Glossybox – August 2014

Glossybox - August 2014

Glossybox - August 2014 - contents

August marks Glossybox’s birthday and this year the company is turning three. Happy Birthday, Glossybox! Let’s have a look at the products in this birthday edition.

Überliss Hydrating Shampoo & Conditioner

Full Size: 12 fl oz each, $23.90 (shampoo), $25.90 (conditioner)
Sample Size: 2 fl oz each, $3.98 value (shampoo), $4.32 value (conditioner)

Glossybox - August 2014 - Überliss Hydrating Shampoo & Conditioner

Finally a shampoo without sulfates! And this set is supposed to be moisturizing, too. These also smell great and are the prefect size for traveling. They will definitely be put to good use next time I’m going to Germany this winter.

Eslor Firming Collagen Day Cream

Full Size: 1.7 fl oz, $85
Sample Size: 0.34 fl oz, $17 value

Glossybox - August 2014 - Eslor Firming Collagen Day Cream

I’m always up for trying out new skin care so this moisturizer is right up my alley. It seems a bit heavier than my preferred day creams but I might just use this in the evenings.The ingredients list is pretty short and all of them check out ok. No nasties, just the good stuff.

I am a bit taken aback about Elsor’s use of the term “active ingredients” for the ingredients list provided on their website. It makes me wonder whether there are any inactive ingredients Eslor isn’t telling us about. The term is used incorrectly anyway since none of the ‘active’ ingredients listed are considered a pharmaceutical drug by the FDA. It never sits quite right with me when a company does that because they usually use this as a marketing trick to make the consumer believe that their products work better (are “more active”) than other, similar products on the market. Anyway, I’m giving Elsor the benefit of the doubt here and will test this cream to decide how well it really works.

Kryolan Highlighter

Shade: Cashmere
Size: 0.15 fl oz, $18.95

Glossybox - August 2014 - Kryolan Highlighter

Although this is marketed as an exclusive release for Glossybox, it seems to be identical to Kryolan’s Illusion highlighter albeit with a slightly prettier lid design. I don’t use highlighter very often but as a newly converted cream blush addict, I’m excited to give this cream highlighter a try. The color looks light enough for my skin tone and it has a nice sheen to it without being glittery. I also think it’s the perfect size for those of use that don’t use highlighter on an everyday basis and it’s compact enough to also work well for traveling, which is always a plus for me.

Sparitual Nail Laquer

Shade: Magnify
Size: 0.5 fl oz, $12

Glossybox - August 2014 - Sparitual Nail Laquer

This bubblegum pink nail polish is so not my color. This will get traded.

Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner

Shade: Black
Full Size: 0.07 oz, $16
Sample Size: 0.035 oz, $8 value

Glossybox - August 2014 - Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner

I received this eyeliner before in one of my Birchboxes and I really liked it. It’s super easy to use so I’m happy to have another one.

Overall I found this box to be a bit anticlimactic. It’s a really good box with a very nice mix of products but none of them knocked me off my feet. For Glossybox’s birthday edition I was expecting a bit more, perhaps. More bells and whistles, if you will. Maybe a box with a special design to mark the occasion. Product-wise, they were definitely on the right track with the moisturizer and highlighter but they could’ve included some more high-end products instead of the shampoo, conditioner and nail polish. But that’s just me. I’m still really happy with what I received, aside from the nail polish, and at a total value of almost $65 I definitely got my money’s worth.

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The Top Ten Tag

The Top Ten Tag

I saw this tag a couple of weeks ago over at English Rose from Manchester and it looked like a lot of fun. This tag was originally created by Jessica Vannan at Pretty Chit Chat and consists of your top beauty product for each of the ten main makeup categories. If all my makeup disappeared overnight, these are the products that I would repurchase in a heartbeat.

1. Foundation

I don’t even have to think twice about this one. My clear winner in this category is the Estée Lauder – Double Wear Light Stay-in-Place Makeup (1 fl oz, $37). It ticks all the boxes: natural finish, medium coverage, long-lasting. Check, check, and check. I reviewed this foundation previously here.

2. Powder

Another clear winner: the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light (0.35 oz, $45). It’s so finely milled that it never looks powdery and it just gives my skin a healthy glow.

3. Concealer

I really enjoy the Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-In-Place Flawless Wear Concealer (0.24 fl oz, $24) for use on the dark circles under my eyes. I’m still on the hunt for the perfect concealer to cover those acne scars on my cheeks. If you have any recommendations please feel free to leave them in the comments.

