Clinique Bonus Review!

 

Clinique Bonus Review!

Clinique Bonus Review!

 

It’s rare that I will splurge for higher end/cosmetics counter (read: non drugstore) cosmetics, but when I do, it’s often when there’s a gift with purchase full of things I think I will like, the minimum buy is low, and I can make that amount by buying things I use/will use. In this case, it was a couple of lipsticks, which will be reviewed in a later post. This Clinique Bonus included a cute makeup bag, a Chubby Lash mascara, a Chubby Stick blush in Roly Poly Rosy, a Chubby Stick eyeshadow in Lots o’ Latte, a Chubby Stick lippie in Chunk Cherry, a Rinse Off Foaming Cleanser, and a Dramatically Different Moisturizing Cream. They advertised it as a full look.

The Chubby Lash mascara ($21CAD for full size) came in a cute little tube that dispenses a HUGE amount of product. The picture below is brightened so you can see the enormous amount of excess globbed on to the wand. This tube needed a much smaller opening. I had to scrape most of the mascara back off along the opening of the tube to make it usable, while not wasting product.The brush itself was also far larger than it needed to be, and I found I had a hard time not getting it all over my eyelids and surrounding area. The formula, however, was fantastic. It built up well, and barely flaked all day! The black was also nice, deep, and rich. If you can tolerate a globby, too big wand, this mascara might be for you!

Clinique Chubby Lash, Black

Clinique Chubby Lash Mascara in Jumbo Jet

 

The Chubby Stick Cheek Colour Balm ($27CAD for full size) came in a swivel tube larger than it needed to be for the amount it contained, but it was sturdy and it worked. The shade was a lovely, slightly warm pinkish red which blended out smoothly to a natural looking flush. No shimmer. Beautiful finish. Swatches on NC 20/25 skin. I didn’t notice any fading over the course of the day, it stays exactly where you put it, and it didn’t break me out. I quite like this blush!

Clinique Chubby Stick Cheek Colour Balm

Clinique Chubby Stick Cheek Colour Balm

 

The Chubby Stick Shadow Tint For Eyes ($21CAD for full size) in Lots O’ Latte is a cool leaning taupe-ish light brown with a hint of shimmer. Goes on pale, but builds up with a few swipes. Blends out easily with a finger. The colour did fade a bit, but was still visible at the end of the day even on my oily lids (I do use my foundation as a primer, however.) I might not use it every day, but have used it very frequently as a one-and-done eye colour on days I don’t feel like fussing about with multiple powder shadows, or am pressed for time. I like it enough to consider purchasing it in other shades! But right now I’m happy with just this one.

Clinique Chubby Stick Shadow Tint in Lots O' Latte

Clinique Chubby Stick Shadow Tint in Lots O’ Latte

 

The Chubby Stick Lip Colour Balm in Chunky Cherry ($21CAD for full size) is of your standard swivel twist up lip crayon variety. The shade is a light red which is very sheer and wearable. It doesn’t last very long, but is at least moisturizing. I’d say even Revlon’s Lipbutters last longer than this, but that’s really my only complaint. I like it for a refreshing wash of colour, and it would be great for someone who wants to wear a red but is scared of the intensity. Shown below with 5 passes, then just one.

Clinique Chubby Stick Chunky Cherry

Clinique Chubby Stick Chunky Cherry

 

The cleanser I also liked. A small amount lathered well and spread around well to remove the day’s makeup. No fragrance! It did leave my skin feeling almost too clean, and I have oily skin. Someone with dry or sensitive skin would feel that this over strips your natural moisture. I like it so far as it performs well, might consider a full size purchase. Especially at bonus time….(scratch that, I just tried looking for it on their website for a full price quote in Canadian dollars, and it’s not there at the time of this post!)

Clinique Rinse Off Foaming Cleanser, Dramatically Different Moisturizing Cream

Clinique Rinse Off Foaming Cleanser, Dramatically Different Moisturizing Cream

The Dramatically Different Moisturizing Cream is.. well.. not. There is nothing exciting or advanced in this cream’s ingredients. I don’t require a moisturizer beyond my staple Neutrogena Healthy Skin retinol treatment, so I’ve used this as nothing but a hand cream. As a hand cream, it soaks in well and leaves a nice smooth, soft finish to the skin. Non greasy. Non fragranced. Non interesting.

Lastly, the cosmetics bag has a cute cheery print of Clinique’s Chubby Stick lippes, seems well made and is roomy enough to carry what you’d probably want to take along cosmetic wise for a vacation or short trip. I like it.

clinique_bonus_bag_

All around this gift with purchase has fully impressed me, and would encourage me to purchase many of these products in full size. They picked some fantastic products for this gift with purchase! Coming up in a future post, reviews on some Clinique lipsticks, in Plum Pop and A Different Grape!

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Flare Beauty Box Spring 2015!

Flare Beauty Box Spring 2015

Flare Beauty Box Spring 2015

I received this a few weeks ago. Managed to get some pictures, and got around to finally posting today! This Flare Beauty Box was $8 CA, not a bad price considering the contents! What’s inside!

 

Flare Beauty Box Spring 2015

Flare Beauty Box Spring 2015

Flare Beauty Box Contents

Flare Beauty Box Contents

First we have the Herbal Essences Wild Naturals, a large sample of both shampoo and conditioner. This didn’t wow me. There was nothing special about it performance or fragrance wise. Unless you are really into a very mild, light fruity figgy fragrance, skip this one.

