October 30, 2012

My October Birchbox: Birchbox + goop (box #14)

After having little patience this month, I finally received my October Birchbox on Friday (October 26th, 2012). This month they teamed up with goop (I'm honestly not at all familiar with 'goop' but it seems to be a lifestyle company founded by Gwyneth Paltrow), and they also had their regular Birchboxes with the theme being "transformation"... needless to say, I opted in for the goop box (my curiosity had gotten the best of me). So here's a look at my box this month:

It arrived with a cardboard covering indicating that it was a 'goop' box (above)

Upon opening the box, there was a little card giving a bit more information about the goop collaboration (click to enlarge)

On the back of the card, it listed the products in my box along with descriptions and full-size retail values (click to enlarge)

As you can see, they used special tissue paper with the goop logo on it. Unfortunately my (MALIN+GOETZ) peppermint shampoo had a bit of a leakage... however, I was lucky the Luna bar kept my other samples separated and they were wrapped in their own tissue paper (whew!).
Also, after being in contact with Birchbox, they assured me they would send a replacement sample - this is one of the samples I was most excited to try in my box this month so I am really glad they still had some available! (click to enlarge)

Products in my box this month, from left to right:
Supergoop! City Sunscreen Serum (SPF 30)
essie 'fall pick' nail polish
Luna fiber bar
Jouer Lip Enhancer
(MALIN + GOETZ) peppermint shampoo

And a closer look at the products I received this month:

Supergoop! City Sunscreen Serum (SPF 30) - I received 2 foil packets, 2ml each. 
A full size retails anywhere from $20 (20ml travel size) to $42 (1.7oz). (4ml/50.275ml * 42 = $3.34)

essie 'fall pick' (as in a goop fall pick, this specific color was actually part of essie's spring 2010 line 'The Art of Spring') nail polish in 'neo whimsical' - I received a 'full size' bottle at 13.5ml/.46fl oz. which retails for $8.00 (they used to be 15ml/0.5fl oz.. not sure why the size change or when as I am more of a Zoya girl ;))

Luna fiber bar in 'Chocolate Raspberry' flavor - I received a full size bar and a pack of 12 retails for $14.95. ($14.95/12 = $1.25)

Jouer Lip Enhancer conditioning lip treatment - I received a sample size of 0.07fl oz (top picture for size comparison, bottom to show label). 
A full size (0.33fl oz.) retails for $14.00. (0.07fl oz/0.33fl oz * 14 = $2.97)

Last but not least: (MALIN+GOETZ) peppermint shampoo - I received a sample size of 1oz/29ml. (I tried to photograph as much of the label as I could ;))
A full size bottle (8oz/236ml) retails for $20. (29ml/236ml * 20 = $2.46)

The total 'value' of my Birchbox this month comes down to about $18.02 when you add it all up. With the $10 price tag (and free shipping), I'd say that's pretty good. Was this my best Birchbox? Absolutely not, but it could've been worse. At least I received a few samples I actually want to try/look forward to trying, so I'm not completely bummed or upset by any means. The biggest issues for me, this month, were the shipping times and dealing with customer service.

With that being said, I have been a Birchbox subscriber on and off for about 6 months. I kind of have a love hate relationship with them, lol. Honestly I think you have to be really open to receiving a broad spectrum of beauty samples - they are definitely not the type of subscription service that caters to cosmetics but rather offer a lot of skincare and hair care items, and often nail polishes and perfume samples.
But don't get me wrong - in those 6 months I have also been lucky enough to receive a full size Stila sparkle waterproof liquid eyeliner, a full size Noir long-wear eyeliner, a sample of Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse Beauty Balm SPF 25+,  Ada Cosmetics Bronzer, a sample of theBalm cosmetics stainiac, etc. It really is just a gamble and you have to decide if it is the right sub for you and whether or not you want to take that gamble.
As for me? I've come to terms with this (although, who doesn't love makeup.. right!?) and generally accept it for what it is - I have yet to find my holy grail skincare or hair care beauty items so in the end, it works out for me and I feel it is pretty worthwhile (especially when you take into consideration their points system). You always have the option to trade your samples with other subscribers, or give them away to friends/family members who might get more use out of them than you would have. ;)

