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Espionage Cosmetics Nexus – August 2017

Another round of Espionage Cosmetics Nexus arrived, and this month the theme was, “Cheat Codes,” featuring some brand-spankin-new packaging for the Nexus nail wraps along with the debut of the new 22-tip sets in this subscription!  It’s pretty neat to see specific new packaging for the Nexus wraps as well as less paper packaging – keep it simple, right?  So, basically, the pouch is what’s inside the new packaging, but for the Nexus shipment, there’s a fancy Nexus logo on the front.  The only thing missing is the nail wrap name and what kind of wraps they are (glow in the dark, glossy, pearl, etc), but I suppose I can keep the card with the wraps so I remember (or just refer back to my blog, duh)

  • Hit the Bricks – This glossy nail wrap also has a glow in the dark feature that hints to a location of wizardry.  I’ll admit that I had to look this up since I’m not into Harry Potter, but it’s pretty clever to hide the message in the glow in the dark feature!
  • Unbreakable Code – This one I got right away since I LOVED The Bletchley Circle miniseries.  Those would be the dials of the Bombe decryption device designed by Alan Turing, and a sample of the German code they were decrypting during WWII.  If you’re a nerd and want to see the original pages, check out this link.

Overall a pretty neat delivery for the theme!  I was expecting something completely different (some gaming cheat codes?) but it’s so neat that they always keep me on my toes or pull something completely different out of their hats than what I expect!  Both wraps usually retail for $10 on the website so the cost of $15 per month is worth it.  Only one will go onto glory for regular sale after a round of voting, but I think I know which one I’m rooting for already.  I’m definitely partial to the Unbreakable Code one because history nerd over here.  If you’re thinking about subscribing and want to give me a little love, click here to sign up via my affiliate link.

Espionage Cosmetics BOOM!Box August 2017

The latest quarterly round of the Espionage Cosmetics BOOM!Box has arrived!  The theme this round is, “The Perfect Storm,” so I had an idea of what might be involved here, but as always, was surprised and pleased to see what showed up in the box!  This time around, we have a sheet that explains all the products in the box that also doubles as our art print on the other side which is exactly what’s printed on the mousepad as well.

  • Weather Witch Nail Wraps – These great wraps have glitter and glow in the dark content, so they’re extra bonus awesome!  Could this be a subtle nod to everyone’s favorite weather witch, Storm from the X-Men?  They fit perfectly with the theme.
  • Electrostatic Spark Nail Wraps – Glossy and glow in the dark on these wraps which feature a perfect storm of lightning strikes.  These are so fun and will be a great last-gasp-of-summer manicure.

  • Cyclone Bookmark – This heavy brass bookmark features a domed medallion with a tornado inside.  It’s a really substantial piece and will go great to mark my place in any book albeit I feel like I may have to re-read The Tempest just because.
  • Lucky 13 Lacquer Quick Dry Top Coat – This is SUCH a smart idea to add into this box!  The top coat by Lucky 13 Lacquer is honestly the quickest drying top coat I’ve ever used and it works incredibly well with the nail wraps (yes, I had to try it out right away!).  The brush is nice and wide, so it can cover a whole nail in pretty much one pass, and it dries to a thick, glossy finish that protects your nail wraps without shrinking or curling the edges.  It’s also 4-free.

  • Mouse Pad – This elemental beauty is a creation of Suzanne Van Pelt and is printed on a mouse pad.  She looks as if she’s getting ready to hurl a fire-ball, standing in front of a stormy background.  This gal fits in perfectly with the theme, and it’s neat to see a mouse pad in this box!
  • Product Sheet – The back of this is the same image as the mousepad, but what a way to double task and use less paper!  The design of the product sheet is pretty great, so I couldn’t help but include it here too.
  • The Three Wise Cats Incense – This scent was created just for this box by The Three Wise Cats and is a really pleasant scent that’s reminiscent of the way the air smells after a storm.  It’s fresh and clean and not at all like traditional hippie patchouli incense.  It smells SO good that I have half a mind to keep the bag by me here at the computer while I work since whenever I walk into the room, it smells so nice.

