Thursday, January 31, 2013

CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser

$10 for 12 oz at Walmart

This is a gentle cleanser for normal to oily skin that says it uses hyaluronic acid and ceramides to help skin retain moisture. It comes in a pump bottle and is clear and quite liquidy in consistency. It smells faintly like kids bubbles (glycerin), which some people may find unpleasant but it reminds me of my childhood and is very faint so it doesn’t bother me. This is definitely a gentle cleanser. For someone who has very oily skin this may not even do much but my skin is only a little oily to combination skin depending on how its feeling at the time, so it was good for me. It doesn’t leave even the slightest bit of tightness. My face actually felt softer and smoother than with my other cleanser. However after using it for about two weeks I noticed I was slowly getting more breakouts. It was pretty close to my period and I have been using a new sunscreen but I switched back to my regular cleanser for a few days and immediately noticed that they were fading and drying up. I've used it off and on since then and have experienced similar results. It just doesn't quite clean off my skin well enough. I still would recommend this cleanser to someone who isn’t prone to acne but for me it just didn’t quite work.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Lash Card Mascara Shields- Beauty Army January

Sample- 2 shields
Full-sized- $13.98 for 20 shields

When I first picked this for my box I thought it was the best idea ever. I am always getting mascara on my eyelids. These are really just little pieces of card paper. They are about the thickness of a business card. They have two different edges, one for small eyes, and one for larger eyes. I do like that. However, I found these horribly awkward to use. To hold it in place with one hand, then try to put the mascara on, all while holding your hands and arms out of the way so you can actually see what you are doing in the mirror, is nearly impossible. Or at least it was for me. I looked around online and found other people had similar results. If you can put your mascara on without having to look in the mirror you could probably use these but I found it incredibly difficult. They would also be okay for your bottom lashes because your arm wouldn’t be in your own way but I don’t put mascara on my bottom lashes so these went in the trash. 

I did think it was cute that all the writing is backwards so you can see it in a mirror. And people really, if you really feel like you need these don't pay $14 for them. Cut a curve in the side of a business card or something. Because that's really all it is.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Oscar Blandi Dry Styling Heat Protectant Spray- Glossybox December

Sample size- .75 oz (a good travel size)
Full-sized- $23 for 4 oz at or (I also found this as low as $19 on ebay)

(Pic from

Oscar Blandi is a very popular high end brand of hair products that I have been wanting to try. This spray uses a “patented polymer complex” to protect hair from heat and keratin to make hair shiny. To be fair, my hair is pretty shiny to start with but I didn’t notice much difference using this. I washed my hair and used my normal argan oil, let my hair air dry (my hair doesn’t like being blow dried) and then used this spray with my flat iron. I didn’t notice that much more shine and I didn’t notice that my hair was any softer or more protected feeling. It has kind of an obnoxious chemical smell and the second time I used it I used a little too much and my hair got all tacky feeling. Its just an average protectant spray and definitely does not live up to the hype. I’ll use the rest of this but I won’t buy it.

Monday, January 28, 2013

mark. Scanda-Lash Mascara in Brown- Beauty Army January

Sample was full-sized (although still tiny)- $6.50
Look how teensy!
From what I’ve experienced of the mark. line, which has just been this and a couple lip glosses, all of their products seem to be tiny. That’s not a big deal for me with the lip gloss because I don’t wear it everyday but with a mascara I don’t really like it. I’ve gotten mascaras this size as a gift with purchase from Sephora before. And they only lasted me a couple weeks. Okay my second complaint is the color but that’s my own fault. I got this in brown to try something different but I’d forgotten that I’d ordered some CoverGirl LashBlast in brown-black from I tried that brown (which is very dark brown but still brown) and decided I like black mascara better. The blacker the better. So I should have just stuck with the black mascara. But like I said, that’s my own fault. Anyway, here goes.

The first thing I noticed when I pulled out the wand is that the applicator is super long. Here it is compared to the CoverGirl LashBlast wand.

Okay so its not THAT long but still.
Other than that it’s the standard brush applicator. Then when I went to put on the mascara, I was a little taken aback by how thick the mascara actually is. I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing but if you‘re not used to a thick formula it does feel a little heavy on the lashes. This did lengthen and volumize but I did experience some clumping. I was able to get everything the way I wanted it after using a lash comb though. Going back to the length of the wand. I found it a little hard to get the lashes on the outer corner of my eyelids but I managed. After using it for a few days I did get used to the wand, the thickness of the formula and all of that but it never felt like it really fully dried on my lashes. It seemed a little tacky and my lashes would kind of stick together when I blinked. The mascara washes off well but it burns like an SOB if you get it in your eye at all. Not good. Overall, this is not the best mascara I have ever used and I wouldn’t buy it. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

TJMaxx Haul

Love high-end beauty products but don’t have the paycheck for it? You are not alone. I spend way more money than I should on beauty products but there are ways to cut down on your spending and still have all of the things that you love. One of them is TJMaxx! I have always loved shopping for clothes and purses at TJMaxx but I never really looked much at their cosmetics until a few weeks ago. They have some great skin care and hair care products for crazy on sale (sometime half off!). The catch is you have to look through everything and you have to go often because you never know what they are going to have. I plan on going in every few weeks to stock up on stuff. I didn’t find anything I’d already used and knew worked but I found a few things I’ve been wanting to try or at least were by brands I respected. Last time I went shopping this is what I got:

Sephora by OPI Blasted nail laquer in Turquoise
Elizabeth Arden Good Morning Eye Treatment
Elizabeth Arden Clear the Way Mask
DermOrganic Skin Care Sampler (which included facial cleanser, facial moisturizer, and hand and body lotion)
and a 2 pack of Bella Beauty satin sleep masks (in hot pink and neon green with pink polka dots).

