April 2018 Ipsy Bag

The situation: You give ipsy $10 a month. Ipsy sends you a “curated” bag of makeup samples. Mostly I hate it.

This month’s theme is “social butterfly”. They’re mocking me. I like going to bed early and reading books. I refuse to go to an event if there are more than three people there. Show of hands, how many times have you personally asked me to go to something and I’ve told you that I don’t want to? They even sent a little card with this bag telling me to say yes to everything this month.

No.

What’s in my bag
Picture of my April 2018 ipsy bag and contents. Baker (my cat) came over to nuzzle things because he can't stand not being the center of attention. This month's bag is white and covered in pink/purple butterflies with pink foil corners.

Baker would not let me take a fancy flat lay picture.

Swatches without flash (left) and with flash (right):

PRETTY WOMAN Nail Polish in Girl Boss
We’re going to ignore that lavender nail polish tends to look weird with my skin and go straight to the formula. I swatched this without a base or top coat to get a look at the color. This is the fastest drying nail polish that I’ve ever seen in my life. I actually watched the solvent evaporate.

The first coat was pretty weird and patchy. It looks kind of like a golf ball. There are dents everywhere from how quickly it dried.
Pretty Woman nail polish in Girl Boss on my thumb nail. It's a very light lavender color.

I thought for sure the second coat would be even weirder, but it mostly evened out.

Purchase or pass: Other than the color, it’s pretty nice. I might consider another one of their colors after my next big nail polish purge.

TRIFLE COSMETICS Sugar Bunny Lip Scrub

Image of the Trifle Cosmetics Sugar Bunny lip scrub container. It's white, with a mosaic of white bunnies in black dresses.Some of the Trifle Cosmetics lip scrub on my index finger. It's light green and grainy.

Oh hey, a full sized product! That’s awesome because I’d never spend $18 on a sugar scrub. It smells exactly like watermelon Jolly Ranchers. It does not taste like watermelon Jolly Ranchers. I checked.

Purchase or pass: Pass. It works well, but I could dump some sugar in literally any lip balm and it would do the same thing for less than $18. However, I’m eyeing their Lip Parfait in Summer Cone. It’s the same price, but you don’t immediately wipe it off.

NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Soft Matte Lip Cream in Milan
Have you ever wanted to coat your lips in silicone face primer? Because that’s the exact texture of this lip cream. Applying it was an experience. Once you get it down into a thin layer it’s okay. Getting to that thin layer is the issue. Just check out that chunk!
NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Milan on my lips. I've got a chunk on my cupids bow from the applicator not holding product well.
It’s so thick and clumpy on the applicator. I’m not sure if my tube has started to dry out or if the texture is just terrible. Once it mostly dries you can’t tell that you’re wearing anything.
NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Milan on my lips. I've cleaned up the chunky bit and it looks nice.
Purchase or pass: I’m torn. I think it’s a pass based on the trauma of the application.

DELECTABLE BY CAKE BEAUTY Ultra Nourishing Hand Cream in Sweet Mint
It’s a hand cream that smells like mint chocolate chip ice cream. I was going to fuss at it for being expensive, but it’s actually not. It’s just a solid hand cream that smells a little bit too much like dessert. Seriously, my hands are making me hungry.

Purchase or pass: I found a $15 off affiliate link (you get $15, I get $15). They’ve got a box set of half sized hand creams for $9 and I want it.

NOMAD COSMETICS Illuminating Highlighter in Midnight Sun
Nomad Cosmetics Illuminating Highlighter in Midnight Sun. It's a tiny little pan.

I’m cranky about how tiny this highlighter is. It came in a little carboard box that I had to rip in half because physics didn’t intend for packaging that small to be able to open.

Having said that, this highlighter packs a pretty hard punch. It’s a nice champagne color without looking yellow. I’m not a fan of the mica concentration, but I’ve started to feel that all powder highlights are too much light straight glitter for me.

