REVIEW: August 2016 Boxycharm

You guys, you should see my house right now. No, actually, it’s for the best you can’t. I really should be cleaning and getting us ready for my baby to start JK this coming week. Instead, I am in total denial and refusing to face reality. Time for a boxycharm review!!

The theme for August’s box was “Express Yourself”

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Yep, this month I was super excited to try everything out. Such a great collection of things!

Dirty Little Secret Velvet Matte Liquid Lipstick (10$USD): I was a little nervous to pull this one out of the box. My lips are so dry that I try to stay away from matte liquid lipsticks. Add to that the colour of this one…a definite orangey red. Well, lets just say I have been drinking tea and coffee multiple times a day for half my life, so my teeth don’t need any help at looking yellow.   The packaging is adorable though, and I am not one to back down from a colour.I was pleasantly surprised by the texture. This didn’t feel drying and it went on really smoothly. It was a little patchy on me, which meant I needed to layer up in some areas.

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I wore this out of the house and after one cup of coffee and a greasy lunch, this was finit.

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Yeah, not my favourite look. This is less than 2 hours after application. I would not recommend this without a lip liner and making sure you bring the lipstick along with you to touch up.

Makeup Eraser AmpliMascara ($23USD): Mama loves herself some mascara. I love trying different formulas. It makes such an instant difference in a look. This mascara intrigued me. It calls itself a serum and claims to really amp up the volume and length. As with all mascaras that I try, I gave it a few days and a few different application methods before writing this review. I tried one layer, two layers, layered on dry and layered on wet.

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Unfortunately, this one and my lashes just did not go well together. I didn’t notice much of anything to be honest. The colour is a little too muted for my taste and I just didn’t get the length OR volume I was hoping for.

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After wearing it for the day, my eyes got really itchy and sore, so I am passing it along to my sister to try. Hopefully it works out better for her. Also, a quick note: When I looked into the product, the Magic Eraser website only lists a two step product, so I wonder if maybe this is only part of the set? I don’t know. It doesn’t make sense to me.

Pure Cosmetics Waterproof Lip Liner: I was actually pretty happy to see this. After getting red lipstick recently, I realized I needed a red lip liner to make them stay put. Unfortunately, this one isn’t quite the shade I was hoping for. This is actually a pretty nice brown red/burnt red. I think it’ll be great for fall, but I’m not sure the tone is completely me. I love how creamy it is, and how easy that made the application. I did find that it wanted to stay put.

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Aloette Time Repair Serum ($48USD): I love skincare, so I was pretty excited about this. I can’t say that I’ve noticed a difference so far, but it’s only been a couple weeks and I can’t say that I use it twice a day like they suggest. I do like the thin texture and how quickly it absorbs.

And finally, the big exciting item in this box:

Coastal Scents Blush and Bronzer Pallet with Brush: Yay another pallet!! I was very excited about this, especially because I’ve been finding myself really into blush, highlight and bronzer lately. This pallet includes one matte blush, one shimmer blush, one highlight, one matte bronzer and one bronzer with a sheen, as well as a brush.

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First I’ll start with the big negative. The brush really did nothing for me. It wasn’t big enough or soft enough for my taste. I don’t see myself using it again. The actual powders were ok. The blushes were pigmented and pretty. A girlfriend told me she thought I had used a cream blush by how beautifully it sat on the skin. The bronzers are pretty warm and dark for me, but they are easy to blend if you go lighthanded. The highlight was pretty meh, unfortunately. It was too shimmery to use as a matte under eye powder, but too subtle to use as a cheek highlight for me.

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I’m debating passing this one on. I do like the blushes though…maybe I’ll de-pot?

augboxy7So that’s it for this month. While not a ton of these items were super “Me”, I did enjoy trying new things (and colours). Looking forward to September’s boxycharm! I hear there’s another eyeshadow pallet!

REVIEW: August 2016 Topbox

Sorry for going quiet again, you guys. I’m struggling a bit these days (as anyone who follows my snapchat or instagram can attest). I’m going to push through, though, and get back to some reviews.

