August 28, 2016

August Birchbox Review

Today I will be unboxing and reviewing the spoils from this month's Birchbox. For those of you who may not know what Birchbox is, it's a monthly beauty subscription box. Every month they send you five different beauty samples based on your own personal style and preference, all for $10 a month. If you want to learn more about a subscription or want to check out the full size product for these items I will post a link to their website below.

This month, my samples consisted of the following:

1) Air Repair Complexion Boosting Moisturizer (Full size valued at $21)
        -"Packed with antioxidants and humectants, this rich cream moisturizes and revitalizes dry, dull,           or stressed-out skin."

2) Beauty Protector: Protect and Detangle (Full size valued at $23.50)
        -"This best selling elixir locks in color, protects from heat damage, and adds silkiness while                    making hair smell amazing."

3) Oribe Apres Beach Wave and Shine Spray (Full size valued at $22-$39)
        -"This luxe, color safe spritz delivers beachy, texturized waves. Plus, it hydrates dry hair, boosts           shine, and provides natural UV protection."

4) Laura Geller New York Color Luster Lip Gloss, Color: Cookie Dough (Full size valued at $19)
        -"This high shine formula in a gorgeous and totally versatile hue is infused with antioxident rich           Italian tomato extract and hydrating kendi oil to protect your lips."

5) Manna Kadar Cosmetics Day Dream Palette, Color: Fantasy (Full palette valued at $25)
        -"This rich, pearlized shadow comes as part of a universally flattering palette. For extra glow,                sweep across cheeks as a highlighter and blush."

Air Repair

This product is said to contain Hydraluronic oil (had to look it up of course) which is a type of molecule that is naturally found in the skin and connective tissues. It's main function concerning skin is that it is fantastic at retaining moisture, so it would make sense to find this ingredient in an anti-aging moisturizer. This product is made in the U.S. (San Francisco to be exact) and is listed as a cruelty free product not tested on animals.

Upon opening I found that it had a very light and pleasant fragrance, it was a very subtle citrus scent, like sweet oranges. The consistency of the cream reminded me of a typical lotion consistency, but also sort of like a cold cream. It was very easy to apply, I used about a dime sized dollop for my entire face at night after I had thoroughly removed all of my makeup. When I woke up in the morning my face did feel very silky and smooth, moisturized, but not too oily. I really liked this product, mainly due to the lovely fragrance and how pampered it made my skin feel.

Beauty Protector

Something very cool about this product is the fact that the bottle itself seems to be made out of some kind of rubber or silicone, it's soft and mold-able to the touch. After immediately opening my Birchbox, I was hit by this lovely smell that I couldn't place at first (I had to sniff all of my products to find the culprit, which was this bottle). I finally placed it as some sort of a sweet cinnamon smell coming from this bottle of leave in conditioner. After using it, my hair smelled sweet and cinnamon-y for hours. The instructions say to spray three or four times onto wet or damp hair and brush through, style as normal. I think I accidentally sprayed too much on my hair because a few hours later it felt like my hair was really being weighed down, it didn't have as much volume as it normally would. Other than that, I really liked how smooth and silky this made my hair feel, plus the sweet smell was an added bonus. Next time, I'll try to not use as much and see if that makes a difference.

Oribe Texturizing Spray

The design of this bottle was very cool, especially the swirls on the top (I had to take a picture to show you). There was a lot of detail going on and I loved the colors. However once I began to spray the product I found that I really could not stand the fragrance. To me it seems very strong and perfume-y, which I do not like at all (it reminded me of strong hairspray my grandmother used to use). Also, I'm not sure if I used too much product on my hair but it seemed to make my hair almost oily and it really seemed to weigh it down. My hair did not look awesome on that particular day. Needless to say this probably will not be a product that I would purchase on my own.

