Unboxing // The R29 Collection (Free Box with Walgreens Purchase)

Today’s unboxing is slightly different. This box is not, in any way, a subscription. This box instead was sent to me after I received a Catalina coupon (those coupons that print from those little machines at the registers) at Walgreens. This was after I filled a ton of prescriptions while sick, and I can’t remember if I got it with a purchase or with my prescriptions. It took about a month to get to me after I filled out my information online.

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to unbox it online, but I figure if I’m going to be trying any new products from this (which I will once I get my new gym membership), I should disclose where I received the items from the beginning. So, let’s unbox!

I love how this box looks- it’s a “millennial pink” kind of peachy color with cute white dots and some black lines- it overall looks summery, clean, and yet still fun. To me, this looks definitely targeted to my demographic of an early-20s female.

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Inside, it looks just like any normal subscription box; the products and placement reminds me of the Walmart Beauty Box. Let’s get into the products I received.

  • Gillette Venus Sensitive Disposable Razor. This is their basic sensitive disposable razor. I usually use the Venus Embrace sensitive razor, which has five blades, versus the three in this. I don’t expect this razor to give me as good of a shave as I’m used to, but it will be useful to pack in a travel bag. Size: one razor. Retail value: $2.33 (a pack of 3 is $6.99 at Target).
  • Gillette Venus + Olay Shave Gel (Violet Swirl). I believe this same product came in another wellness box a bit ago, or I simply purchased it for my gym or travel bags… and I haven’t used it yet. It will definitely be used eventually, but as I haven’t done much traveling (or going to the gym) lately. Size: Deluxe Sample, 70g. Retail value: $1.05 (based off of $2.97 for a full size at Walmart)
  • Olay Cooling Body Wash (White Strawberry & Mint). This smells really delicious, and this is another item I’d be happy to put inside my gym bag (I am currently working through some large bottles of body wash). Size: Deluxe Sample, 89mL. Retail value: $1.18 (based off of $5.97 for a full size at Walmart)
  • Crest Pro Health Whitening Power Toothpaste. Like basically every product in this box, this is another great product to include in a travel or gym bag. It’s a stannous fluoride based toothpaste, which means it’s great for anti-cavity and anti-gingivitis properties while being a bit more gentle than sodium fluoride for sensitive teeth. Size: Travel, 24g. Retail value: $0.98 (at Walmart)
  • Herbal Essences Bio Renew Hydrate Coconut Milk Shampoo + Conditioner. Two mini, travel-friendly bottles that smell like most coconut-scented hair products- artificial, but not weirdly so. Size: 44ml each. Retail value: $1.30 total (based off of $5.92 for a full size of either one at Walmart).
  • Olay Eyes Ultimate Eye Cream. This claims to reduce dark circles, wrinkles, and puffiness. There are five of these small packets, but each packet probably has more than enough for two applications, so there is definitely enough here to see how this stuff works. I checked the ingredients list, since nothing is listed on the packets, and it is a silicone-base product that is Shea-free, so I can use it, but I must use it wisely under certain concealers. Size: 5×0.5ml. Retail value: $4.78 (based off of $24.86 for a full size container at Walmart).

Overall value: $11.62. For a totally free box, that’s really great! As I mentioned, this was sent to me after I received a coupon for it with a purchase at Walgreens, so this is a promotional box most likely sent to many people. For this reason, I feel this value is particularly pleasing!

Additional bonus: there are some coupons here as well: $1 off any two Herbal Essences Bio Renew,  $6 off any three Gilette Venus disposable razor packs, and $2 off any one Gillette Venus with Olay shave gel. Coupons are wonderful, but they only hold value if you would be purchasing the products anyway. These coupons are only valid at Walgreens (or Duane Reade), and Walgreens prices tend to be higher than Walmart as is… For instance, the coupon for the razors would make a three-pack about $8.99, which is definitely more expensive than their price at Walmart. This is why I don’t include coupons in value

Unboxing // BoxyCharm June 2017

I think I start off unboxings in relatively the same way that always ends with what essentially is “another day, another unboxing.” Am I simply that non-creative? Eh, probably. I’m too tired 😛

Today’s post is another June unboxing- and I know I’ve had several of them! This specific unboxing is for June’s Boxycharm. For those unfamiliar, Boxycharm is a $21 monthly subscription that focuses on providing ~5 full size items in each box. Like most boxes, each month, items are curated around a theme. This month’s theme is “Downtown Charm.”

Upon first look, the box (which is the standard black box) contains egg-crate foam, probably to decrease the likelihood of any pressed powder product from breaking. While I think this looks awful, I do like the added protection and I’m thankful for it.

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The items in this month’s box are a little confusing to me, but I think I’m pleased!

