Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November Empties | #32

I used up a crap ton of things this past month - to the point where my bag was nearly overflowing. Dang, it feels good to get through my backstock of stuff! Can anyone else relate?!

I love empties posts because they're a super efficient way of knocking out a ton of mini reviews all at once, and heck - once you've used the ENTIRE product, it's safe to say you know whether or not you'd buy it again and why. So, read below for a speed dating style review of everything I finished up in November.

  • Dr. Clear Magic Toner (would repurchase) - I got this ages ago in a MEMEBOX, and it was decent. It wasn't anything magical. It's supposed to balance the skin and help combat oil. I don't have really oily skin, but I do think it helped managed the spots that do produce more oil on my face.
  • Origins Modern Friction (would not repurchase) - I hated this face scrub. It's creamy and has little scrubby balls in it that just aren't scrubby enough. It burned every time the tiniest bit got on the very outer part of the inside of my nose, and my skin had some weird reaction to it that made my neck itchy for a few minutes after I was out of the shower. Not worth the price. It might work for you, but it is not a face scrub that works for me. 
  • Epice Purifying Exfoliant (would repurchase) - On the other side, I adored this face scrub. It had very fine, almost sand-like, exfoliant in it and it made my skin feel so soft and clean after using it. I have no idea if this is mega expensive or not, but I would consider buying a full size in the future. 
  • DDF Ultra-Lite Oil-Free Moisturizing Dew (would repurchase) - I love this moisturizer. It's light but moisturizing and it doesn't break me out. If I'm remembering correctly, a full size of this is stupidly expensive, but I would consider buying it in the future. 
  • Josie Maran Whipped Argan Oil Hand Cream in Be Joyful (would repurchase) - This is such a luxurious hand cream, I'd love to have a big size - especially for winter. The Be Joyful scent was pleasant and not too overpowering. Overall, super nice and worth the couple extra bucks for the brand name.
  • Gold Bond Healing Aloe Lotion (would not repurchase) - Wasn't a big fan of this. I used it for my hands and it just felt like it created a layer of lotion on my skin that didn't really do anything. 
  • Laura Mercier Body Souffle in Tarte Au Citron (would repurchase) - These body souffles are so decadent and mega-scented. You can't wear perfume over them, which might be a perk if you want to smell good but don't want to layer lotion and perfume. If you like sweet bakery scents, this would be up your alley. It moisturizes really well and left my skin feeling silky smooth. A full size jar ain't cheap though, so keep that in mind if you're watching your wallet. 
Can you tell I'm trying to get through my endless amount of samples?
  • Garnier Balancing Daily Exfoliator (would repurchase) - I didn't expect to like this all that much, but it surprised me and I really enjoyed using it. My skin looked brighter and felt really clean after using it. I'd definitely considering purchasing this at some point.
  • Biore Charcoal Pore Strips (would not repurchase) - These are shit. They leave sticky black crap all over your nose when you take the strip off. And let's be real - these are actually damaging to your skin. Combat blackheads and clogged pores a different way than Biore strips, people. Not worth it. 
  • Peter Thomas Roth Irish Moor Mud Mask (would repurchase) - This was a nice mask. It looked like I was inappropriately trying to pull of blackface makeup, but aside from that it felt nice and made my skin feel clean. 
  • Yves Rocher Elixer 7.9 (would not repurchase) - Fairly certain this day cream broke me out. Yves Rocher products are really cheap, and I'm sure the cheap ingredients didn't do anything good for my skin.
  • Arbonne Sheer Glow Highlighter (would repurchase) - This was a super pretty cream highlighter that gave a natural glow. It looked amazing in both low light and sun light. I'm not usually one to use cream highlighters, but this made me consider changing that about myself. 
  • Matrix Play Back Dry Shampoo (would not repurchase) - I did a blog post on this line from Matrix this summer, and while this was OK, I wouldn't bother getting it again. I have others I like better for less money. 
  • Redken Extreme Anti-Snap (would not repurchase) - I like the idea of a product like this - one that helps prevent hair breakage and split ends, but unfortunately it just didn't do anything for me. 
  • Pantene Ultimate 10 BB Conditioner (would not repurchase) - I'm not 100% sure, but I think this product weighed my hair down. I only put conditioner in my hair from my ears down, and yet, it seemed like my hair got greasy really fast and was limp and flat when I used this. It's cheap, and you really get what you pay for here. 
  • Joico K-Pak Color Therapy Repair Treatment (would repurchase) - This was a nice deep conditioner. I don't have color-treated hair, but I can still use the nourishment that products like this provide. It smelled nice and made my hair feel good. Full review here.
