Benefit Cosmetics

Glossybox – September 2014

Glossybox - September 2014

Glossybox - September 2014 - First Look

Glossybox - September 2014 - Contents

Hey look! It’s my September Glossybox. I actually had this one sitting on my desk for a month now but I guess better late than never, right? Sigh.

September’s box was a collaboration with Harper’s Bazaar magazine. The contents were curated by Harper’s Bazaar Digital Director, Joyann King. I usually love Glossybox’s collaborations but this one was pretty boring in comparison with others. But see for yourself.

Bulgari Eau Parfumée Au thé Blanc Conditioner

Full Size: 6.76. fl oz, $45
Sample Size: 2.5 fl oz, $16.64 value

Glossybox - September 2014 - Bulgari Eau Parfumée Au thé Blanc Conditioner

I don’t know how I feel about designers dabbling into the world of hair care (or skin care for that matter). Makeup I can understand to an extend but for hair care I don’t think a designer brings anything to the table aside from the brand name. Consequently, I bet that this is probably a perfectly average conditioner that is totally overpriced. I’m happy to be proven wrong but I’m not holding my breath. I’m still on the fence on whether to trade this or not.

Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Mascara

Full Size: 0.3  oz, $23
Sample Size: 0.1 oz, $7.67 value

Glossybox - September 2014 - Benefit Cosmetics They're Real! Mascara

I still very much like this mascara so I’m happy to have a backup.

Essie

Shade: Madison Ave-Hue
Size: 0.46 fl oz, $8.50

Glossybox - September 2014 - Essie

I was really hoping to get the other shade in the September Glossybox, She’s Pampered. This shade is a really bright bubble gum pink that isn’t really my style. Oh well.

Vichy Liftactive Night

Full Size: 1.69 fl oz, $50
Sample Size: 0.51 fl oz, $15.09 value

Glossybox - September 2014 - Vichy Liftactive Night

Yay, skin care! Moisturizers are always welcome in my subscription boxes.

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tar Metallic

Shade: Authentic
Size: 0.33 fl oz, $18

Glossybox - September 2014 - Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tar Metallic

I’ve been interested in trying the OCC lip tars for a while so I was excited about seeing this in a spoiler. I’m not too crazy about the color so I will probably trade this one which is disappointing.

Overall, this was a pretty average Glossybox. It didn’t knock me off my feet but I will definitely use the mascara and the night cream. I guess I just had higher expectations from a collaboration with Harper’s Bazaar.

This was also the last Glossybox in my 3-month subscription. So far I haven’t re-subscribed. I think Glossybox is a prefectly fine subscription but over the past three months it’s also been a bit boring and I just expect more from a subscription that costs $21 a month. I guess I’m a just glossied-out for the time being so I will give it a break for now. I would definitely consider subscribing again in the future if Glossybox were to do any exciting collaborations.

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Birchbox – July 2014

Birchbox - July 2014
Birchbox - July 2014 - contents

To find out more about what Birchbox is, click here.

I think I’ve been noticing a trend with Birchbox: the later my box ships the more I like its contents. This one was another awesome box and I’m excited about every single item in it.

This month Birchbox teamed up with Women’s Health to bring us beauty products to “power up” our routines. The Birchbox themes always seem a bit random, but okay. This is the second time since I’ve been with Birchbox that they collaborated with Women’s Health and like last year this box also included an offer for a free one-year subscription to Women’s Health magazine. Last year I decided to subscribe but I’m not sure that I liked the magazine enough to get it for another year. I’m just not that much into working out. The offer also gives you the option to receive a $9.99 refund which will almost cover the cost of this box so I might just do that.

Birchbox - July 2014 - Ruffian

RUFFIAN Nail Lacquer

Shade: Ambrosia
Full Size: 0.17 fl oz, $11

This month Birchbox offered their subscribers the option to pick one of the samples in their box. You could either choose  one of three Ruffian nail polishes from the Rapture collection or one of two Cynthia Rowley lip stain colors. I opted for the Ruffian nail lacquer in the shade Ambrosia which is a gorgeous metallic, shimmery lavender.

