May Birchbox

Monthly unboxing and reviews

I received my Birchbox right before my Chicago trip, which was perfect timing to test out new samples. My box had a bunch of skincare, which I absolutely love trying, and a shampoo and conditioner.

Here are some texture swatches of the three skincare items: the Hanalei Lip Treatment in Clear, the Comfort Zone Remedy Cream to Oil Ultra Gentle Cleanser, and the Nyakio Kenyan Face Polish.

I’ve been using the lip balm often and it reminds me a little bit of Carmex. The scent is pretty similar and the texture is just a bit more slippery.

I’m unfortunately not a huge fan of the Cream to Oil Cleanser. I generally don’t like makeup removers that you apply to dry skin and then add water. I felt like this one left a residue and didn’t remove all of my makeup.

The face polish is great thankfully! It exfoliates without being harsh and it smells great.

I haven’t tried the shampoo and conditioner yet because I’m saving them for my trip to Florida! They’re supposed to help with frizz, which sounds perfect for the humid weather on the beach.

Box Breakdown

Nyakio Face Polish .5 oz = $4

Hanalei Lip Treatment est. .25 oz = $10

Comfort Zone Cleanser .5 oz = $3.50

Matrix Shampoo 1.7 oz = $2

Matrix Conditioner 1.7 oz = $2

For $10, I received $21.50 of product this month. That’s lower than usual, so I hope I like the shampoo and conditioner. If so, this box will turn out to be a good one!

What did you get in your box this month? If you haven’t subscribed yet, I would love to refer you!

Reviewing Minis from Tatcha, La Mer, and First Aid Beauty

Would I buy the full size?

I’m testing out three minis this week and I’ve fallen in love with one, am confused on another, and dislike the last. It’s so interesting how cult favorite products may or may not work out; I’m glad I had smaller sizes of these products to try out before deciding to invest in the full size.

Starting with the one I loved: The Deep Cleanse from Tatcha. I had actually posted about this when I first received it in January (see below for a very old, shadowy picture…) My normal to somewhat dry skin was a lot drier back then and it felt a tiny bit stripping. Which makes sense, because this cleanser is really for normal to oily skin.

Lately, I’ve been using it after a workout, when my skin feels sweaty and oily. I think – true to the name – it’s great for a deep cleanse. My skin feels clean without being squeaky and it’s also a little softer due to the luffa fruit fibers. It doesn’t feel tight or dry thankfully! I’m really happy I gave this a second chance with my skin changing as the weather does too.

I think my skin might be a tiny bit too dry still for the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Tinted Moisturizer. This seems like it’s hard to blend in due to the thicker texture. I’m wondering if it would be better over a hydrating primer or maybe mixed with a facial oil. I’ll have to try it that way and update you, because I really love the natural finish.

It also evens out my skintone a bit (even though Fair is almost too dark for me) and helps with slightly diffusing redness. I love how easy tinted moisturizers are in theory, so I’d love to try out a few more and compare. The SPF 30 in this one was a huge plus for me!

Lastly, the Creme de La Mer moisturizer didn’t work out for me. It doesn’t sink in easily or quickly in my experience and I don’t like tugging at my skin. I also disliked the scent, which almost gave me a headache. It’s reminiscent of powdery rose. So many people rave about this brand, so I’m open to trying their other products. The new bronzer looks stunning.

I like the Tatcha cleanser enough to buy the full size and and I would definitely pass on the La Mer moisturizer. I think the FAB tinted moisturizer will be great with a drop of oil, so I’m still undecided there. Do you guys have any recommendations for tinted moisturizer?

April Empties – Skincare, Haircare, Bodycare, Makeup

I’ve finished up some more products, but are they worth repurchasing? Here’s my latest Empties video!

 

What have you finished up recently? Anything I should try?

