Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Skip the Brush in Warm Bronze, Pink Flamingo Creme, and Sunset Gold Shimmer by Julep

Disclaimer:  I purchased these.
Yesterday I showed you my June Julep Maven box, and today I've got some looks created using the items I received. Let's start with the Warm Bronze Skip the Brush ($24) blush, which according to Julep is:
A one stick wonder made for luminous, dewy cheeks, but versatile on eyes and lips, too. This soft-focus powder has ultrafine color pearls that go on creamy then set to a long-lasting powder finish. Easy to apply, easy to blend (no brush needed!), easy to keep in your clutch for on-the-go beauty touch-ups.

What it does:
• Ultrafine pearls provide a dewy, luminous glow
• Soft focus formula gives a silky texture and ultra-smooth application
• Crème-to-powder easily blends, then sets to powder and stays put
• Four universal shades can blush, bronze, sculpt, or highlight
I found Warm Bronze easy to work with, and even though the color looks scarily intense when first applied directly to skin, it buffs out nicely with a brush or Beauty Blender.  The cream does indeed transform to a non-tacky satin finish and I did not have issues with it unsettling my foundation.  There are tiny gold flecks in the formula that are visible up close to the naked eye, although they are extremely subtle and do not look like obvious glitter on the skin.
I used this is all the usual places you would apply bronzer to on your face and though it did a pretty good job of warming my complexion with looking super obvious.  Yes, it leans fairly strong on the orange side of the color spectrum and I was concerned about looking to oompa loompa, but it seems to work well with my complexion.
Wear time on my oily skin is about 7 hours in my hot and humid climate, although I find topping it with a powder bronzer helps extend wear another hour or too. Nothing holds up too long in Mobile's brutal summer weather.  Nothing.
The It's Balm Lip Crayon in Flamingo Pink Creme ($20) is my least favorite of the 3 items in June's box, but only because the color is too cool toned with blue undertones to work well with my skin tone.  However, I've been topping it with Le Metier de Beaute's Burnished lipstick, which turns it to a gorgeous NARS Orgasm kind of color.  So pretty.  But first, here is Flamingo Pink on it's own:
It just doesn't suit me.  But topped with Burnished and a bit of By Terry's Baume de Rose balm, I like:
The Sunset Gold Shimmer When Pencil Met Gel eye pencil is a shade that is both unique to my collection and works with my blue eyes (orange + blue = pop), so I'm happy to have this.
The finish is slightly more textured due to the shimmer factor and it does take a few passes and blending well to avoid patchiness, but nothing too laborious.
I skipped the July maven selections as nothing really stood out to me, but that just gives me more time to continuing playing with these before something new distracts my attention!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Midsummer Light: Julep Maven June Box

Disclaimer: I purchased these.
I chose the Modern Beauty box for June's Maven selection, which featured new shades of Julep's When Pencil Met Gel, Skip the Brush blush, and It's Balm.  I also added on the new Viola! Nail Polish Thinner, something users have been requesting from Julep for quite some time but apparently was a challenge due to Julep's 5-free formula.  I've been enjoying Julep's recent cosmetic offerings and needed some polish thinner, so let's take a look!
I'm a fan of Julep's gel eye pencils, which apply easily with vivid, smudge-free color.  Sunset Gold Shimmer ($16) is the newest offering, and I'm pleased that the orange-gold shimmer is not duped by anything else in my sizeable eye pencil collection.  The shimmer is slightly on the chunkier side and can look patchy if applied lightly, but color can be built up for intense, opaque color.  I like it and it's a flattering shade for my blue eyes.
I chose Warm Bronze from the new shades available in Skip the Brush ($24), Julep's cream to powder formula in chubby stick packaging.  It's definitely on the warm end of the spectrum, but fortunately for me it works well with my skin's undertones.
It also sheers out nicely, which allows for either sheer or bold color, depending on preference.  There are tiny gold flecks in this, which while visible to the eye at close range, are hard to detect in other photos or from a small distance. I apply directly to my skin and then use a dense but flat head brush to blend along the perimeter of my face and along the hollows of my cheeks.
For the It's Balm ($20), I chose the cool-toned bright pink Flamingo Pink.  I like the formula but the color is not the most flattering for me, although I found a layering mixture I really like that I'll show tomorrow.
Last up is my add-on, the Viola! Polish Thinner.  I tested it in a Julep polish that I remember thinking could use thinning out, the off white with gold flecked Bunny, and I'm pleased to report that Bunny was much easier to work with but still remained an opaque one-coater.  I'm not seeing the polish thinner on Julep's site, however, so I'm not sure what's up with that.  I seem to remember the price being around $6.
The full retail value of my June box without the polish thinner add-on is $60, making it triple the value of what I paid for it.  Of course, Julep is always running specials so there is really little need to pay full price as long as you are patient and keep an eye on sales. Tomorrow I'll show some looks using all three of the cosmetic items from my June box as well as my impressions after wearing them for the last few weeks, so stay tuned :-)

