The Chok Chok Green Tea Watery Mask Sheet by Tonymoly

This sheet mask makes me bummed that I’m quitting sheet masks.

A spoiler, I guess. Sometimes I have to put nice things on my face, okay? I can’t just squirt lemon juice and baking soda all over my skin and then go sit in the sun every day.
(Don’t do that. Get off Pinterest. Your skin thanks you.)

Image of the front of Tonymoly's The Chok Chok Green Tea watery mask sheet (sheet mask). It's pretty minimalist and touts that it contains 100% pure green tea ferment extract.

My friend in South Korea sent me that good Tonymoly shit! And it’s good. So good that I’m letting the weird little blurb about tea being cultivated throughout four seasons slide (kind of). Tea plants don’t like winter.

I, too, thought that I would tone down the science snark when I left my research job. It turns out that it just means that I have more energy at home to look into random plant biology.

And the back of the packaging. It's mostly in korean, aside from the ingredients list and instructions. Nothing interesting in English.

I, uh, still don’t read Korean. Who knows what claims they’re making on the packaging. Let’s rip this bad boy open.

It smells so good. I want my entire skincare routine to smell like this product. The scent is all of the nice parts of green tea without the bitterness. Maybe a little lemon, too. I want to cover my body in it.

An unflattering picture of me wearing the sheet mask. I've got my giant weekend septum ring in.

The mask material is solid. It’s one of the thick ones that feel like cloth. Maybe it is? It’s not one of the ones that are super flimsy and dry immediately. You can hang out with this one for a while.

My face felt moisturized after using this mask, but wasn’t greasy or sticky. I’m into it. My friend is an angel and sent me multiples, so I can confirm that nothing bad happens with repeated use. It’s straight up nice.

I’m also quitting sheet masks. They create more waste than I’m comfortable with. I don’t need a foil packet and a cloth/paper face cover for half an hour of use. I don’t believe that they’re any more effective than a traditional mask or lotion, so I’ll be switching over to those.

I was hoping that I could just transfer my love of this product over to the rest of Tonymoly’s green tea line, but after a quick glance it looks like everything contains microplastics. Boo.

I’ll be scouring the internet for a green tea mask that smells similarly. Do you have any suggestions?

Maybelline Lip Studio Color Blur Lipstick in Orange Ya Glad

There was a brief period of time when I couldn’t go into CVS without grabbing a new lipstick or nail polish. This is one of those impulse buys, as evidenced by the gimmicky applicator (not pictured because I don’t use it) and the fact that it’s ORANGE.

The idea of these lip pencils is that you can color the inside (or edges, I guess) of your lips and then create a gradient using their weird blender. This does not work for me with this color. It just evenly smudges. The pencil itself goes on pretty creamy and I have small lips. It doesn’t work.

Maybelline Lip Studio Color Blur lip pencil in Orange Ya Glad. Top swatch is solid color, the bottom is my blur attempt using their blur tool.

So, the “blur” is a no-go for me. The orange, though. Orange lipstick is awesome. I didn’t know this. I thought I looked better in “blue” reds, but now nothing makes sense. I love the color…when I wear green shirts. I haven’t been brave enough to wear it with other colors, but I think it would also look good with black. Black is safe.

Image of me wearing Maybelline's Lip Studio Color Blur lipstick in Orange Ya Glad.
Say hi to my septum ring!

So, yeah, it’s cute. But does it stay put? You guys know by now that I’m not going to reapply mid day. Are you ready for these gritty shots of my lips at the beginning and end of my day?

Here’s the before:

Image of me wearing Maybelline's Lip Studio Color Blur lipstick in Orange Ya Glad at the beginning of my day.

And the perfectly acceptable after:

Image of me wearing Maybelline's Lip Studio Color Blur lipstick in Orange Ya Glad at the end of my day. It's faded a little on the inside of my lips, but still looks presentable, especially when you aren't zoomed in like on these pictures.

This is $9 lipstick after something like 10 hours and a full lunch. I need it in red now.

 

Birchbox July 2018

20180707_155314-01
My first Birchbox is here! Birchbox is a subscription box a lot like ipsy. For $10 a month they send you an assortment of makeup, skincare, and hair products. Birchbox is a little different from ipsy in that you get more choices for the box that you receive each month. You can choose a curated box, where you know all of the products ahead of time, or you can choose a product from a short list and have the rest of the box remain a mystery. I think you can also choose nothing and let the algorithm gods decide your box. There’s a lot of options here.