RUFFIAN Dressing Room Nail Lacquer Remover Towelettes

Full Size: 10 ct, $12
Sample Size: 1 ct, $1.20 value

Nail polish remover wipes are always a welcome sample for me. I like to stash them in my travel case, purse, or at work in case I my polish chips while on the go and I want to remove it to look presentable.

Birchbox - July 2014 - Naobay Body Radiance Lotion

Naobay Body Radiance Lotion

Full Size: 8.4 fl oz, $24
Sample Size: 1 fl oz, $2.86 value

“Olive oil, shea butter, and avocado oil deliver serious moisture, while aloe vera soothes and protects skin. More than 98 percent of ingredients in this creamy lotion are natural, and over 19 percent are organic”

This lotion smells just like lemon drops and it has a very light consistency which makes it absorb really well. Normally I don’t go crazy over body lotion samples but this one I love.

Birchbox - July 2014 - Real Chemistry Luminous 3-Minute Peel

Real Chemistry Luminous 3-Minute Peel

Full Size: 1.7 fl oz, $48
Sample Size:0.17 fl oz, $4.80 value

“Suitable for all skin types, this pH-neutral protein peel gently exfoliates delicate skin without the use of harsh acids or abrasives. The unique gel binds to dead skin cells on the face, neck, and décolleté, forming solids that can be easily washed away with water.”

I tried this chemical peel on the back of my hand and all of that dead, dry skin came right off. It was a bit gross, but kinda amazing, to see all of that gunk peeling off but my hand felt a lot smoother afterward.

Birchbox - July 2014 - Benefit Posiebalm

Benefit Posiebalm

Full Size: 0.1 oz, $18
Sample Size: 0.01 oz, $1.80 value

This lip balm looks like a bubblegum pink in the tube but it goes on very sheer to the point where it almost doesn’t have any tint to it at all. Most people would probably be disappointed by that but I personally am okay with it. The sample is really tiny though. The little bit that is sticking out of the tube in the picture is all there is to it. Maybe I’ll be able to finish it off during the Sample Killah challenge.

Birchbox - July 2014 - Beauty Protector Protect & Treat Hair Mask

Beauty Protector Protect & Treat Hair Mask

Full Size: 4 oz, $25.95
Sample Size: 2 x 0.5 oz, $6.49 value

“The formula is loaded with antioxidants to neutralize damaging free radicals. Argan oil, honey, amber, and crushed pearls (if the mask’s creamy texture wasn’t proof enough of its luxuriousness) revive strands and preserve their youthful texture and shine. What’s more, the mask works with all hair types, and is cruelty-free.”

Hair masks are one of my vices. This one smells like marshmallows and the description sounds great so I’m really excited to give it a try.

This might be my favorite Birchbox to date. I love every single thing I received and I will use all of it. The total value of this box was almost $30 which is pretty great for Birchbox standards. Keep up the good work, Birchbox!

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June Favorites

June Favorites

Okay, can we just take a minute to be amazed by the fact that the first half of 2014 is already over? This month went by especially fast for me. First I took a long-anticipated beach vacation and after that my parents were in town for the remainder of the month. I didn’t work one full week this whole month which has been a nice change of pace and I finally enjoyed some much needed relaxation. Let’s talk about the beauty products I’ve been loving this month.