Products mentioned:
Drunk Elephant Baby Pekee Bar + Juju Bar Travel Duo (full review here)
Sunday Riley C.E.O. C + E Antioxidant Protect + Repair Moisturizer (full review here)
Sunday Riley Good Genes Treatment
Clarks Botanicals Radiance Cream
Balance Me Radiance Face Mask (full review here)
Bumble and bumble Bb. Curl (Style) Primer
TOCCA – Bianca Nourishing Body Scrub
Burt’s Bees Mango Lip Balm
ARROW BOOST Color Enhancing Lip Balm – Berry Busy (swatched here)
Lip Smacker Kiwi Berry
Urban Decay Troublemaker Mascara

April Birchbox Unboxing and Mini Reviews

Monthly Birchbox review

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Here are the five items I received this month! I requested the Oribe Grandiose Hair Plumping Mousse for my sample choice item. I love their wave spray and dry texture spray, so I figured I would enjoy this product as well. I do think it gives nice volume (and smells amazing, of course), but there was a bit of a learning curve with the amount of product to use. First I used too little and I couldn’t tell much of a difference. The next time I used too much and my hair was crunchy/stiff at the crown. Now I know to use about a golf ball sized pump.

The only skincare item I received this month was the Bioderma Sensibio Eye Contour Gel. I’ve actually never tried this brand before, but I’ve heard great things. I love how lightweight this is because I’m prone to milia and avoid heavy eye creams. It has caffeine to reduce puffiness and hyaluronic acid to hydrate. It’s also supposed to have a light-reflecting effect, but I don’t really notice that. I think this is a great size for travel and I’m happy to have tried something from Bioderma.

One of my favorite things about Birchbox is being able to try out unique and niche brands. I received the Fill and Tame Brow Gel in Brunette from Beautaniq Beauty which is the perfect shade for my dark brown brows. It holds the hair in place without feeling crunchy which is great; it’s also pretty pigmented and the brush shape is a perfect tapered cone.

This Cupuacu Butter Lip Balm is a cute mini from Adesse New York. It glides on very easily and leave a hint of color behind. I built up the swatch a little so the color would be visible. It makes my lips look just a bit lighter and pinker and moisturizes for a short amount of time. My lips are always dry and I’m a total lip balm addict, so this one wasn’t my favorite, but it’s not bad either.

I also received a mini of the Benefit Bad Gal Bang Mascara, which I did a whole blog post about. I’ve already put the new one aside for my next giveaway!

Box breakdown:

  • Benefit Mascara (.1 oz): $8
  • Beautaniq Brow Gel (full size!): $12
  •  Adesse Lip Balm (.05 oz): $11
  •  Oribe Mousse (.18 oz): $5.5
  •  Bioderma Eye Gel (0.06 oz): $2.4

For $10, I received about $39 worth of product! I absolutely love the full sized brow gel and was happy with all of the brands I received – any box with Oribe is a win in my book and I like trying smaller brands as well. If you’re interested in Birchbox, I would so appreciate if you used my link to subscribe.

What did you get in your box this month? What’s your favorite beauty subscription box? I just subscribed to Beautyfix from Dermstore!

Benefit Bad Gal Bang Mascara Review

Testing Benefit’s newest launch

The Benefit mascaras are pretty hit or miss for me – Rollerlash is one of my all time favorite mascaras, but I hate They’re Real, so I decided to try a mini from Birchbox to test out Bad Gal Bang ($24 for the full size). I prefer a mix between length and volume that looks fluttery, not clumpy or spidery.

Here’s a close up of the brush – the bristles are very short and only slightly increase in length at the end of the brush to create a cone shape. It’s also a very wet formula that coats your lashes immediately. I think I would prefer longer bristles to brush through and separate the lashes because the amount of product can create clumps quickly.

I have to be very careful applying this, but I do like the overall effect. It’s best when brushed through with a clean wand, but I can make it work without that step too. You can also build Bad Gal Bang up very quickly to get dramatic, voluminous lashes.

This is one light coat of the mascara – I think it looks defined yet still natural. I wanted to mention that it’s a bit harder to remove, which I find true for all of the Benefit formulas. Personally, I still prefer Rollerlash, but I’m happy to have this for more dramatic nights.

Have you tried the new Benefit Bad Gal Bang? What’s your favorite mascara??