Beauty Boxes

Birchbox July 2015 Review

Birchbox June 2015 Review

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Birchbox, it’s a monthly beauty subscription service.  For $10 a month with free shipping you get 4 to 6 beauty, grooming and/or lifestyle samples.  You fill out a beauty profile when first signing up, letting them know what your preferences are.  Birchbox also has a rewards points system.  You will earn 1 point for every dollar that you spend in the Birchbox shop, 10 points for every review that you write on samples that you have received in your box and 50 points for every person that you invite who purchases a Birchbox subscription.  100 points = $10 in the Birchbox store.  The points can add up fast!

Here’s what I received in my “Go Bold” box this month:

Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel Sensitive
Full size, $39.  “An amazingly effective (and gentle!) peel with fruit-derived acids to exfoliate dead skin.”

The Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel Sensitive was easy to use and didn’t bother my skin.  The texture was a little on the runny side, but it still glided on my face smoothly and dried quickly, not in a tight uncomfortable way.  After washing it off, my skin felt smooth and looked radiant.  I would definitely need to use it more often to see any diminished hyperpigmentation.

Davines MINU Shampoo
  Full size:  $25.  “Richly foaming wash that gently cleanses hair and safeguards color.  Bonus!  We’ve added in this Davines duo to protect color, smooth hair, and add shine.  (Full size, $23.30-$29)”

This shampoo lathered up nicely even with only a small amount in my hair.  It didn’t leave my hair feeling like straw either.  I wish the scent wasn’t so strong though.  I can only describe it as herbal/leafy, but not in a good way.  Other family members liked the scent.  My hair was super shiny and soft, so I’ll continue to use it until it’s gone.  The scent did dissipate some once my hair was dry.

Davines conditioner
I wish this sample was a little bigger, especially compared with the size of the shampoo that I received.  The conditioner was nice and thick and I didn’t need to use a lot.  My hair was shiny and smooth after, but I can’t stand the scent.

Davines serum 
This serum made my fine hair silky smooth, without any greasiness.  The foil packets are not my favorite, but I will be able to get about 4 uses out of it.  Same unpleasant scent, hair looks good though!

Masqueology Brightening Mask 
Full size:  $24.  “This refreshing sheet mask nourishes skin and leaves your complexion luminious.”

I love single use masks because they are so easy to use.  When I opened this one, there was plenty of serum or goo, so much that I actually had to squeeze a bit out of it before applying it to my face.  It mostly fit well, flattening down easily in areas that didn’t quite fit.  I left it on for 20 minutes then massaged the remaining serum/goo into my skin.  My face felt a little slimy, but that went away after applying some moisturizer.  I even received a comment later on in the day that I looked like I had a facial!

Stila Look At Me Liquid Lipstick Trio
Set of 3:  $20.  “This creamy formula glides on like a gloss yet lasts (and lasts and lasts) like a stain.”

I received the color Bella, which reminds me of my hot pink clothes from the early 1990’s.  I’m no sissy with lipstick colors, usually able to rock a red, coral, dark plum, raspberry…whatever suits my mood or outfit.  I like to switch it up.  My favorite formulas are the ultra long lasting as well.  I want to know that my lipstick isn’t all over my face after drinking and eating.  But this VIBRANT BRIGHT PINK is a little on the “cray cray” side.  Being a makeup artist, I will just throw it in my makeup kit.  I didn’t even have the nerve to test it on myself while blogging in the house.  One day, a client will need that shade of pink.  One day…..

Harvey Prince Hello Body Cream
  Full size:  $22.  “Infused with the best-selling citrus-floral scent, this hydrator leaves skin silky smooth.”

The Harvey Prince Hello Body Cream has a nice sweet citrus scent.  Not too perfumey or overwhelming to me.  It absorbs quickly with no greasy feeling and left my skin soft.  Not too keen on the $22 price though.

Well, that’s my Birchbox July 2015 Review for you.  I’m not disappointed with my samples this month, but I do wish that I got the red color of the Stila lipstick.  Once again, my pro makeup kit benefits from me not personally liking something.  What did you get in your box?

If you would like to sign up for Birchbox, please use my referral code and I will receive 50 points.  Thanks for helping with my beauty product addiction!

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Spring/Summer Lip Color Trends 2013

Spring is here and it’s time to stash away your fall/winter lip colors…..again.  Don’t worry, you can pull them back out in October.  I know, every spring we get to hear what the “new” colors are and this year is no different.

Have you noticed that the clothing and makeup trends now are a little reminiscent of the 80’s era?  Florescent clothing in the stores and bright makeup back in style.  Maybe you should have saved some of your day-glow yellow shorts and hot pink tube tops from 1988.

