Wednesday, August 27, 2014

August Topbox Goodies

Here is my August Topbox Goodies. I opted for the baggy they have on request this time. I felt the big tube that came with my last one is a bit excessive for packaging. I did turn the last one into a piggy bank though!
The first item is this little container of nail polish remover pads from Belvada Cosmetics. This is your ideal nail polish remover pack on-the-go. I'm surprised they come with a whoopin' 28 pads. It's very condensed down. It's a Canadian product, being from Montreal, and is acetone-free, which I appreciate. The bonus is the scent; It actually smells delightfully like grape juice. My sister received the watermelon scent. Please do not consume.

I'm not sure where you can pick this pack up. Their website doesn't seem to sell the container at all, and there is no list price. I think it is a brand new product they are letting us sample at. Very nice. =)
There are three of these packs of hair colour caring oil by Matrix in the August Topbox. I don't have any other colour in my hair at the moment, but I am thinking maybe I should put some purple or red in the mix. Maybe then I can test these out. This is a new collection infused with Moroccan argan oil. I do love a good oil to rub in my hair for that extra care and moisture. They do help with split ends too.

This is also a new product that isn't available via their site too, but the Topbox card says to find a salon that may carry it.
This is the Wild Flower Macadamia Oil Hand Cream by Barefoot Venus. The product is your standard hand cream, feels nice and moisturizing when applied. The only downfall is the strong scent that comes with it. It's smells tangy, flowery, fruity, and musky all-in-one, but not unpleasant.

I do like the packaging; the graphic on the bottle is quite nice. This 60 mL goes for about $5.99 on their site at
They've also included a 20% off coupon once again, for any purchases on their site. Feel free to use this one at checkout: TOPBOX 2014. It expires Sept 15, 2014.
Lastly, we have a full product by LAQA & Co. It's their Sheer Lip Lube in Bees Knees. The tube doesn't list the name of the shade, but the card says it's in Bees Knees. Individually, they're ridiculously priced at $20 (CAD) each, available at their site, I checked, and it says they're priced at $18 each, but there is also a pack where you can grab all the shades for $40. I'm not sure why they are priced like that.

Compared to their Fat Lip Pencils, with which I received in my May 2014 Topbox (You'll have to scroll down), I think I like the Sheer Lip Lubes better. This feels more moisturizing when applied. This shade probably doesn't suit my skin tone very much, but I do like the finish and how it feels on my lips. There is a light minty scent to it as well.

And that is it, folks! This month I think I got a great l'il handful of products. Thanks for tuning in, and hope the rest of your summer is awesome!


Sunday, August 24, 2014

My Last Ipsy Bag and Reasons Why I Cancelled

I've gone and cancelled my Ipsy Bag subscription, and I'm not really sad to say it.
This is my August Glam Bag and it'll be my last, I'm afraid. There were a fair amount of reasons why I decided not to continue my subscription. I will get on with the bag first before I rant, and vent, and justify my cancellation.

The bag itself this month isn't a bad bag really. Besides the plastic smell of it, I was surprised at the new shape it came in -- Just a cylindrical bag with an orange zip.

The first point I will add to my reasons is the collection of the small Ipsy bags. I have about ten or so at the very least, and I'm not using any of them for anything. They're piling up in a corner of my room and collecting dust. I think I will be giving my least favourite ones away so I don't collect too much clutter.
The first item I reached for is this Jersey Shore Sun lip conditioner. I love this Mandarin Orange lipbalm. It's an organic product that I'm thinking of looking up. This smells like lime throughout, and I looove citrus-smelling lippies. It's been a positive addition to my lipbalm storage.
The next item is this mini Lord & Berry khol-liner in #1001 Black SILK. It has a lovely matte finish, and has a very good staying quality. I've yet to test it on the eyes, but I think it would be flattering with dramatic looks.
This sheer glo shimmer lotion from MANNA is something I know I won't use. The idea of a shimmery lotion is to mix in with your foundation or concealer to add a "radiant look," but I really don't fancy wearing shimmery all-over creams or lotions as a whole. Anybody else dig that sexy vampire look? I gotcha covered if you do. ;)
By all means, I mean my cancellation to have a positive send off... sort of. The last item I'll ever get from Ipsy, for now, is this new mini Urban Decay mascara in Perversion. It is part of the same named series by Urban Decay. Here is the accommodating eyeliner set that is newly available. I love their liners; I have to say they're probably along the lines of the best liners out there.

