Monday, February 20, 2012

My First Glam Bag Shipment - February 2012 and Giveaway

I have been following Michelle Phan for quite some time so I couldn't help but subscribe to the beauty sampling program she, her sister, and other youtubers/beauty bloggers created called Glam Bag (  The program starts with a brief quiz consisting of 14 questions.  I paid for a monthly subscription of $10 which gets me a monthly shipment of a make-up bag (not a box) and 4 or 5 samples of products.  You can also sign up for an annual subscription which costs $110 so you get 1 month free.

The February shipment, of course a Valentine's Day theme, included 4 products, a gift card, two Ghirardelli chocolates (one milk chocolate and one dark chocolate) from the MyGlam Team, and a cute pink zippered make-up bag with black hearts.

Here's a breakdown of the products with descriptions as reflected on the Glam Bag insert card (italicized comments are my own):

  • X Out - Shine Control (20 ml) - Stay flawless and shine-free with this oil-free moisturizer with a mattifying complex.   A promotion code for a free gift with purchase is included.  (From the makers of Proactiv.)
  • NYX - Roll On Shimmer (1.5 g) in Mauve Pink - NYX's brand new, intensely rich, shimmering powder that can be applied to the eyes, face, and body.  A promotion code for a discounted purchase of other Roll On Shimmer Shades. (There are 16 shades in this range) is included.  (This is a full-sized sample that retails for $4.50 at in a shade that works nicely for me.  Kudos to NYX for coming up with a simple way to add shimmer without the mess or needing a makeup brush. See swatch below.)

  • Premier - Instant Stretching and Revitalizing Mask (a.k.a. "The Cinderella Mask"; 2 ml) and Moisture Complex (2 ml) - Luxury skincare rich in life-enhancing minerals from the Dead Sea waters. A promotion code for discounted purchase is included as well as details on how to enter to win a $1000 shopping spree.
  • NuMe - Professional Styling Tools and Hair Extensions ($100 Gift Card) - Enjoy $100 towards NuMe's products.  Hair tools that will revolutionize your everyday look.
  • Freeman - Facial Mask Sachet in Pineapple (15 ml) - Turn your date night prep-time into a soothing spa experience with easy-to-use skin-perfecting masks.

Overall Rating:  Booyah! 

I love the cute little bag and the sweet surprise the MyGlam Team sent for Valentine's Day.  Can't wait for future shipments.

Have you subscribed to Glam Bag or do you plan to?  Please comment below and follow this blog by Friday, February 24th (6 PM Eastern) for a chance to win my NuMe Gift Certificate.

Good luck!

Glossybox Beauty - January 2012 Shipment

Glossybox is another UK beauty sampling program that recently became available in Canada and will be coming soon to the United States.  I received the January 2012 shipment from my UK partner in beauty products, Grace ( - check out her blog).

Glossybox costs 12.95 GBP including shipping and handling in the UK and their Canada program costs $15 CAD (no delivery charge).  The shipment arrived in a lovely pink reusable box which contained 5 deluxe samples.

This shipment contained the following samples (descriptions as provided by the box insert; italicized comments are my own):

  • Eyeko - Skinny Eyeliner (0.8 g) in Black - Get a handle on your eyeliner for precise definition and intense colour with a long-lasting finish.  A promotion code for a discounted purchase is included. (Long handle took a bit getting used to but I think it's great that I'll be able to use this product to the end as that's why the handle was designed this way.  Wear was good and I found that it didn't budge throughout the day so no raccoon eyes for me.  This is a full-sized product that retails for $14.)

  • Orly - Nail Lacquer (5.3 ml) in Ruby - Orly, the top Californian brand, offers an infinite range of colors. 
  • Weleda - One Step Cleanser & Toner (10 ml) - Weleda One-Step Cleanser and Toner is a handy two-in-one pack ideal for travel.  A promotion code for a discounted purchase is included.
  • First Aid Beauty (FAB) - Gentle Body Wash (56.7 g) - A moisturizing, irritant-free everyday cleanser ideal for even the most sensitive skin.  (I find that this leaves my skin smooth without any residue.)
  • Murad - Hybrids Skin Perfecting Primer - Dewy Finish (5 ml) - Oil-free primer ignites a radiant glow, powered by light-enhancing minerals.  A promotion code for a discounted purchase is included. (I liked this primer.  It did give me a dewy finish but I felt that it didn't offer a lot of hydration.  Generally, I test primers on cleansed, unmoisturized skin to see if the primer offers good hydration.  This one definitely needed my moisturizer under it but I did like the finish.)
Overall rating:  Booyah!

