Tuesday, March 18, 2014

REVIEW: Essence Stays No Matter What Jumbo Eye Pencil Shadow in Cute Copper- 3.5 stars- Doesn't stay on lids!

Brand: Essence
Line: Stays No Matter What
Make-up Type: jumbo eye shadow pencil
Origin: EU
Tested on Animals: NO. It's illegal in EU

REVIEW Summary:
Price: $2.99  5/5
Packaging: standard size jumbo pencil 3/5
Scent: N/A
Color/Shade: highly pigmented metallic bronze 5/5
Texture: smooth, creamy 4/5
Ease of use: very easy. draw on lid 5/5
Effect: pigmented metallic bronze eyeshadow 5/5
Lastability: GREAT on your hand, not so great on eyelids.
Claim: Stays no matter what false
The verdict: 
Buy again? Maybe. It's a highly pigmented gel liner shadow in a great color, at a very affordable price, but the lasting power is severely short. I love everything about it EXCEPT for the one thing the liner actually claims to do! Poor naming choice for a product that does everything right except what it claims to do in the name.

The Review:
I love Essence. It's an affordable EU drugstore brand that does not sell in China, and it is now illegal for EU brands to test UNLESS it's to sell out of the country, and then they may only test in that country. Assuming of course that that part is enforced.
It can be kind of hard to find as the website does not do direct sales and list Ulta as the only store that carries it. My local Ulta (at least until the new store opens 8 minutes from my house in Spring) is mid-expansion and doesn't carry as many brands right now, and the stock on the brands they carry is not the full lines. Their Essence area is one tiny stand with two types of mascara, 3 colors of my favorite gloss, basically a few colors of each gloss and liner, and a larger variety of shadows and nail polishes.
I accidently picked this up going in to buy another of a lip gloss I loved. I rarely rarely ever buy a lipgloss again, and they didn't have that color any longer. So I picked up a liner shadow and a liner. This i picked up for three reasons: I loved the color, i love gel liner shadows, and it claims to "stay no matter what". it doesn't come in very many other colors, at least that the sorer carried, but this was the only one that interested me, the only metallic/shimmer.
But...it doesn't. When I swatch it on my hand and try to rub it off, it actually performs better than a shadow liner 3 times it's price (Tarte, $22). It doesn't even really smear, and it does NOT come off even with the kind of rubbing that turns skin red. I had to use water and scrub to get it off, and still there was a very faint stain left behind. That's amazing. Unfortunately, I wore it to work, and 4 hours later...it was gone. Just a hint of shimmer and a patch or two left behind that was uneven. Very disappointing that it does everything right. Except the one thing it claims to do! Maybe with a primer...

+Cruelty free
+very affordable
+highly pigmented
+beautiful color
+gel glides on easily

-few colors
-hard to find
-needs a jumbo sharpener

Monday, March 17, 2014

REVIEW: Nature Republic Botanical Vanilla Foundation in 23 (BB) -4 stars

Brand: Nature Republic
Line: Botanical Vanilla
Make-up Type: Foundation/BB 
Origin: South Korea
Tested on Animals: Company says no, does not provide proof.

REVIEW Summary:
Price:  about $5/6 retail, about $8 import costs added. 5/5 (both)
Size: 35 g small, short tube 3/5
Packaging: white square tube (bonus) with floral decoration 4/5
Scent:  it claims to have a sweet vanilla scent, it is kind of sweet, but i'm not sure it's vanilla. 4.5/5
Color/Shade: 23 (the darker color) 5/5 Natural color, blendable 5/5
Texture: smooth, creamy 4/5
Ease of use: squeeze, apply, rub in 3/5
Effect: color correcting, just like a BB or CC cream. 4/5
Lastability: TBD
Claim: Contains vanilla extract and Polynesian lagoon water (??) to protect against external stress and moisturize
The verdict: I like it. I don't understand why they would call a BB cream foundation? It comes in my favorite kind of squeeze tube- square, it's creamy and non-greasy, it applies and blends easily for a natural finish, and it's a great price.

