Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Where to start the application?

Some may already know this but others may not: where we're starting the application may be counterintuitive at times... and as usual may vary depending on your preference. But, for example, when we say that we line the eyelid from corner to corner, you'd think that it means that you start at one corner and end at the other in one line... perhaps... perhaps not. The consideration to keep in mind is the product that you are using and the area. At a high level, the principle is that, if you are going to have a lot of product on your brush, you don't want to start at a corner or edge or else it will be too dark there and not enough where you need it.

Let's go over some considerations for different items/placements.


When it comes to foundation, I will actually apply from a center area and push out the sides... so like say on my right cheekbone and then expand it out to the jaw line and hair line and in towards the nose. Given how foundation typically applies, it's easier to start high and bring it lower, hence why I start on the cheekbone and will expand downward and towards the hairline.

Facial Powder

I'm talking here about the powder that you may apply over your foundation. Really, this one doesn't matter so much as it's typically easy to move that loose powder around but I also typically start on the cheekbone and will expand in a similar fashion as the foundation.


On my eyelid, I generally start around the middle and will go towards each side. As I mentioned in another entry, I tend to use dabs when I apply the first layer. You can use your brush in a sweeping motion to move the powder around if need be. If you're using a cream eye shadow, this may be harder to move around. That's the general principle.

However, if I am applying some eye shadow specifically on the eyelid on the inner corner or the outer corner to create an accent, I will start at the corner as that's generally where I want to have the most emphasis.


At the crease of the eyelid, we typically want more intense at the outer corner and less intense towards the inner corner (if you want any eye shadow there at all). Depending on the color and the product, I may start building the crease at the outer corner, working my way in or from the middle of the crease and build it out.

Brow bone

If I'm applying some eye shadow at the brow bone, I'll start from the eyebrows and bring downwards as I want the brightness to be at the height of the eyes.


Ah, the eyeliner is an interesting tricky one. If I'm using a pencil, I will nearly always work from inner corner to outer corner as the tip will generally be sharper (and thus make a finer line) at the start of use. If I'm using any other product (liquid liner or gel liner), I will start at some place away from the inner corner... it might be anywhere from like a 1/4 out to past mid eye. I make that decision based on how much product there is on my brush. If there's a lot, I will start closer towards the outer corner as that's the corner that needs to have the thicker line (if you're doing an increasingly thicker line). The motion, though, will still be from outer corner to outer corner as that gives the look that I like.


For blush, I always start on the cheekbone and expand towards the hairline. The reason is quite simply that you typically want more on the cheekbone and have a feathering effect towards the hairline.


There are many ways that you can start the application. And, as usual, whatever works for you is what you should be doing. But, if you've been unsatisfied with some applications, consider starting from a different spot than what you normally do. If you're using tutorials, also pay attention to where they're starting first, realizing that this is what worked for them and could work for you... or not... 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Product Review - Ultra Repair Cream by First Aid Beauty

I received the Ultra Repair Cream by First Aid Beauty as a sample via an order with Sephora. I have quite dry skin on my hands and, with the change of season, I was looking forward to trying something new.

I do like the product but I don't exactly love it. I like that it is lightweight and feels very hydrating: it feels like my skin is drinking it up. However, I actually prefer shea butter creams as they feel like they hydrate my hands better. I feel like I'd need to reapply the Ultra Repair Cream more frequently during the day than the shea butter creams. Also, it has sort of a weird unscented smell. I know, that's counterintuitive. But there's like a smidge of a scent and it's just something that smells a little odd to me.

They do say that you can apply this cream from head to toe and a number of reviews on the Sephora website mention using it as a facial moisturizer. Well, it is lightweight enough to be used as a moisturizer but I don't have dry enough skin on my face to vouch for how it would feel. I did put some of the cream on my elbows and knees. While it hydrated well, I don't know that it felt that much different than my normal body moisturizer, which is Curel and is much cheaper.

