May 2016 Birchbox


You don’t have to tell me this is late… I know but better late then never right?!



Davroe Volume Senses Shampoo- Full Size $29.00

This natural shampoo thickens and strengthens hair with rice proteins and panthenol, creating va-va-voom in fine locks.

Bonus— We’ve added in this conditioner that thickens and volumizes with olive leaf and watercress extracts.  Full Size $29.00



K Los Skincare Triple Threat Detox Masque- Full Size $39.00

Made with glycolic acid and hyaluronic acid, this hydrating masque also features cayenne pepper and other antioxidants.



ModelCo Lip Lacquer in Morocco- Full Size Trio $16.00

This long-lasting gloss (in 1 of 3 shades) delivers rich, full-pigment color paired with brilliant moisture and shine.



Real Chemistry Luminous 3-Minute Peel for Body- Full Size $34.00

This acid-free peel gently exfoliates for instantly softer, smoother, and brighter skin.



Supergoop! Sun Defying Sunscreen Oil with Meadowfoam SPF 50- Full Size $34.00

This oil provides skin-nourishing richness while delivering broad-spectrum UV protection.




Ok so if you are not on board with Birchbox what are you waiting for?!  One of the reasons I keep coming back to Birchbox is their points system where you use your points to buy products in the Shop. You can get points a few different ways: One is by referring people (50 points),  buying products in the shop (1 point for every $1 spent), and by reviewing the products you received in your box (10 points for each review).  And… 100 points=$10.  So with a little math you can see that if you review all your products every month, you will get, on average, $5 in points a month.  I like to look at that as getting my box for half price!

The Oil Cleansing Method vs Pre Packaged Cleansing Oils

Now that you know what the hype is surrounding cleansing oils, its time to expand that knowledge and try not to let your brain steep out of your ears with all the information that is going to be thrown at you.


My mom has always been a bit of “natural” person so to speak she was using coconut oil before it was cool and treated various aliments with essential oils. She is always looking for natural acne cures for me and trust me I think I’ve tired everything. She first suggested the Oil Cleansing Method to me several years ago and I first said no way and then decided what the hay I’ve tried everything else maybe it will work.

What is the Oil Cleansing Method? 

The Oil Cleansing Method (From here on out we are going to say OCM) is a way to cleanse your face with a mixture of oils.  Now there are  dozens of opinions of what oils to mix to achieve OCM nirvana.  Here are just a few examples I found online–

From The Oil Cleansing Method:: 

  • Oily skin: Try a blend of 30% castor oil to 70% sunflower seed oil.
  • Balanced Skin: Try a blend of 20% castor oil to 80% sunflower seed oil.
  • Dry Skin: Try a blend of 10% castor oil to 90% sunflower seed oil.

Crunchy Betty:: 

  • Jojoba (all skin types, but very desirable for acne-prone skin)
  • Sweet almond (all skin types, especially oily)
  • Grapeseed (all skin types, especially oily)
  • Avocado (dry and aging skin)
  • Sunflower Seed (all skin types)
  • Apricot Kernel (dry, aging, and normal skin)
  • Argan (all skin types, especially aging skin … very pricey)
  • Tamanu (all skin types … very pricey)

Tree Hugger:: 

  • Oily skin: Blend 30% castor oil + 70% olive oil
  • Balanced skin: 20% castor oil + 80% olive oil
  • Dry skin: 10% castor oil + 90% olive oil




Confused yet?! 

I was overwhelmed, so I  half heartedly mixed some castor oil, olive oil and jojoba oil together and used it on my face.  It didn’t make it worse but it wasn’t better and at that point I was so overwhelmed (and yes I did kind of want to prove my mother wrong….) that I declared it didn’t work and moved on.

But No Oil Lives Another Day… 

Hello to Lara about 5 months ago when she noticed that skincare companies had taken the work out of mixing oils and done it for her!  Yay for being lazy!

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I had one sent to me and decided to give it a try and oh my gosh night and day difference between what I had done myself and what was in this magical bottle.  Next post we will discuss my skin care routine and how I use my cleansing oil.

Some suggestions for Pre Prepared Cleansing Oils!

