Sunday, February 16, 2020

Highlights from the Beauty Spotlight Team

Greetings, dear readers! It's that time again for the collection of posts from the Beauty Spotlight Team! This is a highlight reel of the past week. If any post catches your attention, please feel free to follow the link for more details!

Prime Beauty got her pretty Valentine's look with these 3 products from Merle Norman!

The Tucson Gem and Mineral Show ends this weekend, and Jen from Laugh, Love, Contour gave KBShimmer’s newest black and white creme polishes some love while creating a look for it!

Lola's Secret Beauty Blog has found three Top Pick Products for a Gorgeous Glow from Babor, Bodyography and Tata Harper! Hint: there is a luminous eye cream, a glowing serum and a glow stick, and they are all truly amazing!

Stacie from The Makeup Obsessed Mom Blog decided to try her hand and ordered a Lucky Bag from Beautylish this time around. Head over to her blog to see what she got.

Spring is on the way and our thoughts are turning to lighter, softer makeup shades with a rich, nourishing formula. Erika at Notes from My Dressing Table has a couple of beautiful, spring perfect lippies to share with you. The Charlotte Tilbury Hot Lips 2 Lipsticks in Dancefloor Princess and JK Magic are waiting to delight your lips in the upcoming season.

It's no secret that Never Say Die Beauty has been truly enjoying her subscription to Ipsy Plus with its full size beauty products. Check out what she got in the Ipsy "Clean Slate" glam bag for January!

Calling all beauty lovers over to Beauty Info Zone to enter a giveaway that will bring a spring to your step.

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Thursday, February 13, 2020

Gem Show Ready Nails with KBShimmer

Greetings, dear readers! This is the last stretch of the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show, and I couldn't let the opportunity go by without a little nail art. Now that I'm back in Arizona, I'm hoping to go this weekend; I don't think I have the words to express how excited I am about it! I've not really said much about it on the blog, but I'm a rock nerd, and I look forward to this event every year. When we lived in Tucson several years ago, my husband and I would visit many of the individual  shows set up throughout town and definitely have our favorites. Now that I'm 100 miles away, I only go to the big event at the convention center. Maybe when the kids are older I'll just stay a night or two (if I can get a hotel room- they go FAST this time of year) so I can see even more of the shows.

What could be better for a gem show than gem-inspired nails? I have KBShimmer's new white and black cream polishes to try out (White Here White Now and Total Eclipse respectively), and I opted to give them some love along with other KBShimmer shades for my gemstone nails. I started out with White Here White Now for my base, so let's get a quick look at this polish by itself first.

Press Sample

White polishes are notorious for being difficult to apply. I often find them to be patchy and uneven, requiring multiple coats to get a relatively smooth working surface. I am happy to repot that was NOT the case with this baby! The application was surprisingly smooth and I was able to get full coverage with just a single coat without any extra fussing about!

Please pardon the photos as white polishes look a little harsh on my by themselves in the first place and then they really mess with my camera. White Here White Now is a stark white shade. The shade also uses KBShimmer's new curved fan brush, making it even easier to get your self-leveled manicure.

 I've also topped my nails with Free & Clear Quick Dry Top Coat for these photos.

Now let's get a look at my gem show-ready nails!

Jewel tones are my favorite, and I just had to include a few shades to create this look!

I used KBShimmer's Total Eclipse with a stamping plate from Born Pretty Store (direct link to L089) for the gems. I then filled them in with Under Cover, Vested Interest, and If You've Got It, Haunt It!, all by KBShimmer. These shades definitely gave me the sparkle I had in mind for this manicure! After topping it off with Free and & Clear Top Coat, I'm all set and ready to take in all the sparkly sights!

How has your week be going? Do you have special plans for Valentines Day tomorrow? My hubby doesn't like to celebrate, although I think we're going out for lunch.

Until next time, dear readers, have a wonderful day!

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Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Royal & Langnickel Deluxe Mystery Box: Was It Worth It?

Ah, mystery boxes! Some people love them, some people loathe them, and then there are those that fall somewhere in between. I'm normally not one to purchase mystery boxes as I prefer the security of knowing exactly what my money is going to bring. While they may be a great way to get a far larger value than even sale purchases, it is always a gamble on what you will receive. Is it something I might already have (and not really need another)? Is it a product I've used before and severely disliked (check out the purge half of my Pan and Purge Challenge post to see some products that really failed me)? Or perhaps some products are acceptable but just not quite to my taste. I'm just not a gambler by nature, and after viewing reveal videos on YouTube and photos posted in Facebook groups of assorted mystery boxes, they aren't the type of thing to appeal to me. That being said, I did finally come across a mystery box that made me pull the trigger, or at least pull my credit card out of my wallet.

