Sunday, June 30, 2013

Empties! Products I Used Up in June

Powered through a fair amount of product in June!  They included some old favorites as well as a few new items I'd visit again.  Deluxe and full sized products I finished were:
  • Seche Vite Base and Top Coats:  Technically, I didn't finish these, but they are too thick to use.  I know there is a Seche thinner I can buy, but I'm happy enough with my Julep base and top coats that I'm not going to bother.
  • Murad Acne & Wrinkle Reducer:  A .5% salicylic acid cream - can't say that this was anything different enough from other salicylic acid based creams I've tried to make it stand out.
  • First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads:  These are supposed to improve skin clarity, reduce visible pores, and diminish appearance of fine lines.  I like that it's a natural ingredient based product, and I liked this enough to repurchase.  You can see a full review here.
  • Go Smile Double Action Whitening Ampoule:  These were cool!  You pop the seal of the whitening agents by squeezing the package in two places, allowing the mixture to activate.  You then dab the mixture on your teeth after it has saturated the soft tipped end.  As much as a liked these, they're expensive at about $5 each, so I'll just admire them from afar.
  • Korres Fig Shower Gel:  I'm a fan of Korres shower gels and particularly like the realistic Fig scent.  
  • Rainwater Botanicals Dead Sea Mud Mask:  This is the second of the Rainwater Botanical masks I've tried, and I liked them both!  Sadly, I did not completely close the container after my first use, so the rest of it dried up.
  • St. Tropez One Night Only Instant Glow Lotion:  This has become my go to summer instant tanner for my legs.  You can see a full review here.
  • Suki Face Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser:  I just received my full sized jar that I ordered from Birchbox, so that should tell you how much I like this.  Fortunately, I was able to use a discount code and some Birchbox points, which allowed me to get it for less than half of it's $32.95 price.  You can see a full review here.
  • Phyto Universal Elixir:  This is a scalp treatment that is very strongly scented, as it's composed of different essential oils.  I'm curious enough to invest in a full sized one at some point to see if there are any long term benefits.   
The foil samples I finished were:
  • Origins VitaZing SPF 15:  I liked this moisturizer that features Magosteen!  It was on the thicker side but absorbed nicely.  
  • Amazing Cosmetics Velvet Mineral Liquid foundation in medium beige:  This was nice!  I may have to check this out for future use.
  • Jurlique Herbal Recovery Gel:  I liked this one as well!  I gravitate toward gels for summer use, and I liked the botanical base in this one.  
  • Boscia Enlivening Amino-AG Eye Treatment:  This eye cream left no real impression on me, so it would be a pass.
  • Exuviance Cover Blend Multi-Function Concealer:  I thought this was a very nice concealer, and I liked that it contains anti-aging ingredients.  Good pigmentation, smooth, and wore well.
  • Neil George Indian Gooseberry Treatment Oil:  This hair treatment oil sample took forever to use up, but it gave me enough uses to know I liked it!  Indian Gooseberry is supposed to be one of the world's most potent antioxidants.
  • Burts Bees Facial Cleansing Towels:  Enjoyed these, but I can't say they stood out as special compared to other facial cleansing towels I've tried.
Disclaimer:  I purchased these.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

