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Beauty Product Review – Farsali Volcanic Elixir

Farsali Valcanic Elixer

I am sure many of you are familiar with the brand Farsáli. Several of their products, like their Unicorn Essence, have become beauty blogger sensations and have blown up on social media. One product in particular I had not heard about was the Volcanic Elixir. At least I hadn’t heard about it till it landed in Sephora earlier this year.

Farsali Valcanic Elixer

Because of my personal experience with volcanic essence products in Korean Skincare I was extremely interested in trying out the Volcanic Elixir from Farsáli. If you have followed me either here on the blog or on my Instagram account for any amount of time then you know one of my all time favorite sheet masks is a Volcanic Ash Essence Mask from Esfolio. And while Farsáli is not a Korean brand, the ingredient concepts should be the same.

What The Product Does

I think when you spend any amount of time learning about Korean cosmetics you start to gain an understanding of what ingredients are used for. The great thing about Volcanic related products, in most cases like this one, they are good for all skin types and a full range of skin conditions.

So what does the brand say it does?

The properties of this oil are known to help regenerate skin tissue. The Volcanic Elixir, for this unique reason, can condition broken skin, and repair sun- and acne-damaged skin. It also has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antibiotic, and antioxidant properties — making it ideal for acne sufferers. What sets this oil apart from others, is a certain lipid called calophyllolide; which is not found in any other oil, and is a very strong anti-inflammatory.

The Volcanic Elixir aids in regenerating new, healthy skin. It can be used on acne and acne scars, dry and scaly skin, stretch marks, etc.

So it really seems like the possibilities are endless if you are at either end of the problem skin scale. I’m not sure that you would gain any benefit if you have normal skin, unless you have scarring from the past.

 

My Skin Care Needs

For me, as you know I have very dry skin with scaley patches and keratin build up in creases (the scaley patches and keratin build up are from my allergy and are not constant). Due to my Balsam of Peru allergy I am fragrance sensitive, and that includes essential oils. I am also sensitive to select other possible ingredients in skin care products.

 

What You Get

Your product comes in a dark bottle with a dropper. You get one fluid ounce or thirty milliliters of product. The Volcanic Elixir has one single ingredient, Calophyllum Inophyllum (Tamanu) Oil, so no worries for my fellow contact allergy sufferers, unless of course that is your allergy.

I did notice all of Farsáli’s other products seem to come in a second size option, but this one does not. I am not sure if that is something they are planning on adding or not. There is no mention of it on their website, so if anyone knows please tell us down in the comments.

 

First Impressions

The very first thing I noticed when I got the bottle was how hard it was to open. I don’t know if I got a defective bottle or if they all are like mine, but you have to twist forever and then it suddenly pulls up and it makes it sort of messy. Putting the dropper cap back on seems just as difficult.

Once the lid was open the next thing I notice was the heavy natural, earthy smell coming out. If you are use to using fragrance free products or even some Korean products (depending on which kind) this is a smell you are probably already use to and won’t think twice about. This is noted on Farsáli’s website, so they do tell you before you buy. For those of you who have never tried a fragrance free product before, you may not be prepared. Some people find natural smells offensive. Personally I like them and find it comforting.

The other thing that really stands out about this product when you first start using it is the texture. You can somewhat see it in this picture:

Consistancy of the Volcanic Elixir from Farsali

It is an oil, but what makes it different is that it is very thick and has somewhat of a gritty texture. Now I can feel the texture with my fingers, but once I apply the elixir to my face I no longer feel it.

 

How To Use It

Like most oils and liquids, you want to shake this up really well before using it each time. The website recommends using it as a night treatment, almost like a moisturizer. I agree for the most part, though I prefer putting an actual moisturizer on over top of it.

I have seen a lot of people on the web saying this is a great face oil for makeup. No, that is not the intended use, and I really can not believe anyone would want to do that with the texture this oil has. While I don’t feel the texture once applied, I have to think that would mess with the look and feel of your foundation.

 

Final Thoughts

I have been using the Fersáli Volcanic Elixir for close to a month now. I use it about three to four nights a week, and I am considering using it on a nightly basis for a while just to see what happens. I will explain why.

I find that I really like the product. It does have a lasting effect on the dryness of my skin, however on the days I do not use it I see the symptoms of my contact allergy creep back in. So I want to see if I can get a more lasting effect if I do it every day.

But on the days I did use the elixir the night before, my skin looks wonderfully clear. Here is one I took and posted to Instagram recently that was on a day right after using the Farsáli Volcanic Elixir:

A picture of me after using the Farsali Volcanic Elixir

The bottom line for me is I will be repurchasing this product. I love that I don’t have to worry about what the ingredients are and that it is fragrance free. It works well on my skin. And it shows results.

If you would like to try this product out for yourself you can find it at the Farsáli website and on Sephora.

Let me know in the comments if you have tried any of the products from Farsáli and what you thought of them. Should I try something else from their line?

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

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Product Review – Free & Clear Shampoo And Conditioner

Free and Clear Shampoo, Medicated Shampoo, and Conditioner

As the title says this is a review for the Free & Clear Shampoo And Conditioner. This is the third in a series of shampoo and conditioner reviews. Make sure to check out my last review on the Carol’s Daughter Monoi Repairing 3-Piece Starter Kit.

This took me a little longer to review as I initially started off with just the original Shampoo and Conditioner which I purchased on Amazon. However, shortly after starting to use this shampoo and conditioner I was walking through my local Walgreens and I noticed they have this line store. And, in addition to the Shampoo and Conditioner I had already purchased, they also had a Medicated Anti-Dandruff Shampoo. So I purchased that shampoo and decided to include it in this review.

