What I want to do with this series of subscription box review posts is let you know how these products worked for me as I tested them out. I love unboxing videos, but I always wish more people did updates–how did the products actually work? Would you repurchase them, or purchase a full size? First impressions are great, but as you’ll see below, they can be misleading. So I want to give you my honest reviews. For those of you who receive these subscription boxes and don’t have time to try all the products or feel you have too many samples, this might serve as a guide for which you might want to keep or try. For those of you who do not receive these boxes but want to learn about new products, this might give you a few ideas of new brands and products to try out! I hope you enjoy my subscription box series, and we’ll kick it off with the July 2016 Ipsy bag!
So the July Ipsy theme was “Hot Summer Nights,” and I guess all of the products were meant to be summer-ish? I ask because my bag was sort of summery, but the moisturizer was pretty heavy for summer months, and the eyeshadow was a deep plum–very fall in my book. But really, I am not too concerned with whether or not the products fit a theme, so this isn’t a problem for me. The bag is really cute, and I love the iridescent finish. It makes it really easy to find in my deep bathroom cabinets (or, perhaps, in a travel bag)!
My bag contained the usual five sample items, which you can see above: a mask, a facial spray, a blush, and moisturizer, and an eyeshadow single. Overall, I was pleased with the variety of products, which I can’t say for every bag. (As you’ll see in my August bag post.) I’ve been testing them out for the past few weeks, and I’ll review each below, and let you know if I would purchase the full size.
So here we go!
First up is the product I was, perhaps strangely, the most excited about: the Avene Eau Thermale (Thermal Spring Water spray), which retails for $18.50 for 300 ml. I’ve linked to the Avene website here, but you can also purchase it on drugstore.com for the same price.
I’ve heard about this in several YouTube videos, and it is always highly recommended as a moisturizing and soothing spray. It is not a makeup setting spray. It is something you might spray on during the day if your face is feeling dry or irritated to give it just a hit of moisture. The mist is very fine and it will not disturb your makeup or make it run. It just refreshes and soothes. SCENT. I absolutely love this spray–it works beautifully, cools my skin and makes my makeup look like I just applied it, rather than the dryness or flatness that often occurs throughout the day
The size I received in my Ipsy bag is 50 mL. You can actually purchase this size for $9, or a 150 ml bottle for $14.00. I definitely plan to repurchase this when I run out, but I have not decided what size I’ll choose. I like the size I received in my bag since it is perfect for throwing in my bag to use on the go. But the larger size is the best value for sure: two 50 ml bottles costs the same as one 300 ml bottle. Maybe I’ll split the difference and go for the mid-sized bottle. Ultimately it will depend on how long the current bottle lasts, which will let me know how much I need. Because in the end, value depends on how it fits my lifestyle, not just price per fluid ounce. If I buy a big bottle but it sits in my cabinet because it’s to big to take with me on a regular basis, was it really worth it?
Next, I tried the Elizabeth Mott Show Me Your Cheeks blush in Peach Pink, which retails for $23 for 0.18 oz. (full size). It is exactly what it says–a perfect balance of peach and pink, and it has a slightly luminous finish. It has a sheer finish and would look great on many skin tones, but is faint enough that it probably would not show up as a blush on deeper skin tones–it might serve as more of a blush topper or highlighter. It provides a nice, healthy flush to the skin and looks great.
Would I buy it again? No. I really like some products in this line–the Thank Me Later eye primer is the first eyeshadow primer I ever used and is still one of my favorites–but this blush was just okay. Plus, it has a more affordable dupe that is already in my collection: the NYX Illuminator in Chaotic is almost exactly the same color, and while the Elizabeth Mott has a slightly smoother texture when you swatch them, they show up almost exactly the same on the skin.
As you can see, the Elizabeth Mott (on the left) looks a bit sheerer and slightly more peach, but when sheered out on the face the products look identical. Both work as blushes or blush toppers depending on your skin tone, the NYX is only $8.99, and Ulta has BOGO sales on NYX products all the time so you can usually get it at a discount. If you want a peachy-pink luminous blush or highlight, I’d recommend the NYX. So while I liked the blush and think it is a good product, I would not repurchase it.
It is rare for me to flat-out dislike a product I receive in a subscription bag, but I did not like the Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre. It says it can work as a makeup remover, moisturizer, or primer. (Disclaimer: I’m typically skeptical of all-in-one products.) It comes in a small metal tube (you know, the silver medicinal-looking tube that you have to roll up to get the product out?). It has a nice perfume-y sort of fragrance–nothing in particular jumps out at me, but it just smells pleasant and not too strong. It is a thicker moisturizer, sort of greasy-feeling, though not in a bad way. Or so I thought. Now, I have dry skin, so I generally like heavier moisturizers, oils, and serums. My skin is not particularly sensitive so new items rarely make me break out. But this one did. It wasn’t a bad breakout, but I noticed a few spots on my forehead after a night of wearing it. I tried it a second time after that breakout cleared up, and while it did leave my skin looking plumper the next morning and did not cause a breakout, it just felt kind of greasy on my face. Not a sensation I enjoy. I want moisturizers to sink in, and this one just didn’t. If it had had remarkable effects on my skin, then maybe I’d continue trying it, but it didn’t seem to do any more than my usual moisturizers. It retails for $28 for 2.6 oz, or $16 for 1 oz, which makes it more expensive than my current skincare products that do not have negative side effects on my skin. So I guess you know that I would not repurchase this item.