Herbal Essences Wild Naturals

Herbal Essences Wild Naturals

Next up, an Olay Ultra Moisture Body Wash and Cover Girl Full Lash Bloom mascara, full size. I know my body doesn’t react well to the Olay body wash after a few uses, however it is a very luxurious feeling formula and I like washing my hands with it which doesn’t seem to bother them.

Cover Girl Full Lash Bloom, Olay Ultra Moisture Body Wash

Cover Girl Full Lash Bloom, Olay Ultra Moisture Body Wash

The mascara I haven’t used yet. I already know from prior experiences that I don’t like the plastic bristles on the wand, which poke my eye when trying to apply the product. As the mascara itself came sealed with the wand outside, I am using the wand to comb thru the tips of lashes coated with a different mascara, which it works wonderfully for. When I finish my current tube of Maybelline Cat Eyes, I will wash off that brush and see if it fits in the Cover Girl tube and use that one instead, to give the product a fair shake at being useful for me (I love the Cat Eyes wand!)

Then we have a couple sample packs of Olay Fresh Effects Mattifier. These usually don’t work for me, and this one was not much different. it seemed to be doing a great job for the first part of the day, but by the end I was even oilier than if I hadn’t used anything at all. Being fair, my day is pretty long, and I need makeup to hold on tight for 12 hours minimum.

Olay Fresh Effects Mattifier

Olay Fresh Effects Mattifier

My favourite portion of the box was the free full size of a Vidal Sassoon hair colour ($16 value.) I was excited about this, however they didn’t really have a perfect colour match for what I was looking for. I may have ended up with something a shade too dark. If so I will use it to paint in some lowlights. I didn’t get a closeup of the coupon.

Last up, Cover Girl lipstick in Succulent Cherry. The swatches below show the product as fairly sheer (one swipe on top, a few swipes underneath) and leaning pink. On my skin it leans warm with orange undertones, as my skin just makes colours lean this way unless very cool toned. Great for anyone who loves a red lip. I wear a red lip sometimes, and the sheerness of this could make it more wearable than others I have. I’m just worried about it looking too orange on me, especially under fluorescent lights at work.

Cover Girl Succulent Cherry

Cover Girl Succulent Cherry

Cover Girl Succulent Cherry Swatch

Cover Girl Succulent Cherry Swatch

And here’s a shot of the nails I had at the time, a creamy white with a layer of gold sparkles. I used Nicole All About the Glam.

WP_20150519_015[1]

 

Anyone else get the Flare Beauty Box? What did you think?

Have a great week!

November Empties!

NovEmpty1

This month has flown by for me, despite being full of rain, more rain only heavier, below freezing temperatures and even some snow, which is thankfully rare in Vancouver. I don’t like being so busy that I can’t post, and it’s been far too long. Long enough to have lots of empties! Plus one item that is not used up but was so bad it needs to go!

NovEmpty2

November Empties!

Numbered clockwise starting on the left.

1) Yves Rocher Yellow Peach Shower Gel

This was a pretty standard liquid soap/shower gel with a peachy fragrance. The peach scent was fresh and not overly ripe, but a little powdery which bothered me enough to not want to repurchase. The bottle was a generous 400ml/13.4 oz.

2) Aussie You Can Shine Hairspray

This was decent enough hairspray, it did it’s job. Had a nice citrusy fruity smell. I didn’t notice any stickiness or crispness. I would repurchase this if I found it on sale, which is how I found this can!

3) Fructis Sleek & Shine Anti Frizz Serum

Although most silicone serums for frizzy hair are mostly the same, this is one of my favourites. It has a nice fruity scent standard for any Fructis product, and has a thinner, easier to spread consistency which helps when you have super long, super fine hair like mine. The pump is also a winner. This is my second or third bottle of this and I will continue to rebuy until I can’t find it anymore!

4) Avon Moisture Therapy Calming Relief Creamy Body Wash

Although I would also recommend this for a body wash, I use it on my face! It removes makeup really well, does not irritate, and doesn’t leave any residue. If you have really dry skin I wouldn’t recommend use on your face but it does a great job on my oily skin! Contains oatmeal to soothe dry, tight, itchy skin. Been through many tubes of this!

5) Smashbox Full Exposure Eyeshadow Sampler

Now this one isn’t so much empty as it is impossible to use. The little patches of eye shadow sample were so dry and stuck on that application was impossible. I made the mistake of trying to make this work on a work day and had to scrap it mid way through. I’m sure the actual product is easier to use than this sample, but this sample has made me never want to try the real thing it was so bad. Complete failure in execution. Below is a picture of the tiny amount I managed to scrape off the card.

Smashbox Full Exposure Eye Shadow Sample

Smashbox Full Exposure Eye Shadow Sample

6) Neutrogena Acne Stress Control – 3 in 1 Hydrating Acne Treatment

I wouldn’t really call this hydrating so much as it is smoothing, and I can’t even comment on the stress control claim! The silicone base makes your skin feel soft and smooth, while being at the right ph level for the salicylic acid to do it’s work. If I stop using this for a few days, I can feel and see the negative effect in my skin, getting flakier with more clogged pores. I will buy this as long as I can find it in Canada, as there is no other affordable, gentle, effective salicylic acid leave on treatment option that I am aware of in the country. Clean & Clear has a version of something similar which is only available in the US, and everything else I can find here has alcohol and other irritants in it.

