Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Play! by Sephora | March 2017

If you remember, last month I wasn't crazy about my Play! by Sephora box. But they made up for it in March and I was all googly-eyed over what came in this month's box. This subscription is just $10/month and features deluxe-sized samples of brands you can find at Sephora. For more info, or to subscribe, click here

Let's take a closer look...

  • Benefit Watts Up highlighter - This product is a favorite of mine. I've tried it before, and I adore it. It's a cream-to-powder formula that gives the most natural glow. I like it because it doesn't travel all over your face by the end of the day, making you look like some crazed disco ball, the same way some powder highlighters do. You can purchase it for $30 for 0.33 oz.
  • Bobbi Brown Long-wear Cream Shadow Stick in Golden Pink - These shadow sticks are pricey, ringing in at $30 for 0.05 oz, so I'm excited to get to test one out. These can be used for an all-over color on your lids, or a highlight on your brown bones or inner corner of your eye. You decide. They come in a range of 13 different shades, most of which are neutral and universally flattering colors. 
  • Living Proof Full Dry Volume Blast - This spray is meant to texturize and volumize your hair. Personally, I haven't quite figured out how to make these kinds of products work for me, but if you're on the texturizer train - you're currently on-trend, or so it seems. This claims to give volume without weighing down your hair. You can pick it up for $29 for 7.5 oz.
  • Fleur de Chloe perfume - I love the Chloe perfume range. It's certainly not for everyone, but I find it to be a very sexy, feminine scent. This version incorporates notes of rose and freesia for a more floral take on the well-loved original. If you like this fragrance, it'll cost you, totaling up at $75 for a 1 oz bottle. 
  • Josie Maran Surreal Skin Argan Finishing Balm - I've been intrigued by this product, so I was excited to see it in this month's box. This product is essentially a makeup primer that adds glow to the skin. You can also use it as a highlight after makeup is applied. Personally, I think it seems to creamy for that. It's made with good ingredients that have anti-aging properties, so you're treating while looking amazing. I love a good 2-in-1 product. A full size costs $36 for 0.5 oz.
  • Glamglow Glowstarter Mega Illuminating Moisturizer - Glamglow has finally expanded their skin care line beyond face washes and masks, and I'm sure the beauty world will go gaga. There are three different tones you can purchase this in, the one included is "Nude Glow". This moisturizer has a bunch of glow-inducing ingredients, as well as "pearl particles" (aka shimmer), which may not be everyone's cup of tea. A full size costs $49 for 1.7 oz.

What is your favorite product from this month's box? Let me know! 

Monday, March 20, 2017

HASK Greek Yogurt Collection | NEW!

You guys, Hask is such an underrated drugstore hair brand. I've tried a bunch of their different lines (exhibit 1, exhibit 2) and I've loved them all. They're affordable, easy to find, and they actually work! 

Hask has recently launched a Walgreens exclusive, their new Greek Yogurt line. There are three different scents with different motives; personally, I tried the Blueberry & Acai line which is for repairing. There is also Fig & Honey for hydration, and Pomegranate & Cranberry for color protection. 

This collection, while sort of gimmicky, is pretty cool. (Is greek yogurt about to be the new wonder ingredient in the beauty world? Hask might be on to something here...) There's supposedly real greek yogurt and fruit extracts in with all the usual hair washing & conditioning shiz to "feed" your hair with nourishing ingredients. 

As you can see, there's two chambers to the bottle. The inside is greek yogurt which has calcium, minerals and other good things that are beneficial for the hair. The outside is the fruit extract blend. The Blueberry & Acai blend repairs damaged hair with essential vitamins. 

If you look closer at the shampoo bottle in the first image, you can see there's a white bottle inside the clear part, where the greek yogurt is. Kind of cool, but might be annoying towards the end when one may run out faster than the other. Again, dual chambered products for hair care is a bit of a gimmick in my book. There's no reason this stuff can't mix...

