May Birchbox

Finally here! I get so antsy waiting for my Birchbox to arrive each month–especially because my roommate and sister both seem to get theirs so much sooner than mine! This month’s box was interesting…at first I was overwhelmed by my samples {there were 7!}, then underwhelmed {some of the stuff came in ugly packaging and looked vaguely medicinal}, then overwhelmed again! There was a lot to try this month, and I’ve got mostly positive reviews for it all!

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{1} CoTZ Face Natural Skin Tone SPF 40–Something about this packaging turned me off in a major way. The bright blue, white, and red box made me think of something I would find on a drugstore shelf…something medicated. Yuck! I tried it, anyways, since it seems like a version of the COOLA matte-finish tinted sunscreen I’m due to receive any day now. I was pleasantly surprised! It’s got that mousse consistency that I love, and a little goes a long way. It blends easily and has decent coverage. I wore this out yesterday on my long walk outside, and when I got home my skin still looked great. Full size price: $20. Will I purchase? Yes, I think so!

{2} Marcelle New Age 8 in 1 Power Serum–I’ve heard rave reviews about the Marcelle BB Cream, so my curiosity was piqued when I saw this in my box. It’s a serum with–as you can see–8 benefits in one. The paraben- and fragrance-free formula boosts collagen production to increase elasticity, moisturizes and hydrates skin, smooth lines, firm, lift, and strengthen skin, as well as increasing your natural glow and overall improving texture! What more could you want from a beauty product? I love a good multitasker like this one. I’ve been using it in place of my moisturizer, morning and night. Full size price: $34. Will I purchase? If I continue to get good results from the sample, then yes, I think I will!

{3} 32 Oral Care Effervescent Breath Crystals with IsoVoxy–Ehhhhhh, these things were weird. They’re basically grown-up PopRocks that leave your mouth tingling and minty. Personally, I’d rather stick to gum or mints–but these were fun to try! Full size price: $14.75 for 30. Will I purchase? Probably not.

{4} PIXI Beauty Shea Butter Lip Balm–I really, really liked this! My sample was Pixi Pink, which is a very bright pink. I always enjoy brightly colored lip products, though, so this one didn’t scare me! The formula is that of a lip balm, but with the payoff of a lipstick. It’s sheer but super buildable, and doesn’t dry my lips out. And it smells yummy too–like the inside of Oberweis! Full size price: $8. Will I purchase? Possibly! I think they carry this brand at Target, so I’d be interested in checking out some of the other colors they offer, as well as other products in the line!

{5-7} Nexxus Color Assure Trio: Pre-Wash Primer & Vibrancy Retention Shampoo and Conditioner–I’ll be honest–I haven’t tried the primer yet. I colored my hair about a month ago, so I don’t really see the point in trying to preserve it now. I’m saving it for then I get it done next! I’m thinking about darkening my roots even more so my current subtle ombre becomes less subtle. I’ll definitely need the primer then! As for the shampoo/conditioner–I don’t really get the hype about color-protecting shampoo and conditioner. My hair always seems fine whether I use it or not. To me, this was just an ordinary shampoo and conditioner {in cute packaging}. It ended up falling somewhere in that gray area between like and dislike. Full size price: Primer, $17.99; Shampoo, $11.99; Conditioner, $14.99. Will I purchase? Definitely not the shampoo or conditioner. Maybe the primer, but I need to take it for a test run first!

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Aside from samples, I also received a super-cute Kate Spade Saturday necklace in my May Birchbox! {Disclosure: I had to preorder it ahead of time, and it was $20.} It’s long, with a gold sliding mirror disk on it! I love it so much. You can buy it through Birchbox here. It’s retailing for $45 online, so I’m glad I was able to get it for only $20!

April Birchbox: Rainy Days

Bring on the April showers! The theme for Birchbox’s April box is all about beating the gloomy weather blues, and embracing the opportunity to stay inside and cuddle up! As I write this, it’s pretty rainy and gross outside, and although I couldn’t stay under my covers all day {believe me, I wanted to}, some of the goodies from this month’s box are helping to brighten my day for sure.

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{1} Color Club Gala’s Gems Collection nail polish in Breakfast At… — This polish is a really pretty creamy pearly mint color. It goes on smoothly and dries with a beautiful finish. So pretty for spring!

{2} Number 4 Reconstructing Masque — Maybe my hair isn’t as damaged as I think it is. I never have much luck with these types of reconstructing and damage-reversing hair masks, and this was no exception. It smelled really nice, but I didn’t see any major difference in my hair.

