Tuesday, February 28, 2012

How To Get Pricey Face Goop For Cheap (La Roche Posay/CVS)

I had some Extrabucks that were about to expire so I went to my local CVS on the way home. This week all La Roche Posay Effaclar products are $19.99. This is a pretty excellent deal as it is. What makes it an even greater deal is a $10 off Effaclar coupon that came in one of the recent circulars (still trying to pin point if it was Smart Source or Red Plum - I'll update this post when/if I do - I do remember it expires May 1st though). After the coupon, you're looking at a total of $9.99 for some pricey face products. Take the Effaclar Serum Pore Refining Anti-Wrinkle Serum which is what I picked up; it retails for $39.99 - way more than I would ever spend normally. With the sale it's already down 50% to $19.99 and then with the coupon you're looking at another 50% (so 75% off total!).

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Review: Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain #5 Rouge Vintage

My taste over the last few weeks has certainly passed over into the luxurious. I suppose that's what happens when you work 10 hour days and then come home where graduate school work is lurking. When I get off work at upwards of 7pm, I want some pampering. This would explain my little visit to Neiman Marcus yesterday evening (post pending) and my recent purchase of a rather ridiculously priced lip stain.

I'm a huge fan of lip stains. I think I finally mastered the application and find them useful tools to have in one's makeup arsenal. While my lip stain collection ranges across multiple price ranges, this is most likely the most expensive: The Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain, which has a name long enough to rival the high price tag of $32 is a new glossy stain that recently launched. There are shimmer colors and cream/gel finishes and I opted for the latter as glittery lips during the work day isn't always the best look.

The color I chose, Rouge Vintage $5 is a fairly neutral rosy pink. I believe this would suit most skin tones and it's definitely office appropriate.
The texture of this is really interesting. It's nothing like your standard Benetint: it's not watery but the the color is translucent unlike long wear liquid lipsticks. It retains a glossy finish on the lips which does make it a little sticky but not anything like a MAC lipglass. This dried my lips out a bit but most products do. My biggest qualm is it has no longevity. When I went out to dinner with family, this left a ring around my lips and the color had worn off in the center and the color comes off on my coffee mug which makes reapplication a must.
I swatched it next to another lip product (Revlon Colorstay Liquid Lipstick in Premium Pink) so you could see the texture compared to another long wear product. The YSL is on the right. I thought the colors were similar but really couldn't see much similarity after swatching other than the fact they are both pink.

So while I definitely think it is an innovative product, I fail to see the "stain" properties of this. To me, it's more of a glossy liquid lipstick, which is nice as it's more long-wearing than your standard gloss, but wouldn't rival many stains that are currently on the market. I would try to test it out before purchasing only because the price is a bit ridiculous but most companies in the US have generous return policies. Honestly, I don't love it and while the weighty packaging certainly suggests luxury, it isn't always enough for me.

Have you tried this product out? Leave your thoughts below!

Monday, February 20, 2012

What's In My Makeup Bag?

I have a really bad habit of doing my makeup in the car before going into work. Basically, my workweek makeup is very simple and no fuss. I really should start to expand my horizons and switch things out and ya know, apply things like blush but I don't trust myself that early and before I've had my coffee (also my cheeks are naturally red so I prefer the no-blush look). I keep my makeup in a clear case from the Benefit Legally Bronze set. I like it because it's plastic and easy to clean and it's clear so I can see everything in it. It holds a surprising amount too.
The back. I recently finished a mascara so that's why the Rimmel one is unused and still in the original packaging. I'll be opening that up on Tuesday.
And the contents:
Physicians Formula Youthful Wear - review pending
Revlon Age Defying - review pending
Physician's Formula Healthy Wear Powder - reviewed and since hit pan
ULTA Retractable Kabuki
Shu Uemura eyelash curlers
Geo Girl Pressed Eyeshadow
elf under eye concealer/brightener
Pixi Eye Bright Primer
Sephora Flashy Liner Waterproof in Flashy Copper
Sephora Jumbo Liner 12h in Taupe
Essence Long Lasting Eye Pencil in Almost Famous
MAC Powerpoint in Gilded White
Milani Easy Liner for eyes in Terra Brown

eye drops - very important!

