Build Your Own Birchbox Review

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My sister E knows what a big Birchbox fan I am, so since she lives in NYC she decided to swing by the Birchbox store and make me a BB for my birthday. I was super excited to hear about her experience and see what she picked out for me!

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Obviously I haven’t been to the store myself, so I can only go by E’s experience. There is a section of the store where, for $15, you get to customize your own box. There are five separate sections, each with 3-5 choices according to E. She was a little annoyed because there was a fragrance section and she would have preferred to not include a fragrance in the box.

Here is what she chose:

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Folle de Joie eau de parfum.

I am very particular about my perfume. I like interesting, unusual perfumes and typically stay away from anything in the department stores because they all smell the same to me. For that reason, I wasn’t excited to see a perfume sample in my box. This actually isn’t bad though. It has a mustiness to it that makes it a little warmer and tones down the perfumey smell. I wouldn’t buy a full size but I will wear this until the sample runs out.

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Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel Sensitive.

I haven’t tried this yet but I am excited to. Peels always interest me and I like Juice Beauty. This is a pretty small sample though. I would say two uses.

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Frederick Fekkai Brilliant Glossing Conditioner.

This is a great sized sample. Again, another one I haven’t gotten to yet but I will definitely use it!

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Stila Lip Glaze in Shortcake.

Stila Lip Glaze isn’t my favorite because it feels pretty sticky and the colors I have tried do not have a good payoff. I wouldn’t buy one but I will use this for sure. I love the neutral color and it is nice that BB included a full size gloss amongst their choices.

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Ruffian Nail Lacquer in Ruffian Naked and Ruffian Dressing Room Remover Towlette.

This is my first Ruffian color. I know they get included in BB a lot and I was happy to see this in my box. I love nude colors. They are trendy but sophisticated at the same time. I also like lighter colors because they are more forgiving to nicks and chips. I can’t wait to use this.

Overall, I was super pleased and excited to receive a customized Birchbox. I think there are some flaws with the current set up.

The biggest issue I have is that I can’t review the products for points. At least I don’t think I can! One of the things I love most about BB is their points system. Usually, for every product in your box you can submit a review and earn 10 points. 100 points=$10 and you can redeem the points on products in the BB store. Their points system is seriously amazing and probably the main reason why BB rates so much higher than ipsy for me. Ipsy points are much higher to redeem to the point where I am not sure I am even going to bother submitting reviews this month for my ipsy products. If there were some way to review these five BB products for points I would be so happy!

Secondly, it sounds like there isn’t much selection for the build your own BB. Obviously I can only go by E’s experience, but she wasn’t really impressed and when I asked her if going to the store was worth it, she said not really.

Lastly, the box is $15 as opposed to $10. I get that you pay more for the novelty of making your own box and I would actually gladly pay the $15 if the above mentioned issues were taken care of.

If I am ever in Soho, I will certainly stop in the store and make my own box. I wouldn’t be able to help myself! I do think though that it would be something I would only do once.

Have you been to the Birchbox store? Please share your thoughts!

MemeBox Review: OMG2

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Last week brought the arrival of two new Meme boxes. I reviewed My Cute Wishlist 2 already (which I loved!). Now it’s time for OMG 2. I wasn’t that impressed with the first OMG when I saw the unboxings. I expect OMG to be full of all kinds of crazy products, and the original box just didn’t seem that out there, so I really wasn’t sure what to expect with this one.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with Memebox, it is a Korean company that sells boxes curated with Korean beauty products. Each box has a certain theme or brand and let me tell you, they are addicting! Unfortunately, the boxes are typically sold months before the anticipated ship date, and the wait to get the boxes sucks, but you know when placing your order exactly when your box will ship. Patience is not a quality I am known for. To check out some of the current boxes for sale on the Memebox site, click here.

Here are the products I received in OMG 2.

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Cristallin Cellulose masks x2, retail value $10 apiece.

Included were both the Balance Sheet and Whitening Balance Sheet. Each pack includes two masks, so all in all the box included four of these masks. They are pricier for a sheet mask and the one I tried was just ok. They are supposed to improve the skin’s clarity and elasticity. According to the card, the OMG factor is that the “jelly-like texture feels like an octopus wrapped around your face.” Nice try Memebox, nice try. There is absolutely nothing OMG about these masks.

