Double Take For Double Exposure

It seems all of my favorite beauty brands are clearing out some of their products (I see you, Urban Decay). I haven’t seen makeup turn over and new launches happen this quickly before. Gone are the days of permanent collections lasting decades. It seems like all of the cult favorite brands are constantly releasing new products and retiring old ones. The latest brand to MAYBE be retiring some favorites? Smashbox! It seems the Double Exposure Palette is being cleared out for $29 on smashbox.com! And $26 at Macy’s!! And yes that’s probably USD but that still works out to under $34 CAD. It’s still an amazing deal! Is it a sale or a clear out? I’m not sure, but is it really worth debating when you could be practically stealing it purchasing it instead?

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I did a haul/first impressions post back in March of 2015, ya foreeeeever ago. Well it’s safe to say that I have had plenty of opportunities since to play with this beauty. But let’s refresh your memory regarding my first post, because I love rereading my own ramblings …

I decided to take the Smashbox Double Exposure Palette home with me. The concept intrigued me, 14 eyeshadows that transform into 28?! How could that not wet my panties grab my curiosity? The palette itself is gorgeous. I don’t own anything like this. I tend to gravitate towards neutrals with occasional pops of color. This palette has a beautiful selection of colors and neutrals making it very versatile for creating a variety of looks. The palette also came with a mini Full Exposure Mascara and a double sided brush making it easy for travel. The palette itself is made from cardboard with a magnetic closure. You would definitely want it in a cosmetic bag during any intense travel as the top doesn’t click into place (being cardboard) but rather lays flat to close.

I love how the palette is divided into cool and warm shades by the white and black shadows in the middle. On the left, we have cool, purple toned shades, and on the right, we have warm pink/brown shades. There is a nice range of shimmer, satin, and matte shades. These 14 shades are supposed to “transform” when applied wet. To be completely honest, they don’t transform, they intensify. This is NOT unique to this palette. All good quality eyeshadow should get deeper/darker when applied with a wet brush. I actually feel like this palette works best when applied wet; the shadows become highly pigmented. When applied dry, the shadows are a bit more sheer and alot more product is needed to build them up. I also found that when applied dry, that blending made some shades appear muddy (I did not use a primer). I haven’t had time to fully play with this palette, that was just my first impression. I think using a primer and applying with a wet brush, will make a world of difference. I’m definitely not “wowed” by this palette, but I won’t make any further judgments until I have fully played around with it.

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The good. The bad. And the not so ugly. I still agree with all of my above points EXCEPT I have grown to really love this palette. The key to getting good color is to pack it on. Use a dense brush to apply and a fluffier brush to blend. If you don’t apply enough shadow the colors do still tend to blend muddy. However, when you apply with a heavy hand the results are stunning!!! These shadows definitely do their best work wet. I recommend applying with a wet brush and then “setting” them with a dry brush. Once I got this technique down, the shadows easily lasted hours. If you are someone who only likes a subtle eye look or a light dusting of shadow, this palette is not for you. This is a full effect, full effort type deal. To have the shadows blend well, you can’t be shy about taking it all off putting more on. Side note, always use a primer! I hadn’t used a primer in my first impression (because it was just that, a FIRST impression). When I did actually start using the palette and used a primer, I noticed a world of difference.

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Moral of the Story … this palette is only $26!! And for $26 it is worth every penny. It doesn’t seem that Ulta or Sephora is offering it for the sale price. And it doesn’t look like us Canadians have any access to an in-store sale (Shopper’s Drug Mart Beauty Boutique no longer has the product listed). But don’t bawl your pretty little Canadian eyes out just yet. We can get shipping from both Macy’s and Smashbox. Yay!!

Will you be picking one up?! 💄💄

3 am Battle: UD vs. UD

So ya. It’s 3am. But, I just had to tell you all about this crazy Urban Decay sale. You might have already heard, you might have already bought, but in case you haven’t, prepare for late night shopping (or early morning panic depending on when you read this). Both Sephora and Urban Decay are offering these deals!!!

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Both the Vice 4 and the Urban Spectrum palettes are on sale for only $45 CAD each!!! And ALL Revolution lipsticks are half price at $13 CAD each (these are also on sale at Shopper’s Drug Mart UD locations)!!!

I was soooooo tempted to pick up the Urban Spectrum palette around Christmas, but I held off. As soon as it went on sale though, I called my local Sephora and raced over to pick it up. And I’m soooo glad I did. The color variety is so wonderful. It has an amazing mix of crazy brights, as well as a few neutrals and browns to allow for a full range of day time and night time looks. The pigmentation is superb, exactly what I expect from Urban Decay. The wear time seems endless, I wash my makeup off long before it fades or creases. The pans are organized in trios. Each trio is perfectly cordinated to do a complete eye look. This takes all of the “guess work” out if you are new to colorful shadows. And as expected, they blend like a dream! Did I mention that each of the pans in this palette are equivalent to a full size single pan? That’s right. 15 FULL SIZE eyeshadows for $45!!! That’s a $330 CAD value!! Keep in mind all of these shadows are metallic/shimmer/glitter shadows. Personally, I love shimmery shadows (I secretly have a love/hate with mattes), but if you don’t, this palette might not be for you. The other thing I love about this palette, the box it comes in turns into a jewellery or trinket box. How smart!!!! The laser cut, jeweled box is so adorable, I love the idea of continuing to use it long after I’m done with the shadows. The lid does have a mirror in it and will stand on it’s own if needed. Note though, there is no brush with this palette. If you plan to travel with it, don’t forget to pack one!

