Friday, 26 September 2014

Whimseybox Warning: July, August, September 2014

I thought it was pretty fishy when I didn't get my July box until mid August, thus delaying my review for it quite a bit -- in fact, I decided not to review it at all, waiting for my August box to arrive to do a double review. It is currently late September, and I've yet to receive not only my Whimseybox, but even a tracking number. In fact, I haven't gotten any e-mails from Whimseybox for a month. No advertisements, no giveaways, nothing. It almost appears that the company has been wiped off the face of the earth.

Looking at their Facebook, I am not the only one going through this. Few people have received their August Whimseybox. The craft is a Pajaki chandelier, and consists primarily of some pom poms, straws, cupcake holders, and watercolour paint. Though there have been similarly valued Whimseyboxes, this combined with the poor shipping and lack of communication has many people in a tizzy.

Whimseybox had this to say on September 9th:
Subscribers, thank you all for your patience.

As of today, we are still working on shipping our August boxes. We understand your frustration and we apologize for our lack of communication. In the meantime, please continue to work with us while we sort through some issues. We'll make this situation right for all of you as soon as we can.

We will update you when we know more. Thank you.
Many are reporting that their more recent e-mails are being ignored. Some have reported being charged despite cancelling their subscription through the website. I too have cancelled my six month subscription, which renews early November. My cancellation is "pending", but not yet confirmed.

Many of my readers know that I have touted Whimseybox as one of my favourite subscription services for the thought they put into their boxes. This sudden change in direction has blindsided me, and I no longer support the company in any way. I am very disappointed, and warn all of you about this company.


Sunday, 14 September 2014

Ipsy September 2014 Review

If you're not an Ipsy subscriber, you probably don't know about the bright, metallic pink bubble mailer they use to ship their monthly bags in. It's simultaneously exciting and embarrassing to carry that from my mailbox to my door, even if it's a couple feet away! This month's bag is similarly metallic, though it's not nearly as pink. I still like the punky aesthetic, even if it's not in fashion anymore. The bag itself is very soft. But how about the products contained within?

Box: Ipsy (Referral link)
Price: $10/month, $110/year; $4.95 shipping to Canada
Ships to: North America
What’s inside: Various beauty product samples and full size products, very roughly personalized

CAILYN Art Touch Tinted Lip Gloss in Basic Instinct Full Size || Value: $19
Beneficial ingredients of note: aloe (halfway through list)
Detrimental ingredients of note: none
I'm slowly warming up to the world of lip glosses, but this just didn't work for me. The swatch I did with the Q-tip-like brush applicator was similar in texture to most other lip glosses, but the colour... eugh. It's a coralish, pinkish, orangeish... shade. I am not an orange kind of gal, unfortunately -- it looks terrible on me. Really wish I got the other colour, which appears to be a rich red. 

Pacifica Natural Water-Proof Eye Pencil in Fringe 0.73g/0.026oz || Estimated value: $2.63
Beneficial ingredients of note: jojoba oil, shea butter, sunflower oil
Detrimental ingredients of note: none
The other colour option for this item was "Gunmetal", which although unusable in my everyday life, would at least be more interesting than brown. Is this because my Ipsy survey results are boring? I might have to change that up. Can't go wrong with a brown eyeliner, but it's nothing to write home about.

Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair!™ Deep Conditioning Mask 29.5mL/1 fl oz || Estimated value: $4.95
Beneficial ingredients of note: aloe (second ingredient); sweet almond + argan + avocado + rosehip fruit + sunflower + cedarwood oil, vitamin b5 + d + a + e, hydrolyzed keratin + collagen + silk
Detrimental ingredients of note: lemon + lavender + orange + grapefruit oil
This hair mask has one of the longest ingredients lists I've ever seen in such a product. I used it as instructed, and it was a pretty good conditioner! I don't think it's necessary worth the money, though. Maybe if it was a leave-in, instead?

