When you are a little girl, dandelions don’t seem like a weed, instead they are simply beautiful little flowers that you can pick and give to your Mom or perhaps put in your hair. You certainly don’t have the faintest idea as to why adults seem to concern themselves with their removal. I’ve always thought they were pretty little rays of sunshine, poking their heads up among the grassy forest. It seems like sort of a needless fight really… yet people spend their hard earned money every year waging war. Don’t worry, I live in an apartment, so I’m not your neighbour and you don’t have to worry about my lawn being the bane of your existence.
Their sunny little faces always made me happy. In fact, I should probably use the words “make me happy” given that it was just over a year ago that I found myself picking a small dandelion bouquet on Prince Edward Island, right after my husband asked me to marry him.
Yet I digress… this is after all a beauty and travel blog.
What I mean to say, is that I’ve always had a bit of a love affair with dandelions and I now have a new reason to rave about their existence.
You guys might recall my being stoked about my most recent Topbox that featured samples solely from benefit cosmetics. I was so excited about it, I really wanted to make time to go into extra detail for some of the products. First up on my hit list is (you guessed it) the sample set I received featuring both the dandelion brightening face powder and the corresponding dandelion ultra plush lip gloss.
These two products have quickly raced their way up my list of favourite products.
The brightening face powder is a gorgeous soft pink shade. It creates a very subtle and natural looking glow. This “dandelion” powder applies nearly sheer but is easily built-up for a more noticeable look. And don’t forget the soft shimmery kiss this “everyday” blush leaves behind on your cheeks.
If you’ve been wanting a blush that leaves a nice natural look without being overloaded by shimmer or looking flat with matte, this product might be just what you need.
The full size product is .25oz complete with a brush for easy dusting. It retails for $36.00 CAD or$28.00 US.
Now, as much as I love the blush and think its a very versatile and flattering shade, my favourite of the pair is the gloss.
This “dandelion” Ultra Plus Lip Gloss smells absolutely amazing for starters! It smells like peaches with a slight touch of mango but isn’t too overpowering, it’s just strong enough to be noticeable. When I first did my Topbox research and I discovered the full size gloss from Sephora was $18.00 CAD or $16.00 US (for a 0.5oz) I remember thinking to myself, who is going to pay that much for a gloss…gloss is gloss. But honestly…I’m now one of those people that would be happy paying that for this product. This lip gloss by benefit is soft, smooth and as far in the opposite direction of “sticky” as you can imagine. It glides on incredibly smooth with no dragging.
The only draw back with this non-sticky lip gloss in “dandelion” is that the product isn’t really pigmented. Don’t pick this shade if you are hoping for a soft pink, it is mostly clear, but will do the trick if you just want a pop of shine…and for your lips to feel amazing. benefit does offer this gloss in a variety of colours, so if you are wanting something with more colour, perhaps check out their darker shades.
Here is a swatch of both of the dandelion products for you. It really allows you to see how sheer and soft the blusher is (very faint, yet visible on the left) as well as the clear finish of the gloss (on the right):
I also used them both in the below makeup look. Whenever I go heavy on the eye makeup I like to keep my cheeks and lips soft and subtle, so both dandelion products worked great for that purpose:
Now if you are wanting to try out these two products, but don’t feel like spending $54 CAD or $44 US, benefit cosmetics actually has a great value set for those interested in rocking these in tandem this Spring. It is called “feelin’ DANDY” and is available where benefit products are sold. Sephora carries it for $32.00 CAD or $28.00 US.
You’ll also be able to try out “posie tint” and “high beam” minis as well. It’s a hard deal to beat and allows you to try multiple products for a very affordable price!
Have you tried the dandelion Ultra Plush Lip Gloss or Brightening Face Powder by benefit? What did you think?!?
And now for my most important question: how do you feel about the dandelion weed? 😉
Topbox won my heart over for a good long while with their February Prive Box featuring all products by benefit cosmetics!
As I mentioned in my January Topbox post, I opted in to receive a benefit Prive box instead of this months standard mystery box. I knew they had limited quantities and wasn’t sure if I would get one. But when I ripped open the brown paper and saw a bright fuscia wrapped Topbox and the words “benefit” written along the top, I actually let out an excited victory yelp “eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!”
My excitement continued as I pulled out item after item. This month was by far my favourite Topbox and I’m sure anyone who unsubscribed a couple of months ago due to a bad box (December), are kicking themselves now!
