Ipsy: November 2012 – US edition

Ipsy: November 2012 – US edition

So there have been a few new ongoings with ipsy since my last post! First: they expanded to Canada. After seeing my last post, Rykea decided to jump in and subscribe too. There will be slightly different items in her bags than mine this month, though about half of them will be about the same. As for whether we’ll continue to both do Ipsy reviews, I guess we’ll just have to see how close the bags are — though it might be interesting to get two different perspectives on the same bags/items.

Second: I’ve been a little stressed the last couple of weeks because I’ve been running everywhere. I might potentially be moving to New York City to start a position in mid-December/early January which will mean a break in the frequency of my posts, though Rykea has promised to hold down the fort for me. I have a gajillion and a half things to review and swatch for you though, so as long as I find the time, you’ll get new content.

Also, sorry I cheated with flash on all these pictures. Flash let me do with minimal editing and my setup wasn’t ideal so… please forgive me. Let’s get started on this month’s bag!

ipsy November 2012 bag featuring theBalm, Starlet Cosmetics, Nailtini, BareMinerals, and Chella

This month’s Ipsy theme was “Party Perfect.” I’d originally guessed “New York Nights” which is along the same lines but is way classier, though. Again, we were sent the items in a makeup bag. I actually liked the bag significantly less this month than last’s. The shape and composition of the bags are pretty much identical but the material of the bags itself are different, and last month’s was much higher quality. As you can see from my picture, this bag held a lot more wrinkles whereas the other came in pretty close to perfect shape.

I was pretty excited for the bag itself when I first saw it, but actually holding it, I guess I was disappointed. I was hoping it was be elegant and sophisticated in a dark, chocolate brown and could pass as a clutch, but it really doesn’t look up to that quality. Considering that the makeup bag is just a nice throw-in and isn’t the main feature — and for $10 — I probably shouldn’t complain much.

Meet Matt(e) by theBalm

theBalm’s Meet Matt(e) eyeshadow in Matt Batali: theBalm is a company that was featured in the bag last month as well. It was a mascara then so I didn’t bother to open it because I have finish a current one. Also: as of right now I have 5 unopened mascaras so… guess I won’t be reviewing them for a while. Oops!

Meet Matt(e), if you couldn’t tell by the name, is theBalm’s matte eyeshadows palette, the full size containing 9 colours. I’m not a big fan of matte eyeshadow in general, but I’m willing to give it a go. However, I must reject this palette because there isn’t a colour named after my favourite Matt, Matt Bomer.

free eyecandy!

Matt Batali is a mid-to-dark grey colour with a hint of purple.  This was the only colour given out by ipsy this month and I kind of question whether or not it was the best choice of the Meet Matt(e)s to be the sampler. A lot of people with fair skin have complained it’s too dark for them to really pull off. I feel Matt Schilling would’ve been similarly dark but more universally flattering colours to try out, but with more intrigue to the colour instead of a nude as well.

I’m not complaining though, since the colour suits me well enough.

Meet Matt(e) by theBalm in Matt Batali

Matt Batali’s formula was pretty good, not chalky or streaky unlike the Coastal Scents matte from last month, which I appreciated. It went on smoothly and wasn’t as dense in colour as I thought it would be, which makes it good for layering in heaviness and colour. I do see why people with paler skin would be wary.

Overrall, recommended, and if the rest of the palette is similar in quality and you’re a fan of mattes, I would say it’s a good buy.

Full-sized product: $34.50 in 9 colours at 9.5g  / Sample value: 0.9g for $3.26
Where to buy: thebalm.com
Pro tip: limited time, get the entire palette for $17.25+ship! People have also reported seeing the palette at TJ Maxx for half off


Starlet Cosmetics intense eyeliner

Starlet Cosmetics’s intense eyeliner in black: I have to admit, the tagline on the pencil annoys me. Under the colour description, it says: “black – the total abscence of light” which is…scientifically untrue. Black is appears the way it does because of the absorption of light, absorbing all the colours at once. That’s why black things absorb heat in the summer (aka why my hair is always freakin’ hot) — so actually the prescence of all the light. The total absence of light would be a void. Or a black hole. Someone mentioned to me that it might be in reference to a song title or lyrics, but that doesn’t make me less annoyed. The song lyrics stand on their own, but the description of the colour does not stand against scientific validity.

Anyway — moving on from my scientific rage (which you might be seeing more of in the future, since I’m That Kind of Girl), Starlet is a sort of newly launched company that has partnered with ipsy for this month. There was a little bit of controversy as there is an Australian brand that sells cosmetics in Aussie!Kmart that’s the same name, or that the distributor used to be a mass distributor. I don’t care much about that, but I do expect the product to stand on its own.