This Month’s Topbox arrived, and I was a little disappointed. I had requested a tube, as my kids love to play with them and they can easily be repurposed. The mesh bags, on the other hand, sit around taking up space. Well, looks like it was a mesh bag for me. Oh well.

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Smashbox Photo Finish Pore Minimizing Foundation Primer: First thing, I was pretty excited to see this primer. I’ve only ever tried the original smashbox primer and enjoy it. I was surprised to see this primer is coloured. I actually checked the tube to make sure I didn’t confuse my products. It went on smoothly and felt nice on the skin. Unfortunately, it seemed to aggravate my dry patches pretty badly, and flared up the eczema on the bridge of my nose, and on my upper lip. It may have made my pores look good, but it seemed to make my dry skin look way more noticable. A definite pass for me. (Also, holy crap price tag. $51?!)

Manna Kadar Cosmetics Radiance Split Pan Bronzer and Highlighter Duo: Right off the bat, I was not super impressed with this. The bronzer is shimmery (not my fave) and DARK for me. The highlighter was dark too. I really didn’t think it would work on my very fair skin. The pan is pretty small and I worry with split pans like this that the bronzer is going to muddy up the highlight over time. Anyway, the product description boasts that you can use it as an eyeshadow too, so I decided to try it all out.

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Splotchy and patchy AF

Yeah, not happy. The bronzer was hella patchy and dark. It took me forever to blend that shit out. The highlight was surprisingly pretty, but not enough for me to ever think about buying this.

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Paired with L’Oreal Infallible Amber Rush all over the lid.

As eyeshadows these actually did a beautiful job, so I’m thinking about keeping it for that purpose.But then, do I need a shimmery brown and peach? Not really. Overall, another womp womp for me. ($27.68 CAD)

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Me, out in the sunshine. Unfortunately, the bronzer as an eyeshadow didn’t stay put and smudged under my eyes. Jerk Bronzer

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A few hours later. Sort of still bronzed. Highlight is no where to be found.

Novex Argan Oil Deep Conditioning Hair Mask: I am really imperssed by the size of this sample. You get quite a bit of product here. Now, unfortuantely, it’s one product I probably won’t really use. I mean, as I said last month, I am OVER FREAKING ARGAN OIL. Seriously, it’s in every damn box/bag/tube all the freaking time. I have more damn argan oil stuff than I will ever get through. Despite that, I gave it a try. From my reading, it’s basically just a deep conditioner. You add it to wet clean hair, let sit for 3 minutes and rinse. I did and it felt ok. I’ll use it once a week or so and report back if I think of it, but right now, meh. ($6.57 CAD)

Elizabeth Arden Skin Illuminating Brightening Night Capsules: I am on a big skincare kick right now (sudden realization that OMG I’M GETTING OLD AND HAVE WRINKLES AND SUN DAMAGE), so this was probably the most exciting part of this month’s topbox. There is something super appealing about squishing these little capsules. The product itself feels very nice and much like a silicone primer. Unfortunately, I found that this aggravated my ezema, so I have to be very careful where I apply it. I didn’t notice any lifechanging effects, but I will use these up 4 squishies for sure. ($110.25 CAD) 

So, that’s it this month. Unfortunately, as you can probably tell, I’m not super impressed. Everything was kind of a fail and made my skin really really unhappy. Here’s hoping next month is better. One really great and redeeming extra was a coupon tucked in the bag. It was for a free eyebrow styling and wax. YAS. Mama needs this. For those of you who don’t know, I have some vision limitations. My vision isn’t great without my glasses and my eyes have a really hard time looking in a specific direction up close. Namely, I can’t look at my left brow very well. I have to groom that one brow pretty much blind. So, having the ability to have someone else do my brows is AWESOME. Thanks Topbox!