The first item I found at the top of my Topbox was “benetint”. It is a rose-tinted lip and cheek stain. One of my best friends Rachel actually turned me onto this product a few years ago, and like her, I fell in love with it immediately. I have two mini’s of this product already from different Sephora value packs and I know I can put this sample to good use as well. This is one product that I will definitely repurchase when my samples run dry. The full-size version of this product is 12.5 mL and retails for $36 CAD making this samples value $7.20.
Total Moisture Facial Cream
Then out came benefit’s “Total Moisture Facial Cream” in the exact same packaging as the full size, an adorable small glass pot. Said to “provide concentrated immediate & long-term hydration” this face cream may be just what one’s skin needs during the dry winter months. Formulated specifically for normal to dry skin, this cream “contains exclusive tri-radiance complex to help develop the skin’s reserves of water.” I’m personally looking forward to trying this out against my new favourite moisturiser from Burt’s Bees Intense Hydration line. The full size version of this cream is 48.2g and retails for $42 CAD. This sample is 8.9g making this samples value $7.75.
Next up was “the POREfessional” face primer which I’ve been curious about trying for a long time. This PRO balm is said to minimize the appearance of pores and can be used either under or over your makeup. The full size version of this product is 22mL and retails for $34 CAD. This sample is 7.5mL in size which makes its value $4.85.
Dandelion Wishes Powder and Lip Gloss
The largest of the samples was actually one of the last to come out of my Topbox. This sample set featured a matching lipgloss and luminizing powder in one of benefit’s best selling shades “Dandelion”. I was super stoked about receiving these as I’ve never actually tried any of their powder or lip products (excluding the lip/cheek stain) before. The brightening face powder has a full size version that is 7g and sells for $36 CAD. This 3g sample is an absolute steal valued at $15.43. The corresponding lip gloss can also be purchased as a 15mL full size version for $18 CAD. This 6.5mL sample has a value of $7.80.
“Fine-One-One” is something I was also excited to receive a small bonus sample of. This is a brand new product from benefit Cosmetics and is receiving some mixed reviews in relation to its value and its wear time. So I’m stoked to be able to try it out for myself. This sheer brightening cheek and lip trio has a full size 8g version (seems small for a full size product) that retails for $36 CAD. This sample is very small, only good enough for one use (maybe two if I stretch it out) and a value can’t be calculated. I guess that is why they call it a bonus! It came in a Chinese New Year envelope with a shout out to the Year of the Snake. “Happy Gorgeous Year!” was labelled on the box wrapping as well as the flip side to this envelope. Very cute touch!
I am absolutely ecstatic with my February Topbox and ALL of my new products from benefit Cosmetics. This Prive Box struck a much better balance between makeup and skin care products than last months Clinique Prive Box did. With two skin care products and 4 makeup related samples in my February Topbox, I couldn’t be happier. All of the packaging this month is super pretty and all of the samples are in easy to use containers. Total value of this month’s Topbox $43.03. Not bad for the $12 my subscription.
There are so many great products in this February Topbox that I will do swatches and reviews in upcoming posts (seeing as this post is already long and super pic heavy).
If you are wanting to sign up so you can try a variety of deluxe samples every month too, you can do so here, online via their website.
I’d love to hear what you think of this month’s Topbox! Did you receive a benefit box too? If so, was it the same?
So I know I’m a little late posting this, I should’ve got this up last week when I received it, but I wanted to make sure I shared it with you all anyway.
“ipsy” was started by Michelle Phan, one of the most widely followed YouTube Beauty Gurus in the world. She has nearly 3 million subscribers to her YouTube channel and currently has over 727 MILLION total video views. So she created ipsy to select and share some of her favourite beauty products for people to try.
If you are living in the US of A, you can subscribe to Ipsy for just $10/month, shipping included. For those of us north of the border in Canada, we have to pay $14.95/month. But given that I currently pay $12.00/month for Topbox, I figured if the value was there, I wouldn’t be upset about the extra $3.
My first Glam Bag (January 2013) from ipsy was shipped in bright pink bubble wrap packaging, so it got my attention right away. It was small enough to fit in my small apartment sized mail slot too, so that is always a bonus!
Inside, I found a small black cosmetic bag and a full-size make-up brush.
You get a different cosmetic bag each month with ipsy. I was actually impressed that they took the time to brand them too.
It was amazing how much fit in this little bag. Here are the complete contents of my January ipsy Glam Bag:
SOHO Eyeliner Brush
The first item being the full-size eye liner brush from SOHO with an ergonomic design. This brush has very short, dense bristles and is designed for applying dry or wet eyeliners or can also be used to fill in eyebrows with shadow. It retails for about $5-$8 depending on where you snatch it up.
