Three Months Down!

I’ve managed to make it through the end of March, and I only caved once and bought one of the new Smashbox eyeshadow palettes.  It’s always eyeshadow.  It gets me every single time.  I can resist new metallic lipsticks and the cool holographic highlighters coming out, but put a pretty eyeshadow palette in front of me, and I melt like butter.  The best part of that entire incident is I bought that palette at the beginning of March and I still haven’t used it.  If that’s not a testament to how badly I didn’t need it–or any eyeshadow palette for that matter–then I don’t know what is.

At this time last year I was almost at VIB Rouge status at Sephora, and I’ve currently spent less than $150.00 there this year.  I consider this a win.

I’ve mostly stopped visiting their online store and going into a brick and mortar when I’m bored.  The first six or eight weeks of the year were terrible because I would almost always want to go there when I was bored or when I was stressed out, and if you’ve followed the blog since the beginning, you know how chaotic the beginning of the year was for me.  Sephora is easy and familiar.  Some part of my brain would scream at me to not go into the Sephora in the Time Warner Center when I would be out running errands.  I would respond to my internal dialogue by talking to the wind.  I know I probably looked like a lunatic wandering around Columbus Circle because I would definitely be talking to myself Gollum-style at the beginning of this exercise.  Now, I just grab a cup of tea and go for a walk through Riverside Park or something like that.  The temptation to go makeup shopping is slowly but surely dissipating.

I did dive into finding a replacement activity to fill up my spare time since buying makeup was no longer an option.  I say finding a replacement activity, but it was more like a reconnection with reading, an activity I used to make time for.  I decided to start blazing through my pile of “going to read” books.  You know the ones I’m talking about–the ones you pick up and tell yourself that you’re going to read when you get some spare time, but really they just sit on your bedside table and collect dust.  Well, I’ve read over 3,000 pages so far this year, so I’m quite happy with that.  Ha, and it gives me something to Instagram because I am a fantastically boring individual in real life.

The end of March means it’s quarterly reward time, and I’m at a bit of a loss for what I want.  That’s a lie.  What I really want is the entire Urban Decay X Basquiat collection that drops near the end of April, but I keep telling myself that to buy that vault would be to throw this entire exercise out of a window.  Even if I forget about the fact that the vault is considerably more than the amount of money set for rewards, there’s another glaring problem.   There is, frankly, nothing in there that I need.  NOTHING.  I want it because I like Basquiat’s art, and the packaging on the vault is amazing.  I could probably find a dupe for virtually every one of those eyeshadows somewhere in my current collection.  This has led me to putting off my quarterly reward until April 20.  I may use it to get some of the UD items, or, if some sense can be talked into my head, I’ll use it to buy some skincare products I’ve been wanting to try out.  If I do get a vault, I am willing to forgo rewards for the rest of the year.  I don’t care what awesome new products come out in the future.  I want this collection that badly.  This will be a conversation to have with Jared since there are rules to this year’s game, and they have been written down and agreed upon.  My entire life has been spent finding ways to bend rules to their breaking point.  Of course this would be no different.

That’s about all for this quick little update on how things are going.  A quarter of the year is gone, and progress has been made in toward my goal of ending wasteful spending.  Thanks to all my friends following me on this journey.  Thanks for the words of encouragement on here, on social media, and over calls, texts, and lunch conversations.  While I certainly don’t feel like I’m knocking this activity out of the park, I know I’m making progress.  Baby steps, right?

Thanks to all.

–Jackie

Too Faced Lip Injection Glossy. What on Earth is this Sh*t?!

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Full disclosure:  I hate lip plumpers.  They burn.  They really burn.  This one is no different.  It kind of sucks, too, because this is a really pretty color.  It’s a really nice nude shade that I don’t find overly shiny.  I could even get past the sticky factor, but the burning?  No.

I really tried to make this work because I actually did love the color, but it hurts my lips.  Every single time I put this on, I would get a crazy, painful, burning sensation wherever it touched.  And it didn’t really begin to dissipate.  More often than not I would end up removing it, and instead of the lovely nude shade in the tube, my lips had become a shade I liked to call “Bloodshot Crimson.”  For kicks I put a swatch of this across the back of my hand, and the same thing happened.  While I never noticed any actual plumping of my lips when I would put this on, I did notice some swelling on the back of my hand.  This mess doesn’t joke around.

