Monday, January 19, 2015

January 2015 Ipsy - Fresh Start - Unboxing and Review!

Hello! Whew, marathon posting tonight! Actually, I'm not sure  if I will get this up tonight or if I will have to finish this tomorrow; for some reason, I find blogging to be kind of tiring. Which is silly, because all I'm doing is typing. Hmmm.

For this post, I want to share with you what I got in my Janaury 2015 ipsy bag. I'm going to be totally honest up front and say I am very disappointed in this month's bag. Lately I feel like Ipsy has been hit or miss and I'm worried that I'm reaching that "a little over a year" threshold for when I get bored of a subscription service.
I saw a bunch of bags on Instagram (I decided it was okay to see spoilers on Instagram since I don't actually know what I'm getting in my bag; they're all a little different) and was kind of excited to get a nail polish and/or a brush. I received neither, even though every time I get a nail polish I say I "love it!", which is the way to let ipsy know you like/dislike. The longer I'm subscribed, the less I think ipsy really pays any attention to how you review items; I'm sure they follow trends as a whole (so if a bunch of people didn't like an eyeshadow shade, they won't include a similar shade again), but I don't think they pay attention to individual differences.
Quick ipsy facts: $10 a month; five(ish; sometimes four, sometimes six, almost always five) samples mailed to you; a new makeup bag every month (these are sometimes special, like the Rebecca Minkoff one); a kind of crappy reward system (I feel like it's pretty much impossible to earn a reward without having to refer a bunch of people or post a ton on social media. I made sure to review every single one of my products and I only earned about 650 points. You need 1000 points to get a reward and most of them aren't even that great. Your points also expire after a year. Birchbox's reward system is much, much better); sometimes get full sizes; various brands ranging from drugstore brands to higher end ones like Benefit and Urban Decay; used to be called Glam Bag.
Like every month, my bag came in the hot pink mylar mailer. This is a cute way to "brand" your product without having to invest in custom bags/boxes, so kudos to ipsy.
 Every month you also get a brand new makeup bag. Most of these are pretty cute, some are average, but then there are a few, like this month's, that are super ulgy (at least to me; this might be someone's cup of tea and that's cool). The bag has a weird, plasticky textured finish with navy blue on one side (it's much darker in real life)...
and cream on the other. The zipper and inside is orange. It's just a weird color scheme and I don't feel like it has any connection to the "theme" this month (like most boxes, there's a "theme", but the products don't really have any relation to it).
January 2015's theme is "Fresh Start", which is pretty generic for a January box. I do like that they have another photograph on the card and not just a graphic.
The back of the info card defines what a "fresh start" is and provides information about posting your bag to social media and potentially winning a free year of ipsy. Ipsy does not include any information about the products you receive on the the info card, but that doesn't really bother me since all the info, including the other products on offer for that month, are located in your Glam Room (your account info on the website, basically).
Going in the order of the products in my Glam Room, I'm starting with the Hikari Mechanical Eye Liner in Storm. Everyone who got this product got the same color, which is a slate grey.
This is described as having a "smooth formula", but it felt very dry and applied patchy. I'm not sure if mine's just old or dried out, but the pen itself was sealed with plastic inside of the box, so I don't know how much air exposure the product got. The top swatch I applied a lot of pressure and product; the bottom was a few swipes with normal pressure. The description says you can smudge this liner out, but I found that when I smudged it I wiped off a lot of the color and it ended up even more patchy. The packaging on this product also feels really, really cheap. It feels loose and like it doesn't fit together quite right. I was initially excited to see a Hikari product in my bag since I had seen the brand in other people's bags and wanted to try it, but honestly, it just feels like a cheapie drugstore product. This is presumably the full size of the this product (I couldn't find any size info on the Hikari website) and it retails for $13. This is definitely an example of something being overpriced to increase it's perceived value when it "goes on sale" ( I feel like Kohl's does this all the time; they have $25 t-shirts that nobody would ever pay full price for, but put them on sale for $10 and people snap them up thinking their getting a great deal). I would much rather spend the extra $5-$7 to get a higher-end liner from Urban Decay or Stila or something. Heck, I would spend $6 to get a NYX one and it would probably be way better than this.
This next product I'm actually kind of happy to get! This is a sample of the Eco-Beauty by La Fresh (which finally ends the debate for me whether it's "La Fresh" or L.A. Fresh" if this is the same brand I'm thinking of) Be Good. Good Day. Day Moisturizer. When I first saw this, I thought I had gotten a foil packet, but it's actually a more eco-concious deluxe sample. It's re-closable so you can use it many times without worrying about air exposure and you can travel with it. If you think about how much plastic we waste with little sample tubes, it's kind of disturbing, so it's nice to see this kind of packaging. This moisturizer has collagen-producing peptides, hylauronic acid, cucumber, aloe, vitamins B, C, and E, and an anti-aging botanical complex that includes maqui berry, licorice root, ginko leaf, grape seed, and hickory bark. It works well with sensitive, dry, and combo skin types. I like trying face lotions, especially since I burn through them so quick in the winter, and this one sounds interesting. The full size is 1.7oz for $40, which seems kind of pricey; I always though of La Fresh (if this is the La Fresh I'm thinking of) as more of a high drugstore/mid-tier brand, though I may be way off since I have no real experience with it. This 0.5oz sample is worth about $12.
