Dec 31, 2012

November and December 2012 Empties!

I think I finished a grand total of two products during November. Rather than writing an entire post about two products, I decided to wait and see how much I could finish off in December. I finished quite a few hair products, which is good because I have too many hair products to begin with. I have also started counting sample sized products because I've accumulated quite a few samples that I would like to finish up.


LUSH Seanik Solid Shampoo Bar: this was good, but I've found something that I like better.

LUSH Jumping Juniper Solid Shampoo Bar: this was also nice, but I want to try other clarifying shampoos

Aussie 3-Minute Miracle: the ingredients in this are honestly not too good, so I will be moving on to something else as a deep conditioner.

Evian Facial Spray: water in spray can... not much I can say about this. It was useful to have around, but I might as well buy a spray bottle and fill it with water instead.

Grandpa's Thylox Acne Treatment Soap with Sulfur (thankfully I kept the box): I ended up using this on my face and body just to finish it up. I'm glad I tried it, but I won't be repurchasing.

Bath & Body Works Paris Amour Body Splash (3 ounces): I'm working on finishing all of my Bath & Body Works body splashes because I've found a few different fragrances I prefer.

Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets: I have one more package of blotting sheets and then I am done with all of my blotting sheets, which I couldn't be more thrilled about.

L'Oreal Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream (Fair): Initially I loved this, but as time went on my skin began to become irritated by this, so I won't repurchase.

Olivella Daily Facial Cleansing Tissues: I thought I would love these, but they made my eyes water just as much as the Yes to Cucumbers cleansing wipes, so I have something else I want to try instead.

Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes: I'm not sure why I had these, but I decided to finish them because I had them and I needed a makeup remover.

Willa Naturals Start Fresh Foaming Facial Wash: this was a basic cleanser. I liked it, but I won't purchase the full size.

Willa Naturals Clear Face Moisturizer: I liked the concept of a clear moisturizer, but it didn't work the way I had expected. I definitely won't buy the full size, but it might work for somebody with normal skin.


Rimmel Lash Accelerator Lash Growth Serum: this was nice, but I would go through phases when using it. After of owning it for about a year, I decided it was time to let go and admit to myself that I'd never finish it.

Rimmel Lash Accelerator Mascara: I loved this mascara. Everything about it was perfect, in my opinion. It lengthened my lashes, didn't flake, and application was a breeze. I'm not sure if I will repurchase this or not, though. I'd have to look at the ingredients, but once I finish the mascaras I currently own, I want to try something from the Physicians Formula Organic Wear mascara line (they have four now!)

Rimmel Volume Accelerator: I loved Rimmel's Lash Accelerator mascara, but I hated the Volume Accelerator... the formula was clumpy, the brush was just big and ineffective. I won't be repurchasing this.

Maybelline Great Lash Lots of Lashes: I know that Maybelline Great Lash is one of those "love it or hate it, but most people hate it" mascaras, but I'm always willing to give the different versions a chance. I really liked this one because the brush/applicator was great, but the ingredients aren't quite so nice, so I probably won't be repurchasing it.

Maybelline Great Lash Big: and this was a version of Great Lash that I didn't love. It was difficult to separate my lashes, so once I was finished applying my mascara, it looked like I had about six eyelashes on each eye. Not a pretty look.


Nexxus Pro-Mend Split End Treatment Shampoo, Nexxus Pro-Mend Split End Binding Conditioner, and Nexxus Pro-Mend Targeted Leave-in Treatment Creme: these were nice products, but the shampoo is not sulfate free and the ingredients overall are not the best, so I won't be purchasing the full size.

LiQWD Silk Professional Deep Conditioning Treatment: just another deep conditioner to me. I am trying some homemade deep conditioner recipes, so I'm not buying the full size.

Benefit Stay Don't Stray: this took a long time for me to finish. It's not my favorite primer, so I won't be purchasing the full size.

Derma E Tea Tree & E Antiseptic Cream: this was pretty nice. I might purchase this somewhere down the line, but not right away, since I'm not sure if it will truly be necessary for my skin care routine (less is more, trust me).

Lulu Organics Lavender & Clary Sage Hair Powder: just a dry shampoo, it smelled nice but it wasn't life changing... I've decided that I will probably never like dry shampoo and I will be one of those people stuck washing my hair every day just because I hate how my unwashed hair feels.

Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse BB Cream: I really liked this, but the color is a little too dark and I could tell it was. I don't think anybody else did, but I also happened to use up the entire sample during Christmas break, so my family probably wouldn't have noticed/cared anyway. I may or may not purchase the full size. I'll keep the bottle as a reminder that I did like this, but I've got enough base products to finish as it is.

Overall I'm very pleased with myself for finishing as much as I have. I can only hope that I manage to finish half as much in the next few months

Dec 30, 2012

What I Got for Christmas: 2012 Edition

Since quite a few people are showing what they got for Christmas, I thought I'd show you all what was under my tree this year! I also thought this would be especially interesting since I won't be buying very many beauty products in 2013. But, I digress. Here is what I got for Christmas this year:

Real Techniques Your Eyes/Enhanced Starter Set: this set contains five eye brushes and a "panoramic case" that functions as a brush stand and a case for traveling. The brushes in the kit are: Base Shadow Brush, Deluxe Crease Brush, Accent Brush, Pixel-Point Eyeliner Brush, and a brow brush.

Real Techniques Your Base/Flawless Core Collection:  this set contains four face brushes and a case. The brushes are the Detailer Brush, Pointed Foundation Brush, Buffing Brush, and the Contour Brush.

OPI The Top Ten: this set contains some of the most popular OPI nail polish colors.These colors are: Alpine Snow, Bubble Bath, Tickle My France-y, Kiss Me On My Tulips, Red Lights Ahead... Where?, Big Apple Red, I'm Not Really A Waitress, You Don't Know Jacques!, Vampsterdam, and Lincoln Park After Dark.

Bare Minerals Cool As Ice Lip Gloss Collection: this set comes with six of the Bare Minerals Marvelous Moxie mini lip glosses. The colors in this set are: Hot Ticket, Dare Devil, Fashionably Late, Socialite, Gutsy, and Rebel.

Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette: this palette came out recently and has taken the beauty world by storm. It contains six neutral eye shadows (all with matte or satin finishes). The colors are: Venus, Foxy, Walk of Shame, Naked 2, Faint, and Crave.

Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette: this was Urban Decay's cooler-toned answer to the original Naked palette. It features 12 colors (Foxy, Booty Call, Tease, Suspect, Verve, Busted, Half Baked, Chopper, Snakebite, Pistol, YDK, and Blackout), a dual-ended brush (crease and shadow), and a mini lip gloss in Naked.

Pink Sugar Eau de Toilette Roller Ball: I have a tough time sticking to one perfume. I only wear the LaVanila Pure Vanilla for special occasions, but other times I do like to switch it up. Pink Sugar is sweet and it doesn't give me a headache (I can't even list all the fragrances that DO give me headaches), so it's a winner in my book.

For non-beauty related things, I got a Nook HD and a new (digital) point-and-shoot camera. I think what I got most excited about was the nice stack of cookbooks I received (one in particular was very special to me for different reasons). My boyfriend gave me a bottle of honey (we both really love honey) and a Stormtrooper tank top (if you don't know what a Stormtrooper is... it's a Star Wars thing).

Just a little side note: I am in no way trying to make it seem as if I am bragging. Normally I try not to put any disclaimers like this on my posts, but I know that hauls (particularly birthday/Christmas hauls) can be seen as controversial. But this is a beauty blog and I did focus on the beauty products I received.

What did you get for Christmas?