I remember trying the original clear Lip Injection years ago.  The same thing happened.  I tried GlamGlow’s lip plumper.  Same thing.  Lip Venom.  Same thing.  I cannot use these things, so I don’t buy them.  This one came in my last Sephora Play box, and I had an idea this would probably happen.  I was right.

I mean, I know a ton of people wear lip plumpers, but can you sit there and tell me they don’t make your lips feel like they are on fire?  I’m genuinely curious.  I’ve heard that whole “beauty is pain” adage, but I don’t ascribe to it.  This is going in the trash.

If you want to set your lips on fire, you can pick this up at Sephora for $22.00.  It comes in a variety of very pretty colors, but I’m willing to bet many people will find their lips will become the shade Bloodshot Crimson in the end.

–Jackie

Ouai Treatment Mask. What does this Do?

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I got this in my Sephora Play box in, I think, January.  I kind of just let it languish in my shower for awhile because I don’t really do anything special with my hair.  It’s oily.  I wash it every day not because I want to.  I hate washing my hair.  It’s thick and takes forever to dry, but it gets so oily, that I don’t really get much choice about when I want to wash it.  I need to wash my hair every day, and it sucks.  My hatred of washing my hair means I don’t do much in the way of masks or anything special.

I did, however, decide to read a book in the bath a few days ago.  Before I climbed in, I saw this on the counter by the sink and thought, “Eh, why not give it a go.”  I combed it through my hair.  I had to use the entire tube to get enough to cover my thick mane.  Then I put my hair up and got to reading (Mort by Terry Pratchett FTW).

A bit later, I drained the tub, washed my hair, annnnnd, nothing.  According to Sephora.com, this is supposed to be incredibly restorative and will leave your hair soft and smooth after just one treatment, which is a 0.3 ounce packet if you’re buying full-size, so I used almost double what was suggested, I suppose.  As best I can tell, it did, literally, nothing.  If I had paid for this, I would be kind of ticked.

It’s $32.00 for 8 treatment packs on Sephora’s website.  I’m not biting.  I’m sure this works for some people, but I’m not going for it.

Ouai Treatment Mask:  I’m not buying it.

–Jackie

Ole Henriksen Power Peel. I LOVE THIS.

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There was a time less than a year ago when I would not be caught dead without this in my bathroom cabinet.  You know how the staff at Sephora likes to hype up certain products when they see you checking them out?  This one lives up to the hype.

Here’s the details about the three step Power Peel.  Wash your face with the cleanser of your choice, and go in with step 1, the almond polish facial scrub, while your skin is still damp.  It smells like almond oil, which I happen to greatly enjoy.  Scrub for two minutes and rise.  The six pack comes with these weird little sponges, but I found removing the scrub with them to be a bit too harsh, and it caused a few little breakouts on me.  I just use warm water and my hands and have no problems.

Dry your face, and go in with step 2, the lemon strip flash peel.  It will burn.  All joking aside, if there are any abrasions on your face, tears will start to form, but just bear with it for as close to two minutes as you can.  When you reach two minutes (or as long as you can take the stinging), apply step 3, the chamomile mask.  Don’t rise off step 2.  This will immediately calm the burning, and then about five minutes later, you may get tingly again.  Leave it on for twenty minutes, and rise.  I did this once a week for a year, and would go to bed with skin that was a little red and wake up to the kind of skin clarity that makes it OK to leave the house without makeup.  This stuff really does work.

Now, my skin isn’t sensitive, and I say it’s harsh but effective.  If I did have sensitive skin, I don’t see how I could tolerate the second step.

It’s $50.00 for a six pack, and it’s absolutely worth it.  Theres enough product in each treatment pack for two uses without having to skimp on product, so it comes out to fifty bucks for three months worth of very good product.  Use half of the product in a pack, and toss the rest into a zip-top bag.

Well, Jackie, if you love this stuff so much, why aren’t you running out to buy it again?  My answer is that I started using retinol about three months ago.  You know the magic bullet that cures all facial problems (and it totally does).  I figured I may as well give it a go since I passed my thirtieth birthday a couple of years ago.  Retinol + Power Peel = angry, angry, skin, at least in my case.  Those two things in combination are just too much for my face.  I end up with red patches that get raw, so I had to pick one or the other.  I went with the retinol.  If you happen to use any of a number of potent retinoids on the market, you might want to pass on this.

