Unboxing the March 2022 Look Fantastic Box

Guess what arrived on my doorstep? That’s right it is the March Look Fantastic Box. I was somewhat surprised as I generally don’t look for this box to arrive until the date has double digits. I know today is March 9th, so it was close, very close. Still I generally look for it around the fourteenth. I really enjoy this box. It does tend to be a bit skincare heavy, but a lot of the brands included are items I have either never tried or have limited experience with. Part of that is because it is a UK based subscription box. This is a $19 per month subscription, but the cost is lower if you sign up for a longer period. I went annual with this one because I enjoy it so much and my cost is $17 per month. I still pay monthly which means I don’t have to come up with an entire year’s worth of payments at one time, which is really nice.

This month’s theme is empowerment and I believe all of the products were chosen from email founded brands. The first item out of my box this month is the Emma Hardie Facial Oil. There are two identical bottles in my Look Fantastic box and I’m not sure if that was intentional or an accident. what is interesting is that I have a still sealed full size bottle of this exact same oil. I use facial oils more slowly than I use other products in my skincare collection and I am a bit on the picky side with them. i have tried lots of oils I don’t like and a few that I adore. I am still branching out with them What I like is that I can try one of the small bottles and if I like it move on to opening and using the full size. And if I don’t I can pass along the full size unopened. Even though I have that oil in my collection I know virtually nothing about the brand so this will also give me an excuse to investigate. Over all, a pretty good way to start.

The second item I took from the look Fantastic box was the spoiler in last month’s pamphlet. It is the Sachajuan Styling Cream. Until I saw it in last month’s pamphlet I had never heard of the band in any capacity so it is completely new to me. I am always willing to try new hair products.

Next up is the Starskin Dream Kiss Plumping and Hydrating Lip mask. I have heard of Starskin in fact last week I used an eye mask. While the eye mask wasn’t really to my taste I do have another Starskin eye mask to try out. Perhaps I will pair it with the lip mask next week. I’ve tried lip masks in sheet form before but none of them have been plumping. I am kind of curious as to how that will work since every lips sheet mask I have tried has been much bigger than my lips in general. It will be interesting to see how that turns out.

And I have to say that is one of the things I love about subscription boxes in general. Since i found the eyemask okay but not fabulous, if I saw this lip mask advertised I would be curious but probably pass it by, talking myself out of purchasing it. Now I get to try it and assuage my curiosity. And that’s not a bad thing.

The next item is a brand that I was introduced to by Look Fantastic and I always get excited whenever I see it appear in my box. And that brand is ESPA. Every product I have tried from the brand has been fantastic. We’ve had a couple of their items in the box and they are the sort of products that bring the spa home. And thus far every item I’ve tried in a subscription box, I’ve ended up purchasing in a full size. It is just a good brand.

This month there is an ESPA refining Skin Polish. And we all know I love a good exfoliator. I am getting ready to start a month long mask trial with a mask from the brand Bl’eau that also has exfoliating properties so I am going to have to set it to the side for now, but I am always thrilled to get ESPA in any subscription box.

The two remaining items in the March Look Fantastic are makeup related, one is a makeup brush and the other a lipstick. The brush is from a brand called Luvia and it is a detail shader. (When I went to look for a link I found the brand but not the exact brush which is odd. The link will take you to the look fantastic set of Luvia brushes) I frequently use this style of brush so having another one is not a bad thing. The bristles are soft and the brush feels like it will be of pretty good quality. I won’t know how I lie it until I use it, but I am always happy to have another brush. Especially since I realized the other day that I seriously need to sit down and remove some of the a little too well loved brushes from my collection. Several of my favorites have spent a little too much time as my favorites and are now edging into retirement. So it is extra nice to have a new one to try out.

And finally we have a lipstick from Wet’ n Wild. It is from the megalast collection and I really enjoy the formula. It does last a long time for a bullet style lipstick and it feels very comfortable to wear. This shade is Sand Storm which is a really nice looking neutral that I think I’ll be able to wear without having it wash my lips out.

Over all I am really pleased with my March Look Fantastic box. All of the items are ones I will use, with a couple of really exciting ones included. I love the mix of brands I am familiar with and the one I know nothing about and I really like the empowerment theme for the month. Usually I would say it bothers me that they only break out four of the included items in the pamphlet. This is a recent thing and not one I am a fan of. However this month the two things they didn’t break out were the wet ‘n wild lipstick and the shading brush so it wasn’t a problem. Last month thee was an item that I wanted more information on that they didn’t include in their top four and it was a bit frustrating. This month it wasn’t an issue. We’ll see how it goes next month.

And speaking of next month, there is a teaser for next month’s box. Next month is the Hyaluronic Replenish Lip Balm from the brand Avant. Avant is a rather pricy brand. In general I like their products. The last lip product they scent I had issues with because it was rose flavored and tasted like sucking on a perfume bottle. It worked well, just tasted bad, I’m pleased to see this lip balm is not rose scented. The price listed is in pounds, but using my handy dandy pounds to USD converter I find this lip balm is worth $73.39 (56 Pounds) which may be the most expensive lip balm I have ever seen. I can’t wait to see how that performs. But that is for April. For that we have to wait.

Its time for the February 2022 Macy’s Beauty box

After the back and forth with the post office last month this month, my Macy’s Beauty Box arrived a day before it was slated to. It was a February miracle. I really do like the Macy’s Beauty box actually. It is $15 per month ($16.46 with tax) and I almost always end up using all of the items. This month was a little odd because it didn’t come with any perfume samples. It was a little strange not to see them if I am honest. I think they didn’t include them because there was one item that could have crushed them. Either that or they couldn’t find any perfumes that fit their theme.

This month’s theme is black-owned beauty. It is being done in honor of Black History Month. And I have to say some of the products look really good. Also this month’s box was really heavy. It came in at 2lbs. I can’t remember what last month’s box weighed in at, but I know it was significantly lighter. But let’s get into the Beauty box.

The first item is a makeup bag. Usually they have some kind of bag, or they will put in an item that takes the place of a bag. this month they have a bag. It is stiff black canvas with the word love on it. The exterior is a heavy canvas and the inside is a thick wipeable plastic. It looks quite heavy duty and durable. There is no information about the bag in the enclosed card. So that is all i know about it. It seems nice though.

the heavy item that may have crushed perfumes and made the package weigh two pounds is a full sized bottle (500 ml) of Urban Hydration Lemon and Berries Micellar water. I can’t smell anything through the seal, but i am always down to use a good micellar water. I have never heard of the brand before but love that the water is blended with Vitamins A and E. I’m going to leave it sealed until I try it, but i am really looking forward to trying it.

I am also really excited to try the Lovinah Skincare Blue Butterfly mask. I know when am I not excited about masks. But first off the small glass container feels luxe in the hand. There is something about gold lettering on black glass that just gets me. I know, I’m easy. However in the picture in the brochure the mask looks very blue.