I was most excited about the DermOrganic skin care sampler because I have been hearing a lot of good things about them and I’ve been wanting to try some of their products. I also was super excited about the sleep masks because I work at night, therefore sleep during the day and these colorful ones are much prettier than my boring black sleep mask I have now.

Now if I bought all of these products at their full retail price it would cost me $63.50. At TJMaxx I only paid $43.95. That’s like 30% off. That’s pretty good if I do say so myself.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Bath & Body Works Shower Gel in Paris Amour- Beauty Army January Box

(pic from

Sample- 3 oz
Full-sized- $11 for 10 oz

I love Bath & Body Works. I love all of their products. This is a great addition to my Beauty Army box. I had never smelled this particular smell but it is wonderful and fruity. Like I said in my initial blog, I wouldn’t normally use this shower gel in the winter because my skin is so dry but this says its shea-enriched so I decided to try it anyway.

I love this body wash! First of all the smell. Its fruity which at first I didn’t think really should have been called Paris Amour but once I actually used it in the shower it’s a wonderfully sexy and warm fruitiness that strangely is reminiscent of something French. The smell definitely isn’t overwhelming and it doesn’t seem to stay on my skin (which is a good thing since I like to pick my own perfume). It lathers up like a dream. I actually found I had to use less of it than I usually do. The little bottle lasted me a good week which is impressive considering most body washes of that size would last about three days. And as far as the moisturizing capabilities its actually not that much less moisturizing than my Dove with Nutrium Moisture so I was pretty happy with that. Overall I am super happy with this body wash and will buy some after my current body wash runs out. Beauty Army win!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Popsugar Must Have Box January

This box is a little more expensive (okay a lot more) at $35 a month but it’s also a better deal (supposedly). It sends you all full-sized products and is guaranteed to be worth at least $100. They also have a luxury edition which is $100. Popsugar’s must haves are not just beauty products. They are home décor items, jewelry, food items, and beauty items. For example, Novembers box included a bracelet, a yoga dvd, a set of three gourmet spices, a set of thank-you cards, a box of donut mix, a lip balm, and a free credit for style mint (which is a clothing website). Based on reviews I’ve seen for other months it seems like sometimes they send more beauty products than anything else and sometimes its more homey type items. I have mixed feelings about this kind of box because usually with beauty items I will at least try everything I get and unless I really super hate it I will probably use it up (for example I’m using up a moisturizer that is way too hydrating for my oily face right now by only using it once every other day and that seems to be not bothering my skin too much), but if I get a bracelet that I think is horribly ugly, I’m gonna feel bad just throwing it away. I suppose I could always give it to somebody. Anyway I signed up for this to see what it was all about and I’ll give it a couple months before I decide anything. When I first signed up I was told I would have to wait until February but then I got told that I got bumped up to January (I guess someone must have cancelled their subscription or something) so I got mine a little early. Yay!

This was a happy surprise today on my doorstep. When Popsugar had first sent me the email saying they had shipped my Must Have box I checked the tracking a couple times and it was just moving up the west coast. California, another city in Northern California, Oregon, Washington. That doesn’t make any sense to me because I live on the east coast so I just figured it would be a while before I actually got my box and stopped tracking it. So when I see this big white box on my doorstep I thought, “What could that be? I haven’t ordered anything that big.” Lo and behold, its my Must Have box! 

This box is pretty big. Its about four times the size of any Glossybox or Beauty Army box I’ve gotten. Inside it, wrapped up in pretty pink paper was. . .

Look at all the food! Okay in this picture there is a Think Thin Crunch Caramel Chocolate Dipped Mixed Nut Bar (which is broken but still perfectly edible), a Think thin Creamy Peanut Butter High Protein Bar, a Think Thin Divine Dark Chocolate Coconut Bar (all $1.99 each), two Pop Bar Hot Chocolates on a Stick (one in milk chocolate and one in dark chocolate and $2.99) and a shaker jar of Jet-Puffed Mallow-Bits ($2.59)! I am excited about all of it! I’ve never tried any of the Think Thin bars but they sound good and who doesn’t love chocolate! Its interesting that they sent me the mini-marshallows too because I actually have already bought these a couple times and think they’re a fabulous invention. A little explanation about the Hot Chocolate on a Stick, I thought it was just like a chocolate lollipop but the back of it says to heat up some milk and stir the chocolate into it until it melts. Literally Hot Chocolate on a Stick! I think that’s fabulous. I’ll tell you all how everything was after I eat it! Oh plus there’s a coupon for $1 off two Think Thin bars.

The next thing is this watch. Its made my Remix, its called the Timebomb and it retails for $44.95 (although this particular one is a Popsugar exclusive and the ones on Remixes website do not look exactly the same). I do have to wear a watch at work but I have several of them and this would not be something I would have bought for myself. It claims it comes in a variety of “fun” colors, but as you can see mine is boring white. The watch face is also HUGE! Its kind of ridiculous. It does have super soft silicone straps but its so heavy and uncomfortable that I don’t think I’ll be wearing it often. Or at all. So lose there Popsugar. 

Look how tiny and cute it is!

Next, is a lip balm from Epicuren. Its SPF 15 and contains tea tree oil and aloe vera. Apparently this is some sort of exclusive brand that you have to have special privileges to buy and sell. One website I found said you have to be a authorized buyer but I didn't look into what exactly it takes to be authorized. Anyway, I found this little pot on Amazon for $9.50. They also have it in stick form (which I would really prefer). I don’t know if any of you have ever smelled tea tree oil but that’s what this smells (and tastes) like). It a quite obnoxious earthy, herbal smell that actually smells like someone left their rosemary too long in the fridge and it got all moldy. I’m not kidding. On the plus side, this seems to moisturize well and has a pleasant tingliness on the lips that’s quite refreshing. I don’t usually like lip balm in pots though. I prefer tubes or sticks that I can just put on my lips without having to get my fingers all greasy. I really haven’t decided if I like this or not. I’ll let you know. 

