Review: Mally 10 Piece Evercolor Eyeliner Library

Happy New Year everyone! Wishing you all a happy and healthy year in 2013! Now that the holidays are over, I’m hoping to get the site caught back up (including the Birchbox reviews I’m way behind on, sorry!). What better way to kick off the new year than with a makeup review? With chocolate, you say? Good point, eat some chocolate while you read this review. Or I’ll eat some chocolate while I write it for you. It’s a win-win.

I’ve seen Mally on QVC quite a few times, and I was always interested in her makeup but I haven’t had the chance to try it until recently. I needed some new eyeliner, so when her 10 piece Evercolor eyeliner library came up I couldn’t resist. My mom and I decided to order one set and split it since neither of us had ever used the brand before, and because we each liked different colors in the set. (You’ll notice in the pictures that the box is only half full, since we had already divided them up when I took these photos).

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The presentation on this set is really nice. It comes in a gray snakeskin print case with Mally written in gold lettering. The case isn’t too thick, probably an inch or so, and the top half lifts off completely. Inside, the box is lined in soft gray velvety fabric, with an accent strip of lace-printed coated paper. Each eyeliner is held in place with a small, stretchy fabric loop like a hair band. The liners themselves are in white tubes with the color clearly marked in a band around the end. Based solely on looks, this set makes a lovely gift. I’m fairly sure that the insert can be removed so that you can reuse the box for other things if you wanted.

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The eyeliners come in the standard twist up tubes, with a small fine point on the end. Sadly, the sharp point only lasts about 12 seconds before it’s rounded off again. The good news is, that means these liners go on very smoothly with barely any tugging on your eyelid. There is a nice variety of colors in the set; the ones that I kept are black, dark green, gold, a shimmery pink, and purple. The others in the set were gray, brown, taupe, bronze and navy.

It took me a while to decide to write this review, because at first I really wasn’t sure how I felt about these eyeliners. Overall, the Evercolor library is very pretty and the color selection is nice to have. The colors that I got show up fairly well and seem to last until I take them off with no real issues of flaking and only minor smudging once it’s set. What I don’t like about them is that it’s nearly impossible to get a crisp line with these. I usually like to wing my liner, and it’s incredibly difficult to do with these. Forget about a sharp line, it’s probably not going to happen. (Although I’m willing to admit that there are alot of people more skilled with eyeliner than I am, who might be able to make it work). I also don’t like the fact that some of the colors are difficult to tell apart once they’re on. For instance, dark green, dark purple.. they look so similar on your eye that it kind of defeats the purpose of having so many to choose from. If they were side by side, the comparison would probably be much easier, but that’s not how you wear them in real life, so I wish the colors were just a little more vibrant. My favorite color is the shimmering pink (pink champagne) because it works well in the inner corner of your eye and I’ve even used it on the waterline with pretty nice results. I normally do not line my entire eye, and the pink champagne is the only color I’ve tried on the waterline so I can’t yet say how well that holds up with darker colors. I prefer to use shadow along my lower lashline instead.

If you’re new to the Mally brand, or looking to experiment with a wider range of eyeliner colors, this could be a good set for you. It also makes a nice gift due to the way it’s boxed up, and the selection takes the guess work out of picking colors for someone else. These make good everyday liners, when you want a soft smudged look and need something quick and easy, or if you aren’t that skilled with eyeliner and want something that hides mistakes. I think the main drawback of this set is that it’s just overpriced. It lists on QVC for about $50, and once they add their shipping and tax, its more like $60. I realize that for ten eyeliners that is still a good deal, but I feel like these really aren’t THAT far above drugstore quality. I would never purchase these liners individually, but I will continue to wear the ones that I have. I really do like them fine, I just don’t love them. If you’re looking for a cleaner line, my favorite is the Eyeko eyeliner that I received in a previous Birchbox. Have you tried Mally eyeliners? Let me know what you think!

Fascination Street by Cirque

My dear friend Cricket, who is an awesome person and an amazingly talented writer, recently showed me her new polish from Cirque. It’s such a beautiful polish that I was able to convince her to do the following guest post for the site so that you guys could check it out too. The price is a little steep for me, but after seeing these pics and review I am seriously tempted. Enjoy! And many thanks to Cricket!!

