Thursday, September 29, 2016

September Petit Vour Unboxing

Due to some Linda Blair-via-Exorcist-type illness afflicting my laptop's camera, my unboxings will have to be done via text for the time being. Yaaaaay reading!

This month's Petit Vour box has definitely been one of the better ones that I've received due to one particular item. I'm very excited to go over each item that I received in my box since I've been using them for almost a week now, and I hope this inspires you to start looking at more cruelty-free and vegan beauty items.




September Petit Vour Box
"What a Gem"





I got the Lavender scented version, which is one of my favorite scents. This is THE item that made this box so special and exciting for me. About 6 months ago I spontaneously developed an allergy to any deodorant that is heavy on salt and/or contains baking soda. I mean literally, overnight, this allergy developed. It has been a struggle. I have a box with 6, yes 6 different deodorants that I plan on doing a review video on that have failed over the last 6 months. I've been using this deodorant for almost a week now. No irritation. Smells amazing. Lasts all day. Super moisturizing. INSANELY CUTE GRAPHICS AND NAME. Yep, we have a winner. Worth. Every. Penny. DEFINITELY repurchasing.




This is the one item that I haven't tried yet from this month's box, but it smells like lemon-y organic ocean-y heaven. Like the ocean and a lemon had a baby. I'm tempted to make a cheesy joke but I'm holding back (barely). This $16 size is 1oz, which is really good. That's actually not that expensive considering this could easily last for 2 months. Very good value. this item and the deodorant alone made this month's box worth it.




Nope, nope and nope. Now granted, it's very challenging when sending a foundation in a subscription box to the wide range of skin colors. I was sent the shade "Light-Medium". The shade wasn't particularly the big problem, although it was a small one. To me this foundation felt like it had peachy undertones. My skin has yellow undertones. When that happens it makes the person appear kind of off, and that's what this color did to me. However, I could've looked past the color if this foundation had actually done what it was supposed to - like blend for instance. I used two different sponges, a brush and my fingers. All 4 days resulted in the same problem, even when using different tools.
This foundation is a b*tch to blend. It took FOREVERRRRR, and it still was streaky. This foundation also claims to be full-coverage. LIES. It was light-to-medium coverage. Now granted, once it was blended, it didn't go anywhere for the entire day. It didn't budge, fade, nothing. It stayed, but it was too much of a pain. 
I'll pass.



I received a little sample of this company's blemish serum. It was OK. There was nothing particularly special about it. I already used Burt's Bees Blemish Stick and that's only $8, compared to the full size of this which is $32. They did the same thing which I put them head-to-head, so I'll just stick with my Burt's Bees.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Real vs. Fake LimeCrime Velvetines

It's well-known that alcohol and shopping don't always mix, but sometimes when you've had a few glasses of Jim Bean you forget that age-old wisdom and find yourself browsing Mercari looking at discounted makeup. It was when I stumbled across a LimeCrime velvetine for half the cost of regular retail AND free shipping that I did damage. I fell in love with the shade called "Bleached", a warm nude and this item the seller claimed was real, just without the box. 

I bought it within a minute of finding the listing, believing her story of the cost being low due to the missing box. Then, right afterwards I noticed a comment that somehow I hadn't noticed. It read "Is it legit?". That's when I realized I had stumbled into the world of copycat makeup. I had forgotten that not just certain brands could be copied, ALL popular brands of makeup can be copied. Velvetines are in high demand, and people are very good these days at passing things off as real.

When it arrived in the mail I immediately tore into my package and inspected the goods. I own 3 real velvetines from previous purchases - two from LimeCrime.com and one from DollsKill.com. At first glance it looked the same, but after a couple minutes there were some glaring differences. I decided to do some research and sadly I write this knowing now that I have purchased a fake velvetine, and hopefully my research and experiences will help prevent you from doing the same.

What Research Says

1.) If there is no flower on the top of the cap, it's not real

Reality


1.) Two of my 3 real velvetines don't have flowers on the caps. Either LimeCrime or Dollskill sent me fakes or not all the batches of real velvetines have them.

What Research Says

2.) All the tags on the very bottom have to be the same with bold print and hot pink color.

