Thursday, February 27, 2020

February Product Favorites from My Stash

Greetings, dear readers! It's almost shocking that February is just about over, especially since January felt like a month that would never end. I know there are two days left still, but I thought today would be a good day to share the beauty products I have found myself loving all over again this past month. I wrote a similar post for January (check it out here), although my previous post was geared more towards cosmetics. While I have been enjoying my makeup, I didn't find myself gravitating towards specific makeup items like I did in January. Today's post is going to be a open towards a range of beauty products. Ready? Let's do this!

This past month, I found my self reaching over and over again for these five items. It's a little bit skincare, a little makeup, and fragrance to boot! While several of these appeal to my personal tastes, you might find some may become your favorites as well. Here's a closer look at each of these picks, in no particular order.

Vitamin C is well documented antioxidant to prevent aging by repairing free radical damage. In addition to its anti-aging effects, Vitamin C can help to brighten your skin.

Why I love it:

As I was growing up, sunscreen was not a word found in my vocabulary, and I have a few stubborn sunspots to show for it! Add to the hormonal acne I have started to experience as I've gotten older, and my skin can use a little extra help! This balm feels rich on my combination skin without being too greasy; I love two-for-one type products that serve more than one function! This balm has helped clear up the dark scarring I experience from hormonal acne and even my stubborn sunspots have lightened. PIXI may be known for their Glow Tonic, but this Vitamin C Caviar Balm is my personal hero from the brand.

I have a small drawer containing a selection of perfumes and perfume oils, but this is the one I found myself using almost exclusively this month. Scents are so incredibly personal, and The Sage Lifestyle has a delightful range from "light" to "dark" fragrances. Perfume oils contain the largest percentage of fragrance, making them much more expensive the Eau de Toilettes but with a stronger smell and twice the longevity.

Why I love it:

Maybe it's been because we've had a lot of cold (for Arizona) days this month, but I've really been drawn to the warm scent of Onyx in particular. The combination of black coconut, oakmoss, tobacco, vanilla, amber, and musk is intoxicating, making it one sexy fragrance! This is a scent I normally would wear for date night or a girls night out on the town (for those extremely rare occasions that actually happens), but it isn't too much for daytime use if this type of fragrance appeals to you. I have a particularly sensitive nose, and while it may be stronger than an eau de toilette, I don't find it too strong as long as I don't keep rolling. The small portable size is also fantastic, making it the perfect travel companion.

Do you ever have days where you leave the house and forget to toss your lipstick du jour into your bag? I'm a fan of keeping lip sheers on hand in my purse so I can always add a pop of colour to my pout for the inevitable touch up.... and the days I leave the house without any makeup on. After all, how could you not feel dressed up if all you have is a little lipstick? 

Why I love it:

I've been wearing more dramatic and colourful eye makeup than usual this past month, so a more subtle lip has been my jam. This rose brown hue is lovely and suits my esthetic, and wow, does it feel so comfortable on the lips! The wear time isn't incredibly long and overall comparable to your standard bullet lipstick, but I've never minded having to touch up my lips. I have a few of Stilazzi Lip Sheer options, but this one really has stepped up for me this February.

False lashes are always so much fun to wear, but sometimes the experience of applying them makes me want to pull my hair out. I'm a fan of natural looking lashes and would only pull out falsies on occasion, but I have definitely been wearing lashes more this month since I started using this glue!

Why I love it:

I need a glue that is latex-free, so this gets a checkmark on that. That being said, there are many options available to choose from, but this adhesive from KISS has be enjoying the process. I've had issues with other glues getting tacky but not wanting to stick to my lashline, or if I need to shift strip lashes slightly, need to be removed and more glue applied. That is not the case when it comes to this eyelash glue. I can make minor adjustments to my lashes without having to apply more glue and wait for partial drying every time I have used this adhesive. It's actually made me enjoy the process of applying false lashes!

Trying to get foundation that matches my skintone is the bane of my existence! Unfortunately, this isn't much of an exaggeration, but these can be mixed for your own custom shade. add to that, you can build up opacity from sheer to medium-full just by adding a couple drops. If you already have a favorite moisturizer or primer and don't want to switch products or add another layer to your face via separate foundation, these drops are a great solution! 

Why I love it:

While I only grabbed one for photos, I own a couple of these. I found I can use these to tweak my not-quite-right foundations to get something closer to my skintone by adding in a drop of these. I especially love these drops to add to my sunscreen to avoid the dreaded white cast. On the days I'm wearing makeup, the white case isn't an issue, but if I want to get out the door quickly, I just add two drops into my sunscreen and apply to my face as normal and am out the door in no time. I especially will be appreciating this come the summer when I want to wear as little extra on my face as I can. Also, I get a little darker over the summer no matter how often I reapply sunscreen, and these are great to deepen an existing foundation rather than having to purchase a new bottle.