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Priori Aroma Ac Moisture Gel Mist, retails for $24.

This is a moisturizing lavender toner. I love lavender and I love toner, so I will use this no problem. This has bee venom in it, which I’ll admit, that’s weird. This one works for the OMG factor. It is definitely a more moisturizing toner, so I think it will work well in the upcoming colder months. And I keep calling it a toner but I guess it’s not even really a toner.

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Seatree Syn-Ake Essence, retails for $20. This was a variation. Some boxes got the Syn-Ake Total Solution.

This contains “youth preserving ingredients”, including Syn-Ake, which is a synthetic snake venom that I believe is popular in Korean beauty products. This essence is meant to give you more radiant, supple skin. I believe an essence is to be used under moisturizer. Korean skincare is a very lengthy process with many steps, so I often get confused. Anyway, I have been using it under my moisturizer and haven’t noticed much of a difference yet. It feels kind of sticky on my skin. And the fake snake venom is certainly OMG worthy.

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Ladykin Vanpir Dark Repair Cream, retails for $50.

This is a skin brightening moisturizer that has green tea extracts to minimize discolorations. It is also anti aging. I haven’t tried it yet because I have enough creams in the rotation now. I will hold on to it for now but may give it to my mom if I don’t need it anytime soon. I am sure I will like it but I have no idea how this relates to the OMG theme.

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Haruen Dorothy Haruen-s, retails for $26.

This is a volcanic rock dual sided rollerball that is meant to absorb excess oil. It is 100% volcanic rock. I actually really like this. You just slide it across your skin to absorb the oil. Kind of gross really. I guess the rock becomes full of grease?! Anyway, I will go ahead and agree with the inclusion of this as being OMG worthy.

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Milky Dress Bohr-Effect Carboxy Gel, retail value $24.

This is essentially another sheet mask. You layer the gel on your face, apply the sheet mask and then apply another layer of gel over top. It is meant to deep cleanse pores as well as firm and tighten the skin.

There was only one sheet mask included, so I assume it was a one time use. The tube of gel is pretty big but I used 95% of it. I guess I could have saved more of it because I think it would work well even without the sheet mask. As it was, using so much made my face burn right away. I left it on for 10-15 minutes and noticed that it left me with red blotches. I used the mask before bed and luckily when I woke up the next morning, my skin looked fine. My skin felt super smooth and my pores looked better too.

Overall, I was disappointed with this box. It was definitely full of great skincare products but many of them didn’t match the theme. I would have loved an array of OMG products instead of a complete skincare box.

This box has a value of $162, going by the retail values suggested by Memebox, so you are getting a box full of high quality skincare. For that reason, I feel kind of silly complaining but it just isn’t what I was looking forward to. Regardless, I will use these products and I still love Memebox!

What do you think of the OMG2 box?

September 2014 ipsy Glam Bag

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For those of you new to ipsy, it is a subscription service where, for $10 a month, you get a glam bag specially curated for you based on your beauty profile.

I already knew what I was getting in my bag this month, so no surprises here. It’s always fun getting mail though!

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Crown Brush Infinity Shadow/Crease Duet brush. This retails for $6.99 on the Crown Brush website.

I wasn’t especially excited to see this in my bag but I could definitely use a new brush, so I’m not disappointed either. It seems like a nice enough brush and I like that it is dual sided!

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NYX Hot Singles eyeshadow in Dressed to Kill Fashion Victim. This is a full size product and retails for $4.50 on the NYX site.

I actually really like this color. It is a mix between gunmetal gray and taupe, and looks like it has a fair amount of shimmer. Unfortunately, it has very very little color payoff. Even using a lot of it only built up the tiniest bit of color. I am not sure if it is just an issue with this shade, as I haven’t used an NYX shadow before. Pretty disappointing.

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Pacifica Natural Water-Proof Eyeliner in Fringe. From what I can tell, this sample would have a value of $4.09.

The spoiler for this month’s ipsy bag was that everyone would receive either a Pacifica eyeliner or nail polish. I really need new polish, so I had hoped for that but I got the eyeliner instead. The color I received is Fringe, which is a dark brown. I actually think I’ll get a lot of use from it plus I don’t have an eyeliner in this color, so my disappointment has abated. Had it turned out to be black, I would be singing a different tune!

