30 April, 2014

Quick Review: April Glossybox!

Today was my favorite day of the month!
Just kidding, it's finals week. So this is going to be a super quick review, but I have to say, my day was brightened when I checked the mail and found my April Glossybox waiting for me! Just in time!
For those of you that don't know, Glossybox is in my opinion the best beauty box subscription you can buy. For 20- 21 dollars a month, you get at least five luxury beauty products, and at least two are full- size. The other three are usually also a very generous size. People have done the math on the Glossyboxes, and there's always around 100 dollars of product that you're actually getting, so in my opinion, it's an unbeatable deal. Plus, I have been getting Glossyboxes since January, and I have never ran into a product that's a total dud.
Anyway! Onto April! In this month's Glossybox I received:

- deluxe sample of Aqua Spa body créme in lavender & chamomile - I haven't heard of the Aqua Spa line before, but I immediately put some of this on my hands and it smells so good. It's a really authentic lavender and chamomile scent that's super relaxing, so I can't wait to use this tonight! (did I mention it's finals week?!) My hands smell and feel great.
- deluxe sample of Caldrea body wash in coconut fig leaf - admittedly the last thing I need is another body wash (I literally have four in my shower right now) but this smells so good! I would definitely say that the scent is more fig leaf than coconut - it definitely doesn't smell tropical or super fruity, but it's fresh, clean, and not overpowering.
- full size Ciaté London paint pot in beach hut - this polish is orange with orange microglitter. Ciaté describes it on their website as "blazing orange," and I would definitely agree. I unfortunately have a shade like this already, so when I look at the color options available, it kind of bums me out that I got this shade. However, Ciaté is one of my favorite luxury brands of nail polish, and this polish alone costs $15, so that's 75% of the box already paid for!
- full size Bellápierre Cosmetics supergloss in vanilla pink - so again, you go to Bellápierre's site and learn that this exact gloss retails for $24.50! Woahh. That being said, I wouldn't pay that much for this. The color isn't what I would have picked - it's a neutral pink, but the copper shimmer in it makes it look ridiculous on the lips if you apply too much of it. This is made with natural ingredients, and has a different consistency than most glosses - it's definitely not sticky, and something about it just makes me want to load up my lips with it. Not sure if I am a fan of this, but I will definitely keep it.
- full size LASplash Cosmetics eyeshadow sealer/ base - this is a brand I haven't heard of before, and that's one of my favorite things about Glossybox - I always discover new brands! This is a very affordable makeup brand based in LA, and I like the look of some of their products after a browse online. I'm excited to see if the eyeshadow base is effective. As I just for this product today, I haven't been able to test it for the 12 hours of wear that it promises, but I swatched it and loved that a) there was no poor scent and b) it was completely undetectable. I currently have an urban decay eyeshadow primer potion in greed, and I am absolutely not loving it because it is metallic and I would prefer something neutral when I am trying to use it as a base. This is $9, and I have read some positive reviews on it, so if I like this, I will definitely be purchasing this over my current Urban Decay one (which is around $20 what the heck).

Overall, this wasn't my favorite box because I feel like the color selections really aren't blowing me out of the water, and I didn't particularly need a new body wash or lotion. The product I am most excited about is the eyeshadow sealer/ base from LASplash. However, I most definitely wouldn't say that I am disappointed with this, and I know next month is going to be great because it's curated by Bergdorf's! I would still definitely recommend this subscription service, especially over Birchbox or Ipsy!

Would you consider getting a Glossybox subscription started??

Xx Kate

16 April, 2014

Quick Look: OCC Lip Tar

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics (OCC) can be found at Sephora or online in a myriad of colors ranging from sky blue to sunny yellow to bright pink to inky black. The display is small but interesting and I have always been interested in the idea of a blue or black lip. After many weeks of sampling all the colors in the display, I decided to go with a matte lip tar in Black Dahlia. The OCC website describes this color as the "blackest, blackened red" and was the obvious next choice for me in my pursuit of Gothic lips.

