The Monkey Is In.

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I'm a writer of horror and dark fiction. I've been doing this since 1999 and believe me when I say, it's cheaper than therapy and safer for the world at large.

Filtering by Category: Cruelty Free

PDs, MEHs, and GFYs March 2019

Welcome to the first Likes/Dislikes post of 2019! For anyone new, this is a post where I sing the praises, or bitch like a curmudgeonly old biddy, about products I’ve tried over the past few months. The categories are: Panty Droppers, Mehs, and Go Fuck Yourselves.


PDs

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The Potion Cabinet Shower Gel (Witch’s Cold Brew): This is an Etsy story that offers bath products, collectibles, and more. This scent is listed as: a warm cup of espresso, cocoa bean, steamed milk and vanilla chai topped with whipped cream and a touch of rum. Mostly, I only smelled the vanilla and rum, maybe a little bit of the cocoa. IT WAS HEAVENLY. I like the gel itself - leaves my skin soft and the scent doesn’t linger, which I prefer.

Merchant of Gallifry Roll-on Fragrance: Another Etsy store (yes, I’m addicted) but it looks like they don’t make perfumes anymore. There is a bunch of scented stuff, though. Loved this perfume. I believe the notes were mango and rose but I couldn’t necessarily pick out either. They melded together wonderfully for a very unique scent.

Milani Retouch and Erase Light-Lifting Concealer: I haven’t used this up, but it’s really old, and I think it’s starting to turn. It’s a fantastic concealer for me. My under eyes are much dryer now than when I was younger, and this is one of the only concealers that doesn’t look like total shit on me. Will be repurchasing.

Carol’s Daughter Frappe Body Lotion (Almond Cookie): I’ve used Carol’s Daughter’s hair products before (which SUCK ASS) so I almost didn’t get this. I needed a body lotion that worked better than what I already had (see the MEHs section below) and the scent on this is fantastic! Smells like straight up, fresh baked almond cookies. And the lotion is nice and thick, but absorbs quickly and lasts a long time. Highly recommend!!


MEHs

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PUR Fully Charged Magnetic Mascara: This does give good volume, but no length, so my lashes look stubby. It’s a great layering mascara, though! Not sure how it’s anti-aging…what the fuck? Who believes that kind of shit?

Flower Beauty Light Illusion Full Coverage Concealer: While this is a good shade (it’s just about the same color as my skin so it blends in well) and it’s lightweight, it’s definitely not full coverage. It’s also not crease-proof, looks SUPER dry under my eyes and anywhere I use it to cover blemishes or spots.

Everyone Body Lotion (Lavender & Aloe): While the scent on this is really nice (great to use before bedtime,) it doesn’t seem to really moisturize my skin. Absorbs fast - or maybe it just poofs off into the ether - because my skin doesn’t fell any different after using it. It also says you can use it for face, hands, and body. Um…no. No, you can’t. This is NOT good for the face.

GFYs

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Colourpop BFF Mascara: Now, anyone who’s been here a while, knows I love Colourpop. I did a whole review on a bunch of products HERE. So when they came out with mascaras, I was pumped. I got a red and black one (so far, I don’t know of any other brand that makes a red mascara.) I can only speak to the red for this review because I tried that and REFUSE TO EVEN LOOK AT THE BLACK. This shit fucked up my eyes for two days. They itched, swelled up (not to the point of impairing my vision, though), and produced excessive amounts of goop. Fucking what the fuck, Colourpop? People were reviewing this like it was the Second Cumming of Christ, and even if it wasn’t for my bad reaction, the mascara itself is pretty lame. Doesn’t volumize or lengthen or ANYTHING. Fucking useless shite.

Joah Eye Scream Volume & Lengthening Mascara: I’ve only tried a couple of products from Joah (lipstick, eyebrow pencil, and this - I think.) It’s a hit and miss brand, but this stuff was HORRIBLE. It’s a fiber mascara that does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for the lashes. However, it DOES get onto your eyeballs and poke the fucking shit out of them. Eye Scream is a pretty accurate description. So…there’s that. Fuck you, Joah.

That’s it for this (what I hope will be) quarterly report of awesome and suckage. See you next time!

Morgue Drawer March 2019

Not sure why I thought it had been longer than three months since my last MD, but it seems I’m right on track for my quarterly posting. Yay, me!

For anyone new here, this is basically the post where I talk about my garbage. I’ve used up these products, so I can give you a good idea on their performance, and if I enjoyed them. Hope it’s educational! (Also pretty sure most, if not all, of these products are Cruelty Free!)

DEBRIS

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Paul Mitchell Platinum Blonde Shampoo: Technically, I haven’t used this up completely. I emptied this bigger bottle into a travel sized one. It’s a purple shampoo, and was great when I stopped coloring my hair and went with my natural salt and pepper. It made my greys look a little lavender, and not so brassy. I highly recommend it for that. And now that my hair is red and purple, I won’t mind using this when I travel.

Hask Chia Seed Dry Shampoo: I enjoy the Hask brand dry shampoos a lot. This was one that didn’t look powdery, or like I dumped a kilo of cocaine on my head. But it wasn’t that great as a dry shampoo. Did work really well to add texture so it was easier to style my hair or get it to stay in place.

Babyganics Baby Wipes: I get these at my local grocery store (Value Center). But you can get them at Target, Kroger, Amazon, Walmart, etc. I love them for cleaning off swatches, or just cleaning off eye shadow fall out on my cheeks. The cloths themselves are soft but, as with any wipe, the liquid burns a little bit. But I don’t mind using them for clean up.

Tom’s of Main Maximum Sensitive Toothpaste: I’ve been using this for years. It’s the only toothpaste that works really well for me. AND I don’t get the mouth-peeling issue like I do with every other brand. Apparently, it’s a thing that a small percentage of the population experiences with sensitive toothpaste. It’s weird and kinda gross, but at least it doesn’t hurt.

LIKE BUTTAH

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Soap & Glory Righteous Body Butter: I love S&G body butters, but the scent on this one is a little heavy. Kind of like Lilies of the Valley, but on crack. I’d love to get the Sugar Crush scent again, but I don’t think they make it anymore. The link will take you to Ulta where you can look at all the other scents available. If you want something that will stay on your skin and keep you moist (uh….) you need to get a S&G body butter.

Nature’s Truth Sweet Almond Oil: I got this at Meijers (but you can get it at a lot of places) to mix with some essential and/or perfume oils the hubby got me. My feet, and toe nails particularly, love this stuff. The rest of my body ain’t complaining, either.

MY SKIN WOULD MAKE A GREAT LAMPSHADE

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Mario Badescu Facial Spray (Rose and Lavender): I’ve been using the rose spray for years, but once I realized it contained some artificial stuff, I’m now trying something else. But it is nice, and the lavender one was also a nice spray to use before bed. Not too strongly scented, so if you’re sensitive to lavender, this might be okay for you.

The Ordinary Buffet Serum: Also used this for years, but after a while, it doesn’t seem to do much for me any more. But if you’re looking for some new skin care, that doesn’t cost the same as a car payment, you should check out The Ordinary.

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid Serum: With winter, I wanted to add a little more moisture into my skin. I’m not dry dry, but I’m not as oily as I used to be. This didn’t really do much, though.

Botanics Nourishing Facial Oil: Nice smelling oil, but it broke me out. So I ended up using it on my neck and chest (or decolletage for you fancy-ass folks) and it was wonderful.

Formula 10.0.6 Picture Perfect Day Moisturizer: I’m still digging this stuff. Nice moisturizer that takes a few minutes to sink in, but it’s worth the wait. That little bit of SPF is nice, too.

That’s it for now! See you again in a few months with more garbage.

BH Cosmetics - Aurora Lights Palette

I (now) have three palettes from BH Cosmetics, but for some reason, I really wanted to do a review of this one. I mentioned the Zodiac one in a past ‘favorites’ post, and I’m sure I’ve brought up Galaxy Chic. This one, however, really spurred me to take pictures of some of the looks I created, and to talk about them.

Maybe down the road, I’ll review the other palettes I have (especially if their NEW Zodiac palette is included on a really good sale - I’m talking 45% or more off.) For now, let’s take a look at this beauty: The Aurora Lights Palette.

(this is not sponsored; I bought this with my own money; all opinions are my honest ones)

This is another baked shadow palette, like Galaxy Chic, and all the shades are shimmery - some have glitter, some are just SOOOPER shiny. There are different formulas as well. From the BH website: The celestial-inspired hues and finishes - ranging from sheer-color, high-shine glitter topcoats, to entrancing ultra-reflective metallics and rich shades with intense pigment payoff deliver striking impact and light-catching dimension. 

The bottom two pics above show the powder kick-up on these. Pretty much all of them do this, some more than others, but if a shadow is still easy to work with and blend, I have no issue with a little mess.

In the swatch pictures below, you will see how some colors are more sheer, and others are just buh-BLAM with pigment.

Soooo preeeeetty….though my swatches leave a little to be desired. It’s hard to catch the shift/duo-chrome nature of some of these shadows.

There are two colors in the Aurora palette that are similar to shades in the Galaxy Chic, but that’s about it. Nothing comes close to the Zodiac one that I have, and I can’t speak on the new Zodiac palette. But if this is all I’ve got that’s close in tone/shade, I’m good with it.

The Galaxy Chic colors, Neptune and Earth, are similar in tone to the Aurora shades. Neptune is just a bit lighter than Magnetic, and Earth is almost neutral or maybe a bit warmer than Polar.

