It’s time for another subscription box unboxing! Sephora Play was the last one to arrive and it came just in time before October ended and November spoilers started popping up in the beauty community.
October was an interesting mix. Usually, October is an exceptional month for beauty subscriptions, but this year was a mix of good and bad, which is disappointing. Still, there was one subscription box that was a clear winner.
Let’s start with the $10/month services: Birchbox, Ipsy, and Sephora Play.
The fact that Birchbox is in financial trouble is starting to show in their sample selection. It has been increasingly lack luster since July. This month, I did opt for the themed Revive and Restore box, because none of the other sample choices excited me. Now, there are some good things in here, but there are two samples that make me role my eyes.
- This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray. This is one of the annoying samples. I don’t mind it when Birchbox throws in these non beauty items as a bonus, but when it’s one of the five samples I’m paying for…no. It’s this sort of foolishness that makes me think we’re going back to that period of terrible boxes in 2013. (It was three years ago and I still remember…which should tell you how bad it was.)
- Oribe Gold Lust Dry Shampoo. I love some of Oribe’s products, so I’ll be glad to try their dry shampoo. Though, I did see Tati’s video on it and my initial thoughts are that a $40 dry shampoo is pretty ridiculous. Still, I do like getting ridiculously expensive product samples, since I typically won’t buy them for myself.
- Avene Hydrating Cream RICH. Avene is a pretty solid French brand. I do like some of there skincare, though I know I’ll need to use this super moisturizing cream in my nighttime routine. It’ll be great to try if I get any dry patches as the air gets drier.
- GlamGlow POWERMUD DualCleanse Treatment. I’m probable one of the few people on the planet that isn’t a huge fan of GlamGlow masks. They work wonders at first, but then tend to irritate my skin. Still, I like getting samples from this brand to see if I’ll fall in love with any of their products. Here’s hoping this one works!
- MAKE Silk Cream Lipstick. While not the most ridiculous lipstick sample I’ve received (that award goes to Milk), it’s still super dinky and cheap looking. The formula looks decent, but unfortunately Birchbox sent me a color that simply won’t work on my skin tone. It’s too light. So I’m placing it in my box of samples to give away and won’t be reviewing it for the blog. If I can’t wear it all day because of the color, then I can’t give the product a fair shot for a review.
Despite getting three great samples, I can’t help but feel disappointed. I just get the sense that the quality of the boxes has taken a turn for mediocre since the company changes announced in July. Especially after the November sample reveal, I’m assuming this is the beginning of the end for Birchbox. I have a yearly subscription that will be up for renewal in March, but if things don’t improve I don’t see myself keeping my subscription.
On to a subscription service that seems to be on the uptick: Ipsy.
I mean, first I have to brag about the bag itself. In my opinion, it’s the best physical makeup bag we’ve gotten from Ipsy since I subscribed last year. I absolutely am not parting ways with this bag. Ipsy partnered with Valfre to design the October bag, and the result is so adorable. You can also see that the zipper is actually a cute ghost waving hello! Ugh, I cannot. It’s too much!
Ok, on to what’s inside.
Ipsy was way better than Birchbox, though there were some samples that were more exciting than the others.
- theBalm Cabana Boy Blush. I flipping love theBalm, especially their blushes! Even though the sample is small, it’s taken me a while to get through them whenever I get them. My favorite every day blush, Frat Boy, is from theBalm. I cannot wait to try this this is plum dusky-rose blush.
- Sally’s Box Aqua Moist Gel Cream. I like trying Korean skin care, and gel moisturizers are just right for me, since I have combination skin. While I normally scoff at skin cream samples, I’m not mad at getting this.
- Trust Fund Beauty Gimme Good Face Primer. Trust Fund Beauty’s nail polishes are awesome, though I had less luck with their lipsticks. However, I’m willing to try this primer and see if it’s good! It is dimethicone based, so I’ll need to limit just how much I wear it.
- Kokie Nail Polish in Heavenly. I’m always game for a new nail polish brand, and this bluish lavender is a pretty color. It’ll be good as we get into the holiday season. However, I’ve gotten a lot of lilac shades from Ipsy in the past, so I’d like to see more variety in my polishes (though NOT neon orange, please!).
- Teeez Cosmetics Eve’s Ready to Wear Lipstick in Romantic Red. Well, if that isn’t a mouthful! This is a very bold, red lipstick. It might be a little too bold for me. I really don’t like wearing reds unless they’re earthy tones, especially in creamy formulas. I’m afraid they’ll get everywhere. Still, I’ll give this a go and see how it performs.
Ipsy was very good. But the real winner of all the subscriptions was Sephora Play.
The duster the products come in is really cute. I’m definitely keeping this one. Sephora Play is just doing such a good job of picking products from familiar and newer brands to Sephora customers. The theme this month was the “cool cut”, or products that are hip and on trend. There were a couple of variations this month. Here’s what I got.