The price isn't bad with the 2 oz tube is $12 and the 6 oz jar is $28. I'm just not sure that I liked it enough to invest in it. It was a great sample to try, though. And I can see that some people might really enjoy this product.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Product Review - Perversion Mascara by Urban Decay

I received the Perversion mascara by Urban Decay as part of my Ipsy subscription. I was super excited about trying it out as I love Urban Decay products. The bottom line is that I hate this mascara.

The first application went okay. I actually was pretty happy with how black the lashes were readily. I thought that I'd be happy with it. I was unsure about the brush but figured that I'd wait and see. Well, first off, after I had closed the tube, I noticed that my fingers were all black and there was black all over the counter top. It turns out that the mascara itself had spilled out and there was a wide rim of black mascara around where the top closes. I wiped it off... and I have to do that every single time I close the darn tube.

While the formulation is indeed an intense black, it tends to make globs super easily so I wasn't happy with that. And the brush is useless at helping taking care of that. The brush is super soft, which feels nice on the lashes but it's rather terrible at precisely deliver the mascara on the lashes so I end up having as much under the lashes as on the lashes.

So I was overwhelmingly disappointed with this product and at $22, it's really not worth my money at all.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Product Review - Pop! Goes the Shadow by Elizabeth Mott

I received the Pop! Goes the Shadow by Elizabeth Mott as part of my Ipsy subscription. The color that it came in was as shown above, which was named champagne.

Given how pale it was, I was dubious as to what it would look like on my skin but it turns out that it's a marvelous color on me and I use it rather frequently for work to do a vintage looking makeup with just this eye shadow and some black eyeliner (usually just the top lid, though with the new haircut, I line the lower lid now as well). The eye shadow applies real easy and stays on well. It also has a nice shimmer to it. I'm very happy with it.

It retails at $12.99, which is comparable to a lot of fancier brands like MAC and Urban Decay and such. I would love to see the other colors live, especially Stars at Night. Would I be tempted to purchase this eye shadow again? Absolutely. My only issue is that it's really just available online or at some stores, none of which being in Indiana. At least it's available online as well.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The cure for (makeup) boredom

So, you've been feeling blah about makeup lately... or just simply feel like you've been doing the same thing over and over again. We can easily get in a routine and will develop go to habits because, well, when pressed for time or because you haven't had any coffee in your system, you'll need something that feels simple. But that can get boring after a while.

So here are a few ideas to shake things up.

Make use of your subscription

If you have a subscription (Ipsy, Birchbox, whatever), chances are that you may not have used everything that's in there (especially if you have had the subscription for a while as these things tend to accumulate). So you can definitely look into those samples/products and use them. Just pick one and make it work. It's not your normal shade? Make it work. That will ask you perhaps to do a little research to make it work or will at least fire up your creative juices. And if your push back is that it's a shade that totally doesn't work for you, unless you've tried it, don't dismiss it yet. Oftentimes, it's what you pair it with that makes a huge difference.

Go through your stash

Even if you're not a makeup junkie, chances are that you have some stuff that you haven't used in a while. Look at your drawer/makeup bag/wherever you store your makeup... towards the bottom... that thing... use that. ;) Now, you can use it how you used to (i.e., whatever routine you had developed with it [if any]) OR you can find another way to use it that will make it all fresh again.

Look at magazines/online photos/Pinterest

I have a board on Pinterest where I collate those pics that I stumble upon that I love the makeup in. Chances are, you may as well. When was the last time you looked at the board? There's inspiration right there. If you don't have such a board, well, you can start one... or if you don't want to be on Pinterest, there's the good old fashioned looking at magazines for inspiration or just do an online search or whatnot.

Online tutorials

I like to look at online tutorials every now and then and I have to admit that this is probably my #1 source for new inspiration. Well and, besides the fact that it will be makeup that's different than my usual go-tos, it will usually involve some different application than what I normally do so that's refreshing. Remember that, even if you don't have the exact product that they are using, if you have something that is close enough, it will work. And, sometimes, it's about trying a new technique and not so much about the color scheme.