Below are a few looks I created with the Aurora Lights palette. I brought in a few colors from other palettes or single shadows. As pretty and shiny as these AL colors are, sometimes it’s hard to pull off a full-on chrome look. I hate to sound so cliche or like a generic YouTube beauty guru (barf,) sometimes you really do need to add in other finishes and shades to create more dimension.

I don’t remember what dark shade I used in the outer corner, but Magnetic is on the outer edge, then Polar in the middle, and finally Prismatic in the inner corner (over Polar). Pretty sure that’s the NYX Epic Ink liner, too (damn, I knew I should have taken notes…)

Again, not sure on the outer V, but I think it was one of the dark brown shades from the Makeup Revolution Light and Shade palette (you know, the knock off of the Kat Von D Shade and Light palette.) The rest are Aurora - the lid is Glowing, and the inner corner is Sparkling, which looks very yellow-gold when you put it over the Glowing shade.

Again, more Light and Shade brown on the outer V. Then Luminous all over the lid, and a little Kaleidoscope around the tear duct (it looks really pink here, but I it’s one of those peach/pink shifty bitches.)

And finally there’s this one. I actually only used one color from the AL palette - the inner lid is 24K. The outer V is a Colourpop dark brown shade; the middle, and a titch along the inner crease, is the deeper yellow from the NYX Brights palette; I think the inner corner/tear duct is a Laura Gellar highlighter. Pay no attention to the muddled blending or heaviness and cracking look toward the inner lid. I tried a cut crease with a really thick concealer, and I put too much on; it was hard to smooth out/blend in. Otherwise, I love how this turned out!

All these shadows lasted all day (or at the very least, 4-5 hours) without creasing or fading or flaking. I didn’t end up with bits of glitter all over my face after a few hours, which can happen with glittery formulas. Overall, I’m super happy with this palette. If you’ve never tried BH COSMETICS before, head over to their website. They’ve got a lot of different stuff, and it’s all pretty reasonably priced. HOWEVER - they do have a lot of sales, so keep checking to find the best deal!

Have you ever tried any of their products? What did you think?

Notoriously Morbid Mystic Monthly (FINAL REVIEW) December 2018

We have arrived at the final review in my Mystic Monthly subscription service from Notoriously Morbid. For those who don’t know, NM is an indie makeup company that has two monthly subscription services. I signed up for the $10/month liquid lipstick subscription in 2018 (NOTE: the price has increased to $12 for 2019.) Though it’s been fun, I need to move on to something else. But if you’d like to check them out, go to their website: NOTORIOUSLY MORBID

(I paid for this service with my own money and all opinions are my honest ones)

The Mystic Monthly theme for 2018 was Dragons - which is basically why I signed up in the first place. December brought us Fuzanglong, an underground dragon that protects buried treasure. The Cursed Crystals eye/lip topper is called Hidden Treasures - makes sense.

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First, the lip/eye topper. I got another Cursed Crystals in the Advent calendar, but it definitely has a different color shift. For this one, the purple and rose are easier to see than the green. I haven’t tried it on my eyes yet, so I’ll let you know how it goes when I do.

The lipstick is beautiful. I tried to take pics to show the differences between fresh, dried down, pressed together, and with the topper. Not sure it’s translating all that well in the photographs but the topper was kind of fun to put over this. The lipstick is a little streaky so it would be better to layer it a time or two.

The next pics are, in order: freshly applied; after it set; after I pressed my lips together to get the blue sparkles to show up; and with the lip topper applied over my lipstick. Again, it’s a little hard to distinguish the subtle differences, but they are there!

You get an idea of the patchiness, too, so I want to wear this again, but layer it and then see how long it lasts.

The Mystic Matte formula of liquid lipstick is pretty good. It’s not super drying, the colors they come up with are somewhat unique, and they are fun to play with. It’s been fun having this subscription, and it did give me a better look into the Notoriously Morbid brand as a whole. I’ve been able to try a bunch of different products, and there are still a few more I’d like to investigate. Don’t forget to check out their site link above if you want more information!

Notoriously Morbid Mystic Monthly 3-Month Review

Gaaaahhhhhh…. yeah.

Okay, so I’m a little behind. You can go read my latest Monkey Musings to know why. Instead of doling out this monthly review one at a time, I’m just going to talk about the last three months, and leave the final month review for January. I also had the timing wrong on my past reviews, so for this post, we’ll disregard the designations from the past and talk about September, October, and November from Notoriously Morbid’s Mystic Monthly subscription service. And because I’m behind, I most likely will be missing a few details and pictures. Sorry about that.

For the newbs, NM has a monthly lip product subscription service. For $10, you get one full sized Mystic Matte liquid lipstick, plus one other full sized lip product. The lipstick is exclusive to this service, and each year they follow a specific theme. For 2018, it was The Dragon’s Tail.

(I pay for this service with my own money and all opinions are my honest ones)

SEPTEMBER

I only have pics of the lipstick from this month. I can’t remember what else came with it, nor did I keep the slip of paper that has all the mythology on the month’s dragon, though its name is Fafnir.

Ugh, I suck.

However, the color of this month’s lipstick is gorgeous! A beautiful, mid-toned orange with a pink base, and some kind of sparkle - I wanna say silver, possibly gold as well. I smudged the swatch on my hand so you can see the pink base.


OCTOBER

For this month, the dragon is from Slavic mythology, and named Zmey. This is a cool toned pinky-purple with copper sparkles - you can sort of see them along the edge of my lower lip in the second lip swatch pic. You also get Smoke & Fire, one of the cosmic glosses. A gorgeous dark berry color that smells like strawberry cake. The pigmentation on this one is so much better than the one I got in their advent calendar.

NOVEMBER

This month’s dragon comes from the Welsh flag - Y Ddraig Goch, the red dragon. This lipstick is a warm toned red with red shimmer. You also get a Slumber Salve, Entombed, flavored with sangria and vanilla.

At first I though the red was going to show up more orange, but with the red shimmer, it’s a perfect Christmas holiday color - which was NM’s thinking behind this shade. SO PRETTY!

All righty. I’ve got one more month coming for the 2018 Dragon theme and then I’m going to cancel the subscription. Not because I don’t like the formula or any of the colors I’ve received (well, one was kind weak.) I just don’t need dozens of the same kind of lipstick. Does that make sense? But if you’re in the market for this kind of product, that comes in some unique and gorgeous colors, by all means, sign up! It’s been worth it for me!

Notoriously Morbid Mystic Monthly September Review

For those who may not know, Notoriously Morbid is an Indie brand makeup company that has a monthly lipstick subscription service. For $10, you get an exclusive Mystic Matte liquid lipstick, and one other full-sized lip product. They are also cruelty free! Check them out here: NOTORIOUSLYMORBID

(I purchase this with my own money and all opinions are my honest ones)

The theme for the 2018 Mystic Monthly is Dragon. This month we get Bisterne, a dragon killed by a knight. After the dragon dies, and its corpse becomes a hill known as Boltons Bench, the knight mourns his actions. After visiting the hill for 30 days and nights, the knight dies on top of the hill and becomes a Yew tree - that can still be seen today!

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First let’s look at the Sinister Sprite Lip Shimmer in the shade, The Bench and the Yew Tree. It has a deep berry base with red and orange shimmer. It’s a nice middle ground between sheer and opaque. Beautiful color, though it’s hard to see the shimmer, except in person. Feels great on the lips!

The star of the show, of course, is Bisterne. It’s described as “a true dragon green with a slight olive tone, and blue to purple shifting sparkles.” The sparkle comes out after the lipstick has set and you press your lips together. It looks like silver to me. I have absolutely NOTHING like this in my collection. And I love it.

The first lip swatch is right after application. The second is after it’s dried and I pressed my lips together to see the sparkles. Again, it’s hard to see in pictures. However, I prefer the lipstick color without the sparkles.

These liquid lipsticks feel very comfortable and last well, too. Naturally, if you eat or drink, they will wear off - usually from the middle first - but otherwise hold on pretty well.

I have been loving these liquid lipsticks, but not sure if I want to keep getting the subscription. I feel like I’m becoming overwhelmed with lipsticks and then don’t want to buy any others to try out. More than likely I’ll finish up the Dragon theme, then move on to something else. But don’t let me influence you from getting this yourself. It’s a great subscription, particularly for those who may not have as many lipsticks as I do!

Notoriously Morbid "Renfield's" Palette Review

Those who've been with me for a bit, already know I have a subscription service for Notoriously Morbid. But when I saw on their IG that they were coming out with an eye shadow palette named, "Renfield," I knew I had to get it. I had no idea what any of their other make-up products were like, but I wanted to take a chance on this. I mean, it's Renfield. Hello? 

(I purchased this with my own money and all opinions are my honest ones)

The palette has a decent heft and seems sturdy, without feeling clunky. The mirror fills up the entire inside lid. And the names of the shadows on the back are directly under each shade they represent, so there's no confusion as to what name goes with what (that happens a lot on other palettes, in case you were wondering.)

I love the shade names, too. Coleoptera-beetles; Lepidoptera-butterflies/moths; Araneae-spiders (yes, I just involuntarily shuddered;) Anisoptera-dragonflies; Diptera-flies.

Then...look at those colors. LOOK. AT. THEM. Fuck me sideways, but they are gorgeous. The closest to a neutral color you're gonna get is the middle taupe shade. It's not you mother's taupe, though. All the shades either contain glitter or are metallic/shiny, so if you want or need mattes in your eye looks, you'll have to source out. BUT WHO FUCKING CARES??

Let's go over each shade. I'll share the description from the NM website:

Coleptera - A shimmering pink with a violet sheen and shifting gold to red sparkles.

Lepidoptera - A sunset pink orange satin with a gold duochrome.

