Friday, March 24, 2017

Memebox Changes and Haul #1

Disclaimer: I purchased this.
In early March Memebox announced some changes they will be making, which prompted 2 separate purchases on my part. Here is a screenshot of part of the announcement I received via email:
Since Memepoints expire on April 30 (plus they added $5 in points to my account), I did a little shopping.
Our Remedy for Sensitive Skin Set
The Our Remedy for Sensitive Skin Set ($22) is no longer available, although most of the items are if purchased separately. The Holika Holika 99% Aloe Vera Gel ($8) will be great for my skin now that the weather is getting warmer. It has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, which came in handy when I needed  something to soothe some raw spots caused by allergies on Lily, my miniature Schnauzer.

The Tea Tree Refresh Calming Toner by Secret Key ($10) is targeted towards those with oily or acne-prone skin, which makes it a good option for me. It is supposed to calm break outs and inflammation, as well as regulate sebum production.  The ingredient list looks like it could deliver on it's claims, so we shall see:
Tea Tree Leaf Water, Alcohol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Willow Bark Extract, Plantago Asiatica Extract, Laminaria digitata, Ulmus campestris, Zanthoxylum Piperitum Peel Extract, Pulsatilla Koreana Extract, Usnea Barbata Extract, 4-terpineol, Chamomilla Recutita Flower Extract, Nonoxynol-12, Lemon Fruit Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Water, Althaea rosea, Aloe Barbadensis, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance

The Enzyme Powder Wash ($9) by Tosowoong is a powder-to-foam mild cleanser that is enriched with vitamin E. I'm excited to see it has a pH level of 5.5, as my skin does better with gentle cleansers. I dual cleanse my skin each evening, which means I use an oil cleanser to remove my makeup and then a second cleanser, typically one that foams. This should fit nicely into that slot. I'll be interested to see how it compares to the other enzyme powder I own, which is from Amore Pacific and is quite pricey ($60) compared to this one.

This set also contained 4 masks, a Donkey Milk Healing mask ($2) and 3 Dr. Troubex Sparkling masks ($1.50 ea). I really enjoy the Donkey Milk masks and purchased multiples in every variety to round up my purchase to the free shipping amount in both hauls.

I also purchased a travel kit from Manyo Factory so that I could try out a variety of their products. Manyo Factory is a newer (2012) South Korean skincare company that utilizes only natural, organic, and botanical ingredients in their products. Consequently, the shelf life of their products is only about 6 months, which makes the travel sized items quite appealing to me as well. I'm currently using these and should have a full review up in a few weeks. Initial impressions are positive :-)
It will be interesting to see what Memebox will be like with the new changes. It sounds like they will be focusing more on their own brands Nooni, Pony Effect and I'm MeMe, while other brands will be sold and shipped directly by their partner retailers. I missed out on the early Memeboxes when the site first launched, which were great values, but I have really enjoyed the accessibility to Korean brands they have provided. They also have a 25% off code for their clearance items going on right now, in case you need to stock up on anything.  

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Finish 17 in 2017: April by Buxom with FOTD's

I finally finished April, the glimmering ice pink lip polish by Buxom. I say finally, because I actually included this in my first project pan, which started back in July. April was a little less than half full at that time, and it took me almost 6 months to empty her out. But progress is progress, and I'm excited by this small accomplishment of using up a gloss that I've had in my stash for several years.
At beginning of 1st project pan
I made faster progress once I took April to work with me, as I would reach for it whenever my lips felt dry. I love Buxom's glosses, from the slight tingling feeling upon initial application, to how they actually do hydrate my lips and keep them from feeling dry or chapped. The shimmer finishes have very little pigment to them, but they do make nice lip toppers over lipsticks.
April Shimmer Lip Polish by Buxom
Here I'm wearing it layered over Tarte's Energy Lipsurgence pencil, which is also in my project pan. It's one of those products that is supposed adjust to your body's pH/temperature (or something) to turn your own unique shade of pink. I have a feeling it's pretty much the same on everyone :-)
On my eyes that day I was wearing Smash and Peekaboo by ColourPop, which makes for an easy work friendly look.
Smash and Peekaboo by ColourPop
In another look, I paired April with the lipstick Sunday by Sunday Riley, which is a soft cherry.
On my eyes I'm wearing Peekaboo again, but I lined my upper and lower waterlines in black for a bit of definition. I like how it turned out, although the liner typically wears off in a flash, sadly.
I've got quite a few more of the shimmer lip polishes by Buxom in my collection, so I don't anticipate purchasing any more for quite a while. They are still my favorite gloss formula though, and I'm tempted every time I see a new gift set come out - especially if they are the mini sizes. Since I'm on a quest to downsize my makeup collection, I will resist.
For the record, here are the 17 18 items I want to finish in 2017 (apparently I miscounted in my original post). Oh well, that will give me a little wiggle room for finishing 17, and I'm down 2 now.

