Thursday, September 6, 2018

We Need to Talk About FabFitFun (Fall 2018 Review)


Guys. We need to talk about FabFitFun.
I know, I know...I'm ridiculously late to the game on this one. However, when I stopped blogging to focus on school I also cancelled all (yes, ALL!) of my subscription boxes. I was in a huge transition in my life as I had ended my previous long-term relationship, moved back in with my parents, then shortly after moved in with my now current fiance...subscription boxes had all but faded from my life. I have always been a fan of PopSugar over FabFitFun, just because they were not only less expensive, but they came monthly, whereas FFF comes once per quarter. I also remember earlier boxes of FabFitFun focusing a lot on the "fit" part of their name with workout and wellness products and, well, I hate exercising. I'm a couch potato. Not going to apologize for it, but honestly their boxes never really wowed me until the past year or two. 

My Birthday is in March, and as a gift, my incredible and attentive fiance (somehow he remembered me wishing I had a subscription box in my life again), purchased me a 1 year subscription to FabFitFun starting with the Spring Box. The box I'm currently on will be the 3rd of 4 boxes I will receive this year, and you can bet your butt I'm going to beg for a renewal of this subscription for my birthday gift next year. 

Here's the thing: At the peak of my blog, I was easily getting 15-20 subscriptions per month. Eventually, NOTHING impressed me. Nothing excited me. I had multiple storage boxes completely FILLED with beauty and skincare products that I would give away in droves because they would have gone bad before I'd be able to use them all. I had some intense subscription box burnout. Now, getting back into having only ONE subscription, I feel that FabFitFun is absolutely perfect to hit the nail on the head for not only beauty and skincare, but lifestyle as well.  

If you've been on the fence about FabFitFun, or are not sure WHY people love it so much and what makes it so different from other subscriptions, I'm going to tell you in all of my rambling, semi-over-detailed glory just like the old days. The fact that I popped on here to tell you about it alone should be a huge hint about how much I truly love this subscription! But anyway enough about me, lets get onto the box goodness!

What is FabFitFun?

FabFitFun is a QUARTERLY subscription that comes 4 times a year: one box for every season. The box is $49.99 per quarter, or $180 per year if you pay in advance, saving you $5 per box.

Each season, FabFitFun will reveal spoilers for the box and also let you do some customizations, which you will see more details on during the review.  
Seasonal Members (who pay monthly) are able to make SOME choices for their box, and other items will be chosen at random. 
Annual Members (who pay per year up front) or "Select" members as they call them, will not only be able to customize some of their items, but will be able to choose almost ALL of the items in their box if they so desire.

What's even better, is if you just CAN'T decide between two items (which happened to me this month) you can add on the other item(s) for just $10 each. So yea, even that $150 handbag or $50 Tarte palette they might be offering that month? Only $10 if you want to add it to your box in addition to something you already chose. 

FabFitFun also offers "Add-Ons" which can be extremely dangerous for some people. To the extent that I've seen people saying they've added hundreds of dollars of product to their monthly box! Basically, this is a store that FabFitFun opens monthly shortly before boxes ship. The store has deeply discounted products and bundles, skincare, lifestyle, cosmetics galore, and even extra boxes if you want to purchase one for a friend. I've seen discounts go for sometimes more than 60% off, so this is a great place to get a good deal on something for yourself, or stock up on Christmas gifts etc. All of the items you "add-on" to your box from this shop ship free with your box, which is another great reason to spoil yourself a bit!

I usually avoid add-ons for the sake of not going bankrupt, but I did get myself 2 add-ons this month because I actually needed both of them! 


My add-ons this month were a Kate Spade thermal mug and the Deborah Lippmann Hard Rock topcoat. Boring? Yeah, probably. But I've had the same thermal mug for at least 4 years and it's very close to completely falling to pieces, and I consistently find myself running out of top coat, so that was also a no-brainer purchase!
 To give you an idea of the discount amounts for the add-on products, the Deborah Lippmann Topcoat retails for $20 and I paid $5. The Kate Spade Thermal Mug retails for $18 and I paid $9. So 50-75% off both items!

There's a LOT more to FabFitFun that you can read or learn about on their FAQ's page HERE.


Fall 2018 Box
Let's jump into the actual interesting part: What was in my box!

Let's start with customizable items!

CUSTOMIZATON 1

First Customization choice was either a Vince Camuto Tote bag or a Crown Brush Set. I definitely wanted the Vince Camuto tote in "Red Desert" because I own enough black bags, but I wanted something sleek to carry my laptop in. However, I have been really needing an upgrade on some of my frequently-used brushes, and these ones from Crown looked great. So I added on the silver set for the extra $10. 