 

My Hair And Scalp Type

(notice this section will be in every shampoo and conditioner review for reference. This is for convenience so you do not have to look back at earlier posts)

My hair is very thick and coarse. It tends to be very dry, and can turn brittle if I wash it too often or don’t condition it enough. But my hair is reasonably healthy outside of that, as I do not use heat on it very often and I try to take care of it to the best of my ability.

My scalp goes back and forth between dry and oily depending on the time of the year and the products I have used. My biggest struggle with my scalp is from the allergic contact dermatitis caused by my allergy to Balsam of Peru. This causes a dry, scaly, itchy coverage on the scalp that looks a lot like dandruff. I have never been able to get it fully cleared up on my scalp. At its worst, when I have a reaction to something, it also burns and can blister.

 

The Product

Free and Clear Shampoo, Medicated Shampoo, and Conditioner

These are all from the Free & Clear hair care line. As previously mentioned, two of these were purchased on Amazon and one from Walgreen’s. All my product links will be to Amazon because they offer it at a slightly better price.

This brand offers many other personal care and household products. Description from the brand:

Free & Clear shampoo has been specially created for persons who wish to avoid common chemical irritants found in most ordinary skin and hair care products. It is free of dyes, fragrance, masking fragrance, lanolin, protein, parabens, formaldehyde, and other preservatives.

  • Sulfate-free

  • Betaine-free

  • Gluten-free

Both the original Shampoo and Conditioner come in a 12 fl. oz. size. The Medicated Anti-Dandruff Shampoo is available in an 8 fl. oz. size.

 

How It Performed

I had very different experiences with each of these products. I don’t want to lump them all together, so lets talk about each product separately.

I tried the original Shampoo first. And while I think its great that it doesn’t have any fragrance, that was where my love for this shampoo stopped. I suppose it did the job of cleaning, but if anything it did it too well. It seemed to strip my hair from any and all moisture it had. It left my hair feeling very brittle and even after using conditioner my hair was a tangled mess. I can’t feasibly see myself using this again.

So after using the original Shampoo a couple of times I moved on to the Medicated Anti-Dandruff Shampoo. This was somewhat better on my hair, but not by much. It seemed like it was slightly less drying, but overall I just didn’t see the benefit of it.

The conditioner I used with both shampoos. This had quite the opposite effect for me. I think I need some pretty concentrated conditioner at times because of my hair type. And with as much as the shampoos seemed to dry my hair out more than usual, you would think I would need something even stronger than the norm. And this was a highly moisturizing shampoo, just a little too much. I never thought I would fins a conditioner than I thought over did it on my hair, but this conditioner from Free & Clear left my hair feeling like a greasy mess. I can’t even imagine who would be able to use this conditioner. It certainly wouldn’t be anyone with thin hair or with my dryness or less.

The Allergy Effect

When it comes to how my allergy behaved with these, I think I went in with high expectations because they are fragrance free. Though, if you have read anything about the Balsam of Peru allergy, then you know that it’s not your typical fragrance allergy. You can react to lots of things.

Both the original shampoo and the conditioner, I don’t believe I had any sort of reaction to it. However my breakout I already had, it didn’t let it clear up either. And I think that as much as the shampoo dried me out, even if the skin on my scalp would have gotten better it would have had flakes from dryness regardless.

And with the Anti-Dandruff Shampoo, I actually think I had an allergic reaction. I am not sure to what. I can just tell you that within a few minutes of using it my scalp was very itchy. I had double the flakes. It just all around was not good for me. I do think its worth giving a try though if you have a different fragrance allergy than me.

 

Final Thoughts

If you have read this all the way through, you probably already know my thoughts are not favorable on these products from Free & Clear. I am sure that these would work for someone out there, I just don’t know who. I think even if I had not had the allergic reaction to the medicated shampoo or if any of them had helped clear up my scalp, I still could not have gotten past the feeling that it was damaging my hair.

 

I would love to hear in the comments if any of you have tried this brand before and if you like it. Have you tried any of the other products? If so do they perform better than the shampoos and conditioner?

 

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Product Review: Carol’s Daughter Monoi Repairing 3-Piece Starter Kit (Shampoo, Conditioner, and Hair Mask)

What you get in the Carol's Daughter Monoi Repairing 3-Piece Starter Kit

I am on a personal mission this year to find a shampoo and conditioner that both works for my hair type and for my sensitive scalp. This is the second review of this series, make sure to check out my review of the Not Your Mother’s Blue Sea Kale & Pure Coconut Water Sea Minerals Shampoo and Conditioner to see the first review.

My Hair And Scalp Type

My hair is very thick and coarse. It tends to be very dry, and can turn brittle if I wash it too often or don’t condition it enough. But my hair is reasonably healthy outside of that, as I do not use heat on it very often and I try to take care of it to the best of my ability.

My scalp goes back and forth between dry and oily depending on the time of the year and the products I have used. My biggest struggle with my scalp is from the allergic contact dermatitis caused by my allergy to Balsam of Peru. This causes a dry, scaley, itchy coverage on the scalp that looks a lot like dandruff. I have never been able to get it fully cleared up on my scalp. At its worst, when I have a reaction to something, it also burns and can blister.