7) NYC Color in a New York Minute – Grand Central Station

How often is it you finish a bottle of nail polish before it goes all weird on you? This isn’t my first finished bottle of the fast drying NYC clear coat, and certainly not my last. I will buy this as long as I can still find it in Canada. Currently I have to purchase it online to find it at all! Fantastic product. Did a full review here.

8) Revlon Lip Butter in Peach Parfait

I usually reach for pinks and reds, but somehow this peachy lip butter with tiny golden flecks has managed to work itself in many daily looks! It complements both warm and cooler eye looks and doesn;t look garish under fluorescent lighting. It has well earned it’s place as a daily favourite. Will I buy again? Absolutely, just waiting for a sale! The are otherwise around $10 in Canada.

9) L’Oreal Voluminous Waterproof Mascara – Black

It may have been in blackest black or carbon black, I don’t remember, but it was, and is, a great mascara! This is the closest in formulation and brush as my long discontinued in Canada old favourite Full n’ Soft Mascara. It doesn’t clump too much, it holds a curl better than some, doesn’t flake (until you get to the end of the lifespan of the tube) and is perfectly waterproof without being too much of a pain to wash off. I will continue buying this when found on sale as long as it’s being made!

Hope everyone had a good November and you’re staying warm! Or cool if you’re one of my Aussie readers!

 

 

ELF Products Only! Pale Smoky Purple Eye Look Using Only ELF Cosmetics & Tools!

ELF Cosmetics & Tools

ELF Cosmetics & Tools

I was planning on doing a simple swatch and review of this purple ELF cosmetics eyeshadow set, labeled only as “Smoky”. It then occured to me that I had enough ELF products that I would be able to do a complete eye look using ELF only products, tools and brushed included! I didn’t use everything shown above but thought I should include them in the picture just in case I did. Included in the picture above: a six pan eyeshadow set called Smoky, a liquid liner in Plum, a black mascara, an eyelash curler, two pencil liners, one in Black and one in Plum, two eyeshadow brushes, a small concealer brush I usually use for liner, a pencil sharpener that was included with the eyeliner and an eyeliner brush, all ELF products.

Swatched below are the eye liners, the pencil ones first in Plum then Black. The black didn’t stick to my waterline as I had hoped, the formula just isn’t gel like enough for that, but they still apply well to skin, and I ended up using the Plum pencil under my eye in the finished look. The Liquid liner is on the bottom, also named Plum. I quite like the liquid liner, I did a full review on the one in black, and I love it (had to buy backups, and I’m glad I did as it’s gone now!)

ELF Eye Liners in Plum and Black

ELF Eye Liners in Plum and Black

And below I have swatched the six pan palette in Smoky. Pigmentation was ok in most of them, nothing outstanding but definitely good enough to be workable for a casual look. The purple and black ones were drier than the rest, with the purple being the only really matte one in the pan. It applied better than the black. All contained sparkle in one way or another. From top to bottom we have a very frosty sheer white, a pinky lavender, the matte purple (which had sparkle in its overspray but not underneath that), a silvery, slightly lilac taupe, and impressively pigmented shimmery charcoal grey, and a not particularly well pigmented matte black with loose sparkles in the matte base. I didn’t end up using the grey or black in this lighter smoky look today.

ELF Smoky Eye Shadow 6 Pan Palette Swatches

ELF Smoky Eye Shadow 6 Pan Palette Swatches

The eyeshadows did blend just fine, and seemed to lose the heavy glitter as i blended along, which is fine with me. I did a look using the matte purple on lid, pinky lavender in crease, the taupe on inner half of lid, and the tiniest bit of the frost white in my inner corner. Although it looks black in the picture, I did use the liquid liner in Plum on my upper lid, and the pencil liner in Plum on the lower.

ELF Smoky Eye Shadow on eye

ELF Smoky Eye Shadow on eye

You can’t see the mascara very well at this angle, but I am satisfied with it’s performance. It built reasonably well in 2 coats and dried to a very soft and flexible finish. Due to this flexibility however, it didn’t hold a curl well. If you were in desperate need of mascara and only had a buck, this would do the job in a pinch. It did start to flake on me, but this might be my fault as I was continuously poking at it, being impressed with it’s flexibility.

Overall, if you don’t have particularly high performance demands, pigment wise, out of your makeup, or if you don’t like using your expensive stuff when you are only going to be out a couple hours for errands or something, I would recommend these ELF products (the eyeliner especially, which is a daily use product for me!)

Have any favourite ELF products?

September Empties with Mini Reviews!

September Empties!

September Empties!

How was everyone’s September? New schools? New jobs? September was a hugely busy month for me, full of workshops and interviews, and next month will be even busier as I am to be starting a new job with long hours. I think I will only be able to post on weekends, sadly. I did manage to get through some items this month however! I will go through them one by one as numbered in the photo below, left to right, and add in some mini reviews and applicable links to previous reviews and the like.

