Opening up Ipsy’s Cozy Up Mystery Bag for a surprise

I’ll admit it. I couldn’t resist the pouch.  IPSY tends to have a selection of Mystery bags for sale and occasionally I end up picking them up.  Sometimes it is because of the theme or one of the products offered (Yes, I did pick up the Masking Bag and received a deluxe sample of my favorite Generation Clay Purple Brightening mask).  This mystery bag showed nothing that was inside and Cozy could have been referring to the corduroy of the bag rather than the products inside. (which having now seen them, I think it did).

But the bag was too cute to resist.  The limited edition Mystery bag was $14. While there was some tax, IPSY doesn’t charge for shipping so I think it added only about a dollar and change to the price. In all fairness I have to admit that I sort of forgot that I ordered it. I saw it when I went on to review this month’s bag for points and thought, that looks nice, why not? Ordered it and completely forgot about it. I didn’t actually remember it until I pulled it out of the mailbox.


The front of the bag is a light lilac and the flap and back are a more reddish purple. It fastens with a rather sturdy snap and has a wipe able interior liner. I like the fact that even though the inside is clearly makeup bag interior, the outside is cloth.  I could actually see using this as a simple clutch as well as a makeup bag. My cell phone might be a bit too heavy for it to take, but my id, a compact, lipstick, a few breath mints and an extra face mask would comfortably fit no problem.

But as cute as the exterior is, it is the inside that counts.  So what’s inside?

The first item out of the bag was a mattifying Primer from First Aid Beauty.  Oddly enough while I have tried many skin care products from FAB I don’t recall ever trying their primer. And I’m sure by now, everyone knows I love my primers.  Especially the mattifying ones.  So already I am pleased.

Next up there is a Luxie 1010 Small Contour brush.  I really like Luxie Brushes.  I especially like the ones that have the curved cut out in the handle.  I find them really easy to control and work with.  So item number two is definitely a win.

The third item is a bullet lipstick from Context skin.  It is in the shade 103 Say Love. While a little on the pink side for me, I could probably make it work with a darker liner or a topper. I’ve tried the formula before and it is a pretty good lipstick formula.  It isn’t very drying and lasts a while. 

The other Context lipstick isn’t my favorite shade either so I tend to blend it as well.  The formula is nice and creamy though and really does blend well.  I tend to apply it and then mix in a liquid lip on top and wear it that way.  Actually I have a Bite Beauty Liquid Lip that is slightly too brown for my skin tone and it works wonderfully as a mixer.

The next item is a pen style eyeliner from the brand Aurora.  I’ve never heard of the brand before but the liner swatched well.  And it is a brown eyeliner.  While I have a boat load of black eyeliners, I only have a couple of brown ones. 

Given some of my favorite neutral shades the brown liners tend to work really well for me.  I love that they are also now on trend with brown liners popping up pretty much everywhere.  On the hand swatch photo it looks a little darker than it is in real life. 

Swatches, liner on top, then the IBY shadow followed by the Context lipstick

It is very much a dark brown rather than a tan or warm brown shade.  However, if you notice, it didn’t seep into any of the fine lines of my skin.  This gives me high hopes for this liner.

The fifth and final item in my mystery bag is the cutest little single eyeshadow from IBY.  It is in the shade Fire and Ice.  While unassuming in the pan, the swatch is very encouraging.  This past spring I used a pastel themed palette from IBY that actually changed my thoughts on pastel palettes.  I really like the shadow formula and am pleased to have a non-spring like shade from them to try out. When swatched this comes off as an old gold kind of shade.  It will be fun to see how it performs on the eyes.

So that was my $14 mystery bag from IPSY.  I think there are some variations in the bags, which is probably why they didn’t show the items included. However I believe the bag is still available at the time I am writing its if anyone wants the bag and is willing to take a chance on the contents.  Personally, I really like the bag and am looking forward to playing around with the contents. So for me it was a win win scenario. As well as a fun surprise I wasn’t really expecting.

30% off Honest Skincare & Tinted Moisturizer, now through 9/26 – only on

The Honest Company

Allure Beauty Box September 2020 Unboxing

This was an interesting beauty box to open this month. The entire time I was opening it and taking items out I couldn’t help but remember that this is the last of its kind. Currently the Allure Beauty Box is $15 ($16.80 with tax). In October they will start costing $23 (I’m guessing between $24 and $25 with tax). I find this really interesting. $20 seems to be some sort of threshold in beauty boxes. Under twenty is one category, over twenty is something else. It should be an interesting change to watch. They will be going from the realm of Birchbox to costing more than Glossy Box and Look Fantastic but slightly less than Boxycharm and IPSY Plus. I have no doubt the cost was carefully chosen. It will be interesting to see how they compare as they move forward.

But what does the last $15 Allure Beauty Box hold?

Seven items this month as it turns out.

The first item is a full sized Wander Beauty mascara called unlashed. It retails for $24. While I like a lot of Wander Beauty Products (Foundation and Eyeshadow) the last mascara I tried from them was kind of average. It wasn’t noticeably spectacular. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good mascara. It didn’t flake or smear. It was a good working mascara. It just wasn’t noticeable for lengthening or volume or curling. It wasn’t a stand out, just a good solid chorus member. I don’t object to having a good solid chorus member on my team. And if this proves to be another good trustworthy stalwart product, I have no objections welcoming it into my collection. The other Wander Mascara I have is currently on its way out so I can compare them before it goes.

One of the amusing things about this box is that two of the items it contains are also currently in my empties bin. The first is the La Roche Posay Anthelios 50 Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid. I had a tube exactly this size before I started trying out the Polaar sunscreen. It was enough to cover my face for two or three days actually before the tube ran out. I was going to review it when I did my August empties bin but I forgot to write that post so next week there will be an August and September Empties bin post. Incidentally, today is the last day of their fall sale if you are interested in their products. I’ll past the code below.

Fall Sale: Enjoy 20% Off all Orders + 2 Deluxe Sample with Orders $65+. Use Code: FALLSALE. Valid: 9/18- 9/22.

I really liked this sunscreen. It was light enough that I didn’t mind applying it to my face. It sat well under my makeup as well. Interestingly it is recommended that you shake the product before applying. Even though it is a tube, you need to squeeze it a little and mix it up before applying as it does tend to separate in the tube. I honestly don’t mind having another tube of this sun screen to keep on hand. It will probably end up in my purse though.

The second product that is also in my empties bin is the Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm. It is the travel size. That is exactly the same size I had before and I was more than happy to see it reappear. It is one of my favorite cleansing balms. It makes my skin fantastically soft and delightfully clean. And it takes so little to remove an entire day’s makeup that it will last a while. So I am thrilled to see it. Also this is the last day of an Elemis Promotion as well in case you are interested. Get a Free 3-Piece Pro-Collagen PM set with orders of $150+ with code DREAM1 or Size up with $250+ and code DREAM2 at Elemis. (Valid 9/19 – 9/22)

This month I received an ELF Highlighting Brush in my box (full sixe $4). The options were between Elf and NYX (the NYX was the Pro Contour Brush). I have to say I was very impressed by the quality of the brush.

It actually felt like a better quality brush than the $24 brush I received in the Boxyluxe box this month. Admittedly I haven’t tried either out so that test is still to come. But for a $4 brush I was floored by the quality feel of it. I’ll be testing it out this week and letting you know with my makeup bag this week how it performed.

