Hauls, Reviews

Woman Seeking: The April Boxycharm

I recieved this month’s Boxycharm a little later than normal, through no fault of the company. You see, when I moved I didn’t think about forwarding my mail or packages, so it went to my parent’s house. No one mentioned that it had arrived and I forgot about it until a week ago. But it’s in my possession now! Yay! 

  
The April Bloom box was awesome! Once again, this month’s included products that could be varied from box to box. As I’ve mentioned before, I dislike this practice. From what I’ve seen, there were a two different scents of perfume, two different highlighters (either a shimmer brick or a loose mineral powder), and either a dual sided lip pencil or dual sided eye pencil, or a lipgloss. I’ve also seen some boxes with a Jang Ai jumbo lip crayon instead of the lip or eye pencil. I am not a fan of the variations because I think it can produce “product envy,” where you wish you had gotten the color someone else got. I especially don’t like that not only could the product be varied (ex: an Ofra powder or brick), but there was a trio of different brands you could receive for your third product (Vincent Longo, Model Co, or Jang Ai). All products were at the same price point, and I suppose you can only do so much with what you have, but this strangely bothers me. That being said, I would have been pleased with any of the different choices, and luckily I’m very happy with the ones put in my box!

  
Coolway Smoothing Lotion (full size) – this was the product I was least excited about,ms imply because I don’t usually have an issue with frizz. My hair is fine, thing, and stick straight, so I try to be careful with using products in it even when I do need a little something. The packaging makes it look cheap, like something you’d get off an infomercials do the pump is such that I couldn’t stop it mid pump, so I will pump out more than I need every time, which is a waste. The product itself is pretty nice. It comes out as a light milky gel, and instantly transforms to a slippery, watery-like consistency. I haven’t put it to use on my hair yet, but it dried quickly on my wrist and feels light enough to use on my hair without making it feel or look greasy or crispy. It also smells nice…kind of sweet, like a Spree. Not the worst product, not the best. To me, even if I get a product I dislike, the rest of the box more than makes up for the dud, so I have yet to feel as if I didn’t get my money’s worth. Also included was a promo code for the Coolway Hair website worth 35% off your purchase plus a free Knotty Girl brush (BOXY4U if you’re interested. Valid through May 15). 

  
OFRA Derma Mineral Powder in Pink Sapphire (full size) – I had a tough time capturing this with my iPhone but this powder is beautiful. I tried to show a thick swatch, an eyeshadow amount, and then blended in. Even though you can spot individual shimmer specks with your eyes (at least in person) , the powder is so fine and soft and blended in all at the same time. This will make such a pretty inner corner or lid shade, as well as a body shimmer when used with a fluffy brush. I’m not one that is big into cheek highlights, but if you are then this is definitely a ba-bam highlighter for you! A little goes a LONG way (my thick swatch is just my finger swiped around what was on the inside of the cap!) so I doubt I will finish this product in my lifetime. Two weird things 1) it’s promoted as a loose powder with natural sunscreen, yet nowhere on the box or product do I see an SPF level, which leads me to believe it’s so minimal it’s not worth labeling. If it’s going to be promoted as containing sunscreen, it should contain enough sunscreen to count. I know this is a common practice (many drinks claim to be “made with real juice” when a quick look at the label will reveal it contains 1% juice) but I never understand it. 2) The box says it’s “not labeled for sale in the State of California.” So odd. I wonder why?

  
Vincent Longo Duo Lip Pencil in Maple/Spring Rose (full size) – I love these colors! Sprin Rose is a light nude and perfect for his time of year, while the Maple will be great come fall and winter. This is such a good pencil for traveling as it gives you options yet takes up no extra space. You could also combine them for a subtle ombré or contoured lip. I tested this quickly before washing my face for the night, and it applied smoothly and seemed to be a fairly creamy formula. 

  
Harvey Prince Mini Roller Fragrance (mini) in Hello EDP – This was my second favorite product in the box. The packaging is so cute and chic with the black outside and pop of orange inside with the HP logo and carriage sprinkled around. I love when the INSIDE of a package has decoration. To me it shows attention to detail and makes it feel so lucky. The sleek black and glass rollerball feels very sophisticated as well. And the scent! It is right up my alley. It’s a fresh, citrusy floral scent that reminds me of Clinique’s Happy without being some kind of knock off. I’m very pleased and definitely see myself using this up. 

  
Coastal Scents Revealed 2 Palette (full size) – I, along with many, consider this to be the pièce de résistance. I’ve seen and heard about Coastal Scents for a while now, but couldn’t bring myself to order something I had no experience with, so I was so happy to see this included. Many say this has dupe shades for Urban Decay’s Naked 3 palette, so I was even more excited because I was considering using one of my UD gift cards to buy the Naked 3 just a week before. The colors is watched were so pigmented and beautiful. It’s also very slim and not too big, meaning I could take this on aa trip without having it be outside of my makeup bag. The packaging is simple cardboard, so I will have to  take care not to squish it. Seven of the twenty colors are matte, including a light creamish shade, a black, a variety of browns, and a gorgeous cranberry. So. Much. Yes!

April’s box continues my love for Boxycharm. I don’t know how they manage to ale money when I paid $21 total (which covers any taxes and shipping) for this month’s box worth $146.90! Yes, there are some quirks that aren’t my personal favorite (the variety of products different people get), but the box itself is top notch. I can’t wait for next month. I’ve been having problems changing my address online and have had to email Customer Service (there is no phone number available to contact them, they truly are online only) and I’m curious to see how their CS operates. Hopefully everything gets resolved easy prays because so far I’m a huge fan of Boxycharm!

XOXO, WSM

Update: Not even a full two hours after contacting Boxycharm’s Customer Service, I received a reply that they had fixed my shipping address! I’m highly impressed because it is Friday, and the little confirmation pop up I got when I sent my email said to expect a reply within 24-72 business hours. Thank you Venus and the Boxycharm team!

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Woman Seeking: The Perfect Palette Non-Tag Tag

I saw this tag floating around on YouTube, and thought it was such an interesting idea. So I decided to do it, blog style. I’ve had a crazy couple of days, and for that reason I didn’t get any pictures of the palettes mentioned…sad face! But if you’re up for some old school reading and curious as to what my picks are, continue on, my friend! 

Best Packaging – I‘m not sure if these really count as palettes, but I have two quads that I’m impressed with every single time I use them. The first is from Estée Lauder and the second is from Clinique, and I received each as a bonus gift with purchase when buying some other product at some point in time. I don’t use them too often, but they’ve lasted forever and are amazing quality not only in terms of product but the packaging for the samples are great as well. They’re literally just mini little shrunken eyeshadow quads. The Clinique is a white case with Clinique written in silver on the bottom edge, and the other is the signature Estée Lauder blue with the gold EL emblem in the center of the lid. The colors are neutral with ivories, bronze, pink,and olive. So pretty. Seriously, every time I use one I’m taken aback by how good these are. 

Best Color Payoff – I have to give it to my Urban Decay Naked Basics palette. The matte colors are so pigmented and soft without being too powdery. I’ve used this for eyeshadow, brow filler, and in a pinch for contouring and the colors show up wonderfully. 

Most Versatile – This may be odd, but I think the Ultimate Contour Palette from Napoleon Perdis is the most versatile palette I own! It has a blush, bronzer, and highlighter which can be used as they are intended for, obviously. The bronzer and highlighter could also be used on the eyes to create a simple eye look, and the blush could be combined with a Lipbalm to create a lip color. That’s a lot of multitasking possibility in a pinch for such a little palette. 

Best for Traveling – Stila’s In the Buff palette is my go-to palette for traveling. It has an even mix of shimmer and matte shadows in natural, slightly pink toned hues, as well as an all over face shimmer and a bronzer. This cuts down on the amount of items I pack in my makeup kit, and is super slim and compact which makes it a dream for traveling. 

