Saturday, June 28, 2014

Makeup Brushes Need Love, Too

Makeup brushes are an essential part of any cosmetic routine, but if you don’t care for them properly they can be ruined very quickly. Some makeup brush sets are expensive (but not if you go to The Salon Outlet), but the longevity of your brushes can be greatly increased with proper care.

After you have invested in a good quality set of makeup brushes you need to protect your investment – keep them clean and washed or they will start to deteriorate very quickly. Another problem is that dirty makeup brushes won’t apply the makeup properly and can spread bacteria and germs.  Clean makeup brushes help to maintain a clear complexion.
  • Natural Bristle Makeup Brushes will last for years if you wash them weekly with a moisturizing soap. These are great for bronzer, powder and blush. A gentle shampoo can also be used to clean these brush types.  Gently massage the soap or shampoo onto the wet bristles to get a good lather, but make sure that you rinse everything out when you have finished.
  • Synthetic Bristle Makeup Brushes are more often used on liquid and cream products – lip gloss or liner, lipstick, crème foundation and blush. These need regular cleaning; if you use them daily then clean them every other day at least. These will need some sort of alcohol based cleaner to break down the grease from the cosmetics.  Even if you clean them regularly, they will need to be replaced every few months. Remember that germs love wet and moist conditions.
  • Powder Puffs are another favorite breeding ground for dreaded bacteria. They need to be cleaned thoroughly each week using warm water and soap.  They don’t last very long so will need to be replaced quite frequently.  The powder puff, which is often supplied with a powder compact, will not last as long as the powder it was supplied with so keep it clean, but then throw it out and buy another when it starts to show too much wear.

Lash combs, tweezers and eyelash curlers should not be neglected, either.  They are really simple to clean: all you need to do is spray them with the alcohol based cleaner you use on your synthetic bristle brushes and give them a wipe over.

Drying Your Brushes

Remember that bacteria breeds in wet places, so after you have washed your brushes you need to make sure that they are properly dried before you use them again.  After you have cleaned them, take a dry towel and squeeze gently around the bristles to soak up excess moisture. Some people are tempted to simply stand their wet brushes handle side down and bristles facing upwards in a cup, brush holder or other pot until they are dry, but this is not a good idea. Drying brushes this way means that the water leaks down into the area where the handle meets the bristles and can ruin the glue, causing the bristles to fall out of the brush.  Simply place wet brushes on a clean, dry towel on a table or other flat surface with the bristles hanging over the edge to help you protect the shape of the bristles.  Place your brushes close to an open window or a heater and they’ll be clean, dry and ready for action in no time at all. Remember, take care of your brushes and they’ll take care of you!

*Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by The Salon Outlet.  Monetary compensation was received for this post.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Soap Diamond Giveaway!

Earlier this month I reviewed Soap Diamond, a heart-shaped antibacterial soap that has a ring inside.  The soap itself is great quality and cruelty-free, and it looks so cute sitting in my soap dish.

Now, after about a month of use, I have my ring!  The soap itself isn't gone, but it started to show the crack down the middle where the two halves were put together, so I pried it open to get my ring.  It was wrapped in a plastic bag, so none of the soap was on the actual ring.  I'm so happy with the design--I love simple jewelry, so the ring I got fits my style 100%!  To learn more about Soap Diamond, check out my original review here.

The kind people at Soap Diamond have offered a soap for one of my readers to win!  Enter using the Rafflecopter below.  Giveaway is open to U.S. residents aged 18+ and ends on Friday, July 4th (see the bottom of the Rafflecopter form for full terms and conditions).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Soap Diamond. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

June BoxyCharm Review

I used to think that BoxyCharm was a jewelry subscription service because the word "charm" always threw me off.  Once I started to see it gaining popularity around the blogosphere I realized that it is actually a beauty subscription, and a great one at that!

I decided to try the June box because the service had been getting so much buzz and all of the past boxes I saw reviewed were really great.  I certainly was not disappointed with what BoxyCharm had to offer for this month!

The box's theme was "Bridal Beauty," since June is a popular wedding month.  They included five full-sized products to help any woman, bride-to-be or otherwise, feel beautiful.  I was so impressed by the fact that they sent all full-sized items!

