IPSY Ultimate Review May 2020

IPSY Ultimate May 2020 (again the outer box was purged before items entered the house)

This was the week of the subscription boxes. Most of the boxes I subscribe to came in either late last week or this week.  I’m still waiting for Vella Box, a candle subscription, which sent out an e-mail telling everyone they were mailing in batches and would therefore be a week late and my Face-tory subscription which won’t even be processed until the 18th.

So now that most things are in I get a few days without seeing the mail man.  My babydoll thinks I’m crazy, but I secretly believe he holds the rest of our mail until he knows we are getting packages and then just brings it then.  Admittedly we don’t get much mail other than things we’ve ordered at this point so maybe there just isn’t a lot to leave.

Either way, I won’t see him much until next week.  And this is a post about the May IPSY Ultimate, not my very nice postman who tends to whistle the Spiderman theme song when he delivers mail.  At least that’s what it sounds like to me (and consequently the song that gets stuck in my head everytime I see him).

But on to Ipsy.

IPSY is a beauty subscription box with several tiers.  The first tier is $12 per month, which I believe gets you five deluxe samples per month (with the occasional full size thrown in) and a small makeup bag.  The second tier is the $25 per month bag and it too comes with a makeup bag and five full sized products.  The third tier is the Ultimate which costs $50 per month and comes with a large makeup bag, eight full sized products and four deluxe sample sized products. I receive the third tier, and that is what I will be reviewing today.

This tier has had its ups and downs.  It premiered in October and got off to a really rough start.  Since then, for me anyway, it has for the most part improved.  There were a couple of dud months in there but for the most part I have really enjoyed it.  So let’s see what was in my subscription this month, shall we?

First up is the Dermedicine Advanced Skincare Weightless Face Moisturizer with SPF 25 (retail $60). After my recent sun debacle, I am not going to complain about any form of sunscreen.  I believe this was a full sized product.  The card was less than informative about the products.  Instead of prices and sizing it offered Pro-Glow tips. Fun, but not really what I want on an information card. I have to say I have never heard of this brand before. And I have to admit a part of me is rather juvenile and is thinking Der…medicine. But I am trying to wrangle that part of me into submission. I will put it in my line up of moisturizers to try.

Moving to the next Item I found the Laura Geller Urban Garden Palette in Central Park (retail $14).  I was very happy to see it actually.  I have loved Laura Geller liquid lips for a long time and still wear them and I used to have one of their blushes that I used down to pan, but I have never tried the eyeshadows.  And you know I love face palettes.  This one comes with four shadows in neutral colors and has a blush and a bronzer as well. The cover is that soft, almost rubberized material but not quite. I honestly have no idea what to call it but I love the feel of it.  I am really looking forward to playing around with it.

There was a Pureheals Pore Clear Black Charcoal Peel off Mask (retail $26) in my Ipsy Ultimate this time around as well.  I also received a Pureheals serum in my BoxyCharm Premium this month so I guess this was the month they decided to go into subscription boxes.  I love masks, although peel off ones always make me a little twitchy.  All of them seem to cause pain, but not all of them do noticeable good on the skin.  Hopefully this will be not as painful and beneficial.  My fingers are crossed, but I’ll let you know either way.

There was a second mask, or I should say masks, in my box this month.  It was a duo of sheet masks from Huanjisoo.  It was the British Rose Hydrating and Shea Butter Nourishing Sheet mask set.  I know I normally complain about sheet masks in boxes but my complaint is mostly that sometimes they try to claim one mask as a full sized item when you know they sell them in packs of five or something along those lines.  I am happy to say this was listed as one of my deluxe samples instead of a full size so it doesn’t make me mad.

The item I chose this month was the Sunday Riley C.E.O. C + E Micro- Dissolve Cleansing oil (retail $38).  A while ago I tried the moisturizer from this line and loved it enough to pick up another jar.  I have been adding various products to my collection in the hopes of doing a full Sunday Riley Regime test sometime in the near future. 

As IPSY have been selling a lot of products from Sunday Riley in the last few months, I was able to pick up several things for my trial, although I will have to order from Sunday Riley for a few others. I’m actually getting very close to being able to start a trial. I just need to take stock and see what I’m missing, as well as work through the open products I am already using. But soon, sooooon.

For now we move on to the St. Tropica Beach Goddess Hot Oil Hair Mask (retail $17.50). I have to say I found this very intriguing.  I’ve been using a lot of hair masks lately in an effort to battle split ends. 

Essentially I should have gotten my hair cut a while ago and didn’t, now I’m trying to keep it healthy longer.  I have the feeling I will get annoyed with it soon enough and attempt to cut it myself but anything that puts that day off a little longer is a good thing. 

What I found interesting was that apparently you dispense the product into a mug and then microwave it to get it hot before using (hence the hot oil).  The last time I tried a beauty product involving the microwave involved a home waxing kit and it did not end well. Which to be honest was more my fault than the products.  Still the memory remains.  I am finishing up a Verb hair mask this week and once it is gone I will establish safety protocols before attempting to use this. But I will be using it.

