Monday, December 31, 2012

Favorite Product Of The Month! December

Is it just me or did the new year arrive beyond quickly? I can't believe that December is a few hours from being over and January is actually about to begin. What are you lovelies doing for the new year? What are your resolutions? Let me know!

It was so hard to narrow down just one favorite for this month. I've really been loving quite a few but, I think this product stands just a little bit above the rest. My December favorite is my Ahava Time To Hydrate Essential Day Moisturizer (normal to dry skin) I received a sample tube of this a few weeks ago with my Ulta order and I love it. I'm always looking for non-greasy/no residue skincare because I absolutely hate how it feels on my skin. This moisturizer is perfect. The formula is very light and it leaves my skin feeling extremely soft. If I had to choose between this and my Philosophy Miracle Worker, I would most likely choose the Ahava. The reason for this is because I prefer how the Ahava feels on my skin, the MW is still a wonderful moisturizer and I will continue to use it because of all the benefits (anti-aging, antioxidants, etc.) but since the MW is a heavier moisturizer, it takes a little longer to sink in than I would like. This is especially inconvenient when using it in the day before trying to apply makeup. I prefer Ahava's lighter texture because of this, it sinks into my skin immediately and there's no waiting. If there was any way to take the Philosophy benefits and use them with Ahava's formula, I would be all over it! This moisturizer is paraben free and allergy tested.



In addition to making my face feel extremely soft, I also love how the moisturizer itself feels. It's not heavy whatsoever, and once I apply it to my face, I can't even feel it. This moisturizer also leaves a really refreshing, almost cooling type of sensation on my face. The scent is very pleasant, light and soapy.

Overall, I love everything about this moisturizer. My only wish is that it contained antioxidants like the Miracle Worker, but since it doesn't, I will stick to using this in the daytime and my Philosophy at night.

Full size retails for $39.50//1.7oz of product

Much love xo


Is Your Conditioner Lacking?

Hi lovelies! I know all too well how difficult the search is for a really great conditioner, and not only that, but one that doesn't break the bank. We've all bought them before, conditioners that didn't quite measure up or were just a little lackluster. Try adding these simple ingredients before you throw that bottle out.

Looks gross, I know! 
My last, not so great conditioner was the Nexxus Keraphix so that's what I will be using in this how-to. For my personal recipe: I took a small bowl with about 1/2 cup of conditioner, I then added two egg yolks, 2-4 teaspoons of honey, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil and two tablespoons of my Organix Moroccan Argan oil. Mix well. I LOVE the way that this mixture smells, the honey really gives it a mild, pleasant sweetness which I very much appreciated because I absolutely hate the smell of the Nexxus Keraphix. This mix can get very messy so I recommend transferring it to a squeeze bottle. If you have any left over, this will keep in the refrigerator for 1-2 days before it goes bad.

I shampooed my hair and dried it just a bit so that it wasn't dripping wet. I then applied the mixture to my hair, covered it with a plastic cap and let it sit for about 45 minutes. Do not use heat because you might scramble the eggs (unless that's your thing lol) I rinsed my hair with cool water (cool/cold water seals in moisture whereas warm/hot strips it away) and applied a quarter size amount of John Freida Straight Fixation Creme and my Organix oil before blasting my hair with the cool setting of my hairdryer for a couple of minutes and then letting it air dry.

This mixture made my hair feel SO soft and silky! If you've read my past hair entries then you know that my hair is naturally BONE dry, and keeping it moisturized is a definite hassle. From the roots to the ends, my hair feels so good and hydrated after using this. I will be trying a banana and avocado mixture in the future to compare which I like most. Another great thing that I noticed after using this, my hands and cuticles felt so soft and hydrated, so I'm probably going to mix this into one of my body products as well (minus the conditioner).

Now, why should you add these ingredients? For starters, I'm a firm believer in natural hair care being the way to go, for anyone. Hair always seems to be healthier when less chemicals are involved. Secondly, I believe this method is cheaper, for you to add a few household ingredients to perk up your existing bottle of conditioner rather than tossing it out and buying something else.

What do each of these ingredients do for you? Well each addition definitely serves it's own purpose.
  • Honey: This ingredient is a humectant. In short, it helps to seal in moisture.
  • Olive Oil: Like many oils (shea, jojoba, coconut) this ingredient adds essential fats, shine, moisture and nourishment to your hair (your body as well!) It also strengthens the hair follicle to decrease damage and breakage
  • Bananas: These are no longer just for breakfast. Bananas add moisture and softness to your hair. (You must mash or blend the bananas thoroughly otherwise you'll end up with banana chunks in your hair!)
  • Avocado: Just like the oils. Avocado's add fats and proteins to your hair to not only strengthen it but to add shine and body as well. Also great for hair that tangles easily! 
  • Egg Yolks: Like avocados, egg yolks add proteins and moisture.
So you see, all of these ingredients have some really amazing benefits, and I'm positive that at least one of these attributes is something that we all look for in a conditioner. So try it! Most of these ingredients are probably already in your kitchen. I'm sure some of you are a bit weirded out by the idea of using food as hair care, but think about it, before all of these chemicals and pre-made things were invented, these are the types of ingredients that people used. It's important for you to cater to your specific hair needs and try what recipe works best for you, everything is completely customizable. These recipes can without a doubt work alone, no existing conditioner needed. And as always, please if you have an allergy, skip that ingredient. 

Comment below and tell me if you've tried any of this! I would love to know how it worked.

Much Love & Happy New Year's Eve! xo

Saturday, December 29, 2012

MAC Strength Collection "Absolute Power" Lipstick - A Review

When MAC first announced this collection, I knew I was going to be all over it. I've been looking for a great matte red lipstick for awhile now and this one seemed to fit everything I was looking for. The other lipsticks in this collection were gorgeous but I knew I wouldn't give them the proper wear that they deserved so I skipped them. MAC describes this color as a "rich red". It's not quite the bright snow white-esque lipstick that I was looking for but more so a very pink toned red. I love it none the less.


The Strength Collection is described as "Colour is a vehicle for women to flex their femininity, and MAC's new Strength Collection reflects this state of mind and style. It starts with dramatic eyes and lips pumped up with vivid colour to project power while cheeks are softly chiseled with natural tones. And, nailing it for overall presentation, MAC's high-gloss Nail Lacquer"

I had a bit of trouble tracking this lipstick down even though I bought it the night of release because there seemed to be a mix up on what locations this collection was actually shipped to. After much irritation, I finally walked away with my lipstick. My favorite part about this lipstick is the texture! Even though it's matte, it's very creamy and glides onto my lips with ease. Once applied, the color leaves a subtle sheen/gloss that lasts for just a little bit before it dries down to a true matte finish. Worn alone, with no lip primer or lip liner, this color lasted about 2-4 hours before it wore down and became a bit dull. The stain it left however, lasted for much much longer, until the next day in fact. When paired with MAC's Prep + Prime Lip and a little lip liner, the color stayed at full opacity from day to night with me having to re-apply nothing. I do like this lipstick and I'm happy that I purchased it but my search for the perfect red still continues.

This lipstick retails for $15.00//3g of product
This collection can be purchased here

Much love xo


Friday, December 28, 2012

MAC Prep + Prime Lip- A Review

Lovelies...I have found THE holy grail lip product...seriously...I'm wondering where this product has been all my life and why I'm JUST NOW finding out about it?! I'm talking about MAC's Prep + Prime lip. I had been wanting this product for a few months now and lucky me, I received it as a Christmas gift a few days ago. I must say, I am absolutely smitten with this lip product. As a girl who wears mostly matte lipsticks, this was a must have for me.

