Saturday, February 28, 2015

January and February 2015 Empties

Cue the "I can't believe it's the end of the month" groans and moans. But for once I'm actually glad it's the end of the month because I'm so done with winter. In the past two months I've finished quite a few things and lots of skincare as usual. Let's get onto thoughts!

Let me quickly talk about some makeup items first. My tube of L'oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Waterproof Mascara was starting to dry out so into the garbage it goes. As of now, it's my favorite mascara, beating out my previously loved Maybelline waterproof ones. I also binned my Physician's Formula Black Gel Cream Liner (from the trio) which was in my Project Make a Dent. There was probably about a third left in the pot but the formula was getting dry and difficult to work with. No point in trying to make the product work since I had a new Mac Fluidline waiting to be tested. I went through my eyeliner stash and found two that I can no longer use. The Cargo Swimmables Eyeliner is a beautiful creamy teal but the product dried up and separated from the outer pencil. The E.L.F. Shimmer Eyeliner in Twinkle Teal was crumbly and dry so it had to go as well. Fun fact, the first review I ever did on this blog was of the E.L.F Shimmer Eyeliners! I went back to find the post and, well, it's definitely a testament to how far I've come! I also finished a pack of Shiseido Blotting Papers which were nice but pretty much the same as the Clean and Clear ones. 

In terms of body care, I've gone through a ton of body creams in just a few months. The Body Shop Vanilla Brulee Body Butter was a good one in terms of moisturization and the scent wasn't too strong. I featured the Sai-Sei Mineral Deep Moisture Body Cream and First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream in my last favorites video. The First Aid Beauty is definitely better for chronically dry skin. I would repurchase it but it's $30 and I go through it too quickly to justify the price. The SheaTerra Nilotik Shea Butter wasn't moisturizing enough for my skin and also felt greasy. The scent was also not pleasant. I tried a sample of the Coola Radical Recovery After-Sun Lotion and mostly used it as hand cream. It has a very distinct natural scent which I'm not in love with so I don't think I'd slather this all over during the summer. I got a sample of the Ellovi Butter in a Birchbox and the vanilla scent reminded me strongly of cake batter. Again, it worked fine as a cuticle moisturizer but nothing amazing.

I've only recently finished a bunch of hair sample shampoos and conditioners from Birchbox. Seriously, these travel minis go such a long way! The Fekkai Brilliant Glossing Conditioner made my hair glossy but so much so that it felt almost oily. My hair was too slick from using this and I felt like I needed to wash my hair everyday instead of every other day. I suspect there are a lot of silicones in this product. Honestly, I'm not a fan of Fekkai hair products. Number 4 on the other hand is my favorite hair care line. The Number 4 Clarifying Shampoo and Volumizing Shampoo are awesome and do exactly what they say. A little goes a super long way as well. The Number 4 Super Comb Prep & Protect is a detangler and a dang good one. However, I don't like the scent and it tends to linger a bit so I wouldn't repurchase on that condition. I'm tossing my Lush No Drought Dry Shampoo because it's just expired and as you can see, I've barely used it. This didn't do as good of a job at refreshing my hair and making my scalp feel clean as the Klorane dry shampoo.