Reality


2.) My shade Utopia purchased directly from LimeCrime has a different kind of sticker on the bottom than the other two. It's not a big deal to me but apparently there's not 100% consistency with all real velvetines.

What Research Says

3.) Fakes have shinier caps than the real velvetines.

Reality


3.) It took a bit of staring, but yes, the "Bleached" shade which is fake has a slightly shinier cap than the other 3 real ones.

What research says

4.) Fakes have more space between the bottom and the product.

Reality



4.) "Bleached" very clearly had more space between the bottom and the product.

What research says

5.) I couldn't find anything on the smell difference, but to me real velvetines smell like sweet clay. All the lip products from limecrime have a sweeter smell.

Reality

5.) "Bleached" smelled like chemicals. Nothing sweet about it - dead giveaway.



Even though I knew that "Bleached" was a fake, I didn't mind at first because I thought I had gotten a wonderful dupe for half the cost, until I wore it. I couldn't take it and after half a day at work I ran to Sephora to borrow a makeup wipe and scrubbed it off of my lips. It was terrible. It was very opaque, provided great coverage, and the color was beautiful. It lasted through eating and drinking without so much as budging, but the deal-breaker you ask? It never dried down. It stayed very sticky, causing small patches of color to come up if I would press my lips together too tightly. I couldn't forget about the stickiness because with every word I was reminded with my lips sticking together and then slowly peeling as I went to say something else.

One half day of sticky lips was enough for me, and now it's going into the trash.

Friday, July 15, 2016

LA Splash Liquid Lipstick Review


I have a confession to make - while on the outside I look like a more conservative work type with slight hippie tendencies, on the inside I am obsessed with makeup. Ok, for anyone reading this blog that's probably not a surprise, but I'm especially obsessed with makeup looks I see on models and makeup artists online. I secretly strive for that look that a lot of the models on the Dolls Kill (a favorite) website wear. The models on that particular website have inspired many makeup looks in the last year. Since my body type can't work for a lot of the clothing that they wear, I instead stalk the shoes, accessories and makeup on the site often, patiently waiting for a sale.

In the last month and a half I was granted two, and so I bought a slew of different products, two of which were L.A. Splash liquid lipsticks. They looked like beautiful, easily wearable colors and the prices were too good to pass up.





This is the most worn shade out of the two, and this one was the first one I used. I must say, these are the most comfortable liquid lipsticks I have ever used. They're not drying and they don't feel weird at all. True to form, they don't transfer, however, I noticed when I drank and ate the inner part of my bottom lip had some of the lipstick come off. It wasn't very much though, and the rest of it remained on there with the color staying strong.

 Reapplying the product was quite easy and it layered nicely, however, because with my job I talk all day, I noticed flaking. Excessive flaking towards the end of the day was kind of a problem. OH GOD THE FLAKING. The interesting thing is that when it flaked off, it didn't leave behind any patchiness, so I think the flaking happened from the second layer I applied, but it took a long time for that to happen. 

The ONLY way I was able to remove the flaking was by removing all the product from my lips and starting over again. The only thing that works well with these lipsticks are oil makeup removers, so that is something to keep in mind.



This shade is so bright lovely, and just like Rose Garden it's unbelievably comfortable on the lips. The same flaking problem happened with this shade too. However, this shade didn't flake quite as much as Rose Garden. Once again though, the only way to get the flaking off my lips was to remove the all of the product completely and start over. Both of the shades seem to be pretty much identical in formulation with how they wear and layer, as well as their intense opaque pigmentation.

Extra Pros


Long wearing - I wore all of my liquid lipsticks to bed on the back of my hand. When I woke up the next morning, the only shades that were still going strong were the LA Splash liquid lipsticks.

Vegan & Cruelty-Free: I emailed the company asking them about their animal testing policy and their ingredients for their liquid lipsticks. This was the response I received from their customer service:

 
Thank you for taking the time to contact us.
 
Our Liquid Lipsticks do not contain any animal by-products, beeswax nor carmine colorants; which, are the ingredients of concern among the Cruelty Free and Vegan communities.
 
