Sunday, November 30, 2014

Influenster VoxBox: Equitance

Influenster VoxBox: Equitance Brightening Serum and Spot Corrector

I was sent this Brightening Serum + Spot Corrector by @EquitanceUSA to try out and review through @Influenster (#contest).

Ingredients (Taken from their Website)
Water, butylene glycol, squalane, ascorbyl glucoside, olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, glycerin, linoleic acid, prunus yedoensis leaf extract, alpinia speciosa leaf extract, soluble collagen, cystine, potassium hydroxide, carbomer, pentaerythrityl tetraethylhexanoate, guvuina avellana seed oil, polygyceryl-10 laurate, lecithin, dimethicone, cholesteryl/behenyl/octyldodecyl lauroyl glutamate, methylparaben, xanthan gum, fragrance, tocopherol, hreonine, ethylparaben, sodium chondroitin sulfate, propylparaben

I will admit to a fair bit of skepticism about this product, especially after seeing the price tag. I mean, you can use Vitamin C serums and BHA lotions to achieve the same effect. But, for me at least, it seemed to really help our with the acne scarring I am still trying to get rid of from my insane PCOS breakout this year. 

I had been using a vitamin c serum and various other "brightening" products and had seen a bit of success with them. I would say that it took a few weeks, but I definitely noticed a bit of a boost in the fading once I worked this Brightening serum into my routine. It does seem to have plateaued after about two months of usage where I'm not seeing the same results I was, so this might be one of those products that doesn't progressively make improvements, or can only take care of surface acne "scarring" and not the deeper pigmentation.

Now on to the ingredients which I feel is where the real important facts lay. Above I bolded the items their website claims are the effective ingredients, and in red are the ones I would also look out for. While there isn't any alcohol listed, butylene glycol can be just as drying for some people and is listed as the second ingredient meaning there is a significant amount present. Dimethicone isn't generally bad for your skin, but some people are allergic to silicones so it's worth it to note it's presence although it is close to the bottom of the list. Regarding the "olea europaea fruit oil",  olive oil based products have been known to break me out personally so I patch tested this before beginning to use it on my entire face. For the record, I had no issues with breakouts while using this product.

Running the ingredients through COSDNA doesn't show any major red flags (see below). I did a little extra research on their claimed actives and posted what I found below, but please take into account that I am just a consumer with google, not a scientist.
  • Ascorbyl glucoside is a derivative form of Vitamin C, but I couldn't find any studies that substantiated it's efficacy. 
  • Linoleic acid, which in this instance they have derived from safflower oil, is an essential fatty acid which can cause dermatitis among other things if you don't have enough in your body. I was able to find several sources which site topical usage as an effective treatment for all kinds of skin disorders.
  • Prunus yedoensis leaf extract, aka cherry blossum extract, is supposed to be used for treating rough and inflamed skin, but I couldn't find any studies backing that up after a quick search. That's not to say that the science isn't out there, I just didn't see it.
  • Alpinia speciosa leaf extract is derived from shell-flower which seems to have all kinds of uses for stomach irritation. The extract has been approved as a moisturizing product in Japan, and that looks like it's how it's used here. 

  • Smells amazing! Seriously, it's like a newly printed magazine. Weird for a skincare serum to smell like that, but I LOVE that smell so it works great for me!
  • Non-irritating and non-drying. I have this problem with my Vit C and BHA serums, so the fact that this seems to achieve the same results while being totally non-irritating is amazing!
  • Acts like a light lotion or emulsion more than any serum I've ever used. The texture is a semi-thick white cream which feels calming and moisturizing. And did I mention it smells amazing?

  • Yes, I really think it works. But do I think it is worth $125 plus tax and shipping? Not for me. If I had more disposable income I would probably pick it up, but as it is...
  • The ingredients could be a drawback if you are allergic or have had known reactions to any of them in the past. Always patch-test! 
  • Some of the extracts they say are the most effective seem to have pretty thin evidence of viable usage in beauty products, but obviously I feel like this serum helped me personally so I guess something in there is working.
If you have $125+ to drop on an extremely effective serum for facial brightening, I would say to pick this up before anything else. I do feel like the drop-off in results that I am seeing after two months of useage is due to the serum not being effective on deep pigmentation. The surface stuff seemed to lighten up considerably. For the deeper stuff, I would suggest careful use of acid peels. 