What is Birchbox, you may ask?
Birchbox is a monthly 'beauty' subscription service. For $10 a month (and free shipping), they generally offer 4-5 deluxe beauty samples, plus a lifestyle extra, delivered right to your mailbox. They have an awesome points system in place and for every product you review you earn 10pts (you can only review your own product samples from your box each month, and you have from the time you receive your box to the 10th of the next month to do so) to their little Birchbox shop where you can order full size products of the samples they offer/samples from brands they've teamed up with.  For every friend you refer who uses your referral link to sign up, you'll earn 50pts. 100pts is the equivalent of $10 in their shop! If you are interested in signing up, you may use my referral link here or you can go directly to the Birchbox website to sign up without using my referral. :)

FTC: This sub was paid for by myself/by my boyfriend. I am not being compensated to write this post, these are my honest opinions on the products and company. All photos were taken by myself in natural lighting, are unaltered aside from cropping/collaging!

October 18, 2012

Madd Style Cosmetics: Fall Inspired Tutorial

Now that fall is finally upon us, I was feeling a bit inspired by hues of yellow and orange :) I shared this look a couple of weeks ago in the 'Madd Style Cosmetics: The Makeup Bag' FB group <3
It seemed to go over pretty well with you beautiful ladies, so I thought I would tutorial-ize (is that even a word? 'cause it is now..) it as I was originally thinking about doing! :)

First things first! Go ahead and gather your supplies - here's what I'm working with:
Top left: UD Eyeshadow Primer Potion (original) - Tick:Tock Cosmetics Infinity Eye Shadow Base in "Milky Way"
Bottom left: Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in "Perversion" - Sephora Full Action Extreme Effect Mascara
Top/Middle right: MSC Pigments in UnBirthday Star, Rambozo, and Pish Posh
Bottom right: bdellium tools green bambu brushes #777 and #781

**you may also want to grab an eyeshadow that closely matches your skin tone (for blending), 
and a soft white (for highlighting). 
Personally, I use the Coastal Scents Original 88 Palette.

Before I begin, I wanted to mention that you will most likely see a lot of random mascaras being used in my tutorials (in case you were wondering, haha).. I've decided I'm not opening/purchasing any new mascara until I use up the ones that have already been opened, and also the sample sizes I've managed to accumulate somehow! ;)

Start off by applying your eyeshadow primer and eyeshadow base (all over lids and up to brow - I concentrated my base on the lid and used very little above the lid to the brow)

Using your eyeshadow brush (for reference, I'm using my bdellium tools green bambu #777) pat UnBirthday Star on the inner portion of your lid - I'd say a little more than a third, and bring that up to your natural crease/hollow. Remember, this doesn't have to be perfect by any means - you're going to be working your blending magic a bit later ;)

Using your eyeshadow brush (wipe off any UnBirthday Star that might be lingering, first!) you're going to grab Rambozo and pat a tiny bit of it over where you left off with UnBirthday Star and continue on to juuust about the end of your lid - also bringing Rambozo up to your natural crease/hollow, you can then start pulling just a touch more into UnBirthday Star in your crease.

Using the same eyeshadow brush (wiping off any Rambozo that remains, first!) you're going to pat Pish Posh on the remaining outer corner of your lid, and slightly overlapping where you left off with Rambozo. Bring Pish Posh up to the crease/hollow of your eye and pull the color in toward Rambozo and UnBirthday Star. No worries if this is a bit messy at this point - you're going to blend, blend, blend!