Monday, June 27, 2016

Vital ET Recovery Body Boost by Le Métier de Beauté

Disclaimer:  I received this as part of the VIP subscription service, which I paid for.
Well, Le Métier de Beauté's Vital ET Recovery Body Boost ($125) is definitely the most expensive body lotion I've ever tried. I can't say I would ever spend that much for this type of product, but as part of the VIP subscription program, I'm game. So, I wonder what makes this baby so special? Let's look at some of the claims:
Redefine Age
Replenish, repair and protect your entire body with Vital ET Recovery Boost – Body. This highly effective form of Vitamin E defends against free radicals. Free radicals are known to damage collagen, create dryness and lead to the development of fine lines and wrinkles. This deeply reparative serum will drive super antioxidants and vitamins directly into your skin, leaving you with glowing, age-resistant skin. 
Key Ingredients:
TPM® Technology. Vital ET®, a patented technology that decreases appearance of redness and swelling while fortifying resistance to inflammation caused by environmental stressors.
Vitamin E in skincare is nothing new, so the patented TPM (Targeted Penetration Matrix) Technology must be the game changer. It was hard to find much detail on this TPM Technology, but it was developed by an Australian drug delivery company called Phosphagenics in 2002 and has 28 patents protecting it. Phosphogenics' other products include opioid skin patches for clinically based pain therapy, so they definitely sound legit. Here's a snippet of what I could find:
Phosphagenics core technology offering is built around the science and application of phosphorylation, a process where the addition of a phosphate group has been found to enhance the bioavailability, activity and safety of existing pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals, as well as to assist in the production of drug delivery platforms.
Obviously, only long term use will truly tell the story, but I can say this is a nicely formulated body lotion/cream that does a good job of leaving my skin feeling soft and hydrated. It has more of a gel than a shea butter type of consistency, which means it's lighter and does not leave any greasy after feel. According to LMdB they do not add fragrance to their skincare, and I could not detect any in this.
The current year's VIP subscription program ends in July, so I've only got one more month of LMdB goodness coming my way.  I did not resubscribe as I'm swimming in product at the moment and have had more than my fair share of unexpected expenses lately (hello, new air conditioning unit).  Hopefully I will not experience too strong of a case of FOMO, but if you are interested, it looks like slots are still available here.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

June Yogi Surprise Jewelry Subscription Box: Solstice Celebration

Disclaimer:  I purchased this.
This year June 20th marks the summer solstice for those of us in the Northern hemisphere, which means the sun is at it's highest point in the sky, it's the longest day of the year and the official beginning of summer.  The Yogi Surprise Jewelry subscription box ($24.99) is celebrating the event with a summer hued necklace and bracelet, plus a mint chocolate chip (kinda) cookie.
I've been quite happy with most of the jewelry from Yogi Surprise, but these two items have a few kinks (literally) that keep me from loving them. The Chakra Love Crystal Healing Talisman necklace ($22) features a vegan leather cord that wants to wrap around itself no matter how much I tried to straighten it out.
The stones could vary and I received a pink quartz crystal, which while pretty, does not look quite as striking as the stone featured in the sneak peek feature from last month's card. I decided to swap out the pink quartz crystal to another Yogi Surprise necklace, and I'm liking how this looks much more.
The bracelet ($28) features yellow jade with a silver metal "om" symbol, and I love the graduated warm colors. The round shape of the stones on the stretchy cord are not a good mix, however, as they do not lay flat on the wrist.
I've got small wrists and this fit snug, which coupled with the standing stones is a no go. Not wanting to waste the pretty, I decided to play jewelry doctor again, and came up with this necklace option using the vegan cord instead.
The chocolate snack for June is a Rawxies Chocolate Mint Heart Bar ($3). The texture was somewhat gummy, which kept me from fully appreciating the good for you ingredients.
Overall, not my favorite Yogi Surprise Jewelry box, although my makeshift jewelry tinkering kept it from being a wash out. July's sneak peek is a Sun Salutation cork bottle necklace featuring Pink Aventurine.  I'm going to reserve judgement until I see it in person, but I'm hoping the second item wins me over :-) Happy summer solstice!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Tiare Jasmine Tea Perfume Oil and Body Milk by Juara

