Wednesday, September 26, 2012

GLOSSYBOX: September 2012

amazing! i got my Glossybox for September before September ended? (anyone else automatically hear "Wake Me Up When September Ends" when you read "September" and "end"?)

anyway, it also seems that Glossybox shipped to the west coast first this time! like they said they would so that everyone would get it roughly around the same time. hooray! i've only seen like two other bloggers put an unboxing post up. this has not happened before!

so without delay, here is what i got in my V1 box - i am not sure how many versions there will be this month because if i had not gotten a particular product below, i would be quite unhappy!!

this month's glossy products (also deemed the "Red Carpet Ready Glossybox"):

1) Wella Professionals Mirror Polish Shimmer Delight Shine Spray - there looks to be a few typos here. according to the Facebook page, Glossybox explained that people either got 1) Mirror Polish Shine Serum or 2) Shimmer Delight Shine Spray. but putting them as separate numbers is confusing! people will think they are missing a product (which was my initial thought too). anyway, this Wella product is meant to give your hairstyle a little bling and comes in a clear glass bottle. i've tried the spray and though it smells nice (like all Wella products do), i do not see any "bling"-ing (shimmer). maybe it is harder to see with dark hair? or maybe i need to use a lot more of the product? i already used about 10 spritz on one side of my hair (to compare with the other). the hold level of this product is 1 out of 4 - which is the lowest but if you run your fingers through your hair, you can feel a little structure going on.
size: 40 mL (full size!)
retail value: $12.99

2) B. Kamins Bio-Maple Lip Balm - this is actually only a sample size of the lip balm - you could've fooled me! with the lipgloss sample sizes we have been getting from Glymm, i thought that this was pretty big.
i guess the amount in it is less though since it takes a bit of effort to squeeze the product out. plus, the formula of this balm is also quick thick. you really only need a tiny bit in order for your lips to feel hydrated. it looks white but goes on clear and has a really shiny finish that resembles a gloss. you can hardly detect the scent.
size: 4 mL
retail value: $21 (15 g)

3) B. Kamins Bio-Maple Maple Body Lotion - ooo maple again? very Canadian. by the way, these products are actually made in Canada (in Montreal)! i can smell the maple much better in this one and it is not too sweet. the lotion is on the more watery side which allows for faster absorption into the skin. it also contains shea butter so it feels very moisturizing.
the Glossybox came with a promo code for 25% off your next purchase on the website. this lotion is out of my price range though.
size: 12 mL
retail value: $41 (180 mL)

4) NYX Cosmetics: The Crimson Amulet Collection (S123) - i was blown out of the water. seriously, a full palette/makeup kit?! i saw the word "NYX" mentioned in a comment on the Glossybox page prior to getting the box, and i immediately shut my eyes and stopped reading. i knew i was going to love whatever it was going to be since i really like NYX and it's a little harder to come by here in Canada.
and so, can you believe it!? a limited edition collection in our Glossybox? you just made my September. yeah, i'm giving you the whole month, GB.
front and back of the box

i recognized this palette right away because i remember reading this post on Jayne's (Cosmetic Proof) blog. aww Jayne! what a weird coincidence!
the palette is set up like a journal - with a magnetic clasp to hold it closed. i think the design is very cute.
front, spine & back of the "book"
page 1: eyeshadows; page 2: mirror
page 3: instructions to recreate looks of the female characters;
page 4: eyeshadow base, eyeliner, illuminator, blushes, lipglosses

swatches are coming up soon! i haven't had time to play around with this so i can't comment on the wear time, pigmentation, etc etc just yet.

size: 43.2 g; an entire collection - 24 eyeshadows, 5 blushers, 1 illuminator, 1 eyeshadow base, 1 liner, 4 lipglosses (full size!)
retail value: $25

5) *bonus* Dove ClearTone Anti-Perspirant - this deodorant is designed to reduce underarm discoloration which i find useful except i haven't noticed any discoloration on myself. i do get dry skin from shaving though - sometimes it really irritates me how itchy it can get. i've been moisturizing the area before putting on deodorant and it helps. what do you ladies do? 
size: 17 g
retail value: $4.99 (45 g) ... according to well.ca

