Sunday, November 10, 2013

Random Product Reviews

I've been reviewing all of my products on Ipsy and Birchbox, but I figure I'll review them here as well.

Hair Care Products:
My hair is long, thick and I've got 2C or 3A curls depending on what type of products I use and whether or not I let it air-dry. My hair is very dry and frizz-prone. I usually use oils unless I'm looking for a strong hold for a specific purpose.

UniqOne All in One Hair Treatment - $17.99 for 5oz:
This is my favorite of all the hair products I tried. It helped with the frizz (though my hair still wasn't frizz-free, I haven't found anything that makes my hair completely frizz free), had a nice smell, and didn't make my hair feel weird or gross. My hair actually felt healthier after using it for a few days.

Pros: Very reasonably priced, helped with the frizz, made my hair feel great, pleasant smell
Cons: I don't wash my hair daily, but I still had to reapply this daily. Not a big con, but a con nonetheless.

Miss Jessie's Pillow Soft Curls - $22 for 8.5 oz:
I liked this product overall, and it did do a good job of defining my curls. The smell was a little strong but it didn't bother me too much. It smelled like fabric softener. I actually liked how this product made my hair look better than the UniqOne, but I didn't like how it made my hair feel. It wasn't sticky or crunchy, but it still had a residue-y feel which I really don't like. They recommend that to reactivate it you wet your hair a little bit and apply a little more product, and this worked well. Also, I found the smell pretty pleasant but it is strong and I can see it being unpleasant for some people so I didn't put it as a pro or a con.

Pros: Defines curls well, easy to "reactivate", decent price.
Cons: Residue-y feel.

Curly Hair Solutions: Curl Keeper - $10 for 3.3oz
I liked the way this felt in my hair but I didn't really notice much of a difference in my hair. The sample size was smaller than the other two and my hair is really long and really thick, so that may have been part of why. I like that it was an oil, since oils are what I usually use on my hair, but I didn't see as much frizz-improvement as I did with the other two.

Pros: Pleasant smell, felt good in my hair.
Cons: I didn't see as improvement (I was only able to use the sample twice, so maybe there would've been more improvement over time)

Sexy Hair Spray Clay - $18.95 for 4.4oz
To be honest, I didn't have high hopes for this. A texturizing spray is the last thing my thick, curly hair needs. I gave it a shot anyway and it did pretty much what I expected. This might work well for straight hair, but it just made my hair sticky and tangly.

Pros: For my hair? None.
Cons: Made my hair sticky and tangly, didn't do anything to define curls.

Skincare Products
I have combination skin, mostly oily but I'll get random dry patches as well. I'm very acne prone and am always on the lookout for things that clear up my skin.

La Fresh Eco Beauty Oil Free Cleanser Wipes - $9.99 for 30 wipes
I like the idea of face wipes. They're extremely convenient and I do like being able to see the dirt that they take off my face (even though I'm sure that sounds weird). In the end though, I feel like they get my skin much less clean than a normal cleanser and water. I used these for three or four days and my skin definitely got worse. I've always had problem skin and am just starting to get it cleared up so I'm willing to try anything. These didn't work for me however.

Pros: Convenient
Cons: These didn't work well at all for my oily, acne-prone skin.

Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel - Sensitive - $39 for 2oz
This is a really gentle, natural peel. The first couple of times I tried this, I really didn't notice a difference. It made my skin soft, but no softer than most scrubs. After three or four times using it however, I noticed less blackheads, and my skin felt really good.

Pros: Wasn't hard on my skin at all, definitely helped with blackheads.
Cons: No noticeable improvement in skin clarity, price

Evologie Stay Clear Cream -  $62 for 1 oz
I'd never tried any Evologie products and was pretty excited to try it. It advertises as a moisturizer that contains collagen and anti-oxidants and strengthens your skin's natural moisture barrier. So basically it's meant to stop the cycle of your skin getting too dry and then producing too much oil to compensate over and over. I was really impressed with this product! I noticed less new pimples after three days of use, and it definitely kept my skin moisturized and prevented it from being oily. I also found I was able to skip my primer when I was using this. A little goes a long way (I used a little more than a pea sized quantity every time I used it) but the price is still pretty crazy. My tiny little sample was a $20 value.

Pros: Works really well, improved skin clarity, great moisturizer!
Cons: The price. I can't see paying $62 for an ounce of product, no matter how effective the product is. If you have more expendable income than I do, this might be a great product for you.