Empties_Sept_2014_Numbered

 

1) Coppertone SPF 60 Continuous Spray Waterproof Sunscreen

Not that anyone should need any extra reasons to wear sunscreen at all times, but I am allergic to the sun. A few minutes of unprotected sun exposure and I’m stuck with an itchy hives reaction that can last for weeks (this is known as Polymorphic Light Eruption). So I keep my face, hands, and any other exposed skin covered at all times. I grabbed this one as not only was it on sale, but I liked the idea of a waterproof formula to make sure it sticks on during a potentially sweaty summer day when I am unable to reapply. The product was an easy to use spray on. It did leave a sticky feeling however, presumably from whatever ingredient in it makes it waterproof. I didn’t mind this until I noticed every speck of dirt and dust I walked past stuck to my skin and was hard to wash off! The scent was also somewhat strong to me, something typically beachy with a splash of light floral and a side of chemicals. If you’ve smelled Jennifer Aniston’s first fragrance, which supposedly was also intended to be beachy, it smells like that. Due to the stickyness and scent, I would not rebuy. I did like the spray on aspect, but I think I will stick to cream formulas thought winter. Will not rebuy.

2) Maybelline Full ‘n Soft Waterproof Mascara in Very Black

This, for reasons that entirely escape me, has been discontinued in Canada. I believe it is still available in the US. This has been my HG mascara for for twelve or thirteen years maybe. It builds well to great volume and length, doesn’t flake (until the tube gets a bit old and dried up), leaves my lashes soft and pliable with no spiky, spidery lash attributes, and is in fact waterproof. Not too hard to wash off. I am down to one last stashed away tube, after that there’s no more here to be found in Canada. I will miss it! If there are any US readers who would like to enable my Full ‘n Soft addiction I would be more than receptive to the idea! I would rebuy but it doesn’t exist here.

3) Bath & Body Works White Citrus Shower Gel

A zesty, sparkling citrus scent with notes of ginger and water lily. A slight musky base. I liked this enough to use as a shower gel and diluted in my foamy hand soap dispensers as detailed in this post. It was nice and refreshing. I don’t think I liked it enough to rebuy. I think this would make a great scent for a laundry detergent or a room spray or candle.

4) Pantene Sheer Volume Weightless Shampoo Sample

This shampoo has an interesting texture in that it is more of a thick, gel like formula and not at all liquid. It didn’t pour out. I used this by squeezing out little jelly blobs. I liked this far more than I usually like Pantene products, probably because the formula was so, so different. I did a good job, and my hair didn’t feel limp afterwards when dry. Even the scent is better than usual Pantene offerings, reminds me more of something Fructis might make. Worth noting is that sodium laurel sulfate is it’s primary surfactant, which some people can have sensitivities to. I’m usually ok with it if I don’t use it too many days in a row, otherwise my scalp gets itchy. I would consider buying this if I found it at a great price and needed shampoo at the time.

5) Pantene Sheer Volume Weightless Conditioner Sample

Like it’s shampoo counterpart, this formula was completely different than Pantene’s other conditioner offerings. In fact, the formula reminded me a lot of Tres Emme’s, which is my go to every day conditioner and has been for years. This did the job well and smelled pretty good. I would consider buying if it were at a great price and I needed conditioner at the time, but I can’t see it ever being any better or cheaper than my $4 a liter Tres Emme. But good job an this new shampoo/conditioner, Pantene.

6) John Frieda Sheer Blonde Go Blonder Lightening Shampoo Sample

I didn’t notice any lightening. The formula didn’t lather well, and had a strange chemical undertone to the scent. Would not buy. Seemed almost indistinguishable, aside from the colour from it’s purple tone correcting counterpart I reviewed in my last empties post. Says it’s ammonia and peroxide free. How is this intended to lighten?

7) Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti Wrinkle Cream

Also known as Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti Wrinkle Cream Night depending on where you buy it from. This is a retinol treatment I have used for a year now and do not intend on stopping, unless I upgrade to a higher dose of retinol. There is still a couple of uses left in this tube, but I felt it would be an important addition to my empties post to demonstrate how long this little 40ml tube lasts. My last empty tube made an appearance in my debut empties post back in May, so I get at least four months worth of use out of one tube. I buy this when it’s on sale for about $16-17 Canadian, so I get my retinol treatments and results for less then $5 a month. Amazing. I’ve done a very in depth full review as well if you’d like to check it out. I will rebuy this until they stop making it, which I hope is never.

8) Diorskin Forever Flawless Perfection Wear Makeup SPF 25 Sample

I don’t have the little Sephora bag that had the label on it, but I believe this was in shade #010. I went into Sephora asking for samples of foundation of longer wearing, SPF bearing formulas, and this was the winner. It is basically perfect. Coverage was impeccable, it lasted all day in humid weather, no smudging, smearing, or transferring. I found I only needed extra concealer on my dark under eye circles when I used this. The finish is skin like, and just matte enough. I would buy this, but at the atrocious price of $49 Canadian that won’t be happening. I won’t feel too bad about asking for more samples however, after what Sephora put me though, and use it on occasions I need my skin to look nicer.

Hope everyone had a wonderful and productive September! I’m looking forward to October and all the spooky stuff (and candy) it brings with it!

Cover Girl Clump Crusher by LashBlast Review!

Cover Girl Clump Crusher

Cover Girl Clump Crusher

I’m a couple years behind everyone in trying this out. As I tend to not love the overwhelmingly popular products as much as others, I was really reluctant. Maybe I’m too particular. Were my instincts right? Let’s find out. The shade I received this in is “Black”.

