Ipsy October 2014 Review

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I have only been getting ipsy for a few months and I am already considering canceling my subscription. I feel like every month I am much more excited about my Birchbox and I haven’t even bothered reviewing my ipsy products the last two months because their points system is so subpar compared to BB.

This month was my worst yet for ipsy. Here is what I got.

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Ecru New York Acacia Protein BB Balm for hair.

I actually don’t typically mind hair care samples but I have been inundated with hair care products recently so this is the last thing I need. I smelled because if it had smelled amazing that would have changed my mind. Unfortunately it smelled just like any hair care product you would pick up at the drug store. I will be passing this sample along.

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Mica Beauty Mineral Eyeshadow

This color is ok on. It has a greenish cast to it but the color is a neutral brown shade. Typically I would be fine with it but I prefer pressed shadows. The loose powders are difficult for me to use, so while I will wear this it won’t become a favorite.

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Ayers Patagonia Body Butter

I am not a lotion user. I buy it and never use it. So samples like this are never a hit with me. As it stands, this doesn’t have an amazing scent so I will also be passing along this sample.

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City Color Be Matte lipstick

This reminds me so much of a lipstick I wore in high school from The Body Shop. The color is the same and the dry texture is similar as well. This is a very neutral lip color so I am sure I
will get some use out of it. The formula feels a bit too dry for me but that is typical of a matte lipstick in my experience.

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Epice International Purifying Exfoliant

Again, I have a million products like this already. I haven’t even tried this one and will likely give it away as well.

Sorry for such a curt post. I usually list the colors/scents of the products and the value but I honestly couldn’t be bothered. I got my ipsy bag over a week ago and have barely looked at the contents because I was so unenthused. I am going to update my beauty profile to hopefully ensure that I don’t get another bag that is such a miss. Otherwise I am going to cancel after next month. I would rather get Sample Society or a polish box at this point! I think my biggest issue with ipsy is it mostly seems like just junk products. I have never even heard of most of the brands so there is never anything in my box that I have been wanting to try. Maybe if their point system was as good as BB then I would be more forgiving. I don’t know.

What did you think of your ipsy bag this month?

-s

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Memebox Review: My Mask Box #5

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I have an obsession with face masks. I love to slap on a mask and relax in a steaming hot bubble bath. I couldn’t resist buying this Memebox for that reason. (I refuse to buy anymore though until I get through some of my current masks!)

For those of you that are unfamiliar, Memebox is a Korean company that sells curated, themed boxes. Unlike other subscription boxes, you just choose to buy whichever boxes appeal to you. Beware, they are addicting! Click here to see some of their in stock boxes.

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Even though I am super bad about spoilers with other subscription boxes, I never cheat with Memebox. I love the surprise! This one took awhile to get to me, so it was hard to resist looking at the contents as it started popping up on IG and Facebook.

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Pro You Pore Control Facial Mask, Memebox retail value is $53

This mask removes blackheads and cleans pores while also hydrating the skin with vegetable collagen. This mask reminded me of something I would have bought at the drugstore as a teenager. I fail to see how it would be worth $53. I found it to be very effective, I’ll give you that much. Plus the tube is big. I will be using this every week or two because I liked how deeply cleansing it was without drying my skin out.

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Elizavecca Green Piggy Collagen Jella Pack, Memebox Retail value $30.

This is my third Elizavecca product from Memebox. I absolutely loved the first two, so I have no doubt I will love this too. I am currently using the collagen sleeping pack that came in MCW2 and this sounds very similar, so I don’t want to start using it till I run out of that.

Please, please Memebox release an Elizavecca box! I would definitely buy it!

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Tosoooong Help Me Neck Patch, Memebox retail value of $30.

This is a cellulose sheet mask for your neck with coconut fermentation to plump and lift the skin. I haven’t used these yet because I don’t care much about my neck at that point in my life. If this was a slimming mask that would help with the double chin I am sporting, I would be all over it.

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Purederm Wrinkle Reducer Patches, Memebox retail value of $12.

These under eye patches are meant to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. I used them after a long nigh of no sleep and they actually worked pretty well at minimizing puffiness and discoloration, so I think I will save them for when I have that type of desperate situation.

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Milky Dress Aqua Sleeping Pack, Memebox retail value of $23.

Another sleeping pack. This one hydrates, soothes and brightens. I haven’t tried this one yet either because I don’t want to having too many sleeping packs in rotation at once. I love sleeping packs though and use one pretty much every night so I will definitely use this at some point.

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Pure Smile Mask Sheet, $6

This pack includes five sheet masks. There were many variations. The one I got was Pearl. I am bummed only because I really wanted the placenta one. I know sheet masks are popular, and I certainly expected them in this box, but I am not a sheet mask convert just yet.