I looked at it and thought, there is no way that mask is that blue. So I opened it. Holy cats it is that blue. Since I opened it i will probably be using it as my face mask for tomorrow. And because I just can’t resist the blue. It’s like smurf blue. That is going to be so much fun. And hopefully skincare-tastick too. The blue just gets me though.

The third item in this month’s box was the Butta Skin Aha/BHA rosewater toner. There was a little bit of leakage from this toner in the bag, but luckily it was fully encased in it’s own bubble wrap bag so it didn’t go on everything. And there was only minor leakage. Just a few drops, nothing major. It is enough to let me know this smells very rosy though. Rose is one of those things that some times i like some times I don’t. I love the Nuxe rose scents with both their moisturizer and their mask(both are absolutely fantastic), but there are other skincare brands that just can’t pull it off. We’ll have to see which category this one fits in when we try it out. I do love that it is in a glass bottle though.

The next item I have tried before and really liked. It is the Rucker Roots GTC Curly Hair cream. When my hair is shorter, or has more layers, it has a bit of curl. Not a huge amount, but some that I can enhance with a curling iron. It has a light clean scent to it, is very lightweight in the hair and provides moisture without looking greasy. What I like to do is use my curling iron to help with whatever curls I am using for the day and then put some of the cream on my hands before i finger comb the curls out. It helps fight the dryness from the heat and works really ell with my hair even though i don’t have massively curly hair.

And finally we come to the Shea Yeleen Coconut Melon Shea Body Cream. I love Shea butter in my body creams and I think Melon should be used more as a scent. I mean seriously, think how refreshing that would smell in the summertime? I am a huge melon fan and it just doesn’t come along often. I can’t smell anything through the seal but I have my fingers crossed that the coconut doesn’t dominate. I just finished a small tube of lotion so I am more than happy to roll this into rotation. And yes I have my fingers crossed for melon. I’ll let you know how that works out.

As for now, I think this is a great mix of products. There is only one that I have tried and i am hoping to get my hair trimmed soon. once i get layers put back into my hair I will be doing a lot more styling. With this length and the fact that it is pretty much all the same length at this point, I haven’t been doing much to my hair other than tying it back. I was trying to grow out my last ill-fated attempt to put layers in myself. (It was not a good idea and some things you should just leave to a trained stylist. Or at least i should. I shouldn’t be left alone with scissors and intent at least).My attempt has grown out so there is now plenty for the stylist to work with when I actually get a chance to book an appointment. I tried last week but they had too many stylists out and everyone in was overbooked. But soon….soooooon.

All in all though i really liked this bag. The Micellar water and toner look like interesting products to try, I am enthralled by the blue mask, happy with the hair product and keeping my fingers crossed about the body lotion. That makes this a really good month in general for me. If you are looking for monetary value, that is there too. While I payed $15 the box this month is said to have an $83.24 value. I think a chunk of the value is in the blue mask. It looks luxe and a full sized container is $82. While the monetary value is good and I certainly think I got my money’s worth, they are all products I will use, which makes it worth my while to subscribe. February was a good Macy’s month.

Trying out the Nadine West Clothing Subscription Service: April 2021

While the other side of the bag has the Nadine West logo on it, it also has my mailing label.

It is the time of year where the closet opens up, the clothing comes out and the sweaters are moved to the back while lighter weight garments take center stage.  Usually I take the time to go through and remove clothing that is now too worn or no longer fits.  In twenty-twenty my weight moved up and down, but it mostly stayed in the same range so there was no elimination of sizing at the end of the summer last year when I brought the fall clothes out. This fact was something I found a little depressing, even though I made the justification that last year was just bonkers.  I was also a little annoyed with myself.  So I didn’t go through the summer clothes.  I simply made certain they were washed before sending them into the dark depths of the closet.

While I am not down any sizes, when I took my warmer weather clothing out, I found that quite a few items had seen their last summer.  I think it was a combination of not shopping as much and hoping that before I did go shopping I’d be down another size. Regardless, I found I was in need of of a purge and some new clothing. 

I have wanted to try out a clothing subscription for a long time and quite frankly this seemed like the perfect excuse to do it. I am still not spending a lot of time shopping.  I really like to try on clothing before I purchase it, yet not too keen on changing rooms at the moment and I am very much in need of new clothing.

And we all know I love subscriptions. Plus it seemed like an interesting way to not only get pieces I like, but to push myself out of my comfort zone.

The question was what subscription to try first.  

The first determining factor was my weight.  My current size is just beyond the range of many of the subscription services.  If I lose two dress sizes, I have a much wider range, however currently, my options are limited.  It was one of the issues I faced when looking at underwear subscriptions, and ultimately why I chose to go with Underclub.  In the few month’s I’ve had that subscription, I have not once regretted signing up with them so I hoped the same would prove true for a more size inclusive clothing subscription service. Incidentally Underclub has a deal going on.

Select your gift plan, then we’ll delight them every month with a beautiful surprise. Each month of their subscription, they receive a pair of designer underwear from brands like Natori, Hanky Panky, Commando and more.

The subscription service I decided to try first was Nadine West.  They had my size and at $9.78 per month it is very budget friendly.  The $9.78 is the styling fee and if you choose to purchase any items in the subscription then the styling fee goes towards the item purchase.  At the time I signed up you could get your first month with no styling fee with the code NADINE.  I don’t know if the code is still valid (it was the last time I checked) but it meant that I paid nothing for my first bag.

Which seemed like a good way to try it out.

I really appreciate this, not only from a budgeting concern but because I suspect that any subscription service is going to need a few months to basically learn my style and tastes. I suspected the first shipment wouldn’t really suit me so it was nice that the code gave me a getting to know you bag bbefore actually charging me.

How well they learn will be part of the factor that determines how long I keep the Nadine West service.  As it was the first month and we are still getting to know each other, I wasn’t expecting to adore everything sent. With this first bag I wanted to see if the clothing was of a quality that would make the subscription service worth bothering to receive.

After all it may only be $9.78 but if they aren’t going to send me items of a quality that I could wear, there was no point in using the service.  And I wanted to see what they sent based on the initial survey.  Essentially this bag is the baseline for the subscription. With each bag I will comment on the items and see if the selection of products they send adapts.

The questionnaire that you fill out at the beginning is very vague.  It gives a basic style category (classic, romantic, trendy…).  Ask what parts of the body you want to hide.  (I said arms and belly).  And asks what colors you will not wear. It also had check boxes to check what items you are interested in receiving.  I did not see this on my first pass through the profile survey so all of the items were checked.  I have since gone back and removed a couple.

So what happened when I signed up?

I took my style quiz and did all the sign up items and then two days later I received a tracking number for my first bag.  It should be noted that you can choose to receive a bag once a month or once every two weeks.  Three days after receiving the tracking number the bag was at my house.  Because this was my first bag I was hazy as to how long I had before I needed to send the items I didn’t want back.  To be honest the website is not fabulous.  They do send you a series of welcome e-mails detailing what you need to know but quite frankly I would have preferred Just one or two paragraphs on the site giving me the information.  Since my first bag was free I wasn’t charged up front and found it really difficult to find out how much each following month would cost me.  The information came in a later e-mail.  Also in a later e-mail was the fact that the return by date would be on the packing slip.

