Monday, May 22, 2017

Lipstick Roulette #4: What I'm Keeping and What I'm Tossing

Time to see what I'm keeping and what I'm tossing from volume 4 of my Lipstick Roulette series. My goal with this series is to work my way through all the lip products in my collection and toss those that are no longer working for me. I learned about this by watching Elle S on Youtube, although I'm sure others do it as well. These are the 7 items I randomly selected 3 weeks ago, plus I found the Clinique Black Honey that disappeared from week 2. It was in my yard, having rolled off the table I use for pictures:-)
  1. Natural Matte Lip color by e.l.f.
  2. Paiette Sparklicity Gloss by Tarina Tarantino
  3. Pink Passion Pop Balm by bareMinerals
  4. Femme Extra Creamy Round Lipstick by NYX Cosmetics
  5. Athens Long Wear Lip Gloss by CARGO
  6. Seductive Honey Pure Color Envy Sculping Gloss by Estee Lauder
  7. Pink Truffle Colorburst Lip Butter by Revlon
  8. Black Honey Almost Lipstick by Clinique 
Natural Matte Lip Color by e.l.f.

Natural Matte Lip Color by e.l.f. ($3) is a nice formula but the color does not look good on me - too cool toned/gray for my complexion. So, this one is getting tossed.
Paiette Sparklicity Gloss + Natural Matte
Topping Natural with the Paiette Sparklicity Gloss by Tarina Tarantino helped, and I do like how sparkly Paiette is, so I'm keeping it. Paiette appears to be discontinued, or at least it's showing as "no longer available" when I Google it. The brand in general is no longer easy to find since they withdrew from Sephora.
Pink Passion Pop of Passion Balm by bareMinerals
I'm a fan of the bareMinerals Pop of Passions Balms ($12), and Pink Passion is a great warm weather color for me. It's definitely staying.
Femme Extra Creamy Round Lipstick by NYX
Femme by NYX is another great warm weather color ($4), and while it's not the most long lasting lipstick, I find the formula comfortable to wear. It's a keeper.
Athens Long Wear Gloss by CARGO
Athens was a GWP from Birchbox, and this is the first time I've worn it. It's got enough color to wear on it's own and the formula is comfortable with a decent (3 hour) wear time. I like it and will be hanging on to it. It looks to be discontinued, although you can still find it online.
Seductive Honey Pure Color Envy Sculpting Gloss
Seductive Honey Pure Color Envy Sculpting Gloss by Estee Lauder ($26) features a formula I really like, and it's a nice lip topper either on it's own or over a lipstick. I'll be keeping it.
Pink Truffle Lip Butter by Revlon
Black Honey by Clinique
I like the Pink Truffle Lip Butter by Revlon, but the formula has changed as it did not want to swatch smoothly. While it still smells fine, I had to smooth it out with my finger for the picture, which tells me it's time to toss. I will also be tossing the Clinique Black Honey, as I don't particularly care for the formula , as it's not hydrating enough for me. So, that makes three items tossed and five kept. Progress, slow as it may be, in refining my collection to the items I truly enjoy.
Now, time for the next round of lipstick roulette items! These are the 7 items I randomly selected for the fifth volume of the series:
  1. Stellar Show Off Lip Lacquer by Rimmel
  2. Rose On and On Color Caresse Wet Shine Stain by L'Oreal
  3. Sunset Beautiful Color Lip Gloss by Elizabeth Arden
  4. 022 Lip Bomb Glossy Lacquer Stain by Mirenesse
  5. Sukriya Color Lip Balm by nyx
  6. Coral Be Legendary Long Wear Lip Lacquer by Smashbox
  7. Candy Apple Colorburst Lip Butter by Revlon

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Empties! Products I Used Up in April

I finished up quite a few products in April, including some full sized items I've been working on FOREVER. So, let's get started! If I've done a previous review on an item, links will be provided.

  • Kate Somerville Clarifying Skin Treatment Toner ($26) has been in my toner rotation for almost two years! It worked well for my oily skin, but then again so does the much less expensive Thayer's Rose Petal Witch Hazel, so I have no plans to repurchase.

