Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Ibotta: Where Have I Been?

I was reading some "mom blogs" to get some recipe tips and checking in on some updated coupon policies and whatnot and stumbled upon one that was running a post on smartphone apps that save you money and/or keep you organized. It wasn't mentioned in the actual post, but a reader mentioned the app Ibotta and I was instantly intrigued and downloaded it. Holy moly, where have been? Seriously. I use several apps and coupons and I think this may be one of the better ones I've used. Not only can it be combined with coupons, in-store apps like Target's Cartwheel, and other apps like Shopkick (which I also happen to be a big fan of), you can also use other payment options like giftcards to complete your transactions and still get the cash back and unlike Ebates (which, don't get me wrong - I also love), Ibotta has in store promotions and you can cash out through paypal or redeem for giftcards at anytime as long as you have $10 in your account.

So, during the VIB sale, they were running a rebate at Sephora stores for $5 back with a purchase of $50 or more (psst they are still running this rebate - both in store and online - in fact, it regenerated for me!). I had to make sure that after my 15% still put me over the $50 (some deals have a certain dollar threshold at once while others have a threshold that you would meet over time) but I made my purchase, saved 15% instantly thanks to the sale and then I got $5 back on Ibotta (all I had to do was meet the requirements for the deal and scan my receipt); basically 10% cashback. They also have other options that you can purchase online but you need to go through the Ibotta link so you can't do Ebates and Ibotta for example.

The other cool thing about Ibotta is the teamwork function. I haven't been on there long, but it looks like every month you and your team (facebook friends and referrals) try to get to certain dollar amounts of rebates throughout the month and when you do, you get $5 here and $5 there. So for the April event, I've already made an extra $10 just for using the app. Since downloading the app on the 17th, I've already banked $25.05!

In addition to shops like Sephora, Express and Aeropostale (just a few of the stores - though they seem to update weekly), you can also use this on groceries that you would normally buy and individual cosmetic items at Target, CVS, Walgreens, etc. They tend to do small amounts for things like "any brand of cereal" "any brand of chips" "a gallon of milk" and as long as you do the very simple tasks to unlock the rebate and the item checks out (you scan the barcode), you get the rebate and as I said, you can combine with coupons. So as an example, earlier this week, Safeway was running a deal on garbage bags (I know this is completely unrelated to beauty but it's so cool I had to share). They usually sell them for $10 but were on sale for $5. I had a $1 off paper coupon and Ibotta had a 75 cent rebate. So after all was said and done, I basically paid $3.25.

I'm not being paid or sponsored by Ibotta in anyway, but you will see my referral links scattered through this article. Join my team and we can make money together! If you download directly from your phone, my referral code is fkemmhr. See you there!

Monday, April 27, 2015

A Warning for Sephora in JCPenney Shoppers

This isn't a huge deal, but I wanted to make others aware and see if anyone else has had something similar occur to them. It also reminds me that when you're dealing with a major corporation, whether it's your employer or a store you frequent, you need to be diligent and ensure things are applied the way they are supposed to be. This is especially relevant when dealing with stores with rewards programs or running sales or special deals. Sometimes the computer doesn't quite work the way it's supposed to.

In any case, I realized that one of my purchases at a Sephora in JCPenney didn't seem to apply to my money spent column on the Sephora website completely. It turned out, after speaking with Sephora over the phone that it was the (Sephora in JCPenney exclusive) Sephora Favorites Summer Obsessions Set that wasn't applying to my balance. Since I've recently had an unusual influx of gift cards, I have reached my renewal for VIB rather early in the year, well aside from about $25 worth, which this set would have taken care of. And once they discovered the mistake, they said it could take up to 2 weeks (!) to get the spend amount changed. So, just a warning if you bought the set during the sale and especially a general warning when it comes to buying at big stores running specials, etc.