Dec 29, 2012

New Year's Resolutions: 2013 Edition

Since 2012 is coming to a close, I thought it would be a good idea to write a post on my resolutions for 2013! I honestly can't remember what my goals were for 2012, but since I don't remember it's fair to say that it doesn't really matter, right? ;)

Alright, so here we go:

  1. Buy fewer unnecessary products. I posted about this a while back and called it Project Minimize 2013. This entails finishing the products I have before I buy anything, but I am allowed to buy things I don't need... as long as I put it on the list on the official Project Minimize page. The catch is that I'm not allowed to buy more than 12 unnecessary items in 2013. Technically I am allowed to cheat once per month, but I wanted to be lenient enough that if I have a month where I don't buy anything, I can just buy two items the next month - that's a long-winded way of explaining it, but hopefully it all makes sense. If I use up all of a certain type of product (like body wash), I am allowed to purchase a backup without putting it on the list. Something that will pretty much never make the list is mascara since it expires so quickly, but I can already predict that a tinted moisturizer or foundation will end up on the list early on.
  2. Drink more water. I know this was a resolution last year and I didn't really start it until November. By "more water" I mean at least one glass at each meal and I also hope to eliminate other drinks. I've already stopped drinking soda.
  3. Drink less coffee and caffeinated drinks. I don't want to cut coffee out completely because I love the taste, but for now I am looking at trying some coffee alternatives (the two I have found are Cafix and Teeccino - I'm not sure if I will try them or not).
  4. Improve my blog. This includes the layout and the overall work I put into my blog. I want it to be the best that it can be so I can really help people out and share my love of beauty and my newly found interest in lifestyle and health.
  5. Stress out less. I don't really have any plan for this, but I do want to reduce my stress level.
  6. Try something new. And I don't mean "new (insert beauty product here)" - I want to do something exciting that is not in my comfort zone. I have time to figure out what that will be.
That is everything I could think of, but I think a simple list will be easier to follow through with.

What are your goals for 2013?

Dec 21, 2012

Challenge: Going Dairy Free

I am aware that my blog has strayed a little from makeup, but since the problems I have with my skin seem to be a never-ending battle, I have decided to see how my diet affects my skin. Naturally this is a long process because my skin will not show results immediately, but I feel like it is worth taking the time and worth sharing just in case there is somebody out there dealing with the same thing.

The first thing I have decided to eliminate from my diet is dairy products (specifically milk since that seems to be the biggest link to acne for some people - I'll probably cheat occasionally for some cheese). I really wouldn't consider myself lactose intolerant since I don't have noticeable problems digesting lactose, but since dairy is a common cause of acne for some people and for a lot of people skin issues come from something within, I figured I could at least try to go a month without it. I know that there have been problems linked to soy products, so I won't be using soy milk instead. I plan to try coconut milk (I'll probably try So Delicious brand, unsweetened - some reviews I have read claim that it tastes a lot like cow's milk). I might also try almond or hazelnut milk and see how I like them.

I'll be honest, I've been trying to do this for the past week and it has been difficult, but I want to stick it out until January 31. I will try to do follow-up posts if I notice anything significant. If I don't notice any changes, I will be eliminating the next thing from my diet (I haven't decided what that will be). Even if my skin isn't "perfect" by the end of 2013, I hope that my skin will look healthier.

What are some of your goals for the new year?

Dec 20, 2012

Project Minimize 2013!

I apologize once again for my absence. As I tweeted the other day, I recently lost a close family member and I have been taking time away from the internet. But now I am back to talk about the biggest resolution I will have for 2013.

Six months ago I set out to go roughly three months without buying anything I didn't need. Well, the way I went about it was all wrong. I still ended up buying things and my collection grew. I did end up throwing out expired products and I gave away products I didn't use, but I still feel as if I have too much "stuff" lying around. So, I am creating a page (which you will find above in the navigation bar very soon) that will keep track of this little project.

I have actually noticed that a lot of people are suddenly becoming aware of how much they have spent on all of the makeup and beauty products they own and they want to change that, which I think is great! However, there isn't any "one size fits all" requirement for how much makeup any person should have because makeup has a different meaning to different people. I have fun creating new looks, but I don't do makeup on other people and I don't think my skills are at a level to where I would be comfortable using it on other people, especially for any important event. So, for one person who uses very similar makeup looks every day, I have too much. I don't want to reduce my makeup collection to the point that everything fits in a makeup bag because to be honest, I like variety... but I also don't want to have five similar taupe eye shadows, six foundations, and more than one concealer. And again, the same goes for fragrances and hair and body care.

If I do get any makeup for Christmas, I will mention that in a haul, but from this point on, I will not be buying makeup (etc) for myself. I also cancelled my monthly subscriptions to Ipsy and Birchbox. They are great concepts, but I wasn't getting enough products that I loved. I might be interested in resubscribing next year, though.

I will add more details in the corresponding page, which will be in the navigation bar for the next year... even if I fail at this resolution. I can't say for sure when the page will be up, but I will try to have it available as soon as possible?

Do you have any beauty-related resolutions for 2013?

Dec 11, 2012

More Posts: Coming Soon!

I've got to be honest... I have hardly looked at my blog in the past week. I've gained some followers (thank you so much!) and I haven't lost inspiration to write my posts, but I have been busy taking my final exams and just wrapping up the fall semester. In a few short days I will be back home and posting more consistently.

Until then, have a great week!

(PS- sorry this post was so short)

Dec 5, 2012

November Hits and Misses! (2012)

I am not sure why it has taken me so long to write this post, but every time I have started to write an introduction, I've just managed to find some sort of distraction. Before I ramble too much about my life as a college student, let's get to the post!

Almost everything I have loved this month was something that I either discovered or rediscovered toward the end, but since I did love and use these items beginning in November, I have decided to include them.

I've mentioned the NYX Butt "Naked" Eyes palette before (probably in my birthday haul from a little over six months ago). I took this home with me for Thanksgiving, but I began using it again when I became bored with my old eye shadow routine. This palette has 15 eye shadows, 4 blushes, one bronzer, and two highlighters (one is a golden white and the other is peachy). This palette is great for travel since it has every basic color I would ever need. The only downside is that since the bottom section (with the blushes, bronzers, and highlighters) sometimes fights my greatest attempts at sliding it out and the section has separated itself from the top part before. 

The next item is something I think I mentioned in my foundation routine. I bought the Neutrogena Mineral Sheers Powder Foundation a while back and only recently started using it every day. I've already hit pan. What I like is that the coverage can be very light when used with a brush or medium when used with a makeup sponge (frowned upon, I know, but makeup sponges are useful). I won't be repurchasing this once it is finished because I have other powders to finish and once I finish every powder I own (ambitious goal of mine for the next year), I want to use something more natural. I haven't set my criteria for future makeup purchases yet, but I know at the very least I will be selecting items that are paraben free.

The next item might not be a surprise if you've been following the beauty community for a while. I only just bought the Tangle Teezer in November, but I cannot describe how useful it has been. My hair is long and has quite a lot of split and damaged ends, so my hair is definitely prone to tangles and knots. I can't say much about this other than that it works for me and I'll definitely be asking for another for Christmas so I can keep one at school and one at home.

The next favorite I have is China Glaze Purr-fect Plum from the On Safari collection that was released a few months ago. I have seen these in some Ulta stores recently, but I think they are sold out at Sally Beauty Supply. The only thing I dislike about this nail polish is that it chipped within a couple of days, but that tends to happen to me with most China Glaze nail polishes.

Something that falls into a similar color family to the China Glaze nail polish I just mentioned is the Bare Minerals Moxie Lip Gloss in Dare Devil. I received this in the November Ipsy/MyGlam bag and it was probably my favorite item in the bag. I never actually would have considered trying this color on my lips if I hadn't received it because I don't tend to be adventurous with lip colors/products.

I don't have any products I was disappointed with this month, so I will leave the post with a (highly predictable) question. What were your favorites in November?

