August 2017 ipsy Glambag Review

After a very long hiatus, I’m back!

I needed to figure out how I wanted to do this blog. However, it’s still not much of an excuse to be gone for months if this is something I want to commit to. I will try to do better.

But now I want to talk about makeup. I LOVED the theme this month on ipsy. I love the free-spirited, hippie vibes, and I love my bag design. It’s the perfect theme to close out summer with. And as for the products, it was unfortunately very hit or miss. August has been that way for me historically with ipsy. Last August was the first time I didn’t like or love most of the products I received. August 2015 was better, but probably one of my least favorite glambags of that year.

But I want to start off on a good note. ipsy has introduced a lot of good brands to me that have quickly become favorites. SLMissGlam brushes are not only high quality, but they’re gorgeous! They’re so feminine and charming, and I love the different colors. The little green crystals against the pink ferule add a glam touch. I also love that they use synthetic and cruelty-free hairs. This brush is their T35 Precise Blending Brush. I love using this to blend shadow at the out corners of my eyes, or if I don’t want to blow out the shadow on my crease too much. I haven’t tried washing it yet but so far, I’ve had no problems with shedding. I do have another blending brush of theirs that I’ve had no issues with shedding, and I’ve washed it many times. I can’t find this brush for sale individually, but it is part of the Teal Brush Book Set.

Category: Tools

Where to buy:

Value: Unknown but maybe around $10 (Teal Brush Set $325)

Cruelty Free: Yes

Rating: 5 stars

I usually love theBalm. When I first started ipsy I was so thrilled to get these little shadow books in my glambag. Now, I think I’m over them. Unless I’m already thinking about buying the fullsize or the palette it comes in, I don’t really care for individual shadows cluttering what little storage space I have for makeup already. This particular shadow is very pretty however. It’s from theBalm Voyage Vol. 2 palette in the shadw Kuwakaribisha (say that five times fast!) Again, I wasn’t interested in the palette to begin with, so I didn’t really play around with this shadow very much.

It did swatch beautifully however. It’s a pretty white gold shade with little flecks of shimmer. It has the same quality that I expect of the balm. It’s pigmented, not chunky at all. It glided on my skin very smoothly. I think it would make a great highlighter as well. If this was a palette that you were thinking about getting, this shadow convinced me that it’s worth getting.

Category: Makeup

Where to buy: theBalm’s Website

Value: ~$2.63 (theBalm Voyage Vol. 2 Face Palette $39.50)

Cruelty Free: Yes

Rating: 3 stars


Finally I got a mascara. I’m one of those weird people that love getting mascaras in subscription boxes. I throw out mascara every 3-4 months, so I never use up a full-sized tube anyway. If I can never have to buy one again, I’m okay with that. This one is by Make Up For Ever and it’s their Excessive Lash Arresting Volume Mascara. Upon looking at the brush, I didn’t think it would be that volumizing. But oh God, I was so wrong. It builds up very nicely, and doesn’t clump at all like a lot of volumizing mascaras do. It makes my lashes look thick and feathery. I’m so heartbroken that the brand is not cruelty-free, so I won’t be purchasing the fullsize from them. But if Make Up For Ever does become CF one day, this will be one of the first products I’m purchasing from them.

Category: Makeup

Where to buy: and Sephora

Value: $7.35 (fullsize $25)

Cruelty Free: No

Rating: 4 stars

While I was looking at my sneak peak, I had never heard of the brand Vitamasques before. I was getting the Vitamasques Yogurt Mask Duo, one Kiwi, the other Stawberry. Yogurt mask? Sounds like just what the doctor ordered for my temperamental skin. They looked and smelled like real fruit yogurt. But when I applied the strawberry yogurt mask, it felt like I had just applied a tub of Vaseline to my face. It was greasy, felt like it was just sitting on top of my skin and not soaking in, and it even stung a little. Not the soothing, nourished feeling that I expected at all. It turns out one of the top ingredients is mineral oil, and further down the list is dimethicone. These are not ingredients I want in my skincare, especially since my skin is very prone to clogged pores. Plus I want the ingredients of my masks to sink into my skin, no sit in top of a barrier of silicone and petroleum. They’re very affordable, but I’d suggest you’re better off slathering actual yogurt on your face and save the couple bucks (and your pores.)

