Birchbox October 2015 Review

Birchbox October 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!

2Here’s what I received in my “Positive Force” box this month:

Avene Thermal Spring Water
Full size, $12.50-$18.  “This hydrating mist is your best bet for curing dryness and irritation in a snap.”

3OK, yes, it’s fancy water in a spray can. I don’t mind this sample, but I will probably not purchase it. Great for refreshing throughout the day or whenever you get hot and need a pick me up.  Also helpful in refreshing makeup later on in the day when your makeup starts to look rundown.  This would have been a nice summer sample.

Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Cream
Full size, $48.  “This lightweight, ceramide-packed cream calms and deeply hydrates skin.”
6
Eh, I don’t know. It just didn’t do anything for me.  I love moisturizers that are for dry skin, but for some reason, this one just didn’t feel special on my skin at all.  The scent reminds me of some of Origins products, clean/herbal.  Probably not going to run out and buy this cream.  The packaging isn’t fun either.

Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk – Natural Tint
Full size, $20.  “Naturally tinted for brunettes, this formula absorbs grease and revives second-day hair.”

1Unfortunately, I didn’t receive the tinted version in my box.  Bummer.  Mine is white as milk.  You have to go easy with the regular version of this dry shampoo or else you will be left with white hair. The blast from the bottle is pretty intense, so don’t hose a section too much or else you’ll be sorry. The smell is nice though, powdery/floral.  This version is great for blonde hair, not so much for darker hair.

Stila Huge Extreme Lash Mascara
Full size, $23.  “One coat of this jet-black mascara gives you a major boost in volume, curl and length.”

5I have a favorite Cover Girl mascara that I always use, but after trying this one, I was amazed. My lashes looked full and curly with two light coats. I really love the hourglass brush shape which seems to help with the full look to the lashes.  The only thing that I didn’t like was that it did give me minor raccoon eyes after a few hours, which I absolutely hate!

Too Cool for School Dinoplatz Highlighter
Full size, $33.  “This illuminating cream is formulated with tiny light-catching flecks to perfectly contour your face.”

7This liquid highlighter is very pretty on the skin. I applied it with a beauty blender on the top of my cheek bones for a great glow without looking shiny or greasy. The color “Baby Pink Clam” would probably work with most light to medium skin tones.  It can also be used all over the face under foundation or with a little mixed into your foundation.  A small amount goes a long way, so the full size of this highlighter would last a long time. 

 

That’s my Birchbox October 2015 review for you.  My favorite product of the month is the Dinoplatz Highlighter and least favorite is the Klorane dry shampoo, just because it was too white for my hair.  I’ll definitely toss the Avene Thermal Spring Water and the Klorane dry shampoo into my my pro makeup and hair kit.  Maybe the highlighter too, or I’ll keep that for myself!  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!

All photo rights:  www.tracysotirakis.com

*I purchased the Birchbox monthly subscription with my own money and did not receive any of these products for free.*

 

Birchbox September 2015 Review

Birchbox September 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 “Pssst…You’re Beautiful” box this month:

100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream
Full size, $24.  “An instant pick-me-up that reduces the appearance of fine lines and dark circles.”

When I first tried this eye cream, I looked around my bathroom, wondering who was drinking a sweet smelling coffee near me because the scent is very noticeable. It did de-puff my eyes after only sleeping for 6 hours a night for a few nights, which is not cool in my book.  It works under makeup as well. I just wish it wasn’t as strongly scented, but I will continue to use it as the sample size that I received was very large. I probably won’t throw it in my pro makeup kit because of the scent.  Some clients may not like it.  It is 100% natural and 100% vegan.

Amika Bombshell Blowout Spray
Full size, $24.  “A deluxe sample of lightweight styler that volumizes and smooths for a sleek, yet bouncy ‘do.”

I tried the spray on wet hair and blew it dry. I loved the scent but it left my hair somewhat dry feeling. I’ll try to use it on dry hair as a re-styler or for texture instead. It almost felt like a light hold hairspray, so I’ll use it as I would that type of product.

Benefit Cosmetics Gimme Brow in Light/Medium
Full size, $26-$55.  “The water-resistant fiber gel adheres to hair while the precision tip lets you shape and blend with ease.”

I have a similar product from another line, but I was still excited to receive this in my box because it’s Benefit. My brows are a medium brown color and I received the light/medium color. It is a very neutral taupe color and works perfectly with my brows. The little mini spoolie brush combs through my brows, fills them in and makes them look thicker. Love it!

