Sephora Play! March Box

This was a great box! There were seven items total: three I love, two I haven’t tried, 1 I don’t care for, and we’ll talk about the 7th in a minute.

Didn’t bother photographing this myself. Again, the paper they use as padding makes everything super dusty and while the boxes are nice the stuff just doesn’t look that great inside it. Still love it, though!

Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper $19

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I love this liner! Love love LOVE it. This is my favorite liquid liner, hands down. The sample size has the little foamy tip, but I love the brush tip on the full-size. Perhaps it’s because that’s what I “trained” with, but I find the brush tip easier to use.

Fresh Soy Face Cleanser $38

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I love this cleanser! I had never tried it before, but needing a new cleanser for my travel bag, I threw this in before a recent trip to NYS. It smells so good, like fresh grass and other scents, it cleans amazingly, and it left my skin feeling great. One thing that didn’t make it into my travel bag was a make-up remover, and this definitely took care of my raccoon eyes the next morning. In fact, trying this cleanser in the Play! box convinced me to take the Fresh duo (includes this and a rose face mask) as my birthday present, instead of the Marc Jacobs liner and lipstick. And I’m usually all about that liner and lipstick!

Sephora Collection: Perfectionist Airbrush Sponge $12

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So I love this, but technically haven’t tried it. At least, not this one that was sent to me specifically, but I got a set of Sephora beauty blenders for Christmas, so I know I like this. I went years being too cheap to invest in one, and now I have 5. None of which I’ve specifically purchased. How great is that? I don’t know the nuances of sponges, but the Sephora brand ones seem pretty good to me.

Maison Martin Margiela “Replica” Beach Walk $25 (Rollerball. $135 for 3.4 oz)

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I mean, it’s not like this is bad scent or there’s anything wrong with it. I just don’t care. It’s supposed to “to evoke a familiar but forgotten moment—a walk along a sandy beach.” but “bergamot, coconut milk, lemon, pink pepper, and musk” aren’t smells that make me think of the beach. Sunscreen, sand, salt water, rotting seaweed and a hint of something fishy are my beach-smell memories (guess who isn’t a beach person?) and like I said, this is fine and unoffensive but whatevs. I can’t even care enough to emphatically dislike it.

Murad Invisiblur Perfecting Shield $80

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Moisturizing + Priming + SPF??? I haven’t tried this yet but it’s hitting all my wants and needs! Too bad about that full-size pricetag though. I know Murad is a great brand but this would have to last a long ass time and basically change my life to get me to switch from the awesome primers that are half that cost.

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Oil $42

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I love Smashbox’s regular Photo Finish Primer. It was the first-ever review I did for this blog! So I’m optimistic that this will be great, but a little concerned about the “oil” aspect. I know Oil cleansing is supposedly a great thing, and I’ve had great success leaving oil treatments in my hair overnight and rinsing them out in the morning. And sometimes I use a quick spritz or Argan oil as my face moisturizer, so we’ll just have to see how this works. I’m apprehensive yet optimistic.

The Final Item

Finally, there was a tiny little tub that you can take to the Sephora store and get a sample of a liquid foundation. When I unpacked the box one of my cats (I have my suspicions as to who…) promptly stole the little tub. Whatever, I don’t feel too bad. I prefer a powder anyways.

This box was definitely a hit for me! I haven’t received April’s box yet, but it’s looking pretty good and I can’t wait to try it!

Sephora Play: First Impressions

I signed up for Sephora Play because the email made me feel special. Yup, that’s all it takes to get me. I’m also doing better than anticipated on the money thing because I got a sweet tax return. Thanks, Obama!

Actually, I should thank Drexel. The only thing grad school is good for is the tax break, and you know, the higher earning potential.

Enough about me, let’s talk about Sephora Play. This is Sephora’s new subscription box, which sends out monthly beauty products that can also be purchased at Sephora.

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The theme for February was “Now and Later,” described as “lip tips, hairstyle savers, purse essentials […] for looking your best day and night.” Aside from one product I didn’t see much now and later. The majority seemed more… reapply as necessary.

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I liked the box and packaging overall, but the white paper left an unattractive white residue on the darker colored packaging of the items and it was surprisingly hard to wipe off. Mostly for that reason I’m going to just use brand photos of the items as opposed to individual pictures.  All prices are the full-size retail cuz fuck me if I’m going to math out what a sample is worth.

Tarte Lights Camera Lashes 4-in-1 Mascara, $21

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Woooo mascara. Didn’t even open this.