Let me start off by saying that there is a right and wrong way to use this product, so many people are saying that this is a "glorified lipbalm" when it is anything but. If you've tried this product before and thought it did nothing, I highly encourage you to have at it again! The right way to use this is simply, applying it and allowing it to sit for 30 seconds to 1 minute and letting it become tacky on your lips. It should have a glue stick like texture once tacky (terrible description right?). Doing this allows the product to form a proper barrier so it can grab onto your lip color and NOT. LET. GO. If you don't allow it to become tacky and just apply your lip color right after then you are defeating the purpose of this product. The balm is white in the tube but completely clear when applied. It has no taste and carries the familiar vanilla scent that MAC lip products are known for.

I honestly cannot express how much this impressed me. It made my lip color last the entire day and kept my lips moisturized and soft while doing it. Not once did I need to re-apply anything even after eating and drinking. My lipstick did not bleed, feather or budge in any way. Never have I been able to take a tissue and blot it on my lips with absolutely nothing coming off, until now. When I say that this product is an essential for me now, I really mean it. I can't see myself ever applying lip color without this again. The tiniest touch of lipstick came off while eating and drinking but other than that, it didn't budge and my lip color pretty much looked the same from the beginning of the day until the end. I've found that this does work the best with matte lipsticks, it works well with non-matte but more lip color came off when eating and drinking, it still did not feather or bleed though.

This product retails for $16.00//1.7g of product
This product can be purchased here

Much love xo




Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Benefit Skincare Solutions Cleansers- A Review

Hi lovelies! Hope you all had a fantastic holiday! This is something that I've had on my review list for awhile and I just got around to it. I actually didn't know that Benefit even had a skincare line until I was sent the samples with an order that I placed online. I'm reviewing the Foamingly Clean Facial Wash and the Refined Finish Facial Polish. Let me say, I REALLY love these products and I will be purchasing both of these in the future.

I followed the steps and used the facial wash first. At first I thought I had been sent a dud packet because nothing would come out and then all of a sudden, the ENTIRE contents came out so I ended up using much more on my face than needed. These packages are good for at least 3 uses. This cleanser left my skin feeling so clean it was insane. Not a squeaky clean but more so a really deep, refreshing clean. Am I explaining this right? I also loved how the product was very thick, almost like icing so it felt like a night cream as well. I rubbed this all over my damp face and massaged it in, before I rinsed I let it sit for about a minute or so. It left my skin feeling moisturized and really good. This product retails for $21.

Next came the polish, I kind of compared this to the Philosophy Microdelivery Exfoliating Wash. This product, like the cleanser was very thick like a night cream and had plenty of exfoliating particles. I massaged this into my damp face for a few minutes and rinsed. It left my skin looking brighter and feeling wonderful. This product retails for $22.

Overall, I am SO glad that I got to try out these two. They made my skin feel amazing and left it feeling hydrated and clean. The smell for both products is really pleasant too! I look forward to purchasing these both in the future.

Much Love and Happy Holidays! xo

Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Holidays!


I just want to take a moment and wish all of my lovelies a wonderful MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!! I hope you are spending the day in warmth and with people that you care about! Save some dessert for me!

Photo is from Google Images

Much Love xo

Nexxus Keraphix Restorative Strength Conditioner- A Review

Hey lovelies! If you've been following my blog for awhile then you know that I have major issues with my hair because of my PCOS and finding the right routine and the right products is absolutely crucial. I first tried Nexxus brand products in my September 2012 Birchbox, I sampled packets of the Pro-Mend line, including shampoo, conditioner and split end binding leave in treatment. I really, really enjoyed these products so I put Nexxus on my buy list.

I visited Ulta a little while back with a new conditioner in mind, I passed my usual John Freida Frizz Ease and came right over to Nexxus. Unfortunately, they were all out of the Pro-Mend conditioner so I started reading the bottles and finally walked away with this one because it seemed like the best fit, even more so than the Pro-Mend. As far as first impressions go, there are immediately two things that I dislike about this product, number one is the price (youch to the wallet!) at $18.99, this is the most expensive of their conditioners. Luckily, I had a few coupons so that brought down the price a bit. My second dislike is the smell, it is not pleasant and it is VERY strong but I will say that neither of those points are a complete deal breaker for me as long as I love the product.

This conditioner is supposed to contain keratin amino acids, collagen, nutrients, antioxidants and UV protectors. Sounds amazing right? Well, I do like the conditioner but I don't think it's necessarily worth the price tag for me. My $6 John Freida works just as well for 1/3 of the price. So sadly I won't be re-purchasing. It did make my hair soft but I didn't notice any extra hydration. I did however notice, a reduced amount of breakage with my hair so that was a big plus. It's not that this conditioner is bad, it's just that as pricier product I think my expectations may have run a bit high. I might take another shot at the Nexxus brand again in the future, like the Pro-Mend for example but for right now, I'll use this up and then it's back to my trusty John Freida.

Much Love and Happy Holidays! xo

December Birchbox

Ello Ello lovelies, so sorry for the delay this month but to top off my Birchbox being just a little late, I was sent a completely different box than what was listed on my profile so that was a little odd. Has that ever happened to any of you before? Let me know! The theme for this month is "All Wrapped Up", because of that, our boxes arrived a little differently. Instead of the usual brown box, we received a cute wrapping paper style box.

Surprisingly, i'm actually HAPPY that my box was switched this month because the one that I was originally going to receive was SUCH a downer! Even though there are a couple items in this box that are a bust for me, I feel as though it's a much better fit. I received:
  • Thebalm Hot Mama Blush/Eyeshadow
  • Frownies Eye Gels
  • Nick Chavez Advanced Volume Shampoo
  • J.R Watkins Hand & Cuticle Salve
  • Emily's Dark Chocolate Mint Fortune Cookie
  • Rent The Runway $50 Coupon
My favorite product of this box is by far the hot mama! It is an absolutely GORGEOUS, pink coral shade and it complements my skin tone perfectly. Since I have a very medium skin tone, it's hard to find the right shade because they usually are either way too light or they blend so well into my skin that you can't even see them. I use this as an eyeshadow since I do not wear blush.

The eye gels were a nice surprise, I put mine into the refrigerator for about 5 minutes so they would be just a little cool. I like how refreshing they felt but as far as noticeable results, I really couldn't see anything but I can admit that it would be a little hard to see something after only a few uses. The texture was extremely odd, to the point of almost not wanting to use it so that took some getting used to.

I really disliked this shampoo. First and foremost, I absolutely hated the smell, it's very assertive and unpleasant. I honestly found myself wrinkling my nose the entire time. Secondly, it dried my hair out a bit. Not to the point of feeling like straw as some shampoos have but enough that I won't be using it again. Lastly, I noticed absolutely nothing in the form of volume. I won't totally blame that on shampoo because I do have naturally thick hair so if it added any volume, I didn't notice.

As for the J.R Watkins salve, as a whole, I've never been a fan of the J.R Watkins brand. In general I really don't like the scents and I find that the products that I've tried, really did nothing for me. This was by far my most disliked product though. Even though this product is a solid, once touched, it became an oil. I used this a few times and each time, there was almost no difference whatsoever. My cuticles were slightly moisturized but nothing that any hand lotion or body butter couldn't do so I definitely won't be purchasing. 