It’s always hard to put a value on these boxes, but the nail wraps alone are worth $20, and the box costs $36.25 including shipping, so the value definitely exceeds the cost.  The value of the exclusive items that are only available with this box though make this pretty priceless!  They always fit the theme into every product selected for the box and I’ve never yet been disappointed.  The theme for November’s box has already been announced, and it’s, “Frozen,” which, YES!  Perfect timing for that theme, and it’ll be interesting to see what they pull out of the nerdiverse to deliver on theme.

If you want to give me some love and save a little at the same time, check out my referral link here!

Sephora Play! August 2017

August’s Sephora Play! arrived and it’s not at all nearly as good as the last one.  The theme for August was, “The Innovators,” which again, not a lot of innovation here.  Most of those products have been around for a while and are nothing new (UGGH DRY SHAMPOO)  I think the only thing I’m keeping and using out of this whole box is the perfume which is a bit of a surprise, but none of the products really fit me at all.

  • Too Faced Mascara Melt Off Cleansing Oil – .23 oz / $17 – (Product is .04 oz, value of value of $2.96 by volume)  I received this in the August 2016 Glossybox, so yeah, this is no new or innovative product.  I gave it away back then and I’m giving it away now too since it can barely be called an oil anyway.  A real oil doesn’t come in till the 6th and 9th ingredients with petroleum-based ingredients ranking higher.  Not interested.  I can use plain olive oil to remove mascara and it doesn’t contain garbage chemicals that could irritate my eyes.  The company is cruelty free, but they’re owned by Estée Lauder who is not cruelty free.
  • Kat Von D Lock-It Concealer Creme – .22 oz / $26 – (Product is .065 oz, value of $7.68 by volume)  The color I received is “Light #11” which is too light and too yellow for my complexion.  I didn’t find that it concealed well, and it caked/creased into my wrinkles.  I also have pretty dry skin and I’ve heard that this line isn’t the best for people with dry skin.  I’ll have to give it a try as an eyeshadow base because otherwise, it’s a garbage toss for me.  Kat Von D’s entire line is completely cruelty free.
  • Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream – 8.1 oz / $45 – (Product is .81 oz, value of $4.50 by volume)  I’m always skeptical about products that claim they can firm or tighten or minimize any part of your body because they’re generally scientifically unproven malarkey.  The scent on the cream is nice – it smells like a sugar cookie – but a little overwhelming and super heavily scented, and it works well as a moisturizer, but I’d never pay $45 for a tube of moisturizer that will never actually do anything to firm your tush.  The company is cruelty free though, so that’s nice!
  • Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo – 1.8 oz / $12 – (Product is travel size)  NO DRY SHAMPOOS.  I know I have my profile marked to curly and dry hair, so this is an absolute waste to send to someone with that profile.  Dry shampoo works by absorbing oil since they’re generally starch/alcohol based, but if your scalp doesn’t produce oil, dry shampoos turn your hair to chalky white straw.  Not to mention that they need to be tousled or brushed in and you NEVER EVER EVER BRUSH CURLY HAIR (unless you want to ruin your curls and walk around with a lion’s mane, then by all means…).  Hard pass on this one.
  • Beauty Blender Micro Mini – 2 pieces / $18 – (One piece, value of $9)  Meh?  I have a full-sized one that I got from another box at one point, but I never use that either since I rarely to never use foundation or concealer (except on pimples, and my finger tips work just fine for that).  I have a feeling I’m going to try and find a use for this, and it’ll eventually end up in the never-used-beauty-products-graveyard.
  • Kat Von D Saint & Sinner perfume – 50 mL / $65 – (Two samples, 1.5 mL each, value of $3.90 by volume)  There are two little samples here, one of each scent, Saint and Sinner.  It’s a neat idea to have both a floral and a warm/spicy version of a scent so that you hit both sides of the perfume coin.  Saint is heavily jasmine based, so that one was pretty much out right off the bat since I find jasmine (and most florals) pretty awful.  Sinner though, is primarily patchouli, wood, and cinnamon which is definitely something I’d wear!