Araneae - A metallic taupe with a subdued premium multichrome shift from red to bronze to gold to green. 

Anisoptera - A strong multichrome premium shadow that shifts from bronze, orange, magenta, and then deep purple.

Diptera - A metallic dark sapphire.

I tried to capture the color shifts as best I could but really, the strong multichrome of Anisoptera (bronze, orange, magenta, purple) is the easiest to see. The second best is Lepidoptera (orange/gold). For me, Anisoptera shows up as deep purple on the eye (you can see in the mirror pic, and that lower light, how strong the purple presents.) I don't really see much shifting. But I've only used it once and with no lid primer. So I'll have to play around a bit.

I wanted to start using these IMMEDIATELY so on this eye, I used the shadows all dry. No primer, no wet brush, no glitter base, nothing. I used Anisoptera on the lid. It looks like a blackened purple to me with perhaps a slight color shift at the corners. Coleoptera in the crease with a fluffy brush. It makes the color softer, less bold, but still pretty. I ran Diptera along the bottom lash line with a dense flat brush. So even just dry, these shades are beautiful.

For this eye, still no primer but I used a wet brush with Anisoptera. Really intensified the purple. Again, the shift is hard to see, so I might have to try and film a quick video clip to show it. Coleoptera in the crease again, applied the same as the first. It looks MUCH more subtle next to the wet lid shade. I put Lepidoptera on the lower lash line, first with a fluffier pencil brush, then with the same dense flat brush as above. 

These are just the initial tests of the palette. Below I'll post other looks, using primers and glitter glues, maybe combining with other brands' shadows. 

Before I get to those, though, I did wanna touch on the sample shadow I got.

I can't find this product on their site so I'm guessing it might be new. It's a hearty sample size of a loose shadow, icy pink/lavender color with a coppery shift and shifty glitter (I wanna say violet or purple, blue, some red maybe, but my eyes just aren't what they used to be...). I swatched it three ways - dry, wet brush, and over glitter glue.

With the dry swatch, you mostly see the coppery undertone and a lot of glitter. The wet brush may seem like the best choice at first, but it pretty streaky. The glitter glue is the way to go. Nice even application, strongest pigment show, and least amount of glitter fall-out.

So over the course of a few weeks, I tried wearing the shadows and creating different looks. Still not sure if the beauty of these products will come through, though. So pretty…..

Yes, I literally created two looks at the same time. I wanted to play with the shades so much, and didn’t want to waste time doing one look, removing it, then trying another. Close-ups of each are below.

RIGHT EYE:

Araneae in the crease; Lepidoptera on the outer half; Coleptera on the inner half. I didn’t want to deepen the look or ‘add dimension’ by bringing in any other shadows. And I love how these look on their own. Many people don’t like shimmery shades in the crease, or too much in general, because it accentuates texture and aged skin. FUCK ALL THOSE PEOPLE. I love the brightness and shimmer of this combo.

LEFT EYE:

Anisoptera in the crease and inner/outer corners; Diptera on the center lid/center lower lash line. I did discover, while creating this look, that I need to be better about blending shadows in the outer corner. My eye skin is more wrinkled and needs extra work. So don’t blame the shadow or think it’s patchy; this was user error. And, like the other look, I didn’t incorporate any other shadows (just a black liner for the waterline). This might be my new smokey eye look.

I know I’m posting a lot of pics, but I wanted to show you the shiftiness of Anisoptera. Bronze, orange, magenta, deep purple - these are all the colors you get from this one shadow, depending on the light level and angle you’re looking at my eye. I couldn’t quite capture it in a video, so freeze frame it has to be.

I did a quick look with the loose shadow, Cult 101. I don’t think I incorporated any other shadow with it, but I can’t remember for sure. I did use a little glitter glue before applying and it looked fine. You can see all the glitter bits in the close-up shots, but it wasn’t too messy on application. But I also didn’t pack it on, so that pink aspect of it isn’t as obvious as the reddish/copper colors. For a quick, all over shade, it looks really nice.

Okay. I think that’s enough for this post. Sorry it’s so long, but I wanted to get as many pics as possible to show off the gorgeousness of this palette. I may have to order a few other things from them to see if the quality is consistent across the board. But for this palette (and the sample,) I’m 100% satisfied and will be incorporating these colors into my looks as often as possible! Go check them out for yourselves: NOTORIOUSLY MORBID

Notoriously Morbid Mystic Monthly August Review

For those who may not know, Notoriously Morbid is an indie make-up company. They have a lot of products, but this monthly review is for their subscription service, Mystic Monthly. For $10 a month, you get a signature liquid lipstick, the Mystic Matte, and one other full-sized lip product. Also included is a code for a discount, but that's for subscribers only! They are vegan and cruelty free. Check them out here: NOTORIOUSLY MORBID

(I pay for this service with my own money and all opinions are my honest ones)

Usually a piece of gum or candy is included, but I already ate it....

Usually a piece of gum or candy is included, but I already ate it....

The Mystic Monthly theme for 2018 is Dragons! And August brings us Ladon, a serpent-like dragon that guarded the golden apples on the tree in the garden of Hesperides. Hence, the lip color is a light taupe with a pink undertone and a coppery sheen.

The first two swatches, on the lips, are right after application and after setting. Once the lipstick sets, you mush your lips together to bring out the shiny undertone, but it's really hard to see in the pictures. Just trust me that it looks super pretty.

These are very comfortable formulas. They don't really need lip liners, unless you don't have a steady hand to apply the product cleanly over your natural lip color (which, most times, I don't). Though, because the lipstick is very watery, it can bleed a bit at first. But with this color, it doesn't seem too noticeable. 

The swatches on the hand are the same: first is freshly applied, second is after it set. I smudged it a little on the right to try and bring out the pink/copper colors but, again, it's hard to tell. You can really see the copper in the tube, though (pay no attention to the white marks - those are just scratches on the bottle, not the product separating.)

If you remember my first month's review, I got a smaller plastic tub that was supposed to contain the slumber salve. I don't know if they reformulated it or what, but this stuff is 10x better than what I originally got (not counting this tub is actually filled and not half-assed like the first.) The original seemed more petroleum based and was not as thick as this new one. You can see the stiff peak I got here (I...uh...carry on.)

I think I say this each month, but THIS color is my favorite so far. I've worn it half a dozen times already. It's a great color to just swipe on and go. Even if I fuck up the line along my lips, you can hardly tell. Great go-to, every day color. I'll let you know how the salve does as an overnight product!

 

Makeup Monsters' The Dragon Child Eye Shadow Palette

I've been following Makeup Monsters on InstaGram for a while now but have not purchased anything before this palette. I just like seeing the stuff they create and sell and figured I'd be inspired to buy something some day. 

And that day has come.

I've never pre-ordered any makeup palette before but the theme alone made me do it. Anyone who knows me, knows I love dragons. I ordered this in May and just got it the first week of July. And believe me, it was worth the wait.

Now, from what I understand, Makeup Monsters will be changing their business name and plan starting next year. They will become Makeup Menagerie because they love all animals and want a portion of their future proceeds to go to help animals. Which I think it's pretty tits. They will eventually phase out some products but this palette will stick around so if you're interested in it after reading my review, go find them. MAKEUP MONSTERS

(This is not a sponsored post; I bought this palette with my own money; All opinions are my honest ones.)

The palette is up front with the matching sleeve in the back. Both holographic. Both cool.

The palette is up front with the matching sleeve in the back. Both holographic. Both cool.

So far I've used this palette to create three looks but there's a lot of potential in here. Don't expect to get anything neutral out of it - if bright colors are not your thing, you might skip this one.

The palette retails for $42 and you get 12 shades - 10 mattes, 2 metallics (no info on how much product is in each pan, though). The packaging has a nice heft to it which makes me think it'll be good for travelling. The colors are super pigmented and the shimmers feel like butter. The mattes feel a little dry but they perform great. These pics were taken in natural light and they are true to color. I've seen other pics where Flame Tongue looks like Sugarpill's Love+ but it's not a true red at all. You'll see the swatches below.

I did NOT go ham-fisted for the swatches. I swirled my finger in each pan twice then wiped on my skin. The first fingertips pic is before swatching; the second is after. Still a lot of color left behind! 

You can see how much powder is kicked up just from the finger swatches. So when you go in with a brush, there's even more. Just be aware of that and go gentle...easy does it. There you go.

You'll also note that the blue colors stain the skin. It's not forever. By the end of the day, my fingers were fine. But when I wore them on my eyes, the stain lasted a good 24 hours after I removed the shadow. Not so much that it looked like I'd been in a fight with Leon Spinx but it was noticeable on my pale skin. It might not be as bad on darker skin tones.

Below are the looks I created.

I used Flame Tongue (orange red) in the crease, Mother Dragon (brick/burgandy red) in the outer V, Firefly (yellow gold shimmer) on the lid, and Dragon Rider (neon turquoise) on the lower lash line (over the LA Girl gel liner in Royal Blue). I couldn't quite capture the lovely sparkle of Firefly, even when I took a video, but I might try again. It is so gorgeous.

The blue look didn't turn out how I expected. Myth or Legend and Dragon Rider look VERY similar on the eyes. I also started with a neutral crease color from another palette so that could have affected the look.

Myth or Legend and Wyrm (bright teal and periwinkle) in the crease ; Dragon Rider (bright turquoise) on the lid; Cave Dweller (navy blue) in the outer V; some Stone Drake (lavender) above the crease to add some purple, since the blues were all kind of merging into one color, and Lucky on the inner corner. I used a Tarte purple gel liner for my wing and lower lash line, then smudged some Stone Drake over the bottom lash line.

