Saturday, 28 February 2015

Ipsy February 2015 Review

Cutting it close this month, or what? This month, Ipsy sent me a nice synthetic pink bag that feels like decent quality, albeit being a bit small for my needs. Instead of the usual five items, I received six -- one being a hand cream I got by redeeming a few points I had from reviewing items on their website.

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

Hey Honey Take It Off Exfoliating Peel Off Mask 10mL/0.33fl oz || Value: $7
Beneficial ingredients of note: honey extract (fourth ingredient), jojoba oil, lactic acid (third last ingredient), glycolic acid (second last ingredient)
Detrimental ingredients of note: alcohol (third ingredient), fragrance (last ingredient)
I get it, alright? The alcohol is necessary to dry the mask to a point where it is able to be peeled off. Doesn't mean  I'm happy with it! I used this anyway because the sample is so small (2-3 uses, max) and because I've always wanted to try a peel off mask that didn't require mixing and laying it on thick (like modeling cups from Korea). This proved to be much easier compared to a modeling cup in both application and peeling off. However, taking it off was genuinely painful, pulling on my skin far more than it is used to being pulled. It definitely exfoliated my skin, and left it nice and soft. This is partly because the peeling off brought a bunch of skin cells with it, and partly --  I assume -- because of the acids in the mask. The honey and jojoba oil helped offset some of the dryness, but my skin was majorly thirsty after this mask. I followed up with a ton of moisturizing products and I think it'll be okay. Not something I would buy but I don't mind using it for fun -- I love the act of peeling. 

Cargo Cosmetics Mini Lip Gloss in Anguilla 4.5g??? || Value: ??? Less than $16
This product pisses me off. First, the volume is not stated properly -- it's in grams, and mistakenly converts it on the label to 4.5 mL, which is simply untrue given that a full size of this -- as reported on their website and others -- is much less than that, yet the packaging is much larger. As such, I have no idea how much this costs. That doesn't matter though, because this lip gloss is probably one of the worst things I've ever received. I already am not a fan of lip gloss, but I do like some (NYX butter glosses, for example). This is, first and foremost, incredibly patchy. My lips are rather pigmented and with a light colour like this, it looks like I just put a streak of weird sauce on my lips. It also caught every single lip flake I had, even ones I had no idea I had after exfoliation. It smelled vaguely like chemical berry (perhaps strawberry) and just... was so terrible. Would never recommend. The only redeeming factor about this is that it did genuinely moisturize my lips for the short time it was on.

ModelCo BLUSH Cheek Powder in Cosmopolitan Full size? || Value: $22.00?
I really hate it when companies don't list weights/volumes on their websites! I have no idea if this is a full size or not, but if it isn't, I'd be amazed. However, I'm pretty confused about the value, because this is $22 alone on ModelCo's website, but $20 for this and a mini kabuki brush -- and they don't note whether the blush is a sample size or not... hmm. Anyway, I am surprised by the quality of this, given the drugstore-level packaging. It was pigmented enough for a pressed powder, and was incredibly forgiving and easy to blend, while being easily built up. It is a bit chalky in the pan, however, and the lasting power wasn't the best. Still, a nice matte pink.

Rob Scheppy for 'Tini Beauty Eyeshadow in Pearl Fizz Full size || Value: $12.00
An eyeshadow of decent quality, no more or less than some better drugstore brands. This is a pearly off-white which acts as a really great brow highlight and is a decent inner corner colour, too. I think I'll be using this a lot. It is both a pro and a con that this colour is very sheer. I haven't decided if it's due to my skin tone or not.

Top to bottom: Cargo lip gloss, ModelCo blush unblended, blush blended, 'Tini Beauty eyeshadow. All one swipe.

Luxie Beauty Large Angled Face Brush 504 || Value: $16
Didn't shed when I got it, though I haven't put this to use yet. Seems decent quality, but could use some more work on the handle, which doesn't have as much weight to it as I'd like.

Figs & Rouge Hand Cream in Mango Mandarin 20ml / 0.67fl oz || Value: ~$6.30
Beneficial ingredients of note: shea butter (fourth ingredient), cocoa nut butter (halfway through list), algae (last half of list), ginseng root extract (last half of list)
Detrimental ingredients of note: parfum (halfway through list), manderin peel oil (near end of list)
This is what I redeemed my points on. I've actually come to love this hand cream a lot since I received it in October. It's not the most moisturizing but it soaks in so fast that it's become the perfect at-work hand cream, where I need to use my hands too often to allow for lotion to dry. The scent is very strong just as the other one was, and smells wonderfully of mangoes and mandarin (more the typical notes than like the actual fruits). The smell fades quickly enough, perhaps in half an hour after application. I kind of wish I got a few more than these, because when I'm working full time through the summer, it'll be great to have... on hand. (I'm so sorry.)

