Thursday, January 2, 2014

Influenster Jolly VoxBox Review and Swatches

I signed up for Influenster in August and proceeded to not log-in again for another, um, 3 months. Somehow, they still thought I was a good candidate for the Jolly VoxBox (I'm great at filling out questionnaires!), so I gleefully received these goodies (for free, but all opinions are my own! Which you could probably figure out on your own after reading my comments, as they are not all favorable...):
Puffs Plus Lotion tissue 10-pack* 
(though the card in my box says I should have received 
the lotion-free kind, I'm not complaining)

These tissues are a welcome addition to my purse, now that we are solidly in winter cold season. They're soft, smell vaguely medicinal, and are very very lightly moisturizing, enough to keep my nose from getting chapped from nose-blowing. I can't say I would purchase them myself, because I am extremely cheap when it comes to some things (like tissues, for example) and would never opt for brand name when store brands are the same thing, but I'm certainly happy to have these!

Skinny Cow Divine Chocolates in Peanut Butter*
I specifically said in my little survey that I don't eat dairy, but they apparently took that to be a flexible statement (which it is, but I try to avoid it unless it's, like, mac n cheese, since it's gotta be damn good to be worth the ensuing belly pain), because they sent me the Skinny Cow Divine Chocolates in Peanut Butter. I loathe the name (Skinny Cow just sounds insulting! Don't bring your weight-loss into my junk food, damnit, and who thought calling your customers 'cows' was a good idea?), but my family says the chocolates themselves are pretty tasty. They contain lactose as an ingredient (usually that's masked as "whey" or "milkfats"), so I wouldn't recommend these to others who are lactose-intolerant, but if you happen to find them on sale and want your chocolates to be low-cal, these are worth keeping in mind.

Duck Tape Ducklings Mini Roll*

The Ducklings tape roll is so cute, but I have no idea what I'm going to use it for. They say it's "excellent for repair, crafting, and imaginative projects" and is "perfect for small repairs, trimming out projects or for when you just need a little tape!". My crafts tend to involve yarn, which doesn't go particularly well with tape, but I'll stick it in my bag to have for the odd tape emergency. Most likely, I'll use it to connect papers from my students when they neglect to staple them, and return their homework wearing some stylish new zebra accessories.

NYC HD Color Trio eyeshadow in Long Beach Sands

I had extremely low expectations for the NYC HD Color Trio in Long Beach Sands. Drugstore eyeshadows that aren't L'Oreal Infallibles or Wet N Wild palettes tend to be lacking in pigment and longevity, but I was pleasantly surprised upon swatching, and even more so upon wearing, this trio. The top shade, deemed Highlighter, is ivory; the center shade, All over Lid, is a medium warm brown; and the bottom shade, Crease, is a medium-light neutral-cool brown-taupe (that's a lot of modifiers, ha!). Highlighter is semi-sheer and shimmery, All over Lid is quite pigmented and satin in finish, and Crease is sheer and shimmery, with larger pieces of shimmer than the Highlighter.
two swipes with finger over primer
I tried wearing it first using the shades as recommended, but the crease shade is sheer and doesn't offer nearly enough contrast. I applied All over Lid with a firm brush (Real Techniques Shading Brush), as I expected it would need help to be built up, but it applied great, and while the top shade is sheer, as a highlight I found the pigmentation suitable and the texture is nice and smooth. I tried switching the crease and lid shades on a different day, but the crease shade would not build to anything near opacity, no matter the brush or number of layers, and the end result was negligibly different.
The suggested look, as described above
I should note that I always use primer (UDPP is my favorite, having tried LORAC, TFSI, and NARS), which undoubtedly helped these shades adhere, but I find it's a necessity for all eyeshadows on my oily lids, so I don't feel too bad about offering these shadows a "leg up", as it were.

If you treat it as a duo and ignore the bottom shade, it's a very solid palette, at a perfectly palatable $2.99. If, like me, you already have some bajillion neutral shadows, you can gift it on to your mother who will be very glad to have a foolproof, subtle palette like this. Wet N Wild's trios are still a more reliable choice, and Walking on Eggshells is a good alternative to these shades, but if you're just building up your collection, picking up a few of the NYC trios on sale couldn't hurt!
Grade: B(-), $2.99 at drugstores

Rimmel Show Off Lip Lacquer in 401 Aurora*

I was super excited to try the Rimmel lip lacquer. I love my liquid lipstick formulas (Shiseido, Le Métier de Beauté), and the promise of a super-pigmented drugstore alternative had me salivating. I was sent the shade 401 Aurora, which, on me, is a somewhat bold warm coral. I have lots of thoughts on this product (shocking, given how laconic I usually am), so I'll break it down into sections.

1: The application. You definitely need a mirror, as it's very pigmented, but the brush (a doefoot with an indented well for the product) does allow very precise lining and filling-in of the lips. Only one layer is necessary for completely opaque coverage, but it lasts longer if you blot then apply another layer.

2: The formula. As mentioned, it's super pigmented, quite thin and lightweight, and very slightly tacky. It is not transfer-resistant in the slightest, and leaves a slight stain. It does fade unevenly if you eat/drink, but can be pretty readily re-smeared around. I find it neither drying nor hydrating, but it will be most comfortable if you put it on fully-moisturized lips.

3: The wear. I get a couple of hours before I need to reapply, less if I eat, drink, or talk excessively. Not bad, though not particularly surprising given how pigmented it is.
compared to some other shades I own, left to right:
Rimmel Aurora, Burberry Mallow Pink, MAC Ultra Darling,
MAC Crosswires, Shiseido Nymph
4: The color. Is too orange for me, sigh. It's very bright on my pale skin, and somewhat bricky, but would be less so on...pretty much anyone else. I'm a little cooler in the winter than summer, but still neutral, so I would recommend this particular shade for those with warm undertones. Like my mother, to whom I also gifted this!

5: The smell. UGH. I hate it. It's like plasticky fruit Mentos, and it's not subtle. It lasts about 10 minutes, and while it doesn't make me retch, it's not pleasant. If you are less sensitive to scents, it might not bother you. If the color were fantastic and the wear a little better, I'd be willing to forgive it, but it just doesn't quite cut it.
Grade: B(-), $5.49-$5.99 at drugstores

Overall, I liked my box.
requisite FOTD featuring the trio and lippie!
It gave me the chance to try some products I wouldn't have otherwise, and my family appreciated the chocolate. Surprise products are fun when they're free!

Are you a member of Influenster? Have you tried any NYC eyeshadow or Rimmel lacquers?
*All products in this post were provided by Influenster on behalf of the brands, free of charge, for my unbiased review. They may very well wish I were less unbiased, but TOO BAD.
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