Influenster’s Holiday VoxBox

For the past month, I’ve been reviewing products sent to me from Influenster, a site anyone can join in order to be considered for their seasonal “VoxBox” based on your social presence. I was excited to be included in their Holiday giveaway and would definitely encourage anyone interested to give it a try – it can’t hurt!  Although, you should know that in order to be considered for any future boxes, there are thing (fun things) you have to do in order to stay qualified. I like these because most of the beauty subscriptions I get are limiting in the sense that they only work with certain vendors and they are obviously mostly hair/skin products, whereas Influenster works with a lot of lifestyle brands as well. Check out my reviews below!

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HOLIDAY VOX BOX:

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NYC New York Liquid Color Lipshine $2.49

I received this sample in ‘Nude York City’, a fairly deep neutral color that borderlines on brown.  The shade wasn’t right for me and the smell brought me back to my sixth grade obsession with lip smackers, but for $2.49, it’s totally worth stocking up on some bolder colors for lipstick topcoat.  I like ‘Fashion Avenue Fuchsia’ and ‘Prospect Pink’.

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Kiss Nail Dress $6.99

*Use code voxboxhol for 50% off and free shipping

I love an accent nail and there’s no easier way to get it than using a nail sticker.  I got the leopard pattern, but love some of their more feminine prints like the flowers and gold embellishments. They come with 28 strips, so they last a while, especially if you’re not applying them to all 10 fingers.

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Goody Quikstyle Brush $11.99

My favorite item in the box! My hair is really temperamental and because it’s so thick and curly, most products that promote faster drying time double the volume of my hair and leave me with a frizzy mess. I was SO pleasantly surprised to see that this brush didn’t and actually did take the excess moisture out of my hair without any negative side affects. I like using it right out of the shower and then air drying or using it while blow drying (takes about 10 mins less time than usual), followed by straightening.

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Quaker Real Medley Oatmeal + $24.74/12 pack

I’m usually rushing in the morning, so I’m always eager to try something that starts my day off right, meaning healthy and delicious. These are SO easy to make – you fill with water and microwave for 45 seconds, then stir and let sit for 1 minute and have real chunks of fruit/oats in them. I tried ‘Cherry Pistachio’ and since I’m not really a fan of either of those, I didn’t love it, however their other flavors sound really good (Apple Walnut, Peach Almond, Summer Berry), so I’m definitely buying again!

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Montagne Jeunesse Fruit Smoothie Face Mask $1.50

I was really optimistic about this sample. Maybe because the thought of finding a mask for under $2 would be thrilling, but I didn’t have a good experience with it. The smell was a little artificial and although I liked the thickness and hold after 10 minutes, I took the mask off to find a bright red face. I usually don’t have strange reactions to these types of things, so it was a little alarming. Some of their other masks, containing avocado and less harsh ingredients may be in my future, but I definitely won’t try the brand again without testing it on a small area first.

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SoleSociety approx $50-100 depending on style

*Use code influenster25 for $25 off 1st purchase through Jan 31st

I have mixed feeling about this site. Mostly because I don’t really trust the fit and materials. I think you can score every once and a while, but you have to know, most of the time, you get what you pay for. I wouldn’t buy a solid leather or patent leather from this site without really examining and looking for reviews on those particular shoes because they can definitely come looking cheap, but I think if you’re careful and pick something without studs (they’ll probably fall off), $25 isn’t bad for a pair of flats or simple booties.

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EBOOST $28/20 packets

I really don’t like most powdered energy supplements, but definitely realize flavor has a lot to do with it.  I tested Pink Lemonade and thought it tasted more like medicine (Airbourne specifically) than a refreshing drink. I tried adding more water, but couldn’t even get through half of it. Other flavors are Orange and Acai Pomegranate.

 
 
 
 
 
 
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Unreal Stila Sale

Drop everything you are doing you’re doing right now and go onto Stila’s website.  They are having a blowout warehouse sale like I’ve never seen!  I use their foundation (normally $36) and coverup regularly (normally $20), which is on sale for $8 and $5.50!!

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I bought the following four products (was tempted by much, much more) and here are my reviews on these new steals:

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Natural Finish Oil-Free Makeup $8

I like to blend this with a lighter weight foundation, but use it regularly and definitely recommend it for full face coverage.

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Cover-Up Stick $5.50

Hands down my favorite Stila product.  I’ve been using this for years because it covers up unexpectant blemishes flawlessly.

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All Over Glimmer Powder $10

I was in desperate need of powder and am so happy I didn’t shell out $35 for one at Sephora before I found this.  It has more shimmer than most loose powder, but I like the glow it produces.  Definitely worth more than the cost.