Also, there is a code they gave me (INFL15) that is good for 15% off this serum, as well as a free #Equitance skin care trial kit. Visit to check it out and for further details.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Influenster Venus® Snap with Embrace Review

Influenster Venus Snap VoxBox

Quite liking this little gadget I received from Influenster! It's a mini razor from Venus which is marketed toward on-the-go shaving needs. 

When I found out I was selected for the box I was pretty excited, because I don't know about you guys, but I can't tell you how many times I have been in the car on the way to work/an event/the store/whatever and suddenly realized I needed a quick shave. This could be stubbly legs, armpits, even (totally ick) facial hair!

Usually I just make sure to always keep a cheap, disposable razor in my car, but I hate using it because it irritates my skin like crazy. I'll be all red and itchy afterwards which is almost worse than just leaving the hair in place and dealing with it. With this #InASnap razor though there are two lines of moisture (one going all the way around the razor head!) that keep that from happening. This is especially important when I'm on the way to work since I really don't want to look anything less than put-together. And usually, its when I'm going to work that I have these little catastrophes!

You just wet it a little bit to activate the gel strips, and shave. It glides totally smooth and leaves a perfectly shaved surface behind. It even comes with a cute little handy carry case which (and I love this feature) has little holes in the bottom so the moisture doesn't get trapped in the case! They really put a lot of thought into this razor. The handle even has a soft, bendy plastic on it to help with gripping it since the handle is so small.

Overall, a great little item that I'm excited to throw in my car, and I think I want to get one for my purse as well! It's just so convenient and makes this one part of my day much easier to manage.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Mod Cloth Stylish Surprise Spring 2014

Cost: $10 (plus shipping)

How it Works: Roughly at the end of each season ModCloth sells off their old stock by having a mystery bag event. This time they had bags for clothing, accessories, and shoes. You choose your size and they send you a totally random item from their stash. 

Shipping Schedule: Immediately!

Returns: No return allowed since these are surprise items.

My Experience
I hadn't ever bought one of these surprise bags, although I have shopped through ModCloth for years, so I was pretty excited about this event! I wish I had bought several more though, because I feel like that would have increased my chances of getting something I would actually keep. I saw several people receive items that were retailed at over $100 from very nice brands! As it was I received two items I won't wear, but there are several swapping groups online so hopefully I can trade them for something I would like better! 

Blue Cutout Dress by Coco Love
This dress is so not my style, it's not even funny. This is a peacock blue dress with lots of ruffles on the chest and cutouts on the sides. There is just no way I would ever wear this or go to an event that this would be appropriate for. BUT, I know that it must be something that someone out there will love so I'll throw it in the trade pile and hope for a good trade!

My pictures truly do not do it justice, so you can follow this link to see a truer representation of the color and style. 

Peach and Yellow Dress by Everly
This dress I thought was pretty cute, but I really do not like the elastic waist through the middle of the torso so I decided to let this one go as well. The fabric was breezy and the colors were very summery, but I knew it would just hang in my closet if I kept it.

Final Thoughts
I wish I had bought several more of these, especially since they were only $10 a piece! ModCloth does free shipping with a $50 purchase, so I think next time I will just order 5 boxes. Then I might get something I like! That being said, the trade groups I  have found for these items are great, and I'm hoping I'll be able to send these dresses to someone who loves them!

Golden Tote March 2014

Box: GoldenTote

Cost: $49 or $149 (plus shipping)

How it Works: On the first Monday of each month new items are added to the GoldenTote store as options for the totes. With the $49 option you can choose one item and they will send you 2-3 additional surprise items, or with the $149 option you choose 2 items and receive 3-5 surprise items. The options in the $49 tote will be available in the $149, but there are some items that are only in the $149. You can fill out a style profile and add specific notes about what you like and dislike.

Shipping Schedule: It is usually by the middle of the month, but can sometimes be longer.

Returns: You can't return separate items from a tote, you can only return the entire bag. 

Cancellation: This isn't an actual subscription, so you just don't buy another tote. 

