Monday, October 24, 2016

Play! by Sephora | October 2016

My one and only beauty subscription box, Play! by Sephora, continues to keep me excited each month. October's box is full of some fun goodies, all of which are available for purchase at Sephora. This subscription costs just $10 a month, but there is a short waiting list (it takes about a month to get off of it), and you get a handful of samples from prestige brands.

If you're interested in subscribing to Play! by Sephora, click here

Here's what came in October's box...

  • Smashbox Always On Matte Liquid Lipstick in Driver's Seat - A lippie that boasts 8 hours of wear time. Driver's Seat is a warm pink color and this sample size is large enough to get lots of use out of.
  • Too Cool for School Egg Mellow Cream - A moisturizer infused with collagen for younger looking skin. Good for dry, sensitive, normal and combo skin types. Free of parabens, sulfates and phthalates. 
  • Skin Inc. Pure Revival Cream - A non-abrasive peel that sloughs away dead skin for brighter, renewed skin. Safe for blemish prone and sensitive skin. Free of parabens, sulfates and phthalates.
  • Nudestix Intense Matte Lip & Cheek Pencil in Belle - A multi-purpose pencil for lips and cheeks. Dries matte for all day wear. Belle is a plum nude color. Free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, gluten, preservatives, cyclomethicones and animal-derived ingredients. 
  • Verb Leave-In Mist - A hydrating mist that tames and detangles hair while prepping it for styling. Good for straight, wavy and curly hair. Free of parabens, sulfates and phthalates.
  • Tom Ford Orchid Soleil - The newest Tom Ford fragrance, characterized by notes of tuberose petals, black orchid, vanilla, chestnut, and patchouli among others. Warm and floral. 

What product are you most excited about in this month's box? For me, I think it's the Egg Mellow Cream. Let me know yours in the comments!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Lush Fresh Face Mask | The Sacred Truth

I am one of the few people in this universe, it seems, who hasn't tried a Lush Fresh Face Mask until very recently. It's not that I haven't wanted to, but I don't live anywhere near a Lush, and only recently was I able to get to one, return a bunch of empty pots and redeem my FREE face mask! There was only a couple options to pick at the time, and I opted for The Sacred Truth.

The Sacred Truth's main goal is to hydrate and soften the skin. They market it towards mature or dry skin, but really, I think just about anyone could give this a go. Much like the name ("fresh face mask") implies, all of the ingredients are fresh. This mask, in particular, is made with eggs, shea butter, wheat grass, papaya, green tea, ginseng root and a handful of other ingredients. It has a prominent smell of ylang-ylang, which isn't my favorite, but it's not like it sticks around once you wash it off.

When I used this earlier this summer, I did have dry skin. I would apply this in the morning for about 10 minutes, wash it off and go about my normal skincare and makeup routine. I noticed a difference in the feeling of my skin, and it helped keep dryness at bay. I really enjoyed using this mask and would definitely get it again as a free perk for returning my Lush pots.

My only gripe about the Fresh Face Masks, and it's just what comes with the natural ingredient territory, is that they have a shelf life of about 2 weeks or less. It just is what it is. I don't mask often enough to really get through one of these and get my money's worth (assuming I paid for one), and for that reason I'd only get these if I had enough empty pots to get a free one. 

I have almost enough empty Lush pots to get another face mask when I can get to a Lush again. What one would YOU recommend trying? Let me know!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Perfect Bite Set | Bite Beauty

It's holiday set season, people! I freakin' love holiday sets. It lets me try out a brand at a better price, and typically with better variety, than the other offerings during the year. Also, I'm totally OK with the smaller sizes because when it comes to eyeshadows, lipsticks, etc... I do not need more full size items that I'll never get through. 

This season, the Bite Beauty "The Perfect Bite Set" caught my eye. I am in love with Bite Beauty's lipsticks. They're made with food-grade ingredients, they're highly pigmented and they're super comfortable to wear and moisturizing, too. If any of that is intriguing to you, I'd recommend this set, available for $25 at Sephora

The set comes with four mini colors. From left to right, the colors are Fig, Pepper, Honeycomb, and Nori. The first three are neutral, work-friendly or nighttime friendly shades, while Nori is a bold fall-toned red. If you can't tell already, I got excited and wore Pepper before I could take pictures.... oops! 

Check out the swatches of these gorgeous shades below...

