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

Sample Society by Beauty Bar & Allure: July 2012 Review and Beauty Tips

Sample Society, July 2012

Sample Society is a relatively new to the sample box subscription arena. It is a creation from BeautyBar.com and Allure. Some time ago I must have signed up to be notified when they were accepting new members and I got an invitation to join in May and received my first box in early June. Like Birchbox, the Sample Society boxes are sent out monthly and include about five ‘deluxe’ sized samples and a $15 off coupon code (for when you spend $50 on their website). You also get a free year-long subscription to Allure magazine, which I was really excited for, too. Sample Society is a little pricier than Birchbox. Each box costs $15, which comes out to a little over $16 with tax. However, they do seem to send samples out of higher end brands than Birchbox, and the presentation is really fun, unless you get annoyed by tons of little pieces of paper. Just don’t open it outside when it’s windy and you should be okay! The major difference between Sample Society and Birchbox is that Sample Society includes a little booklet with beauty tips that correspond with each included product. If you’ve been wondering how to sign up for a Sample Society box of your own, make sure and scroll down to the bottom for more details!

Sample Society July 2012 Box

Borghese, Tono Body Creme
Sample Size: 1 fl. oz., $6.51 value
Full Size: 7 fl. oz., $46.50

I really love this body moisturizer! Sometimes body creams are not the most exciting product to receive, I always, always use them up very quickly. Some reviewers complained about the scent, but I actually liked it. It smelled like a spa, but with a more unisex quality, which I appreciate. The crème was so thick and luxurious, I woke up the next morning with happy skin.

Tips for a Moisturized Body:

• Showers should be less than 15 minutes.
• Nonsoap creamy cleansers are the ideal for washing. Hint: The more a body wash foams, the harsher it will be on your skin.
• Exfoliate skin every two to three days with a loofah or oil-based salt or sugar scrub.
• Put on moisturizer directly after getting out of the shower and lotion up again right before bed.

VBeauté, Eye Never Nourishing Repair Eye Crème
Sample Size: 0.033 fl oz., $4.64 value
Full Size: 0.5 fl. oz., $85

As many other bloggers have stated, this sample was teeny tiny. I really just wish that all the eye cream ‘deluxe’ samples were a little larger in size. I can usually get at least three applications out of the eye cream samples if I am being very frugal when applying. I think I really liked this particular eye cream, but like I always say, you can’t tell if an eye cream is effective after only a few days!

Tips for Hiding Crow’s-feet:

• An eye cream should contain a moisturizer with potent ingredients—like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, squalane, or panthenol—and antioxidants—like idebenone, vitamins E or C, grape-seed or green-tea extract—to fight lines and puffiness.
• When putting on primer sweep, don’t press it on, and wait at least two minutes before applying makeup.

Sisley-Paris, Hydra Global Intense Anti-Aging Hydration
Sample Size: 0.14 fl. oz., $25 (!) value
Full Size: 1.4 fl. oz., $250

Considering this face moisturizer costs upwards of $250, I certainly had high hopes it would give me $300-looking skin, and I wasn’t disappointed. My skin looked healthy and glowy and when I put my foundation on after applying it, I could tell that it really assisted in giving me an even coverage. Loved it, but I am going to have to wait to get a sugar daddy if I want to buy the full size version.

Tips for Combating Dry Facial Skin:

• A simple, creamy white face wash will protect the skin’s natural oils and minimize irritation.
• Those with dry skin should be cautious of retinoids, start out slowly when using a retinol cream to eliminate redness or increased dryness.

Vincent Longo, Duo Lip Pencil in Sangria & White Glimmer
Full-size product sample!, $26

If anyone out there can make this work out, let me know. In my opinion, the pencil is not soft enough to fully color in my lips, but the color is also way too dark to wear as a liner only. The color opposite to the pink is a white shimmery shade, which I can only imagine using on the corner of the lips to create an illusion of plumpness. So while it’s always exciting to get a full sized product, it’s not as exciting when I probably won’t really use it all that often.

Tips for Bold-Lips:

• Pale lips should try coral or cherry red shades, reddish lips should try hot pink or cranberry, and dark lips should try brick red or burgundy.
• Exfoliate lips to avoid flakes or dry spots showing up through lip colors.
• To make lipstick last longer use a lip pencil in the same shade as the lipstick’s, trace the inner edges of the lips, then fill in entire mouth. When putting on lipstick, apply to bottom lip only and gentle press lips together and smudge with fingers to create an even, not too heavy-looking color.

Jouer Cosmetics, Luminizing Moisture Tint SPF 20

Sample size: 0.17 fl. oz., $3.80 value
Full size: 1.7 fl. oz., $38

Ugh, wasn’t I just reviewing this in my June Birchbox recap? The only good thing about this sample was that it was a slightly more deluxe version than the Birchbox one. Otherwise I was just kinda disappointed that I got a duplicate, again in a shade a little too dark for me—although I knew it was bound to happen sooner or later! Oh well!

Tips for Looking Good in a Rush:

• Use a primer or tinted moisturizer that contains a little shimmer for a dewy look.
• Choose an apricot or pink lipstick and use it as a blush and/or eye shadow as well.
• Use a soft black eyeliner to rim whole eye and smudge with a q-tip for a quick smoky eye.


