RCubed Reviews – Macy’s Beauty Box

Trying out another beauty box subscription after being subscribed to ipsy for 2 years and having a hit or miss experience with the Play! by Sephora did not seem likely. But of course, curiosity got me (again) and I decided to check out the Macy’s Beauty Box. The subscription launched August of last year, and I received their bags from September through this month. Be forewarned, this post will be a lengthy one. Majority of the products are currently unopened unless specified. I wish I could try everything, but I currently have so much other beauty items to get through!

September 2017 – Beauty Passport

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What’s inside: These products help keep you “looking fresh & fabulous on the go”.

Ahava Purifying Mud Mask – An invigorating mask that draws out impurities and purifies skin for a more even complexion. // I lean more towards wash off masks compared to sheet masts, so I look forward to trying this, especially if it helps detox the skin.

Burt’s Bees Hand Salve – Packed with botanical oils, herbs, and beeswax to moisturize dry hands. // I ought to toss this into my purse since I often find myself  with dry hands by mid-day. This would have come in extremely handy (no pun intended) while I was working at the clinic.

Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief – This cream-gel moisturizer helps to replenish thirsty skin instantly, and is an ideal travel companion. // I’m pretty sure I’ve tried this before. Either way, I love a moisturizer with this kind of formulation, so it’s definitely going into my travel bag.

Dermablend Loose Setting Powder (opened) – This translucent powder ensures long-lasting, smudge-resistant wear with a natural finish. // I’ve used this a few times and so far it’s been great at keeping a full face of makeup in place. I only wish the container wasn’t so messy.

Laura Mercier Radiance Foundation Primer – This preps your skin for makeup while giving it a sheer, healthy glow. // I get a bit apprehensive every time I see mention of “radiance” in any product. If you’re all about that glow up, good for you! As for myself, I like to keep things toned down. I did give this a swatch, which resulted in a bit of a sheen, but not opalescent, which what I was expecting.

Vince Camuto Ciao Au de Parfum – This contains notes of floral and citrus with amber and vanilla upon dry down. // I felt this had more of a powdery floral scent. Sadly, it’s not something I’d wear.

 

October 2017 – Face the Facts

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What’s inside: Samples from top brands to  help you discover what works best for your skin.

Elizabeth Arden SUPERSTART Skin Renewal Booster – This is to be used before serum or moisturizer. The “boost” comes from key ingredients (glasswort, sea fennel, and flax seed extracts, and probiotics) to help increase effectiveness of the other skin care products used. // I’ve only begun to understand the effects of essences and can only assume this has a similar effect. I’ll try to incorporate it into my evening routine.

Lancome Energie de Vie Water-Infused Moisturizing Cream – This product produces a cooling effect upon application, and increases skin’s moisture (beyond 24 hours according to its description). // I feel like this will be awesome to use during the warmer months of the year. Another one to toss in with the travel stash.

Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask – Charcoal, white China clay, and lecithin draw out pore-clogging impurities and environmental toxins. // I have acquired a few tubes prior to this one and use it at least once a week on my t-zone. It’s also worked great for me as a spot treatment to shrink down larger breakouts.

Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer – This light and oil-free primer blurs lines and pores, resulting in an even finish and longer lasting makeup. // I’ve used this a few times in the past, but don’t quite remember if it’s proven useful. I try to not use silicone-based primers often for fear of an oil slick occurring on my face later in the day.

StriVectin Stress Defense Hydrating Water Gel – Recharges skin while also diminishing lines and wrinkles. // Heck yes to another gel-based moisturizer! I can never have too many of these. I’ll alternate this with my current/HG from Garnier.

Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium Eau de Parfum – An Allure Best of Beauty award winner in 2015, this has notes of coffee, orange blossom, and vanilla. // Not a fan of the original Opium fragrance, but after sampling it at my local Ulta, this is actually not bad. I’d see myself wearing this on a night out.

November 2017 – Party Perfect

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What’s inside: Product with long-wearing formulas to  make touch-ups a breeze.

Beautyblender Blotterazzi Pro – A reusable alternative to blotting paper, this sponge absorbs excess oil to keep makeup looking flawless. // I’ve often forgotten to bring blotting paper on days when I wear face makeup, which caused me to resort to tissue or a napkin to blot my face (blah). I keep forgetting to toss this in my purse to try out (d’oh!). I’m hoping this does just as good a job, if not better, of keeping it shine free.

Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Lengthening Mascara – Long-wearing formula lengthens, curls, volumizes, lifts, and separates lashes. // I’ve received plenty of samples of this from other subscription boxes. Unfortunately the formula has smudged my bottom lids after a few hours. Blame the oily lids, I guess.

CHANEL Gabrielle Eau de Parfum – This floral fragrance contains notes of jasmine, ylang-ylang, orange blossom, and tuberose. // If you’re a fan of floral fragrances, this one’s nice. It’s a bit too much for me though.

Lancome Cils Booster XL Vitamin Infused Mascara Primer – Conditioning formula with microfibers and Vitamin E coats and conditions lashes for maximum mascara performance. // I’ve had pretty good experiences with mascara primers. Since Lancome is popular in this category, I’m willing to experiment with this.

MAC Prep + Prime Natural Radiance Makeup Primer – Delivers weightless hydration for a radiant, healthy look. // Again with the radiance! However, this primer is formulated for oily and combination skin. I haven’t used anything from this brand as a primer except for their Strobe Cream years ago. Fingers crossed that this performs well.

Tarte Tarteist Quick Dry Matte Lip Paint in Bestie – This liquid lipstick drys quickly for full coverage that’s transfer-proof. // I have another sample of this in a different shade. Not bad in terms of wear, but I found it to be a bit on the dry side.

December 2017 – Something Beautiful is on the Horizon

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What’s inside: “Fresh makeup finds and  revitalizing skin care” for a brand new you.

CHANEL La Creme Main – A hand cream that protects, brightens, and moisturizes. // First off, it’s freaking CHANEL. Second, I’ve been hauling hand creams more lately because these are the one part of my body that I wish could have less lines. The fact that the formula helps to diminish dark spots is a major plus. It’s the willingness to drop $50 on a full sized one that I’m not so sure about.

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Concentrate Matrix (opened) – This formula reduces the look of fine lines, wrinkles, puffiness, and dark circles. 360 Matrix technology strengthens the skin around the eyes. // I’m getting around to using more eye products at night as a preventative measure. I’ve started using it recently. It’s hard to tell if it’s actually working since I luckily don’t have issues with fine lines or dark circles, but it helps me look more “awake”, so I’m all for it.

MAC Liptensity Lipstick – Intensely pigmented and gel based with a satin finish. Long-wearing formula is said to last for up to 8 hours. // I actually got the shade Mulling Spices during Generation Beauty and have yet to use it. I’m not one to sport bright reds very often. This was actually a sampler of 3 shades, including the one mentioned.

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NUDESTIX Intense Matte Lip + Cheek Pencil in Belle – This all-in-one pencil can be used as a lip liner, lipstick, and blush. The matte finish is waterproof, kiss-proof, and non-feathering. // I’m a fan of this brand after discovering them at Generation Beauty. So far I own 4 shades of this pencil. Already have this one, but nice to have a replacement on hand once I’m finished with the other.

Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream  – 30% Hyaluronic Acid provides intense hydration that lasts up to 72 hours. // This sounds wonderful to use, especially with the current cold weather. Plus it’s oil-free. Travel necessity? I think yes. *thumbs up*

Tory Burch Signature Eau de Parfum – The first fragrance for the brand/designer contains notes of neroli, grapefruit, peony, tuberose, and vetiver. // I sampled this a while back at Sephora and liked that it’s not too heavy from either the floral or fruity side.

January 2018 – Kiss & Tell

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What’s inside: Skin care, makeup, and fragrance perfect for date night.

AHAVA Mineral Hand Cream in Sea-Kissed – Mineral-rich hand cream with allantoin and witch hazel extract protects and nourishes. // I think I know have enough hand cream to toss into every bag/purse I regularly rotate through. The scent reminds me of the beach. Me likey!

Clinique Pop Lip Colour + Primer in Nude Pop – Full coverage color with a satin finish keeps lips moisturized for up to 8 hours. // The packaging of this was part of a limited edition run with designer Jonathan Adler. If you’re already aware of my love for neutrals, you know I approve of this nude shade!

