Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Memebox Wakeup Makeup Review

 My cat Jonah loves Memeboxes. I can't tell you how many times I have brought my pink bubble mailers into the house, ripped them open and propped the bright pink box up to take a photo. Before I can even get my camera, he's standing behind the box so perfectly, pushing his face all over it as if he was marking it as his own. Sorry buddy, no Korean skincare for you!

Wakeup Makeup was an interesting purchase for me in regards to Memebox, because I try to avoid makeup-exclusive boxes. Not that I don't love makeup, but I find that a lot of the Korean cosmetics that Memebox includes are very hit-or-miss quality-wise. Not to mention, I have a makeup hoard that has far passed impressive into the realm of embarrassing. Even so, there was something magical about the Wakeup Makeup box. Something that made it completely irresistible to me and I immediately bought it without thinking. Two simple words taunting me into spending money I don't have...
free. gift.

I was done for once I saw that. I rarely can resist a free gift or even worse: the free mystery gifts! 
In this case, Memebox offered a free gift of a full size Galactomyces Essence, and that was enough to make me risk getting this box. 
(product info card tells you more information and how to use each product)
 If you're new to Memebox, they are a website that sells Korean beauty products, but their most popular items are of course, the Memeboxes. These boxes are full of deluxe samples and full size Korean beauty products and are delivered to you all the way from Korea. Memebox has been kind enough to create a FAQs page that you can view HERE if you want more info on the boxes, as there are many to choose from!
This particular box is one of their special boxes, which are Memeboxes that are curated around a specific theme. While it's usually Superboxes that contain full size products, it's becoming more and more common to see a box full of full size items in regular boxes as well. Wakeup Makeup has 6 full size items and cost $23 plus $6.99 shipping.
  The Wakeup Makeup box was described as:
Flawless skin, brighter eyes, plus 10 more minutes of sleep? No, you’re not dreaming. It’s just your morning beauty routine, updated.

If mornings are not your best friends, and spending hours in front of the mirror is not an option, we’ve got ways to streamline your morning beauty routine so that you can look good, and feel good, every morning. Here, a simple makeup box with a selection of all products that will put yourself together in a flash, at home, or on the go.

Because no matter how you feel, Meme-fans always get up, make up, show up, and never give up!

  I might be the laziest person in the entire world when it comes to doing my makeup in the morning. The idea of a box that had quick and easy makeup solutions also helped my decision to pull the trigger on this (along with the magical free gift), and I'm pretty pleased that I did!

1. Bbia: Downy Cheek Cream Blush in "Downy Peach"
(Full Size Product: $12) 
 Memebox loves to send me peach blush shades, and even though they're usually not my first choice, they almost always compliment my skin beautifully! This is your basic cream blush, however it's incredibly creamy and lightweight. I was especially impressed with how well this blended out, as it keeps it's color but also doesn't "sit" on the cheek or look too apparent. It truly gives a naturally flushed, healthy glow which I really love. This is going to be a great thing to use when I'm in a rush in the morning!

 2. Royal Nature: The Original Soothing Blemish Balm
(Full Size Product: $43)
 This blemish balm has SPF 30, and according to Memebox, is "greatly acknowledged for it's gentle, soothing formula" although I've never actually heard of this brand. It contains calendula, portulaca and chamomile extracts, cypress essential oil, and Royal Nature's special "Angel's Tear" complex. I unfortunately wasn't able to find much info on what the heck an Angel's Tear Complex is, but hey-I'll go for it. This BB cream smells really nice- sort of herbal and fresh, but that makes me feel better about slapping the mystical Angel's Tear complex on my face. The color is your basic BB cream shade from most of these Korean companies: It's pale, but luckily so am I. It seems to have relatively sheer coverage, but that actually works better for me as I like to use my BB creams as more of a way to even out my skin tone rather than to cover. A sheer formula makes it more forgiving even if the shade isn't spot on.

