Beauty

Unboxing: Influenster Moda VoxBox

(Disclosure: The products mentioned in this post were provided compliments of Influenster for testing purposes; I was not compensated for writing a review and as always all opinions are my own.)

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It’s been a long time since I’ve had one of these to unbox for ya! The Influenster Moda VoxBox arrived recently and I’m finally getting pics of all the products and squeezing in some product testing. For today I have a quick rundown of the box and its contents, with some mini reviews.

First up we have a trio of products from Rimmel London. The Scandaleyes Rockin’ Curves Mascara ($5.99 at drugstores). This mascara promises to give you major lash volume, with a specially designed brush that grabs even the tiny lashes at the inner corners of the eyes. This mascara does contain beeswax and silk powder, so it isn’t vegan friendly.

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The Moisture Renew Lipstick ($7.49 at drugstores), in #560 As You Want Victoria, promises brilliant color and “lips drenched in moisture”. The photo does a terrible job of capturing this shade; it puts the “shocking” in “shocking pink”. Click over to the Rimmel website (here) to see a photo of Georgia May Jagger wearing this shade.

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Finally from Rimmel there’s a Moisture Renew Lip Liner ($6.49 at drugstores) in a clear shade, designed to prevent feathering. I have to say that I don’t understand why more companies don’t offer a clear lip liner; I’m constantly reading in beauty magazines that it’s a “must-have” and better than colored lip liner. Mystifying.

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I have to say that for cruelty-free consumers, Rimmel London might be an iffy choice. In a pop-up on their home page, the company states, “We at Rimmel take the issue of animal testing very seriously, and have for many years been vehemently against animal testing products or product ingredients on animals.  We do not undertake animal testing for any of our products or even product ingredients, and do not commission such tests with outside test institutes either.” However, the company is owned by Coty, and their animal testing statement (see it here) includes the infamous “where required by law” clause that has caused many cruelty-free consumers to shop elsewhere.

I know this statement causes a lot of heated arguments, especially in light of the recent EU ban on testing and all the confusion about what that means for cosmetics sold here in America; also, the Coty statement is from 2012…so, this might warrant a longer post on another day. For now I’ll just say that as consumers we always have to make our own choices about what to buy, so you’ll have to weigh the two statements and decide how you feel purchasing from a company whose parent may or may not occasionally submit their other brands for animal testing. (Much like The Body Shop and Urban Decay being owned by L’Oreal.)

Okay, on to other products! There’s a Puffs SoftPack ($2.49 at drugstores), which will come in handy since both the husband and I have the sniffles. The soft body lets you easily stick these in a backpack, baby bag, luggage or anywhere else. Let’s face it, those tiny “travel packs” are never big enough when you have a severe cold; this is so much better!

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The Hair Food Moisture Hair Mask ($14.99 at Target) is designed to condition and smooth hair with honey and apricot oil. Because of the honey this product is not vegan-friendly, and I believe Clariol tests on animals (they’re also owned by animal-testing Proctor & Gamble).

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There’s a travel-sized bottle of Jergens Ultra Healing Extra Dry Skin Moisturizer ($4.99 for a 21-oz. bottle or $6.99 for a 32-oz. bottle, at drugstores). I’ve used this before and liked it, but more recently I’ve had trouble nailing down the brand’s animal testing policies, so I’ve stopped using their products. I have heard both that they do not test on animals and that their parent company, Kao Brands, does test.

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Next we have a Swiss Miss Simply Cocoa packet ($2.29 for an eight-count box; at grocery stores). This contains milk, so I can’t drink it, but I gave it to a non-vegan friend who appreciated the “short, sweet ingredient list” and “rich, not-too-sugary taste”.

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Finally there’s a bottle of Resource Spring Water ($1.49 at grocery stores). This is a water enhanced with “natural electrolytes”, in a 100% recyclable bottle made with 50% recycled plastic. Nifty, though I’m not sure I’ll necessarily notice a difference from any other bottled water–but I’ll certainly give it a spin!

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So that’s it for this VoxBox! Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Instagram for more pics as I try out these products!

 

Beauty do or don’t: matching your lipstick to your dress

Beauty do or don’t? Megan Fox attended Ferrarri’s 60th anniversary gala last week with an interesting beauty/fashion combo: red lipstick that perfectly matched her red gown.

 

It used to be going matchy-matchy with your makeup and clothing was a bit of a faux pas, but lately celebrities have been rocking this look more often. Personally I think Megan looks great, but I wonder: is this a beauty do or don’t? Is this maybe something you can only pull off when you’re a Hollywood actress in full femme fatale mode at a red carpet event?

 

If you’re curious about the shade she’s wearing here: it’s Hourglass Femme Rouge Velvet Creme Lipstick in Icon [$30], but if you want a cheaper, vegan alternative, I would suggest Flower Beauty Kiss Stick High Shine Lip Color in Rose Bud [$6.98 at Walmart stores]. It’s a great classic red! Check out my review here or check out these three swatches and tell me: which one would be your “go-to” red?

Beauty do or don't: matching your lips to your dress? Consider these cruelty-free red lippies!

What do you think? Would you ever wear this look for a daytime/casual everyday event? What beauty do or don’t have you broken recently?

Busy Girl Nails summer 2014: Week 2: Watercolor

Busy Girl Nails summer 2014

I’m a little late posting the week #2 nail art for this challenge, only because I got busy and didn’t paint my nails at all last week. But I found a technique that makes watercolor (or marbled) nails super-easy and eliminates all the mess of water marbling, so I had to share my mani. I only did an accent finger but I think I’ll be doing this manicure again shortly for a how-to and showing it off on all ten fingers!

