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)


April Ipsy Glam Bag and Birchbox Reviews

They’re here!

Let’s start with April’s Ipsy¬†bag, “Beauty Rocks”:

ipsy glam bag april 2014 review

Urban Decay 24/7 Velvet Glide-On Eye Pencil ($20).
This is maybe a shade lighter than the other black 24/7 liners. Like the others, it has great staying power, although I don’t think they need to have this many different black liners (one is enough!). This one’s gimmick is that it has a slightly softer looking finish, a lot like the look of cake liner, so it is good for a smokier look. It also doesn’t go one quite as smoothly as the other UD eyeliners. Weirdly, the liner is slightly crumbly, so it has a lot of fallout. You can just brush it away, but it’s still kind of weird to deal with eyeliner fallout.

urban decay black velvet 24-7 eyeliner fallout

Free gift with $35 purchase on urbandecay.com with code UDIPSY through 4/18/14.

Demeter Jasmine Perfume Oil Roll On ($10).
I love Demeter and I love fragrance rollers, so this was great. It’s a pleasant, every day scent.
20% off any purchase at demeterfragrance.com with code 20ipsydfl through 5/31/14.

dr. brandt microdermabrasion ($78 for full size).
I love these, my winter-torn skin really needs all the help it can get and this made my face feel nice and smooth.
20% off dermabrasion kit + free gift at drbrandtskincare.com with code MICRO20 through 9/31/14.

Elizabeth Mott pop! goes the shadow in champagne ($12.99).
This wasn’t bad, but wasn’t as good as previous Elizabeth Mott products. The texture was average, although¬†longevity was good. I can’t comment on the pigmentation because it’s so close to my skintone. Definitely a worthwhile addition to my bag, but not something I’d spring for on its own.

elizabeth mott pop goes the eyeshadow champagne swatch elizabeth mott pop goes the eyeshadow champagne

50% off any purchase at elizabethmott.com with code IPSYPOP through 6/1/14.

Mary Kay At Play Jelly Lip Gloss in Berry Me ($10).
Meh. I’m not into gloss, and this was a slightly thick, sticky gloss. It does look nice, it provides a really smooth look. The feel and color remind me a lot of the Pop Beauty Aqua Lacquer I got a few months¬†ago, but the Mary Kay texture was much stickier. I’d go with the Pop gloss over this one.

mary kay at play jelly lip gloss berry me mary kay at play jelly lip gloss berry me swatch

No discount code provided.

And here’s the final look with all products!

april ipsy review swatches


Other Ipsy offers:
www.cailyncosmetics.com 20% off + free gift with IPSYGIFT through 5/31/14.
www.benefitcosmetics.com free High Beam sample with $30 order with APRILGLAM through 5/15/14.
www.coverfx.com 20% off $50+ purchase with IPSY20 through 6/30/14.
www.rainbowhoney.com 25% off with IPSY through 5/31/14.
www.coastalscents.com 25% off with BRUSH25OFF through 5/31/14.
www.starlooks.com 20% off with IPSY20 through 5/31/14.


Next up…
Birchbox took a really long time to get here ¬†this month, and this box was slightly boring to me. It wasn’t *bad*, it just wasn’t super exciting, kind of middle-of-the-road.

april 2014 birchbox review

Camille Beckman Body Butter ($15).
This is the second time I’ve gotten something from this brand, and I really like their products. This smelled fresh and absorbed very cleanly.

Color Club Gala’s Gems Collection ($13 for a set of four).
I liked this a lot. It’s supposed to be inspired by the ’70s and ’80s and I definitely got the retro vibe from this collection of pearlized pastel shades. I got a sample of the shade “Breakfast at…” which is supposed to be pearlized Tiffany Blue, but it’s a bit too green to be quite right. It’s still a pretty shade aside from the failed reference. If I didn’t already have more polish than I can deal with, I would buy this set for sure. This shade actually looks a lot like one of my favorite Sinful Colors polishes, Mint Apple, although that has more of a glass shimmer effect.

color club breakfast at nail lacquer color club breakfast at nail polish sinful colors mint apple color club breakfast at turqouise seafoam green nail polish swatches

Keims Cleanshine Energizing Shampoo ($9.50).
This smelled very nice, which is the only thing I really care about in a shampoo. I don’t understand hair beyond looking for things that say “extra moisture” and “reduces frizz”).

Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel ($22).
This was great, although a clear mascara is the same thing and way cheaper (Like this one from e.l.f. for only $1!). Seriously, why would you ever spend more than $5 max on clear mascara/brow tamer?

KIND Healthy Grain Bars ($11.88 for a box of 15).
Since I’ve been eating low carb for a while, this tasted too sweet to me. It wasn’t a total loss, because my son enjoyed it! The ingredient list is nice, although 6 grams of sugar seems like a lot for a “healthy” item.

kind pumkin seed granola bar(He’s so into it.)

