Skin

Fresh-Faced for February

I’ve been kicking a cold the last couple of days. A cold that would’ve been much worse had I not gone crazy with the Airborne and Emergen-C. Off of work and with no plans other than loafing around the house watching The Super Bowl with my family, I took advantage of the downtime to give myself a little pampering.

After a day of no makeup, I followed up some plucking and waxing with a mini facial. I finally put to use some fantastic products I had received from my monthly beauty subscriptions after cleansing with my Clinique Facial Soap.

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I used my Renu Exfoliating Gel by Sesha Skin Therapy. Applied to dry skin a circular motions, this gel “removes dead skin cells and unclogs pores with papaya enzymes.” It promises to cleanse, tone and exfoliate and I believe it kept that promise. As I worked the gel all around my face, I was collecting little clumps of dead skin to be rinsed away. After rinsing, my skin felt so smooth and appeared brighter, more “alive”. My skin is super sensitive and this gel didn’t aggregate my face at all. So gentle and so effective. I am really loving this face polish. I have some similar products to put to the test too but I just may end up buying the full size bottle!

Next, I applied Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels from Skyn Iceland. After some late nights followed by early mornings and a boatload of stress, my under eyes definitely looked a little sad; kind of dark and just tired. Once I removed these pads after only 10 minutes, my eyes looked much brighter and refreshed! Not only is this an effective product, it’s 100% vegetarian, cruelty-free, as well as free of any parabens, petroleum, mineral oil, sulfates, phthalates, synthetic fragrance and dyes! Another amazing face product!

Although still feeling a bit crummy from this cold, my skin and face looks and feels a whole lot healthier!

Thanks for reading!!!
Love, GK

December 2012 :: Ipsy Glam Bag :: Haute Holidays

  DECEMBER 2012 IPSY GLAM BAG :: HAUTE HOLIDAYS

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Here it is! My review of my December 2012 Ipsy Glam Bag and it’s another winner! This is only my second Ipsy delivery and this bag is just as fantastic as my first one, last month. (Have I mentioned how completely happy I am that I dropped Birchbox for Ipsy?) This month’s theme is Haute Holidays and the goodies inside this bag are the perfect additions to your holiday look particularly if you like a dark smokey eye and bold red lips! Ow-Ow!!!

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First up is the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil – ZERO –  I really like this pencil. It remind me of the L’Oreal Liquid Pencil but it lasts a bit longer without making its way down your lower lids. There’s nothing worse than an eye pencil that you have to really work to get enough coverage (cough cough, CoverGirl) but this pencil does not give you that problem.

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Also from Urban Decay, I received a sample of their Naked Skin Beauty Balm – Feels lovely. Has SPF 20. Helps repair skin over time and it’s oil free. This is just my kind of BB. Loved this extra in the Glam Bag this month.

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Mai Couture Highlighter Papier – I haven’t had a chance to use these yet but I think the idea is fabulous. I will most definitely write a followup about how much I love/hate these later on. This sample gave me 25 sheets to use which is pretty generous in my opinion.

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Mirabella Prime for face & eyes – SHAKE BEFORE USE. This should definitely be somewhere on the bottle and packaging. (maybe it is and I overlooked it the first time) There seems to be some significant separation when it sits, so make sure to shake this baby before using.

I gave this try on my face and my eyes. As a face primer, it seems to do the trick but then again, when I used it, it was late at night and I just wanted to get a feel for this before reviewing, so I didn’t leave my makeup on for very long after. Whether or not this will help your foundation stay put for an entire day is still yet to be determined (by me at least). As an eyeshadow primer, I didn’t like this. In fact, I feel like it did the opposite and make my shadow wipe off easier. I like that it contains Vitamin E and helps smooth wrinkles and protect skin, but I’ve used better primers with similar benefits that I like much more than this one. Not a winner for me.

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Ipsy gave me, not one, but two of the NYX Ultra Pearl Mania Loose Pearl ShadowBLACK PEARL – Great for that smokey holiday eye. Iridescent, soft and sultry. I’m not a huge fan of NYX but I do like some of their products from time to time, this is now one of them. I sometimes get sloppy with loose powders and it’s always worse when the color is so dark but when I can keep my spastic-ness under control for a few seconds, this loose shadow works really well. Not something I would use everyday and definitely not a product I feel I need every color of but I will enjoy these while they last.