3. Shara Shara: Glitter Pearl Powder in "Bronze Gold"
(Full Size Product: $7)
 I got an almost identical shade of shadow pigment in the K-Style box, so I'm thinking I'm destined to always get the boring bronze shades. Don't get me wrong, they are wearable and work with a lot of the shadows I already have, but that's just it: I have a zillion shimmery bronze shadows. Regardless, this shadow applies absolutely beautifully, even with the strange foam applicator. It glides on as if it's a cream, really. It contains small "glitter pearls" that create a really impressive shimmery effect in bright light, and is very easily buildable to create a variety of different intensities. The applicator, while a bit strange, does help to make application a bit faster if you're just sweeping this on for a bit of quick color on your lids.

4. Shara Shara: Creamy Dual Auto Eye Stick in "Holly Pink / Brown"
(Full Size Product: $9) 
This is a dual-ended liner and cream shadow that are both nicely pigmented and have pretty decent staying power. These will smudge if you rub your eyes, but they stayed put most of the day while I was lounging around my apartment. I just wouldn't count on this duo on a really long summer day, if you catch my drift. The brown liner is definitely something I will use, although I don't think I will ever use a light pink cream shadow. I'm a little bummed out that I didn't get a different shade like burgundy or something a bit more interesting, but I suppose I could use the pink shadow as a shimmery base for powder shadows.

 5. Cheek Room: Two Color Lip Gloss in "Wine and Nude Beach"
(Full Size Product $12)
 This brand and every product I've tried from them has been one huge disappointment. As you may know, I'm a huge fan of packaging, and the Cheek Room packaging looks like it was designed by a 9th grader who is learning graphic design for the first time. The weird-looking, swirly font... the strangely placed pin up girl that probably wouldn't be caught dead using the products...it's all just too much on one package. 
Regardless, I always try to review the product as objectively as possible, and this one misses the mark as expected. This is labeled as a lip gloss, but Memebox raves on the info card that this has a "long lasting hold of a lip stain and the eye-catching shine of a gloss." No. Not even close. It's a gloss tube filled with a hideous nude gloss with a pink gloss on top. The info card also says that this gloss leaves behind a stain that is waterproof, smudge-proof and won't fade. That's all fine and dandy, except for the fact that it literally leaves not a single hint of a stain whatsoever. This is a lip gloss, and nothing more than that. To make matters even worse, this gloss goes on incredibly uneven color-wise. There's bit of weird nude-beige and pink all swirled together randomly and it looks very odd on the lips. I'll be putting this in the give away pile but I'm not sure I want to subject anyone that I know to this craptastic gloss.

6. It's Skin: Babyface Young Girl Gel Eyeliner in "Purple Black"
(Full Size Product: $13) 
It's Skin has super cute packaging, which of course is super appealing to me after witnessing the horrible mess that is Cheek Room. This liner also came with a brush which I used for the swatches, but I won't be using again. I much prefer an angled brush to apply my liner as I feel like it gives me more control. The one included here would probably be better used as a lip brush or to give an extra thick line, but not when you're a winged liner addict like I am! As for the performance, this stuff really stays well. The swatches you see above would not come off my hand without some serious scrubbing. The color payoff isn't the best, but it's... nice enough? I would describe it as drugstore quality. The black is pretty basic and the purple is nice, but a little dry and not as vibrant as I was hoping. I haven't tried these on my eyes yet, but I have a feeling it's going to be difficult to get the purple to show up very well. Overall not awful, but probably going in my giveaway pile, as I have plenty of other liners I'd prefer to use. This one unfortunately, will probably collect dust.

Free Gift
Cellbydate: The Galacto Zero Essence
There's not a whole lot of info on this product since it was the free gift and I can't seem to find this available in many places online, so I can only go by what I know from the packaging and from other blogs. This apparently retails for about $12 and does a variety of different/awesome things for your skin, including: Moisturizing, oil and ph balancing, revitalizing, soothing, skin boosting and texture care. It includes 95% fermented liquid which contains vitamins, minerals and amino acid that is a cocktail of goodies for your skin. I have a lot of fermented skincare products and I love them, so this is by far my favorite item in the box.

