Thursday, August 28, 2014

Product Review - A Tale of Two Lip Balms

Today is the day to review my Ipsy lip balms.  In my first post for the August Ipsy bag I showed you the lip balm I got with my bag.  Then a friend of mine who got a different balm in her bag sent hers to me to review as well.  So you get a treat, two lip balm reviews. :)

The first one I'm going to talk about is the one that came in my bag.  You're the Balm in Green Apple by Absolute.

This is a nice feeling lip balm, it is light, more a lip gloss actually.   It keeps my lips nicely hydrated and isn't sticky.  It also smells and tastes very nice.  It isn't something I would normally buy however for several reasons.  

The container isn't conducive to tucking into my pants pocket and taking with me.  The tin is about an inch thick and about 1.5 inches across, so it is fairly bulky.  It has a tight fit so takes two hands to open.  My last container criticism is that it is a canister, so I have to swipe my finger across it and then across my lips.  This leaves my finger sticky and germy and is unattractive to do if you are in a group situation.

Another thing I don't care for is that when I tried googling the manufacturer I couldn't find them online.  When I try a new brand of anything I like to read more about that item on the company website.  If the maker of this product has a website they keep it very well hidden.

Two more strikes against this product are that two of its ingredients are Petrolatum and Aspartame.  I am not someone who requires my makeup to be all natural and organic but there really are much better choices than petroleum byproducts and artificial sweeteners in a lip balm.  Petrolatum is a petroleum distillant which acts as a moisturizer and uv absorber and listed by as a low to moderate hazard risk.   Aspartame is a sweetener.  Do we really need sweetened lip gloss?  If your product tastes bad enough you feel the need to sweeten it, maybe it is time to reformulate the product?  Aspartame is a known migraine trigger to many people and has no cosmetic value so why is it in there?

I give this product 3 stars.  It does its job but there are better choices out there for me.


Next up is the lip balm my friend got in her Ipsy bag.  She is allergic to rosemary which is one of the ingredients in this product so sent her sample to me.

This is Jersey Shore Sun's Mongongo Nutrient Dense Anti-aging lip conditioner in Mandarin Green Orange Ginger.  No, don't worry, as far as I can tell it is not that Jersey Shore.  :)

I REALLY like this product.  It keeps my lips soft and moisturized without being sticky.  It smells and tastes good.  Best of all, none of my concerns about the previous product are concerns with this one.

The product comes in a traditional tube form so is easy to stick in a pocket and apply one handed without getting your finger all sticky. 

There are not one but two web addresses on this package.  The first one is the home page for the manufacturer of the lip balm, the second is, the home page for the company that certified the product as being organic.  Yes, that's right, this one is Organic!  I realize I said earlier that I didn't insist on my products being organic but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate it when they are.

The third concern I had about the previous product was about some of the ingredients.  All of the ingredients in this one are easily recognizable.  Sunflower oil, beeswax, cocoa butter, etc...  The only one I had to look up was Mongongo oil.  It comes from the seed of the Manketti tree which grows in sub-Saharan Africa.  It is used for uv protection, reduction of redness and inflammation, and it is used because of its long term stability in formulations.  The fruit and seeds have been eaten for hundreds of years by the people and animals of Africa so it is known to be very safe.

This product I give 5 stars.  I would definitely buy it again.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Cleaning Makeup Brushes - Why, How, and How Often.

If you read this blog you probably wear makeup.  If you wear makeup you likely have a makeup brush or two laying around.  When is the last time you cleaned your makeup brushes?  Last week? Last month? Last year?  Never?

For most people, never is the correct answer.  It just isn't something they think about doing until the brush is disgusting, and then most people will just throw it away rather than trying to clean it.

I'm here to tell you that makeup brushes need to be cleaned on a regular basis.  Just like you wash your towels and wash clothes and for the same reason.  Makeup brushes collect bacteria when used on your face, dust when sitting on your makeup counter, and, if you keep your brushes in your bathroom like most of us do, they can even collect bacteria from the water your toilet sprays every time you flush it.  You've heard that you should always keep your toothbrush at least 6 feet from your toilet?  That goes the same for your makeup brushes.  YUCK!!!!

The dust and bacteria your brushes collect are then deposited back on your face every time you use them.  This can contribute to causing or worsening acne breakouts on your face, and I'm sure none of you want that.  Plus, cleaning your brushes helps maintain their longevity.  The brushes I'm going to be cleaning here I got in early 2008 and they look brand new because I maintain them.

How often you should clean a brush depends on what sort of brush it is and the type of makeup you use it for.  Brushes used with liquid or cream makeup such as foundation, concealer, lipstick, etc... should be cleaned on a weekly basis.  Brushes used only for dry powders such as blush, eyeshadow, setting powder can be cleaned on a monthly schedule.  If you apply a powder makeup by wetting the brush you should clean that brush on a weekly basis as well.