The Product

 

What you get in the Carol's Daughter Monoi Repairing 3-Piece Starter KitThis is the Carol’s Daughter Monoi Repairing Collection 3-Piece Starter Kit, and it runs $26.00 for the set. This kit includes:

  • Monoi Repairing Shampoo (2.0 fl. oz.)
  • Monoi Repairing Conditioner (2.0 fl. oz.)
  • Monoi Repairing Hair Mask(2.0 oz.)

I bought mine on Amazon, but it is also available at Ulta. These are all small travel size bottles that come in this package, but there is a Monoi Luxury Hair Care Gift Set that comes with full size products if you would rather have that. The shampoo, the conditioner, and the hair mask can also be bought separately in full size.

I had never tried anything from this brand before, but I had heard a lot of wonderful things about the brand. They are (or at least they use to be) a small woman owned company. Their products do not contain sulfates, parabens, petrolatum, mineral oil, or artificial colors.

I picked this line specifically because it contained a lot of ingredients I had good experiences with. It was for intense moisture and repairing the hair. One of its large claims was that it would help prevent breakage of brittle hair. It really had a lot that appealed to me. And outside of fragrance, there were no ingredients that immediately concerned me. (If you also have a Balsam of Peru allergy, please note this does contain citric acid. I know that some react to that, I do not.)

How It Performed

I tried the Carol’s Daughter shampoo and conditioner combo four different ways, all ways that I typically would use other shampoos and conditioners before doing this review. I wanted to make sure I had a fully adequate comparison to the other shampoos I have used in the past. And so for me that means the hair mask in this set only got used once.

The first time I tried them with a hot oil treatment that I use fairly often. Then I tried them on their own. The third time I used them with a Korean brand dandruff shampoo that I use occasionally. And the fourth and final time I used them with the hair mask that came in the set.

I was actually surprised at how moisturizing the shampoo was. I realize that the shampoo contains oils, but I have used lots of shampoos that contain various types of oils and none of them have felt like that. I think it did a decent job at cleansing too, but the standout feature is just going to miniaturization. I almost felt like I could have went with out conditioner after the shampoo, if that tells you anything.

The conditioner performed just as well. Not only was it moisturizing, but it also felt very smoothing to my hair. I could definitely tell that after my hair dried this was still smoothing as I was not experiencing as much fizziness. I typically have to use an additional leave in conditioner with most shampoo/conditioners. But I did not have to with these.

One big thing I could not say whether it was specifically the shampoo or the conditioner, but I definitely saw less hair loss with this set. It could have been coincidence, but I find that unlikely.

The Allergy Effect

As I mentioned in my last post, anything that has a fragrance, I always put it through the smell test. Smelling this product was no help. It definitely has a unique fragrance that I have never smelled before. That actually made me far more nervous than it just having fragrance. I suppose it was the element of the unknown. To be completely honest here, I am not really a fan of how this smelled, but if something works for me I don’t care ultimately.

I am happy to say that I did not have any reaction to the shampoo and conditioner. However, I don’t think it did anything special as far as helping my dermatitis either. The one exception would be when I mixed it with my dandruff shampoo. That was probably the longest I have went itch and scale free in a long time. I don’t know if that was coincidence or if it was something special about the combo. And it would take a lot longer of testing to find out.

Now I am not sure why, but I didn’t fare as well with the hair mask. After using it I was itchy almost immediately. Looking at the ingredients nothing looks all that different or stands out to me as to why the hair mask would cause that.

Final Thoughts

Overall, with the exception of the hair mask, I really like the Carol’s Daughter Monoi Repairing Collection. I think I will keep this on the list of shampoos and conditioners that I feel okay using in a pinch. If I don’t find anything better this year I may even circle around and give this one another try for a while.

Tell me in the comments if you have tried anything from Carol’s Daughter before. Let me know what you tried and what you thought about it. And as always, I am taking requests of what you would like to try.

 

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Product Review: Not Your Mother’s Blue Sea Kale & Pure Coconut Water Sea Minerals Shampoo and Conditioner

Not Your Mother's Blue Sea Kale & Pure Coconut Water Sea Minerals Shampoo and Conditioner

I am on a personal mission this year to find a shampoo and conditioner that both works for my hair type and for my sensitive scalp. To be more specific, I need something to help with my contact dermatitis. I want to go beyond not causing an allergic reaction and find something that will actually help the skin on my scalp.

To keep these reviews relevant to more people than just those with a Balsam of Peru allergy or some other sort of fragrance allergy, in addition to general information about the shampoo each review will be broken down into sections. I will do half of the review just based on how effective it is at cleansing, price, ease of use, etc.. The second part of each review will be based on the effects on my allergy as well as discussion of ingredients used.

I am of mixed heritage, and I don’t have typical white girl hair. My hair is very thick and coarse. It tends to be very dry, and can turn brittle if I wash it too often or don’t condition it enough. But my hair is reasonably healthy outside of that, as I do not use heat on it very often and I try to take care of it to the best of my ability.

My scalp goes back and forth between dry and oily depending on the time of the year and the products I have used. My biggest struggle with my scalp is from the allergic contact dermatitis. This causes a dry, scaley, itchy coverage on the scalp that looks a lot like dandruff. I have never been able to get it fully cleared up on my scalp. At its worst, when I have a reaction to something, it also burns and can blister.

Now that we have covered the basics of what I am looking for in a shampoo and conditioner and what I my particular needs are, lets take a look at the actual shampoo and conditioner we are reviewing today.

