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

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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

Ipsy Vs. Birchbox: July 2014

Ladies and gentlemen, behold: a July subscription box review on the last day of July–the epitome of procrastination! (Thank you, thank you. I owe it all to my lack of motivation!) Ahhhh, this is so late I literally almost didn’t write a review because letsbehonest, you’ve probably already seen most of these items reviewed already. BUT in the slim jimmest of chances that you have not seen these July Ipsy or Birchbox items, do I have a review for you!

For those of you that don’t know about Birchbox or Ipsy, they are both beauty subscriptions for $10 a month. Birchbox tends to feature smaller sample sizes that are often more higher end brands and incorporates more of a variety than just beauty. (Lifestyle, skin care, etc)  Ipsy features more full size-luxury size samples of often times more drugstore-lower end brands. Ipsy tends to favor strictly beauty options, but has recently surprised me with some great skincare samples! (I will include my referral links down below!)

And now, TO THE BOXES!

Ipsy: Sensationally Sunkissed

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 The Products (Sample Values)

bareMinerals 5-in-1 BB Advanced Performance Cream Eyeshadow in Divine Wine 1 ml – $4

Befine Food Skin Care Daily Moisturizer 1.5 fl oz- $10

Hang Ten Dark Tanning Oil 1 fl oz- $1.50

Pixi Beauty Mini Tinted Brilliance Balm in Unique Pink 1.8 g – $5

wHet Nail Polish in Facetious 10 ml (FULL)- $15

Total = $35.50

6I’m gonna be honest, this is the first month of Ipsy where I have received a bag that I wasn’t over the moon for. That said, I did get some pretty good products in some decent sizes none the less. Pictured above are my favorite and least favorite items from this month.

Hang Ten dark tanning oil wins least favorite for this month for the sheer fact that I am not aiming to be the color of an oompa loompa. Tanning oil is not my thing. (My dad however pretty much glistens with it when on the beach…which makes this product even less appealing in my mind’s eye…) In fact, I try to SPF myself whenever possible. This was a total miss for me.

Pixi’s Tinted Brilliance Balm in Unique Pink wins my favorite due to my budding love for the brand and the product delivering on what it promises–hydrating, lovely lips! The color is quite sheer though with the exception of the faintest of pinks and a tad bit of glistening added to my lips. Though I like that in a balm. (And the tingly feel it gives me! Ooo la la!)

I will say this though, Ipsy, please step up your product game. I feel like I’ve seen these brands over and over again in the past 5 bags. Please reach out to the new! I crave variety!

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 That rant said, I did receive at least 2 brands I haven’t had the pleasure of trying before. Be fine and wHet were newcomers to me, though only one of them was a true win. That one being….Be Fine! I loved that it was a daily face moisturizer with spf! I am in such desperate need of it in the summer after beach trips and this one is soooooo light in both formula (kind of milky and very hydrating, but takes a bit to dry) and smell (I feel like it’s more rice/spf smelling than rosemary and pomegranate…but I mean whatever you say Be fine…)

wHet, while it was a decent formula, was not a color I would use very often. Maybe once in a blue (ha, get it?) moon since I’m not much of a dark polish kind of gal.

hand2Last but not least in the bag was surprise, surprise: another repeat brand! (coughcough) Though I can’t be too sarcastically unhappy about it since I am a fan of bareMinerals. Their products are usually the bees knees, but this one left me a little skeptical. I know shadow sticks/creams/and-now-bbcreams are part of a rising trend, but they seem like such an effort to blend. I’m a traditional gal and haven’t really ventured outside of the pressed powder realm, so this was a bit out of my comfort zone… Though, it turned out to be in a good way. A couple of strokes of my finger after applying this Divine Wine bbcream shadow and it turned into what looks like a nice bruise on my hand! Yeah…not the best color in retrospect for me…but it did blend AND it stayed for a long while and took a while to scrub off–so this would be great in the summer heat and even on the beach!


Birchbox: Power Up

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 The Products (Sample Values)

Harvey Prince Imperial Gardenia – $1

Cynthia Rowley Beauty Eyeliner .8g – $8

Marcelle New Age 8 in 1 Power Serum .24 oz – $5

Naobay Body Radiance Lotion 1 fl oz – $3

Beauty Protector Protect & Treat Hair Mask – $6.50

Total = $23.50

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So, after complaining about it endlessly, I decided to go against my rant/better judgement and resubscribe to Birchbox! What got me: the promise of being able to pick one sample for my box. Ironic outcome: I didn’t resubscribe in time to pick a sample for this box… ah well, next month! (Which conveniently starts tomorrow!)

That said, I LOVED Birchbox this month! They really stepped up their game, but I did get a few repeat brands (just like Ipsy). Luckily, they were two of my favorite brands I found through birchbox. Harvey Prince (of which I have bought Hello of in the past) and Marcelle (of which I bought the golden glow bb cream from birchbox….I wonder if they noticed…). The Harvey Prince Imperial Gardenia made me fall in love with its romantic floral scent (mmmm gardenias)–it’s what I imagine I would wear as Ryan Gosling rows me to the house he built me… (Shhh Eva Mendez, let me have this notebook-esq moment!)

And Marcelle’s 8 in 1 power serum? Smooth as buttah. It literally makes my face as soft as can be and the formula is so light. Also, I’ve had no problems with it concerning break outs. Such a great serum, in my opinion, I’m gonna be FOREVER YOUNGGGGG.

handWhile I didn’t get any full sized items in this box, I was fortunate enough to get two deluxe samples which I feel like is a first in my birchbox history (Of which will be 7 months all together). One lux sample was the Cinthia Rowley eyeliner which went on super smooth and will be perfect for lining my lower lash line (it will totally end up replacing my Urban Decay deluxe pencil I received from Ipsy a couple of bags ago).