The next item in my Ipsy bag was a single eyeshadow from the Balm’s (Does anyone else always type “the blam” when trying to write this brand name?) Meet Matt(e) Trimony palette, the third in their series of Meet Matt(e) eyeshadow palettes. These palettes each contain 9 matte eyeshadows, and this installment is all warm pink, brown, and rose tones. I received the shade Matt Moskowitz, a deep plum. I’ve had my eye on this palette for awhile, and almost bought it a month ago when it was on an Ipsy sale for $20 (it usually retails for $42). I decided against it, though, because I just felt I’d bought too much makeup lately and wanted to make sure I had a chance to use it before adding new products.
I will say, the shadow applied on the eye better than it swatched. It is a pretty plum, but it is not so remarkable that I feel the need to immediately purchase the Meet Matt(e) Trimony palette. I have shades very similar to this in my Tartelette palette, and I just don’t do many all matte looks, so I don’t feel the need for a lot of matte palettes. (I typically use a palette to create a full look rather than pulling in other palettes or using it to supplement other palettes). This palette, along with the Meet Matt(e) Nude palette, will remain on my wish list, though–I do love the color selection and the quality of the shadows. If you don’t have a lot of matte shadows and love warm shades, you would probably love this palette. I will not purchase it right now, but I would like to own it in the future.
And finally, the GlamGlow GravityMud Firming Treatment. This brand has been getting so much hype in the beauty community and I was so excited to see it in my bag, yet it took me forever to try! When you’re trying to coax a preschooler to stay in his bed at night, it can be distracting to have a face that looks like one of the superheroes he’s so obsessed with right now! When he finally does stay in bed, I typically bolt downstairs to binge watch Stranger Things on Netflix and completely forget about skin care until I drag myself away from the television and flopped into bed. So all that to say, it took me a long time to get around to trying out this product.
But I finally did, and overall, it was fine. (I know, I know, that’s like the worst thing you can say about something.) On the GlamGlow website, it says the product will lift and firm your skin, “delivering toned, sexy contours.” I mean, the chrome finish of the mask–it’s shiny silver in case you were wondering about the “glow” part–was kind of cool, and did catch the light in interesting ways, but once it was off, my face didn’t look that much more contoured. It did feel a little firmer, but also kind of tight–I just wanted to get a moisturizer on fast.
A few more complaints–I’m not a huge fan of the smell. At first it’s sugary-sweet (not my favorite), and when it dries down it just kind of smells like glue. (I asked my husband to smell my face and he agreed–Elmer’s all the way). [UPDATE 9/3: I tried it again and finally pinpointed the sweet smell it has when you first put it on. Do you remember the smell of children’s cough syrup, or berry flavored medicine? Yeah, that’s the smell. Then it dries to Elmer’s.] Thankfully it’s not a strong smell, but it’s definitely there. Also, it dries so quickly that it’s impossible to create a thicker layer. Initially, I didn’t put quite enough on to really cover my face but when I went back to add more, it started peeling off. I’m sure this is because the layer I put in was too thin, but it does bug me when face products that are meant to be a form of relaxing self-care have a steep learning curve. So of course, since I wasn’t able to create a thicker layer, it didn’t peel off as easily as it could have.
It performed well: My skin looked smoother and my pores looked smaller after I took it off. But taking it off was an ordeal. I love the idea of a peel-off mask in theory, but they never work as well in practice. It took me fifteen minutes to peel off tiny bits of mask, and I finally had to wash my face anyway. My skin felt tight afterward, and I was hoping it would feel a bit more plumped and moisturized.
I’ll use up the sample tube, but I’m unlikely to buy a full size. Also, it retails for $69 for 1.4 oz–the sample tube I have is 0.5 oz. If you think about how thick a layer you have to apply to make the mask work as it claims, you’d go through that in no time! I just don’t think it’s worth it. Also, I’ve really been into sheet masks lately, both for ease of use and because they tend to be more moisturizing, which is what I’m looking for. And peel-off masks just seem to be outside my skill level. #beautyschooldropout
Final Word: I thought this was one of the best Ipsy bags I’ve received so far. The variety was good, the products were ones I wanted to try, and they included some really good brands! Even though I won’t repurchase all of the products, I still really enjoyed trying them. If your skin gets dry throughout the day, I highly recommend the Avene spray. If you like luminous blush or blush toppers, check out the NYX Illuminator in Chaotic instead of the Elizabeth Mott Show Me Your Cheeks in Peach Pink. The quality of the Balm’s eyeshadows is fantastic, so if you’re in the market for a warm-toned matte palette, give the Matt(e) Trimony palette a try. I don’t recommend the Embryolisse moisturizer, but while it wasn’t my favorite, the GlamGlow mask could be fun if you want a somewhat firming treatment that just looks cool. It would be great for a girl’s luxury spa night. Now, I’m excited to see what the August bag has in store!