A couple of weeks ago I happened upon this post at The Swatchaholic of Fascination Street by Cirque. It’s an indigo blue polish with holographic effects that are just mesmerizing in real life.

The Swatchaholic’s pictures are stunning and the polish looked amazing. I was so amazed, in fact, that I just had to show my husband the pictures. (As hard as I tried to capture the true beauty of this polish, I just wasn’t able to grab it with my camera. You really have to experience this polish in person.)Cirque's Fascination Street

He used to paint and airbrush for a living and is a really accomplished artist. When he went loopy over the color and the effect, I knew it wasn’t just me. Once he stopped oohing and aahing with me, he told me, “You need to get that polish.” My husband has never before told me I needed a nail polish. 

I will pause and let that sink in for a second.

At $16 a bottle, I hesitated. For about a nanosecond. It’s just so gorgeous, I had to have it. I’ve become a bit of a nail polish snob, thanks to a certain beauty blogger (*cough*), but the reviews were positive and did I mention that it’s gorgeous?

Cirque Fascination StreetI refreshed the tracking on my package daily and I skipped to the mail box the day it arrived. I must add here, the packaging was great. It arrived in a soft, padded envelope. When I tore open carefully peeled open the envelope, I found the nail polish in a black organza drawstring bag with a couple of hard candies. (Nom!) The polish itself was wrapped in bubble wrap. Such a thoughtful step!

The bottle is slightly smaller than average at .45ml. Even in the bottle, you can see the holographic effects as you tilt the bottle in the light. It’s just stunning. (I’ll stop gushing any time now.)

The first coat was pretty gloppy, so I got scared. The second coat was magical, however, and my fear evaporated. I did go ahead and add a third coat, and I’m not sure if it made that much of a difference or not, really, but maybe it did add just a little bit of depth. I will say here, I think a top coat is necessary. The polish itself dried for me a little on the not-shiny side. After a top coat, I saw details more clearly and the shine enhanced the polish. I know some people aren’t into that extra step, but I think it made a difference in how this polish shows.

You might expect that this polish would really come alive only in one sort of lighting, but that isn’t the case. Sometimes you catch an angle in low light that just pops, and sunlight is beyond amazing. In some light, you’ve got just a really pretty blue-purple with pearl sparkles. In others–bam–full-on rainbows.Fascination Street by Cirque

This is my first holographic nail polish ever, so maybe they’re all this fantastic, but I prefer to think Fascination Street is pretty unique.

A word of warning for those who are sensitive to smell, however, this polish is very strong smelling. When I did my nails, it was obvious to every living creature in the house.

The polish has worn fairly well, with only a couple of chips and mild tip wear. The chips I blame entirely on me, as it has been a bad hand week. Such a bad hand week, in fact, that I have two new down-to-the-quick nail breaks that I’m sporting today. Maybe I’ll have to redo my polish to make up for that… 🙂

(I bought this polish with my own money and the thoughts I’ve shared here here are my own; you might agree though, if you tried it, too. Just saying. 🙂 )

Birchbox Review: June 2012

The theme for June’s Birchbox was Travel, and even the inside of the mailing box had cute little stamps and things printed on the inside. Nice touch. Also, I haven’t slept in longer than people should probably go without sleep, so leave a note in the comments if you find any typos or insanity in this post – there’s sure to be plenty of both. ; )

Apothederm Stretch Mark Cream – Let me start out by saying that I haven’t had kids yet, so I may not be the best judge of stretch mark creams having never tried one. That being said, I do have a few of those unsightly little white stretch marks on my legs from growth spurts or aliens or whatever it is that causes them. They aren’t severe, but I’ve considered looking for a sample of a product like this in the past. One thing that disappointed me about this, however, was the bottle. That looks like a fabulously sized deluxe sample, doesn’t it? It was misleading though, because the bottle definitely was not full. Anyone else find that to be the case? It’s not a big issue, and it was a nice bottle, I just thought it was a little odd. Luckily, you don’t seem to need to use alot of product, so I’ll still get a good amount of uses from it. It appears to be a nice cream and I’ll continue to use it, but so far I haven’t noticed any results. Granted, this is the kind of thing you need to use for several weeks straight to notice a difference, and I haven’t yet done that. If I start seeing any changes I’ll be sure to update here. So far, I would not even consider shelling out $90 for a bottle of this, though if it works well I’m sure alot of people would. I guess this fits into the travel theme by helping you look better in swimwear or your other vacation clothes!