Luster Lip Gloss

I was a bit perplexed at the color naming behind this product as it does not resemble cookie dough colors in any way (it's more of a nude/coral than a brown color). Upon applying it to my lips, I found that it matched my natural color almost perfectly, and it was also very easy to apply. There really isn't much of a fragrance to it, but it did feel wonderful on my lips, not sticky or excessive at all (I didn't feel like I was spreading thick goop all over my mouth like I have with some glosses). All in all I was pretty pleased with this product and will definitely be finishing off this tube.

Manna Kadar Eyeshadow

                                                                                   (Above: gloss color   Below: eyeshadow color)

Brown eyeshadow is a main component of my beauty product arsenal, so I was happy to be receiving another one in the mail (I was running low on my current shade). This shade was actually very close to one that I currently use so I didn't see a whole lot of difference when I applied it to my eyes (just under my browbones to act as a blending color with my coral pink). On the information sheet I received it also said you could use this as a highlighter or blush, but this particular shade was too dark for my skin to use as such (besides I prefer pale pink blushes over any other color). The underlying color of this shadow almost has a golden shimmer to it (it's very hard to see in the picture as it is a very light brown and I'm so pale), but it fit in with the rest of my makeup very well. This is a product that I will definitely be putting to good use.

Complete makeup wearing both the Laura Geller Gloss and the Manna Kadar eyeshadow.

At the end of the day, Birchbox gave me 4/5 products that I will definitely enjoy, or at least try to use again, I'll take that as a successful month. Stay tuned next moth for the unboxing of the September box! Thank you all for reading this post, and as always, 

Many Blessings, 


August 21, 2016

"The Creme Shop"

I love trying out new Korean skincare! And I think it's partly because to me the idea is so exotic, trying a product that was made halfway around the world; it allows you to have this new and unique experience from a different culture, and Koreans take their skincare very seriously. I have never before heard of The Creme Shop but I noticed some of their products whilst browsing in a local store and these two caught my eye in particular.

#1: Collagen Ultra Purifying Foam Cleanser- I take very good care to ensure that my face is completely cleaned after a day of wearing makeup, it helps to keep my acne in line. I have a Korean foaming clay mask that I absolutely love and thought I would enjoy giving this a try.

#2 Neroli Oil Face Mask-  There was a wide selection of facial masks to choose from but this one was my favorite. It was not only the bright and colorful packaging that caught my eye but the promises that my face would be radiant, glowing, and smelling of oranges. I had to look up just what Neroli oil was, since I had never heard of it before:

Neroli oil is an essential oil produced from the blossoms of the bitter Seville Orange tree. It is often very expensive as it takes nearly a ton of flowers to produce almost 2 lbs. of Neroli oil. It's primarily grown in Mediterranean climates and is often used in perfumes, although it has many other uses including as an antiseptic, reliever for intestinal gasses and beauty oil for removing scars.

With all of this information in hand I set out to see if these products could really do what they promised.

First up was the foaming collagen cleanser, which promised to remove all traces of makeup (even waterproof), dirt and other impurities. I don't wear waterproof makeup so I never got to test that out but I tried using it as a makeup remover and also as a secondary cleanser after I had already removed most of my makeup with a towelette. Upon opening up my product, I found that it was a bit pearlescent in color (a bit difficult to see in the picture) and the consistency was very similar to a light lotion.

I found that it was very important to wet your hands and face thoroughly as this causes the product to foam up easier. I was a bit disappointed in how little it did foam up however ( I was envisioning something more akin to shaving cream I suppose). But the product went on easy  and I let it sit for a minute before washing it off with some warm water. Now the collagen in this product is supposed to promote youthful and firm feeling skin and for the most part I feel like it did its job. 