I love this set. It has colors I will easily wear often, and it's a great deal! Full size Bite Beauty lipsticks retail for $26 each, and with these four sizes you actually get more product than one full size lipstick. I highly recommend checking this out if you need an easy, affordable way to add some new colors in to your lipstick collection.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Derma E | New Packaging Reveal!

Derma E has long been a brand I've seen people talk about, but I've never tried it. It's not sold anywhere around me, and if I'm being totally honest, I found the packaging cheap and I wasn't sure if it was a reflection of the brand. So fast forward to a month or so ago, I was offered the chance to try out a couple Derma E products, especially because they are rebranding and want people to see their new design. I practically wanted to jump for joy, because the environmentally-friendly/organic-loving skincare freak in me can so get behind the Derma E brand, and now the Marketing professional in me can stop being a chump and get over my distaste for their packaging and branding. Trivial I know, but I work in the marketing field, for goodness sake! I get picky about weird things like that - even when I KNOW I would like the products!

I was sent the Derma E Hydrating Day Cream in the old packaging, and the Hydrating Night Cream in the new redesigned packaging. I don't think you need to be a marketing professional to see just how much the aesthetics have improved...

Ok, let's back up a little bit and talk about Derma E as a brand. I so love what they stand for. Their mission states that they're committed to creating products that are healthy, good for your well-being and good for the natural environment. Their products are 100% vegan, cruelty-free, and free of parabens, SLS, petrolatum, mineral oil, artificial colors, gluten, soy and GMOs. As they've rebranded, their mission has stayed the same and their products haven't changed either - they just decided to give themselves a face lift. 

If you look through these pictures, you can see the big upgrade! On the left is the old packaging, and on the right is the face lift! I absolutely adore the new packaging - I think it looks classy, elegant and actually looks more "natural". I think that's what peeved me so much about the old packaging - it didn't convey that the brand cared about good ingredients and the environment. The new frosted glass, lighter blue, and simpler logo convey a more natural brand. I have to imagine they did some crowd sourcing to see exactly what people thought about their new look before rolling it out, because it really is spot on design!

All packaging aside, the products themselves are wonderful, too! I have been using the Hydrating Day and Night Creams (each $29.50 for 2 oz) for the last couple weeks and my skin has absolutely loved them. I have normal to combo skin that's been changing almost daily since having a baby (hormones gone crazy!), and this has worked for me when my skin has been drier and even on days when I'm an oil factory. 

Both the day and night cream have hyaluronic acid to help plump up the skin and retain moisture. The day cream works great under makeup and the night cream is a little bit thicker to really nourish the skin as you sleep. Both are lightly scented, nothing that lingers and nothing offensive that attacks your nose.

If the nearly $30 price tag turns you off, consider for a moment just how much product you get. You get 2 whole ounces  - that's a lot of product! These will easily last me three months or more, plus the ingredients are pure and natural and the packaging is nice sturdy glass. All pluses! 

The newly rebranded Derma E line (seen above in its entirety) will roll out now through March 2017. You can find Derma E products at Ulta, Whole Foods, CVS, local co-ops, and other stores, as well as at!

What are your thoughts on their packaging face lift? Do you think it looks more natural? Let me know! 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Walmart Beauty Box | Fall 2016

The fall Walmart Beauty Box showed up at my door a couple weeks ago and it has a bunch of fun samples! This seasonal box is just $5 and everything in it can be purchased in full size at your local Walmart. If you're interested in subscribing, you'll receive four boxes a year, and you can sign up here

Some of the smaller samples included in this fall's box include:
  • Nature's Bounty Hair, Skin & Nails gummies, which I've tried and they're delicious
  • EcoTools Makeup Brush Cleansing Cloth
  • Biore Deep Cleansing Charcoal Pore Strips, which I've tried and did not enjoy at all
  • Village Naturals Therapy Concentrated Mineral Bath Soak

The deluxe sized samples in the box include:
  • Hello Pure Mint Extra Whitening Toothpaste
  • Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream, which I've used before and is great for sensitive skin
  • Dove body wash in Sweet Cream with Peony - I always love Dove body washes, they smell amazing and are really hydrating
  • Clean & Clear Deep Action 60 Second Shower Mask
  • Batiste Original Dry Shampoo, an absolute favorite of mine.

I think you definitely get your money's worth and then some with this box. It's fun to try things you can get at the drugstore so you don't have to bother with a full size of something and then hate it.

