I received a bottle of Tom Ford Fucking Fabulous eau de parfum from Influenster and Tom Ford in exchange for my honest review. Right away I loved the sleek black and white packaging, and the description that called it a “spicy, warm and decadent” fragrance – just the kind of scent I’m looking for. I really liked it when I first spritzed it on – it has sexy, spicy top notes that feel rich and unique. But as the day wore on, the spiciness dissipated and I was left with a more generic perfume. It didn’t smell bad, but the best parts of this perfume didn’t last. I won’t be using this as a day to day fragrance, but it would be a great choice for a date night out – the sexy scent would linger through dinner.
You’ve probably heard of retinol. And if you’re anything like me (and pretty much every person I’ve talked to about it), you’re probably wondering if it really works. Out of all the “use this to look younger” products on the market, those containing retinol seem to be the ones that actually live up to the hype. So how does it work?
Retinol is a type of retinoid, which are vitamin A-based topical treatments that are used for a variety of skin concerns. According to Harvard Health Publications, they reduce wrinkles by increasing the production of collagen in the skin. As a person with increasingly aggravating forehead wrinkles, this sounds like great news to me. But it also sounds too good to be true.
So when I received a bottle of L’Oreal Revitalift Derm Intensives Night Serum with Pure Retinol compliments of Influenster for testing purposes, I was eager to give it a try. I completed a 30 day test, following the instructions on the package – use twice a week week one, every other day week two, and nightly as tolerated after that. Retinol can be harsh, so it’s important to follow these instructions to let your skin adjust to the ingredient. I found that using it more than every other day made my skin flaky, so I maintained that schedule through the end of the test. I’ll admit I was skeptical that I’d see much in the way of results in such a short period of time, but I’m here to report that wasn’t the case at all. I was completely floored when I compared my before and after picks:
There was a definite improvement in those pesky forehead wrinkles, and that was from every other day use! I will caution you that retinol can also make your skin more sensitive to the sun, so it’s important to always wear SPF when using retinol products. That said, I have never used any anti-aging product that is this effective. If you’re concerned about wrinkles or fine lines, I’d say this serum deserves a place in your skincare routine.
I have always been a sucker for shiny new school supplies, so imagine my delight when Benefit and Influenster sent me a tube of Benefit’s new Boiing Cakeless Concealer, shaped like the eraser end of a pencil. As my recent posts have indicated, I’ve been very into reducing and camouflaging my under eye circles, so I jumped right in to give it a try.
I received a tube of shade 01, the lightest of 12 shades offered in this full coverage liquid concealer that is designed not to look cakey. Great news for my fair skinned friends – this shade is very fair without being too yellow, which is often hard to find in a concealer.
This truly is a full coverage concealer; I usually use products with a sheer or medium coverage and so I was a bit shocked when I first dabbed some on. However, once blended in the concealer looked natural, brightened my eyes and kept my dark circles at bay for a full 24 hours. Or at least they did when I forgot to wash my face one night before bed – the next morning at brunch my sister commented on how good my skin looked. We’ll call that a win!
As promised, this concealer hasn’t caked or creased on me, and I plan to continue using it, especially on days when my eyes are looking particularly dark. One word of caution: the tube features a cushion tip applicator that I find deposits far more product than I need. My advice: use a very light hand to dab some on and then blend lightly with the tip of your ring finger.
I received this product free for testing purposes. All opinions are my own.
I was recently very pleasantly surprised to receive an unexpected delivery from Influenster – they sent me full-sized bottles of Pantene Pro-V Blends Micellar Shampoo and Conditioner free for testing purposes. I’ve been having some serious shampoo commitment issues lately, so I was more than happy to give these a try.
The combination of this gentle cleansing wash and moisturizing rinse is meant to transform fragile hair into strands of strength. After about a month of use, I can confirm that my hair appears to be stronger. I seem to be losing fewer strands throughout the day and my hair feels generally healthy. I’m also really digging the light floral scent of these products – it reminds me of lilacs and is perfect for spring.
The shampoo leaves my scalp clean – not dry – and my hair light and bouncy. The conditioner is lightweight and a decent detangler. They make a great daily haircare duo, but I must caution you if you (like me) like to skip a day between shampoos; about halfway through the second day my hair was embarrassingly limp and greasy. Definitely do not skip a day if you’re using these products!
