Birchbox Review – July 2016

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Today I bring to you my very last Birchbox review, at least for now. Wondering why this will be the last? Keep reading for more details on why I chose to cancel my Birchbox subscription this month. But first a rundown of the products I received  for the month of July…

I’m always happy to try out a new mascara and the Benefit They’re Real! Lengthening Mascara looks really great. Like I mentioned in my Ipsy Review this month, however, I won’t be actually trying any new mascaras until I can use up the billion (at least) that I have open right now. So this little guy will just have to get in line. My favorite product by far that I received in this box is the LOC Ultra-Gloss Lip Pencil. I got the color “Cupid’s Bow”, which is cool-toned hot pink that is oh-so perfect for summer. The formula is very creamy and long lasting and I just love it! I also got the Klorane Smoothing and Relaxing Patches with Soothing Cornflower, which will be great for a relaxing night in. I’m going to save these for a day that I’m looking for some rejuvination, since these combat dehydrated undereyes. I did get a chance to try the Davines This Is a Sea Salt Spray and while it smells amazing, it also gives your hair that lovely crunchy texture circa 1992 so I don’t know that I will continue to use it. Lastly I got the Avene Thermal Spring Water and really love the hydration it gives my face that I didn’t actually know my skin has been longing for in the summer months.

So why no more Birchbox? Well, for a few reasons…

For about a year now I have been getting at least 2-3 beauty boxes per month. As a result my sample collection is a little out of control for my liking! I have been stashing up tons of products and in general don’t like items laying around my  house that don’t often get used. (I have more beauty bags, hair serums, and single eye shadows hanging out than I care to count.) So I knew something had to go. Birchbox has a stronger focus on haircare and skincare, which I do enjoy… by I like getting makeup better. Birchbox also recently got rid of their pretty amazing rewards system, which solidified my decision to cancel. So there you have it. I have enjoyed my subscription while it lasted but also know the importance of using up what I have, XOXO.

What samples did you love this month? Anyone else throwing their Birchbox subscription to the curb?

Ipsy Review – July 2016

I love the mix of products I got this month! Let’s jump in 🙂 .

The BeFine – Food Skin Care is an unscented lotion which is something I know I will get a lot of use out of. The formula is creamy and not at all greasy. I was super excited to receive the Too Faced – Hangover Replenishing Face Primer and I do like it but don’t think it does much to control my oil, which is my top priority in using a primer. The smell is to die for and it does do a great job hydrating. To be honest I haven’t tried the Em Cosmetics – Lash Gallery Lengthening Mascara and don’t plan to until I use up a few other already opened mascaras I have in my collection… but I’m happy I got it. The Vasanti Cosmetics – Professional Eyeshadow Brush is really nice. The bristles are soft, the wand is long, and it is overall just a great brush for packing shadow onto the lid. My favorite product is by far the Bella Pierre Cosmetics – Banana Setting Powder!!! This is the first time I’ve tried a banana powder and I am in love.

Did you get any of the same products? What did you love this month?

Redeeming my Birchbox Points

Part of what makes Birchbox so incredible is their points system. As you probably know by now, Birchbox is a $10 per month beauty subscription service. What you may not have known is that by going online each month and reviewing the products you receive, you are able to get $5 per month back in points to spend on their site. Now, I’m not an expert on every beauty subscription service out there, but this is by far the best rewards system I have seen. The points add up so quickly and the products you can choose from are seriously endless.

Recently, I cashed in 200 points ($20) for two fantastic products.

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I was introduced to the Amika Bombshell Blowout Spray by Birchbox, actually. Several months back I had gotten the sample size in one of my boxes. At first I didn’t really know what to do with it. My whole life I have had frizzy, curly, thick hair that doesn’t like to cooperate and most of the time has a mind of it’s own. Generally I don’t like to pack on the hair products because that just tends to make it worse by going in the complete opposite direction and make my hair greasy, lifeless, and drab.

This spray, however, has changed entire experience when I want to curl my hair. I use it after showering only when I know I’ll blow dry it and curl it that same or next day. At least, that’s what works best for me. I find that this really does give my hair extra volume, life, and shine. I’d recommend it to anyone looking for bigger hair or the blow out type of look.

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The second product I found on my own. If you don’t already follow Tati Westbrook the Glam Life Guru on YouTube go follow her now! She is super fun, super honest, and puts in so much time and money to make her beauty reviews perfect for makeup lovers everywhere.

This product, LOC Vibrant Matte Lipstick, is from her line and you need it in your life yesterday. I hadn’t tried this out prior to this purchase but knew if Tati was somewhat involved in the creation of the product that it was going to be fantastic. It didn’t disappoint! I went for the shade “Glam Life” which is a berry plum. I was seriously tempted to pick the cool red tone and will probably purchase it in the near future because these lipsticks are so wonderful. The matte texture isn’t drying in the slightest. It is creamy and fuss-free.

