Saturday, January 25, 2014

Schick Hydro Silk Sensitive Care vs. Venus Embrace Sensitive

A couple of months ago I joined BzzAgent and Influenster. Last month, I was invited to my second BzzAgent campaign to try the Schick Hydro Silk Sensitive Care Razor. About a week after that, I was invited by Influenster to try the Venus Embrace Sensitive Razor. I'm prone to ingrown hairs so I'm pretty excited to see if trying sensitive razors will help!

Disclaimer: I was given these items for free to review, but the opinions are my own. Both bzzagent in influenster require honest reviews.

Here's what BzzAgent sent me. I got the razor with two extra blades, four $4 off coupons, and a coupon for a free Skintimate Shaving Cream. I haven't really used Schick (that I remember), so I was pretty excited to try it, and to have coupons for it if I like it!
 This is what came in my Influenster box. The Venus Embrace Sensitive Razor with an extra blade, and a little card talking about the razor.
I decided to do one leg with each razor, so I shaved with Schick on the left leg, and Venus on the Right leg. I figured that way it's easier to compare results.
 Here's the Schick Hydro Silk Sensitive Care Razor. It has five blades, skin guards and a "moisturizing serum".

Here's the Venus Embrace Sensitive. It also has five blades and a moisture strip.

My feelings day 1: Immediately after shaving
I tried to have my husband help me decide which leg was smoother, and in the end we decided that they were about the same. I thought my left leg was smoother, and he thought my right leg was. We both agreed that the difference between them was pretty small.

The moisture strip was definitely noticeable for me. Both legs felt softer and more moisturized after shaving than they normally do. I still lotioned them up, but I felt like I didn't really need to.

My feelings day 3: Two days after shaving
By two days after shaving, I start to get ingrown hairs. Mine usually aren't painful, they're just small bumps, and they don't really bother me too much until I want to throw on a dress.
Here's how the razors came out:

Schick Hydro Silk Sensitive Care - on my left leg, I have seven small ingrown hairs. None are painful or irritated, they're just not pretty to look at. This is actually less than I normally get, but not by much.

Venus Embrace Sensitive - on my right leg, I actually only have one ingrown hair. I'm pretty impressed. Of the two razors (and out of razors in generally) I'd definitely recommend this one.

In the end...
I would definitely recommend the Venus Embrace Sensitive razor. I don't know if this is still true, but you used to be able to use any Venus blades on any Venus razor. If this is still the case, and you have a Venus, definitely upgrade to the Embrace Sensitive blades. The razor's handle is nothing special, but the blades are definitely worth it for sensitive skin.

Have you tried either of these razors? What did you think? Do you have any secrets for avoiding ingrown hairs? Comment and let me know!

Disclaimer: I was given these items for free to review, but the opinions are my own. Both bzzagent in influenster require honest reviews.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Nomorerack Haul!

So, I love a good deal, and I love trying new things make-up wise. I've shopped at before for electronics and camera stuff, but this was my first time shopping for makeup there. I was pretty excited about it. Here's what I got:

The Bella Terra set is what I was most excited about (and was my main reason for buying anything). I'd wanted to try Bella Terra for a while, but the price tag kept me from doing so. I found a $30 set on nomorerack, so I figured now's the time to try. This is what came in the set:

Bella Terra Foundation Brush - $49.99
I love this brush! It's super soft, hasn't shed at all, and definitely applies powder evenly. 

Bella Terra Blush Brush - $39.00
Again, I love it. It's super soft and no shedding! 

Bella Terra Angled Shadow Brush - $16.99?
I couldn't find this exact brush online, but I'm really happy with it, and I'm guessing that price-wise it's comparable to their non-angled shadow brush.

 Mineral Shimmer in Seashell 2.35g - $14.09
I'm not usually a shimmer person but both of the shimmers that came in this set are GORGEOUS! The only thing I don't like is that you really have to use a primer. Otherwise they only last a couple of hours.

Mineral Shimmer in Sand - $14.09
Again, this is gorgeous! In the week since this arrived, I've been using both of these colors as my lid color when I do a brown smokey eye, and I really do love them. When I run out of these, I'll be repurchasing (despite the price).

Mineral Foundation in Latte 6gram value - $44.99
I tend to go back and forth on how I feel regarding powder foundations, but I'm liking this one so far. I doubt I'll find myself paying $50 for it when this runs out, but I'll definitely enjoy it until it does. I do wish it were more mattifying. It gets rid of most of the shine in most areas, but whenever I use it my forehead is still shinier than I want it to be.
Mineral Blush in Ambrosial Crush -$34.99
I don't usually like powder blush (especially loose powder) because I'm really uncoordinated and have trouble applying it. I don't know if it's the brush, or this blush, or both but I haven't really had problems with application. The color is great, and it lasts all day!
 Mineral Bronzer in Sensual - $26.24
I don't contour and can't see myself ever using sparkly bronzer. This is one item that I'm definitely going to be swapping. That's also why I left it sealed instead of opening it to get a better picture.