I like the variety of products that Glossybox offers its subscribers and can't wait for it to come to the U.S.  This shipment also offered details on winning a romantic trip for two!

Carmine Box - October 2011 Shipment

Firstly, I must say that it is great to have friends overseas.  My buddy Grace ( keeps me updated on UK products and I do my best to return the favor by letting her know what's being offered on this side of the pond.  Recently, she was kind enough to get me some beauty boxes that are offered there  that are not available to us here in the good old U.S. of A.  This post will be reviewing the Carmine shipment of October 2011.  I know it's a tad late for those of you from the UK reading this but I felt it worth posting as there are products featured here that are great to know about.

This beauty box, packaged in a great, sturdy reusable box, contains 5 deluxe samples for 12.75 GBP (including shipping and handling), or a bit over $20 USD, based on current exchange rates.  Considering the contents, it is well worth it, in my opinion.

The shipment, along with descriptions as provided by the box insert (my comments in italics), included the following:

  • Balance Me - Super Moisturising Hand Cream (30 ml) - Made by the experts in natural skincare, this multi-award winning cream will get you soft and smooth from head to toe - with delicate aromatherapy scents included! A promo code for a discounted purchase is offered.
  • Daniel Sandler - Eye Delight in Peach (3 g) - A pot of sweet, shimmery dust to give your eyes a little something to smile about.  Created by professional make-up artist Daniel Sandler this incredibly versatile eye color can be swept across the eyelids or mixed with water for a bolder effect.  A promo code for a discounted purchase is offered.  (I dare say this is a full-sized product which retails for 10.25 GBP.  When I compare the product I received to the photo on, it appears to be the same size.)

  • Trind - Nail Repair Natural (9 ml) - Produced by Dutch experts in nail, cuticle and hand care, this little lacquer is not just another nail varnish.  Made with TLC, brush it on to naturally strengthen and protect your nails.  A promo code for a discounted purchase is offered. (This is a full-sized product which retails for $14 USD so coupled with the Daniel Sandler Eye Delight, the box has paid for itself.)
  • TheBalm - FratBoy All-in-one Shadow/Blush (8.5 g) - Want to get noticed by those college frat boys? (Not me, I'm a tad older than them.) This peachy-apricot-coloured blush doubles up as an eye shadow and miraculously adds life to any skin tone.  So hold the ketchup, here's a taste of vintage America that will also go nicely in your handbag. (Another full-sized product which retails for $21 USD...are you seeing a trend?)

  • Caudalie - Quenching Sorbet-Creme (10 ml) - This deliciously creamy sorbet will naturally refresh and hydrate your skin with all the anti-oxidising powder of red grape seed.  It's the perfect way to quench your thirst after your summer holidays!  A promo code for a free Caudalie Travel Set with a qualifying purchase is offered.

Here are swatches of the Daniel Sandler Eye Delight in Peach and TheBalm Frat Boy Shadow/Blush:

Overall rating: Booyah!

I pray the folks at Carmine see this post and will offer shipment to the U.S.  I just love their sampling offers and can't wait to see what future shipments bring.  I could not take advantage of the promotions offered as they had long expired by the time the box got to me but I am pleased with my purchase nonetheless.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Estee Lauder Pure Topaz Spring 2012 - Eyeshadow Palette and Illuminating Powder Gelee

As I love the consistency of EL's Pure Color Gelee Powder Eyeshadows and I happened to adore the illuminating powder gelee that was released in the Fall 2011 Modern Mercury collection, I just had to have Topaz Chameleon Illuminating Powder Gelee and my first Five Color Eyeshadow Palette, Topaz Mosaic.

The Illuminator retails for $40 (5g) and is sold out online but my local counter still had it in stock.  (Yay!)  It has a wonderful consistency (as did Modern Mercury) and blends beautifully into the skin for a nice bronze and luminous look.  It reminds me a bit of the Cyber Copper eyeshadow from the Cyber Eyes collection.

Estee Lauder says:

- High polish for your skin. 

- Innovative tri-blend liquid, powder, gel formula goes beyond face powder to give you a sexy, sophisticated glow.

- The perfect mix of pigment and pearls for a multi-reflective finish.
- Smooths on as an all-over soft sheen. Builds for luminous pearl highlighting.

Here are swatches:

Top to bottom: Full swatch; blended swatch
The eyeshadow palette ($45 for 7.6g of product) contains 1 metallic and 4 satin eyeshadow shades for those of us that love neutral palettes.  I couldn't resist.  

Here are swatches of each shade:

Top to bottom: 1-Metallic, 2-Satin, 3-Satin, 4-Satin, 5-Satin
Overall rating:  Booyah!