{3} Number 4 Clarifying Shampoo — This was also sort of “meh.” Again, smelled nice, but I couldn’t tell a difference in my hair after washing it.

{4} Supergoop! City Sunscreen Serum — This was very disappointing to me 😦 I’ve been anxious to try this serum for months but wanted to sample it before buying. It seemed like the perfect sunscreen for a city-dwelling girl like myself. It’s a serum, so it’s runny, but it doesn’t dry to a matte finish like it said it would {not on my face, anyways} and then when I applied makeup on top of it, it started rubbing off and forming little balls and made it look like my skin was peeling off. No! Maybe I used it wrong? I washed my face, applied light moisturizer and let it dry, then applied this serum and let it dry before putting on my BB cream. I’ll save the sample and use it on makeup-free days, but so far, COOLA’s tinted moisturizer still has my heart.

{5} Sumita Color Contrast Eyeliner — I really liked this! I’m a take it or leave it kinda person when it comes to eyeliner. I have several–all the basic colors, and then some not-so-basic colors. Eyeliner isn’t something I usually am excited to try, and I rarely spend the kind of money on it that I do on other types of makeup. Why is this? I’m not sure. I gave this one a try since it was free and I like to give all my Birchbox samples a fair testing. This liner is a deep plum, and goes on so smoothly! It blends evenly and really gets down into my lashes. I have a feeling the sample won’t last long though, as I really tend to scrub {for lack of a better term} liner way down into my lash line to blend better with my mascara, and it uses a lot of product. Will I repurchase? Stay tuned…

{6} KIND Healthy Grain Bar in Maple Pumpkin Seed with Sea Salt — Yum! I’ve tried KIND bars in the past with little to no success – they just taste icky, and I didn’t like the texture. But I loved this one! I am a major fan of pumpkin seeds. I always carve a pumpkin around Halloween, just to get the seeds out and roast them! So delicious. This bar was sweet and slightly salty, and the texture was good. Crunchy but not too chewy. I haven’t seen these in any drugstores or grocery stores yet, but I’m keeping my eyes peeled!

 

There you have it! Lots of posts in the pipeline, which is good. I’ve been so busy lately I haven’t had time to write any, and all these ideas for new ones keep popping into my head. Thanks for reading! XO

March Birchbox is here!

Yay! The best day of the month! I am so obsessed with Birchbox. My roommates probably think I’m nuts or something. One of the girls I lived with last year at school, when I first subscribed, made fun of my when my box arrived each month–because I had to open it in private and look at it and touch everything before I could let anyone else see it. I’m happy to say I’ve mellowed out a bit… but I still get extremely excited when I see that pink package in my mailbox.

This month’s box was very satisfying. The samples were huge! Such a joy to try them all out. Here’s what I received!

march bb

{1} English Laundry No. 7 — I love this! I know this is an odd comment, but it smells expensive. I probably won’t buy the full size, but I will enjoy the sample! Also… they sent me two of this one. At least I think they did! The sample comes in a little paper envelope, but when I opened my box, the envelope was open and the samples were floating in the box. Not sure if there were supposed to be two, or if it was an accident.. this has happened one other time. I think it may have been in my first Birchbox. I received two The Balm Mary Lou-Manizers. I gave one to my sister and forgot about it. I gave the spare perfume to my roommate. Enjoy it!!

{2} DDF Ultra Lite Oil Free Moisturizing Dew — This moisturizer is great! The weather has been so up and down lately, and my skin is paying for it. This stuff is super light and soaks in quickly. Not a knock-your-socks-off product, but a good one! Plus, the sample is HUGE. It’s a decent sized jar with a pump, so it’s really easy to use.

{3} Ojon damage reverse Restorative Treatment Plus — Okay. This stuff is weird. I know I’ve had samples from Ojon before, and had mixed results. There were two packets of this; one was a twenty-minute treatment, and the other was more of an overnighter. I used the latter, and applied it before bed. It comes out in a weird, oily, grainy goop, which you rub together in your hands to melt it into an oil. I used the whole packet on my hair, which is getting long. It didn’t saturate all my strands, but I tried to focus on problem areas {i.e. fried ends and the baby hairs around my face}. It smells weird. Like coffee and stale cigarettes. The stale cigarette smell is the one that lingers, unfortunately. I washed my hair twice this morning, making sure I scrubbed it really well. I didn’t want any greasy residue. As I started blowdrying it, I didn’t notice much of a difference. I think next time, I’ll apply the treatment only to my ends {which need it the most} and apply heat before rinsing. As for the smell… I’m just hoping nobody gets too close to me and thinks I’ve been on some weird nicotine bender. Gross.