Starlet Cosmetics intense eyeliner in black

I am admittedly a little biased right since I just moved on from pencil to liquid liner. This mostly came within the last month after I got my Eyeko and Be a Bombshell liners, which are both quick-dry, easy to use, and don’t smudge. As I mentioned, I can wear both of them for about 12 hours at a time without eye primer and still have 80-90% of it in tact without smudging.

Unfortunately I don’t have that luck with pencils, which is mostly why I switched. Well, that and I would get major panda eye from the liners, which is incredibly cringe-worthy since eyeliner is my everyday go-to makeup. Mostly, I had been hoping to get the brown colour of the two ipsy sent out, but receiving the black made my reaction towards it sort of lackluster.

I haven’t really had a chance to use this product outside of swatching, but from the swatch, I can tell it’s pretty much like most drugstore eyeliners. The colour isn’t as intense or black though, so you might have to build it up if you like your eyeliner intense like I do. I could also tell from the formula from wearing it just for a few minutes that it was going to be an easy-smudge sort of liner that’s going to rub off with you blinking. I’m not really surprised but that does make me bummed.

Overall, not recommended for being unable to distinguish itself from my drugstore eyeliners. For the price, you might as well grab two from any drugstore.

Full-sized product: $11 for 1.5g  / Sample value: full size — $11
Where to buy: starletcosmetics.com


Nailtini Millionaire

Nailtini in Millionaire: This isn’t a brand I’ve heard of before, but a few people on the forums I frequent have mentioned also seeing this brand in Marshall’s or TJ Maxx. If you couldn’t tell by by the logo, Nailtini’s gimmick is that they are all cocktail-inspired. I don’t say gimmick in a mean way, though, since I find it charming that the bottle sort of looks like a wine bottle, and that the collection this colour comes from is supposedly the Speakeasy collection.

Nailtini Millionaire

Millionaire is described on the ‘Tini Beauty website as a “teal & gold tinsels awash in rose-gold microglitter.” More specifically, the polish has a clear base with a dense layer of rose gold glitter. Then, on top of that, it’s infused with bar glitter in regular gold and “teal.” I’m not sure if teal is the right descriptor for it, but it flashes in both greens and blues, depending on the angle, though colour never quite settles in between it for teal.

Nailtini Millionaire brush

The brush for this was pretty good, no problems there. The formula was also fine to me. I think it was meant to be pretty dense since I had some trouble trying to make it thinner on the first layer, so most of the swatches pretty much just have 1 or 1.5 layers on it.

Nailtini Millionaire swatch

I put this over black so you can see the entire composition of the polish. I’m sure Rykea will be happy to do one by just building it up so you’ll see how that looks by itself as well.

Nailtini Millionaire swatch

Personally, I think this polish is beautiful and aptly named. I’m a little uncertain about the price tag for it on its website. A few bloggers have mentioned that TokiDoki’s SANDy and Nicole by OPI’s A Gold Winter Night are dupes for it, and those are both more accessible and more affordable.

Overall, recommended — I do like the colour here, and after trying this, I’d be willing to give this brand a shot. Well, not an alcoholic one. And probably at a more affordable price.

Full-sized product: $13 for 15mL  / Sample value: full size — $13
Where to buy: tinibeauty.com
Pro tip: Dupes TokiDoki SANDy can currently be purchased at Sephora for a discounted $4, though is limited in Stock, and Nicole by OPI is carried at drugstores and Ulta.


Marvelous Moxie lipgloss by BareMinerals in Dare Devil

BareMinerals’ Marvelous Moxie Lipgloss in Dare Devil: I’ve heard a lot about the BareMinerals brand since its inception, but weirdly, I’d never been particularly interested in trying it out. I walked into a physical store once and looked around, and I still didn’t feel particularly compelled to try anything.

I guess I should thank ipsy for giving me that chance then!

Marvelous Moxie is a lip gloss line that boasts it “volumizes for big, pouty, fuller-looking lips.” I do feel like it did that to an extent, which I appreciated. Dare Devil is a deep berry shade that’s perfect for the holidays.

Marvelous Moxie lipgloss by BareMinerals in Dare Devil

The applicator in this lip gloss is definitely interesting. I’m not sure if I have any particular opinion about it either way — it didn’t feel like it made it easier for me to apply the gloss, or harder.

