Play! By Sephora Unboxing October 2016!

play-by-sephora-october

Hi everyone!

I have a look into the October Play! By Sephora box.  In case you don’t know, this is a monthly $10 curated subscription box featuring samples of different brands available at Sephora.  The theme for this month is The Cool Cut, with products that truly stand out from the crowd and destined to become mainstream with breakthrough formulas.

october-play

How cute is this Lipstix and Chill bag?!

Let’s get into the rest of the contents!

Skin Inc Pure Revival Peel 

An advanced, non-abrasive peel that is supposed to gently exfoliate skin to reveal a bright and renewed complexion.  The active ingredient is AC-11, which is derived from cat’s claw and helps gently exfoliate.  As an esthetician, I have a different expectation for a peel.  Personally, I didn’t see a difference with this at all and it actually left behind a sticky feel and residue. Not impressed at all.

Christophe Robin Regenerating Mask with Rare Prickly Pear Seed Oil 

A conditioning hair mask that strengthens strands while enhancing color and shine.  The unique ingredient in this is prickly pear oil that comes from the seeds and contains over 80% fatty acids that provides an unparalleled amount of deep nurturing oils to hair.  This mask it quite thick and has an interesting smell.  When I used this mask, I found that it did leave hair shiny but it didn’t have a conditioning effect as I assumed it would.  It does not state that it’s supposed to condition hair so it’s best to mix in your own conditioner with this mask to get knots out.

Smashbox Always On Matte Liquid Lipstick in Driver’s Seat 

This matte liquid lipstick claims to last 8 hours and have a water-resistant, non-feathering formula. Jojoba, apricot and sunflower oils are included to provide a non-drying finish.  The shade I received was Driver’s Seat which is described as a warm pink however I kind of find it to be a terracotta-red type shade.  The shade is gorgeous and it is highly pigmented.  This does come off when drinking and eating food and I do find this formula drying to lips.  If you’re looking for a true matte liquid lipstick, then definitely check this one out.

drivers-seat

Blinc Mascara Amplified 

What makes this mascara special is the innovative “tube technology” that coats lashes with easy-to-remove, tiny water-resistant tubes that won’t run, smudge or flake.  Removing this mascara is simple as you only need warm water and a cotton round or ball to remove.  I’ve used this mascara before as part of my simple makeup routine and I love it for a natural look.  I find that it doesn’t provide much volume though.

Belief The True Cream Aqua Bomb 

This South Korean skincare brand is made with Scottish botanicals and based on the research of Duncan Napier, a Victorian botanist from Edinburgh.  This lightweight gel-cream is meant to tighten the look of skin and sink in for a smooth, supple feel.  It can also be used as a mask and tissued off after 5 minutes. I love the feel of this cream and it does feel very lightweight and refreshing when applied.  However, I did notice that as I was using this, my face started to breakout.  I’ve discontinued use and will try again to see if this was the source of my breakouts.

Yves Saint Laurent Mon Paris 

Inspired by a love for the sophistication and allure of Paris, this scent layers fruity and floral notes over a musky base.  It contains notes of bergamot, pear, raspberry jasmine, musk and patchouli.  My sense of smell hasn’t been the best so I haven’t tried this one yet but I will update this once I’ve had a chance to give it a fair try.

sephora-end

Overall, I’m happy with this month’s box and look forward to receiving November’s.

What did you get in your box this month? 

Stephanie 

 

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September Birchbox Unboxing 2016!

september-birchbox

Hi everyone!  The last subscription box of the month is here and this month’s theme was all about multitaskers.

Take a look below to see what I received!

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Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser

A creamy cleanser that sweeps away dirt and makeup while gently exfoliating.  This product was paired with a muslin cloth to aid in the removal of it, although you can remove it separately. First off, I really love how this product feels- so very creamy and luxurious.  However, it did leave a film behind and although I tried to remove it with a different cleanser, it never really went away.  It kind of made me breakout a little too.  I will try this again once the weather cools down.