Lancome Drama Liqui-pencil in Noir, $23

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This is a good, black eyeliner pencil. Unfortunately for good eyeliner pencils and people who like a lot of text in a review post, there’s a lot more to be said about a bad pencil than a good one. I’m not going to run out and become a liqui-pencil convert… in part because I have enough black eyeliner samples to last my lifetime.

They do give instructions on how to pump up the eyeliner drama from day to night by going for a more dramatic wing, so I guess I see how this is a now and later item.

MUFE Rouge Artist Natural Lipstick in N9 (Copper Pink), $20

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God, I love MUFE lipstick (doesn’t everyone?). They just make such solid, wearable colors. I haven’t ventured very far out of their “my lips but better” shades and don’t own a single full-sized product by them, but they make a damn good lipstick.

Bareminerals Pop of Passion Lip Oil Balm in Plumberry Pop, $16

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Ignoring that something about the name “Plumberry Pop” makes me irrationally angry, this isn’t a bad product. The color isn’t intense, but it’s there (unlike Benefit’s posie balm…) and the forumla does feel creamy and hydrating.

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So here we have the swatches: Lancome Eyeliner, Bareminerals oil balm, and MUFE lipstick

Tom Ford Black Orchid, $45-$165

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This smells great but WTF at the price? A beauty expert says it is a scent for  “the person who doesn’t want to smell like everyone else,” or the person with a lot of extra money. As much as I do like this scent I don’t wear perfumes often and have a huge collection of scents that are rarely worn. I’m giving the sample to a friend who loves this scent though. Maybe I’ll make her write a guest post about her scent-hunting quest.

Bumble and Bumble Pret-a-Powder, $12-$27

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Greasy hair by the end of the day? Throw in some dry shampoo! This is the item that seemed most “now and then” to me. I’m keeping it but haven’t used it yet… it had the misfortune of arriving mere days after my first dry shampoo purchase. I’ve stuck this one in my travel kit, but haven’t traveled yet. Hopefully it’s not too hard to apply a reasonable amount.

So overall I liked Play! and am looking forward to March’s box: The Perfection Collection. I’m hoping there’s some kind of conturing product in the box so I can give that a try, I’m too wimpy to commit to a full-size kit!

I would recommend trying play if you like getting a variety of different items, love getting things in sample size, and have someone who takes your cast-offs. At this time it looks like there is a waitlist for Play! There are also no referrals for the program, unfortunately.

 

Irreverent Reviews: Mary Kay

(This review was originally supposed to go live the same day I found out Aromaleigh had linked to my blog! I pulled it almost immediately when I realize that, despite actually being diligent about saving, WordPress had eaten most of the post. It’s  been hiding in private while I drew up the willpower to refinish it. Very little has changed since the initial posting, certainly my feelings about Mary Kay haven’t! I’m re-posting this so interested parties can see the whole thing in it’s completion)

Lest you think I love everything I try… ugh. So sometime in the recent past a friend from HS who became a Mary Kay consultant out of nowhere. Around the time that started I was working at the grocery store and lashing my hand probably a hundred times a day… which might be a low estimate. I made a Facebook post about how November was causing my hands to freak out and said friend to schill for satin hands. Despite my better judgement (They sell in the Chinese market which requires animal testing) I took up the free sample offer and then apparently I was good enough to be contacted because we had a Skype consultation. I ended up buying the set because I did like it and was desperate to fix my hands. Turns out I had eczema so the only effective treatment was a steroid cream and quitting that damn job. Getting out of food service completely cleared up my problem. But that is ultimately neither here nor there in the grand scheme of this review. The satin hands lotion itself is… it’s not a bad lotion, but it is not some absolutely phenomenal life changing lotion. I would say it’s pretty on par with most of the other decent hand creams I’ve used. it doesn’t leave them feeling greasy but I do find I have to reapply a lot, which is honestly most lotions for me. The rest of the set is a nice exfoliater/or (spellcheck says neither is a word, but spellcheck also does not recognize itself as a word) for your hands and a tacky conditioning cream. I like the exfoliant, and combined with the conditioning cream it does make my hands softer and smoother. You must be careful though, the cream only comes off with the exfoliant, so where you put the cream you must exfoliate also! I’ve gotten out of the shower with tacky, greasy spots on my wrists from where I didn’t get the scrub, and that feels gross. I would probably buy the set again if I ran out in the winter or something. I’ve also heard good things about the satin lips scrub though I haven’t used it. The other face-care samples I tried left me feeling a little bit oily but I used them during the skype call and not like… right in the shower. The cost for a face-care product would be worth it if I knew that I would ONLY have to rely on that product to achieve balance on my “so dry it’s oily” face, but given that my entire adult life has been about frequently switching products before my face can develop a resistance to the formula… I dunno. Experimenting could be really uncomfortable for me financially and facefully. A few months later I entered a contest she hosted on her Facebook page, asking people to rank their personal preference to red lipstick. I gave red a 3 because i feel like it’s so hard to apply well and always draws attention to any and all application flaws (this was before I had tried Besame’s red velvet).

