Review: Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy

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Okay, I have to admit, I abuse my nails. I was dishes, often slam them into something and break them, constantly scrub my hands and occasionally bite them…(not as often, but absentmindedly sometimes…) needless to say, I am not the perfect candidate to be a hand model. But the worst part is, I do want to have pretty manicured hands despite my horrible nail luck–star crossed love affair on that one, am I right?

Most of the time I’m stuck redoing my nails a couple of days after I initially do them which is SUCH a pain. Nothing seems to stick no matter how many coats I do–bottom middle and top! But lately I have found the Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy line to be my light in the horrible nail darkness. This stuff lasts! I actually can keep a manicure for a week and do all the normal scrubbing I want!

The consistency is a nice thick gel-like one that dries quickly and smoothly and without the necessity of a led lamp! I’m all about this since I’m typically a no fuss kind of girl. (And also because the quicker it dries, the smaller the chance of me screwing them up…for which I am notorious.)

Also, I’m in love with the color selection Revlon provides. I’ve been rocking the color “Hold ’em” which is a very pretty mauve color, perfect for fall. But there are quite a few other colors I’ve been eyeing. Honestly the only downfall to this line is the newness and lack of a color range, otherwise I would never go back to regular nail polish again. (Sorry Essie and OPI, I love you but you’ve got to step up your game!)

My consensus: Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy is totally worth it, especially for the active gal who wants a long lasting manicure!

Have you tried any nail polishes or manicure styles that you have fallen in love with? If so, let me know! I’m always curious to hear!

~L, xoxo

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L’OREAL Privee Collection (Eva) Review

I have to admit, I’m not a risk taker when it comes to lip colors. Dark colors make me feel too Eliza Dushku Vampy and bright ones sometimes make me feel like that kid who has clearly been drinking too much cool aid. I’m more of the muted lippy kind of gal and even more so–the nude wearing kind. Classic = my thing.

So of course if a new nude catches my eye, I’m compelled to try it. The most recent urge hit me on a trip to the drugstore where the L’OREAL Privee Collection was out on display. The packaging was cu-ute! Also the “celebrity nudes” theme was a nice spin on an old style and the descriptions provided did help me choose one that might look lovely on my lips. I actually decided on Eva which was a slightly darker version of my lips. I thought the darker tone would be nice since its fall and I feel like darker tones are a must this time of year.

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 Overall, I thought the product was so-so. It came out lighter than I initially expected and a little more sheer than I anticipated with a matte-gloss finish. Though you can build up the color with a couple of good applications, it would have been nicer if it was a tad thicker. It was also relatively moisturizing, but the staying power was only okay. This is definitely a color I have to reapply throughout the day, which isn’t necessarily a turn off because I feel like I’m always reaching for a lippy no matter what the staying power is. (#addicted)

While I think these are decent nudes, I don’t know if its worth the $7.99 price point. (Maybe if its on sale for $5.99, I’d say go for it) Bottom line, not L’OREAL’s best, but if you’re in a pinch for a classic nude that has a bit of sheen, this might be for you.

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Have you tried anything interesting from the drugstore lately? What are you dying to try? Let me know! I’m in the mood to swipe some new things for the collection!

~xo, L

I went to Birchbox Soho…and it was fabulous!

So this summer, I decided to mosie on down to Soho here in NYC and check out the new Birchbox shop after seeing some rather lovely sneak peek photos online–it was love at first site.

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(Can’t you just hear a chorus of angels in your head right now?) The store was bright and girly and fun! The idea of the store was very much like a trendy designed Sephora, only BB features a BYOB (Build Your Own Box) where you can pick from a menu of samples to put in a box right there in the store! (Basically, you get to be a BB specialist– for yourself! It’s quite fun 🙂 )

The upstairs part of the store featured a majority of makeup and skin products while the downstairs had the men’s section, hair and nails. Even better: the lower section had a salon-like area where you could get a mani, a blowout or, of course, your makeup done!

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Another difference from the big beauty stores: the BB shop has all the lovely goodies that they feature in their online shop–necklaces, tshirts, makeup bags, etc. I loved oogling the goodies while I was there, picking them up and trying them on– it was the full shopping experience.