It's hard to believe there are this many colors on my eyes as it appears to be only 2-3, which is a little disappointing. But, I will try to use them again - just not all at the same time. The teal of Myth or Legend might stand out more against the green, reds, lavenders, or the charcoal grey.

So far the most disappointing factor is the similarities between Dragon Rider and Myth or Legend, and Wyrm and Stone Drake. I feel like one of each of those pairs could have been replaced with something else. Even Dragon Child, which does have the mint green aspect, still looks more blue.

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You can see in the above swatches how similar the periwinkle/lavender shades are. And, though the blues are more pigmented and you can see more teal on the left, on the eyes they translate as identical. This was taken with natural light coming through the window over my shoulder.

For the final look, I wanted to give the green shade, Sleeping Dragon, the spotlight. It is a more muted green, like Kelly Green and Forest Green had a baby. So I put NYX's jumbo pencil in Milk down first. The bright mint color, Dragon Child, is in the crease and along the lower lash line over a NYX eye liner in Sea Foam Green, and Smoke Em Out (charcoal grey) is in the outer V and a little in the crease, as well. Finally put Firefly in the inner corner.

I do like how the Smoke Em Out shade almost morphs into a complementary color when placed next to something else. So it kind of looks like a forest green here. I'll have to play around with it and see if it does the same thing with the other bright colors, which would be disappointing because then I imagine the blues will look like Cave Dweller. But we'll see!

UPDATE: After wearing this look for about 8 hours, I did notice some fading/creasing where the Smoke Em Out color is. I'm not talking about the very corner where the two lids meet (that's where my eyes water and oil builds up). I mean the lines that are extending from the outer V onto the lid. That kind of creasing doesn't happen a lot, even for me, but when it does, it's usually lower quality shadows or the less pigmented ones. *sad trombone*

I think I would have liked a deeper purple color to replace one of the lavenders; keep just one of the bright blues and give the other a metallic finish; and change the mint green to a more neon shade or perhaps another metallic or even satin finish.

But that's just me. And I'm not saying I don't like this palette or regret buying it. I'm pretty happy with it and I plan to get a lot of use out of it.

If you're looking for a soft or neutral eye look, this ain't for you. Even if some of the colors are softer or muted, they pack a lot of punch! And, so far, I've had no issues with fading or creasing throughout the day. Even as I apply them, I haven't had tons of fall out on my face, and they do kick up a lot of powder, though I am careful not to overload the brush.

I have to say I'm very impressed with this palette. It makes me want to buy a few more of their other makeup items to see if they are just as gorgeous. Click the link above if you'd like to check them out for yourselves!

Notoriously Morbid Mystic Monthly July 2018

For those who don't know, Notoriously Morbid is an indie make-up brand and they have a monthly subscription service. For $10, you get one of their Mystic Matte liquid lipsticks and one other full-size lip product. They are also Cruelty Free and subscribers get a coupon code every month for future shopping! Check them out here: NOTORIOUSLY MORBID.

(I pay for this service with my own money and all opinions are my honest ones)

The 2018 theme for the subscription is The Dragons Tail so this month we have a color inspired by the Japanese ocean dragon, Ryujin.

It is a dark ocean blue with silver and gold shift and gold sparkles. I'm not sure I can see the gold but the silver makes it look like more like an icy deep blue. FUCKING GORGEOUS. (It matches my hair a little too much so I'll be remedying that with more purple soon...). Again, it's a very thin formula, more like water, and one layer can be sheer and little streaky/patchy.

So I let it dry down completely then added a blue lip liner to hide the natural pigmentation of my lips before applying a second coat of the lipstick. I've only received three colors so far but this has got to be my favorite.

They included a piece of bubble gum this month so I took an action shot because...why not?

The other item is a lip sugar scrub (it must be new because I can't find it on their site). Basically it's the Slumber Salve mixed with sugar. And it works beautifully. It doesn't taste too sweet, either, so I wasn't tempted to lick it all off before the oils and waxes could soften the skin.

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Very happy with this month's items. I look forward to see what else comes my way in the future.

Notoriously Morbid Mystic Monthly June 2018 Review

In case you missed my post last month, the indie make-up brand, Notoriously Morbid, has a monthly lipstick subscription service called Mystic Monthly. For $10, you receive one full-sized, exclusive Mystic Matte lipstick, plus one other full-sized lip product. And they're cruelty free! Check it out here: MYSTIC MONTHLY

(I pay for this service with my own money and all opinions are my honest ones)

The theme for the 2018 MM service is, "The Dragon's Tail". The slip of paper contains info on the theme, the particular Dragon's name and history, plus ingredient lists for both products (sorry, the coupon code is just for subscribers). And, like last month, they included a little Dum Dum sucker!

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Let's talk about the 2nd item first--the Night Kiss Lip Balm. I'm addicted to lip balms. I always need them, and I keep them in almost every room in the house (along with Kleenex). And, unlike last month, I'm pretty sure this IS full size. The balm is wonderful. Thick but not sticky or greasy. It lasts a really long time on the lips. And the smell is divine (baked goods). Super happy about this!

And now for the star of the show--the Mystic Matte lipstick in Bolla. Bolla is from Albanian folklore and is known as a transforming dragon, with three stages of change: starts as a snake, changes to the Bolla, then finally transforms into the Kulshedra. I don't really know what any of that means, but it sounds wicked-cool.

It's a cool indigo base with a warm violet sheen, and it's stunning, folks. The hand swatch shows you how thin and sheer the formula is. The first lip swatch is just one coat. The second lip swatch is two coats. I didn't go to a third, which was suggested, because it does start to feel really dry after that second application.

Because of its transformative abilities, this lipstick can be worn three ways (just like the dragon - see what they did there?). First, the sheer formula can be worn as just a light wash of color. Second, it can be built up to be more opaque. And third, it can be worn OVER another lipstick to change its color. Nice...

So let's see what happens when I apply it over two different lipsticks. The first is Wet n Wild's Liquid Cat Suit in the shade, Missy and Fierce (gorgeous red). It's a liquid lipstick, so I let it set before I put Bolla over it. The second pic shows one layer. The third is two, letting Bolla dry between coats. 

I'm not the most precise applicator of lipsticks, but you REALLY have to have a steady hand when trying it this way. If you don't get all the way to the edge, it looks like you're wearing a lip liner that is absolutely the WRONG color, which looks goofy in my opinion. But the color goes from red to a magenta-orchid purple. Which is TITS.

The second to last pic is Colourpop's Lippie Stix in Bull Chic, which is supposed to be a matte formula, but it never really sets, and feels more like a creme finish. When I put Bolla over it, (as you can see in the final lip swatch), it amped up the blue-purple aspect of the lipstick. Which is also TITS. It didn't matter if I put one or two layers on, it looked the same. But again, you have to be very precise with your application, and the watery formula of Bolla makes that difficult.

So until I get the hang of it, I think I'll just put on a blue or purple lip liner and wear Bolla on top.

Loved the products I got this month and look forward to playing with Bolla more!

 

Notoriously Morbid Mystic Monthly Subscription May 2018

I really thought I'd be on the waiting list for much longer before a space opened up on this lip product subscription service. But here we are! Right now this will be more of an introduction than a review. I have my Invisalign trays for only a few more weeks (gods willing) and once that's done, I can get a better idea of how most of these products will work. But let's get better acquainted with Notoriously Morbid, shall we?

Notoriously Morbid is an indie cosmetics company based in West Virginia, in the Appalachian Mountains. They are also cruelty free (hooray!) which is what made me check them out in the first place. From their site:

We pride ourselves in creating unique cosmetics that are
perfect for those who embrace their beautiful darkness.

Notoriously Morbid makes a ton of different beauty products, from eye shadows, face powders, body lotions, primers, blush and bronzers, lipsticks, and more. You will find a lot of the more 'unusual' colors, like deep greys, blues, greens, bright fuschias, etc., that many people may not find comfortable to wear on a daily basis (or can't due to work restrictions or what not) but there are tons of 'wearable' colors, too. None of that shit makes me uncomfortable and I work from home so further into the fray I went.

I discovered they have 2 subscription services. The Vanishing Cabinet is a monthly beauty subscription that costs $13.25 (domestic US) for 4-5 items, usually mini, with a pop culture theme. The Mystic Monthly is their lipstick subscription service with a yearly theme. It runs $10 for US customers (shipping included) and you get one full size exclusive Mystic Matte lipstick and one other full size lip product (could be another lip stick or something else already in stock). The theme for 2018 is "The Dragon's Tail". HOW COULD I NOT SIGN UP???

I signed up for the lipstick one because, unless you're new here and don't know, I'm a lipstick whore. I hopped on the waiting list and figured I'd get in long after my Invisalign was done. 

SURPRISE!

As I type this I'my wearing the Mystic Matte I received so I could at least get an idea of how it looks on my lips and how it feels. Not really trying to test the longevity yet but so far it's doing a pretty bang up job. Hopefully next month I can be a bit more thorough! But let me share a few pics I've taken of the products I received in my first month.

Free Dum Dum? HELLZ YEAH!

Free Dum Dum? HELLZ YEAH!

Notoriously Morbid includes a little info sheet with an explanation of the theme, lipstick name, the ingredients of both products, plus a shopping code (which is not for the unbelievers...I mean, non subscribers), and a sucker. Awesome! I think I got the cherry flavor because of the Slumber Salve.