The shades:
• Protest (golden forest green shimmer)
• Junkie (teal green shimmer)
• Deep End (bright teal shimmer)
• Madness (bright metallic blue shimmer w/blue micro-glitter)
• Evidence (deep navy blue shimmer)
• Prank (deep navy matte w/turquoise floating pearl)
• Omen (bright metallic purple w/blue shift)
• Flashback (bright deep purple w/pink sparkle)
• Voodoo (metallic purple shimmer w/iridescent purple micro-glitter)
• Flatline (metallic pale pink)
• Bordello (pale mauve shimmer w/gold micro-glitter)
• Backlash (bright pink w/orange floating pearl)
• Daybreak (soft bronze w/silver glitter)
• Burn (medium golden brown shimmer)
• West (deep metallic brown shimmer)

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Currently the Urban Spectrum palette is SOLD OUT online at Sephora (Canada, not sure about the US site). However, my local Sephora had quite a few in stock. They also have this palette on sale and in stock on Urban Decay’s website. They offer free shipping over $50 CAD and you get three (generous) samples with you order. You can look below to see what I got with my lipstick order. Be aware however, shipping took forever with UD. I ordered on April 23rd and didn’t get my order until May 13th!!

The other awesome palette on sale is the UD Vice 4. Unfortunately for me, I picked this palette up when it was full price. Fortunately for me, I redeemed some Shopper’s Drug Mart points and got it (and some other goodies) for free. This is my first Vice palette and it actually appealed to me because alot of the shades are different from anything I own. The palette contains 20 shadows with a total weight of 0.6 oz. That said, I feel like the colors are all over the place. You need to have a some what experienced hand to know how to coordinate these colors. UD said the palette was inspired by an “oil slick ([further] inspired by [their] vintage shade name Oil Slick) into a palette filled with rich, deep jewel tones”. When I keep this in mind and think of oil puddles in a parking lot, I can see where they are going with it!!!! Some shades were more pigmented than others, however, I found the quality of all the shadows to be high and easy to blend. The shades range from mattes to metallics to glitter. The Vice 4 comes with a brush and carry bag, and there is a huge mirror located on the lid; perfect for travelling or doing your makeup on the go. UD knocked it out of the park AGAIN with this packaging. The holographic-esque webbing definitely reminds me of the shine in an “oil slick”. It’s so beautiful to look at!!

The shades:
• Bones (oyster satin w/pearl)
• Grip (taupe matte w/iridescent micro-glitter)
• Deadbeat (black satin w/iridescent micro-glitter)
• Beat Down (deep metallic violet w/blue micro-glitter)
• Pandemonium (metallic plum w/iridescent micro-glitter)
• Framed (light neutral matte-satin)
• Fast-Ball (metallic peachy pink w/pink micro-glitter)
• 1985 (metallic fuchsia w/fuchsia micro-glitter)
• Underhand (burgundy-brown satin)
• Harlot (metallic lavender)
• Discreet (soft dusty mauve matte)
• Grasshopper (metallic emerald w/green micro-glitter)
• C-Note (frosted green w/micro-glitter)
• Arctic (bright teal w/tonal sparkle)
• Robbery (deep metallic brown-gunmetal)
• Bitter (reddish brown matte)
• Flame (bright orange w/gold micro-glitter)
• Low (brown matte w/iridescent micro-glitter)
• Crowbar (black w/golden metallic pearl and micro-glitter)
• Delete (deep chestnut brown matte-satin)

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Last I checked this was still available on Sephora’s sale page. But again, if it’s gone, call your local store. Urban Decay’s website is also clearing it out!!

And last but not least, the Urban Decay Revolution Lipsticks!! All three formulas, sheer, original, and matte, are HALF PRICE!! That’s $13 CAD. You can get your hands on them at Sephora, online at Urban Decay, or in store at Shopper’s Drug Mart. I picked up 2, 4, 6 shades. I ordered 4 through UD for free shipping and then swatched at Sephora and picked up a few more. Ooppppps. Although UD shipping took forever, the samples were awesome. All of the formulas preform differently so I would suggest swatching in store to find what you like best, even if you plan on ordering online!! I picked up Native, Streak, Matte After Dark, Obsessed, Cat Fight (not shown), and Turn On (not shown).

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There you have it dolls!! Happy shopping!! I’m off to bed. ♡♡

Why I Cancelled Birchbox Canada …

I haven’t talked about Birchbox Canada since April’s missing box mix up. I decided I needed to give Birchbox a minimum of three more months to really get a feel for their products, designs, and business in general. In the end, I decided to cancel. Would I go back? Possibly. Would I recommend them to others? Yes. So why did I cancel? I’ll drop it down low, break it down month by month. Grab your popcorn. This is going to be a long one …

May’s Cupcakes and Cashmere Box

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My box arrived in a complete mess. My Laqa & Co Lip Lube was smeared all over my products. I was able to clean and salvage 4 of the 5 items I was sent. I immediately contacted Birchbox Canada via email. They responded promptly and solved the issue by sending me a brand new box. I though this was unbelievable customer service!! They put a huge effort into making sure to fix the damaged items. Two weeks passed, and no replacement. I emailed them again to get a tracking number on the replacement. They apologized and said it hadn’t been sent out yet (It was now June) and for the inconvenience, they were paying for my July box. Again, amazing customer service. Mistakes happen, and I understand. I love a company that can own up to their mistakes and go above and beyond to make their customers happy and satisfied.