Will I buy again? No. But only because it likely will be phased out soon and NB will roll out a new BB cream, and it's not "amazing" in the fact that it isn't the ultimate BB cream that will end my hunt of the perfect porcelain finish one, AND because they are hard to nail down on the exacts of their no animal testing policy. I do like it better than the majority of BB creams I have tried in the past.

The Review: I picked this up with a mass order because it didn't add any weight to the box- it's very small and light, and it was a low price -about $4.80? I wasn't expecting much because I tried the brightening concelaer and it's useless- worse than a 1 because it's sheer...I was expecting this to be sheer and useless, but it's just the opposite! The verdict pretty much covers why I like this so much. 

REVIEW: It's Skin Real Real Orange Peeling Pads -NOT a peeling product - 3 stars- Average

Brand: It's Skin
Line: Real Real Orange
Make-up/Skincare Type: Peeling Pad? (cleaner, primer)
Origin: South Korea
Tested on Animals: It's Skin says that products nor ingredients are animal tested, nor are they sold in China.

Brand: It's Skin
Line: Real Real Orange
Make-up/Skincare Type: cleansing sheets
Origin: South Korea
Tested on Animals: Company says they do not test, nor sell in China.
REVIEW Summary:
Price:  $8? Online sellers will charge as much as $15 *score is for retail not import* 4/5
Size: 40 sheets/ 65 ml 4/5
Packaging: orange container with clear tweezers. Pads are NOT orange decorated! :( 2.5/5
Scent: VERY FAINT artificial orange scent 2/5
Color/Shade: N/A
Texture: soaked pads with little orange bumps
Ease of use: open container, pick apart top sheet, or try a few times to grab sheet with tweezers, rub on face. 3/5
Effect:clean feeling skin, but does NOT peel! 3/5
Lastability: 40 sheets, clean effects last until next morning at least

Claim:  Cleaning, removing dead skin, moisturizing, peeling claim is FALSE

Will I buy again? No. Average cleaning product at an okay price, but not affordable due to inflated shipping to import. No cleaning cloths are worth $15. Maybe a peeling product, but this is not one.
The verdict:
I would order this again if it wasn't so damn hard to get without inflated shipping. I like the little cleaning clothes but wish they were orange decorated! It's an average face cleaning product in a container to keep it fresher longer. With shipping I will not buy again. It is also not a peeling product.

Review:  I was excited to try "peeling pads" because I love peeling gels. But this is NOT a peeling product. Just cleaning cloths in a container instead of a packet. Which keeps them fresh longer IMO. It's easy to use if you don't use their useless mini tweezers and spend 30 seconds trying to grab a sheet like you are playing a claw machine. It's soaked with the cleaning liquid, and you rub it on your face, then throw away. My face felt an average amount of clean afterwards, and even the next morning before i put on make-up. Nothing amazing, Very average.

Container keeps it fresh longer
40 sheets will last over a month

Expensive to ship
No real orange scent, very weak
Average cleaning cloth product.
IS NOT a peeling product, does not remove dead skin cells

Full collection

Sunday, March 16, 2014

REVIEW: It's Skin Hyaluronic Acid Serum: 2 stars (strong sickening perfume smell)

Brand: It's Skin
Line: n/a
Make-up Type: Hyauloronic Acid
Origin: South Korea
Tested on Animals: Company says no, not test on products, ingredients, not sold in China

REVIEW Summary:
Price:  $8-$13, as high as $17 3/5
Size: 40 ml 3/5
Packaging: White frosted glass bottle with a pump. Classic, high-end look, but a little boring. 3/5
Scent:  VERY strong floral perfume scent 0/5
Color/Shade: N/A
Texture: smooth serum 3/5
Ease of use: pump out and spread on face 3/5
Effect: Short-term effect of a few minutes after makes skin feel like cool glass. 4/5
Lastability: bottle is not huge, but a small amount is needed. Average. 3/5
The verdict: The smell is TERRIBLE. Like a cheap perfume. Whatever goes into the product that makes it smell like that cannot be good for your skin. I will not buy again because it makes me sick.

