February 2016 Birchbox & Ipsy Reveal

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The curated box this month didn’t really appeal to me, so I decided to go with a sample choice. Continue reading “February 2016 Birchbox & Ipsy Reveal”

September 2015 Birchbox

I only recently started subscribing to Birchbox, but I’m enjoying it so far. I get to try a few different items every month for only $10, and I’m okay with that. They’re typically products (like conditioner or face wash) that I’d end up having to buy anyway, so it’s saving me money in the long run. Thanks to a few different subscription boxes, I’ll probably never have to outright purchase some products, though I’ve found a few new ones that I’ve loved so much that I’ve continued purchasing the full size.

If you’re interested in trying Birchbox, here’s my referral link to get $5 off your first box through October 9. Now, on to all the fun stuff in this month’s box!

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When you first join Birchbox, they’ll quiz you on your skin type, hair type, etc. to determine what product samples they should send you. So far, they’ve been pretty spot on with me.

Each month, Birchbox gives you the opportunity to select one of the samples that will be included in your box while keeping everything else a surprise. Alternatively, you can pick a box where all the samples have been pre-selected. You can also add on an extra item or two, and when you’re done checking out your samples, you can go to their store and shop for the full size items. You get points for reviewing the items they send you, and you can use those toward your purchases. This month came with a coupon for an additional 20% off any purchase of $35 or more. I’ll probably take advantage of that. I also got two bonus foil packets, giving me seven total samples instead of five!

POP Beauty Portfolio Eyeshadow Trio in Sugar Plum

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This was the sample I chose for this month. I love the pretty floral packaging for this, by the way.

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This had some great pigmentation, and the colors were absolutely gorgeous, and the powders feel like velvet to the touch. The plum is perfect for fall. I’ve worn it by itself (alternating the second and third shades for crease/lid) as well as with my Urban Decay Naked 2 palette.

Even better, Stitch Fix (which I really should get around to reviewing) sent me a top  this month that goes with these colors perfectly.


Here’s the swatches:

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Yeah, I need to learn how to better lighting. These are much prettier than this picture implies.

I’m pretty tempted to buy the larger palette based on how much I loved this, but I have a ton of eyeshadow in my house right now.

(MALIN + GOETZ) Grapefruit Face Cleanser & Bonus Moisturizer


The Cleanser: The claim on the Birchbox website is that this “dissolves dirt, clears up breakouts, and balances skin’s natural pH. The daily wash is gentle enough for irritation-prone complexions, and rinses away completely.” That’s a fair enough claim, as they’re not promising any miracles. I can be a bit of a hard ass when it comes to cleansers because I believe that ultimately they don’t really sit on your skin long enough to make a big difference. All I want is something to gently clean away the grime that won’t leave my face feeling tight and overly stripped, preparing the way for the REAL goodness that is the moisturizers and other nighttime treatments. And honestly, there are too many cheap cleansers out there that can do that for cheap. I see no reason to splurge on a cleanser unless you’re one of those rare people whose skin overreacts to EVERYTHING and you find that one special cleanser that your face will accept. I’m not one of those people, so you have to really impress me with a cleanser to get me to spend a lot of money on one.

The cleanser does live up to the claims. It left my skin feeling clean and soft, not tight and dry, and it smelled pleasantly like grapefruit. So while I wouldn’t personally pay $32 for a full size cleanser, this is a nice product for those who would.

The Moisturizer: Moisturizer, for me, is where I’d spend my money if I needed to for a good product, so I was a little more excited to try this than the cleanser. I would have loved to have had more of this to try, because I really prefer testing out a new moisturizer over a few days to a week to see if I notice any differences. Unfortunately, I just had the packet. It feels thick on your fingers, but when it goes on it’s very light and absorbs quickly. It only took a very small amount to cover my face, neck, and even my chest. I think this would shine as a daytime moisturizer for that reason, though you’d still have to add your own sunscreen. (I prefer a daytime moisturizer with sunscreen because I’m lazy.) At night, I think I’d prefer something a bit heaver.

Davines LOVE Smoothing Shampoo & Bonus Conditioner


The Shampoo: This is a good size sample (2.5 oz), and it smells great. It claims to tame frizz, but my dry and curly hair is a shampoo-free zone. Cleansing conditioners only, please and thank you. My daughter can use it just fine, though. I’m a bit hard on shampoos in the same way that I’m hard on cleansers. Unless you’re dealing with a medicated shampoo, it doesn’t sit on the hair long enough to really improve its condition. What you really want from a shampoo if you use one is something that’s going to wash away the grime without stripping away too much moisture, stripping your color, and/or doing damage to your hair. Since that’s the basic job description of MOST shampoos, it’s not a product I’ll typically spend a lot of money on.

This seemed to work out well enough for my daughter. Her hair was left feeling clean but not “squeaky” clean and definitely not dry and straw-like, so it did it’s job. It didn’t do anything  unusual or spectacular that we don’t normally get from her usual bottle of Suave that costs less than $3. But if price isn’t something you’re concerned with, and you want to pamper yourself, then it’s still a good product.

The Conditioner: I was really disappointed with this, and I wanted to love it because it smells as wonderful as the shampoo. Conditioner, unlike shampoo, is something I would spend some extra money on if it works well, and at $29 for a full size container, you would hope that it’s worth it. No. I’m definitely going to have a ponytail day after using this stuff because it didn’t even do the basic job of conditioning my hair while my cheap Herbal Essences cleansing conditioner manages to do it with no problems. My hair felt like dry straw, even after leaving it in for several minutes while I showered.  Judging from the more recent reviews, it seems that I’m not the only one who’s had a bad experience. Some are speculating that it’s because the formula has changed. Maybe I can find a fabric softener that smells like this or something, but I’m definitely not switching out my conditioner to this.

English Laundry Eau de Parfum Signature for Her


Since my husband grabbed this out of the mailbox as we were leaving, I made the mistake of opening it up and trying this out immediately while we were in the car. I also sprayed way too much of it. A little goes a long way with this one. We had to drive with the windows down for the rest of the trip.

I love these little perfume samples I tend to get. They’re the perfect size for tossing in my purse, and I’ve only had a few that I didn’t care for. This one is light and floral, which is perfect for me. I even caught a hint of one of my favorite things ever, jasmine, though I’d prefer it more as a spring/summer fragrance than going into fall. I tend to prefer spicier fragrances with hints of vanilla as the weather gets cooler. It was a hit for me, though.

As I said earlier, I get so many of these perfume samples that I’ll likely never have to actually buy one, but this is now on my list of favorites just in case.

Juice Beauty GREEN APPLE Peel Sensitive

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The first thing I’m going to say here is that this stuff is not going to be the consistency you’d expect from a mask or peel. It’s VERY liquidy and runny, making it difficult to apply. I didn’t even need to squeeze the tube, and I ended up making a huge mess with the product. It also managed to irritate my skin a little bit when it went on, which is odd considering it’s supposed to be extra gentle, and I don’t have sensitive skin. It did leave my skin feeling soft as I washed it away, but it really wasn’t anything I haven’t gotten with other products. Even if it had, the skin irritation and runny consistency is a definite deal breaker.

I had pretty good luck with Birchbox in August. I even found a new leave-in conditioner and a new dry shampoo. (Yes, I use a little dry shampoo on my roots in between washes since that won’t dry out my hair.) September seems like more of a mixed bag. This month, I had two items I loved, two items I hated, and three items I liked but wasn’t wowed by. For $10… I can live with that.