Medusa’s Makeup September 2016

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This is a new subscription from Medusa’s Makeup featuring items from their own line.  The first ever shipment was last month, but I missed that one, so here’s the second one!  The shipment arrives in a metallic bubble mailer (mine was gold) and has minimal packaging which is a total win for me – I’d rather receive more product and less packaging, plus it’s less waste/recycling which is great.  Everything Medusa’s Makeup makes is Cruelty-Free and most items are vegan too which is right up my alley.  This arrived on September 22, but I’m just getting around to posting about it today.

  • Eye Dust – 1.5 g / $7 – (Product is Full Size)  This is a shimmery yellow eye pigment in the color, “Lemonade,” that goes on pretty sheer but looks like it’s buildable.  It’s pretty perfect for a little highlight on the inner eye corners or for a shimmery dusting under the brows.  It’s not a color I’d have picked out for myself, but I think I’m going to have fun figuring out how to make it work.  The container is an open container, no sifter, but it’s filled to the absolute top with product.
  • Brush Cleaner – 20 mL / $8 – (Product is Full Size)  Another vegan product infused with algae extract and vitamin E.  It smells pleasantly fresh but not heavily perfumed, and while it doesn’t foam much, it clearly works great and rinses out cleanly.  The bottle top has a narrow squeeze bottle opening so it’s easy to get just enough cleaner out for one brush and not end up with a huge glob.
  • Shadow Brush – 4 pack / $24 – (Single brush, value of $6)  It’s a synthetic brush, so it’s vegan.  It’s a little bigger than some of the other eyeshadow brushes I use, but you can never have too many brushes on hand.  I think having one that’s between a blending size brush and a smaller eyeshadow brush will be helpful.
  • Body Shimmer – 10 g / $12 – (Product is Full Size)  The shade I received is, “Healthy,” which is pink toned with a gold shimmer.  This is a pretty subtle shimmer and would work perfectly as a highlighter.  The pink tone actually looks great on my skin, and I’m digging this more than I thought I would!  I’m usually not all that big into highlighter or shimmer type products, but this is really rather nice.

Overall the value comes to $33 which covers the subscription price of $15.95 although it’s less than the advertised value of $40.  The value is still over double the cost and I’ll use everything, so I consider that a win!  Plus, the colors and products got me a little outside of my comfort zone which is great.  I like being pushed to try new colors, especially ones I wouldn’t have considered picking for myself.  I like this enough that I’m in for another month!

Sepia Saturday 343-d

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This is the final week of the theme for 343, “Work and Play,” and I’ve really run out of steam on this one.  I found one of a young girl that mostly fits in, so we’re going with that!  Pictured above is Sarah Berger, and I know that because someone thoughtfully decided to label the back of the photo!  I didn’t have much to start with other than her name, but assuming she lived near my great grandmother Olga in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, I started searching Ancestry.com for Sarahs that may fit the bill.  I stumbled upon a Sarah Berger living with her parents and grandmother at age 15 in the same town as my great grandma.  That had to be her!  A little more sleuthing and I found that Sarah Berger was born 1 Jun 1914 and died 2 Mar 1989.  She married Mirrel Yingling aon 7 Oct 1935 and had one son, Edward Yingling.  In the photo above, you can see she’s standing in front of a little scooter style tricycle which makes this fit into the play category.  I’m not sure who took the photo – it could’ve been Olga or it could’ve been her parents and a copy later shared with Olga.  I know Olga kept photos of a number of kids from the neighborhood, so it’s neat to finally learn a little more about the gal pictured in this one!

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Benevolent Beauty Box September 2016

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HOOBOY!  I always get a little excited for this box because it’s been so consistently on point, but this month?  MINDBLOWING.  Oh man.  I can barely even put words together to put up this blog post, I am that blown away.  All the products are cruelty-free, some vegan, but they’re all rather ingredient-conscious and tend to be things that are right up my alley.