The Review:
I opened the box and squeezed the product into my hand. That's where it all went downhill. It smells TERRIBLE, like a cheap floral perfume.
I can't even bear to have it on my hand; the smell is making me sick, and I am getting headache already not a minute later.
I will not be able to use this product again without getting sick, and as such will not be able to evaluate the longterm effect on my skin. Judging by just right now, immediately after it was applied, my skin felt cool and smooth, like glass.
It's a shame that they decided to add such an overpowering sickening scent- maybe to cover a bad smell from an ingredient? But the chemicals that make that scent cannot be good for your skin. I have rarely or never given a ZERO before in any category that I can think of, but this earns it.

REVIEW: March Conscious Box CREDIT CARD CHARGE SCAM: Full of Not So Healthy Choices, Tiny Samples, and an EXPIRED Coupon. Grade: F

The Better Business Bureau has an F rating of this company, and if you Google them, there are tons of complaints on forums and RipOff Report. They send out a trial box, then they automatically bill you again before it even arrives, as you cannot cancel before the box arrives. I am filing with the BBB even though they are not accredited, and filing a complaint with my bank ASAP.
I know this isn't technically a beauty product, but it's related. I was looking into Beauty Boxes and came across Conscious Box with a code for a discount box. $4.99 instead of $19.99.
What is Conscious Box? "Natural Choices for Healthier Living" Sounds good right? The finest natural products, GMO free. Sounds great! The sample image shows some large sized products in the box. Needless to say when my box arrived I was excited, but did not get what I expected out of it.
My box- the Classic-

 It came with 2 full-sized items plus 4 tea packs, 2 granola packs, 5 samples, and 5 coupons.
The samples are:
-1 Nordic Naturals Vitamin D Gummy -yes ONE- fruit gummy!
-a pack of 2 coffee cubes
-one baby wipe
-Honest Shampoo + Body Wash -sample on card
-Similisan Computer Eye Relief Drops-two mini vials
-wholesome sweeteners pack
 I have done the math, and the value of the box is not up to the $19.99, especially with most of it consisting of free samples. And coupons for things I would never buy. Especially a SAUNA!
 The two full-size items did not total even $4. Throw in the tea packets and the granola packets and you still don't hit $6. I was also missing a sample of a fruit chew product.
 I think the main ideas and convenience is introducing you to new things you may not have otherwise discovered.

The first thing was a meal bar:

Oatmega Bar in Dark Chocolate Mint (Full-size)

 It isn't vegan, but it's gluten free? Neither matter to me.
I wasn't expecting much from something called Oatmega, and even less from a mint (I hate the overpowering mint you find in mint chocolate candies where it tastes just like toothpaste...or gum.), but surprisingly this is like eating chewy mint ice cream. Sweet, not over-powering and smooth textured, not grainy. Unfortunately this bar has a Fooducate score of C+ and I always try for at least a B...It also seems like it may be harder to find in stores- although organic stores may have it at a mark-up. If I find it, I may pick it up if it's a good price, and I can afford the extra non-healthyness that week. It appears to be available online in box sets...There is a coupon included in the box for 30% off at the brand website but with the shipping charge, it eliminates the discount. ALSO, the coupon they sent me EXPIRED on the 7th. I didn't get this box until Friday, March 7th after work in the evening. I believe this is BAD business. The coupon had no expiration date listed...
My grade for this is 3.5 stars. Minus 1.5 because it's not so healthy...
Value: $1.66-1.99

Second bar:
Nature's Bakery 'Stone Ground Whole Wheat" Raspberry Fig Bar (Fullsize)
I didn't have high hopes for this either. I loved fig newtons when I was 8, but not since then. And in my experience whole wheat always tastes...healthy. This is another that tastes great. The package says it is cholesterol free, dairy free, no transfats, kosher, and non-GMO.
I would definitely buy this again instead of pop tarts or something similar, but not as a healthy option, only a healthiER option.. Sold at Wal-mart, Pick N Save, World Market. Easy to find but best priced on Amazon.
My grade for this is 3.5 stars. Minus 1.5 because it's not so healthy...
Value:  .60, less than $1 (12 packs range from $5-$8)

Nordic Naturals Vitamin D3 Gummies (sample pack of ONE!)
I opened the pack to find ONE gummy. ONE. It did have a berry flavor, was somewhat sour, and more like a fruit snack than a gummy in texture. Good flavor, but there was only ONE, so it was hard to tell. Seriously? Disappointed.
My grade? 2 stars. Since I only had ONE, I don't know if I would order...
Value: $17.56 for 120 on Amazon. You do the math. It's under 25 cents.

