Shameless Indulgence in Makeup and Beauty Products

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Playing Catch Up with Birchbox

I’m well aware of the fact that I’ve been lagging a little bit on the Birchbox hauls since it’s almost time for February’s Birchbox. My apologies! But hopefully this double dose of Birchbox-ness will make up for it!

My December 2011 Birchbox

My Birchbox arrived in the mail just in time for Christmas! The pink box is covered with printed snowflakes which have me pining for snow outside my window. I open my box to find a lovely Christmas card labeled, “frolic & fancy,” this month’s theme. So onto the haul:

December 2011 Birchbox
Benefit POREfessional- To me, this is the best thing in the box this month. POREfessional is popular Benefit product that can be used under and over makeup promising to minimize pores. I’m set in the primer department so I’ll just throw it into the pile of primers I already own. Nevertheless I’m still excited to try it whenever I get around to it.

Harvey Prince Yogini – I smiled when I saw Yogini perfume in my box. Birchbox must be Big Brother because how did they know I recently started going to yoga? The lady in the picture is doing a tree pose.  Sandalwood and myrrh give it an earthy smell and the grapefruit gives it a sweet note. Yogini is my fourth perfume sample from Birchbox and while I appreciate the exposure to different brands of perfumes my excitement for perfume is kind of dying down.

Jouer Lip Gloss in Birchbox Pink – Finally a makeup product! It’s a cute little tube of lipgloss with a doe foot applicator. It is a sheer but pigmented pink with no glitter. The formula is not sticky and you are able to build up the color.   

Olie Biologique – This leaked a little bit in my box because it was screwed in all way. It’s funny because this is the third oil product I’ve received from Birchbox. I must have said I have dry hair and skin in my quiz because I keep getting these kinds of products. I recently used up the last of the Orofluido, a hair oil, but this one is multiuse for the face, skin, and hair.

ShowStoppers – Double-sided fashion tape in a nude color. I’m a little concerned about the color because nude is usually too light for my skin tone. I would much rather have a clear tape but I’ll see how this works out.

EBOOST – This little orange package reminds me of EmergenC. It's only 5 calories and provides 1667% of the daily requirement of vitamin C. I will tear this open at the first sign of a cold, sickness, or if I need a little more energy. 

My January 2012 Birchbox

How are those New Year’s resolutions holding up? January’s Birchbox theme was “clarity.”

January 2012 Birchbox

Juicy Couture Viva La Juicy – I already own Viva La Juicy and it’s my favorite of the four perfumes from Juicy Couture. The perfect mix of girly, fruity, and sweet scents. 

ORIGINS Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash – I’m no stranger to Origins thanks to its overwhelming presence at the mall. I have tried a few different products - Plantscription a new anti-aging serum and A Perfect World moisturizer with white tea. I'm so thankful for Birchbox because I get the opportunity to  wash my face with higher-end and organic face products. The best part is I don't have to commit because after a few weeks I can try something else.  

Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eye liner in Peacock – First full-sized product in quite awhile! A bright teal water proof eye liner .01 oz $20 value. Twist up. Jazz up your everyday look by adding a pop of color. I would keep the eyelid neutral and line my bottom lash line in this teal.  After I swatched it on my hand it glided as if it was a liquid liner there was no tugging or pulling. I forcefully tried to rub off the eye liner but not even a speck of glitter rubbed off nor did it fade.   

VMV Hypoallergenics Re-Everything: Face-Hand-Body Lotion - I'm really excited to test drive this all-in-one product. The lotion is hypoallergenic, fragrance free, paraben free, preservative free, phthalate free, non-comedogenic. This is appropriate for all skin types and males and females. Although I have dry skin it never occurred to me to invest too much money in a body lotion because I have the tendency to stick to drug store body lotions. 

LARABAR in Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough– A gluten free, non GMO, and kosher snack. I've never had anything made with Fair Trade chocolate. The sample was a delicious few bites, really soft and chewy. I immediately tasted the cashews and chocolate and could see chunks of dates. Pretty Yummy!

A pink Birchbox logo magnet for my fridge. Kind of speaks for itself!

I just got my February Birchbox in the mail today so I will review it and post my haul tomorrow! Don't miss out on my posts, please follow my blog! 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Tinted Moisturizers and Reviewing My Favorite One

Let’s be real. Some days I don’t have the time to fuss with brushes and blending in and working with foundation. How I accomplish a quick and polished face in a hurry (which usually happens on a daily basis) is by using tinted moisturizer. With this wonderful invention you get a 2 for 1 deal- moisturize while adding color to your face and evening out skin tone.     