So, to summarize, yes, this works wonders, but if you’ve got sensitive skin, or are doing anything to your skin that would cause it to become more sensitive, take a pass on this stuff.

Ole Henriksen Power Peel:  I love it, but I’m not going to buy more.

–Jackie

Dr. Brandt Pores No More Pore Refiner. Tell Me Again what this Does.

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I don’t get this stuff.  I think they were going for something like the Mister Mat Primer from Givenchy, but that’s not what this is.

To start on a high note, it does seem to fill in pores when you first apply it, so that’s good.  It smells a bit like clay mixed with mint, which is not entirely unpleasant, but that’s about where my praise for it stops.

It feels really silky going on, but it never really sinks in.  I feel like there is always a film on top of my face, and any makeup I apply just sits on top of it.  It doesn’t really look natural to me, and it feels like I’m wearing a mask.

I do not have oily skin.  It’s just about as normal as you can get, but without fail, five hours after I put this on, my whole face starts to look oily, at which point they say you can apply more, but who on earth carries primer around in their purse?  Not I.  It doesn’t matter the foundation I use either.  I’ve tried it with liquids and powders, and I always end up shiny.  I find powder foundations to be slightly worse in this regard, but my makeup ends up looking pretty bad either way.  For reference, I can get twelve hours of wear time out of Smashbox Photo Finish Primer and virtually any liquid foundation I put on top of it.

And this stuff retails for $45.00 for a one ounce tube.  If you’re going to pay that much for a “primer” at least buy something from Hourglass or try out the Mister Mat from Givenchy since it actually does work like what I assume this is going for.

This stuff sucks.  That’s honestly the only thing I can say about it.  Sorry if anyone can’t live without it and I have offended you.

Dr. Brandt Pores No More Pore Refiner:  This stuff is crap, and I’m not buying it.

–Jackie

Sephora Play Box March 2017.

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Work is really eating my lunch lately.  Well, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that, but it has rendered me with virtually no free time.  For those who don’t know, I’m a chef in New York City at a relatively new place that was one of the most highly anticipated openings of the last twelve months.  We.  Are.  Busy.  All the time.  You want a dinner reservation for next month?  Call today.  Better yet, call four weeks ago.  I don’t exactly wear a ton of makeup at work since the odds are high that it will melt off of my face by the end of the night.  The stuff I do wear is so good under those kinds of extreme heat conditions that I’ve thought about talking about them on my blog.  I guess, friends, let me know if you want to hear about that.  Anyway, I’ve worked something like nineteen of the last twenty-two days, and tomorrow begins a six day stretch, so eyeliner and eyeshadow are an afterthought for me.  It has really made me wonder why I have so many pans of eyeshadow, though, when a substantial amount of my time is spent without any on.

Anyway, my latest Sephora Play box arrived two days ago, and this is the first chance I’ve had to sit in front of my computer and actually type about what was in there.  I haven’t tested anything out yet.  Heck, I haven’t even opened anything in it to see if I may or may not like it.  This month’s theme is “The Gleam Team,” which, if you can’t figure out from the title makes the box pretty highlight heavy.  This one is, hands down, the weakest box I’ve gotten from Sephora.  I’m not really into the strobing trend that’s going on.  Don’t get me wrong.  I like a bit of a glow, but I don’t really care to have cheekbones that can be seen from outer space.  Work, in addition to my overall “meh” feeling about this box, has contributed to my hardly looking at it since it arrived in the mail, but let’s go for the breakdown below:

GlamGlow Glowstarter Mega Illuminating Moisturizer:  Does anyone else absolutely hate the term “glotion”?  I can’t be the only one.  Anytime anyone says that word to me, I want to offer up the fact that glotion isn’t a real word.  This is a moisturizer with a luminous finish.  While I love many offerings from the GlamGlow line, I never felt any real inclination to try this out mostly because I don’t want my whole face to glow.  Since I have it, though, I’m going to try it out and report back.  I wouldn’t call myself excited about this one.