  • All four of the next products were part of a Manyo Factory Travel set that I got from Memebox.  The Manyo Factory Deep Pore Cleansing Soda Foam has a higher pH level than I like to use for a facial cleanser, so I used it as a hand wash instead. It worked quite well in that regard :-) 
  • Manyo Factory Pure Cleansing Oil: This is a nice cleansing oil, with a variety of botanical oils and extracts in the mix (soybean, hazel seed, grape seed, olive, jojoba, rice bran, and lavender oils). I enjoyed it but the DHC Deep Cleansing Oil still reigns supreme for me.
  • Manyo Factory Galactomy Clearskin AHA/BHA Toner: I enjoyed this as well, and find it's ingredient list intriguing: Water, Fermented Filtrate Of Galactomyces Yeasts, Aloe Leaf Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, White Willow Extract, Lactic Acid, Fruit Extract, Japanese Pepper Extract, Korean Pine Extract, Usnei Borodulino Extract, Sea Water, Potassium Hydroxide, Witch Hazel Extract, Green Tea Leaf Extract, Citrus Fruits Natural Extract, Papaya Extract, Rose. I would consider purchasing this in the future, as it was my favorite from the travel set.
  • Galactomyces Special Treatment Essence Cream: This was nice, although I can't say it made much of an impression on me. The biggest drawback for the Manyo Factory products for is their short shelf life due to their natural ingredients and lack of preservatives (not a bad thing at all), as I just have so much product on hand. I did make a point of using these items consistently in order to use them up, and I'd say the cleansing oil and toner were my favorites.
  • Tata Harper Purifying Cleanser: This cleanser is supposed to combat the daily wear and tear caused by environmental stressors such as pollution and smog by effectively purging surface buildup and impurities, while maintaining skin’s moisture. In other words, it supposed to clean your skin without stripping it, and it did a good job of that. However, it's $66 for a full sized bottle, which is out of my price range. I did enjoy the sample and felt luxurious while using it.
  • Master Exfoliating Body Wash by Fortune Cookie Soap Co.: I quite enjoyed this fruity shower wash, although I'm not sure how exfoliating it really was. It did lather nicely when using a mesh puff and my skin did not feel stripped or dry afterwards. It also lasted a good 6 months with about 3x's/week use, but it also went bad on me towards the end. In fact, I'm pretty sure it started growing something and the smell was definitely off. So, I would not stockpile these, as the shelf life is definitely limited. But still, I enjoyed it while it lasted!
Something bad is brewing
  • Andalou Naturals DIY Booster SPF 30 Facial Serum: This is the second bottle that I've finished, so you could say it's a favorite. I'm already working on a third, which is sporting new packaging. Good stuff and I'm quite finicky about sunscreens!
  • Algenist Genius Ultimate Anti-Aging Vitamin C+ Serum: My current holy grail vitamin C serum, although I'm still trying a few other brands to see if anything can to it. To date, nothing has, and my wallet is not happy about that ($118 a bottle). I was fortunate to snag this one at half off during an Ulta sale, but now I'm thinking that was more like a gateway drug kind of event ;-)
  •  Sugar Lip Serum Advanced Therapy by Fresh: I liked this, and got really used to using it. Did it do anything amazing? Not really, but I did enjoy using it. No plans to repurchase, although if a good gift set comes around during the holidays, I might.
  • Reve de Miel Cleansing Gel by Nuxe: This is a gentle cleanser targeted towards dry skin, but it worked just fine on my oily skin. I prefer lower pH cleansers as they are less stripping, and the Reve de Miel is a honey and sunflower based lipid-enriched cleanser that was my morning/shower facial cleanser for a good 9+ months. One negative was the overwhelming fragrance, a floral/honey blend that assaulted me every time I used it. However, it's a moot point now, as Nuxe has withdrawn from the US market. Bye Nuxe.
  • Tarteist Lash Paint Mascara by Tarte: did not care for this at all, so am tossing. I found it clumpy and frustrating to use.
    Tarteist mascara
    The standout face masks for me in April were the Donkey Milk Brightening Skin Gel Mask and the bonvivant Botanical masks in Niacinamide & Lime and Collagen & Olive.

