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Beauty Musings & Rogue Ramblings


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Power Play… BIRCHBOX: July 2013

Hi loves!

Ohhhh Birchbox… trying to seduce my inner control freak? Well, at least that was the apparent goal of July’s box of goods that were selected to “help you take control” of any situation. Meh. Sort of.

ArtsyArchitette July 2013 Birchbox Review

I was initially excited about the July box because they were partnered with SUITS!! And I love that show, BUT…

I may be a tad harsh on Birchbox in this moment considering they forgot to include my “Suits Pick!” I should have received theBalm cosmetics InStain Long-Wearing Powder Staining Blush, but it was missing! Being a fan of Suits and theBalm brand I was a bit peeved to not receive my product.

Granted, Birchbox did give me 100 Birchbox points for the mishap, but that only equals to $10 and the product retails for $22 – so not enough to buy one. I guess something is better than nothing though.

Onto what I did receive…

1//

My favorite product of the bunch was the Number 4 Super Comb Prep & Protect Leave-in Conditioner! LOVED THIS STUFF! Seriously. No seriously loved it. With my very long, quite curly hair, hydration/ conditioning and all that are high on my list of hair needs, and this made a noticeable difference after the first use. Not something that happens very often. Total hair ends transformation, at least for me. It also has UV (and color protection) – to me that’s a great bonus benefit!

Though in thinking about it, I have also tried the Number 4 Reconstructing Masque and it was amazing as well. The only reason I don’t buy the masque is the price tag, but the leave-in conditioner is definitely more wallet friendly!

The only downfall is the smell. It is supposed to be floral, but comes across more artificial blueberry-clay-ish to me (sorry, bad scent description). Though the scent doesn’t linger.  Full Size Value: $32 USD (200 ml).

2//

The extra in the July box were a set of Birchbox Bobby Pins. Heavy duty (needs a little extra effort to open and slide onto hair), strong, extra wide bobby pins with a cute print. You can get a set of six (6) pins for $5.

3//

The next product I can’t really judge on because, thankfully I haven’t had much of a need for it as my skin has been behaving quite well. It is the DDF Acne Control Treatment. Technically a night treatment with Salicylic Acid that you can apply up to 3 times a day. It is non-comedogenic and paraben-free, though again, I can’t judge on its effectiveness considering I haven’t had a need to test it yet.  Here’s a little more info:

Formulated with three powerhouse acne-fighters, this high-tech nightly treatment quickly brings clarity to your complexion. First, salicylic gently purges pores of dirt and oil. Second, DDF™’s Clarifying Neutralizing Complex strengthens and protects skin from inflammation and free radical damage. Rounding out the winning formula, supermoisturizing glycerin soothes away irritation and quells dryness.

Full Size Value: $44 USD (1.7 oz). It has some good reviews, so I’m happy to have the product to try the next time I need a little skin savior.

4//

Finally, I received a little sample pot of the Benefit it’s potent! eye cream. I was a little wary of this one at first, considering I tried the face cream from the same line and had a bad reaction, but luckily that was not the case with the eye cream. It is a good eye cream, hydrating, but not greasy and sinks into skin quickly. It has a “peptide complex known to help restore elasticity & firmness, a blend of hydrating botanical extracts and loquat extract, known to help protect the skin from free radical damage.” It is supposed to help lighten dark circles and help with fine lines, but I haven’t witnessed anything along those lines yet, not that I have too much to correct (plus I use a different night cream – one I will not give up).  Full Size Value: $34 USD (0.5 oz).

…more soon loves 😉


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Wanderlust… BIRCHBOX: June 2013

 

 

 

 

Wanderlust lovelies… 

Birchbox’s June goodies were all about products, from near and far, to inspire or aid you on summer adventures.ArtsyArchitette Birchbox June 2013 Review

1 //

First up, they included some oh so nifty and cute postcards (4), each with a different city (New York, London, Paris & Barcelona) and a suggested day trip planned out on the back featuring some of each cities well loved hot spots.

2 //

Next, was a FULL SIZE Mirenesse Glossy Kiss Natural Lip & Cheek Stain in the Shade #8 Cheeky Kiss (sorry no swatch). The product itself is lovely, smooth, creamy, non-sticky, non-drying, barely glossy – more of a soft sheen than anything.

The color just wasn’t me at all though. “Cheeky Kiss” is a dusty rose, with slight cool beige/mauve undertones and just not a color I would have chosen lip wise, though I may use it for a cheek stain. Staying power is decent, though I haven’t tested it long enough cheek wise to judge on that. Full Size Value: $26.95 USD.

3 //

Next, a 50 ml sample can of the Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk. Okay, this stuff is pretty awesome, definitely one of the best dry shampoos I have ever come across (in the top three for sure).

