A few of my favorite things in 2019

A few of my favorite things from 2019

The end of the year approaches and thoughts naturally turn towards review.  In my mind I find events and decisions, both good and bad, thrown into sharp focus as I evaluate what I learned and what I want to revise about my life as I move into the new year. Should I try out more new walking trails in the area, should I attempt that weird machine in the gym that no one ever seems to use, should I try and make blancmange from scratch?

As is also natural, I also find myself thinking over not only the various products I’ve tried out, but the subscription services I’ve tried as well.  Some I will continue to use, others, I might allow to lapse.

The one subscription service that has never let me down deserves mention in this list of a few favorite things.  And that is Scentbox.

During this year I have had a subscription for a single monthly supply of perfume and I have increased it to two perfumes to try per month.  I have liked some and disliked others. There was one perfume sent to me where an allergic reaction caused me to test the return and exchange policy for the company. I put the subscription on hold for a month and then resumed. I have sent them questions and received prompt and complete answers. At every turn they either met or exceeded all of my expectations and so that is why, despite having several subscriptions that I really enjoy, Scentbox gets the list as one of my favorites for 2019.

My favorite perfume this year, found via scentbox

One of my favorite perfumes also came to me from ScentBox so I will move on to that as my next favorite. That perfume is Eau de Cartier by Cartier. It is soft, subtly and sophisticated.  The scent has become my current favorite for a night out.  I have yet to find a day scent I am willing to stick with as consistently, but perhaps that will come in 2020. I will certainly continue trying out new scents. Perhaps I will find a day time fragrance and perhaps I will find a night time one I like just a much if not more than Eau de Cartier, but at the moment, it is the unrivaled champion of the year.

For facial exfoliators, I have to give this year to Skin and Co’s Face Gommage. This was a surprise to me as I tried out quite a few this year and each time the new product was beaten by last year’s favorite Scrubatomic by Soap and Glory. I was certain nothing would come close to beating it, but in my December IPSY, this product arrived and I have to say it beat out Scrubatomic to take the 2019 exfoliator crown.

(Here she is its Miss Exfoliator – insert cheesy crooning lounge singer voice here please, thank you)

current favorite mask and primer

Balancing between exfoliator and mask, is the Pomegranate Resurfacing Mask from Korres.  While it is somewhat exfoliating, I’m putting it in the mask category of favorites.  It is a quick five minute mask that not only leaves my skin feeling soft and smooth but fresh feeling and looking.  Also from this pomegranate line by Korres comes my favorite moisturizer of the year.  The Pomegranate balancing moisturizer is one of the better moisturizers I tried this year.

The only time I had issues with it were in the transition weeks when the weather was switching.  Then I was torn between whether or not I was applying too much or too little.  For the transition times for moisturizer, I have to hand it to Purlisse Blue Lotus Moisturizer. This product rode those weather changes well and is one I will try again when winter begins to fade.

Before I completely leave exfoliators behind, I want to say one of the lip exfoliators I really enjoyed using this year was the ELF Sweet Cherry lip scrub.  It comes in a tube that looks like lipstick and is super easy to apply.  It is less messy than many other lip scrubs and works really well on dry winter lips.

ELF lip exfoliator in sweet cherry

As far as toners go, Thayers Facial Toner in Rose Petal is my current favorite. It feels nice on the skin, doesn’t smell like witch hazel and helps the pores on my nose look smaller.  It also got me an ‘I told you witch hazel was fabulous’ from some of my older family members when I went home over the holidays, but I won’t hold against the Thayers. I do still want to know who stole my bottle while I was home this year though. I took a bottle home with me at thanksgiving and it was mysteriously gone when I repacked to leave.

Clearly, it wasn’t just my favorite.

One final skin care item I have to mention is the Kypris Antioxidant dew serum. I love everything about this serum.  I love the scent, I love the way it absorbs into my skin and I love the way it makes my skin feel.  I will not only be using this product going into 2020, but I will be looking at others they produce to try out.  Hopefully other items work just as well. I can’t wait to find out.

