Birchbox Review | April

1-Birchbox April 2014

An account of how the latest and greatest in beauty and lifestyle products made my April feel a little bit more gorgeous…or not so much.

Here’s the breakdown…

#1. GUYandGIRL Shower Gel | Admittedly, I like the concept here. Essentially, it’s a comprise between the battle of the sexes…in the shower! This paraben-free body wash is designed to appeal to those of either gender persuasion. No longer will guys staying at their girlfriend’s place smell like strawberries, and girls staying at their boyfriend’s smell like Old Spice. And yet, GUYandGIRL Shower Gel isn’t quite the answer in my book. I found the supposed gender neutral scent to still resonate a more masculine aura, not balancing enough for the feminine. Add in the $25 price tag and this is a no-go. I look forward to finishing the sample and might even share with it my boyfriend, but that would be the end of my relationship with this particular product. Perhaps I’m a girl who just likes to smell like a girl…and doesn’t want to compromise.

 Overall: Love the idea. Not a fan of the scent. Hate the cost. Pass.

#2. Color Club Gala’s Gems Collection  | I can remember a time when a red nail polish was simply labeled “Red.” Nowadays, it’s “Sexy Vixen.” I think I get more of a kick out of the naming of nail polish, more than the actual shade. It just sounds more fun to say “I’m wearing ‘Two Hour Lunch'” when someone asks what color your pink nails are. Luckily, Color Club Gala’s Gem Collection in “Gold Struck” was more than just a fancy name. The soft gold shade is rather opaque, settling into a nice pearl-like metallic finish. What is nice about this particular product is that I found you really only need one coat for it completely fill your nails, but best practice is always two. Oftentimes, lighter shades take multiple coats to really look right and this simply wasn’t the case here. My one criticism, likely due to the opaque quality of such a light shade, was that the polish itself was really thick and not the easiest of applications. My advice (and what I intend to do) would be to add just a tiny drop of nail polish remover to thin out the formula some. This is a great shade for open-toed shoe weather!

Overall: Love the shade. Would find something similar in another brand, with a smoother application.

#3. Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel | This a case of “Ooh! I’m feeling a little VIP” when I saw this Anastasia of Beverly Hills-branded brow gel. Anyone that follows the beauty circuit knows that Anastasia is THE go-to gal for getting your brows done in Hollywood. As such, this was a great opportunity to see what all the hype is about for us little people to get a taste of how the other side lives, minus the actual brow shaping appointment. Currently, I use Maybelline’s Great Lash Clear Mascara to tame and shape my eyebrows, which costs under $5 for a well-sized .44oz tube. Anastasia’s is a little more than half the size of the Maybelline, at .28oz for $22. But gosh darn it, I really did like this brow gel. What often bugs me about the Maybelline formula is that if you’re not careful to remove the excess before application, there’s often too much product on the wand and it goops in your eyebrows. The design of Anastasia’s wand seems to come out with just the right amount of product to be applied quickly and effectively. It’s also formulated with conditioners and oils keeping your brows in place without harsh chemicals.

Overall: Do. If you can get behind the cost.

#4. KIND Healthy Grain Bars | Typically, I’m a huge fan of Kind Bars. Their philosophy of using all-natural ingredients promoting the “kind thing” not only for your body, but for the planet is definite a plus. They’re a great on-the-go snack, convenient to carry in your bag, and you somehow just feel great about eating something not only healthy, but simply “kind.” Unfortunately, the flavor I sampled wouldn’t be something I would ever purchase. The Maple Pumpkin Seeds with Sea Salt bar had a great taste at first bite, then the saltiness would hit and completely ruin the flavor. I cringed while eating it because it was too salty for my taste. This is not for me.

Overall: Pass (on this flavor).

#5. Davines OI / Shampoo & Conditioner | I’m already a Davines fan when it comes to hair care, recently listing their Love Smoothing shampoo and conditioner as one of my all-time favorite Birchbox products! However, I’m on the fence, simply not as crazy about their “OI” line. I loved the texture and how my hair felt as I worked the product into my hair. It instantly made my hair feel soft and hydrated. And not to brag, I’ve been having a really good hair week. Where the OI line loses me is with the scent. It’s just not at all feminine or pleasant in my opinion. Suffice to say, I’m a huge fan of smelling nice. Somehow, it makes me feel even cleaner and more refreshed. The only reason I’m on the fence about this product is because I’ve been mulling over this question: should one focus on effectiveness /results over scent? I think I just might be stingy and require both.

Overall: A great product, if you can get past the scent (and the price tag). I’d suggest their  Love Smoothing Shampoo & Smoothing Conditioner instead.

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(I’m not affiliated with Birchbox outside of just being a fan…with an opinion.)

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