If you did buy the set, it probably wouldn't be a bad idea to check your receipt and online account to ensure your points and dollar spent was appropriately applied. You never know when you'll get a few gift cards and be close to a 100 point perk that you actually want or close to renewing your VIB or VIB Rouge levels!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Review: Bare Escentuals Bare Minerals Pop of Passion Lip Oil-Balm Punch Pop

I was super excited that the Bare Escentuals Lip-Oil Balms were available during ULTA's 20% discount code as while the balms are fairly reasonably priced for a prestige brand, 20% off is always better! I picked up the color Punch Pop, even though I had anticipated getting a color that leaned a bit more on the berry side. Nonetheless, I was super excited to try it!
The packaging is something that I honestly think BE or Bare Minerals, whatever they are calling themselves these days, could have been a little better. It is a fairly standard plastic case, with what appears to be metal where the balm actually comes out, but it is very lightweight. More lightweight than some of the drugstore products, and considering it's $16 - well they could have made it a tiny bit more weighty, or maybe a twist top, or something different than what you'd expect at the drugstore.
Punch Pop seems to transform the more layers you add. Left to right, we have 1 swipe, 2 swipes, 3 swipes and 4 swipes. Honestly, I don't think I could have handled applying 4 different layers of this product on my lips as it would have certainly bleeded through my lip line.
This is how one application looks on my lips, but your mileage may vary as my lips tend to be on the pigmented side, so I'm getting a slightly brighter color than the hand swatches would suggest.

I applied this on lips that had no prior moisturizer, but that weren't obviously dry or cracked. What I got as it continued to wear was that either it found dry pieces to flake off and remain on my lips (which isn't particularly flattering), or the formula has an issue where the pigment doesn't meld well with the actual oils after it's been heated on the lips' surface. I don't know which of these it is, but by hour 2 I felt I had a bunch of glitter between my lips which isn't exactly the intent of a moisturizing lip balm product. I don't know if anyone else has had this situation before or if my lips are especially sensitive, but I'm sad that mine is going back to the store (and I couldn't remove it fast enough).
Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Oil, Poly(C20-28 Olefin), Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Isopropyl Palmitate, Hydroxystearic Acid, Passiflora Edulis Seed Oil, Caprylyl Glycol, Tocopherol, Phenoxyethanol. May Contain (+/-): Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891), Iron Oxides (Ci 77491,Ci 77492, Ci 77499), Blue 1 Lake (Ci 42090), Red 6 (Ci 15850), Red 7 Lake (Ci 15850), Yellow 5 Lake (Ci 19140), Red 27 (Ci 45410), Red 28 Lake (Ci 45410), Red 22 Lake (Ci 45380).

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Review: Ole Henriksen Pure Truth™ Melting Cleanser

I was so excited to try the Ole Henriksen Pure Truth™ Melting Cleanser. I was trying to hold out for a sample before purchasing, but the 1floz size caught my eye during a visit to Sephora during the sale and before I knew it, it was in my basket. I didn't want to go with the full sized product as I hadn't tried this before and hadn't really tried a gelée cleanser at all, only balms and oils (which I love). Though because this is new and different, it's instantly on any skincare junkies want list, or at least, it was on mine.
As one would expect, it's a clear jelly-like consistency. It's tinted orange as with most of the Pure Truth line products in Ole Henriksen's line. It comes in a very sturdy glass jar which surprised me as it was the travel size, but it was a pleasant touch. The lid is sturdy and the product comes boxed and also sealed. It very faintly smells of citrus but I didn't find it overwhelming in the slightest. The 1oz size retails for $12 and it also comes in a 4oz size for $34 which I find quite reasonable, though do note I'm a fond user of the eve lom, which isn't quite so cost effective, ok, it's ridiculously priced, but awesome.
The texture is strange, yet cool? It's like goo. I can see young boys in their early teens loving this stuff (not for the intended purpose, mind you - but my brother was always scaring me with magic shop blood, and jiggly "body parts" that had interesting textures). It's thick, yet bouncy. Ok, I'm going to stop trying to describe the texture as we'll be here all day. What are the claims?
According to the box, "this 3-in-1 cleansing gelée effortlessly melts the most stubborn makeup and gently dissolves everyday impurities leaving the skin superbly hydrated. Vitamin C, rose hips and cherry seed oils pamper, nourish and unveil a purely radiant and healthy complexion". Sounds great.

"Directions: Use dry hands and massage into dry skin to melt away makeup and impurities. Add warm water and rinse clean."

So I first tested this the day I was wearing/testing the Too Faced Melted Liquified Long Wear Lipsticks. That also included a mixture of the Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide in Creme (which is a touch too dark and a touch too yellow and accentuates every single dry patch - but I'm just using up the Sephora sample) and the Makeupever Forever Matte Velvet Plus in #15 (which I'm trying to use up but it is lasting forever!), a Tarte eye primer sample that I don't recall the name of, but I think it might be the brightening one, Makeup Forever Smokey Lash Waterproof Mascara, and one of Tarte's Airblush Maracuja Blushes.

