Birchbox November 2014

Welcome to my first Birchbox review.

I’ve become a subscription box junkie; not sure when it happened but there’s no denying it! Birchbox is most often compared to ipsy because both boxes are $10 a month. Like ipsy, Birchbox has you take a style quiz before sending out five sample size products with the occasional extra.

This month, Birchbox partnered with RED, a charity that supports the awareness and wellness for AIDS patients. So for every picture of the RED shipper on social media using #shaRED, Birchbox will donate $1.  You can check out my Instagram photo here. I appreciated this as a theme for the box and of Birchbox as a company since November should be a month associated with giving (and not just of the subscription box variety).

November Samples

November Samples

Folle de Joie perfume (sample value $28.82)

A full size bottle of this perfume is 3.4 fl oz and is worth $98. Wow! This sample is about a third of the full size at 1.06 fl oz and has a little spray top.  At first, I wasn’t too impressed with this perfume but as it melded with the oils and chemistry of my skin, I was won over. The brand describes this perfume as a union of Southern California beaches with Parisian streets. I typically don’t care for citrusy scents which is why I wasn’t initially drawn to the perfume, but the notes that slowly come forth–the woodsy florals and hints of leather are more my speed. I couldn’t stop smelling my wrists so I probably looked like a nutcase.

The price of this perfume is a little extreme. So I would really have to save up but I think if I was really determined in the budgeting department, I would actually buy this perfume.

Dr. Brandt Pores No More Vacuum Cleaner (sample value $11.25)

My most consistent skin problem is blackheads. So I was excited about this product. The Dr. Brandt website says that this mask will take out dirt and oil, exfoliate and tighten, as well unclogging pores. You pop this mask on for 5-10 minutes until it turns ice blue and then you wash the product off. After a handful of uses, this mask is alright. It’s hard to say what the long-term effects of this mask would be since it’s a small sample. But the short-term effects are OK, not mind-blowing. The mask cleans out excess dirt well enough but it doesn’t eliminate blackheads all together. I feel as though I get the same effect from pore strips, which are cheaper.

A 1 oz., full size, Vacuum Cleaner mask costs $45, so I don’t think I will be buying a bigger version of this mask.

Fekkai Technician Color Care Luxe Color Masque (sample value $3.95)

I do color my hair, so the repairing qualities of this hair mask are extremely appreciated. Colored hair can go dry and brittle quickly, but this mask’s key ingredient is grapeseed oil which is very nourishing. Grapeseed is the overwhelming scent as well, but it lightly lingers in the hair for a few days, which is nice. I use this masque once a week and massage a dollop through my hair from my ears to the ends. My hair feels revitalized and soft. Very important for those of us who color our hair! A full size, 7 oz. masque will run you $26, which isn’t bad. This sample size is a little over 1.5 oz. so it ends up being a great size sample for a hair product.

I’m not sure if I would buy this but I’ve been happy with it as a sample.

Cynthia Rowley’s Lip Stain in Heartthrob(sample value $3.40)

I love a good red lip, so I was excited to see this in my box. In the tube Heartthrob is a vibrant red, but on the lips it comes off as a reddish pink. It’s still a lovely color, just not what I was expecting. The sample has a doe-foot applicator and the stain goes on evenly. In terms of staying power, this product needs a lip liner and will last for a few hours at full power. It fades gracefully though, which is important. Equally important, is that this product did not dry out my lips. Hurrah! A full size lip stain is valued at $20.

There are other, truer reds out there that I love more, so I don’t think I’ll be buying this lip stain anytime soon.

Mirenesse Secret Weapon iCurl 24Hr Mascara ($4.06)

I had to try this mascara out several times before I knew how to feel about it as a product. The first time it smudged under my eyes after running errands. But every time since, I haven’t had that problem. The curled shape of the wand is nice and helps me coat every lash. The formula dries on the lashes very quickly, but doesn’t clump up if you wanted to add an extra coat. A full size is worth $29: that is a luxury priced mascara, ladies and gents.

If I’m honest, I think I have drugstore mascaras that do the same or better as this Mirenesse, so I don’t think I’ll be buying this one.

Here's a better look at one of the shipper facts.

Here’s a better look at one of the shipper facts.

There was also a bonus product–a sample of Blood Orange Caramel Chocolate–and while it wasn’t for me taste wise I passed it on to my roommate, who said it was delicious.

Total box value $51.48. The high value of the perfume is what pushed this box over the edge. The perfume is also the product I’d be most likely to purchase myself, though it is going to take some saving! Overall, I’m pleased with this month’s Birchbox!

