April Ipsy and Birchbox reviews

I thought I would do one of these rundowns again after my overly long hiatus. In case you were wondering, I definitely did get some good stuff over the last few months, so that’s not why I was slacking. I just got these this week, so I’m not that late for once. ūüėČ

First of all, can we take a moment to just appreciate how far both of these companies have come in terms of packaging? Soooo cute, especially the Rifle Paper box!
SAM_6596 (2) SAM_6599

You come a long way, ladies.

Ok, review time! Let’s talk about ipsy first. This month had a bohemian theme.
april 2015 ipsy
First is Gállány Cosmetics Lipstick in Petal ($21.50). This lipstick was a pretty color, although I have a few dupes of this shade. It was kind of average. Nothing super special about it, but not a bad product. Not worth $21.50.
gallany lipstick in petalgallany Petal lipstick swatch

Next was Mullein & Sparrow Mini Lip & Cheek Tint ($22).
I was excited about this, but it had almost no color at all on my lips, and my lips are pretty pale. I could detect the tiniest hint of color and that was it. Other than that, it had a nice slick but not sticky feel and was very glossy.

Mullein & Sparrow Mini Lip & Cheek TintMullein & Sparrow Mini Lip and Cheek Tint swatched

theBalm Cosmetics NUDE Dude Eyeshadow Single in Fit ($36 for the full palette).
A sequel to my Nude ‘Tude palette! I really liked the first one, and this edition seems comparable. The shades seem reeeeally similar to the original palette, just warmer.¬†The first palette was¬†good that naturally this¬†extremely similar one is also going to be a¬†good nude palette option. Pretty much everything theBalm makes is a winner. They are one of my favorite sleeper brands that doesn’t get the love they¬†deserve.

the Balm nude dude eyeshadow single
(it’s the bronzey shade in my crease below)
the balm nude dude fit eyeshadow

MicaBeauty Eye Primer ($44.99)
This is a good primer. It’s a large pot, with a very solid feeling formula that would last a long time. It looks good on my skintone and while that means it would be pretty light on darker skin, that can make bold colors stand out really well so it isn’t a bad thing. However, this primer¬†is not worth $45. This was great as a sample, but there’s no way they can be serious with that price.
mica beauty eye primer
L-R, a swatch of the Nude Dude single, then a swatch of the primer, then both.
nude dude fit eyeshadow swatched over primer

JulieG Nail Color in Damsel ($3.99)
Hot pink! This swatch is only one (admittedly thick) coat, and it’s super smooth and opaque! Not a color I would normally wear, but the polish quality is good. It was worth sampling for sure.
Julie  G hot pink nail polish JulieG JulieG Nail Color in damsel swatch

And now onto Birchbox:

april 2015 birchbox review

jane iredale Just Kissed Lip and Cheek Stain in Forever Pink – $25
I like it well enough. It’sone of those “magic” products that goes on clear and adjusts to the right shade for your lips/cheeks. It was very natural looking although it felt slightly waxy on my cheeks. Still looked good, though. You can also see it on my cheeks in the final full face picture at the end of this post.
SAM_6631 (2)

Number 4‚ĄĘ Hydrating Shampoo – $34
This stuff is way expensive, but it smells and feels nice. Not in my budget.
Temple Spa Peace Be Still Calming Face & Body Balm – $29
A good, non-greasy moisturizer. Again, a bit pricier than anything I’d buy. I save my splurges for eyeshadow.

Harvey Prince Yogini – $55
I don’t love fragrance samples as I’ve said time and time again with my birchboxes. I also don’t love Harvey Prince¬†fragrances. However, I actually liked this one! I probably wouldn’t buy it, but it was nice.¬†Probably because this one has notes of grapefruit and I’m a big citrus fan.

Supergoop!¬ģ Daily Correct CC Cream ‚ÄčSPF 35+ in light to medium¬†– $32
I’m already a fan of the Supergoop line (you know I am OBSESSED with SPF and that’s kind of their thing) so I was excited to try this. It felt good, covered well and it had a natural finish that made my skin look so smooth. Unfortunately, this was a shade too dark and made me look like I had a spray tan. Fortunately, they make a lighter shade, so I’m interested in buying that once I use up my 5,000 other foundations and BB creams.

SAM_6635 (2) SAM_6639 (2) SAM_6649 (2)


More Meow Cosmetics Reviews! Eyeshadow and Glow Powder swatches.

After my disappointing shade mismatch with Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder (review here), I rekindled my love for Meow Cosmetics. I have reviewed them to some extent here and here, but I still had a bunch of samples that never got swatched.

Problem solved! Here are the remaining swatches, in case anyone was interested in seeing more of the product lineup on a person with really fair skin.