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My May replacement box finally arrived, only a few days before my June box. I got a couple of repeats between the two boxes, but that’s more than ok!!! I got a few different items too. Before we get into my products, I just want to comment on how CUTE these themed boxes are! I absolutely loving finding ways to reuse them.

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First Box
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Products I Received:
• Rusk Paste
• W3LL People The Expressionist Bio Extreme Mascara
• Raw Spirit Fragrance Desert Blush (not pictured, damaged)
• BeeKind Body Lotion
• Laqa & Co Lip Lube in Menatour

I loved everything in this box, except the fragrance (Raw Spirit Fragrance Desert Blush). This was my 3rd Birchbox and already my 2nd fragrance. I have said it before, but I’ll say it again. I’m sensitive to fragrance. I’m picky with my scents. I’m not impressed by receiving samples of things I can get for free with any Sephora order. Birchbox claims to only send a maximum of 6 fragrances in a year, so far they have used up 33% of that promise … Plus, I hated this scent. I’m a citrus, fruity kind of girl. Floral, earthy scents are so NOT my thing. This was the item that was completely damaged for me. The effort to clean it was not worth it to me. Especially since the card it was in was a death trap of purple Menatour stain.

The Rusk Paste is great for taming flyaways in an updo. However, I feel this product would be a better fit for someone with a short hairstyle. It claims to “set” all styles. I have such fine, thin hair, that I found it extremely difficult to find a balance and not appear greasy.

The W3LL People mascara is an awesome all natural mascara. It’s so nice to have a product free of chemicals and dyes. Don’t expect this mascara to mimic the look of falsies!! It’s all natural and gives an “all natural” look. It made my blonde lashes pop and helped to define my eyes, but it didn’t give me extreme, night out worthy lashes. This mascara is perfect for a quick swipe and go, a minimalist look, or an all around easy, daily mascara. The mascara lasted through out the day, but on one day in particular I was out sunning and was wearing sunscreen. The oils in the sunscreen made the mascara smudge under my eyes. Not a huge deal for me, but this mascara will not hold up in any heat/humidity type of situation. I’d suspect the same would happen with oily skin, as sunscreened faces tend to mimic oily complexions.

The BeeKind Body Lotion was a pleasant surprise. I used the tube up almost immediately. It smelled like the most heavenly lemon zest oasis. It absorbed quickly. And it helps support the world’s bee population! My inital reaction was “another lotion …”. But I was quickly turned to “another Fanfuckingtastic lotion that I NEED in my life”. The end.

Last but not least, I finally received a Laqa & Co Lip Lube. I have watched these make the rounds in the subscription box world, but I somehow managed to miss getting them, every time. I received the shade Menatour, a gorgeous purple. I was super excited to get this shade because purple and blue are so hot right now! These pencils are convenient and perfect for on the go, no sharpener needed. They have a light minty scent and are “sheer”. I use the word “sheer” very lightly. I personally found AMAZING color payoff from this Lip Lube. They are glossy and moisturizing. I absolutely love the formula, they are so awesome for an easy no fuss lip without any color compromise. I totally recommend them. In fact, I bought FIVE full size Lip Lubes because I was so in love.

Second (Replacement) Box
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Products I Received:
• Rusk Paste
• W3LL People The Expressionist Bio Extreme Mascara
• Raw Spirit Fragrance Desert Blush
• Naobay Oxygenating Cream Moisturizer
• Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum with Retinol

The Raw Spirit Fragrance Desert Blush is pictured above; this box arrived without any issues or problems. Even though the fragrance arrived without any mess, I still won’t be using it, duh. As for the other items, I’ll just be talking about the two different products that I received.

The Naobay Oxygenating Cream Moisturizer is so nice. It’s made with avacado and olive oils. You can use it on your face or even your body if you find yourself in need of extra moisture. I love how thick this cream is, but it doesn’t leave skin greasy. I brought this mini with me on my trip to Mexico to keep my sun parched skin extra happy.

I’m all about serums lately. I feel like I get so many more benefits out of my moisturizer if I use a serum first. I live in a ridiculously dry climate, and sometimes the most hydrating of moisturizers are still not enough for my skin. I was thrilled to receive the Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum with Retinol. This is a great all around serum, providing anti aging benefits. It also claims to shrink the look of pores, however I don’t have large pores and didn’t really notice a difference. I would be interested to see if anyone did notice a difference??

Overall, May had a few issues but they were resolved and I got a few extra products out of it. Fair! The inital box I was sent was a good fit for me. I had an even mix of makeup versus other beauty products (excluding the fragrance). I was thrilled to finally receive a mini Laqa & Co Lip Lube, even though I had to clean it off of everything. My replacement box was great as a replacement, but I’m happy it wasn’t my inital box pick, too much skincare and not enough makeup for this blondie.

June’s Adventure Box

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I loved (LOVED) the three box designs for June. I loved the sayings and the ombre colors! I was secretly hoping for the “Say Yes” box, even though I loved them all. I’m not engaged yet, but when the day comes, I already know that this box will make an amazing keepsake box. I will save it for years to come, if need be, just to fill it with memories. I was also thrilled that this box arrived without a hitch. That is if you discount the fact that we were all promised a FULL SIZE Eyeko Fat Liquid Liner. A liner that I was very excited to receive. Disappointment arrived a few weeks before my box when I found out that Eyeko was stuck at the border due to “customs issues” and we wouldn’t be receiving it. Naturally, I had hoped Birchbox would send a different full size item, but they didn’t.

