May 2018 Ipsy Bag

Ipsy is a monthly makeup subscription that I stupidly bought an entire year of up front. I have not been enjoying it.

IT’S MY PENULTIMATE BAG. I’m almost free!
This month’s theme is Go There. I kind of like the idea of a travel bag covered in passport stamps. I might keep this one.

Not that I’ve done anything with the old bags. What would I do with them? I only leave the house so often. Someone please come take them from me.

What’s in my bag
May 2018 ipsy bag and contents. The bag is a light yellow with an orange-y red passport stamp pattern.

BRIOGEO HAIR CARE Rosarco Milk™ Reparative Leave-In Conditioning Spray
I’ve been wanting leave in conditioner and have held off on buying some because I knew that this was coming. Hair products from ipsy have worked decently in the past. A shocker, I know. You can only mess up so much by putting oil in frizzy hair.

Purchase or pass: Preemptively going to pass. I’m not crazy about the smell. It’s not going to last long, either. My hair is too thick for the formula.

CLINIQUE Moisture Surge Intense Skin Fortifying Hydrator
I cashed in points for this, so I have no complaints about the fact that I got it. I’ve been wanting to see how my skin reacts to squalane. Any benefits are going to be attributed to that.

Purchase or pass: It’s a $40 lotion. It’s a $40 lotion that doesn’t seem particularly hydrating. I shouldn’t want to layer my CeraVe over a $40 lotion.

Swatch time? Swatch time. This one is without flash:

Swatches on my arm with no flash. You can't see the tarte cosmetics finishing powder.

This one is with:

Swatches on my arm with no flash. You CAN see the tarte cosmetics finishing powder. They insist there's no flashback, but okay.

TOUCH IN SOL Style Sepia Gel-Liner in Jardin
Image of the touch in sol style sepia eyeliner. It's a sample size, but otherwise looks normal.

I’m only a little disappointed it’s not made from cuttlefish ink. I’d love to have makeup made of cuttlefish rage.

Top view of the touch in sol eye liner. Upon further inspection, the sample appears to be a tiny cone of eye liner sitting on a big stick rather than a true pencil.

Wait a second.
This whole pencil is plastic. Do I sharpen the plastic? Did they make an entire plastic stick to just put a little cone of eyeliner at the top? I can’t get anything to twist. Are they this stingy? I think they’re this stingy.

Purchase or pass: Pass. It’s got polyethylene as an ingredient. Polyethylene was banned as a microbead, but cosmetic companies are still allowed to use it more dispersed. Our Earth Day kick is in full swing at grumpyskin. Not sorry.

OFRA COSMETICS Liquid Lipstick in ipsy Unzipped
I was pretty okay with not getting this lipstick back in February. I’m not feeling AT ALL like ipsy realized they had a case of these left over and didn’t know what to do with them, so they tossed them to some of us three months later. That was sarcasm. Offer it as a bonus instead of an actual item, jfc ipsy.

Having said that, the color is more berry than nude. I don’t hate it.
Lip swatch of the ofra lipstick in unzipped. Nothing weird here. It's a "nude berry" color.

Purchase or pass: We’ll see how it wears.

TARTE COSMETICS Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Finishing Powder
I’m sick of getting tarte items. I think this is my third one. Their blush is nice, but their bronzer breaks me out. We’ll see how my skin reacts to this.

Swatching it wasn’t a good experience, though. I HATED how the swatch felt. I have to work up to covering my face in it. Do you know how two layers of tissue paper feel when they slip up against each other? That’s what my skin felt like.

Purchase or pass: Pass.

I’m only going to call them out for using talc here because they make a point of saying that there are no parabens so “it’s good for you”. Do you guys think tarte sources their talc from distributors that test for asbestos or nah? I emailed them to ask, but for some reason cosmetics companies don’t like answering my emails. #nevergonnabesponsored

My dream cosmetics company would tell you exactly where every ingredient comes from and post their quality and safety testing data. Let me know if they ever exist.

