Review: August Birchbox

This is the second half of my Birchbox feature. If you don’t know what Birchbox is, check out my previous post for all the details!

This was my first Birchbox ever. As you may know, the contents of your box are meant to reflect the things you selected on the profile you fill out when signing up. I’m not sure that it always works out that way, but we’ll get to that in a bit. Here is what I got in my box:

Shaveworks The Cool Fix Targeted Gel Lotion – This is a product specifically for treating ingrown hairs, bumps, and problems resulting from shaving. I was pretty excited to try this. I’ve never really used a product meant for this purpose, I generally just use pure shea butter on any skin irritations. (It has a million uses! Look it up!) This is a generous sample in pretty packaging, so already it was off to a good start in my book. The first time I used this, I used a very small amount and it was nice and lovely and left my skin soft. The second time, I accidentally squished out more than I needed from the bottle, so I used a bit more and it stung a little bit. Maybe I should’ve waited longer after shaving, or maybe I had a tiny cut or something. I haven’t been using this faithfully yet, but it’s a nice product and it’s worth testing out. Have I had amazing results? No, but I think it definitely has potential and I’ll be trying to use this more frequently to see if it makes a noticeable difference. I could definitely see myself purchasing this if I can remember to incorporate it into my routine and end up with nice results over time. I noticed on the BB site that it says to use this morning and evening, and since I haven’t been doing that, I’m probably missing out on what it has to offer. If it turns out to be something I love, I’ll update my review or post about it.

Smashbox Cosmetics Photo Finish Primer – This is a product that I actually used to use for a while. I had the tinted version, and in fact I still have quite a bit of it left because for one reason or another I stopped using it. That being said, I do like the fact that this one is clear, and apparently they’ve updated their packaging on the full sized bottles. The old bottles were squared, frosted glass pump bottles, if I remember correctly, and the new ones are squeeze tubes. That definitely seems more convinient. This is a really nice product. It makes your skin feel silky and smooth, and if you’re looking for a primer this is a great one to try. I don’t normally use a primer, but I thought this worked just as well as I remembered. The drawback here is that it’s still just a clear primer, and it ain’t cheap. One tube is going to run you $36, and for me the results don’t justify the price. It’s nice now and then, but I don’t feel I *need* it.

June Jacobs Papaya Purifying Enzyme Masque – Let me just start out by saying that that the description of this product claims to dissolve dead skin cells. So I took this out of the box, and let my eyes settle on those two magic words: Dissolve. Skin. Yikes. But hey, I’m no wuss (mostly?) and I assumed (hoped and prayed) that Birchbox did their homework on this one, so off I went to test it out. I wasn’t quite sure how much to use of this, since it goes on kind of thin and clear and I was wondering if I should really glop it on, it says mask, right? But I opted to go with less, and I went to my computer for a bit to leave it on the suggested 3-10 minutes. I wanted to go with 10, because hey, if I’m going to do this, I’m going to do it right. Around the ten minute mark the people I was talking to online received the ever so cryptic message of, “Brb! Face burning!!” Perhaps I should have explained beforehand that I was using a face product in the event of something like this, but all of my friends are used to ridiculous IMs from me so it wasn’t a big deal. So I went to wash this off, and it’s a little difficult to remove. Not a big problem, and I suppose a washcloth would’ve worked better than just washing it off with my hands. After the burning, I didn’t expect to like this product or use it again anytime soon. And then a few minutes later I touched my face. Oooh… soft. “Okay,” I thought, “but it still burns.” The following day I looked in the mirror and noticed that my skin looked clearer, brighter, smaller pores and still my skin felt soft. Needless to say, by the next week I was ready to bravely try this stuff again. I justified it by reminding myself of the whole skin dissolving thing, and how there might be no way to do that in a pleasant fashion. Luckily, the second time I used it, I experienced no burning at all. Weird, right? I suppose my skin was all, “Okay, I give in, I enjoy looking this good tyvm.” Since this was a good sized sample I’ve been able to get several uses out of it, and am limiting myself to once a week with it. I’m still having good results and no burning, and although this stuff is expensive, I will definitely be tempted to apply some Birchbox points towards the full sized jar later on when my sample is gone. I like that these are natural ingredients, and the product has a nice smell also. You don’t seem to need alot of product, although on my last use I don’t think I used enough as my results weren’t quite as good. It should also be noted that I have sensitive skin, and just because I had a little burning with it doesn’t mean everyone will.

Ouidad Climate Control Heat And Humidity Gel – This is what I meant by saying that I’m not sure the beauty profile will always ensure that your samples are tailored to you. This is a product that seems to be geared towards curly hair. My hair is almost waist length, straight, and highlighted. I think other people got a repair mask for hair, which seems like it would have been better suited for me. However, when I let my hair air dry, I do have some natural wave to it so I thought I would give this a try. You apply the gel when your hair is wet, and by visiting their site I noticed they have a special method for applying it and ‘setting your curl pattern’. I don’t really have a curl pattern, but I tried to shake my hair out in a similar manner to let the natural curls appear (like magic!). Sadly, this stuff was not magical for me. It did little, if anything for my waves, even though I tried using it in various methods. I used it on a rainy night and didn’t see much help with my humidity related frizz, either. Another drawback was this sample container. It’s meant to give you several uses, but once you rip the top off there is no resealing it. The best I could do was put a clothespin at the top to hold it together and drop the whole thing in a ziplock bag. The one thing I can say about this gel is that it didn’t leave my hair feeling crunchy, which was a nice surprise. I’m going to keep trying this out and testing some other hairstyles using it, but I don’t think there’s any chance I’ll be buying it. This was a definite miss for me, but could be great for someone who actually has curly hair.

Twistband Hair Tie – Okay, I’ll tell you the truth. When I opened my Birchbox, I thought this was a ribbon that accidentally got dropped in. It’s basically a piece of elastic trim tied in a knot at the end, and was this months ‘extra’. I found it really funny that so many of the YouTube videos were really harsh on this, saying that they hated it or were disappointed by it. I think the description that said, “looks as great on your wrist as it does in your hair” actually hurt this product a little, because people immediately went “Great on my wrist? Really?” I wouldn’t say this looks great on your wrist. It looks like you tied black fabric around your wrist with a little knot at the end. It looks relatively acceptable on your wrist, but I guess that doesn’t sound as catchy. If you keep the knot on the bottom of your wrist, it looks better. Anyway, I actually kind of like this. It’s soft, doesn’t pull out so much hair, and it’s main ‘selling point’ is that it doesn’t leave a ponytail dent in your hair. I like that quite a bit and have been using mine often. Will I buy more? Probably not, it’s $5 for three of them. I’m happy with this extra though… I saw what you guys got last month, and personally I’d take something useful, like a hair tie, over a granola bar that’s come through the mail, any day.

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