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They did send a “bonus” item, a stretchy headband. Although this was a nice addition, it didn’t make up for the Eyeko in my opinion.

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Products I Received:
• Beauty Protector Beauty Wash Body Cleanser
• Coastal Scents Revealed 3 Eyeshadow Quad in Desert Bloom
• PARLOR by Jeff Chastain Moisturizing Sea Salt Spray
• Real Chemistry Luminous 3-Minute Peel
• Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels
• Pura Vida Lace Headband with Charm

Another box with mainly skincare and haircare, and minimal makeup. The Beauty Protector Beauty Wash Body Cleanser came in a super cute white bottle with pink detail. I totally plan to refill this for use when travelling or at the gym. The body wash itself was sub par. It had a slightly sweet scent and did it’s job. I prefer frothy, foamy, sudsy glory. A rich lather and a strong yummy scent. I felt like the wash only semi preformed in those two categories. Yes, I was clean. But I didn’t get to play in mounds of foamy bubbles first.

I was thrilled to receive the Coastal Scents Revealed 3 Eyeshadow Quad in Desert Bloom. First, because I loved my Coastal Scents Blush and Bronzer duo that I received in a past ipsy bag. I have wanted to try something else by this brand for a while now. And second, because I have been dying to try the so called “Naked” dupe Coastal Scents palettes. Now the Revealed 3, specifically, has not been compared as a “dupe” (1 & 2 were), but it would allow me to get an idea of the quality of the shadows. I love the colors included in this quad. Beautiful gold, brown, and burgundy/mauve shades. The quality is decent given the price point. But let’s be real, if the other palettes are a “dupe”, they are really just a budget friendly alternative. These by no means compare to the smooth, extremely pigmented, amazing quality of my Urban Decay babies. The Coastal Scents shadows were still nicely pigmented, went on easily and lasted through out the day. Would I buy the palette? No. I would save my cash for the next UD beauty. Would I recommend the palette to a budget conscious babe? Absolutely.

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PARLOR by Jeff Chastain Moisturizing Sea Salt Spray, Birchbox did you read my mind?!?! I wanted a Sea Salt Spray. Perfect for effortless beachy waves, and even more perfect for when you don’t want to fight with your hair over the heat and humidity of the summer months. The spray was exactly what I was looking for. A non drying product that turned me into a beachy sex goddess. A++++ Birchbox – a hair product that I’m super excited for!!

I’m so nervous to try the Real Chemistry Luminous 3-Minute Peel!! I have super sensitive skin and I’m worried about what this “peel” will do to it. It is acid free and claims to be gentle, but I’m still scared. Has anyone tried it??? I’m also curious if it will take my summer glow away, aka peel off my tan. I’m giving myself a few more months to work up the courage to try the peel. And if I still haven’t tried it, I’ll pass it on to a brave friend. I have a feeling the product will be wonderful and I don’t want it to go to waste.

Finally, I received Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels. These are sooooo refreshing. They are a must for DIY spa days. I feel that they would be AMAZING for relaxing after little sleep. Like on a Red Eye flight, or after pulling an all nighter due to university papers, too much tequila, or newborn babies … (hopefully not all at once). I feel like my eyes instantly looked refreshed and hydrated after use. Eyes are the first to show signs of stress and aging. All the more reason to give them a little extra special love and treatment.

As for my bonus item, the Pura Vida Lace Headband, it is actually super cute. I swear I have an odd shaped head, because headbands never stay on (except for the hard “U” shaped ones). I put the band on, even secure it with bobby pins, and it will just fly off. Legit, fly off. Like pop of the back of my head and hit whatever poor soul is checking out my ass walking behind me. But it was still soooo adorable, so I re gifted it!!

June’s box arrived without any issues, but it was met with extreme disappointment that I (we) wouldn’t be receiving the Eyeko. Overall, I feel meh about my box. I loved 3/5 products (3/6 if you count the headband), and that’s not a high enough ratio for me to be satisfied, especially when my other beauty subscriptions are knocking it out of the park.

July’s Best Health Box

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For the month of July, Birchbox teamed up with Best Health Magazine, even offering a subscription offer. Again, another super cute box design. I think the themed boxes are becoming one of my favorite Birchbox features. It’s a unique twist, exclusive to Birchbox.

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The Best Health Magazine offer was a discount on their subscription service. The promotion was an offer for a year of monthly magazines for $18.97 (45% off the cover price of $34.93). I was expecting a free issue or special deal. This was basically the deal card they include in the pages of the magazine. In other words, available to ANYONE simply by opening up the pages.

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Products I Received:
• Number 4 Clarifying Shampoo
• Vasanti Cosmetics BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator
• Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Mascara
• Acure Organics Sensitive Facial Cleanser
• Bain de Terre Argan Oil & Passion Flower Color Therapy Styling Oil

Right off the bat I thought I had a repeat item. Number 4 Clarifying Shampoo. A repeat after only 5 boxes?! No, it isn’t a repeat, but rather a different type of shampoo. I didn’t like the Number 4 Hydrating Shampoo I got in my March box. The smell was terrible. The shampoo was meh. I’m not overly thrilled to try another type by the same company. However, major points for the cute elephant on the front of the bottle.

