Worth it? Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum

Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day SerumDrunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum, $80

I mentioned in my June favorites that buying Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum. I adore this damn serum. A colleague and paled at the cost when I sang its praises; I understand. I love it, plan to repurchase, and still recoil from the price tag.

Gun Shy

Short of tools like my Luna Mini or Clarisonic Mia2, I don’t tend to spend much on individual products. With a few exceptions, I’m generally of the opinion that beauty need not break the bank.

Being young (enough – and only for now, don’t worry, this isn’t a cocky statement) and skeptical of products promising miracles, I pass on a lot of prestige and luxury skincare. Aside from my tools, none of my skincare routine is prestige at this point!

Too Young?

Never. As far as I’m concerned, mid-twenties is a perfectly reasonable time to reconsider your approach to skincare even if you aren’t suffering a skin mutiny as I was.

Once my acne was under control, I decided my skin could use a boost in the liveliness department. Although I find makeup fun, I much prefer to have healthy, radiant skin than to need to slap on product to fake it.

Mid-twenties is not too young to start anti-aging products – and with a demanding career, my skin was looking a bit tired. I don’t want or need anything hardcore. No retinol here (at this stage in my life). But I do have under-eye circles, some dullness and uneven tone, etc. I decided that Vitamin C was the place to be for my needs right now.

Influences on my Purchase Decision

A blog I’ve followed for years and implicitly rely on touted Ole Henriksen’s Truth Serum but when I got into reviews and other comparisons, many sources seemed to suggest the Drunk Elephant product to be superior. Part of this is packaging, part is the concentration and type of Vitamin C itself, and the other part of are the other ingredients. I was leery about spending that much on a type of product I’d never tried before, so I kept searching.

Interestingly, although Stefanie Nicole (check out her channel here) has a YouTube channel, she works in the beauty industry on the manufacturing and distribution side of things. She also has a no-nonsense attitude that resonates with me. I appreciate her willingness to say, “I didn’t care for this,” or, “This product didn’t perform well for the price.” We need more of that! In this case, Drunk Elephant C-Firma does, in her opinion, perform well for the price.

Upon hearing her ringing endorsement of Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum, I decided to splurge during the Spring BI/VIB Sale. My skin was consistent at that point (not as stable as it is now, but better!), and I felt comfortable adding a variable.

Read moreWorth it? Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum

Worth it? Tarte Shape Tape Concealer

Tarte Shape Tape

Tarte Shape Tape, $25

Holy heavily-promoted-on-YouTube, Batman! I eventually bought Shape Tape to weigh in on it to see if it was ridiculous YouTube sponsored hype or a legitimately good product. This cruelty-free, apparently vegan product is evidently sold once every twenty-six seconds according to Tarte’s site.

Availability

When Tarte Shape Tape came out, it was basically out of stock in all popular shades, including mine, for what seemed like months. I suspect this is due to a bit of manufactured scarcity to pump up demand and hype. Eventually, I got my hands on a tube during a Ulta 20% Platinum Perk sale.

I didn’t realize this at first, but Tarte Shape Tape is only sold on tarte.com and at Ulta. I learned that Tarte seems to offer 20% off promotions more often than Ulta does, but then you lose your point/perk earning potential. Pros and cons, people.

Read moreWorth it? Tarte Shape Tape Concealer

Worth it? bareMinerals Lash Domination Mascara

This is a legacy post from the archives that has been given a facelift. Content remains the same but may have been edited for readability/clarity.

bareMinerals Lash Domination mascarabareMinerals Lash Domination Mascara

Mineral makeup mogul bareMinerals happens to make my favorite-so-far mascara, the Flawless Definition Lengthening mascara. At some point in the last year or so, they added a new member to their lash line (ha), the (full name, deep breath) bareMinerals Lash Domination 10-in-1 Volumizing Mascara. I love edgy product names, except when I don’t.

Benefits

According to bareMinerals, it:

  • Volumizes
  • Lengthens
  • Thickens
  • Separates
  • Lifts
  • All-day wear
  • Mineral fortified
  • Resists clumps
  • Fights flakes
  • Smudge-resistant

Hrm. I don’t really count the last three as benefits, as any decent mascara should do that anyway, even one that costs me $3. Oh, but it has quinoa in it. I wonder if they’ll release a kale version?

GWP is Good Enough For Me (to try)

My sass aside, because I loved (and had not yet repurchased) the Flawless Definition mascara, I was very excited when I received this deluxe sample as GWP in a Sephora order I made months ago. I only opened it in late March (2014), however, because the drugstore product I was using was still good (and mascara shelf life rages me, so I try to avoid using multiples simultaneously); I did not want to set the clock ticking too soon.