December Ipsy vs Birchbox Review

Sorry, I know, I’m the worst. I haven’t posted these and I’m sorry. What’s worse, I’ve been traveling and haven’t even fully tested all of this stuff! But better late than never, so here’s a brief review of the products I got in my boxes almost a month ago!


december 2013 ipsy glam bag products

POP Beauty Bright Up Your Life Eye Shadow Trio in Smokin Hot ($24 for a 10-pan palette). This is a sampler from a larger palette. I have mixed feelings about the shades I got: the two lighter shades work well (the gunmetal is particularly nice), but the black was cheap, chalky and under-pigmented. Not sure how the rest of the full palette compares.  Ipsy deal code is for 25% off at www.popbeauty.com with code eyeluvpop through 1/15/14.

pop beauty bright up your life palette smokin hot trio swatch pop beauty bright up your life palette smokin hot trio swatches

Be a Bombshell¬†The One Stick in Girl Crush ($16). This was nice, it’s basically like a skinnier version of NARS the multiple. The color is kind of unusual, it’s a pale, frosty pink. It makes a good blush on my light complexion, but I think it would make a really lovely highlight color on someone with medium to dark skin. Ipsy discount is¬†40% off and free blush at www.beabombshellcosmetics.com¬†with code ipsy40 through 1/15/14.

Be a Bombshell The One Stick in Girl Crush

Ardell¬†Natural Lash in 120 Demi ($3.99). These are pretty standard false lashes. I’ve used this brand before and like them. Ipsy didn’t provide a sale code for Ardell, sorry. ūüė¶

NYX¬†Extra Creamy Round Lipstick¬†Celene ($3.99). You guys already know that I love this stuff! NYX round lipstick forever! This color is a little light for me, though, so it’s going into the giveaway bag (I promise that will be coming up soon, I had to delay my latest prize drawing due to out of town holiday craziness). Discount is¬†35% off the slim lip pencil at www.nyxcosmetics.com¬†with code ipsyslim through 1/15/14.

Nicka K New York Nail Color in Classic Taupe ($4.99). This was a nice greige color. The first coat was a little streaky, but the second coat was smooth and fully opaque. Holy hell was this one glossy, and it lasted well. I was very impressed, I thought the formula was very similar to my OCC Nail Lacquer but at half the price. Get 30% off  at www.nicka.com with code IPSY through 1/10/14.

nicka k new york nail laquer classic taupe greige polish

Bonus offers for brands that weren’t in my bag:
J.Cat Beauty- 30% off any purchase at www.jcatbeauty.com with code jcatlips through 1/15/14.
Jesse’s Girl- 30% off any purchase at www.jessesgirlcosmetics.com¬†with code ipsydec2013 through 1/15/14.
Starrily- 20% off at www.starrily.com with code ipsy (no listed exp. date).
Demeter Fragrances- 20% off any purchase at  www.demeterfragrance.com with discount code ipsy20dfl through 1/13/14.

Next up, Birchbox:

december 2013 birchbox products

TONI&GUY Casual Sea Salt Texturising Spray ($16.99). I haven’t used this yet, but I’m a big fan of salt spray. I spritz it on damp hair, scrunch and go for a more controlled version of my natural, frizzy waves.

Manna Kadar Cosmetics sheer glo shimmer lotion ($29). This was a nice, light luminizing liquid. It’s like a thicker version of Benefit’s High Beam.

Camille Beckman Glycerine Hand Therapy‚ĄĘ ($14). This was really hydrating and absorbed well!

Supersmile Ultimate Lip Treatment ($24). This product claims to “hydrate, exfoliate, and heal tired skin.” The idea of exfoliating and moisturize in one step seems odd, but it is somehow simultaneously smooth and every so slightly gritty (like impossibly finely milled liquid sand). It made my lips feel great, but it is also $24. I just can’t justify that price for what is essentially a luxurious chapstick.

Ahmad Teas ($7 for 40 bags). Yum! I love tea, and it was nice that they included 3 flavors to try.

I also want to throw in a quick fabkids¬†shoutout. Look at how cute my December outfits were! $39.95 for one 3-piece outfit, $20 for the second and they’re so fun and well-made! I feel like the fabkids clothes have a lot of personality.

striped shirt plaid punk pants fabkids boy clothes
Ska-punk 90’s throwback!!!

yellow buffalo check plaid shirt goldenrod colored jeans fabkids boys outfits
Craft beer snob in training!

August Birchbox vs. Ipsy Glam Bag Review

Finally. I’ve been studying for finals/travelling/busbusybusy and have been slacking on the blawg. Sorry! I definitely have a backlog of things to share with you, but let’s start with my August Ipsy Glam Bag and Birchbox reviews.

