Influenster Natural VoxBox. I’m impressed!

It’s a samples box! I’ve reviewed several of these before but this is my first time reviewing one from Influenster and reviewing one that focuses on natural beauty and health. Holla! What’s Influenster? Their website explains it best and chances are that if you are a blogger and/or have a strong online influence, you can be a candidate to receive Influenster boxes.

Okay soooooo…here we go with their first ever Naturals VoxBox!

At first glance I got a bit giddy because I spotted TWO brands that I was familiar with. That’s a good sign. Y’all know how much of a snob I am about skincare and while I love featuring all brands, I really only use natural skincare products on my crazy sensitive skin. Also, keep in mind that this box isn’t necessarily a “beauty” box. I was prepared to see all kinds of goodies up in this box.

Glad to see Influenster included a list of what was in said box…

First up is a single packet of EBOOST ($28 for box of 20 powders).

I don’t use products like these as I’d rather supplement with vitamins or at the very least get the “added”  vitamins in the food that I’m eating. And since I’m pregnant, I don’t want to try anything new. I suppose this would be great for those suffering from colds but I’m the type to sip some echinacea tea. I’m granola like that. :mrgreen:

Next up was the stick of GeoDeo.

What’s that? An all-natural deodorant? So up my alley! In fact, I’ve sworn off of traditional deodorants for quite some time and while it took me some time to find a brand that works, I’m pretty confident knowing that I’ll never go back to traditional deodorants. This brand is new to me and I was happy to see that it was “okay” in terms of natural deodorants.

It’s still not 100% natural because it’s got that Parfum (Fragrance) in it but hey…not bad. However, I tested it for a few days and smelled like a goat each day I used it. Ah well. My feelings aren’t hurt. I’ve tried enough natural deodorants to know that they are tricky. Some works and others don’t. I do like the packaging and concept behind this one though.

CleanWell Individual Hand Sanitizer Wipes ($29.99 for 50 pouches)

I’ve actually purchased and used CleanWell several times and love this alcohol-free hand sanitizer. I didn’t know they made wipes though. I prefer this over alcohol-based hand sanitizers because the ingredients are milder than other hand sanitizers.

Shea Moisture Organic Raw Shea Butter Baby Eczema Bar Soap.

Popular among the black girl natural hair community, Shea Moisture just happens to be one of my favorite skinare brands on the market. I’ve declared my love for Shea Butter manyyyyy times so I was excited to see this bar of soap. Plus I’m having a baby. And I have eczema. Perfect pick for me! I think I’m going to save this for when Baby Clumps is a little older and I’m hoping her precious skin won’t have to endure eczema. But if she gets it…I’ll be prepared. I’ll be honest though – the chances of me trying this before she is born are extremely likely! Oh, and Shea Moisture always impressed me with their lack of horrible ingredients.

Nectresse Natural No Calorie Sweeteners

Call me a snob but I’ve never been a fan of sweetners because they’ve always tasted artificial to me. Yes, even Splenda. I opt for agave nectar, honey and brown sugar and sometimes white sugar. That said, this isn’t a product that I would ever use. Oh and…what is monk fruit????

LypSyl Intense Protection LypMoisturizer

Look! It’s a lip balm. I got all excited when I saw this. As a fan of lip balms, bees and shea butter, I had high hopes for this balm. And it delivered! Ingredients-wise, it’s not too shabby.

The packaging is adorable…

And the product feels great on the lips. It has very light mint-ish scent and it feels nice and smooth on the lips. This is a product that I’d purchase again. In fact, had I seen it in stores, it’s likely that I would have purchased it before receiving this sample.

And lastly…The Original Dish Drying Mat ($4.99)

I’ve never seen anything like this but supposedly this mat helps to conserve energy and the use of paper towels because of its absorbency. Hmm. Okay. I haven’t found a real use for it just yet I like the concept.

Overall, I was VERY impressed with the Influenster Natural VoxBox. I’m more impressed than what I thought I’d be. While every product didn’t woo me, the majority of the did. So much so that I’ll be repurchasing most of them. Not too shabby!

How’s this for a natural centered sample box? Not too bad, uh?

Tarte’s Glamazon Pure Performance 12-Hour Lipsticks, Part I

Ask me to list one of my Top 5 Favorite Brands and I’ll always list Tarte. I’ve been in love with this brand since first swatch. Everything from the packaging of the products their lack of harmful ingredients makes me love ‘em. Aaaand, unlike many “natural” brands, Tarte has a nice selection of brown girl friendly concealers, foundations and powders. Yes!!

