Birchbox- April 2014

This month’s Birchbox theme is “Rainy Days,” bringing us a box full of beauty samples perfect for testing when you’re stuck indoors during April showers. This April hasn’t been too rainy in NYC, but I’m still game for testing new samples, whatever the weather, so let’s get started.

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Color Club Gala’s Gems Collection in “Breakfast at…” – I got a sneak peak at the Gala’s Gem’s Collection at a Birchbox event a few months back (click here to read all about it), so I already knew I was a fan of these polishes before “Breakfast at…” came in this month’s box. The range features four gorgeous pastel shades perfect for spring. Unfortunately I already own the entire collection, but I will definitely put this duplicate to good use by gifting it to a friend.

Color Club Gala's Gems Collection in "Breakfast at..."

Color Club Gala’s Gems Collection in “Breakfast at…”

 

Number 4 High Performance Hair Care Clarifying Shampoo & Reconstructing Masque – This is the one product I haven’t tested out yet from this month’s box. To be honest I’m a little wary about using a clarifying shampoo on my colored hair, so I may stick it on my boyfriend’s shelf in the shower for him to try. The Reconstructing Masque sounds nice, but the sample is so tiny (imagine a ketchup packet) I’m skeptical of whether it will be able to cover my entire head. If I give either a try and they work miracles, I’ll definitely report back.

Number 4 High Performance Hair Care Clarifying Shampoo

Number 4 High Performance Hair Care Clarifying Shampoo

Number 4 High Performance Hair Care Reconstructing Masque

Number 4 High Performance Hair Care Reconstructing Masque

 

Sumita Color Contrast Eyeliner in “Jamun (Deep Purple)” – This soft wax pencil promises to give long wearing color while not irritating the eyes, and I can say it definitely delivers on both. A beautiful purpely brown color that’s hard to pick up in photographs, this is a great softer alternative to lining the eyes with classic black liner. I’m not sure where you can buy Sumita products, but with a full size of this liner retailing for just over $10 I would certainly be interested in trying more from the range.

Sumita Color Contrast Eyeliner in "Jamun (Deep Purple)"

Sumita Color Contrast Eyeliner in “Jamun (Deep Purple)”

 

Supergoop! City Sunscreen Serum – I was a little disappointed to find another sunscreen in my box after receiving a Coola sunscreen last month that wasn’t my cup of tea. This Supergoop sunscreen serum is much better though, going on even, not irritating my sensitive skin, and wearing well under makeup all day. I’m happy with the moisturizer/sunscreen I’m currently using, but this is certainly a good alternative and will make a great addition to my travel makeup bag.

Supergoop! City Sunscreen Serum

Supergoop! City Sunscreen Serum

 

KIND Snacks Healthy Grains Bar in Maple Pumpkin Seeds with Sea Salt – Last but not least, this month’s lifestyle extra was a delicious granola bar from KIND Snacks. Full of whole grains and the perfect balance of salty and sweet flavor, I’ve already gone out and purchased a box of these– they’re delicious!

KIND Snacks Healthy Grains Bar in Maple Pumpkin Seeds with Sea Salt

KIND Snacks Healthy Grains Bar in Maple Pumpkin Seeds with Sea Salt

 

Overall I’m very happy with my April Birchbox and appreciated its mix of makeup, skincare, haircare, and nail products, since it seems like for the past few months my boxes have contained a ton of skincare products. Did you get any of the same samples in your box this month? Leave a comment telling me what you’re loving!

-LMC ♥

 

Visit to Dermalogica Academy

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Dermalogica Academy in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood is best described as the lovechild that would result if your favorite spa mated with an Apple store. The minimal glass and chrome decor is an echo of Dermalogica’s line of skincare products– cleanly packaged and free from any fluff, it’s just straightforward and full of the finest ingredients. I had long been curious to try Dermalogica’s brand of products, and when a friend recently came into town for a visit I figured it was the perfect occasion to book facials at the Academy and see what their products were all about.

Dermalogica Academy trains Professional Skin Therapists, covering coursework that sounds straight out of a Pre-Med program. Topics include Bacteriology, Chemistry, and Superfluous Hair (okay, maybe the MD’s don’t take that one).  Our visit to Dermalogica Academy included a 60-minute customized skin treatment carried out by one of the Skin Therapists in training (and closely supervised by their instructors), which featured an individualized routine of cleansing, exfoliation, masks, toners, and extractions. Every procedure begins with a face mapping skin analysis covering all 14 zones of the face (yeah, I had no idea the face was so complicated either), noting whether each zone contains breakouts, dehydration, hyperpigmentation, fine lines, sensitivity, and a host of other skincare concerns.

