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Unwrapping…Ipsy February 2014

I started subscribing to ipsy in college.  It was kind of my gateway subscription, I think.  And then after about five or six months, I cancelled.

Why?

Because how many motherfucking hooker-red lip glosses does a person actually need?  I don’t even like lip gloss.  Its sticky and gross.  I haven’t been in the habit of wearing it since about the seventh grade.  Unhelpful product overload is overload.

On a lark I resubscribed this year.  And so far…four for you, ipsy, you go ipsy.  Not a hooker-red lip gloss in sight.  Keep up this color variety, folks, and I might keep giving you my monies.

And now after that rant..the February roundup!

POP Beauty Plump Pout Mini

Ipsy Feb 14 - POP gloss

See also: my February Birchbox review for how jazzed I am to be getting samples of things that I’ve actually been wanting to try.  Quite a few of the beauty blogs I follow have been raving about this stuff, from how it’s crazy long lasting for a gloss to the fact that the tube is this weird little almost-flat shape that would probably fit into the pockets of those jeans I have with super tiny pockets (as pointed out by the Gentleman, who noted that he can fit two fingers in each, and that’s all.  I’m not sure how this information will ever be relevant, but that’s neither here nor there).

I’ve yet to do the pocket test, since those jeans aren’t exactly work-approved, but I can definitely say that this stuff lasts longer than any other lip gloss I’ve ever come across.

Bonus: its not particularly sticky, and the color I got (“Peony Petal”) is decidedly not hooker-red.

Zoya Nail Polish

Ipsy Feb 14 - Zoya polish

I like this color a lot better on my fingers than I do in the bottle– when I started painting I was expecting a lot paler pigmentation.  But with a second coat it dried to a nice soft pale pink.

Sort of like a baby pig, actually.  Which is a horrible color comparison but whatever, that’s what it looks like.  Its cute, I promise.

The polish itself is a liiittle bit streaky, and I only just did them this morning so I can’t say how long lasting it’ll be.  But I’m optimistic.

City Color Be Matte Blush

Ipsy Feb 14 - Be Matte

Normally I’m not much of a blush person (I’ve spent 22 years loving my pale skin, and I’m pretty content to rock it rouge-less from here on out) but this one, I’m actually pretty okay with.  It blends well, which I think helps a lot, and the pink is again a very soft color once it hits your skin (though it does look a bit bright in the picture).  Approve.

Tini Beauty Eyetini Cordial Cream Shadow & Base In One

Ipsy Feb 14 - Eyetini

Yeah, that’s eyeshadow.  Promise.

These Tini people are a little silly, and I’m mostly okay with it.  Ipsy likes to pop Nailtini stuff in from time to time– I have a killer gold glitter from them from my first round with Ipsy, and a red that could just maybe rival my current go-to (but it won’t, because Head Mistress is the best color ever for a rich red polish and Essie, your naming team deserves an award).  I’ve always been pretty satisfied with the Tini stuff I get, so I was pretty game to give this weird shadow a try.

The applicator is..pretty much a lip gloss applicator, which is really weird and I’m pretty sure the lady on the other side of the mirror at the gym was giving me “what the hell is she doing” looks.  But the shadow itself is pretty solid– there’s primer in the formula, apparently, so the pigment comes through pretty strong and it seems to hold up well.  Plus I’m pretty into the shade.

IPKN NY Moist & Firm BB

Ipsy Feb 14 - BB

..to be fair, I only hated this sample because the shade was COMPLETELY awful.  It went on almost yellow.  What?  Not cool, guys.  I couldn’t even get it to blend in to something decent.  First time I’ve ever just said “fuck it” and thrown a sample out.

Overall: pretty pleased with this month’s bag, above BB cream aside.  Definitely an improvement on previous bags I could mention.

Unwrapping…Birchbox February 2014

Confession: sometimes I cheat and look at what will be in my subscription boxes ahead of time.

DON’T TELL.