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The shop was adorable and the best part next to shopping around was being able to use my BB points in store! So of course I had to pick up the Beauty Protector Protect & Treat Hair Mask (Available on Birchbox.com for $25.95) since I had been eyeing it!

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Overall, it was a fun shopping experience and I look forward to attending some of the BB events in the near future!

So, have any of you been down to check out the new shop? How did you like it? Did you hit any events?

And for all of you BBholics planning visits to NYC in the future, here’s the address:

433 W Broadway, New York, NY 10012

Until next time, Ta!

~xo, L

 

Ipsy Vs. Birchbox: September 2014

 So, this is slightly late (whoops), but I was still trying out these products so I could make an honest opinion on which of these truly won me over this month. (excuses, excuses…) Spoiler: I wasn’t necessarily wowed by either overall, but I am really enjoying a few of the products I received. They’ve actually become staples in my routine so far, so I can’t complain too much…

Okay, without any more delay, here is my Ipsy Vs. Birchbox showdown review! First up, BB!

 

Birchbox

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 Brands – Liz Earle, Juicy, Cynthia Rowley, Yu Be, R+Co, Jouer

Estimated Price$26

For those of you who are unfamiliar, Birchbox is a monthly beauty subscription that costs $10 and sends beauty samples. (sometimes deluxe, sometimes on the smaller size, it varies. Though they have upped their game recently.) Their products vary from lifestyle, to skincare, to makeup and their brands are often on the higher end. If you’re interested in this subscription, check it out here

Before I dive into the products, I have to say this: I was SOOOOO excited for the cute box design this month–I was going to keep it for makeup storage and oogle its pretty colors on the daily. But my excitement was quickly crushed when I found out that my box was, well, crushed in transit! Goodbye cute box, I never got to truly enjoy you. 😥 Oh well, on to what really matters, the products!

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I have to be honest, when I opened up my box, I wasn’t too happy to see some repeat products aka the Cynthia Rowley eyeliner and The Viva La Juicy perfume–even if they were in new colors/scents. It was kind of like a “been there, done that” kind of thing, you know? But overall, I got a decent balance with haircare, skincare, a scent, a face makeup product and eye makeup.

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Is it just me or do all the Juicy perfumes smell kind of similar? Probably just me…but while I enjoyed the new scent, I wasn’t surprised or anything by it. And since I have been getting perfumes every month now…I’m kind of over them to be honest. The YuBe cream was a lackluster item too. It was scentless cream–I mean it seemed to work decently well, but nothing to write home about.

The R+Co shampoo and conditioner however, was great for my thin hair! It made it look illustrious after use, smelled great and the sample packaging was adorable! The styling cream didn’t really make a huge difference in my hair that I could see, but it smelt lovely as well. Though the full size of each costs a pretty penny, I might save my BB points and splurge on the shampoo and conditioner!

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 Okay, once again: the Cynthia Rowley pencil made me go “Meh.” Not that it’s not a great product, I loveeee the first one I got, but I can only use eyeliners so fast! (Plus, I’m a liquid liner kind of gal…sticks I only use on my lower lash line.) I will give BB props for sending me a trending eye metallic color–but in all honesty, I will probably get minimal usage out of that since I am not an 80s groupie/rockstar.

Moving on, I was excited to finally get to try a Jouer product since I’m pretty sure I hear the BB gals gush about it almost religiously every month. But the size of this sample made my heart sink just a tad–this gave me like 2.5 uses! Not enough to make up my mind on whether it would be something to purchase for my makeup collection. Sorry, Jouer–I’m not sold on you yet!