The Product

Not Your Mother's Blue Sea Kale & Pure Coconut Water Sea Minerals Shampoo and Conditioner

This is the Not Your Mother’s Blue Sea Kale & Pure Coconut Water Sea Minerals Shampoo and Conditioner. I bought mine online at Ulta.com, but it is also available in most Ulta stores as well as Walgreens. Each 16 oz. bottle sells for $8.99, at least at Ulta.

I decided to give this set a try because of several reasons. I have had previous good experiences with the Not Your Mother’s Brand, I just hadn’t tried any of their shampoos and conditioners. I also have had relatively good experiences with the main ingredients. Coconut is always good for my skin, and seems to do well in my hair as well. And the blue sea kale, well I have not had a direct experience with it, but other ocean plants like kelp have been successful in the past. Plus since this is a drugstore brand the price is right and it would be easy for me to find at a moments notice.

 

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How It Performed

Not Your Mother's Shampoo

This shampoo had a lot going for it, and so I was pretty hopeful that I would have a great shampoo. Unfortunately, it fell flat for me. I really expect anything coconut to be super moisturizing. This was not. If anything I felt it was drying, and by the end of washing my hair with it my hair felt a rough.

Not Your Mother's Conditioner

Now the conditioner fared slightly better, but not by much. Just the nature of what conditioner is means it’s not going to dry my hair out. It did moisturizer, but it just wasn’t the intensity that I needed. And oddly enough, even though the moisture was light, it left my hair feeling weighed down and limp.

Overall, I would say that this shampoo and conditioner is fine for anyone who has thick hair, but it would be best for someone who stays on the oily side. I would not recommend it for coarse hair or dry hair. I also would not recommend the conditioner for anyone with fine, thin hair. I think this set is going to be for a very specific hair type.

The Allergy Affect

When it comes to my Balsam of Peru allergy it can get really complicated as to what will or won’t affect me. You can read the ingredient list and not see anything that looks problematic and it still can be. Then there are also times that you can look at the ingredient list, be really nervous about what’s on the list, and then nothing happen. In this case the ingredient list for both the shampoo and conditioner was rather on the small side compared to a lot of hair care products I have used over the years.

The only ingredient I was the least bit wary of was fragrance. The Balsam of Peru allergy does get classified as a fragrance allergy, but it’s not really. It is used in some fragrances, but not all. So I sometimes react to fragrances, and sometime I don’t. In these cases I know certain scents to stay away from for sure, and for the rest I do a smell test. What I mean is I can usually tell by just smelling the product whether I will react. Upon smelling the product, it seemed like I was in the all clear.

After washing my hair with the Not Your Mother’s Blue Sea Kale & Coconut Water Shampoo and Conditioner everything seemed fine. I thought for a bit I had hit the jackpot on the first shampoo and conditioner I was trying. But unfortunately about three to four hours after washing my hair I started to experience a reaction. Full on itching and burning that led into flaking skin. It fell just short of causing blisters. So this was a fail on the allergy front too.

Final Thoughts

This shampoo and conditioner from Not Your Mother’s was just not a good match for me. Since I had an allergic reaction, there was definitely no point in trying it a second time. If it were not for the allergic reaction, I probably would have given it at least a second shot just to see if my hair reacted different.

I will be reviewing a lot of shampoos and conditioners this year, so if there is one you would like to see me review leave the name or a link to it in the comments, or alternatively you can send me a message on the contact page. I would love to hear your feedback. Also, tell me in the comments if there is anything more you want to know about the shampoos and conditioners I try. Did I leave some needed information out?

 

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Product Review – COL-LAB Cosmetics Line From Sally Beauty

COL-LAB Cosmetics

If you follow me over on Instagram then you already know that late last month I received a gift card from Sally Beauty. I decided the best way I could put this to use is to go pick up some of the new COL-LAB line and test it out for all of my readers.

In case you haven’t heard about COL-LAB yet, it is Sally Beauty’s latest beauty line. It launched just this November, so future reference that is November 2017. It was created in collaboration with several well know beauty influencers. In fact a couple of my favorites were involved, shout out to Dani from Coffee Break With Dani and Lizzy from What Would Lizzy Do. Eight different influencers were involved in this brands creations, each with different skin types and cosmetic preferences.

My goal when I went shopping was to pick up everything I needed to create a full face of makeup using just this brand. I did not include anything that I don’t do at least 50% of the time or more. For instance, brow product is not something I always use, so it was not included in my purchases. I also did not see an eyeshadow primer or setting spray in the store I purchased at, so I used my normal products for those.

So let’s take a look at what I got and my thoughts on each of the products.

COL-LAB Collection Makeup

1.  Palette Pro Eyeshadow Palette in Best of the Day – This is one of five options in an 8 color palette. I picked this particular color option because I felt it had the biggest variety in colors and thus offering the most options of looks. However you will notice that my picture looks a bit different from what is shown on the website. I think that my picture more accurately shows the colors.

Overall I thought these were definitely quality eyeshadows. I found the colors to be very pigmented. They applied well to the lid with little to no dust pick up. I was able to create a few decent eye makeup looks. However, I had some difficulty blending them. They seemed to set in place quickly. Even though I felt this color selection had the broadest selection of colors, I still felt a little limited in what I created. That is not anything bad against the palette itself, I am just not the kind of person that is prone to doing the same makeup look more than a time or two. So for me, I prefer a lot of colors as options. If you are someone who does their eye makeup pretty consistently the same then this would make a great palette for you.

I will share my favorite look I created at the end of this post.

