Birchbox Made Me Do It

Birchbox Made Me Do It

Next month will mark the two-year anniversary of my subscription with Birchbox. During this time there have been ups and downs but I always enjoy receiving that little pink box in the mail.

Birchbox as a discovery service is really all about getting to try beauty products you wouldn’t normally purchase and finding new favorites. Today I want to reminisce about the beauty products that made the cut for me and that I ended up purchasing as full sizes.

The Amika Nourishing Mask (16.9 fl oz, $40) to this day is still my favorite hair mask. It smells amazing and makes my hair super soft. I use this hair mask almost weekly but I only need such a small amount that even though I’ve had this large jar for over a year, it’s still half full.

The Jouer Matte Moisture Tint (1.7 fl oz, $38) used to be my holy grail foundation for a pretty long time. It still has a firm place in my foundation rotation but it has been pushed off the pedestal by the Estée Lauder Double-Wear Light Stay In Place Makeup. I love the coverage and finish of the Jouer Matte Moisture Tint but the color I’ve been using, porcelain, is a bit too light over the summer months. I will probably pick this back up once my summer tan fades.

The Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner (0.07 fl oz, $16) was the first time I got to use a felt-tip eyeliner. You all probably know by now that eyeliner isn’t my forte but this one makes it really easy to draw a nice line, even for a n00b like me. I actually didn’t repurchase this for myself but rather got it as a gift for a teenage relative who’s really into eyeliner. I figured since I enjoyed this one, that she would as well.

Although I didn’t receive the Almay Oil-Free Makeup Remover Sticks (24 ct, $4.89) in one of my Birchboxes they’re pretty much identical to the Beauty Fixation Make Up Remover (24 ct, $5) that I got in one of my first boxes. These cotton swaps are filled with makeup remove and when you break off one side, the liquid saturates the cotton on the other end. These makeup remover sticks make it super easy to fix mascara smudges, especially around the lash line.

My Birchbox sample of theBalm Put A Lid On It (0.4 fl oz, $18) was the first eyelid primer I ever tried. I thought it worked pretty well so I bought the full size. I have since tried other eyelid primers but really don’t have strong opinions about any of them mainly because I don’t use eyelid primer very often. This tube will probably last me for a very long time but at this point I’m not sure if I would purchase it again.

I was blessed with pretty awesome lashes so when it comes to mascara I’m easy to please. Every once in a while I come across one that just hits it out of the park. The Eyeko Black Magic Mascara (0.29 fl oz, $24) is one of those. It took some time to get used to the brush but at this point I love everything about this mascara: it separates, defines, volumizes, curls, and lengthens, and all of that without smudging or flaking.

To this date I purchased the full sizes of  6 samples I received in my Birchboxes. That might not seem like much considering that I’ve been with Birchbox for almost two years. However, some of my favorite discoveries have been makeup products where the sample sizes were so generous that I’m still using them to this date. Blushes, lip sticks, eyeliners, and nail polishes simply take a long time to use up.

It might also come as a surprise to some that no skin care items made the cut. Looking back at my box history I haven’t really received all that many skin care samples and the samples that I have gotten from Birchbox are generally too small to really make a determination about whether or not the product would work for me. I’ve received plenty of bath & body and hair care items but they’re generally not special enough to pay the hefty price tag.

Overall, I think Birchbox has done a pretty good job over the past two years and I’m looking forward to my monthly boxes in the future. Now, I’ve they would only stop sending me Color Club nail polishes…

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Recent (And Not So Recent) Repurchases #4

Recent Repurchases #4

I can’t believe it’s been three months since my last repurchases post. Since then I’ve repurchased quite a few staples. In fact, it’s been such a long time since my last post that most of these items are well loved and I even finished some of them already.

On the top of my repurchase list is, of course, the Batiste Dry Shampoo (6.73 fl oz, $7.99). This my holy grail dry shampoo – and I don’t use this term lightly. I’m always afraid that I will run out so I started to buy it in bulk whenever there is a good deal at Ulta. Of the four bottles that I purchased over the past months, I already used up three so another haul is in order soon. You can read my full review of the Batiste Dry Shampoo here.

The other hair care product I recently repurchased is the Redken Extreme Anti-Snap Leave-In Treatment (8.5 fl oz, $17.50). I’ve tried other split-end treatments lately and I liked them well enough but nothing beats this one.

The Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm (3.8 oz, $28.50) is another holy grail product in my beauty stash. It removes all of my makeup with ease, even the most stubborn mascara, and it never makes my skin feel stripped or tight. I already raved about this cleansing balm in detail here.

I briefly considered using the Bergdorf Goodman gift card I received in my May Glossybox for another foundation. In the end my frugal side won and instead I decided to to repurchase the Kate Somerville Goat Milk Cream (1.7 oz, $55). I’ve been running pretty low on my old jar and at $55 a pop it’s not something I’d buy willy-nilly. But I thoroughly enjoy this cream so the gift card came in really handy. You can find my full review of the Goat Milk Cream here.

I believe it’s never too early to start an anti-aging skin care routine and the Paula’s Choice Resist Ultra-Light Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum (1 fl oz, $30) ticks all the boxes. You only need the tiniest amount but I wasn’t sure how long my current sample would last me. I didn’t want to be without it so I decided to purchase the full size with my Birchbox points.

At the beginning of the summer I had purchased the Clinique Super City Block SPF 40 for its higher SPF. However, I like the Clinique City Block Sheer Oil-Free Daily Face Protector SPF 25 (1.4 oz, $22) much, much better. It has an air-whipped consistency that applies effortlessly. Since it’s tinted it also works great at evening out my skin tone. It contains a good dose of antioxidants and, to top off the list of all the pluses, it also works amazingly well as a primer.

I don’t often end up repurchasing makeup products but this time one item made the cut: the Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Concealer in Intensity 1.0 (0.25 fl oz, $23). I love this concealer for my under-eye area. It doesn’t quite have enough coverage for blemishes and dark spots but it does a beautiful job at brightening my dark circle. I also like that it doesn’t crease on me or look cakey.

Lastly, I also decided to purchase a family-sized bottle of the Up & Up Strengthening Nail Polish Remover (6 fl oz, $0.97). I’ve been wearing nail polish a lot so I go through nail polish remover at record speed. This one is inexpensive and gets the job done.

Have you repurchased any beauty products lately? Which items made the cut for you? 

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Recent Repurchases #3

Recent Repurchases #3

I’ve been doing pretty well with my beauty product low-buy  but I ran out of a few favorites recently that needed to be replaced.

The REN Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk (5.1 fl oz, $28) is a firm staple in my skin care routine and I rarely use any other cleanser in the mornings. Once I started to run low I didn’t waste any time to pick up a new bottle. When REN renamed this cleanser they also gave the bottle a face lift. They got rid of the inner bag that used to hold the product and went with a more conventional airtight pump design. I didn’t really mind the old design but this new one is a bit more sleek and modern.

After many months of serving as my favorite mascara, the Eyeko Black Magic Mascara (0.29 fl oz, $24) I received in last year’s September Birchbox ran dry. Although my makeup stash is overflowing with mascara, Birchbox lured me into this repurchase with a coupon offer. I’m holding back with opening it until I make a bigger dent into my stash but I’m happy to have it as a backup.

I’ve raved about the Batiste Dry Shampoo (6.73 fl oz, $7.99) a few times before. It’s hands down the best dry shampoo I’ve ever used. I didn’t waste any time to replace it when I ran out. I decided to go with the paisley scent since I found the cherry scent a bit too artificial.

Although my initial review of the OPI RapiDry Quick-Dry Top Coat (0.5 fl oz, $12.95) wasn’t all that positive, I’ve really been growing to love this top coat. It took a bit of trial and error to figure out the best way to use it but by now I wouldn’t want to be without it. My last bottle has been running low and the remaining product has become a thick, goopy mess so when BeautyBrands had a special on OPI polishes I decided to purchase a replacement.

What have you been repurchasing recently?

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Recent Repurchases #2

Recent Repurchases #2

After testing a whole bunch of different skin care products over the past few months I’ve got a pretty clear idea what does and what doesn’t work for my skin. I’ve made some great skin care discoveries and have repurchased a few stand-out products which I wanted to share with you today.

Now that the weather has started to warm up a bit I’ve been really enjoying the Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet (1.3 fl oz, $39 value) that I got in the Caudalie Vinosource Hydration Set last month. I love the light sorbet texture which makes this moisturizer hydrating without being greasy – perfect to use in the mornings under makeup. Unfortunately for me, the sample I got in the set has been running low so I stocked up on the full size when I saw that Birchbox was offering a gift with purchase. I also had some points saved up that I was able to use toward this moisturizer.

