Sunday, April 27, 2014

Birchbox Limited Edition: In Full Bloom

Every now and then, Birchbox releases a themed limited edition box. They're usually a fantastic value, and filled with full size and deluxe sample sized products that correspond to that particular theme. 
I have seen quite a few boxes that had me hovering the mouse over the "add to cart" button, but I've been waiting to use my Birchbox points on a box that was really up my alley.
As soon as I saw the newly released "In Full Bloom" limited edition box, I couldn't check out fast enough! Luckily, I shipped it on the 23rd and it was at my door on the 25th. Probably the fastest shipping I've ever experienced!
In Full Bloom is a box that is filled with products that will definitely get you excited for spring! Just swatching and testing everything in this box has made me want to pull out the spring sandals and sunnies, change out my winter handbag for a floral print tote, and finally say goodbye to my oxblood lipsticks that I've been holding onto since fall! I feel like spring has officially arrived for me, and this box is definitely getting me in the spirit.
This box costs $58 in the Birchbox shop, however I used a coupon code and Birchbox points and got it for free. (Yay Birchbox Points!)

1. TENOVERTEN: Nail Polish in "Spring"
(Full Size: $18 / Deluxe Sample: $12.60)
  From the just-launched Spring Collection, this five-free nail polish offers gorgeous, chip-free color without harsh chemicals.
OK, let me start off by saying that I'm not a nail blog for a reason. I don't take very good care of my nails because I have a condition that makes them very thin and brittle. My cuticles are super dry and I'm horrible at keeping my hand still when polishing. Even so, I wanted to give you an idea of what this polish looks like on, and with the exception of a few flubs and dry cuticles, I'd say I did pretty dang good!

As for the polish, it appears a bit deeper and more bright on my nails than it does in the bottle. Looking at it, I thought it would be a bright, pastel leaning pink. I did two coats on my nails and got a really fun, bright pink shade that is unique enough that I don't own anything similar. The formula is amazing. Polish chips on my nails after mere hours of applying it. For a 5-free formula, this stuff is strong. I've had 2 coats (no top coat) on now for well over 24 hours and still no fading or chipping. I've never heard of this brand prior to getting this box, but I have to say I'm super impressed! Perfect shade for Spring, too!

 2. Liz Earle: Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser
(Full Size: $24.50 / Deluxe Sample: $9.50)

This two-step ritual uses cleanser with chamomile to purify and soothe, and a muslin cloth to gently polish and soften skin.
This cleanser has been featured in the regular Birchboxes before, except it was housed in a beautiful little blue box. I couldn't help but be disappointed to find it packaged in cellophane this time. Even so, I really love this cleanser. It's kind of strange, though! You apply this cleanser to a dry face and sort of massage it into your skin. I didn't want to see my makeup come off all over the muslin cloth, so I use a cleansing wipe to remove makeup first, although that is not required. Once you massage the cleanser onto your dry skin, you then wet the muslin cloth with warm/hot water and use it to buff the cleanser off of your skin. This system cleanses and exfoliates well, smells amazing and a little goes a very long way. I've always been impressed with the Liz Earle products I've tried, and even though I'm deep into an asian skincare regimen, I want to squeeze this cleanser into my routine more often!

3. Votivo: Aromatic Travel Tin in "Rush of Rose"
(Full Size: $12)
Whether you're traveling far and wide, or staying close to home, this perfumed candle will put a spring in your step.
It's no secret I'm addicted to candles. I especially love travel-sized candles because they can go with you anywhere! I have seen/heard of the Votivo brand, but this is my first time owning one of their candles. Unfortunately, Rose is my least favorite scent in general. I find it to be a bit overpowering, but there's something about this rose scent in particular that isn't so bad! The rose scent is very authentic, but it also has a "green" scent underneath which cuts through that intense floral and brings it down a notch. The scent is really romantic and would smell lovely burning on a vanity or in a bedroom. If a floral-scented candle doesn't say spring, I don't know what does!

4. The Soap and Paper Factory: Shea Butter Hand Cream in "Bella"
(Full Size: $18) 
This all-natural shea butter salve is made by hand and has a velvety feel and addictive floral scent.
This shea butter hand cream is not only super creamy and moisturizing, but it's in the prettiest packaging! I checked out the other scents on Birchbox's website and each one is packaged differently. I think these creams would be amazing gifts for aunts, sister, bridesmaids etc, just on the packaging alone! 
I do have a bit of a bone to pick with Birchbox, however. They describe this cream as having a "floral scent" on the card, yet the notes are listed on the back of the package as Grapefruit, Bergamot and Black Pepper. Not exactly floral! If I had to describe it, I would say it smells like a sweet orange/bergamot. It's absolutely delightful and refreshing! 