Coola Classic Face SPF 30 Cucumber Moisturizer

An eco-friendly, lightweight sunscreen that has a cucumber scent.  This is a chemical sunscreen that has antioxidants like evening primrose oil and acai which are a nice addition.  It doesn’t feel heavy at all but as much as I like Coola products, I’ve been receiving them a lot lately and would love to explore other brands.

Milk Makeup Lip + Cheek in Perk

This lip and cheek stick melt on contact with body heat for sheer, buildable color.  The sheer coral shade is a great option as a cheek color or lip shade.  I prefer to use it as a cheek shade and it goes on nicely and blends out evenly.  I will be trying this out further to see if it causes breakouts or not.

milk-perk-swatch

Oribe Glaze for Beautiful Color

A lightweight formula that protects and adds gloss to hair ans strengthens and nourishes hair with watermelon, lychee and edelweiss.  I’m a fan of a few Oribe products so I was curious to see how this worked since I have color treated hair.  This did make my hair feel softer and left a nice, glossy sheen behind.  However, most Oribe in shower products cause a little bit of a reaction on me and this made me slightly itchy.  I might just use it sporadically to minimize the reaction time as I was impressed with the results.

Bonus: Oribe Shampoo and Conditioner for Beautiful Color

While I really like the Oribe shampoos and conditioners (hello amazing scent and lovely feel!), I do seem to have a reaction to them as my hair and body start to itch.  I decided to hold off on these as I tried the Oribe glaze and didn’t want to increase the risk for a reaction.

Tocca Florence Eau de Parfum

Notes of grapefruit, bergamot, jasmine, blue iris, blonde wood and white musk make up this scent. Unfortunately, this was a no-go for me as the scent of jasmine was a bit overwhelming.

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Overall, this box was just okay.  I could do without the perfume and while I appreciate the sunscreen, I have plenty samples to last me a while.

What do you think of this month’s Birchbox? Will you be keeping your subscription?

Stephanie 

 

Play! by Sephora Unboxing July 2016!

Play by Sephora July

Happy Tuesday everyone!  How was your weekend?

The July 2016 Play! by Sephora is in and I must say, I’ve really been loving these curated boxes and the cute bags they come in. The theme for this month is Effortless Summer and I think the featured brands were spot on.  Here’s the breakdown of what was included.

First Aid Beauty Face Cleaner

This cleanser is rich in antioxidants and botanicals.  This cleanser lathers creamy and is free of harsh chemicals, parabens, phtlates, alcohol, fragrances and artificial dyes.  I’ve tried this cleanser before and it didn’t work for me.  It kind of made my skin itch so while I liked that my face didn’t feel super dry afterwards, it wasn’t for me.

BeautyBlender blotterazzi 

A cushion blotter that is designed to remove shine and absorb oil, you can wash and reuse this as you please and it’s great to smooth away cracks or cakey texture that makeup can form on your face.  I really love the Beauty Blender so I was happy to see this one in the box.  I used it once and it absorbed some of the shine but not as well as I thought.  I need to use this a few more times-maybe I used it wrong?

Benefit Cosmetics Dew the Hoola Soft Matte Liquid Bronzer  

Based off of the popular Hoola Bronzer, this liquid version is lightweight and shimmer-free to create a warm radiant look.  I’m a fan of the original bronzer so I’m uber happy that this one was included and I wasn’t disappointed.  It’s subtle and blends out nicely that gives a very natural look.

Dew the Hoola

Benefit Cosmetics Dew the Hoola swatch

Nest Fragrances Citrine

Describes as, “layers of fresh lotus flower and freesia mingle with bright citrus and a base of precious woods.”  I like this fragrance but not my favorite and I wouldn’t go out of my way to purchase it as it’s not really my style.

Ouai Wave Spray 

This weighless texture mist gives hair an effortless, undone look while adding volume and shine.  I’m addicted to the smell of this as it leaves hair smelling soo good.  Combined with other products, this does a nice job of keeping curls in place.