Immediately after my face dried it felt like all of the oil had been stripped off of my face as it had almost a tacky feel to it, it wasn't that it was dry, just not overly moisturized, and my face did feel a bit firmer. When I woke up in the morning however, I did find that my nose was quite oily, which is nothing new as I have combination skin, but it seemed to be oilier than usual. I'm not sure if this was from the product or if my skin was just acting up that day. All in all, I liked this product and will probably use it as a secondary cleanser as I feel that it might not get all of my makeup off in just one application (and I really don't want to try to get this in my eyes trying to take off my eyeliner).

Link to the original product:

Up next was the Neroli face mask. It was the kind of mask that is apparently all the rage in Korea right now, the one that looks like some kind of paper paste-on face filled with oil and other products. On the packaging it stated that you could also put this mask in the fridge so it would have a cooling effect on your skin. So I stuck it in the fridge for a few hours before I applied it to my clean makeup-less face. 

I have to say that the cold mask felt amazing on my face and I would definitely recommend doing so if you are planning on trying this product. The mask itself seems to be made out of a paper cloth material (think makeup removing towelette) which is completely coated in this gel (it was very slimy trying to dig it out of the pouch). It has this very subtle orange citrus-y scent which I enjoyed, and once I had unraveled the whole thing I placed it on my face, taking care to smooth down all the edges and let it sit for about 15-20 minutes. 

Now I did not take a picture of my face with this mask on because you literally look like some child's failed paper mache project, or a very unscary mummy. As I was sitting, it almost felt like the mask was going to slide off my face, but it never did. Perhaps I was just paranoid. After 20 minutes was up I started peeling at one of the edges (it never really dries so it was still slimy) and I have to say that it was a very satisfying feeling pulling it off all in one go (I'm weird, I know). There was still some gel left in the foil packet so I spread some more on my face and waited for it to absorb (it's not the kind of mask you wash off, but rather you let it sink into your skin).

My skin immediately felt stick and tacky and it was hard for me to not wash it off right away on impulse. So I let it sit for about an hour before finally giving in and wiping my face a little bit (I think it got so sticky because i put extra product on from the packet, so I won't do that again). After that my face did seem to feel very smooth and firm, and I loved the light orange smell. As for making my skin glow, and removing impurities I didn't see too much of a difference, but maybe it's a product that you have to use more than once to see a greater change. This is a product that I will probably use again, simply because I liked the feeling of the cold mask on my face (like a stress reliever after a long day at work) and the nice, sweet smell. As for its other properties, perhaps I'll see a difference if I use it more consistently.

Link to the original product:

Korean skincare is definitely something I want to try a lot of on this blog (I love the packaging and novelty of it!) So if you have any ideas on products I should try or products that you love, please let me know! Thanks for reading this post and have a lovely day!

A Trip to Ulta Beauty

For me, taking a trip down to my local Ulta Beauty Store can be very dangerous, simply for the fact that I have to touch every item in the store and I always end up spending more money than I intended. It's almost as bad as Barnes and Noble...almost. But once again I found myself wandering in through the front doors with the good intention to only browse and nothing more. I inevitably found a few things that caught my eye and I decided to use them for a quick review for the blog. 

1. From Garnier's Whole Blends Collection: Honey Treasures Repairing Mask
2. From EOS (Evolution of Smooth): Lip balm in Vanilla Bean
3. From Physician's Formula: Eye Makeup Remover Lotion
4. From Formula 10.0.6: So Totally Clean Everyday Cleanser

Honey Treasures Repairing Mask

My hair is very coarse and thick and I usually only wash it every 4-5 days simply because if I  clean it every day or every other day it tends to get brittle and frizzy. So needless to say I have issues with dry and crunchy hair. Honey Treasures states that it is a repairing mask treatment to help fix dry and damaged hair, so I bought a container and decided to give it a try.

Some of the key ingredients listed are honey, royal jelly, and propolis extracts. It also states that the product is paraben free. Fun fact: royal jelly is actually a substance that is secreted by honey bee workers who in turn feed it to young bee larvae who are being raised as potential future queen bees. And propolis extract is a natural resin collected from trees by bees who in turn use it to seal and strengthen the honeycomb walls. You learn something new every day.