The Slumber Salve is exactly what it sounds like. You put it on at bed time, sleep, and wake up with soft lips! The scent/flavor is cherry, strawberry, butterscotch, and pink lemonade. The lemonade is the strongest and it's seriously smells like a glass of pink lemonade. I haven't tried it overnight yet so I'll update you in another post. The little jar isn't full and searching the pics on the site, though the tubs look a little different, they are definitely more filled than mine. Keep in mind the product in my subscription is coating only one side of the jar (I'm guessing it melted a bit in shipping but it hadn't leaked or anything) and even after I scraped it out and set it right, the container was not full or even close. It might be filled by weight but even then, I have a hard time believing it's correct.

The Mystic Matte liquid lipstick is the main event here. I don't know if this color is the same for all subscriptions but it's called Katla. There's an explanation for that on the little sheet of paper, which is kinda cool. This color is a beautiful light copper with a pink base. Once you let the lipstick set a bit, and press your lips together, a bright gold sheen pops up. It's stunning. I don't think I captured it in the swatches, though. I like that the tube comes with a little mirror, too!

First pic is the lipstick freshly applied, still wet. The second was after it set a bit and I opened my window shade to let in some sun. You can really see the gold sparkles there! The gold sheen is a little apparent in the 3rd pic but my phone camera just didn't do it justice. The last photo shows that even after its set, you can still smudge the color (and that really shows the pink base). So while it IS set on the lips and kiss proof, it will come off when eating or drinking. 

Not sure if you can see how damn pretty Katla is in these last pics but trust me, she is. And now that I've had it on for a couple of hours (playing with the dog, drinking water, licking my lips as I struggle to figure out how to move forward on my current story...), you can see how it's faded on the inner rim of my lip. Which makes sense because that's the wet part (that's what he said) and most lip products will not adhere there for any period of time. It also hasn't bled or feathered into the lines around my mouth and that's awesome. I did NOT use a lip liner before applying Katla to my lips.

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So for my first exposure to this brand, I have to say I'm happy. The full size Mystic Matte goes for $12.50 and the lip salve is $4 (though, again, I don't think my jar was full which is fucking weak). But I don't want to judge anything to high or harsh after just one month's experience with the service. I'll keep you all posted!

RK Makeup by Kiss Review

I wasn't planning to write up this review, rather post a couple pics of a new brand of makeup I saw at CVS. But here I am, a dozen pictures later and doing research on this company.

(NOT SPONSORED, I PAID FOR EVERYTHING I'M REVIEWING)

RK by Kiss

KISS appears to be mainly a nail care manufacture but they sell a few different brands under their umbrella. This is the main gist from their website, kissusa.com:

Kiss is the world's largest manufacturer and distributor of professional quality nail products. The company originated in the lucrative beauty supply market. As the popularity of the products soared, distribution was quickly expanded to the mass-market arena from Walgreens to WalMart. Capitalizing on this success, Kiss became the first company to bring quality, professional nail care directly to the consumer, creating easy-to-use, all-in-one kits so she can achieve Salon Results at home. Today, the Kiss line of products has expanded to include nail care, nail jewelry, nail art, and manicure & pedicure tools. Each of these quality products originated from Kiss's innovative thinking and vast salon experience. 

Kiss does have links for the brands they sell so I headed on over to RK, or Ruby Kisses. Not much really in the way of information on them, though. From their site, rubykissescosmetics.com:

Our passion lies in not only enhancing a woman's individual appearance, but to deliver quality products at affordable prices. We take great pride in being able to provide a wide range of colors cosmetics to women of all shades and ethnicities.

I have an app on my phone that will scan the bar code of any product and tell me if the company is cruelty free or not. The app gave me the all clear, though the brand is still on the "pending" list at Logical Harmony (which basically means the company hasn't responded to inquiries yet). So for now we'll go with "it's possible!"

The RK site doesn't list the lipstick, mascara, OR eye shadow palette I bought at CVS (rather peculiar but may be exclusive to in-store purchase only). So I really just don't know what the hell is going on with this brand. They are SUPER inexpensive products so could be trying to give Wet n Wild a run for its money (and their prices have begun to climb - not all but $9 for a foundation that's half the weight of a standard bottle is high for them).

I've tried all three products so I can at least give you my first impressions of them. 

EYE SHADOW PALETTE - Break of Dawn (Dear Diary Series, whatever that means)

This is a very soft-toned, neutral palette. I think it even says on the back that these are for creating every day, natural looks. And I would agree with that. I feel that I could intensify the darker shades with a dark sticky base. I'll have to experiment with that. 

You can see from the second image that after just doing a few finger swatches the pans already show some wear. The shadows are very powdery but that doesn't necessarily translate to good pigment. The hand swatch shows they don't have much color payoff but you can't always tell how well a shadow will perform from swatches, though again, I believe they're meant for softer eye looks.

The fourth picture is what the palette looked like after I did my eye makeup. There is powder fall out errwhere. The shimmery lid shades I used dropped glitter all over the place, too. They were small bits, like micro glitter, but very hard to remove. I highly recommend shadow shields, a shit ton of powder under the eyes that will catch the glitter then you can wipe it away, or maybe some glitter glue. I put yellow dots on the colors I used:

2nd row, middle shade (matte light tan): crease.

1st row, middle shade (light peach w/white glitter): eyelid

3rd row, third shade (white w/white glitter) THEN first shade (deeper pink w/white glitter): eyelid, over the original peach shade because it hardly showed up even after wetting my brush, which did help but not much. Then that white glittery shade completely wiped off so I used the deeper pink shade.

4th row, middle shade (satin reddish-dark brown): outer corner, crease. This shade worked the best so far.

1st row, first shade (matte cream): under brow bone

The end look is super pretty, very soft, and I guess what would be called 'romantic' because of the pink and peach tones. I want to work with it more, try some glitter glue or wet bases to help with pigmentation and fall out.

The packaging is plastic but feels pretty sturdy. In fact, it snaps closed so well that I struggled to open it back up! Each pan holds .035 ounces of product for a total of .42 ounces. There are 2 matte shades, 5 satins, and 5 glitters (other 12 pan palettes I found vary from .3 to .6 ounces and cost anywhere from $7 to $55). This palette was $2.99.

 

EXTEND ILLUSION FIBER MASCARA - Black

I don't think I realized this was one of those fiber mascaras, which I've never used before (that I can remember). It could be what's making my eyes feel gritty right now...or all the damn glitter from the shadow. But I love trying new mascaras so I figured what the hell.

It feels pretty dry right out of the tube but sometimes mascaras take a few uses to loosen up. I love the bristle brush though I prefer a more tapered end, not the blunt cut of the inner wire to be poking out. You can see the fibers in the close up pics, too. Looks kinda funky, right?

It definitely lengthens my lashes. I have slightly long and curled lashes to start but this shit sends them up to my brows! We'll have to see if there's transfer, which is what the Catrice Glam and Doll mascara did. But for a first time use, I really like it. I prefer a more natural look as opposed to the false lash effect or clumpy spidery lashes.

The packaging is plastic and really lightweight. Feels kind of cheap. You get .5 ounces of product in the tube. A lot of mascaras average .24 (the more expensive ones) to .44 (drugstore brands). This cost me $3.99.

 

FOREVER MATTE LIQUID LIPSTICK - Wild Fire

I couldn't test the long-term wear of this product but I just had to know how it looked and performed when eating. This probably sounds tiresome to those who know me but my Invisalign trays fuck up all my lipstick metrics. Even ones that don't get all over my teeth get over my trays so it's really hard to judge all aspects of them. So I stopped wearing lipstick until I'm done with the trays (which should be in a month or so!!!!). I knew I was about to eat breakfast so I thought, let's get this baby on my lips and see what happens.

Might be me but does the packaging on this look like it's going for a Kylie Cosmetics vibe with the drips...? I couldn't possibly care less about the Kardashian family and their beauty products but I'd hate to see another brand get in trouble for copying.

First off, it's a thin formula but not watery. It eventually dries completely but it gives you some time to play and move it around (in case you mess up or go outside the lip line or whatever) which I appreciate! I only had it on for about 10 minutes before eating and it felt comfortable, didn't transfer, and looked beautiful. It started out more tomato red (that little hint of orange which I don't like that much) but it dried down a touch darker and looked more like a true red.

As soon as my lips got wet, the product stared to come off. Mostly the inner rim of both lips, more so on the bottom. It got all over my bagel and the coffee cup but MIRACULOUSLY didn't get all over my face. I only dabbed at my lips once while eating and I expected there to be lipstick all over my chin, under my nose, on the sides of my mouth. NOPE. And I put A LOT of butter on my bagel.

Damn that sounds dirty...

Anyway, I put on another layer just to see how it would work before taking it off. Layered just fine. Didn't get thick or crumbly at all. It was a bitch to remove, though, which makes sense since a lot of it didn't come off with eating. I have to say I'm impressed for something that only costs $1.99.

The packaging is plastic, feels lightweight but not cheap. I love the rose gold accents. Comes with .1 ounces of product (a lot of other brands on the market vary from .07 to .26, both high end and drugstore pricing).

I have to say I had fun with my new discovery. I look forward to playing with these a bit more and get a better feel for them. They sell a lot of different products so I'm interested to see what else could be a new favorite. For anyone just learning about makeup or who doesn't want to spend a fuck ton of cash on a new brand, RK could be your go-to. Which ones do you want to try? (Check for them at CVS, Ebay, Amazon, Target - those are the places I found listed on-line)

 

Ipsy April 2018

For those who may not know, Ipsy is a monthly subscription service. For $10 you get 4-5 sample sized (sometimes full sized) makeup, skin care, and hair care products along with a reusable makeup bag. Check them out here: IPSY

(I pay for this service with my own money and all opinions are my honest ones)

April's theme: Social Butterfly. Because yes, that's EXACTLY what the introvert in me wants.

