July 2013 Birchbox Review!
Welcome back! Yet another month, yet another birchbox! I’m especially excited about this box because (spoiler alert) I like everything in this box! Also July is a great month (totally not just because it’s my birthday month…).
If you’re not familiar with Birchbox (you should be), it’s a monthly subscription service that delivers 4-5 deluxe beauty samples each month. Each month there’s a different theme, and the products are catered to that theme. The products included can range from hair care to skincare, to even little snacks or décor for your house! And then of course there’s the makeup. What’s beautiful about Birchbox though is that it’s a great way to try out new things and discover new brands you’ve never even heard of. Have I mentioned it’s only $10 a month? And that it’s available in Paris, Barcelona, and London now? Also they have a great rewards program: for every product you’ve received in your box that you review online you receive 10 points. And when you get 100 points that turns into $10 worth of credit to be used in the Birchbox store, which has tons of great products that they sample in their boxes! I like saving up my points and redeeming them around Christmastime to get nice presents for my family and friends-it’s a great way to save money! You can sign up for your own Birchbox (or you can send a subscription as a gift!) by clicking here.
This month’s theme was called Power play, with the intention of using products to maximize performance to make the most of summer! The inspiration behind some of these samples were the characters from the TV series Suits. I hope you guys are ready to learn because one of these samples includes a fun science (don’t make that face, it is fun) lesson:
Caldrea Body Lotion: This lotion comes in three scents: Tea Olive Lime, Aloe Water Apricot, and Coconut Fig. I received packets of the Aloe Water Apricot and the Coconut scents. The scents were not only different but also delicious and very potent. This lotion could actually replace your perfume, or at least eliminate the need for it! The scent lingers, which I don’t mind because the scents smell so good. The lotions also absorb quickly and feel more like a liquid when being rubbed in, as opposed to a cream (if anyone knows what I’m talking about). I find that I don’t really have much of a need for body lotion unless it’s a really dry winter, but I do love using this purely because of the scent. Aloe Water Apricot is my favorite.
I.C.O.N. INDIA Oil: This is a hair oil that contains a blend of argan “and other nourishing oils” (which I find vague but wasn’t able to find an ingredients list) that work to strengthen and smooth your hair. I like this enough, but I can’t really say if I love any hair product really because I don’t have as much knowledge about hair products. I can say though that this oil doesn’t weigh my fine hair down (and I mean fine as in texture, but my hair is fine if you know what I mean). I’m not too fussy about my hair, I usually just do the regular routine: shampoo and conditioner and then I’ll put whatever sample product I have in and then French braid it and go to sleep. Once a week or before an event I’ll use a deep conditioner though but the point is, I’m not picky and this oil helps my hair not look awful. Plus it smells really nice-it’s more of a fall or winter scent to me, but it’s very warm and earthy and it’s very nice. The scent doesn’t linger though so don’t worry about your hair smelling like amber all day.
ModelCo Party Proof Lipstick: Okay this is pretty cool. This is a red lipstick that comes off super pigmented and creamy and lasts. Unfortunately I haven’t tested to see how far this lipstick will go, but I will reach for this whenever I go to parties. What I find so cool about this lipstick though is how it smells-most lipsticks either smell plasticky or like vanilla, to me at least. But this lipstick smells more fruity and tart, which was very unexpected. Last time I had my friends Gullnar and Annika over we were going through makeup and I pulled out this lipstick and demanded they smell it, to which they were both surprised. Now I just need to find a complementary lip pencil!
Dr.Jart+ Ceramidin Cream: This is a face cream from Dr.Jart+ (yes this is the same brand that makes those popular BB creams) that claims to repair skin damage and provides hydration for up to 26 hours, although I’m not so sure about the validity of that last claim. This cream is called Ceramidin cream because it contains Ceramides, which are awesome. Are you ready for your science lesson now? Here’s a picture of the skin membrane:
This is what’s referred to in Biology classes as the phospholipid bilayer. The double layer you’re looking at is comprised mostly of lipids, which are a type of fat. What makes dry skin dry is the loss of lipids naturally found in the skin, so your skin is less resistant to environmental factors like the sun and overall climate. Ceramides are a type of lipid, which account for 50% of skin’s outer structure. Ceramides help to provide a barrier between your skin and the environment, resulting in water retention (which is good for your skin) which leads to plumper, moisturized skin as well as minimized fine lines. All good and wonderful things!