 Bella Terra Eye Primer 7.5gram value - $63.25
I haven't tried this yet, but for $63 it had better work. Holy moly! I can't imagine paying that much for eye primer. I'm excited to try it though. Maybe it'll make those shimmers last.

So, the Bella Terra set alone was worth $303.63, and I only paid $30 for it. I felt like it was an amazing deal before I did the math, and now I'm even more excited about it!

 Mariposa eye pencils, set of 40. I can't find a value for these anywhere, but I paid $10. I'll post swatches when I try them out. I bought these mostly because I love doing facepaint at school when we do holiday parties, but I find facepaint brushes difficult to use, and even more difficult to sanitize between children. Because of that, I always use eye liner pencils, so I figured it was worth giving these a try!

 NYX Winter in Moscow Palette
Honestly, this palette wasn't a better deal here than it would've been anywhere else, Nyx palettes are just generally reasonably priced. I bought it from nomorerack because I had a $10 off a $60 purchase coupon, so I figured that I might as well buy this here. I recently got one of the Love In Paris palettes as a prize from an Ipsy contest, and I love it, so I wanted to give another NYX palette a try.
 I added these because they were only a few dollars, and I needed something to bump my order up to $60. I tried them all out, and with the exception of the orangish color I'm actually pretty happy with them. The purple is suuuuper sheer (it took three coats to get it to go on opaque) but it wasn't streaky at all. I'll probably only keep the pink, purple and blue, but for $4 I'm okay with that.
So, that was my first makeup order from I'm pretty excited about it!

I'm a compulsive enterer. Here are the contests I'm entered in right now:

Enter to win a Shu Uemura Lightbulb Foundation here

Enter to win a Macbook Air, XBox One, Playstation 4, ipod Mini or Apple TV here

Enter to win a Bath Path Mineral Sea Salt Soak here

Enter to win a beauty box worth $500 here

Enter to win a year of free samples here

Enter to win a Cargo Gift set here

Enter to win a Lashem Get the Look Gift Set here

Enter to win a super fancy bedroom set here

Friday, January 17, 2014

January 2014 - Ipsy vs. Birchbox

For anyone who doesn't know Ipsy and Birchbox are both subscription services where you pay $10 a month and get 5 different products to try.  Ipsy is more make-up based and sends full sized products or deluxe samples of pretty good brands. They have a lot of brand repetition, but since everything is deluxe or full-size things that you don't like are generally giftable. Birchbox has more variety and higher end brands, but they tend to have smaller samples (I don't think I've gotten any full-sized items from Birchbox, whereas most of my Ipsy items are full-sized). They have less repetition though and your survey answers actually seem to impact what you get. The best ting about Birchbox is their point system. Every time you review one of the items you receive in your box, you get 10 points, and every 100 points is $10 to spend in the store. If you review all of the items in your boxes, you get $10 worth of points to spend in the shop every other month! I think that both subscriptions are great (especially for only $10 a month or $110 a year), and it just depends on what you're looking for. 

Birchbox came first this month (it usually does), so I'll start with that.
I was really happy with my Birchbox this month! Here's a breakdown of what I got!
Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser - $6.52
Liz Earle Pure Muslin Cloth - $3.00
This was one of the sneak peak items in October, and I've been wanting it ever since. I think technically this counts as two items, but since I got the headband, which was a beauty extra, I got six items and I'm counting it as one. I've heard good things about this and I'm super excited to try it!

Klorane Shampoo with Desert Date 0.8oz - $1.78
Shampoo is one of the few things beauty-wise that I will admit I don't need. My hair is super long, so I go through a lot of conditioner, and usually when I switch conditioners I end up buying a new shampoo. I probably have at least four open bottles of shampoo in my shower, and several new bottles in our bathroom closet. Also, I'm a little disappointed by the smell. I was hoping it would smell like dates but it just smells like normal shampoo.
Coastal Scents Revealed Palette Sampler - $4.40
I really like these colors (nudes are generally my favorites) and I've wanted to try Coastal scents for a while. That said, I have a lot of shadows in similar colors, so if I'm not impressed by the quality, this will be a total waste.

Soak Handmaid Hand Cream 10mL value - $0.56
It's hard to get excited over a foil packet. This is a product that I really would've been excited to get in a larger size. That said, it's enough to try and the full-size is only $10, so if I like it I'll use my Birchbox points to buy it.

Under Armour Braided Mini Headband - $9.99
I have thick, curly hair and really big ears so I don't see myself rocking any headband any time soon, and this one has gel stuff on the back to make it stay on your head which sounds like disaster when my hair is involved. I'm glad that this counted as a lifestyle extra and that other people seem to want it so it'll be easy for me to trade.