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Review: Clairol Natural Instincts Dye

BzzAgent and Clairol contacted me a little while ago, asking if I would like to try their Natural Instincts dye for free. Um, yes. For those who have been following me a while, you may remember that Natural Instincts used to be my jam. Since about the end of high school, I have been using Natural Instincts to dye my hair everything from reds, to browns, to blondes. Here’s a little time line of my hair changes over the years.

So, they asked me to pick a colour and sent a box my way.

I wanted something that would blend in well with my natural colour, so I went with Toasted Almond.

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#gotitfree y’all! So, me being the patient woman that I am, I pretty much immediately threw it into my hair. Here’s what happened:

This is me before. Notice the sort of orangey ends and brassiness to my colour. Post partum and summer time hasn’t been kind to my hair. Obvs.

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This is me during. Thankfully, this was a super quick and easy process. Once you mix the things up, you apply the dye to your hair, roots to ends. Once my hair was fully saturated, I clipped it up and hung out with my best buddy Netflix for an episode before washing it out. clairol3

I then used the included conditioner and let my hair air dry. Man, that conditioner is the best. Like, I want to dye my hair more often just to have this amazing stuff in my life FOREVER. Here are the results!

Immediately after dying:

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My hair no longer has that brassiness to it and the ends blend in waaaaay better. It’s a really beautiful natural brown colour with shine. Loooove.

Yesterday, so maybe 2 weeks later?

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My hair seems to have depth and a healthy shine again. Mama is pleased. The conditioner is keeping things soft and nourished, which makes me feel better about doing a box dye at home.

Overall, I am really happy with my experience. It was really easy to do, with minimal mess and fuss, and the results were really nice. Thanks again to Clairol and BzzAgent for letting me try this!

Note: While this product was sent to me, I have not been paid to write this review. As always, all thoughts and reactions are my honest opinion and experience. 

Review: CoverGirl Clean Matte BB Cream and Super Sizer Fibers Mascara.

BzzAgent spoiled me again. For my new readers who may not know, BzzAgent is an amazing website that allows its members to review some amazing products. They send you the goods FOR FREE, you try ’em and let the world know what you think. Yep. They are awesome. Here’s the latest that they have sent my way to try out:

What you see above is the new CoverGirl Clean Matte BB Cream for Oily Skin (in Fair) and the much loved on youtube, Super Sizer Fibers Mascara (in Black).

Let’s start with the BB Cream. I was nervous about trying this one. For those of you who may not know, I have extremely dry, sensitive skin and eczema. The word “matte” normally has me hiding behind my face oils. Add to that “For Oily Skin” and you can guarantee I won’t be picking it up. Thankfully, I didn’t have to pick it up! #gotitfree y’all! I tried a few different methods of application, as well as different bases to see how well it would apply, hold up and if it would dry me out like a raisin.

So, here’s what it looks like with moisturizer and sunscreen underneath, applied with a brush

Here is is on top of just sunscreen, applied with a Real Techniques sponge.

Here it is, on it’s own, applied with my hands.

So, here are my thoughts:

Pros

  • Gives me a beautiful airbrushed finish
  • Great coverage for a BB cream
  • Not oily or greasy at all
  • DID NOT DRY ME OUT OMG (so long as it is layered)
  • Applies beautifully over other products
  • Other products layer beautifully on top
  • Does not melt down in the heat

Cons

  • Doesn’t have it’s own SPF, which seems really weird to me considering most BB creams do
  • Doesn’t last all day, even with with primer and setting spray. I specifically notice it fades away to nothing on my chin and jaw line (where the kids grab me and I touch most)
  • Has a strange scent…sort of like wet paint?

I just love how this looks and feels on the skin. It dries down and really doesn’t need to be set at all. The finish is just beautiful, especially when I layer it on top of moisturizer and sunscreen. My skin ends up looking flawless.

I really expected this to be a disaster for me and my skin. I am so pleasantly surprised. This is my new favourite drug store BB Cream.

Ok, on to the mascara.

If you are a fan of beauty youtubers as much as I am, you have heard of this mascara. People LOVE the original Super Sizer mascara and really seem to love the Fibers version just as much. Youtuber Emily Noel has a lot of praise for it.