Here are the ones that I follow:
Makeup Geek: https://www.youtube.com/user/MakeupGeekTV
Queen of Blending: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZr01YgztFcF6AWNaHp9HSA
panacea81: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUmC122H07lU5BWK7XZimhg
Hollywood Noir Makeup: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSrPeIs2bEjylHrnDK-nZvQ

Monday, August 4, 2014

On the topic of blushes...

I have thus far not really talked about blushes on this blog. The reason is simple: it's just not a product that I get gaga for. Now, don't get me wrong, I do wear blush on a daily basis but I just don't have gazillion of different colors nor do I feel the need to invest in more. 

Some staples

I have some staples that work for pretty much every makeup that I can conjure up.  Here are the colors that I do have:
  • a pink toned blush;
  • a red with brown undertone blush;
  • a red with purple undertone blush;
  • a peach colored blush.
And I find that that's pretty much what I need. I did end up getting two additional ones through the Ipsy subscription, which are baby pink and coral and I do like them. But I could have lived without them.


While, yes, the exact blush color will make a subtle difference for overall look of the makeup, I just find that it's such a small difference that it's not worth spending on different shades... I'd rather buy more eye shadows instead or lipstick. ;)

Now I would advise that, if you are going to invest in just a few shades, make sure that you do love them and consider splurging for a better brand or at least a better payload. Blush is a product that not only stays good for a long time but also a little goes a long way so the product will last you a long time.


Blushes can come in different formulation: pressed powder, loose powder, cream, and liquid. I do like both pressed powder and loose powder formulations. The application is identical. When it comes to the cream and liquid formulation, I find that it's harder (for me) to apply. I've tried to apply the cream ones using a brush and that just didn't work well. I tried with my fingers (for both cream and liquid formulation) and it's hard to have a good application with those as well. I also don't quite like the finished look and feel of those formulations. So I just stick to the powder ones.


You want to apply the blush on your cheek bone, from the tip of the bone (closer to the nose) towards the hairline.  Definitely start with soft brush strokes at first and add a little bit more as needed. Blushes tend to be very pigmented so it's super easy for it to apply much more intensely than you want. If that happens, you can use your hand to smudge it away. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Product Review - Smoky Extravagant Mascara by Make Up For Ever

I received a sample of the Smoky Extravagant Mascara by Make Up For Ever in my birthday gift from Sephora (when you're a member of their reward thing, you receive a birthday gift).

Normally, it's hard to gauge how great a mascara will be based on a sample because they end up having a smaller version of the brush and it just doesn't do it justice (and it seems that 9/10, the brush is what makes a difference, at least for me). In this case, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the brush was big and probably about the size of what the full size version would be (based on the above pic, that seems to be true). Not only that but it has a great range from very big to very small on either end, making it extremely easy to work with. Just for that, I was almost sold.

The mascara formulation itself is pretty typical. I mean, I rarely find major differences between formulations and that may just be me. But it does a good job and is a strong black so that makes me satisfied with it.

When I said that I was "almost sold", the thing that is preventing me from saying fully sold is the price. It's not too terrible at $24 but since you need to replace your mascara every 3 months (y'all remember that, right?), I tend to be a little hesitant to pay that much for a mascara (because then that makes your total for the year at nearly $100 when you can easily do less than that). Now it IS a good enough product that it almost sways me into splurging for it. I do have a number of mascara samples left so will go through those (reviews to come) and then we'll see.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Product Review - Jesse's Girl Liquid Eyeliner

As part of the Ipsy subscription, I received a full size Liquid Eyeliner by Jesse's Girl in black. I wasn't too excited about trying it, based on my experience with their eye shadow palette (reviewed previously here). But, yanno, a liquid eyeliner can be hard to mess up.

They were touting that this product has a Japanese calligraphy-style brush and that got me intrigued enough to give a try on a day when I didn't really have anywhere to go. And, well, I was greatly surprised by how thin of a line I could easily get with this brush. The first time, it actually took me quite a few brush strokes to get the line to thicken. I've used it a few days in a row now and have gotten used to it where I can draw a thick or thin line at will.