BEAUTE BASICS Eyeshadow in Satin Taupe
A perfectly acceptable shimmery brown eyeshadow. The eyeliner is in this image, too.
My closed eyes wearing the eye shadow and eyeliner. Both have a subtle shimmer to them.

But in the interest of dragging ipsy:
The beaute basics palette arrived shattered. Bummer.

Purchase or pass: Pass.Their website is so bad that I don’t think I’d be emotionally capable of giving them money.

What do you guys think ipsy will sent me for my last month? I’m thinking a plastic set of pastel themed makeup that are all cracked, a sheet mask that accidentally lights on fire, and a final eff you black felt eyeliner.


 

The Ordinary Caffeine Solution + 5% EGCG Review

Alright guys, I’m finally getting around to reviewing my mini haul from The Ordinary (via Sephora, because TO can’t figure out how to take my money directly) that I made in January. I gave myself enough time to properly integrate the products and use them enough to see what they are (or aren’t) doing for me.

If you’ve read my post about The Ordinary drama, you’ll know I wont repurchase anything. Uh. Spoilers.

 

 

First up is the Caffeine Solution. People lose their minds for this stuff. It’s supposed to help with under eye bags and discoloration. We’ve seen my eye bags on the blog before. Now, this solution isn’t supposed to be magic for my situation. Most of my puffiness comes from how my fat deposits sit, but I do have some discoloration and get some sleepy puffiness on top of that.

I gave it a solid three months of twice daily use. Nothing.

Actually, okay, nothing is a lie. My under eye situation got worse. This product has a weird formula. A little goes a very, very, very long way. It’s hard to use a small enough amount of this product. It leaves a weird film as it dries. Any concealer that you put on above it balls up and doesn’t blend properly. It burns if you get it too close to your eyes. And what really takes the cake is that I think it’s drying my skin out. I didn’t have issues with crepe-y skin before, and I do after using this on my eyes for two months. That’s unforgivable.

And to add injury to it all, check out this lid:

Image of The Ordinary's Caffeine Solution bottle. The threading is jacked up so it doesn't completely close.

It won’t close. The threading is all jacked up.
The only upside is that this was only $7, so I don’t feel too bad about throwing it away.

Have you tried anything from The Ordinary? Did it work how you expected?

DearPacker Gold Collagen Eye Patch

Shoutout to my friend Ebony for sending me a bunch of Korean skincare goodies! Friends don’t let friends suffer through ipsy skincare alone.

Today we’re getting up close and personal with my eye bags. I can hear my mom shouting that it’s my ALLERGIES and I am PERFECT. It’s not allergies, it’s just my face. I’ll let her say that I’m perfect, because moms.

I always have eye bags. Nothing short of a professional is going to get rid of them. I use creams. I hydrate. I mostly get enough sleep. I don’t expect these patches to do much. They’re cool, though. Both in style and temperature.
Image of the DearPacker Gold Collagen Eye Patches. They're a light gold, slightly shimmery, and come in a plastic tray inside the foil packet.
They’re translucent, shiny, and a neat jelly texture. I’m not sure what claims they’re making, or what magic ingredients they have, because I don’t read Korean. I do know that collagen is too large to be absorbed through your skin. So that’s not doing anything.

The more you know.

For the sake of science, I tried these on a day that I didn’t sleep well after doing two 12 hour days at work. There’s some room for improvement on my face.
My before face, in desperate need of some sleep.

My face with the patches on.

And after 40 minutes:
My face after the patches. My undereyes look a little better, but I still need to sleep.

I think that I have less redness under my eyes. The area around my eye bags might be more plump from the hydration, which reduces the appearance of the bags a little.

I still need concealer, but it did something tangible! Is there a gif for that? I feel like there should be a gif for products I try that actually do things.

I should exclusively start using products with packaging I can’t read. This is the least complaining I’ve ever done.

Stay tuned for an excessive amount of Korean sheet mask reviews!