I love makeup, but my makeup collection has become rather sizable and I am working more towards destashing rather than adding to it (with a few exceptions here and there, of course). Instead, it was a makeup brush mystery box that piqued my interest. Last month, Royal & Langnickel advertised two mystery boxes: a Standard Box and a Deluxe Mystery Box. The Standard Box was $50 with a value of $200 while the Deluxe Box was $80 with a value of $315. I enjoy trying out makeup brushes, and while I certainly have favorites, I cannot say no to trying even more! Given that they take up less space AND more brushes at my disposal means I always have a clean brush handy, I knew I had to jump on this deal!

For this post, I want to share what came in my Deluxe Mystery Box. I have also added in the cost of each item and the price as marked on each item when the box arrived. Let's jump in and look closer at the contents of my box.

SILK Eyebrow Brush | BC490
It's always nice having a good eyebrow brush on hand, and this one is quite fine, giving you the ability to make very detailed lines. I have and use several eyebrow brushes already, but this is the first for me that doesn't have an added spoolie on the end. As much as I like having a spoolie, I think this brush will be great to draw in individual eyebrow hairs where I have some bare spots.

Suggested Price: $3.99
Listed Price: $2.79

SILK Super Eye Fluff | BC448
"Super" is correct as I find this brush to be rather large for the eyes, and wow, is it dense! If it were one or the other I could see myself getting some use out of it, but I don't think this brush is a good fit for me.

Suggested Price: $11.99
Listed Price: $8.39

SILK Large Round Foundation | BC206
I have a few foundation brushes, and while one is angled, I don't have any that are pointed. This brush will be fantastic to get foundation better pressed along the side of my nose and in my inner eye sockets by the bridge of my nose. It's an area that is tricky for me to do when I do eye makeup first, so this brush should be perfect for there. Hopefully I can get a good finish with it!

Suggested Price: $14.99
Listed Price: $10.49

SILK Synthetic Bronzer Brush | BC141
This brush baffles me as it's nothing like what I would use for a bronzer. It is much more like my flat top brushes I use for foundation application. The bristles are less firm so I'm not sure how it will work out for me, but I'm still going to give it a try.

Suggested Price: $11.99
Listed Price: $8.39

Master Pro Tapered Blender | BMP-150
Tapered brushes like this one are my favorite for eyeshadow application, and I am particularly eager to see how this one performs. It is a little thinner than some other in my collection; hopefully it gives me control over smaller areas when I want a little less blending out! This is something I look for when applying several colourful products to I don't get a muddied effect.

Suggested Price: $9.99
Listed Price: $6.99

Master Pro Blush Brush | BMP-142
While I haven't tried this brush yet, I don't have a favorable first impression of it. It is shaped like a paddle, making it quite thin and flat, not my preferred shape for my swirling technique. I could have ignored this and used a sweeping motion instead, but wow, is this brush coarse! This is not a sensation I enjoy rubbing on my face; I don't think I'm going to attempt to use this brush.

Suggested Price: $12.99
Listed Price: $9.09

MODA Pro Buffer Brush | BMX-180
I feel like I've had this brush before and got rid of it because I wasn't happy with it, and I cannot for the life of me remember why. That being said, my makeup application technique has changed, so I'm looking forward to using this and see how it performs. This brush is more along the shape I prefer for my bronzer and contouring, and I look forward to seeing how testing goes.

Suggested Price: $7.99
Listed Price: $7.99

MODA Pro Powder Brush | BMX-100
While I may have many duplicates and options for other types of brushes, I only have (until now) a single powder brush, and it recently walked off somewhere. I like to apply powder in my more oily-prone areas prior to applying makeup, a tip I got from Jordan Liberty, so this brush should suit my needs nicely.

Suggested Price: $9.99
Listed Price: for $9.99

MODA Rosè 4 Piece Face Perfecting Kit | MSEF-FPK3
I have never used paddle style brushes before, so this will be a first for me! I'm really curious if this will become my go-to style of brushes once I try these out or if I'll stick with my more traditional makeup brushes? I have mixed feeling about Moda's cutesy colours and styles with some of their brush lines (I'm all about the functionality!), but this one isn't too over the top for me and hope to enjoy these.

