Saturday, August 30, 2014

PopSugar Must Have August 2014 Review

At a relatively high $40 a month, I always have a few reservations about PopSugar Must Have. It's nice when that hemming and hawing ends up being completely unnecessary. I was quite happy with my box this month!


Lollia at Last No. 17 Perfumed Shower Gel (8 fl oz), retail value $22.00


Although I am totally body-lotioned out at this point in my career of receiving subscription boxes full of goodies, I have managed to avoid getting gallons of body wash. This fancy-pants shower gel, then, is actually an appreciated bathroom addition.

I was expecting the smell to be a little more floral, given the bright yellow blooms all over the tube. The subtle smell, though, is still very pleasant, and the packaging looks lovely chilling out in my shower.

PaddyWax Ocean Tide + Sea Salt Mini Jar Candle (3 oz), retail value $10.00


This candle doesn't smell like a literal ocean, but the faintly soured sweetness is definitely evocative of one.


As a child, I got very excited about scented candles. I haven't had one in about ten years, though! Since crappy tea lights can't fulfill 100% of my need for unadulterated fire, I'm excited about using this when the weather cools down a bit.

Think Thin High Protein Bar in Brownie Crunch (2.1 oz), retail value $1.99


I have been experimenting with protein bars lately, so I was really happy to get this one. It's frustrating as hell to find something promising, be unable to buy a single bar, order a box, and find out that they are actually disgusting. (Seriously, fuck Quest bars, you guys. I don't care how popular they are or how excellent their macros are; they taste vile.)


This one is neither the best nor the worst that I have tried. It's sweetened with maltitol, which is a sugar alcohol that is used as a lower calorie sugar substitute, at about 2 calories per gram to pure sugar's 4. If you've read the hilarious reviews of the 5 lb bag of Haribo Sugar Free Gummi Bears, which went viral a while back, you may already know that maltitol has a laxative effect, but it's not potent enough to matter if you're eating a single protein bar. The sugar on these is at 0g, but it's worth noting that there are 12g of sugar alcohol. Maltitol does have a pretty high glycemic index (not quite that of sugar, but close), so it's not like it's an amazingly healthy alternative. I personally would prefer to just go ahead and eat the sugar.

It contains 20g of protein, which is pretty standard. It's a mix of calcium caseinate, whey protein isolate, and soy protein isolate. Most research suggests that whey protein is best for people who are serious about gaining muscle, but for many of us, a blend like this will be good enough.

There is a very slightly chalky taste to these and they're a bit bland, but the flavor is not bad.

Personally, the best-tasting protein bar I have found is Clif's Builder Bar in Mint Chocolate. It certainly comes with its downsides: It's slightly higher in calories (270 vs. 230), it gives you your fucking sugar (and lots of it at 22g), and it's soy protein isolate, not whey. However, I am just the kind of person who would rather eat things that taste good. I'll find the perfect protein bar one day.

The Mason Jar Cookie Company Festive Celebrate Cookie Mix (20.2 oz), retail value $12.99


MORE FOOD!

Inexplicably, the Mason Jar Cookie Company chose to send us something that was not in a mason jar-- it was in an opaque pouch printed with mason jar pattern that did not reflect the contents of the pouch (as there is no chocolate in the cookie mix). Hm…

The mix is a sugar cookie base with chocolate candies and sprinkles.

In theory, you add an egg, half a stick of butter, and a little vanilla, mix, bake, and you get cookies! Despite the mild annoyance of using half an egg, I was able to split the recipe in half.

Right out of the pouch, it looks like this:


Cookie dough:


Pre-baking:


Baked:


I think the bake time was a little too long on these (they ended up too crispy for my taste. I use an internal oven thermometer so I know my oven was the recommended temperature!), but they were definitely yummy.

Kendra Scott Elle Earrings in Slate, retail value $52


These earrings were definitely my favorite thing in the box. Not only do I love them, I am considering purchasing another (more expensive…) pair of Kendra Scott earrings. Her style just hits the mark for me; they're the perfect combo of gaudy and classy.


The stone is chrysoberyl (also called cat's eye) and the metal is rhodium over brass.


I've been getting a crapload of use out of these and will almost certain continue to do so.

Goodbyn Small Meal Box, retail value $6.50
Goodbyn Little Dipper, retail value $1.49


This is a neat little storage tub option.


