Ipsy Bag Review: August 2016

I was an Ipsy subscriber for a few years in college, and after cancelling my subscription earlier this year as part of a process to get my budget in order, I have resubscribed to the $10-per-month beauty bag subscription program. If you haven’t heard of Ipsy before, it’s a subscription bag service started by YouTuber Michelle Phan that provides subscribers with five deluxe sample and full-sized products per month, based on a survey of each subscriber’s personal style, coloring, and product & company preferences. They provide a variety of drugstore and high end brands, and even the sample sizes are always packaged such that the products can be used more than once (as opposed to single-use shampoo or moisturizer packets, etc). For a while I was receiving Ipsy bags at the same time that one of my roommates was also subscribed to Birchbox, and I always preferred my monthly packages as compared to hers, as far as the quality of samples and the affordability of the full-sized products.

My ratings will be based entirely upon the usefullness of each product in my own lifestyle, though I will still describe the potential pros of lower-rated products.

This month’s theme was Sugar Highness, and the bag was designed by Michelle Phan herself.

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I received the purple bag, with the following items:Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 3.26.41 PM

IT Hair Care 12-in-1 Amazing Leave-In Treatment
Rating: 3/5

This product leaves my hair feeling nice and soft,
but my hair is already pretty healthy so while
it’s nice for days when I’m doing face masks
and scrubs and the whole shebang, I don’t really
need it and it probably wouldn’t make a difference
to the quality of my hair if I didn’t use it.

Beaute Basics 3 Tone Bronzer
Rating: 2/5

Let’s get into it – this bronzer isn’t super dark, but I am usually super pale. When I tried it on it did give me a healthy glow, but I will probably never actually be tan enough for a long enough amount of time to wear it regularly, so I will probably either see if one of my roommates wants it or just throw it away.

the bronzer is applied to the right side of my face in the photo.

Nomad Cosmetics Intense Eyeshadow in Spice Market
Rating: 1/5

This shimmery eyeshadow is very pigmented and it blended well when I swatched it on my wrist, but I usually wear more nude and brown shades. Now that I’ve graduated from UMD and don’t really have occasions (see: football & basketball games) to wear more spirited makeup for, I can’t really see myself using an eyeshadow in this reddish shade, so I will probably throw it out.


Ciaté London Paint Pot in Spinning Teacups
Rating: 5/5Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 3.28.15 PM

This nail polish is so nice! I love the lavender shade
and it has a really smooth formula. I was making
lunch and washing dishes within half an hour of
applying the nail polish and it didn’t chip or smudge at all. In fact, I had it on for nearly 3 days before it even started wearing off at the tips of my nails, and I didn’t use any base or top coat. I’ll definitely be wearing this all the time, though at $17 per bottle I’m not sure if I would actually buy it again – maybe Ciaté London will find its way onto my Christmas list this year!

Tarte Cosmetics Tarteist Lash Paint Mascara
Rating: 5/5

This mascara arrived just in time – my old tube was drying up, and as soon as I used this sample, I fell in love. I had previously been using Benefit’s They’re Real! lengthening mascara, and tarteist lash paint is so much better in my opinion. Tarteist wore much more like Benefit’s Rollerlash (which I’d been using for a year before trying out They’re Real!), and I love the applicator wand. It doesn’t transfer onto my eyelids/above my lashline when I apply it like They’re Real! did, and it’s much easier to take off as well. I’m already a huge fan of tarte anyway, and tarteist lash paint will definitely find its way into my makeup bag again after this tube runs out.

lash paint is applied to my right eyelashes in the photo – please excuse my dark circles!

Overall, this month’s bag averaged a 3.2/5, and I’m definitely looking forward to the next one! Let me know if you’ve tried any other subscription boxes and what your preference is!

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What I Read: Mr. Darcy’s Daughters

Is it intellectually acceptable to squeal over published fan fiction of classic works (although let’s be real, so much classic fiction is just fan fiction in disguise anyway)? Because I did it in my living room for an hour the other night and I’m about to do it here. Mr. Darcy’s Daughters, a 2003 work by Elizabeth Aston and published by Simon & Schuster, was a wonderful soap opera of a novel.

The year is 1818 and Mr. Darcy has traveled to Constantinople for business with Elizabeth following close behind, because can you really imagine Lizzie Bennett turning down a free trip to a new exciting country with her beloved, brooding Darcy? I don’t think so. In the meantime, their five daughters, aged 16-21, are staying in London with their cousin Fitzwilliam (the one who spilled the beans about Darcy sending Bingley away!) and his wife Fanny (but fear not, the Darcys do have 2 younger sons at home preparing to safely inherit Pemberly – this isn’t a total rewrite of Pride and Prejudice). The girls have a magical first season in London, making friends and enemies and enduring more drama and scandal in just a few months than I hope to ever experience in my whole life. The novel wraps up nicely by the end, everyone ending up with their perfect match, 90% predictably with 10% unexpected squeals from the reader.

Aston does a fair job imitating Jane Austen’s tone and style, though I have to admit that it’s been years since I last read Pride & Prejudice or Persuasion and don’t tell Professor Wang but I only read the first third of Emma in ENGL312, so I may not be the best judge of the attempt.  I enjoyed it at any rate – as an unabashed lover of fan fiction, I’m usually not a harsh reader of works like this, and I always appreciate a good cliche or well-written trope. The five daughters are clearly the Bennett sisters born again, though in a different order with some personality quirks traded around. There was enough new life breathed into each girl that I didn’t totally get caught up in the similarities, but they were definitely there. You’ll easily spot Darcy’s doppelganger as well, and will be happy to know that Caroline Bingley – excuse me, now Lady Warren – hasn’t changed a bit. I was able to guess most turns taken by the plot and continually put the book down to exclaim to my empty living room when my predictions were correct. I squealed for most of the last 50 pages and was literally upside down in my chair by the end from rolling in excitement.

Mr. Darcy’s Daughters was a pretty quick & easy read, perfect for a Sunday afternoon & evening after doing chores and running errands. It was nice to escape into someone else’s dramatic life after a week of my own family vacation, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who loves a good romance.

Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream

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I’ve been using Burt’s Bees cuticle cream for about four years now and while I always found it nice (especially the fresh scent!) and hydrating, I never really thought twice about using it – that is, until this summer. I spent most of July traveling or staying at my parents’ house, and though I did my best to keep taking care of myself, some things fell by the wayside – namely, my skin was dry af. I may or may not have gotten a little bit too much sun while I was at the beach, and most of my time spent moisturizing was focused on my sad, peeling legs and shoulders. After a couple of weeks, I noticed that my cuticles were dry, the skin around my fingernails was starting to peel, and I was getting more hangnails than usual. It was more than a simple cosmetic issue – the dry skin stung and hurt every day, and unfortunately my regular moisturizer was not helping. Luckily this was right around when I came back to my own house, where I remembered that I had a tin of BB cuticle cream in my nightstand. Three nights of using it before bed and my skin was healthy and back to normal! Burt is officially a miracle worker, and I’ll definitely be bringing my cuticle cream with me when I travel in the future.

If you have sad dry skin all year ’round like me, definitely look for a tin of this stuff. It’s usually about $5, and I’ve found it at Walmart, Target, and CVS.