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!

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.

Okay, I’m finally done with The Ordinary.

Weird stuff has been going on over at The Ordinary, a popular skincare brand loved for their inexpensive and science-based formulas. Some higher up people quit/got fired. (The old co-CEO recently did her first interview about it.) I wasn’t fussed. Business gets dirty. There were bad Glassdoor reviews about management that were more concerning to me, but not enough to keep me from ordering.

Then there are the Instagram posts. Most of them are just kind of cringe-y. Between product photos there would be a picture of a dead sheep, talking about how the company doesn’t test on animals. There was some comment sass, which is pretty easy to ignore.

Yesterday was the final straw for me. A commenter very politely explained to the CEO that posting pictures of homeless people without their consent is gross. His reaction was to make another post about her. This combined two of my least favorite things, petty call out culture and non-consensual photos. I noped out of the brand then and unfollowed them.

Apparently that was just the start to this week’s drama. Today, the whole US team has been fired. I’m not sure how relevant my remaining The Ordinary product reviews will be when they’re posted, but I wanted to say now that they have already been written and I’m not repurchasing anything. Who knows if I could if I wanted to, since the US team was so disposable.

There are alternatives listed here that I’ll be looking into.

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?