African Botanics Pure Marula Cleansing Oil ♡

by Joyce in

I've been a huge fan of African Botanics ever since I was introduced to the brand at Space NK last summer, so when I heard that they were launching a cleansing oil, I was pretty excited! 

*PR Sample

African Botanics Pure Marula Cleansing Oil Review

I've only been using cleansing oils for the last year or so, and while I haven't tried too many yet I do believe this new release from African Botanics is one of the best. 

From Space NK:
An antioxidant and omega-rich cleansing oil for dry, combination and sensitive skin. Gently purifies and removes make-up, pollution, dead skin cells and surface impurities without causing irritation or skin dehydration. Minimizes redness, reduces irritation and stimulates micro-circulation. Transforms into a light emulsion when water is added, rinsing perfectly clean with no oily skin residue. Restores skin’s natural balance and gently exfoliates with an advanced blend of AHA Fruit Acids derived from Bilberry, Pink Grapefruit, Sugar Maple, Sugar Cane and Lemon. Maintains optimal skin oxygenation while overcoming environmental stress.

Doesn't that sound lovely? Like with many other cleansing oils, you apply a few pumps of this to dry skin. Then massage with water and rinse. I have to say that I was immediately impressed with how clean my skin felt - often, cream and oil based cleansers leave residue or require a bit of effort to get that clean feeling. 

For those who are familiar with the African Botanics line, this product has a different sort of scent compared to the more citrusy oils. I find it so impossible to describe the scent, but it is a bit warm, more herbal and while not my favorite, it is by no means unpleasant. I love how this cleansing oil keeps my skin balanced and not at all dry. 

I was surprised to discover that this cleansing oil is 100% vegan and gluten-free too! While I'm not terribly sensitive to that, I still think it is pretty cool. :) Additionally, this cleansing oil is certified organic and formulated without mineral oil, toxic preservatives, colorants, silicone, synthetic fragrances, sulfates, triclosan, parabens, PEGs, PPGs, DEA, TEA, urea or phthalates. 

All in all, this is neck in neck with my Tatcha favorite (review) as the best cleansing oil ever. :) For those of you interested in getting a bottle of your own, click here to take advantage of the Space NK promotion ending tonight, 4/22 at 11:59pm EST. (Affiliate Link)

Have you tried this new cleansing oil or anything else from African Botanics? I'd love to know your thoughts! 

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Love It or Toss It, #6

by Joyce in

Last Fall, Gummy and I started a series called Love It or Toss It to help us purge our collections. 

Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Pink Opal, Maybelline Color Tattoo in Lavish Lavender, L'Oreal Infallible Eyeshadow in Flashback Silver, Maybelline Color Tattoo in Tough as Taupe, Nars Multiple Duo in Copacabana/St. Bart's

Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Pink Opal, Maybelline Color Tattoo in Lavish Lavender, L'Oreal Infallible Eyeshadow in Flashback Silver, Maybelline Color Tattoo in Tough as Taupe, Nars Multiple Duo in Copacabana/St. Bart's

This time around, I grabbed a handful of items that I hadn't touched in ages. Right off the bat, there were a few items I knew I didn't love based on their color or finish. 

Maybelline Color Tattoo In Lavish Lavender
I wasn’t certain about Lavish Lavender when I first purchased it, and while the color is nice, this shadow isn’t super pigmented and again has more glittery bits than I prefer.

L'Oreal Infallible Eyeshadow in Flashback Silver
This has a much smoother texture than the Maybelline Color Tattoo in Lavish Lavender, and it is definitely more gray in undertone. I have always liked L’Oreal Infallible eyeshadows, but find this one to be a bit more glittery than I prefer. 

Laura Mercier Caviar Eye Stick in Pink Opal
While I am a big fan of Laura Mercier Caviar Sticks, the nearly metallic finish of this pink shade is just not love for me. 