Bulumu All Natural Granola in Cinnamon Chai Walnut & Blueberry (Trial packs)
These are single serve packs that would come in a box. They are soy free, dairy free, wheat free, vegan, low fat, no artificial colors, sweeteners, preservatives, no high fructose corn syrup, no sodium, no cholesterol...
And still they actually taste okay! The biggest issue is a very strong aftertaste, but overall not bad. Not being a big granola fan, I would not buy these for myself. 
There is no information via Fooducate at this time.
My grade for this: 3 stars
Value: .54 cents each at $6 for an 11 oz pack

What are we at now? Around $3?

Numi Organics Savory Tea in Black Tea Beet Cabbage (one trial pack)

Ahhh...Tea. In "Beet Cabbage" It's a one cup package which is definitely enough to evaluate if I like it. Unfortunately the website shows carrot as the sample they were sending, and I was unlucky enough NOT to get the carrot which I think I would have liked.
Value: about .85 cents, $15 for 18

Mighty Leaf Tea in Organic Orange Mint Melange, Organic Earl Grey, and Organic Spring Jasmine (one trial pack, 3 types)

I like tea...in sweet or fruity flavors. The Earl Grey may be great, but it's not my cup of tea so to speak. One cup packs and definitely enough to evaluate.
Value: .70 cents to $1 = $2-$2.70

Similasan Computer Eye Relief Drops Sample (0.015 fl oz sample)

Not completely full??

These trials are also very lacking. 0.015? The tiny vials aren't even full and look like they contain maybe 3 drops each. That is probably why there are two of them. Includes a $1 off coupon
Value: Around .50 according to Amazon

Honest Shampoo + Body Wash Sample (0.13 fl oz sample)

This is .13 fl oz. Not the little trial shampoos. Trust me when I say that this will not be enough for even one shampoo with my thick hair. 

Bumboosa Baby Wipe
One baby wipe. I don't have kids, but I guess I can use this to clean the counters...or for make-up. Or not. The smell is really disgusting.
Value: 6 cents?

Coupons! 4 of them plus 3 in sample packs.
$5 off Florax DS Ready to Drink Probiotic
$3 off Florax DS Diarrhea Relief.....?
30% oa $160 Wine purchase many great wines are only $8 a bottle, so...
$1,500 off plus free shipping a Healthmate Sauna. How much do these cost???
Came w/ product:
30% off Oatmega Bar Online EXPIRED the day the box arrived, and the box arrived in the evening...
20% off at Honest.com
$1 off Simiasan 

Oatmega Bar - 1.66-1.99
Nature's Bakery Fig Bar -.60
Gummy -.14
Bulumu Granola Packs .54 X 2 =$1.08
Numi Tea -.85
Might Tea -.74 X 3= $2.22
Eye Drops: .50 x 2 =$1
Baby Wipe -.6
Coffe Cube -

Overall Conscious Box Classic Grade: D
I only paid $4.99 for 2 products, 6 trials, and 6 samples, plus a few coupons I would never use, but the value for the products is under $3. Add the trials and you just barely get what I spent. For $19.99 a month, this most definitely is not worth it, and I am sad and disappointed. They also left out a sample. I love the idea. I love the idea of natural products, healthier products, GMO free products...but the two full-sized products were NOT healthy! Healthier and more natural definitely than the majority of what is out there, but still not healthy.
I have cancelled my subscription and e-mailed them about the missing sample. I expect a reply stating that we would get one gummy type product sample per box...but why include both in my product rating survey? 

