Beauty, Makeup, Skincare

Dr. Jart+ BB Cream: Radiance 

I am in the market for a new tinted moisturizer, BB cream, or CC cream. Each time I decide I have a favorite one, it gets discontinued. So, I’m searching again. Recently, I’ve been really drawn to the skincare benefits of Dr. Jart+ products. I had a sample of a tinted moisturizer I wanted to love but it was just a bit warm for my skin. So, recently, I picked up for Dr. Jart+ BB creams (in travel sizes) in order to test and see if one them becomes a holy grail product. First up: Dr. Jart+ BB Cream: Radiance

Yay for SPF 30!

 This product is sheer and smells nice. It was the perfect shade for my skin, but it didn’t provide as much coverage as I wanted, and it gave me a complexion that was, shall we say, overly-glowy.

So, should you buy it?

Pros: This product contains SPF 30, which is great! Remember, dear readers, SPF is a daily essential! It also matched my skin tone really well.

Cons: This had almost zero coverage. I expect a bit more color in a BB cream. Also, while it worked well for my skin, this product only comes in one shade (made for fair light skin tones), so this has a very limited range. Also, it is $42 for 1.5 oz which is really steep since it doesn’t magically transform skin. Finally, it made my skin glow a bit too much. I didn’t look oily, but I kind of looked like I’d applied a matte highlighter all over my face, which was weird.

Overall, I was underwhelmed by this product. If I do end up buying a a BB cream from the Dr. Jart+ brand, it definitely won’t be this one.

Beauty, Makeup

Clinique Lash Building Primer

My eyelashes are pretty boring. They’re thin and they don’t have much natural curl. I’m always looking for products that can enhance them, and a Sephora sales associate recently suggested that I try an eyelash primer. Due to this recommendation, I decided to pick up the Clinique Lash Building Primer recently.

Don’t be afraid of the color! 

 I’m going to be completely honest. I wasn’t convinced that I was going to be thrilled with the effect of using a primer. Since my lashes are already so thin, I was convinced that this was just going to weigh them down further. Also, most primers are white, and this seemed a little alarming to me. Why am I supposed to lighten my lashes only to darken them again a minute later? Thankfully, the formulation is actually pretty clear. This product will only look white if you’ve applied way too much!

So, should you buy it?

Pros: This did not weigh down my lashes. It made my lashes look thicker and longer. I’ve used underneath four different mascaras, and it enhanced the overall look each time. I could definitely see the difference between using this primer and going it alone with just mascara. It also dries really quickly. I curled my eyelashes before and after using this primer, and I liked the effect most by using that method.

Cons: The product was not expensive on its own ($15.50) but it really does have to be used with actual mascara which will set you back an additional $20 typically. That adds up to about $35 on lashes alone, which can be kind of pricey. I’m curious at to whether there’s a mascara that packs in all the benefits of using a primer for just the price of one product.

Overall, I’m impressed. The sales associate was right (I’m so sorry for doubting you, Greg). I was really pleased with this product, but I’m definitely interested in trying other brands to see how they stack up next to this one.

Beauty, Health, Skincare

Don’t Put Volcanic Ash on Your Face 

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you put volcanic ash on your face?


Well, neither had I before I received my April ipsy bag with a deluxe face mask sample of: The Original Fango Mud Therapy by  Jor’el Parker.

Ignore the soothing orange color!


When I first received this product, I looked at the ingredients. It contained sweet almond oil, avocado oil, and green tea antioxidants. These all seemed like really soothing, wonderful ingredients. Then I looked at the last one on the list: volcanic ash minerals. Really? Volcanic ash? I was confused, but then I remembered some other unlikely ingredients that are amazing for acne: mud, charcoal, sulfur, etc. Maybe this would be a pleasant surprise.

I put the face mask on and was pleased by the dark green color. It looked cool and made me feel like I was Elphaba from the musical Wicked (I might have also had an impromptu karaoke session with myself at this point – don’t judge me). The directions said to keep this on the skin for approximately five minutes. Well, as a mask “expert” I’ve discovered that often masks work better if you leave them on for longer than the directions instruct. This time, I should have just obeyed.