The package boasts that the product will deliver 200% more volume and ZERO (all caps emphasis theirs, not mine) *vs bare lashes. I’m not sure how that’s quantifiable but I was still interested in the results. The brush is flat on one side and slightly curved on the other, which Cover Girl describes as the “lash loading” section, intended to saturate your lashes with product. The spikey plastic brush bristles are then intended to comb it out. Click pics to enlarge.

Cover Girl Clump Crusher Package Back

Cover Girl Clump Crusher Package Back

On to my experience with this product. Now I haven’t had a huge amount of trouble with mascara clumping. I am no mascara newbie. I’ve been using certain products for a long time that I really like, and if I apply enough were clumping might occur, I comb it out using a clean old mascara wand reserved for that purpose. Does the trick for any formula. I was interested in this product as the idea of skipping the combing out step was intriguing, and people seemed to really like this.

The formula is a drier one, which is generally my preference. Has a slight waxy, plasticy scent. I applied this as I would any other mascara, by brushing it on and going over it a few times to my liking. The first thing I noticed was the brush was irritating. I like to wiggle the brush in at the roots to deliver colour and volume, but the really pointy bristles poked my inner eyelid/waterline and although it was not outright painful, it was annoying enough to turn me off the product altogether. The next thing I noticed was clumps! I tried combing through it more with the brush, without dipping it back in for more product, to see if I could work them out. It wasn’t horrible, but there were definitely clumps. Below is a pic of one coat of my application as described above. Also used in this photo are the Hard Candy eyeshadow crayons from yesterday’s post.

Cover Girl Clump Crusher One Coat

Cover Girl Clump Crusher One Coat

The formula seemed to be ok at lengthening/thickening. The picture doesn’t capture the full length I achieved with this product, my eyes are very deep set and it’s a tough shot to take. Nothing rave worthy, but effective enough. I let it dry before putting on another coat. The black colour looked like a deep, matte, plush black indoors, but in direct sunlight it was washed out and looked a bit charcoaly grey, which might be a deal breaker for some. It was still somewhat flexible when dry, which was nice. I decided it was time to try a second coat. The first thing I noticed this time was that the little plastic bristles did *not* want to comb through the already dried product. It felt stiff and uncomfortable. I tried working with it for a few minutes, and below is a picture of the second coat.

Cover Girl Clump Crusher Two Coats

Cover Girl Clump Crusher Two Coats

CLUMPS. Not terrible, and a bit spidery, but for a product that claims ZERO in all caps clumps on the package I was expecting a better performance than this! Now being fair, it did comb out well in other tests (as every other mascara does) with my old clean mascara wand technique, but I felt this shouldn’t be a necessary step for a mascara named Clump Crusher.

This will not replace my usual repertoire of  mascaras (my beloved discontinued in Canada Maybelline Full n Soft and the similar L’Oreal Voluminous, both waterproof, even Cover Girls own Professional mascara that I have been using in Brown, waterproof for well over 20 years!). I might use it just to slap something on quickly for a quick run to the store or something, as it did seem ok with just one coat. If you are the type that likes more than one coat like myself, I’d recommend not letting it dry in between layers as you won’t be able to get that spikey fork for a brush through it otherwise.

My instincts of avoiding those plastic brushes was bang on. They just do not work for me. I remember going through this same thing when Cover Girl LashExact and it’s plastic brush came out. My friends raved and I just knew I would hate it. And I did, it was awful in every way for me. Never again, no more plastic brushes. Different things work for different people! I like bushier, soft brushes.

Full disclosure: This product came to me in a P&G BrandSampler box I ordered a couple of months ago. These used to be free, but now they are apparently being offered, “free”, with a shipping charge of $6. As I wanted to try everything in the sampler pack, I paid the $6. After the quoted 2-6 weeks passed without my package arriving, I requested a refund. I was told to just keep the sampler if it finally arrives. Well, it finally arrived a few weeks later. So although I ultimately did receive this product free for testing, neither P&G nor I intended it to be that way. I believe this retails for about $8-10 Can.

Anyone tried this? Have better/worse results than me? Any tips to get this to work as advertised?

Sephora Order/Prize Opening! (and a word of caution)

Sephora_Order_BoxLast month I was the lucky prize winner of a giveaway from the wonderfully generous Rebecca at lastcontrast! The prize was a $50 US gift certificate for Sephora which I gladly put towards this order. I am relieved I was able to use it for this order, as Sephora sure did give me a hard time about it. If you want to get straight to the goods, please skip ahead to the picture below. If you want to be aware of the behaviour of companies you may be buying from and are selective about where your beauty products are sourced, please read on.

I had a write up ready to go regarding their refusal to honor this gift certificate as I was in Canada. I will summarize here. I had it from them in writing that they were keeping the cash for it and not providing any goods or refund to the original buyer. Obviously, this refusal to provide a solution was completely unacceptable.  Over the course of my numerous carefully worded, polite emails, I did the work for them with suggestions and workarounds (six in total) that I know companies should be capable of from my 20 years in customer service myself. I begged for my concerns to be brought to management (on multiple occasions) or at least to someone with the authority to assist me. All I got in response were canned answers from whoever had the misfortune of getting to reply to my email, and by their replies I could tell no one was reading my concerns. As I had given up, and they clearly didn’t even bother trying to actually assist me, I allowed myself to be upset. I sent them an email stating as such and that my write up regarding their blatant refusal to assist after taking someone’s cash would be made available to them via links on any social media I could find including my blog and their Facebook pages for public review.

