshadows, especially in the case of the darker bronze shimmer shade. None of them have names and I've swatched them left to right, starting at the top and ending with the bronzer on the bottom far right.
The least pigmented is the first shade, a pale mauve pink matte blush.  It's pretty and makes for a natural looking blush, but it took the most work to build up color when swatching. The other blush is the 4th shade on top, and it's a matte with micro shimmer, and my favorite of the blushes. I quite like the tan bronzer shade also, as it works well on fair skin and does not lean too orange.
The dark bronze shimmer shade has silver micro-glitter in the mix, and it's the one shade that I never use. I really need to try it as an eye shadow, as it swatched really well.
The highlight shades are all really pretty, with good pigmentation and smooth shimmer that looks nice on the skin. I think the range of colors is quite nice and I've got to say that I reach for this palette frequently. The only drawback for me is that the formula of the pressed powders (blushes and bronzer) contain mineral oil, which I associate with cheap makeup formulas.  The baked powders (which I'm assuming are the shimmers) do not contain mineral oil.
Overall, I think this is a really pretty palette at a great price! I've not been enticed yet to purchase any other Makeup Revolution products, but I've got to say this has definitely been a positive introduction to the brand.