My Experience
This was my second GoldenTote (I choose the $149 option again) and after how happy I was with the first one, I should have known a disappointment was coming with the next. The only things I ended up liking this month were my two picks and the spoiled extra. All of the other surprise items are going up for trade! 

A note on their CS: They contacted me about a week after I placed my order to tell me that the Button-Down I had picked originally was no longer in stock. They refunded my shipping fees and asked if I wanted to switch out that item for another one in the shop. It just so happened that I had been regretting choosing that shirt over the Jean Jacket, so I instantly took this as a sign that I was meant to order that jacket all along! Again, they have great CS!

Pick #1 - Elephant Dress by Porridge
Porridge was the featured designer this month, and when the GoldenTote started posting spoilers on Instagram I fell in love with this dress! Being a fan of the University of Alabama, I know this dress will come in handy for many, many sporting events in the future! Although I'll need to add a crimson belt instead of yellow!

Pick #2 - Jean Jacket by Thread Supply
This was my secondary pick, and I am SO glad I chose it! I've worn this jacket every chance I've gotten since it arrived because it is so comfortable! The hood is removable, so it can be made a little less casual. There is a bit of mild distressing to the white jean material which is barely noticeable, but still a nice detail. Overall I just love this jacket!

Spoiled Item: Duck Tee by Porridge
This item was added as one of the surprise items to the bags of the first 1000 orders (unless you sent them a message specifically requesting not to receive it). I had seen other variation of this shirt and requested to not receive it if I couldn't get the duck version. It's so adorable! I love wearing this out because it always surprises people when they see the back. The gray material is very drapey and loose. I would say I could have used a slightly smaller size due to that, but a run through the dryer should fix that up nicely.

Surprise Item #1 - Under Skies Sleeveless Blouse
Here come the bummer items! Once upon a time I wore sleeveless shirts all the time (especially during these hot southern summers), but the older I have gotten, the more I have avoided sleeveless items in my wardrobe. It just isn't my style anymore. This shirt is nice, but I don't like the print very much and when added to the cut I decided to try to trade it away for something I might like more.

Surprise Item #2 -  Open Weave Sweater
There aren't many more fabrics I detest more than open weaves. I seriously can't stand them, so this was an instant "Oh, hell no!". In the spirit of trying everything, I put it on... And immediately remembered all the reasons why I hate this material. Major fail. I put it up for trade and almost immediately got an offer on it, which made me very happy indeed!

Surprise Item #3 - Gray Stripped Dress by Priddy
I saw this in other peoples totes and wanted it so badly! When I tried it on however I realized it wasn't going to work for me. I really don't like clothing with those elastic waists in the middle of my torso, so this was a no-go. So sad too, because it is so cute and soft and would have been absolutely perfect for summer. But alas, I am tossing it into the trade pile as well.

Final Thoughts
This tote was a pretty big fail for me as far as the surprise items, but I'm sure I'll be able to trade those for something else I am interested in. The big wins were the two items I picked and the spoiled item! After this tote, I feel like I might take a break from GoldenTote for a bit, or at least a month. These totes are expensive to not get items that you really like! Then adding in the postage for trading makes them even more so. Still a great value, but I think a break is in order!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

MemeBox Super Box 2 - Makeup Edition

Cost: $39 (plus shipping)

How it Works: In addition to their regular line of boxes, Meme Box has Super Boxes. These have only full size products and follow a pre-announced theme. There are no set times or days that new boxes are released, but they tend to have at least one type in stock at all times. 

Shipping Schedule: Varies by box.

Returns: As far as I can tell, you cannot return a box, but if there are any issues you can contact their customer service and they are pretty good about compensating and working with you.

Cancellation: This isn't an actual subscription, so you just don't buy another box.

My Experience
I have ordered every regular Meme Box with the exception of the 1st one, but this is my first Super Box! Since the Super Boxes include only full size items, I had assumed the value would be higher than a regular box, but this one hits right around the same value point. It was also more expensive to buy, so I knew I was taking a risk in buying it before any Super Box reviews went up, but I couldn't help it when I saw it was a makeup box! 

Makeon - Super Long Mermaid Gel Eyeliner Season 1 ($39.80)
I had to rip into this the moment I opened the box because I had actually been eyeing it in the Meme Box store! These are gel eyeliners and are very long-lasting once they have set. The colors are super usable too. There is another option on the site with more dramatic colors, so I'm glad they sent this one instead. The only color I am not completely happy with is the black because it has some pretty chunky glitter, and I already have two other black gel liners with glitter (and one was actually from MemeBox themselves!)