  • Sunstar Gum Mint Waxed Floss (would not repurchase) - I keep these little minis from the dentist in my desk at work for desperate flossing needs. This stuff is fine, but it's not the best floss. I wouldn't buy it in a full size.
  • Lush Creme Anglaise (would repurchase) - This is my favorite Lush lotion of all time and it's discontinued. I've been nursing this little sample for way too long while I wait for it to someday pop up on the Lush Kitchen site and I can buy a few tubs of it. RIP Creme Anglaise, the most decadent, deliciously-scented, soft-skin-inducing lotion of life. 
  • Prada Candy (would not purchase) - This is kind of a cult scent, but it's nothing special and definitely not something I need a full size of. It's very sweet with hints of musk, so it's actually quite mature despite how sweet it is. It doesn't smell bad, but I prefer more unique scents than this. I don't like to smell like every other woman, and this is kind of one of those perfumes.
  • Bella Organics Vanilla Mint Deodorant Creme (would repurchase) - Long long ago, Bella Organics sent me a sample of their deodorant to test and review. I absolutely adored it (I wasn't paid to say that either!) I bought a 3 pack on Zulily and this was my last of them. This is a natural deodorant that really does mesh well with my body type, keeping me smelling good even on hot and humid days. It is annoying you have to dig it out and apply it with your hands, but it works so well that I'm over that already. The Vanilla Mint is my favorite scent that I've tried. Full review here
  • Urban Decay Eye Shadow Primer Potion (would not repurchase) - Hello old packaging! Can you tell it's time to get rid of this? I did use most of it, but it's time to say goodbye. I know people rant and rave over this stuff, but it's not one of my favorite eyeshadow primers. I've found way better than this, especially for oily eyelids. 
  • Pacifica Alight BB Cream (would not repurchase) - This stuff is way too shimmery and light for my taste. I ended up mixing this in with foundation for a glow and it was OK for that purpose, but I most certainly don't need a full size of this.
  • Up & Up Latex-Free Foam Wedges (would repurchase) - Let's be real, these are the original BeautyBlender. I still love using these with certain foundations and I always have some on backup. I always get latex-free so I don't smell like a doctor office.
  • Swisspers Cotton Rounds (would repurchase) - You already know I love these. I use them for toner, eye makeup remover, cleaning my brushes, nail polish remover... you name it. I buy them in bulk from Costco so I'm never without a pack when I use a sleeve up. 
  • Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture (would not repurchase) - This is such a throwback product. I used to use this in high school, but have strayed away from it. I just don't like it anymore. It smells like sunscreen and I think it breaks my skin out. 
  • Wet n Wild Mega Liner (would repurchase) - This has been a long time favorite of mine, but Wet n Wild went and reformulated and repackaged this product and it just isn't the same, I'm told. I bought a bunch when they got clearanced off the shelves and I'm sadly working my way through them now. 
  • Milani Brow Shaping Clear Gel (would repurchase) - This is an awesome drug store brow gel. It has a small brush and applies easily. It'll hold brows in place without making them feel crunchy. I find it comparable to the beloved Anatasia Brow Gel. 
  • Dior Diorshow Mascara (would not repurchase) - This was a pretty good little sample. It made my lashes look long and full, and the mascara itself actually smells good (weird, I know) but it's expensive and there was just something about it that I didn't love but I can't put my finger on it.  I wouldn't buy a full size tube.
  • Spongeables Pedi-Scrub Foot Buffer in Citron-Eucalyptus (would repurchase) - I like these, especially in spring and summer when I do a lot of walking and I want to give my feet a good scrub. I didn't like this scent as much as their lavender one, but it worked fine and you get way more than 12 washes like it states. 
  • Q-Tips Precision Tips (would repurchase) - I always have these in my vanity drawer. The precision point is nice because you can easily remove stray makeup, an oops with eyeliner, or what have you. 
  • Deep Steep Apple Spice Hand Wash (would repurchase) - I love me some Deep Steep hand washes. They're natural and they typically release some good seasonal scents like this one. The Apple Spice scent was perfect for fall. 
  • Mrs. Meyers Apple Cider Hand Soap (would repurchase) - I loved this seasonal Mrs. Meyers soap. I also loved the fall colored packaging. I hope they release this again next fall. 
  • B&BW Wasabi Apple candle (would repurchase) - This is an older B&BW scent from a couple years back, but it smelled delicious. Let's be clear - I hate wasabi in my food, but the B&BW version mixed with apple was heavenly! 

