Sephora Play January 2018.

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I said that I would talk about this box, and here I am doing it at nearly the end of February.  I keep waiting for the one for this month to appear in my mailbox, and when it finally shipped the other day, it came with a notification that it wouldn’t arrive until February 27.  That’s not a February box, Sephora.  That’s a March box.  Truth be told, with the extremely late delivery date for February’s box and the offerings from the December and January boxes, I’m giving serious consideration to cancelling my subscription again.  I mean, there was an Anastasia lip gloss in the December AND January box, and the colors were extremely similar.  Don’t get me wrong, they’re nice glosses, but lip gloss just isn’t my jam in the first place, and it just seemed like they had a ton of these lying around in a warehouse somewhere that they needed to get rid of.  But anyway, let’s talk about this box.  It’s a pretty weak one IMHO, but, given that I’ve taken forever to report on this box, I’ve actually had time to use most of the things in here.

GlamGlow SuperCleanse Clearing Cream-to-Foam Cleanser:  I think I like this product best of all of the items in this box.  I don’t think I would ever buy it because I find it to be just a bit drying on my normal skin, but I think it would be great for someone with oily skin.  It’s super foamy, which I love, and it does a decent job of removing makeup, though I think you would be better served by something like Philosophy’s Purity Made Simple if you’re in the market for a one-stop-shop cleanser.  I did love that it made my skin feel super clean each and every time that I used it.  It works well when I used it with just my fingers and brilliantly when I used it with my Clarisonic.  The mud in it did want to stain the brush head on the Clarisonic, and I had to give it a hard scrub with soap and water to remove it, but my face felt so clean after I rinsed this stuff off.  The directions said to apply a generous amount, but I think it works better with a less is more approach.  I got a better lather with minimal product.  When I went in hard the first time I tried it out, I ended up with a pile of mud moving around on my hands, so if you spring for a full size, it would probably last awhile.  Alas, this was just a bit too drying for daily use on my face.  My face never felt totally stripped of all moisture, but after four straight days of using this, it started to feel a little bit tight.  Like I said, though, it would probably be a dream on oily skin–just remember to use a makeup remover first if you’ve had a heavy hand in the foundation department that day.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Lip Gloss in Kristen:  This is a nice gloss if you’re into that kind of thing, but it just rubs me the wrong way on so many levels.  Chief among them is that my December box included the color Vintage.  Vintage is has a bit more of pink hue while Kristen is more brown.  They may not be sisters, but they are close cousins.  If Sephora had to send two glosses in two months, they could have varied the shades a bit more.  These are both neutrals.  This is a lazy cop-out on their part.  This isn’t the stickiest gloss I’ve ever used, but I can still feel it on my lips, and the feeling never dissipates until it wears off.  My hair gets stuck in it if I go out on a windy day, and that bothers me.  I have a lot of real estate on my lips, and part of me wonders if glosses bother me so much because my mouth provides a large area for my hair to get stuck in on a windy day.  I also just like my lip products to have more of a payoff most of the time.  If I’m going for natural, I’ll use a balm or something like that.  Otherwise, I’m all in.  I want you to see my lipstick from ten yards away.  This is a neutral, and it just gives a super shiny hint of color on my lips.  So, yeah, as you can tell, I’m not the one to really be talking about glosses.  For me, they’re shiny, sticky, and don’t generally give enough color payoff for me to deal with them.  I can’t honestly tell anyone to buy one gloss over another because I basically hate all of them.

Make Up For Ever Face Color in B302:  This is a nice blush!  The sample is super tiny, and it’s difficult to get a brush in there, but it is really nice once you get it on.  Your best bet is a Beauty Blender Micro.  It’s a peachy color with a bit of shimmer that reminds me a little bit of Orgasm from Nars.  It almost melts onto my skin, and the color is excellent for the pale among us.  I’ve never used MUFE blushes before, but this one has got me considering buying a few when I want a new blush.  It looks so natural and not cakey at all.  I’ve been getting a lot of mileage out of this one lately.  I can’t say enough of good things about it.  It’s like brushing velvet across your face.