After about twelve minutes, I felt an intense burning sensation on my face. It was sudden…and alarming. I immediately ran to the bathroom and tried to scrape off the mask, but it wouldn’t budge. I grabbed a drenched washcloth and scrubbed with all my might. Finally, it was all off, but my face looked like I had a third degree sunburn and it still ached. I couldn’t tell if it was so red from the volcanic ash or all the vigorous scrubbing. I put on a soothing cucumber-based moisturizer and waited to see what was going to happen to my skin. After about an hour, I still looked like I had a terrible sunburn and even just opening my mouth hurt my face. The redness had faded by the next morning, but for days my skin felt raw and overly sensitive and I developed several breakouts.

Gentle readers, the moral of this story is: don’t put volcanic ash on your face. And if you decide that you really must, follow the directions and wash it off after five minutes.


Beauty, Makeup

Tarte Tarteist Lash Paint

During the Sephora semi-annual sale, I cashed in 100 beauty rewards points for a deluxe sample of the new Tarteist Lash Paint Mascara from Tarte.

So much product!

I was initially afraid to try this product out because so much mascara appeared on the wand, but this formulation was great and did not result in any clumps or those weird spidery lashes. It’s also $23 (the full-size version) which is pretty standard for most mascaras at Sephora.

Pros: Like a great bra, this mascara lifts and separates. It provides amazing definition and coats lashes with dark drama. It doesn’t curl lashes when used alone, but it pairs really well with an eyelash curler. It keep the curl pretty well and lengthens the lashes too which makes the curl extra spectacular.

Cons: I only use black mascara, but my blonde friends looking for a brown mascara will be disappointed since this one only comes in black.

Overall, I think this is a great mascara. It provides way more definition than my go-to Diorshow. Some have said that this is too similar to the original bestselling Tarte mascara Light, Camera, Lashes, but I think this provides way more separation (because this brush is spikier) and keeps the curl better. I think I’ll be purchasing the full-size of this product once I’m ready for another purchase.

Beauty, Makeup

Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue 

I’ve been hearing so many good things about the Complexion Rescue gel from  Bare Minerals. The formula acts like a hybrid tinted moisturizer/BB cream, and it is supposed to be great for problem skin. When I had the opportunity to pick up a free sample with my purchase from Sephora, I went for it!

I used shade Vanilla 02

My sample came with four single-use pods of different shades. The only shade that worked for my pale skin was “Vanilla 02.” I put this on my skin and was immediately disappointed. This did not have a great amount of coverage, so all of my blemishes were still obvious. But worst of all, this product made me look greasy. I have combination skin with a tendency to get a bit oily on my t-zone throughout the day, but I usually do well with BB Creams and tinted moisturizers because I have dry patches too, especially on my cheeks and chin.

So, should you buy this?

Pros: This product is only $29.50 which is pretty good for a foundation replacement. Also, while it made me look greasy, it might work really well for you if you have extremely dry skin. Plus, SPF 30 is a definite selling point! It also comes in 16 shades which is a great amount of range.

Cons: If you have combination skin, this might be too moisturizing for you. If you have oily skin, you should definitely avoid this product. Also, if you have any blemishes or a lot of redness or other pigmentation concerns, this seems to have much less coverage than the standard BB cream.

Beauty, lips, Makeup

Clinique Almost Lipstick

I feel like I talk a lot about vibrant, long-wearing lipsticks, but I know that’s just not what everyone is looking for. There are often times when people just want a very sheer bit of color – something demure but noticeable. One product I really like when I want just a little color is Clinique Almost Lipstick. It is available from Sephora for $17.

This shade has been discontinued! 

 Clinique has undergone many product changes over the past two years, and there are now only two shades of this currently available, but they are nearly universally flattering in berry and pink. The picture I posted above is one of the discontinued shades, but I wanted to include it so you could see how light the color appears on my hand. It is a very sheer product!