Also, the gloss smells a bit sweet like rum, but it tastes like… nothing and cool stickiness, which really weirds me out. I’d prefer a gloss that has no smell and tastes just a bit sweet to one that smells sweet and doesn’t taste like anything. Ick.

The gloss is also pretty sticky on the lips itself and pretty much make my lips stick together. It also doesn’t last very long for chronic lip-lickers are like me, even when I am actively avoiding licking my lips because of the taste.

Overall, not recommended. I’ll keep the colour (find me a dupe someone!) but the gloss itself can go. I was skeptical about BareMinerals and it’s not exactly a great first impression for a product.

Full-sized product: $18 for 4.5mL  / Sample value: 2.25mL for $9
Where to buy: bareminerals.com
Pro tip: Pack of 6×2.25mL Marvelous Moxie colours, including Dare Devil, is on sale at Sephora.com for $25 — $4.17 per gloss.


swatches for Meet Matt(e) eyeshadow by theBalm in Matt Batali, Starlet Cosmetics intense eyeliner in black, and Marvelous Moxie lipgloss by BareMinerals in Dare Devil

Eyebrow Defining Gel by Chella in clear

Chella Eyebrow Defining Gel in Clear: This month, ipsy had switched between two products as the last item in its bag. One set of the bags received Benefit’s They’re Real mascara, and the other received Chella’s brow gel. As an incentive to its Canadian subscribers, the first 1000 will receive the mascara since that seemed to be the more desired of the two items considering the product type and brand. Rykea was definitely in that cohort, so expect her to be reviewing it when she gets her back.

I, however, with my 5 unopened eyeliners, was actually hoping for the brow gel. My eyebrows can be a bit unruly at times, and I’m trying products to figure it out. Thus, I was super happy to have received this item (not that I would’ve been happy with a mascara) and, well…

Eyebrow Defining Gel by Chella in clear

I’m not really sure what the product does? A lot of people had complained that their sample was dry — that the gel was goopy and dried up, though mine fortunately wasn’t. However, the sample is designed very poorly and the stopper (black plastic ring at the top in the picture) wipes off most of the product.

It does turn out to be a clear liquid. I know sometimes people can use dry mascara wands to groom their eyebrows, but I don’t know if it did much for me. The liquid is already clear so it’s not going to affect the eyebrow’s appearance… I guess the liquid was supposed to make your eyebrow hair stick together, though I don’t feel like it did for me.

Overall, not recommended, though I might change my mind after I play around with  it a little bit. I sort of doubt it though.

Full-sized product: $18 for 0.19fl oz  / Sample value: 0.12fl oz for $11.37
Where to buy: chella.com

After last month’s exciting bag, this month’s did feel a little lackluster for me in terms of the products. However, I think ipsy is doing a great job in finding products to send out to people — my disappointment this month is with the products themselves at the fault of the brands, and not the terrible sizes by Birchbox last month. Despite not recommending a majority of the items here, I’m still pleased with the items. I’ll get some uses out of them, even if they’re not my favourites. I know what to avoid from now on, at the very least.

Overall bag value: $47.63 or ~$30-35** for $10

** So, you’re probably wondering what the side notation for the overall value is. If you add up all the given values I’ve calculated here, You will get the first number, $47.63. But as I’ve discussed with a few people, some have expressed concern at the fact that some of the retail prices here are also inflated.

For example, the two full-size items we had this month, the eyeliner and nail polish, are shown as $11 and $13 retail value respectively. While I certainly respect that brands want to compete and not undervalue themselves, this does seem to be an inflation of prices against similar items in the market. I feel that the Starlet eyeliner is on par with drugstore liners, which I would pay an average of $4-6 for. The dupes for the Nailtini products are $4 or $8, respectively at retail right now, though $6 or $7 is probably a fair average estimate. I would say a $13 price tag is excessive, considering a lot of major brands like Essie and OPI only retail for about $8.

For this reason, I added my own estimate for $30-35 of the bag’s value, which is still a very nice amount of stuff for what I paid. Don’t be mistaken — this isn’t a comment that I feel brands should undervalue themselves, but that unestablished brands should also not try to push beyond their value as well. My favourite product in last month’s bag was the Be a Bombshell liner, which was a full size and retails for $14. Considering the full size Eyeko retails for $15, and many liquid liners for higher-end brands even more, I would say $14 is a fair value for that liner, and would be willing to pay that retail price because it’s justified by the quality of the product. On the other hand, I don’t feel like the Nailtini or Starlet items are here, but rather seems like an inflation beyond a usual price.

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