Monday, March 10, 2014

REVIEW: Lumene Time Freeze CC Cream (Medium) -4.5 stars WINNER

Brand: Lumene
Line: n/a
Make-up Type: CC Cream
Tested on Animals: No

REVIEW Summary:
Price:  $14.99 for a small tube 2/5
Size: thin, skinny 2/5
Packaging: White tube with pink cap 3/5
Scent:   4/5
Color/Shade: "light-medium" a blend able natural color 5/5
Texture: smooth, creamy 4/5
Ease of use: squeeze and apply 3/5
Effect: Evens color, covers red spots 4/5
Lastability: bottle is tiny (see size rating), cream stays on for a few hours. 4/5
Discover the power of Arctic skin science. Lumene Time Freeze Anti-Age CC Cream is a multi-benefit color-correcting product for smooth and flawless skin. Time Freeze CC Cream offers 6 benefits in one product; it protects against the signs of aging with arctic Lingonberry, nourishes, hydrates, covers imperfections, evens skin tone and illuminates all while providing Broad Spectrum SPF 20 coverage from the sun. Formulated without Parabens.

The verdict: 

The Review:
Somehow my first CC cream in not a Korean one, but overall a positive experience.
I ended up buying this after seeing the Lumene BB cream in the Top 3 of US BB creams. I know that's not saying a lot considering American brands seem to think BB cream and either sheer tinted moisturizer, or thick greasy paste are the same thing, but they also claim to be cruelty free. I swatched the BB in Medium in store and it was far too orange on my skin...but the CC was a perfect match in Medium.
It isn't by any means a miracle cream. Based on reviews of the BB cream, you would think it's a magic cream that glides on and transforms your face into an airbrushed doll face. It's not, but it is really good.
I used it on my hand and it easily covered the red scratches and gouges from work. I don't currently have any red blemishes, but it did even out my skin tone. It also has a tapered tip that prevents mess and waste.
My biggest complaint is how small the tube is. It's also thin, which makes it look even smaller rather than make it look tall.
It's $14.99 in drugstores such as CVS, but $12.74 at Ulta. I used a coupon on mine making it $10.50.
Then it went on sale at Walgreens for 40%.
Would I buy this again? Yes. I bought 4 boxes during the Walgreens sale.

+ Not tested on animals/ sold in China
+ Hygienic, mess free top on tube
+ SPF 20

-Price for a tiny tube

REVIEW: Tarte SmolderEyes Skinny in Onyx -2 stars - Grade: F

Brand: Tarte
Line: SmolderEyes (?)
Make-up Type: Gel Eyeliner crayon
Origin: USA
Tested on Animals: NO

REVIEW Summary: 19/45 
Price: $19 :( 1/5
Size: .04 -standard slim eyeliner crayon 3/5
Packaging: black pencil (that needs sharpening) with metallic gold vine designs 3/5
Scent: N/A
Color/Shade: Onyx (black) very intense and pigmented 4/5
Texture: smooth, soft, gel 4/5
Ease of use: Draw on with pencil, but the tip is so soft that it smudges easily and goes on uneven 2/5
Effect: Dark dark black line that smudges easily 1/5
Lastability: It smudges easily, runs if your eyes water, and in a few hours it's a mess. Forget to take it off overnight and you will still have a smudgy uneven line the next morning. 1/5
Claim: water proof FALSE
What it is formulated WITHOUT:
- Parabens
- Sulfates
- Synthetic Fragrances
- Petrochemicals
- Phthalates
- GMOs
- Triclosan

The verdict: This liner is difficult to draw an even line with due to the soft texture of the tip that dulls with only a few usages. Then after it sets, it still smudges at the drop of a hat. And becomes spotty with water. And wears off in places and stays strong in others. It's terrible for the under eye line and best for the over eye line. Although it stays on overnight, it only stays on in spots and looks bleary like you've been sobbing for hours. I would NOT buy this again, especially at this price!
Patchy smudgy smeared liner FAIL

