Tag: cosmetics

Sephora Play! January 2019: The Dreaded Mushroom Latte Box

A recent NY Times article scolds “Your Hoarding of Sephora Samples is Out of Control.”

Their promotional Tweet asks “Are you buried in samples of cosmetics, lotions, hair products or perfumes?” to which I’d respond, “Yes, yes I am. And I like it.

Sure, samples take up space. Sometimes they cause you to fall in love with the product so hard that you purchase the full size. But here’s why samples are so great:

They’re cheap, if not free. They’re easy to stretch – e.g. I made a tiny Kiehl’s serum last two months. You can try before you buy. If something doesn’t work, share it with a friend. Samples are fun and they bring me joy.

Also, I don’t feel bad about accumulating samples because I use my gd samples.

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I Got A Custom Make-Over At Sephora

I don’t know how to do my own make-up so I scheduled a consultation at my local Sephora. These Custom Make-Overs are free if you commit to spending at least $50 on a purchase.

Let it be known that I don’t think make-up makes anyone beautiful or more beautiful or is in any way necessary to do so. I simply think cosmetics are fun and respect make-up application as an art form.

Food is typically my jam but I’m also a secret subscription box and beauty product nerd. I don’t purchase many products, but enjoy reading about them. The make-up I owned was acquired from Ipsy bags or impulse drug store purchases. Most didn’t work with my skin tone and varied in quality.

I set two goals for my consultation:

  1. Learn how to create a smokey eye look.
  2. Find a couple of products I liked enough to buy.

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My First Memebox: A Korean Tries Korean Beauty Products

In my latest subscription box adventure, this Korean tries a Korean beauty product box.

I’ve seen reviews of sample boxes from Memebox, a company that sells Korean beauty products and curates sample boxes. South Korean culture is beauty-focused and produces many products we don’t often find in America. From what I gather from other bloggers’ Memebox reviews, Korean products are not only unique, but packaged in quirky ways. For example, this loose powder that comes in an orb with a bow, cupcake lifting cream, and all of these strange masks.

Memebox differs from ipsy or Birchbox in that you choose the boxes you want to order and they come in different sizes and price ranges. I chose the Makeup Edition Memebox which cost $23 + $7 shipping and was supposed to contain four to eight full-size and sample-size products. I hoped that choosing a makeup-focused box would provide me with the opportunity to try cosmetics in colors that would compliment my Asian complexion.

Subscribers can earn earn points (1 point = $1). For example, I earned seven points by sending an email to their customer service providing the name of a blog offering a referral discount and by creating an account on their website. Seven dollars covered the shipping charge so my box cost $23. You can also earn points by purchasing certain products.

I did not upgrade to express shipping so my box shipped on the 16th and arrived in my mailbox on the 23rd.


It was not what I expected or hoped for. Here’s what I found inside:


This box contained five full-sized products along with a sheet describing each one and listing their prices. Let’s start with my least favorite product, first.


I wasn’t thrilled to find a makeup base. This is not a product I’ve ever used or have a desire to use. I feel like I put enough layers on my face with a moisturizer, sunscreen, foundation and powder.

This base is tinted green which is supposed to reduce redness which could be helpful for various skin conditions or scars.

Plus, what’s up with this lady on the package?

pore balm.jpg

I was as equally unexcited to find this anti pore eraser balm for similar reasons. It’s supposed to help minimize the appearance of pores and control sebum.

I tried a little bit on my hand. The balm is very light and blends into the skin easily. It really does seem to fill in skin texturing and creates a perfectly smooth surface which is cool and kind of freaks me out. There’s nothing wrong with this balm, it’s just not something I care to use. Maybe I’m weird, but I’m kind of okay being porey and a little shiny.

Concealer Pencil.jpg

As if green makeup base and pore reducing balm didn’t make this box blemish-focused enough, I got a concealer pencil.

The color matches my skin well so I tried it on a couple pimples. It really didn’t make enough of a visible a difference that I would consider purchasing it for $18.


This blush is slightly less boring than the blemish concealers. It’s a light peach/orange color and I’ll have to try it later because I don’t even own a blush brush.

I couldn’t help but compare this box to being a kid and receiving socks from my parents at Christmas. Sure, they are practical, but not very much fun.

Lip Tint.jpg

This tint gloss is my favorite product in the box. At first, I was alarmed by its flourescent orange color. Fortunately, the color looks more subtle when I apply it to my lips.

It’s still an unusual color, but I like it. The gloss feels light and smooth without being sticky. And the applicator’s sponge shape is, um, interesting. . .

Concluding Thoughts:
I’m not going to sugar coat this; I’m disappointed in my first Memebox. I ordered it over a month ago because they sell out quickly and have been waiting in anticipation for fun Korean makeup samples. Although all five items are full-sized, I did not want three blemish concealing products. I had hoped for colorful cosmetics like eyeshadows, mascara, nail polish, lipsticks, and really, anything else!