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Be A Bombshell Lip GlossHOT MESS – There really isn’t a whole lot to say about this gloss other than that I love it. The color and coverage is fab and I’ve used this almost every day since my bag arrived at my door.

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This is the product I’ve been able to play with the most from this month’s Ipsy Glam Bag and I’ve determine that I prefer the way this gloss looks and applies when I’ve prepped my pout with Soft Lips (found in just about every store that sells ChapStik). I use Soft Lips by itself but I also use it as a sort-of lip primer and this gloss works a lot better in conjunction with the Soft Lips (or some other lip balm).

Finally, I wanted to give you a peek at the bag itself:

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Cute.

That’s a wrap! Ipsters receive special discounts on these feature products this month when purchased on their company sites. Ipsy provided coupon codes with this month’s bag. (Yet another reason it’s completely and totally worth it to be an Ipsy subscriber.)

If you’d like to BECOME AN IPSY GLAM BAG SUBSCRIBER please use my referral link. (Ipsy is, in my opinion, the best subscription cosmetics service for the best value!)

Thanks for reading! Love, GK

September 2012 :: Birchbox #5

Here it is. My review of the Septmeber Birchbox. Finally.

I received my September Birchbox on Sept 28… Yeah. BUT: Better late than never! Here goes.

Color Club – Birchbox Custom Polish in “Status Update” :: Full Size – $8 – I actually really like this color. I usually choose dark colors over lights and I love that this polish is dark enough without being too dark. Theres hints of blue, grey and green in Status Update and I had to slap on a coat immediately after receiving my box. ♥♥♥♥

Nevermind the crappy paint job and band-aid, this color is awesome.

Nexxus – Pro-Mend Split End Treatment System :: Full Size – $9.99-$14.99 – This is the one sample, this month, that I have not tried as of publishing this post. Regardless, these samples are nowhere near “premium”. I could find a similar sample in a magazine or at a retail sales counter. For that reason and that reason alone, having never tried this product, I’m giving this sample 0/5 ♥s. Zero. I’m not happy with this sample strictly based on size. Even though it boasts that this treatment system will bind 92% of split ends together in one use, I don’t feel this sample provides enough to even make a true judgement of quality and effectiveness. I will eventually give this system a try, of course and I may decided to buy full size bottles to really give them a try, but as far as September’s total Birchbox score is concerned, this sample will not contribute any points.

twistband – Birchbox Custom Lace Hair Tie :: Set of 6-12 – $14-$22 – ANOTHER F*CKING TWISTBAND! First of all, I’ve already received one of these in my first ever Birchbox (May 2012); I was not impressed then and I’m not impressed now. Second, it’s neon-f*cking-orange. I’m a ginger. I filled out a beauty profile. They know I’m ginger. Another 0/5 ♥s.

Vasanti – Brighten Up! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator :: Full Size – $34 – This exfoliating cleanser is amazing. Almost too amazing because after my first use, I experienced a [very rare] breakout. The microderm crystals and papaya enzymes worked harder than my usual products to remove the dirt and oil that was left behind. ♥♥♥♥♥

Youngblood – Mineral Primer :: Full Size – $41 – This primer makes my skin feel the way Soft Lips makes my lips feel (if you’ve ever used Soft Lips, you know exactly what I’m talking about.) Containing vitamins and minerals to sooth skin, this primer does it’s job of preventing makeup melt-away. ♥♥♥♥

September Birchbox Score :: 13♥s/20

In spite of issuing a zero score to 2 of my 5 samples, the products I loved, I really loved and September’s box earned 13 out of 20 total possible ♥s.

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Mighty Leaf Tea Company :: Box of 15 – $9.95 – Chamomile Citrus (Herbal Infusion), Vanilla Bean (Black Tea), Green Tea Tropical. I love tea. Always have. Growing up, my mother was a tea drinker; we didn’t even have a coffee maker for the longest time. Tea was the choice in our house. Although I do love a good cup of coffee after dinner or as a mid-day treat, nothing beats a hot cup of tea. Of the three teabags I received, I curled up with my cup of Chamomile Citrus as I began reading my new book (J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy) and it was delightful. I can’t wait to try the Vanilla Bean black tea next and although I am not a big fan of green teas, I’m still excited to give the tropical blend a try as well.