Do you have any of the 5-color palettes?  Please let me know.

What are your thoughts of the illuminating powder?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

M.A.C. Viva Glam Nicki Lipstick

As many of you already know,  M.A.C. offers their Viva Glam collection as a way to raise money for the MAC AIDs Fund.  Every bit of the selling price of the VG line goes towards raising HIV/AIDS awareness around the world.

I recently received an offer to purchase an early release of the lipstick, which officially launches on February 15th, so I jumped on the opportunity.

The press releases described the lipstick as a "pink" shade, so I initially thought of Nicki's Pink Friday, which was released in November 2010.  I was so excited to see it.  I would describe it to be more of a bright pink shade with a hint of coral, at least that's how it looks on me.  It is, in no way, similar to Pink Friday.

Here are some swatches:

Full swatch
Applied under a bit of clear lipglass

Overall rating:  Booyah!  

Any product that raises money for a worthy cause is a must-have!

Are you planning on adding this to your collection?

Estee Lauder Cyber Eyes Pure Color Eye Shadows and Intense Kajal Eye Liners

For those of you that absolutely loved Estee Lauder's Modern Mercury Collection (Fall 2011), you will just love the consistency of the Pure Color Gelee Powder Eyeshadows from the Cyber Eyes Collection.

The collection featured 6 shades of eyeshadow, a metallic eyeshadow that can be used wet or dry:

  • Cyber Copper (Shade 01)
  • Cyber Pink (Shade 02)
  • Cyber Lilac (Shade 03)
  • Cyber Silver (presumed to be Shade 04)
  • Cyber Green (Shade 05)
  • Cyber Teal (Shade 06)
Clockwise from bottom left: Cyber Lilac, Cyber Green, Cyber Pink, Cyber Teal, Cyber Copper
and 4 shades of Intense Kajal eyeliners:
  • Blackened Plum
  • Blackened Black
  • Blackened Sapphire
  • Electric Teal
Blackened Plum

Blackened Sapphire

Electric Teal

I purchased 5 of the 6 shadows and 3 of the 4 eyeliners.

I found the eyeshadows to be absolutely wonderful and the color payoff excellent.  I did use them with a shadow primer.  I had very minimal fallout but I am used to the texture of these shadows as they are quite similar to the Sephora Prisma Chrome shadows.  Each cost $24 for .9g of product while the Sephora product cost $15 for 3.5g (personally a better bargain).  However, I found the EL shadows just a tad smoother in consistency.  Of the 5 I purchased, my favorites are Cyber Pink, Cyber Teal and Cyber Lilac.  Cyber Green reminded me a lot of M.A.C.'s Solar Bits in Black Ore as it looks more to be a black with gold flecks in it.

Estee Lauder says:

Pure Color Cyber Eyes exclusive by Tom Pecheux. Creates cyber metallic smoky effects.

Color so metallic, it's futuristic.
A first-ever techno tri-blend formula that's gel, powder and liquid in one.

Versatile and multi dimensional.
Create several looks from one shade.

  • - Apply it dry for a smooth, molten metal finish.
  • - Use it wet for a hyper cyber effect to intensify the color and metallic shine.
Innovative soft-touch shadow texture and sponge-tip applicator make it easy to sweep up color and apply with one stroke.
  • - Unique formula allows you to build the fantasy to the highest chromatic shine.
  • - Sophisticated metallic finish looks beautiful on all skintones.

I found the eyeliners to be lovely.  For some reason, Blackened Sapphire seemed to be a bit more resistant to me at first, i.e., it didn't glide on as smoothly as the other 2 shades.  It did start to get softer as I used it more.  Blackened Plum and Electric Teal are my favorites.  I had not seen these shades from EL before in eyeliner pencils.  However, I do find Electric Teal to be quite similar in shade to L'Oreal's Infallible Never Fail Eyeliner in Teal.  Each liner retails for $20 for 1.6g of product and the darker shades are great to use for a unique smokey eye look.

Estee Lauder says:

Creamy pencil packs intense color impact. 

Rich, deeply pigmented color.

Glides on velvety smooth. Blends easily.

Apply on inner rim of eyes for a smouldering effect.

Use as liner along lashline and softly smudge over lids to intensify the smoky look


  • - Ophthalmologist-tested
  • - Dermatologist-tested
  • - Fragrance-free

Here are some swatches:

Shadows: Top to Bottom: Green, Lilac, Pink, Teal Copper; Liners: T-B: Blackened Plum, Electric Teal, Blackened Sapphire
Overall rating: Booyah! 

Have you tried any of these?  What do you think?

Would love to hear from you.