Category: Skincare

Where to buy: Vitamasques Website

Value: $7.76 for duo

Cruelty Free: No

Rating: 1 star

And last but definitely not least, I was excited to see a Hey Honey product in my bag. This brand is one of the first high end skincare brands I’ve tried, and I instantly fell in love with their Hey Honey Good Morning serum. This is their Come Clean: Propolis and Minerals Facial Scrub. It comes out of the tube very thick, and it’s a bit tough to dispense at first. But as you work it into your face, the scrub breaks down into almost a lotion like lather that leaves you feeling moisturized and soft. It’s not harsh on the skin at all. Peeps with dry or sensitive skin? You’ll love this. I’m going to save this for winter when my skin is drier, because right now I want something detoxifying and more textured. Nonetheless, propolis is great for acne.

Category: Skincare

Where to buy:

Value: $5.14 (full size $24)

Cruelty Free: Yes

Rating: 4 stars

August just isn’t a good ipsy month for me, and the tradition continues two years later. However, I love the actual bag design itself, and I’ll probably at least be getting some use out of the products.

Overall Rating: 3 stars

Overall value: $32.88

Favorite Product: SLMissGlam brush

If ipsy seems like something you’d be interested in, check them out here. At $10 per month, it’s a great way to build your makeup collection, discover new brands, and test products before buying (they offer exclusive discounts and specials, too!)

How was your August glambag? Everything you hoped for, or not so much?


Beauty Heartache РProducts That Were Disappointing 

I find myself in the rather startling situation of having trouble finding topics to write about here. 

I figured I’d try this since I see it YouTube every once in a while. I understand this can be a sensitive topic for some people. I want to say, right now, that a lot of these products have high ratings and they’re brands I love. They’re not bad products, and if they work for you, keep using them! Unfortunately they simply did not work for me, whether it wasn’t compatible with my skin type, tone, etc… My hope is that it helps some people get an idea of what might and might not work for them. 

Now let’s get started.

This mascara was the most meh mascara I’ve ever tried. It pretty much just seemed to paint my lashes black, which is pretty pointless if your lashes are already black. No volumizing, no lengthening, and it could not hold a curl even with a tool.

Now this one…did male my makeup last longer, so I guess it hit the main point of even putting primer on your face. It didn’t color correct the redness in my skin though, which is the whole point of the green tint. And it was oily as hell.

This was unfortunately my first try at Bare Minerals foundation. I guess what I’ve learned from all this is that I should stay away from any foundation with the word “serum” in it, because I just can’t get them to not look pasty on my face no matter how much I blend. This one, interestingly enough, clung to and emphasized dry patches, even though it claims to be very hydrating. 

Same with the concealer that came with it. It makes me look 90 when I wear it under my eyes, as it brings put crepiness that I don’t even have. On zits? Forget it. It emphasizes mine even more. It’s a shame, because I really loved the blush, eyeshadow, finishing powder, and liquid lipstick it came with. The foundation and concealer, most of the reason I bought the set, were duds.

Now this one is my fault. It’s meant to address redness, but not redness from acne scaring like me. It’s a good, gentle, and moisturizing serum, but other than that it did nothing for any of my skin concerns.

And there you have it. Disagree with anything? Again, I’m not saying these are inherently bad products. They just didn’t work for me. Such is the beauty of trying new things.

3 Ways To Take Off Your Makeup, 0 Excuses

You’ve heard it said over and over and over again. But just in case:

Beauty Commandment #1: Remove thy makeup before thou’st retire.

There’s a huge list of reasons what kind of havoc makeup can wreck on your skin if you don’t thoroughly clean your face before bed, including but not limited to clogged pores, infections, and even accelerated aging. 

I’ll admit, there have been times when I was younger that I slept with a full face of makeup on. I always woke up feeling icky. I felt like I might as well have went to bed with my shirt, jeans, and shoes still on. Nowadays, taking off my makeup is as satisfying as taking off my pants and bra when I get home from work. 

Luckily, we have a lot more options nowadays. No more hunching over in front of a sink scrubbing every speck of mascara off your eyes. 

