IPSY Ultimate Review: July 2020

Despite looking like someone sat on it, everything in my box arrived intact.

This month I felt as though I was stalking the post office when it came to subscription boxes.  Especially with IPSY.  I received the shipping notice on the 7th of the month but then nothing else.  I kept checking back and nothing was updating.  Finally, I checked in with USPS and they claimed to be waiting for it to be dropped off. They never updated. I’m pretty sure even a few days after I received my box they are still claiming to wait for it.

I know everyone else has been going through similar things this month as well as it seems nothing is really coming  in on time (with the exception of my Kristopher Buckle package which came much faster than I actually expected it to. Maybe they know something no one else does.)

But finally it arrived and I can stop trying to pull up the tracking information.  I think IPSY might have also switched delivery services as a different one from usual was listed.  But none of that is the point.  Shipping has more in common with a spin of the Wheel of Fortune game show wheel than a regulated system these days.

IPSY is a monthly beauty subscription service.  They have several tiers.  I receive the IPSY Ultimate box which includes one make  up bag, eight full sized items and four deluxe sample sized items for the price of $50.  This is the first year of this particular tier and it had been a bumpy year.  They seem to be getting better lately so lets see what this month’s long awaited bag looks like.

The bag itself is interesting.  It is square, which is a bit unusual and it is quite roomy.  The design isn’t my favorite and I don’t really like that it doesn’t have a handle on it, but it is fine.  I probably won’t be keeping it.  My mother’s church puts together toiletry and self care kits for the homeless who use their soup kitchen and they are always looking for little bags to contain the items so any bag I don’t keep ends up donated there. So even if I don’t like it, the bag won’t be wasted.

The first full sized item in my bag this moth was the AWAKE Glow Pill Super Serum (retail $39). I love serums so I am always pleased to have a new one to try out.  I believe AWAKE is a sister brand to Tarte, but I could be mistaken on that. 

Either way I have never tried this serum and look forward to testing it out.  It claims to be a light weight gel that makes skin softer and more hydrated as well as banishing fine lines, pores and dark spots.  Sounds like a tall order but I am looking forward to trying it out.

The next item in my bag this month are the Beauty For Real SHADOW STX 24-7 Eyeshadow Duo in Midnight Marathon and Ever Starstruck (retail $38). Since My IPSY box came in Friday afternoon I decided to add these and the Seraphine Botanicals Sakura + Sage Vegan Eyeshadow & Blush Palette (retail $42) to my Make up bag for the week.  I’ve never used shadow sticks before so this should be fun. They are both shimmer shades so I’d have to pair them with something else.

I kind of wish one was matte so I could make a better attempt at a single look with just the stix but I will at least get to see how they fare with other shadows.  I’ve also never tried Seraphine Botanicals before.  I know they’ve been around in IPSY bags before but somehow they never seem to end up in my bag until now.  So now I get to try them.

I am also adding the Il Makiage Brow Pen in the shade Truffles (retail $22) and the OFRA Highlighter in the shade Glazed Doughnut (retail $30) to my makeup bag this week.  While most of the items in my makeup bag this week are from the Kristopher Buckle Collection, these items will help fill in the gaps for items that didn’t come in the kit. Plus, I get to use some of the newly arrived items instead of waiting until next week. So bonus for me.

This month I also received a full sized set of 8 Hair masks from Foxybae (retail $28.95). I’m not entirely sold on the individual packaging, but I tend to really like Foxybae Hair products.  Their Flaminglow leave in conditioner is well worth picking up.So I am definitely looking forward to trying this out.

I was very pleased to see a full sized Purlisse Beauty Blue Lotus product in my box this month.  I was doubly pleased as the 4~in~1 Cleansing Milk (retail $36) is the only item in the Blue Lotus line that I haven’t tried.  It was the one element left out of my full trial of Blue Lotus and I am happy to fill in the gap.

The last full sized item in my IPSY Ultimate box this month was the CIATÉ LONDON

Watermelon Burst Hydrating Primer (retail $28).  It was the item I selected, because you know I love my primers. Plus it was the best of the offered options when it came time to choose.  Incidentally for those of you who get IPSY a reminder, choice day for August’s bag is this week, July 23rd actually.  They always have choice up at 9 am EST. I love that it is a consistent time.  After the befuddlement with Boxy’s choice day this month, it is extra appreciated.

So I have yet another Ciate London product in my growing collection.  At this point I think the only categories I am missing are an eyebrow product and a bronzer.  I’ll have to check but if that is the case I may have to order them and then just do a full face of Ciate in my weekly makeup bag.

So now that we’ve covered the full sized items it is on to the four deluxe sample sizes.  These aren’t listed with prices so alas I can not offer them to you.  But I can tell you what they are.

First up is the Belif  The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb. I am always happy to have another moisturizer on hand to try, even if it is a small size.  I am almost finished with my Volition Celery Green Cream so I’m going to have to choose my next moisturizer soon anyway. 

It will have a lot to live up to as I really liked the Volition Cream. I am not sure if I’ll use the Belif moisturizer next, but I think I may choose one of the trial sizes I have stashed away.  I noticed the other day I am getting quite the collection of mini moisturizers in my skincare drawer. They usually have enough product for two weeks in them so I might try to work my way through them and see if any of them deserve a full sized month long trial.

But that is a decision for later. Moving on with IPSY I received a perfume sample from Catherine Malandrino this month.  It is in the scent Special Moments.  I’ve tried a perfume from her before so I am pleased to try another one. 

I also like that it is a good sized sample and not one of those tiny little tubes.  There is plenty for a week long trial and I am always happy to try out a new perfume.  I actually have several perfumes I need to post reviews of as well. I really need to catch up on posting those.

My third sample this month is the Jayjun USA Green Tea Eye Gel Patch (Set of 3). I like that there is a set of three because it lets me get an accurate opinion through multiple uses. With skin care items often you need more than one trial to see if you really like it. Otherwise its more of a first impression than anything else.

Then finally, last but not least there is something for the shower.  This month I received a sample sized packet of The Coffee Scrub in French Vanilla.  I’ve seen this floating around for several months but it has never appeared in my bag.  I’m pleased I finally get a chance to try it. 

Over all I have to say I am rather pleased with my products this month.  It is a pretty varied selection of products which I kind of like.  It is a mix of makeup, skincare, hair care and body care. Some of the items I’ve seen floating around the IPSY-verse for a while, but they have never been in my bags before. 

I suspect that they are clearing out older inventory.  I know they have a major summer sale going on right now so perhaps that will clear out all of the familiar items and bring in new selections. 

Although I have to say some of the items in my box this month weren’t ones I’ve seen in IPSY in prior months.  I can’t say there is any one item that sent me over the moon this month.  There was no real wow factor item, but they all look like good items I will be happy to give a try.  And to be honest, I’m shopping less as I’m staying in more so it’s nice to have a new variety of items to try out. I think I’m actually appreciating my subscription boxes more now that I’m not going to Ulta to try out their testers or browsing the drug store aisles.

I think that, more than the delayed postal system is why I’ve been stalking the postal service on line this month. I’ll try not to check the tracking so obsessively next month.  Possibly. No promises.

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IPSY Ultimate Review May 2020

IPSY Ultimate May 2020 (again the outer box was purged before items entered the house)

This was the week of the subscription boxes. Most of the boxes I subscribe to came in either late last week or this week.  I’m still waiting for Vella Box, a candle subscription, which sent out an e-mail telling everyone they were mailing in batches and would therefore be a week late and my Face-tory subscription which won’t even be processed until the 18th.

So now that most things are in I get a few days without seeing the mail man.  My babydoll thinks I’m crazy, but I secretly believe he holds the rest of our mail until he knows we are getting packages and then just brings it then.  Admittedly we don’t get much mail other than things we’ve ordered at this point so maybe there just isn’t a lot to leave.

Either way, I won’t see him much until next week.  And this is a post about the May IPSY Ultimate, not my very nice postman who tends to whistle the Spiderman theme song when he delivers mail.  At least that’s what it sounds like to me (and consequently the song that gets stuck in my head everytime I see him).

But on to Ipsy.

IPSY is a beauty subscription box with several tiers.  The first tier is $12 per month, which I believe gets you five deluxe samples per month (with the occasional full size thrown in) and a small makeup bag.  The second tier is the $25 per month bag and it too comes with a makeup bag and five full sized products.  The third tier is the Ultimate which costs $50 per month and comes with a large makeup bag, eight full sized products and four deluxe sample sized products. I receive the third tier, and that is what I will be reviewing today.

This tier has had its ups and downs.  It premiered in October and got off to a really rough start.  Since then, for me anyway, it has for the most part improved.  There were a couple of dud months in there but for the most part I have really enjoyed it.  So let’s see what was in my subscription this month, shall we?

First up is the Dermedicine Advanced Skincare Weightless Face Moisturizer with SPF 25 (retail $60). After my recent sun debacle, I am not going to complain about any form of sunscreen.  I believe this was a full sized product.  The card was less than informative about the products.  Instead of prices and sizing it offered Pro-Glow tips. Fun, but not really what I want on an information card. I have to say I have never heard of this brand before. And I have to admit a part of me is rather juvenile and is thinking Der…medicine. But I am trying to wrangle that part of me into submission. I will put it in my line up of moisturizers to try.

