Skincare Review: RevivSerums’s HA7X Multi-Molecular Hydrator Serum

Hello reader! It’s another skincare review! The product we’re talking about today is the HA7X Multi-Molecular Hydrator Serum from RevivSerums. I used the serum with the rest of my skincare regimen for ten days and, believe it or not, I saw some interesting results.

I was given this product by Brandbacker and RevivSerums. My opinions are my own and are not swayed by free stuff.

The HA7X serum is a multi-purpose serum aimed at treating a wide variety of skincare woes, including dryness, wrinkles, and dullness. It comes in a plastic bottle with a pump delivery. The product has a pleasant scent and a lightweight gel consistency. I used two pumps to cover my whole face, neck, and decolletage. The bottle also recommends using it on your hands, which I only did when I remembered to. Here’s the Cosdna entry for the ingredients.

Ingredients list, from the box


Product info, from the box


Instructions for use, on the bottle

I have to tell you, I really loved using this. I used it twice a day, morning and night, and since the instructions I was given said I could keep using my other serums and treatments with it, I kept using those too. The first thing I noticed is that it’s instantly moisturizing; I did not feel dry at all after applying, and even skipped my regular moisturizer most of the time I used it. Of course, I have very oily skin, and the hydration from this product exacerbated it. Those of you with normal to dry skin will like this.

Here’s a before and after comparison. Of course, ten days isn’t nearly enough time to judge a skincare product’s long-term results, but I will tell you this: I have a wrinkle. It’s on my forehead over my right eye, and it’s about an inch long. I found it on my 25th birthday. It’s a pretty fine line, and whenever I try to show it to people, they just say “I don’t see anything, are you sure you’re not imagining it?” Well, it’s definitely there, because I can feel it. It feels deeper than it looks. Since I’ve been using this serum, I don’t notice it anymore. I can barely see it in the mirror, and I have to really poke around with my fingertip to find it. It doesn’t feel like a deep crease anymore, but just smooth. It’s kind of alarming, actually. My skin also seems brighter. Apart from that, I still have a lot of discoloration and hyperpigmentation from acne, I don’t see any improvements there yet.

Just so we’re clear, I hate posting photos of myself without makeup. I feel so naked!

Here is my skincare routine, just so you can see what else I used and how it fits in:
Origins Checks and Balances Cleanser (AM), Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser (PM)
Nameraka Sana Honpo Soy Milk Isoflavone Lotion Toner
Burt’s Bees Sensitive Eye Cream (AM)
Up and Up 2% Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment (AM)
Cetaphil DermaControl Oil Control Moisturizer (AM)
Valentia Night Revive Retinol Serum (PM)
CeraVe Moisturizing Facial Lotion PM (PM)

The HA7X was developed as an affordable alternative to Skinmedica’s HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator, using 29 of the same ingredients and ultimately adding in two new and different actives. However, it’s nearly a hundred dollars cheaper, a mere $89 compared to $178. Of course, I don’t have the Skinmedica product to test simultaneously, but I find that this one works very well indeed. My one gripe is with the packaging; for $89, I would like something better than a plastic bottle.

The HA7X Multi-Molecular Hydrator Serum is available from

I was given this product by Brandbacker and RevivSerums. My opinions are my own and are not swayed by free stuff.

Makeup Review: Studio Gear’s Prime Objective Skin Perfecting Face Primer

It’s been a while since we had a good product review, yeah? I’m excited about today’s, because I don’t get too many makeup products. What we’re looking at today is Studio Gear’s Prime Objective Skin Perfecting Face Primer. It’s smooth, creamy, and wonderful.

I was given this product for free by Brandbacker and Studio Gear. My opinions are not swayed by free stuff.


The cap is dirty from having black eyeshadow on my fingers.

The Prime Objective primer is a silicone-based foundation primer. It is free of fragrances and parabens, but does contain preservatives. It also contains Retinol and moisturizers, delivering skincare benefits as well as long-lasting makeup. It has a pump delivery that dispenses a lot of product, and perhaps too much for my preference. Here’s the Cosdna entry for Prime Objective.



It’s no secret that I love silicone primers. I’ve talked at length about my love for Smashbox Photo Finish. It’s probably no surprise that I like Prime Objective. I replaced my Photo Finish with Prime Objective for a couple weeks and saw comparable performance; it held my foundation on (which is NARS All Day Luminous Weightless foundation) with no issues.


