Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Ladykin Affinitic Lifting Cream

I think the entire review of this product could just be "OMG LOOK AT HOW CUTE THE PACKAGING IS!!" The end. But of course that wouldn't be very helpful, now would it? Rest assured, the product inside justifies your purchase so you can have this cute little snail adorning your vanity shelf. 

The Ladykin Affinitic Lifting Cream does all sorts of good things for the skin, thanks to the wonder ingredient - Snail Slime Filtrate. Sounds gross, but works wonders. Korean beauty products often contain snail slime because it's a moisturizing wonder. This lotion also has other natural antioxidants and botanic extracts that hydrate and nourish the skin. 

This product aims to boost elasticity, repair damaged skin cells, hydrate and brighten your complexion. After cleansing and toning, apply the lifting cream all over your skin. If you have dry skin, follow with a moisturizer. I found that this provided very light hydration, and on a no-makeup day I could get away without using a moisturizer on top. If you're planning to wear makeup and have dryer skin, definitely use a moisturizer on top. 

The consistency of this cream is very thin and watery. It almost has a gel-like quality that I really like. It applies easily and feels comfortable on my skin. It didn't break me out at all either. I like how it made my skin look and feel. The ingredients list fragrance, however it doesn't really have much of a smell, which I prefer. I'd have to use it longer to see if it helps with anti-aging. Hard to tell from only a couple weeks' use. 

Overall, I like this product and I'd recommend it if you're interested in branching out from typical American anti-aging products. 

Purchase the Ladykin Affinitic Lifting Cream on the Memebox website here for $15 (3.3 oz).

Monday, August 29, 2016

Play! by Sephora | August 2016

You guys, I am loving Play! by Sephora. It is totally worth the wait on the waitlist. The brands are prestige, the samples are a nice size, and overall the quality is there for $10/month. You can sign up here if you're interested - this isn't an affiliate link, FYI.

Here's what came in the August box...

  • Clean Reserve Blonde Rose - I normally hate the Clean perfumes, but Blonde Rose smells so good. It has notes of rose, peony, jasmine, cedarwood, sandalwood and musk. It's floral with a deeper musky vibe and it's perfect for late summer. 
  • Caudalie Resveratrol Eye Lifting Balm - This eye balm has all sorts of good ingredients that help reverse aging around the eyes, reduce puffiness and dark circles and smooth the appearance of wrinkles.  

Have you tried Play! by Sephora? Let me know your thoughts! 

Friday, August 26, 2016

GÖTZ Bad Ischl Facial Tonic

I went a good stretch of time where I didn't use a toner in my skincare routine. It seems kind of pointless, right? That was my thinking at least, and boy was I wrong. A toner helps get rid of any remaining dirt on your face and it also helps the products you put on after sink in better to the skin. For the last couple years, I haven't been without a toner and it's now an essential part of my skincare routine. 

For the last couple weeks I've been trying out the Gotz Bad Ischl Oxygen Facial Tonic as my toner. This is a 100% organic and natural product, free of parabens, alcohol, and fragrances. It's also cruelty-free. It's made with Bad Ischl thermal water (which contains oxygen, minerals and trace minerals) Edelweiss, daffodils, grass and other plant extracts. 

The Gotz tonic is specially made for oily and blemished skin, as it aims to reduce oil, soothe redness and minimize spots, blackheads and enlarged pores. 

To use, spray the product on to a cotton round and wipe it evenly on face and neck after cleansing. As you can see, the product does show a bit of color on the cotton round, but it doesn't appear on the face. Apply serum and moisturizer following application of the toner. 

I do like this product, and I especially like that it's formulated with high quality, organic ingredients. My one gripe is that it smells kind of strange. In the bottle it smells like tea, but when it's diffused through the spray nozzle, it takes on this weird "feet" smell to me. Call me crazy. It doesn't linger, thankfully, so it's not really something that turns me completely off to using it.

I haven't noticed it clearing my blemishes any faster than normal, but it's hard to really know it's effectiveness in that arena as my skin is still balancing out hormonally since having a baby. My skin has also been far more dry since having my son, so I also can't speak to it's oil-reducing properties. What I do know that it's refreshing, natural and feels nice. Would I purchase it again? Probably not, because it's quite expensive for the amount of product you get (2 oz) and this girl shops on a budget! 

If you're looking for an all natural toner to test out and the price doesn't spook you, you can purchase the Gotz Bad Ischl Facial Tonic on Amazon for $35 here.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

August Favorites | 2016

It's been a hot second since I've done a favorites post and there are a handful of things I've been itching to tell you about! All of these are simply awesome and I'd totally recommend you picking them up for yourself. Let's get to it...

