Eyebrow follies solved: Thanks, Glossier.

Hi, I’m addicted to Glossier products.

I’m actually wearing one of my multiple Glossier hoodies as I write this.

Let’s talk a little about eyebrow products. Glossier NAILS this realm. I’ve tried every brand out there, from the budget to the most-well known brands (brow bar, anyone?) and I’ve never fallen in love like this before.

The packaging is clean and attractive. Each order comes with a pink pouch and stickers. (You can decline those in the checkout flow, for those interested in reducing their consumption.) The shipping is reasonably quick. I’ve never had a product arrive damaged, nor have any of my MANY orders been delayed or mislaid.

I’m on a mission to never own or use a product that is tested on animals at any point in development. This is a line in the sand. I’ve chucked expensive products I just bought (research FIRST, people!) with zero regret when I discover animal testing is part of their process. Glossier is 100% cruelty-free. You can check some up-to-date lists here.

I encourage you to have a clean-out of your products on the animal testing list AND EMAIL THE COMPANY TO TELL THEM. One email might not change things. Finding out that lots of people won’t touch their products because they are archaic and cruel might move things along.

Hopping off my soapbox now.

Boy Brow: This is home run. The formula is creamy to apply without being drippy or powdery. It dries quickly and allows you to brush through to soften the color without flaking off. It lasts. There isn’t a really good way to prime your brows, so staying power is critical for those of us with invisible eyebrows. THEY LAUNCHED THIS IN AUBURN. As a redhead, I often struggle to find products that match my coloring well. My previous purchases have been Blond and Brown, which did the job but weren’t nearly as great of color for me as Auburn. The auburn is FLAWLESS for me. It’s deep enough to enhance my brows but not so strong I look like I’ve taken a Sharpie to them. It’s me and Boy Brow in Auburn till I die.

That said, I do have one little spot in my right brow that’s got no hair. Why? Oh, because I tweezed it out as a child when I didn’t understand that shaping your brows doesn’t involve removing the middle of them. Anyway, yeah, teach your girls how to groom their brows, I’m begging you. For this naked spot, Brow Flick to the rescue. It’s like a super fine point felt-tip that lets you delicately stroke on individual hairs to cover up that naked spot. I have zero complaints about the staying power or the wear on this. That’s rare. EVERY brand makes eyebrow products and most of them suck at either formula or staying power.

The only bad thing I can say about brow flick: It’s not available in Auburn. I use Blond as it is light enough to add that definition without the angry brow thing. Get yours here.

Have you tried Glossier brow products? Do you love them as much as I do?

C’mon back tomorrow for a quick review of Balm dot Calm, Skywash eye colors and CLOUD PAINT (You didn’t think I’d skip that one, did you?!?!).

Image credit: “Amanda Palmer Eyes” by lindes is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

The Child by Colour Pop review

Let’s discuss: The Child Palette by ColourPop, themed on Star Wars The Mandalorian featuring the flipping adorable Baby Yoda.

It sold out on first issue and I signed up for an email when it restocked. I laid in wait like a hunter and had finished my transaction within seconds of the drop.

The shipping time was faster than I expected but it felt like forever because…I have no patience.

The packaging is adorable. The box incorporates all the colors of the scheme well. Really, nothing with Baby Yoda can be bad.  The inner mirror says ‘Cutest in the Galaxy’ which is pretty accurate.

I haven’t seen the show so the shadow names don’t align with any existing knowledge and to me, only a couple of the names are intuitive and make sense.

The matte soft green (would be mint on the blue end of colors) here is a warm beige-d green shade and the name Baby Face suits it. It’s a soft and gentle color.

My son informs me that The Force is everything and that’s how I feel about The Force shade. It’s a chunky gold glitter/sequin finish which dabs on like a dream. I lost a lot of the glitter in blending, so I resorted to dabbing in place with my clean ring finger to get the level of ‘GOLD GLITTER’ I was after…I know this line isn’t about this eyeshadow, but it sure feels appropriate. (If you know where I can get this color in a single pan, let me know!)