In the realm of the less dangerous was the Ciate London Watermelon Burst Hydrating Lip Oil. It is not a full size but it is still a good sized product.  I’ve had good luck with Ciate before and have high hopes.  It’s also nice to see another makeup item in this month’s bag.  Subscription boxes have been going a little skin care heavy lately.  I don’t mind too much because I love skin care, but at the moment I have several products waiting to be tried so its optimism with delayed excitement for the skin care items. But watermelon does say summer to me so I feel it is a very timely scented lip oil.

Continuing with makeup I received an Il Makiage lip liner in the shade vintage (retail $17) this month.  I have had good luck with all of the products I’ve tried from them so again I have high hopes for the performance of this lip liner.  The liner is a lighter pink but I think with summer lip glosses it will look fine.  It certainly looked good with the next item in my box and that was the Sugar Crush velvet lip in the shade Sprinkle (retail $15).

Sprinkle is a liquid lip and when you open it is smells exactly like cake batter.  The color is nice and in an initial try on it felt really comfortable to wear. I’ll have to see how it holds up under testing but I think it is going to be a nice shade for this summer.

Rounding out the makeup was an eyeliner from Skone.  (retail $20).  I’ve never heard of the brand and while I normally complain about a lot of eyeliners in my recent clear out I found several of my eyeliners had dried and died, so exciting it may not be, but a black eyeliner will be useful. Provided it is a good eyeliner of course.

There were two more items in my IPSY Ultimate this month.  The first was The Way of Will hand and body lotion in Sweet Orange and Elemi.  It is not a full sized product and while I have no idea what elemi is, the cream smells like orange. I like orange.  And with all the handwashing lately I have been hitting my stockpile of hand creams pretty hard lately. So even though it isn’t my favorite, I can’t really complain.

Finally we reach the last full sized item and it is a Foxybae Rose Gold Detangling brush (retail $12.95). It is a nice brush and if I am honest my current brush is so stained with white residue from dry shampoo that even after I clean it, the brush base looks dusty, so it might actually be time for a new wet/dry hair brush in general. I did use it on my wet hair after getting out of the shower and I had no problems with tangles.  (I also used a hair mask which helped, but it didn’t pull at the hair either.)

While there were no values given for the deluxe sample sized items, the retail value of the full sized items came to a little over $220. All of the products are ones I will use or at least look forward to trying out.  The bag they came with is pretty and one I will see myself using for quite a while.  I like the little glittery stars inside.

Not that I am planning on going anywhere anytime soon, but I like knowing it is there. While a lot of the bags that come with this subscription box I send to my mother for use by her church as they put together self-care kits for the homeless (and tend to run out of bags for toiletries), I think this may be one I actually hold onto.

Over all I am pleased with this month’s IPSY Ultimate box, however next month when offered a choice for my items, I think I might choose a makeup product over a skin care one in an attempt to steer them towards sending more makeup and less skin care, at least for a little while. Don’t worry, I’m sure at some point I’ll start longing for more skincare again and complaining of too much makeup. It seems to be the way things go, and even then my complaints are only minor grumbles since I usually like what I receive.


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IPSY Ultimate March 2020 Review

IPSY Ultimate March 2020

If there was one unofficial theme for subscription boxes this month, I think it would be ‘OOPS’.  In my Boxyluxe they forgot to include the NARS lip Pigment and in the IPSY Ultimate, they gave me seven ful sized samples instead of eight. They realized this before I actually got my package though and sent me an e-mail explaining they were sending me an extra full sized Serum from 111Skin to make up for their mistake. Even so, it was kind of an OOPS month for everyone.

But let’s start from the beginning shall we? IPSY Glam Bag Ultimate is a $50 per month subscription tier of the IPSY Beauty bag.  In it you are supposed to get twelve products, eight full sized and four deluxe sample sized products. This month they were celebrating their 100th glam bag so as an extra they decided to add one more sample size to the bag.  So I should have received eight full sized and five sample sized products in my March bag.

Let’s see what I did get.

First up was the BENEFIT COSMETICS Brow Contour Pro in Brown Light (retail $34).  This was my first full sized product and I was very happy to receive it.  I love Benefit’s brow products.  For the longest time I used their Ka-Brow and it was fantastic. I love that this pencil has multiple shades in the same pencil so that I can mix things up to find exactly the right combo for me.  I am looking forward to playing around with this.

MANNA KADAR COSMETICS Blush in Bali Babe was my first sample.  It is a nice color, but I’ve always found their blushes a bit hard to blend on the cheeks and always end up seeing exactly where the brush touched me face for the first time, so I will probably use it as an eyeshadow more than a blush.  It is a great pop of mauve on the lids. It is oddly long lasting as a shadow.

My next sample sized product was the GO-TO Face Hero face oil. I actually received a full size of this from IPSY sometime last year.  I think it was in the spring if I am not mistaken. When I looked through my notes I remembered it.  I had it marked down as a little too heavy unless I was having a really dry skin day and that it was best used at night rather than during the day.  I’ll still try it out again because those notes were from before I started doing reviews so they are sketchy.  I did mark down that it was not a product I wanted to repurchase.  Still I have it now so I will do an official test and report back.  Perhaps my feelings have changed.

