Monday, January 5, 2015

December 2014 Favorites

I have a video up on my YouTube channel talking about my favorite products for the month of December.  The video as well as links to all the items I talk about are below.

December Favorite Products:
Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette
Cargo Blush in Bali
Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment
Eva NYC Therapy Session Hair Mask 
Native War Paints Polish in Canned Cranberries
OPI Polish in Red Fingers & Mistletoes

Monday, December 29, 2014

Walmart Beauty Box - Winter 2014

Walmart joined the Beauty Box mix this fall by introducing a quarterly box of samples.  The samples themselves are free, however you do need to cover the $5 shipping fee.  Unlike the Target boxes, you are able to subscribe to the Walmart service rather than order separately each time a box is released.  I did receive the fall box, and while I didn't blog about it I did open it on my YouTube channel here.  The winter box arrived a couple of days ago so lets take a look at what was included:

Loreal Oleo Therapy Shampoo and Conditioner - The shampoo and conditioner are both generous 2 oz sample sizes, which should be enough to determine if it's something I would like to repurchase.  These are for dry, damaged hair and my hair has quite a bit of damage from dying it a while back as well as daily blow drying so I'm looking forward to giving these a try.  They seem to have a light, fresh scent that isn't too strong or overpowering, and are sulfate free.  The 8.5 oz full size of the shampoo sells for $5.97 at Walmart, however I couldn't find the conditioner on their site.  I'm just going to estimate that it's the same as the shampoo and give the samples a value of $1.40 each, or $2.40 total.

Jergens BB Body Perfecting Skin Cream - I received this in the light skin tone.  This is a lightly tinted cream that is supposed to have a similar effect as BB cream for your face by moisturizing and helping to blur out imperfections.  I purchased this cream myself over the summer and really liked it, however even though I'm fair skinned I preferred the medium/dark skin tone variation because it is still very lightly tinted once blended out.  The sample size in the box is 1 oz and the full size 7.5 oz sells for $11.97 at Walmart, giving the sample a value of about $1.60.

Olay Fresh Effects Everything Off Makeup Remover Cloths - My box included a 7 pack of these wipes.  I use face wipes every night to take off my makeup before using my facial cleanser but haven't tried this type yet so I'm happy to receive these.  These contain honeysuckle and white tea.  The full size of 25 wipes is $3.97 which makes this 7 pack worth about $1.11.

Maybelline Color Sensational Lipstick - The color I received is Maple Kiss. which is a warm brown shade.  From the website it looks like this is part of "The Buffs" collection from the Color Sensational line.  The box included a full size lipstick, which retails at Walmart for $4.97.

Nivea Cocoa Butter Lotion and Maybelline Dream Wonder Powder - The box also included a couple of foil packet/paper card samples that each included a $1 off coupon.  I'll try out the Nivea lotion and might use the coupon at some point.  The Maybelline powder sample isn't the right shade for my skin tone but the coupon is good for any Maybelline face product so I will probably use that sometime soon.  I didn't calculate a value for these small samples, though the coupons they included do add some value to the box. 

The overall value of the winter beauty box is approximately $10.48 excluding the 2 small foil/paper samples, plus $2 worth of coupons.  This exceeds the $5 I paid for shipping for this box and I am happy about all the products I received, so I will continue to stay signed up for this box and am looking forward to seeing what the spring box contains.  If you'd like to try the Walmart Beauty box you can sign up here.  I'm not sure what the cut off for receiving the winter box is, so keep in mind that the first box you receive may be in the spring.  I also unboxed this on YouTube and have included that video below.  

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Ipsy - December 2014

My Ipsy bag arrived this week, and December's Theme is Thinking of You.  Unlike the recent cards with the Ipsy stylists on the front this months card had several variations of messages on them, mine was "Creative Genius".

Bumble and Bumble Repair Blow Dry -  This was one of several Bumble and Bumble products sent out this month and I'm glad I received the Repair Blow Dry because I blow dry my hair daily and this is similar to other products I've purchased myself.  The website lists it as being for dry, damaged hair that needs heat protection.  The 0.5 oz sample size I received should be enough for me to decide if I like it enough to repurchase, and has a value of $3.

Cailyn Just Mineral Eye Polish  -  I received this in the shade Orchid, which is a shimmery champagne beige color.  It includes a sponge applicator in the packaging and is closed up except for the applicator opening.  This feature is nice because it prevents the mineral shadow from spilling everywhere like others I've tried (I'm looking at you BareMinerals), but might also make it difficult to get the last of the product out.  The eye polish is full size and worth $15.