Nov 27, 2012

November 2012 Ipsy/MyGlam Bag

I'll be honest, I'm still a little confused if the MyGlam bag is still a MyGlam bag and the company behind it is Ipsy or if it is an Ipsy bag now. It doesn't matter too much since I think I will be cancelling my subscription next month. It all depends on how December's bag is. I made a video to correspond with this post (it's a little rambly and I call the glitter nail polish "not a glitter nail polish" - which I have no idea why I said that, but... meh)

Don't I look terribly distraught in the thumbnail? Fear not, I did end up really liking a couple of products this month. Now, below are the pictures and some better swatches.

Nov 26, 2012

Beauty at Home Series is Back!

Over the summer I wrote a series about different products you can use in your beauty routine. I never actually posted what I had promised to after part 3. In fact, I don't even have a draft for it... so I am not even sure what I was going to post... silly me. I have a few ideas for future posts, but if you have any requests then just leave a comment below!

Overall my personal goal is to try to buy less and make more. Why have all the excessive packaging? Why use products that could only harm your body in the long run? It's less conventional to post about using what might be in your kitchen cabinet as opposed to writing about the newest product to hit the market (as a society we are taught to buy, buy, buy if we want to fit in), but I think it is important for people to know how to eliminate unnecessary chemicals if they truly want to.

I hate to end this post on such a short note, but I really have so much to say that I don't want to write in an unorganized and impossible to follow manner.

Do you make any products in your beauty routine?

Nov 24, 2012

November 2012 Birchbox

I've been subscribed to Birchbox for a few months. Surprisingly enough, I actually recorded and posted my unboxing video on YouTube. I've also posted pictures here so you can see what the products look like. Let me know what you think!

Here is the video: 

Here are the pictures!

Did you enjoy your November Birchbox?

Nov 14, 2012

Random: The Holiday Season Already?

Hello! I figured I would write about something other than makeup or skin care today. I have a little disclaimer, though. I celebrate Christmas, so I will be talking about Christmas rather than the other holidays that fall around this time of year.

Is it just me, or does the holiday season begin earlier and earlier each year? I really enjoy Christmas and some of the tastier things that come with winter (to name a few: eggnog, gingerbread, and my grandmother's version of Chex mix), but I feel like it is becoming more and more about the consumerist side of things. I'm not going to say I don't appreciate the gifts that my family and friends give me, but I don't want that to become the only thing people associate with Christmas in future generations. Oh, and I associate Christmas with winter and ice and I hate driving on ice and being cold in the winter, so thinking about icy roads in the middle of November is something I do not enjoy.

And to contradict what I just said, I thought it would be fun to share what I want for Christmas this year! Most of the things I want are on the practical side, I would say. Sure, there are bigger makeup items that I've been lusting after (Urban Decay's Naked 2 palette, a bigger bottle of my staple LaVanila perfume, etc), but overall I think my list has a lot of things that I can really get good use out of, so here it is:

  • Cookbooks! One of my professors made fun of me for this, but I want to cook more when I am at home and I want easy recipes that are also healthy. Then I want to move on to more complicated recipes and yes... I want to learn to make sushi. I know that you can go online and pick recipes with ease, but it's nice having everything in one place for once. I suppose once I have a nice enough collection of recipes I've found online then I'll probably just print them all off, laminate them, and put them in a binder... but until then, I am looking at cookbooks that follow specific themes.
  • Money. To be specific, my parents usually have a set amount they spend on Christmas. I said "hey, put it in my savings account!" and they responded with "that's not FUN, give us a real list!" - I dunno, I would rather plan ahead and have that money for things like furniture for my first apartment.
  • Gift cards. Particularly for clothes. I haven't bought more than maybe 2 pairs of jeans and 3 pairs of shoes since last year. I've also accumulated some t-shirts with my school's name and logo on it, but as I like to keep some parts of my life private, I can't exactly make videos if most of my tops have my school's name. Plus I need to work on building a wardrobe that is more acceptable for the workplace as my first internship will be in the summer.
  • New camera. This is so I can take higher quality pictures and videos (I know I haven't recorded a video in a long time, but I want to at some point because I just worked on this group video project and I realized that I miss recording and editing videos and that I shouldn't be so particular about things).
I'm sure there are other things I have mentioned to my family in passing, but these are the things that came to mind.

What do you want for Christmas/the next event in your life in which you would be receiving a gift?

PS- hopefully you don't mind that I want to start writing more personal blogs on occasion. I love makeup, but changing the subject matter of my writing is also fun.

Nov 12, 2012

Review: Grandpa's Thylox Acne Treatment Soap

As you may know, I am on the quest for natural skin care products that work with my acne-prone skin. I've also been learning about treating acne on the inside (I might try to write about that, but it will probably not be in the near future... it's a big task and I've only done minimal research). So, I ordered a few products from iHerb a while back. I picked things with positive reviews and decided to review them myself as I try them out. An item I was particularly excited about was Grandpa's Thylox Acne Treatment Soap with Sulfur.

Now, it's a bit ambitious to expect a product to completely "cure" acne, but there are products that help. I personally find that salicylic acid does nothing for my skin, benzoyl peroxide is very drying and irritating (even if it does work for a lot of people), and although tea tree oil is natural, it still doesn't seem to have an effect on my skin. I've only tried one other sulfur product, and I can't even remember what it was (other than the form: I know it was a cream). So naturally I wanted to see how this would work for my skin. As I mentioned before, I got this from iHerb, but you can also purchase it from and Vitacost. I have not seen this particular soap sold at any retail stores I shop at, but I could be mistaken.

Now, the directions are very important for this. As the box says, wash your face like you normally would, but instead of instantly rinsing, you have to let it dry for one minute. This can help the medication sink in. Now, how did it actually work?

This product is so-so for my skin. It contains sodium cocoate, which is derived from coconut oil and generally doesn't work with my skin type (as I discussed in my review of Kirk's castile soap). My guess is that if you like Dr. Bronner's or Kirk's, then you will probably enjoy this.

I would suggest not using this to remove eye makeup (from the reviews I have read, some people have, but one day when I was showering some slid down my forehead and near my eye... not even in it, but close to it, and it burned quite a lot). That being said, I wouldn't describe this as a harsh soap. 

There is an added fragrance, but I wouldn't call it unpleasant. I would prefer it if this was fragrance free, but sulfur generally has an unpleasant smell, so I can see why it was added to the soap.

Bottom line? This cleansed my skin, but performed no miracles. For reference, I have used this for a little over two weeks.

Update: I don't think I will be repurchasing this. I keep using the Kiss My Face Olive & Green Tea soap on my face and I just think it feels so much nicer on my skin (and it's one less product to worry about in my bathroom) - I will be finishing this, though, since it's not a bad product.

Nov 7, 2012

Tag: How Much Is Your Face Worth?

This has been going around for a while (mostly through blogs... I have yet to see one on YouTube). The premise of this tag is to take everything you use on your face in a given day (some include skin care and some do not), find the price for each item, add all of those numbers together, and (optional) have a mini freak-out over how much you've spent just on those few items. My version of this tag will not include skin care because I am currently introducing some new products into my routine and I'm going to do a full post on my skin care routine in the near future.