This cream glides on smoothly with a very creamy feel and leaves my skin moisturized and hydrated. I looked forward to using this ever y morning (can be used at night too-I just wanted to make it last longer) so much so that when I got close to finishing it I bought it from the Birchbox store. This was arguably my craziest purchase ever (right up there with my impulse-buy Kate Spade bow ring) at $48 but don’t tear your hair out yet! I used my Birchbox points towards the order, which accounted for $40 and then I also found a 15% off coupon so my end total came out to be $2.69! I also think it’s important to splurge on quality skincare, but that doesn’t mean you can’t shop smart!
Birchbox Bobby Pins: Yes, bobby pins! Birchbox designed some patterned bobby pins to spruce up hair without much effort. These bobby pins are fun for that reason and they do function very well and hold a lot of hair-so I like using it when I’m doing my makeup to keep my hair out of my face. These are kind of tight though, I have to be careful when I’m pulling it out so that I don’t rip my hair out-as I’ve mentioned earlier my hair is finer so I get breakage more easily. But overall I think these are a fun way to jazz up any hairstyle in the summertime!
So that’s it for July Birchbox! I hope you all enjoyed my post and learned something new about skin! Thank you so much for reading and I hope you all like this post and follow me for more posts coming up!
Did you get a Birchbox this month? Let me know what you got and what you thought!
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Scroll down further for more pictures of what I got in my Birchbox!
Weekly Loves and Lusts!
Hello again! I know it’s been a while since I posted but I’ve got some exciting ideas for posts coming up so keep your eyes peeled on my blog in the upcoming days (or to make it easier on you you could go ahead and follow or bookmark my page!). I will put out as a disclaimer though, that I just recently had a birthday and thus placed orders at both Mario Badescu and Sephora (haul forthcoming) so I don’t really have many Lusts this week! Nevertheless, here we go!
1. Ardell Fashion Lashes 102 Demi Lashes-Yes! False lashes! This is the first (successful) time I’ve worn false lashes and I LOVED it. This is originally a full strand of lashes but the length was a little too long and looked too unnatural against my lashes, so I cut them in half and used the shorter end (the lashes were tapered to be shorter by the inner corner and longer by the outer corner) on my outer corner. I used the Ardell Waterproof Lash Grip Eyelash Adhesive, sold separately, to glue the lashes on. It stayed on all day and by the end of the day I didn’t want to take my makeup off because my lashes looked so good! I’m definitely going to be picking up different styles of false lashes to try
2. MAC Face and Body Foundation (Shade C1)- Have you guys ever heard of the Cosmetics Company Store? I think it’s also sometimes called Cosmetics Company Outlet (or CCO). If you haven’t, you need to know because this chain is magical. CCOs are stores that sell discounted discontinued Estee Lauder makeup. This includes brands like MAC, Clinique, Origins, Bobbi Brown, and of course Estee Lauder. They also have some products that aren’t discontinued at a discount as well. Case in point is this Face and Body Foundation! I’ve been looking at this product for a while, but with the $32 price tag for 50mL of product I figured I’d get it sometime off in the future but nowhere near now. However, when I saw it at this CCO (that I made my dad detour on a trip home for) for only $19 I knew I had to pick it up. I know C1 isn’t my natural color but the beauty of this foundation is that it is so sheer that you can easily get away with wearing a shade darker or lighter than your actual skintone (plus I’ll only get lighter in the fall and winter so I figured I’d err on the lighter side). This foundation is very sheer but builds very easily and is very resistant to wearing. It binds to the skin very well , thus making it ideal for usage on the body as well. It’s best applied with the hands and is water-based.