Nourish Organic Renewing Eye Cream -  Ipsy has sent out Nourish Organic products before but this is the first one I've received.  I enjoy trying all-natural beauty products so I am interested to try this out.  It is a 0.5 oz tube which is a generous size for an eye cream and I like that it is in a squeeze tube rather than the little containers you have to dip a finger into to use.  I couldn't find this when I searched online, and read on the Makeup Talk boards that this is a new product Nourish Organics is releasing in January.  While it is nice to get to try something new, it unfortunately made it impossible for me to accurately value the eye cream or be able to tell if it's a sample or full size product.  I'm going to assign it a value of $5 which is in keeping cost/volume wise with their face cream but I'm guessing that may end up being on the low end of what it sells for if the 0.5 oz ends up being the full size.

NYX Butter Lip Balm -  I received this in the color Parfait, a light pink, which was one of 4 colors Ipsy sent out.  I really enjoy the NYX Butter Glosses and am looking forward to trying this balm out.  Like most tinted balms this isn't highly pigmented but I like that for times when you just want a light wash of color or for when you need to apply a lip product without a mirror as balms are easy to do that with. This is a full sized lip balm with a value of $4.

Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes Mascara -  I have the full size of this mascara that I received back in May in the Allure Summer Beauty Box.  It does add quite a but of length and volume so I like it as a night out mascara but find too heavy for me during the day.  It also dries a little hard and doesn't leave my lashes soft.  Overall though I do like it in my mascara rotation and will use this sample size when my full size is dried up. The 3mL sample is worth $8.33.

The bag this month is a satiny black bag with a pink zipper and detachable pink heart Ipsy charm.  It's not my favorite bag so far but I don't dislike it either and I'm sure I will get some use out of it.

Overall I'm happy with my Ipsy bag for December.  I will use all of the products I received and my bag had a total estimated value of $35.33, though as mentioned the eye cream value was just a guess on my part.  If you'd like to try Ipsy it is a monthly subscription service that costs $10/month including shipping.  I also have a referral link you can use here.  My video unboxing of this bag that also includes a review of my November products is below.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Zoya Cyber Monday Mystery Bag & Box Unboxing - 2014

For Cyber Monday Zoya offered a Mystery Box on their site for $15, and being the Nail Polish addict that I am I didn't hesitate to purchase one, especially since Zoya has had some great sales in the past so I figured the odds of it being a great value were good.  Unfortunately the box is sold out, but I figured it was a worth a post in case they offer a similar deal in the future.  There were no hints at all to the contents of the box, all Zoya would say was that it was box and a bag inside of a box.

Mini Color Lock System - This set contains a 1 oz Zoya Remove Plus nail polish remover, a .25 oz Zoya Anchor Base Coat, a .25 oz Zoya Armor Top Coat, and a .25 oz Zoya Fast Drops Polish Drying Drops.  They also include a dropper for the drying drops.  I was happy to get this because I've never tried any of these Zoya products and have heard great things about the Remove Plus in particular.  I typically use a fast dry top coat so I'm interested to see how the Armor top coat and drying drops compare.  This set is sold on for $20, so in the first item I opened the box value already exceeded the $15 that I paid. 

MatteVelvet Red Lipstick - Prior to receiving this box I didn't realize Zoya made lipstick so this was definitely a surprise to receive.  It is a very pretty berry red color, and while I'm not a huge red lipstick wearer I will use this occasionally and am looking forward to trying it out.  The only complaint I have about this one is the packaging doesn't feel very sturdy.  This lipstick retails for $12.

Qtica Natural Nail Growth Stimulator - This is supposed to help strengthen, harden, and condition natural nails.  I already use a similar product to this, Nailtiques Formula 2 Plus, so I'm interested to see how the two compare.  The box contained the .25 oz size which retails for $12.

3 Mini Zoya Polishes - The 3 minis I received were: Willa (black creme), Rekha (red creme), and Lael (purple creme).  I was happy to get these, and Willa happens to be only my second straight black creme polish.  Zoya sells the .25 oz minis on their site for $5, however there is a small selection of colors available and none of these shades are currently included in the minis you can purchase.