I have to be honest here, I was NOT looking forward to the fortune cookie because I usually despise mint flavored things but my GOODNESS, this cookie was DELICIOUS! I really enjoyed this cookie so much that i'm already planning to cash in my points to buy them as soon as they are in stock. It was perfectly chocolatey and not too much mint flavor. LOVED this!

Now that I've said all of the good points about this box, here comes my rant. I REALLY dislike when a clothing or limited size related product is included in any type of subscription box. There are so many sizes and shapes and heights and everything that it's very rude in my opinion to include something like that because if you aren't in the size range then you're pretty much getting cheated out of an item and it's not fair. Rent the Runway's service only goes up to a size 16 and as someone who is a size 24, well this is completely useless to me. I know, I know that in a subscription box there is ALWAYS going to be something that doesn't work for everyone but by including something that automatically excludes a certain group of people, that's just not right in my book. So, shame on you Birchbox. If you're going to include something like this, next time choose a company that caters to all sizes.

Overall, I like this box. At least all of the products I received are things that I will use except for the RTR promotion. My favorites were the fortune cookie and Hot Mama, both of which I will be purchasing!

Much love and Happy Holidays! xo







Friday, December 21, 2012

Congratulations!!!!

I'm extremely happy to announce the winner of my first ever giveaway! Many many congrats to KRISTINA!!! Thank you so, so much for being a reader of Dollface Beauty. I will be contacting you asap!

Also, a big thank you to Steph, who also entered the contest! I hope you continue to read my blog and I hope you stick around for more giveaways in the future! Thank you so much.

Happy Holidays and Much Love xo

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Sulfates, Parabens And All The Other Bad Stuff. YUCK!

So, over the years you may have heard people talking more and more about paraben this and sulfate that, especially when it comes to beauty or hair care products. These ingredients seem to be EVERYWHERE and now more and more companies are taking the initiative to release paraben and sulfate free products. You might see yourself asking though, first of all, what are parabens and sulfates and why are they so bad? What do they even do, and what is all the hub bub surrounding them? Well, let's find out.

You hear about sulfates mostly revolved around hair care but sulfates can be in any cleansing type product. These products usually contain a mixture of multiple sulfates and not just one. So, what are they? Sulfates are the ingredient that make products lather up. Those awesomely thick, rich, wonderful bubbles that we all love so much? Sulfates. This is also the ingredient that leaves that squeaky clean feeling because it strips away the dirt, grease and residue, this is why you hear about them mostly in shampoos. The top reason that this ingredient is frowned upon is because it can very easily be too harsh, especially for sensitive skin. It can also leave your hair and skin feeling extremely dried out. There have also been studies showing that sulfates can be harmful to both you and the environment so that's definitely something to consider as well. If you don't want this stuff around you, try looking for more natural or organic brands which in honesty, this is a good recommendation for anyone because even if you don't have an issue with sulfates, all natural and chemical free seems to be the best route for anyone. While you may miss your rich lather, you'll probably get more satisfaction from knowing that you're taking the healthier route.

Now let's tackle parabens, what are they? Parabens are an extremely common cosmetic ingredient, this is because they are what keep our makeup, deodorant and other personal products preserved. They stop gross bacteria and any other microbe that you can think of from growing on your products. There has been significant research that parabens might even be the leading cause of different cancers in both men and women. Although the former has not yet been confirmed, multiple tests have shown that parabens were found in cancerous cells. Scary right? So what do you do to get past parabens? Well, just like sulfates, the only sure fire way to avoid them is to purchase products that boast the paraben free label. Even though research is still be conducted everyday, who wants to take the chance?

As always, I encourage all of you to do your own research and make your own decision on what type of products that you feel comfortable using. Also, i'm interested to know. What is your stance on parabens and sulfates? Will you continue to use them? Comment below.

Much Love and Happy Holidays xo





FLO Perfume Atomizer- A Review

Sweet babycakes, I am so excited! I have been dying for a perfume atomizer for quite awhile now but I never got around to it. I had my eye on the Travalo brand but I could never seem to track one down in stores and I didn't want to pay shipping for one item. Once I found out that Ulta sold this brand, I was ALL over it! This nifty little thing is by the brand Flo and retails for $10. Now, right out of the starting gate there is a huge difference between this and the Travalo brand and that is in how the perfume, goes from bottle to atomizer. While the Travalo allows you to take the cap off of your perfume, stick the Travalo on in the caps place and spray the perfume into the atomizer that way, the Flo brand simply has you to spray or pour whatever perfume or body spray into it so that you aren't limited or restricted in any way. Even though this method takes some getting used to and might be a little messy at first, I think that this method is better because with the Travalo way, you run the risk of breaking the perfume cap while trying to remove it, if you have a pour style bottle this would be incompatible or what if your perfume cap simply isn't removable? Either way, they are both good brands and products and it really all falls down to personal preference.

The Flo is incredibly easy to use, even on my first try I had no spilling or leaking whatsoever. Just be sure to have everything properly aligned and it works like a dream and takes less than five minutes. I sprayed about forty sprays and my atomizer still wasn't quite full so about fifty or maybe even sixty sprays should completely fill it up. This atomizer is also airline safe and approved.

My only dislike is that the top cap is very hard to get off but I guess that's also a good thing because at least I know that it's secure and won't come off in my purse. It is also a little difficult to look and tell how much perfume is inside but, after awhile I kind of got the hang of being able to tell.

All in all, I really like this product and I will definitely be purchasing at least one more in the future.

You can check out the brand here
Or purchase from Ulta here

Much Love and Happy Holidays! xo



Sunday, December 9, 2012

It's A Giveaway!!! CLOSED

Ello Ello lovelies!! I am beyond excited to announce my first ever giveaway! It's been almost a year since Dollface Beauty first started and I've definitely come a long way. This blog has grown and explored. I've found awesome products and some...well some haven't been so good and you lovely, lovely readers have been here to witness it all.

I decided to do this giveaway around holiday time rather than in January because, let's face it. Who doesn't want an extra, awesome thing under the tree? I love you all and I just want to thank you for being here and sticking with me throughout everything. I wish that I could give you all something special from the heart but for right now, there shall only be one winner. Okay, my emmy speech is done!

The rules for this giveaway are as follows:
  • You must follow Dollface Beauty either publicly or via email to enter this giveaway. 
  • This is open internationally
  • This giveaway will be open for 10 days! I will announce the winner first thing December 21st
  • Please leave your email along with your comment so that I can contact you if you win
  • To enter the contest you must leave one comment below telling me which Dollface Beauty blog post is your favorite and also, what are you most looking forward to this holiday season? 
And finally, the prize for this giveaway will be a MYSTERY BAG filled with some of my favorite products!! Good luck to everyone who enters and Happy Holidays!!!

Much love xo

UPDATE: This giveaway is now CLOSED! Thank you to everyone who entered. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Favorite Product Of The Month! November

Hey lovelies! I thought I would start a new "series" on my blog. At the end of every month I will be talking about and reviewing my favorite beauty product for that month. My pick for November would have to be my Aroma Workshop Shea Butter Body Cream.

Now that the cold weather is upon us (i'm just waiting for snow!) I don't know about you, but this weather has been sucking all of the moisture out of my skin, especially my hands. I've been using this pretty much every single day now and I absolutely adore it. My skin feels so soft and supple after I use this, it gives my skin the perfect amount of moisture without being too heavy and thankfully leaving no greasy residue behind, if you know one thing about me it's that I despise products that leave residues behind. A little goes a long way with this cream, it's very thick and rich yet light enough that it sinks into the skin immediately. This product features 10% shea butter, glycerin, beeswax, fractionated coconut oil and jojoba oil.