I do like that the packages are scheduled to come in mid-month (I think they ship around the 14th).  This month my packing slip says I have until April 28th to return what I don’t like.  I will be charged for what I keep when they receive my return shipment and process it.   I really like knowing that as I can make certain my bank account is ready for the charge. I very much like that. I just wish all of that was spelled out in a paragraph for me on the site instead of a slate of follow up e-mails.

There is no previewing the items sent.  You just get what you get.  There also seems to be a point system that I hope will be explained in a later e-mail. On my packing slip it says that I have 100 points and am classified as a beginner.  I understand the beginner part as this is my first bag, but have no idea what the points relate to. I’ll let you know when I figure it out.

The bag that the clothing comes in is a plastic one.  You open it, take the items out and the bag is reusable so you use it to send the items back. The clothing is wrapped in tissue paper. This means that there is no real wasted packaging with shipping.  The packing slip is inside and it is very clear how to send items back.

So what was in my first box? 

The first item I removed was a scarf, Butterflies and Peonies print in gray (retail $16.99).  It is a gauzy material and feels well made.  The tag was through all of the folded layers so it was impossible to unfold without removing the tag.  I did not remove the tag.  While I do occasionally wear scarves and I like the gray color, I’m not the butterfly wearing sort of person.   It is nice but certainly not for me.  The tag is simply a Nadine West tag so I am guessing it is their brand. I will be sending it back.  I have also checked no scarves on the list so we will see if that matters going forward.

As a note, I did try to take pictures of me in the garments, but the pictures came out horribly. My camera angle was off and the sun slanted inthrought the window and pounced off of the mirror. Next month I will have my babydoll try to take them for me, but this month is mostly laid out garments as the first pictures were just too bad to post.

the necklace on

There were two jewelry items in my bag which I really wasn’t expecting. They were in the style pictures, I just didn’t realize they’d be in the bag as well. I thought it was mostly reference. The first was a sliver necklace in the style Lizzie that retails for $44.99.  It was actually the most expensive item in my bag this month.  It is nice looking and of decent quality.  It isn’t excellent quality but it is decent enough that I would wear it.  I have several necklaces similar to it in my collection already and would have liked the chain maybe half an inch longer to sit slightly lower on my neck.  While I am sending it back, I am encouraged by the fact that it is something I like.  And really if I didn’t already have several very similar pieces I would consider keeping it. 

The earrings (retail $19.99) were also nice They thin hoops and it is easy to see why they are less expensive than the necklace. While still nice enough quality to wear, they are not quite as nice as the necklace.  I’m not a big hoop earring sort of person.  I do have a couple of pairs that I like, but most hoop earrings I am not a fan of. (My favorite pair of ‘hoop earrings’ are actually a pair of bronze squid tentacles if that helps with my hoop style) These are thin and delicate enough that I do like them, however they aren’t distinctive enough that I really want to keep them. While I tried on the necklace, I didn’t try the earrings on since I knew I wasn’t keeping them.

Now, we finally get to the clothing.  There were three clothing items included in my bag this month.  I’ll go ahead and be honest, I’m only keeping one item.  I’ll cover the two I’m sending back first so we can end on a high note.

The first clothing item was a sleeveless shirt from the brand Sheila Rose.  It retails for $39.49. While I will wear tank tops under clothing and to sleep in and I wear shells under jackets and blazers, I am not a big sleeveless shirt sort of person.  If something is sleeveless I am putting a jacket or a cardigan over it.  Even though at the moment I just don’t like showing off the jiggle, I have always wanted my arms covered.  I will show shoulders, but there are very few times that I am willing to go without sleeves.  This is not the shirt that is going to make me change that feeling.  While it is beautifully soft and a nice color the fit is odd.  It is strangely long and does not in any way suit me. It is tight across the breasts, loose just below them and then it clings to the belly fat. In fact it emphasizes everything I told them I wished to cover. It it were loose and baggy around the waist I would like it more, but alas I do not. I like the softness and the color and I even like the graphic on the front, but the fit is all wrong.  Also while it was a short questionnaire, I did mention I didn’t want to show off my arms. So this was a big miss.

The second Item was a pair of Yummy Joggers from the brand Shosho. They retail for $$23.49. They are soft and I could easily see myself working in them at my desk.  However, they don’t fit right.  They are a little long in the leg and despite the fact that they feel super soft on, I don’t like the shininess of the material. I think if they were closer fitting then the shiny material wouldn’t bother me so much, but because they are baggy the shininess makes them look ill-fitting rather than just intentionally baggy. They are good quality though so that was encouraging.   I was actually very disappointed that I didn’t like these pants. I really wanted to like them more than I did, so back they are going.

Finally we have arrived at the one piece I am keeping.  It is a Alex A Line dress in black (retail $34.49).  The brand is Zenana.  The material is soft and light weight enough for summer use.  The dress has some shape to it which I really like.  So often when you are larger, dresses are just formless sacks or they gather in places you don’t want them to gather. 

This dress pulls in at my ribs and has a decorative gather in the middle  so it has some detail (although not much) and it has a loose skirt that comes down long enough for me to feel comfortable in.  The stitching is nice.  It is the sort of comfortable dress you can wear running around in during the spring and summer.  It isn’t something you’d wear out to a restaurant.  It is just a comfortable everyday dress.  Which at the moment is sort of what I need as I had to bid farewell to four of my favorite summer dresses during my spring closet clear out. I also happen to like black.  A large section of my closet is comprised of black clothing, however two of the three clothing items in my bag were black.  It would be nice to shake things up a bit. And in my color selection I didn’t really limit it. I just left it wide open for any color they wanted to choose. That will be another thing I will monitor in future bags.

While I want clothing that I like, I also went to be surprised and maybe pushed a little outside my comfort zone.   The dress I liked, and am keeping, is sort of the dead center bull’s eye of my comfort zone.  Which is both a good and a bad thing. I was sent something that I will wear and get a lot of use out if this summer and is something I would definitely have chosen on my own, but I also want a few surprises along the way, things that fit generally with what I like but I might not have known I wanted until I tried them on.

I know, I can be so picky sometimes.

All in all I have to say I am quite pleased by this month.  I know, it may not have sounded like it as I am only keeping one item, (and whined about not being surprised) but I genuinely had no real idea what to expect out of this Nadine West subscription.  It is also a first bag, a testing of the waters. Nadine doesn’t know me yet so I am going to give the bag, and the stylist/algorithm behind the bag a few months to see if they can come to grips with me. 

As my first foray into fashion subscriptions I am pleasantly please with the quality of the items and as I found one item in this initial bag that I liked it gives me hope that I will be able to find at least one item in the next bag so that my $9.78 styling fee will not be wasted.  I am sure that I can add a few decent quality, everyday wear items to my wardrobe. I’m not certain that this is the subscription I would turn to for dressier items, but perhaps it will surprise me.  As it is getting to know me, I am getting to know it. I think at the moment, I am willing to take that time and see how the subscription progresses. I also think this is a pretty easy clothing subscription to ease into.  I’m sure I’ll branch out in the future, but for now, this is a pretty good start.