5. TokyoMilk: Bon Bon Lip Balm in "Rose Water"
(Full Size: $10)
 With shea butter and aloe, this sweet-tasting rose water lip balm packs a hydrating punch.

If you haven't heard of TokyoMilk, or tried any of their products, I suggest you do so immediately! Not only is the packaging absolutely beautiful and whimsical, but the products are luxurious and high quality. This lip balm was a bit off-putting for me at first, because I didn't think that a rose-scented lip balm would be appealing. However, it has a very subtle, yet sweet smell and taste to it, with an incredibly light rose undertone. It's packaged beautifully, as all TokyoMilk products are. The balm is very smooth and moisturizing, without being thick and goopy. This product is something I am definitely going to repurchase to gift to friends!

6. Tocca: Fragrance Rollerball in "Giulietta"
(Full Size: $20)
 An airy fragrance brimming with enchanting florals, including pink tulips, lilacs, and lily of the valley.
 This one was a bit of a toss-up for me when I first saw it. I absolutely love Tocca products. Like TokyoMilk, I find their products to be high quality, and their packaging to be beautiful. My issue with Tocca is that many of their scents are heavy on the florals, and I'm very picky with floral scents. 
I hadn't smelled Guilietta before, but I find it to be a very fresh and clean scent. Birchbox description of the scent is a bit different from what is says on the box: Green Apple, Pink Tulips, Vanilla Orchid, Amber. I think that the scent matches the description on the box much more. The green apple sweetens up the florals and the vanilla and amber give it a very natural, light musk. It's a beautiful scent, however I don't think that it lasts very long at all on my skin. 
For a $20 rollerball, I expect the scent to last at least a couple of hours. This one seemed to dissipate almost as soon as I applied it. It's nearly undetectable after a hour or so. While this is one of the nicest scents that I have tried from Tocca, it's definitely the one that lasted the least amount of time. I'll toss this in my bag for quick freshen up moments, but I don't think I would buy this again due to the lack of longevity. 

7. MAKE: Satin Finish Powder Blush in "Geisha"
(Full Size: $25)
 A satiny formula that gives cheeks a rosy pink flush. You're Blushing!
 I haven't tried anything from this brand before, however I've seen them here and there on the Birchbox website. I have a fondness for blush, and this is such a stunning color for spring. It photographs quite pink, but it's really closer to a pink-coral shade. It's a nice size company and the packaging looks sleek and feels sturdy.
Here's a swatch of the blush. On the left is one finger swipe, so you can see it's quite pigmented. On the right is the same blush buffed out a bit. You can really get a beautifully natural flush with this blush. There's no shimmer or glitter in this shade, however it does have a pearly satin finish as the name suggests. Perfect addition to my Spring makeup rotation!

8.Cecilia Wong Skincare: Anti-Aging Rose Serum Spray
(Full Size: $40/ Deluxe Sample: $10)
 Created by a celebrity facialist, this rose mist plumps fine lines, boosts elasticity, and restores dewiness.
This mist has a very strong scent. It's a mix between rose, eucalyptus or menthol of some kind, and an overall strong "herb-like" scent. It's not an offensive smell, just very strong for something that is supposed to be sprayed on your face! I found myself holding my breath when spraying it. The bottle suggests to spray the product on a cleansed face and them apply serum and moisturizer as usual in order to lock in the moisture and good stuff that this spray provides. I didn't see or feel any results after one use, which is typical for a skin care product, but I plan on continuing to use it and let you know what I think in an upcoming empties post!

If you're intrigued about this product, you can learn more about it here.

9. Juara: Tiare Jasmine Tea Bath and Shower Gel
(Full Size: $28 / Deluxe Sample: $2.33)
 Inspired by Indonesian beauty recipes, this sulfate-free formula cleanses and softens the skin with a trio of antioxidant teas.
I'm a big fan of Juara, especially their candlenut body cream and their tamarind tea toner. I think their natural products and subtle scents make for a really lovely line of products! This body wash smells fresh and clean. I haven't used it yet, but I have high hopes!