Moving to the next Item I found the Laura Geller Urban Garden Palette in Central Park (retail $14).  I was very happy to see it actually.  I have loved Laura Geller liquid lips for a long time and still wear them and I used to have one of their blushes that I used down to pan, but I have never tried the eyeshadows.  And you know I love face palettes.  This one comes with four shadows in neutral colors and has a blush and a bronzer as well. The cover is that soft, almost rubberized material but not quite. I honestly have no idea what to call it but I love the feel of it.  I am really looking forward to playing around with it.

There was a Pureheals Pore Clear Black Charcoal Peel off Mask (retail $26) in my Ipsy Ultimate this time around as well.  I also received a Pureheals serum in my BoxyCharm Premium this month so I guess this was the month they decided to go into subscription boxes.  I love masks, although peel off ones always make me a little twitchy.  All of them seem to cause pain, but not all of them do noticeable good on the skin.  Hopefully this will be not as painful and beneficial.  My fingers are crossed, but I’ll let you know either way.

There was a second mask, or I should say masks, in my box this month.  It was a duo of sheet masks from Huanjisoo.  It was the British Rose Hydrating and Shea Butter Nourishing Sheet mask set.  I know I normally complain about sheet masks in boxes but my complaint is mostly that sometimes they try to claim one mask as a full sized item when you know they sell them in packs of five or something along those lines.  I am happy to say this was listed as one of my deluxe samples instead of a full size so it doesn’t make me mad.

The item I chose this month was the Sunday Riley C.E.O. C + E Micro- Dissolve Cleansing oil (retail $38).  A while ago I tried the moisturizer from this line and loved it enough to pick up another jar.  I have been adding various products to my collection in the hopes of doing a full Sunday Riley Regime test sometime in the near future. 

As IPSY have been selling a lot of products from Sunday Riley in the last few months, I was able to pick up several things for my trial, although I will have to order from Sunday Riley for a few others. I’m actually getting very close to being able to start a trial. I just need to take stock and see what I’m missing, as well as work through the open products I am already using. But soon, sooooon.

For now we move on to the St. Tropica Beach Goddess Hot Oil Hair Mask (retail $17.50). I have to say I found this very intriguing.  I’ve been using a lot of hair masks lately in an effort to battle split ends. 

Essentially I should have gotten my hair cut a while ago and didn’t, now I’m trying to keep it healthy longer.  I have the feeling I will get annoyed with it soon enough and attempt to cut it myself but anything that puts that day off a little longer is a good thing. 

What I found interesting was that apparently you dispense the product into a mug and then microwave it to get it hot before using (hence the hot oil).  The last time I tried a beauty product involving the microwave involved a home waxing kit and it did not end well. Which to be honest was more my fault than the products.  Still the memory remains.  I am finishing up a Verb hair mask this week and once it is gone I will establish safety protocols before attempting to use this. But I will be using it.

In the realm of the less dangerous was the Ciate London Watermelon Burst Hydrating Lip Oil. It is not a full size but it is still a good sized product.  I’ve had good luck with Ciate before and have high hopes.  It’s also nice to see another makeup item in this month’s bag.  Subscription boxes have been going a little skin care heavy lately.  I don’t mind too much because I love skin care, but at the moment I have several products waiting to be tried so its optimism with delayed excitement for the skin care items. But watermelon does say summer to me so I feel it is a very timely scented lip oil.

Continuing with makeup I received an Il Makiage lip liner in the shade vintage (retail $17) this month.  I have had good luck with all of the products I’ve tried from them so again I have high hopes for the performance of this lip liner.  The liner is a lighter pink but I think with summer lip glosses it will look fine.  It certainly looked good with the next item in my box and that was the Sugar Crush velvet lip in the shade Sprinkle (retail $15).

Sprinkle is a liquid lip and when you open it is smells exactly like cake batter.  The color is nice and in an initial try on it felt really comfortable to wear. I’ll have to see how it holds up under testing but I think it is going to be a nice shade for this summer.

Rounding out the makeup was an eyeliner from Skone.  (retail $20).  I’ve never heard of the brand and while I normally complain about a lot of eyeliners in my recent clear out I found several of my eyeliners had dried and died, so exciting it may not be, but a black eyeliner will be useful. Provided it is a good eyeliner of course.

There were two more items in my IPSY Ultimate this month.  The first was The Way of Will hand and body lotion in Sweet Orange and Elemi.  It is not a full sized product and while I have no idea what elemi is, the cream smells like orange. I like orange.  And with all the handwashing lately I have been hitting my stockpile of hand creams pretty hard lately. So even though it isn’t my favorite, I can’t really complain.

Finally we reach the last full sized item and it is a Foxybae Rose Gold Detangling brush (retail $12.95). It is a nice brush and if I am honest my current brush is so stained with white residue from dry shampoo that even after I clean it, the brush base looks dusty, so it might actually be time for a new wet/dry hair brush in general. I did use it on my wet hair after getting out of the shower and I had no problems with tangles.  (I also used a hair mask which helped, but it didn’t pull at the hair either.)

While there were no values given for the deluxe sample sized items, the retail value of the full sized items came to a little over $220. All of the products are ones I will use or at least look forward to trying out.  The bag they came with is pretty and one I will see myself using for quite a while.  I like the little glittery stars inside.

Not that I am planning on going anywhere anytime soon, but I like knowing it is there. While a lot of the bags that come with this subscription box I send to my mother for use by her church as they put together self-care kits for the homeless (and tend to run out of bags for toiletries), I think this may be one I actually hold onto.

Over all I am pleased with this month’s IPSY Ultimate box, however next month when offered a choice for my items, I think I might choose a makeup product over a skin care one in an attempt to steer them towards sending more makeup and less skin care, at least for a little while. Don’t worry, I’m sure at some point I’ll start longing for more skincare again and complaining of too much makeup. It seems to be the way things go, and even then my complaints are only minor grumbles since I usually like what I receive.

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IPSY Ultimate April 2020 Review

IPSY April 2020 (with Box disposed of prior)

For those that don’t know, IPSY is a monthly beauty subscription service.  There are three tiers, the Glam Bag which is $12 per month and comes with a makeup bag with five deluxe sized products and the occasional full sized item.  The second tier is the $25 box, which also comes with a make up bag and five full sized items.  This is the Ultimate which comes with a larger makeup bag, eight full sized products and four deluxe sample sized products for $50.

The Ultimate tier was started in October of 2019 and I think it is fair to say that it has had its ups and downs.  This month was definitely an up month.  For me April’s box felt like an ultimate subscription. The box was packed full when I opened it and each was a product I was eager to try out.

the train case style bag for this month

Opening it was an interesting process this time around as we are sanitizing the mail as it comes in.  It’s like a weird postal medical procedure where the outer packaging is opened, hands are washed, the contents are removed to a secondary container, the outer package is disposed of, hands are washed again, photographs are taken, in most cases the outer packaging of products are disposed of to be extra cautious, hands are washed again and anything that may have accidentally come in contact with anything even possibly contaminated gets wiped down. Hands are washed again.

I have to say, I’m starting to feel like Lady Macbeth.

I am also making a substantial dent in my hand cream collection. With all this hand washing, the stock pile of hand creams I thought would last for at least the next year is slowly diminishing. But that is a tale for another time.  Today we are talking about IPSY Ultimate for April 2020.

So what was in my subscription box this month?

First up is the CIATÉ LONDON Triple Shot XXL Mascara in Black XXL (retail $22).  For a while I was getting mascaras every month and had a stock pile.  Then everyone started sending me eyeliner instead of mascara.  Now I have lots of eyeliners, but very few full sized mascaras on hand.  So I am glad to see the mascara start to return. I am looking forward to giving this one a try.

THE YENSA CBD SuperFood Dual Cleansing Oil (retail $38 ) was the next item in this month’s IPSY and as I am always looking for a new cleanser to try I was thrilled.  I’ve only tried the primer from YENSA before but it is now one of my go to products so I love that I get to try something else from them.  In addition I don’t know all that much about CBD so I am still learning and as trying new things is part of why I get this subscription, I am happy with this item.

THE SPACE CASE COSMETICS Fakecation Bronzer was the next item I pulled out and the first of my deluxe sample sized products.  I am sort of on the fence with Space Case products.  I’ve tried their blush and their eyeshadows.  They are all great buildable products but they don’t always last the longest. It will be interesting to see if the bronzer has the same issue or if it has more staying power.

THE COTTAGE GREENHOUSE Orange & Honey Face Mask (retail $30) was the product I chose this month.  You know I love my masks and I have to say that with everything going on, I have been using my masks as sanity soothing time.  The bonus is that I am clearing out a lot of my older products.  I couldn’t resist opening this right away and smelling it.  The mask has a wonderful scent. It smells like something you just want to eat by the spoonful.  Don’t worry I didn’t eat it.  My darling dearest caught a whiff of it though and seemed disappointed that I wasn’t baking anything.  In his defense I do have some orange honey biscotti that I occasionally make that do smell similar. He is now campaigning to have me make them again. I suspect the request will come again when I start using the mask.