Boscia Exfoliating Peel Gel:  This product likes to show up in random boxes once every nine to twelve months, and if you’ve followed this blog for any amount of time, you know that I feel a certain way about peel gels.  If you haven’t, you can read about my feelings here or here.  Basically, they trick your mind into thinking they are working because they are full of cellulose that forms balls when you rub it around on your face with your hands.  They don’t really work.  If you want your skin cells to turn over, rub some glycolic or lactic acid across your face for a couple of months.  That will smooth your complexion out.  I threw this away without even opening it.

Clinique Pep-Start Eye Cream:  This is a good eye cream, but it hasn’t caused me to end my neverending quest for the perfect eye cream.  It was moisturizing enough, but not as much as the Rose Gel Eye Cream from Fresh or just good, old coconut oil.  I didn’t notice as much of a brightening effect as when I use the GenZing Eye Cream from Origins.  This one did help a bit with puffiness when I was going on no sleep, though.  Granted, it didn’t completely get rid of the puffiness, but it did help.  I get why some people love this so much, and yeah, it’s good, I just can’t see myself ever buying it.  It’s worth a try, though.

Gloss Moderne Clean Luxury Masque:  I guess Sephora removed the customary fragrance sample in the boxes in favor of a single use, pouch-type situation.  The instructions for this hair mask say to leave it in anywhere from five minutes to overnight.  I am a little weird about walking around the house with drippy hair, so I opted for a time of five minutes while I was in the shower.  It did make my hair softer, but that effect was lost after the third time that I shampooed my hair, which, for me, is three days.  It didn’t help increase shine or manageability, but it was nice to have soft hair for those three days.  I’m hoping my February box will have fragrance samples again.  Even if I don’t like the actual fragrance, I find them to be much more enjoyable and exciting than hair masks.

There’s the rundown on the January box.  As I said at the beginning of this post, it was a pretty lame selection in what has become a series of lame selections.  I may keep getting these for another month or two, but if the next few don’t knock my socks off, I’m probably going to cancel my subscription.

–Jackie

Back from the Dead.

I suppose I should start off by making some attempt at an apology for the rather lengthy hiatus I was on.  Between working like a madwoman over the holiday season and some family things my husband and I had to take care of, it’s been crazy in my corner of the world over the last few months.  I also just sort of stopped playing around with my makeup, and just lost a general interest in talking about anything new, really.  I’ve logged onto WordPress a number of times over the last few weeks only to end up staring at a blank screen wondering where my voice had gone.  Maybe it had to do with the crash course in management at work I’ve been going through.  It seems like I spend so much time talking, talking, talking while I’m there that maybe I just wanted to come home and relish the silence around me.  It also had to do with the sheer amount of time I was spending at work over the holidays.  I was working six days a week, and I was only really home long enough to sleep a few hours before waking up to do it all again.  On my only day off, all I wanted to do was wash my laundry and binge watch Game of Thrones while lounging on my sofa like a vegetable.  At any rate, three nights ago, I began to feel like I could do this again.

I’ll begin with a recap of how I finished off the year with my Sephora detox.  I bought a lot of stuff during the VIB Rouge sale in November–some of it I needed, and a lot of it I didn’t.  Among the things I didn’t need were the Golden Hour and Neutral Matte palettes from Viseart, the Heavy Metal palette from Urban Decay, and a Clarisonic (which I thought I never needed, but it’s ended up changing my life).  I also got some face masks, lip balms, and new blush brush (R.I.P. to the little old cheap thing I’ve had for the last eight years), and makeup cleaning spray.  Things were going well, and I had all but decided that I was done with shopping for the year, and then they put the entire Etat Libre d’Orange perfume line on sale on the website in late November.  Anyone who has followed along on my perfume commentary knows I have a raging love for most of their stuff, so I stocked up.  Not only do I love most of their offerings, their packing appeals to my neurotic side on such a satisfying level.  The bottles on for almost all of the scents look nearly identical.  They were running them for almost half off the full price, and I was working nearly seventy hours a week at that time.  Exhaustion, excitement, and my tendency to stress shop led me to nab four bottles–Fat Electrician (oh, how I love that one), Cologne, Dangerous Complicity, and Fils de Dieu du Riz et des Agrumes.  The sale on those was so great it has gotten me a little concerned that they are going to discontinue the line, forcing me to go back to getting them at a store called Min in the city.  I loathe going in there.  You know that shopping scene in Pretty Woman?  That’s what I feel like every time I walk in the door, and I hate it.  The staff are usually snotty, so I’ve just avoided going in there.  It does seem, though, that ELdO has begun to expand their website here in America, so I’m going to keep avoiding Min for as long as I possibly can.