I'm not sure if there's legit greek yogurt in these, because yuck... wouldn't that smell rancid at some point? Or need to be in a refrigerator? I seriously don't know, but what I do know is that these washed and conditioned my hair really well. My hair felt soft and clean and also smelled nice. And that's really what I look for in a shampoo + conditioner. 

I don't see these for sale on the Walgreens site, so I'm guessing these are an in-store exclusive. Typically, Hask shampoos & conditioners retail for around $5.49 a bottle, which is pretty darn cheap. Check them out - I'd recommend any of the Hask lines!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

February Empties | #34

Why empties? A couple reasons. One being that once a product is used up, you're qualified enough to give a review on it. Would I repurchase? Would I pay for a full size? All of these questions are answerable. Secondly, I genuinely love these posts - both writing them and reading others posts or watching their videos about it. 

That being said, here's what I went through in February - mini reviews and repurchase decisions and all.

  • Caldrea Hand Balm in Mango Lily (would repurchase) - The scent wasn't my favorite, but the lotion itself was nice. It moisturized my hands without being greasy.
  • Vaseline Advanced Repair Unscented lotion (would not repurchase) - This was fine, but it sort of just felt like a layer of gunk sitting on top of my skin, not really ever breaking my skin's barrier and doing some deep moisturizing like it claims. 
  • Laura Mercier Souffle Body Creme in Creme Brulee (would not repurchase) - I was not a fan of this scent at all. It's a super strong sugary-bakery scent. I'm not opposed to bakery scents, but I wasn't a fan of of this one. The formula is nice, and it really does make your skin soft, but I'd recommend one of the other scents. 
  • Deep Steep Argan Oil Body Wash in Peppermint Vanilla (would repurchase) - I really liked this body wash. It had a nice pepperminty-tingle and smelled great. I love Deep Steep because their products have great natural ingredients. 
  • Hask Mint Almond Oil Thickening Shampoo (would repurchase) - Another good one. I enjoyed using this. See full review here
  • Dr. Bronner's Pure Castille Soap in Baby Unscented (would repurchase) - I love Dr. Bronner's soap. It's multipurpose, no nasty ingredients. I used this to make homemade baby wipes, but I also use it to clean my makeup brushes. 
  • Avalon Organics Intense Defense Cleansing Gel (would repurchase) - I liked this. It's a pretty basic, gel cleanser, but it has good natural ingredients. It didn't strip my skin dry, nor did it break me out. I'd get it again.
  • Clean & Clear Deep Action 60 Second Shower Mask (would repurchase) - This brought me back to my high school days of using Clean & Clear. It has that classic smell and the classic tingly feeling. By all accounts, I don't need this, and it's not nearly as natural as the things I like to buy, but I weirdly want to get a full size of it... it was just convenient and nice to use. 
  • Derma E Hydrating Night Cream (would repurchase) - Loved this night cream, and also the fancy new redesigned packaging by Derma E. This felt nice, moisturized well, didn't break me out, and has good ingredients - a.k.a. everything I love in a moisturizer bottled up in to one. Full review here.
  • Blum Naturals Daily Cleansing & Makeup Remover Towelettes (would not repurchase) - Not a fan... these were way too dry for my taste and didn't get all my makeup off. If you use towelettes to remove your eye makeup, too, these wouldn't do it. 
  • Swisspers Cotton Rounds (would repurchase) - My tried and true cotton rounds. They work great for removing eye makeup with and applying toner. 
