June Birchbox Unboxing and Reviews

Monthly subscription review

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I chose the curated box this month because I really wanted to try the R+Co Waterfall Moisture + Shine Lotion as well as the Red Earth Beauty Deep Dive Water Cream. I’ve tried both brands before; the Twister Curl Primer and High Dive Moisture and Shine Cream from R+Co are some of my favorites and I love the Red Earth Beauty Hydrating Sheet Masks. I also didn’t really like the sample choice options (or I had tried it already).

The Red Earth Beauty face cream is really lightweight – like the Tatcha Water Cream. It feels refreshing and hydrating without being heavy or sticky. I like that it’s simple and REB uses more natural ingredients. This is perfect for summer in hot climates for me, but it wouldn’t be enough when my skin gets drier later in fall.

For the R+Co Waterfall Lotion, the scent is a little strong for me. I know their line includes several fragrances to cater to different preferences, but this one isn’t my favorite. I also don’t think it’s hydrating enough for my dry hair – I definitely prefer the High Dive cream version (which also smells much better in my opinion).

I love the Brow Gel from Beautaniq Beauty that I also received in a Birchbox, so I was excited to try their Glow Serum. I was expecting a subtle, cream product to give a pretty glow to the skin. Instead, this is a metallic liquid highlight that appears super sparkly on the face. It’s way more blinding than a glow – it honestly looks like a gold cream shadow on my skin. Definite pass from me.

This BeautyBlender sample is kind of weird and gimmicky in my opinion. Since it’s flat, you don’t really get the true feeling of a BeautyBlender. I already love these and have been using them for years though. I have never found another sponge that feels as lightweight, doesn’t absorb too much product, and makes concealer look so natural. I’ve tried a bunch since my Target Dupe post! I know they’re kind of expensive, but they last a few months with regular washing.

I had already received the Davines Su Hair and Body Wash a couple years ago, but it’s good to have on hand. This is gentle and smells nice, plus it’s a pretty large sample. I generally don’t like two in one products like this, but I think Davines has done a good job here. I also love their This is Not a Sea Salt Spray and Oi All in One Milk.

Box Breakdown:

  • Hair Lotion 0.5 oz = $3
  • Face Cream 0.25 oz = $3.50
  • Highlighter ~ $7
  • Body Wash/Shampoo 2.5 oz = $7
  • BeautyBlender ~ 1/4 original size = $5?

For $10, I received around $26 worth of products. I didn’t fall in love with these samples and didn’t discover any new brands, but I chose this box. I’m glad I got to try more items from brands I already enjoy and I’ll definitely be saving the Davines product for my next trip.

What did you get this month? How many boxes are you subscribed to? If you’re thinking of subscribing to Birchbox, I have a friend link here!

My Hydration Routine

How I keep my skin moisturized

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Next up in my routine series (see brightening here!) are the products I use when my skin is feeling tight, thirsty, or flaky. My skin tends to lean more dry in the winter and more combination in the summer. However, with traveling so often, my skin can experience dehydration more than usual. These products leave my skin feeling comfortable – not heavy or greasy – no matter what time of year.

Recently, I’ve been starting with the Clinique Take the Day Off Balm*. Everyone raves about this, so I just had to try it. I’ve been wearing tinted moisturizer (Raw Elements reviewed here or First Aid Beauty here) or even Physician’s Formula the Healthy Foundation lately, so I feel the need to properly remove my makeup before starting my skincare routine. This is a soft, lovely balm that breaks down makeup quickly. I love that it rinses off easily as some other balm or oily cleansers I’ve tried left a gross residue on my skin.

Next, I use my Tula Purifying Cleanser which is great for gently cleansing without stripping. It’s a gel formula that doesn’t create too many suds. I love that it comes in this giant 6.7 ounce tube – it has lasted quite a while! The scent wasn’t my favorite at first, but now that I like the product because it’s so effective, it has really grown on me.

This is where I will do a hydrating mask about once a week. I haven’t found one I’m obsessed with yet, so I’d love some recommendations! In the meantime, I’m using the Bliss In the Honey Mask for a little boost of moisture. It smells like lavender, which I personally love, but the fragrance is a bit strong if you’re sensitive. It’s also a bit thick and sticky, so it’s not super easy to remove.

I follow either the cleanser or mask with my Clinique Clarifying Lotion in 2 for dry combination skin. It’s a fast and easy exfoliating step that keeps my skin soft and helps other products absorb better. I can definitely feel a difference since I’ve added this into my routine! This isn’t really specific to my hydration routine, but it helps with flakes and lets my moisturizer and hydrating serums sink in deeper.

Next, I spray my Best Friend Beauty Calendula + Coconut Facial Mist* all over. My skin seems to love products with calendula in them, which is great because this ingredient helps with inflammation (i.e. redness). The coconut is extra hydrating too. I love that this is a women-owned, small business that donates 15% of every sale to fight animal cruelty and testing. This mist specifically is organic, vegan, and all-natural as well!