One other advantage of this product, mainly through the brush, is that I could see using it to do tribal markings (which seem to be having a resurgence in the ATS(R), ITS, and Tribal Fusion scene) and having good control and be precise in doing them.

A disadvantage that I found is that, if you mess up, given that the formulation is waterproof, it's actually hard to correct the line as you can't just wipe it off. So if you're not used to working with a liquid eyeliner, this may not be the best product to try your hand at first (there's one by E.L.F. that is like $3 and is easier to manipulate for people new to using liquid eyeliners).

The price is also pretty good, at $6.99. As I mentioned above, there's an E.L.F. liquid eyeliner that you can find for $3 at Target so you could buy that. But I was smitten with the brush enough that I would "splurge" and get the Jesse's Girl product instead due to the precision that you can get. And, well, the waterproof formulation is a nice touch as well.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Product Review - Jesse's Girl Eye Shadow Palette

I received the Jesse's Girl 9 Pan Eye Shadow Compact as part of the Ipsy subscription from February. I really liked the color that I was seeing so was excited to try it.

I ended up using the colors for a makeup scheme for restaurant dancing (which is my ultimate test when it comes to makeup hold). While I was happy with the end result (see picture and description below), I have to say that I was disappointed with the payload. I had to apply a whole lot of product to get the intensity that I wanted. I also strongly believe that, without the eye shadow primer, it wouldn't have held well but, with it, it did very very well actually. The price is uber low at $3.99 so I'd say that you get a whole lot for the price. Though I'd rather pay more and not have to spend extra time applying makeup (and risking messing up because I have to go over it many times). Actually, the Wet 'n Wild palette that I reviewed recently had a better payload and was only $1 more so I'd go towards that instead of purchasing another palette from Jesse's Girl.

It seems that the only way to find the product is through their website (though I thought that I had seen it somewhere while shopping) and they offer free shipping for orders over $20.

This was the finished look. It's kind of hard to tell the contrast and was okay for restaurant dancing but I would have pushed the contrast more for stage.  Here's how I did the look:

  1. I first applied an eye shadow primer.
  2. I applied Buxom Stay There Eye Shadow in Mutt all over the eyelid.
  3. I applied the 3rd color from the left from the palette over the eyelid (so over the Mutt shadow).
  4. I applied the 3rd color from the right from the palette at the crease.
  5. I applied the 1st color from the left from the palette at the brow bone and inner corner.
  6. I lined the eyelid and bottom lid waterline with a black eyeliner.
  7. I of course applied black mascara.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

How to contour your face

One of the problems that we see with stage makeup is the face appearing to be all one mask of a same color and your features essentially disappear. This is due to both distance and bright lights (if there are bright lights). If you want to add more of a 3D effect to your face, you will want to use contouring methods, which consists of shadowing and highlighting certain areas on your face.

Shading and highlights on your face will essentially be you re-drawing your face. Essentially, you want to highlight the spots where the light hits the skin on your face and shade the spots where the light creates shadows on your face.  I typically do the shadows first and then the highlights.  Make sure that the shadows don’t bleed too much on where the highlights will need to be.

  •       Under the cheek bone;
  •       On each side of the nose;
  •       Crease in the chin;
  •       Under the jaw line.

  •  Do a ‘heart’ shape by highlighting over the eyebrows and under-eye area/cheek bone;
  •  Middle of the forehead;
  •  On the ridge of your nose;
  • Tip of the chin.

Note: For the temple area, you may want to play with whether to highlight or shadow it; it will really depend on your skull.  If you have a dip at the temple, most likely you’ll prefer shadowing it. If you don’t, highlighting the area will be your preference.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Care for brushes

To keep with yesterday's post about brushes, here is some information on how to take care of them.


I highly recommend storing the brushes in a brush case. If you buy a set, it will usually come in a case or bag of sorts and you can use that. You can store them really whichever way you want but, to increase the longevity of your brushes, you want to store them in a way that the bristles can't be damaged.  So throwing them in a makeup bag is NOT a good idea, unless it's for a short period of time (e.g., when traveling) but even then, I wouldn't recommend it.  Store them carefully and they will last for a long time.


