Review: September Birchbox

This month’s Birchbox theme was about celebrating the customer and every side of the Birchbox personality. I posted a quick look at my box when I first got it, and now that I’ve had a chance to try everything, let’s get to the reviews!

Salvatore Ferragamo Attimo L’Eau Florale – I’m pretty sure that everyone got a perfume sample this month. I think there were about three different ones that went out. This was just a standard little vial sample in a card, something you could probably pick up at any department store. I’m not much of a perfume person, generally I’ll find one that isn’t too strong and stick with that brand for a while. I used to wear Chanel Chance, and more recently I’ve been using Roses 4 Reines solid perfume by L’Occitane. That being said, I wanted to give this sample a fair chance, so I wore it for an entire day. It’s not a bad scent, but ended up being much too strong, and I could smell it on myself all day, even after a shower. This one is definitely not for me.

Jurlique Purely Age-Defying Firm and Lift Cream – This is a nice little cream that you warm in your fingers and then press into your face and neck. A small amount seemed to go pretty far and it felt nice on my skin. However, after only a couple of uses I got a really bad breakout. I’m not positive that this is what caused it, but it was the only new item I was using on my face at the time. My skin is fairly sensitive, but I normally do not get this many blemishes from trying a new product. It took days to clear up. There could’ve been other factors, just be careful if you have sensitive skin, and check out more reviews to see if anyone else had this issue. I might try it again when I’m feeling brave and see if I have any better luck. I really wanted to like this product, but for now, I won’t be buying it.

Jouer Lip Enhancer – I am definitely a lip product junkie. I have about eight different kinds of lip products in my desk drawer right now, because I really don’t like having chapped lips. Who does? I thought this sample seemed pretty small, but a little goes a long way. And oh my, this stuff is fantastic. It has a subtle hint of color, makes your lips soft and supple, and is not the least bit goopy or sticky. It’s like the ultimate lip balm. I love it, and even use a small amount before bed and my lips look great when I wake up. I can definitely see why the Birchbox girls love it and included it in every box. There’s an excellent chance that this might be my first full sized purchase from Birchbox. A full size tube is $14, but since it’s long lasting on your lips and you don’t need alot of product, I think it’s worth it. I am however concerned that when looking through the ingredient list online (which I don’t always do), i found several parabens included, so keep that in mind and do your own research.

Incoco Nail Polish Applique- I really loved these strips and you can check out my full review with pictures here. For me, this was the best product in the box and made it worth the price this month. I’m still wearing them, in fact.

Colorescience Pro Sunforgettable Mineral Sun Protection – This is a nice concept, it’s a light mineral powder with spf 30. It came in a generous sized sample jar and the shade I got was medium. I’m guessing this is meant to go over foundation, or for days that you skip it. It’s pretty sheer and I don’t think it’s intended to give you any coverage, just to give you a nice finish and maybe absorb some oil like a translucent powder. It’s not a bad product, but I already wear Bare Minerals foundation, which gives coverage as well as spf, so this wasn’t an ideal choice for me. I’m sure I’ll use it once in a while when I want something lighter, but I won’t be purchasing it. The full size does come built into the handle of a brush, so it would be nice to keep in your purse if you aren’t already using something with spf. I’m thinking this could also be nice dusted over a tinted moisturizer for lighter makeup days.

Birchbox Bracelet – In honor of their one year anniversary, each box came with a birchbox friendship bracelet. This was a cute little extra, a hot pink thread bracelet with a silver square logo in the center. It’s adjustable, so that was nice. It might even give you a chance to strike up a conversation with someone who is wearing one, you know you’ll have at least one thing in common!

Review: Incoco Nail Polish Applique

This month, Birchbox came with a really cool product that I had never tried before, the Incoco Nail Polish Appliques. Rather than write about this with the rest of my review of the box (which will be posted soon), I decided to give them their own post and include a few pictures. As you may have noticed from the preview of my box, I received the nail strips in blue glitter. I didn’t notice a specific color name on these, although it may have been somewhere on the packaging.