Bloody Mary Nailtini
The “Tiny Beauty Lounge” features cocktail inspired cosmetics. So they have nail lacquers, eye shadows and lip glosses that are all inspired by your favourite cocktails. You’ve got to check out their website, its pretty cool! This is a totally new brand for me too, so it is fun being exposed to new things. That is what beauty box subscriptions are all about! This full-size “triple free” nail polish from their line of “Straight up Color Nail Lacquer” retails for $13.00.
Big Sexy Hair Spray & Play
Big Sexy Hair products are available for sale at Canada in salons but in the US I see they are available for sale at Wal-Mart as well. The full-size 10 oz version of this hair spray retails for $33.00, which makes this 1.5 oz sample valued at $4.95.
Pacifica Tuscan Blood Orange Body Butter
Described as “Sparkling, juicy blood orange with notes of red raspberry and spicy sweet Italian mandarins. The scent of Mediterranean beach.” This body butter is 100% vegan and cruelty free. It has a very refreshing and fruity scent, but isn’t overpowering. The cream itself is thick and rich the way a body butter should be. I see myself getting a lot of use out of this body butter over the remaining winter months. This body butter by Pacifica is available for sale in two sizes, the smallest being the 2.5 oz version I received in my Glam Bag, for $7.00.
Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil
This product is a huge cult favourite in the beauty industry and I was really excited to receive it in my Glam Bag. I’ve had Argan Oil before, but only ever used it on my hair. This one is promoting multiple uses:
- Daily Moisturizer (apply on clean face)
- Hair Treatment (apply to split ends)
- Body Moisturizer (apply to skin)
- Nail Treatment (apply to cuticles)
- Bath Oil (add to your bath)
I really love the eye dropper applicator too. Whenever I’ve used Argan oil in the past, it seems to get everywhere, but this dropper is great!
Josie Maran’s highly sought after Argan Oil is available for retail in 3 different sizes at Sephora, allowing me to calculate the value of this sample to be about $6.12.
So there it is – my January Glam Bag by ipsy! Total value of $36.07. I paid $14.95 and got a lot of cool items I’m excited to try from brands I’ve never tried before. I’m especially excited about the Argan Oil by Josie Maran and the Nailtini nail lacquer. The hair spray and body butter are less “exciting” and are mainly just useful additions that will get used regularly until they are gone. 🙂 So I have no doubt I will get my money’s worth out of this Glam Bag by ipsy!
ipsy vs. Topbox
Topbox seems to do a better job of customizing their boxes to the individual. The box variety from ipsy is very small (usually just a different color/model of one item, with all other items identical). For this month, I believe the only variation was what type of SOHO makeup brush you received. But, ipsy mainly gears themselves towards makeup, with less skin care offerings. So depending on what type of samples you are wanting to receive, ipsy may be the better choice for you.
Topbox only ships once a month, so if your subscription starts mid month, you will be waiting until the following month to have your Topbox shipped. Whereas ipsy ships at different times of the month. I signed up on January 13th and still received a January glam bag.
On that same vein though, about mid-month ipsy actually shows what was in their glam bags that month directly on their website. So by the time I subscribed, I knew EXACTLY what items I was going to receive (kind of takes the fun out of it). But now of course, February will be a surprise. 🙂 And I can’t wait!
ipsy supplies coupons online for each of the items featured in the glam bag, so if you want to go out and buy the full-size products, you shouldn’t have to pay full price.
For a packaging stand point, I’ve always thought the Topbox tubes were really cool, but for me I actually think the ipsy cosmetic cases are going to get more use in my house, than the Topbox tubes will.
And lastly, I wish ipsy featured the item list card with their glam bags. Topbox features an itemized listing of what you received (telling you a little bit about each product and brand) as well as the value of the full size products. I find that very helpful when calculating the total value of my Topbox each month. If I want to do the same with ipsy (like I did above) I have to go on-line and search for each individual product to find the costs first.
Overall, I need a couple more months of ipsy glam bags before I can tell you whether I like them better than Topbox. But so far, they are off to a great start. I love the items I received and I really believe it was worth the $15 this month. So if you live south of the border and only have to pay $10…WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!?!?
And if you are already an ipsy subscriber, I’d love to hear how long you’ve been a subscriber and what your experience has been like!
Thanks for reading!
So, Saturday night we safely arrived back home in Ottawa. After two flights and a very long day, we were in a word “exhausted”. I’ve got to say, it felt very amazing to sleep in our own bed!