What I love most about this is that the scent is completely customizable or you can leave it unscented if you prefer. I chose to leave mine unscented this time around but in the future I might just have to get the Italian Blood Orange scent, I have this scent in a glycerin soap from the same shop and the smell is just, all kinds of amazing.

Unfortunately, for you lovelies outside of the Chicago area, this product can only be purchased online here.  I encourage you to check out the shop, they have so many different products and pretty much every scent available under the sun.

So, this is the product that i'm loving now but what's yours? Comment below. I would love to hear from you!

Much love & Happy Holidays! xo





Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Smashbox 3 PC Bestseller Mini's (Ulta Exclusive Gift)


Ulta, must you keep me coming back with your awesome gifts? We all love freebies right? Well check this one out, because i'm really loving this promo lovelies. I placed a holiday order with ulta.com and in addition to receiving a nifty little beauty bag full of goodies, I received this as well. It's free with any $35 Smashbox purchase and I must say amazing. It comes with a makeup bag and includes samples of photofinish primer, lip enhancing gloss (sheer color version) and full exposure mascara. The samples are tiny but are still pretty good size and they are absolutely perfect for throwing in my makeup bag for class or any other sort of travel. This is a great way to try a few different products with enough uses to make a final decision about purchasing. There's nothing I hate more than a single use sample because it's almost impossible to form a solid opinion about it, especially with a high end brand item. No one wants to spend $30+ on something they may or may not end up loving.


 Photofinish and I are old friends. this was the first makeup primer that I ever used before I moved onto the NYX Shine Killer & Pore Filler versions. Even though i'm well acquainted with this product, i'm glad to see it and I will be sticking it in my on the go makeup bag. The size is 0.25 oz.

Shimmery lip products are not something that I normally go for, i'm a matte lip kind of girl but, I will say I've really been enjoying this lip gloss and it is absolutely chock-full of shimmer (seriously..it is) When used sparingly though, it creates a nice little sheen to my lips. I really like that it's non-sticky and pretty long lasting, I only use a couple of swipes and it stays on for hours. I can't see myself purchasing though only because gloss is something that I just don't use enough to buy, especially a high end one. The color I received was "Radiant". The size is 0.14 oz.

I had high hopes for this mascara but it did absolutely nothing for my lashes and when I say nothing, I mean it. My lashes were one micro step up from being completely natural. It separated my lashes nicely and I didn't have any clumps or flaking but, I suspect the reason for that is no matter how much I applied, the mascara just would not build up. Somehow, the fifth coat looked just like the first. The size is 0.14 oz.

Even though the mascara was a dud for me, i'm still happy about everything else. While they could have easily packaged the samples in a plastic baggie, they went the extra mile and included an actual makeup bag and since it's a freebie, you can't beat it. Thanks Smashbox & Ulta!

You can check out the bag and add it to your cart here, i'm sure quantities are limited so snatch yours up soon. Ulta stores have a nasty habit of not having their promo gifts in stock or having so few that they run out, if you're looking to redeem this offer in stores, I suggest calling ahead and making sure that they have it.

If you recently placed a qualifying order but didn't receive this, print out your receipt, call your local Ulta and explain the situation. You should be able to go and pick it up. This also applies to any other promo or free gift item, provided that it is not an online exclusive and is in stock.

Update: This promo is no longer available

Much love and Happy Holidays xo

Sunday, December 2, 2012

November Birchbox

I am so sorry for the delay lovelies! Between work and catching a mean flu all over again, I've just been swamped. I missed you all though! Now onto my November Birchbox review, I received mine quite late last month, considering I usually receive them anywhere from the 10-15. I never did receive a shipping email but much to my surprise and delight, my box just showed up one day. After seeing all of the disappointment, I honestly didn't have high expectations. I'm glad though, once again BB came through and I was proved wrong.

 Tis the season of giving and thanks, that was the Birchbox theme for this month. They've already opened up the holiday shop for this year and so far things have been looking up for BB despite the hurricane Sandy tragedy. This month, BB made it well known that there would be shipping delays because of the recent events. Most people received their boxes by the 10th but a few, like me in fact received there's much, much later. I'm not going to complain though because I commend Birchbox for coming through after everything that happened, so many kudos to their staff.

Despite the BB staff giving us their best efforts this month, it was not without incident. From spilled body oils to actually including a men's cologne sample in some boxes this month, quite a few customers were less than satisfied, and I can't say that I blame them. It honestly irks me that BB would include a male item in some boxes (we have Birchbox Man for that!) but what followed that was a blatant plug for new BB Man subscribers covered up by a "holiday giving" scheme. I know, I know that BB is in fact a business and needs to make money but to take our subscription box that we pay for and swap out one of our samples for a male one so we can "give" it to a guy friend so that in turn he can hopefully sign up for BB Man is a new low. Shame on you Birchbox.

All in all though, I am absolutely thrilled with the box that I received. With the exception of the cupcake bath bomb that was sent to a few subscribers, I received everything that I had been eyeing in other boxes, so this was DEFINITELY a great month for me:

  • Oscar Blandi Texture & Volume Spray
  • ModelCO Fiber LashXtend Mascara
  • Viva La Juicy "La Fleur" Perfume
  • One Love Organics Aromatic Body Serum "Rose"
  • Cranberry Soyjoy Bar
  • Give Pillowbox
  • Chromatic Gallerie $15 Coupon

I enjoyed everything but the CG coupon, in all honesty it's completely useless to me. If anyone would like the code I would be more than happy to give it to you. Just contact me via email or twitter. It expires 12/31.

I was DYING for this mascara but for me, it fell a little flat. The formula is VERY and I mean VERY dry. So much that I though the product may have been expired until others said the same thing. Despite that, I do like the mascara and I will use it, but as far as purchasing it's a definite no. Even with the lash fibers, I noticed no difference between this and my regular Maybelline mascaras. Be careful as well because quite a few fibers got into my eyes (OUCH) and it was NOT pleasant. 

The One Love Serum was nice, it absorbs into the skin quickly and the rose scent is light. Which I definitely prefer since i'm not that crazy about rose scents, they always seem a little musky to me. I didn't really notice any added moisture but it did leave my skin feeling soft and silky.

I really wanted to love the "La Fleur" perfume since I love Viva La Juicy but this one just didn't do it for me. The perfume by itself smells really good but once on me it smelled like pure watermelon. 

The stand out item for me was without a doubt the Oscar Blandi spray, I absolutely LOVE this product and I will definitely be purchasing the large size. I have always hated the smell of hairspray, even more so I've always hated how the smell lingers. With this, I don't have that, the product smells absolutely amazing and smells more like hair perfume than anything else. It also held my hairstyle in place but didn't make it crunchy or sticky and did not weigh my hair down.

 As much as I thought that I was going to despise the Soyjoy bar, it was actually very good and that speaks volumes for me because cranberry has always been something that I've never enjoyed. If this was available in a plain flavor or maybe even chocolate chip, it would probably be amazing. Get on it Soyjoy!