This mini mascara will definitely be loved. I find they're great for traveling and such, being all mini, you know. *Teehee! I love the smoky graphic on the tube too.

Now, to get one with the rest of my "reasonings" behind my cancellation. I am aware that all the items I received are mostly sample sizes, and being that Ipsy is a $10 (USD) service ($14.95 Canadian -- for me!), it is a nice once-a-month deal. For me, I felt that part of the service was the customization quiz that the site offers each time you receive a bag is way off. I think it failed me for one, and as with each bag I received, I was not getting items that I would likely actually use. I felt like I was throwing out more of these small items and samples rather than actually getting anything that was worth it personally.

When signing up to Ipsy, there is an extensive quiz with which to start out your first bag. The major points by them include what your style is, brands you'd like to receive from, and an all encompassing, most identifying point of choosing your skin tone and hair colour. I'd have figure they would actually have your quizzes and personal taste at heart with the "customization," but it's been a real random repetitive road trip. Trying saying that fives times fast.

Even attempting to cancel with Ipsy was frustrating in itself. I've done some research, online, verbally through other people, and personally with trying to cancel cold turkey. Ipsy's system makes you go through the process of clicking cancel, why you're cancelling, and check your inbox for this cancellation email THREE TIMES. My sister cancelled her Ipsy just last month, and she furiously had to verify three to four times before the email actually showed up in her inbox. Mine showed after three attempts, and from what I gather on the internet, a lot of others have had this problem too. By the third round, I just wanted Ipsy to let me live my life in peace. *huff

It is safe to say, Ipsy is an affordable subscription service. I just don't think they cater to people who have varying styles really. From my months and months of experience with this, I felt that a lot of these items have mostly gone to waste.

For now, I think i will stay subscribed to Topbox, as I haven't had a feel fail box yet. For us Canadians, it is a lot more affordable than dearest Ipsy too (At $12 a box!).

Thanks for tuning in. Stay tuned for August's Topbox.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Tarte Captivates

You've probably seen this cute packaging over at the Tarte display at Sephora throughout the summer. If not, you probably don't shop make up constantly like a product predator... like me. *nervous feet shuffling
Anyway, here it iiiis! As with all of Tarte's Amazonian clay blushes, you get this nifty design that is their signature imprint. I think it's a representation of the Amazon River where the Amazonian clay is harvested from. There's a simple video by Tarte explaining where and why the clay is used for these blushes.

Also with Tarte products, you get well thought out packaging. I think that was a pointer that Maureen Kelly, the founder of Tarte, was set on making -- products that look and feel girly, but enough so that they appeal to anyone feminine no matter their age. I really dig that. It's a great marketing idea too if you think about it. *slow nod
On my skin tone, it is a peachy coral colour. I feel like this shade is suited for the late summer months, and I have been enjoying it a lot this summer.

Think you'll grab this shade too? Thanks for checking in!


Saturday, August 16, 2014

em Cosmetics Yays and Nays

I have had this collection for a few months now, and I have been hesitant on reviewing the makeup since I had so much of it, and I didn't know where to start. Also, if you're thinking I bought it all in one sitting, I think you'd think I'd be crazy. You'd be right. Alas, I have acquired these lovely treasures at three different times, and by three different ways, since em has started up. Be prepared, it's a long post concerning my experiences with buying, applying, and enjoying.

