Other -Unlisted Brand - Beauty Bar - Sample Society
snowshoe73 5/7/2013 3:38:00 PM
Beauty Bar's Sample Society is another monthly sample box. For about $17, you get four or five samples. There are no sample packets unless they come in multiples or the sample is large, such as the face mask I received the other month. Occasionally there's a full-size product in there, which is nice. In addition, Sample Society comes with a subscription to Allure magazine as well as an insert with tips, most of which are culled from current or recent Allure issues, so it's kind of redundant. Like with other sample services (Birchbox, Ipsy, et al.), there's a monthly discount coupon included if you wish to order the full-size versions or other items off of their website. And like the other sample services, Sample Society is often hit or miss. Some samples are great, whereas other samples are not-so-great. But again, for $17 a month, I get to try several products and brands that I wouldn't otherwise have tried. I have wasted more than that trying to find the right products at my local CVS. Why only three lippies instead of four? In my experience, Sample Society is NOTORIOUS for giving samples of the same brands over and over. I had three Dippytique perfume samples in the last six months! Many other brands (Alterna, Jane Iredale, Kate Somerville, Oscar Blandi, just to name a few) have also made multiple appearances in the span of a few months. At least they're giving different products from the brands they repeat...but to me, it still defeats the purpose of a sample box. If you're going to push the same brands over and over, what's the point? Seriously, a brand shouldn't appear in the box more than once every six months. It's not good when I open the box, see a sample and say, "didn't I get something just like this not too ago?" If Beauty Bar could scale back on the brand pimping and instead focus on providing a wider variety of brands, then it would be a real hit. Also, Sample Society could do without the shredded black paper in the box--it's more annoying than stylish, plus it's a waste of paper.
This gel gives your lashes a natural look, so if you are expecting drastic volume or length, keep looking. But for natural-looking lashes, this does a good job. It also darkens the lashes nicely. It does clump when applying but that can be fixed with a lash comb. Staying power is great on a dry day, don't yet know how it will handle humidity. I will update as I learn more. Update: handles humidity well. Still keeping it at 4 lippies due to the clumping, but overall this is a good product and I would repurchase.
Treatments -Shea Moisture - Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque
snowshoe73 4/24/2013 12:29:00 AM
I had high hopes for this product on my dry hair. Unfortunately, I was let down. My hair was coarse, stiff and hard to detangle after using this; it took a good soaking with Infusium 23 for me to be able to run a wide-tooth comb through it and start detangling. There was also no significant improvement in the texture and moisture of my hair either wet or dry (this lack of improvement was noted before I started using Infusium 23 to detangle). The product smells great and rinses out easily, but that's all it's got going for it. Glad it's working for others; it's just not working for me. I won't repurchase it. Update...been using it on and off for two weeks now (too expensive and not horrible enough to just toss). I think that over that time it may have actually improved the condition of my hair. Combing my hair out afterwards is still quite the chore...but my very dry and coarse hair is much more moisturized. So I've up the score to the lippies...it's not quite worth four though, but I may consider repurchasing.
Disappointing scent, taste and texture. The product smells too waxy, with little chocolate and no orange scent. Tastes waxy as well. Texture is somewhat stiff when applying, and the product has no staying power. Not worth the money at all.
The Face the Grey color quad was used for this review. I was blown away by the quality of the product. Yes, Drew Barrymore is involved in the product's development, so I didn't think it'd be horrible at all...however, it's also WalMart, home of low-cost yet questionable product ranges. So while I was optimistic I wasn't having high hopes either. I'm happy to say I was very wrong. The Grey quad is a nice blend of purple and grey shades that can make a lot of good combinations. There is both matte and shimmer textures, and it's actually tasteful shimmer that glows when applied, not the cheap-looking frosted look that some shimmer shadows (drugstore as well as high-end) can deliver. The darkest purple/grey shade is a little too dark for me as a shadow because I am fair-skinned, but it makes a great liner when applied with a wet brush. Product quality is high. The texture of the shadows is very fine and silky. They apply beautifully with little fallout, blend well, and wear all day (I will disclose that I used shadow primer). I would definitely repurchase this specific color quad again. In addition, my experience has been favorable enough for me to want to try out the other color quads. High quality at such a low price...this really is one that you can't go wrong with!
