ipsy Glam Bag Review: February 2019

Hey, y’all!

Sorry I’m a little behind with this one, but February flew by, and with it came a cute lipstick print cosmetic bag filled with some fabulous goodies!

Glowstarter™ Mega Illuminating Moisturizer in “Nude Glow”

from GlamGlow

Photo of sample size Glowstarter Mega Illuminating Moisturizer in "Nude Glow" from GlamGlow
$49 for 1.7 fl. oz.; GlamGlow

A dewy finish isn’t really my thing (I tend to go more matte), but I went ahead and gave this a whirl anyway. The sweet citrusy scent was a little strong, but I used a small enough amount that it wasn’t overwhelming. I used the moisturizer like I would a highlighter (mainly on my cheekbones and the tip of my chin) before I put on primer. Let’s call it a “pre-highlighter” for when I’m feeling a little extra. I definitely had to wash my hands afterwards. It comes in 2 other colors: “Pearl Glow” and “Sun Glow;” “Nude Glow” was pretty and seems like it’d be pretty universally flattering. Do I think I’d purchase the full-size, though? Probably not. It’s just not my cup of tea. *shrug*

My Rating: 2/5

Fierce and Fine Graphic Pen in “Black”

from Doucce

Photo of Fierce and Fine Graphic Pen in "Black" from Doucce Cosmetics
$21; Doucce Cosmetics

I’m not as big a fan of felt tip liners because they sometimes skip a little, but this one goes on fairly smoothly. The only issue is the tip is so fine that I have to go over the same area multiple times. It’s waterproof and lasted all day without flaking or budging, but it still doesn’t top my $7.50 NYX Liquid Matte. What can I say? A higher price doesn’t always mean you’ll like it better.

My Rating: 4/5

Pressed Eyeshadow in “Taupe”

from Meech n Mia

Photo of Pressed Eyeshadow in "Taupe" from Meech N Mia
$11.50; Meech N Mia

This color is perfect for work when I’m short on time and just want a subtle wash of color on my lids. This mauve-pink shade is really flattering, and I can wear it alone, or use it to add a little depth to my eye look. The pan size is pretty generous, so this might become a workday staple. It went on velvety smooth and had no fallout and minimal kick-up.

My Rating: 5/5

Powder Brush 50F

from F.A.R.A.H. Brushes

Photo of Powder Brush 50F from F.A.R.A.H. Brushes

It’s so fluffy! I find it odd that I can’t find this exact brush anywhere on the F.A.R.A.H. website, but you can get one from their rose gold collection for $15, so I assume this one would be roughly the same price. The bristles aren’t quite as dense as my IT Cosmetics Luxe LBD Powder Brush #307, so it doesn’t pick up quite as much product. (Sometimes that’s a good thing.) Not to mention, this one is about 1/3 of the price, plus it’s 100% vegan and cruelty-free. According to ipsy, it’s versatile enough that you can use it for setting powder, bronzer, or blush. You know I love multi-use tools and products. 🙂

My Rating: 5/5

Studio Fix Powder Foundation in “NC30”

from MAC

Photo of sample size Studio Fix Powder Foundation in "NC30'" from MAC Cosmetics
$30 for .52 oz.; MAC Cosmetics

I started out not loving this foundation, but I warmed up to it. I hated it when I used the sponge applicator because it left my skin feeling kind of cakey and dry. It also ended up breaking up over the course of the day, even with makeup refreshing spray. I gave it another shot using a foundation brush. That was more successful, but given how small the pan is, it was somewhat inefficient, and I was paranoid that I wasn’t getting even coverage. It did hold up better over the course of the day, though, and it seems that the coverage is buildable. Maybe with a larger pan I’d have an easier time, but I’m also still a fan of the color-correcting properties of my Laura Geller pressed powder foundation.

My Rating: 3/5


This month’s bag had an average rating of 3.8. How did your beauty subscriptions treat you in February? Tell me in the comments!

Love,

Sarah xoxo


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ipsy: Get 5 personalized products + a cute cosmetic bag delivered each month for only $10! You also get to enjoy to the ipsy app and website, which give you access to tutorials, articles, and ipsy Shopper.

ipsy Glam Bag Review: June 2018

Hey, y’all!

In honor of Pride Month, the glam bag theme this month was “Flying Colors”. ipsy highlighted 7 creators that are part of the LGBTQ+ community to talk about self-expression and the beauty in our differences. The bag is super cute and bright, but I would have loved it even more if it had been a rainbow design. Enough about that, though. Check out the goodies that were inside!