Here is a group picture of the skincare products I've finished recently. The Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet is a decent moisturizer for combination oily skin. I didn't love it but it wasn't a pain to use it up. The SKI-II Facial Treatment Essence was a splurge and I wasn't impressed by it. It works pretty much the same as the IOPE Bio Essence but is about double the price. I liked the sample of the Tatcha Cleansing Oil but I'm not particularly fussed about cleansing oils and don't need to purchase a very expensive one. I've finished another mini of the Caudalie Beauty Elixir before and I used to use it on airplanes so the scent now reminds me of that feeling you get after sitting on a plane for 20 hours. In other words, my brain associates it with feeling kind of sick. I polished off two sample Origins cleansers, the Checks and Balances and Plantscription. I've used Checks and Balances before and I really like it for warmer months when my skin is oily and congested. I didn't like the scent of the Plantscription one but it got the job done. Another sample of Lancome's Bi-Facil Eye Makeup Remover makes it into an empties post! I tend to always have one of these in my travel sample stash because of gift with purchases. I finished a sample pack of the Ole Henriksen Brightening Cleansing Cloths that everyone on Youtube seems to love. I don't like cleansing wipes in general and these were not mind blowing to me. They're not bad and the scent was nice but nothing that would replace a good cleansing oil or balm. I finished up minis of the Dr. Jart Ceramidin Liquid and Cream which I really enjoyed. The formulas are gentle and moisturizing without being heavy. I finished up a pot of the Lush Mint Julips Lip Scrub which I love and will repurchase soon. The scrub is perfect for getting rid of dead lip flakes while being moisturizing and tingly due to the peppermint oil. A mini sample of the Suki Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser which is a sugar based scrub and cleanser. I like it for the morning time as the lemongrass scent is really refreshing. This is a nice scrub for sensitive skin. I liked my sample of Dr. Lipp's Nipple Balm for Lips that I already purchased the full size. Lastly is an empty container of Rosebud Salve which is soooo old. It's embarrassing to admit that this is so old but to give you an idea of how ancient this is, I bought this when I was in high school! But the scent never went off and the texture was the same so I kept using it. It's essentially glorified Vaseline with a more pleasant scent. I used it on my lips before bed and you don't need a lot which is why this has lasted me so long.

Pretty happy with my roundup these two months. During this time period, I think I've had more outgoing beauty products than incoming purchases so I'm slowly but surely making some room in my cabinets. I do have some rather exciting planned purchases in the coming weeks (or months) so stay tuned for some hauls!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Fresh Sugar Berry Lipbalm: A Kiss of Moisturizing Color

Over two years ago, in my December 2012 Favorites post, I declared my love for the Fresh Sugar Lipbalms. My opinion has not changed on these wonderfully moisturizing lip wonders and I was happy to see this included in the Sephora Give Me More Lip Set last year. Everything from the packaging to the scent to the product itself is everything I want in a lipbalm. No, Fresh is not paying me to say these things (although I wouldn't mind if they did)!

Unlike most lipbalms, the Fresh Sugar Lip Treatments are encased in a metal twist tube which is ultra secure yet easy to open. There is an untinted version along with 11 sheer tinted options. Many of you probably have tried these before as Sephora had these for their 2012 Beauty Insider birthday gift. These have a lemony scent which I personally enjoy. The only downside is the price which is $22.50 for .15 ounces. The ones I've had have all been minis which are half of the full size.

The Fresh Sugar Lipbalms are sheer yet still noticeable on the lips. As you can see, Berry is a beautiful translucent pink on my lips. The finish is naturally glossy and your lips are enveloped in a soothing layer of softening beeswax, castor oil, jojoba oil and grapeseed oil. I wouldn't describe this balm as thick at all but you can definitely feel it on your lips. It never drags and is very easy to smooth onto the lips. Another added bonus is the SPF 15 which I need for my sensitive lips.

Nothing much else to say about this beaute. I think the lip swatch speaks for itself here! I definitely want to purchase more of the shades in the future despite the cost. If I can use these everyday, I can certainly justify the price. Have you tried the Fresh Sugar Lipbalms? Do you love them as much as I do?

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Rocksbox: For the Ever Changing Jewelry Box

How many of us get lured into fashion trends and end up with countless pieces that are abandoned only a season later? Rocksbox, a jewelry subscription box, reached out to me and asked if I would like to trial three months of their service with a bonus for my readers as well. Essentially, the program is like a Netflix for jewelry. You receive three pieces and you can wear them for as long as you like and send them back when you're done trialing them. If you want to keep a piece, you just don't send it back and they'll bill you automatically with a 20% discount off the retail price. 

