Two Months of Junk – August/September Empties 2017

Despite holding out on this for two months, not a whole lot is going on. I guess that’s a relief? Let’s look at a whole bunch of shower gels!

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The Body Shop Early Harvest Raspberry Shower Gel – Good, sweet, smells like jam, doesn’t dry my skin out. I last used one up in June 2016, so this will presumably keep coming round. I’ve become used to this formula and now my skin instantly dries out with any other shower gels. Repurchase? When it comes back, I might pick up one. It’s not an all time favourite, but it’s nice enough.

The Body Shop Pinita Colada Shower Gel – I finally used the last of my sale stash of pinita colada shower gels! I love the Body Shop cocktail smells – this is second to Virgin Mojito in my all time favourites, but it’s up there. Both of them are coming back to Australia this summer, so I’ll probably stock up again, and then my showers can be cocktail scented forever. Confessions of a shower gel hoarder. Repurchase? Absolutely.

The Body Shop Olive Shower Gel – You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone. It took me a solid year of Body Shop shower gels before I got into the olive scent, and then I realised that it was actually the best of the main body shop scents. It’s fresh and clean but also a little soft and slightly woody? I love it. Naturally, it’s been discontinued and this was my last bottle. Damn, two months of shower gel usage went a bit wild. Repurchase? If they bring Olive back as a limited edition, I’ll be all over it.

Lush Plum Rain Shower Gel – As I mentioned, my skin has become strangely conditioned to Body Shop shower gels which thankfully don’t dry it out, but nearly everything else seems to make me itch. Lush is a particular offender, as lovely as this one was to sniff (my mum picked it up from the flagship London store). It was so nice smelling, but it made me so squeaky and itchy. What a bummer. I ended up mostly using it on my hands. Repurchase? No

Beautyblender – My original beauty blender finally kicked it! Admittedly, I wasn’t particularly vigilant about giving it any deep cleaning and just rinsed it here and there. Still, it’s about a year old and I used it mostly for cream contouring, so it was getting pretty gunky. I also can’t place which foundation I used it with that resulted in a weird tough chunk in the sponge material that made it a little fiddly to use. I don’t know that these are any better than any mid-range sponges (I haven’t tried the Real Techniques one, for instance), but I did have a backup from some gift set I had in the past. From black to pink I go. I enjoy using good soft sponges like this with thicker, mousse/clay type foundations or ones that are otherwise prone to catching on dry spots or looking mask-like. It makes them look more smooth and less cakey. I don’t like it for full coverage, or for full application – it’s not an everyday thing for me. Repurchase? I like having a good sponge on hand, but when my current Branded Beauty Blender dies, I’d like to try a different (cheaper) kind. These things are grossly expensive.

The Jojoba Company Jojoba Oil – This came in the last ever Marie Claire parcel, and it just would not run out. It’s fine, because it’s a nice oil, but I have an oil I prefer to use which made getting through this feel like a real slog. I appreciated that this wasn’t too thick or too gross smelling, but in an ideal world I’d have an oil that was a little bit lighter on the skin and a little nicer in scent. My skin was fine on it – no noticeable change. Purchase? Probably not, although I would look into their other products.

Sephora Collection Honey Lip Scrub – Nice enough for moisture, not nearly enough on its own as a lip scrub. I appreciated the moisture and gentle scrubbing it gave when I used it before bed, but would have preferred something slightly – slightly – more abrasive. Repurchase? Maybe. It’s a pretty decent balm, and I prefer a gentle scrub to an overly abrasive sugar scrub.

Mac Prolongwear Concealer in NC20 – This is a good concealer – heavy duty, not too dry, long wearing. Sadly, this colour was always slightly too yellow for me, and there was never anything quite right. Also, the packaging is terrible and everyone will tell you that. Repurchase? No.

Blinc Amplified Mascara – I’m fine with tubing mascaras, but this is not nearly as easy and fun to get off as I remembered. It also doesn’t do really do much of anything. Repurchase? Not on its own. If it’s in a set, like this one was, sure.

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Simple Kind to Skin Cleansing Wipes – Blah blah blah, I love these wipes when I’m feeling very lazy, or as a first step before properly taking off stubborn makeup. They don’t hurt my skin or my eyes and they’re the perfect amount of moist. Repurchase? Eternally – whenever Simple is on sale, I pick up a few packs.

