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Monday, October 16, 2017

#365 Days of Samples: Volume 21

Time for another update on my #365 Days of Samples series, where I'm trying to work my way through the surplus of foil and deluxe samples I've collected. This is a series I learned about from YouTuber Elle S. I managed to finish 6 items and am discarding two that I did not like enough to finish. So, let's take a closer look!
I remember Frownies from several years back, which makes me wonder if they were one of the first eye gels on the market. These feature an all natural formula with aloe vera, cactus juice, and niacinamide. I wore them while applying my makeup and they actually worked pretty well as an eye shadow guard, which is not their intended use. I know these can be reused if you spritz them with a hydrating toner, but since they had eye shadow on them I decided one use was plenty. Bottom line, they worked well and I do find that most eye gels will give a temporary plumping action to my under eye area.  A set if three of these reusable eye gels are $29.95, and they are supposed to give you enough uses for 5-7 weeks. I have no plans to purchase.
Um, this is actually a body cream but because the sample is so small and the instructions are in Japanese, I thought it was a face cream and used it as such. Considering I have oily skin, I'm happy to say it actually worked fine on my face in that one time use. I'm currently swimming in body creams so would not purchase, but it does sound intriguing with it's 14 essential oils and phytolipid compound Gripin, which is derived from maitake mushrooms and supports the skin's natural moisture barrier. A full size (2.7 oz.) is $20.
The NuFace Prep N Glow are fancy makeup removing sheets that also exfoliate and hydrate. One side is smooth and the other has polishing micro-dots to help exfoliate your skin. The formula is interesting and features multiple anti-aging ingredients. A box of five is $10, so these are definitely on the pricey side. I rarely use makeup removing sheets to actually remove my makeup and can't see investing in these. Enjoyed trying one though!
I've tried several of these conditioner hair cleansers now, and I just can't get on board with them. The Unwash Bio-Cleaning Conditioner is sulfate and paraben free and is supposed to gently cleanse hair while locking in natural oils and color. It was okay for one shampoo, but if I use it consecutively my hair feels limp and, well, unwashed. So, after 2 uses I instead used it as a shave cream for my legs. At $29 a bottle, that would be an expensive shave cream. Just not for me.
The Estee Edit Pink Peony Overnight Water Pack has been discontinued (the whole Estee Edit line was discontinued, and this item is currently on sale for $25 on the Estee Lauder site), and I did not like this sleeping mask enough to finish it up. The gel formula would frequently ball up on me and I did not feel like it was doing anything, so even though it's been on this list for weeks, I was just not motivated to use it. There are plenty of reasonably priced Korean sleeping mask moisturizers out there if the concept appeals to you.
The Laura Geller Spackle Tinted Under Make Up Primer in Champagne was a pleasant surprise, and I'm pretty particular about my face primers.  Targeted at lackluster skin, this version of Spackle is supposed to brighten and contains skin nourishing ingredients such as licorice root, aloe leaf extract, witch hazel, calendula, and gingko leaf extract. It is a dimethicone based primer, but did not feel too smooth/powdery nor did it ball up on me. It's pricey at $32 and I have no plans to purchase, but overall I liked it.
In general I've had good experiences with amika hair products, and this Nourishing Mask was no exception. My hair felt conditioned and I liked the fragrance, but I cannot say it stood out enough to motivate me to purchase at $28 a jar. I am considering purchasing the amika dry shampoo, however, even though I'm generally opposed to higher end dry shampoos because I can go through a bottle so quickly. But I just may have to bite the bullet in this case, as it was pretty special. Perhaps during the upcoming Sephora 20% off sale, whenever that is.
The last item in this batch of samples is the Miu Miu perfume sample. I used it a good 4-5 times, which was enough to know that it's not for me. It's a floral with lily of the valley, jasmine, rose, and citrus notes. It's not awful, but I did not like it enough to finish the sample.

Okay, time for the 7 new items I randomly pulled from my overflowing box of samples! I'll list the newer items first, followed by those I'm still working on.


  1. L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream (deluxe sample)
  2. fresh Vitamin Nectar Vibrancy Boosting Face Mask (foil sample)
  3. Ouidad Moisture Lock Leave In Conditioner (foil sample)
  4. boscia Purifying White Charcoal Mattifying Treatment Primer (deluxe sample)
  5. DHC Facial Scrub (foil sample)
  6. Marula Oil by John Paul Selects (vial sample)
  7. Gucci Bamboo (vial sample)
  8. Double Take Baked Powder Foundation by Laura Geller (deluxe sample)
  9. bareMinerals Skinlongevity Vital Power Infusion Serum (deluxe sample)
  10. Japonesque Pro Performance Makeup Wipes (foil, 1 wipe)
  11. Sonoma Scent Studio's Fig Tree (vial sample)
  12. Ulta Beauty Mattifying Balm (deluxe sample)

