Benevolent Beauty Box February 2017

February’s Benevolent Beauty Box arrived yesterday!  It’s yet another pretty stellar box, and while these have no theme (other than being awesome), we got two lip products in some super pretty shades of red in perhaps a little nod to the holiday earlier this month.

  • High Endurance Cosmetics Sweat Pretty Setting Spray – 4 oz / $13 – (Product is full size)  LOVE setting sprays, and this is a huge size!  It’s mostly water and glycerin based, and there’s no alcohol, so this won’t dry out your skin.  The scent is a light, herbal sort of fruity scent and is really rather pleasant.  Once dry, it is perfectly matte.  While I haven’t had a chance to give this a good stress test, summer is right around the corner, so this is a perfect time to include this.
  • Palmetto Derma Rejuvenating Antioxidant Mask – 1.75 oz / $64 – (Product is full size)  WHOA NELLIE.  That’s a pretty expensive product to include in this box!  I’ve gotten this before in the January 2016 Kloverbox, but I’m okay receiving it again in another box, over a year later.  The mask is pretty neat – it’s got a cooling effect, so it’s great for warmer months as a little treat for sun-toasted skin.  The ingredient list contains a bunch of oils and extracts, so it’s also pretty hydrating and doesn’t leave your skin feeling tight and dry like a clay mask can sometimes.  This is quite the opposite – my skin feels hydrated and soothed after using the mask.
  • Moody Sisters Dry Skin Cream – 5 oz / $18 – (Product is full size)  I received the scent, “Herbal Blend,” which seems to be a mix of lavender, peppermint and juniper berry.  The scent isn’t really doing it for me right out of the container – it goes on smelling a little medicinal from the juniper and peppermint.  That medicinal edge faded pretty quickly though and left behind just a soft lavender scent which was much more appealing.  The cream is AMAZINGLY hydrating without feeling greasy or sticky.  The formula is a rich, thick cream, and just the tiniest bit goes a long way.
  • Medusa’s Makeup Lip Paint – .34 oz / $12 – (Product is full size)  I received the color, “Hanky Panky,” which is a deep burgundy/raspberry sort of color.  I really dig the color, but unfortunately, this does contain parabens (the product card says it doesn’t, but the ingredient list on the box says otherwise).  This definitely needs an invisible lip liner to keep it contained since the formula seems to want to feather out.  You can control the amount of color that goes on, building to a deep opaque shade or going a little lighter.  I found that it still felt a little sticky even after drying, but not sticky enough to transfer.  It does need to be removed with an oil based remover and tends to stain your lips a bit.  I haven’t tried this all day yet to see how it would last, but it feels like it should stay put!
  • Mirabella Velvet Lip Pencil – 2.3 g / $25 – (Product is full size)  I received the color, “Love,” which is a warm red.  This tips ever so slightly over to orange on me, but anything that isn’t cool-toned ends up looking orange on me.  Even the tiniest smidgen of a yellow tone just looks odd on my skin tone.  The verdict is out on the color – it’s really close to being a perfect neutral red, but it’s just enough on the warm side that I’m not sold on the color.  The formula is amazing and I LOVE this sort of product.  It goes on matte but still creamy and seems like it has great staying power.  This also tends to stain your lips a little, but that makes it a bit of a stain/lip pencil in one and I’m okay with that.

Overall, the total value comes to $132 which is PHENOMENAL for 5 full size products in this box.  That’s really excellent for a box that costs $29.95 per month for a month-to-month subscription!  I’ll use everything, even the Mirabella lip pencil since the color is growing on me the longer it’s on.  I’ll definitely use the dry skin cream (HI MY SKIN IS A DESERT) and everything else in the box.  This one may even land in my top 5 for this box, I like it that much.  As always, looking forward to next month!

Sephora Play! February 2017

February’s Sephora Play! just arrived today.  The theme this month was, “The Softer Side,” featuring items that are, as they said, low-key lovely.  The bag is a dusty rose satin bag that has, “Smitten,” printed at the bottom.  Another unique bag, and while I don’t quite know what to do with these, it’s neat to see everything packed in a bag like this, and see a different bag every month.