All in all, this was a great box for me and now I have my eyes on December! Happy Holidays everyone, I hope you are somewhere warm with the people you love. 

xoxo



Thursday, November 8, 2012

Lane Bryant Smooth Satin Full Coverage Bra - Review

Photo is courtesy of lanebryant.com
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Lane Bryant bras, they are literally all that I own but lately my old favorite, the cotton t-shirts just got to the point where they were old, pinching and ridiculously uncomfortable. I really have no idea why other than their age (a little over a year old) but it got to the point where they were stretched out and constantly digging into me from all angles, which resulted in a very miserable and disgruntled me. Now entering misery country population one! The cups had also started to curl after repeated washes. So I was unquestionably on the hunt for some new bras, I had my eye on the full coverage line for awhile, because of my bust size (46-48D) those seemed like the best option. I must admit that I had previously steered clear of them because they seemed more like the dull, unattractive "old lady" bras and less like the flirty, printed bras that I was used to wearing, oh how wrong I was.

I couldn't be any happier with these bras, they are FABULOUS! It fully covers my girls and there are no HELLO! type "slip ups" when I bend down or move a certain way. C'mon, we all have that moment when we bend down to pick something up and a good handful and a half of boobage slips out of the middle of the bra and we have to run off to the restroom to "re-adjust". Thankfully and proudly I can say that I no longer have to do that. This bra also offers amazing support and lifts me up right where I want to be. I have back fat and usually experience that uncomfortable band roll up and pinching but I don't with these, because of the smooth texture, these are perfect for wearing daily. I must admit, it's actually pretty nice not having all the bells and whistles for now and just enjoying a great, everyday no fuss bra. I won't be able to stay away from the prints and lace for too long though, so next sale I will be stocking up on those! The moral of the story? Don't judge a bra by it's cover, had I not taken one look at these years ago and turned up my nose, I could have been wearing these all along and saved myself countless embarrassing moments and some major discomfort. My only con with this bra is the band material, it's a see through mesh type fabric. I would have much preferred a more stable, solid fabric to reduce the risk of ripping and tearing.

This bra is now available in a lacy option for your more vixen moments but I would size up with those because they fit a little more snug. This bra wore comfortably for most of the day but in LB's defense I am still breaking them in so they should mold to my body in next few days. I'm going to give the cotton and expandable cup versions a try soon. I encourage all of my fuller chest ladies to give these a try, you won't be disappointed! Don't get discouraged if you can't seem to find the perfect fit, LB is known for their bra sizing to be a bit off depending on the style and color, what I wear in this bra I would have to go up almost three band sizes to fit a balconette!! Just keep trying on different styles and prints until you find "the one".

This bra can be purchased here: Smooth Satin Full Coverage

Much love xo

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Ulta's BeautyBlender? - A Review

I've had my eye on the famous BeautyBlender for months but shelling out $20+ for the sponge and the special cleanser was just not on my list. I considered cashing in my Birchbox points for it but I used those for my awesome little Baggu backpack (review coming soon). Needless to say, a blending sponge did not seem to be in my immediate future. You can probably imagine my giddy little excitement when as I was browsing Ulta's website and found their BB knockoff, called the "Super Blender Sponge" for $4.99 no less! I immediately purchased the next day and with my 20% coupon I really got an amazing deal. This little bugger was a bit difficult to find in store, I expected it to be somewhere on the Ulta product table but in fact it was at the back of the store where Ulta's sponge section is, raise your hand if you didn't even know that Ulta HAD a sponge section...am I alone here?

For those that do not know what a blender sponge is, they are not your typical makeup sponges. They are kind of a unique hybrid of a brush and sponge, featuring a rounded flat end and a pointy tip, both used for makeup application and blending. The difference with these is they can be used damp or dry for a flawless and natural airbrushed finish to your makeup and unlike other makeup sponges, they don't soak up all of the product.

As someone who does not wear foundation (ever..) In all honesty I didn't even know what I was going to use the little guy for at first but since then I've been using it for my tinted primer and I love it. Since I've never owned one, I have no idea if it measures up to the real BB, but since they seem to be the same material and relatively the same shape, I can't imagine that the two would be that different from each other. The only differences that I have noticed is that when ran under water, this sponge does not seem to have the expanding characteristic that the BB is known for and the super blender's different shape allows you to grip it better, it's very dense and stiff which gives me exceptional control because it doesn't squish and almost cave in on itself when using it. As far as maintenance goes, I just wash my sponge in warm water with a little bit of mind soap and it's good to go.


When factoring in all of the pro's and con's, I would still pick the super blender for now, maybe one day when I've saved up enough Birchbox points, I'll purchase the BB and compare the two but as of right now, I have no desire to purchase one. I know that quite a few companies have released their versions of BB's so if you are coveting this sponge like I was, I suggest trying those out before purchasing the mothership.

Overall, I'm really liking this product and I will without a doubt be repurchasing when this one gets worn out and grimy.

Pro's:

Very wallet friendly price ($4.99 vs. $20+)
More readily available (BeautyBlender's can only be purchased online or in select stores)
Finger notches allow for a better grip

Con's:

Not as well known
Might have different performance
Does not expand much in water
Stiffer and more dense than the BeautyBlender (I like this quality, some may not)

Much love xo

Update: After using this for awhile, I've come to find that this blender just doesn't perform how I originally thought. After continued use, it seems to get "clogged" no matter how much I wash it, because of this, my makeup is not blended whatsoever and looks dry and patchy. This will be thrown away and I will not be re-purchasing.



Saturday, November 3, 2012

L'occitane- A Review

It took me forever to learn how to pronounce this! May I present L'occitane (LOX-EH-TAHN). After hearing great things about this little french company, I decided there was no better time to try them out after receiving a coupon to redeem a free hand cream plus 15% off of my purchase (coupon is no longer available). The staff at my mall was extremely helpful and after explaining everything to me and letting me sample a ton of different products, I walked away with two hand creams and a bar of exfoliating almond soap even though i'm sure I could have purchased much, much more. The store is a bit overwhelming!

I chose the original 20% shea butter hand creams because I liked the scent best and according to the staff, it was the most moisturizing. The 1oz size retails for $10 and the large 5.2oz retails for $28. While I think it is a really lovely hand cream, it is very moisturizing and it does not leave the greasy/oily residue that I despise with a passion, I don't think it is necessarily worth the price. I can say though, since the product is so thick and moisturizing, a little goes a long way and so both size tubes will last a good while so it's not quite so bad.

The good news is that if you sign up for the VIP program, you will receive coupons and invitations and that definitely makes it worth going for. The cream itself is very rich and dense with a very pleasant almost baby powder like scent that I really enjoy. I literally couldn't stop smelling my hands! The best thing about this cream is that it lasted for awhile, even after a hand washing but it never felt sticky or greasy. Overall, I would re-purchase this hand cream, especially if I had a coupon and with the winter months coming up, we'll see just how good or bad this product is.


My next purchase was the exfoliating almond soap bar. At 1.7oz the bar is quite small but I think it's because it's supposed to be a sink soap rather than a shower soap. I really don't expect it to last over five showers but I will be pleasantly surprised if it does. It retails for $5. The packaging says, "This exfoliating soap sloughs away dead cells and helps stimulating skin microcirculation." It contains real almond shell pieces so if you have an allergy, stay far far away.

The soap has a really nice, clean milky smell and made me instantly think of the oatmeal milk & honey soap that I used as a child. When they say exfoliating, they mean it! I was surprised at how rough the almond pieces were but it didn't bother me and it left my skin feeling extremely soft. This is by far the best exfoliating product that I've used to date, I've used everything from scrubs, brushes and loofahs and this definitely beats them all.

