October 2012 Birchbox Review

I’m completing my October 2012 Birchbox review a tad late, but I am finally getting all caught up on everything that has been neglected with my NYC move. This month Birchbox gave subscribers an option to get either the regular … Continue reading

September 2012 Birchbox Review

 

 

Is it just me or does it seem like Birchboxes come out later and later each month?! Then again, when you’re excitedly awaiting something it does tend to take awhile to arrive, so that could be a secondary explanation. In any case, the September 2012 Birchbox was not too bad! It was filled with great samples and…wait for it…not a perfume sample in sight!

In case you aren’t familiar with Birchbox, I’ll give you a little rundown. Each month a package arrives at your door. It contains about 4-5 samples of deluxe beauty products (skin care and make up) and a little something extra. The samples are usually generous and last for a few applications. If you love an item you can get onto Birchbox’s website and buy it. Each item you buy earns you some points, similar to how the Sephora rewards card works, and you can use them toward later purchases. I love samples, especially of beauty products that are on the pricier side, so if you do actually purchase something you have a good idea of whether or not you will be happy with it. Birchbox costs $10 a month or you can subscribe for the year for $110.

21 drops Focus Aromatherapy Blend
Sample Size: 2 mL, $8
Full size: 7.5 mL, $29

Birchbox says: Stay sharp with this mind-clearing blend of rosemary and peppermint essential oils. Apply to pulse points and breathe deep.

My thoughts: Aromatherapy has always been something I’ve been on the fence about…mostly due to my ridiculous allergies to the outside world. I was excited to see this sample in my Birchbox, though, because it’s the first time I’ve ever gotten something of the sort in a subscription box. Plus, I got the ‘Focus’ kind..how perfect! I really did like the scent, although I did not see a difference in my focusing. Perhaps my condition just surpasses the help aromatherapy can provide.  I doubt I would ever buy the full size product here,  but I still felt the item deserved a worthy review.

Rating: B+


Color Club in Status Update
Sample size: 7 mL, $4
Full size: 15 mL, $15

Birchbox says: We teamed up with Color Club to create this custom shade, inspired by the Fall 2012 collections.

My thoughts: When I saw that this month’s Birchbox would include a custom-made Color Club nail polish shade, I was super excited. I actually really love black nail polish (or dark gray, or whatever this shade actually is), but I am still on the fence with Color Club products themselves. Granted, I am not the most graceful individual, and have a hard time waiting for my nails to fully dry, but within 24 hours of using this nail polish I had a few nails chip. Plus, I was kind of hoping the color would be more on the gray side, like it appears to be from the bottle, but it dries as black. Eh, we’ll see.

RatingB

Nexxus Pro-Mend Split End Treatment System
Sample size: 0.33 oz./0.1 oz., $0.20-$0.30
Full size: 13.5 oz/4.8 oz., $9.99-$14.99

Birchbox says: The fragrance equivalent to a wink, this fanciful scent layers fresh citrus and jasmine notes over a base of lavender and pumpkin.

My thoughts: I love Nexxus products. They’ve always done a good job for me, even if Birchbox sent out the smallest quality sample of all time with this product. 20 cents for a packet of shampoo? I’m sorry, but unless a shampoo costs $100 a full-size product, I don’t think a ‘deluxe sample’ translates to a one-application-packet of product. However, I can’t dock the actual product because the sample size was shitty.

Rating: A

twistband Birchbox Custom Lace Hair Tie
Sample size: 1 twistband, $2.25 
Full size: 6-12 twistbands, $14-$22

Birchbox says: Designers went gaga for lace this season and we don’t blame them. Get on board with these ouch-free hair ties.

My thoughts: I think these hair ties are cute, but every time I get one they start fraying after just a few uses! I really loved the lace ones that Birchbox sent out and kind of considered using some Birchbox points on ordering a pack of them, but I’m afraid they will just fall apart on me.

Rating: B
Vasanti Brighten Up! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator
Sample size: 20 mL, $5.75
Full size: 120 mL, $34

Birchbox says: This exfoliating cleanser uses professional-grade (read: effective) microderm crystals and papaya enzymes to brighten dull skin.

My thoughts: I’m always on a personal mission to find the best ‘brightening’ facial skin products, so I was super excited to see this cleanser/exfoliator in my Birchbox. It smells awesome and the sample size was impressive! I’ll definitely be able to use this for a week or more. So far, I think it has given my face a ‘brighter’ look, but I will have a better idea in a few days.

Rating: A

Lifestyle Extra
Mighty Leaf Tea Company Teas
Sample size: 3 teabags, $2
Full size: Pack of 15, $9.95

Birchbox says: Swap your afternoon latte for these yummy tea blends, made from natural, ethically sourced ingredients.

