Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara. The Hype is Real.

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I’ll be honest.  I can’t stand Too Faced.  Their packaging is so gimmicky and cutesy, that I just cannot go for it.  Their holiday palettes are terrible.  Their collaborations are hit or miss at best.  Yeah, I get that the chocolate bar palettes are good, but there are other neutral palettes that I would rather buy because I just can’t give my dollars to this brand.

I got this as a sample.  I knew the hype around it, and I never cared because I don’t like Too Faced, so I wasn’t very excited to try it out.   I figured I would give it a go, though.

Much to my surprise, it is really good.  The wand is hourglass shaped and reminds me of the Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir mascara.  I had a terrible time with that one getting runny.  Not so with this.  It gets a little smudgy by the end of the day, but it didn’t really move around much.  The formula is great.  I could apply enough to get some good length on my lashes without them beginning to get clumpy.  It gives great volume, as well.

I have an awful time getting at the lashes on the outer corners of my eyes.  Getting them coated with mascara generally involves a lot of weird face making and complaining.  The skinny, middle portion of this wand managed to get in there and get mascara on my lashes without much of a problem while the thicker, outer edge at the end of the wand kept applying to lashes farther in on my eyes.  I love the shape of this wand.

I get a little disappointed when something I really want to hate actually lives up to the hype.  I mean, to hear people talk about this mascara, you would think it’s like the second coming or something, but I’ll admit I get it.  It’s one of the better mascaras that I have tried, but I’m not going to run out and buy a tube, and it’s not because I refuse to give money to Too Faced.  I’m not buying it because I’m using a mascara from Blinc that is so good I will probably never buy any other mascara ever again.  It is, hands down, the best mascara I have ever tried.  Period.    Sure, I’ll cheerfully try out samples that come my way, but that one has usurped Diorshow and Urban Decay Perversion mascaras as my holy grail, and I never thought I would see the day that would happen.  It’s so good that it has caused me to break my big rule about buying mascara:  Never buy full sized tubes since it’s impossible to use all of the product before it goes bad, thus, wasting money.  I’m throwing that rule right out the window for Blinc.

This one is available in a travel size, and it’s twelve bucks.  The full size will set you back $23.00.  It’s worth it.  This is great stuff even though it comes from Too Faced.

Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara:  I don’t need it.  I’m not buying it, but I wouldn’t stop a friend from getting a tube.

–Jackie

Clinique Pep-Start Hydroblur Moisturizer. Good, but not Good enough to Buy.

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I got this in a Sephora Play box a month or so ago.  Straight away, let’s get one thing out of the way:  Clinique needs to remove the word “moisturizer” from the name of this product even though they claim it provides all day moisture.  This isn’t a moisturizer.  End of story.  Moving on.

It is a pretty decent primer, though.  It really sank into my skin, filled in some pores, and made a good base for my foundation.  It’s not as good as Smashbox’s Photo Finish Primer.  I get twelve hours of wear time using that.  With this one it’s more like seven or eight.  With no primer, my makeup starts to go after about five hours, so this is a good primer, but not a great one.

I will say this about this stuff.  It’s awesome on days when you don’t feel like wearing makeup, and your skin is already looking pretty good.  I could smear this on and leave.  If I wanted to go crazy, I would put a tinted moisturizer on top of it.  It blurred pores and redness and made my skin look like my skin but better.  That was, honestly, the best way I found to wear it.  I felt like, at the end of the day, it didn’t quite know what it wanted to be, and it was best used alone.

It’s $29.50 for 1.7 ounces.  I’d say that was cheap for a good primer and in the range for a good, basic moisturizer from Sephora.  This isn’t a moisturizer, though, and there are better primers to be had, and, frankly, if I don’t feel like wearing makeup, odds are slim that I’m going to want to bother with this.  It’s an OK product in respect to a primer, but I still can’t figure out what it does because I don’t think Clinique knows what they wanted it to do.  There’s no room for it in my makeup routine because I don’t know what to do with it.  It’s just kind of there.