The grand total for spending at Sephora in 2017 was $1,671.  Yeah, that’s a lot, but that’s still less than half of what I spent there in 2016, so while the year was not a raging success, it was still a success.

Wrapping up the year has lead me to wonder what I’m going to do with this website from here on out.  I’m still going to try and keep my spending in check this year, so I’ll still be around documenting, but I won’t be noting every single thing I dispose of.  I’ll continue to keep track of the products that I purchase.  Keeping the site around is a handy way for me to really keep track of products I enjoy using and allows me a relatively easy way to document my thoughts on products I like just in case I have any interest in buying them later on in time.  I guess what I’m saying is the site is going to become a review site and a place to keep a running tab on my spending habits.  Some stuff (like the acne dots I bought and adore), I’ll tell you guys about.  Others (like an utterly forgettable mascara from Clinique)  I won’t even bother with.  If there’s a chance I would buy something again, I’ll talk about it on here.  If I try something that is so bad I feel as though I should tell the world about it, I’ll talk about it on here.  If I buy something, I’ll talk about it on here.  For middle of the road stuff I feel is a waste of my time to note or that no one has any real interest in reading about, I’m not going to bother.

So, this is the ride that I will be taking in 2018, and I hope you’ll stick around for it.  I got my latest Sephora Play box six days ago, so I figure that’s as good a place as any to start this year.  The post on it will probably go up on Friday, since I’ll be off then, and then I’ll fill you guys in on my foundation disaster that started the year off.  Needless to say, I’m already in over $150.00 at Sephora, and it’s only the end of January, and my jaw line and T-zone look a bit less of a hot mess than they did a week ago.  Sensitive, acne-prone skin is for the birds.  I’m 33 years old.  Shouldn’t I be done with breakouts?

Anyway, let’s get our beauty on in 2018, and you’ll hear from me again soon!

–Jackie

Hourglass Ambient Light Correcting Primer in Mood Light. Worst Primer that I’m Buying Again.

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This stuff is terrible and amazing in equal parts.  I got a small sample over a year ago and liked it so much that I bought the full-size tube to the tune of $44.00 for the ounce of product.  I got it home and started using it like my life depended on it, and that’s when I started to notice the problems that the sample size didn’t give me time to realize.

This stuff is genuinely amazing, and I have no clue how it works.  I don’t want to know.  I just know that it does, and that’s all I care about.  It not only blurs imperfections and pores, but it also plays with the way light hits your face.  When I use this, my entire face looks as though redness and hyperpigmentation are run through a filter.  On days when my skin lookes good and I didn’t feel like bothering with foundation, I’ve just put this on and walked out the door.  I’ve never used a primer that works like this one, and it’s unbelievable what it does to my face.  It really is like walking around with a filter on.

I get the same wear time from this that I get with Smashbox Photo Finish Primer, which is to say that my makeup lasts twelve hours–at least.  Wear time isn’t a problem at all.

The only problem with this is that it is very drying.  This is the reason I’ve gone back and forth on whether to buy another full-size of this.  I mean it’s DRYING.  I can wear this every day in the summer when my skin produces a bit more oil, as I found out over the course of the last few months, but I absolutely cannot wear it daily in the winter.  I can get three days a week at best.  When I tried using it every day in the winter, my face became so dry and so tight that it was almost painful.  I have normal skin.  This isn’t usually a problem for me.  On the upside, this made the tube last longer, but should I really be spending $44.00 on something I can’t wear every single day?

The answer is a resounding yes.  I’m willing to deal with the failings of this so that I can enjoy the benefits of it on the days that I do wear it.  It’s one of the best primers that I’ve ever used, and if I could use it daily, it would easily beat out every other one I’ve ever tried including my favored Photo Finish.  What I’m not willing to do is pay full price for it.  I’m getting it in the VIB sale going on now.