3. E.l.f. Eyebrow Kit- Along with false lashes, another thing I’ve recently gotten into is doing my brows. This summer was the first time I’ve tweezed and shaped my eyebrows and I love them-I especially love filling them in with this kit. This kit is only $3 (really!) at Target and has a darker wax on one side and a lighter powder on the other. The packaging recommends using the wax first and then setting it with the powder but you could easily use one or the other on their own if you’d like. For only $3 this kit is incredible and perfect for if you’re just starting out in makeup or just starting doing stuff with your brows. I use the E.l.f. Small Angled Brush to apply the wax and powder.
1. BareMinerals Marvelous Moxie Lipstick in Risk It All- I used to use BareMinerals products a long time ago, they were the first real venture into makeup for me (thanks mom) and I stuck to their products for about three years. After realizing that the products did more harm for my skin than good, I began my voyage on the SS Other Makeup Brands. So I was wary when I watched a YouTube video covering BareMinerals’s revamped makeup line but the video did enough to pique my interest in this lipstick. The girl in the video talked about how this new lipstick was pigmented, super creamy, and super moisturizing-all of which I look for in a lipstick! So when I was by my local Ulta, I swatched a few of their lipsticks and the video girl was right-it felt super creamy and very hydrating and it was definitely very pigmented! For some reason I’m always gravitated towards fuschias and hot pinks when facing lipsticks (which is ironic because I rarely ever wear lipstick) so I chose this color to jot down and add to my list of makeup I want to get eventually, someday in the future.
2. Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Scratch- You all know my obsession with Urban Decay shadows-they’re beautiful and pigmented and now come in really cool packaging that can easily be removed so the shadows can fit in a separate, customizable palette! This shade is a gorgeous rose-gold color, and I have 3 empty spaces in my palette so hey, what more reasons do I need to give you?
Like I told you, I’d be lacking in Lusts this week-coming up with those two was hard enough! I’m satisfied with my current state of makeup right with my birthday, recent orders, gifts from friends and family etc. so I don’t think you’ll see many new products coming up (aside from my already new and received products that is). Skincare products on the other hand…
Weekly Loves and Lusts!
Hello again! I hope you all had a good weekend, and welcome back to another installment of Loves and Lusts! Last week I had a day trip out to Sephora with my friend where I got quite a few samples (it was difficult but I restrained myself from buying something). Although I did get a few samples, I also saw a lot more products that I want to try out so maybe my trip wasn’t all that beneficial for my wallet…But anyways, here are the products that I’ve been loving as well as what I’m dying to get.
Loves: (Clockwise from top)
MAC Ombré Blush in Azalea Blossom- this product was a limited edition blush released back in January 2012 I believe, and instantly I knew I had to have it because the ombré was so gorgeous. I recently rediscovered it and have been loving just having a soft wash of color on my cheeks as opposed to the bright coral blushes I had been using. This blush is a cool-toned soft pink and applies pretty sheer so you have to swirl your brush in the product a few times to get a good color payoff.
Nars Sheer Glow Foundation in Deauville (Sephora sample)- this product was in my Lusts category last week, and now it’s in my Loves this week! After being wrongly color-matched a previous time, this past week I went into Sephora determined to find my correct shade. This shade, Deauville, is a little more yellow-toned than one would think to apply to my cooler-toned face. However, because I have a lot of redness on my face the yellow counteracts it and just looks perfectly natural. This foundation is a medium coverage and so far I’ve only applied it with my hands so I can’t attest to how it blends with brushes (but it blends really well when applied with hands-and that’s how the Sephora employee recommended I apply). I’m still testing this out but so far I love it and will most likely purchase a full size!
Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum (Sephora sample)- Yet another sample! This product has been on my Sephora wishlist for literally years, and I’ve become obsessed with the Caudalie brand and packaging in general. I’ve been using this product twice a day for a few days and already I have a feeling that this may be an instance where I love the idea and appearance of the product much more than the product itself. I will say I do enjoy using a serum, I just don’t know how effective this will be at brightening and evening out my skintone. But of course, as with any skincare product, I’ll have to use it for a few weeks to see any difference.