Keep in mind that these products are really luxury items and not necessarily the best thing on the planet for you because they do contain parabens but, according to L'occitane they are in very low doses.

Overall, I am so glad that I got to try out this brand! Both of the products that I purchased are lovely and I will definitely be repurchasing this soap if nothing else, the hand cream I would probably only repurchase with a coupon. To get the best bang for your buck I suggest signing up for the free VIP program so at least you will get access to some really good promotions and it won't be quite so hard on the wallet.

Both of these products and more can be purchased at L'occitane En Provence

Much love xo




Thursday, November 1, 2012

My Skincare & Haircare Story

Hello lovelies! I thought I would share a little bit about me today. Like so many others, I've been through countless things trying to find the best products and the best routine and let me tell you, both my skin and hair have really been on a journey. From horrific to bad to decent and everything in between. Over the last year or so I have really taken an initiative to get my skin and hair healthy and on track. Like all things, no matter what you do on the outside, it all needs to start from within first and foremost. Because of my PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) condition, my skin, hair and nails have always been in a constant brittle state and no amount of love could really turn that around, until now.

The PCOS causes thinning spots in my hair but lately I've found that my hair is a lot thicker, stronger and overall much healthier. I start by washing my hair every 7-10 days or so. I know this might seem like a loooong time to some people but because of my extremely dry hair (we're talking BONE DRY here!) this is what works best for me. I've been using John Freida's Frizz Ease Hydrating shampoo & conditioner and I really like these two. Unlike other shampoos that I've used, this one does not make my hair feel dry or like straw, my hair actually feels really silky and soft after using it. After washing, conditioning and towel drying my hair. I use Organix Extra Strength Moroccan Argan oil in my hair, about 2 quarter size amounts, because my hair is so dry, I use this daily. I then use a quarter size amount of John Freida's Frizz Ease Straight Fixation Smoothing Creme. I brush my hair well and blow dry my hair on low hot until it is about 90% dry and I finish by letting it air dry. Every 2 weeks I deep condition my hair with pure olive oil and egg yolks, I mix the two together and leave in on my hair under a plastic cap for an hour before washing it out. My hair has really come a long way since I started this routine and trying to eliminate as many chemicals and heat sources as I could.

For my skin, again because of the PCOS, my skin is VERY acne prone. For as long as I can remember, I've always picked at my face and spots. Horrible I know. Even though I know better now, the damage has already been done in the form of dark spots and acne scars all around my face. Add that to never using moisturizers and you can see why my skin was in such a horrid state. For awhile I had been interested in skin lighteners but I've always been weary of using them out of fear of what might go wrong. Thanks to Birchbox who sent me the DDF Brightening Cleanser which is now a holy grail product for me, it has lightened my spots and scarring and really helps keep my breakouts at bay as well. For a moisturizer I use the Philosophy Miracle Worker Anti Aging serum and moisturizer. I like to leave my skin pretty natural and so I don't use foundation, I personally try to stay away from caking makeup on my face and more so, I just don't like the way it feels. I use a primer + powder for a matte airbrushed face. Every few weeks I like to give myself a whipped egg white facial, I use one egg and let it sit on my skin for 15 minutes.

Because of my condition, it is very vital that in addition to my medication, I supplement with a multi-vitamin, echinacea and probiotics. Not only have these helped my overall health but they've done wonders for my nails. I also drink tons of water and have altered my diet to include lots of fruits and veggies. I have always had trouble with my nails breaking and peeling. The only product that I've found to help this has been Revlon's Calcium Gel, I use a coat of this under all of my nail polish. It took a long while but my nails have gotten a lot stronger and they don't peel nearly as much. I might not ever see a day where my nails are completely problem free but as of right now I couldn't be happier.

My biggest problem overall was stress, eliminating stress from my daily life has been the hardest thing to accomplish by far and even though I haven't mastered it completely, I've noticed that just doing simple things have helped my health so much more. After battling these problems for so long, it finally seems like my skin and hair have taken a turn for the better and I can only hope that it continues from there. I cannot explain the sheer embarrassment and low self esteem that I used to experience because of this and I know that even though that's all better now for me, people everywhere are still dealing with it. I encourage you to do like I did and take the initiative to turn it around and remember that no matter what, always love yourself. You are gorgeous just the way you are and all of your flaws are what make you perfect. Also, if you are a woman battling PCOS let me know in the comments below, send me an email and share your story with me, I would love to hear from you.

I love you guys but please, please, please consult with your doctor before adding any supplements to your diet. It's for your own safety.

Much love xo

Monday, October 29, 2012

Target Beauty Bag

I hate to do a posting of something that is no longer available but here goes. Almost a month ago, Target Style offered a chance to sign up for a free beauty bag on their Facebook page, I signed up on 10/2 and received my bag today 10/29 despite the confirmation page saying to allow 4-6 weeks for delivery. The bags were sold out within a 1-2 days and i'm so lucky to have even received one. To everyone that did not, i'm sorry to say that Target has announced that this was their last bag so i'm glad I got to experience this at least once. As far as I know, all of the bags were exactly the same. Everything I received were foil samples but i'm in no way complaining because they were free and there is enough product to actually use, I received:

  • Pixi Flawless Beauty Primer
  • Clear Scalp & Hair Therapy Total Care Shampoo & Conditioner
  • Fekkai Technican Color Care Shampoo & 3 Minute Mask 
  • Jergens Daily Moisture Lotion
  • L'Oreal EverCreme Nourishing Shampoo, Conditioner & Masque
  • Beauty Coupon Book containing 13 coupons valued at $17
The coupon book not only contains coupons for the products featured but it contains others like Pantene, Revlon, Aveeno, Nivea and a few more all between $1-$3 off. Overall, I think this is a wonderful value just for the bag alone which is a cute London Soho animal print cosmetic bag (i'm loving that the bag isn't a flat print but actually has texture to it resembling fur) and once you factor in the coupon book and the samples, it's just too good to pass up. I'm sad that this will be the last one but I can only hope that after awhile maybe Target will bring the beauty bags back! I will be posting reviews after I have tried everything.

Much love xo

Thursday, October 18, 2012

JUARA Skincare- A Review

As the winter months are vastly approaching, I've been on the hunt for new and awesome things to add to my skincare regime. You can imagine my excitement when I stumbled upon Juara skincare. I had honestly never heard of this company before I joined the MakeupTalk forums and started really getting a lot of suggestions and advice.

After hearing some amazing things, I contacted the company and explained my specific skincare needs in hopes that they might offer some suggestions of the best products to try out. I explained that I had dry/combination skin with an oily t-zone and dark spots and acne scars on my face. After settling on the Rose & Willowbark Blemish-Free Mask, Rice Facial Cleanser & Turmeric Antioxidant Mask, I was sent small samples of each to see what I liked before I made a purchase. I've always been a girl who prefers natural, homemade beauty remedies but lately, I've been starting to enjoy a lot of store bought skincare like the Philosophy Miracle Worker line and the DDF Brightening Cleanser (links to both of these reviews will be at the end of this post) I realize that some things can't be made at home.