Although I believe it's intended for lunches, I feel like it will be most handy for storing leftover taco supplies.

Bite Beauty Lush Fruit Lip Gloss in Popsugar (0.13 oz), retail value $22.00


This limited edition Bite Beauty lip gloss is a fandango pink. As a lipgloss, it looks like a near-radioactive melted candy.


It's a bit sheer. I wish it truly committed and packed a color punch!

It's also very, very, very sticky. It's a classic lipgloss for people who like not a lot of color, stickiness, and an ultraglossy look.


I assume that those people are out there.

Total Box Value: $128.97

Overall, I think that this is the most consistent PopSugar box that I have received. Usually, there are some things I love and some things that are basically trash for me. Even though every product wasn't flawless, everything I got this month had value to me. It was a good box. That'll do pig. That'll do.

If you feel that PopSugar has been desperately missing from your life, you are always welcome to use my referral link by clicking here. I believe the code MUSTHAVEYT will get you $10 off for at least a few more days. After that, REFER5 will get you five bucks off. (Side note: The September box is scheduled to include a Tilo scarf that retails at $125… so that should be good.)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Review: Paul & Joe Beauté Eye Color Trio in Cherry Blossom

If you need an eyeshadow palette adorned with pictures of kittens, there simply isn't a whole lot of commercially available products to choose from.

Paul and Joe, though. They have you covered… for a price.


In attempt to steal earn more of your precious dollar bills (slash to allow for customization), Paul and Joe do sell their eyeshadow and their compacts separately, so you have to blindly hand over wads of cash at least twice to get the desired effect.

The eyeshadow "refill" (which is ostensibly the product) retails for $35 all on its lonesome, which is pretty steep for something that doesn't even come with a lid.


The cardboard compact (presumably 90% of the reason you are considering this eyeshadow) adds another $10 to the total bill.


Instead of a mirror that lets your stare into your own soulless eyes, you can look at kitten illustrations, which is way better.


Cherry Blossom, the palette that I chose, has a pink/neutral color scheme. I chose this one merely based on practicality-- if I can wear these colors on any occasion, it is slightly less weird if I carry the product around in my purse and show its adorableness to strangers.

The shadows magnetically snap into the compact.


Sadly, the palette swatches less than impressively.

I actually hate it less than I did when I first received it, but it's clear that the quality of the eyeshadow is not justifying this fancy-ass price tag.

The pink shade is by far the worst. It's not pigmented and you can't build it well. It feels like novelty children's makeup that would be packaged beneath a smiling picture of Disney's Tinkerbell. The bubblegum pink color with the disco-ball iridescent glitter is kind of pretty. The fact that it is as sheer as worn-out nylon stockings is not.

Next comes a shimmery golden taupe shade and a not-quite-as-shimmery coffee brown.


Both shades are fine. They are perfectly pigmented and blend nicely. However, they have that texture that is a cross between creamy and sandy. For those of you who have tried Wet'n'Wild eyeshadows-- they feel exactly like Wet'n'Wild eyeshadows. For a drugstore palette, this would be perfectly lovely. If you want the feeling of luxury, though, you're out of luck.

I won't lie, though. They make a good looking neutral eye:


If you ignore the cost of the compact, these shadows retail for $35 for 0.1oz, or $350 per ounce. Add in the actually-pretty-necessary $10 compact, and you're at an are-you-shitting-me $450 per ounce.

You can always show your appreciation of what looks to be novelty wrapping paper by buying the compact separately and squeezing your own irregular eyeshadows into the opening.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Julep August 2014 Review

I miss the days when Julep arrived at the very beginning of the month. Now, it comes smack dab in the middle, just like every other subscription box. I need everything to be spaced out!

On the bright side, I got some pretty shit this month. I missed my opportunity to upgrade, so I went ahead and got my regular "It Girl" box with an eyeliner as an add-on.


The bonus this week was a screen cleaner. As someone with a flip phone dated from the late 1990s, this is not super relevant to my life.

Here's the more exciting stuff:

Julep Gel Eye Glider in Smoky Plum


As a sucker for the color purple, I couldn't pass this pencil up. Although Julep makeup products are pretty hit or miss, I was pleasantly surprised to find that this one is super nice (especially in comparison to the train wreck that was their scratchy, poorly-pigmented Kajal Eye Glider).