4. Blush

Up until a few weeks ago I would’ve nominated the NARS blush in Deep Throat for this category but lately I’ve been loving the tarte Cheek Stain in Flush (0.5 oz, $30). It’s just so effortless. Just a few quick dabs on each check, a little bit of blending with my fingers and done.

5. Bronzer

I don’t really use bronzer. I don’t even think I own one so I have to pass on this category.

6. Highlighter

Another beauty product I don’t really use on an everyday basis. I do like to use a bit of highlighter on top of my cheek bones when I go for a night out and for that my product of choice is theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer (0.3 oz, $24).

7. Mascara

I’m pretty easy to please when it comes to mascara and I like to try news ones all the time. The Eyeko Black Magic (0.29 fl oz, $24) mascara is one of my staples, though. I reviewed it previously here.

8. Eye Shadow

I never used to use eye shadow very much but the Sumita Beauty Eye Shadow Pencil (0.084 oz, $18) has quickly become a staple in my routine ever since I received it in my June Glossybox. It’s so easy to use: just a few swipes on the lid and a bit of blending with my fingertips. It’s a beautiful taupe color with just the right amount of shimmer that makes it perfect for everyday use.

9. Brows

I have naturally very thick and dense eyebrows so I don’t use any brow products aside from a pair of tweezers to plug them into shape and a pair of short scissors to trim them. Done.

10. Lip Product

I really like the Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balms (0.1 oz, $17) for everyday use. My favorite color is Super Strawberry because it’s a great my-lips-but-better shade. It gives my lips a nice flush of color and shine without being over-the-top.

Now, here comes the fun part: I tag YOU. Yes, you! I would love to read about your top ten beauty products. Just leave a link in the comments.

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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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Love It Or Leave It? Empties #5

My empties bag has been getting a bit full lately which means that it’s time to show you all what beauty products I’ve used up over the past month.

Skin Care

Empties #5 - Skin Care

REN Hydra-Calm Cleansing Milk

Full Size: 5.1 fl oz, $28
Verdict: Love It

This has been my go-to cleanser in the mornings and I wouldn’t want to be without it. Of course I already bought a new bottle. You can read my full review here.

Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet

Full Size: 1.3 fl oz, $39
Verdict: Love It

Another staple in my morning skin care routine. I love how light-weight, yet hydrating this moisturizer is. I didn’t waste any time to purchase the full size when I ran out of this sample.

Caudalie Grape Water

Full Size: 6.7 fl oz, $18
Verdict: Like It

This is a nice hydrating toner but I prefer something that contains a higher amount of beneficial ingredients. I like that it comes in an aerosol can that sprays a very fine mist. I might buy this again in the future to use throughout the day for a refreshing boost of hydration.

H2O+ Aquafirm+ Eye Lift Concentrate

Full Size: 0.5 fl oz, $38
Verdict: Like It

I haven’t had much success with eye creams in the past and this one is no exception. It certainly doesn’t work any miracles on my dark circles but it has a slight shimmer to it that helps to brighten the eye area.


Empties #5 - Makeup

Too Faced Size Queen Mascara

Full Size: 0.5 fl oz, $21
Verdict: Like It

This used to be my go-to mascara for a long time but I’ve since found others that I like a bit better. This is by no means a bad mascara, though. I still have a couple of these that I will gladly use up but I’m not sure if I would purchase any additional ones.

Guerlain Maxi Lash Mascara

Full Size: 0.28 fl oz, $30
Verdict: Leave It

This mascara does a pretty decent job but it also smudges very easily and I end up with raccoon eyes by lunch time. Not cute. At this price range I was expecting much more. Don’t waste your money.

Eyeko Black Magic Mascara

Full Size: 0.29 fl oz, $24
Verdict: Love It

One of my new favorite mascaras. I was really sad when this sample ran dry so I purchased the full size when Birchbox sent me an offer code recently.

Hair Care

Empties #5 - Hair Care

Batiste Dry Shampoo

Full Size: 6.73 fl oz, $7.99
Verdict: Love It

I love Batiste dry shampoos. They’re hands-down the best dry shampoos I’ve ever used. Unfortunately, I go through them crazy fast – about a bottle every two to three weeks. Luckily they’re not too expensive.