The Body Shop Beauty Sponge – I thought I’d try out the Body Shop’s answer to a beauty blender and can conclusively say that it is…not good. I made it about a month of using it before I flat gave up, and most of that was damp use with powders. It’s far too dense – compared to most blending sponges, it’s rock hard. I’ve used the Chi Chi sponges before, and I’d be recommending those over this. It didn’t drink up product, which was good, but it also didn’t give me the airbrushed, smoothed effect I would want if I was opting for a sponge as my application method. No dice. Repurchase? No

The Body Shop Japanese Matcha Mask – I tried a couple of sachets of this (I tossed the other one) to give the new mask a go, and honestly speaking? It’s fine, but I still prefer the Ginseng and Rice mask any day of the week. That’s possibly my favourite mask in the world? I am looking for something still gentle but a little more deep cleansing for the summer, and sadly this wasn’t it – menthol freaks my skin out, and I’m not into the associated tingly feeling. I liked the exfoliation and I do like cleansing masks that are more gentle and less drying, but this just didn’t do enough to justify the unpleasantness, and it left my notoriously picky skin pretty red and frustrated. Purchase? No

it Cosmetics Confidence in a Cream – Employees have used this on me before to no particular notable impact, so I thought I’d give this sample a go myself. My current moisturiser is gorgeous for summer but occasionally I lust after something heavier – this wasn’t it. I’m very picky with skincare, and this was not a match for me. I was okay with the thickness and lack of fast absorption, because I could see it being nice for winter, but I still had a lot of problems with this cream. Mainly the ingredients list – yowza. Not the “yikes, chemicals!” rubbish, which you’ll never hear from me, but almost the opposite – this cream is so packed with unnecessary essential oils and plant extracts that as soon as I put it on I muttered to myself “lavender” and my chin began to itch. “Perfect for all skin types, even the most sensitive”, but still we’re going to throw in sandalwood and grapefruit and orange and bergamot and lavender. I really, really hate gratuitous essential oils in skincare that would have been perfectly lovely otherwise, when marketed to people with sensitive skin. I can handle lavender in very rare products, but they’re getting fewer and fewer. This cream messed me up. Purchase? No

Sephora Collection Smoothing Primer – I’ve used this primer before, and it’s a perfectly nice silicone based primer. I’m not rushing out to buy it again, but I’ll always use up samples of it. Purchase? Maybe one day, but I have other primers I prefer that are cheaper (albeit less accessible – The Ordinary’s High Adherence Silicone Primer; NYX Angel Veil Primer)

Sephora Collection Whipped Cream Body Moisturiser with Watermelon Extract – I liked the texture of this body cream, but it smelled far too strongly of watermelon lollies for me to ever purchase. Purchase? No

I suspect I’ll power through more junk the next couple of months. I’m doing another cruise in November, and travel tends to eat up product minis.

August Empties 2016

August was a small month! I spent nearly two weeks of it with a mammoth migraine and a chunk of it hospitalised, so it’s not surprising that I wasn’t powering through products. Mostly easy products, samples, travel sizes, or staples.

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Target Essentials Cosmetic Pads – These are my favourite cotton rounds. They’re cheap and they’re so soft and gentle. They last forever because there are so many, and I stock up on them whenever I can be bothered to get to a Target. Repurchase? Yes.

Philosophy 3-in-1 Shower Gel in Christmas Cookie – This is from Christmas 2015 (notice the sale sticker), and it smelt incredible. Almost a more subtle version of their Cinnamon shower gel, which I’ve used before. I only use this as a shower gel, but the bottle sucks – it’s nearly impossible to squeeze – and I find it mildly drying. Repurchase? I generally pick up one of the Christmas ones on sale, but they’re so expensive full price.

The Body Shop Tea Tree Squeaky Clean Scrub – I love this scrub and have used it for ages, and I’m so glad they reformulated it last year without microbeads (and the new packaging is nice). It’s gentle, but effective. I don’t use manual exfoliation that regularly, but this is great when I do. Repurchase? Already have.

Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara – This was fine, but nothing special. Gave some length, some definition, some volume, but it wasn’t exceptional in any area. Repurchase? Probably not.

