PTR Rose Stem Cell Bio Repair Gel Mask: First Impressions

In my review on the PTR Therapeutic Sulfur Mask, I waxed poetic about how great this mask was and my intentions on trying more PTR products. I have had my sights set on a few more masks. So, instead of blowing the bank just to try them and not like the results, I set my sights on the budget-friendly Meet Your Mask Sampler Kit, with retails for $25 for Sephora. According to the website, the kit contains six of PTR’s bestselling masks that “detoxify, soothe, hydrate, and polish skin.” While this was a great way to see which masks work well enough for the full-sized investment, I was so stoked to try the Rose Stem Cell Bio Repair Gel Mask the most.

As the name states, the smell is slightly rosy, but not overwhelming. The texture is also gel like, as the name states. These qualities are important, because I hold a brand accountable when they advertise or name their products a certain way. It glides on cool, and it feels light. The packaging recommends a generous layer of gel onto clean skin, so I tried a toner or witch hazel instead of washing my face with a cleanser. I wanted to test it to see if that was all I needed to do to prep my face for the mask, and I was right: it did the trick!

Throughout the treatment, which was ten minutes, my face had a cool and calming feeling. No irritation nor burning. After I washed the mask off with cool water, my skin still had that cooling feeling…which was so pleasant! I like to know that a product is still working after application. My skin felt fresh and smooth, so I will be definitely adding this mask, which retails for $52, to my skincare arsenal. I’m also curious to try it with the Rose Stem Cell Bio Repair Cream, which retails for $75. I tried a sample of this cream before, and it was amazing. Just another PTR product to add to my wish list 🙂

 

Ipsy Product Review: NYX Whipped Lip and Cheek SoufflĂ© in Cocoa Bean

If you haven’t tried NYX Cosmetics before, then you are certainly missing out! This cosmetics brand is so affordable, but yet they manage to deliver high quality products! Lippies, eyes, and skin products alike have all gotten rave reviews. Some even can serve as duplicates or “dupes” to, or even rival some luxury products. So, of course I was elated that Ipsy chose the Whipped Lip and Cheek Color in Cocoa Bean for one of my June products.

First, the smell. I love that vanilla, sugar cookie-like fragrance that the NYX Butter Lip Glosses also have. They have highly pigmented yet build-able lip colors for less than $10. Next, the texture. I love the doe foot applicator that makes this so easy to smooth across the contours of the lips. The NYX lip gloss formula feels so soft. It is neither tacky nor sticky like some lip glosses can be. Personally, I don’t need a lip balm under this gloss, because it has gives my lips enough moisture. A little also goes a long way. This does “matte” down after a couple of minutes, but it can slighly stain your Starbucks cup since it isn’t a long-lasting formula.

The color is amazing! I love nudes and can’t seem to deviate from them. This color I could wear without any make up, or it can balance out a bright and bold eye shadow. It is  also versatile and complements a variety of skin tones. It can be worn with or without your favorite lip liner. I know this is advertised as a multipurpose product, but I am too greedy to share this product with my cheeks! However, I have seen tutorials on how great a cheek stain it could be. Finally, one of my favorite things about the NYX Lip and Cheek SoufflĂ© is its affordable $6 price tag, which can be found in Ulta, Walmart, Target or other select drug stores.

Have you ever tried NYX Cosmetics? What is/are your favorite product(s)?

Ipsy Glambag Product Review: Trust Fund Beauty Nail Color in Game Changer

I finally finished testing all products in my June Ipsy Glambag. Sometimes it takes longer  for me to decide whether a product is good or not. But here is a quick rundown on each item: Sample size Chia Curl by Trissola’s 5-in-1 Defining Curl Cream, full-sized NYX Professional Makeup Whipped Lip and Cheek Souffle in Cocoa Bean, full-sized Beauty For Real I-Line 24-7 Eyeliner in 24 Karat, full-sized City Color Cosmetics Shimmer Shadow in Beach Cottage, and full-sized Trust Fund Beauty’s Nail Color in Game Changer, which I will be reviewing here.

 

I love bright nail colors for the summer, and I am not afraid to go bold. So, I was excited when I saw Game Changer in the bag, and such a suitable name! It is a bright neon coral color in a sizable glass bottle, that is beautiful on a variety of skin tones, so they get kudos for that alone. I like when a brand is all-inclusive, and are considerate of the variety of skin tones that exist in this world.