First, eyeshadows:

meow cosmetics eyeshadow swatches on pale skin

L-R: Duplex, Platinum Mine, Indecency, Melpomene, Depravity, Kisses, Plague.

Closer views:
meow cosmetics eyeshadow melpomene depravity kisses plague swatched
meow cosmetics eyeshadow review

meow cosmetics silver and gray eyeshadowmeow cosmetics eyeshadow duplex platnum mine indecency melpomene swatch
L-R: Duplex, Platinum Mine, Indecency, Melpomene.

Duplex, Platinum Mine and Kisses are all from the Santa Baby collection, which is only available around Christmas. I know that doesn’t help anyone now, but I figured I’d swatch it for future reference.¬†The rest of the shades are all from the Pandora’s Box collection, which is still available.

Most of these shades are what you would expect, but Plague and Duplex took me by surprise. Plague in person is both green and tarnished gold at the same time, so it would make a really pretty lid color OR definer shade. Duplex looked a little more grey online, but in person it was much warmer with¬†a¬†rosy-plum-grey-taupe base and a golden pink highlight. Very pretty, definitely great if you’re into the rose gold¬†Naked3 look. It’s kind of like a pearlized version of Nooner from UDN3.

These shadows also all feel good and are very pigmented (except for Platinum Mine, but I think that’s intentional). I only used a tiny dot of product on the tip of my pinky finger to make these swatches! Considering how I never use up any of my shadows, these sample baggies contain all the product I need.


Next, let’s talk about the Crystalline Cat Tinted Glow Powders ($9.95-$13.95) I mentioned in the Hourglass post. Here are swatches of a few of the finishing powders:

meow cosmetics crystalline cat tinted glow powders meow cosmetics crystalline cat tinted glow powder swatch topaz opal quartz moonstone
L-R: Topaz, Opal, Quartz, Moonstone, Original Untinted.

You can see that they vary in opacity, and that any of them could work as a highlight or a blush depending on your skin tone. These are just samples obviously, but the full ones are a pretty good size, about the same size as a typical Bare Minerals Mineral Veil jar but for only $9.95 instead of $20. If you’re really into them you can get twice as much glow powder in the large size for only $3 more.

Speaking of Bare Minerals/Escentuals, there’s also a pretty big size/cost difference between Meow’s regular foundation and Bare Minerals foundation. Here’s a comparison of the jars side-by-side (and yes, those are both full sized containers).

meow cosmetics purrrfect puss mineral foundation vs bare escentuals product amount meow cosmetics purrrfect puss mineral foundation vs bare minerals jar size
Be sure to check out where the product has settled in each container to get an even clearer picture of the size difference. I tapped each jar a few times to try to level the products out. These have both been used, but neither of these have been used a ton. As I mentioned earlier, I never manage to use my products up.

Depending on the formula you choose (medium coverage, sensitive skin, or full coverage), the large Meow jars cost $23.45-$28.95 and contain 22-30g net weight of product. The small size costs $12.75-$16.75 depending on which formula you choose and the jar contains 6-8g net weight. The standard size bareMinerals foundation jar contains 8.5 g of product for $27, although I’m not sure if that is net or if that’s just the jar size. Regardless, you can get the ‚Äúsmall‚ÄĚ size of Meow Cosmetics standard coverage foundation and get almost as much product as in a regular Bare jar for less than half the price. I mean, the pictures above speak for themselves.

And in case you want a refresher on how the products apply, see this post, or check out the picture below, wearing  Purrrfect Puss Mineral Powder Foundation in Frisky Chartreux ($23.45) and untinted Meow Cosmetics Crystalline Cat Glow Powder ($12.95) all over.

meow cosmetics crystalline cat finishing powder

P.S. Meow Cosmetics has never paid me or provided me with free products and none of the Meow links are affiliate links, so don’t think this is a biased sales pitch!

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light Review and Swatches

I have a weird review of the cult-classic Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light ($45). I like it, I think it’s a good product for most people, and I think it’s not for me. Here’s why:

I bought this on a random trip to Sephora where I was determined to use my VIB 15% off promo on¬†something. I’ve checked out this product range before, but this time was for real. I swatched all of the lighter shades and liked Dim Light the best because it’s the most subtle. The others have teeny, tiny microglitter, but this shade had a totally glitter-free, luminous shimmer that I loved. I bought it, and then found out as soon as I got home that Hourglass was re-releasing the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette¬†($58) with three total shades. I probably would have preferred that, but I decided to stick with the full sized Dim Light.

hourglass ambient lighting powder packaging design hourglass ambient lighting powder dim light

As you can see above and below, it looks a little different depending on the light.

hourglass ambient lighting powder in dim light

The shade seemed ok under the harsh lights at Sephora, but when I applied it at home, something seemed off. I had read about how this worked as an all over setting powder, so I slathered as much as I could on my mug. Before I knew it, my face was a little too dark, super pink, and awkwardly mismatched with my neck. I had just tried a new foundation routine, so I was convinced it was the mix of foundation products. It couldn’t be the Hourglass powder, could it?