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  • Real Her Shadow Palette II “Do Your Squats.” This is one of three possible palettes that came in this month’s box. My version is the “Do Your Squats” version, which they call the “perfect basics.” These look mostly brown, and some are slightly plummy. The other options include “Be Your Own Kind of Beauty,” which is described as “nude” and looks (from their online site) to be pretty basic eyeshadows, and “I Feel Beautiful,” described as a “smokey violet” palette that really only includes one purple shade but still appears fairly warm IMO. I think I like the one I received, as I used to work out (and yes, do legit squats) fairly regularly. Are they trying to tell me something? 😀 In the swatches below, I swatched as if I was reading (left to right, top to bottom) from my wrist to my elbow- so it’s reversed, obviously, in the pic. Full size. Retail value: $28
  • BioBelle Cosmetics Sheet Masks in #Primer, #StayGorgeous, and #BeautyScoop. These three sheet masks include one I’ve already received in another sub (Stay Gorgeous), an avocado-based mask (Beauty Scoop), and a different mask type- their “primer” mask, which is meant to be a quick 5-minute mask to prep your skin for makeup in the morning. I generally like this brand’s masks, so while I definitely don’t need them, I’m still mostly pleased. Full size; three sheets. Retail value: $14.97
  • Luxie Beauty Rose Gold Pro Precision Tapered Brush. I have an ambivalent relationship with Luxie Beauty. While I generally have enjoyed their brushes, I don’t necessarily enjoy them more than I enjoy my Royal & Langnickel brushes or my EcoTools or Real Techniques ones… making their price tag hard to justify. This brush has the added, err, drawback of coming with a mesh brush protector. I call this a drawback because while I love those mesh protectors, this one slipped backwards during transit and messed up my brush’s shape. Whoops. Full size. Retail value: $24
  • Ofra Long Lasting Liquid Lipstick in Tuscany. I’ve received several of these lipsticks in various subs before, and I will say that I love them. They are, hands down, one of my favorite liquid lip formulas. Two shades were offered this month, chosen at random: Santa Ana and Tuscany. Tuscany, which is why I received, is described by Ofra as a “muted mauve-red,” and I definitely get this vibe. I’m very excited for it, as I love muted mauves. Santa Ana is described as “a berry rose and universally flattering pink shade.” I’m not sure which one would’ve been best for me, as both seem right up my alley. Full size. Retail value: $19.90img_7157
  • Artist Couture Diamond Glow Powder in Illuminati. Here is where the majority of my product ambivalence comes. I could have sworn I owned this exact product. I was so sure that I went through absolutely every makeup item in my collection I could find, trying to find this to swatch so I could save this one to sell new. I couldn’t find it. The swatch of this is pretty shimmery and golden, and I’m unsure if this would be a good product for me specifically. Full size. Retail value: $26.99img_7155

Overall thoughts: The total retail value for this box adds up $113.86, which is definitely a great value compared to the $21 you pay. My personal value is lower than this, and I’d estimate it around $50 for what I’d pay for comparable products or what I could sell them for. This is still decent, though! I haven’t quite decided if I should cancel this sub, though, because I’m very much product-laden at the moment, and while some of this has great retail value, I don’t have the energy to sell items often.

Unboxing // Notoriously Morbid Vanishing Cabinet: June 2017

June is finally wrapping up, and so are all of my June beauty boxes! I promise there are only a few more. Today’s unboxing is my Notoriously Morbid Vanishing Cabinet, and this may be my last one- I’ll explain after the unboxing.

To celebrate their third year, NMVC did a special, larger box this month, complete with seven products (normally there is about 4). The theme for this month was “Worst. Heroes. Ever.” It is inspired by the villians/heroes of Suicide Squad, and I will say that I really think Carrie outdid herself!

The items in this box include:

  • Mystic Matte Liquid Lipstick in “Stay Evil, Dollface.” This mystic matte is supposed to represent Harley Quinn by herself, no Joker involved! This is a beautiful deep crimson red.
  • Mini Highlighter in “Step Out of the Shadows.” This is a vegan highlighter that is eye safe but not lip safe. This is an item to represent the Enchantress.
  • Night Kiss Lip Balm in Lose Control. This lip balm is not one I can use due to Shea butter. It is scented cinnamon, sangria, and caramel. The scent is slightly spicy and feels more of a cool-weather scent than a summer scent. This product represents El Diablo.
  • Mini Shadowslisted below, to represent Katana, Boomerang, Killer Croc, and Deadshot
    • Stench of Death, which is a deep (almost black) brownish-burgundy with gold flecks. I think this one is supposed to represent Katana.
    • Here’s to Honor…, which is that beautiful red shade with silver flecks. I think this is the Deadshot-inspired shade.
    • Asset Relocation Specialist, which is a beautiful blue with a slight green shimmer. I believe this represents Boomerang
    • Ain’t You Scared?, which is a muted warm-green color with cold shimmer. This one represents Killer Croc.

Here are some swatches- note that these are finger swatches, taken from the tops of the lids.

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From left to right, we have Stench of Death, Ain’t You Scared?, Here’s To Honor…, Asset Relocation Specialist, Step Out of the Shadows, and Stay Evil Dollface.

