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


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


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


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)


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


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


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.

So basically you’re paying for their marketing.20160218_223150.jpg

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.



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


Woooo mascara. Didn’t even open this.

Lancome Drama Liqui-pencil in Noir, $23


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


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


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.


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

Tom Ford Black Orchid, $45-$165


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


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.


Happy Birthday to Me!

If you’re reading this, I am not here right now because I am out and about actually celebrating my birthday and spooning with the always fluffy, never watered down Quiche the Kees (and having adventures with Quiche’s owner, my best friend of almost ten years!). And what better way to celebrate that clock creeping closer to 30 than by talking about this year’s Sephora Birthday Present! (for the record, nothing is more wrong than the Sephora horoscope for Taurus).

Last year’s Makeup Forever lipstick and mascara combo was nice (the lipstick was great, but we all know my thoughts on mascara). This year though was a win all around. Two amazing lip pencils from NARS, a brand I hadn’t previously had the chance to try. If the lip pencils are any indication of the quality though, then I am impressed!

The colors are Cruella, an awesome, flattering red, and Rikugien, a pinky/nude that is also very flattering. Nude lips are not a thing I can typically do as they make me look more “iZombie” and less “glamorous celeb.” On me this ends up as a “my lips but better” color.

A helpful inforgraphic lovingly crafted in MS paint

A helpful inforgraphic lovingly crafted in MS paint

These are a little bit drying, I  have to admit, but they are very creamy to apply and long lasting. Given that there are more drying products out there that are less spectacular to wear, this seems like a fair trade off to looking awesome. If you’re a Beauty Insider+ and haven’t hit your birth month yet, you have something awesome to look forward too!

Cruella on my lips

Cruella on my lips

And a very happy 215th birthday from this Library Science student to the Library of Congress! You don’t look a day over 95.

Shadow Lust

The other day I had to go out of town for a dinner date. It was ill-planned in it’s location (having been rescheduled) but I was of course willing to go out of my way to see a college friend who lives overseas. Manbeast and I got an early start, both for traffic and navigation concerns and also for the opportunity to spend some time in the ginormous mall. This is one of those malls that has a Sephora, a MAC, a Lush, and a Bare Minerals all as stand alone stores, and that’s not counting the number of stores specializing in soap, perfume, and hair products (lush could possibly be counted as such), nor does it count kiosks in stores like Macy’s and Nordstrom (or the beauty counters that already  exist in those stores). I was clearly just in this mall for fun, not cuz I could afford to buy anything.

I was able to make a (quick and easy) product return to Sephora and also poke around all the other stores. I went into Bare Minerals to check out their foundations, but they didn’t have my match in  stock so I just ended up wandering. Bare Minerals was the first loose shadow that I ever bought and I do love it, however I’ve been working on making my shadow collection Indie Only (through the act of using up the other stuff I have). I’ve also never really paid much attention to the pressed shadows offered by Bare Minerals. They didn’t really excite me. Until I poked at this one. The product is their READY 2.0 eyeshadow. The color duo is called The Vision, and the specifically coveted color is Mirage. The thing is, that picture doesn’t even come close to doing Mirage justice. It has crazy levels of pigmentation. Calling it a duochrome doesn’t seem to cover how multi-faceted the color was! As I made this exquisite discovery the mall was closing and I had my dinner date to catch. I was hoping I’d be able to hop onto Sephora when I got home and order it quick while there double points sale was still on, but alas The Vision is not one currently offered there (or at Ulta). I do have the FAB card with Bare Minerals so it’s not like I’m totally out of points if I buy from there. I’m trying to justify the $25 expense but really, what a color! 

In a sort of unrelated question: Is there are quality difference in terms of the Ulta and Sephora brand makeup? Googling this just brings me comparisons of the two stores in broad, general terms. I want to know who has the better store-brand products.

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:


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


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


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.