Dr.Jart+ Black Label Detox BB Beauty Balm- Summer is all about using less products that do more, making this multitasking BB cream a no-brainer. When I was at Sephora I pumped a little bit of this on the back of my hand and was impressed at the texture and coverage it gave, after being unimpressed by the Blue BB Cream sold by the same brand. Plus with Sephora selling a smaller version for only $18, I definitely want to pick one up to try!
Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelée- Trust me, you have to try this. Or at least play around with a sample of it because one you touch the product you will be drooling over this product like my friend and I were. I don’t really know how to describe it but it has a gel consistency and feels great. The color payoff is sheer so it’s easy to build up color if so desired. Plus it has a slight cooling effect and feels very hydrating. This could also serve as a multitasking product for both cheeks and lips.
And there you have it! I tried keeping this post shorter than my last installment for all of our sakes so I hope you enjoyed! Let me know what products you’ve been loving or dying to try and I hope to see you all again soon!
June 2013 Birchbox Unboxing/First Impressions!
What is it?: Birchbox is a semi-international (they just opened up offices in Paris, London, and Barcelona) company who, for only $10 a month send out a box filled with 4-5 deluxe beauty samples for you to try! Upon signing up, you fill out a beauty profile highlighting your needs such as your skin type, hair type, if you prefer makeup over hair products and so on and so forth. Think of it as your monthly beauty fix! You can sign up for your own subscription by clicking here.
Who would like it?: Anyone who wants to discover new brands and new types of beauty products for a low price (Seriously, most boxes of samples are worth double the $10 subscription).
Each month there’s a different theme for the boxes sent out, and this month the theme was Wanderlust so all the products were tailored to beachy getaways and a yearning for travel. I only recently got my box and have used the products for a brief amount of time, so I’ll let you guys know what products I got and what my first impressions are!
Birchbox + Color Club Wanderlust Collection: This nail polish, formulated by Color Club in tandem with Birchbox, is one of four polishes inspired by the four cities that hold a Birchbox office (New York City, Paris, London, and Barcelona). I received the polish entitled Reign in Spain, which is a neon pastel orange. I’ve tried other Color Club polishes in the past, and they’re always top-quality and super-pigmented (I’m talking one coat and done, pigmented here). Full size retails for $8.
Davines Love Smoothing Shampoo: I received a very large sample of this shampoo along with packet samples of the Davines Love Smoothing Conditioner and the Oi/Oil Absolute Beautifying Potion. This hair regimen is targeted for dry frizzy hair, which is a good match for my fine textured hair. The shampoo has lasted me for a week’s worth of washing and I still have a good amount of product left. The shampoo doesn’t lather easily or much (which means that it’s better for your hair-most “organic” products and all natural shampoos have no lather at all) and it smells nice and fresh. The scent does linger too, and I could still smell it on my hair the next day-but it smells nice so I’m not complaining! It’s very much a replenishing shampoo so if used too much I think it would cause build up. The conditioner is a slightly thick conditioner and lasted me about 3 washes using minimal product. I tend to like my conditioners thick and I really lather it on my ends. This conditioner did a good job, but it wasn’t hydrating enough for me. The oil is also nice and lightweight enough for it to not weigh down my hair. I’ve used it on wet hair as well as dry hair after heat styling. The full size shampoo retails for $24, the conditioner retails for $27.50 and the oil retails for $40.
Oscar de la Renta live in love Foaming Body Scrub: I’ll be honest with you (I always am), I haven’t used this yet. I don’t typically use body scrubs so I’ll save this sample for special occasions when I feel like a bit of pampering! The full size retails for $42, something I personally would never pay for a body product-but someone else might see the splurge worthy!
Youngblood Mineral Cosmetics Hi-Definition Hydrating Mineral Perfecting Powder: Phew what a long name. This is translucent mineral powder meant to set foundation whilst controlling shine and keeping a matte finish. I didn’t really care for this product because I like my powders to be finely milled so they don’t feel heavy-however this powder felt heavy and had a velvet-like texture on the skin. Although I was happy that it didn’t make my makeup look patchy and uneven, as most HD powders do to me. The full size retails for $36.