Swatches left to right: 
Physician's Formula, e.l.f, Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer and hydrating primer  

My journey to find a great tinted moisturizer began with Physician's Formula Organic wear 100% Natural Origin Tinted Moisturizer. It is priced at $11.95 and available in 4 shades. This product is watery so it instructs you to shake it up before using. This is my least favorite tinted moisturizer because I bought the darkest shade they offered, Natural to Tan, and it still wasn’t a perfect match. It totally gives me a white cast or mask-like appearance since it’s too light in color. Just a tad too ashy even after applying bronzer. With SPF 15 this offers the least sun protection compared to the other tinted moisturizers I will review. The thing that bothers me the most is the smell. I’m guessing that smell is the “Organic Fruit Water” that is added. The packaging is terrible because the tube leaks out product into the inside of the cap. It makes a mess! However, I’m sure this would be a great tinted moisturizer for those of you into natural and organic makeup products. It’s made with 80% certified organic products and is free of parabens; GMO’s (Genetically Modified Organisms); and synthetic preservatives, fragrances, and colors. The bottom line is it didn’t work for me but it may be different for you.    
Swatches sheered out     

The next tinted moisturizer I tried was e.l.f. Studio Tinted Moisturizer. I bought mine at Target for $3 (what a bargain!) and there are 7 shades to choose from. It has SPF 20 and is made with aloe, cucumber, and vitamins A, C, and E. I’m in the shade called Almond. I know the swatch looks dark in my picture but the consistency is thin so it sheers out and blends well into the skin. Plus I don’t mind looking a little darker and tan. I genuinely like this product because of the incredibly affordable price. My only complaint is, again, the smell because it distinctly smells like sunscreen lotion. Regardless, I was able to look passed it and continued to use it on a daily basis for the last few months.     

Last but not least, my new favorite tinted moisturizer is... Drum roll, please... Laura Mercier’s Oil-Free Tinted Moisturizer in Caramel! With 10 different shades you can easily find a match to your skin tone. SPF 20 Laura Mercier offers three varieties in this tinted moisturizer line – the original tinted moisturizer, oil-free, and illuminating. I visited my local Sephora to shamelessly test the different shades and varieties to find the perfect tinted moisturizer. It usually costs $42 but I purchased it during Sephora Friends and Family Sale so I saved a little bit of money.

As you can see I’ve encountered watery tinted moisturizers providing the sheerest of sheer coverage.  Granted, the tinted moisturizers I have tried are drug store brands and surely you get what you pay for. I have to say Laura Mercier is popular for a reason and her products are worth every penny. The first thing I noticed about this product was its velvety consistency. It absorbs quickly into the skin and it moisturizes rather than making me feel greasy. I can accomplish sheer coverage or use a little more for extra coverage. It makes it through my eight hour work day but I still need to blot my oily nose a few times during the day. The formula is very lightweight. In fact, I sometimes forget I’m wearing makeup!

The perfect companion to the tinted moisturizer is Laura Mercier’s Hydrating Foundation Primer (priced $30). Her line of primers offers four varieties- the original foundation primer, hydrating, mineral, and oil free. I chose the hydrating formula because I have normal to dry skin and figured I need all the moisture I can get during the cold, brash winter weather. The primer is a gel and it melts into the skin on contact. After application I wait a minute or so for it to dry and set before applying my face makeup. This particular primer helps keep the makeup I put over it stay matte and natural looking all day.  

I have been using this tinted moisturizer and primer for more than two weeks. Here is my routine. First, I prime my face with the Hydrating Foundation Primer. Next take a pea-sized amount and dot tinted moisturizer around my face- I make dots on my cheeks, chin, and forehead - and smooth it out with my fingers.  I then dust MAC Mineralize Natural Skin Finish all over my face to set and matte my face. Add bronzer and blush and I’m out the door! I kid you not, this takes me less than 5 minutes.

Before                                                                                                    After

My favorite part about this product is gives me a natural, fresh face and it stays dewy all day. From my before and after pictures you can tell the tinted moisturizer gave me a healthy dose of color, evened out my skin, cancelled out redness, somewhat covered my faint under eye circles, and above all, removed shininess. I will definitely repurchase both primer and tinted moisturizer and I encourage you to try it for yourself. Do you use tinted moisturizer and what brands have you tried out there?