My thoughts: Food is not something I get overly excited about when I see it in my Birchbox, unless it has some kind of beautifying properties. I’m not going to lie, I haven’t even tried these yet, so I won’t say anything more about the product!

 

Overall, September’s Birchbox wasn’t my favorite, but not a total disappointment either. The total value of the box was $26.75, so value-wise it definitely surpasses the $10 monthly subscription fee, which is always a plus!

Want your own Birchbox? Go to http://www.birchbox.com?raf=s6h6z to sign up!

Note: I do not work for Birchbox or am affiliated with them in any way. By clicking on the link above, it works as a referral from me. My thoughts are entirely my own and do not necessarily reflect those of Birchbox.

August 2012 Birchbox Review

August 2012 Birchbox: Beauty School Supply Kit

Anything ‘back to school’ themed will always remind me of Billy Madison, because I am mature like that.

Back to school. Back to school, to prove to Dad that I’m not a fool. I got my lunch packed up, my boots tied tight, I hope I don’t get in a fight. Ohhhh, back to school. Back to school. Back to school.

But the best part about getting a ‘back to school’ themed Birchbox this month? The fact that I, will in fact, not be going back to school because I am donedonedone!

I did like the contents of this month’s box, but it would still be hard to beat the love I had for July’s box. Read ahead to see what I got and what I thought!

In case you aren’t familiar with Birchbox, I’ll give you a little rundown. Each month a package arrives at your door. It contains about 4-5 samples of deluxe beauty products (skin care and make up) and a little something extra. The samples are usually generous and last for a few applications. If you love an item you can get onto Birchbox’s website and buy it. Each item you buy earns you some points, similar to how the Sephora rewards card works, and you can use them toward later purchases. I love samples, especially of beauty products that are on the pricier side, so if you do actually purchase something you have a good idea of whether or not you will be happy with it. Birchbox costs $10 a month or you can subscribe for the year for $110.

Juicy Couture Viva la Juicy La Fleur Perfume
Sample Size: .05 fl. oz., $8.75
Full size: 2.5 oz., $70

Birchbox says: This modern scent is a feminine blend of wild berries, mandarin, and waterlily.

My thoughts: I’m a big fan of Juicy scents. Their original formula has long been in my rotating arsenal of perfumes. While I did enjoy their Viva la Juicy La Fleur, I rarely love the ‘sequel’ more than the original. I have no doubt it’ll get used though, although by now I have so many perfume samples from Birchbox I don’t know what to do with myself.

Rating: A-

Miss Jessie’s Original Stretch Silkening Creme
Sample size: 2 fl. oz., $5.50
Full size: 8 fl. oz., $22

Birchbox says: Apply to soaking wet hair to loosen tight curls and add tons of shine.

My thoughts: Is there a spot on the Birchbox questionnaire where they ask you about your hair texture? I don’t know, but if there isn’t there should be! I know I’ve waxed on about my straight to curly to straight hair texture life, so until my hair inevitably goes curly again, I have little need for a curly hair product. I’ve still used it a few times and have noticed it has helped reduced weather-related frizzies and added some shine. So, even though I can’t attest to whether or not it helps loosen tight curls, I still think it is a quality product. Maybe I’ll have my mom take a try while I’m home and see if it works on her curls!
P.S.: When I initially snooped on the Birchbox website to see what I would be getting in this month’s box, I definitely thought this product was for stretch marks, based off the name. Hopefully I’m not the only one, because now I feel like a moron.

Rating: B

Pixi Beauty Lip & Line
Full size sample!
Full size: 0.051 oz., $18

Birchbox says: A double-sided wand featuring a waterproof liner and a creamy lipstick.

My thoughts: I would never dare argue about receiving a full-sized product, considering it substantially added to the value of the box. I’ve only tried this out once; I haven’t really had an opportunity to wear a lipstick of this shade yet this week. I’m not exactly sure how convinced I am that the lipstick portion of the product should be considered ‘creamy,’ but maybe my lips were just dry when I put it on? Who knows. Either way, yay for full-sizes!

Rating: B+

Yu-Be Moisturizing Skin Cream
Sample size: 0.1 oz., $2
Full size: 1.25 oz., $16

Birchbox says:Bestselling Japanese cream that hydrates chapped lips, rough heels, and cracked hands.

My thoughts: This was a teeny, tiny sample for a body cream. Typically the body cream samples come in a size that last for more than one application. This was more of the size of an eye cream sample, womp womp. Therefore, it is difficult to accurately evaluate it. The cream is quite thick. It also smells like Bengay…so I wouldn’t want to put this on for daytime wear.