And what do you know. Unexpectedly, I got a call. A CALL, and they left me a message. Not an email. Someone, only after my upset email, decided to help me. Evidently they decided to honor my gift certificate as a refund to my card after my order had shipped (presumably so I couldn’t back out at that point). This workaround was similar to one of my suggested solutions. Incidentally, I’m still waiting for this refund but they swear it’s gone through on their end. I’ll believe it when I see it, and if I don’t I will issue a chargeback, as I do have it (in writing again) that they were to apply said refund. I am disappointed that my polite calls and emails were brushed off and ignored, but the snarky, upset one that promised to share their willingness to swindle customers with the public got their attention. I think it says a lot about the difference between Canadian and US culture. The only thing that kept them from blatant theft was the threat of me telling everyone about it. Keep that in mind when you’re dealing with Sephora in the future, if you’re particular about where your beauty dollars are spent.

 

ON TO THE GOODIES!

Sephora_Order_Numbered

 

I will quickly go over the haul as numbered. I will do more thorough reviews as the products are used, would be far too much to go into here!

1) Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette – the reason I placed the order in the first place. I have wanted this for a very long time but wouldn’t ever allow myself to spend that ($64 Can) on a beauty product. The gift card prize was the only way this could have ever happened. I haven’t used them all yet but so far “Pistol” is my favourite! This no longer comes with a lip gloss, which is a pity.

2) Tocca Florence Travel Fragrance Duo – contains a hand creme and a roller ball fragrance. A light fresh white floral that leans green.

3) Smashbox Full Exposure Eye Shadow Sample – 10 shades, 5 shimmer, 5 matte. Single use sample portions.

4) Sephora’s Niche Fragrance Sampler – includes Maison Martin Beach Walk, Tocca Simone, Tokyo Milk Dark Tainted Love,  Nest Midnight Fleur, Clean Skin, and Atelier Orange Sanguine (the topmost left in the waxed paper wrap there is a post card and a sample vial. Most beautifully presented sampler I have ever seen.) There is also a Juicy Couture La La sample but this was not included with the niche sampler, but for this list purpose, and for my later review they will be grouped together.

5) Tarte Flush Cheek Stain – a deluxe sample, from redeemed points Sephora gave me for my “inconvenience” while they were still declining to honor the gift certificate. An impressive amount for a sample. This could last for a few weeks worth of daily uses at least!

6) Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Medium/Deep matte bronzer. Smells of chocolate, lovely. Also a points redemption as above. Also an impressive amount for a sample, this is the size of a large single pan eye shadow.

7) Make Up For Ever HD Powder sample – a tiny amount of powder on a card.

8) Urban Decay Primer Potion samples (x2 as one was with the palette) – 4 different types of their Primer Potion line, says there is to be a weeks worth of each within the packet. I’m particularly interested in the “anti-aging” one as I’d not heard of it before. I’m still not completely sold on the idea of needing one product to make another work as it should without assistance.

9) Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet – another points redemption as a deluxe sized sample. I admit to liking this far more than I thought I would. It’s simple but lovely.

10) Make Up For Ever “Happy Birthday” deluxe sample pack – contains a mini lipstick in N9 and a mini mascara in Smoky Extravagant. Added this to my order as it was available for free as my birthday is this month.

I would like to once again thank Rebecca at lastcontrast for her generous prize. I would have never had the opportunity to try these high end products otherwise. The out of pocket expense for the large list above was only $25 Canadian (I had to make it $75 for the free shipping as I’d rather the amount go towards product than ship costs)! Pretty good haul I think! 🙂

There was something missing from this order. I had selected that it be accompanied with the magnetic closure Sephora “gift box”, I was looking forward to using it for more attractive photographic purposes for this and all upcoming blog posts regarding the contents of this order. I sent them off another email to ask them about it. I found my order confirmation email where the words “gift box” were right there in black and white for their easy reference, and used it for my reply. I got an email back, immediately. They had the nerve to state that I had not included it on my order. Yes, even though it was stated right there. On the same page. On the order confirmation. Just a few inches down. I replied to them stating the obvious, that it is right there on the same page, but I don’t expect a reply at this point. I don’t understand why they didn’t send it, would have been a ton of free advertising as it would have been used in many of the photos for each of the upcoming reviews on all these products. What a missed opportunity for them, shame! EDIT: they sent back another email (was even from the same rep) saying they added 25 points to my account. Seeing as you need at least 100 to get anything I don’t know how this is satisfactory, but again the loss is really theirs – me as a customer and the free advertising they would have received.)

Although I will thoroughly enjoy using and trying out these products, and I am more than grateful for the prize, I am not sure I would ever order from Sephora again. They refuse to let their e-gift certificates to be used in Canada (why? That’s a huge market they’re just shutting out!) and their customer service is at best farcical and at worst dismissive and grossly incompetent. In the future, if I find the need for a high end beauty product, I will see if it is available from *any* other Canadian retailer first, such as Shoppers Drug Mart, Murale, London Drugs, any department store or even order directly from the product’s company website if need be. I don’t think I would ever put myself through ordering online with Sephora again. I am not close enough to a brick and mortar Sephora store for it to be much of a concern as to whether or not I’d go in to buy there.