They offer a wide range of products and I've rarely come across duplicate brands, unlike some of the other sample services out there that are notorious for pushing the same few brands (Beauty Bar Sample Society is THE WORST for doing this!). Plus, unlike other sample services, you can update your profile. Whereas with other services (yes, Beauty Bar is guilty of this as well), once you enter your profile you can't make changes. Now, I've found that Birchbox is often hit or miss. Some months I'll get a fantastic box with samples that they somehow knew I'd like or want to try. Other months, it's like, "what the hell were they thinking?!?" Sometimes samples are small....as in really tiny single-use. Other times, they are pretty generous samples. There's often a full-size product in there--a nice unexpected treat. Sometimes it's even a full-size product that I'd want or could really use, like the Stila eye liner or Model Co. lip gloss. The non-cosmetic sample is a nice twist too, though like the rest, they are often hit (earphones, hair ties, designer Band-Aids) or miss (coasters? A Luna Bar?). Still, for the price, the Birchbox service is a nice little treat. Overall, it's got me trying products that I normally would not have considered giving a go. Even the less-than-par boxes aren't too bad: I mean, in the past I've wasted $10 (or more!) on just one product that ended up being a failure; at least here I get to try several products for my sawbuck. I haven't yet ordered from the website or written reviews, so I can't comment on those. I do think it's great that there's an opportunity to earn points that are redeemable for purchases. My only suggestion is NOT to get the annual subscription--then you're locked in for a year, and to get one monthly box for free just isn't worth it. Go with the monthly or 3 month subscription so you can try it out first; then you can leave if you're not happy with the selections.
Foundations -Almay - Almay Smart Shade Mousse Makeup
snowshoe73 2/14/2013 4:52:00 PM
I have to admit I was wary to try this, so I purchased mine at Ulta: it cost a couple dollars more than it would have if I bought it at the drugstore or WalMart, but Ulta will accept returns of opened makeuo, so it was worth the extra $2 in price to avoid being out $14 if it failed. I wouldn't go as far as to say this creates an absolutely perfect poreless and airbrushed look, but for a drugstore self-adjusting foundation, it's pretty damn good. The texture is nice and it applies smoothly. Unlike some foundations, it didn't build up in the creases under my eyes but instead evened them out. It also blends well so it's easy to fix uneven patches. I found that a little bit goes a long way so apply sparingly and build up coverage as needed. Even after setting with powder, it didn't last as long as I'd like...but it held up for at least 6 hours which is pretty good. I'll admit I skipped primer or BB cream this morning: perhaps using one of those underneath will extend its staying power. Updated 2.16.13: I've tried it with both primer and BB cream, and both improve the wear of the product. The BB underneath the foundation does result in a smoother but heavier look, which could work at night or in low-light conditions. For daytime/outdoors, primer underneath is the better and more natural-looking choice. I used the Light shade (I wear Urban Decay Naked 3.0 and one of these days I will get colormatched at MAC) and it was a very good match. I do wonder if the Medium would be dark enough for deeper skin tones. I'm not wild about the jar. I use a Q-tip to minimize cross-contamination, though I have a feeling that one day I will get careless and start dipping the fingers directly in. But since I toss all makeup after one year anyway, I might be all right--I"ll just have to keep an eye out for signs that it's going bad early.
Lip Gloss -Tarte - Maracuja Divine Shine Lip Gloss in Tipsy
snowshoe73 2/4/2013 2:39:00 PM
A decent product: not sticky, good color, all natural, good applicator. However, I can't get over the cardboard scent of the gloss. It's not horrible, but annoying enough that I probably won't purchase it again.
Excellent primer: lasts 12 hours and then some. Applies colorlessly and smoothly and helps the eyeshadow stay true to form. Love that it's all natural. Only thing that I'd change is the applicator: the tube means I have to use a brush or fingers to get it on my eyes, which can sometimes be imprecise. But the primer is good enough that it's not worth taking a lippy off just for that.