Redken Extreme Anti-Snap Leave-In Treatment

Full Size: 8.5 fl oz, $17.50
Verdict: Love It

This is a really nice leave-in treatment that is supposed to prevent and seal split-ends. I love the scent and it does a great job at fighting dry and frizzy ends. The price might seem a bit steep but you only need about one pump per application. This bottle has lasted me well over a year and I used it pretty much after every hair wash. Well worth the initial investment.


Empties #5 - Nails

Up & Up Strengthening Nail Polish Remover

Full Size: 6 fl oz, $0.97
Verdict: Like It

There isn’t much to say about nail polish remover. This one does the job and is super cheap. I’d buy it again.

OPI Start To Finish

Full Size: 0.5 fl oz, $12.50
Verdict: Love It

I use this as my base coat and it does a great job. It goes on very smoothly in a thin, even layer and dries very fast. I purchased a new bottle a while back when this one started to run low.

OPI RapiDry Quick-Dry Top Coat

Full Size: 0.5 fl oz, $12.95
Verdict: Like It

This top coat dries super fast which makes at-home manicures a breeze. My only complaint is that it can dry a bit streaky. I recently purchased my second bottle when BeautyBrands had a deal on OPI nail polishes. You can read my full review here.

Body Source Simple Luxuries Crème Vanille Smoothing Hand Cream

Verdict: Leave It

This hand cream was part of a gift set I got a few Christmases ago. I think that this is a Kohl’s store brand and isn’t a permanent offering. At least I can’t find anything about this brand online. It doesn’t really matter because this hand cream isn’t anything special. It smells nice and isn’t too greasy but it doesn’t moisturizer at all.

Bath & Body

Empties #5 - Bath & Body

Bath & Body Works Gentle Foaming Hand Soap

Full Size: 8.75 fl oz, $6s.50
Verdict: Love It

Virtually all of my hand soaps come from Bath & Body Works. I love their scent range. This one was limited edition for last winter and was one of their lighter scents – fresh but still a bit sweet. I liked it a lot.

Philosophy Pink Grapefruit Shampoo, Bath, and Shower Gel

Verdict: Like It

This bottle was part of a set I got last fall. The pink grapefruit scent smells really nice but, unfortunately, isn’t part of the permanent range. I’d consider buying this again in the future if Philosophy ever brings back the scent.

Dove – Go Fresh Restore Anti-Perspirant and Deodorant

Full Size: 2.6 oz, $4.19
Verdict: Love It

Dove Go Fresh is my go-to deodorant and I love their new Restore line with blue fig and orange blossom scent. I plan on purchasing this one again in the future.

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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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February Favorites

February Favorites

February Favorites

February Favorites

I’ve really been getting into skin care lately, in case you couldn’t tell, so this past month has been one of skin care trials and discoveries. Naturally, my favorites list is full of skin care items with a few makeup and bath & body items thrown in for good measure.

For moisturizers the Kate Somerville Goat Milk Cream (1.7 oz, $55) has been my go-to at night. It’s nourishing but not too heavy and it’s really been helping to replenish my dehydrated skin. In the mornings I’ve been reaching for the Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet (0.33 fl oz, $9.90 value). I love the sorbet texture and the light grape scent.

One thing I’ve been wanting to add to my skin care regimen for a really long time has been a hydrating but lightweight serum and my search has finally been successful. The Caudalie Vinosource S.O.S Thirst Quenching Serum (1 fl oz, $49) really fits the bill beautifully. It’s been adding that little extra bit of nourishment that my skin has been graving during this frosty winter but because it isn’t heavy or greasy it works well under makeup which is why it’s become a staple in my morning routine.

During the last few months I’ve been using the Jergens Shea Butter Deep-Conditioning Moisturizer which has been great since the polar vortex has been dominating our weather. Now that spring is around the corner I decided that I would like something a bit lighter and fresher. Along came the  St. Ives Intensive Healing Body Lotion (21 fl oz, $5.49). It has an understated cranberry-grape scent and a very lightweight consistency. On top of that it’s rich in antioxidants, 100% natural, vegan, and doesn’t contain parabens or phtalates.

I’ve been meaning to incorporate a body scrub into my routine for a while and this Philosophy Pink Grapefruit one (part of the Jolly Jelly Candy Set, on sale for $28) has been great. It’s been making my skin baby smooth and smells amazing. Since it’s a salt scrub it rinses very easily, which is awesome, but it’s not rough on the skin at all.

