Thursday, May 25, 2017

#365 Days of Samples: Week 13

I'm a bit late posting week 13 of my #365 Days of Samples, which I'm going to blame on a busy work schedule and rainy weather. If you are unfamiliar with this series, it's where I randomly select 7 items from my big box of samples each week. Let's see what I managed to use up or am tossing this time.
It wouldn't be a sample week if I didn't have a DHC item, and this week it's the now discontinued Scalp Massage Mask.  When I went online to find out info on the product, I discovered a few videos on scalp massage in general, including one about the DHC Scalp Massage Mask.
I was inspired to do a two part massage after watching the video below, with the first part involving massaging my scalp with coconut oil and peppermint essential oil.
I then shampooed my hair and used the DHC Scalp Massage Pack in the shower. I do experience product build up and this seemed to remove everything while leaving my hair soft and fluffy. I'm going to incorporate a scalp massage with the coconut oil into my routine once a week now, as it's both relaxing and effective :-)  
I finished 3 Farmhouse Fresh Samples: the Agave Nector body oil, Fluffy Bunny Shea Butter, and Crow Catcher. I posted a Farmhouse Fresh haul where I got the Marshmellow Melt Shea Butter for my mother, and I decided to make another purchase so I could get the Fluffy Bunny Shea Butter for myself.  It's a refreshing scent of lavender and mint julep that I adore, and once I used up the sample I busted out the full bottle so I could continue to experience the goodness.

Applying the Agave Nector oil ($18) on damp skin, followed by Fluffy Bunny ($30) gave me velvet soft skin that lasted all day. The Agave Nectar oil has a oat/milk scent that meshed nicely with Fluffy Bunny's lavendar/mint julep.

Crow Catcher Eye Transforming Serum ($46), per the Farmhouse Fresh site,  "uses dermatologist-developed peptides and complex nutrient algae to visibly improve the entire eye area, reducing the look of wrinkle depth by up to 58% in clinical tests with female participants over 2 months. In clinical trials, 91% of participants saw disappearing crow’s feet, lines, and wrinkles - even dark circles and puffiness."  I got about 10 days worth of use from the packet, and I liked it. The serum is light weight but with a lotion texture and absorbed nicely into my eye area. I wouldn't say it's particularly moisturizing, but it sounds like it's more of  a treatment than a moisturizer. I'm not sure any topical reverses wrinkles, but this was nice. No plans to purchase, but I do have several more samples on hand.
The Bobbi Brown Intensive Serum Skin Concealer in Beige 6 was too dark/yellow for my skin tone, so it did not get used.  The butter LONDON Lippy Moisture Matte in Ruby Murray, on the other hand, got worn twice and I thought it was quite a nice matte lipstick. It felt comfortable, non-drying, and lasted a solid 5-6 hours with a stain left after that.
Last up is Angel by Theirry Mugler, a polarizing perfume if there ever was one. People seem to either love or hate Angel, which probably has at least something to do with different skin chemistries. I wore this the obligatory 3 times, and each time I liked it less. First sniff was okay, but after that I found it cloying and borderline offensive. Top notes listed are are melon, coconut, mandarin orange, cassia, jasmine, bergamot and cotton candy; middle notes are honey, apricot, blackberry, plum, orchid, peach, jasmine, lily-of-the-valley, red berries and rose; base notes are tonka bean, amber, patchouli, musk, vanilla, dark chocolate and caramel. I'm sure it's swoon worthy on some, but not on me.
Now, it's time for the items I randomly selected for week 13! New items will be listed first, followed by those I'm still working on:

  1. DHC Resveratrol Lotion (foil)
  2. DHC Resveratrol Cream (foil)
  3. Urban Decay Naked Skin Ultra Definition Powder Foundation in Light/Warm (card)
  4. J'adore Eau Lumiere by Dior (card)
  5. Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels (1 pair)
  6. Verb Hydrating Shampoo & Conditioner (foils)
  7. Black Opium by Yves Saint Laurent (vial)
  8. Skin Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Face Gels for Forehead (1 application)
  9. BECCA Backlight Priming Filter (deluxe sample)
  10. DHC Pore Cleansing Oil (foil)
  11. Sephora Green Tea Sleeping Mask (I guess this is actually a full-sized item)
  12. Dr. D. Schwab Flawless Skin Fluid (deluxe sample)
  13. Ouidad Climate Control Heat & Humidity Gel (foil)
  14. Marcelle BB Cream in Golden Glow (deluxe sample)
  15. Sunshine Oil by Milk Makeup (deluxe sample)
  16. Obliphica Seaberry Hair Serum (deluxe sample)

Monday, May 22, 2017

Lipstick Roulette #4: What I'm Keeping and What I'm Tossing

Time to see what I'm keeping and what I'm tossing from volume 4 of my Lipstick Roulette series. My goal with this series is to work my way through all the lip products in my collection and toss those that are no longer working for me. I learned about this by watching Elle S on Youtube, although I'm sure others do it as well. These are the 7 items I randomly selected 3 weeks ago, plus I found the Clinique Black Honey that disappeared from week 2. It was in my yard, having rolled off the table I use for pictures:-)
  1. Natural Matte Lip color by e.l.f.
  2. Paiette Sparklicity Gloss by Tarina Tarantino
  3. Pink Passion Pop Balm by bareMinerals
  4. Femme Extra Creamy Round Lipstick by NYX Cosmetics
  5. Athens Long Wear Lip Gloss by CARGO
  6. Seductive Honey Pure Color Envy Sculping Gloss by Estee Lauder
  7. Pink Truffle Colorburst Lip Butter by Revlon
  8. Black Honey Almost Lipstick by Clinique 
Natural Matte Lip Color by e.l.f.