I applied an amount that seemed appropriate (it doesn't tell you how much to use which is slightly vexing - are we talking a pea or a cherry?) and rubbed it into my dry skin. I know the box tells you not to put it in contact with your eyes, but how else is it supposed to remove waterproof mascara? I put it on my eyes since I'm a rebel (not really) though I did get a bit of extra blurry vision, but it didn't burn or sting. I rubbed it in and let it do it's work, and rubbed it in again. I also massaged it all over my face. I did wind up having to add more in the middle which was a bit annoying, but first time user error strikes again.

I actually cheated to get it off since I wanted it to work so badly. Even though the instructions don't tell you to use a muslin cloth, or washcloth or anything, I used my muslin cloth with warm/hot water.

Then I took some cotton pads and some trusty CLINIQUE Take The Day Off Makeup Remover For Lids, Lashes & Lips to see if there were any remnants.
Only a bit of greyness showed up on my right eye, not too bad (yes, I marked these with a sharpie so I would remember, and it's not easy on wet cotton!)
The left eye wasn't so great though.
The face also was a bit disappointing. Can you imagine how it would have been had I not used the muslim cloth??!
And finally lips. This was actually more disappointing than the face, because I made a point of rubbing this into my lips really well and most of the Too Faced lipstick had worn off by this point, I was only dealing with the remnants.

But I'm generous and I like to give things another shot, so I tried it again.

I was wearing slightly less makeup. The same base, the same blush, the same mascara, but I wasn't wearing anything else on my eyes. I had also spritzed myself with a makeup setting spray earlier in the day (-10 hours), and I had been wearing a pretty standard lipstick (not long wearing) which had worn off during dinner. I decided, however, to follow the instructions and not use a muslin cloth because it doesn't say you need to and I admit that the results on my first attempt would have been far worse if I hadn't used one. What I did do this time around was use more product, a lot more product. I also rubbed it into my eyes and let it sit even longer and rubbed it into my skin and let it sit longer, hoping it would help break up the makeup

Much better on the eye front, although I lost several lashes during the process. This cotton pad shows the remnants for both eyes.
However, this was left on my face after using the Ole Henriksen which bummed me out. That is a lot of foundation left kicking around after using a product that should have easily removed it all based on the claims. I wasn't even wearing a primer!

There's just something off with this product and I'm not sure what it is. I'm not sure if they need to add an ingredient that really dissolves makeup like it already claims to, or whether they need to say "use a muslin cloth to wipe away excess product and help remove any remnants". I can't lose 8 eyelashes every time I take my makeup off and I don't when I use some of my other cleansers. Nor am I willing to use a zillion other products in combination with this when this claims to effortlessly take off everything!

So this review is a bit of a downer. I am returning my travel jar and going back to my tried and true. It was fun to try this product. It looks so cool, but looks aren't everything.

Monday, April 20, 2015

January, February and March 2015 Empties

I was - I'll say diligent - about making sure all of my 2014 empties posts went up before starting 2015 (what diligent means is my tiny bit of OCD kicked into gear and I just couldn't do empties posts out of order - the horror!). Anyway, I've very pleased with what I've finished so far in 2015. I've made a big effort to use up body care products. Well, to be honest, I want to finish everything that could technically expire. I had to throw away some things when I was cleaning our closets and all I saw was money washing down the drain. It stung. But just to make things clear, I am not jumping on the bandwagon of people who are buying nothing, getting rid of many of their possessions - even things they like, etc (I'm selling some clothes that no longer fit or aren't to my tastes and some makeup that I don't use or something I've had for way longer than I should without even trying which definitely suggests it would be better suited in another person's collection but I'm not making myself get rid of "x" many eyeshadows or telling myself I can't have more than 2 taupes (madness!) or condensing my makeup collection to something that fits in a small makeup bag). My husband collects board games. I collect makeup. We aren't starving, we live in a house that could be cleaner but wouldn't show up on hoarders. End of story. Ok, getting off my high horse now and onto the empties!