Receive 10% off when you place your order through the e.l.f. app and redeem code ELFAPP at checkout

Next there was an eyeliner from Cleo Noir. The full size costs $18. I am not sure if this is a full sized or not. While it seems a little short for a full sized eyeliner, it is a twist up and they always seem to be a little short. There is a lot of product in it so it will last a while even if it isn’t full sized. And if you are wondering why I’m not doing my usual ‘sigh, its an eyeliner’ it is because it is not another black eyeliner.

Those I seem to be stockpiling incase there is an eyeliner emergency. Like several punk bands losing their luggage on the way to a festival. This is a purple eyeliner. I haven’t tried the brand before and I am am looking forward to giving a purple eyeliner a go. This week’s shadow palette is a bit more on the neutral side, but next week I may choose a more colorful one just so I can give this a trial run.

There was a sheet mask in my Allure Beauty box this month as well. I think most month’s there is some sort of sheet mask. This month I received the Glam up Revitalizing Japanese Sake Sheet Mask. (it costs $9.98 for a ten pack). It was one of two masks I could have received. The other was a Soothing Aloe from the same brand. As I’ve tried soothing aloe masks before (and in face hace one in my masking drawer) but never tried a Sake based mask, I am okay with my option. And I am always willing to try out a new sheet mask.

Finally we come to item number seven. It is the Waterless Dry Conditioner. Now me and dry shampoo are pretty tight. Once again I am almost out of my favorite Klorane and need to reorder. I have however never used dry conditioner.

NEW! Klorane’s Award Winning Dry Shampoo NOW in Jumbo Size!

Part of me is interested, and part of me thinks this might be a bad idea. Dry shampoo takes the greasy look out of unwashed hair by absorbing the excess oils. Conditioner in general provides shine and body to hair. I’m not so sure about adding shine on a no wash day. It might undo the anti grease factor the dry shampoo achieved.

Or it could be a fabulous new product I decide to add to my hair care collection. I don’t know. I do know it is going to be interesting to try out. It is a little odd though that in the pamphlet provided it shows both the waterless dry shampoo and the conditioner and labels them step one and step two. I think you have to use a dry shampoo before using a dry conditioner. At least that is my take away. I’ll have to visit the website before spritzing away.

Over all I am pretty pleased with this box. I know that the travel size of the Elemis Cleansing balm is around $15. (It may be $16). Which means that I paid for the Elemis and got everything else for free on top of it. At least that’s how my brain sorts it, because I would have just ordered it for the Elemis and be happy with whatever came with it if I am being truly honest. However, this month it also came with several other fun new things to try out so I am really happy with this as a $15 subscription box. But as I said at the beginning, this is the last time this box will be $15. October 1st it becomes a $23 Beauty box. Expectations will shift and things could get very interesting.It should be fun to see.

Shop Now!

BoxyLuxe September 2020 Unboxing

My September Boxy Luxe Box has arrived.  The Boxy Luxe is a quarterly upgrade to the regular box. Four times a Year, March, June, September and December to be exact, there is an extra cost for those who sign up for the Boxy Luxe and instead of your regular box for $25 you pay an additional charge (Bringing the cost up to $50 for that month) and you get a luxe box. The theme this month was Glam Vibes although to be honest, my box this month felt more like Spa Vibes. But maybe that is just me and partially due to my choices.

In Luxe months you get to choose two items in your box.  This month the two items I chose were the Byroe Tomato Serum (retail $150) and the Osea Malibu Atmosphere protection Cream (retail $48).

For those who think that the brand Byroe might be slightly familiar, a previous Boxycharm box featured a toner from the company.  I did not get it in my box, but this time when add ons opened up I saw it listed in possible items and snapped it up as an extra for $12. I also added the Grace and Stella Eye gel patches.

I am really starting to like eye masks in general.  This rag weed season they have been a life saver.  I haven’t tried the Grace and Stella ones but the add-on section had a twelve pack for $6 and I couldn’t resist. Plus I also blazed through my supply this month and needed a restock.  Since I like Grace and Stella it was kind of a win for me.  I got to restock my eye mask supply, checking out the masks from a brand I really enjoy and I got to add the toner I was hoping to get in an earlier month’s box but didn’t.

But that was my unexpected shopping spree and not the box.  This month I received the Byroe Tomato Serum which I am looking forward to testing out. (although seriously, when am I not happy to test a serum out? They are a weakness of mine).

The Osea Atmosphere protection cream I was very excited to see as a choice as well.  I really like Osea products.  They are clean, vegan and non-toxic.  The cleanser is amazing so I am pleased to try out the moisturizer that goes with the cleanser.  I also have a travel sized bottle of the cleanser that I will be using when I test out this moisturizer. If any additional add ons feature the Osea cleanser I will be snapping those up.  The cleanser is pretty expensive (I think it is around $44) for a cleanser so I tend to pick up travel sized and sales of it whenever I can.

There was a third skin care item in my boxyluxe this month ant it is the 111Skin Rose Gold Brightening Facial Treatment Mask (retail $135).  It is a five pack. I don’t know if you remember but a while ago I tried this mask and the accompanying eye gel masks from 111 Skin.  The under eye mask was fantastic, but I wasn’t overly impressed with the face masks.

They were good, but not as good as the price would lead you to expect.  It was a single mask I tried out though, maybe with repeated use I will feel differently about the mask.  I have been trying out a lot of 111Skinproducts recently and it is always interesting.  Some of them work really well and it is easy to see why they are so expensive.  Some work well, but are on the same level with much more affordable products and are hard to justify in terms of expense and others I like less then much less costly products. It is one of those brands that really runs the gamut with me. But over all I really do like their products. So we will see which category these fall into when I have five to use instead of just the one.  I will say though, for the record, while I may be on the fence with the face masks, the black eye masks from 111Skin are definitely worth the cost. If you ever see them, I highly recommend picking them up. Those may be pricey too, but they are worth their price.

The next item in my box is the Fenty Beauty Killawatt highlighter (retail $36).  I think everyone got one of the highlighters this month.  Mine is the dual shade in the shades Ginger Binge and Moscow Mule.  They are both rosy tones that actually suit me well.  I am very pleased with the shade I received. I like this a lot better than the gold one I received as part of the Fenty Box a while ago. That one just did not work well with my skin tone and was kind of chunky. I tried using it as an eyeshadow like everyone suggested when it didn’t work as a highlight for them, but I didn’t care for that either. Not only did it migrate down my nose gilding it like a reverse contour but it also was chunky enough that it scratched my eye. That was not fun. This is not only a better color for me but it has a much finer consistency to it. It doesn’t feel as chunky to the touch so I think I will get a lot more use out of it than the ill fated gold one.

I am also thrilled by the Hipdot Zion Eyeshadow Palette I received this month.  I picked up the Hipdot’s Sponge Bob palette for a younger cousin of mine as a gift a while ago and she absolutely loves it. While I like Sponge Bob (and used to watch the show with her), the colors weren’t ones that I would gravitate towards using while they are definitely in her wheel house.  This palette is definitely more in my color scheme and one that I will enjoy trying out. So I am very happy with that. 

Then we come to the next three products.  First, there is the Cuccio Somatology yogahhh calm and clean Epsom Salt Hand and body wash with Lavender oil.  (retail $39.95).  While I will try it in the bath, I really think this looks like a hand soap dispenser.

Which is fine.  With all the handwashing at our house, a nice hand soap is not a bad thing to have around. I just can’t honestly say I am all that excited by it. Maybe I will try it out and it will end up being something fabulous. I’ve never tried anything from the brand before, but I will keep an open mind. Maybe I will fall in love and seek it out in the future. We shall see.