The DERMADELI Nourishing Eye Serum was the next sample size in my bag.  I have never heard of the brand but I am always up for an eye serum. Currently I am testing the Algenist Eye Cream so I will set it aside to try when my trial of that is complete. I will say the sample seemed a bit small and looked only about half full which was disappointing.  With eye serum a little goes a long way, but still it felt a little chintzy.

Moving on to my next sample I received a HEY HONEY Show Your Glow Colloidal Gold & Honey Beauty Mask.  I have really liked all of HEY HONEY’s skin care products and I haven’t tried this one so I am happy to have it in the mix.  I should probably say that while I love their skin care, I really haven’t liked any of their makeup products that I’ve tried.  Its one of those companies that does skin care well, but other things not so much. Still this was skin care, so I’m happy to get something from their strong suit.

Finally another full sized product appeared.  It was the THRIVE CAUSEMETICS Lip Mate High-Shine Reviving Topper™ in Ashley (retail $24).  I absolutely adore THRIVE’s mascara so I am pleased to try out something else from the brand.  In case you are wondering why there is no picture of a swatch, the shade ASHLEY is a clear gloss. I’m not a huge fan of clear gloss but I do like to keep one or two around.  I just finished one and as the clear Fenty gloss I received from Boxycharm is very glitter-tastic, this could be a nice addition to my collection.

Next up is a product that just makes me shake my head. It is the 111SKIN Rose Gold Brightening Facial Treatment Sheet Mask & Celestial Black Diamond Eye Mask Set.  It is one mask and one set of under eye patches. It is a full sized product and in case that wasn’t enough to puzzle over this single sheet mask and under eye set retails for $47. That was not a typo.  One mask with under eye patches, $47. I will say I had another mask lined up this week because I like to bounce between sheet masks and regular face masks, but the curiosity is a bit too much.  I may have to try the $47 sheet mask this week just to see it in action. Don’t worry, I will make a fuss over it too.  I will put out my best candles and focus on enjoying it. Because I can guarantee, unless it shaves twenty years and possibly twenty pounds to boot from my body, I am not spending $47 on a single sheet mask. But I will try it to see how good it is. And if there was ever a time for a stress reducing facial treatment to shine, this is it.

The product I chose for this month’s bag was the  SUNDAY RILEY C.E.O. 15% Vitamin C Brightening Serum (retail $42.50).  It is full sized technically.  On the bottle it is listed as being a size specifically designed for IPSY rather than the full size they typically sell, but I can live with that.  Partially because I adore Sunday Riley products.  I loved the face cream of this line so much I bought a replacement once mine was empty.  It is currently unopened as I’ve been testing other face creams.  At the moment I am finishing up a face cream trial on a Pacifica moisturizer and once it is complete (next week) I will be working on finishing out all of my open jars before I start another one.  I am also trying to finish out two open serums so I won’t be opening this for a while either.  I think what I may do is pair it with the Vitamin C moisturizer and see what other products are in the line and maybe do a full regime review of the line. I’ll need to do a bit of research first, but it is a possibility. Either way I love the brightening effect of Vitamin C products on my skin.

While I love skin care products I was very happy to see a second makeup product to go with my Benefit eyebrow pencil and that was the CHELLA La Vie Eyeshadow Palette Deluxe (retail $45).  It is a neutral palette and I have tried them on.  Next week I will be catching up on my eyeshadow palette reviews and posting several, this one included.  I do like the shades and I like the physical palette itself.  I think it is a great quick palette to use.  With four shades there isn’t much deliberation.  I will say I have a hard time thinking of four shadows as a full sized palette though, especially when their description calls it a convenient size for on the go. To me that says travel sized, not full sized.

Interestingly enough I received the CHRISTOPHE ROBIN Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt.  It is a sample size but I was very happy to receive a hair product from IPSY that is not a leave in conditioner.  I have a lot of leave in conditioners I am working through at this point.  A hair care item that is different is very appealing.  I am looking forward to trying out this hair/scalp scrub.

Despite saying I only rarely want hand creams and body lotions I received not one, but two in this month’s bag. One was full sized the other sample. The LIBRARY OF FLOWERS Honeycomb Hand crème was the full sized (retail $20).  It is a beautiful packaging and I adore the scent of honeycomb.  I’ve tried their hand cream before and loved it.  As I am currently working on several hand creams at the moment, I left this one sealed for later use. The sample sized body lotion was from HEMPZ and it was the Herbal Body Moisturizer in Sweet Pineapple & Honey Melon.  There was no internal seal on the bottle so I decided to go ahead and use it for my post shower body lotion.  It does make my skin very soft.  It also makes me smell like a tropical fruit salad that is a little heavy on the mango.  I’m not entirely certain I care for the scent too much but it is good lotion and the small size means I will very quickly use it up.

Finally the last item in my bag was the COMPLEX CULTURE Angled Foundation Brush (retail $35). It is a good brush with soft yet dense bristles and I am sure I will get a lot of use out of it. 