They came packaged like this, inside a little cardboard flap. They looked pretty, but not overly amazing or anything. When I opened up the package, I had two strips like this:These are made of actual nailpolish, not vinyl or stickers, and you can definitely smell the nailpolish as soon as you open them. I noticed that once out of the plastic, they looked a bit more sparkly. Cool. So I sat down to get to work. At this point, it was around 4 in the morning, and I probably should’ve been doing things like sleeping rather than skimming the directions on a nail product I’ve never tried. Did you notice I said skimming? Because, as you may have suspected with the whole 4am reference, I screwed the first one up. I started with my thumbnail, and I thought I had the general idea of what to do, but I was wrong. So very wrong. You are supposed to remove a clear film off the top, THEN peel off the backing, break the tab at the end, and apply it to your nail – stretching it slightly if needed. Instead, I peeled off the backing first, and the tab, and generally made a mess because at that point, it was on my nail and I just couldn’t get the clear film off. So I peeled that one off completely and scrapped it. At this point, I had not counted the strips. I did not realize that they had given us two extras to account for this very possibility. (Shutup. Four am. I have math skills… kind of). So I skipped the thumb nail, and used the excess from the other nails to piece together the one I messed up. I know, not my smartest plan, but it worked fine. One of my nieces had a really good laugh about this explanation. Luckily, since the pattern they sent me was glitter, the seam from my little patch job is virtually undetectable. (I’m not sure if a print would’ve been this forgiving, so keep that in mind when you are picking out colors for the first time). When I got to the end of the row, I counted the strips again.. and smacked myself in the forehead. But, I digress.

Each strip is longer than your nail… unless you have some serious claws, and you’re supposed to fold over the end and file off the excess. I found it easiest for me to just trim it close with manicure scissors and then fold and file the ends. As you’re probably guessing, these are not 100% dry as you’re applying them. More like 85-90%, so they are tacky enough to stick to your nails, and flexible enough to work with. As you get more nails done, it becomes a little trickier because the ones you’ve done are still slightly tacky, making polish bits and papers and whatnot occasionally stick, but nothing unmanageable or that would ruin your manicure. You’re meant to line these up at the cuticle first, and I started off trying to center them at the cuticle and then stretch it a bit. I soon realized that it worked better to line it up at the cuticle and start pressing down from one side rather than the center. (Hope I’m explaining that right). Before I figured this out, I ended up with a slight gap on one edge on one or two nails, but nothing that anyone would notice. I’m just a little ocd about these things. I also went a little too far over the cuticle or nail edge in some spots, and was afraid to pick at it too much. Like normal polish, the excess on my skin came off in a day or two, but it’s noticeable in the pic, sorry for that. I could photoshop it out, but then it wouldn’t be a realistic review so we’ll just pretend that nobody minds, ok? Just trust me when I say that by the next day they looked great.I’ve now had these strips on for about a week, and let me just say.. they are gorgeous. Once I got them on, I immediately started looking online for a polish that could duplicate this look. (Zoya and China Glaze had some of the closest, but I still haven’t found an exact match). The color is a bright tropical blue with aqua and maybe some darker blue sparkles. It looks and feels like regular nailpolish, only slightly less coarse than typical glitter polishes. I had one slight wrinkle in one, near the tip, but it’s only noticeable in pictures. After a week of wear, the tips are still in really good shape, with only a few of the tiniest little chips. At a glance they still look perfect. For regular nailpolish, it would have easily taken two, more likely three coats and possibly a top coat for this kind of coverage. I absolutely love these strips and have gotten lots of compliments. The color is exactly what I would have chosen for myself, (thanks Birchbox!), the finished look is so pretty, and the application wasn’t TOO difficult. I think now that I know what to expect, I could do a faster and neater application. In the packs that you purchase, I believe you get 16 strips, so you’ll have plenty of extras in case you make mistakes, and could probably manage to do both your nails and toes if you cut the strips right. These are available in alot of colors and patterns, ranging from french manicures to zebra stripes. I probably would not purchase these in solid colors just due to the price; one pack ranges from $8-$11, so they don’t make alot of sense for a basic manicure. But for patterns that are too time consuming or complicated to do with stamping, or if you don’t have a steady enough hand for french manicures, these are definitely a great option. I could see these being perfect for someone with small kids who doesn’t have the time to wait for multiple coats of polish to dry. They are cheaper than a visit to a nail salon and the claim that they last up to two weeks doesn’t seem unreasonable at all. Even up close, these look exactly like regular nailpolish, no one believes me when I say they were appliques. Overall, even though the application is a little tricky, these are pretty fantastic and I will definitely be using them again.