When it comes to beauty, I want to be as involved as possible. I am super comfortable going out sans makeup and do it frequently. Thanks to great skincare and self confidence, I feel fine. However, I love getting dolled up when I have the time. It is so much fun. Makeup is an art form, and I love the outlet. More than anything, I love experimenting and playing with it all. So, when Allure invited me to be a Beauty Enthusiast. How could I say no?
Allure Beauty Enthusiasts get insider access to exclusive offers. Yes, please. As I am sure you’ve noticed if you’ve peeked at my site, I love offers, deals, and all things beautiful for a great deal. Some enthusiasts get invited to VIP events. I am waiting on a nice invite, so I can be included in this one. My guess is Enthusiasts in bigger cities probably see a little more action on this front. Having a voice is an awesome part about being an Enthusiast. You get a chance to weigh in on topics that matter to you in the form of surveys. Only one has been too long causing me to ditch it. The rest have been okay. If you make it through a survey, you will usually be entered to win a prize. If I ever win one, I will report back, of course.
Birchbox has always been my favorite subscription box. At $10 a month, each sample only costs me $2 (or less during amazing six or seven sample months). That is a low price to pay for some of the gems I’ve discovered in these lovely boxes that I look forward to each month. Since the revamp, you can either select a sample from 3-4 options or select an entire curated box of 5-6 pieces. I’ve always liked at least one sample from the choices, so I usually select the one I like most. It is hard at times, because I like more than one. This was the first month where there was not a specific sample that I had to have, but I really looked forward to the curated box.
When a curator comes in, all items are pre-selected. If you choose this option, your element of surprise will completely go away. I looked forward to trying three of the five items, which is always how I determine (before calculating value, of course) whether I am excited about a box. For the first time since the curated boxes started, I did not already own a single item in it. It meant I was finally ready to know all of my samples in advance. I ordered it hoping the two I am not excited about would surprise me.
The curated box this month was pieced together in conjunction with Rent the Runway. If you have not heard of Rent the Runway, let me introduce you to the business model. Rather than purchase expensive clothing, jewelry or accessories that you will only wear once, you rent them. For people who love nice things and deals, this is a perfect opportunity to enjoy both. I am inventing places to go, so I can use their services for the first time. The custom box comes with a unique code for $30 off $75 making this deal too good to pass up. The code expires 04/17/15, so I am waiting on a formal invite!
For anyone who did not read the previous installments, I made a goal to paint my nails at least once a week this year. Installment one went over my polish collection among other things. Then, I embarked on the challenge in the next installment. If you want to join my in the challenge, follow along here or you can visit the Beautytalk challenge. Nail polish Saturday was born. If you’re looking at the calendar, you realize it is Sunday. No worries though, because I did paint them yesterday and just waited until today to share them.
Julep released a lovely new color named Becky. Gwen (a BeauyTalk friend of mine) mentioned Becky looked similar to Blakely. I had not yet used Blakely even though I owned her. After discussing the two with Gwen, my first plan was to paint one hand in Becky and the other in Blakely to compare the two. Once Becky started arriving for people, I noticed she was swatching differently than I had seen Becky swatch. Fearing a mismatched manicure, Gwen suggested I do Blakely on the ring finger of each hand and Becky on the other fingers. It was a great idea, so that is exactly what I did.
In last month’s Article, I already established how much I love Julep and every detail I could think of about how a Maven membership works. For those choosing to read on without looking back, I will remind you that a Julep Maven Subscription is a great way to collect quality polishes and other products at a fantastic price. I will also remind you that the deals are fast and frequent, so it can get very expensive. You will have a lot to show for those expenses though.
For the second month in a row, Julep allowed basic subscriptions to select two beauty products and one polish. This is a big deal, because usually subscriptions that get two beauty products do not get a polish. The beauty products are more expensive than the polishes, so it is a great way to get a higher value box is to select the beauty products. Like all brands, Julep has some hits and misses when it comes to beauty products. I’ve personally found more hits than misses, so I like exploring the beauty products.
When it comes to quality products, Hourglass and NARS are highly regarded. They’re both on the higher end of moderately priced brands. I think both fall a little short from being called high end, although some may disagree with me. The quality for the price spent is usually there. It can at times exceed my expectations (hello Incandescent Electra, Dim Light, Kauai, Orgasm) and other times fall short (hello Radiant Light and Narsissist Palette), so I look forward to doing a full review once I’ve played with the palettes a bit.
To avoid disappointment, I generally prefer to swatch things in store before I buy them online. The online promo codes for Sephora are generally better, so I do not buy in store often. For these two palettes, I did not swatch any shades before buying them. This will be my first experience with Hourglass shadows. As I find NARS shadows hit or miss, buying without swatching is a huge step for me. Some of them are so amazing that I feel they could be classified as high end, whereas some almost feel low end. They’re pretty inconsistent. From the swatches I’ve seen of both palettes all over the Internet, I decided to go for it. When I go it, I really go for it, because I do not believe in returning things unless they arrive damaged. I’ve just never done it.