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer

An iconic primer for normal to dry skin that keeps helps keep makeup in place-a must for the summer! I’ve used this primer before and I like it but because I have combination skin with a tendency to be oilier in the summer, it doesn’t really provide a mattifying effect and I’m a shiny mess by the end of the day.

Overall, I’m happy with box. 🙂

Sephora Play July

What box did you get this month? 

Stephanie 

 

Play! By Sephora Unboxing June 2016!

Sephora Play June

 

Hi everyone!  I’m excited to bring you a peek and review of the June Sephora subscription box. This curated box is $10 a month and you receive 6 deluxe size samples from prestige brands.  There’s currently a wait list so if you’re interested, visit the Sephora website to add your name to the list.

The theme for this month is minimalism for a low-key summer look.  Let’s take a look at what’s included.

Sephora Main

Bumble and Bumble Don’t Blow It 

This hair creme is said to add body and “enhance fine to medium hair textures for a laid-back, air-dried style.”  I have curly hair and while this provided it some definition, on it’s own, it didn’t hold up.  My hair frizzed up and I had to pair it with other styling products.  I think it would work better on wavy or straight hair.

BareMinerals bareSkin Bronzer 

A liquid bronzer that can be used by itself or customized with your foundation to give you a sun-kissed glow.  I loved this product.  I used it to softly contour my face and although it looks dark, it blends out nicely without looking orange.

Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Mascara

A bestselling mascara, this helps to lengthen and volumize the smallest of lashes with its specially designed brush.  Personally, I am not a fan of this mascara at all.  The formula burns my eyes and somehow I find that this tangles/clumps my lashes so much.  I gifted this one away.

Becca Backlight Priming Filter

Easily the product I looked forward to most when my box arrived.  It’s a shimmering makeup primer that helps to blur imperfections and create a luminous look.  I loved how this paired underneath my foundation to create a nice glow and I found it worked nicely as a liquid highlighter.  I made sure to use powder over my makeup to keep my skin from looking overly shiny as I have combination skin.

Tarte Taretguard 30 Sunscreen Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 30

The esthetician in me is of course happy that a sunscreen was included in this box.  An antioxidant- infused physical (non-chemical) sunscreen, this provides both broad-spectrum protection and moisturizing benefits.  This sunscreen feels almost like a serum that absorbs quickly and is a bit on the oily side.  So far, I haven’t experienced any breakouts from this though and it mixes well with foundations.

Tocca Beauty Florence  

This romantic perfume, “conjures long-ago Paris with a sophisticate blend of bergamot, violet petals and blonde wood.”  I didn’t care for this scent much.  When I looked it up on the site, I noticed it also had notes of ivory gardenia and jasmine, both of which I really dislike.  In order for me to like a perfume that contains jasmine or gardenia, these scents can’t be prominent and unfortunately that was the case with this one.

Swatches of the primer and bronzer.

Sephora June Swatches

Top-Bottom: Becca Backlight Priming Filter and BareMinerals bareSkin Bronzer

I was pretty happy with this box as it included some great brands that are perfect for a glowy summer look.

Sephora Flatlay

What did you think of this box? 

Stephanie 

Play! By Sephora Unboxing May 2016!

Sephora Play May

Hi everyone!

I was recently scratched off the waiting list for the monthly Play! By Sephora subscription box and couldn’t resist giving it a try.  This box is $10 a month where you receive 6 deluxe size samples from prestige brands. This is a curated box so you can’t choose what to receive but with so many amazing brands carried at Sephora, you’re bound to receive something you like.

Let’s take a look at what’s inside!

Sephora 1

Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Kimchi 

The Amuse Bouche Lipstick is a new formulation for Bite Beauty that, “provides saturated lip color with weightless coverage and a citrus flavor made from fresh pressed fruit.”  I really love the citrus scent to this and the shade Kimchi is described as a shocking pink.  You can tone down the shade by blotting down and applying some lip balm.

Korres Wild Rose Sleeping Facial 

This is an overnight mask that is supposed to moisturize and brighten the skin thanks to the vitamin C found on here.  I had a bad experience with the Korres Greek Yoghurt line so I am a little scared to try this one.  My skin has been a little bit more oily so I may save this for when it’s feeling dry.

Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine 

Notes of blood orange and geranium are found in this scent that is supposed to bring to mind relaxed mornings, sunrises, and soft sea breezes.  It’s classified as zesty, energizing and playful. I’ve spritzed this a few times but I can’t seem to bring myself to love it.  It’s a bit overpowering and not really my type of scent.

Swatch

Top-Bottom: Bite Beauty Kimchi and Tarte Lip Crayon in Latergram

Here’s a swatch of Kimichi and Latergram. (See below for description of Latergram).

Sephora 2

 

Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask 

I was excited to see this mask as it was included in a previous Birchbox and I really loved how soft and manageable this made my hair.  Read my review here.

Tarte Tartiest Lip Crayon in Latergram 

This is a mauve colored retractable lip pencil that has a matte finish. It’s purpose is to help prime and line lips for a perfectly contoured look.  Personally, I haven’t jumped on the lip contour trend and as of now, I don’t plan to.  However, the staying power on this lip liner is incredible and it’s highly pigmented.

Origins Maskimizer + Drink Up and Clear Improvement Masks 

I haven’t had an opportunity to try these yet but basically it’s a kit that has a charcoal mask for deep cleansing, a hydrating mask for moisturizing and a primer for the face mask that’s supposed to help it work better.  I’m a little bit skeptical of the primer as it’s only ingredient is a marine algae complex and it may work good for hydrating but not necessarily help the mask work better.

So far, I’m happy with this subscription box! 🙂

What are your thoughts on Play! By Sephora? 

Stephanie 

 

 

 

March Favorites 2016!

March Favorites

It’s the end of March guys!  Can you believe it?  This means it’s time to see what my favorite products of this month were.  Let’s get started!

Makeup March

Laneige BB Cushion

I received this sample in a Target Beauty Box and I absolutely love the finish it provides.  It’s enough to cover up my redness while still maintaining a natural and satin look.  It’s a bit pricey  so I’d love to try out the L’Oreal one too and see how it compares.

IPKN Flash Cream Radiant Primer

This product was included in my January Birchbox and while it wasn’t initially my favorite back then, I tried this on when my skin looked a little lackluster and it gave such a pretty glow.  I’m still not a fan of the scent, but this is a nice, subtle product to use when you need a bit of a pick me up.

NYX Intense Butter Gloss in Apple Dumpling 

Another Spring 2016 shade that I picked up at the NYX store, I love how pigmented these glosses are as well as inexpensive.  You literally can just swipe this on and go as you’ll get opaque coverage with a glossy finish.

Dr. Lipp Miracle Balm 

There’s always room for a lip balm and I really love this one.  The formula is thick but spreads easily without feeling goopy on the lips.  It nourishes skin and helps keep them feeling soft and hydrated.

Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Eyeshadow Palette

I’m in love with the creamy pigmentation of this formula as well as the neutral colors.  For a full review, click here.

NYX Apple Dumpling

Above is a swatch for NYX Intense Butter Gloss in Apple Dumpling.

March Faves

beautyblender

I purchased this last year and while I used it here and there, it’s been pretty much on the back burner until now.  I’ve been using the beautyblender regularly and there’s no cakey foundation here.  It really helps to blend everything in.

Dermalogica Hydrablur Primer

I picked this up when I went to the Dermalogica Headquarters and I’m so happy I did.  Although I don’t experience much hydration from this, it really smooths out my skin’s surface and helps minimize the appearance of my pores. Definitely provides a smooth canvas to work off of.

Joico Color Balance Blue Shampoo

A few weeks ago I dyed my hair and got highlights.  I was advised to buy a shampoo that would help prevent a brassy hue and after visiting my local beauty supply store, I found this shampoo.  It’s supposed to neutralize brassy/orange tones to maintain lightened or highlighted brown hair.  It literally lathers up blue and kind of stains your hands with a blue shade. It  reminds me of that scene in Bride Wars where Kate Hudson’s hair turns out blue.  Fortunately, this does rinse off clean and after a minute or two, the color washes off from your hands-no need to wrap your hair with a shirt or book an emergency appointment with your hairstylist. So far, so good.

