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