Disclaimer:  I purchased these.
Once the weather starts warming up my fragrance preference shifts towards lighter blends, and white florals with a hint of the exotic seem to dominate. Juara's Tiare Jasmine Tea fits the bill quite nicely.
This exotic fragrance is inspired by the rolling tea plantations of Indonesia at sunrise; cool mountain air and crisp morning dew intertwined with the scent of young jasmine tea blossoms deliver an unmistakeable scent. The heart of the fragrance is built around the Indonesian Tiare Flower and is coupled with delicate Jasmine and Magnolia Petals. Lush, fresh, green nuances of Bamboo and Palm Fronds mix with Violet Petals to create an exotic, crisp, green, floral scent, while a sultry blend of Vanilla, Amber and Musk round out these fragrant flowers.  Source: Juara
I live in a semi-tropical climate (translation: hot/humid with daily afternoon thunderstorms in the summer), which no doubt influences me towards fragrances with tropical notes such as tiare flower, also know as Tahitian gardenia, the flower Polynesian women traditionally tucked behind their ears to signify their romantic availability.
Huge magnolia trees are all over Mobile and during the summer I like to pluck their flowers to keep on my office desk so I can sniff their peppery lemon fragrance throughout the day. The magnolia blended with the tiare and jasmine tempers the sweetness while the bamboo and palm fronds give a milky, sappy quality that feels perfect now that the temps are hitting the 90's and the humidity is sweltering.

I love having the option to layer my fragrance and the Tiare Jasmine Tea Body Milk does a great job of lightly scenting my body while packing an impressive amount of moisture into it's thinner texture.  Looking at the ingredient list helps me see why my skin feels so nice after applying, as it contains a variety of humectants and oils as well as anti-oxidant rich green, white, and black tea.
The body milk ($30) has more of the milky, sappy notes with softer white florals while the perfume oil has a stronger hit of tiare and jasmine.  I can't say that I detect much of the amber, vanilla, and musk base notes listed, as this smells light to me from beginning to end.

The fragrance of the body milk is lighter and quickly becomes a skin scent that requires nose to skin to detect, although I think I tend to go nose blind as I often get compliments on my fragrances after I seem to no longer smell them. The perfume oil ($28) is more concentrated and provides a stronger impact, so layering the two works quite well for a fragrance + soft skin combo.  Quite happy with both of these, and continue to be impressed with Juara's products in general.  You can see my review of their Candlenut Body Creme and Invigorating Coffee Scrub here.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Empties! Products I Used Up in May

Disclaimer:  I purchased these.
The picnic table, my photo backdrop of the last 4 years, bit the dust and is now at the city dump. I'm still figuring out a new setup, but for now, this will do. So let's get this empties party started! I'll be highlighting some items and will provide links to past reviews if available.
This is the 2nd bottle of Julep's Bare Face Cleansing Oil I've finished, and it's growing on me. Julep has such good sales a third bottle will probably be in the future at some point, as it's a solid, economical cleansing oil.
Estee Lauder's Re-Nutrive line impressed me more than I was expecting, although the high prices put it firmly out of my reach.  You can read a full review here.
CosRX is a Korean brand with no frills packaging but solid performing products. The AHA/BHA Clariying Treatment Toner (review here) is a favorite during the warmer weather months, which is about 9 months out of the year here in Mobile.  I've got a 2nd bottle ready to go, and recently bought a few of their other items to give a go.
Neck creams:  necessary or just marketing hype?  I'm not sure I completely buy in to the concept o a separate cream just or your neck, but I did really enjoy sample of the Age Reverse Toning Neck Cream by Exuviance.  It is supposed to restore firmness, tone and definition to the fragile neck and décolletage while helping to correct signs of UV overexposure and aging.  Key ingredients include:
  • Lipo-Amino Acid and CitraFill® help encourage a healthy collagen network
  • NeoGlucosamine® gently exfoliates to diminish the appearance of uneven pigment and dark spots
  • Apple Stem Cell Extract helps preserve healthy skin cells
I liked it enough that I cut open the tube to finish every last drop, but it's $78 for the full size, which is more than I want to pay.
bareMinerals Prime Time Eyelid Primer ($18)works well on my oily lids, and this is the second tube I've gone through.  One thing I don't care or is how small the tube is and how difficult it is to get everything out, so this got cut open as well.  Unfortunately, the formula does quickly harden on contact with air, so cutting it open only got me a few more days use.  I think I'll try something else next time.
The Callex Exfoliating Ointment is gentle but gets the job done, and I like it. Full review here.
I finished 7 sheet masks in May, and the standouts for me were the Snail Bee Hight Content and Donkey Milk Healing Skin Gel Mask Packs.
I'm enjoying trying out all of the masks I purchased recently from Memebox, but I did experience my first skin breakout as the result of the Vita Genic Whitening Jelly Mask.  Perhaps it because I was overzealous and did a clay mask prior to using a sheet mask, but I had lots of white heads the next morning.  Fortunately they cleared up quickly and I'm hoping the other varieties of the Vita Genic masks don't have the same result, as I have 7 masks left.