ipsy December 2012 Glam Bag featuring products from Urban Decay, Nyx, Mai Couture, Mirabella, and Be A Bombshell.

ipsy Glam Bag: December 2012

This would be the post that took forever to prep for, so I apologize profusely for its lateness. People rarely want to read December beauty box reviews in January – only a few short days before the January subscriptions are shipped – but timing wasn’t in my favour this holiday season. My ipsy bag didn’t show up until right before New Years (thanks, Canada Post), and following the big 2013 Welcome Celebration, life tends to sober up and resume. Decorations come down, wine bottles are recycled, people return to work, and loved ones fly back to where they now live. Nevertheless, albeit late and despite the crazy, my ipsy December 2012 review is finally here.

This bag was actually fantastic and loaded with full-sized beauty treats. I, personally, was beyond impressed. Out of all the December bags I’ve reviewed, this was my favourite by far. Sorry Glymm and Topbox!

Before jumping into the review though, I’ll be experimenting with a new product rating system this post, and we’d really appreciate your feedback. If you find the new review system more, less, or equally helpful, we want to know as this blog is for you, the readers, not us. So please, comment away.

ipsy December 2012 Glam Bag featuring products from Urban Decay, Nyx, Mai Couture, Mirabella, and Be A Bombshell.

“Holiday Haute” ipsy December 2012 Glam Bag featuring products from Urban Decay, Nyx, Be A Bombshell, Mirabella, and Mai Couture.

December’s Glam Bag was themed “Haute Holiday” and featured a gorgeous cosmetic bag plus five full-sized products and an exclusive BB cream sample from Urban Decay. This is why ipsy won my stamp of December Favourite. Also, all these products are fabulous, and I’m not being over-the-top or kind in saying that. But to prove my point, let’s take a closer look.

Front view of ipsy cosmetic bag

Front view of ipsy cosmetic bag

I, quite blatantly, was not impressed with the look, feel, or quality of ipsy’s November cosmetic bag. Still, we’re really paying for the samples and the bag is just a nice perk, so it’s easy to see past that. Nevertheless, the December bag did a complete 180, and gave us this gorgeous gem. The bag looks nice, feels great, is stitched well, and has a fantastic zipper. Also the inside?

Inside view of ipsy cosmetic bag

Inside view of ipsy cosmetic bag

Absolutely adorable. It’s also a great size to throw into any gym bag or travel purse – compact and chic. It’s slightly longer than eye pencils and mascaras, too, so all your lengthy cosmetics will fit.

Urban Decay Naked Skin Beauty Balm

Urban Decay Naked Skin Beauty Balm

This limited bonus item was sent to “active participants within the ipsy community”, which it seems Ever Vain falls under as both Kyuu and I received this sample.

Urban Decay Naked Skin Beauty Balm is one of the newest additions to the BB cream market. It totes a broad spectrum SPF 20, DNA repair, optical blurring, and an oil-free formula. While optical blurring is par for the course in BB creams and DNA repair is becoming common in high-end brands, it is nice to see a product with SPF. Makeup isn’t a night-time-only affair, and too often do we forget that harmful UV rays (responsible for accelerated ageing, dark spots, and skin cancer) aren’t exclusive to the summer months. Props to Urban Decay for taking note and adding this feature to their products.

Swatch of Urban Decay Naked Skin Beauty Balm

Swatch of Urban Decay Naked Skin Beauty Balm

Naked Skin has a thin, somewhat watery formula, and unlike some BB creams that have a thick composition and go on thick, Naked Skin goes on light and sparingly. It also blended very well and very quickly to my light complexion. I applied only 2 coats to achieve my desired even skintone, but you do not need a lot of this product to cover your face, so do remember to use it in moderation. I immediately saw a significant reduction (or rather elimination) of shine and pore visibility. It also left my skin feeling soft and powdery, which is a good thing! It’s so light that I almost forgot I was wearing it – it really does let skin breathe. Additionally, it lasted all night then came off easy with a makeup remover cloth (I prefer Garnier Nutri-Pure Detoxifying Wet Cleansing Towelettes which are available at most local drug stores). All in all, I was very impressed with this product. It is, however, slightly more expensive than some BB creams, but noting its DNA repair and SPF features, the price is on par.

Sample Value: $3.59 USD for 3.7 mL (0.12 fl. oz.)
Regular: $34.00 USD for 35 mL

APPLICATION EFFECTIVENESS PIGMENT TEXTURE VALUE
RECOMMENDATION:
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Zero

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Zero

Up next is Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Zero. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I prefer liquid liner to pencils. Primarily because I shake worse than a meth addict when under-caffeinated, thus I need a tool I can make a quick, sweeping line with that requires no second application.

Many would argue that the Glide-On Eye Pencil is a compromise – its structure and composition is a creamy pencil that allows the user to make more fluid, seamless lines. Maybelline Define-A-Line Eye Pencil and Maybelline Line Stylist Eyeliner also follow this premise. I haven’t used the latter, but I can attest that Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On is superior to Maybelline Define-A-Line in every regard. Not that Define-A-Line isn’t a good product – it works and is affordable – but 24/7 Glide-On glides easier, has bolder colour, and doesn’t spontaneously retract while trying to use it.

Swatch of Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Zero. Top to bottom: Thin to thick lines.

Swatch of Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Zero. Top to bottom: Thin to thick lines.

(I apologize for the lighting in this swatch; I must have accidentally turned the flash off. That’s probably what I deserve for taking photos at 2am. Shh.)

