Thursday, February 19, 2015

A year of Ipsy Bags in Review & Finally decided to cancel my Ipsy subscription...

Alas, Ipsy, I knew thee well...

For a while, I was subscribed to a monthly makeup bag called Ipsy. They basically send you 4-5 makeup samples monthly in a cute little custom designed bag and it also arrives in a super cute metallic pink bubble mailer.

February 2015 Ipsy Bag

Initially, I was loving my bags. And for a while I had to be on a waitlist before I could even GET a bag.

For the record, it's $10 a month so it's not super expensive, unless you consider that if you subscribe for a year, that's $120 and I think if you agree in advance to subscribe for 1 full year and pay up front, it's $100 or $110 I think... basically you'd be getting a month or two for free if you pay up front, but I prefer the month to month option because it lets me cancel anytime I want! Yarnbox on the other hand, has various levels, and the best deal is to pay for 6 months at a time, I think....cause it amounts to a $35 box per month which is a steal considering the awesome quality of the yarns you get and the pattern values.

But I digress...!

And also for the record - I did not get paid to write this review, and also Ipsy did not send me these for free. I paid with my own money for all of my subscription bags.

Today I canceled my sub, and I will explain why below when I share some photos of the Ipsy bags I got in the past with comments on the products.

When you first join, you make an account and answer a brief survey about you skintone, eyecolor, hairtype, and what makeup products you prefer to use most and which you dislike. I don't even remember what data I'd input initially, since I had subscribed a litle over a year ago or so. October 2013 was my first bag. I canceled today, after getting my February 2015 bag.

After receiving your monthly bag, you have the option to log on to your account and visit your "GlamRoom" to click on each product you got that month to review them. Which, btw, is horrible designed User Interface. They really should get someone to re-do their website. I found that clicking back and forth between bags and product and using the drop down menu to select, then having to click the chevron to expand just to leave a freakin' review was really obnoxious, and consumed a lot of time. You can also leave a comment on each individual product's page that was featured that month.

Each time you leave a review (or refer someone or do some other actions from a list they have in their FAQ), you get "Ipsy Points" which collect in your account. I had about 550 in mine when I quit, granted there were maybe 2-3 month's worth of products which I had not reviewed. And then I went to redeem my points only to realize you can only get the bonus item in your next month's Ipsy bag which means since I cancelled today, I won't be getting a March bag, which means I just wasted the points.... I thought they would mail you the item separately. Maybe they still will, since I canceled and maybe they want to give me incentive to return, but I seeeriously doubt it. Not to mention you only have about 4-6 samples you can pick from to redeem your points on, and I disliked almost all of them. There were 2 or 3 that sounded good (Urban Decay Perversion Mascara, though I already own a tube of it, and BareMinerals cream eyeshadow which I also like and own) and the only ones I wanted were either 1,000 points only, or sold out. So yeah. Not much incentive there. :(

BTW, for the photos, I will list oldest to newest so you can see the progression of items I received:

Click Read More to see the photos and read my thoughts on the products!!

(For some reason I did not take photos of my bags prior to Feb 2014...sorry!)

February 2014 Bag

The only thing I liked in this bag was the eyelashes, and the blush was not bad either just too bright/staining. The eye pencil was OK but not long lasting, and the top part that protects the pencil tip kept sliding off and caused a mess in my bag. :( The nail polish was a nice color but chipped easily. The Pop lip stuff was NASTY. Totally gross smelling, stick, and faded quick. That went to the trash.

March 2014 Bag

Props to being creative on the bag design even though this is not really my style...reminds me of modern art x toenails. Ew. I LOVED the color of this eyeliner though, it's dark blue. And the Moxie lipgloss was nice as well, one of my most used lip products from any ipsy bag. Click here to see a swatch photo of the eyeliner and lipstick. The face wipes were "eh" whatever. the NYX shadow was rubbish and I did not even bother to open the shrinkwrap. All in all, not a bad bag!

April 2014 Bag

Cute bag, loved the screenprint! Sadly most of the contents of this one was a flop. I feel like I would have liked the demeter fragrance if it wasn't SO overpoweringly stinky. It's supposed to smell like pure jasmine which it does a good job of. Sadly, I loathe the scent of Jasmine so maybe amounts to more of a personal preference on this one. You get a lot of fragrance though, so seemed like a good deal. Eyeshadow was cute but sadly very very cheap brand, and already a color I own lots of. Microderm thing wasn't bad either though I hate these types of products, general speaking and told them I did not want anti-aging stuff. The Cailyn lip product - it was a good concept with respect to how they engineered the applicator on this one, but the actual COLOR and SMELL of the product was wretched. Basically threw it in the trash. Thankfully the Urban Decay pencil redeemed this otherwise shitty bag.