Ok. So I think switching some things around on my Birchbox profile last month has actually improved my latest box! I lowered my household income and reduced the number of skincare concerns that I have, and now I’m eligible for makeup again. Yay! My BB was much improved this month. The box was curated by¬†Ann Taylor, although I didn’t notice the connection between the store and this month’s products.

august 2013 birchbox ann taylor edition

First up,¬†ModelCo Party Proof Lipstick ($24 for a pack of three). I was actually planning to buy this on my own, so I was super, duper excited to get one in my box. The packaging was so cute, which is an extra plus in my book! My shade was Disco Fever, a punchy orange. As you may have noticed, I will never, ever turn down orange makeup, so this is a good thing. It actually looks just like OCC Electric Grandma minus the sparkle (so maybe like regular Grandma?). Maybe a tad matte-er than I would like, because up close you can see that the coverage gets a little funky and uneven. It’s only visible if you are RIGHT UP ON MY FACE, but still. I most prefer a creamy pseudo-matte for that reason, although the matteness here does help with longevity. As you can see, this lipstick also stands alone without any other makeup, which is faaaaan-tastic. I do love a bright lip when I’m feeling lazy.

modelco matte party proof lipstick disco fever swatch orange coral neon peach lips
modelco party proof matte lipstick disco fever tube package design packaging modelco party proof matte lipstick disco fever orange coral lips swatch

Next, Dr. Jart+ Premium Beauty Balm SPF 45+ ($39). I really like this stuff already, but since I do so much traveling I could always use a mini. For a full review, see my BB cream review here.

Violet Oasis 100% Organic Argan Oil¬†($39.95). This stuff felt really nice! Very smooth, and my skin felt great when I woke up in the morning. You can’t go wrong with Argan Oil.

TanTowel¬ģ Classic Formula Self-Tan Towelettes Half Body ($24 for a pack of ten). I’m sure this is great, although I am getting tired of the endless self-tanning products from BB. Maybe I need to deactivate “spf” as a skin concern as well? I can handle one self-tanner a year, that’s about it. Pale and proud.

Jasmine Seven‚ĄĘ Wipes ($9.95 for 30). Hand and foot cleaning antibacterial wipes? This was a really weird choice for a Birchbox product, but it’s a pretty nice thing to have and I’m keeping it in my purse anyway. It’ll probably come in handy for cleaning my hands after commuting on the train. People can be kind of icky on the El.

ipsy august 2013 glam bag glamour academy products

Ipsy was also good. This bag was “Glamour Academy” themed, and included essentially a full-face look. Thoughtful. After testing everything out, I decided that the products combined made me feel like Cara¬†Delevingne (all about the brows), so here’s my wild-eyed Cara impression, starring everything from my August bag. I do what I want.

august 2013 ipsy glam bag glamour acadamy cara delevingne inspired
But seriously, there are some good things happening when you look at my normal face. See?mica beauty bronze mineral eyeshadow urban decay revolution lipstick anarchy swatch dark hair fair pale skin

Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in Anarchy¬†($22). Holy ish, I was skeptical, but this stuff lives up to the hype. It’s incredibly pigmented and opaque after one coat, it’s creamy, and it makes my lips look smoother. I will definitely be buying a couple of these in full size. The Ipsy promo code discount was not great (free shipping with lipstick purchase – code: IPSY), so I would recommend buying at Sephora, Ulta or Beauty.com instead because they have automatic free shipping and WAY better specials.

urban decay revolution lipstick swatch shade anarchy hot pink bright neon lipsurban decay revolution lipstick swatch shade anarchy hot pink fuschia

Bonus wear test:¬†I washed my face later on in the night with a charcoal exfoliator (more on that in a minute) and inadvertently tested the longevity. Obviously I wasn’t exfoliating my lips, but I did rub them pretty well with water. While the creaminess went away, I was impressed with how much the stain and a little balminess remained. See?
urban decay revolution lipstick anarchy wear test longevity

Pixi Beauty¬†Lash Booster Mascara in Blackest Black ($17). Meh, this wasn’t bad, but it didn’t blow me away. Sometimes mascara samples don’t do the full size tubes justice, but this mascara wasn’t as intense as I would have liked. If you like Pixi products, definitely check out the special offer. 20% off at pixibeauty.com¬†with code pixi+ipsy through 9/1/13.

MicaBeauty Cosmetics Mineral Eyeshadow in Bronze ($14.95). This was very pretty! A nice golden copper color with a lot of metallic shimmer. It had nice color payoff even without a primer, but still blended well. 25% off at micabeauty.com with code ipsy25 through 8/31/13.

Chella Dazzling Dark Brown Eyebrow Color Pencil ($18). This was quite nice. I usually use a brow powder, but this pencil is more convenient for travel and has a nice, dark color. I especially like how fine the tip is, for a more natural look. Today, however, I went for a more intense brow, just to see how far I could take the color. Not bad! Very Delevingne-esque. Get 20% off with code BROWPENCIL through 9/15/13.

Michael Todd¬†Jojoba Charcoal Gentle Exfoliating Facial Scrub ($18). The nice thing about this cleanser is that it promises to exfoliate without causing microlacerations. These tiny scrapes can actually widen pores, so it’s important to be careful when exfoliating. It’s black, so that’s a little jarring, but the texture is so creamy it feels whipped and it’s really comfortable. It took a long time to wash all of the grit away, but when I did, my skin felt extremely smooth. I’d definitely use it again.¬†Get 30% off with code AUGIPSY through 9/30/13.
Michael Todd Jojoba Charcoal Gentle Exfoliating Facial Scrub texture