Left to right: Willa, Rekha, Lael

Overall I think this Cyber Monday Mystery Box was a great deal for the $15 price and I calculated an overall value of $59.  I will say I was expecting a shimmer or glitter polish in the bunch since Zoya does those types of finishes so well, but I love the quality of the other Zoya polishes I own and am still quite happy with the contents of this box.  I would definitely purchase another mystery box from Zoya in the future if they offer them again.  I unboxed this on my YouTube Channel and have put that video below if you'd like to see more and my first impressions of the box.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Target Beauty Box and Naturals Box - Winter 2014

Target has been offering a quarterly beauty box for a while now, however unlike other beauty boxes it isn't offered as a subscription service so you have to make sure to purchase it before it (quickly) sells out so it's been a while since I've gotten one.  For Cyber Monday Target offered 3 different boxes for purchase, their normal $10 beauty box, a $5 naturals box, and a $5 mens box.  Since I recently cancelled my Allure Sample Society Subscription I decided to put what I would have spent on that towards both the $10 box and the $5 naturals box.  I passed on the men's box because while it looked like a good value for $5 my husband is very particular about the products he uses and from the preview of the box it didn't look like he would use any of the products.

Both boxes came with an insert describing the products inside and coupons.  The Naturals box had a $3 off a $15 natural beauty purchase coupon and the beauty box had a $3 of $15 beauty and a 20% off women's apparel purchase coupon as well as a $10 coupon code for

Lets start with the contents of the Naturals Box, which contained 6 products:

SoapBox Argan Shampoo - This is a nice sized 2 oz sample bottle of their shampoo which contains Argan oil, and is listed on the card as a Target Exclusive.  I like that it as a very mild clean smell and am looking forward to trying it out.  The size of the sample would be enough to decide if it's actually something I would purchase, however when I went to find this shampoo online I couldn't find it anywhere except a travel kit on Target, and it isn't on SoapBox's website.  It's difficult to value because of this, but since the travel kit comes with  4 - 2 oz products for $7.99 I'll give it a value of $2.

Skinfix Hand Repair Cream - This is another Target exclusive product and is the 2 oz full size that they sell on the Target website, which is a nice purse size for a hand cream.  I liked this one as soon as I tried it because it was unscented and absorbed quickly without being greasy or sticky.  It also contains 1% colloidal oatmeal, which is supposed to help with eczema and dermatitis as well as extreme dryness.  It is pricey for a small hand cream at $14.99, but I will continue to use it and if I really like it I may still repurchase when it's gone.

Burt's Bees Facial Wipes - I use face wipes daily to remove my makeup before using my cleanser but have never tried the Burt's Bees wipes before.  These wipes contain white tea, cucumber, and aloe and I received a nice travel-sized 10 pack.  A pack of 30 retails for $5.99, which gives the 10 pack a value of approximately $3.

SheaMoisture Coconut Hibiscus Smoothie - This is a curl conditioning cream for thick curly hair, and while I don't have naturally curly hair I do have thick, somewhat frizzy hair so I'm still curious to give this a try and see how it works for me.  I'm hoping it will help fight frizz on the occasional days I let my hair air dry.  It smells nice from the coconut and I received the 3.2 oz size which sells for $3.99.

Borghese Age Defying Facial Scrub - This is one of two facial scrubs that were included in the naturals box, and this Borghese one is listed as a Target exclusive.  It has a golden shimmer to the cleanser with a nice distribution of the exfoliation beads.  The 1 oz sample size I received has a value of  $3.80.

Acure Organics Brightening Facial Scrub - This is also an exfoliating cleanser and contains organic sea kelp and French green clay.  From testing it on my hand this seems like a rougher exfoliant than the Borghese so I'm a little worried it might be too harsh for my sensitive skin.  I will try it out on a small section though and may also try mixing it with my regular cream cleanser to see how that works.  The 1 oz sample in my box is worth $2.50.

Overall my Naturals box had an approximate value of $30.28, which is well worth the $5 I paid and I am looking forward to trying out all the products.  I would definitely purchase another naturals box if Target offers it again in the future.

Next up is the $10 beauty box which contained 8 products:

Pixi Endless Silky Eye Pen - This is a sample size and is listed as a Target exclusive.  I'm not typically a fan of pencil liners but when I swatched this I realized it is the creamiest eye pencil I think I've ever used.  It is also a very bold black and didn't seem to feather when I swatched it on my hand. I am looking forward to trying this out (but not so much looking forward to sharpening it since it's so soft) and seeing if it stays put as well as a liquid liner.  The website doesn't list sizes for the full sized eye pen but I'd estimate the sample is about 1/2 of full size so I'll give it a value of approximately $5.