Total Box Value = $26.19
This isn't a super high value box, but I still only paid $10 and got $26 worth of stuff. Plus, once I review all of my items I'll get $5 in Birchbox points. I honestly think that the points system is the best part of Birchbox. It makes those foil packets worth it.

Now, on to Ipsy. January is skincare month and when I saw the sneak peeks I was super excited. There were TONS of awesome items available this month! Unfortunately, I didn't get most of the items that I wanted. Here's what I did get, I'm hoping that once I start trying things out, I'll like them.

I'll start with the bag. One of the things I like about Ipsy is that they sent a makeup bag every month, along with your products. Between Ipsy, Birchbox and Testtube, storage is exactly what I need. A lot of subscribers really hated this month's bag, but I really like it. It's a perfect travel makeup bag! 

Elizabeth Mott Smooth Shadow Creamy Eye Pencil in Pearl - $6.00
I'm interested to try this. I was really hoping for Penny, which is a coppery color and looks really pretty. If I can't find someone who wants to trade with me though, I'll give this one a try. I don't really use eye shadow sticks, so it'll be interesting to see how I like it. 

Here's another photo of it so you can see the color. It's kind of a shimmery, nude shade. If nothing else it'll make a nice highlighter. 

Nourish Organic Face Lotion 0.5oz - $6.47
This is probably not something I'll use. There's not a lot that works for me face-wise, so I tend toward products that are recommended for acne-prone skin. Also, the scent has weird undertones. I thought I liked it at first, but the more I smelled it the less I liked it. 

Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair Deep Conditioning Mask 1oz - $4.95
This is the one product in my bag this month that I'm really excited to try. My ends are super damaged and definitely need some TLC.  

Mica Beauty Tinted Lip Balm in Fiesta 2.5g - $18.75
I haven't tried any of Mica Beauty's Tinted Lip Balms, but I've heard good things about them. I'm a little dubious about this color on me though, so we'll see. I don't know if it's an item that I'll use, but either way it covers the cost of the bag and then some. 

 Proactive Mark Fading Pads -$4
I'm estimating on the value, since these are only available as part of a 5-piece acne system. I'm not sure how I feel about receiving this. On the one hand, I'm always excited to get acne-specific skincare. On the other, if I end up liking this, I have to buy a $40 kit to get 5 of these along with 4 other products that I might not like. I don't love it when they send parts of sets that I can't repurchase separately.

My Ipsy bag's total value for the month = $40.17 
Pretty great for a $10 bag, especially since that's not including the bag itself. There were other products that I wish I'd gotten instead, but I'm still really hoping that some of these will surprise me.

Match-ups were way easier this month than they usually are. Here's what I came up with:

 Small Skincare Samples
Proactive+ vs. Handmaid Hand Cream

This one goes to Ipsy. I'm always excited to get skincare and Proactive has worked alright for me in the past, so I'm excited to try Proactive+. Also, sample-size wise four wipes beats two 5mL foil packets.

Ipsy = 1
Birchbox = 0

Nourish Face Lotion vs. Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish

I didn't even have to think about this one. Liz Earle is bigger, I'm more excited about it, it comes with a muslin cloth, and it doesn't smell weird. Liz Earle, hands down.

Ipsy = 1
Birchbox =1
 Eye Shadows
Elizabeth Mott Smooth Shadow vs Coastal Scents Revealed Sampler
If I'd gotten Penny instead of Pearl, this would've been really hard for me. I'm excited to try a pencil eye shadow, but the pencil is in a color that I'm not that excited about, while the shadow is in four shades that I like a lot. This one goes to Birchbox.

Ipsy = 1
Birchbox = 2

 Hair Care
Briogeo Hair Mask vs. Klorane Shampoo
This was another easy one. I'll probably never use the shampoo and didn't love the smell that much. The hair mask I'll DEFINITELY use and it smells really good. This one goes to Ipsy.

Ipsy = 2
Birchbox = 2

Random stuff
Mica Lip Balm vs. Under Armour Headband
Honestly, I don't care for either item so I'm giving it to the one that will be easiest to trade. I've seen a LOT of people wanting the headband, while almost everyone got the lip color and very few people were interested in it. This one goes to Birchbox.

Ipsy = 2
Birchbox =3

I was a little surprised by how close the results ended up being. My Ipsy wasn't great this month, but both subs were a great value for $10 (really, $9.17, since I bought a yearly subscription to both, which gets you a month free).

Also, if you sign up for Ipsy or Birchbox after reading this, please use my links!

Who else compares their subbies? What won this month for you?

