Currently viewing the tag: "unboxing"

Hello there, dust sprites. I probably don’t have to tell you this, but I am a makeup newbie. Sure, I wear mascara, and I’m a total lipstick junkie (always have been obsessed with lip products in general), but when it comes to just normal, everyday things like applying foundation, I literally have no clue what I’m doing (outside of just smearing tinted moisturizer or BB cream all over my face). This is the summer I figure things out.

When I was younger, my mom encouraged me whenever I felt like playing with cosmetics. I’m pretty sure she loved the idea; I flip flopped from tomboy to girly girl on the reg, and she really enjoyed my girlier times. Heck, my mom was the mom who tried to convince the other moms to let my friends pierce their ears. I remember her purchasing my very first blush compact (Maybelline) and lipstick (some sort of frosted pink Avon variety). Mostly, though, she bought me endless glitter gel and LipSmacker products in my preteens (and that one green lippie from Wet n’ Wild that like… changed color with your body temperature or something).

Most of you reading know that she died when I was sixteen, which was really right around the time I started becoming somewhat more interested in wearing make up “for real.” It was actually something we argued about a little, because she was way more into the idea than I was. And sixteen year old girls argue with their moms about everything. Literally. In the end, I just never really learned. There was the occasional reddish eyeshadow, black eyeliner pencil, and black lipstick (because baby goth), but I just never figured out the normal stuff. My father supported/tolerated whatever weird teenage thing I wanted to wear or put on (including blue hair and darling customized vampie fangs), but makeup was certainly out of his scope of knowledge. I’m 90% sure he thought my red shadow was just pollen allergies.

Writing this all out really just makes me feel nostalgic, which is kind of how makeup makes me feel in general. It also make me feel so incredibly thankful for my parents. All girls deserve a mom and dad like mine. Nobody’s perfect, and of course I don’t only have warm and fuzzy memories about my mom (again, moms and teenage daughters), but a lot of who I am today is because of her. I appreciate that.

I recently placed a mega-order with Ulta. These products are all new to me, so I thought an unboxing post with some initial thoughts might be fun.

Everything I purchased is, as far as I know, cruelty free (not tested on animals). Some of the parent companies of these particular brands do business in countries that require animal testing. I will provide notes where applicable. Some of the items I actually felt confident about are a little more on the pricey side, but they’re from brands I know I can trust when it comes to transparency. As always, you should use your wallet, and your voice, in the way that works best for you. Logical Harmony is the best resource I know when it comes to researching cruelty-free beauty.

Now let’s get to it! I didn’t take a ton of photos; my bathroom lighting is …less than ideal?

Pacifica Transcendent Concentrated Concealer in light.

  • 100% vegan and cruelty free / Made in the US / formulated without parabens, phthalates or petroleum

I occasionally use a cream concealer with a brush, but I’ve never purchased or used a wand before. Pacifica is a brand I am familiar, comfortable and 100% happy with, so I felt safe making this choice. I have nothing but praise for this brand, and the fact that they make cruelty free beauty more accessible to everyone.

Initial thoughts: The shade is fine for me, as long as I blend it out. I appreciate the lighter coverage; I’ll be able to use this with both a BB cream (which I’m more comfortable with) and a more traditional foundation.

Pacifica Radiant Shimmer Coconut Multiples

  • 100% vegan and cruelty free / Made in the US / formulated without parabens, phthalates or petroleum

Let’s learn how to contour! I chose this as a product to learn with because a number of folks online said that it was a very natural and light looking pallette. I’ve also learned over the years that I really can’t use powder-based products because they consistently turn my face into a patchy desert.

Initial thoughts: First, this palette smells incredible: straight up creamy coconut. I don’t know how I feel about the shimmery “contour” color, but I like both the highlight and the blush. These are light, and I like that I can build them up very slowly. In the end, this isn’t really all the great for contouring, but I’ll use the light shades often.

If anyone has any recommendations for a cruelty free matte contour palette, I’d be happy to hear them! Please!

ELF Online Exclusive Contouring Brush

  • cruelty free

As it stands, the majority of my tools and brushes are either from ELF or ecoTools, so this seemed like a no-brainer. I appreciate ELF’s lower price point. It’s probably worth noting here that while all of ELF’s cosmetics are apparently vegan, not all of their skincare products or brushes are. I have no idea how to use a contouring brush, but I’m about to find out.