I don't even know the value of this Ipsy, but I know it's more than what I paid for it. Would I pay for this group of items for $15? That's hard to say. But I'm certainly not super unhappy with this bag. Looking at some of the variations others got, I am a little envious. But I can also see that Ipsy is making a genuine effort to include more well-known and quality brands in their subscription. I was waffling last year on whether or not to cancel my subscription, but at the moment, over the past few months, I think I'm happy continuing.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Memebox Superbox #76 While You Were Sleeping Review

Note: this box may be provided for free for review as determined by Memebox; as of writing, I have paid out of pocket.

Another day, another Memebox. Or maybe not. Memebox has decided to stop all shipping internationally, focusing on its USA, China, and original Korea departments. Before the change occurred, I managed to snag this very last box. At least, it's the last box I can get shipped to my home -- since I do have the ability to ship things to a US address if necessary.

I did a lot of search up on this box before I got it, and I was pretty sure it would be a good one for me. Let's take a look.

Box Overview
Box: Memebox (Referral link)
Price: Varies -- typically ~$30 plus shipping
Ships to: United States, Korea, China
What's inside: Korean beauty products. Specifics for each box may be found on their website.

A.H.C Whitening Special Gen Skin Care Kit || Value: $18 (according to card

Solution 30mL/1fl oz
Beneficial ingredients of note: niacin; other ingredients not available
Detrimental ingredients of note: denatured alcohol (second ingredient); other ingredients not available
Not a good start, huh? Denatured alcohol right up top. As you well know if you've read almost any post on this blog, my skin is not a fan of any drying alcohols in excess. Heck, I rarely wear my Biore sunscreen for that reason! This toner-type solution is just barely more viscous than water and has a faint smell of alcohol. It dries very quickly because of it. What's that? Yes, I did stick it on my face! I followed the solution up with...

Serum 10mL/0.33fl oz 
Beneficial ingredients of note: sodium hyaluronase, niacin, snail filtrate; other ingredients not available
Detrimental ingredients of note: denatured alcohol (second ingredient); other ingredients not available
...another alcohol filled product. This serum is more viscous and tinged a bit white. Again, it smells faintly of alcohol and dries quickly. The rest of the ingredients list looks top notch, so I'm pretty sad about this. Together, I did notice that my skin felt drier. I followed it up with a sheet mask (SLC Waterdrop from Mask Box 4) and it helped a lot.

Cream 10mL/0.33fl oz
Beneficial ingredients of note: niacin, green tea extract; other ingredients not available
Detrimental ingredients of note: fragrance (last ingredient); other ingredients not available
This has a consistency between a lotion and a cream. It did hydrate and I quite like it. Overall, I believe I saw some short term brightening effects by using these three products. I am going to continue using all three as an experiment to see the long term effects of alcohol on my skin, and because it would be a pain to ship this set.

Dr. MJ Jasmine Sleeping Water Mask Full size || Value: $12.66
Beneficial ingredients of note: niacinamide (fifth ingredient), jasmine extract?
Detrimental ingredients of note: fragrance (halfway through list)
A purple-tinted gel-like cream that slips all over the face. It soaks in very quickly and very well, to the point that I thought this wouldn't nearly be enough for a sleeping pack (which, in my experience, tends to sit on top of the skin for the most part). I was surprised when I washed my face in the morning and realized that it really had been sitting on my face, forming a protective layer. It has a definite jasmine smell to it, but it's not too offensive, in my opinion. I actually enjoy this quite a bit! It hasn't changed the quality of my skin significantly but it does the job of sealing in moisture just like any other sleeping pack... with the added bonus of being very comfortable to put on and being affordable!

Pure Smile Potion Pack Hand in Pearl Full size || Value: $3
Beneficial ingredients of note: sodium hyaluronidase (third ingredient), pearl powder, snail filtrate; not available
Detrimental ingredients of note: not available
What a great time to get this box, because my hands were unusually dry when I opened it up. This pair of gloves is ridiculously huge, which is frustrating because I had to continuously massage my hands to make sure all the essence was touching my skin. It was decently soaked in essence. I wore it for about half an hour (a little longer than recommended) and my hands looked a bit brighter (a side effect from the pearl powder) and were definitely more hydrated than before, although I did have to follow up with hand cream to lock in the essence.

Grinif Queen of Rose Water Eye Cream Full size || Value: $50 (according to card)
Beneficial ingredients of note: avocado oil (seventh ingredient), jojoba oil, green tea, lactic acid (near end of list)
Detrimental ingredients of note: fragrance (last ingredient); some floral extracts which some may be allergic to

Memebox loves sending out eye creams. This one is in a slightly more luxe looking jar. It smells strongly of roses and is a thick cream, though not too thick. It spreads easily and feels heavy around the eye initally until soaking in. I don't personally believe in the effects of "rose water" (I do enjoy rosehip oil, though!), but it doesn't hurt. I can clearly tell my undereye area is moisturized when it's on. I'm interested if the lactic acid will actually have any effect, considering it's so far down in the ingredients list. I think I will be keeping this for use after I use up my many other eye creams.