April 2021 Macy’s Beauty Box

Good morning my darlings.  The April subscription boxes have begun to arrive.  First in the mailbox this month is Macy’s Beauty Box.  It is a $15 ($16.46 with tax).  I signed up for this box and December of 2020 was my first one so this makes the fifth that I have received.  Thus far I have been really impressed by the items they have included.  Each month has been very much worth the price of the box and I have to say, it is one of the subscriptions that I am really excited to find in my mailbox each month.

Inside the pink roll

While I believe prior to December Macy’s Beauty Boxes always came with a small makeup bag, for the past few months the makeup bag element has been substituted for other items.  In December there was a reusable plastic container with travel sized containers and I believe January’s bag was hair product themed so instead of a makeup bag they included a mini hair straightener. There has always been something that replaces the bag. Personally, I am okay with the substitutions. I like makeup bags, but there are realistically only so many you can use. This month, we actually received a makeup bag.

I kind of like it.  I wish the zipper went down the sides a bit so the mouth could open wider making the insides more accessible, but it is a really cute little bag that can hold quite a lot of items. I like the iridescent blue and the almost cracked mirror look.  While the bag does come with an information card, the card says nothing about the bag itself.

The card does give some pretty good information on the products and it also lists the theme as Red Carpet Inspo. Usually Macy’s does a pretty good job linking the theme to the products so it will be interesting to see how it relates.  Let’s dive into the pink tissue sausage roll shall, we?

I’ll admit, the first Item out of the bag made me happy.  It is a sample size of the Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat Blur Primer.  You know I love primers. They smooth the canvas of your face so that you may paint your daily masterpiece upon it.  A good primer can make even a not so great foundation better. This is one that I have wanted to try.  However it is on the pricey side, so I held off hoping I would get a chance to try it out before actually purchasing the primer. 

I know, I love trying products before I buy them. I’ve mentioned that about a zillion times before. Because here is the deal, it doesn’t matter if it is a very expensive luxury brand or a discount drugstore item, a product is only good if it works for you.  And you don’t know if it works for you until you try it.

There have been several products everyone raves about (both drugstore and high end) that just performed horribly for my skin and there are some that just really work well with my skin type that other people can’t stand to use.  Playing around with samples rather than listening to marketing is a better way to determine if something works for you.

Which is one of the reasons I love subscription boxes.  Now don’t get me wrong, I saw the YSL logo and the pretty, pretty gold flakes and I really wanted to take it home with me. Hence the delight that it is a sample in the bag.  I will gladly use the sample and see how I feel about the product after a week or so of use. And you know I am going to have to give it a go this afternoon when I put on my makeup. So you’ll get a first impression soon.

But on with the bag.

The second Item was a small Makeup Eraser. It is so small and cute. I really like Makeup Erasers.  They let me stop using makeup wipes and thus reduce the amount of trash that I produce and have become an essential part of my skincare and makeup routine.  While I do use makeup removing balms and oils, I apply the balm and oil to my face use the Makeup Eraser to help me out. It keeps the wash cloths from becoming mascara stained and keeps me from having to do any harsh scrubbing on my face. 

And the Makeup Eraser always washes up clean.  I’ve had mine for over a year (maybe 2 for the current one I’m using, I lost track) and after the wash it looks practically brand new.  The colors have faded a tiny bit, but there are no stains.  I can’t actually say the same thing for the PMD Cloth I received in a Boxycharm a few months ago, but that is another tale to tell.

Thus far I was as happy with this box as I have been with every other Macy’s box I’ve gotten. 

Then out rolled two black gel pencil style eyeliners. One is Natasha Moor’s Kohl it Magic Eyeliner and the other is Clinique’s Quickliner for eyes in Intense Ebony. I swatched them both and they look slightly different but feel the same on the skin.  I’m sure there are differences between them that I will find out once I start wearing them.  I’m sure that they are both fabulous.  But here’s the thing.  Its two black eyeliners in the same box. The same color. The same type of formula. It seems like a bad decision.

I have to say I was not all that happy with the Bodyography tapered blending brush either.  The ferrule is a little loose already and it feels a little cheap.

Next up we have the two perfume samples.  The Macy’s box tends to come with at least five items and usually includes two perfume samples.  This month the samples were both from Jimmy Choo.  One is the New I want Choo which looks interesting and the other is Jimmy Choo Man.  I will give that a sniff and see if it is unisex enough for me to wear or if it needs to pass to someone else but I am always happy to have new perfume samples to try out.

I have to say as much as I love the YSL Primer and the Makeup Eraser, this isn’t one of their better boxes.  Sadly I might have thought differently if the brush wasn’t wobbly and one of the eyeliners was in a shade other than black. 

Then I would probably have been a little happier.  But the brush was cheap feeling and there were two black eyeliners.  And as the boxes have been really good in the past few months, I just really expected more. I still think it is a good box for $15 and I am still glad to have it, but I feel it just isn’t as good as the other Macy’s boxes I’ve received in the past few months.

It’s still a good solid three out of five for me, but that is really because I love Makeup Erasers and am always happy to have another one in any size and because I really wanted to try out the YSL primer. Still a three isn’t all that bad all things considering.  It is solidly middle of the pack. It only feels like a letdown because the past few months have hit high fours and fives.

Makeup Eraser

A new to me box: Macy’s Beauty Box, December 2020 unboxing

My first Macy’s Beauty Box

I have to say Macy’s was one of those beauty boxes that I heard a lot of good things about.  Their focus was, if I remember correctly, on more luxury brands. In addition they almost always add perfume samples to the box. And you know perfumes are a weakness of mine. For me it is irresistible. I have always been drawn to glassware in general and I am a very scent oriented person, so the combination of pretty bottle and lovely scent are too much for me to resist. Although in my last move I whittled down my collection to one box before we moved and then sadly the box was destroyed in the move. While sad, the scents were replaceable. I still mourn the 1915 enameled glass atomizer that the replaceable scents took down and have been lurking in etsy and e-bay corners trying to find a replacement with no luck. But that saga is a story for another day.

Today we talk Macy’s. It is a $15 per month subscription box that offers five products.

Having heard good things about it, I was getting ready to subscribe to the box, adding it to my 2020 subscription list, when in the initial Spring of Corona, they discontinued the box.  Now it has returned.  I think October 2020 was their first month back.  I signed up in November, but December is my first actual box from them.  So this is not only my review but my initial impressions of the box itself. Let’s see what this first box holds.