Initial thoughts: I know this is a cheap makeup brush, and cheap makeup brushes are the same as cheap paintbrushes. This is fine for practicing and playing around, but it sheds quite a bit.

Too Faced Travel Size Hangover Replenishing Face Primer

  • cruelty free (parent company is not) / silicone-free

According to the internet, a primer is a good and useful thing. I chose this one because it’s travel-sized (in case I hate it) and is made with coconut water (and I’m not ashamed to admit, too, that one of my favorite YouTubers uses it).

Initial thoughts: This is really nice! My skin, especially my undereye area, is desperately dry. I will probably end up purchasing a full sized bottle of this when I run out. I would consider adding this to my “every day” list.

Juice Beauty PHYTO-PIGMENTS Flawless Finishing Powder in translucent 

  • vegan and cruelty free / made in the US / formulated without parabens, silicone, or synthetic dyes and fragrances / uses organic ingredients

I’ve received Juice Beauty products in a couple subscription boxes, and this is one of those companies I’m happy to shell out a little more money for. There were solid reviews for this particular product.

Initial thoughts: I was not expecting this to be shimmery. Is all finishing powder shimmery? That can’t be right. I need some more practice with this. I probably won’t be buying another shimmery finishing powder when this runs out. Again, if you have any matte recommendations, please let me know in the comments!

J. Cat Beauty Online Exclusive Spray, Set, Go Setting Spray in Go Aloe

  • cruelty free

This was inexpensive and seemed like it might be refreshing, especially with summer around the corner.

Initial thoughts: This is a very pleasant way to end a makeup routine. I like it! It also toned down the shimmer on my face a little bit.

Tarte Amazonian Clay Waterproof Brow Pencil in rich brown

  • cruelty free (parent company is not) / formulated without parabens, phthalates, triclosan, sodium lauryl sulfate

I’ve used other Tarte products, and have always experienced good results. It made sense to me to purchase a new-to-me product like an eyebrow pencil from a familiar brand.

Initial thoughts: This is another one of those light, but buildable products. This means there’s is a lot of wiggle room, which I appreciate because I don’t know what I’m doing. Filling in my brows is …going to take some getting used to. I do love the tiny spoolie brush.

NYX Cosmetics

  • cruelty free (parent company is not)

I decided to try three different NYX lip products because of that aforementioned lip product obsession. I’ve never purchased anything from this brand before. Price points are solid, and the variety can’t really be beat. Even though I got these for fun, I was still hemming and hawing over swatches for about a week before I made my final decision.

Lip Lingerie in Corset

Initial thoughts: The smell of this product is awful, but the color and texture are amazing. This is a pretty much perfect nude. I will probably pick up one or two other shades of the Lip Lingerie.

Soft Matte Lip Cream in Stockholm

Initial thoughts: This smells exactly like the Bonne Bell LipSmacker Frosting in vanilla that I was obsessed with in middle school. I love everything about this product. I’ll definitely be trying some more shades, but Stockholm ended up being a really nice shade for me.

Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick in Stone Fox

Initial thoughts: I like this formula okay, but this was my least favorite of the three. That said, the color is fabulous. I really couldn’t resist a gray lipstick.

I had a blast unboxing these and just playing around. Thank you, Ulta! Again, if you have any suggestions or tips, please leave them in the comments or hit me up on Twitter or Instagram @girldust. I love to hear from you!

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Hello, my dust sprites. If you’re reading this, I hope you are well. It’s been awhile since my last Unboxing post! So let’s just dive right in, shall we?

Love Goodly is a bi-monthly box full of healthy, eco-conscious (all vegan) brands. Each box contains 5-7 mostly full-sized products, and is currently priced at $29.95. The selections include beauty, wellness, and lifestyle products. You can read previous reviews here. This season’s box was a collaboration with Liz from My Subscription Addiction, and it includes two of my favorite natural beauty brands: 100% Pure and One Love Organics. The April/May box is valued at over $125.

I’ve been excited about this one!

One Love OrganicsLove Springs Eternal Youth Preservation Serum $75 value

This is such an indulgent addition to my bedtime routine. I’ve been using it for a few evenings, now, and I definitely feel pampered. Three pumps of product is enough for my face and neck.

100% PureMaracuja Black Tea Mascara $25 value

I use mascara even on days when I’m not putting on a “full face” of makeup, so I go through it relatively quickly, at least in comparison to the rest of the products in my cosmetic bag. I also really enjoy trying out more “natural” brands, when it comes to things I use daily. I love the smell of this one, and it’s perfect for a minimal makeup look. 100% Pure has a number of other mascara options, if you’re not into the tea scent (I know a lot of people don’t dig it as much as I do).