  1. Supergoop CC Cream
  2. April Lip Polish Shimmer by Buxom
  3. Cherry Lip Polish by Buxom
  4. Le Metier de Beaute (LMdB) single eyeshadow in Naked
  5. LMdB single eyeshadow in Peachy Keen
  6. Sunday Riley lipstick in Sunday
  7. Tarte Lipsurgence mini in Energy
  8. Lucky Priming Lip Stain by Manna Kadar
  9. Clinique CC Cream (deluxe size)
  10. Korres Cherry Oil Lip Gloss in Golden Brown
  11. Lo-Fi from the Urban Decay Gwen Stefani face palette
  12. Urban Decay Complexion Primer Potion
  13. LMdB Peau Vierge
  14. stila One Step Bronzer
  15. Triderma Pore Reducing Anti-Aging Serum (it works as a primer)
  16. Blushing Beige blush by True Cosmetics
  17. Nectar Ceramide Cream Blush by Elizabeth Arden
  18. Monster Super Shock Cheek by ColourPop

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Botanical Cologne of Love by Le Couvent des Minimes

Disclaimer: I purchased this.
Each spring I like to identify one or two new scents to wear, typically white florals (gardenia, honeysuckle, orange blossom) that celebrate the freshness of spring. This year it's the Botanical Cologne of Love ($16) by Le Covent des Minimes, an orange blossom centric fragrance with notes of bergamot, mandarin orange, wild rose, nasturcia, and petitgrain.
•Orange Blossom: source of softness 
•Bergamot, Mandarin: sources of serenity 
•Wild Rose: source of hydration 
•Nasturcia: source of radiance 
•Petitgrain: source of harmony
Nasturcia (Source: Fragrantica)
I find this to be a realistic orange blossom fragrance that smells much more high end than it's price would indicate. This is a 'feel good' fragrance for me, and I love wearing the body cream yo bed at night. Breathing in the scent just puts me in a good mood, which is a great way to end the day. It's not candy sweet or cloying, although it is decidedly feminine. 
Since this is a cologne, I like layering, starting with the Exfoliating Shower Pulp ($12), followed by the Moisturizing Body Butter ($18), and then finishing by spritzing with the cologne. The scent lingers for a good 7-8 hours, but I'd say it's more of a skin scent. That's actually perfect for me, especially during the warm weather months when I typically would wear it.
The Le Couvent des Minimes brand was created in 2004, but the actual convent has existed since 1862. Located in Haute Provence, France, the fragrances and skincare lines focus on blending natural, beneficial plants in time tested natural skincare recipes. Formerly owned by L'Occitane, they were sold in January of 2017 to HLD Group and Didier Tabary. 
Their website is 'under construction' and their Facebook page has not been updated since December of 2016, so I can only hope that they are in the process of rolling out their new online presence. In the meantime, their products are sold at multiple online retailers, including Ulta, which frequently has purchasing inducing sales. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Lipstick Roulette Keep or Toss v. 1 Introduction

In an attempt to rotate through my collection and further declutter, I'm introducing yet another series: Lipstick Roulette, which I learned about from from Elle S on YouTube. It's a simple premise, where I'll randomly select some lip items from my collection to wear for two weeks. At the end of the two weeks, I'll decide if I want to keep or get rid of the items.  I'm also still panning 5 lip products in my Finish 17 in 2017 Project Pan, but this will keep me from neglecting the many lip items I have. Plus, I love variety.
Back in August I decluttered a lot of lip glosses and crayons, and the survivors were organized by color family in these boxes. To chose my items, I closed my eyes and chose one item from seven of the above boxes. This gives me a nice range of colors to use during the two week testing period. I'll have to include my bullet lipsticks in subsequent weeks, but I'm more of a gloss than lipstick girl and have a smaller lipstick collection. But on to the swatches of the items I chose for volume 1 of this bi-weekly series.