April's theme: Social Butterfly. Because yes, that's EXACTLY what the introvert in me wants.

Each month Ipsy creates a theme for the bag. While I hate them most of the time, this being no exception, the bag itself is so frakkin cute! The pink toned butterflies are pretty, the rose gold accents are beautiful, and that little card can go fuck itself. Don't ever count on that card to have useful information, by the way, unlike every other service out there. 

Anyway, let's get to the products. I'm pretty sure I'm excited about all these and mildly okay with one.

H20+ Oasis Hydrating Treatment: I want to say I've tried at least one product from this brand before thoughI can't remember for sure. But I'm excited to try this gel-like moisturizer. I've had good luck with all brands that come out with this kind of formula so I'm hopeful this will be amazeballs, too. Full size is $38 so this sample runs about $7.50. (I can't find ANY info on their cruelty free status so I've emailed them directly.)

Purlisse Coconut Oil and Coffee Sugar Body Scrub: I've used face products from Purlisse that can suck my dick but this body scrub is awesome. Gentle but effective exfoliation, the oil leaves your skin soft (it does coat your tub/shower so be careful of that!), and it smells divine. Not like sweetened coffee - just a good strong coffee scent. You can actually purchase this sample size tube on their site and it goes for $10. It's good for one use, though, and that's it. If you're bigger than me, it won't be enough (Says CF on their site but no other website backs that up).

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Ciate London Starstruck Double Ended Stamp liquid liner (black): At first I thought the stamp was going to be wing shaped, which I would not be opposed to trying because the struggle to get a good wing on my eyes is real. But this is a star because it's festival season (Coachella - who outside of California fucking cares) so I was a little disappointed. However, it looks so cute on the face (don't mind the lines on the hand stamp - product got on the base of it but you can get a clean stamp if you're careful). So since the liner end works pretty well, nice and black, easy to use, I'll let the star stamp slide. This particular eye liner is not available on the Ciate or Ipsy site so it must be an exclusive. The link I provided is for their regular eyeliner and it goes for $18 (CF).

Paula Dorf Bronzer in Bora Bora: I seriously thought this was an eye shadow until I went to Ipsy to get info on the product. Whoops. But that just proves they always send bronze or browns or neutral shades all the time so it was easy to mistake this for eye shadow. That would explain why it's not too warm or cool a color. It's a nice neutral shade that should look nice on everyone (at least with fair skin). I only use a little bronzer, if at all, and I have 3 of them already so I might not keep this. It's a nice shade, though, and feels nice on the skin. Full size is $32 so this sample is about $6.50 (Says CF on their site but again, can't find confirmation anywhere).

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Glamour Dolls Romantic Rose blending brush: Never mad to get a brush! And I think this has replaced my favorite Real Techniques brush for crease work. This is the perfect mix of precision shadow placement and blending. It's soft but not too soft, tapered to get the shadow right where you want it but doesn't plop down color that won't blend out. It's pretty perfect. Full size and is $5 (CF and Vegan).

Overall value runs about $47. Not too bad. I'm not completely surprised that I couldn't find CF status confirmation on several sites. A lot of brands are not well known and/or don't pay to have PETA or Leaping Bunny certify them. But it does leave me a little leery of what brands Ipsy is committed to working with for the bag each month. 

Ipsy February 2018

For those who may not know, Ipsy is a monthly beauty subscription service. For $10 you get 4-5 sample sized (sometimes full sized) makeup, skin care, and hair care products, as well as a reusable makeup bag. Check them out for yourself here: IPSY

(I purchase this service with my own money and all opinions are my honest ones)

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The theme this month is "Unzipped". I think that's in reference to being naked (not necessarily physically) or our true form or WHO THE FUCKING JESUS GOD CARES? The bag is pretty cute so I'm hanging on to it for now. Let's get to the products.

PUR Fully Charged Mascara: I haven't tried this yet because I'm trying to Project Pan another mascara (plus I have another one from Catrice that's open). But the reviews look good. I love trying new mascaras. Full size is 15mls for $22, so this 4 mls mini is around $5.50. (CF)

Beaute Basics Eye Shadow in "Lavish": While this shadow is described as a warm, shimmery bronze, it looks more coppery on my skin. Which is fine because I'm sick of bronze shades. It's very soft so can kick up some powder but the pigmentation is nice. Haven't tried it on my eyes yet, though. This looks like a full sized pan (4g) and goes for $15 on the BB site. (NCF - so I'll probably donate it)

Mellow Cosmetics Liquid Precision Pen Eyeliner: I haven't tried this on my eyes, either, but the swatch looks nice and black! It didn't smudge after it dried, unless I put water on it. Pens can be a little tricky to work with as they can dry out fast or get covered in eye shadow and not work as effectively. This also looks full size and goes for $14. (CF)

Luxie Beauty Blending and Shading Eye Brush 249: I love getting brushes and I've enjoyed every Luxie Beauty one I've received. They are super soft but not flimsy. Since it's double sided, it's not available on Ipsy or LB's site (naturally). But it looks like a combo between the precision shader ($14) and the tapered blending ($12) brushes. So let's average that to a $13 value. (CF) 

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Sand & Sky Pink Clay Mask: Now this stuff can go fuck right the fuck off. First of all, look at that picture. If you're gonna skimp on a sample then don't put it in a tube 4-times the size you need, asshats. Also, the package said it contains .45 ounces of product (the Ipsy site says .5). I cut that sucker open and weighed it. There was somewhere between .38 and .40 ounces (I used a titch on my face before it caught fire and I had to remove it, and whatever was left in the tube that I couldn't scrape out, which wouldn't be usable product anyway). I don't know how much is in a full sized jar but it goes for $49. I'd say this sample is worth $1, if even that much. (CF)

Overall, the value is around $47 (I'm not counting the clay mask because fuck that shit). So even without that this ain't too bad!

Ipsy January 2018

All righty. Here we are, 2018, new year, new Ipsy bag, same lame ass non-info card bullshit...

For those who may not know, Ipsy is a monthly subscription service. For $10, you'll get 4-5 sample (sometimes full) sized makeup, hair, skin care products, and a reusable makeup bag. Check them out here: IPSY

(I pay for this service with my own money and all opinions are my honest ones)

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January's theme is Game Face, I think. To be honest, I usually throw away the card the second I take it out of the bag. It's covered in bullshit platitudes, heavy handed 'inspirational' crap, and I can hardly believe it but I'm sure it's even smaller than last year. To play devil's advocate with myself, they're probably saving $$ by not making it larger and are able to get companies like The Balm, Ole Henriksen, and other well-known brands to get their products in here. But still....SO FUCKING WEAK.

The bag is an absolute hideosity. I just can't even...the contrasting colors are so 80s, which might be on trend but as a child of that era, I don't ever wanna see it again! However, I'm digging the products this month!

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Absolute New York Eye Artist Single Shadow (Posse): This shadow is soft but not crumbly, decently pigmented, and does look very pretty on the eye. It swatches like a warm orange/brown but it's actually a rose-taupe color. It's nothing super special so I'll probably donate it. Looks full size and goes for $5. (their website says CF but I can't find any corroboration on that from my cruelty free resources so...?)

The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer: I've tried quite a few products from this brand through Ipsy and I've been satisfied with most. I've never tried this cult favorite and now I can! Though I hate the size of their samples (sometimes the small pans are difficult to work with) I'm usually happy to get something from them. I'm sort of okay with Mary-Lou. It's described as a warm honey color but it looks more light gold. Can look like a wet, high-shine accent on the skin, which is nice. In some light, though, I can see all the sparkle (mirco glitter, at least, and not giant chunks). So I do and don't like it. When I'm in the mood to look like a micro fairy jizzed on my face, I'll probably reach for this. Full size is $24 so this 1g sample is around $3. (CF)

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Cake by Cake Beauty Heavenly Cream Intensive Body Balm: I still have 2 or 3 other lotions from Cake Beauty but they are all different formulas! This stuff smells fantastic and absorbs well. It's 20% shea butter and also contains aloe and camellia leaf extract. I look forward to smelling like vanilla frosting for the next 6 months. Mmmm...frosting (disclaimer: don't be an asshole and eat lotion. That's just dumb.) Full size goes for $22 so this 1 ounce sample runs around $4.50. (CF)

Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Eye Cream: Holy hell the website claims this eye cream can do ALL THE THINGS - brighten, reduce dark circles, firm, instantly reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and is great for under concealer. Then there's a long list of data including lots of "100%" and asterisks and on and on. Personally that comes off as trying too hard but that's just me. The first time I tried it, it felt thick and sticky and didn't brighten anything. BUT it did feel moisturizing and it absorbed rather quickly for such a thick cream. I thought it would be too heavy under concealer but damn if the Tarte Shape Tape didn't look great! If nothing else, at least it'll provide some moisture during this frigid winter season! Full size is $38 so this teeny sample is maybe $7.50. (CF)

SLMISSGLAM L36 Tapered Highlight Brush: I love getting brushes. And I'm not usually a girly-girl, but the pink glittery handle on this is adorbs. The synthetic bristles are super soft and it works perfectly with the Mary-Lou Manizer highlight sample! Apparently it works with powders, creams, and liquids but...because it's kind of flimsy, I'm not so sure about that. I'll have to test it out. Full size. This brush is not available on the SLMISSGLAM site (which actually makes me want to throw up it's such a pastel rainbow unicorn glitter shit show) so it may be an Ipsy exclusive. I've linked the closest looking set of 6 brushes which goes for $80. So maybe this brush is around $13. (CF)

All told this bag is around a $33. Not terrible but I've had bags that are upwards of $50-$70 so it's kinda weak. However, I do think I'll get a lot of use out of the products this months so it's still a win for me!