About Face: Ten Amazing Cleansing Oils 

Independent: 11 Best Cleansing Oils

Sephora: Cleansing Oils from the search feature 

Ulta: Cleansing Oils from the search feature 


If you missed part one… 

 *Disclaimer- I know that skincare can be a controversial subject for people so please, please, please know that this is just my opinion and what has worked for me. You don’t have to agree with it but please be polite:) *

What is up with Cleansing Oils? Oil for an Oily Face?!

If you have been a reader of this blog for any length of time you know my face produces enough oil that I could run my car on it.  That is if cars ran on that kind of oil….  So… When the the “trend” of using oil to clean your face started a few years ago I quickly decided that was not going to be happening in my skin care routine.  Fast forward to present day and guess what, I am older and wiser and I put oil on my face everyday!

I haven’t written about this on the blog yet but I made it a goal this year to use up my samples.  From the sample sizes I  get in various subscription boxes to the samples that come with purchases; my sample supply has gotten out of control.  I decided that the best thing to do for my effort was to sort the samples into makeup (not travel size or sample size things but the packets of foundation or blush on a card stuff),  Skincare and Hair.  While on this sorting quest I discovered I had a few cleansing oils.  I have been using one (that is full size) for a few months and decided to use the others I had and make some comparisons. My plan is to write a post specially for each oil and then follow up with a post that compares the three that I have been using.  But first lets talk about what exactly a cleansing oil is suppose to do for your skin.



Whether your skin is oily, dry or somewhere in between you can use oil as a cleanser and a moisturizer on your face.  Don’t think (like I did) that using an oil on your face will only make your skin more oily.  In fact the opposite is true! Oil attracts oil, so if you put the right kind of oil (more on that later) on your face it will attract the not good kind of oil (sebum, and the oils from makeup) then when you wash your face all of the oil, good and bad will be down the drain.  Also when you cleanse your face with oil, the oil is able to cling to the junk on your face without getting into your pores and takes everything with it.  I have found for me personally that the majority of oil free cleansers (which if you are oily/acne prone you are told you must use)  on the market today are so good at their jobs that my skin is stripped and then is tricked into thinking it is dry and produces more oil. Using oil to combat oil is helping with my skins natural oil production. Don’t get me wrong I still have massive amounts of oil, but I can definitely tell a difference.

Next post we will dive into the oil cleansing method vs pre packaged cleansing oils

*Spoiler- I’ve done both….*

Resources Used:::  Beauty Editor “My Traumatic Experience with the Oil Cleansing Method” by  Michelle Villett

Paula’s Choice” The Oil Cleansing Method 

Bustle “The Oil Cleansing Method For Acne May Be Your Perfect Skin-Clearing Regimen” by Kristin Collins Jackson

Huffington Post “What The Heck Is Cleansing Oil, And Why Is Everyone Obsessed With It?” by Dana Oliver

Glamour “The Trick to Getting the Most Out of Your Cleansing Oil” by Susan Yara

Allure Beauty Box May 2016

Foreo Luna Play– $39.00


Allure Says–

What It Is: A golf-ball size facial cleansing brush.

What It Does: Removes gunk with gentle vibrations.

Why We Like It: This brush — a pint size version of the original Foreo Luna– is gentle enough to use on even sensitive skin.  It easily maneuvers around your nose, where bigger brushes tend to struggle, leaving skin smooth.  It comes prejuiced with 100 uses worth of battery power: once it’s drained, toss it out.  And in the meantime, don’t worry about cooties; The silicone inhibits bacterial growth.

Lara Says– 

I use a Clarisonic but I have heard great things about the Foreo Luna and this little petite version is perfect for those not sure if they want to make the commitment!

Foreo Day Cleanser– $29.95


Allure Says–

What It Is: A gentle face wash.

What It Does: cleanses without leaving skin tight and dry.

Key Ingredients: Mandarin and bergamot extracts (antioxidants); apricot seed oil (moisturizes)

How it Looks/Feels/Smells: The citrus scented cream transforms to an airy foam when you massage it onto damp skin with your fingers or the Foreo brush.

Why We Like It: It rinses away the leftover retinol and night cream you applied before bed–something water along won’t do– so you can start the day looking and feeling fresh.

Foreo Night Cleanser–$35.95 

Allure Says–

What It Is: A deep cleaning face wash.

What It Does: Cleanses skin and removes makeup.

