Birchbox Review | February 2015

Birchbox February_ATG FINAL v1_finished

#1. beautyblender + Mini Solid Cleanser | Finally receiving the famous beautyblender in a Birchbox was a total giddy, girl moment. I’ve been hearing the craze about these little pink sponges for some time, but happily pressed on with my good ol’ tried and true foundation brush. Given that these babies are also on the pricey side, I was happy to wait for the day Birchbox would bestow one upon me to try. Let’s just say, I can understand the craze. Simply dampen the sponge, squeeze out the excess water, dab just a bit of foundation onto it, and gently dabble onto the skin. Your make-up goes on evenly, creating an airbrushed-looking finish. Cleverly, the sample arrived with the mini solid cleanser – used to help clean your sponge between applications. My only complaint about this product (aside from the cost) is how turned-off I was by the amount of pink dye that comes out of the sponge when you wash it the first few times. Of course, they had to do something to get that vibrant, hot-pink look, but did they have to be so obvious about what I hope isn’t a sponge full of chemicals, that also happens to do a kick-ass job of making a gal feel pretty?

 Overall: A do.

#2. BeeKind Shower Gel | BeeKind’s shower gel is reminiscent of my love for Essentiel Elements. It’s distinct citrus-y scent makes showering an invigorating experience. I’m also a sucker for a nice lather and BeeKind doesn’t disappoint. It’s free of many of the harsh chemicals found in many gels these days and utilizes natural, organic ingredients. What has to make this a product extra special, outside of being a great shower gel, is that it’s also on a mission. BeeKind donates a portion of its profits to aid in honeybee research. As you know, these guys are having it pretty rough right now, and the continuing decline of the honeybee will have serious repercussions in the near future. Oh! And just to make themselves a little cooler? BeeKind’s packaging is recyclable.

Overall: A do…if not for you, for the honeybees.

#3. theBalm’s “Read My Lips” Lip Gloss | Read my lips: this stuff’s not bad! I was immediately struck by the scent of this lip gloss. The shade I received, BAM!, a very subtle pink hue, gives a nice shine to your lips, without overdoing it. I found the formula tolerable. Many glosses last exactly 10 minutes on my lips before I’m ready to wipe it off because of the unbearable sticky texture. I can’t say this was the case with this product. As far as longevity goes, this gloss hangs in there, too. However, given the highly saturated market for products like this – I’m usually a first impression kind of gal. If it doesn’t hook me right away, it likely won’t. I’ll gladly finish out the sample, but wasn’t impressed enough to buy a full-sized version of this product largely, due to the shade. Perhaps if they’d given me something with a little more color, I’d bite because $15 is more than reasonable for a lip gloss.

Overall: A do…if you can find the right shade for you.

#4. Atelier Cologne’s Vétiver | The moment you open the small vial, you realize you’re in for something special. You could tell the quality of the ingredients used in this fragrance is about as high-end as it gets. My suspicions were confirmed when I jumped on to learn more about this product and caught the whopping $195.00 price tag! Atelier’s Vétiver subtly alters from a citrus to a more woodsy note as it mixes with your body’s chemistry. I wasn’t a huge fan of the scent right off the bat, but I loved the way my skin felt as I dabbed the product on my wrist – it left a soft as powder finish wherever I applied it. As promised, if I smelled my wrist some time later, the scent had slightly changed. To say this stuff is long-lasting is an understatement. I couldn’t believe how long this fragrance stays with you. Yet, I remain on the fence about the scent itself. Though I can handle a bold fragrance, this erred a teeny tiny bit too masculine for me.

Overall: For $195, I should have everything I want in a fragrance. The scent just wasn’t for me.

#5. Davines MINU Shampoo | I’m a Davines fan when it comes to hair care, listing their Love Smoothing shampoo and conditioner as one of my all-time favorite Birchbox products. That being said, I was slightly disappointed to see not one but TWO products from their MINU line in my box. MINU specifically states that it’s for color-treated hair, and I specifically made it clear in the beauty profile you fill out when joining Birchbox, that I don’t color my hair. Now I realize that this doesn’t mean that I can’t use the product, but what a waste of a sample choice. I did lather up with this shampoo once in an effort to test it out, immediately liking the creamy formula and how lather rich it was. All this to say, while I didn’t hate it, it just wasn’t for me. My hair is extremely dry, so I need a shampoo that focuses more intensely on moisture.

Overall: I don’t color my hair. I’d suggest their  Love Smoothing Shampoo & Smoothing Conditioner instead.

#6. Davines MINU Hair Serum | I can’t say I was blown away by the MINU shampoo, but the hair serum was pretty impressive. I don’t know if it’s because I deep-conditioned my hair for an hour (using another product altogether) before applying this serum, but I won’t lie, I’m having a good hair day at the moment – subtle sheen, lots of bounce, and no frizziness. Life is good. Again, it’s designed for color-treated strands, but this leave-in treatment offers light-weight protection prior to heat styling. My hair felt and looked great after blow drying, and adequately prepped for my flat-iron. I’ll enjoy the rather small sample, but won’t continue with this product thereafter.

Overall: I still don’t color my hair, Birchbox.