Overall I like the way the micellar line makes my hair look, feel and smell. Have you tried it yet?
I like big hair. Not over-the-top, teased up, Aqua Net big hair. Bouncy, voluminous hair that lifts away from the scalp and flatteringly frames the face. It feels youthful and care free and, at least on me, is much more attractive than flat hair that clings like Saran Wrap to my face.
That’s why I was so intrigued when Influenster sent me TRESemme’s Beauty-Full Volume Reverse System, which consists of a specially formulated pre-wash conditioner and volumizing shampoo. The idea is that by shampooing after you condition your hair, you wash away the residue traditional conditioners can leave behind, leaving your hair extra clean, weightless and bouncing.
I tested the hair care duo several times and have to say that washing with the products is an extremely pleasant experience; the conditioner smooths, the shampoo lathers up nicely, and they share a salon-fresh scent that I enjoyed long after each shower was over. Every time I reverse-washed my hair I styled it in a different way – I tried air drying, blow drying and a variety of hair creams and serums to see how my hair reacted. Here’s what I found:
The TRESemme Reverse System left my hair feeling extremely clean and light. Freshly styled, my hair looked great every time – it had nice body and looked healthy and smooth.
It didn’t take long, though, before the naturally curly nature of my hair – fueled a couple of times by some crazy humidity – overpowered any good my styling efforts had accomplished. Within 15 minutes my hair started to curl, frizz and puff up:
By the end of the day my hair was huge, in a decidedly unflattering way. It didn’t matter what tools and techniques I tried. Once I reverse-washed it, there was nothing to be done.
The verdict? I think the Beauty-Full Volume system is high quality, smells great and does exactly what it claims to do: leaves your hair weightless and voluminous. What I’ve learned from testing it, however, is that I personally need some of the weight that traditional conditioners leave behind to keep my hair from becoming an unruly mess. That said, I would absolutely recommend the system to anyone with naturally straight, fine strands, looking for a little lift.
I received these products compliments of Influenster for testing purposes. All opinions are my own.
I recently received Degree Motionsense Dry Spray Anti-perspirant from Influenster for testing. I had never used a dry spray and really fancied myself an old fashioned stick deodorant kind of girl. But, a beauty blogger can’t shy away from the new and different, so I decided to give it a try and spritzed away.
First of all, it could not be any quicker or easier to use. Just a quick spray under each arm and you’re done. It goes on dry (hence dry spray) so you don’t have to worry about it getting on your clothes. And then you miraculously stay completely dry and odor-free all day long. I’m seriously impressed but how long lasting it is, even through marathon work days and multiple workouts. I was traveling this past weekend and brought my normal travel deodorant with me, which quickly reminded me that normal deodorants do not keep me all day fresh.
My only complaint is the scent. I received the Fresh Energy version and while I don’t hate it, I also don’t love it. It’s a little too perfumey for me. I’ll definitely be checking out the other scents to find one I like better – I don’t think I can go back to regular stick deodorant now that I know how good it can be. It will be perfect for summer!
I received this product compliments of Influenster for testing purposes. All opinions are my own.
This month, thanks to Influenster, I was given the opportunity to sample Black Opium, the new fragrance by Yves Saint Laurent. I should probably begin by saying that I don’t typically wear perfume and, more often than not, fragrance samples that make their way into my home are often tossed or passed along without so much as a second sniff. It’s not that I don’t appreciate a good fragrance. It’s just that, ever since my favorite lavender perfume was discontinued back when I was a teenager, I’ve never found a scent that really felt (or smelled) like me. Sure, I’ve had a few short-lived fragrance flings since then, but for the most part I’m just not that interested in perfumes.
Given my general lack of enthusiasm for things of this nature, you might be surprised to learn that I was extremely excited to receive this VoxBox. Maybe it was because, although I’ve received and tested several boxes filled with products thanks to Influenster, this was my first high-end box. Also, I had never before sampled a YSL fragrance and my hopes were very high.
From the moment I opened my VoxBox and discovered the pretty, shimmery, glamorous little bottle containing Black Opium, I knew testing this perfume would be an experience. Plus, the language YSL used to describe the scent was intriguing, to say the least: addictive, seductive, intoxicating, sweet, sensuous, voluptuous and above all, feminine. I couldn’t wait to give it a try.