Also, from Best Friend Beauty is their Anti-Aging Facial Serum*.  This is a game changer in my hydration routine as it’s packed with beautiful oils that add tons of moisture while targeting fine lines and dark spots. A tiny bit goes such a long way since it’s an oil and has the rollerball applicator. This is such an affordable multitasking product with high-quality, all natural ingredients! I’d highly recommend it.

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I’ve been using that with my new Jade Roller* from Gracious Om. This helps the oil quickly sink in better and spreads it around my face as well. It also has been an amazing tool for relieving tension in my jaw and massaging out any puffiness. I can’t believe it took me so long to try one of these! If you’re looking for a great roller that’s not expensive, I definitely suggest checking out Gracious Om. It rolls beautifully and has a nice weight to it. The box is really cute too, so this would make a great gift!

Lastly, this Juice Beauty Moisturizer is my new favorite night cream! It’s lighter than my original HG, the Sunday Riley C.E.O., but still very hydrating. My skin feels so smooth and moisturized every time I use this. I’ve also noticed my skin is less red and softer the next morning. I’m really impressed by this and want to look into some more Juice Beauty products now!

This is a more involved routine because I have more time at night and really enjoy taking care of my skin. What’s your current routine like? And what is your favorite moisturizing mask at the moment?

*So kindly gifted by the brand, work perk via ELC.

Drugstore Dud or Delight? Wet n Wild

Spoiler alert: it’s good

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I picked up the Not a Basic Peach palette from Wet n Wild in my Target Haul last month and it has become a staple in my makeup bag. The mattes are nice and blendable without being too dry and the shimmers are smooth and pigmented. There are a few shades with glitter flecks and they haven’t given me much fallout thankfully!

The shadows last pretty well on my eyelids, which are getting a bit more oily as the summer arrives. I’d say about 8 hours without primer and there’s a bit of creasing. With my Sephora Collection Tinted and Cooling Eye Primer, I can get 10 or more hours with no creasing! Overall, I think this is a lovely palette, and it’s only $4.95! Let’s take a look at some swatches.

Aren’t these colors fun? I love that you can create a basic every day eye or add some pops of color. The purplish color on the bottom row has been a lovely outer corner shade when I do want to infuse a little color into my look. The blue looks great along the bottom lash line too. It’s a pretty versatile palette.

The two lightest shades are a bit hard to see on my skintone, but I like the beige on the bottom row for blending my crease and outer corner color together. It adds a tiny bit of definition without any darkness. The lighter shimmer is great for highlighting the center of the lid or the browbone.

I’m clearly loving this palette, so I’d love to know if you have more recommendations from Wet n Wild! What’s your current favorite palette?

 

Soft Touch Foot Peel Mask Review

The most effective mask ever

I am honestly blown away by this Foot Peel Mask* from Soft Touch. It peeled the dead skin from my feet extremely well, so I wanted to share the process.

This pack comes with two masks, so Reed and I were able to use them together. I think it’s really reasonably priced at $15.95, especially considering how well it works!

First, you cut the top off two plastic, foot-shaped bags, slip your (clean) feet in, and use the tape to secure the opening. They’re nicely filled with the peeling gel, so this helps secure them. You have to wear the mask for 60 minutes, so the tape is definitely convenient for moving around (although I wouldn’t suggest walking a bunch while you wear these).

Our feet felt chilly and wet at first. Reed experienced some warming after about ten minutes. It was mild and not irritation, such as itching or burning. I experienced the warming sensation about 40 minutes in. It didn’t hurt at all.

After an hour, we washed our feet and then the waiting began. The directions say it takes about a week to start peeling and can last for two weeks. Mine started in four days! I guess there was a lot of skin that needed to be shed – haha. Reed’s started the next day. This is the best and most satisfying part!

I want to note that you are not supposed to peel or rip the skin from your feet. It will loosen and fall off naturally. However, I’m a picking kind of person (and also, the idea of dead skin falling off all over the house freaked me out). I’m not recommending that you peel your skin, but I could tell mine was ready as large curls of skin around the edges of my feet were already appearing.

The amount of skin that came off for the first three days was actually amazing. I’ve been scrubbed at a hammam in Marrakech and still have never seen that much dead skin come off of my body. This may be graphic, but there was about a palmful of dead skin flakes/peels every day. They looked like when you peel sunburn, but a bit thicker. It was really interesting that not only the entire bottom of my feet and heels peeled, but also in between my toes and the top of my foot.

I’m so impressed with this mask! It was kindly gifted by the brand, but I will definitely be purchasing more for later in the summer! The first one came at the perfect time so my feet feel perfectly smooth for my Florida trip!