Next up was the REALHER Ultimate Glow Getter Cheek Trio (retail $28). I love palettes and trios.  I think it’s because I find it easier to keep track of them rather than some of the individual products. I have never tried anything from Real Her but I have heard good things about the brand so I am looking forward to giving it a go.

I also received a second blush the Skin Blush in the shade Primadonna by KALEIDO COSMETICS (retail $8).  I’m not sure if Skin blush indicates that it should be used on the body more than just as blush on the cheeks but I like the packaging and will find it interesting to see.

We all know that I love lip products and this month I received the TRÈSTIQUE Mini Lip Glaze Set (retail $48).  It has four different shades.  They are supposed to be more lip balm with a sheer tint than lip color, which will be interesting for the summer months. While I have a few nude lip products, most of the colors I pick up tend to be in the richer darker shades that suit the fall and winter.  It is nice to have some lighter colors, if that is what they turn out to be. I like the brand a lot and really like their formulas.  Hopefully these will be on par with the other products I’ve tried.

KENSIE Life Beat perfume was also in the April box.  It is a sample sized product but I have to say it is definitely a deluxe sized sample.  It is not the small tube I was expecting but a small bottle that looks quite nice. I am currently testing out my latest Scentbox perfume, but once I finish evaluating that one I will give this a try to see how I like it.  I have to say I was very pleased with the size of the bottle.  I just hope I like the perfume and that it isn’t just a decorative element in my collection.

 My next sample sized product was the DUFT&DOFT Hydra Soother Balancing Radiance Cream.  I’ve never even heard of the brand so I look forward to trying something completely new and unexpected.  It is a small sample but if I can manage to get a two week trial out of it, I will do a review on it for you. At the moment it is sitting with all of my other as yet to be tested moisturizers.  I’ll be posting a review on Tacha later this week and then choosing my next moisturizer to test out.

In all fairness I have to say I wasn’t initially thrilled by the IBY BEAUTY Enlighten Eyeshadow Palette (retail $25) that was in this month’s subscription.  I’m not a big pastels kind of person. But because of that, I have no pastel palettes in my collection so I decided it would just be an unusual element. And then I reminded myself that I am trying to try new things and not just staying in my comfortable rut.  When it arrived, I did play around with it the day I got it.  I couldn’t resist.  I have to say, I am sort of liking it, at least on initial testing.  I’ll have to play around with it a bit more, but I think I am going to like it much more than I thought I would.

NIU BODY Piña Colada Sugar Lip Polish was another of my deluxe samples this month and I always go through a lot of lip scrub in the summer time.  With gardening and working in the back yard combined with my normal walking, even when I drink a lot of water my lips tend to need more love in the summer. I also just finished the one open lip scrub I had so I am ready to give a new one a try.  It was a very timely arrival. 

I find the inclusion of the LAVIDO 2-in-1 Purifying Facial Mask and Exfoliator (retail $36) very interesting.  First off, I love exfoliators and I just finished my Skin and Co Face Gommage.  I have a second one in my supply stash but I haven’t opened it yet, so I might give it a break and try this out firs.  Especially as I also got my Boxy Charm Premium the day after this came in and it had the Lavido moisturizer inside. Since I am out of exfoliate and I am almost ready to open a new moisturizer, I may try the Lavido pair at the same time. I find it interesting that a brand I had never heard of is now in two subscription boxes.  I suppose it was part of their marketing plan, but I just find it funny.  I’ll be looking into the brand as well as trying their products. As I said this was the first time I’d ever heard of them.

I have to say I was very pleased with my IPSY Ultimate box this month.  The total value came to $235, or at least the value of the full sized products.  IPSY’s card was somewhat lacking this month so there was little information on it. 

April’s box felt like it was ultimate. It contained a mix of products I was familiar with and those from companies I either wanted to try or had never heard of and all of the products included were ones I will actually use.  I am excited to try them out and see which ones I really like. 

I have to say this box is a good example of why I started getting subscription boxes in the first place.  While IPSY has had their ups and downs with their Ultimate box, last month was pretty good and this month was great.  I really hope they continue the upward trend.

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IPSY Ultimate March 2020 Review

IPSY Ultimate March 2020

If there was one unofficial theme for subscription boxes this month, I think it would be ‘OOPS’.  In my Boxyluxe they forgot to include the NARS lip Pigment and in the IPSY Ultimate, they gave me seven ful sized samples instead of eight. They realized this before I actually got my package though and sent me an e-mail explaining they were sending me an extra full sized Serum from 111Skin to make up for their mistake. Even so, it was kind of an OOPS month for everyone.

But let’s start from the beginning shall we? IPSY Glam Bag Ultimate is a $50 per month subscription tier of the IPSY Beauty bag.  In it you are supposed to get twelve products, eight full sized and four deluxe sample sized products. This month they were celebrating their 100th glam bag so as an extra they decided to add one more sample size to the bag.  So I should have received eight full sized and five sample sized products in my March bag.

Let’s see what I did get.

First up was the BENEFIT COSMETICS Brow Contour Pro in Brown Light (retail $34).  This was my first full sized product and I was very happy to receive it.  I love Benefit’s brow products.  For the longest time I used their Ka-Brow and it was fantastic. I love that this pencil has multiple shades in the same pencil so that I can mix things up to find exactly the right combo for me.  I am looking forward to playing around with this.

MANNA KADAR COSMETICS Blush in Bali Babe was my first sample.  It is a nice color, but I’ve always found their blushes a bit hard to blend on the cheeks and always end up seeing exactly where the brush touched me face for the first time, so I will probably use it as an eyeshadow more than a blush.  It is a great pop of mauve on the lids. It is oddly long lasting as a shadow.

My next sample sized product was the GO-TO Face Hero face oil. I actually received a full size of this from IPSY sometime last year.  I think it was in the spring if I am not mistaken. When I looked through my notes I remembered it.  I had it marked down as a little too heavy unless I was having a really dry skin day and that it was best used at night rather than during the day.  I’ll still try it out again because those notes were from before I started doing reviews so they are sketchy.  I did mark down that it was not a product I wanted to repurchase.  Still I have it now so I will do an official test and report back.  Perhaps my feelings have changed.

The DERMADELI Nourishing Eye Serum was the next sample size in my bag.  I have never heard of the brand but I am always up for an eye serum. Currently I am testing the Algenist Eye Cream so I will set it aside to try when my trial of that is complete. I will say the sample seemed a bit small and looked only about half full which was disappointing.  With eye serum a little goes a long way, but still it felt a little chintzy.

Moving on to my next sample I received a HEY HONEY Show Your Glow Colloidal Gold & Honey Beauty Mask.  I have really liked all of HEY HONEY’s skin care products and I haven’t tried this one so I am happy to have it in the mix.  I should probably say that while I love their skin care, I really haven’t liked any of their makeup products that I’ve tried.  Its one of those companies that does skin care well, but other things not so much. Still this was skin care, so I’m happy to get something from their strong suit.

Finally another full sized product appeared.  It was the THRIVE CAUSEMETICS Lip Mate High-Shine Reviving Topper™ in Ashley (retail $24).  I absolutely adore THRIVE’s mascara so I am pleased to try out something else from the brand.  In case you are wondering why there is no picture of a swatch, the shade ASHLEY is a clear gloss. I’m not a huge fan of clear gloss but I do like to keep one or two around.  I just finished one and as the clear Fenty gloss I received from Boxycharm is very glitter-tastic, this could be a nice addition to my collection.

Next up is a product that just makes me shake my head. It is the 111SKIN Rose Gold Brightening Facial Treatment Sheet Mask & Celestial Black Diamond Eye Mask Set.  It is one mask and one set of under eye patches. It is a full sized product and in case that wasn’t enough to puzzle over this single sheet mask and under eye set retails for $47. That was not a typo.  One mask with under eye patches, $47. I will say I had another mask lined up this week because I like to bounce between sheet masks and regular face masks, but the curiosity is a bit too much.  I may have to try the $47 sheet mask this week just to see it in action. Don’t worry, I will make a fuss over it too.  I will put out my best candles and focus on enjoying it. Because I can guarantee, unless it shaves twenty years and possibly twenty pounds to boot from my body, I am not spending $47 on a single sheet mask. But I will try it to see how good it is. And if there was ever a time for a stress reducing facial treatment to shine, this is it.

The product I chose for this month’s bag was the  SUNDAY RILEY C.E.O. 15% Vitamin C Brightening Serum (retail $42.50).  It is full sized technically.  On the bottle it is listed as being a size specifically designed for IPSY rather than the full size they typically sell, but I can live with that.  Partially because I adore Sunday Riley products.  I loved the face cream of this line so much I bought a replacement once mine was empty.  It is currently unopened as I’ve been testing other face creams.  At the moment I am finishing up a face cream trial on a Pacifica moisturizer and once it is complete (next week) I will be working on finishing out all of my open jars before I start another one.  I am also trying to finish out two open serums so I won’t be opening this for a while either.  I think what I may do is pair it with the Vitamin C moisturizer and see what other products are in the line and maybe do a full regime review of the line. I’ll need to do a bit of research first, but it is a possibility. Either way I love the brightening effect of Vitamin C products on my skin.