Being on vacation for parts of June forced me to streamline my makeup routine and stick with a few select products. Of course, I wouldn’t want to be with my favorite foundation, the Estée Lauder Double Wear Light Stay-in-Place Makeup (1 fl oz, $37). I still enjoy it just as much as when I first reviewed it. The Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light (0.35 oz, $45) is still a staple in my routine. I love to apply a light dusting to give my skin some glow. In terms of blush I pretty much stuck to the NARS Blush in Deep Throat (0.16 oz, $30) all month. The peach color looks amazing now that I got a bit of a tan. While I wasn’t too impressed with the Benefit They’re Real! Mascara (0.3 fl oz, $23) when I first tried it, it’s quickly becoming my new favorite. I love the way it separates, lengthens, and defines my lashes and I’ve been using it pretty much every single day. If I have a long day ahead of me a few spritzes of the Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray (1 fl oz, $14) are a must to make my makeup stay put all day long.

In terms of skin care, I recently added two antioxidant serums to my routine: the Paula’s Choice Resist Ultra-Light Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum (1 fl oz, $30) and the Caudalie Polyphenol C15 Anti-Wrinkle Defense Serum (1 fl oz, $62). I love the consistency of the Paula’s Choice antioxidant serum. It’s light and absorbs really fast. The Caudalie C15 serum has a milky consistency which makes it feel moisturizing and nourishing. The smell is a bit… odd but it dissipates quickly. I like to mix the two together and apply them in the morning under my moisturizer to boost my skin’s defenses against free radicals and sun damage.

Although I usually have multiple cleansers on rotation, this month I pretty much stuck to the REN Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk (5.1 fl oz, $28). You just can’t go wrong with this cleanser, especially if your skin is dry or dehydrated. You can read my initial review and my follow-up review here and here.

Lastly, the Redken Extreme Anti-Snap Leave-In Treatment (8.5 fl oz, $17.50) saved my hair this past month. My hair was in pretty bad shape after highlighting it at the beginning of the month and then exposing it to salt water and the hot Florida sun. To make matters worse I failed to regularly use hair masks so my hair has been fried: dry and split ends, breakage, you name it. This Redken treatment works wonders at giving my ends some much needed love and sealing in those damaged ends.

What beauty products have you been enjoying this June?

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Birchbox – June 2014

Birchbox - June 2014 - contents

To find out more about what Birchbox is click here.

Birchbox is slowly but surely redeeming itself. Last month‘s shipping was really slow but the awesome box contents more than made up for it. This month I was pleasantly surprised at how fast my Birchbox arrived. It was kinda ironic, actually, because I was still out of town when my Birchbox landed in my mailbox about a week ago. I’m back from vacation and excited to review another awesome Birchbox.

This month Birchbox teamed up with Jet Blue to bring their subscribers travel-ready samples. They really hit the nail on the head with the selection in this box. There is a nice mix of everything and the sample sizes are perfect for vacation. Since I just came back from my trip to Florida I won’t be able to use them for that purpose but all of the products I received are great and will still get used in my everyday routines.

Birchbox - June 2014 - Benefit They're Real! Mascara

Benefit They’re Real! Mascara

Full Size: 0.3 fl oz, $23
Sample Size: 0.1 oz, $7.67

I previously received a sample of this mascara as a gift with purchase. The first time I tried it, I wasn’t impressed but once the formula dried up a bit, it got much better and by now I’m really enjoying this mascara. I’m happy to have a backup.

Birchbox - June 2014 - Perlier Body Cream

Perlier Body Cream

Scent: Shea Butter with Sweet Almond Milk
Full Size: 6.7 oz, $28.45
Sample Size: 1.0 fl oz, $4.25

This body lotion smell really nice. It’s not the most exciting sample ever but it will definitely get used.

Birchbox - June 2014 - Davines Love Hair Products

Davines OI / All in One Milk

Full Size: 4.56 fl oz, $28
Sample Size: 0.13 fl oz, $0.80

I’m a huge fan of leave-in treatments for hair. This one claims to moisturize, detangle, prime, and protect against heat-damage. I’ve seen other people get a spray bottle of this product in their boxes so this foil sample is a bit disappointing. It’s going to be more difficult to apply and can’t be resealed. I’m still looking forward to giving this a try.