What have you used up this month? Let me know in the comments! 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Play! by Sephora | November 2016

This month's Play! by Sephora box is themed "Best in Glow" and features products that help combat winter dullness with products that revitalize and perk up the skin. 

For those of you new to the Play! by Sephora subscription, it costs  just $10 per month and you get deluxe sized samples of premium brands sold at Sephora. It's one of my favorite monthly beauty subscriptions. Interested in subscribing? You can sign up here - this is not an affiliate link! 

Here's what came in this month's bag:
  • Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Rose Gold - A long lasting, creamy eyeshadow stick that's pigmented and super soft. 
  • Stella McCartney Pop perfume - A fruity sweet scent, characterized by notes of tomato and violet leaves, plumeria, cedarwood and musks. Definitely more of a young, girly scent in my book. 
  • CoverFX Illuminating Primer - A primer free that gives the skin a glow and is free of silicone. It preps the skin for makeup and improves skin tone. 
  • Sephora Ultra Shine Lip Gel in Pin Up Pink - A mega-shiny lip gloss inspired by gel nail polishes. It sits comfortably on the lips and adds a subtle pop of color. 
  • The Estee Edit Dissolve the Drama 2-in-1 Makeup Remover + Cleanser - An oil cleanser that removes makeup and cleans the face with aloe and cucumber. 
  • Glam Glow Supermud Clearing Treatment - The face mask EVERYONE talks about. Designed to visibly improve the skin and clear breakouts, you can see problem areas being treated by this mask when you apply it. Super expensive, but feels so nice on the skin. 

Have you signed up for Play! by Sephora? Let me know your thoughts on it! 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Hourglass Vanish Seamless Stick Foundation | Review

I don't know what's gotten in to me lately, but I've had this itch to try out new foundations. Even though my beloved Covergirl Outlast Stay Fabulous has done me no wrong, I just feel like experimenting, and foundation is something I haven't played with much. 

So, when I canceled my Ipsy subscription a couple months back, I redeemed all of my points for the Hourglass Vanish Seamless Stick Foundation. Kind of a big leap for me - I don't normally buy high-end foundations because I'm cheap, and I've never used a stick foundation before this one. So I dived right in.

The Hourglass Vanish Seamless Stick Foundation sells on for $46 for 0.25 oz (not a lot of product!). It comes in 26 shades, which is pretty impressive. It's touted as "a long wearing foundation with the coverage of a concealer, fluidity of a liquid, and weightlessness of a powder..." Already, it sounds kind of like my favorite Outlast Stay Fabulous foundation just from the description. It describes that you need very little product to get full coverage, as it claims to have double the pigment than normal foundations. The Vanish Seamless stick works with your body heat to blend in to your skin for an ultra smooth finish. 

One thing to note as you figure out if this foundation would be right for you: I have normal to combination skin. My skin maintains a normal amount of moisture, without many dry patches, and my t-zone gets a tiny bit oily. I'm also prone to breakouts, especially around my mouth. I do have fine lines that certain foundations can sink in to and accentuate. 

Above is the before and after - before I applied anything but moisturizer and primer, and immediately after I applied the Hourglass Vanish Seamless Stick Foundation in shade Blanc (the lightest shade) using a Sigma foundation brush. I applied my typical makeup routine on top of it - bronzer, blush, concealer, etc. and a setting spray. I then wore it to work and for 12 hours of the day. 