The very first thing out of the box was a card that says Oops, we had to make a substitution. So it should be an interesting unboxing. There was also a travel kit, a tissue paper roll of products and a card with details about each item. I like that the card talks about the products a little bit and then offers a pro tip for using the product. Several of the pro tips are things I will be trying out actually so in that regard the pamphlet is really helpful. The prices listed for the items are for the full sized items. Interestingly, beside each item break out there is a picture of the sample sized item while in the center of the brochure there is a photo where the full sized items are pictured. while the samples in this pack were easily identifiable, I have gotten samples where the labels were almost too tiny to read. I can see the pictures being quite useful in many cases. The pamphlet also came with a $10 off my next Macy’s beauty purchase. Which is nice to have. I suspect i won’t use it before it expires because at the moment I am all shopped out. While I did save some money by not traveling for the holidays this year, I overcompensated for my lack of presence with extra gifts.

But that was the brochure and now we move to the actual products.

The first item in my Macy’s box is the new Mineralist Hydra Smoothing Lipstick in the shade Honesty from Bare Minerals.  It is supposed to be a good for your lips lipstick formula.  From Bare Minerals I can believe this. 

I really enjoy their products. They are one of those brands that is consistently reliable, but kind of quiet about it so I occasionally forget them. Then I use one of their products again and chastise myself for forgetting them. It is sometimes the danger of having so much selection. The good reliable brands don’t always get talked about as much.

And I am always happy to try out a new lipstick formula. The lipstick is small and kind of adorable.  If I hadn’t gotten the Giorgio Armani liquid lip in my Allure box this month I would have said it is one of the tiniest lip products I’d ever seen.  It is however a reasonable size for a sample. I think I will definitely get enough of a use out if this lipstick to be able to tell if I like the formula. Since I’m actually using both products in this week’s makeup bag, I’ll show a side by side sample size comparison then.

The second item in my box was the Peter Thomas Roth Cucumber Gel Mask. I like several Peter Thomas Roth products including both a primer (Skin to Die For Mattifying Primer) and a moisturizer (Hungarian Thermal Water Mineral Rich Moisturizer) and the mask sample of the Pumpkin Enzyme mask made me want to get a full sized jar immediately, so I am always happy to see anything from the brand in whatever size it comes in. 

Plus, you know me and masks. I am always happy to try a new one. Even the ones with no discernable skin care benefits give me a fifteen minute mental break, which is sometimes desperately needed. Admittedly those I use up and don’t repurchase, but it is still a nice mental break. I just prefer the mental break with skin care benefits.

And now things get a little interesting.

In the brochure, the next product listed is the Grande Cosmetics Stay put invisible lip liner. I have to say I was really looking forward to trying this out. Not only does it match everything since it has no color of it’s own, but it might make my lips look a little less crooked then when I try to use a dark liner with my red lipsticks. Although I am working on practicing my lines.

However, this is where the oops message came in. 

The item I received was from Grande Cosmetics, but I received a Plumping Liquid lip instead of the liner.  It is a pretty decent size and in the side panel where the color is shown I thought it looked nice.  And I do like plumping lip products, so I went from disappointed to excited. But as I’m guessing several of you looked at the picture and realize I am about to be disappointed again.

When I pulled the wand out to swatch it, the end of the wand was MIA.  It either snapped off in the tube or is missing.  I’m going to call and report it in and see what happens.  If worse comes to worse, I will try using a lip brush to attempt applying it if only to test the formula.  I’ll have to let you know how that works out. I know the top is too small for a cotton swab, but I think I might have a brush that will fit for at least one use.

If nothing else at least it gives me a chance to see what their customer service department is like.  And that is always nice to know.  Admittedly, I would have preferred the lipstick or the liner. I’ve tried mascara from Grande cosmetics and really liked it, but I’ve not tried any lip products so I went from happy to kind of bummed.

Still, I was happy to see the Kiehl’s since 1851 Calendula and Aloe Soothing Hydration Masque.  Not only is it another mask for me to try (woot!) but I actually received a sample size of the moisturizer from this line in my Birchbox Advent Calendar this year so it will be nice to try two different products from the same line. Plus, I believe this is a five minute mask and having a quick mask around is not a bad thing. Because one is a longer and possibly overnight mask (the Peter Thomas Roth) and the other is a five minute mask I don’t find it too strange that two masks were in the box. Especially as this theme seems to be self-care. And Keihl’s is a brand that I generally like using so I am happy to try more from them.

There was a moisturizer in the box as well this month.  It wa the most adorable little pot of Shiseido Energy Moisturizing Gel Cream.  I’ve tried a couple of samples from Shiseido before and they always worked really well on my skin.  They are all relatively strongly scented, so that is always something to watch out for, but I have always liked using them. And I am happy to have another sample to try out. especially since the samples I tried were the foil packet sizes and I wasn’t certain I liked the fragrance enough to try for a full size. This sample, though small, is large enough that I can consistently use it for a short time and make a decision about the fragrance and a full sized trial.

Speaking of fragrance…

There were two perfume samples in this month’s bag, one from Juicy Couture – the new Viva La Juicy Le Bubbly to be exact  and the other Dolce & Gabbana’s Light Blue Pour Homme. I have never tried wither so I am more than happy to give them a test.  Each of the little samples has enough product in it to do a full week’s trial so look for those reviews coming soon.

Finally this month there was also a kit of travel sized plastic bottles.  The bottles are nice plastic bottles, one pump, one spray one squeeze and two pill container type pots.  I know, technically it was the first thing out of the box as it wasn’t wrapped up with the other items, but I needed a few minutes to decide how I felt about it. The bottles come in a reusable plastic pouch and are all suitable for plane travel carry ons.  In the blurb about the Beauty Box when I subscribed it mentioned a bag coming with the subscription. I think this travel kit is in replacement of that bag. I could be wrong about that and only some boxes come with a bag and some don’t. Or they might have changed it.

Whether the travel kit was a bag replacement or not, I found it a bit of a strange addition, especially this year when a lot of travel has been canceled. But it is a nice little kit.  I’m sure at some point I will have a use for it.  For now it will go into my suitcase to be stored for when I am finally able to travel again.

Overall, I am actually pleased with my $15 December bag.  The products are all nice and ones that I will certainly use, some just not now.  The Grande lip product was disappointing, but hopefully I will at least get to find out a little about Macy’s customer service. The pouch of travel containers was a little strange given the current moratorium on travel that most of us have going on at the moment. I don’t know if that was a hopeful selection when it was made or if someone just didn’t think it through.  Maybe it was pre-planned and too late to change by the time the bags were getting ready to be shipped.  I’m sure at some point I will get some use out of them, it just isn’t going to be this Christmas.

I will admit that when I went looking for more information as to why the travel kit was added this month (I thought there might be a blurb featuring reasoning that made it seem less strange) I saw a bit of a spoiler.  Apparently next month is going to be focused on products for the hair so I am excited to see what they come up with for that. Even if I didn’t find out more about the bag and travel kit.

As a first month of a subscription, it was pretty good for me. I look forward to trying out a few more months at least to see how long I will be keeping the subscription, but for now, I’m happy to stay subscribed and see where this beauty bag takes me.