  • Mor Italian Blood Orange Body Butter - This was scented beautifully but took forever to use up as it was quite thick and until I used the method of "heating your body butter", it was just too arduous to apply. It was like my skin needed it, but it couldn't consume it. Then I warmed it up and bam! sunk in like a dream and actually did what it was supposed to do and ... used all 5.1 ounces of this up!
  • The Body Shop Cranberry Joy Body Butter - Another body butter that I destroyed after using the water bath method. This was nice, but I was starting to get tired of the scent and so was my husband so I was happy to move onto other things after finishing the mammoth 6.7oz tub.

  • Bath & Body Works Sweet Pea Shower Gel 3oz - Sweet Pea took me back. I think I got this in a Beauty Army box or maybe it was a freebie at some point but back in the 90s this scent was all the rage. It's nice and sweet but easy to tire of.
  • CO Bigelow Almond Superb Body Cleanser 2floz - This smelled/smells amazing. It's a sweet true almond scent. Not almond flower, not really marzipan. You can smell the nut and then you can smell a sweet vanilla on top. It was lovely.

  • The Body Shop Ginger Scalp Care Shampoo - If you've been with me for any length of time, then you've seen plenty of these in empties posts. I really enjoy this shampoo as it smells much better than most effective dandruff shampoos on the market (a slightly spicy ginger ale) and it's actually effective. The only issue I have is it has to be switched up every few washes as my scalp seems to get used to it and then it doesn't work as well.
  • Organix Hydrating Macadamia Oil Intensive Moisture Mask - I used this as my regular conditioner as my hair is quite dry (I use all moisture masks like that). This was ok. It smelled good. It did a decent job, but it has quite a number of silicones and I try to stay away from those. I am nearly sure I have another one of these. CVS put these on sale practically ever week in preparation for the brand's re-launch/rename.
Anyone want to ensure I win the lottery so I can douse myself in these oils everyday? These are wonderful body oils, but since my skin is dry, it drank these babies up. Granted, they are minis, but still. I can imagine this could be an expensive habit.
  • African Botanics Marula Firming Botanical Body Oil (.57oz) - Didn't find it firming, but honestly, should we really expect things we place on top of the skin firm layers much deeper? I don't. Smelled delicious, sunk in quickly but was very effective in keeping my dry legs less dry. Would totally repurchase. 
  • Caudalie Divine Oil (.5oz) - Caudalie indicates you can use this on body, face and hair but I used this on my legs. Pretty much the same comments as the African Botanics. Thoroughly enjoyed this one and was sad to see my little bottle get empty so quickly.
  • Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Multi-Use Dry Oil (.33floz) - I know this is a classic. I enjoyed it like the others, but wasn't quite so jived with the scent, though it was just as effective.
Soap! So a little story. I noticed that the soap in my husband's bathroom was running low as was the soap in the basement (his mancave more or less) but there were two soap bottles at each location and it seemed he had abandoned the nearly finished ones in favor of new ones. Oh men! So I took the near empty ones to my bathroom to use them up so they wouldn't clutter his counterspace and so they wouldn't just sit there gathering dust.
  • CVS Mandarin Citrus Anti Bacterial Foaming Hand Soap (7.5floz) - I doubt I paid much for this if anything. Smelled citrusy, was effective. Basically, cheap and fine. 
  • Essence of Beauty Lemon Twist Hand Soap (12floz) - This was a gel and took forever to finish. I know as I am occasionally allowed in the cave (just kidding, I'm downstairs all the time). Anyway, I got this super cheap when they were about to change the packaging on Essence of Beauty Products. Smelled lemony but not too pledge-like and was effective. 
  • Mor Hand and Body Wash in Basil and Grape (11.8floz) - After the blood orange scent, I think the Basil and Grape scent is my absolute favorite from Mor. The reason I started using this was my lotion's pump in the same scent had broken and I needed to replace it. I e-mailed Mor but they were unresponsive so I decided to take matters into my own hands (literally). I had originally thought I was going to use this as a shower gel, but due to massive amounts of shower gel I was trying to work through, I noticed this was a hand and body wash, so it became my daily soap. No anti-bacterial properties and as it was meant for body as well, it was not quite as drying as other hand soaps I've used in the past. Sad to see it's gone as Mor is no longer sold in the US to my knowledge, but I do have another hand cream in the scent. I actually wound up giving the broken bottle to a colleague of mine who sniffed it every time she walked by. She didn't even care the pump broke!
  • L'Occitane Dry Skin Hand Cream (.3oz) - This is actually the hand lotion my husband prefers but in another edition of men, he had used maybe 85% of it before deeming it finished, but there was still enough for me to use it for a week (I have since bought him the magic key, even though it is $10 for a piece of metal, it really helps make sure you finish the metal tubes of these without puncturing them and causing a lot of mess and waste). This isn't my favorite hand cream as the scent doesn't do it for me, but it is rather effective.
  • Caudalie Hand and Nail Cream (1floz) - This is my absolute favorite hand cream. I made sure I got every last drop in this tube out! 
  • butter London Powder Room Nail Polish Remover - Ugh! I found another one. This smells like baby powder mixed with acetone, though it says it's acetone free. I hate this nail polish remover. Not to say it isn't effective, but the scent is just vile. Seriously. They need to stop putting this in sets and kits. No one should have to use this stuff.  
  • Maybelline Lash Discovery - This Lash Discovery was a true unexpected discovery. I had forgotten mascara on a trip and my husband and I popped into a local grocery store. I picked the cheapest waterproof mascara they had where the brush wasn't massive and a love affair began. I literally got to the point of trying to pump the wand in the tube and wiggle it around to get more product! My only complaint is why was this something ridiculously cheap like $4.50 in Georgia and when I look for it in Maryland it's nearly $10. Not cool, Maybelline!
  • Makeupever Sense'Eyes Waterproof Sensitive Eye Cleanser - Holy grail, holy grail, holy grail. Seriously, skip the Bioderma and all the hype and use this. I have been using it for years and nothing, really nothing compares.
  • First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream - I know many people use this cream on their hands, but I use this on my face under makeup, and not just this cream, I add a generous helping of whatever oil of the moment I'm on. (I know some of you will be jealous, but oily skin prevents wrinkles!) My foundation lasts all day with the repair cream + oil combo. Anyway, this was so good that I cut open the tube to ensure I got every last bit of product out. While I like how hygienic tubes are, they do waste a lot of product if you don't destroy the container, and some packaging just isn't suited to that. Already repurchased.
  • L'Occitane Amande Shower Oil - I used this for shaving as many do. It's nice and I certainly wouldn't say no to it free or significantly discounted, but I don't think I'd repurchase.
  • Sure or unsure?