So, this is almost a combination of my foundation routine (which I posted a few days ago), my every day eye routine, and the actual tag. I've based the prices on Ulta's website since I shop there most often. I also have some products I got in sets, so I will just list the full price for those.
  • L'Oreal Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream: $10.99. I've already mentioned that I really like this product, but there is one problem... I highly doubt it will last me through December. A small amount of product does not go a long way with this. Then again, I have quite a bit of redness.
  • Revlon PhotoReady Concealer: $9.99. This concealer isn't bad, but it isn't worth $10.
  • Benefit Ooh La Lift: $22. I have a small container of this that I got in a set. I personally don't notice much of a difference when I use it.
  • Neutrogena Mineral Sheers Powder Foundation: $12.99. This is the pressed powder version. I think I could use this on its own and be happy with it. I'll definitely consider repurchasing this in the summer because it gives light coverage and isn't too powdery.
  • Mario Badescu Facial Spray: $7. I started using this recently and I really like it. I'll definitely continue to buy some form of rosewater. This spray also has aloe and other things, but I have read about the benefits of using rosewater on the skin and hair and I'd like to use plain rosewater. Plus it would be cheaper.
  • MAC Mineralize Blush: $23.50. I have this in Hand Finish (it was limited edition about three years ago... that being said I should probably throw it away, but the texture or quality of it has not changed, so that is why I still use it).
  • Maybelline Color Tattoo in Barely Beige: $6.99. I've talked about this a lot. This is what I use on weekdays. On weekends I tend to use my Stila Smudge Crayons.
  • CoverGirl Eye Enhancers Eye Shadow Trio in Cafe Au Lait: $4.99. I like the colors, but I won't repurchase because I've got too many neutral eye shadows already and I want the Naked 2 palette, but I wouldn't feel right in having it if I had various other colors not being used. I'm not sure if I have mentioned this before, but I really want a Z Palette so I can make the most of my space.
  • Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Demolition: $19. I have this in a smaller size (it came in a set of five), but the full size is $19. These eyeliners are smooth, but they smudge on me, so I can't justify buying a full sized one when there are eyeliners out there that cost less and work better for me. I use this every day so I can hopefully finish it soon.
  • E.L.F. Brightening Eye Color Quad in Brownstone: $1. I use the dark brown shade to set my Urban Decay eyeliner. I occasionally use the taupe in my crease.
  • Rimmel Extra Wow Lash Mascara: $3.99. I've been using this quite a lot lately (I've been alternating it with Rimmel Lash Accelerator mascara).
The grand total? $122.44. Honestly I am shocked. There are items on the list that I don't use every day (the blush, for example... I just listed what I used today - I have other blushes I use that cost $4). Another reason the numbers are so high is because I listed the full price for High Beam and my Urban Decay eyeliner. But still... just my (almost) every day face makeup costs quite a lot of money. Thankfully I can feel good about it because I am not letting my products or money go to waste, but it's still insane to think of what goes in to just one makeup look.

I have been rambling for long enough, so I will end the post here. If you've done this tag, comment below with a link to your post! And if you don't have a blog, just let me know how much your face is worth because I'm nosy like that.

Nov 6, 2012

Liebster Blog Award

So I was recently nominated for the Liebster Blog Award by fellow blogger Katy. Before answering the questions I went on a little search because I hadn't heard of it before. Technically it's like a chain letter, but it's a great way for up and coming bloggers to connect with each other. Blogs with less than 200 followers can be nominated by someone who loves their blog. Now, here are the rules:
  • Reveal 11 things/random facts about myself
  • Answer 11 questions that the person who nominated me has set
  • Create 11 new questions for my nominees
  • Tag 11 people with less than 200 followers and let them know they have been nominated - no tag backs allowed.
11 Random Facts:
  1. I have already purchased a sofa for my first apartment. The odd thing is that I won't have my first apartment for at least a year and a half. I just really like to be prepared.
  2. I hardly ever eat candy or dessert. I get my sugar from Starbucks/coffee in general.
  3. I am an only child. My parents had me later in life because until about 9 months before my birth they thought they couldn't have children.
  4. I used to be a pro at HTML and CSS back when I was in middle school. Then my interests changed and I had less time to commit to fully coding my blog on my own
  5. As a child, my favorite household chore was dusting. I still get joy out of it when I'm not sneezing like a fool.
  6. My boyfriend and I want to live in British Columbia at some point (we currently live in the United States).
  7. I haven't gotten a haircut since April. I really need to soon, though.
  8. I've dyed my hair three times with demi-permanent color (it was by L'Oreal and the shade was Espresso, I think), but I'm trying henna soon!
  9. I couldn't paint my nails properly to save my life if I tried. My hand is very unsteady.
  10. I originally wanted my major to be criminal justice. Communications won when the department head told me one of his classes involved playing Quidditch. I did research on comm and decided I liked the classes I would be taking better than the classes I would have been taking for criminal justice
  11. I have favorite TV shows, but I hardly ever watch TV.
My Answers to Katy's Questions:
  1. What do you like most about blogging?: I like that I can interact with readers. I also really enjoy writing, so it's a great way for me to talk about makeup.
  2. If you could eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?: Sushi! I prefer salmon and I like to use lots of wasabi.
  3. What's your favorite makeup brand?: That's a difficult one to answer, but I will say Too Faced because as of right now, I've never tried anything from them that I didn't like.
  4. Do you prefer cats or dogs?: I prefer cats. They are more independent. I do like dogs, though. I just find cats easier to take care of. Except for my cat. He's the cat version of the "Overly Attached Girlfriend" - it's a little scary.
  5. Who is your favorite Youtube Beauty guru?: Right now I am loving essiebutton's videos. She's very charismatic and ever since finding her channel, I haven't skipped a video she has posted.
  6. Could you go a whole year without buying makeup?: Ha. Probably not. I could try, but honestly there is a lot of temptation to try new things because I genuinely like to review products. I had the hardest time not buying anything during the three month no-buy I set for myself during the summer. If I ever do that again it will not be in the middle of the summer. Actually, I have considered doing a no-buy from January to March. We'll see :)
  7. Are you good about cleaning your makeup brushes regularly? (Be honest!): It depends on how busy I am. At the beginning of the school year, I was spot cleaning daily and deep cleaning them weekly. I think the longest I have gone without washing a brush is 2 weeks. That's really not too bad... right? *shifty eyes*
  8. Do you have support of friends and family with your blog?: My roommate isn't a fan of makeup, so she thinks it's weird. Some of my other friends know I have a blog, but they don't know what it is about. My boyfriend is fully supportive of my blog and has occasionally left a math-related comment on my posts (he likes math). My parents have supported my blog too. My mom comes to me for makeup advice, and I think that says a lot.
  9. If you didn't blog about beauty, what else would you blog about?: I would probably have a blog about fiction. I used to write short stories with my friends all the time, but as we got older our interests changed.
  10. What's your favorite type of foundation? (powder, liquid etc.): I prefer the convenience of pressed powder foundations, but I always find myself buying liquid foundations.
  11. Are there days when you don't wear any makeup at all?: There are, but now that I'm working to finish products in my collection, the days I go without makeup are few and far between. The great thing is that I did go most of the year without makeup last year and I can say my skin problems are not related to makeup.
My Questions:
  1. What is the number one place you want to travel to?
  2. What is your Hogwarts house? (I had to ask)
  3. What nail polish are you wearing right now/did you wear last?
  4. What is your number one beauty secret?
  5. What is more important to you: skincare or makeup?
  6. What is the number one product that you want that you can't get where you live?
  7. What is your favorite food that other people might consider to be odd?
  8. What is your dream job?
  9. Is there something you dislike about blogging?
  10. What product has surprised you the most? It can be good or bad.
  11. What is your favorite season and why?
11 Blogs I've Nominated:
  1. HistoryBeauty
  2. Sugar and Sparkle
  3. Cara Loves Cosmetics
  4. Forever Fuchsia
  5. Monsiieur Alex
  6. My Glittery Obsessions
  7. Natalie's Life
And there were a ton more that I wanted to nominate, but they were all a bit past 200. This was fun to fill out, so thanks again to Katy for nominating me!

Nov 5, 2012

Hurricane Sandy: You Can Help

I wasn't sure of a good title for this blog post (and this is a bit off the subject of beauty), but I've been thinking it over for the past few days and I've decided this is something I should write about. I'm not personally from the east coast, but I do have family members from the region (they are all fine) and I know of some bloggers and vloggers affected by the storm. So, how can you help?