Biggest Regret – I included this is my post about makeup regrets which you can find here, but I will say once again that I super regret this NYX The Natural Eyeshadow palette. It wasn’t expensive, but the color payoff is terrible for every single color and I never use it. I may have even thrown it out since this post, but this always comes to mind when I think of regretting a palette. 

Best Color Names – The Chocolate Bar eyeshadow palette by Too Faced is probably the palette I’m happiest with in terms of color names. I know I’m definitely in the minority here, but it drives me crazy when I have not even a hint of an idea as to what color a product is simply by reading the name (I’m looking at you, Urban Decay!). If I owned the Lorac Pro palette, I would have picked that as my favorite because the names are incredibly straight forward, no guessing needed…but I do not. I think the Chocolate Bar comes close with cute names that are at least related to the color it’s being used for. Strawberry Bon Bon? Probably some shade of strawberry (it’s pink). Haute Chocolate? Maybe a fancy shade of brown (it’s a shimmery brown). And some colors, like White Chocolate, Semi Sweet, and Hazelnut, are the exact color as would be the food item by the same name. I dig it. 

Least Used – I purchased the Art in the Streets eyeshadow palette from Wet n Wild to see I would actually use brighter colors before plunking down the cash for Urban Decay’s Electric palette, and I’m so glad I did…because I never use it. Ever. I keep thinking I will use it to add a pop of color on my lower lash line but it hasn’t happened yet. I’m going to try to use it that way sometime soon though! The colors are really nice, especially for spring and summer. 

Most Used – This is a tie between NYC’s Long Beach Sands trio and Urban Decay’s Naked Basics. If I don’t know what to do, or I don’t want to think about it, I will grab one of these two eyeshadow palettes. It just depends if I’m feeling ore matte or metallic. I’ve had the NYC trio longer than I’ve had the UD, so I guess technically it is my most used, but if you averaged out use and ownership period, I think it’d be pretty even. 

Most Loved – I have a soft spot for my Urban Decay Feminine eyeshadow palette. It was my very first highend eyeshadow palette, and one of my first high end makeup purchases. And I got it on sale! Although if you know me this isn’t a huge shock. 

Desert Island – If I could only bring one palette with me to a desert island, I would bring my 144 shadow palette from ELF. It has an incredibly variety of shades, and although the quality can be hit and miss, there are considerably more hits than misses. Plus, being 144 shadows it will take me forever to hit pan on the entire thing, ensuring my eyes will be gorgeous no matter how long I’m stuck on this island where figuring out which palette to bring with me is my only concern. 

I have a couple more palettes or quads (seriously, what constitutes a palette?!) that I wish I could mention, but alas they didn’t fit any of the catagories. What are some of your favorite palettes? I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

XOXO, WSM

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Woman Seeking: 10 Under $10 – Body

Well, we’ve come to the third and final part of this week’s 10 Under $10 series! If you need to get caught up, you can find the first part – Makeup – here, and the second part – Skincare – here. As I’ve said before, each item on the list costs $10 USD or less before any discounts, coupons, or taxes. I haven’t included any specific prices, as they can vary from place to place, but I went based on the price I would pay at my local store At the time of posting. Today I’m going over ten items for the body, including hair and nails. Let’s get started!

  

  1.  Mario Badescu A. H. A. Botanical Body Soap – This is the best wash to help keep my body acne at bay. It doesn’t smell that great, but it’s not awful either, though occasionally I’ll mix this with a couple drops of my yummy smelling body washes for a bit of an extra boost. It’s a mild formula, however, that works well without drying my skin out. This comes in two sizes, and while the large 16 oz. DOES cost over $10, the 8 oz. is under, and I’ve only ever purchased the smaller size so I decided that it would be okay to include it!                   
  2. Tree Hut Shea Sugar Scrub – I like this scrub because it’s exfoliating without being painful, and also leaves my skin with a bit of hydration. Even though it contains oils, I am still able to use this prior to self tanning.  I’ve only ever tried the Hawaiian Kukui scent (which I love and can’t seem to stray from), but there are a half a dozen options available.              
  3. Batiste Dry Shampoo – I don’t like washing my hair every day, but on the days I don’t wash I need something to help my hair look fresh. This dry shampoo soaks up excess oil without overdrying my scalp. It also comes in a few different scent – my favorites are Wild and Blush.           
  4. L’Oreal Total Repair 5 Restoring Shampoo – When I do shampoo my hair, I use this to clean without damaging it. It smells great without being overpowering, and never leaves my hair feeling stripped or squeaky. I haven’t found a basic shampothat o I’ve liked or has worked this well for me in a couple of years, and I’m terrified of my hair “getting used to it” and it losing its effectiveness. Anyone else know what I mean, or how to avoid that?                     
  5. Revlon Crazy Shine Nail Buffer – I wear nail polish 90% of the time due to my bad habit of biting my nails (which wearing nail polish somehow helps me not do), once in a while I do like to let my nails breathe inbetween polish sessions. Since I still want my nails to look nice, I like to use this baby to give my nails shine for a faux clear polish look. It really does give your nails that much shine. It’s easy to use and works quickly, which is great for me, because not only am I impatient, but I don’t want to spend to much time staring at my unpolished nails or I’ll start to pick and bite.             
  6. Josie Maran BearNaked Nail Wipes – Chipped and peeling nailpolish drives me insane, so having these handy little wipes is a dream come true. While the picture is just an empty packet of a sample I used the other night, the real product comes in a jar of 20 wipes. The ingredients are nourishing without leaving your fingers feeling greasy or oily, meaning if I want, I can apply a fresh coat of polish right away. One pad is enough for all of my fingers, and they don’t have the typical nail polish remover odor, making them perfect to keep in my pursers use if I have an issue while I’m out and about. I can remove my nail polish without suffocating those around me.                  
  7. Wet N Wild Wild Shine Clear Nail Protector – If you’re looking for a cheap top coat, try this one on for size. The Brian isn’t too wide or narrow for my nails, and the formula isn’t too thick or liquidy. It keeps my polish shiny and chip free for days, even if I have a crappy polish on underneath. I’m terrible about reapplying my topcoat every 2-3 days, and this one helps me get away with my laziness. When I need a basic, no frills topcoat that will just WORK, I will always reach for this.                
  8. Bath & Body Works PocketBac – While I do keep a bottle of Germ-X in my car door, these PocketBac’s are my favorite antibacterial hand gels. I only need a small amount and the bottle pits in even my smallest purse. They come in dozens of different scents, though be warned – like most BBW products they are heavily perfumed, so I don’t recommend using these in a small or crowded space!          
  9. Lush Butterball Bath Bomb – If you enjoy baths or are interested in testing out a Lush product, I highly recommend this bath bomb. The scent is a mix of vanilla and ylang ylang, which is cozy without being suffocating. It’s perfect for rehydrating your skin, as it has bits of cocoa butter in it, and I rarely feel the need to use lotion after a Butterball bath.   
  10. Dr. Teal’s Soften & Nourish Epsom Salt Soaking Solution – Epsom salts have a ton of benefits, and can be used in multiple ways. I usually use it as a bath soak, or mixed with a bit of body wash or oil to use as an in shower scrub. This scent is so comforting and relaxing…I love to throw this in the bath and then shut the bathroom door for a bit so the fragrance fills the room. Dr. Teal’s salts come in a few other varieties, but the Soften & Nourish formula is me favorite. 

Some of these are favorites for the price, and some of these are favorites regardless of price, but all are great products to check out. I hope you enjoyed this week’s series! Let me know in the comments, and include YOUR favorite Under $10 products as well!

XOXO, WSM

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Woman Seeking: 10 Under $10 – Skincare

Aaand we’re back! In case you missed it, this week I’m doing a 10 Under $10 series featuring makeup, skin, and body products that cost less then $10 each. Each product costs $10 USD or less before any discounts, coupons, or taxes and I based it on what I would pay at my local store. However, I’m not including prices, since prices may vary in different stores and areas. I’ve already posted about the 10 Under $10 – Makeup article, which you can go back and read here, and today I’ll be talking Skincare. Without further ado, here it is!                   