Lastly, the thing I was most excited for in this box was not a surprise since I picked it– the Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish. Since I first saw this product a couple of months ago, I have been dyingggg to try it because 1) the packaging is adorable and tiffanyesq which, being an Audrey Hepburn fan, I was instantly drawn to. 2) I love face/skin care products. Especially pampering ones like this! The whole process of massaging this cleanser into my face and then using the cloth to wipe it off–I feel like I’m in a mini spa each night. The product feels great and leaves my skin happy and smooth! Plus the sample size was very generous! I will be purchasing this ASAPO. (As Soon As Product’s Out)

 

Ipsy

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  BrandsNyx, Crown Brush, Alterna, Pacifica, Cailyn

Estimated Price$44.50

For those of you who are unfamiliar, Ipsy is a monthly beauty subscription that costs $10 and sends deluxe/full size beauty samples. It usually focuses on primarily cosmetic products medium-high in value that are delivered in adorable makeup bags! (Though it sometimes will throw a skincare product your way.) If you’re interested in subscribing,check it out here.

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Okay, before I say anything, I must say this: I thought the bag was UGS this month. I get they were trying to go for edgy street style…but it kind of just reminded me of a wallet I would find in Claire’s…on discount. I dunno, it just wasn’t for me. But it was a good try. Next time, Ipsy.

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Moving on, I will say I was sooooo happy to see another brush in this bag. Even better–a double sided one! Being a woman on the run most days, as I scramble to make my train into NYC, I have very little time to prep in the morning. My makeup time is always on the go which makes this brush PERF for me. I just need the one for my bag and I’m good! This one is now a staple and pretty soft, so in other words: THANKS IPSY!

As for the CC cream–was anyone else baffled that this wasn’t for skin, but for hair? I didn’t even know there were alphabet creams for hair! But then again, I can barely keep track of all the alphabet creams out there–did you hear there is now an EE cream? Yeah, I give up. Rant aside, this product was nice, but kind of small for me to make any definitive choice seeing as I have quite a bit of hair to try this on. Basically, this gets a “Meh.”

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So you know how I said BB got points for being on trend, but also a “Meh” for sending me another eye pencil? Yup…Ipsy gets the same. Though I have to say, I am not yet sold on Pacifica as a brand. This pencil was kind of dry and chalky. Pass!

As always, I love to see a Nyx product in my bag! I was happy to see this lovely neutral color (in “Velvet”) and I have been using it as a base color on my lids quite frequently this month–applying it with my new brush, I must add! (I see what you did there, Ipsy…)

Last, but not least, was a repeat brand but a new product type–Cailyn tinted gloss in “Basic Instinct”. I loveeee this! The first application has a little transparentness to it, but you can build it up quickly and the color is a very lovely coraly pink!

Conclusion

Like I said, there wasn’t anything super super exciting about either subscription this month and each had things I really liked. However, if I’m forced to choose, I have to give it to Ipsy. It had 3 full sized products that I have been using all month and am currently still loving on. (Though it was tough because I really did love the cleanser and haircare from BB and will be repurchasing!)

So, how did you guys fair this month? Are you getting as much use out of your products as I am? Hope so! Until next subscription post (which will be in like what…a week? haha whoops…), ta ta lovelies!

~xo, L

Ipsy Vs. Birchbox: August 2014

GASP! I’m actually on top of this post this month, you guys! (Shocking, I know!) I really am trying to get better about posting, especially while everything has been so crazy lately. Hopefully I will get my rhythm down soon. Until then, let’s check out my August goodies! (This was a great month for subscription boxes!!)

Ipsy

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For those of you who are unfamiliar, Ipsy is a monthly beauty subscription that costs $10 and sends deluxe/full size beauty samples. It usually focuses on primarily cosmetic products medium-high in value that are delivered in adorable makeup bags! (Though it sometimes will throw a skincare product your way.) If you’re interested in subscribing, check it out here.

Brands featured in my bag: Urban Decay, Dr. Brandt, Costal Scents, Lord & Berry, Absolute New York

Estimated value: $29

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As you may or may not already know from my Perversion Mascara Review, I have a crush on this product. So I was STOKED to see it in my bag this month. I love this formula and am excited to have a little more before I have to buy the product myself! (Seriously, I use it like every day…so I mean, it was going quickly and I was getting ready to break out the wallet!) Thank you Ipsy for my continued gorgeous starlet lashes!