As a lover of lipstick, I am always pleased to hear about what is happening in the lipstick world.  This spring the lipstick trend goes from vivid, bold and bright to muted nude.  Most of the emphasis is on matte shades that jump out and grab you with their intensity.  The colors are happy and care free.




Intense Red





Bright Hot Pink


Deep Berry



When going bright and sassy on the lips, make sure that the rest of your makeup is toned down.  Pair the nude lipstick with a smoky eye so that your eyes are the focus, not the lips.

Spring and summer is also about looking fresh and clean so lighten up on your heavy foundation and thick powder.  Let your skin show.

These colors can be found wherever you buy your favorite makeup.  From inexpensive to pricey brands.  Why not try some of these beautiful colors?  If you absolutely hate it, remember that it comes off with some tissue, it’s not permanent.  Makeup is supposed to be fun and expressive.  Put your bright lipstick on right now and spread some sunshine!

All photos by Tracy Sotirakis


MAC Russian Red Matte Lipstick Review

Photo by Tracy Sotirakis

Ever heard of this stuff?  It’s supposedly THE best red lipstick ever. What makes it so wonderful?  It can be worn by all skin tones, from light to dark.

Photo credit:

Back in 1990, MAC Russian Red lipstick was Madonna’s signature color for her Blonde Ambition tour.  It has been a staple classic red lipstick for many celebrities and makeup artists since then and has a cult type of following, making it one of MAC’s best selling shades.

A tube of Russian Red will set you back $15.00 at the MAC counter in the USA and it is described by MAC as having an “intense bluish-red color” with a subtle vanilla scent.

Some celebrities that reportedly have worn Russian Red:  Dita Von Teese, Kim Kardashian, Gwen Stefani, Angelina Jolie, Christina Hendricks, Scarlett Johannson, Christina Aguilera and Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada.

If you are gutsy enough to wear this intense of a lipstick, make sure that your lips are not dry.  Exfoliate them with a simple scrub made of sugar and olive oil first, then apply a light layer of lip balm.  Dry, flaky lips are not friends with matte lipstick, especially red.

photo by Tracy Sotirakis

*A matching lip liner pencil may be used if you find that colors bleed on your lips.

* To make it last, apply a layer with a lip brush for precision, blot with a tissue and apply another layer.

*For a subtle color wash/stain, apply a light layer with clean fingertips and blot.  Lip balm or gloss can be added if wanted.

*Go easy on the rest of your makeup when going bold with the lips, they should be the focus.  Use lighter shades of eye shadow and keep the blush and bronzer to a minimum.  Thin winged black eye liner looks great with Russian Red lipstick.

*Take your time in applying red lipstick.  Don’t think that you can smear it all over your lips in 5 seconds and it will look fabulous.  It won’t, you’ll look like a clown, literally.  Slow down and apply it with accuracy.

What do you think?  Are you daring enough to try Russian Red?  I know you’ll get compliments if you do!

*Disclaimer:  I was not paid to review this product by anyone, I bought it with my own hard earned money.*


Lipstick Mania!


Photo by Tracy Sotirakis

Is this necessary?  To some, this may be overkill.  Do I need ALL these lip glosses, lip stains and lipsticks in my gigantic purse every day?  Yes!  Most of the time, I apply my makeup at home before work or going out and then do my lips in the car….not while driving though!

Lipstick is very important.  Light to dark, glossy to matte, it makes your whole look complete.  Even if you are rockin’ super dark smoky eyes, you still need some sort of lip goo, whether it is just gloss or a nice neutral tone lipstick.  Bare lips are just boring.  Even the classic Cherry Chap Stick has a slight tint to it.  My favorite lip balm with a slight ruby tint is the cult classic Bonnie Bell Dr. Pepper flavor.  It’s pretty and smells good too.

It has been said, “A day without lipstick is like a day without sunshine”.  Very true.  Even if I take a very small clutch purse with me for a quick trip out, there are at least two lip products in it.

Do I look crazy sometimes with my bright coral lipstick?  Maybe.  Do I look like a gothic angel with my light skin and dark berry stained lips?  Absolutely.  It’s fun, looks sexy and washes off if you by chance look like a clown.  At least I will have another color and formula in my bag so I can change it if needed.

So yes, I really need all these lip products.  I bet you have a nice supply too!

P.S.  As I wrote this blog and took the picture, my husband walked by and saw the lip products on the kitchen counter and said that it was absolutely ridiculous.  He just doesn’t get it.