Friday, December 30, 2016

Play! by Sephora | December 2016

I've been subscribing to Play! by Sephora for just over half a year, and it's no surprise that I'm still loving it. December's bag had a slew of good things, setting me back only $10! If you're interested in signing up, click here. (not an affiliate link)

Here's what came in December's box...
  • Sephora Cream Lip Stain in Always Red - A Sephora house brand lip stain that actually kicks a lot of ass. It stained my lips without making them feel like the Sahara and the lasting time was amazing. They are a little pricey though, ringing in at $14, which I feel is a little steep for a house brand product.
  • Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer Primer - Aims to balance skin and perfect makeup application. Also assists with skin tone and increases wear time of foundation. A full size retails for $37 for 1 oz, which is not cheap, but this will probably last you ages. 
  • Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo - A dry shampoo to absorb oil and add body to the hair. Drybar is a great brand, but their products don't come cheap. A full size retails for $23 for a measly 3.3 oz. 
  • Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray - A setting spray that makes your skin look more natural after makeup application and increases wear time. I swear by this stuff and never go without it. It costs $31 for 4 oz, but you can often find sales on this elsewhere (2 for $50 is a common sale at Macy's and Nordstrom).
  • Bobbi Brown Smokey Eye Mascara - A mascara that touts added volume and "super-saturated length" for dramatically poppin' lashes. $30 freakin' dollars for a full size! #toocheapfordat
  • Elizabeth & James Nirvana Bourbon perfume - Ya'll already know this is one of my favorite newer perfumes, worth every penny. For a full review click here

As you can see, the full sizes of all these products are pretty spendy. But that's what I love about Play! by Sephora. You get a chance to try out all these products (for just $10/mo) before splurging on an expensive full sized version! Gotta love that!

What do you think of this month's box? Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Battle of the dry shampoos | Volume 3

I'm always trying new dry shampoos. Why? Not because I haven't found some that I love, but because I know it's an ever-asked about topic when I talk to people, and heck - I can't help myself. I wash my hair two or three times a week, and on the days I don't, I rely on dry shampoo to keep me looking like I did. I've put a few more dry shampoos to the test and I'm ready to give you my verdict. If you're curious about volumes one and two, find them here and here.

Matrix Mineral Play Back Dry Shampoo: I wanted to like this stuff. Full disclosure, it was sent to me, but you know I tell it like it is. This just didn't do it for me. It costs $18 for 3.4 oz, so it's not cheap. You spray it in, it doesn't have a white cast, and it adds texture and soaks up oil..... for a little while. I noticed my hair looking decent for 3-4 hours at work, and by lunch time I looked oily and my scalp felt gross again. It didn't do much in the way of volume either. Overall, this was disappointing for me. I definitely wouldn't shell out the cash for it when there are far better and cheaper drugstore alternatives.

Macadamia Volumizing Dry Shampoo: I'm a huge fan of the Macadamia brand - their deep conditioner is one of my all time faves, so when I saw this dry shampoo I figured I'd love it, too. WRONG. I'm not a fan of dry shampoos that make my scalp feel gritty and mega-textured, and that's exactly what this feels like. This is one to use if you want to rat and style your hair with some volume. I wasn't overly impressed with it's oil eliminating properties, so you can mark my words that I wouldn't be spending $19.95 for 5 oz of this stuff again in the future. (I found it cheaper at TJ Maxx, if you're curious about testing it out for yourself).

Drybar Triple Sec 3-in-1: Another fail for me, and another pricey product ringing in at $26 for 4.2 oz. This product aims to volumize, texturize and work as a dry shampoo. It smells great, kind of sweet like a bakery item. Unfortunately, much like the Macadamia dry shampoo, this one was way too gritty and texturizing and actually made my hair feel dirty. After a day or two of using this stuff, I needed a solid clarifying shampoo to get all of this stuff out of my roots. Not something I'd buy in a full size, for sure. 

The lesson here? You don't have to spend a lot to get a great, quality dry shampoo. See volumes 1 and 2 for some clear winners. If you like gritty, texturizing sprays... heck, you'll love 2 out of 3 of the ones above.

Stay tuned for volume 4 in the future, and let me know if there's a dry shampoo I gotta try! 

Friday, December 16, 2016

Mini MAC haul + swatches

Did any of you cash in on the Black Friday/Cyber Monday deal that MAC was having? They actually offered 25% off a purchase which is unheard of from MAC. I'm hoping they're realizing pretty much every comparable beauty brand offers sales so they're jumping on board, too. I didn't get a lot, but I did get a repurchase of the Fix+ setting spray (not pictured), and then I got a few eye shadows that I wanted to share with you.

MAC eyeshadows are actually pretty cheap if you buy refills - they're only $6 each! Get yourself a Z Palette and you've got a cheap way to house your MAC shadows. I've slowly built up a small collection (look under the MAC tag on my blog for more swatches) and I really like using their eyeshadows. They're soft and pigmented and top notch quality.

The three new-to-me colors that I picked up are All That Glitters, Satin Taupe and Antiqued, shown below from L to R.

All three of these colors are gorgeous, a little shimmery and perfect for every day. Have you tried them?

Monday, December 12, 2016

OGX | Argan Oil Shampoo + Keratin Oil Conditioner

Ok, if you're a YouTube beauty guru watcher, and you follow Melissa Autry, you probably saw her go off about OGX recently. She claims her hairstylist told her OGX products are the bane of the drugstore and they've made her hair brittle and tangly and they're ruining her hair. It was an epic rant of a video. 

I'm here to say I don't buy a word of that. I personally love OGX products. Yes, they send me stuff for free, but I'm under zero obligation to review or even mention them. And I always keep it real. I LIKE OGX products, and I don't believe they damage your hair.

Recently I tried out the Argan Oil shampoo and the Keratin Oil conditioner and I really enjoyed both of them. First and foremost, like nearly all OGX products, they smell so amazing. The Argan Oil shampoo smells perfumey and luxurious and it made my hair feel so clean without feeling dried out. 

The real star of the show is the Keratin Oil conditioner. This stuff smells amazzzzinnnggg and my hair felt silky smooth after I used it. You have to be careful with keratin because too much of it can make your hair brittle, but if you were to use this every now and then, it'll make your hair feel hydrated and smooth. 

Both of these products can be found at the drugstore or Ulta for under $10. They're great for the price, and they have NOT ruined my hair and I don't believe they'll ruin yours either. I'd recommend them through and through! 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Stocking Stuffer idea: Besame Mini Lipstick Set

It's my favorite time of year to peruse the Sephora website. It's loaded with great gift packs that aren't normally there all year long. This year, the Besame Mini Lipstick Set stuck out to me and I knew I had to grab it during the VIB sale. It keeps going in and out of stock on the Sephora website, so check for it here if you're lusting after it like I was. 

If you're looking for a great gift for a lippie lover, or heck - for yourself - Besame lipsticks are amazing. I've talked about Besame lippies for a long time and I've continued to be a big fan. They have amazing wear time (5+ hours), they don't dry your lips to crap, and they are so pigmented and gorgeous. Easily some of the best lipsticks I've ever tried. 

That being said... take a look at the 5 gorgeous lippies you get in this set. 

And here are swatches of all 5 colors...

1930 Noir Red - a vampy black cherry color
1935 Cherry Red - A perfect deep red for the holidays
1946 Red Velvet - A warm bold red 
1969 Dusty Rose - The name couldn't be more spot on
1970 Chocolate Kiss - A red chocolate color

What gift sets are on your holiday list this year? 
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