Calling the pencil a "gel" product seems pretty silly, since the pencil is just another typical soft pencil liner. However, I do think a lot of companies struggle to do purple pencil eyeliners (I have a few by Urban Decay that I think are pretty mediocre) and this one feels effortless. The texture and pigmentation are both lovely.

Plus, you know. The color. Look at it!


The smoky plum shade has a hint of near-irridecent sheen.


My only complaint is that smudging reads a little bit messy for this product since it does have a little shimmer to it. That's probably not a deal breaker for most, though.



Nail Polish


The nail polishes in my box were:

Joyce, a Wizard of Oz ruby red shimmer,

Kirti, a neon orange shimmer,

and Tammi, a yellow-y lime green.


In particular, Joyce makes me feel pretty snazzy.


Overall, I'm really pleased. This eyeliner is one of the best makeup products I have received from Julep. It is also one I know I will actually use, since it's not just a crappy dupe of something I already own. The nail polish colors are pretty. Save for the assumption that I own an iPhone, this box was right up my alley.

If you suddenly decide you want to join Julep, you are always welcome to use my referral link by clicking here.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Are Indie Eyeshadows Cheaper, Ounce per Ounce?: The Math

I do love both indie eyeshadows and sitting on high horses. However, after reading my one millionth, "Oh my god, every time someone buys a palette from Sephora, I want to tell them how much cheaper indie eyeshadows are!", I decided that this particular high horse needed some examining.

I've written before about how indie eyeshadows, when you break it down by ounce, aren't startling cheap. They're not expensive, but they're not a price that warrants breaking out the smelling salts.

I decided to compare whether or not indie eyeshadows come out cheaper than Sephora palettes when compared ounce per ounce.

My indie list consists of the brands I could find that state weights (as opposed to volumes) that are included in each jar. Although all of these weights were stated in grams, I went ahead and converted them into ounces in order to remain consistent with the "price per ounce" that I usually give on this site. Hopefully, this will help give regular readers a better sense of the meaning of "price per ounce" when it comes to makeup. I only included full sized jars of product. (No samples or mini jars.) I am only using the weights that are self-reported by the companies, so there is not accounting for any sneakiness.

For my Sephora palettes, I cheated and used the data from the "Sephora's January/February 2014 Eyeshadow Palettes by Price Per Ounce" post I published earlier this year. It can be found in its entirety here.


Indie Cosmetics by Price per Ounce

The All Natural Face: $6.50 for 0.18oz, $36.11
ScaredyCat Cosmetics: $5.00 for 0.12oz, $41.67 per ounce
StarCrushedMinerals: $5.00 for 0.09oz, $55.55 per ounce
Eight Bit Cosmetics: $4.00 for 0.07oz, $57.14 per ounce
Dawn Eyes: $3.00 for 0.04-0.05oz, between $60 and $75 per ounce
Fyrinnae Cosmetics (Regular Line): $60.25 for 0.10oz, $62.50 per ounce
Hello Waffle Cosmetics: $4.50 for 0.07g, $64.29 per ounce
Fyrinnae Cosmetics (Arcane Magic): $6.80 for 0.10oz, $68 per ounce
SobeBotanicals: $4.99 for 0.07oz, $71.29 per ounce
Dreamworld: $7.99 for 0.10-0.12oz, between $66.58 and $79.90 per ounce
Sugarpill Cosmetics (Chromalusts): $12 for 0.16oz, $75 per ounce
Detrivore Cosmetics: $6 for 0.07oz, $85.71 per ounce
Glamour Doll Eyes: $6.00 for 0.07oz, $85.71 per ounce
Shiro Cosmetics: $6 for 0.07oz, $85.71 per ounce
Concrete Minerals Pro Matte: $8.00 for 0.09oz, $88.89 per ounce
Eccentric Cosmetics: $6.00 for 0.05-0.06oz, between $100 and $120 per ounce
My Beauty Addiction: $5.00 for 0.04-0.05oz, between $100 and $125 per ounce
My Pretty Zombie: $5.00 for 0.05oz, $100 per ounce
Meow Cosmetics Cat Eyes: $8.00 for 0.07oz, $114.28 per ounce
Fierce Magenta Cosmetics: $4.99 for 0.04oz, $124.75 per ounce
Kimberly Noel: $5 for 0.04oz, $125 per ounce
Little Sparrow Cosmetics: $5.00 for 0.04oz, $125 per ounce
Madd Style: $5.00 for 0.04oz, $125 per ounce
Femme Fatale Cosmetics: $6.44 for 0.04-0.05oz, between $128.80 and $161 per ounce
Concrete Minerals (Mineral Line): $7.00 for 0.05oz, $140 per ounce
Meow Cosmetics Ideal Eyes and Modern Eyes: $10.25 for 0.07oz, $146.43 per ounce
Geek Chic: $5.99 for 0.04oz, $149.75 per ounce
Aromaleigh: $7 for 0.04oz, $175 per ounce
Alima Pure: $12.50 for 0.06oz, $208.33 per ounce
Lucy Minerals: $7.00 for 0.02oz, $350 per ounce