We’ll pretend its so that I can write review posts quicker, but let’s be honest.  I really just get overexcited and want to know what I’m getting before it shows up in my mailbox.

(Spoiler alert: I have the excitement levels of a particularly active Jack Russell Terrier, and I am also terrible at Christmas anticipation.)

Birchbox Feb14

I was really excited when I saw what was coming in my February Birchbox, so the anticipation was preeeeetty high.  Here’s the roundup:

Juicy Couture – Juicy Couture 

Birchbox Feb 14 - Juicy

I am actually afraid to open this, because I’m terrified I’m going to love it but the full size is $94 and my life can’t take that right now.

I have no idea what it smells like.  Half of me hopes its delicious, and the other half is hoping for something like when my cat doesn’t make it to the litter box.

TMI?  Sorry.

Caudalie Make-Up Remover Cleansing Water 

Birchbox Feb14

I love when my boxes actually get me things that I’ve been hearing about and wondering if they’re any good!  I read an article about this stuff about two weeks ago and I’ve been curious ever since– so thanks, Birchbox.

I haven’t actually gotten a chance to try it, so, this is an anticlimactic review.  But I’m excited?

Yay?

Serge Normant Meta Revive Dry Conditioner [retail: ]

Birchbox Feb14

This is another case of the above!  I suppose it only follows that if the world is going to be so obsessed with dry shampoo (..not that I’m not equally guilty) than sooner or later someone would capitalize with dry conditioner.  Again, read about it earlier last week and was frankly alarmed by the price tag, so chalked it up as another pipe dream trial.

Dusted my hair this morning because second day hair + the gym – time to do hair properly = me looking every inch the gym rat I am when I walk into work.  I was generally pleased– hair looks like it has a little more life without risking any of the greasiness of using some kind of serum or goo or god knows what else.

32 Oral Care Effervescent Breath Crystals 

Birchbox Feb14

THIS STUFF FEELS REALLY WEIRD IN YOUR MOUTH.  Its like Pop Rocks and toothpaste had a baby.  I’m still not sure how I feel about the resulting combo.  I’m going to go with “perturbed”.

Ruby Wing Color-Changing Polish 

Birchbox Feb14 Cowgirl

I was really jazzed when I pulled this out of the box– I’d crept on the polish before it arrived (obvs) and Ride ‘Em, Cowgirl was my color preference.  Getting it was a pretty happy moment for me.

(I’m also pretty okay with the fact that my boxes keep frontloading me on nail polish lately, but I honestly have not been painting my nails enough to give them all love.)

(..I’ve also been buying new Essie polishes because excuse me, have you seen their “encrusted” collection?  I’m pretty in love with On a Silver Platter)

ANYWAY so I put it on and it’s this incredibly, freakishly gilded sparkly gold.  A little bright for me usually but whatever, I was excited by the promise of color changing.  Shortly after, I went out to get the mail–

–and came back in the house to find my nails were a bright, sparkly, no-place-like-home red.  Needless to say, I have a new favorite thing.

Overall: generally pleased with box contents.  Mouth still feeling weird about those crystals.

Unwrapping…E.L.F Beauty Bundle January 2014

The ELF Beauty Bundle may not be the most exciting of my subs, but its definitely up there in the favorites ranking.  Here’s the deal:  for $20 every other month, you get a box crammed with $40 worth of stuff.  And now the best part: not only do they actually make pretty quality makeup, its cheap and easy to get your hands on.  Seriously, just find yourself a Target and you’re home free.

(They also have sales on their website…well, pretty much every day of forever, just because they really want you lookin’ pretty.)

What that means, though, is that when I find something I love in an ELF box (which is frequently, let’s be real about this) I don’t actually have to hem and haw about whether I want to shell out $40 for the full size, knowing that the full size is only going to be marginally bigger than the sample I got.  I just go buy it.  Added bonus, they really like to include brushes in the boxes– so I have two full sets of good-quality makeup brushes.  Do I need that many?  No.  But its nice to know I have backups.