The tarte Pure Maracuja Oil Rollerball (0.6 fl oz, $17) wasn’t really a purchase per se as I received it in a recent sample swap. This facial oil has been wonderful for my dehydrated winterskin so I was happy to get a backup.

After I used up my sample of the REN ClearCalm 3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser (6.8 fl oz, $32) I didn’t waste any time to get the full size. I’ve been using this cleanser almost every night for my second cleanse and it’s really been helping to keep those pesky spots at bay. At the same time it’s gentle enough to not dry out the skin. It leaves my skin feeling refreshed, cleansed, and soft, without any tightness.

I absolutely love these three products and even though I’ve only been using them for a few months they’ve become firm staples in my beauty routine. Stay tuned for more in-depths reviews of them in the near future.

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Recent Repurchases #1

Empties post are probably one of my favorite type of posts. I love reading what others think about a product after using up the whole thing and whether they would consider repurchasing it. After sharing my empties with you recently (here and here) I thought I would start a new series to show you which products I actually ended up repurchasing. Some of these I got more recently while others I bought a few months back so they may have popped up in one of my hauls posts as well.


Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief – 1.7 oz, $37

I’ve mentioned this product multiple times on this blog before (e.g., in my 2013 Favorites and my November Favorites posts). It’s been my go-to moisturizer for years and I recently emptied another jar. It’s great at hydrating my skin but it’s light enough to absorb well and doesn’t leave a sticky residue.

I love it during the summer but it’s not quite moisturizing enough for the colder months, especially with the sub-zero temperatures we’re experiencing at the moment. Right now I just apply a ticker layer and a hydrating serum beforehand to make up for that. I’m thinking about adding some other moisturizers to my rotation thanks to some great recommendation from Caroline Hiron’s blog but I think that this one will always remain a staple in my routine.

REN Hydra-Calm Cleansing Milk – 5.1 fl oz, $28

I got a sample of this cleanser with one of my recent Sephora orders so I’m not sure if this can technically be counted as a repurchase. Either way, I loved it so much that it’s been on my skin care wish list and I purchased the full size recently. I use it in the mornings or for a second cleanse at night and it doesn’t leave my skin feel dry or stripped.

As a side note, this product has recently been reformulated, renamed, and repackaged and is now called Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk. I got lucky to find this one in the old formula at my local Sephora before they pulled it from the shelves. I hope the new formula will be just as good but a quick look at the ingredient labels shows that they changed the first ingredient from chamomile flower extract to just plain water (the rest stayed fairly similar). I imagine that this would make the new formulation be less soothing to sensitive skin but I hope to be proven wrong.

Edit: It looks like the cleanser that I purchased already contains the updated formulation although the product link to the original REN Hydra-Calm Cleansing Milk shows a different ingredients list. I should’ve compared the actual ingredients list of my product instead of relying on the one provided by the manufacturer. I apologize for the mistake.

Catwalk Session Series Transforming Dry Shampoo – 5.2 oz, $19.95

This is my favorite dry shampoo. I’m on my third bottle by now. I love that it doesn’t leave any kind of residue.  It’s a bit expensive but so far I haven’t found anything that works as well.

Living Proof Full Shampoo – 8 oz, $24

I first got a sample size of this shampoo as part of a trial kit. This is the only shampoo I’ve found that actually help in giving my thin hair some volume. It’s a bit stripping so I tend to not use it all the time. I bought this bottle back in October and at this rate it will last me for a really long time.

Pureology Hydrate Light Conditioner – 33.8 oz $60.98

This is by far my favorite conditioner. It does an awesome job at nourishing my hair and making it soft without weighing it down. It’s kinda expensive but so worth it. I’m still finishing up a large bottle but BeautyBrands had an awesome sale on all of their shampoo after Christmas (and this brand almost never goes on sale) so I just had to stock up. This large bottle will last me for a whole year because you need such a small amount so this initial investment is well worth it.

Living Proof – Full Thickening Cream – 1.8 oz, $15

This styling treatment works really well for me in thickening my thin hair, giving the lengths some body. It doesn’t give any volume to the roots but it’s not meant to. I use a separate root lifting product for that.

Living Proof – Prime Style Extender – 5 oz, $20

I really like this styling product for making my hair style last longer and keeping oily roots at bay. You can find my full review here.

What do you think of this new series? Would you like to see more of the products I repurchase?

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