2. Soft Spot Sheer Blush in Meet Cute – Meet cute is a unique color, or at least I think so. It is sort of a mix of a red and a mauve with some brown thrown in. This is one of six color options available in this blush. It is a sheer buildable blush.

The first time I dipped my brush into the blush, I really thought this was going to end up being too much of a color for me. Just with the smallest of dabs my brush had picked up a ton of powder. But I am happy to say that it lived up to its claim of being a sheer blush. In some ways it reminds me of a NARS blush.

3. Set The Stage Ultra-Fine Loose Setting Powder in Porcelain/Ivory – This is one of six color options in the setting powder. It is milled very fine and has a super soft texture. The package comes with a powder puff, however I personally would recommend using this with a powder brush.

I chose a shade lighter than my skin in this powder because I was concentrating what I used on setting my concealer under my eyes and I wanted to brighten that area. However my under eye area is also really dry, so it is usually challenging to set my under eye area without leaving it looking cakey. This setting powder worked wonderfully though. And after a little setting spray it was practically invisible. I was highly impressed.

4. Bold-Faced Liner Waterproof Eye Lining Pencil Drama Queen – This is one of six shades available in this eyeliner. The shades are all darker colors. They are all shades of blue, brown and black. Drama Queen, the one I chose, is a very dark true black.

This is waterproof, which is something I almost always want in an eye liner since I like to put them in my waterline most of the time. I would have like to see more color options, maybe a beige skin tone and bright pop of color or two, but perhaps they will be adding more things like this in the near future. I did think it applied beautifully, and the wear was good. It did not outshine my very favorite eyeliner, but it takes a very close second place.

5. The Filter Highlighting Powder in Glow For Gold – This is one of four color options for the Filter Highlighting Powder. It has a soft silky texture. It is meant to give the skin a soft glow.
This highlighter is way more subtle in use than it looks in the package. Maybe a little too subtle for my personal preferences. But again this is a personal preference thing. I don’t really own any other highlight to compare to this one. But rather than it having glitter or a sheen finish it felt more matte. I thought the texture was wonderful and it did blend it very easily and I really liked that. This would be a great highlight for those of you who want to highlight, but don’t necessarily want to have all the glow on your face.

6. No Flaws Cream Concealer in Ivory/Sand – This is one of eight options for colors in this cream concealer. It comes in a twist up stick. It is made to cover both under eye circles and uneven skin tone.

Let me say first that I have tried a lot of concealers in a lot of different forms, and I have had an extremely difficult time finding ones I thought worked well on my dry textured skin, especially right under my eye area. It always seemed like they would either look cakey, settle in the fine lines around my eyes, or be so watery that they wouldn’t cover any dark spots. This concealer however is my dream concealer. It glides on so soft and smooth. It is super lightweight that you can barely tell you have anything on. Not drying or cakey and covers beautifully. It has never settled in a line or creased. I can’t imagine anyone designing a better concealer. This just blew all of the other concealers in the world out of the water. Seriously, you need to try this.

7. Full Body Lipstick in Really?? – This full body lipstick comes in sixteen color options and two finish options. Really??, the color I have is a matte finish. These lipsticks are designed to go on in a cream and dry down to either the matte or satin finish.

I thought that it applied and wore well. The color applied in one even swipe, which is really hard to find for me. Even though it is a Matte it was not drying. It is a very similar feel to Urban Decay’s Comfort Matte. And I thought the wear time was insanely good. I will definitely be picking up another shade or two to try at some point.

8. Bright Spark Radiant Foundation in Sand – The radiant foundation comes in ten color options. It is a low to medium buildable foundation. It is meant smooth and even your skin tone and leaving you with a soft radiant glow. (Side note: radiant foundations work best for normal to dry skin)

This is probably the product I was most hesitant to try since my experiences with drug store level foundations have not been good and I end up reacting to them. However, I am happy to report that I was very pleasantly surprised by this one. There was no detectable fragrance in this, so that is always a plus in my book. It comes in a bottle with a pump, so no touching the product or exposing it to the air unnecessarily. The foundation comes out in a very moussey texture and after applied dries down to a satin finish. The finished look, feel, and wear is very similar to the Nars Sheer Glow Foundation but with just a tiny bit more coverage. The color is a better match for me than any offered in the Nars line, at least at my current color level.

9. High-Rise Insane Length Mascara Extreme Black – This is one of three color options for this mascara. Made to lengthen and lift your lashes. Comes in a unique package with a long skinny wand. And I believe the brush is silicone.

This is fantastic mascara. Just like the foundation, I have struggled to find a drugstore level mascara that I really liked since they discontinued one I really liked years ago. I love the very skinny wand and brush design. This definitely makes my top five favorite mascaras. It wears and performs very similarly to Clinique’s High Impact Curling Mascara, but it is harder to remove.

Final Thoughts

There were definitely three stand out stars for me in the products I tried. It is probably pretty easy to guess that those are the No Flaws Cream Concealer, the Full Body Lipstick, and the High-Rise Insane Length Mascara. I also really enjoyed the foundation, but I don’t know that it was as much of a star as the other three products.

I think everything I tried were good solid products, even the things that were not necessarily what I would want for me. Nothing was an outright fail. There are definitely things I think that could be improved upon in the line, mainly the selection of colors in the face products. I really hope that they make an effort to add a broader range of shades over time.

Overall, I was really happy with this line. There are more things that I hope to try in the future that I didn’t try in this go around. Please let me know in the comments if there are any products in particular you would like a review of.