If you pop into Sephora and stroll by the Tarte section, you’ll probably spot these beautiful babies. Look at them. Look at them, I say!

Forget the glitzy and shiny lipstick wands. I like these bamboo-inspired ones so much more. Aren’t they beautiful? Even more, the beautiful and colorful designs on each lipstick box and wand represent the color inside. Cute, right? Tarte has put Amazonian clay in a lot of their products and their inclusion in these lippies is to restores the lips’ natural moisture content with nourishing and hydrating properties. (source)

It’s hard to tell how large these wands are if you’re lookin’ at them online but in person, they are pretty long. So one would think that a larger wand means more product, right? Meh. Not really. You’ll get about the same amount of product in these as you would in a lipstick from MAC Cosmetics.

It doesn’t look that way at first but holding them eye-level will reveal that they’re about the same.

Tarte has given us 8 beautiful and complimentary shades for women of all complexions – which I can appreciate. They’ve got everything from nudes, berries, reds and a bright pink. Swatches of the first 4…

(L-R)
Foxy, Bold, Pure, Playful

Guess which one is my fave? Just guess.

Foxy, of course! Described as a deep pink, this is the brightest lipstick out of the bunch. I haven’t seen Tarte do a lippie this vibrant before and for this to be one of their firsts…they knocked it out of the park. The online swatches of this lipstick (well, all of them) doesn’t even do it justice. If you don’t get any other color, Foxy is the one you’ll want to get.

Bold is coral that I find severely unattractive on me. Then again, y’all know how I feel about corals anyway. Pure is a light rose that I found to be an ideal neutral shade for anyone. It freaked me out at first swatch but but it’s actually okay. And lastly is Playful is a purple rose.

This is my second favorite as I find it to be the most wearable. Foxy rocks but it isn’t exactly work-appropriate. Playful, on the other hand, is a great day to night lipstick.

Pro’s
-Extremely versatile shade selection.
-Long-lasting. In fact, the darker shades transform into a stain.
-Very nice and creamy formula. Achieving an opaque finish is super easy.
-Beautiful natural-inspired packaging. I like this more than my fancier lipstick wands.
-Like all Tarte products, these are free from parabens, sulfates, synthetic fragrances, and phthalates.
-Includes shea, mango and avocado butters.

Cons
-Smells a bit like clay. It actually doesn’t bother me but may annoy others.
-A bit pricey at $26 a pop.
-Not as moisturizing as I would have liked. But I have yet to find a lipstick that is, ya know?

Stay tuned for my review of the other 4 of these. If you just have to just get ONE, I’d say snag Foxy if you’re a gal who loves bright shades or Playful if you want something beautifully wearable. These are currently available at Sephora stores and at Sephora.com.

Have you seen these in Sephora yet? How adorable is the packaging?

Wet n Wild Juicy Lip Balm – For Chicks With Lips!

Ooooh Wet ‘n Wild. You are still killin’ the beauty game with affordable cosmetics for us all. I could write a never-ending list of the things that I love most about Wet ‘n Wild. One of those thangs? I love how they have so many different products for consumers of various skill levels. You know how there are brands that have products that just don’t seem to be newbie-friendly? Naw. Wet ‘n Wild isn’t like that. They have glosses for the everyday beauty girl, lipsticks for makeup artists and then these lip balms for…everyone!

It is my belief that EVERYONE needs to have at least one lip balm on them at all times. And not just to be “cute” but because ashy and crusty lips isn’t becoming for anyone. This is a fact. Or a law. Or something like that…

There isn’t much to say about these because they’re just so self-explanatory. Watch…

-They’re cheap. Only $2.99 a pop.
-They’ll last you forever. I mean look how ginormous they are.
-They smell good. They’re fruity and delightful but not overwhelming.
-They’re moisturizing.
-They contain SPF. Why don’t all lip products contain this stuff?
-They’re cute. No really. They are.
-Everyone needs a lip balm…7-year olds to 77-year olds.
-They don’t taste bad. Don’t you hate how some balms have a terrible taste?