Overall Thoughts
This box cost about $30 shipped, and has a total value of $96 without the free gift value, and $108 with. I do want to point out however, that the BB cream is listed at $43 on its own, which is close to the total of the rest of the products in this box combined. I do think there was some typical Memebox-price-inflation going on here, but I still think that the products included (even if you throw the Cheek Room into a fire pit where it belongs) are worth the $30 price tag. I definitely would have been less impressed with this box if I didn't receive the Cellbydate essence, but the majority of these products will most likely be used. I do think that most of these items stick to the "Wakeup Makeup" theme as well. I don't really like Korean mascaras too much, but one did feel needed in a box like this. To me, nothing makes someone look more awake and put-together than a bit of blush and some mascara!
All in all: It could have been much worse. I've seen some pretty terrible makeup boxes and some even worse brands, shades and curation in the past. This box was pretty solid, and did a good job sticking to the theme. If I could go back in time, I probably wouldn't re-purchase this box, but I will definitely enjoy it now that it's here.

$5 off on entire order when you purchase 3 Memeboxes: MEMEBUNDLE3  
$8 off on entire order when you purchase 4 Memeboxes: MEMEBUNDLE4 
Free shipping on orders above $70 from Memeshop: FREESHIPPING

Shop through my Referral Link and save even more:

Spend $100+ through my referral link and automatically save $5 off your purchase!
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(you can combine these deals with the coupon codes above to save even more!)

Value Sets!
You can also save money and get upgrades on shipping when you bundle boxes together! Check out the Value Sets!
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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.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Lorann Oils Lip Balm Making Kit Review

It's officially Fall! October is fast approaching, and I am already thinking about Christmas gifts. Alright, I'll admit I was thinking about Christmas gifts months ago, but lately I've really been buckling down and starting to think about what I want to do this year. I like to plan way in advance and have all of my shopping done by the end of November so I can really enjoy the holidays without the stress. I have a very large family, which means lots of money spent on gifts, and even more time spent on deciding what to get each person. I decided that this year I would try and shop local and make as many gifts as I possibly could! 

I've been scouring the internet and bookmarking products that are not only "make-your-own" kits that would help me get ready for Christmas, but also for DIY gifts for my family that are really unique and beautiful. Williams-Sonoma has a huge selection of "kits" that range from DIY Soda Kits, all the way to a Backyard Beehive Kit! (Yea, seriously!) You can see the wide variety they have HERE.
The Lorann Oils Lip Balm Making Kit really interested me, not only because I have a beauty blog, but because I've got lots of wonderful ladies to buy/create gifts for this year. Lip balm something that almost everyone uses and enjoys,and it's small enough to fit into a little gift bag or a stocking. This also appealed to me because there was a short time in my life when I thought it was a good idea to make body sprays, lip balms and oil perfumes and try to sell them on etsy. It was crazy-expensive, and I ran out of money before I was even close to completing a prototype. You live, you learn!
But that desire to make my own products hasn't really died down, and I've been known to make everything from tote bags to soap as gifts for my family!
This lip balm making kit has everything you need to make about 24 lip balms. You will also need a microwave or a stove top, as well as a heat-safe container to heat up the products in some way.
This is what the box looked like when I first opened it up! They've included very easy-to-follow directions as well.
Inside the kit, there were stirring sticks, 12 lip balm pots and 12 tubes, along with adorable labels for both. I would suggest not using a pen on these labels, as mine didn't write very well and ended up coming out a bit messy. I would use a very fine tipped marker, or one of the fine tipped sharpies if you want a neater, more professional look to the label.
As for the ingredients, these lip balms are all natural! They include Beewax, Sweet Almond Oil and Shea butter. The kit also included 4 different plant-based natural flavoring oils (Tangerine, Lemon, Key Lime and Peppermint.) This of course, sparked the idea that I could make little "sets" of lip balms that had one of each flavor!