While I love skin care products I was very happy to see a second makeup product to go with my Benefit eyebrow pencil and that was the CHELLA La Vie Eyeshadow Palette Deluxe (retail $45).  It is a neutral palette and I have tried them on.  Next week I will be catching up on my eyeshadow palette reviews and posting several, this one included.  I do like the shades and I like the physical palette itself.  I think it is a great quick palette to use.  With four shades there isn’t much deliberation.  I will say I have a hard time thinking of four shadows as a full sized palette though, especially when their description calls it a convenient size for on the go. To me that says travel sized, not full sized.

Interestingly enough I received the CHRISTOPHE ROBIN Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt.  It is a sample size but I was very happy to receive a hair product from IPSY that is not a leave in conditioner.  I have a lot of leave in conditioners I am working through at this point.  A hair care item that is different is very appealing.  I am looking forward to trying out this hair/scalp scrub.

Despite saying I only rarely want hand creams and body lotions I received not one, but two in this month’s bag. One was full sized the other sample. The LIBRARY OF FLOWERS Honeycomb Hand crème was the full sized (retail $20).  It is a beautiful packaging and I adore the scent of honeycomb.  I’ve tried their hand cream before and loved it.  As I am currently working on several hand creams at the moment, I left this one sealed for later use. The sample sized body lotion was from HEMPZ and it was the Herbal Body Moisturizer in Sweet Pineapple & Honey Melon.  There was no internal seal on the bottle so I decided to go ahead and use it for my post shower body lotion.  It does make my skin very soft.  It also makes me smell like a tropical fruit salad that is a little heavy on the mango.  I’m not entirely certain I care for the scent too much but it is good lotion and the small size means I will very quickly use it up.

Finally the last item in my bag was the COMPLEX CULTURE Angled Foundation Brush (retail $35). It is a good brush with soft yet dense bristles and I am sure I will get a lot of use out of it. 

As much as I joke about some of the prices and sizes, I actually did enjoy my bag this month.  The makeup bag it came with was a bit 80s retro with bright teal and yellow and its rows of metal grommets, but it is a decent bag. I’ve actually seen the sneak peaks for next month’s bag and I find it much more up my alley, but this is a decent bag.  It will probably end up passed along to someone else though.

My seven full sized products totaled a value of $247.50, which is an okay return on my $50 buy in. I would have expected a little bit more given the celebratory nature of this month but that could in part be due to the OOPS of the missed full size.  I’ll have to see what the extra sent product adds in value when it arrives.  I’m sure the sample sizes have value but I’m not entirely sure how to accurately calculate that. Either way I am actually pleased with this month’s bag.  It was certainly better than last months and to be honest it was better than this month’s Boxyluxe.  Fingers crossed that next month is a good one as well.

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IPSY Ultimate Review January 2020

IPSY Ultimate January 2020

This month’s IPSY Ultimate was interesting. For those who don’t know, IPSY Ultimate is $50 per month beauty subscription.  Typically it contains only beauty products with a few basic tools (like brushes) but this time they branched out a little bit.

First, the subscription does come with a bag. This month’s bag was a case like bag, rectangular with a handle and a marble like exterior.  I have to say I really like it.  The bag is of good quality, quite spacious and the lid has a zippered mesh pocket to contain all of the little items rolling around in the bag, which I really like.

The Bag has quite a good capacity and a zippered section to hold small things.

The second item, I have to say, I wasn’t too enthused about seeing.  It is the THIS WORKS Deep Sleep Pillow Spray (retail $29).  I know everyone raves about it and trust me, as I routinely suffer from insomnia I am always looking for something to aid me in getting to sleep without making me dependent on a prescription. This is not it.  I tried a sample before and didn’t like it, but to be fair I tried it again because sometimes there is a difference between the full size and the sample.  I still didn’t like it.  The scent was not pleasant, it made my eyes water and I had to change out my pillow before I could get to sleep.  This item was not for me.  I will say though that when I didn’t like the sample I passed it on to my mom and she adored it. So clearly others like it. But it is not for me.  Bonus though, I get to give my mom a full sized version of a product she likes.

The travel flat iron from Foxybae

The second item I pulled out of my IPSY box this month was the FOXYBAE Mini Travel Flat Iron in Marbled (retail $59). Like the bag for the month it too has a marbled handle.  It is the perfect size for travel and actually I must confess on the days where I wake up with my bangs sticking straight up, I do tend to do a quick flat iron on them to help them settle so the travel size is perfect for that. I love FoxyBae Products.  Their heat protecting spray is one of my favorites so using it with their tools is kind of fun as well.  I should also say, this was the item I chose from the list when they were preparing the bag and I am really glad I did. Sadly now I have a much better travel flat iron then my regular one as I have used it for years and need to replace it, but that is another story. And If I like this one I may end up picking up the full sized one to replace my old one. We shall see.

This month I received a Highlighter Balm in the shade Twitch from the brand Flesh (retail $18). I have heard great things about the brand and they have been on my list of things to try for a while now. (it’s a long list, I know there are just so many fascinating things out there to try).  I think that 2019 was the year of the cream products for me.  Prior I more or less only used powder based products (except foundation, primer and concealer).  Due to subscription boxes this year I got to try several cream based things I would not have picked up on my own.  Several of them I liked, some I didn’t. So while I’d never used a balm highlighter, I was game. The highlighter is a nice golden color that works really well with my skin tone.  It is really subtle, which I actually like.  I really don’t like blinding highlighter on a routine basis. It does feel a little bit greasy though. I’m not sure if that is just because it’s a balm or not and will need to do a wear test to see how I really feel about it.  As I have gotten quite a few highlighters lately, I may have to just do a grand highlighter test to sort through them all.  But for now, I really like the shade and the look of it.

Next up was the TARTE Double Duty Beauty™ Easy On The Eyes Clay Liner in Black( retail $19).  I like Tarte.  This is a great eyeliner. It is one of my favorite styles of eyeliner, but I don’t wear a lot of eyeliner and I’ve gotten an eyeliner in each box for the last three months. I am well stocked on eyeliner. In fact I have enough black eyeliner to stock a goth band. Its kind of funny though.  For a while I was awash with mascaras, then I stopped getting them in subscription boxes and started getting eyeliner.  Now, I am actually running out of mascara (I wear it every day) but have heaps of eyeliner.  Maybe the pendulum will swing and I will get to restock my mascara soon. It really is a great eyeliner though.

In this box there was also a F.A.R.A.H BRUSH 160F Face Brush (retail $12).  It is actually the perfect blush brush for me and I am really glad to have it (I recently had to bid farewell to several brushes).  Now if only I could find the perfect blush.  I’ve gotten several I like,  but not THE ONE.  At the moment I am blending a couple to create the shade I want, but I keep looking.

The SWEET CHEF Kale + Vitamin B Serum Shot (retail $19.99) was also in this month’s IPSY for me and even though it sounds like something I should drink I have it in my line up of serums to try.  Skin care takes a few weeks at a go to test and decide if I like it, but I am putting this in my line up and will soon try it out.  (Currently I am testing an anti-aging night serum from Dermelect).  It will be interesting to try this one and actually from the description, it sounds like something my skin will be happy to use once the spring garden prep starts so I may try to time that test then as I always end up spending too much time in the sun.  The problem is that early spring is over cast and not very warm so when I work outside I forget how long I’ve been outside and tend to get a bit red from both sun and wind. Who knows, this might help.  It will be fun to see. As I don’t like the taste of Kale it will at least let me put this superfood to a different test.

I’m always happy to try new things for my hair (it is long and thick so there is a lot to work with) and this month I received the MARC ANTHONY TRUE PROFESSIONAL 100% Extra Virgin Coconut Oil & Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioner (it was a deluxe sample so there was no value listed.).  I have several leave in conditioners and hair oils open at the moment so I am going to set this to the side for now and wait until I have used up at least one of the open products before using this one. But I am always willing to try new hair products so I’m looking forward to it.

The interior of The Balm’s Matt(e)rimony palette

THEBALM COSMETICS Meet Matt(e) Trimony Matte Eyeshadow Palette (retail $42) was also included in this month’s IPSY box for me and I was very happy to see it.  A couple of weeks back I used the In the Balm of Your Hand palette as my palette of the week and found it far more versatile than I imagined and the shadows of really good quality with great staying power.  I am happy to have a full sized palette from The Balm.  I don’t know why people don’t talk about this brand any more.  Every product I’ve used from them has been great, they are fairly reasonably priced on most products and the packaging is fantastic. I’m happy to add this to my collection and can’t wait to use it.

A package of ESSENHERB Tea Tree 90 Toner Pad (deluxe sample) was also in my IPSY this month.  I am a big fan of toner but I haven’t used much Tea Tree oil before so I am looking to see how my skin reacts to this product.   I may have to give my Thayers a rest and try this one out.

Also on my list to try is the AHAVA Essential Day Moisturizer (retail $67).  I am always hit or miss with AHAVA.  I loved the hand cream I tried of theirs, but hated the face mask. Luckily, my mother loves all things AHAVA so if I try it and don’t like it, it won’t go to waste.  I have it lined up in my skin care cue and its time of testing will come.