Mean: $107.10
Median: $94.45
Standard Deviation: $61.07

Sephora Eyeshadow Palettes by Price per Ounce

Make Up For Ever Flash Palette: $99 for 2.46oz, $40.24 per ounce
Too Faced Joy to the Girls Eyeshadow Palette: $46 for 0.9oz, $51.11 per ounce
Sephora Collection Event Entry Palette: $11 for 0.2oz, $55 per ounce
theBalm Shady Lady Volume 3: $39.50 for 0.51oz, $77.45 per ounce
Benefit Cosmetics World Famous Neutrals Palette Easiest Nudes Ever: $30 for 0.38oz, $78.95 per ounce
Benefit Cosmetics World Famous Neutrals Palette Most Glamorous Nudes Ever: $30 for 0.38oz, $78.95 per ounce
Benefit Cosmetics World Famous Neutrals Palette Sexiest Nudes Ever: $30 for 0.38oz, $78.95 per ounce
Too Faced the Chocolate Bar Palette: $49 for 0.62oz, $79.03 per ounce
Stila In The Know Palette: $39 for 0.49 oz, $79.59 per ounce
Stila In The Garden Palette: $39 for 0.49 oz, $79.59 per ounce
Stila In The Light Palette: $39 for 0.49 oz, $79.59 per ounce
Stila In The Moment Palette: $39 for 0.49 oz, $79.59 per ounce
Sephora Collection IT Palette Color Spectrum: $32 for 0.396oz, $80.80 per ounce
Sephora Collection IT Palette Glitter: $32 for 0.396oz, $80.80 per ounce
Sephora Collection IT Palette Nude: $32 for 0.396oz, $80.80 per ounce
Sephora Collection IT Palette Smoky: $32 for 0.396oz, $80.80 per ounce
Urban Decay Naked 1: $52 for 0.6oz, $86.67 per ounce
Urban Decay Naked 2: $52 for 0.6oz, $86.67 per ounce
Urban Decay Naked 3: $52 for 0.6oz, $86.67 per ounce
Clinique All About Shadow Eight-Pan Palette: $36 for 0.41oz, $87.80 per ounce
Kat Von D Ladybird Eyeshadow Palette: $36 for 0.4oz, $90 per ounce
Kat Von D True Romance Eyeshadow Palette in Beethoven: $36 for 0.4oz, $90 per ounce
Kat Von D True Romance Eyeshadow Palette in Poetica: $36 for 0.4oz, $90 per ounce
Kat Von D True Romance Eyeshadow Palette in Saint: $36 for 0.4oz, $90 per ounce
Kat Von D True Romance Eyeshadow Palette in Sinner: $36 for 0.4oz, $90 per ounce
Urban Decay Naked Basics: $27 for 0.30oz, $90 per ounce
Too Faced Pretty Rebel Palette: $46 for 0.5oz, $92 per ounce
Josie Maran Argan Beautiful Eyes: $36 for 0.39oz, $92.31 per ounce
Too Faced Boudoir Eyes Soft and Sexy Palette: $36 for 0.39oz, $92.31 per ounce
Too Faced Matte Eyeshadow Palette: $36 for 0.39oz, $92.31 per ounce
Too Faced Natural At Night Palette: $36 for 0.39oz, $92.31 per ounce
Too Faced Natural Eye Palette: $36 for 0.39oz, $92.31 per ounce
Too Faced Smokey Eye Palette: $36 for 0.39oz, $92.31 per ounce
Too Faced The Return of Sexy Palette: $49 for 0.525oz, $93.33 per ounce
Kat Von D True Romance Eyeshadow Trio: $24 for 0.25oz, $96 per ounce
Smashbox Full Exposure Palette: $49 for 0.49oz, $100 per ounce
Sephora Collection Colorful Eyeshadow Portfolio: $599 for 5.6oz, $106.96 per ounce
Sephora Collection Sand Illusions Baked Eyeshadow Palette: $15 for 0.138oz, $108.70 per ounce
Tarte Beauty and the Box Amazonian Clay Eyeshadow Quad: $22 for 0.2oz, $110 per ounce
Urban Decay Ammo Palette: $34 for 0.3oz, $113.33 per ounce
Anastasia Beverly Hills Illumin8 With Youthful Synergy Complex Eyeshadow Palette: $30 for 0.252oz, $119.05 per ounce