Facial towelettes

Pros: These are the most convenient, in my opinion. There’s no extra stuff needed, so you can take them anywhere. There’s also no rinsing needed with these. They’re super easy to travel with. I like taking some to work just in case my mascara runs or if my makeup is feeling too uncomfortable on a hot, humid day. There’s also a huge variety, all a dressing different skin issues, from dryness to acne. 
Cons: You might find yourself going through these a lot, because if you’re wearing a full face of makeup, you’ll very likely need to use more than one. They also produce a lot of waste. I’ve also run into a problem with some that sting my skin. If they’re specifically for dry or sensitive skin, you might not run into this problem hopefully. 

Micellar Water

Pros: It’s quick and effective. Just soak a cotton pad and run it all over your face. It’s also great for correcting makeup mistakes. Just dip a q-tip in and swipe. In my experience, I’ve never come across a micellar water that burns my skin, unlike some facial wipes. In fact, it’s gentle yet refreshing without stripping your skin of moisture. It’s a great choice for all skin types, but especially sensitive or dey skin types.

Cons: It can burn your eyes. Not all do, but some do. The one pictured above doesn’t seem to sting mine. Also, it seems to have a hard time completely removing water resistant or waterproof mascara. I personally use a separate eye makeup remover whenever I use micellar water, especially if it’s one that burns my eyes. You also might find that you need to use more than one go around with a soaked cotton pad.

Cleansing oil 

Pros: In my opinion, this is the most effective product of the three. It quickly melts off makeup like a charm, even waterproof. And despite what some may be led to believe when they read the word “oil,” it’s fantastic for those with oil skin, as like dissolves like. In short, it  does a great job at removing excess sebum.

Cons: It’s a bit involved, because there are multiple steps instead of just a swipe and done. You need to apply and rub the oil on your face, wet your hands to emulsify it, and rinse and wipe.

February 2017 Ipsy Glambag Review

It’s gloomy and rainy and dark outside. It would have been a wonderful day to stay home. Alas, I still can’t quit my day job. However, I’m thankful that I didn’t have to try to fight with the lighting in my apartment. I finally got a lighting kit, and it is seriously the next best thing I purchased since the camera. No more trying to race daylight and pray that the weather cooperates to photograph products.

I love how February flies by. I do not like February at all. It’s the worst, most temperamental weather. However, it gives me less time to finish things I need to get done monthly, like this review. Yes, this review might seem late, but I really needed the extra time to try out my products. 

Anyone else not too wild about this month’s glambag design? It was just so…meh. I get what they were trying to do, but the hem made it so tiny. Plus it looks like something right out of the early 2000’s. But again, I don’t care that much about the bag. I care about what’s in it. 

Like this guy. This was the thing I was most excited about. I’ve wanted to try It Cosmetics’ Bye Bye Undereye Illumination for a while now. I use the regular formula on many occasions. I got the shade Tan last year in a glambag and I use it on the regular when I’m dark enough. But in the winter and spring when my skin is more pale, I really struggle with hiding my more noticeable dark circles. Even the power of the beloved Bye Bye Undereye allowed some green tints to peak through. And the Medium Neutral shade seemed way too light on me, yet the next shade darker was too dark. It just looked pasty.

But not this. There’s just something about this shade that matches so much better. And it covers my dark circles perfectly without any greens showing through in the middle of the day. It doesn’t crease as bad either. Weird huh?

Another old favorite brand of mine. Luxie, as far as I’m concerned, make the best brushes for a relatively affordable price. They’re synthetic bristles are coated with an anti-bacterial coating, which if you forget to wash your brushes (as I did here), you won’t have to worry about them getting too gross and possibly breaking you out. Go Luxie! 

So here we have a generous (full sized) tube of mascara. I gotta say that Bellapierre has been hit or miss with me. I haven’t tried this mascara because I’m hoarding it for summer, since it’s waterproof. I’m like a makeup squirrel when it comes to hoarding makeup for later in the year.

I’m not sure about the wand though. I don’t usually have much luck with rubber wands because they don’t grab every lash and they just kind of slop on mascara, making my lashes clumpy. But this one seems to have quite a few bristles compared to the other ones I’ve tried. Maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised. 

This I wasn’t especially excited for, but it turned out to be an unexpected delight. This full sized beauty is a natural looking highlighter by Luna Cosmetics.

It goes on the face to leave a natural glow that’s not too glittery. It doesn’t emphasize texture and pores too much, which I really appreciate since I really struggle with clogged pores. It’s insanely frustrating for someone that’s acne prone or has large pores to find a highlighter that don’t emphasize your skin issues. This could be the answer to your prayers.