Before and after. The smoothing and blurring effects are apparent.

Before and after. The smoothing and blurring effects are apparent.

That said, I don’t like it quite enough to replace my Photo Finish. I said it was creamy, and for me, it’s a little too creamy, and feels a little greasy with my already-oily skin type. That, and the pump dispenses a huge amount of product. The box actually says “use one to two pumps as needed”, but I can’t imagine anyone needing two. Between the large amounts of product and its creaminess, it’ll pill up like it did on my hand here, and taking care not to overwork it, especially after it’s set, is necessary.


So, my final word is that this primer is a great product if you want a little more skincare in your makeup routine, and you don’t have sensitivities to silicone or Retinol. And, Studio Gear were cool enough to give readers a 10% discount on orders; use code BB at checkout. Let me know if you give this or other products a shot! The Prime Objective Skin Perfecting Face Primer retails for $30 for a one ounce tube.

I was given this product for free by Brandbacker and Studio Gear. My opinions are not swayed by free stuff.


Skincare Review: Valentia’s Night Revive Retinol Serum

It’s another skincare review! This time it’s another product from Valentia; it’s their Night Revive Retinol Serum. I’ve never used a retinol product on my face, but I’m giving it shot. For science. I’ve been using it since last Thursday.


I was given these products by Brandbacker and Valentia. My opinons are my own and are not swayed by free stuff.

You’ll remember I reviewed Valentia’s Pure Glow Moisturizer some time ago, and after sustaining a breakout caused by it, I had some reservations about the retinol treatment. I thought a retinol treatment wouldn’t be for me, that it would be better suited for someone with anti-aging needs. The box says it helps curb breakouts and premature aging, though, so it sounds like there’s something for everyone in this bottle. Valentia products contain natural and organic ingredients, are vegan, and cruelty-free. The Cosdna entry for the Night Revive Retinol Serum is here.


The product comes with an eyedropper, as the serum is pretty liquidy. It’s milky in color, and runs when dropped onto the back of a hand. I found that one dropper-ful was enough to cover my face, neck and décolletage. It goes on nicely and absorbs quickly. There’s no added fragrance, and the product has a creamy mild scent. With the first few applications, I noticed a slightly irritating feeling, but it didn’t last long and went away after absorbing. I don’t notice it anymore. I haven’t been using it every night, so I’m not seeing the redness or peeling the box warns me about.


I’ve read that it generally takes a few weeks to see the results of a retinol serum, so I may need to do a follow-up post to this one in order to really review its efficacy. That said, I’m probably going to keep using this. I had an epiphany halfway through writing this that my 31st birthday is upon me and I really need to get on the anti-aging bandwagon. This seems like a good product to start with. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

The Night Revive Retinol Serum retails for $35 on Amazon and on Valentia’s website. Follow Valentia on Facebook and Instagram to learn more about this and other products.

I was given these products by Brandbacker and Valentia. My opinons are my own and are not swayed by free stuff.

Skincare Review: Derma E’s Hydrating Day and Night Creams + New Packaging Preview

Who loves skincare products? I do! I love trying new things as well. I was given the chance to review Derma E’s Hydrating Day and Night Creams, as well as showcase their new package design. I’ve heard so many good things about Derma E, and I’m excited for this chance to try them out. For six days, I replaced my regular moisturizers with these, and so far, I like what I’m seeing.


I was given these products by Brandbacker and Derma E. My opinons are my own and are not swayed by free stuff.

Let’s talk first about the brand and their products. I’m excited to see these creams are free of parabens, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfate, petrolatum, mineral oil, artificial colors, gluten, soy, and GMOs. They are also cruelty-free and 100% vegan. I love seeing long lists of what’s not in the product (even when some of them are givens). The products were not reformulated during the package redesign. Derma E’s hydrating products are for normal to dry skin. Here are the Cosdna entries for the day and night creams.

The Hydrating Day Creme is up first. The product consistency is pretty light for a cream, just a bit heavier than a lotion. I’m definitely more on the oily side, so I was pretty hesitant to try this on my actual face. I’m happy to report, though, that I didn’t have any adverse reactions. It doesn’t leave me any more oily through the day as my regular moisturizer. It also has a lovely scent; the box says plumeria flower, I just know it smells like Hawaii.