Some foil packets: La Fresh Makeup Remover Wipe, La Fresh Instant Body Soother, Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment, 2 Nivea In-Shower Body Lotions, Pangea Organics Balancing Oil

Now you could really tell I was missing blogging when this happened. Exhibit A: Writing notes on the back of finished products with my brief impressions. Apparently, when I used these in NYC, I found the Tocca Cleopatra Grapefruit Cucumber Body Cream "Yum" on January 12th (uneaten) and wrote quite a bit on the Hada Labo Ultimate Anti-Aging Facial Mask which I recently repurchased during the 20% off sale (the 4 pack). I can't really make out my notes, since the sharpie turned purple and smudgy (likely from all the oils I used up), but I did the mask on January 10th and I remember loving it and noting (thankfully un-smudged) "lots of extra serum if you squeeze". Well, don't mind if I do.
I also decided not to share my ""last empty"", a broken hair elastic that literally lasted for years. But I know how the internet tends to feel about hair. Thank goodness they don't live with me, I shed everywhere so I wouldn't want to subject those people to a few stray strands.

What have you finished recently?

Maybe I'll have a decent amount going forward that I can do these every month so they don't get massive.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Review: Too Faced Melted Liquified Long Wear Lipsticks

I had been intrigued about trying the Too Faced Melted Liquified Long Wear Lipsticks for sometime but I didn't want to purchase because a) they are pricey at $21 a pop and b) there are so many colors, it was overwhelming! In a near empty Sephora inside JCPenney where a sweet associate happened to be on shift, I decided to test some of the colors. First of all, I don't know if this has happened at your Sephoras or ULTAs, but the caps and the area around the little nibs were literally dripping with product and this stuff is pigmented and stains so I could have easily looked like I was coming out of a war zone. For the record, I asked the sweet girl working if she had noticed this happening to hers and she indicated that she hadn't, but that people (and I would imagine children as these are quite low on the stand) squeeze the tubes and so the product builds up at the top in a not so pretty way. Thankfully the alcohol and pads were fully stocked and so I was able to sanitize each one and there were plenty of lip applicators to use and the trashcans weren't full yet... ah it was lovely. Not my usual Sephora trip. Usually the regular stores are so full of people and you have to weave your way through and it's so overwhelming that I never buy anything or try anything on for that matter.