Lastly, the one makeup item on my favorites list is the Eyeko Black Magic Mascara (0.29 fl oz, $24). It’s been the one that I’ve been reaching for constantly this past month. I just simply love the way this mascara makes my lashes look. You can find my previous review of it here.

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November Beauty Wish List

I received my Julep Maven box as well as my Whimseybox a few days ago and I’ve been wanting to post about them. However, with the days getting shorter I just haven’t had the chance to take some good, quality pictures of everything. I hope to do that in the next couple of days so I can finally publish those posts.

In the meantime let’s talk about what’s been on my beauty wish list lately.
November Wish List

Murad – Balancing Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 15 |PA++ $35

A couple of weeks back I visited my local Sephora store and one of the associates was so kind to give me a small sample of this moisturizer. It’s pretty hydrating but at the same time I like how light it feels. It also seems to do a pretty good job at keeping my skin clear. Moreover, the smell is great and it has SPF.

Formula X For Sephora – Theoretical $10.50

When the Formula X nail polishes were released at Sephora I had a hard time deciding which shades to try first because there were so many and they all looked amazing. I went to the store to look at the shades in person and fell in love with Theoretical. It’s a smokey lavender pearl – a nice neutral with a twist.

SKIN79 – BB Miniature Set Black $17

Ever since the BB craze hit the US I’ve been trying a few different brands without much success. I’ve been wanting to test some Korean BB creams to compare them to American brands. SKIN79 gets pretty good reviews and I like that this set includes four of their bestseller so I can try a whole bunch of them.

beautyblender Duo Set $39.95

Beauty bloggers have been raving about the beautyblender for quite some time. Even though I may be a bit late to jump on the bandwagon I figured that I should see what all the fuss is about. I like that this set includes two of them as well as a cleanser.

Eyeko – Mascara Wardrobe $28

I love the idea of the Eyeko Mascara Wardrobe – one mascara with three brushes. It makes the mascara pretty universal and also helps you in determining which one of the Eyeko brushes works best for you. Brilliant idea.

Philosophy – Jolly Jelly Candy Set $35

I saw this set at the Sephora store the other day and it smells delicious. I love that it includes shower gels and body scrubs because my shower routine hasn’t really been including exfoliation. Unfortunately I already own so many shower gels that I’m not sure I can justify getting this set but maybe I’ll end up finding it under the Christmas tree.

Formula X For Sephora – Supernatural $10.50

This is another Formula X shade that I really like. It’s described as an ashen perl. It looks slightly understated but the pearl finish gives it a bit more interest. It’s another great neutral and you all know how much I like neutrals.

What’s been on your beauty wish list?

Eyeko – Black Magic Mascara

I’m pretty blessed when it comes to my lashes. They’re naturally full, pretty long, curly, and dark. I don’t even need to use eyelash curlers. Yeah, I’m that lucky.

Finding the right mascara can still be a bit difficult. I do want to emphasize the volume while adding some more length without ending up with spider lashes. Lately I’ve been using the Too Faced Size Queen Mascara which delivers on all accounts. So I wasn’t really in the market for a new mascara when I received the Eyeko – Black Magic Mascara in my September Birchbox. The packaging advertises the following:

“Designed for after-hours seduction to create drama, volume and curl to visibly transform and intensify your lashes. Using a unique parables-free formula blending Keratin and Shea Butter with a water-resistant carbon black finish.”

Eyeko - Black Magic Mascara

I loved the less-waste packaging and that the formula is waterproof. I don’t need a waterproof mascara for everyday use but it comes in handy for all those occasions where one might cry. Or when it’s raining. Or when you go to the pool. So more often than one might assume.

I decided to try this mascara during our Columbus road trip since the sample size is smaller than my other mascara. The brush is a standard thin brush that is slightly curved to fit the natural shape of your eye, supposedly to add curl to your lashes. We’ve probably all seen this brush shape a million times before so nothing special there.