The ingredients for our liquid lipstick are listed below for your reference:
 
C10-12 Alcane/Cycloalkane, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Dimethicone, Silica Dimethyl Silyate, Quaternium-18 Bentonite, Propylparaben
 
We do not test any of our products on animals.
 
Our ingredients are FDA approved and cruelty free as well."
 

Verdict

I LOVE these liquid lipsticks, however, if you are wearing them throughout the day and you will be talking a lot, it would be smart to bring a tiny bottle of oil or oil makeup remover and a cotton wipe or two for the flaking issue that happens later on in the day. Aside from that, these are totally worth every penny.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Product Review: Chanel Precision Lip Definer

Last year when I moved back to California my mother gave me a slew of products that she didn't want anymore. As I was told, there was nothing wrong with them, she just used her favorites more and found several items collecting dust.

Enter one eager makeup-loving daughter who was especially surprised that one of those products was a Chanel lipliner. Yes, Chanel, that luxury brand that buying one piece of clothing might mean going without food for a year. This gift was one that I was initially very excited to test out and give a full run-down review on, and I have used this product many times since being gifted it.  I'm not a brand junkie by any means though, I am someone who will be brutally honest if the $400 product is worse than the $4 product, no matter their name. 

***As a disclaimer before I get into the product, I found out about 2 months ago that Chanel cosmetics are NOT cruelty-free. I stopped using this product immediately after finding out and set it aside for this review. If this not being cruelty-free doesn't bother you, then keep reading***

Chanel Precision Lip Definer 





The first thing to note is that this doesn't have a weird smell, or any smell at all, which is one positive for this item. To be honest though, I've never encountered a lip pencil with a smell, ever, of course there could always be a first. An immediate downside before even testing this item though is that if you run out and need to replace it, it's $31, and this particular color is no longer being made. This means you'll have to wait for it to show up on Ebay, Amazon and other resale sites, which could mean you'd get if for less, but it could also mean it might cost more than $31. That's pretty darn pricey for a lip liner. Just sayin'. Price aside though, this is the hardest lip pencil I've ever used in my life. Swatching on the back of the hand felt stiff but I was willing to look past that since it had nice, even pigmentation. On the back of the hand that is.


Trying to use this product on the lips was the worst lip experience of my life. To get color payoff I had to press down hard and it was painful, catching my lips and leaving uneven product in the wake of it's application. I tried so many times (before finding out it wasn't cruelty-free) and it each time I was left feeling frustrated with awful-looking lip liner. Even if this was cruelty-free, this wouldn't be worth $3.10, let alone $31. One slight positive is that the other side of this lip liner has a smudge brush to smudge out any lip product you might put on top of it. That's one nice touch, but it doesn't make the price worth it.

(Can you see that uneven patchiness around the edges on the bottom lip? I didn't wear it on my top lip so you could see the difference. Uneven towards the top of my bottom lip too, I can see my natural color showing through. Ugh)




Final Verdict: Nope. The color was pretty, but the pencil was terrible and cleaning that little brush is such a nightmare since the bristles are so densely packed. Getting any gloss or lipstick out of those bristles is a pain. On top of that, my lips hurt every.single.time I used this pencil. On top of that, it's not cruelty-free, which means this bad boy is going in the trash.

 Go use Colourpop, go use Wet & Wild, go use Urban Decay, go use Too Faced, use anything other than this one.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Review: Mario Badusco Seaweed Night Cream

Does your skin change season to season? 

Mine does and it's been especially noticeable over the last few years as I've been getter older. A few months ago when the spring started slowly turning over to summer here in California I began to notice my night balm was unfortunately becoming too heavy to use. Night by night it ever so slowly started to create more pore clogging and an overall appearance of just being too heavy for the warming night time weather. 