Davines Love Smoothing Shampoo

Full Size: 8 fl oz, $24
Sample Size: 2.5 fl oz, $7.50

This shampoo claims to “tame frizzed-out and tangle-prone hair.” My hair can definitely use some of that. It’s a very generous size so I was really excited to try it until I saw that it contains sulfates. Whomp, whomp. I might still give it a try in the hopes that the nourishing properties will offset the harshness of the sulfates. I do wish that Birchbox would send more sulfate-free hair shampoo samples.

Davines Love Smoothing Conditioner

Full Size: 8 fl oz, $27.50
Sample Size: 0.41 fl oz, $1.41

This is the matching conditioner to the above shampoo. I don’t quite get why they sent the conditioner as a foil sample since this contains much less product than the shampoo. I will still be able to get a few uses out of it, though. My dry ends definitely need some “Love.”

Birchbox - June 2014 - Caudalie Polyphenol C15 Anti-Wrinkle Defense Serum

Caudalie Polyphenol C15 Anti-Wrinkle Defense Serum

Full Size: 1 fl oz, $62
Sample Size: 0.06 fl oz, $3.72

I received a sample of this serum as a gift with purchase from Sephora. I’m really enjoying it and it’s become a staple in my skincare routine. I’m happy to have another one as it’s quite expensive.

Birchbox - June 2014 - Catherine Malandrino Style de Paris Fragrance

Catherine Malandrino Style de Paris Fragrance

Full Size: 3.4 fl oz, $110
Sample Size: unknown, $5 estimated value

This perfume smells really lovely – fruity with a hint of floral. I like it a lot.

After May’s awesome box, this month was another great one. I received an amazing seven samples and I’ll probably use all of them. The value of this box came in at just over $30 which is one of the highest-valued Birchboxes I received to date. Plus, I’ll receive 70 points for reviewing these products which are worth $7 in the Birchbox shop.

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Disappointing Beauty Products – Benefit Cosmetics BADgal Lash Mascara

Disappointing Beauty Products - Benefit Cosmetics BADgal Lash Mascara

Mascara is probably the must-have makeup product for me. My eyes are my favorite features and mascara helps to draw attention to them. I’m blessed with naturally full, curled, and long lashes so I usually don’t have many problems making a mascara work. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been true for the Benefit Cosmetics BADgal Lash Mascara.

I’m usually a huge fan of brushes with dense nylon bristles, like the one on this mascara. Their shape is designed to add a lot of volume with ease. However, this brush is so dense that it’s extremely difficult to apply mascara to the roots of my lashes. It requires a lot of wiggling and half of the time I will end up with smudges on my lid. The end result is pretty nice but it takes a lot of effort to make it work and I just don’t have the patience to deal with that.

Secondly, this mascara has horrible staying power. After a few hours it will flake and smudge and I end up with raccoon eyes. No thank you.

Overall, I’d recommend to not waste your money on this mascara. There are so many other mascaras on the market at the same price point that give better results and last all day without smudging. However, if you’re interested in giving the Benefit Cosmetics BADgal Lash Mascara a try, it retails at $19 for 0.3 fl oz and is available at Sephora, Ulta, and the Benefit website.

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My Spring Beauty Picks

My Spring Beauty Picks

My Spring Beauty Picks

My Spring Beauty Picks

Spring is probably my favorite season. I love when the days get longer, the temperatures warmer, and the flowers and trees start blooming. As far as makeup goes, I like to go for bright and fresh colors so this is definitely the season for pinks and pastels for me. Here are my beauty picks for this spring.

On my nails I’ve been loving pastel colors like Julep’s Abigail, a light peony pink, and Farrah, a lilac (0.27 fl oz, $14 each). Another recent discovery is Essie’s Resort Fling (0.5 fl oz, $8.50), a subdued coral peach. Resort Fling isn’t a color I would normally gravitate toward but this shade is so cheery, it just instantly brightens my mood.

