This is my second blog dedicated to my adventures in cosmetics and beauty products. I'm doing this for my future reference of what products I'm using/trying/liking. It's pretty lame.

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Birchbox Reviews

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Notes: Elizabeth Mott It’s So Big Volumizing Mascara

I got this in my first Ipsy bag (which I did not review on here because I forgot and I suck), and I had never even heard of it before. I am obsessed. I love it. I want three.

PROS:

  • It defines my lashes like no other without getting spidery.
  • it definitely adds length.
  • It’s lightweight and doesn’t clump or feel heavy on my eyelashes.
  • It’s perfect for lower lashes.

CONS:

  • It’s twenty dollars.
  • It’ s a little hard to build on. 

Other notes: The only thing I don’t really like about this mascara is the price. It’s a hard to build up if you wait more than five or ten seconds between coats, but otherwise I love it. It also doesn’t add a whole lot of volume, but I use a Maybelline mascara when I need volume. As a routine for using this I first curl my lashes, put a coat on my top lashes, put a little on my bottom lashes (which takes like 5-10 seconds), and then put another coat on top.

Notes: Davines This Is a Sea Salt Spray

I got this in my September Birchbox, and was really excited for it! My friend uses a sea salt spray on her hair which always looks perfect. My hair used to be really long to the point where I couldn’t do much with it, but I recently got a lot cut off (22 inches) so I was excited to learn how to use this with new short hair!

PROS: 

  • It smells heavenly. HEAVENLY. Like warm vanilla cookies.
  • The trial size from BB was very generous.
  • It does give me some value.

CONS:

  • I don’t see a huge difference.
  • It’s hard to figure out how much to use - too much makes my hair kind of crunchy.

Other notes: I don’t really know how to use this stuff. Usually I get out of the shower and towel dry my hair until it’s damp but not wet, and then mist this in, but I’ve had varying results. This is more my fault than the spray’s, and it got a 3.7 out of 5 on reviews, so I think I just need to get some practice in with it.

October Birchbox

So, I had forgotten about birchbox. Yup. I went today to my campus post office to pick up a shirt order and this little beauty was sitting in my mail box. So I opened it, realized I forgot to take pictures, and then thought, crap, I didn’t do a post on last month’s box (or my first Ipsy bag). I suck, guys. So I’m going to put up my October box and then put up a couple reviews on things that I got from last month’s subscriptions in an effort to keep myself somewhat organized. 

The theme for October’s box was “Beauty Buzz”. I have to admit I was a little disappointed it wasn’t holiday (read: HALLOWEEN) themed, but then I realized I’m pretty obsessed with the festivities this month and most people probably aren’t. 

Info card with something new at the bottom! I’ll get to that later. Goodies!

Beauty Protector Shampoo & Conditioner: I am so excited to try these! First of all, I love that they included both shampoo and conditioner so you can really get a feel for the product. I hate when you only get one part of a system. I just cut 22 inches of my hair off and have been experimenting with hair products, so this is nice. I also love the bottles - I just think they’re really cute and I will hate when I have to throw them away.

Evologie Stay Clear Cream: Okay, this is supposed to “protect and balance oil levels with a patent YS3 COMPLEX” by using it twice daily after cleansing. It’s a decent sample size and it smells pretty good. Okay, cool. My issue is it’s clearly meant to be used as a system - with cleanser, cream and oil from the same brand. I would have much rather gotten the cleanser than the cream because I guess it’s supposed to act like a moisturizer, and BB has already sent me two or three of those. It also doesn’t have a whole lot of information on it - I don’t know if it’s oil-free or not, but I’m assuming no.

theBalm cosmetics Staniac in ‘Beauty Queen’: This is a little bit of a disappointment because it’s a lip sand cheek stain…and I never use anything on my lips or cheeks. I swiped it on my hand and let it sit for thirty seconds and it did stain, and it smells nice. It’s a really deep pink, and a very pretty color, I just don’t know how much use I’ll get out of it.