Rose Gold Small Shader Eye Brush 245

from Luxie Beauty

Photo of Rose Gold Small Shader Eye Brush 245 from Luxie Beauty
$12; Luxie Beauty

I really like Luxie brushes. The size of this one makes it great for precision application, like the inner corners of my eyes, or highlighting the bridge of my nose and my cupid’s bow. It can be used with loose, pigments, powders, cream shadows, or even concealer. Who doesn’t love versatility? It’s also 100% vegan and cruelty-free. Hooray!

My Rating: 5/5

Luscious Lip Stain in “Holiday Getaway”

from Doucce Cosmetics

Photo of sample size Luscious Lip Stain in "Holiday Getaway" from Doucce Cosmetics
$28 for full-size: Doucce Cosmetics

I was really apprehensive about this color when I saw it. It’s got more of an orange/coral undertone that I tend to choose for my complexion, but I was so glad to be proven wrong. It doesn’t look great if I use the applicator but with a lip brush, it’s perfect. It brightened up my look and is perfect for summer. I probably would have liked the other color (“Passion Peach”) just as much. This product is fantastic! I love the matte finish, the color lasted all day with no touch-ups, and it didn’t feel like I was wearing anything at all. No cracking, flaking, or drying. It’s cruelty-free to boot, so I’m definitely interested in picking up some other colors!

My Rating: 5/5

#Unicornglow Perfect Radiance Tencel Facial Mask

from Biobelle Cosmetics

Photo of #Unicornglow Perfect Radiance Sheet Mask from Biobelle Cosmetics
$4.99; Biobelle Cosmetics

I used this mask for Spoil Me Sunday recently–you can read my first impression here.

TL;DR: It smells like chocolate and it’s cruelty-free and biodegradable, but it wasn’t “wow” enough to want to end my break with sheet masks.

My Rating: 3/5

Felt Tip Eyeliner Pencil

from Jontéblu

Photo of Felt Tip Eyeliner Pencil from Jonteblue Cosmetics
$9 for .04 oz.; Jonteblu Cosmetics

I looooove liquid liner, and while I prefer a brush applicator, a felt tip gets the job done, too. This one is waterproof and dries pretty quickly, but it didn’t go on as smoothly as they website claims. I had trouble getting a smooth line without it ending up wider than I wanted. I appreciate the reasonable price point, but I can’t find anything on the website about whether or not JontĂ©blu is cruelty-free. I’ll stick with my brush tip applicator liquid liner.

My Rating: 3/5

Glow Tonic

from Pixi by Petra

Photo of Skintreats Glow Tonic from Pixi by Petra
$4 for .5 fl. oz.; Pixi Beauty

This toner is alcohol-free, cruelty-free, and is 5% Glycolic Acid to help brighten and smooth skin. It also has aloe vera to soothe skin, and the floral scent is very subtle, so I didn’t mind it terribly. I haven’t been using this toner long enough to know if it has a real noticeable effect on my skin, but we’ll see. My one complaint is that it dries pretty quickly on the cotton ball while I’m using it, so I have to reapply and end up using more product than I do with my regular toner. It’s a pretty affordable product, so I might decide to pick up a full-size bottle later. We’ll see.

My Rating: 4/5

Bonus Item: Sangria Eye Shadow

from Dirty Little Secret Cosmetics

Photo of Sangria Eye Shadow from Dirty Little Secret Cosmetics
$12 for 1.5g; Dirty Little Secret Cosmetics

I had some points that were about to expire, so I redeemed them for this eyeshadow. It’s another new (cruelty-free) brand for me, so that’s always exciting. It’s a gorgeous wine color (duh), and the pigmentation is so vibrant! It’s absolutely gorgeous, applies and blends like a dream, and there’s no fallout. I definitely recommend it!


This month’s bag had an average rating of 4–the highest one of 2018 so far! How many of these products have you tried?

Any new favs in your beauty subscription(s) this month? I’d love to hear about them!

Love,

Sarah xoxo


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Instagram: sarah.elizabeth614 (You can also click the icon at the top of this page.)

Twitter: @SarahLiz614 (You can also click the icon at the top of this page.)

Yes, Oh Yas!: Get 3-7 full-size beauty products worth $65+ delivered to you each month for $14.99 + shipping. Use coupon code SARAH614 at checkout for 10% off your first box!

Yes, Oh Yas! June 2018

Hey, y’all!

This month’s theme was “Glam Treasures,” and I got 4 full-size products. They feel so fancy, especially with that sparkly palette. Let’s jump in!

*Note: prices listed as photo captions are what I found on the respective product websites. Retail values listed below my descriptions are what was listed by Yes, Oh Yas!