Vasanti!! Yes I LOVE Vasanti. This is another item I have seen making the rounds in subscription boxes. I’m thrilled (beyond thrilled actually) that I received the Vasanti Cosmetics BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator in my box. They are such an amazing Canadian brand! They have great makeup and skincare products. This scrub was just as phenomenal as I had hoped it would be. The micro crystals are so fine and smooth. They polish away dull and dry skin in no time. This scrub didn’t irritate my sensitive skin at all. It left my face looking and feeling fresh and healthy. The recommendation was to use it 3 to 5 times per week. But for sensitive, fair skin like mine, I wouldn’t use it more than twice a week tops.

A scrub and a cleanser this month. Another cleanser to blend into the mix of cleansers I have accumulated. This is a really nice cleanser though! Acure Organics Sensitive Facial Cleanser is, well, organic, surprise. It is also fine to use on sensitive skin and focuses on not striping the skin of its moisture. So so so important for me to find in a cleanser. This is the perfect size to take on a trip or in an overnight bag.

A product I know and love. A “Holy Grail” kind of product for me. Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Mascara, my absolute favorite mascara. If I had to pick only one mascara to use for the rest of my life, it would be this one. I love the brush. It’s a plastic brush, but I absolutely love what it does for my lashes. Lifts, separates, volumizes, and lengthens. They really do look like falsies. I have read that people have a really hard time removing this mascara. I personally have never had that problem. A wet cotton pad and waterproof remover works wonders. Coconut oil or cold cream works well in a pinch.

My final item was a mini vial of Bain de Terre Argan Oil & Passion Flower Color Therapy Styling Oil. Another oil from another subscription box. This works to smooth flyaways and can be put into hair wet or dry. I prefer to style my hair by adding it wet. On static filled days I will rub a teeny TINY amount between my hands and quickly run through my dry styled hair. It’s a great product, but it’s a great one among many.

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This was and will be my final Birchbox. I love two of the products I got this month but the other three were just mediocre. It’s not that they were bad products, they just weren’t for me or the types of products I’m looking for in a subscription service.

Here is an overview of the things I found during my five months with Birchbox Canada. The good and the not so good.

The love mes:
• The price ($10 CAD + $4.95 CAD shipping) is in Canadian Dollars. Meaning the price is fixed. Right now with the low CAD to USD, it’s nice to know exactly what the charge will be every month.
• Birchbox has started making themed boxes. They are so cute and so nice to reuse for storage or gifting.
• All boxes come with a detailed card outlining the products with descriptions and full size prices.
• Birchbox has an amazing shop. They have great items available, and you get points for the money you spend. Every month the featured items from boxes ship for free. This is a great deal for Canadian members.
• The points system is one of the best programs available in a subscription service. 10 points for every review (5 items in a box!). 1 point for every $1 spent in the shop. 50 points for every referral. Every 100 points gets you $10 to use in the shop. It’s that easy. And you can use it on any full size product they offer (you can’t use it for your subscription service).
• They have amazing customer service. If there is a problem they will fix it for you. And not just fix it, they make up for the inconvenience. I always heard back in a timely manner. No email went unanswered. Cancelling your subscription is also super easy to do. Literally a click of a button.

The love me nots:
• A missing designer box, a box that was damaged and all over the contents inside, a promised Eyeko that never made it into our box … all of these things were an annoyance. Yes, they were resolved, but it’s easier when everything goes smoothly.
• Birchbox is much more geared to a wide selection of beauty products. Skincare, hair care, and at least one makeup item. I prefer makeup, so this is only a “love me not” because of my personal preferences. If I’m going to get more skincare type items, I prefer higher end brands, to brands I have never heard of. In Canada, finding these unique brands, and having them not cost a fortune to ship, can be pretty difficult.
• Although the shop has amazing products, and a phenomenal points program, there is a hidden fee when Canadians purchase over $20 CAD, an International Handling Fee. It can turn a cheap purchase into a splurge. However, if you save up your points and wait for something you like to be a featured monthly item, you can get a great deal and end up only paying the CAD handling fee. In addition, they sometimes have combo packs for featured products that allow you to get multiple products and save.
• Birchbox CA recently stopped operating a separate social media account. They have now merged with Birchbox’s sites. This can be confusing and frustrating to Canadian customers because not all of the options for US customers available to us. Like products offered or the ability to pick your samples.

Overall, I think Birchbox Canada is an amazing subscription service. Especially if you are looking for a wide range of beauty products and tools. I mean we can’t forget that EVERYBODY got a Beauty Blender. I would totally resubscribe for another amazing offer like that. You can also have faith giving your money to this company. They will make it right no matter what, and you can cancel at anytime with no issues.

So that, my beauty bitches, is why I would “say yes” to anyone who asks if they should try Birchbox CA. But it is also why this girly cancelled!! ♡♡

Topbox is STILL Top Box

Topbox. The most amazing beauty subscription service. The best. My favorite. Phenomenal. Their customer service is always A+. Their products are high end. And they have wonderful little bonuses that you can take part in (like a “wishlist” for a Prive Topbox; a special brand exclusive box!!).

So who or what is Topbox? It’s a Canadian beauty subscription service that sends 4 personalized items to your mailbox. And it’s only $12 CAD!! That’s it! No shipping. No handling. No hidden fees (you just pay the GST/PST applicable in your province). You can chose to get your subscription sent in a printed tube that is adorable and totally reusable. Or an eco friendly organza bag. Every month I continue to be amazed by the high end samples I receive: Deborah Lippmann, Buxom, Estee Lauder, Lancome, Benefit, The Balm, Eyeko, Elizabeth Arden, … I could keep going, but you get my point.