 Overall Thoughts
I've skipped over many other limited edition boxes that Birchbox has released. This was one I just couldn't pass up, and I'm so glad I didn't! I am impressed with the curation of this box. I really think that all the products go together so well and really make me want to gear up for Spring in full force!
The cost of this box is $58. The overall  retail value of this box is almost $120!
I think that is a fantastic value, and believe this is one of their best limited edition boxes yet!  This would be a perfect Mother's Day gift, or gift for any special gal in your life!

If you're interested in picking up one of these limited edition boxes, you can do so HERE.
You can also try one of these coupons codes to get a possible 20% off your purchase:
WELCOMEOFFER20, LETSGO20,  or MOBILE20 (if you're ordering on a mobile device)
(coupons codes may or may not work for you, but give them a shot!)

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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 may have been provided and accepted for purpose of review. Post may contain affiliate or referral links.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

City Color Cosmetics: Face Products Review and Swatches!

I've really been delving into the world of City Color Cosmetics over the past month, and I think I can confidently say one of their strongest areas is their face products. Some of you may be familiar with the Be Matte blushes, as they were included in the February 2014 Ipsy bag. I wondered if the quality of the blush was consistent throughout the entire City Color line. City Color was gracious enough to provide me with quite a few face products so I could compare!

 City Color HD Powder ($4.99 here)
Our City Color HD Powder can be worn for a shine-free look or help set your foundation for a smooth matte finish. This long-lasting translucent powder helps blur any imperfections and fills in fine lines to make your skin camera-ready. Its fine powder texture allows you to blend easily and leave your skin with a flawless finish. Perfect for all skin tones.
I love a good HD translucent powder. I have acne-prone skin, and on the days that my skin is misbehaving, I can need a lot more face product than I normally like to wear. Because of that, I try to use a translucent powder to set my foundation in order to give my skin a less caked-on look. I have had a lot of luck with some of the lower-end powders, and one I reach for quite a bit is my e.l.f HD powder. I find that both the e.l.f and the City Color powders are incredibly similar in wear time as well as overall performance. The City Color powder is incredibly silky and matte. I dusted a bit on my hand to take a photo and my hand felt unbelievably soft for the rest of the day. Using it on my skin had the same result. My face also stayed matte for a good chunk of the day as well. I think that this is a fantastic purchase if you want a more matte finish to your skin, and want a more soft focus kind of appearance. It does also help to fill in fine lines, but I wouldn't say that it masks larger wrinkles very well.
Overall this powder works quite well, and keeps your skin smooth and matte for hours. I'd be interested to test this out a bit more once the warmer weather comes, because I'm always looking for a powder that stands up through heat and sweat!

Spotlight Highlighter ($2.99 here)
 Spotlight Highlighter is a creamy and weightless formula giving you a flawless sheen. Its soft pink shimmery shade helps illuminate your eyes, lips and overall face! Blends beautifully for a healthy natural glow with a silky smooth finish. Paraben Free.
This highlight is pretty basic: a pink-shimmery cream highlight that can be used as a base under shadows, or to highlight cheekbones, brow bones etc. This cream formula is thin and lightweight, making it super easy to apply and blend with ease. I think it had a similar appearance on the skin to Benefit's High Beam, although the formula is different. My only complaint is that this highlight seemed to wear away throughout the day. It stayed put for about 4 hours, but shortly after that, I started to notice the sheen fading from the tops of my cheekbones. I think it's a great highlight for the price, especially if you want to mimic the appearance of High Beam without spending too much money. Just be sure to use a setting spray when using this product, to help it stay put.

Be Matte Blush ($2.99 here)
 Our Be Matte Blush comes in 8 revolutionary colors, giving your cheeks a vibrant glow for every look. Its silky-smooth texture and richly pigmented hue comes in the perfect matte finish with an ultra blend-able formula. These stunning shades are highly build-able and allow you to create either an elegantly subtle or dramatically bold look. It's every girl's must-have secret!
I am already a huge fan of City Color's Be Matte blushes. I find them to be incredibly bright, pigmented and blendable. On top of all that, the compact is huge and a little goes a long way- making it an excellent value! The shade I have swatched is Fresh Melon. This one always looks a bit intimidating in the pan, but it can be blended out into a beautiful peachy coral shade on the cheeks. I think it's a perfect shade for summer!

These blushes last all day on me when I use a setting spray. I haven't tested them on their own, but so far I haven't had any issues with staying power or pigmentation. If you're going to get anything from City Color, my picks would be the Be Matte blushes!