Lucky me, I won that drawing and got to select my choice of lipstick. I opted for the Creme Lipstick in Amber Suede. They also feature(d) a color called ‘Downtown Brown’ which is the worst name for a makeup color in the history of forever, unless there’s actually a color out there named “shitstorm” or “anal.” The website appears to be telling me that the creme lipsticks are discontinued. Perhaps that is why the color I received sucked so much. Well, the color didn’t. “Amber Suede” is one of the most incredible lipstick colors I’ve used (you can see it swatched in this post). Forget the “four hours and a meal” test, this lipstick did not last drinking a small cup of coffee during a one hour car ride… on an exfoliated and primed lip! That, to me, is completely unacceptable. Had I paid, I would have demanded my money back. Also, this lipstick is incredibly drying, to the point of being unwearable. In the event that that event was a fluke I broke it out for a few other occasions only to experience the same drying, non-lasting results. I can only hope that is why they no longer have the product and that they are working to improve the formula, because an established makeup company should not be charging money for a formula that unusable.

Fortunately I found a close color comparison in Bare Minerals Marvelous Moxie Lipstick in Raise the Bar. The formula isn’t as incredible as Besame, but it’s still good.

That and the constant promotion and posting, the fact that my friend no longer seemed to care or want to communicate outside of MK were enough to turn me off the whole company. Besides, when it comes to makeup I’ve been getting better products for better prices with better options from indie companies. The she announced she was trying to selling a grand worth of product in one day. This person is still a friend, and despite my feelings about Mary Kay product I do want to see her succeed! Besides, at this point I had been inspired by the eyeliner in this blog post. Look at that amazing blue color! Blue is my favorite color, I just had to have it! So I shelled out my actual money for some Mary Kay at Play “fluid” liner in Blue My Mind. The color payoff here is, once again, fantastic. The formula is crap. Putting a simple line on my lids makes them feel like they are weighted down with face paint, and the stuff NEVER drives. It took multiple tries and multplie minutes of me flapping my hands by my closed lids to reach a point where I could open my eyes and not destroy the liner. Even then, it was wet enough that one swipe of my finger over the primed liner completely removed it.

I was so bummed, I want fabulous blue liquid liner! I know I spoiled myself by going from “only pencils” to “Kat Von D” because her tattoo liner in Tropper seriously stays on my (primed) lid like it’s a stylish part of my skin, but Sephora tells me that only comes in black, because apparently I’m not allowed to have nice things. Inspired by Brightest Bulb in the Box I picked up some NYX Studio Liquid Liner (in Sapphire) the next time I was in proximity to an Ulta. Color wise I should have gone for the Extreme Blue, but Sapphire is still a very nice color. It is a little tricky to apply but despite Robyn’s warnings and myself not being a liquid liner expert I got a very good application. It has the same consistency as the Mary Kay liner when applied BUT this one dries much faster and has a similar life expectancy to the Kat Von D liner when used on a primed lid. Even on an unprimed lid it stays better than the Mary Kay liner.

So why pay Mary Kay prices? Other than to help out a consultant friend I really don’t know why I’d over pay for shoddy quality. And as much as I do try and support friends, everything I’ve seen from Mary Kay leads me to believe that the course of action is to shut off your social skills and just inundate, inundate, inundate. It’s not a good look, for anyone.

In an attempt to recruit me (not sure if it’s because I like makeup or because I’m a warm body with lady bits), I listened to a recorded message from someone higher up the Mary Kay totem pole, and she spoke about how she was harassed with phone calls after attended the party, and told the woman she didn’t want to “be annoying.” When the woman asked if the woman on the recording thought her contact was annoying, it was concluded that no, frequent unsolicited calls are totally fine. I also spoke with my friend’s recruiter, who seemed very eager to find loopholes in my life and ways to make my current, awesome, non-pyramid scheme of a job seem less awesome. This was immediately after the move, I wasn’t thinking straight at all and I knew that. I mentioned that I had too much on my plate and was given a coy “well there’s never a perfect time!” Yeah, there are a lot of less bad times though. Ultimately I do not want to be a consultant, I do not even want to continue being a customer because I find the company lackluster and abrasive. I leave you with these two links to forum-esque places of mediocre quality which discuss Mary Kay and way the company operates:

Pink Truth

Pink Lighthouse

The Great Makeup Cull: 2.2 Eyeliner

All I really want right now is some time to be sedentary and not constantly embarking on hour plus obligation trips. I want a lazy day sleeping in late with my man and my cat, and I want to be able to devote more time to my fiction without feeling like I’m neglecting “real life” things. Things like the current grad school applications I am floundering to fill out (I will get into library school, I will!). Anywhoodles we’ve got two more parts to go in my makeup cull series, I should have some new fancies arriving soon, and I don’t want this to turn into a strictly beauty blog and I’ve got posts I want to do about Modelland, my new job, some games I’ve been playing, I’ve got some shit to muse over from Game of Thrones, and weddings..

Eyeliner and I have a complicated relationship. Makeup in general and I have a complicated relationship and that’s something I’d like to explore in another post too. Eyeliner was something I wanted when I saw it on other people. It looked great so frequently! But when I tried it on I kinda looked a little like Gerard from My Chemical Romance during the Revenge era and while his use of eyeliner made my little teen heart pitter-patter it did not translate well onto me. I was also always frustrated with my inability to get it off my face following the rare wearings (relevant and worth noting: I did theater, so I wore a lot of makeup in the context of a stage). It was finally in college I decided to give eyeliner another go and decided I could make it work. Shortly after that discovery I read an article in Cosmo talking about the trend of colored eyeliner and that just thrilled me to no end so I rushed right out and bought some Rimmel London eyeliner in “jungle green.” I still have it, still wear it, it swatches like this:

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Then, I bought this blue eyeliner from CoverGirl (it’s discontinued whatever it is)

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Because blue is my favorite color but it didn’t work. Like there’s no swatch because it never left any color behind. So I did the obvious thing and stuffed it in my makeup bag and forgot about it until now when I FINALLY threw it in the trash.

At the same time, I bought some loose kohl eyeliner in a burgundy (?) color from L’Oreal Paris and that’s another one I still have and absolutely adore the look it gives me (even though it also seems to be discontinued), however it is terrifyingly easy to get the pigment on your eyeball, and then you just have to watch it float there.ImageSo we are at the point in my timeline where I move to Korea, and we all know some of my favorite products were discovered in Korea. one of the first things I discovered were gel eyeliners (which I hadn’t heard anything about in the states at that point, though now obviously they are everywhere). I immediately bought a deep deep black and a navy blue from Nature Republic. Despite loving them I didn’t use them very frequently out of fear I wouldn’t be able to replace them, and alas the black dried out without even being half used =( the blue however is still fine and I’ve been making more of a point to use it frequently. ImageNature Republic also supplied me with an excellent black stick liner (that I used up, and I promise I didn’t keep the empty tube!) and a nice twist up brown stick. Still have the brown even though it’s four years old because I have a problem.

I have two other liners from Korea, a sparkly gold and sparkly blue. The blue is from Etude House and is appropriately called a jewelry pencil (I believe it was from a line done in conjunction with KPop group 2NE1). It swatches decent but barely shows up on my actual lids. I kept it to play around with more

. ImageThe other eyeliner is from a store who’s name I never really learned, but it was like a Korean equivalent of Ulta/Sephora. The gold really doesn’t show up at all on my eyes but it’s a barely used liner stick! I really need to bite the bullet on some of these and just get rid of them

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If you were paying close attention you probably noticed I no longer have any black eyeliner. No pictures or swatches for these ones, but two new acquisitions have been made. You may remember me mentioning the Try It kit from my beloved Smashbox. That came with a sample size of their Limitless eyeliner in Onyx. It of course applies fantastically and has a great color and blahblah I’m a documented Smashbox fangirl and no one can take that away from me. It’s an awfully smudgy eyeliner though… perhaps a little too smudgy. My quest to perfect the winged eyeliner lead me to the liquid eyeliner section of Sephora recently, a place I have never dared venture before. I ended up with Kat Von D’s,over Stila’s because the brush tip felt like a safer choice than the felt tip. It seems to be a nice liquid liner. I haven’t really worn it yet, just played around in the comfort of my own apartment, but it looks and feels pretty good so I’m optimistic. I haven’t bought it yet (and I probably shouldn’t because I’m poor) but I’m lusting after this blue Mary Kay at Play liner despite some feelings about Mary Kay I’ll get to in the lipstick post (The “have to have it” feeling came after seeing it in this post by another blogger). I love eyeliners a lot, and I’m more than a little amused that this was the area I’ve had the most success culling, even if there are some I really need to stop clinging to.