Revlon HD Lacquer - I received the shade Strawberry Topaz which is a very bright coral pink with golden shimmer throughout.  In the container it is a gorgeous color, and one I would love to have in a nail polish.  As a lip color I'm not so sure that it will work with my pale skin, but it does seem to have a nice thick, opaque formula.  The applicator is also a brush rather than the traditional lip gloss doe foot applicator. This is a full size lip lacquer and the price on Target's website varies a bit by shade, with Strawberry Topaz selling for $7.99.

Clairol Hair Food Moisturizing Hair Mask - This has a pleasant honey apricot fragrance and is paraben and mineral oil free.  Since I damaged my hair by coloring it over the summer I've been a big fan of hair masks and deep conditioners to help as the rest of the color grows out so I'm looking forward to trying this.  I received a 6.3 oz full size bottle worth $11.99.

L'Oreal Butterfly Inteza Mascara - This is a new mascara for L'Oreal which is similar to their popular Voluminous Butterfly Mascara.  I've heard great things about the original Voluminous Butterfly and am curious to try this out because the brush is unlike others I've used before.  For now though I'm keeping it in the package as I work through quite a few other opened mascaras I have.  Also a full sized product, this mascara retails for $7.99.

CoverGirl Eye Enhancers Kit - This is a quad of shadows and I received Daring Nudes.  While I have other Covergirl products I like (their Clump Crusher mascara is pretty much a holy grail product for me) it has been a long time since I had any of their eye shadows.  The Daring Nudes set contains 4 shades, a charcoal grey/black, a dark brown, a bronzy lighter brown, and a shimmery cream color.  I swatched them without primer and they are decently pigmented and not too powdery.  The packaging appears to be an updated new version from the previous blue packaging.  The set I received doesn't have an online price listed but some of the other sets are selling for $4.49 so that's the value I'll use for this box.

ChapStick Total Hydration Lip Care - I received this in Sweet Peach, which is a clear balm.  It is listed as a Target exclusive but I think that may just be the Sweet Peach version because I've seen these popping up in the drugstores and in various subscription boxes.  I'm a lip balm junkie so I am looking forward to trying this.  I do wish it contained an SPF, but it claims to moisturize for up to 8 hours so it may end up being good for a night balm.  The value of this full sized balm is $2.99.

Laneige Water Sleeping Mask - I am intrigued by the idea of a sleeping mask, though at first glance it seems very similar to just a regular night moisturizer.  Also a Target exculsive, it is supposed to be used for deeply moisturizing dry skin so should come in handy for the winter, because while I can get oily around my nose my forhead and sometimes the side of my face get very dry this time of year.  This has somewhat of a perfumey scent to me (the website describes it as orange flower, rose, and sandlewood) so I'm worried it may irritate my skin though, so I'll try a small section for a couple of days first before I use this on my whole face.  The full size of this mask is $23.00, giving my 0.6 oz sample a value of approximately $5.

Boots No 7 Protect & Perfect Advanced Serum - This serum is a 0.1 oz foil packet but it is the only foil packet in this box so I'm not bothered by it at all.  This is supposed to be a hypoallergenic serum which is great because I've had a bad reaction to a serum in the past and am now a bit of wary of them.  I haven't seen the consistency of this since I don't want to open the packet until I'm ready to use it, but since a little usually goes a long way with serums I think there should be at least enough for a couple of uses in my sample, which has a value of approximately $2.29.

Overall I calculated a value of $47.74 which falls just shy of the $50 Target said it was, but I think the difference might be in the Covergirl eyeshadow quad because only the price for the older packaging is listed online.  Regardless of that though I am very happy with everything that I received in my box and as with the Naturals box would definitely buy other Target beauty boxes in the future.  I do wish they would do a subscription service for it like Walmart does with their quarterly beauty box, but if you want to increase your chances of knowing when they go on sale make sure you're checking up on the Nouveau Cheap blog.  I've mentioned this blog in other posts but I find out about so many great offers from her posts that I can't recommend it enough.

As usual I opened both of these boxes on my YouTube page so if you're interested in seeing more about them check it out here or I've embedded the video below.