(L-R) Strawberry Fraise (light pink/cotton candy), Cherry Cerise (red), Raspberry Frambois (purple-y), Watermelon Pasteque (pistachio) 

Despite their colors, they provide only a wee bit of tint. And I do mean wee bit. In fact, so little that my camera had a hard time picking it up. I like these mucho. I’ve got one in the beauty room that I use after doing lip swatches. It gives me a dose of moisture in between swatches. It doesn’t moisturize enough for hours on end but it gets the job done. Oh, and did I mention that they cheap. Yeah.

You can grab one or more of these babies at drugstores everywhere for only $2.99. I’ve been spotting them online at Walgreens.com.

Luax Cosmetics – vegan cosmetics with bling!

Indie brands represent! It’s no surprise that I have my love for drugstore and the big chain brands. But when I’m presented with the chance to play around with products of lesser known brands, I always jump to the opportunity. It’s in my nature. I’m the type that would much rather shop for her fruits and veggies at a farmer’s market than a grocer, ya know?

I was recently introduced to the baby brand Luax Cosmetics and whoa – I’m impressed!

The brand was founded just 3 months ago and already founders Benni and Tiffany are making waves in the beauty industry! These 2 driven ladies had a passion for cosmetics but wanted to design a brand that not only included vegan and eco-friendly products but also had a bit of a high fashion touch to it. And I can see why. Many times, when you think of vegan brands, you picture organic and nature-esque products and packing. But these ladies have done something completely different and I’m absolutely lovin’ it!

Let’s start with the nail polishes. So far they’ve got 14 nail polishes ($8.99 a bottle) listed on their website and I’m anxious for them to start cranking out some more. I’ve got Royalty…

…and Welcome To the Big Apple.

Both applied beautifully and have a semi-jelly finish to them. The formula was good for both and while I got more of an opaque finish with Royalty, I don’t mind the visible nail line showin’ through on Welcome To The Big Apple.  And the tops of the bottles are just so luxurious, darling!

The tops are topped off with SWAROVSKI crystals. And they’re not budging either. Those crystals are glued on  and not moving an inch. Which is great. Because if I’ve got nail polish bottles that look this pretty, I would act a fool if one of those crystals took off. I’m just sayin’…

Luax Cosmetics is also givin’ us lip lacquers at $13.99 a pop! I spied 8 colors on their website and when asked which shade I wanted to review, of course I had to give Bossy a whirl. But of course. It’s red!

And I mean, RED!

I found this blue-toned red to compliment my hue beautifully. Which is no easy feat as some reds make me look scary. Formula wise, I found it to be interesting because while it looks and applies like a gloss, it feels like a moisturizing and highly pigmented lipstick once on the lips. At the same time, it lasts like a stain. Word?!  I’ve never seen such a gloss with so many characteristics. I literally had to scrub my lips to get the gloss off. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I’d much rather have a lipgloss that requires some work to get off than have one that disappears 20 minutes after application.

Just like its sisters, the lip lacquers have the pretty crystals secured and chillin’ on the tops of the wands.

And lastly, there was the lip scrub.

Ah yesss, lip scrubs. Lip scrubs are essential to life. I know that sounds out there but girlfriend, they are. And everyone should have a good lip scrub in their lives. This sugar-based lip scrub retails for $9.99, which is perhaps the one product that I believe may be a bit overpriced. But does it scrub? Um yeah….

It has a nice scent to it. Especially if you like peppermint. It goes on easily and rinses off thoroughly. There is a bit of a film left behind which I found great for moisturizing the lips. But if you’re ready to top your lips off with a lipstick or gloss, you’d have to wipe le lips with a hand towel or tissue.

Overall? I think Luax Cosmetics is doing a darn good job for having only been around for 3 months. I’m impressed and I love the uniqueness of the product packaging. It’s memorable, fun and classy. It’s a super girly brand that I can’t wait to see go to the top. I’d love to see an Ingredients tab on their website and that’s only because I’m a blogger who loves reading her ingredients. Plus, when you’ve got allergies and skin issues, you want to know what you’re getting when you play around with a new products.

If you’re in the mood to try some new brands – check out Luax Cosmetics! Visit their website here.

New hot ‘n cool lippies from Manic Panic

Remember that time – that loooooong time ago when I did a post on the awesomeness that was a Manic Panic lipstick? Welp. I’m back with more awesome Manic Panic lipsticks. I know. You’re excited. I can feel the excitement through the interwebs. How weird would that be? You know…to be able to feel emotions through the internet….

I know, I’m so weird. I am forever thinking about the strangest stuff.

