Almay Triple Effect Mascara Review

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I’ve mentioned a couple times on this blog that I’ve been using a few Almay eye products for several years, and it just occurred to me that I’ve never actually reviewed the ones I use! So I’m starting with my favorite Almay mascara – Triple Effect!

The reason I’ve been wearing Almay eye products nearly exclusively is because several years ago, I noticed other drugstore brand mascaras, and sometimes eye lines, made my eyes itch like crazy.  Almay is hypo-allergenic, so I’ve been able to wear their products without issue.  And thankfully, I happen to like the products as well!


Almay’s Triple Effect mascara promises fuller, longer, and curvier lashes.  My photo doesn’t totally show off the unique applicator brush, but essentially, all the bristles are jammed packed on one side of the brush, making the impact of the brush really concentrated and dramatic.

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These are my lashes without any mascara.  All I’ve done is curl them.  *womp womp*

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These are my lashes with two coats of the Almay Triple Effect Mascara.  I think what’s most apparent is the volume and fullness that’s added.  There is some added length, which is great.  And for the most part, my lashes maintained their curl.

I really think, for a drugstore brand, this gives great drama to my lashes.  If you compare it to higher end mascaras that I’ve reviewed, like Benefit, Tarte, or Smashbox, it may not be quite as impressive, but it’s a fraction of the cost!  How can you go wrong?

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The formula washes off fairly easily.  Soap and water will take most of it off, but the formula is so dark, I often find I have black stains left around my eyes, so I use the Almay oil-free makeup remover pads to really get every last bit off.

The only real complaint that I have regarding this mascara, as well as all the other Almay mascara formulas, is that after a few weeks of use, it starts to thicken up a bit and you have to wipe excess product off the applicator brush.  But despite that, the mascara still delivers the same great results on your lashes!  It’s just a nuisance to have to wipe off the excess.

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Overall, I’m a big fan of this mascara and I have repurchased it many times over the last several years and I will continue to repurchase it in the future!

Have you tried any of the Almay mascaras?  Are you a fan?


Manicure Monday: China Glaze Re-Fresh Mint

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I’ve mentioned once or twice that I’m totally loving the color mint this Spring.  I can’t seem to get enough of it!  So I thought it was high time that I did a mint manicure!

A few weeks ago, Sally Beauty Supply was running a sale on China Glaze polishes, so I picked up two China Glaze polishes for just $7.00!  I love a good steal!  And one of the colors I grabbed was Re-Fresh Mint.

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I don’t often have good luck with pastels, so I was expecting a challenge in application (too thick, a little chalky, gloopy….), but I really didn’t have any problems!  It was pretty streaky with the first coat, but the second coat created a smooth and opaque finish.  Easy peazy.

Ahem.  Please excuse my cuticles and their horrid condition.  I don’t know why I’ve been ignoring my nails and cuticles lately.

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I thought the brush size for China Glaze was pretty good.  Not too thin, but I would have preferred a brush just a little bit fatter.  But overall, theirs was pretty decent.

I’ve had this nail polish on for three days, and no chips so far!  My photos don’t show a top coat, but I did decide later in the day to add one (Essie 3-Way Glaze) and I’m glad I did.  While the nail polish was a little shiny, I prefer a higher shine factor.

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I really, really love this mint shade.  I have a feeling I’ll be wearing it a lot over the next few months.  It’s a very different color to add into my collection, which is a refreshing change.

Refreshing…… Refreshment….. Re-Fresh Mint….. :)   I know, I’m lame.

Do you have any China Glaze polishes in your collection?  What colors are you favorites?




Vasanti Lip and Cheek Color Pod Review

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I’m so excited that I was one of the few lucky Birchbloggers selected to receive this cute lip and cheek color pod from Visanti!  I’m a big fan of cream blushes so I’m happy to have another to add to my collection!

And as you can see, the packaging and design of this particular product is definitely more unique than your average cream blush…  The packaging is often referred to as “futuristic-looking” because it looks like an item that would be found on Judy Jetson’s vanity.

But in reality, the packaging makes a comfortable applicator that fits perfectly in your hand to apply directly to your cheeks and lips.

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I received the color Candle Light, a cool peachy coral.

When applied to my cheeks, it has a slight iridescence that gives my skin a gentle glow that lasts through my 9 hour work day.

I did apply it directly onto my skin with the applicator and blended it with my fingers.  However, if I were wearing foundation or BB cream or something on my skin, I might use a clean finger or a brush to take color off the pod and apply it to my cheeks as I wouldn’t want to get foundation all over the pod.