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Drawn In, Decked Out: Smashbox Shadow Plus Highlight Palette Set and Ablaze Review

Disclaimer: I purchased this.
It's that time of year when holiday gift sets are being released at a dizzying pace, and the Drawn In Decked Out Shadow and Highlight Palette Set by Smashbox is the first one I decided to spend my money on. It looked like a good value ($39 with a $77 value) for what you get, as both shadow palettes are full sized and sell for $29 each on their own, plus I've been wanting to try those highlighters!
The set contains two eye shadow palettes, the warm toned Ablaze and the cooler toned Sultry. Sultry is limited edition and available only as part of this set, whereas Ablaze can be purchased separately. You also get a travel sized Spotlight highlighter palette in Pearl, which is one of two highlight palettes developed in collaboration with YouTuber Casey Holmes.
Today I'll be reviewing Ablaze, but expect to see the other two items soon. Ablaze is a great warm-toned palette perfect for late summer/fall, and since Mobile seems be in perpetual summer (it's 90 plus today), it's a color scheme that will work for me for months to come.
The quality of the shadows is really good, with nary a dud in the mix. My only complaint is that there is not a good matte transition shadow in the palette, but I do love all the colors in Ablaze.  You can approach the palette in a quad format, although I tend to mix and match as the mood strikes me.
All swatches were with a brush over Wet 'n Wild's Photo Focus eye primer, which is now my go to eye primer. I did not find the shadow formula to kick up a lot of powder and they applied smoothly. You can build up color easily and I'm especially impressed with the mattes, which blended easily. Relaxed is the same color as my skin, so it does not show up well below.
Relaxed, Siesta, Nirvana, Delirious
Moccasin, Torch, Throwback, Dark Horse
Now, there is a plethora of warm-toned palettes that have come out on the past few years, and I've picked up a few of them recently. I think Ablaze competes well with them and has some shades that are unique, at least to my collection. The more unique colors are the shimmers Siesta, Moccasin, and the satin Torch. There are also some dupes, or near dupes, to a couple of shades in the Renaissance palette by Anastasia Beverly Hills. Here are a few comparisons:
Siesta vs. Mademoiselle from the Fem Rosa She palette by ColourPop. Mademoiselle has a more pink/mauve undertone whereas Siesta is more warm toned, depending on how the light catches it.
Nirvana looks like a dupe (to me) for Venetian Red from the Renaissance palette. Venetian Red is slightly more pigmented, but not by much. Both yield smooth color and are easy to work with.
I also swatched Missy from the Fem Rosa She palette, which is close as well.
Moccasin is darker and warmer than Primavera from the Renaissance palette or Chick from the Fem Rosa She palette. Gorgeous color.
Throwback and Realgar from Renaissance are close enough in color that I don't think you will be able to tell the difference on the eye.
Last up is Dark Horse vs. Cypress Umber from the Renaissance palette, and they are dupes as well. I can't tell a difference.
Overall, a big thumbs up on the Ablaze palette! Here are a few looks I've done since getting the set:
Used the matte cream shadow So Not Sorry by NYX as a base

Monday, October 9, 2017

Palette Random Roulette and Shop My Stash v. 1

It's been raining most of today, and I'm on vacation. So, I decided to try and be semi-productive by cataloging my eye shadow palettes, with the goal of then using a random number generator to select one to use for the next week or so. Once I got started, I ended up putting not just my eye shadow palettes into an Excel spreadsheet, but my blushes, bronzers, highlighters, single shadows, and cream shadows in as well.
Thus has been born a new series, which is a variation of 'shop my stash' but with some of the items being selected using the random number generator. I then incorporated some items that I thought would complement the items randomly selected, plus some of the items from my Project Pan 2017 and Lipstick Roulette series. So yeah, a hodge-podge. But hey, if it helps me meet multiple goals and use some of the many languishing items from my makeup collection, I'm all for it.
So apparently I have 44 eye shadow palettes, including Z palettes with depotted and single shadows. The palette randomly selected is a 6-pan build your own from Urban Decay, with the shadows:
  • X
  • Midnight Cowgirl 
  • Stray Dog
  • Mildew
  • Foxy
  • Free Love
The other randomly selected items include:
  • Waves of White 24 Hr Color Tattoo by Maybelline(limited edition)
  • Rapture Afterglow blush by Urban Decay
  • Rose Garden blush by NYX
  • Moonlight Shimmering Skin Perfector by Becca
The blushes are not ones I would have chosen to complement the eyeshadows, but that's what makes the random roulette aspect interesting. There is also a lack of matte shadows in this mix, so I incorporated a few items that will help in these areas, including some items from my Project Pan 2017 series:
  • Peachy Keen and Naked shadows by Le Metier de Beaute
  • Nectar Ceramide Cream Blush by Elizabeth Arden
  • Monster Super Shock Cheek by ColourPop
Two matte liquid eye shadows will help balance out the shimmer shades from the UD palette:
  • Maplewood from butterLondon and So Not Sorry by NYX
I also pulled the J Cat Beauty baked shadow trio in Greentea Frapp and the Revlon eye crayon in Atomic Nucleaire (discontinued), as they seem to complement the palette color scheme.
Finally, I still have two lip items from my current Lipstick Roulette that I need to wear, and the colors look right for this mix: Fiend by Urban Decay and Forbidden Kiss by L'oreal. Hopefully this experiment will help me both use and weed my collection while also taking me outside my comfort zone. If nothing else, it helped me enjoy a rainy day :-)