Overall thoughts: this was definitely a great value box, and while I’ve never seen Suicide Squad, I was able to identify color inspirations pretty easily by looking at pictures online (and then I googled the shade names). I think the colors can match each individual “hero” and overall they match together, too. Here’s to Honor… and Asset Relocation Specialist (the red and blue shadows) remind me a lot of Harley Quinn’s hair. The green shade reminds me of a more wearable toxic sludge color (similar to the colors on the DVD artwork). I enjoy those three color products together, too. The darker shade is a great outer-V darkening shade, too, and I think you can do a full-on look with these colors (and I might use the red and blue shade for Fourth of July makeup). The highlighter is very beautiful, but it pulls yellow on me (not too much of an issue, but I’ve been into cool-toned highlights as of late). I love the color of the Mystic Matte, but I will say I’m not a huge fan of the formula. This one smears quite a bit and never quite dries down. Overall, with a mini lipstick ($4.50), a night kiss balm ($3), a mini highlighter ($4), and 4 mini shadows (4x$2.25), this values for $22.50 (sorry, NM, this is NOT a RV of $33.50 if .

So, why am I cancelling? I simply am not reaching for and using loose shadows very often. I would love if she pressed her shadows, because I am way too lazy to use shadow binders and fiddle around with loose shadows on a daily basis. I love supporting indie brands, and I do fully recommend this sub to anybody who thinks they may like it; however, I just am not using these products enough to justify getting more of them in shades I cannot pick out myself.

 

Unboxing // Beauteque BB Bag May 2017

 

“A May unboxing?” you question, brows furrowed. Do I sense some exasperation? “You’ve been doing June unboxings, Lucy.” I stare at you blankly, my intent known. “Did you mean June?” I meet you with the same gaze. “You must’ve meant June, right, Lucy?” You whimper the words out. You’re starting to understand, but I can still detect confusion.

No, I mean May. It’s past mid-June, and I mean May.

See, Beauteque has been having some issues lately. For whatever reason, April’s bag had some “importing issues,” and the bag didn’t go out until early May. Mid-May, an email came out stating that from now on, all bags would be sent out on the last day of the month… Meaning May’s bag was ready to ship on June 1 and didn’t actually ship out until later. So yes, this is May’s bag technically, but it’s essentially June’s, as June’s bag will get to me mid-July and so on and so forth.

Enough clerical talk; let’s unbox!

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This month’s bag is super cute. The theme is “May Flowers” (following up from “April Showers” I’m sure). This bag is non-offensive to the eye, has no visible branding (a huge plus for me), and is actually quite large- almost everything below fits easily!img_7130

Inside, we have:

  • It’s Skin My Bottle Soothing Gel in Vita-P Grape. This product either came in Vita-K Kale or Vita-P Grape, and I’m happy to get the grape as I just like the idea of grapes more. It is a gel that is very, very viscous. We’re talking as viscous as the green aloe vera gel that isn’t actually mostly aloe… you know the ones I’m talking about? I’m disappointed to report that this does not smell like grapes. Instead, it smells astringent, like cosmetic alcohol. The usage info was just “apply head to toe, as needed.” Full-size; 245g. Retail value: $20.99
  • Sofnon Willowherb Wash-Remove Mousse. This is another product that came in two varieties (the other option was Tsaio Camellia Mousse, which I honestly would’ve preferred). I haven’t used this one yet, as I want to finish my current foam cleanser first, but like the Vita-P gel, it smells a little astringent. Full size; 150ml. Retail value: $16.99

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    EH Strawberry Choux Blusher

  • Etude House Lovely Cookie Blusher in #2 Strawberry Choux. This is the last of the variable products. Each bag contained one of these blushes, but in a random color. The color I received, Strawberry Choux, is a light pastel baby pink. It comes with a cute puff to apply it. It feels very powdery, but I really like the color. Full size; 0.3 oz. Retail value: $10.
  • Lindsay Lavender Modeling Mask. This is a powder product. You add water, stir it up, and then put the mix on your face. Once the mask solidifies, you pull it off! I’ve been wanting to try one for a while. I’m not a huge fan of lavender, but I’m hoping it can calm my skin down a bit too. Full size; 28g. Retail value: $6
  • Shimeiyi Oval Face Brush. This looks a lot like those Artis brushes, but it’s from a much more affordable brand (although I will admit, I’m not sure how this quality compares to the $1 ones you can get off of eBay). This looks to be roughly the same size of the one I use from Royal and Langnickel to blend out cream highlight, so I’m assuming I can use this one for the same purpose and be even lazier with washing my brushes… 😉 Full size. Retail value: $6.99
  • Peripera Speedy Eyebrow Auto Pencil in #1 Brown Black. This product reminds me a bit of Benefit’s Goof Proof pencil or even ABH’s Brow Wiz in that the pencil “applicator” tip is ovalish, with a thin side and a thicker side, and it contains a spoolie on the opposite end. While this says it’s Brown Black, it looks quite warm and not quite dark enough for my dark hair, but it might be nice to give some dimension? It’s a very thick, almost waxy feeling formula as well. Full size; 0.14oz. Retail value: $8

     

     

And now, finally, a swatch pic of the two color products!