If you’ve not tried this I beg you to seek out a sample, especially if you have oily skin.  You might actually be able to wear it every day.  It comes in other shades if mood light isn’t your thing.  Mood Light has a pinkish tone to it.  Luminous Light is a champagne color, and Dim Light is more beige.  They all play with lighting differently, and I imagine the other two are just as game-changing as this one.

Yes, forty-four bucks is a ton of money to plop down for a primer, but I’ve genuinely never used something like this.  It’s one of the most amazing makeup products I’ve ever used, period.

Hourglass Ambient Light Correcting Primer:  I love you.  I need you.

–Jackie

Sephora Play: The Beauty Remedy Edition.

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A few days ago, when I was taking the train into work on day three of yet another six day stretch, I checked my email, and had gotten one from Sephora announcing a new luxe Play box.  I jumped on it becuase I liked the last one so well.  Do I need this?  Strictly speaking, no.  Does it make me feel better about the fact that I am working like a crazy person and have no time off and am utterly exhausted and cranky?  Oh, hell yes.  I have one more six-day week ahead, and then a friend of mine arrives in town and I am taking some much-needed time off to hang out with her.

The theme of this box is “The Remedy Edition,” so it is filled with products that purport to be good for your skin.  There were two variations of this box, and four of the six products were in each of them, so it’s of no real benefit to purchase both, and Sephora was kind enough to list the brands contained in each box on their website.  I ordered the second edition variation because I knew the first edition box contined something from SK-II and was worried it would be their skin essence again.  I’m currently going through a terrible time testing it out already, and I loathe the way that it smells.  I think it smells like sweaty feet and I find it to be generally vile and revolting, and I’m getting a few tiny breakouts in places I don’t usually get breakouts.  I wasn’t going to take a chance on getting another bottle of it.  The second box variation that I ordered contained a YSL primer and an AmorePacific essence, so I figured that box would be the safer bet.

As you can tell from the photo above, Sephora messed up.  They sent me the other box.  When I first opened it, I saw figuratively saw red for a couple of minutes because it wasn’t the one that I wanted, and by this time both box variations were sold out.  I resolved to call and complain, and likely will still do that after I finish this blog post, but I eventually settled down and have grown to like this one.  SK-II essence is nowhere to be seen, and, truth be told, I’m still on the hunt for a good eye cream, so I guess this is an okay screw up on Sephora’s part.  I could have done without two jars of moisturizer, but that’s a strange complaint.  Can one ever really have too much moisturizer around?

I also bought this as much for the container it comes in as I did for the products inside.  This is an almost perfect travel case for a light packer.  It’s a hard shell square container that looks like a CD case that people about my age will remember carting around in junior high and high school.  There’s a pouch to tuck things into on one side and open real estate on the other.  This box is actually sturdy, and I can’t wait to use it.

But anyway, people are here for product descriptions, so here we go!

Giorgio Armani Beauty Ecstasy Shine 400 Lipstick:  This is a super moisturizing lipstick in a bright red (good thing I just got rid of a bunch of red shades since I got new one to add to the collection) that really impressed me with its staying power.  This box was delivered yesterday while I was at work, so I swatched everything after I got home last night.  While I wiped most of the color off before I went to bed, there was still a red stain on the back of my hand when I woke up nine hours later.  There’s still a small bit left as I type this, and I’ve taken a shower.  I’ll cop to being quite stunned by that.  I needed three coats to achieve an opaque look when I swatched this, and a single coat is pretty sheer, which I happen to like.  There’s some versitility in it, and it can take me from day to night.  It is considerably more shiny than a traditional cream lipstick but not as much as a gloss.  A 0.10 ounce tube retails for $38.00.  There’s 0.05 ounces in the sample, so that’s $14.00 of product.

Tatcha The Silk Cream:  I’ve only ever tried the enzyme powder from this brand, and I absolutely love it, so I’m looking forward to this one.  It’s going to be hard to top my newfound love for AmorePacific’s Rejunvenating Creme, though.  This bills itself as a firming moisturizer.  I tried it out last night, and it feels really nice and absorbs quickly enough.  A little goes a very long way.  I had to have used less than a quarter-size amount for my entire face.  This retails for $120.00 for 1.7 ounces (The sample size is 0.34 ounces, so that translates to a $24.00 value), which is a much less bitter pill to swallow when compared to the price of the AmorePacific cream I so dearly love, so I’m kind of hoping this one blows me out of the water with its effectiveness.  I’m also impressed with the sturdiness of the packaging on this sample.  It’s got some real heft to it.

