September Ipsy v Birchbox Product Samples Review

Augh, I have so many review to do for you guys! A lot of things showed up on my doorstep in the last week, so I’m going to try to power through them all. Now that I’m caught up on Memebox, let’s talk about September’s Birchbox and Ipsy!

I know I didn’t review these for the last few months. I wanted to, but this summer was IN-TENSE, and you’d be surprised how much time I spend taking and editing pictures and putting these reviews together. I’m sorry, hopefully I’ll get back on a better schedule soon. I also didn’t get a chance to try everything before I had to go out of town, but I thought it best to go ahead and post before I get super behind again.

Ok, so this month’s Ipsy feautured:

september 2014 ipsy glam bag review

Hikari Lipstick in Cabernet ($13).

Hikari Lipstick in CabernetHikari Lipstick in Cabernet swatch on lips

I have never heard of this brand before, but this Hikari lipstick really exceeded my expectations. Weirdly, this “Cabernet” color doesn’t look at all like the shade pictured on the website and actually looks like the color “Crush,” but no matter. The packaging looks cute, but it unfortunately feels cheap in your hands. The swatch on my arm also took a few swipes to build and the lipstick dragged a bit when I was applying it.

BUT.

I love it on! The color feels balmy and smooth (if slightly waxy) and it wore down very evenly to a beautiful, lightweight stain. This was very comfortable on and longlasting. I’m not sure if I would want to pay $13 for it, but It’s definitely a good deal if you use this month’s code below.

30% off your entire purchase at hikaricosmetics.com with code IPSY30 through 10/31/14.


 

Pacifica Natural Water-Proof Eye Pencil in Fringe ($11).
I was also pleasantly surprised by this Pacifica liner considering I hated the last Pacifica cosmetic I received. This line was smooth to apply and very pigmented. It isn’t waterproof, but from what I’ve seen so far it seems pretty long lasting.

20% off your entire purchase at www.pacificabeauty.com with code FallBeauty through 10/31/14.

Here’s a swatch of the liner next to the Hikari Lipstick swatch (which sadly looks less pigmented here than IRL due to my current lack of photo editing software).

pacifica waterproof eyeliner Hikari Lipstick in Cabernet swatches


 

This was a decent size and I got a couple uses out of it. It smelled nice and definitely helped my bleached out strands to feel a bit softer.
The deal on this one isn’t great (free shipping with code IPSYSEPT14), so I’d recommend buying this at Sephora where you’ll get freebies with your purchase.

This was soft and will be great for travel (which I do more than I should!). However, the Crown Brush website doesn’t list anything about synthetic fibers or being cruelty free, so I’m kind of conflicted about using this.
30% off any purchase at www.crownbrush.us with code CROWNIPSY30 through 12/31/14.

I love that this is natural and that it saves a few steps in my morning routine.
15% off at www.leeanni.com with code IPSY9 through 10/31/14.


and on to Birchbox.
september 2014 birchbox review
I got an extra sample this month! This time they included 6 samples. One was a teeny perfume sample, so I’m glad to have gotten a little bit more (perfume vials always feel like a cop-out).
This is the perfume I mentioned, although if I’m going to drop more than $100 on a fragrance, I definitely want to smell it first. This was really nice. Not the sweet scent I was expecting, this is a more nuanced and sexy scent. They also included a postcard, which was neat.

TOCCA Crema da Mano Luxe – Hand Cream ($20.00). As creamy and moisturizing as you’d expect from TOCCA. It feels luxe and smells very nice.

I didn’t get to try this since Birchbox showed up right before I left town, but the packaging is fancy, so my expectations are high.

Same as above, this one didn’t get sampled. I’m really nervous that it will be too dark for my skin, but I’ll try to update this post after I’ve had a chance to try it.
This is about half the size of the full bottle, so I’m really pleased with how large the sample is. Another I couldn’t try, but from what I’ve read it works really well and a little goes a long way, so this should last me a long time.
I really love the standard Hydration lock, so this double-ended version with spf is even better! I’m happy.

Memebox Superbox #49: Lip Box Review

Memebox has provided me with another box to review!!! This time it’s Superbox #49: all about lips. If you’re unfamilair with Memebox, here’s a link to my first review. There are different types of boxes offered, and the one I’m reviewing today is a Superbox, which they describe as such: “Superbox was inspired by our Memebox lovers, looking for full-sized products catered to specific needs. Each Superbox series comes with its own theme, designed to target particular concerns, or collaboration with our favorite brands!”