    The E.G.T. Timetox and P.D.F. A.C. Defense left no real impression, other than I really do not like two piece gel masks. They do not stay in place like I want and feel rather slimy
    I also finished some three Algenist and and one Dr. Dennis Gross vitamin C serum samples, and will be reviewing the Dr. Gross ones once I finish up all the samples I have
    All of the items below have been reviewed in my #365 Days of Samples series that I typically post every Sunday or Monday, but as you can see, I'm making headway in finishing up lots of samples!
    Last, but definitely not least, is the Yogi Soothing Rose Hibiscus Skin DeTox tea. I love this stuff - it tastes delicious and whether or not it gives my skin a healthy glow, I enjoy drinking it. It certainly can't hurt, and I've already repurchased another box!

    Tuesday, May 16, 2017

    Beautifying Lip Smoother in Blackberry Muffin by Catrice

    Disclaimer: I purchased this.
    I dipped my toe into the Catrice product pool recently, and I've got to say I'm impressed so far. Today I'll be showing you the Beautifying Lip Smoother in Blackberry Muffin ($4.99), which is actually a lovely coral gloss with gold shimmer. Not sure how it got the name 'blackberry muffin', as there is nothing blackberry like about it, but it's all good regardless.
    What intrigued me about this gloss was an Ulta reviewer's comparison of the Beautifying Lip Smoothers to Clarin's Instant Light Natural Lip Perfectors, which I've always wanted to try but balked at paying their $26 price. Both are supposed to be nourishing and provide soft washes of color. A comparison of the ingredient lists tells me both also contain shea butter and mineral oil, with Catrice also listing jojoba oil, while Clarin's has mango butter.

    What I know is that Blackberry Muffin does feel quite moisturizing and comfortable, with a light, non-sticky texture. It wears a short 2-3 hours, which is about normal for me with this kind of non-sticky/light gloss. I like it!
    Blackberry Muffin
    I only see 3 shades listed on Ulta's site and I chose Blackberry Muffin because it looked the most vibrant, and I lucked out with it being the kind of coral pink I like. The gold shimmer is not super obvious unless it catches the light, and then it pops.
    I wouldn't call the Beautifying Lip Smoother super smoothing, as my lip lines are still obvious, but it does have a nice shine and gives lips that plump and juicy look. I quite like it, and with Ulta's frequent sales, think it's definitely an inexpensive treat to check out if you are a gloss fan like I am.