Key Ingredients: Sweet Almond Oil and coco-caprylate/carpate, a derivative of coconut oil (moisturize)

How it Looks/Feels/Smells: Once wet, the gel turns to lotion and rinses away every last nit of makeup, leaving skin fresh and soft.

Why We Like It:  How clean does your skin really need to be? If your answer is squeaky, you’re going to love this face wash.  It thoroughly removes dirt, grime, sunscreen, waterproof mascara, lip stains and anything else you may have pancaked onto your face over the course of the day.

Lara Says– I’m excited to try both of these cleansers out with my little Luna! The ingredients in both sound like they will make a dream team combination.


Equitance Brightening Serum + Spot Corrector — $125.00 


Allure Says–

What It Is: a dark-spot-brightening serum.

What It Does: Minimized the appearance of spots causes by acne, hormonal changes and sun exposure.

Key Ingredients: Linoleic acid and vitamin C (brighten) ; olive oil and glycerin (moisturize)

How it Looks/Feels/Smells: The white formula is just thick enough to spot-treat small areas.

Why We Like It: Lets get one thing straight. Spot treatments require patience and persistence.  You probably won’t see much change after a few days. But a serum that shows a visible difference in four weeks? Now that’s fast.  This one is moisturizing and gentle, so it won’t irritate sensitive skin.  Our fair skinned tester found that the sun spots on her forehead faded from cappuccino brown to light tan after less then a month.

Lara Says–

If half the claims are true sign me up! I only wish that this sample size was a little larger as I don’t know if I’ll be able to use it long enough to see results. And with that price tag I need to know its a miracle worker before forking over the dough.

Cotz Flawless Complexion SPF 50 — $19.99


Allure Says–

What It Is: A noncomedogenic mineral sunscreen.

What It Does: Protects skin from UVA and UVB rays without clogging pores.

Key Ingredients: Zinc oxide (sunscreen)

How it Looks/Feels/Smells: You could mistake this sunscreen for a makeup primer.  It has the same silky texture that makes it easy to spread on skin.

Why We Like It: Because it’s not greasy or oily and it doesn’t smell like a pina colada.  While we have plenty of sunscreens that we like to wear at the beach, there are few that have passed makeup bag test.  This one provides sun protection and also wears remarkably well under foundation.

Lara Says–

I’m very excited to give this a try.  With the new medications I’m on for my acne I have to be super vigilant about using SPF and this sounds like a winner.

Pixi Mattelustre Lipstick in Rose Naturelle- $12.00 

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Allure Says–

What It Is: A semimatte twany-pink lipstick.

How it Looks/Feels/Smells: The creamy bullet applies with no drag or dryness. And unlike most “neutral” lipsticks, it delivers rich coverage.

Why We Like It: This isn’t a wispy, barely there rose.  It has some heft, thanks to traces of brown and a lush opaque finish.  It has has peptides, hyaluronic acid, and vitamins C and E to keep lips looking extra Angelina Jolie-ish.

Lara Says–

This color is pretty and I love this formula.  Definitely a win!

Make Up Forever Smoky Extravagant Mascara– $24.00 


Allure Says–

What It Is: A volumizing, lengthening, and curling mascara in an ultrablack shade.

How it Looks/Feels/Smells: Packed with 580 bristles, the brush is shaped like a candy corn.  The idea is that the fine tip targets small inner-corner lashes, while the fat center loads up with your lashes with the inky pigment to volumize and lift with one swipe.

Why We Like It: You know those mascara buzzwords you hear all the time (volumizing, lengthening, curling, defining) ? Well, this pigmented mascara manages to capture them all in one sleek black tube.  One coat left our tester’s lashes lifted and thicker, yet somehow multiplied with zero clumps. The unique shade of the brush fits right in with all-in -one trend: the tiny nib gets right into tricky inner corners while the fatter ends pulls the outer corners up and out for a subtle cat-eye effect.

Lara Says–

I have used this mascara before and I really liked it.  Another win in my opinion.


Lauren B.  Nail Polish in Santa Barbara Surf– $18.00 


Allure Says–

What It Is: A glossy green-blue polish that’s free of formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, formaldehyde resin and camphor.

What We Like It: The love child of mint green and sky blue, it works with our summer whites and office neutrals. And the glossy, wet-looking finish stays shiny even after a trip to the beach.