Unfortunately, it was. Since I am weirdly colored, this highlighting powder was too dark for me. And even though it’s pretty neutral, on my skin it skews pink. Here it is swatched on my arm (heavy on the right, blended out on the left):

hourglass ambient lighting powder dim light swatch

I can really only use this as a blush, and I have enough blush, plus $45 is a lot for me right now. Based on what I’ve seen online, maybe Diffused light would have been a better all over Ambient Lighting shade for me? Ethereal Light is also very pale, but might be too pink-y based¬†for me. Incandescent light from the re-released palette is probably my best bet, but I don’t know if I want to shell out $60 for what I’d essentially use as a very subtle, shimmery contour palette. I might swatch it when the palette shows up in stores and see. In the meantime, I’m returning Dim Light.


So what’s my overall impression?¬†I think this is really great product… for the right skintone. The shimmer is so great, and the finish looks very natural on cheeks. It just works best on medium skin tones (darker skinned ladies have complained about it being too light for all over use). Yes, Hourglass makes other shades that would probably match different tones better, but they all have the microglitter. Super subtle microglitter, but glitter nevertheless. Microglitter is fine, but the reason I was willing to shell out $45 was for the non-glittery finish that would look completely natural, which is only on the Dim Light shade. So keep that in mind, depending on your skin tone and what finish you like.


That said, I do have a cheap alternative for ghostly girls (and sometimes boys) like me. Meow Cosmetics Crystalline Cat Glow Powder ($12.95) is a loose powder with the same non-glitter shimmer and natural finish, but it is white, so this is definitely more useful for pale people. Swatched heavy on the right, blended out on the left:

meow cosmetics crystalline cat finishing powder swatches

If you’re super pale, it works great as a glow-y setting powder. It’s very, very finely-milled and it looks great on. I use it all the time (so who knows why I even went for the Hourglass powder at all). If you’re darker toned it would only work as a highlighter, but Meow¬†also makes some different shades of tinted glow powders. The online shades don’t translate super well and are also fairly pigmented, so I would recommend stocking up on samples before buying full sized. The tinted¬†samples I tried ended up being better as luminous blushes and not the subtle all-over flush I expected. You can see it in action here¬†in my previous Meow review, where I wore¬†Crystalline Cat¬†Glow Powder in Quartz ($9.95) as a blush.

And here’s what I did with my face today. Obviously I didn’t do anything with my eyes or lips, but I’m wearing¬†Purrrfect Puss Mineral Powder Foundation¬†in Frisky Chartreux¬†($23.45),¬†Meow Cosmetics¬†Crystalline Cat Glow Powder¬†($12.95) all over as a setting powder, and¬†¬†Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light¬†($45) as a blush.

meow cosmetics crystalline cat finishing powder hourglass ambient lighting powder in dim light swatch

March 2014 Ipsy bag and Birchbox reviews

Look at me being quick and posting my subscription reviews as soon as I get the boxes! And this month’s stuff was REALLY GOOD. I’m really happy with both Ipsy and Birchbox this month. Hooray!

This month’s ipsy¬†glam bag was themed “destination beauty,” although that feels optimistic given ¬†this never-ending winter. ANYWAY, here’s what I got. I really like the bag itself, too. The bags have been going up in quality since I signed up in 2012.

ipsy glam bag march 2014 review

bareMinerals¬†Marvelous Moxie‚ĄĘ Lipstick in Get Ready ($18).
This is very opaque and pigmented and felt nice on.¬†It has a slight shine to it and no sparkle.¬†It’s a good quality lipstick that feels pretty standard¬†for this price range, and I think this shade would work on just about anyone.
Deal: F
ree mascara sample + free shipping on barminerals.com through 4/30/14. This one has an individualized code, so I guess ipsy is getting wise to people like me who share the codes. I’m not using mine, so if you’re interested, here’s my code: P6US-QOEH-3L76-9VDB. This is a one-time code, so first come, first served!

bare minerals marvelous moxie lipstick in get ready bare minerals marvelous moxie lipstick get ready swatched

Nicole by OPI¬†Roughles in “On What Grounds?” ($7.99).
Pronounced like “ruffles,” this is a gritty, concrete-textured polish with little contrast color flecks. It’s a really pretty bright, sky blue. The contrast of the edgy texture and the pretty robin’s egg blue color is pretty fun. I like this a lot, although I’d probably like it just as much without the texture. No discount code.