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Cailyn Art Touch Tinted Lip Gloss in Basic Instinct. This is a full size product and retails on the Cailyn website for $19.

I have heard good things about this gloss, so I was excited to try it. The color I received is more neutral, so I think I will get a lot of use from it. The formula is pretty thick without being goopy or tacky and I really like the applicator too. It is a cross between a doe foot applicator and a spatula.

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Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Hair Mask. This sample has a value of $4.95.

This mask purports to improve the elasticity of the hair and reduce breakage as well as increase shine, with ingredients like avocado, rose hip and argan oil. I like that it is applied in the shower after you’ve washed your hair. Just leave it on 3-5 minutes and then rinse off. Very easy. I plan on taking it out of town with me this weekend to give it a shot so hopefully I like it!

This is my second month receiving ipsy. This and Birchbox are the only two subscription boxes it receive and while I have enjoyed the products in my ipsy bags, and the value is definitely there (this bag in particular has a calculated value of $39.53), the products themselves seem a little cheap. I am trying to decide at this point if I want to keep ipsy or go with a different subscription box. Maybe BoxyCharm?

It’s a tough call, because for only $10 a month, you can’t beat the value, even though ipsy’s point system is nowhere near as rewarding as Birchbox’s. I think ipsy could use a little but of rebranding. I think their product card is worthless and cheapens the glam bag and this month’s actual bag also looked cheap to me.

I would love to hear your thoughts! Do you subscribe to ipsy? Any other subscription boxes you would recommend?

-s

MemeBox Review: My Cute Wishlist 2

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Right around the time I discovered MemeBox, they released My Cute Wishlist 2. The first version hadn’t even been sent out yet (MemeBoxes usually have a 1-2 month lag between release date and ship date. One of the few complaints I have! Waiting is hard!) but there was a lot of hype surrounding it so I quickly bought version 2 in a value set with OMG 2. Value sets are great because you only pay shipping on one box and you automatically get upgraded to express shipping. The ship date was September 12, so this past Friday. I received it yesterday (Monday), so the express shipping is definitely the way to go! I may be spoiled now.

My Cute Wishlist 2 is currently sold out but there are some great options at Memebox right now. I may or may not have been purchased WTF and Wine and Cheese yesterday. To see a list of some of the current MemeBoxes, click here.

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My first Memebox was the At Home box and I wasn’t that impressed. I think Memebox missed the mark with that one but I have been excited to get these two. I had really high hopes for both.

My Cute Wishlist was released a few weeks ago and got a great reception. I have seen a lot if reviews for it and if it is ever re released, I will try to snag one! Because of how great the first one was, a lot of people haven’t been as impressed with MCW2. I love it though and am very pleased with the contents!

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Sally’s Box Friendly Berry Berry Lip Patch, retail value $3.

I have been dying to try one of these since seeing them in other MemeBoxes. I haven’t used it yet. I feel like I need to save it for a special occasion. I wish they would have included 2-3 instead of just the one but I am hoping we will get something like it in the mask box that ships this month.

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Evas Vitamin Cleansing Dessert in Berry Mix, retail value $18.

Boxes either included this scent or the Lemon scent. Initially I was disappointed that I didn’t get lemon as the berry scent is very sweet, but I actually loved the scent on my face. Weird, I know.

Anyway, this is a cream face cleanser. It removes makeup and also deep cleanses pores. It feels like a cream/oil cleanser going on but it leaves that tight, clean feeling of a soap based cleanser. I love it and would be thrilled to see it in another box. Here’s to hoping we see the wine scented one in the Wine and Cheese box!

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SaintPeau Collagen Pudding Sleeping Pack, retail value $36.

Sleeping packs are overnight masks that you sleep in. You can cleanse your face in the morning to remove it. This mask has 52% collagen in it to give you more youthful skin. The info card also says it fills in fine lines and delivers a deep and intense nourishment to the skin. I have wanted to try a sleeping pack, so I am thrilled with this!

The sleeping pack comes with a cute little spatula for application. That, along with the pig packaging, makes it cute for me. I guess it’s not as cute as the cupcake skincare items from the first MCW though!

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RoseMine Perfumed Hand Cream in Nana’s Lily, retail value $12.

I don’t really need a new hand cream right now but I suppose I could change my tune as the weather grows colder. This is a nice cream in that it leaves your hands moisturized without feeling oily or greasy. I got the scent Nana’s Lily, although some boxes had Hesperides. The scent is a true lily scent and makes me think of Florida. I wish it were stronger. The scent is extremely light.