Michael Kors Sexy Ruby Eau de Parfum – The brand’s latest scent features notes of raspberry, apricot, jasmine, and cashmere woods. // I was surprised to get the raspberry when I smelled this. It’s on the warm side, which isn’t usually my favorite for scents.

Origins Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash – This gentle cleanser works to protect dry areas while also preventing excess oil production. // This is an HG for me! I love using it after oil cleansing, and the nice lather it creates leaves my face squeaky clean without drying it out.

philosophy Pure Grace Nude Rose Body Lotion – Notes in this lotion include blush rose, dewy greens, neroli, orange flower, cedarwood, and musk. // I’m fine with rose scents as long as it’s not overwhelming. Have yet to try it on my skin, but the smell of it straight out of the bottle seems OK.

Smashbox Always On Liquid Lipstick in Bawse – This light, non-drying liquid lipstick stays put for up to 8 hours. // This shade was created in collaboration with YouTube celebrity Lilly Singh. I’ve only tried another shade (Stepping Out, a deep nude) and it lasted a good while. I’m hoping this looks alright on me when I get around to using it.

Phew! Still with me? If you’re interested in subscribing to the Macy’s Beauty Box, here’s what you should know:

  • $15/month – This is more compared to ipsy and Play! by Sephora, but I enjoyed it because I was already familiar with the brands of the products I received.
  • Each box includes 5 deluxe samples, plus a bonus (spoiler, it’s a fragrance).
  • Includes a coupon for $5 off a beauty purchase either in store or online. I would use this if I shopped at Macy’s more. Unfortunately I don’t.

If you’ve subscribed or currently subscribe to this box, let me know what you think of it.

 

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Lip Product Storage

I’m in the process of rearranging my lip products, particularly lip glosses and lipstick (any form), and I’m curious to see how my fellow bloggers/readers do this. I currently have them spread out between a few acrylic organizers, and a few accumulated in one of my dresser drawers. Looking forward to hearing from you!

Note: To clarify, I’m referring to “packaging” as the box/container that the item originally comes in when you purchase it. Hope that helps.

Urban Decay Mini Haul

I’m currently in the midst of a no-buy for this month, and I’ve been doing a-OK (I do, however, have a list going of things I’d like to get once it’s done). I wanted to share a few items from Urban Decay that I made sure to order before the end of January.

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L-R: NAKED Nail Color in Instinct, Vice Liquid Lipstick in Amulet, Vice Liquid Lipstick in Trivial

NAKED Nail Color in Instinct – I was happy to see the nail color I wasn’t able to get in a previous order back in stock. The shade is described as a medium pink taupe with a hint of pearl. Very pretty.

Vice Liquid Lipsticks in Amulet and Trivial – I didn’t go too crazy when these released since the shade selection wasn’t as wide as its regular lipstick predecessors. But I will say that these have awesome staying power and comfortable wear. Yes, I do have Amulet in both tube and liquid forms because I love this brick rose shade so darn much. You can’t blame me once you see the swatch! Trivial is a pink nude, and much pinker than I had expected. I unfortunately experienced the dreaded “look at all my lip lines” result with this one since it’s a lighter shade. If you’re reading this post have a good rec on a lip primer/filler that can lessen this issue, I’d really appreciate it! I tried using it again over UD’s Ultimate Ozone pencil, and it looked only slightly better.

 

 

Moondust  Eyeshadow in Extragalactic  – This was thrown into my order as a bonus item. Described as black with red sparkle, it’s a beaut to look at. As for wearing it, I’m not sure if I’d be able to pull this off. Maybe I’ll try it blended into my lower lid. I giggled to myself when I saw the shade name because it made me immediately think of Intergalactic by the Beastie Boys.

 

Check out the swatches:

 

Have you tried any of these products out? If so, let me know what you think of them.

Kira Kira Crate, Volume 3

The 3rd crate for this subscription will be the last one for me. I’ve accumulated so much product between this and past beauty subscriptions that I can take a break from them for a good while. For those unfamiliar with this crate, it is the latest to be added to Japan Crate’s lineup of subscription boxes. Every month, between 6-8 products are delivered to your door directly from Japan. Sometimes there’s a few Korean beauty items thrown in as well. A booklet with information about the products and how to use them is also included. The price for this subscription is $29/month before shipping and taxes.