While I don’t use dry shampoo very often, as I most often style my hair in a natural curly state and often don’t require a dry shampoo, I do still like to keep an eye out for a great product when I see one because dry shampoo does come in handy (for texture, different styles, travel, etc).

It is light, NOT cakey, NOT chalky, its scent it airy and natural, smells expectedly like grain/rice (think Aveeno-like) and brushes through beautifully. Full Size Value: $18 USD.

4 //

Next up is a 7ml sample bottle of another Birchbox + Color Club collaboration for the Wanderlust Nail Lacquer Collection. I received the color “Reign in Spain” which I think is an awesome name and the shade definitely screams spring/summer travel to me – almost too loudly though.

Sorry for the lack of swatch on this one, my day job is hard on my hands and my manicures never survive more than a day or two. In the bottle the shade seems like a bright pink-coral, but once applied and out in the Texas sunshine – it was freaking neon coral! Too neon for a full manicure almost. However, I do like the Color Club formula, applies smoothly and opaque, without need for excessive coats. Full Size Value: $8 USD (four mini bottle collection).

5 //

I also received another Twistband Hair Tie in a fabulous green and teal anchor print! These hair ties really are gentle on your hair and the prints they come in can really add a little touch of flair to my braid.

The only down fall to these Twistband hair ties is that of the 5 I have been sent, 3 have come untied – not good. Full Dize Value (for packs): $5 to $22 USD.

6 //

Lastly, I received a standard sample vial of Oscar de la Renta’s “Something Blue” Eau de Parfum. It is a soft fragrance, but not powdery nor sweet. Citrus and floral, but slightly warm. Definitely a summer – and I don’t know if its the name that pushes my brain this way – but I keep thinking “summer wedding fragrance”. It’s a fragrance that wouldn’t be found too intrusive or abrupt, in my opinion. It could easily be an everyday fragrance. Full Size Value: $85 to $115  USD.

For those interested in the fine details:

Top notes: Italian bergamot, Mandarin, Neroli, Linden blossom
Heart notes: Stephanotis, Fleur de narcisse, Lily of the valley, Kiss of lychee
Base notes: Ambrette seeds, White musk, Ambergris, Cashmere woods, Bourbon vanilla

//

There you have it! Overall, I think Birchbox got there Wanderlust message across… postcards, dual-use product, dry shampoo perfect for travel, summer holiday nails, a hair tie that a girl can easily sport as an accessory and an easy-going summer fragrance.

More of me and my thoughts soon…


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Influenster Review: Goody QuikStyle Brush

Hi loves!

So, I received this as part of my Influenster Holiday VoxBox, which you can read more about here.

ArtsyArchitette Influenster holiday voxbox 20122

Goody QuikStyle Brush – Half Round Styler

Okay, this was probably not the best brush for me to receive. I am not a round brush using girl, in fact I hardly ever use heat on my hair, but since I was sent this one complimentary from Influenster, I wanted to give it an honest try.

Unfortunately, I’m not able to say that I loved it. In fact, it was bordering on an unpleasant experience.

First, the brush is plastic and hollow, and it just felt “cheap” for lack of a better word. The kind of “cheap” that makes you a little wary of using your blow dryer on high heat.

This was a bit of let down considering I’m a fan of many Goody products.

Then you have the strange “microfiber” bristles that act like a towel to your hair, which are not really bristles at all – as they have no inner support, so they simply get squished down as soon as you rake it through your hair.

I will say this though, the microfiber bits did help eliminate some of the moisture in my hair. Supporting that claim.

This brush also comes with its own maintenance of sorts. You need a comb to help you remove the hair stuck in the brush and around the microfiber bits. You can let the brush air dry if you want, or use your hair dryer to dry the microfiber. You will also need to shampoo the brush to maintain its cleanliness.

Final Verdict: I will be gifting this brush along to a curious friend or family member willing to try it out.


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Influenster Beauty Bloggers VoxBox 2012

Hi lovelies!

So a couple weeks ago I was sent the Influenster Beauty Bloggers VoxBox and I always love getting VoxBoxes! They aren’t like Birchbox or MyGlam, one they are free – you simply need to be an Influenster, qualify and be selected and two – they almost always include full size products to try out. Then you share and report back what you loved, liked, disliked and even hated.

If you’re interested in finding out more about Influenster, check them out here.