May 2014 Bag

Not a bad bag, fabric and design wise. Simple and I liked the cotton-y feel of it. Very earthy. The water "spray" stuff was definitely refreshing but all the shit they claim on the insert was total snake oil. I would never buy such a product in reality. Sunblock in a small tube, useful for keeping in my convertible when the top is off and I forgot to wear sunscreen. But it went bad so fast prolly from me keeping it in my car in the summer heat, lol oops! Hair mask wasn't bad, although it touted all sorts of oils and benefits and crap, but the main ingredient was cetyl alcohol which also happens to be the primary ingredient in the drill bit lubricant they use where I work, hahahaha. It does work pretty nicely for lubing up your hair and making it easy to brush, I just don't get why products don't tout it as "now with more cetyl alcohol!" because this is the actual ingredient that makes your hair feel nice and slippery and smooth and detangled vs. the B.S. argan oil or w/e it is which is like < 1% of the over composition of the formula. *laughs* anywayyy. Eyeshadow was shit, I hated it. Did not like the colors I got and it's cheap looking and cheap wearing. The perfume was AWESOME though! Loved it!! June 2014 Bag

Probably one of my most favorite bags in terms of the design of the pouch itself and the fabric print. I am tempted to give it to my mom though because I know this is totally her style but I love it too!
Let me say, this hair spray is probably one of the best Ipsy products I ever received! I still use it today. The Skinn stuff wasn't bad but nothing to write about either. It gets your face clean and the smell is not offensive. Laneige stuff was a cool idea but it dried up so fast and BARELY any product in there to try. I liked the application, but the color was still too dark for my pale-ass skin. lol. I liked the eyeliner but it did not last very long on my face. :( The NYX lip stuff was awful. I hate NYX's lip products. IDK why, because I love their jumbo white "Milk" eye pencil as a base for all of my bright and colorful eyeshadows!

July 2014 Bag

The absolute best part of this bag was the Bare Minerals 5 in 1 cream eyeshadow/eyebase. It's basically like UD's primer potion only tinted. I will say it does crease after an 8 hour work day even when you set it with a little powder, but I can overlook that since I mostly use it as a base. It has a tiny shimmer to it which is a nice subtle touch and appropriate for work. They're Real mascara is not a bad product, but I already have like 5 of these from Sephora, so I had no use for this and I think I gave it to a friend. Same with Bad Gal lashes, IDK why, I always end up with samples of that stuff, lol. Oops, tangent! The Jojoba skin softener did nothing at all for my skin, even when I took it to FL with me for use after being out in the sun. I couldn't really use the tanning oil though because I get burned so easily and my pores clog. So maybe it's a good product for someone who isn't me. I also liked this months bag. Kinda cheap/flimsy but cute design and color.

August 2014 Bag

The bag itself was cute, funky, and cool, but the plastic material cost crushed in their flimsy bubble mailer. Maybe I can stuff something inside of it to maintain the shape. The only thing that reallly sucked about this bag was the pink "body shimmer" in the tube which basically clogged my pore, made me break out a ton, and barely even lasted on my skin. :( Cheap, inferior quality product. The black eye pencil was utter rubbish too and did not last for more than 30 freakin minutes on my dripped and ran all over the place and I wasn't even active/working out while wearing it. Just sitting at my desk at work, typing! Love the Mask, it was phenomenal, and the UD Perversion was excellent as per usual. I also realllly enjoyed that lip balm but I am sad because I somehow lost it. Awww! :(

September 2014 Bag

The bag itself was nifty and I liked it, but the contents... not so much. The most useful item in here was the makeup brush for sure. I can always use more of these. The CC cream did absolutely nothing for my hair, it was more of just a glorified hair conditioner, and I have such long hair now that this only lasted like 2 showers or so. The NYX shadow wasn't bad but the color looked muddy on my. I never use it anymore. The eyepencil wasn't bad either but did not last a long time on me and was a bright silvery color. The Cailyn lip gloss was AWFUL. I think I threw it in the trash. HATE this brand. Cheap "made in China" makeup.