This spring my cheeks have been adorned in different shades of pink. NARS – New Attitude (0.16 oz, $29) is a bright cherry blossom pink that gives a nice flush of color. The tarte Amazonian Clay 12-hour Blush in Thankful is a limited edition color that was part of the Thoughtful Treasures Christmas Set ($19) which I just recently acquired on eBay. This blush is described as a golden pink that reads as an apricot pink on me. It’s warmer than New Attitude which makes it very versatile. Lastly, I’ve been reaching for my sample of Benefit Cosmetics’ Dandelion (0.25 oz, $28) which is a baby pink with beige undertones. It’s not very pigmented so it’s perfect when I just want a natural hint of color on my cheeks.

On my lips I generally tend to gravitate toward my-lips-but-better shades but even more so now that the temperatures are warming up. This is the time of the year where I like to switch to lighter, semi-sheer formulas, like balms and lip crayons. The Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm in Super Strawberry (0.1 oz, $17) is one of my favorite lip colors. It’s just a tad brighter than my natural lip color and gives a hint of sheen. The tarte LipSurgence Skintuitive Lip Tint in Energy (full size: 0.1 oz, $24) also came with the Thoughtful Treasures Set. It adjusts upon application and on my lips it gives a pop of bright pink color that’s semi-sheer so it still looks natural. I’ve also been reaching for the L’Oréal Colour Riche Lip Balm in Heavenly Berry (0.1 oz $7.99). It’s the darkest of the three – a nice berry pink. None of these are long-wearing but I like it that way.

Lastly, I want to give an honorable mention to my favorite eye color palette and fragrance this spring. I don’t wear eyeshadow on an everyday basis but when I do I’ve been reaching for the Urban Decay Naked3 Palette ($54).The rose colors are just perfect for spring. In terms of fragrance, I’ve been loving Marc Jacobs Daisy Eau So Fresh (full size: 4.2 fl oz, $97). The top notes of raspberry, grapefruit, and pear make this a light, fresh, and fruity scent that embodies spring for me.

What beauty products have you been loving this spring?

Disappointing Beauty Products – Confessions of a Concealaholic

Benefit Cosmetics - Confessions of a Concealaholic

Benefit Cosmetics - Confessions of a Concealaholic - contents

I was really excited when I first got the Benefit Confessions of a Concealaholic concealer kit on eBay a few months ago. I’ve been searching for a good concealer for both blemishes and dark undereye circles for a while and Benefit’s boi-ing and erase paste were pretty high on my list of products to try. I decided to get this set because I thought that it would be a good way to try those concealers without breaking the bank.

This kit includes:

While I really liked the concept of this kit, in practice it fell short of my expectations. Firstly, this kit is quite bulky and there is a lot of wasted space. It takes up quite a bit of room on my dresser and it’s definitely not travel-friendly. For the number of products that are included I think it could’ve been construct more efficiently.

Secondly, boi-ing, lemon aid, and eye bright are cream products but in this kit they’re exposed to air so they will be prone to drying out after a while. The erase paste came in its own little tub with a screw on lid and I wish that at least the two boi-ing samples had been packaged similarly.

My main problem with the boi-ing concealers is the color selection. 02 light/medium is ridiculously dark. I would even say that this is darker than what I would consider ‘medium’. There is no way to make this work for my fair to light skin tone without mixing it with 01 light. The lighter color is close to my skin tone but its pink undertones don’t really work for me. I think most people would need to apply a mix of the two colors but there is no good way to do so. I think it would’ve been nice if this set had included a small area where you could mix those two colors to match your skin tone.

Moreover, I’m not impressed with the coverage of the boi-ing concealers. Using the enclosed brushes doesn’t really pick up enough product from the pan and sheers out the concealer when applying it to my skin. Using my fingers works slightly better but even then it doesn’t covered my blemishes and scars well enough.