?6?) i am not sure what to do with this one since it is listed on the card and has a value assigned to it but i do not understand it. 5 units for $5.99?
the post-it note in the box says that if you like "Art of Fashion" on FB, you have a chance to win a YSL bag.

so hooray for GB :) i really love the NYX Crimson Amulet Collection - even though i tend not to use my other kits (i have one of those huge expandable Sephora makeup kits as well as a Victoria's Secret one) as much since they take up so much space and are just a bit of a hassle to deal with. but then again, this magnetic clasp doesn't seem to be too much of a challenge for me :)
i've never tried B. Kamins before so it's nice to be introduced to two of their products. and my Wella collection is ever expanding! i do not know if i have a use for all of them though.

Glossybox is my favorite beauty box this month (so far anyway - still waiting for BB5). it topped Topbox :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

REVIEW: Maybelline Expertwear Luminous Lights Eyeshadow Collection in "Opal Lights"

so much makeup to buy in the states, but i only bought one eyeshadow: Maybelline's Expertwear Luminous Lights Eyeshadow Collection (4.8 g) in "75Q Opal Lights".

what attracted me to this was how different it was from all the colors i currently own. i do not have any pastels so the pastel pink, yellowy green and blue looked really gorgeous. and have you seen it on the model (click link above)? Maybelline claims the Luminous Lights collection contains the highest concentration of pearls compared to their other products.
the price was also pretty good - US$4.99 at Target. on Well.ca, they cost $8.99. unfortunately, there are 4 different Luminous Lights eyeshadow quads in the US but only 2 are available in Canada. why the limitations here?! if you are wondering, "Opal Lights" is 1 of the 2 that can be found here. 

so like their other Expertwear quads, Maybelline has designated a base, lid, crease and liner color. 

1. base: pastel pink
2. lid: pastel yellow-green
3. crease: pastel blue
4. liner: brown copper

the first 3 are definitely colors you'd find plastered all over in the baby department. all 4 are shimmery but i found the brown (liner) to be the most "luminous". the brown also feels smoother than the other shadows. 

the packaging is also similar to the other quads - same case, 2 applicators and the application guide on the back.

the pigmentation of these eyeshadows fall short of my expectations. it was difficult to swatch these for that particular reason - and to add to this, these were also a bit chalky. you can hardly tell that the first color is pink in the swatches. the blue is especially difficult to pick up with the velvet-tip applicator. makeup brushes are no use at all - in fact, just use your fingers. be careful of fallout underneath the eyes if you choose to use the applicator! and be careful when wiping it away because the shimmer will get everywhere!

when i first followed the guide on the back, it was hard to tell the colors apart from one another. i have a monolid so that did not help either - i need a defining crease color to help me fake a crease! instead, the whole thing looked frosty from my lash line to my eyebrow. wear time is not the greatest since within 6 hours, all you can see is the shimmer and the tiniest hint of color.

even though these are super pretty in the case, the pretty-ness doesn't translate onto the eye. primer doesn't help bring out the color but come to think of it, i should try my Pari Beauty Precious Glow Eyeshadow Primer & Intensifier! these eyeshadows need to be intensified.
since these are not really pigmented, i'd recommend using these colors for highlighting purposes such as under your eyebrow arch or the inner corner of your eyes. or if anything, just use them separately. they are all indeed luminous but you do not want to be a sparkly mess. :)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

GLYMM BAG: September 2012

i think i am one of the last few people getting their Glymm bags this month. i did not peek but i already caught glimpses of people's comments on Facebook that it wasn't a good one.
you know how sometimes if you lower your expectations, you may be pleasantly surprised?
well, it didn't happen.

the bag - cute, same as last month's but in white.
the card - does not exist.
the samples - no cosmetics. only shampoo, conditioner, makeup remover and creams.

so now that i've got you all excited about it, here's what i got!