- Nudestix Intense Matte Lip + Cheek Pencil in Belle. I’ve been dying to try Nudestix, as the people who love it rave about it. I’m not normally into duo lip and cheek products, but I’ve heard that the color payoff on these products is impressive. The color I got is described as a “plum nude”, which is right up my alley. I also love that it’s a matte finish, which is super on trend for both lips and cheeks (and my favorite).
- Too Cool for School Egg Mellow Cream. I love trying Korean Beauty skincare. I’ve used a sheet mask from Too Cool for School, which I enjoyed. This time, I got a firming cream that’s enriched with collagen. I’ll definitely be trying this out in my nighttime routine.
- Skin Inc. Pure Revival Skin Peel. I love at home peels, especially since I can’t always make it to an esthetician. But ever the (incresingly) sensitive skin gal, I like it when peels are gentle. It’ll be cool to see how well this works.
- Smashbox Always On Matte Liquid Lipstick in Driver’s Seat. I already know I LOVE Smashbox’s liquid lipstick formulation. It’s my absolute favorite. I own the color Out Loud, a deep orange, and am happy to try out this warm pink shade.
- Verb Leave-In Mist Spray. Leave in conditioners aren’t my favorite, but I don’t mind using them whenever I get close to a hair cut appointment. That’s when my ends could use the most help.
- Tom Ford Orchid Soleil. The fragrance choice for me this month was interesting. It’s definitely a good choice for the box theme. The fragrance reminds me of exclusive, “cool” people. I could imagine a super chic person wearing this. I’m not a 100% sure this fragrance goes well with my body chemistry (maybe I’m not cool enough for it), but I definitely don’t hate it.
This month knocked the previous bar set by the July box out of the park. Sephora Play is quickly becoming my favorite subscription service.
I’m on the fence on how I feel about Boxycharm. I think what was offered in the box is great, over all, for subscribers. Personally, though, I wasn’t feeling it. There were some variations in the box this month, and there are a couple of products I wish I would have gotten over others in the box.
- Japonesque Pro Perform Lipgloss. I like the Japonesque brand (you can find them at Ulta) and own a couple of brushes from them. The gloss that was included was a decent formula, but the color was way too light on me. It was a light pink that came off really bright on me. It wasn’t my cup of tea. Since I’ll be passing this along and can’t give it a fair shot, I won’t be reviewing it. Like I’ve said before, this is the downside to Boxycharm. Sometimes they do a terrible job with matching the color to the subscriber’s skin tone since they don’t take beauty profiles into consideration.
- IBY Three’s Company Trio Eyeshadow. This is a cute little nude shadow trio that’s a great basic to have. Pan sizes look generous and the first swatches are promising. I love receiving eyeshadow in my Boxycharm. While not as great as the Studio Makeup palette we got in September, this is still a great product to have in the box. Makeup newbies will definitely appreciate this simple, but versatile, trio.
- Briogeo Blow Dry Perfection Heat Protectant. I love the Briogeo brand a lot. It’s a natural ingredient hair care line whose products, I have to say, are really effective. Their volumizing spray is my favorite. While I don’t really blow dry my hair, unless I’m straightening it or in a rush, I can definitely use this heat protectant when curling my hair.
- Temptu Shimmer Bronzer. I got this liquid bronzer in the sample size version in a past Ipsy bag. It’s not a bad liquid bronzer, by any means. I’m just not into liquid bronzers all that much. Boxycharm was really trying to sell the versatility of this product on social media. While I think it can have multiple uses, I’m just not that into it and will be passing it along. Really, I wish I would have gotten the OFRA highlighter or Cargo powder blushes and bronzers that were in other box variations.
- Luxie Beauty Eye Blender Brush Pack. This is what I’m most excited about. I love Luxie brushes and have raved about them on the blog over and over again. They’re excellent quality and perform beautifully. I have yet to try a bad brush from them. This time, Boxycharm included a trio of eye brushes! All of these are blending brushes that vary a little from the 231 small tapered blending brush I already own. Like I keep saying, Ipsy and Boxycharm should keep including these fabulous brushes!
While it was irritating to get a lip color that didn’t work for me (again!) and a liquid bronzer I already know I don’t use, the other products in here do pick up the slack. However, I don’t think even the brush trio quite makes up for my disappointment in the other products. I’m paying $21 a month, so really I expect, at least on first impression, to like everything I get in the box. Still, not the worst I’ve seen from Boxycharm.
So October wasn’t as good as last year. Ipsy’s adorable bag, Sephora Play’s great box, and that trio of Luxie brushes from Boxycharm did make this a pretty good month for beauty subscriptions. I’m hoping November will be better.