“Don’t underestimate the Force.” – Darth Vader

For mattes, we have Just Like a Tatooine (tan/beige), Baby Face, Float Your Crib (mid-green tending toward brown) and Droid Protocol (warm, medium brown). Like all CP shades, they swatch out as they look in the pan. They blend well on a prepared lid.

Little Frog is an interesting finish: it’s almost matte but has a low-key shimmer to it in a soft, khaki green. I will probably use this color with some more neutrals in the future.

Precious Cargo, Right Hand Mando, Sipping Soup and The Force are all glitter/shimmer finishes ranging from tiny to chunky. All of them offer better glitter coverage when dabbed on than blended with a brush.

Starting with the objective: Price is reasonable, 9 pans for $16.  The packaging is well-made, on theme and displays the color scheme decently. The quality is great: colors have good payoff, last well on a prepped lid and create a normal amount of fallout. (Let’s be clear: it’s still enough fall out to make doing your face AFTER your eyes the better plan.)

Now, the opinion you’ve been dying for, right? It’s a cute idea. The colors are fun and light and we need the hell out of that right now. The color scheme isn’t one I’ll dream about. If I was improving this for myself, I’d like a deep orange matte and a white/near white matte to anchor the greens here. I’d get rid of two of the green shimmers (two is plenty!) and end up with a mix that would be more practical for me.

I heard some comparisons of this color scheme to the Kylie x Grinch scheme, here is my take: The Kylie palette is twice the number of shades and some of them would work great to add depth and interest in the sea of greens herein. I could see the Kylie one becoming a hot rotation in my kit but this one is more for fun when I want to play with colors.

Get yours here: https://colourpop.com/products/disney-star-wars-the-mandalorian-the-child-eyeshadow-palette

Why do I need all of this? The Brickell Men’s Sample Kit review

I kept getting offers for this product set, so I ended up ordering it for my husband to test out. Let’s talk about him for a minute. The man uses CeraVe face wash. Nothing else. No lotions, no potions, no creams…and his skin is ridiculously good. I don’t understand: is the estrogen that makes me work so hard at what he gets naturally? Or is it just virgin skin that has never been messed with?

You can order your sample kit HERE: Brickell Men’s Products Best Sellers Sample Kit

It’s packed adorably in a custom box, so each piece nests perfectly in the intended niche. I am addicted to good packaging, so this is a best-in-class for a set of sample-sized products.

Each item looks like 3-5 uses, depending on the product use level. The eye cream will last much longer than that. This is the ‘scented’ product range. They also offer unscented in certain items. The kit includes

  • Purifying Charcoal Face Wash
  • Clarifying Gel Face Wash
  • Renewing Face Scrub
  • Daily Essential Face Moisturizer
  • Revitalizing Anti-Aging Cream
  • Restoring Eye Cream
  • Daily Strengthening Shampoo
  • Invigorating Mint Body Wash

Let’s start with my take on the lotions:

 I coated T in restoring eye cream, anti-aging cream and face moisturizer. He looked great, if slightly trapped and very shiny. ‘How does it feel,’ I asked him, hopefully.

His response: Like I have stuff all over my face that I don’t need.

I didn’t notice any striking differences from one use of these.

Disclaimer on the next section: We have a water softener in an area where the water is already soft. Soft water makes it hard to feel rinsed well and removing product can be a bit of a task in the shower. You’ll notice we mention rinsing a lot.

T was issued the two face washes and a scrub. ‘Do I use them both? Do I use them together?’

Following the guidance in the booklet, he can use either for a morning or evening cleanse interchangeably. I have not yet told him that one is supposed to cleanse twice a day, not just in the shower. We’ll save that for another day.

He started with the Renewing Face Scrub which exfoliated well without being harsh, rinsed clean and would be great as a pre-shave. T was enthused by this one! I’m going to grab one of these to put in his stocking.