April 2018 Ipsy Bag

The situation: You give ipsy $10 a month. Ipsy sends you a “curated” bag of makeup samples. Mostly I hate it.

This month’s theme is “social butterfly”. They’re mocking me. I like going to bed early and reading books. I refuse to go to an event if there are more than three people there. Show of hands, how many times have you personally asked me to go to something and I’ve told you that I don’t want to? They even sent a little card with this bag telling me to say yes to everything this month.

No.

What’s in my bag
Picture of my April 2018 ipsy bag and contents. Baker (my cat) came over to nuzzle things because he can't stand not being the center of attention. This month's bag is white and covered in pink/purple butterflies with pink foil corners.

Baker would not let me take a fancy flat lay picture.

Swatches without flash (left) and with flash (right):

PRETTY WOMAN Nail Polish in Girl Boss
We’re going to ignore that lavender nail polish tends to look weird with my skin and go straight to the formula. I swatched this without a base or top coat to get a look at the color. This is the fastest drying nail polish that I’ve ever seen in my life. I actually watched the solvent evaporate.

The first coat was pretty weird and patchy. It looks kind of like a golf ball. There are dents everywhere from how quickly it dried.
Pretty Woman nail polish in Girl Boss on my thumb nail. It's a very light lavender color.

I thought for sure the second coat would be even weirder, but it mostly evened out.

Purchase or pass: Other than the color, it’s pretty nice. I might consider another one of their colors after my next big nail polish purge.

TRIFLE COSMETICS Sugar Bunny Lip Scrub

Image of the Trifle Cosmetics Sugar Bunny lip scrub container. It's white, with a mosaic of white bunnies in black dresses.Some of the Trifle Cosmetics lip scrub on my index finger. It's light green and grainy.

Oh hey, a full sized product! That’s awesome because I’d never spend $18 on a sugar scrub. It smells exactly like watermelon Jolly Ranchers. It does not taste like watermelon Jolly Ranchers. I checked.

Purchase or pass: Pass. It works well, but I could dump some sugar in literally any lip balm and it would do the same thing for less than $18. However, I’m eyeing their Lip Parfait in Summer Cone. It’s the same price, but you don’t immediately wipe it off.

NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Soft Matte Lip Cream in Milan
Have you ever wanted to coat your lips in silicone face primer? Because that’s the exact texture of this lip cream. Applying it was an experience. Once you get it down into a thin layer it’s okay. Getting to that thin layer is the issue. Just check out that chunk!
NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Milan on my lips. I've got a chunk on my cupids bow from the applicator not holding product well.
It’s so thick and clumpy on the applicator. I’m not sure if my tube has started to dry out or if the texture is just terrible. Once it mostly dries you can’t tell that you’re wearing anything.
NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Milan on my lips. I've cleaned up the chunky bit and it looks nice.
Purchase or pass: I’m torn. I think it’s a pass based on the trauma of the application.

DELECTABLE BY CAKE BEAUTY Ultra Nourishing Hand Cream in Sweet Mint
It’s a hand cream that smells like mint chocolate chip ice cream. I was going to fuss at it for being expensive, but it’s actually not. It’s just a solid hand cream that smells a little bit too much like dessert. Seriously, my hands are making me hungry.

Purchase or pass: I found a $15 off affiliate link (you get $15, I get $15). They’ve got a box set of half sized hand creams for $9 and I want it.

NOMAD COSMETICS Illuminating Highlighter in Midnight Sun
Nomad Cosmetics Illuminating Highlighter in Midnight Sun. It's a tiny little pan.

I’m cranky about how tiny this highlighter is. It came in a little carboard box that I had to rip in half because physics didn’t intend for packaging that small to be able to open.

Having said that, this highlighter packs a pretty hard punch. It’s a nice champagne color without looking yellow. I’m not a fan of the mica concentration, but I’ve started to feel that all powder highlights are too much light straight glitter for me.

