Birchbox All-Stars

Birchbox All-Stars Final

I’ve reviewed over 70 beauty and lifestyle products since joining the Birchbox family just over a year ago. Aside from the alluring monthly surprise to myself – I really have discovered and incorporated many new finds into my routine because of Birchbox’s rather genius, yet simple idea: sending high-quality samples, from high-profile brands to experiment with before taking your next big beauty plunge.

Like anything, Birchbox can be a total hit or a total miss (case and point: last month’s box), but I can’t help but look back and smile at my experience in general.

I received my most recent box just this past weekend, and I can already tell April is going to be all the more glamorous for it. It got me to thinking about what my favorite products have been since joining the Birchbox family 14 months ago.

And so, I’m feeling a little nostalgic today. It’s a good time to pause and reflect on my favorite discoveries, my top 10 out of them all. These are products that I now use with regularity, with a couple that I will be adding to my routine in the very near future. These are my Birchbox all-stars.

  1. Lancôme’s La Base Pro Primer – Full review here and here.
  2. Suki Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser  – Full review here.
  3. Color Club® Harlem Lights Collection in “Baldwin Blues” – Full review here. (Available for purchase here.)
  4. ChapStick® Hydration Lock – Full review here.
  5. Davines Love Smoothing Shampoo &  Davines Love Smoothing Conditioner – Full review here.
  6. Harvey Prince Hello Perfume – Full review here.
  7. Serious Skincare® Glycolic Gommage Extreme Renewal – Full review – here.
  8. Mally Beauty Evercolor Starlight Watercolor Eye Liner in “Sailor (Blue)” – Full review here.
  9. Camille Beckman Glycerine Hand Therapy – Full review here.
  10. Coastal Scents® Neutral Mirage Palette Set – Full review here. (Cheaper here!)

Stay tuned for the full review of April’s products coming at the end of this month! Happy primping, ladies!

Join the Birchbox! Pick up your subscription here:

https://www.birchbox.com/invite/ATG

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


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To Prime or Not To Prime

I’ve had a change of heart, girls. And it involves the use of a base primer before applying your make-up for the day. I always thought of primers as not very necessary if you use foundation and other beauty products that are already designed (though admittedly oftentimes fail) to have a “long-lasting” effect. If you recall, I reviewed Lancôme’s La Base Pro Primer in my first Birchbox two months ago and didn’t think much of it, not because I didn’t like it; but thought it was just another expensive something that I could live without. That’s until…

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…this last week or so. I’ve been grabbing the La Base Pro Primer every morning to finish up the Birchbox sample, and realized not long after that when I really looked at my make-up toward the end of a busy day; my cheeks still had a subtle glow from the cream blush application I’d applied that morning, and most noticeably, my concealer was still managing to hang in there. My biggest beauty complaint is how flawless my eye make-up looks when it’s first done, but by 3:00pm, dark circle central returns under my eyes and my mascara and eyeliner seem to smear no matter what I do!

Even better, I’m noticing that my skin isn’t as oily by the end of the day. The primer glides on in an oil-free manner creating a matte texture on my skin providing the perfect canvas before adding my favorite MAC concealer and Estee Lauder foundation. At $42.00 a bottle, it is an expense, but one that I’m willing to overlook since a bottle should ideally last you for months.

So sincere apologies girls, I spoke way too hastily on this one. Lancôme’s La Base Pro Primer IS worth the hype!

You can take a look inside my make-up bag by reading about my favorite products here.

Happy Primping! xx

{Here’s a great how-to video to get the most out of your make-up primer.}

Birchbox Review: February

February brought many smiles, but one that stands out was the day that I got my first Birchbox. Several of my girlfriends had been raving about theirs for months, posting pictures of their beloved treasures on Facebook, completely giddy. It was infectious. I almost passed on the craze thinking that it might be a total waste of money, that I would just start collecting samples of things that I would never use and create unnecessary clutter in my bathroom cabinets. After all, I had my go-to products that I was already happy with through years of trial and error.

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Until one fateful January day when I thought about it from the perspective of treating myself to a little monthly surprise and indulge that side of me that likes to be in the know about any and everything! I decided to use this opportunity to experiment with colors and products that I would otherwise overlook due to the sheer volume of what’s on the beauty market and commit to really try the products (or as I ended up later doing, swap things out with other Birchbox ladies if it was something I knew I wouldn’t use).

Three weeks later, I got an invitation. Two weeks after that, my customized Birchbox was in my hands!

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{1}. Color Club Nail Polish in Wild Cactus: This is why Birchbox is cool! I probably would’ve never tried green nail polish without the low risk of getting a decent sized sample to experiment with first. I’ve gotten lots of compliments on my now festive toes.

{2}. Ghirardelli Chocolate: A small piece of chocolate inspired by Valentine’s Day was this month’s treat. I’m sure most of us are very familiar with Ghirardelli Chocolate and it would’ve been a bit nicer to get something more off-beat or original.

{3}. Lancôme Le Base Pro Makeup Primer: Admittedly, this was the product that I didn’t use much before writing this post. I did use a bit of it and liked the texture and non-greasy feel as a primer before foundation use, but wouldn’t purchase this full-sized. My foundation already has a great all-day wear and doesn’t need this expensive extra boost.

{4}. Miss Jessie’s Pillow Soft Curls: I’m African-American and therefore, have a very distinct hair texture making me extremely picky about what I put in my hair. 🙂 Since I knew this was likely something I wouldn’t use, I swapped with a fellow Birchbox friend for a perfume she said she would never use. Win, win!

{5}. Vasanti Brighten Up! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator: This was the first product I saw that I was super excited to try. (I’m very anal about good skin care!) Of course, this is a product that is likely more telling the more you use it. I’ve used it a handful of times and find it be very gentle while exfoliating my skin; though if I’m completely honest, I’m happier with the tried and true (and much less expensive) St. Ives Apricot Scrub. I plan on finishing out the sample, but doubt a full-sized purchase will come of it

{6}. Nicole by Nicole Richie: The perfume I took on from a friend to try out instead of the Pillow Soft Curls was Nicole Richie’s fragrance. At first spritz it seemed very strong, but once it settled into my skin it was just okay. To its credit, it is a lasting scent. I can still smell it on me as I type this sentence 6 hours after I put it on. Again, I’ll finish out the sample, but won’t be adding it to my fragrance collection.

OVERALL

Not a bad first Birchbox! It was great fun to play with the products and at $10/month, I think I got my money’s worth. Unfortunately, there isn’t anything in this month’s selections that I would consider buying in the full-sized version. The most exciting aspect was trying out a new nail polish color that I’ve gotten tons of compliments on! Until March…stay tuned and stay beautiful.

If you’re a Birchbox user, I’d love to hear about your February goodies! Please feel free to leave me a comment below…