Crown Brush Infinity Shadow/Crease Duet Brush || Value: $6.99
I can always use new brushes. This dual-sided brush was pretty soft, though when I first tested it on my hand I had a single fibre shed. I tested it a bit more and nothing else shed, but only time will tell, right? I'm not sure how I can safely store this vertically like the rest of my brushes, which might be an annoyance.

NYX Hot Singles Eye Shadow in Addiction Full Size || Value: $4.50
Beneficial ingredients of note: none
Detrimental ingredients of note: none
This eye shadow is a "pearly deep red", according to Nyx. I've yet to open it, because I still have my Nyx "Love in Rio" mini palette from BB5, and the red colour in that seems to be the same as this. I'm not a huge eye shadow user in the first place... but there's always room for change.

This month, Ipsy sent me roughly $38 worth of items, about double of what I paid. The items weren't super exciting to me, unfortunately. The brush and the mask will be used for sure, and I'll get around to the eye pencil and eye shadow one day. The lip gloss will be going into my trades list.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Memebox Special #10 Mask 4 Review

I have a Memebox problem. A big Memebox problem. A problem so big that it ends up with me stockpiling over a dozen Memeboxes that I mean to review, but can't get to due to the difficulty of getting accurate ingredient information to inform you, my dear readers.

But hey, gotta start somewhere. I have older boxes and newer boxes, but let's begin with a slightly more recent Memebox -- Special Memebox #10, Mask 4. I've reviewed Mask 2 before, which I loved. I had high expectations for this one, too.

Box Overview
Box: Memebox (Global)
Price: Varies, typically $19-40 plus $6.99 shipping
Ships to: United States, Canada, and over 40 other countries -- check here
What's inside: Korean beauty products. Specifics for each box may be found on their website.

As always, values are based off the lowest value I can find on a fairly reputable website -- as Memebox tends to inflate their retail prices.

Skin Factory 7 Seconds morning Sheet Full Size || Value: $29
Beneficial ingredients of note: niacinamide (fifth ingredient), urea, various plant extracts
Detrimental ingredients of note: wine extract (third ingredient), sake, fragrance
This pack of 20 sheets act as a "7 in 1" product that is to be used after cleansing. It apparently tones, whitens, has anti-wrinkle effects, hydrates, primes the skin for makeup, and basically everything else under the sun. The ingredients list on this product is massive. It contains some really great plant extracts and one of my new favourite ingredients, niacinamide. However, one of the main ingredients is wine extract AKA alcohol, and several other drying alcohols (such as sake, made from fermented rice) are added along the way.

One of the big selling points of this product is that it contains "real platinum". This can be found in the ingredients list as "Saccharomyces/platinum filtrate". Saccharomyces is a type of yeast which has a good capacity to uptake platinum. I was not able to find the mechanism by which this platinum can then be absorbed by the skin, nor could I find significant evidence that platinum actually does much for the skin at all! It may, for all intents and purposes, be the yeast that has positive effects on the skin, or perhaps the alcohol produced by said yeast.

Due to the amount of different drying alcohols in this product, and the sheer amount of ingredients, I was worried that I would react poorly to these sheets, and have since traded it. That said, I've heard amazing things about this product from others who have tried it.

Purederm Vitamin C Facial Pads Full size || Value: $7.25
Beneficial ingredients of note: aloe, portulaca extract, gingko biloba extract
Detrimental ingredients of note: orange extract (fourth ingredient)
These super-cute facial pads have orange slice designs on them, and smell just like orange candy. They suggest putting these in the fridge before using for a refreshing sensation. These aren't the most exciting or high-end pads out there, with a pretty short ingredients list. The critical ingredients in these would be the glycerin, a humectant; aloe, which soothes and hydrates the skin; and orange extract, which brightens the skin and contains antioxidants. Orange extract, as loyal readers will know, is also phototoxic. Therefore, these pads should be used only when you expect to be away from sun exposure for at least 12 hours. I'm personally not a fan of spot masks like this, and the ingredients list doesn't entice me enough, so this is in my trades at the moment.