Treasure Chest Eyeshadow Palette

from Mellow Cosmetics

Photo of Treasure Chest Eyeshadow Palette from Mellow Cosmetics
$28; Mellow Cosmetics

Whenever I’m trying a new brand for the first time, I like to check out their “About” page to learn about their history and get a feel for their vibe and company culture. I loved that  Mellow’s page says outright that their products are cruelty-free and vegan (I don’t feel as strongly about the vegan aspect). That makes me a lot more likely to look into other products, knowing that this holds true for everything they make. It can be frustrating when companies aren’t very forthcoming with their stance on animal testing.

Now, about this palette…it’s absolutely gorgeous! It’s mostly shimmer shades with a few mattes mixed in. The pigmentation isn’t very intense, but it’s buildable, so if you want a more subtle look for daywear, it’s easily achievable. Totally smooth application with zero fallout, and it’s so easy to blend. The glittery gold packaging is beautiful, too. I’m definitely interested in checking out some of their other products.

Retail Value: $27.99

Punk Volumizer Mascara

from Doucce Cosmetics

Photo of Punk Volumizer Mascara from Doucce Cosmetics
$24; Doucce Cosmetics

Full disclosure: I didn’t test this product out. I hardly ever wear mascara, and I didn’t want another tube to go to waste, so I gave it to my officemate. It’s the least I could do since she gave me a Doucce eyeshadow palette and a bunch of other cosmetics to try out. 🙂 Here’s the mascara’s description from the website:

“The jumbo brush fiber bristles are cut smaller and larger, in succession, to coat every lash, while distributing the formula evenly throughout. The lightweight and creamy formula pulls every lash upwards to create a long lasting curl without any clumping, flaking, or smudging.”

The packaging is very modern and sleek, and Doucce states on their FAQ page that they don’t do any animal testing. If I liked mascara, I’d probably be all about this one.

Retail Value: $26.99*

*A bit of a difference from the website, but not egregious.

Eyebrow Highlighter Pencil in “Ivory Lace”

from Chella Skin Care

Photo of Chella Eyebrow Highlighter Pencil in "Ivory Lace" from Chella Skin Care
$20; Chella Skin Care

Another cruelty-free brand that I’ve never tried before! This pencil seems very versatile. I’ve only used it as a brow highlighter; it seems you can also use it as a concealer, depending on your skin tone (and the pencil color). It comes in 4 shades, and the darker shades could be used as a bronzer, if you wanted. I don’t use it on my dark under eye circles because I prefer a liquid that’s easier to blend, but a brow bone application blended out with a smudger brush looks great! I love the fact that it’s totally matte with no shimmer at all. If the “Ivory Lace” is any indication, the color samples shown on the website are darker than real life, so keep that in mind.

Retail Value: $19.99

Pro Blush Brush

from Crown Brush

Photo of Pro Blush Brush from Crown Brush
$12; Crown Brush

There’s literally zero description about this product on the Crown website, so I can’t tell you for sure what it’s made of, but the bristles feel synthetic to me. I like the ergonomic grooves in the handle that make it easier to hold. Other than that, there’s nothing really noteworthy about this brush. It’s denser than some of my other blush brushes. Might keep it, might give it away, haven’t decided.

Retail Value: $22.99*

*This is quite a difference from the $12 value listed on the website. There’s no indication that it’s currently on sale or anything, so I don’t really know what to make of that.

Total Package Value: $97.96*

*If you go off of the website prices, it’s $84, but for $14.99, I’ll take it!


I think one of my favorite things about Yes, Oh Yas! so far is that they send so many products from brands that aren’t super mainstream. I love discovering new brands, and I’m super excited that all of them this month are cruelty-free! (Totally assuming about the Crown brush, here.)

What fun things did you get in your beauty subscription(s) this month? Any new favs? Sharing is caring! 🙂

Love,

Sarah xoxo


If you’d like to be notified when new posts go up, please subscribe to Balanced Life Beauty.

Instagram: sarah.elizabeth614 (You can also click the icon at the top of this page.)

Twitter: @SarahLiz614 (You can also click the icon at the top of this page.)

Yes, Oh Yas!: Get 3-7 full-size beauty products worth $65+ delivered to you each month for $14.99 + shipping. Use coupon code SARAH614 at checkout for 10% off your first box!

Photo of my March ipsy Glam Bag

ipsy Glam Bag Review: March 2018

Hey, y’all!

A new month, a new Glam Bag! The theme for this month’s Glam Bag was #ipsycreate, so it was a black and white design by Priscilla Witte, and it came with 2 markers (mine were pink and blue) to make it your own work of art. I thought it was a really cute idea. Wanna see what was inside? Keep reading!