Next up is the Persona Cosmetics Power Brush retail $24).  Now, I like brushes, I use a variety of them on a daily basis.  I am not a fan of this.  First off, I hate dual ended brushes. I really do.  I store my brushes in jars, so one end is always going to be in the jar.  Sometimes it gets squished, and sometimes I forget it has the second end, but I rarely use both ends.  Even if the brush is good. 

Because whatever end I put back in the jar will get product all over the other brush handles and the jar and when I take out any brushes whatever was on that brush when I put it away will be all over my hands. So I don’t like them. The bristles feel nice, not excellent, but nice.  The handle feels super cheap and it in no way feels like a $24 brush. So it is somewhat disappointing. 

Perhaps I will use one end of it and like it enough that I ignore my hatred of dual ended brushes and use one end a lot. Perhaps I will like it so much that give it its own space where I can use both ends without contaminating other brushes.  Stranger things have happened. But on first glance it feels super lightweight and cheap. 

This brings us to the final item and that is the Teami Blends Tea tumbler (retail $24). And I’m happy to end on a more positive note.  It looks nice and well set up. I like the double walls and the clear plastic. I drink a lot of tea in the afternoons and since I grow a lot of herbs, I tend to have a lot of loose tea around.  I think the set-up of the strainer is interesting and rather conveniently placed at the top to keep the herbs from being sipped up. I also think it is appropriately priced.

I also suspect the wrist strap is going to drive me bonkers rather than being thought of as a usable feature though.  Unless it’s use is to drive me crazy by clicking against the plastic every time I use it. Don’t get me wrong, I can see its function, I just don’t think I will be using the strap very often. So it might be quickly removed.

To be honest this is one of the things I really like about subscription boxes.  If shopping I might not have picked this up.  Having it here, I can see how well designed it is and I can see I am probably going to get a lot of use out of it. I may even have to try the teami brand teas to see how they work as well. 

Tea and coffee always go over well in our house.  We keep an entire pantry shelf stocked with both and are always looking to branch out.  This year in my garden only the mint grew well. Everything else fried to a crisp in the heat no matter how much I watered it.  As a consequence while we have jars of both dried peppermint and dried chocolate peppermint, we are rather low on the other herbals.  We have a lot of empty jars this year so we will need to purchase more tea than usual.

But ordering tea is for a later time.

To be honest, the only disappointment this month was the dual ended brush and even that was more of a personal dislike rather than a full upset.  There are a few companies where I do get excited for Hand soap.  Molton Brown is one of them.  I would squeal excitedly at their hand soap houlf it ever arrive on my doorstep in a subscription package. (Incidentally I believe Molton Brown is 15% off on the Look Fantastic site today.  I’m running out of bath gel and was looking to restock and saw the sale. I ordered the Rhubarb and Rose. It’s my absolute favorite as the tart rhubarb knocks down the sweet of the floral so something lovely and refreshing. Admittedly, I will give the Cuccio a try before opening a new product once the new product arrives). Perhaps once I try this, I will feel the same about this brand. 

I am tickled pink by the Osea moisturizer and very happy with the Byroe serum.  I am also happy with everything else.  And as a return on investment for my $50 purchase price I ended up with $486.95 worth of items.  They are all things I will use (even if I only use one end of the brush) so quite frankly this was a really good month.  As the last two Boxy Luxe months weren’t exactly my favorites it is really nice to have a good month. This month Boxy Premium really stepped up as well.  I don’t know if pandemic based adjusted shipping threw them for a complete loop, but if it did, they seem to have gotten things worked out. 

I am still considering dropping down to one Boxy charm box in January so I can try out new subscriptions without being overwhelmed with product, but at the moment I’m not sure which I am planning to drop.  I think part of it may depend on the Allure box. This is the last month the Allure box is the regular box.  Next month they go up in price and their price point puts them about even with the regular boxycharm box.  They might fall flat and be the subscription box I drop in January or they might make giving up one of the boxycharm boxes a lot easier. Starting in October there will be a more direct comparison between the two.  It will be interesting to see where that ends up landing. For now I am quite pleased with this quarter’s BoxyLuxe Box.

Molton Brown (US)

Glossy Box Unboxing: The September 2020 Spa Edit

Glossy Box September 2020

It’s September Spa Time, is the theme of this month’s glossy box and I think it an apt theme.  Glossy Box tends to lean towards skin care over all, with a few makeup items here and there but this month it is both skin care and self care oriented and who doesn’t need a little bit of that? But first the basics. 

Glossy Box is a $21 per month subscription box based in the UK. I kind of like that as they tend to send products I’ve heard about, but never gotten around to trying because they aren’t readily available where I live, or that I’ve never heard of.  Of course there are also several brands I have heard of and like included as well. 

With this subscription you can sign up for a year and get it for the price of $18 instead of $21.  What I like about this is they still charge you monthly so you don’t have to pay the lump sum of a year’s worth of boxes up front to get the discount.  I’m actually on this plan, I signed up for a year and will be getting these boxes at least through July 2021 for the $18 rate. Honestly I’ll probably be getting it longer as I really enjoy this box. If you are new to Glossy Box, you can get your first box for a discounted price as well in order to try it out. Just use code GLOSSYSPA16 from now until September 30th.

But what came in this month’s spa edit?

Well I opened my box, untied the lovely little ribbon, opened the tissue paper and picked up the jade roller. I really like this one, it is smaller and more compact than the others as it doesn’t have the secondary smaller roller on the bottom of it. 

As I quite frankly never really use the small roller on the bottom, I’m quite pleased with its compact size.  Of the two jade rollers I received this month, I believe this one is the one that I will keep while I will pass the larger Jade one along.  (My quartz roller is the exact same size as the other jade roller). This Magic Jade Roller is from Melusine Cosmetics and retails for $21

The next item out of my Glossy box this month was the Rosen Skincare Break out spot treatment (retail $12).  Like the Jade roller it was a full sized item.  This is an overnight treatment that you put on breakouts before bed and let sit overnight. 

At the moment my skin is relatively clear (I have no illusions about that lasting, I just haven’t gone anywhere I need a mask for a few days and thing have cleared up), but I do have one break out on my chin that I might try this on to night to see how it works. I did open it and it smells very peppermint-y and looks like whiteout.  I am very curious.  As it is a one time over night treatment, I may be reporting back on it in the morning.

The next full sized item in my Glossy Box was the Daily Concepts Daily Beauty Headband (retail $12).  It is a giant pink scrunchie designed to hold your hair back while you wash your face or use a dace mask.  I hae one very similar that I use all the time  As a matter of fact I have used it enough that it is starting to wear along the elastic lines so it is nice to have a replacement.  I know I will get a lot of use out of this item.

The next item is a deluxe sample sized item and it is the Banila Co Miss Flower & Mr. Honey Cream. (the Deluxe size is worth $6 while the full size is listed at $42).  I’ve used the Banila Zero Clean before and really found it to be an excellent cleansing calm.  I can understand why they went with a deluxe sample size rather than a full sized version of this cream in a subscription box (aside from the cost). Although it is a really good sized deluxe sample.

I opened it and tried it out as a night cream last night (mostly because I was frustrated with my current night cream). While I will continue using it and report back after a week or two when I have used up this sample, I think the scent is going to be polarizing for some.  It smells like whipped honey.  Clover based honey to be exact. 

Honey is one of those scents you either love or hate I’ve found.  To be honest I really like the scent.  But I could see those who aren’t honey fans hating it just based on scent alone.  But then again, I like it so I am very happy with it. I am also happy to try out something else from Banila Co as I really did enjoy their cleansing balm.