I’m so far behind with things I want to post about on here, so I will do my best to get caught up. I’ll try to mix in trip photos over the next couple of weeks amidst everything else. While in Europe I ran into a couple of make up brands that I’d never heard of before and to the best of my knowledge, aren’t available anywhere in North America, so I was sure to pick up a few items so I could share them with you. And hopefully learn more about them from my European readers who have likely had a much wider experience with them.
The first one I wanted to post about is KIKO Make Up Milano. Available online at their website for residents of Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, Germany and the UK…KIKO Cosmetics is currently only available for sale in Europe.
KIKO’s identity is rooted in “Made in Italy” values and the world of the capital for fashion, art and design. The research into original textures and colours is combined with research into quality formulas with guaranteed performance, for a perfect fusion of quality and creativity.
We ran into this stand alone cosmetics store in the shopping district of Venice. They had every makeup and skincare product under the sun and tonnes of nail polishes too. And as you can see, it was packed! They had so much product in this little shop, I really wasn’t sure where to start. Because I had no idea of if there were any “must-haves” for this brand, I just snooped around and picked out a few things I thought I would enjoy giving a try.
I ended up opting for two eye pencils, an eyeshadow palette containing 4 shades and a nail polish.
The Color Fever Eyeshadow Palette I decided on was the one called Hyperreal Green Wood (no shocker there!).
Inside the box the palette comes inside a small velvet pouch for safe keeping. And you’ll be happy to know the lid offers a full size mirror with no wasted space.
The Hyperreal Green Wood palette features 4 gorgeous shades that are easily paired together and are all shimmery baked eyeshadows so they can easily be used dry or wet, depending on how intense you want the look to be.
The look I’ve created here is using a dry brush. And I found them to be very vibrant with lovely pigmentation and great blendability. After several hours of wear I experienced no creasing, fading or patchy wear of any kind. I was very happy with this palette and the overall quality of the eye shadows. I paid 12,90 Euro for this palette in store (that is equivalent to about $17 or $18 US dollars).
I also purchased Nail Lacquer 298 (no cute names, only numbers) for 3,90 Euro (which is about $5-$6 USD). The nail lacquer was not at all like I expected. It was a very sheer shimmer and after trying it out, I would think this is best used as a top coat if you wanted to add some shimmer to a matte or creme blue, green or black polish.
This picture here is showing 3 coats. I did 5 and still had a visible nail line, so you’d have to do at least 6 for an opaque/close to opaque look. Not sure who has time for that?
Unfortunately I only picked up the one shade, so I have no idea of whether this is just the case with their shimmer formulas and if an experience with a creme would’ve been different. I imagine it would be. Perhaps if anyone has tried out more than one of their nail lacquers you can leave a note below?? I’m really curious!
As mentioned earlier, I picked out 2 eye pencils while at KIKO. The first one was from their “Glamorous Eye Pencil” line and was number 404. It was only 2,90 Euro which is equal to about $4 USD.
It is a nice rich plum shade in a waterproof formula that starts out blendable and then sets into place.
For this swatch, I did a single fine line on the left which is just the width of the tip and then did a thicker swatch so you could see the true colour a little bit better.
The other eye pencil I decided to pick up was from the Smoky Eye(s) Pencil line in shade 03 (Violet Indigo). This one retailed for 6,90 Euro which equates to about $9 or $10 USD.
When I saw this product, I knew I just had to give this a whirl because it was the first time I’d ever seen a brush on the end of an eye pencil opposed to a smudger.
For the above swatch, on the left again I did the single fine line to show the width of the tip and on the right, I’ve lightly blended it out using the brush on the other end.
Both eye pencils had an extremely creamy texture and slid across my lids gently with ease. Below, you can see I tried pairing the blue one with some brown crushed pigments to add a pop of colour to my look which created a nice alternative to brown or black.
Overall I was really happy with the quality of products and given the price, you really can’t go wrong. The brand is quite affordable and offers an absolutely massive range of colours and options for people, no matter their age. The prices make it easy to try out multiple products right away unlike some high end brands that add up so quickly. Now all I wish is that I’d grabbed a lip product to test drive too…and honestly, some of everything would be nice! So, I can definitely say that I would buy KIKO products again if I’m ever back in Europe. Hopefully someday they will expand their on-line store and make shipping to North America possible!
So, for all my North American readers, keep your eyes peeled for KIKO Make Up Milano on your next trip overseas and for my European readers, I’m really curious if any of you are fans of KIKO Cosmetics and if there are any “must-have’s” people should know about?!?
Thanks for reading!
BE WHAT YOU WANT