October 2014 Bag

I actually really enjoyed the contents of this bag. The bag itself is cute, and I would never buy anything like it if I was just out and about which is nice cause it pushes my boundaries and broadens my bag collection. The nailpolish, while it did chip kinda easily w/o a top coat, is actually a MATTE gold which looks really cool when worn, though I think it would look better on darker skin or if I had a tan. I liked the exfoliant and the body butter which smelled amazing!! I wish there had been more of it. And the mascara wasn't my favorite but it did last all day which I appreciate, and did not bug my eyes, but I have soooo much mascara! I think it may have been after I received this bag that I told them no more mascaras... and if memory serves me, inside of the little "fall in love this season" card, there was a lipstick sample by a brand I had never heard of. While I loved the color of it, the smell was horrific and it was cheaply made. Did not last more than an hour without reapplication and the smell was just waxy and awful. Blegh.

November 2014 Bag

The only reason why this wasn't an epic fail for me was the bag itself. I LOVE sparkly metallicy material like this and it reminds me of my pink Metamorphose "bling bag" I got ages ago when I was more into lolita. Also the hair spray wasn't bad, and I love trying new hair products, despite the whole argan oil thing being a bit of a sham, lol. (Another post for another day.) The "bombshell" cream "eye base" isn't a totally terrible color but it's SO cheap. Made in China crap product that won't last for more than an hour on your skin. The only "cream shadow" I ever had luck with was the Bare Minerals 3 in 1 because it's effectively eye primer potion type stuff but with more color options. The under the eye cream is really thick and nasty, too dark for my fair skin, and also cheaply made. The stuff in the tube is microderm-abrasion scrub for "anti aging." Ugh everytime I hear the microderm-abrasion terms, it makes me cringe. It makes me think of skin abrasions. Ew. And I am only 26! Why do I need "anti-aging" products? I told them not to send me any of these. Meh meh meh!! And most of these types of products are snake oil and do not work anyway. Want to get rid of wrinkles? Botox dat shit. Alas.

December 2014 Bag

The best part of this was the BB Repair Hair product. I told them I wanted lots of hair products to try. But they gave me mascara after I told them I did not want/need any more! :( The Cailyn loose eyeshadow in a bottle was a reallly cute idea, and I liked the applicator for this! But the color, while totally work-appropriate and wearable (which I did love) is something I already own in many different reminded me a lot of some of the Urban Decay Naked shades I own...especially Sin.... oh well. I find myself rarely using this, blush I would still reach for a blending brush to feather it out. But it did seem to be less messy than a lot of mineral eyeshadows, so props to them for being creative. This is the only product by this brand I kinda sorta liked, though. Everything else so far was rubbish! Did not like the lip balm and I told them I do not use eye bothers and irritates my eyes! :( NYX makes some pretty decent stuff for the price, generally, but I abhor their lip products with a passion. Also found this pouch to be rather cheap looking and boring.

January 2015 Bag

The best part about this bag for me was the cute little pink makeup brush. I go through makeup brushes like crazy, so yeah... The eyeliner was barely passable but it did not last long on my face, and because my skin is so oily, it had a tendency to run everywhere after several hours of wear. :( Oh well... the nail polish was a nice color but I already own this exact color in another brand, and this stuff chips wayyy easily.

Lastly, the Feb 2015 bag.

This bag was the last straw for me. It came with 2 perfume-y types of things. One was a rollerball fragrance by demeter, and the other was some type of facial oil. I only opened each one up briefly to smell them and uggh they smelled AWFUL. Sickeningly sweet scent, and I already have insanely oil skin, so why would I put this on my face? Blech. I did not even bother opening the eyeshadow, blush, and lip gloss because I have tried at least a couple of these brands in prior bags and they SUCKED. Weird smelling products, not long lasting, colors I either hate or already own...and just cheap. Cheap cheap cheap. Inferior quality. Looking at the backs of them, all three said Made in China. Ew. Even the makeup you can get at drugstores is better than this crap. Meh. I listed the contents of my bag on eBay and within an hour, someone had bought them! THANK GOD, lol. At least someone else might enjoy and love these... just not me!!

So needless to say, I cancelled today and will not be returning. Maybe if they started putting better brands in the bags, but even so, they started off giving me good stuff, probably to lure me in, and eventually the quality just degraded significantly.

I liked how before, the items you could receive were UNIQUE to that particular month. Next month's bag would not have one of the possibilities of a prior month. Which leads me to believe they are getting these product samples wholesale because they were surplus/overstock and stopped caring about customizing bags with a certain brand selection per month and customizing per your beauty profile, they were just cycling through 25 or so different options all of which were crappy. And that's obviously just me guessing, I have no idea what their supply chain is like and how they manage inventory....I just think the quality of my products degraded over time.