If you use a makeup sponge or a rotating facial cleansing brush such as the Clarsonic brushes those should be cleaned on a weekly basis as well.

Cleaning your brushes is easy and inexpensive.  I spent 10 minutes cleaning 13 brushes, an eyebrow comb, a makeup sponge, and the rotating head for my Clarsonic knock off face scrubber.  The only reason it took me that long is because I stopped several times to take pictures for you.

I use baby shampoo to clean my brushes with.  It is very gentle, cleans thoroughly, rinses easily, and is dirt cheap.  Any brand will do, I bought the cheapest bottle I could find, it was about $2.25.  Dedicated makeup brush cleaner costs a whole lot more and is no better and sometimes a lot worse for your brushes than baby shampoo.

In case you are worried about entrusting your fancy brushes to cheap cleaner fear not.  The brushes I am using and have used since early 2008 are incredibly expensive Aveda brushes.   They cost $5000 but I did get a free Aestheticians education/license with them. ;)  They are one of the most expensive things I own so I take VERY good care of them.

Here is my setup.  I have my brushes, a clean towel, some twine, scissors, baby shampoo, a CLEAN sink (no point in washing brushes in a dirty sink), and clips which I forgot to put in the picture.

First thing I do is put some lukewarm water in the sink.  You don't want hot water because that can loosen the glue holding the bristles in the brush.  You also don't want cold water because that won't clean as well.  I add a dollop of baby shampoo and swish it around after the sink has been filled.  If you do it before or while the sink is filling you get to many bubbles and you don't need bubbles.  Then I dumped my rotating brush, comb, and makeup sponge in the water.

Never drop your brushes into the water.  Getting them too wet can also cause the glue to soften.  And depending on what the handle is made of it can cause that to be damaged as well.  Most of your powder brushes will only need to be swished in the water to be cleaned.  Brushes used for liquid or cream makeup will likely need scrubbing.

To scrub a brush put a tiny amount of shampoo in the palm of your hand and swirl the brush around in it gently.  Be sure to work the shampoo into all the bristles.  As you finish with each brush lay them on the towel, we will rinse them all at the end.  I also scrubbed my makeup sponge and the rotating head this way.

After all your brushes are cleaned, empty the sink and run each brush under the water to thoroughly rinse it.  You want to make sure all the soap residue is gone or it can make your brush sticky and prone to collecting more dust.  Because I use baby shampoo my brushes rinse out quickly.  This is what the water looked like after I cleaned my brushes.  Remember, most of my brushes are cleaned monthly and some weekly.  If you haven't cleaned your brushes in a while be prepared.

After the brushes have all been rinsed I hand them to dry.  I cut a piece of twine, tie each end to a clip and hang it over the curtain rod of my shower.  I then clip a brush to each one.  I do this so that my brushes don't lie on once side creating a flat spot and to keep water out of the ferule (the metal part holding the bristles in) to keep it from rusting, and to keep the glue from softening which causes bristle shedding.

The sponge, rotating brush, and comb dry on the towel.  The rotating brush dries with the bristles pointing up so they don't get flat spots.  The rotating head doesn't have glue holding the bristles in so I don't need to worry about the glue getting wet and releasing the bristles.

In a few hours my brushes will be dry and I can put them away all nice and clean for the next time I need them.  However, remember what I said about keeping brushes 6ft away from the toilet?  Yeah, be sure you use a different bathroom or if you only have one, hang your brushes somewhere else.  No sense in getting toilet germs on freshly cleaned brushes.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Product Review and New Ipsy Bag!

Today I will be reviewing the last product from my July Ipsy bag and giving you a look at my August Ipsy bag which I got in today's mail.

I saved the best for last in the July bag.  This is my favorite product of everything that came in that cute pink pouch.  It is the Soy Renewal Beach Spray from Sexy Hair.  It says it is a beach look conditioning & texturizing spray with Argan oil.

I frequently use a beach spray on my hair but normally it is Aquage Sea Salt Texturizing Spray which I got from my hair stylist.  However, I think I have found my new favorite beach spray.  This spray has a pistol grip type of dispenser rather than the standard pump button so it is easier to use if your hands are damp.  It also smells better than my usual brand and IMO my hair feels better when I use this verses my usual brand.

This is what my hair looks like if I don't use anything on it.  This is just plain old me, washed and air dried.

This is me with the Sexy Hair Beach Spray.  I gave my towel dried hair a good spritzing and scrunching, then another spritz and scrunch when my hair was fully dry.

And here is the sample bottle.  Isn't it cute?