Saturday, January 11, 2014

January 2014 - New Beauty Test Tube

So, my New Beauty Test Tube just arrived today! Honestly, at first glance I'm a bit underwhelmed, but I'm hoping that reading the booklet about all the products will help make me more excited about it. Anyway, here's what I got.

Every tube is shipped with a little bag of samples and things. These things aren't in the booklet, and not everyone gets the same stuff.

Immunocologie Treatment Cream VenoMAX 0.5oz -$80.88 
The price for this is INSANE! The full-size is only about 3 times larger than this one, and it's $275. It looks like this is an anti-aging product, and the reviews are really good but for $275 this is something I'll never buy!

Lumene Time Freeze Firming Day Cream .5oz- $3.99
This seems to have basically the same intended use as the VenoMAX, and is 1/20th the price, so this is something I'm more likely to buy if it works well.

YBF gloss in Beachberry - $6.19 
I can't imagine this color being flattering on me, so this will probably go to my swap board. Still, for an extra it's definitely a good one!

DDF Ultra-Lite Oil-Free Moisturizing Dew - $1.23
I got DDF's amplifying serum in my Birchbox a couple of months back and really liked it, so I'm excited to try this! It's a super-tiny amount, but at least I'll be able to see if I like the texture.

Onto the stuff that was in the booklet. This stuff everyone gets (sometimes there are two items from a brand and it's an either/or situation, but you always get one of the items from each brand in the booklet).

Votivo Candle in Red Currant - (full size) $12
I love the smell of this, but it gives me an instant headache. I'm weirdly sensitive to scents. It's full-size though, so it'll make a nice gift. I have too many candles anyway. It's weirdly sweaty right now, but I'm hoping that's just because it's been in the freezing cold for the last week or so and just came inside.

Pantene Pro-V Keratin Repair Shampoo and Conditioner (1/4 size) - $5.45
I actually already tried these through PINCHme, and really like them. Apparently Keratin is what my hair needs to be shiny and pretty. You can see my review of this here. It's not something new to try, but I'll still either use it or gift it, so it's definitely not a waste.

Biosilk Volumizing Therapy Texturizing Powder (full size) - $12.50
Texture is the last thing my hair needs, so this is definitely something I won't end up keeping. Still, it's full-size, so I'll swap it or gift it to someone.

June Jacobs Papaya Purifying Enzyme Masque (1/3 size) - $26.81
I love masques, so I'm excited to try this! It smells pretty good too, and I usually don't like the smell of face masques. This wasn't in the booklet for some reason. I don't know if that means that it was a last-minute addition, or an oversight, or if some people are getting something completely different.

Mally Evercolor Starlight Waterprof Eyeliner in Sailor (full size) - $15
I don't usually use eyeliner, but this color is GORGEOUS so maybe I'll find a look on youtube that I can use it in. (If you have any suggestions for videos on youtube to check out that use a deep blue liner and aren't too intense, please send me a link!) I've heard good things about Mally, so that's definitely a plus.

The without flash photo doesn't do it justice at all, so here's with flash. It still doesn't do it justice, but at least you can get an idea of the color.

Revlon Age Defying Wrinkle Remedy Line Filler (full size) - $13
Fine lines aren't one of my biggest skin concerns, but I might give this a try. I've got some lines on my forehead (apparently I worry too much) that could use some softening.

Moroccanoil Body Butter (1/4 size) - $13.81
I'll definitely use this. My skin gets really dry in the winter (I know, duh) and they describe this as "an instant makeover for your legs" which my legs definitely need. I hope this does everything it says it does.

The total value of my box was $190.86. 
That's a pretty incredible value for a box that I paid $38.94 for, but honestly, I'm not that excited about it. I feel like I do better with Ipsy and Birchbox. I've heard great things about New Beauty Test Tube, and I'm hoping that some of the items that I'm not excited about will surprise me. If you ignore the VenoMax (which not everyone got, and I'm only interested to try because it's so expensive), there's only one product that I'm really excited about and only two or three others that I'm at all likely to use.

I guess we'll see. Let me know if you've tried any of the products and what you thought.

Keep an eye out for...
Reviews of the items from this box
My Venus Embrace Sensitive vs. Schick HydroSilk Sensitive Care post. (I just received a Venus Embrace from Influenster, and will be receiving the Schick HydroSilk from BzzAgent any day now, so I figure it's a good time for another head to head)
My monthly Birchbox vs. Ipsy post
A review of my first Glossybox, which I'll be getting sometime this month!

Contests and freebies

Enter to win a Bath Path Mineral Sea Salt Soak here

Enter to win a Healthy Star(t) gift set here

Enter to win a beauty box worth $500 here

Enter to win a year's worth of all natural makeup from Birchbox here

Enter to win a year of free samples here

Enter to win a Lashem Get the Look Gift Set here

Enter to win a super fancy bedroom set here