Givenchy Le Rouge Perfecto Beautifying Lip Balm:  They’re not kidding when they describe this as a translucent pink balm.  It’s basically Chap Stick, but I’m not complaining about that.  I’m going to throw it in my purse and use it as such.  In fact, I’m wearing it now.  It feels like a nice, moisturizing lip balm, and it sort of enhances the natural pink color of my lips.  It looks very natural.  This is the kind of balm that is supposed to react with your body chemistry to create a perfect color just for you.  As best I can tell, it works as described.  It also claims to plump, but, that’s a total lie.  It doesn’t tingle, and my lips look the exact same as they did before I put this on.  This stuff retails for $36.00 for 0.07 ounces.  The sample is 0.04 ounces, so that’s $20.57 of product.  I don’t care how well this works, there’s no lip balm in the world worth that much money.  Not with the way that I go through lip balm.  This is a nice one, though.

SK-II R.N.A. Power Eye Cream Radical New Age: I know this brand has a cult-like devotion from people because of its essence, but I just don’t get it.  I mean, I hate that stuff.  I’m always on the lookout for a good eye cream, though, so I’m not angry (anymore) that Sephora messed up and sent me the wrong box.  This lacks the offensive smell of the SK-II Essence.  It contains Pitera–a byproduct of the fermentation of a special kind of yeast–like everything else in the line.  It’s also wildly expensive like everything else in the line.  It’s expensive to the tune of $135.00 for 0.4 ounces.  There’s 0.08 ounces of product here, so that works out to $27.00 of product.  I can’t imagine it blowing my mind enough for me to buy a full-size of this, but I did use it last night, and it feels lovely going on.  I’m adding it to the routine until the sample is gone, so here’s hoping it works.  I’ve been working like a madman and getting nowhere near enough sleep, so my dark circles are a little worse than usual, and I actually have a little bit in the way of bags under my eyes right now, so this stuff has something to work on.  Let’s hope it’s the miracle worker it claims to be.

La Mer The Moisturizing Soft Cream:  People swear by La Mer products, but I’ve never tried them.  I’ve never thought my skin needed something that intensive.  I’m still relatively young, and my skin looks great.  There’s no wrinkles and only the smallest of fine lines are just beginning.  This will be my first experience with La Mer.  It feels very creamy, and it absorbed faster than the Tatcha Silk Cream when I tried it out, so I’m hopeful it is something I end up liking.  It’s only slightly more expensive than the AmorePacific’s Rejuvenating Cream, so if I find it works better, I’ll be a La Mer convert.  In all honesty, I do hope this works well.  This brand has been around for so long, and people love it so much that I would hate to not like it.  Skin care is very personal, though, so we shall see.  A full-size jar is 1.7 ounces and retails for $170.00, so that means there’s $24.00 of product in this 0.24 ounce sample.

Atelier Cologne Santal Carmin Pure Perfume:  I seriously think I like every single perfume in this line.  At least, I like every single one that I’ve smelled, and that’s most of them.  Sud Magnolia is my favorite, but these are all long lasting on my skin and smell so fresh that it’s impossible for me to wear any of these and not find myself smelling my wrist throughout the day.  This one is no different.  It smells like bergamont at first and then dries down to smell mostly of cedar with hints of sandalwood and vailla on me.  It’s sweet and woody, and I am in love.  This is $250.00 for 3.3 ounces.  Yeah, that’s crazy expensive, but I strongly believe that you get what you pay for with perfume.  There’s 0.14 ounces in this sample, so that amounts to $10.61 of product.