While the directions do state to use a pot of hot water and a heat resistant container, I am kind of lazy and that seemed like way too much effort, so I used the microwave and a coffee mug. It worked just fine!

These directions provide enough product to fill 4 lip balms. For best results, the kit suggests doing these in batches of 4.

1. Find a measuring scoop and place 4 teaspoons of the beeswax beads into the cup.
2. Add 2 teaspoons of sweet almond oil (you can add 1/2 tsp more if you want a shinier balm)
3. Add 2 teaspoons of shea butter
4. I used the mircrowave, so I heated this mixture up in 30 second intervals. I didn't want to burn it somehow or over-heat. So every 30 seconds I took the cup out, stirred everything around, and put it back in for 30 more seconds. The beeswax too the longest to melt, but I'd say after 4-5 rounds in the microwave for 30 seconds, everything was nicely melted down.
5. Once the mixture is melted to a clear liquid, Add 1/4th of a teaspoon of flavoring oil. I actually added a teeny bit more than suggested, because I really wanted the balms to have a strong scent and flavor. I chose the Tangerine because it smelled so good I wanted to drink it!

6. After mixing in the flavoring of your choice, you can pour the liquid balm into the jars that you've chosen. I would suggest using a piece of cardboard or paper towel underneath so you're not spilling wax on a counter or table. 
7. Let the lip balms stand undisturbed for 10-20 minutes so that they can cool completely. While I was waiting for them to cool, I wrote out the labels and place them on the lids of the jars. By the time I was done with that, they were ready to go!
(what the lip balms looked like when they were all done cooling!)
And here's the finished product with the labeled lid. Once these dried, you could still smell the delicious tangerine scent! The balm is a little on the harder side, so it does take a bit of friction to get enough of the product on your finger to apply, but it feels so moisturizing and tastes delicious! 
In the directions, they also suggest taking some lipstick shavings and melting them in with the mixture to make a tinted lip balm. I am definitely going to try that next time, and play around a bit with the amounts to create different levels of tint.

Overall Thoughts
 I had so much fun making these lip balms, and I think they're going to be great little homemade additions to my Christmas gifts this year. They were very easy and quick to make, and would be a fun family project to do with kids. My one major complaint about most DIY kits is that there isn't always enough of the ingredients to make a decent amount of product, however this kit has a great amount of product and a nice little variety of flavor oils, so there's something for everyone's taste. I think the one thing missing from this kit would possibly be a small funnel of some kind to make it easier to get the mixture into the tall tubes. So if you're interested in a kit like this, you might want to run to the store and pick up a little funnel, some disposable droppers, or a heat-safe cup that has a spout for easier pouring.
Overall, this is not only a great way to make small gifts for friends and family, but also a fun activity for parents and children to do together. This is also a really fun idea to gift to someone that enjoys DIY projects. The entire kit was $34.95, making each lip balm about $1.50 each, so it's also a great way to save money on handmade gifts! I'm super happy with this product, and I can't wait to try another kit from Williams Sonoma. Maybe I'll be brave and try out the backyard Beehive Kit! ^_~

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All thoughts and opinions in this blog post are genuine and belong to Harlot Beauty. Monetary compensation was received, and goods were provided and accepted for purpose of review.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Darby Smart "To DIY For" Box (September 2014)

 So I may not have mentioned this before, but I am crazy for DIY projects and crafts. I love knitting and needlework in general, and I am always trying to find old furniture and home decor that I can spruce up and make new again. I knew there were some craft/DIY subscription boxes out there, but I was always concerned that they'd be more low-end kinds of crafts, so I avoided them for awhile. After doing a little research, I found Darby Smart, and thought it would a great subscription to test out!

Darby Smart is a website that sells all kinds of DIY kits, but they also have a subscription service that sends you a monthly mystery project. The box includes everything you need to complete the project, and it only costs $19 a month! Of course I was a little worried I'd get a childish craft or some sort of scrapbook and sticker supplies for that price, but I was so incredibly thrilled with what I got as the September project!