Eyeko - Black Magic Mascara - Brush

The first time use left me not impressed. This mascara did lengthen my lashes but contrary to the claims it did nothing to add volume. However, I don’t give up this easily. I experimented with it a few more days and figured out why it wasn’t adding any volume. The bristles were just too short to reach the roots of my lashes when I used the brush as intended, with the inside edge of the curve facing me (at least I think that’s how you’re supposed to use this kind of brush). I finally came up with a way to apply this mascara, that works perfectly for me:

  1. With the inside edge of the curved wand facing you, swipe the mascara a few times over the length of your lashes. The brush should touch most of your lashes at the same time and due to the curve will add curl and length.
  2. Turn the brush around so that the outer edge of the curve is pointing toward you. Apply mascara to the roots of your lashes. The outside edge will stick forward making it easier to really get between your lashes and also catch those shorter hairs, adding volume.
Eyeko - Black Magic Mascara - Application

Left to Right: without mascara, after step 1, after step 2

Using this technique I was able to achieve my desired look. The waterproof formula stayed put all day without smearing or flaking. I did have some trouble removing the mascara at the end of the day because the make up remover wipes I had with me were not intended for waterproof makeup. It took a lot of rubbing to get it off. I may have lost a few lashes in the process. However, my favorite make up remover wipes that I had at home work just fine.

All in all, I don’t think that I would totally switch to this mascara since I’m so happy with the Too Faced Size Queen one. However, this will be a good alternative to have my in makeup bag and a great backup for a wedding I’ll attend later this year.

Birchbox – September 2013

To find out more about what Birchbox is click here.

I received this box about a week ago but since I went on a road trip I haven’t been able to review it yet. So without further ado, here is my September Birchbox.

Birchbox - September 2013 - box

This box marks the three year anniversary of Birchbox as a company. It’s pretty cool that they’ve been around this long. The theme is “Heritage” and the enclosed card talks about the brands Birchbox works with and how each of them has their own unique history. Highlighted is the brand Ruffian, which is this month’s collaborator. Every box this month contains one of their nail polishes.

Birchbox - September 2013 - content

1. amika Blow Up Spray

Sample size: 2 fl oz, $6 value
Full size: 8 fl oz, $24

“The lightweight spray performs a variety of functions, protecting, nourishing, smoothing, and volumizing hair. We apply it to damp strands before blow-drying to provide heat protection, texture, and lift.”

I’m a huge fan of products that promise more volume although I have to admit that I’m usually too lazy to deal with applying them. In addition, most of them just don’t seem to do much.

The amika Blow Up Spray (or Bombshell Blowout Spray as it’s called on the sample) promises to be volumizing in addition to being nourishing and protecting from heat damage. Sounds like a one-stop-shop which is great when you don’t feel like applying a ton of different products (like me).

As I’ve mentioned a few times before, I really like amika products so I’m very excited to give this product a try. The sample size is generous so I should get a lot of use out of it.

2. Dr. Lipp Original Nipple Balm for Lips

Sample size: 2 x 3 ml, $5.80 value
Full size: 15 ml, $14.50

“Originally created for new mothers facing sore nipples from breastfeeding, Dr. Lipp’s ultra hydrating, healing formula later gained a rep as the ultimate lip gloss, primer and multipurpose balm among savvy London makeup artists.”

When I saw this product in my Birchbox I gave it a try straight away but, unfortunately, I was not impressed. This lip balm has the consistency of Vaseline. It reminds me a lot of Carmex in that respect. For me personally it’s just too greasy and heavy. I actually have the feeling that lip balms like these do the opposite of what they promise. I always wake up the next day with my lips way more dry and chapped than the day before.

However, I like the size of this sample. It’s a very small tube so it’s perfect for traveling. For some reason I ended up with two tubes in my Birchbox but I won’t complain. If anyone really loves this product let me know and we can do a switch of the one I got extra.

3. Dr. Jart+ Premium Beauty Balm SPF 45+

Sample Size: 0.17 fl oz, $4.42 value
Full size: 1.5 fl oz, $39

“A moisturizer, sunscreen, and treatment serum all-in-one, this tinted BB cream even helps hide imperfections—so there’s no need for foundation or cover-up.”

I received Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse Beauty Balm SPF 25+ in another Birchbox about a year ago and thought it was pretty good. I like that this one has a higher SPF and promises good coverage. The sample size is large enough that I will be able to get a few uses out of it.

4. Eyeko Black Magic Mascara

Sample size: 0.13 fl oz, $10.76 value
Full Size: 0.29 fl oz, $24

“Designed for after-hours seduction to create drama, volume and curl to visibly transform and intensify your lashes. Using a unique parables-free formula blending Keratin and Shea Butter with a water-resistant carbon black finish.”

At the moment I swear by Too Faced’s Size Queen mascara so I’m not really in the market for a different one. However, I like that this mascara is water-proof. I just wish that I received it a few months earlier when I was still visiting the pool regularly. I think the packaging is really cute and unique. This is another one of those samples that will be just perfect for traveling.