Last but not least (well actually, maybe least) is a Merrithew Stability Ball (with air pump included). This retails for $38.99 at Now, in theory this is great and all but I already have a stability ball that has been thrown in storage because I never use it. Although actually now that I think about it I think part of the reason that I never used the one I have its because it was a little too big and awkward to sit on. I’m gonna give this a shot and see what happens but I’m not holding my breath. They do give you a nice little card with some exercises to do with the stability ball. 

There also is a $15 off voucher for Casetagram to make your own phone or tablet cover using your photos. I’m definitely not gonna use that.

Overall I was disappointed with this box. Reviews of previous boxes I’ve seen have had a lot more stuff in them and stuff I would use. The Hot Chocolate on a stick is pretty fantastic but the Think Thin bars are not expensive and I could buy those at any grocery store. the watch was something I will not wear, the lip balm smells horrendous and I already have a stability ball I don’t use. Not including the coupon and voucher the box has a value of $107.98 but I'm probably not going to use most of the stuff. So big flop and not worth my money. For a fairly expensive sample box I was expecting more. But I’ll give them a couple more chances to redeem themselves. Three strikes and you’re out Popsugar!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

More Sample Boxes!

If you don’t like any of the ones I have mentioned already, or just want to try out some other sample beauty boxes, here are some other options.

Beauty Fix-

This is an expensive box, at $49.99 but its only every season (which I assume means 4 times a year). You get 8 products, which you get to pick out of a selection that their “expert” (whoever that is) picks for you.
Just looking over some of the products it seems like they have a good selection of decent sized samples (and some full-sized things) covering make-up, skin care, hair care, and even some beauty tools. I’m not sure how many they give you to pick from but if its as many as they show for sample products than seems like it would be worth it.


This is another quarterly one but its only $29.99 (although it isn’t free shipping which is unusual). This promises to be a $250 value and includes a magazine (which looks bigger than the little Glossymag), deluxe sample and full-sized products (it looks like 9 or 10), gift cards and special offers for, and they email you video tutorials for how to use the products (which I actually think is pretty cool). Some of the brands they have given out before (such as Philosphy, Dr. Brandt, and CellCeuticals are certainly things that I have been wanting to try. I will probably try this at some point (I can only spend so much money a month on beauty products! Gosh!).

Julep Maven Sample Box-

This box is nail based and only contains one brand. Julep Maven. Apparently its some famous nail salon in Washington. For $19.99 a month they send you two full-sized nail polishes and one full-sized product (related to mani/pedis) as well as some special extras occasionally. Occasionally they have specials where for the first month you receive four full-sized nail polishes (and get to choose two of them). I’m not sure how often they do this but they were having this special in November or December. This certainly would be appealing for anyone who is addicted to having their nails painted. I for one, am not so big on the nail painting, and if I was to sign up for something like this I would want to be able to pick my colors. Because I’m picky about what I have on my nails. This would not be worth it to me but I thought I’d tell you about it.


This one isn’t exactly a sample box per say. Its more like Netflix. Or Gamefly. Or Rent the Runway. Except with nail polish. Every month, for $18, you receive 3 bottles of nail polish (that you have added to a lust list). You paint your nails with them or take them to your manicurist to have her do it, then when you are done with it you mail it back and get more. Now maybe to some people this may sound like a great idea. But it doesn’t make much sense to me. First of all, doesn’t your manicurist have a zillion nail colors anyway? Second of all, if I’m spending $18 on nail polish (I’m sorry but that’s kind of a lot) I’m using up the bottle. I’m not painting my nails three times and then sending it back. And second of all, I think its kind of icky to use nail polish that who know how many other people have used. I don’t know where their hands have been. What if they have some nail fungus or whatever? I would never sign up for this in a million years. But there you go. If it sounds like your thing go for it.

So there you are. Some other sample beauty box options. I think the TestTube sounds like the only one I will try. Beautyfix is too expensive. For that much everything would have to be full-sized to make that worth my while. But if I run out of sample boxes to try, maybe I’ll look into it further. I suppose I could just make sure as much as possible in my box was full-sized.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Forest Essentials Luxurious Ayurveda Madurai Jasmine & Mogra Bath & Shower Oil- Glossybox December

Sample was about half-size
Full-sized is $22 for 6.8 oz

(pic from

Like I said in my original Glossybox December post, I’m not quite sure how Glossybox came up with this price. I searched for this product online and the only place I could find it was an Indian site where they didn’t list a price in USD. I didn’t actually try to buy it so I’m not sure if you can or not. I did find some on Amazon but they were $55. Anyway price aside. I’m not sure what to think of this body oil.

It’s a very thin yellow colored oil (that is actually mostly sunflower oil) that has a very nice jasmine smell. I like jasmine a lot. It says to put this oil onto still wet skin after the shower and it uses essential oils to lock moisture into skin. Not to mention making you smell lovely. I tried various combinations of wetness and amounts of oil. Even with the smallest amount of oil that I could pour out on my skin (which was still sopping, dripping wet so the oil would distribute over as much skin as possible) it still ended up feeling oily and greasy and like I needed to take another shower. However I did notice after using it a couple times that my skin was very soft and moisturized. And I didn’t even need to use any perfume. I used it a few times more and figured out it seems to work best if you rub it on your still wet skin after taking a shower, let it sit for a few minutes and then rinse it off (while being careful not to slip on the slippery oil that’s all over your shower). It gets rid of the smell but your skin still gets the moisturizing benefits. It still leaves my skin a little oily but it soaks in after a little while. It does also work well as a bath oil (if you like that sort of thing).

I don’t think this is something I would ever buy. I love myself a relaxing bath but I prefer bubble bath or bath salts to bath oil. I actually wasn’t sure I wanted to use up the rest of the bottle just because of the oiliness but I compelled myself and realized it was like throwing away $11 if I don’t. However, after using it for about a week and half straight the moisturizing properties sort of stopped working and my skin actually ended up being drier than it was before.