So, should you buy it?

Pros: This has a nice hint of color for those looking for something sheer. It has a shiny, glossy finish. The tube is incredibly skinny and should fit in literally any tiny handbag or pocket without looking bulky. Also, it is very moisturizing.

Cons: It only comes in two shades at this point – berry and pink. This is pretty limiting. Also, the coverage is not buildable, so it is not very versatile. It can only produce a sheer finish.

Overall, I like this product. It’s a pretty good price and the tube will last a very long time. This is a great addition to a natural-looking makeup day or a low-maintenance routing, but stay tuned to this blog for more suggestions for tinted balms with more available shades.

Beauty, Skincare

The True Cream Aqua Bomb 

I feel like I’ve received so many large samples of moisturizers recently, so I’m trying to work my way through them. Today, I’d like to talk about The True Cream – Aqua Bomb from the Korean skincare brand belif. The full-sized version of this moisturizer is available from Sephora for $38 for 1.68 oz. A smaller version (0.84 oz) is available for $22. 

This is a sample!

 First, I think this is a great moisturizer, but I don’t think I’ll be buying it. That is because I have combination skin and leans towards the occasional oiliness. This moisturizer packed too much of a punch for me. I just felt like this product moisturized so well that my skin looked a bit greasy. However, I would absolutely recommend this for someone who has very dry skin. It has a wonderful, fresh scent that reminds me of the ocean, and this did not make my acne worse during the week that I tried it.

So, should you buy it?

Pros: It will moisturize your skin if you have intensely dry skin. It has an amazing scent. It also dries very quickly and sinks into the skin well.

Cons: It may make you look kind of oily if you do not have extremely dry skin. While it did not make my acne worse, it also didn’t seem to make it any better. Also, there’s no SPF, and I think every moisturizer should protect the skin with SPF.

Overall, this is a good product, but I think it may have a limited following. It’s ingredient list contains products that provide moisturizing benefits, but there’s nothing in this product to help with problem skin, sun protection, or aging. There are just so many better products out there.

Beauty, Skincare

Boscia Luminizing Black Mask 

Masks are my absolute favorite skincare product! There’s just something so interesting and luxurious about them! I plan to review many, many, many masks on this website, but I wanted to start with one that it is an absolute staple in my bathroom: the Luminizing Black Mask from Boscia. This mask is available from Sephora for $34 for 2.8 oz (at least 10 applications).

I’m almost out! 

 This mask is one that peels off rather than washes off. It is best to apply a very generous layer and then wait at least 30 minutes before peeling if off. If you don’t apply enough of the product, it will be very difficult to peel and you’ll have to try to wash it off instead, which is very difficult – when this happened to me, I had to use my Clarisonic to get it all off.

So, should you buy it?

Pros: This product has been great with my acne. My skin always looks clearer the day after I use this mask. Sometimes, I use this as a spot treatment at night, and my blemishes absolutely look better afterwards. This product includes charcoal which is a great ingredient for acne-prone skin.

Cons: This isn’t the easiest product to apply and remove (see the application explanation I gave above). Also, when you peel off the mask, it has a tendency to hurt a little bit. As a rule, skin is pretty gentle and prone to damage which is why the sensations of tearing or burning are not great in large doses, so I do worry about what might happen if I used this product more than weekly or every other week.

Overall, I think this is a great mask, especially if you have acne-prone skin. However, if you have extremely sensitive skin, the tearing sensation as you peel off the mask may just be a bit much and may cause irritation.

lips, Makeup

Dior Addict Lipstick

I have a lot of lipsticks, and most of them cost less than $20, so this product was a bit of splurge for me. The Dior Addict lipstick is available from Sephora for $35. I was tempted to buy this lipstick as a birthday present to myself after seeing the ads for this lipstick featuring Jennifer Lawrence wearing the shade “Be Dior.” This dark pink shade just looked so beautiful, and I wanted to splurge and try it for myself.

be dior
Dior Addict Lipstick – Shade: Be Dior 976

This is absolutely one of the most beautiful lipsticks I’ve ever worn. It is vibrant without completely overpowering my face. It can be layered for more effect, or you can wear just a sheer wash of this color. It is long-lasting without drying out the lips, and it is incredibly easy to apply.