5. RUFFIAN Nail Lacquer

Shade: Hedge Fund
Full Size: 0.17 fl oz, $10

When it comes to nail polishes I like to stick with classic shades – neutrals, reds, purples. If I feel sassy I may go for a metallic. So this shade, Hedge Fund – a metallic green, is not something that I would usually go for. But trying something new is what subscription boxes are all about. I think this shade is great for the fall so I will give it a shot once the weather gets cooler.

The value of this box came in at just over $35 which is crazy good. Although I don’t care that much about the nail polish color or the lip balm I’m very happy with the amika Blow Up Spray and the Eyeko Black Magic Mascara. All in all I think that this was a really good box.

What did you think of your Birchbox this month?

Birchbox One Year Anniversary – My favorite products.

To find out more about what Birchbox is click here.

This month marks the one year anniversary of me subscribing to Birchbox. The year really has flown by and I’m still looking forward to my box each month. In this post I want to introduce the highlights of this past year’s boxes, products I’ve come to love, purchased the full size of, and/or firmly integrated into my beauty routine. Here are my Top 10.

Birchbox One Year Anniversary - My favorite products1. Jouer Matte Moisture Tint (February 2013)

Full Size: 1.7 oz, $38

Jouer - Matte Moisture TintI had been using the BareMineral powder foundation for close to two years when I decided that I needed a change. I wasn’t happy with the coverage and staying power of the BareMineral foundation and I thought that my face looked kinda chalky with it. I started using primer in order to help with the problems I was having but at that point I already felt over-it and ready to move on. Don’t get me wrong – I think BareMinerals products are pretty great but I was just ready to try something different.

Around the same time BB creams started to really hit the market. I received a few samples in my Birchbox and at my local BeautyBrands but nothing seemed to fit (beside the Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream – I really liked that one). Then I received the Jouer Matte Moisture Tint in my February Birchbox and I fell in love.

The Jouer Matte Moisture Tint is a tinted moisturizer with a matte finish. The things I like about it are that it blends really well with my skin color so it looks very natural. The coverage is also pretty good for a tinted moisturizer and you can layer it for more coverage. It evens out my skin tone, covers up my acne scars, and overall gives me a very nice complexion. It also doesn’t dry out my skin and it feels very light, almost like it’s not there. With the right primer it lasts all day. I also like that it has an SPF although I think that it could be higher (The Smashbox Camera Ready BB cream has an SPF of 35).

The sample I got lasted for over a week and after that I decided to buy the full size. I’ve now almost used up the first tube so the full size lasted me about 5-6 month which I think is a great value for the money.

2. theBalm® cosmetics InStain® Long-Wearing Powder Staining Blush (July 2013)

Full Size: 0.09 oz, $22

theBalm - InStain BlushI already wrote about this blush in the review for my July Birchbox and I’m still loving it. It lasts long, blends well, and the color is just so flattering. The powder is very fine and goes on very smooth. It doesn’t just sit on top of your skin but rather gives your cheeks a natural, rosy flush. I really want to buy more shades but I have yet to see this product in stores. As soon as I find it I’ll make sure to snatch up a few more. Until then this sample will last me for a really long time because a little really does go a long way.

3. theBalm® cosmetics Put a Lid On It™ (January 2013)

Full size: 0.4 fl oz / 11.8 ml, $18

theBalm - Put A Lid On ItI’ve never used to use eyelid primer but since I started to wear eye shadow more often I found that it is key to achieving a long-lasting look and making the colors pop. Put A Lid On It does a great job at that. You only need a tiny amount to cover your whole lid and it goes on in a thin, even layer. It also keeps my tinted moisturizer and eye shadow from settling into the creases. I really like how light-weight it is. I’ve almost used up the sample so I recently purchased the full size.

4. amika Obliphica Nourishing Mask (May 2013)

Full size: 500 ml, $40

amika - Nourishing MaskMy hair stylist has been using amika shampoos on my hair for a while now and I’ve always really liked the smell and how it made my hair feel so I was very excited when I got a sample of their hair mask in my May Birchbox. The mask is no different. The smell is amazing but I’m having a hard time describing it. It’s kinda tropical. Maybe a little vanilla-y? With hints of fruit? Coconut? I don’t know what it is but the smell makes me fell like I’m in a spa getting pampered.