Finally, the time came to crack ‘er open arrived. Because I decided to be edgy like the product and not look up reviews, demos, etc. My first impressions were:

1. Wow, why is the applicator portion of the wand so long?! My eyes are not that big.

2. Ooh! The short plastic bristles I like!

3. …oh they better not be arranged in a spiral. They’re arranged in a spiral. Fuuuu–

I told myself, “Okay, who knows, the spirals could be awesome. Let’s slap it on and find out.”

Application & Wear

I applied it – it went on easy enough, the consistency of the formula is very similar to the Flawless Definition. I was pretty happy to see that. My lashes looked pretty awesome in a single coat. The formula held up through the day, was non-irritating, and did not flake or smudge. By the end of the day, however, they lacked the oomph of the morning and I noticed it did not hold the curl I placed before applying. My lashes were black, but not curled up, so my eyes did not look as open as they had.

Thinking there may have been an adjustment period, I wore it every day for a week with similar results. I may or may not have poked myself in the eye once trying to maneuver the strange spiral applicator. The days I applied two coats held the curl a little better, but not substantially so. It was also surprisingly difficult to wash off for a non-waterproof formula, unlike the Flawless Definition line. I really had to scrub with my Ponds wipe to remove it, and had to go under my lower lash-line carefully (even when I did not coat those lashes) so I did not look like a raccoon. I do not have a separate eye makeup remover, but you may want one. Alternatively, you can use oil to remove – such as olive or almond – and you should have an easier time.

The Bottom Line

It is not really worth it. Though bareMinerals Lash Domination comes at you with a sassy name and flashy packaging there are drugstore mascaras (such as L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Excess) that outperform this $18 tube that generally receives under 4 (out of 5) star reviews, often between 3.6 and 3.8. While it doesn’t make sky-high claims, it also does not perform as well as its older sister, the Flawless Definition. It’s a fair bet during Ulta’s half-off sales, though.

At least three (more, really) of the ten, “features,” are things we all expect from our mascara, not new enhancements. On top of the so-so performance of the product, the awkward design of the wand – both the spiral bristles and the length of the bristle section makes it a little difficult to work with. If you want a bareMinerals mascara, go with one of the original Flawless Definition formulas – the original Lengthening is my personal favorite.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links – this means I may get a very small percentage of the sale if you decide to buy something. I’ll only tell you that something is awesome if I have verified it myself!

Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Airbrush Foundation

Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Airbrush Foundation, $36

Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Airbrush Foundation…so refreshing to have a product with an absurdly long name! It’s been a while.

I’ve never been a fan of caking on product to hide problems. Even when I was in the throes of ridiculous skin woes, I wouldn’t do it. That doesn’t mean I’d go bare-faced…but troweling on Instagram-ready, drag-worthy makeup does not seem like a healthy choice for problem skin.

The Purchase

Over the holidays, I finally ran out of the powder foundation I was using on lazy (read: most) mornings where blending a cream or liquid product was out of the question. Armed with a 20% off Ulta Platinum voucher, I picked up Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Airbrush Foundation. I like the idea of mineral powder foundations; even though bareMinerals didn’t blow me away with its lofty claims, it is a decent product that is user friendly. My hope was that I’d find a better shade match and a similar level of user friendliness in this Tarte product.

Read moreTarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Airbrush Foundation

Gone Downhill: Influenster

For years, I’ve been a member of two social influencer review sites: BzzAgent and Influenster. I love BzzAgent – they send full size product to try or vouchers to acquire one, their review and activity asks are not absurd. They are consistent. Influenster, on the other hand is all over the place and requests a ridiculous amount of time to be invested in exchange for participation in their program.

A Weird Mix

I’ve gotten multiple Influenster VoxBoxes that contained a hodge-podge of product that was in no way related. I’ve received I’m flat-out NOT interested in trying or spending time reviewing, like snack items (gross protein bars, dried snap peas trying to be chips). Don’t get me wrong – I did so because those were the terms of the program. But was once an occasional annoyance is now fairly regular.

Unlike BzzAgent, who tells about the campaign so you can opt-in or out, Influenster tends to be a bit more cloak-and-dagger. You take a qualifier survey that may allude to the items or brands, but it is rarely explicit.

Social Graces Spamming

The point of a social marketing and social influencer program is to get real people to try things. Those people then share their experiences in multiple mediums:

  • In-person conversations
  • Reviews on:
    • The program site
    • The product’s site
    • Retailer’s sites
  • Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, etc)
  • Video (YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram stories)
  • Blogs

When they mandate specific mediums, though, they reduce participation. For example – I do not have a Snapchat. I will not open one, period – especially not to do a ridiculous campaign activity. I also do not make YouTube videos…and will not do that just for some ridiculous campaign activity.

“Too much,” will vary from person to person and circle to circle, but Influenster definitely wants you to spam the hell out of everyone via every possible Other Influenster participants I’ve talked to agree that it is getting out of hand and that they feel like Influenster wants them to spam their friends and family. not cool.

Read moreGone Downhill: Influenster