  • Zum Frankincense & Fir goat's milk soap (would repurchase) - This was a limited edition holiday zum soap, but I adored it. Zum soaps are amazing and have stellar ingredients. I got two of their holiday packs because I loved these soaps so much.
  • Keomi Skincare soap in Golden Crown (would not repurchase) - As much as I like these soaps, I didn't care for the scent of this one so I wouldn't get this one again. Full review here.
  • Makeup Forever HD Foundation (would repurchase) - I love this foundation. It's a light to medium coverage but makes my skin look A+. This is especially good to wear if you have photos to be taken.
  • Covergirl Outlast Stay Fabulous Foundation (would repurchase) - My holy grail foundation. Full coverage, wears all day, I've talked this to death. 
  • Essence Waterproof Liquid Liner (would repurchase) - I really like this eyeliner. It's under $5, is super matte black, and goes on really easily. It can crack if you apply too thick of a layer, but it's avoidable. 
  • Nivea Extended Moisture Body Lotion (would not purchase) - This was fine, but nothing special. I didn't much care for the scent of it. 
  • Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate (would purchase) - I really liked the feel of this pre-serum. It's goal is to help whatever you put on top sink in better. Hard to say if it did anything, but I'd be interested in giving a full size a shot. 
  • Clinique Turnaround Overnight Multitasking Moisturizer (would not purchase) - I did not care for this. I think it broke me out and it didn't feel overly hydrating. 
  • Clear Total Care Nourishing Conditioner (would purchase) - I really like the Clear shampoo and conditioner line. They make my hair feel clean, they smell nice, and don't strip it of all it's natural moisture. I'm a fan. 
  • Jimmy Choo Stars perfume (would purchase) - I got this deluxe sample from Scentbird and I adored this scent. It's a warm, musky take on the original scent, with notes of toffee and patchouli. I think this was limited edition, but if I stumbled upon it at TJ Maxx or something, I'd think about picking it up. See full review here.
  • Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir Cologne (would purchase) - I actually already have a full size of this perfume. To me, it smells like the holidays in a bottle. I get compliments on this one when I wear it. It's not a scent for the spring and summer, but it's one you neeeeed for the fall and winter season. 
  • Jason Sea Fresh Toothpaste (would repurchase) - Jason toothpastes are my absolute favorite. They're natural, don't have bad ingredients, but also don't taste like ass and still foam up. Highly recommend. 
  • New Chapter Perfect Postnatal Multivitamin (would repurchase) - Since having my son in July, these have been my multivitamin of choice. They have ingredients that support lactation and energy for postpartum mamas.
  • DW Home Warm Tobacco Pipe candle (would repurchase) - I've had this candle before and I love it. It has a warm, sweet tobacco smell, but not in that gross cigarette stink way. It is such a cozy winter scent to have burning. I'll definitely get this again. 
  • B&BW Winter Sun (would repurchase) - I'm trying to burn through my stash of candles and only burn soy from here on out, but I did like this. The scent carried through the house, and has notes of vetiver and musk. It was really fresh, I enjoyed it. 
  • B&BW Mahogany Teakwood candle (would not repurchase) - I know this is kind of a cult favorite scent, but I'm not crazy about it. It's got that "man candle" scent going on, kind of cologne-y, and super strong. 
  • Better Homes Under the Mistletoe wax melts (would repurchase) - These were nice. They had sort of a pepperminty-vanilla-balsam thing going on that I enjoyed. Perfect for winter time.