I was so hopeful. In fact, when I told my sister that I was doing this campaign with BzzAgent, I told her that I expected to love the mascara and that the BB cream would be a disaster. Oh, how wrong I was.

I don’t know if it’s just user error or what, but I just can’t get this brush to work for me. I end up with clumpy meh lashes. I hardly get any real volume, no length and if I do a second layer, a really heavy gross feeling. I tried this every day for a week. I tried it with curled lashes, straight lashes, before and after powders, I tried it layered wet and layered dry. I just couldn’t find the love.

Thank you again to BzzAgent for the opportunity to try these products. It goes to show that until you try something, you never really know whether it will work for you. The results with these two products were completely different than what I expected.

Do you have a favourite BB Cream? Any other dry girls love a matte product? What about the mascara – am I alone in not being able to make it work?

Review: Cover Girl and Olay 3 in 1 Foundation

A little while ago, my sister introduced me to a review site called BzzAgent. I am a sucker for reading and writing reviews, so I immediately joined. About a month ago, I was notified that I was going to participate in a new campaign by Covergirl, called Embrace Your Face.

When I used the tool, it told me that I should be using the Covergirl and Olay Simply Ageless 3 in 1 foundation. I was a bit unsure, because I had heard that it was a pretty heavy foundation for those with mature skin. I am in denial of my age, but I figured that since it would be a free product, I wouldn’t have anything to loose. You guys know, I love me some make up, so I was pretty stoked.

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I have since received the foundation and have given it about 2 weeks of wear before sitting down and writing this review out. I hope you like it!

My Foundation Background: For my new readers, I have sensitive dry and dehydrated skin. I have eczema, which does flare up on my face. When testing this foundation, I have dry patches on the bridge of my nose. I hate the feel of heavy sticky wet foundations and HAVE to powder, despite my dry skin.

Before:

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As you can see, I have some intense under eye dark circles, some wrinkles, some face demons and discolouration. Weeee!

Application: To test the buildability and coverage, I’m not going to use any concealer. I prep my face with my moisturizer, sunscreen and some Smashbox Primer.

Immediately, I can tell that this stuff is THICK. I  use two pumps and a few drops of face oil to thin it out.

After the first application, you can see the classic ivory shade is pretty good for me. This foundation is definitely medium to full coverage. A little bit of my under eye and face demons are poking through, but otherwise, I am completely evened out.

I decide to do another layer, to really test the buildability.

Holy crap, you guys. This stuff is no joke. That, my dears, is what I call full coverage.

Ok, time to do my brows, eyes, blush and lip…oh, and highlight. Can’t forget that glow. Going for a no make up makeup look. It’s hot as heck and very humid, so I want to look a little less done.

Let me know if you want the rest of my details for the finished look. I’d like to remind you that I’m not wearing any concealer. All of this coverage is the foundation.

Finish: Definitely needs powder to set. This stuff is thick, creamy and very dewy. I could still feel it on the skin after setting. It never dries down.

Coverage: Medium to full, buildable.

Lasting Power: Unfortunately, the heat, humidity and grabby baby hands made this wear off on the chin pretty much within the first hour, and that is with setting spray. The rest of my face fared better, and I didn’t notice any oxygenation or breaking down. I did have some slight under eye creasing, but that’s it. Here’s a shot from the other day when we hit the 40s with humidex.

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Overall Impression: I am pleasantly surprised by this foundation. I honestly expected to hate it. Despite it feeling wet and heavy, it was moisturizing and its performance made it so worth it. I think it may be too heavy for summer wear, but this will be amazing for the winter time. For it’s price point, this is such a great foundation. Just make sure to set it well, and blend it well to avoid a cakey look. If blended, it looks fresh and natural, despite it’s amazing coverage.

**Thanks to BzzAgent for sending this foundation to me, for free, to review. This post is not sponsored. I have not been paid to review. All of the opinions expressed here are my own.**