Thursday, April 03, 2014

HAUL: Walgreens & Ulta

Look what I bought this week! Lots and lots and LOTS of things, and I got some pretty sweet deals on it too; which is ALWAYS a bonus. So let's start with all the goodies from Ulta, which was my first and most successful stop this week.


First, we have this Benefit Showstoppin' Steal; which contains a full-size Full-finish Lipstick in Lady's Choice, a Velvet Eyeshadow in Dandy Brandy, AND an Ultra Shines Lip Shine in Wild Child. This beautiful, wonderful steal was only $18. And, unbeknownst to me until I arrived home and started unpacking my new things, purchasing this also landed me a free Benefit Gabbi Catalog Makeup bag, which I somehow didn't even notice the saleslady slip into my bag. It was an awesome surprise though, and I can't wait until my half-marathon at the end of this month so I can travel with it! Click through to see the rest of my new goodies!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

REVIEW: Sally Hansen® Complete Salon Manicure Polishes

#470 Red My Lips, #510 Pat on the Black, #540 Jaded

Recently, Influenster and Sally Hansen sent me a VoxBox of new Sally Hansen nail polish to try out and review. I was super excited to try them, especially as I've been making efforts to keep my nails in better shape this year, and paint them more often. There had been times I've let nail polish sit for forever until it had literally all chipped or grown off before doing anything else to my nails. Point being, I was happy to see a box with these little goodies in my mailbox.

As you can see, they sent me three lovely colors: #470 Red My Lips (a lovely true red), #510 Pat on the Black (an uber dark purple thats just a touch from black), and #540 Jaded (a beautiful robin's egg blue). In the bottle, my favorite was definitely #540, but I have a special soft spot for pastel blues and pastel polishes.

The polishes certainly have their pros and cons. They aren't quite the miracle polishes they wanted to hype them up to be; they're definitely not quite up to par with the Wet & Wild Megalast nail polishes Youtuber Leighannsays always rave about and convinced me to buy (which are the closest thing to perfection in a nail polish I've found, so thanks Leigh Ann!).

Pros to the Sally Hanse Complete Salon Manicure polishes: the brush, for one. It's wide enough to cover a lot of the nail and hold a good amount of polish, and the bristles are slightly tapered along the sides to help really fit the brush along the cuticle easily. The polishes apply nicely too. The only caveat to that is the color payoff isn't quite what I'd like, especially not with the lighter option; it took a couple coats to really make it opaque, though the fact that the polish went on smoothly almost makes up for that.

Without a top coat, the nail polish latest pretty well in general. There was a little chipping at the ends of my nails by the next day, but the majority of the polish sat untouched for about a week before it really started chipping from anywhere else. Dry time was normal; not as quickly as I would have liked, but not unreasonable. All in all, it's a decent nail polish, but at $8.29, I can't say I'll be purchasing more of these. I'll be sticking with my two dollar, reliable Wet & Wild Megalast polishes.

Monday, January 27, 2014

PRODUCT REVIEW: Avon Mega Effects Mascara





It was time to clean out my makeup drawers, and unfortunately, this little guy was pretty used up, and that little bit that was left was all dried out. But of course, before we part ways and he goes in the trash, I think he deserves a proper goodbye: which means review time! Let's start with the basics.

Brand: Avon (available online, through an Avon representative, or in Avon stores)
Price: $10 USD online, I've seen it on sale often.
Color options: Black, Brown Black
The claim: "This breakthrough mascara provides 24-hour volume, leaving lashes darker, denser and more dramatic."

My experience: I have a friend who's mom works for Avon, so the first time I saw this brush was her using it. I really liked the idea of a brush that swivels as this one does, especially when doing my left eye--I'm the sort of person prone to getting mascara all over my nose because I'm completely uncoordinated. Her lashes looked great, too, so I ordered some next time the catalog came my way. I ordered the black option.

When I opened it up, I was both excited and a little scared. The packaging is simple but nice. The mascara does stand up, though you do have to place it carefully; it was easiest to just lay it down, which wasn't a problem, but I do like standing it upright while I'm actually applying the mascara. I have weird moments of OCD! Pulling the wand out of the container took a moment; the box recommends wiggling it side to side until it loosens, which was a bit weird to remember the first few times (though it became a habit quickly) and the packaging seems to do a pretty good job of wicking off the excess mascara as the wand pops free. On closer inspection, the bristles looked a bit intimidating as they seemed all over the place, almost like the barb on a dinosaur tail. I also realized that holding the brush felt awkward as it wasn't how I was used to holding it. There did seem to be quite a bit of mascara still on the wand at this point, but I gave it the benefit of the doubt and just assumed it looked like more than it was, or that I might really need that much. The product is definitely a very good, dark black. I can't speak for the brown black, but my experience with Avon products has been that it's pretty spot on to it's name.

