Birchbox February | Happy Anniversary

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Happy Birchbox Anniversary to me!

It’s been one year since I started experimenting with the latest and greatest in beauty and lifestyle products (then started blogging about them!). It’s been quite a ride and I have to admit, while it’s been a hit or miss experience when it comes to the products themselves, I still love the monthly surprises in my mailbox. Birchbox has introduced me to some pretty amazing products that use I regularly, while also teaching me that just because something is considered “high-end” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s any better than the stuff you can get at your local drugstore for half the cost.

(Shhh!) Between you and me, I’m considering the idea of exploring another monthly box service. Not that I’m dissatisfied with Birchbox, because I’m not, but given how the market is now flooding with new options and new approaches toward discovering beauty products, it might be time to try something different. I’ll dedicate a well-researched post in the near future to share my findings with a succinct listing of what’s out there, along with the pros and cons of each, where I’ll then announce my final decision.

Until then…here’s how February shaped up!

Product reviews are from left to right.

Agave Healing Oil Treatment  | Whenever a product uses the words “agave” and “healing” in the same sentence somehow I instantly feel like I’m doing something completely natural and completely right for myself. Perhaps I’ve been brainwashed by the marketing industry to “trust” a product more. I was admittedly excited about this hair oil. The hard part is that the sample wasn’t very generous, so I used the whole pack in one sitting and this may be a product where you see better results the more you use it. What I loved about this treatment was the sweet fragrance along with the smooth texture of the oil. I can’t say with conviction that this did anything other than make detangling my hair much easier, which is a huge compliment for my kinkier hair texture. And as I write this, my hair has a nice bounce to it (then again that could just be because it’s totally clean at moment). However, at $24 full-sized, I’m can’t say I’m convinced to experiment with this product any further.

Overall: I’m indifferent.

Smashbox Cosmetics Full Exposure Mascara  | officially became a mascara snob last fall when a friend recommended Benefit’s They’re Real Mascara to me when I was on the prowl for a new go-to mascara. Since then, my search for the perfect mascara was O.V.E.R. While anything with the name Smashbox associated with it on the beauty front is no joke – I was skeptical if this could top the instant “wow” impression that They’re Real did and still does. And I was right. While this paraben-free formula isn’t a terrible mascara by any means, I was instantly turned off by the brush which was so thick that it always left a total mess on my eyelids no matter how delicately I tried to apply it. The good news is that this isn’t a problem when you use an eyeliner, otherwise if you want simple mascara-only drama or to use it after you’ve already expertly applied eye shadow (sans liner), this was a disappointment. It always needed an extra eyelid clean-up after use. And even after applying several coats, I never quite got the volume that I do with Benefit’s mascara. Essentially, between the wand and the formula, this isn’t something I’d readily jump out and buy. I like control when applying mascara and didn’t feel like I had it here. I look forward to using the sample, but will stick with what’s working.

Overall: If you want the best mascara ever – Benefit’s They’re Real is your answer. I promise.

Smashbox Cosmetics Full Exposure Palette | Admittedly, I was bummed at how Smashbox chose to share their eye shadow palette sample by placing a not so generous amount of product on a card. I mean, come on! This is SMASHBOX COSMETICS – you guys can do better.  If cost was an issue, I would’ve preferred less shades options and more product in a sample-sized pot so that I could really explore application with the colors. Okay, now that that’s out of the way…What was unique about this sample was that they chose to share the same shades in both a matte and shimmer finish. I experimented with the shimmer finish for the most part to build a more dramatic eye and had a pretty positive experience overall. I will say that it felt like the shimmer lasted longer than the actual color pigment in some of the shades, which is not ideal. I recently used my Birchbox points to score this full-sized eye shadow palette from Coastal Scents and I’m very happy with it. I might have more to say if Smashbox gave us more to work with, but since I’m not in the market for a new palette – it’s a pass.

Overall: Pass. Go for the Coastal Scents Palette if you’re looking for as many as 88 options! FYI – it’s cheaper on their website. I was pissed to see Birchbox charge $40.00 for something that’s selling for $25.00 on their site. Granted, Coastal Scents does charge for shipping and Birchbox ships for free – it may not be too much of a difference. Given that I used my points, it lessened the sting, but didn’t make me happy at all when I first caught this.

Ruby Wing Color Changing Nail Polish | As hypocritical as it may sound since I’m a huge believer in “All That Glitters” – my experience with this glittery nail polish is bittersweet. On the one hand, I love the idea of a little sparkle on my nails, but on the other – it’s always so annoying to work with glitter anything. My first attempt at using this nail polish was a total fail. Take one: I polished my toes in Sexy Silhouette (don’t you just love the names of nail polishes now-a-days) and got creative and used this gold glitter nail polish over it for every single nail. TOTAL DISASTER. I don’t blame the polish, just a moment of poor judgement on my end. Take two: I polished my nails a very subtle gold color and used this gold glitter nail polish as an accent on one nail. MUCH better. My thoughts on this polish, however, are dual. I love the look (when done right) but HATE that it takes FOREVER to remove glitter nail polish. On top of that, this formula takes a few applications to look right and at that point becomes so thick it’s complicated to work with. As for the “changing” color aspect, I did notice the bottle change to a more reddish color when doing my outside photo shoot for the picture above, otherwise I can’t say I noticed it changing color in the sun too much (maybe I need to stare at my nails more outdoors). Either way, this is rather gimmicky to me and not really necessary. I’ll enjoy the sample on occasion, but don’t have any plans to make a full-sized purchase. The sample would last me awhile anyway (ahem, Smashbox!) when I am looking to add a bit of bling on my nails. In between those times, there are other ways to enjoy some sparkle in my life.

Overall: Eh. It’s fun, but I would want to experiment with a different brand to find something easier to work with.


{Sneak peek at “take two.”}

Camille Beckman Glycerine Hand Therapy | Holy awesome hand lotion! I feel like I’m always reviewing lotions in my Birchbox, but this one has to be, by far, the best yet. What I immediately noticed about Camille Beckman’s hand lotion in Morelia Monarch was its amazing texture – unbelievably smooth and creamy without a stitch of greasiness from the moment of application. You don’t have to wait a few minutes before any lingering residue absorbs into the skin as you might have to with many lotions on the market. I was also instantly struck by its subtle scent – notes of vanilla, amber, and green tea. Your hands feel incredibly moisturized and silky to the touch. At $15, it is an expense over what I’d normally grab just to keep in my pursue, but one that I’m willing to overlook in this case. Your hands are in for a treat.

Overall: Worth it…if you don’t mind the splurge.


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One thought on “Birchbox February | Happy Anniversary

  1. Pingback: Birchbox All-Stars | All That Glitters

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