September's bag consisted of:

1) EVOLVh UltraShine Moisture Shampoo
Ideal for both color treated and virgin hair, this Shampoo gently cleanses while infusing moisture and nutrients, leaving hair nourished.
when you click on the product on the Glymm site, under "What it does" - "Turns straw into silk." that's quite a statement. and it also prevents split ends? definitely worth a try for me.
it smells really nice (citrus-y and flowery) and lathers quite well for something that is sulfate free. both shampoo and conditioners are vegan, sulfate free, paraben free, sodium chloride free, keratin safe, color safe and not tested on animals. how impressive is that?
size: 59 mL (Glymm says: 14 uses)
retail value: $24 (250 mL)

2) EVOLVh UltraShine Moisture Conditioner
Rather than coating hair, this conditioner penetrates the hair shaft to moisturize and repair hair from the inside out.
the conditioner smells more coconut-y but there is no coconuts in the ingredients list. i felt like i had to use a lot of the conditioner because i didn't feel the conditioning effect. it felt like there was just water on my hair - but now that i read the above statement i understand that is what they meant by not coating the hair. right now, my hair does indeed feel softer and lighter.
i really like this EVOLVh line and once i am able to spend this much on shampoo and conditioners, i will gladly add this to my hair care system.
size: 59 mL
retail value:  $25 (250 mL)

3) La Fresh Waterproof Makeup Remover
Gently wipe your eyes & lips with love and good intention. Soon they will be sparkling clean. No need to rinse.
more makeup remover wipes! i heard these were actually a bit on the greasy side - i really dislike that feeling on my face and prefer my makeup removers to be oil-free.
size: 1 wipe x 2
retail value: $9.99 (24 wipes)

4) BENTA BERRY Super Moisturizing Face Cream for Girls (Preventative Line)
The high-quality super moisturizing face cream for girls is made from 100% natural active ingredients: apple, prickly pear, strawberry, kiwi, kigelia africana and macadamia oil.
again, BENTA BERRY. again, teeny weensy sample. again, designed by a famous perfumer. who? and what makes this specially for girls while last month's sample was for girls and boys?
it's moisturizing yes, but it smells like musky strawberries. if i had to choose, i prefer last month's.
size: 3 mL (Glymm: 7 uses)
retail value: $19 (30 mL)

5) Villainess Dulces En Fuego Whipped! Body Creme
Whip your skin into shape and 'redefine bad' with this thick, yet light and quite soluble body crème - much like edible whipped heavy cream. Yum.
this is a rather thick cream but absorbs easily into the skin. and like its name, it looks whipped. when you open it, you can see a layer of oil. smells like cinnamon chocolate cookies - reminds me of Christmas.
the official description of the scent is this: musky bitter chocolate with vanilla, citrus, black pepper and nutmeg. very interesting combination!
i usually use floral or fruity scented lotions so this is definitely odd for me. the brand looks appealing though and so i checked out their website. i definitely want to try their other Whipped! Body Cremes - like Paradise Misplaced Whipped!. doesn't coconut, mango and green tea sound absolutely yummy??
or what about Candy Floss Cupcake Whipped!? pink cotton candy and buttercream frosted cupcake...
oh my. for those in Ontario, there are 2 stores that sell Villainess products!
size: N/A but i am guessing 15 mL-ish? (Glymm: 3 uses)
retail value: $15.75 (177 mL)

so Glymm - not the best beauty subscription service out there. we can all agree on that. many are unhappy and unsubscribing or are on the verge. i am on the verge. my sister bought me the subscription last December as a Christmas present, and even though we didn't select the one-year option, i think i just might hold out until then. i am curious how Glymm will respond to the negativity they have been receiving. the negativity has been there for a number of months now and it is about time Glymm addresses the issues.

i am most pleased with the EVOLVh products - decent sizes and free of harmful chemicals. usually i do not pick the shampoo/conditioner, but that's just what it says about the bag.
on a different note, i have updated my September Topbox entry to show you my Balenciaga pouch i picked up at Holt Renfrew as well as my e.l.f Matte Lip Color review with my recent discovery!