Kat Von D Esperanza Eyeshadow Palette: $36 for 0.28oz, $128 per ounce
Anastasia  Beverly Hills She Wears It Well Eyeshadow Palette: $34 for 0.263oz, $129.28 per ounce
Buxom Color Choreography Eyeshadow Palette: $36 for 0.26oz, $138.46 per ounce
Bobbi Brown Old Hollywood Eye Palette: $75 for 0.519, $144.51 per ounce
Bare Minerals READY Eyeshadow 8.0: $40 for 0.28oz, $142.86 per ounce
BECCA  Ultimate Eye Color Quad: $40 for 0.28oz, $142.86 per ounce
Sephora Collection Moonshadow Baked Palette in In The Dark: $27 for 0.17oz, $158.82 per ounce
Sephora Collection Moonshadow Baked Palette in In The Nude: $27 for 0.17oz, $158.82 per ounce
Sephora Collection Moonshadow Baked Palette in In The Tropics: $27 for 0.17oz, $158.82 per ounce
Illamasqua Complement Palette: $46.50 for 0.29oz, $160.34 per ounce
Urban Decay Smoked Eyeshadow Palette: $49 for 0.3oz, $163.33 per ounce
Illamasqua 4-Colour Liquid Metal Palette: $46.50 for 0.28oz, $166.07 per ounce
Illamasqua Paranormal Palette: $46.50 for 0.28oz, $166.07 per ounce
Clinique All About Shadow Quad: $28 for 0.16oz, $175 per ounce
NARS NARSissist Eyeshadow Palette: $79 for 0.45oz, $175.56 per ounce
Bare Minerals READY Eyeshadow 4.0: $30 for 0.17oz, $176.47 per ounce
Yves Saint Laurent Ombres 5 Lumieres 5 Colour Harmony for Eyes: $59 for 0.29oz, $200 per ounce
Make Up For Ever Black Tango Palette: $45 for 0.2oz, $225 per ounce
Bobbi Brown Nude Eye Palette: $50 for 0.22oz, $227.27 per ounce
Illamasqua Fundamental Palette: $46.50 for 0.2oz, $232.50 per ounce
Illamasqua Neutral Palette: $46.50 for 0.2oz, $232.50 per ounce
Illamasqua Reflection Palette: $46.50 for 0.2oz, $232.50 per ounce
Smashbox Photo Op Eye-Enhancing Palette - Blue Eyes:$40 for 0.16oz, $243.75 per ounce
Smashbox Photo Op Eye-Enhancing Palette - Brown Eyes:$40 for 0.16oz, $243.75 per ounce
Smashbox Photo Op Eye-Enhancing Palette - Hazel Eyes:$40 for 0.16oz, $243.75 per ounce
Marc Jacobs Style Eye-Con No.7 Plush Shadow Palette: $59 for 0.24oz, $245.83 per ounce
Guerlain Ecrin 4 Couleurs Eyeshadow Palette: $60 for 0.24oz, $250 per ounce
Dior 3 Couleurs Smoky Read-to-Wear Eye Palette: $48 for 0.19oz, $252.63 per ounce
Edward Bess Prismette Eyeshadow Quad: $68 for 0.25oz, $272 per ounce
Marc Jacobs Style Eye-Con No.3 Plush Shadow: $42 for 0.14oz, $300 per ounce
Yves Saint Laurent Pure Chromatics 4 Wet and Dry Eyeshadows: $55 for 0.18oz, $305.56 per ounce
Shiseido Luminizing Satin Eye Color Trio: $33 for 0.1oz, $330 per ounce
Guerlain Ecrin 6 Couleurs Eyeshadow Palette: $86 for 0.25oz, $344 per ounce
Bobbi Brown Sequin Shimmer Brick For Eyes: $48.50 for 0.14oz, $346.43 per ounce
Lancome Color Design 5 Shadow and Liner Palette: $50 for 0.141oz, $354.61 per ounce
Dior 5 Couleurs Couture Colour Eyeshadow Palette: $61 for 0.17oz, $358.82 per ounce
Dolce and Gabbana The Eyeshadow Smooth Eye Colour Quad: $59 for 0.16oz, $368.75 per ounce
Givenchy Le Prisme Eyeshadow Quartet: $57 for 0.14oz, $407.14 per ounce
Givenchy Le Prisme Yeux Colour and Shine for Metallic Eyes: $57 for 0.14oz, $414.29 per ounce
Givenchy Ecrin Prive: $73 for 0.072oz, $1013.89 per ounce