The Body Shop Blueberry Body Scrub – Found this sitting around from last year’s limited edition blueberry range! It smelt delicious – exactly like blueberry jam (and it looked like it as well) – and it was pretty intense, thanks to the combination of seeds and crushed nuts. It was almost a bit too abrasive – I prefer my scrubs based on sugar or sat or even just nuts – and I prefer non-gel scrubs, because they can be a little drying and I go through them way too quickly. Repurchase? It’s a nice summer scrub, but I’d probably stick to this scent in the shower gel.

The Body Shop Drops of Youth Cream – This day cream is nowhere near marketed to me, but I love the hell out of it. As in, I finished it up a few days before the end of the month (and my sister has been stealing it), and using other creams up has been genuinely upsetting for me. Somehow the combination of light, but still there, hydration with that lil bit of salicylic acid and aloe vera for soothing is just the dream team for my skin. It sinks in quickly and doesn’t impact how my makeup sits. It’s just a nice cream. It’s not cheap, but I’ve had this since it launched and it lasted for ages until my sister started stealing it (and is now making me buy it for her as well). Repurchase? About to

Paula’s Choice BHA 2% Perfecting Liquid – I really liked this product, and actually bought the full size. I don’t care about the Paula’s Choice brand devotion, but I just need something chemical to help with the dead skin build up around my forehead. This packaging sucks, though. I thought I’d keep it for travel, but it’s useless and it leaks everywhere the second you turn it on its side. Repurchase? I bought the full size.

The Body Shop Calming Aloe Cleanser – I finished using this up just outside the shower when I get back from the Hunter Valley, so at the beginning of this month. It’s just a tiny size of my favourite cleanser, which I’ve used up time and time again. Repurchase? You can’t get the minis anymore, but I always have a backup of the big one ready to go.

Brite Organix Coconut Masque for Coloured Hair – This hair mask was awesome. I’m going to say I’d use it once every two weeks instead of the once a week I did, but it made my hair so soft and lovely. My colour is a little too far along to be salvageable, but I’d definitely try another one of their masks, maybe the one for frizzy hair, or I’d use this again when I get my hair redone. Repurchase? Eventually

Small stuff and samples! What a small amount of stuff. How unsatisfying.

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Josie Maran Argan Enlightenment Luminiser – This is all dried out, but I used about half the sachet. It’s way too liquidy for me, and the reflects are too large for me to enjoy it. I much prefer my highlights in powder form. Purchase? No

Macadamia Natural Oil Luxurious Oil Treatment – I hate the smell of this and it didn’t do anything for my hair – I put it in the ends, where’s been bleached and dyed and mistreated badly. I don’t get the hype. Purchase? No

Korres Wild Rose Face and Eye Serum – The scent of this was so strong that I couldn’t stomach it for a second use. It’s okay, because I didn’t think much of it. It didn’t feel particularly nice, made me a bit greasy. Purchase? No

Paula’s Choice Shine Stopper Primer – Um. Not for me. I hated this. It was way too mattifying at first, difficult to apply (a la the Becca mattifying primer, but not to that extreme), not super effective in the long haul, and because my biggest issues are textural, I prefer something with more smoothing benefits. Purchase? No

Fortune Cookie Soap Company Tangle in the Tinsel Lip Scrub – Loved this, favourite lip scrub I’ve ever used. Tasted amazing (had to stop myself just straight up licking it off) –  sweet with a little cola candy taste – and a really nice fine granule that doesn’t scratch the lip. Repurchase? These are basically what I use the vouchers from my Fortune Cookie Soap Boxes on. I’ve got the Cupcake on right now.

Mecca Cosmetica Hydrating Primer – This is fine, I guess. It feels like the Laura Mercier hydrating primer, which I was also totally meh on. I don’t really need a hydrating primer. Purchase? No

Bare Minerals Clay Chameleon Transforming Purifying Cleanser – Because I’ve been using the same cleanser for so long, I sometimes want to try other cleansers. This one was fine, but a bit drying. Didn’t really do much. Didn’t take off my makeup. Purchase? No

Glamglow Thirstymud Mask – This is literally just a moisture mask, except it’s got the patented GlamGlow bullshit pseudoscience to go along with it. It’s moisturising, but it’s boring. Purchase? No

