November Birchbox

Unboxing and first impressions

My November Birchbox finally arrived this week. I chose the curated box (which is rare because I like being surprised), but I really wanted to try the Smashbox liquid lip, Laqa & Co blush/highlighter, and Marcelle eye cream.

The Smashbox Always On Matte Liquid Lip in Driver’s Seat is described as a Warm Pink. However, it’s darker and more orange than I had expected. I don’t really like the color on me, but I’m still glad I could try the formula. It’s highly pigmented, long-lasting, and dries down quickly. The pointed doe foot applicator has a pocket in the center so you have enough product and don’t have to double-dip.

Laqa & Co is one of my favorite niche brands that I discovered through Birchbox years ago; I love their Lip Lubes and Avocado Lip Butters. The Laqa & Co B’Lighter in Peacher’s Daughter¬†is interesting because it acts as a blush and highlight in one. You can see how reflective this product is when the light hits it, but the peach tint shows up as well. The texture is creamy and easy to blend as well, but on my skin tone, it’s almost too dark/pigmented for a highlight and too glowy for a blush.

The Marcelle Hydra-C Eye Contour Gel-Cream has a super lightweight texture that sinks right into the skin. It’s hydrating but doesn’t make my concealer crease thankfully. The cucumber extract helps with puffiness and vitamin C corrects wrinkles and brightening. I’ve only used it twice, so I can’t say much about those claims yet.

From the left: eye cream, body butter, and hair product

I’ve received the Juara Candlenut Body Cream before and love how thick and moisturizing it is. The scent is sweet and warm which is perfect for winter. Sadly, this sample is tiny and only lasted two uses.

My last item is the Living Proof T.B.D. Multi-tasking Styler. I had been wanting to try this and really appreciate the generous sample size. On wet hair, it is supposed to tame and smooth. On dry hair, it adds definition and, in my experience, helps with frizz as well. It also provides heat protection, so this really is a multi-tasker.

Overall I’m happy with this month and look forward to December’s box. If you’ve been wanting to try Birchbox, you can subscribe through my link and receive a free eyelash curler! If you’re already a subscriber, let me know what you received this month in a comment!

Travel-sized Product Reviews

Reviewing some cute minis

I spent the weekend in Chicago after Thanksgiving and have been using these travel-friendly products for the past few days. I recently switched up my carry-on kit after running out of several products on my last trip in October, so here are some mini reviews.

I finished up my favorite dry shampoo (Living Proof phd) and replaced it with the Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk I’d saved from a recent Birchbox. This one is so chalky – even though it’s for dark hair. It takes care of oiliness pretty well, but you really have to work it through your hair to get rid of the tinted beige powder. Maybe it works better for blondes, but I’m definitely going back to the Living Proof one which is really effective and hardly leaves a white-cast.

For skincare, my usual routine is sometimes lacking on a whirlwind trip, so I always bring a mask for a quick fix. Flying dries out my skin and can make it look dull, so I look for a moisturizing or brightening mask. This Fresh Vitamin Nectar Mask has AHAs for resurfacing and makes my skin look glowy. The texture is pretty chunky with bits of crushed oranges and lemons. It smells refreshing and only takes 10 minutes.

One of my favorite cold weather scents is the Comptoir Sud Pacifique Vanille Coco perfume. I have the full size and bring this little rollerball with me when I travel. I love vanilla but don’t want to smell too much like cookies; the addition of coconut adds a tropical warmth that’s not too sweet. The scent also lingers for over a day which I love.

A makeup mini I’ve been loving is the W3ll People Bio Brightener – a pretty, natural highlighter. The cream formula is blendable, glowy, and looks great on eyes too. The full size comes in a convenient stick which I’m thinking of adding to my next Birchbox order because this sample is over year old (ūüôąūüôä).

Mostly hits and one miss, so overall that’s not too bad for this trip!

 

New Skincare for Colder Weather (plus a long-time bodycare favorite)

Reviews on winter skincare purchases and restocked deodorant

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I took advantage of the Sephora VIB Rouge Sale recently and wanted to share some of my new skincare finds along with my favorite all-natural deodorant and a Derma E product from Birchbox.

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My normally combination skin has been experiencing a little dryness recently, so I figured it was time for some changes in my routine. I generally switch to a slightly heavier moisturizer during Winter and since it’s finally cold here in New York City, I picked up the Egg Mellow Cream from Too Cool for School ($36 for 1.76 ounces). It’s good for all skin types, but “provides intensive nourishment to the skin,” so I figured it was a good choice to target the dryness (which is especially noticeable on my nose).

This 5-1 Firming Moisturizer is paraben-free and acts as a serum, priming moisturizer, eye cream, neck cream, and sleeping mask. It’s somewhat thick in texture and very hydrating but absorbs instantly, so it’s great for day or night. It also has collagen for improving elasticity and niacinamide for brightening, which I like for preventative anti-aging.

The only negative to this moisturizer is that it’s artificially fragranced and the scent does linger. It’s a somewhat odd scent that’s best described as powdery in my opinion. I don’t mind it, but I would rather it were unscented.