I chose the curated box. It had things that I wanted to try.

What’s in my box
20180707_154858-01

Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Daily Cleanser
People really like Kiehl’s. My skin generally likes clay. There’s one weird thing. This smells exactly like coleslaw. I like coleslaw, so I’m going to use the whole tube. But it doesn’t scream “CLEAN FACE” to me. The combination of clay and salicylic acid is a bit too drying for my tastes, AND it’s inexplicably got microplastics in it. So I wont be buying it. Also..that cole slaw smell.

Purchase or pass: Nope. I can only use it two or so times a week before my skin starts crying for moisture.

MakeupDrop Original
I thought I’d get on the silicone applicator train. I do love reusable items.

20180707_155133-03

It’s hilariously small. I thought for sure this was a baby size that they were sending out as samples, but it looks like this is their full $20 applicator. Um. Okay. You could buy a silicone cooking mat and cut it into fun shapes for less money.

It also, uh, doesn’t work. You can’t blend with it. Maybe you could use it for certain highlighters, but I’ll just keep using my fingers. It’s not worth the hassle. I also happened to drop it down the sink the first time I used it and had to get Mr. Grumpyskin to pull out a pipe to retrieve it. It’s that small.

I was going to ask if anyone wants it, but I don’t expect any bites now that you know it’s been down my sink drain. (Silicone is easy to sterilize!)

Purchase or pass: I will literally give this to you for free. Someone out there has to straight up spackle their face.

Benefit Cosmetics The POREfessional Face Primer

20180707_155024-01

I got a sample of Benefit’s Watts Up highlighter a while back and LOVED it. This, not so much.

So let’s take a close up look of my foundation over this primer. It looks like it definitely filled in my pores. It’s somehow making the foundation settle into my pores in a very not cute look. It did have staying power, because I had to bust out the face wash to get it to wash off.

20180708_131411-01

Purchase or pass: Some people swear by this. I am not those people. Nope.

W3LL PEOPLE Expressionist Mascara
Do you KNOW how hard it is to find mascara without microplastics in it? I’m surprised that this exists. It works..okay. I don’t know. My eyelashes are pretty intense. This doesn’t clump or flake, but it also doesn’t add much of anything. It is probably nice for people who have light lashes who want to go for a natural look. For $21 on my eyelashes..I probably just wouldn’t wear mascara.

Seriously, I’m not negative just to be negative. I’ve curled both eyelashes and am wearing THREE COATS of this mascara on only one eye. I even wiggled the brush during application. I tried. Tell me which eye in the comments.

20180722_202245-02

Sometimes I forget that I put this on in the morning and when I wash my face at night am momentarily terrified because something black is coming off my face.

Purchase or pass: This is $20. No.

Bumble and bumble. Don’t Blow It (H)air Styler
Is this a sign that not using a blow dryer is finally going to become cool? I feel like hairdressers give me shit all of the time for hating them. I haven’t personally used a blow dryer in actual years.

This just makes my thick and straight hair very fluffy. I spend most of my hair effort trying to make it more sleek. This is going into the giveaway pile.

Purchase or pass: Pass.

All in all, this wasn’t a great first box. The mascara is the only truly usable item, and that might be because I literally cannot tell that I’m wearing it. I think a lot of people were disappointed by this month’s box. I’m not angry yet, so I’ll toss in my referral code: I get $5 to use in their store if you sign up with my link.

eShakti Review

Is the blogosphere still going nuts for eShakti? They were for a little while.

The company is a cool concept. They have pages and pages of fun dresses that you can have customized to your measurements. The prices are a little steep for not being able to try something on, but they give a lot of coupons and customize things. They also seem to have built their business on the good reviews of bloggers.

That’s suspicious. If the only good reviews you can find of a product are coming from people that have gotten it for free, it’s probably not a good product.

But they have so many options, I know. They got me with that. I checked that their return policy was good and bought this dress for the winter:
CL0055642ML

It looked cozy and heavy enough that I could wear three pairs of pants under it if we got another snowpocalypse. I was particularly taken with the thumb holes. My high school goth days still have a minor influence on my fashion, okay.