  • Sephora LashCraft – 5 mL / $7 – (Product is 2.8 mL, value of $3.92 by volume)  This is about half the size of the travel size, but it would’ve been nice to get the full travel size since it’s a Sephora brand product.  You can see from the photo it’s just about the same height as the perfume sample, so this is teeny tiny, definitely meant to only be good for a matter of a few uses to try it out.  I get that Sephora Play! is essentially a sample bag, but it would be nice if the Sephora brand products were a little bigger than a mini sized sample.  Anyway, the wand on this is flat on one side and it’s touted that the formula doesn’t require any chemical makeup removers (which is fine since I don’t use chemical removers, only natural oils to remove mascara, even the waterproof kind, so, moot point for me).  The ingredient list starts off with water, iron oxide, and olive oil esters which is pretty decent.  I found that it did clump up a little – the brush came out heavily saturated with product, so the problem may just be that the trial container doesn’t prepare the brush correctly as it comes out of the tube.  One coat was plenty, and I didn’t find this to be buildable.  A second coat just got sticky and thick and looked awful – one coat is plenty.  The brush though, I do like!  You start with the flat side to coat the length of your lashes and roll the brush to the rounded side as you run the brush over your lashes.  Mixed feelings on this!  It’s okay, but it’s not cruelty free (Sephora brand sells in China), and I’m not really wowed by it.  I do like the innovation with the brush, but it’s not enough as a whole to knock out my top three at the moment.
  • Too Faced Lip Injection (Glossy) – .14 oz / $22 – (Product is .03 oz, value of $4.71 by volume)  I received the color, “Milkshake,” which is a nude color with gold shimmer.  The color payoff isn’t a lot, but it’s enough to make your lips look a little milky white.  Here’s where I admit that I can’t pull off the whole nude lips thing and it makes me look like a corpse.  So, beyond the color, within a few minutes of putting it on, my lips started to tingle.  Then they started to burn.  Quick check on the ingredient list shows, “Capsicum Frutescens Fruit Extract,” and, “Capsicum Frutescens Resin,” in about the middle of the list, so yes, I just inadvertently put hot pepper resin on my lips.  After a few more minutes, my lips had turned bright red, and the burn was so intense that I had to wipe it off, so unfortunately, this is going straight into the trash since there’s no way I could tolerate having this on my lips for more than a minute.  What a terrible product – it left my lips so irritated that they were bright red for over an hour later.  It’s pretty clear that it’s just WAY too much capsicum in the formulation, so I’m not sure how this could be released like this.  I’m not a weenie when it comes to spicy food either, this is just incredibly too much.
  • Bite Beauty Multistick – .17 oz / $24 – (Product is .07 oz, value of $9.88)  The color I received is, “Cashew,” listed as a rose taupe.  Again, nude lips aren’t my thing, but this is meant to be able to do everything from lips to cheeks and eyes, so even if it isn’t flattering on my lips, I can use it as an eye color.  It’s also the wrong color for blush for me, so I’m thinking it’s going to end up just being used for an eyeshadow, but it does look great on me as an eye shadow.  As a lip product, the formula is matte but still creamy and smooth.  As an eye color, it blends out easily.  I’m not sure any of the colors in this line really speak to me (I’m best with berry colors and there isn’t one), but the color, “Mochi,” which is a deep red, might end up coming home with me as a lip color.  I LOVE Bite Beauty already, and they’re cruelty free!
  • Origins GinZing Eye Cream – 15 mL / $30 – (Product is 5 mL, value of $10 by volume)  The first bunch of ingredients on this are water and silicones, but there are a bunch of fruit and plant-based extracts that follow.  The formula is a pearlescent light peach color, so it’s meant to be a luminizer as well.  Personally, I don’t use eye creams because I feel like they don’t really ever do anything noticeable.  This really didn’t do anything for me – my eyes didn’t magically feel, “energized,” nor did my dark circles magically disappear.  And $30 for a full size product from a company that engages in animal testing (they’re owned by Estée Lauder and sell in China) is a hard pass for me.
  • Tom Ford Neroli Portofino – 1 oz / $145 – (Product is .05 oz, value of $7.25 by volume)  Probably one of the more expensive perfumes we’ve gotten!  I actually like this a little – not enough to blow $145 on an ounce, but it’s nice.  It’s soft and fresh, but something (the lavender maybe?) makes it smell a little soapy.  I’d have loved for the citrus notes to come out more, but it comes out smelling like lavender soap on me.  It’s not awful, but again, not something I’d be willing to spend $145 on.
  • Clinique Hydroblur Moisturizer – .5 oz / $9.50 – (Product is .24 oz, value of $4.56 by volume)  The ingredient list is pretty disappointing.  It starts with water and glycerin, then polymers and silicones, and a few decent oils/butters (Shea, mango seed, squalane, beeswax).  Overwhelmingly, it’s water, glycerin, and silicone based, and goes on more like a silicone based primer than a moisturizer.  It goes on matte and a little ‘grabby’ (not sticky or tacky, but as if it would help makeup stick and stay better), so it would definitely work best right under makeup.  This probably wouldn’t make the cut as my sole moisturizer since I have super dry skin, but it’ll work well as a primer.  I’d probably not purchase this myself since again, the company is owned by Estée Lauder and engages in animal testing.