  • tarte cheek stain in Blushing Bride ($30) - This 12-hour cheek stain is a shimmery pink tone that would be flattering on a lot of skin tones.  I don't use a lot of cream/stain blushes, but now that the weather is getting warmer I know a lot of people prefer this formula over powder, so I'm excited to give it a try.
  • STRANGEBEAUTIFUL Nail Lacquer ($18) - Each bottle contains 8 ml of polish and the informational card for the box says they are "highly pigmented and super saturated."  I'm going to give the gold shade a try tonight when I paint my nails.
  • Tarina Tarantino Eye Dream HyperLiner ($15) - I'm not sure if everyone received the same shade, but mine was a blue called "Cute Robot."  The formula is water-resistant and highly pigmented.  I don't really wear eyeliner at all, but the blue shade is fun to have for the summer.
  • Tarina Tarantino Eye Dream HyperLight ($22) - This under-eye brightener has a brush applicator and can also be used along the cheekbones (or anywhere else you want to highlight, I suppose).  I haven't tried it yet, but I don't own any under-eye products so I will be putting it to good use.
  • Revlon Bold Lacquer Mascara ($7.99) - This is the only product I'm not thrilled with--I have a ton of mascaras to use up and Revlon is not a brand I usually buy.  The product itself seems interesting, though, because it's one of those fiber mascaras.
Bottom Line: This box cost me $21 and had a value of $92.99!  I'd say that's a pretty great deal.  I'm excited to use all but one of the products, and I love that they were all full-sized.  I am incredibly impressed with BoxyCharm and I can't wait to see what they send for future months!

Check out more great June subscription reviews at the Subscription Box Linkup!

Share Your Subscription with Unpack the Box

*Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Memebox 10 Minute Box Review and Unboxing

Memebox has quickly become one of the most popular beauty boxes throughout the blogosphere, and is one that I've been anxious to try out myself.  I had actually just purchased Memebox #14 when I received an inquiry from them to see if I would be interested in reviewing one of their other boxes--of course I said yes right away!

Memebox (pronounced "mi-mi-box," named after a popular Korean doll) sent me their 10 Minute Box to review, which is one of their special themed boxes.  The idea behind this one is that it contains all the products you'll need to "make love happen" when you only have a few minutes to get ready.  The box is currently sold out on the Memebox website, but it retailed for $23.

This box is a steal at only $23!  It contains five products total, all that fit very well with the theme.  If Memebox is entirely new to you, it would probably help if I told you that they send the hottest beauty products from Korea.  I've been especially interested in this box myself because I was born in Seoul, South Korea, and I love trying international beauty products!  The nice thing about them is that you don't have to commit to buying any more boxes than the ones you want--it's not a renewing subscription, you can just buy whatever limited-edition boxes strike your fancy and pay a one-time fee.

Here's what the box contained:
  • Aromalab Designer Fragrance Oil-American Pheromone Woman Type 01 8ml - I like roll on perfumes because they're portable and easy to use.  This one smells a little bit differently than what I was hoping for based on the description; watch my video review below to hear more.
  • Hope Girl Powdery Body Perfume 20g - I've never used a powder perfume before.  This one is a silky silica powder that contains sweat-absorbing micro particles to help keep you feeling fresh all night.  It retails for $49 and is a full-sized item, so it pays for the box and then some right there!
  • Hope Girl Milky Balm Lipstick - I am not a regular lipstick wearer and I definitely don't wear red lips often, but this is a really nice lipstick.  It's smooth and feels buttery on my lips, not drying like some lipsticks tend to feel.
  • Secret Romance Hair Essence Lovely 60ml - This is essentially a scented hair oil: it contains angelica root and grape seed oils, as well as aloe vera and ginseng extracts to help strengthen your hair.  It smells like roses and leaves a light scent.
  • Laboratory Eyelash+ 5 Pairs - False eyelashes are another thing I don't use, but I'm interested in giving these a try.  They're definitely dramatic!
  • Watch my video unboxing for more detail on the products and my thoughts on them:

    Memebox also included some great coupons and deals for you to use, and I highly recommend taking advantage of them!  I really enjoyed this box and with all of the options they offer, I'm sure you'll find one that you'll want to purchase (I think the Memebox From Nature looks great!).

  • Use coupon D5SS0L82X8ZE for $3 off any order, expires at the end of July
  • Earn an extra $5 in referral points (good for use on any purchase) if you email and mention my referral ID, which is "seeshoplove"

*Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Memebox.  Post contains affiliate links.

Monday, June 16, 2014

June Birchbox Review

When I first peeked at my Birchbox June box page to see what I'd be receiving I was totally underwhelmed--I only had four samples showing, and none of them were that great.  There must have been a glitch, though, because when I checked again the next day three more samples appeared and I was much happier with that.

June's theme was "Away We Go."  I saw a few reviews where subscribers got World Cup themed boxes, so I'm wondering if those were just for specific subscribers?  I would have liked getting a World Cup one, but oh well.  The "Away We Go" box contained a quick quiz you could take to find your "dream" vacation destination, and then if you Instagrammed a picture of that or your box you could enter to win a Jet Blue round trip ticket.

As a whole this wasn't the best box I've ever gotten.  It wasn't absolutely terrible (I've definitely gotten some really bad boxes in the past), but I wasn't jumping for joy at any of the samples.  I liked that I got a bigger number of samples, though -- I think seven is the most I've ever gotten in a Birchbox.