Harvey Prince Hello Perfume
Full size, $26.  “Best-selling spritz that mingles cheerful citrus with floral notes.  Well, hello there!”

Usually I like citrus and floral scents, but the Hello scent, I just can’t stand. I don’t know what aspect of the perfume doesn’t appeal to me, but it kind of makes me nauseous. Sorry Harvey Prince!

POP Beauty POP Portfolio Eyeshadow – Sugar Plum
Full size, $27.  “A trifecta of long-wearing, blendable eyeshadows in bold, pigmented purples.”

I received the trio Sugar Plum, an ivory, plum and dark taupe, all shimmery. Unfortunately, plum eye shadow makes me look like I was punched in the eye, so I avoid the color. The other two colors I can deal with. They are very pigmented and have great staying power. May try different colors in the future.

 

That’s my Birchbox September 2015 review for you.  My favorite product of the month is the Benefit Gimme Brow and least favorite is the Harvey Prince Hello perfume, it’s being donated to a friend.  I’ll probably de-pot the eyeshadows and add them to my pro makeup kit.  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!

All photo rights:  www.tracysotirakis.com

Sexy Hair Soya Want It All 22 in 1 Review

Sexy Hair Soya Want It All 22 in 1 Review

Sexy Hair Soya Want It All 22:1
Do It All Leave In Treatment 
Aerosol spray. 5.1 oz.

You wash it too much.  Blow dry every day.  Highlight.  Curl.  Straighten until it can be straightened no more. Whatever your favorite damage method is, this hair saving leave-in treatment can fix it all. The Sexy Hair line has great products and I use quite a few of them in my professional hair kit on clients when I am styling hair for various gigs in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

 

 

Soya Want It All 22:1 is a leave-in conditioner that is made from a soy, cocoa and argan oil blend.  What are the 22 things that it helps with you may ask? Thermal protection, humidity resistance, moisture, nourishment, bodybuilding, repair, shine, smoothness, color protection, detangling, elasticity, environmental protection, anti-static, anti-frizz, anti-aging, soothing, strength, style control, damage control, lightweight, priming and damage prevention. 

Along with the long list of benefits, it also smells divine.  Like a fruity cocktail that you drink from a coconut while lying on the beach in Hawaii. Mmmmm…..Hawaii……

If you don’t over use it, will leave your hair soft, shiny and healthy looking. Start out with a smaller amount and see how much your hair needs.  I like to use a few spritzes of Soya Want It All in my hair before blow drying or doing a blow out with my John Frieda Hot Air Brush.  I keep it in my professional hair kit for clients who have unruly hair that is damaged, frizzy or dry and they always comment on how wonderful it smells.

There’s my Sexy Hair Soya Want It All 22 in 1 review for you.  Do you use it and love it as well? 

May your hair be gorgeous and smell like the tropics!

 

All photo rights:  www.tracysotirakis.com

Birchbox August 2015 Review

Birchbox August 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 “Soak it up!” box this month:

Air Repair Complexion Boosting Moisturizer
Full size, $20.  “Packed with antioxidants and humectants, this rich cream hydrates and revitalizes dry or dull skin.”

I wanted to save this sample for an upcoming plane ride so I don’t feel like a lizard during my trip, but I decided to test it out beforehand. It absorbs easily and really sinks into the skin, refreshing and hydrating it.  Very nice for skin that is on the drier side or needs some TLC. 

dr. brandt Microdermabrasion Skin Exfoliant
Full size, $78.  “Breakthrough at-home treatment for a glowing complexion, no pricey derm appointment required.”

I love microdermabrasion scrubs in general and the dr. brant one is no different. It smooths over the face easily and doesn’t fade away quickly like other scrubs. The strong lemony scent is refreshing but a little overwhelming, reminding me a little of lemon floor cleaner.  My skin does look and feel wonderful afterwards. However, there is no way that I can justify paying $78 for a scrub.  I like the Derma E Microdermabrasion scrub better because it has less scent to it.

LAQA & Co. Charm School Kit
Set of 3, $20.  “This creamy crayon delivers a rich, easy-to-apply color for both lips and cheeks.”

I received the color Cray-Cray, a matte peach. First, I tried it on my lips and it was a little scary. Too matte for me, rather chalky looking. After blending a few dots on my cheeks, I was in love. It blended into my skin well, didn’t clump or look patchy and looked awesome all day. Definitely a “love” product for cheeks.