Have you tried any of these products? If so, I'd love to hear what you think of them! Also, I'd love to hear what products you have been enjoying this month!

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

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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Draped in Gold: Eye and Lip Masks by Oh K!

Greetings and good evening, dear readers! I had hoped to get this post up a little earlier today, but I've been dealing with a headache that won't go away since yesterday. That being said, please forgive any gross typos or weird sentences. I am hoping to just push through it and get this post up regardless as it should be a pretty quick and straightforward post. Ready? Let's jump in!

Press Sample

Last year, I decided to no longer purchase single use masks for my face, but I am still willing to review any that I might receive as PR. I was given the Hydrating Gold Gel Lip Mask and the Bright Eyes Gold Dust Under Eye Mask by Oh K!. I love the idea of being draped in luxury, and given the current cost of gold, adding gold to skincare is certainly a luxury right now! I don't want to get into the semantics of using gold in skincare, but I will mention there are conflicting opinions on it. Some belief it has great antioxidant properties while others aren't convinced gold works at all, or if anything, is any better than other antioxidants that are being used in skincare. That being said, the addition of gold into skincare products certainly looks pretty! Let's get a closer look at each of these masks.

Hydrating Gold Gel Lip Mask

While Oh K! puts a large focus on gold with the product, is it the addition of chamomile extract, honey extract, and propolis extract that really catch my attention. All three of these ingredients are great for soothing irritated skin so if your lips are a little worse for wear, this lip mask certainly should help!

This lip mask feels HUGE, and while I always thought my lips were of a respectable size, this made them feel small. I suppose this meant my lips were fully covered so they could get the full treatment. The directions said to leave this in place for 10-20 minutes, and I did so for about 15 minutes. Because this is a gel mask, it does have some weight to it, meaning you really cannot move around and do "stuff" while wearing it. My lips felt soft afterwards, although I strive to keep them that way so I really cannot say there was an improvement. I'm not one for licking my lips, but I did after removing this and yikes, did my lips taste pretty nasty! I didn't have any product creep into my mouth to taste it during the process itself, but if you are a lip licker, you may be turned off some by this point.

Retail: $6

Bright Eyes Gold Dust Under Eye Mask

Like the previous mask, the gel eye masks contain chamomile and honey. An additional bonus to the eye gels is the addition of argan oil. It is one of my preferred oils for on my face, even if it is likely a very small amount given its placement within the ingredients list.

Like the lip mask, these eye masks are hydrogens. This gives them a little weight so I had to sit down and lean back some in order to keep these on my face in their proper location. I do prefer to be able to use masks that let me move around, but sometimes it is nice to sit back and truly relax because you can't really do much else. I wore these for less than the recommended 20 minutes (roughly 17 minutes or so) as I noticed they were starting to feel really dry as I was gently tapping these gels while they were on my face. They weren't soaking wet to begin with, and not what I would expect anyway give their hydrogel nature, but I do not like to let products like these dry completely on my face. While they are intended to help hydrate the skin, I found they can have the opposite effect if they dry out, pulling moisture back out of my skin.

Retail: $6

Between the golden lips and the undereyes, I certainly look fancy, right?

I did enjoy trying out these products, although I had to put this in my post since it really bothered me about these products. The largest reason I opted to stop purchasing individual masks is because of the waste, and I was rather appalled by how much extra waste came with these masks. The lip mask came in a secondary enclosed plastic pouch with seal while the eye gels were packaged inside a second plastic snap-closed container with extra plastic sheets between them. I get it, hydrogels can't just be stuffed into an envelop lest they be ripped apart or lose their shape, but this was just a bit excessive and disappointing to see.

Gold may or may not be effective when it comes to skincare, but chamomile and honey are good for the skin. These products are worth checking out if you can get past the excessive packaging. As I only got one of each, I cannot attest to consistent use with multiple packages, but given the extra trash, I'm glad to have only tried the one.

Are you a fan of hydrogels when it comes to your skincare routine? Do you have any thoughts on the inclusion of gold in beauty products? Are there other Oh K! products you have used and loved? I'd love the hear from you!

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

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Sunday, February 23, 2020

Highlights from the Beauty Spotlight Team

Greetings, dear readers! It's that time again for me to share the Beauty Spotlight Team's posts from the past week! It was a little quiet for me on the blog- I only got one post up- but there's been a bit of work behind the scenes. The four day week really threw off my schedule, and I was never quite able to get into my normal routine. Here's to enjoying the rest of a hopefully quiet weekend (not so much here thanks to the littles, but a girl can dream!) and our top posts! As always, the links are included with each blurb should you want to get a closer look at a post.