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The top is the brow product and the bottom is the blush; sorry that it’s hard to see as I didn’t have great lighting available.

Overall value: $68.97. This is, of course, based off of Beauteque’s pricing on their storefront. This bag costs $24 + $3.95 S&H for month-to-month and three-month subs (I have the three-month), so you are getting over twice the value of what you pay, even after you factor in shipping costs (and ignoring the value of the bag itself). That said, you can often find K-beauty products for cheaper on other sites- these are some prices I found on the front page of Google!

  • Peripera Speedy Eyebrow Auto Pencil: I was able to find this for $4.41 with free shipping on eBay.
  • Lindsay Lavender Modeling Mask: $35 for a pack of 8 on Amazon Prime ($4.38 per mask).
  • Etude House Cookie Blusher: $7.80 on Etude House’s US website. $8 on Amazon with Prime.
  • It’s Skin Vita-P Gel: $10.20 from Cosmetic-Love.com

Even though I couldn’t find much cheaper prices on the other two products, if I used those retail prices for those four items, we’d have an overall retail value of $51. This still gives you more value than what you are paying, but my point is that often for these k-beauty subscriptions, you are getting what you are paying for in terms of products; you aren’t usually getting the best “value” for your dollar. I’m okay with this as I love k-beauty and the value for me comes in the curation and trying new products I might not know even existed.

 

Thankful Thursday // June 22, 2017

It’s been some time since my last Thankful Thursday, and I think it’s definitely needed right now. Gratitude is a big part of my happiness, and intentional practice is necessary to keep up habit.

While definitely not all-inclusive, here’s a list of a few things I want to be intentionally thankful for.

  • Flavored water and Powerade Zero. I think these made the list last time. Being sick, and hating the taste of normal water, these liter bottles have been a huge life saver in general the past month and a half. I’m drinking twice as much fluids as before, and my face and scalp are reaping the benefits.
  • The opportunity to host MUR’s daily challenges. Yes, on r/makeuprehab, I’ve been hosting daily challenges for the month of June. By doing this, I’ve been able to spend more time focused on my own collection and focusing on makeup as a whole in ways that don’t require spending and over-consumption. This has made it so easy to stick to my low/no-buy that I’m on.
  • My mom’s health insurance, which I am still on. I’m so incredibly grateful that not only can I get the coverage offered from my mom’s insurance but that she still pays for it. I mentioned that in the beginning of May, I got pretty sick and Urgent Care sent me to the ER, where they did CT scans, EKGs, etc. I went back to urgent care a couple days after for worsening respiratory symptoms before getting a prescription to make it easier to breathe. I was so concerned about the cost, and I just paid off two of my bills- totaling under $100 together. I still have two claims being processed, but I’m much more optimistic about my ability to pay for this illness now.
    • I’m also very thankful that my insurance offers me the ability to view my claims and statuses online. Looking through them, I see that the total claims I have processing are around $2700, meaning I know that I won’t be paying more than that. I’m given info about all of my benefits- $500 deductible and 20% coinsurance for all services in-network- so I know that with all of this, my total cost will probably be under $1000. So. Grateful.
  • My new (128GB!!) phone. I don’t know if I mentioned this, but after a particularly awful work week, I dropped my phone and the screen shattered (underneath the screen protector). I was so disheartened by this, and I tried to replace the screen myself. A screw became stripped, and my phone was irreparable. I found a refurbished iPhone, in the same model as my old one, for around $360, and I’m so thankful that I was able to get it that cheap. It’s even got more storage than my old phone, so now I don’t have to worry about downloading my road trip play lists!
  • My October Vacation! I know I talked about this relatively recently in a life updates! I swear this is not a plug, but I’m thankful that I found CheapCarribean.com to find and book an all-inclusive resort package to take a trip to Tulum, Mexico with my Badger this October. Somehow, the exact dates I needed were pretty inexpensive, and we’re able to take this trip for just around $1100 each. While still a ways away, just having this vacation to look forward to has given me some renewed inspiration, hope, and excitement.
  • A steady source of income. This may be one I include “too often,” but it’s one I really need to be intentional about. I struggle to maintain positivity at my job, but remembering how nice it is to have my own source of income that provides for all of the above is very important.