As much as I joke about some of the prices and sizes, I actually did enjoy my bag this month.  The makeup bag it came with was a bit 80s retro with bright teal and yellow and its rows of metal grommets, but it is a decent bag. I’ve actually seen the sneak peaks for next month’s bag and I find it much more up my alley, but this is a decent bag.  It will probably end up passed along to someone else though.

My seven full sized products totaled a value of $247.50, which is an okay return on my $50 buy in. I would have expected a little bit more given the celebratory nature of this month but that could in part be due to the OOPS of the missed full size.  I’ll have to see what the extra sent product adds in value when it arrives.  I’m sure the sample sizes have value but I’m not entirely sure how to accurately calculate that. Either way I am actually pleased with this month’s bag.  It was certainly better than last months and to be honest it was better than this month’s Boxyluxe.  Fingers crossed that next month is a good one as well.


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IPSY Ultimate Review February 2020

February 2020 IPSY Ultimate Box

This month, I have to admit, I was not too enthused by the IPSY Ultimate.  For those who don’t know, IPSY Ultimate is a $50 per month beauty box.  For this, you are supposed to get twelve products, eight full sized and four deluxe sample sized.  I can’t actually say why I wasn’t terribly enthused when I saw the listed products.  All of the products are good products, but the assortment left me a little flat and wondering if the box was worth the value. 

Normally beauty boxes come with cards listing the value of the items.  Sometimes IPSY does this, other times they don’t.  For the value of the products I went onto the IPSY web site and copied down the full sized values they had listed for the full sized products to get my own listed value.

So without further ado, lets get into the box.  First up is the  SWEET CHEF Fresh Pressed Sheet Masks in Kale + Vitamin B, Beet + Vitamin A, and Ginger + Vitamin C (Retail $10.50).  These are good masks, I actually used one last Friday for my Face mask Friday post.  I like them and I like the brand.  I am not a huge fan of sheet masks however, which is noted in my profile.  I checked.  I also checked and despite me listing my lack of enthusiasm for sheet masks I have received them in all but one box since the inaugural box in October. While they are a good product, I have an issue with sheet masks being considered a full sized product in this context.  For a $50 box it feels cheap.

My second product was a jarred mask from FEEL.  It was the Harmony Rose Petal Facial Mask ( Value $55). It is a full size and I have to say I have no complaints with it.  The product is a decent size, I love non-sheet masks and I like the scent of rose. In fact once a year I get a jar of the Fresh Rose face mask as a birthday treat for myself.  I think it will be interesting to see how this compares.  I have tried FEEL products before and absolutely adore their cleanser.  Hopefully this is also on par.

Next out of the box was my first deluxe sample.  It is the AVETTE Water Flash Coconut Water Cream.  Because it is a deluxe sample there was no listed value. I like face creams and I love trying new ones. If I can get two weeks’ worth of product out of the deluxe sample then I will review it in a post. Last month I received a set of sheet masks from AVETTE, but have yet to try them.

CATHERINE MALANDRINO’s Dream Fragrance in a deluxe sample was the next item in my IPSY box this month and I have to say the deluxe sample is a good sixe.  It is on par with the size sent by Scent Box each month so I have no complaints. I wore the scent all last week and will be putting up a post about it soon.

DOUCCE COSMETICS Punk Volumizer Mascara in Black (Retail $24) was one of my full sized items this month.  I am oddly enough running low on mascara.  It is not a terribly exciting item, but for me it is useful so I was glad to see it.  I have to say though my first thought was, at least it isn’t eyeliner.  The only issue I have is that they have been sending this item out in other bags for months, which makes this feel a little like they are trying to clear out stock. I understand that this is sometimes necessary, but at the same time, this is the Ultimate box.  Nothing in it should ever feel like a left over.

One product that I was curious about was the TULA: The Cult Classic Purifying Face Cleanser.  It is a deluxe sample size so no retail value on that I am afraid. I know this cleanser has been featured in other boxes like FAB FIT FUN and I have seen many rave reviews about it so I look forward to giving it a try myself.  Since they put Cult Classic on the tube, I expect good things.

PLAYA New Day Mist (retail $24) was also an intriguing addition to my box this month. Given that I spend so much time at the gym as I try and whittle down my weight, dry shampoo has become a staple for me.  I really like the thought of a mist that has similar claims as a dry shampoo and I look forward to trying it out in my post gym routine, especially as it is a product type I have not seen before.

SKYLAR Hydrating Body Lotion in Capri in a deluxe size was in my box this month. It was a deluxe size which means I can add it to my purse easily.  At the moment I have several hand creams open and will leave this sealed for a little while until I run low.  I am kind of picky when it comes to lotions and the only thing I know about SKYLAR is that they do perfumes.  It will be interesting to see how I like the scent.

Also in this box was a full sized lipstick from FOLLY FIRE.  It was the Matte Manipulation Creamy Matte Lipstick in Sunset Blvd (retail $15). As it was lipstick I of course opened it right away to see if it was going to be a good addition to my collection.  I had never tried FOLLY FIRE so I was curious.  The lipstick however was broken and unusable.  I contacted IPSY and a replacement is being sent out to me.  So I will have to wait for a bit on this.  Oddly this is the first time I have ever gotten a replacement product from IPSY.  Overall they ship well to me. So I will be interested to see how the return/replacement process goes.