This month there is an Exfoliating Wash from Codex Beauty It too is a deluxe size (value $18, full sized product $45). And what would a spa themed box be without an exfoliator or a face wash?  I’ve never heard of the brand Codex before but I do love a good exfoliator. And a good face wash too for that matter.   I have a few weeks left on the Avant exfoliator I am currently using and when I finish it I will replace it with the Codex to give it a whirl.  Oddly enough I think the Avant might have come from a Glossy Box as well. 

And finally an element no spa visit is without, the face mask.  This one is a Ruby Sheet Mask from Vitamasques (retail $7).  The name sounds familiar.  I believe on my first box this was one of the oprions for the face mask.  You could either get this one or something else.  If memory serves I got the something else.  So I haven’t used the mask but the image is familiar. And when am I not happy to see a new mask? Glossy box seems to include a face mask in almost every box actually.  At least I don’t think I’ve gotten a box without one, admittedly I haven’t been subscribed all that long.

I have to say I am very happy with this month’s Glossy Box selection of items.  It fit the theme very well and included all items I am willing to try out or will get a lot of use out of.  Even though all boxes seemed to have gone roller happy this month, I really like the fact that there is a skin/self care tool in the box that I can use repeatedly over time and not just use up. The same goes for the headband which I’m sure I will use quite a bit. The mix was well curated. As for price well for my $18 (or $21 if you are paying full price individually) I received $76 worth of items. As they are all ones I will use I am extra happy with the value.

I also like knowing that once I’ve used them I can review them on the Glossy Box site and get credit back (about $0.40 per review) to use towards a purchase.  I love that I can actually use the Glossie Credit in the Look Fantastic site as well since they transfer over and it is a HUGE site with weekly sales. Plus Glossy Box just released their own affordable skin care line that Glossy Box subscribers get extra discounts for as well. I’m currently using the eye serum (which came in last month’s box) and debating over which of the cleansers I want to try out first.  They have several different ones available and I can’t make up my mind as to which I want to try first.

Free GLOSSYBOX Water Bottle when you purchase any skincare with code GLOSSYSKIN

Ah the conundrums of skin care Junkies. I have a little while before making a decision as I have a few deluxe sample sized cleansers I want to clear out before purchasing a full sized one. So it gives me a little time to think and plan. Plus the seasons are starting ever so slowly to change so I can plan for my soon to be autumnal skin care needs rather than my summer ones. But plotting and scheming aside, I really enjoyed this box and I am very glad I signed up for a year. Not only did it save me money, but as these boxes tend to sell out fairly rapidly I am assured I will be on the receiving list for the next year.

Oh and speaking of selling out quickly, the Glossy Box Advent Calendar is now available for pre-sale for subscribers.  I know, it’s September so not everyone is ready to plan the holidays, but these advent calendars sell out FAST so if you want one you need to get on the list. The products are always an amazing mix of skin care and makeup.The promotional photo in the link looks like a really good mix of products included this year. So if you are looking at beauty themed advent calendars this year, this might be one to look into, just do so quickly if you want to get on the list. 

Plus then you can feel virtuous for starting your holiday shopping early. Which let’s face it, may be for the best this year.  I think both on line and in person shopping this holiday season are going to be absolutely insane. Normally November first sees me frantically making my lists and creating shopping themed battle plans.  This year I am going in early and shopping strategically.  Anything that can be planned early is being planned.  I have several family members with December and January Birthdays as well as the holidays, so those are on my list as well. 

One of the birthdays indicated that even though she normally eschews holiday themed birthday gifts, she would be willing to make an exception for the Glossy Advent Calendar so I’m getting my order in quickly so I can at least check one birthday off the list. So one down and quite a few more to go.  And yes I felt very virtuous putting in the order for a January 3rd birthday present in September. After all If I can do holiday planning early, I can do anything.

Except fly like superman. That I still can’t do.

But I can wear the heck out of a cape.

September 2020 Boxycharm Premium Unboxing

Boxycharm Premium is a monthly beauty box subscription.  It costs $35 per month and generally has six full sized beauty products in the box. This month’s theme is Glam Vibes only. To be honest, most months I’m not really sure if the theme actually relates to the contents of the box.  This month I’m guessing that that the theme is because pretty much everything in the box is rather high end.  Although to be honest as it is a premium box, I would already expect that. Theme confusion aside, I am rather pleased with my selection of products this month.

The first item I took out was The Queen Eyeshadow Palette by Eloise Beauty (retail $46).  I have never heard of the brand, let alone tested the shadows, but it is a vibrant palette that looks like it would be fun to play around with.  As most of the palettes I’ve received lately have been more neutral in tone, it is kind of fun to have some brighter colors available.

The second item I pulled from the premium box was the item I actually chose for my selection.  It is the Marc Jacobs Youthquake Hydra-full retexturing gel crème.(retail $59).  I have to admit, I have been lusting after this crème since its release.  I really enjoy Marc Jacob’s products so I really wanted to see what the brand did in the realm of skin care.  When makeup brands lean into skin care it is very rarely a neutral middle of the road product that gets produced.  It is either really good or really bad.  I have my fingers crossed for the really good.  I have about a week left on my Dior Dream Skin Moisturizer trial and there is a very good chance that instead of sticking to my plan I will jump this ahead of the line.  I may try to resist, but I am not entirely certain how well that will work out.

Next was the Emma Hardie Brilliance Facial oil (retail $55).  I dimly recall hearing the name Emma Hardie before but for the life of me I can’t remember where or in what context.  I’m fairly certain I have never tried anything from the brand (or if I did it wasn’t all that memorable).  So I am thrilled to find a new brand I’ve never really heard of and to test out the product.  With first the Malin + Goetz Recovery oil and now the Timeless Skincare 100% Squalane Oil I have to say I am really starting to like incorporating oils into my skin care routine.

The fourth item in the September premium box was the Kitsch Ice roller ($18).  Apparently this is the month of the rollers.  I received one Jade roller in my Look Fantastic Box this month and a second Jade roller in my Glossy Box. I already had a rose quartz roller which I really like.  I keep it in the fridge and it is marvelous when I come in from the heat or when my allergies have me all puffy eyed. 

At the moment it is rag weed season where I live so puffy eyed is kind of my default state at the moment.  I will be passing on the unopened Jade rollers, since I already use my quartz one, but I will try the metal Kitsch one as I want to see if there is a difference with using the metal one versus the stone one.  Currently it is chilling down and getting ready for its first use. To be honest I enjoy the roller tools more for the depuffing and cooling rather than the serum application.  I find the serums work better with a vibrating cleansing tool like a Fereo or a PMD wand. Not that I won’t try it with the serum.

The next product in my September Premium box I was very pleased to see.  It was very shiny and hard to photograph as it kept throwing back light, but it is the Milk makeup Kush Lip Scrub (retail $22).  I have used this before.  It is extremely mild and very soothing. 

With most lip scrubs you sort of have to rinse or wipe the exfoliate off of your lips once you have used it which sort of removes the balm agent as well.  With this you don’t.  The grains are fine enough that after applying you rub your lips together and they sort of disappear.  This is a great product to use every night as it won’t over exfoliate and it softens as well. I was very happy to see it.

We’re sending you 7 FREE Vegan Milk Moisturizer Samples with ANY purchase so you can moisturize the Milk way every day of the week. While supplies last. Offer starts 1/27.