I was very excited to see the HEY HONEY Take Away The Drama Youth Boosting Honey & Copper Peel Off Mask (retail $49) in this month’s selection of products.  I love the Hey Honey Brand.  There is nothing I have tried from them that I did not enjoy.  Their silk serum and 911 gel are two of my all time favorite products. I cannot wait to try their peel off mask.

The Hey Honey wasn’t the only mask in this month’s selection though I also received the AVETTE Daily Fresh Squeeze Sheet Mask Duo in Grape and Lychee (retail $8 for the set of two). IPSY just loves to send me sheet masks. I’ve stopped buying them because of the waste, but I will use the ones that I am sent.  This one claims to be bio-degradable and eco-friendly and if they are I might consider purchasing them if I like them.  Unfortunately I think the bio-degradable part only applies to the sheet mask itself not the foil packaging, which is sort of a problem.  But I’ll look into it and see where their packaging stands when the time comes. Although not all sheet masks are created equally.  Some I adore, some, not so much.  I will add these to the stack and find out which way they lean when I try them out as well as look into more of their eco-friendly claims.

So that was my IPSY Ultimate for the Month of January and I have to say over all I am quite pleased.  There are one or two things that weren’t catching my interest as much, but over all I really like my selection of products and am really looking forward to using them. The overall value of my $50 subscription ended up being $323 which is a pretty good return on my part.  And almost all of them are things I will use or pass on to someone who will.  While this subscription started off as a dud, it is getting better with each month that passes. I can’t wait to see where they go from here.

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IPSY Ultimate Review December 2019

This month’s IPSY Ultimate was chock a block full of things I liked.

This month I was very pleased by my IPSY Ultimate Glam Bag. For those who don’t know it is a $50 per month beauty subscription where you are supposed to receive eight full sized products and four deluxe samples with a value totaling at least $250.  While IPSY has been around for a while, this is the third month for this particular level of their service and I think they are finally working out some of the issues.  The first month was, to be honest, not good.  The second was much better and this was really good. It gives me high hopes for January and beyond.

So first off with each box you get a makeup bag.  This month was a nicely festive silver bag that, while celebrational, did not scream Christmas so it can be used more than one month out of the year, which I like. I also like that they are varying the styles of the bag. While the first month doesn’t really bear mentioning, last month was in a train case style and this one was more of just what I think of as a standard makeup bag style.  (kind of oblong and almost looking like a shaving kit bag). I like the variation as it means I have different style bags to choose from when using them.

One big change this month was that the pamphlet that came with the products actually had the retail values listed.  They did not do this in the two month’s prior and it was somewhat annoying. I really like knowing the value, but more importantly it was sometimes difficult to tell what they were considering a deluxe sample and what they were considering full sized. This clearly has it written down. 

Oddly enough my pamphlet only lists two products as deluxe samples rather than full sized.  Neither has values listed so I won’t count them towards the value of the bag. Each of them is easily spotted as well.  The first was the Banila Co Clean it Zero Cleansing balm in the Original formula. As I double cleanse at night and haven’t tried this formula before, I am very interested in trying it out.  The next deluxe sample is the Pixi Beauty Mesmerizing Mineral Duo in Mineral Bronze. I’ve tried Pixi shadows in the past and while I like their skin care, I was not terribly impressed by their shadows.  They tend to be powdery and don’t stay in place for very long in my experience.  I love the colors though so fingers crossed this doesn’t do the same. I am glad though it is a sample sized and not one of the full sized products.

The first full sized item was a Liquid Lipstick in the shade Candy Bar by Fluide (retail $16).  It is a nice brownish neutral and it seems to dry down pretty well at least on the hand.  I haven’t worn it out yet so it will be interesting to see how it wears.

a good everyday sort of shade

This box also included an Illamasqua Liquid eyeliner. (retail $22).  As I have several of these, I didn’t open it.  I know it works well and eventually I will either get around to using it or passing it on to someone else who will use it. Because I have used it before I know it is a great formula.

There was a nail polish from Color Club this month (retail $8.50) in the shade Rocky Mountain High.  I’ve used the brand before and it is a good one, but have several shades of nail polish in exactly this shade so I am passing it on so it doesn’t just dry up in the nail polish drawer.

Also included this month was the Space Case Cosmetics Seen from Space Highlighter in 1-E (value $9).  While I like space case and I think this is a great highlighter, it was a little odd to receive it as this month’s box also included a Morphe Palette (8L Lo-Fi Sculpt & Shimmer retail $25) which in addition to bronzers and contours includes a set of four highlighters. It seems an odd choice to include a highlighter with a palette that includes highlighters.  I will play around with both. While I have used Space Case before I have never tried out Morphe products. I always see the display in Ulta, but never picked anything up. So it will be interesting to try.

The Morphe Palette

I’m guessing the palette inspired the inclusion of the Complex Culture Contour and Blush Brush (retail $35). While it claims to be a multi tasker brush and does have soft bristles, I am not entirely certain about the flattened shape.  I will have to work with it, but it really does seem that it is designed solely for contouring.

This bag was very makeup heavy this month and as a transition product between makeup and skin care I received the Too Faced Gingerbread Sugar Kissable Body Shimmer (retail $32). I really like this product.  It is a nice bronzy sort of shimmer that smells fabulous and actually tastes pretty good. I really like that it is kind of a holiday product.  It is perfect for this time of year and fun to use.

I love the scent and the fluffy fluffy powder puff

Moving into skin care, I received three skin related products in my box this month.  The first is a set of four Brilliant Bamboo Charcoal Facial Sheet Masks from Feel Beauty. (retail $35).  While the retail value does seem a little high for sheet masks, I have tried a couple of products from Feel before and absolutely loved them.  So I am looking forward to trying out the sheet masks.  Also I am sort of torn with sheet masks.  While I do like them, because let’s face it I just plain love all sorts of face masks, I don’t like all the waste of sheet masks.  So I’ve stopped buying them. I think I have one left in my collection that I might have bought, the rest come from subscription boxes. So since I like them and don’t buy them they are sort of a guilty treat when they come in subscription boxes.

In addition to the masks I also received one of my favorite products and that is an exfoliator the Skin &Co Roma Truffle Therapy Face Gommage (retail $28) to be specific.  It smells nice in the bottle and I am almost finished with my one open exfoliator so I will soon try this out. The scent makes me very much want to use it.

This brings us to the final product in this month’s IPSY Ultimate Glam Bag and that is the 111 Skin Cryo Activating Hydra Gel (retail $200). I started using it when it came in as I was finished with my current moisturizer and while I will do a full review after I’ve used it for at least two weeks, I have one problem with it.  The jar was only half full when it arrived.  It was sealed and there was no spillage.  It was clear that when it was packaged it was only filled about half way. To be honest even if I adore the cream, I don’t know if I would buy it because it was only half full.  I would not trust the company to send out a full bottle and if I actually paid $200 for a face cream and it came half empty I would be very angry. Thus far in using it I do actually like the cream, but that half empty jar…

low level of the cream in the jar when opening it.

But packaging issues aside, I am very pleased with my IPSY Ultimate Glam Bag for December. What started off as a Rocky subscription level seems to be getting better each month and while I am looking forward to using all of this month’s products I find myself eagerly anticipating seeing what they come up with to ring in the new year. As for the $250 value of the box, this month the total value came to $410.50. Even if the $200 face cream was only half full that would at best knock off $100 and it would still have a greater value than advertised.  And as I said, I can’t wait to see what they do in the new year.


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IPSY Ultimate Review: November 2019

IPSY Ultimate November 2019

This month I again went with the IPSY Ultimate bag and I have to say it was much better than the first month’s bag.  For those of you who don’t know, IPSY is a monthly beauty subscription service.  There are multiple tiers and the Ultimate bag is $50 per month plus tax and contains four deluxe sample sizes and eight full sized products. It also comes with a make-up bag.

The bag opened up.
The bag folds for easy storage which I appreciate

This month’s makeup bag was sort of a pink flecked leopard print.  It is that sort of faux leather plastic and has a sturdy look to it.  I like that it folds down for compact storage but unfolds into a surprisingly roomy train case style bag.  It has two interior net pockets as well to help corral smaller objects.  Personally I am very pleased with it and will more than likely use it for my Thanksgiving trip.  If all of the makeup bags that come with the IPSY Ultimate are of this quality and size I will be very pleased. I will probably also only keep the ones I really like and pass the others on, but all in all it is much better than last month’s bag.

Now onto the products.

The first product I pulled out was the TRÈSTIQUE Color + Contour Bronzer Stick in Brazilian Bronze. It is a full sized product.  It has a crème product on one end and a blending brush on the other end.  While crème bronzers aren’t my usual favorite formula, this one was really easy to work with.  It goes onto the skin easily and blends well.  It is also buildable which I like.  With cream products I am always fearful of the dark brown stripe (which is why I generally go to powders) but that wasn’t really a problem.  In addition I usually don’t like whatever brush comes with the product. This brush worked well. I am actually thinking of taking this bronzer with me on my trip as it is compact and I wouldn’t have to pack an additional brush.  Also the cap is magnetic so I don’t have to worry about it coming off in the bag and getting everywhere. I was very happy with this product

Trestique showing product and the brush. While usually brushes included with products like this aren’t ones I find useful, this was really nice to work with.