  1. Buxom Bambi Big & Healthy Lip Polish (discontinued?)
  2. Revlon Sunstone Ultra HD Lip Lacquer
  3. Nars Rikugien Satin Lip Pencil
  4. ColourPop Toucan Matte Lippie Stick (discontinued)
  5. Nvey Eco Flirt Hydrating Lustre
  6. Urban Decay Catfight Revolution Lipstick (discontinued)
  7. Becca Beach Tint Lip Shimmer Souffle in Raspberry/Opal (discontinued)
It will be interesting to see which ones I reach for the most and which get tossed.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

#365 Days of Samples: Week 4

Time to talk about the samples I used up this week and chose 7 new ones from my overflowing stash. Let's start with what I finished up this week:
The Kate Somerville ExfoliKate is a tried and true favorite of mine (full review here). I've been using it for over 5 years now, and it's definitely a mask that I feel does deliver on it's claims of exfoliating my oily/congested skin. Good stuff that I will continue to repurchase.
I gave the men's fragrance Artisan Black by John Varvatos an honest try (3 uses), but I just could not get on board with it. It's a citrus blend with top notes of tangerine, Meyer lemon, Italian red orange, and Givaudan's calpysone (an ozonic and melon like smell). There are lots of other middle and base notes, but something in the mix goes stale on me.
I know the Hourglass Mineral Veil primer is a favorite of many, but I'm rather ho-hum about it. I've had multiple samples over the years and rarely find myself reaching for them. It does not extend the wear of my foundation and sometimes it seems to make my skin even more oily. Plus, it's super pricey at $54 for a full sized bottle.
The Guerlain Lingerie de Peau in Clair 02N was really nice! It was easy to apply with my fingers and gave my skin a nice finish. Coverage is light to medium but buildable. It does start breaking down on my oily skin after 6-7 hours, so it's not what I would call long wearing. At $62, it's more expensive than I want to pay for a foundation, but I did enjoy using the sample.
This luxury cream ($195) features some impressive ingredients (green tea polysaccharides, pine mushroom, and a patented fusion of 12 Asian botanicals known as Future Response Complex).  The sample wasn't enough to form a solid impression and the hefty price means it's not something I would seriously consider anyhow. One Amore Pacific product I have splurged on and thoroughly enjoy is their Treatment Enzyme Peel ($60).
I did enjoy using the Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Ultra Gentle Daily Peel. My skin does well with regular, gentle exfoliation, and I've tried a variety of AHA/BHA products over the years. This one is pricey at $88 for a 30 day supply, and I think there are comparable products out there at much more reasonable prices, so I would not purchase. I'll definitely use any samples that come my way, however.
An exfoliate I would consider purchasing is the CosRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid ($21). With a 4% BHA solution of Betaine salicylate plus white willow bark and vitamin B5, this simple formula has a great reputation for effectively clearing skin of gunk. I only got a few uses from the sample, so I'm happy to see Ulta is now carrying CosRX products and I do see this ending up in a future shopping cart.
The last sample I finished this week was the DHC Resveratrol Lotion, which is actually a hydrating toner. It's being discontinued by DHC so is currently half off of it's $61 regular price. Resveratrol is an antioxidant found in the skin of red grapes, and the toner also contains moisturizing cereal extracts. I used the entire packet in one sitting, utilizing the "7 Skin Method for Glowing Skin" that I just learned about this weekend after watching Gothamista on YouTube. If you are into skincare (especially Korean skincare routines), you need to watch her videos.
Now it's time to see what I randomly selected for week 4's samples! I will list the above as the first 7 samples, and then include samples from previous weeks that are still being used.

  1. Peter Thomas Roth 24-Karat Gold Hydra-Gel Eye Patches
  2. Eve Lom Moisturizing Mask
  3. Obliphica Seaberry Hair Serum
  4. Shisheido White Lucent Total Brightening Serum
  5. Urban Decay Minor Sin Eye Primer
  6. GlamGlow Powermud Dual Cleanse Treatment
  7. Lancome Nude Miracle Liquid-to-Powder Makeup
  8. Living Proof Perfect Hair Day 5-in-1 Styling Treatment
  9. Too Faced Primed & Poreless face primer
  10. Milk Makeup Sunshine Oil
  11. Guerlain Abeille Royale Face Treatment Oil