Thanks so much to everyone who voted in the Mascara challenge. I had a lot of fun with this challenge and reading everyone’s reasoning on why I should try which mascara. For people who picked more than 1 mascara, I only counted the first one they mentioned that I had not yet tried. I’ve tallied the votes here and BeautyTalk. The results are YSL Babydoll won with 12 votes followed by Blinc with 8 votes. The other votes came in the following order: Josie Maran got 5, Urban Decay Perversion got 5, Butterfly got 3, Marc Jacobs got 3, Tarte got 3, Estee Lauder got 2, Clinique High Impact got 2, Buxom got 2, Hourglass got 2, Sephora got 1, Hypnose Drama got 1 (already used but kept the vote that was never changed), and Bare Minerals got 1.
A lovely reader gave me an idea to host an impromptu drawing. For the drawing, I assigned a number to the 12 ladies who picked YSL in the order they responded. It seems like a good idea to send my second sample to a home that knows and loves the product. I also assigned Gwenhwyfar a number, because I put her down for Marc Jacobs for mentioning she loved it. However, I realized she did write YSL first. As I specifically tried to only give the first item mentioned to everyone, it would not have been fair to leave her out. By my caluclations (and remember I only counted you for YSL if it was the first mascara you wrote that I have not yet tried meaning you will not see your name on the list if you mentioned another mascara first).
I first read about L’Oreal Consumer testing in May of 2014. It seemed too good to be true, which always makes me a little weary. Do not listen to people when they tell you nothing in life is free! There are plenty of things in life that are free. You just have to learn to discern. How do you weed out the bogus opportunities from legitimate ones? For one, referrals. If a friend or someone you trust says something is legit, it just may be. Even friends can inadvertently lead you astray, so never forget to take step two, which is to verify an offer. If you’re not sure about something, it is generally better to do your own search rather than follow a link someone provides you. Even deals too good to pass up may at times be missed, because we are skeptical. The final and most important step is to follow through. Persist until you receive the offer!
I did look into this program, and it seemed to be legit. If you live near the testing facility, you can go in and participate in a study. Live far away? No worries. They have at home testing, too. They will mail the products to your house. What products will you test? Anything! L’Oreal owns a lot of companies and those companies own a lot of products. My beloved Lancome is a L’Oreal brand. They want objective reviews, so they will try to mask the item you are trying. If you’re already familiar with the product, you may be able to venture a guess on what it is. So, I filled out the contact form and waited patiently for them to get back with me. The pop up said it could take up to 2 weeks. Continue reading →
I love collecting beauty products. For some reason, I seem to get mascara from everywhere. Despite giving them away, I still always seem to have 40-50 on hand. A lot may be thinking that would be a great problem to have. The problem is mascara does not last forever. If I do not eventually use them, they will go bad before they ever see the light of day. My last mascara, Too Faced Better than Sex, was tossed weeks ago. I have not used one since. It is time to open another one, so I can actually use some of this amazing mascara stash of mine.
Most of my mascaras are minis, which I prefer. I throw them away as suggested right around the three month mark. Even in mini size, I have never used one completely up by then. The full sized ones, with the exception of my precious (Definicils) came in kits, subscription boxes or for my birthday (CK One from Ulta). Why on earth would I buy Definicils despite having so many mascaras? It is my all time favorite mascara, so I pick it up at times when I need something to grab for a Lancome GWP. We all know Lancome is one of the three GWP kings. I will touch back on that in a different article (and link it here once I’ve written it). Now, let’s get back to the topic at hand, Mascara!
Occasionally, we find a product that seems at once magical and made just for us. I call them FabuFinds. It is even better when I can find them in sample form or get a great price, but these are the few items I would pay full price for if I could not find a promo code. There were four products I consider FabuFinds in my January Empties that I have not discussed yet. To spotlight them all, this will be a four product article. Some articles may have as few as one product. If the product was received for free, I will always let you know.
Carol’s Daughter sells body products? I’ve actually seen that question a few times, because she is known for her hair products. While I like some of her hair products, I find her body products are better. The Ecstasy line in particular is the best I’ve tried. I cannot think of a better word to describe the scent. It is so pleasant and not at all overpowering.
One of my favorite threads on Beautytalk is the Empties. Why? More than any other thread, I get a feel for how someone really feels about a product. Was it so amazing that they rushed out to buy replacements or so awful that they could not bring themselves to finish it? While no product has a one size fits all place in life, I am reluctant to buy a new product I’ve never sampled when multiple people on the Empties thread give the product a thumbs down. In the spirit of honest reviews on everything I try, I will review everything once a month as I’ve finished them. You will see months where the same products make appearances. If they’re amazing, I will continue buying them.
Each month, I will give you a mini review on each item. I’ll tell you the items I love and will repurchase. If I like or am indifferent to an item, I will not rush out to repurchase, but I would be willing to use or try it again. Lastly, I will present the items that are not for me. Generally, I will not use these any more in the future. If they’re really awful to me, I always hope I can find someone else who may actually like them. Thus, I will try to find someone to give duplicates to. For the items that I really love, I will do a separate product spotlight on them at some point to discuss them in more detail. My first product spotlight will immediately follow these mini reviews, because there are four amazing items in the attached picture I have not discussed yet.