Brushes should be cleaned regularly. That will help both keep them in good shape for a long time and also keep them clean in terms of color cross-contamination and bacteria.  There are a number of ways that you can clean brushes. Here are some options.

Warm Water and Baby Shampoo

It's pretty much exactly like it sounds. Take your makeup brush and get the bristles wet with warm water. Then put a small amount of baby shampoo on the bristles and massage to get the color out. Rinse the bristles well with more warm water. Use a towel to remove the excess water from the bristles, making sure to reshape the brush to something close to its original shape. It's very akin to working with your own hair. ;) Let the brush air dry.

The advantage of this method is that it's fairly inexpensive as baby shampoo is not costly and a small bottle will last you a long time. The disadvantage is that it takes a long time for the brushes to dry (about 24 hours). So you likely won't be able to do this very frequently.

I usually use this method for big fluffy brushes like my kabuki brush, my powder brush, and my blush brush. That's the best method to get the colors out of the brush and clean them real good.

Makeup Brush Cleanser

Makeup brush cleansers come in all kinds of formula. I've tried the one by e.l.f. before and wrote a review on it. I'm not using it. The one that I do like is by MAC (which I talk about in that e.l.f. product review). The instructions on the bottle say to pour some cleanser over the brush bristles and then reshape the brush and let dry. I've seen MAC stores where they have a jar of it and will dip the brush in it (just the bristles) and then they will wipe it over the a tissue. The method I use, which I've seen done by my favorite MAC consultant is to pour a little amount on a tissue, wipe the brush back and forth until all the color is out, reshape the brush, and let dry (I put it back in the case to dry). This latter method uses the least amount of product.

The advantage of the makeup brush cleanser (MAC or other one that has alcohol in it) is that, since it has a little bit of alcohol in it, it will dry off much faster and you can technically use the brush in like 20-30 minutes but I usually wait longer to make sure that it's completely dry. In addition, they claim that the product helps condition the brushes. I don't think that it's that much more conditioning than the baby shampoo would do so I'm not sure that it's an advantage really but I haven't tested it. The disadvantage is that it's a little pricey at 14$ but it does a splendid job so I feel that it's well worth the price.

I usually use this method for all my brushes for eye makeup. I clean these more frequently (see below) and they require a faster drying method.

Frequency of Cleaning

I have friends who I have had to chide for the frequency of cleaning the makeup brushes... they *may* do it once a year. That is WAY too infrequent, unless you really don't wear makeup often.

I clean my eye makeup brushes after every use. Yes, I do. The main reason for that is to ensure that there is less cross-contamination of colors. If you don't clean your brushes after use, even if you wipe them and think that there isn't color left because you can't see it, there is still color in the bristles, just not visible to the eye... but it will affect the color that you are trying to apply next. So if you've had that issue where the color isn't quite right, it could be because you're using a brush that needs to be cleaned.  Also, it's a good idea to clean those frequently since they are being used around the eye area.

I clean the big fluffy brushes about once every 6 months, though I should probably do once every quarter just for good measure. These brushes always have the same product or near same product (I don't have drastic differences in the blush colors I use) every time so there is less cross-contamination of color (or none if we're talking about the loose powder).

Friday, January 10, 2014

Product Review - Big Sexy Hair Powder Play

I received the Big Sexy Hair Powder Play sample as part of the Ipsy bag in April 2013. The full size (0.53 oz) retails for about 15$.  I was excited to try this brand as I've been intrigued by it and have heard good things about it. This is the first of 3 samples that I received from this brand over the months.

The Powder Play promises to fluff up your hair, give it uber volume, etc. I was excited about that because it's really hard for my hair to get some volume and I had heard from a number of folks that powders are great at doing that and that I should try this very brand. So I was real excited to give it a try.