As for the eyeliner, I’m meh on it. On the one hand, I was excited to try a new brand and I can always use a sample eyeliner pencil for my lower lash line. On the other hand, it’s a pencil eyeliner–I hate ones you have to sharpen! If it accidentally breaks while I’m out doing some touch up make up, I’m sh!t out of luck. Plus the shavings get everywhere! Me = not a fan of them. THOUGH, I will say that this product went on smooth and was a beautiful black. If the full size wasn’t so pricey, I would overlook the pencil sharpening state…

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I can’t remember if I’ve received Dr. Brandt in Ipsy before, but I was already acquainted with the brand–and VERY excited to see it in this bag. Dr. Brandt has great products and this one furthered my opinion of the brand quality. The formula was light, went on smooth, reduced the appearance of my pores and matifyed my skin. Though I’m unsure if it really is any better than benefit’s Porefessional. I’d be interested in doing a comparison to see if Dr. Brandt is worth the extra $$$.

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Next up, Absolute New York’s Balm in Grape. (YAY! Another new brand! And a full sized one at that!) I really liked this balm. It was hydrating and cute. The grape smell was very much a commercially grape smell, but it kind of reminded me of my childhood and really is a fun scent for summer. The only downside is having to apply it with my fingers–I’m not a fan of that type of application for balms. Though I will get a lot of use out of it!

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Lastly, (not leastly) was the blush duo in Fresh (the peachier color) and Elegant (the pinker color). I’ve gotten a bunch of costal scents products in the past, so this was probably my least impressed with product. That said, the color payoff was pretty nice even though it was a bit chalky. As you can see in the picture, there is a 25% code on the product that you can use! I won’t be using the coupon, so if you want, go ahead!! Also I noticed that costal scent’s blushes are on sale this week for $3.98, so hop on that! (check out the sale here)

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(side note, while the bag was a little cheap in quality this month, I thought it was super cute! I love orange and polka dots!! Also, the round tubular shape was adorable!)

Birchbox

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For those of you who are unfamiliar, Birchbox is a monthly beauty subscription that costs $10 and sends beauty samples. (sometimes deluxe, sometimes on the smaller size, it varies. Though they have upped their game recently.) Their products vary from lifestyle, to skincare, to makeup and their brands are often on the higher end. If you’re interested in this subscription, check it out here

Brands featured in my bag: Whish, hello, Key West Aloe, ModelCo, Laura Mercier

Estimated value: 28.75

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So since resubscribing to Birchbox, I haven’t yet gotten to choose my preferred sample until this month–and let’s just say, I was really excited for my choice! Bronzer!! (AKA the perfect summer product.) I was pleased with the sample size of this–I’m definitely going to get a good amount of uses out of it. Also, the product itself is very pretty. It isn’t cakey and leaves a nice tan/shimmery sheen. Though I did notice that it builds color quickly so I only apply it lightly and sometimes double up for contouring areas. Definitely a contender to my favorite too faced bronzers!

Unfortunately with the good comes the bad and my least favorite product this month was the Whish shave cream. The sad part was that it had all the makings of a shave cream I might like: smooth shave cream that hydrates my skin and doesn’t clump up my razor. (Like EOS…ugh, that stuff is impossible to wash out of my razors!) Unfortunately the smell–oh the smell!–was AWFUL. It was supposed to be grapefruit which is a scent I enjoy…but if it really was grapefruit, it was rotten ones! I’m serious. It smelt like voimit. I could only do one of my legs, it was so bad. But that leg was super smooth after so maybe there is hope with other scents?

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I will say, I was impressed with the amount of new/unfamiliar brands I received in my birchbox this month. Even more, I was impressed with how much I enjoyed them! I loved my lifestyle-ish item (the hello breath spray) and will be utilizing it as a substitute for gum when I run off to work meetings. I’m even curious to try the other flavors available! I also was a HUGE fan of the Key West Aloe lotion. It smelt delicious, it made my skin feel super smooth, and it had aloe in it which is a huge bonus for summer activities in the sun. I will be sure to repurchase this in the future–it’s a really great find!

