Thursday, May 22, 2014

Essie - Borrowed and Blue

Essie's Borrowed and Blue is part of their 2011 wedding collection.  I picked up a mini bottle a couple of years ago in a 4-pack cube of the entire collection on Amazon.  Essie's website lists the color as sold out but it's still available on Amazon as a full sized bottle, as well as a few other places online like Ulta.

Inside, Natural Light

 Borrowed and Blue is a pretty pale blue creme that is perfect for spring or summer.  I was in a hurry during the application of the polish, but didn't realize quite how bad I'd done until I uploaded the pictures, so sorry about that.

Outside, Shade

I find the mini bottles a bit harder to apply due to the smaller cap size but the brush itself is the same standard size as full sized Essie polishes.  The formula on this is good, not to thin or thick and opaque in two coats.  As usual all photos are a base coat of Essie Grow Stronger, two coats of polish, and a top coat of NYC In a New York Minute in Grand Central Station.

Outside, Sunlight

*Disclosure: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links*

Monday, May 19, 2014

Beauty Box 5 - May 2014

I'm loving my Ipsy subscription and hadn't planned on subscribing to a second beauty subscription but recently I came across a Beauty Box 5 code to get my first box free, so I figured I'd give them a try.  Beauty Box 5 is similar to Ipsy in that you get monthly beauty related samples delivered, and like their name implies it's always 5 samples.  From what I can tell it looks like sometimes you get full sized products, sometimes sample sized.  A monthly subscription is $12/month with free shipping, or you can reduce the monthly cost by subscribing quarterly for $30 ($10/month) or annually for $99 ($8.25/month).  The annual subscription actually brings it down to the least expensive beauty sub I've seen so far.

The samples come in a cute Tiffany Blue box filled with brown crinkle paper strips.  Unlike Ipsy they don't seem to release spoilers for all their products but release one for each month.  This months spoiler was an eyeliner but the rest of the items were a surprise, which is fun because I don't have the willpower to avoid looking at spoilers on my own.  The website says the box ships by the 8th, and sure enough I received my tracking number in my e-mail on 5/8 and my box arrived 5/14.  Also included is a card describing each product and the price for the full sized item

The first of my 5 items was a Cattiva Precisione eyeliner.  This was their spoiler item so I wasn't surprised by it, but I was happy to receive it in my box.  It is a fairly basic black eyeliner and did seem to glide on my hand quite smoothly.  I do like that it is retractable so I don't have to worry about sharpening it.  This is a 0.012 oz full sized liner worth $20.

Second was a sample size H2O+ Spa hand and nail cream.  I tried it out and it is a nice softening hand cream that absorbs quickly.  It doesn't have much of a scent to it which I like.  This will definitely be going in my purse.  The 6 oz full size costs $15 so this 1 oz sample is worth $3.20.

The next item was a sample size of Aveeno Daily Mousturizing lotion.  I've used Aveeno lotion before and like it, especially since I have sensitive skin, but not exactly a new or exciting sample to try.  I was also a little disappointed to receive two very similar products like this in the same box.  The full size of this is 12 oz so the 1 oz sample size has a value of about $0.71.

Fourth was a mini size sample of Harvey Prince perfume.  I'm not much of a perfume wearer but this does have a nice light scent to it so I'll probably use this small amount up but won't purchase the full size.  The card lists the notes as mandarin, grapefruit, forsythia, and plumeria.  The 1.7 oz full size of this is $55.00 but the little sample bottle doesn't have a volume listed so I don't know quite how to value this sample.  It might seem cheap, but I'm just going to go with $2, especially since you can pick up these sample sizes at perfume counters for free.

The final item item(s) included were 3 single packets of the new ban Total refresh Cooling Body Cloths.  I got a free single sample of this in the mail last week but the package was burst open so I had to throw it out.  This isn't something I would typically purchase but these will come in handy this summer after walking the dog on hot days.  A ten wipe box of these is listed at $2.97 so the three wipes together are worth $0.89.