Anywhoovers, even though I’m all moved in the new joint, I am still trying to find the best places to take pictures. Our new place is a condo and I don’t have a backyard, porch, patio or anything. So hang in there with me while I found ideal spots to take pretty pics.

Because let’s face it – cosmetics intertwined with nature is much more interesting than white backgrounds. I’m just sayin’…

Much like Physicians Formula’s light up lipglosses, Manic Panic’s High Voltage Lip Glosses have a built-in light. Yes, I know these are gimmicky but they are so fun. I managed to get my hands on 2 of those glosses.

There’s Naked, the soft pink frost…

Oh, and please excuse my chipped nail polish. Would you believe I haven’t polished them in over a WEEK. *gasp* Let’s move on before I start shivering again. Like most of these light up lipglosses, these come with groovy mirrors on the back. I find them to be perfect for touching up on the go. Oh but wait, I also snagged Radioactive….

Somehow Radioactive looked better swatched on my arm than on my lips. While it is indeed a red, it certainly looks more vibrant in the tube than in person. But still – it’s a nice deep red with enough blue undertones to make me happy.

What I love about these lippies:
-They’re vegan!
-They’re scented but they aren’t heavily scented.
-They are super glossy and provide a ton of shine to the lips.
-There are only 4 shades but there is a nice selection of shades.
-While not long-lasting, they are moisturizing with a non-tacky formula.

What is just so so about these lippies:
-I believe that you can only get them online. Womp.
-I’m not a fan of how the light comes on the minute you unscrew the top. It’s a battery waster and makes it difficult to apply lip color when you’re already surrounded by a bunch of light. I would much prefer a dedicated button for the light.
-They’re $12.99 which my be considered steep for some.

 

Stepping away from lip glosses for a quick sec, I took a stroll with the lovely Hot Hot Pink lipstick.

I never owned MAC’s Candy Yum Yum but I reckon this baby is close in shade to that insanely popular lip color. This lipstick is BRIGHT.

It’s a stunning neon pink that I WISH I could wear solo. But my warm tones won’t be complimented with a pink this bright. My best bet is to use it in conjunction with a nice berry lipliner. And I’m okay with that.

Manic Panic’s lipsticks are reasonably priced at $8. Which is about right for a brand that sits comfortably between drugstore and higher-end.

Off I go to figure out how to get more use out of that Hot Hot Pink. Or pank as some of us would call it. :D

Get your Manic Panic fix from zee website.

Dr. LeWinn by Kinerase Lip Resculpt 3D Lip Balm. Yay or nay to lip lip plumpers??

 

I’m all about reviewing products of brands that a lot of us have may never heard of. That’s where this lippy comes in. While I’ve heard of Kinerase, I have never seen any of their balms and skincare products in drugstores. But, they’re there! Yep, this lippy and other Dr. LewWinn by Kinerase products are sold in Walgreens, Walmart and other drugstores. Pretty groovy, uh?

Let’s rap about this balm.

Aside from promising to plump lips in 5 minutes, this paraben-free balm also increases moisture in lips in just 20 hours, has SPF 20 as well as leaves lips with a nice shine.


In terms of packaging, it isn’t the prettiest lip gloss in the world.

If you’re a guy or gal that could care less about packaging, then this shouldn’t be a deal breaker. I’m always weary of products that claim to plump lips. And for several reasons:

1. I obviously don’t need any plumpin’ in my lips.
2. Just what is it that makes my lips plump?
3. …..and will it wear off?

I question these things. While most gloses that promise “plumping” use peppermint oil to swell the lips up a bit, I can’t quite put my fingers on what gives this product the plumping action. That is…IF the plumping action exists. I didn’t notice any difference in my lips, but then again, I’m gal who has large lips. And has no problems with them either. 8)

Aside from not noticing any plumping, the gloss was a little too watery for my taste. It kept seeping in my mouth. The taste and smell are a bit too medicinal for my liking. It’s not the best lip balm I’ve ever tried. But I’ve certainly tried worse. I’ve spotted this kid at Walgreens and you can also get it from Walgreens.com for less than $10.

What do you think? Do you believe products when they say they’ll plump your lips?

4 Awesome Lippies Under $10

Havin’ a bad day? Buy a lippy. That’s one of my many mantras. There really isn’t anything more therapeutic than scooping up a new lippy after a trying day. Then again – I don’t even need for a day to be bad to buy one. :D I play nicely with both drugstore and higher-end products but lately it seems to be drugstore lippies that have been stealing the show. These 4 have been in constant rotation in my makeup stash.