These are just some items I feel the need to be intentionally thankful for; this list definitely doesn’t encompass the things I feel gratitude for on a daily basis. I’d love for you all to join me in intentional gratitude!

xox,
Lucy

Fragrances // Deconstructing Eden’s Poseidon

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Brand: Deconstructing Eden
Perfume Name: 
Poseidon
Indie or Mainstream: Indie
Cost and size: Ranges. $2.75 for 2.5ml sample; $9.75 for 5ml; $18 for 15ml; $28 for 1oz.
Availability: Permanent as part of Deities collection.
Shop description: Crashing waves, seaweed absolute, ambergris, ozonic air, and a touch of petrichor.

My opinions: This is a true wet sea smell. I definitely get the crashing waves and petrichor listed. There’s a hint of seaweed, but it’s not as noticeable; I think the sea salt scent of “crashing waves” is too similar to the seaweed absolute to get a strong sense of the seaweed. I don’t notice much ambergris personally, but this may be because I’m so used to the scent of the ocean as is, and ambergris is found naturally in the sea! I get a hint of the ozonic air, but it isn’t strong to me. I like this personally, as most of the time I’m sickened by strong ozonic scents.

Longevity: High! This is a fragrance that stays on my skin, even longer than 24hrs. It isn’t as strong the next day, but I can still smell it.

Sillage and throw: Moderate. I haven’t received any comments while wearing this

Where this scent takes me: From the very first whiff, I’m transported to a small wharf. It’s early morning, and the boats docked are old. The air is warm, but not hot, and I’m comfortable wearing linen shorts. I’m sitting in an old schooner type boat, where I spent the night. It had rained all the night prior, and the skies are still a little grey, but the morning sun is starting to shine through.

When I would wear this: Late spring to early fall, during the day mostly, but possibly at night during the heart of summer. Any time I’m going to a beach, most definitely, or any time I want to remind myself of the sea.

Would I purchase a larger size of this scent? As much as I enjoy this scent, I’m not sure. It’s such a strong scent. I want to try out other oceanic scents before I commit to any full-size sea fragrance.

Unboxing // Bookcase.Club Strange Worlds June Unboxing

I feel a bit late to the game on this, as my Bookcase.Club packages arrive pretty early in the month (like, they ship out on the first). I almost didn’t do an unboxing post for this, but I figured some of you may be very interested in what you get in these kinds of subs.

This month, the packaging (which I already tossed- sorry) is exactly the same. The box is a very unisex feel; it’s dark blue and contains nothing masculine or feminine. It has the Bookcase.Club brand written on it in white, just like before. This packaging continues on the inside. It’s not the most aesthetically pleasing, but it serves the purpose of saying that this box is for any and all readers.

Like last month, this box contains two hardcover books. Here’s a little bit about the books

Departure by A.G. Riddle


According to the dust jacket, this book is about a plane that suddenly loses power and crash-lands in England… into a different world. This book follows five different people: Harper Lane, a write; Nick Stone, a venture capitalist; Sabrina Shroder, a genetic researcher; Yul Tan, a computer scientist; and Grayson Shaw, the son of a billionaire. These five apparently “hold clues about what’s really going on.” The dust jacket also says it’s “nonstop action…,” which isn’t really my thing. However, I like that there are female protagonists, and this is from the sci-fi box, so it must have some element of science fiction to it.

This book is 322 pages and the font and pages appear to be of normal size; I expect to  read this in 5-6 hours. It retails for $21.99.

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho


Based on what I’ve gathered from this book’s dust jacket, this book is about a protagonist named Zacharias Wythe, who is a sorcerer (“Sorcerer Royal,” which appears to mean a sorcerer whose task is “maintaining magic within His Majesty’s land”). The dust jacket alludes that this protagonist might be a freed slave (at least, they say a freed slave is named Sorcerer Royal). England’s magic is apparently decreasing, and people believe it’s because the magical society is too loose with their use (giving freed slaves access, for example). Zacharias thinks this is obviously false and travels to find the true source for why England’s magic stock is drying up. During his adventure, he meets a very powerful woman (a sorceress?) and ‘he sets on a path that will alter the nature of sorcery in all of Britain – and the world at large.” I love books with magic and sorcery, so I’m excited to read this one! This also seems to have some social overtones; this alludes to some social tension among the “societal elite” and freed slaves (blacks?) and women, but it also appears to be empowering for those marginalized groups, so I’m interested in how these dynamics are written.

This book retails for $26.95 and is 371 pages long. The font and page size remind me a bit of Harry Potter, and the paper itself feels a bit reminiscent of papyrus, complete with unfinished edges that look a bit “torn.” I’m expecting this read to take 6-7 hours.

Overall thoughts: I’ll admit that I haven’t read last month’s picks. Neither of last month’s books appealed to me during the hectic times, and even though I brought one with me while visiting my parents, I still didn’t feel compelled to read them. This month, I’m actually very excited to read both. I’m hoping to finish both books before the next month. The overall retail value is $48.94, which is more than the price I paid for my three-month subscription! The cost of this sub makes each book cost $8 total (including shipping), and I think that is a steal.