100% Pure – Bright Eyes Mask $7 value

I’ve been wanting to give these eye masks a try, so this was a nice surprise! I’m interested in anything that will minimize my dark circles and make me look more awake. I’ll let you know how it goes on Insta.

PureSolBamboo Charcoal Konjac Cleansing Sponge $13 value

Sorry I don’t have a photo of this one. It’s already hanging in my shower! I love using konjac sponges on my face for extra exfoliating power, but I’ve never used a large one like this. This was actually a well-timed surprise; I’ve been looking for a plastic-free alternative to replace my body pouf. This comes with a suction cup hook for the shower that I’m still trying to come up with an alternate use for.

Juice Served Here$10 coupon

I may or may not use this. My finances are not currently in such a state that allows me to spend that much money on …juice …over the internet. So… we’ll see.

Coupon aside, each item in this box is something I needed or wanted, and I will definitely use it all. That’s really the best thing about Love Goodly. The selections have been consistently thoughtful and high quality. This is a beautifully curated box, and I’m still making use of products from previous boxes!

Let me know if you’d like to see more Unboxing or more detailed reviews on individual products! I’d love to get back into the habit, so any input from you would be greatly appreciated. Have a favorite? Let me know in the comments!

Subscribe to Love Goodly here!

Nota bene: I am a Pura Vida Bracelets rep! That means I will receive a commission on all sales that use my coupon code (NAOMIDENSMORE20)! While my code cannot be used on Pura Vida Club subscriptions, it can be used for everything else. Thanks for your support! I love Pura Vida, and I think you will, too. 

Unboxing: Pura Vida Club January Review

It’s the first unboxing of 2017! I’m happy to kick this off with a review of the Pura Vida Club box for January. I wasn’t planning to pay any attention to this box whatsoever when it was unveiled last year, because I don’t really like surprises when it comes to jewelry and accessories. When teaser photos were shared of this month’s bracelets, though, I caved. I’m a sucker for anything with an ocean theme. Thankfully, this subscription is very easy to pause if you decide you need a break.

The Pura Vida Club box is $14.95 each month, shipped. Each month’s shipment includes three coordinated bracelets, which may include Club exclusive designs. Each bracelet is made by hand with wax coated cord, and is 100% waterproof. Charm and beaded bracelets might require a little extra care, obviously. Pura Vida provides jobs for Costa Rican artisans, supports a number of non profit organizations, and is a member of 1% For the Planet.

Unboxing: Pura Vida Club January Review

January’s Club included: Gold Wave Charm ($15 value), Braided Sea Nights ($15 value), Wave Chaser Original ($5 value)

I  already knew I was going to love all three bracelets (the wave especially), so obviously I couldn’t be happier. These bracelets make a perfect stack, but can also easily be paired with a number of Pura Vida’s other designs. My only minor complaint with the subscription is that marketing materials are sent with every order, and I wish there was a way to opt out. As a Pura Vida rep, I like being able to give away stickers, but the extras still seem unnecessary. Still, far less waste and packaging here than with many subscription boxes! So Kudos on that note. ♥

As evident in my photos, it snowed six inches or so yesterday, so the arrival of this package was timely and very much appreciated. I needed a little brightness and color! Besides, my love for the ocean is certainly not seasonal! Honestly, this southern Maine/New Hampshire stretch of seacoast is beautiful this time of year.

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Love Goodly is a bi-monthly box full of healthy, eco-conscious (all vegan) brands. Each box contains 5-7 mostly full-sized products, now priced at $29.95. You can read previous reviews here. This summertime box, benefitting Cure Cervical Cancer, is valued at $98. It is so, so worth the bi-monthly investment. I’ve tested a number of subscription boxes over the years, and this one has been my absolute favorite. It’s been the only box that has consistently given me a variety of products I love or, at the very least, have found useful.

Unboxing: Love Goodly June/July Box Review :: girldust.com

Unboxing: Love Goodly June/July Box Review :: girldust.com

Blissoma SolutionsAwake Facial Moisturizer $25.99 value

This is the second time I’ve gotten a luxe facial moisturizer from this subscription, and I absolutely love that. This moisturizer is a 100% natural, botanical recipe with antioxidants, vitamins, and firming herbs. It firms, de-puffs (yay!), and brightens. This is a great daily moisturizer and works well under makeup.