And now the flop of the bag…

I love getting skincare in my glambag. I’m a skincare addict, as you could probably see from my winter skincare posts. So it’s always a bummer when I get something that I don’t care for. This mask by True Botanicals runs $90 for the full sized product. For that much money, I expect nothing short of a Holy Grail. This was just okay. I’d save your money and buy something for a fraction of the price that works just as good. Plus it stung my skin a little, and the fragrance was bleh!

So…what did you guys get?? I hope it was a good month! 

Does ipsy sound like something you’d be interested in? Check it out here!

Get the Most Out of Your Free Samples

It’s always a nice surprise when you order that thing you ordered, especially if it’s a beauty thing, and in the box are little sample packets. As someone who loves trying out new things, these are always welcomed.

Like these from a beauty bag I got at Ulta. During the holidays if you spent at least a certain amount, you got a TON of these little samples. They hold these promos throughout the year.

Pretty much any company that sells makeup, skincare, and even haircare, will throw in one or two with your order anyway. But if you’re anything like me, it’s rare that I try something once and say, “I have to have it. I need it in my life.” I think I can name 2 products off the top of my head that happened with.

So if you get those little foil or bubble packets and find that you have some left over, there’s a way to savor the moment and make it last and last.

Behold! Little plastic cosmetic jars. I got these off of the Whish app for just a few bucks. They also sell them on I recently saw a box of 100 for $10. You can also wash out your empties if they come in something you can easily refill.

For example, here I have a sample card of Tarte’s Shape Tape. I’ve been wanting to try this stuff FOREVER. 

Take something that you can use to scrape as much of the product out as you can. An orange stick, a popsicle stick…get creative. Here I’m using a steel cuticle pusher and it worked wonderfully! 

And product in foil packets that won’t fit in jars…

These squeeze bottles are likely available at your local Target, Wal-Mart, etc. in the beauty aisle, around where you find travel-sized versions of necessities. You can also buy them on Amazon (what can’t you buy on Amazon?)

And while you’re there, if you find you might have trouble filling these tubes, I recommend picking up a plastic needle-less syringe to help transfer the product.

What are your tips for saving beauty samples? Comment below!

My Recommendations for Dry Winter Skin – part 2

We had a major snow storm the other day. This was hopefully the last shot of winter we’ll be having for the season, although that’s probably a lot to ask. 

I think I actually prefer the winters in Michigan. Instead of getting a few storms that dump three feet on the town, we got a few inches every day. It just didn’t seem as bad, except for winter lasting through mid April and not seeing the sun for 9 months. Okay, they both have their ups and downs.

Southeastern Pennsylvania winter has its days numbered by now, so I’m getting ready to retire my winter body care routine for something more spring appropriate. But this one’s for those with a couple more months of winter left.
Remember this picture? 

Well we’re going to focus on this half.

This is what helped me the most with dry itchy skin this winter, hands down. Tree Hut Body Butter is not only effective, but very affordable. I paid $5 for this tub at Wal-Mart. A little truly goes a long way, and this will last at least a couple months. Plus is smells soooo good.

If my skin or hair needs a little extra help, I turn to this dry oil. Nuxe has really seemed to nail it when it comes to moisturizing. The best thing about dry oils is that they don’t give you that greasy film if you use it on dry skin, and it absorbs pretty quickly. Fair warning though, this does have a strong floral scent. It’s best to get your hands on a sample or try it in the store because if you don’t like the scent, you’re going to hate this product. On the plus side, it can stand in for your fragrance/perfume!

My lips really struggle in the winter time between the general dry, cold air and mouth breathing due to colds and congestion. I use Hanalei’s lip scrub at least once a week. You don’t need much at all of this sugary delight. It doesn’t taste bad either. I quickly follow that up with a lip balm. I use this one by Preventative Measures that I got in my ipsy bag a couple months ago, but any descent lip balm should do. I do this routine at night so I don’t have to worry about rubbing off the product while drinking or eating. While you sleep, it really gives the product a chance to soak in.

And last but not least, what the heck are you going to do about makeup? I hate it when I go from foundation sliding off my face in the summer to looking ashy and clinging to dry patches in the winter. I discovered this very affordable option by e.l.f. This primer is a bit oily, so it will make a big hot mess of you try to use a water based foundation with it. I use it only on my dry patches, and use a different primer on the more normal or oily parts of my face. It’s only a few dollars, so I definitely think it’s worth a shot!