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It’s Skin Babyface Petit Blusher in Baby Pink, retail value $7.

This is the one product I am not sure I will use. I don’t really wear blusher very often so I may not keep this for myself. I think I got Baby Pink, but I am not entirely sure. It fits well with the theme and if I don’t keep it my stepdaughter will probably find it in her stocking on Christmas morning!

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The YEON Style Y Fruity Swirl Lip Balm in Strawberry Twist, retail value $8.

This came in two other variations, Orange Twist and Lime Twist. Initially, it looked like a cheap lipgloss you would buy at Claire’s. It actually feels really hydrating on the lips though and has great staying power. I am glad I got the color I did because it is very pretty on. I don’t think this is a very cute lipgloss but I will use it.

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Overall, I am extremely pleased with My Cute Wishlist 2. It is my favorite Memebox so far. I am definitely addicted!

*affiliate link used in this review.

Lush Kitchen: Washday Greens

I apologize for the lapse in posting, I went on vacation last week and it look me awhile to get back into the swing of things!

I get SUPER excited when the Lush Kitchen comes out with new hair products, and S had said she was interested in trying this shampoo awhile back- So, when it became available, we had to jump on it!

Lush’s description of this shampoo on the website states “A beautiful herbal shampoo with a fresh, minty fragrance. Chlorophyllin helps to balance oil production, fresh bay tones the scalp and garden mint helps to give hair body and lift. Beat the washday blues and wake up sleepy, lifeless hair with Washday Greens.”

Now, I definitely would not call my hair lifeless, it actually has a life of its own, but I figured my scalp could always use the extra help. I’ve been using this shampoo for a couple of washes now, and I feel that my hair looks great!

The scent is very pleasant, with an overall a minty smell but toned down with a bit of earthiness. This shampoo does not create a huge lather, which can be a little disconcerting for me. I like a bit of lather so I feel like it’s actually working. The first time I used it, I did feel that my hair wasn’t completely clean afterwards. That might be from the conditioner I am currently using, which is a little difficult to wash out. It’s not a Lush conditioner, and I will be reviewing it soon as well. So the second time, I washed my hair twice to make sure I didn’t miss anything. A lot of shampoos I’ve tried will leave my hair feeling squeaky clean but with a dry hay-like texture, which this does not give me at all. It seems to be moisturizing and very gentle.

Since using it, I feel my hair is much softer and shinier, which is wonderful! My hair is ombre right now, and the blonder parts have the tendency to look dry and dull, so this shampoo seems to liven up my hair in that sense. I am also working on growing it out, so my hope is that Washday Greens helps my scalp grow healthier and stronger hair.

Overall, I am happy with this shampoo and I wish I had gotten a second bottle!
Have you tried any of Lush’s shampoos? What’s your favorite?

Thanks!!

-M

September Birchbox Review

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I feel like I am always the last person to get my Birchbox! When I got to work Saturday, all my coworkers were talking about their BB and what they got. I was green with envy since I was still waiting on mine! Lo and behold, it was waiting for me when I got home that evening!

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For those who don’t know, Birchbox is a monthly subscription box. For $10 a month, you get a box of curated deluxe samples tailored to your beauty profile. To sign up, please click here (by signing up through my link, I will receive BB points).

The cool thing about Birchbox is that you can review the products in your box in exchange for BB points. Those points can then be applied towards purchases in the BB store. Their rewards program is extremely generous.

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Beginning three months ago, Birchbox started letting subscribers choose one of the samples in their box each month. This was the first month I chose a sample, as last month’s options didn’t really interest me. I chose the Davines Oi Conditioner because I have been on the hunt for a new conditioner. I’ll admit, it was very difficult to choose between this and the Liz Earle cleanser. Hopefully I don’t regret my choice.

Along with a good sized tub of the conditioner, foil packets of the Davines Absolute Beautifying shampoo and hair oil potion were included. I would have been fine with just the conditioner, as I have no problem mixing and matching hair products, but I am excited to try all three. The conditioner smells amazing. Very fresh with a hint of mint.

I calculated this sample to be worth $9.61. It is definitely a generous size!