Black Dahlia at its darkest (bit blurry!) 
Each lip tar comes in a small, plastic pouch with an applicator brush and instructions for application. They recommend that you put a small bead of tar on the brush and apply from the middle of the lip out. Application is pretty simple but I am a little less skilled with a brush than I am with a wand or tube of lipstick, so that did take a bit of adjustment. However, it was easy to use and didn't gush out of the tube and was very spreadable. Color pigmentation is true to the tube. My lips looked black, which is what I hoped for but not exactly practical for my job. Luckily this color is very versatile and easy to sheer the color out.
Lightest version

I've found that Black Dahlia has about three different shades that I can achieve. First is obvious the black red that it is advertised as being, second is a dark purpley-red, and the last is a nice deep red. You can expect to have your lips go through these three shades as your day progresses if you are like me and are a little lax about reapplication. Despite this expected lightening, color did remain all day once it settled on red.

The one complaint that I have is that it is very easily transferable. Anything that came in contact with my mouth came away colored and was only solved by removing the lip tar completely.

I can definitely deal with the transference and am interested in trying more of the line to see if all colors are as versatile as Black Dahlia. Anyone else have an opinion on OCC Lip Tars? xx Jenna

14 April, 2014

New Favorite Alert!! Soap & Glory Orangeasm Body Butter

One of my favorite beauty brands ever, Soap & Glory, recently released their new scent, and it's an amazing one! The new scent is dubbed "Orangeasm" and, as you might guess, it's an orange- dominated citrus scent. The official description is that it is "scented with fresh green mandarin, sicilian lemon & sweet orange peel oils." You can find Orangeasm's scent in a super rich body butter, a zesty- fresh revitalizing body wash, and a super tonic fragrance

I was unable to located the fragrance and have one too many body washes as is, so I opted to try the body butter. The orangeasm super rich body butter contains shea butter massage balls & MANGOMILK, green mandarin, Sicilian lemon & sweet orange peel oils. I was very intrigued by the "massage balls." I have bought many other Soap & Glory body butters, but have never encountered massage balls before. 
Upon opening this product, I absolutely fell in love with the scent. In my opinion, it's the perfect fresh citrus scent. It's energizing, and applying this body butter makes me feel more awake and clean, no matter what my state. It is definitely a noticeable scent, but it's not too strong. I really have an issue with scents that are very overpowering and linger a lot. An example of a scent like this is the Body Shop's Satsuma body butter. If I use that body butter all over, I can smell it on me hours and hours later - still very strong, and I never enjoy that. This has the perfect scent, and the perfect amount of scent. 

I am always impressed by Soap & Glory's products, and their body butters are a standout favorite of mine. Every one I have tried is super moisturizing, sinks in quickly, and continues to make my skin feel amazing all day. The Orangeasm body butter performed equally as well as all of the others. The body butter is rich, and does contain very tiny neon orange beads that are the massage balls. I can't say I really noticed a difference with the addition of the massage balls - they were too small to make a difference in the application, and they didn't particularly bother or excite me. I wouldn't be fussed if the massage balls were taken out, but they didn't decrease my enjoyment of the product either. 
the small orange dots are the mini massage balls!
I would highly recommend this product. As usual, Soap & Glory has made an excellent body butter with a perfect- for- spring and summer scent. I am already addicted to using this, and I think you will be as well if you like citrus scents. This is just perfect! 
What new products are you currently loving? Will you be trying Soap & Glory's Orangeasm scent? 

Xx Kate

11 April, 2014

3 Things I'm Really Going to Regret Not Buying During the Sephora Sale

We all have regrets before sales, during sales, and after sales. Before sales, I always wish I had saved more money, so I would have more money to spend. During sales, I sometimes I wish I got this thing instead of this other thing, because this other thing isn't actually that great - but it was cheap. And, after sales, I always wish I had bought these other things that I wasn't brave enough to.

The Sephora sale was, of course, a challenging moment in my life. I did get a lot of stuff I had been craving - The Bumble & Bumble Surf Shampoo & Conditioner, the Ren Invisible Pores Detox Mask (which I am already addicted to), the Lancome Hypnose Star Mascara, and the Ole Henrisken Clean Truth Brightening Cleansing Cloths that were always just a liiiiiitle too expensive to justify pre- sale. I'm really happy with all my purchases, but of course, there are few things I really wish I had bought. Here are my top 3.