Avene Gentle Milk Cleanser – I used this up in hospital, and it was fine. I was hoping it would be equivalent to my Aloe cleanser, but it’s not as moisturising and it made me feel sticky. Purchase? No

Baimeni Hyaluronic Eye and Face Serum – This was light, and it was hydrating, fast-absorbing, and I really like it. I just got another sample in my Lust Have It bag this month, and I’m looking forward to finishing this up. Purchase? Maybe one day? I have so many serums

The Body Shop Amazonian Acai Energising Radiance Mask – A nice exfoliating gel mask, a good option for lighter exfoliation and it does feel nice and brightening. I didn’t love it as much as I wanted to, just because I felt a little bit red afterwards. Purchase? Not as this stage

The Body Shop Chinese Ginseng and Rice Clarifying Polishing Mask – Now this one, finally, I love! It feels super intensely scrubby, but it’s not harsh and it doesn’t irritate my skin. It’s got that scrubbiness at the same time as feeling nice and cleansing, as a clay mask, and it leaves my skin looking lovely. Purchase? Yes. Tomorrow, when I go into work.

And that’s it! Easy peasy.

August Lust Have It 2016: Unboxing/ Review

Lovely to come back from my two week marathon migraine to a a Lust Have It birthday box only partially chewed up by my dog. And only the outer packaging, too! So considerate of him. What an angel.

I am of two minds in regards to this bag. On the one hand, I love it. It has one bigger ticket item that is a formula I’ve been keen to try for ages but haven’t pulled the trigger on. On the other, the longer I look at it, the more faults I can find, and a lot of them relate to the way this bag was sent out. It was on time, but it was the kind where you look at the card and go “Oooh!” and then look at your stuff and go “…oh”, you know? I’ll explain that better:

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First thing you might notice is that they’ve listed the Baimeni serum as full size, when it is clearly not, giving the impression that this is almost a wholly full sized box. Lust Have It, bless their cotton socks, did send out an email straight notifying us of the error, but I forgot about that and was immensely disappointed. I actually really like that serum, and a full size would have been awesome, although probably not viable for a small company.

This then trickles down to the banner promising that the “Birthday Box [is] over $100 in value!”, and if we’re to go based on the included values…it isn’t. That’s a false statement. I’m well aware that values in these are always inflated, but come on guys. I don’t know. I get that it’s a birthday box, but don’t overhype yourselves. I’ve also a bit over the whole “mystery item” thing Lust Have It do – I love the occasional inclusion, like my Paula’s Choice BHA 2% Perfecting Liquid, but more often than not these things feel like samples Lust Have It had lying around.

There’s also a competition this month, a bigger one than usual, to win a trip to Thailand, which is a nice idea – especially since Lust Have It is a smaller subscription than something like Bellabox or Marie Claire The Parcel. What did make me laugh was that the 9 day holiday you can win includes accomodation for “2 adults & 1 child”. It’s just such a weird choice of prize for me. Like surely, if you’re doing the total bliss thing, you encourage people to leave the kids at home, or you go full standard household and include 2 kids? What’s a kid? Could I bring my baby sister? What does this mean? I love it, it’s such a weird choice.

Anyway, enough of my confusion re: the bag itself.

What’s inside? Look up top!

  • Baimeni Eye & Face Serum with Hyaluronic Acid (Full size RRP $25; this is worth $2.50) – I got this in my July Bellabox and actually really enjoyed it! I would never have discovered this Aussie brand, but it’s a lovely lightweight hydrating serum that’s super rich in hyaluronic acid and a bunch of other lovely stuff. I’m delighted to have another little sample of it.
  • Ofra Long Lasting Liquid Lipstick (Shade is Mocha; this is full size and RRP $27) – This is the bag-maker for me. I’m always up for lipstick, and I’ve never tried the much raved about Ofra formula. As a liquid lipstick aficionado, this simply could not stand. It’s nice – the colour is a little standard for me, but it’s very pretty, and very moussey and comfortable. Not a classic liquid matte – much thicker, sort of halfway between that and, say, a NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream. Here’s a lip swatch!