Serious Skincare Glycolic Gommage - $38.50 for 4.5 oz
I don't usually try face masks, but I really like this one! I'd imagine it would be really drying for less oily skintypes, but it worked well for me. It felt really tingly, but in a good way. I liked that it was a scrub as well as a mask. My skin felt cleaner, tighter and less oily after each use. It's a little expensive, but as something that you'd only use once or twice a week, it might be worth it. It took 8-10 minutes to dry on my skin, but I just apply it before watching an episode of something and wait to wash it off until the end.

Pros: I love the tingly feeling, and it left my skin tighter and cleaner feeling.
Cons: The color was a little weird for me at first, and as with any mask you have to wait for it to dry.

Coola SPF 45 Sport Sunblock Mango scent - $32 for 5oz
I really love all things mango, so I was looking forward to try this. I was really disappointed by it, It felt disgusting on my skin and was really hard to rub in, like my skin didn't want to absorb it.

Pros: Smelled great.
Cons: Felt really gross on my skin and was difficult to rub in.

Lip Products
Cailyn Cosmetics Tinted Lip Balm in Big Apple - $19
Although this is advertised as a tinted lip balm, it wasn't moisturizing at all. I would consider it more of a lip tint. I applied chapstick over it though and really liked it. This was the perfect red for me. I don't know that the brush made it any easier to apply, but I do like the built in brush set-up. It lasted really really well (8 hours with almost no smudging, the only time I had to touch it up at all was after I ate, and it looked okay without the touchup, just not great). This is now my go-to red lip color!

Pros: Long lasting, great pigmentation
Cons: Price, Not at all moisturizing.

Pop Beauty Pouty Pop Crayon in Rose Romance - I couldn't find the price for this, but I found a set of 6 for $25.
I got this in my ipsy bag in September. They sent out three colors and of the three, Rose Romance is the only one I can never see myself using. It's a frosty pinky purple color which looked really terrible on me when I swatched it. That said, it went on smoothly and was very pigmented.

Pros: Price (if you buy the set, it come out to a little less than $5 per crayon), it's very pigmented and goes on smoothly
Cons: The color was terrible for me so I was unable to test for longevity.

Benefit Ultra Plush Lip Gloss in SugarBomb - $16 for 0.5 oz
I really liked the color of this gloss. It's a perfect everyday color. It went on smooth and wasn't too sticky like most glosses. The longevity left a lot to be desired though, I would've had to reapply every twenty minutes or so to maintain any sort of color.

Pros: Great color, very smooth, not sticky.
Cons: Price (especially when you consider how fast you'll go through it if you're reapplying every half hour or so), lack of lasting power.

Pop Beauty Aqua Laquer in flowering fuscia - $14 for 0.34oz
I really liked this color and was impressed with the gloss.  It lasted an hour or two, which isn't bad for a gloss. Looking at the color online it's a little scary, but the color isn't nearly that bright and is very wearable. I'm not a hot pink person, but this color works well for me. It was smooth and not sticky and I really like it. It has a strange little paddle that's supposed to make it easier to apply, but I didn't really see any benefit of the brush over normal brushes.

Pros: Great color, smooth, not sticky, pretty long lasting for a gloss.
Cons: Price

Eye Products
Elizabeth Mott It's So Big Mascara - $19.99 for 0.34oz
Honestly, I think most mascaras are the same. There have been a few I've tried that are legitimately better than the rest (I like Estee Lauder's mascara with their primer), and a couple that are really bad (mostly the $3 or $4 dollar ones you can pick up at Wal Mart), but everything in the middle is the same. That said, this mascara worked as well as most of them. I didn't like the way the brush felt coming out of the container, but beyond that I really couldn't say anything about it that's special.

Pros: Works as well as most other mascara
Cons: I don't think it's really worth the price

NYX shadow in nutmeg - $4.50 for a single shadow
I love this shadow! Browns have always been my go-to colors, and nutmeg is beautiful, it's very pigmented and long lasting. Honestly, there's nothing bad I can say about this shadow. It's my new favorite. I hope I get more NYX products in my subscriptions.

Pros: Gorgeous color, great pigmentation, goes on very smoothly, long lasting.
Cons: None that I can see.

Starlooks Obsidian Kohl Eye Pencil - $12
Eye pencils are another thing that are mostly all the same to me. I don't use them, so that might be part of it. That said, this was really smudgy. I didn't try it on my eyes, but I swatched it on my wrist and it had no staying power whatsoever. It went on really well, but I wouldn't use it if you want clean lines that'll last a while.