Birchbox Find: Apparently this is a new thing BB is doing (as far as I know). Basically, it’s a mass-appeal product that is in addition to the usual samples, never in place of them. I got the limited addition Mass Appeal box awhile ago and while I liked it, I can’t say I’m super fond of the idea, especially when this month’s find was…

Chapstick Hydration Lock: Okay. It’s chapstick. I like chapstick and I use it daily. But seriously? I get Birchbox to try stuff I wouldn’t normally be able to. If I wanted this, I would go to Walmart or CVS and pick it up. Not to mention I have literally ten different chapsticks already. But okay. This chapstick is “clinically proven to moisturize lips from 9-4” and promises to give 8 hours of moisture and protection. Nope. It feels nice but my lips were back to their normal dry selves in an hour and a half. That being said I’ll probably still use it, but only as a backup.

Overall I’m okay with this box. I’m excited to try out the shampoo and conditioner, and the cream is a little intriguing, but I can’t help feel a little bit jealous of the people who got the Liz Earle skincare and perfume in their box. 

Yeah so I haven’t done anything on here in a month…oops. I’m downloading my October birchbox pics and then I’ll throw that one on here.

Exclusive Birchbox: “Head of the Class”

So as a back-to-school gift to myself, I bought the limited edition “Head of the Class” box that Birchbox was offering up. I also bought a pack of LA Fresh facial cleansing cloths and used my birchbox points, so I got the box, the cloths, and two free extras for $17.99 with free shipping. I’m pretty proud of my self. This is probably the last limited edition box I’ll be buying for a while since I’m back at school, so I have to savor it.

This was the box it came in! It’s bigger than a normal Birchbox and it is so cute that I need to find an excuse to keep using it because I can’t bring myself to throw it away.

The theme for the box was “Head of the Class”, and it was aimed at “Birchboxers-in-Training” with a retro kind of twist to it. It was marked as ‘Tween-Friendly’ which is a little off-putting, but I looked at the box before ordering it and decided I liked enough of the products. 

The info card was broken down into a school schedule format, which brought me right back to high school. Sigh.

First look into the box. I love pink tissue paper. LOVE.

willa Start Fresh Foaming Face Wash: My info card told my I was actually supposed to get the moisturizer, which I was kind of upset about because I love moisturizers, but I’ll give this a try tomorrow morning. It got decent reviews on Birchbox but I’m a little hesitant to try too many different things lately because my skin has been awful.

Poppin Pink Small Soft Cover Notebook: This is so cute. It’s not really practical for actual class use but it would be great as a way to write down homework or reminders to myself, so I’m definitely going to use it.

Birchbox Custom Pouch: I was so excited for this! To be honest, this is what made me want the limited edition box in the first place. I love the chevron and the neon zipper and I’ve been looking for a cute bag to shove makeup and bobby pins in. It would also be perfect for pencils, pens, iPods, etc.

Color Club Nail Polish in Silver Lake & Flamingo: This is apparently a good brand of nail polish (and retails for the same price as Essie, which I love), and I’ll never complain about getting nail polish. The Silver Lake is actually more of a pale gray, and I can’t wait to try it on. The Flamingo is super pink, which I don’t wear much, but I’ll probably  try it out on my toes or on one of my roommates.

Color Club Sequin Nail Art Kit: This picture is awful, ugh. I was trying to use the sun for lighting and I guess there was a cloud in the way. This is probably the only thing in the box I was really disappointed about. These came in the pouch; the lids weren’t screwed on tight and there were some loose sequins in the pouch. The retail price for a full set of these is $12, so these are worth $6, but I got repeats. I like all the colors, but I would have liked more variation. I also heard that they don’t work very well, so I’m going to throw them in my craft box to use as regular glitter. 

Stila Lip Glaze: I don’t use anything on my lips besides chapstick, but I have to admit this is a pretty nude-pink color. I just can’t stand lip gloss of any kind because my lips are too dry, so I passed this on to one of my roommates.

Sisco & Berluti Friendship Bracelets: These are really, really pink. But still cute as bracelets go. There’s not a whole lot else to say about them, though.  (Mary do you want one?!)