Tristan Prettyman :: 2 song download – I haven’t downloaded these songs yet nor have I ever listened to Tristan Prettyman but I love music and always love giving new artists a try.

This month, the Birchbox team included their first ever Birchbox Lookbook. It was full of this fall/winter’s most popular trends and style ideas executed by staff members. It’s definitely no Vogue (or even Glamour), but it was cute and I look forward to receiving future “issues”.

I also got a $25 Gift Card to apply to any purchase of at least $75 from Madewell.com. Unfortunately, it had to be used between September 10-30. Just rub salt in my late-box wound why don’t you Birchbox. Birchbox Fail.

The products in this box that I like, I love. I will most likely purchase the full size bottles of the Vasanti cleanser and the Youngblood mineral primer. No lie. Love them both! Over-all, September’s Birchbox was pretty damn good.

I’m eagerly awaiting my October Birchbox which I hope will be one of the limited Goop Birchboxes!! -eek! I hope all the featured products are fabulous and I hope it comes on time! I’m also looking forward to receiving my very first Glossybox in October!

Thanks for reading! Love, GK

August 2012 :: Birchbox #4

OK, I’ve been super busy so I’m just now getting around to posting this month’s Birchbox review but here goes! The theme for August was Back To School. In addition to the products, the box included a fold-out full of helpful beauty and makeup tips.

This box had 4 products (20 possible ♥s) and 1 extra.

Juicy Couture Viva la Juicy La Fleur perfume – Full Size: $70 – I love this scent. Not only would I buy the full size of this fragrance, I will buy this. It’s fabulous! It’s sweet, flowery and citrusy (just my kind of perfume!) ♥♥♥♥♥

Miss Jessie’s Original Stretch Silkening Creme – Full Size: $22 – This curl creme works pretty well. When applied to soaking wet hair, it should loosen tight curls and add tons of shine. I used this one once so far but I didn’t trust it to not use my other products. I’ll have to give this one another shot and definitely post results pics. ♥♥♥

Yu-Be Moisturizing Skin Cream – Full Size: $16 – Definitely NOT for everyday use but on damaged skin like chapped lips and cracked hands, it’s great. I applied it to a particularly dry patch of skin and it worked really well. It’s a bestselling Japanese medicated cream and it seems to do the job. I just think there’s already plenty of other options available. ♥♥

Pixi Beauty Lip & Line – Full Size: $18 – I really do love this lipstick and waterproof lipliner. This shade is Bare Berry and it’s perfect! In fact, this very pale, very tired-looking picture of me trying it out before washing my face to crash for the night, doesn’t quite do this color justice. I’ll definitely check out Pixi’s other shades and maybe pick up a couple of others. ♥♥♥♥

14/20 ♥s. Pretty good. I was pleased with everything in this box.As an extra, they threw in one of these:

Schick Hyrdo Silk Razor – Not my brand but I’ll use it. Thanks, Birchbox!

Thanks so much for reading! Check out my next Birchbox review!

Love, GK

Twitter – Instagram (@GingerKate) – Tumblr

June 2012 :: Birchbox #2

I received my June Birchbox a few days ago. This was the second month that I’ve received a shipment of beauty supplies and frankly, last month, I wasn’t incredibly impressed.

One of the things that I expressed displeasure in last month was the fact that Birchbox says they send 5 deluxe samples each month yet these samples are all standard, small samples. I try not to get hung up on this because the samples sent are premium quality products that I might otherwise never try.

Last month, I also established a scoring system I’ll be using to express my satisfaction with each product and the overall box of goodies. I rank each sample on a scale of 1-5 ♥s; a box containing 5 samples can received a maximum score of 25/25 ♥s (provided that each sample received 5 ♥s.)