Lips get changed out daily - I also keep the Revlon Lip Butter in Pink Truffle in my bag as it's a standard/matches everything kind of color.

For my everyday look I generally apply the eyeshadow all over with my finger (it's basically a "my lid but better" color) and then line the upper and lower lashline with the Jumbo Liner which I absolutely love (though I do swap out the liners every couple of days). That and a generous coating of mascara is all I usually do for my eyes. I know I know... I should do more. I am just so tired and lazy in the morning. I'd rather get an extra bit of sleep - it's the weekend when I generally do the experimenting.

Pretty sad for a beauty blogger, huh? Show me yours?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Review: Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm

The last time I went to Sephora, I picked this lip balm up. I had been wanting to try it for some time as so many bloggers rave about it, but I've always hesitated. I selected the Black Tea & Raspberry scent because it seemed pleasant. Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balms contain an SPF of 25 and come in a standard squeeze tube with .25oz of product for $7.50. The Jack Black line is marketed towards men but I think the offering of different flavors appeals to women.
Given it's praise, I was a bit disappointed when I used this. It is your typical clear, slightly thick clear gel - it reminds me of a slightly thicker Vaseline. I don't find this moisturizes my lips though it doesn't make them peel or get super dry. I think I might be sensitive to one of the ingredients as it makes my lips tingle slightly when I use it. If I put this on moisturized lips it does nothing and if I put it on dry peeled lips it does nothing. Basically, I don't see what all the fuss is about but it could be due to an ingredient sensitivity. The one thing I do like is the scent as it smells like Raspberry Snapple Iced Tea.

As seldom as I return, I think this is going back.

Ingredients: Active Ingredients: Octinoxate 7.5%, Avobenzone 3.0%.

Other Ingredients: Shea Butter (butyrospermum Parkii Fruit), Avocado (Persea Gratissima) Oil, Ribes Nigrum (Black Current) Seed Oil, Green Tea (Camellia Sinensis) Leaf Extract, Tocopeheryl Acetate (vitamin E).

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sephora VIB NARS Set

If you're a VIB you should have received an e-mail today from Sephora indicating you could get this trio of NARS deluxe size samples for free with any $35 or more purchase. This is good in stores and online, code is VIBNARS but it will only work if you are a very important beauty insider.
Included is the following:
Bronzing Powder in Laguna (0.08 oz)
Pro-Prime Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base (0.09 oz)
and Illuminator in your choice of Orgasm or Copacabana (0.29 oz)

These are really good size samples, the bronzer is the size of a NARS eyeshadow (the full size Laguna is .28oz at $34), for reference the full size pro-prime is .26oz at $24 and the illuminators are 1.1oz and $30. I've been wanting to try Laguna and the Pro-Prime but didn't want to spring for the full sizes as I wear bronzer very rarely and am happy with my current eye primer.

Happy shopping and Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sasa Free Shipping

Here's a good one for those of you that have been wanting to try some Asian makeup and skincare but didn't want to spend over $75 to get free shipping (the usual minimum). For Valentine's Day, Sasa is offering free worldwide shipping for all orders over $15. They are also running a few sale promotions so now would be the time to order if you've been wanting to try something. Happy shopping!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

February Birchbox

Guys, you know I'm the first to defend Birchbox but this box was seriously underwhelming. Usually there will be at least one decent sized product in it but these are all card samples. I was so excited to read that there was a Shu Uemura hair product in it but it's teeny tiny, it looks even smaller than the Kiehls samples included which is 4ml/.14oz. Seriously, Birchbox and no chocolate in February? What gives?

Anyway... the products
* Eye Rocks Designer tape liner 1 pack of 4 (full size, 2 packs of 4 $13)
* Juice Beauty Blemish Clearing Serum .17oz/5mL (full size, 2oz $29)
* Shu Uemura Essence Absolue Nourishing Protective Hair Oil <.14oz/4mL (full size, 150mL $68)
* Kiehl's Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution .14oz/4mL (full size 1oz, $49.50)
extra  Supersmile Single Dose Powdered Mouthrinse 2 packets (full size 24 packets, $16)
extra free digital downloads for a random indie band

Basically... I could have done without this box. The Shu Uemura oil is something I've been wanting to try but the sample size is so miniscule that it makes it less exciting. The eyeliner sticker thingies are really weird but I'll give them a go. Basically, major yawn and nowhere near worth $10. If you started now and received this box, I feel kind of apologetic for recommending this service. There is nothing deluxe about the samples I received.