So here is what the Beauty Bloggers VoxBox included:

  1. NYC New York Color Individual Eyes – Brown Eyes Compact Palette
  2. Kiss Ever Pro Lashes Starter Kit #05
  3. Bath & Body Works Mini Candle
  4. EBOOST Health Booster Drink Powder
  5. Goody Simple Styles Spin Pin
  6. Not Your Mother’s Smooth Moves Frizz Control Hair Cream

NYC New York Color Individual Eyes – Brown Eyes Compact Palette

My thoughts:

  • Includes 2 matte shades (vanilla and soft warm brown) and 2 satin shades (soft bronze and cool toned plum).
  • The eyeshadow colors are lovely in the pan, very soft, but have low pigment payoff when applied alone.
  • The shadows also have poor staying power when applied alone and can be easily wiped away.
  • The palette also includes a cream primer (bad, bad, bad!) and cream illuminator (nothing great).
  • The primer doesn’t even set, with the illuminator being very light and fading quickly.
  • I opted to use MAC Paint Pot in Bare Study as my base and for the purpose of this review I applied the shadows according to the “instructions” on the back of the compact, plus added a bit of the plum along my lower lash line.
  • Using a Paint Pot instead of the included primer, the shadows applied more pigmented and stayed on well for hours!
  • When the plum shadow is applied to the outer corner over the matte brown and satin bronze shadows, the resulting look is more of a deep copper than plum, but looks gorgeous.
  • The look wasn’t photographing so well, with the reflecting particles in the satin shadows, but I did included the following photos where the colors came out most true to life.
  • Final Verdict: For $4.99, the palette/compact is a good value, BUT invest in a quality base to get the most out of the product!!

Kiss Ever Pro Lashes Starter Kit #05

My thoughts:

  • The kit included a single set of 05 lashes, lash glue and lash applicator.
  • The lashes were good, but had a solid black seam, meaning you need to also wear black liner to hide the seam.
  • The lashes were decently flexible, but the seam was a bit stiff for my liking, but not uncommon with solid seam lashes.
  • For the purpose of reviewing, I did use the glue included 😦 The glue was horrible!! Not surprising, but honestly, probably the worst lash glue I have tried.  Bits stayed stuck on my eyes and took a bit more effort to remove than should be necessary. Make sure to always spend a few extra dollars a buy a quality lash glue, rather than relying on the included lash glues.
  • The plastic applicator was okay, but I still preferred just using my tweezers.
  • Up close photos below, and you can see my normal lashes in the above pictures.
  • Final verdict: Lashes are good quality, with a slightly stiff seam, though not unbearable for me, but there are equal quality and more comfortable out there for the same price ($5.99).

Bath & Body Works Mini Candle (and 3-wick candle coupon)

My thoughts:

  • I received the Black Pepper Bergamot scented mini candle and love it!!
  • I had actually already bought the 3-wick candle in this scent and it smells of men’s cologne with a bit of spice.
  • If you enjoy the smell of a man, or are a man that enjoys cologne, you would love this scent – though I believe it was part of their Fall collection and may not be available anymore, or at least in limited quantities.
  • Final verdict: For me Bath & Body Works candles are always a good buy, with frequent sales and coupons. They have so many scents, many of which give off a subtle aroma without even having to burn them. I have a large 3-wick and mini candle collection, and always buy some during their 2 for $20 sales.

EBOOST Health Booster Drink Powder

My thoughts:

  • Bleh!! This is a power dietary supplement/health booster with an “all natural orange flavor” that you add to water.
  • Tastes as you would expect it to.
  • Final verdict: Ehh… not too appealing for me.

Goody Simple Styles Spin Pin

My thoughts:

  • LOVE these spin pins! I actually had bought a pack and guarded them closely, because they were a little pricey ($7.29) for two pins.
  • I had actually lost one of my 2, when these came in the mail, so I was super excited to receive these.
  • Great for securing your hair quickly and easily, without the hassle of multiple pins or tricks.
  • Make sure just not to interlock them, if you are wearing two in your hair at once, since they can get locked together in your hair and be a hassle to remove.
  • Final verdict: Worth it, if you’ve been interested – buy them!

Not Your Mother’s Smooth Moves Frizz Control Hair Cream

My thoughts:

  • I think this one is more suited to wavy/straight hair, since it says to apply and blow-dry or air dry to reveal straight, frizz-free hair. Frizz-free – somewhat, straight -no.
  • I had to use quite a bit, as my hair is past my waist and curly and it initially left my hair feeling a little sticky.
  • It also left my hair feeling a bit dry and my ends felt horrible, like I dipped them in alcohol and they dried up!
  • Smells like coconut, which is expected considering it has coconut and silk extracts.
  • After sleeping on my hair, the feel of my hair has improved a bit.
  • Final verdict: Not a great product for me at all and would not bother buying it, many other products out there!

So that sums up the Beauty Bloggers VoxBox 🙂