If I want a primer, I’ll use Smashbox.  If I want a moisturizer, there’s a million to pick from, and they can be found at Sephora and the drug store.  I didn’t detect any moisture from this stuff.  It’s just weird.  You don’t need it.  I don’t need it.  I’m not going to miss this at all now that it’s gone.

Clinique Pep-Start HydroBlur Moisturizer:  I don’t need it.  I’m not going to buy it.

–Jackie

Korres Black Pine Firming, Lifting, and Anti-Wrinkle Night Cream. Here We Go with the Breakouts.

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I used this entire tube because it smells amazing.  It may be one of the best smelling products I’ve ever tried.  I grew up in the country, and there were tons of pine forests around.  This smells like walking through any one of them, and I absolutely love it.  It smelled so good, I tried to justify every single negative thing I am about to type below just so that I could buy it, open the jar at night, stick my nose in it, and smell.

The first–and biggest–problem that I have with this is that it caused me to breakout.  Nothing crazy.  Just some small pimples randomly on my forehead and chin, but after a couple of weeks of nightly use, the zits started to happen, so I stopped applying this, and they went away.  That was the only new product I was using at the time, so it was pretty clear what the cause of the breakouts was.

The second problem I have with it is the thickness of the cream.  This is a true night cream.  This is the kind of cream you think of when you imagine something your grandma would use.  It was really thick and made my face feel straight-up greasy when I put it on.  It doesn’t take much product, either.  I used minuscule amounts of product.  This sample lasted so much longer than I ever expected.  Regardless of how little product I was using at night, my face looked like a teenager’s that was producing oil at warp speed.  Granted, this feeling would be gone by the time I woke up in the morning, but I found it terribly unpleasant in the hour or so leading up to bedtime.

The third problem, and I will admit this ties into problem one, was that it didn’t do ANYTHING it claimed to do.  I don’t need any assistance in the firmness department since I’m still pretty young, but any dark spots and discoloration I had on my skin was still there by the time I finished this tube.  Nothing happened with the two weeks of nightly use, and it sure didn’t happen with the intermittent use afterward.  I’m allowing that it didn’t work because I was unable to use it regularly because of the breakouts.

I refused to throw it away, though, because it just smelled so good.  Once I got the breakouts under control again, I still put this on once or twice a week just so I could walk around the apartment with a lubed-up face that smelled like a pine tree.  I was sad when I finally got to the bottom of the tube because I miss the smell.  I miss it so much I thought about paying $68.00 for the 1.3 ounce jar of the stuff.  Yeah, it’s expensive, and it breaks me out, and it doesn’t really do much besides moisturize my face, and I can’t use it nightly, but the smell is exquisite.

I can’t buy this, and I feel like an idiot for trying to find an excuse to purchase it.  I mean, it is STILL on my “loves” list over on sephora.com.  It’s like I’m hunting for an excuse to get this when there is really no justifiable reason to buy it.  I’m going to remove it from my favorites list now, and try to forget about it’s existence.

If you’re like me, and really like the smell of pine trees, though, roll into a Sephora and ask for a sample.  You will be just as in love with it as I am.

Korres Black Pine Night Cream:  I don’t need this, but I need the smell to be a room spray or perfume or something.  How I love it so.

–Jackie

Sephora VIB Rouge Sale. I Showed Great Restraint.

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The notice about the VIB Rouge sale came in the mail about a week before the actual sale, and my husband threw the mail in the corner and forgot to tell me anything about it.  I found it in a pile three days before the sale started, and got super excited, since I was beginning to run low on a couple of things.

Amazingly, I had no real inclination to walk into the store, go crazy, and buy everything I even so much as thought I wanted.  I got the three things above and went home.  I didn’t try and convince myself that I needed a new eye shadow palette because I’ve grown to realize that I don’t actually need it.  I have something like a thousand pans for crying out loud.  It feels nice to actually be saving cash instead of walking into Sephora and blowing half my paycheck, so I figure I’ll continue to be a responsible adult.