Disclosure: I did include a referral link but don't click it if this is what's to come. Hopefully the March box is more exciting. This was major major snooze fest.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Review: Oilatum Natural Repair Face Cream

So let's review. My skin is very dry and very sensitive. 

Saturday I woke up with a rash that basically covered my entire face aside from my forehead. Of course, it was nowhere near my body so no walk-in clinic would treat me. Splashing lukewarm/cold/warm water on it burned, touching it burned (showering was highly unpleasant). It looked gross. I was in the middle of trying to write a paper so it was very distracting. It was red and blotchy and hurt. I was really at a loss and basically decided that I was going to baby my skin and hope it got better on its own (side note, you know why that is? Because no walk in clinic would prescribe me a corticosteroid because it was on my face and my doctor's office isn't open when office workers walk the earth). Anyway, basically, since Saturday, I have very gently washed my face with the Ahava Rich Cleansing Cream and then slathered this on top. This being the Oilatum Natural Repair Face Cream which Kelly so kindly sent me ages ago. Thank goodness I didn't use this as a regular moisturizer because although there are still remnants of angry red blotchy sand-papery monster, there are some spots where you can actually feel my skin and after several days of that not being the case, any progress is good news!

So here's hoping Oilatum comes to the states in a more reputable venue than slightly sketchy Amazon sellers. Or Kelly and I will just have to have another swap soon (hint hint).

Basically, this stuff rocks.
(The Ahava ain't too shabby either. I quite like it and the little tube that came in the Birchbox lasts forever.)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

January Empties

I've heard a trend of people thinking January went by so slowly but to be honest, it seems like every other month to me? I finished a decent amount of products in January, many of them have been reviewed previously so I'll be sure to include the links and make a note if my opinion has changed since then.
Bumble & Bumble BB Tonic Shampoo - I managed to find this for $6 at Big Lots and I can't say I'd rebuy at the full price but it is a decent shampoo especially for those of us with scalp issues. It is drying so a nice conditioner aftwards is an absolute must.
Madre Labs Moisturizing Conditioner - This one was of my two favorite products from the line and I reviewed the full line as well as their bath & body products. This is a nice moisturizing conditioner that does not weigh the hair down. It's also reasonably priced and the scent is yummy. I'd repurchase but not till I finish some of my other conditioners.
NYX All Purpose Makeup Remover Gel Type - Even though I think this is pretty decent the bottle is tiny and the smell is a bit odd. I won't be repurchasing.
Klorane Soothing Eye Makeup Remover - This sample came in a Birchbox and I'm very happy I did not spend money on it. Doesn't do anything. I managed to use it up by using it to wipe off the work the MUFE Sens'eyes already did if I wanted to take my eye makeup and not my full face or if I was using wipes that made my eyes sting (the Pond's below).
Sircuit Skin Fixzit - Holy grail.
Haus of Gloi Plotter's Breakfast Soft Bubbling Scrub - I love the Haus of Gloi scrubs!
Ponds Evening Soothe Makeup Wipes - I wasn't a fan of these. Won't be repurchasing.
Boscia Purifying Cleanser (sample) - drying
Fresh Soy Face Cleanser (sample) - I liked this and I'd consider purchasing it in the future.
Kate Somerville Lash Enhancing Eye Makeup Remover - Meh.
Soft Soap Coconut Scrub Soap - My opinion is unchanged since my review. Quite like this for a drugstore soap and it doesn't strip my very dry skin.

Link your empties post below if you have one. I love to read them!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

My Thoughts On Birchbox

I know there's been a lot of frustration with Birchbox recently. Other companies are coming out with better valued boxes or bags as the case may be, the boxes tend to have a lot of repeats of a few brands, people aren't excited about what comes in their boxes, we expect more. I've felt similarly but also have continued with my subscription. First of all, it is only $10. For those on stricter budgets, this can provide a gift each month and for others, it can quell spending as you are definitely getting something in the mail once a month. If you feel you are getting a better deal with the other boxes and you don't feel it's worth the $10, that's absolutely fine. For me, I think it's worth it, here's why.

