Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Beauteque Mask Maven January 2016 Review

Let me tell you, it has been one crazy month! It's my second month back in college for the first time in probably close to a decade. I'm still actively learning Korean, recently started writing for a Korean music and entertainment website, working my regular job and just going about my life. And then, a little over a week ago, my 6 and a half year relationship came to an end. A peaceful end, luckily. Unfortunately, that also means that I am moving out of my lovely little apartment and back home for awhile with my parents while I focus on school and saving money. I'm still in the process of packing and trying to figure out what the heck I'm doing, but I'm hanging in there, guys. Why do I bring all of this up in this post in particular? Because as silly as it sounds, sheet masks have been a saving grace during this crazy time in my life. Whether I throw one on while reading a particularly long chapter in my Lifespan Development class, or if I wear one after a really, really emotionally stressful day, I feel like having my skincare rituals and pamperings on my side has made all the stress and changes in my life a lot less terrible!

If you want some monthly de-stressing goodies, you're definitely going to want to consider Mask Maven!

What is Mask Maven?
Mask Maven is a monthly subscription service that sends you 9-11 masks each month. These masks range from sheet masks, hand and foot masks, hair masks, wash-off masks and more, although it seems that it's usually sheet mask-heavy. You receive a different variety of masks each month.

Subscription Details and Pricing
You can subscribe Month-to-Month, or prepay for a 3, 6, or 12 month subscription. You are billed on the 20th of each month if you subscribe for the month-to-month option. If you subscribe after the 10th of the month, you will have to wait until the following month to receive your bag. Bags are shipped starting on the 20th of each month, although they have shipped earlier occasionally.
 Month to Month: $16 per month
3 months: $16 per Month
 6 months: $15 per month
12 months: $14 per month
Shipping costs range from $3.95 to $9.95 depending on where you live. Beauteque currently ships Mask Maven to the following Areas: US, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore
January's Theme:
 Land and Sea
We went natural for the first Mask Maven of the new year! Beauty is all around us, and this collection truly captures the refreshing feeling of a day spent being one with nature. Feel as if you've wandered into a grove of peach trees, picked a barrel full of strawberries, or explored the depths of the mineral-rich oceans when you use these indulgent masks.
Mask Maven provides a detailed sheet to tell you a bit about each mask and their uses. While most of us know the drill with sheet masks: stick 'em on, take 'em off after 5-20+ minutes- each one has it's own benefits and some are quirky in terms of fabric, essence type etc. It's best to take a peek at this before using a mask to make sure you're picking one that will help your skin concerns!

Tonymoly: Pureness 100 Hyaluronic Acid Mask Sheet
This is not the most exciting mask in the world to receive because it's pretty popular and I've used it multiple times, but there are few things I love more in the Winter than a good hyaluronic acid mask. They're deeply hydrating and really make your skin feel plumped up and refreshed. This one is pretty decent, although not my favorite. I will definitely use it, though!
SNP: Animal Otter Aqua Mask
These animal-print masks were all the rage early last year although like with most kbeauty buzz-worthy items, are kind of a staple now. They're still fun to use and the SNP line of animal masks happens to be my favorite. Not only are the animal prints really cute and detailed, but the masks themselves fit very nicely and are soaked in essence. This one in particular includes coconut water and coconut oil that help moisturize and replenish the skin.
Freeset: Donkey Milk Skin Gel Aqua Mask Pack
Donkey Milk products have been popular for awhile but still manage to stay relevant and not "over done". (I'm looking at you, snail goo!) This gel mask contains donkey milk which is rich with vitamin A, B, D, C, and E, which work together to slow down the aging process and deeply moisturize the skin. I've used a wide variety of donkey milk items and quite a few from Freeset and I've enjoyed these masks in the past, so this one will probably be used very soon!
Mediheal: Mogongtox Soda Bubble Sheet Mask
Now this one is definitely a new mask for me! This actually massages the skin to what Beauteque calls, "renewed vitality" and helps remove impurities from the pores. It contains papaya, apple, mung bean, and persimmon leaf extracts It looks a little freaky since it only goes on the lower half of your face, but what's even more interesting is that this mask bubbles up once it has "completed" it's purpose. I'm interested to see if this is a gimmick or something kind of fun to use once in a while!
Hanaka: Marine Mud and Seaweed Mask
When I first tried a Hanaka sheet mask, I ended up getting a bad breakout shortly after that I associated with that particular sheet mask. It was hard for me to brave using another one. Luckily I did, because these are actually pretty solid masks. I think that my skin just didn't like an ingredient in the first one I used. Bad luck, I suppose! This one in is the marine mud and seaweed mask which is not only super hydrating, but removes impurities from the pores and leaves your skin flowing and radiant. 
Hanaka: Camellia and Hyaluronic Acid Mask
Another mask from Hanaka, and another Hyaluronic acid mask. As I mentioned earlier, I'm totally down for a good hyaluronic acid mask, but since this type and this brand was already featured in previous masks, it would have been nice to see a different one in it's place this month for a bit more variety. Regardless, you know I'll be using it!
Baviphat: Green Tea Juicy Mask Sheet
Baviphat: Strawberry Juicy Mask Sheet
Baviphat is a lower-priced Korean brand that I've had mixed results with. Their strawberry toxifying clay mask is probably my holy grail wash-off mask, although there have also been some products here and there from them that I haven't been impressed with. Their sheet masks are usually pretty good though, so I'm happy to give these a shot. The Green Tea variety is used to moisturize and increase elasticity while the strawberry is used to deep-clean pores an control oil. I'm definitely more excited for the strawberry variety because moisturizing sheet masks are a dime a dozen. I like ones taht will help clear my acne and do a little damage to excess oil!
Scinic: My Bottle Juice Mask "Firming"
I'm familiarizing myself with Scinic a bit more now that they've been appearing regularly in Beauteque subscriptions. I really do like this brand a lot and have been impressed with their affordable price and wide range of products. They're still "new" to me and not a brand that I normally see talked about, although I hope that changes with time! This sheet mask is used to help firm up sagging skin and also moisturizes. I used another variety of this mask from a prior Mask Maven bag and liked it overall, so I'm hoping to have similar feelings with this one!
Overall Thoughts
Mask Maven costs $16 per month (less if you pre-pay for a longer subscription) and the December bag contained 9 sheet masks,making each item cost under $2.
I really liked the theme this month although for some reason I feel like the selection was lacking, just a little? The Scinic mask didn't really fit with the theme, and I feel like the Baviphat and hyaluronic acid masks are reaching a bit with the "Land and Sea" theme. I would have liked to see a lot more charcoal, clay, maybe even Jeju Island-ingredient masks included here. Having said that, I still think there's a great brand variety, and I will most likely use all of these at some point. Hopefully there will be a bag in the coming future that will have less moisturizing masks and more specialized masks for anti-aging, oil control etc. Those are always the ones I gravitate to because so many sheet masks are already "moisturizing", so it seems old-hat to me when a particular mask is only good for that. Overall, I'm pleased with this months bag and I think it includes masks that will work well during these cold days in January!