I placed the order November 12th. I received my dress on the 27th. A bit of a wait, but not so bad. Do you know what was bad? The dress. That happens with online shopping. It was a shapeless lump in the middle with form fitting arms. My thumbs wouldn’t fit in the thumb holes. I have child sized hands. They were freakishly small holes. This is why they want you to customize the dresses, I guess. Their preset sizes are bizarre.

So I sent it back the same day. So far a totally fine interaction. The dress didn’t fit, but I had no problems with the company.

My problem is that they confirmed the delivery of my return on December 20th and had no automatic process in place to refund my money. I got an email saying that I would receive my refund in 7 – 14 business days. I had to email them on January 11th to get them to manually process my refund. I buy and return a lot of things online. This is the first time I’ve had to remind someone to give me my money back, and makes me never want to try them again.

This was two months after I ordered the dress. How much money do you think they’re making off of people that don’t obsessively check their bank accounts?

Keep track of your money. Bother people. Get in all in writing. Return policies aren’t always enough.

Have you ordered anything that bloggers swear is amazing that fell short of your expectations?

 

Aritaum Ginger Sugar Overnight Lip Mask

One of those “Beauty Products You NEED” Buzzfeed articles convinced me to buy this. It was winter. My lips were too dry for lipstick. I had been considering buying the Laneige overnight lip mask, then Buzzfeed showed up with this alternative for $9.99.

Top view of the container. It says "Ginger Sugar Overnight Lip Mask. An overnight lip mask with ginger and sugar that moisturizes your dry chapped lips to create a smooth lip."

The bottom of the tin. It's all in Korean, so I don't know what it says.

The product page (not an affiliate link) touts that it contains shea butter, beeswax, and murumuru butter. Sounds moisturizing. Great. The main ingredient is polybutene, which from my limited research seems a lot like petroleum jelly. I think the goal here is that the main ingredient is locking in the moisture that the rest of the ingredients provide. It, uh, kind of works.

Image of the Aritaum Ginger Sugar Overnight Lip Mask. It looks a lot like Vaseline.

The product has a very light ginger scent. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to smell the sugar, or if there is supposed to be a flavor here. I have no idea where the sugar comes in. It’s not textured. It doesn’t taste like much of anything. 0/10 do not recommend eating.

Image of the Aritaum Ginger Sugar Overnight Lip Mask. It looks a lot like Vaseline. This is a side view, showing that I've used quite a bit of the product.

I had been using this nightly for five months when this picture was taken. You can see that I haven’t hit the bottom yet. One container could easily last a year. It’s very thick, so you don’t need much. It also stays all night. I’ll wake up in the morning and have to wipe it off to avoid getting it all over cups.

It definitely helped over the winter. My lips didn’t crack once. But it’s not a miracle worker. I expected more moisturizing properties. It is a mask, after all. I don’t feel that my lips have any added moisture from using this mask, just that it prevents moisture loss. I wasn’t able to wear lipstick every day, which I understand is asking a lot during blizzard season. The heart wants what the heart wants, okay?

I’ve tried layering with Glossier’s Balm Dotcom, but I haven’t noticed a difference in moisture.

I’ll use this up, then probably buy the Laneige mask for fun, and then settle on using Vaseline at night. The Amazon reviews are still all screaming about how this is Holy Grail status, so you may have better luck. I think it’s good enough to use up, but not good enough for a repurchase.

9 Apps That Help Me Organize My Life

I’m going to tell you the secret to being organized. The whole secret. Are you ready?
It is a learned, developed skill. You have to practice it. You do not emerge from the womb completely organized. It is something you become. You have to figure out what works for you to keep you on track. It’s a process.

I use apps for a lot of organization/productivity. I also have two notebooks and obsessively put things into my Google calendar. What needs an app and what needs to be down on paper are different things for different people. This list of apps can help you get started, though.

And finally, all of these apps are free! I’m also only linking to the android store. Sorry, iphone users. You can handle searching.

Image of ClearFocus timer.
ClearFocus
Have you heard of the pomodoro technique? It’s pretty simple. You time how long you work and then take a short break, and repeat in cycles. It doesn’t sound revolutionary, but it really helped me plan my study time when I was in college. I like this app because it lets you name what task you’re working on, and then go back and see how much time you’re spending on each one. I don’t use it as much now that I’m out of school, but I can see it being useful if you have a job where you’re juggling multiple projects.