Anyway, off topic. They didn't have the full range, but I originally applied the shade Melted Peony which didn't look quite right on me - it was a lighter pink, quite yellow based and it made my teeth look super yellow! Took that one right off.

The next one I tried was Melted Ruby (described as blood red) which was better, but I almost feel like it pulled fuschia on me until I added more layers, which seemed to be a problem, but I'll get to that later on. Next, I added some Melted Velvet (described as bordeaux), but only in the center of my lips. It looked kind of cool, subtly ombré without being... woah, that girl has crazy looking lips. I took a picture in the store but it didn't really relay the full effect.
Kinda? Maybe? Sephora stores are known for their not-so-great lighting.

What I noticed right off the bat was how comfortable these were to wear, even after applying and removing them and then adding more on top without a lip balm or other treatment as a prep. They have a bit of slip on the lips, but not like some balms, but they are moisturizing like a balm. I also couldn't really feel them as such, but you could tell something was on your lips, something pleasant, but something.

I took a photo 8 hours later. In the meantime, I had wound up with the product on my nose of all places (I have no idea how that happened), outside my natural lipline and on my teeth. I looked super glamorous to be sure. Yet, the product was still on my lips and my lips still felt nourished and it hadn't gone all gummy or balled up.
Admittedly, I cleaned myself up a bit before taking this picture (I removed the streak from my nose/cheek!), but you can kind of see my upper lip has some issues (as did my lower lip but I was parked in my car and the lighting wasn't great - and no my face is not that light and my chest is not that dark and they match under normal conditions!

So then I went and grabbed myself a coffee and some of it did come off on my coffee lid so as I drank my Venti Decaf Americano I figured the rest would come off. Nope...
It's certainly not as dark as when I first applied, but it's definitely still there (this is 10 hours of wear - with drinking and eating thrown in), including the bit that bled into my cupid's bow.

So, bleeding aside (I'm curious to give these another go, but with less product next time), the wear time on these is amazing. And they are comfortable on the lips, which is awesome. As tempted as I am to buy one individually, I am kind of hoping that Too Faced puts these out in a set of some sort so I can try a few colors at once and see if my hypothesis is true or if they are a product that simply moves around, in which case I wouldn't want them in my collection, and I kind of doubt I would use a product where I need to look in the mirror every few minutes to make sure the product hasn't gotten onto my teeth yet again (I had to carry around a tissue and scrub my teeth every hour or so when I did this test - no joke). Plus, I want to try applying these from the actual applicator, which I absolutely refuse to do in a place like Sephora or ULTA. So... fingers crossed Too Faced puts out a mini collection at a store I can return them in if they happen to smear everywhere! Maybe for the holidays? Hinthinthint Too Faced, not like they read this!

So that was my day of testing the Too Faced Melted Liquified Long Wear Lipsticks. Has anyone else had the same experience as me with them? I'm kind of hoping no, because I really like how they feel (and I think Melted Velvet would totally be coming home with me if that's the case).

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Review: Aero Minerale Makeup Mist in Ivory

On one of my recent visits to ULTA, I found a bottle of the Aero Minerale Makeup Mist in the shade Ivory in the clearance section for $3.74. It usually retails from anywhere from $14.99 to $19.99 and I had one of the $3.50 off $10 and was using some of my points so I figured if it was truly awful, no great harm. It seemed light enough, it was cheap and I have been wanting to try these makeup mist products, but the idea of spending extra money on products that are in this mist form but tell you to apply with a damp sponge or brush, well let's just say Dior Airflash isn't coming home with me anytime soon!

I'm not sure where this was sold in ULTA before it was clearanced out. I imagine it was placed in the "drugstore" section, which until recently would have made it much more expensive than practically all drugstore foundations. So I can imagine why I never really heard of it or saw it "hauled". I decided to give it a shot because, as I said, interesting application and the fact that it has the word hydrating in the title, which I am all about.

I cleansed, moisturized and took a plain white damp sponge (the kind that are triangular in shape with more flat surfaces than the beauty blender, disposable and super cheap) and sprayed some of the product onto the sponge and pressed it around my face. I figured that while the beauty blender excels in the application of heavy coverage, thick foundations, this one might benefit from a sponge that was flatter and I was right. A couple sprays later and it had covered the majority of the sins on my face, very naturally might I add.