November 2020 BoxyCharm Premium Unboxing

I am going to come right out and say it.  This was one of the better boxycharm boxes they have had in a while.  At least as far as I am concerned.   Boxy Charm Premium is a $35 per month subscription tier of the BoxyCharm world.  For this $35 I am supposed to get six full sized products. Let’s see what products they sent this month.

First up is the Grown Alchemist Night Cream (retail $125).  I believe everyone received this product in their boxes this month.  As so many of my creams lately have turned out to be fantastic day creams but not so great at night, I am always looking for a good night cream.  I have heard of Grown Alchemist but never tried anything by them.  While I like the look of the paint tube container for the night cream, it will be interesting to see how it works in practice.  I can see both the possibility for great good and great evil inside it. And that is just the packaging.  Regardless, I am ready to give it a test and happy to see it in my box.

The Smashbox Photo Finish fresh setting powder (retail $39) was my choice item this month and I’ll admit I was intrigued by the fact that you spin the dial to loosen powder from a solid surface.  I don’t know how it will work but it did make it to the house early enough that the powder made it to my makeup bag this week so I will let you know on Friday.

Also making it to my makeup bag this week and arriving in this November BoxyCharm Box was the Pur 4-in-1 skin perfecting powders face palette (retail $32).  I love the thought of face palettes.  The all in one that saves space and makes it easy to get ready.  Thus far it hasn’t worked out too well for me but I continue to hope.  We will see how this palette does in it’s makeup bag test.

Another item I believe everyone received this month is a new launch from Cosmedix.  It is the Skincare brush set (retail $25).  I have been using a silicone spatula brush for my masks for a while now. 

I picked it up from Amazon for less than a dollar a while back and it has been working fabulously well.  I’m happy to give a more expensive brush set a go.  I like that on the spatula looking one there is a smooth side and a textured side.  I am a little less certain of the flat brush.  It is composed of actual bristles.  I’m going to try it with a couple of my creamier masks and see how it performs.  I’ll have to get back to you on that.  I am curious but I suspect it might not be as fabulous as the flat silicone brush.  But I am willing to try.

Next up is the Dose of Colors Block Party single eyeshadow (retail $20).  It is an old cold kind of shade which picks the light up very well.  I like the Dose of Colors formula even though I don’t have many of their eyeshadows. 

I think this color is one that I might incorporate into my Holiday looks actually.  This year we may be staying home but we will be festive for the video calls.  There will also be cocktails via the video calls, but that is another story. 

And New Year’s may see me on the couch with my baby doll but even if I go with comfy pajama pants, I will still be rocking a new pair of shoes, a glass of champagne and at least one sparkletastic eyeshadow.  Will this be it?  We shall see.

Finally we take the last item out of the box and find it is the Realher lip liner duo (retail $25). Am I super excited about a lip liner duo? Not terrible, however I don’t have a red quite this shade (and need to buy one because I have several red lipsticks this shade)) and the second one is a lovely neutral.  They both feel creamy and I have lately been really liking the Realher products that I have been using. In fact the Dream so Big Palette is on my list of products to pick up. I am going to have to do a bit of a palette declutter before I do though. But the shades in that palette just look so nice. I also want to try out their lipstick formula. They are actually having a sale on those right now so I might be talking myself into the set sooner than the eyeshadow. Lip products, my eternal weakness. I linked the sale at the bottom of the page for those interested.

That was the contents of my BoxyCharm premium this month.   So I paid $35 and received $266 worth of product. While that is a good return for my money, I am more pleased by the fact that everything in this box is a product that I can use.  I love setting powder and have high hopes for the Pur Palette.  I love eyeshadows and was looking at ones specifically for festive looks, which this is certainly sparkly enough to qualify as.

And actually I was contemplating buying one of the shades of lip liner that I received this month.  When I first started getting Boxy Charm there were months when it would arrive and the majority of the items in the box were ones I had either just run out of or had been looking at picking up.  At first it made me think that BoxyCharm might have hidden cameras somewhere in my dressing table. Then they kind of went off the rails a little bit.  This box felt a bit like the old Boxy Charm was returning. Which is kind of amusing as they have now been bought by IPSY. I have to say, it is still a nice feeling.

RH Week of Beauty Steals – Matte Lipstick Collection- 12 Matte Lipsticks for $35

IPSY Ultimate Unboxing June 2020

The June 2020 IPSY Ultimate Glam Bag

I know it is a little strange that this box review is coming a little late.  After all, if you are familiar with my Make up Bag posts you’ll see that many of these items were chosen for this week’s bag.  I was attempting to get the Look Fantastic and Glossy Box reviews posted before those boxes sold out for the month. It didn’t work as they both sold out super quick but that was the attempt.

The IPSY Ultimate Glam Bag actually came in last Thursday so I was able to choose some of the items that arrived to test this week as I generally pack my new makeup bag Thursday night for the following week. So if you find the items familiar, that may be why.

This month’s bag

So for those who don’t know IPSY is a Beauty subscription service.  They have three tiers The Glam Bag ($12/mo), The Glam Bag Plus ($25/mo and the Ipsy Ultimate ($50/ mo).  I am currently signed up for the Ipsy Ultimate so that is what I am reviewing. 

In my box I receive a make-up bag eight full sized items and four deluxe sample sized items each month. IPSY started this tier in October of 2019 and to be honest it has not always been the greatest of subscriptions.  Some months they hit it out of the park and some month’s they completely tank.  So let’s see what June ended up being shall we?

This month the theme was Making Waves and the card that came with the box listed five tips to maximize your SPF.  While handy, I would have preferred more information about the products.  However even when they do list the prices, they only list the prices for the full sized items not the deluxe sample sized ones.  The prices I am using for this post are taken from the IPSY website.

The first item out of my June box was the Laura Geller Spackle Mist Restore with Coconut Water.  It is not only supposed to cool the skin on a hot summer’s day but to act as a primer to increase wear time.  It retails for $32. At the moment I have one decent setting spray and one that is very pretty but not very effective so I am happy to try out another one.  I put this in my make up bag for the week so I will see how it performs right away.  I generally like Laura Geller products so I’m expecting good things. Incidentally Laura Geller is having a sale at the moment. I’ll post the link here.

Laura Geller is helping you save this summer. Get Photo -Ready with the Perfect Filter. Take 50% off any Filter Product with coupon code “FILTER50” at check out. Add free shipping on all orders of $50+. Offer valid though 6/16.

CIATÉ LONDON also made an appearance in this month’s box with the Wonderwand Mascara in Black Magic.  It is a deluxe size and I will be setting it aside until I work through my already opened mascaras. I am trying to keep only three or four open at a time so I can use them up before they go bad.  I think I might actually have the full sized version of this already open, but will have to check.

As I finish the old ones I’ll rotate the newer ones in (or I’ll just get too excited to see one and open it anyway, I try to be good but I’m just not very good at it.) We’ve been seeing a lot of Ciate London lately and I am not mad at that.  I really like Ciate products.  I think I am missing a bronzer and a primer, but beyond that I may actually be able to do a complete face with Ciate products.  Who knows I may pick up those items and have one makeup bag from the same brand. And I have heard their bronzer is pretty good. Something for future me to think about.