The GRACE & STELLA Rose Quartz Facial Roller (retail $29) was also in my IPSY Ultimate this month.  It came in a lovely box and it is a beautiful tool. It was one of the choice items this month.  I did not choose it though, I chose the eyeshadow palette.  While it is very pretty and I like the look of it.  I find the stone rollers to be a little gimmicky. I’ll try it and who knows perhaps it will be something I can’t live without, but honestly unless it does something fantastic, I doubt I’ll use it.  I suspect it is going to end up as a decorative element on my dressing table. But I will try and keep an open mind as I try to use it.

I am always it seems looking for new brushes and this month a set of eyeshadow brushes from SHAINA B, the Eyes on Miami Brush Set to be exact (retail $40) was in my box.  While they are nice brushes, densely packed but soft bristles, I really have a hard time seeing them as worth $40. I also see no correlation to Miami as they are simple black handled brushes.  It is a set of five plain, but decent eyeshadow brushes. Nice, not terribly exciting and certainly overpriced, but nice.

Finally we get to the product I actually chose the MAKEUP GEEK Peach Bellini Eyeshadow Palette (retail $20). I love the shades and I will be using them this week so I will be reporting back on them next Monday for my Palette of the Week post.  I have high hopes as Makeup Geek always has really good quality products.

While I don’t have retail value on all of the products the ones I was able to figure out come to a grand total of $217.50.  So over all it was a good return on the $50 investment in the box.  I doubt I will use the quartz roller (unless it works spectacularly well when I test it) and I really think the shadow brushes were overpriced, but over all the box contains products I will use. 

Some of the products felt like they were clearing out stock and using sheet masks as a full sized item always feels cheap, but over all it was an okay box. It was not exciting. And it feels like there were a lot of little tubes this month, which again leave me underwhelmed.

IPSY has always managed to do this.  They alternate between great boxes and blah boxes for me.  They are getting better from their first box in October which was a complete dud, but still this was kind of a blah month for me.  I suspect that next month will be pretty good though.  Not only do they alternate between great and blah, but March is also the BoxyCharm Boxyluxe month.

As Boxyluxe too is $50 it means they are going head to head, comparison wise, for those who purchase beauty subscription boxes.  They are the same price so comparisons are inevitable.  As I get both boxes, I will definitely be making the comparison. 

Truth be told, if IPSY doesn’t step up Ultimate in March, then I will more than likely going back to the $25 glam bag plus instead of the Ultimate. I might perhaps switch to ultimate in Boxy luxe months as a changeup, but I don’t know if I will continue with Ultimate every month moving forward.  Much of this will be determined by next month’s IPSY Ultimate.


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IPSY Ultimate Review January 2020

IPSY Ultimate January 2020

This month’s IPSY Ultimate was interesting. For those who don’t know, IPSY Ultimate is $50 per month beauty subscription.  Typically it contains only beauty products with a few basic tools (like brushes) but this time they branched out a little bit.

First, the subscription does come with a bag. This month’s bag was a case like bag, rectangular with a handle and a marble like exterior.  I have to say I really like it.  The bag is of good quality, quite spacious and the lid has a zippered mesh pocket to contain all of the little items rolling around in the bag, which I really like.

The Bag has quite a good capacity and a zippered section to hold small things.

The second item, I have to say, I wasn’t too enthused about seeing.  It is the THIS WORKS Deep Sleep Pillow Spray (retail $29).  I know everyone raves about it and trust me, as I routinely suffer from insomnia I am always looking for something to aid me in getting to sleep without making me dependent on a prescription. This is not it.  I tried a sample before and didn’t like it, but to be fair I tried it again because sometimes there is a difference between the full size and the sample.  I still didn’t like it.  The scent was not pleasant, it made my eyes water and I had to change out my pillow before I could get to sleep.  This item was not for me.  I will say though that when I didn’t like the sample I passed it on to my mom and she adored it. So clearly others like it. But it is not for me.  Bonus though, I get to give my mom a full sized version of a product she likes.

The travel flat iron from Foxybae

The second item I pulled out of my IPSY box this month was the FOXYBAE Mini Travel Flat Iron in Marbled (retail $59). Like the bag for the month it too has a marbled handle.  It is the perfect size for travel and actually I must confess on the days where I wake up with my bangs sticking straight up, I do tend to do a quick flat iron on them to help them settle so the travel size is perfect for that. I love FoxyBae Products.  Their heat protecting spray is one of my favorites so using it with their tools is kind of fun as well.  I should also say, this was the item I chose from the list when they were preparing the bag and I am really glad I did. Sadly now I have a much better travel flat iron then my regular one as I have used it for years and need to replace it, but that is another story. And If I like this one I may end up picking up the full sized one to replace my old one. We shall see.