Purchase or pass: Their website auto-plays music. Hard pass. (I also couldn’t find this product on their website, but mostly the auto-play is a sin.)

Wow, I think that everything in this month’s bag was usable! It must be because I finally cancelled my subscription. But never fear, I’m getting bags until June and picking a new subscription for July.

I don’t learn from my mistakes.

BLAQ Meteor Shower

Picture of meteor shower by blaq sample from the February 2018 ipsy bag. My cat makes an appearance in the bottom, out of focus.Picture of meteor shower by blaq sample from the February 2018 ipsy bag. My cat makes an appearance in the bottom, out of focus.

Ooh, boy. (And hi Baker!) Remember in February when I said that this was the most distressing thing that ipsy had sent me?

I like outer space. A lot. I’ve cried in the DC museum twice. I can name whoever is speaking on NASA TV at pretty much any time. I’ve been caught timing my runs so that I can stop and wave at the ISS as it passes overhead.

I don’t like that I can be given a one time use meteorite that I am expected to wash down the drain.

I have part of a meteorite in a necklace. A lot of them land in Africa and are then sold. Ultimately they’re dirt, so I understand that this scrub is just a gimmick. Meteorites aren’t bad for your skin, I guess. We aren’t robbing them from museums. The ones being sold to be made into scrubs aren’t scientifically interesting. There’s no real reason why this is so upsetting to me other than I really value outer space, so treating it like it’s disposable hurts my soul. I wasn’t going to use it at all. I was just going to rant here.

Then I got this email:
"Hi April, We are reaching out because your February Glam Bag contains the BLAQ Meteor Shower Scrub. We've heard from a few members who already tried their sample that it may be difficult to wash off. We wanted to reach out to all ipsters who received this item and recommend you apply the body scrub on a small area of your skin first before using it in the shower. If you find the scrub difficult to remove, there are a couple of solutioins for removing excess residue the scrub may leave on your skin. 1. Rub an oil (we like coconut oil!) or any oil based cleanser in a circular motion and rinse off with warm water, or 2. Apply any soap (body wash, hand soap) to the area, rub in a circular motion, and rinse off with warm water. If you have any questions, ipsyCare will be happy to help you.

Ipsy sent out a product so bad that they had to send an email explaining how to wash it off! You bet I’m using it now.

I decided to rub down one of my legs. I figured if it was nice, awesome. I have some ingrown hairs and could use some exfoliation. If I stain my leg black..pants are an easy way to avoid questions.

Blaq meteor scrub pre-rinsing. My leg is very gray.

It wasn’t very pleasant to rub on. It has a weird earthy smell that I’m not into, and the texture is hard to spread. I like a higher oil content in my scrubs. It also felt pretty harsh. My go to scrub is some white sugar dumped in whatever oil I have in the kitchen.

Buying scrubs is kind of dumb. Yeah, it’s fun as a luxury item. You guys know you can make your own really easily, right? Okay. Good.

Anyway. I decided to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and just rinse it off.
Blaq meteor scrub post-rinsing. My leg is gray and patchy, despite evenly rinsing it off.

I was still gray and patchy. Okay, so using a loofah should scrape it off, right?
Blaq meteor scrub post scrubbing. Most the gray has come off, but a small amount remains. The instructions from the company specifically say not to scrub it off.

That mostly got it. The irritation (that probably only I can see) is from shaving a few days ago, not the scrub. I look slightly gray tinged and dirty, instead of incandescent and shimmering.

Are we surprised? I’m throwing the rest of it out.

Did anyone else try it? I heard that some people had issues with irritation and allergic reactions, so be careful if you do.

Sand & Sky Brilliant Skin Pink Clay Mask

I received this mask in my February ipsy bag. The first I noticed was that instead of instructions or an ingredients list, there is a Vitamin A warning.

Front of the sample Sand & Sky pink clay mask. It says that it detoxifies and brightens.The warning on the back of the Sand & Sky pink clay sample reads "This product contains Vitamin A. Use with caution if also taking dietary supplements or using other products containing Vitamin A."