Jan Tran Chrysanthemum Print Bobby Pins: I liked the Birchbox bobby pins I got in my July box and these looked similar, so I was happy to get them. Not all of the colors are great, but between all my friends and themed parties I’m sure they’ll get some use. 

Because my order was technically over $35, I got to pick a free sample pack. I had the option of picking a pack or picking the mystery pack, and I didn’t like the samples they were offering so I went with the mystery pack.

pürminerals CC Cream: I got this in my July box and liked it, but not enough to buy it. I was excited to see another tube, but really disappointed when I saw it was in the medium shade, which is way too dark for my skin. I’ll probably end up giving this to someone else because it really is a nice cream, but I really wish I had been able to use it. Meh.

Weleda Sea Buckthorn Body Lotion: I. Hate. Foil. Packets. Ugh. And this feels weird even still in the packet - more like pure liquid than lotion. I’m going to try this over the weekend since I’m going to the beach on Saturday, and I’m interested to see what it smells like. 

I forgot to take a picture of the box with everything in it. I suck. I really did like this box, especially the pouch and the notebook, and for about $9 (half of what I paid for the box plus the wipes), you can’t beat it. That being said, if I hadn’t had $20 in BB points, I wouldn’t have paid 28$ for it, just because it’s a little under my age group. But it’s really meant to be for tweens, and for someone in the 12-16 range I could definitely see the appeal to it.

Limited Edition Birchbox: Mass Appeal

I’m really late on this for two reasons:

  1. The picture quality is terrible 
  2. I’m lazy.

This was the limited edition ‘Mass Appeal’ box birchbox was selling. It sold for $12, or $10 when you bought it with the ‘Prestige Headliners’ box (which I did). The idea of this box was to combine the top-voted drug store-type beauty products.

Info card! (Again, I literally can’t stress how bad these pictures are)

Burt’s Bees Ultimate Care Hand Cream: Pretty straight forward and pleasing. I like Burt’s Bees but it’s out of my price range, so it was nice to see this in the box. I don’t use hand cream that often (although I probably should), so I might end up giving this to someone else, but i’m going to try it out first. 

L’oreal Infallible Eyeshadow: This is supposed to be waterproof and last 24 hours, which I’m kind of doubting, but it got great reviews from what I’ve read. It’s more of a pressed pigment than a solid eyeshadow, but the color is really pretty - I just have to find an excuse to wear it.

Nivea A Kiss of Olive Oil & Lemon Moisture Rich Lip Care: I LOVE Nivea, especially lip products, so I was really happy to see this. I thought it was going to smell weird (olive oil?) but it’s really refreshing and smells more lemony than anything else. It also definitely helps my infinitely chapped lips and keeps them softer for a lot longer.

Olay Pro-X Spot Fading Treatment: This is supposed to help even out skin tone and fade dark marks and spots, which is interesting, but doesn’t appeal to me all that much, so I passed it on to my mother. 

Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain: I thought this was really cool, util I actually tried it on. The color is an orange-light brown that just looks horrendous with my skin tone. I’m sure it would look great on someone else, but it’s a no-go with me. 

Simple Revitalizing Eye Roll-on: This is a ‘pH-balanced eye serum’ that’s supposed to help your eyes look more awake. I’ve used it a few times in the morning before work and helps to reduce the puffiness under my eyes, which is getting kind of ridiculous. The only issue I have with it is the amount of product that comes out on the eye-roller - the directions say to roll it in circular motions on the skin under your eye, but it lets out so much product that I end up with a coat that I have to wipe off. I usually just put a dab on and gently rub it in with my finger.

Overall I was pretty happy with this box, because these are all products I can try and actually afford, and buy without too much hassle. It cost me the price of a regular box, and the only really complaint I have the lip stain, which I’m sure someone else will appreciate. My favorite products were definitely the Nivea and the eye roller. I definitely preferred the Prestige Headliners box because of the hair primer, the cleansing wipes and cuticle oil. 

August Birchbox

My August box came! The pictures are going to be horrendous because I tried to take them quickly while the table was clear.

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The theme for the August box was ‘Finishing School’, and was a collaboration project with Ann Taylor. 