Another “game changer” for me is the consistency of the nail color. It is thick and creamy, so you know it is a great formula, which brings me to the third reason why I love this color. I polished my toes with it almost two weeks ago and the coats still look really great, with no chipping! So it is long-lasting, which is important especially during the summer. It also helps that I used my Ciate London Gelology Topcoat that I swear by! I also liked how easy it was to apply, so for those who are DIY manis and pedis, this is a great nail polish to try.

Also, the bottle came in pretty packaging, good quality carton with pretty splotches of paint strategically on the box. No wonder the brand is called Trust Fund; I definitely get a luxurious vibe from packaging to product. I tried a lippie from them before, which was also in one of my Glambags months ago, but I lost it! I was devastated, but getting this nail polish makes up for it. This retails for but $15 is definitely worth the price, and I am curious to try other Trust Fund Beauty Products.

Peter Thomas Roth: Therapeutic Sulfur Masque Review

I fell in love with the Peter Thomas Roth (aka “PTR”) brand after receiving a shocking news from a Sephora beauty associate who told me I had cystic acne, and that I should try the PTR Therapeutic Sulfur Masque.  Not only did it clear up my acne and prevented future breakouts, but it also prevented any future blemishes. Two samples later, I broke down and bought the full-sized jar, which I still have a sizable amount about 2 years since. A little goes a long way, and since it actually works I rarely use it! I’ve even applied it to my seborrheic dermatitis breakouts and it has dried up the inflammation! So for me, this mask has a dual purpose and was definitely worth the $47.00. Since then, I have been secretly obsessed with PTR.

I am a firm believer that if something works, then I must get over the price of it and see it as a worthy investment towards clear, healthier skin. Also, because it is clinically formulated, it is tough on my occasional breakouts or outbreaks but still gentle on my skin. It leaves the treatment areas nice and smooth (sometimes I use as an on-the-spot treatment or all-over facial mask). Another thing I have learned growing up, is just because something is good to you, it does not mean it is good for you. What I am referring to are some of those skin masks, creams and such that smell so great, but do nothing to solve the problem I bought them for. Which leads me to my next point: sulfur smells horrific. BUT, I enjoy the results this product brings than to give it up for a smell-good, but do-nothing product.

Drake Puts OVO Imprint on Clarks Desert Boot

Drake seems quite the laid back type, especially in his music. With songs like “Find Your Love” and “Controlla” that make you want to “dutty wine” on the dance floor. He is known for creating feel-good music with a Caribbean vibe, displaying how much he enjoys the good life and with a pretty laid-back approach to everything he does. But what we can all agree with is that the “Jumpman” rapper is serious about his personal style. So it is no surprise that since his career has catapulted, he has made deals with major brands like Jordan to create his own products. Recently, Drake has managed to team up with footwear titan Clarks to pay homage to the classic Desert Boot with his own limited edition OVO x Desert Boot.

If you haven’t heard of the iconic Desert Boot, either you must have been under a rock or you really must have been under a rock. Clarks has been a mainstay in the footwear industry for more than over a century, while other brands seem to have gone as quickly as they have come, or could not withstand the test of time or footwear evolution. Whatever the case may be, it really is a major deal (pun seriously intended) for such a classic company to join forces with a pop culture icon.

Now back to the Desert Boot.

Its rich history began in 1941, in England where Clarks co-founder Nathan Clark designed a boot that allowed his fellow soldiers, also called “desert rags” who had to acclimatize into society post-war but needed a comfortable boot style they could wear at home. Additionally, the desert boot was suitable for those fighting in the desert, hence the name.  Since then, men, women and children from the streets of Somerset to New England have been wearing the timeless yet versatile boot, that shows no signs of retirement any time soon, especially with such creative partnerships as with Drake.

What also makes this collaboration pretty special is that Drake is not shy about his tribute and love for all people, places, and “tings” Caribbean. The Desert Boot became the epitome of cool by the “rude boys”, a Jamaican term coined for men who exude the bad boy persona. And if you knew better, you wouldn’t dare leave home without a pair on your feet. They understood that the desert boot has a ” je ne sais pas quoi” that makes a t-shirt and jeans look so polished and refined.  Jamaicans have embraced the desert boot into their culture to the extent that even a Clarks song was even created! So how befitting of Drake to give the classic footwear an update!

