I gave up on subscription boxes when I realized I was more disappointed than delighted at their arrival. I like decent sample sizes because they can save me from returning a full size via shipping as most green beauty products aren’t yet available here, and smaller sizes are great when traveling. Sometime last year I thought I’d save up all the empties and review the products from the last year of subscription boxes and gift with purchase bags. In the spirit of not wasting, I spent the past eleven months using nearly everything even if it meant putting expensive moisturizer on my feet.
First up in the empties is Metta Skincare Intensive Replenishing Face Balm. Giving the Metta jar a sniff it smells good but I remember every single face balm wasn’t great for break outs, so I probably used this on my neck, chest and arms. De Mamiel Restorative Cleansing Balm, broke me out too and smelled of Lemon Pledge furniture polish. I finally used up the entire jar on my feet where the lemony scent would be farthest from my nose. MAYA CHIA Supercritical Chia Waterless Wonder Balm. I loved this product as a lip balm. And I loved the scent. I even got a little education from looking up the definition of supercritical. I refuse to pay for a new one, especially when what I want is an awesome balm in a tube I can take anywhere.
That led me to try new lip balm products. Why are lip products important? Because whatever you put on your lips you’re going to eat a portion of. I have all of the S.W. Basics organic lip balms but no plans to repurchase those after they are gone. I got a tube of R.L. Linden & Co. La Balmba Rosa lip balm and love it. Love it. After I discovered it I learned they went out of business so the quest continues. What does the Linden balm have that I love so much? It is smooth going on, there are no shea butter bits, it feels perfect, not too waxy, not too heavy, and my lips love it. Also, it lasts. One application and my lips are happy for a very long time, whereas the S.W. Organic balms disappear quickly, my lips still feel as dry and I have to reapply far more times.
On to lipsticks and tinted lip products, I used almost half of the Modern Minerals Lip Creme Tint. I liked the color but not the strong mint scent. Speaking of strong mint scents, the NOTO Multi-Benne Stain Stick opened up my sinuses with each use. I got a jar of Kari Gran tinted lip whip and love it and love that it has no scent but I’m wondering why they can’t put this in a stick form. Pacifica Deeply Devoted Natural Lipstick feels good, smells okay, goes on like a dream but the colors are not for me. I could write a paragraph about that but let me just say that if the colors work for you, I suggest them.
A Bite lip product I love is High Pigment Lip Pencil. I love how it feels on. However, I got the Sephora Bite birthday gift this year and the two color products inside, a Matte Creme Lip Crayon and Amuse Bouche Lipstick have a faint scent that gives me headaches each time I apply them. I knew about the Amuse Bouche from previous samples, but I was hoping the Lip Crayon didn’t have that same issue. Sadly it does. The lip scrub and lip balm samples, tiny blister packets, that were also inside are nice. I’m considering buying the Agave Lip Balm, as for the lip scrub, ah, let me say it had a smoother feel than anticipated but I can’t imagine paying for lip scrub. When I brush my teeth I gently go over the lips with the toothbrush and voila, lips are scrubbed. After that I apply a balm. I don’t have chapped lips ever.
Derma-E Hydrating Night Cream w/Hyaluronic Acid. I didn’t like the smell. Instead I applied it to my neck and chest in the morning and my shirt probably kept the scent from my nose. First Aid Beauty has excellent facial moisturizers for me and my daughters, especially during winter. We’ve had good luck with FAB moisturizers not leaving a white cast on darker skin tones. I’m not clear on how green they are, but last time I looked they were still cruelty free. I should probably double check that because I want more of FAB Eye Duty Triple Remedy A.M. Gel Cream. Blissoma Pure Sensitive Skin Soothing Complex was lovely. I remember liking this because it went on nicely and not greasy. There is an odd scent to it, but I’m guessing it fades away. PAI Chamomile and Rosehip Calming Day Cream was not as hydrating as my skin needed. SKIN OWL Neck +, and Eye + creams are good. I prefer the Neck + and purchased a full size of that after I used up the .25 oz. sample. It looks like a clear gel but goes on lighter than that and not sticky. There’s no scent and my skin likes it.
Widcraft Cleanse Makeup Remover. It smelled pretty awful for chamomile and honey. It worked ok, jojoba oil works better at a better price , thank you Trader Joe’s, with no smell and no stinging eyes.
Mun Akwi Purifying Cleanser remains one of my favorite face cleansers. The only reason I don’t have more is the price. Following that, I received a sample of Little Barn Apothecary Blue Yarrow + Geranium cleansing oil and it’s what I use at night. I even purchased a full size bottle and am happy to let anyone reading this know that Ulta stores will be carrying Little Barn Apothecary products. Without checking, I’m pretty sure my Blue Yarrow oil is half the price of the Akwi cleanser. After using the cleansing oil, I apply Thayer’s Witch Hazel (alcohol free, I like Rose and Aloe) and breakouts are a thing of the past or rare (witch hazel also helps with breakouts from trying new products. If I didn’t say it before, here it is, don’t squeeze the spot, wash your face with whatever you use and wipe some witch hazel over the area twice a day. I’ve had the best results.)