Sephora has been doing these special boxes for about a year now, and I passed on the first one.  I’m not sure why I did that.  Overall, I now think that they are a great value and give me a chance to try out a ton of high-end products I would never try otherwise.  I mean, I’m not going to go out and drop $170.00 on La Mer cream without ever trying it out, but I will shell out the dough if I already know it works.  I know Sephora gets all kind of heat from people in the review section for items like this, but I really believe that if you just sit down and do the math, you are getting a fair deal.  If you have no intention of buying any of these, that’s fine.  You still get a good opportunity to try out some obscenely expensive makeup and skincare items.  If you’re like me, and could actually see yourself using some of these in a full-size, it’s the best opportunity you have to try them in a size that will allow you to determine if they actually work for you or not.  I can’t recommend these boxes enough.

I hope this was helpful for anyone who has been on the fence about trying out these luxury boxes from Sephora.  Like I just said, I can’t recommend them enough, and really do believe they are a perfectly fair deal.  That’s why I bought it even though I don’t need it.  This set me back $21.78 with tax, so that brings my yearly Sephora spending total to $1,033.01.

–Jackie

Philosophy Purity Made Simple. Oldie but Goodie.

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I started using this in 2005 or so.  Philosophy used to make this acne face wash with sulfer in it, and it was a god-send when I was younger and dealing with breakouts all the time, but one day I picked this up and just kept using it.

It was great when I had oily, congested skin in that it didn’t aggrivate my acne.  It is really gentle yet really effective at cleaning my face.  It didn’t help clear up my acne, but it didn’t aggrivate it.  At the time that was a win for me.  It isn’t a foaming face wash, which took some getting used to on my part, but it didn’t leave my skin feeling stripped.  It also removed every trace of makeup I had on my face.  For someone who doesn’t like multi-step cleansing, this stuff was terrific.

I used this religiously until about three years ago when I bought my first tube of Checks and Balances from Origins, and I just began to favor that one.  Let’s face it, I’m a sucker for foamy face washes and minty smells and that one has both in droves.  I no longer buy this by the 32-ounce pump bottle (yes, you can really get that, and I’ve gone through my share of them), but I still always keep a small one on hand.  If my skin feels dry, I use this.  If my skin feels oily, I use this.  If it’s late at night and I’m wearing a ton of makeup, I use this.  I really can’t stress how well this removes makeup.  I trust it to remove black, smokey eyes without having to use eye makeup remover first.  I also trust that it will make my skin go back to feeling “normal” if it is getting out of line or if I put something irritating on it.

A 3-ounce bottle retails for $11.00, and if you’ve never used this it’s worth checking out.  There’s a reason this is one of the gold standards in facial cleansers.  It works.  It works well, and it doesn’t irritate.  Thank god this stuff is around and shows no sign of ever disappearing.  I’ve used this through skin changes over the last twelve years, and I can’t think of any other product that has worked for me as my skin transitioned from the grease pool of my early twenties into the normal skin I’ve been blessed with in my thirties.  I honestly think this is the single product I have used through that entire time.

Philosophy Purity Made Simple:  I love you, and I’ll always keep you.

–Jackie

AmorePacific Moisture Bound Rejuvenating Creme. Why Do I Love You So?

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I’m not going to lie.  I went into this one expecting to hate this.  Heck, I was almost willing myself to hate this cream.  It’s eye-bleedingly expensive, and I thought there was just no way in the world the results could justify the cost.  It’s expensive to the tune of $150.00 for 1.7 ounces of it, and yet I now sit here trying to think of reasons why I shouldn’t buy a jar.  My skin likes this so well that over the last nearly six weeks of use, it’s become increasingly difficult to not pay up and add it to my skincare routine.

I got sick three or four months ago, and just kind of put my overly involved skincare routine on the backburner until I felt better.  I mean, I had a twenty minute beditme skincare routine going at the time.  When I finally got over whatever it was I had, I started working a lot, and by the time I got home, I just wanted to crash and not waste time putting stuff on my face before bedtime.  In truth, I was reduced to using a moisturizer at night and Clean and Clear PersaGel on any pimples I had crop up.  Yeah, I realize it was laziness on my part (and all true beauty junkies need at least five products in their nighttime routine, lol), but my skin really calmed down and cleared up and became much more stable the less and less I would mess with it.  By the time I got this Rejuvenating Creme in the mail, my skin was the best it had been in ages, and it was actually the perfect opportunity to give this a try.