So what was it like? I’d say feminine was an accurate description. It’s a complex fragrance with very different layers of scent, but they all shared a feminine quality. When I first applied the perfume I was overwhelmed by its heavy floral notes. It had a kind of generic quality about it; it reminded me of so many of the floral scents that have crossed my path through the years. It didn’t smell bad, but I certainly didn’t find it addictive or intoxicating.
But things changed very quickly! After only a few minutes, those overpowering floral notes started to fade, giving way to a soft, sweet vanilla scent. Refreshingly, I could really smell vanilla, not the syrupy faux-vanilla that seems to be in everything from body lotions to hair serums and scented candles the world over. It had a very feminine quality and almost instantly changed the way I felt about the fragrance. As time went on and the floral notes continued to fade, I liked the fragrance more and more. Finally, some subtle coffee notes surfaced and blended with the vanilla to create a warm and inviting scent that was light and a little sexy. It lingered for hours and, amazingly, continued to get better with time.
If Black Opium smelled as delicious right out of the bottle as it does after hours of wear, I would wear it all the time. It gave my skin a light, not-too-sweet scent that I really loved. The floral notes came on a little too strong for me when first applied, but I could see myself dabbing this perfume on for a special occasion or when I just want to feel extra girly.
Black Opium really is a nice, high quality fragrance, and just because it’s not about to become my signature scent does not mean it couldn’t be yours. If you’re a fan of sweet vanillas (like Bath & Body Works Warm Vanilla Sugar) or are drawn to sugary scents (like Pink Sugar), I’d recommend Black Opium as a sweet and sophisticated new option.
This has been a lovely summer, filled with all the things that make this season so wonderful: weddings, barbecues, days at the beach, nights out with friends and lots of time spent outside, soaking up as much sun and beautiful scenery as I can before the summer comes to a close. The fun continued when I learned I was selected to receive Influenster’s summer-themed Sunshine VoxBox, filled with tasty treats and warm weather beauty essentials. I’ve spent the last few weeks tasting and testing to my heart’s content. Here’s the scoop:
Infusium 23 Moisture Replenisher Leave-in Smoothing Crème Enhanced with Avocado and Olive Oil (#Infusium23Smooth): This is definitely one of my favorite products in the Sunshine box, and it has quickly become a beach bag staple. This leave-in conditioner works best if you air dry your hair. It keeps frizz at bay and leaves your hair smelling amazing. I tried using it as part of my everyday styling routine and wasn’t blown away, but when I brought it with me for a day at my favorite swimming spot, everything changed. I applied it generously to my wet, gnarly strands and used my fingers to comb it through. My hair instantly looked and felt better, and within minutes it started to dry in the prettiest, beachiest waves – with no frizz to be found!
Dickinson’s Original Witch Hazel Refreshingly Clean Cleansing Cloths (#SelfieReadySkin): I’m usually a big fan of cleansing cloths, and from what I can tell these were non-drying and did a fine job of removing makeup and oil without irritating my skin. However, I could barely stomach the smell of them. I’m not sure what it is, but it made me a little queasy. I was only able to use them a couple of times. If you’re sensitive to scents of any kind, I would avoid these.
Blue Diamond Sriracha Almonds (#BlueDiamondAlmonds): I was worried that these spicy almonds might be too hot for me, but I was happily mistaken! The chili-garlic flavor combo is addictively delicious with just the right amount of kick. I’d recommend them as a tasty and healthy way to satisfy a chip craving.
barkTHINS (#breakupwithboring): The Sunshine box came with a coupon for a free bag of another tasty treat, barkTHINS snacking chocolate. I chose the dark chocolate, almond and sea salt variety, and thought it was really good. The bark was filled with crunchy almond bits and the chocolate was good and dark, not too sweet. My only complaint? I wish there was just a little more salt – I could barely taste it.
SinfulColors Nail Polish (#ColorOutsideTheLines): I received a bottle of polish from the SinfulColors Silk collection, a sheer turquoise called Real Teal. Unfortunately, it was a real dud. The polish seemed cheap from the get-go; the brush deposited color unevenly, making the sheer shade almost imperceptible in some spots and dark and blobby in others. Also, the combination of it being a super sheer, matte blue polish left me looking less like I’d just given myself a manicure and more like I’d just been pulled from the deep freeze. The whole experience was a mess.