1. Make Up Forever HD Invisible Cover Foundation (price: $42)

I've been told this is a really great foundation for full coverage, and I am a huuuuge fan of Make Up Forever, but the $42 price tag combined with the fact that I forgot to go get shade matched at a Sephora in person really made me waffle on this. Plus, I have about seven tubes of foundation right now, so I didn't think it was THAT necessary.
However, on the other hand, I really don't have a go- to full coverage foundation yet, and my skin has been breaking out a bit lately. Additionally, I would really like to get more into luxury foundations, as that's something I haven't tried extensively before, and I think this would be a good starting point.
Likelihood that I will eventually buy this: 8. If I go into a Sephora and find a shade I like, and it feels good on my skin in- store, I think there's a strong likelihood that this will be purchased.

2. Dior Rosy Glow Healthy Glow Awakening Blush in Petal (price: $44)
Everything about this blush looks absolutely gorgeous. The packaging looks so luxe, the color is unique and beautiful, and ughhhh I want it so badly! I managed to talk myself out of it because I do have quite a few blushes, and I don't feel to deprived in that arena. I don't have one this color, but I do have many different shades that look flattering on me, so do I really need this??
Likelihood that I will eventually buy this: 5. I really love this, and I haven't found a barbie pink color similar to this in the drugstore yet - what I love about this is that it really is unique. However, if I were to find one (and I am sure there's one out there somewhere), I wouldn't have any need for this. If I can't find a shade like this anywhere, I could see myself asking for this during my birthday or something to that effect. Blush does last a long time, so I do see good value for the price. I just don't need another one right now.

3. GLAMGLOW Supermud Clearing Treatment (price: $69)

I honestly build up the steam to buy this about once every two weeks, but it hasn't happened yet. Here's why: I spend the whole week hating my skin, and convincing myself that my face wouldn't look like this if I had a really nice mask. I don't think the effectiveness of this is heavily disputed. Generally, it's very well- reviewed, and I know a few beauty bloggers that swear by this. I have actually been lucky enough to sample this, and I have to say, I did notice a difference with this mask, even with the paltry amount I put on my face. So I've built up the steam to buy this, and then I go into Sephora on saturday afternoon, take one look at a) the price and b) the size of the jar, and convince myself that I will never need a mask that badly. I cannot stress how disappointingly small this product is. I'd be surprised if you could get 10 uses out of this. That's about $7 per mask. SERIOUSLY?! I'm a law student living mostly on student loans. I literally will not ever be able to justify this - even with a 15% discount. But oh, do I want this....
Likelihood that I will eventually buy this product: 2. The silver lining of this story is that there are a lot of lovely masks out on the market. You could spend half as much and get the Ren Invisible Pores Detox Mask, which I did buy during the sale, and absolutely love. If you go through all the drugstore masks and all of the reasonably high- end masks and you still can't find something that rivals the Glamglow, then I'd say, what the heck are you waiting for. But until I do that, I'm going to keep exploring.

Do you have any beauty regrets post- Sephora sale? And what did you choose to splurge on during the sale? Let me know in the comments!

Xx Kate

09 April, 2014

Top 5 Nail Polishes for Spring!

Only recently have I started truly being aware of the color profiles that come with every new season. Sure, during the dead of winter, I still love to wear some neon pink, but generally, I've come to value the changing color palettes that accompany that changing weather. 
Color- wise, I'm a huge fans of the pretty pastels and muted neons that seem to accompany spring. Dressing brighter seems to welcome in the new sunny weather so appropriately, and one of the best ways to stay on- trend is to reflect the new trends in your nail polish! Recently, I've gone on a bit of a nail polish overhaul and splurge, so I cleaned out a ton of my collection - some bottles I've literally had for ten years - and then bought a bunch of new, pretty springtime colors. After testing them out for a bit, I've taken the guesswork out of the best colors for spring, and am so excited to share my top five picks with you! 

First is Essie's Cocktails and Coconuts. This is one of the most obvious choices, as this literally comes from the Essie 2014 Resort Collection. I think in every season you need at least one go- to neutral, and this one is mine for Spring 2014. This is a beautiful shade of light brown with faint shimmer (think basically any Essie polish ever) and looks super flattering with many different skin tones. 