  

  1. Neutrogena Ultra Gentle face wash – Available in both creamy and foaming formulas, this cleanser is my go-to drugstore cleanser. It cleans without overdrying, and is gentle enought to use around my eye area (carefully!). I only need one pump to do the job, so the 12 fl. oz. bottle will last quite a while, helping my get the most for my  money. 
  2. ELF Blemish Stick – With 1% Salcylic Acid, I love to throw this in my purse if I’m having a particularly bad skin week. It’s so cheap, I’m not upset if I lose it and need to replace it, unlike some of my other treatments that cost a biiit more. While the rollerball application method isn’t the most hygenic, if you are careful to apply to clean skin or replace regularly it shouldn’t be too much of an issue. I prefer to roll a bit on my (clean) finger and then apply, as opposed to applying straight to my face.         
  3. Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater – If you follow my blog at all than this pick is no surprise. This is my all time favorite facial spray. It helps with hydration and slightly calms down my skin as well. I use this both under and over facial lotion, as well as by itself. I have used this over makeup too, if I’m looking a bit powdery, although it is NOT meant to prolong makeup.            
  4. Sephora Sheet Mask in Rose – This was the first sheet mask I tried, and I was very impressed. It added moisture (ugh that word!) back into my skin without clogging the pores of my acne prone skin. After use my skin felt softer, and the results lasted a couple of days. Plus there is a ton of serum, or gel, in the packet, so you can use the extra on your neck and décolletage. 
  5. ELF Eye Refresh – Ok, I’ll be honest, this is nothing special. If you’re looking for something to really benefit the skin and/or help with dark circles this is not for you. However, if you’re looking for something soothing to perk your eyes up a bit, this is great. I use it when I’m feeling tired or hot (this is so handy in the summer). The metal rollerball feels wonderful on the skin and doesn’t tug or get caught up. I needed a no frills eye roller, and this works great for me for the time being.            
  6. Freeman Beauty Charcoal & Black Sugar Facial Polishing Mask – Long name, great product. Freeman Beauty has great face masks in general, b I like this one because of its dual purpose. Not only can I use this as a regular face mask, but I can also use it as an exfoliator if my skin is feeling extra rough. It is one of the more harsher scrubs, so I try to be extra gentle and rub it onto my skin very gently as not to aggravate or scrape my skin, but when I need a good scrub this does the job wonderfully.          
  7. Water bottle – Like how I snuck this in here? Drinking enough water is the quickest way for me to improve my skin. Water bottles can be bought at almost any store and come in a variety of different styles for a huge range of price points. My favorite water bottles at the moment are from Camelbak (I think I got it at Target? Or my local bicycle shop) and Rove (I got it as a gift but I’ve seen them at TJ Maxx). I cannot stress enough how important it is to drink water, so make sure to include a water bottle into your beauty budget!             
  8. Lush Lip Scrub – If you’re in the market for a lip scrub, give this one a try. It’s grainy formula is perfect for sloughing away dead skin, and it’s ease of use is a winner with me. You simply apply it with your finger and rub it all over, and then lick it off! I have this in Bubblegum, but it also comes in Mint and Popcorn, as well as the occasional limited edition flavor at certain times of the year. I may or may not have put some of this one, then left my house and got in my car before rubbing and scrubbing and removing it.             
  9. Neutrogena Clear Face sunscreen – If you are worried about sunscreen clogging your pores and causing a breakout, worry no more. I discovered this last summer and have used it ever since, and not a single zit I have can be blamed on this product. Wearing sunscreen year round is important, but people forget. So here is your reminder! It’s spring and that means summer is right around the corner. The sun is closer (literally), so even if it’s a cloudy day, make sure to slap some of this on every few hours.           
  10. Boscia Blotting Linens – Perhaps a little pricy for an oil absorbing sheet, I love these. My favorites are the Charcoal. I prefer these to a really popular drugstore option because these aren’t as obvious in showing how much oil is removed. While some really love watching the little blue sheet turn clear, I find it super embarrassing, so these are a much better option. If you look closely, you can see where it’s clean vs where it’s used, but people around you couldn’t. These also smell wonderful. 

Sorry about the lack of pictures for the ELF products! I keep them packed in my travel bag, which I don’t have handy. Look for an edit sometime soon! Either way, the ten products listed above are all great options for those on a budget, or even for those not on a budget in many cases. Skincare is one area to splurge in if possible, in my opinion, but if a product is effective then who cares what it costs? Keep an eye out for the last part in this series, where I highlight 10 Under $10 for the body, including hair and nails! 

XOXO, WSM

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Woman Seeking: The Lowdown on Boxycharm

A few months ago I subscribed to my first (and only) beauty subscription box. Beauty box subscriptions seem to be all the rage these days, and for good reason. Beauty boxes allow a person to try out products for a discounted price. There are dozen of different box services, which can feature nail, makeup, hair, skin, and bath products in both travel and/or full sizes at a variety of price points. After a lot of research, I finally decided to subscribe to Boxycharm. I received my third box today, and decided to do a little review on my experience thus far. 

Boxycharm delivers 4-5 products to your door every month for $21. The products are nearly all full size, with one travel or sample size. The brands featured are brands that I usually haven’t heard of before, although there are products from more widely known brands included as well. Boxes are shipped out and received around the mid or later part of the month. Boxes are themed, which is fun, but because  the boxes are sent so late it can sometimes conflict or defeat the purpose of the theme. For example, February’s box was Valentine themed, including a heart filled nailpolish. Except, almost no one got their package in time for Valentine’s Day, the perfect time to wear that polish. So depending on how picky you are, that could be a bother. You receive an email letting you know your box has been shipped, and it includes a tracking code so you can follow its progress. I really like that feature. I always track my packages and while some companies are awesome at this, others don’t have this option, or it takes a day or two for the tracking to finally activate. The moment I receive the email I can begin tracking my box. So far, each box I have received has had a value of over $100. This is an incredible deal and I don’t know how the company manages it, but I’m not complaining! Included in the box is a product description for each item, and its value. I like that for the travel or sample sized item, the company includes the value of the sample, as opposed the price for the full sized version of the sample product. Did that make sense? I hope so. 

There is also a reward system of sorts. You can collect “Charms” and redeem the for an extra product included in your next box. The product choice and value is available online, so it’s not a mystery grab or anything. You gain Charms by reviewing items, being a loyal customer (if you are an active customer for three consecutive months, that qualifies you as a loyal customer which gets you the bonus points, and this continues every three months), promoting on social media using the link provided online, or referring others (for example, my referral code is VXZvY212bklja2FBbUc0UGNhMVlubU9Rb0ZNN3MrZ1cyQ1NrZ01ZSnJnYz0= which is insanely long but what you can enter at checkout if you feel like it. I included a link at the bottom with my referral URL which is way more simple!). 

As I mentioned, I’ve received a total of three boxes so far. To give you an idea of what’s included, I’ll give you mini rundown of my previous boxes. 

January – Celebrate in Style ($124 USD value)

  • Beauty For Real – The Perfect Lip Pencil (full size)
  • Beauty For Real – True Color Lip Cream in Always There (full size) 
  • Mirabella – Face Prime (full size)
  • Pur-Lisse – Skin Sparkle Flash Tattoos (one sheet)
  • Tarte Maracuja Bronzing Serum (full size)

February – Kisses from Boxycharm ($68 USD + $36.99 CAD value) (<- They didn’t calculate the exchange rate for one apparently Canadian item, and I’m too lazy to do it myself!)