The erase paste fares slightly better in my opinion. The 02 medium is much lighter than the boi-ing in 02 light/medium and I’m able to make the color work on my dark circles. However, for some reason the consistency of my tub of erase paste is very tick to the point where it’s almost impossible to get any of it out of the jar. It might be that this particular jar is old since I think that the consistency of samples I’ve seen at Sephora has been more fluid.

The one sample I really liked in this kit is the “that gal” brightening face primer. I don’t really see much of a brightening effect when used under foundation but it works well at evening out my complexion and making my foundation last longer. I like to use it with the Jouer Matte Moisture Tint especially when my skin is a bit on the dry side. I can’t really say much about lemon aid and eye bright because I haven’t tried those two as I don’t really need them.

Overall, if you’re interested in the different Benefit concealers I would recommend to rather try them out in store first in order to determine whether any of the available colors match your skin tone. Don’t waste your money on this set.

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January Favorites

Whaaa, I can’t believe January is over already. Where did this whole month go? Maybe I’m getting old but it seems like Christmas was only yesterday (insert get-off-my-lawn joke here). Anyway, the end of the months also means that it’s Favorites time again. I’m particularly excited about this one so let’s dive right in.

January Favorites

Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm – 3.8 oz, $28.50

One of the things I wanted to change about my skin care routine was the way I was going about makeup removal. Facial towelettes just didn’t get the job done thoroughly enough. This balm-to-oil cleanser has gotten rave reviews as a gentle way to remove even the toughest makeup. It dissolves mascara, foundation, and sunscreen easily and completely. I use a hot washcloth to remove it and it leaves my skin clean without any residue while not drying or stripping my already dehydrated winter skin. The price may seem a bit steep but I only need the smallest amount to throughly cleanse my whole face so I expect this jar to last me a few months.

REN Hydra-Calm Gentle Cleansing Milk – 5.1 fl oz, $28

I’ve been reaching for this cleanser a lot lately as it provides just that little bit of extra nourishment that my skin has been craving during the colder months. I apply it on dry skin either in the morning or as my second cleanse at night whenever my skin feels a bit dry. I then add some water to my fingers and massage the product into my skin to help lift away the last bits of dirt of grime. As usual, I remove it with a hot washcloth. It’s very gentle and makes my skin feel moisturized, smooth, and soft. No tightness whatsoever.

tarte Pure Maracuja Oil – 1.7 oz, $46

I received this deluxe size sample of the tarte Pure Maracuja Oil with one of the Sephora Black Friday deals but only started using it around the end of December. This has been a skin saver as my skin was severely dehydrated. I would apply this at night and my skin would just soak it right up. While it doesn’t absorb completely on its own my face doesn’t feel stick or greasy after application. I normally just massage any residue into my skin and am left with soft and hydrated skin. My overall skin condition has improved a lot since I updated my skin care routine but I still love using this product to give my skin some extra moisture during this cold weather.

Estée Lauder Double Wear Foundation Kit in Level 1 – $42.50

I got these three products as part of a set earlier in January and have been using them in conjunction on most days over the past month. They truly work beautifully together. The primer feel very hydrating on my skin but at the same time you can tell by the change in skin texture after application that your face is now prepped for foundation. It’s not an uncomfortable, heavy feeling like you might get from other silicone primers, just more smooth and even. I like that it feels very light on the skin but you can still make out where it’s been applied so that you can tell whether you’ve hit every part of your face.

The Double Wear Light foundation really does its name justice. It feels really light once applied and I barely feel like I’m wearing any foundation at all. At the same time the coverage is great. I like that I can apply additional layers to my problem areas, cheeks and chin, and it won’t look caky or heavy. It does set fairly fast so blending it well as you go is key. I wish the color of this foundation was a bit lighter or that there was a “fair” color option. It’s a bit darker than my winter skin tone but if I blend it well it just gives me a bit more color without looking unnatural. The wear time is outstanding. I can apply this in the morning at 6AM and it will still look flawless after dinner.