Mean: $169.10 per ounce
Median: $119.05 per ounce
Standard Deviation: $133.39

I did a t-test to see what was up.

I was generous in my data examination in two ways: for the indie companies, I used the lowest price available when a range of prices was presented. For the Sephora palettes, I excluded the Givenchy outlier because seriously, what the fuck.

My data did support the notion that indie eyeshadows are cheaper than Sephora's range of eyeshadow palettes, t(109)=2.44, p=0.016.

However, when you examine individual brands, it's clear that a sense of superiority in your financial choices is not necessarily warranted simply by the decision to buy indie. Well-regarded indie brand Shiro Cosmetics, for example, is nearly identical in price per ounce to Urban Decay's overrated beloved Naked Palettes, at $85.71 per ounce versus $86.67 per ounce, respectively. My Pretty Zombie is priced in line with Smashbox, both at $100 per ounce. The most expensive of the indies are similar in price to NARS, YSL, and even Dior (The shmanciest of them all, Lucy Minerals, at $350 per ounce, is quite similar in price to Dior's $354.61 per ounce).

Additionally, if you recall from my previous analysis, Sephora palettes are skewed towards the expensive, with the most palettes hitting the $80-100 per ounce price point. With the average indie shadow hovering around $100 per ounce, cutting out all the fancy bullshit that Sephora sells will leave you with patterns that are more similar than different. It would be very feasible for a price-concious shopper to spend comparable amounts of money on the same amount of eyeshadow as indie aficionados, even if they shop at Sephora.

Price can definitely be a consideration when choosing indie eyeshadows. However, based on the data here, I doubt it would be a primary reason for most people to switch to indie products. Luckily, as a lover of both indie and commercial cosmetics, I can confirm that makeup of all stripes has the potential for awesomeness.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Review: Pumpkin and Poppy Oak Bark Contouring Powder

Given the popularity of contouring in the makeup-loving world, it's pretty surprising that there aren't more contouring products that fall into the realm of believable shadows. You can love the look of contouring with bronzer all you like, but the vast majority of those who attempt it simply look like someone who put bronzer on their face in a strategic fashion. If your goal is the illusion of cheekbones-to-die-for, most people (even the warm-toned) will need something at least a little bit cooler.


As a certified member of the "cool-toned and fair skinned" club, finding the right color is even more of a pain in the ass.

Pumpkin and Poppy, an indie brand, advertises their product's believability, noting that "most bronzers are warm in tone and too dark for a natural contour."

Cue the anticipatory music.


OH MY GOD, IT'S SO BEAUTIFUL. The ashy taupe shade reads like a genuine shadow.


This is the most natural-looking contour shade I have ever used.

To highlight the level of awesomeness here, I swatched it next to two commonly used contours for fair skin: NYX Blush in Taupe and Illamasqua's Cream Pigment in Hollow.

From left to right: NXY Taupe, Pumpkin and Poppy Oak Bark, Illamasqua Hollow
In comparison to Oak Bark, NYX Taupe looks reddish and ruddy. It's not a terrible color, but it's just a hair too warm. Add that to its inexplicable tendency to be coated in a hardened layer of oil, and it's no surprise that it has moved its way out of my rotation permanently.

Illmasqua Hollow, on the other hand, reads like a bruise on someone with jaundice. It's got a yellow, almost sickly effect in comparison to the lovely Pumpkin and Poppy shade. Again, it does a totally adequate job for contouring… but the new guy blows it out of the water.