    Sunday, May 14, 2017

    #365 Days of Samples: Week 12

    I managed to finish 6 samples during week 11 of my #365 Days of Samples, which isn't bad. If you are not familiar with this series, I learned about the concept from Elle S on Youtube. It's where you randomly select samples with the goal of working through your stash. Let's take a closer look!
    Shea Moisture has a really nice and growing selection of products, and the Fruit Fusion Coconut Water Weightless Shampoo ($10.99) and Conditioner ($8.99) were pleasing on several levels. The ingredient list is intriguing with organic shea butter and coconut water plus lychee, dragon and apple fruit extract, apricot seed and Imbe oils, just to name a few. My hair did feel soft, light, and I would definitely consider purchasing. Good stuff, plus what pretty packaging for a sample!
    The DHC Light & Smooth Conditioner ($19.50) was a very pleasant surprise. I don't know why I was surprised though, as I've been a fan of lots of DHC products. This one is supposed to deeply hydrate and promote full-bodied hair with nano-sized particles of nutrive 18MEA (Methyl Eicosanoic Acid), which is a primary lipid found on hair's surface. I had no problem combing out my color treated hair afterwards, which is usually not the case unless I use some type of leave-in hair treatment/detangler. Next time DHC runs a sale I may indeed purchase this.
    Vitamin C serums have been my bae lately, as a good one definitely makes a difference in the clarity and smoothness of my skin. So, I was interested to see what the Kate Somerville Mega-C Dual Radiance Serum was like.  According to the Kate Somerville site, it is a two-phase system divided into dual-chambers in order to preserve the purity and potency of the ingredients until released. High-potency Vitamin C brightens skin while Omedgas 3,6, 9 +7 and Vitamin E help replenish essential lipids and lock in moisture.  Specifically:
    • Micronized 10% Vitamin C, L-Ascorbic Acid, maintains potency and stability until activated. This powerful Antioxidant improves skin firmness, brightens and evens skin tone.
    • Encapsulated Sea Buckthorn Pulp Oil, a “superfruit” loaded with Omegas 3,6,9+7, replenishes essential lipids, helps reinforce the skin’s natural barrier and locks in moisture.
    • Natural Vitamin E, works synergistically with Vitamin C to achieve optimum antioxidant efficacy, and provides moisturizing benefits.
    •  Nourishing Vitamin B-Complex, B3, B5 & B6, defends skin against environmental aggressors that can cause the visible signs of aging.
    I got 3 days worth of applications from the sample, and from that I can say I liked the way the formula applied and wore under my makeup. I can't speak to long-term results, but initial impressions were positive. It's expensive ($90), but comparable to other high-end vitamin C serums in price. My favorite vitamin C serum thus far has been the Algenist Genuis Ultimate Anti-Aging Vitamin C+ Serum, which is a whopping $118 a bottle. So, I don't know - I may consider this one in the future. I'm getting a pop-up at the Kate Somerville site telling me they are about to have a F&F sale with 20% off, FWIW.
    The Pure Deepsea Hydrating Mask by Skin Inc. ($45) is a sleep mask, meaning you put it on as the last step of your night time skincare regime. Per Sephora, this clear gel :
    "moisturizes, clarifies, and brightens the complexion. This triple-treat mask contains nutrient-rich Okinawa deepsea water, soya bean extracts, and hyaluronic acid for an easy-to-use, luxurious daily treatment for your skin. Great for use while traveling or on the go, it seals in nutrients from other skin care products for maximum results."
     It was nice and I enjoyed it, but there are comparable Korean sleeping masks at much more reasonable prices, so I would not purchase.
    Pep-Start by Clinique ($29.50) is an oil-free moisturizer that blurs and mattifies skin, which makes it ideal as a primer. You can even use it over makeup as a touch up later in the day. It does indeed noticeably mattify and blur the skin (no doubt due to the 'cones in the ingredient list) and my makeup applied nicely over it. There are some interesting ingredients in the mix (shea butter, mango seed butter, algae extract, St. Paul's Wort extract, squalane, caffeine) and I'm intrigued. I'll keep this on a possible "to purchase" list.
    Last up of the samples I finished last week is the Urban Decay Anti-Aging Eyeshadow Primer Potion ($24). I like the idea of having skincare benefits in my eye primer, as my eyelids have definitely hit the "crepey" stage of life. I'm not wild about this primer though and have others that I prefer over it, such as the uber inexpensive Wet 'n Wild Photo Focus Eyeshadow Primer ($4.99). I'll continue to use samples that come my way though! Now, on to the samples I randomly selected from my overflowing sample box for week 12. I'll list the new samples first, followed by those I'm still working on.
    1. Skin Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Face Gels for Forehead (1 application)
    2. Farmhouse Fresh Agave Nectar Ageless Body Oil (foil)
    3. Farmhouse Fresh Fluffy Bunny Shea Butter for Body (foil)
    4. BECCA Backlight Priming Filter (deluxe sample)
    5. Angel for Women eau de parfume by Thierry Mugler (spray vial)
    6. DHC Pore Cleansing Oil (foil)
    7. Bobbi Brown Intensive Skin Serum Concealer in Beige 6 (foil)
    8. Sephora Green Tea Sleeping Mask (I guess this is actually a full-sized item)
    9. DHC Scalp Massage Pack (deluxe sample)
    10. butterLondon MatteR Lipstick (card sample)
    11. Farmhouse Fresh Crow Catcher Eye Transforming Serum (foil)
    12. Dr. D. Schwab Flawless Skin Fluid (deluxe sample)
    13. Ouidad Climate Control Heat & Humidity Gel (foil)
    14. Marcelle BB Cream in Golden Glow (deluxe sample)
    15. Sunshine Oil by Milk Makeup (deluxe sample)
    16. Obliphica Seaberry Hair Serum (deluxe sample)