Friday, September 21, 2012

POLISHED: Revlon Scented Nail Enamel in "Peach Smoothie"

so after a ton of bright colors and/or glitter, i thought i'd give my nails a little break from the nail polish remover and go with a nude color.
okay okay, a nude with shimmer. i couldn't help it! it is the Revlon Scented Nail Enamel (14.7 mL) in "345 Peach Smoothie". i got it at London Drugs for $_3.99_ (to be filled in!)

i quite like it - it's a nude that is slightly on the orange side. you don't really notice the shimmer unless you stare at it pretty hard so it is office-appropriate. but after a few days of wearing it, i must admit i miss my neons and glitter. maybe i'll throw a coat of glitter over top!

this took 3 coats and was a bit streaky. i think i need another coat for full opacity. being a scented polish was not a selling factor for me but it did pique my interest. needless to say, i can't smell any peach smoothies!
and oh my, this is embarrassing - i wasn't really careful with the cleanup. please disregard the mess and the smudge...

as for wear, i'm on my third day (without a topcoat) and there has been no chipping.
do you think that Revlon included the "Scented When Dry" sticker because too many people were sniffing the polishes? :)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

REVIEW: Essence Lipstick in "Like a Lady"

i really enjoy checking out the Essence makeup stand at Shoppers every time i am there, just to see what kind of (affordable) impulse purchases i could make.

the current line of lipsticks include 10 shades, 3 of which are new. i am guessing the 3 Essence is introducing means that a few shades would no longer be available. which meant that i could pick up the Essence Lipstick in "49 Like a Lady" at $1.99 instead of the usual $2.99. hurry if you want to pick up this color!

what's handy about Essence lipsticks is that the packaging is the same color as the lipstick. with "Like a Lady", it is very accurate - both are a very bold and bright pink. if you look at it directly in the light, you can actually see some very subtle blue and orange shimmers.
the lipstick smells delicious - i have lipglosses that smell sweet like this (vanilla?) but not usually lipsticks. it reminds me of my teen years with Bonne Bell (i actually still own a couple of their products).

this is how much product you actually get (4 g):

it applies very smoothly to the lips - no tugging whatsoever. the color payoff is good - slightly on the sheer side with a glossy finish. it actually looks a bit more intense than shown below - but still, not as bold as the lipstick color itself. my lips felt hydrated the entire time i was wearing it (lasted over 3 hours but transfers easily).
top to bottom: artificial lighting; natural lighting

i am continually amazed that Essence lip products are all less than $3 each. i am definitely going to pick up a few more even though one look at my lip products stash would have you wondering why i even bothered to buy the last thirty.

oopsies.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

TOPBOX: September 2012

so i got this yesterday, which is a little late for Topbox.
upon first inspection, it seems that is also lighter than usual. the card is in a different format this month - the products are all listed on one side with an orange tab at the top (instead of the usual purple) and on the other side is an offer to get a Balenciaga Paris Cosmetic Pouch. now i've seen what the pouch looks like (thanks CityGirl) and it is absolutely adorable. trouble is, i am a bit of a... collector? hoarder? pretty much, i like to store all the product cards i get each month, arranged by beauty box and then sorted by month in a little expandable file folder. is that too weird to tell you guys??

so the problem is, once i redeem this pouch, i'd have to forfeit the card and then what? accept that there is now a gap in my system?... have i crossed the line of extreme weirdo yet? hahaha so yes that is an issue i'd have to figure out.

let's check out what's in the box, shall we?


September's samples:

1) Benefit They're Real! Beyond Mascara - ooooh exciting!! i am always eager to try mascaras that claim to give you the false eyelashes effect. i have a lot of mascaras to go through but i am putting this next on my list!
size: 3.0 g
retail value: $29 (8.5 g)

2) Balenciaga Paris L'Essence Eau De Parfum - so for starters, not a good sign when it says on the box "Free Sample". this sample comes in a long tube with a ball top. sadly, it has that particular scent (perhaps that is what they call "leathery" on the card?) that just induces a headache for me and reminds me of fancy old ladies. not a fan.
size: 4 mL
retail value: $110 (50 mL); $150 (75 mL)

