Review & Rant: November Black Box

Hello world! Another catch-up review coming your way from the ever-well-meaning-but-habitually-tardy Camophile! This review will entail both what I received in my November Black Box, what I thought of them, and my newly-shaped opinion of Black Box as a company.

Do you want the good news or the bad news first? What’s that? You’ll have to speak louder. G– Good news, you say? Alright, but only because you’re so persistent!

Good news: Good stuff in the Black Box, albeit only a couple of new items, and a couple that I’ve already received in my Limited Edition Birchbox Man box.

The Black Box came with a notecard (which has since been thrown away), which I will paraphrase:

“Howdy! In this ultra exclusive holiday box, all the items are from the Anthony Logistics line. We’ve teamed up with them to bring you these great products in this uber tubular special edition one of a kind box! We didn’t send you products all from the same company because it’s all we have left. Seriously, we didn’t. Honest.”

Maybe I’m reading too much into things! 😉

In the box:

Anthony Logistics Shave Cream – Previously reviewed in Birchbox post (see link above)

Anthony Logistics Lip Balm – Previously reviews in Birchbox post (see link above)

Anthony Logistics Facial Moisturizer – I have never been one to use facial moisturizers, but after using the Jack Black stuff from the Birchbox I got, I have to say that I feel less avoidant of them in general. My skin is fortunately a good medium between oily and dry; I don’t have any problems either way. I thought that this product was nice, and similar to Jack Black’s moisturizer in that it makes your skin feel soft, without any undesirable stickiness and is barely noticeable within minutes of application. And just so we’re clear – guys, there’s nothing wrong with having a soft face! You don’t want your face to feel like Mount Rushmore, now do you? I’m glad you’ve seen it my way! Oh, one more thing about this product – one thing I didn’t like so much is that this tan-colored product of a creamy consistency smells like.. wait for it… wait for it… SHERBET. Yeah, like the ice cream. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good sherbet every now and then, but I’m not sure I want my face to smell like it. Personal preference, though. Great product otherwise.

Anthony Logistics After Shave Balm – I really liked this item. I don’t care who you are: we’ve all experienced razor burn at one time or another, whether due to shaving in a rush, using a low-quality shave cream, or just using a dull razor. Gone are the days where you dad splashed on aftershave and pretended he didn’t mind the burn. This product is truly soothing, and has a fantastic cooling effect when applied. It’s got kind of a menthol-y scent to it, but nothing offensive. Personally, I like it a lot. Once I run out of this sample, I will definitely consider purchasing a full sized bottle. Good stuff!

That’s it. But it was a couple of new things I liked quite a bit, so I’m happy. It’s not HisBlackBox’s fault that I got two of those samples from Birchbox too. I like the balm and the shave cream okay. I wouldn’t mind giving the extras to other guys in my life who desperately need grooming help. Share the wealth!

So, the bad news: I think HisBlackBox is already a thing of the past. I was hoping that they would be able to pull themselves together and continue to offer guys some cool samples for a reasonable price, but it is looking bleak. Let me explain why I think so.

I had my suspicions by mid-November, when I was wondering where my November box was. I moseyed on over to Facebook, where I “liked” them earlier and initially was impressed with how much they interacted with their fans. So when I went back to check out the page again, I was disheartened to see they were no longer on Facebook. I knew they were previously on Twitter too, so I checked there. Gone – without a trace. Then, I went to their website, which prominently proclaims, “Due to limited product availability and the holiday season, we are not taking new orders at this time.” All that was enough evidence for me to believe that they were not planning to continue. But I also thought to myself, they never mentioned current subscribers, so I must still be getting a box. WRONG!

I emailed  them on January 4th: “Hi there, I was just wondering when I can expect December’s Black Box. I see I was billed on 12/16/11, but still have yet to receive anything. Thanks for your time.”

I received the following reply on the 5th: “Unfortunately, due to high product demand and the holiday season, we are unable to fulfill orders at this time. An announcement regarding this is forthcoming. We will reach out at a later time should things change. Again, so sorry for the inconvenience.”

Seems pretty ominous to me. Despite calling this a rant, I actually have no ill-will toward HisBlackBox. They credited me back for December, since they will not be able to fulfill it. I think it is a bummer that they seem unable to continue. Well, this gives Birchbox and even bigger niche to fill once they decide to move forward with their men’s subscription. Hopefully it’s soon. Anyway, when I hear more about HisBlackBox’s plans moving forward, I’ll be sure to share.

I guess I’ll just have to find some other stuff to review in the meantime.

‘Til then!

October Black Box

October Black Box contentsHey there, inspired groomers! Time for my take on the Black Box I received in October. I am again ashamed that it has taken me a bit to get to this, much longer than I would’ve liked. However, in my defense, I do like to try to give everything a thorough testing before offering my hopelessly biased opinion on the contents. Before I dive right in, I want to say a couple of things about the impressions I have from Black Box.

First, I have read a great deal of reviews about Black Box, with people expressing incredible disdain for their customer service. Some of the things I have read say things like they send emails and make phone calls to their company, all to no avail. Others state that they were charged, but never received a box. Personally, I have had no such problems as of yet, although I’ve only contacted them once and received a reply within minutes. As someone who works in customer service, I think it is unfortunate that Black Box is receiving a negative reputation for the way it treat its customers. I hope that the management of this start-up will recognize what is being said, and take some steps to improve. I say “start-up” because that is what it seems it is, rather than a fully functioning, well-rounded business with all of its affairs in order. In their defense – their site does state it is in “beta.” I want to remain optimistic about this, though! I sincerely hope that Black Box is able to pull themselves together, and continue to offer gentlemen new and interesting products to try without frustrating their customers in the process. Good luck, Black Box!