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Now, birchbox must be a mind reader and know my secret love for Laura Mercier products (must be the name haha) because I nearly flipped my sh!t when I saw this product in my box. Not to mention, they threw in an extra with the tinted moisturizer! (The way a foil packet SHOULD be utilized. As an extra and not in place of an actual sample for the box.) Basically setting the standard for my favorite box yet. I have used the generous sample (seriously, BB is stepping up their sample size game and I’m bada ba ba ba loving it) for the tone perfecting cream a couple of times now and am over the moon for how light it is on my skin–not oily either, which I like. I also do think it has improved the creases around my eyes, which I’m pretty floored about. While the full size is on the pricier size, I will definitely be considering purchasing the cream in the near future.

I also enjoyed trying out the moisturizer–it was light and provided good coverage on the portion of my face that I tried it on. I would have liked to be able to cover my entire face and see if it did the complete job, but I’m not too upset since it was an extra. I did get to see the formula on my face and it looked pretty natural and felt great–so I would definitely keep it in mind as a summer product for me in the future.

The Winner is…

This month was kind of tough since there were a lot of great products samples from both subscriptions. Though I think I will have to give it to…Birchbox! I will definitely be getting the most use out of all of my items in this month’s box from BB and the quality was just slightly better for me this month. What about you subscription addicts? What did you love in your boxes/bags this month? Is there anything you saw that you wish that you got? Anything you’re dying to try/buy? Let me know!

~xoxo, L

My Current 5 Favorite Lippies!

So July 29th is National Lipstick Day and what better way to celebrate than with a post of my favorite 5 lippies at the moment? (I chose to mention glosses and stains/balms too since I’m not always wearing lipsticks in the summer months.) Here are the contenders!

Bare Minerals: Marvelous Moxie in Get Ready

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This is such a fun & flirty pink color. Perfect for a pop of lip for when you go out with your girlfriends! I even love wearing this with barely any makeup (just mascara and a little of SPF foundation) since it really makes a simple look fun. Plus it’s a pretty moisturizing mixture, so I’m totally into wearing it while I’m out in the summer sun!

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($18 from bareMinerals)

Eyes Lips Face (ELF) Mineral Lipstick in Runway Pink

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If I have a day where I want to channel Audrey Hepburn and be a classic beauty, this color is my absolute go to! It’s actually pretty close to my actual lip color, but it just gives me a slightly pinker, smooth tone. This is my go to “date night” color since it’s not over stated and simply beautiful!

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($5 from E.L.F.)

Pixi Shea Butter Lip Balm in Pixi Pink

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I know, I know–it’s not a lipstick per se, BUT the color of this lip balm is so bright, it is a good competitor to a lipstick. I’m serious, this color is almost neon on my lips and I love it!! Especially since it’s so hydrating, I’m damn near obsessed. I will put this on without any makeup just because I love the feel of my lips with it. Also, the staying power of this color is so long lasting!! It really is a worthy lip product!PIXIlips

($8 from Pixi by Petra)

Victoria’s Secret Pure Reflection Lipstick in Champagne

vsSo I went back into the makeup vault and pulled this color out. I was pretty hesitant about this color in the summer when I have a tan since it’s slightly lighter than my actual lips. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the color made my makeup look really fresh and light! Unfortunately, as you can tell by the packaging, this is an old color, so I don’t know what’s similar from VS right now…VSlips

(Generally, I think these lipsticks are $14. Let me know in the comments if you can find a current VS lipstick that is similar!)

Maybelline Elixir in Petal Plush

elixir Last, but not least, is one of my favorite lip products this summer–The Elixir line by Maybelline! I LOVE this formula, it’s so silky smooth on my lips and makes them look plump and perfect! I’ve probably been rocking this more than anything this summer!! Petal Push is my favorite, but I’ve been hunting out the other colors and loving every one!! MABlips( $5.99 online at Target, but generally $8.99 in drugstores. I think they’re on sale at your local Walgreens for $5.39 right now with your membership card!!)


So there you have it! Those are my favorite summer lippies! What are you loving right now? Let me know! (I love to try new options!!) Enjoy your lippies and have a happy National Lipstick Day! Stay fabulous all!