Vince Camuto Tote in "Red Desert" ($128)

I heard a LOT of complaints regarding this tote being "vegan leather" and not genuine leather, however I don't really think (even as a carnivore) that an animal needs to die for my fashion. I'm fine with faux-leather, as long as that's what we're calling it. The "vegan leather" buzzword term is just a fancy way of saying faux leather, ya know? But regardless, this tote is flat in that there is no flat bottom to it. It would easily hold a tablet, large laptop, perhaps some slim books etc. You could absolutely use it as an actual daily handbag, although I prefer to carry bags that actually have a closure, which this one doesn't. I have a large gaming laptop and it still fits perfectly in here, so that's what I'll be using this for. Really love it! 

Crown Brush 6-Piece Brush Set in "Silver" ($75)

First off, I'll admit that I actually chose the black and rose-gold color and they sent me the silver, but it's such a small difference in appearance that it doesn't matter enough to me to contact them about it. Having said that, I HAVE contacted FabFitFun about small issues with my box (an item missing, an eyeliner that was dried out) and they've not only resent missing/damaged products, but they also awarded me $10 in credit to use in the Add-on shop and a free mystery item in my next box (which ended up being a super cute necklace). So I've gotta say I've had incredible luck with their customer service!
That aside, I'm not totally sold on the price of Crown Brush sets. I think they're a bit overpriced and seem to me to be relatively close to Coastal Scents and other less-expensive brands of brushes. Having said that, I happily spent the extra $10 to add these to my box. I needed a new angled blush brush and the one I saw at Ulta that was affordable and the right size was around $15. So I essentially saved myself some money AND got the whole set to boot!


CUSTOMIZATION 2

Customization 2 had all subscribers choose between an super adorable teapot infuser and a French Press both by the brand "Alfred". I've never heard of this brand, but I was happy to try out their super cute products! I really don't drink tea (although my fiance does) and you can essentially use a french press for loose tea as well as coffee, so you'd think I would go for the french press right? Nope.

Alfred Teapot ($26)

The teapot was just WAY too cute. The cuteness won me over. As I said, I don't even drink tea and I felt compelled to own this little guy. It has a stainless steel basket inside to put your loose tea, and is just about the most adorable thing ever. You can't heat it on your stove hilariously, so you need to boil water in a regular tea kettle, pour that boiling water over the loose tea and into this teapot and then serve. Still, my fiance thought it was cute and said he'd happily use it for his loose teas, so hey, it's a win for everyone!


CUSTOMIZATON 3


Customization 3 had all subscribers choose between two patterns of Catherine Malandrino Umbrellas, and black or white wireless bluetooth headphones. I was very tempted to get a few additional items here too, but I resisted, and ended up choosing the white and rose gold wireless headphones.


CYLO Cobra Bluetooth Wireless Earbuds ($40)

Honestly I wanted a set of headphones for both myself and my fiance, and damn did I want one of those cute umbrellas, but I JUST got my fiance new earbuds for Christmas and I have enough umbrellas for a large family, so I made the choice of just getting earbuds for myself. I have yet to try these out though, as I just got the box today, but I am loving the pink/white tones to these and I use earbuds often when I'm practicing my Korean lessons on the subway or after my fiance goes to sleep!


Now we're onto items that were customizable ONLY for Select/Annual Members. Members who pay month-to-month will receive one of the items from each category at random, while annual subscribers were able to choose.

CUSTOMIZATION 5

First up was a trio of products from a brand called "Grown Alchemist." It became very apparent to me how out of the game I was on beauty blogging when I had never heard of this brand, yet I saw others raving about them in the FabFitFun forums all over the internet. Of course, the temptation was there to choose all 3 items, but there was really only one that I actually needed:

Grown Alchemist Hydra-Repair Day Cream ($49)

Just today, I made a huge RoseRoseShop haul for all of my Korean beauty necessities, but I have been running desperately low on face creams and lotions. Since I started living a more minimal lifestyle and cancelled most of my subscription boxes, my supply of Korean skincare dwindled pretty quickly, especially my moisturizers which I use multiple times a day. I'm excited to try this one out and see how it stacks up next to my favorite Korean brands!