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Lip Enamel in Joy Red $7

 

I had never tried Stila’s lip enamel before, but have been meaning to pick up one in ‘Giggles’, an amazing bright pink color (find it here).  When I saw this deep red, I had to get it even though I’m normally skeptical when it comes to a gloss for something I normally want an opaque look for.  I was pleasantly surprised to try it and find the consistency is thicker than you’d imagine and produces amazing, long lasting color.

 

Total: $30.50!!!!  That’s less than I normally would be paying for just the foundation or powder – so exciting!

Check out the sale for yourself by clicking here.

 

 

 

Can’t Live Without Makeup: Daily Essentials

This Summer was filled with back to back commitments.  I’ve managed to fill in every spare second with visits with close friends and trying out new local restaurants.  What I haven’t been great with, however, is ear-marked!  No worries though, long flights and non wi-fi locations have left me with piles of magazines with turned down pages and as we head to Fall, I’ll be preparing posts in advance to be sure you’re getting your daily fill!

All the travel also forced me to minimize my daily essentials to only what I absolutely need, which is always a challenge for me.  I listed below some of my favorite products, and although I definitely like to switch things up, I know I’ll be ok if these items are packed in my purse!

Can’t Live Without Makeup (in order of how I apply):

Benefit Total Moisture Facial Cream $38

Smashbox Photofinish Luminizing Facial Primer $38

Laura Mercier Moisture Supreme Foundation $43

Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer Kit $33

*I like how this one has two colors – not all skin tone is the same and it’s also useful when you’ve gotten some Sun or in my case a faux tan 😉

Korres Wild Rose Mineral Foundation $28

Smashbox Fusion Soft Lights $30

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush $25

Stila Eyeshadow Trio $28

Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner $15

Benefit Cosmetics BADgal Lash Mascara $19

LORAC Cream Lipstick $19

Tory Burch Dash Large Brigitte Cosmetic Case $75

RODIN Olio Lusso

With a couple weekend getaways coming up, I’m always on the lookout for great sample sized products to make my away-from-home beauty routine more manageable.  I’ve been a huge fan of RODIN Olio Lusso for a while now, after testing out their various oils a few years back.  When I discovered they were offering a limited edition Travel Kit $60, I instantly knew it would be a must have – especially for Summer trips where climate changes and red eye flights get the best of my skin and hair.

*Comes with sample sizes of their Hair Oil, Face Oil, Body Oil, Crema Hand + Body Lotion and Perfume.  That’s all of the products they offer, except the Lip Balm $30, which I’ve also been curious about.  Anybody tried it?

July TestTube

Here’s the deal.  TestTube is a beauty subscription that only comes every three months as opposed to every month and instead of breaking up the payments of around $10/month, you are charged close to $40 every quarter.  To me, those things are cons, but the benefits far exceed them all.  They provide the most information about the products, the most samples and many of them full size.  I’m continually finding they introduce me to new brands and products I probably wouldn’t buy, but should because they are great quality.  I always do my reviews starting with my favorites and counting down to the one I liked the least, but I genuinely enjoyed each of these things as opposed to every other beauty subscription where I have at least one or two I don’t like at all.
July TestTube: (in order of my favorite to least favorite)

Mally High Shine Liquid Lipstick in Orchid $19/.12 fl oz (received full size):  I’m partial to lip color, and the fact that I don’t own many in the lilac family, I was thrilled to receive the full size of the Mally gloss.  Mally is a brand that’s kind of blowing up… and for good reason.  The company was started by celebrity makeup artist Mally Roncal.  This particular product claims to be a primer, gloss and liner in one tube and I have to say – it’s super long lasting, not sticky and the colors are amazing!  **Note: this is a subtle light purple/pink color.  Some of the other shades would be more dramatic depending on what you’re looking for.

Olay Pro-X-Clear Complexion Renewing Lotion $30.99/2.5 fl oz clarifying cleanser, 1.7 fl oz skin clearing treatment and 1.7 fl oz complexion renewing lotion (received .24 fl oz):  When you sign up for TestTube, you fill out a survey that personalizes your samples, so you get products to go with your hair color and skin type, but sometimes I swear they’re reading my mind.  Because this Summer has been particularly busy and has come with its share of stresses, my skin has felt the brunt of it.  I’m currently tackling some pesty zits that ironically tend to show up at the very worst times.  This was the only product I’ve tried over the last couple weeks that hasn’t burned, but seemed to have moisturize and tone down the redness.  I definitely would buy this full size!

Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Serum $15.14/1 fl oz (received full size):  First of all, this product smells great.  I’m very particular about scents.  There’s nothing worse than something smelling artificial or overbearing, but I’m always pleasantly surprised when something is refreshing.  I’ve been using it under my moisturizer and it feels great going on.  I’m making an effort to take better care of my skin, preventative care included, so I enjoyed adding this product to my daily routine.

Lumene Time Freeze Firming Night Cream $21.99/1.7 fl oz (received .5 fl oz):  When it comes to a firming lotion or mask, I like to actually feel it working.  When I’m leaving something on for 20 minutes, I like it to stiffen up and really work on my pores, but when it’s a cream I leave on overnight, a happy medium between barely there and super charged tightening is key.  I like that this cream has a substantial weight, adds tons of moisture to my skin and doesn’t fade within minutes of applying it.

It’s a 10 Miracle Leave In Product $17.99/4 fl oz (received 2 fl oz):  I’ve used a few It’s a 10 products in the past and have not been overly impressed, I’m all for a good frizz fighting detangler.  It definitely helped with knots, but I’ve found other similar products are more effective in the frizz department.  I think this would be great for someone with hair that knotted easily, but didn’t have as thick hair as me.  I’m using this in my dream life – beachy waves and slight tangles because I just surfed all morning and need a quick comb through before I head to my successful studio… if that’s your life… this product is for you and also – please be my friend.

Neutrogena Brightening Eye Perfector in Light $11.19/4.9 g (received full size):  The color is a bit off on this one for my skin (maybe that’s why I didn’t absolutely love it), but the coverage is good.  I don’t have particularly dark eyes or circles, so it’s never been a really important product for me, but for someone that does, I think it would definitely help.  The key to this is to start with only a little of it – it’s easy to layer too much on and look cakey.

Hydroxatone Instant Effect 90 Second Wrinkle Reducer On The Go Singles $44.95/15 packets (received full size):  I’ll admit, part of the reason for the low rating is because the packages are practically child locked (or I’m just weak), but it’s a pet peeve of mine when packaging is hard to open… especially for daily singles!  It definitely does tighten, which is great, but it’s also a bit sticky.

 

Bubble Bath

Summer is supposed to be about relaxation and taking time to have some fun.  Somehow, ever since the first day kids were rejoicing that school was out, I’ve been trying to stay afloat and juggling more work commitments than ever before.  I’ve managed to spend a couple evenings here and there doing things I’ve wanted, but for the most part, this Summer is far from indulgent.

The other day I happened to have an hour to myself and although I am absolutely a shower person, I decided to force myself to use my bath for the first time since the lease was signed.  I lit candles, I played music and even turned my phone on silent!  With bubbles flowing, 20 minutes of soaking felt like luxury.

My 7 Favorite Bubble Baths:

Soap & Glory Calm One Calm All Bubble Bath $14

*Most standard and all around best one in my opinion.

 

Johnson’s Baby Bedtime Bubble Bath & Wash $4.99

*WARNING: You may fall asleep in the tub.  You should probably tell someone you are taking a bedtime bath before using.

Philosophy Cinnamon Buns $16

*WARNING: You may instinctively start shoveling the bubbles into your mouth with the warm, gooey scent of Cinnamon Buns.

*DISCLAIMER: This products tastes nothing like Cinnamon Buns.  It tastes horrible… I’ve heard.

   

Lush Bubble Bar – The Comforter $9.95

*Really good for when you want to relax, but don’t want to be put to sleep.

      

Lush Bubble Bar – Turbo Bubble $6.95

*This makes your bath GLITTER!!!!!!!  That makes me happy just reading it.

         

Lush Bubble Bar – Sunny Side $6.95

*This makes your bath GOLD!!  I mean, this is good stuff.

    

Aveeno Active Naturals Stress Relief Foaming Bath $5.59

*Love it after a long day of work.

 

My Last BeautyBox5 Review

That’s right.  I threw in the towel.  Not because I think BeautyBox5 is bad, but like I’ve said before, I definitely think it is important to test out different beauty subscriptions so you can find the right one for you (we all have different needs and preferences… and this one just isn’t exactly my style.  So from now on, I’ll only receive monthly boxes from Birchbox, Glossy Box and Test Tube.

It’s actually funny that my last BeautyBox5 was my favorite.  It featured some great products, but nothing that compared to what the others were sending (for me), so I decided to stick to my gut and respectfully discontinue my subscription.