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Declutter: Makeup Gone Bad

It's always a sad day when you realize the makeup or skincare item you are reaching for has gone bad. This happened with an eyeliner, which led me to go through all of mine and weed out those that just were no longer up to par or I no longer wanted in my collection. For example, here are several where the texture has obviously change and are no longer usable. All links are to original reviews.
The one made me sad, as stila's Turquoise Smudge Stick was unique to my collection and such a pretty color. It was limited edition back in 2013 when I purchased it, but looks like it's part of the regular collection now.
I also threw out several eyeshadows: two from ColourPop and the Toffee/Sandalwood duo from Lauren Brooke Cosmetiques.  Girl Crush had changed consistency, whereas Glow from the Kathleen Lights quad always looked chalky on me. One half of Toffee/Sandalwood had change consistency as well and was unusable. It was over 4 years old and is a natural/organic ingredient brand, so it had definitely passed it's shelf life.
The Peter Thomas Roth CC Cream never had a chance, as it was part of an older Sephora Favorites kit that I purchased on sale in November of 2016, thinking it was a good deal. That will teach me - check out the expiration date.
The It Cosmetics No. 50 Serum Primer went bad on me, which was my fault. It was a bit too rich for my oily skin so I only used it sporadically, so I still had about 2/3 of this pricey ($48) serum left.
I did manage to make a decent dent in the J.R. Watkins Lemon Hand & Cuticle Salve before it went bad on me. I liked using this at night during the few cold weather months we have, and it lasted a good 3 years before the smell told me it was time to toss.
I also threw out six mascaras, four that had been laying around for too long and the two bareMinerals Lash Domination mascaras from the Countdown to Gorgeous advent calendar. I just really do not like those!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

#365 Days of Samples: Week 3

It's week 3 of my #365 Days of Samples series (originated by Elle S on YouTube), and so far I'm really enjoying this series of randomly selecting 7 samples each week. There were some solid likes and one love from this batch, but let's look back at the samples I chose last week as a reminder of what I was working with.
I finished 3 of the 7 from week 2, which means 4 are carrying over. Here are the one's I used up.
Let's start with my least favorite and one I know I would not purchase - the DHC After Bath Hair Treatment oil from week one. This is a silicone based (cyclopentasiloxane, dimethicone, squalane, ethylhexyl palmitate, cyclohexasiloxane, olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), fragrance/parfum, tocopherol, citronellol, geraniol, linalool) leave-in hair treatment, lightly scented with a rose and geranium floral fragrance. It works well enough but I prefer the After Bath Hair Treatment in the emulsion formula instead.
The DHC Eye Bright depuffing eye gel is an old favorite of mine, and I've purchased and finished a full-sized one in the past. I like gel moisturizers, and this one contains eye-depuffing caffeine in the ingredient list, along with cucumber juice, glycerin, isodonis japonicus leaf/stalk extract, sodium hyaluronte, and placental protein. I like it for daytime use and would considering purchasing again, once I deplete some of my other products (it's on sale at DHC for $18 til 4/30 ).
The Philosophy Purity Made Simple cleanser surprised me in a positive way. I was expecting a foaming cleanser, but it's more of a gel/cream that did a surprisingly good job of cleaning my skin. Based on online descriptions of the product, this sounds like it could substitute for a cleansing oil, but I'm a creature of habit and stuck it in the 2nd cleanser slot. My skin was clean, soft, and I enjoyed this. I'd consider purchasing when I need a new facial cleanser.

Now for the item I surprisingly feel in deep like with and am considering purchasing - Fumerie Turque by Serge Lutens. This was something I picked up from Surrender to Chance, an online company that decants fragrances for purchase. It was a part of a Serge Lutens 3 perfume sample bundle, and I had forgotten about it. This oriental fragrance contains notes of honey, juniper berries, tonka bean, chamomile, patchouli, vanilla, turkish rose, red current, tobacco, styrax, and suede.  The marketing lingo features the phrase "smoking can kill you", which I like :-) I got 3 uses from the sample, and it took all 3 wears to hook me. On the third day I used a bit more trying to empty the vial, and apparently it was the right amount because the scent lingered all day and the dry down phase was wonderful. A full bottle would set me back a whooping $300, so I will purchase a larger sample from Surrender to Chance so I can revisit this again.
Here are the samples that I still working on. I forgot about the CoxRX Blackhead Power Liquid after using it once, and I haven't opened the DHC Reservatrol Lotion (toner) yet. The Guelain Lingerie de Peau foundation has maybe two uses left, as does the Too Faced Primed & Poreless.
Now, here are the 7 samples I randomly selected for week 3 of #365 Days of Samples. I'm finding it interesting that I tend to select several items each week from a similar category, and this week it's exfoliators and face oils.
  1. Future Defense Age Creme by Amore Pacific
  2. Veil Mineral Primer by Hourglass
  3. Sunshine Oil by Milk Makeup
  4. Artisan Black by John Varvatos (yes, it's a fragrance for men, but I'll give it a shot)
  5. Alpha Beta Ulta Gentle Daily Peel by Dr. Dennis Gross
  6. ExfoliKate by Kate Somerville
  7. Abeille Royale Face Treatment Oil by Guerlain
Some interesting choices here!