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Birchbox- February 2014

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As if my recent drugstore haul wasn’t enough, my February Birchbox also showed up last week– better late than never! I’m definitely enjoying the products in this month’s box, a special collaboration between Birchbox and US Weekly. Without further ado, here come the samples…

Skin&Co Roma Truffle Therapy Serum – This serum promises to smooth wrinkles and restore dull, dry skin with its blend of antioxidant ingredients, including truffle extract. I was weirdly hoping it would have a truffle scent, but instead it just has a faint perfumey smell. The serum has a light lotion-like consistency that absorbs quickly into the skin. I can’t tell any long term effects yet, but it also hasn’t over-dried my skin or broken me out, so no complaints either.

Skin&Co Roma Truffle Therapy Serum

Skin&Co Roma Truffle Therapy Serum

Harvey Prince “Hello” perfume – Hello is a fresh scent with notes of Meyer lemon, mandarin, grapefruit, forsythia, and plumeria– definitely a fragrance to usher in spring! I prefer more deep, woodsy scents myself, but this is a nice sized sample (loving the spray top!) that will be handy for travel.

Hello by Harvey Prince

Hello by Harvey Prince

OPI Sheer Tints in Don’t Violet Me Down – This sheer polish can be worn on the nails alone for a “wash of high-shine, translucent color” or layered over another polish to give it a glossy tinted effect. I’m loving the Geometric Nail Art tutorial on Birchbox’s website featuring several Sheer Tint shades, so I’ll have to give that a try. My only caution is to use your judgement on what colors will look good on bare nails– adding a blue or purple tint to nails I find makes one look a little dead/sickly, and I can’t imagine who would want the yellow tint either. In combination with a cream polish underneath, however, these look great!

OPI Sheer Tints in Violet Me Down

OPI Sheer Tints in Violet Me Down

Beauty Protector Protect & Oil – This protective hair oil, exclusive to Birchbox, promises to defend against UV rays, heat, and breakage and can be used on damp or dry hair. Adding a few drops to the ends of my dry hair before flat ironing left it smooth, shiny, and (hopefully!) protected. The sample size is nice and generous, but doesn’t come with a dropper or anything to prevent product from pouring out all over the place, so be careful when dispensing just a little bit into your hands!

Beauty Protector Protect & Oil

Beauty Protector Protect & Oil

Harney & Sons Fine Teas – I haven’t given these teas a try yet, but after my recent coffee boycott I was very happy to find these in my box as February’s lifestyle extra. With flavors like Cleansing White Vanilla Grapefruit (white tea with citrus tones) and Enlightening Paris (black tea with fruit and caramel) I’m excited to give these a taste.

Harvey & Sons Teas

Harvey & Sons Teas

If you received a Birchbox this month (or another subscription service) I’d love to know what products you received and how you’re liking them!

-LMC ♥

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Birchbox- October 2013

Welcome back! As I mentioned yesterday, my October Birchbox finally arrived yesterday just as I was publishing my Weekend Wrap-up. We were about to run out the door for dinner plans, but I took a few minutes to rip the box open and check out what samples I received this month. I’ll warn you right now, I’m not too happy with this box overall, but I’ll try to hold back and tell you about the products I received before we get to my final impressions.

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This month my box contained Benefit Cosmetics Fake Up undereye concealer in Light, POP Beauty Aqua Lacquer in Flowering Fuchsia, Evologie Stay Clear Cream, Ruffian Nail Lacquer in Hedge Fund, and the Birchbox Find- Chapstick Hydration Lock lip balm in Vanilla. These are all new products to me, and the first time I’ve tried anything from the Evologie and Ruffian brands. Overall I was happy to see the mix of skincare and makeup items, without any samples “wasted” on foil packets, perfumes, or weird “lifestyle extras”. I’ve only given everything a preliminary test at this point, so I’ll give you my initial thoughts below. If you’re interested in a full review on any of the items in this month’s box, just let me know!

Benefit Fake Up concealer- As someone with dry skin, as soon as I heard about the formula of this relatively new undereye concealer from Benefit I was intrigued. It combines a center core of pigmented concealer with an outer ring of moisturizing balm, which you can immediately see upon opening the classy silver and pink packaging. While the tube is rather large, the actual amount of product in this sample is rather small, but that isn’t my biggest gripe. I found Fake Up rich and creamy to apply, but sadly it did very little to cover the moderate discoloration under my eyes. For those of you looking for a heavy duty concealer to brighten up your tired raccoon eyes, I’d skip Fake Up.

POP Beauty Aqua Lacquer- I knew off the bat that this probably wouldn’t be my favorite, as glosses typically come in last on my list of most used lip products. While I appreciate the wand for ease of application, the sticky and gloopy nature of the product leaves much to be desired. That consistency, coupled with its harsh chemical smell, would keep me from ever using this gloss. I have to admit, the color is pretty and would probably look nice as a subtle wash of pink or layered over a brighter pink lipstick or liner, but I doubt I’ll reach for this anytime soon (or ever).