This mask makes my hair very soft and shiny and nourishes my dry ends really well. You don’t need very much, only about a tablespoon which is why I can justify the price tag. I have to be careful to not use too much or my hair will get greasy faster. This happens to me with a lot of hair masks because I already tend to somewhat oily roots that will make my hair look slightly greasy on day two.

BeautyBrands, my favorite beauty store, recently had their annual liter sale so I was able to snatch up a large jar of this product for less than half the full price.

5. Benefit it’s potent! eye cream (July 2013)

Full size: 0.5 oz, $32

benefit - It's Potent Eye CreamThis eye cream was one of the products I was most excited about in my July Birchbox because I’ve heard from a couple of people that swear by it. I’ve since tested if for about a week and I’ve liked it pretty well. It has a nice texture that feels like it is very nourishing but once you put it on it isnt’ heavy or greasy. It sinks right in and makes the skin around my eyes very smooth. However, it claims to erase dark under-eye circles and so far I haven’t seen any improvement in that respect. I would still consider purchasing it because I like all other aspects about it.

6. Beauty Fixation Make Up Remover (September 2012)

Full size: 24 applicators, $5

beauty fixation - Make Up RemoverThese makeup remover applicators are a really neat idea. They look like a Q-Tip but the straw in the middle contains a makeup remover liquid. When you break off the marked end of the Q-Tip the liquid flows to the bottom into the other cotton ball tip. From there you can use the cotton tip for a very precise application. I don’t use these little guys very often but they are great when I’m working on a more “elaborate” eye makeup and I need to fix my eyeliner or remove some mascara smudges.

7. Suki Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser  (June 2013)

Full size: 4 oz, $32.95

Suki - Exfoliating Foaming CleanserThe best thing about this exfoliating cleanser is its scent. It smells very citrusy. I wanna take a spoon to it every time I smell it; that’s how good it is. This is another one of those products where the smell just makes me feel like I’m at a spa. The exfoliating agent in this cleanser is sugar. When you mix it with water it foams very nicely and the sugar crystals get softer so it makes for a very comfortable exfoliation. I haven’t had any issues with skin irritation or dryness after using this. I’m considering buying the full size of it but I think I’ll wait until I’ve used up some of my other exfoliating cleansers.

8. theBalm® cosmetics Mary-Lou Manizer (October 2012)

Full size: 8.5 g, $24

theBalm - Mary-Lou Manizer - largeBefore subscribing to Birchbox I’ve never really played around with conturing much. To be quite honest I didn’t even know what conturing was or how to achieve that flawless celebrity look. I think Kim Kardashian is the prime example of the application of this technique. Once I received this sample in my October Birchbox I looked into what to use it for and, more importantly, how to use it. Mary-Lou Manizer has been great as a highlighter. It’s not too sparkly but more like a nice shimmer. You still have to be careful not to apply too much if you’re going for  a somewhat natural look – a little goes a long way. It can also be used as an eyeshadow. I mostly use this product when I want to do a more elaborate makeup for a night out with the best boyfriend in the world. At this rate this sample will probably last me a decade but that’s ok.

9. Sumita Color Contrast Eyeliner (May 2013)

Full size: $11

Sumita - Color Contrast EyelinerThis eyeliner has an interesting consistency. It is very soft and it smudges kinda easily. Not at all good for a eyeliner, right? Well, here is what I use it for: I use it in between my lashes by applying the eyeliner from below my lash line. This makes my lashes look much more ticker and voluminous. For this purpose this eyeliner works really well. The only downside I found is that it is very, very hard to remove. Every time I use it I end up with raccoon eyes after cleansing my face even when I use makeup remover wipes on my eye makeup before hand. For that reason I only use this eyeliner on special occasions.

10. Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner (December 2012)

Full size: 0.07 oz, $16

Eyeko - Skinny Liquid EyelinerUsing liquid eyeliner always has been kinda intimidating to me. I found myself to not be very good at it and not having a stead enough hand. Well, this eyeliner has  a felt tip pen with a very thin tip that makes the application super easy and precise. It still takes me a while to achieve a flawless look, just because I’m not practiced enough but overall this has been a game changer. The result is a very defined line like you would get with liquid eyeliner. The color I received, purple, is a little different and since I prefer a more natural look this tends to be another one of those products that I use on special occasions only.


So here it is, my top 10 beauty products I’ve received in my Birchboxes so far. What have been some of your favorite products you got in your beauty subscription boxes?