In every Birchbox there’s a “beauty extra”, or a little bonus item, but in my box that extra was the samples of conditioner and hair oil. Since the hair products are sold as a 3-step kit, I grouped them all together.
Overall I enjoyed this box! I’ve been loving the hair products and I plan on getting my toes painted with the neon shade before I go to the beach next week. If you’re interested in signing up for Birchbox or checking out their site, click here
Here are some more pictures of the products mentioned:
Current Deals on Hautelook!
Hautelook is a website that features new brands of clothing, home furniture, and beauty each day (among other things as well). Today they have both Mario Badescu, my favorite skincare brand, as well as Nyx Cosmetics from yesterday! I thought I’d let you know what my top picks from each line are so maybe you can grab them up for yourself before they’re gone!
From Mario Badescu I recommend the Enzyme Cleansing Gel (a face wash suitable for all skin types), the Enzyme Revitalizing Mask (I used this last night! It’s recommended for Combination, Dry, or Sensitive skin), the Alpha Grapefruit Cleansing Lotion (a non-alcohol toner formulated for Combination, Dry, or Sensitive skin) and their ultra-famous Drying Lotion which claims to shrink red bumps and whiteheads overnight!
This is turning into a plug for Mario Badescu, but if you’re interested in trying more of their products and it’s your first time you can go to their website by clicking here. If you fill out the skin consultation they’ll recommend you a skin regimen based on your answers, and then they’ll send you samples of those products (and we’re not talking the one-use-only packet samples either, these are jars that last a good long time!).
For Nyx Cosmetics I love their blushes, jumbo eye pencils (used to create a base against which your eyeshadows will POP), their eyeshadows, their eyeliners are fantastic, and I’ve heard great things about their lip sticks and lip glosses! All in all, Nyx Cosmetics is a good all-around brand and is usually accessible at Ulta.
To check out all of the brands being offered today, you can click here
So what are you picking up today? I think I might snatch up the Drying Lotion from Mario Badescu! Let me know what you’re getting by commenting or sending me a message here!
Weekly Loves and Lusts!
Hello everyone! Today I’m starting a new segment I’d like to call my weekly Loves and Lusts! Every Monday I’ll be letting you guys know what I currently love as well as products I’m currently lusting after. I feel like this will be a good way to A) remind myself of things I want and like and B) facilitate a discussion about the products I want if you guys have tried them. So if I want a product you’ve tried but didn’t like you can warn me and be like “NO JACKIE DON’T GET THAT!” and then I’ll know! All thanks to you, fellow follower. Also keeping track of what I want will be beneficial since my birthday’s coming up in less than a month (hi mom)! So enough of this rambling, time for me to let you know what I’ve been loving!
The Body Shop Body Butter in Peach: Oh.My.Goodness. If you like the smell of fresh peaches and summer, you have to check out this product. My friend Annika and I have been stalking this lotion every time we visit Ulta and basically drooling over it in the store (I don’t think the Ulta employees appreciated this too much). Finally I caved and bought it under the agreement that Annika and I would split it-which works out anyways because these body butters hold SO MUCH product. Plus the lotion is very rich so you don’t need to use a lot of it. I also have a different body butter by Body Shop which I’ve had for at least two years and I’m not even close to hitting the bottom of the tub! So yes, I’d definitely recommend these body butters and this scent in particular!
Jergens Natural Glow Face moisturizer: I really like this moisturizer for creating a gradual tan on my face without streaking or looking orange. I was really nervous to try this product because I was scared it’d break my skin out but luckily it doesn’t! The main reason I use this in the summer is because I’m usually more diligent with SPF on my face than my body so my body usually gets tanner than my face. So I use this gradual tanner on my face so the color matches the rest of my body! I also really like the gradual tanner for the body as well.