So bottom line, I don't think I would recommend this. Maybe other people have had more success with it (I found some very positive reviews on beauty blogs) but I just didn't like the greasiness and it didn't really moisturize that well at all. Plus it seems super expensive for being mostly sunflower oil. Maybe the jasmine they use in there is expensive or something but you can buy sunflower oil at any grocery store. For much less than this stuff. Just food for thought.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Holy Skincare Samples Batman!

Ugh just when I decide I'm going to use up the samples I have and not order anything else Sephora foils my plans. For those of you who are Beauty Insiders at Sephora, log on to your account right now. For real. Right now (I don’t know for how long), Beauty Insiders can enter the code “skinsampler” at checkout with your $25 order and get a free skincare sampler with 12 samples. This is only available online. If you aren’t a Beauty Insider become one! What is a Beauty Insider? Its free to sign up and it simply means that you get special offers and opportunities to try products before they are for sale. For every dollar you spend at Sephora (or online) you get a point (they have specials with extra points available too) and you can trade your points in for deluxe samples. In addition, when you spend $350 (I believe in a year) you become a VIB and get even more offers. So it’s a great offer. Anyway here’s what’s in the sample bag: a foil packet of Boscia’s Detoxifying Black Cleanser, a foil packet of Ole Henriken Truth Is In The Eyes (a concentrated eye peel), a foil packet of Murad Essential-C Eye Cream, a small tube of something from Caudalie’s Vinexpert line (I can’t quite tell what it is), a foil packet of Algenist Targeted Deep Wrinkle Minimizer, a sample (it looks like a good-sized bottle) of Lancome Visionnaire Advanced Serum Corrector, a foil packet of Nude Progenius Treatment Oil, a sample of Korres Wild Rose & Vitamin C Advanced Brightening Sleeping Facial, a one-time use packet of Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Daily Face Peel, a foil packet of Amorepacific Future Response Age Defense Crème, a foil packet of Bliss Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Eye Gel, and a foil packet of Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment. Whew. That’s some great stuff (although I apologize if I have anything wrong because there wasn't really a list of everything in there, just pictures)! These are some of Sephora’s best-selling and most loved products. I have really been wanting to try the ExfoliKate, the Dr. Dennis Gross peel, and the Bliss eye gel so I’m super excited about those ones. Most of the rest of them I have at least heard of the brand and heard good things. Now, some people may be turned off by the extensive amount of foil packets (almost all of them are) but if you think about it, this is still a good deal. A lot of these are either things that you don’t use a whole lot of (like the eye treatments) or are things that you wouldn’t use on a daily basis (like the overnight facial) so I still think its worth it. Plus if you are buying $25 worth of something you would normally be buying anyway, it’s a no-brainer. I’m not gonna do the math and figure out the value of this but some of these brands are pricey so you can imagine. I have already ordered mine and will review all of it when I get it.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Apple Cider Vinegar & Green Tea Toner

You’ll notice I didn’t write a brand on this toner. Well that because I didn’t buy it. I made it. That’s right, this an all natural, homemade toner. I was checking my email the other day and I always browse through Yahoo’s top stories stream thing they have going on, just to see what’s going on, and I stumbled across an article about natural treatments for acne. They listed such things as honey, tea tree oil, and lemon juice as good antibacterials and exfoliators, all while being gentle and natural. Not to mention cheap. They had various recipes for how to dilute them and told you exactly how they worked and recommended how to use them (such as whether to rinse it off or just to leave it on) and all of that stuff. The one that I decided to try was the apple cider vinegar as a toner. Just a word on toner before I go on. I have not had good luck with toner. I’ve used several different kinds and it inevitably stings, makes my face horribly red, and sometimes makes my acne worse. Even the non-alcohol containing ones that I’ve used haven’t turned out well. So I just don’t use it. But I’ve heard that it is good for getting whatever your face wash didn’t and preparing your skin for moisturizer so I have considered trying some different ones that have received good reviews. Back to the apple cider vinegar. So, I check my cupboard and I have white vinegar, red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, and balsamic vinegar but not apple cider vinegar. Then I go to recheck the article I read to make sure I have the dilution right (I thought it was equal parts apple cider vinegar to water but wasn’t sure) and I couldn’t find the article. So I did a google search and found a recipe I decided to go with. According to the experts on, you should use equal parts apple cider vinegar (the organic unfiltered kind) and water (I actually considered using distilled but I settle for filtered water out of my Brita pitcher). There was also an added tip to add green tea for extra antioxidants and to dial down the vinegary smell. It also said that vinegar obviously is very acidic so if you have sensitive skin to dilute the vinegar more. So I decided to add one part green tea as well (I made it regular strength). I did add a little bit less of the vinegar than the other two things just because I was afraid of it irritating my skin too much.

A few tips when you are mixing up your toner. The recipe I found said to use a glass bottle. I just washed out a glass juice bottle that I had and ripped the label off of it. I used organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar, filtered water, and organic green tea (make sure its just green tea with nothing else mixed in). Unfiltered apple cider vinegar settles so shake it up before you measure it out. I would also recommend making a very small amount at a time because it will last you a while and you don’t want anything to spoil or anything. I also keep mine in the refrigerator. It didn’t say anything about that but I figured it would be safest so I didn’t get any bacteria growing or anything.