When 10:00 PM Mask Full size || Value: $8.99 each
Beneficial ingredients of note: grapefruit seed extract?, bamboo extract, pine extract
Detrimental ingredients of note: melon fruit extract?, fragrance (near end of list)
When Travelmate Mask Full size || Value: $8.99
Beneficial ingredients of note: sodium hyaluronate, grapefruit seed extract?, bamboo extract, pine extract
Detrimental ingredients of note: colloidial platinum?, fragrance (near end of list)
These masks can be found at Sephora. It's nice to try out something from Memebox that I can actually get on a regular basis. These masks have a bad habit of "science-ifying" everything up -- they just couldn't help but put the scientific names of all of their extracts in the ingredients lists without putting the common name! Anyway, these are masks made of coconut ferment, resulting in a hydrogel-type mask which sticks to the face like none other. The Travelmate mask has platinum in it, too! I'm just weary of putting random metals on the face, I guess.

I've only used the 10:00 PM mask, which I found to be alright. Certainly not worth $9 when I can get Leaders InSolution for $3-$4 a piece. I didn't find it as hydrating as other masks can be (even sheet masks), and it actually left my face sort of tingly. There was no apparent tightening (in the good sense) or brightening.

SLC Skin Clinic Essence Sheet Mask Effects Plus Full size x 3 || Estimated value: ~$5 each
Waterdrop Mask (Green)
Beneficial ingredients of note: witch hazel extract, sodium hyaluronate, red ginseng extract, aloe
Detrimental ingredients of note: grapefruit extract, fragrance (last ingredient)
Energizing Mask (Pink)
Beneficial ingredients of note: witch hazel extract, sodium hyaluronate, acerola extract?
Detrimental ingredients of note: grapefruit extract, ethanol (last half of list), fragrance (last ingredient)
Repair Mask (Purple) 
Beneficial ingredients of note: witch hazel extract, sodium hyaluronate, collagen, centella extract, black soybean
Detrimental ingredients of note: grapefruit extract, pomegranate extract, fragrance (last ingredient)

I was a little annoyed that Memebox put in three of the same item, but it turns out that they counted all three of these as one item, which I am actually quite happy about! These masks are pretty similar except for some key ingredients here and there. Only the energizing mask has alcohol, which I suppose is because they want that mask to dry quickly so you can get on your way. I've yet to try these masks out, because their citrus extracts prevent me from using them in the morning (it is best to use citrus extracts at night, as they are phototoxic -- you should stay away from the sun).

Sua Young Berristure Facial Cream Full size || Estimated value: $40.00
Beneficial ingredients of note: niacinamide, blueberry extract, acai palm extract, grape seed oil, oat kernel extract, tomato extract, aloe, several other berry and plant extracts
Detrimental ingredients of note: fragrance (upper half of list), some citrus fruit extracts (end of list)
This cream has a huge ingredients list! While many of them are extracts from fruits and other plants, a lot of them in the upper half of the ingredients list are preservatives and such -- not that there's anything wrong with that. But the berries this cream touts? The vast majority of them are at the very end of the list, meaning that there's proportionally very little of them. The only berry that is near the top of the list is the blueberry extract.

This cream is a lightweight gel with some black bits inside, akin to a light strawberry jam. It smells amazing, but certainly because of the added fragrance. It comes with a spatula in order to keep from contamination, which is much appreciated. I believe that this is supposed to be more of a cream than a sleeping pack, but it can also be used as a wash off mask. It's pretty expensive for that purpose, though! The vast majority of gels are not as hydrating as most creams, and I don't think this is any exception. I wouldn't buy this on my own, as the price -- in my opinion -- is far more than the benefits this gives. It must be one of the best smelling products I've ever received, though.