Evologie Stay Clear Cream- I haven’t given this product a test yet, although its hefty full size price tag ($62 for a 1 oz. tube) gives me high hopes for its effectiveness. I’m a little confused as to what exactly it’s supposed to do– the Birchbox description just says, “Moisturizer that protects skin and balances oil levels with a patent-pending YS3 COMPLEX.”  I’m a little nervous this could over-dry my already dry/sensitive skin, so I’ll likely do a spot test on my chin to see how it handles the PMS face demons currently cropping up there.

Ruffian Nail Lacquer- Again, I haven’t used this polish yet, although it is a decent sized sample (probably 3/4 the size of a full bottle) and the formula appears pretty opaque based on a swatch I did. I really like the color for fall, I’ve actually been on a hunt for the perfect gold/olive/green/khaki eye color, and this is very close to what I’ve been searching for in nail polish form. Once I give it a go on my nails I’ll let you know how it works out.

Chapstick Hydration Lock- There isn’t too much to say about this product, as most of you have probably tried Chapstick or a similar drugstore lip balm. It does the job, but isn’t necessarily my favorite lip product for shine or hydration. Most likely I’ll end up re-gifting this one to the boyfriend.

Overall I’d say I’m lukewarm about my October Birchbox. Some of the products don’t entirely suit my taste, but might be a hit for other subscribers. My biggest disappointment was that my box didn’t include the Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish that it seems nearly everyone else received. I’ve been dying to try Cleanse & Polish and thought it was likely all subscribers would receive a sample since Birchbox featured the product so heavily in their advertising this month. I guess that’s the risk you take with monthly subscription boxes, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed that next month I get a few more products that are up my alley.

Do you receive a monthly Birchbox or another subscription sample box? If so I’d love to hear what products you’re testing out at the moment!

-LMC ♥

Visit to Birchbox Local

I wrapped up a lovely weekend today with an awesome visit to the Birchbox Local shop in Chelsea Market. Chelsea Market, just a few blocks south of my apartment, is one of my favorite local spots to shop for books, art, home decor, and gourmet food. Needless to say, I was thrilled to find out that Chelsea Market was also the site of the Birchbox Local shop, a site for press and bloggers to relax during New York Fashion Week, and open to the public for a select few days following the wrap of NYFW.

For a beauty-loving woman, walking into Birchbox Local was like sending a sweets-obsessed youngster into Willy Wonka’s factory. Upon entry you’re greeted by the sample bar, a candy shoppe style bar filled with bins of various samples that visitors can select to customize their own Birchbox. Walking further inside there are shelves and counters full of Birchbox Editors’ picks, showcasing some of their most beloved products available for purchase as well. Finally, the back section of the shop was reserved for hair, make up, and nail services.

Products for sale and the Birchbox Local shop.

Products for sale at the Birchbox Local shop.

 

I had previously reserved an appointment online, so I headed to the back of the shop and was met by the smiling Amanda, who offered me a bottle of water and ushered me back to the nail area. I waited a few minutes for my turn with the nail techs and debated on which Color Club polish I should choose for my manicure. The waiting area was outfitted with comfy white couches, jars upon jars of candy, and televisions playing beauty reviews and tutorials.

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Color Club polish choices & my finished mani in Editorial.

 

After my nails were finished I headed out to the sample bar to start the difficult task of choosing only 5 items to add to my box. There were about 30 choices ranging from make up, skincare, hair products, a perfumes. I decided to opt for products I hadn’t tried before, and those I knew to be a little higher price point to get the must bang for my buck. I would have loved to snap some photos of the sample bar, but it was so crowded the entire time I was there that it was impossible to get a good photo. If you’re interested though, search #birchboxlocal on Twitter or Instagram to see the fun others have had on their visits!

Ultimately I chose a sample of the Smashbox Hydrating Photo Finish Primer, a Beauty Blender, DDF Protective Eye Cream, Benefit’s Gimme Brow in light/medium, and Marcelle’s Gentle Make-up Remover. Four out of the five products are full-sized, and I estimate that my box is worth a retail value of over $100, so not only did I have a fun afternoon, but I got a great deal!

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I plan to give these new products and try and report back on my thoughts soon. I’d love to hear your opinions if there’s anything in my box that you’ve tested out before. Also, if there’s something you’d particularly like to see in a future review, please leave a comment! I hope you’ll come back tomorrow for my Weekend Wrap-Up post, since I’ve done a lot of exciting non-makeup related things this weekend that I’d love to share with you. See you then!

-LMC ♥