 How cool is this?! Inside the box this month, was a lovely, soft white scarf and a Lumi Sunfold Printing Kit. At first I wasn't entirely sure what this was all about, but anything to do with scarves is a perfect DIY project for me! Once the Autumn weather comes around, I am always wearing them!

 This Kit is awesome in all sorts of ways. Inside is everything you need (plus a how-to video!) to create a tie-dye-like effect on your included scarf, or any other fabric you can get your hands on! It's a water-based dye that develops in the sunlight. Uhm, SO fun!

 (sorry about how fuzzy this looks, that's how it was printed on the box)
The basic directions are pretty easy, you just get your bowl of dye ready and saturate the scarf. Then you scrunch it up in any pattern you want, although there are some included if you aren't sure how to do it. I'm assuming you could also do a pattern by making stencils that you would leave on the scarf while it was developing, but that might take a bit more time and energy! Then you simply expose the scarf to sunlight for 10-20 minutes, and machine wash the scarf with the included wash so that the print sets into the scarf. 
That's it!
Here's what's inside the dye kit. It looked a bit intimidating to me at first, but it's really just red and blue dye bottles, the wash that you use to set your pattern, gloves and instructions. The best part about this kit is that there's more than enough product do more projects after you've finished the scarf!

Jeff helped me a bit by measuring out the amounts of water and dye, and mixing it up. I decided to mix both the red and the blue dye together to create purple, as it's one of my favorite colors! :) I saturated my scarf with the dye and then twisted it tie-dye style. The kit does come with some suggested patterns and how to do them, but I was so impatient and excited I thought I'd wing it and see what would come out!
You do need a disposable surface of some sort to rest the scarf on while it's in the sun, so I just cut a large piece off a cardboard box and used that. The moment I brought the scarf outside, the dye began to turn a beautiful purple hue! After about 10 minutes or so, I used the special detergent included in the kit, and ran my scarf through the wash cycle. When it came out, I liked the way it looked, but I wanted a bit more purple on it, so I re-dipped the scarf in the dye, and repeated the process. While I don't think the finished product is perfection, I had SO much fun making it!
I fell in love with the really deep purple that the scarf looked when it was still wet, but I realize I could probably get that color if I made a heavier concentration of the dye, so I will try that next time around. I really do love the lavender shade that came out and the natural tie-dye appearance of it!

I think this would be such a fun project to do if you had stencils too! You could cut out a stencil and then essentially "paint" the dye in place where you wanted color to be and then expose it to the sun. Jeff and I are big Doctor Who fans, so we were both brainstorming on how we could make a TARDIS scarf!
Overall Thoughts
The Lumi Sunfold Printing Kit retails at $34.95, and the scarf is a generic one, but I would comfortably put it at $15-$20, making the value of this box $50+. Since this box only costs $19 a month, that is an incredible value. Having said that, I think that this is one of the most unique and exciting subscriptions I've received in a long time. It's so much fun to step away from the endless beauty subscriptions for awhile and take some time to really make something awesome! I love that I can continue to use this kit to work on more projects as well. I think this would be the most fantastic gift for someone who loves creating, and would also be amazing for parents and children to get and look forward to each month. While this is only my first month with this subscription, I cannot say enough good things about it!

If you're interested in signing up for Darby Smart, you can do so 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, September 24, 2014

Cutiepiemarzia Memebox #2 Coming Tomorrow!

Hey Memebox fans! If you missed CutiePieMarzia's first collab box, you're in luck! Tomorrow, September 25th, Memebox is releasing a second edition! I'll be reviewing this box, and if the first edition is any indication, there's going to be lots of cute Korean products included! Keep an eye out tomorrow and grab it asap, because it's definitely going to sell out fast!
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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.

Walmart Beauty Box Fall 2014 Edition

 I never thought I'd be writing a review on a Walmart beauty subscription box, but here I am! This actually isn't Walmart's first foray into the subscription box world. For about a year or so, they had a food subscription called "Goodies Box" and it was only $7 a month. It was actually a pretty good box overall, but they eventually decided to close it up and work on a different venture. It's quite possible that it was this very box that they decided to start working on.