If you'd like to learn more about Mask Maven or sign up for yourself, 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.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Beauteque Monthly BB Bag January 2016 Review

Alright here's the deal guys: I know I've been slacking big time on my reviews this month. There's a good reason though. Essentially, my life was totally flipped upside down and almost every single thing about it has changed in less than a week. I've been trying to pull it together and get my final papers done for school and try and keep up with blogging but it just got really overwhelming. So here I am, almost the end of the month and still trying to scramble to get reviews completed. Forgive me! So anyway, let's get on with the kbeauty goodness that is Beauteque's BB Bag!

What is Beauteque Monthly?
Beauteque Monthly is a beauty subscription curated by the US-based Korean beauty website, Beauteque. Each month, subscribers receive BB Bags (Beauteque Beauty Bags) filled with all kinds of Korean beauty goodness! I have found that Beauteque's bags are perfect for anyone new to K-Beauty, as well as an old pro. There's something for everyone!

Subscription Types (3, 6 and 12 month subscriptions are Prepaid):
1 Month (month-to-month) $24 per month
3 month $24 per month
 6 month $23 per month
12 month $22 per month
All subscriptions will auto-renew at the end of it's cycle so you never accidentally miss a bag!
You can also gift subscriptions if you want to surprise a lucky friend or family member!

-6 or more full sized products in every bag
-A value between $65 to $85+
-Makeup, skincare, and lifestyle products
-Products from Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Europe, America

Beauteque Beauty Bags ship to the US, Canada, and Europe.
-US shipping is $3.95 per month
-Canada shipping is  $5.95 per month
-Europe shipping is $8.95 per month
 Now that we've got the details out of the way, let's get onto the January Bag!
Beauteque includes a helpful info card with basic stats on the product as well as how to use it properly. I really like subscriptions that include this information as well as a photo because it helps subscribers who are unfamiliar (especially with kbeauty) figure out what each item is and what it's used for!

Scinic: All Day Fine Pore Toner ($22)
Toner is that Korean skincare product that I can never get enough of. I'm always finding reasons to buy new ones or try ones that promise me tiny pores and an acne-free face. Some work, some don't, but I've rarely encountered one I absolutely hated- which is probably why I'm so addicted to them. Scinic is a brand I'm slowly becoming familiar with through Beauteque, and I'm actually really pleased with everything I've tried from them so far! This is their pore toner that includes green tea, ivy, grapefruit, and aloe among other extracts. It helps control oil and absorbs into the skin without a greasy finish. Since I have combo/oily skin, this is the perfect type of toner for me. I'm excited to research it a bit more and see ingredients and what other people think of it as well, but yay- more toner!!

Tonymoly: Pocket Bunny Mist ($15)
I like Tonymoly. I like cute things. I like bunnies. What's not to love about this mist? Beauteque offered either the Sleek mist or the Moist mist. Luckily, I received the Sleek mist, which helps control oil throughout the day. Obviously, the moist mist soothes and moisturizes the skin. I'm not one to uses mists that often, but I do find their nice to use at the end of a long work day, or first thing in the morning after I take off my sleeping pack so I can keep the moisture going. This seems like one that will be in the "use after work" category, but I might just pop this in my purse so I can use it throughout the day and see how well it controls oil.

Ladykin: Affinitic Snail Cream Mini's ($4 each)
I have been a huge fan of Ladykin since I was first introduced to the brand through Memebox. I haven't disliked a single product I've tried from them. Even though these adorable snail babies have been something on my radar for awhile now, I've never actually bought them myself! The blue snail is a whitening moisturizer, which essentially contains pine needle and green tea extract and helps to even the skin tone and moisturize without greasiness. The pink snail is a regular moisturizing cream that has 80% snail secretion filtrate and shea butter to help moisturize and smooth the skin while also having anti-aging benefits. For some reason, cute jars like this tend to sit on my vanity without being used and somehow dry out really quickly, but I'm hoping I can be diligent and give these a shot due to how much I love this brand! I'm super happy subscribers got both of these to try!

Nature Republic: Lip Scrub ($8.99)
I actually received this product from Beauteque in a past (now retired) Head-To-Toe bag, and I have mixed feelings on it, honestly. This is an exfoliating lip scrub that smooths and soothes lips and is to be used before bed, or before applying lipsticks etc. What I love about this scrub is that it is applied like a lip gloss- so you're not digging your fingers in a jar like with many other scrubs. It does work- it's just not one of those really dense scrubs that will buff off tons of dry skin. I find it works best as a maintenance product, so once you get your lips nice and smooth, this works well to keep them that way with sporadic use.