On that note, it's actually been a year since em Cosmetics started up. There is a one-year anniversary sale up on the site now, if you're thinking of grabbing some things. Happy Birthday em! =)

When em Cosmetics just started up, the whole thing was new and it escalated as Michelle Phan's biggest achievement; her very own makeup line partnered with L'oreal. And, if you don't know who Michelle Phan is, you probably should know now that she is one of the biggest names in makeup. Her YouTube channel has been around since 2006 (eight years ago), but it was probably in 2007 when she started gathering popularity over her edgy and unique make up tutorials. Her online blog is one of the most well-known beauty blogs on the internet too.

Anyway, this is a review on some select things I picked up, and how I picked them up. I did say I picked them up at three different times and by three different ways. The first time, I asked a favor of a friend of a friend, who lives in New York City, to send a few things down my way. She was able to order them online and then send me them when she received them. Considering how much the Life Palette was then, it was expensive, but I really wanted my hands on these.

The second time I ordered some things from em, was when they first partnered up with who send American packages internationally. This time, I ordered a couple of things thinking it would be a simple process, but I dished out a lot more money than expected this way. The package costed almost thrice the shipping expenses it was worth, which was VERY disappointing considering all the "discounted international rates for exports to 225 countries." Basically, if you lived outside the US, and you were willing to dish out a lot more money, you could have these products. But for me, it was almost entirely not worth the complicated process and precious monies getting it here. EmCosmetics still uses this method on their main website for international shipping. =/

Even considering that some of these products are made in Canada, it's completely mind-boggling how em Cosmetics is not readily available anywhere in Canada. The labels on a lot of these products say Montreal, Canada, and "Made in Canada" so there's no denying that fact. I just think that L'Oreal and em Cosmetics could have made better decisions when considering distribution. I know licensing can be a difficult process, but it seems like it was an after thought to even consider sending to other countries.

The third time, was not too long ago, when em Cosmetics made some of their line available on This final way of buying from the line is probably the most convenient, and in my opinion, the best way if you live outside the US. If you have Amazon Prime, then you can probably get your package in the next 2-3 days. It was that convenient for me. The cost was much, MUCH lower than the myus way, and that "WORTH IT" factor was definitely present. Keep in mind there is a bit of a price difference from products on the main site too.

As for the prices, I was glad to see Michelle lower the cost of her Life Palettes from $79 to $49 (on the main site). Though I think it could have also been a marketing ploy, to grab as much as would sell in the hype before turning to more realistic prices that can be affordable to your average make up enthusiast (Hmm... indeed!). I'm just glad they're kind of more affordable now.

Well now that those points are out of the way, we can move on to the actual makeup!

This is a preview of one of the Life Palettes. I bought the Career Life Palette because I found it's probably the only palette in the collection I'd get the most use out of. The sectioned off looks are divided by name. First is power suit (top left), girl in charge (top right), out to lunch (bottom left), and natural talent (bottom right). The individual shades do have names typed on the backs of the pans, but they are one too many here. I do love the lip colours each look comes with. 

I won't be swatching these, unfortunately. There are a ton of other blogs and review sites that will have them. I do have swatches ready for the other makeup products I got from em Cosmetics, and yes, I do have some eye shadow swatches below as well. Don't worry! ;)
Each palette comes with a complimentary empty compact and a tool that removes each pan via the tiny extra space provided along each pan space. I do like this concept, but I think it should have been included with the Shade Play compacts that are also by em.
See here, the Shade Play compacts are also eye shadows palettes, but the pans don't have the ability to be removed from their palettes like the smaller life palettes. I feel the collection as a whole would be kind of interesting had all the palettes have removable pans too. Instead, they are glued down this time 'round. Believe me, I've tried prying a pan out too with no luck (Had to try!). This palette is called tokyo plums, and each of the other shade play compacts are named after other major cities around the world as well.
From the top left going counter clockwise, we have a light matte peachy shade that is a great blender colour. The next is a semi-matte lavender that has a bit of a satin finish. Third is a complimentary satin shade that is kind of a light rose gold colour. The first darker matte shade is a deep purple, and the second has a blacker base with violet glitter. The last shade is the biggest pan in the palette, and it's a dark lilac shade, and probably my favourite. =D