For my wants and needs, this is a terrible curation of products with little variety. I don’t care if the actual value of the products exceeds the $23 I paid for the box. They aren’t items I wanted or will use, so I essentially paid $23 for a lip gloss I like and a blush I tolerate.

I won’t take my chances purchasing any more Memeboxes, but I might order specific products from their website since I’m still interested in trying Korean beauty products. I just won’t leave it up to Memebox to surprise me.

ipsy Glam Bag Review: April 2014

Ipsy Post Card

April’s ipsy Glam Bag theme is Beauty Rocks. 

Besides the musically themed bag, I’m not sure how cohesive the theme carries over to the cosmetics.

In case you are unfamiliar with ipsy, it’s a monthly subscription service in which you pay $10 a month and receive a bag of 4-5 beauty samples in the mail. The samples are supposed to correspond to the results of an online quiz regarding your beauty preferences. Each item comes with a discount code or special offer that adds a free gift to a purchase.

This is my fifth ipsy bag. There’s always one sample in each bag I don’t like, but overall, ipsy’s a cheap thrill that has introduced me to many products I use each day.

I’ll unpack my April bag and share thoughts on each sample:

Ipsy Bag.jpg

First, a product I’ve never tried in any form.


dr. brandt claims this exfoliant mimics professional microderm abrasion treatments which supposedly diminish fine lines, wrinkles, soften skin, and eliminate dead skin cells.

The only experience I’ve had with an exfoliating product is St. Ives Apricot Scrub. I’v never liked it because the particles are too large and harshly scrape my skin. Therefore, I was apprehensive about trying this.

This morning, I applied it to my face and rubbed very gently, avoiding the areas around my eyes. The package recommends you use this twice a week and slowly massage it onto your skin for one-two minutes. I found this length of time too excessive and rinsed it off sooner.

I have to admit that my skin is delightfully soft. There’s a lot of empty space in this tube, but I think I can still get at least 3-4 more uses out of it (you only need a dab). I like this product, though $78 is too steep for a full-sized product, even with the 20% discount.

eye shadow.jpg

I also like this eye shadow. Champagne is a neutral, shimmery color I can use as a base or to highlight. Be careful. The powder is very delicate. I accidentally nicked it with my nail and a chunk went flying.

eye pencil.jpg

I also like this eye pencil. Having dark hair, I prefer black eye liners. Typically, I buy black eye shadow and apply it with a small or angled brush dampened with water. I’ve never had success with eye pencils or liquid liners because they smear or flake-off into my contacts.

The reviews on the ipsy site are mostly positive for this product and I can understand why. The pencil glides on smoothly and seems to be mostly waterproof. The test line I drew on my hand yesterday is still there even after a shower and many hand washings. And, it hasn’t smudged around my eyes this morning.

This pencil is not quite a full size but I see it lasting a long time.

Shadow Brush.jpg

This shadow brush is the lowest value item but it’s a practical one that I need.

My current shadow brush is years old and looks like a mess. I remember former art instructors telling us not to give our paintbrushes headaches. Oops.

The fibers are very soft and when I tugged on them, they remained firmly secured.

Lip Pencil.jpg

Now, for my least favorite product this month. A lip pencil.

I conducted an internet search investigating the purpose of a lip pencil. They supposedly help people define the lip shape, prevent feathering, and ensure there is color on the lips after lipstick wears off.

This is not a product I seek and I’m not concerned enough with these issues to buy a product that specifically addresses them. I gave it a try. The nude color is a little peachy and doesn’t compliment my skin tone or dark hair and eyes.

On a positive note, the product glides on smoothly and is made of a more moisturizing substance that differs than those old-fashioned lip pencils you have to sharpen. I remember playing with my mom’s lip pencils during middle school and high school.

Concluding Thoughts
I like most of the products in my April bag and will use them regularly. A hooray for no fake lashes, BB creams, or foundations!

Although my ipsy reviews are getting a lot of page views, I am feeling the urge to try a new subscription service. I just signed up for my first month of NatureBox which offers half-off your first box (the lowest-price box contains your choice five bags of snacks for $20). While I enjoy my ipsy bags, I can’t eat my ipsy bags and we’re always looking for snacks we can take to work. I read mixed reviews about NatureBox, so I’ll share what we learn soon.

I’m also considering cancelling my ipsy subscription and trying a Memebox, a Korean beauty subscription service. The least expensive boxes cost $23 plus $7 shipping. If you sign up and get a referral email from someone with an account you will receive a $7 credit. As a Korean, I’d be curious to try Korean products and see if the colors jive better with my complexion.

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