June Eco Emi: Summer + Fourth of July

This month's Eco Emi had a 4th of July theme, especially reflected in the packaging with a stars and stripes bandana and lots of star glitter.  Festive!  There were 8 items, including a new favorite of mine that I already own.  So let's take a look!
  • Badger Cuticle Care:  certified organic, this shea butter based ointment contains a host of lovelies such as extra virgin olive oil, caster oil, geranium, mandarin, lemongrass, cardamom, rosemary, seabuckthorn, and ginger essential oils.  I'm getting better at taking care of my cuticles, and this will help!  I find the more places I have a cuticle cream in plain sight, the more I use them.  Sample is full sized and valued at $5.99.
  •  Vegan Lip and Cheek Cream in Peachy Rose by The All Natural Face:  This is the new favorite I was referring to!  Fitting that I was introduced to The All Natural Face through Eco Emi.  These creams have such a nice finish and they wear extremely well on my oily skin.  I know - surprised me too!  I like these so much I've purchased 8 of them, which is not hard to do considering their reasonable price of $5.75.  Sample is full sized.
  •  Purifying Cleansing Wipes by Nelsons Pure & Clear:  these wipes contain natural ingredients designed to heal and calm acne prone skin, including homeopathic tinctures.  Nelsons is new to me, but I was interested to see they've been around since 1860, when Ernst Louis Armbrecht opened a homeopathic pharmacy.  Looking forward to using these!  Sample is full sized and valued at $8.75.
  •  Coconut Hand and Body Lotion by Desert Essence:  coconut is a go to summer scent for me, and this lotion features a surplus of tropical extracts to nourish skin.  I'll be trying this one pronto.  Sample value is 28 cents. 
  •  Vegan Bronzer by Purely You Minerals:  It's definitely bronzer season, and based on arm swatches alone, this one's a beauty.  It's got a nice glow without being overly shimmery.  I can see using this as an eye shadow, blush, and bronzer.  I've swatched it more intensely below, but it buffs out to a lovely sheen.  I'm estimating sample value at $1.75.
  •  Chipotle BBQ Chips by Beanitos Black Bean Chips:  These were tasty, may have to track some down. I like that they have 7 grams of protein and 8 of fiber.  Sample value is 66 cents. 
  • All Natural, Gluten Free Gummy Bears by Surf Sweets:  Mine arrived melted together, but they tasted great nonetheless.  Made with organic fruit juice and organic sweeteners, they include 100% of Vit. C per serving.  I also liked the texture better than other gummy bears I've tried.  Sample value is 45 cents.
  • Wheatgrass Organic Heirloom Seeds by Botanical Interests:  I always think I'm going to grow something from seed, and I rarely do.  I'll add this to my other seeds that I've been meaning to plant:-)  Sample value is $1.69.
Maggie graciously modeling the bandana used in the packaging
Total box value is $25.32, so a good value for the $15 subscription box fee.  The value of Eco Emi to me is being introduced to new green and natural products and I've been consistently happy with this subscription service, but it's always nice to get bang for your buck :-)

Disclaimer:  I subscribe to Eco Emi for $15/month.

Linking up with Subscription Box Share:

Friday, June 28, 2013

NOTD: Nan and Paris from Julep

Nan was one of the colors from Julep's Nantucket collection that persuaded me to upgrade to the full set. Did you know that Nantucket red originated when Philip C. Murray introduced the hue via brick-red sailcloth pants in the 1950s?  They fade with washing, hence the muted color.

The formula was quite good and I used two coats with a base and Julep's gel top coat.  Nan wore very well for 3 days before I decided to time to mix it up a bit with a glitter top coat.
Paris was from Julep's May collection, and I ended up ordering it separately after seeing how pretty it looked in almost every picture I saw.  It's a medium pale gold hex glitter with some tiny glitter mixed in, and it has a holographic flash which makes it positively glow.  Love this!

I used one coat of Paris for these pictures, and it was a little bit thick but not hard to work with at all.  I can see using Paris as a topper for multiple colors, as the flashes would complement most anything.
Disclaimer:  I purchased this.

Linking up with The Nail Files:

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Bauhaus Lip Kaleidoscope by Le Metier de Beaute

The Bauhaus Lip Kaleidoscope was the gift with purchase that came with my Summer Kiss set, and features 4 lip glosses:
  • Linaire— a lustrous gold-infused rose petal
  • Criterion— a gilded amber-peach
  • Esthetique— a shimmering vintage rose
  • Silhouette— a Cimmerian cloak of sheer amethyst
Le Metier de Beaute lip and eye shadow kaleidoscopes contain colors that can be used alone or combined:
"Each distinctive hue blends together effortlessly for a dimensional pout, mirroring the bold Bauhaus notion of combining unique parts for a collective whole."  (Source:  Neimen Marcus)

The glosses provide sheer color with shimmer, and the formula is a thicker, high gloss finish.  I found them to be fairly long wearing at 3-4 hours, and my lips felt hydrated even after the color had faded.  
I personally wouldn't carry this in my purse as it's a bit bulky, but the swivel out design is unique and it feels sturdy enough.
Linaire and Criterion combined
Bauhaus was a holiday kaleidoscope originally created exclusively for Neiman Marcus, and it is still available on their site for $95.  I like these  but have a hard time with the price tag, so I'm glad I got to try them as a GWP!
Wearing Linaire. 
Disclaimer:  This was a gift with purchase.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Traviata Blush and Bronzer by Le Métier de Beauté