"Eye Brow Clip" ($4.50)
I honestly don't understand why this is called an eyebrow clip- not only one the box but on the info card. Is this not a pair of tweezers? Am I crazy? Who knows. Either way, I can always, always use another pair of tweezers considering how often I use them for stray hairs all over my body. It's not the most exciting tool in the world, though it is useful. I do wish it was pink or covered in cat paw prints or something a little cuter, but hey- you can't have everything! 

A'Pieu: Color Longwear Shadow Stick ($11.50)
This is a long-wearing, smudge-proof and waterproof cream shadow stick- unfortunately I have yet to meet one that actually stays on my lid as long as it claims to. I have very oily lids, and no waterproof cream shadow has ever lasted on my lid for longer than a couple of hours. Not to mention, I'm not a huge fan of wearing pink on my lids, so I didn't bother to open this as I'll probably give it away. I am interested to hear from anyone if this product lives up to it's claims, though!

Overall Thoughts
Beauteque Monthly costs $24 (plus shipping) and this bag as a Beauteque Value of about $70. The values are listed at, or slightly above retail, and you can usually find these products for a bit less than that if you shop around. Having said that, shipping from Korea can get pricey, which is why Beauteque being based in the US makes this subscription such a great deal. Even buying these at lower prices and not factoring in the high shipping costs of other sites, I'd say that the retail for this bag is closer to around $50. I'm usually very pleased with the BB Bags, and this month was no exception. I absolutely love that this was heavy on the skincare, that there was a full size toner, and lots of "cute" products included as well! All the things I look for in a Korean beauty sub!

If you're interested in signing up with Beauteque Monthly, you can do so HERE!
If you want to shop Beauteque's regular website for limited edition bags, and K-Beauty galore, you can check that out 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, January 19, 2016

NoTS 28 Remedy Pore Deep Cleanser, Balancing Toner, Intensve Serum, and Repair Cream Review

Once you've been deeply obsessed with Korean beauty for a few years, you start to get comfortable with the multitude of brands that were seemingly impossible to remember back when you first started on your skincare journey. You end up knowing which ones work for your skin, which ones are all-around awful, which have great makeup- and of course, there are always those brands that you've seen here and there but haven't had a chance to try for yourself!
I was introduced to NoTS products a very long time ago through the very first Memebox I ever received, which also happened to be the very first global Memebox ever! It also happened to be a product that I will be reviewing below: the Acne Pore Deep Cleanser. I'm embarrassed to say I never actually got around to trying it back then because of the massive overflow of kbeauty products that were pouring into my lap all those years ago, and I'm pretty sure I gave it away. Since then, I have been seeing a lot more of the NoTS brand popping up lately, and while I've always been curious about their line of products, their prices are a usually to rich for my blood or they weren't available on any trustworthy sites. Luckily that's not a problem anymore now that QDepot carries the brand!

About QDepot:

Their Vision:
"To be the Internet's most secure and trusted platform offering top-quality, eco-friendly and branded beauty-related products at best prices, with ease, trust and quality, coupled with the best customer care."

    -Free shipping worldwide for orders above $69.00 and free 30 Days Returns
        -Any order below USD 69.00 will have a very low flat rate starting at $2.99
        -They stock over 15,000 products and 25+ brands (and growing!)
          -Genuine and fresh products directly shipped from their warehouse in Korea.

       They also carry Cruelty Free brands including: Etude House, Laneige, Mamonde, Sulwhasoo, IOPE, Hera, Innisfree, NoTS.

Q-Depot also donates 3% of their net profits to social causes, which is awesome!

To learn more about QDepot, Read their "About" page HERE.

As for NoTS, they're a relatively un-discussed brand in the kbeauty world, I've noticed. That doesn't mean they aren't great quality necessarily, but it takes a lot of buzz to get noticed in the Korean skincare market, and brands need to really set themselves apart from the rest to stand out. NoTS has one really unique thing about their products from what I've noticed- their ingredient lists are absolutely LOADED with natural extracts. From broccoli, to garlic, to random mystical-sounding flowers I've never heard of before- they're all packed into NoTS products!

About NoTS:
"Dignity of skincare. Natural Functional cosmetic brand NoTS. It's reliable since only the best and safe ingredients are used. It's a cosmetic company established in 2011. Created by beauty experts' consistent research and effort, while only using nature-friendly materials and scientific formula. These different technical skills will resolve your skin concerns. Formulated with high-quality, natural materials and skin scientific techniques, NoTS products will improve basic skin problems and promote skins protective ability."
While QDepot was kind enough to send me this little gift set for review purposes, I don't believe it is currently available for sale on their website. I will definitely update this review if that changes, though! For this brand review, I'm going to focus on each individual product and give you a review of what I thought of each, as well as prices and links to where you can buy them if you're interested!

I'm going to go in order of how you would use these products in a typical skincare routine. So, first we'll talk about the cleanser, then the toner, the serum, and finally the moisturizing cream.

Many of you know I'm pretty damn picky about cleansers. It's to the point where I occasionally skip them all together and use a combination of makeup remover, cleansing wipes and cleansing water. My skin can take pretty much any type of skincare product, but when it comes to cleansers, they absolutely have to have a low pH and few natural, safe ingredients in order to play nicely with my skin. While I'm always a bit weary to test out a new cleanser, I suck it up and do it anyway because I'm determined to find one that works well for me!

The NoTS Acne Pore Deep Cleanser didn't start off too well for me, as I tested it and the pH comes out to around an 8. I like to keep my cleansers at a 5.5 or so- no higher than 6, so I was a little weary off the bat. Even so, I have used cleansers in the past with a pH of 7-8 that had no negative effects on my skin, so I was willing to at least give this one a shot. 