I used the very tip of my eyeshadow brush in a 'windshield-wiper' motion and very lightly blended UnBirthday Star and Rambozo, and then Rambozo and Pish Posh. I didn't want to go overboard, as I still wanted my colors to remain bolder/brighter (just enough to eliminate any harsh lines).
Taking your crease brush (for reference, I'm using my bdellium tools green bambu #781) you will want to go in and lightly blend out your crease. If you want to soften it up a bit more, you can grab any eyeshadow you may have on hand that is close to your skin tone and blend that into your crease as well.
Then, go ahead and grab your highlight color and very lightly sweep right underneath your brow. :)

Next go ahead and add your finishing touches - liner and mascara! Voila! ;)

October 16, 2012

My October Ipsy (formerly MyGlam) Bag! :)

Just received my October Ispy bag in the mail today! Their theme this month is 'Hello, Bombshell' which I think is a pretty cute play on words by including products like theBalm's What's Your Type? "the body builder" Mascara, Mirenesse Lip Bombs, and liquid eye liners from be a...bombshell cosmetics. ;)

Here's a look at what I received this month (I apologize for the annoying glare):

From left to right: 
be a...bombshell cosmetics - (liquid) eye liner in 'Onyx' (black)
theBalm Cosmetics - What's Your Type? "the body builder" Mascara sample
Couture Colour - Pequi Oil Treatment sample
Coastal Scents - Eyeshadow Sample, Set 5: Vibrant Red, Frosty Taupe, Vanilla Sky, Raisin Berry
mirenesse - Lip Bomb (Glossy Lacquer Stain) in 'Lip Bomb 4'

And now for some close-ups!:

be a...bombshell cosmetics eye liner in 'Onyx'
This one is a full size (3mL/0.1fl oz)! It retails for $14 on their website, and can be purchased here. I'm really excited to try this eyeliner because I've been practicing my 'wing' and 'cat eyeliner' lately.. and, well, you can never have too many black eyeliners ;)

theBalm Cosmetics What's Your Type? "the body builder" Mascara (black)
Deluxe sample sized (3.5mL/0.11fl oz). Full size retails for $19 (12ml/.40fl oz) and can be purchased here. If you happen to know me, you'll know how ecstatic I am about theBalm being featured once again - seriously one of my favorite cosmetics companies (which I kinda have MyGlam/Ipsy to thank for that.. hehe)! "the body builder" is designed to build body while conditioning and strengthening lashes with ingredients like Vitamin E, Panthenol, and Bamboo - also said to remain clump-free and smudge proof!

Couture Colour Pequi Oil Treatment
Sample sized (15mL/0.5fl oz) which retails for $12 on their website. They also carry two larger sizes - a 60mL/2fl oz spray bottle which retails for $32, or a 120mL/4fl oz spray bottle that retails at $50. They can be purchased here. Personally, I have never used an oil in my hair.. but I am definitely willing to give it a shot! It claims to make hair 6x stronger and 3x shinier/visibly smoother after just one application by nourishing, sealing split ends, stopping frizz, and boosting color. My sample came with a heat seal (as you will see on the left) and upon opening I noticed it has a cute little cap to keep it sealed/prevent leaks - very impressive! Also smells amazing - kind of a light coconut scent, not at all overpowering.

Coastal Scents Eye Shadow Sample, Set 5: Vibrant Red, Frosty Taupe, Vanilla Sky, Raisin Berry
Sample size (2g/0.07oz) with an approximate value of .99cents ea. as they are more the size of the eyeshadows that come in the larger palettes (such as the 88 palettes) and not as large as their Hot Pots which retail for $1.99ea. (also not available to purchase in this sample size).
I photographed a size comparison on the left to give you a better idea ;)

I want to add that I personally own a few Coastal Scents palettes and I absolutely love them (I use them quite frequently!). They are fantastic quality, and very well pigmented, especially for their price range - I have seen their Hot Pots compared to MAC eyeshadows and often times are close/dead on dupes! You can check out their website here.

mirenesse Lip Bomb (Glossy Lacquer Stain) in 'Lip Bomb 4'
Another full size product (3.1g/0.11oz), woo! This one retails at $35.10 (or $28.08, their 'club price) and can be purchased here. Mirenesse combines gloss, stain, and lacquer all in one, and is said to be non-smearing and long-lasting! Still not sure I would shell out $35 (or even $28) for a lippie.. but I really don't mind receiving one, hehe.