CUSTOMIZATION 6


Finally, the last group of customizable items. Again, month-to-month subscribers would receive one of the 3 items shown here in their box, while annual subscribers would be able to choose. Since I greatly dislike lip glosses and only have a standing shower in my apartment...that only leaves one item:

Farmacy Dew It All Total Eye Cream ($38)

I'll be honest, I need another eye cream like I need a hole in the head, but this was the only product in the selection choices that I would definitely use, and I really do love the Farmacy brand. I've used quite a few products from them before and I've loved and enjoyed every one, so I'm happy to get this product and hopefully I can get through all my other eye creams in time to be able to try this one soon! 

IN EVERY BOX

Finally, we have a group of items that were non-customizable, and come in everyone's box regardless of whether or not you are a select member. 

Beauty Blender ($20)

Ahh the famous beauty blender. I swear this baby has made the rounds in almost every single subscription box since it's invention, so really it's not all that exciting for me to get. Personally, I don't always have the time to wet a sponge, apply my BB cream with said sponge, and wash/rinse it and find a place for it to dry for the following day. It just seems a bit time-consuming for me, especially since I have gotten my makeup routine down to a science to make sure I'm on time. Even so, I still appreciate having one of these on hand for the days when I want my makeup to look extra flawless. And since my wedding is in 2 WEEKS (ahhhhhh!) I think it was the perfect time for this to show up!

GlamGlow Bubblesheet Oxygenating Deep Cleanse Masks ($18)

Okay, from someone that comes from a mostly Korean Beauty background, I've gotta say that $9 for a single sheet mask is kind of ridiculous. Not only that, bubble sheet masks have been sold by Korean brands for a while now, for a LOT less money than these GlamGlow ones. I know a lot of people love this brand and swear by it, but personally, I think it's a lot of really good marketing that makes them so popular. None of their masks have ever broken me out, but nothing has ever really transformed my skin to the point where I'd spend so much on their product line. I am happy to get these and I will definitely use them, but I can't see myself ever repurchasing unless they wow me moreso than the less expensive Korean versions.

Simply Whimsical Tea Towels ($15)

During the time that I was in school and on hiatus from blogging, I got super into interior decorating and home-type products. My fiance and I moved into a small apartment just outside of Boston and we had absolutely NOTHING, so I've been spending the past 2 years slowly building our collection of furniture and home decor to match our style. These towels are SO adorable and exactly the kind of thing I would buy on my own. I love gray and white, and I love tea towels! I checked out the Simply Whimisical website and I cannot get over how cute their products are, especially the aprons! There was a 40% off coupon code for all their aprons in the FFF booklet, so there's a high chance I'm about to get myself one!

Skin&Co Roma Blue in Capri Shower Gel ($22)

Another weird thing I have found myself constantly running out of is body wash, so this also came at the perfect time for me. I really love this brand and everything I've tried from them, so I have a feeling I'll enjoy this as well. The scent is interesting with wild sage, lemon and alpine rose. I usually hate anything that has rose in the scent, but it's very subtle and mixes well in this scent overall. this can also be used as a bubble bath, but since I don't have a bath tub I won't be able to enjoy it in that way. I'm telling you, I cannot WAIT to move into a condo that has a bathtub after living years in this apartment without one!

Luna Rica Bar ($1.40)

This was a sponsored item in the box, or in other words, a little extra item that isn't necessarily included in the overall value of the box. I haven't had a Luna Bar in years, and the Rica bars in particular are filled with cashew butter. This salted caramel nut flavor was absolutely divine. I mean I gobbled this thing up SO quickly. It's 170 calories, tastes like a cookie with nuts and caramel, and is actually soft and not dense like regular energy bars. Obsessed. Buying a box on Amazon as soon as I'm done with this review!

Overall Thoughts

I'm just completely obsessed with FabFitFun. There's no other way to describe it!
This box cost me $45 (as an annual subscriber) and the retail value (without the added items) is  a whopping $357.

If I include the cost of the items I added on, I spent a total of $68, and the retail value of all the items including my add-ons is $470!

This was by far the best birthday gift my fiance has ever gotten me, one of the best subscriptions I've ever received (and my old readers know I've subscribed to pretty much all of them), and it's always a true thrill to not only choose each item every season, but browse through the add-ons shop for deals. I can't think of a better box currently (although if you ARE looking for something similar, I hear Causebox is close in terms of value and variety!), and overall I am thrilled with the content, the curation and the value of the boxes, season after season!

$10 Off Coupon Time!

If you'd like to sign up for FabFitFun, I'd LOVE if you would use my referral link! You will receive $10 off your first box, and I will get $15 in credit to use in the add-ons shop.
Sign Up For FabFitFun HERE!


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All thoughts and opinions in this blog post are genuine and belong to Harlot Beauty. No monetary compensation was received, and goods were purchased by the blogger and not provided for review. Post contains affiliate or referral links.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Warmer Weather: Lighter Skincare!