And there you have it! What do you use to combat dry skin? 

My Recommendations for Dry Winter Skin

Over the holidays, the husband and I flew out to visit my dad for Christmas. Another Christmas gift? It was first class both ways. I’ve never flown first class before and, if you book far in advance, the extra money is totally worth it at least once in your life. It makes the trip extra special and a little more tolerable since you’re not packed in like sardines.

But no matter where you sit, traveling by plane can wreck havoc on your skin. The stress, the dry air on the plane, and–if you’re super late or early–the lack of sleep. No good!

And my dad lives in Wisconsin, so it was COLD. Like temperatures around the Artic Circle cold. One morning when we were going out to breakfast, the thermometer read -20F (not factoring in wind chill.) That week, it got up to a balmy 4F one day. So with the airplane ride, the freezing wind, the bitter winter air, and the dry heat from the wood fire heat, my skin FREAKED out. It managed to break out in pimples AND be dry and itchy. I was convinced my skin was throwing a tantrum over deciding to go somewhere for Christmas that was colder than where I live, instead of going somewhere warmer like sane people.

The travel skincare kit I got wasn’t doing anything for it, either. I won’t mention it since it’s not something I’d recommend anyway. It barely kept the dry itchy skin at bay and my zits got worse. My Dad’s aloe plant probably saved my skin’s life for those two weeks.

When I came back, I dove right back into my winter skincare routine. My skin came back to life within 24 hours. 

I know what you’re thinking. “Really? You need that many products?” Well no not really. I’m a self-proclaimed skincare junkie, so my routines are always bordering over the top. Plus I wanted to slam my face and skin with as much moisture as I could. For the sake of not having a blog post that’s a novel’s worth, I’m going to be focusing on only certain items. The skincare. I’ll put up a part 2 later on the other products.

First off, you’ll want a cleanser that isn’t foamy, as foam can strip your skin of moisture. This cleanser from pur-lisse is a cream cleanser that does a good job of removing makeup, too. It’s all flat lol. It’s almost all gone and I really do love it. Most importantly, it doesn’t clog my pores. If you do struggle with breakouts even in the winter, find a noncomedogenic yet moisturizing cleanser! This cleanser is suitable for all skin types.

If you use toner, stay away from alcohol based ones. They’ll dry out your face like a mother-. I chose this one by derma-e because it combats the redness on my face that tends to get worse in the winter.

I find that using a serum at least in the winter is a great way to add in extra moisture while combating specific skin concerns. This one by derma-e addresses redness and sensitivity. 

The undereye is one of the most fragile areas on our face, and it doesn’t usually produce much oil, so it needs extra moisture. Plus, as dark circles become more apparent on my skin when I don’t have a tan, a brightening undereye cream helps. I’m using this one by Arbonne. Word to those who struggle with easily clogged pores: Don’t go all ham with eye cream right away. If they’re too rich they’ll cause little white bumps that are tough to get rid off. Stay vigilant with the area you apply it. 

I have combination skin, but I pick a lightweight moisturizer that’s suitable for normal to dry skin since my face is more parched in the winter. I use this one by pur-lisse (psst, it’s in sale on the pur-lisse website right now.)

Want more hydration? Then I recommend this baby. This moisture mask by Nuxe is my Holy Grail when it comes to battling dry skin. It even helped the dry, itchy, red patches that crept up between my eyes as the weather got cooler in the fall and my skin decided to flip out over it. This mask claims to moisturize for 24 hours, and I feel it lives up to this claim! The directions say to apply, leave on for 10 minutes, then massage into the skin. I massage it in right away like I would a moisturizer, then leave it on all night. My skin feels baby soft the next morning and all day, even when it’s below zero! And best of all, my skin feels truly hydrated from within instead of feeling all greased up like with some moisture masks. 

And just because you can’t see the sun behind those snow clouds doesn’t mean UV rays can’t damage your skin. Always wear your spf! I don’t mind this one by derma-e that feels a bit heavier because to me, it’s like an extra soft face sweater to protect my skin from the elements.

So there you have it! This may seem overwhelming, but it’s my routine that works best for me. Different strokes and all. Keep a look out for part 2 where I address winter skincare for lips and body. 

What do you do to battle wintery dry skin? Leave a comment and let me know!