MAC Face & Body Foundation: As you can see, these are teeny tiny samples of foundation! I got these samples from thebodyneeds2.com and I absolutely love them. The two shades I have are N1 and N2, and N2 is a little dark for me but the beauty of Face & Body foundation is that it’s so sheer that you can easily get away with wearing a darker shade. The consistency of this foundation is very unique and I’ve heard multiple people say that the best way to describe it is to feel it for yourself. When it first comes out of the bottle it feels watery and goopy but as you work it in with your fingers it thickens up and blends well. The coverage is sheer to light and it is very buildable. I recommend using your fingers to apply this because it is difficult to wash out of brushes. Also this foundation lasts all day! I like using it when I want a lighter coverage or when I’m having a good skin day, and then I go back in with a heavier concealer on the spots where I need it most. So after this winded explanation, I really love this foundation and I plan on purchasing a full size eventually!
MAC Fluidline gel eyeliner in Blacktrack: Yet another sample from thebodyneeds2! I’ve heard so much about this eyeliner that I finally had to try it, after being frustrated with the longevity (or lack thereof) of my Maybelline gel eyeliner. To apply this you can use a variety of brushes from my preferred Real Techniques fine liner brush to a slanted eyeliner brush like E.l.f.’s. This liner glides on so smoothly that I find myself spending less time trying to perfect my eyeliner since it’s already perfect! Also it’s super easy to create a wing at the end since it goes on so smoothly. The longevity of this liner blasts Maybelline’s out of the water since it lasts all day with only minimal smudging around the 10 hour mark of wearing. At the end of the day it’s easy to remove with your favorite eye makeup remover too! So yet another MAC product sample that has convinced me to purchase the full size…
Real Techniques Stippling Brush: I don’t know how much I can say about brushes, but we’ll see. Real Techniques is a brand sold at Ulta (and I’ve heard Walmart but I have no idea if that’s true…) and this brush retails for $10. It’s a synthetic brush, so it doesn’t absorb the product and works best with liquid and cream products. It’s very soft and I’ve experienced zero shedding! Also I’ve found in my experience with all Real Techniques brushes that they’re very easy to clean. A lot of my brushes made by different brands seem to take forever to rinse completely, whereas the ones by Real Techniques rinse out immediately and dry even faster! I have no idea what makes them perform so well, so therefore it must be magic. I like using this brush with my liquid foundations to achieve a lighter application-it blends the product in so easily and effortlessly and I love it. So I definitely recommend this!
Smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Under Eye Primer: I know this sounds like a gimmicky product, believe me I know. This product claims to not only hydrate the under eye area but also to reduce the look of “fine lines, puffiness, wrinkles, age spots, and dark circles” (taken from the Sephora website). It does sound like a cheap ploy for money but I’ve been using a sample of this product and I have to say that I actually really love it. I have dark circles from genetics (thanks dad) so I’ve spent countless dollars trying different products to conceal them. I’m happy with the concealer duo I have to camouflage my circles but even though they function well, they still seem to settle into the finer lines under my eyes. However when I use this my concealer lasts longer, goes on smoother and just looks better throughout the day. So I definitely plan on picking this up!
Nars Sheer Glow Foundation: I’ve also tried a sample of this foundation but unfortunately it wasn’t my right color-so I’d like to find my correct color and try this foundation out! I really just want a good quality foundation that isn’t too fussy to apply and wears well throughout the day, and I hope this foundation fits the bill!
Sonia Kashuk Hidden Agenda Concealer Palette: This kit, available at Target, has two shades of concealer, a green concealer (to counteract redness), and a setting powder. I want a cream concealer so I can spot concealer the occasional blemish, and this is arguably the most popular as far as quality goes. I know my friend Annika loves this palette, and I’m a concealer junkie so I hope to try this out!
Phew! I apologize for how long winded this post was, so if you’ve made it to the end here then congratulations! Let me know what products you’ve been loving or lusting for by commenting or sending me a message by clicking here. Thank you for reading and I’ll see you soon!
so…I went a little crazy with Bath & Body Works’s Semi-Annual Sale…