Hey guys!
It's been a while! (I feel like I'm always saying that, eh?) The past few months have been super busy as I've been slowly looking for a new job without much luck; If only blogging paid actual money and I could do this full time again like I used to! Also forgive my less-than-professional photos on the blog lately and potentially in the near future: my old photo editing software is now offered by subscription only, and i'm in the process of finding another suitable editor that doesn't charge me!

But for now, back to the skincare! The weather has been getting warmer and warmer here in New England, and I've noticed that my Winter skincare routine is feeling a bit heavy lately. Since my Korean skincare hauls tend to take a few weeks to reach me, I decided to search outside of my KBeauty comfort zone to find some lighter products that would work for this hot and humid weather! 


Both of these products are new launches from two brands (G.M. Collin and HydroPeptide) that are totally new to me, so it was super exciting to give these a try and see if they fit in with my routine and stood up to my tried-and-true products.

G.M. Collin Native Collagen Gel 
($88, GMCollin.com for Spa Locations or Skin1.com for online retail)


G.M. Collin Native Collagen Gel is a product that is used as a sort of serum, although it has more of a gel-like consistency. It does do it's fair share of moisturizing without giving you that greasy, uncomfortable feel which can be even more irritating in warmer weather. The company claims that this product can restore skin and it's natural hydration balance while fighting fine lines and wrinkles. The company also suggests that it be used as a serum under a cream for dry skin or as a moisturizer on it's own for oily skin. I personally don't think that it's moisturizing enough to work alone, even on oily skin, so I would suggest using this product along with a light cream or facial lotion even if your skin is a bit oily.

One interesting bit that I found on the G.M. Collin website, is that this product has been "used for years in hospitals to treat major burns, in cardiovascular surgery, and dermatology." I did email the company about this claim and have not heard back, but I'm really wondering if this EXACT product is used, or a product with similar ingredients? Seems like a big claim from a company I've never heard of, but I thought I'd mention it anyway!

Claims:
-For normal to oily skin.
-Soothes reactive skin and promotes hydration.
-Improves the youthful appearance of skin.
-Tightens pores and soothes the skin.
-Visible reduction in wrinkle and an intense moisturizing of skin.

How to Use:
-Apply a thin film under the skin care cream for dry, dehydrated, atonic or mature skins.
-Massage thoroughly.
-Add a suitable quantity of skin care cream and massage.
-Use as an intensive program: morning and evening.
-Use as a maintenance program: morning or evening or as recommended by your skin care professional.


I found that this serum is fantastic in the summer, as some of my others are very rich and have a more oil-like consistency. This one is a light gel- very close to a Korean booster. The scent is very light and non-offending, although if you're scent-sensitive it might be a bit too strong for you. It applies smoothly and absorbs very quickly into my skin. I've been using it for about a week now and I haven't had any breakouts or changes in my skin health, however that includes any positive results as well. It's hard to tell with just one week of use of course, but I can't see spending full price on this product in the future due to it's unremarkable results. One thing I will mention however, is if you have extremely oily skin and no moisturizer seems to keep your skin even-keel, this actually might be a great product for you. It does lightly moisturize well, but for anyone with normal/dry skin it would not be enough to sustain moisture on your face throughout the day.

Ingredients:

CosDNA Analysis


NEW HydroPeptide Nimni Day Cream 

Yea...You read that correctly. $110 for a 1oz tube of day cream. This company reminds me a LOT of GlamGlow in that they put quite a few scientific "buzz words" on their packaging but not as much in the way of actual explanations of their products- not on their website or the box. They say that their scientists use epigenetic technology to create the formulas for their products in order for each one to support cellular health. However I wasn't able to see much more detail on this process or what exactly makes their products different from others anywhere on their site. When that happens, I feel a bit iffy on recommending a product, but I really loved this cream so I'll take a neutral stance and give you all the information I know as well as my personal experience! 
What I will say is: during my research I saw quite a few rave reviews from various spas and estheticians exclaiming how incredible this brand is on their clients as well as some great reviews from your everyday customers...so hey...maybe there really is something to all their scientific lingo!

This Nimni day cream is formulated with what the company calls a "Collagen Support Complex" and claims it's the only technology known today that takes a "four-pronged approach" to enhancing and maximizing the body's natural ability to produce collagen while at the same time, protects the breakdown of existing collagen. 

Claims:
-Features Dr. Marcel Nimni’s revolutionary research on collagen with a revolutionary patented collagen support complex to rejuvenate skin and lessen the look of fine lines and wrinkles.