Be Matte Bronzer ($2.99)

For some strange reason, I wasn't able to find this bronzer anywhere on the site. It looks a lot like the "Toasted Coconut" shade of Be Matte blush. I haven't heard back from a City Color rep to confirm or deny this though, so I'm just going to review it as is. Perhaps it's a new product that hasn't been released on the site yet!
If you have ever attempted to find a matte bronzer in the drugstore, you must know how incredibly difficult it is. Usually there is a lot of shimmer, or the bronzer is too light or too orange-toned. Finding a grey-brown matte bronzer is essential to a natural and realistic looking contour. This bronzer is fantastic. It has the same soft and pigmented formula as the other Be Matte blushes, and is 100% matte! Yay! This bronzer blends incredibly well on my cheeks and isn't too orangey, which makes it my new go-to contour! Loving the fact that it's only $2.99 too!

Overall Thoughts
I have really enjoyed trying out some of the City Color product line. While not everything I have tried has worked for me, I find myself reaching for these face products more and more often. I think that you can get a really polished look with these products, and love how affordable they all are. It goes without saying that sometimes drugstore-priced products can sometimes need a bit of help in the stay-power department, however I have had no major issues with any of these products when paired with a setting spray.

Check out my previous review on City Color Cosmetics Lip Products Here 
As well as my City Color Cosmetics Eye Products review 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, although goods and/or services may have been provided and accepted for purpose of review. Post may contain affiliate or referral links.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Birchbox April 2014 Review

I got my Birchboxes almost a week ago now, but I've been so busy that I almost completely forgot to blog about them! Seriously, I need to a hire a personal assistant to keep me organized!

 Let's skip all my usual ramblings this month and get right to the boxes! I get 2 Birchboxes every month because I have absolutely no self control. It's a curse. I decided to compile them both into one review rather than separating them just to make it a bit easier to read. The 2nd Birchbox tends to have some overlap with my main box, so it's review will be less detailed.

This month's theme was "Rainy Days." This of course, works perfectly in the month of April, which is known for being rainy! Interestingly enough, here in Rhode Island, we've only had one or two rain-tastic days so far this month. I'm hoping that's a trend and the wet stuff stays out of my skies! I'm demanding only sun for the rest of the month!

As much as I hate the rain, I am totally digging those cute raindrop cookies that Birchbox has so adorably displayed on the info card this month!

Every April box included one card from the "52 Bright Ideas For a Rainy Day" set. This is a little deck of cards that was created by Birchbox staff, and sells for $10 in the Birchbox shop. It included 52 fun ideas to keep you busy and entertained during a rainy day. While I think this is a super cute idea and fun addition to the boxes, I can't imagine spending actual money on these. I'm willing to bet there are rainy day activity lists all over the internet!

Let's get on to the good stuff!

1. Paula's Choice: 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant
 Not only do I love Paula's Choice, but I really love her exfoliants. I have acne due to a hormonal disorder, and while I would love to use an actual scrub-like exfoliant, those are not always good for acne-prone skin. Paula's Choice has liquid and gel exfoliants that help remove dead skin, fade dark spots, and boost collagen production. These exfoliants don't need to be washed off. I cleanse my skin as normal, use my exfoliant, and then tone, moisturize etc. This is a generous sample size and I'm super excited to start using it!

 2. Supergoop! Daily Correct SPF 35 CC Cream "Light/Medium"
 I apologize in advance because I had a swatch of this stuff, but somehow the picture disappeared into the abyss of my unorganized computer...or I accidentally deleted it. And while I could just pull out the sample and do another swatch, I of course gave both tubes (I got it in both boxes) away before writing this review. Whoops!
Either way, this stuff is a "CC Cream" that protects against UVA, UVB and all that other bad sunny stuff. It's supposed to work as a primer as well as a foundation. Personally, I didn't find this to be "light to medium" at all. I have basic light skin. I usually use Ivory toned shades of foundation. This stuff was so orange on me. I can't imagine anyone with light skin looking good with this on. It claims to be "self adjusting," and after applying it that seems to just mean "light coverage so your actual skin tone peeks through." Not impressed with this guy. Not thrilled when Birchbox sends me things I can't use. Ah well!