The matching Double Wear concealer is great as well. It’s a bit lighter than the foundation so I use it on my undereye circles as well as my blemishes. For some of the more pronounced marks the coverage is not quite good enough but for the most part it does a good job at covering any spots. It doesn’t crease or cake on me so that’s a definite plus.

“That Gal” Brightening Face Primer – 0.37 oz, $29

I’ve really been liking this primer in conjunction with the Jouer Matte Moisture Tint. I don’t really see a brightening effect but I think it works really well as a primer with this particular foundation. It helps in making the Matte Moisture Tint go on more evenly and increases the overall wear time.

I think all of these products are fantastic so if you’ve been debating getting any of them I hoped that this post helped make up your mind.

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2013 Favorites

2013 was a great year in terms of beauty discoveries. It was the year that I really got into makeup and found a hair care routine that works for me. I wanted to share with you my top 5 beauty product discoveries of 2013 in the categories hair care, makeup, and skin care.

Hair Care

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  1. Pureology – Hydrate Light Conditioner – 8.5 oz, $29
    This is my favorite conditioner of all time. Every once in a while I try something different but I always come back to this one. It smells amazingly, leaves my hair incredibly soft and doesn’t weigh it down.
  2. Goody – QuikStyle Comb – $3.99
    I don’t know what I would do without this comb. I use it after I apply conditioner or masks to remove all the knots and tangles in my hair. It ensures that the product gets distributed evenly which results in me needing only a fraction of what I used to.
  3. Turbie Twist Mircofiber – $7.99
    Another product that I don’t want to live without. I put my hair up after washing it to let it dry while I do my makeup. By the time I’m done my hair is almost dry and I only need to blowdry it for a short time.
  4. amika – Obliphica Nourishing Mask – 16.9 fl oz, $40
    I first raved about this product in my Birchbox One Year Anniversary post. This is hands-down my favorite hair mask. It smell like a tropical cocktail and I only need about a tablespoon to give my highlighted, heat-damaged hair the deep nourishment it needs.
  5. Living Proof – Full Thickening Cream – 1.8 oz, $15
    I’ve raved about this product quite a bit in the past (here and here). I’m really happy to finally have found a product that gives my thin hair some volume.

Makeup

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  1. Jouer – Matte Moisture Tint – 1.7 oz, $38
    This has been my favorite foundation product this past year. I use it almost daily every since I received a sample of it in my May Birchbox. I love the great coverage it provides while still being very lightweight. You can find my full review here.
  2. Clinique – Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm in Super Strawberry – 0.1 oz, $17
    2013 was the year of lip crayons for me. I acquired quite a sizable collection but I always gravitate toward this particular one. It’s the perfect-my-lips-but-better shade and gives just a light sheen without being sticky. I absolutely love it for everyday use.
  3. NARS – Blush in Deep Throat – 0.16 oz, $29
    Although I only acquired this blush a couple of months ago, it’s been quickly becoming my favorite and I’ve used it almost every day. It’s the perfect shade that goes with everything and it lasts all day. The color-payoff is great – it’s just pigmented enough that you don’t need a lot of layering but not so pigmented that you have to use a light hand in order to not look like a clown.
  4. tarte – Lights, Camera, Flashes Statement Mascara in Black – 0.31 fl oz, $23
    I never thought that I would like mascara wands with plastic bristles but this mascara has totally changed my mind. It’s another product I only got recently but it has already become a staple in my makeup routine. It separates my lashes effortlessly, providing a ton of volume. The best thing? It doesn’t flake or disappear throughout the day.
  5. Urban Decay Naked2 Palette – 12 x 0.05 oz, $52
    I never used to wear much eye makeup but when I did it was pretty understated. The Naked2 palette was prefect for me to experiment some more. I prefer the cooler tones of this one to the warm ones of the original Naked palette. The variety of colors is great: it has grays and browns, mattes and shimmers and metallics, lights and darks – the possibilities are simply endless.