This month I received a Highlighter Balm in the shade Twitch from the brand Flesh (retail $18). I have heard great things about the brand and they have been on my list of things to try for a while now. (it’s a long list, I know there are just so many fascinating things out there to try).  I think that 2019 was the year of the cream products for me.  Prior I more or less only used powder based products (except foundation, primer and concealer).  Due to subscription boxes this year I got to try several cream based things I would not have picked up on my own.  Several of them I liked, some I didn’t. So while I’d never used a balm highlighter, I was game. The highlighter is a nice golden color that works really well with my skin tone.  It is really subtle, which I actually like.  I really don’t like blinding highlighter on a routine basis. It does feel a little bit greasy though. I’m not sure if that is just because it’s a balm or not and will need to do a wear test to see how I really feel about it.  As I have gotten quite a few highlighters lately, I may have to just do a grand highlighter test to sort through them all.  But for now, I really like the shade and the look of it.

Next up was the TARTE Double Duty Beauty™ Easy On The Eyes Clay Liner in Black( retail $19).  I like Tarte.  This is a great eyeliner. It is one of my favorite styles of eyeliner, but I don’t wear a lot of eyeliner and I’ve gotten an eyeliner in each box for the last three months. I am well stocked on eyeliner. In fact I have enough black eyeliner to stock a goth band. Its kind of funny though.  For a while I was awash with mascaras, then I stopped getting them in subscription boxes and started getting eyeliner.  Now, I am actually running out of mascara (I wear it every day) but have heaps of eyeliner.  Maybe the pendulum will swing and I will get to restock my mascara soon. It really is a great eyeliner though.

In this box there was also a F.A.R.A.H BRUSH 160F Face Brush (retail $12).  It is actually the perfect blush brush for me and I am really glad to have it (I recently had to bid farewell to several brushes).  Now if only I could find the perfect blush.  I’ve gotten several I like,  but not THE ONE.  At the moment I am blending a couple to create the shade I want, but I keep looking.

The SWEET CHEF Kale + Vitamin B Serum Shot (retail $19.99) was also in this month’s IPSY for me and even though it sounds like something I should drink I have it in my line up of serums to try.  Skin care takes a few weeks at a go to test and decide if I like it, but I am putting this in my line up and will soon try it out.  (Currently I am testing an anti-aging night serum from Dermelect).  It will be interesting to try this one and actually from the description, it sounds like something my skin will be happy to use once the spring garden prep starts so I may try to time that test then as I always end up spending too much time in the sun.  The problem is that early spring is over cast and not very warm so when I work outside I forget how long I’ve been outside and tend to get a bit red from both sun and wind. Who knows, this might help.  It will be fun to see. As I don’t like the taste of Kale it will at least let me put this superfood to a different test.

I’m always happy to try new things for my hair (it is long and thick so there is a lot to work with) and this month I received the MARC ANTHONY TRUE PROFESSIONAL 100% Extra Virgin Coconut Oil & Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioner (it was a deluxe sample so there was no value listed.).  I have several leave in conditioners and hair oils open at the moment so I am going to set this to the side for now and wait until I have used up at least one of the open products before using this one. But I am always willing to try new hair products so I’m looking forward to it.

The interior of The Balm’s Matt(e)rimony palette

THEBALM COSMETICS Meet Matt(e) Trimony Matte Eyeshadow Palette (retail $42) was also included in this month’s IPSY box for me and I was very happy to see it.  A couple of weeks back I used the In the Balm of Your Hand palette as my palette of the week and found it far more versatile than I imagined and the shadows of really good quality with great staying power.  I am happy to have a full sized palette from The Balm.  I don’t know why people don’t talk about this brand any more.  Every product I’ve used from them has been great, they are fairly reasonably priced on most products and the packaging is fantastic. I’m happy to add this to my collection and can’t wait to use it.

A package of ESSENHERB Tea Tree 90 Toner Pad (deluxe sample) was also in my IPSY this month.  I am a big fan of toner but I haven’t used much Tea Tree oil before so I am looking to see how my skin reacts to this product.   I may have to give my Thayers a rest and try this one out.

Also on my list to try is the AHAVA Essential Day Moisturizer (retail $67).  I am always hit or miss with AHAVA.  I loved the hand cream I tried of theirs, but hated the face mask. Luckily, my mother loves all things AHAVA so if I try it and don’t like it, it won’t go to waste.  I have it lined up in my skin care cue and its time of testing will come.

I was very excited to see the HEY HONEY Take Away The Drama Youth Boosting Honey & Copper Peel Off Mask (retail $49) in this month’s selection of products.  I love the Hey Honey Brand.  There is nothing I have tried from them that I did not enjoy.  Their silk serum and 911 gel are two of my all time favorite products. I cannot wait to try their peel off mask.

The Hey Honey wasn’t the only mask in this month’s selection though I also received the AVETTE Daily Fresh Squeeze Sheet Mask Duo in Grape and Lychee (retail $8 for the set of two). IPSY just loves to send me sheet masks. I’ve stopped buying them because of the waste, but I will use the ones that I am sent.  This one claims to be bio-degradable and eco-friendly and if they are I might consider purchasing them if I like them.  Unfortunately I think the bio-degradable part only applies to the sheet mask itself not the foil packaging, which is sort of a problem.  But I’ll look into it and see where their packaging stands when the time comes. Although not all sheet masks are created equally.  Some I adore, some, not so much.  I will add these to the stack and find out which way they lean when I try them out as well as look into more of their eco-friendly claims.

