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!

Beauty Minis I Packed for a 2 Week Trip

Skin, body, and haircare reviews

I’ve been in Chicago for the holidays since last week and I’m not heading back to NYC until next week, so I packed a bunch of travel-sized products to last through my whole trip. Here are some of my favorites.

My hands are always dry during the winter, so this Tocca Hand Cream has been so useful. I love the Florence scent, which has notes of Gardenia, and that it sinks in quickly.

The Drunk Elephant Marula Oil is super hydrating, so a little bit goes a long way. I’ve been using this at night instead of a night cream and it’s helped with the flakes around my nose. This duo is a great way to try the oil and their amazing glycolic serum.

I also travel with the Pekee and Juju bars from Drunk Elephant- one for a gentle cleanse that removes makeup and the other for light exfoliation. I never thought I’d like bar soap, but these are so effective and convenient. They also last forever compared to a traditional liquid cleanser.

I received this Beauty Protector Protect and Volume Spray in a Birchbox and I’m really considering picking up the full size. It adds shine and volume to my thin hair and provides UV and heat protection. I love that it has a spray nozzle and smells lovely.

This tiny Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Cleanser only lasted four uses, but I really enjoyed it. It has a nice gel texture with a light scent. It removes makeup really quickly, so I used this at the end of the day.

I’ve tried a couple things from IGK and really like the brand so far. Their Coconut Oil Gel adds moisture to my wavy hair. The light hold helps tame frizz as well. I use about a dime sized amount from my ears to ends.

What are your must-haves when traveling?

Mini Mask Reviews

Rounding up four face masks

I love testing new face masks! I recently received a couple with my last Sephora order and had two from past Birchboxes, so I wanted to share my thoughts.

Tara Harper Resurfacing Mask ($58)

I really enjoyed the texture of this mask. It was a gel-like base that was easy to spread on the face. You are supposed to leave it on for 20 minutes and then remove with warm water. This little jar lasted about 3 uses and I loved it. It definitely made my skin softer and more radiant. I also love that the Tara Harper line uses safe ingredients, is effective, and feels luxurious.

Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Mask ($30)

I am obsessed with this clay mask! It’s great at drawing out impurities and it actually makes my pores look smaller. It feels like a mud mask but isn’t overly wet. It’s definitely thicker – almost like a cream. It does dry down so you know when to remove it, but it hasn’t dried my skin out. I only put in on my cheeks, chin, and forehead. Reed and I have both used this a couple times and there are a few uses left, so this is a generous sample. I would definitely buy the full size!

Farmacy Honey Potion Hydrating Mask ($46)

This mask is bright yellow and goes from a thick jello-like texture to a creamy foam once rubbed in. You’re supposed to feel warming while massaging for 2-3 and I don’t really enjoy that. I have some flakiness around my nose and this didn’t fix that either. I wanted to love this because I’ve heard such great things about Farmacy, but I won’t be using the rest of this.

Balance Me Radiance Face Mask ($26)

I tried a few things from Balance Me thanks to Birchbox and I’ve liked everything I’ve tried! This mask only requires 5 minutes and it’s a physical exfoliator and brightening mask in one. It has an interesting, natural scent that’s grown on me and I like how it dries down quickly. It’s also pretty affordable.

All in all, it was fun to try out these different face masks and 3/4 is a pretty good success rate to me! Have you tried any of these masks?

Travel-sized Product Reviews

Reviewing some cute minis

I spent the weekend in Chicago after Thanksgiving and have been using these travel-friendly products for the past few days. I recently switched up my carry-on kit after running out of several products on my last trip in October, so here are some mini reviews.

I finished up my favorite dry shampoo (Living Proof phd) and replaced it with the Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk I’d saved from a recent Birchbox. This one is so chalky – even though it’s for dark hair. It takes care of oiliness pretty well, but you really have to work it through your hair to get rid of the tinted beige powder. Maybe it works better for blondes, but I’m definitely going back to the Living Proof one which is really effective and hardly leaves a white-cast.

For skincare, my usual routine is sometimes lacking on a whirlwind trip, so I always bring a mask for a quick fix. Flying dries out my skin and can make it look dull, so I look for a moisturizing or brightening mask. This Fresh Vitamin Nectar Mask has AHAs for resurfacing and makes my skin look glowy. The texture is pretty chunky with bits of crushed oranges and lemons. It smells refreshing and only takes 10 minutes.

One of my favorite cold weather scents is the Comptoir Sud Pacifique Vanille Coco perfume. I have the full size and bring this little rollerball with me when I travel. I love vanilla but don’t want to smell too much like cookies; the addition of coconut adds a tropical warmth that’s not too sweet. The scent also lingers for over a day which I love.

A makeup mini I’ve been loving is the W3ll People Bio Brightener – a pretty, natural highlighter. The cream formula is blendable, glowy, and looks great on eyes too. The full size comes in a convenient stick which I’m thinking of adding to my next Birchbox order because this sample is over year old (🙈🙊).

Mostly hits and one miss, so overall that’s not too bad for this trip!