The overall value of the box comes to $40.04 which is about average for this box that costs me $10.60 including tax.  Unfortunately this one was a huge miss and I didn’t even hit break even on the value of the items I’ll keep and use (the bum bum cream and half the perfume).  Sephora, it would be really great if you’d just pay attention to profiles and stop sending dry shampoo to us curly girls.

Vegan Cuts July 2017

July’s Vegan Cuts Beauty Box arrived on time as usual, but slow blogger is slow.  I wasn’t entirely impressed with this one since it was a little off the mark for the kinds of products I like (I find natural deodorants completely ineffective and don’t take baths, so..), but there were enough keepers to make the box worth it in the end.

  • Moon Souls Lunar Soak – 4 oz / $11.95 – (Product is full size)  The soak is salt based, scented with mint and eucalyptus, two of my least favorite scents, so this is an automatic pass for me.  I can’t stand eucalyptus (it smells like those gross cough drops that make my stomach turn) and mint is a nope too.  I don’t terribly enjoy soaking in a bathtub with my dead skin cells and dirt anyway, so this just wasn’t a good fit from scent to product type.
  • Green Tidings Lavender Deodorant – 1 oz / $7.99 – (Product is full size)  The scent is nice, but I’m not even going to bother wasting time on yet another natural deodorant with the same ingredients when none of them have worked long enough to be worth using.  I mean, what’s the point of a deodorant that lasts maybe a maximum of 4 hours before needing to be reapplied if you’re routinely out of the house for 8+ hours at a clip?!  I can’t exactly be taking breaks to go reapply deodorant in the middle of photographing a wedding, and being stinky while working isn’t an option.  Hard pass for me.
  • The Wonder Seed Facial Scrub – 2.7 oz / $14.95 – (Product is full size)  I love a good scrub!  The ingredient list on this is really amazing too.  The scrub doesn’t foam up, but works into a creamy base that has a good, coarse salt in it to scrub.  After rinsing, my skin felt moisturized instead of dry and tight, so that was pretty awesome.  The scent isn’t overwhelming either – light and clean.
  • Leeanni Eco 3 in 1 Revolution Light – 4 oz / $29.98 – (Product is .5 oz, value of $3.75)  This is a moisturizer, toner, and serum all in one and can even be used to remove makeup.  It feels rather weightless on and would be a great daytime moisturizer.  There’s no discernible scent, and it did make my skin feel soft.
  • Terre Mere Mineral Bronzer – 9 g / $54 – (Product is 2.5 g, value of $15)  The color sent in the box is “Sunstone” which comes out as a more orangey tone on my skin.  It’s also got a shimmer to it, so this is never something I’d use as a bronzer since sparkly skin isn’t my thing.  It will make a great eyeshadow color though, and it’s super pigmented, but I couldn’t see using this as a bronzer without feeling like a glitter bomb went off on my face.
  • Goddess Garden Sunscreen Lip Balm – .15 oz / $3.99 – (Product is full size)  The scent is “Orange Vanilla” but there’s really not much of a scent at all, at least not to me anyway.  Still, a lip balm with a physical blocker instead of a chemical blocker is awesome and something I’ll definitely use!

Overall, the value of the box value comes to $57.63 which is great for a box that costs $22.95 on a month-to-month basis!  Even without the two products I’m passing on, the box cost is still covered.  I do love this box for the most part, but am definitely not into natural deodorants or bath salts/soaks.  They did add a note that the bath soak can be put in a muslin bag in the shower and used as a steam bag at your feet or hung from the shower head, but I found the scent so unpleasant that I wouldn’t use it anyway.  Oh well, one of my friends will love it, I’m sure!