Rating: C+

Schick Hydro Silk Razor
Full size: 1 razor, $9.99

My thoughts: Razors are such a pain in the butt, but since I hate having prickly legs, I am forced to deal with them until I am rich enough to get them laser hair removed. I thought this was a great extra for the box! Razors are pricey, so a quality non-disposable razor was a nice treat. Additionally, I find myself buying men’s razors a lot because most ladies razors only have 2 or 3 blades…and a 4 blade razor gives a much closer shave. No complaints here!

Birchbox Total Value: $44.25!

This month’s box had a great variety of products and worth quite a lot more than 10 dollars! Here’s my only thing, this month’s box came with a little brochure of ‘tips and tricks.’ Is it weird that I don’t like change and missed the simple card? Minor quips.

Want your own Birchbox? Go to http://www.birchbox.com?raf=s6h6z to sign up!

Note: I do not work for Birchbox or am affiliated with them in any way. By clicking on the link above, it works as a referral from me. My thoughts are entirely my own and do not necessarily reflect those of Birchbox.

Poor Little Rich Girls: Drugstore Makeup for Dramatic Eyes & Matte Faces

Edie Sedgwick, l’inspiration beauté du quotidien

As a poor recent-grad graduate student, I am always looking for a great deal on looking pretty, which is why I love drugstores. I adore high-end beauty products as much as the next girl, but I just can’t always afford to splurge on them. I buy dark eye makeup and matte foundation the most, in a feeble attempt to emulate Edie Sedgwick. So what if she had a [brief] trust fund? That doesn’t mean there aren’t perfectly good alternatives to the finer products in life! Here are some of my staples when it comes to eyes and bases.

CoverGirl LashBlast Volume Mascara, in Very Black

Whenever this mascara debuted (circa 2008?), I had to try it. Mascaras are weird for me. I have really long eyelashes, but I still like to add volume to my favorite asset. My first go at this one was rather magical. Each time I try to buy a new one, I am never as satisfied.

Revlon CoverStay Liquid Eyeliner, in Blackest Black

and

Revlon ColorStay Eyeliner Pencilin Charcoal

I have no problem saying that Revlon does a damn good job at makeup. I would venture to say that any purchase from Revlon that is a ‘ColorStay’ product is a good one. Eyeliner is my staple; I have been wearing eyeliner longer than I have been wearing mascara, which is probably not something I should admit (because doesn’t eyeliner look really weird without mascara, or is that just me?).

My rules, abridged: Liquid black eyeliner swept across the upper lash line, most likely in the cat eye fashion. As always, longer, thicker, and more dramatic for nighttime. Under eyeliner should never be liquid eyeliner, unless you want to go blind and bloodshot for an hour. Always pencil, but a soft pencil. Sometimes I go black for under eyes, most recently I have gone with grey (or, Charcoal) to lighten things up. Dot between lower eyelashes to make the illusion of one connected line. I utilize the under eyeliner day and night, but sometimes I go a little thicker with it at night. Just make sure you have Q-tips (secret weapon) to neaten everything up afterward. You want to look smoldering, but the line between smoldering and overindulgent mess is, unfortunately, a little too close.

Revlon ColorStay Liquid Foundation SPF 15 for Normal/Dry Skin

Foundations are the trickiest of them all. Most make up enthusiasts would say that foundation is the one part of your beauty routine that should be high-end. I don’t believe that. I also believe that choosing a brand of foundation is incredibly contingent upon your type of skin and the climate in which you live. Here in western PA, it is humid as all get out. I probably shouldn’t wear foundation right now, but I feel naked without it, and it has SPF, so I feel like I can justify its use. It, being Revlon’s ColorStay Liquid Foundation. A god-send for different skin types, of all different shades. I use the formula for Normal/Dry Skin, although there is a Combination/Oily Skin, as well. It blends beautifully and covers up imperfections, without significantly dulling the skin (my biggest foundation pet peeve).

Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder

When life requires a pressed powder finish. I (don’t shoot me, beauty super-evangelists) don’t really get how pressed powder could be good or bad. I don’t have  naturally oily skin, but sometimes it still happens, especially in the summer. Its hot! Yet, no matter what I try, it all makes me look the same…slightly cakey. You look perfect in photographs, but unrealistic in real life. I’m still torn on the healing powers of pressed powder, but I bought this Rimmel one for a few dollars at Walgreen’s when it was on sale. Plus, my co-blogger Christa digs it too, and her skin is lovely. So, it gets my endorsement.

Note: I do not work for Revlon, CoverGirl, or Rimmel, or am affiliated with them in any way. My thoughts are entirely my own and do not necessarily reflect those of the above listed companies. All photographs attributed to this individual post are the property of their respective companies.