  • Modern Minerals – Duo Fiber Mini Round Brush (full size)
  • Mullein & Sparrow – Mini Facial Mask (deluxe)
  • ncLA – Nail Lacquer in Heart Attack (full size)
  • Jing Ai – Velvet Shine Lip Jewel (full size)
  • Mistura Beauty Solutions – C2P Complextion Corrector (full size)

March – Lucky Charm ($112 USD value)

  • Oscar Blandi – Hair Product (I received the Dry Shampoo) (travel size)
  • OFRA – Eyeliner (full size)
  • LVX – Nail Laquer (full size)
  • Tarte – Lipsurgence Lip Tint in Charmed (full size)
  • Previse – Nutrify Skin Type 1-6 Universal Tonic (full size)

One of the things that drew me to Boxycharm is that everyone gets the same items. There is no quiz to take that matches you up with a certain selection. Now, I understand that this could be a minus for some folks, as it means you may receive products that aren’t catered to you and won’t work with your specific coloring, skin type, or skin tone. For me, I enjoy the fact that I am not looking at what else someone got in their box and wondering how I have to answer to get their products instead of what I got. Both February and this month, however, did include random color selections, meaning (for example) someone could get one color and someone else could get the same product but in a different color. While I loved the color I got for the Jing Ai lip crayon (mine was Rasberry Ice, a beautiful pinky red), and Oscar Blandi hair product (so happy I got dry shampoo and not mousse, which was an other option), I’m indifferent about the LVX color (I got Lemondrop, which is ok, but I would have preferred the coral or mint instead) and am bummed by my OFRA eyeliner (I got Light Beige, which is such a weird color for my light self but would have been great for someone darker. I’m hoping to use it as a base for glitter liner or to make colors pop). I hope this random selection trend doesn’t continue too much. We all got the same color Lipsurgence and flash tattoos, which is the kind of thing I like. That way if I don’t like it, I simply don’t like it, as opposed to thinking “dang I wish I had gotten the other choice instead!” Knowing there was another option makes me feel like I’m missing out or wishing I could exchange it, while knowing everyone got the item and I simply don’t like it is somehow ok with me. 

Some of my favorite items thus far is the Tarte Maracuja Bronzing Serum, the Pur-Lisse flash tattoos, the mini round brush, the Jing Ai lip crayon, the Oscar Blandi dry shampoo, and the Tarte Lipsurgance tint. This isn’t to say I don’t like the other items, these are just the ones I’ve appreciated the most. There have been only two items so far that I really disliked, which I don’t think is too bad. 

What do you think? Are you subscribed to any beauty boxes? Are you interested in reading my thoughts each month when I receive my Boxycharm? Let me know in the comments!

XOXO, WSM

Click here to check out the Boxycharm site for yourself for more info or to sign up! The link is for my referral URL, just so you know =D If you don’t feel like using my code, you can simple Google “Boxycharm” or enter it in your search bar. This post wasn’t sponsored and all opinions are my own, on boxes I spent my own money to receive, for the record. 

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Empties

Woman Seeking: February Empties

February was a long month. It was cold, it was snowy, and it was windy. For only being 28 days, it’s the longest feeling month I’ve experienced in a minute. I’m so happy to be moving into March. For now, here are my thoughts on the products I managed to use up this month.



Yes to Carrots Lip Butter in Sweet Fig – I am so on the fence as to how to review this. I loved this for a few weeks. The smell is unique and nice, and I felt like it was decently hydrating. I have to throw this out, though, because it is like…melting. Just like real butter. I feel like it is a product meant to be sold in a jar, but the company tried to put it in a tube to make it more marketable since many people don’t like jars? I’m completely making that up and have no idea if that did or did not happen, but it’s confusing. I’m actually going to depot this into an empty jar I have and see if I can get some more use out of it that way so it’s not a total loss. Not sure if that makes this really count as am empty? But either way, I won’t repurchase since it’s a good but average lip balm, and not worth deporting and such every single time. 



Bare Essentials Handi Buki brush – I have had this brush for so long. It is OLD. It seems like it’s still a sturdy brush, but I think it just needs to go for hygenic reasons (I got this way before I knew or cared about brush maintenance). The bristles are starting to break and fall out a bit anyways. It was a great brush, but for some reason I’m never very interested in even looking at more brushes from this brand. I won’t be repurchasing. 



Johnson’s No More Tangles Detangling Spray – I’ve been buying this for yearsss, but lately I’ve felt like this just wasn’t doing anything for me. I have fine, thin hair, and in the past a couple sprays of this left my hair so easy to comb through and smelling wonderful, but this time I felt like I was putting water in my hair. I’m not sure if they changed the formula or what. I won’t be repurchasing it, sadly. 



Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition Fortifying Conditioner – I expected this conditioner to be a little too heavy for my hair, and actually don’t really know why I bought it, but I am SO glad I did. I think it’s my favorite conditioner out of any conditioner I’ve ever used. It’s cheap, it’s thick, and it conditions without ever weighing down my hair or leaving me looking or feeling greasy. And the smell! I have no idea how to describe it but it smells so good. I never used it this way, but I also think this is one of those conditioners you could leave in extra long and use as a deep conditioning hair mask as well. I actually didn’t pick this up when I went to the store, because it was sold out and I had a coupon for the store I was at, so I just bought the conditioner that was supposed to go along with the shampoo I was purchasing. Biggest regret ever. As soon as I can get through this bottle of average conditioner (to be fair it doesn’t suck, it simply just isn’t as good) I will buy the Garnier again. 



Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Daily Cleanser – This is one of two cleansers I always fall back on. It cleans without over drying, and the price is right. For more info on skincare and cleansers, checkout Part One of my Skincare Series from January, Cleansers & Exfoliants, here



Too Faced Cocoa Powder Foundation in Light Medium – I received a sample of this powder with an order, and got two uses out of it before it was gone. I never used this alone, but instead used it over my liquid foundation and BB cream as more of a setting powder. While I didn’t hate it, I don’t think it was anything special. I have other powders that give the exact same results. I will not purchase a full size of this, but if this was a sample choice on a future order, I would pick it simply because it did set my face well, and samples like this are perfect for traveling. 



Marc Jacobs Honey – This is just a little sample, and I have at least two more sample vials of this because for a while there beauty stores were handing this out like candy, but I’m ok with it because this smells really nice. I’m a huge fan of Marc Jacobs fragrances in general, though oddly I don’t own any bottles or ever rollerballs of any of his scents. I would purchase this in the future. 



Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs & Rosewater – Yet another bottle of this in an empties post. I love this stuff. I didn’t repurchase because I have a small stash of this built up that I need to use before I buy more, but I definitely will be repurchasing when the time comes. 



Soap & Glory Sugar Crush Moisture Extreme Body Buttercream – I’ve never used Soap & Glory body products before, although I love their foot cream, so I was excited to use this sample. There was enough in the packet to easily use on both of my legs, which is were I usually use body butters or thicker lotions. This was such a nice lotion. It went on easily and sank it, but I could still feel it on my legs. Not in a greasy way, just in an “oh my gosh my legs are so hydrated and soft” way. It’s thick, but the texture is somewhat a whipped texture, which is really interesting! It smells heavily of lime, but not like lime in a margarita, as it’s a bit more sweet than that. Perhaps Key Lime Pie? Soap & Glory I think is known for their unique scents, so it’s hard for me to describe. I’m personally not a huge fan of the scent, and would pick another type of this lotion of it was available (it’s not). But I would use this if someone gave it to me. This lotion has made me interested in other body creams from this brand, and although technically I’m not sure if I would repurchase this, I’m going to say I will simply because I really loved this, and the only thing holding me back is a personal preference regarding the scent!



Mario Badescu Special Cleansing Lotion “C” – Hated this. Straight up. It smells awful, it’s super strong, and it’s a higher maintenance cleansing lotion (aka toner) than any other kind I’ve used. Ok…all you have to do is shake the bottle so the sediment at the bottom mixes with the liquid, but still. Love MB products but every line has its weak spot, and for me, this is it. 