All in all, I am very happy with my Ipsy (MyGlam) bag this month! I think they have really stepped up their game and I am glad they are actually willing to listen to their subscribers. They have great sample sizes, and often offer full size products in the bags. They have even implemented a little 'quiz' so that we'll receive samples/products that are better suited to us.
Well worth the $10 (monthly) sub price tag, in my opinion :) If you are interested in signing up, you can visit the website here. I believe subscriptions are currently open for next month - and I've heard it will be even better!

FTC: This sub was paid for by myself/by my boyfriend. I am not being compensated to write this post, these are my honest opinions on the products and company. All photos were taken by myself in natural lighting, are unaltered aside from cropping/collaging!

October 4, 2012

Madd Style Cosmetics: My First Tutorial (ever!)

I'm excited and nervous all at the same time :)  This is my very first tutorial as a Madd Model - and first ever tutorial in general! Since this is something completely new to me, I wanted to start out with something a bit "simple."

So let's get started! Go ahead and grab your "supplies" - as always you'll need a good eyeshadow primer and base, your go-to mascara and choice of eyeliner, as well as a crease and eyeshadow brush (depending on your choice of eyeliner, you may want to grab an eyeliner brush as well!). Most importantly, you will need Madd Style Cosmetics pigments in Unicorns & Glitter, Girl with the most cake, and Caramel Macchiato to complete this super simple but girly-neutral look :)

Here's what I'm using:
Top Left: Madd Style "Pop N' Lock" Shadow Base - Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion(original)
Bottom Left: E.L.F. Cream Eyeliner in "black" - Physicians Formula Organic Wear Jumbo Lash Mascara
Top/Middle Right: MSC pigments in Unicorns & Glitter, Girl with the most cake, and Caramel Macchiato
Bottom Right: bdellium tools green bambu brushes #781, #777, and #760

Start off by applying your eyeshadow primer and eyeshadow base (all over lids, up to brow.)
*as a side note:  if you happen to be using the MSC Pop N' Lock, as I did, you will find it has a sort of clay-like texture.
I find it easiest to apply with my ring finger, and I tend to rest my ring finger in the jar for a few seconds to kind of "warm" it up. I am then able to swirl my finger over the product to get a thin layer and I apply it very lightly.

Grab your eyeshadow brush (for reference, I'm using my bdellium tools green bambu #777) and apply Girl with the most cake all over your lid (with loose pigments, you want to "pat" this on to get the best color payoff) and up to your natural crease.

Using your crease brush (for reference, I'm using my bdellium tools green bambu #781) apply Caramel Macchiato very lightly to the crease/hollow of your eye (I use just the very tip of the crease brush to get a lighter application).
To make this addition of Caramel Macchiato not so "harsh" (since we are going for a softer look) use your brush in a "wiping" motion - think wind shield wipers!

Also, you can softly blend Caramel Macchiato upward (using the same crease brush) to further soften it a bit. If you feel like Girl with the most cake started to disappear during blending, go ahead and lightly reapply to the lid using your eyeshadow brush. :)

Still using my crease brush, I added Unicorns & Glitter to the duct/inner corner of my eye.
I really like the golden highlight that Unicorns & Glitter gives, so I very very lightly took my crease brush and dipped just the very tip of my brush into the loose pigment that was left on the lid of Unicorns & Glitter. I then, even further, blended out Caramel Macchiato using Unicorns & Glitter up to the brow bone.
When done lightly, this gives a nice golden shimmer that isn't too overpowering for this look.

Last but not least, you're going to want to grab your eyeliner and mascara to finish off this look. This is where my bdellium tools #760 came into play as I decided to use my E.L.F. cream eyeliner in "black" to create a wing - however, this is entirely optional and up to you! You can skip the wing and simply line your upper lash line and waterline with your favorite eyeliner and then apply your mascara if you want :)
Since I need the practice anyway, I decided to play up this look a bit by doing a wing:

And there you have it!

I hope you enjoyed my first ever tutorial and that it wasn't too hard to follow along :)