Image of the Sleep Debt Tracker dashboard.
Sleep Debt Tracker
This isn’t going to give you fitbit levels of sleep tracking, but it does help me make sure that I’m laying in bed without staring at a screen for a minimum amount of time. I find the bedtime reminders particularly helpful. I tend to ignore them if I set them myself.
I need my phone to be an authority figure. #millennial

Image of the Hydro Coach dashboard.
Hydro Coach
Hi, I’m April and I’m admitting to the internet that I am too dumb to remember to drink enough water. This app was EXTRA useful when I was working a job that didn’t let me keep water at my desk. Those exist. It’s rough for the chronically dehydrated.

Image of the Loop Habit Tracker dashboard.
Loop Habit Tracker
This app is so simple, but so useful. I’ve tried some of the fancier habit trackers and they just don’t do it for me. It’s just a checklist. You can set how often you want to do things, and are able to look at a plot of how you’re performing. I use this to keep track of what parts of my rotating skin routine I’ve done most recently.

OurHome
OurHome is definitely made for parents to schedule chores. I don’t have kids. I’m busy and have a busy partner. We set each chore to be worth an amount of points equal to the number of minutes it takes. So ten points of dishes is ten minutes of dishes. It eliminates wondering if you’re doing more housework, and also helps us keep track of when we last cleaned the bathroom.
Though, if you have to ask..clean it again.

Memo
Yeah, the regular memo app in your phone. I use it to keep track of how things fit when I’m shopping and to type up book quotes that I want to use later. I used to keep longer term lists in there, but it turns out I just ignore them.

Mint
I’ve been using Mint for something like seven years at this point. Keep track of your money.

I get daily texts to help me live intentionally & feel like a boss. -Shinetext app
Shine
The only referral link of the bunch. I think I get a sticker if a few people sign up? I love stickers.
Anyway, shine is a little text bot that sends you motivational messages at a set time every week day. I set them to send while I’m on the train for my morning commute. It’s helped me to be a little more reflective and ready to attack my day.

Sample texts from BGSDlist.
BGSDlist
Have you ever wanted Kelly Sue DeConnick to send you sporadic motivational texts? She has lowkey changed my life. I love her.

What are your favorite productivity apps?

Meg Cosmetics Good Night PM Mask

Ipsy sent me this sheet mask in March. I used to think that you couldn’t mess up a sheet mask, but they’ve proven me wrong in the past. Let’s take a look at the claims and packaging first.

Meg Cosmetics PM Mask, front packaging.

There is 27 mL of serum in this mask. I’m not sure if that’s comparatively a lot because that’s not a number I’ve paid attention to in the past, but this mask is JUICY. Like be careful opening it, juicy. I nearly shot some in my eye.

Meg Cosmetics PM mask, back packaging. I listed the interesting ingredients below.

The ingredients

  • Eco-friendly lyocell sheet certified by OEKO-TEX
    I did some googling, and as best as I can tell, this certification just means that there weren’t crazy chemicals used in the production process. I was hoping for the sheet to be extra biodegradable or to use less water in the production process, but nah. It’s just a regular woodpulp fabric. I assumed that they’re Standard 100 certified instead of Made In Green. The Made In Green certification is supposed to give me a tracking code with my product that lets me look into the production process. There isn’t one. I’d be into that.
  • Camellia sinesis leaf water
    It’s tea. It’s just tea. Can you imagine being this pretentious?

The other ingredients are pretty normal: some botanical extracts, some typical skin stuff. I did learn that people use arginine for erectile dysfunction. So that’s now in my brain forever.

  • Glucose
    This is normal for skincare, I’m just mad there’s not more of it in the mask because I got some in my mouth. It tastes AWFUL.

How did I get it in my mouth, you ask? This is the worst fitting mask I have ever used.

Just LOOK at how tiny the mouth hole is. It’s really hard to not accidentally eat some of the serum.
Image of the mouth hole for the Meg Cosmetics PM mask. It overlaps with my top lip, which means I eat some of this mask.

As far as the serum formulation, it was a pretty okay mask. I would have preferred that it didn’t smell like lavender, but my skin felt hydrated after I used it. The packaging and actual sheet are just awful, though.

I’m also really cranky that they want to tout an eco-friendly process when there’s an entire extra plastic sheet in there.
A whole extra plastic sheet! With eyes/nose/mouth cutouts.

I’ll just throw that directly into the ocean.

We can do better than this.