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Away We Glow Illuminating Powder in Crushed Rose by NYX

Disclaimer: I purchased this.
I picked up the NYX Away We Glow Illuminating Powder ($10) in Crushed Rose back in August, and I've got to admit feeling a little ambivalent about it. On the one hand, it's so pretty to look at and I love that each of the shades is large enough that you can use them individually if desired.
When all four colors are swirled together, the result in the swatch is a peachy pink shimmer that is right up my alley, and the highlighter shade on it's own is quite lovely. So why am I feeling ambivalent?  They just do not really register on my face and lack that skin enhancing quality that I look for.
I'm not really sure why they are calling this an "illuminating powder" and marketing it as a highlighter as opposed to a blush (it's in the highlighter section on the nyx web site).  Three of the powders are matte and definitely look more blush like than anything to me.
So I dunno. It's not a bad product and I really want to like it more than I do. I tried it again today to see if my initial impressions were off, and applying a generous amount of all four colors swirled together gave a shimmery light golden wash on my checks, so maybe it truly is a highlighter.  That will teach me to read the marketing lingo a bit more closely next time. You can see an unblended dab of the highlight on the tip of my nose :-/
In other news, Hurricane Nate left me with lots of sticks to pick up in my backyard, but no loss of power or damage to anything, for which I'm grateful. Hopefully that will be the last of the hurricanes for this year!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Yes, Please! Pressed Powder Shadow Palette by Colour Pop

Disclaimer: I purchased this.
I've been watching reviews on ColourPop's pressed shadows with interest, but it wasn't until they started releasing these 12 pan palettes that I felt compelled to purchase. Yes, Please! definitely appealed to me with it's color scheme, but . finding it in stock was an issue as they kept selling out. I finally snagged one and as of today it's still available.
I love the cheerful colors of the packaging, although it's obviously not the most practical and will get incredible dirty looking in a short amount of time. The cardboard palette does feel sturdy but does not contain a mirror, but that's fine by me as I rarely use mirrors in palettes.
The shadows do have names but they are on the back of the box and palette, and they read right to left as opposed to matching the position of the shadow, if that makes sense. I had to go on ColourPop's site to make sure I was matching the right shadow to the right name, as it was initially a bit confusing.
Yes, Please! was ColourPop's first palette release and the inspiration for the colors are the "golden hour" time of the day, which I associate with late afternoon when the sun is still intense but starting to set and everything is infused with that golden glow. Obviously, it's an extremely warm toned palette, which is uber on trend right now. There are 8 mattes and 4 metallic shades, which is a really nice ratio IMO.
Full Zip is a nice matte cream color that is good for an all over lid color and to set my primer.  Big Cocktails is a vibrant tangerine orange matte. Champs worked well for me as a transition shade. Bling is a rusty cranberry metallic/shimmer. The formula on all of these was really nice.
Louie is a metallic red with gold shift. Butter Cookie is a pale gold metallic shimmer. Spoiled is a gorgeous brick red matte that is buttery smooth.  GNO is an orange matte. Formula on all of these was lovely.
Mischief is a mustard yellow matte that is so nicely pigmented. Note to Self is a warm caramel matte that I reached for often. Chauffeur was probably the most unique to my collection color and is light orange with gold shift duochrome metallic. French Kiss is a deep warm brown and was the only shade in the palette that swatched a bit patchy.
All swatches were done with a brush over primer, but perhaps the primer did not extend that far down my arm and contributed to the patchiness. I don't remember French Kiss being particular problematic when applied to my eyes, and I've been using this palette for a month now.
Did I mention that the ColourPop palettes are only $16? Considering how nice the formula is, that is very impression indeed. There really is not a single dud in the Yes, Please! palette and it was a great introduction to Colourpop's pressed shadows for me. I've picked up two of their other palettes now - She and I Think I Love You, and I'll be posting reviews of them as well.
Today is my 54th birthday, so I guess I've officially hit my middle 50's. Crazy. My birthday plans have been preempted by Hurricane Nate, which hopefully will not be too bad of an event here on the Gulf Coast. We shall see, as I'm typing this a day before it's predicted to hit. I hope everyone else's day is full of sunshine and happy events :-)