I did snap some pictures of my favorite makeup look I created when testing out this brand, and I wanted to share that with you.

Let me know in the comments below what you have tried from COL-LAB or what you are dying to try.

 

The gift card I used to purchase my products for this review was sent to me by Sally Beauty, however all thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own. My reviews are all completely honest.

 

 

 

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Product Review – Juvia’s Place Masquerade Palette

The Masquerade Palette from Juvia's Place

The Masquerade Palette from Juvia's Place

If you are a makeup lover and you spend any amount of time on the internet, then you most likely have heard about Juvia’s Place. Today I will be sharing with you my review of the Masquerade Palette from Juvia’s Place. I have actually had this palette for some time now, but I have just now had the time to fully swatch and test it out.

I had heard so many good things about this palette and company and I really wanted to try something from them. But its hard some times to know whether to believe the reviews when you hear only good things from places like YouTube. Various makeup products get really hyped up on there, sometimes just because they are popular brands or sometimes because people are making money off of their affiliate links. But we will talk about that in a different post at some later date. I do want to be clear before I get into this review, I am not affiliated with Juvia’s Place in any way, and I paid for this palette with my own money.

Inside of the Juvia's Place Masquerade Palette

When I bought my palette earlier this year I believe they still only had three palettes to choose from, or they may possibly have just came out with their fourth palette. They have since come out with several other palettes, but they obviously were not a factor in my purchasing decision. I ultimately decided on the Masquerade Palette because I was really drawn to the bold colors. It also seemed to have a good mix of mattes and shimmers.

Close up of all the eyeshadow pans in the Masquerade Palette

Here is what you get in this palette. There are 16 pans of eyeshadow that are 3.6G each. That is a total net weight of 57.6G. You get a mix of 5 matte and 11 shimmer/metallics (three of which appear to contain micro-glitter). This is quite a large palette, however they do offer a mini version. Getting the mini version doesn’t really save you money, in fact it is more expensive if you figure it out per gram or ounce. But if you are someone who doesn’t wear makeup a lot or you have limited space, the mini might be a better option for you.

Now lets take a closer look at the colors:

Top Row of colors swatched from the Masquerade Palette

From left to right: Chi, Mali, Dalia, and Zola

 

Second row od colors from the Masquerade palette swatched

From left to right: Makeda, Zobo, Calabar, and Bori

 

 

Swatched from the Masquerade palettes row 3

From left to right: Giza, Burkina, Cairo, and Ada.

 

Juvia's Place Masquerade palette swatches row 4

From left to right: Dahia, Zulu, Casablanca, and Fulani

I did all of these finger swatches using only one swipe. As you can see the majority of the colors, especially the metallic shimmers, came out very bold full of pigment. The only colors that didn’t perform as well during swatches (and by no means were they the worst), were the few colors that had more of a red pigment to it. However, I did not experience this same thing. That is really unusual. Usually colors perform better on finger swatches than when using a brush.

I took the time to try these out thoroughly. I know it’s a big deal for some people to be able to pull a whole look out of the same palette, so I challenged myself to create looks that only used this palette. Here are a few of the looks I came up with:

 

After testing this palette out, I can honestly say, the hype is well deserved. All of the shadows were very pigmented. They were easy to work with, they applied easily without much fallout and they blended well without going muddy. I found it easy to create multiple looks. Though one word of caution, if you are very fair you will most likely struggle to find a color that works as a transition shade. I am currently a light/medium and I did struggle a bit. I did find that I could make a couple of the shades work as a transition if I just used them with a lighter hand. You may be able to make it work with you as well. But if you can’t, who doesn’t have a ton of neutral transition shades on hand anyway. If you are anywhere in the medium to dark range of skin tone, then the Masquerade palette should easily work making a full look for you.

Tell me in the comments below if you have tried this palette. Also if there is some makeup item you want reviewed let me know. I am open to reviewing most items.

 


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Product Review – Butter London Essentials Set, Manicure Must Haves

The Essentials Set from Butter London

Essentials Set

I just recently got the Butter London Essentials Set, so trying Butter London nail polishes out for the very first time. If you follow me over on Instagram, then you know I have been really into painting my nails recently, and I have tried out lots of different polishes. I thought since I had a complete set from the same company this time, I would do a full on review here on the blog for you.

Here is what comes in the kit:

Each of those items are some of Butter London’s best sellers, and they are all available separately as well.

It arrived in the mail well packaged, and fully encased in bubble wrap. There is absolutely no worries of the product being broken short of a concrete block being dropped on it.

The Essentials Set from Butter London

This is how they were packaged. The base and top coats were in boxes and the two colors were just open.

I decided to try out the color Yummy Mummy first, but I didn’t look at the instructions. I just did what I normally would do.

Yummy Mummy from Butter London

I applied the base coat first. It went on easily, and I thought it dried quickly. Then I applied a coat of Yummy Mummy. The formula is a bit thin and watery. This is my preference though. I don’t care for the formulas that are too thick. They take forever to dry and are really hard to work with.

It also has a wide flat brush, so it applied very easily. I only applied the one coat of polish. I looked at the directions after, and it says to use two coats. Honestly I thought at the time it was giving me full coverage or I would have used two. I can see after its all done that I needed two coats, but its not so obvious that everyone will notice it. I mainly just see it at the tips of my nails when I am standing in a brighter light.