 

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What’s inside:

Avance Tweety Eyeliner – As cheesy as it seems to have a cartoon character on a makeup product, this looks pretty legit. I’m not the best with handling pen liners, but the felt/brush tip on this one might make this one easy to use.

Biyou Shoukan Towel Set – They look like wipes, but instead they’re cloths meant for drying your face after washing it. I like that there’s a good amount in the package (20 sheets), so I plan to take this with me on an upcoming trip.

Dear Laura Lip Gloss – This reminded me of a Caboodles lip gloss that I used to own years ago, except the packaging of the tube was different and it was Strawberry flavored. This one is flavorless, fragrance free, and leaves a slight pink tint. I dig the cute bunny on it.

Hot Gel Face Mask – The initial question to myself when I looked at this was, “Why on earth would I want hot gel on my face?”. It’s actually a warming mask that can be used on the face or upper body, preferably while taking a bath. I tried this while in the shower and felt the warming effect immediately, which was tolerable and not anywhere near hot (thank goodness). My face cooled down when I massaged it before rinsing the mask off, and it felt wonderfully smooth afterward.

Mebika Hair Care – This packet contains a shampoo and conditioning mask. Unfortunately I couldn’t tell one from the other since it has Japanese written on it. I’ll eventually find out once I decide to use it.

Pure Smile Red Wine face mask – Another face mask to add to my growing collection. I’m intrigued by this one, but I’m probably going to be disappointed in that it doesn’t contain any actual wine. Could you imagine how relaxed you would be if it really did have it? OK, maybe not that much. Why not take it up a notch and actually have a glass while you wear it? I like that idea.

Teapod Hand Cream – In addition to face masks, I’ve also managed to gather up a small arsenal of hand cream. I should be using them since my hands have been getting drier than usual due to the cold weather. This was offered in either Earl Grey, Lemon, or Rose scents. I received the rose one which smells like the real deal. I’m curious about the Earl Grey since I love the tea itself. Maybe I’ll snag it if I ever come across it.

The variety in this box was nice compared to the first 2 boxes I received for this sub. I’m sad that I’ll have to discontinue it, but I feel it’s good for the price, especially if it includes free shipping from another country. Do you subscribe to this box? Let me know what you think of it. More info about the Kira Kira Crate subscription can be found here.

Birthday Beauty Bonuses and Hauls

I’m in the process of prepping to do a beauty no-buy for the month of February. Since this is my birthday month, I’ve done a little gathering here and there of a few products before that starts. I see myself being OK with the makeup part since I use it sparingly, so the real challenge will focus more on what I use often. Here’s what I obtained during the birthday week.

 

Sephora

I’m always excited to see what Sephora has to offer for their birthday freebies. This time around, Beauty Insiders have their choice between a mini set from Caudalie or tarte. My skin care routine is pretty much set, so I opted for the tarte duo. It contains a 1ml Creamy Matte Lip Paint in Birthday Suit and a 1.5g Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Paaarty. Loved how both of the shades looked, although the lip paint is appears darker when applied compared to how it looks in the tube. I think this is the best freebie I’ve gotten from Sephora to date.

 

In past years, I would just head to the nearest store location to redeem for the gift, but I added the set to an order I placed online. This crossed a few more things off of my loves list. Luckily the other products I still have on there aren’t limited edition, so I can hold off on purchasing them for another time (e.g. after my no-buy month). Here’s what I got:

Escada Agua Del Sol rollerball – Is it just me, or do most of Escada’s fragrances smell similar? I had a slight obsession with them in past years, but tapered off due to that fact. I did purchase this one because it was limited edition and only available online. Notes for this one are mandarin, apricot nectar, and sandalwood. They also have another limited edition fragrance at Ulta in celebration of their 25th anniversary. Will I cop it? All signs point to…probably.

Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer (0.33oz) – I agree with a fellow blogger that a little of this goes a long way, so buying their full size would not do justice for me, especially since I don’t reach for it often. Plus the miniature size is easy to toss in my makeup bag when I travel. I consider it one of my HG primers.