It does blend fairly easily with fingers.  The trick to cream blush is to blend the edges well enough that you can’t see where your skin and blush meet – make it look like a completely natural flush (I’m not saying I’m perfect at this application, but that’s the general idea.  :) )

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On the lips, it felt really hydrating, even without a lip balm underneath.  The color ultimately lasted about 4 hours on me, however, it started to become patchy after only two hours.

When you use the applicator to apply the color directly to your lips, it gives a pretty strong color pay off.  However, the big round pod does not assist with precise application.

So if you want more precise application of color, I would recommend using a lip brush.  Also using a lip brush or a clean finger may be a little more hygienic than applying the pod directly onto your lips.

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There’s really only one thing that I didn’t care for regarding this color pod – when applied to your cheeks, it continues to feel slightly wet and tacky all day long.  So if you touch your cheek throughout the day, you can feel the product on your skin.

Now, let me clarify – it’s definitely a light weight formula.  It truly does not feel heavy at all.  But it just never really absorbs into your skin to make it feel set or like it’s just part of your skin.

And when I think of my favorite cream blushes, they usually set and absorb pretty quickly leaving me with a soft-to-the-touch cheek.  So I wish the Vasanti formula was a little more like that.

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Overall, I really do like this little color pod.  I think the Candle Light shade is gorgeous and perfect for Spring and Summer.  When used on my cheeks and lips, I’m left with a radiant peach-y glow.

The Vasanti color pods retail for $24 and are available in the Birchbox Shop or

Have your tried this color pod?  What are your favorite cream cheek/lip duos?







Studio Gear Hydrating CC Cream Review

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I admit I don’t usually wear makeup on my face.  I consider myself to be very fortunate to have clear skin that I’m not afraid to show off – au natural.

However, I’ve found that I’ve spent a bit too much time in the sun over the last decade or so (and we won’t discuss how I didn’t use sunscreen…) and I’ve developed some sun-damage and redness on my cheeks.

So sometimes, on occasions when I want to look my very best, I like to add some light coverage to even out the redness on my face.

So I’ve been usingt the Studio Gear Hydrating CC Cream for about a week now – a lightweight and oil-free coverup that offers light coverage, anti-aging and collagen-building properties, a boost of hydration,  and contains SPF 20!


When you first squeeze it from the tube, this CC cream is white!  But once you begin to work it into your skin, the micro encapsulated pigments in the formula adapt to your skin and the formula quickly changes to a color that you would expect to see in a foundation.

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(Images:  Right – CC cream right out of the tube,   Left – CC cream blended and adapted to my skin)


I chose the lightest shade offered in the collection, Linen.  There are two other available shades – Natural and Wheat. 

Truth be told, this shade leans a little bit yellow.  For those who are truly fair and cool-toned, Linen may not be a great match for you.

I put the most CC cream on my cheeks to conceal my redness, and a little bit all over the rest of my face to ensure an even complexion.


For me, I found the best results by blending with a large foundation brush.  It created smooth, even, and natural looking coverage.

In contrast, when I use my fingers to blend, it still applied beautifully, but the pigmentation increased a little too much and the color became a little too yellow for my skin tone.

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(Images:  Left – CC cream before blending,  Right – CC cream completely blended with large foundation brush)


Because of my oily skin, I do ultimately set the CC cream with a little bit of powder.  And once the powder is applied, my makeup lasts all day!  Even after a particularly sweaty afternoon over the weekend, my face was still looking smooth and even!  I am very pleased with the results!

I would recommend this CC cream to those who are looking for lighter coverage or a way to even out your skin tone.  I’m not sure this product would be strong enough to conceal really dark circles or a large mark or blemish on its own.  But coupled with the right concealer, I think it could do the trick.

Interested in trying Studio Gear’s Hydrating CC Cream?  It retails for $34.00, and you can get 10% off your entire purchase with this code: bloggercc

Click here to start shopping!


Disclosure:  I received complimentary products in exchange for my honest opinion and a review of my experience.  All opinions are 100% my own.  Individual results or experiences may vary.  This is a sponsored post powered by BrandBacker.


MAC Lipstick Giveaway – WINNER!

Thank you so much to everyone who entered my giveaway!

I loved seeing all the different colors choices in the comments!


So let’s find out who’ll be getting a MAC lipstick in the mail…


And the winner is…….




Congratulations, Julie!  I’ve sent you an email so you can claim your prize!  :)


Thank you again to all who entered!  Keep your eyes peeled for future giveaways!

Julep Maven April 2014 Review

Julep Maven April 2014 Review

Goodness gracious, it’s Monday!

I’m so sorry to be posting so late in the day.  It’s been a crazy morning – I had to run several errands to turn in/sell my car and purchase my new [used] car!  I’m not sure if any of you have gone through that process, but it’s a tiny bit STRESSFUL!  :)

And just a quick reminder, today is the last day to enter my GIVEAWAY for a MAC lipstick color of your choice!  It’s so easy to enter – don’t let the opportunity pass you by!  The giveaway closes tonight at 11:59 pm EST.