Luckily (?) I had blemishes on both sides of my face the day I tested this out. The right side of my face has the Aero Minerale Makeup Mist on it, the left side does not. As you can see, it looks very natural and only very naturally covers the redness. Also, it matches my neck (don't mind my hair).
Side with no foundation.
Side with foundation. You can just barely make out the blemish on my chin, but much less-so than the side with nothing.
So, it doesn't look the best close up after application, but it's a far cry from the L'oreal!

I didn't use a makeup setting spray, a primer, any hydrating primers or sprays with this and it managed to look decent for 8 hours until I took it off. Once again, more than I can say for the L'oreal. I don't know why this was overlooked by enough that it went on clearance and ULTA stopped carrying it, but honestly, I was super impressed with not only the coverage, the application and the longevity; and unlike some other products, this didn't make my face feel dry or tight.

I bet if it was carried in the prestige area and had been used on the clientele, it would have gotten a lot more love, as the color range appears to be quite decent.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Very Small Haul - thebalm Balmsai Palette

I keep on forgetting that Kohls is carrying more high end makeup these days, and since I had $20 in their Kohls Cash and $15 in their "Yes 2 You Rewards" (which allows you to earn $5 back for every $100 you spend with no required spend amount per trip and in addition to the Kohls Cash with any payment method), I wound up having a pretty substantial sum to play with. I didn't feel like rooting around their store for the next bargain (a favorite pastime) so I asked if they had this new palette in stock, and they did! And it was brand new so it wasn't played with (an issue at my local Kohls). What palette you ask? TheBalm's Balmsai Palette which is a joint eyeshadow and brow palette with stencils. Not sure I'll use the stencils, but the colors deemed brow powders will make great neutral looks and unlike other palettes where the colors may work for brows, these were selected to work as brow shades. Plus, as with most thebalm products, the palette is super cute and slim and has just enough neutrals and brights to probably be what comes with me on my travels in the future.

For the record, the palette retails for $39.50, but with all my Kohls perks, I paid just about $5.

"We like our boys like we like our brows... in shape!" ohhhhhh thebalm.

The back shows and lists the colors
Inside you can see that it categorizes the shades. The first two rows are collectively called "in the buff (basics), the second two rows are called "mavericks (splash of color"), the fifth row is called "curve & angle (brows/shadows) and the last row is called "catch a wave (use wet or dry)".

Since I was feeling curious myself, I decided to swatch them. At first, I was going to do just a few but then I was feeling adventurous and well, forgive me for not being up on swatching as I was before I took my hiatus! These are all swatched dry with no base.
Starting at the top left is the first row, so Wipe Out (a matte, maybe leaning satin cream), High Tide (a shimmery cream - perfect inner corner highlight), and Hang 10 (more of a golden shimmer). Then I got a little excited and decided to swatch the whole thing. Below that is the second row Dream Boat which honestly was a bit disappointing - I was kind of hoping it would be a slightly cooler version of Hang 10, but it is slightly more bronzey and less pigmented; same disappointment with Sandbar which is a very sheer shimmery silver. Tubular impressed me more, it's a nice shimmery taupe.
Then jump to the upper right where I started swatching the Mavericks. Epic is a slightly cooler bronze shimmer, Surf's Up is a wearable greyish blue/teal and Big Kahuna is bright shimmery aqua with a bit of a yellowish green shift. The row below it is gorgeous. Kawabunga is a beautiful khaki green shimmer, Surfari is a purple shimmer with a bit of a pink shift which is more evident in the actual finger swatch than when swatched on the hand, and Pipeline is a darker truer blue shimmer (than say Surf's Up).
Then I ran out of space (oops!) but the last row starts with the brow powders which are all quite nice. Score is a warmer light brown (likely perfect for blondes), Dig It is a cool taupe (perhaps for most brunettes) and Woodie is a warmer brown (for the rest of the brunettes) Since all of these are matte, they could also serve as crease colors depending on the look you were going for. The only brow product that is missing is one that would be perfect for redheads that like to use very warm reddish tinted brow products.
Aside from one product in the last row, this is where the palette really shines for me, because it makes it complete. The first shade (which you can't see on my hand at all - sorry!) is Stoked which is pretty much MAC Beauty Marked. I own the MAC version and never use it, but it's basically a black with purple glitter. The glitter shows up on my hand, but not to the intensity it shows up in the pan, and though thebalm says you can use this row wet or dry, I'm hesitant as the pans are so small. But as I said, this is the row for me. It's because of the next two colors. The first, Ripper is a very pigmented matte dark brown and the last, Righteous is a very pigmented matte black.