What did you use up this month? Are any of these products your holy grails? Let me know in the comments!

Monday, March 13, 2017

February Play! by Sephora

Oopsie... I'm a tiny bit late here with my low down on what's in the February Play! by Sephora box. Sorry guys, I blame new mom motivation syndrome. Sometimes, when I finally get 5 minutes, I just want to veg: read a book, mindlessly flip through Instagram, go on a Pinterest binge... you know what I mean? And then there was the whole website outage thing. I tweaked one little thing on my website host and caused myself a week of stress with a website I couldn't get running again. Argh... ANYWAY.. I'm back! Hooray!

I found this month's Play! box a little underwhelming, but the redeeming factor are the quality of the samples and relevancy. All brands are pricier, high-end brands, and all items are talked-about or newer items. Let's dig in...

  • Too Faced Lip Injection Glossy in Milkshake - Full size retails at $22, but this deluxe sample will last you quite some time. Aimed at softening, plumping and tinting lips, you're bound to find a shade you like with 6 different shades to choose from.
  • NARS Velvet Lip Glide in Bound - Full size retails for $26. A semi-matte gloss in a pinky rose shade. It's formula is somewhere between a lipstick and a gloss. Provides hydration with a burst of color. 
  • Marc Jacobs Decadence perfume - Notes of champagne, orange blossom, bergamot and vanilla (among others) make up this sensual fragrance. It'll cost you, with a 1 oz bottle retailing for $72.
  • Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream - Kind of a cult classic, this eye cream energizes tired eyes. It helps with dullness, puffiness and dark circles. You'll get a lot of use out of this mini sample, but a full size will cost you $30. 
  • Sephora LashCraft Length & Volume Mascara - A double sided brush with a flat paddle wand. Jet black color, and volumizing formula. The price is reasonable, ringing in at $12.
  • Clinique Pep-Start HydroBlur Moisturizer - This Pep-Start line is fairly new to Clinique, and is targeted to a younger audience looking for more affordable prices (in my marketer eyes, at least). Good for oily and combination skin, this lightweight moisturizer hydrates while leaving the skin matte and blurring imperfections. A full-size will cost you $29.50.

Play! by Sephora costs $10 per month, and it really is an awesome way to get to try deluxe high-end brands before shelling out the big bucks. See other months here, here and here. If you're interested in signing up, click here - no affiliate link, just sharing the love! 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Rovectin Skincare

If you're looking for very simple, gentle skincare, especially good for sensitive skin, you might want to stick around for a bit. I was recently contacted by Rovectin, a Korean skincare company, asking if I'd like to try out their products. I though, heck... I'm a skincare junkie. Not gonna say no to that! 

But truly, I was intrigued by their products. Originally, Rovectin aimed to create products for cancer patients who were suffering from skin irritations associated with their cancer treatments. That being said, their line is formulated with ingredients that are safe and help repair the skin. 

Because my skin has been on a bit of a rollercoaster, I didn't put all of these products to the test but wanted to share the line I received with you regardless.

The Rovectin Conditioning Cleanser is the one product I've given a good test to. It's basic, gentle, has no fragrance. It cleans the skin without stripping hydrating. I love that the ingredients are minimal and safe - so often cleansers are jam-packed with unnecessary fragrances and irritants, but you won't find any yucky stuff here. 

 The Rovectin Barrier Repair Cream is a multi-purpose hydrator. It can be used on the face, neck, hands, body, etc. While this is marketed as being free of yucky stuff, it has a lot of ingredients, many with long names that I don't even know what they are exactly... microcrystalline wax, sodium acryloydimethyl taurate copolymerxanthan gum...huh??

The Rovectin Cream Concentrate is a moisturizer specifically for the face and neck. This is good for very dry skin and can be used morning or night. It aims to repair stressed skin.

Lasty, the Barrier Repair Face Oil is a rich blend of oils to mega-moisturize the skin. Like all the other products, it's hypoallergenic. It's got a mixture of different ingredients for moisturizing, including aloe leaf extract, calendula extract, chamomile oil and others. 

It appears the US Rovectin website is not up, or not working, but you can buy Rovectin products on, one of my fave websites. 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Derma E | New Year Skin Detox

I was first introduced to Derma E a couple months ago, and quickly fell in love with all the products I was lucky enough to try for free. They recently sent me another package of goodies, in their new rebranded packaging, that are aimed at detoxifying and purifying the skin. Spoiler alert - I fell in love all over again. 

If you're new to the world of Derma E, their products are 100% vegan and cruelty-free. They're also free of parabens, sodium lauryl sulfates, petrolatum, mineral oil, artificial colors, gluten, soy and GMOs. Basically, Derma E makes some fab stuff. 

The first thing I tried out was the Purifying Daily Detox Scrub ($15.50 for 4 oz). This charcoal-colored scrub has little bits of apricot seeds to buff away impurities and dead skin. It's full of minerals and toxin fighters like seaweed to protect against pollutants and activated charcoal which absorbs impurities. It's safe to use daily, but be sure to use a light hand, as rough scrubbing on the face with this formulation could easily create micro-lacerations that damage and age the skin faster.

