Sunday, May 4, 2014

April 2014 Ipsy Bag Review: "Beauty Rocks"

It's that time again... another Ipsy bag, another review from yours truly. If you don't know (or forgot), Ipsy is a cosmetics sampling program. For $10 a month, subscribers receive a makeup bag with four to five deluxe samples or full-size items. It's a fun little monthly treat, and I've discovered some new favorites through my subscription.

In which I attempt to not just show you the items standing in front of the bag.
 The April theme was "Beauty Rocks," which is apparently an attempt at some tenuous connection between makeup and the upcoming music festival season. Whatever. The bag itself actually had the potential to be kind of great this month... I love the deep purple color and the large square size, and the vintage-y record image is kind of groovy. But then you look at the record label, and there's that stupid-ass "Beauty Rocks" tagline. Cheeses it right up. If I cared a little more about the bag, I'd pull out some craft supplies and figure out a way to cover it over by snazzing up the label section... but I don't care that much. I'll still use it.

Aaaand here are the items standing in front of the bag.

On to the contents:
  • Urban Decay 24/7 Velvet Glide-On Eye Pencil in "Black Velvet" ("travel size" item, valued at $15): I was pretty happy to receive this product, because it seems that the Urban Decay pencils are the Holy Grails of eyeliners for a lot of people. My expectations were high after hearing all the praise... too high, as it turns out. I think the problem may be that this is a new product that is meant to be smudged for a "smokey eye" effect, and I prefer a nice defined line from my liners, so the joy of the smudginess is lost on me. My liner also seemed rather dry, and I did notice quite a few specks of fall-out under my eyes after only a couple of hours of wear. On the bright side, I contacted Ipsy's customer service to comment about the pencil being dry, and they are sending me a replacement item. Hopefully it will perform better, because I had high hopes for this little guy.
  • City Color White Gold Shadow & Highlight Mousse (full size item, valued at $3.99): Don't let the cheap-o price tag fool you, friends... this little container is by far the best thing I received this month! This creamy mousse goes on smoothly and blends out beautifully, adding a white gold (for lack of a better description... guess it's not just a clever name) shine wherever it's applied. I love that it's definitely a fine shimmer, not a glitter bomb, because I'm past the age where it's suitable to load my face up with glitter. I find that it's not great as a cheek highlight for me, because there is just the slightest tinge of a greenish cast to the color at some angles, but I am loving using it on my eyes. The container is tiny, but don't let the size put you off, because a little goes a LONG way. This product is exactly why I signed up for Ipsy: to discover new things that I would never have stumbled across or thought to try otherwise. I know that some people are disappointed by not getting samples of more high-end makeup brands from Ipsy, but between this and the also-dirt-cheap Be Matte blushes I ordered a while back, City Color is fast becoming one of my favorite makeup lines. For me it's not about the price tag or the prestige of a label, it's about how the product works for me, and this WORKS.
For scale, that cap is about the size of a half-dollar.
  • Cailyn Tinted Lip Balm in "Acid Pink" (full size item, valued at $19): In the interest of full disclosure, I actually received the shade "Apple Pink" in my bag, but I really liked the look of the Acid Pink, so I arranged a swap. I shouldn't have bothered. Calling this product a "balm" reminds me of "The Emperor's New Clothes," in that I picture a Cailyn staff meeting wherein not a single employee has the nerve to point out to the boss that this product is THE MOST DRYING LIP PRODUCT ON THE PLANET. It feels unpleasant on, and if your lips aren't in tip-top shape before application, this product will highlight every last bit of dryness and chapping. In addition, the packaging is kind of ridiculous and unwieldy; there is a lip brush built into the cap, so when you take apart the lid to get at the brush, you're left wrangling three separate parts. No bueno if you're trying to apply on the fly. I suppose if I were a "display my makeup on the vanity" kind of girl, this might have some sort of visual appeal, but for practical purposes, it doesn't seem like it would travel well at all. As for the color, it's bright as hell, but what can you expect from something called "Acid Pink," right? The opacity and matte finish of this product combine to make it too obnoxious for my liking... one day when I'm extra-bored, I will probably try melting it down and mixing in some actual lip balm to see if I can Frankenstein a more sheer, pleasant-to-wear gloss. The good news is that I will have plenty of room in the container to add in another balm, because the container comes mostly empty. (Can you tell I'm not a fan of this product?)
Two thumbs down. Way down.
  • Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Skin Exfoliant (deluxe sample, valued at $9.75): I had zero desire to try a product that costs $40 an ounce to do the same job as something I can whip up in my kitchen (sugar + olive or coconut oil = exfoliation on the cheap that doesn't taste nasty when you accidentally get some in your mouth), but this was apparently a pretty in-demand item in the Ipsy crowd, so I traded it away for some other non-Ipsy goodies.
  • Sexy Hair Root Pump Volumizing Spray Mousse (mini item, valued at $6): I actually already had a can of this. In my bathroom closet. Way in the back, in a dark corner on a low shelf that holds all the nearly-full products that just didn't work for me, but that I feel too guilty just throwing away.
White Gold blended out, not blended out, and you can figure out the other two.
 So the overall value of this month's bag rings up at $53.74... again, none too shabby a return on my $10 investment from a numeric standpoint, but I wound up kind of underwhelmed with the actual products, so that lessens the value for me. Totally worth it because of the City Color White Gold, though, and hopefully the replacement Urban Decay product will work better for me. There were other products this month that I would have preferred to receive instead of the exfoliant and hair product (Benefit Lollitint, Demeter fragrance), but at least I didn't receive some of the products I would have REALLY hated, like self-tanner or appallingly ginormous false eyelashes. So there's that?

If my less-than-glowing review this month has somehow left you dying to try Ipsy for yourself, please feel free to clicky-clicky on my referral link to sign up. Full disclosure: I get points if you use my link, which I can redeem for products, but I wouldn't suggest signing up if I didn't think it was worthwhile. As you can see, even in a disappointing month, there's something awesome that totally saves the overall experience... and for just $10, it's a cheap, fun little monthly treat to yourself.

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