The subscription is $19 a month and you get $10 in "Shine Spend" every month which can be used towards a purchase from a box. The box arrives in a bubble mailer that fits into your mailbox (a godsend for an apartment dweller like me). Inside the package is another bubble mailer and shipping label so you can send the pieces back. The jewelry is packaged in a sturdy Rocksbox-branded box.

It's the little things that make subscription boxes charming and I like the added personalization. All three jewelry items were wrapped carefully in their original packaging. The gorjana earrings were in their sleeve and the House of Harlow bracelet came in its own pouch. The necklace was wrapped securely in bubble wrap and is from a brand called Perry Street which I believe is the Rocksbox brand. The presentation of the box itself is great and I have no complaints about the ease of use.

When you make an account, you can view available pieces in the wish list section and add individual items to your personal wish list. I had chosen the Perry Street necklace and the other two pieces were surprises. I imagine that it's dependent on what is available in the warehouse that determines which pieces you receive. One area of improvement would be if there were more photos of the pieces on the website. There is no pricing or composition information on the wish list section. They only provide a stock picture, brand and name of the piece. I would like to see modeled photos for scale. 

As for this particular box, I really liked the House of Harlow bracelet as it isn't something I would normally gravitate towards but the etching in the metal sold me. Unfortunately, it definitely looks like something more for the summer months so I won't get much wear out of it now. Also, the bracelet is a few links too large for my small wrists. The necklace looks great from afar but up close it looks like something I could find at Forever21. The gorjana earrings were a bit of the let down due to the color. I generally like gorjana pieces but the turquoise color of these studs doesn't really go with my style. They would look lovely paired with the bracelet in the summer though. 

If you want to give Rocksbox a try, you can get your first month for free when you use the code angelicbbxoxo. For 30 from today, you can get your first month for free when you use that code. After that 30 day period, you can get 50% off your first month with the same code. To be completely transparent, when you use my code for your free box, I will receive $25 in "Forever Spend" credit. If you sign up, you also have the opportunity to earn Forever Spend when you refer friends. Unfortunately for my international readers, Rocksbox is currently only available in the United States. 

I like the idea of Rockbox and think it's a neat way to try mid-range jewelry without amassing too many pieces that you might get tired of after one season. I wasn't necessarily blown away by what I received in my first box but I'm hoping I like the next few a lot more. What do you think of this idea? Let me know if you sign up and I'd love to hear what you receive in your boxes!

*Rockbox offered me a three month complimentary subscription to their service. I am not being paid to write this post and all opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

My First Rouge Bunny Rouge Eyeshadows: Bohemian Waxwing and Delicate Hummingbird

It came to my attention that Rouge Bunny Rouge was on Hautelook back in November and I couldn't help but order two eyeshadows I've been oogling at for years. My parcel arrived in early December but I held off from even touching the shadows because I intended to make room in my Z-Palette (see: Project Make a Dent). Last weekend I just couldn't hold off any longer and knew of a store which sells Rouge Bunny Rouge (Junio in Flushing, in case you're in the NYC area) so I bought the duo eyeshadow case to pop in my refills. Now I've had a fair chance at swatching, wearing and admiring these lovelies so I can properly review them!

It wasn't difficult for me to choose two starter shadows. I went for Bohemian Waxing, described as an iridescent bronzed champagne, because it's the shade you can't go wrong with. Delicate Hummingbird was also a no-brainer because it is the namesake of one of my favorite blogs which, unfortunately, is now inactive. The Rouge Bunny Rouge eyeshadows are made in Italy and contain 2 grams of product each. The pans are just the tiniest bit bigger in circumference to the Mac shadows so these will not fit in a Mac palette. Each pan retails for $19 although I purchased them for a bit less on Hautelook. The cases are sold separately and retail for $12 for a duo and $18 for a trio, pretty pricey if you ask me. I personally really like having matching cases and pans so I paid a bit more to calm my organizational anxiety.