EDIT: Unbelievably, I have even more disastrous service stories regarding this same order, they failed to refund me as promised and refused to explain why! Full story at the bottom of the post, here.

I did a quick search and there are some seriously horrifying Sephora customer service stories out there! Anyone else have one? I’d be interested to hear it! Also if anyone has any favourite looks with the Naked 2 palette they would like to share I’d be very interested in that as well!

 

Enjoy your week!

Maybelline Volum’ Express Mega Plush Mascara Review

Maybelline Mega Plush Volum' Express Mascara

Maybelline Mega Plush Volum’ Express Mascara

I have been hunting a daily use, dependable through any situation holy grail mascara (in drugstore price range) for a while now, since my beloved Maybelline Full N’ Soft Waterproof is now impossible to find (discontinued, as far as I can tell). I snap up whatever stragglers are left of that mascara I find, in any colour they have on the rare occasion I do see it, that’s how much I love it. Very grateful to have a couple of them stashed away!

One of my favourite attributes of the Full N’ Soft was that it did remain soft and flexible to the touch after it dried, even after several coats. It felt wonderfully comfortable and nothing else I have tried felt the same. After describing this to my mother, she recommended I should try this Maybelline Volum’ Express Mega Plush Mascara saying it had the same soft, non crispy crunchy feel when dry.

 

I’ve given this mascara a thorough testing now and have determined it’s not bad! Not quite as good as my Full N’ Soft but the closest in texture I’ve tried yet. I have the shade “Very Black”. The colour is decent, a deep velvety matte black that doesn’t go greyish or muted as some tend to do. The formula dries quickly, build well, if not a little bit spidery. I gave this mascara a tough test on a day where I did some rather industrious cooking and cleaning, and no flakes nor smudges! I was impressed, especially considering this formula isn’t waterproof. Shown is my eye with Maybelline the Mega Plush Volum’ Express on my lashes, no eye shadow or liner so you can see how it performs on it’s own.

Maybelline Mega Plush Volum' Express Mascara on Eye

Maybelline Mega Plush Volum’ Express Mascara on Eye

About the brush: it is an oversized bushy brush on a bendy, flexible wand. I’m undecided about it. It does deliver product evenly and effectively, so no problems there, however it really is a huge brush. That might work well for some eye shapes, however mine are a bit deeper set, making application more susceptible to smudging and smearing. I have to be extra careful to make sure this doesn’t happen. This large brush does hold enough product to do all my lashes with one go, top and bottom and then again over the top, without dipping back into the tube, which I suppose is a nice time saving feature on a rushed morning, or for someone who doesn’t wish to fuss about. Shown here is the brush with a measuring tape so you get an idea how large it really is.

Maybelline Mega Plush Volum' Express Mascara Brush

Maybelline Mega Plush Volum’ Express Mascara Brush

Wondering about the value of the flexible brush. I can see how it might be handy to scrape out the last bits of mascara from the sides of the tube. The large, oversized brush on a flexible wand might become even more unwieldy however. It’s tricky enough to maneuver a huge brush without the added difficulty of it bending, flexing and smooshing as you apply, making it a potentially messier application. Below is a picture demonstrating the flexible brush.

Maybelline Mega Plush Volum' Express Mascara Bursh, Bent

Maybelline Mega Plush Volum’ Express Mascara Bursh, Bent

Is it life changing? No of course not, it’s a mascara. However if you are looking for a mascara that is still soft and flexible when dry, with minimal flaking, that washes off easily with your regular facial wash and water in the drugstore price range, this is worth checking out! For a review on some higher end mascaras, please check out my mascara sampler review here!

Maybelline Mega Plush Volum' Express Mascara

Maybelline Mega Plush Volum’ Express Mascara

Review: Eye Studio Sampler 2013 from Shoppers Drug Mart

Products included in the Shoppers Drug Mart Eye Studio Mascara Sampler 2013

Products included in the Shoppers Drug Mart Eye Studio Mascara Sampler 2013

I received a lovely and thoughtful gift of this mascara sampler for xmas 2013 from my mother, who knowing my skepticism regarding the cost of high end beauty products, told me to give ’em a try to “find out if it makes a difference or not”.  Below are the mascaras reviewed in no particular order (just how I pulled them out of the box day to day).  Accompanying my own assessments are the ratings from Paula’s Choice as available, as I do find that their ratings on products outside their own line to be quite fair, and quick to point out if a harmful ingredient is included that may cause issues, which I greatly appreciate.  When I reference a “heated curl”, this is when I heat up my eyelash curler for a moment with a blowdrier, tested quickly by a touch on my inner arm (much like one would with a baby bottle) to make sure it won’t burn me, then used to curl lashes as normal.

Benefit Bad Gal: 6/10, Average review on Paula’s Choice (and I agree)

-Overly large brush, not great for deep set eyes like mine as it kinda bumped skin a bit.
-Very good singular lash definition even at 4 coats. No real clumping or need to comb out.
-Decent length at 4 coats, but lack of volume.
-Took a curl reasonably well (non heated). Edit: Curl dropped out within the hour.
-Glossy black well separated finish, flexible
-Small flakes at a few hours.
-Minimal eye irritation.
-Top and bottom eyelashes occasionally slightly stuck together when blinking, likely due to glossier formula.
-2 face washes to remove.
-This product would be good for someone not looking for volume, but for an enhanced natural look with slightly longer, well separated and glossy lashes.