This is definitely a product I will be buying again and gets a 5 star rating from me.

Next we have the Ipsy bag for August.  I am absurdly excited about this months bag.  It contains -

Urban Decay Perversion Mascara
Costal Scents Forever Blush sample duo
Dr. Brandt Pores No More pore refiner and primer
Lord and Berry Black Silk mini kohl liner
Absolute You're the Balm in Green Apple

I already use and love a lot of Urban Decay's products, I love facial primers, have fun with eyeliners and blushes, and go thru lip balm like it is going out of style so this is an awesome bag for me.

And it all came in a cute little white bag with orange polka dots.  Keep checking in and I will tell you what I think of this months goodies.


If you have a question you would like answered or a product you would like reviewed feel free to email me at or leave a comment on the blog.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Product Review - Ipsy lip balm and tanning oil

My new Ipsy bag will be here any day now so I need to take a moment to review two more products from the last bag.

The first one is the Pixi tinted brilliance balm in Pretty Pink.  This is a nice and light feeling product.  My lips don't feel sticky, greasy, or slimy.  The color is shear, and it smells and tastes, slightly minty.  This is a much pinker color than I would have picked out for myself but it doesn't look that bad.



This color won't become a normal color in my makeup drawer but it doesn't look bad at all.  I also like the feel of the product so I would definitely pick this up in a different color if I were to see it in the store.  It gets four stars from me.  I would buy it but I would pick a different color.

The next product is Hang Ten Dark Tanning Oil.  

I don't tan so I can't tell you if it works for helping improve a tan.  However, I do have dry skin so I can tell you it works very well as a moisturizer.  Plus it smells good, I smell like a pina colada when I wear it.  This product says it is Oxybenzone free, Paraben free, Retinyl Palmitate free, synthetic fragrance free, non-greasy, and non-nano.

For those of you who are like me and wondered what the heck non-nano means I found a link that explains it here.  This product has no zinc or titanium oxide so this would be a non-nano product.  As for non-greasy, well, it is an oil so until it is absorbed it does feel a little greasy.  However, once it is absorbed the greasy feeling goes away.  This product also has an SPF of 8, and is made in the US.  This product gets three stars from me.  It is nice but not something I would ever buy for myself.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Product Reviews - 2 Ipsy, 1 from my personal collection

I've been slacking on my product reviews so to make it up to you I'm reviewing 3 products today.  Two are from my Ipsy bag and one is something I bought today.

First, here is the total package.

Lets start with Ipsy first.

The first item I really like.  It is the Sunkissed Bronzer in Secret Sunshine by POP beauty.  In the package it looks scary brown, but on my skin it is a very natural and flattering shade for me.  The color wears well and applies evenly.  It also doesn't fall apart in the compact.  I have had some blushes where it seems like the product just falls apart as soon as the brush hits it.  This one doesn't so there is no huge mess to deal with.  This one gets five stars, I would buy this one again in this same color.

The next product I don't care for.  This is the BareMinerals 5 in 1 cream eye shadow in Divine Wine.  It is supposed to be long wearing, self priming, brighten your eyes, smooth your eyelids, and protect with an SPF of 15.  The product is long wearing and seems to be self priming.  As far as brightening and smoothing, well it works as well as any other product I put on my eyelids so it wouldn't be a big selling point to me.

It is a nice color but nothing special that a hundred other eye shadow manufacturers haven't come up with.  BareMinerals says this product comes in 10 Seductively Neutral Shade.  I don't know about you but my husband has never once said to me, "Darling, you look so neutral!  I must have you now!"

 I didn't like this product.  It was far to wet coming out of the tube and stayed wet for much to long so it became a smeary mess in no time flat.  I would rather use a nice powder with a separate primer, there is much less mess to deal with.  This one gets one star, I will not buy this product.

The third product is an Ulta brand lip stain I bought today.  It is called Double Duty Lip Stain and Balm in Thriller.  I have been looking for a lip stain that actually stains for a long time now, and it looks like I will still be looking.  I LOVE the color.  However, when I did the food test I ended up with major wearing of the color.

Here is the before.

And after a lunch of chips, cheese, and coffee.

The angle is awkward but I had to get close enough to my webcam so you could see how the stain wore off while I ate.

I'm really bummed that it isn't a true stain because I really like the color, it is easy to apply, the stain portion feels like a felt pen, and the lip balm is nice and soft without making my lips feel sticky.  It also helps my lips from feeling to dry.  It just feels like a stain ought to, I don't know, maybe actually stain your lips?  Keep trying Ulta, you have the application method and the balm down, now you just have to get the stain portion working.  This one gets three stars from me, love the color, I just wish it were actually a stain.

So there you have it, 1 yes, 1 no, and 1 so-so.

See you next time!