Scalisi Skincare Anti-Aging Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 – I really haven’t ‘settled’ on a moisturizer, so I’m always looking for new ones to test out. So far, my favorite has been the Strivectin one with spf, and I had high hopes for this one as well. The good – I love this little bottle. It’s cute, it’s compact, and stays neat and clean which shows that alot of attention is put even into their samples. The product dispenses so easily and the Birchbox site says that their bottles use airless technology to help you get up to 95% of the product out of the bottle. I’m not sure if they use the same technology in their sample bottles, but it sure seems like it. The moisturizer itself is lightweight, you don’t need much, and it feels good on your skin. I haven’t noticed any wrinkle reducing or line filling but it does appear to be a good product. I did have a slight breakout but I don’t know if it’s a result of this moisturizer or not, and it was pretty minor anyway. The only other downside is the price, at a whopping $110 a bottle this is knocked right out of the running for my new moisturizer choices.

theBalm Cosmetics Stainiac – Odd name, great product. I’ve always wanted to try a lip & cheek stain, so I was really happy to find this in my Birchbox. It has a thick, squishy gel type consistency, and goes on easily to leave a flush of color behind. It’s easy to apply with the little wand, and easy to blend in with a fingertip. The color is deep enough to show up on me, yet natural enough to be flattering. I expected the staying power to be a little better on your lips after a meal, since it is a stain, but you still might need to reapply to keep it looking even. Overall, I thought this was a great sample and I would definitely consider buying the full size. Not to mention that the sample size was generous and ideal to throw in your purse. Definitely my favorite item in this months’ box.

Clean Well Sanitizing Hand Wipes – I actually have not used these yet because I didn’t want to waste one just to sample it. I think the concept is great though. I’m a slight germaphobe, and I generally have a small bottle of hand sanitizer in my purse. There are some occasions that the bottle just isn’t enough though, and you want to wash your hands but can’t get to a sink. These little packs are great for taking along with you. I love that it says it kills germs naturally, and it also says they are for hands AND face. That makes them even more handy for traveling, the gym, and just day to day uses. I keep two makeup bags in my purse, one for lip products and other makeup, and another one as my ‘survival kit’ of random useful things, and these went straight into that. Maybe I’ll do a “what’s in my purse?” post soon. Either way, I think these hand wipes are great and I probably wouldn’t hesitate to purchase more. The story behind these products is interesting, and they are also 100% cruelty free. They even claim that they won’t sting your cuts. The only thing more I could ask of this product is that I wish they sold them in individually wrapped packets like this. Right now the choices seem to be a pop up dispenser or the resealable little sleeve. I actually did find these online in individual packets, awesome. But again, just to be clear I am reviewing the concept and what I read about this product, I have not yet used it.

Band-Aid Adhesive Bandages By Cynthia Rowley – First of all, full sized box! Gotta love samples like this – this box contained 20 bandages in 2 different sizes. Generally, I am not a pattern bandaid kinda girl, but this is a useful item and a generous size. Was I the only one confused about the price of these? I could’ve sworn that the card said a box this size was $15, but now you can get a bundle of two boxes in a beach/sport kit for $11 on the Birchbox site. As for the designs, those are a little hit and miss for me. Some of the lace and sequin designs are pretty cute, but why would I want a band-aid with runway models on it? And more importantly, why would I want to label a wound with ‘Cynthia Rowley’? Will people assume that it means, “This injury brought to you, courtesy of Cynthia Rowley (and Band-Aid)”. Why not just write “Cynthia Rowley Was Here!” I kid, but really, I wonder what they were thinking with some of the designs. I think I would like the beach set better, that appears to be pretty pictures and vibrant colors… sunsets and jellyfish. Jellyfish, now there’s something you could put on an injury to mislead people. A picture, not an actual jellyfish. Although that would mislead people also, in a different way. But, I digress. All in all, the bandaids were a very nice addition to the Birchbox since I love practical extras.