Overall, the value this month comes to $40.32 which is great and definitely on the higher end for this box!  It only costs me $10.60 per month including tax, so that’s nearly four times the cost.  Unfortunately, one product is a complete loss (the Too Faced Lip Injection), so it brings down the personal value to $35.61, but that’s about in line with prior boxes anyway.  I may not completely like all the products, but I did get a chance to try them and will likely use the rest of them even if they’re not necessarily items I’d purchase.  The stand-out product for me is the Bite Beauty Multistick and I do really love it as an eye shadow color.  I’m a little disappointed by the continued inclusion of Estée Lauder products – it seems a little like Estée Lauder is sponsoring the box and I’m just not interested in the company or any of the products from their subsidiaries.  Hey, Sephora, let’s see a 100% cruelty free box, huh?!  Or one without an Estée Lauder brand in it?

Finished Socks – Forest Moon of Endor

It seems like I get the chance just once a year to drag out the backdrops and fancy camera and actually photography things for myself!  These are the Forest Moon of Endor socks by Heidi Nick (Ravelry links).  I started these January 27, 2016 and finished February 16, 2016, so they’re a pretty easy and fast knit as far as socks go.  Knit on US 1.5 (2.5mm) DPNs with Knit Picks Bare fingering weight yarn that was dyed by me using easter egg dyes, these squishy socks have just the right amount of lace.  My favorite part is the heel isn’t a traditional heel flap and opens up in the pattern as a stockinette triangle so the lace doesn’t weaken the heel.  I didn’t write it down, but I think I used just the 60 stitch version since the lace opens up the gauge (I usually do a 64 stitch sock, but 60 stitches was plenty here).  I made a slight modification and continued the lace pattern down the instep of the sock instead of leaving it as stockinette.

The pattern had been free last year when I knitted these, but now it costs $4.  I think the pattern works pretty well with both solid and subtly variegated yarns.  Here’s the Ravelry Link to my project page for these, and hopefully I’ll get my tush in gear and post more finished objects more often!

Kloverbox February 2017

February’s Kloverbox is here and I’m getting the post up right away!  WOOHOO!  Clearly, Valentine’s Day factored into this box since it felt a little like a fantastic gift box this month.  A candle, earrings, chocolate, and foot oil made for a nice surprise and a change from the usual sort of goods they include.  This box always keeps me guessing – you really never know what’s going to show up!

  • Cypress Skincare Foot Love – 1 oz / $20 – (Product is full size)  Okay, so we already know I don’t particularly like peppermint scented anything, and every foot product ever is peppermint scented, including this one.  I gave it a try and while it’s definitely peppermint, it’s not a heavy peppermint and the scent dissipates pretty quickly – I couldn’t even smell it on my hands after a few minutes.  Made with loads of healing oils, this makes dry, cracked feet feel softer right away.  I put it on right after a shower and then put on hand knit wool socks.
  • The Isle Co Soy Lotion Candle – 6 oz / $14.99 – (Product is full size)  This scent, “Love Struck,” is on sale on the website this month for $11.25 as the fragrance of the month.  The scent is sweet and fruity and reminds me of pomegranate.  The idea with the candle is that after the candle burns a little, you blow it out, then you can use the wax (100% soy) as a lotion.  I thought it was a little weird, but because it’s pure soy oil, it actually works!  It goes on a lot like coconut oil (stays a liquid with the heat of your skin) and doesn’t feel greasy or waxy.
  • Wrenn Jewelry Becki Earrings – 1 set / $26 – (Product is full size)  The color we received is the, “Rose Druzy,” color, a rose gold color.  I’m not too big on gold and I hate pink, so I’m going to pass these on to a friend.  I really do love the earring design, I’m just not into the color.  Fortunately, there’s a coupon code for 15% off, so I can pick out a set that aren’t pink!  I’m really digging the Platinum ones, so those may have to find their way to me.
  • Rose & Basil Truffles – 2 truffles / $2.90 – (Product is full size)  Well, I know that they’re vegan, but I have no idea what the flavors are!  There’s no insert or card to let me know which flavors I got.  Browsing the company’s instagram, it looks like the one on the right is Chocolate Pomegranate and the one on the left might be Elderflower?  I’m just guessing here.  Of course I had to try them out right away.  The left one was really floral, maybe even lavender-ish, and the right one was delicious.  I think I still prefer regular non-vegan chocolates, but the flavors are such neat mixes.  If I happen to be in NYC, I’ll have to stop in!