Swatches L-R: Nars Multiple Duo in Copacabana/St. Bart's, Maybelline Color Tattoo in Tough as Taupe, Maybelline Color Tattoo in Lavish Lavender, L'Oreal Infallible Eyeshadow in Flashback Silver, and Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Pink Opal

Swatches L-R: Nars Multiple Duo in Copacabana/St. Bart's, Maybelline Color Tattoo in Tough as Taupe, Maybelline Color Tattoo in Lavish Lavender, L'Oreal Infallible Eyeshadow in Flashback Silver, and Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Pink Opal

On the other hand, the items I've chosen to keep aren't ones that I'm totally gushing over, yet at the same time they perform well. (Perhaps I ought to be more ruthless with my purging one of these days?) 

Nars Multiple Duo in Copacabana/St. Barts
I’ve always had a bit of a love/hate relationship with Nars Multiples, but I’m quite liking this Multiple Duo. The shimmer seems less pronounced in this form, and both of these shades look good (and not overly shimmery) on my skin. I also like Copacabana on my eyes!  

Maybelline Color Tattoo in Tough as Taupe
This was probably the first Color Tattoo I ever bought, and it has probably lived in my stash for at least two years. For the most part, it is still fine, though the edges of the product have cracked a bit. It is definitely a nicely pigmented base color. I noticed that it is actually similar to MAC Paint Pot in Tailor Grey, which I didn’t realize at all. 

All in all, it feels good to have purged a few items from my collection. In an effort to reduce the stash on an ongoing basis, you can look forward to Love It or Toss It posts on the 3rd Friday of every month. I would love for you to join in, so feel free to tweet/instagram with the hashtag #loveitortossit, or let me know if you’d like to do a blog post with me!

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Fuss Free Nail Polish Removal

by Joyce in

I don't know about you, but I have a tendency to avoid nail polish remover. So much of it is smelly (oh, the chemicals!) and the whole removal process is such a chore. I'm sure this is obvious to you, as I've frequently sported severely chipped nails here on BB. 

At some point, I landed on a now discontinued nail polish remover from the Sephora by OPI line that didn't smell horrible and worked quickly. Once the Sephora by OPI line was discontinued last summer, the search was on for more natural removers. 

Priti NYC Nail Wipes, Rococo Nail Polish Remover Tissue

*PR Sample

Then came some sort of nail polish epiphany when I discovered Priti NYC Soy Nail Polish Remover Wipes. These individually wrapped wipes are lightly citrus scented and somehow also remind me of olive oil, but one wipe will definitely remove more than 10 fingers worth of polish. I haven't tested it out on glitter yet, and I do prefer to wash my hands after due to the oily texture, though the lemongrass oil is meant to help moisturize. (Which it does!) 

And when the Space NK Spring GWP landed on my doorstep, I received the Rococo Nail Polish Remover Tissues* and were equally as thrilled with them. These have a more conventional (though subtle) remover scent with a hint of floral, perhaps as a result of the rosehip oil. They work effectively and don't leave any residue behind. 

I'm quite pleased to have discovered these nail polish These are perfect to toss in my bag for an emergency chipped polish removal. (Seriously, I've been known to leave on chipped manicures many weeks past their expiration date.) I will never be without one of these nail polish wipes again! 

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US Space NK Promotion & What to Buy

by Joyce in

Starting today, the US Space NK site is offering a nice little promotion for $20 off $75. This promotion ends midnight EST Tuesday, April 22, so you have about a week to select some great beauty goodies for your basket. 

For those of you new to Space NK, be sure to sign up for their N.dulge Rewards program, which rewards participants $5 for every $100 spent and $10 when you reach the higher tier of rewards.

I've also included a few suggestions of products I'm loving, in case you're having trouble filling a basket. ;) 

Affiliate Links

Second Row: African Botanics Neroli Infused Marula Oil // African Botanics Intense Skin Repair Body Balm // Laura Mercier Caviar Eye Stick

Will you be grabbing anything from this promotion? I'd love to know what's in your shopping basket! :)

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Spring Makeup Bag

by Joyce in

Last year, I attempted to choose a selection of products to wear each week. Needless to say, I wasn’t very good at it, and my weekly makeup bag posts fell by the wayside. 

