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 February 2020

February 2020 IPSY Ultimate Box

This month, I have to admit, I was not too enthused by the IPSY Ultimate.  For those who don’t know, IPSY Ultimate is a $50 per month beauty box.  For this, you are supposed to get twelve products, eight full sized and four deluxe sample sized.  I can’t actually say why I wasn’t terribly enthused when I saw the listed products.  All of the products are good products, but the assortment left me a little flat and wondering if the box was worth the value. 

Normally beauty boxes come with cards listing the value of the items.  Sometimes IPSY does this, other times they don’t.  For the value of the products I went onto the IPSY web site and copied down the full sized values they had listed for the full sized products to get my own listed value.

So without further ado, lets get into the box.  First up is the  SWEET CHEF Fresh Pressed Sheet Masks in Kale + Vitamin B, Beet + Vitamin A, and Ginger + Vitamin C (Retail $10.50).  These are good masks, I actually used one last Friday for my Face mask Friday post.  I like them and I like the brand.  I am not a huge fan of sheet masks however, which is noted in my profile.  I checked.  I also checked and despite me listing my lack of enthusiasm for sheet masks I have received them in all but one box since the inaugural box in October. While they are a good product, I have an issue with sheet masks being considered a full sized product in this context.  For a $50 box it feels cheap.

My second product was a jarred mask from FEEL.  It was the Harmony Rose Petal Facial Mask ( Value $55). It is a full size and I have to say I have no complaints with it.  The product is a decent size, I love non-sheet masks and I like the scent of rose. In fact once a year I get a jar of the Fresh Rose face mask as a birthday treat for myself.  I think it will be interesting to see how this compares.  I have tried FEEL products before and absolutely adore their cleanser.  Hopefully this is also on par.

Next out of the box was my first deluxe sample.  It is the AVETTE Water Flash Coconut Water Cream.  Because it is a deluxe sample there was no listed value. I like face creams and I love trying new ones. If I can get two weeks’ worth of product out of the deluxe sample then I will review it in a post. Last month I received a set of sheet masks from AVETTE, but have yet to try them.

CATHERINE MALANDRINO’s Dream Fragrance in a deluxe sample was the next item in my IPSY box this month and I have to say the deluxe sample is a good sixe.  It is on par with the size sent by Scent Box each month so I have no complaints. I wore the scent all last week and will be putting up a post about it soon.

DOUCCE COSMETICS Punk Volumizer Mascara in Black (Retail $24) was one of my full sized items this month.  I am oddly enough running low on mascara.  It is not a terribly exciting item, but for me it is useful so I was glad to see it.  I have to say though my first thought was, at least it isn’t eyeliner.  The only issue I have is that they have been sending this item out in other bags for months, which makes this feel a little like they are trying to clear out stock. I understand that this is sometimes necessary, but at the same time, this is the Ultimate box.  Nothing in it should ever feel like a left over.

One product that I was curious about was the TULA: The Cult Classic Purifying Face Cleanser.  It is a deluxe sample size so no retail value on that I am afraid. I know this cleanser has been featured in other boxes like FAB FIT FUN and I have seen many rave reviews about it so I look forward to giving it a try myself.  Since they put Cult Classic on the tube, I expect good things.

PLAYA New Day Mist (retail $24) was also an intriguing addition to my box this month. Given that I spend so much time at the gym as I try and whittle down my weight, dry shampoo has become a staple for me.  I really like the thought of a mist that has similar claims as a dry shampoo and I look forward to trying it out in my post gym routine, especially as it is a product type I have not seen before.

SKYLAR Hydrating Body Lotion in Capri in a deluxe size was in my box this month. It was a deluxe size which means I can add it to my purse easily.  At the moment I have several hand creams open and will leave this sealed for a little while until I run low.  I am kind of picky when it comes to lotions and the only thing I know about SKYLAR is that they do perfumes.  It will be interesting to see how I like the scent.

Also in this box was a full sized lipstick from FOLLY FIRE.  It was the Matte Manipulation Creamy Matte Lipstick in Sunset Blvd (retail $15). As it was lipstick I of course opened it right away to see if it was going to be a good addition to my collection.  I had never tried FOLLY FIRE so I was curious.  The lipstick however was broken and unusable.  I contacted IPSY and a replacement is being sent out to me.  So I will have to wait for a bit on this.  Oddly this is the first time I have ever gotten a replacement product from IPSY.  Overall they ship well to me. So I will be interested to see how the return/replacement process goes.