For the last three months, Topbox has been pushing all of my happy buttons. It’s like my subscription keeps getting better! Here’s my summer Topbox breakdown!!

May Topbox

For May’s box, all subscribers had the option to add on a $10 Beauty Surprise. I opted in. You never know what you are going to get, it could be a product worth $15 CAD or one worth well over $100 CAD. My surprise this month came from Bobbi Brown. I found this so ironic because I had just had my first Bobbi Brown experience EVER, in April, at Nordstrom’s Beauty Trend Event. And it wasn’t a great first impression. I feel like I was gifted a do over!!

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The Bobbi Brown box came complete with my choice of makeover at Bobbi Brown in Holt Renfrew, a coupon for a free mini Instant Long Wear Makeup Remover, and five mini BB products.

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I’m very excited to have an opportunity for another makeover from Bobbi Brown. I would love the second chance to fall in love with a different, new to me, makeup brand. I also got a nice range of samples and minis. This will allow me to play my way and get a better feel for the products.

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The products I received:

• Soothing Cleansing Oil
• Smokey Eye Mascara
• Hydrating Eye Cream
• High Shimmer Lip Gloss
• Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner Sample Card (includes Black Ink and Steel Ink)

This box is currently being sold in the Topbox Shop for $27 CAD. So at $10 CAD for a beauty add on, I would say it was a great surprise!!

This was just my add on! I also got my regular monthly Topbox. I didn’t “wish” for any of the offered Prive boxes this month. I chose the regular Topbox with surprise contents.
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The products I received:

The Face Shop Herb Day Cleansing Foam Aloe – The Face Shop has recently been brought to my attention. I have seen their products popping up and then I found a retail location in passing. So I’m beyond thrilled to have some products to try. The Face Shop is a South Korean based beauty company. They have a wide range of skin care (and makeup?) products available. I plan to visit the store soon to get a closer look!! About this product, from The Face Shop, “This cleanser will leave your skin supple and soft to the touch. Its formula is enriched with aloe and its soft foaming texture soothes irritated skin and provides the epidermis with intense hydration.”
The Face Shop Seaweeds Moisturizing Pack – The perfect follow up for the Aloe Cleanser! “This sleeping pack contains seaweed extract, providing vitality and moisture to tired and dry skin.” These products compliment each other so well. I’m thrilled to have them both. You get a much better feel for a brand and their products when you can try a few things from their line. #teamwork
Medusa’s Makeup Eyeshadow – This shadow is a mineral shadow. It is highly pigmented and glittery. Perfect for an intense eye on a big night out. I’m loving the smoky grey shade. It seems ipsy always sends me the champagne shades and Topbox sends me the smoky grey shades (see April’s Topbox). I’m starting to crave a little variety though!! I’m excited to have an eyeshadow to try from Medusa’s Makeup. I was extremely surprised (I’m a great way) with the Lipgloss I received in a past Topbox.
D:fi Reshapable Spray – This is a styling spray. Much like a flexible hairspray. You can use it on dry or wet hair to reshape or maintain style. It’s very versatile. Perfect for travel or the office … or your purse. Basically, anywhere that you are on the go and could need (or want) a style change.
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All together now. So many great products to sample and try for May!! It’s hard to believe that June got even better

June Topbox

As if May’s Topbox wasn’t amazing enough, June came with a HUGE surprise bonus! I was 1 of 500 (very lucky) women who were chosen to try 3 FULL SIZE Vichy products for FREE. It appears to me that our Topbox personalized quiz answers might have been taken into consideration, as different women got different product lines. The product line I received, Idealia, fits my skin concerns exactly!! The products were sent out in collaboration with Topbox, Vichy, and Lou Lou Magazine. Click Here to read my in depth review and personal skin story on the Vichy Idealia line.
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In addition to the (ah-MAZE-ing) BONUS, I still received my monthly Topbox. Again, I opted out of any Prive Topbox options.
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The products I received:

Deborah Lippmann Luxurious Nail Color – This is the second Deborah Lippmann nail color that I have received (see April’s Topbox). The shade is different so I’m assuming that means it isn’t considered a repeat item. Not that I would complain anyways, I mean it’s a FULL size DL polish. I also received a coupon for a complimentary Smooth Operator Nail File from Holt Renfrew. Yes!!!
Paula’s Choice Clinical KP Treatment Cloths – I suffer from KP. And I hate it. Being fair, I feel the redness and bumps are always super obvious. If I get cold they can turn purple hued. This is a product that I didn’t know existed and am thrilled to have found (been sent). Unfortunately, I need to actually use these clothes long term to tell you if they work, but I can tell you that I felt a reduction in redness after only one use. Side note, if you also have KP, coconut oil works amazing at helping to clear it up. I’m starting a routine with these cloths, followed by slathering on some coconut oil.
Buxom Show Some Skin Weightless Foundation – I love Buxom. It’s one of my top five favorite brands. I’m thrilled to have this sample of foundation shades to try and find my perfect match. My only negative is that I received this sample for free from Sephora. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed in the sample size given that I pay for this subscription service.
Fruits & Passion Aloe Face Mask – How interesting that I received a Fruits & Passion Aloe Face Mask a month after I received The Face Shop products (The Face Shop locations replaced the Fruits & Passion locations). I also received a coupon for a face treatment FREE from Fruits & Passion. Except there are no longer Fruits & Passion locations in my province. I could order online, but it seems pointless to pay for shipping on such a small item. I don’t see myself using the coupon unless I surprise myself with a trip across eastern Canada. The Aloe mask is made to hydrate and refresh skin. It is a single use sheet mask. I haven’t used this mask yet as I intend to use it in Mexico, in August, on my sun drenched skin. What could be a better, travel friendly, soothing, DIY, face treatment?!!?