Natural Matte Lip Color by e.l.f. ($3) is a nice formula but the color does not look good on me - too cool toned/gray for my complexion. So, this one is getting tossed.
Paiette Sparklicity Gloss + Natural Matte
Topping Natural with the Paiette Sparklicity Gloss by Tarina Tarantino helped, and I do like how sparkly Paiette is, so I'm keeping it. Paiette appears to be discontinued, or at least it's showing as "no longer available" when I Google it. The brand in general is no longer easy to find since they withdrew from Sephora.
Pink Passion Pop of Passion Balm by bareMinerals
I'm a fan of the bareMinerals Pop of Passions Balms ($12), and Pink Passion is a great warm weather color for me. It's definitely staying.
Femme Extra Creamy Round Lipstick by NYX
Femme by NYX is another great warm weather color ($4), and while it's not the most long lasting lipstick, I find the formula comfortable to wear. It's a keeper.
Athens Long Wear Gloss by CARGO
Athens was a GWP from Birchbox, and this is the first time I've worn it. It's got enough color to wear on it's own and the formula is comfortable with a decent (3 hour) wear time. I like it and will be hanging on to it. It looks to be discontinued, although you can still find it online.
Seductive Honey Pure Color Envy Sculpting Gloss
Seductive Honey Pure Color Envy Sculpting Gloss by Estee Lauder ($26) features a formula I really like, and it's a nice lip topper either on it's own or over a lipstick. I'll be keeping it.
Pink Truffle Lip Butter by Revlon
Black Honey by Clinique
I like the Pink Truffle Lip Butter by Revlon, but the formula has changed as it did not want to swatch smoothly. While it still smells fine, I had to smooth it out with my finger for the picture, which tells me it's time to toss. I will also be tossing the Clinique Black Honey, as I don't particularly care for the formula , as it's not hydrating enough for me. So, that makes three items tossed and five kept. Progress, slow as it may be, in refining my collection to the items I truly enjoy.
Now, time for the next round of lipstick roulette items! These are the 7 items I randomly selected for the fifth volume of the series:
  1. Stellar Show Off Lip Lacquer by Rimmel
  2. Rose On and On Color Caresse Wet Shine Stain by L'Oreal
  3. Sunset Beautiful Color Lip Gloss by Elizabeth Arden
  4. 022 Lip Bomb Glossy Lacquer Stain by Mirenesse
  5. Sukriya Color Lip Balm by nyx
  6. Coral Be Legendary Long Wear Lip Lacquer by Smashbox
  7. Candy Apple Colorburst Lip Butter by Revlon

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Empties! Products I Used Up in April

I finished up quite a few products in April, including some full sized items I've been working on FOREVER. So, let's get started! If I've done a previous review on an item, links will be provided.

  • Kate Somerville Clarifying Skin Treatment Toner ($26) has been in my toner rotation for almost two years! It worked well for my oily skin, but then again so does the much less expensive Thayer's Rose Petal Witch Hazel, so I have no plans to repurchase.