  • Catherine Malandrino Style de Paris - If you've been reading my blog for a while then you know that I usually abhor perfume samples, but I actually love this one!  It smells wonderful and is a good balance of sweet and warmth.  Unfortunately a full-sized bottle costs $110, so I will never be purchasing this.
  • Perlier Body Cream in Shea Almond - I have reviewed Perlier's products in the past, but this particular scent wasn't in the pack that I reviewed.  These are nice little hand creams and I'm always happy to have more because I always carry one with me.  To be honest, I kind of assumed that this was a lower end brand based on the packaging, but I guess a full-sized jar costs $28.
  • Caudalie Polyphenol C15 Anti-Wrinkle Defense Serum - This was one of the products that was on my preview when I initially checked and I was not excited.  I already have a ton of skincare samples to use and I certainly don't need an anti-wrinkle serum at the age of 25.  I'm usually all for preventative care, but this sample is so tiny that it's completely impossible to judge the product's efficacy anyway.
  • Benefit They're Real Mascara - I already have a sample of this and a full-sized bottle (the full-sized is also from Birchbox, from a prize pack I won).  It's actually a really good mascara, but I don't normally purchase Benefit products because they aren't 100% cruelty-free.
  • Davines Love Smoothing Shampoo - This is a pretty big sample and I was interested to try it because people have been raving about it.  I found it to be a pretty standard shampoo.  It smells nice, it makes my hair clean, but other than that I didn't think it was that special.
  • Davines Love Smoothing Conditioner - The conditioner came in a foil pack, which I don't like for hair samples because they're just messy and not easy to store and I'm a whiny baby.  I feel the same way about this as I do the shampoo.
  • Davines OI All in One Milk - This milky leave-in treatment is supposed to support hair growth and protect against UV rays.  Since I heat style on the daily I like trying new serums and protectants, and this one is nice.
Bottom Line: While I wasn't in love with any of the products I got this month, I was happy to get a bigger quantity than usual.  My favorite was probably the Catherine Malandrino perfume--I never thought a perfume sample would be my favorite Birchbox sample!

*Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post.  Post contains affiliate links.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

May Beauty Army Review

My April Beauty Army box was a total dud, but my final box for May was much better.  I bought a three month subscription from Rue La La and decided not to re-subscribe because I wasn't really that impressed with the service.

Beauty Army normally costs $12 a month, and for that price you get to choose six of nine samples from your selection window.  You can fill out a little questionnaire that supposedly tailors samples to your needs, but I found that regardless of what I entered, I was still getting the same samples over and over, and none of them were really that appealing.  All three months I ended up choosing the best of a bunch of less-than-stellar choices, and I didn't get a product I was really excited about in any of the boxes.  It's disappointing because I figured that the ability to choose your samples would lead to some really great boxes, but I've gotten better boxes from Birchbox, where I don't get to choose what I receive.

  • English Laundry No. 7 - I normally don't like fragrance samples, but this was actually my favorite sample in the box.  It's sweet and musky, two of my favorite scent profiles, and I just absolutely love it.  I won't be purchasing a full-sized bottle, though, because it costs $90 and that's just way more than I ever want to spend on a perfume.
  • Hask Keratin Protein Mask - I reviewed Hask's products a little while ago and I liked them a lot, so since this was available in my sample window I decided to pick it because I knew it would work.
  • TheraBreath Oral Rinse and Lozenges - This probably seems like a really weird sample to choose for most people, but I'm a little bit obsessed with having clean teeth and fresh breath, so I figured these would be good for on-the-go.  The rinse has a really light flavor and is alcohol-free, so there's no burn.  I haven't tried the lozenges yet.
  • Nelson J Beverly Hills Argan Oil 7-in-1 Non-Foaming Shampoo - Shampoo samples are another thing I have a lot of, but I picked this because there really wasn't anything else that caught my eye.  I haven't tried it yet.
  • BH Cosmetics California Collection Palette - I've seen this little palette sample all over the beauty box world (from Ipsy to LBB and probably beyond), and I picked it because I do enjoy eyeshadows, and again, there wasn't much else to choose from.
  • Juice Beauty Green Apple Age Defy Moisturizer - I really like Juice Beauty's products, so I knew that I would like this moisturizer.  I use it at night and it's got a light, silky formula.
Bottom Line: Would I recommend Beauty Army?  Based on this experience, clearly not.  I think that if you see some brands in your sample window that you really like then you should definitely give it a try, but I just wasn't ever that impressed by what they had to offer.  I wish they would get some more high-end brands to sample; maybe then I would be interested in subscribing again.

*Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Influenster Spring Fling Voxbox Review

I've participated in a few Influenster programs before, and it's always fun to get an email saying that you've been selected to receive one of their Voxboxes!  The most recent Voxbox I was selected for was the Spring Fling Voxbox.