Lavanilla The Healthy Deodorant in Vanilla Grapefruit – I’ve been using a more natural deodorant towards the end of last year and have been loving it. I liked the scent of this when I checked it out in store, so I bought it to alternate with what I already have. Hopefully it’ll also do a good job with reducing odor.

Smashbox Cover Shot Eye Palette in Softlight – Upon first viewing the Cover Shot palettes online, I wasn’t sure whether I’d actually invest in one. But I found them to be the perfect size for travel when I saw them in person. I picked the one that’s probably the least popular in terms of shade selection and wear. I’ll have to see for myself after trying out a look or two with it. Thankfully Sephora has a great return policy if it happens to not be worth the investment.

Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in TMI – This was the last to be checked off of my Vice lipstick wish list. The shade is a sheer mauve-pink.

 

Ulta

The birthday swag from Ulta is either hit or miss. I still have a shadow palette that I got from them probably over 2 years ago that’s still unopened. *shrugs* However, I did hop on this year’s giveaway since 1) it’s from Benefit and 2) it’s their Porefessional primer, which I’ve been curious about. I also added a blending sponge since I plan to dispose of my somewhat neglected Real Techniques one soon, and also grabbed one of the new NYX Lip Lingerie lip colors in French Maid since they’ve added 12 new shades to the current lineup.

 

I also placed an order for Urban Decay’s Vice liquid lipsticks that released last week. Will get a post up on those once I have them. If you have any of the products featured here, let me know your thoughts on them.

Small Hauls: NARS, Dose of Colors, and Nordstrom

I’ve racked up quite a bit of lip product before the year’s end. I apologize if the shades in the swatches look identical. If you’ve not already known yet, 1) I am a sucker for neutrals, and 2) Majority of the time when I’m looking at lip product shades, I tend to gravitate towards these colors. And yes, I probably have a grip of dupes. Here’s what I’ve purchased within the past month.

 

NARS

As a result of constant testing during my visits to Sephora, I finally decided it was time to get their Radiant Creamy Concealer. Macadamia and Ginger were the closest matches, but the latter “disappeared” into my skin after blending. I also tried out their Velvet Lip Glide in Bound (rose pink) and loved the shade. The finish is semi-matte, which was comfortable.

 

 

Dose of Colors

I had an eye on this brand for a while after following them on social media. One of their best selling items is their Liquid-Matte Lipstick in the shade Stone. It’s sold out on several occasions, so I made sure to jump on it once it was back in stock. I also wanted to check out their Classic Lipstick, so I chose the shade Ditto (muted mauve taupe). The lipstick has a creamy satin finish. I wore it during Christmas and it lasted a good couple of hours, even after eating and drinking.

 

Nordstrom

This was part of my Black Friday haul. Jouer was a brand that I wasn’t able to check out during Gen Beauty in November. One beauty influencer I follow on social media swatched their Long-Wear Lip Creme in Tawny Rose and I knew I’d have to get it. The Charlotte Tilbury lipstick in Very Victoria (rosy brown nude with matte finish) was bookmarked on another site since it was sold out. Luckily I found it elsewhere. So far I’ve only worn the lip creme. It turned out a little lighter than the swatch. The wear time was average (3-4 hours) and didn’t dry out my lips.

 

Have you tried any of these products or have them on your wish list? I feel like I’ve made a good investment in these, and with the exception of the concealer, they’ll probably last me a while. Time to throw them into my heavily rotating collection!

Urban Decay Haul

UD has been on my list of favorite cosmetic brands since I tried out their Naked 2 palette. This has by far been the most I’ve purchased from them at one time. Let’s check out the goods!

A long standing item on my wish list, the Naked Ultimate Basics palette consists of 12 matte neutral shades. As a self-proclaimed neutral freak, I’d be a fool not to have this! Thankfully it’s finally in my hands.

 

Naked Nail Color is exclusive to the brand’s website. I got 2 of the 3 shades I had my eye on (unfortunately the shade Instinct is currently sold out). I totally dig the skull detailing on the cap.

 

Of course I picked up some more of their awesome Vice Lipstick. After this splurge, I only have 1 other shade to get from Sephora. I have yet to wear any of them, but I am loving these shades!

 

I’m pretty much set with my UD collection. It’s enough product to last me all through next year at the least. Are you a fan of Urban Decay? I’d love to know your favorite product(s).