Next up was one of my four sample products.  It is the Eva NYC Satin Dream Leave-in Cream.  It is a leave in conditioner.  As with all leave in conditioners you apply it to wet hair and leave it in.

Simple really.

I tried it once and it didn’t weigh down my hair which is nice.  The scent of it kind of reminds me of cake batter, but the scent dissipates once it was in my hair so only the scent of my shampoo remained. It is a good product.  It isn’t as good as the IGK Mistress leave in conditioner but I do like it more than the Bumble and Bumble version. I also like that while it is a deluxe sample it is large enough that I can get several uses out of it.  I think I will be saving the rest for travel and taking it with me at Thanksgiving though. I like the product and it keeps me from having to haul my full sized bottle with me.

The Youth to the People Superfood Air-Whip Moisture Cream was also one of my samples this month and I really like it.  I’ve tried their face wash before and thought it was fantastic.  I am pleased to see that their cream is just as good.  It has a light texture and scent and it soaks into the skin well. The sample size is small so I can’t determine how it would react in a full trial but as I just finished a full jar of Korres Pomegranate moisturizer and haven’t picked up another full sized moisturizer to try yet, it gives me something to use while I look for my next cream (I’ll have the Korres review up soon.) I really hope in the future there are full sized versions of this cream offered.

The Billion Dollar Brows Best sellers Kit was the next item I pulled out of my IPSY box and it is one of my eight full sized products.  It includes a brow pencil with a spoolie on one end.  It is just my color and I do prefer pencils for my brows. There is also a concealer and highlighter pencil for under the brows and a clear brow gel to sort of seal everything up and lock it into place. Also included is a blending brush.  The blending brush is good quality and I will use it.  I liked the pencil and the spoolie. The under brow pencil and gel I will use on occasion, but I probably won’t get as much use out of them as the pencil. Still they are nice to have and I do like that the gel is clear. It is a good product to have in the box.

Next up is a lipstick and we all know I love my lipsticks.  This one is by Context Skin in the Shade Sweet emotion.  It is a matte lipstick, which I like and the color is very good. It is actually one of my every day shades so I will get a lot of use out of it. I like the formula thus far.  It is creamy and applies well and I didn’t notice any extra drying on the lips.

Also full size this month was the Smith & Cult nail polish in Bite Your Kiss.  I’ve gotten several shades of this nail polish before and am very happy to have another one to add to my collection.  It is a dark wine color, perfect for the holidays. It requires two coats to achieve the full color. The Smith & Cult formula is one of my favorites as far as nail polish goes as it lasts a long time without chipping and always has nice colors.  In addition the bottles are pretty enough that I want to display them.

I painted in a rush so it is a messy job that needs to be redone, but I love the color.

This month IPSY did another Collaboration, this time with Gi Gi Gorgeous. As part of my box I received  The Only Blush Duo in Authentic + Pride.  It is a large product in a white compact that feels good in the hand.  I really like the lettering and I have to say I am a huge fan of the package.  To open, you press the button instead of prying it open so there is less risk of broken nails. I really wish more products would utilize that sort of feature. The blush is divided down the center with one half being a mauve kind of shade and the other a lighter tone with some sparkle to it.  I will admit that I haven’t tried it because I will be passing it on to my mother. Her nickname with all of the little kids is GiGi so I think she will actually get a kick out of using it as a compact regardless of how the product performs.

And yes I do think there will be several little girls who will think she has her own make-up line in the near future. There are worse things to believe I suppose.

I love the colors, just not the formula

This month there was a Wander Beauty eyeshadow Palette included.   It is the Wanderess Rush eyeshadow palette to be exact.  Here is where I am a little less enthusiastic.  While I have received many Wander Beauty products in various subscription boxes, some of the products are good some not so good. While I absolutely love their face oil, I have really bad luck with their shadows.  I am always enthusiastic about the colors and think they would be good, but I never like their formula.  While they all swatch well, the mattes tend to be chalky and patchy and the shimmers require not only a wet brush but a lot of application in order to even show up. The colors look good, I just really don’t care for the shadow formula. It always makes me sad because the colors are so nice looking and I want them to work, they just never do.

My next product does work and made me happy again.  It was the IT Cosmetics Confidence in a Cleanser and it is full sized. I’ve gotten a sample of this before from IPSY and I am thrilled that they put the full sized version in my box this month. It is a great cleanser and I will be using it until it is gone.

The Kismet Buff Sugar Lip Scrub in Bright & Bubbly was a deluxe sample size this month and it is an okay product.  Not my favorite lip scrub, but it is fine.  It is supposed to be pink champagne flavored but smells and tastes like watermelon. It’s not a bad taste if you happen to get it in your mouth, which I always do with lip scrubs, but it is more watermelon than champagne. It is something I will use up, but then go back to my Hanalei rather than order.

In this month’s box I also got the Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk. It is an excellent dry shampoo.  While it does leave a little white cast on dark hair, the cast brushes out immediately.  I know they actually make one for dark hair that I have used before that is fantastic for dark hair.  This was not it, but still a good product.  As I like using dry shampoo I will certainly use this up.  It absorbs the oil so my hair doesn’t look greasy but still leaves me with shine and body.

As with all skin care, I’ll review more fully once I’ve gotten a chance to really try it out for a few weeks.

Finally we reach the product that I got to pick for my box this month.  It is the Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Anti-Wrinkle Booster Serum. In my Boxycharm I got the Juice Beauty eye cream so this month I will be using both products and review them once they have had time to actually do something since with skin care it takes a while to decide if it is liked or not.  I will say I started using the serum over the weekend and so far I am liking it. We will see how it turns out after a while.

That was my IPSY Glam Bag Ultimate for the month of November.  I have to say it was a much better box than the initial October one and it gives me great hope for the future.  When I switched I planned to give it a few months to determine whether or not it was for me and after October’s box I was really questioning that decision.  With the November box I am really glad I did continue with this box instead of cancelling.  Hopefully they will keep up the trend, getting better as they work out the kinks in the new system.  Almost everything in my box was something I will use and there were not a lot of repeats that I saw from prior boxes or offered as points perks which makes me happy. Already I am looking forward to seeing what they come up with for the month of December.

October IPSY Ultimate Glam Bag Review

IPSY Ultimate $50 subscription. Lots of products, but is it worth it?

Okay this post is reviewing the IPSY Ultimate Glam Bag.  As a warning, there is the distinct likelihood that a rant is imminent.  Just a warning.  I was really looking forward to this box this month.  It is the first Ultimate Glam Bag IPSY released and it promised eight full sized items and four deluxe samples sized products. Their claim  about the Ultimate:

New Membership for even more beauty picks. Glam Bag Ultimate is a new subscription with 8 full-sized & 4 deluxe samples, personalized for you, for $50/month. You’ll get to choose one of your full-size products with the new choice feature! There will be a makeup bag, every month. You can now add up to 5 Add-Ons for your bag. Previously you were limited to 3.

Now to start off with, $50 is a lot of money to spend monthly so expectations are going to start off high.  According to all of the released information each of their three tiers were now going to receive a makeup bag each month where previously it was only the original glam bag that had one. It was also listed as a perk that the makeup bag offered with Ultimate would be more expensive than the one offered with the Plus level tier. I believe the Glam Bag Plus was to come with a bag valued at $8 while the Ultimate was around doubly that at $16. 

This was not the case as both Ultimate and Plus subscribers got the same bag this month. There were rumors of a production line error as the bags came from IPSY’s own Betty Boop collaboration, but there were no e-mails sent with an explanation (at least not to me) and absolutely nothing in the box or on the site explaining why the two tiers received the same bag. So right off the bat, I felt slightly cheated.

Adding to this feeling is the fact that IPSY neglected to put any retail value prices on their information card this month. When companies leave off the prices, I get suspicious.  All of the prices listed below are the ones I found elsewhere.  Some of the products, I couldn’t find a retail price for at all while others I had to hunt down. Now I would also like to say I really liked some of these products but this is not a product review.  It is a review of the box and if it is worth the $50 price tag.

Let’s move on to the full sized products first shall we?

First up are two sheet masks from The SAEM. It is the Natural Avocado and Shea Butter Mask Sheet Set. Now I have no problem with sheet masks.  I find them fun, quick and easy.  I have received many from IPSY. In fact I’ve received a two pack in my regular IPSY bag that only features deluxe sized samples. Occasionally I’ve gotten them as extras on top of my regular number of samples. So seeing them in the Ultimate bag listed as full sized products was not a pleasant surprise. When looking up the value I found that they are sold for $4 each at Walmart. They are sold for even less at beautynetkorea.com They offer a wide array of Saem products and a pack of sheet masks generally costs $1.90.  If you get them on sale they are even less. I bought a bunch during their last sale for $0.17 per mask. So even though these are decent sheet masks, I was not happy to see them as one of my full sized products.

The product I chose and was most happy to see.