I’m sorry in advance for the picture quality, I’ve been out of town for a while and can’t download photo editing software to the computer I’m using. 😦

Regardless, it’s worth checking out the products in the box, even if the color balance is off. So here is everything I received!

memebox superbox all about lips

With external packaging above (I wanted to include the boxes because I think they’re cute), and without packaging below:

memebox superbox 49 all about lips review

A few of these are similar to products we have in America, but there were also products included that were very new to me. Here’s what was involved:


Very Six 6 Seconds Kissing Lip Gloss ($17).

Very Six 6 Seconds Kissing Lip GlossVery Six 6 Seconds Kissing Lip Gloss swatch

This goes on clear, but reacts within six seconds to create a perfect “my lips but better” flush. It’s sort of like a mood gloss, and the effect is very subtle, but very pretty. My very pale lips looked slightly flushed, like when you just wake up and your lips are at their fullest. I really like it and think it’s a great option for days when you need to look effortlessly polished.


Shara Shara Petit Friend Tint Balm in Crown Orange ($8).

Shara Shara Petit Friend Tint Balm
Shara Shara Petit Friend Tint Balm swatch

This lipcolor-balm hybrid was so cute, and like nothing I’ve seen in the states. I loved the color it provided, too. It was glossy but non-sticky and had the perfect peach tint. It definitely reminded me of the smooth peachy lips you see in many Korean advertisements. And the packaging is adorable! I loved the tin, as well as the effect of the cute lipcolor “crown” that was set into the sheer gloss. I love this. I love it so much.


RiRe Tick Tock Lip Gloss in Peach Orange ($18).

RiRe Tick Tock Lip Gloss in Peach Orange

This surprised me! I thought it was a typical lipgloss, but it actually included a spring-loaded lip brush in the handle. Crazy! I accidentally hit the button when I uncapped it and the brush went flying across the room.

RiRe Tick Tock Lip Gloss in Peach Orange spring loaded brush applicator RiRe Tick Tock Lip Gloss in Peach Orange lip brush application RiRe Tick Tock Lip Gloss in Peach Orange swatch

I’m not sure if there’s a need for a detachable spring-loaded brush vs. a brush that’s attached to the cap, but the brush itself was very long and offered great control. The lipcolor was also more opaque an I expected and ended up as more of a paint/liquid lipstick. It stayed very well and the pigmentation was amazing! Very comfortable to wear, too. Brush problems aside, I give this product a major thumbs-up.


Cheek Room Color Lips in Red ($12).

Cheek Room Color Lips lipstick in RedCheek Room Color Lips in Red

Next we have what looked like a standard red lipstick, except that this one was a little sheer and packed with glitter! It’s difficult to tell from these pictures, but the color and glitter makes it similar to OCC’s Electric Grandma lip tar, but a little darker and in lipstick form. It’s actually a little more wearable than Electric Grandma because as you can see in the swatch, the glitter looks a little less glittery and more like a metallic lipstick. I found this color very flattering on me, but the tube is a bit deceptive since it is definitely more peach or orange than red. I thought it was really fun and would be great for a night out, although in real life it’s more glittery than you can tell from these pictures, so I couldn’t pull this off for everyday use.


Royal Nature Paint Mousse Lip Lacquer in True Blood ($24).

Royal Nature Paint Mousse Lip Lacquer in True BloodRoyal Nature Paint Mousse Lip Lacquer in True Blood swatch

This raspberry-colored liquid lipstick had a mousse texture unlike any lipstick I’ve ever used. It was like a whipped lipstick, which felt great to apply, although it smudged a bit before it dried, so I had to be careful. It did set after about 30 seconds, and it dried into a pretty, matte finish.


Cheek Room Lip Tint in Red ($12).

Cheek Room Lip Tint in Red Cheek Room Lip Tint in Red swatch

This stain didn’t seem to have much product in the tube (compared to other reviews I’ve seen, I think this was a mistake, because other tubes have been full). That’s a shame because I really liked it! It’s got a similar liquid-y feel to most lip stains of this type (think The Balm’s Staniac or a slightly thicker version of Benetint), but the color itself was a bit more natural on me and not quite as red. Sometimes lip tints seem really intense on my fair skin, but this was more sheer and I looked like I’d just bitten my lips. The one downside was that it left sort of a bitter taste on my lips.


Of all the products in this box, I’d say my favorites were the Petite Friend balm and the Tick Tock Liquid Lip. I’ve also noticed that a lot of Korean products tend to flatter my skintone as they are often a bit peachy. As a pale, mildly olive girl with neutral undertones, that’s a great fit.