Intitally, I had reservations about this product, but I think I've grown to like it! This is the Malin+Goetz Mojito Lip Balm. This is a new brand for me, and it seems like it's more on the higher-end side of things. This is a mojito-flavored lip balm and one of the reasons why I thought I might not like it is that I'm not a big fan of mint-flavored things outside of gum. It ended up smelling mintier than it tastes (I think it just has a scent and not a flavor) and it's more of a "medicinal" kind of mint instead of a sweet mint, so it's more tolorable. One of the commenters on my Youtube video said that this was one of their favorite lip balms, so I decided to really give it a chance and I do think I like it. It's a lip gel that is apparently "scientifically blended" to restore and replenish. It has a texture very similar to a Jack Black lip balm, though it's a bit thinner, which I like. It's color and paraben free and the magical ingredient is hydrogenated polyisobutene fatty acids. Fancy. The full size is 0.35oz for $12, so this not-quite-full-size 0.20oz sample is worth about $6.90.
Another product from a brand I haven't heard of; I actually really like trying things from different brands, so this is nice! This is the Manna Kadar Cosmetics Sheer Glo shimmer lotion. It comes in one universal shade, which is like a soft dusty coll-toned pink, and it's supposed to give you a youthful glow and dewy finish, which will be nice in the spring.
You probably can't see it too well since it's a sheer color, but it's a nice universal pink highlight kind of shade. You can use this on your face or body and they suggest mixing it with your foundation, using it as a highlight, or mixing a little in with your body lotion. I like the versatility of this kind of product, though it's not all the unique. This is a great size, too, since I don't tend to go through these very quickly (...still working on my Becca shimmer thing from the summer). The full size is 1oz for $29; this 0.27oz sample is worth about $7.80.
 And then there is this. Oh boy. This was the spoiler product for this month and when I heard that everyone was going to get one of these my expectations for January's bag immediately plummeted. This month, everyone got a Pacifica natural mineral coconut eye shadow in either Treasure (which I got) or Ethereal (which I am very happy I didn't get since I hear it is very sheer and really only good as a highlight). Not sure if you've been following ipsy unboxings for a while, but we had gotten a Pacifica eye shadow duo before and it was horrid. When I first got it, I gave it the benefit of the doubt and I was polite and said it was probably okay but you know what? I was just being nice. The packaging was garbage and broke right away (if you watch unbaggings, I'm sure 80%-90% of people's broke the moment they tried to open it.) and the shadows were crumbly, dry, and barely pigmented.
Unfortunately, it looks like the packaging on these shadows is similar to those, though I will say mine didn't break the second I touched it. Not sure how well it shows up, but there's a big glob of glue on the upper right hand side; when I tried to take this shadow out of box, I couldn't get it out. I thought it was stuck or something. I didn't want to run the box for visual aid purposes, so it took me a while to get it out. I have no idea why they needed to glue the shadow in the box. I thought maybe mine was just a mistake, but it sounds like other people had the same problem.
Pacifica doesn't actually sell these shadows on their own, so it's good to know that they aren't trying to sell these in such bad packaging. Treasure is in the Solar Complete Color Mineral palette, which is $32. I couldn't find any weights for the products in the palette (there are six shadows, two cheek products, and three lip glosses I think) so I have no clue how much this individual shadow is worth, nor how it compares in size to the palette. These are pressed mineral eye shadows with coconut water for a "velvety, cream-like finish".
I will say that this product performed much better than the previous eye shadows we received. It had fairly good pigmentation and it blended well. As I said, I heard that Ethereal, the other color you could have gotten, was not as good as Treasure, so it might just be a shade-specific thing. These shadows are formulated without: phthalates, parabens, carmine (bugs!), beeswax, lanolin, mineral oils, propylene glycol, petroleum, and FD&C colors. It is not tested on animals, it is gluten-free, 100% vegan, and cruelty-free (I don't get why they have to say both no animal testing and cruelty-free since doesn't being cruelty-free imply that there is no animal testing? Marketing reasons, probably). Again, this shade performed much, much better than ones I received previously, but I really don't think I can recommend that you go out and buy this palette; or any other palette by Pacifica. Pacifica makes great bath and body products, I love their lotions, but they need to stick with what they're good at.

Overall, I got four deluxe sized sample and one (potentially; this is unconfirmed) full sized product. The value of my January 2015 bag, minus the shadow because I have no clue how much it's worth, is $39.70.Generally, the straight retail value of products in ipsy bags are higher than Birchbox, but I feel like ipsy gets products from brands that inflate their prices (namely, Be A Bombshell and Hikari) and don't live up to expectations quality-wise. After going over my bag again, I do feel a little better about it since there are three pretty solid products in it, but I still have my concerns about the future of my ipsy subscription.

Thanks for reading! <3

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