Moving on to the purifying charcoal face wash: the smell wasn’t bad; it just didn’t appeal to him. It worked well, lathered adequately and rinsed away clean.

The clarifying gel face wash lathered really well, and rinsed very nicely. It left the skin clean without being parched. The smell was the same as the charcoal face wash: entirely pleasant, just not to his taste.

Daily Strengthening Shampoo got a big thumbs up! He uses styling crème or pomade in his hair so a shampoo that powers away product residue is an absolute must. This shampoo only needed one wash and rinse to feel SQUEAKY clean. No, really, his hair squeaked with one wash.

The body was smelled minty and lathered and rinsed well and did the job.

The products scented with mint/herbs were light and fresh, clean without being overpowering and subtly masculine.

If the recipient of this box uses products like this regularly, they will probably find a new staple among these. If we were still travelling as much as we once did, this tiny size would be PERFECT for a trip of less than a week. As it stands, I got to ooh and ahh over the neat packaging and T got to enjoy a sample of my life (so many skin care products!)

Fun to try but nothing that converted him to a product user, although we are going to buy a full-size of the face scrub for his pre-shave routine. (Update: he also wants the shampoo!)

You can order your sample kit HERE

Look Fantastic Beauty Box November 2020: Underwhelmed

Look Fantastic Beauty Box November 2020: Underwhelming

I waited so long for this box, the anticipation built and built and then it arrived and I was underwhelmed.

Wandering around Reddit, as I often do, I saw some great unboxing images of the Look Fantastic Box and decided that I indeed needed another beauty box subscription. (This is a lie. I do not need another.)

My box had a few false starts: I got tracking in early November that never updated. After three weeks, I got an email telling me my prior tracking information wasn’t correct and providing new tracking information (with the same tracking number again). That version showed it leaving the UK on 12/2. On December 5, it showed up at my house. I was ecstatic. I’d been waiting for this and IT WAS HERE. I had ordered in very early November, so it took more than a month, most of which was faux shipping. Oh well!

What did I get this time? November 2020 Look Fantastic Beauty Box (#LFBeautyBox)

This monthly box costs $19 with free shipping FROM THE U(How are they POSSIBLY making any money on that?!)

Functional outer shipping box in remarkably good condition, opened to reveal a quality maroon box with orange accents. Once opened, the orange tissue and crinkle fill continued the color scheme. A hefty booklet of the ‘Edit’ was laying on top of the products.

Being hooked on packaging and product presentation, I was miffed that I got two different tubes of shampoo and conditioner. Based on the images in the book, one is likely the new packaging and the other is the older style. It won’t affect the products but not as visually pleasing as I’d hoped.

I got 5 of the items shown in the guide and two replacements or substitutes.

Brochure items

  • Philip Kingsley Body Building Weightless Shampoo and Conditioner, 20 ml each (Deluxe sample)
  • This Works In Transit Camera Closeup, 15ml (Deluxe sample)
  • Naobay Detox Unpolluted Oxygen Light Cream, 50 ml (Full size, I think)
  • Polaar Ice Pure Micellar Water, 50ml (Deluxe sample, this will last a while!)

Unexpected items

  • Eyeko London Skinny Liquid Eyeliner in Black, 1.2ml (Deluxe sample)
  • 3ina The Matte Lipstick in Shade 402 (Pink/berry vibrant)

Let’s talk about the replacements. I do like they kept the item categories the same, providing one eye product and one lip/nail product for those which weren’t included. If you’ve read my blog, you know that I’ve been drowning in new black eyeliners lately. (Don’t ever say ‘you can’t have enough’ because you CAN.)

I’m not adept with liquid liners but I’m going to use this one to practice. This is a win because I would never buy a pen liner to play with, but I’ll sure mess about with it when it’s given to me. If you need me, I’ll be over here practicing wings. Bonus that I got micellar in the same box to take it off when I inevitably start over.

The lipstick is a much, much brighter shade than I’d normally choose. It’s a hot pink/berry shade with a matte finish. I do love the smell of it, a light vanilla clean scent. I have dry lips, so this feels like a desert. I will likely experiment with different gloss layers just for fun to see if I can make it useful to me.