Bobbi Brown Long Wear Cream Shadow Stick in Golden Pink:  I would typically be happy to receive this one.  It’s a cream shadow stick that you smear on your eyelids, blend a little with a brush or your finger, and go on your way.  It’s easy, it’s a lovely warm pink hue, and the product inside seems quite good.  However, this is an exact dupe the Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Rose Gold, which I have.  I do mean exact, too.  Even the packaging is so similar, I find myself wondering if they come from the same factory.  I did swatch both of them on the back of my hand, and the formulas are different.  After giving my hands a good wash with soap and water, there were still traces of this one left while the Laura Mercier one was completely gone.  I’m going to play around with both of them.  The color is quite pretty, especially on pale folks like me.

Benefit Cosmetics Watt’s Up! Cream to Powder Highlighter:  I’ve used this before, so I wasn’t excited to see it in this box.  It’s a good highlighter, blends well, looks natural enough when you want it to but can be built up to a glow you can see across a room.  It’s been around for what seems like forever, so there’s your indication that it’s an oldie but a goodie.

Living Proof Full Dry Volume Blast:  Now, THIS I’m excited to see.  A friend of mine told me about Living Proof a little over a year ago, and I gave their Perfect Hair Day line a try.  I love this brand.  Their products work well and smell amazing!  It’s a lovely citrus scent that is wonderful in your hair.  I wish they bottled it as a perfume.  It’s that good.  This claims to be a volumizer with an added bonus of a dry shampoo effect.  I’m optimistic it will work as it claims because everything this brand puts out does what it says.

Josie Maran Surreal Skin Argan Finishing Balm:  I’m not sure how I feel about a product that claims to both prime and finish your makeup.  I feel like you either do one or the other great, but if you try to do both, you end up with something that just works okay.  I’ll give it a try.  The texture reminds me a lot of the Beauty Flash Balm from Clarins, which I love, so I could see myself maybe liking this for a base.

Chloe Fleur de Parfum: I did give this a spray.  It had me at the top notes of lemon and verbena.  How I love verbena.  The middle notes are rose and cherry blossom.  I don’t find the rose to be jarringly offensive (I HATE the smell of roses, lest anyone forget) on the drydown.  The base notes are white cedar essence, bitter almond, and amber.  This is a perky floral that seems great to wear in the spring.  I think I’m going to like it.

So that’s what is in this month’s box.  At this point I’m only calling two of the six products a win, but I’m hoping that will change over the next month or so.  This box isn’t a total letdown, but, as I said before, I’m less than excited over it.  Here’s hoping next month’s shipment wows me.

Total spent at Sephora so far this year: $148.07.

–Jackie

D&G 3 L’Imperatrice. Strangely Amazing.

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I got this sample ages ago.  I literally have hundreds of samples around here, but I usually wear one of two perfumes I bought, and I don’t really deviate.  I found this the other day and sprayed it on a whim because I liked the name, and let me tell you.  I couldn’t get enough of it.

It’s like nothing I usually wear.  It’s sweet and fruity, when I usually go for darker scents.  I don’t know that it’s best worn in the winter, but I really couldn’t get enough of it.  It smells like watermelon and kiwi and citrus.  Like something you could have gotten in Bath and Body Works around the turn of the millennium, and I don’t mean that at all in a bad way.  Maybe I liked it so well because it reminded me of being that age, and come on, how could you not like Britney Spears or the Spice Girls or N’Sync?

Much like the scents from Bath and Body Works, it is fleeting.  Two hours and it was gone, leaving me to douse myself in all of its glorious goodness again.  It never lasted far beyond the dry down stage.  Not a problem when it comes from Bath and Body Works and you can get a half dozen bottles for thirty bucks or something.  It’s much more of an issue when you have to spend $79.00 for 3.3 ounces.

Like I said, I don’t know why I liked this so much.  Maybe you could get a little more wear time out of it in the summer months. If anyone wanted to buy me this for a birthday present, I would be quite happy to receive it, but I don’t honestly think it’s worth the money.  If you blink, the smell is gone.  Then I just use more, and long for a more long-lasting spray.  There’s no body wash or lotion to layer it with in an attempt to extend the life of it, either.

It really does smell wonderful, though.  So, hey, Santa Claus, if you’re reading this, I would like a full-sized bottle of D&G 3 L’Imperatrice for Christmas.  I’m good all year, except for when I’m not.  Thanks.

Also, bring me a pony, please.

–Jackie