I have been using the crap out of the L'Oreal Lash Out Butterfly mascara. I think this exact version might not be widely available anymore, but I am guessing the Voluminous Butterfly version is pretty darn similar since the brushes look identical. This formula separates my lashes and gives tons of volume and length. It's nearly impossible to make your lashes clumpy, even with multiple coats. I'll definitely try out other versions of this in the future. Drugstore mascaras are where it's at, and this is one I'd recommend picking up if you're in the market for something new.

My ultimate favorite products this month are the new Elizabeth & James fragrances. On the left is Nirvana Bourbon, and on the right is Nirvana Rose. I'm going to do a whole post about these soon, but if you're a fan of the original Nirvana Black and Nirvana White, go smell these immediately. Amazing. 

My new favorite skincare item is the Himalaya Herbal Healthcare Exfoliating Walnut & Wood Apple Face Scrub. Long name, awesome product. It reminds me of the St. Ives Apricot Face Scrub, but this is far more natural and not as harsh. It has natural organic ingredients and it smells very herbal which I quite like. It's free of SLS, parabens, pthalates, artificial colors and fragrances and it's not tested on animals. The consistency feels like sand in a cream, and it does provide quite a bit of exfoliation. If you like a gentle exfoliator, this probably isn't for you. My husband also uses this and likes it, so we'll definitely be getting it again in the future. 

The OGX Healing + Vitamin E Penetrating Oil is a multi-purpose oil that I've used in a number of ways. It can be used on hair and skin to help hydrate and increase strength and elasticity. I've used it as a shaving oil, which it's a tad bit thick for, but not bad. I've also used a couple drops in damp hair to help reduce frizz and make my hair soft. 

One of the best eyeliners I've used recently is the Essence Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner. It has a felt tip brush that makes application easy. It dries to a matte, very black black. You get a lot of product in this little bottle and it's under $5! You totally can't beat that. I actually think I like this better than my beloved Wet n Wild liquid eyeliner!

What are you loving this month? Let me know! 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Farmacy Honey Potion

I have been so intrigued by the Farmacy brand and have been itching to try out some of their products. I love their branding and their all natural approach, and I was so excited to get the chance to test out their Honey Potion face mask. 

Farmacy has just launched a line of honey products, and this mask is their debut product. It's a warming face mask formulated with honey (surprise, surprise!), bee propolis for healing, and royal jelly which helps the skin look younger. This mask promises to nourish the skin and make it look glowy and smooth.

This mask is thick like honey, and its sticky when applied. Once applied, you're supposed to massage it in to the skin for a minute or two until it turns white and heats up. You can really feel it warm up and start to get to work. It needs to stay on for 10-15 minutes and then you wash it off to reveal younger, more hydrated skin.

This mask feels so nice on the skin. You really can feel it moisturizing and detoxifying. I love that the ingredients are pure and natural and they actually help achieve great results. I noticed my skin feeling more hydrated and plump after I used this. 

Another bonus? The jar it comes in is ingenious. It's a very sturdy glass jar, and the top is magnetic so the metal spatula to scoop out the sticky mask never gets lost! I think you're definitely getting your money's worth when it comes to both packaging and product alike. 

Another cool thing that I can totally get behind is that Farmacy donates $1 for every bottle of Honey Potion sold to City Growers, a non-profit that educates kids about where food comes from, health and sustainability, which includes teaching them the importance of bees in pollinating and producing honey. 

Farmacy's Honey Potion isn't cheap, ringing in at $56 for 4.1 oz. You can purchase it at and on Sephora's websiteHowever, like I said before, I feel like you get what you pay for and the quality is definitely there.

I would highly recommend checking this out if you need an extra boost of hydration to your skin and you enjoy masking. I'm so impressed with this product and I can't wait to try more of Farmacy's skincare line. 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Ipsy Glam Bag | August 2016

August's Ipsy Glam Bag has arrived in my mailbox and it's full of goodies both full and deluxe-sized. It costs just $10/month and every month brings a fun new variety of things to try. Review your samples and you'll earn points you can redeem for full size products. I think Ipsy is a lot of fun, and I'd definitely recommend checking it out if you're a beauty lover. If you're interested in signing up, click here!

Here's what came in August's bag...