The June Birchbox also included a little sample vial of John Varvatos cologne for men, to help get the word out about Birchbox Man. The sample is not pictured in any of my photos because I gave it away, but it was a cool little addition to the box. My June Birchbox was a great value and I was very pleased with it. Six products- and one of them full sized. Seven if you count both of the hand wipes, actually. Or twenty seven if you counted each bandaid…which we won’t. But six products, all of them reviewable this time, plus a coupon code for 25% off at an art site that I can’t remember offhand. Nicely done, Birchbox!

Birchbox delivers deluxe beauty samples to your door for $10 per month. Click here to join! Birchbox also includes perks like coupon codes, a referral system, reviews that earn you points to spend in their store, and occasional full sized products!

April 2012 Birchbox: Review

Juice Beauty Oil Free Moisturizer – In a previous Birchbox I received a sample of the Juice Beauty acne serum, and I really liked it. So when I saw this moisturizer in my April box I was excited to try something else from the brand. This is a really nice product and I have nothing negative to say about it at all. I will definitely consider purchasing it, mainly because of the natural ingredients. The full size is $28 for 2 fl oz. which seems a little small, but then again I haven’t found the need to use alot of product to get results.

Zoya True (Spring Collection) – If you’ve ever been to this site before, you probably know that I absolutely adore Zoya. I got the shade Lotus (not the one pictured above). It’s a really pretty purple with shimmer that will be great for spring and summer. Zoya is made with a top 5 free formula and was voted the longest wearing natural nail polish.

Wonderstruck by Taylor Swift – This is a pleasant scent that I’ve actually worn a couple of times lately. I’m not a huge perfume person, but this wasn’t bad. I’ve been preferring pure vanilla by LaVanilla lately, though.

Amika Obliphica Nourishing Mask – I didn’t care for the packaging of this sample. It was a slender plastic sleeve with no way to reseal it once it was opened. Maybe it was intended to be a one use only sample. As long as my hair is, I probably could’ve used the entire thing at once. Instead I managed to get a couple of uses out of it. I expected a hair mask to be something you put on thickly, let sit for 20 or 30 minutes and then washed out. However, this only needs to stay on your hair two minutes and you can use it once a week, or even daily. After reading that, I really wasn’t expecting much from this other than a potentially nice conditioner. After washing my hair, it really didn’t feel any different… until I dried it. My hair was softer, shinier and overall more manageable. This is a really good product with a pleasant scent. The full size is $40 for a jar, which is the reason I haven’t already purchased it. Though once I stack up some more Birchbox points, it’s probably going to make its way into my cart!

Dropps Laundry Detergent – This month’s extra was a package of two little laundry detergent pods. It said you can use one per load, or if it’s a really large load, two. I think these are a really cool idea. It’s nice to skip the sometimes messy step of pouring and measuring out detergent, and just toss a little pod in the washer instead. These seem like they would be great for travel, or for older kids who are learning to do their own laundry. I was happy with this extra and have been keeping them around for when I unexpectedly run out of detergent. My only concern with these is that I wonder if they would easily puncture.

This month was a cool Birchbox, I liked everything that was in it although I wasn’t a huge fan of the perfume. It was worth trying though, I’ve been wondering how it smelled. I’m always thrilled when Zoya is included, so I definitely feel I got my moneys’ worth. It does seem like some people got boxes with a higher value, but maybe they balance that out somehow over several months. Either way I can’t complain since I was content with what I got. I can’t wait until later this week when my May box gets here, check back soon for a preview of it!

*Birchbox is a monthly subscription that delivers high end, deluxe samples to your door for $10 a month. Get your own box here.