I’d been hoping for the chunky line/shade pencil shown in the guide, because I’m on a shadow stick kick and gold or bronze would be fun for holiday looks.  I wouldn’t use the BRIGHT, BRIGHT red polish listed so I’m ok with not having that one.

How did we do with #LFBeautyBox November?

There were 7 of total items in this box. I’ll add 5 of them to ‘use and stash’. The remaining two will be makeup fun for me to test run.

Overall, the contents mix and value matches what I anticipated getting. I can’t put my finger on just what left me ‘meh’ about this one. I have gone ahead and cancelled my sub, so likely will get to spend the next year arguing about having cancelled and reversing charges. Ya know, the normal go-round in sub boxes.

November 2020 Allure Beauty Box: Brilliant!

Sometimes, I say aspirational things that I intend to do: eat better and drink less soda and floss every night (like an adult) but know deep in my heart that I’m not going to change my ways.

This time, I’m going to tell myself and everyone else that I’m going to cancel some of my subscription box and beauty box orders. (I’m probably not, but I really want to WANT to do it…)

I don’t need anything; I have enough of everything for at least a year.

That’s for another post though.

In this post, you are hearing the post unboxing rush.

What did I get this time? ALLURE beauty box for November 2020.

This monthly box costs $23 per month, or $250 per year. (The price increased in 2020 from $15.)

My variation, with a value of over $100 per Allure, contained:

  • Acure Ultra Hydrating 12 hour facial moisturizer, .67oz (Deluxe sample)
  • Mannakadar Beauty Lip Bliss lip mask, 10g (Full size, I think)
  • Nature Labs Tokyo Scalp Scrub, 2oz (Deluxe sample)
  • Josephine Eye Dazzle in Meet Leona, 6g (Full size)
  • Dermelect Cosmecuticals Self-Esteem Beauty Sleep Serum, 1oz (Full size)
  • When The Last Choice Bio-Celluose Sheet Mask, 1 mask (Full size)
  • Amore Pacific Time Response Eye Reserve Cream, 3ml (Full size)
  • Skinmedica Instant Bright Eye Mask, 1 pair (Sample)
  • Neogen Dermology Real Ferment Micro-Essence, .67oz (Deluxe Sample)

Packaging is a functional cardboard box. It’s not as luxurious as Glossy Box, but it’s sturdy and all my products arrived undamaged and sealed.

Personal annoyance: my mail delivery person writes my house number on the boxes, which makes sense. It happened to my Fab Fit Fun last time around and I was quite bummed: it was in sharpie, and large, in a place you couldn’t really cover it. It’s literally the only downside to outer box as storage box. I’ll live.

The stand-out item in this box, and my reason for purchase, is the Nature Labs Tokyo Scalp Scrub. I got this in a prior Birchbox and fell in love. Used before shampoo, it gently scrubs and refreshes your scalp. I have curly CURLY hair and use quite a bit of protectant and styling product to manage it. This scrub is a rough textured gel product. Working this into your scalp in a steamy shower feels luxurious as it’s an unexpected sensation. Have you ever scrubbed your scalp at home? Not before this, I hadn’t. I tell you what though, I won’t be without it ever again. The only downside is you can’t really show off your clean scalp like you can smooth skin. That would just be strange.  Follow it with one of those ‘smells like a good quality hotel’ shampoo and conditioner pairings to bounce out of that shower hoping people smell your hair.  This sample is generous, and I will get about 4 uses out of it.

I was less than thrilled to get more sheet masks and eye masks. Masks, both sheet and eye, aren’t a regular part of my routine. I put them in the pass along pile. It’s going to be relatively awkward when I give away a massive pile of sheet masks like some face-obsessed creep. (You should feel strong Silence of the Lambs vibe there.)