Another killer month. I’m starting to wonder what miracles Topbox has hidden up their tiny $12 sleeves …

July Topbox

For July, Topbox was offering (again) their $10 Beauty Surprise Add On. This time (for the first time ever) I chose not to partake. This was a budget based decision, not a preference. I have yet to see a bad beauty surprise. I’m not sure what the “surprises” were for July but I saw a few Instagram shots of a 4 pack of Marsk Mineral Eyeshadows and a Yaby Palette, I’m sooo jealous!!

I (once again) chose the Regular Topbox. I have yet to not like a single box. And I love the surprise!!

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The products I received:

OFRA Cosmetics Universal Eyebrow Pencil – Yes!! Another OFRA product. And brows are definitely having their moment in the spotlight. Being a natural blonde, I was worried about how “universal” this product would actually be. However, how heavy you apply the pencil, determines the shade. Even applied with a very light hand, the color is still a bit darker than I’m used to. Not over the top darker, just a few shades darker. I’m excited to have a shade to make my brows big and bold when the mood strikes. Also, it’s full size!!
Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat – Another full size item. Another GREAT item. Another reason to continue my love affair with Topbox. I don’t own this but I always see it at my nail salon. I love that it is fast dry. Perfect for my busy lifestyle. The formula adheres, through the color, to the base coat for a flawless durable finish.
St. Tropez Gradual Tan Everyday Body Medium/Dark – St. Tropez is everybody’s favorite self tanning brand. I have already owed and tried this exact product. I loved it. And I love that I now have more. A perfect item for these summer months! This is a daily (gradual) self tanner. It not only gives you a bronzed look, but it also has super nourishing skin benefits.
Bare Minerals Lash Domination Volumizing Mascara – This mascara is “10-in-1”. It is volumizing, lengthening, thickening, separating, and long-wearing. It has an exclusive “ProTwist180 Wand” that is spiraled 180 degree. It curves around each lash to coat from ALL angles. The formula contains nourishing minerals and quinoa protein complex. I’m very excited to try this mascara as I love many other Bare Minerals products.

July’s Topbox might be my favorite one EVER. Each item was a 10/10 on the “fuck yes”, “impress me” scale. But honestly, it’s a tough call. It’s like they know me. Every box thrills me. Every item has been awesome.

If you are interested in subscribing to Topbox, comment and I’ll send you my referral link via invitation email!! Unfortunately for some of you, they only offer their subscribtion to Canadians at this time. But if you are a Non Canadian, you can just continue drooling over my reviews! ♡♡♡

Jetsetter

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June Glam Bags are one their way, and I haven’t even posted about May!! I guess I had my head in clouds!! The theme for May was Jetsetter – definitely one of my favorite themes since I subscribed nearly a year ago! If you aren’t familiar with Ipsy, you need to be. They offer an amazing beauty subscription service that sends you 5 personalized products right to your door. And for only $10 US!! Ipsy is one of my favorite services, mainly because I am a total makeup whore junkie. Although ipsy sends all beauty related items (skin care, hair products, body care etc.) they tend to send the highest percentage of makeup items (in comparison to other subscription services that I have tried).

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I was thrilled with all of the items that I received, but first, I have to talk about the bag. It is amazing!! Ipsy collaborated with Breakups to Makeup to design their Glam Bags this month. They had three different designs offered. This is the first time I have seen different bags available, and what’s more? All three were available for ipsters to cash in their ipsy points (cost 500 points)!! I totally redeemed for the “Contents: My Life” bag!! These were just too cute to not own more than one!!

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I received the above pictured bag (Contents: Pretty Important Stuff) with my ipsy products this month. All the designs were adorable, and so witty, it’s impossible for me to chose a favorite. I just knew that I needed more than one (haha!!)

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I was thrilled with ALL of my products. IT Cosmetics AND Urban Decay. My panties are officially soaked. AND a Breakups to Makeup bag?! Seriously, I’m still in awe.

What I Got:

IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream in Medium – I love this brand and I love BB creams (CC creams). I find they work so much better for me than foundation. I have minimal skin concerns, so I find foundations to be too heavy for daily wear. The coverage of the IT Cosmetics is perfect, it provides true color correction and effortlessly covers redness and uneven skin tone. That said, ipsy sent me ANOTHER medium sample shade. How hard is it for them to understand that I am a fair skinned blonde?!?!?! This shade will work fine on me now, because is summer. But come winter, this cream maybe to dark for my light skin.

Klorane Smoothing and Relaxing Patches – Does anyone else notice that when you get one type of product in a subscription box, it seems that all of your other subscription services will simultaneously send you very similar products?? Such is the case with these eye pads and treatment masks (stay tuned to my blog to see what I mean!!). I’m not complaining, in fact I’m thrilled, I have enough “treatments” to last me weeks of Spa-like pampering. Two of the Klorane patches arrived, perfect for trying the product more than once to really get an understanding of if it works for you. I love Klorane hair products so I’m very excited to try something from their skin care line. My main area of concern for my 27 year old face, is the start of aging – especially around the eyes. These patches soothe the eye area, helping them appear rested and youthful.