Overall, the box value came to $63.89 which is well over double the cost of $25 on a month-to-month basis!  Even without the earrings, the value still comes out over the cost, plus I get to give something pretty to a friend.  I really love how this box goes beyond the traditional beauty box and includes all sorts of cruelty free items – it keeps the box new and interesting.

Benevolent Beauty Box January 2017

The January Benevolent Beauty Box has been here for a few weeks already, but I’m finally getting around to posting about it!  A pretty spectacular box yet again – everything is cruelty free, a couple of items are vegan, and I’m still digging how much this box wows me every month.

  • Scrub Supply Co Turmeric Scrub – 60 g / $15.88 – (Product is full size)  This bright yellow sugar scrub that doubles as a mask too!  It claims it can help reduce pigmentation and help out with acne.  The bag comes with a scoop and a popsicle stick stirrer/applicator which is nice.  There’s no real discernible scent to it, though it does smell faintly like turmeric, and it doesn’t give me that flush like after a clay mask which is nice – it feels more gentle, despite being a coarse scrub.  I like it!  I obviously won’t notice any difference in one use, but it makes for a nice mask and scrub combo.  There’s also a coupon code included for the Scrub Supply Co for 10% off your next order.
  • Lauren Brooke Cosmetiques Lip Color – 1.8 g / $13 – (Product is full size)  The color received is, “Sangria,” a plummy wine color.  The formula is pretty thick and waxy, more like a lip balm, so you have to thoroughly exfoliate your lips before using this or it will clump up on all the dry skin.  The color goes on sheer but can build to a darker shade.
  • Lauren Brooke Cosmetiques Luminous Eyes Corrective Concealer – 7 g / $15 – (Product is full size)  I’m already in love with the creme concealer from Lauren Brooke, so this is great to see in the box!  The color matches my skin tone damn near perfectly, so this is going to get TONS of use to cover up dark eye circles.  I gave it a quick try and I LOVE that this actually works – so many concealers just don’t do that great of a job, but the peachy color is simply perfect for hiding dark circles.
  • Franklin & Whitman Oak Lane Face Mask – 2 oz / $24.95 – (Product is full size)  This is a great clay mask that also contains cocoa powder, so it smells amazing.  I tried it right away using just plain water as my carrier liquid (though, in hindsight, I should’ve used honey!) to make a paste.  It took a little
  • Deco Miami Nail Polish – .19 oz / $12.50 – (Product is full size)  The color is, “Boy Bye,” which is an iridescent pastel purple.  This bottle is A LOT smaller than most nail polishes which come in at .5 oz (over 2 times the size), but in a way, it’s nice to have the smaller bottle since I don’t tend to use up nail polish all that fast.  My only gripe is that for being a smaller bottle, the price shouldn’t be the same (or nearly double) other similar polishes.  Pacifica, for example, is $9 for .45 oz.  The formula is pretty well pigmented, and while I haven’t tried it on my nails yet to see how well it lasts, I’ll have to report back when I do since I do like the color!
  • Terre Mere Angled Eyeliner Brush – 1 brush / $24 – (Product is full size)  A vegan angled eyeliner brush to go with the glitter and eyeliner set from the prior month!  Perfect followup to that product, and I can always use new brushes.  This brush is super soft, but still firm enough to get a nice line with a gel eyeliner.

The total value this month comes to $105.33 which is phenomenal for a box that costs $29.95 per month for a month-to-month subscription!  I’m really pleased with everything and I love how this box is just such a good fit for me.  It’s a great mix of new brands and old favorites with new products and solid basics.  As always, looking forward to the next box!