To be honest, despite trying out numerous makeup products this year, as I review the year only three really stand out to me.  The first is the Yensa Essential Glow primer.  Not only is it a great primer under makeup but this summer when it was so hot that foundation was a laughable concept as it would either sweat right off or stay in place and cause massive breakouts from clogged pores, this was my favorite daily option. It has a slight tint to it and helps even up skin tone, but is light enough not to cause break outs.  As such there were many days where I wore it with no foundation at all.  As soon as it ran out, I immediately repurchased it and will be keeping it around.

The second item that stands out is the Trestique color+contour stick.  It is a cream bronzer, which I never thought I would like, but it blends out beautifully and stays put all day.  It is handy for travel as it is in a rather small container, and it comes with its own brush so a separate one doesn’t need to be packed. It is a great formula, just be advised that the magnet in the magnetic cap is pretty strong and will cause it to link up with any other metal object in the makeup bag.  It is a great help in retrieving earrings from the bottom of the bag, so there is that.

The third makeup item that I felt worth mentioning in my favorites of 2019 is the Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara. I like the wand, I like the formula and of the multitude of mascaras that have come my way this year, it stands atop the pile as my favorite.

In the category of hair care, I have several leave in conditioner that I like and many different shampoos.  The product that stands out the most to me is the Beauty Protector protect and oil.  It is an Argan oil hair product that smells absolutely divine both in the bottle and in the hair. I think it stands out to me as I never thought I’d actually like a hair oil.  Surprisingly, this is very light weight and not at all greasy. I have long and somewhat thick hair and need only a tiny dab for my whole head.  It is great for taming flyaways, but I have found that if I rub a little on my hands and then rub it into the ends of my hair, I tend to get fewer split ends. Maybe it is just providing the ends with a little extra protection, but I really like it and plan to keep using it and to possibly give other hair oils more of a try in the future.

Finally, we come to https://www.amazon.com/Smith-Cult-Nail-Lacquer-Dear/dp/B00YSGSZ3GSmith and Cult Nail Lacquer. Not only is it a great nail polish that lasts quite a while without chipping, but I want to specifically mention the Doe My Dear shade.  It is a nice cool toned shade that is neutral without being beige.  It has almost a blueish cast to it and is great for daily wear.  It is also useful as a base for more jazzy gem stones or glitter polish as it serves as a nice backdrop to the shine.

I know there isn’t an item for every category of face, hair and body care, nor is there a favorite for every type of makeup product, but to be honest, not every category had a favorite this year. I tried many products in many categories and these are the things that stand out to me as I look back over the year. Perhaps 2020 will be the year of the eyeshadow or the face powder or even the foundation. 

Actually, as my favorite foundation was discontinued, 2020 may end up being the year of the great foundation quest. (begin the heroic dragon slaying music! I’ll go find my noble steed and makeup wipes.)

I’m not entirely certain what next year will hold, what trends will take hold or pass me by completely. Finding out is half the fun anyway.  I can tell you though, if glitter encrusted lips make a return, I will be passing this time.  I don’t mind flecks of glitter in my lipstick or gloss, but that fully packed on glitter lip from a few years ago, never again. My last attempt at trying it ended with glitter in my teeth that took two days, a tube of toothpaste and most of a bottle of mouthwash to finally remove. And it never looked quite right so I don’t even have one awesome picture from the ordeal. I had to replace my tooth brush, but on certain nights, I still think one of my back molars gleams. Beyond that, I look forward to trying all the new things this year brings to me.


Affiliate Codes: I may receive some compensation for the use of the below codes towards a purchase. (note: the above links are just general links from the product sites and I don’t receive anything from them should you wish to click on those instead.)

BLUE LOTUS BALANCING MOISTURIZER [More]

Price: $45.00
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KYPRIS Antioxidant Dew is a lightweight, multi-action moisturiser with intense hydratio… [More]

Price: £69.00

Kypris Glow Serum Review

Kypris Antioxidant Dew Quench and Glow Serum

For the Month of November, Boxy Charm allowed Charmers to pick between the Juicy Eye cream and the Kyprus serum to have in their boxes. While it was a difficult choice for me, in my box I went with the eye cream since it is not usually a product offered and at the time I was running low on my eye cream. I was sad that I wouldn’t get to try the Kypris though as it is an expensive product ($90 per bottle) and not one I would pick up on a whim.  However, Boxy Charm then had the Kypris Antioxidant Dew Quench and Glow Serum offered in their add ons and I found I could purchase it separately for $12 which I did.