 3. Anastasia Beverly Hills: Clear Brow Gel
 I am a natural blonde. A natural light blonde, at that. I dye my hair dark brown/black and because of that, I have to draw in my white-blonde, non-existent eyebrows. I never thought that I needed a specific "brow" powder until I tried the Anastasia Beverly Hills brow powder duo. Honestly, I wish my compact wasn't so dirty and used, otherwise I'd make a huge blog post praising it. (I will once I pick up a new one!) It's truly the best makeup purchase I have made in the last year, and I don't know how I lived without it.
But really...I don't need a brow gel. I have blonde, sparse brows. I brush them with a spoolie and they all go exactly in the direction I need them to. Even so, I gave this stuff a whirl for review purposes. AGAIN Anastasia Beverly Hills surprises me! Even though my brows are light, this stuff really molded them in the exact shape I like without making them crunchy and weird like other brow gels I've tried.. I think that Anastasia is a brow wizard goddess from another universe. I want to own all of her products. Right. Now!

4. Color Club: Gala Gems Collection in "Breakfast At..."
 So Birchbox has this weird love affair with Color Club. I'm not a huge fan of their polishes, I've gotta say. I'm kind of a one-brand woman when it comes to polishes (Butter London!) and my other polishes are one-off's from a bunch of different brands. No matter how much Birchbox wants me to care about Color Club...I'm just not into it!
Having said that, this polish isn't terrible. I find the formula to be incredibly thick and it can get difficult to work with. I also think pastels in general get streaky. This isn't too bad with 2 coats, but you can still see streaks up close, and I'm just not digging that. The minty green shade is super pretty for spring, but I don't see myself buying any other color from this collection.

5. Kind Healthy Grains Maple Pumpkin Seeds with Sea Salt
I love Kind Bars. I have them stashed in every pocket, purse and corner of my life. I have yet to get my hands on these "healthy grains" bars, so I was happy to see one in my Birchbox this month. The Maple flavor is sweet, but not overbearing. The bar is chewy and delish. The only slight issue I had was the sea salt. I was totally digging the flavor of this and then right before you finish chewing, there's this random kick of salt. It just doesn't work for me. I will still eat these bars and I may even get them again, but I just wish they didn't have the unneeded salt!

 Overall, I am happy with my main box this month. The only total bust was the Supergoop. Everything else I was happy to receive and test out. Even my tepid feelings on the Color Club have warmed a bit since using it on my toes to match my new mint-colored sandals! 

 BOX #2
This month was the first month that I had 3 out of 5 repeat products in my second box. Even more unfortunately, I received the Klorane dry shampoo in my main box a few months ago. So the only new product in this box was the Cynthia Rowley eyeliner. And's a black pencil liner. I probably have more black liners than any other kind of makeup in my collection. So while this wasn't an exciting box for me, I was happy to have another Kind bar and another bottle of the Paula's Choice. I don't use dry shampoo so that's going to my roommate, and the liner and supergoop are going in the give away pile.

Even with the doubles, I think that the April boxes this month look pretty good! I've had some pretty skimpy Birchboxes in the past, and I think both of my April boxes have a nice variety of products, and they are all generous sized samples! What did you get in your Birchbox this month? 

If you don't get Birchbox and you're interested in doing so, It's only $10 a month! You also get points to spend in their store when you review your samples. If you're interested in subscribing, please consider using my referral link 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, although goods and/or services may have been provided and accepted for purpose of review. Post may contain affiliate or referral links.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Introducing: Beauteque! Korean Beauty Masks and TonyMoly Bunny Gloss Review!

I think it's safe to say: Korean Beauty Products are IN! From sheet masks, to snail creams, The world of Korean beauty is vastly different from what's on the market here in the US. More women are branching out in their beauty routines, and searching for new and innovative products to mix things up.

Korean skincare in particular has become incredibly popular here in the US, due to the high standards and heavy competition in the Korean skincare market. While we all want to get our hands on these (usually adorably packaged) lotions and potions, it can sometimes be incredibly confusing choosing a website to make a purchase! There are dozens of Asian beauty and skincare websites, and not all of them are trustworthy. I can't tell you how many times I've heard horror stories about websites taking months to get products to consumers, if at all, not to mention counterfeit products!
 So here's the good news. I found a great new website called:

Beautique is a newly launched online store that sells top of the line cosmetics, skincare, jewelry, and more!

My Favorite things about Beauteque:
Location- Beauteque is located in New Jersey, so your orders are shipped and received quickly!
Customer Service- The Beauteque team is incredibly down-to-earth, and friendly. You'll never receive a canned response from them! Every time I contact them, it feels like I'm talking to a good friend. They truly appreciate you as a customer, and do everything they can to make sure you have a pleasant shopping experience. I have yet to find that kind of sincere customer service with any other website!
Samples!- If you're looking to try out products for the first time, you can order a sample bag for absolutely FREE! You just have to pay a small fee of $3.00 for shipping.
Free Shipping Until the End of April!- On all orders other than sample bags!