That’s my redemption in a nutshell. It was my first time cashing in points and everything went very smoothly. I can’t tell you enough just how much I love Birchbox, XOXO.

 

Any recommendations on what to redeem my points for next time?

Birchbox May 2016 – Review

It’s Birchbox day!!!!

Birchbox is a $10 a month beauty subscription service. Sign up by clicking here to get 5 deluxe-sized samples sent to your house in a pretty new box each month. (The boxes are  useful for so many random jobs around the house.) I love Birchbox because of the customization you’re involved in and the rewards system is really great!

Here is the design of the month…

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And here is the mix of items I was sent…
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Real Chemistry Luminous 3-Minute Body Peel

I hand-picked this peel to come in the box and love it. Birchbox introduced me to Real Chemistry several months back and it has proven to be such an amazing line. I loved the face peel so much that I featured it in my favorite exfoliators post. I had every intention of using this on my face, however the packaging is very clear that that is not the best idea. So I ended up using it on the heels of my feet and it felt like I had just gotten a pedicure!

ModelCO Lip Lacquer

This is essentially just a very lightly pigmented (almost clear) gloss. Nothing special in my opinion. I will save this to top other lip colors when I want more of a shine but don’t see myself using this as a solo lip product.

Vera Bradley Vanilla Sea Salt Fragrance

Birchbox is great about sending fragrances, which I enjoy because it’s not something I typically want to spend my beauty budget on. I love this scent! I was afraid it would smell too salty for my liking but it’s very subtle and reminds me of the beach for sure. It also brings me back to my childhood when I loved vanilla everything.

Supergoop Defense Refresh Setting Mist

In my Birchbox preview post this month, I predicted I would like this mist the best and I was right! As I get older, sun protection gets more important. Using this setting mist, which doubles as an SPF, could not be any easier. The packaging reads “matte finish three-in-one sets make-up, controls oil, and delivers UV photoaging protection”. Umm… thank you, Birchbox, for reading my mind on exactly what I need in my life!!!

Beauty Protector Protect & Detangle

This baby smells so good. As you have probably heard me say time and time again, I don’t use leave in conditioners like this regularly. I find that they make my hair greasier faster  and that’s just not a cute look. This is something I will keep on hand but likely will not use too often.

My Rating: STAR-4

This box was pretty solid overall. I am stoked about the setting mist, that’s by far my favorite product! It will be especially perfect for the summer months. I also really love the peel and fragrance, both of which I can see investing my own money into after my samples run out. The leave in conditioner is okay to have but you may have heard me say that I have been sent so many of these that they just aren’t super exciting to get. I’m not crazy about the lip product, that’s probably the only thing I don’t like or find useful out of the mix I was sent. Good month, Birchbox. Just send some better lippies next time, XOXO.

Ipsy May 2016 – Review

Have you heard of Ipsy?! It’s a monthly beauty subscription service that allows you to try unique brands, use different products, and collect items items that you may not pick up on your own… AND it’s only $10 a month!!! Feel free to sign up by clicking here.

This is what I got this month…

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Aurora – Gel Effect Nail Polish

I’m skeptical of any nail product that claims to be gel but doesn’t require a uv lamp. This was streaky to go on and chipped within a few days. It would have required three coats to look decent, but ain’t nobody got time for that.

Pacifica – Natural Mineral Coconut Eye Shadow Trio

The colors in here are so spring and summer appropriate although the pigmentation is lacking. The purple works well on me and I really like that one exclusively.

Crazy Rumors – HibisKill Natural Lip Color

I don’t always need a super pigmented lip. Sometimes I appreciate a softer tinted lip so I was  pretty open-minded in trying this product. The scent was so strong that I had to take it off in less than a half hour and the tint was nothing special.

NoTS – 28 Remedy Acne Pore Deep Cleanser

If you saw my preview post on this month’s Ipsy bag, you know this was the item I was most looking forward to this month and I generally do like it. It is very sudsy with little exfoliation and leaves the skin feeling really soft.

Smashbox – XRated Mascara

I enjoy this a lot! The wand looks a little out there, like it will massively clump up your lashes but I was pleasantly surprised with the effect it gave me… longer, thicker lashes with a smooth dark black formula!

My Review:3-star

This is an Ipsy first for me, but the thing I loved most about this month’s bag was the bag itself!! I have been looking for something to keep travel brushes in and this bag is so perfect for that job. The bag is big and flexible and the print is too perfect for what I’ll use it for. Beyond that (and I hate to be negative on my blog) this was one of my least favorite bags I have gotten in my 9 months with Ipsy. It’s hard for me to 100% get behind any of the products with the expectation of the mascara. The cleanser and shadow I will use but am not overly excited for. The chapstick and nail polish I am planning to give away to people in my life I think it may work better for. Without the actual bag, this month would have been sort of a bust for me.