Upon first swipe I could tell why Rouge Bunny Rouge eyeshadows are so beloved in the blogging community. The texture of the shadows are smooth and almost creamy. I chose two shimmery shades but the reflects are very fine and subtle on the eye. You won't find any chunky glitter bits here. The shadows blend out easily without fading into nothingness and the color lasts all day when used over a primer.

When I was trying to compare the size of the pans to my Mac shadows, I noticed that Mac Satin Taupe looks like a combination of Bohemian Waxwing and Delicate Hummingbird! If these two shadows had a baby, it would be Satin Taupe.

To further prove my point, you can see the swatches above. Mac's Satin Taupe is a touch darker than Bohemian Waxwing and has that purple tinge that makes it similar to Delicate Hummingbird. Bohemian Waxwing has less of a metallic shine which means it's great for a conservative, everyday look. It has a brightening effect on my eyelids, a my-lids-but-better look. Today I wore Bohemian Waxwing all over the lid and the inner corner and blended out the outer corner and crease with Delicate Hummingbird. The purple was not too noticeable and added just enough depth to my eyes without looking smokey. I imagine using Delicate Hummingbird all over the lid would result in a beautiful, sultry look. 

I'm completely satisfied with my first Rouge Bunny Rouge pieces and I have my eyes set on the matte shadows next. I definitely think these are worthy of a look if they're on sale but do think they are a tad too pricey. For a trio of shadows in a compact, you would have to spend $75. For that much money, I'd rather chip in a few more dollars for a Tom Ford quad (which, for the record, is more creamy and buttery). What do you think of the Rouge Bunny Rouge eyeshadows? Do you have any in your collection or are you planning to acquire any in the future?

Monday, February 16, 2015

Winter Everyday Makeup Bag Edit

I'm spending my Presidents' Day off from work, bundled up at home and rummaging through my makeup bag to make amends. I showed you the contents of my everyday makeup bag last spring and there are a few familiar products. For one, I've been using the same makeup pouch that I got when I purchased a Japanese magazine. It's the perfect size and although it's gotten a little grayer with daily use, it's held up pretty well. I'd say this is more of a beauty bag than just a makeup bag because this is the stuff I take with me to touch up and refresh throughout the day. 

I love the Clean Well Natural Hand Sanitizer and was out of it for months. I only repurchased it the other day at Whole Foods and won't be without it in the future. I have a travel size of the Supergoop! Hand Cream which is ultra moisturizing but not my favorite because it feels almost gritty and the scent is very strong. It saves my chapped skin but I can't wait to finish it up. I'm almost out of my Rohto Eye Drops so I have the Cool+ version in my bag. A fine toothed comb is a must in my bag because my hair is always giving me issues. A have a small stack of tissues because the cold weather always makes my nose run.... Just being real here. The Clean & Clear Oil Blotting Sheets are my favorite and I have these cute pink ones from Asia. Again, I almost always have alcohol wipes on hand in case I develop a cold sore or get a nasty paper cut. A mini hairclip is also a makeup bag must-have in case I need to clip up my bangs, which are proving a huge pain to grow out. 

In terms of actual makeup, I always have my Shiseido Sheer and Perfect Powder* with me for touching up. This powder never looks cakey and tones down any redness that may appear after my makeup has faded. I use a little Ecotools Kabuki Brush to reapply my powder and wrap it in a brushguard to keep the bristles from getting splayed or dirty. I also keep my the saem Cover Perfection Tip Concealer handy for redness around my nose and on any spots. This Korean concealer is very lightweight yet surprisingly decent at covering hyper-pigmentation. 

On any given day I usually have about five different lip products in my makeup bag because I tend to throw in the lippie I am wearing for the day and forget to take it back out. I still keep my tube of theBalm Stainiac in the hopes that I will finish it up. The Malin + Goetz Lip Moisturizer is a simple glossy lip balm that I can put over the lip stain if I need more hydration. Two brand new lippies that I've allowed myself to open from my makeup stash are the Shiseido Veiled Rouge in RD302* and the Fresh Sugar Berry Tinted Lip Treatment SPF 15. I've tried the Fresh lipbalms from the Sephora birthday gift and love the texture and scent. The berry one is already a winner in my book and I'm thrilled it was included in the Sephora Give Me More Lip Set. The Shiseido lipstick is a brand new product for spring and I'm still testing it out to formulate my thoughts.