So, you should you buy it?

Pros: The formula is so creamy and has an amazing punch of moisture. It can provide medium to buildable coverage, and it will last for a good amount of time before needing to be reapplied. The case is also magnetized, so it shouldn’t ever slide off and ruin your handbag.

Cons: The price is steep for a lipstick. Also, this doesn’t quite hold up against food and beverages. You’ll definitely need to reapply it by mid-day.

This is absolutely my favorite lipstick out there, and I think it is a great option if you want to splurge on a luxury product. Right now, I need to work through my enormous bag of lip products before purchasing another lipstick. But, once I can justify it, I will absolutely be purchasing more shades of this one!



Beauty, Makeup, Skincare

Huge Sephora Haul!

The Sephora semi-annual sale began yesterday (for VIB Rouge members – VIBs can shop today and everyone else can shop the sale Saturday through Wednesday). I decided to use this 15% off opportunity to stock up on skincare and other essentials rather than indulging in things with color like another pink lipstick or shimmery eyeshadow (I, for sure, have enough of those to last several lifetimes). So, I wanted to post a list of the things I bought since I hope to be reviewing them soon and I know other people are still finalizing their sale wish lists.

1. GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream from Origins

I got a sample of this product a while back. It really made me look more awake as it helped my dark undereye circles. It also moisturized well, and I love that it contains caffeine.

2. Detoxifying Black Cleanser from Boscia

I used to use this cleanser regularly. It heats up and contains charcoal, which is great for acne-prone skin. It helped my skin so much, but I stopped using it because the pump would get clogged and I’d have to unscrew the pump to get to the product. I’ve decided that the benefits to my skin outweigh that inconvenience.

3. AHA/BHA Acne Clearing Gel from Peter Thomas Roth

I’m excited to try this product. I hope it helps my hormonal acne since it contains salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and retinyl palmitate.

4. Mask-a-Holic Kit from Peter Thomas Roth

I am a sucker for a good face mask. I love them so much. They’re such an easy thing to do to feel pampered, and you can often see great skin results after just one use. I opted for this sampler pack because I’ve heard great things about all five of these masks but I’ve never tried any of them before.

5. Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet from Caudalie 

The old formulation of this moisturizer used to be my go-to moisturizer. It was perfect for my acne-prone combination skin because it moisturizes enough without me feeling greasy or oily and it did not cause breakouts. I hope little to nothing has changed with this new formulation. Fingers crossed!

6. Translucent Loose Setting Powder from Laura Mercier

I’ve been on a quest for a great setting powder, and I’ve heard great things about this one. So, I decided to give it a try.

7. Lash Building Primer from Clinique 

I have long lashes, but they are very thin and lackluster. I’ve been hoping that trying a primer before my mascara would help them look fuller and keep their curl better.

8. Maracuja Lip Exfoliant from Tarte

The key to perfect lipstick is having lips that are moisturized with no excess dry or dead skin. Using an exfoliant alongside lip balm every evening is a great way to prep your lips for the next day’s lip color.

9. All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray from Urban Decay

My bestie let me use her bottle of this setting spray for several days last week so that I could see if it worked for me before I made this purchase. I loved it! It really did make my makeup look better and last all day.

10. De-Slick Mattifying Powder from Urban Decay

I’ve been getting a bit oily in my t-zone recently, especially about half-way through my work day. I wanted to try this powder for touch-ups.

So, that was my huge Sephora haul! I’m looking forward to receiving and trying these products. They should be here by Monday or Tuesday (I prefer to shop online at Sephora because the online store has better freebies with each purchase than the physical stores). Also, I am now on a “no buy” phase for quite a while. I have so many products I already own that I’d like to review, so I am going to try to only buy new products when I have completely run out of the old products. I may actually have enough to last me until Sephora’s next semi-annual sale in November!