I posted about this earlier today, but Kiss My Face is going to be giving 50% of its revenue to those affected by Hurricane Sandy. Here are some other options I found:
These are just a few ways to help. And apparently the east coast is about to be hit again (by a Nor'easter on Wednesday), so if you're from that region: stay safe!

Review: Kiss My Face Olive & Green Tea Soap

I tried the Kiss My Face Olive & Green Tea soap after having a less than perfect experience with Kirk's castile soap. Spoiler alert: I have a very different opinion on this.

There are six different versions/scents of this soap. All of them come in 4 ounce and 8 ounce bars and depending on where you buy them, the 8 ounce bars will often cost $3 to $4 (the 4 ounce bars are $2 to $3). All of these soaps are olive oil-based. All of the bars are also free of artificial dyes, parabens, SLS, and gluten. The packaging (just paper) is also eco-friendly and the soap itself is biodegradable. Now, here is a comparison of the different variations Kiss My Face has to offer:
  • Pure Olive Oil: The only one from this line that is completely fragrance free. I'm not sure if it has an unpleasant odor, but I will be trying it in the future. The ingredients are: Saponified Olive Oil, Water, Sodium Chloride
  • Olive & Aloe: The added aloe vera is meant to be healing for the skin. It has an artificial fragrance that is not described on the website, so I can't say what it smells like. The ingredients are: Saponified Olive Oil, Water, Aloe Vera, Sodium Chloride, Fragrance
  • Olive & Honey: The added honey is supposed to add even more moisture to the bar. I haven't smelled it, but the biggest complaint I've seen in reviews for this bar is the fragrance, and I haven't found this in any of the stores that sell the other soaps. The ingredients are: Saponified Olive Oil, Water, Sodium Chloride, Honey, Fragrance
  • Chammomile Olive: Chammomile has calming and soothing qualities to it, so that would be the extra benefits you would get from this bar. The ingredients are: Saponified Olive Oil, Water, Chamomile, Sodium Chloride, Fragrance
  • Olive & Green Tea (the one I have): Green tea adds anti-inflammatory properties to this soap. I definitely noticed that my skin is softer after I use it. I've used it on my face with no problems (I did so out of curiosity because I really want to have a natural soap I can use on my face and body). I don't love the way it smells when I'm using it, but it leaves my skin smelling nice, so I won't complain at all. The ingredients are: Saponified Olive Oil, Water, Green Tea, Sodium Chloride, parfum.
  • Olive & Lavender: Lavender is said to be antiseptic and soothing to the skin. I've smelled this one before and it's not bad, but it's not my favorite scent either. The ingredients are: Saponified Olive Oil, Water, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender), Sodium Chloride, Fragrance
Some common complaints for these bars is that they become mushy if they sit in water in the shower, but to be honest, I can't think of a soap that doesn't do that. I always have my soap dry out of the bathroom. Another potential issue is that if you have the bigger soap, you'll notice that it doesn't exactly fit a soap dish. It can either be cut into smaller pieces or you can just do what I do and have as much of it as possible in a soap dish without having the ability to put the lid on (it's actually pretty amusing to see how the soap doesn't fit in the dish... I need to get out more often). I don't really need the lid at the moment anyway, so this is far from being a deal-breaker for me. Another issue people commonly mention is that this soap does not foam up much. I just use a net bath sponge (also commonly called a loofah, although technically the two are very different), and I get a nice lather. One thing to remember is that the lather from most cleansers can actually be drying, so I tend to like things that aren't as foamy, but still leave my skin feeling clean.

The important thing to always consider is quality, and I think this stuff is great. I feel as if this bar will last me a very long time with proper care, which will save me a hefty amount of money in the long run. I couldn't be more pleased. My skin is softer and it just feels healthier. The weather is getting cold, but my skin is not getting dry, and that is amazing. I've tried this on my face a few times and it feels nice, but this won't be my every day cleanser for a while. I've got another bar of soap that I am using on my face at the moment. Oh, and I thought it would be important to note that I have been using this for around two weeks. Usually I know within a couple of days if I like a body wash or soap.

I've also read that people have used these soaps in place of conventional shampoo. I haven't tried it, but I plan to try it on a day when I won't be going anywhere (just in case things don't go well).

The bottom line is that I do recommend this soap and I can't wait to try the other scents.
Not the prettiest soap, but it works well.
Click the picture to enlarge it (if you want to see the label)
What is your favorite soap/body wash?

PS- if you order anything from from now until Friday, November 9, then 50% of the revenue from your purchase will go to relief efforts for those affected by Hurricane Sandy. Not sponsored, I just thought I would let everybody know!

Nov 4, 2012

Updated Foundation Routine! (November 2012)

So I've finally switched my foundation routine up a bit, so I thought I would share it! So far I am pleased with the combination of products I am using. I've only been doing this routine for a few days, so if my opinion of anything changes, I'll be sure to post an update.

  • Moisturizer: Right now I am using the travel sized version of the Willa Clear Face Moisturizer. I was curious about this because it is a liquid moisturizer, so I bought the overnight kit (with a bag, cleanser, and the moisturizer). I like this moisturizer, but I think I will need something more hydrating in the winter, so at the moment I'm working on finishing it up. I also occasionally spray the Mario Badescu facial spray after applying moisturizer (really I use it sporadically... either way it's a nice product).
  • Treatment: Clindamycin 1%/Benzoyl peroxide 5% gel. This is just the generic form of Benzaclin. I was prescribed this two weeks ago and you can't buy this over the counter. I don't like the fact that it contains benzoyl peroxide, but my dermatologist said to use it and I decided to listen (for the time being, that is). I'm putting up my skin care routine post within the next few weeks, so if I end up liking this I'll be sure to include it.
  • "Foundation": L'Oreal Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream. This is said to prime, perfect, hydrate, and correct. It's a nice product, but there isn't much in the tube, so I'm not sure if it is worth the money at full price (if you can get this on sale, I recommend at least trying it). It gives light to medium coverage and doesn't leave my face in a greasy mess. Dare I say this, but I think I am beginning to like this better than my Smashbox BB cream. I've noticed my skin is less oily, but I also realize this could be a number of factors (the change in my skin care, the changing weather, and the change of my foundation routine)
  • Concealer: I've been using the Revlon PhotoReady concealer for a while and I intend to use it until I finish it. If I repurchase it, it'll be a while.
  • Powder: Neutrogena Mineral Sheers Powder foundation. This has light to medium coverage and it has an SPF of 20.
I don't have a blush I use every day right now - I just use whatever I feel like using for the day. What products are you currently using for your foundation routine?

Nov 2, 2012

Review: Kirk's Original Coco Castile Soap

I've been on a bit of a "natural product" hunt lately. Since I am close to finishing most of the body soaps I have, I thought I would pick out a few different soaps to try out. I bought Kirk's Original Coco Castile on a recommendation my dad made. He said he loved this soap when he was younger, so I thought it would be worth a try. Apparently Kirk's has been around since 1839, which I thought was interesting. To me, it says the brand has loyal fans and it is probably still around for a reason.

Kirk's Castile soap has two versions (Original and Fragrance Free) and very short list of ingredients: Coconut Soap, Water, Vegetable Glycerin, Coconut Oil, Natural Fragrance. Of course, the fragrance free version has that same list of ingredients with the exception of "natural fragrance"

Something I loved about Kirk's was that it just used paper for the packaging and the soaps are inexpensive. And by inexpensive I mean each bar costs about $1.50 (or less, depending on where you buy it) for a 4 ounce bar. You can also buy a pack of three, which is what I did. Now... I don't have any pictures of this soap because I don't have it with me. I do have a cropped version of the picture from my haul, so that way you can sort of see what the packaging looks like from the side (I don't like to use stock photos, so that's why I'm not using one).