June BeautyBox5 Review:
*in order of best to worst

Everyday Minerals Blush in ‘Girl Friday’ $6.99/mini jar (received full size) – There’s no doubt I have a thing for blush.  What I love even more is layering different colors.  Powders make this really easy.  The ‘Girl Friday’ color is really nice because it’s a little deeper than my normal range of colors that I buy, which makes accomplishing a more dramatic look easier.  Everyday Minerals is a company I’ve liked for a while now.  They have beautiful colors and they are light enough where you can play with them and not look crazy, but instead layer for a darker color, giving you more control.

The All Natural Face Vegan Mineral Eyeshadow in Just Peachy $3.99/5 gram jar (received full size) – I definitely unfairly pre-judged this one.  I’ve had really bad experiences with vegan cosmetics before where I’ve seriously felt like I was using something so ridiculous like grains of salt on my eyelids and have even broken out from a similar product, BUT I have to say I love this color and I’ve been using it daily.  The color is very subtle and layers really nicely.  It’s the perfect symmetry of orange and pink, which was missing from my collection and will be very useful for Summer.  I’ve even been using it on my cheeks!

Comodynes Easy Peeling New Face Effect $12.99/8 sheets (received 1 sheet) – I was really intrigued with this and have actually decided I would buy this again.  I love exfoliating and appreciate the soft skin it leaves behind.  What I don’t like about exfoliating is that often times it’s really messy.  Because this is a sheet that you rub over your face, it eliminates the mess, which is great!  What I will say about this is that it is really rough.  It felt very abrasive, which I couldn’t decide if I loved (because it was doing its’ job) or hated (because it kind of hurt).  My skin did feel really soft though about 15 minutes after use, so I’m eager to see what would happen if I used it weekly… it was hard to judge with just 1 sheet.

Blinc Eyeliner $25/.21 oz (received small sample tube) – The positives of this eyeliner are that it definitely lasts a long time and goes on dark, but there are a few reasons I wouldn’t buy this product again.  For one thing, you have to be patient when you apply it.  Wait for it to dry or else you’ll undoubtedly make a mess of your makeup, which is probably more an issue on my part leaving only the very least amount of time to apply makeup in the morning and even 30 extra seconds seems impossible.  Also, the brush is very flexible.  When I’m putting on dark liquid liner, it’s helpful to have a stronger wand that won’t accidentally flop over and create a vertical line making you look ridiculous and usually causing you to start your eye makeup all over again.  Lastly, and this one isn’t necessarily 100% negative, when you do take it off, it almost peels off in little pieces, much like paint.  The reason this bothers me is that I inevitably miss some in the inner part of my eye and wake up with stringy black leftover makeup in my eyes, which is not the way I like to start my day.

Blum Naturals Oil Absorbing Facial Tissues $3.90/50 sheets (received full size) – I’m pretty sure the last time I used an oil absorbing sheet was in high school when Jennifer Love Hewitt was doing the Neutrogena commercials and those little blue oil sheets seemed cool.  Although I admit I initially bought them purely because I had a serious obsession with the movie Can’t Hardly Wait, what I loved about them (although kinda gross) was that there was visual confirmation that they were working.  The oil became apparent as you slid it across your face and it felt like it was working.  This product doesn’t do that.  For me, it just felt like I was rubbing tissue paper all over my face, but it could just be the fact that I don’t have particularly oily skin (I actually am usually looking to help with dryness).

 

June Birchbox Review

Birchbox is definitely one of my favorite beauty subscriptions (although I recently got the news that my first Glossybox will be coming this month – so excited!).  I think you definitely have to do your research when deciding which mailers are right for you and maybe even test out a few for a couple months to get a feel for what kinds of brands the company works with and what types of products you’ll be sent.

For June’s box, I received a variety of different products that I’m using more than any other samples I’ve gotten in the past.  I reviewed them below in preferential order.

June Birchbox:

Eyeko Skinny Liquid Liner ($16.57/full size, received full size) –  LOVE this liner.  It’s incredibly thin and easy to apply.  Ideal for achieving cat eye looks as the incredibly fine point allows you to really focus on being precise.  I will absolutely buy this again.

          

theBalm Cosmetics Stainiac in Beauty Queen ($17/.3 fl oz, received .04 fl oz) – Like a lot of lip/cheek stains, this product is water based and just gives you a little hint of color.  I like it, but more often prefer a more saturated look.  I do use it to layer on a pigmented blush however, and really like to use it on my lips for days I just want a little color.  If you are nervous about wearing a bright red lipstick, but want to test out the look, this would be a great gateway.

Cynthia Rowley Dress Up Band Aids ($5/pack of 20, received full size) –  I’ll admit I considered knicking my legs while shaving just so I could use one of these.  I love the faux section and lace patterns and think this is such a fun alternative to a normally boring product.  I ended up just sporting one on my finger a couple days ago covering up a perfectly fine pointer.

