February 2016 Birchbox

Birchbox is the original beauty subscription box that comes once a month for only $10. I’ve been getting it for almost three years and I still love it! You have the opportunity to pick a sample each month or be totally surprised. They also have a box you can pick and know every item you will be getting. The boxes are based on a profile you fill out but I have found they are not very customized. This month I let everything be a surprise.

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ModelCo Lip Enhancer Illusion Lip Liner – I wear lipstick a lot but liner is something I never use. Therefore I haven’t touched this but it looks like it would be a really neutral color.

Parlor by Jeff Chastain Detangling Leave In Conditioner – I’ve come to really enjoy products by this Birchbox exclusive brand. This formula has vitamins, sweet almond extract, and nettle extract for shine, softness and heat protection. It is safe for color treated hair because it is free of sulfates and parabens. My favorite part is the scent – fresh juicy peaches!!!

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Hey Honey Take It Off Exfoliating Honey Peel Off Mask – I haven’t used this yet but I’m feeling like I need to because ever since I got back from Europe my skin has been going crazy. Who knows if it was the sleep deprivation, water change or using different travel products but I could use some exfoliation. This product is a mask you leave on for 15-20 minutes and then peel it off when it dries. It brightens skin with Alpha Hydroxy Acids and improves wrinkles and the overall look of skin.

UPDATE: I used this product this morning and I was surprised that it was completely clear! It also smelled like fruit and dried pretty quickly. It was easy to peel off and did not irritate my skin at all. It left it feeling soft.

Arrow Revive Cooling Cheek Tint – This is a new line by Birchbox which focuses on easy to use, on the go products. I much prefer powder face products to gel, but this one is oil free so maybe I need to give it a try. It says it won’t clog pores or streak.

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Naobay Oxygenating Cream Moisturizing – This moisturizer can be used morning or night and I actually took it to Europe. It has a light smell and consistency. It is full of avocado and olive oils to nourish and hydrate the skin. I enjoyed the consistency and feel, but not enough to order the full size.

Overall not my favorite box but there were still some good things to try out!

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This wasn’t in my box but I thought I would share my thoughts. A friend recommended this product and was kind enough to let me have her sample and I loved it! This is the IPKN Flash Cream Radiant Primer and it is currently out of stock so other people must have liked it too! IPKN is a Korean beauty brand that I know because I have a lip product from Birchbox that I really like. This primer has a creamy rather than gel like consistency and has shimmer pearl powder in it. You might be thinking that sounds weird and I was skeptical too, but it just makes your skin glow! Even with makeup over it, it still has a shimmery effect to make your skin look amazing. It also has SPF 15 which you know I love! It’s on my wishlist when it comes back in stock.

I hope you have a fun Memorial Day – I’ll be hanging out with my family and seeing Alice In Wonderland Through The Looking Glass.

 

Birchbox Haul

If you don’t know, Anthropoloie online carries a lot of beauty and hair care products. A coworker returned a Klorane conditioner (because she accidentally ordered 2) so I decided to try it out. I had recently colored my hair and this is a conditioner for blondes to I decided to go ahead and order the matching shampoo to have a set.

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Klorane Shampoo with Chamomile – Klorane is a French brand and I have tried a few of their products before thanks to Birchbox (I really like the Mango shampoo). Whether your hair is dyed or not, this is designed to brighten and prevent brassiness. Something I didn’t know is that chamomile is a natural brightener! This has a nice floral and honey scent and I like it. I probably wouldn’t order again (pricey) but it was fun to try out. The weird part is that the shampoo is HUGE in comparison to the conditioner.

Klorane Conditioner with Chamomile

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Origins Zero Oil Pore Purifying Toner – To round out my BB order, I decided to try a new toner. I have never used Origins before and this toner gets 4.5 star reviews on BB, and a blogger I follow recently had talked about it. Sadly this gets a bad review on Beautypedia for the ingredients (it’s alcohol based and tested on animals). That’s why it’s always good to do your research! It has a lot of fragrances and plant oils like mint which can also cause irritation. I have used it one time and did notice a strong scent but it did not irritate my skin. I think I’ll stick to Paula’s Choice next time!