I really enjoyed the way this felt on my skin. It lathered nicely and made me feel clean. The issue is that my skin didn't react well to it (I was getting bumps on my arms). However, I've noticed I sometimes have this problem with Dr. Bronner's soap too. My guess is that my skin probably just doesn't work well with coconut-based soaps. Thankfully I have the Kiss My Face soap to try out, because it looks promising. I still recommend this because it is inexpensive, other people seem to love it, and it made my skin feel nice. I also think that at the price, it's worth a shot if you are looking for something new. I will probably give these to my dad or find another use for them.

Have you tried Kirk's? Have you tried any other castile soaps?

Nov 1, 2012

Vaseline: the Controversy

I could probably write a lengthy post about why some people think Vaseline (technically petroleum jelly, but I'll try to use Vaseline because that is the most commonly known brand name) is good and why others think it is bad, but I will do my best to make my point quickly and also offer alternatives for those who do want an alternative to Vaseline. Vaseline is considered a staple in most households because there are so many uses for it that it would probably be impossible to compile a complete list of its uses.

Some people swear by Vaseline to moisturize dry skin and basically be the ultimate beauty product. I disagree. When I was in high school, I was trying an acne product with benzoyl peroxide and my face was becoming unbearably dry. I tried Vaseline on my dry patches and it made things worse. I found out later that Vaseline just covers the skin and doesn't really penetrate the layers... but I am happy that it doesn't go deep into my skin. Want to know why?

Petroleum Jelly is derived from dead dinosaur bones. Yeah, just let that one sink in for a moment (no pun intended). Some sites I have visited have also mentioned that mineral oil and petroleum jelly both block oxygen and prevent your skin from breathing, thus preventing it from renewing itself.

Now, what are some of the alternatives?
Of course, what you decide to use is ultimately up to you. Although I am trying to change my skin care routine to mostly natural products (and plant-based products), it would be a challenge to go all-natural... and let's face it: not ALL ingredients are necessarily harmful and linked to more serious health problems. But if we can take what we know about some of the ingredients that have been shown to cause problems, then we will hopefully be one step closer to being happier and most importantly, healthier.

Oct 31, 2012

October Hits and Misses! (2012)

My monthly favorites seem to be getting shorter and shorter. I blame this on the fact that I am really working to finish as many products as I can. I still want to have an interesting collection, but I don't want to have piles of things I'll never use

  • Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream: I've talked about this a lot and I even finished it this month. I would buy it again eventually, but I have a lot of foundations and BB creams to finish, so for now I will not be repurchasing.
  • Revlon Photoready Concealer: I bought this on a whim a little while before I banned myself from buying makeup this past summer. It's great for under-eye circles. I don't use it on blemishes because I usually don't bother to cover those.
  • Rimmel Extra Wow Lash: This mascara is inexpensive ($5 or less) and it works quite well. The formula is a little dry, but it never makes my lashes feel dry or brittle (which I can't say for other mascaras I've tried recently). This is a definite keeper.
  • Stila Smudge Crayons: I've talked about these a lot, so I'll keep it to the basics. They last on my eyelids and have convenient packaging.
  • Too Faced Glamour to Go Palette: I bought this a while ago and I keep switching between this palette and another palette. The color in particular that I love is in the top right corner. I didn't really use the blush or bronzer in this palette, so I didn't take a picture of those. Plus I think I already have taken pictures of both.
  • Lush Seanik Solid Shampoo Bar: I've used this almost every time I wash my hair and it is very clarifying and volumizing. 

And for the misses? No beauty products, but... I have officially decided that Starbucks coffee beans and I do not get along well. I love their lattes, but their beans have honestly never impressed me. I prefer going to places like Fresh Market with a variety of coffee (if you've been there, you know just what I'm talking about).

Tag! 10 Makeup Items I Would Repurchase

The purpose of this tag is to list the first ten items I would repurchase if all of my makeup somehow disappeared (destroyed in a fire, stolen, and so on). I believe it was actually called the "If All My Makeup Disappeared" tag around this time last year. Either way, it's the same general idea and it's fun, so I decided to do it.
  1. MAC Studio Finish Concealer (NC 15): Although I hardly ever wear concealer to cover my blemishes, I opted for concealer rather than foundation. If all of my makeup disappeared, I would let my skin breathe (more than it does now) and only attempt to cover dark circles and large blemishes. However, I would also consider trying the Hard Candy Glamouflage since they recently released a lighter shade (the one that used to be the lightest was slightly too dark for me). Then I could just mix the concealer with moisturizer and have a tinted moisturizer.
  2. Maybelline Dream Matte Powder: This powder has been one of my favorites for a long time. Although there are several different shades for the powder, it is pretty sheer, but that doesn't bother me. 
  3. Covergirl Cheekers Blush in Natural Rose: I'm really hesitant to put this here. This is because ever since CoverGirl decided to re-release their tinted moisturizer and market it as a BB cream, I've been boycotting the brand (because to my knowledge, they still haven't even mentioned their shady behavior... poor PR move in my opinion). So to be more precise, I would buy a color exactly like Natural Rose because it looks nice on my skin.
  4. Maybelline Color Tattoos: This really isn't going to be a surprise to anybody who reads my blog regularly, but I love these. Barely Beige is my favorite, but it's limited edition. From the permanent collection, I love Bad to the Bronze and Tough as Taupe.
  5. Stila Smudge Crayon: Now, I know I already mentioned a cream eye shadow, but the thing about the Stila Smudge Crayon is that it can be used as an eye shadow and an eyeliner and it actually stays put all day (except on my waterline, but I have yet to find something that does and since I don't wear eyeliner on my waterline on a daily basis, it's not a deal-breaker). 
  6. Wet 'N Wild Eye Shadow Trios: I have three of these and love all of them. I'd probably buy Walking on Eggshells first because it gives a subtle look.
  7. Rimmel Extra Wow Lash Mascara: This mascara is inexpensive, but it gives me the same effect as most mascaras that cost more.
  8. C.O. Bigelow Mentha Lip Shines: these lip glosses aren't sticky and they taste nice. I'm not a big fan of going overboard with the lip products, so usually I opt for some form of lip balm.
  9. Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs, and Rosewater: Technically a skin care product, but since my skin is becoming quite dry, I've been spraying this on after applying foundation. I will be trying plain rosewater from a different brand after I finish this, but this is actually more accessible, so I'd be willing to buy it again. Plus it's only $7.
  10. Mario Badescu Special Healing Powder: again, this is technically a skin care product, but when I have a really bad breakout on my face and I'm not going anywhere, I do apply this to my blemishes and it calms them. I feel like it was a good buy because it will probably last me a year (which is probably past its intended expiration, so that is impressive).
So those are the 10 things I would repurchase first. There are some items I've never owned that I would seize the opportunity to try if my collection disappeared. For example: Urban Decay Naked 2 palette. I don't own it, but I want it. It's probably one of the best palettes to start out with anyway.

What would you repurchase if your makeup disappeared?