Pros: Went on really smoothly, nice shade
Cons: Smudged REALLY easily

Wet 'n Wild Photo Op Eye Shadow Palette in Desert Festival - $4.99
I was really surprised to see Wet 'n Wild in my ipsy, it's the brand I used as a pre-teen because it was cheap. That said, the pigmentation was surprisingly good and I liked the colors. It didn't last as long as some shadows I've used, but it wasn't terrible either and it faded evenly (I hate it when one of the colors you're using on your eyes fades more quickly than the others.)

Pros: Good pigmentation, nice colors
Cons: Not as long-lasting as some other brands

I'm really not a polish person, but I tested each of these colors on at least one nail.

Ruffian Nail Laquer in Hedgefund - $10 for 0.17oz
I read a lot of comments of people hating this color, but I really liked it. It went on really smooth and only really required one coat (I still did two). It chipped too easily for polish that costs $10 for less than a fifth of an ounce though. I was expecting really high quality for that price. Packaging-wise, The top is supposed to be easier to hold, but I saw no benefit. I think the bottle is cute, but no more practical than a normal bottle.

Pros: Decent polish, went on smooth, didn't require many coats, good color
Cons: Chipped really easily

Zoya Polish in Neve - $8
I loved this polish! Online it looks like a deep purple, but it's a lot bluer than it looks. I usually gift any polishes I get, but this one I'm keeping! The color is gorgeous! I had trouble keeping it from being streaky when I only put on one coat, but it looked great and not streaky at all once I added a second coat. The longevity of this polish was also impressive, it was three days before it started to chip, despite the fact that I didn't use any sort of top coat or primer.

Pros: Gorgeous color, long lasting
Cons: Requires two coats

Other Makeup/Tools
Dr. Jart Premium Beauty Balm in Medium - $39 for 1.5 oz
I really didn't think I was going to like this when I tried it. I'd never found a tinted moisturizer that I liked, and sort of assumed that it would be the same with BB Creams. That said, I was really impressed by this. I liked the light coverage, it felt good on my face really evened out my skin tone and it matched well. It really wasn't mattifying enough for me, but I imagine that this BB Cream would be perfect for people with dry to normal skin.

Pros: Light coverage, evened skin tone, matched well and felt good on skin
Cons: Not mattifying enough

Coastal Scents Medium Shadow Brush - $2.49
I really like this brush. It was very soft, applied shadow evenly and was easy to use for blending. That a first impression though as I've only used it a few times so far. I'm not sure how it'll last, as some brushes start out great and deteriorate quickly.

Pros: Applies shadow smoothly, very soft, blends well.
Cons: I haven't really had time to test for quality over time

VOESH New York Aroma Spa Pedicure Set (scrub in green tea) - $12 for 3 pouches each of the scrub, the masque and the lotion
This product was kinda meh to me. I only got to try the scrub, so I don't know if it would've been better if I'd tried all three products together. Honestly though, it was no better than most scrubs that you could buy at Wal Mart for a few bucks and not nearly as effective as St. Ives Apricot Scrub (which is way cheaper). Also, the green tea scent was a little too sweet for my liking.

Pros: Softened feet a little
Cons: Didn't work any better than much cheaper alternatives, wasn't a fan of the smell

Random Extras
Tili Bags Small Collection - $8.49 for 9 quart sized bags
These were a cute idea, but clearly weren't all that well thought out. The theory is that they're a cute place to keep your makeup when you travel instead of just using freezer bags. If you're traveling by bus or car they might make sense (though if you're traveling by bus or car you might as well use a normal makeup bag). It's nice to not have people able to see everything you've got in your bag if it happens to tip over. If you're trying to get through airport security however, they require clear bags. It's just going to slow everything down having all sorts of liquids and gels in a bag that no one can see through.

Pros: Some of the patterns are pretty cute
Cons: Expensive and impractical for air travel.

Future Reviews:
My Birchbox for this month is on the way and a Stainiac Lipgloss, DDF Amplifying Elixir, Folle de Joie eau de Parfum, a Color Club Polish, Tiossan Body Cream, and some tea. I also just started using several products from the Dr. Brandt skincare line, and I've got some Julep polishes to review (though I'll probably just try them on a nail each and then regift them).

Also, I'm new to this kind of review so please let me know if there's other information that I ought to include.