The names crack me up too (their spelling)!
Party Tonight Pearl Black
Lovely Expresso Brown
Sexy Vampire Bergundi
Secret Princess Gold
Love at Me Lovely Beige

Makeon - Chok Chok Shining CC Cushion in C21 ($29.80)
I had been really, really hoping they would include one of these cushions, so another win! This compact is pretty large and comes with a little makeup sponge that is separated from the cushion itself. From just swatching it I can tell that this is a pretty full coverage CC cream, so I'm excited to try it out!

Karadium - On the Top Fiber Mascara in Curling ($14.69)
There's just got to be a looser in every box, doesn't there? I don't use mascara because my lashes are hella long and mascara instantly takes me into spider territory. This packaging looks so cool though! And it's one of those "fiber" mascaras that has itty-bitty fibers all in the formula to help build length. I might try it out anyway just because it sounds so interesting.

Cheek Room - Dual Lip Gloss in Orange Tint and Cherry Red Lip Gloss ($15.00)
At first when I saw this bright orange tint I said "Oh no, there is no way I can wear that". But it actually turned out to be really pretty on! It turns my lips into a lovely peach shade! But it tastes terrible! Like, chemical terrible. The gloss is nice, but its just a gloss. The glitter doesn't look nearly as sparkly on your lips either. Which I consider a very, very good thing because it is freaking sparkletastic in the tube.

Total Value: $99.29

Final Thoughts
I am super happy with 3 of the 4 products, so this box is a total win for me! I was expecting the value to be a bit higher, but the variety of items made me very happy! Two eye, one face, and one lip product! You could do an entire look just with this box! Since the orange lip tint was only about halfway full I emailed their CS about it with a picture and they immediately responded by rewarding my account with extra Meme Points by way of apology. They said something must have happened in the production process. I shave yet to have a bad experience with their CS! Still loving my Meme Boxes! 

MemeBox 7th Global Edition

Cost: $23 (plus shipping)

How it Works: Each Meme Box is bought separately and includes several full and deluxe sample size items from well-liked Korean brands. There are no set times or days that new boxes are released, but they tend to have at least one item in stock at all times. 

Shipping Schedule: Varies by box.

Returns: As far as I can tell, you cannot return a box, but if there are any issues you can contact their customer service and they are pretty good about compensating and working with you.

Cancellation: This isn't an actual subscription, so you just don't buy another box.

My Experience
So after the total disappoint of MemeBox Edition 5 and Edition 6 I was beginning to lose faith in Meme Box. What with the quick turn-around on box releases, and the sporadic customer service replies, I was really thinking about if I wanted to stay with this sub. You have to order these boxes really far in advance, so I still have quite a few coming to me, so I figured I would just let those get to me and decide once I saw those. Good thing I did, because they totally redeemed themselves with this Edition 7!

Mise en scene - 2X Curl Essence ($2.00)
This was the least exciting item for me, but it's still a pretty decent sample size. When I saw "curl" I thought "oh hell no, I don't want hair like that picture". But apparently It's just a leave in cream to condition your hair. That I am down with. I also love the name! Though what it has to do with hair care, I don't know!

Leaders Insolution - BIO Medi-Curing Mask-Aqua Dressing ($3 x 2 - Full Size!)
I love face masks, yes I do! And they sent us two of these so we really get to try them out and see if we like them! These have coconut jelly in them, and I am always hearing people rave about how good coconut products are for your skin, so I am extra excited to try these out!

Dr G. - BIO-RTx Mentor Cream ($14)
We had a Dr. G item in the 2nd Edition box that didn't really work out for me, and this item is for dry skin which I definitely don't have. I might try it anyway though since my cheeks are closer to normal/dry. Such cute packaging!

a;t fox - Jasoyup Herb Tea Makeup Designer Kit ($23)
And then I died of cute! This little makeup kit is so adorable! From the cute little tin care with it's fox and bird and little tea-time girl, to the products themselves! There were two options, and this is the Black Tea set. It comes with (3) eye pencils, (1) eyeliner, (1) lip pencil, (1) nail file and (1) set of nail stickers. I thought the nail stickers were a bit random, and would have liked a different item, like a blush. The eye pencils are so pretty! I've been wearing the light pink as an all over lid color with the darker red/pink in the crease and they stay on really well throughout the day. I haven't tried the rest of it yet, but I'm looking forward to doing so soon!