So how is this supposed to actually work? Vinegar is a natural antibacterial to kill the bacteria that causes acne and apple cider vinegar contains natural alpha hydroxy and amino acids (ingredients that are in a lot of skin care products) that help remove the gross dead skin layer and reveal your lovely healthy skin underneath. It also increases blood circulation to make your complexion a lovely pink. This is all according to

In the interest of testing the acne fighting properties of this toner, I didn’t use any other acne treatments while testing this out. I just washed my face with my normal cleanser and used my normal moisturizer after toning. I shook the bottle again before dipping my cotton ball just to make sure nothing had settled. Then I just put some on a cotton ball and used it like a normal toner. It has a rather obnoxious vinegar smell (the green tea helped a little but not much) but it didn’t carry over once it had dried on my face (trust me, I made my fiance smell my face). It did sting a little on the actual pimples but didn’t make my face red and I didn’t notice any dryness. Later on I did notice a bit of a tingly, subtle itchiness, but my face didn’t feel dry or tight, and it wasn’t red or sore. I assume maybe its just the alpha hydroxy and amino acids doing their thing? I have no idea. Since I was afraid of this stuff irritating my skin I opted to try only using it once a day for the first two weeks. Just to be on the safe side. I figured I’d see how that did then maybe increase to twice a day depending on how it worked. After just a few days I noticed a difference in my skin. The little, almost microscopic red bumps that have always covered my face (I was actually starting to think I might have rosacea or something) are slowly disappearing. My face feels softer and smoother. I notice less of those little dry patches of skin that I usually pick at. It has not irritated my skin at all and actually after the first couple times it doesn’t sting even the pimples. I think it may have dried my skin out just a touch but not enough to make me stop using it. It also has been about two weeks and while this toner hasn’t done much to get rid of my pimples that were already there but it must be doing something because I haven’t noticed any new pimples since I started using it.

So bottom line, would I recommend this? Well, yes. But I would make super small batches. Like super small. I have noticed a big difference in the smoothness and evenness of my skin. It seems to have prevented new pimples from forming. It has dried my skin out (which is not necessarily a bad thing because it was horribly oily before) but I started using a more moisturizing cleanser with my bed time routine which helped a lot. I never used this more than once a day and if you have normal or dry skin I’m not sure I would recommend this at all but if you really want to try it I would start with every other day to see how your skin reacts. A HUGE thing this toner has going for it is the price. Its ingredients you can get at any grocery store and they are relatively inexpensive for the amount you use. I got my green tea for $4 for 20 bags. I only used one bag in my first batch and this toner will last me forever. The unfiltered apple cider vinegar was $3.59 for 16 oz. So you can do the math on that. I kept this toner in the refrigerator to keep bacteria from forming (although apple cider vinegar is an antibacterial but still) but after a couple weeks weird black sediment started forming it in. I think it was fine gratings from the inside of the metal lid. I don’t know if it would hurt anything but it grossed me out so I dumped it out. Since then I started just making a super small batch of two teaspoons of water and one tea spoon of apple cider vinegar. If I drank green tea I might at a tea spoon of that too but I don’t want to waste it. This small of a batch lasts me a few days and I feel better about the storage of it.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Beauty Army January- First Impressions

I don’t usually post twice in one day but I just got my January Beauty Army box! Yay! This month is Beauty Army’s birthday so we get an extra 7th pick! I was much happier overall with my picks this month than I was last month. I read somewhere that if you keep retaking the beauty profile quiz your choices will change until you get a mix you are happy with. I did that this time but honestly most of the things I ended up picking were in my first mix so I really didn’t need to. My one complaint is that every time I took quiz I continued to say I had oily skin and in every group of samples to pick from there were two moisturizers for dry skin. That doesn’t make much sense but whatever. Here are my choices.

Mark. Scanda-Lash Brown Mascara
Sample- full-sized- $6.50

This was the extra pick. You had a choice of black or brown. I chose brown for something different. I’ve always used black mascara but I figured the brown might be a little subtler. This is small for a full-sized mascara (actually really small) but mascara is always welcome. I’ve tried some other mark. products but not the mascara. I’ll write a full review after I’ve worn it for a full day.

Bath & Body Works Paris Amour Shower Gel
Sample- 3 oz
Full-sized- $11 for 10 oz

I wouldn’t really consider Bath & Body Works to be really high-end but I love their products. This is a decent sample sized shower gel. I use a lot of shower gel though so it will probably last me less than a week. We’ll see. I’ve never smelled this particular smell but its wonderful. Its kind of fruity which doesn’t really spring to mind Paris for me but oh well. I normally wouldn’t use this in the winter because my hair is super dry and my past experience with Bath & Body Works has been that the shower gels are not moisturizing but this says it is shea-enriched so I’m hoping it will be moisturizing.  A full-review will follow.

Ineke Hothouse Flower Perfume
Sample- 0.05 oz
Full-sized- $95 for 2.5 oz

I was not going to pick this because I have so much perfume already but I read gardenia and had to pick it. I love gardenia. This is a wonderfully bright and fresh gardenia. I love it. I know some people complain about getting little perfume samples in their boxes but I am not going to complain. I actually read a review of a sample box somewhere (I can’t remember where it was now or which box it was) where the person who was writing it said she used up a sample vial in two or three days. Two or three days! I would have to take a bath in the stuff for it to last me that long! I spray one spritz on one wrist and then dab my other wrist (not rub, dab) on it, then spray down my shirt. It sounds weird but I read it in a fashion magazine or something somewhere. The heat from the core of your body makes the perfume waft up to your face throughout the day. Plus if it gets on my bra it last longer because perfume sticks to cloth better than skin. Shut up it works for me! Okay anyway so one of these little vials lasts me for a few weeks. Which is worth it to me.  Alright that’s it for my tangent. Moving on.

Mark. Hook Up Lip Gloss in Blow Kisses
Sample- Full-sized- $6.50

I got one of these lip glosses in Honey last month and I love it. Blow Kisses is a bold red. it’s a little bold for my tastes but I decided to try it because I already know I love Mark. lip glosses. This red, once I’ve put it on, actually isn’t that bold. Its pretty sheer, which is good for me but for someone else who likes the bold red look, maybe not so much. I also have a lot of blemishes around my mouth right now and the red just makes them more obvious. So. . I don’t know if I like this. I’ll have to think on it or try it with some foundation and a lot of concealer.