Memeboxes always contain a lot of product for the price, so these are always a good deal. This particular box had a retail value of $91, but the box itself cost $23. Unfortunately, this one is currently sold out (they sell out SUPER QUICKLY), but every box I’ve received so far has been a really great value, so you can’t go wrong (check out some of my other reviews to see the types of products offered!).  Happy Memeboxing!

Fall 2014 Elizabeth and Clarke Review

I received my Elizabeth & Clarke order recently and thought I’d share with you. This is a quarterly subscription service, and it’s one of a handful of new companies that works directly with manufacturers and sells exclusively online. This is in an effort to provide consumers with high quality clothing with transparent pricing and a significant discount from traditional retail, sort of like a subscription-based version of Everlane (or Cuyana, or up-and-comer Brass Clothing). Can you tell I’m into the concept these guys are working with? I only really shop online anyway, so I’m ok with forgoing clearance sales and discounts if I know the full retail is actually a fair markup and not an additional, arbitrary price gouge. No more games!

It works like this: You sign up for a recurring one, two, or three shirt box and every season you are presented with five shirts that you can choose to fill that box. The more you get the more you save, with the boxes working out to $30, $25, or $20 per shirt, respectively. You select these in anticipation of the next season and don’t actually get your shirts for a couple months. This is part of how they keep costs low. The pieces are really high quality, but they are able to cut out a huge chunk of the markup by 1) limiting marketing and only selling online directly to consumers and 2) by taking in all of the orders ahead of time and only producing the EXACT amount of shirts that they will be selling. It’s actually a pretty clever business model.

If you want a more in-depth explanation about the company’s formation and some of the realities of the fashion industry, I’d highly recommend checking this post from the founders, it’s a worthwhile read.

It also looks like a lot of effort goes into each design to ensure that the pieces produced are exceptional. The card enclosed with my order explained that the designers tested over 300 fabrics to pick their stock, and for each design they test 12 different dyes, spend over 600 design hours, and create 15 different prototypes.

The downside to this service is the lack of choice. Last season I signed up for the three-shirt subscription. I chose one seasonal top and two of their seasonless staples (I couldn’t resist a nice white tee and a proper button-up). Unfortunately, that means when the upcoming season’s choices rolled around, I had already received the two perennially available basics and was stuck with the three winter selections as my only options, and I’m not sure if I like all of them. I went along with it, but I may end up downgrading to a two-shirt subscription for Spring since I don’t love that I’m supposed to get a “choice,” but really I’m stuck with the only three options that I haven’t gotten already. That is not a choice.

Anyway, let’s check out the three tops that I have from the Fall Collection!

The Bacall

elizabeth and clarke bacall draped boat neckline top elizabeth and clarke bacall bateau neckline closeup
elizabeth and clarke bacall black bateau neck topelizabeth and clarke bacall black top side view

This is my favorite of the bunch. Last week I wore it tucked in to a black midi skirt and my friend told me I was looking very Jackie O, which is highest praise in my book. I like the interesting drape detail to the neckline, and the crepe fabric is lightweight but opaque.


The Liz Lemon

elizabeth and clarke liz lemon t shirt reviewelizabeth and clarke liz lemon white tee shirtelizabeth and clarke liz lemon t shirt closeup elizabeth and clarke liz lemon fabric closeup

The shirt is very soft and the fabric has a great hang to it. The curved hem at the bottom makes it a little different from other shirts, although it might be better with an extra inch or two for my frame. I still like it. I hope they eventually update it with different colors so I can buy more! I did noticed that in spite of my height-based issues, all of the shirts I ordered fit more precisely than other shirts in this price range because sizing is offered in 00-14 rather than a more generic S, M, L chart.


The Taylor

elizabeth and clarke the taylor off white blouse
Untabbed sleeves vs. tabbed sleeves.
elizabeth and clarke the taylor long sleeve button upelizabeth and clarke the taylor tabbed sleeve blouseelizabeth and clarke the taylor mandarin collar closeupelizabeth and clarke the taylor material and pocket closeup

This classic, white button-up has internal tabs to keep your sleeves rolled up if you like. I also LOVE the way this cut is fitted enough to curve in toward my back, but still loose enough not to cling around my stomach. I feel like I’m forever compromising between those two cuts whenever I buy a button up. This one also has a really thoughtfully designed curve to the hem (and it hits me at a better place than the Liz tee).


All in all, I’d say this box was a big hit for me since the quality is great and so is the value. But as I mentioned earlier, I may downgrade my subscription depending on which designs are offered after my Winter box arrives. I’ll keep you posted.