Batiste Dry Shampoo in Blush – I wanted to try Batiste dry shampoo because I’ve heard great things about it, but it’s fairly pricy so I picked up the travel size. For me, this lived up to the hype. It comes in a variety of scents and it leaves my hair looking normal whether it’s day two or even three of not washing, which is impressive because my hair is so fine and thin that it can look almost wet when not washed for three days without this. It does make my hair matte, because of the powder, but I expect that from any dry shampoo and it doesn’t bother me. If I need a little shine I use some Aussie Hi Shine Hairspray on top, or a little oil on my ends. This didn’t agitate my scalp at all either, which was a big worry for me. Heads up, the spray is pretty intense. I would suggest a test spray so you understand how forcefully it comes out before spraying it on your hair. I would also caution those with dark hair, because even with my light hair I had to make sure this was properly absorbed and rubbed in so I didn’t get a weird powdery grey look. I feel like those with darker hair might have a rough time unless they used this the night before. I’ve seen they have one for blondes, brunettes, and redheads….but I’ve also only read negative reviews on them (the color transfers). I have repurchased this in two scents, Blush and my absolute favorite scent: Wild. 



St. Ives Timeless Skin Collagen Elastin Moisturizer – This product took me FOREVER to finish! I have been using it for months as a night cream and all over body lotion. I go into detail about it in Part Two of my Skincare Series, Hydration, which you can find here. I’m not 100% sure I’m going to repurchase, but it is a solid product. 



Tree Hut Shea Sugar Scrub in Hawaiian Kukui – This stuff has become my all time favorite body scrub. It left my skin feeling so soft and smooth every time I used it, but it wasn’t too harsh that it left my skin red or my hands raw. It is also surprisingly hydrating! I even tried using this before self tanning, and although there are oils in it to help soften, my self tanner went on smoothly with no patchiness in sight. And the smell! It is kind of warm, kind of sensual, but although fairly fragrant, it’s not overwhelmingly scented. I have no idea what Hawaiian Kukui is, but I love it! They do make this in a few other scents, including fruit scented ones and one that smells like coffee to me. Definitely going to repurchase. 



Nexxus Therappe Ultimate Moisture Shampoo – I first tried this a few years ago, and I couldn’t remember if it was effective or not, only that I loved the smell, so I picked up this trial size to be safe. I still looove the smell, it reminds me of summer and the beach and the pool, but it wasn’t my favorite as far as actual shampoo goes. I may try this again in the summer to see if it works with my summer hair, but it always made me want to rinse and repeat, or use along with another shampoo in order to feel really clean. Which bummed me out because that left me feeling like I over cleaned my hair (I dislike squeaky clean hair!). Since this alone wasn’t enough and using it twice or two shampoos was too much, I usually just omitted this and used a different shampoo all by itself. I’d catagorize this in the will not repurchase file, even though I might try it again in the summer. 



GlamGlow BrightMud Eye Treatment – While this brand is pretty hyped about, this was another ho-hum product for me. While I need feel a slight tingling and cooling sensation, I disliked the large chunks of…I don’t even know what. It doesn’t make sense to pure foliage style pieces in something meant for the delicate eye area. It heave treatments do feel nice, but there are other, chunklessnproducts out there that feel just as nice. I will not be repurchasing. 

And that’s it! I finished a few big bottle products this past month, which is always nice, as well as knocked out a few samples. Some things were awesome and are now part of my staple collection, others I’m glad to see go. Did you find any new favorites among your February empties? 

Also, Woman Seeking Makeup is now on Facebook! Find me here and give the page a big thumbs up! Any if you aren’t already, don’t forget to follow on Instagram, it’s womanseekingmakeup – all one word. Social media, hoorah!

XOXO, WSM

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Tutorials

Woman Seeking: A Traveling Makeup Kit

As I mentioned in my previous post, I took a trip to the east side of my state at the beginning of the week. I have a terrible habit of overpacking, and am trying to get better at bringing only what I truly need. I did a fairly good job overall, except I forgot pajamas. Whoops. I was proud, however, because my makeup bag actually has room in it! Win! I didn’t pare it down so much that it was just the bare minimum, but I’m getting the hang of it. I still packed some things I didn’t end up using, but not nearly as many as usual. I’ve included the things I brought but didn’t use so you can get an idea for yourself (and I can have a reminder for myself!) and tried to put things in the order I applied them.

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Benefit The Porefessional Primer – This is my favorite primer, and having this little sample size takes up almost no room in my makeup bag. I try to wait a few minutes after applying primer before going in with my next product. Additionally, if I notice a visible pore after applying my foundation,I’m take an extra dab and apply it on top. Works every time!

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Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion – Another favorite, this eyeshadow primer makes my shadows go on smoothly, look true to color, and last all day without creasing. I have a few samples of this that should last a good long while since I only need the teensiest of bits for each eye.

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EOS Lipbalm Stick – While I’m doing all my priming, I like to throw on a lipbalm. Not only does this prep my lips for any lipliner or lipstick I may put on, but if I get a little wild with my face makeup, I can easily wipe it off. I’m a lipbalm junkie, I’ll use any opportunity to give my lips a boost of hydration!

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Covergirl Ready, Set, Gorgeous Fresh Complexion Foundation – I’ve really been loving this foundation lately as I find it to be quite versatile. I can apply it lightly or mixed with facial lotion for a light wash of color, or apply a couple layers for more medium coverage. The color match is pretty good for me, and blends out well so I can make it work if I’m a shade lighter or darker from what I was when I bought it.

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Too Faced Cocoa Powder Foundation – I received this little sample card of powder with an order I placed, and this was the perfect time to use it! Again, it took up almost no space in my bag and there is a lot more product on the sample than I expected, meaning I can use it again. First impression : I didn’t love nor hate this powder. It worked on top of my liquid foundation wonderfully but I wasn’t like “Oh Wow!” about it. It says it minimizes the appearance of fine lines and pores, and while my Porefessional clears up most issues I have so I can’t say for certain this helped, this didn’t make them reappear. The color blended in to match well even though I expected it to be a bit too dark, so that was good.

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NYX Eyebrow Cake Powder – Like I said when I went over my favorite products for brows here, this is my go-to eyebrow product. It works great, isn’t too big, and has wax and both a lighter and darker shade to customize my brow. I like to do my brows before my eyes or cheeks because I find if I do them last, I can look overdone.

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Stila The Natural Collectable Palette – I have been reaching for this palette a lot lately as it is so handy. It’s a mini book containing 6 eyeshadows (3 matte, 3 shimmer), am all over shimmer, a bronzer, and even has a mirror on the inside. There is also a little cheat sheet of the a look you can create using this palette printed on the inside. The colors are soft and I don’t experience much trouble blending them. They are pigmented (better than drugstore but maybe not quite as good as Urban Decay), though if you use a light hand or super blend them out you can make them more sheer. It’s a super random palette and I never see it anywhere but Ulta in the checkout lanes, but a good one to own.

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Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eyeliner in Black Amethyst – I doubt the claim of this being waterproof, but I love this color so I can give it a pass. I’m a huge fan of purple eyeliners, and this deep purpley black is great. It goes on incredibly creamy (to a fault creamy actually, it could crumble if I don’t use a light hand) and smudges so beautifully, then stays put once I give it a moment to set itself. I even smudged this on my lower lash line (not waterline though) and it didn’t make me look like a raccoon.

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Make Up For Ever Smoky Extravagant Mascara – Again, another great travel size item. I like that the formula is buildable without clumping up on me. This means I can use it for both day and night. It’s not the blackest of black mascara, but it’s not an awkward grey either.