Beauteque was kind enough to send me a few things to review, and I decided to choose something I've seen around and always wanted to review for you guys, as well as a few masks! They're one of the most popular types of asian skincare products, and something I am always using to mix up my skincare routine!

The Masks
Beauteque offers a wide variety of masks from super popular brands. If you're not sure which masks would work best for you, you can pick up most of them for just $1.99 each. Beauteque also offers some of the masks in multi-packs so you can save money once you've found your favorite one!

These cotton or paper face masks are usually used after cleansing and toning the face. They are left on for 20-30 minutes and disposed of after removal. It's usually recommended that you massage or pat the excess essence into your skin.

Beauteque has included this how-to on their page in order to get a better idea of how to place these masks on your skin:
 Even though these masks will fit most faces, it's a good idea to have a pair of scissors nearby to help the product fit your skin better. I like to lay the mask on my skin and slowly start to smooth it out starting at the top and working my way down to my chin. If the mask is rising up a bit, or my eyes are covered slightly by the mask, I snip little slits in those areas and gently pat the mask down into place.

 Lioele Pore Control Essence Mask is specially formulated with mung-bean extract, Chinese Quince Extract, and Diospyros Kaki (Persimmon) Leaf Extract to help refine clogged pores that may cause pimples. It also contains a "tannin" component which is a type of astringent that binds to amino acids and helps reduce pores while moisturizing the skin. This mask is recommended for people with oily skin. The Lioele Pore Control Essence Mask is concentrated with ingredients to help control sebum secretion. It does not contain any artificial coloring or alcohol to help keep your skin clear and oil-free.
While I don't have incredibly oily skin, I do have very large pores, and suffer from hormonal acne. I used this mask for 30 minutes, and once the essence had fully absorbed into my skin, I did notice an overall tighter feeling to my skin. It didn't feel dry, just a bit more firm. I have tried a lot of pore-shrinking products, and while I don't think any of them have worked very well, I do think that this mask did a good job of temporarily shrinking down my pores. They were still visible, but obviously smaller than they were prior to the mask. The effect did not last longer than a day, but my makeup definitely applied better the morning after using this mask! 

Cosphingo(TM) maintains healthy skin by sealing in water for improved hydration. Dry skin is moisturized so that the skin feels soft and supple like a baby's skin. The enhanced hydration meets the ultimate needs of the skin inside and out. Intensive Elasticity Caviar essence is specially extracted from sturgeon contains luxurious skin beautifying elements that deeply moisturize, nourish and restore skin vitality. Skin protection is enhanced and texture, density, and elasticity are improved and restored. Natural plant moisturizing ingredient bladderwrack extract penetrates deep into the skin to provide intensive hydration, effectively reviving tired skin. Rescue your skin from damage and wrinkles with this enhancement and regain your elasticity again. Lifting and Firming Combined with various youth-restoring plant essence compounds such as pure rice essence and ginkgo extract, this mask effectively lifts and firms your skin through the effect of hydrolyzed elastin.
I think that this was the first mask that I actually said, "Wow!" when I took it off! Most masks that I've used feel like they do one thing in particular: moisturize, tighten, brighten etc, but the Caviar mask truly made me skin feel completely different overall! My face felt lifted and more firm, moisturized and even looked revived and more clear overall. The redness around my nose had gone down sufficiently, and the hormonal acne on my skin looked calmer and less inflamed. I just used this one today, so I'm not sure how long the effect will last with this one, but I am definitely impressed and I am absolutely repurchasing more of these asap!

Combining the active ingredients from the black pearl together with extracts from the marine and plants, it enhances the hydration of the skin improving radiance. Natural vitamin C extracted from plant essence helps to exfoliate gently, removing dead skin on the surface. This allows for deep moisturizing, improving skin elasticity, energizing the skin for a healthy, radiant look.
 I used this mask 2 nights ago, and while my skin felt moisturized and smooth, I didn't feel like it did much more than my normal moisturizer. When masks take 20-30 minutes of sitting on your face, you hope that you can visibly see a difference when you remove it. While the Black Pearl mask was definitely a nice, refreshing mask, I think that there are plenty other masks that show visible improvements when they're used. I won't be repurchasing this one. What I will say, though, is that it might work better for someone with a different skin type (I have combo skin) as it just kind of moisturized and not much more.