My first experience was a mixed one. The brush felt awkward and it was difficult to get the right angle at first. I ended up with mascara all over my eyelid and under my eye--I managed to cover it up by patting on more eyeshadow and swiping some olive oil on a q-tip under my eye, but it was definitely an annoyance. The payoff for my eyelashes was great though; I didn't see a ton of difference in length, but it definitely add a lot of volume and did add a bit of length. I don't feel it curled my lashes much (though I had used a curler prior to application) but it certainly didn't weigh my lashes down. The formula was on the wetter side, but seemed to dry pretty quickly once applied, and wasn't runny or smudgy. 

When it comes to lasting power, the mascara lasted all day. My curl seemed to stay just fine, and I didn't notice any natural smudging. Towards the end of it's lifespan, it did get a bit flaky, but that was to be expected. It's not waterproof, so I wouldn't recommend it on it's own for anything sappy, sad, or summer if you do a lot of pool or beach time; I did get teary once when wearing it and it did require a bit of cleanup; but it might be fine for light things with a swipe of waterproof mascara over top. It wasn't difficult to remove; it should come off pretty easily with any makeup remover, oil, or even most makeup wipes.

Final conclusion: Despite the difficulties in using it the first time, for the sake of giving it a real chance, I tried it a few more times. By the second go, I was getting more used to the brush, and only managed to get a little mascara on my eyelid. Pretty soon, I was wielding the wand expertly, and really liked how close to my lash line I could get the wand, especially on my left eye (I use my right hand to apply). As the formula dried a little, the mascara looked even better, and I ended up really loving this mascara; it's definitely in my top 5 favorites, and just might be my favorite drug-store priced one. The versatile and uniqueness of the brush is a huge, huge plus once you get used to it; though it does take a bit of practice.
Product Grade: A!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Haircare Empties & Reviews: Dry Shampoos

Since I've been building up quite the collection of empty beauty products over the course of the year, meaning to start doing these reviews and never actually getting around to it, I figure it's time! Some of these have been sitting empty for months, so the reviews are a bit more sparse; but if you're truly interested in an in-depth review of an item, let me know and I'll see what I can do!

New York Streets Dry Shampoo. I received this full-size bottle (5.35 fl. oz; $17) in a BeautyArmy box several months ago. At the time, I had just run out of the Pssssst! Dry Shampoo, so it turned out to be perfect timing to give a new product a try. The product worked well, and I was surprised when it arrived and wasn't just a sample size. The sprayable powder is white, and though it would leave my dark blonde hair looking a bit grey where I used it, massaging it in with my fingers seemed to do the trick and keep it from being a huge problem. I didn't feel like the product lasted for a remarkably long time, or too short a time; it seemed reasonable. It kept my roots clean all day, and sometimes would last up to two without needing another spritz. With cheaper, in my opinion better, options available, I don't think I'd pay the $17 price tag; but it's definitely a product I'd go for again in a BeautyArmy box, or be happy to see arriving in one of my other subscription boxes.

Pssssst! Instant Dry Shampoo (5.3 oz; $6.49). This was the first product I tried when I ventured into the world of dry shampoos. I read about it on Refinery29, listed as a must-have product for one of their beauty editors. It appealed to me because I was attempting to cut back from washing my hair every day, and though I had occasionally used talcum powder on my roots (a trick from my mother), I was ready to upgrade from that mess. I enjoyed using Pssssst!. It was reasonably priced, available at Walgreens, Walmart, and Target, and it worked well. I was prone to overusing it here and there and ending up with white residue, but that was more because I failed to simply build with small amounts until my hair looked right rather than over-estimating how much I needed. I repurchased this several times, and though I've since switched to a new favorite dry shampoo, it's certainly a good, workable product that's got good value for the price. It's something I'd certainly repurchase again in the future if I tire of my current favorite.

Speaking of which...

Not Your Mother's Clean Freak Refreshing Dry Shampoo (7oz. $4.74). By far, this is not only the best value out of these three dry shampoos, but the best working. I'm obsessed with this brand in general, and this was the second product in their lineup that I purchased. Not only do you get a gigantic bottle that has taken me forever to use up (and I should point out that I use dry shampoo a lot, at least every other day, sometimes more). Out of the ones I've tried, the Not Your Mother's has given my hair the best volume, and been the only one that's never given me problems with grey or white buildup in my hair. The bottle does recommend massaging it in with your fingers, which may have made the difference (yes, I try to follow the directions on the bottle!), but either way--I love love love this product. You can't beat the size to price value. The brand is gluten-free and (mostly?) vegan-friendly (though they point out that the Smooth Moves Frizz Control Cream does contain silk-extracts) and the company does not test on animals. I've already repurchased a bottle of this, and I'll be repurchasing it again and again and again until my hair begins to hate it.