Upon opening the container I was greeted by a smell that wasn't quite honey like, but more citrus-y. It has the texture and feel of a body butter and is quite easy to apply. I use extra conditioner in the shower to help tame my dry hair so I applied conditioner and shampoo and rinsed thoroughly before applying this to my hair ( I used about 2 quarter sized dollops). You then leave it in your hair for a few minutes and rinse out just like conditioner.

As I was combing through my hair and blow drying it I really could feel that it had made my hair soft and silky, there weren't nearly as many snags as usual and my hair didn't feel frizzy or dry at all. I used it again the next time I washed my hair but I didn't see as much progress as I had the first time (I also didn't use as much), so I suppose only time will tell if this product will produce long term benefits for me.

EOS Vanilla Bean Lip Balm

EOS has been around for quite some time now, mostly known for the design of its spherical shaped lip balm containers, which I have tried before but never really liked. I found them really hard to carry as they were difficult to fit into pockets and I also had some misgivings regarding hygiene, as some people swore mold had started growing in theirs.  So I thought I'd give EOS another chance with this tubular version. 

It's listed as being paraben, petrolatum and gluten free as well as containing coconut, olive and sunflower seed oils as well as shea butter. It is also 100% natural and 95% organic. 

I liked the design of the tube compared to the bulky containers this balm is normally in. It has a very subtle vanilla smell which my boyfriend commented as "smelling like vanilla pudding," needless to say it was not as fragrant as I had expected. I applied it to my lips and it did feel quite good at first as it's very easy to apply and glides on well. I found that I had to reapply after about half an hour as my lips were starting to lose that moisturized feeling. Truth be told my lips haven't felt much different since I started using this balm and in fact, possibly even feel a bit more dry and flaky. It feels almost heavy on my lips, simply because I tend to gravitate towards Vaseline consistency lip balms. It was a nice product to try out once but I don't think I'll be buying it again in the near future, I'll stick to what works best for me.

EOS Vanilla Bean Lip Balm

Eye Makeup Remover Lotion

This product caught my eye as I had never really seen an eye makeup removing lotion before, and as someone who wears quite a bit of eye makeup on a daily basis I decided to give it a go. This product is by Physician's Formula which  I have tried before, I use their Happy Booster Blush in Rose and I love it. 

This product is listed as being hypoallergenic and fragrance free and for the most part it really is, there is just a hint of a lotion smell. It's pale blue in color and is fairly lightweight and easy to apply.

The directions say to use about a pea sized drop to each eye and use your fingers to gently smooth it around your eyes in small, circular motions. Now it is very important to ensure that your eyes are in fact all the way closed as I had to learn out the hard way my first attempt (I'll assume the burning sensation was my own mascara being rubbed into my eye), the second eye went much smoother. 

I wear a lot of black eyeliner and black mascara so I really wanted to see if everything would be removed completely and to my delight it really did as it had promised. Although by the time I was done spreading the lotion around my eye it looked like I had received the worst shiner of my life . When I was finished, I simply used a makeup removing towelette to wipe away my raccoon eyes (normally I have to scrub around my eyes a bit for stubborn eyeliner but the lotion removed that quite well).

I really liked how easily this lotion was able to remove even my stubborn mascara and eyeliner, although my eyes never really feel moisturized after using the lotion. Even so, it's probably a product that I will purchase again simply because it worked so well and really didn't irritate my eyes (minus my first botched attempt, but that was my fault anyway).

Eye Makeup Removing Lotion

So Totally Clean Everyday Cleanser

For me it's very important to wash my face with some sort of cleanser after I initially remove it with a wipe, simply for the fact that I can't clean it all off on the first attempt, there is always some left. To be honest, the color was what first caught my eye on this product, the cleanser is a lovely shade of blue green, and the fact that it was for sensitive skin definitely helped.