Next is Sally Hansen Insta- Dri in Snappy Sorbet. I love this orange color because it is bright enough to be an awesome transition into summer, but the coral hint to it is always perfect for spring. I think this is the perfect bright nail polish to wear with a more understated outfit, and it will look totally springtime fresh! Or, you can always put this on your nails and continue on wearing your winter clothes, and you'll still look totally on- trend (if a little bit hot).

Sally Hansen's Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear in Mint Sorbet has gotten a lot of positive press as one of the best dupes for Essie's Mint Candy Apple on the market - and it's less than half the price! I picked this over Mint Candy Apple because I actually like the formulation of this much better. The Hard As Nails line actually seems to live up to its name. My nails are notorious for chipping, but I never have an issue with this polish. I think mint is always a fail safe for spring, and this is my personal favorite one. 

This Lauren B Beauty nail polish in City of Angels is the most lovely light pink for spring. The formulation of this polish really hits the mark. This polish goes on almost completely opaque in one coat, which is somewhat of a rarity for paler polishes. It's also eco- and vegan- friendly, containing no formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, DBP, toluene or camphor. However, that also means this polish is the priciest on the list, coming in at $18 a bottle. I was lucky enough to get it in a Glossybox, but if you're looking for a lighter pink that won't break the bank, Essie's Fiji or Sally Hansen's First Blush are good alternatives. 

Last but certainly not least is my favorite polish of the moment. This beautiful orchid color is Essie's Splash of Grenadine. I am absolutely in love with this color. It is a shade or two lighter in person, but I had a hard time getting it to not look neon on camera. One of my favorite things about this polish is how absolutely versatile it is. It looks beautiful with everything, and the formulation is really on point. There is literally nothing I do not love about this nail polish. Bonus: orchid is the color of the year, so you can continue wearing this all year long... and at the rate I am going, I probably will be! 

This wraps up my five favorite polishes for Spring! What colors are you wearing on your nails at the moment? Did I miss any winners? :) 

Xx Kate

05 April, 2014

Quick Look: Benefit's The Big Easy

Benefit's new foundation, The Big Easy, came out a few months ago and, after reading some pre- reviews of the project, I was so eager to try it. The reviews for this "Better Than BB" product promised good coverage that felt lightweight on your skin. One of the unique innovations with this product is a 'liquid to powder' formula that was supposed to be especially nice for oily skin. I personally do have oilier skin, and I feel like a lot of foundations are good for dry skin, but few that are targeted to oily skin. Benefit does claim that this foundation is good for all skin types, though. I quickly purchased it and have been trying it out for the past few weeks. Here are my thoughts.

The application of this product is relatively easy. It's one of the few foundations I feel comfortable using my fingers to apply it, but it also yields a very nice application with a foundation brush and with my beauty blender. It's really quite user friendly.

The Big Easy really does sink into my skin well and feels incredibly lightweight. However, I think that it feeling lightweight logically means that it will be lightweight. I would say that this coverage is light to medium. It's great for me if I'm having a relatively good skin day, but sometimes I prefer a fuller coverage alternative. I'm not saying that this doesn't cover things nicely, but I struggle to build it up to full coverage. Here is a picture of this foundation on my skin not blended (left) and blended (right). I don't even detect it on my skin once blended out.

The Big Easy has an SPF of 35, which I was really excited about, as I love protecting my skin. I have five other foundations with SPF, and they are all 15 or lower. SPF 35 is very significant, and I know that this is going to give me great protection, which will definitely be beneficial in the long run. I know some people do shy away from SPF in your foundation, as it tends to have a "white out" effect on your face when you take pictures. I was aware of this, so I made sure to test this out for The Big Easy. I took a picture of it with flash, and I was very pleased to see that it didn't seem to blanch my skin. However, because of the SPF, there is a detectible "sunscreen" fragrance. It's extremely mild, and I didn't notice it until I actually consciously smelled it, but it could be something to keep in mind if you're sensitive to smells.
enjoying the sun with The Big Easy!