Traviata is the companion piece to Bella from the Summer Kiss set from Le Métier de Beauté.  It's a powder blush and bronzer duo, and the size you see is slightly smaller than the regular Traviata, as this was originally a gift with purchase item.  Le Métier de Beauté recently brought Summer Kiss back to The Beauty Vault, their online site that features limited edition pairing of items, some of which have been discontinued but are brought back for a short time.
Echo is a warm soft coral with gold shimmer, perfect for the summer.  The bronzer is called Sun Kissed, and it's a lighter golden tan.  When swirled together, you get a lovely color that could be used as a blush or bronzer.  The texture is finely milled and applies smoothly.  I did not find this to be highly pigmented, however, as I have to reapply to build up color.  That's not necessarily a problem, as color can be built up, but I've seen other reviews that comment on how pigmented the blush is, and that wasn't my experience.
Echo and Sun Kissed blended together
Echo on top, Sun Kissed on bottom
I find both Echo and Sun Kissed look very natural on, providing a soft flush of color with a subtle shimmer that enhances my warmer skin tone.
Le Métier de Beauté is a luxury brand, which is reflected in the prices.  Traviata retails for $65 for.49 oz (my version is .3 oz).  Traviata also has some interesting ingredients, such as Jojoba seed oil, rosemary, thyme, oregano, cinnamon, lavender, and golden seal extracts.  They are featured high enough on the list that the amounts should be significant enough to benefit skin, although I'm no expert in that area.    
Overall, I really like Traviata and am happy to add it to my collection.  Between Bella, Echo, and Sun Kissed, my summer bronzing needs are well met!

Disclaimer:  I purchased this.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Bella Bronze Liquid Illuminator by Le Métier de Beauté

Bella, by Le Métier de Beauté, is a liquid bronzer that can be used on the face or body to give a sheer wash of color with a luminous glow.  As I mentioned in my preview of the Summer Kiss set, Bella is a now discontinued product.  However, Le Métier de Beauté periodically brings items back to The Beauty Vault, which is how I acquired it.  I've also seen it on ebay and other internet sale sites.
Housed in a .5 oz. pump bottle, the consistency is a thin liquid.  One pump is sufficient for the face, and I'm not planning on using it on my body because it was tres expensive - aka liquid gold :-)  Bella has a lovely scent that adds to the experience, although I don't smell it after applying.
Probably due to it being a discontinued item, it was hard to find an ingredients list, but I did piece together that is contains coconut oil, aloe vera, and wild carrot extract.  It also contains peanut oil, and I'm wondering if that contributed to it being discontinued, as some people are severely allergic to peanuts.  Despite the oils in the ingredients, it does not make my face look or feel greasy.
I've experimented with several different ways of using this, including using a stippling brush or my fingers to highlight my cheek bones, brow, and nose.  For all over application, the easiest way to apply was to mix it with my foundation and then apply the mixture using my foundation brush.  The effect is subtle and somewhat hard to capture in photographs, but I think it does impart a nice glow that enhances my complexion.
Bella mixed with Revlon's Colorstay Whipped Creme foundation in Warm Golden
I'll definitely use this during the summer and I'm glad I got to try it.  The Summer Kiss duo of Bella and Traviata was $75, and the regular sized Bella retailed for $85 when it was available.  Do I think it was worth that price?  Not particularly, although it's a very nice product!  I'm just not so sure that plenty of other less expensive liquid bronzer's can give the same affect, such as stila's One Step Bronze, which I've reviewed here
Tomorrow I'll have the companion piece of the Summer Kiss set to show you - Traviata.

Disclaimer:  I purchased this.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Urban Decay Vintage 24/7 Eye Pencils in Crash, Graffiti, and Lucky

Urban Decay recently put their vintage (aka, soon to be discontinued) colors of 24/7 eye pencils on sale for $9.50, half of their regular price.  I picked out 3 I've had my eye on for a while:  Crash, Graffiti, and Lucky.

Crash is a deep eggplant purple with silver micro glitter.  This is the type of purple that looks best on me, I've found.
Graffiti is a medium green with silver micro glitter.  I love greens and have been waiting on the vintage pencils to go on sale just so I could get this one.  Despite all the greens I have, none are a dupe for Graffiti.
Lucky is a deep copper in a blackened base with silver micro glitter.  I was most on the fence about Lucky when I was choosing colors, but there is a complexity in the color that is gorgeous. 
Early morning sun
My only regret is not getting Covet as well, which is now sold out.  Funny how I usually end up regretting my attempts at frugality over my splurges.  Hmmm.
Graffiti with Lucky closest to lash line
Any favorite Urban Decay vintage pencils, or ones you want to pick up before they're gone for good?

Disclaimer:  I purchased these.