This Korean Skincare product is KFDA certified and it has completed clinical trials to give you an excellent and high quality skincare experience. It's a cleanser that deeply cleanses your pores to remove impurities, sebum and makeup residue, and leaves the face moisturized and bright like never before. It soothes damaged skin after use and works to balance the skin's moisture. It is free from harmful additives like color, scent and alcohol.

 Hmm. I find it interesting that the description of this products lists alcohol has a harmful additive, yet some of the other products in this line contain alcohol...not sure how to feel about that. Granted, my skin usually has no issues with alcohol in small amounts on my face, although that is not the case for everyone.

Regardless, there are a few acne irritants in the ingredients list, so feel free to check the CosDNA link I posted below to see what they are and if they might be acne triggers for you personally. Nothing in the ingredients list really screamed DANGER for my skin, so I went ahead and used this for a week so I could get some results for you guys!

This cleanser has no noticeable scent and is actually really thick and creamy-feeling, so I only needed a very small amount mixed with water to cover my face. The less time this stuff spent on my face, the better, so I was hoping that it would cleanse well in a short time. I left my makeup on and didn't remove it with an oil cleanser prior to using this one, just so I could see how well it was removing makeup, oil etc.
I think that this cleanser does an excellent job of removing makeup, although you might have some trouble with waterproof eye makeup. I would suggest using an oil cleanser before this one still, just to make sure you're really getting every speck of it off your face!

After a day or two of using this cleanser, I didn't notice any major issues in terms of my skin's behavior. No new breakouts or out of the ordinary irritation or redness. The one thing I did notice is that it claims to balance the skin's moisture, however I did find it to be a bit drying- which is interesting because I have oily/combo skin. I'm thinking this is a great cleanser for someone with severely oily skin or clogged pores because of that.

After about a week, I still did not see any acne or breakouts forming, which is a huge relief and actually saying a lot for this cleanser considering how many of them break me out at just the sight of them. I don't think that this necessarily works better than some my favorite cleansers, but I do think this would be a great option for someone with extremely oily skin. It will help get rid of that oil without stripping the skin- causing your body to create even more oil...yuck. Definitely much better than I expected!

Water, Water Glycerin, Glycerin, Palmitic Acid, Stearic Acid, Lauric Acid, Myristic Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Cocamide DEA, Propylene Glycol, Beeswax, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Glycol Distearate, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Salicylic Acid, Sodium Chloride, Sophora Angustifolia Root Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Disodium EDTA, Methylparaben, Butylparaben, Licorice Root Extract, Carrot Root Extract, Garlic Bulb Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Ivy Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Betula Alba Juice, Parsley Extract, Butyleen Glycol, Camellia Sinesis Leaf Extract
 Since this product is part of the NoTS Remedy Balancing line, as well as included in the set that I'm featuring, I've included it in the review, however I did a more extensive review on this product already that you can view here if you're interested: NoTS Remedy Balancing Toner Review. The ingredients list and analysis as well as my thoughts on the product can all be found there!

It's so hard to come by a good serum, isn't it? I mean, there are so many that are "fine" in that they don't do any real harm to the skin, but outside of moisturizing, it's rare that I find one that works absolute wonders. I do have a favorite (Missha's Night Repair Science Activator Ampoule) so I tend to judge every other serum based on how it works compared to that one. The NoTS Intensive Serum has a pretty high price tag, but hey- if it works, you can't put a price on magic, right?

The 28 Remedy Intensive Serum from NoTS is a must have item to add to our daily skincare routine because it offers excellent effects to the skin. You can say goodbye to your skin irritations and damage because this product will help you to heal and slowly remove it. This product provides rejuvenation effects to damaged skin and gives intensive care especially to sensitive skin, leaving the skin healthy and radiant. It strengthens the skin by giving elasticity and firmness, and it is also composed of 10 Times HF Complex- a patent ingredient that assure you of a high quality skincare experience, making your face soft, smooth and moisturized.

Alright so we're looking at a $75 serum, here. This should be like...top of the line level stuff, here. I admit I was expected a LOT from this product solely due to the price tag. The first things I noticed in the ingredients list were parabens and alcohol. Right at the top of the list. I found this interesting because as I mentioned earlier, NoTS described alcohol as a "harmful additive" in the description of the cleanser. So why exactly, is it included so high up on the ingredients list here in their serum? Hmm. Considering my skin doesn't react badly to alcohol, I still had no problem testing this out, but I just thought that was a little odd.
The good news is, this stuff is absolutely loaded with soothing, anti inflammatory, anti-aging extracts straight out of nature's back pocket. Soybean ferment, grape, walnut seed, tomato, oatmeal, aloe, willow bark, blueberry, and broccoli extract- and that's just to name a few! 

The consistency of this serum is similar to the toner in that it's gel-like, but it's much less watery. It's not at all sticky, and the good news is- you only need one small pump to cover your entire face. For a serum as pricey as this, I was happy to discover that. This glides on my skin super smoothly and absorbs quickly and evenly so you can move on to the next step without much wait time. There is no sticky residue, thankfully. It's also scent-free, at least to my nose. 
In terms of results, I have been using this serum for a week now, and while I'm not disappointed, I'm not adding it to my all-time favorites list, either. Here's where the difficulty come in: If this serum was priced at $20 instead of $75, I would be absolutely raving about it. If I didn't know the retail price of this product I would tell you to go out and get it asap. Here's why: Not only is it non-sticky, fast absorbing and loaded with all kinds of great antioxidants and extracts, but it definitely made my skin feel incredibly soft and smooth. I was pretty surprised that after just a week I was seeing some noticeable results with this. Not only could I actually feel a difference in that my skin was softer and less bumpy overall, but I could see a difference. There was less redness and unevenness to my skin, and using this in the morning and at night, I found that my skin stayed moisturized without getting oily- which is pretty rare for me!