This product hasn't broken me out, and I find that I can wear it all day and my skin doesn't get as oily. I don't feel that I need to set the foundation with powder, as the liquid does change to powder, so that saves me a step on rushed mornings. Overall, I do really enjoy this product. I will admit, it's not my holy grail, as I do like a foundation that I can build up to fuller coverage easily. I would recommend this product for anyone with oily skin who doesn't struggle too much with blemishes or dark spots. This is an excellent foundation to have during the summer when SPF and oiliness are even larger concerns, so I do look forward to continued use.

What's your holy grail foundation?

Xx Kate

Orchid, the Color of the Year in Blush

2014's color of the year, according to Sephora+Pantone Universe, is "Radiant Orchid." Kate was very excited about this since the announcement while I only realized it was happening about a week before it was released in the store. So naturally, when it was finally in stores, Kate was on vacation and I went to Sephora for concealer but left with the new orchid blush palate and a cute make-up bag that was a free gift with purchase.

The purple blush was to enticing for me to pass up but I was also hesitant about actually putting the palate to use because my previous feelings toward blush had been more of the 'well hopefully no one can tell this is here'  variety. But that is more to blame on my general lack of makeup knowledge than anything else, I have since been introduced to the combined efforts of blushes, bronzers, highlighters, contouring, etc. That being said, this blush is a lot brighter tone than I was used to working with in general.

There was a definite learning curve involved with application, which I should have expected because I also own a bronzer from the same brand and it has to be parsed down before application unless I want to look like Attack Of The Self-Tanner. This is an attempt one morning before work that was a bit brighter than originally planned (but also I tend to apply make-up without glasses/contacts so...) (additionally ignore this weird expression, it was before 6 AM).

This photo is more recent and toned down to a level that I prefer. The times that it is too bright/much for me, it is necessary to remove all makeup and start again because I've found that trying to blend down does not work as efficiently as I would like but does attest to the staying power of the color. That being said, I do really love the brightness of the purple and the level of pigmentation. I find that its really suitable for Spring and a lot more fun than the duller mauve-y tones I had previously be more inclined to purchase. I definitely recommend giving the palette a shot while it is here.

02 April, 2014

Hair Must Haves: Fudge Urban for Target

Fudge Urban is a hair company from the UK that I have been dying to try ever since I discovered it a few months back. But like many things that originate in the UK that I am interested in trying, there was no way (that I could find) to get it sent to the US. Then, eureka!, news broke that select Target stores would be selling their products. I was more than excited and made a ridiculous trek to the lone Target in my area that was selling Fudge Urban. Of course the whole Fudge line is not available, including their hair color (is something I am very interested in trying). However, I have been very pleased with what I was able to obtain. I purchased Miracle Ends, Sea Salt Spray, and a hairspray. All products have a very nice coconut scent that refrains from being overpowering but still manages to linger for most of my day, giving off a faint scent burst that never fails to make me long for pina coladas and island lounging.

First lets talk Miracle Ends, the product that I find myself reaching for most often. It is a lotion-like substance with Argan Oil that is supposed to seal ends and add shine to hair. You can use it on dry hair to help de-frizz ends or apply to damp hair prior to blow drying (I tend to use Miracle Ends on dry hair because I only wash my hair twice a week and use the hair dryer maybe once a month). It is great for my second and third day hair when my ends start to rebel and puff out. For my hair, this would not work on a day that I was trying to go for more texture in my hair because it smooths and sleeks my hair too much for a bedhead day.

Next, Salt Spray: The bottle says you can either spray on dry hair and scrunch or spray on wet hair and blow dry for volume and texture. The best use for me is using it as a volumizer/texturizer on wet hair. Volume is something my hair lacks and this definitely adds an oomph. When it comes to beachy texture, I can't say that I get a "beachy" look but that is maybe more at the fault of my hair than the product. My hair is very thick and tends to not hold wave or curl no matter what I do. The spray does give my hair texture which is something I want because I tend to go with the messy, un-brushed look. I've yet to experiment with what happens if I add the Sea Salt Spray to curled hair.

Finally, the hair spray: Fudge Urban boasts a long lasting "48 hour mega-hold". I can't attest for a full 48 hours but I will say that the hold will last at least all day. The spray stream is also nice because it covers large areas and you don't have to spray a lot to compensate for a dud stream or worry about unsightly hard clumps.

So yes, I recommend Fudge Urban. I want to try more of the line and will definitely keep this three as my hair must-haves.