The Deets
The Walmart Beauty Box is actually FREE, except they charge $5 for shipping. So I like to look at it as $5 per box, since most subscriptions don't charge for shipping. Rather than releasing boxes every month, the Walmart Beauty Box is released once per season, or 4 times a year. Everything included in the box will obviously be available for purchase at Walmart, so I wouldn't expect any high end brands in here. I really do like a lot of drugstore-level products though, so I thought this was too good of a deal to pass up!

 The box is packed similarly to a typical subscription box, although mine did not come with an info card or anything to give more information about the products included. To my knowledge, there were actually 2 different variations in the boxes and it seemed like they were geared toward an older and a younger demographic. No one is exactly sure if the boxes were sent out at random or not, but since you do enter your birth date in when you check out, that was my guess as to how they decided who got which box.

Dove Oxygen Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner
Dove Pure Care Dry Oil 
 This shampoo and conditioner is for fine/flat hair, which is exactly what I have, so I couldn't be more happy to receive these products. Also included was a generous sized tube of African Macadamia Dry Oil. I have a ton of hair oils I haven't touched yet, so I will probably pass this on to a friend, but it was still a nice inclusion!

L'Oreal Youth Code Pore Vanisher
Neutrogena Long Wear Foundation  
 Also included were these smaller samples, which is more what I expected this box to be full of, so it was nice to see that other than these two products, everything else was deluxe or full size! I've heard excellent thing about the L'Oreal Pore Vanisher from fellow large-pored ladies, so I am very excited to have a sample so I can see if it's worth it to pick up. Also included was the typical foundation "card" with a few different shades to test out. These don't usually help me decide if I like a product or not, but they are helpful when you're trying to match your skin to the right shade. It does come with a coupon, so it's nice if someone is interested in purchasing, however I'll stick to my BB cream!

Nicki Minaj Pink Friday Perfume
Secret Clinical Strength Antiperspirant  
 I have never gotten around to trying the Nicki Minaj perfumes, but I've gotta say, I love this scent! It's a musky floral that also has a nice fruity/vanilla undertone that makes it great for daytime. I actually like this scent enough to possibly go out and buy a full size. The jury is still out on the staying power, though. 
I have received a lot of free samples of this Secret Clinical deodorant, straight from Secret as well as through coupons and things I've received when it first came out. Honestly as a clinical strength product, I don't think it works as well as it could, but it's pretty decent. It's always nice to have a backup deodorant to toss in your car or your gym bag.

L'Oreal Glossy Balm Crayon in "Lovely Mocha"
Covergirl Glowing Nights Glosstini in "Laser Light" 
 I love lip crayons, but for some reason I never got around to trying these Glossy Balm's from L'Oreal. I actually like this so much that I'm going to pick up more shades! It has a very similar look and feel to the Tarte LipSurgence, but it doesn't have that minty flavor. This particular shade is called "Lovely Mocha" but is really a gorgeous pink-toned nude. I think this shade would flatter almost every skin tone. It feels and looks great on the lips, and is definitely my favorite product in this box!
The Glowing Nights glosstini looks blue-toned in every picture I take of it, but the quick swatches I did on paper seem to show that it's a shimmery black. With Autumn and Halloween approaching, I am totally down for a sparkly black polish!

Overall Thoughts
It's completely obvious that this is a fantastic deal. The deodorant alone is almost double the cost of the entire box, never mind the L'Oreal glossy balm and the Covergirl Glosstini that are also both full size. This subscription is a great way to try the new drugstore products that are coming out each season. $5 per box/season (or $20 per year, total) is a really fantastic price for these boxes. While I have no idea if the Winter box will be as good as this one, so far I am really happy with what I got!

If you want to sign up for this subscription, the next box will not ship until Winter/December. However you can sign up now and secure your spot just in case! 
Subscribe to the Walmart Beauty Box 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.