Lioele Perfect Brightening Essence Mask is per-moistened with concentrated arbutin and contains natural complex ingredients such as mulberry, green tea and orange extract which penetrate deep into the skin and effectively brighten dark skin and replenish nutrients. Arbutin and mulberry are natural ingredients for whitening/brightening your skin. The green tea extract will hydrate and moisturize your skin while the orange extract tightens, firms, and tones the skin with its astringent properties. This mask contains no artificial coloring and no alcohol. It will protect your skin from UV rays and keep your skin looking healthy, fresh and radiant.
I definitely felt like this Lioele Honey mask had a similar effect to the My Beauty Diary Caviar mask. I have uneven skin: redness, acne, dark circles, dry flaky parts, oily name it. I sometimes feel like I can never find the right products for my skin because it's so temperamental. However this honey mask (like the MBD Caviar mask mentioned above) brightened and evened out my skin tone. When I can notice a more "calmed" appearance to my skin after using a product once, I know I'm in love. My skin felt moisturized but tightened and firm as the claims suggest. I did notice that this mask did not fit my face as nicely as the others: the forehead seemed to be too large and there wasn't enough length on the cheeks to reach the edges of my face. I don't really like the "eye flaps" on the Lioele masks, and I end up cutting them off. I also think that this mask made my skin burn a bit when it was on, which is not very common as I don't have sensitive skin. So since it did almost the same thing as the MBD Caviar mask, I will probably stick to that one!

The Cosmetics

I wanted to get a good amount of masks this month so that I could really let you see the kind of variety they have available! However, I didn't want to ignore the huge selection of popular cosmetics that Beauteque offers! I have seen these little bunny glosses many different times while browsing Korean beauty products, but I've never pulled the trigger and tried one out. A couple of my readers had asked me if I could find a "cute" korean product that also performed well, so I thought I'd start with these ridiculously adorable glosses!

Not only are these glosses ridiculously cute, they smell amazing! I can't vouch for every single scent, but I got the peach shade, and it smells exactly like fresh peaches! 
Unlike a lot of "twist up" gloss balms, these are flat like a lip balm, rather than pointed like a crayon. These come in 9 different shades/flavors, 6 of which are available on the Beauteque site.

 (The "new colors" in this promo picture are not available currently on the Beauteque site)

I thought these might be a bit like the Tarte LipSurgence, but I have to say they apply and perform a lot like a Revlon Lip Butter. It applies like a lip balm, but has a sheer tint to it and a glossy finish. I have natural peachy undertones in my lips naturally, so this balm looked very natural and emphasized my natural lip color. I think you get quite a bit of product in these, too!

Overall, I think that this is a standard tinted balm/gloss, however the scent is absolutely delicious, and the packaging makes it such an incredibly fun product to own. I love pulling this out of my purse to apply, because everyone wants to know where I got it! Not to mention it's a great, moisturizing little balm to have on hand. 

Overall Thoughts
I am so incredibly impressed with Beauteque. I think that for a website that just recently launched, they have a fantastic selection of products from some of my absolute favorite Korean brands. I think their site is easy to navigate, and the products are priced competitively. I love that they carry such a wide variety of masks, and that you can buy them singularly. The cosmetics that they carry make me excited to try more. I have stayed mostly on the Korean skincare side of things, so it's going to be fun trying out different Korean cosmetics! So far, trying the TonyMoly Bunny gloss has impressed me with it's packaging, scent/flavor and performance. I'm looking forward to trying out more cosmetics soon!

Make sure to visit Beauteque before the end of April so you can take advantage of their free shipping!
Or, if you're still unsure about where to start with Korean products, try picking up one of their sample bags for FREE! Just pay $3 shipping. Check those out HERE!

Finally, be sure to like and follow Beauteque's Facebook Page to keep up-to-date with their sales, giveaways, promotions and more!

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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 may have been provided and accepted for purpose of review. Post may contain affiliate or referral links.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Diamond Candles Review, Demo, Coupon and Ring Reveal!

It's been awhile since I've done an updated review of Diamond Candles, so I thought I'd squeeze one in before my next slew of subscription box reviews!

 Diamond Candles are candles with rings hidden inside the wax. While they aren't the only company that offers these "ring candles," they are the most popular, by far. The rings can be valued anywhere from $10, all the way to $5,000!

Their website offers a constantly rotating selection of scents that includes year-round favorites, as well as limited time offers depending on the season.
Ring Candles- These candles are 21oz candles and cost $24.95. These candles contain a ring!
(check at the bottom of this post for a 20% off link!)