{4} Gilchrist & Soames London Collection Body Lotion — Just a typical body lotion. Another massive sample! Weird bottle, though. The sample is the exact same shape as the full size, pictured above. The cap screws off and reveals a wide mouth–the same size as the bottle itself! I’m not sure if I’m describing that right. It’s just so awkward and a little difficult to control the flow of lotion into your hand or wherever. It smells pretty good, so there’s that.

{5} Ghirardelli Intense Dark Cherry Tango — Blech. I don’t like dark chocolate to begin with, and I don’t really like cherry flavoring with my chocolate. I was doomed to dislike this from the start, unfortunately. I tried to pass this off on my roommate but she gave up sweets for Lent.

{6} COOLA Tinted Matte SPF 30 for Face — This stuff is wonderful! I’ve started researching SPF formulas for summer, and this had already caught my eye. It’s a mousse-like formula with a light tint. It goes on really smoothly and blends so well. Decent coverage, velvety texture, light scent {it says unscented, but there’s a little sunscreen odor! Nothing too overwhelming}. I wore it all day and then touched it up again in the late afternoon. I love the SPF factor, and also the way that this could replace my foundation. I just purchased Big Easy by Benefit, which takes the place of SPF and foundation; but I could see this COOLA on low key days where I don’t wear any other makeup. Also perfect for a day at the beach–aka, summer in Chicago!

 

Overall, a good Birchbox! Some new finds that I’ll definitely consider repurchasing. I’ve noticed that my samples have begun to tend more towards skincare than makeup products… which is just fine by me!

Thanks for reading! Does anyone else subscribe to Birchbox, or any other beauty subscriptions? How do you like them? Have you discovered any new brands? Tell me about them!

February Birchbox: Step, Pose, Repeat

Hello hello! I’m so very late in posting a review of my Birchbox finds for the month of February; it just took me so long to get around to using them! This is an oddity. I usually tear through my box and try everything out in like, a day. Perhaps the reason I lagged this time was because it wasn’t my favorite box I’ve ever received. Oh well–that’s the risk of subscribing. It was still some good stuff, but nothing really gave me that excited feeling I’ve grown to expect while opening my box.

 

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{1} Ruby Wing Color Changing Nail Polish in Ride ‘Em Cowgirl: Nail polish that changes color in the sunlight! I really am starting to love the color gold–in jewelry, makeup shades, and nail polish. I wish this glitter was a little chunkier; the sparkles are a little sparse and require several coats to fully cover the nail. When I took it outside to test the changing color, it turned more of a coppery color than red. Still pretty! I wore this over bare nails, but it would be cool to experiment and see how the two shades look over different polish colors.

baindeterre shampoo

{2 & 3} Bain de Terre Color Preserving Shampoo & Conditioner: Just a typical shampoo/conditioner combo. It smelled really nice, and I do like anything color preserving because I {obviously} color my hair. Other than that…it didn’t exactly knock my socks off. It isn’t too expensive {$12 a bottle} so I would maybe repurchase. Just because it made my hair smell really good. Always important.

joanvass_leaudeamethyste_900x900{4} Joan Vass L’eau de Améthyste: Meh. Again, smelled good, but didn’t blow me away. And for some reason the full-size bottle is really turning me off. It’s so ugly! I’ll stick to my Daisy by Marc Jacobs–the only perfume I’ve ever loved for so long without getting sick of the way it smells. Seriously. I smelled it for the first time in high school and was infatuated. I owned the solid perfume ring, I’ve had the rollerball, I’ve sweet talked many a Sephora employee into giving me samples, and finally broke down and asked for the full size for the Christmas this year. I don’t know what took me so long, but I’m finally happy. Sorry this turned into a review of Daisy instead of L’eau de Améthyste, but oh well. It is what it is.

previse_hydromilk_exclusive_900x900{5} Previse HydroMilk: A Birchbox exclusive, as you can see! I actually really liked this product. I’m always open to trying new moisturizers, and this came at a good time. I’m in the process of revamping my skin care routine with the help of my friend Tiff, and a new moisturizer is on the list. I used this at night, post cleansing and application of acne gel {gross, I know}, and after a thin layer of my Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Liquid. I put it on my dry areas, and my skin drank it right up! It felt nice in the morning; hydrated, but not greasy. Ultimately, I probably won’t be buying this product though. I liked the sample, but I’d rather buy something completely different.

So there you have it! February samples. Not the best, but not the worst. The good thing about the month of February is that it’s SHORT–which means my March box will be on its way in just a few weeks!

Thanks for reading! xoxo