I got a great mystery sample pack with includes Benefit They’re Real Mascara and Rusk Heatshift Re-Styling Cream. I already know I like the mascara and I’m not sure about the cream. It is a product that reduces blow dry time and to restyle your hair. I would try it out and basically consider it a blow dry cream. Overall not the most exciting haul but there you have it!

 

January Birchbox

Birchbox is my original subscription box and I’ve been getting it for over 2 years. It’s only $10 a month and they let you pick one sample. The best part is you review your products for points and then use those to buy full sized products!

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They included these little stickers to put on the front of your box which I didn’t use but think are pretty cute. I like the bright colors they chose.

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Ciate London Nail Polish – It doesn’t look like this color is currently on Birchbox, but this is a great sample size! I don’t think I’ve used this brand before but I have heard of it. I swatched it on the sample card above – it’s a dark blue with metallic shimmer. Really pretty and I need to try it out soon!

Key West Aloe Gentle Aloe Facial Cleanser – I loooove cleansers and I put this on my counter right away to try out. This was very fresh and fun! I don’t think I’ve used an aloe based cleanser before and I liked it! I agree that it’s gentle, got my makeup off nicely and smells fresh. No complaints here! I would purchase this in the future.

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0.2 Meet Your Destiny Eau de Parfum – I’ve started to enjoy perfume samples more and more recently. This is described as a “clean, earthy unisex fragrance. Its bouquet includes top notes of bergamot and spearmint, middle notes of neroli and orange blossom, and base notes of sheer musk accord, Tunisian amber, white amber, oakmoss and French vanilla.” I usually don’t like earthy fragrances and like something a little more floral so sadly this wasn’t a win for me. 

TONYMOLY Delight Tony Tint – I thought I wouldn’t like this and put it up for swaps and totally forgot about it because I’m not a fan of a similar product called Stainiac by The Balm. Then one day I tried it out and have used it several times since. I feel like all stains of this type can be a little streaky, but this one has serious color and staying power! I got compliments both times I wore it. Also the full size is only SIX DOLLARS. SO CHEAP. p.s. they sell some things by this adorable Korean brand at Urban Outfitters. Also I think it comes in other colors just not on Birchbox.

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Eyeko Fat Liquid Eyeliner – I have this same product but the skinny version and I really like it! It’s so nice to see a full sized product (it’s been awhile). I found the fat tip a little harder to use but basically the same result – a beautiful cat eye. We carry this brand at Anthropologie btw.

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Here I am sporting the liner and lip tint. Overall this box was an improvement because of the full sized liner. face wash and lip tint! Let’s hope the rest of 2016 is just as good!

December Birchbox

Birchbox for some reason has not been impressing me lately. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy opening a little package each month, but maybe it’s their curation of products or brands that leaves me feeling lackluster. Comparing it side by side to Sephora it leaves a little to be desired. Nonetheless the box is always pretty and I like that it is different each month.

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Kate Spade Walk On Air – I am generally not a big fan of Kate Spade fragrances. They come off too floral for me and this is no exception. “Notes of linden blossom, maiden’s hair fern, soloman’s seal, bergamot, and Tunisian neroli fill out the top notes of this floral bouquet, followed by lily of the valley, magnolia grandiflora, Egyptian jasmine, crinum lily, white iris, and violet leaf.” It’s just too overpowering for my taste. 

Coastal Scents Formal Eyes Palette – I actually own a Coastal Scents palette from Birchbox and really enjoy it. It has nice color payoff, although maybe not as good as the Smashbox shadows I recently reviewed. This sample however was awful and barely showed up on my lid.