The first thing I noticed about this upon opening the jar was the smell.  There’s no way nice to say how it smells.  It’s a very strong powdery scent that probably won’t gel well with most people’s noses.  It’s pervasive, too.  I could smell it for a few minutes after I put it on.

I think the texture is pretty light but a bit heavier than the moisturizers that I tend to gravitate toward.  My go to is the Aqua Bomb from Belief or Water Drop from Dr. Jart.  They’re light, quick to absorb, and don’t leave a greasy feeling on my face.  When I first touched this, I assumed it would feel a bit heavier on than I would enjoy, but it wasn’t too bad when applied.  It does absorb in less than fifteen minutes and doesn’t leave a greasy or sticky feeling on my face.  For my preference, it’s still too heavy for me to use in the daytime, but I loved it as a nighttime moisturizer.

The performance of this product is unbelievably good.  It didn’t feel like it would be special enough to make a visible change in the look of my face, but it did.  Granted, I have a very normal skin type, so I can’t begin to say how this would be for dry skin, but, for me, it provides the perfect amount of moisture.  Each morning that I woke up, I felt like my face looked radiant.  It looked plump and hydrated.  There was no question that it made my skin look better.  Keep in mind that this was the only product that I was using nightly at the time, and on many nights, the only product I would use at all.

A major reason that I favor very light moisturizers is becuase of my acne-prone skin.  I feel like they are much less likely to cause a breakout.  I assumed the AmorePacific Creme would break me out.  It just had the texture of something that would give my skin hell.  After almost six weeks and one small jar later, there have been zero breakouts.  None.  Yeah, I’ll get a zit here and there, but that’s a part of my life I’ve learned to live with.  What I’m saying is that this doesn’t make my acne any more prevalent.  My skin was basically clear when I started using this, and it stayed that way the entire time.  That noxious smell didn’t cause any sensitivity issues.

This works so well that I’m willing to look past the steep price tag and horrible smell.  I mean, I dearly love it.  I never thought something this expensive could live up to the hype around it, but this cream does.

My 8mL sample lasted nearly six weeks, so a full-size 50mL jar would likely last six months, so it might actually be a cost effective purchase given that when I had this around I didn’t WANT to use other products along with it, but, holy cow, that price tag.  For that kind of money, I want the jar to play music when I unscrew the top.  Or give it to me in a gold-plated jar.  Or something.  Something a little bit more than, hey, here’s a plastic jar of cream.  Enjoy.

I’m still very much on the fence about buying this, especially since I still have Sunday Riley’s Luna and Good Genes kicking around my place, and those aren’t exactly cheap.  I need to use them but am worried that I would let them languish in a corner somewhere if I buy a jar of this before they are gone.  I may pick this up in during the VIB Rouge sale next month, though.  the twenty percent discount I would get would drop the cost down to $120.00, which is slightly less eye-bleeding.

This stuff really is that good, and I would definitely encourage anyone who has ever thought of buying it to head over to Sephora and ask for a sample.  If you’ve no interest in it, stay away from it lest you find out that it really is amazing and you’re stuck justifying buying a jar.  It’s so good I’m willing to look past the price tag and that wretched smell.  A few weeks ago, I would have said Belief’s Aqua Bomb was the best moisturizer ever.  Not anymore.  It’s this stuff.

–Jackie

Sephora Play October 2017.

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Hey there, everyone.  I’m first going to start with a bit of a programming note.  Work has been crazy for the last few weeks, and shows no sign of slowing down for, at least, another two weeks, so posting may become a bit infrequent.  I’m working somewhere in the neighborhood of sixty hours per week, and what little downtime I have that isn’t spent sleeping is divided equally between trying to keep my apartment clean and sitting on the sofa doing nothing.  I generally spend one of my weekend days typing and saving all of my posts for the coming week.  Given that I’ve been working six day weeks and will be for the forseeable future, my lone day of free time will likely go to blankly staring at the television from my sofa and doing things that require as little of my cognitive ability as possible.  I’m a weird type of person, and I keep hand-written notes on all of the products I try out, and I really don’t feel like plowing through them until I get a chance to rest and restore for a few days.

Now, onto this month’s box!