Finally, the last item I removed from the box was the Stila smudge stick Waterproof eyeliner (retail $22).  Do I need another eyeliner? No.  Is it a good eyeliner? Yes.  I’ve used it before and if I remember correctly it was nice and creamy and while smudgeable when applied, once set, it stayed put. And unlike my liquid eyeliners it won’t really dry out.

I may have to take stock of my open eyeliners before deciding it I am going to use it right away or keep it unopened for a while. For now it is staying in the box so that I know I haven’t used it. This is actually the perfect excuse to go through my liners.  I know I have several that have dried out or that I just don’t like enough to keep. I was planning to do a big fall declutter of my dressing table as well as my wardrobe as I switch to fall and winter clothes.  I was aiming for the first weekend in October to do this, but there is no harm in starting my eye liner perusal a little early.

But that is another topic. Back to the Boxycharm September Premium Box.

So was this a good box?  Yes.  Every item in this box is one I will use, or that I would like to try out.  There are brands I love and a few I have either never heard of or only dimly recall.  It was a nice mix of products that actually felt premium.  On occasion some of the premium boxes haven’t really felt that way.  I’m hoping to chalk it up to quarantine shipping issues and hope that they now have a workable system in place.  The boxes certainly are getting better.  Last month and this month were both a welcome relief from the not so great boxes the few months prior.  So the end balance is that for my $35 I received $222 worth of products.  While the price is fair, I am happier that they are all products I am more than happy to try out and use.  That for me makes the box worthwhile.  Don’t get me wrong the return on investment is nice, but there really is no point in getting expensive things you aren’t going to use. These are from quality brands and they are products I will use. So I have to say, for me, September was a five star box.

Beauty Breaks are back! Shop new weekly offers every Thursday, starting with 40% off Youthquake Moisturizer + O!Mega Bronze through 7/5.


September 2020’s IPSY Ultimate Unboxing

For those who don’t know IPSY Ultimate is a category of the IPSY Subscription service.  It is the most expensive tier and offers eight full sized products and four deluxe samples with a makup bag each month for $50.  There is also a $25 per month Glam Bag Plus which has a drawstring bag and five full sized products and a regular Glam bag with a small makeup bag and five deluxe sample sized products, with the occasional full sized one, for $12.

This month’s makeup bag was one I really liked.  It is the sort with a flat bottom and rounded zippered top, like a clam shell.  I like this style as it tends to sit upright well and can hold quite a lot of products. It is a yellow corduroy material with a red stripe down the center. 

The colors are perfect for fall and personally I like the cloth bags better than the more plastic ones as they feel more luxurious.  They still have an easily wipe-able interior, but the outside is nicer.

This month the ultimate glam bag also came with a pamphlet detailing the products and their value (although there is no official price on the deluxe samples).  The pamphlets have been hit or miss for a while now and I am glad to see them back.  Hopefully they will return. 

But what is inside this month’s bag?

First we start with the Cake Beauty Milk Made Velveteen Body Cream which is a deluxe sample size. I’ve use it before and it is a nice cream.  I seem to be getting at least one or more body creams each month and they are piling up.  I am working my way through them though so eventually I will get around to using this.  For now it goes into the basket with the other body lotions awaiting their turn to be used.

My second sample this month was a Doucce Freematic Blush Mono in Daydream  which is the same shade that was in my Doucce Freematic palette I received a while ago, also from IPSY. If you remember my review, I wasn’t a big fan of the formula.  I am passing the palette on in fact and will add the extra blush to go with it.

The third item was something I was happy to see.  It too is a sample size and it is the Georgette Kilinger Collagen and Elastin Mask.  As I’m  sure anyone who routinely reads this post knows, I am a huge fan of masks.  I have never tried this one so it will be interesting to test it out. Plus it is nice to pull something out of the bag I know I will use.

The first fill sized item in my box this month is the Girlactik Skin Glow Duo in Sunset (retail $26) which is a highlighter duo.  It is a cream highlighter which isn’t something I use a lot of so I think it will be fun to play around with.  I’ve tried a few powder products from the brand but never a cream so it should be interesting to try out their formulas and the colors look nice.

The second full sized item was the Goldfaden MD Brightening Elixir Protect + Repair Brightening Serum (retail $80), and you know how much I like having serums on hand.  I have tried an exfoliator from this brand before and found it good but too rough to use more than once a month. It will be interesting to see how I feel about the serum. I find it surprising that the box is so much bigger than the actual serum. By now I shouldn’t be surprised, but somehow I always am.

Also counting as a full sized item this month (retail $7.50) is the Hello Ganic One a Day Sheet mask set.  There are three in the pack so I am okay with it being considered a full sized item. 

I only really take issues when they have one and claim it is a full sized item even though you can only purchase it in sets of three or five.  I’ve never tried anything from Hello Ganic so it should be fn to test out.  I’ve also managed to whittle down my collection of sheet masks. 

I put my Facetory sheet mask subscription on hold for a few months to do so.  (I really like the ease of that option with that subscription) I will be resuming the subscription this month so at the end of this month I will have more sheet masks to add to this set of three. 

What is interesting is that these masks and the Goldfaden MD serum are my only two skin care items this month.  For the last few months IPSY has been heavily weighted towards skin care where is this month it isn’t.  I think it’s a nice change.  While I adore skin care I have a bunch of products lined up to try and as skin care takes a while to test out, I it nice to have some time to clear out a little space before adding more.

This month I was super excited to see the Julep Cushion Complexion Concealer in Ivory  (retail $16).  I’ve tried the Julep concealer formula before and really liked it.  I think it may be a little on the light shade for me right now.  I may have to set it aside for a month and test it in October when my summer tan fades a bit more.  If I remember correctly Ivory is my winter shade of concealer. 

Julep, Korean Skincare Made Simple.

So it is nice to know that once I start using it, I will be able to use it all the way through until May.  Especially since I think my current concealers are all in my summer shades.  That is something I will need to look at by the end of the month. But I am very happy to have this ready to go once the tan fades. A little disappointed I can’t use it right away, but still excited. For those interested, Julep is still having a pretty big sale at the moment. If interested you might want to click on the above link and check it out.

The La Muse Deep Color Lip Balm in Cherry  (retail $28) is not a brand I’ve even heard of, but I am always happy to try a new lip balm.  And as my foundation this week is a tinted moisturizer rather than an actual foundation, this might be a tinted lip balm’s week to shine. 

It reminds me very much of Fresh lip balms, at least in packaging. It has the same screw down top to it. I used to get the Plum shade from Fresh every year and use it when I wanted a little color but mostly a lip balm.  It was a great product and one I have been thinking of replacing once I reduce the lip balms in my collection.  Hopefully this will perform in a similar manner.

Next out of my Ultimate Box was the Pixi by Petra Endless Silky Eye Pen Duo in Black Caviar & Bronze Beam (retail $ $28).  While I am a fan of the Pixi toners and setting spray the only makeup I’ve used from the Pixi line have been a couple of metallic shadows.  They were of excellent quality and I have high hopes for these as well.  I drew a line on my hand and found them super smooth and creamy.  So I am looking forward to giving them a test run in the makeup bag.

The ModaBrush Neon Angle Contour/Blush Brush (retail $19.99) is a nice addition to my bag.  It feels soft and in general I like the few Moda Brushes I’ve tried before.  I’ll have to test it out and see if it enters into my first string of brushes or if it gets put into the reserve drawer, but I am always happy to have new brushes.