So that was my IPSY Ultimate for the Month of January and I have to say over all I am quite pleased.  There are one or two things that weren’t catching my interest as much, but over all I really like my selection of products and am really looking forward to using them. The overall value of my $50 subscription ended up being $323 which is a pretty good return on my part.  And almost all of them are things I will use or pass on to someone who will.  While this subscription started off as a dud, it is getting better with each month that passes. I can’t wait to see where they go from here.

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October IPSY Ultimate Glam Bag Review

IPSY Ultimate $50 subscription. Lots of products, but is it worth it?

Okay this post is reviewing the IPSY Ultimate Glam Bag.  As a warning, there is the distinct likelihood that a rant is imminent.  Just a warning.  I was really looking forward to this box this month.  It is the first Ultimate Glam Bag IPSY released and it promised eight full sized items and four deluxe samples sized products. Their claim  about the Ultimate:

New Membership for even more beauty picks. Glam Bag Ultimate is a new subscription with 8 full-sized & 4 deluxe samples, personalized for you, for $50/month. You’ll get to choose one of your full-size products with the new choice feature! There will be a makeup bag, every month. You can now add up to 5 Add-Ons for your bag. Previously you were limited to 3.

Now to start off with, $50 is a lot of money to spend monthly so expectations are going to start off high.  According to all of the released information each of their three tiers were now going to receive a makeup bag each month where previously it was only the original glam bag that had one. It was also listed as a perk that the makeup bag offered with Ultimate would be more expensive than the one offered with the Plus level tier. I believe the Glam Bag Plus was to come with a bag valued at $8 while the Ultimate was around doubly that at $16. 

This was not the case as both Ultimate and Plus subscribers got the same bag this month. There were rumors of a production line error as the bags came from IPSY’s own Betty Boop collaboration, but there were no e-mails sent with an explanation (at least not to me) and absolutely nothing in the box or on the site explaining why the two tiers received the same bag. So right off the bat, I felt slightly cheated.

Adding to this feeling is the fact that IPSY neglected to put any retail value prices on their information card this month. When companies leave off the prices, I get suspicious.  All of the prices listed below are the ones I found elsewhere.  Some of the products, I couldn’t find a retail price for at all while others I had to hunt down. Now I would also like to say I really liked some of these products but this is not a product review.  It is a review of the box and if it is worth the $50 price tag.

Let’s move on to the full sized products first shall we?

First up are two sheet masks from The SAEM. It is the Natural Avocado and Shea Butter Mask Sheet Set. Now I have no problem with sheet masks.  I find them fun, quick and easy.  I have received many from IPSY. In fact I’ve received a two pack in my regular IPSY bag that only features deluxe sized samples. Occasionally I’ve gotten them as extras on top of my regular number of samples. So seeing them in the Ultimate bag listed as full sized products was not a pleasant surprise. When looking up the value I found that they are sold for $4 each at Walmart. They are sold for even less at beautynetkorea.com They offer a wide array of Saem products and a pack of sheet masks generally costs $1.90.  If you get them on sale they are even less. I bought a bunch during their last sale for $0.17 per mask. So even though these are decent sheet masks, I was not happy to see them as one of my full sized products.

The product I chose and was most happy to see.

My second product I was happy to see as it is the one I chose.  It is the Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Meltaway Cleansing Balm. It retails for $34 and is an excellent product.  Seeing it here as a full sized item made me very happy.  I have used it before and know I will use every drop of it in the jar. I have gotten a sample size from IPSY before and loved it.  It is also the type of item I expected to see.  I think giving full sized versions of products that were only given as sample sizes in other tiers is a really good idea. So I was very happy with this.

I was also happy with the BIORACE L’eau Hydrating Treatment Serum.  It retails for $68 on the Biorace site.  I have never heard of it and was eager to try something new.  My first impressions are positive, but as with all skin care, I’ll be testing it and get back to you with a full review.  But again, I was pleased to see this and look forward to testing it out.

looking forward to testing this out.

I was a little on the fence with the HUDA BEAUTY Obsessions Eyeshadow Palette in Topaz that was in my box.  (retail $27) It is a good palette and I will be working with it to try out looks, but these palettes are good quality.  I know this from previous boxes.  I picked the Mauve Obsessions palette up as an add on, but these palettes were in some Ipsy Plus Boxes.  While good, seeing it here also seems to be part of a trend.  Many of the products appear to be either leftovers from previous boxes or add ons that didn’t get sold or points perks products that didn’t get picked from the offerings list.  It makes me nervous.

My next full sized item was C’EST MOI BEAUTY Reflect Lip Gloss in Opulence.  It retails for $10.  It’s a lip gloss.  There is almost no tint to it and it is a little on the sticky side. Not my favorite and something I would consider filler in my Plus bag although I would be happy to see it in my regular IPSY bag. A little disappointing here.