I now have a storage bin with tons and tons of products I will never use. So maybe I should take all the unopened ones and just list them on eBay in one gigantic lot and hope there's a taker, lol.

After reading this post, you may be thinking "wow, she really hates Ipsy!" or "wow, Ipsy really sucks!" truthfully, it's based on your personal preference. If you only have $10/month to spend on makeup, and you do not care about the quality of what you are receiving and do enjoy travel sizes/samples and/or being surprised by what you get, then Ipsy is probably okay for you. But for me? Nahhh. I would rather save the $10/ month I would be spending on random low quality makeup samples and saving up for one nice big Fyrianne or Sugarpill or Geek Chic Cosmetics order, because I have purchased from those Indie brands before and I know and love them, and know they are gonna be high quality long lasting products that I will cherish, wear, and love for a while vs. leave discarded in a makeup bin.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Fake Sailor Moon Figures on eBay - Banpresto Girls Memory Crane Game Figurines

First of all: I must apologize for never updating this blog. But as I mentioned before, I am pretty much addicted to Instagram, so if you want to see any photos or follow my (mostly boring) life, please check my IG account @theflyingace. :)

Lately I have been collecting a lot of Sailor Moon merchandise, because they keep releasing the 20th anniversary goods probably to align with the release of Sailor Moon Crystal. (Probably a whole 'nother blog post in and of itself, lol.)

This post is mostly a warning to other collectors to be careful when buying stuff on eBay. I mean, that goes without saying when you're buying anything online...and I probably got what I deserved for buying these since I did not ask for extra photos of the boxes or close-ups of the boxes/figures themselves. Also the price ($34 shipped) is too good to be true, seeing as how I just paid $63 total for all 4 outer senshi figurines.

While I have had many positive experiences buying on eBay, there have been a handful of negative ones.

Recently, I purchased some Sailor Moon figurines from a seller located in the USA. The seller's name is collectorsaldo21 in case you were wondering. I thought I'd be safe ordering from a US seller, as most of my experiences with counterfeit items were the result of me purchasing from sellers overseas, particularly in China. However, this was not the case in this particular instance.

While I am not an expert in spotting fakes, I will say that there are some tell-tale signs you can look for. Specifically, with respect to the packaging and the overall quality of the items you receive.

The fact these came shipped in a flimsy bubble mailer with the figurines OUTSIDE of their boxes, and the boxes as flat sheets stack inside should have been the first sign that these weren't the real deal!!

The first thing to look for is the gold Toei sticker on the top of the box (or in some location on the box or tag, if your item is not the same variety as mine. These are the Banpresto Crane game figures.)

(I apologize in advance for my shitty photos. I am NOT an expert photographer by any stretch of the imagination. Also for reference, the Chibiusa figure is REAL, and not a fake. I bought her from Big In Japan, an online store that specializes in collectible items from Japan.)

The Chibiusa on the right DOES have the gold sticker. But note that the Sailor Moon does not.

Everything arrived like this:

I assembled the Sailor Moon box for the box comparison photo.

Fake Sailor Moon figure - note the smudge on her bow and generally poor workmanship.

Back of the fake figure. Note the messed up paint on her sailor collar, and the mold lines on her back bow that were never sanded down or cut off.

Click "read more" button below to see more pics and read more.

fake Mercury figure. I did not take a pic of the back because I had to leave these in their baggies since I was returning them to the seller. So therefore, it was very difficult to accurately capture them while still inside the bags.

Fake Sailor Mars figurine. Note the messed up paint - white paint from her leotard going onto the red skirt. Ick!

Fake Luna figure. Hard to tell with this one. It's the least awful of them all maybe due to the size. But the eye decals are semi translucent and not opaque. :(

For reference, this is my REAL Chibiusa figure, not a counterfeit:

Note the significantly better paint job!!

So I hope this post was somewhat informative to all y'all Sailor Moon collectors out there. I wish I had a better set of photos ....was almost tempted to buy the real ones and keep these too so I could do comparison shots, but I'd rather have my 30something bucks back in my pocket so I can invest in legit merchandise!!

I am shipping these back to the seller today. I told him they were fakes and the answer I got back was like it came out of google translate or something....broken English. So yeah....weird. I don't know what to say other than be careful. At least eBay has buyer protection so you can at least have peace of mind with most of your purchases.

If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. :-(