Recipe by Nature - Slowganic Cleanse in Lemon, Green Tea and Adlay ($1.20)
First off, does that middle image on the left not totally look like a hot dog? Because yes, yes it does. So the "flavors" of these cleansers should actually be: Green Tea, Hot Dog, Lemon. But for real, look at how interesting they are! Like little dough balls!Apparently you pinch off a piece and foam it up in your hands before working it onto your face. In the pictures you can see the Green Tea one has a cap for resealing the container instead of using it all in one go.

Catrin - Natural 100 Mineral Sun Kill SPF42 PA+++ ($38 - Full Size!)
Mineral sunscreen is not something I have ever seen before, and I doubted the ability of it to work at first. But then I began looking around and apparently even Peter Thomas Roth has one, not to mention Bare Minerals as SPF 15 in their foundation. So maybe it isn't so crazy after all! I love that this is a full size and the attached powder puff make application a breeze!

Total Value: $84.20

Final Thoughts
Meme Box, you made me believe in your again! I thought we were going to need a break from one another, but you just reeled me right back in! Great box, although I do with that there was some level of customization. For instance, the Dr. G cream I received was for dry skin, but if able to select a preference I would have chosen one of the other two options (oily skin or damaged skin).

Monday, April 7, 2014

MemeBox 6th Global Edition

Box: Meme Box

Cost: $23 (plus shipping)

How it Works: Each Meme Box is bought separately and includes several full and deluxe sample size items from well-liked Korean brands. There are no set times or days that new boxes are released, but they tend to have at least one item in stock at all times. 

Shipping Schedule: Varies by box.

Returns: As far as I can tell, you cannot return a box, but if there are any issues you can contact their customer service and they are pretty good about compensating and working with you.

Cancellation: This isn't an actual subscription, so you just don't buy another box.

My Experience
After the disappointment of the last box, I was looking for the 6th Edition to really wow me and remind me why I love Meme Box. 6th Edition turned out to be a mixed bag for me, but there were a few stand-out items that excited me even though the duds were really, really blech.

O'Sum - Aloe Vera Soothing Mist ($15 - Full Size!)
I love me some full-size product! This is a face mist that can be used as a setting spray, or when your face gets dry throughout the day. Just from looking at it and smelling it, there seem to be quite a few oils present and since my skin is already oily we'll have to see if it likes this stuff. Still, I like the idea of having a "soothing mist" I can use through the day! I imagine this would be great to have at the beach!

Kovas - Cettua Silk and Shiny Foot Mask ($2.50 - Full Size!)
One thing I love about this box is the addition of items that I would never, ever think of to buy for myself. But OF COURSE my feet need a special mask all to themselves! Apparently these are like little booties you tie on to moisturize and pamper you feet! Can! Not! Wait!

Recipe by Nature - Spray Essence Water ($35 - Full Size!)
This item was in the 1st Edition of Meme Box (the only one of the main line I did not get), so I was excited to see it in this one! Although, I don't like the idea of them repeating items, so I hope that isn't a trend. Like the O'sum product, this is a mist you spray on your face, except this one is supposed to be used in the "essence" place of your skincare routine. It looks hella oily in the bottle so I have the same concerns as I do regarding the O'sum mist, but I'll try it out!

Hanskin - Bio Origin Wrinkle Talk BB SPF 30 PA++ ($9.75)
Not that I have anything against trying out new BB creams, but so far all the BB's I have gotten from Meme Box have either been way too pale or strangely orange on me. I'm glad they have been sending out samples instead of full sizes though so I don't feel so bad when they don't work out. 

Nelafantasia - One Day Whitener Magical Whitening Lotion ($8.67)
So at first I was really interested in this because I have natural redness in my skin (I'm looking at you, you damn birthmark in the middle of my forehead) and I've used all kind of bleaching and whitening agents in the search for a HG item that reduces it's appearance. But the more I look at this, the more I think it is more of a primer. Something you use under your makeup to make you skin appear whitener, because it's more like a white foundation than a chemical whitener. So, now I'm much less interested cause I am way too white as it is.

