Review: March (Teen Vogue) Birchbox

Kate Spade New York Twirl – I’ve said many times that I’m not a big fan of perfume samples in Birchboxes. I feel like we already get these at every beauty counter and online cosmetic store we shop at. Because of that, this is my second or third sample of this perfume. Alot of people enjoy it, but I just don’t like it. I almost wondered if this was included in the box less for the smell, and more for the fact that it coordinated well with the pink and red packaging for the T.V. Birchbox.

Kerastase Elixir Ultime – Hair oils have been a big trend lately, so I wasn’t that surprised to see one pop up in this box. It was a decent size, and I like the little pump dispenser as opposed to a vial. When hanging out with one of my nieces, I decided to let her try my Mythic hair oil from a previous Birchbox. She said it smelled like a burned candle, so I let her use this one instead. She liked the smell much better and it really made her hair look shiny. I didn’t have remarkable results with it myself, but it is nice, and I will definitely use up the sample. As you might expect, it’s easy to use too much though, so it’s something I use very sparingly even though I have long hair that gets dry.

Twistband Hair Tie – I have one of these from a previous Birchbox, and find myself using it quite a bit. If you aren’t familiar with Twistbands, they are basically just a little piece of elastic trim tied at the end with a knot. After a few uses they will definitely live up to their name, and kind of roll up on themselves into a twisted loop. You might fight yourself continually smoothing it back out. They look nice enough, but if your hair is heavy, they might have trouble holding it up all day. I use them for low ponytails and they work well for that, and don’t leave a ponytail dent in your hair. I just feel that these are typically a little overpriced for what you’re getting. I was happy to get another one in my box though, since I do find them useful for around the house.

Essie LuxeEffects Nail Polish – This was a FULL sized bottle of Essie polish, which normally retails for $8. It nearly paid for this months box on it’s own! I got the pink color called A Cut Above. This polish contains small glitter as well as large round glitter pieces. I used it on it’s own, and found that one coat just didn’t look very nice. Used over another polish, one coat would be a nice accent, but I just went with multiple coats for the whole ‘jewel encrusted’ look. It seems to be a really nice polish. Although, as with any polish that has large glitter chunks – some of the pieces hang off the end of your nails and make them sharp, so it takes a little more care to either push those back before it dries or deal with them later. It’s DBP, Toluene, and Formaldehyde free, which is always a good thing. I would definitely purchase Essie polish in the future.

Tarte Lipsurgence Lip Tint – This is a cool little lipcolor that resembles some sort of jumbo crayon. The best part of it? Another full sized product! These little beauties are $24 each, so having a full size included in the Birchbox was a fantastic deal. The color I received was Amused, a very bright pink. I was afraid it was going to look terrible on me, but it actually works and I like it quite a bit provided that I don’t use too much. These lip tints claim to increase moisture content 6000%. Yes, you read that right, and I’m not making that up either- six thousand percent. While I did not apply this and say, “My lips feel six thousand percent more moisturized!” I did find it to be both moisturizing and long lasting. It’s nice to carry with you because you won’t need a separate liner, and you could always layer this with gloss if you wanted a shinier look. Lipsurgence is also formulated without parabens, sulfates, and other chemicals, which definitely impresses me. I would be wary of the lightest pink shade, I’ve seen it look unflattering on a few people, but otherwise it’s a really nice product and I’d like to try more colors.

Overall, I think this was a really great Birchbox. I absolutely loved finding two full sized products, which made this box an exceptional value. If you count the $24 lip tint, the $8 nail polish, and around $1.66 for the hair tie, it’s already almost a $34 value even before the perfume vial and hair oil sample (Not to even mention the reusable box, the tissue paper, and free shipping that always comes with Birchbox…and, review points too!). I’m so glad I decided to select the Teen Vogue Birchbox, and I hope they’ll do other special boxes in the future. I would’ve loved to be able to purchase this box separately to give some as gifts as well. The only thing I would’ve liked to see differently was the perfume but I definitely can’t complain! There were also a couple of coupons included, one for a discount for a subscription to Teen Vogue magazine and another for a discount at ModCloth. Nice!

Quick recap of what was included for $10, because I feel it’s important to list this all out – One reusable cardboard box, several sheets of tissue paper, little cardboard sleeve around the box, shipping, 50 Birchbox points if you did the reviews (which equals $5 but you can only spend in increments of 100 points), perfume vial sample, deluxe sample of hair oil, a hair band (trying so hard not to make an 80s joke there), an $8 nail polish, a $24 lip color, and two discount coupons. If you can find a better deal for $10… please let me know! And if you’d like to join Birchbox, you can click here! (Shameless plug to earn points). They have had a waiting list for a while, but I considered making another account to get both my regular box and the T.V. box, so I signed up for the waiting list with another email and it only took about a week to get through. Ultimately, I chose to just stick with one account though. I know that not every box is as great as the Teen Vogue box, but it’s boxes like this that keep me sticking with the service and always feeling like I’m getting my moneys worth and then some.

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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.