Or something.  Maybe I just like how they look in a jar on my bathroom counter.

So, we’re here to talk about the box, aren’t we?

Aw!  ELF, you're such a flatterer.

Aw! ELF, you’re such a flatterer.

This is the “New Year, New You” box, so..like all kinds of stuff that makes you feel like a prettier human in the non painted-on-face sense of the word.  Awesome.

Studio Daily Moisture Stick [retail: $6]

Moisture Stick - ELF 1.23.14Do not smell your hands after you use this guy.  They will smell exactly as awful as you’d expect a very bland moisturizing stick thing to smell like, which is to say fairly awful.

That’s my biggest con, though.  This was in a previous bundle a few months back, and its really convenient for when you’re just a little bit scaly and don’t want to mess with full-on moisturizer– or when you’re in a rush– or for rubbing gratuitously into your cuticles– etc.  My favorite thing is to rub it all over my fingertips (for some reason that I’ve never quite understood, the tips of my fingers sometimes get really dry and it feels so weird and I want to scream).  I’m never big on getting duplicates of things when I’m expecting New Product Adventures, but I’ll let it go because I’m stoked that now I have one to keep in my gym bag and another for my actual bag.  Aw, yeah.

Studio Lip Exfoliator [retail: $3]

Lip Exfoliator - ELF 1.23.14This thing is SO WEIRD AND I LOVE IT.  Its like St Ives for your lips.

I KNOW, RIGHT.

It looks like a lipstick, so +1 for application convenience, but what you’re actually getting is a fuckton of little exfoliating sugar beads encapsulated in a moisturizer.  Bam.  One stop shopping.  And so much easier than all that Vaseline/toothbrush bull.

Studio Eye Refresh [retail: $3]

Eye Refresh - ELF 1.23.14

I mean, I guess this stuff feels pretty neat under my eyes.  I haven’t noticed any visible brightening, but that could be because a) I’ve been using it so sporatically or b) I have really, really not been paying attention.

Equally possible.

Studio HD Lifting Concealer [retail: $3]

Lifting Concealer - ELF 1.23.14

I had high hopes when I pulled this out of the box– hey, concealer with actual benefits!  Awesome! — but got super apprehensive when I actually opened the tube– this is the lightest shade, and it looks freakishly yellow on the applicator.  And it felt way too loose to do any damage as a concealer, to me.

Lesson, kids: go with your gut.  This stuff covers and blends way better than I thought it would.  I’m impressed.

Mineral Eye Brightener [retail: $3]

Eye Brightener - ELF 1.23.14

Honestly I still haven’t tried this yet.  SHH.

Prism Eyeshadow Palette [retail: $10]

Prism Shadow - 1.23.14

PARDON MY HAPPY DANCE.  I am gaga over their eyeshadow palettes because a) I never buy myself eyeshadow so its nice that someone wants to keep providing me with a variety of them and b) they’re actually awesome.  The coverage is smooth and pretty damn long-lasting.  And the colors are puuuuurty.

And also shimmery.  I’m a magpie, I like shiny.  Sue me.

Mineral Face Cleanser [retail: $8]

Mineral Cleanser - ELF 1.23.14

When I read the package instructions my first thought was “well that’s super weird.”  This is a powdered cleanser, so you’re supposed to wet your face, dust some of this onto your palms, and go to town scrubbing.

Interesting.  Just gonna say, it felt real weird to be rubbing powder onto a wet face.

Studio Makeup Remover Exfoliating Cloths [retail: $3]

Makeup Remover - ELF 1.23.14

I think I have psychic subscription boxes.  They keep knowing my needs (i.e. spending nights over at Other Places and not wanting to be That Girl who shows up with a whole bag chock full o’ stuff and looks incredibly high-maintenance in the process) and trying, apparently, to accommodate them.

NEAT.