Here's the only small issue: the price. My favorite Missha ampoule is around $40ish dollars depending on where you get it, sales etc, and it gives me very similar results. If this serum was around the same price, I definitely think I would repurchase it. However- if you're in the market for a new serum and don't care what the price is, or you maybe didn't have any luck with the Missha ampoule, I would seriously consider trying this one out!

Water, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Niacinamide, Diglycerin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Alcohol, PEG/PPG-17/6 Copolymer, Silica, Arginine, Methylparaben, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Carbomer, Allantoin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder, Propylparaben, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate, Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Adenosine, Disodium EDTA, Centella Asiatica Extract, Rose Centifolia Flower Water, Human Oligopeptide-1, Opuntia Ficus Indica Callus Culture Extract, Salix Alba, Willow Bark Extract, Soybean Ferment Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Chamaecyparis, Obtusa Leaf Extract, Garlic Bulb Extract, Broccoli Extract, Blueberry Fruit Extract, Spinach Leaf Extract, Salicornia Herbacea Extract, Grape Fruit Extract, Walnut Seed Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Tomato Fruit Extract, Oatmeal Extract, Propylene Glycol, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Extract

While I have an overabundance of creams and moisturizers, I am very picky with which ones I will actually use and enjoy. I have a selection of creams that work beautifully on my skin in the Summer, as well as a few that are a bit more "heavy duty" and keep my skin from drying out or becoming irritated in the cold Winter months. The beautiful creams are the very rare ones that work during either season, and I think that this Remedy Repair Cream from NoTS is one of those!

The 28 Remedy Repair cream from NoTS is a product that is specially made for people who have sensitive skin and acne prone skin. This is a nutritious cream that deeply nourishes, repairs and soothes pigmentation, acne scars and skin irritations. It is formulated with Adenosine and Niacinamide, which bring elasticity to maintain skin health and to provide a bright, glowing complexion. It also protects the skin from harmful external environmental factors that your face may come in contact with. You will not only love this product becuse of it's great benefits, but this Korean cosmetics product is also safe and high quality because it has completed clinical trials.
This cream takes the pricey cake when it comes to NoTS products with qdepot pricing it at $102. Wow. I know that there are definitely skincare products out there that reach this price, but I don't think I've ever spent that much money on a single product before- You know I usually only review products in the affordable/occasionally slightly on the pricey side categories but hey- we all need to splurge a little now and then, I think!
I used this cream for a little over a week now, and I had some positive results. What I will say before I discuss those, is that some of the ingredients in this product may be irritating to skin, so please check the ingredients list and CosDNA analysis below if you are interested in trying it.

Firstly, this cream has a light medicinal scent. It's not overwhelming or off-putting at all- in fact I actually really enjoyed it. The consistency is truly the main selling point for me, personally. It's creamy and smooth; Not too thick and not too thin. It really could be used during any season. It smooths over my skin with ease and absorbs nicely, while still leaving your skin with that plumped up, moisturized feel. I love that it didn't leave a sticky or thick-feeling residue on my face, but also didn't completely absorb and leave me feeling like my skin wasn't moisturized enough.
I felt that even after a short time, I was able to see a visible improvement with the appearance of my skin. It definitely looked more bright and even-toned. I found that it also seemed to soothe irritated breakouts, which I think was my favorite result from this product. After doing my routine, this is one of the last steps I will apply. I find that sometimes if I have a bad breakout or a big ol' zit, I will apply this and in the morning my skin looks so much more calm and less inflamed on the irritated area.

Would I pay over $100 for this product? Not likely. If I had the disposable income to do so, I might consider it. It's actually extremely difficult for me to find a cream that has the consistency and absorption level that I prefer, and even more difficult to find a cream that works during any season of the year. Even though it is expensive, it seems that a little goes a long way. I have a small sample-sized jar that I've been testing from and even after a week it's not even half empty. So while the price may raise my eyebrows a bit, there are plenty of inexpensive creams that I have to glob on my face to get the to work the way I like.

Just like the other products in the NoTS line, this cream is absolutely loaded with herbal and fruit extracts like broccoli, tomato, blueberry, garlic, walnut seed, spinach, oatmeal, grape, tea tree leaf, and so many more. It does also contain stearyl alcohol and cetearyl alcohol though, so keep that in mind if those are ingredients you tend to avoid.

 Water, Melia Azadirachta Extract, Glycerin, Stearyl Alcohol, Beeswax, Niacinamide, Ceresin, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Hyaluronic Acid, Beta-Glucan, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Betaine, Polysorbate 60, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Emu Oil, Dimethicone, Colloidal Sulfur, Broccoli Extract, Tomato Fruit Extract, Blueberry Fruit Extract, Garlic Bulb Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Walnut Seed Extract, Spinach Leaf Extract, Oatmeal  Extract, Grape Fruit Extract, Salicornia Herbacea Extract, Opuntia Ficus-Indica Callus Culture Extract, Origanum Vulgare Leaf Extract, Chamaecyparis Obtusa Leaf Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Rosa Centifolia Flower Water, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Arnica Montana Flower Extract, Sorbitan Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Tea Tree Leaf Oil, Sophora Angustifolia Root Extract, Grapefruit Extract, Shea Butter, Zeolite, Hydroxyapatite, Zirconium Silicate, Silver, Zinc Oxide, Triethanolamine, Cetearyl Glucoside, Tocopheryl Acetate, Carbomer, Methylparaben, Salicylic Acid, Propagermanium, Human Ogliopeptide-1, Retinyl Palmitate, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Butylparaben, Hydrolyzed Algin, Zinc Sulfate, Disodium EDTA, BHT, Adenosine, Propylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol

Overall Thoughts
Now that I'm a bit more familiar with the NoTS brand, I find that I really like their formulas and how they perform on my skin. I didn't find that they caused irritation or any sort of breakout which is super important for me. The one thing I dislike is their iffy marketing in terms of their ingredients. They do claim to have natural and face-loving ingredients, however they vary in quality depending on what product you're looking at. Even so, the list of natural extracts and oils they include in every product is extremely impressive. One small issue I can see is that since there are so many different natural and botanical ingredients, there's more of a chance that a consumer could be allergic to the product. Luckily, I didn't have a problem at all with any of the products I've tried so far.
I think my favorite, stand out product in the bunch is definitely the repair cream. I found this product to out-perform the rest in terms of it's luxurious consistency, how well it smoothed onto my skin and how quickly it absorbed. My skin felt very moisturized, but not at all oily or greasy. There was no negative reaction to the product, and if anything, my skin appeared vibrant and more healthy during the testing process.