Honestly, I haven't really had the chance to play with this palette much yet, but if my swatching is any indication, I am mostly impressed. I wish they had gotten rid of the second row entirely and either chosen more pigmented shimmers or added some other matte options and ditched the Beauty Marked dupe. But otherwise, you have neutral shimmers - an inner corner highlight, a brow highlight. You have a matte neutral shadow for all over the lid or blending or a brow highlight depending. There are some fun colored shadows that aren't crazy bold but definitely show up (and would probably be even brighter over a regular or colored base), there are brow colors (and crease shades) and then there's a decent deep brown and black. These days, I find that getting all of this in something that fits in a hand or travel bag is quite unusual, so as I mentioned, even though I haven't really played with these properly, I'm happy with my purchase.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Review: Nivea In-Shower Nourishing Body Lotion for Very Dry Skin

I was intrigued when the Nivea In-Shower Nourishing Body Lotions came out. I had been wanting to try the LUSH ones for ages, but they are super pricey, in tubs and don't come in smaller sizes so you're stuck buying a huge one even if you just want to test it out (and the truly free sample pots at LUSH wouldn't be enough to get a good idea if I'd want to purchase). Nivea on the other hand, is super inexpensive (I've seen these around the $7 mark and you can even order a free sample on their website if you're unsure - I've also seen the sample packets floating around at some drugstores) and there are often coupons in the Sunday paper that add to the savings. Nivea also goes on sale quite often, so between coupons and in-store promotions, I didn't wind up paying very much for mine.

There are three different options for the product; one for normal to dry skin, one for dry skin and one for very dry skin. I chose the one for very dry skin although I preferred the scent of the other two because I knew I needed as much moisture as they offered. This one has a scent that is a bit floral for my liking, although the scent doesn't stick around.

I've used this several times and I can say that now I'm happy I didn't even bother trying the LUSH. After shaving, my legs generally feel super dry and itchy, pretty much the moment the water evaporates. This kept my legs from feeling like that, which is pretty incredible. They felt just as comfortable the next morning which is also a bit unheard of. I've mentioned before that I usually have to slather them with moisturizer after shaving for them to feel some semblance of normality.

I like that it comes in a squeeze bottle instead of a tub, so it's unlikely that water will get in the product. My only other issue besides the scent (and it's completely personal and due to my own lack of space and not the product) is my shower is tiny and it's very hard to find a location to apply it and allow it to sink in without it being washed off immediately unless I were to exit the shower (and get water everywhere), so it involves a little shower gymnastics (there's a reason I don't shave in the shower!).

That being said, I find this an awesome product and I am finding my legs a lot less dry these days. At the moment, I'm really only using it on my legs, but I have applied on my arms and other dry areas and found it equally as effective. Glad I have this and definitely want to make sure I have a back up so I'm never without it!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

2014 Empties Part V

So I was not expecting this post to be so paltry as I thought I had a bunch more "sample" empties in 2014, but then I remembered that I finished more deluxe sizes which I showed in the actual posts, so... this is the last of what I used up in 2014. Next you will see what I used up in January, February and March of 2015 which I'm quite pleased with, but until then... this slightly pathetic post will have to do.
Hairkop Essence Obliphica Treatment Conditioner - I don't really have a recollection of how this was, but I do remember it came in a Birchbox (referral link) order.
La Fresh Makeup Remover Wipes - I like them, especially for travel, but they are really expensive.
Julep Nail Polish Remover Pad - I found this surprisingly effective, but probably not something I'd repurchase due to the cost per use.
Nyakio Hydrating Face Oil with Kola Nut - I love me a good face oil. I wish the sample was bigger though and close-able.
Ion Repair Solutions Effective Care Treatment Hair Mask - A dependable favorite. I think I have a few of these remaining before I have to step foot in a Sally's (not my favorite experience ever).
The Art of Shaving Pre-Shave Oil - Yes, it's a men's product, but it's awesome. And I have now embraced shaving my legs with oils (I even use some facial cleansing oils - they work and no build up in your razor  - maybe I'll make a post about it).

So those were my true sample empties for 2014. It's a problem when your parents keep their condo stocked with pretty much everything you need and you have no weight limits on a train. Oh well, I tried!