The box itself was a pretty seafoam green color, perfectly matching the "Spring Fling" theme.  I was a little underwhelmed with the products inside, to be completely honest, but I know that Voxboxes are completely free so I won't complain too much.

One thing I've noticed with Influenster is that they often feature the same brands in each box, and most of them are not cruelty-free.  So why do I keep participating?  Curiosity, mostly.  They used to do boxes that were themed more toward a specific interest, e.g. a "Green" Voxbox, and I'm still holding out for one of those.  The Spring Fling Voxbox had a good assortment of items, but I unfortunately won't use most of them.

  • Rimmel London ScandalEyes Retro Glam Mascara - I have so many mascaras that I have lost count.  I still haven't opened this one because it would just end up going to waste.  I will probably give it away to a friend.  I don't purchase this brand, but I've used mascaras with similar wands and they give really good coverage.
  • Kiss Everlasting French Nails - I do not like press-on nails.  I hate the way they feel.  I received a set of imPRESS nails (which I think are an offshoot of the Kiss brand) and I likened them to wearing kitten mittens.  Plus, my nails are actually pretty strong (I have to trim them with toenail clippers) and I change my polish up at least three times a week, so I have no need for these.

  • Nivea Skin Firming Hydration Body Lotion - Travel-sized body lotions are always good to have.  I keep one in my purse, one at my desk at work, and various others scattered around my apartment because having dry skin is one of my biggest peeves.
  • Playtex Sport Fresh Balance - Another product I won't use--I don't wear tampons.

  • Peach Pie Car Freshener from the Labor Day movie - Influenster posted some teasers saying there would be a "special product" from the Labor Day movie, and I guess this is it.  It's not very exciting, but I suppose it's a nice little extra.  I have a pumpkin spice freshener in my car now, so once that wears out I'll replace it with this one.
Bottom Line: This Voxbox was a miss for me.  It's not the fault of Influenster and I'm thankful for the free box, it just so happened that most of the products were not relevant to my lifestyle.  I'm sure they are working out really well for those who do use these types of products, though!

*Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Influenster.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

May Color Me Monthly Review

I signed up for Color Me Monthly in April after they ran a deal to get your first polish for only a dollar and I decided to stay subscribed another month to see what color they would send.  I was really impressed by their formula and am a little bit obsessed with nail polish, and May's shipment didn't disappoint.

May's color was Sirens, a beautiful turquoise shade with a hint of shimmer.  I thought it was a perfect color for the summer and loved it as soon as I opened the box!  I enjoy Color Me Monthly's polishes because they're 100% cruelty-free, non-toxic, vegan, and eco-friendly.  I decided to cancel my subscription after May, but not because I didn't love the service.  The problem is that I love nail polish too much and my better judgment kicked in and I decided to hold off on purchasing any more bottles for a while.


Above are my swatches of Sirens--the photo on the left is in the shade, and the one on the right is in direct sunlight (both are without flash).  The polish was opaque after two coats and applied very smoothly.  If you're interested in Color Me Monthly, it's only $7 a month, shipping included.  They also have six month and yearly plans.  You can view all of their subscription options at their website.

Bottom Line: I plan on re-subscribing to Color Me Monthly at some point in the future because the two polishes I received from them were wonderful.  May's color was beautiful and their product as a whole is great!

*Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Soap Diamond Review

I'm a little bit addicted to buying soaps.  I love collecting anything that smells nice, which is also why I have two full drawers of scented candles (I have a problem!).  When I learned about Soap Diamond, I was really excited to give it a try because not only does the soap smell lovely, it also has a nice surprise inside!

Jewelry inside of things has become quite the trend, and a very fun one at that.  Soap Diamond is a cute, heart-shaped antibacterial soap that houses a ring inside that can be worth up to $500!  I love items that have surprises inside, it brings out the kid in me (because who doesn't love a surprise?).  The anticipation of what the ring might look like is enough to keep me using the soap, but even if it didn't have jewelry inside I would still enjoy using it because it smells great--very light and floral.

Bottom Line: I've been using my Soap Diamond for about a week and it lathers up very well.  It looks so cute sitting next to my sink!  This is a really great and affordable gift, it's really two gifts in one, for anyone who wants to spoil themselves or someone they love.

*Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Soap Diamond.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Introducing Escape Mini from Escape Monthly!

Escape Monthly is one of my favorite subscription services, but I haven't been able to stay a loyal subscriber due to the price of the full-sized box.  But now they are offering Escape Mini for only $24.95!

Each month, Escape Monthly sends their subscribers a box full of locally-made products from a different vacation destination.  I tried their Colorado box from January and loved it!  Escape Mini will still feature great locations, and you'll receive four to five luxury items!  I think this is a steal at only $24.95 (shipping included) and will definitely be signing up.  Click here to check it out for yourself!

*Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. Post contains affiliate links.