Macadamia Professional Style Extend Dry Shampoo
Full size, $25.  “Weightless, translucent spritz that instantly absorbs product build-up and excess oil to refresh your ‘do.”

I love that this dry shampoo is made with translucent powder. Even though my hair is a light golden brown, I hate the white cast that some dry shampoos can leave. Not this one. My hair was shiny and refreshed after using. The scent was fine, not too strong or overwhelming for me. I will definitely toss this into my pro hair styling kit for work.

R + Co Park Ave Blow Out Balm
Full size, $16-$28.  “This smoothing styling cream adds bounce to your blowout while protecting hair from heat damage.”

BirchBoxAug15-1000268This product is not greasy, slightly on the drier side for blow out balms/creams. I worked a small amount into my hair and did a full blow out with one of my favorite tools of all time, the John Frieda Hot Air Brush. My hair was shiny and bouncy afterwards without the oily feel that other blow out balms can leave.

 

That’s my Birchbox August 2015 review for you.  My personalized box really didn’t reflect the “Soak it up!” theme, but I don’t really care.  I’m not disappointed with my samples this month, I actually really like everything and will use all of them either for myself or my pro makeup and hair kit.  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!

All photo rights:  www.tracysotirakis.com

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!

All photo rights:  www.tracysotirakis.com

 

 

MAC Pro Longwear Concealer Review

MAC Pro Longwear Concealer Review

Is it worth the hype?

Colors here L to R: NC15, NW20, NW25, NC35, NW35, NW40

It gets rave reviews online and was voted as the top high end concealer in Allure Magazine’s Readers Choice Awards for 2015. Must be awesome, right? Let’s see!

What it’s all about:

  • 16 Shades
  • Medium to full coverage
  • Natural, matte finish
  • Lasts for up to 15 hours
  • Good for under-eye circles and other discolorations
  • Comes in a glass vial with a pump dispenser
  • 0.30 US fl oz
  • $20.00 at MAC stores and www.maccosmetics.com

 

I feel like I have been on a never ending quest for the perfect concealer.  Many formulas have let me down in the past, so it’s a little frightening introducing a new one into my professional makeup kit. I decided to take the plunge and buy a range of shades of the MAC Pro Longwear Concealer. What initially intrigued me about the product was that it was a long wearing formula and it was a liquid, not a thick cream.

Will it cover dark circles?  Erase blemishes and discoloration?  Will it crease horribly?  Is it worth all the hype?

After testing on myself and clients, here’s what I discovered:

What I like:

  • It has a good amount of coverage. I like it for more of a medium coverage concealer, but it can be layered or applied on top of another concealer to make it full coverage.
  • Nice range of colors.
  • The matte finish is great. Depending on how oily your skin is, you may need to set it with a translucent powder.
  • Application for under the eyes is best with clean fingers or a concealer brush.  For a larger area of coverage, use a damp Beauty Blender sponge or synthetic foundation or concealer brush.
  • It mixes well with other products. Mixed with a light weight foundation, like MAC Face and Body, it makes a lovely medium coverage foundation. Blended with face lotion, it makes a nice tinted moisturizer.
  • Stays put. Once it’s set, it holds. Even survives sweaty situations.
  • The bottle is pretty small, but only using a small amount, it will last quite a while.

As you can see, quite a lot comes out with one pump.

What I don’t like:

  • With as concentrated as this formula is, the pump dispenses way too much at a time. Great for concealing a large area, but wasteful for small areas like under the eyes. The solution to this is to use a little sample container to pump a full pump into and use that for a few days. Ask for a sample container when purchasing if you go to the MAC store. Or, you can try to dispense it very gently and slowly so only a little comes out.
  • It can look a dry on some people, especially in the eye area. If that’s you, prep with a good eye cream.
  • It may crease unless set with a light dusting of a translucent powder.

Top row L to R: NC15, NW20, NW25. Bottom row L to R: NC35, NW35, NW40

The MAC Pro Longwear Concealer can definitely stay in my makeup kit for now. I think that it has mostly lived up to all the hype. I would give it 4 stars out of 5.  I hope you like it if you decide to try it out!

Birchbox June 2015 Review

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“Adventure is a State of Mind”

photo by tracysotirakis.com

 

Who doesn’t like adventure?  I sure do!   Is there a kayak in the box along with the beauty goodies?  Nope, just beauty products. (Rats, I really need a kayak!)