Sephora Play! July 2017

I know, I know, it’s almost September, and here I am still posting about boxes from mid July.  Life is just getting the better of me at the moment and there’s too much real life stuff going on to be as involved with the blog as I have been in the past.  It’s mostly good real life stuff, but it keeps me much busier these days!  So, anyway, July’s box was kind of a make it or break it box for me with Sephora since there were a few in a row that were pretty much meh, didn’t fit my profile, and FFS if I get another highlighter or dry shampoo… ahem.  Surprisingly though, this one was actually a nice box!  The theme was, “Beauty Staycation,” so I expected more treatments and masks out of that theme, but got a lip product and mascara, so, that says more vacation than staycation to me, but the themes are seldom ever actually a theme when it comes to the products anyway.

  • Boscia Charcoal Pore Pudding – 2.8 oz / $38 – (Product is .84 oz, value of $11.40 by volume)  This makes sense for the theme, and hey, a mask?  Yes please!  It’s essentially a clay and charcoal based product which makes sense, and while I haven’t tried it yet, I am loving the ingredient list.  Sadly, Boscia isn’t cruelty free, so this isn’t a product I’d consider repurchasing.
  • Bare Minerals Gen Nude Matte Liquid Lip Color – 4 mL / $19 – (Product is 2 mL, value of $9.50 by volume)  The color is, “Swag,” which is described as a blushing mauve.  The formula goes on creamy and smells like chocolate.  I’m not entirely sold on the color which looks a little like a dull chalky pink and is just a bit too pale for my already pale complexion.  It is a nice formula though, just a miss on the color.  Bare Minerals is cruelty free, but their parent company, Shiseido, is not.
  • Briogeo Rosarco Milk – 5 oz / $20 – (Product is .75 oz, value of $3 by volume)  This is already a tried and true favorite for my curly hair and I use it all the time to give a little life back to my 2nd or even 3rd day curls.  My hair is crazy dry, so every little bit of moisture and every drop of oil in this product helps keep my hair from looking like straw.  Bonus, Briogeo is completely cruelty free.
  • Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine Cologne – 3.3 oz / $130 – (Product is .05 oz, value of $1.97 by volume)  This is surprisingly nice!  Probably not $130 nice, but it’s a really bright, fruity orange scented cologne.  Sadly, Atelier Cologne isn’t cruelty free, and at that price I wouldn’t be buying the full size anyway, but I’m definitely going to use up this sample.
  • Milk Makeup Cooling Water – 1.2 oz / $24 – (Product is .1 oz, value of $2 by volume)  I’m really not sure what to do with this.  I get that it’s meant to de-puff under eyes and cool your skin, but it’s one of those superfluous beauty items that I’ve been living without and really have no need for anyway.  I do love Milk Makeup already since they’re cruelty free and awesome, and the product is interesting and I’ll use it, but it’s not a new necessity.
  • IT Cosmetics Superhero Mascara – .3 oz / $24 – (product is approx .1 oz, value of $8)  I think what I like best about this is the wand!  It’s the best of those plastic spiky wands and a regular brush type wand all in one so it keeps clumping down and separates lashes well at the same time.  The product applies evenly and neatly, and I rather like this!  The company is cruelty free, but they’re owned by L’Oreal who is not cruelty free.

Overall the value of the box comes to $35.87 which is about average for this box that costs me $10.60 including tax.  I think the big winner was the Briogeo Rosarco Milk since I go through that stuff like water, so extra samples are always welcome.  Everything else is fun to try, but there are no big, new, stand-out products that wowed me enough to say, yeah, I’d buy that again.  I will definitely be trying the mask and will use up the cologne and mascara, but they’re not knocking out my favorites by any stretch.  August’s box already arrived too, so that’ll be up soon (I hope)!