Next up was the Huda Beauty Basic B Sponge (retail $17). It too was added to this week’s makeup bag to try out.  Mostly because the sponge I was using was at the end of its life.  I may have to do a tool review this week in addition to the palette and foundation posts as I also added the Laruce Beauty Essentials Brush Set (retail $154) that came in this month’s box to my weekly make-up bag. And yes you read that right it is a five piece brush set with a retail value of $154. I’ll have to let you know if I think it is worth it’s high price tag.

My next sample size was the Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra Clarifying Acne Treatment Face Oil. While I had several break outs, I’ve been using the Peace Out dots on them for the past week or so and everything is pretty much cleared up.  So I will put this away to try on the next string of break outs.  With the way my skin reacts to stress, I’m sure it won’t take long for it to be needed. And unlike the Martian Toner, it has not been discontinued.

This month I received an IL MAKIAGE Infinity Long-Wear Matte Lip Cream in the shade Dreamy (retail $22).  It is full sized and was added to this week’s make-up bag so you won’t have to wait too long to hear my thoughts on it.  I will say right off the bat, the packaging feels super lux and made me want to use it right away. I swatched it immediately. I’m afraid it might be a little too pinky orange for me, but as I have never tried the formula I will be using it to see if I like the formula. I may augment the color with a lip pencil if I don’t like it, but it will be worn this week. (or has been worn this week actually and spoiler, I really like the formula, not so happy with the color.)

While not in my makeup bag, I did put the sample sized NAKED COSMETICS Lip Scrub in Vanilla Crème in my bathroom to try this week.  With the summer sun beating down and repeated sunscreen applications, I have been using lip scrubs almost as much as I do in the winter months so I was happy to have a new one to try. I’ll have to let you know if it makes the cut.

This month I received two eyeshadow palette in my IPSY box. The first I pulled out of the box was THEBALM COSMETICS AUTOBALM® PIC PERF (retail $26.50).  I was surprised to get two eyeshadow palettes in the same box, but also rather pleased.  I like The Balm shadows in general and I am curious to try the cream lid primer that comes in this palette. That’s right the neutral primer is a cream while the others are all powders. I have to say I kind of like that the primer is a little tinted instead of just being super pale white. But then again I spent most of the past couple of weeks realizing almost everything I have in my makeup drawer is my winter shade and not summer so there is that.

The Balm Palette

Another brand that has been cropping up lately in IPSY Boxes has been SHAINA B MIAMI.  This month brought the Mini Miami Blush and Highlight Palette It has two blushes and two highlighters.  I haven’t tried them out yet and it is one of the few items that didn’t make it into this week’s Make-up Bag.  Perhaps I’ll give it a go next week. The palette is considered full sized despite having mini in the title and you can see why as it has pretty large pans.  It retails for $20.

The second eyeshadow palette from DOUCCE, the Freematic Limited Edition Smokey Pro Palette (retail $65) to be exact, was the shadow palette I chose for this week’s Make-up bag. I’ll be reviewing it on Thursday so I won’t go into too much detail here, but I like that it is a reusable palette.  It also feels quite sturdy in the hand.

Finally, we come to the last item in this month’s Ipsy Ultimate. It was the item that I picked when given a choice.  Each month you get to choose one item from a few options.  As the past few months, my bags have been heavily skin care I decided to choose the makeup option this month to see if I could slide it the other way as I am trying to work my way through a bunch of skin care. If I remember correctly this was the only makeup item in my selection and I think I laughed that it was a makeup product from a skin care company.

The choice for the July item is June 24th at 9 am EST in case you are interested. It opens at 9am each month and remains open for 24 hours I believe. Last month the item I chose for this month was the DR BRANDT SKINCARE Pores No More® Luminizer Primer (retail $38). 

For me it seemed a no brainer.  I have a weakness for primers and the few items I’ve tried from Dr. Brandt I have really liked.  Their night mask is one I tried out and I know I will repurchase.  And yes, I added it to this week’s make up bag so you’ll be hearing all about it on Friday as well.

Over all I really liked this month’s IPSY Ultimate Box.  The items are ones I will use, that I like, and that I am excited to try out.  For my $50 purchase price I received $374.50 worth of items. 

Admittedly $154 of that was the five piece brush set from Laruce Beauty, but even so I feel it was a very good value.  It felt like a really good box to me. It is kind of interesting that it was so make up heavy this month when it has been so heavily weighted towards skin care the past few months. I didn’t change up my profile but this month I didn’t choose any of the skin care options during choice. I don’t know if that made any difference whatsoever, but that is how it ended up shaking out. Perhaps they just decided June was a make-up month.Either way I enjoyed my Ipsy this month and at the moment I am happy to continue my subscription for another month.

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Boxy Charm July 2019 Review

BoxyCharm July 2019

Back from my trip and getting a bit of a slow start today but I did have a lot of fun. Completely ignored my diet but I had enough fun ai will willingly deal with the consequences. Moving on, before I left my Boxy Charm came in so I was able to use the products over the weekend.

Boxy Charm has been one of my favorite subscription boxes for a while.  It is a $21/ month (23.05 w/ tax for some) box.  It is billed to your account on the 1st of the month, ships between the 6th -10th and contains five full sized products.

This month the first thing I pulled out of the box was an Elemis Superfood Vital Veggie Mask (retail $35). I’ve tried a few products from Elemis before and for the most part liked them.  My issue with them is always the scent.  This was no exception.  I know people say it smells green and healthy.  Personally, I think it smells like the plant food my mom used to put in her African Violets when I was a kid.  It has that sort of scent to it.

Scent aside, I did like this product. Most of the masks I’ve been using recently have clay in them and it tends to be harder to remove.  This was super easy.  You apply a thin layer and then after about 20 minutes you wipe off the excess with a damp washcloth.  My skin was nice and soft after.  As a note, you really have to make sure you wipe it all off though as your face will feel sticky if you leave any of the product on.

The second item I pulled out of my box was the Alamar Cosmetics Mother of Pearl Gloss. (retail $10). It has a slight tint to it, but not much color at all, it is just slightly shimmery.  It is not sticky in the least and the gloss smelled like pineapples, which I liked. All in all not bad.  I’m not much of a gloss person and I’m not so fond of the glittery lips, so it probably won’t get a whole lot of use but I will toss it in my bag and use it every now and again.  I wasn’t too excited by it, but it is a good product.

Next, I extracted an Appeal Gel liner in the shade Deep Taupe (retail $21). It is exactly the same as the liner I got in my June Lip Monthly bag, right down to the color, so I left it sealed and will be passing it along to someone else. It is a good liner and can be used for both eyes and lips which is nice.  It is an extremely smooth and long lasting formula. I still think $21 is too much for a liner in general though. So as nice as it is I would never purchase it on my own.