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 box this month:

Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo  .75 oz.

photo by tracysotirakis.com

 Birchbox description: “Weightless spray that refreshes sans residue, in the brand’s signature obliphica scent.”  Full size:  $21

I first encountered this brand at a beauty convention in Las Vegas where my friend made me go back to the booth several times to get their free trade show bags because they were so cute.  Over the years, I have sampled Amika’s products and they all work and smell great.  I hadn’t tried the dry shampoo and was really excited to receive one in the June box.  Yes, a small bottle of dry shampoo excites me.  The smell is really nice, not too perfumy or fruity.  Unlike some brands of dry shampoo, this one does not leave a white cast to your hair that you have to really scrub to make it go away.  Definitely a keeper and getting put into my pro hair styling kit for work.

Dr Jart+ BB Night Beauty Balm  .17 fl oz

photo by tracysotirakis.com

 Birchbox description From the Korean skincare pros, this BB cream delivers sheer coverage and fights signs of aging.”  Full size:  $38

When I got the sample, I thought “Oh cool, a night BB cream.”  I immediately put a little blob of it on the back of my hand to see what the deal was.  It was clear with little white beads, which looks kind of fun.  Then I spread it on my hand.  To my surprise, the white beads turned into a light beige color.  Maybe I looked at the product wrong.  Why would a “night” BB have color in it?  The product description says that “the color self adjusts when applied.  It’s even gentle enough to sleep in!”  Yeah, I’m not one of those women that doesn’t let anyone ever see her without makeup, even while sleeping, so I will not be using this sample at night.  Maybe I’ll mix it with some sunscreen for daytime use.  I really don’t see buying this product and using it as a night BB cream.  Color in a night product is just weird and wrong.  My pillow cases thank me in advance.

Marcelle Waterproof Eyeliner in Electric Blue  .028 oz

photo by tracysotirakis.com

 Birchbox description “This blendable waterproof eyeliner goes on smoothly and stays put all day.”  Full size:  $11

Yes, I have a ton of eyeliners, but I am always looking for a new great long lasting one that I can use on myself or throw in my pro makeup kit or set bag.  Of course I received the one color that would look a little too crazy on me, Electric Blue.  I tested it anyway, the 80’s are back right?  The Marcelle eyeliner is very creamy and easy to apply with no tugging on the eyelids.  I found that it was pretty long lasting and there was even a little leftover after washing my face.  It had a lot of staying power in my waterline also.  The color was very pretty (not necessarily on me) and would look awesome on someone with medium or darker skin tones.  I’m pretty impressed with the liner because of the creaminess and would be interested in buying some more basic colors for my kit.

Real Chemistry Luminous 3-Minute Peel  .17 fl oz

photo by tracysotirakis.com

 Birchbox description“This acid-free peel gently exfoliates for instantly softer, smoother, brighter skin.”  Full size:  $48

I read and re-read the instructions before using the peel, making sure I would do it right.  The bottle said to apply it in the shower, so that was my plan.  You are supposed to start with slightly damp skin, apply it, then massage it in.  The peel will activate and solids will form with your dead skin. Massage next for 2-3 minutes until all the gel has combined with the dead skin.

When I first spread it on my face it started to ball up almost immediately.  I kept massaging for a minute or so and then noticed that a lot of it had attached to the peach fuzz on my jawline.  No amount of scrubbing would get it off.  I had to resort to yanking the little balls of peel and peach fuzz off with my nails.  This was quite unpleasant so I will not be purchasing this product in the future.  A fail in my beauty book.  Sad face.  Sad face with less peach fuzz!

Supergoop! Everyday SPF 50 with Cellular Response Technology  .34 fl oz 

photo by tracysotirakis.com

 Birchbox description“This lightweight sunscreen provides water-resistant, SPF 50+ protection anywhere you need it.”  Full size:  $19-$48.

Many sunscreens are greasy and give off a white cast.  Not this one, it is oil free and rubs in easily.  Wonderful for everyday wear.  I did find that I really didn’t need much moisturizer under it, especially now in the summer.  If you are a little on the oily side, you could probably skip your moisturizer as well.  It also comes in a giant 18oz bottle with a pump for easy and convenient daily application.  This sunscreen will definitely go on my shopping list after I use up all the other sunscreens that I have now.  (My favorite face sunscreen is still CoTZ.)