Skin Care

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  1. Clinique – Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief – 1.7 oz, $37
    I’ve used this moisturizer for too many years to count and although I’ve experimented with some other products this year I always seem to come back to this one because it just works. It gives my dry skin a ton of hydration without being greasy or sticky. It absorbs really well and doesn’t irritate my skin.
  2. Yes to Blueberries – Cleansing Facial Towelettes – 25 ct, $5.99
    I wrote a full review of these makeup remover wipes here. I use them to take off my makeup before using a cleanser and it works really well, even on waterproof mascara. And it smells deliciously like blueberries and lemon.
  3. Benefit Cosmetics – it’s potent! eye cream – 0.5 oz, $32
    This is one of the eye creams I tried this year in the never-ending quest to find the holy grail that actually helps with dark circles. This one wasn’t it but it’s still pretty great. It’s nourishing and absorbs well.
  4. Origins – GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream – 0.5 oz, $30
    Another participant in my quest. This one is great to use in the morning because it contains some shimmer that brightens the under-eye area. While that doesn’t remove dark circles per se it masks them pretty well. At the same time this cream is nourishing but light enough to be used under makeup.
  5. eos – Blueberry Acai Lip Balm – 0.25 oz, $2.99
    This lip balm has just the perfect scent (and taste): blueberries. Beside that, it does a great job at keeping my lips smooth and chap-free during the cold months.
Related Posts

Countdown To Love – Days 21-24

I know, I know. Christmas has been over for a few days and I still owe you a review for the last Countdown To Love products. Now that I’ve had a chance to try all of the items I also wanted to talk about my overall opinion of the advent calendar.

Here is what was behind the last three doors:

Countdown To Love - Days 21-24

22. Necklace

Countdown To Love - Days 21-24 - Necklace

This necklace is even worse than the bracelet from day 13. It looks like it came from a 25c gumball machine. It’s made out of thread that has creases in it due to the way it was packaged. That basically make it unwearable unless you want to look ridiculous. The charm looks like cheap plastic. I’m just shaking my head and wondering what Benefit was thinking when they decided to include this item.

15. Cha Cha Tint

Full Size: 0.42 fl oz, $30.00
Sample Size: 0.09 fl oz, $8 individual price / $6.43 value

Countdown To Love - Days 21-24 - Cha Cha Tint

If Posietint is the hot pink sister to Benetint, this is its neon-orange cousin. Luckily, it isn’t as bright when applied. I don’t think that this color is particularly flattering on me as a blush and these tints don’t work very well for me on my lips.

24. Dandelion

Full Size: 0.28 oz, $28
Sample Size: 0.1 oz, $10 value

Countdown To Love - Days 21-24 - Dandelion

Ooooh, another blush. I’m a sucker for blushes. The color of this one is very pretty but it applies super light. It can be built up for more intensity but it takes quite a few layers.

Okay, now that I peeked behind every door I want to talk about my general opinion of the Countdown To Love advent calendar. Overall, I wish there had been more variety. I liked getting to try two primers and two blushes but four lip glosses, three tints, and three jewelry items is a bit repetitive. Instead, it would’ve been nice to have a second mascara (like “They’re Real”), some more skin care items, and maybe even an eye shadow.

Here are the things that I ended up liking and that I felt add value to the calendar:

The other beauty products I was excited to try but ended up not liking. In that respect they were still useful because now I know what to not waste my money on. The big disappointments were the three “jewelry” pieces. They were such cheap, unattractive items that really just felt like fillers admits otherwise nice products.

The value of my “like” list adds up to just about $80 which is more than I paid for the advent calendar. In that respect I came out on top. It was a really fun advent calendar and a nice change from the traditional chocolate-filled ones. I really liked that it provided a great way to try a wide range of their products. I probably wouldn’t get it again next year because now I have a better idea what Benefit products I like and I wouldn’t want to get all those products I didn’t like for a second time. However, I would recommend it to anyone that hasn’t tried a lot of Benefit products before.