 

Any thoughts on your bag this month?

Ipsy April 2016 – Review

I love this time of the month, IPSY TIME!!!

You can sign up here to receive 5 deluxe-sized samples in a cute new Ipsy bag every month. It’s a great way to try unique brands, use different products, and collect items that you may not pick up on your own. For only $10 a month, the price is right! Here is what I got this month…

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City Color – Highlight Trio

This was my favorite product by far! The colors are super gorgeous and have a good amount of pigment. I am most excited to bring this traveling because it’s a 3-in-1, which means less packing.

Probelle – Nail Lacquer

I’m in love with the shade I got, “In Or Out” so much that I had to try it out right away :). The formula is nice and it seems to be pretty long lasting for a nail polish.

Nth Degree – Moroccan Argan Oil & Keratin Hair Serum

In my Ipsy April 2016 – Preview post, I predicted this would be my least favorite product. While that does hold true, I actually like this more than I thought I would. It’s useful to smooth dry ends and even though it’s not something I would typically buy, it seems like it will be nice to have.

Tarte – LipSurgence Lip Creme

My very first Tarte product! (It did not disappoint, that’s for sure.) The color I got is called “Wonder”. This isn’t the most opaque and long-lasting lipstick, but is very hydrating and easy to apply, which I have been reaching for lately anyway.

Crown Brush – C427 Duo Fiber Blush Brush

This is very versatile and easy to use… there are actually indents where your fingers should go! Easy peasy. The bristles are a little stiff and not as dense as I normally prefer, but still a great product to get.

My Rating: images

One of the best bags I’ve ever gotten!!! This was spot on with my preferences. The colors are all ones I would personally pick out and everything in this bag is something I will use. I am impressed at the sizes of the samples I got, which I really think make this particular bag worth it. Good job, Ipsy! XOXO

April Birchbox 2016 – Review

I’ve given all of my products a try and come to you today with a review on my April Birchbox :). To find out more about Birchbox, you can click here to access my first Birchbox  review post, where I really get into the details about this beauty subscription service.

You can also click here to sign up if you’re interested.

First of all, how CUTE is this month’s box?!

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Laura Gellar New York Baked Blush-n-Brighten

This is by far my favorite product I got in the box and probably my favorite product I have ever gotten in any box! This blush is so bright and so unique and so incredible and… you need it in your life!

PARLOR by Jeff Chastain Volumizing Lifting Spray

I didn’t love or hate this. The times that I tried it my hair felt more smooth than volumized so for that reason I don’t think it does what it claims. However, the smell is amazing!

TOCCA Crema da Mano Hand Cream

Lotions are fun for me to get because I keep them everywhere! My nightstand, purse, desk, makeup counter… the list goes on. The actual product wasn’t anything to swoon over, however the scents offered in this hand cream are truly bold and different.

Dr. Jart+ Liftra Contour Cream

In my Birchbox April 2016 – Preview post, I didn’t name this as what I least looking forward to but, for me, it finishes last this month. (Let me explain…) The product itself seems decent, but the sample size is not enough for me to know if it is actually firming my skin or not. And for the very hefty prize tag of a full sized bottle, I’m honestly not that interested in ever finding out.

Marcelle  3-in-1 Micellar Solution

This product is a serious win! It works wonders for taking off makeup at the end of the day. I wouldn’t recommend using it on the lips because there is a strong chemical taste, but for the rest of the face it’s perfect.

 

My Rating: 3-star

The blush completely made this box for me. I seriously can’t tell you just how much I love it! The rest of the products… they’re all okay. I will use the lotion and micellar water for sure, the volumizing spray occasionally, and the contour cream just for the sake of using it up. Some months my excitement is spread across products and other months all of my excitement is channeled into one great product. Either way I’m happy with my box this month, XOXO.

Freeman Masks Review

I love these masks!!! First of all, they are very affordable at around $5 apiece. Second, they are sold in sample sizes, which is perfect for a girl’s night in, traveling, or to just try a few out if you’re curious. Lastly (and most importantly), they do what they say they will. I’m making it a point to try every mask-type product in the Freeman line, but haven’t gotten quite that far yet.

 

Here are the ones I have tried so far…

Avocado & Oatmeal Clay Mask – Perfect for firming skin and reducing oil. This works well for controlling acne breakouts.

Mint & Lemon Clay Mask – Firms skin, reduces oil, and the mint/lemon combo will leave your skin feeling super refreshed. My favorite so far!