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Malin + Goetz Clarifying Clay Mask – At $48 they sure think they’re important! Made for acne prone skin it sounds just like Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Oil Absorbing Mask for only $19. It was a basic mask and not worth the high price tag to me.

Soap & Paper Factory Shea Butter Hand Cream – I got the scent green tea which is not very strong but still nice. This isn’t as thick as some shea creams I’ve tried but it’s a solid lotion with pretty packaging.

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The Balm Cosmetics Frat Boy Blush/Shadow –   This is probably my fourth The Balm sample and as always the packaging is super cute…but really tiny. I still feel like I can get enough to really sample it though (compared to the Laura Geller blush sample this is a joke though). This is a nice blush with a little bit of shimmer. I feel like the rosy shade would look good on all skin tones.

I didn’t get a sample I just loved or was really impressed with this month. I still love Birchbox though – racking up the points just for a quick review is totally worth it! I just ordered one of their new limited edition boxes today, so look for a review when it comes in!

November Birchbox

The November Birchbox design was beautful! I loved the roses and rose gold accents. If you don’t know what Birchbox is, it’s a monthly subscription box for only $10 that sends you beauty samples! You get to try out new products without ever leaving your house! If you like what you get you can buy right from their website. It’s my favorite box and I’ve been getting it for over two years!

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Catherine Malandrino Style de Paris – This scent was alright. It’s very fruity with notes of grapefruit, pear, orange blossom and gardenia. It’s not one I hated or loved – just OK.

Sumbody Salt Scrub – This scrub is very fine and not very wet. I used it in the shower and it scrubs up well. It has also lasted me several uses. The scent is milky rich which smells very sweet and kind of like cake. It left my skin feeling moisturized with cocoa and shea butter, pistachio and safflower oils.

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MAKE Face Gloss – This is the product I was least excited about and have decided to swap rather than try out. It is basically a clear gloss you would use instead of hilighter to add a dewey glow to skin. It got pretty bad reviews on Birchbox and the concept seemed really weird to me. I would much rather stick with my powder or cream hilighter!

eSalon Perfect Ending Leave in Conditioner – Instead of conditioner you use this on towel dried hair. I suppose it is supposed to save you time and an extra step, but I’m not sure I can get used to it. It detangles, fights frizz, prevents breakage and moisturizes. I’ve only used it once and it was alright. eSalon is actually a subscription service itself. It is an affordable way to color your hair at home!

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LOC One and Done Shadow Stick – This is Birchbox’s first in house brand. This is the shade Impress Me which is a rose gold. I love this product! I am really into shadow sticks – they are so easy to use and provide great color payoff. This color is interesting and really stays all day! I’m looking forward to see what other colors they come out with.

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Here’s a swatch! Overall it was an OK box, but the shadow stick was a standout winner for me! It’s something I use about once a week and would definitely buy again.

Birchbox Limited Edition Everyday Glamour

Birchbox Limited Edition Boxes have lately been hit or miss for me. I wasn’t sure if I was going to get this one but…I couldn’t resist. This one is actually still available too! It’s $48 dollars but make sure to use your points and a coupon code to get it for even less. Also add on a mystery sample pack to orders over $35!

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As usual the packaging is gorgeous! I love the purple and gold art deco theme. It would make a great gift that you don’t even need to wrap! I also like to save the boxes for future gifts.

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This is the included product card.

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NER:D Skin Repair Master Mask – I’ll be honest sheet masks kind of freak me out. I really dislike sitting there with this big thing on my face and then I can’t eat or drink with it on either. I did give this one a try though and it was fine. My skin felt a little more moisturized. After you take the mask off you are supposed to just rub in the excess and not rinse. This was hard for me because I naturally want to wash my face after a mask! There are a lot of good ingredients and benefits in this such as licorice root extract and aloe vera extract. These are also SUPER expensive at $18.66 a sheet! That’s another reason I don’t like sheet masks – they are one time use instead of a seemingly endless tube.