  • Rodial Smokey Eye Pen in Black - A highly pigmented gel liner. Build the intensity for your desired effect. Smooth and easy to apply. 
  • Ciate London nail polish in Spinning Teacups - A pretty light lavender color. Ciate nail polishes boast high shine and easy application. This is a full size product - score! 
  • NYX Born to Glow Liquid Illuminator in Gleam - A golden peachy shade that is mega glowy. Can be worn alone or tap it on to cheek bones for a hint of shimmer that's perfect for summer. 
  • Organic Surge Perfecting Face Polish - Gently removes impurities and dirt. Formulated with rosemary and lemon oils to clear the complexion, chamomile and gingko biloba to soothe, and almond oil to soften. 100% free of harsh chemicals, no parabens, GMOS, or artificial fragrances. 
  • Sally's Box Secret Garden Ampoule Masks - These are 2 step masks that hydrate the skin. Step one is to apply the included serum on the face, and step two is the sheet mask. They include olive oil to nourish and diminish fine lines, camellia oil for glowiness, and the microfibers in the mask allow the product to soak in to the skin. 

Have you tried any of these products? Let me know your thoughts!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Joico K-Pak Color Therapy Luster Lock Instant Shine & Repair Treatment

In my haircare routine, I make deep conditioning a priority. It's not something I do every wash but at least once a week, I like to treat my hair to a little something extra. Lately, I've been putting the Joico K-Pak Color Therapy Luster Lock Instant Shine & Repair Treamtent (oof, that's a mouthful!) to the test.  

For reference, I don't have color-treated hair. My hair is naturally pretty healthy, mostly straight and prone to a bit of frizz. 

This conditioning treatment boasts lots of positive results - increased shine, deep repair, vibrancy, and smooth hair that's easy to brush. It's formulated with Manketti Oil (had to look this up - it originates from Africa from the Manketti tree. It's super nourishing and used for everything from wind protection to sun protection) Argan Oil, silk, soy and seaweed extract to help prevent damage during styling.

Even though I don't have color treated hair, I found this to be very nourishing and hydrating to my hair. It has a pleasant smell that lingers in the hair all day and I noticed my hair felt soft and easy to brush without using any extra leave-in conditioner. I thoroughly enjoy using this product and I'd definitely recommend it if you need to give your hair a little extra oomph of moisture and nourishment. 

K-Pak Color Therapy Luster Lock can be purchased at Ulta for $19.99 (4.7 oz) and online at various retailers. 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Bamboo by Franck Olivier | Fragrance Outlet

It's no secret to my friends, I'm a perfume fiend and I'm not afraid to admit it. One of these days I will do a perfume collection post, but it's going to take some time to write up because this girl owns a LOT of perfumes. What I'm getting at is that I couldn't resist the opportunity to try out a new perfume (new to me, at least) when given the chance - and thanks to Fragrance Outlet,  Bamboo by Franck Olivier is now part of my collection. 

For those of you unfamiliar with Fragrance Outlet, it claims to be one of the nation's largest retailers of genuine fragrances. They carry brands like DKNY, Michael Kors, Coach, and Vera Wang just to name a few. They also claim to carry fragrances at a cost lower than department stores. However, that's not true considering they are selling Bamboo for $89 but you can find it all over the internet and at Sears for a measly $40. Do your research before you buy, people! 

Bamboo is not a scent that I would typically pick up for myself, as I tend towards warmer, more sultry perfumes but if you're a lover of fresh, crisp scents this is going to be right up your alley. 

The bottle is  thick sturdy glass with a cool bamboo imprint on the back side. My only gripe is that the silver lining on top is cheap plastic. I don't appreciate tacky packaging for perfumes over $40. 

There's a lot going on in this perfume, scent-wise. It's characterized as a woody floral scent. It has top notes of ivy, violet and black currant with base notes of vetiver, cedar and musk. This combo sounds disgusting, but it's actually really pleasant. There's no better way to describe Bamboo other than fresh. 

This perfume is a perfect spring and summer scent. If you're in to fragrances like Burberry Brit or Marc Jacobs Daisy, I think you'll really enjoy Bamboo, too. 

What's your favorite fresh scent? Let me know in the comments below! 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Covergirl The Super Sizer Fibers Mascara

Of all the endless releases of new drugstore mascaras, there's one newer mascara that has stuck out in my mind as one of  the best. I've talked about it in the past, and that's the Covergirl Super Sizer mascara. If you loved that one as much as I did, it's time to get excited because there's a new version of the formulation called Super Sizer Fibers and it's worth your attention! 

Upon first glance of the brush you'll probably think that it looks too sparse to really do anything to your lashes, but believe me when I say this little plastic brush with tiny nub applicators has got it going on. The bristles start short on bottom and get longer towards the top making it easy to apply mascara to every nook and cranny of your lashes. Despite how short the bristles are, they are still able to carry a ton of product and I can typically get the look I'm going for with only one dip in the bottle per eye.