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Urban Decay Naked Flushed in Naked – Another sample card of powder, this also had more product that I was expecting. Although I do like bronzing, I am not a huge blush or highlighter person as I already have a rosy face, and my skin is textured from acne scarring, so I’ve had this sample card for a few months now without even wanting to use it. I’ve been a little skeptical of these palettes in general as the bronzers looked more orange to me, but the colors on my sample ended up working wonderfully. It’s buildable and blendable and I’ve definitely changed my opinion on these palettes. I still have more product left to sample, and I’m actually excited to now.

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Essence Lipliner in (11) In The Nude – Literally my favorite brand of lipliners ever, this particular one is the exact same color of my lips so it works under any lipstick I want to wear to help the lipstick stay put. It’s creamy, not too drying, pigmented, and cheap. I have almost every color they make that my Ulta sells.

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ELF Makeup Mist & Set – I was wanting to test this makeup setting spray since it is such a budget buy, so I brought this along with me last minute. I don’t like the scent of this quite as much as my usual Urban Decay spray, but I only notice the scent when I spray it on my hand and sniff to smell it specifically, not when I’m spraying it on my face, which makes the smell a non issue. I’ve only used this once, but my first impression is a positive one. My makeup stayed in place and I didn’t have any adverse reactions from this.

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Tarte Amazonian Butter Lipstick in Ethereal Pink (Tartelette LE) – I love this line of butter lipsticks, and this color is such a great nude on me. It’s so easy to use and hydrating. Plus, cmon, the design on the tube is just too cute! The cardboard packaging isn’t ideal for travel, but it is sturdy cardboard. I feel like it wouldn’t really break any easier than your typical lipstick tube as long as you’re careful.

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MAC Creamsheen Lipstick in Créme in Your Coffee – I’m obsessed with this lipstick, and I combined it with my Tarte lipstick to create a really pretty shade. Between the lighter nude of the Tarte and the darker browny nude of the MAC, I figured my lipstick needs were probably covered. That being said…

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Urban Decay Lip Junkie Lipgloss in Wallflower – I did bring this easy gloss along as well. I know, I know, I brought a total of 4 lip products, but I figured since this was a mini sample size it couldn’t hurt! Right?! It worked perfectly with the lipsticks I brought and is also great to use alone (though I didn’t this particular trip). It’s not too sticky, not too slippery, glossy and pigmented. And the cap is cool.

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Clean Eau de Parfum Rollerball in Skin – I wanted to take a scent but didn’t want to take more than one, and I think this is a great one to take me from day to night. It’s warm and cozy and musky but light at the same time. I didn’t feel over perfumed when I wore it during the day, and still felt romantic and sultry when I wore it at night. The rollerball makes it perfect to store in my makeup bag or slip in my purse.

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To apply my products, I brought my Real Techniques Stipping and Setting brushes, my ELF Complexion and Blush brushes, my Anastasia Beverly Hills Small Angle Cut #15 brush, and my Shiseido eyelash curler. I’ve already done posts on brushes so I not going to go over it again, but you can click here to get a more in depth review. As for the products I brought but didn’t use:

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Anastasia Beverly Hills BrowWiz – I actually did use the spooly end of this, so I guess that kind of makes it useful, but I could have left it behind and probably not noticed.

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Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Highlighter/Concealer – Totally forgot to use this, and I don’t think my face looked tired enough for me to really need it anyhow. I didn’t have to get up early or stay out late while on my trip, so I’m not sure why I thought this was necessary.

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Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray – Originally I had packed this, then at the last minute remembered I wanted to test my ELF spray and tossed that in without taking this out. Simple error. Luckily this is the travel sized version.

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Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstick in Palomino – I brought this in case I needed something to make my look POP, buuut honestly it was so unnecessary. I was only there for two days. It was a tiny sample size, but it was silly. I think I just wanted to bring a Bite lipstick. I love the duos I have, and those are what I usually pack for traveling, but I was trying to mix things up which is why I packed my other two instead. And then I panicked and threw this in. Because what if? 😌

I’m sure there are plenty of things I could have cut out if I was trying to bring fewer products, but I’m happy with the choices I made. It may be a bit crazy how much I brought for a two day trip, but I enjoy makeup and wanted to have both day and night looks covered since I didn’t know what I’d be doing while there. If I’m packing super light I’ll simply take a BB cream, mascara, lipgloss, and eyeshadow trio, so I would probably consider this a more medium, everyday sized makeup bag, at least for this time of year and for this type of trip. My bag would look completely different in the middle of the summer packing for a concert or beach trip! Even though I was only gone for a few days, this is probably the amount of products I would take if I was gone anywhere from 2-7 days. Too much? Not enough? What do you pack in your makeup bag for a trip away?

XOXO, WSM

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Reviews

Woman Seeking: Brushes

Last week was my first week only publishing two articles, and it was such a weird feeling! Between work, my anniversary, and Valentine’s Day I had to take a mini break, but I’m so glad to be back and am going to get right into things! Today I’m talking about brushes. I am very much a brush girl. I know some people swear by using their fingers, but ever since I discovered brushes I have been unable to turn back. Quality brushes help me apply my makeup flawlessly and hygienically (as long as I keep them properly cleaned and stored!). I have found that not all brushes are created equal, but I also don’t have a fortune to spend on good brushes. In my opinion, a good brush consists of three things:

1) Softness – Not to be confused with density. It’s possibly to have a very dense, very soft brush. I think softness is important because coarser, rough brushes can micro exfoliate your skin, which makes your makeup go on patchy. This is especially important for those that have dry skin, as it makes the dry patches insanely noticeable. Rougher brushes can irritate the skin, leaving minor red places as well. Try not to buy a brush if you can’t touch the bristles for yourself. I’ve found that a good place to test the softness of a brush is on the inside of my arm…my hand is too rough compared to your facial skin, and I don’t know what kind of bacteria is on a tester brush so I don’t really want to put it on my actual face, so the inside of my arm is sensation enough to work perfectly.

2) Shape – Brushes come in a zillion sizes for a reason! If your favorite beauty blogger or Youtuber recommends an eye brush that is just PERFECT for the crease, but they have a completely different eyeshape than you, it may not give you the same results. I always try to find a mirror and hold the brush up to my face before I buy it so I can get a good idea of how it’s going to fit on my face. Think about which area you want to use a certain brush on, and compare it to the brush you’d like to use. And don’t get too stuck on the name! Yes, companies labeling their brushes for specific purposes is great and gives you an idea of what to do with it, but if their lipliner brush is exactly what you’d want from an eyeliner brush, by all means use it as an eyeliner brush! No makeup brush police officer is going to barge in and arrest you, I promise.

3) Durability – I can have the softest brush that is the perfect shape, but if it starts shedding and splaying after it’s very first wash, the brush is no good to me. This is the hardest thing to test, because apart from reading reviews, there is no way to really know a brushes durability until I test it for myself. I try really hard to do research on the brush or brush line before buying,mot cut down on wasting my money. Every brush line is bound to have a flop or two, and there is always the possibility that the bad brush in question was a fluke itself, but some brands tend to have a good reputation because of the low number of flops or flukes they produce, while others have an entire line of, well, crap.

Admittedly, I have not tried very many higher end brushes. I am constantly putting certain brushes I hear are amazing in my cart, and then taking them out because I know I own a brush that works perfectly well that costs less money. I’m hoping one day I’ll get up the courage (?) to finally go through with a purchase. For now, I’ll just stick to my low to lower-middle class brushes. In case you’re curious, here are some of my favorite brushes!

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Real Techniques Stippling Brush – I use this brush to apply foundation, and on occasion cream blush. It’s not too harsh for foundation and doesn’t soak up too much of my product. I use the stippling technique (basically makeu not little dots allllllll over your face and then buffing) and it works like a dream. This is my favorite way to apply foundation when I’m in a rush.