What's in your makeup bag right now? Do you have to go through your makeup bag to make sure you're not toting around 16 different lip products like me?

*Products marked with an asterisk were given to me by PR. All opinions are my own and I am not obligated to blog about these products. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Dr. Lipp Nipple Balm: For Lips?

Yeah, it wasn't a typo. This is a look at Dr. Lipp's Nipple Balm for Lips. Nipple balm? What does that mean? Apparently this was formulated by a man for his wife's chapped lady bits when she was breastfeeding their child and I guess they figured it would make a great moisturizer for the lips and it became a hit in the U.K. I was skeptical about this at first because the name just sounded like a gimmick but I tried a sample of it from Birchbox and was surprised at how well this worked. 

This balm is simply 100% medical grade lanolin, a natural blend of oils and waxes that is harvested from sheep's wool. According to the Dr. Lipp website, there are no added parabens, sulfates, fragrances or colorings. The 15 ml tube costs $14.50 which makes it a mid priced lip balm. If you use it exclusively for your lips, the tube will last you a good amount of time. If you choose to use it on your cuticles or other parts of your body, you're going to go through this quite quickly.

I like the easy to use squeezy tube that allows me to control exactly how much product I need. The amount shown here is more than enough to coat my lips. While the balm looks kind of cloudy and yellowish, it goes on clear and looks glossy on my lips. Dr. Lipp claims this is a scentless product but I can detect a very faint smell. It's not a fragrant scent and probably a natural scent that comes with lanolin. 

The tacky texture put me off at first because I was worried this would be ultra sticky on my lips. Even though the balm is sticky on your fingers and immediately when you apply it to the skin, it transforms to a lighter texture once your body heat works its magic. Dr. Lipp is ultra comfortable on my lips and noticeably soothes them when they're feeling raw and chapped from the brutal winter we've been having. I have some itchy spots on my body where my skin is very dry and applying a small bit of Dr. Lipp stops the itching. 

I didn't think I'd be sold on Dr. Lipp's Nipple Balm but I have to admit it's a pretty darn good lipbalm. Keep this little guy in your makeup bag and I'm sure you'll get a few confused chuckles from people who see this. Have you tried lanolin for your lips? Do you think you'd give Dr. Lipp a try?

Friday, February 6, 2015

Spring Skincare: Shiseido Bio-Performance Glow Revival Serum

'Glow revival' sounds exactly like what my skin needs right now so Shiseido was thinking ahead when naming this serum for their spring 2015 collection. The newly released Shiseido Bio-Performance Glow Revival Serum* targets skin capillaries to even skin tone, boost radiance and improve resilience. I had high expectations for this product as the claims are quite lofty. 

"It dramatically reduces the appearance of redness, discoloration, dullness and signs of aging with a smooth, moisturizing texture that feels as if it's melting into your skin. With one month of use, the appearance of dark spots and pores are visibly reduced and your skin appears more resilient."

Doesn't sound half bad, eh? I've been testing this serum for a little over a month and am finally ready to share my thoughts. 

The serum is packaged in an air-tight plastic pump bottle with a mirrored finish. The container looks quite pretty on top of my vanity and the reflective property goes well with the radiant concept. The bottle holds 1 ounce of product and will set you back $89. The pump is easy to control which is important since I find one full pump to be too much product. I usually do about half a pump for each application. As with the majority of Shiseido skincare, there is added fragrance in this product. However, unlike other products which I actually like the scent of, the Glow Revival Serum has a very strong perfume scent that I find overwhelming. It smells like I'm slathering perfume on my face when I use this. It's not a bad scent but it is very noticeable.