I really, really love this product. It just might be my new favorite face scrub. My skin felt smooth and soft but not stripped after I used it and the price is right for a products with such fabulous ingredients. I can tell you right now that this won't be my last tube of this good stuff.

The Purifying 2-in-1 Charcoal Mask ($19.50 for 1.7 oz) is a very similar product to the scrub; in fact, the two almost look identical. This mask works to detoxify the skin in two ways - firstly, with natural clays and charcoal that lift out oil and bacteria. And secondly with apricot seed powder to exfoliate away dead skin cells and dirt. 

This is a quick mask - apply it to the skin, let it sit for five minutes (and it'll look dry like the picture above) and you're done! The texture is gritty, so when washing, you can massage it gently in to the skin for extra exfoliation and cleansing. 

I really enjoy using a charcoal mask every week or two to help purge my skin, especially when I feel a break out coming on. This is one of the best that I've tried and I think it's worth every penny. My skin feels clean, soft and free of gunk after using this.  

I'd highly recommend both of these products if you're someone prone to breakouts our if you're just looking to get rid of impurities or rough patches. The ingredients are pure, they actually work and the price is mid-range. 

Derma E is available online at and at Target. Purchases support global communities and the environment.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

January Empties | #33

Starting the new year off right - by getting rid of things! I really want to make a conscious effort in 2017 to pare down my stash of beauty things to just my favorite, most used items and not keep a massive backstock. So often I see a great deal and feel like I have to get something because the price is right, even when I have no need for it. Moving forward, I'm going to be more conscious of how many items I keep on hand. 

With that said... here's what I've used up in January...