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BeautyBlender – This is my absolute favorite way to apply foundation, though it can do so much more than that. It applies the perfect amount of foundation and leaves my face looking so natural. If I am having a problem with a foundation looking too heavy, I will use this to get the coverage I’m looking for without the cakiness. It does a great job with my lighter BB creams, too. To use, you run it under water to get it good and wet, then, squeeze out the excess and dip it into your product and lightly bounce or tap it onto your face. I feel like this would be especially good for those with dry skin, but I don’t have that problem so I can’t say for certain. Because you do use water with it, this isn’t ideal to travel with, which is the only complaint I have. These also come in a variety of colors as well as black and white, so if pink isn’t your thing, or if you have sensitive skin and may be allergic to the dye used, you can find one that works for you! Do properly clean and store this (in open air) to prevent mold.

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ELF Studio Blush Brush – ELF has two different brush lines, and their Studio line (with black handles and bristles) is leaps and bounds better than their Basics line (with white handles). I really dislike their Basics line, but have yet to be disappointed by a Studio brush. And remember how I said to ignore what a brush is supposed to be for if you want to use it for another purpose? Prime example right here. This is technically a blush brush, but I find it just a tad too small for blush, but perfect for both setting my under eye concerns let, as well as contouring. If I’m traveling and trying to cut down on items in my makeup kit, I always include this one because it. Can do it all in a pinch. It performs incredibly well and has yet to shed, even though I’ve had it for at least a year and washed it many times.

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Real Techniques Blush Brush – Now this is my kind of blush brush. This brush is huge and tulip shaped, which helps me deposit the perfect amount of color to my cheeks when I wear blush. I also love to use this brush for bronzing, for the same reasons. It helps me build the color without going overboard, and blends products like a dream.

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ELF Studio Complexion Brush – Another multitasking winner. I typically use this for anything I need just a dusting of, or to brush off excess powder on my face at the end of doing my makeup before I apply setting spray. I’ve used this for blush, bronzer, soft contouring, and translucent powder and it does just great. ELF brushes are my favorite for traveling because not only do they work well, they only cost about $3, so if I accidentally leave one behind I’m not too heartbroken because it can be easily replaced.

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Real Techniques Setting Brush – This brush is perfect for setting my under eye area, as well as highlighting my cheekbones and nose, or giving my eyes a wash of color. I’ve even used this in my crease successfully, and as a contour brush to get a really precise contour before blending. I clearly am a huge fan of multitasking brushes, eh?

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Lorac Eyeshadow Brush – Probably the most random, I got this brush in a limited edition eyeshadow kit and absolutely love it. It’s dense and flat enough to really pack on the color, but at the same time is pliable enough to blend things out, and it’s the perfect size for my small eyes. Hands down my favorite eye brush I own this is the kind of brush that can more or less do anything you need it to when it comes to your eye area. I have no idea if you can buy this separately, but if you can I highly recommend it.

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ELF Studio Contour Brush – When I need to smudge out some liner or pack some color onto my outer V, this eye brush is what I reach for. It’s super dense without being harsh and really allows me to get in their with the color. It’s also good to use when doing an inner corner highlight or highlighting my brow bone, as long as I spot clean it first!

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Anastasia Beverly Hills Small Angle Cut Brush #15 – I talked about this in my Brow Product Recommendations post (which you can find here), so I won’t go to in depth, but this is pretty much the only brush I use to do my brows. This brush stands up to any brow product and works perfectly. It could also be used as an eyeliner brush, but I never use it that way. Just an option if you’d like.

As far as cleaning and storing brushes go…I like to store my brushes in a couple of pencil holder type containers I found at Target, or if I’m on the go I store them separately from my makeup. This helps keep them clean. I spot clean my brushes in between cleanings by using my Vichy 3-in-1 cleansing water on a cotton round, or occasionally using a facial wipe. Depending on how dirty my brushes get, I deep clean my brushes every two weeks or so (note – I don’t wear makeup every day, not even every other day, so I can go this long with no issue. If you use or wear makeup more frequently, I’d suggest washing your brushes once a week, and getting multiples so that you’re able to use a clean brush without washing them every two minutes!). To deep clean my brushes I LOVE using the BlenderCleanser Solid by BeautyBlender (especially for my BeautyBlender, brushes could use it up quickly I think), or Purity Made Simple by Philosophy. I’ve heard good things about a couple of other products, but never tried them myself. Yes, my brush cleansers are pricy, I will admit, but they clean wonderfully without ruining my brushes and I don’t need much so it lasts. At least that’s how I justify it?

I hope you found this extremely long post helpful! After so many days away, I clearly had a lot to talk about. If you have any brushes I should check out, high or low end, leave a comment below!

XOXO, WSM

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Empties

Woman Seeking: January Mascara Empties

As I mentioned in y previous post, I get rid of any old mascara every three months. Occasionally I will keep a tube for longer, but I try to never keep a mascara any longer than six months. Mascara is one of the easiest products to get bacteria built up in it, and I don’t want to risk any infections or problems because I was too busy to buy a new tube. While we’re on the subject, if you are to get an infection, whether it’s caused by your makeup or not, throw out any tubes of mascara you had been using and open a new, fresh tube. Also, never share mascara, for any reason, with anyone. If someone borrows your mascara on accident, throw it in the trash and get a new one. I know it can be painful, especially if it’s a brand new tube and you love it, but it’s not worth the risk. It just isn’t. But enough of the lecturing.

I am a drugstore mascara girl. It’s not to say that I don’t like high end mascara, but because I usually have more than one mascara opened at a time, and throw them out every few months, it can become a money-suck very quickly. I rarely buy mascara that costs more than $10, and I like to catch the buy 1, get the second 50% off deals, and use coupons. The money I save on mascara can be put towards a new highend palette or lipstick, and many times I get a free travel size mascara as a bonus. This is how I’m able to give into my highend mascara lust without blowing all my money on something I have to throw out three months later. I know some people feel the exact opposite and that’s more than ok too, this is just how I do things. All this being said, if I really want to try something, or fall in love with a product, I don’t have a huge problem spending the money, but I do try to buy the travel size for $10 as opposed to the $23 full size if possible. I have quite a few mascaras to toss out this month, so without further ado, here are my thoughts…

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Too Faced Better Than Sex – This mascara is loved by many, but I was disappointed. I’m not sure if I got an old tube or opened it when I first bought it to look at the brush, then closed it and reopened it much later thinking I had never opened it before or what, but I found this really dry, and it caused my lashes to clump like crazy. I liked that it was a natural bristle brush, and although I was worried the hourglass shape would make it hard to get the baby lashes it the corners, I did t find that a problem at all. I just wasn’t crazy about the formula. I have a full size tube of this coming as a free bonus for something else I ordered, and I’m curious to see if the formula really just isn’t my cup of tea, or if I accidentally got an old tube.

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Benefit Badgal Lash – When I first tried this, I wasn’t a fan. The second time, however, I fell in love. The brush is a huge natural bristle brush, which is my favorite type. It did a great job building volume. Benefit constantly has mascara as their bonus item free with purchase and I can’t wait to get another one.

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Benefit They’re Real – I love using this in combination with Benefit’s Badgal. I think they go together perfectly. They’re Real has a plastic bristle brush, which isn’t my favorite, but it does a good job combing out lashes and keeping things long and defined. I have another travel size of this same mascara, so I’m interested in trying this out on it’s own or along with some other mascaras to see if it doubles up well with some of my other volumizing formulas. I prefer the Badgal over They’re Real, but I also have log lashes and could use the volume more than any lengthening properties.

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Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes – I was pleasantly surprised by this mascara. This was my first Tarte product ever and it made a great introduction to the company. The wand has a natural bristle brush that was fairly small, enabling me to really get in there and grab every last lash. The smaller size also made it easy to use on my bottom lashes. I had to be careful to be wearing some kind of powder on/under my lids to control any oil, because I found it did tend to have issues with smearing if I wore this alone.

