Hello, hello sweet friends, how are you today? 🙂 I hope you’re doing well and happy hump day! 🙂 So, I don’t know if you are aware of this, but I’ll be celebrating my 24th birthday this Friday (YAY!), and thus, I’ve been doing a little bit of beauty shopping. I shouldn’t be really, because there are numerous bigger budget items that I would like to/need to save for, but hey…a beauty addict’s gotta do what a beauty addict’s gotta do. 😉
About a week ago, I received the most lovely email from Sephora, saying that it was time for me to pick up my annual birthday freebie. This is, no joke, one of the best emails I receive in the entire year. In case you don’t know, Sephora has a dollar-for-point rewards program, so basically, that means that every dollar you spend will earn you a point. You can bank and use these points to redeem various rewards throughout the year, valued at 100 points ($100), 250 points ($250) or 500 points ($500), but another special little perk of being a “Beauty Insider,” (join here if you aren’t one already!) regardless of the amount of money you spend in Sephora, is the birthday gift . Now, it’s always a small gift and it varies throughout the world, but still, every year, on your birthday, you will get a little gift from Sephora on or around your birthday! How nice!
This year, I’ve heard that the gift is pretty good from friends who have celebrated their birthdays earlier in the year, so, naturally, I couldn’t wait to try it for myself! Well, I picked up my mini NARS lip pencil duo towards the end of last week (you know, in the midst of my beauty
hoarding shopping), and while I haven’t given them a “full” try, I wanted to share my preliminary thoughts, a mini review, if you will, with you today, as well as some thoughts on a dry shampoo that I picked up on Friday night that seems to be quite hyped at the moment. Question is, does it deserve the hype that it’s been getting? Hmmm…let’s find out, shall we!? 🙂
First of all, I completely adore the packaging that NARS/Sephora went with, it’s simple, it’s sleek and I’m not going to lie, I felt empowered as I walked out of Sephora after reading the “one year bolder” statement on the box. Plus, it’s a double entendre (get it, bolder, like bold lips!? *slaps knee and laughs*)! Oh, Sephora, you’ve pleased the English nerd in me! 😉
In terms of sizing of this duo, I’m really pleased. As aforementioned, sometimes Sephora can be a little stingy with their birthday gifts size-wise (as with all of their reward/sample sizes, too…#justsayin’), but this time around, they hit it out of the park. The pencils are a decent size at 0.05 ounces each (versus the 0.086 ounces for a regular size for a Velvet Matte Lip Pencil and 0.07 for a Satin) and therefore, I can definitely use each multiple times, you know, experiment with them as you would, without fussing over product running out immediately after one application. I was a little surprised that the pencils do not turn up at the bottom, though, as the Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains do, but having looked at the Sephora website, even the regular size of these pencils don’t do that; you sharpen them manually (shows how much I know! 😉 :P). Maybe I’m just getting a little greedy & lazy in my (almost) older age? 😉
Getting to the first of the duo, the Satin lip pencil in Rikugien, I’m going to be straight with you, I’m not a fan. This frosty rose pink is just not what I would usually go for, as I enjoy rosey-pink colours with a lot of shine, rather than visible shimmer and glitter (of which Rikugien has a lot of). However, I do think that this colour would better suit my fair friends, as it’s got a subtle warm undertone and frosty sheen that practically begs to be an “everyday pink” for people with a lighter complexion (there would be more of a contrast and therefore it would probably prettier than against my dark skin :)).
I also have to mention the wear; though I’ve only worn it twice, I, frankly, expected more from the satin lip pencils. It does, thankfully, glide onto my lips with ease and feel really smooth when swatched against my hand, but within about 20-30 minutes, I’m reaching for lip balm (and water). Yes, I do have fairly dry lips to begin with, but I don’t often experience lip products that are so drying that I need to madly search for some added hydration, especially not one that claims to be “a rich, creamy satin finish that stays on all day.” Nah, I think I’ll pass on buying the full-size version of this one, and will definitely pass on wearing it often, if at all.
On the other hand, I fell head over heels for the Velvet Matte lip pencil in Cruella! Now, I know what you’re thinking…”she just likes it because it’s a deep red and she’s obsessed with red lipstick…”
Well, my friend, you are partially correct, but please, give me more credit than that! What I like most about this product is, yes, the colour, as it’s a perfect deep, scarlet red that I believe would flatter any and every complexion. However, there’s more to it than that; it feels creamy from the moment it touches your lips, despite its velvet matte finish and fortunately, that feeling never fades. In other words, I had better luck with this pencil than Rikugien; I wasn’t immediately gasping for an IV to replenish my dry, dry lips.