Shiseido Perfect Mascara Full Definition: Poor review on Paula’s Choice due to the alcohol content, and I agree. Might not test.

-Alarming smell of strong alcohol right when tube is opened, and ingredients does list it. Apprehensive about testing this as I worry it will sting my eyes.
-This product would be good for no one, don’t put alcohol in your eye.

Note: tested product carefully and briefly and determined it was possibly formulated for asian eye shape challenges (from personally heard anecdotes from friends and colleagues – application, performance and smearing/smudging concerns due to monolids, the alcohol content would make it dry faster to circumvent this)

Clarins Wonder Perfect: 9/10, Best rating on Paula’s Choice (and I agree)

-Incredibly deep velvety black shade. I’ve never seen a mascara so intensely dark.
-Non glossy, velvety matte black finish.
-Some clumping at 2 coats.
-Wetter formula, normal sized manageable brush.
-Made lower lashes look very long
-Applied a 3rd coat when dry, crazy length although there were some clumps to comb out, they weren’t too bad
-Took a curl but drooped as it was non heated
-Dry and non sticky, no flakes so far
-Zero eye irritation
-Still somewhat flexible when dry, not entirely crispy
-Seems a bit water resistant. Washed off after 2 full washes. Eyelashes felt soft when cleaned.
-So far clear frontrunner.
-This product would be good for someone looking for a rich, velvety plush lash with length and volume.

Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Color: 8/10, No Paula’s Choice review on this particular kind at time of review

-Standard spool style brush of normal size which suits my needs just fine.
-Decent black matte color.
-Minimal clumping even at 3 coats
-Built more length than volume, but built reasonably well by 3 coats
-Drier formula which I find is easier to work with for cleaner multiple coats
-No eye irritation
-Nice fanned out fringe that took a curl ok (non heated), didn’t immediately fall out
-Bit of flaking when touched
-Dried soft and flexible
-Top and bottom lashes stuck a tiny bit when blinking, but this was at 3 coats.
-This product would be good for someone looking for a well rounded every day mascara that performs well but not a huge amount of volume. Good for a quick office look on a rushed morning.

Lancome Hypnose Drama: 5/10, Average Paula’s Choice review (she was more generous than I)

-Large, S shaped wavy brush picked up and deposited huge gobs of product even after being scraped off.
-Clumped. Lots. Even at just one coat. Had to brush it out to give it a chance.
-Started flaking within minutes of drying.
-So gobby I didn’t want to apply another coat. Edit: took risk with another coat. Spider lashes.
-Lower lashes looked short even after application.
-Light rose scent as many other Lancome eye products. Doesn’t bother me, but eye products don’t need fragrance.
-Took curl well.
-Lashes still soft when dry.
-Washed off easily in shower.
-Note: This mascara’s formula reminded me a lot of L’oreal’s other offerings (L’oreal owns Lancome) only L’oreal’s brushes perform much better with their more manageable size and shape.
-This product would be good for: Tammy Faye Bakker, drag queens
-Tried this mascara with a preferred brush wand from Maybelline Full n’ Soft and it performed somewhat better

Note: read a few other reviews of this product that circumvented all the goop and clumping by wiping off most of the product on a tissue prior to use, but I will be damned if I’m going to waste the majority of a costly beauty product by throwing it away before it even gets a chance on my face. A high end product should work out of the box without any screwing around to get it to function well (or in this case tube).

Smashbox Eye Brightening: 8.5/10 No Paula’s Choice review on this particular kind

-Average size dense bushy brush
-Good matte black shade
-Separated eyelashes, still ok separation at 2 coats
-Built pretty good length and ok volume at 2 coats
-Wouldn’t want to go more than 2 coats as it was already getting a little spidery/furry
-Very resistant to flaking, even when I tried to make it flake, would be great for contacts
-Dried soft and flexible
-Seemed to hold a non heated curl better than most
-Washed off easily but did sting a little tiny bit when the watery mascara got into eyes, not enough to be a deal breaker though
-This product would be good for someone who wants to only put on one fast coat and have effective results for a quick daytime look.
-A very close second pick out of this bunch of 6.

Bourjois Non Oily Eye Makeup Remover 6/10

I did not find that this product performed any better or worse than any other remover that I have, and I have a range from no name cheapies to high end as well. It claims to be non oily, but does have that super slick thin oily silicone feel. Anyone who has ever applied flea drops to the back of their dog or cat’s neck knows this particular slick oily but not oily feel. Left remains of waterproof mascara despite claiming to be “ideal for waterproof makeup”. As always, still had to wash face as usual after use to remove all traces of both the makeup and remover.

So, in conclusion, was the high end worth it?  The answer is “sometimes”, and unfortunately on a case by case basis as different things work well for different people.  If you have a drug store product you love love love, by all means don’t waste your cash searching for the elusive holy grail product, you will only disappoint yourself.  If you are like me, and your favourite has been discontinued and/or is impossible to find (my beloved Maybelline Full n’ Soft waterproof) then by all means grab one of these sampler packs and have some fun! The best part was the gift certificate for a full sized mascara, free, once you pick your favourite!