My 2016 Black Friday Haul: Too Faced & Sephora

Now that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are in the rear view mirror, it’s time for my own Black Friday haul post! I pretty much entirely focused on cosmetics this year – initially I was plotting to get a PS4, but with the Persona 5 release date being pushed to April and no really amazing PS4 deals manifesting, I figured I’d just wait and see if anything better pops deal-wise between now and the P5 release date. Sure, Tales of Berseria is coming out in January, but as I still need to work through both Tales of Xillia 2 and Tales of Zestiria, I’m feeling a distinct lack of urgency on the PS4 front, basically. It doesn’t help that my PS3 finally bricked itself so I need to replace that one as well because Sony apparently doesn’t believe in backwards compatibility… sigh.

Uh, so, right. All that is to say, instead of dropping cash on a gaming console, I instead decided to shore up my makeup kit. In preparation for the sales, I went through my cosmetic stash and came out realizing that I desperately needed five things:

  • I had somehow allowed myself to get down to only one small GWP size of mascara
  • I was in serious need of more neutral matte eyeshadows for daily wear (I had TONS of shimmery palettes and vibrant mattes, but my Urban Decay Pulp Fiction palette was my only source of neutral mattes jfc)
  • I wanted to invest in some higher quality brushes because I was sick of my powder brush shedding all over my face every time I applied my pore finishing powder. Yuck.
  • I was about to run out of my shampoo and conditioner and wasn’t impressed enough with either of them to justify a repurchase, so if I could find a volumizing shampoo/conditioner set, that would be stellar!
  • Eye makeup remover. My makeup remover wipes were “accidentally” thrown out by someone who will remain nameless, and the only makeup cleansing water that I had on hand was the Boscia Sake Cleansing Water – which, while it works nicely for removing foundation and SPF, is not something I recommend using on your eyes!

So, with those goals in mind, I started creeping on sites like Musings of a Muse and Temptalia, noting which sites were going to have sales and which brands were releasing limited edition sets/palettes for the shopping holiday.

I ended up managing to check every box on my list (and then some ?), so if you’d like to see how I made out, please read on!
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Sample Stash Quickie: Innisfree Green Tea Seed Serum Review

So after just under a month of daily use, I’m ready to write my Innisfree Green Tea Seed Serum review. I know, I know, it’s a long time coming – I’ve had this batch of sample packets for almost two years, I think! But I just have so much skincare stash to work through that, even if I’m almost always testing something new, it’s going to take me eons to work through everything.

innisfree-green-tea-seed-serum-review

In the case of the Innisfree Green Tea Seed Serum, my 10 sample packets went a really long way. I used the serum in the morning only and got about 3 generous applications per sample tube – but I only made it through 7 tubes before I realized that, sadly, this was yet another fan favorite product (see: Mizon Snail Recovery Cream) that was just not working out for me.

Before I get too far into that, let’s talk about what the Innisfree Green Tea Seed Serum brings to the table.

Here’s the description from the Innisfree website:

A moisturizing serum with organic Jeju green tea and green tea seeds that hydrate your skin from deep within!

1. More moisture and freshness with 100% green tea.
Rich in amino acids and minerals, green tea from Jeju’s own green tea leaves hydrates your skin.

2. Dual Moisture-Rising Technology™ derived from green tea and green tea seed oil
The fresh green tea deeply hydrates your skin and the green tea seed oil creates a strong moisture barrier to keep your skin moisturized longer.

3. The first thing to apply after a face wash!
As the first skincare product you use, it helps hold moisture in your skin and prevents moisture loss.

As instructed, I did always apply the Innisfree Green Tea Seed Serum as the step immediately following my cleanser. It applied quickly and evenly and absorbed nicely, so no complaints there. I definitely felt like my skin looked softer and plumper after application to an extremely visible degree, so I really had high hopes!