In lieu of Manicure Monday, I thought I would show off my April Julep Maven box!  I ordered the Bombshell box this month.

**Julep Maven is a monthly nail polish subscription box that guarantees a value of at least $40 in each box.  The box will include at least 2 seasonal full-sized nail polishes, plus an additional beauty item.  And when you become a Maven, you automatically receive 20% off all your full-size purchases.  The cost of a Julep Maven subscription is $19.99/month.**

My nails are a mess once again.  I’ve not been giving them the TLC that they require.  So I’m rockin’ the press-ons again!

Goodies received:


Tatum – a neon chartreuse chrome

Full size – $14.00 (received full size)

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My camera didn’t really capture the neon effect of this nail polish.  But let me tell you, it’s BRIGHT!  :)

I was able to get this color close to opacity.  My photo shows two really thick coats.  Perhaps a third would have done the trick, but I didn’t want it to look to gloopy.

This is a really fun and youthful color.  It would be great to use as part of a St. Patty’s day mani or even an Easter nail art sort of thing (think grass or easter eggs).


Kayla – an electric iris sheer with violet sheen

Full size = $14.00 (received full size)

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Once again, my camera didn’t quite capture this color either.  It looks indigo in the photo, but in real life, the color is slightly lighter and brighter, and the purple comes across a lot more.

As the description of the color states, this color is sheer.   My photo shows three coats, and as you can see, it’s not even close to being opaque.

In complete honesty, while I LOVE purple nail colors, I’m really not feeling this one so much.  I’m not sure why, but I’m just not.  I’ll be giving it to my boyfriend’s little sister.


Glow Pore-Minimizing Blush in Peach Bellini

Full size = $24.00 (received full size)

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I LOVE THIS BLUSH!  It’s so gorgeous!

I was pleasantly surprised when I opened the simple black packaging for this beautiful peach blush.  The color is a very soft peach with a gentle hint of a shimmer.  The shimmer does not show up at all once applied to your cheeks, but it does give a beautiful radiance, or glow, as it were.

It applies fairly sheer, but easily builds up for more color intensity.

The formula is a bit on the powdery side, but once it’s blended, you’d never know.


Overall, this was a very nice box.  I kind of wish I had ordered the Classic with a Twist box instead, which has a beautiful pink hibiscus and orange tangerine color.  I’m sure they were beautiful.

But this box did have a great value – I paid $19.99 (well, not really since I had enough points to get this one for FREE!) and the total box value was $52.00!  Nice!

And since I didn’t want to sound like a broken record while writing this post, I will say both nail polished applied smoothly and easily and dried pretty fast, which is what I’ve come to expect from Julep polishes.

Did you get a Maven box this month?  Which one did you select?

Rimmel Show Off Lip Lacquer Review

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Happy Friday, friends!  I hope you’ve all had a fantastic week!

Before we get started on today’s review, I just want to remind you that my GIVEAWAY for a MAC lipstick color of your choice is still open!  It’s so easy to enter and that lipstick could your yours – don’t let the opportunity slip by!


Okay, so let’s talk about these Show Off lip lacquers from Rimmel (which are the same as the Rimmel Apocalips in the UK).  I’ve been wanting to try this product for several months, but could never find them in stores.  Lo and behold, they were at Walgreens the whole time (the location of the Walgreens in my area isn’t very convenient for me, so I don’t shop there often).

The lip lacquers come with a doe foot applicator, but there is a significantly deep hole on the slanted edge to pack in and hold more product on the applicator.

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The first thing I noticed when I swatched the product, is how pigmented the color is!

It’s very smooth and easy to apply, the one down fall being that sometimes the color moves around has you drag the applicator over it or rub your lips together, so I would use a mirror during application so you can fix it.

Swatches:  L- Celestial, R – Aurora

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The wear time for these lacquers was about 3 hours, which is a little less than what I would prefer.

But the surprise came when I discovered how drying these lacquers are.  Even when I wore a little bit of lip balm under them, my lips still started to feel super dry as the product wore off.


Celestial – a pink-y mauve

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Aurora – a coral-y red

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If you wanted to compare them to the Maybelline Color Elixirs, which I reviewed here, I would say the Rimmel Show Off lacquers are more pigmented/give fuller coverage and definitely more affordable (approx. $4 less).

However, if you want that cushy, balmy feeling on your lips, combined also with great pigmentation, I would stick with the Maybelline Color Elixirs.

Have you tried the Rimmel Show Off lip laquers (or Rimmel Apocalips for my UK readers)?  What were your thoughts?