NovicaSterling Silver Ribbon Earrings $41.99 value

Novica is an online marketplace dedicated to fair prices and supporting global artisans. These earrings are made by Thai artist, Pichaya. I think I’ve found my new every day earrings! I am in love with these. I mentioned in my first Love Goodly box review that jewelry is a bit of a risky item to include in subscription boxes, and I am so thankful that I love both pieces I’ve received so far. I wear my bracelet from that first box almost daily!

Miracle TreeMoringa Tea in Strawberry $6.95 value

This light strawberry tea has arrived just in time for summer! Moringa leaves contain over 90 nutrients, including 47 antioxidants, 25 vitamins and minerals, and all 8 essential amino acids. This stuff is crazy.

Juice BeautyGlowing Cheek Color in Pink $16 value

I rarely wear blush, but this pink is subtle, fresh,  and shimmery. I will definitely be adding it to my routine.

OrglamixEco Chic Fan Brush $7.50 value

This vegan friendly brush with its bamboo handle is perfect for blush and highlighter, and is a really thoughtful addition to this box.

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Interested in trying a Love Goodly subscription? The next box ships August 15! Sign up here! Boxes are $29.95, billed bi-monthly, or you can pay in advance for a bit of discount.

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Love Goodly is a bi-monthly box full of healthy, eco-conscious brands. Each box contains 5-7 mostly full-sized products for $39.95. A percentage of proceeds from the April/May box go to support Farm Sanctuary.

Unboxing: Love Goodly April/May Box Review :: girldust.com

This box blows the previous one out of the water. Not only are each of the featured brands new to me, but the products are ones that I actually needed and will be using regularly (if not daily).

Unboxing: Love Goodly April/May Box Review :: girldust.com

ZAO Organic Makeup – Organic Volume Mascara $35 value

Considering my current mascara is running low, and is one I am not particularly happy with, this couldn’t have come at a better time. After only two days of wear, I am totally in love with this product. This is 100% nontoxic, vegan, and certified organic. It applies like a dream and makes me feel incredibly fancy. Bamboo packaging, too!

Osea  – Atmosphere Protection Cream $48 value

While the name of this product makes me giggle, it’s actually really nice. This is a lightweight moisturizer with a bit of a minty scent to it. It starts out feeling a little bit sticky, but dries matte with a silky finish. This fits well into my daytime routine, in between LUSH’s Full of Grace serum and Pacifica’s Ultra CC Cream. I’m still using my own homemade facial oil at night.

myKind Organics – B-12 Vitamin Spray $16.95 value

This is a B-12 vitamin supplement in spray form. It’s vegan, made from real food, and 100% certified USDA organic. I take a real food iron supplement, and the difference it makes is real. If you have trouble with vitamin absorption, this might be something to look in to. I shouldn’t have to tell you, because you’re adults, but talk to your healthcare professional about any new supplement regimen, especially if you’re on medication. Basic stuff.

KOOSHOO – Organic Hair Ties $6 value

The LILA hair ties from KOOSHOO are USA made using organic cotton and natural rubber, and are hand dyed using low impact dyes. This Los Angeles company also gives 11% back to charity. These are cute enough to wear as bracelets, so I won’t worry as much about them getting lost! I would much rather have a few hair elastics I can keep tabs on than have 500 of them lost throughout the house and in the car. Who needs that?

Unboxing: Love Goodly April/May Box Review :: girldust.com

Nicobella Organics – Walnut Flaxseed Truffles $5.95 value

I’ve tried a few different dark chocolate coconut oil truffles, but these are quite possibly the best I’ve had. Ever. All the “super food” talk aside, you should try these because they are made with high quality ingredients and they taste amazing. That’s all. Treat yourself. Ground walnuts add an unexpected savory element that I love, plus a little bit of a crunch, and I’m not normally a walnut fan. These are vegan and gluten free, but sorry to my friend with a coconut allergy (or anyone with tree nut allergies). I am sad for you. Other varieties include lime basil (yes, please) and pumpkin chai.

Two boxes in, and I am incredibly happy with this subscription. My three favorites from this box are for sure the Zao mascara, the KOOSHOO hair elastics, and obviously the truffles from Nicobella. The Osea moisturizer is a close runner up.

Love Goodly is a winner. The next box arrives in June! You can sign up here.

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