This month I received the Zoeva Caramel Mélange Eyeshadow Palette  (retail $28), which I find vaguely amusing.  A few months ago BoxyCharm had something like ten separate Zoeva palettes that could be in one of the boxes.  Through some twist of fate, I didn’t get any of them.  And now I have the one I thought was best suited to me.  It looks like it will be a nice autumn color scheme and that it might have enough color variation to not get boring during a week of continued use.  I have never tried out their formula so I am pleased I finally get to try it out.

And finally we come to the product I actually chose this month.  Drum roll please.  It is the Huda Beauty Complexion Perfection Pre-Makeup Base (retail $38).  You know I love primers and as I really like the Huda eyeshadow formula and have been using the makeup sponge since it’s arrival on my doorstep I am pleased to try out another Huda Beauty product to see how I like it.

So doing quick math first you realize that I only had three deluxe samples and nine full sized products, which is plenty find by me.  The bag I like and will use instead of passing on, which I haven’t been able to say in a few months and for my $50 purchase price I received products with a value of $271.49 which is not a terrible return.  Especially when all of the items are ones that I will use. 

This month I ended up receiving almost a full face of makeup in one box which is kind of fun as well.  As much as I adore skin care, it was nice to have a box heavy in makeup and light in skin care this month. It’s nice to have a bit of a change.  While the unboxing started off slow this month with two samples I wasn’t immediately enthused by, it got better and better as I continued so over all I am willing to consider this another win for IPSY.  This far this is three or four bags in a row that have been just really nice.  Hopefully they will continue.

Huda Beauty Afterpay

September 2020 Look Fantastic Beauty Box: The Birthday Box

Happy Birthday to Look Fantastic!September marks their sith’s year in operation and they adjusted the look of their box to suit. Personally I love the gold lettering. For those who don’t know Look Fantastic is a monthly Beauty Box that costs $19 per month. It is based in the UK and one tat I really like. Sometimes I get brands that I know and love, while other times I learn about brands I’ve never heard of, even if they are quite popular elsewhere.

The box is made of sturdy cardboard and the items inside are wrapped in tissue paper and sealed with a sticker so it is always like unwrapping a present when it arrives. I also like that the outside mailer, once you peel off the international customs plastic bit, is fully recyclable. And by that I mean it is the kind of cardboard that would not only go into the recycling bin, but that I can tear up and add to my personal compost bin.

Which I do.

The interior box I use for storage.

One thing I also love about Look Fantastic is their on-line store. It is really large and carries a host of brands at varying price points in bath and body, skin care and makeup. They carry NYX Cosmetics, Pixi products, Elemis, Erno Laszlo, Caudalie, and Molton Brown. It is not limited to a few items or a once a month shopping it is an actual on-line store and they generally have weekly sales. For example starting today (9/9) and running through September 14th you can get 25% off award winning skin care. It is a really long list of brands on the sale list including brands like 111Skin, AHAVA, Dermelect Cosmeceuticals and e cooking. And starting tomorrow you can get 15% off sitewide with the code CELEBRATE. Given that you don’t need a code for the 25% off the select skin care items you could probably combine the two and get yourself a really good deal. There is also a 25% + 10% off Molton Brown, ReFa & more going on starting today as well, just use code SALEX10  

But enough about the company, lets get on to the box. The first Item I pulled out of the Birthday box was the spoiler for last month. Each month they tease you with one item for the upcoming box on the pamphlet included in the box. This month the product was a 15 mL tube of the Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream. I was very excited by this because I have never had a bad product from Elemis. From their cleansers, to the exfoliating toner pads to the make up remover balm, it has all be fantastic.

I am still kicking myself for not stocking up on the Elemis oils when they were offered by BoxyCharm a while ago. I actually finished my Elemis Cleansing Balm in August and already miss it. So I was very happy to get another Elemis product to try.

The next item I picked up is from Illamasqua. I received the mini OMG Highlighter. I have primers, lip liners and a couple of lipsticks from Illamasqua and they are all very nice. I’ve never tried one of their powder products before so I am looking forward to giving it a go. I am deliberately not swatching it so that I can get a first impression next week when I add it to my makeup bag.

It looks to be a lovely gold shimmer though and I tend to lean more towards gold tones so I’m happy. In the September box subscribers could either get the Illamasqua highlighter or the Mary-Lou Manizer from the Balm. I’ve tried the Mary-Lou-Manizer before and it is a great product. I would have been happy with it, but I am glad I get to try the one I’ve never used.

I have to admit that my swatching restraint did not extend to the Diego Dalla Parma Mini lip pencil in the shade Antique pink. I never heard of the brand and I wanted to know if antique pink was going to be a Barbie pink (of which I’m not really a fan) so I swatched it. The formula is quite creamy and very pigmented. It is also a kind of dusky rose shade that is one of my favorites. While I did swatch it, I did not put it on my lips, I will reserve that for next week’s makeup bag as well. But I am pleased with how well it swatched on the hand.

The next item I took out of the Birthday Box was another squeezie tube and it was from the brand ESPA. I have heard of the brand and I know it is a well respected skincare company. By which I mean one of my cousins periodically gushes about them. I think they started out as a spa and then started selling their products if I’m not mistaken. I’ll look into more information about them before trying and reviewing the product.

The specific product that I received was the Pink Hair and Scalp Mud. (The other option was the ESPA Micellar Water Cleanser). The Scalp mud is a deep conditioning treatment for your hair and scalp. Given that I am not going out as much, I am trying to do as much recovery work on my hair as possible (not as much heat styling and many more hair and scalp treatments), this is a great product for me to receive right now. Plus pampering my hair with treatments is sort of my way of apologizing for any past mistreatments and my not so great hair cutting skills. My hair may no longer have layers, but it also has no split ends.

The next two items are both tools and both full sized. The first is a Luxie shading brush (thr 209 if you are keeping track). I have quite a few Luxie brushes. They are a good quality and last a long time. I also tend to use shading brushes a lot so having an extra one on hand is not a bad thing for me.

The second tool is the Brushworks Jade Roller. I know lots of people rave about the stone rollers as a way of pushing serums into the skin. Personally I find either a PMD Wand or one of the Fereo vibrating tools much better for that (especially the mini one.)

I do have a quartz roller though and I love using it for depuffing. I keep mine in the fridge and on mornings when allergens have taken me down I roll it on my face, starting at the neck and working my way up to the eyes.

It really helps bring down the puffiness from allergies. It is also fantastic on a really hot day. I love rolling it on the neck just under the ears, working up to behind the ears. I find that cools me down super quickly when I am overheated. I’ve been using it a lot this summer. Quite frankly it is better than any cooling sprays I’ve found. Just remember to keep it washed. I am very happy to have a second roller in the house as they are useful and it would be nice to have a second to trade out when the first warms up.

The final item in my Look Fantastic Box this month was something I at first took to be a magnet. It is not, it is one of those buttons you attached to the back of your phone to make it easier to hold. As my phone case has a built in metal loop, I won’t be using it, but my mom really likes them so I will be passing it on to her in the goodie box I am compiling for her.

Since I inherited skin from my father’s side, she and I have almost opposite skin concerns and different coloring so any product or makeup that I can’t use generally she can and visa versa so I save all the things I get in subscription boxes but know I won’t use for her. I was supposed to give it to her at Easter but we didn’t get together and we may be doing separate Thanksgivings as well this year so I may be mailing it soon.

So my quest for bubble wrap is soon to begin.

But that is another story. For now, this was my September Look Fantastic Box. I was very happy with their Birthday edit and if you are looking to join, I don’t think they’ve sold out of this month’s box yet. They frequently sell out around mid to late month because they are such a good deal. I received products I really like, a few from companies on my favorites list and a few from ones I’ve never heard of and all of which I am eager to try out. This month was a very good month.