Next, I pulled out the Luxie Gaea three piece brush set (retail $30).  Luxie brushes are always good quality with no loose bristles and well-made handles, at least the ones I’ve gotten.  Of the three, two are brushes I will use, the third is a brush of a type I just don’t use.  I always like having extra brushes around because that means I can rotate them out and go longer without cleaning them.  I need to sit down and do a mass brush cleaning actually. I tend to rotate the clean ones forward in the holder, sigh heavily when there are no more clean ones and then sit down to a mass cleaning while promising myself that next time I won’t leave it so long. Which is a promise I consistently break. Anyway…

my admittedly bad swatches of the Butter London palette

The final item and the one I was most excited by was the Butter London Natural Goddess Eyeshadow Palette (retail $32).  I love their mascara and I was really looking forward to this.  The shades are nice and the formula is really good.  It is soft and super easy to blend.  It also stays put.  Even my shimmery shades didn’t migrate. My big complaint would be that there are only two matte shades and the others are shimmery.  I would have liked one more matte and one less shimmer. Also even though it is a very nice shade, I won’t be wearing the blue eyeshadow.  I like the pop of color, but I just can’t wear blue eyeshadow.  I think I was just traumatized by the 1980s. I will be reaching often for the warm brown shade in this palette though (Temptress).  I can easily see that being my go to for quite a while.

All in all I was really happy with this month’s box. The products were nice and had a total of $128 value which is pretty good for a $21 box. While I will be passing along the gel liner and probably won’t get a lot of use out of the lip gloss, (and one brush) I will use the mask, two of the brushes and the eyeshadow palette.  Last month in the Boxy Charm vs. Ipsy Glam Bag Plus, Ipsy took the win.  This month I think Boxy might take the title.  My ipsy bag will be coming in later this week so I will have to hold off on the final verdict.

June 2019 Ipsy Glam Bag Plus Review

June 2019 IPSY Glam Bag Plus in all its unboxed glory

My Ipsy glam bag plus arrived and I have to say, this was a good month. I also need to say that this is not a paid advertisement in anyway as I bought the box myself and am not affiliated or sponsored in anyway with any of the below products. My opinions are my own.

The details: Ipsy glam bag plus is a $25 a month subscription offered by Ipsy.  You get 4-5 full sized products delivered to you each month. Previously you had to be on a waiting list, but I think now you just have to be a member getting the regular glam bag.  The regular glam bag is a $10 a month subscription and has 5 deluxe samples in a cute little makeup bag.  When you move to the glam bag plus you can decide whether to keep the $10 glam bag or just have the $25 so the end result would be just the $25 a month or $35 a month if you keep both. You can find out by clicking the link.

And now onto the review.

The first thing I pulled out of my bag was the GENERATION CLAYUrban Defence Purifying Pink Clay Mask ($39).  And no that is not a typo, at least not on my part. Even though my fingers itch to turn defence into defense, on the package it is written with a c so either it is an Australian spelling or the company chose this spelling for reasons that escape me. Neither of which has any relevance on the product.  I have tried the purple clay mask from them an absolutely loved it.  It came in a deluxe sample tube from the regular ipsy bag a while back and I really wished it was larger.  Now I have a full sized jar to use. So I guess someone was listening.  (I wonder if now is the right time to tell the universe I want a pony…)

While I do in general like masks as I like the 10-20 minute time out they more or less force you to take while they do their thing, since I’ve been working out, I really like the clay based masks. On Friday afternoon once I’ve completed my last workout of the day, cooled down and taken a quick shower, I like to use a mask to completely clean out the pores and treat myself to a mini reward for making it through the week and not ditching the workouts.

Although I ought to confess I tried this mask on as soon as the box was opened, because I couldn’t resist. The pink was just as good as the purple and I look forward to using the entire jar. Well done, GENERATION CLAY, spelling issue forgotten.

The second item in my box was a set of F.A.R.A.H brushes ($50).  A 5-piece eye perfecting set to be exact.  The brushes were in good condition and had a decent variety for everyday use.  No bristles were loose and they looked sturdy.  I put them to use very quickly as the box also contained an eyeshadow palette and they did really well.  I suspect I will get a lot of use out of them.

TETRIS™ X IPSY Game On Eyeshadow Palette ($24) was in this box and I have to say I was on the fence about this product at first.  I saw the spoilers on the ipsy site so I knew it was coming my way and looked for details. Typically with eye shadow palettes I like to look for the ways other people use the shadow. While I like eye shadow, even though I am drawn to the bold and glitter, my daily look tends towards the neutral. Watching others use the palette helps guide me away from clown or super villain territory, especially if there is a blue involved. If left alone with blue eye shadow (especially the darker shades) I tend to look like I belong to the cast of villains featured on the Adam West Era of Batman. The Ipsy site does have videos showing products in use so I was hopeful. My hopes were dashed as the video more or less featured tall looking women who seemed to be constantly spinning around for some reason.  I was left with the impression that they were wearing the eyeshadow and that attending this party would make me very dizzy. However palette in hand I bravely took up my new brushes and began to play. While not the most saturated of colors, they were very buildable and despite the one bright blue which I will use sparingly (lest Gotham worry) the others I can see myself reaching for a lot. There was very little fall out and the pigments went on smoothly.  I look forward to playing with this palette throughout the month, possibly even the blue.

Item number four in my box was the TRÈSTIQUEMatte Color + Shiny Balm Lip Crayon in Belize Bordeaux & Grenache Balm ($25).  The color is fabulous and works well for me. And you know how I love lipstick. The balm at the end of the tube is great with just a hint of color and I foresee much use from both of them.  Also I really like the magnetic cap for the lip crayon. Two thumbs up for this product.

And now finally we come to the last item in the box and the one I was most excited about. In the box was a full sized SUNDAY RILEY C.E.O. Vitamin C Rich Hydration Cream ($65). I have never tried anything by Sunday Riley. I have friends who swear by the brand and other friends who can’t stand it. I am glad to have a full sized product to try as I can never really tell with the sample sized skin care products if they are actually doing anything. So while I did my initial try out of the product I will be using it as recommended and will post a more detailed review in about two weeks. I have to say, my initial impressions were good. When opening the product it was full to the brim with product and smelled like a creamsicle. I am a very scent oriented person so this made me rather happy to try out the product. I used the cream before bed last night and it absorbed well into the skin.As it is tagged for both Am and PM use, I used it again this morning. With my daily workouts, summertime heat and the nearly overwhelming humidity, this product will be well tested by the time I am done with it.

Review to follow in a few weeks.

That was everything in the box and I have to say I was impressed. It is a selection I like and will in fact use. I get to try out a skin care product that interested me, play with a new set of eyeshadows, got a new set of brushes, a fabulous new face mask, and added to my lipstick collection. Not a bad haul. For those doing the math My $25 box came with a listed value of $203 worth of products. Not a bad return on investment. Way to go Ipsy. More months like this and I will be a very happy camper.

(The values listed are based on the prices in the pamphlet that came with the box and were double checked on the various product sites.)

For more official info try: https://www.ipsy.com/