Another ingredient I wish Shiseido would have left out of this formula is the shimmery mica. The serum is a very pale pink with lots of super fine shimmer. I just don't feel the shimmer is necessary if the serum can actually repair the skin like it claims. Due to the overwhelming scent and shimmer, I only wear this in the day time. I pump a small amount of this into my palm and mix it together with my face lotion. The sparkles aren't noticeable on my face but my complexion does appear more luminous. The texture of the serum is lightweight and smooth; it absorbs easily into my skin without feeling greasy. 

As for all the skincare benefits? I can't say I see a noticeable difference in my skin. Granted I do only use this once a day in combination with my moisturizer. But this particular serum just wasn't for me. I love the Shiseido White Lucent Serum and their Ultimune Concentrate which certainly make my skin look and feel healthier. But the Glow Revival Serum just didn't deliver the benefits I had hoped it would. Does it give you an instantaneous glow? Yes, but so can a less expensive highlighter. Perhaps if the fragrance was less potent and the shimmer was not included, I'd be more apt to use this day and night to better my results. 

Do you like your skincare to give you instant radiance or do you prefer slower but longer lasting effects? Have you tried any Shiseido serums? Let me know what your favorite glow reviving products are!

*I was provided this product for free by PR and was not obligated to review it. All thoughts are my own and 100% honest. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

My Late Thoughts on Hourglass' Ambient Lighting Blush

Despite being aware of beauty releases well in advance of their actual debut due to my diligent blog-reading and Youtube-watching, I rarely review products at their peak popularity. This is largely due to my shop-during-sale mentality. I actually purchased the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Luminous Flush back in July, used it a few times and totally forgot to feature a proper review and swatches just because everyone else had already talked about it. You've probably already seen a million and one reviews on these marbled beauties but this is my blog and I can share my two cents if I please! 

I liked all six of the Ambient Lighting Blush shades but thought Luminous Flush was one of the more eye-catching shades. I honestly wish I could go back and choose a different shade though because Hourglass later launched the Ambient Lighting Blush Palette which contains Luminous Flush. At the moment I refuse to purchase the palette because that would mean acquiring a double of this color. I have my fingers crossed that Hourglass will release additional shades to this line and create a new blush palette!

Each rose gold compact contains .15 ounces or 4.2 grams and retails for $35. The plastic packaging is lightweight but secure and sturdy. The marbled design differs from blush to blush so every time you'll get a unique blend. Maybe that is reason enough for me to acquire the blush palette....

Hourglass did a great job in formulating this blush. The powder is very smooth and fine without being the least bit powdery or chalky. You can certainly build up the color or just dust on a bit for a soft touch of pigment. You can see above a full on swipe as well as a blended out swatch. I know some people were disappointed that these didn't give them as much of a glow as the Ambient Lighting Powders (which I have yet to own) but I'm glad that this blush wasn't noticeably shimmery. Luminous Flush imparts a sheen but nowhere near a frosty finish. All in all, I really like this blush and find it worth the price. 

In more recent Hourglass news, I was so excited for the launch of the Modernist Eyeshadow Palettes like most of the beauty community and was so disappointed to read overwhelmingly negative reviews. Determined to see the palettes and swatch for myself, I made my way to Sephora this past Sunday and luckily they already had them in stock. The neutral palette, Infinity, was already on my mental wishlist and it swatched super buttery and pigmented. I had no issues with the color payoff and the texture of the shadows was definitely something to marvel at. Yes, there was a bit of excess powder but the colors were perfect. The other palettes were not as nice in my opinion and I felt that they had a bit more powder kick up but the colors are nonetheless gorgeous. I will keep my eyes peeled for good promo codes to purchase the Infinity palette or probably wait until a decent GWP event to splurge. I have had the Ambient Lighting Powder Palette on my wishlist for months. What do you guys think of Hourglass cosmetics? Would love to hear your recommendations besides the Ambient Lighting products!