Last I applied the top coat. Out of the three items, I thought this was the hardest to work with. The brush didn’t seem to want to hold enough product to cover all of my larger nails, and I have small nails. But this seemed odd since I the brush looks to be the same as the one in the Yummy Mummy container. But overall the product was a little too thick and sticky to call it easy to apply.

I got four days of wear before I got a chip, which is really decent. Once I got the first chip I went ahead and removed the color and applied the next.

A Piece Of Cake from Butter London

I actually thought that since they were both neutrals and similar in tone that they would apply and wear the same, but I was wrong.

I started with the same base coat as before. Then this time I did two coats of color. I used the color Piece Of Cake this time. I noticed this colors formula was much thicker. I found it harder to apply, and as you can see in the picture I had way more areas to touch up.

It only lasted two days before chipping this time. I am curious to go back and see if it would be different with one coat. I will try and test that out in the near future for all of you. It will have to wait a bit though as I had some major breakage over my vacation.

I think this really comes down to what kind of formula you like. From my own perspective I would have no problems recommending Yummy Mummy as a color to try, and I personally will be trying a few other colors. However, if you know a thicker formula works better for you then A Piece Of Cake may be the color for you. And if you don’t know what works best for you then I would definitely go with the Essentials Set.

In the comments below let me know what your favorite Butter London polish color is. Do you have one that you would recommend to everyone?

 

This product was sent to me at a reduced price for review consideration. However all views are always my own, and expresses honestly.

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Product Review – Maybelline Great Lash Mascara in Royal Blue

Maybelline Great Lash Blue VoxBox

Maybelline Great Lash Blue VoxBox

Influenster recently sent the Maybelline Great Lash Mascara in Royal Blue to me for free in a VoxBox for testing. I also received the Maybelline Unstoppable Mechanical Eyeliner Pencil, but for the purpose of this review I will only be talking about the Mascara.

I was really happy to find out that I was receiving this Mascara. I actually had been wanting to try a blue mascara and was about to go purchase one, so it was certainly convenient timing. It arrived it super cute packaging. It was certainly the cutest packaging out of all of the vox boxes I have ever had. And seriously, who isn’t a sucker for cute packaging?

Maybelline Great Lash Blue VoxBox

I will say up front that overall I just don’t think this product works for me. That’s not saying its a bad product or that it won’t work for someone else, but it didn’t work well for me. It did have some good points, but they were outweighed by the bad.

Here is what I liked about it:

I loved the rubber brush and its shorter bristles.

I also really loved the brilliant blue color of the product.

Here is what I didn’t like:

The formula was extremely runny. It was so runny that several times I ended up getting it in my eye.

It isn’t water proof. This is not normally a big deal for me. One of my favorite mascaras is not water proof, but this only took a tiny drop of water and I had runny blue mascara everywhere.

While I loved the color that was in the bottle, it did not show on my own lashes even with several coats. I tried it several different ways, and even with primers the best I could hope for is that you would catch a hint of blue. You will see better what I am talking about in the various pictures below.

Close Up of my eyelashes before and after application ofthe Great Lash Blue Mascara

I wanted to include at least one close up of the before and after application of the Great Lash Mascara. The after is with three coats of mascara, which is what I typically would do with the average mascara I would use. I just didn’t feel it covered my eyelashes well enough.  But I did try using more in some of the looks I did.

I did see pictures of other people who had vibrant blue on their lashes. Most of them had lighter hair color than me, so I have to wonder if that played a part in it even with the primers. I also saw some who had vibrant blue eyelashes, but their eyelashes looked horrific and cakey. You just knew that in order to achieve that look they did 10+ coats.

I can speculate as to why this didn’t work for me and did for others all I want, but at the end of the day all I can do is go on how it worked for me. And honestly I would never feel comfortable recommending this to someone else. But if you want to try a Maybelline product that I would highly recommend, take look at my review of the Maybelline Super Stay 24 Hour Lipstick.

If you are interested in finding out more about what products I used in my makeup looks, make sure to follow me on Instagram. All of these pictures have been posted there already. I always try to include a list of products used on my Instagram feed.

Tell me in the comments below if you have tried the Maybelline Great Lash Mascara. Did you try the original or this Royal Blue color? What did you think?

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Product Review – Five Piece Makeup Sponge Set by Fairyland

Silicone sponge from Fairyland


Over the last couple of weeks I have been trying out some new makeup sponges. What I have been trying is the five piece set from Fairyland. In this set you receive three blending sponged and two of the new silicone sponges. And this is currently selling for $16.99 on Amazon.

Blender sponge and silicone sponge still in their plastic pack from fairyland

As you can see they were each sent in individual resealable bags. I thought this was a nice that they were individually wrapped like this. It makes it convenient to travel with too. I think most of you are familiar with how to use a blending sponge at this point, so most of this review is going to focus on the silicone sponge and how to best use it.

Blender sponge from fairyland

First let me tell you briefly about the sponge blender that was included in the set. As I said you get three of them in this set from Fairyland. This is not the name brand Beauty Blender, let me point that out just in case anyone was confused. It is the same color and similar shape and size. As far as softness goes on initial use it was very stiff. However, Fairyland mentions on their Amazon page that they soften up after initial use if you wet them. I can honestly say they have gotten a little softer each time I have used them. I still don’t think I would say it’s quite as soft as the name brand, but it is close after four uses. Application is as you would expect with a blending sponge. I think overall for the price this is a great alternative.