3) philosophy purity made simple 3-in-1 cleanser for face and eyes - now called the one-step facial cleanser. this is a cleanser that feels really gentle on the skin. the scent is light and clean. it is said to remove eye makeup and it does work but i always find it weird using a cleanser like this near my eyes. it doesn't sting but i feel like it gets guck (guck = makeup residue) in my eyes.
size: 30 mL
retail value: $13 (90 mL); $26 (240 mL)

4) M. Asam Perfect Teint - i received a similarly packaged M. Asam Magic Fini in a previous Glymm box. i really liked how smooth it was and this one is also very fluffy. and they smell the same too. i tried to look this product up and only found Perfect Teint II to be available. perhaps they are phasing out the version we just got?
it is to be used to fill in wrinkles and pores, leaving behind a matte finish. on the card it says that this product is described as a primer, but a pdf from asambeauty.com says you can use it after you have applied your makeup. a little goes a very long way - even the amount i have on my finger was a little too much.
i have seem M. Asam products at much lower prices at Winners if you are interested.
size: 5 mL
retail value: $42 (50 mL)

so everything seems to be a bit on the smaller side this month, and plus there are no bonuses so in comparison with previous boxes, it may seem disappointing. but there are a couple of great products in here - most noteworthy, a Benefit mascara. Topbox doesn't usually include fragrances (aside from last month), but when they do, they avoid the super tiny vials. still, not impressed by the "Free Sample" noted on the side.

did anyone get anything different in this month's Topbox?

-- update September 22, 2012 -- i went to Holt Renfrew yesterday, after listening to the many ladies that commented and just photocopied the card. it is definitely worth picking up the pouch. i have seen two different versions of this - like i mentioned earlier in my post,  CityGirl's version (drawstring pouch) and the one i got. it came in a fancy box that was wrapped in plastic. the pouch itself was also wrapped in tissue.

mine has two zippers - you can probably use it for storing cards and maybe a lipstick or two. the little zippered pocket can be used for change. it looks smaller than CityGirl's. for all you Calgarians, this is the version i got from The Core downtown. --

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

REVIEW: Annabelle TwistUp Retractable Lipstick Crayon

right on the heels of my second Revlon Balm Stain post, i have another lip crayon for you!
make that two!

thanks to Kristelle (Crystal Candy Makeup) and her reviews on four of the 12 available shades, i was convinced that i needed some Annabelle TwistUp Retractable Lipstick Crayons in my life.
and what better opportunity to buy them than during a Shoppers Optimum BOGO lipstick/lipgloss event last Wednesday from 6 to 9 pm (BOGO = buy one, get one; thought i should clarify that since i only figured what that meant this year haha). thank you marsbar35 (Marsbar Jewelry & More) for telling me about this awesome promotion!! i love the blogging community! <3

there were a few other colors i wanted to try but i decided to go with "Bubble" and "Mai Tai".
"Bubble" is a pink coral. it reminds me of pink lemonade or some kind of Kool-Aid flavor. i'm only wearing a light layer in the picture below because my lips were not in the best condition that day. i am sure the color could be more pronounced if preferred. "Bubble" seems to emphasize the cracks in my lips more so than "Mai Tai".
artificial light; natural light

i was confused about the name "Mai Tai" so i did a little search. a Mai Tai is a type of cocktail and i think Annabelle may have also found this name fitting because of their new spokesperson, Marie-Mai (a French Canadian singer). anyways, "Mai Tai" may look quite intimidating in the tube but the red actually applies more sheer on the lips. i think reds make my lips look gigantic... i quite like the color though. it's a great starter red if you are just starting to venture into Gwen Stefani territory.