L. Erickson Narrow Grab & Go Ponytail Holder  
Blonde/taupe color, 1 hair band

photo by tracysotirakis.com

 Birchbox description “We’ve added in this ponytail holder from L. Erickson for a chic pop of color.”  Full size:  $12

Socks, bobby pins and hair ties seem to fall into the same black hole, never to appear again.  Where do they go?  Another dimension?  Is there some other planet out there in another galaxy that is simply littered with single socks,bobby pins and hair ties?  I think so.  On this planet though, the L. Erickson hair band is cute and will make your pony tail look like you actually care about your hair style.  It even looks nice as a bracelet because of the bead.  My long hair held well during a furious kickboxing workout, which is the ultimate test.  I will definitely keep using it until it gets transported through the black hole to the “sock, bobby pin, hair tie” world.

So that’s my Birchbox June 2015 review.  I’m pretty happy with my samples this month.  Let’s face it, you’re not going to love every single product, every single month.  It is definitely fun trying out new beauty goodies though.  Looking forward to next month’s treasures!

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

Tracy’s Makeup

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CoTZ Face Natural Skin Tone Sunscreen SPF 40 Review

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Looking for a new face sunscreen?  Try my favorite!

 

I discovered this gem about a year ago on my quest to find a sunscreen for daily wear that would:

  1. Not make me look like a pasty white ghost, I’m pale enough, thanks.
  2. Give me a matte finish.
  3. Work well under full makeup, as I usually like to stay away from the “melted face” look.

What CoTZ Face Natural Skin Tone Sunscreen SPF 40 is all about:

  • It’s a 100% natural mineral sunscreen.
  • 100% free of oils, chemical sunscreens, preservatives, fragrances, parabens, PABA, gluten, phythalates.
  • Silky, sheer matte formula.  Glides on smoothly and does not look oily or greasy.
  • Lightly tinted, no white cast.  Good for most skin tones but they do have an un-tinted version if your skin is very fair.
  • Works well under makeup, feels similar to a makeup primer.
  • Does not sting the eyes or skin.  Great for sensitive skin.
  • Provides broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection.
  • Water and sweat resistant. 
  • No heavy sunscreen scent.

Ingredients:  titanium dioxide (8%), zinc oxide (3.8%) ,
Alumina, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Dimethicone Crosspolymer,
Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Dimethiconol, Lauryl
PEG/PPG-18/18 Methicone, Methicone, PEG-10 Dimethicone

I purchased it at ULTA for $19.99 and probably used a coupon because they always have coupons.  ULTA puts it on sale sometimes or will do a buy one, get one 50% off promotion as well.  Amazon also carries it for about $25.50.  The CoTZ website also sells it.  You may freak out at the price, but it’s totally worth it to save your face from the damaging rays of the sun.  The tube is 1.5 oz and may seem small but you don’t really need a ton of it to cover your face.  It spreads very easily.

The color outside in sunlight
The color outside in the shade

 

Fully rubbed in outside in sunlight
Fully rubbed in outside in the shade

As you can see, right out of the tube the color appears to be to dark for my fair/light skin tone, but when rubbed in, the color blends nicely.

I like to wear the CoTZ Face Sunscreen by itself for activities not requiring makeup (the horror!) or under makeup when I have to look presentable.  Because of the tint, you may not even need foundation, depending on how much coverage you like.  It helps to let it set for a few minutes before applying foundation over it.  At the end of the day, even with full makeup on top of the sunscreen, my skin looks great and I don’t look greasy and melted, even in the Las Vegas summer heat.  Hooray!

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John Frieda Salon Shape Hot Air Brush Review

Yes ladies, it’s totally possible to do a quality blowout at home thanks to one of these handy hot air brushes.  No need for a separate hair dryer and round brush, this guy is both tools in one.

My hair is pretty straight and I normally either wear it curly or in a knot on the top of my head.  But, being a makeup artist and hair stylist, I am sometimes asked to do a blowout on a client’s hair.  I have a full arsenal of makeup and hair supplies that I lug around on a daily basis, but any tool that makes my job easier (and looks cool) is a definite must have.

The specs on the John Frieda Salon Shape Hot Air Brush:

 

 

  • Lightweight
  • Low, High and Cool Settings
  • Professional length swivel cord
  • 500 Watts
  • Advanced ionic conditioning
  • True ceramic heater
  • Ceramic Titanium coated barrel
  • 2 sizes of bristles that comb through the hair easily
  • Available in either 1 inch or 1.5 inch barrels

I purchased the 1.5 inch at ULTA for $39.99 along with a coupon.  I was desperate and needed it that day.  It’s cheaper on Amazon.