For the full review, please click the read more~

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Tosowoong Syn-Ake Natural Pure Essence Review

Today I’m going to review a product that I’ve been using for about 4-5 months. I received the Tosowoong Syn-Ake Natural Pure Essence in a Memebox (Special #76 The Empress’ Secrets); when I first saw it in the box, I was really excited because A) I’d been using Tosowoong’s Time Shift Emulsion for months and loving it, so was happy to try more from the brand, and B) Weird ingredients are always fun to try out, right? So I set it aside as my ‘next in line’ essence/emulsion product once I finished the Time Shift.

I’ve now been using the Syn-Ake essence for several months, and I feel comfortable enough to make my Tosowoong Syn-Ake Natural Pure Essence review at this point. I wanted to post it yesterday for World Snake Day, but it didn’t quite make it – better a day late than never, though, right?

Tosowoong Natural Pure Syn-Ake Essence

Obviously, the primary ‘draw’ of this essence is “SYN-AKE” – a synthetic imitation of venom from the Temple Viper. As an aside, if you find snakes adorable like I do (c’mon, they have such cute little faces), you can find pictures and information about the Temple Viper here. I actually checked to see if my local zoo (the fantastic Columbus Zoo) has one because I’d be kind of entertained by paying respects to the snake that’s inspired a product that I like so much, but sadly they don’t seem to have one in residence at the moment. Boo!

Okay, uh, derail aside – why on earth would people want to put synthetic snake venom on their face? Click the read more if you’re on the main page to find out ?
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Whole Grains 2 Memebox Review & Unboxing

Next up in my seemingly endless line of food-themed Memeboxes… it’s time for my Whole Grains 2 Memebox review!

Several years ago, Davies Gate released a series of “Seeds and Grains” beauty products. It included items like Whole Wheat Body Lotion, Cardamom Foot Butter, Barley Body Wash, etc. For some reason, this really appealed to me and I remember trying to find it in stock online or at the Bath & Body Works near me, but never having any luck – I think I found out about it too late, and so it was all being phased out. Ever since then, I’ve always kind of kept an eye out for similar-sounding beauty products, to make up for my missing out on that particular collection.

So obviously, when I saw that Memebox had released a Whole Grains box and I’d missed THAT, I was totally bummed. Luckily for me, they announced Whole Grains 2 pretty soon after, and I immediately snapped it up. The box arrived on my doorstep this week, so now it’s time for me to revel in FINALLY getting my hands on some grain glamour!

overview

Memebox’s official description of Superbox #34 Whole Grains 2:

“Whole grains are gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin, yet powerful enough to buff away dead skin cells and encourage surface cell turnover! Whole grains will leave skin feeling silky soft, smooth and glowing. Rich in vitamins A and E, whole grains are full of antioxidants that promote cell respiration and also stimulate the production of anti-inflammatory compounds, slowing down the aging process.”

For someone who counts inflammation/sensitivity, dullness caused by inadequate natural exfoliation, and anti-aging as some of her skin concerns, this box sounds like a no-brainer!

unboxed

 

This box has some items that I’m really excited about, and a few that I’m not too hyped to try… but of course, I will end up testing everything eventually, because you never know when a seemingly boring product can actually be a game-changer, right?

You know the drill: if you’re seeing this post from the main page, the rest of the post is beyond the read more!

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Massive Rose Rose Shop & Tester Korea Asian Beauty Haul!

Last month, both Rose Rose Shop and Tester Korea had some decent sales – and TK in particular had the coveted SU:M37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick in stock for only $3 markup over retail – so I ended up splurging big time. The boxes arrived within two days of each other, so the end result was a gigantic Asian beauty haul! Between this and my upcoming Memeboxes, I’m pretty much set with buying new skincare stuff for awhile, I think. I also included a lot of sample packs in both orders so that I could try a bunch of new items without breaking the bank (or risking a bunch of dud products), so I’ll have a lot to review in the upcoming months even if I manage to stick to my skincare no-buy plans for the rest of the year!

megahaul

A few things are missing (like my OST Vitamin C serum, as I’d already opened it and forgot to pull it out of the fridge for pictures) or my Skinfood Trouble Clear Spot Patches as I’d already used up half the box by the time I decided to do this haul post. But you can still see that this was a big batch of beauty! I’m very excited as I managed to get some items that I’d really been ogling for months for really nice prices.