Unboxing // Ipsy June 2017: Volume Up

Another day, another unboxing… It’s what I do! Today’s unboxing is Ipsy’s June 2017 Glam Bag. The theme this month is “Volume Up,” which I think is inspired by Pride, as they say this about the bag:

This loud and proud pouch is a not-so-subtle reminder to *always* speak your mind!

“Loud and proud” definitely has that Pride vibe to it, as does speaking your mind. If I remember correctly, a lot of emails and teasers sent out felt very political, too. That said, the actual bag design isn’t super “Pride” or political; the design features large pop-art lips on a background of white polka dots on beige, and honestly, minus the pop-art style lips, it looks very delicate and pretty! It’s not my favorite bag, but it’s not one I’d be embarrassed to use.

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So, what was in my Glam Bag this month? Let’s discover!

  • NYX Whipped Lip + Cheek Souffle in 05 Cocoa Bean. This was my sample choice for the month, and I’m decently pleased with it. I like the texture, and it is quite easy to “sheer out” to use as a cheek product. However, while the color is a good depth for my lips, I’m a bit scared to try to use it on my cheeks. It also has a slightly too-warm feel to me, and I honestly wish I had gotten the Plush shade instead, although that wasn’t an option for me when I selected what products I wanted. Full size; 8ml. Retail value: $5.99

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    Swatches from top to bottom: NYX Cocoa Bean (sheered out on the right), theBalm Balm Springs, and City Color Cheers to Life

  • BioRepublic Skin Care Sheet Masks: Green Tea Detox + Aloe Rescue. WHO LOVES SHEET MASKS?! THIS GIRL! I love getting sheet masks from Ipsy (you get two masks for the one bag item). These ones look okay– not the best quality, but they don’t contain alcohol or Shea, which makes them good in my book. Full size; 2 masks at 28g each. Retail value: $10 if purchased individually ($9 per 2 masks when you purchase packs of 10).
  • theBalm Cosmetics Balm Springs Blush. I’ve enjoyed theBalm samples I’ve gotten in Ipsy before, but they are incredibly small. This pan is literally smaller than most eyeshadows!! The pro is that I might actually hit pan on it someday 😉 I’m not sure how easy it will be to use this as a blush, even though the color looks pretty nice- it’s a nice muted color, and it’s not too pigmented/dark, but it is a hair warmer than I’d like. I’m happy, though, that I get to try out a relatively new theBalm product… so. C’est la vie. Deluxe sample; 0.8g. Retail value: $2.99
  • City Color Cosmetics Shimmer Shadow in Cheers to Life. First, can I just say how much I love this shade name? It inspires so much happiness! I really enjoy City Color Cosmetics, because they’re quite affordable but their quality is pretty decent, and they’re cruelty free! This shade is a beautiful shimmery copper. The product feels more creamy than powder shadows, but it’s not a cream either. It’s a little bit textured, but oh my goodness, it’s a beautiful formula IMO. I might look into buying more of these!  Full size; 3.65g. Retail value: $3.99 on “special” ($4.99 regularly).
  • Skone Cosmetics Insanely Intense Tattooed Waterproof Eyeliner in Jet Black. How many black eyeliners does a normal person go through? It can’t be one a month, can it? Then why is Ipsy sending me a boring black eyeliner in every bag?! This is the third month in a row that I’ve gotten a basic eyeliner, and honestly? I’m over it. I’m refusing to open this one up until I’ve gone through all the liquid black liners I currently own… Full size; 2ml. Retail value: $15 on sale ($20 regularly)

Overall retail value: $43.97. This RV is, of course, calculated using regular prices, not sale prices. If we used sale prices and group discounts, this drops to $36.97.

This is a pretty good RV for a $10 beauty bag, however half of the value is carried by the Skone eyeliner, which IMO, who would buy a $20 eyeliner that isn’t known to be amazing? A quarter of this value is in the two sheet masks- and while I LOVE sheet masks, and I’m very happy to get them, I’d never pay more than $2.50 for a single one. I’m honestly quite excited for the NYX product, theBalm blush, City Color Cosmetics shadow, and sheet mask… I’m not excited for the basic black liner.

To me, this personal value is around $15 if I just severely undervalue the Skone eyeliner; however, if I get to the point where I can use it, it might be worth $5? I don’t know! Normally, I like my beauty boxes to have a personal value twice the cost, but given that this contains sheet masks, even though the PV is lower, I’m still okay, because I know that I’d spend the $2-4 on two additional sheet masks for my collection when the time comes, and this is a brand that I know and trust. I feel like, even though the value is a little low, these are products that are just lower-priced, not products I’m just “trying.” For instance, I’d definitely spend $5 on the City Color eyeshadows- I might even spend $7 if that’s how expensive they actually were.

Unboxing // Sephora Play! June 2017

The theme for Sephora’s June box is “Your Summer Starters,” and I’d have to say that I’m pretty excited about this one! I love the beach vibes this box’s artwork sends out! I’m very pleased that they went back to the cute muslin/cloth bags instead of sticking with the clear polyvinyl “Play!” bag from last month.