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Info card!

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Cailyn Cosmetics Line Fix Gel Eyeliner: This was the first thing I pulled out of the box and I was so excited because I’ve been wanting to try gel liner, and this is a decent sized sample. However, there were smudges on the outside of the pot and the actual product looks and feels like a dried out hockey puck and wouldn’t come off on the brush or my hand. I think the lid is faulty and it somehow dried up, so I sent the company an email. The brush looks nice, though, so I’ll probably keep it if nothing else. 

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Dr. Jart+ Premium BB Cream: Yay! BB Cream! I got CC cream in my July box, but I’ve been wanting to try a high-end BB cream because I use a drugstore brand one on a daily basis. This stuff “evens out skintone, has antiaging benefits, and gives you broad spectrum protection”. 

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Whish Exfoliating Body Wash: This smells SO GOOD. It’s described as a scrub (which I love) and is paraben and sulfate free. I almost don’t want to fall in love with it because the full size is 22$, but it might be worth it if it does what it says. 

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Miss Jessie’s Rapid Recovery & Super Sweetback Treatments: I’ve never heard of this brand but it got really good reviews on the website, so I’m happy I got it. The Rapid Recovery is a treatment for repairing dry, brittle curls, and the Super Sweetback helps to soften and grow out curly hair. The only issue I have is that my hair is really long so I don’t know if the amount in the packet will be enough for me, but it’s worth trying. 

Whish Hair Inhibiting Deodorant Swipe: This was a beauty extra this month and it’s pretty straight forward, but I’m not super excited about it. It’s a deodorant…wipe? And it slows down hair growth? I just don’t get it. 

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This box also came with coupons for Ann Taylor, which is pretty cool. I’m not big on Ann Taylor so I passed these on to my mom, but I can still appreciate the value.

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I have to say I was a little less happy with this box compared to my July box, mainly because of the eyeliner. I’m going to give the subscription a couple more months and then decide if I want to buy a full six months or year subscription though. 

Notes: LA Fresh Oil-Free Face Cleanser Wipes

I got two individually packaged wipes in my Prestige Headliners Birchbox and I wanted to wait until I had used both to write down some notes.

PROS:

  • My skin is pretty sensitive and I usually try to use unscented stuff on my face, but even with the scent on them, they didn’t irritate my skin at all.
  • It smelled really good!
  • It got almost all of my makeup off with a swipe.
  • It made my face feel really soft afterwards.
  • The wipes  made my face feel so clean and refreshed.

CONS:

  • It did dry out my skin a little.
  • The wipes are a little bigger than necessary.

Other notes: I really liked these and I’m probably going to buy them before I go back to school (either off Birchbox or Amazon depending on how many points I can get and how much shipping costs). I almost wish I could buy a bunch of the individual packets because they’re really handy for nights out (aka, when I’m too tired/drunk to want to put much effort into taking off my makeup). But I’ll probably end up buying the pouch and just cut them in half so they’ll last me longer.

Notes: Number 4 Super Comb Prep and Protect

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I got a travel-sized bottle of this in my July Birchbox and saved it for vacation, because I figured it’d be a nice treat for my hair during a week of chlorine and salt water abuse.

PROS:

  • It made my hair so freaking soft! 
  • It helped to keep tangles out of my hair.
  • It didn’t smell strongly.
  • I really didn’t need a lot of it to notice a difference.

CONS:

  • It doesn’t necessarily smell good…it’s an interesting scent and I can’t tell if I like it or not, but it isn’t bad enough to make me not use it.
  • It’s not an effective detangler.
  • It made my hair feel a little grungier than usual after I came out of the ocean.

More notes: the best way for me personally to use this is on towel-dried, still damp hair that’s been combed through. By itself it isn’t a good detangler for knotty hair, but on already brushed hair it’s good for preventing tangles, if that makes sense.
I used this after my shower (at night) before a beach day. I was in the ocean for a while and when my hair finally dried, it felt weirdly textured, but it didn’t change how my hair looked. I’m going to continue using it until I can really figure out if it’s worth buying.