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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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Sunkissed VoxBox Review: Olay Fresh Effects {BB Cream!}

Hey loves!

So some quick product reviews of the goods I received in my Influenster Sunkissed VoxBox, starting with the Olay Fresh Effects {BB Cream!} Skin Perfecting Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 15 – HOLY MOUTHFUL OF A NAME!

ArtsyArchitette Influenster Sunkissed VoxBox Products 2013 Review Olay BB Cream Light Medium Swatch

I have received plenty of samples of BB Creams, high end and drugstore brands, but so far I haven’t found one that I have wanted to rave about or actually buy, and unfortunately, the Olay Fresh Effects {BB Cream!} falls into that group too, but hear me out before you opt to pass on it too. I was bummed honestly, I had some high hopes for it, as I’m a fan of the Olay brand (for the most part) and have used many of their products in the past before switching to my current regimen.

You do get a hefty amount of product at 2.5 fl oz in a standard easy squeeze tube and all for $12.99, which is practically a steal. The Olay Fresh Effects {BB Cream!} does have a light and fresh floral fragrance to it with hints of that sunscreen scent, so fair warning to those against scented facial products. The scent isn’t bad at all in my opinion and does fade fairly quickly, but upon first application you definitely get quite a bit of it.

So the Olay Fresh Effects {BB Cream!} has six claims and I figure it would be best to take them one by one…

• Refreshes skin instantly – True! When applied to your skin it instantly has that quenching freshening feeling.
• Brightens for a radiant glow – Kind of! The cream has a slight sheen to it (no shimmer or glitter or any of that nonsense that I absolutely abhor in moisturizers) and maybe with continued successful use, its ingredients may help in that natural healthy skin glow.
• Evens tone with a splash of sheer color – Not really! On the coverage scale Olay Fresh Effects {BB Cream!} at a 2 out of 10, and that’s pushing it. It simply doesn’t have the coverage to even out anything more than very minor tone imperfections.
• Hydrates for 24 hours – True, I think! It does have long-lasting hydration, though I never actually tested out for longer than about 12 hours/ day before washing my face and using my night products.
• Smoothes for softer feeling skin – True! Though this should be true for any moisturizer.
• Protects against UV damage with SPF 15 – Obviously true! Though I wish it had a higher SPF than a measly 15 honestly.

Okay and now for the main reason I didn’t love the Olay Fresh Effects {BB Cream!} >I had a poor reaction to it. It’s rare for me to have a bad reaction to products, sensitive is not a word I’d use to describe my skin usually, but something in the Olay Fresh Effects {BB Cream!} made my skin breakout after a few days of use, which then resulted in me having to rehab my skin back to normal.

I attempted to give it another try, but my skin started reacting the same way and I abandoned the Olay Fresh Effects {BB Cream!} for the sake of my skin hating me again. Due to this I can’t judge it on any long-term benefits or claims.

I will say that it should be suitable to all skin types, as it does sink in fairly well, but I’d offer a word of caution to combination or oily skin gals as it seems like the type of produce that could potentially slip right off your face.

A major negative to me is their range: fair/light and light/medium and that’s it?! Even though I fall into the latter, it really excludes a large group of the market there.

So that’s my take… will you be trying it out?


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Influenster Sunkissed VoxBox Summer 2013

Happy Thursday Loves!

The weekend is almost here and I’m super excited… for no real reason other than I have 3 days off from work – and hey, that’s reason enough right?!

Well, early last month (July) I received a box of complimentary goodies to test and review from one of my absolute favorite communities/ programs > Influenster!

I’ve held off on reviewing them for you since one of the products was a BB cream, see below, and I didn’t have the time to properly test it out when I first received it.

So check out the Sunkissed VoxBox freebies I got…

ArtsyArchitette Influenster Sunkissed VoxBox Summer 2013 Review

Now I will be posting individual reviews for each of the 4 products I received in a couple of days, expect those posts to hit your inbox/ WP reader on Saturday soon (sorry, for the delays, unexpected work beckons), but I thought I’d share a peek pre-review. I will link each item below to its own review once those posts go live.