  • Gypsy Soul Organics Sister Wind Aromatherapy Spray – 2 oz / $19.99 – (Product is Full Size)  Okay, so I like the idea, but the scent is completely not me – spearmint and eucalyptus are near the top of my least-favorite scent list and honestly make me a little nauseous (I find those eucalyptus flavored cough drops are an instant upset stomach too, FWIW).  It’s not the product’s fault, it’s my picky nose/palate not liking the scents.  I’m going to pass this off to a friend, but there is a promo code included in the box and it looks like their “Family Tree” scent is right up my alley.  I could see this being a nice treat after a post-yoga shower since they’re all essential oil based.  The originals come in a glass bottle and the one included in the box is plastic so the value may be a little off, but it’s such a generous size to include in the box.
  • St. Tropica Coconut Hot Oil Hair Mask – 6 pack / $27 – (Single size, value of $4.50)  It’s like they were listening to me when I rant about hair products in subscription boxes – I don’t want parabens, sulfates, or silicones.  This?  Fits that bill in spades and the ingredient list is beyond perfect.  My hair is super curly and dry, so I pretty regularly use all kinds of oils to help keep it moisturized and bouncy, so this is SO BEYOND PERFECT.  The first two ingredients are coconut oil and coconut butter, so yes and yes.  It is in a foil packet, but it’s meant to be that way so that you can heat up an individual packet as a single-serving so to speak, and there’s enough in there to generously coat down my long hair.  I’ll probably give this a whirl next week, but I promise to report back with my results.  There’s also a card included for 20% off your order.
  • Tat2 Lash Mascara – .25 oz / $16 – (Product is Full Size)  There’s beeswax, so this isn’t vegan, but as a beekeeper myself, I don’t mind.  LOVE the packaging!  The brush is a bristle tip, not one of those spiky plastic numbers, and it works fairly well considering the formula is on the thicker side.  I tend to like my mascaras a little thicker, so that’s perfect for me.  I did get a perfect application on one lash and then the next was clumpy which I figure is user error, but it does go on rather richly in one coat, no second coat needed.  Dries fairly quickly and the ingredient list is spectacular – no bad ingredients that may irritate my eyes.  So far, I’m loving this!  Better yet, there’s a card enclosed with a coupon code for 40% off your first order.
  • Ecco Bella FlowerColor Lipstick – .13 oz / $19.95 – (Product is Full Size)  I received the color, “Primrose,” which is a shimmery mulberry spice type shade.  The ingredient list is really amazing, no parabens or petroleum-based ingredients.  It goes on a thick and semi-matte, but it stays put as a result of the waxes and still feels moisturizing thanks to the Vitamin E.  The color is spot on perfect for fall and I rather like the thickness of the product.  I figure some people may not like the waxiness, but I found that thicker products mean I’m not constantly moving my lips around together to redistribute the product and they end up staying put longer.
  • Bellapierre Eyeliner Duo – .14 oz each / $25 as a set – (Product is Full Size)  The product card from Bellapierre goes into detail that the clear one can be used to pick up a little color from one of their eyeshadows and used as a colored liner which is a super fun idea!  I have PLENTY of mineral eyeshadows and this extends those to a whole new usage and it’s much easier than trying to mix pigments with water and hoping they’ll stay.  Both the black and clear are waterproof.  The black has a felt tip and the clear is a brush.  I found the black a little watery and tough to apply evenly, but I’m also a little clumsy and shaky-handed when it comes to eyeliner, so it’s probably user error again.  It does go on nice and dark though and the ingredient list on both is great.
  • Bellapierre Shimmer Powder – 2.35 g / $15 – (Product is Full Size)  The color I received is, “Jadoo,” described as a burgundy with gold shimmer.  I’d probably call it more of a Merlot sort of color – it’s more purple than red I think, but it is very heavily pigmented and yet again, the perfect color for fall.  Remember the vanilla lip balm from last month?  Yeah, this pigment will mix with that and create a really pretty lip color.  Or you use it with the clear eyeliner and make a gorgeous eyeliner color.  So many possibilities and I love the tie in to the last box.

Overall we have 7 products or 6 if you count the eyeliner duo as a set with a total value of $100.44!  The box costs $29.95 per month for a month-to-month subscription, so the value is over 3 times the cost of even the month-to-month subscription!  This is the first time we’ve had non-makeup products in the box, the hair oil and the aromatherapy spray, but honestly, I’m completely okay with that since the hair oil is absolutely perfect and while I didn’t like the scent of the aromatherapy oil, I do like the idea.  Well done, Benevolent Beauty, this month is phenomenal and somehow the boxes keep getting better and better.  Excited to see what you come up with for next month!

Espionage Cosmetics Nexus – October 2016

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The theme for October’s Espionage Cosmetics Nexus shipment was, “Clever Girl,” which promised, “designs perfect for the adventurer gearing up for the ride of their lives through the age of the dinosaurs!”  I’d say they absolutely nailed it this month, and while the designs both feature a nod to the Jurassic period, they’re completely different which is going to make deciding which is my favorite this month pretty hard.

  • Hatchlings – With a subtitle of, “Not The Mama!” from a show I remember and love, these glossy wraps feature lizard eyes and claws breaking out of a brown eggshell base.  The details are fantastic from the crack lines to the colors of what lies inside.  Really a fun way to show off the theme!
  • This Land – Another glossy nail wrap with a variety of flora and fauna, and a play on a scene from Firefly.  I love the bonus subtle nerd content that goes beyond the actual dinosaurs on the wrap!  Little Tyrannosaurus Rex and Stegosauruses march across the nail wraps with an accent wrap of green and purple leaves and flowers.

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I’d say the EC team proved themselves as the ultimate Clever Girls this month – the tie in to Firefly was phenomenal and I didn’t see that one coming at all (though, DUH).  The nail wraps cost $10 each on the Espionage Cosmetics website, so the value far exceeds the cost of the $15 month-to-month subscription.  Subscribers then vote on their favorite of the two and the victor goes into regular sale on the website.  That means that the other nail wrap ends up being a Nexus exclusive, never to be produced again!  In case you’re thinking about subscribing and want to send me some love, hit up my referral link!