Yes to Blueberries Firming Eye Treatment
Sample- foil packet
Full-sized- $19.99 for 0.5 oz

Another product I don’t really consider high-end but I am excited to try it. I’ve used some products from the Yes to Tomatoes line with mostly good results and I’m always looking for a good eye cream so I’m excited to use this. I’m not thrilled about the foil packet but an eye treatment will probably last me a while so I’ll overlook it.

Lash Card Mascara Shields
Sample- 2 shields
Full-sized- $13.98 for 20 shields

This is a brilliant idea. I don’t know how many times I’ve blinked a little or pushed the mascara back a little too far and gotten it on my eyelid. If I’ve already done my eye shadow I have to wipe it off and start all over. Its kind of frustrating. These shields are curved to fit your eye lid to protect your eye lid from the mascara. I’ll use these tomorrow so expect a review pretty quickly.

Whip Hand Cosmetics Special Forces Loose Pigment Eyeshadow
Sample- 0.03 oz
Full-sized- $14 for 0.1 oz

This is an exclusive color created for Beauty Army. It’s a peachy color with a little bit of shimmer. It looks like it would make an excellent lid color. I’ll review it fully after I’ve seen how it lasts.

Overall I’m thinking I’ll be much happier this month then I was last month. According to my calculations this box is worth $27.80. Even without the extra gift its worth a little more than last month so I am happy. We’ll see after I try all of my products though. And just an added note, the box everything came in was pink this month (last month it was white). I had been using last months box to store small samples in but I’ve transferred everything into the pretty pink one!

Beauty Army December Box- Was It Worth It?

To recap all the things I got from this box:

Fiafini Delicate Cleansing Emulsion- $28 for 4 oz at (I found this as low as $11 at A good cleanser from what I can tell. I would be interested to try it for a longer period of time but I have quite a back up stock of facial cleansers right now.

Mark Hook Up Lip Gloss in Honey- $6.50 at ($5 at A nice neutral lip gloss that I will use plenty of. And full-sized!

Macadamia Natural Oil Deep Repair Masque- $33 for 8.5 oz at ($11.99 at I really couldn’t judge it from just one use but seemed to condition my hair well. A little expensive for my budget though.

Nelson J Argan Oil 7 Non-Foaming Shampoo- $36 for two 8 oz bottles at Left my hair shiny and smooth but greasy and not particularly soft. I had to wash out the residue after using it. I don’t think I will be purchasing this.

Emani Minerals Foundation Primer and Hydrating Serum- $28 for 0.84 oz at I loved this. This was the one thing I wasn’t even sure I was going to use and I ended up buying some for when I run out. It controls oil and feels like a baby angels bottom.

Ruddy Water Blushed Towelette- $22 for 24 towelettes at  (roller ball of unknown size $16.50 and blooming mist of unknown size $12 at The smell was okay but my towelette was dried out. And I would never use perfume towelettes.

So was it worth it? Hmm. I don’t know. I tally up two thumbs up, one thumbs down, two neutrals and one somewhere in between neutral and thumbs down. I do have a full-sized lip gloss to show for it and found a oil-controlling serum I love but other than that I wasn’t thrilled. However I have already picked my January box out and I am much happier with that (there’s only one foil packet!). Overall this box was barely worth my $12 but I’m hopeful things will improve.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Nelson J Argan Oil 7 Non-Foaming Shampoo- December Beauty Army

 $36 for two 8 oz bottles at

When I first got this in my Beauty Army box I was a little bummed I didn’t get the conditioner that goes with this but then as I was researching it, I found out there is no conditioner. This shampoo is supposedly shampoo, conditioner, detangler, shine serum, color protection, smoothing serum, and pre-styling lotion all in one. Its also sulfate and paraben free. IF it actually worked like it claims to it would be awesome. It would probably be my new holy grail hair product. I hate layering stuff in my hair because I feel like it weighs it down and makes it a little greasy sometimes. If one product could do all of the stuff this is supposed to in one application that would be amazing. But its not that amazing.

This shampoo is a white cream with little blue beads in it. I’m not really sure what the blue beads are supposed to do. Besides get stuck in my hair. Yeah, I was picking them out for hours after I shampooed. Maybe their supposed to exfoliate your scalp? I really don’t know. Anyway, the shampoo has a lovely sweet minty smell that’s reminiscent of candy canes. The directions say to work it through damp hair, starting at the roots. It says to comb it through with a wide-toothed comb and then rinse it out. It doesn’t foam up at all (obviously since its called non-foaming shampoo). I was a little skeptical because to me foaming up equates to cleaning (I have been brainwashed by the sulfates of modern beauty care) but I was pleasantly surprised by how clean and soft my hair felt as I was rinsing it out. Once it dried my hair certainly was shiny and soft but it also was a little limp and not as clean as it usually is. With the next few washes it got progressively more greasy. Either it left build up I my hair or it just didn’t shampoo out the oil or both. I finally got tired of looking like a grease monkey and broke out my regular shampoo. I did use the Argan Oil 7 as a conditioner of sorts and it worked really well for that. My hair was probably shinier and smoother than its ever been without using a flat iron. Despite that I will probably not be buying this. I read some reviews of it online that seemed positive so I’m not sure what my problem was. Either my hair is super oily or I was using too much of it.