Josh Rosebrook Hydrating Accelerator is another empty I can barely remember. I smell the empty spray bottle, ah yes, memories. It was nice. It felt good. I noticed no benefits though. The Dr. Hauschka Facial Toner was in a lovely bottle but I can’t tell it did anything for me, as did the Osea Sea Minerals Mist (toner), ditto on the Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask. That’s the thing I did learn over the past year of trying some lofty face items, I still look like me. That being said, I am pretty sure the daily sunblock and constant moisturizer has helped me remain looking like me like I want to look versus the me that used nothing and looks leathery. Can I take a second to point out a design flaw in the Osea bottle? The silver pump has a cap that looks like it should twist off but instead it slides off, which means every time I pick up the top of the bottle, the cap comes with me, and the bottle falls.
Suntegrity 5 in 1 Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen went on really well but after a week I noticed my face was drying out. I came to realize I tend towards dry skin and zinc oxide doesn’t help this no matter what it is mixed with. Big alert, Mad Hippie Face SPF is awful. Forget it unless you like the white, chalky look. My favorite facial sunblock was Algenist Sublime Defense Anti-Aging Blurring Moisturizer SPF 30, it has a light, whipped texture, goes on easily, doesn’t leave a white cast, the scent fades instantly, but it costs a fortune (and I don’t know if it’s cruelty free or green). I continue to look for facial SPF, I’m currently using First Aid Beauty w/SPF 30 but it leaves me looking shiny. It’s currently winter so the other day my dry skin loved it and I looked dewey. The good kind of dewey. Another day it looked greasy, on those days I use my RMS powder to take away the shine (I love that powder). I also gave E.L.F. Foundation Serum with 25 SPF and Goji Berries a shot. It felt nice and blended well, and if you have oily or at least not dry skin it might be nice on you.
I’m still on the hunt for a good concealer because I’ve got dark circles under my eyes that have nothing to do with sleep. NYX Gotcha Covered Totale (sic) Waterproof Concealer wasn’t for me. I can’t remember why but tried two shades and returned both, I’m thinking they were too thick. NYX Dark Circle Concealer Correcteur (sic) can be patchy and fades away. BECCA Under Eye Brightening Corrector was thick and greasy on me. I wanted this product to be part of my stash so bad I tried it for days. DAYS. But no go. I also tried E.L.F. HD Lifting Concealer and like it very much, but there’s no way that stuff is green. I bought samples of Root Under Eye Brightener, Prime/Conceal Cream Corrector to go green. They were a big nope for me, patchy, chalky and just yikes.
Urban Decay Cannonball waterproof mascara was the love of my mascara life. Mineral Fusion Volumizing Mascara was in the Whole Foods Beauty Bag 2017 and I was pleasantly surprised. When it was gone I bought a tube of E.L.F. mascara and didn’t like that, ditto on the UD Perversion which transferred below my eyes. I’m currently awaiting delivery of Lily Lolo Black Vegan Mascara which I hear very good things about.
Recent purchases: The Balm Nude Beach eyeshadow palette has some really good colors in it. You can find reviews of this on Youtube that have all the details. I wish The Balm sold singles of my favorite shadows but they do not. If I publish this in time, be aware they are having a 50% off sale tomorrow (Monday, Feb. 26, 2018).
Now that I’ve used up all those trial sizes, I’m ready to move onto specific things I want with a few new samples. I am expecting any day now a waterproof eye pencil from Antonym Cosmetics, the aforementioned Lily Lolo Mascara, Osmia Rose Clay Facial Soap I’m planning to use during the summer when my skin gets oily and if it’s as gentle as I’m hoping, it will be good for travel. Also arriving by mail soon are Hynt Beauty Duet Concealer sample in two shades so I can decide which is best for me, and because Integrity Botanicals lets you pick three free samples with each order I am getting a sample of W3ll People Bio-Tint Multi Action Moisturizer SPF 30, a sample of concealer from Sappho ( I said I was still on the hunt didn’t I?), and a Mahalo Balm because I’ve heard wonderful things about it.
If you’re wondering about green eyebrows, or other unusual colors check out Notoriously Morbid and MehronMakeup on Instagram. From these two I have seen wiggly eyebrows, green and other shades on brows, but I’ve also seen purple brows on IG on some other post. I adore how creative people can be and use makeup for fun. If you’re into something more theatric, I suggest @MadeyewLook. She’s the best.
Heads up, the Whole Foods Beauty Bag comes out sometime in early March. The only way to know which day is to follow them on Instagram and get to the store first thing in the morning. Last year it was me and about seven other people waiting for the doors to open. A man told me his wife made him go since she was at work. Make it a Breakfast at Whole Foods morning and try out some new things.
Why/how can I pay so much attention to makeup? It distracts my mind from some of the more ghastly things I’ve read/seen at work. When writing won’t work, when reading or gardening, hiking can’t take away the images in my head I have found playing with face paint does.