This brush head is nearly identical to the original Super Sizer mascara, the only real difference between the two  products is that this formula has fibers in it to give added volume and the appearance that you're wearing "falsies". 

The Covergirl website boasts that this mascara will give you 400% added volume, which is probably a bit ridiculous, but I can say my lashes look full, super long and voluminous. 400% more than normal? Probably not, but they do look dang good!

I should also note, typically the idea of fibers gives me the willies. I immediately envision spidery, gross, thick and clumpy lashes, but that is not the case with this. I am able to apply multiple layers without clumping or spidery-ness. Other positives - I didn't experience any transferring or flaking.

I'd highly recommend this mascara. I don't have  much of a preference between the original Super Sizer mascara vs. the Fibers version, both I think are really great and will make your lashes look long and amazing. Another plus is that it'll only set you back about $7.50, which you just can't beat for such a high quality formulation. Find it at your local drugstore or Ulta.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Matrix Style Link | Touch of Texture

Just in time for perfect beachy summer hair, Matrix has released their Touch of Texture line, a branch of their original Style Link line. This line is created with micro-minerals that provide separation, hold and movement to the hair without adding build up or greasiness. 

Texturizers are all the rage lately and if you like to add some feeling and grit in to your hair, look no further than these five new goodies which can all be used in conjunction with other Style Link products. 

  • Grip Definer Texture Cream  ($18 for 3.6 oz) - This texture cream applies grip without adding any nasty stickiness. It adds shape and hold to the hair, providing that perfectly "undone" look. Can be applied to damp or dry hair. 
  • Rough Me Up Sea Salt Spray ($18 for 6.8 oz) - This spray is the key to perfect beachy waves. Micro salts add soft definition to the hair for natural movement. Can be applied to damp or dry hair from roots to ends.
  • Play Back Dry Shampoo ($18 for 3.4 oz) - This dry shampoo not only soaks up oil but also adds grip and texture for a matte finish to the hair. 
  • Mineral Booster Texture Booster ($20 for 1 oz) - This little gem can be added to any Style Link product to create a cocktail that adds grip and texture. You can also use it alone for high definition and maximum texture. 
  • Airy Builder Dry Texture Foam ($18 for 6 0z) - This mousse can be applied to damp or dry hair to create texture and body. It works to hold the hair in place, and also to give body without weighing the hair down or making it feel sticky like many mousses do.

Matrix is a fabulous brand and their products never seem to disappoint me. If you're looking to add volume, texture and grip to your hair, I'd say look no further than the Touch of Texture line. 

Let me know if you have plans to try any of these products, or if you already have! 

Monday, August 1, 2016

July Empties | #28

You guys... WHERE is the summer going? It's slightly depressing that we're here talking about July empties because it means that the summer is flying by and August feels like the end of the season. Ugh. Enough about that.... let's get to the empties. Read through to see what I used up and whether or not it's worth trying out for yourself. What better way to give a review than when you've used something completely up, right? Let's get to it...