I think all of the box variations for October were centered around products for your complexion, so (thankfully) mine was void of any hair products.  I love all of the products that came in mine.  A couple of them, I have tried before, and  the others I had been eyeing for a long time but had never committed to purchasing.  I’ve not done any serious wear tests on any of the products in this box, but I have formed a few first impressions.  Here it goes.

Urban Decay Optical Illusion Complexion Primer:  I was really excited when Urban Decay rolled out face primers because their shadow primer is the best I’ve ever used.  That excitement dissipated, however, when the reviews for them started to roll in, and most said they were okay, at best.  I never bought any to try out, so I’m really excited to get some.  This stuff feels really thick, and it does fill in pores and smooth things out a little.  In truth, it feels like it may be a little bit too heavy for me, and I hope it doesn’t clog my pores and make me breakout, but I’m going to use it because I love trying out different primers.  I can’t speak for how long it will make my makeup last, but I’m curious to find out if it really does work.

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation:  I wish this box had arrived a week earlier because I bought the Hourglass Foundation stick.  I’ve always wanted to try out this foundation, but was hesitant to do so because SO MANY foundations break me out, so I’ve sort of always stuck to my go to from Dior.  I know people rave about this product from MUFE, but I’ve just never committed.  Sephora sample sizes don’t last long enough to determine if I will get breakouts from a foundation, and by the time I know if I will get a breakout, it’s usually too late or I’m too unmotivated to return the product.  This is a great sample size that will probably last me close to a month if not more.  I’m wearing it today, and I a nice medium coverage that builds up, looks natural, and feels lightweight on my face.  In truth, if this doesn’t cause breakouts, this appears to be a great foundation.  Thanks, Sephora, for sending this one to everyone.

Tarte Fainforest of the sea 4-in-1 Setting Mist:  This says it’s a primer, setting spray, hydrating mist, and skin refresher.  I’ve used it before, and, for me at least, it does two of those four things.  I had pretty poor luck using it as a primer.  It was just okay as a setting spray.  I did love it as a skin refresher and mist when my skin just felt tired and tight.  I kept it in the fridge, and a quick spritz left my skin feeling calm and moisturized.  I loved using it when my skin felt out of sorts, but not enough to buy it again.  I’ll use this spritzer, but it’s probably not going to change my mind on purchasing this.

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Skin Booster:  I’m a little unsure how to use this, so I’m being unusually dependent on instructions from the company on this guy.  Sephora says it’s a “skin-perfecting serum that plumps, smooths, and hydrates your skin for flawless makeup application.”  I like the feel of serums, but typically use them at night before I go to bed, so the use issue just stems from my accepting that I put it on before makeup application and not before I crawl in bed at night.  It’s got hyaluronic acid and argan oil in it, so I fully expect it to do what it claims and plump up skin and make me look like I might have actually gotten some sleep the night before.

Dr. Brandt PoreDermabrasion Pore Perfecting Scrub:  I’ve used this before, and I feel like it could almost be used interchangeably with ExfoliKate.  They work the same way, and both work well.  With this one, you rub it on your face for minute or so to physically exfoliate then let it sit for another few minutes for a chemical exfoliation.  I feel like you need the slightest bit more of the Dr. Brandt than ExfoliKate, but it’s still a pretty negligible amount to achieve results.  It works well, I like it, and I’m almost out of ExfoliKate.  This one will go in the shower when I do finally run out of the Somerville stuff.

Tory Burch Bel Azur:  This is my favorite of the Tory Burch perfumes, but I feel toward it the same way that I feel like other Tory Burch perfumes.  They smell nice, but a bit generic.  This one is citrusy, and there’s vetiver and bergamont in it, and really does remind me of the South of France and the Mediterranean.  This one doesn’t smell bad, and I’ll keep it around for a handy purse spray, but, for my money, there are better options out there.

This brings my yearly total to Sephora to $1,011.23.

Anyway, I’m off to eat cheese balls and Swedish meatballs at the seventies-themed cocktail bar up the street from my apartment before going home to binge on The Wire.  Speaking of that show, I realize I’m fifteen years late, but where have I been?  It is so well done, and I can’t recommend it enough!  Have a great day, lovelies!

–Jackie