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And now my favorite and least favorite!

My favorite goes to… BEAUTY PROTECTOR! Another repeat (I have received the heat protector from this brand in the past), but one I love because their products smell delicious. I’m serious. They’re like frosting scented–I feel like their parent company is Magnolia’s Bakery or something. And the mask color is pink–PINK!! C’mon, that’s so friggin girly cute, I can’t help but love it. And Birchbox graciously provided me with two thimbles full so I can actually make a decision on whether or not I like it from multi-use. (Two thumbs up for two containers, BB!)

Sadly, Naobay was my least favorite of this box–which surprised me since it had the makings of something I thought I would love. Natural & Organic? Check. Cool packaging? Check. Luxury size? Check. What killed it: the smell. No lie, this lotion straight up smelt like Pine Sole to me. Me = not a fan. I want my lotions smelling yummy, not zestfully clean. (Okay, that’s a different brand…but you know what I mean.) Though I don’t blame BB, I thought it would be cool too–it just didn’t meet the smell test. Oh well.

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Last little perk BB threw in (other than a couple of coups) was a little “power up” booklet full of nice “feel good” suggestions. (I am air quote happy apparently…) It was a cute touch and really pulled in the packaging for BB this month.


Who Won?

Overall, I feel like I have to give it to Birchbox this month. I know–I’m surprised too! But in all honesty, BB provided me with more items I was super into trying (which is what this is all about, right?) and I will end up using more of. PLUS I thought the box was super cute this month. I was a huge fan of the white and pink special box and cute booklet touch. So in the end, I feel like Birchbox is my winner.

What about you guys? Who do you think should win? Or, if you’re a subscriber, what did you think of your box this month??

If you would like to subscribe, here are my referral links:

Ipsy: http://www.ipsy.com/r/1lri

Birchbox: www.birchbox.com/invite/follypops

I’m curious to know what products everyone was loving, so please share! I love getting suggestions on what to try!!

Until next I post, xo

~L

Ipsy Review: June 2014

Personal life has lead me to be a little MIA on this blog and all the things I want to share, but no more! I have a couple of fun posts coming out soon to get me back on track for follypops! And, without much further ado, here is my June 2014 review for Ipsy! Let’s take a look at the products!

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Products: (3 full size, 1 deluxe sample, 1 reg sample)

Marc Anthony Dream Waves Beach Spray: $3.50

Nyx Butter Gloss: $5

Ofra Eybrow Pencil: $13

Be A Bombshell Lash Out Mascara: $15

RealTree Perfume: $1

Bag Total: $37.50

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Let me start off by saying, Ipsy really nailed the hot summer look for this bag. Flowery print, statement look, all around great products–so hitting the nail on the head this month! Now on to the products:

I LOVED the Marc Anthony beach spray. Talk about a new summer staple!! First off, it has a faint smell of coconut (which I adore) so it feels like you’re taking the beach with you and I love how it gives texture to your hair without making it super stiff if you apply it lightly. Not to mention, full size of it at Ulta is only $9. (I’ll be repurchasing this bad boy if I ever run out of my luxe sample.) That said, while I like the wavy look I got from this product, if you’re looking for curly curls–this is not the product for you. (Try Garnier Fructis Scrunch Gel for super curls) It gives you a gentle wave, but that’s really it.

Moving on, the Nyx butter gloss in creme brulee is going to be a lovely nude glossy lip for me this summer if I’m walking around on a dry day. It was soft and pretty, but at the same time, I’m not much of a gloss fan. I hate when my hair gets stuck kissing my lips! Though, if I’m looking for a relatively matte colored gloss in the future, I will definitely turn to this.

While I wasn’t exactly in need of a gloss, Ipsy totally read my mind when it came to at least one necessity with the Ofra eyebrow pencil. The color (dark brown?) was perfect for my eyebrows and applied softly. The only downside is that it is a pencil that requires sharpening–which I don’t care for because sharpeners have a tendency to spill all over my bag, but I can’t wait to really get a lot of use with this pencil. So far, I am a fan!

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The Be A Bombshell mascara was…mascara. I mean, what can I say really? The formula is decent–not too goopy. The brush was nice and made application easy. Though I will say that the overall look on my lashes was only okay. I tend to like my lashes on the more dramatic side–so I like em bold and lengthened. (I’m currently hooked on Maybelline’s Illegal Length mascara. LOVE IT!) This may not be my cup of tea, but it could be yours! I would suggest giving it at least a try. Only downside is that it’s on the pricier side.

My least favorite item in this bag was the perfume–but I think mostly because it came at the wrong time for me. Realtree was a little spicier than the smells I’m obsessed with currently. Early summer always makes me crave fruity scents in the summer heat, (Hello Escada, my old friend!) but I suspect this might be a great scent for late summer-early fall. The spices with the hints of citrus would be great as the weather dries out but still has that late day heat. (I will reassess in a couple of months and report back!)

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OMG, that bag! This one is my favorite, by far! Thanks to the genius of Rebecca Minkoff for the design! Classy black, with beautiful select color for the flowers, a pop red zipper and metal zip–pure love. It’s my new everyday makeup bag in my purse.


The Conclusion

This is, so far, my absolute favorite bag. It gave me a full look in one bag, had 3 full size products AND a deluxe one included, I will get decent use out of all these products, and I loved the bag. Overall, a win and totally worth it this month. Big YAY! Can’t wait to rock it all during upcoming hot summer nights.

What about you? Did you get an Ipsy bag you loved for June? If not, what were the bummers? Where will you be wearing your products?

Until next month Ipsy lovers~

-xo