  • Batiste Dry Shampoo in Floral Essences (would repurchase) - Batiste is hands down my favorite dry shampoo. It works great for soaking up oil and doesn't cost an arm and a leg. Anything that saves me from having to wash my hair multiple days a week earns a repurchase in my book!
  • Hask Mint Almond Oil Conditioner (would repurchase) - This is a nice conditioner. It has a nice mint scent and I think this line actually did help spur some new hair growth. See full review here. 
  • It's a 10 Miracle Leave-In Plus Keratin (would not repurchase) - This was fine. I sprayed it in my hair after I showered and used it to detangle my hair, which it did. I just prefer a keratin-free leave-in treatment - I don't want to develop breakage from overuse. 
  • ARK Age Protect Skin Vitality Moisturizer (would repurchase) - This is a really nice moisturizer. It's light yet moisturizing, but also leaves my skin feeling soft and smooth. It didn't break me out either. My husband used it and liked it, too. See full review here. 
  • Up & Up Eye Makeup Remover Liquid (would repurchase) - The Target brand eye makeup remover is the bomb. It competes with any name brand version, such as Neutrogena, out there. 
  • Collective Wellbeing Honey Buff Gentle Exfoliator (would not repurchase) - This scrub was like a majorly watered down St. Ives. It ran everywhere when you tried to use it, which drove me crazy. So much was wasted because it ran all over. For that reason, I wouldn't buy this again. 
  • CeraVe Eye Repair Cream (would repurchase) - This was a really nice eye cream. It's not too greasy but provides a good amount of hydration.
  • Nooni Snowflake Cleanser (would repurchase) - I liked this little sample. Cleansing balms are my favorite way to remove makeup. See full review here
  • Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in ZZ (would repurchase) - I loved this mauve lipstick sample so much that I bought a full size. It's creamy and hydrating on the lips and the color lasts for hours. This formula is one of my favorites. Definitely want to try more Vice lipsticks.
  • Benefit Bad Gal Lash (would repurchase) - This was an OK mascara. Nothing overly special. It took a little bit of building to get the amount of volume I wanted, but overall it was good. I probably wouldn't spend much money on the full size though, because drugstore mascaras are good enough for me.
  • Jack Black lip balm in Asian Pear & White Tea (would not repurchase) - I love Jack Black lip balms but I did not enjoy this scent. 
  • Essence I Heart Extreme Mascara (would repurchase) - This is an awesome drugstore mascara. I love the short-bristled plastic brush - it makes it easy to coat your lashes and get up to the water line easily. This is super cheap and won't cost you more than $5! This isn't my first tube of this mascara and it won't be my last.
  • Maybelline Stay Fit concelear (would not repurchase) - There's SO much hype around this concealer. People rant and rave all about this, but it does not work for me. It creases like mad and makes me look like I'm 50. Noooo thank you. 
  • Blistex lip balm (would repurchase) - I like Blistex. It feels cooling and comfortable on the lips. Yeah, I'll buy it again.
  • L'Oreal Revitalift Miracle Blur (would not purchase) - This was fine, but it's very synthetic and fake. I don't know if my sample was old, but it was thick and hard to smear around. My skin looked smooth, but there are other smoothing primers I like more than this one. 
  • Shiseido Ultimune Eye Power Infusing Concentrate (would purchase) - This was an interesting product that's supposed to be a boost to anything you put on top of it. It smelled really nice and felt good on my skin. I'm sure it's expensive, but I'd be interested to see how my skin adjusts to using more than just a sample of this.
  • Liquid BlenderCleanser (would not purchase) - Meh... not worth buying this cleanser made specifically for the beauty blender. It's really nothing special. Dr. Bronner's is my go-to, it's cheaper, and it does a better job. 
  • Arbonne Cellular Renewal Masque (would purchase) - This mask was really nice. It felt kind of like lotion, but my skin felt refreshed after using it. I don't purchase pyramid-scheme products, but if I happened upon this randomly, I'd think about purchasing it.
  • Keys Eye Butter (would not purchase) - Holy cow, the smell of this stuff was enough to make me throw out this sample. The ingredients are amazing and natural, but I think it's the rosemary oil mixing with something else that is just pungent and unsavory to sniff. Aside from that, it's a nice thick cream that adds moisture to the delicate undereye area, but beware of the scent!!
  • 100% Pure Green Apple Nourishing Body Cream (would purchase) - A nice hand cream that smells just like green apples. Good if you like products that lean more natural.
  • Jason Cranberry Pure Natural Hand Soap (would repurchase) - I loved this hand soap. It had an amazing light cranberry scent and the ingredients are A+. This big bottle lasted a long time, too. 
  • Everyday Shea Peppermint Tingle Hand Soap (would repurchase) - Another natural hand soap, with a light minty smell. Cute packaging as well. 
  • Babyganics Face, Hand & Baby Wipes (would repurchase) - I love Babyganics wipes to remove swatches, but not so much for baby wipes. They don't smell like anything and have minimal ingredients. These are my go-to for cleaning up my beauty area and giving everything a good wipe-down. 
  • Elizabeth & James Nirvana Black (would repurchase) - Love this perfume and have it in a full size. Just had to use up this mini. See full review here.
  • Oscar de la Renta Something Blue (would not purchase) - I do not like this scent. It's very heavily floral and citrusy, the complete opposite of what I like to wear.
  • Estee Lauder Modern Muse (would not repurchase) - I like Modern Muse, but not enough to want a full size. It's floral but has undertones of patchouli, woods and musk. I prefer the Modern Muse Rouge and would buy that before the original. 
  • B&BW Red Velvet Cheer candle (would not repurchase) - This was from last year's holiday collection. If you like gourmand scents, you'd like this. Unfortunately it didn't have much throw so it was more for the aesthetic than anything.
  • B&BW Winter candle (would repurchase) - This is a classic B&BW holiday scent that I really love, comprised of the smells of pine, woods and mandarin.
  • Yankee Candle Golden Sands candle (would repurchase) - This smells so nice. It reminds me of Flowerbomb or some comparable perfume. Had a nice scent throw. 
  • Yankee Candle Mountain Lodge candle (would repurchase) - A fresh scent, kind of manly. Had a good throw as well.
  • Better Homes Scarlet Amaryllis Flowers melts (would repurchase) - This smelled kind of fruity to me in a weird way. It was a strong scent that filled my whole house. Not my favorite, but not bad.

What did you use up this month? Let me know!
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