1 // Dr. Scholl’s For Her High Heel Insoles

2 // Olay Fresh Effects {BB Cream!} Skin Perfecting Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 15

3 // Goody Ouchless Ribbon Elastics

4 // Sinful Colors SinfulShine with Gel Tech Nail Colour in “Set the Mood”

Until tomorrow…


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Overdue Review – BIRCHBOX: December 2012

Hi loves!

So, I had been wavering on whether or not to post these latest two monthly subscription reviews, considering they are about a month and a half later than I would have normally posted them (sorry!) due to my whole January/February semi-hiatus state, but I said what the hell, product reviews are product reviews and they might still help someone out.

December: Overall B-.

ArtsyArchitette Birchbox December 2012

THE GOODS

Rent the Runway Discount Card – $50

One of the bonus items in the December box, which I had no use for. Sure it was worth $50, but if I remember correctly – as I have apparently lost the card someone in my bedroom – it was $50 off of $125 or $175 purchase. I don’t have that kind of money to spend on, admittedly gorgeous, clothing and accessories that I don’t even get to keep.

I can see this site being handy for special occasions, occasions worth the money to look like you just walked off the red carpet, but otherwise its just not practical for someone on my budget to rent.

Fresh Citron de Vigne Eau de Parfum – 7.5 ml Sample Vile

Fresh is definitely the word with this fragrance. It is lovely and fairly light, perfect for Spring in my mind.

Being inspired by France’s Champagne region, it has top notes of: Neroli, Bitter Orange, and Pink Grapefruit, with heart notes of: Jasmine, Pinot Noir, and Lemongrass, and base notes of: Cedarwood, White Sandalwood, and Birch Tree Leaves.

I would say the notes that hit me the most are the Pinot Noir and Lemongrass, followed by the woods.

Full Size Value: $80.00 (100 ml), $38.00 (30 ml)

Sampar Ultra Hydrating Fluid – 15 ml Sample

This is a beautiful moisturizer! Sampar, a Parisian brand – and the French are known for their skin care, is a new one to me, but I was seriously happy getting this sample.

It actually feels like a moisturizer-serum hybrid on your skin and it performs well under make-up. It sinks into your skin beautifully, leaving it gorgeous and plumped up with moisture, and not greasy whatsoever. It smells like floral water.

The only downfalls I could see are that it does not contain an SPF and the high price tag. Considering it is a moisturizer, and I usually apply two layers – once, let it sink in well, then apply a second layer and let that sink in (then possibly followed by make-up), and based on the sample size I received, I would probably guess I would go through the $71 full size in about a month to a month and a half. That’s a lot of money on moisturizer!

I’m a little bummed that I fell in love with this pricey product.

Full Size Value: $71.00 (50 ml/ 1.7 fl oz)

12 Benefits Instant Healthy Hair Treatment – 45 ml Sample

Okay, I need to be completely fair to this sample. I did try it, and still have some left, but honestly didn’t notice much of a difference, but maybe I wasn’t the best person to judge.

I don’t use heat on my hair 98% of the year, don’t color my hair, don’t do any other chemical treatments, and haven’t exposed my hair to chlorine in many many months.

What I can say is that my hair is very long, curly, and because of those two things and everyday exposure it does have some natural occurring damage and some frizziness. The 12 Benefits treatment felt like a liquid leave-in conditioner type product and does smell quite nice.

Here is what they say it helps with:  Seal hair color + Smooth frizz + Repair damage + Prevent split ends + Moisturize dry hair + Strengthen fragile hair + Prevent flat iron damage + Prevent chlorine, wind & sun damage + Add shine, softness and a silky finish + Protect hair from blow-drying + Improve detangling & manageability + Keep hair youthful 

Full Size Value: $19.00 (6 oz)

theBalm cosmetics Hot Mama Shadow & Blush All-in-One– 1 g Sample Tin

I am definitely becoming a fan of theBalm powder products and this one doesn’t disappoint.

I would describe it as a multidimensional blush, with three color layers, a golden highlighter layer, a pink layer, and a peach layer, and when they combine on your skin it creates a flattering flush of color.

Full Size Value: $20.00 (7 g)

Emily’s Chocolates Chocolate Covered Fortune Cookie – Single 

It was chocolate! It was a peppermint dark chocolate covered fortune cookie, complete with Santa fortune inside.

Full Size Value: $5.99 (6 pack)

ArtsyArchitette Birchbox December 20122