Monday, November 16, 2015

October ipsy glam bag & more Shu

My ipsy October GlamBag arrived a bit later than usual but I didn't mind at all since it was a crazy-hectic month in my world, and I was once again the delighted recipient of five bonus-sized beauty samples.

Let's start with the brow pencil, Korean beauty brand Touch in Sol's Mini Browza Super Proof Gel Brow Pencil in the shade Mink Wink. It is everything I want in a brow pencil, with a built-in spoolie on the opposite end for ultimate convenience. This product gives my dark brows a shaded effect, perfect whenever I want nearly imperceptible brow definition that is subtle enough for daytime or any natural look. Unbelievable bonus: this brow pencil is indelible, full stop. I am, admittedly, new to the brow game, and I've struggled to remember not to wipe my brow colour all over my face, especially if the product dries and makes me think I have itchy eyebrows. It's why I've never enjoyed most products like brow gels or pomades. Well this little gel pencil is a clever blend of the two formats; it draws colour on exactly where you want it with no mess or fallout, and provides just enough control of the brow hairs without ever becoming flaky and uncomfortable. I had my eye on a couple of other brow pencils but this one by Touch in Sol has won me over.

Next up is my favourite of the lot, Meet Matt(e) Hughes Long Lasting Lipstick in the shade Committed, by one of my long-favourite lines, The Balm. I was absolutely not prepared to fall in love with this lipstick the minute I applied it, but that's exactly what happened. The shade seemed uninspiring in the tube, but once applied, I was in perfect-nude-lip heaven. I almost never like the scent of lip products, but somehow this one is beyond enjoyable, its downright addictive - described as vanilla-mint, it reminds me of mint chocolate chip ice cream and I am so surprised at how much I love it. This is the only long-lasting liquid lipstick I've tried that is truly moisturizing and still comfortable after hours on my lips. Applying a second layer gave the lipcolour more impact and added to the staying power. It also did not wear off in that chunky, obvious way that plagues these liquid lipsticks, but that may also be due to how closely this shade matches my natural lip colour. While this product does not last as long as other brands' versions that I've tried, I prefer the feel and formula of this one better than any of the others so thank you to The Balm for creating another beauty must-have.

Another cosmetics line I've been jonesing to try is IT Cosmetics after seeing so many positive products reviews online, so I was thrilled to find a sample of their Hello Lashes Mascara in my GlamBag this month. It is described as a 5-in-1 product meant to work as mascara, primer, growth serum, tint and lash curler with the coolest brush that end in a tiny bristle ball for extra precision. Since it's a small-sized mascara, I'll be saving it for my travel makeup bag which saves space and is hygienic.

My GlamBag included a lovely cleanser, Hey Honey's Come Clean Propolis & Minerals Facial Scrub. It's terrifically important to draw any makeup residue that can build up on the delicate skin of the face, but with extra-sensitive skin, I struggle to find the right balance between exfolation and irritation. This scrub had me won over before I even opened the package, since I am beyond obsessed with honey, it is my sweetener of choice and I use it in my tea and cooking daily. Next, was learning that the exfoliating particles in the scrub are not noxious to living creatures but dissolve as they do their job on your face. Also thankfully absent are parabens and SLS, both completely unnecessary in a facial scrub in my opinion. The result is beautifully soft, clean but hydrated skin with zero irritation, another great find from ipsy.

Finally, a perfume by a stellar Canadian brand named Aromachology, their Exotic & Spicy Eau de Parfum. This line has earned a well-deserved fan following for their customizable blends that allow you to choose your favourite scent notes to create your ideal perfume. My first whiff of the generous sample vial was downright off-putting, and I put it away for several days. However, after the recent transition here on the Wet Coast to decidedly winter temperatures, something urged me to give this strange perfume a try. As hoped, the notes changed when they came into contact with my skin and what once seemed like dissonant notes that confused my nose in the bottle, now were harmonious and pleasant in reaction to my body's chemistry. It was a vivid reminder of how critical it is to try a scent on the skin and over several hours to assess if it is right for you, and that sniffing a scent in the bottle (or sprayed onto a test strip) is a completely ineffective way to choose a scented product.

One dynamic that I had not considered when I signed up with ipsy is that this service provides me with a steady but manageable stream of beauty products that actually do save me time and money. When the brow pencil I had on my shopping list ended up in my GlamBag, I crossed it off my list; I now have a fantastic new makeup item to use and I didn't have to lift a finger. The same thing happened the month before when I received the most perfect nail polish in a dark burgundy shade that is just what I wanted this autumn.
Perhaps it's the luck of the newly-subscribed, but I have thoroughly enjoyed every product I've been sent so far. I appreciate getting both skincare and makeup products in the GlamBags, and although some subscribers have not been as pleased as me with their monthly products, I took my time when filling out the first questionnaire that customizes my GlamBags, as well as completing the monthly feedback questions about products I've received which all help to ensure more GlamBag satisfaction.


Finally, I placed a diminutive order at Shu Uemura and was delighted to receive my Haute Street Drawing Pencil in the shade M violet. The stunning dark purple liner glides on with ease and once set, creates a truly waterproof line that doesn't smudge at all. I would be more surprised but this is the consistent level of quality I have come to expect from this venerated Japanese beauty and skincare line. A bit of searching online led me to a promo code that resulted in three bonus gifts that made me deliriously happy: a sample size of POREfinist Anti-shine Fresh Cleansing Oil (I adore these as they are ideal for travel), a gorgeous travel lip brush, and finally, a sample of the Laque Supreme Lip and Cheek Color in the shade RD01 (pictured below), a beautiful bright coral-pink/red hue that's totally flattering on both lips and cheeks. I was trepid when I first opened the package and saw it was in a colour I would never have chosen for myself. I applied some anyways, curious about the feel and formula and a minute later answered a videochat from my BFF, whose very first comment was about my gorgeous lip colour. Once again, all of the products from this line have been completely impressive and in my opinion are worth the cost if judiciously chosen and bonuses are included.
A photo posted by Monica Ghosh (@point_1) on