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Sunday Riley is one of my favorite skincare brands because the ingredients are pretty clean and the products are effective; the Luna Oil totally lives up to the hype and is worth the high cost in my opinion.

This C.E.O. Protect + Repair Moisturizer¬†is newer to the line and provides radiance and moisture for all skin types ($65 for 1.7 ounces). The derivative of Vitamin C used is THD ascorbate which is an “oil-soluble derivative of vitamin C, which penetrates better into the skin while being exceptionally stable against oxygenation.” In essence, this is a more efficient form of the anti-aging vitamin and I’m looking forward to “softer, and healthier-looking” skin thanks to natural AHAs and Bisabolol (which helps fight redness).

The texture is creamy and easy to spread on the skin. It definitely leaves a glowy finish, but it’s not too greasy for my combination skin. I prefer this as a night cream right now, but may switch to daytime use when it gets really cold in January or February. This is fragranced, but the packaging doesn’t note whether this comes from essential oils or artificial perfume. The scent reminds me of a dreamsicle and I like that it’s not too sweet or too citrusy.

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The LaVanila Natural Deodorant is a staple for me since I stopped using aluminum-based deodorant about 5 years ago ($14 for 2 ounces). I’ve repurchased several times and figured it was worth mentioning since I’ve been using it for so long! I picked my favorite scent –¬†vanilla lavender¬†– during the VIB Rouge sale, but I also like the vanilla lemon one (especially in the summertime).

I should note that this isn’t an anti-perspirant, it’s simply a deodorant. I find that it works very well for every day use. I’m not going to pretend it’s as fresh as a daisy after an hour long workout, but I’ve tried several different brands and still like this one best. If you’re thinking of switching over to natural deodorant, I highly recommend LaVanila.

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Lastly, I picked up this Derma E Overnight Peel from Birchbox a couple weeks ago and I’ve been loving it ($19 for 2 ounces). I use a physical exfoliant once or twice a week, but I wanted to add a chemical exfoliant for deeper removal of dead skin cells, especially because the skin around my nose has been a little flaky lately. This peel is super easy to use – just two pumps for the whole face and then head to bed. The next morning, I wash my face with a gentle cleanser and my skin feels smoother and softer.

The texture is a mix between a serum and cream and it’s hydrating enough that you don’t have to layer it with other products. This peel is also vegan, paraben-free, and naturally fragranced. I love that Derma E is effective, affordable, and cruelty-free as well. I think it’s such an underrated brand and I’m excited to try more of their products!

Weekend Wear

A casual look featuring my new favorite jeans

I recently picked up these jeans at LOFT and can’t stop wearing them. I especially love the button fly – out of all of my jeans, this detail makes this pair unique. They’re also the perfect medium blue with an undone hem for a casual, cool vide. This coatigan is also a LOFT find and I love the thicker fabric, pockets, and striped inside. If you sense a theme with the #loftgirl status, I used to work there back in the day and still shop there because of the extensive petite section. Finding the perfect jeans when you’re 5’2″ can be a challenge, so LOFT has become my go-to for high-quality, affordable basics.

These Dolce Vita¬†Tessey Boots¬†are my most worn pair this fall. They’re incredibly comfortable and I’m obsessed with the charcoal gray color – they surprisingly go with everything, even warmer toned outfits. Dolce Vita is another favorite brand as their shoes are always stylish, true to size, and last for years.

I’m currently reading Paris, He Said¬†by Christine Sneed. I usually fly through novels like this, but this book had a slow beginning.¬† I’m at the part where Jayne and Laurent have just arrived in Paris, so I imagine it will be captivating soon enough.

That’s about it from me!¬†Happy Weekend!

Buxom Lip Polish Review and Swatches

If you don’t like a little tingle, you’re going to hate this¬†gorgeous gloss.

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I originally tried the Buxom Lip Polishes years ago and wasn’t into the plumping effect. However, I was always drawn to the amazing color selection and vanilla scent. Plus so many Youtubers rave about the formula and the cute packaging is tempting.

Over the weekend, I popped into Sephora for the VIB Rouge sale and noticed the glosses were only $8 with the once-a-year discount. Since they’re normally $22 a pop, I grabbed a couple to try out.

There were tons of shades, but I finally decided on Kanani, a bubblegum pink, and Ava, a pretty nude. Ava is much more opaque than Kanani on the lips, and they both have a pretty shimmer without looking glittery.

IMG_2400I definitely feel the tingling sensation, but it’s not as unpleasant as I remembered. The plumping effect isn’t dramatic either – I don’t really see the difference in lip size or volume while wearing these glosses. I think the shimmer may emphasize the lips in a pouty way.

The Buxom Lip Polish is also so long lasting as far as gloss formulas which I appreciate because I don’t have time to touch up very often. This means it is a little sticky for a lip gloss, but it doesn’t bother me as much as I expected. I like that it fades in a relatively non-weird way as well and seems to keep my lips pretty moisturized.

This gloss impressed me enough that I ended up ordering a few more shades to give as gifts! The names match those of some friends which is too cute to pass up.

 

Pros:

Long lasting

Extensive color selection

Cons:

Unsure about pluming aspect

Varied opacity