Hair Color

Here’s a picture of my highlighted hair though it’s a bit lighter now.

What are your March favorites? 

Stephanie 

 

Best of Beauty 2105 Part II: Skincare and Hair Products!

Best of Beauty H

Welcome back to part II of my Best of Beauty 2015 segment where I’ll be covering skincare and hair products I’ve enjoyed throughout the year.  Let’s get to it. 🙂

Skincare

Cleanser

Monarch Beauty Herbal Milky Cleanser

Love using this creamy cleanser when my skin is dry and it also doubles as a makeup remover.

Renee Rouleau Purifying Face Wash

This unscented cleanser deep cleans skin without leaving skin stripped of moisture and will last you a long time.

Toner

Monarch Beauty Transforming Toner

A soothing mist integrating green tea and chamomile that helps calm skin and restore skin’s pH levels.

Rhonda Allison Cucumber Spritz

A light toner that is perfect to take on the go to refresh and hydrate skin.

Facial Moisturizer

Skin Script Cacteen Balancing Moisturizer 

This medium-weight moisturizer contains prickly pear cactus to help heal and is rich on olive oil fatty acids that help retain moisture in the skin.

HydroPeptide Power Lift Advanced Ultra-Rich Moisturizer 

When my skin needs a little bit of extra moisture, this one is perfect to use as the thicker consistency glides on skin without making me breakout.

Eye Cream

SkinMedica TNS Eye Repair 

The fast absorbing and light texture makes this easy to work with plus the blend of peptides, retinol and vitamin C and E help firm, brighten and smooth the eye area.

Renee Rouleau Total Eye Repair 

Another fast-absorbing eye cream that contains hyaluronic acid to hydrate skin and works very well under makeup and concealer.

Exfoliator

Kate Somerville Exfolikate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment 

One of my favorite go-to exfoliators, this contains several acids and enzymes to exfoliate skin while cinnamon helps blood circulation.

Sunscreen 

Dermalogica Dynamic Skin Recovery SPF 50

This product streamlines my morning skincare routine as it’s a moisturizer and sunscreen in 1.

Mask

Dermalogica Sebum Clearing Masque

Perfect for spot treating, this has kaolin and bentonite clays to this soak up extra oil and salicylic acid to treat breakouts.

Body Moisturizers

Skinfix Ultra Rich Body Butter

An unscented moisturizer that absorbs quickly and allows you to customize it with your favorite essential oil.

Lush Cosmetics Charity Pot

Another great moisturizer that helps lock in moisture and the ylang ylang cocoa butter scent is soothing.

Hair 

Shampoo

Acure Organics Repairing Shampoo Moroccan Argan Stem Oil + Argan Oil

I received a sample of this in a Target Beauty Box and I really liked how it cleans hair without taking away too much moisture-crucial for curly hair!

Tessa Water Colors Shampoo in Molten Bronze 

Love using this color depositing shampoo about every week or so to help refresh my hair color.

Conditioner

Nelson J Beverly Hills Argan Oil 7 Moisture Healing Mask

This hair mask helps smooth out the frizz factor from my curly hair and makes detangling easy.

Dry Shampoo

Bumble and bumble Pret a Powder

This travel sized option quickly blends into the hair, absorbing any excess oil.

Klorane Extra Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk

Fairly unscented, this also helps absorb extra oil in hair without leaving behind a white residue.

Shine Spray

Dry Bar Sparkling Soda Shine Mist

Adding shine to hair is very easy with this portable spray and it leaves hair smelling amazing.

Heat Protectant

Treseme Keratin Smooth Flat Iron Smoothing Spray

The best affordable heat protectant spray that makes straightening my hair easier and leaves it smooth and shiny.

Are any of these your favorites too?  Let me know in the comments below!

Stephanie