If you’d like to check out Birchbox, click my referral link here or on my referral links page.

Thanks for popping in!

August Ipsy Bag 2014

August has been such a big month for me. I moved to Los Angeles, and then flew back to Ohio to be in my best friend’s wedding. But in the midst of all that excitement came my ipsy bag. No matter what is going on in my life, bad or good, getting my  ipsy Glam Bag puts a smile on my face.

Ipsy is a $10 a month subscription service that sends you five sample to full size beauty products, which then comes in an adorable makeup bag. Each bag has a theme and this month it is Beauty Schooled! I’ve been trying out my ipsy products for the last few weeks and here’s how they all breakdown.

School Yourself in Beauty

School Yourself in Beauty

So the bag is about as attractive as it’s going to get in this picture. It’s a shiny vinyl reminiscent of my grade school pencil cases. The bag arrived crumpled beyond saving, so there is no way it would survive my purse. Extremely disappointed in the bag itself, but the contents were fun.

Dr. Brandt’s Pores No More (sample value $11.25)

I’ve seen a lot of Dr. Brandt products work the subscription box circuit but this is my first experience with the brand. The formula has a mousse-like texture and is a salmon color. It feels good to apply, and the slight color of the product blends out. The product claims are that this primer will minimize pores, blur fine lines, and mattifies skin. Additionally, it’s s supposed to be an antibacterial product that will act as a shield between your makeup so your pores don’t clog. These are some hefty claims that I think the primer only half completes. I’d say it does a good job of mattifying and keeping my foundation set. But I didn’t notice much blurring or a difference in clogged pores. Since a full size Pores No More is $45, I don’t think it’s worth the price tag for what the results you get. But I’m glad something like this was in my ipsy bag because it’s not something I would have purchased without trying it out.

Perversion Mascara by Urban Decay (sample value $5.50)

This was the most exciting thing in my ipsy bag this month. Urban Decay has been building up this product launch for months and now that Perversion is out bloggers are raving about this mascara. And here’s the thing…I haven’t opened it. I have too many mascaras open at the moment to justify popping open this sample. I don’t want it to dry out before I can use it to its fullest! So no review on this one yet. But UD promises bigger, badder, blacker lashes and I’m hoping that’s the case. Any one else a fan of this mascara? It retails for $22 for .4 fl. oz. so it had better be good!

Flying Solo Eye Shadow by J. Cat Beauty in Half Naked(Full Size $2.99)

I was intimidated by how orange this shadow looked in the pan. And it looked a little too chalky. But on the lid this color reads as a warm champagne with a hint of shimmer and feels smooth. If you’re looking for something bold, then the color payoff is not for you. Wearing Half Naked on its own is not an option. However, I think it’s a great shade to use as a base or to blend into your crease as a subtle transition shade. This shade could also be a nice neutral highlight. The packaging is rather charming too; it comes with a little mirror and a teeny tiny applicator. So very pleased with this wee eye shadow.

Jersey Shore Sun’s Mongongo Nutrient Dense Anti-Aging Lip Conditioner (Full Size $5.50)

I got the Lip Conditioner in Mandarin Green Orange Ginger. I’m not even sure that scent description makes sense. It actually smells kind of like lemon and feels so smooth on your lips. This product is 100% natural and USDA certified organic.  There are tons of supposed benefits to using this lip balm including UV protection, hydration, and skin regeneration (hence the anti-aging) for fuller softer lips. Apparently, Mongongo oil is derived from a fruit that is often considered a tree nut and it’s rich in antioxidants. I’ve been wearing this lip conditioner every day by itself or under lipstick, and I really like it. It feels so good on my lips and I’ve noticed a decrease in chapped lips in the past week and a half. So I would definitely repurchase this in the future!

Klorane’s Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk (sample value $6.50)

I’ve mentioned on this blog before my struggle to find a dry shampoo that actually works for me. Maybe my expectations are too high; I really want a product that can help me avoid the shower for another day if I’m in a rush. I won’t say that this Klorane dry shampoo saves me from a morning shower, but it does make me feel slightly more presentable. Slightly. The formula doesn’t leave any kind of residue or visible powder for me, which is nice. And the smell is light, which is also nice. But I won’t pretend I’m in love with this product either. I will happily use the sample but will not be purchasing the full size for $19.50.

Overall, I’d say this was a decent bag from ipsy. I really liked one of the products–the lip conditioner–and another one could really surprise me when I use it later (the mascara), so I’m not mad at this month’s bag. The total value of August’s Glam Bag is $31.74. Not crazy fabulous but not bad for a $10 beauty bag!

If you’d like to join ipsy, click on my referral link here.