June’s Birchbox contained only 4 samples (and two extras), so it’s potential score would be 20/20♥s… However, I have not tried one of the samples yet and I can not issue a score. That being the case, for me, June’s Birchbox (so far) has a maximum score of 15/15♥s. Alright… enough with the explanation of the ♥s system…

June’s Birchbox’s theme was “Jet Set”. I guess I can see it: self tanner pre-vacation, detangler hair treatment for post-beach locks, a travel baggie… Anyway, here’s the goods:

1.) beautyblender – blendercleanser – full size: $17.95 – I gave this makeup brush cleanser a try on my eye brushes. It worked awesome! I usually use oily-like makeup removers on my brushes (although not my face); skin makeup remover isn’t recommended for cleaning brushes but it seems to work fine on my cheap-o brushes. This cleaner was thicker, more viscous, than cleaners I’ve used in the past and I think it worked better because of it.

It’s soy-based and promises to remove built-up bacteria and oil. I used about a quarter of a cap full to clean my (very dirty) angle eye brush. I swished it around for a bit and then rinsed… it was like new. I really liked this product but I don’t necessarily believe I would seek out and buy it. Never the less, a GREAT brush cleaner! ♥♥♥

2.) Comodynes – Self-Tanning Intensive – pack of 8: $14.99 – This is the product that I haven’t used yet. I definitely plan on giving these self-tanning towelettes a try. I’ve used various self-tanning products in the past and rarely achieve results I’m happy with. Whenever I get around to trying these out, I will be sure to let you know how they work out!

3.) Number 4 – Super Comb Prep & Protect – full size: $32 – This  leave-in treatment spray promises to detangle and defizz your hair. It’s packed with nutrient-rich botanicals and UV filters to strengthen and protect hair.

I’ve been doing a lot of swimming recently, I’ve also been spending a lot of time at the beach. The other day, between swimming and the pool and showering, I used this spray on my hair and combed through. It definitely allowed me to be able to comb through my chlorine soaked hair before I was able to wash and condition it, which is good. After washing and conditioning my hair, I sprayed my hair with this treatment again before adding product; I didn’t notice a difference.

It seems to work well enough but I won’t be purchasing the full size bottle. Other than the convenience of bringing this bottle to the beach or on vacation as the theme of the box implies, I don’t see myself needing this product. For others who may use a detangling spray more often, I believe you can find the same or similar quality in more affordable, more easily accessible brands. ♥♥

4.) theBalm cosmetics – Stainiac in Beauty Queen – full size: $17 – I absolutely LOVE this lip/cheek tint! It’s fantastic!!! The results are subtle, yet noticable and it is super easy to blend! I’ve tried some other lip tints and I thought they were a little too thick, a little too similar to glosses. This “hint of tint for cheeks and lips” is exactly that!

This is by far my favorite product in the entire box! I would definitely, and probably will, buy the full size of this product. ♥♥♥♥♥

To show just how subtle, yet effective, Stainiac is, I took a picture of myself before applying this product and after. The makeup on my face before applying the Stainiac was the everyday makeup I had worn to work that day, applied 10.5 hours earlier.

Now, the lighting in the “after” picture is definitely a bit better, however, I think it’s still pretty obvious how much “glow” this added to my whole face after lightly being applied to my lips and cheeks.

I swept one layer of the stain across my lips blended together. Then, without re-dipping the applicator, I dabbed little dots of stain on each cheek and rubbed/blended upwards across my cheek bones. I think the results are noticeable. In fact, I can’t say I like that “before” picture very much; my face looks washed out and tired… wah.

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5.) Extra – John Varvatos – Star USA – full size: $55-$70 – This mens cologne was added to my sample box “in honor of Fathers Day” (meaning: to promote their new Birchboxes for Men). I gave it a sniff and I can’t say that I’m digging it that much. Fragrances always smell different on people and even more different on individuals. I’m going to ask one of my guy friends to give it a try and report back with any negative or positive results.

7.) Extra – tili – Bags – pack of 9-12: $8.49-$9.49 – Its a baggie. That’s all. A plastic zip-lockable baggie. I think the idea of adorably patterned baggies is cute, but I’m definitely not going to pay $10 for a few. Thanks, but no thanks, Birchbox. … I’ll totally use this since I now have it on my dresser with my cosmetics though…

June’s Birchbox total: 10/15♥s … not too shabby. (That Stainiac really boosted this boxes overall score.

I’ll, of course, be reviewing another Birchbox next month and as long as it doesn’t completely suck, I won’t cancel my Birchbox subscription.

Thanks for reading! I hope you’ll SUBSCRIBE up top! I also hope you’ll follow me on Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram!

Love, GK