One thing, though, is I’m not sure this product contains any sun protection. It doesn’t explicitly say it on the box, and it wasn’t until I was examining the ingredients list that I noticed it does contain some titanium dioxide, which is used in most physical sunscreens. Of course, this is also used for pigmentation, and as it’s also in the night cream, it’s likely being used for that purpose instead. Additional sun protection is recommended.

Here’s the night cream in all its newly redesigned glory! The formula here is a bit richer than that of the day cream, but doesn’t feel thick or goopy. Like with the day cream, I didn’t experience oilier-than-normal conditions in the morning. The scent is different from the day cream, but it’s still pleasant.




What do you guys think about the new packaging? I really like it. I thought the old one was nice, but this new one is really sophisticated-looking. I like being able to see the product through the label, and I like the look of the matte label. It’s a really nice jar to have displayed on my vanity table.

Overall, I like these creams, they’ve performed very well in the past six days I’ve used them. However, I do not feel like they’re for me. They’re definitely perfect for someone with normal to dry skin, they deliver a lot of moisture and softness. As someone who’s still trying to master the art of oil control, I’m sorry to say it, they’re just not what I need. However, I am very likely to try any oily skin products Derma E offer, because I have loved using these two creams. I’ll probably also use these on the regular when I run out of my usual products.

Both the day and night creams sell for $29.50 each. While the newly redesigned packaging did officially launch in September, it will be rolling out with all products in March 2017. You can find Derma E products in Ulta, Target, CVS, and Walgreens, among others.

I was given these products by Brandbacker and Derma E. My opinons are my own and are not swayed by free stuff.

Product Review: Smart Stuff’s Natural Insect Repellent

Welcome back, reader! Today’s post is something a little different. I don’t we don’t usually talk about things like mosquito repellent on, but since I have the opportunity to do so, I will. I live in Florida, where the mosquito is the Zika-virus-carrying state bird, so there’s no better place to test it than in my back yard.

This is a press sample; I was sent this sample product by Smart Stuff on behalf of Brandbacker. My opinions of this product are not influenced by free stuff.


Smart Stuff’s mission is to make effective products that aren’t dangerous or harmful to use. We’ve all used those repellent sprays that have weird chemical smells, leave oily residue on skin, and contain irritating ingredients. Smart Stuff gives us another option: effective insect repellent that contains natural botanical ingredients. Take a look at the ingredients list. You’ll notice some tried-and-true ingredients, like eucalyptus, soybean, and cinnamon oils. You’ll also notice what’s missing — DEET. Though DEET is generally safe and very effective at repelling insects, it can be irritating. It’s also a strong solvent, capable of breaking down synthetic fabrics, plastics, and varnished surfaces. Yes, that includes your nails. (This is a nail blog, after all.) Smart Stuff also avoids using synthetic chemicals, parabens, PABA, petroleum, phthalates, gluten, and artificial colors and fragrances.


The first thing — and likely the first thing I noticed about the spray — was its scent. It smells strongly of peppermint. Luckily, as it absorbs, the scent diminishes, but is still there, so those who are sensitive to strong smells won’t have to deal with it for long. It absorbs pretty quickly; it feels wet for a few seconds and then soaks in. After it absorbs, it leaves no residue or oily feel, which is probably my favorite part about it. Most importantly, I gave this spray a good testing; I wore it outside every time I tended the garden for about five days, and had no bites at the end of the evening.

The Smart Stuff Natural Insect Repellent retails for $15.99 on their website. They also make sunscreens and skincare products.

Also, let me include some links to sources that talk about botanical insect repellent and the disadvantages of DEET.
Comparative laboratory and field evaluation of repellent formulations containing DEET and lemon eucalyptus oil against mosquitoes in Queensland, Australia.
Efficacy of herbal essential oils as insecticide against Aedes aegypti (Linn.), Culex quinquefasciatus (Say) and Anopheles dirus (Peyton and Harrison).
Chemical Composition and Mosquito Larvicidal Activity of Essential Oils from Leaves of Different Cinnamomum osmophloeum Provenances
How DEET jams insects’ smell sensors

This is a press sample; I was sent this sample product by Smart Stuff on behalf of Brandbacker. My opinions of this product are not influenced by free stuff.