I want to try the Micro Essence today. I am going to have to take photos of the label and blow them up on my phone screen to read the instructions though. That’s how my 40’s are going. In my defense, the bottle is clear and the type is at best 2pt in mid-blue. If you can see that, you don’t need the contents of the bottle to regain your youth. Put it down and go enjoy your ache-free elbows and knees that don’t click.

How did we do with the November 2020 Allure Box?

There were 9 of total items in this box, 5 are full size. I am pretty pleased to have 6 of them to use and stash. 3 of them will go into my massive donation pile.

My only suggestion here is: give me fewer items, if the items you are leaving out are filler themselves. No more sheet masks for a while, ok? Same for eye masks and black eyeliner, no matter how fancy the name.

Birchbox November unboxing and review

Fact: I have never gotten a bad Birchbox.

Bonus Fact: Each box has contained a sample that I then purchased in a full-size.

If that is a measure of a good sample box, BIRCHBOX hits it out of the park.

My short video review is here.

Are you as obsessed with Birchbox as I am?

If I could only keep one subscription box, it would be this one!!

#birchbox #beautyboxes #subscriptionboxes

Olfactif: Choosing new perfumes can be easy…and won’t give you a headache!

Olfactif by Art of Perfume subscription box review

I’ve been wearing the same perfume for years. I’m always reluctant to step out of my standard scents because perfume isn’t cheap. I’ve tossed far too many bottles of smells that I insisted I liked when I was paying for them and never wore. Then, they sit in the closet for a few years before I finally toss them. 

I’ve tried going to the beauty stores in the mall and overwhelming myself with so many different scents until you can’t tell them apart. The coffee beans in a jar clear your palate a few times but quickly lose their impact. Layered on top of the fragrant smells common to those stores, it’s almost impossible to know what your purchase really smell like on it’s own.

How do you move to new perfumes? You subscribe.

I discovered Olfactif, which sends you curated collection of three scents each month, in sample sizes large enough to actually use and appreciate while removing the ‘I don’t think I like that’ first reaction to new perfumes.

I got the November collection last week. It shipped quickly and the packaging was modern and clean. It comes with a card detailing the theme and how the scents relate to the theme. 

The left is called Back Bay by BlueHill Fragrance. It’s a light floral, with notes of ‘clean’. It smells like a floral scent for today on a base of subtle bergamot. Over time, the floral mellows and the clean notes remain. This makes me think of a button down shirt under a sweater with pearl earrings. I didn’t stop sniffing my arm all day.  On my subsequent wears, I’ve been even more enraptured. It’s almost better when the smell has had time to mellow out and the clean scents hold their own against the floral. I will be buying a full-size bottle of this one. (Olfactif offers a 20% discount on a full-size bottle of scents from your collection box!)

 The middle is Battaniye. It’s a heavy amber/patchouli scent that is layered over a scent of wool–like the blankets at grandma’s house when you were little. I am not a fan, sadly, as I find the scent a bit heavier than I like. It is powerfully scented and you’d only need a drop to make an impact. On first smell, my husband said it smelled like the markets of the Middle East (amber/incense smell) which is accurate as it’s made by a Turkish perfumer. Over time, the amber scent lightens but the wool/fabric smell does not. I did give it a fair try, as Olfactif’s notes request. 

 The right one is called Lipstick Fever by Juliet Has A Gun. First impression was ‘wow, this smells sexy’ which isn’t very helpful but it was my first reaction. It is intended to evoke the smell of lipstick so it’s got some fruit and vanilla to it but it’s got a deeper woody note too, so it lends a heft to it. This is a perfume for a woman on a mission, be it a date, a job or an argument. I feel tough but feminine with this on. Since getting this, I have used it several times. I found I enjoyed it most when I applied it to warm skin after a shower. The smell was not overpowering, yet it was distinctive and sensual. I’m considering a full-size bottle of this one, too, for days when I need to kick some ass.

 The best part of the experience was being able to luxuriate and soak in each scent on it’s own, over time with no competing smells (and no one hassling you to move along to the next store.)

If you want to give it a try, click here for subscription information.