In an effort to use more things I have, I decided to revive this makeup bag selection on a monthly basis. While not particularly original, I’m thinking this could just work. No commitments, and plenty of time to get around to using these things!

Take a peek at the video below to see everything that I've picked for April, (and probably May too). What's in your spring makeup bag? I'd love to know! :) 

P.S. I plan to be back to making videos on a regular basis, so do check back every Wednesday starting next week. Don't forget to subscribe here! :)

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Get Your Legs Ready for Spring with Somersets Shaving Oil

by Joyce in

Winter is finally (sort of) on its way out, and I've been dying to bare my legs. I'm done with cold, and I'm ready for fun spring dresses and sunshine. What I wasn't ready for, however, was shaving. It isn't something that I talk about for many reasons, the primary one being that I just hate it!!  

Seriously, shaving and my dry skin just don't get along, and I put it off as long as I could because I just didn't have a routine that I loved. Enter Somersets Shaving Oil. I had read about this product on a British blog ages ago, but never gotten around to picking one up, so when an email landed in my inbox asking if I would like to trial the line, I jumped. 

*PR Sample

Somersets Extra Sensitive Shaving oil review, Somersets Extra Delicate Shaving Oil review

Usually, shaving my legs is a bit of an ordeal. (Is that just me?) "Moisturizing" shaving cream formulas clog up razors and leave my legs with a bit of an uneven shave, and thinner formulas either leave my legs feeling dry or irritated. Plus, my hair is really fine and just generally seems impossible to catch with a razor at all. 

Somersets Shaving Oil is perfect for me - wet skin, use a few drops on each leg, and go. It leaves my skin feeling less dry and doesn't clog up a razor with product. It has given me probably the most even shave I've had in ages. Both the Extra Sensitive and Extra Delicate formulas work wonderfully, and I'm happy to report that neither my legs or underarms have felt itchy a few days after like they normally would. Now if only I could find the perfect razor to go with it! 

I didn't realize that Somersets Shave Oil was even sold here, so for US shoppers check your local Walgreens or Also, why haven't more brands made a shave oil? I know it exists for men, but I am seriously loving this version for me and I will definitely be ready for summer when it finally arrives! 

Do you find shaving to be a chore like I do? What are your favorite products to make shaving a stress-free experience? I'd love to know! :)

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Fresh Spring Floral Scents

by Joyce in

I'm pretty picky about fragrances, but In my mind, these two fragrances are just classic springtime scents. There aren't too many "mainstream" fragrances that I enjoy wearing, but these two are nicely light and fresh. Perfect for spring and summer!

issey miyake l'eau d'issey florale review, narciso rodriguez for her review

Affiliate Links

Narciso Rodriguez for Her Eau de Toilette
Notes: Honey Flower, Solar Musk, Orange Blossom, Osmanthus, Amberlyn, Vanilla, Tactile Musk, Tactile Woods, Vetiver. 

I've always associated this scent with the ever popular Stella by Stella McCartney, though their notes aren't really the same at all. This one is a slightly powdery floral, one that I've always thought was an "elegant" scent for a classy lady. (Think Charlotte from Sex & the City. Totally random reference, huh?) 

Issey Miyake L'Eau d'Issey Florale 
Notes: Mandarin, Lily, Rose, Musk, White Wood. 
I love the fresh crisp notes in this one - it reminds me of the crispness of cucumber or watermelon, a few scents that I really love. About a year ago, I thought I would buy a rollerball of this, but I found that it really didn't have that airy crispness in that form. 

I'm terrible at describing how a scent develops, so I'll skip that here. I will mention that on my skin, these stay very much the same over the course of a day, no one note overshadowing the others as time passes. I find both scents to be very delicate and totally appropriate for any occasion. 

Have you tried either of these "classic" floral fragrances? Are there any scents that you're loving for spring? I'd love to know! :)

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Ode to Glass Nail Files

by Joyce in

I’ve talked about glass nail files before, but I haven’t really talked about them. Seriously, if you’re using pretty much anything else on your nails, you’re doing yourself a disservice.