Onto the good, the bad and the ugly for this month:

Helmut Lang Cologne – This little vial came in a small plastic bag, sandwiched between two cotton pads. I guess that is probably a good idea, in case the top popped off, or the vial broke. I have to say that I was highly offended by the overwhelming smell that wafted as soon as I opened my Black Box this month. My first reaction was actually borderline anger, as I thought the scent was awful right off the bat. Since I had not-so-nice things to say about another cologne that I received in last month’s box, I felt that I needed to do a bit of introspection. Am I being fair? Am I a cologne hater? Am I too scent-sitive? I decided to give ol’ Helmut a few more tries before dumping him down the drain. Ultimately, when approaching it with an open mind, I found that the scent has a prominent musky scent, and actually wears well during the day toward a softer, almost powdery scent, which I found both interesting and appealing. I personally feel it would be best worn as an evening product. One other thing I want to say about this cologne is that it is persistent. I personally didn’t enjoy the fact that even after taking a shower, I could still detect it on my skin. And just so there is no confusion, I’ll answer the question that may have popped into your mind – yes, I use soap when I shower! All in all, this scent grew on me, but I have to admit I have experienced other colognes that I enjoy more, so this one won’t be on my radar in the future.

True Volume Thickening Shampoo, by Jack Black – I will begin this one by saying that I was excited to see this item in the box for two reasons. First, I’ve been on the hunt for a new shampoo, especially one that is designed to help with an itchy scalp. Yes, I suffer from an itchy scalp. Don’t judge me. Second, I’ve heard of the Jack Black brand, and was excited to see a couple of items included from them this month. Also, it is probably important to know that I currently use Head & Shoulders Itchy Scalp Care with Eucalyptus 2-in-1 Shampoo/Conditioner. I honestly adore it, but the stigma of using a shampoo typically intended for dandruff sufferers has me a sad panda. I want a hip, stylish shampoo! Unfortunately, Jack Black did not have the answer for me. It has, in my opinion, a very medicinal smell to it, which I wasn’t thrilled about. Coming from someone who uses Head & Shoulders, I think that may be saying a lot! Within 10 minutes of having used it, my scalp began to itch like crazy. Now, given my history, I do not necessarily blame the shampoo for causing my head to itch, but it certainly did not help the matter. I immediately stuck my head back under the shower head, reached for the H&S, and got immediate relief. I’m beginning to think this stuff ain’t so bad. Stigma shmigma. As for Jack Black, nothing about it particularly impressed me. Although this shampoo is advertised clearly for volumizing, the label does indicate that it will, “combat dry, itchy skin.” No such luck here!

Supreme Cream Triple Cushion Shave Lather, by Jack Black – I enjoyed this product for the most part. It reminded me a lot of The Art of Shaving brand cream that I tried last month, which is definitely not a bad thing. It is infinitely superior to anything you would buy in an aerosol can at the store. It makes for a nice, close shave. It left my skin feeling soft, and not in the least irritated, which I always consider a feat considering I’m simultaneously dragging three razor blades across my face. Nothing bad to say about this product! Would I change to this product permanently myself? At this point, probably not. Why, you ask? Read on for the next product review.

Hydroplane, by Billy Jealousy – This stuff is tops. Seriously. I’m in love. Even after having tried out the other shaving creams the past month or so, this product is by far my favorite. It is not a shaving cream in the traditional sense. It does not foam up or lather considerably, and actually has more of a lotion feel to it. It has a nice cooling sensation when you put it on, which I absolutely love. Hydroplane has also proven a great match to my frequency of shaving. I only usually shave once a week, so my facial hair is relatively long when shaving. I used to have to grab my hair clippers and go my face with them first, and then shave. But with this product, I feel no friction or hair-ripping sensation like I would have with other creams. Also, this stuff left my skin feeling cool and moisturized. It is incredible. I honestly cannot say enough good things about this product and brand. And I’m not being influenced by the prominent label on the bottle cap that states, “Esquire WINNER – BEST shave cream.” But hey – after using this product, I’m not surprised it is winning awards. Although an 8 oz. bottle is about $20.00, I do plan on purchasing more just as soon as I finish using up this 2 oz. sample. Try it – you won’t be sorry. Especially if you were a Barbasol guy like I was only a couple of months ago. What a difference a shave cream can make.

Well, that’s it for yet another long-winded review. I should be receiving my November Black Box next week, in addition to the limited edition Birchbox that I ordered last week as well. I will review those just as soon as I give each of them a fair shake, and let you know what I come up with. Thanks for sticking around!

‘Til the next box arrives!

New Blogger and Black Box

Hi there, beauty blog readers! I just wanted to take a moment to introduce myself before delving straight into contributing to Glamdox’s beauty blog. I am a guy in his late 20’s, who tends to be somewhat casual in his grooming practices. By casual, I mean that I typically shave only once or twice a week at most, and I cut my own hair at home using hair clippers. Quarter-inch comb, tyvm. Metrosexual, I am not; however, I am not afraid of tweezers. Pencil-thin eyebrows are no good for men, in my opinion, but a uni-brow just might be worse. I am a relatively average guy with a no-fuss approach to grooming. With that said, I plan to offer some reviews on some men’s products, from a guy’s point of view. If my contributions are not at least helpful, let’s hope that you will find them amusing.

Front

In the very near future, I plan on reviewing the Black Box that I received this month. In case you haven’t heard of Black Box, it is a deluxe men’s care sample subscription, much like Birchbox. The main difference, of course, is that it is geared toward men. Last month, Glamdox told me about Black Box and I couldn’t help but give it a try. I have not yet had the opportunity to try these samples yet, but once I do, I will be sure to provide a review on each item inside. I will share my experience with Black Box’s service as well.

I look forward to blogging here. ‘Til the next time we meet!