Review: March (Teen Vogue) Birchbox

Kate Spade New York Twirl – I’ve said many times that I’m not a big fan of perfume samples in Birchboxes. I feel like we already get these at every beauty counter and online cosmetic store we shop at. Because of that, this is my second or third sample of this perfume. Alot of people enjoy it, but I just don’t like it. I almost wondered if this was included in the box less for the smell, and more for the fact that it coordinated well with the pink and red packaging for the T.V. Birchbox.

Kerastase Elixir Ultime – Hair oils have been a big trend lately, so I wasn’t that surprised to see one pop up in this box. It was a decent size, and I like the little pump dispenser as opposed to a vial. When hanging out with one of my nieces, I decided to let her try my Mythic hair oil from a previous Birchbox. She said it smelled like a burned candle, so I let her use this one instead. She liked the smell much better and it really made her hair look shiny. I didn’t have remarkable results with it myself, but it is nice, and I will definitely use up the sample. As you might expect, it’s easy to use too much though, so it’s something I use very sparingly even though I have long hair that gets dry.

Twistband Hair Tie – I have one of these from a previous Birchbox, and find myself using it quite a bit. If you aren’t familiar with Twistbands, they are basically just a little piece of elastic trim tied at the end with a knot. After a few uses they will definitely live up to their name, and kind of roll up on themselves into a twisted loop. You might fight yourself continually smoothing it back out. They look nice enough, but if your hair is heavy, they might have trouble holding it up all day. I use them for low ponytails and they work well for that, and don’t leave a ponytail dent in your hair. I just feel that these are typically a little overpriced for what you’re getting. I was happy to get another one in my box though, since I do find them useful for around the house.

Essie LuxeEffects Nail Polish – This was a FULL sized bottle of Essie polish, which normally retails for $8. It nearly paid for this months box on it’s own! I got the pink color called A Cut Above. This polish contains small glitter as well as large round glitter pieces. I used it on it’s own, and found that one coat just didn’t look very nice. Used over another polish, one coat would be a nice accent, but I just went with multiple coats for the whole ‘jewel encrusted’ look. It seems to be a really nice polish. Although, as with any polish that has large glitter chunks – some of the pieces hang off the end of your nails and make them sharp, so it takes a little more care to either push those back before it dries or deal with them later. It’s DBP, Toluene, and Formaldehyde free, which is always a good thing. I would definitely purchase Essie polish in the future.

Tarte Lipsurgence Lip Tint – This is a cool little lipcolor that resembles some sort of jumbo crayon. The best part of it? Another full sized product! These little beauties are $24 each, so having a full size included in the Birchbox was a fantastic deal. The color I received was Amused, a very bright pink. I was afraid it was going to look terrible on me, but it actually works and I like it quite a bit provided that I don’t use too much. These lip tints claim to increase moisture content 6000%. Yes, you read that right, and I’m not making that up either- six thousand percent. While I did not apply this and say, “My lips feel six thousand percent more moisturized!” I did find it to be both moisturizing and long lasting. It’s nice to carry with you because you won’t need a separate liner, and you could always layer this with gloss if you wanted a shinier look. Lipsurgence is also formulated without parabens, sulfates, and other chemicals, which definitely impresses me. I would be wary of the lightest pink shade, I’ve seen it look unflattering on a few people, but otherwise it’s a really nice product and I’d like to try more colors.

Overall, I think this was a really great Birchbox. I absolutely loved finding two full sized products, which made this box an exceptional value. If you count the $24 lip tint, the $8 nail polish, and around $1.66 for the hair tie, it’s already almost a $34 value even before the perfume vial and hair oil sample (Not to even mention the reusable box, the tissue paper, and free shipping that always comes with Birchbox…and, review points too!). I’m so glad I decided to select the Teen Vogue Birchbox, and I hope they’ll do other special boxes in the future. I would’ve loved to be able to purchase this box separately to give some as gifts as well. The only thing I would’ve liked to see differently was the perfume but I definitely can’t complain! There were also a couple of coupons included, one for a discount for a subscription to Teen Vogue magazine and another for a discount at ModCloth. Nice!