So these went into my bag last Saturday night when the above situation was a situation I was in.  I was pretty excited that they’re an exfoliating/cleansing duo, too– excellent, one less thing I have to worry about bringing.  Also, points for pretty much ensuring I looked dewy and awesome and not like a red-faced hot mess.  +1 for effective no-fuss face cleaning.

Essentials Slant Tweezer [retail: $1]

Tweezers - ELF 1.23.14

News flash: they tweeze!

Not the best roundup of ELF stuff that’s made it my way, but definitely stuff I’ll be using until it dies on me.

Cool story, I know.

Unwrapping…Ipsy January 2014

I love Ipsy’s packaging– especially in the middle of winter.  How awesome is it to get a BRIGHT FUCKING PINK AND SHINY ENVELOPE in your mailbox?

Ipsy 1.22.14

The most awesome.  That’s how awesome.  The bags inside are usually pretty legit as well, though generally less glitzy.

Not my favorite, but they can't all be winners.

Not my favorite, but they can’t all be winners.

Benefit the PoreFessional ($30)

Benefit - Ipsy 1.22.14

I had a date on Sunday (great timing, since my skin and I had a weekend on the outs) and thought, hey! let’s use some snazzy primer that says it’ll make my pores look better.

Excellent call, B.

I used up the last of my pore-covering skin-awesome-making god-product for New Year’s (I had a Birchbox sample and look at that pricetag I’m sure you get why I’m loathe to buy more) so this was a well-timed sample.  Awesome.  Pores went poof and stayed gone under the tinted moisturizer and powder that got layered over them.

Granted this pricetag isn’t much better, so I’d just better hope one of these boxes pulls through with another pore miracle-worker when this one runs out.

Hint.  Hint.

Malin+Goetz Mojito Lip Balm ($12)

Malin + Goetz - Ipsy 1.22.14

I’m still trying to figure out whether or not I like this or just feel like I should and am using that to cover up actual ambivalence.  It smells really, really good, like you’d want mojito lip balm goo to smell like but without the disappointment that stems from many childhood years of generally misleading flavors that taste mostly like wax.

Pros: above scent approval.  And it really does moisturize well.  Its also a little bit shiny, so it can sort of double as a gloss if that’s your kind of thing.

Cons: it doesn’t seem to last long (maybe that’s just because I drink a lot of stuff during the day and its just rubbing off onto water bottles/coffee cups/etc).  Also, its really sticky.  And because its a tube, you can’t really be ladylike about it.  You’re stuck squirting it onto your finger and rubbing away, and inevitably somebody catches you and you’re left with a bunch of goo on your finger.

I dunno, man.  Jury: out.

yaby Liquid Foundation ($13.55)

Yaby - Ipsy 1.22.14

You might’ve caught in my bit about the PoreFessional that I’m not really a foundation person: tinted moisturizer and light, translucent powder are my go-tos for pretty much everything, with maybe a little extra help underneath if I need it.  So I was actually predisposed to not like this sample.

(Sorry, guys.)

The shade I got wasn’t perfect, and it went on a little thick for me to be able to blend it in well as well as I’d like.  But when I was researching, I figured out that you’re actually supposed to buy multiple shades and then mix them to match your skin tone.  Or..something.  Which, awesome idea!  Custom blended foundation!  If you’re willing to shell out the money to match your skin tone perfectly.

In which case this is great!  But if you’re me and you’re really just happy to use your tinted moisturizer/powder super powered combo..not really so much.

Balanced Guru Balm Me Up Body Balm ($12 for 1 oz, $45 for 4)

Body Balm - Ipsy 1.22.14

This is probably going to make someone out there say “oh ew what is wrong with you” but that person is a snob and I don’t actually care about their opinions.  I forgot to toss my moisturizer in my gym bag Monday morning, and when you have dry skin and its winter..that is a bad thing if you plan to wash your face and not walk outside looking like a crocodile.  Luckily I’d thrown my complete ipsy bag in instead (because..logic, obviously) so I had this on hand and thought “well..it’s supposed to moisturize.  Maybe it’ll be okay.”