nicole by opi roughles nail polish in on what groundsnicole by opi roughles nail polish on what grounds swatch

Pacifica Body Butter in Indian Coconut Nectar ($15).
This is water based, so it absorbs cleanly. Pacifica’s scents are usually pretty nice, too. I really liked the coconut scent, but I don’t think it’s for everyone. It smells more like coconut milk than the sweeter coconut scent of suntan oil. Basically, it’s worth buying if you like the scent of coconut.
Deal: 20% off at pacificabeauty.com with code ipsygirl through 4/15/14

Be a Bombshell Bora Bora Eyeshadow Quad ($16).
This was my favorite Be a Bombshell product yet. I wasn’t sure about these shadows at first glance. They don’t feel particularly soft or creamy upon pickup, but when applied they’re very pigmented, blend well and have a really nice pearly-metallic finish. These shades are all available individually on the site for $14 each, so it’s worth looking into their quads to get 3 extra colors for only $2 more. My only complaint is that this collection is very summery, which seems out of place when there’s still snow on the ground here in Chicago. That’s not the product’s fault, though, just an observation. I actually really love this color grouping and think the copper “Rock Bottom” shade is a passable dupe for MAC’s ever popular Amber Lights. And that teal blue! OMG.
Deal: 40% off + free fuchsia lip crayon at beabombshellcosmetics.com ipsy40 through 4/15/14.

be a bombshell eyeshadow quad bora bora
Swatched without primer:
be a bombshell eyeshadow quad bora bora swatches

On eyes with primer + Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner ($20) and Stila MAJOR Major Lash Mascara ($22):
be a bombshell eyeshadow quad bora bora swatch

Other March Ipsy offers:

chella.com 25% through 4/15/14 with code eyeliner.
nyxcosmetics.com 25% off nyx lip butter balm through 4/15/14 with code ipsybb.
pixibeauty.com 25% off through 4/15/14 with code flawlesspixi.

Now on to Birchbox.

birchbox march 2014 review

OmniPotent Duosity Hair Treatment ($25).
I haven’t tried this yet, but my frizzy hair always appreciates a new deep conditioner.

Air Repair Rescue Balm All-Purpose Skin Salve and Lip Balm ($12).
This stuff feels really good, it’s very smooth and melt-y, almost like a foundation primer. It has a really bad smell, though. It’s chemically and a little medicinal, like a gross mouthwash. The scent dissipates within 60 seconds and the moisturizer is pretty heavy duty, so this is something I’d use for super dry lip emergencies, but not for every day use.

Benefit Big Easy in shade 2: light ($38).
This was just a little foil sample, but that’s all I really needed to get an idea for the product. This is actually something I’ve been interested in trying and it lived up to my expectations! It’s smooth like a BB, but quickly dries to a soft, powder finish that looks and feels very natural. It has SPF 35 and medium coverage. I would absolutely buy this.

benefit big easy foundation 2 light  benefit big easy foundation shade 2 lightbenefit big easy foundation review

theBalm¬ģ cosmetics How ‚ÄėBout Them Apples?¬†($32)
I was so excited for this sample! I love The Balm and I love cream blush. These are meant to work on both lips and cheeks, and they actually do work for both purposes. Some products like that are too creamy to work on lips, but this has a much slicker, thinner consistency that really does multitask. It’s sheerer than nost cream blushes or convertible products, but very vibrant. I’ll probably buy this in full size, and this little guy is going to live in my purse from now on.

the balm how bout them apples pie blush sample
Left side: built-up color, Right side: sheered out as much as possible.
the balm how bout them apples pie swatch
In action on both lips and cheeks:
the balm how bout them apples review cream blush in pie

Michael Todd True Organics‚ĄĘ Citrus Cream Moisturizer ($29)
I liked the Michael Todd cleanser ipsy sent me a while ago, so I was pleased to see another product from this brand. This feels light and moisturizing, although the citrus smell is a little bit weird to me. It wears off quickly, at least. My skin definitely felt smooth and soft immediately after application.

Ghirardelli Intense Dark Cherry Tango.
I have no shopping link for this, but you really can’t go wrong if you pick up any¬†Ghirardelli chocolate at the store. It’s also worth noting that¬†birchbox sent this as an “extra sample” and actually stayed true to their word- I got 6 things this month. Sometimes they send something “extra” with a note that it doesn’t replace any of my usual samples, and yet I still get the same number of samples. That’s just silly.

And of course, here’s the final look featuring all of the products from this month’s samples!

march 2014 ipsy and birchbox reviews
be a bombshell eyeshadow risky business starlet rock bottomipsy march 2014 review