Revlon Colorburst Lip Butters 

I’d like to haul all of ‘em but that would be unnecessary. Because who really needs THAT many lip butters? Okay – don’t answer that. I have only 4. Not bad when they’ve got more than 20, uh?

Physicians Formula pH Powered Lip Gloss

Y’all have nooooo idea how much I love this lipgloss. And it’s not really because of how awesome the formula is. Nor is it the long-lasting gloss turned into lip stain aspect. What do I love most? It lights up! I could be on the beach with the sun shinning on my head and I will still turn the light on. Best lipgloss ever. This doesn’t ever need to be discontinued.

Wet ‘n Wild Fuchsia with Blue Pearl 

 

Considering this lipstick is on sale for $0.69, you pretty much owe it to yourself to scoop it up. A fantastic lipstick for only a buck? I mean, come oooon…

NYX Color Lip Balms

Imagine a world where chapsticks get along. Oh. We live in that world. And thankfully NYX Cosmetics lives here with us. These lip balms are nothing short of amazing. They moisturize, provide a subtle pop of color and are tote-able and cheap. Will haul all.

NYX Crimson Amulet collection – vampires everywhere are rejoicing!

So there’s this new movie coming out called Dark Shadows and NYX Cosmetics has a nice little makeup palette in honor of it. Don’t hate me but I totally had to Google Dark Shadows to see what this movie is all about. Doesn’t look like it’s up my alley considering it’s staring a vampire. But the plot looks pretty funny – a vampire from the 1700’s wakes up in the 1970’s. Hehe.

I love when makeup brands have products and collections dedicated to movies, TV shows and pop culture events. And for $25, this Crimson Amulet collection palette is pretty groovy.

What NYX has to say about it,

“LIMITED EDITION! Captivate and mesmerize with your beauty using the Crimson Amulet collection. This palette inspired by the film “Dark Shadows” comprises of 24 matte and shimmery lush eye shadows, 5 intoxicating blushers, 1 luminous highlighter, 4 succulent lip colors, 1 HD Studio eye shadow base for a more intense eye shadow hue, and 1 extreme black liquid eye liner. Recreate the enticing female characters’ in Dark Shadows using the collection!” (source)

So when you open up the book, you’re lookin’ at 24 shadows…

Flip the book and to the left you’ve got some descriptions of 3 vampire-y ladies.

And to the right…

More goodies!

So let’s start with the shadows.

I always appreciate palettes that contain various textures. It looks like frosts run this book but there are a few decent mattes up in here. Like the black matte.

It’s not as rich and intense as I like my blacks but it’s not too bad. I swatched a few other shades and textures…

Most are pretty sheer and will require a ton of packing on to appear vibrant on the eyes. My experience with NYX eyeshadow palettes are that the shadows are typically just so so. In fact, that’s the case with a lot of eyeshadows from those all-in-one palettes. Even after doing some swatching, I ended up with quite a bit of fall-out….

But again, if you don’t mind putting some elbow grease in applying these shadows, you can definitely crank out some nice looks with them. Skippin’ on over to the right are the mini eye shadow primers and eyeliners.

I mean, honestly…I have neeeever seen such an eyeliner so small. It’s adorable!

It’s perfect for the palette but I’ll definitely be throwing it in my travel tote. It’s a really nice eyeliner too. Applies easily and lasts longer than I thought it would.

Then there’s the eyeshadow base…

It’s a bit creamier than I like ‘em and unfortunately my eyelids don’t play nicely to creamy bases.

The blushes and highlighters are phenomenal. They’re super pigmented and long-lasting. Two of ‘em look a lot like NARS’ Orgasm and Albatross. And they’re really nice dupes if I do say so myself.

And last but not least, the lippies. Very rarely do beauty aficionados get excited about lip products in palettes. They usually require having to use a lip brush and let’s face it, many of us would rather apply a lipstick, or gloss with a brush or doe foot applicator. But these lip colors are REALLY nice. Really really nice.

So yeah, for $25, this palette is fierce. While the shadows are so so, the blushes are nice, lippies are superb and I’m in love with the teeny tiny eyeliner. Dark Shadows fans or not, this is definitely a palette you may want to check out. Especially if you’ve been yearning for some new products but don’t want to break the bank.

Snag it from NYXCosmetics.com.

Sooooo, yay or nay to vampires?