Oh and for those interested, this month is also when the Look Fantastic Advent Calendars are available for pre order. They sell out super fast so even though it is September and still really skin meltingly hot, if you are interested in picking this one up you are going to want to get on the list early. (if it is a gift think of it as being proactive in your holiday shopping. whenever I do that it always makes me feel rather virtuous and grown up. Admittedly all pre-planning makes me feel that way, especially when it is successful.)

They are a little pricey, but utterly amazing and so completely worth the price. I received one as a present before and it was wonderful. It was from my babydoll and it was also somewhat tortuous. He holds a firm belief that advent calendars should be opened only one day at a time, never all at once. Mostly because if he opens them all at once he eats all of the chocolate in one sitting. While I was excited by the Look Fantastic Advent Calendar he was disappointed as it didn’t have chocolate.

So I got him a fancy chocolate one and then made him only open one a day. which he found quite a torture as well, so at least we were even.

While there was some makeup in the advent calendar, it is predominantly skin care based. There are some body care items as well I believe Molton Brown is in this year’s calendar. You know how much I love their shower gel.

To sum up, another great Beauty Box from Look Fantastic and Advent Calendars are now available for pre-sale. And a big Happy Birthday to Look Fantastic. I’m sure this will be their best year yet.

BoxyCharm Premium Unboxing for August 2020

The August box was a little beat up when it arrived, but nothing was broken.

When my neighbor dropped off my Boxy Charm box, they also brought me the Boxy charm premium box which was delivered with it.  For those who don’t know Boxy Charm Premium is a $35 per month subscription from BoxyCharm.  In it you are supposed to get six (occasionally seven) full sized items.  In the past few months, these boxes have been hit or miss.  I have to say though, the August box hit it out of the park for me. 

The first item I unboxed was the OLEHENRICKSEN Banana Bright Face Primer (retail $38).  This was actually the item I chose this month.  I love OleHenricksen products and you know I love primers so I it was a win win for me;  good brand and a product type I love.

The second item in my August Beauty Box was the Ciate London New England Editor Palette (retail $32).  I believe every box was supposed to get this palette this month. 

While it occasionally feels like I am slowly building a shrine to Ciate in the depths of my dressing table, I do like their products and I am happy to see this shadow Palette.  I have to say I am pleased by the color selection.  It looks like it is going to be a lot of fun to play around with.

The third item also comes from a brand I love.  It is the Dermelect Cosmeceuticals XL Lash Volumizer. I’ve tried mostly Dermelect skin care (and really like the Dermelect Self Esteem Serum) but I had never tried any lash products. 

Contrary to how it sounds, this isn’t a mascara but a lash treatment.  I took before pictures of my bare lashes and will be using this nightly (as directed) for the next month to see if it makes a difference. 

The wand for the dermelect, the product is a white-ish liquid so it is hard to see

I was actually debating between several lash serums to try out when this showed up so it sort of made the decision for me.  I’m sure at some point I’ll try the others out, but I have no problem starting with Dermelect.

Next up is a Mac Satin Lipstick (retail $19).  Mac was the first non-drug store lipstick I ever purchased and I will always have a soft spot for MAC Lipsticks because of it. The shade looks like it is going to be a good one for me. 

It is a reddish neutral and will be added to next week’s makeup bag so I’ll get to wear it for a full week.  (I suspect that with the Clarins and Trestique lip products from the regular Boxy Charm box next week’s make up bag will be very lip heavy.)

A long wear Gel eyeliner from Milk (retail $22) was in the August box as well and even though I am never super excited about eyeliners in subscription boxes (mostly because I accumulate them far faster than I can ever use them) I will make an exception for this.  I have tried the MILK formula and really like it.  In addition it is a white eyeliner.  These I use on my water line. 

Well I should say I use it for my water line.  I have one white eyeliner I use repeatedly.  Now of course I have two. So I was happier than I thought I’d be to see an eyeliner.

And finally there is the Fenty Beauty Portable contour and concealer brush (retail $24). Essentially what that means is that there is a cover and the metal bit slides up and down so it is easy to put the lid on without catching the bristles in the side.

It’s pretty cute with densely packed bristles. It looks like it will be good to use.  I’ll add it to my make up bag next week and give it a test to see how it works. The metal doesn’t lower all the way which makes me wonder if it will be hard to clean, but that is a worry for another day.

All in all I was pretty happy with this month’s Premium box.  It looked like it got kicked around a bit, but nothing was broken and it had a bit of an adventure getting to me. Every item in the box is one I will use, or at least try out. And the box actually felt premium.  For my $35 I received $162 worth of product.  It’s not the largest return on a box I’ve gotten but everything was priced accurately.  There was no strangely priced item included to elevate the price. But more important than price is the fact that I will use everything included inside the box.  That makes this month, one of the good ones. It’s almost like they heard I was going to cancel one at the end of the year and decided to make my decision as difficult as possible. Which I am perfectly fine with. I like being wowed by boxes instead of disappointed. I don’t think anyone buys subscription boxes hoping to be disappointed. and I think everyone could use a little less irritation in their lives.

For those looking for Foundations Kristofer Buckle is having a BOGO sale on Foundations from now until August 30th. I absolutely adore the Triplicity foundation stick. Thee is also a 35% off code you can use as well. Since you don’t need a code for the BOGO sale you might be able to use the code during the sale for additional savings. Happy shopping!

35% Off For Affiliates Only!

BOGO On ALL Foundations and Concealers

BoxyCharm Unboxing August 2020

Finally my Boxy Charm box has come in.  Technically I received notice that it shipped on the 8th, so it feels like I have been waiting forever.  I actually didn’t get a notification for my Boxycharm premium, however both boxes came in on the same day.   Well not to me they didn’t.  My boxes were delivered to one of my neighbors a block over, with the same street number but a different street name. The boxes were labeled correctly, but the mailman just made a mistake.  Sadly not the first time.  Last week I walked over a large box from Wayfair for her that was delivered to me.  It was also addressed correctly, just mistakenly delivered. 

But all is well now.

And I am getting to know one of my neighbors, sort of.

So what was in my Boxycharm box this month?

Well, the first item I took out of the box was the item I chose.  That was the QMS Medicosmetics Active Glow Tinted Day Cream (retail $105).  I know, I didn’t have the best time with the eye cream however I have a cousin who swears by this cream so I figured I’d give it a shot. 

She and I generally have similar skin issues.  She also wasn’t a big fan of the eye cream, so I have high hopes for this product. As it seems like a very summery type of product, I might use it as my ‘foundation’ next week and go for a really light and natural look.

Next up was a Cargo Eyeshadow palette, the Nude Beach eyeshadow Palette to be precise (retail $39.99). I’m not going to lie, I was a bit disappointed.  All month long they were advertising an either or with a Violet Voss Palette and a Butter London Palette.  I had my fingers crossed for the Butter London. 

the Cargo palette

I know it is always a gamble as to what you get, but I didn’t realize Cargo was an option.  I’ll get over it, but I have to say even without the general disappointment, this palette wouldn’t exactly send me into spirals of rapture.  It looks kind of boring to be honest.  I’ll still give it a go and who knows, maybe it will surprise me.

The next product did send me into spirals of rapture.  It was the Clarins Velvet lip perfector. (retail $26).  I really like Clarins.  I tried their water stain last week and really liked it so I am happy to have this product to try.  I’ve also tried one of their moisturizers before and I ended up really liking it. I think that next week, this too might end up in my makeup bag.