Product Review: Valentia’s Pure Glow Brightening Moisturizer

Hello, reader! I have another product review for you! Today we’re taking a look at Valentia’s Pure Glow Brightening Moisturizer.

This is a press sample; I was given a product redemption code by Brandbacker on behalf of Valentia. My opinions of this product are not influenced by free stuff.

Inspired by the Roman goddess of the same name, Valentia seeks to create a product formulated with natural and organic ingredients to moisturize, restore, and protect skin. Pure Glow Brightening Moisturizer aims to lighten dark spots, improve skin radiance, even skin tone, reduce the appearance of fine line, and supply lasting moisture to skin. The following photo lists the ingredients used in Pure Glow; nearly all of them have a common name in parentheses next to them. It’s a pretty long list. Pure Glow is also formulated to exclude toxins and parabens. Additionally, it comes in a heavy dark glass bottle, which shields it from light, and has a pump delivery, which helps keep the air out.


Pure Glow comes out of the bottle as a soft, rich lotion; this product consistency allows the lotion to absorb quickly. The product has a faint citrus scent, but otherwise has an inoffensive lotiony smell. Skin feels moisturized very soon after use. I used Pure Glow on my own face for about four days. I didn’t notice any lightening of dark spots, but my skin did seem more radiant, and my one fine line did look diminished.


The label says it’s suitable for all skin types, it didn’t work for mine. I have very oily and acne-prone skin, and it sometimes felt like the product didn’t fully absorb, leaving me feeling greasy through the day. I stopped using it when I started getting cystic pimples. I might hang onto this for the winter when my skin upgrades to normal skin, but for oily summer skin, this is less than ideal. It’s so rich that it really feels more suited to dry skin anyway.


Pure Glow Brightening Moisturizer and other Valentia skin care products are available on Amazon the Valentia website. You can follow Valentia on social media via Facebook and Instagram.

This is a press sample; I was given a product redemption code by Brandbacker on behalf of Valentia. My opinions of this product are not influenced by free stuff.

Review: Highlight Cosmetics’s Liquid Lipstick in Broadway Red

Hello, reader! Ready for another lipstick post? The lovely people at Highlight Cosmetics were kind enough to send us a sample of their liquid lipstick. The shade I’m trying out is Broadway Red.





Broadway Red is a matte red with shimmer that, when dry, creates a metallic look. As is typical of liquid lipsticks, it comes with a doe-foot applicator, which makes for easy and precise application. The product formula is really lovely; it dries super quickly, practically the second I put it on, and the wear time is really good. As long as I’m not putting oily things on my lips, it stayed on and looked perfect; it stands up to liquids pretty well, but not pizza and lip balm. After extended wear, my lips did feel a bit dry, likely after coming into contact with liquids. At the end of the day, I used bi-phase makeup remover to take it off, and it did leave some staining behind; this was gone by morning.



I’m new on the liquid lipstick bandwagon, and I finally see what the fuss is about. It’s so nice to not have a ton of lip color come off on the glass. Because I haven’t previously tried this kind of product, I don’t really have a lot to compare it to. I can’t speak for how well it holds up against other brands. My hope is that all liquid lipsticks wear as well as this one does.

Apart from the impressive wear times and color quality, Highlight also uses some natural ingredients. Turmeric and tea leaf extracts are in here, which are both known for their uses in folk medicine. Safflower oil is included to help moisturize the lips. I didn’t really notice a difference in lip moisture, and I even felt a little dried out at some points, but for such prolonged wear, I don’t mind. Highlight liquid lipsticks are also free of gluten, parabens, are non-toxic, and cruelty-free.


At 25 dollars for 4g/.14oz, Highlight liquid lipsticks are comparable to other lipsticks on the market. They can be purchased on Amazon and from the Highlight Cosmetics website.

Other products I used in this look:
Dr. Jart+ Premium Beauty Balm SPF 45
Revlon Photoready powder in Translucent
Benefit Dallas bronzer
Benefit High Beam highlighter
Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Browl Gel

Urban Decay Primer Potion in Sin
Urban Decay eyeshadows Foxy and Tease, found in the Naked 2 palette
Urban Decay 24/7 Eyeliner in Zero
Maybelline Great Lash waterproof mascara

Highlight Cosmetics sent this product for review. All opinions are my own. Other products mentioned in this post were purchased myself.