Charcoal & Black Sugar Polish Mask – Did not work out for me. Very gooey formula that never did dry on my face, which I wasn’t expecting considering it is advertised as both a charcoal product and a mask.

Honeydew & Chamomile Sleeping Mask – Not your traditional “mask”, this is more of a deep moisturizer. It works great for extra dry parts of your face.

Sparkling Pear Pore Cleansing Mask – A lighter whipped clay mask. Does not firm up as tight. Would be a  good option for summer or if you have less oily skin.

 

Be on the lookout for another Freeman mask review… I am so obsessed with them and have lots more waiting  to be tried out. Using them nightly has done wonders for my skin. Check out a few if you get the chance, XOXO.

Dry Skin Savers

Today I am sharing my favorite moisturizing products to celebrate the last official day of winter. (I’m from Wisconsin, this day is a big deal.) In my recent post about exfoliators, I let you all know just how bad this winter weather has been on my skin… and thankfully I have found some great dry skin savers to keep my skin feeling more moisturized.

Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream

I found myself needing more frequent manicures this winter to try to keep my cuticles under control and this product helped in between appointments. I use this balm every 2-3 nights before bed to keep my cuticles moisturized. I’m obsessed with the scent, too!

Beauty Without Cruelty Fragrance Free Hand & Body Lotion

This came to me in a beauty bag a few months ago and my first thought was “oh great, an unscented lotion, boringggg”. It actually turned out to be the best lotion I have ever used! Because it is unscented, there is less alcohol and it won’t leave you with that burn that some lotions have. Perfect for an all-over moisturizer.

Cuccio Cuticle Oil

I use this oil as a deep cuticle treatment about every 2 weeks. Because of the liquid formula, it takes about 30 minutes to set into your cuticles. I like to use this only when I know I’ll be still for that long, so pop on Netflix and let this stuff really sink in!

Blistex Medicated Mint Balm

This tops my list of holy grail products!!! To be honest I use it year-round and keep a spare in every purse, pocket, desk, nightstand, shelf, nook, and cranny of my living spaces. I literally never leave home without this lip balm.

NSPA Exotically Creamy Coconut Rich Body Butter

I like this lotion specifically for the driest parts of my body, my elbows and knees. It is a thicker formula that works perfectly for giving deeper moisture to your skin.

Dirty Works Best Food Forward Foot Butter

 I used to apply any ordinary lotion on my feet, but this winter I tried foot-specific lotion and it made a huge difference! Apply this daily before bed and after waking up… I bet you will feel the same results that I have. This lotion is infused with peppermint oil, which serves as a soothing agent for skin, so it will leave your feet feeling refreshed and relaxed.

Do you use and love these products? Any suggestions to add to my list? XOXO

Ipsy – March 2016

It’s that time of the month where a pretty pink envelope got delivered to my door!

Ipsy is a monthly beauty subscription bag. You can sign up here to take a personalized quiz and receive 5 deluxe-sized samples in a cute new bag every time. It’s a great way to try unique brands, use different products, and collect items that you may not pick up on your own. And for only $10 a month, the price is right!

There is a pretty wide variety of items offered every month and each subscriber gets a customized group of them based on the personalized quiz. Here is my review the products I got this month.

 

March 2016 theme is “Hello Spring”.

This is the bag I received, which I am IN LOVE with…

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And these are the items that came inside…

Beau Gachis Paris – “Eyebrow Brush”

Ipsy must have read my mind this month because this was on my To-Buy-Soon-List. This brush has soft, but firm bristles that work well for applying powder-based eyeliner. And now I have one angled brush for brown powders and one for black!

Starlooks – “Luxe Longwear Eye Pencil”

Another item that was on my To-Buy-Soon-List! This liner is smooth to go on and dries matte. However be careful with applying, the product itself seems easy to break off.

NYX – “Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick”

Although I don’t love the shade I was sent (“Soft-Spoken”), I do love everything else about this liquid lipstick. It is a very comfortable wear, not drying in the slightest. I will definitely be looking into buying this in a different shade.

Be A Bombshell – “Baked Bronzer”

For my skin tone, this bronzer works best as a highlighter or face shimmer product. It is very subtle to show up on the skin, but gives a nice overall glow to the face.

Marc Anthony – “Nourishing Argan Oil”

My hair has always been on the frizzy side so this product will be a fun one for me to try. I don’t typically reach for Argan scented products but this one smells fantastic!

My Rating: STAR-4

Great items this month and by far the cutest bag I have ever received! There was a good mix between products that I needed to pick up anyways and products that I wouldn’t have picked out myself but am excited to try. I do wish that the lipstick and bronzer came in shades more aligned with my preference, but can see myself using them from time to time. Overall I’m happy, XOXO.