The collection has all the wonderful things that make the desert boot imitated, but never duplicated: the notable crepe sole, sleek design that’s virtually unchanged since the boot’s inception, and the hand crafted textiles by Clarks elite footwear engineers. What makes the OVO edition so distinctive is Drake’s October’s Very Own or OVO owl eyes-and-beak logo is embossed onto the suede, a golden owl on the lust-worthy Originals tag that comes with every desert boot designed, and mantra “Know Yourself” is also embossed on the inside of the tongue, so as the wearer is slipping them on, there is a gentle reminder to be a fearless individual. The collection comes in three colors: oakwood suede and black (which are already key colors in Clarks Original’s Collection), and a stunning purple.

Golden owl? Purple suede? Both are symbolic to Drake’s branding success. Is is also foretelling of his reign as prince of hip hop? Hmmmm. You decide while you hurry to grab a pair of these boots. If they aren’t soled out already. Yes, soled out.

Note: my original post is also on Level 21 Magazine’s website.

Missy Graces Elle’s Women in Music Issue

Missy Elliot, rapper/singer/songwriter/producer and fashion maven is the latest celebrity to feature the cover of Elle Magazine for their Women in Music issue. She wore eclectic fashions from Marc Jacob’s AW17 Hip-Hop inspired collection. Always one to push the limits of fashion, Missy wore her signature bucket hat, created by milliner Stephen Jones for Marc Jacobs but with a twist. The hat is made of chunky wool, hovering over her long, cascading tresses, and square oversized frames with her electric blue lips and hoop earrings.

This is not the first time she has worked with Jacobs. In 2016, he recreated her now infamous plastic bag look adorned with feathers across her back, for a campaign that featured other A-list stars. In her interview, Missy discusses not succumbing to pressures to fit in. “One thing I won’t do is compromise. I will never do something based on what everyone is telling me to do. I’ve been through so many stumbling blocks to build a legacy, so I wouldn’t want to do something just to fit in. Because I never fit in. So
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The hip hop influencer also discusses the process involved with creating her iconic plastic bag look for her “The Rain” (Supa Dupa Fly) video. “To me, the outfit was a way to mask my shyness behind all the chaos of the look. Although I am shy, I was never afraid to be a provocative woman. The outfit was a symbol of power,” Elliott told the magazine. “I loved the idea of feeling like a hip-hop Michelin woman. I knew I could have on a blow-up suit and still have people talking. It was bold and different. I’ve always seen myself as an innovator and a creative unlike any other.”

It is refreshing to see Missy as the face of women in music, because she’s helped pave the way for other women to freely and confidently express themselves. We cannot wait to see what upcoming projects Missy is working on!

Read my original story for Level 21 Magazine here.

Ipsy Glambag Product Review: Meg Twin Nail Polish in Lovey Dovey (Limited Edition)

I enjoy experimenting with various nail colors. While I equally love just about every color on the spectrum, oftentimes I find myself gravitating towards nude colors. I like their versatility and simplicity. While I have a preference for brands like OPI, Orly and Essie, I am still open to trying other brands. Meg’s Twin Nail in Lovey Dovey came in my Ipsy Glambag this month which I was excited about. I Love the packaging, and how each tiny color snapped easily into one top.

The clear, twist off caps underneath are travel-friendly spill proof. Also, getting two colors (nude & grey) is a treat!  The brushes allowed easy application, so for those who aren’t really skilled at polishing his or her own nails, this is for you! The nude color suited my skin tone perfectly. Two coats of polish are sufficient and gave full coverage on my nails. The color dried quickly to a slightly glossy finish.

The nude color looks even more beautiful with a shiny top coat. I used Ciate London Gelology top coat which was in my February Glambag! I am sure any top coat would do. However,  the grey color wasn’t my favorite, just a bit harsh on my skin tone. But at $10 for two nail colors,  I’d definitely try the others. Worn alone or mixing and matching the colors is also fun because the colors are complementary. This is a limited edition, so hurry while they last!

Ipsy Glambag Product Review: Elizabeth Mott Show Me Your Glow Highlighter

Lately, no one seems to get enough of highlighters. They are a staple to nearly everyone’s make up collection, and its shimmering effects can be added onto a full beat, or applied to a fresh face sans make up. So when it comes to highlighters, I am willing to try just about any brand. Of course, whenever Ipsy sends me a highlighter, I am just as excited about it as any of the others I currently use.