  • Michael Todd Charcoal Detox Gel Cleanser (would repurchase) - I'm a big fan of Michael Todd face cleansers, this one being no exception. It left my skin feeling really clean and kept me breakout free, but didn't make me feel squeaky and dry how some cleansers can. I've already bought another bottle. (see full review here)
  • Equate Beauty Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover (would repurchase) - This is Walmart's version of the Neutrogena eye makeup remover, and honestly it's just as good and costs less. It gets waterproof makeup off easily and doesn't leave anything behind. 
  • Carapex Renewal Facial Cleanser (would not repurchase) - I got this sent to me, along with a handful of other products, but this was my least favorite of all the things I was sent. I had some sort of reaction to it that made my neck and face really itchy, so Jake used it up. It has some grit in it so it gently exfoliates the skin and it doesn't have any offending scent. 
  • Origins Plantscription Anti-aging Power Serum (would not repurchase) - This was a free gift with purchase that I'd never tried before. It was fine, but I didn't notice it doing anything for my skin, and for the price I just don't think it's worth buying. I also think Origins is a bit of a greenwashed brand, acting more natural than they really are. The ingredients in this are OK for the most part, but not all of their products are.
  • Barefaced Mud Mask (would repurchase) - I really enjoyed this mud mask, but unfortunately it dried up on me and started to smell weird well before I could get all the way through it. I felt like this really did tackle any problem areas on my face and left my skin feeling refreshed. (see full review here
  • Swisspers Cotton Rounds (would repurchase) - These are always in my empties and they're still great. I get a big pack of them from Costco and use them to remove my eye makeup, apply toner, take off nail polish, etc. 
  • Paula's Choice Resist Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum (would repurchase) - It's hard to say from a sample whether or not it did anything for my skin, but I liked it enough to want to test out a full size. 
  • Benefit Total Moisture Facial Cream (would not repurchase) - I am not a fan of this moisturizer. It's highly scented with a disgustingly fake fragrance and I'm sure it's loaded with gross chemicals. 
  • Batiste Dry Shampoo in Wild (would repurchase) - This is my favorite dry shampoo of all time. It smells like a delicious fancy perfume and it soaks up all the oil in my hair. (See other dry shampoo reviews here and here)
  • Nip + Fab body wash (would repurchase) - This was a decent body wash. It smelled fresh and lemony. Nothing super special, but it was good. 
  • Alba Botanica Coconut Milk Moisturizing Cream Shave (would not repurchase) - This was a weird shaving cream. It had the consistency of a lotion, it didn't really lather up, and overall it just wasn't a good barrier for shaving. I used this primarily on my armpits and opted to use an oil on my legs because it offered far more protection and hydration. 
  • bcBud Moisturizing Hemp & Omega 3 Body Lotion (would repurchase) - I really enjoyed this lotion. It had a subtle fresh scent and moisturized without being greasy or heavy. I liked it enough to include it in a past favorites post.
  • Essence Lash Princess Mascara (would not repurchase) - This mascara sucked. It made my lashes clumpy and it flaked off as the day went on. It's cheap, but not worth the couple bucks it costs. 
  • Estee Lauder Sumptuous Infinite Mascara (would repurchase) - On the flip side, this mascara was amazing. It separated my lashes, added volume and gave me crazy length. I loved this little sample and I'd definitely buy it in a full size in the future. 
  • Covergirl Intensify Me! Eyeliner (would repurchase) - I wasn't so sure about this eyeliner when I first tried it, but it grew on me -- enough to make it in to my top products of 2015. I'd definitely pick it up again. (see full review here
  • Auromere Ayurvedic Herbal Toothpaste (would repurchase) - This has made it's way in to my top natural toothpastes list. It's made with amazing natural ingredients, tastes good, and foams up when you brush and leaves my mouth and teeth feeling fresh and clean. I've already picked up another tube. 
  • L'Occitane Apres-Shampooing Conditioner (would not repurchase) - This was fine, but the smell was a bit too old-ladyish for my taste, enough that I don't want to buy it in the future. It did leave my hair feeling soft, but it's mega scented and I couldn't get over that. 
  • Briogeo Don't Despair Repair Deep Conditioning Mask (would not repurchase) - This was just an OK deep conditioner, but I wouldn't go so far as to call it a "deep" conditioner. It worked like any normal conditioner would, and didn't make my hair feel any more soft or silky like I would expect it to. 
  • Earth Mama Angel Baby Postpartum Bath Herbs (would repurchase) - If you just had a baby, you need this. They look like big tea bags that you throw in the bath and they're full of healing herbs to soothe all the areas that need it after having a baby. It will leave a tea-like film in your bath tub so make sure to rinse it out after each bath. 
  • MyKind Organics Prenatal Once Daily (would repurchase) - You've seen these before, they're my prenatal of choice while I was pregnant. I am still taking them while I breastfeed, but once I'm out I will probably switch to something cheaper. I cared more about how good these were while my little guy was actually in me, and while I still care about the quality of the ingredients I'm putting in myself, I am just ready to transition to something cheaper now that I'm not pregnant. 
  • rareEssence Spa Diffuser in Love (would repurchase) - I love this brand of diffusers because they're made with 100% essential oils, not nasty chemicals like most are. This specific one was made with Rose Absolute, Ylang Ylang and Palmarosa. It smelled warm and cinnamon-y and not overly herbal (if you don't like that sort of thing) and it lasted me for months. I would definitely get this again in the future. 
  • White Barn candle in Sundress (would repurchase) - This was a nice, fresh Summer fragrance that I got a couple years ago and had sitting in back stock. It's described as a combination of day lilies, tonka beans and bergamot. 
  • B&BW candle in Sparkling Limeade (would repurchase) - These little mason jar candles are so cute, and the jars are totally worth keeping around. This smells refreshing, like limes and a hint of sugar. 

That's all of my empties! What did you use up this month? Have you tried any of these products? Let me know in the comments! 
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