Then we have the KALEIDO COSMETICS Obsidian Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner. (retail $8) Kaleido is a good brand.  I’ve used them before.  Currently I have several open liquid liners out and didn’t want to open another one just yet.  I put it away for later use.  But I’m sure it will be a good liner.  It is however a liner and another filler type item.

Moving on we come to the F.A.R.A.H BRUSHES Midnight Pro Trio.  I like Farah brushes.  I love the handles and the colors are nice. The bristles are a little too soft and this trio is really only good with loose powders.  They did not want to work with pressed powders or cream products. But overall I was happy seeing them.  I could not find the price for this exact set, but in general sets of three brushes retail for about $34. They are less useful than I expect from this brand, but I was not mad seeing them and seeing them made me less annoyed by the filler items.

The Betty Boop Blush palette was very disappointing.

The last of the full sized items included was the BETTY BOOP™ x IPSY Cheek To Cheek Blush Palette.  It is a pretty package with mediocre product inside. Seriously, the packaging is the best part.  It claims to be buildable but on my skin, I really had to work with it to show any pigment. If you have fairer skin than mine, you might be okay with this.  I am over all fine with IPSY putting their collaborations in the box as long as they are good products.  This one seemed to trade on the nostalgia value of Betty Boop rather than provide good products. This month they came out with the whole line and you can buy the entire box of products.  You can’t buy individual ones at the moment so I have no idea what this product would retail for. That really annoys me.

That covers the full sized items included in this box and as I have not been terribly subtle, I’m sure you realized I was a bit peeved by this point. But then we get to the sample sized products.  Ready?

First up is PAPA RECIPE Eggplant Clearing Mud Cream Mask.  I have to say, I love this mask.  I loved it when I picked it up using my points several months ago.  The full sized product retails for $15 for 100 ml. Since I couldn’t find a sample for sale I resorted to baic math and the sample size (15 ml) would more or less have a value of $2.25. If you see the full sized version, I highly recommend picking it up. It is a really good product. If they had included a full size of this product instead of the sheet masks I would have been super happy.  But they didn’t.  They decided to eliminate surplus. So I am not happy.

Good products, but we’ve seen at least two of them before, possibly all three. Their inclusion made it feel more like a rummage sale.

Next is the CELA SKIN Crème de la Crème – The Very Best Cream.  It is body lotion. A sample size of body lotion.  On my profile I checked rarely send me lotions like this. I suppose this is my rarely moment. It is good cream though. The full size retails for $30 and contains 75 ml worth of product. The sample size contains 30ml worth of product.  Again using basic math we get a value of $12 for the sample.  Do I think a full size would be worth $30? If you are splurging, maybe.  It smells nice and sinks into the skin well. I will toss it into my purse, use it until its gone and then think nothing of it. Because its hand cream and that’s what you do with it. But I’m not mad at it.

COLOURED RAINE COSMETICS Eyeshadow in Champagne Life was the next sample sized item in my box.  It’s a good shadow.  Highly pigmented and shimmery. I’m working on a system to keep myself from losing single shadows in the bottoms of drawers. However as much as I am looking forward to seeing how long this shadow lasts on the eyes, I believe it too was a selection from previous months in the regular IPSY bag. At least I have another single shadow from them in my drawer. It retails for $6.99.

Finally, we come to the L.O.C.K. COLOR Unicorn Glow Hydrating Primer a full sized version is $12 for 30 grams worth of product.  The sample size contains 10 grams so the base value of the product would be $4. I actually like this primer, especially on days where I am wearing only powder and no foundation.  It blurs the pores and is super light weight.  It is also just sticky enough to hold on to the powder I apply. I know this because I picked it up as a sample from IPSY before. Again, had they included a full sized version of this product, instead of the lip gloss or eyeliner, I would have been very happy. As it was, I sighed and tried not to frown.  I tried thinking happy thoughts about using the nice primer sample again.

That was my October IPSY Ultimate Glam Bag. I have to say, the level of annoyance is high.  From what I have been able to determine, the value for my $50 subscription box is $214.24. While that is a decent value for the money it felt very much as though IPSY was just cleaning out their shelves.  And even though most of the products offered could be found cheaper than offered, I used the higher prices to come up with my figures. I’m sure that by including the $68 serum, whoever chose these items justified using some of the other products, but it still made me feel like I was getting the bottom of a discount bin. Which is not something I expect from a $50 box.

After realizing how I felt about this I looked around to see if I was over reacting and found out that I am not the only one who seems to have issues.  I saw a lot of instant cancellations for people.  However given the reams of negative feedback from the box that IPSY received if the product reviews posted are any indication, and the fact that this was their first Ultimate glam bag I am willing to give them another month to see if they get better. Perhaps this month was just some form of growing pain. Perhaps they will realize a $50 subscription is not the place to dump previously unsold stock. One can only hope.

Also IPSY has in the past had a habit of following a really bad moth with a really good month. Its been a while since they’ve had a bad month but for a long time it was almost alternating good months with bad, at least in my opinion. And perhaps this month was just suffering from the curse of October. No one seemed to have a very good month, subscription box wise this month. And if they don’t get better, I can always change my subscription after I receive the November box.  So one more month to test. But still seriously annoyed.