Cargo TexasLash Mascara – Woooo for repping Texas! This is supposed to add a lot of volume! As usual I haven’t opened it yet due to mascara backlog but I’m looking forward to it.

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Michael Todd Concentrated C Antioxidant Moisturizing Serum – This is supposed to be a pretty all natural brand but on Beautypedia they are not all that impressed with the ingredients. That aside this smells like lemons (all that vitamin C) and felt a little stinging on my face after use. I’ve only used it a few times so I have not noticed results. It did not break out my skin though. This really is a fruit packed product! It includes organic bilberry, orange, lemon, cranberry, red raspberry and wild blueberry extracts.

Stephanie Johnson Tinseltown Medium Gunmetal Flat Pouch – This is the second Stephanie Johnson product I have gotten in a limited edition box. Her designs are very pretty and we even sell some of them at Anthropologie. Generally they seem overpriced to me but that’s the beauty of getting them in a box! It’s not a huge pouch but I like the color and will use it to store a few samples. This exact one is not available on the Birchbox site.

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Smith & Cult The Shining Lip Lacquer – This is tied for my favorite box discovery! The nail polish by this brand has been all the hype recently and I had been wanting to try it. I didn’t expect much from the gloss but I really like it! The packaging feels very luxe with the gold accents. It smells like vanilla marshmallows (sort of like MAC Lipglass) which I love. It also feels very nice on – thick and not too sticky. The colors vary in boxes, and I got Life in Photographs which is a very light pink and adds just a little shine to my lips. I would love to try a darker color such as The Queen is Dead.

Caudalie Divine Oil – I have actually tried this before. It is a dry oil blend that you can use on face, hair and body. Oil is not something I use frequently, but I do like this one. It smells amazing! I just read you can also use it as a cuticle oil which I think is a great idea.

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Jouer Powder Eyeshadow – Obviously this brand is not new to me (I’ve been getting the Jouer sub box) but I have not tried their powder shadow yet. This is my other favorite item in the box! Shades vary and I am very happy with the one I got. I love trying out new shadows and this gold one called Caramel is great for everyday wear alone or mixing with other colors. It is super soft but does not flake and blends amazingly well. The packaging is great with a little mirror inside. I would love to try out other colors such as Pink Champagne or Toffee.

Ciate Paint Pot in Paparazzi – I think this is my first time trying out this brand. It was an average formula to me and the red was VERY dark – not the most exciting color to me. Obviously the packaging is cute with the little bow. It looks like this exact color is not available but there are many more online.

Overall this box was great with a value of almost $200! I love trying out a mix of new products at a discount! I also discovered two new favorites that I use very often. I am looking forward to trying new colors in both of those. Birchbox continues to impress me with their Limited Edition boxes which normally sell out quickly. I’m eagerly awaiting the next makeup one!

October Birchbox

Birchbox for October teamed up with the Estee Lauder companies to donate money to breast cancer research which I think is awesome! The philanthropy for my sorority, Zeta Tau Alpha, is breast cancer education and awareness so I am really proud of Birchbox for stepping up. I also love the marbled pink design of this box – so pretty.

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This was the first time that they did not list each item on the product card. Instead they said go online to learn more about your products. This was something I (and a lot of other subscribers I bet) didn’t like. Not everyone goes online the same time they are opening their box for more info.

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Number 4 Fluoro5 Elixir Restore & Repair Oil – Compared to other oils I have used such as Beauty Protector, Davines, and Caudalie this one felt like it only went one the surface of my hair and did not sink in. It felt a little thin to me and it did control frizz but overall I did not like it as much as other brands.

Dr. Jart BB Bounce Beauty Balm Moist – I really like this brand and this is an interesting way to use BB cream. The color was a little dark for me but I used it up anyway. You push the little makeup sponge that was included onto the mesh part and that is how the makeup is dispensed. It seemed a little messy to me, but I like how the makeup felt on my skin. It has SPF 30 which I love, but only comes in two shades and is $48. I will not be buying this but I did get another Dr. Jart product recently (more to come in another post).