Purchase or pass: Their website auto-plays music. Hard pass. (I also couldn’t find this product on their website, but mostly the auto-play is a sin.)

Wow, I think that everything in this month’s bag was usable! It must be because I finally cancelled my subscription. But never fear, I’m getting bags until June and picking a new subscription for July.

I don’t learn from my mistakes.

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BLAQ Meteor Shower

meteorshower

Ooh, boy. (And hi Baker!) Remember in February when I said that this was the most distressing thing that ipsy had sent me?

Picture of meteor shower by blaq sample from the February 2018 ipsy bag. My cat makes an appearance in the bottom, out of focus.

I like outer space. A lot. I’ve cried in the DC museum twice. I can name whoever is speaking on NASA TV at pretty much any time. I’ve been caught timing my runs so that I can stop and wave at the ISS as it passes overhead.

Picture of meteor shower by blaq sample from the February 2018 ipsy bag. My cat makes an appearance in the bottom, out of focus.

I don’t like that I can be given a one time use meteorite that I am expected to wash down the drain.

I have part of a meteorite in a necklace. A lot of them land in Africa and are then sold. Ultimately they’re dirt, so I understand that this scrub is just a gimmick. Meteorites aren’t bad for your skin, I guess. We aren’t robbing them from museums. The ones being sold to be made into scrubs aren’t scientifically interesting. There’s no real reason why this is so upsetting to me other than I really value outer space, so treating it like it’s disposable hurts my soul. I wasn’t going to use it at all. I was just going to rant here.

Then I got this email:
"Hi April, We are reaching out because your February Glam Bag contains the BLAQ Meteor Shower Scrub. We've heard from a few members who already tried their sample that it may be difficult to wash off. We wanted to reach out to all ipsters who received this item and recommend you apply the body scrub on a small area of your skin first before using it in the shower. If you find the scrub difficult to remove, there are a couple of solutioins for removing excess residue the scrub may leave on your skin. 1. Rub an oil (we like coconut oil!) or any oil based cleanser in a circular motion and rinse off with warm water, or 2. Apply any soap (body wash, hand soap) to the area, rub in a circular motion, and rinse off with warm water. If you have any questions, ipsyCare will be happy to help you.

Ipsy sent out a product so bad that they had to send an email explaining how to wash it off! You bet I’m using it now.

I decided to rub down one of my legs. I figured if it was nice, awesome. I have some ingrown hairs and could use some exfoliation. If I stain my leg black..pants are an easy way to avoid questions.

Blaq meteor scrub pre-rinsing. My leg is very gray.

It wasn’t very pleasant to rub on. It has a weird earthy smell that I’m not into, and the texture is hard to spread. I like a higher oil content in my scrubs. It also felt pretty harsh. My go to scrub is some white sugar dumped in whatever oil I have in the kitchen.

Buying scrubs is kind of dumb. Yeah, it’s fun as a luxury item. You guys know you can make your own really easily, right? Okay. Good.

Anyway. I decided to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and just rinse it off.
Blaq meteor scrub post-rinsing. My leg is gray and patchy, despite evenly rinsing it off.

I was still gray and patchy. Okay, so using a loofah should scrape it off, right?
Blaq meteor scrub post scrubbing. Most the gray has come off, but a small amount remains. The instructions from the company specifically say not to scrub it off.

That mostly got it. The irritation (that probably only I can see) is from shaving a few days ago, not the scrub. I look slightly gray tinged and dirty, instead of incandescent and shimmering.

Are we surprised? I’m throwing the rest of it out.

Did anyone else try it? I heard that some people had issues with irritation and allergic reactions, so be careful if you do.

Don’t Cover Yourself in Glitter and Run Into the Ocean

I am full on dragging a product I’ve never tried today, but for good reason. Look at what showed up as an ad for me:
glittterscreen1

Glitter sunscreen. If you don’t think about it, it sounds pretty great. Antioxidants! Paraben free! Cruelty free! Vegan! It even is somewhat ocean aware and is oxybenzone free. (Though it still contains octinoxate, making it toxic to marine life.)