Overall, I think NoTS has a great line of products here that I would highly recommend if and only if, you can find them on sale. The prices I have found for these products don't necessarily match the performance quality in my opinion, although I do think that if you have the disposable income, the repair cream might be one you'd want to try out!

These are not the only products from the NoTS line, so if you're interested in learning more about the brand, or checking out other great Korean brands, you can do so over at QDepot!
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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 does not contain affiliate or referral links.

Friday, January 8, 2016

New Beauty TestTube January/ February 2016 Review and Unboxing Plus 30% off Coupon!

 First off, apologies if you noticed the little flub on my intro photo- this is actually the January/February New Beauty TestTube. I got it a little earlier than usual and it showed up at the end of December rather than in January so my brain got a little flipped around. Regardless, I was pretty pleased with how quickly this showed up!
I'm always very curious to open my Test Tube. The reasons are a little mixed, though. Part of me is thinking, "I wonder if this is going to be a good tube this month or not" and the other part of me is thinking, 'I wonder what brands are going to be in here!" Because while the tubes have been quite nice lately, my brain still goes back to a time when they were filling tubes with old product and things subscribers received many times before. But I also know that New Beauty partners with a huge variety of brands, so when the tubes are on point they usually have lots of interesting products and companies featured.
 New Beauty TestTube is considered the "first beauty subscription service" in the beauty box world. It all began when readers of New Beauty magazine began asking where they could try/buy products that were featured in the magazine- and the test tube was born through the idea that readers could try the editors favorite products for themselves rather than just reading about them. It was a great idea of course, considering a massive, seemingly endless market of beauty subscriptions has risen out of it!
A great thing about New Beauty TestTube is that they provide a large booklet filled with tons of details about each product included that month. Not only do you get information about the brand, but you can get detailed info on the product as well as tips and tricks to using it properly! It's a really helpful little handbook that I wish more subscriptions took the time to do!
New Beauty TestTube costs $29.95 plus $8.95 S+H for a total of $38.95 per tube. The reason why this review is labeled "March/April" is because New Beauty TestTube comes out once every other month, so you would be receiving 6 tubes per year rather than 12 in a monthly subscription. Each box includes the Test Tube, which is filled with beauty samples and full-size products as well as a detailed informational booklet on the products. You also automatically receive a subscription to New Beauty magazine when you subscribe to the Test Tube. The magazine is delivered separately from the Test Tubes, 4 times a year.

*Save 30% off Every Tube As Long As You're Subscribed!*
This is a totally new thing here- Apparently when you use my referral link, from what I understand in the fine print, you will not only save 30% off your first tube, but EVERY tube that you receive during your subscription! This is an awesome deal!
Sign up with this link to save 30% off for every tube you receive!
Of course for some people that is a good chunk of cash for a box of beauty samples. The good news is it only comes every other month, so it's a price equivalent of having a $15 per month subscription (after the 30% off discount). On top of that, they usually include higher-end items and full size products that other subscriptions do not.

I think the test tube is perfect for beauty junkies, but especially for women who don't have time to shop for beauty product or read pages and pages of reviews on a product. Getting the tube sent right to their door removes the hassle when shopping/discovering new beauty products!
I will say that while New Beauty does provide makeup in their tubes (many times it's full size!) they are usually a skincare-heavy subscription. If you're looking for solely cosmetics, this might not be a good choice for you. 
Now let's get on with this month's tube!
 Dermalogica: Daily Microexfoliant ($9)
This is a rice-based powder formula that isn't a manual exfoliant, but actually includes chemical exfoliants to clear and refresh the skin. It contains green tea and collodial oatmeal which help calm the skin while salicylic acid and rice enzymes buff away dead skin. I am not a user of manual exfoliants on my face, so I'm pretty happy to have this product to try! I regularly use chemical exfoliants, however a powder one is brand new to me! I've seen this brand around for a long time but this will be my first time testing their products, so I'm very interesting in the results.

 Neocell: Beauty Bursts Collagen Soft Chews ($5.32)
If there was ever an MVP of products for 2015, it would be Neocell Beauty Bursts. I was contacted by this company to do a review of their Biotin and Beauty Bursts a few months back. I was hesitant to agree at first because I normally don't like to supplement reviews considering how varied the results can be for people. Even so, I figured they were supplements for the skin/hair/nails which are all beauty-related, so why not try them out?
Since the initial review I did on these Beauty Bursts, I have repurchased them at least 6 times. Yes, they work that well. It's to the point that I cannot be without them. First of all, I am terrible at remembering to take supplements, so the fact that these are sweet, fruity, chewy and delicious makes me not only remember to take them, but look forward to it. After just a couple of weeks taking these, I immediately noticed a huge difference in the appearance of my skin. It looks more plumped up and moisturized, I've seen fine lines lessen over the course of me taking these. There was a time a month or so ago that I forgot to order more of these and had to wait a week or so before my new box came in. I saw my skin slowly start to lose it's glow and moisture and I ended up looking kind of dull and lifeless. I don't know which ingredient is doing most of the work, or if all of them are in their own way, but I could not recommend these more highly!
 Cailyn: Dizzolv'It Makeup Melt Cleansing Balm ($6)
It seems like all the western companies are starting to catch wind of products and innovations that have existed in Korea for awhile now. Cleansing balms have been all the rage for a couple of years now in the kbeauty world, so like sleeping packs, sheet masks, BB Creams, Cleansing waters, cushion pacts, oil cleansers etc- western brands are always looking to Korea's trends to see what the next big thing is. I've seen a few western brands making cleansing balms, but I haven't tried this one from Cailyn, yet. This balm dissolved makeup, including waterproof products and sunscreens but doesn't strip the skin's natural moisture. It has aloe vera and calendula extract to help keep your skin soothed and moisturized. 
I'm not wild and crazy about cleansing balms. I do have a few that I have barely gotten through, so I'll probably pass this on to a friend. Even so, they're really great products for anyone that does need a really good makeup remover. Just remember it's important to follow up a cleansing balm with a regular cleanser!