The GRACE & STELLA Rose Quartz Facial Roller (retail $29) was also in my IPSY Ultimate this month.  It came in a lovely box and it is a beautiful tool. It was one of the choice items this month.  I did not choose it though, I chose the eyeshadow palette.  While it is very pretty and I like the look of it.  I find the stone rollers to be a little gimmicky. I’ll try it and who knows perhaps it will be something I can’t live without, but honestly unless it does something fantastic, I doubt I’ll use it.  I suspect it is going to end up as a decorative element on my dressing table. But I will try and keep an open mind as I try to use it.

I am always it seems looking for new brushes and this month a set of eyeshadow brushes from SHAINA B, the Eyes on Miami Brush Set to be exact (retail $40) was in my box.  While they are nice brushes, densely packed but soft bristles, I really have a hard time seeing them as worth $40. I also see no correlation to Miami as they are simple black handled brushes.  It is a set of five plain, but decent eyeshadow brushes. Nice, not terribly exciting and certainly overpriced, but nice.

Finally we get to the product I actually chose the MAKEUP GEEK Peach Bellini Eyeshadow Palette (retail $20). I love the shades and I will be using them this week so I will be reporting back on them next Monday for my Palette of the Week post.  I have high hopes as Makeup Geek always has really good quality products.

While I don’t have retail value on all of the products the ones I was able to figure out come to a grand total of $217.50.  So over all it was a good return on the $50 investment in the box.  I doubt I will use the quartz roller (unless it works spectacularly well when I test it) and I really think the shadow brushes were overpriced, but over all the box contains products I will use. 

Some of the products felt like they were clearing out stock and using sheet masks as a full sized item always feels cheap, but over all it was an okay box. It was not exciting. And it feels like there were a lot of little tubes this month, which again leave me underwhelmed.

IPSY has always managed to do this.  They alternate between great boxes and blah boxes for me.  They are getting better from their first box in October which was a complete dud, but still this was kind of a blah month for me.  I suspect that next month will be pretty good though.  Not only do they alternate between great and blah, but March is also the BoxyCharm Boxyluxe month.

As Boxyluxe too is $50 it means they are going head to head, comparison wise, for those who purchase beauty subscription boxes.  They are the same price so comparisons are inevitable.  As I get both boxes, I will definitely be making the comparison. 

Truth be told, if IPSY doesn’t step up Ultimate in March, then I will more than likely going back to the $25 glam bag plus instead of the Ultimate. I might perhaps switch to ultimate in Boxy luxe months as a changeup, but I don’t know if I will continue with Ultimate every month moving forward.  Much of this will be determined by next month’s IPSY Ultimate.


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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.

IPSY Glam Bag Plus August 2019 Review

IPSY Glam Bag Plus August 2019

This was an interesting box this month.  It turned out to be one of those months where I could do almost a complete face from the box.  So I did.  First of all, the details.  The IPSY Glam Bag plus is a $25 per month beauty box subscription.  Inside you get five full sixed products.  The value of this month’s products came to $128.50 according to the card, so you certainly get good value for the money.  So let’s jump in.

We’ll start from the ground up with the foundation. The first product is the It Cosmetics Bye Bye Foundation Full Coverage Moisturizer™ with SPF 50+ in the shade Medium (retail $39.50).I’ve mentioned it before, I am leery of dual purpose products as I feel they still generally only perform one of their functions properly.  Truthfully, that holds true for this product as well.  It is a full coverage foundation.  I don’t think it’s a great moisturizer.  I personally like the moisturizers and cleansers from the IT brand.  I’m not 100% sold on this product. You will see my first picture of me with a freshly washed face, nothing on the skin ready for moisturizer and beyond. Then if you continue down you will see me with just the foundation on.  I apologize for the serial killer facial expression.  The foundation was doing a little bit of settling in the lines so I was trying not to create more lines by smiling.

No makeup here folks, just clean skin

Oh, and as we go through, ignore the under eyes, I suffer from chronic insomnia so the night before I tossed and turned until 4 am and then gave up sleep as an unattainable goal and started my day early.  No amount of any product was going to eliminate the baggage.

I wasn’t thrilled with the settling in the lines, but it is a decent full coverage foundation and lasts all day.  The settling did not get worse at all throughout the day so I may give it another shot.  I think I would use a primer next time with it and get better results.  I didn’t this time because I was still treating it partially as a moisturizer, but I think that would eliminate the issue.