The Review:
I prefer eyeliners with shimmer, but I got this one used from a sale for $3, and it was the only color choice or I would have chosen Moonstone or Sunstone (I read Sunstone has shimmer). $5 shipped def beats $19 which I would never ever pay for a shimmer or metallic gel liner much less a regular one.
I love gel eyeliner pencils because you don't have to trace over and over to get color, but this one doesn't actually *claim* to be a gel. Either way, it glides on just like a gel liner, and is soft like a gel liner. My biggest concern with this type is that when it needs to be sharpened, the whole thing shrinks by a quarter. That doesn't work for a $19 eyeliner. I used this three to four times and it was so dull it needed to be sharpened already. It did not reduce the size of the stick as drastically as some of them do. So it passes that test.
When drawing with this, it seems that the line is a little harsh and dark. A little too intense. Which is perfect for the top line, but not so perfect for the bottom line. Even sharpened, it doesn't really have a point possibly because of the texture and how soft it is. It makes drawing a line that goes on evenly difficult. And then it smudges even after it has had time to set. Two hours after I left the house, the harsh wind made my eyes water and the liner wore away in spots, making it more uneven. The first time I wore it, I forgot to remove it and the next morning it was a smudgy grey black mess that looked like I had spent the night crying. While most of it can be easily removed, parts right ON the lower lid line won't budge...in some spots.
Tarte liner the morning after...

Smears and fades time after time...

+ Not tested on animals
+ More natural
+ Gel crayon
+ Dark, strong color

-Expensive, especially for a pencil that needs sharpening
-Dulls in a few uses
-Never really sharpens to a point that gives a thin even line
-Too soft to draw an even line without smudging
-Smudges very easily; never "sets"
- is not waterproof as it claims
- comes off in spots completely and smudges and refuses to come off in others

REVIEW: Tarte Lipsurgence Lip Luster in Glitzy - 3.5 Stars

Brand: Tarte
Line: n/a
Make-up Type: Lip crayon -jumbo - twist up
Origin: USA
Tested on Animals: No. Cruelty Free!

REVIEW Summary:
Price: $24- 2/5
Size: .10 oz
Packaging: Metallic jumbo crayon, twist up. Cap slides of easily- 4/5

Scent: Mint 3/5
Color/Shade: Glitzy - a sheer, metallic, shimmery bronzed peach with flecks of glitter- 4/5
Texture: smooth, minty- 5/5
Ease of use: Easy. Draw and fill in.- 5/5
Effect: Shiny, moisturized color with shimmer
Lastability: ?
Claim: LipSurgence™ lip lusters combine sheer iridescent pure color (yes) with natural moisturizers that glides on smooth and soften lips (yes). This proprietary formula effectively increases skin’s water content for a ‘plumped up’ appearance with a natural hint of shimmering tint (yes) and taste of mint.(yes) The result is naturally fuller, healthier lips without any irritation or stinging (yes). The easy-to-use twist-up container eliminates the need for sharpeners. (Yes)

The verdict: 3.5 stars: Minus a half a star for the sheer lack of color and how quickly it disappears. 
The color is beautiful, but very, very sheer. It is very close to what Once on, it doesn't last long at all, which is a shame. I like how moisturizing it is. I would buy this shade again, and I would buy other shades as well if I could find them for a reasonable price.

The Review:
The retail price on this is $24, which is pretty high, but It's not hard to find some Tarte products online for much less $$ if you look long enough.
This lip color is one of 10 lusters. 
There is also a group of 6 matte colors, two hydrating cremes, 7 regular colors, 9 power pigments, and a "skintuitive" color. There are also some exclusive colors that came only in special limited edition sets. :( One such set is $29 which is a HUGE deal as the price of one is $24.
I prefer metallic, glitter, or shimmer shades in bronze, peach, berry plum, or candy pink and this qualifies. 
It's easy to apply, soft, non-waxy, non-sticky, and moisturizing with a slight tingling mint feeling which I assume is the natural plumper mentioned.
It has a semi-strong mint scent that is slightly medicinal and not at all sweet. I'm not a fan of it, but it isn't overly offensive. There is also no bad taste, but a slight mint one.
It's a beautiful bronze pink color, but it is very sheer. In the picture below it is on half and it's hard to tell which side that is...
Left side is no color, RIGHT side is Glitzy!

This lip product is NOT long-lasting; it didn't last 2 hours, but while it is on, it does have a hydrating/moisturizing feel.
Hand swatch shows much more color than you will get on lips...First line is after 2-3 applications, Second lie is just one application.

+ Not tested on animals
+ More natural, minus parabens
+ Shimmer & glitter
+ Easy to use, no sharpener required
+ Moisturizing

- Price!
- Sheer
-Not long-lasting, comes off easily