Juara prides itself on products without animal testing, parabens or sulfates. Everything sounded perfect until I actually received the products, I'm sad to report that these products sent my skin into an uproar! About 10 minutes after using the rice cleanser my face started to itch horribly and sure enough, later that night I had pimples and redness everywhere, my face was also extremely oily. I know it was this cleanser because I hadn't seen a breakout nor oiliness since I started using my DDF Brightening cleanser. I don't know exactly what ingredient caused this but something certainly did not agree with my skin. Before this happened I had actually really liked the cleanser, it was very light, silky and creamy with a nice, soapy floral smell. It was very gentle and left my skin feeling soft, clean and refreshed. Another perk was that it did not make my face feel tight or dried out or flaky up until the breakout. Another con that I have with this is that the sample bottle I received did not have a pump and the bottle could not be squeezed so it is very difficult to pour out and use. The full size includes a pump however and can be purchased here: Rice Cleanser. I'm glad I got to try this product out but because of the reaction this had with my skin, I definitely will not be purchasing the full size.

After the rice cleanser made me breakout, I figured there was no better time to try out the Rose & Willowbark Blemish-Free mask that I was also sent to see if I saw any difference. The mask is lilac colored and grainy. I'm also sad to report that just like the rice cleanser, this mask did not agree with my skin whatsoever. After putting it on, it immediately made my face feel hot and like it was burning. OUCH! In Juara's defense, I don't know if this was because my skin was already irritated from using the rice cleanser or if my skin was going to react to the mask this way regardless. I started by splashing my face with cold water, I did not by any means want to cleanse my face again because it was already so irritated. Next, I applied a thin layer and let it sit on my face for about 10 minutes before washing off in cool water. While my skin did look and feel a little better, it was a lot softer and it got rid of a lot of the redness, it caused a few dry patches around my nose later on and overall did not give the results that I was hoping for.

All in all, it seems like Juara skincare is a big no no for my skin even though I really really wanted to love this brand. It's not that the products are necessarily bad, they just did not in any way agree with my skin. So if your skin is like mine, dry/combination, oily t-zone, or acne prone. I would probably stick clear of the rice cleanser and the rose & willowbark mask. As for the second mask that I was sent, which was the turmeric antioxidant mask, I think i'm just going to put it away in my stash for a later date for now. Not only is my skin way too irritated at this point but I am admittedly a bit hesitant. I won't throw it out but I will definitely be cautious about using it in the future.

In conclusion, you definitely win and lose some when it comes to skincare. I'm glad that I tried these products but I will definitely not be purchasing either and hopefully tomorrow I can go back to my trusty DDF and all will be well. I think Juara is a good company and I think that they offer a lot of really good products but in my opinion I believe they are going to be something that you either love or you hate and I definitely suggest inquiring about the samples before you make a purchase just in case.

As with any new product, if you experience any irritation then immediately discontinue use. 

You can find these products and many more at Juara Skincare

Much love xo

UPDATE: This morning I woke up and my skin was a lot better from yesterday. Most of the pimples and redness are now gone so maybe the rose & willowbark did help with that. I however, still would not purchase but i'm happy to see that it did at least produce some results. :) 


What's YOUR Holy Grail Beauty Product?

Hello lovelies! I know that I haven't been blogging a long time but you'd be amazed by how many of my favorite products have been replaced! From skincare to eyeliners, it seems that almost everything has changed from my first "holy grail" post and even my "40 Beauty Questions" post. It's almost exhausting searching for the gems of the beauty world but I definitely have fun rising to the challenge. It takes a lot of epic fails to find that one product but at the end, it's worth it. Here are my new and improved (with a few old loves) holy grail products:


1. Ulta Precision Liquid Eyeliner (Carbon Black): 
I've gone from gel to to liquid now and I can't see myself moving again. I have shaky hands and because of this eyeliners short length, I can easily hold it and make clean, bold lines.

2. Philosophy Miracle Worker Anti-Aging Serum & Moisturizer:
I LOVE both of these products. They are lightweight and leave no dreaded oily residue.

3. Organix Extra-Strength Moroccan-Argan Oil: 
This hair oil is absolutely perfect for my extremely dry hair. It softens my hair and gives it a nice glossy, healthy sheen. I use a quarter size amount on both damp and dry hair daily.

4/5. NYX Pore Filler & Shine Killer: 
These two are amazing. The pore filler is tinted and so I actually use it as a foundation. A little goes a long way with both of these and I use these two separately as well as combined for special occasions. The pore filler has a light, airy, fluffy texture and has a nude skin tone tint to it. The shine killer is a clear silicone gel similar to Smashbox Photofinish and Palladio's Foundation Primer. I've used both of those in the past and I can without a doubt say that in my opinion the NYX crushes both of them.

6. Too Faced Shadow Insurance: 
My absolutely favorite eyeshadow primer. It holds my shadows on all day and they don't even think about budging even with my oily lids.

7. Earth Therapeutics Complexion Brush:
I use this daily to cleanse and gently exfoliate my face and it works like a dream.

8. DDF Brightening Cleanser:
A new found holy grail thanks to Birchbox! I received this in my October Goop box and I couldn't be any happier. My dark spots and acne scarring have already started to fade and my skin is brighter, glowing and more healthy looking.

9. ELF Eyebrow Kit (Medium):
A forever holy grail for me. In the past i've tried everything from pencil to shadow to mascara and I could never get the natural eyebrow look until I started using this.

10/11. Paladio Herbal Tinted Lip Balm (Rosey) & Essence of Beauty Lip Butter: 
I love both of these and depending on what look i'm going for, I use one or the other. Since the Palladio is tinted I use it both alone and sometimes over my Scarlet Ibis lipstick for a stunning color. I use the Essence Lip Butter mainly at bed time or after I take off my makeup. Both of these balms are extremely moisturizing and keep my lips soft for hours.

12. Aroma workshop Shea Butter Body Cream: 
Best body butter I've found. This product is super thick but non greasy and keeps my skin nourished.

Let me know what your holy grail beauty products are below! If you have any questions or would like me to do a separate review on any of these products, check out my contact page!

Much love xo




Revlon Kissable Lip Balm Stains- A Review

Smitten LEFT. Romantic RIGHT
Hello lovelies :) I'm bringing you a review today of the Revlon Kissables. I purchased a couple of them about two weeks ago. Overall, I think they are a nice product but I don't feel that they are any more unique than other pigmented lip balms. They are advertised as a stain, a more moisturizing version of the Just Bitten lip stains but I don't feel that they really leave anything to brag about. Because of the glossy, moisturizing texture, it's almost impossible for this product to actually sink into the lips and leave anything noticeable behind, I also experienced quite a bit of feathering with these, I find myself wiping around my lips every few minutes and that's a big no no with me. I want a lip product that requires little to no maintenance, no one wants to worry about product being all over their face and teeth!

Romantic LEFT. Smitten RIGHT
I have two shades, the first being "Romantic", which is a very pretty, bright red. I also have "Smitten" which is a bright, cool toned hot pink. They are both very glossy, sheer, and wear about 2-3 hours. The biggest con I have with these lip balms is their smell, I don't find the mint/menthol to be very appealing and upon opening them I actually turned up my nose because the smell is so strong. It's not necessarily bad but it is definitely something that I personally do not like. I've never been a fan of scented lip products because I find that they are often very hit or miss and usually smell extremely artificial. Another con is the amount of product that you receive (2.7g/0.095oz) which is a normal amount but because the product is so sheer, you have to really pack it on to get the true color and that results in extremely quick product wear down.