Just the foundation, ignore the serial killer expression

While I did use my own setting powder and concealer (I also use my concealer as eye primer for shadow), The Balm Cosmetics In the Balm of Your Hand Greatest Hits Volume 2 Palette (retail $32) which came in the box this month handled almost everything else. I have tried single shadows from The Balm before and loved them and I have friends who swear by their bronzer so I was super excited to get this palette.  I also like that it wasn’t just shadow.  I used the blush, bronzer and highlighter as well as the eyeshadows.  I went for a very low key look. Not having to look for other products made the getting ready process super quick. My only issue was with the blush.  My brush was a little bigger than the palette wanted me to use and so I inadvertently blended two blushes.  Not terrible, but something to watch out for.  There was a little fallout from the shadows, but nothing major and I was easily able to sweep it away. I think that this palette is going to be my standard go to for a while in regards to everyday looks.

The Balm palette, there is a mirror on the top of the palette which I tucked under

While there was no lip product in the box this month I used the Huda Beauty lip liner that came in my regular IPSY bag this month and then applied a clear gloss over it.  Next time, I would skip the liner and just go with the gloss as it is more suitable for the understated look I was doing.  I just thought it might be fun to show it.  I actually replaced it with a calmer shade before leaving the house.

Full face from the box

Next in the bag this moth was the AHAVA Hydration Cream Mask (retail $33).  Now we all know, I love masks.  The only thing I’d tried from them before was their hand cream.  My mother ADORES their hand cream. I think it is good hand cream but the scent is just kind of basic. This mask has the same kind of smell so I was automatically thinking it would be so so (It smells like a cream that you would use on your face, I don’t know what other terms to use to describe it).  I would say that it is just okay if you are looking for a 20 minute face mask.  It is decently hydrating but not something I got terribly excited about. However, since the description says it can be used overnightI tried it as a night mask.  This is where this product shines.  Forget using it as a regular mask and just put a layer on your skin before going to bed.  When I wasn’t my face the next morning my skin was soft and hydrated.  It may actually be my favorite night mask.

Also included in my box this month was the Suva Beauty Liquid Chrome Illuminating Drops in Trust Fund (retail $26). This product is nice, goes on smoothly has a nice golden glow (which I actually prefer to the more silvery ones) and is not to in your face with the highlight. (In other words I wasn’t singing ‘Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer’ in my head after I saw myself in the mirror, admittedly I don’t but highlighter on the end of my nose either. I understand the logic, I just really hate that trend.) I wasn’t thrilled with the liquid drops though as I think I wasted more product on my hand then I actually applied to my face. (I put it on the back of my hand and then applied it with a finger to my face.  And yes I was singing the theme from ‘Goldfinger’ as I did it.  Or as much of the lyrics as I can remember.) I like it and I’ll use it, but I really do prefer pressed powder highlighters. Aside from the personal preference, it is a good product.

Three coats to go opaque

Finally we come to a product I was very excited to see.  It was the Smith & Cult Nail Lacquer in Pillow Pie (retail $18).  I got one of these nail polishes in another box a while ago and I love it. It really is chip resistant and lasts a really long time. I wasn’t too thrilled with the semi-sheer color so I applied multiple layers (three in this pick) to get a solid color. I think in the future I may put this as a wash over a deeper color that I want to tone down. It is a bit on the pricy side, but it is a good polish. The bottle is also beautiful enough that I want to display it rather than chuck it into the drawer where I keep my other nail polish.

Over all I really liked this month’s Glam Bag Plus.  I had a lot of fun with the products (and isn’t that really what make-up is for?) and I found both an excellent everyday palette and a new favorite night cream.  All in all, not too shabby. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next month.

IPSY August 2019 Review

IPSY August 2019

For those who don’t know, or need a reminder, IPSY is a $10 a month subscription service that sends 5 samples to you each month based on your profile.  In the past they haven’t paid all that much attention to the profile, at least I didn’t think they did, but they seem to be getting better about that now and are making more of an effort to tailor their samples.  Personally, I like the trend.

I have to say, this month was a pretty good selection in my opinion.  My first item was out of the bag and in the mailer and that was a set of two sheet masks from Comelyco.  It is the Blueberry & Peach Mask Set.  The masks are 100% cotton, which I like.  Not only does cotton biodegrade, but I am allergic to some sorts of plastics. 

Seriously, when I was a kid my grade school had shorts days (days you could wear shorts, something normally prohibited by school dress codes at the time) towards the end of the school year. It was mostly because the school had an ancient air conditioning system so they tried to make the occasionally sweltering classrooms feel like something they did intentionally, you know for fun. I was unable to participate because if I wore shorts and sat on those plastic chairs it felt like red ants were nibbling constantly on the back of my legs and left behind a rash to prove it.

Not a feeling I want on my face. Especially as causing a rash when you intend to smooth skin is sort of counterproductive.

So yay cotton.