Total Value of Box: $65.95

Final verdict? Not bad for a $15 investment! Clearly, I am a make-up junkie, and getting a little gift in the mail every month gives me something to look forward to! However, I am sad to say that I DID decide to cancel my Sample Society subscription for the time being. I’m moving around at the end of the month to an undetermined location and I’d probably have a meltdown (kidding…kinda) if my box got lost in the moving hustle and bustle. $15 is worth enough to me, as a poor grad student, to not risk such a tragedy! Don’t worry though, I’ll still have my Birchboxes coming (since I receive them via a giveaway and am not actually making a monetary investment), and maybe I’ll even start looking into another box to review! Glossybox anyone?!

Interested in trying out Sample Society? Visit the BeautyBar.com Sample Society website for more information on membership! Sample Society works slightly different when it comes to their referral program. Instead of rewarding the referrer with points or store credits, they will donate up to $30 to charity for each first time order using my code. So, sign up for a fun service and do your good deed for the day! The code is modmatcult and proceeds go to The Make-A-Wish Foundation®. Thanks 🙂

Note: I do not work for BeautyBar.com’s Sample Society or Allure and I am not affiliated with them in any way. All sample value prices are approximate and based off their current retail value per BeautyBar.com. By clicking on the link above or using the code (modmatcult), it works as a referral from me. BeautyBar.com will donate up to $30 for each referral to The Make-A-Wish Foundation ®. All product reviews  are entirely of my own opinion and do not necessarily reflect those of BeautyBar or Allure.

© All images in this post are the property of Modern Material Culture.

June 2012 Birchbox Review

June’s Birchbox. “Indulge your inner jet-setter.”

It has been a bajillion years since I’ve done a Birchbox review, but I promised myself I would get back on the straight and narrow! The June 2012 Birchbox featured products with a jet-setting summer vacation flair. I do have to say that it wasn’t my favorite box I have gotten, but I wasn’t completely disappointed either!

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.



Borghese Botanico Eye Compresses
Pack of 60, $51

Birchbox says: These gel-soaked pads instantly perk up jetlagged eyes with soothing witch hazel and goldenseal extracts.

My thoughts: I have chronic dark circles under my eyes (thank you, Italian genes), so I am a wee bit of an eye cream junkie. But, as we all know, with you can’t expect to really get a feel for a product after only using it once, which was my problem with these eye compresses. I only got two (one for each eye…), so I only got to try them once, and it is highly unlikely I’m going to buy a product that costs $51 without knowing if it actually works. Plus, I have this issue where I am constantly moving, so unless I’m going to sleep I’m probably not going to lay down with my eyes closed. Creams are just better for my ridiculous lifestyle!

Rating: B

Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint
Full-size, $36

Birchbox says: The votes are in, and this award-winning tinted moisturizer tops the list. It’s our daily shortcut to dewy, glowing skin.

My thoughts:  I didn’t really find this cream to be ‘luminizing,’ but this could be because I felt like the shade was way too dark for my complexion. The sample came in a small bottle, more than enough for one use, but I don’t think I’ll try it again unless I happen to become exponentially more tan over the summer.



Scalisi Skincare Anti-Aging Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30
Full-size, $110

Birchbox says: A team of biochemists spent years developing this daily moisturizer, which uses four different peptides to trigger collagen production and reverse wrinkles.

My thoughts: I LOVED this moisturizer. I have been using it the past few days during the morning and at night and I can definitely see a difference in my skin. My complexion appears to be more even and hydrated than usual. I just wish that it wasn’t so expensive! The moisturizer is brand new so you can’t find it in too many places just yet, so I’m crossing my fingers that the price will go down as it starts to get carried by other shops.

Rating: A+

theBalm Cosmetics Stainiac in Beauty Queen
Full-size, $17

Birchbox says:We’re crazy about this two-in-one lip and cheek stain; the sheer gel formula delivers a subtle, long-wearing flush.

My thoughts: I love stains, but it is so hard to find a good one! This stain is marketed as both a cheek and lip stain, but I found that I preferred to only use it on the lips. It gave them the perfect reddish-pink hue! My only complaint is that it faded too quickly, but other than that I am considering purchasing the full size.

Rating: A-


Lifestyle Extra
Band-Aid Cynthia Rowley Dress Up Band-Aids
Pack of 20, $15

Birchbox says: Be prepared for life’s little emergencies with these stylish designer bandages.

My thoughts: Such a cute little extra that I don’t even want to use them!


Birchbox Man Extra
John Varvatos Star USA
Full-size, $55-70

Birchbox says: In honor of Father’s Day, we’ve included this dapper cologne,  a blend of ginger, juniper berries, and vetiver. Pass it on to a lucky guy friend or family member.

My thoughts: Even though this was for men, I didn’t mind it as an ‘extra’ since it was a 6th product in the box. However, this stuff is strong. I opened it to smell it, dabbing a small drop on my wrist, and immediately was overwhelmed by the scent. It smelled like I doused myself in the cologne. I surveyed a couple young men friends on what they thought of the scent. They nixed it. I believe one said, “it makes me smell like an old professor.” So, there ya go.


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.