This was an okay box, and the box value came to a total of around $28.88 (could be slightly more since I just added 2 dollars for the perfume).  Since I got this box for free that was definitely worth it but even at $12 a month it did at least exceed the cost of the box.  I wasn't blown away by this box and don't like it as much as Ipsy so far, but I've decided to go ahead and give it a try for one more month so I will review the next box when I receive it in June.  If you'd like to try Beauty Box 5 I do have a referral link you can use to do so here.  Unfortunately I can't seem to find a current code for a discount or free box, but I'll post one if I come across it in the future.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Mineral Fusion Nail Polish Glint of Mint

I purchased this polish in an Ulta order with a birthday gift card.  I hadn't heard of the brand before but when I was browsing through the list of sales on the Ulta website I noticed these were on sale Buy One Get One Free so I couldn't resist trying them out at $4.50 a polish.  I haven't seen them in stores around me so I'm not sure if they're available other than online.  Mineral Fusion Polishes are formaldehyde, toulene, camphor and dibutyl pthalate free.

They seem to have a pretty decent range of colors including a couple of glitters.  I didn't have a mint polish in my collection which is why I picked this color and I also purchased Coral Reef which I'll show sometime soon since it's a great summer color.

Indoors, Natural Light

Glint of Mint is a mint green creme polish.  Since I don't have any other mints I can't compare it to other similar polishes, but I do like this color and may pick up another similar shade soon.

Outside, Shade

The cap is a bit awkward to hold on this one and took some getting used to, but the bush itself is a nice size.  I did mess up my thumbnail a bit since I didn't wait very long to take photos, so that's why it doesn't look so great in the pictures.

Blurry Brush Picture

The formula was on the thick side and the first coat went on a little streaky, but it evened out and was opaque with the second coat.  All photos include a base coat of Essie Grow Stronger, two coats of polish, and a top coat of NYC In a New York Minute in Grand Central Station.

Outside, Sunlight

Friday, May 9, 2014

Homemade Shower Scrub

I've purchased both salt and sugar scrubs over the last few months and while I love the results they can be quite expensive.  Now that we're getting into warmer weather and I'm using a scrub almost daily before shaving my legs, I wanted to experiment with homemade scrubs in hopes of finding a less expensive and natural alternative to purchasing them.  It ended up being so quick and easy that I regret not trying it earlier.

I used a very simple combination, but it's quite adaptable to add-ins.  I chose to use almond oil because it's noncomedogenic (meaning it won't clog pores) and is liquid at room temperature so it's very easy to mix up.  I purchased mine in a quart sized bottle from Amazon, but I've seen it available at natural food stores as well.  Coconut oil would be a good substitute if you don't want to use the almond oil, though you may find it easiest to mix together if you warm the coconut oil to a liquid first.  I used white sugar but I've seen other recipes with brown sugar so this could be substituted, or you could use a mix of both.  I used sugar instead of salt because it's gentler on the skin and dissolves easier than salt.  

I added a little Vitamin E oil because I happened to come across an inexpensive bottle at the Grocery Outlet last week, but this could be left out if you don't have any and don't want to purchase it.  I didn't add any vanilla extract or essential oils but these could easily be added in to add a scent to the scrub.  As I made it there was very little if any scent to it, when it was warmed up in the shower there was a very slight almond scent, but it was hardly noticeable.  

Sweet Almond Sugar Scrub:
1 cup white or brown sugar
1/2 cup sweet almond oil (or coconut oil)
1 tsp vitamin E oil (optional)

Additional add-ins:
1 tsp vanilla or almond extract
Several drops desired essential oils (lavender, peppermint, etc)

Stir together sugar and oils, then add in optional extracts or essential oils as desired.  Store in an airtight container.  This amount lasts me about a week if I use it daily.