Annabelle TwistUps are a lipstick and lip liner in one. the tip allows you to line your lips precisely. both shades apply smoothly but since these are quite pigmented, i'd suggest exfoliating first to get rid of any dry patches. the TwistUps leave a slight shine and is non-sticky, unscented and paraben free! wear time is pretty good - seems to be about four hours, but less if you choose to eat/drink.

curious about the similarities and differences between Revlon's Balm Stains and Annabelle's TwistUps?
both have a range of 12 colors - i think Revlon has more plum shades while Annabelle has more purples. i prefer the color payoff of the TwistUps- which may be because they are lipstick crayons rather than a mix of a lip balm and a stain, which in turn is why Revlon's is more moisturizing. so really, both are great products!
the TwistUps are thinner but roughly the same height. they also have a clear plastic cap that allows you to see the color.

Annabelle TwistUps retail $9.99 each at Shoppers and contain 1.5 g of product. are you planning on checking these lipstick crayons out? i think i might want "Absolute", "Divine", or "Mimosa"... decisions, decisions.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

REVIEW: Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in "Charm"

check out my first post with swatches on Revlon's Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain (2.7 g) with the color "Honey".

i really enjoyed the formula and the packaging of Revlon's latest success in lip products so i did not hesitate in getting another one. i picked up "035 Charm" at CVS for US$6.49 when i was in L.A.
if i lived in the states, i would shop at CVS ALL the time because by purchasing the Revlon Balm Stain which was already on sale (originally US$9.29), it came with a $4 coupon to be used on your next purchase. so in my funny way of calculations, the Balm Stain totally works out to be like $2.49! what a steal!
... come to think of it, why didn't i get more?!

"Charm" is sheerer than "Honey" was - it is a very soft peach color. when i checked out swatches online before purchasing this color, it seemed that it looked different on everyone, depending on how dark or light your lips are. on my pigmented lips, the peachy-ness is not really there but has the look of a nude gloss. again, it glides on so easily and is very moisturizing.

you can bring out the peach color a bit by putting a few more layers on. but if you choose to do so and then press your lips together, the product tends to move to the edges (due to its' gel formula) and then a visible line would form around your lips.
i definitely prefer "Charm" over "Honey" - i really like the soft touch of peach. since it seems so sheer, it was unexpected that a stain would remain after the balm part has faded but it did - just a pinch of rosiness. i feel like i can wear this anytime.

as you can see, the color is very sheer but is buildable.

so now i have two! look how pretty they are together!


how big is your Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain stash? :)

Friday, September 14, 2012

REVIEW: Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow/Liner in "Silver Spoon"

one of the reasons i made my recent online Sephora order (which you can read about here) is because they have some fantastic promotions.

with a purchase over $25, i was able to get Benefit's Creaseless Cream Shadow/Liner (4.5 g) for free.
the color is "Silver Spoon" which is a Sephora Exclusive (it doesn't seem to be sold at Sephora anymore either). other Creaseless Cream Shadows/Liners are regularly $24 at Sephora.

it comes in a cute little box with a pamphlet describing the product and how you can use it for shadowing and lining. for shadowing, you can build up the coverage by adding another layer after letting the shadow dry for 30 seconds.

"Silver Spoon" is described as a true silver and that's what it looks like in the jar. in the swatches however, i see a tinge of blue.  the color is not something i'd wear on its own - i like my grays darker so i am glad that i can build it up. i think it will work well for creating a smoky eye!

in terms of its claims of being creaseless, i`d have to disagree. without primer, creases crept up near the inner corner of my eye. i do have a monolid which makes creasing more likely so i was not surprised (especially since i was using a cream eyeshadow).
-- update Sept 16/12 -- using a primer worked wonders for me. there was no smudging and the color remained very pigmented and shimmery all through the day. it comes off easily with makeup remover. --

to compare with the MUFE Aqua Cream i reviewed recently, the MUFE one held up a bit better on my eyes. both are very smooth to the touch and well pigmented; though the Aqua Cream color payoff was more intense. and the scent? both smell like bananas and milk to me - is it a cream eyeshadow thing? the Aqua Cream has a stronger scent though.
i really like the packaging of the Benefit one. the lid is very cute! as for a price comparison? the Benefit one cost $24 for 4.5 g and MUFE cost $26 for 6 g (better value for the Aqua Cream).

what are your favorites in terms of cream eyeshadows?
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