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I also got the Real Chemistry Luminous Three Minute Peel. M got this in her BB a few months ago and said she didn’t really notice a difference after using it. I am excited to try it though to see what I think!

The Three Minute Peel is an acid free peel that gently exfoliates to reveal softer, smoother and brighter skin. It retails for a hefty $48, so I will have to be pretty wowed to spring for the full size.

I value this sample at $6.56

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Tempt s/b Highlighter in Champagne Shimmer. I wasn’t too excited about this one at first. I’m not sure why because I actually ran out of my last highlighter so I actually did need one. I don’t use highlighter as much as I should so maybe this will convince me.

It is pretty subtle but has a good amount of shimmer, and is a pinky champagne tone that should be good for most skin tones.

I value this sample at $2.75

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Acure Organics Day Cream. Acure Organics is becoming the Supergoop! Of BB for me. This was the second month in a row that I got one of their products in my box. I am ok with that though, as both products were hits for me and I love how generous their sample sizes are.

According to me info card, this cream is made with gotu kola stem cells to create an anti aging, firming cream. Ok then. I guess I will have to continue using it for awhile to see results, but either way I like it. It smells like fresh orange juice and is a little thicker without being too heavy for daytime use. It sinks in quickly as well without being sticky. I really like it!

I value this sample at $10.55

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The last sample in my box was the Harvey Prince Liquid Loofah in Ageless. This is the only product I was disappointed in. According to my BB app, I was supposed to get a Laura Mercier mascara, so I was surprised when this showed up in my box. I actually would have been excited for this product but I really hate the scent. It is supposed to smell like vanilla and grapefruit but it just smells so perfumey to me. I really dislike that in a shower gel. I don’t even think I will try this out because I can’t imagine liking it better on my skin.

I valued this sample at $.92.

Overall, I loved my box this month. I think Birchbox just keeps getting better and better. I valued my box at $30.39 (that does not include the foil packets of shampoo and hair oil) and with the exception of the Harvey Prince Liquid Loofah, I will use everything.

What did you think of your Birchbox this month?

Recent Sephora Finds

I made two Sephora purchases in August. The first one I posted about. The second one wasn’t very exciting, but I did want to post some reviews on the products I got.

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Too Faced Melted Liquified Long Wear Lipstick in Melted Fig, $21.

The new Melted lipsticks seem to be all the rage right now. From the instant I saw them, I knew I wanted to try one. They are touted as “highly saturated” and although they are a lipstick, the applicator is more like that of a gloss.

I really wanted a more neutral shade, so I almost went with Melted Peony but in the end I was afraid it would be a little too pink. If I were going to buy another one, I would probably go for that one though! There is a Melted Nude too but it would not have looked good on me. I think I need to actually go in to Sephora and see them in person.

Anyway, I love Melted Fig. Yes, it’s purple but definitely wearable. They aren’t lying about the high saturation either. Holy cow! I wiped most of it off and was left with a gorgeous stain that lasted for hours. I think it’s important to be careful not to apply too much, unless you want a super bold look. If Sephora/Too Faced would release a value set of these I would be all over it!

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You may remember my first Sephora haul where I got the Boscia Multi Masking kit that includes the four Boscia peel off masks for $18. I love peel off masks. There is something so gratifying at the end when you peel the mask off and I feel like it gives you a deep cleaning. I didn’t love the fact that the masks came in foil packets but I wasn’t going to spend $34-38 on a mask before trying them all out.

The packets were a good size and I was able to get two uses per mask packet by being careful with my application. I really enjoyed the brightening mask and the black luminizing mask. I felt the best effects from those and I ended up buying the full size of the black mask because it helps “refine and shrink pores”.

The other two masks in the pack were the Green Tea Oil Control mask and the Cool Blue Calming mask. The green tea mask was fine. I just didn’t feel like it did much for my skin. I don’t get very oily. The cooling mask was my least favorite because the cooling sensation was a little too much. I typically like cooling masks but this one almost felt like it was burning.

Sephora currently has a limited edition set with all four masks and an application brush for $42. The masks are all .7 oz, so 1/4 of the full size. Therefore, you aren’t getting any type of deal but it is another option if you don’t want to be tied down to just one option. I considered this set since I hate foil packets but I couldn’t justify the cost. I am so glad I went with the cheaper option since I wasn’t a fan of all four masks.

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Have you gotten anything awesome from Sephora lately?