Quick recap of what was included for $10, because I feel it’s important to list this all out – One reusable cardboard box, several sheets of tissue paper, little cardboard sleeve around the box, shipping, 50 Birchbox points if you did the reviews (which equals $5 but you can only spend in increments of 100 points), perfume vial sample, deluxe sample of hair oil, a hair band (trying so hard not to make an 80s joke there), an $8 nail polish, a $24 lip color, and two discount coupons. If you can find a better deal for $10… please let me know! And if you’d like to join Birchbox, you can click here! (Shameless plug to earn points). They have had a waiting list for a while, but I considered making another account to get both my regular box and the T.V. box, so I signed up for the waiting list with another email and it only took about a week to get through. Ultimately, I chose to just stick with one account though. I know that not every box is as great as the Teen Vogue box, but it’s boxes like this that keep me sticking with the service and always feeling like I’m getting my moneys worth and then some.

Mini Review: StriVectin, First Aid Beauty, Eos

I wanted to quickly make a mini review of a few products I’ve either bought, or tried samples of lately and liked.

StriVectin-SH Age Protect SPF 30 – This is an oil free moisturizer for your face that comes complete with spf 30 (obviously, since it’s in the title). It’s formulated without parabens, sulfates, synthetic fragrances/dyes, or petrochemicals. Yay. I originally got this product as a mistake, actually. I redeemed my Sephora points for a deluxe sample of one of the other StriVectin products, but they were sold out and sent me this instead. At first I was a little bummed, but once I started using this stuff I loved it. It’s not too thick, absorbs quickly, and makes a great base to start your makeup with. I use mineral foundation and this has been my favorite moisturizer to use before makeup. Best of all, I never noticed any breakouts or problems associated with this. My only complaint is that a full sized bottle is $49, which is a little too steep to pay for lotion, in my humble opinion. But if you’re looking for a good moisturizer with spf, this is the best that I’ve found so far. A little goes a long way too, I managed to stretch my sample out for quite some time.

First Aid Beauty Ulta Repair Cream – This is another product that I received as a sample and ended up loving. This is a cream containing Colloidal Oatmeal, made for severely dry skin (and even things like Eczema, Keratosis Pilaris, etc. Just read the description on Sephora for the specifics). The product is also free of parabens, sulfates, synthetic fragrances/dyes, phthalates, and more. Their results claim that 98% of people noticed an instant relief from dry skin, with 100% reporting a lasting improvement in skin dryness. Sounds too good to be true, right? I often have dry, flaky skin and over the past several months I developed a few patches of dry skin that were noticeably darker and itchy. (Ew, I know, that’s probably TMI). One of them was on my leg and would itch like crazy. I put the sample on each of the dry patches, and just like they promised – instant relief. The patches started clearing up from the very first use! I used the sample packet very sparingly, and before it was finished all of the dry patches had completely cleared up. I was so impressed with this cream, especially considering I had tried many other lotions that did little, if anything for the dryness or itching. I also love knowing that this has fewer chemicals and no parabens, so I will most likely be buying a larger size soon.

Eos Sweet Mint Lip Balm – 95% natural and 100% organic, not bad for a lip balm, right? Paraben free, not tested on animals, and no animal byproducts either. I added this to my cart recently when I was shopping at Walmart.com. You can pick up these little spheres for around $3-$5. I love that the sphere has a little flat circle on the bottom, so it can stand up, but also a flat oval on the side to help you open it and keep it from rolling off your desk. The cap clicks on very securely, and because of the shape of the lip balm, its easy to find in your purse. Next time I would probably choose another flavor, but as a lip balm addict this one is high on my list. Is it the best lip balm I’ve ever used? Probably not, it’s good but I find myself reapplying it alot. But for the price, and knowing you’re using something organic and natural? This is definitely a product worth trying.

Lastly, Sephora currently has Stila eyeshadow palettes on sale for $12! They claim it’s a $54 value, and the colors definitely look pretty. I know some of you received a little card of Stila shadows in your Birchboxes this month, so if you were looking to buy them, I doubt you’ll find a better deal. They don’t however, have the smokey colors from the Birchboxes. That’s all for now, enjoy your weekend!