The quality of all of the eye shadows including the Life Palette will come reviewed as a whole. I do like the formula. The matte shades are drier than the shimmers, which is pretty standard when considering any eye shadow. I feel like the colour pay-off comes a little short. I did have to pick up a lot of product a couple of times in order to get the pigment I want. When blending, I have to be careful not to make the shades look like they're "muddying" over blending together. Eye shadow fallout isn't too much of an issue for me, but I think the lip gloss pans in the Life Palette do have the inevitable bad luck of getting eye shadow fallout in them. I think it'll be tricky to keep the big palettes clean overall, unless the lipgloss pans are switched out.

I do like the variety that em Cosmetics has when considering different shades. I feel like this is one of the biggest varieties available, which makes the combinations absolutely endless. If any one of you gals or guys have more than one Life Palette, I can't even think of how many different looks you can make.

I think the issue of replacing used up pans could be a good marketing idea. I think it has come up more than once that maybe there are specific eye shadows used more than other shadows, and that it could bode well for the customization factor.

Next up, I have three different creamy color sheer lipsticks from the lip gallery.
I'm not much for one with full-on colour, so these sheer lipsticks are actually kind of perfect for me. The tubes and bullets are standard. There is a little weight to them at the base of each lipstick, but I think that's more to help them stand.

Oh and, just a little trivia on the em logo/title... Em is a Vietnamese term of endearment when considering younger siblings, or a younger woman in your family. You would call your younger sibling "Em-" plus their name. I would know. ;)

The slogan that comes with em is, "a reflection of me," which I feel is also appropriate. And that also includes all the "em" words written on each of the packaging of these products.
From left to right, the shades I picked up are miss moneybag, one true kiss, and showstopper.

These lipsticks feel so creamy and comfortable when applied. There is a scent that I appreciate that doesn't come off as synthetic plastic that I find with some drugstore lippies. These would last a good while throughout the day. If you're eating or drinking, you'll definitely need to reapply after. On their own, I feel like the lipsticks are moisturizing, and I don't need a lip balm underneath. These lipsticks were spot on! =^3^=
The next products I will mention are these waterliners. Michelle has said that she made these waterliners with the intent that they last on the waterline without smudging or coming off so easily as other eyeliners. The other ends are smudgers with detachable sharpeners. These are only available on the emCosmetics site.
Again, left to right is teal tease, royal amethyst, chocolate dream, black night, and ro's gold.

I have to say, "YES!" Michelle Phan has definitely hit her mark with these liners. Not only is their pigment is just off the charts, they do stay on the waterline all day without moving. The bonus I find with these are that they are non-irritating to my eyes. And Hallelujah! As with other eyeliners, I find irritation is always present and expected. With these, I have not experienced ANY irritation in my eyes at all, and I have sensitive eyes, sir!

The only downfall of these are how soft they are...
When sharpening the tip of my favourite shade, ro's gold, the tip snapped off inside the tube without any real pressure applied. Now, I love these liners, but with how much I paid for them versus how much product I actually get, this was very upsetting. I have this shade stored, and now I'm afraid to use it lest it break some more. It does look lovely on the waterline. =(
Last but not least, is the infamous chiaroscuro contour and highlighter stick. The shade I grabbed is deep, only because I find bronzers never tend to show up on my skin unless they're darker shades. And well you know, when shopping online, it's a little more difficult to see what will show up and what won't. You can only get this stick exclusively on
The swatches out right are vibrant, but the blended swatches are what makes them suitable for casual day wear. There is the issue of these not lasting very long, but I think a powder over top helps it last longer on the skin. The highlighter side is shimmery, but it blends out very easily. The contour side is the side I'm most impressed with. I feel like it's the perfect contour shade for my skin tone when blended. You can use this effortlessly, and I think it's a great touch-up tool if you want to keep your sculpted look all day long.

