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!

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.

March 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 seems genuinely good? I don’t understand. My whole thing is that I’m locked into a year long subscription and everyone thinks it’s fun to watch me suffer.

This month’s theme is “create”. I’m not going to color the bag, but I have no snark for it.
I’m so suspicious.

What’s in my bag
Image of the March 2018 ipsy bag and contents. I've done a flat lay on my messy watercolor palette to keep with the theme. This month's bag is a black and white drawing of women. They sent two markers so I could color it in. I didn't.

And the swatches. Top to bottom: City Color cream highlighter (finger swatched), City Color powder highlighter (finger swatched), Stud lip pencil, and then the City Color powder highlighter brush swatched with the fan brush they sent me. You can see it if you squint.

ROYAL & LANGNICKEL Prismatic Ombre Fan Brush

I was unenthusiastic about this originally. I like my highlighter heavy handed and think the bright colors make this brush look cheap. HOWEVER, ipsy sent me highlighter that is basically bronzer when applied with anything else that I own. This brush lets me subtly apply the sparkles without so much of the pigment. You win, ipsy.

Purchase or pass: I’m probably never going to buy a makeup brush with the rate that subscription boxes send them out, lets be honest.

CONTOUR COSMETICS Lip Kit Pencil in Stud
We can all rest easy. I think this is awful. Crumbly, applies patchy, and rubbed off as soon as I pursed my lips. The tip immediately broke off when I tried to use it. It would be asking too much of ipsy to have them send me a usable lip color product. Balance is restored to the universe.

Purchase or pass: Direct to trash. I have two lip liners that I like all ready, I don’t need to settle for this one.

GLOSSIER Balm Dotcom in Original
Ipsy sent me something that I was planning on buying! It’s lip balm. I don’t know what other description you want from me.

Purchase or pass: It’s basically lanolin and Vaseline. It’s not so overpriced that I wont order it from their website at least once. Do you guys recommend anything else from Glossier? I’ll be trying Boy Brow at some point.

CITY COLOR COSMETICS Glow Duo
Image of the City Color Glow Duo highlighter kit. The left side is a light shimmery cream, while the right is a bronzey powder.
I think this is my third month in a row getting something from City Color. Ipsy needs to lay off of them and highlighter. I can only glow so much. BUT, let’s be honest, I’m going to use it.

Purchase or pass: Pass. I’ll use it until it dies, but the cream side dries a little flaky. It’s not nearly as good as Watts Up or the highlighter in the Maybelline Master Camo palette. The powder side sits on my skin better but is so dark that I can only use a little at a time.

MEG COSMETICS Good Night PM Mask
I’m training them to mail me sheet masks and it is GLORIOUS. I did google the fancy plant they’re bragging that this is made of, camellia sinensis. It’s fucking tea. Drop the pretentiousness.

Purchase or pass: You guys know by now that this will be getting it’s own post, right? Stay tuned to see if it burns my skin off or is normal. There is no in between.

I’m only trashing one thing this month and nothing emotionally traumatized me! Do you think ipsy is turning things around? Or do they realize that we’re nearing the end of my subscription and just want me to renew?

 

Hard Candy Fierce Effects Lip Gloss in Plum Diva

It’s been a while since I’ve posted about lipstick. It’s been winter in the northeast. My skin has been SO DRY that even with excessive moisturizing and doubling my water intake, I haven’t been able to wear lipstick very often.

So I’ve dug into my lip gloss reserves. I don’t like lip gloss. It’s sticky, shiny, and smears onto everything. This one is okay, though. I’ve been getting some compliments on it.

Image of the Hard Candy Fierce Effects Lip Gloss in Plum Diva tube.

It doesn’t go on quite as purple as I want it to, but it’s pretty solid and fades evenly. It does feather. I’ve been able to keep it in check with a clear lip liner. The two pictures below show this gloss right after application (left) and about 8 hours later (right).

I would tell you that you could get this at Wal Mart for $5, except it’s out of stock. It apparently had a short run in 2015 and has been gone for..a while.

I have had this lip gloss for three years. It is still mostly full. I know people that have created entire humans & have taught them to walk in the time it has taken me to start wearing this lip gloss.

That’s gross. How old does a lip gloss need to be before it can kill you? I’m sure there’s a little icon somewhere on the tube telling me to throw it out after six months.

I’m not going to. It doesn’t go near my eyes, so I think the risk for damage is pretty small.

What do you have floating around that should really go in the trash by now?