Lara Says–

OMG… This color…. Next pedicure I’m taking this with me!!

Sign Up to get your own Beauty Box by Allure for just $15.00 a month! This is one of my favorites as the products I get are all bonus sample sizes (and sometimes full size too! ) and the products are typically more high end.  


Ipsy May 2016





Its that time!  Time to pop open the pretty pink package and see what Ipsy has for me this month.



Love this bag!  It is so cute:)



Hanalei Lip Treatment $25.00 (full size product) 

Ipsy Says::

WHY WE ❤ THIS BRAND: Bringing you the benefits of Hawaii’s rare Kukui Nut, Hanalei creates one-of-a-kind products to heal and protect against dryness.

WHY THIS PRODUCT’S FAB: This rejuvenating Lip Treatment will make your chapped lips a thing of the past. Using Kukui Nut oil, antioxidants, agave and grapeseed oil, your lips will be smooth and moisturized in no time!

Lara Says::

This is a new brand to me and I’m guessing by the name based in Hawaii as I’m pretty sure hanalei means to make a lei.  (Update:: I was right! ) This has a nice sweet scent and feels great on my lips!

** 30% off your online purchase with the code HANALEI30 **



NoTS 28 Remedy Acne Pore Deep Cleanser $32.00 (full size) 

WHY WE ❤ THIS BRAND: We all know that Korea has some of the best kept skincare secrets. And now NoTS is bringing some of them to you with their line of natural products straight from the skincare mother-land!

WHY THIS PRODUCT’S FAB: Bubbles in this gentle cleanser burst to invigorate your skin, while cleaning out pores and hydrating skin. It works great on acne-prone skin and is gentle enough to use everyday.

Lara Says::

The main acne fighting ingredient in this cleanser is salicylic acid.  Apparently this is Koran brand and is available in North America via Amazon!  I’m curious to see what else they offer…


Smashbox X- Rated Mascara $22.00 (Full Size) 

Ispy Says::

WHY WE ❤ THIS BRAND: Created by pros for pros! Their innovative products leave you looking and feeling flawless, whether you’re on-the-go or on set.

WHY THIS PRODUCT’S FAB: Smashbox is back at it again! This triple threat brush isolates and magnifies each lash, while applying its fiber-loaded formula. The result? Sky-high and defined lashes in just one swipe. Bonus: the formula is clump, flake and smudge-proof!

Lara Says::

I have not tried this mascara before and if I’m remembering correctly when this first came out I read mixed reviews.  I will report back!

** 15% off your first online purchase on with the code IPSY15 **


Slmissglam Small Contour W07  Brush (unable to find this brush by itself on the site)

Ipsy Says::

WHY WE ❤ THIS BRAND: Makeup artist and beauty blogger turned makeup brush designer! SLMissGlam is our #WCW of makeup tools. She created a line of super cute brushes marked with her signature style.

WHY THIS PRODUCT’S FAB: This small rounded brush is the perfect size to bring anywhere and can be used in a million and one ways. Plus, it’s freakin’ ador2able!

Lara Says::

I love getting brushes from Ipsy because I’ve loved all of them!  This one is soft and I can’t wait to use it.  And I mean come on its pink and gold:)

** Use the code SLIPSY25 to receive 25% off your online shopping excursion ** 



BellaPierre Cosmetics Nude Gel Lip Liner Pencil $18.00 

Ispy Says::

WHY WE ❤ THIS BRAND: Known for their mineral beauty products, BelláPierre Cosmetics enhances natural beauty with pure mineral products.

WHY THIS PRODUCT’S FAB: Prep your lips for spring parties with this waterproof, smooth gel lip liner pencil. This creamy liner’s versatile shade can be worn with your fave lippies or by itself.

Lara Says::

I have gotten a lip liner from this brand before and I really liked it so I’m very happy with this!

** Save your wallet some money with the code IPSYMAY2016 **

Join me on ipsy and subscribe to the Glam Bag! You get 4-5 beauty products every month delivered to your door, for just $10. Michelle Phan curates the bags! 

Stila Best of Kitten Makeup Set


A few months ago I found this best of kit on Hautelook and decided I needed it.  Well not need you know but I thought I needed it for review purposes…:)  Kitten is a best selling eyeshadow and gloss for Stila and I thought I should let you know if its great or not!