Oct 29, 2012

Tag: A-Z of Beauty

This tag was created by FleurDeForce (and Sprinkleofglitter) and when I first saw the video I thought it was a really fun idea! The point of this tag is to list one brand for every letter of the alphabet and a recommendation from that brand. I wasn't tagged to do this, but I thought it would be fun!
  • Aveeno: I really like thier Ultra Calming Foaming Cleanser. It doesn't have an offensive scent to it and it is great to use in the morning. It doesn't do much in terms of makeup removal, but it is great if you have sensitive skin.
  • Burt's Bees: this was an example in Fleur and Louise's video, but I like Burt's Bees. Their lip balms are good and I should probably buy some more soon because I'm at a loss with my lips. They're really dry at the moment and nothing is helping.
  • Cetaphil: Cetaphil's products are popular among dermatologists. Mine has never suggested the brand to me (he always says to just use a cleanser I like), but Cetaphil is known for being safe for sensitive skin or people undergoing acne treatments. I like their Gentle Skin Cleanser if I'm not wearing any makeup and I actually like that it doesn't foam.
  • Desert Essence: their jojoba oil removes makeup well and it lasts a while. I've been using it daily for over a month (maybe even two months) to remove eye makeup and I've got more than half of the bottle left
  • E.L.F.: although this brand is very hit and miss, I love their flat top powder brush from their Studio Line. It costs $3 and was worth every penny.
  • Fekkai: This won't really count because I've never tried anything from the brand, but I couldn't think of another brand that starts with the letter "F"
  • Grandpa's: this brand has soaps. I bought the Thylox Acne soap with sulfur, but I can't technically recommend it because I haven't quite finished my other cleanser yet.
  • Hard Candy: Not my favorite brand ever, but their Glamouflage concealer now has five shades instead of three and I plan to try the lightest shade soon so I can get the full effects of the concealer.
  • Illamasqua: another one I've never tried anything from, but it came to mind.
  • Japonesque: I bought a cute travel eyelash curler from them once and I know they have a purse-friendly brush set I might buy in the future.
  • Kiss My Face: I recently started using the Olive & Green Tea soap that I featured in my iHerb haul post. Basically any of their olive oil soaps are supposed to be amazing, and I'll have to agree that at the very least, the Olive & Green Tea version is great. It makes my skin soft and clean. The great part is that it's a great bargain (depending on where you buy it, it can run from $3-4 for an 8 ounce bar) and the one I have only has 5 ingredients (the Pure Olive Oil bar has 3 ingredients). I'll be doing a full review on this shortly.
  • L'Oreal: I just started using the Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream again and I really like it. The only problem is that I think I'll run out of it quickly.
  • Maybelline: their Dream Matte Powder has been a favorite of mine for quite some time. It is smooth, inexpensive, and it works.
  • Neutrogena: I really like their Mineral Sheers Powder Foundation (pressed). It doesn't have heavy coverage, but it is a nice powder for lazy days.
  • Olay: I have used their Complete All Day UV Moisturizer for Combination/Oily Skin (SPF 15) in the past and I liked it. The ingredients are probably not the best of the best, but I liked it as a product and I would buy it again.
  • Physicians Formula: I really like the Shimmer Strips by PF (specifically the bronzers) because they can also be used as a highlighter and eye shadows.
  • Queen Helene: the Queen Helene Mint Julep Mask has been a cult favorite for a while and I went through at least two or three tubes of it before I started really trying out other masks. 
  • Rimmel: Rimmel Extra Wow Lash Mascara is inexpensive and a great value. It doesn't irritate my eyes (which is important) and it gives my lashes lots of volume.
  • Stila: If you frequently read my blog, you will already know that I adore the Stila Smudge Crayons. They last on my eyes all day and if I use one color alone, I don't have to set it with another eye shadow. 
  • Tarte: I haven't tried it on my face, but their Smooth Operator tinted moisturizer has been on my wishlist for a while because the lightest shade (Agent 00) is great for my pale skin.
  • Urban Decay: I don't own it currently, but my favorite Urban Decay product of all time is their 24/7 Concealer Pencil in CIA. The color worked well for my skin and it covered well.
  • Vaseline: I don't like Vaseline, to be honest. It's not necessarily their products, it's just the ingredients I have a problem with. I have a post coming up that is more in depth.
  • Willa Naturals: this brand is targeted to younger girls, but they have a nice basic foam cleanser that would work for any age. I've got the travel kit right now (the cleanser and moisturizer) that I bought because I loved the size and shape of the bag it came in and I was curious about the products. I don't dislike anything from the brand so far, and that's a good sign.
  • X Out: I haven't tried this, but it's supposed to be an all in one benzoyl peroxide acne treatment. Some people really seem to love it, though. I'm not crazy about benzoyl peroxide because its long term effects are unknown, but it does work on my skin.
  • Yes To...brands: I like the Yes to Tomatoes shower gel, but as I mentioned in my empties post, it smells powdery and I'm trying to make the switch to natural bar soaps.
  • Zapzyt: I think I used this brand's spot treatment in high school, but I can't remember how I felt about it. I stopped using benzoyl peroxide a long time ago, but I'm actually using a prescription with benzoyl peroxide in it (which will be featured in my skin care routine post if I like it... and if I don't like it, then I'll move on to a new product).
I tag... everyone reading this! If you have a blog and you decide to post this on your blog, just comment below with a link to your post and I'll read it!

Oct 28, 2012

October 2012 Empties!

As I was writing my September empties post, I had convinced myself that I wouldn't finish much in the month of October. I didn't finish a shocking number of products, but I finished enough to feel accomplished.

Neutrogena All-in-1 Acne Control Facial Treatment: This was one of my favorite products in the spring, but over time it lost its effectiveness. Since I had two tubes that were half full, I decided to bring them with me to school so I could actually finish both tubes. I can proudly say I finally have! I prefer Mario Badescu treatments now, but I still highly recommend this if you get occasional blemishes that leave red marks behind. I will probably repurchase this in the winter because it hydrates my skin (therefore it was too greasy for summer) and it did help fade some of my hyperpigmentation faster than it would have faded if I hadn't been using a treatment.

Urban Decay 24/7 Eyeliner in Stray Dog: This is a mini eyeliner, so it's no surprise that I finished it so quickly. I think I used this almost every day after I posted my review on the Urban Decay liners. I have to set my Urban Decay eyeliners with my eye shadows and I went through this pretty quickly once I really used it. I am rather excited to finish the other four just because I don't love them. I know other people do, but these eyeliners aren't right for me. I forgot to keep this after I finished it, so it's not in the picture.

ELF Mineral Blemish Powder: I bought this early in September and used it as an all over setting powder whenever I wasn't using my Neutrogena Mineral Sheers powder foundation. It didn't last very long (maybe I used too much?) and it didn't control oil or improve skin, so I won't be repurchasing. Plus it costs $3 more on the ELF website than it did at Target (I paid $5).

LUSH American Cream Conditioner: As I stated in my review last month, I wasn't crazy about this conditioner. It had a scent I didn't love and most importantly, I felt like it didn't moisturize my hair enough. I am glad I tried it, though. Another thing to add is that for some reason it's not sulfate free. Before using this, I don't think I had ever seen a sulfate in a conditioner (or perhaps I never paid any attention before). I won't repurchase this and I actually ended up replacing it with the Aussie 3 Minute Miracle because it was way cheaper (I found an 8 fluid ounce bottle at Target for under $3 - the LUSH conditioner was almost $10 for 3.3 fluid ounces).

E.L.F. Clarifying Blotting Sheets: I was close to finishing these last month, but I still had a fair few left. I'm now working on finishing my Clean & Clear blotting sheets I bought before I even started college.

Yes to Tomatoes Purifying Shower Gel: I've always been eager to try products that are on the more natural side. This shower gel did the job, but the scent wasn't my favorite so I won't be repurchasing. Plus I'm becoming a big fan of bar soaps since they're so travel-friendly and as far as I know, most (if not all) bar soaps are preservative-free.

Physicians Formula Eye Booster 2-in-1 Lash Boosting Eyeliner + Serum (Ultra Black) and Clear Lash Boosting Serum: I got these in a set a few months back and although there is a little left in both, I like to throw out eyeliners once the consistency changes (the liner became thin and less pigmented and the serum never really did much of anything). I would consider buying the eyeliner again, but I've got a lot of products to finish before I give it serious thought.

Bath & Body Works Secret Wonderland Fragrance Mist: This was a small bottle, so finishing this wasn't technically much of an accomplishment, but since I have about four other small fragrance mists from Bath & Body Works (and 2 large ones) on top of some Victoria's Secret body sprays, I honestly have more than I need. This fragrance was nice, but I won't repurchase it because I've pretty much found my holy grail perfume and the only reason I've been using other scents is so I can actually use them up.

Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream: I bought this between January and March (I can't recall when, so I'm giving a guess) and after using it daily since finishing another foundation, I've finally finished this! I do love this BB cream, but I didn't love the price and the fact that it just didn't last long (2 months at the most, meaning if this became my HG, I'd be spending $234 per year on this, plus tax). I think I might repurchase it in the future, but I have other products I am planning on trying out before that happens. I am finally down to owning only 3 BB creams, 2 liquid foundations, and one powder foundation. I'm trying not to buy any base products until I finish what I have (although... I do have my eye on the Tarte tinted moisturizer). This also isn't pictured because I managed to leave the tube at home this weekend after I finished it.

Aveeno Clear Complexion Cleansing Bar: I tried this because it was inexpensive, medicated, and the ingredients were pretty good (I won't say they were great, but the soap itself is paraben free and I'm still working toward the goal of using paraben free items once I finish what I have). I like the convenience of a bar soap. If you travel with it, there is no chance of it spilling all over everything. There is also less packaging involved (which also means less space is being taken up and less plastic is going to waste). However, I eventually realized that this bar was breaking my skin out. I won't be buying this bar again, but I did replace some products with what you saw in the iHerb haul post (Aveeno's products contain more natural ingredients than the average drugstore brand, but they are by no means completely natural). I can't exactly prove I finished this product since I no longer have the box and the bar has completely dissolved, so my apologies for that.

I've also finished the usual things like toothpaste, mouthwash, contact lens solution, etc. However, since I don't have an excessive amount of any of those things, I generally don't include them in my posts. Since my no-buy has also been over for quite some time and I've used up most sample sized products, I also don't usually include samples. If you guys want me to include those things, just let me know and I will from now on.

I think one of my first (and biggest) resolutions for 2013 will be to really weed out my makeup collection and utilize my space more efficiently. This is just because I still have quite a few products that I need to finish before I buy anything (mainly foundations and powders and such). I'm not sure how I will approach this goal, but I'm definitely working on a plan.

What did you finish this month?

Oct 22, 2012

Haul: iHerb

Although I am not too terribly close to finishing my Lush soaps, I did want to place an order with iHerb because I stumbled upon the site (probably a month ago now) and they have this great deal where new customers get $10 off orders $40 or more and $5 off orders less than $40. Needless to say, I was intrigued.

iHerb has a variety of products: from vitamins and supplements to foods and yes, to beauty products. As I finish the products I have now, I want to replace them with more natural alternatives. This has been and will continue to be a long process.

When I placed my order I didn't have much of a strategy. I just picked things I thought I would need soon. Here's what I picked out:

  • Kirk's Original Coco Castile Soap: This is the version with fragrance. I picked this over the fragrance free version just because it came in a pack of three. My dad's family used this when he was young, so I thought it would be interesting to try.
  • J.R. Liggett's Shampoo (Herbal Formula and Original Formula): I've been using solid shampoos a lot more lately and it's been a great experience. These are a little cheaper than Lush solid shampoo bars and in theory these can be used without conditioner (but we will see if that is true once I've finished my Lush solid shampoo's).
  • One With Nature Honey Almond Soap: I figured this would smell nice and it does. I'm hoping to use this around December because I just like to use nutty/almond scents around the holidays.
  • Grandpa's Thylox Acne Treatment Soap with Sulfur: I tweeted a few days ago that I was almost out of my cleanser. Apparently I had forgotten I'd ordered this! I'm excited to try this because it has 3% sulfur and I've really experimented with sulfur less than other ingredients.
  • Kiss My Face Olive & Green Tea Soap: This bar of soap is a whopping 8 ounces. I think I am probably the most excited to try this.

  • Earth Therapeutics Bath Sponge: I always use one of these when I shower so I can get extra exfoliation.
  • Stash Fusion Green & White Tea
  • Stash Chai Black & Green Tea
  • Swisspers Organic Cotton Balls: There isn't much to say about these. I just needed them.
  • JASON Sea Fresh Toothpaste: I'm not sure if I will like this or not, but it is worth a shot because it is SLS free!
What is so great about this order? It cost me less than $35! As I begin to use these products I will post reviews. I had a great experience with iHerb, but I do want to try out Vitacost since it is also a popular site for natural health and beauty products.

What have you bought recently?

Oct 21, 2012

Packaging: It Matters

This is a bit different than any post I have written before. It is inspired by the fact that my little sample sized container of Benefit Ooh La Lift almost made it into my October Empties post. Almost. Then I decided it wouldn't be fair to toss it without at least removing the stopper. And you know what? I'm glad I did it. Even though I received it as a gift, I still feel better when I finish things up properly and the only time I tend to throw something away or give it away is if it breaks me out or the color doesn't suit me.

For me, quality packaging is important. By that I am not talking about how something looks (although that certainly helps to sell the product because most consumers are attracted to pretty packaging). The important factor for me is how the packaging functions. The old packaging for the Urban Decay Primer Potion was infamous for being wasteful... people had to cut the tube open to get every bit of product out (which was also pretty dangerous). About a year or two ago, Urban Decay changed their original Primer Potion packaging (left in the photo below) to be in a tube like Too Faced Shadow Insurance (right in the photo below).

As for thick cream products, they generally come in a pencil/stick form or (better yet) a pot, so the Maybelline Color Tattoos and MAC Paint Pots fit the latter description. With these types of packaging, I expect the product to be sealed tight so it doesn't dry out easily. The same goes for pencils (such as the Stila Smudge Crayon).

As for foundations, I don't understand why any liquid foundation would come in a glass container without a pump. It wastes product and is just overall messy.

I hope this post wasn't too rambly. I just wanted to share my opinion on packaging for various products. Doesn't everybody want to get the most out of the products they pay for?

What is your basic packaging criteria?

Oct 17, 2012

Updated Travel Makeup Bag: Weekends Home

This year, I brought the majority of my makeup collection to school with me. I technically have enough to get by on the weekends I go home, but I still like to take some of my every day products with me just so I can work toward using them up. I also prefer the makeup I brought to school with me.

The Bag:
This is just the bag from September's MyGlam Bag (now it's called Ipsy?) - this bag is just plain and black... perfect for throwing in most of the purses I own. It also fits quite a lot of products in it (at least in my opinion - I've become quite low maintenance).

Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream:
I've talked about this a lot, so I'll keep it short. I bring this with me so I can finish it sooner. I love it, but I'm ready to move on to the next product.

Covergirl Clean Oil Control Pressed Powder (510 Classic Ivory): 
I've had this powder a while. It's average, but I probably wouldn't repurchase.

Ecotools Retractable Kabuki Brush:
This brush is amazing. It's soft and it is perfect for powder application.

Too Faced Glamour to Go Palette:
I've also talked about this a lot. It has 8 eye shadows, 1 blush, 1 bronzer, and 1 lip color (although I scraped this out because it was beginning to look nasty and the color didn't suit me).

Rimmel Extra Wow Lash Mascara:
Ah, something I haven't talked about! I saw this in a couple of different $20 makeup challenge videos and people seemed to like it. I also just bought it on a whim because I forgot to pack my mascara the last time I went home, so I decided to just give this a whirl. It's cheaper than Maybelline Great Lash (everywhere I've seen it, at least) and it's much better. I can't believe I didn't know about this mascara before.

Stila Smudge Crayons in Smoke, Umber, and Black:
I love these because they're tiny, but another issue is that they're... well, tiny. They aren't worth the money, but they are great to carry in a purse. That being said, I'd buy the full sized ones and be able to store them in my travel makeup bag just as easily. Or I could bring my beloved Maybelline Color Tattoos along.

Lip Smackers (Coca Cola):
Just a random lip balm. This one smells nice, so I have this one with me at the moment.