Silicone sponge from Fairyland

I felt like since the silicone sponge was so new on the market there was a bit of a learning curve for me. I certainly had heard a lot about it, and had seen some mini clips of people using it. However I did not want to go watch any tutorials or reviews until after I tried it myself a time or two.

I made this short video demonstrating how to use the silicone sponge. Forgive the weird makeup faces, you know you do it too.

Over the last couple of weeks I had the time to experiment with the silicone sponge quite a bit. I tried it with different foundations and under different circumstances and I think I have some tips that may help you out.

Do’s

  •  Use with matte and satin finish foundations
  •  Apply makeup in small amounts a little at a time directly to the silicone sponge
  •  Apply using a circular motion to spread the makeup on your face
  •  Use a patting motion to blend after you makeup is on
  •  Use a primer for your best results

Don’ts

  •  Use this with a dewy finish foundation.
  •  Use this if you have put on face oil prior to applying foundation
  •  Mix oil with you foundation you are applying

Overall I will say, I think this is probably going to be a better tool for people who have normal to oily skin. If you have dry skin you can still make it work like I did if you are using a satin finish foundation and are not adding any face oil to the mix.

The first couple of times I tried the silicone sponge out I had tried it with my current favorite foundations and it didn’t turn out well. I wasn’t sure if I was doing something wrong or what. That’s when I started watching other people and noticed the difference between who was having success and who wasn’t. My current foundations are very dewy finishes with oils in them. So the one you see me using in the video is a Satin finish.

My finished makeup after using the silicone sponge from Fairland

This is how my completed makeup turned out after the video. I thought it did do a wonderful job with the satin finish foundation. You may still need to use a blending sponge or your fingers to get around the crevices of your nose or around your eyes after application. And the big selling feature I think everyone is after with the silicone sponge, using less product. I can honestly say, yes I was able to use less product and get more coverage while using the silicone sponge.

If you are interested in trying this for yourself you can find this set through Fairyland’s Amazon page.

The set used for this review was sold to me at a discount for review purposes, however all opinions expressed are my own.

Tell me in the comments below if you have tried the silicone sponge yet, and what you thought about it

 

 
 
 

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Product Review – Uarter Makeup Brush Cleaning Mat & Portable Washing Cup

Uarter Makeup Brush Cleaner Fast Brush Cleaning Mat

Over the years I have tried many different ways of cleaning my makeup brushes. Or back in the day when I was young and foolish I just didn’t. Now that I am older and wiser that really bothers me to think I did that at any point, and how disgusting that was. But I think in general all of us makeup consumers are wiser now, we have better information about our makeup tools and how to care for them properly.

Uarter Makeup Brush Cleaner Fast Brush Cleaning Mat

But I was recently offered the opportunity to purchase the Uarter Makeup Brush Cleaning Mat and Portable Silicone Washing Cup at a discount for review purposes, I said absolutely. I had already been considering trying something like this, so this was great timing.

Both pieces arrived packaged together but wrapped individually.

Uarter Makeup Brush Cleaning Mat and Silicone Cup Packaged

After I unwrapped both pieces I took them out and examined them both before using them. They are both made from odorless non-toxic silicone. The sales page claims the silicone is also eco friendly, I am not really sure in what way they mean, but that is what they claim.

The large mat is actually an apple shape which I will talk a little bit more about further in. On the front there are seven different textures or designs. They are supposed to be for cleaning in different ways and different sizes of brushes. On the back there are seven suction cups.

Front of the Uarter Makeup Brush Cleaning Mat

 

Back of the Uarter Makeup Brush Cleaning Mat

And taking a look at the front of the small portable washing bowl it only has three types of textures or designs. The size is tiny in comparison, but I suppose it would come in handy for travel if you need something like that. On the back it is one large suction cup.

Front of the portable cleansing bowl

 

Back of the cleansing bowl

So I had a stockpile of both dirty brushes and new brushes that I am testing out for review. So I set up everything in my bathroom and got ready to try it out. The apple shape really helps it fit the contours of the sink and get in there close to the drain. Though I have seen these mats in different shapes, I am not sure if some shapes are better for different types of sinks.

Set up the cleaning mat

I tried to put it through a thorough test of cleaning different types of brushes and at different levels of dirty. I even tried cleaning some things that had dried on glitter glue.

Using the mat to clean makeup brushes

 

drying off a brush on a microfiber towel after cleaning it on the mat

 

Cleaning and laying out makeup brushes to dry

I really think it did a great job of cleaning. It is definitely a time saver over my last way of cleaning my brushes. I was using one of the silicone eggs. It’s a similar concept, but because of the way you have to hold it and how small the egg is, it can be quite time consuming. Plus I felt you really had to work hard to get the egg to really clean. This was so quick and effortless almost. The only ones I had to put any real effort in was the ones with dried glitter on them.

I decided to put the suction cups to the test as well. I hate when products have suction cups and then they stick for like 30 seconds or less and fall off the wall.

Trying out the suction cups on the portable cup

You can see I have the cup suctioned to the mirror here. I tried the mat in the sink and on the mirror. I have to say I was impressed with the suction cups too. After I cleaned everything back up I decided to put the mat and the cup up on the mirror just to see how long they would stick. The mat hung for well over 48 hours. The cup was a little over 72 hours. This didn’t even offer a guarantee on how long it would stick just that it would. So I think this is a great product.

If you would like to try one out for yourself you can find them on Amazon. The set sells for just $10.00 with free Prime shipping. So quite affordable.

 

So tell me in the comments below, what is your current method for cleaning your makeup brushes?

 

 


 

 

 

 

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