Let’s take a look at all the goodies after the cut!
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Memebox Luckybox #9 Review & Unboxing

It’s tiiiiiiiiiime! After some people posted their recent Memeboxes on a certain enabling subreddit, I went a little crazy and bought multiple boxes – as I detail in this post, it’s really hard to resist the siren call of Memeboxes once you get started, even before you receive your first box!

Speaking of which, that is a thing that happened today. My first Memebox arrived!

memebox

This is Luckybox #9 – from their description: Luckybox has always offered only the must-have items for both the loyal fans of Memebox and also those new to Memebox! For Luckybox #9 we’ve included the best items from previous Luckyboxes and Memeboxes!

So basically, the Luckybox series is a “best of” past boxes kind of deal. IIRC, this is the only unthemed box that I purchased, so I really had no idea what to expect!

memeboxfirstlook

So here’s our first look. Gotta love detailed information cards, particularly when all the packaging is in a language I don’t speak at all!

unboxedmeme

Here we have all the products laid out – so that’s four full-sized products, four samples, and a sheet mask. For $23 plus $6.99 shipping, that’s not bad at ALL. I’m also happy to see that it’s all skincare, too – makeup is fun and all, but I only need so many mascaras at any given time, you know? I go through skincare products much faster than makeup, and I’m still looking for my personal holy grail products in almost every category.

Anyhow, let’s get down to it and check out the info cards + each product individually!
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Sasa.com & eBay Haul: More Asian Beauty Products (Featuring Photos, Descriptions & Mini Reviews)!

Apparently the mail service tapped into the speed force this month, because most of my overseas purchases from the last week of July have somehow arrived already! Usually it takes about 3-4 weeks for me to receive packages from Asia. Well, I’m not complaining! It’s been great fun having so much mail these past few weeks between my Etsy buys and now these all these earlier-than-expected packages~

Sasa August 2014 Haul

So this haul is from various eBay sellers and SASA.com, a well known place to buy Asian products online. As you can see, I got a decent range of Asian beauty products this time around – sunscreen, sheet masks, lipsticks, BB cream, etc.

Want specifics and some serious TL;DR about my product choices? Like you had to ask! Just click the read more~
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Glossybox July 2014 Review & Unboxing

Well, this is interesting! It appears that the Glossybox July 2014 Spoilers that members received via email weren’t entirely accurate. I assume that something came up RE: distribution and that’s why we didn’t receive products from Nailgirls London or The Aloe Source. While I was really interested in the nail polish, I have to say that I’m honestly not upset about this development: I absolutely love all the products that I ended up receiving!

July 2014 Glossybox

First of all, apologies for the washed-out look of all the images. It’s overcast and my Kindle Fire’s camera really doesn’t do well with anything but the natural light of a sunny day! I tried to balance the colors so that they look closer to how they are IRL, but you can tell that everything still looks a tad ghostly. Sorry!

As always, the Glossybox comes in cute pink boxes with tissue-and-confetti packaging, topped up with a pretty ribbon. Part of the appeal of these boxes is the care they put into their packaging, it always feels like you’re opening a beautiful gift!

Unboxed July 2014 GLOSSYBOX

As you can see, this month it was a makeup-free box. I think that’s a refreshing change, since to be honest – I can only use so many eyeliners at a time, you know! I personally find that when the boxes feature more skincare, body care, and hair care items, I tend to be happier overall. I like playing with makeup and all, but skincare stuff is my first love when it comes to beauty.

Want a closer look at the products in this month’s box? Click the read more to see my full Glossybox July 2014 review & unboxing!
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Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Liquid Review

I bought this serum after I ran out of my previous serum (The Body Shop’s Drops of Youth, which was just mediocre IMO). I was/am really happy with Dr. Jart+’s Water Fuse moisturizer (expect an obsessive and glowing review of that stuff eventually), so I decided to give the Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Liquid a try when it I noticed it at Sephora.

Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Liquid

First of all, the price is pretty darn good for a serum. Considering that other brands try to charge $40 for 1-2oz, this 5oz bottle for $39 is much more sensible. Also, since it’s not an annoying dropper-style bottle AND the bottle is opaque, there’s much less waste/chance of light degrading the ingredients over the long, long time this bottle will last you. And it will last you ages – I bought this in early November of 2013, have been using it daily, and I’d say I still have about 1/3 left in my bottle at the time of this writing. It seems just as effective now as it was when I first purchased, so you don’t have to worry about product degradation forcing you to toss a half-full bottle.

I use this both in the morning, in between my toner and moisturizer steps, and at night after I’ve allowed my retinol treatment to sink in and absorb. A thumb-sized dollop is enough to thoroughly cover and lightly massage into my face and neck. The smell is really nice, it reminds me of something that I can’t quite place, but it’s a fresh, not perfumey, not floral, not citrusy scent. Maybe slightly herbal, but still somewhat sweet.

Here are the ingredients:
Water/Aqua/Eau, Glycerin, Dipropylene Glycol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride,Hydrogenated Poly(C6-14 Olefin), Hydrogenated Polydecene, Cetearyl Alcohol,1,2-Hexanediol, Dimethicone, Cyclomethicone, Vegetable Oil, Bifida Ferment Lysate, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Dimethiconol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Ulmus Davidiana Root Extract, Amaranthus Caudatus Seed Extract, Piper Methysticum Leaf/Root/Stem Extract, Beta Vulgaris (Beet) Root Extract, Algae Extract, Artemisia Vulgaris Extract, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Pueraria Thunbergiana Root Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Paeonia Lactiflora Root Extract, Cnidium Officinale Root Extract, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Soluble Collagen, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Oil, Pogostemon Cablin Oil, Cetearyl Glucoside, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, C12-16 Alcohols, Ceramide 3, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate, Copolymer, Squalane, Glyceryl Stearate,Peg-100

(By the way, does it help you guys when I include wiki links to some of these ingredients, or do you find the extra links annoying? Let me know!)

There are a few acne and irritation triggers in this formula, namely Cetearyl Alcohol (CosDNA rates this a 2 for both acne and irritation, and I know that some people definitely have issues with this ingredient), Dimethicone and Squalane (both rated 1 for acne), and Glyceryl Stearate SE (this scores a 3 for acne and 2 for irritation). So, as always, YMMV – take a good look at the ingredients list, because while nothing in this formula seems to bother me, I can think of several people online who have said otherwise about some of these elements.

The serum absorbs within a minute or so and feels really nice as it sinks in, and used in conjunction with my normal moisturizer, keeps my skin feeling very comfortable and hydrated. I will warn my fellow oily girls, however, that if you apply TOO much, this product won’t absorb and will just kind of sit on your skin. I’ve seen a lot of oily/combo people give this a bad review while describing that exact effect, and I always suspect that they’re simply trying to apply too much serum at once. Play with the volume of product that you apply and you’ll likely find a sweet spot, just as I did. Initially, I too tried to use too much of the liquid and thus didn’t like it – but once I started using the right amount, it was amazing!

My skin is easily irritated and can be acne-prone if not tended to just so (seriously, if I miss any part of my skincare/nutrients/water/sleep routine, my skin will let me know quite angrily!), and this product does not cause breakouts nor irritation of any kind for me. Rather, it gives me a great boost of moisture – which I sorely need as I’m using both retinol and glycolic products at the moment – without feeling greasy. I also notice a certain radiance when I use this regularly, probably simply due to my skin being comfortable and well-hydrated.

If you need an extra shot of hydration that won’t break out oily/sensitive skin and will absorb quickly and play nice with your moisturizer while feeling lovely, give this serum a shot! Dr/ Jart+ Ceramidin Liquid is definitely one of my favorite skincare products lately.

I purchased my bottle for $39USD at Sephora.