But it has glitter. Some shimmers aren’t plastic, but polyethylene terephthalate and polymethyl methacrylate definitely are. Plastic in the ocean is a huge problem. This week a sperm whale washed up on a beach with 64 pounds of plastic in its stomach that led to its death. Microplastics are everywhere (in your food! bottled water!) and this company wants you to jump into the ocean covered in it. I don’t care how nice it smells or how fun it is, don’t run into the ocean covered in glitter.

Actually, don’t jump into any body of water covered in glitter. Remember the water cycle? All water goes back to the ocean.

Let’s all collectively quit glitter.

Sand & Sky Brilliant Skin Pink Clay Mask

I received this mask in my February ipsy bag. The first I noticed was that instead of instructions or an ingredients list, there is a Vitamin A warning.

Front of the sample Sand & Sky pink clay mask. It says that it detoxifies and brightens.The warning on the back of the Sand & Sky pink clay sample reads "This product contains Vitamin A. Use with caution if also taking dietary supplements or using other products containing Vitamin A."

The warning isn’t super useful. I’ll spare you the google rabbit hole: Vitamin A is retinol. Retinol sensitizes your skin to the sun. I would recommend using this mask at night and wearing sunscreen afterwards. There’s a small risk of excessive Vitamin A intake if you’re pregnant. I should not be your main source of advice if you’re pregnant.

The second thing I noticed was that this was the absolute stingiest sample I have ever received. They should have sent a foil packet. This tube contains enough product for one very thin application. One.

It’s not very pink, either. They cut the pink clay with bentonite. That doesn’t sound sexy, but bentonite is made from volcanic ash. Where’s my pastel metal volcano advertising? Missed opportunity.

Image of the Sand & Sky pink clay mask on my skin. It is the slightest tint of pink before it dries.

True to ipsy fashion, this mask burns like a mother as it dries. It didn’t break me out or make my skin red, though. My skin even felt SUPER smooth and soft after. It was nice. It made me forget that this smelled vaguely like a hospital.

So, I looked up purchasing it and —

Screenshot from the Sand & Sky website. One tub of the mask is $49.00.

The website looks like a marketing scam. If you changed all of the pink to yellow, it would be an ebook money grab targeting old people.

Guys. Don’t pay $50 for a product that doesn’t tell you to wear sunscreen with it.

While we’re at it, calm down with the “not tested on animals” hype. Do you know why they don’t test their product on animals? Because everything in it has already been extensively tested on animals. There’s nothing innovative or new going on here. It’s not a commitment to animal welfare. They aren’t testing because they don’t have to and it’s easier to not do it. Everything you use that is “cruelty-free” is built on years of animal testing. That’s a low bar for changing the world. I’ll be impressed when we’re pioneering biodegradable packaging and cutting down on water used in production. If a company isn’t doing that, I don’t care.

I’m mostly just mad that it’s $50. That’s obscene.

What’s the most expensive dirt that you’ve ever rubbed on your face? This is mine.

Okay, I’m finally done with The Ordinary.

Weird stuff has been going on over at The Ordinary, a popular skincare brand loved for their inexpensive and science-based formulas. Some higher up people quit/got fired. (The old co-CEO recently did her first interview about it.) I wasn’t fussed. Business gets dirty. There were bad Glassdoor reviews about management that were more concerning to me, but not enough to keep me from ordering.

Then there are the Instagram posts. Most of them are just kind of cringe-y. Between product photos there would be a picture of a dead sheep, talking about how the company doesn’t test on animals. There was some comment sass, which is pretty easy to ignore.

Yesterday was the final straw for me. A commenter very politely explained to the CEO that posting pictures of homeless people without their consent is gross. His reaction was to make another post about her. This combined two of my least favorite things, petty call out culture and non-consensual photos. I noped out of the brand then and unfollowed them.