The verdict? Well... I was uber disappointed. It did very little for me. It fluffed up my hair a little bit but not nearly as much as it promised. I tried applying it directly on my hair, as instructed. I tried pouring some in my hands first, in case dropping the product directly on my hair was making it too heavy or something. There was no discernible difference between the applications and not much volume gained. *sigh*

I've seen reviews online of folks who love this product so it must work for some people. It doesn't work for me. Given the fairly high price, I'd recommend trying it through a sample (should you be able to find one somewhere) or through someone who already owns the product... or, obviously, you can take a chance and purchase it but I most certainly wouldn't invest in it.

For the record, I don't think that the brand was the issue as the other two products that I'll review will have quite the different write-up. I tried a fluffing powder by a got2b and it also didn't work for me either. I thought that Big Sexy Hair being a pricier brand and generally getting better reviews, it might work better. But, while there was *some* more fluff, it wasn't enough.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Product Review - Wet n Wild Photo Op Shadow Palette

As part of the October Ipsy bag, I received the Wet n Wild Photo Op Shadow Palette from their Fergie Collection in Desert Festival.

First, I noticed the nice colors and got excited about this palette. And then I saw that it was a Wet n Wild product and my excitement dwindled down, thinking that it's a cheap brand.

Yesterday, though, I felt like trying out the colors. And you can see the look below.

I applied the bottom left color all over the eyelid. I then applied the bottom right color at the crease and outer corner of the lower lash line. Given that it was much darker than I originally anticipated (more on that later), I applied the top right color over the brown to try to tame the color a little. Finally, I applied the top left color at the brow bone, the inner corner of the eye, and over the lower lash line.

First off, the payload was much much much better than I would have thought for the brand and especially for this price range (palette costs about 4.99$).  I was very pleasantly surprised at the first brush stroke.  For this price range, I'm used to colors just washing off and requiring a good number of brush strokes to get a good color going. I have to admit that I did apply the Shadow Insurance by Too Face as I always do (honestly, you shouldn't leave home without it or another eye shadow primer) so that may have helped a little but, having experimented with it and all kinds of eye shadows, I can say that it was indeed the pigmentation in the palette that yielded those good results.

Secondly, when I applied the brown color, I literally thought to myself "Holy mole! That's great contrast!" Hence why I had to tame it for work. I mean, I could have gone to work like that but a little taming was needed for me to feel like it was less stage makeup and more work makeup. So I figured that I definitely needed to state that on this entry: the contrast is so good, it's totally stage worthy! And that's very rare to find in any palette, let alone one in this price range.  When I looked at other palettes in the collection, except for Dutchess Lounge (which I'd have to see in person to fully ascertain), the other palettes seem to also have amazing contrast that would be stage worthy.

Was there anything that I didn't like about this palette? Well, the only thing was the packaging: it's a rather thin plastic case so, if you're not careful in protecting it while traveling, it could break.  But that can be prevented by just a little extra caution.  The other thing is that the selection of colors in this collection is a little limited.

So, honestly, for 4.99$? It's totally worth purchasing, especially for stage or special occasions. I'm actually tempted to purchase the palette in Maldives Sky because I like the colors... not that I really need a new palette.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

And the winner is...

Long time no see on this blog. For a number of reasons, I ended up not posting as much last year. It should be better this year though I can't predict the frequency just yet. ;)

To re-start things off, I thought that I'd talk about which of the makeup subscriptions that won me enough that I resubscribed.

At one point, I had 3 makeup subscriptions going (click on the name to see my past reviews of those): Birchbox, Ipsy, and Starlooks. In an effort to keep my budget better under check, I ended up stopping all subscriptions. And, honestly, I was swamped with a ton of samples that I had yet to try. They just were coming too fast and in too much quantity for me to keep up. So I thought that a break would be beneficial for both the budget and the pile of samples.

If you want to access the company's website, click on the name of the company below.

The Losers

So here are the two that didn't make the cut for me to restart the subscription.