The warning isn’t super useful. I’ll spare you the google rabbit hole: Vitamin A is retinol. Retinol sensitizes your skin to the sun. I would recommend using this mask at night and wearing sunscreen afterwards. There’s a small risk of excessive Vitamin A intake if you’re pregnant. I should not be your main source of advice if you’re pregnant.

The second thing I noticed was that this was the absolute stingiest sample I have ever received. They should have sent a foil packet. This tube contains enough product for one very thin application. One.

It’s not very pink, either. They cut the pink clay with bentonite. That doesn’t sound sexy, but bentonite is made from volcanic ash. Where’s my pastel metal volcano advertising? Missed opportunity.

Image of the Sand & Sky pink clay mask on my skin. It is the slightest tint of pink before it dries.

True to ipsy fashion, this mask burns like a mother as it dries. It didn’t break me out or make my skin red, though. My skin even felt SUPER smooth and soft after. It was nice. It made me forget that this smelled vaguely like a hospital.

So, I looked up purchasing it and —

Screenshot from the Sand & Sky website. One tub of the mask is $49.00.

The website looks like a marketing scam. If you changed all of the pink to yellow, it would be an ebook money grab targeting old people.

Guys. Don’t pay $50 for a product that doesn’t tell you to wear sunscreen with it.

While we’re at it, calm down with the “not tested on animals” hype. Do you know why they don’t test their product on animals? Because everything in it has already been extensively tested on animals. There’s nothing innovative or new going on here. It’s not a commitment to animal welfare. They aren’t testing because they don’t have to and it’s easier to not do it. Everything you use that is “cruelty-free” is built on years of animal testing. That’s a low bar for changing the world. I’ll be impressed when we’re pioneering biodegradable packaging and cutting down on water used in production. If a company isn’t doing that, I don’t care.

I’m mostly just mad that it’s $50. That’s obscene.

What’s the most expensive dirt that you’ve ever rubbed on your face? This is mine.

Sephora Collection Sleeping Mask in Pearl

I was so mad at myself for buying this when it arrived with the rest of my order. I had read reviews talking about what a great value it was at $4. And yes, Sephora is expensive, but I had something larger in mind.

Image of me holding the Sephora pearl sleeping mask in its packaging. It's a tiny foil topped plastic container inside of a cardboard box. The box makes it look like there's more product than there is.  Side view of the Sephora Pearl sleeping mask. The box is maybe two centimeters tall.

Image of the Sephora Pearl sleeping mask's tiny tub. It's got a large pocket of air in it and I haven't even opened it.

I work in milliliters, and am still not sure how this is 8mL.

Now that I’ve complained, guess how many uses I got out of this? Five. That brings us down to 80 cents a use. I think that’s an acceptable value for a treat. I was wrong, Sephora. A little goes a long way with this sleeping mask.

I also genuinely enjoyed using it. It reminded me a lot like a sheet mask, but I didn’t feel like I was creating as much trash. I was able to goop enough on that I got a nice, cooling sensation for a few minutes. I do recommend giving yourself some buffer time between putting this on and going to bed. I didn’t have to wipe it off my face, but it did take a little while (10-15 minutes) to absorb enough that I didn’t feel like it would just disappear into my pillow.

The pearl “flavor” advertises that it “evens and helps minimize irregularities for skin tone that is even, fresher, and brighter”. I don’t really have skin irregularities (?) or worry about uneven skin tone, but I did think my skin felt moisturized in the morning. After five uses I’m also tempted to say that my skin looked “brighter”, but I am also in the middle of updating my skincare routine. Nicer skin could be due to a number of things at the moment.

Oh no, I guess that means I have to try this again when my routine settles down so that I can scientifically say if it actually works or not.

The next time I order from Sephora I’m going to buy every “flavor” of these. They may be replacing my sheet mask habit.