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    Mocha is a really pretty mauvey pink – it’s a little dustier in person than this swatch is showing. Look. You don’t come here for the swatch quality.
  • Gosh Mineral Colour Pigments (RRP $14 – mine is the shade Pink Melon) – I’m not usually a loose pigment person, but the packaging on this is actually super neat. There’s a sifter, but it’s got it’s own little flip cap, so you can have the lid off but the cap on the sifter. That doesn’t make much sense, but trust me, it’s cool. The colour is lovely, but not one I wear very often – a pastel version of watermelon pink with gold reflects.
  • Manna Kadar Radiance Split Pan Bronzer & Highlighter Duo (Full size; RRP $28) – Okay: that is an ABSURD price for such a tiny bronzer/highlight duo, and Manna Kadar should really make bigger pans. Both Manna Kadar highlighter/bronzer type products I’ve received (both in these bags) have been WAY too pigmented and dark to effectively use on my skin, so I hypothesized about their design in position with regards to  darker skin tones, but judging by Manna Kadar’s selection of foundation shades, that was purely accidental. On me, these will make lovely, soft eyeshadows. I could use the lighter shade as a highlight, but I do have roughly ten different highlights that approximate shade. I feel like they wouldn’t diffuse very well – a little too chunky.

    Swatches of colour cosmetics and proof that I need a camera:

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    Top to bottom: Ofra Mocha, Gosh Pink Melon, Manna Kadar Radiance Bronze, Manna Kadar Radiance Highlight
  • Uriage Tolderm Hydra-Soothing Cream (Full size 50mL for $39.99 – this is not worth much) – This is very similar to the Avene cream that came in my Bellabox the other day, in that’s a teeny little sample of some weird french thermal water brand in a tube you can’t reseal. I’ll use it, but it arrived kind of damaged, which is…a bit of a bummer, and feels like a throw it in.

 

It’s a box that started great! And I still really enjoyed it. I’m really happy with the liquid lipstick and the serum, and neither of the eyeshadow adjacent product will get a good run. Let’s not talk about the face cream, that I’ll use and it’ll be nice. 4/5

 

August Bellabox 2016: Unboxing/Review

I am in hospital! It is shit, but at least finally my whopping eight day migraine has settled to the point where I can sort of compose sentences and look at lights and slowly type messages. My Bellabox came in the mail and my sister brought it in, so let’s have an extremely low quality look through this month’s goodies.

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Being in hospital has the pleasant side effect of making ordinarily boring things much more desirable, so there’s a few things here that made me happier than they usually would.

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Em Cosmetics The Great Cover Up Concealer (Full size 9mL $17.00USD; we got a choice of shades if we responded to an email so I believe I got the light neutral option) – Makeup is always my favourite thing to receive, and I’m always on the hunt for good concealers. Em Cosmetics is a bizarre brand to me in the same way I am fascinated by Michelle Pham and her whole deal. On first impression, I actually really like this concealer on first play – haven’t tried it on my face, obviously, due to being in hospital and all – it’s creamy and blends nicely but doesn’t seem to overly sink into the lines on my hand. Will  definitely give this a go. You also get $10 off when you buy Em cosmetics in the Bellabox store, which is nice.

Avene Tolerance Extreme Cream and Cleansing Lotion (full sizes are 50mL for $58.95, whoa nelly – these are worth about $6? And they aren’t resealable?) – these two little guys are undeniably  very boring, but Avene is lovely for sensitive skin and my skin turns to crap the moment I get sick. I was using a little Origins travel size cleanser that’s been drying my skin, so these are welcome.

Nivea Creme Fairytales Edition (Full size 150mL RRP $7.88) – I remember little tins of this stuff appearing as freebies throughout my life as a young’un. I don’t think I’ve ever bought it. It’s a very boring, traditional, simple, rich cream, and I am so grateful for it right now because my arms are so dry that they’re flaking all over the place.

Lush No Drought Dry Shampoo (RRP $13.95) – while I’m glad to see Lush sticking their beaks into the subscription box game, I’m kind of disappointed that this was the outcome for me knowing the products other people got. One of my absolute favourite Youtubers got a lime green eyeliner so dry shampoo lacks pizazz for me, but I’m sure most people would feel the opposite way. I’ve tried this product before – I find the method of dispensing to be a pain in the ass and far too concentrated in one area, or if you dispense into your hands first it’s just a downright mess. It’s not the most effective dry shampoo or the most volumising, but it does smell nice, so it’s okay for a pick me up when you don’t need anything heavy duty.