Review: Marc Jacobs Beauty’s Glow Stick

Welcome to a special post, reader! We’ve got a press sample! I was contacted by Influenster to review the Glow Stick highlighter from Marc Jacobs. It’s a wonderful product, I’m happy to say! I was pretty wary of this at first. In general, I don’t use highlighters. I’m quite oily, so I don’t seek out dewy skin, it just happens naturally (and then some). I always equate dewiness with oiliness so I skip this step in my makeup routine. Learning to use the Glow Stick has certainly been a long-due makeup lesson.

The packaging is sleek, almost to the point of sterility. It works like a deodorant stick; the cap pops off, and you turn the dial at the bottom to raise the product from the tube. Ease of use is definitely something Glow Stick has going for it. From here, you can apply it any way you wish: you can pick some up on your fingertip or favorite brush, or you can apply it directly.



The stick itself is pretty creamy, but it’s very blendable. I find myself avoiding anything that’s too creamy, not only because it’s oily, also because it tends to disturb any powder products I’ve already used. Glow Stick blends easily into my powder, going undetected to the touch, leaving behind only the white-gold shimmer. I’ll also mention that there’s not a very strong scent to it, that’s a huge plus for me as well. I’m really digging the formula.



For this look, I applied Glow Stick directly on my cheekbones, above the brow, and my chin, with my fingers on the bridge of my nose and my brow highlight, and with a lip brush around my Cupid’s Bow. I also used a clean brush to blend it out. As you can see, the coverage is buildable and you can use as much or as little as you need. As I mentioned, I used it very sparingly so as not to be lit up like Christmas morning.

When you have to get your boyfriend to take pictures of your makeup and the only good one is of your RBF

When you have to get your boyfriend to take pictures of your makeup and the only good one is of your RBF


Don't be frightened by this, I went over this four or five times for the full disco effect.

Don’t be frightened by this, I went over this four or five times for the full disco effect.

So here are the issues I have with it. The products I already use are pretty luminous, and I feel like it’s a little redundant, at least for the summer. In the winter when I’m not as oily and my matte foundation makes me look a bit flat, I might use it more then. Also, it only comes in this one shade, which works well for me, but may not be the best option for people of color. Lastly, I need to mention that it retails for $42 at Sephora, which probably would have deterred me if I were buying it myself. It is a Marc Jacobs product, so that’s to be expected. Seeing as how sparingly I’ll use this, though, it will last me virtually forever, so maybe it would actually be a pretty good bargain.

Glow Stick and other Marc Jacobs Beauty products are sold at Sephora.

Other products I used in this look:
Dr. Jart+ Premium Beauty Balm SPF 45
NYX Color-Correcting Concealers (yellow and green)
Revlon Photoready powder in Translucent
Benefit Dallas bronzer
Marc Jacobs Beauty Glow Stick
Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Browl Gel

Urban Decay Primer Potion in Sin
Urban Decay eyeshadows Foxy and Suspect, found in the Naked 2 palette
Urban Decay 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Liner in Perversion
Maybelline Great Lash waterproof mascara

Lips: Burt’s Bees Lip Crayon in Sedona Sands

Earrings: ABC Stores

The Marc Jacobs Beatuy Glow Stick was provided by Influenster for an honest review. All other products were purchased myself.

Review: Bite Beauty’s Amuse Bouche Lipsticks

Today’s post is a huge departure from the usual fare. I’ve never written about makeup on this blog, and I’ve never posted my face here, though I’m sure by now you know what I look like. I’m both excited and nervous to share it with you. Please do note that these are press samples, I received them for free from Bite Beauty and Influenster, and I wasn’t compensated for this post. All opinions contained herein are my own and were not influenced in any way.

A little while ago, I was notified by Influenster that I would be receiving an Amuse Bouche Voxbox from Bite Beauty. Of course, I was ecstatic, because who doesn’t love lipstick? I am a huge fan of lip products, and though I own upwards of a hundred lipsticks, I don’t own any from Bite. I’ve heard great things from the makeup community, of course; I’ve had Sephora employees tell me about the great list of natural ingredients they use, and I’ve read about the custom lipstick creation process at the Bite Beauty Lip Lab, so I’m finally excited to try them out for myself.