Pros: What I enjoyed about Starlooks is that it was always full size products and so, for 15$, you got a whole lot for your value. The best example was the December box, which was their palette that they normally sell for 99$, though I wouldn't exactly pay that much for it. But 15$ was a damn good price (and I use that palette frequently for restaurant belly dancing makeups). They also provide a little card with pictures of looks created with items in the box, which can be useful in knowing how to use the products (though they don't explain exactly how they did the look).

Cons: The fact that it was only their brand was what made me not re-subscribe for it. The brand isn't bad... it's actually makeup that has a pretty good payload. But I could never see myself purchasing from their brand, honestly. What I like about subscriptions is not knowing which brand I'm going to receive and discovering new brands. It also appears that the price of the box has gone up to 25$.

Who I'd recommend this subscription to: If you'd like to get the most bang for your bucks and don't care about discovering new products, then this is the subscription for you.


Pros: Birchbox was the first subscription that I signed up for, based on a recommendation. And, at first, it was pretty darn good. The samples were interesting, you'd always get a good number of bigger sized samples (generally called "deluxe samples"), and they seemed to pay attention to what you had said you were interested in. They usually provide a good number of samples and they tend to be for higher end products.

Cons: After a while, it seemed that the samples weren't as interesting and that they were sending whatever they had on hand. I originally chalked it off to growing pains but then there was a good 3-4-month period where I was disappointed in my box and didn't really want to use any of it. So it didn't feel like I was really getting my 10$ worth out of it. It seemed like they weren't paying attention to what you had said you were interested in but were just picking out at random which box you'd get. It also seemed like the samples were getting increasingly smaller in size so it felt like you were getting, yes, more samples but fewer bigger sized ones.

Who I'd recommend this subscription to: If you like receiving uber random things (including like chocolate, tea, gourmet fortune cookie, hair tie, etc.) and prefer receiving higher end products, this may be the subscription for you. Also, Birchbox tends to have more beauty and hair products and just a bit of makeup so if you're more interested in those kinds of products, this is the subscription for you. I'm tempted to resubscribe to Birchbox for that very reason.

The Winner

There was one that made me itch to restart a subscription. Enough that only 3 months elapsed between when I stopped the subscription and when I restarted it.


When I originally started subscribing, they were having some growing pains but they've been more consistent for a good while now.
Pros: The consistency has been largely achieved by sticking with the theme or concept that they were going for each month and everyone receives about the same items (colors may differ). So whereas Birchbox made you feel like some people got luckier than you, Ipsy makes you feel like everyone is pretty much equal. They do have some variations based on your answers to a beauty profile where they not only ask you things like your physical characteristics but your personal style as well. The majority of the products are actually full size nowadays with like 1 or 2 that are deluxe samples (generally those will be liquid liners or mascara). The majority of the products are makeup products. They always have rebates that month for the brands that are included in the bag. And we call it a "bag" because it does come in a cute bag. Here's what it was for December (not my actual bag but I got the same products except for the lip pencil).

Cons: A number of the products that I've received over the months are from brands that you can find at the pharmacy. I'm a bit of a makeup snob when it comes to brands but I've generally been pleasantly surprised by the pharmacy brands products (a good number of product reviews are coming up). For those brands that you can't find at the pharmacy, they are generally little known brands that can only be found through their own website. Not that it's a big problem per se but they won't necessarily have offers like free shipping (I hate paying for shipping); but that's when the rebates that you get that month are useful. They also tend to cycle through some of the same brands (well, they are at the mercy of who wants to give their products to them after all). It seems that there's a nail polish in like every bag or at least every 2 out of 3 bags and they are often in funky colors. And, well, you receive a bag every month so they do stack up. But they've been a blessing in keeping my jewelry organized and when traveling to keep things separate. But they do accumulate. For all that they personalize the color selections, sometimes you'll receive something that you'll wonder if you'll ever use because the shade isn't one that you'd normally wear... and sometimes it's a nice discovery that it's a shade that looks good on you... but sometimes it's not.

Who I'd recommend this subscription to: Well, pretty much everyone, though I probably need to add that you need an interest in makeup. Honestly, you get a good amount of interesting products for your 10$.