That said... $50?! I couldn't find this on any reputable dealer's website, but this seems excessive.

Grinif Shea Butter Multi Balm Full size || Value: $13
Beneficial ingredients of note: petrolatum (first ingredient), shea butter (second ingredient), beeswax (third ingredient), olive oil (second last ingredient), mango butter (last ingredient)
Detrimental ingredients of note: fragrance (fifth ingredient)
With a staggeringly tiny list of nine ingredients, this balm is as simple as can be. Memebox advises this to be used wherever needed, and given that it's mostly petrolatum, I can't find myself disagreeing. This isn't something you couldn't make yourself, and probably for a lower price, but it's cute and as effective as you might expect such a product to be.

Mizon Olive Cocoa Butter Foot Cream Full size || Value: $7.70
Beneficial ingredients of note: urea (second ingredient), cocoa seed butter, olive fruit oil, sodium hyaluronate
Detrimental ingredients of note: fragrance (last ingredient)
I've heard really good things about this food cream! The ingredients list is outstanding. Urea in particular is most well known as a component of urine, but be aware that it's also a great emollient that is proven to soften the skin by "gently dissolv[ing] the intracellular matrix", leading to the safe shedding of excess dry skin. It's found in lots of over the counter creams for people dealing with eczema and keratosis pilaris.

I have rough, dry feet from my dad's side. I sincerely needed something like this, and I'm glad I got it. So far I would say it's semi-effective, but I think with more use the urea will kick in a bit better and my feet will eventually be free of dryness!

Glam Up Highly Enriched Ampoule Full size || Value: $3.50
Beneficial ingredients of note: unavailable
Detrimental ingredients of note: unavailable
This ampoule is about the length of my palm, though I found that I didn't need much to cover my shoulder-length hair. Because it's a thin liquid, I didn't focus on covering every single strand, though. This product had a bit of a chemical smell that was off putting and didn't fade until maybe an hour later. Because I've just recently gotten my hair cut significantly (it used to be at my hips!), my hair is pretty healthy and so I haven't noticed much difference between using this and not using this. It didn't add any weight to my hair, though. It might be a little more silky after use but I'm not sure if I'm imagining it. I'll be using this up by adding it to the argan oil I already use in my hair after showering. This should last me about 10-12 uses, based on how much one time used up.

Rosemine Azulene Calming Gel Full size || Value: $29 (according to card)
Beneficial ingredients of note: aloe vera, hyaluronic acid; unavailable
Detrimental ingredients of note: unavailable
This is a fairly large tube. The inside contents appear blue until you squeeze it out. The gel is incredibly slippery and watery. It is very much like aloe vera gel in both feel and smell. I like the addition of hyaluronic acid, in order to bring in maximum moisture. I'm not sure how I will use up this entire bottle, but it will come in handy in the summer for bug bites.

This box had over $130 worth of items, though two (the eye cream and the calming gel) may be... somewhat overpriced. With eight items (one of which is actually three items), there's no doubt that I got my money's worth and more, though. I love the variety of items in this box. Hair, face, eye, foot, hand, and general purpose. Moreover, I am actively going to use all of the items (or a majority, if you discount the fact that I'm using the solution and serum begrudgingly). This is probably one of my favourite Memeboxes of all time, and that's no lie. It's up there with my other favourites (Mini 3, Cafe, Mask 1&2, Tea Cosmetics). If this comes up again I highly recommend grabbing one for yourself. 

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Amoda Tea Review January and February 2015

Box: Amoda Tea
Price: $18/month, including shipping
Ships to: North America
What’s inside: 4 different teas (~3 cups each), tea filters; they also have a cute tea sipping playlists every month which can be found here

My January Amoda Tea came a little later in the month, so I decided to wait until February to do a double review. I also found this fitting considering that my very first Amoda Tea box was last January, 2014 -- and I did the exact same thing

I'm still subscribed after a year (albeit with a few months of pause as the company was sorting itself out), and I still wholeheartedly recommend this subscription for any casual tea lover. It's a great way to try a variety of teas without feeling bad if you aren't a fan of one, because they're only 3-4 cups each bag. Though some details of the subscription have changed since I first began, it's still very similar. Unfortunately, one thing that stuck was the clear plastic packaging, which I'm still annoyed with. I hate the possibility of my teas oxidizing under light, so I have to store these all in my cupboards away from sight.

January came with no extras like the pastry I got in December. February came with a 15% off coupon code, which might come into use to stock up on my fave teas from past boxes. There was a slight change in the paper tea filters from December. They are made of a slightly different weave and instead of having a straight cut pocket, it's diagonal. Nothing major.

Click below the cut to see the rest of this review, and the eight teas I received in the last two months!

Sunday, 1 February 2015

A Reddit Primer

To my friends who have been or are interested in joining Reddit in order to contribute and learn from popular subreddits like MakeupAddiction, IndieMakeupandMore, and so on, but have been hesistant due to the confusing user interface... read on.