Suggested Price: $24.99
Listed Price: $24.99

MODA Rosè 5 Piece Complete Kit | MSET-RCK4
Another rosè kit? Unlike the previous rosè set, these are more traditional type brushes. The colour is a little more vibrant than this photo wants to show, but I like rose gold so I don't mind it. This is the only item Royal & Langnickel set that has a smudge brush, and I definitely could use another one of those! That said, I'm not sure that is enough for me to crack this set open to keep. I'm likely going to donate this set to my kid's school system as this is one of the gift items they like as an option for the pre-teen and teen girls.

Suggested Price: $19.99
Listed Price: $19.99

MODA Mythical 6 Piece Star Travel Kit | BMD-MSTSET6
As much as I have liked a lot of my MODA brushes and sets I have purchased, I will not be getting use out of this particular set. The brushes may work fine, but the colour scheme and unicorn horn handles are just too cutesy for me. Call me a grumpy old lady if you will, but at least this grumpy old lady will be making some young lady's day when she gets this set!

Suggested Price: $19.99
Listed Price: $19.99

Brush Essentials 6 Piece Travel Set | BTRAVEL-SL
After my unpleasant experience with the travel brush set by Borghese, I am both nervous and excited to try out this set! Thankfully this time I learned my lesson and will try these brushes at home first before taking them as my only brushes on vacation! Three of the brushes are double sided and the brushes are slightly bigger than my palm. Hopefully that doesn't make application problematic or too messy, but I am looking forward to finding out! The travel case is quite nice as well, and I like the added zipper area to toss in cotton rounds and Qtips I occasionally need when putting on my makeup.

Suggested Price: $19.99
Listed Price: $13.99

SILK Pro Limited Edition 11 Piece Brush Kit | BLE-PSET10
I'm guessing this set is supposed to be the "wow factor" from the Deluxe Mystery Box. I have to admit when I saw it in my box, I was not impressed. The roll itself feels like cheap plastic, and I was a little nervous when I first saw this set. Upon unrolling it, the brushes are nicer than the roll implies, although I have to test out their performance to make a final call yet. I do like that this set has a good brush variety that lends itself well for both face and eye makeup applications. I've looked at a few larger sets like this that were heavily biased towards one or the other, so I do appreciate a variety.

Suggested Price: $149.99
Listed Price: $74.99

Phew! We did it! We finished looking at the box contents!

Now I suppose the next logical question is: was it worth it?

Here is a final look at the totals for the box:

Suggested Price Total: $318.87
Listed Price Total: $218.07

I paid $80 for a box that was supposed to have a value of $315. Royal & Langnickel obviously places their value to match the suggested price, or what you would pay for each of these brushes and sets when they first became available for purchase. If I would have bought the exact same contents individually from Royal & Langnickel the day the box arrived (or today even; I just confirmed the prices then are still current as of this posting), the box is valued at almost $100 less than what they promised. Over 60% of the mystery box contents were/are discounted, and that is a little disappointing to me. Upon closer inspection, all these items are specifically in their "Goodbye" section. They have clearly decided to use the mystery box as a ploy to relieve themselves of unwanted product. This definitely happens with other brands, so I cannot say I am entirely surprised, but I had much higher hopes from the company. While I was expecting there to be some items like this, I truly thought they would deliver a better box than what I received.

Was the box worth it?

I do not think this box is worth the reported value of $315. If I could turn around and buy the exact items and the total comes almost $100 (!!!) below what I was promised, that's a problem. This is obviously my opinion and there is no recourse for me when it comes to this, but it does foul the image I had of Royal and Langnickel in my mind.

Was this box worth the $80 I paid for it?

If I saw the contents of this box and was asked to pay $80 for the lot, I would seriously consider it. I'd still use some items and those that I wouldn't are still going somewhere good (donation to my local community in this case). It's not an emphatic yes, but more of a "I guess so?".

Based on my experience with this box, I have no intentions of purchasing any mystery box from Royal and Langnickel in the future. There were no guarantees on box contents and receiving a substantial amount of unwanted product just doesn't appeal to me. It's a shame as Royal and Langnickel do sell some quality brushes, but I have a limited budget and I want to enjoy what I spend it on. Perhaps your experience was different from mine (and that's great! I'm happy for you if that's the case), but this experience sadly left me wanting.

Have you purchased any mystery boxes lately? Were you happy with what you received? I'd love to hear from you!

Until next time, dear readers, have a wonderful evening!

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