Apparently that was just the start to this week’s drama. Today, the whole US team has been fired. I’m not sure how relevant my remaining The Ordinary product reviews will be when they’re posted, but I wanted to say now that they have already been written and I’m not repurchasing anything. Who knows if I could if I wanted to, since the US team was so disposable.

There are alternatives listed here that I’ll be looking into.

Sephora Collection Sleeping Mask in Pearl

I was so mad at myself for buying this when it arrived with the rest of my order. I had read reviews talking about what a great value it was at $4. And yes, Sephora is expensive, but I had something larger in mind.

Image of me holding the Sephora pearl sleeping mask in its packaging. It's a tiny foil topped plastic container inside of a cardboard box. The box makes it look like there's more product than there is.  Side view of the Sephora Pearl sleeping mask. The box is maybe two centimeters tall.

Image of the Sephora Pearl sleeping mask's tiny tub. It's got a large pocket of air in it and I haven't even opened it.

I work in milliliters, and am still not sure how this is 8mL.

Now that I’ve complained, guess how many uses I got out of this? Five. That brings us down to 80 cents a use. I think that’s an acceptable value for a treat. I was wrong, Sephora. A little goes a long way with this sleeping mask.

I also genuinely enjoyed using it. It reminded me a lot like a sheet mask, but I didn’t feel like I was creating as much trash. I was able to goop enough on that I got a nice, cooling sensation for a few minutes. I do recommend giving yourself some buffer time between putting this on and going to bed. I didn’t have to wipe it off my face, but it did take a little while (10-15 minutes) to absorb enough that I didn’t feel like it would just disappear into my pillow.

The pearl “flavor” advertises that it “evens and helps minimize irregularities for skin tone that is even, fresher, and brighter”. I don’t really have skin irregularities (?) or worry about uneven skin tone, but I did think my skin felt moisturized in the morning. After five uses I’m also tempted to say that my skin looked “brighter”, but I am also in the middle of updating my skincare routine. Nicer skin could be due to a number of things at the moment.

Oh no, I guess that means I have to try this again when my routine settles down so that I can scientifically say if it actually works or not.

The next time I order from Sephora I’m going to buy every “flavor” of these. They may be replacing my sheet mask habit.

My Current Skincare Routine — March 2018

I posted about my basic routine back in November, before I bought some new products to try from The Ordinary. I’ve also started wearing sunscreen on my face every day. Even in the winter. Even when it snows.

It’s important to note that it took me two months to integrate these three products into my routine. People that are posting about how they starting using all these new products on their face one week are either lying to you and getting their sponsorship money, or have skin of steel that they don’t actually need to put thought into taking care of.

The Routine:

As always, go see a dermatologist, even if it’s just for a skin check and you don’t have anything that you’re concerned about.

Image of my current morning skincare products. I've got a konjac sponge, CeraVe foaming facial cleanser, CeraVe moisturizing cream, Eucerin SPF lotion, and Dickinson's witch hazel toner.
AM
– Cleanse with konjac sponge and CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser
– Dickinson’s Hydrating Toner
I still want to try a different daily toner. I’m almost done with this one and am taking suggestions!
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream
I’ve been using the same tub of this for a year and a half. It’s bottomless.
– Wait at least ten minutes.
My sunscreen doesn’t play well with my moisturizer. It goes streaky and gross if I don’t wait long enough to let it soak in.
– Eucerin Daily Hydration 30 SPF
It’s drying and leaves a white cast on my skin. I want to switch it out so badly, but I should wait until I settle on a new toner.