Bliss: That's Incredi-'Peel'! Recurfacing Pad ($1.63)
I mean...one pad, though? This is not a bonus product, but an actual item included this month. I feel like 3 or 4 pads would have made more sense than just one. It's kind of hard to get a solid opinion on a product when you can only try it once! These pads contain glycolic acid, vitamin E and licorice extract, and are used by simply wiping the pad over clean, dry skin. It's essentially an at-home glycolic peel that is gentle enough to use on any skin type and exfoliated without harsh irritation. The idea of a chemical exfoliator pad is pretty awesome to me, although 30 pads cost $50...yikes! I don't think I'll be purchasing these unless this one pad is so good that it completely changes my skin to perfection. One can hope, right?
Fromm Beauty: Diane Pink Hope Brush ($5)
This is a cute little travel brush that mixes regular plastic bristles with boar bristles to help get rid of tangles with ease. You can use this brush on either wet or dry hair. Apparently, half of all the sales of this brush go to benefit Bright Pink, an organization that brings breast and ovarian cancer awareness to young women in hopes of early prevention. It was nice that they included this product, although I hope New Beauty actually purchased these and didn't get them sent to them as it would sort of defeat the purpose, don't you think? Either way, it's a perfect purse-sized brush so it's going right into my makeup/beauty pouch!
Hask Beauty: 5 in 1 Hair Rescue Leave-In Conditioner Spray ($5.99) 
 I have a weird obsession with leave-in conditioners. I'm not even sure if they do a whole lot for my hair outside of helping me not rip it out of my head. I am one of those people that has to brush their hair when they get out of the shower. I know it's bad to brush wet hair, but I honestly cannot wait for it to dry before I brush it or it becomes one massive knot from Hell. Leave-in conditioners help detangle and smooth the hair, so I'm quite happy to try this one from Hask. I always think this brand is sort of the low-end version of Rusk products because of their packaging and product selection. Regardless, I'm happy to try this as it claims its lightweight, moisturizes hair, prevents breakage, detangles, smooths hair, controls frizz and adds shine, all while providing thermal protection from heat styling tools. I use a straightener and curling iron almost every day, so bring on the heat protection!
Supersmile: Professional Whitening Toothpaste ($40)
 Are you seeing this toothpaste? I'm not entirely sure how big a regular tube of toothpaste is, but this is an 8oz tube and I'm telling you that I thought it was a huge tube of body lotion at first. I really have never seen a toothpaste tube this big before! This product is safe to use on sensitive teeth, caps, veneers and dentures and helps restore them to their original whiteness. $40 is a lot of dough to be shelling out for a tube of toothpaste, no matter how huge the tube is, but I will still use this up and hope that it works for me!
Mally Beauty: Evercolor Starlight Waterproof Eyeliner ($18)
 Mally is pretty much a staple in New Beauty TestTube now. The good thing is, I think Mally's makeup line is top notch and I love getting new products from her to try. This eyeliner contains jojoba seed oil and glides on the eyes with little to no effort. I received an almost metallic navy blue and it's absolutely gorgeous! I'm not usually one for blue liners, but this is so creamy and stays in place so well that I might make an exception!
*Bonus Items* 
Tan Towel Self Tanning Towels for Face and Body
Can you hear my groaning? Ok, ok...these are just bonus products added into the tube and aren't necessarily included in the overall value or curation, but I swear if I see another damn Tan Towel in a Test Tube I might just lose it. These could possibly be the best tanning product in the world and I would never know it because I'm so sick of seeing them that I just toss them into the "give away" pile before I can even think about it. I've been getting Test Tubes on and off for many years and I think I've gotten Tan Towels at least 4 times, this might be the 5th. Please New Beauty. I'm begging you: No more of these damn Tan Towels!
Overall Thoughts
  New Beauty TestTube costs $29.99 per month and has a shipping charge of $8.95, making it about $39 per tube. (Much less if you use my 30% off coupon!) The total value of the January/February TestTube about $88. The only confusing thing here, is that subscribers could have received either the Supersmile Toothpaste (valued at $40) OR the Whitening Gum (valued at $5) meaning that those who receive the gum would only have a tube valued at $53. I think that's a huge difference in terms of value for an either/or product so I'm kind of confused on how they evened out the value, if they did at all. Did anyone get this month's tube and got the gum? Trying to figure out how they worked that out. I personally think they should have included both the toothpaste and gum in all the tubes.