Now that we got that out of the way, lets take a closer look into how all of this works!
Guava Berry is a newer scent that was introduced for the spring/summer months, and it sounded right up my alley! I usually prefer fall scents and bakery-like scents for candles, but unique fruit scents will also catch my eye during the summer if they're interesting enough. Guava Berry isn't a very comment candle scent, so I scooped this one up! Unlike some of the Diamond Candles I've received in the past, this candle smells exactly like it's described. Very fruity and sweet, but perfect for summer!

 Diamond Candles placed a gold sticker on the inside of the glass, and that is where your ring pouch is glued before the candle is poured. While 95% of the time, that is where you're ring will be, there are some instances where the ring falls to the bottom of the candle, and you've got an even longer wait ahead of you!

 To begin, simply light your candle and wait! I'd say most candles take about 8-10 hours of burning on their own to get to the ring. That can be a ridiculously long wait if you're as impatient as I am! I have noticed a lot of people digging their ring out and ruining their candle, which is such a shame! I have a quick and easy route to your ring that will also keep your candle intact!

 If you don't have a candle warmer (which will also allow you easy access to your ring) You can cover the candle with tin foil, and leave an opening at the top. This will help the wax melt super fast, and you will have access to your ring within a couple of hours!

 Once the wax melts past the gold sticker, you should see the foil-covered ring stuck to the side, as pictured here. At this point, you can blow out your candle, and use a pair of pliers or a spoon to gently dislodge your ring and lift it out of the wax.

 Have tissues, paper towels, a paper plate etc nearby as the foil will be covered in wax! I try to clean off as much wax as I can, unfold a size, wipe the wax, and continue until the foil is removed.
Once the foil is off, the ring will be inside a small plastic bag, which is also usually covered in wax. I wipe the bag as clean as I can get it before shaking the ring out onto a clean tissue, and then wiping it clean as well.

This was not an option when I originally did this review, however Diamond Candles now includes a slip of paper along with the ring that has a code printed on it. You can imput this code on the diamond candles website to find out the value of your ring!

If you noticed that there is wax on your ring, a very easy way to get it off is to run extremely hot water and hold the ring underneath the water to melt off any excess wax.

These are the rings I received, and from which candle. Unfortunately, you can occasionally receive candles with duplicate rings, which is what happened here with Cinnamon Bun and Guava Berry. Both rings are very pretty, but it was definitely a bummer to get the same ring twice. They were both about a size 9. The Ring that I received in the Cupcake candle was a size 7-8, and was a beautiful heart-shaped purple stone. It sparkled much more than the other two rings, and looked more expensive, also. The double rings are definitely $10 ones, however the cupcake ring might be worth a bit more, like $25 or so. Obviously no big winners here, but as you can see, the rings are always pretty and fun to find!

The downfall of Diamond Candles is that they do not allow you to choose your ring size. While it can be a gamble, they sizes range from 4 to 11. The average rings being sizes 7-10. Most of the rings I have found have either fit my ring finger or my pinky. If you're dead set on getting a ring that is your ring size, I would consider looking into JewelScent. While I have never made a purchase from them and cannot vouch for the quality of their product, I do know that they allow you to choose the ring size.

Other Scents:

 This is an incredibly sweet, vanilla scent. It doesn't really smell like a cupcake, but like sugary, vanilla frosting. It's throw is small, however it can fill up my bedroom without any issue. It's not an overpowering scent, but you'll know it's there! I actually really enjoyed this one and would definitely consider re-purchasing it in the future.

Cinnamon Roll
My very first Diamond Candle was Cinnamon Roll scented, and I loved it so much that I had to get another one! This is a very strong scent that could fill a large room without any issue. It's a very sweet cinnamon scent laced with a warm, creamy vanilla. I wouldn't say that it smells exactly like a cinnamon bun, but if you like bakery scents, this is a fantastic choice!

I haven't always been happy with Diamond Candles, but I had a very pleasant experience this time around. My past issues: slow shipping, poorly scented candles etc, were not a problem with this order. I really enjoyed the scents of all 3 of my candles, and felt that they had a nice throw, and lasted a long time. My only suggestion is that you stay on top of trimming the wick. These candles have a very large wick that can get very sooty, very quickly!

20% Off Coupon!

If you want to try a Diamond Candle out for yourself, or maybe pick one up as a fun gift, please consider using my referral link and save yourself 20% off your entire purchase! You also get free shipping with an order over $45!

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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 may have been provided and accepted for purpose of review. Post may contain affiliate or referral links.