  • All four of the next products were part of a Manyo Factory Travel set that I got from Memebox.  The Manyo Factory Deep Pore Cleansing Soda Foam has a higher pH level than I like to use for a facial cleanser, so I used it as a hand wash instead. It worked quite well in that regard :-) 
  • Manyo Factory Pure Cleansing Oil: This is a nice cleansing oil, with a variety of botanical oils and extracts in the mix (soybean, hazel seed, grape seed, olive, jojoba, rice bran, and lavender oils). I enjoyed it but the DHC Deep Cleansing Oil still reigns supreme for me.
  • Manyo Factory Galactomy Clearskin AHA/BHA Toner: I enjoyed this as well, and find it's ingredient list intriguing: Water, Fermented Filtrate Of Galactomyces Yeasts, Aloe Leaf Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, White Willow Extract, Lactic Acid, Fruit Extract, Japanese Pepper Extract, Korean Pine Extract, Usnei Borodulino Extract, Sea Water, Potassium Hydroxide, Witch Hazel Extract, Green Tea Leaf Extract, Citrus Fruits Natural Extract, Papaya Extract, Rose. I would consider purchasing this in the future, as it was my favorite from the travel set.
  • Galactomyces Special Treatment Essence Cream: This was nice, although I can't say it made much of an impression on me. The biggest drawback for the Manyo Factory products for is their short shelf life due to their natural ingredients and lack of preservatives (not a bad thing at all), as I just have so much product on hand. I did make a point of using these items consistently in order to use them up, and I'd say the cleansing oil and toner were my favorites.
  • Tata Harper Purifying Cleanser: This cleanser is supposed to combat the daily wear and tear caused by environmental stressors such as pollution and smog by effectively purging surface buildup and impurities, while maintaining skin’s moisture. In other words, it supposed to clean your skin without stripping it, and it did a good job of that. However, it's $66 for a full sized bottle, which is out of my price range. I did enjoy the sample and felt luxurious while using it.
  • Master Exfoliating Body Wash by Fortune Cookie Soap Co.: I quite enjoyed this fruity shower wash, although I'm not sure how exfoliating it really was. It did lather nicely when using a mesh puff and my skin did not feel stripped or dry afterwards. It also lasted a good 6 months with about 3x's/week use, but it also went bad on me towards the end. In fact, I'm pretty sure it started growing something and the smell was definitely off. So, I would not stockpile these, as the shelf life is definitely limited. But still, I enjoyed it while it lasted!
Something bad is brewing
  • Andalou Naturals DIY Booster SPF 30 Facial Serum: This is the second bottle that I've finished, so you could say it's a favorite. I'm already working on a third, which is sporting new packaging. Good stuff and I'm quite finicky about sunscreens!
  • Algenist Genius Ultimate Anti-Aging Vitamin C+ Serum: My current holy grail vitamin C serum, although I'm still trying a few other brands to see if anything can to it. To date, nothing has, and my wallet is not happy about that ($118 a bottle). I was fortunate to snag this one at half off during an Ulta sale, but now I'm thinking that was more like a gateway drug kind of event ;-)
  •  Sugar Lip Serum Advanced Therapy by Fresh: I liked this, and got really used to using it. Did it do anything amazing? Not really, but I did enjoy using it. No plans to repurchase, although if a good gift set comes around during the holidays, I might.
  • Reve de Miel Cleansing Gel by Nuxe: This is a gentle cleanser targeted towards dry skin, but it worked just fine on my oily skin. I prefer lower pH cleansers as they are less stripping, and the Reve de Miel is a honey and sunflower based lipid-enriched cleanser that was my morning/shower facial cleanser for a good 9+ months. One negative was the overwhelming fragrance, a floral/honey blend that assaulted me every time I used it. However, it's a moot point now, as Nuxe has withdrawn from the US market. Bye Nuxe.
  • Tarteist Lash Paint Mascara by Tarte: did not care for this at all, so am tossing. I found it clumpy and frustrating to use.
    Tarteist mascara
    The standout face masks for me in April were the Donkey Milk Brightening Skin Gel Mask and the bonvivant Botanical masks in Niacinamide & Lime and Collagen & Olive.

    The E.G.T. Timetox and P.D.F. A.C. Defense left no real impression, other than I really do not like two piece gel masks. They do not stay in place like I want and feel rather slimy
    I also finished some three Algenist and and one Dr. Dennis Gross vitamin C serum samples, and will be reviewing the Dr. Gross ones once I finish up all the samples I have
    All of the items below have been reviewed in my #365 Days of Samples series that I typically post every Sunday or Monday, but as you can see, I'm making headway in finishing up lots of samples!
    Last, but definitely not least, is the Yogi Soothing Rose Hibiscus Skin DeTox tea. I love this stuff - it tastes delicious and whether or not it gives my skin a healthy glow, I enjoy drinking it. It certainly can't hurt, and I've already repurchased another box!

    Tuesday, May 16, 2017

    Beautifying Lip Smoother in Blackberry Muffin by Catrice

    Disclaimer: I purchased this.
    I dipped my toe into the Catrice product pool recently, and I've got to say I'm impressed so far. Today I'll be showing you the Beautifying Lip Smoother in Blackberry Muffin ($4.99), which is actually a lovely coral gloss with gold shimmer. Not sure how it got the name 'blackberry muffin', as there is nothing blackberry like about it, but it's all good regardless.
    What intrigued me about this gloss was an Ulta reviewer's comparison of the Beautifying Lip Smoothers to Clarin's Instant Light Natural Lip Perfectors, which I've always wanted to try but balked at paying their $26 price. Both are supposed to be nourishing and provide soft washes of color. A comparison of the ingredient lists tells me both also contain shea butter and mineral oil, with Catrice also listing jojoba oil, while Clarin's has mango butter.

    What I know is that Blackberry Muffin does feel quite moisturizing and comfortable, with a light, non-sticky texture. It wears a short 2-3 hours, which is about normal for me with this kind of non-sticky/light gloss. I like it!
    Blackberry Muffin
    I only see 3 shades listed on Ulta's site and I chose Blackberry Muffin because it looked the most vibrant, and I lucked out with it being the kind of coral pink I like. The gold shimmer is not super obvious unless it catches the light, and then it pops.
    I wouldn't call the Beautifying Lip Smoother super smoothing, as my lip lines are still obvious, but it does have a nice shine and gives lips that plump and juicy look. I quite like it, and with Ulta's frequent sales, think it's definitely an inexpensive treat to check out if you are a gloss fan like I am.