These lipsticks made a great first impression on me, and I’m not exaggerating (much) when I say it was love at first swipe. The product just glides on effortlessly with tons of color and creamy, dewy shine. It has a very lightweight feel, so light I even forgot I was wearing it. The one concern I did have at first was the appearance of the lipstick bullet; in the photos below, you’ll see they have a bumpy and/or greasy look to them. They didn’t smell off — the scent was actually a pleasant citrus — so I just figured it was just sweaty from being in a mailbox in Florida. The product itself didn’t seem altered by it in any way.

The photo below shows each shade at one swipe, as well as an attempt at removal with makeup remover — Neutrogena’s Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover, in this case — and as you can see, it left quite a lot of color behind. This may be remedied with a lip color primer underneath the color.

From top to bottom: Pepper, Gazpacho, Beetroot

From top to bottom: Pepper, Gazpacho, Beetroot

This first shade is called Pepper. This is probably the most universally flattering shade of the three I received, as well as the most suited for everyday wear. I also think it’s the most flattering one for my skintone. Sephora’s website calls Pepper a dusty rose; for me, it’s a neutral my-lips-but-better shade.







Next is Beetroot, which is a deep, bold berry. I feel like this one is a bit harsh on me, but I like how it looks anyway. I think I’d like it better paired with a dramatic smoky eye.






I saved my favorite for last! I write about how much I love red on the blog all the time; it’s my favorite color for lips as well as nails. It makes my eyes look their greenest. Gazpacho is a true blue-red, and it’s probably the one of the three I’ll be reaching for the most.







I have to say, I love these lipsticks. The color payoff and product formula are just unbeatable. If you’re someone looking for an all-natural lipstick made with natural and organic ingredients that has excellent color and wear, Amuse Bouche is going to be your new best friend. This lipstick really is the whole package, but with one caveat: the price. Amuse Bouche retails for $26 each at Sephora, and I’m a bit conflicted. I love the product formula, but color is the biggest factor in whether I buy a lipstick, and I don’t feel like these colors are unique enough to warrant a $26 purchase; I’m more likely to get similar colors and finishes from MAC.

As I mentioned, Amuse Bouche and other Bite Beauty products are available at Sephora.

These products were press samples and were sent by Influenster on behalf of Bite Beauty. I wasn’t compensated for this post. All opinions contained herein are my own and were not influenced in any way.

Review: Selections from Model City’s Upcoming Spring Collection

Today is an exciting day, because I’m sharing with you two brand new polishes from Model City’s upcoming spring collection. I’m super-thrilled to have the privilege to share them with you before they officially launch on March 22. These polishes were supplied by Model City Polish, but that doesn’t affect or influence my opinion on them at all. Having said that, let’s check it out.


The pearly pink-lilac I’m wearing here is called Fairy Godmother. I’m wearing three coats of it with one coat of Seche Vite. It is a light, innocent, unassuming color until you see this intense pink shine. I’m somewhat afraid I didn’t do it justice, because it’s much stronger than it appears to be in the photos. It is absolutely beautiful. As for the formula, it applies evenly; I could have gotten away with two coats. It dries very quickly. I have zero complaints with Fairy Godmother. It could not be a better polish.








Awaken to Spring is a clear glitter topper with lots of twinkling blue holographic glitter, metallic copper and brown hexes, and pink dots. I’m wearing one heavy-handed coat of it over Fairy Godmother. The consistency is similar to Fairy Godmother’s; it also dries quickly, and the glitter goes on smoothly and easily. This melange of glitter is all sparkle. These two colors complement each other very well, but I stole that deep pink luster from Fairy Godmother when I put the glitter over it.








Overall, I am totally blown away by these polishes. They are sweet and cheerful colors, evocative of the beauty of springtime. Admittedly, these are the only two from the collection I’ve seen. I cannot wait to see the rest! Again, these will be available on March 22 from Model City Polish. Model City is also now taking international orders, so now everyone around the world can get in on this gorgeous set of polishes. Thanks again to Nina at Model City for allowing me the opportunity to review these, and thank you for reading.