After the face mapping the fun really began. First any makeup was removed and our face, ears, and neck (all 14 zones, remember?) were cleansed and lightly exfoliated. Since my friend and I have different skin types we were treated to entirely customized treatments from this point forward. She received a hydrating and firming mask that was vaguely reminiscent of the facial prosthetics from Mrs. Doubtfire. (Kudos to her for not suffocating!) I was treated to an extensive round of pore extraction followed by a mask of colloidal oatmeal plus a round of small electric pulses (read: shocks)  intended to kill bacteria and diminish breakouts. As you can tell, this isn’t your typical tranquil day at the spa– a trip to Dermalogica Academy definitely puts the “medi” in medi-spa, feeling more like a visit (albeit a relaxing one) to a high-end dermatologists office.

Overall we left our treatments feeling refreshed, with a good sense of what our skin needed to be its healthiest and look its best. (My list includes more moisture, less fragrance, and a break from my beloved Clarisonic every now and then.) Finally we stopped by the Skin Bar to discuss some Dermalogica products that would be suited to our needs. I went home with the UltraCalming Cleanser and Daily Microfoliant, and samples of the Clean Start Emergency Spot Fix, Precleanse oil, Pure Light SPF 30 day cream, and Pure Night night cream. I’m still working through the samples and forming my opinions, so look for reviews soon to come. So far I can say that I am absolutely loving the UltraCalming cleanser and just may purchase a full size once my travel sized bottle runs out.

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I loved my experience at Dermalogica Academy and have been incorporating many of the tips and techniques recommended by my Skin Therapist into my daily routine. I’m excited to visit again and keep testing out their products as well. Have you tried anything from the Dermalogica line? Leave a comment if you have any recommendations that I should try next. And if you’re ever in New York City and your skin needs a little pick me up, head over to Dermalogica Academy- stat!

-LMC ♥

February 2014 Favorites

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February is finally over, and I can’t say I’m sad about it. While I did have some great times last month (including visits from a few of my favorite people), I am entirely ready for this grey dreary winter to finally end. Come on March, I’m expecting sunshine and over 30 degree temperatures, please! Since February is the shortest month I have a pretty short list of monthly favorites, so let’s get started.

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ELF Blush Brush – I’ve avoided powdering my face at all costs during this dry winter weather, but without a little setting powder on the bridge and sides of my nose my glasses are doing a slip ‘n slide by the end of the day. This pinpoint powder application has left my much-loved big and fluffy Real Techniques Blush Brush in the dust, as I’ve found the smaller ELF Blush Brush perfect for the job. Its soft synthetic bristles and tapered tip are excellent at precisely applying powder to the undereyes, spots of concealer, or in my case, right around the nose. For just $3 this is definitely a brush to add to your collection.

ELF Blush Brush

ELF Blush Brush

Sephora Contour Eye Pencil 12HR Wear Waterproof in Blonde Ambition (06) – If you haven’t tried one of Sephora’s waterproof eyeliners yet you’re seriously missing out. Available in 35 colors of the rainbow, these $10 liners go on creamy smooth and set to a waterproof finish that won’t budge. Last month I loved wearing Blonde Ambition smudged under my lower lashline as a highlight or in my waterline to brighten up my eyes.

Sephora Contour Eye Pencil 12HR Wear Waterproof in Blonde Ambition (06)

Sephora Contour Eye Pencil 12HR Wear Waterproof in Blonde Ambition (06)

MAC Syrup – I’ve been in a serious love affair with NARS Damage lipstick for a few years now. It’s the perfect My-Lips-But-Better color and leaves me with a slight raspberry sheen that lasts all day. Sadly though my tube of Damage is nearing its last days, and while I’ve been savoring every last application I’ve also been on the hunt for a replacement that’s a little easier on the pocketbook. Enter MAC Syrup, a cult favorite that always looked too plain in swatches and that I continued to overlook when visiting the MAC store. I finally decided to give it a try though and was pleasantly surprised to find it gave them same rosy shine as Damage- hooray! While MAC lipsticks are hardly drugstore, they’re at least a little less expensive than NARS, so I’m happy about that. With its lustre finish Syrup seems to be quite a chameleon, so definitely try it on to see how it mixes with your natural lip color and compliments your complexion, I bet you’ll fall in love too.

MAC lipstick in Syrup

MAC lipstick in Syrup

Swatches of MAC Syrup (left) and Sephora Blonde Ambition (right)

Swatches of MAC Syrup (left) and Sephora Blonde Ambition (right)

Beauty Protector Protect & Oil – I received this heat protection oil in my February Birchbox and I have been obsessed with it all month. It acts as a great barrier for my dry ends when I’m heat styling while also imparting some moisture and leaving my hair with a delicious sweet scent. I believe this is a Birchbox exclusive product, so head over to their online shop and check it out!

Beauty Protector Protect & Oil

Beauty Protector Protect & Oil

There you have my little list of February favorites. If you tried any new products in February that you’re loving, leave a comment and let me know.

-LMC ♥