So bottom line, it smells delicious and as long as I used another shampoo it works well to make my hair super shiny and smooth but does not work alone as a shampoo. It does not clean well and leaves a greasy residue. Plus the annoying little beads. So I'm not buying it.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Kiss My Face Lip Balm

$3.49 at

I’m not hugely picky about having natural products but I think its nice when possible. Kiss My Face is a great line of all natural beauty products. This lip balm is something I had not tried before but I got it as a Christmas gift from a co-worker. It comes in six flavors (coconut pineapple, strawberry, sliced peach, vanilla honey, treat mint, and cranberry orange). I got cranberry orange, which is much more orange than cranberry. The woman I’m working with got treat mint, which she says tastes like slightly sweet mint. This lip balm has SPF 15 which I like. Its sort of waxy in texture (which comes from both beeswax and organic beeswax as the second and fourth most common ingredients) and doesn’t moisturize that well. I have to reapply it much more often than my other lip balm. I’ll certainly use up the tube I have but I’m not sure I would buy it again.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Macadamia Natural Oil Deep Repair Masque- Beauty Army December

Sample was a dinky foil packet
 $33 for 8.5 oz at ($11.99 at

This hair masque uses macadamia oil and argan oil to condition and nourish hair. The directions say to comb it through hair after its been shampooed and let is soak on for 7 minutes. It’s a very, very thick cream but it goes into hair very well. It almost felt like my hair just soaked it in immediately. It smells wonderful too. Its bright and fruity but warm and earthy at the same time. I’m not sure if I left this on for exactly 7 minutes because I didn’t actually keep track. I just put it on in the shower after I’d washed my hair and then put my hair up in a bun to let it soak in while I finished my shower. As I was rinsing it out my hair felt so soft and silky. I did this on a morning when I had a day off (not to mention that it was nasty and snowy outside) so I just let my hair air dry and didn’t do anything special with it but I did notice that my hair was softer, shinier, and healthier looking. This would be a great weekly deep condition treatment. With that being said, it doesn't condition any better than other (and cheaper) masques I have used. So thats kind of a toss up as to whether I'll buy it again. I'm reviewing another mask right now that I'm kind of falling in love with so we'll see (look for that review).

Saturday, January 12, 2013


I have mentioned Opensky in several posts so let me take a minute to tell you exactly what it is. It’s a website where “experts” (although I’m not sure how they determine who an expert is) handpick products and items that they love and offer them at sometimes slightly discounted prices. These “experts” can be anything from celebrities telling you about the facial cleanser they use or a celebrity chef telling you which frying pan they use or a celebrity stylist or fashion designer touting the laurels of a brand or item of clothing. They have a wide range of products from electronics, to food items, to jewelry, picked out by a wide range of people. Molly Sims, Kristen Cavalleri, Dr. Phil’s wife, and Bobby Flay are just a few of the recognizable people who list things, along with a bunch of people I don’t know. Now the idea behind this caught my attention. You assume these products are good since experts in their field use them. If some celebrity with perfect skin is recommending this great anti-aging moisturizer that she has used for years, I’m going to tend to believe that it works. If some guy who has a cooking show is saying that this certain brand of frying pan heats more evenly and lasts longer than any other one, I’m going to believe him. You also accumulate points with every purchase that you make and depending on the amount of points you have, you get credits towards your purchases. You receive 10 points per $1 that you spend (and 20 points per dollar for Must Haves), 50 points for every item that you “love” (sort of the equivalent of liking something on Facebook) and there are other various rewards such as inviting a friend and sharing a product on Facebook. Right now I’m at Aqua level and I get a $10 credit twice a month.

Now all of this sounds great but there are some cons. First of all, the credits you get need to be on a minimum of $50. Like I have said before, I hate it when they do that to me. That tends to make me impulse buy things that I don’t need just to get the credit because I feel like I’ve thrown away $10 otherwise. If I can find something useful that I might have bought anyway then its worth it. The next con is the price. Most of these products are very pricey. Its true that some of them are discounted, but not by that much. I haven’t really found much that was worthwhile. I also don’t like the organization of the website. Its organized by categories and subcategories but then its just all thrown together. You can sort by price but you still have to kind of browse through everything to see what’s there. I would prefer sub-subcategories to further narrow down what I’m looking for. And my last and final gripe is the availability of items. They have a certain number of most items. So you go and find something you like but you don’t need it right now or you don’t have the money right now. When you go back to look for it, its probably gone. There are a limited number of everything and then its gone.

So is this worth it? Not really. Since I’m already going to get my credits and stuff I’ll probably keep at least looking around for some stuff and maybe it will give me an idea of things I might like so I can see if I can find it cheaper. And of course, just because some miracle skin cream works for Alicia Silverstone, it might not necessarily work for me.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

SpaRitual Multi-Tasker Base And Topcoat in One

$15 at (they are having a 20% off everything sale right now)

I LOOOVE products that do more than one thing. This is a great clear polish that can be used as a base coat to help the nail polish you are using adhere to the nail and make the color brighter and then again as a top coat to make it shinier and make it last longer. The first thing I noticed (and loved ) about this base and top coat was the applicator. It has a nice thick handle that is rubber and has texturized grippies to help make the application easier. This is more money than I maybe would normally spend on a top coat or base coat but since it was both I figured it was worth it. This went on really well and dried quickly. I didn’t notice that it made the color much brighter but it certainly made it shinier. I also like that this is natural and free of chemicals so even you want to use a polish that isn’t free of chemicals it will create a barrier between your nail and the polish. It works very well to make your nail polish last much longer. I’m super happy with it and will definitely purchase it again as well as some of their nail laquers.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Emani Minerals Foundation Primer and Hydrating Serum- BeautyArmy December

$28 for 0.84 oz at

This primer promises to absorb oils, minimize pores and fine lines, and moisturize skin. For someone with oily skin (such as I ) I could see this replacing moisturizer. It goes on velvety and silky and just a little bit goes a long way. It almost turned into a powder when its spread on. I didn’t notice much difference when applying foundation but I do think it helped it last longer. It also helped with my oil around my nose. If this wasn’t so expensive I would almost think of using it as just a moisturizer. Especially in the summer. It has just the right amount of moisture and helps control shine. The price seems to be about on par with other high-end primers but it still seems awfully expensive to me. I don’t use make-up that often so if I did get this it would last me forever so I guess that is something. I might buy it if I find it on sale.