Watercolor nail art

I used Flower nail polish in Gorgeous Gerbera for my main shade and Flower nail polish in Thistle or That? on my ring finger. These two color also went into the watercolor on my middle finger. (The base is Purity by Zoya.)

I’ll try to do a tutorial sometime next week with a video so you can see how easy it is to do watercolor nails!

Review + GIVEAWAY: Hurraw! lip balm

Hurraw lip balm

Today I have a review and a giveaway for you! I’m going to tell you about my favorite lip balms and then give you a chance to win a few of your own. You can enter using the Rafflecopter widget at the end of the post!

The product: Hurraw! vegan lip balms, $3.79-$4.29; available in 22 flavors at hurrawbalm.com or in select natural foods stores.

The claim: Smooth, not too sweet or sticky, free of animal ingredients or harsh chemical additives, and won’t melt in your pocket. It’s (take a deep breath) raw, organic, vegan, and fair trade, and it’s free of gluten, soy, shea, petroleum, parabens, preservatives, artificial flavors and colors, and GMOs. Whew!

Core ingredients: Almond oil, coconut oil, cacao butter, jojoba oil, olive oil, castor oil, sesame oil, and candelilla wax; flavors and colors are naturally extracted or distilled.

I tried it: I’ve gone through several tubes of this lip balm and somehow never got around to writing up a review. As you can see from the above picture, my current faves are chocolate, grapefruit, mint and chai, all of which taste exactly as you’d expect. The formula is super-smooth and not too slippery or tacky. I slather it on all day long and even use it under lipstick to keep my lips comfortable. I feel like the formula is far superior to some other lip balms I’ve tried that turn gritty or slick halfway through the tube.

The balms have a faint scent and taste pertaining to their flavor, but it’s nothing artificial or overpowering. I love knowing that I’m not putting nasty chemicals on my lips when I use this lip balm. The lip balm comes in a flattened oval tube with bright, cute, simple packaging. I like that these tubes fit well in pockets and also that the product doesn’t melt in the heat or turn hard when it’s cold out.

There is an SPF lip balm (made with zinc) for the summer months if you want sun protection for your lips, but I love the flavored non-SPF tubes the rest of the time, especially in the winter. They really make my lips feel great and I love that I can layer them under other lip products without my mouth turning into a slippery mess. (Chronic chapped lip sufferers know: if you can’t layer it with a lip balm, you’re not wearing it during the winter months! Great lip balm is a must for wearing bold lipsticks and lip glosses when the weather turns dry and cold.)

Speaking of the winter months–I like that this balm is really gentle. When my lips are dry and sore (or heaven forbid, cracked), the last thing I want is a balm that’s going to irritate them further. This stuff moisturizes without stinging, no matter how thickly or how often you apply it.

My final rating: 10/10. I could not be happier with this balm. It feels great on my lips and comes in so many yummy flavors that I can keep a different one in my purse, my car, my desk, my nightstand, etc. and sample several at any given time! I also love the company’s commitment to natural and green business practices (read more on that here). I love the price. I love the cute packaging. In short, I love everything!

 

And now on to the giveaway!

Visit the Hurraw! website and choose your own trio of flavors, then use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter the giveaway. It’s open worldwide through the 20th. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monthly covers: August 2014

I thought it might be fun to start doing a monthly run-down of the magazines I’m reading for the month and what’s inside. I read quite a few, but these are the more popular fashion and beauty-related titles that showed up in my mailbox this month.

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Allure. On the cover: Rachel McAdams. Highlights: Finding out that lots of fall’s hottest clothes are already in my closet. Not so hot: Yet another article on the “new” nude makeup. (Is there really anything “new” about it?)

Elle. On the cover: Kristin Wiig. Highlights: Guys, Kristen is wearing my uniform, aka my Olivia Dunham outfit. Not so hot: More of the same ol’ “miracle products” and “sexy hair without a blow-dryer” articles that have been done to death. Yawn.

Glamour. On the cover: Katie Holmes. Highlights: An awesome ’60s-mod fashion shoot with Anna Kendrick. Not so hot: Most of this issue was a bit of a yawn, which is weird, since I normally love Glamour. Oh well.

InStyle. On the cover: Zooey Deschanel. Highlights: Zooey talking about feminism. Not so hot: So much fur. Why does fall fashion have to include so much fur?

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Lucky. On the cover: Solange Knowles. Highlights: A piece on fall’s pants silhouettes, plus some neat jeans to shop for autumn. Not so hot: This was another issue that just felt really snoozy to me.

Marie Claire. On the cover: Zoe Saldana. Highlights: Zoe’s interview. She’s so feisty. Not so hot: Everyone’s going bonkers about denim right now, and so many of the pieces featured are just out of my budget range or not at all suited to my body.

Natural Health. On the cover: Jenna Dewan-Tatum. Highlights: I didn’t know Jenna was a vegan! Some interesting articles on mediation, yoga and natural stress relief. Not so hot: Product recommendations that are only partially natural or are tested on animals.

Women’s Health. On the cover: Shailene Woodley. Highlights: Shai’s interview; I feel like we’d be great friends in real life. Plus, a really interesting article delving into the possible root cause and recommended cure for most types of chronic pain (like migraines). I struggle with migraines so any chance at a natural cure is always interesting to me. Not so hot: Swimsuit magic? Please. It’ll take more than a magic swimsuit to get me beach-ready. I like fitness magazines because they inspire me to be healthier, but I also feel like some of the articles can really trigger self-loathing–if people who are already so hyper-fit are looking for visually slimming swimsuits, what hope is there for the rest of us?