Sephora Play! September 2016

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September’s Sephora Play! is here!  The theme this month was, “The Unbasic Basics,” which is a little nebulous of a theme, so I had no idea what they were going to include or what one would even consider an unbasic basic.  Clear brow gel is pretty basic, black eyeliner is pretty basic.. I don’t know.  Still, it’s fun to get this box, and it’s a great value for the price point.

  • Kat Von D Tattoo Liner – .7 mL / $20 – (Product is .2 mL, value of $5.71)  Okay, so I’ve heard great things about Kat Von D cosmetics and I’ve been itching to try this liner for a while.  The color I received is “Trooper,” a satin black.  The formula goes on smooth with a very fine point and dries nearly instantly – doesn’t transfer and really seems to stay put for a long time.  I’m SO clumsy and shaky-handed when it comes to liner, but this just goes on so easily, it’s like I can’t mess it up.  I just may have to spring for the full size eventually, I like it that much.  It’s vegan and cruelty free, but it does contain parabens unfortunately.
  • Anastasia Brow Gel – 8.5 mL / $22 – (Product is 2.5 mL, value of $6.47)  I use a tinted brow product that adds fullness to eyebrows since I have super thin brows and prefer that over a pencil and brow gel combo.  I really need the product that has little fibers in it that stick to your hairs and create fullness since I really don’t like the look of pencilled in brows.  I’ve used samples of this before, and it’s okay, but I probably would’ve preferred the tinted version since it saves time, and I only need one product instead of two.
  • Living Proof Night Cap – 4 oz / $28 – (Product is 1 oz, value of $7)  This is the only product I have absolutely no interest in.  I have curly hair and do a low to no shampoo routine.  The product sheet advertises that this is effective for up to 5 shampoos, even if you use a clarifying shampoo which means it builds up in your hair deliberately.  This is really bad for a no/low shampoo regimen since you’ll probably never be able to get it out of your hair without using harsh, sulfated shampoos (a no-no for dry, curly hair).  The ingredient list shows an acrylate at ingredient # 2, two sulfates, and a bunch of petroleum-based ingredients.  Basically, this is a HARD PASS for me and my curly hair.
  • Dr. Jart Water Drop Moisturizer – 3.3 oz / $36 – (Product is 1 oz, value of $10.91)  I had to try this right away since any product meant to hydrate dry skin is exactly what I’m interested in!  The formula is really unique – it squeezes out like a matte silicone-based makeup primer, but the second you start rubbing it into your skin, it changes texture and turns into a liquid.  It’s really interesting!  Not what I expected at all.  Immediately after application, it feels a little sticky but then dries and nearly disappears, leaving behind no discernible residue or oil, and there’s no scent to it either.  This would probably be great for under makeup since it feels a lot like a makeup primer.  My face did feel a little dry/tight after using it, but not as bad as just doing soap/water and not putting on a moisturizer.  I’d probably still have to follow up with an overnight heavy-duty face serum to keep my skin hydrated enough, but honestly, this is a great product to put under makeup since it finishes so nice and matte.
  • Sephora Rouge Shine Lipstick – .13 oz / $12.50 – (Product is .035 oz, value of $3.37)  I received the color, “Love Spell,” which is a pale warm pink.  There’s a whopping 5/8ths of an inch of product in there which, okay Sephora, I know this is a sample box, but this is your own store-brand line and we couldn’t get a full-sized lipstick here?  The color goes on rather sheer which is actually alright considering how pale of a shade this is – it’s far too light for my skin tone (pale on pale is just SO attractively corpse-like) – so it ends up that a sheer pinky nude isn’t that terrible since my natural lip color comes out more than the lipstick color.  The formula is also pretty glossy and shiny for a lipstick, and it almost feels more gloss-like than lipstick-like, but wants to clump up on any dry spots and just stick in patches where it feels like it.  Fun to try, and at the end of the day, I’m almost glad this was a teensy little sample because I’m just not that wowed by it.
  • Tory Burch Jolie Fleur Verte Eau de Parfum – 1.7 oz / $95 – (Product is .05 oz, value of $2.79)  The card backing for the sample says this is, “A Tomboy and Easygoing Mix.”  No.  Just no.  The first scents that come to your brain when you think tomboy aren’t going to be Jasmine or Lily of the Valley.  This smells more like a flower shop exploded than like a tomboy who’s been playing football, rock climbing, or having whisky and a cigar with the guys.  It’s just not evocative at all of anything tomboyish – it’s really rather girly and light.  I absolutely loathe jasmine and floral scents in general so this really doesn’t do it for me.  The citrus twist is refreshing, but the overpowering note is the lily of the valley, and it’s just too much for me.  Yet again though, I like getting these samples even if they’ve all been misses because they’re fun to try, and maybe one of them will eventually be one I like!

Overall the value comes to $36.25, and for a box that costs $10.60 per month (including tax), that’s a really good cost to value ratio!  The only thing I won’t be using at all is the Living Proof product, but everything else is alright.  My stand-out product is definitely the Kat Von D liner and I’m SO glad I got to try that, and between the liner and the moisturizer, my box value is well covered.  Looking forward to next month!