Note: A few days after I had written this I decided to look online and find some. Even if I’m not wearing make-up this is great to put around my nose to control that oil. And I need such a small amount for that that I can justify paying extra money for it. I was going to try something cheaper but you know what they say…if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. So I found some on ebay for $22. Not as on sale as I was hoping but still not too bad.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Yves Saint Laurent Volume Effet Faux Cils Shocking Mascara

$30 at

I got this as a GWP from Sephora. And then promptly regretted it after I decided it was wonderful and looked up the price. This mascara makes my lashes look wonderful, never clumps, has a light little perfume-y smell, and doesn’t flake or smudge. Some people may not like the perfuminess (such as people with allergies) but I think its nice and it doesn’t seem to last once the mascara has dried. It also contains Pro-vitamin B5 to moisturize lashes. I actually think my lashes look a little fuller and healthier after using it a few times but maybe that’s just my imagination. I love it but I can’t justify spending so much for mascara. My little tiny tube will probably last me a few weeks anyway.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Fiafini Delicate Cleansing Emulsion-BeautyArmy December

$28 for 4 oz at (I found this as low as $11 at

This cleanser is a cream colored pearlescent cleanser that looks and smells kind of like the hand soap in a public bathroom. I was a little skeptical about putting public bathroom hand soap on my face but it seemed to clean well and left my face feeling soft. It doesn’t foam up very much but it didn’t dry my skin out. There was only enough in the packet for about three washes but from what I can tell its seems to be a good cleanser. I think this would be something I would be interested in trying out for longer.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Heartland Fragrance Co. White Ginger Bath Salts- December Glossybox

Sample was 5.5 oz (which it says is good for one bath)
Full-sized- $10 for 30 oz or $19.99 for 66 oz at

These bath salts smell heavenly. I don’t really smell any ginger in them but they just smell very light and flowery. The bath salts dissolved really easily in the water (which seems like a no brainer but don’t tell me you’ve never had that grittiness underneath you in the bath tub). Supposedly this particular scent is supposed to energize, renew, and restore. I don’t know about that. I felt relaxed after I got out of the bath I just wanted to go to bed. I was so happy with how soft my skin felt after I towel dried myself. It did not however do much for the really dry spots like my elbows, knees, or feet. Overall I did like the bath salts but for my baths I usually prefer bubble bath. However if I was in the market for bath salts I would definitely buy these.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Gold Bond Hand Sanitizer Moisturizer

$10 for 12 oz at most drugstores

I know gold bond has kind of an icky connotation for being but powder for people with yeasty, smelly problems (is that just me?) but I discovered their lotion a while ago. As far as inexpensive hand and body lotions go I love it. I have graduated to more expensive hand lotions that work better but since I use a lot of it I still use their body lotion. I think I’ve mentioned this but I work at an assisted living facility and wash my hands a lot. In between washing my hands I use the hand sanitizer thingys they have on the wall everywhere at work. They used to have Purell dispensers but they switched to some cheaper brand that is yucky. I don’t like it. I used it once and then was picking at my lip and then licked my lips and got this nasty bitter taste in my mouth that I couldn’t get rid of. Now, I know you shouldn’t eat hand sanitizer, I am fully aware of that. But I bite my fingernails, I pick at my lips, and I do eat with my fingers and I don’t want nasty bitter hand sanitizer  going in my mouth. So I decided to buy this gold bond hand sanitizer and see how it worked.

I like it, but it could be better. I was expecting just really moisturizing hand sanitizer but its actually lotion with hand sanitizer in it. Just FYI, whole pump is waaaay too much. Even half a pump is a little too much. The lotion has a light, clean smell but is quite greasy. I haven’t experienced that from other gold bond lotions so it must be the hand sanitizer in it. As often as I use hand sanitizer, to keep reapplying lotion that often is a little ridiculous and is way too much lotion. I’m using up the rest of the bottle (actually I’ve left it on the nurses station at work for anyone to use hoping it will go quicker) but when that’s gone I don’t think I’ll be purchasing it again. I’ll buy a bottle of Purell and bring some hand lotion to work with me.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!!!

I know New Year's resolutions were meant to be broken but we always make them anyway. Here are some of my (beauty) New Year's resolutions.

Eat Better
This may not seem like a beauty resolution but it totally is. There have been so many studies that have proven that if you eat healthy, natural foods your skin will show the benefits and greasy unhealthy food can manifest as acne. As an added reason for this resolution I am engaged and while the wedding isn’t for almost two years, I want to get a head start on looking awesome in my wedding dress.

Try Harder to Find Products That Will Make My Skin Look Better (Even If That Means Spending More Money)
I have really already started that. I am done with just coping with my skin and accepting that I have acne. There has got to be something out there that will get rid of my acne. I have already found a couple things that help clear up the pimples quicker but have yet to find something that will actually prevent the pimples from forming. I also think I need to move away from drug store brands. Some of them are fine but in a lot of cases, you get what you pay for.

Get Better At Applying Make-Up
I have never been much for wearing make-up but I have recently started trying to be more adventurous with my make-up application. I already have purchased some primers, new eyeliner, setting powder, and some make-up brushes. I have yet to try a lot of it but I am determined to learn how to apply make-up flawlessly.

Find A Good Sulfate-Free Shampoo
I am relatively new to sulfate-free shampoo and I’m not sure yet how I feel about it but I know its better for you hair. After I finish up my supply of sulfate-full shampoo I’m going to experiment with some sulfate-free shampoos and hopefully find one I like.

Start Using Dry Shampoo
Going along with finding a good shampoo that is healthier for my hair, I’m hoping to find a good dry shampoo to start using a couple times a week. I know its not really good for your hair to shampoo it every day but it gets so greasy. Hopefully I can find a good dry shampoo that will make my hair look freshly shampooed.