I joined Birchbox in May, 2011 so I've almost been subscribed for a year. Since I've joined, I've received the following full size (or smaller bottles sold in retail stores) in my boxes:

Stila eyeshadow (no longer sold as individual pans) May 2011 ~$18
Laura Geller Baked Blush & Brighten June 2011 $29.50
Redken Shine Flash 02 Glistening Mist (small retail size) July 2011 $8
Oscar Blandi Jasmine Protein Mist (small retail size) November 2011 $5
Stila Smudgestick Waterproof Eye Liner January 2012 $20
(total "worth" $80)

Granted, would I a) paid the retail price for these items or b) picked out these particular items if I was shopping on my own? Maybe yes maybe no.

I've spent $10 for 9 months or $90.

I've also accrued 410 points by taking surveys (this is key!) and I've had 1 referral (50 points, total of 460 points). This means I have $40 right now that I can use in the Birchbox shop as each 100 equates to $10 worth of products. And I can pick out exactly what I want. Now you aren't going to get a huge store with thousands of options like Sephora but the brands range from inexpensive to very luxe (they carry a few Deborah Lippmanns as well as an edited selection of By Terry products).

The points system makes the Birchbox a much better deal than it looks in the onset. The surveys are short, sweet and to the point and you receive 10 points for each survey. Each box typically contains 4-6 items so each month you can accrue 40 to 60 points/$4-$6 (plus referrals). Additionally, every anniversary Birchbox sends a 20% code (I received one at 3, 6 and 9 months) to use in their shop in additional to the points. I'm waiting till I accrue enough points to get free shipping ($50) so I'll probably wait till my 1 year anniversary to use my points.

Factoring in only surveys, the box price is more like $6 a month and if you factor in the full size products I've received then I'm basically making out ahead. For me, this is a great way of getting travel sized products, trying new things and getting a surprise package in the mail every month. I know the boxes vary, so your experience might be different; however, I can definitely say that I'm a fan of the program.

Disclosure: Referral link used and this post was brought to you courtesy of graduate school procrastination.

Stila Love At First Blush Palette Winner!

The winner of the Stila Love At First Blush Palette is...


Check out her blog while you're at it.

Sunnie, I'm going to be e-mailing you shortly to confirm your mailing address.

Thanks to everyone who entered. Something I want to address is if you select "follow through google friend connect" I need to be able to verify it and if you private the blogs you follow, I can't do that. Just something to keep in mind when you're entering a giveaway!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Julep Boho Glam February Maven Box

My February Julep Maven Box arrived in the mail today. This month I opted for the Boho Glam box as the colors seemed more up my alley and it included the Essential Cuticle Oil which I had been wanting to try. This month's box definitely has a Valentine's Day theme complete with red packaging and chocolate! Julep sure knows a way to this girl's heart!
Inside was the Cuticle Oil as expected, Marisa (Rich Cobalt Blue Shimmer) and Oscar (Gold Glitter). Both colors launched as a celebration of the Oscars that aired recently and maybe you can't see him that well in the picture above, but each box comes with your very own chocolate Oscar.
Isn't he nice and likely delicious?

Julep Maven is a $19.99 a month program and it seems with the program they tend to send newly launched colors rather than items in their normal line. So far I've enjoyed it as I really like the polishes. They are some of the fastest drying polishes I've ever tried and the opacity of them has been great. I am disappointed with their metallic shades since they streak horribly though I've tried my best to only pick boxes with creams or shimmer finishes.

Swatches to come!

Disclosure: My referral link has been used.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


You may have noticed that posts have been a bit infrequent lately here on Jeweled Thumb. That's likely going to continue for a few months as graduate school has once again started and I being smart (?) decided that I wanted to be done asap and take 2 classes this semester. Those of you that have been around for awhile know that I enjoy using the blog as a procrastination tool but sometimes the reading (plus working full time) doesn't allow for much flexibility. The good news is that as long as I pass these 2 courses, I will have one left for my degree and believe me, once I finish this Master's program, I don't believe I'll want another. Just a warning, if my reviews get super long, wordy and start reading like a research paper, you'll know the reason why!

Hope everyone is doing well!