Sunday Riley Power Couple:  If I could point to a single product that has helped reduce my breakouts, it would be Luna.  I use it every night, and my skin has not looked this clear for this long since I was a child.  I’m beginning to run low on my bottle, so I jumped at the chance to get on sale since it is pretty expensive.  My bottle of Good Genes is pumping out air, too, so I got the pack with both of these items.  I don’t use Good Genes every single night because, let’s face it, I can get lazy with my skin care routine, so for people more diligent that I, this sized package of Good Genes would run out long before Luna.  For me, though, and with my tendency to skip the Good Genes a few nights a week because I would rather go to bed than rub more stuff on my face, I run out of both of them at about the same time.  I got this for $72.25 instead of the $85.00 price listed.

Blinc Mascara Amplified:  This is the best mascara ever created, and I dare anyone to say otherwise.  I mean, it does not come off!  My last tube just hit the six month milestone, so it was time to toss it.  I grabbed a new one while I was walking through the store.

Ouai Wave Spray:  Anyone who has followed the blog since the beginning knows how much I hate dealing with my hair.  I ran out of my last bottle of wave spray in February just about the time I was starting a new job.  I’ve not really bothered with getting a new bottle since I had been working so much, and I never, ever bother with my hair before work.  Half the time I walk out of my apartment with it still damp.  I like wave sprays for my days off when I feel like being lazy.  This one works really well with my hair type.  It accentuates the waves I have, helps keep the frizz down, and doesn’t require so much product that my strands start to look crispy and matted together.  I picked up the bottle as I made my way through the que to pay for my things.  Could I live without it?  Sure, but it makes my life much easier on my days off.

So, there’s my takings from the VIB Rouge sale.  It’s more of a mini-haul than a proper haul, I suppose, but I’ll use everything I bought, and I got nothing that will just sit around and ruin.  Go me.

I spent $113.83 on this outing, which brings my yearly total at Sephora to $301.13.  I don’t see myself running out of anything else anytime soon (maybe concealer–that would likely be the next thing to buy), so this is probably going to do it for my shopping outings for the next few months.

–Jackie

Sephora Play Box April 2017.

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This box arrived the same day the VIB Rouge sale started, so Tuesday, April 19 was a great day for me.  The box itself isn’t all that exciting as I’ve tried half the products in it already, but you win some, you lose some.  Let’s get straight into the breakdown:

Make Up For Ever Aqua XL Eye Pencil Waterproof Eyeliner:  I’ve used this before, and when they say “waterproof” they mean it.  My remembrance was that it set a bit too quickly for my liking, leading to a small window to smudge it.  I’ll try it again.  You can never have too many black eye liners, right?

Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer:  With the arrival of this tube, I now have three of these at my apartment.  This is the standard by which I measure all other primers.  This is what gives me twelve hours of makeup wear.  Sure, I’ve used it before, but I’m always glad to get another travel-sized tube of this gem.

Sephora Collection Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover:  I now have four of these in the apartment.  It’s a really good eye makeup remover, but I’m not going to lie.  Most nights I forgo eye makeup remover and just use my regular face wash to clean off my eyes.  The only time I really use eye makeup remover is to fix mistakes and to remove seriously heavy makeup.  Four travel sizes of this is a lifetime supply for me.  I could have done with something else, and this one is probably going to a friend.  I really have no use for another bottle even if it is tiny.

Fresh Vitamin Nectar Mask:  I’m all about brightening products, so I’m excited about this one.  I’ve poked around on it a bit, and this one is interesting.  It looks and smells like orange marmalade, and it honestly looks like there is some fruit peel in there.  I’m going to have to look up the ingredients on this.  I’m hoping it ends up working well since it’s the coolest thing in the box this month.

Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Wrinkle Recovery Peel:  I already use retinol to keep my breakouts at bay–not because I have many wrinkles to speak of.  It’s the single best thing I have ever put on my skin, and I’ll never be without it again.  With that being said, I don’t know if I’ll be able to tell if this is effective or not.  There’s only two peels in the sample size, and since I’ve been using a retinoid for months now, I’m not hopeful.  I do like easy to use products, though, and it doesn’t get much easier than rubbing a pre-moistened pad across your face, so I’ll be quick to try these out.