On the front of the bottle it states: "This unique, alcohol free cleanser and toner wipes away dirt and oil for a clean, smooth complexion. Sea Kelp clears impurities, while Cucumber and Chamomile refine pores and reduce oiliness. Use daily for soft, balanced and fresh skin." 

I had never before tried a product from Formula 10.0.6 so I really didn't know what to expect. I applied a little bit of toner to a cotton pad and used on my face after I had already gone over it once with a makeup removing wipe. I have to say that I absolutely love the fragrance of this product! It's very hard to describe because I don't think I've ever smelled anything like it before, but for some reason it makes me think of the beach (possibly the sea kelp)? This lovely fresh fragrance hits you immediately as you begin applying the toner, which feels very good against the skin. Even after a half hour has gone by after using it, my face still feels a bit moisturized.

I've been using it for a couple of days now and my skin has had no negative reaction, so for me it looks like the sensitive formula has proved to be just that. Since I've only been using it for a few days, I don't know how this product will affect my skin in the long run, but as of now I can't think of anything bad to say about this product! This is definitely a product that I will be buying again in the future.

So Totally Clean Everyday Cleanser

So this blog post definitely became a lot longer than I had intended it to be, but I had so much fun trying out these new products. I hope you enjoyed this post and have a wonderful evening!


Many Blessings <3 Dana

Holika Holika Aqua Petit Jelly Foundation Review

Aqua Petit BB Cream in #1 Aqua Beige

This was a foundation that I had been wanting to try for some time because I had heard such wonderful things about it! It's a Korean BB cream that doubles as a sunscreen (about SPF 20) and it's supposed to give you light, natural coverage, perfect for the summer! It's said to contain 80% Aqua Mint Water, which is made from various fruit extracts and Alaskan Glacial water which is supposed to be super hydrating for your skin . So I went online and ordered my bottle from eBay for around $10. Now this foundation sadly only comes in two colors, #1 Aqua Beige and #2 Aqua Neutral. Being as pale as I am, I opted to give Aqua beige (the paler of the two) a try. 

My first impression upon receiving my package in the mail was that I love the look of this bottle, there is something quirky and vintage about the frosted glass bottle and polka dot top. There was also a white makeup sponge included in the box to be used with this foundation, but I opted out of using it on my face as I tested it on my arm and it was very dry and hard in texture.

Upon opening this product I could see just why it is called a jelly foundation, it's almost a whipped consistency, very jiggly and soft looking. There is a slight odor that I can only describe as a "fresh smell," its not floral or fruity but it does smell very nice and it didn't seem to irritate my skin. I'm not a big fan of the spatula as it's not very hygienic to reuse the wand and then place it back into the foundation. So I just took care to wash my hands well before using my fingers so remove some foundation from the spatula.

Upon first applying this foundation to my arm I was a bit worried that it might be too dark for my pale skin, but after blending it in a bit with my angled foundation brush it actually blended in well. The next step was my face, after applying my moisturizing primer I took about a dime sized glob from the spatula and used my fingers to spread it evenly around my face before going over it with my angled brush to make sure it was evenly dispersed. It actually is very lightweight and easy to blend using my fingers and brush, it didn't seem to cake on my face like some foundations tend to do, which is nice because thicker foundations tend to cause my face to break out.

Here is what my face looked like after applying the BB cream, I had nothing else on my face except for my primer. The coverage of this cream was lightweight to medium, which works well with most of my face, I applied my concealer under my eyes afterwards when applying the rest of my makeup.

All in all I really liked this foundation, it was lightweight and easy to blend and the coverage really seemed to work for my skin. The only real problem I had with it was that I wasn't too fond of the spatula, so I would give this product a 4.5 out of 5 only for that reason.

I'm including a link to the main product website in case any of you wanted to check out any of the ingredients listed or wanted to check out any other products from Holika Holika. Holika Holika Aqua Petit BB Cream


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