Furthermore, the wear time on this thing! My, my, I’m impressed. I wore it on Sunday and, due to the fact that I’d already tried Rikugien, I brought it with me on my travels to the mall and to run errands, thinking I would need to re-apply; I didn’t expect it to last longer on my lips than an hour. However, I ate, drank, talked (a lot, as per), the whole gambit and (are you ready?) a whole seven (7!!) hours later, it looked like I had just applied it. I now completely understand why NARS classifies this pencil as a “lip liner & lipstick in one,” because it (clearly) has the impact and comfort of a lipstick but has the wear time of a liner! Score! To me, that seals the deal; great colour, comfy on the lips and it is actually long-wearing!? Done. When this beauty finishes, I’m gettin’ me to Sephora to replace it. Plus, for some reason, I thought that these were a bit more pricey than they actually are, so I was delighted when I checked the Sephora website to find out that a full-size “Cruella” will cost me $26 CAD. *attempts French accent to be fancy* “This is, how you say…’bang-for-your-buck!?’” 😉
Finally, we have the COLAB Sheer Invisible Dry Shampoo in Rio, which I have to say…completely took me by surprise. Now, I’m not going to discuss this one too much because, as you may know, I have very fine, unruly, frizzy, curly hair that doesn’t need washing more than once a week. I’ve only ventured into the concept of dry shampoo recently, for when my hair is straight/has been blown out but it’s on the way out and I need something to clean up and touch up the roots. Therefore, I’m definitely not what I would call an “authority” on dry shampoo, as I’m still getting to know what works for my hair, what doesn’t and what sets a good dry shampoo apart.
Having said that, on Friday, I was perusing the shelves of one of my favourite beauty shops when I saw various travel size cans of COLAB dry shampoo. I remember hearing my friends talk about this when it first launched, and reading about it a little after they mentioned it, so I decided to pick up a can. Now, again, I’m no dry shampoo expert, but wow, this stuff is incredible. I’ve only tried one other brand for my dry shampoo needs, but what I can say is that COLAB’s “Rio” does a great job of getting my oily roots feeling really clean and silky smooth and it smells amazing. According to the website, Rio is a tropical fragrance with notes of papaya, pineapple and cassis, but I get a much more mango-ey vibe from the scent. Either way, it smells remarkable but my favourite part of using this product? No white/ashy/grey tones in my black hair! YAYYYYY!
Seriously, I’ve tried it twice now, once on Sunday and once today, which, if truth be known, that’s probably a little too much for my hair type, but hey…it’s all in the name of beauty testing! 😉 What I’ve noticed with *ahem* other affordable dry shampoo brands, is that they tend to leave a cast on my hair, no matter how much combing/brushing and fussing I do, and regardless of what fragrance/variety I use. However, the COLAB shampoo is truly what it says it is: sheer & (almost) invisible! Considering that the cost is $5.99 for a can of 50ml (or $9.99 for the standard, 200 ml size), I’m quite pleased! The one thing that I expected but I didn’t get too much of is volume, however, I didn’t purchase the “Extreme Volume” version of the shampoo, so that could be why. It’s not like the shampoo didn’t add any volume to my hair, because it did, it just didn’t add much. Having said that, though, I have crazy frizzy hair, so it could be a blessing in disguise; should I ever decide to use it as a quick touch up when my hair is in its natural state, I wouldn’t want too much added volume, would I!? So, just the right amount of volume, minimal fuss and a great fragrance? Yes, I’d say this product has “checked all of my boxes,” so to speak. You can pick one of these up online to try for yourself right here, or for my fellow Canadians, rumour has it Rexall will be getting it soon (but I have no idea when or even if that’s true), but until then, Phoenix Beauty Lounge has them available as of right now! Yay! 🙂
Alright, so there you have it, I gave the NARS Lip Pencil birthday gift duo and the COLAB dry shampoo a try and those were my first impressions and a mini review! Now, it’s your turn! Have you received the Sephora birthday gift yet? If so, did you get the same one as me? Did you like the NARS pencils, or were they just kind of “meh” to you? Or, have you ever thought of using dry shampoo? If so, what brands do you prefer? SO many questions…so little time! 😉 ↓
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Thank you so much for reading and have a marvellous day! 🙂
Lots of love,