Alpha Keri Bust Lift and Firm Cream and Heat Activated Body Slimming and Firming Serum (AKA the free bonus bullshit item) – I’m not as angry at this as I was at the ridiculous tea from a couple of months back, especially because this isn’t assigned any value, but I think we can all agree that this stuff is bullshit, right? Get fucked, Alpha Keri, and take your $10 voucher with you. I’m sure you’ve got other good products, but I have trouble abiding by this level of pseudo-science prey-on-internalised-misogyny rubbish.

Overall, I’d give this box a 2.5/5. Solidly functional, occasional spots of interest, and one kind of bullshit bonus item that I’ve come to expect.

 

 

 

Bite Sized Five for the Beginning of August

Sometimes I’m feeling judgemental and I just want to write reviews, so here’s a bite sized five.

Sephora Collection Mud Mask – Purifying & Mattifying – I’m getting better at impulse purchases, but this one was a pick up because it gets raved about as an equivalent to the original GlamGlow mask. My thoughts on GlamGlow as a brand are…strong, and to be expanded upon below. I have a lot of congestion on my skin, but I’m also fairly sensitive when it comes to aggressive skincare. This is the kind of mask that I can only use on my forehead. I need to follow it up with some pretty intensive moisturisation, because as per usual mattifying can be closely associated with drying. I’d say that this mask is nice, and would be lovely for oilier and acne-prone skin, but it does have a very strong pine scent, and it is almost too intense for me. I’ll save it for ultra-congested days.

GlamGlow PowerMud Dualcleanse Mask Treatment (15mL baby size) – I’ll be the first to admit that I loathe GlamGlow’s marketing. It’s all buzzword salad and it irritates me. The Mecca website makes it palateable, but the actual branding is all trademarked OILIXER (it’s just…oils) and CLAYTOX (it’s just…clays) smoke and mirrors. That said, I tried a sample of this a while ago and actually really enjoyed it, so when I needed a travel sized mask to take away with me I decided to splurge on this tiny little tub. Admittedly, nearly $30AUD is a lot to spend on 15mL, and I wouldn’t spend it on a regular basis, but I like how this manages to do the clay mask thing without being drying. My skin looks lovely after I use it.

NYX Above and Beyond Full Coverage Concealer (Light) – I gravitate towards concealers that promise full coverage, so when NYX launched in Priceline and I could actually find NYX stands full of stock, this little pot caught my eye. With the usual caveat that the pot container makes it pretty difficult to extract and will only get more difficult with time, this is a decent concealer. It gives pretty high coverage and I’m thankful that they came through on that. My main issue with it is that it’s a little stiff – blending it out takes a bit more work than other full coverage concealers like Mac Pro Longwear and It Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye, but it’s good for spot concealing and when used along with other base makeup it’s untraceable. I’m a fan.

Maybelline Master Conceal (Fair) – This concealer is way too light for me. I knew it when I bought it, but I was impatient and desperate and the others weren’t available and I was heading off to something with really dark undereye circles. It’s workable, when worn with foundation, but I’ll probably give it to a fairer friend. All that said, I have used it a bit, and I’d like to comment on the formula as it’s new to the Aussie market. I love how light and creamy it is, and it gives pretty decent coverage – moreso than my beloved Superstay Better Skin Maybelline concealer. I still prefer that one, as it’s creamier and blends easier – the issue with the Master Conceal is that it tends to pick up on skin texture more than other similar concealers – it settles into pores and fine lines I wasn’t aware off. Not majorly, but enough that I prefer others. It might be nice, say, for cream highlighting, but that’s not my thing.

CoverFX Illuminating Primer (deluxe sample size) – Illuminating primers are just not for me and I’m going to give up on trying. This goes onto the skin looking fine at first, but as soon as I step into the sun I notice visible flecks of glitter, even through foundation. It doesn’t do much in the way of smoothing or wear extending, and frankly, I have yet to find a foundation that I love it with. Maybe a great product for people who want to shine all over, but this is totally not for me.

I’m going to try and do two Bite Sized Five posts a month. I think a lot of products will end up not being new to me, but rather just products I’ve been using and feel like talking about.