Does everything it says it should: lengthens, voluminizes, and helps my mascara wear longer. The effect isn't as drastic as Dior or UD's lash primers, but it's a pretty good product. I can't speak for its lash-growing properties though, as that's the only step in the Tarte MultiplEYE system...I don't know if it's made my lashes grow any, but it certainly hasn't caused any to break so there's something.
Mascara -L'Oreal - Telescopic Shocking Extensions Mascara
snowshoe73 2/2/2013 6:02:00 PM
This review is of the waterproof version. This mascara is very disappointing. The mascara lengthened, but did not separate--in addition, the application was very uneven. Even using my Tweezerman iLash Comb didn't help improve the look. End result: very spidery-looking lashes, not the long lush pseudo-extensions that I was hoping for. The mascara dis wear well without smudging--it is waterproof, after all. But I definitely am not repurchasing this. I'll also say that this experience hasn't made me keen on trying the non-waterproof version either.
I got this in Sangria as a "gift with purchase." I love the subtle color and the smooth texture: it gives my lips a rose-berry glow that isn't heavy or too shiny. However, I really dislike the silicone applicator that comes with it. I find using a lipstick brush or my fingers helps me apply it better.
This mascara lengthens and separates the lashes. The formula is a little dry but it does not clump when applying. I used the color Black Ice, which is a soft black, so it defines the lashes while not looking overdone or too obvious. It also smudges somewhat, not horribly, but enough to be annoying. The packaging is kind of novel. This mascara does what it says (though with flaws)...however, it's not spectacular and definitely not worth the high price tag. I can get this lash effect from several of drugstore brands at a fraction of the cost.
Primer/ Corrector -Perricone - Ceramic Skin Smoother Finishing Serum
snowshoe73 1/23/2013 12:39:00 PM
I don't know what it is about Perricone products: they all work great but they all smell like fish to various degrees. It must be something to do with their key ingredients. The scent of the Ceramic Skin is Smoother is nowhere near as bad as that of Cold Plasma, but it's still there and it's still annoying. As far as the product doing what it says: it does live up to that promise. My skin is smoother and firmer, and my pores appear smaller. However, I just can't get past the fish scent, which is why Ceramic Skin gets low marks from me. I've learned that when it comes to the Perricone line, either get your hands on samples before buying, or purchase from a store (read: Sephora) with a generous return policy. Whether it's due to the scent or the product performance, I've yet to find one Perricone product that is worth splurging on the full-size.
Cleansers -Josie Maran Cosmetics - Argan Cleansing Oil
snowshoe73 1/22/2013 12:27:00 PM
I never thought I'd use an oil to cleanse my skin. I received a couple of bottles of this as part of larger sets. I first tried it as a waterproof eye makeup remover, but it wasn't very good. Recently I read about using oil cleansers as a pre-treat to remove makeup before cleansing, so I figured I'd try it. Now THIS is what it was meant for! I only use it at night on the days that I'm wearing makeup. It melts off most anything on my face (see waterproof eye makeup disclaimer above) with ease. I then follow-up with my regular cleanser and Clairsonic brush, and my skin comes out clean yet not dried out. In addition, breakouts and blackheads have actually decreased since I've been doing this to remove my makeup. I don't use the oil in the AM, nor do I use it on non-makeup days: for those times, I just use my usual cleanser and Clairsonic. The downsides to this are the cost (it's pretty pricey for cleansing oil) and taste (not that I"m actively trying to eat it, but sometimes it does get on the lips). The smell doesn't particularly bother me. On the other hand, since I only use it once a day and not every day at that, even the sample bottles do last a long time. My experience with this cleansing oil has made me consider trying the homemade OCM. It would be cheaper than this product and it would allow for me to customize the oil blend based on my skin. Though given that I'm having so much success with using the cleansing oil once a day (or less), that's probably all I'll do the OCM. But that's a review for another thread.