Good Night! PM Sheet Mask

from Meg Cosmetics

Photo of Good Night! PM Sheet Mask from Meg Cosmetics
$6 ea.; Meg Cosmetics

If you’ve read previous posts, you know I’m always down to try new masks, but I have yet to encounter a sheet mask that I fall in love with and want to repurchase. The Tea Tree oil and Rosemary extract give this mask a very clean smell with just a hint of citrus, which was nice. I will say that of all the sheet masks I’ve tried, this one fit me the best. I have a high forehead, and a lot of the Korean brand masks stop like an inch below my hairline. This one came all the way up to about 1/4″ below my hairline, so there’s that. This one left my face feeling super sticky long after I had removed the mask, which was annoying. I think I’ve realized, though, that my biggest frustration with sheet masks is that none of them fit my face well. Besides the forehead issue, I have yet to find one that will stay adhered to the sides of my nose without encroaching on the outer corners of my eyes. It seems that until I find the unicorn of sheet masks, I won’t be buying the same one twice. Same goes for this one. Le sigh.

My Rating: 3/5

Glow Duo

from City Color Cosmetics

Photo of Glam Duo Highlighter from City Color Cosmetics
$5.99; City Color Cosmetics

I love a good highlighter, and I’ve been impressed by everything I’ve tried from City Color Cosmetics thus far, so I was excited to give this a whirl.

The powder side is a little more glittery than I would normally use for everyday makeup, so I only used it (sparingly) on my cheekbones. I didn’t use it to highlight my nose, chin, cupid’s bow, etc. The color is gorgeous, and it goes on like a dream.

The cream side is more subtle, so I used that for highlighting the rest of my face. It’s got a nice buttery texture, but it’s nice and light. I also tried layering it over the powder on my cheekbones, and the effect was really pretty. Definitely going to keep experimenting with this.

My Rating: 4/5

SL41 Blusher Brush

from SLMISSGLAM Beauty

Photo of SL41 Blusher Brush from SLMISSGLAM Beauty
SLMISSGLAM Beauty

The bulk of my brushes came from Amazon, but every now and then I’ll splurge on a particular brush. Getting them in my Glam Bag is even better! I’ve gotten a brush from SLMISSGLAM before in a previous Glam Bag, and I literally use it every day. My only complaint about that brush was that it was teal, so it didn’t go with my other brushes that are predominantly pink and black. I was super excited to get another SLMISSGLAM brush this month, and this one is pink! Bonus that it’s sparkly, too. 🙂

SLMISSGLAM Beauty doesn’t sell individual brushes, unfortunately. At the moment, their sets range from $38.50 for a set of 2 to $325 for a set of 25. As I expected, the (synthetic) bristles are super soft and easy to clean. At first I was a little concerned that it wasn’t dense enough to apply my blush/highlighter/etc. effectively because of how it compared to my other blush brushes, but it ended up doing a great job of blending it out for a natural looking glow. Love, love, love!

My Rating: 5/5

Sex Kitten Eyeliner

from Tarte Cosmetics

Photo of sample size Sex Kitten Eyeliner from Tarte Cosmetics
$20 for full size; Tarte Cosmetics

I had tried a sample of this eyeliner from Ulta before and liked it, so I didn’t mind seeing it in my Glam Bag this month. My personal eyeliner preference is gel for my waterline and liquid for my upper lid, so this wouldn’t be my first choice. I can use it on my waterline, and it’s ok, but it doesn’t last. When I used it on my upper lid, it went on smoothly without any skipping or tugging, and it lasted all day long. I wouldn’t purchase the full-size, but that’s not because it’s a bad product. It’s just not my thing.

My Rating: 2/5

Freematic Eyeshadow Mono in “Lola”

from Doucce

Photo of Freematic Eyeshadow Mono in
$10 ea.; Doucce

Eyeshadow is one of my favorite parts of doing my makeup, so I’m always game for trying new brands. A friend of mine gave me a Doucce palette she had received and didn’t want, but I hadn’t gotten a chance to play with it much. “Lola” is a really pretty pinkish purple that can work for daytime or evening, depending on what other colors you use with it to contour. It applies really smoothly with zero fallout; the color isn’t super vibrant when you first apply, but it’s buildable, which is nice. Not 100% sure I’d buy other colors, but I’m not writing it off.

My Rating: 4/5


This month’s Glam Bag had an average rating of 3.6. I always like getting brushes, and I liked the mix of skincare and makeup in my bag. I might need to change my profile preferences to nix sheet masks, but I’ll leave it alone for now.

Are you a member of a subscription service? What fun things did you receive this month? Leave a comment to let me know!

I’ve also recently subscribed to Yes, Oh Yas! You get 3-7 full-size beauty products every month for $14.99 + shipping. I can’t wait to get my first box next month! Want 10% off your first box? Use coupon code SARAH614 when you check out!

Have a fabulous weekend!

Love,

Sarah xoxo


If you’d like to be notified when new posts go up, please subscribe to Balanced Life Beauty.

Instagram: sarah.elizabeth614 (You can also click the icon at the top of this page.)