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I think this is SO cute! I love the “in a summer state of mind” phrase on the bag; it’s one of the more appealing ones as of late. Kind of an aside, but I’m really enjoying the little bits of diversity in this month’s artwork, too. While I think their dark-skinned beauty really isn’t dark enough, I love that they have different hair colors and skin tones (do you see how one of the white girls is pink and the other is peachy?). It’s a step in a good direction. I also love that one of the girls is wearing a basic black one-piece! While I think anybody who rocks a bikini is free to do so as they please, I am not one of those girls, and I love to see basic one-pieces being normalized.

Okay, I’m off my soapbox now. Let’s get into products!

  • Benefit Cosmetics The POREfessional Face Primer. Aw, this is just so teeny! I actually have a larger, travel-size version of this primer, and I’m still not sure how I feel about it, so I”m not sure how I feel about this primer being in my box. Deluxe sample; 3ml. Retail value: $4.43 (based on $31 for 21g full size). $5.14 if based on travel sized.
  • COOLA Green Tea & Aloe Makeup Setting Spray SPF 30. This was a sample  from Birchbox a while back that I didn’t end up getting but secretly wondered about for a while. I love green tea, I love aloe, I love setting sprays… and I love sun protection! But… drawbacks. SPF 30 for a spray? You won’t be getting even half of that, honestly, because there’s no way you’re using 1/4 tsp of spray on your face. The other downside? This smells straight-up like skunk to me, making me feel pretty sick. Still, the concept is cool! I might let the scent “air out” a bit (like I did for some skunky perfumes) and see how it works later. Deluxe sample; 10ml. Retail value: $7.20
  • Verb Sea Spray. My hair is fairly short (I guess it’s “technically” medium length, but for me, I’m used to medium-long to long hair), and it’s naturally very stick-straight. This says it’s for all hair types, but I’m very concerned it won’t actually do much for my hair. I’m still interested in trying it out, though! Travel size; 2.4 oz (72ml). Retail value: $7 ($5.42 based on full-size).

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    KVD Lovesick: Current one is on the left; new is on the right.

  • Kat von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Lovesick.  I have many deluxe-sample sized KvD ELL’s in my collection, as I purchased a huge set around the holidays last year. Lovesick was included in the set, and it’s one of those shades that survived my Great Lip Destash of 2016. I’m not sure yet what I want to do with this one, because this actually looks different in-tube than my current Lovesick… what?! Seriously, the new one looks darker and a bit less pink? Deluxe sample; 3ml. Retail value: $9.09.
  • Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk. If you know me, you know that when my hair is dyed, I don’t wash my hair as often to preserve the color. Because of that, I love dry shampoos! However, my dry shampoos that I’m trying to work through leave some white cast on my (very dark) hair. I’ve heard amazing things about Klorane, so I’m very excited to try this! Travel size; 50ml or 1 oz (note: it’s probably mostly gaseous as usually 1 oz is ~28-30ml). Retail value: $10 ($6.67 based off of full-size)
  • BVLGARI Omnia Crystalline. This is the perfume this month, and it smells very interesting. It’s supposedly lotus, nashi (pear), and balsa wood according to the brand. According to Sephora, the top notes are bamboo, middle notes are lotus flower, and base is balsa wood. I’m currently on the fence with this one. If you’d like to see a review, let me know! Sample spritzer; ~1.5ml. Retail value: $1.89 (based on largest available size)

Overall retail value: $39.61. Note: this is based on either the price for the item on Sephora if that size is available, or the calculated value based on the most economical packaging. Meaning, for instance, that the dry shampoo was given a RV of $10, not $6.67, because I can buy this exact size from Sephora, but that the Professional was given a RV of $4.43, because this exact size was not for sale at Sephora and this was the cheapest RV. For a $10 subscription, this is definitely not a bad RV; however, I’m not super impressed either. Taking the top prices for RV, this would be a ~$41 box, and if taking only the smallest (based on largest sizes available at Sephora), we’d be looking at $34.70.

Overall, I’m a bit… ambivalent. I think I’ve been using that feeling a lot lately. I’m curious, but also a little suspicious. I’m most excited for the dry shampoo and the sea spray. If the KvD lipstick hadn’t looked so different from my current Lovesick (or had been in a shade I don’t own), and if the COOLA spray hadn’t smelled so… musky… I think I would be much more excited for this box overall. Remember that for me to love a beauty box, I expect around 2 times the cost of the box in personal value, so I look for around $20 estimated personal value for a Sephora Play. Because I’m not sure about those two items, I’m not sure what my Personal Value is. I estimate a personal value around $20 after all is done and said, so I am okay with this box, just not 100% thrilled. I do think this is a better box, product wise, than some others recently!