My second product I was happy to see as it is the one I chose.  It is the Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Meltaway Cleansing Balm. It retails for $34 and is an excellent product.  Seeing it here as a full sized item made me very happy.  I have used it before and know I will use every drop of it in the jar. I have gotten a sample size from IPSY before and loved it.  It is also the type of item I expected to see.  I think giving full sized versions of products that were only given as sample sizes in other tiers is a really good idea. So I was very happy with this.

I was also happy with the BIORACE L’eau Hydrating Treatment Serum.  It retails for $68 on the Biorace site.  I have never heard of it and was eager to try something new.  My first impressions are positive, but as with all skin care, I’ll be testing it and get back to you with a full review.  But again, I was pleased to see this and look forward to testing it out.

looking forward to testing this out.

I was a little on the fence with the HUDA BEAUTY Obsessions Eyeshadow Palette in Topaz that was in my box.  (retail $27) It is a good palette and I will be working with it to try out looks, but these palettes are good quality.  I know this from previous boxes.  I picked the Mauve Obsessions palette up as an add on, but these palettes were in some Ipsy Plus Boxes.  While good, seeing it here also seems to be part of a trend.  Many of the products appear to be either leftovers from previous boxes or add ons that didn’t get sold or points perks products that didn’t get picked from the offerings list.  It makes me nervous.

My next full sized item was C’EST MOI BEAUTY Reflect Lip Gloss in Opulence.  It retails for $10.  It’s a lip gloss.  There is almost no tint to it and it is a little on the sticky side. Not my favorite and something I would consider filler in my Plus bag although I would be happy to see it in my regular IPSY bag. A little disappointing here.

Then we have the KALEIDO COSMETICS Obsidian Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner. (retail $8) Kaleido is a good brand.  I’ve used them before.  Currently I have several open liquid liners out and didn’t want to open another one just yet.  I put it away for later use.  But I’m sure it will be a good liner.  It is however a liner and another filler type item.

Moving on we come to the F.A.R.A.H BRUSHES Midnight Pro Trio.  I like Farah brushes.  I love the handles and the colors are nice. The bristles are a little too soft and this trio is really only good with loose powders.  They did not want to work with pressed powders or cream products. But overall I was happy seeing them.  I could not find the price for this exact set, but in general sets of three brushes retail for about $34. They are less useful than I expect from this brand, but I was not mad seeing them and seeing them made me less annoyed by the filler items.

The Betty Boop Blush palette was very disappointing.

The last of the full sized items included was the BETTY BOOP™ x IPSY Cheek To Cheek Blush Palette.  It is a pretty package with mediocre product inside. Seriously, the packaging is the best part.  It claims to be buildable but on my skin, I really had to work with it to show any pigment. If you have fairer skin than mine, you might be okay with this.  I am over all fine with IPSY putting their collaborations in the box as long as they are good products.  This one seemed to trade on the nostalgia value of Betty Boop rather than provide good products. This month they came out with the whole line and you can buy the entire box of products.  You can’t buy individual ones at the moment so I have no idea what this product would retail for. That really annoys me.

That covers the full sized items included in this box and as I have not been terribly subtle, I’m sure you realized I was a bit peeved by this point. But then we get to the sample sized products.  Ready?

First up is PAPA RECIPE Eggplant Clearing Mud Cream Mask.  I have to say, I love this mask.  I loved it when I picked it up using my points several months ago.  The full sized product retails for $15 for 100 ml. Since I couldn’t find a sample for sale I resorted to baic math and the sample size (15 ml) would more or less have a value of $2.25. If you see the full sized version, I highly recommend picking it up. It is a really good product. If they had included a full size of this product instead of the sheet masks I would have been super happy.  But they didn’t.  They decided to eliminate surplus. So I am not happy.

Good products, but we’ve seen at least two of them before, possibly all three. Their inclusion made it feel more like a rummage sale.

Next is the CELA SKIN Crème de la Crème – The Very Best Cream.  It is body lotion. A sample size of body lotion.  On my profile I checked rarely send me lotions like this. I suppose this is my rarely moment. It is good cream though. The full size retails for $30 and contains 75 ml worth of product. The sample size contains 30ml worth of product.  Again using basic math we get a value of $12 for the sample.  Do I think a full size would be worth $30? If you are splurging, maybe.  It smells nice and sinks into the skin well. I will toss it into my purse, use it until its gone and then think nothing of it. Because its hand cream and that’s what you do with it. But I’m not mad at it.

COLOURED RAINE COSMETICS Eyeshadow in Champagne Life was the next sample sized item in my box.  It’s a good shadow.  Highly pigmented and shimmery. I’m working on a system to keep myself from losing single shadows in the bottoms of drawers. However as much as I am looking forward to seeing how long this shadow lasts on the eyes, I believe it too was a selection from previous months in the regular IPSY bag. At least I have another single shadow from them in my drawer. It retails for $6.99.

Finally, we come to the L.O.C.K. COLOR Unicorn Glow Hydrating Primer a full sized version is $12 for 30 grams worth of product.  The sample size contains 10 grams so the base value of the product would be $4. I actually like this primer, especially on days where I am wearing only powder and no foundation.  It blurs the pores and is super light weight.  It is also just sticky enough to hold on to the powder I apply. I know this because I picked it up as a sample from IPSY before. Again, had they included a full sized version of this product, instead of the lip gloss or eyeliner, I would have been very happy. As it was, I sighed and tried not to frown.  I tried thinking happy thoughts about using the nice primer sample again.

That was my October IPSY Ultimate Glam Bag. I have to say, the level of annoyance is high.  From what I have been able to determine, the value for my $50 subscription box is $214.24. While that is a decent value for the money it felt very much as though IPSY was just cleaning out their shelves.  And even though most of the products offered could be found cheaper than offered, I used the higher prices to come up with my figures. I’m sure that by including the $68 serum, whoever chose these items justified using some of the other products, but it still made me feel like I was getting the bottom of a discount bin. Which is not something I expect from a $50 box.

After realizing how I felt about this I looked around to see if I was over reacting and found out that I am not the only one who seems to have issues.  I saw a lot of instant cancellations for people.  However given the reams of negative feedback from the box that IPSY received if the product reviews posted are any indication, and the fact that this was their first Ultimate glam bag I am willing to give them another month to see if they get better. Perhaps this month was just some form of growing pain. Perhaps they will realize a $50 subscription is not the place to dump previously unsold stock. One can only hope.

Also IPSY has in the past had a habit of following a really bad moth with a really good month. Its been a while since they’ve had a bad month but for a long time it was almost alternating good months with bad, at least in my opinion. And perhaps this month was just suffering from the curse of October. No one seemed to have a very good month, subscription box wise this month. And if they don’t get better, I can always change my subscription after I receive the November box.  So one more month to test. But still seriously annoyed.

IPSY Glam Bag September 2019 Review

IPSY Glam Bag September 2019

IPSY is changing. I’m sure by now many of you have heard about this.  This Month’s regular IPSY Glam Bag was the regular price of $10/ month. Starting next month the bag’s price will be going up to $12.  The IPSY Glam Bag Plus (which I also currently get) is remaining at $25/ month. In addition, they will be adding a makeup bag to each month’s plus box as well. They are now offering an Ultimate bag with a larger make-up bag, eight full sized products and four deluxe or sample sized products.  This box will be offered for $50. Currently I get the Glam Bag and the Glam Bag Plus which gives me five full sized products and five deluxe or sample sized products per month. The cost has been $35 but will soon be $37.

I’m sure everyone knows enough basic math to be aware that there is only a $13 difference between the $50 ultimate and the $37 I will be paying for the other subscriptions.  By happenstance this month I actually cancelled a subscription that cost me $12.95 per month.  So in October I am going to try consolidation.  My plan is to only get the Ultimate box and see how I like it.  If I decide I don’t I may go back to my previous subscription configuration.  I have to say though, more full sized and less sample sized items are a plus in my life at this point.  I find I’m getting frustrated with some of the sample sizes, especially the skin care based ones.  It is nice to try them, but there often isn’t enough product in the container for me to fully form an opinion and I am left with just a first impression.

So that is where I am now with this subscription.  The world being what it is, things may change.

On to the bag.

This month the first thing I have to comment on is the bag itself.  This month’s was nice.  It is a lined cloth with a design featuring constellations and a zipper tab embellished  with a plastic ‘crystal’.  It is nice and I tend to reuse the cloth bags more than the more plastic-y bags.  Those I tend to pass on to a charity outfit in town that fills them with essentials for people in need.

The first thing I pulled out of this bag was if not a full sized item, certainly a deluxe one.  It is the OFRA x Madison Ollie Need is Love Blush.  At the moment I have several blushes, most of which I think of as okay but not great.  I currently do not have a go to blush. This is a good blush, but it might not be my go to.  I’ll have to work with it a bit longer to see how it ranks.  I dipped my brush in and got a LOT of powder on the first swipe.  I knocked a lot off causing a pink dust storm across my dressing table and applied the rest.  It is a nice shade.  A bit intense at first, but it does blend out well. I’ve tried dipping more softly into the powder, but still got a lot of excess. I like the product, but the waste (and the necessity for clean up so everything doesn’t end up with a pink undertone) sort of bothers me.  I think it will cause me to reach for this product less often than I would if it didn’t have the fall out. Otherwise it is a good product.