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Macadamia Professional Style Extend Dry Shampoo – I have used a version of Macadamia’s Dry shampoo before and found it oily. I’m not sure if that was a bad batch or if this is a completely new version but I like this one much more. It is much more “dry” and you can see the white powder a little bit before rubbing in. The smell is nice, sort of like coconuts. It sucks up oil and adds a little volume. I love dry shampoo!

Stila Huge Extreme Lash Mascara – Every subscriber got mascara this month (it was the sample choice). I chose to be surprised and I am happy with what I got because I have already tried a few of the ones they were offering, but not this one! It has gotten really good reviews but I have not used it yet (mascara overload).

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Avene Thermal Spring Water – This is the only product I was a little disappointed about. It’s just water…in a can. It says you can use it as a primer or for touchups throughout the day. I’ve tried it and it just wasn’t exciting.

Overall this was an alright box for me. I liked the dry shampoo and mascara most. There were some nice sized samples and a good range of brands. Next month Birchbox is debuting their own (much advertised) makeup brand LOC (Love of Color). Stay tuned to see what I got.

Birchbox From Korea With Love Limited Edition Box

Limited Edition boxes from Birchbox are my favorite! Korean skincare and makeup products are all the rage right now and it is something I haven’t tried very much of other than the big brands like Dr. Jart. This From Korea With Love Box is a great sampler to get your feet wet and try out some new brands. Unfortunately it is no longer available but there are a few other great Limited Edition boxes.

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Too Cool For School Egg Cream Mask – This was the first sheet mask I’ve ever tried and it kind of freaked me out. The feeling of having a sheet over your face for about 15 minutes was a weird one and I don’t think I will ever pick it over a normal mask. I also did not like that you are supposed to rub in the excess after taking the mask off. I am used to washing my face off after a mask so that was strange for me. This made my skin feel a little weird – I’m not sure it it was because of the scent or the ingredients (egg whites).

Tony Moly Magic Food Banana Hand Milk – I was supposed to get two packets of this according to the website and product card however I and many other people only got one. I emailed the customer service and they said they would send me another one but I never got it. That was the only time I think I’ve been let down by Birchbox. On to the cream – I haven’t used it yet but I’ve read that it smells like banana  runts…interesting. It’s also available at Urban Outfitters and Sephora. (The full size is in a banana shaped bottle!)

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Too Cool For School Dinoplatz Escalator Mascara – I have SO many mascaras that I haven’t tried this one, but I love the packaging! There’s a little dinosaur on there! This mascara is unique in that it has a twistable wand to change that amount of length or volume you get.

Club Clio Waterproof Pen Liner Kill Black – I have recently really embraced felt tip pen liners. They are so easy to use and make a really bold black line in a cute kitten shape. I can never have too many pen liners! (Swatched below)

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TonyMoly Panda’s Dream Brightening Eye Base – Is this not the cutest beauty product ever?! This is a white creamy stick that is kind of like a hilighter. I find it to be very moisturizing when I apply it under my eyes. Some reviews said it was too white, but I did not find that to be the case. It covered any circles I had pretty well. (Swatched below)

IPKN Twinkle Lips – This is a moisturizing balm that leaves a sheer wash of color. It reacts to your ph to give you a personalized pink color. On me it is pretty hot pink and I love it! This feels amazing on my lips and is such a great color. (Swatched below)

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These were my mystery sample pack items because I spend $35+. I have tried this Vasanti BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator before and I really like it! It is a very fine microderebrasion scrub that really gets your skin clean. I am very happy to get another sample. The pony tail holder however is weird and I will not use it. I’ll include it in a future swap.

I really enjoyed trying some new Korean brands and products. I think the IPKN balm was my favorite discovery!