Image of my current night time skincare products. I've got the konjac sponge, CeraVe foaming facial cleanser, and CeraVe moisturizing cream again. I've also added The Ordinary's Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution and Granactive Retinoid 2% emulsion.
PM

– Cleanse with konjac sponge and CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser
The Ordinary’s Granactive 2% Retinoid Emulsion every three days, at least 20 minutes after I’ve washed my face to allow my skin’s pH to return to normal.
The Ordinary’s Glycolic Acid Toner also every three days, typically the day after I’ve used the retinoid.
– A mask once or twice a week. The bubble clay and these sheet masks are my current favorites. Clay or otherwise drying masks are used on my third day of the three day retinoid/glycolic acid cycle.
The Ordinary’s Caffeine Solution
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

Further Tweaking:
I’d like to add some more hydration to my routine. I’ve been eyeing The Ordinary’s Buffet and Rose Hip Seed Oil.
I want to try new toners, even though the one I have now is totally fine.
I also desperately want a sunscreen that isn’t so dry and white.

I think I’m definitely on my way to having a scary intricate routine.
It’s a journey. Where are you on yours?

 

March 2018 Ipsy Bag

The situation: You give ipsy $10 a month. Ipsy sends you a “curated” bag of makeup samples. Mostly I hate it.

This month seems genuinely good? I don’t understand. My whole thing is that I’m locked into a year long subscription and everyone thinks it’s fun to watch me suffer.

This month’s theme is “create”. I’m not going to color the bag, but I have no snark for it.
I’m so suspicious.

What’s in my bag
Image of the March 2018 ipsy bag and contents. I've done a flat lay on my messy watercolor palette to keep with the theme. This month's bag is a black and white drawing of women. They sent two markers so I could color it in. I didn't.

And the swatches. Top to bottom: City Color cream highlighter (finger swatched), City Color powder highlighter (finger swatched), Stud lip pencil, and then the City Color powder highlighter brush swatched with the fan brush they sent me. You can see it if you squint.

ROYAL & LANGNICKEL Prismatic Ombre Fan Brush

I was unenthusiastic about this originally. I like my highlighter heavy handed and think the bright colors make this brush look cheap. HOWEVER, ipsy sent me highlighter that is basically bronzer when applied with anything else that I own. This brush lets me subtly apply the sparkles without so much of the pigment. You win, ipsy.

Purchase or pass: I’m probably never going to buy a makeup brush with the rate that subscription boxes send them out, lets be honest.

CONTOUR COSMETICS Lip Kit Pencil in Stud
We can all rest easy. I think this is awful. Crumbly, applies patchy, and rubbed off as soon as I pursed my lips. The tip immediately broke off when I tried to use it. It would be asking too much of ipsy to have them send me a usable lip color product. Balance is restored to the universe.

Purchase or pass: Direct to trash. I have two lip liners that I like all ready, I don’t need to settle for this one.

GLOSSIER Balm Dotcom in Original
Ipsy sent me something that I was planning on buying! It’s lip balm. I don’t know what other description you want from me.

Purchase or pass: It’s basically lanolin and Vaseline. It’s not so overpriced that I wont order it from their website at least once. Do you guys recommend anything else from Glossier? I’ll be trying Boy Brow at some point.

CITY COLOR COSMETICS Glow Duo
Image of the City Color Glow Duo highlighter kit. The left side is a light shimmery cream, while the right is a bronzey powder.
I think this is my third month in a row getting something from City Color. Ipsy needs to lay off of them and highlighter. I can only glow so much. BUT, let’s be honest, I’m going to use it.

Purchase or pass: Pass. I’ll use it until it dies, but the cream side dries a little flaky. It’s not nearly as good as Watts Up or the highlighter in the Maybelline Master Camo palette. The powder side sits on my skin better but is so dark that I can only use a little at a time.

MEG COSMETICS Good Night PM Mask
I’m training them to mail me sheet masks and it is GLORIOUS. I did google the fancy plant they’re bragging that this is made of, camellia sinensis. It’s fucking tea. Drop the pretentiousness.

Purchase or pass: You guys know by now that this will be getting it’s own post, right? Stay tuned to see if it burns my skin off or is normal. There is no in between.

I’m only trashing one thing this month and nothing emotionally traumatized me! Do you think ipsy is turning things around? Or do they realize that we’re nearing the end of my subscription and just want me to renew?