I’m not proud.

I kept it really light so as to not go overboard on the shine, and extra light on areas that are prone to shine, and I’m happy to say I made it through the day with no scales and actually not that much shininess.  Something in those oils did a damn good job locking that moisture down, and my face smells vaguely like lemon Pez.  I couldn’t be happier.

Actually, scratch that: I would be much happier if a retail size container of this didn’t cost as much as a week’s worth of gas in my car.

A! Absolute!  Make-Up Cleansing Tissues ($6.99)

Absolute! - Ipsy 1.22.14

They cleaned my face!

..I really don’t know what else to say about them.

Overalldefinitely not the best pack that’s come through my mailbox, that’s for sure.  But I like that this one was a little different than what I usually get from Ipsy– of late they’ve been getting kind of crazy with dark eyeliners and really bright red lip colors (which, fine, I like both of these things but what the hell am I going to do with eight vampy red lipsticks when I already have a favorite in my arsenal?)

So I guess I’m happy.  And my lips taste vaguely of mint.

Unwrapping…Birchbox January 2014

I am incredibly vain.

Like, duet-onstage-with-Matthew McConaughey vain, and I hope someone out there got that reference.   And I pretty much always have been, as much as I try to keep it under wraps these days.

I’ve loved makeup since I was a kid (what started it all: I was five; I wanted to be Glinda for Halloween, and I was insistent that I get to wear my mom’s lipstick to complete the ensemble).  I used to nick what I could out of the bathroom drawers and just play with it, because I was young and super weird and that’s what you do when you’re five.  So obviously when I got old enough that she would let me wear it, I was STOKED and probably made my fair share of poor choices because I was just so excited that I finally got to paint my own face and go out in public.

Since then I’ve gotten more restrained.  And honestly, my day to day makeup is so low-maintenance it isn’t even funny.  But I still love getting new products and trying them out, and I especially love getting to go all out with them when the occasion arises.  So it follows that one of my favorite things in life is something so many of you like-minded girls already know about: makeup subscription boxes.

(Because honestly, who doesn’t like getting packages?  Especially packages with mystery contents, most of those contents cosmetic products?  I thought not.)

I currently subscribe to five, because I am a subscription slut and I don’t like keeping money in my bank account apparently.  Bimonthly is the e.l.f Beauty Bundle.  Monthly I have non-cosmetic Naturebox, which is healthy subscription snacks; My Cotton Bunny, which is the single greatest thing to ever happen to women ever (never buy tampons again); the ipsy Glam Bag, which I have had an on-and-off relationship with; For the Makers, which is a monthly DIY type box for crafters that I have literally just subscribed to but have heard wonderful things about; and the reigning queen of subscription cosmetic boxes, Birchbox.

I love these little bastards.

I love these little bastards.

You’ll probably never read a review of an MCB box or a Naturebox, because it would read something like the following:

“Oh my GOD.  MCB sent me my tampons– right on time.  And chocolate, too!  And these texting gloves are rad, I was so excited to hear I’d be getting them.”

Nothing against MCB.  I love you guys.  But I get to read about my surprise weeks before my box arrives on the blog, and a standing date to review one product every month would be a little..well.  Sad.  (Sorry.  Did I mention how much I love you guys?)

But Birchbox, ipsy, and FTM will get reviews, mark my words.  And now, after having all that explanation…have a review of my January Birchbox, which was waiting for me when I got home from work yesterday.

100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Mascara (retail: $18)
100% Pure Mascara - BBX Jan 14

True story, I won the fourth grade science fair with an experiment about plant dies.  That may have been because the judge was one of the perviest science teachers I have ever known and I have always been a killer bullshitting suckup, but that doesn’t change the fact that it was a solid experiment and I am very, very upset that the people at 100% Pure didn’t contact me to be part of their R&D team.

Not really.  But royalties would be cool.

Anyway, back to the point.  This stuff smells phenomenal, for starters, which might be in small part due to the fruit.  Maybe.

