Monday, January 23, 2017

Boxycharm January 2017

Boxycharm January 2017

It's that time again - Boxycharm time! This month's box is the Charm Awards box, and everything seems to be themed around glowing skin. The total value of everything in my box this month is $121.95, which I think is amazing considering Boxycharm is only $21 a month! This month's box has some really great products that I'm excited to use.

This is the PÜR Mineral Glow Bronzer, worth $25 (buy here or here). I initially thought it would be too dark for me, but it actually looks pretty good! It only comes in one shade, but I feel like it would still work for a variety of skintones since it's buildable. In the swatch it's a regular swatch at the top that I blended out to show how sheer you can make it. It gives a lovely, natural-looking glow.

This is the So Susan Fan Brush, worth $18.95 (buy here or here). Fan brushes are my favorite way to put on highlight, so it's always good to have more than one. I recently bought a more dense fan brush, but my thin fan brush is getting pretty old and starting to shed a lot, so hopefully this can replace it.

This is the Gorge Amazing Konjac Sponge, worth $18 (buy here). I've never tried a konjac sponge before, but I've wanted to try one so I'm excited to get this. They're supposed to be very gentle exfoliators.

This is the English Laundry Signature Roller Ball, worth $25 (buy here or here). I'm not usually a fan of any floral perfume, but I actually really like this one. It's a bit floral, but also very light and fresh. After I use up the rollerball I can see myself buying the full size.

This is the Vintage Highlighter Double in Chocolate Diamond & Rose Quartz, worth $35 (buy here or here). The darker shade, Chocolate Diamond, is definitely too dark for me, but Rose Quarts works pretty well. I got a single highlight from this brand in a past Boxycharm in the shade Rose Gold, which I absolutely love, so I'm happy to have some new shades.

Thank's for reading! Do you get Boxycharm? If so, which product was your favorite this month and why? If not, which product do you think you'd like to try? Is there a particular product you want me to review? Let me know in the comments or contact me another way.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Beauty Blender Review (And a $1 Alternative!)

Beauty Blender Review (And a $1 Alternative!)

The original Beauty Blender has a huge following and a lot of hype. Now there's lots of different types of Beauty Blender in various colors, but the original hot pink one is what everybody seems to use. You can buy it from Sephora or the official Beauty Blender website for $20 USD.

Left to Right: dampened Beauty Blender, unused dry Beauty Blender, 9 month old dry Beauty Blender
I received a set of two new original Beauty Blenders for Christmas (thank you, Mom!), so was able to compare a new and old Beauty Blender as well as a dry and damp one. As you can probably see, the older Beauty Blender (it's about nine months old at this point) has faded. It's not clean in the picture, but it still shows the true color. When you wash a Beauty Blender for the first time, quite a bit of pink dye washes out. I find that a bit of dye washes out for several washes after that as well.

The sponge doubles in size once you dampen it, and gets a bit softer. It's very soft when dry as well, but I wouldn't recommend using it dry as it soaks up a ton of product. It can still soak up a fair amount of product when wet, but it's not nearly as much. One thing that is unique about the Beauty Blender is the texture - I have yet to find an exact dupe for it because of that. It's airy and lightweight, and when you squeeze it it'll bounce back to it's original shape almost instantly. I love it because it always gives a natural-looking, smooth finish.

Left to Right: dampened AOA Wonder Blender, dry black AOA Wonder Blender, dry pink AOA Wonder Blender
I still love the Beauty Blender, but I don't see myself buying myself any more in the near future. The AOA Wonder Blender from ShopMissA is only a dollar, and it's so similar that I just can't justify spending $20 on a Beauty Blender again. It's a lot more dense when dry, but once you get it wet it's much softer and closer to the texture of the Beauty Blender. It also gets less dense each time it's washed, and after a couple of weeks I find that it's almost the same as the Beauty Blender when wet, except it soaks up less product and it's easier to clean because the material is far less delicate. It bounces back into shape when squeezed the same way the Beauty Blender does, and it gives almost the same finish when used to apply foundation as well.

The AOA Wonder Blender comes in several different shapes and colors, all of which are the same material. The Beauty Blender comes in different colors as well, but many of them are slightly different texture-wise. I prefer black sponges (I really just prefer the color), but I do have a couple pink Wonder Blenders for variety. Because they're only a dollar, I can buy a bunch at a time and have backups as well as multiple in use for different products. It makes washing easier as well because I can use a new sponge every day so there's less product in the sponge when it comes time to wash them each week. They also just soak up less product in general.