Heather over at Crazy Beautiful Makeup is sharing some of her favorite CBD products from Truly Beauty. Including a Whipped CBD Unicorn Body Butter that smells amazing and works even better to soften your skin and reduce redness. Be sure to check out her post over on Instagram so you can also save 10% on these products and more like them!

Do you like wearing bright colours on your eyes? Jen from Laugh, Love, Contour picked up the Sugarpill Pink Edition of the Capsule Collection early and has it on the blog this week! Check out her thoughts on each of the shades to help you decide if this palette is a must have for this spring season. 

Pick a door, any door, and you won't go wrong with serums from OZNaturals. Beauty Info Zone has fallen for three serums and is sure at least one will be your favorite too.

Never Say Die Beauty has discovered a new treatment for her winter dry lips, Theraderm Anti-Aging Lip Complex. Find out why it has made it into her pantheon of effective, glossy, long-lasting, lip plumping antidotes.

That there is tremendous buzz surrounding squalane-based skincare products is no understatement, and therefore Lola's Secret Beauty Blog wants to share a particularly buzzworthy face oil worth trying. INDIE LEE Squalane Facial Oil does everything that it claims, and it is very affordable! #IndyLee

Prime Beauty is looking forward to spring with the new bareMinerals The Beauty of Nature Collection.

We all know that it's important to get our beauty rest at night. See Stacie's tips for falling asleep more easily on The Makeup Obsessed Mom blog.

Until next time, dear readers, have a wonderful day, and I'll see you next week!

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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

A Dose of Colour with Sugarpill Cosmetics Pink Edition Capsule Collection

Greetings, dear readers! Today is the day that Sugarpill Cosmetics has officially launched the Pink Edition of their Capsule Collection! I had the opportunity to purchase this eyeshadow + blush palette prior to the launch, and I wanted to share my thoughts on it along with my absolute favorite look I have created so far using the colours.

When it comes to palettes, I usually avoid those that have odd layouts. It is so incredibly rare for one to jump out at me, but as a biology nerd, the molecular layout of the pans in this palette paired with the adorable pill capsule shape really called me hard. I've been drawn towards vibrant colours lately when it comes to my own makeup, and given Sugarpill's reputation for putting out quality products, I jumped on this baby as soon as I could.

This palette consists of nine eyeshadows and a blush. Each of the pans is securely attached inside a sturdy plastic snap-closed capsule. While have the capsule lid is clear, the other half contains a handy little mirror. I have no ties whatsoever to Sugarpill- I do not work for them nor do I receive PR from the company, so I have no bias in saying this is the coolest packaging I have ever seen. Yes, it could be a little smaller if the pans were laid out in a tidy uniform row, but where is the fun in that?

Let's get a closer look at each of the shades in this palette!

Cloud 9: Metallic Shimmering Aqua
I am a total sucker for these types of colours, and this has nice colour payout. I've only used this shade a couple times, but it blends out beautifully and exactly what I wanted in this shade.

Baby Doll: Pastel Periwinkle (matte)
This was the shade I thought I would like the least in this palette, and I am surprised that I enjoy it! That said, the pigmentation isn't great with this one, but I have had good results building it up. Still, even with my limited exposure to Sugarpill products, I was surprised I had to work to build it up as much as I did.

Supernova: Soft Lilac with Pink and Turquoise Sparkles
I don't really "do" pastel shades, so I kind of grouped this with Baby Doll as a shade I wouldn't really use. I was wrong and have been loving wearing it at my inner tear duct and as a highlighter on my cheek bones. It's still not my typical go-to shade (I don't find it the most flattering on my olive skin), but I really like it and still will enjoy sporting it. It has good colour payout as well.

Radiate: Bright Pear Green (matte)
Not gonna lie, this shade was what first caught my attention with this palette and one of the biggest reasons I purchased it. As an olive girl, it definitely looks a little green on me, and as a huge fan of green eyeshadows, I adore this shade! I have to build up the shade some, but it doesn't take much to get the colour payout I want. 

Slow Dive: Pure Indigo (matte)
This is another vibrant addition to the palette with respectable colour payout. It can be a tad on the patchy side, but a little attention has it blended out nicely. This type pf blue isn't a go to for me as a main colour, but I LOVE using this for pops of colour and to add dimension to my looks.