~xo, L

Review: Michael Todd Anti-Aging Skincare Kit

 I MAY or may not have a slight addiction to online shopping (so easy, yet so dangerous.) and one of my guilty pleasures are the deal sites–Groupon, Gilt, Rue La La, LivingSocial, HauteLook….oh yes. I have many online kryptonites. Don’t worry though, I usually merely only take pleasure in browsing, but ever so often something jumps out at me that I HAVE to have.

Most recently, it was an anti aging skincare kit by Michael Todd. (which I got for the skincare aspect, not so much the anti aging part since I’m only in my 20s.) Now, to be fair, I have been eyeing Michael Todd products since I’ve seen samples in ipsy– I really like the organic product idea and I have heard pretty good things. So when I saw the kit on LivingSocial for $23 (original price $46) — I snagged it. The following are my (re)views on the kit!

(Note: You can find the exact kit on the Michael Todd website here! (It’s since dropped to $33 on the online store!


The Packaging

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The actual kit packaging, to me, was nothing special. Seemed like a typical box that you might get at a Macy’s perfume counter.  I especially wasn’t crazy for so much lime green! But the individual products were very cute. I liked the clean style with the lavender and purple colors mixed with a hint of the lime green logo elements. (Note that I said “hint” and not “overly obnoxious amount” coughcough nudgenudge, Micahel Todd.)

The products it contained were:

  • Cleanse: SKIN DEFENDER aha crème facial cleanser – 50 ml / 1.7 fl oz
  • Tone: CRANBERRY ANTIOX hydrating anti-aging toner – 50 ml / 1.7 fl oz
  • Scrub: TROPICAL FRUIT enzyme exfoliant scrub – 40 ml / 1.3 fl oz
  • Hydrate: LIPOSOME ANTIOXIDANT MOISTURIZER with dmae and hyaluronic acid – 40 ml / 1.3 fl oz
  • Treat: PEARL AND SILK facial mask – 40 ml / 1.3 fl oz

 

The Products

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First up, the Skin Defender Cleanser. I found this cleaner to do the job pretty well, but it wasn’t as tough as some–so I wouldn’t say it would take off my makeup if I wanted it to. The consistency was milky and rubbed on pretty clear. Overall it felt nice and fresh.

Next up, the Cranberry Antioxident Hydrating Anti Aging Toner. I actually really liked this toner! It smelt fresh and didn’t feel like it had as much alcohol content as other toners–so it didn’t dry out my skin or irritate it in any way. I would so buy this again.

My FAVORITE product in this bundle was the Tropical Fruit Enzyme Exfoliant Scrub –Oh my god you guys, this smelt like a creamsicle on my face!! I was in scented bliss while my face was in exfoliant bliss!! Plus it left my face nice and smooth! This might be my new favorite summer exfoliant!

But with the good, comes the bad…and by that I mean the Liposome Antioxidant Moisturizer with dmae and hyaluronic acid. Okay, maybe that is being harsh. The product itself did its job pretty well, it was very moisturizing and not too greasy which is great–but I was not a fan of the smell. Why? Roses. I don’t know what it is about roses, but sometimes when its melded into products a certain way, it just smells like a dying flower bed. The smell killed it for me, but the outcome was nice. SUCH CONFLICT!

Lastly, the strangest thing in this kit was the Pearl and Silk Facial Mask. I say strange in a good way–I’ve never seen a mask like it. It literally felt silky and rubbed on clear-ish with perl shimmer hues in it. It was like I was covering my face in shimmery moonlight–I’m so not used to my masks looking like that! (Let’s just say my clay masks are a drastic difference!)


The Verdict

So there you have it! All those products in decent travel sizes for $23! Money well spent and possibly more bang for my buck! Though I still think its worth the now $33 online price, it really does make my face feel great without feeling too harsh/damaging. Plus, it’s also organic and a complete routine! It’s worth trying if you want to change up your nightly routine a bit! (I usually take turns with this and my typical products. I like changing it up!)

What do you use for you skincare routine? Have you tried any  Michael Todd products that you love? Let me know! I’m always interested in a great buy! 😉

~xo