Vaseline Intensive Care Aloe Soothe Spray Moisturizer (#VaselineSprays): I’ve been wanting to try one of these spray lotions for a while, and I was not disappointed when I did. This aloe spray is perfect for summer, leaving skin cool and refreshed, especially after a day spent in the sun. Plus, it allows you to moisturize your entire body in ten seconds – so convenient. It’s very lightweight, surprisingly hydrating, and smells fresh and clean. It’s a perfect daily lotion for summer.
I received these products free for testing purposes. All opinions are my own.
I’ve been very lucky over the past year and have been invited to participate in several product trials through Influenster. Most of these have been one-product trials, which are great, but I was over-the-moon excited to learn that I’d been selected to receive the Bella VoxBox, which contained an assortment of beauty products and treats to help me have a beautiful spring and summer. Here’s what was in it:
EcoTools Complexion Collection Mattifying Finish Brush (#EcoToolsPerk): This brush was designed with specific cuts to help distribute the perfect amount of powder and control oily shine all day. I’m already a big fan of EcoTools, so I was not surprised to discover that it did just that! The brush truly grabs and distributes powder perfectly evenly, and my face stayed matte all day. Loved this.
DOVE Fruit (#DOVEwithRealFruit): The ladies in my office and I always tend to have stash of Dove dark chocolate squares on hand, so we were excited to try this new treat from our favorite chocolate brand. I received a bag of whole blueberries (cranberries and cherries are also available) dipped in dark chocolate. They were even more delicious that I had imagined! My officemates concurred. I also threw some into my usual trail mix of nuts and raisins – amazingly good.
Not Your Mother’s Deja Vu ‘Do Style Extender (#NYMdjvd): This lightweight hair primer is said to block humidity and repel dirt and oil to extend the life of your hair style, while also conditioning to control frizz and boost shine. While I didn’t notice that my hair style lasted any longer than normal, I did love the way my hair looked on the first day of use, which was shiny and bouncy with some weightless volume. Also, this might be the best-smelling hair product I own – I can’t get enough of the apple-berry scent.
Rimmel Scandaleyes Mascara by Kate Moss (#rimmelbykate): Created by Kate Moss, this jet black mascara features a “broken-heart” shaped brush that looks odd but does a stellar job of reaching all of your lashes, creating a dark, dramatic look. A couple of my friends asked if I was using a new mascara because my lashes looked so good. It also didn’t bother my sensitive eyes at all, a huge plus. My only complaint is that this mascara was really smudgy; I wouldn’t recommend wearing it for long days at the office or on an especially hot, humid day.
Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick by Kate Moss (#rimmel): Another Kate Moss creation, I received this in shade 12, which looks like an intimidating reddish orange in the tube but in reality is an incredibly wearable creamy red that felt good and looked even better. This might be my favorite product from the box!
Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs (#AirbrushPerfectLegs): As tights season is finally behind us, I was excited to give this leg makeup a try. It’s supposed to hide imperfections and not rub off on clothes. In my experience, it didn’t hide anything and looked completely unnatural. It was the only dud in this collection of fun summer products.
I received these products free from Influenster for testing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Last month I was selected by @Influenster to receive the Neutrogena VoxBox, which contained a jar of Neutrogena’s new Hydro Boost Water Gel (#BehindTheGlow). According to Neutrogena, this formula has been a best seller in Asia since 2009 and features a “Progressive Release System Formula” that creates a “hydration reservoir” and works to balance your skin and provide moisture throughout the day. The moisture gel uses hyaluronic acid, olive extract and glycerin to provide non-greasy hydration.
It’s no secret that I have very dry winter skin, so I was excited to try this new product. The packaging and the gel itself both have a very spa-like feel, from the clear, light blue colors to the clean and fresh scent of the moisturizer. When I smoothed the gel onto my skin I immediately noticed its refreshing, cooling sensation. It didn’t absorb completely right away, but after a few minutes my skin felt soft and not the least bit greasy or oily. However, it didn’t take long for that soft smooth feeling to change to a slightly dry and tight feeling. Within a couple of hours I had dry flaky patches on my forehead and cheeks.
While I can say that this moisturizer is more hydrating than many others that are currently sitting in my beauty stash, it just did not provide enough moisture for my very dry winter skin, and the moisture it did provide was not very long lasting. I’ll be setting this moisturizer aside and will give it another try come summer, when my skin is much less thirsty; the lightweight moisture and cooling sensation could make it a perfect warm weather hydrator.
I received this product free for testing purposes; all opinions are my own.