Smitten BOTTOM. Romantic TOP
Overall, these are nice balms, I really like the texture and the way they feel on my lips and I love the colors but, I don't experience any real staining effect with these even after applying multiple layers so because of that, I definitely wouldn't go out of my way to get them, especially if they were not on sale. I like Revlon lip products but it seems to me that they take the same things and repackage them as slightly different. In terms of similar products, I would choose the lip butters over these because they don't have the mint smell and they seem to last longer on the lips. I'm glad that I tried them but I definitely do not see myself repurchasing these once I use them up, they just aren't unique enough for me to specifically pick them over any other pigmented balm, my favorites being the Paladio tinted balms and Revlon's lip butters.

Much love xo

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

DDF Brightening Cleanser- A review

Sweet holy cannoli !! I have now found my favorite new face cleanser. I received this in my October Birchbox and I officially couldn't be any happier.

I was initially very excited to try this because I have acne scarring and dark spots on the sides of my face but upon looking at a few reviews online I became a little hesitant. It seems the product is one of those things that you either despise or you can't live without it (i'm happy to say that i'm the latter) The product itself is a clear liquid with an almost gel type consistency and has a light, pleasant smell. I can't seem to pick up the licorice smell that the product claims to have. A little goes a long way with this, I use about a nickel to quarter size amount and it lathers just enough. This bottle is definitely going to last a long time.

Ingredients list
I truly love this cleanser for multiple reasons, even after the first use my skin was significantly brighter and more fresh and awake looking, because of this I especially love to use this in the morning. After about a week of using this product daily, my acne scarring definitely looks better and has started to fade just a bit. I AM THRILLED! Another pro to this cleanser is that for me, it controls the oil on my T-zone, as i've stated before I have combination skin but a severely oily T-zone which I absolutely hate because I love a matte face. After washing my face with this product it keeps my face matte throughout the entire day, I can even go so far as to say that I haven't seen any oil on my T-zone since using this cleanser. I have also seen less pimples/spots and a more even skintone since using this.

This product contains both salicylic and glycolic acid (AHA) which can increase your skin's sensitivity to the sun so use with caution and protect your skin! As with anything, if you notice any irritation then immediately discontinue use.

I wasn't sure if this cleanser could be used all over the body so I did a bit of research and it can! The DDF website states: "Excellent for face and body as part of an overall hypigmentation program" For this I am especially grateful because like any other plus size girl, I experience chub rub, so this will be a great way to keep those areas from turning dark.

Brush is by Earth Therapeutics ($2.99)
How I use this product: personally I have always washed my face with cold water (the world lets out a collective GASP!) I know that a lot of people are strictly against using cold water as well as water that is too warm but I have found that this works for me and I have experienced no ill side effects as of yet. My routine is very simple, I start by wetting my complexion brush and squeezing a small amount of cleanser directly onto it, I splash a bit of water onto my face and then clean and exfoliate for 3-5 minutes before rinsing off. The brush is gentle enough to use daily. Depending on your skintype, this cleanser can be drying so be sure to use a moisturizer afterwards.

In short, I honestly can't thank birchbox enough for sending me this. I've always been curious about lightening creams/cleansers because of my acne scarring but was too afraid to try anything but i'm glad that I have now! I encourage anyone with similar skin troubles to atleast give this a try! The full size retails for $38.00.

Much love xo

Friday, October 12, 2012

Philosophy Miracle Worker

With the arrival of the cold weather, my skincare routine is one of the first things that I change along with my clothing and makeup. My skin is naturally on the drier side and the frigid weather only makes it worse. This year, for the first time I tried out Philosophy's Miracle Worker Anti-Aging Kit (trial size) which retails for $40 and includes the moisturizer, serum and a two week supply of retinoid pads. I must say that I am in love! My favorites are the moisturizer and the serum. I like the retinoid pads but I doubt that I will repurchase. Not because they aren't good but more so because I don't think I need them. The kit sizes are as follows: the serum is 7.5ml/0.25 oz, the moisturizer is 14g/0.5 oz and 15 retinol pads.


I have dry/combination skin and I am always hesitant to try new moisturizers because they always seem to be too heavy for my liking or they leave behind an oily residue which I absolutely hate. I was looking for a great moisturizer, preferably with vitamins and/or antioxidants that sunk into my skin and did not leave anything behind. Thankfully, I have now without a doubt found my new true love! My skin happily drank up all of the products up and they left my skin feeling soft, smooth and looking radiant. I have a few tiny smile lines and I could definitely already see the difference after just a few uses. This is definitely a holy grail product and now a permanent staple in my routine.  




The retinol pads arrive dry with the solution in a separate bottle to mix once purchased. I will admit that I was at first a bit confused on whether I was supposed to pour the entire bottle onto the pads or put a small amount of solution onto a pad once I was ready to use it. After some quick research, you are to pour the entire contents of the bottle onto the pads. The pads are to be used first, after you cleanse your face you take a pad and wipe it all over your face and the back of your hands. I do like these pads because they don't leave an oily residue but I don't think I will repurchase.

The serum is to be used next. I really LOVE this product. My skin drank it up immediately and like all three of these products, did not leave a residue. The serum is clear.

The moisturizer is used last, this is my absolute favorite of the trio. It's very light and kept my skin soft and hydrated. I used a pea size amount with both this and the serum, a little goes a long way!

Much love xo

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

October Birchbox (Goop Edition)

Hello lovelies! This month Birchbox partnered up with Goop and offered a special collaboration box. I opted in for the goop box and to be quite honest, I like the box I received but i'm still pretty on the fence about it. There is nothing wrong with the products per say outside of the fact that 3 out of my 5 samples are just about too small to even use properly. I would have really loved to receive the Essie polish or the BeautyBlender I've been dying to try but, you win some and you lose some. The items I received are:

1. DDF Brightening Cleanser, i'm really excited to try this because I have some dark spots and acne scarring on the sides of my face. I really hope this works because if it does I will definitely be buying the larger size. The sample is a very good size at 4.5 fl oz (133ml). The full size retails for $38 USD

2. Orofluido Hair oil 0.17oz. I already use argan and olive oil on my hair so I really have no use for this but I will definitely try it. Who knows, I could really love it! The sample is good for a few uses but not many. The oil itself has a very odd, sweet scent that i'm not in love with. Full size is $29.99

3. Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum 0.06 oz. The sample is entirely too small to get enough uses out of. Like the hair oil above, this product does not have a very pleasant scent. Full size is $79

4. Perfekt Beauty Lip Perfection Gel in color "Melrose" The sample is a RIDICULOUS 0.002 fl oz (0.05ml) I have personally gotten this very same sample for FREE. It honestly angers me that this would be considered one of my "deluxe" beauty samples. It's things like this that seriously make me reconsider my subscription.

My lifestyle extra was a 3 variety pack of Mighty Leaf teas. I'm excited to try these because tea is my favorite drink. The teas are very fragrant and they smell wonderful, the tea bags themselves are well made little cloth bags versus the usual paper tea bag material.

Overall, this was a good box. The cleanser alone is worth the box price so everything else is just a bonus to me. Although i'm a little cheesed over the ironically named Perfekt sample, it will nonetheless be put to use.  I'm especially looking forward to using the teas and the DDF cleanser and will be trying these out immediately. My only gripe this month is that even though the box is supposed to be a Goop collaboration box containing products special Goop picks, I have the feeling that these items are really just leftover Birchbox stock because every last one of these items have been featured in past months, it's a little too coincidental for my liking.


You can use my referral code to sign up for your birchbox here: https://www.birchbox.com?raf=afsw7

Happy birchboxing lovelies! Much love xoxo