How to use:

  • Make sure your hair is 80-90% dry (very important, it may take a while if your hair is not mostly dry)
  • Distribute your favorite heat protecting product into the hair (I like John Frieda Frizz Ease and Tresemme Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Spray)
  • Separate your hair into sections.
  • Start with the bottom portion, begin running the brush through small sections of the hair.  It may take 3-4 passes to fully dry it.
  • Work your way through the sections toward the top of the head and around your face.
  • For volume, lift up the brush at your roots, really working it in to create lift.
  • To curl the ends, curl the hair around the hot brush, blast it with either the low or hot setting (depending on your hair) for a few seconds, then switch it to cool for 5 seconds or longer to set the curl.  Turn the hot brush off and release the hair.

     

  • Practice working the brush at different angles to create the look that you want.

My first time using this on a client made me a little nervous in the beginning.  Of course, I tested the dryer rigorously beforehand on myself, making sure that it could handle the job and not explode in my hand.  I applied product to the client’s hair and rough dried it with a regular hair dryer.  Then I dove in with the John Frieda Hot Air Brush.  My client was chatting with her producer while I was doing her hair, speaking in French the whole time so I had no idea what they were talking about.  After about ten minutes into the hot air brush styling, the producer (a lady) started making oohhing and aahhing sounds, which I took as a good sign.  As soon as I put the hot air brush down for a second to re-section the hair, the producer grabbed the hot air brush and told me how wonderful it was (in English) and asked where could she buy it.  Needless to say, the client’s hair looked great when I was finished and they both thought I was a genius with this incredible tool.

The Cons:

  • The handle and settings switch can get a little slippery if you still have some serum or product still on your hands.  I may modify mine with some strips of grip tape or sand paper tape.
  • It takes a little practice flipping through the different settings with your thumb, the more you get used to it, the easier it is.
  • This particular brush does not rotate on it’s own, may be a con for some but for me, I like it better.
  • Yes, you’re going to see some hairs in the brush after you are done.  What brush doesn’t have hair in it after use?

The John Frieda Salon Shape Hot Air Brush is best for ladies who want a great looking blowout at home without the hassle of a round brush and heavy hair dryer.  It also costs way less than going to the salon on a constant basis.  Of course, keep your natural hair in mind if you are thinking about buying this hot air brush.  If you have extremely curly hair, this may not work as well for you.  It will work for pretty much all other types of hair.  The John Frieda Salon Shape Hot Air Brush will definitely be a permanent part of my hair styling kit.  I hope you like it as much as I do!

Lancome Artliner Eyeliner Ice Black Review

My new best friend, Lancome Artliner in Ice Black

I used to order a lot of makeup online from a French beauty company and got completely hooked on one of their products.  I used it daily and could not find anything else to replace it.  It was a liquid eyeliner with a flexible foam tip applicator in a beautiful shade of shimmery taupe.  It looked absolutely beautiful with all shades of eye shadow and stayed on all day, even in the heat and humidity.

One fateful day, I received an email from the French beauty company saying that they no longer were going to be selling/shipping to the United States and Canada.  My heart sank.  I immediately ordered a few eyeliners and shed a tear or two.  Yes, I cried over eyeliner.

Fast forward to today and those last eyeliners are long gone.  My search has been never ending, online and in the stores.  Nothing has had the same color, consistency or applicator.

 On a recent trip to Sephora, I was wandering around in the Lancome section and low and behold, there it was.  Artliner, Precision Point Eyeliner in Ice Black.  I roll my eyes at whoever named it Ice Black.  No wonder I couldn’t find it.  The color almost perfectly matches my original French eyeliner, the lovely shade of pearly taupe.  It’s just so darned pretty.
Ice Black color swatch

The great thing about Ice Black is that it looks awesome with every eye color and works for day or night makeup.  Artliner’s foam tip applicator makes it very easy to use, even for beginner liquid eyeliner users.

The only downside to this liner is that is costs $30 USD, but it will last a long time.  That’s better than wasting a ton of money on other junk liners that don’t have the payoff that Artliner does.  I’ll pay it again and again.

If you happen to be in the market for a new liquid eyeliner, definitely check Artliner out.  It will be your new favorite too!