Dream State: Pale Metallic Rose with Multidimensional Sparkles
This is such a gorgeous colour, but is it a pain in the butt to get on the eyes! I've had the most success by tapping this shade on my eyes with a finger to help prevent flaking fallout although a damp brush works well too. If you want a subtle effect, this is fine with a dry brush, but I'm guessing if you're pulling out this palette, subtle is not what you are going for.

Glory: Dusty Carnation (matte)
Oof, this is one of those shades that used alone on my eyes makes me look sickly, but when paired with other hues, it is so darn pretty! It has respectable pigment, but due to the way I use it, I've not had to build it up for a more intense effect. I suspect it can be built up further if needed, but I cannot personally vouch for that. Still, it pairs perfectly with the shades in this palette and definitely has been incorporated into many of my looks!

Ember: Butter Yellow with Gold Sparkles
This sparkled shade is a lot like Dream State: the colour is gorgeous but you have to work to build it up. The effect is far too subtle for my taste with a dry brush, and I'm a fan of using my fingertips to tap it on. I'm not sure why Cloud 9 is so nicely pigmented but this is not, but it is a lovely yellow hue. Off the top of my head, I can only think of one shimmery yellow (not gold) shade in my collection so it is nice to have another option.

Undone: Plum Aubergine (matte)
This shade about had me undone. I've been on quite a purple kick the past week and this one is positively delightful! The pigmentation is fantastic, and I've not had to build to get the look I want with this one. My only gripe about this shade is the pan is so darn small and I know it's doing to be getting a lot of love from me!

Melody: Watermelon Pink Blush
I always have such conflicted feelings about eyeshadow palettes that contain blushes. Sometimes the blush colours just don't quite work with my skintone -or- I prefer a different tone to go with my eye look. This is one of those few times where I quite love the blush that is offered, and I feel it will be flattering on a good range of skintones. The pigmentation is beautiful and gives a gorgeous flush to the cheeks.

When I purchased this Pink Edition Capsule Collection from Sugarpill Cosmetics, I wasn't exactly sure how I would going to use the shades. I like to wear colour, but I also enjoy my neutrals. In truth, I thought this palette would be used paired with one of my neutral palettes, but I couldn't have been more wrong. I don't know if I'm getting Spring Fever already or what is going on, but I have been all about wearing just vibrant colour on my eyes. These colours pair so beautifully together, although I am looking forward to mixing it up with my neutrals one of these days.

Perhaps it is because of my current purple craze, but this is my favorite look I have created using this palette.

To create this look, I placed Baby Doll above the outer part of my crease and the inner part of my eye, carrying up into my eyebrow. I primarily kept this shade in these two areas as I swept a clean brush between them. I've really been loving the effect this technique has on my hooded eyes, particularly when using colourful eyeshadows! I then applied Glory on my eyelid and carried it up and across my crease.

I followed up my adding Undone onto the outer and inner parts of my eye. I then used the same clean brush and gently ran it along my crease to create a halo effect. I gently tapped in Slow Dive into areas of my inner and outer portions of the eye to add more dimension. My camera caught a touch of the patchiness, especially on the inner portion of my eye, although it really wasn't this noticeable in real life. I then applied Dream State with a damn brush in the center of my lid and lightly blended out the edges.

After applying eye liner, mascara, and lashes, my eyes were just about done!

On my lower lashline, I applied Baby Doll to the inner third of my eye and Undone to the outer two thirds, blending lightly together where the shades met. I then took Slow Dive and blended it over and into Undone on the outer third of my lashline. I finished the look my gently tapping Supernova over Baby Doll at my tear ducts.

Once my eyes were done, I finished up my face makeup by applying Melody to my cheeks and Supernova as a highlighter on my cheekbones. I also applied a very light layer of Supernova above the outer third of my eyebrows. I kept this step extremely light so it's not particularly noticeable here unless you know to look for it.

While there are some shades that take a little more effort, overall I find this to be a great palette. The colour options are (mostly) very vibrant and a lot of fun, and the case is definitely sturdy and will hold up great when tossed in my bag for traveling! Even the shades I didn't exact to get much use out of has gotten a lot of love from me already, and I am glad I made this purchase. I had been overwhelmed with all the cosmetic items on the market and have opted to pass on so many things. This is a purchase I am happy with, and I'm not-so-secretly hoping their title of "Pink Edition" means we will be seeing more of these palettes from Sugarpill!

Retail: $42

Did you pick up this Capsule Collection during the presale? Did you pick it up with today's launch? I'd love to hear your thoughts about this palette! Do you like the colours and are you inspired to create with them? Do you like the layout and shape or is it a no-go for you? I'd love to hear what you think!

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

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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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