 

February 2018 Ipsy Bag

The premise: You give ipsy $10 a month. They send you a somewhat curated bag of makeup. I paid for a year up front and either a) the service is complete trash, or b) they figured they already had my money for a year and they are sending me the stuff no one else wants.

Oh boy, we have some shit to unpack here.

First, this month’s theme is “unzipped”. Because body positivity = about sex. Also body positivity is for EVERYONE that is conventionally attractive and not lumpy. There’s an article titled “Self-Love Starts Here: See Why *Everyone* (Including You) Deserves to Feel Sexy”. I can’t be bothered to click on it, but I feel like they’re negging me. EVEN I DESERVE TO FEEL SEXY.

Let’s see how they’re going to make me feel sexy this month.

What’s in my bag
Image of the February 2018 ipsy bag and contents. The bag itself is a light, light pink with a black lace trim.

My only complaint about the bag (other than I would never use it) is that it is described as “blushing pink”. Gross. I am pink with rage or not pink at all.

I traded in points for the eye mask. That will get judged separately later, because it was a choice that I made, rather than something ipsy subjected me to.

Swatches from top to bottom: Seraphine blush, Marsk shadow straight, Marsk shadow applied wet. Left photo is my ungodly bright bathroom. Right is with flash.

SERAPHINE BOTANICALS Lychee + Gold

I actually love peach blushes. I’m so pale that more true pinks make me look like I’m dying of heat stroke. Even this one is a bit much. I am a ghost. Solid job, though, ipsy.

Purchase or pass: It’s $14 and doesn’t have any weird ingredients aside from random fruit extracts. The only reason I’m hesitant is that all of the products say that they’re specially formulated to flatter all skin tones, but the half-assed clicking I did only revealed swatches on a girl as pale as me.

SAND & SKY Brilliant Skin Pink Clay Mask
I am 100% sure that ipsy reads my blog and is trolling me after I yelled about rubbing sand on my face last month. I’ll concede that I think clay masks are okay if you otherwise moisturize your skin well, so I’ll give this a try. Edit: Full review here.

Purchase or pass: A jar of this is $50 and the website looks like a millennial marketing scam.

MARSK Loose Eyeshadow in Foiled Again
This is much better than the last metallic eye shadow they sent me! I wore it (with primer) and it stayed all day without creasing or shedding too much glitter. I haven’t tried a wet application yet.

Purchase or pass: I will never need to wear this much glitter.

BLAQ Meteor Shower
This is the most distressing thing that ipsy has ever sent me. We don’t have the space (lol) here. You will hear about this later. Edit: Full review here.

Purchase or pass: Most. Distressing. Thing.

LUXIE BEAUTY Blending and Shading Eye Brush 249
It’s a brush. Neat.

Purchase or pass: I already own this.

If they had sent anything other than the meteors that I am supposed to throw away, I think I’d be okay with this bag. Weird.

Tell me the most traumatizing thing that ipsy has ever sent you in the comments.

Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Gel

First things first: I did not buy this $50 moisturizer. I got a sample with my Sephora order.

Having said that, I was super excited to try some Drunk Elephant. Skincare nerds love Drunk Elephant.

This moisturizer is terrible.

The first thing I noticed was that it smells pretty strongly of alcohol, which I was not expecting from something that is supposed to moisturize my skin. I looked up the ingredients and they’re mostly the ‘good alcohols‘. That’s nice. I have no idea why it’s such a bad product now.

It’s a gel. Usually gel moisturizers work well with my skin, which tends to be oily. Gels tend to absorb fairly quickly and matte on me. This one left me shiny, and instantly sticky.

I stuck it out for about an hour. Drunk Elephant is a supposedly good brand. Some things need time to sink in. My poor winter skin started feeling drier and drier. I finally gave up on this being a nice experience and slathered my face in my normal Cerave.

And no, I didn’t notice that layering Cerave over this made it work any better. Save your money.