Kerasys - Moringa Miracle Essense ($13.50 - Full Size!)
Hair oils are another item I will always use! Since discovering how amazing hair oils are (seriously, how have I not known about these little miracles all my life?), I have been trying all kinds, and I'm really looking forward to adding this one to my line up! It's even a full size item!

Dr Jart+ - Silver Label Rejuvenating Beauty Balm ($4.64)
Bah! Another dang BB Cream! At least this one is by Dr Jart though. I am ready and willing to try absolutely anything they make since their eye cream (from the 3rd Global Edition ) is my HG eye cream for getting rid of my dark circles.

Laneige - Snow Crystal Pure Lip Gloss ($12.00)
Hey look at this cute little... Wait a second... Argh! This is another repeat item! It was also in the 4th Global Edition! And it sucked that time too! Ugh, Meme Box... Why do you do this to me? I am so disappoint.. 

Total Value: $66.06

Final Thoughts:
There was a lot of repetition in this box:
2 Face Sprays
2 BB Creams
2 Repeat Items from Previous Boxes.
It also has quite a lower value than I am accustomed to seeing from Meme Box. I'm excited about the foot mask and hair oil, but the other items are just kind of "meh". I think Meme Box and I are in a rut... Snap out of it Meme, or I'll have to break up with you!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Elizabeth and Clarke Spring 2014

Cost: $30 for 1 shirt; $50 for 2 shirts; $60 for 3 shirts

How it Works: Each season Elizabeth and Clarke releases a collection of 5 shirts that are aimed at becoming solid staples of your wardrobe. You can pick 1, 2, or 3 shirts each season.

Shipping Schedule: The Spring Collection is shipped on March 1st

Refunds: Elizabeth and Clarke has a very easy refund and exchange policy which makes trying the service hassle free. They will send you a label to send the items back and process your request when they receive them.

Cancellation: Cancellation is easy too. Just contact their customer service through phone or email and they will handle it.

Description Card
My Experience
I decided to try the Elizabeth and Clarke subscription service when I saw a deal through Living Social which gave you your first 3 item collection for $20. It was an amazing deal and I'm really glad I tried them out. Based on my measurements I decided to order the items in size 4, but when they arrived they were way too big. At first I wanted to just return them and get a refund, but the more I thought about it (and talked to their amazing CS reps!) the more I wanted to try a different size instead. They sent me a label to send the items back and shipped my new shirts (in size 2 this time) within one week. I'm really impressed with their customer service!

The Hutton
This is a simple grey shirt, but the fabric is so comfortable! As soon as my exchange arrived, I put this shirt on and wore it to a ballgame! The fabric has a little bit of stretch to it which makes it drape nicely, and the boat neckline would be flattering on almost anyone.

The Arden
This was the shirt that intrigued me the most. It's a pretty simple sleeveless button-down from the front, but in the back it has a nice drape and comes down longer. I don't wear as many sleeveless shirts as I once did, but this is a solid piece that could work with a jacket for work. It does fit a bit strangely because it's loose until it hits my hips where it becomes tight before the bottom drape in the back.

I also really like how the buttons are covered in the front! Such a small detail, but it makes the overall feel of the shirt that much more luxe and sleek.

The White
It doesn't get much more basic than a white button-down shirt. This would work both casually and in a business setting. The fabric is a bit see-through, so it must definitely be worn with a shell  underneath. The fabric is so nice and silky, and has a bit of weight to it as well. I especially love the detailing on the neckline!

Living in the deep hot-and-humid south, I really appreciate that you can button the sleeves back. That one detail means I can wear this year-round! I love versatile pieces like this!

Final Thoughts
Elizabeth and Clarke has some amazing customer service, and in the end I am really glad I did an exchange instead of a return. These shirts are such high quality! The beauty of all of these pieces is that you can dress them up or down. They are true staples for your wardrobe. 

For the Summer Collection, I didn't see anything I was interested in (and there were 3 repeats from the Spring Collection), so I cancelled my subscription but made sure I was still on their mailing list for alerts on future collections since I am sure I will want to order from them again.