This Mask box by Memebox contained over $100 worth of product, though nearly half of that was due to the Berristure cream. Even without the cream, I received double of what I paid for this box (roughly $26 including shipping, after using a coupon). I find the Mask boxes to be one of the highest value Memeboxes around, and if you love masks like I do, I highly recommend picking one up.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Elizabeth & Clarke Fall Collection 2014 Review

I was pretty surprised when I saw this on my porch today. I don't remember ever getting a shipping notification. Still, things to unbox? Sounds good to me! After a summer hiatus, Bunny's back to reviewing, and here we are with Elizabeth & Clarke's Fall collection!

Box Overview
Box: Elizabeth & Clarke
Price: $30 for one shirt, $50 for two shirts, $60 for three shirts, per season. $15 shipping charge to Canada and $25 for international.
Ships to: Worldwide
What's inside: Your pick of shirts from their collection, typically out of 5 each season.

Elizabeth & Clarke is a seasonal subscription. Each season they unveil three new shirts, from which you may choose from -- plus their two "Forever Collection" shirts. The shirts are designed with a focus on neutral colours, fashion, and quality materials. This season, I decided to pick all three of the new Fall Collection shirts.

Two seasons ago, I got a size 0 in all three shirts I picked. I was very disappointed, as two of the three shirts were far too large for me, in both length and width. This caused me to skip the Summer Collection, as I felt a bit let down. This season, I decided to give E&C another chance. I e-mailed their support and was easily able to change my sizing preferences to 00 for this box. They also went out of their way to provide me some information about sizing, which I quite appreciated.

Let's take a look at what I received. No selfies this time, folks!

The Allende
I have such a hard time picking out sweaters. They always seem to be a little too scratchy, a little too tight around the neck, a little too heavy... I can't say this about the Allende. This sweater is a great, neutral colour (I can even wear it with black!), and impeccably comfortable. It's warm, but not too warm, perfect for the cool autumn season. It's loose enough for me to slip over another long-sleeve shirt during winter, but tailored enough to be flattering. The length is perfect for me (I'm 5'0) if I want to wear it with leggings, thanks to the extra material on the backside. It's rather stretchy and I just love the textile.

With most turtleneck sweaters, I find myself feeling uncomfortable restricted. This isn't the case with the Allende, and I'm quite pleased. This is definitely a keeper, and worth the super reasonable $25 (for a Premium box to Canada). My only wish is that this sweater, which is 100% microfiber poly, wasn't dry clean only.

The Baccall
Excuse the poor photo! This 100% Crepe de Chine sheath can prove difficult for a photography newbie like me to capture. E&C introduced me to this fabric type, which is machine-washable and dryer safe -- always a plus. The extra fabric at the collar is meant to be tucked into the shirt to produce a draped, unhemmed look, though I pulled it out to show you. There is a vent on each side of the shirt, and the back is a touch longer than the front. This was a good fit on me, but I don't think the style suits me. The collar just doesn't hit me quite where I'd like it to. It's still a great quality shirt!

The Ross
I love Henley-styled shirts. This shirt was touted to be made from a super soft fabric blend. It's 35% modal, 65% poly, machine-washable, and dryer safe. How does it fare? Well... it is very soft. It may not be something I would wear to dinner, but it would be perfect when running errands or even lounging at a friend's house. I found this shirt to be a bit long on me, especially in the arms. It was also a little loose. However, the Ross was tailored to be a little oversized, and still looks pretty good. My concern is if the fabric will pill after long-term wearing and washing. If not, then this may truly be the perfect Henley.

This season's collection was fabulous, and I'm very glad that I gave Elizabeth & Clarke another chance. It seems like all I needed to do was adjust my sizing, and everything worked out great! The shirts are a fantastic quality and are pieces that can be worn in all sorts of situations. If you're looking for some nice staple pieces for your wardrobe, check out Elizabeth & Clarke. Just remember to size down!