 

Nerium Review

Ahhh... ALL THE POSTS...(this will be the first of 3 that I'll probably put up this week)

I got the chance to to try something for free that I probably never would have purchased myself. A good friend of my husband is a sales rep for Nerium International. They produce skin care and vitamin supplements. So in exchange for an HONEST write-up (I wasn't paid or compensated in any way nor required to write a glowing review) I got 4 days worth of samples of three products.

A very brief overview of the company is this: they make skin care and wellness products with age-defying properties. From their website:


See the Difference

Transform your skincare routine with our unique, science-based products that target all the major signs of aging and the underlying causes.

Feel the Difference

Take your health to the next level with our wellness products that keep you looking and feeling great, inside and out.


The entire brand has that "feel good, do good" mission ideal, contributing to the welfare of their communities, and gosh darn it, just being happy. There are also opportunities for people to become Nerium Brand Partners, aka sales reps though it does sound nicer with their phrasing. The company started in 2011 with a staff of only 13 people and one product, their Age Defying Night Cream. They now have 9 or 10 different products, have over 200 employees, and produce in 8 countries. 

Check out their website where you can find a ton of information about NERIUM INTERNATIONAL

Now, to the products I got to try!

 

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Age Defying Eye Serum: These were tiny little packets but I was able to get 2 uses per day out of each one. I wish I remembered to take a picture. It's a beige colored cream that didn't feel too heavy or too thin. In fact, it was the most unique eye product I've ever tried. It dried within 30 seconds and didn't leave a tacky residue on the skin, like most creams. It felt like fucking VELVET under my eyes. It looked like I used one of those pore filling face primers - it looked so smooth and even.

From the website: This transformative serum delivers both short- and long-term benefits for the appearance of smoother, younger-looking eyes. Powered by our exclusive SIG-1191™ and I-FIL4R™ ingredients, our Eye Serum helps reduce the appearance of dark circles, puffiness, wrinkles and fine lines, making the skin appear more toned.

While in the immediate sense most of those claims are true, I could still see my dark circles very well. I also can't agree with the long term claims because I only used it for 4 days. Who knows? It could actually do what they say if you used it for a month or more. 

I tried to use it directly under concealer but over moisturizer. My eyes have been dryer lately so I wanted to know if this stuff would work as well or maybe better than a traditional eye cream. Short answer - NOOOOOOPE. It looked so dry. If I added eye cream over this stuff, it almost made a paste - like the serum never fully absorbed into my skin and actually just created a barrier over it to make the skin look smoother. So that kinda sucked. But when I used it alone and simply put powder over my skin (on a minimal make-up day), it looked beautiful.

Again, perhaps with prolonged use, it would improve concealer application and overall dryness of my under eye.

 

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Eye-V Moisture Boost Hydrogel Patches: Since I love sheet masks, I also love using eye patches, too (they're like under eye masks). These little buggers were made of a wobbly thin layer of gel. Once you got them positioned under the eye right where you wanted them (very easy to manipulate into place), they stayed put. You could totally lean over and they wouldn't fall off. After 20 minutes, you remove them and pat in any extra serum. 

From the website: Innovative patches deliver targeted hydration to the delicate skin around your eyes for the appearance of an instant, refreshing “eye lift.”

This was the first time I tried them. They felt pretty awesome.

This was the first time I tried them. They felt pretty awesome.

For me, there was no left over serum. And though I didn't try the patches right before doing make-up for 'date night' as the instructional video suggested, I did use them right after washing my face one morning when my eye bags were particularly puffy. Can't say they reduced the puffiness much, though my left eye (which is worse than my right) did look SLIGHTLY better. However, the patches felt so cooling under my eyes. It was wonderful first thing in the morning!

 

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Youth Factor Superfood & Antioxidant Boost Powder: I'm not that much into dietary supplements like this. I will have an Ensure or a protein shake on days when my stomach feels overwhelmed by regular food (I have gastro paresis) or I just wanna give it a break from working overtime. *coughBOOZEcough* And since I have trouble digesting fruits and vegetables, this actually sounds like it could be a good thing for me. But that's why the gods invented smoothies, stewed fruit, and mushy peas.

From their website: Daily use powder featuring body-fortifying antioxidants and hearty servings of fruits and vegetables to help boost your body into its optimal state of wellbeing.

I was pleasantly surprised by this. I mixed a packet with plain water because I wanted to get an idea of the true taste. It was pretty good! Tasted like a berry punch but not sugary-sweet and just a hint of an undertaste (like most protein drinks will give). Color me impressed.

That's all I got to try. I got a few pamphlets with the samples but no in real in-depth information. Hence I headed to the website. I also contacted the company directly about their animal testing policies. Here's their answer:

Dear Peggy,

Thank you for contacting Nerium International Product Integrity. I am happy to help with your inquiry.

Nerium International is committed to bringing products to market that are safe, socially responsible, and compliant with the local regulations of the countries in which our products are sold. Nerium International does not conduct animal testing on our skincare products or ingredients. We conduct testing on all of our finished products using third party clinical testing facilities with human volunteer panelists. In the case of dietary supplements, such as EHT, animal testing is accepted to support the ingredient safety of the product.

Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.  

Okay, cool. So they don't test their skin care products or ingredients on animals. I love that they use humans for final testing. That's pretty awesome. HOWEVER, did you pick up on the double speak in there, about complying with countries' laws? (I bolded the text to make it stand out) Yeah. That means if a country they produce in requires animal testing, they will do it. Here's some info on the animal testing policies for the countries they are in (if anyone finds different or updated info, please feel free to let me know):

Canada: Animal testing is not regulated by the government (for cosmetics). So I'm guessing that means it's up to individual companies if they do it or not.

Mexico: It is legal to test but I don't think it's required.

Japan: It's neither required nor prohibited. Again probably up to the individual company if they want to test on animals.

New Zealand: Animal testing was banned in 2015.

South Korea: I read a couple years ago that S. Korea wants to make animal testing completely illegal by 2018 so it might happen this year. At least they're working toward it but I know many companies still do it.

Australia: In 2017 they banned the sales of cosmetics tested on animals. Not sure about anything else.

Hong Kong: As it's part of China, animal testing is no longer a requirement. However, anything claiming "cosmeceutical" status (a makeup or product that claims skin benefits) is required to be tested on animals. 

Colombia: That country is a MESS with animal testing. Years and years of violations and abuse. Hard to find any info saying otherwise.

Also they were right up front about the supplements being tested on animals and I can appreciate their direct honesty.

So, for me, I will not be purchasing anything from Nerium in the future. Anyone who's been reading my blog or reviews for a while knows that I'm trying to go cruelty free in as much of my life as possible. But for those who aren't following that path, by all means look into this company and their products and get some to try for yourselves. A lot of it actually looks pretty cool.

If you're in the Detroit area, I have contact info for a local rep who is probably one of the most friendly people I've ever met (also my hubby wouldn't be friends with a douchebag). I'm sure if you're not all that close, at least he might be able to direct you to someone who can hook you up! (don't quote me on that because I actually haven't asked him if he could do this!) He's also an RN so that gives me hope he wouldn't support a company that uses hazardous ingredients.

Mark Gadzinski

248-444-1947

mtgflyboy@gmail.com

markgadzinski.nerium.com

 

So there you have it. Again, check out the link I provided above for the Nerium website to get more info, email Mark and ask questions, try some of the products for yourself. Only you can determine what works best for your skin type and beauty ideals. These are just my experiences with something new and I wanted to share the information. If any one does try Nerium products, let me know what you think!

 

Ipsy December 2017 Review

The end of 2017 is upon us. And so is my last Ipsy review for the year. For those who don't know, Ipsy is a monthly subscription service. For $10 you receive 4-5 sample (sometimes full) sized makeup, skin, and hair care products. Check it out here: IPSY

(I pay for this service with my own money and all opinions are my honest ones)

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I guess the theme this month is Snow Globe, whatever the fuck that's supposed to mean. Who cares anyway? The bag, though, is awesome. It looks like some kind of fancy clutch you'd take to a party or something. So yeah, that's a keeper. Let's see what's inside this month!

The Chok Chok Green Tea Watery Cream: Doesn't sound to great, does it? Who wants their creams watery? But, according to the on-line description, this is supposed to be a great gel based moisturizing cream with 63% fermented green tea extract (instead of water). I do like the gel based ones. They're kiind of cool. Haven't tried this and I probably won't because Tony Moly is not cruelty free. Full size is $25 so this sample should run around $4. (NCF)

Nip + Fab Dragon's Blood Fix Pumping Serum: I love the glycolic cleansing pads from N+F so when I got this in my bag, I was pumped! No pun intended. Haven't opened it yet because I've still got half a bottle of The Ordinary buffet serum to use up. Full size is $20 so this sample is worth about $8. (CF)

Luxie Beauty Precision Shader Onyx Brush 239: I'm never mad at brushes, y'all. This is a nice compact shader with a slight taper to it. It really can put shadow RIGHT in the crease. It's not as good at blending that color out if you got too precise and heavy with a shadow so keep that in mind. This is full size and is valued at $14. The link is to their Rose Gold style - the black handle might be an Ipsy exclusive. Not sure. (CF)

Pixi by Petra Mesmerizing Mineral Duo in Orchid Ornament: I've never tried Pixi shadows before. I've heard mixed reviews so I've never wanted to spend the money on them. They're not high end pricing but they're not drug store either. These are two very soft and beautiful shades. They actually seem different in the pan compared to on the skin. I can't quite put my finger on it! You can see in the swatches that these shades can be built up but for my eye look, I just powdered my eyelid and swept a little of each color on (the gold on the lid and the dark rosy brown in the crease). These particular shades aren't available on the Pixi website (again, might be exclusive to Ipsy) and the mesmerizing minerals only come in 6-pan palettes. But they all look really pretty! Full size is $12 so this little duo is probably around $3. (CF)

NYX Faux Blacks Eyeliner in Obsidian: I actually own two other colors in this line. They're not great (one is Oxblood, the other is Olive but I kept the red one because I have no other color like it) so I was a little bummed about getting this. AT FIRST. Boy was I wrong about Obsidian. First, you'd think the name would indicate it's black but it's actually a dark, dark blue. Second, I've never encountered an eyeliner that stayed on my tight line and waterline as long as this one. MAYBE the Urban Decay 24/7 came close. So holy fuck me I love this pencil. It goes on super creamy so it wears down very fast. But I can live with that! This is full size and goes for $8. (CF)

Total bag value is around $37. Not too bad considering only one of the items isn't cruelty free and I'm stoked for everything else, including the bag. Nice little holiday wrap up (heh, see what I did there?) for 2017. Hope you all have a wonderful, safe, and happy holiday! See you in 2018.