I tried the blueberry sheet mask from the pack and have not tried the peach.  The blueberry scent reminds me of the fake blueberry smell you get with candy. You know, the kind of candy where if fruit juice is actually an ingredient it is really low on the list. That’s not a complaint.  I don’t mind the smell.  It did make me want candy though.

My complaint with the mask would be that the serum infused in the sheet mask never really absorbed into my skin. Either that or there was too much for my skin to absorb.  Although since the mask wasn’t dripping with an overabundance, I fear it was the former. Usually with sheet masks after you peel them off you pat the excess in.  There was way too much to pat in.  There was a thick layer of product on my skin and I had to use a dry wash cloth to tap some of it off.  It was kind of sticky feeling and to be honest, I didn’t feel the kind of results I’ve felt with other sheet masks.  Perhaps it will work better for someone with a different skin type. I have a friend who always complains of dry skin, I may pass the peach on to her and see if she likes it better. So a nice time out, but not a product I will buy in the future.

Next up, I pulled the IT Cosmetics, Confidence in a Gel Lotion Moisturizer. I have tried the confidence in a cleanser from IT Cosmetics and I was happy to see this in my bag.  Not so happy with the size of the sample. It is a very tiny tube.  I understand it is an expensive product but with skin care products It is really hard to get an accurate feel for the product and how it will perform.  I can say with the sample I tried, it was excellent.  It went on silky smooth and my skin just sucked it right in immediately.  There was almost no wait time for absorption. 

I have to say my hands were kind of rough from a week of fighting the bind weed and the little bit that sunk into my hands when I was moisturizing my face, really helped smooth the rough spots. I know, not its intended use, but an interesting side benefit. My only real complaint is that my tube wasn’t filled all the way (and it was a small tube to begin with) so the sample lasted two days. I’ve had some products I’ve used that worked great the first couple of days, but around day five started causing problems, which is why I always test my skin care for two weeks before making a decision.  Given how it performed in those two days of use though, I might have to put it on my list to purchase to do a full test and review (once I’ve whittled down my current line up).

The third item this month was from HUDA Beauty and was the Lip Contour in Trophy Wife. I have to admit, the product lives up to its hype. Their claim:

This lip pencil glides on like a dream and has a crazy color payoff to help you shade and shape your lips any way you want. There’s no chance of losing your lip look. The creamy formula lasts from lunch to late-night cocktails and is kiss-proof, waterproof, transfer-proof…you-name-it proof.

The liner went on smoothly with no skipping and stayed in place all day.  The color is also good for an everyday look. So even though I don’t get terribly excited about lip liners, I really liked this one.

Next item in this month’s beauty bag was an eyeshadow from Space Case Cosmetics in the shade Intense Stargasm. It is a shimmery silver shade that is good for accents.  The formula is soft with not a lot of fall out. While a bit much for my daily life, it is good to update a day look when you just want to spice up before going out.  Even though I tend to lose single shadows in the backs of drawers, I like the fact that this one comes in a hard plastic case so I can toss it into my purse without worrying about it getting smashed up and coating the inside of my purse with shadow powder. Over all, it’s a pretty good product. I’ve used space case eyeshadows before.  They don’t have the most intense colors, and all of the ones I’ve tried have been shimmer shades. They are great for brightening a look and they do stay put for hours. You just have to pair it with other shadows for a full look.

The final item in my bag was a nail polish from NAILS INC in the color Weekend Superpowers. While marketed as a cool, khaki green shade I would have to say that in some lights it looks kind of army green and in some it looks like it is edging into teal.  I wasn’t sure I’d like it at first, but the color is actually growing on me. In the picture, I applied only one coat to my nails to achieve a full coat.  I really like that as it not only uses less product, but it means less time waiting for things to dry.  The polish dries fairly quickly. At the moment I can’t say anything about its normal longevity and anti-chip properties as at this time of year no polish is going to last long. My nails just take too much of a beating. My only concern with this polish is the applicator.  The brush is a little on the wide side.  While this makes it great for quickly and easily applying a coat to most of my nails, my pinkies required a lot of clean up. (although clearly in the pic I was messy with more than just my pinky, sigh) Over all though, that is a minor concern. And I’m sure if I focused a bit more I would make less of a mess.

That was all for my bag this month. I did have a couple of add ons, mostly skin care, so I will do separate reviews on those products once I feel I’ve adequately tested them. Overall I’d have to say this was a pretty good month.  Most of the products I enjoyed and will either use or look into full sized versions, the exception being the sheet masks.  Which is sad because I love masks of all types. But there are always other masks to try. Maybe the next one will make my favorites list.