One morning when I woke up and saw my face looking like a clogged and greasy mess, I decided that it was time to purchase a lighter night cream. That night I went online and began looking for a cruelty-free and hopefully more organic version that didn't make me have to chose between groceries or good skincare. Enter scene Mario Badusco's Seaweed Night Cream. After an hour and a half of searching products and doing research on each company and item, I decided to give this one a shot.




https://www.mariobadescu.com/skin-care


 I was first attracted to the price due to the fact that it was over $15 less than what I've paid before for other creams. That $15 can pay for a month of my Petit Vour box. However, as I've learned from fast fashion stores and accidental knock-off purchases, a lower price doesn't almost mean it will be better. I was equally excited and nervous the day it came in the mail, and for some reason I had envisioned it looking like a gel. However, this is no gel, this is a beautiful cream. The color alone made me smile when I opened it - it has a shimmery quality to it that makes it look like a Makeup Geek eyeshadow I own.


Color aside though, it has no distinct smell and feels highly nourishing to the skin without being greasy or clogging. It's a night cream that's fast-absorbing and just feels good, even for the hot desert environment I live in.






One of the reasons it might feel so lightweight despite it being a night cream is because it's oil free and according to the company's website contains "Elastin, Collagen, and Hyaluronic Acid combine with the vitamins and minerals found in Bladderwrack Extract".

Elastin and collagen are ingredients commonly found in anti-aging products, so not only am I using a more organic, cruelty-free product that my skin drinks up and loves, but I'm also getting a head-start on preventative measures against signs of aging. This cream is now my favorite warm-weather night cream and once you try it I'm sure it will be too. 


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

2 Spray-On Makeup Brush Cleaners, One Review


With a new-found steam to the detoxify my beauty/skincare products, I've found myself wanting to make sure every aspect of my life is at least cruelty-free while working towards all of my beauty/skincare being vegan too over time. This led me to realize that my MAC makeup brush cleaner is something that needs to go since MAC isn't truly cruelty-free, not while they're selling through mainland China that requires animal testing.  

As someone who's tried numerous different kinds of brush cleaner before, I was excited to branch out and see what high-end AND drugstore had to offer since I'm lucky to have access to both on a daily basis. 

My first top was Target, and there I picked up the only labeled brush cleaner in the entire store that the Target employee knew of, which happened to be cruelty-free & vegan: ELF cosmetics brush cleaner.




At first glance this seemed like a 100% winner due to the fact that you get 2.02 fl oz for only $3. My wallet was rejoicing. However, my immediate reaction when I first sprayed this was "oh dear god what I done". The scent of this brush cleaner alone is enough to make me dry heave. This cleaner smells sickeningly sweet and not in the good way, almost like decaying fruit rotting in mid-summer Louisiana humidity. Aside from the scent though, it worked on my powder brushes quite nicely. Both real and synthetic haired powder brushes were sprayed, gently massaged to work the cleaner through the bristles, and then wiped on a clean paper towel until the leftover product was gone. The end result was a set of powder brushes that were clean but unfortunately had an awful lingering scent that made me cringe the next morning when I went to use them. For my liquid foundation brush though, this did nothing. It knew nothing therefore did nothing...Jon Snow. 

I used 1/4 of the bottle trying to clean my liquid foundation brush to no avail. Spray cleaners seem to work best for powder brushes. While this worked nicely for most of my brushes, I can't continue to use it. Smelling that scent every time I clean my brushes will send me to an early grave.


When the ELF version didn't work I inspected every cosmetic counter at Macy's until I found another spray brush cleaner, this time from the company Origins. I thought that Origins was cruelty-free until I accidentally stumbled across an article stating that they sell through mainland China. 

Whoops.




For this brush cleaner you get 3.4 fl oz for $14.50, which is more expensive than the MAC cleaner. I was a little disappointed, hoping that I would get more for the cost, but I was still hopeful that it would blow me away. My immediate reaction when I first sprayed this was "Thank god it doesn't smell like the ELF one". This cleaner has the slightest organic scent that is on the verge of heavenly. Using this one on my powder brushes though wielded very different results. Instead of becoming squeaky clean, they remained the same color they were from my powder products, except they just stopped depositing color on the clean paper towel once sprayed. Following the same process: Spray, massage, wipe, repeat until clean....well, there never was a truly "clean" state.

To be honest, this cleaner didn't really do much appearance-wise for my brushes. They felt softer, conditioned and sanitized, but they still looked very dirty, which leads me to believe this didn't get a lot of product out. It might've just sanitized the product that was left in there.