On my face, Oak Bark looks something like this:


I am a nitpicky person, so I do have to point out the minor imperfections.

The first is that the Pumpkin and Poppy store on Etsy is not well-stocked. As of this writing, there is exactly one jar of Oak Bark in stock. To me, this reads as unprofessional, as if the shop owner is not expecting any significant sales. It would also be very frustrating if you, for example, wanted one for yourself and one as gift, or if you were a makeup artist and wanted a jar that you could use for a client. Sucks for those people, because you can only buy one! Because this is a perpetual issue, it seems that this is just the way that the shop is run (it's not that stock is actually low)... and that just doesn't make any sense.

The second minor issue that I have is that there is no pressed powder version available. Indie stores rarely have a pressed powder option, so it's not unexpected, but it means that this product can't be literally the perfect contour product available. If I could buy a pressed powder version of this contour, I would have to buy in bulk. (Just kidding. There would only ever be one in stock.)

Oak Bark retails for $8.75 for a 20g/0.71oz jar. I foolishly did not actually weigh the contents, which can be very variable for indie products. However, assuming 0.71oz of product, the powder retails for a very wallet-friendly $12.32 per ounce.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Ipsy July 2014 Review

Next up in ridiculously belated reviews… SHIT I GOT (from Ipsy).

This is what it looks like in a pile:



BeFine Food Skin Care Daily Moisturizer with SPF15 (1.5 fl oz), approximate retail value $22.06


Moisturizer! You could wear it! Marginally more exciting that body lotion! SPF 15! That's technically better than not wearing sunscreen at all!

This moisturizer advertises "rosemary, pomegranate, and rice" on its label. If you want to know what it smells like, rice is definitely the closest.

Hang Ten Dark Tanning Oil (1 fl oz), approximate retail value $1.50


This was probably the biggest cause of tipsy-related "sad trombone" noises last month. It was sent to a wide variety of people ranging from very dark skinned to very light skinned, many of whom responded with an "Um, no thanks."

I'm actually not as offended by this product as I have been by other tanning products that subscription boxes have hoisted on me, simply because there's nothing deceptive about it. I won't use it, but I don't use all sorts of random shit I get sent in low-cost boxes like this one.

BareMinerals 5-in-1 BB Advanced Performance Cream Eyeshadow in Divine Wine (0.03 fl oz), approximate retail value $5.40


A new product from a known brand isn't an Ipsy sample to shake a stick at.

Although the fact that BareMinerals is trying to capitalize on the whole "BB" trend is pretty eye-roll-worthy, the product is decent.


It's a very creamy formula with a consistency that is reminiscent of Cool Whip. You can apply it with the included doe foot applicator and blend it with your finger (or a brush for people who don't mind immediately having to wash your brushes). It blends relatively well and, once dry, stays put. It's also quite opaque.


Divine Wine is mysteriously a taupe color, rather than the burgundy shade the name implies.

Elizabeth Mott Tints and Sass Lip and Cheek Stain (full size at 0.35 oz), retail value $22.99


Another cheek/lip stain that is identical to all the cheek/lip stains on the market? Bring it on…


You could find a hundred near-identical products if you wanted, but this one is fine.

On lips and cheeks.

Pür Minerals Big Look Waterproof Mascara (0.12 oz), approximate retail value $14.12


I found this mascara to be consistent with drugstore mascaras in quality… but the packaging is pretty excellent. The glittery water droplets on the handle are cute as hell.


Otherwise, it's a thick-brushed, medium-wet formula that gives both length and volume, but is spectacular in neither characteristic, and that has a tendency to cause your lashes to stick together.


If you want glamorous packaging, though...

Total Box Value: $66.07

Overall, this box was fine. Obviously, the dollar value is pretty good, given the $10 a month price tag on the subscription service, but there was no standout product that I'm excited about. Most of these things I will probably never use again. The tanning oil, for example, only made it out of its plastic wrap so that I could take a photo.

If you like getting random makeup in the mail and you don't especially care whether or not it sucks, Ipsy will get the job done. Still, I definitely wish that a greater percentage of these products were something new, interesting, or high quality.

If you are feeling the urge to join Ipsy, you are always welcome to use my referral link by clicking here.
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