I just checked and its holding up pretty well after application hour two, which is pretty legit.  It went on a little clumpier than some of my other mascaras, but it actually packs a pretty good volume punch.  I would definitely consider splurging on this when the aforementioned “other mascaras” (..I have a problem) run out or go bad, if I felt the need to splurge and get $18 mascara.

We’ll see about that one.

Fekkai Brilliant Glossing Crème (retail: $19.99)
Fekkai Glossing Creme - BBX Jan14

Seriously fucked up on my test run of this this morning.  I blame post-gym brain.  I was hoping I could hit a sweet spot between my usual off-shower day dry shampoo and some of this, to pick up most of the actual oil that was in my hair but still leave a little bit of shine.  Of course, I forgot I had it in my bag until after I was 95% done putting my hair up into something that looked sensible enough for work, so I may have just dabbed a pinhead sized amount over everything to see if I could get any shine.

We’ll have to do a re-do on this one.  But I have hope.  Its Fekkai, goddamn it.  I’d better have hope.

Nail Rock (retail: $7)
Nail Rock - BBX Jan14

In case anyone has been paying attention to my hands in the previous pictures, my nails are in dire need of a paint job, so I’m incredibly excited to try this stuff out.  Unfortunately I don’t think I’m going to have time to until the weekend, but whatever.  I’m still excited.  It looks like the glitter container is a little small, is my only concern; I’m expecting one nailjob out of this, two tops.  But glitter is also cheap, so I’m not concerned about being able to replicate this with reasonable levels of success and a lower price tag.  But then again, I’m one of those people who shells out for Essie like…all the time.  I’m pretty sure my nail budget can take the hit if I love it that much.

I’m also not sure I’ll love it more than I love Moon Candy.  You’ll hear about Moon Candy later this week, but holy mother of christ do I love Moon Candy.

Paula’s Choice RESIST Ultra-Light Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum (retail: $26.95)
Paula's Choice - BBX Jan14

Well, aside from the fact that the name is as long as the Derek Zoolander Center for Kids Who Can’t Read Good and Want to Learn to do Other Things Good Too.  The color and consistency were not at all what I expected– it’s like a funky off-mustard kind of yellow, and a lot looser than I thought it would be.  But I slapped it on in lieu of my usual eye cream last night and things seem to be looking good– less puffy, really.

I don’t know.  I don’t have a lot of concerns about aging skin right now, being as I am twenty-two, but I guess its nice to have things to put into the memory banks as part of an arsenal for later in life.  I guess.

Ahmad Tea’s Assorted Teas (retail: $7)
Ahmad's Tea - BBX Jan14

I love when Birchbox sends me tea.  I love tea.  I love good tea.  I also really hate buying good tea, because I’m never sure if I’m going to like it and I don’t want to shell out good money for expensive tea I’m not going to be gaga over.  In comes Birchbox to the rescue, sending me all kinds of fantastic teas I would probably not ever buy for myself.

This morning I had the Blackcurrant at work.  It was more fragrant than anything else, but hey.  Tea!  Who doesn’t like tea.

And, because Birchbox likes to send in little extras to make you feel good about things…this month we got some neat motivational cards that I have no idea what I’m going to do with.

Cards - BBX Jan14

I am pretty into them, though.  Especially that “Go get ’em tigress” down at the bottom.  I am a goddamn tigress, Birchbox.  Thank you for reminding me.

Overall I’m satisfied.  Hell, I’m rarely dissatisfied with my Birchboxes– there was only one time I was solidly disappointed with a sample, and that’s only because it was for what I believe is so poetically called “natural hair” (okay, my hair is natural too, thanks, its just fine and generally straight).  And that’s what I love about BBX: I may not always love everything I get, but you better believe I use it all because I at least like it.  And if I wind up with something I absolutely adore (see also: the liquid eyeliner I got a few months ago that I think will change my life, and possibly this month’s mascara), it’s all for the better.

Onward to February, BirchBitches.