FINAL Medusa's Makeup December 2017 Review

Well, the time has come. December is my final month for the Medusa's Makeup monthly subscription box. It's been fun and I've really enjoyed about 50% of what I've received. Not the best score, not the worst, but not enough to keep going. At least for now. The good news is I've gone out on a pretty dang good note!

In case you'd like to check them out, head to their website for all pricing, inventory, etc. MEDUSA'S MAKEUP

(I paid for this service with my own money and all opinions are my honest ones)

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The makeup bag included this month is new (valued at $8.00). It feels like it's made out of canvas, something sturdy. It's actually kind of nice but I don't know if I'll keep it. I have so many from Ipsy....oh fuck it. I'll toss one of those and replace it with this! The personalized note is also new. Very nice touch!

Contour Brush: I've received their eyeliner and angled brushes in past months and I've enjoyed them. The eyeliner one is too thick for precise lines but it still works if you don't mind a little messy application. This one is a flatter, denser brush with a slight point. It will be great for getting into the eye socket/crease. $6.00 (on their site they only have the whole set for sale but if you've never tried their brushes, $18 for the set is a good price to find out how they work for you)

Lip Balm: I was so excited to get this. I really wanted to know how it is, since it's new. I've only used mine once so far (since I have about 6 already opened around the house) but it feels really nice, seems to last a good while on the lips, and smells great. $8.95

Eye Dust in Golden Boy: DEAR FUCKING GODS WILL YOU LOOK AT THAT GORGEOUS COLOR!!! If I've learned nothing else from MM, it's that their eye dusts are fantastic (not the Mystical Eye Dusts - those are kinda lame). And that's not a built up swatch. I had very little product on my finger when I made that. So pigmented! I've already planned out a look for a convention I'm working this weekend so I can wear this. Ah...I feel faint...so...beautiful........ $8.00

Lipstick in Triple X: I've only received one regular lipstick from them before and it was beautiful. This is just as creamy and comfortable so I do recommend a lip liner. I was worried this was going to be way too bright of a fuschia for me. But the top pic is just one layer and it's rather sheer. It's perfect if you just want a little bit of a brighter color but aren't ballsy enough (or maybe bright fuschia doesn't work with your skin tone) to go full saturation. It can be built up so the second swatch shows that. Took 3-4 swipes across each lip to get this opacity. I have to admit I really like it both ways (hey now...). $12.00

So including the bag, this month's value is $42.95. Great value and great items to close out my subscription. In case you forgot, or are new, Medusa's Makeup is also a vegan and cruelty free brand so if you'd like to explore that route, this isn't a terrible place to get started!

Ipsy October/November 2017 Review

Well, as per usual, October got away from me. So instead of completely skipping that month's reviews, I thought I'd do some combo work. So let's get October and November together and have us a baby! A review baby, that is...

For those who don't know, Ipsy is a monthly subscription program. For $10 you get 4-5 sample sized (sometimes full) products of makeup, hair, and skin care. Check them out here: IPSY

(I pay for this service with my own money and all opinions are my honest ones)

OCTOBER

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October's theme was something like The Power of Change. And while I absolutely ABHOR their themes each month, I have to say I love the saying on the small useless card that comes with the bag. This one made me giggle. Also there won't be a lot of pics because there wasn't much to swatch!

It Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Pressed Powder: I've wanted to try IT for a long time but the brand can be pretty expensive. And I really don't like to drop a lot of money on something that could possibly suck major ass. HOWEVER, this powder is infused with alchemy or dark magic or something. I put this on and my skin never looked smoother (and I have pores the size of Nebraska). It's also great for under eye concealer setting - doesn't make my nearly half a century aged skin look like a full century. And that pisses me off because now I have to buy it!! Be warned - it is very soft and crumbles easily. Full size is $29 so this 3g sample is just under $10. (CF)

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Context Vitamin C All Day Eye Cream: Honestly, I haven't even opened this yet. I have a couple creams going right now but they are almost empty. Once they are, I'll give this guy a shot. From the Context website: "A revitalizing and hydrating lightweight formula contains a powerful combination of preventative botanicals. Keeps eyes protected and nourished with potent antioxidants to protect the delicate area against free radical damage. Leaves skin nourished and refreshed all day." This is a full sized tube and costs $35. (CF)

Smashbox Photo Finish Lid Primer: At first I thought this brand was still NCF but as of 2017, they no longer sell in China and do NOT test their products on animals where required by law. So that's cool! This is also another brand that's on the expensive side so I usually don't purchase from them. But this was a nice way to try the lid primer people go ape shit for. Though I don't know why. It's thick and sticky (here we go...) so it needs to be set first. Even so, my eye shadows still looked kind of patchy and they didn't last any longer. In fact they looked more faded and blended into one color than what usually happens with my Milani eye primer. So I might keep using it, I might pitch it. Depends on my mood. I know I ain't buying the full size at $21. This sample was worth $5.25. (CF)

Hey Honey Active Propolis Cream Concealer: I did like a peel off mask from the brand once, long ago. But this stuff is pretty crap. First the color is a touch too dark and yellow for me and it looks REALLY dry under the eyes. Doesn't do a great job at concealing spots on the face either. Full size goes for $36 so this 8mls sample is just about $19. (CF)

Forgive my dry crepey centuries old looking mummy hand...eeeesh.

Forgive my dry crepey centuries old looking mummy hand...eeeesh.

Blaq Mask: I do love face masks, in all their forms. I haven't had a chance to try this but look at that color! (see pic above). It's also a peel off mask, mostly aimed at the blackheads and gunk around the nose. But I bet you can use it anywhere. If you've never tried a peel off mask, there are plenty on the market. And they're so fun. The full size on this costs $29. The sample I got should run around $7.25. (CF)

UPDATE: I've tried this mask twice. And while it's fun, it initially leaves the skin red and irritated but that does fade over a few hours. I also broke out with fresh zits after each use. So......no. It's going away now.

All right, October. The bag value is about $76.50. Holy shitzies (I stole that from thataylaa on YT). And all the products are Cruelty Free brands. SCORE!

 

NOVEMBER

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November's theme is who cares. I'm torn on the bag right now. I'm not a bronze and yellow kinda gal (though it's close to the brown and gold colors of my alma mater, Valparaiso - GO CRUSADERS!). I'm still thinking about keeping it.

Benefit They're Real Mascara: Benefit isn't a cruelty free brand so I won't be using this. I don't think I've ever tried anything from Benefit, even before I started paying attention to CF stuff. *shrug* (Oh wait - their Porefessional primer. Made me break out. Fuck 'em.) Full size is $24 so this sample is about $8.50. (NCF)

Colourpop Pressed Eyeshadow in Come and Get It: Anyone who's read my one-brand review of Colourpop knows I love the brand. And, naturally, I already own this eye shadow. It's gorgeous, a "duochrome rose with a gold flip". I own about a dozen of their pressed shadows and they've all been very good. This is no exception. This is full size and goes for $5. (CF)

The White Company White Lavender Body Lotion: I just opened this tube so I could at least give my first thoughts on it. There is a nice lavender scent but underneath it there's something...grassy. Must be the vetiver. Kinda weird. But it absorbs really fast and my hands aren't greasy. Huh. If the scent lingers too long or it's too overpowering for the hubby, I might just donate it. Can't really find any info on the cruelty free status of this company but it's based in London and I believe it's illegal to test on animals in Europe. The full size is $20 so this sample goes for $4 (CF...?)

Manna Kadar Perfection Powder: I've had MK items before and I think they've been hit and miss. This powder is actually super nice. It's a lot like the It Cosmetics powder I got last month...way to switch things up, Ipsy (*sarcasm*). Full size is $29 but I can't find any info on how much is in the full size. This looks similar to the It Cosmetics sample so let's just price is out the same at $10. (CF)

Make Beauty Cream Luminous Lip Gloss in Abalone: I believe I've received a thing or two from Make before in Ipsy but I'd have to go back and look because I just can't remember. This is a nice gloss. Not sticky, decent amount of color (for a gloss), and feels very comfortable. Nice nude color, too. Got a weird ass applicator, though, that makes it difficult to apply neatly. Plus it's very...phallic. Not that that's a BAD thing. Full size is $25 but again, can't find total product weight so let's give this sample about $8. (CF)

Give or take a few bucks to adjust for guesstimates on sample value, $36 is okay. Let's see what December has in store for us.