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Insobeau Beauty Secret Step Up Bust Mask, Memebox Retail Value of $14.

This is a mask for your bust area that apparently moisturizes, softens and lifts. You’re meant to wear it for 6 hours under your bra. I am currently nursing, so I didn’t want to use this for fear that my baby may ingest some of it on accident, so I will give it to M who I am sure will enjoy it.

Overall, My Mask Box has a retail value (according to Memebox) of $168. While the value is usually inflated, I did think that this was a great box. The two sleeping packs and the pore mask really upped the value for me and there wasn’t anything I was disappointed in. I am a little bummed that I haven’t ordered the more recent mask boxes but, as I said earlier, I have a stockpile of masks I need to use up at the moment.

What are your favorite face masks?

-s

MemeBox Review: Rapunzel Box

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MemeBox is my current obsession. I love beauty boxes in general, and MemeBoxes have such fun themes and such a great value that I can’t stop ordering them.

MemeBoxes are similar to subscription boxes except that instead of being monthly, they release boxes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and you can buy any boxes you want instead of being automatically charged. To see their available boxes, click here (this is an affiliate link). Use code Y4M5 to get $5 off your order.

A few months ago, MemeBox released the first series of princess boxes. Sleeping Beauty and Snow White didn’t interest us, but when M and I heard there was a Rapunzel box, we were all over it. M had actually never ordered a MemeBox before, so this was her first! Since we ordered together, MemeBox upgraded the shipping to Express and we got out boxes within a few days of release.

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Here is the product card for this box. Always keep your product cards in a safe place because most of the products are completely in Korean, so you can’t read the packaging for directions.

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Sally’s Box Friendly Argan Hair Mask, $4.

I love hair masks but I am hesitant about this one for two reasons. First, I have used one other product from this brand and it was awful. It was the lip mask from the My Cute Wishlist 2 box and it left my lips actually feeling drier after I used it. Also, I have a similar hair mask that I bought from the MemeShop that I haven’t used yet because, as with this one, you are supposed to use it on clean, wet hair and then wash it out after. So I take that to mean that I need to shampoo my hair twice. That seems like such a hassle to me. I may just do it on wet, dirty hair.

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L’CRET Hair Color Keeper Treatment Shampoo, $42.

This is the one product out of the box I am probably going to gift someone. M tried it and commented that it has barely any lather. She had to use it three times and still her hair didn’t feel clean. Makes sense, since it is a color protectant, so I am guessing it has little to no surfactant in it. I have really oily hair so I definitely need a lathering shampoo to cleanse my hair. I won’t even bother trying this one.

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Elizavecca Collagen Ceramide Coating Protein Treatment, $34.

LOVE this stuff! This is the second Elizavecca product I have tried and the second I have loved (the first was the collagen sleeping pack in MCW2). You apply it after shampooing in the shower and leave it on 5-20 minutes depending on how damaged your hair is. My hair is pretty healthy so I only left it on for about five minutes. It left my hair so silky and smooth. It has never felt like that before. I was actually able to brush it while wet, which is typically impossible. Winning product!

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Boutique Bebe Hair Salon Vita-Clinic Mist, $24.

This spray is filled with nutritious ingredients (peppermint, lavender and rosemary to name a few) that moisturize and provide protein to dry, damaged hair. It says to most evenly over hair often so I assume it would work on wet or dry hair. I sprayed it once on my dry hair and it felt a little sticky at first but then I was able to smooth it in to the hair and it felt better. The smell is a little strong and reminds me of drugstore shampoo. I doubt I will use this often.

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ProYou Scalp Nutrition Calming Moisture Fluid, $48.

This is a calming liquid that also helps with itchiness and dandruff. You are meant to work it into the scalp with your fingers and not rinse off. The tip of the bottle makes it very easy to apply to the scalp without getting it all over your hair. This is actually a great product but it’s not something I really need so again, I doubt I will use it much.

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Tosowoong 10 Hours, $12.

This is a protein treatment that you leave on for ten hours. I haven’t tried it yet but will use it before bed on a night when I plan to shower the next morning. M used hers but she used it along with the Elizavecca treatment and the color keeping shampoo, so she had a difficult time telling the affects of one over the other.

Overall, according to the information sheet, the value of this box came out to $164. That’s an amazing value but I do think that this box is geared more towards dry and damaged hair and scalp, which doesn’t apply to me. I had hoped for a really nice hair brush in here instead. It’s definitely not a bad box though. Had the shampoo been different, I would have been happier with the contents.

Did you order any of the princess boxes? What were your thoughts?

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

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?