Aside from the Supersmile confusion, this was a really nice tube! I'm happy with the brand variety and I like that they included a nice variety of skincare, haircare, makeup, body care etc. I'm very interested in trying the majority of the products here, which is what I want out of my subscription boxes. I personally use sub boxes as discovery services, so once I keep getting the same brands or types of products over and over, I cancel. I'm happy to say that this month was a winner for Test Tube!
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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, January 3, 2016

Veil Cosmetics: Sunset Light Primer-Serum-Mixing Base Review

I'm one of those people that rarely spends a lot of money on a luxury product. There are very few things that I will buy regardless of their price. One of them is my Laura Mercier highlight powder, and the other is my favorite perfume: Dior Addict. I'm kind of a bargain hunter and make it my mission to find products that perform as well as the high end items at a fraction of the price. Every now and then though, I want to spoil myself. I go to Sephora and buy something that looks fabulous just because. Sometimes owning and enjoying a luxury cosmetic or skincare product just feels so awesome! Why am I talking about this? I was just introduced to the company "Veil Cosmetics" and while I first thought "ouch, too expensive for my tastes!" I quickly converted to the idea that Veil is definitely one of those brands that you treat yourself to every now and then!

About VEIL
The Light Infused Cosmetics Brand, VEIL products impart instant illumination and brighten the complexion with their treatment benefits. The brainchild of internationally acclaimed celebrity makeup artist Sebastien Tardif, Veil Cosmetics was inspired by Tardif’s passion for skin and fresh take on superior makeup textures. Veil sets out to modernize the traditional approach to makeup by revealing gorgeous skin, not masking it, with multi- tasking, skin care cosmetics. 

What I'm reviewing today is Veil's product, "Sunset Light." This not just a primer- it's also an amazingly awesome skincare product!

Sunset light is a refreshing fluid filter that helps skin achieve the perfecting and smoothing radiance emanated at sunset, resulting in the perfect complexion. It's formulated specially for all skin types. It's a fresh water-based formula that adds makeup longevity, hydrates and plumps the skin while giving a smooth and even appearance. There are no parabens and it's oil free and cruelty free.

Cost: $59
Size: 1.76 fl oz 

 nylon-12, PEG-10 dimethicone, polysorbate 40, isohexadecane, ammonium polyacryloyldimethyl taurate, isododecane, dimethicone crosspolymer, sodium palmitoyl proline, nymphea alba flower extract, butylene glycol, polyacrylamide, C13-14 isoparaffin, laureth-7, sodium hyaluronate, ubiquinone, palmitoyl oligopeptide, palmitoyl petapeptide -4, benzyl alcohol, dehydoacetic acid, benzoic acid, sorbic acid, capryloyl glycine, serine, cinnamon bark extract, ethylhexyl palmitate, sorbitan oleate, sorbitan laurate, myristyl phospho-malate, sodium potassium aluminum silicate, silica, acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate crosspolymer, serine, threonine, lysine, phenoxyethanol, potassium sorbate, undecylenoyl phenyl alanine, phospholipids, retinyl palmitate, ascorbyl palmitate, beta carotine, tocopherol, polysorbate 20, EDTA, titanium dioxide CI 77891, Red 40, lake CI 16035
The packaging was a little confusing for me at first. The pump at the top almost looks like you can grab it and flip it open. Instead, you simply twist the gold part of the packaging and the pump will pop up. Use it as you normally would, and then twist again to lower the pump. This kind of packaging is actually awesome if you travel a lot or like to carry your cosmetics with you- it'll never get all over the inside of your bang when you can "hide" the pump!

This product is 3-in-1, meaning it has 3 different uses/purposes:

Unique Water based formula that primes complexion to provide makeup longevity and glow. It's feather light with no heavy silicone mask feeling. There's no sparkle or flash feed back. Light reflective optics give the appearance of healthy, glowing skin.

Serum strength actives brighten, defend, plump, soothe and hydrate the skin. White water lily extract brightens the skin, Anti-aging peptides defend, cinnamon bark extract plumps and soothes while sodium hyaluronate moisturizes and keep the skin hydrated.

Mixing Base
mix a small amount into your favorite concealer or foundation to smooth and refine product texture.
The texture of this primer is absolutely luxurious. It feels soft and velvety, a bit like Smashbox Photo Finish without that greasiness. Once it's blended in, it feels incredibly silky on the skin and absorbs nicely.
While it's a bit difficult to tell from this photo, this stuff blends so beautifully into my skin and leaves behind a slight sheen. It's not loaded with shimmer or glitter, so I'm not sure what causes the luminous appearance, but whatever it is, I love it!

When using this under my makeup, I can definitely see a difference in terms of how well my pores are covered and my skin is evened out. My BB cream seems to glide over this product with ease and neither one have a negative effect on each other. The BB Creams I've used with this product all play nice with it and I definitely see an improvement in terms of how smoothly and evenly they apply on top of this primer. 

I'm not sure about the long term effects of the skincare-based ingredients in this primer, although I'd much rather put a primer on my face that has beneficial skincare ingredients rather than one that feels like I'm putting grease on my face!
What I like the best about this primer is that it makes my skin glow without the use of shimmers or tints. After I use this and apply my BB cream, I can see more of a radiant look and texture to my skin. I'm only 30 so I don't have a ton of wrinkles, but the few fine lines I have seem to just disappear when using this primer. So far, I've been incredibly happy with it's performance. 

I have not had any adverse reactions to this product, nor have I broken out or had any redness or issues with my skin. If you're allergic or sensitive to an ingredient, please check the list I posted earlier and check the CosDNA list as well!
Overall Thoughts
I think the Sunset Light Primer is absolutely decadent! I love how silky smooth it is, how nicely it covers my pores and somehow magically illuminates my skin. The serum-type ingredients make me happy- I think more cosmetic bases should have skin-loving ingredients in them! I haven't used this product as a mixing base as I don't really feel the need to- but as a primer it's absolutely top notch. You also need the tiniest amount for the entire facial area because it smooths out so nicely. I haven't had any issues with breakouts or irritation while using this product, and overall I'm extremely happy with the results!

If you're interested in checking out this primer or the other product from Veil, you can visit their website 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.