This was my first experience with Boxy Charm Add-ons and I have to say it was an all-round positive one.  I liked that I could order the product I didn’t chose for my box, which made me very happy.  I was not charged for shipping either which is always a plus in my book. It also surprised me a bit as it ships separately instead of in a box. 

Bubble wrap imprinted with hearts and the BoxyCharm logo

Add ons were chosen on October 7th and my package arrived safe and sound at my mailbox October 21st. As I thought they would ship November first when everything else shipped, I have to say that was a pleasant surprise as well. The product was mailed in a plain yellow mailer and wrapped in bubble wrap inside.  I found it amusing that Boxy Charm has its own bubble wrap imprinted not only with its own logo but a flurry of pressed hearts as well.  I don’t know why that amuses me, but it does.

But on to the product.

First the math.

The glass container with an eyedropper contains 1.59 fluid ounces of product according to the packaging. When weighed, the entire product weighed in at exactly 4 ounces. So the package itself weighs 2.41 ounces. After 15 days of use the weight of the full product is 3.5 ounces, meaning that in two weeks of regular use 0.5 ounces of product was used.  Extrapolating outward means the product should last a little more than six weeks. If you paid $90 for the product then you spent approximately $15 per week on serum.

But knowing how much is used and whether it is worth using are two different things. So let’s start off with what the product claims to do. According to the website it has a:

Featherweight texture with intense hydration. Antioxidant Dew lavishes skin with quenching encapsulated antioxidants, nurturing amino acids, and an array of soothing botanicals. Use as a lightweight hydrator or as a layering piece in your skin care wardrobe. For best results, use in combination with your favorite KYPRIS Beauty Elixir.

There are: 26 Active Natural Ingredients, Antioxidants Galore Phospholipid encapsulated Vitamins C & E and Superoxide Dismutase with Ferulic Acid and herb-derived antioxidants. Sea Algae Extracts studied for their impressive ability to hydrate, Waltheria indica A botanical gem from the Mallow family known to soothe skin’s appearance, and  DPHP – Dipalmitoyl Hydroxyproline is a botanically derived amino acid that smoothes skin’s appearance to enhance luminosity.

And here is where it gets a little hinky.

Given that the product has twenty six active natural ingredients, the ingredients label is quite long. In addition, the ingredients list given on the website for the full $90 bottle of serum do not match the ingredients list on the package that came in the mail. While most of the ingredients are the same, they are given in a different order. 

As ingredients are listed in the order of quantity contained within the product, with the highest concentration (and thus most active) of ingredients being listed first and decreasing in quantity as the list continues, this means that even though most of the ingredients are the same, they are featured in different quantities. Which essentially makes it a different product from the serum sold on the website. 

In addition, there are a few ingredients missing from the BoxyCharm version. The sea algae extract they specifically mention in their website description is missing as is the Reed extract. At the end of this post I will put the ingredients list for comparison purposes.  I am neither a chemist, nor a dermatologist (just a skin care enthusiast) so I am not certain what the changes between the two labels actually means in terms of product efficacy.  I just know they don’t match which makes them different products.

All that was said to basically say that I am essentially reviewing the Boxycharm version rather than the official one. I know long winded, right?

That kind of bothers me a bit. Economic and ethical arguments aside, since I can only review the version of the product made specifically for BoxyCharm unless you purchase the BoxyCharm version then you are essentially buying a different product and this review is not really helpful. Or it may be, I don’t know. without testing the original, I can’t compare.

Which is a real shame, because I really liked this product.

Actually I need to add another really in there.

I really, really liked this product.

It comes in a dark blue glass bottle.  The glass makes me happy because of recycling reasons and the dark color protects the product from light, which can wreak havoc on a lot of skin care products. The scent of the product is slightly medicinal in an herbal kind of way.  It reminds me of the health food stores my mom used to take me too when I was a kid.  I like the smell and truthfully it is not a terribly strong one. It dissipates rather quickly.  The serum comes with a dropper and three drops of the product is all you really need.  I put the drops in my hand, rubbed my hands together then applied the serum to my face.

The serum is milky and slightly viscus.  It sinks into the skin rapidly and made my skin feel soft and hydrated.  It is not greasy in the slightest and soothed the slight irritation I had on my skin from a nasty wind I spent too much time in. I really liked the way it made my skin look and feel. It gave me a kind of healthy glow and for the last two weeks I liked my skin enough to leave off my foundation and just used a dusting of powder on my skin.