Pinrose Secret Genius:  I’m prefer my perfumes in spray form.  This is a one and done try, and I have a ton of perfume around here, so the chance of my liking it enough to add to the collection is pretty much zero.  The notes listed are caramel, white chocolate, and vanilla.  I’m worried it will be a bit too sweet for my liking, so I’ll be trying this one out when I don’t have anywhere big to go.  Those aren’t typically scents I gravitate toward.

There’s the breakdown for the current box.  I’m happy to get some travel sizes of products I’ve used before and love, and I’m really looking forward to the mask from Fresh, but, for me at least, this box just gives me average levels of excitement.  I’m still calling it better than last month’s box.  I’m almost out of most of those products, and reviews will be forthcoming.  That one was a bit of a dud.  Here’s hoping next month’s offerings will be amazing!

Total spent at Sephora in 2017: $187.30.

–Jackie

Fresh Sugar Lip Serum Advanced Therapy. This is NOT the Lip Balm I Love to Bash so Much.

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This stuff retails for $36.00 for 0.3 ounces, and you know what?  I had to talk myself back from the edge of buying it.  For all the ranting and raving I do about Fresh and their overpriced products (and lip balms that like to melt), they do make some really good stuff.  This is amazing.  So.  Freaking.  Amazing.

I love products with glycerin in them.  Soaps, lotions, lip products, you name it.  If there’s glycerin high on the ingredient list, I am so there.  Guess what’s in this to make me love it so well?  Yep, glycerin.  It takes only the smallest amount to cover your lips, it absorbs almost immediately, and your lips feel moisturized for hours.  This stuff has contributed to my ever expanding lip balm collection because I can’t be without a stick of the stuff.  It’s like a security blanket for me.  On more than one occasion, I’ve gotten out of the shower, put this on, gotten dressed, and left the house with no lip balm because my lips feel so hydrated.  An hour later, when I realize I have no lip balm on my person, I have to dive into the nearest Walgreen’s or Duane Reade and buy a stick of Blistex or Burt’s Bees or something.

But $36.00 for 0.3 ounces or product?  That’s steep.  Granted, you would only really need to apply this two, maybe three, times a day because it works so well, but still.  It reminds me so much of Yu-Be Moisturizing Skin Cream that I can’t bring myself to cough up the cash for this.  Yu-Be is $16.00 for an ounce on Amazon, and I’ve used it on my lips for years.  (The link is to their online store where you can get FREE SAMPLES that are a perfect purse size.  Well, you have to pay shipping, but still.)  Just like the lip serum from Fresh, it is massively hydrating, absorbs quickly, and I only need to apply it two or three times a day.  It’s also a pretty generous size, so I use it on dry patches on my hands and arms.  It’s a fantastic product.  In all seriousness, the only distinct difference I can find in the two products is that the serum is a bit thinner.  That is all.

Fresh Lip Serum claims to target the signs of aging on your lips.  I honestly used this stuff religiously, and didn’t notice any difference, so the only reason I want this is because it’s an awesome lip balm.  I’m not going to pay $36.00 for lip balm (even though I totally want to).  I’m going to stick to what I know and love–Yu-Be.

Fresh Advanced Therapy Lip Serum:  I don’t need this.  I’m not going to buy it.

–Jackie

Makeup Forever Smoothing Primer. I’m Still not Buying This.

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This is my second deluxe size of this that I have gone through this year.  You can read my original thoughts here.  I don’t have much to add, really.  This is an excellent primer.  I get about twelve hours of foundation wear time with this on underneath.  It really smooths my skin and blurs any pores and small imperfections I happen to have at the time.

I still don’t think I’ll buy this as a full size because I just always reach for the Smashbox primer.  I feel like they are essentially the same thing.  If you have one, you basically have the other.  I’ve used Smashbox for so long, I see no reason to deviate from it for what is, more or less, the same primer.

I can’t say you shouldn’t buy it because it’s a really, REALLY good primer.  I’ll just say that if you use Smashbox primers, at least wait until you’re out of that one before you pick this up.

–Jackie