Lots of fall out created a mini pink dust storm across my dressing table.

The Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask by Glow Recipe was in my bag this month and I was happy to see it.  I was also happy to see that it is a flat bottomed container and doesn’t have that shell over a round bottom.  While a small container it is full and not hiding a hollow space. I have used this product before and it is on my purchase list.  I did set this sample aside though for two reasons.  The first is that I am currently testing the Dr. Brandt sleeping mask and wanted to give it a full trial, and the second is that the holidays are coming.  While I don’t do a lot of travelling throughout the year my family and my love’s family are spread out so it feels like we are constantly traveling through November and December. So every autumn I start putting samples by to travel so I don’t have to pack larger containers. When I travel with family I like to go with one large purse and one small suitcase.  The travel sized products help immensely with that plan.

But like I said, I’ve tried this before.  It is excellent.  A pea sized amount is all you need to cover your face and as advertised:

It’s pillow-proof! That means it stays on while you sleep (even if you toss and turn) without getting everywhere—and the breathable formula doesn’t feel super heavy or take an army of washcloths to remove.

I love when products match their advertisement claims, don’t you? While it is a Watermelon night mask, I swear it smells just like sour apple jolly ranchers to me. That could just be me though.  Either way, I’m not complaining.

Unfortunately the same can’t be said about the LA BEAUTE FATALE COSMETICS

Matte Liquid Lipstick in Tuff Love. First, let’s talk packaging. I don’t mind the brush applicator tip.  My issue is with the turning to release product.  I turned and turned and turned and began to think that the product chamber was empty.  Every few turns I tried it on my hand and got nothing.  Not even a little dripple of color.  It was just a soft brush against my hand.  Then one turn produced a drop of product.  Eureka.

It was a gusher.  You can tell that in my hand swatch picture there is a LOT of product on my hand. That was the first drop that came out.  I was trying to get rid of some of it on my hand so as not to make a mess later.  I have since used it three times and have not yet had to turn the crank to release more product.  Although if I use it again, I will now have to turn it.  I’ve tried lipsticks with this turning mechanism before and they always end up making a mess. If nothing else the cap gets so gunky that it has to be rinsed out periodically.  I learned a while back never to try carrying something like this in a purse. It is a strictly at home applicator style.

Which is a shame because I LOVE the color.  I have actually been looking for a lipstick this color for a while. It went on smoothly and dried down nicely.  It stayed in place but after a few hours I had to put a lip gloss over it because it was really drying my lips out. The second time I wore it, I waited until it dried then put a moisturizing lip balm over it and my lips were fine all day. It is long lasting and a good color, but that packaging really lets it down. Just say no to click pens.

In my bag this month I received a moisturizer I have used before, FIRST AID BEAUTY’s Hello FAB Coconut Water Cream.  It is a nice cream that absorbs quickly and has a pleasant smell to it. It sits well under make-up and doesn’t break me out.  Because I’ve tried it before, know I like it and also know that the container does not contain enough product for a full skin care test, I put it to the side for my travel bag rather than use it.  It is on my list of ‘purchase for full testing’ as all of the times I’ve tried this cream it has been in sample sized doses. So a full skin care test will have to wait. It is however on the list.

Last but not least I received a Phase Zero Satin Eyeshadow in Velvet.  It is soft and creamy to the touch, very pigmented and long lasting.  It is easy to blend and I personally like the color.  I seem to be getting several purplish maroon shades in single shadows.  I may have to do a purple eye look with just my singles. I may have to haul out my singles and play with them for a bit.I lie to think that I will use this shade, even as just an accent one since it is so nice, but I have the feeling it will get lost in the drawer with the other single shadows.  Which is a shame since I have several that are really nice and because of their packaging can’t be added to a z-palette.  I might have to find a space on my dressing table and just line a few of them up.  I’m sure if I saw them every day instead of tucking the box into a drawer I would use them more. I just have to figure out a way to do that without making a mess.  I get into tidying fits and small loose containers are automatically put away so I feel as though I’ve accomplished something. Definitely something to think about.

Well that was my bag this month and I have to say it was a good one.  My biggest problem with any of the products really involved packaging rather than product. I received things I will use and was able to set two items to the side for the start of my traveling season. Given all of the changes, it should be interesting to see how next month shakes out.

IPSY Glam Bag Plus September 2019 Review

IPSY Glam Bag Plus September 2019

For those who don’t know or remember, IPSY Glam Bag Plus is a $25 per month subscription in which you get five full sized products to try each month.  Next month they are also adding a makeup bag to each order as well. For more official information, please check out ipsy.com.

Now for this month’s bag.  It was an interesting mix for me.  Two of the products weren’t my favorite, but the other three were fabulous.  So We’ll cover the not so great first.  For that we will start with the APTO SKINCARE Pomegranate Mask. (retail $36)

Now first things first, I love pomegranate in pretty much anything. The only thing I’ve tried from this brand before was a spirulina mask which I didn’t like too much. It was sticky and left a residue on my skin.  But lots of companies have a few products I don’t like and a couple I love so I was willing to try it again. So the claims:

This mask contains powerful antioxidants, like pomegranate and green tea, to restore your skin’s ability to repair itself. Azelaic acid gently removes dead skin cells to promote cell turnover, which helps create a brighter complexion. Redness? This soothing mask will calm redness and inflammation, including rosacea and overexposure to the sun. It’s made with ethically-sourced, vegan, and cruelty-free ingredients.

On the back of the bottle it says to leave for a total of ten minutes then wash off.  I applied a layer of product to my face and felt a tingling almost immediately.  Usually that is a good thing.  It makes me feel like it is working. At about the five minute mark my face felt hot, really really hot.  Like burning hot.  The words chemical burn floated through my brain and I washed the mask off immediately.  While my skin was very pink, it was not burned. After a couple of hours the pink faded and I will admit my skin felt nice and soft.

While it does fulfill its claims of a brighter completion and worked well in the end, it was not a comfortable product for me to use.  I don’t know if I have a sensitivity to the Azelaic acid they use or what since that was the only ingredient I was unfamiliar with in the list. I think I am going to pass this on to someone with hopefully less of a sensitivity.

Despite looking very red in this photo in real life it came out with orange undertones, everything else about this lipstick was fabulous.

Next up was the ILLAMASQUA Antimatter Lipstick in Midnight. (retail $27) I really like Illamasqua products so I had high hopes for this lipstick.  On the screen it looked like a true red and I have been searching for a true deep red lipstick for a while.  The formula for this one is lovely, the color is just too much in the orange shade for me. The shade was literally the only thing that was wrong for me.  Otherwise it matches all of the  claims it is a:

…semi-matte, semi-satin lipstick gives you the best of both worlds—creamy texture with full coverage.It’s long-wearing and non-drying for a comfortable wear all day long. Your lips will thank you for the added boost of conditioning moisture. Midnight is a true red made for evening adventures, but great for when you want a daytime power lip.

Except for the orange tone, it was a great product that met every one of its claims. So the quest continues.

The next item in my Ipsy Plus box made me very happy.  I saw it and my inner teenager started to giggle with delighted anticipation. This was the NOMAD COSMETICS Berlin Underground Intense Eyeshadow Palette.(retail $37) I’ll list the claims first:

I am super pumped to play around with this palette.

This palette was inspired by Berlin’s rebellious 90s counterculture and all its grunge, punk, and techno nightlife. There are 15(!) shades in a mix of metallic, matte, and duo-chrome finishes. The pigmentation is off the charts, so you get a serious color payoff. No caking or flaking. Hemp Seed Oil helps nourishes lids and keeps your look fresh all day (or night) long.

I love the color scheme of this palette. It fits with the colors I worked back in high school and I absolutely adored the punk skulls pressed into some of the powders and I could not wait to use them. They are a mix of finishes like they claim, some of the shadows are easier to work with than others.  I am going to have to play around with it a bit longer before I post a full review, but I will post a full review of this palette separately (probably sometime next week).  For the Ipspt Glam Bag plus review, I will keep it short and simply say that I really enjoyed seeing this palette in my box.

The next item in the box was the CIATÉ LONDON Extraordinary Translucent Powder.  (retail $22). It is a really finely milled powder and doesn’t give me a white cast when I use it as a finishing powder.  I’ve had a tiny samply sent to me before and I used every bit of it.  I am pleased to see a full sized version and I plan to use every powdery bit of it as well.

The cleanser is a surprising purplish color which was a little odd for a face wash, but I kind of like.

Finally, there is the GLAMGLOW TROPICALCLEANSE™ Daily Exfoliating Cleanser.  (retail $34).While I love their masks, the last cleanser I tried from them was hard to wash off.  This was great.  You only need a little to wash your face, the exfoliator bits aren’t too harsh for the skin and can not only be used daily but rinse clean away with relative ease.  I really like this cleanser and will be using it completely.

Three out of the five products included were absolute winners for me.  The other two were good products, just not for me.  I will pass them on to others who will enjoy them more.  Over all the value of this box was $156.  Not bad for a $25 box. In my opinion it was certainly worth the price. I for one can’t wait to see what they come up with next month.