Like all serums, it needed a few minutes to do its thing before moisturizer could be applied so after I put it on my skin I brushed my teeth and moved on to other tasks before applying the moisturizer and continuing with my morning routine. Even though I for the most part went without foundation for the last few weeks, I did try it under my make-up, foundation included and had absolutely no problems with it.

The serum sits well under the moisturizer and caused no problems at all.  And like I said I really liked the way it made my skin look and feel. I looked up the ingredients contained in the serum and unsurprisingly they are designed to soothe irritated skin, help you retain moisture and elasticity.  Growing up we always had an aloe plant in the house and anytime we had a burn, whether stove top or sun related, my mom would snap off a part of the plant and run the gel from the snapped plant part on the burn, so it is unsurprising that a serum including aloe soothes the skin well. 

In fact, I like the ingredients list for both products, I just wish they were the same so that I could have gotten a more accurate feel for what the official product was so that if I go to repurchase it I know I am getting a comparable product.  I am not entirely sure it would be the same if I ordered it.  A part of me wants to order it just to see if it performs the same or better, but that $90 price tag is a hefty gamble. It is something I have to think about.

I do keep a list of splurge products.  These are things that I might have a hard time convincing myself to pay for on the regular, but that I have tried and really like.  These are products that I will pick up if they go on sale or if I feel the need to splurge on something extra as a treat (hence the title splurge list). If the ingredients list were the same for both products I would not hesitate to put this serum on the splurge list. Then as soon as my bottle ran out I would stalk the site spending time debating a purchase with myself as I used other products hoping o find something I liked just as well.

But, because they are different, I am hesitant.

Its like they don’t want me to stalk them.

Imagine that.

While I am not one hundred percent certain about a repurchase, I do know that I will be using every last drop of this product up.  I may set it aside while I test something else (I know I have a serum coming in this month’s Ipsy), but after testing another, I will be going right back to this until it is all gone.  After that, who knows? Perhaps I will convince myself to splurge and test the direct from the company version of the Kypris Serum. If so, you’ll be the first to know my reactions and comparisons.

Listed below are the two ingredients lists.  As you can see the order is different for many of the ingredients meaning they are present in different concentrations in each product.  In addition there are a few differences in the listed ingredients, with some being present in one bottle and not the other in each version. I have marked the ingredients that differ from the two bottles (they are the ingredients in all caps, bold and underlined) so you can make your own judgement call.

Ingredients in the Kypris Serum according to the website:

Water/Aqua, Glycerin, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil, Xylitylglucoside, Dipalmitoyl Hydroxyproline, ALGAE, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Phospholipids, PHRAGMITES COMMUNIS (REED) EXTRACT, Symphytum Officinale (Comfrey) Leaf Extract, Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Extract, PORIA COCOS EXTRACT, Xylitol, Anhydroxylitol, Waltheria Indica Leaf Extract, Panthenol, Rosa Damascena Flower Extract, Rosa Centifolia Flower Extract, Calophyllum Inophylum (Tamanu) Seed Oil, Lecithin, Tocopherol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Superoxide Dismutase, Ferulic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Mannitol, Dextrin, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Sodium Anisate, Sodium Levulinate, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Gluconate, Xanthan Gum

Ingredients listed on the box that came with the Kypris Serum from Boxy Charm:

Water/Aqua, Glycerin, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, xylitylglucoside, BETAINE, dipalmitoyl, hydroxoproline, pantenol, AHNFELTIA CONCINNA EXTRACT, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, anhydroxylitol, calophyllum inophyllum  (tamanu) seed oil, symrytum officinale (comfrey) leaf extract, Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Extract, waltheria indica leaf extract, citric acid, dextrin, ferulic acid, lecithin, mannitol, phospholipids, PRUNIS CERESIS (SOUR CHERRY) FLOWER EXTRACT, rosa centifolia (rose de mai) flower extract, rosa damascenta (damask rose) flower extract, Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary)leaf extract, superoxide dismutase, Ascorbyl palmitate, sodium citrate, sodium gluconate, sodium hyaluronate, sodium levulinate, xantum gum, xylitol, sodium anisate