This month was apparently my month for lips as I also received the Trestique A matte for every mood mini matte lip crayon (retail $58).  As I have already been using a different lip kit from Trestique off and on all summer, I know I’m going to enjoy using this. 

The other shades I have are more sheer in color though and these appear to be actual pigments rather than a sheer wash of tint so it is nice to have the mix.  At this rate I’m just going to need to keep out a jar just for my Trestique lips.  I’m not complaining though, if I had more space in the bathroom, I’d happily keep them out.

They are easy to reach for and always feel good on my lips. At this point I am actually close to being able to do a full face of Trestique. I’m missing foundation and blush. And eye products, although i don’t know if they do those. I’ll have to look into it. Then maybe I’ll take advantage of their shade matching service and pick up a foundation. (I’ll link that below in case anyone else is interested.)

Selfie Shade Match

Finally there was a Definer Brow Pencil from Real Her (retail $16). I have a Palette Trio from Real Her that I really like (blush, bronzer and highlight).  I actually need to find a better place to store that so I reach for it more often.

Hopefully the brow pencil will be good and when I reach for it I will remember the palette and pull it out more often.  It’s one of those rare palettes where all three products actually work for me, but it is somewhat smaller than the other palettes near it so it gets hidden.  Seeing the brow pencil might remind me to use it more.

So that was my August Boxycharm.  For my $25 I received $244.99 worth of products. It was a pretty good box this month all things considered.  I was a little disappointed in the eyeshadow palette, but that was mostly because I adore Butter London’s shadow formula and had my fingers crossed and hopes up. (I love their Power Up mascara too actually, it is on my list of top five mascaras).  Truthfully, I am okay with Cargo’s formula as well.  Sometimes it is hit or miss, but it is generally okay. The color scheme of it just doesn’t thrill me. If it weren’t so beige I’d be happier. But that is just me doing a bit of whining and not really a very valid complaint.

It was a good box this month, better than it has been in a while actually. I’m still thinking of pairing it down to one box at the end of the year, but this doesn’t make it easy to choose as to which one has to go. I think I just might wait until December’s boxes come in and sit down to look at hits and misses throughout the year and see which one ranks higher before I make up my mind. It will probably be a last second decision. For now, I am content with what I received. And I can’t wait to try out the all the lip products from both Clarins and Trestique.

Allure Beauty Box August 2020 Unboxing

August 2020 Allure Beauty Box

Okay, I’ll admit.  I caved.  I kept hearing from friends and family how good the Allure Beauty box was that I had to try it.  It didn’t help that last month BoxyCharm was disappointing. And when people start comparing a $15 box to a $25 one, I tend to take notice, even if they don’t have the same parameters (Boxy Charm is supposed to contain all full sized items, Allure does not).

So I signed up for the Allure Beauty Box.  It is currently $15 per month ($16.46 with tax when all is said and done).  In the box you receive 5-7 Allure-approved products curated by our beauty editors, discount codes for up to 35% off beauty products, and a mini magazine filled with editor tips on how to use the products.  This month there were two full sized products in my box. The mini-mag is mostly a pamphlet with a testimonial about the products in the box from the Allure staff.

The price and products will be changing soon though.  In October they are giving their box a shake up.  The price will increase to $23 (I’m guessing a little over $24 with tax). The improved box will feature at least six products each month, valued at $100+, with three or more full-size items in every box, exclusive opportunities to get your favorite luxury and indie brands at members-only prices,  Special offers for our limited-edition boxes,  and access to members-only events with Allure editors and beauty experts.

The $23 price will put them just below the Boxy Charm Base Box and IPSY Glam Bag Plus in price. While both of those boxes feature five full sized items, this promises at least three full sized items out of the six.  I have to say rather than be concerned about the slight price increase, I am intrigued to see what happens.  It’s a bit like watching a sneak attack and I have to say if Allure keeps the quality of their products when they increase price and sizing, they might just be able to take a bite out of Boxy.

In fact, two of the items offered this month are the main reason that I decided to try out Allure.  The first is the Erno Laszlo Sea Mud Deep Cleansing bar.  It is one of their classic products and I admit, I have tried it before and really enjoyed it.  Even though it is smaller than the full sized bar, it is not a small hotel sized throw away sample either. It is a good sized bar.  In addition Allure Subscribers get a 20% off code should I decide I need to purchase a full sized bar.  (or anything really as the code is just 20% off an order from the erno laszlo site).

The second item that I decided me on the box was the Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum.  I received a couple of foil packets from Sulwhasoo before.  I know one was a moisturizer and the other a serum.  It was a while back (like several years) and I don’t think it was this serum.  I do remember thinking it was amazing and lamenting that at the time my finances were still recovering from a move and I couldn’t afford to pick up a full sized product.  Now of course I can’t remember which of the products I liked so much.  This is why notes are important. And one of the reasons I really wanted this box.

The third item in my Allure box this moth was a full sized Pixi Rose Oil Blend. I have to say I have really been liking oils recently.  I can only use them at night because of the summer sweat factor but I have been using the Malin+Goetz Facial oil for a while now at night and absolutely adore it.  As the weather cools I might expand my use of oils. 

I routinely use Pixi’s various toners (and eyeshadows, seriously nice eyeshadows), but I haven’t tried many of their other skin care products so I am very happy to have not only a Pixi oil to try but a full size so I can give it a full month long trial to see how my skin reacts over time.

The second full sized item is a highlighter from the brand Floss.  I’ve tried their lip glosses and found them nice, but I’ve never tried anything else from the brand.  According to the editor’s blurb in the mini-mag it is supposed to provide a shimmery glow rather than looking like you put glitter on your face.  Since the light glow is kind of my goal with highlighters, I am happy to give it a try.

There was also an H2O+ Hydration Sensitive Gel Cream Moisturizer in this month’s box.  I’ve heard good things about the brand H2O and I generally find that Gel Cream Moisturizers really work well in the warmer months as something about that formula just seems to work with the heat and humidity.  Well at least the good ones do.  I’ll have to schedule this for a trial to see how it works.

The sixth item in my box is a primer, so you know I was happy to see it.  It is the Whish Botanical Primer to be exact.  While not a full sized product it is large enough that I can definitely get a feel for the product and decide if a full sized version needs to be added to my dressing table.  I’ve tried Whish hand lotion before and found it was absolutely gorgeous on the skin.  I didn’t realize they made makeup products, but I look forward to trying it out.

Finally there was a seventh item in my box and it was a sheet mask from Looks & Melli.  It is a brightening mask and as I have never met a mask I am not willing to try out, I am happy to have it.  I’ve never heard of the brand before so it is completely new to me. 

I have to say there were some really good products in my Allure Beauty Box this month.  And I know I mentioned it with the Erno Laszlo cleansing bar, but each of the products came with a discount code as well ranging from 15% to 20% off of a purchase. Given that many of the items in this month’s box are pretty pricy, I really appreciate the extra discount. And as always I appreciate the ability to try products before committing to a rather pricy purchase.

And yes I am also deliciously anticipating watching what happens as Allure goes up in price and expands their range, leaving the Birchbox territory and edging into Boxy Charm’s realm.  Not completely of course, but given the price range, comparisons will be inevitable.  Given the recent disappointing Boxy Charm boxes it will be interesting to see what changes and what stays the same in the subscription box world.  Quite frankly I was already thinking about canceling either my base or premium, I just hadn’t decided which.  A decent Allure box, could make that decision much easier.