-Helps to optimize collagen production through an exclusive, patented amino acid complex.

-Key antioxidants provide environmental protection to the skin for daytime use.

-Appropriate for all skin types, especially those with expression lines and concerns with wrinkles and/or loss of facial volume.

How to Use:
-Apply a small amount to a clean face and neck. 
-May be used AM and PM. 
-Follow with appropriate  moisturizer and sunscreen.

This product is also free of Gluten, Parabens, Phthalates, Sulfates and is Cruelty Free.



Ingredients:


Cost and scientific jargon aside, I really love this day cream. I find it to be light and airy in terms of consistency, and it has a very familiar scent that reminds me a bit of classic Ponds products. Very fresh and clean. What I look for first and foremost in a day cream is that it can sit under my makeup without pilling or rolling into little balls when I apply my foundation over it. I can't tell you how many moisturizers I have tried that I have to pass on because of this issue! This cream is very light, but at the same time feels incredibly moisturizing. You need a very small amount (maybe one or two pumps) to cover the whole face/neck area. I found that amount was more than enough for my skin to feel plumped and happy after a hot shower. My foundation smoothed on over this cream with ease, and my skin stayed moisturized throughout the day. I consistently deal with dry patches on my chin and around my nose only a short time after I apply my makeup, but this cream kept my skin balanced throughout the day.

It has only been a week since I started using this product, and of course, I don't have enough fine lines and wrinkles to notice a significant difference when it comes to that, however I do have a line going across the bridge of my nose from constantly squinting. I've tried many products to help me get rid of it but it always seems to stick around. This cream seems to make it much less visible, even after just a week of use. I'm interested to see if it continues to fade, but I do have to say I was very impressed with the results!

Overall Thoughts

Firstly, I was happy to receive this products complimentary so that I could try them out and hopefully find some new summer staples that wouldn't make my skin feel heavy. I really enjoy the consistency and light scent that both products have, and they have done a great job especially when I combine them at keeping my skin moisturized but not greasy during warm days. I find that the prices are extremely high and definitely not something I would afford in my normal day-to-day purchases, however I would highly consider splurging on the HydroPeptide day cream if it continues to help fade the fine lines around my eye area!

I'd love to know what your favorite warmer weather skincare products are! 


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All thoughts and opinions in this blog post are genuine and belong to Harlot Beauty. No monetary compensation was received, although goods and/or services have been provided and accepted for purpose of review. Post does not contain affiliate or referral links.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

I'm Obsessed with Fairy String Lights




Yes, I'm still on hiatus (only a couple months left of school stuff before I finally graduate omg!) but I had to make a post about this product as it was incredibly frustrating for me to find it! Why? Keep on reading, my loves!
I'm sure you've seen these string lights in almost every Pinterest post, but did you know that the majority of those string lights are battery operated? Yea...frustrating. Maybe it's just me, but I really can't stand having to find batteries (at least 4 AA's in the case of these lights) and then changing them out whenever one is drained just to have my pretty lights on. It seemed like no matter where I saw these lights, they were sold inexpensively, but with a battery pack. Finally, I discovered this particular set of lights on Amazon, and not only do they come with an option to plug in or have a battery pack (for those cases where you have no where to plug them in), but they also come with a small remote to control the brightness as well as strobe effects and other fun things!


I have had these bad boys up around the small window in my room for a few months now, and they have continued to glow strong- my first set that was battery operated ended up dying after just a month of regular use. Since I've had less time to test and explore beauty products during my college time, I've become more and more interested in home decorating- unfortunately I lack the funds to really make my home look Pinterest-worthy! Having said that, I had to give a shout-out to these string lights real quick on my blog because I've become that obsessed with them. Just placing them around my window or along the top of a curtain rod, even wrapping them around hanging plants etc has made my home look so much more warm and cozy. What I particularly love about the copper wire lights is that they are smaller than regular Christmas lights and the wire makes it easy to form the lights around anything your heart desires! I did purchase these and there are no affiliate links in this post, just wanted to let some of you know they existed in case you were like me and grumpy about all the cheap, short-lived battery pack lights out there! :)

If you want to snag a bunch of these like I did, you can grab them on Amazon HERE! They are currently under $18 at the time of this post, but the price tends to fluctuate- Well worth the few extra dollars compared to the cheaper ones- these are built to last!

Until next time! <3

-Rachel


All thoughts and opinions in this blog post are genuine and belong to Harlot Beauty. No monetary compensation was received, although goods and/or services may have been provided and accepted for purpose of review. Post may contain affiliate or referral links.