Unboxing // BeautyCon Summer 2017

When I received the tracking info for a BeautyCon box, at first I was confused. I had planned to cancel this subscription as my first year (four boxes) contained mostly products I didn’t end up using much (especially products that were a terrible match for me). Then I remembered: they changed the billing, so I was hesitant on cancelling.

BeautyCon has removed the option for annual subscriptions, which is what I was on. Now, new subscribers can only buy the seasonal subscription, which is $29+$7 shipping or $36/box. For those who had an annual subscription, BeautyCon “grandfathered” a new subscription type, which is essentially the seasonal subscription minus the cost of shipping. Overall, this makes each box cost $29 total, whereas before it was about $33.50 after shipping per box with the annual rate.  Because the rate was so much better, and because I’d “lose” the offer if I cancelled, I remember keeping the sub as-is.

So, what came in the BeautCon Summer 2017 box? Let’s get into it!

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The box itself is standard BeautyCon with the grid-pattern, but I really enjoy the shiny/holographic look to the slipcover. However, do you see what’s missing from this? Yes- it’s missing an influencer! Unlike most of their previous boxes, this box was not curated by an influencer. I’m currently ambivalent about this.

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The box came full of some really great products this season, which surprised me. I was half expecting two or three self-tanning products and at least one sun-related item, but nothing about these really scream “summer beauty box,” and for that reason I’m actually happy. In list form, here’s what this box contained:

  • ColourPop Ultra Satin Lip in London Fog. This is a pretty pinky-red color, almost like a true strawberry. It’s quite saturated, and it WILL smear and bleed. Full size; 3.2g. Retail value: $6.
  • Deco Miami Lemon Blossom Cuticle Oil. This is a delicious-smelling cuticle oil that comes in an adorable small square polish bottle with a typical nail polish brush. While it’s mostly mineral oil and safflower oil, there is a bit of argan oil and bamboo extract to set it apart from cheap oils. Full size; 6ml. Retail value: $12.50img_7114
  • Deco Miai Pink Crystal Nail File. This is your standard crystal nail file, but it looks pretty sleek with it’s frosted glass appearance. Full size. Retail value: $10.50img_7115
  • Dirty Little Secret Cosmetics Eye Shadow Crayon in Gold Plated. While this is technically what most would consider a “beauty box brand,” this product is fairly decent; it feels very much like any other eye shadow crayon, but it is a little bit creamier and will smudge a bit more. Full size; 3g. Retail value: $14
  • Doucce Lush Lip Gloss in Glistening Petals. The only reason you know the shade name is because it’s on the info sheet; for whatever reason, Doucce didn’t think to print it on the tube! This is a very pigmented, slightly sticky gloss in a warm pinky nude shade. The third ingredient is lanolin oil, so I suspect this will feel pretty hydrating. Full size. Retail value: $22
  • Feel Beauty Bamboo Charcoal Facial Sheet Masks. Everybody should know by now that I love a good sheet mask. This look very intriguing, especially because I don’t see alcohol in the ingredients! However, I did see Shea butter, and I’m unsure if I want to use them because of my historical sensitivity to Shea. Full-size; two sheets. Retail value: $17.50 (based on $35 for a 4-pack)
  • Freeman Beauty Renewing Cucumber Peel-Off Gel Mask. I’m all for a peel-off mask, as I find them fun. This is a brand that is very affordable, and while it says it’s for normal to combo skin, I think this particular one will work for all skin types. Foil packet; 15ml. Retail value: $0.36 (based on $4.30 for a 6oz tube at Ulta)
  • Jonteblu Eyeliner Pencil in 905 Electric Bleu. This is a fun pencil liner in an oceanic blue shimmery shade. The formula feels creamy, not stiff. However, it’s not waterproof… Full size; 1.2g. Retail value: $5
  • MakeupDrop x BeautyCon Original Silicone Makeup Applicator. I think this is essentially the “sillisponge?” Until now, I’ve never heard of MakeupDrop.  It feels pretty substantial, but there’s one issue I have with the construction: there’s a film over it, which creates this “lip” of silicone on the bottom. Full size. Retail value: $20
  • Manna Kadar Beauty Flutter Mascara in Jet Black. The packaging on this is very beautiful and I actually enjoy the simple black look of the tube combined with the fun shape. I also like that it’s “jet black,” as I’m not a brown mascara kind of girl. My complaint is that this is not waterproof; I’m way more apt to try a new waterproof mascara than a normal one, especially during the summer. Full size; 10ml. Retail value: $29.img_7113

Now, onto swatches of the color products:

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Lef to right, we have ColourPop London Fog, DLS Cosmetics Gold Plated, Doucce Glistening Petals, and Jonteblue Electric Bleu.

Overall retail value: $136.86. For $29 (or $36), this gives you a pretty good retail value. That said, I have yet to see how much personal value this will hold, as so much will depend upon how the products perform for me. Judging preliminarily, off of what I’d pay to purchase the items or similar items myself, I’m looking around $40-$45 or so on the lower end and maybe $60 or so on the higher end.