Yu-Be Moisturizing Skin Cream ($16/1.25, received .1 fl oz) –  This product out of Japan is really effective.  It’s ultra-healing and rejuvenating formula contains camphor, vitamin B2 and vitamin E making it ideal for dry skin, calluses, cracks, burns, scars, etc.  I have a horrible habit of biting my nails so I have been putting this on my cuticles every night and can really tell a difference.  Definitely a good thing to have around.

                   

Melvita Rose Floral Water ($18.80/6.76 fl oz, received .95 fl oz) –  I have mixed feeling about these toner/refresher sprays.  They definitely rejuvenate the face and set nicely before moisturizing, however I’ve never been too keen on spending my money on a product that is essentially just a glorified water.  The sample is nice, however, and it is an organic product, but I’ve been using it all week and find the benefit is mostly just from the refreshing feeling you get when applied.

      

John Varvatos Star USA Eae de Toilette ($55/1.7 fl oz, received .04 fl oz) – Birchbox threw in this extra sample for the boys, promoting their BirchMan launch just in time for Father’s Day.  I was pleasantly surprised by this scent.  It’s masculine and rustic, but not too strong.  Definitely a good gift, especially for a guy who doesn’t usually wear cologne and wants to try something more subtle and across the board attractive.

Foundation

Foundation is amazing.  It transforms your look and evens out the most unbalanced skin tones.  HOWEVER, it is perhaps the hardest (at least I think so) process to master.  We’ve all seen people out with a streaky foundation or one that makes the face look flawless, but the neck look white.  There’s just so many places to go wrong.

It’s VERY important to test before you buy foundation and one very important trick is to stock up on a few varying shades to interchange as your skin gets tanner/lighter.  I also find it really helpful to use either a brush or a blender.  My favorites are either the BeautyBlender ($19.95) and the MAC 188 Small Duo Fibre Face Brush ($34).

   

Use clean hands and start with less then you think you need.  There’s always time to add more, but applying too much will result in starting all over or going out looking like a clown.  I have had the best success by using the MAC brush to dab into the product, then start at my nose, progressing to my cheeks.  Next, I cover my jaw-line, neck and ears (don’t leave out places like ears, neck and hairline – it makes your makeup look cakey and not blended/natural).  Lastly, I cover my forehead.  After my whole face/neck is covered, I use the beauty blender to make sure there aren’t any streaks.

People have different theories on the next step, but I find it crucial to air out my foundation by waving my hands in front of my face for 60 seconds (I literally count out loud and yes, this is somewhat superstitious) before setting it in a loose powder.

My 10 Favorite Foundations:

Benefit “Hello Flawless!” Oxygen Wow Liquid Foundation $34

Bobbi Brown Luminous Moisturizing Foundation $46

Stila Natural Finish Oil-Free Makeup $38

MAC Cosmetics Mineralize Satin Finish SPF 15 Foundation $30

NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 $42

Laura Mercier Silk Creme Foundation $42

Dior Diorskin Airflash Spray Foundation $62

NARS Sheer Glow Foundation $42

Covergirl Naturelux Foundation $11.98

Maybelline Fit Me! Liquid SPF 18 Foundation $6.99

OCD for OCC

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics (OCC) is quickly becoming one of my new favorite beauty brands.  There’s nothing I like more than experimenting with color and combining products to get a personalized look.  This company was formed on these principals.  All their products are also vegan and cruelty-free (not only making it better morally, but also for your skin), so that’s another plus!

I’m in love with their Lip Tar, which everyone is talking about because it lasts longer than any lip product I own and is as good for your lips as it looks on them (contains Vitamin E, Hemp Oil and Peppermint Oil).  You only need a little bit (seriously don’t overdo it and use a lip brush) and the product brings vibrant color.  It goes on shiny and dries more matte.  They encourage you to mix colors to make your own and with the variety of amazing colors they offer, it’s almost impossible not to.

When I saw Lucky Magazine’s Daily Deal (if you have not subscribed to this, do it!), which includes 4 amazing colors plus a lip brush for $29.50 (they’re normally $14 each), I literally clapped.

Other Lip Tar Shades I’m Dying To Try ($14):

Other OCC Products I Can’t Wait To Test:

Loose Color Concentrates $12 (easiest to use on eyes, but is designed to work effectively on cheeks, lips and body too!)

Tinted Moisturizer $25

Nail Polish: $8

Primer $25 (use under foundation and eye color to make makeup last)

Lusting For:

OCC Portable Airbrush Makeup Starter Kit $399