Top Row: dampened AOA Wonder Blender (left), dampened Beauty Blender (right)
Bottom Row: dry AOA Wonder Blender (left), dry Beauty Blender (right)
Both sponges are about the same size both wet and dry. Once dampened, they are very similar in texture and work almost identically. The AOA Wonder Blender isn't an exact dupe for the Beauty Blender, but it's very similar and I definitely prefer it. Below I've made a list of comparisons:

Overall, I would purchase the AOA Wonder Blender over the Beauty Blender. There is enough of a difference between them that I can see some people still preferring the Beauty Blender, but for me they're so similar that I'd way rather use the cheaper one. I still really like the Beauty Blender, and I would still use it if I got one as a gift, but I won't be buying them myself anymore.

Thanks for reading! Feel free to leave a comment below or contact me another way if you have feedback! What do you think of the Beauty Blender if you've tried it? What about the AOA Wonder Blender? Are there any other beauty sponges you think I should try? I would love to hear from you!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Marc Jacobs Air Blush (PR)

Marc Jacobs Air Blush Review

Disclosure: I received this product complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes. While I was required to give a review when I accepted the product, I am by no means required to give a positive review. This review is my honest opinion on this product and I am in no way influenced by the fact that I was sent this for free, and I am not being compensated in any other way for my review.

When I received this blush, I'll admit I was skeptical. I knew it would probably be good, but I couldn't see how it would be worth $42.00. You can buy the blush here, on Sephora's website, if you are interested after reading this review.

I have the shade Kink & Kisses, described on the Sephora website as "pale petal/peachy rose." There's a total of five shades. They all have somewhat sexual names, which I find amusing but some people might not be so fond of. The packaging is gorgeous, although it gets fingerprints and smudges on it pretty easily (it looks like there's a crack on the packaging in the photo but that's just a reflection of my hands taking the photo). You open it by pushing in the little silver button on the front, which I think is super cool. I'm kind of a sucker for fancy packaging.

The blush has a good sized mirror, which is useful for on the go. The claims made about it on the Sephora website include, "This ultra-lightweight, radiant powder is nearly undetectable to the touch, and gives your skin a radiant finish," "...even color with every brushstroke," and "...delivers 24-hour blush wear, for glowing radiance from day to night." It certainly is lightweight and radiant, since it gives me a natural-looking glow without looking or feeling like makeup. I use a small stippling brush to apply it and it always looks smooth and even with very little effort. As for 24-hour wear, I can't say whether it really does or not since I haven't worn it for that long. It definitely does look good all day when I'm wearing it out (on average 8-10 hours), so I would say it'll last long enough for the average person as an everyday blush.

The top swatch is of the darker shade, the middle swatch is the lighter shade, and the bottom swatch is both shades mixed. I prefer to use the shades mixed since I feel like it gives the most natural finish for me. The light shade is very glowy, while the dark shade is much less so. When I mix them together I get more of a satin, natural-looking finish. I also prefer the shade of both mixed together. If I want a bit more glow, I will use a fan brush to dust a little bit of Pink Heart from the Moon Child Glow Kit on top.

The main concern I've heard about this blush is the price. It's $42.00, which seems like a lot, even for a high-end blush. So I did the math and compared the price to other blushes, per ounce (rounded to nearest dollar where needed, and keep in mind that all of them have less than an ounce of product, which is why the price per ounce is higher than the price of the blush).

Marc Jacobs Air Blush - about $149/oz
Tarte Amazonian Clay - $140/oz
NARS Blush - $187/oz
Too Faced Love Flush - about $124/oz

Compared to a few popular high-end blushes, the Air Blush isn't actually that much more expensive. It even costs less per ounce than a NARS blush. If all I knew was that it was $42, I would say it isn't worth it, but looking at the price per ounce, I think it's reasonable for a good quality high-end blush. I'm not sure I would repurchase it if I were to run out, but I've never used up a blush, so I'll figure that out if it comes to that. I definitely do want to try more shades though.

Quick Note: between writing this post and publishing it, I got another shade, Flesh & Fantasy, as a Christmas gift. I've been absolutely loving it so far! I would definitely recommend checking that shade out as well.