Final Verdict


NO. DOUBLE NO.

I am still on the hunt for an effective cruelty-free and hopefully vegan brush cleaner that is less messy and time-consuming than shampoo & water. 

I won't rest until I find it, I just might stop to take snack breaks in-between. And maybe a nap or two.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Oil Pulling v 2.0: Oil-Pulling Mouthwash Review

By now I'm sure you've all heard of oil-pulling since it's everywhere, I'm sure even the sewer rats in NYC do it. To quickly break it down if you don't know already, oil-pulling is when you take a small amount (usually half a tablespoon is suggested) of oil and swish it around your mouth for 15-20 minutes at the beginning or end of your day and then you spit it out. The point of this process is to pull toxins from your mouth, face, and body, and to leave you with whiter teeth, fresher breath and a healthier complexion.

Whenever I oil pull, which is around 3-4 times a week, I take a half tablespoon of coconut oil and follow the usual procedure of swishing it around for 15-20 minutes and then spitting it out. Afterwards I brush my tongue with my toothbrush I will then take a swish from a mouthwash, gargle to get any leftover oil and spit it out. This completes my oil-pulling process each night. Traditionally oil-pulling is done in the morning but I find it's easier for my gag reflexes at night.

About a week ago I discovered a company who's changing the oil-pulling game, and if you haven't joined the game, well then I tag you in. Right now.

One week ago on discovery day my boyfriend and I were walking around our local Lassens when this really cute girl in celestial-patterned tights asked if I had ever heard of the company The Dirt and their organic toothpaste. I love anything organic, homepathic and/or pretty much covered in dirt, so I of course walked up and tried a sample. Seeing that I wasn't going to buy the toothpaste since I already have toothpaste at home, she then jumped seamlessly into talking about oil-pulling and asking if I had ever done it. Hesitantly I said "Yes", not sure what tricks she had up her nymph-like sleeves. It was at that moment she pulled up a bottle of The Dirt "Oil Pulling Mouthwash" and began to talk about the benefits of this particular bottle of oil over traditional coconut oil and/ or using a different mouth wash.


I was intrigued, partly due to the packaging, partly due to her tights and partly due to the fact that the bottle had a liquid in it and not a solid. Unrefined coconut oil is naturally solid at room temperature. Before I can even begin the process of swishing the product around my mouth, I first have to let it sit in my mouth for a solid 5 minutes+ to let it melt and get to a liquidious state. The process, no matter how beneficial, is time-consuming. The smaller bottle she held before me was $20 for 4oz while the larger bottle on the table went for $40 for 8oz. The girl claimed that the smaller bottle will last for a month while the larger bottle will last for around two if you oil-pull often.



In cost-comparison, a large bottle of unrefined coconut oil retails for $7.95 at Walmart and will last in the 2-3 month range if you oil-pull/smoothie/cook with it relatively often. Many people use oil-pulling in place of mouthwash,however, I actually keep both oil and mouthwash in my bathroom, making my habit a bit more expensive than others. This product is essentially 2-in-1 for people like me who like to use both, but is it actually worth the price?


I take a small swig and immediately begin oil pulling rather than having to wait for it to melt, and I don't have to use a second product afterwards. I also am head-over-heels in love with the taste. It tastes mint-y, clove-y and smells like earthy heaven. This product is also a space saver, rather than having two products, I only have one. Rather than having to wash a spoon every time I oil-pull I just take a swig from the bottle, saving me washing more dishes. Using it as oil-pulling works beautifully, and using it as a mouthwash is amazing too. My breath felt way fresher than using any traditional brand of mouthwash I'd ever used.

For anyone who doesn't use mouthwash, this product isn't worth it due to the price for the smaller quantity, but if you like to use both mouth wash and do oil-pulling, this product is out of this world. If you were to buy coconut oil and mouth wash separately, you would end up paying the same price as this product. This mouthwash will not last you as long as a bottle of coconut oil, but I feel that if you're willing to try this fun, innovative and tasty product that it will be worth the little extra splurge.