Before I received my Glambag, I did a little research on Elizabeth Mott’s Show Me Your Glow Highlighter. As soon as I discovered that it was sold out and on backorder, I knew I was in for a treat! Once I opened my Glambag, fishing for the pan I so desperately longed to try, I was slightly disappointed. It came in a minuscule plastic pan, which was hard to open at first. I get it, what should I expect from a sample, but geez! However, I must say that at least I didn’t have to worry about losing any products as it did come in a safely sealed container…

On the other hand, I love the formula of the Highlighter! It is highly pigmented, whether I wore it alone or over my foundation. I got the product out using my pinky finger or the tip of a blending brush. I could gradually apply more for that out-of-this world scintillating effect, or apply less for those conservative days at the office. Show Me Your Glow is also versatile, and can be worn as an eyeshadow. The full size version comes in a round compact, which retails for about $25. It is no longer on backorder (but its status subject to change due to its high demand, so hurry!!) and can now be purchased on Elizabeth Mott’s website. I will be investing in a full size because I also adore a multi-use product. I get more for my dollar. Who doesn’t appreciate that?

Ipsy Glambag Product Review: SKIN&CO Roma Truffle Therapy Face Toner

I am pretty much open to trying out new products, but new facial products make me a tad nervous. I have sensitive skin that can get easily irritated and break out at a moment’s notice. However, I was curious about SKIN&CO Roma’s Truffle Therapy face toner, because its’ something I have struggled with adding to my skincare regimen. I have read many other beauty blogs and articles stating its importance, but I still cannot get myself to be consistent with any particular toner.

Immediately I was excited at the mention of “truffles”.  I love truffle chocolates, truffle butter, and I associate anything truffle-related with luxury and good quality. So I knew this toner was going to do wonders to my skin. The packaging is good quality, something expected of a high end product. The top is gold, along with the lettering on bottle. The bottle is made of a hard plastic, which resembles glass at first glance. It is so important that luxury brands put time and effort into creating quality packaging.

The smell is quite pleasant, reminiscent of roses and citrus, but not overbearing. I applied the toner onto a cotton ball after using a variety of cleansers, from Murad’s Clarifying Cleanser to Pur-lisse’s 4-in1 Cleansing Milk. So it works well with a variety of other brands on the market. It made my skin feel clean and soft, carefully removing any residue and dead skin left behind after cleansing my face. After a week’s use, I felt my skin was noticeably soft, even, and clear. SKIN&CO Roma’s Truffle Therapy face toner retails for about $27 (Ulta & Nordstrom carry the brand), but I think it is worth the price. I am curious as to how effective the toner is when used with the entire SKIN&CO line and would be buying this once I run out.

 

Ispy Glambag Product Review: TONY MOLY LipCare Stick in Mint Light

TONY MOLY is a popular South Korean cosmetics line full of whimsical imagery and witty packaging. This month, Ipsy sent me a full-sized Liptone Lipcare Stick in Mint Light, which I was excited about. The other flavors are Honey Moisture, and Rose Blossom. The packaging is adorable, and the product was easy to apply. I love lippies and don’t have any one brand preference over others, whether high end, mid priced or discounted. So, of course, I couldn’t wait to try it.

The packaging is similar to Pantone color swatches. Pantone is known as the “global color authority”, dictates “color of the year”, and influences which colors are in trend for the year.  Also, I had high expectations because anytime a brand markets a product as having a “mint” flavor, I expect a minty experience. The lip balm has a slight minty smell overpowered with an oily scent. So, I wasn’t really impressed with that. When I actually applied the balm I noticed I had to constantly reapply, which I found off putting.

I find this unfavorable for a lip balm because reapplication made my lips drier! I’ve tried cheaper lip balms like Bert’s Bees 🐝 that have better quality, and kept my lips moisturized. I don’t believe that the LipCare stick is worth it’s $10 price tag. I wanted to give a through review of this balm anyway, so I continued to try it. I really liked the packaging and I was hoping my experience with it would improve. So, I decided to try it with lipstick. Surprisingly enough, it did work well underneath my lipstick. However, I still wouldn’t buy this. So Mint Light isn’t right for me, although I would be willing to try TONY MOLY’s other products in the future.

Have you tried the TONY MOLY brand? If so, which products have you used?