After converting to the things a few years ago after reading about these Mont Bleu Swarovski encrusted files on Makeup Withdrawal. I was excited when the company reached out to me a month or so ago and offered to send me files to try. 

*PR Sample

mont bleu glass nail file review

Look at them - aren’t they so pretty? But seriously, they're not just pretty, but they are super functional as well. I have little glass nail files stashed everywhere now - Sephora has some great travel size ones - but these are by far the prettiest in my stash. 

As a girl who breaks nails frequently and has a bad habit of ripping off the broken bits, nail files are a must. Without them, I just spend the rest of the day picking at my nail trying to smooth them out (ew). Standard nail files take quite a bit of effort and time to smooth out broken edges, but glass nail files can clear them up in just a few swipes! 

These glass files from Mont Bleu perform just as well as the others I own. They also come in a little pouch, which makes it convenient to toss into a purse or makeup bag. And what I love most about glass nail files is that they seem to last forever... or at least until I lose them or manage to somehow break them. I definitely plan to take care of these pretty ones!

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A Primer & Foundation Duo

by Joyce in

I don't know about you, but I seem to collect SO many deluxe samples of primers, and surprisingly of foundations too. A few weeks back, this duo was pretty well used over here, so I thought it was time for me to share it with you!

Buxom Show Some Skin Weightless Foundation review, Illamasqua Hydra Veil review

Affiliate Links

Illamasqua Hydra Veil
When this first came out, there was tons of hype and I didn't really know what the big deal was. A hydrating primer? Why would I need that, I thought, if I could just moisturize? Now that I've finally tried it though, I can understand. My dry skin soaks this up! 

From a priming perspective, I do feel like this helps the Buxom foundation go on smoother with better coverage. In terms of longevity, I do find that it helps my foundation last at least 8 hours. I also think the texture of this primer is unique - it is almost like jelly, which was a bit strange at first, but once you get used to it, it actually feels pretty nice on the skin! 

Buxom Show Some Skin Weightless Foundation in Meet Me Latte
I saw a video on Sephora's Youtube channel (here) and it looked right up my alley. This formula is light - I would say comparable to a tinted moisturizer. However, it is buildable to get a little coverage, though I find I use more of this to get slightly less coverage than I would use of the Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation or Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer.

Shade wise, this foundation is described on as a "neutral beige for medium skin tones" and I would say this is accurate. It is not too pink or too yellow, though it is just a bit darker than my skintone this spring. (I suspect that one shade down, You're A Natural, would be more appropriate for me.) 

It wears well, and despite having to use more than I normally would, this foundation never becomes cakey or anything. The finish is completely natural and glowy (in a good way!), so I would definitely recommend this to tinted moisturizer fans who didn't get along with Nars because of skin type, etc. 

I'm excited to use the Buxom foundation this summer, though I don't plan to purchase it when I finish it. I definitely think I'll pick up the Illamasqua once I finish up this little tube, as I suspect I could use any extra moisture each winter. What do you think of my little primer and foundation duo? Have you tried either of these products, or have a favorite duo of your own? I'd love to know!

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March Favorites ♡

by Joyce in

I can't believe we're already a week into April and I've finally gotten around to sharing my March favorites. And this month, I even have a few makeup favorites to share, including a few I was quite surprised to like! 

Take a peek at the video to hear about my March favorites and let me know what products you were loving! 

Products Mentioned:
Beautyblender Blendercleanser Solid
African Botanics Neroli Infused Marula Oil (review)
Laura Mercier Creme Smooth Lip Color in Antique Pink
Kevyn Aucoin Liquid Liner in Basic Black
Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder in Medium
Extra Watermelon Gum
Bunny iPhone Case

Makeup Worn: 
Chantecaille Future Skin Foundation
Clinique Super Fine Liner for Brows in Soft Brown
Nars Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base
Nars Narsissist Eyeshadow Palette
Nars Larger Than Life Eyeliner in Via Appia
Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder in Medium
Laura Mercier Creme Smooth Lip Color in Antique Pink

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