Let me know if you get the Walmart Beauty Box and what you think of it! 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

September Empties | #30

About half way through September, I was thinking my empties post was going to be pretty meager. And then all of a sudden I started using a million things up. Feels good to work through my stash, as I'm really making a concerted effort to use up the stuff in my backstock without buying things, and I've been on a recent mission to use up all the dang samples I have - you'll notice that when you see what I've gone through. Let's get to it...

  • Yes to Grapefruit CC Cream (would not repurchase) - As you can tell, this isn't even used up, but it did go bad and smells weird so it's time to part ways. This was more of a tinted moisturizer than a CC cream in my book. It didn't do much to even out my skin and it made my skin feel greasy. I wouldn't bother with it again.
  • Gotz Bad Ischl Oxygen Facial Tonic (would repurchase) - This wasn't bad, wasn't great. Had a weird smell that reminded me of feet or something... but it still wasn't a horrible product. Full review here
  • Neogen Code9 Gold Cacao Cream (would repurchase) - This was a really nice moisturizer that I got in a Memebox ages ago. It is especially good for those with dry skin. I used it at night since it's so hydrating. It does have a gold shimmer in it, so it could look nice under makeup, too. 
  • Swisspers Cotton Rounds (would repurchase) - These are always in my empties. I use them to remove eye makeup and apply toner. They're great, and I continue to repurchase them.
  • Ole Henriksen The Clean Truth Cleansing Cloths (would repurchase) - I loved the smell of these, a yummy orange scent, but they weren't wet enough for removing my makeup. I wouldn't shell out money for a full size of these.
  • Dr. Bronner's Peppermint All-One Toothpaste (would not repurchase) - I love the Dr. Bronner's brand, but this was a miss for me. It didn't leave my mouth feeling fresh and clean, it sort of felt like it just dissolved away in my mouth. 
  • Himalaya Herbal Healthcare Exfoliating Walnut & Wood Apple Face Scrub (would repurchase) - I love this scrub so much that it made my August favorites. It reminds of the St. Ives scrub but it's a tad more gentle and not as many weird ingredients.
  • Origins Checks & Balances Frothy Face Wash (would not repurchase) - It's safe to say I hated this. It was a free gift with purchase so I used it up, but it wasn't good. It burned the CRAP out of my eyes if I got it anywhere near them and it just didn't do anything for my skin. It's so not worth the money.
  • Covergirl The Super Sizer Fibers (would repurchase) - This was really good! It separated my lashes and lengthened them without being clumpy in the least. It's not your average gross, clumpy fiber mascara. Full review here
  • e.l.f. High Definition Undereye Setting Powder (would not repurchase) - This is super old and I didn't enjoy using it. It has glitter in it, which is really weird. I think that's supposed to be brightening or something, but it just looks like glitter. No thank you.
  • Benefit Gimme Brow (would repurchase) - I got this as a point perk from Sephora and fell in love! There are little fibers in this that give you just enough tint and definition, assuming you don't have super sparse brows. If you don't have much brow hair, this probably isn't for you.
  • Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey (would not repurchase) - This is a cult shade of lipstick that unfortunately just didn't look good on me. It's hydrating and perfect for any occasion, but it isn't my thing.
  • Yu-Be Lip Balm (would not repurchase) - I didn't care for this lip balm. It felt nice on, but it had that camphor taste and truth be told, this was actually pretty old and needed to go which is probably why I didn't care for it anymore. Full review here
  • NYX The Curve eyeliner (would repurchase) - This is a felt tip liner that made drawing a skinny, precise wing nice and easy. It takes a bit to find this shape comfortable for application, but once you get the hang of it, it's quite nice. 
  • The Body Shop Satsuma Body Sorbet (would not repurchase) - This was a really weird body moisturizer. It had a creamy gel texture and provided very light hydration. It smelled great but just wasn't my favorite.
  • Lush Beautiful Shower Gel (would repurchase) - I like Lush shower gels. They foam up nice and even these little sizes last me a long time. Beautiful wasn't the best scent, but it wasn't bad.

  • Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate (would purchase) - Obviously it's hard to say if this did anything for my skin with just a small sample, but I definitely enjoyed using this. It smelled amazing and I'd be curious to see what long term use does for me.
  • Paula's Choice Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum (would purchase) - I really liked the feel of this serum. It was moisturizing and I liked how it felt on my skin. I think I will get a full size of this in the future. 
  • Paula's Choice Hydralight Moisturizer (would purchase) - This wasn't amazing, but wasn't bad. It did the job and it doesn't have bad ingredients, so I'd consider getting a full size.
  • Murad Clarifying Wipes (would purchase) - I reallllly liked this wipe. It was kind of minty on my skin and it was so refreshing. If I saw these for a good deal, I would totally get more.
  • Arbonne Sheer Glow Highlighter (would purchase) - This is a liquid highlighter that adds a gorgeous natural glow to the skin. It looked good in low light and looked natural and gorgeous in sunlight. Worth picking up if you're looking for a highlight that isn't too shimmery. 
  • Miss Jessie's Creme de la Creme (would purchase) - I really liked the smell of this. It wasn't quite a deep conditioner, but it did a good job of keeping my hair from being tangly.
  • Proganix Soy Protein + Caffeine Conditioner (would repurchase) - This doesn't have the best smell, but it made my hair feel nice and when I used a blowdryer it did give me volume. Full review here
  • Suave Strengthening Light Leave-In Cream (would repurchase) - This was a really nice leave-in conditioner. It smelled great and really did soften my hair. It's cheap, too! 
  • Jo Malone Wild Bluebell perfume (would not purchase) - I really enjoy Jo Malone perfumes, and Wild Bluebell was nice, but it's not something unique enough that I need to own, and it doesn't particularly smell great with my body chemistry. 
  • Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair (would not purchase) - I don't quite understand the hype around this stuff. If you watch beauty videos or read blogs, you've surely run in to people RAVING about this stuff, but it just didn't do anything fancy for me. Plus, it had a weird smell like orange Emergen-C which I did not enjoy. 
  • Fresh Rose Face Mask (would repurchase) - This little sample was enjoyable. It made my skin feel clean and refreshed, it smelled nice like roses, but it's ridiculously expensive so I probably wouldn't shell out the cash to get it because I'm cheap. 
  • The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Butter (would repurchase) - This was a great cleansing butter. You smooth it on dry skin and it turns in to an oil and removes all traces of makeup. This also lasted me quite a long time, so it's definitely worth the price. 
  • Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask (would not repurchase) -  I got 4 or 5 uses out of this, and enjoyed it all but my last use. The last time I used it, it was a bit drier and my skin reacted badly to it. It got all red and felt burnt. For that reason, I wouldn't buy it again.
  • Woodwick Seaside Mimosa wax melts (would repurchase) - Oh my gosh, these smelled heavenly. Grapes and citrus, a true summer scent. I loved these. 
  • B&BW Malibu Smash candle (would not repurchase) - This is hella old... like years old. I found it in my closet and burned it up. It was a pretty boring scent, a typical B&BW summer fragrance. The scent is comprised of citrus, blackberries, bourbon, brown sugar and mint. It smelled mostly fruity. 
What did you use up recently? Let me know! 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Play! by Sephora | September 2016

If you saw last week's post, you know I canceled Ipsy. There's a number of reasons I made that choice, but one of them is Play! by Sephora. I've really been loving this subscription. It's the same exact price ($10/month) but the items are from higher end brands - a.k.a. the brands Sephora carries - and it's packed with things I actually want to use. 

There is a waitlist for this subscription, but from what I've seen and heard from people, it only takes about a month until you're in. If you're interested in putting your name on the list, you can sign up here. Not an affiliate link, just passing along the goods! 

Here's what fun stuff came in September's bag...

  • Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Gel - This is good stuff. It's just a clear brow gel you can use to set your brows in place. I've used this before and really like it, but I don't often purchase it because it is rather pricey ($22 for a full size). This came just in time as I'm getting low on brow gel! 
  • Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper - I know I ranted against this liner in the past, but I actually like the Trooper version. Unlike the one I talked about in that other blog post, this one has a brush tip. It does dry with a bit of a sheen, so if you prefer a very matte finish, you might not be a fan. 
  • Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation - This is an oil-free moisturizer with AHA to even skin tone. I've used it in the past and didn't think it was anything special, but it's pretty expensive (in my book), so I don't mind giving it another go to see if I change my mind. 
  • Atelier Cologne in Sud Magnolia - Atelier Colognes make fancy and high quality scents. This one is described as floral and fresh, with notes of magnolia, blackcurrant, bitter orange, musk and cedarwood. 
  • Sephora Rouge Shine Lipstick in Love Spell - Simply put, this is described as a moisturizing lipstick with a rich, glossy shine. I've never put Sephora's house brand lipsticks to the test, so I'm looking forward to it! 

Are you a Play! by Sephora subscriber? What sample are you most excited to try?

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