This can still be found on amazon where it retails for $65.00 but I bought mine on Hautelook for $24.00.  Is this worth $65.00?  No.  Worth $24.00? YES !

What It Is::

Stila Best Of Kitten 6 Piece Makeup Gift Set is an exquisite collection of makeup essentials which will ensure you look dazzling all year round.

Featuring a gorgeous all-over shimmer, eye shadow, eyeliner and ever popular Lip Glaze, Best Of Kitten 6 Piece Makeup Gift Set is beautifully presented in a gold fringed cosmetics bag and comes with a free designer bangle to ensure you look glamorous from top to toe.


Collection Contains:

  • Eyeshadow In Compact in Kitten  – An award-winning sparkling nude eye shadow with a pressed powder formula which offers long lasting wear and pigment rich colour. Easy to apply, this signature neutral hue has a silky smooth texture which glides over the eyelids effortlessly and can be worn wet or dry for a variety of different looks. Packaged in a sleek black compact, Eyeshadow In Compact is perfect for throwing into your handbag.
  • All Over Shimmer Luminizer in Kitten Shimmer  – Adds a touch of universal nude shimmer to the face and body for a radiant glow. This creamy, skin-enhancing luminizer gives the skin a fresh, radiant glow; Soft Focus Pigments help diminish skin imperfections whilst minimising the appearance of fine lines and sun spots. Ideal for mixing with your favourite lotions or your Stila Foundation, All Over Shimmer Luminizer adds a touch of brightened radiance to the skin. Stila’s signature shimmer leaves the skin with a soft and subtle shimmer and instant luminosity.
  • Lip Glaze in Kitten  – A non-sticky, deliciously scented lip gloss in an iconic shimmering nude. This high-shine lip gloss will get the lips the attention that they deserve! A cult favourite, Stila Lip Glaze has a flavour and scent. A makeup bag essential, Lip Glaze is long lasting, moisturising and never sticky. Packaged in Stila’s famous click pen, this signature gloss is ideal for throwing in your handbag and gives the lips a flush of sheer colour and high shine. Wear alone or layer over your favourite lipsticks for gorgeous lips every day.
  • Smudge Stick Waterproof Eyeliner in Gilded 0.28g – A highly pigmented eye liner pencil in a metallic golden bronze. This smooth, waterproof eye liner glides onto the eye lids without skipping, dragging or pulling. Easy to apply, Smudge Stick Waterproof Eyeliner imparts intense, vibrant colour effortlessly for beautifully defined eyes. The innovative,flexible formula ensuresthat colour stays put all day and night without flaking, creasing or moving. Glide onto upper and lower lash lines or smudge into a shadow over the lid. Once set, the colour won’t budge.
  • BaubleBar Pyramid Bracelet – An edgy gold toned bangle with pyramid detailing. Sure to add a touch of rock chick glamour to your party outfit, BaubleBar Pyramid Bracelet is a limited edition design from cult US designer BaubleBar.
  • Gold Fringed Clutch – A stylish metallic clutch which will jazz up any little black dress. With a striking metallic fringe design and a secure zip fastening, this exclusive clutch bag is a must have for storing your Stila party essentials inside.



Left to Right– Kitten Eyeshadow, Kitten All Over Shimmer Liquid Luminizer, Waterproof Smudge Stick in Gilded, Lip Glaze in Kitten

Let me know if you would like to see a look using these products!


^^^^HauteLook:: HauteLook is a Los Angeles-based online retailer, offering members limited-time sales on clothing, accessories, kids’ items, home decor, and beauty products. ^^^^

Products I’ve Hit Pan On:: Colourpop Supershock Eyeshadow in Glow

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I’m a big fan of Colourpop’s products. One of my favorites is their eyeshadow.  This color is a Vanilla Matte and was first only available n the Kathleen Lights collection but is now also available by itself.  I like to use this as a base for an eye look and/or as a brow bone highlight.  Right now I am not going to repurchase as I have a ton of other eye shadows and base products to go thorough but I would highly recommend it and I’m sure at some point I will buy it again.

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Colourpop Supershock Eyeshadow in ‘Glow’ — $ 5