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Maybelline Full ‘N Soft (waterproof) – I love this mascara. I buy it again and again. I like the natural bristle brush, and I like the formula. I prefer to buy the waterproof as it helps hold my curl better, and this mascara is good by itself and under others. Maybelline is one of my favorite brands for mascara, and this is a staple for many, myself included.

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Maybelline The Mega Plush Volum Express (waterproof) – This isn’t a bad mascara, but I won’t be repurchasing. The natural bristles on the brush were a little too long and it made me feel like I didn’t have too much control. The wand itself also had this flexible hinge, which I didn’t like and don’t understand the point of. I like to bend my mascara wands so I can push up as opposed to pull, but the hinge didn’t allow me to do that, and made the whole thing way too springy. The formula was nice, plumping and lengthening my lashes, with the waterproof holding my curl, but the wand ruined it for me.

Most of these mascaras were winners, with only two that I didn’t like, and only one out of the two that I’m not willing to give another chance. That being said, the only one I’m for sure going to repurchase is the Full ‘N Soft. I’m still on the hunt for my Holy Grail mascara, so if you have any mascaras I should try leave a comment below!

XOXO, WSM

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Empties

Woman Seeking: January Empties

A new month, a new bag full of my trash! January is the month of fresh starts and resolutions. Not only do I have my regular empties, January also means it’s also time to toss my tri-monthly products, like toothbrushes and mascara. I like to keep myself on a system with these things, otherwise I can never remember when I opened something or when I should be throwing it away. If I start in January, it makes it way easier to remember to get rid of old products. I’m actually going to do a different post on the mascaras I am done with, so keep an eye out for that. For now, here are the things I used up and are getting the ol’ heave-ho this month!

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Mario Badescu A. H. A. Botanical Body Soap – I mentioned this in my Cleansers and Exfoliants post during last week’s Skincare series. This is a mild body wash formulated especially for body acne. I think it does a good job keeping skin clear without overdrying. It doesn’t have an amazing scent, but it’s lack of added fragrance isn’t awful because fragrance can be an irritant to the skin. It doesn’t smell bad, mind you…it just smells like old school soap. I also just noticed the bottle says to “store in a cool dry place” which I find hilarious because it’s a body soap, to be used in your shower, which is probably the least cool or dry place in your entire home? Haha, anywho, I’ve already repurchased this.

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Neutrogena Alcohol-Free Toner – I’m so sad about this! I loved the packaging, I loved the price, and I loved the scent, but I just did not love this product. It wasn’t bad, it didn’t sting or dry out my face, but I don’t feel it really did anything good either. I stopped using this for a bit, and there was no difference. I like my skincare products mild, but this was toooooo mild, even for me. If you have decent skin, and just want that little extra, then I think this product would be good. It’s not a bad product, I’ve just found something that works better for me, so I won’t be repurchasing.

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Vaseline Total Moisture Body Lotion in Cocoa Radiant – I am on the fence about this lotion. I think it did what a lotion is supposed to do and kept my skin soft, but it was a little thin for my taste, and for as thin as it was it took a really long time to dry. It confused me on whether I should use this for night or day. It was light enough for daytime use, but it’s lack of drying made me want to use it at night, even though it really wasn’t hydrating enough for a night lotion. Also, I am not in love with the scent. I think I’ll probably end up buying another Vaseline lotion to give it another chance in the future, but I won’t buy this specific one.

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Up & Up (Target Brand) Cotton Rounds in Regular – These are one of my favorite cotton rounds. The price is right, and they work wonderfully. That may sound ridiculous, but I have tried the cotton squares from Ulta thinking off brand was off brand, but was horribly proven wrong. Those were the worst cotton squares, rounds, or balls I have ever used. So cheaply made, I could have gotten better quality at the dollar store. The Up & Up brand are big enough to be comfortable but not awkward, and they don’t break down and leave little pieces of cotton all over your face. I didn’t repurchase these this time, but that was simply because I wasn’t going to Target when I ran out. Highly recommend. (Sidenote – Cartwheel, the coupon app by Target, frequently has coupons for these)

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Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Exfoliating Facial Pads – This is another product I mentioned in my Cleansers and Exfoliants article, so I’m not going to go into too much detail here. They work great, don’t burn, don’t scratch, and have a pleasant scent. Plus they’re eligible to use a coupon on at Ulta. Definitely will, and already have, repurchased.

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Lorac Cococin Cream Compact Foundation – This was my second Lorac product and it was so bad! Sooooooo bad! I should have included this in my regrets post but it was already in my January trash bag so I completely forgot about it. This is the hardest product to work with. It has a hard and dry top layer, so I had to warm it up with my finger first, and when I finally got some product, it didn’t cover and looked cakey and broke down all at the same time! Ridiculous. I got this on sale and now I know why. The only thing I liked about this product was the packaging, it had a huge mirror on the inside, and the case was magnetic so it snapped close nice and tightly and cannot be shaken open even if I try really hard. Between this and the limited edition eyeshadow mini palette, I’ve been so put off of Lorac products. If anyone has a Lorac product they stand behind 100% please let me know! because I want to give the brand one more try since it is so highly praised by many, but the next thing I buy HAS to be good or I give up.

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L’oreal Total Repair 5 Restoring Shampoo – I really like this! I got about 7 shampoos out of this sample size and liked what it did to my hair in that time. I found I had less shedding both in and out of the shower, but it didn’t make my hair greasy (which in all honesty is what I was expecting to deal with because of my thin, fine hair). This is the next full size shampoo I will be purchasing, so we’ll see how a full size goes!

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Macadamia Natural Oil Deep Repair Masque – I split a 4 oz. sample packet of this into two containers and forgot to keep the packet for this article, sorry about that one! Either way, I didn’t like this. It did leave my hair with more shine, but it made my hair feel dry and stripped, which is so odd. I love Macadamia’s Flawless product (like a cleansing conditioner) and kind of expected this to be that just more hydrating and intense, but it definitely was not. I will not be repurchasing.

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Sephora Fiber Mask in Rose – One of my skincare staples. This is a sheet mask I can rely on. I’ve bought it multiple times and have given it as a gift. It is super hydrating, and leaves my skin feeling soft and plump and healthy, and the effect lasts a couple of days. I have yet to have a pimple caused by the intense hydration, too. I will repurchase for myself and for others.

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Benefit The Porefessional – I cannot praise this product enough. I used to use a color correcting primer to help combat my redness, but have switched to this and deal with any color issues separately. I love the way this feels, and it truly minimizes my pores, which is a big problem I have. It smells nice, too! I don’t find myself getting oily with this either, although I don’t think it claims to have any oil fighting properties so this is just a personal bonus. Although the price tag is high, a little goes a long way, and you can buy the sample size if you’re watching your pennies. I still have some more sample sizes of this, but when I run out I am planning on purchasing this.

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Oral-B Pulsar Toothbrush – We can’t forget about our oral hygiene! I actually really liked this toothbrush. It cleaned well, and didn’t vibrate too intensely or too loudly. I can only ever find this in dual packs, however, which is kind of annoying. I went with another brush when I replaced this for that reason, but actually regret it because I don’t like the new one as much, so I will probably buy this one again next time.

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DenTek Tongue Cleaner – Oh yeah, I’m that girl who brushes not only her teeth, but gums and cheeks and roof of her mouth as well. So of course I have a separate product for my tongue! I swear it helps keep your breath clean and who doesn’t like a pink tongue?! Is that weird? Whatever. I used this type for a long time but was recently introduced to a kind I think works even better, so I won’t repurchase, but this is a solid product.

And that’s it! Out with the old, in with the new. Some I replaced, and some are becoming beloved staples. Before I sign off, I want to thank all my readers. This first month of blogging has been a huge learning experience, and I think I’m starting to get the hang of it. I am thrilled to reach five hundred views after only being public for two shorts weeks, and I obviously couldn’t do that without all of you continuing to read and support me. This next month I’m going to be trying out new formats, trying to make my site cleaner and easier to navigate!

XOXO, WSM

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