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Birchbox Review | October 2014

Birchbox Review October 2014 ATG FINAL
A breakdown of how the latest and greatest in beauty and lifestyle products made a gal feel a bit more gorgeous…or not so much. Product reviews are left to right, top to bottom. Here’s the scoop on October’s Birchbox…

ModelCo Power Lash Long Wear Black Mascara 

I might have found a contender to my beloved They’re Real! Mascara. ModelCo’s Power Lash Long Wear Black Mascara was a welcome sample to play with this month. The formula, which made me raise a brow in concern because it’s surprisingly thick and a bit messy as I pulled the wand from the tube, held its own. It didn’t clump, flake, and when wanting to create volume with multiple coats, it did so with ease. The strong jet black shade is also right up my alley. Aside from the thick formula (which ended up redeeming itself based on performance), my only other criticism was that I found the brush a little thick for me, which meant having to clean up my eyelids a bit once I’d finished application. Otherwise, I’m impressed. This is a great mascara that won’t break the bank.

Overall: A do.

Essentiel Elements Wake Up Rosemary Shower Gel

The moment you dispense this shower gel onto your loofah, you realize pretty quickly that you’re in for a treat. The smell that fills your shower is energizing and heavenly. Add in that this product has a luxurious texture, produced a rich lather (I’m sorry, I’m a sucker for suds), along with how soft my skin felt once I stepped out the shower and I’m sold…almost. Unfortunately, it’s hard to justify spending $19 on body wash, particularly when Caress does the job for $4 and gives you 10 more ounces of product per bottle – though I realize you’re getting a host of more natural ingredients and much sexier packaging (that glass jar is pretty cool, by the way). If I were to make a full-sized purchase of this, it would be a body wash I’d use a few times per week (as opposed to my daily go-to) to enjoy the spa-like experience at home to unwind after a stressful day. Either way, I enjoyed Essentiel Elements Wake Up Rosemary Shower Gel and I think you will, too….however, this would used more as a special indulgence to get some longevity out of it.

 Overall: A do. If you can get behind the cost.

Curlisto Deep Therapy Masque 

I’ll be honest, this is a product I want to use a few more times before making a firmer, concrete decision one way or the other. That being said, I’ll write my impressions after just one use. I appreciated the scent and creamy texture of Curlisto’s hair masque. My hair felt great as I worked the product in; instantly giving it a sleeker, more hydrated feel. One thing that comes to mind, however, is that this masque requires you to have already conditioned your hair prior to use, which I found unusual. Most masques go right on after shampooing in my experience. As such, I had a hard time gauging the performance of the masque in and of itself. Was my hair feeling great because I’d essentially already conditioned and then used this product? I suppose the best way to know would be to “break the rules” and just use this mask right after shampooing to really rate its merit. Suffice to say, I’m not praising the product or disregarding it altogether, because I’d like to use it a few more times. However, I’m big on first impressions and given the $36 price tag, this didn’t readily knock it out of the park for me.

Overall: Too soon to say, but it’s not looking great at the moment.

LuMESH Hydrating Lip Gloss 

This lip gloss didn’t do much for me. I’ll admit I enjoyed the slight tingle it gives your lips after application, but I always found myself somewhat eager to rub this off after a while (which is probably a good thing, meaning it has some staying-power). The shade I received, “Sadie,” wasn’t any different from the natural color of my lips, so it didn’t do much other than give a nice sheen to them. This is usually okay with me when wanting to keep my look natural and un-fussed looking, but I simply wasn’t blown away by this product – likely because of the shade, but also because I’m over lip gloss at the moment. I have no qualms with lip gloss, but I’m finding that I’m currently in more a lipstick with staying-power place in my life. I won’t pursue this product any further once (or if) I finish the sample.

Overall: Pass.

Miracle Skin Transformer Miracle Revival Mud 

While it should always be mask season, I notice that toward the later part of the year is when my skin needs extra TLC to keep hydrated, clear, and happy. As 2014 begins to wind down and the cooler temperatures join us, I was thrilled to see this product in my box. I don’t currently have a good go-to mask that I use with any sort of regularity (unless is comes in the form of a Birchbox sample). Miracle Skin Transformer’s Revival Mud Mask, therefore, came just in the nick of time. I’ll admit I wasn’t thrilled with the smell of this product, but tried to keep my focus on how effective the product would hopefully be. 15 minutes later, the first few spent slightly uncomfortable as it burns upon application, and I was a fan. My skin felt soft, clean, and supple. The $38 price tag is discouraging to me, so I don’t know if I’d ever go full-sized, but I would save up Birchbox points toward the cost. This is a great mask if you’re in the market.

Overall: A do. If you can get behind the cost.

SeaRx Microdermabrasion Face and Body Scrub

SeaRx is quickly becoming one of my favorite brand discoveries through Birchbox. I still dream about their moisturizing lotion often since I ran out the sample last month. (Gosh, I loved that stuff.) Their scrub did an admirable job. While this can be used for the entire body, I kept usage to my face only. I think the reason why I’m not raving about this product was that I was expecting a more “harsh” scrub. The crystals used in this formula are very, very fine almost to the point that you don’t even feel like it’s giving your skin a thorough exfoliation. Rather than ding it for not being a “rougher” scrub, perhaps this makes it something pretty special to be able to effectively give you a smooth and fresh face after use? I mean, my skin looked and felt incredible so I guess that’s all that matters. Either way, I still personally like a deeper feeling exfoliation. I’m not planning to continue with this product after the sample runs out.

Overall: Indifferent.

Thanks for reading!

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