Briogeo Rosarco Milk™ Reparative Leave-In Conditioning Spray – LOVE this product! It’s so great for the summer months when the sun can totally dry out your strands. My favorite way to use this product is to spritz it on the mid shaft to the ends, on towel dried hair. It’s my go to product if I’m letting my hair air dry, throwing it up into bun while it’s still wet, or even as a boost to my ends for when I blow-dry it sleek and straight.

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide on Lip Pencil in Clear + BONUS Revolution High-Color Lipgloss in FailBait and BittersweetUrban Decay is hands down one of my FAVORITE beauty brands of ALL time. I am a true UD Junkie in every sense of the word. Seeing UD in my Glam Bag always makes me squeal with delight. Believe it or not this is my first UD lip liner, and how amazing that I received it in Clear?!?! I can use it with any lipstick, no matter how crazy the shade is. And it works great as a primer too!! I fully line my lips (and fill them in) before applying any lipstick, lip gloss, lip stain, etc. it works for them all!! It holds lipstick in place, prolonging wear, no bleeding or fading. Another amazing product by UD. I’ll totally be buying this in full size!! And as a bonus we also received two (generous) samples of UD’S new Revolution High-Color Lipgloss in two different shades. This lipgloss is so pigmented (not at all sheer) and bold. But it isn’t sticky at all!! Purple lips are totally a thing now, and I’m falling hard for Bittersweet!

Skone Cosmetics Pretty Eyes Automatic Eyeliner in Navy – This is my first product from Skone Cosmetics!! I have heard good things and the eyeliner confirmed them. The liner is creamy and applies smoothly. It also lasts all day and doesn’t fade or lose it’s brilliance. The shade is called Navy, but definitely shows more of a bright blue on my skin tone (not a dark deep blue like I was expecting). I have a love hate with automatic liners. I love how travel friendly and maintenance free they are, however, you can never again get that sharp point you see on a new product. With a regular pencil, you can sharpen it to get a fresh, fine point, anytime.

Ipsy totally nailed it this month. I loved the theme. I loved (LOVED) the bag. I loved the products. And I love ipsy. It’s such an awesome surprise to send myself every month!! When you realize that you need ipsy in your life, Click Here to sign up. You can see my Glam Bag for April Here.

Rouge Randomness

Being Rouge at Sephora has it’s pretend perks. And free shipping is one of them. So I ordered one thing. Yep. One thing. And it wasn’t an expensive thing, it was a sale lip stain. An $11 thing. Ha. Ha ha. No remorse.

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I redeemed 200 points for a BeautyBlender BlenderCleanser Solid and a Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Natural Lipstick in N45 Red. Because it was a online order I also got three samples, Kat Von D Lock It Foundation, Tarte Maracuja Oil, and Dr. Brandt Skincare Pores No More® Pore Refiner Primer.

What I purchased was the Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain in Forever Fuchsia. It retails for $16 CAD but was on sale for only $11 CAD!

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I actually fell in love with this formula. It’s matte and creamy and pigmented and just a wonderful dream. I love this bright fushcia shade. It dries slightly darker than the color in the tube, showing a bit of a berry hue in the fushcia. They are not drying and don’t bleed at all. They last a fair amount if time,  but I always reapply after meals, regardless of product. When they do start to fade, they leave a nice hint of color (stain) behind. I totally fell for this formula and ordered another sale shade. I also almost bought the shade Watermelon during the VIB Rouge event, but last minute switched to the versatile Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstick Duo in Tangerine/Lingonberry. I definitely will be adding more of these to my collection. They are seriously awesome.

That’s it. My $11 CAD Sephora order. The free shipping is definitely awesome. If you are looking for a fun, inexpensive, yet great quality summer lip product, I totally recommend these!! And it you’re a VIB ROUGE, go ahead and order ONE, No Shame!

Flare Beauty Box

My Flare Beauty Box has arrived!! I chose the “Fearless” box, because I’m a fearless bitch. For only $9 CAD and FREE shipping, this box was a steal. I debated purchasing both boxes but decided I really didn’t need two boxes in addition to all of the other makeup related items that I get through subscription boxes.

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The Flare Beauty Box was offered through Topbox and in addition to all the beauty related goodies, also included a 60 day trial for Next Issue. I’m trying to save my 60 days for July and August. Perfect reading material for all of my tanning adventures.

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Included in the FLARE Fearless Beauty Box:
• Covergirl Colorlicious Lipstick in Succulent Cherry (full size)
• Olay Ultra Moisture Body Wash (travel size)
• Covergirl Full Lash Bloom Mascara by LashBlast in Very Black (full size)
• Herbal Essences Rejuvenating Shampoo & Conditioner (travel size)
• Olay Fresh Effects Clear Skin Swirled Mattifier Sachets (2)
• Vidal Sassoon Hair Colour Coupon (max $16.99)

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I’m amped for the full size Covergirl Lash Bloom Mascara as well as the full size Covergirl Colorlicious Lipstick. The mascara retails for $10.99 CAD, alone it pays for the price of the box. The lipstick is a beautiful bright red, it is a little more sheer than I expected but will still make for a gorgeous day lip. I won’t use the hair dye but will definitely pass the coupon along. The Herbal Essences as well as the Olay, have already found a special place in my gym bag.

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If you want one of these Flare Beauty Boxes, it isn’t too late. Visit the Topbox Shop to order!! Did anyone order both?!?!?