Click the image above to see a close up of how the foundation performed, with snapshots from hour 2, hour 6 and hour 10. Initially, application looks great, especially at hour 2. My skin looks radiant and a little dewy, and the tone is evened out. That darn forehead wrinkle isn't quite so obvious at hour 2. Then we look at hour 6, and wrinkles are looking a little more prominent and my face isn't looking so seamless anymore. By hour 10... WOOF. Take a peek at the skin between my eyebrows. The foundation has started to wear away and is looking really cakey. It's settling in my eyelids and in other wrinkles on my face. It's broken down around and on my nose and some imperfections are shining through. 

And really, that's the story of the Hourglass Vanish Seamless Stick Foundation. It looks great if you need to wear it for just a few short hours, but if you want to wear it all day, don't count on looking flawless at the end of the day. This is touted as long wearing foundation and I think that's a stretch. It's on, sure, but it does not look nearly as good as it did in the first few hours. 

The pros: 
  • There are tons of shades to pick from so you're almost certain to find one that works for you. 
  • You probably do end up using less foundation than a traditional liquid foundation, especially if you like a light medium coverage.
  • The packaging of the product is classy and high quality.
The cons:
  • It's not long-wearing as it claims to be. 
  • It wears away over the course of the day, and sinks in to fine lines and wrinkles.
  • It is expensive for the amount of product you get.

I think if you had semi oily skin, or like a light coverage, you might like this stick foundation, but honestly - my recommendation would be to try something cheaper. I think there are far cheaper foundations that perform just as well, if not better, and you won't be out $46. 

Overall, the Hourglass Vanish Seamless Stick Foundation isn't for me. I've used it a bunch of times, and the last time I did, I swore it off. It doesn't mesh well with my skin and honestly, I'm embarrassed by how my skin looks when I have to wear it for more than a few hours. Not my thing, but I don't mind because getting hooked on a $46 foundation is the last thing my wallet needs! 

Have you tried the Hourglash Vanish Seamless Stick Foundation? Let me know how you liked it!

Friday, November 4, 2016

October Empties | #31

Holy cow - my empties bag filled up quick this month. Lots of goodies to share with you, so let's get right to it...