Have you ever tried a foot mask? How about any other fun or interesting masks?

Lush Shampoo and Conditioner Review

Testing some solid hair products

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When my cousin was visiting last weekend, she was telling me all about her Lush shampoo and conditioner. They worked really well for giving her volume and shine and came in solid bars without plastic bottles. The results sounded amazing and I love the earth-friendly aspect, so we popped by my local Lush.

She uses the Honey I Washed My Hair bar (which smelled seriously amazing) and the Big Solid Conditioner, which has sea salt for volume and coconut oil for shine. I purchased the conditioner because I definitely need some volume and shine, but there were so many options for shampoo that looked nice!

I decided to get a sample of the Curly Wurly shampoo, which has bits of coconut in it, and the Avocado Co-Wash, which smells so good! My cousin said it’s like Pez candy (the lemon version) and that’s spot on.

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I was a bit surprised to find that both of these shampoos contain sulfates, since these ingredients are known to be irritating and especially drying for curly hair. I have been using sulfate-free products for years now, so I don’t see myself going out to purchase the full size of either shampoo sadly.

For the Curly Wurly one, I felt that the bits of coconut didn’t break down very easily and seemed to get stuck in my hair. This has ALS (instead of SLS) which is supposed to be less irritating and drying; my hair didn’t feel too stripped after rinsing thankfully, but I definitely needed conditioner and a moisturizing curl cream. I don’t think it did a great job of taming my frizz or hydrating.

The Avocado Co-Wash is pleasant to use – especially with that scent. You can either run the bar directly onto your wet hair or lather in your hands and then apply. This cleansed well enough, but it was also a bit drying, which is the opposite of what a co-wash is supposed to do. I’m kind of disappointed since I was really hoping to replace my current routine with a two-in-one product with no plastic packaging.

On the plus side, I do enjoy the Big conditioner. It’s easy to get a good layer off of the bar to apply to your hair. It’s also moisturizing without being heavy. I was a bit afraid the salt would dry out my hair, but I think it just gives a bit of texture. This one has a very subtle scent that’s easily overcome by my Verb Curl Cream.

Overall, I’m happy to have tried these products and I’ll definitely be on the lookout for bar versions of shampoo and conditioner – I just need to find ones without sulfates. Have you guys ever tried solid hair products? Also, what’s your favorite Lush product?

 

 

New Skincare Reviews: Raw Elements, Boscia, Burt’s Bees

Three recent purchases/gifts

My newest skincare find is the Boscia Cactus Water Hydrating Cream. Influenster sent this over to try and review. I love the happy green packaging and sanitary spoon. Unfortunately, this didn’t get along with my skin. It’s definitely more of a lightweight gel than cream in my opinion. It also remained tacky to the point where my skin felt sticky several minutes later.

If I used this at night, my skin felt dry to the touch the next morning. However, when I washed my face, it felt like a thick layer of something slimy was coming off. My skin was really dry this past winter and it’s currently becoming combination skin as the season is changing. This is geared toward combination to oily skin, so it’s probably not moisturizing enough for me right now. I might try it again in July or August, but I wouldn’t recommend this from my recent experience.

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I’ve also been testing the Raw Elements Tinted Facial Moisturizer SPF 30 for a couple weeks now. I thankfully received this through the OBL Club (which is free for anyone to join). Andrea is so sweet and her blog is a lovely resource for clean beauty reviews, tips, and news.

I have been looking for a sunscreen that doesn’t contain azobenzene or ocitinate, which damage coral reefs and marine life. I generally prefer mineral sunscreens anyway and am vowing to only use Reef Safe options going forward. On that topic, I was thrilled when Hawaii passed their new law banning chemical spf!

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I think this is a great moisturizing sunscreen. The tint is a tiny bit dark for my pretty fair skin tone, but since this blends well and has sheer coverage, it works. It does have a very glowy finish – I don’t mind it on its own for casual wear. If I’m doing my makeup with concealer, blush, etc., I definitely set it down with powder.

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The jar packaging isn’t my favorite because I don’t like dipping my fingers into products (I think this would be especially gross at the beach with sandy fingers), but there’s a stick version too. It retails for $17.99, which I think is reasonable for a product that is reef safe and cruelty-free, has natural ingredients, and will last the whole summer since a little bit goes a long way.

Lastly, I picked up this Burt’s Bees lip scrub in my recent Target Haul. I needed one in a pinch and as I’ve been using this more, I really like it. It has an oily (in a good way!), balm-like base that hydrates after you wash the exfoliating crystals away. It also smells amazing. I think I would love this even more in the winter because my lips are super dry then. If you’re looking for a really rough, granular scrub, this probably isn’t the one.

Have you tried any of these items? What’s your favorite Reef Safe sunscreen? I’m definitely on the lookout for more!