For a pencil, 24/7 Glide-On applies fluidly and provides good pressure control, as can be seen above. Zero is also a rich black that smudges nicely and would be a great liner when doing a smoky eye. It also has a creamy, non-clumpy texture, which I liked. As for long-lastingness (or “effectiveness”), I found it so good that it was bothersome. While it didn’t budge, smear, or smudge all night, when I was trying to take it off before bed, I used two types of eye makeup remover and a wad of cotton pads and my eyes were still coated in liner. It’s definitely durable, waterproof, and long-stay – perfect for any overnight adventure – but if you need to take it off quickly for any reason, you may be facing trouble. These pencils are also very pricey, in my opinion, especially when you can pick-up a similar product at the drug store for $5.00-$9.00. In this case, I personally feel you’re paying for the brand name, not the liner.

Travel Size: $14.25 USD
Regular:
$19.00 USD

APPLICATION EFFECTIVENESS PIGMENT TEXTURE VALUE
RECOMMENDATION:
Nyx Ultra Pearl Mania eyeshadow in Charcoal Pearl

Nyx Ultra Pearl Mania eyeshadow in Charcoal Pearl

Nyx Ultra Pearl Mania in Charcoal Pearl is a smoky, sparkly loose eyeshadow with a lot of body, intensity, glitz, and glamour. Nyx Cosmetics Loose Pearl Eyeshadow has been catching my eye on and off for months now, so it was great to receive this sample. Charcoal was also a perfect colour for me as the traditional smoky eye is my go-to look. This was another full-sized product, too, which is fantastic. Props, ipsy.

Swatch of Nyx Ultra Pearl Mania eyeshadow in Charcoal Pearl

Swatch of Nyx Ultra Pearl Mania eyeshadow in Charcoal Pearl

As you can see, there is a lot of sparkle in this shadow. How well it’s applied will depend largely on the quality of your personal makeup brushes. Should you have a good brush, this loose shadow goes on easy and blends well. You can also apply it as thick or as light as you choose. It’s also very affordable at $3.00 USD per bottle. Overall, I was very impressed.

Value: $3.00 USD for 5 mL (0.06 oz.)

APPLICATION EFFECTIVENESS PIGMENT TEXTURE VALUE
RECOMMENDATION:
Be a Bombshell lip gloss in Hot Mess

Be A Bombshell lip gloss in Hot Mess

Be A Bombshell lip gloss in Hot Mess has the colour intensity and longevity of lipstick but the sheen and application of lip gloss. Hot Mess is also a very “true red” – think Marilyn Monroe lips with a glossy pop. The colour is gorgeous and the texture is wet and non-sticky. It also doesn’t smudge easily and wears long into the night. When you are ready to take it off, all you need is a makeup remover wipe or towelette (you’ll be applying it to your lips, so just remember to use one that is lip-friendly and non-toxic). The applicator also allows for great precision as the tip is structured and only slightly spongy – too much sponge is where we start making mistakes.

Value: $14.00 USD for 3 g (0.11 oz.)

APPLICATION EFFECTIVENESS PIGMENT TEXTURE VALUE
RECOMMENDATION:
Mirabella Prime for face and eyes

Mirabella Prime for face and eyes

Mirabella Prime for Face and Eyes is a clear, non-scented facial makeup primer with an oil-free texture that is soft on skin. What really impressed me about this product was its applicator. The tube releases a very fine string of primer, allowing for precise control of product release and use. This is especially helpful if you only intend to use this primer on your eyes and thus only require a small amount. This product is Paraben-free, which is great, but it is still recommended that you avoid applying Prime to your lash line.

From a cost perspective, Mirabella Prime is pricey but on par with other high-end brand name primers. Personally, however, I wouldn’t consider Mirabella a “high-end” brand, so I question the steep price tag. Additionally, many pricey primers nowadays come with additional features, like SPF and corrector. Prime is just that – a primer. There’s nothing special or distinct about it. For that reason, I’d suggest Sephora Collection Perfecting Ultra-Smoothing Primer which costs $15.00 USD ($17.00 CAD) for 0.5 oz.

Value: $29.00 USD for 12.85 g (0.45 oz.)

APPLICATION EFFECTIVENESS PIGMENT TEXTURE VALUE
RECOMMENDATION:
Mai Couture St. Barts Highlighter Paper

Mai Couture St. Barts Highlighter Paper

Lastly, we have Mai Couture St. Barts Highlighter Paper. I’d actually never used highlighter paper prior to receiving this product, so it was a learning experience. I usually spend more time removing shine and sheen from my face, not applying it, but I do see the value in the product. It’s also great for adding definition to your collarbones and chest.

Inside view of Mai Couture St. Barts Highlighter Paper

Inside view of Mai Couture St. Barts Highlighter Paper

I was very thankful for the “How To” guide at the back of the booklet as I was essentially clueless. There were 25 sheets in this booklet and each sheet is 3.9 inches x 2.5 inches. The sheets are also double-sided, allowing for twice the usage. The only thing to beware of is how messy your hands will get – just remember to wash them directly after sheet use. The sheets also allow for large-area use but lack precision. I’d personally prefer a palette and brush, but I do see the value in these booklets as they are transportable and fit nicely into a clutch or pocket.

Sample Value: $14.00 USD for 25 sheets
Regular: $28.00 USD for 50 sheets

APPLICATION EFFECTIVENESS PIGMENT TEXTURE VALUE
RECOMMENDATION:

 

As for overall value, the ipsy December 2012 Glam Bag – excluding the cosmetic bag – is valued at $77.82 USD and contained 6 items, 4 of which were full-sized products. All of this for $10.00 USD (or $14.00 CAD). The product quality was fantastic on average. Product diversity was also high, providing subscribers with almost all the tools required for a complete makeover. By and large, if November’s bag didn’t make me an ipsy fan, December’s bag definitely did.

SAMPLE SIZE DIVERSITY QUALITY QUANTITY VALUE
OVERALL IMPRESSION:
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