I think that's it for now. I do have a few select products I didn't include, like a lipbalm, a concealer I'm still trying to work with, and a shimmery topcoat eye shadow. I may do future reviews on those. 

If you stayed this long, I sincerely thank you for checking in on this post. Hopefully I didn't go off too extravagantly. If there are any questions about these products, I can and will answer them to the best of my ability.

Thanks again!


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Getting Juicy with Soap & Glory

I think my love of peaches comes naturally. So, when I picked this lip balm up, I kinda surprised myself with the lovely peachiness that came with it.
This is A Great Kisser by Soap & Glory. This one specifically is Juicy Peach, and the second one from their line is a coconut flavour, which I am also thinking of grabbing.
This smells sooooo good! It's almost like I took home a basket of freshly picked peaches, all ripe and juicy. Mmm...

No swatches this time 'round. In the pan, it looks like it would be pigmented, but on the skin, it's actually just a nice glossy sheen - no colour. It feels very emollient and very moisturizing on the lips. If you're looking for that extra hydrating factor, this is definitely for you. Not sticky either! I feel like this would help chapped lips if they need that extra conditioning effect. =D

For some reason, these lip moisture balms aren't available on their official site, but I'd suggest checking your local Soap & Glory retailers. In Canada, you can check them at Shoppers Drug Mart, Boots is your UK carrier, and Sephora in the US is exclusive for your Soap & Glory needs. ;)

Cheers on this read. Soap & Glory is definitely a great brand. Check 'em!


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Cheek Tint Insider with bareMinerals

I grabbed this five piece set from the bareMinerals' site. They tend to have a lot of different sales throughout so I spoiled myself a little bit this time.
BareMinerals showcases a lot of different kits sold year-round on their site. This one introduces their cheek tint, which I think is a new product... or newish? They still have the kit on sale via their website.
You get a lip gloss, two eye shadows, the cheek tint, and a double-ended brush. This is one of the first kits I've picked up from bareMinerals, so I was surprised to see they have a unique sifting system for their bigger powder jars.
The bigger jars come with a little instructional guide on how to get your product opened.
Basically, just pull the tab in order to use your product. After that, with the arrows you see there in the second picture, you can easily slide the sifter open and close. Very neat and keeps your powders from getting overly messy. =D
The brush is double-ended with synthetic bristles. They are soft to the touch. The face brush is a little too small for blush application, but it can do the job with the cheek tint in the kit if used with a very light hand. You'll see why I say very light handling is best. The eye shadow brush is soft against the skin too. The set is stiffer but the make is similar to the blush side.
From left to right, we have the two eye colours; panache and smolder, the cheek tint in flirt, and the lip gloss in cherry bomb.

The eye colours do compliment each other all right. The kits says that smolder is a liner shadow, so you can work it as an eye liner with panache as the all over eye colour. I never seem to get over the quality of bareMinerals' eye shadows. While they can be messy at times, being loose, I find the colour pay-off and the quality overall in the formula is never disappointing. Smolder is my favourite from this kit.

You can see I tried sheering out the cheek tint swatch. It's very vibrant! With the brush, it does sheer down nicely. You just have to watch how much you apply. With bareMinerals, I find their "swirl and tap" advice definitely works well when considering this blush.

The lip gloss is the only thing I would say is disappointing. The box in the first picture above kind of sells this as a vibrant-ass gloss, but when applied, it's not as vivid as how the box's picture sells it. The colour pay-off isn't as disappointing as the formula really... It's a very sticky lip gloss. Don't get me wrong, but I do love bareMinerals' Moxie lip glosses, but this was definitely more sticky and uncomfortable than what I'm used to from bareMinerals or BUXOM, which is of the same parent company, Bare Escentuals.

Anyway, I think that's all I have to say about this kit. Thanks for reading!