  • Proganix Soy Protein + Caffeine Volume Shampoo (would repurchase) - Last month I used up the conditioner, this month I made it through the shampoo. This stuff was fine. It didn't blow my mind, but it made my hair feel clean and volumized without stripping it. Full review here.
  • Psssst Instant Dry Shampoo (would repurchase) - This will be featured soon in a battle of the dry shampoos so I don't want to get too detailed, but just know I enjoyed this. 
  • Clairol Hair Food Root Cleansing Shampoo (would repurchase) - I absolutely loved this clarifying shampoo. It smells amazing and removes buildup, and it's a better option than some other brands. I only use this once a week or so, so this lasted me forever and ever, but I never got sick of it. Full review here.
  • Schwarzkopf Oil Potion Gold Shimmer Treatment (would not repurchase) - I think this was discontinued, and I can kind of see why. It really didn't deep condition my hair, it didn't smell that nice, it was just sort of blah. The only cool thing about it is that it's a shimmery gold cream that looks cool in the jar. 
  • CC Pollen Anti Aging Serum (would not repurchase) - I purchased this on a whim from Vitacost, and I can't say I noticed any difference in my skin when using this. It had fabulous ingredients, but it just didn't do anything. Maybe with continued use it would, but I'd rather try out other serums instead.
  • Insta Natural Youth Express Eye Gel (would not repurchase) - Let me first say, this is a good product. The reason I wouldn't repurchase it is because it's only good for me in the months my skin needs less hydration, plus this lasts forever and I like to switch things up. If those two things aren't something that you need to look out for, go for this! It has good ingredients and the price is right. Full review here.
  • Exuviance Skin Rise Bionic Tonic (would repurchase) - I was on the fence about this product when I first used it. I brought it back out earlier this month to use up, and combined with a retinol, I saw a noticeable difference in my skin. I'd definitely consider getting another jar of these pads because the ingredients are dang good. Full review here
  • Naobay Oxygenating Moisturizer (would repurchase) - This is a very basic facial moisturizer that I really enjoyed using. I got it in an Ipsy bag, and finally pulled it out just to use up, and not only did this little sample last me forever, but I actually liked using it more than I expected to. It didn't have a scent, and it didn't break me out - both pluses. 
  • Neutrogena Healthy Skin Boosters Facial Cleanser (would repurchase) - I like to keep my skincare WAY more natural than this, but I truly enjoyed using this cleanser. It made my skin feel super clean and fresh, which I loved the feeling of in the morning. I get samples of this now and then in Walmart Beauty Boxes, so I hope I get some more. 
  • Lush Sympathy for the Skin Hand and Body Lotion (would repurchase) - I really like using Lush lotions, and this is a new favorite. I smelled this when I was in Colorado last year, and loved it so much my husband got it for me for Christmas. I used it sparingly and only just used it up. It smells like vanilla, which I love, and even has little vanilla bean granules in the lotion that soak in to your skin. This certainly won't be my last jar.
  • Lush The Sacred Truth Fresh Face Mask (would repurchase) - A great mask for hydration. Full review here
  • Reviva Labs Antioxidant Skin Smoothing Day Cream (would repurchase) - This is actually my husband's daily moisturizer and he likes it. It has good ingredients and doesn't break him out, so he already had me repurchase another one for him. 
  • Covergirl Outlast Stay Fabulous foundation (would repurchase) - You already know this is hands down my favorite foundation of life. I've repurchased this a million times and already have a few bottles on back stock because I refuse to be without it. Full review here.
  • Carmex Cherry (would not repurchase) - I love Carmex, but I do not love the Cherry flavor. The taste takes over my mouth and it isn't pleasant. 
  • Smashbox Full Exposure Mascara (would not repurchase) - This wasn't the worst mascara, but there was more I disliked about it than I liked. The wand was way too big so I got product all over my eyelids, and it took around 3 coats to get the volume I prefer. This isn't worth the price tag in my book. 
  • Rimmel Scandaleyes Precision Micro Eyeliner (would not repurchase) - I only used this a couple times because it's awful. The tip isn't long enough, and it applies so sheer it's laughable.
  • Jafra Hydrating Toner (would not repurchase) - There wasn't anything bad about this toner, but it also wasn't anything special. I think Jafra is one of those pyramid scheme beauty brands, and ya'll know I hate that shit, so I wouldn't bother trying to get my hands on this in the future.
  • GUM Cavity Protection Toothpaste (would not repurchase) - This is a little sample from my dentist. Again, nothing overly special here. I prefer more natural toothpastes than this, and if I weren't to use a natural kind, this isn't my first pick.
  • DKNY My NY perfume (would not purchase) - Not bad, not great. Fruity and warm, but nothing I need a full size of.
  • Babyganics Face, Hand & Baby Wipes (would repurchase) - Let me be clear, I wouldn't purchase these again to use on my son's butt because they suck for that. I would purchase them to wipe off swatches and clean up my vanity, which is what I use them for. They're made with good ingredients and free of gross chemicals.
  • Swisspers Cotton Rounds (would repurchase) - Y'all already know how much I love these. I use them time and time again and I buy them in a mega pack from Costco so I never run out. 
  • Audrey and Lewis Barrier Reef Hand Soap (would repurchase) - I haven't included hand soaps in my empties before, but I figured I'd start. I got this at Marshalls and I enjoyed it. It was very lime-y, so if you like citrus scents, you'd love this.
  • Seche Vite Top Coat (would repurchase) - One of my absolute favorite top coats. It dries super fast and leaves my nails looking mega shiny. 
  • Benefit Porefessional Primer (would not repurchase) - This is a nice primer that helps minimize the appearance of pores. It has a slippery silicone feel, and actually did make my skin look pretty good. I didn't notice it extending the wear of my makeup at all. I don't think I'd get it in a full size, though. 
  • B&BW Radiant Red Maple candle (would repurchase) - I got this candle last year and finally pulled it out -- I'm not sure they brought it back for this season. It smells amazing - like toasted marshmallow and apple. The scent throw was amazing and I could smell it throughout my entire house. 
  • dw Home Apple Cider candle (would repurchase) - I'm obsessed with apple cider scented things this season and this candle lived up to my expectations. It smelled just like cider and had great throw. Extra points for the gorgeous frosty orange/red glass. Wish it didn't have writing all over it so I could save it and reuse it.
  • Yankee Candle Vanilla Chai candle (would repurchase) - This spicy-scented candle was nice, but didn't have quite the scent throw the other two did. If I left my bathroom door mostly closed, I could smell it when I walked in, but not if I left the door open. It was nice though, perfect for fall. 

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