*Disclosure: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links*

Thursday, May 1, 2014

100% Pure Healthy Skin Foundation

I've never loved the feel of foundation on my face and before I started wearing much makeup I would often just use a little powder instead.  Eventually I started using Bare Minerals Matte foundation and have been loyal to that for almost 3 years now.  However in the last few months I've noticed it just isn't giving me as much coverage as I want and wasn't helping cover the skin texture issues & fine lines I've been experiencing as I get older.

I knew it was time to start trying liquid foundations but still didn't want something super heavy that I would be able to feel on my face, and I also wanted to find something with more natural ingredients.  I've been adding a lot more organic foods into my diet so I figured it might be time to clean up my makeup routine a bit too.

100% Pure makeup is not only oganic but all natural and vegan as well.  They use fruit and vegetable pigments to dye their makeup and the fragrances in their products come from fruits and essential oils as well.  I first heard of the company through a friend of mine who recently started using it.  In fact my friend threw out all her makeup and replaced everything with all natural, organic products.  I don't think I'll be doing that myself anytime soon, but foundation seemed like a good place to start.  100% Pure has a tinted moisturizer, liquid foundation, or powdered foundation to choose from.  I decided to go with the liquid foundation.

There are no 100% Pure stores that sell the product near me so I was at the mercy of internet swatches to choose my shade.  The lightest shade is Creme and while I'm fair skinned the absolute lightest shade in most makeups is usually too light for me.  Based on their online shade chart I decided to go with their white peach shade, which they say is for light skin tones.

When it first arrived and I opened the box I thought there was no way it was a shade match and I would have to return it.  As you can see in this photo of it on my forearm it is way too dark initially.

However, once blended in it matches my skin tone quite nicely and as long as I blend it along my chin there is no line of demarcation.  I realize it may still look a little too dark in the photo of it blended in below, but I made the mistake swatching the entire amount I typically use for my face.

I started out applying it with the same flat head kabuki brush that I was using for my Bare Minerals and that worked well, but since I was using liquid foundation now I decided to give the much hyped beauty blender sponge a shot and ended up liking the more airbrushed finish that gave.The foundation does dry fairly quickly so I dab it on sections of my face and blend it out quickly to avoid too much drying in one spot.  The foundation comes in a pump style bottle and I find about 1 1/4 pumps of the foundation is enough for my whole face (and way too much for an arm swatch).

This foundation has an almost powdery finish and as soon as it's dry I don't feel it on my face at all.  I'm not sure it really needs a powder on top but I like to put on a little powder after I've put my bronzer on so currently I've been setting it with a small amount of my Bare Minerals SPF 25 Mineral Veil since I still have quite a bit left.  Once that's gone I have a couple of other finishing powders in mind that I'd like to try (first on my list is It Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores).

While this foundation is build-able I would say at least initially its more medium coverage than full.  I did find when I switched from the kabuki brush to the beauty blender there was a bit more coverage.  It doesn't do a great job of covering redness so I've been experimenting with tinted and  redness reducing primers underneath and it helps give it a much more even finish.  If redness isn't an issue for you though you might find it closer to a full coverage foundation.

Overall I am pretty happy with this foundation, especially considering it is organic and all natural.  It is pricey if you're currently using drugstore foundation, but compared to higher end foundations, including the Bare Minerals I was using, it shouldn't be much of a sticker shock.  The 100% Pure website sells the foundation (1 fl oz) for $35, with free shipping if you spend $50, but I was able to purchase it from Amazon a few dollars cheaper with free 2 day shipping since I'm an Amazon prime member (keep in mind that Amazon prices seem to fluctuate often so it may be more expensive now).

Once I'm done with the current bottle I'm using I might try a couple of other foundations I was considering for comparisons sake, but wouldn't be surprised if I end up sticking with the 100% Pure.  I do plan on trying some of the company's other products in the future; their fruit dyed mascaras sound promising, as do their lip products.  I'm hoping that as the company grows they might become available in retail locations like Ulta.

*Disclosure: This post contains Amazon Affiliate Links*