November 2016 Beauty Subscriptions

I cannot believe Thanksgiving is tomorrow! This year is just whizzing past us.

The last of my beauty subscriptions arrived last week. Y’all, this month was so good. I know 2016 was a rough year for a lot of us, but one good thing was November beauty subscriptions.

Let’s start with the $10/month services.

A final show of strength for Birchbox?

If you’re an insider in the beauty subscription community, then you know that Birchbox is on its last legs. I’m riding it out until my subscription renewal is up in March, but it’s been pretty painful to watch the quality of the boxes go down. When the sample choice e-mail was sent out for November’s box, it seemed like this trend was going to continue. Maybe it’s because my expectations were so low, but November’s box ended up being ok.

  • Lavanila The Healthy Fragrance – Pure Vanilla. I’ve given Birchbox and Boxycharm the side-eye in the past for their fragrance choices. Fragrance samples bug me, unless they really get it right (like Sephora Play does). This one is actually very enjoyable. This is a very vanilla scent, which I really like. While a little sweeter than what I prefer, I’m actually going to enjoy this sample.
  • Davroe Ends Repair. Yet another leave-in conditioning treatment. It’s not that I don’t like trying these products. But I have short hair and only wash my hair twice a week. I’m overwhelmed with hair styling products at the moment, so this will go in my little sample vault for future use after I go through my other leave-in treatments.
  • Balance Me Tinted Wonder Eye Cream. Finally, a sample I’m excited about! Back two years ago, I tried an eye cream from Balance Me and absolutely fell in love! My pocketbook at the time prevented me from purchasing the full size, but I’m so happy to get a sample of the tinted version. If it’s anything like the other cream, I’ll really enjoy this.
  • Chella Eyebrow Pencil. This was the sample I picked, and for good reason. I’ve gotten this pencil in the past from Boxycharm in this shade, Tantalizing Taupe. I really enjoyed it and wasn’t wowed by the other choices. That and the fact that I ran out of my L’Oreal Brow Stylist convinced me to get this pencil again. I won’t be reviewing it again, but I can absolutely tell you that it’s a good pencil. The shade is just cool toned enough to not give me reddish brows and allows me to fill them in without an overly dramatic look. Plus, we got the full size pencil.
  • Origins Modern Friction Nature’s Gentle Dermabrasion. I love a good face scrub and am a huge fan of the Origins brand. This is a great sample from Birchbox.

This has definitely picked up from October, but I’m still skeptical of Birchbox being able to recover enough for me to justify renewing my subscription. My biggest beef (besides getting rid of the rewards system) is that I keep seeing a lot of repeat samples offered from a lot of the same brands. If the sample variety were more expansive, then the loss of the rewards system wouldn’t hurt so much. As it is, I’m still leaning towards cancellation.

Still, if Birchbox has peaked your interest, you can sign up for a subscription here.

Ipsy is knocking it out of the park with the bag design!

Yet again, the thing I’m loving the most about Ipsy is the extremely cute bag. I have a feeling Michelle Phan and her team have really put in the effort to step up the Ipsy bag design. This one has cute start constellations in the form of makeup. I’m in love and will be keeping this bag.

Now, this isn’t to say that the sample offerings weren’t good. They were actually great, though not as great as October.

  • Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara. It’s actually a huge coincidence that I was already using a sample of this mascara, but I’m glad I got a backup in this bag. (Hint: I’m enjoying this mascara immensely). This is one of the beauty community staple holy grails. I’m glad when products like these make it into subscription services, as it allows consumers to see what all the hype is about before investing in high end makeup.
  • Not Your Mother’s She’s A Tease Volumizing Hairspray. I don’t really use hairspray, so this isn’t something I would normally use. However, I did run out of my texturizing spray, so this will be a good alternative in the mean time.
  • Formula X Nail Polish in Huntress. I love Formula X nail polish, and this is a color I can get on board with. It’s a deep teal with gold reflects, which is perfect for the colder seasons!
  • W20 Angled Eye Brush by SLMissGlam. I’ve never heard of this brush brand before, but I love getting brushes in subscriptions. On first impression, it’s a thicker angled eye brush, which I suspect will be great for getting shadow into a more cat eye effect. It’s synthetic and seems to be a good balance between soft and firm.
  • Tarte Maracuja Oil. With Tarte’s less than stellar releases and ridiculous investment in influencer luxury trips leaving me feeling meh about a brand I once loved, I’m glad to see a product that reminds me why I loved them so much. The Maracuja oil is well known as a great beauty oil that’s ideal for adding hydration. I’ll probably use this to thin out some of my fuller coverage foundations.

Very good Ipsy this month. I really hope they keep up the extremely cute bag designs! Ipsy has really been stepping up their game, so if you want to sign up you can do so here.

Sephora Play does it again.

If you’re waiting for Sephora Play to be available in your area, I highly recommend subscribing once you can. Yet again, they did a phenomenal job with their box. This month’s theme was “Glow Getter”, with products that will restore hydration and brighten the complexion. The duster bag, again, is extremely cute. If they keep this up, I’m going to turn into a duster bag hoarder.

  • CoverFX Illuminating Primer. CoverFX is so well known for their glowing products. While illuminating primers normally aren’t my jam, since I have an oily t-zone, I’ll play with this on other parts of my face.
  • Sephora Ultra Shine Lip Gel in Pinup Pink. I’m not normally a lipgloss gal, but this is a great product in keeping with the box theme. While the bright pink color shocked me (I’m really not into bright pinks…or any pink, really), this is suppose to give you more of a popsicle stain effect.
  • Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Color in Rose Gold. I already know I love this. I’ve been a huge fan of the Caviar Sticks ever since I got a gold one a few years ago. They’re great on their own or as a base to boost eyeshadow pigmentation.
  • Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet. I’ve tried serums from Caudalie in the past and really enjoyed them! I’m actually out of my moisturizers and am going through sample, so I’m down to add this to my routine.
  • GlamGlow ThirstyMud Hydrating Treatment. Being an expensive mask brand that’s been hit or miss for me in the past, I really appreciate samples from GlamGlow. It really gives me an opportunity to see if any of their masks are worth the splurge.
  • Maison Margiela REPLICA Lipstick On Fragrance. I’m gonna need Sephora to stop sending me the perfect fragrance samples. I don’t think I’ve ever received a scent that’s so nostalgia-inducing and absolutely delicious. The only thing keeping me from purchasing the $125 bottle is the price. I’m holding off until they come out with a roller ball of this fragrance. But man, if you’re a fan of vanilla and tonka bean infused scents, get your butt to Sephora right now to try this. But beware, this will sorely tempt you into splurging!

The October box was a little better, but this month’s box was a great followup. I’m thoroughly impressed with Sephora. If you want to sign up, just go to your Sephora profile and see if it’s available in your area.

Killing It.

The $10 subscriptions weren’t the only one to set the bar high in November. Boxycharm, my $21/month subscription delivered. Not only did they deliver, they managed to beat out the wonderful March box to which I constantly refer back in my unboxing posts. One small note, Boxycharm continues to have these themes that make zero sense and have no correlation to the products. This month’s theme was the Groovy Train, but as you can see from the picture I don’t really see anything very 70s about this. I do get a kick out of this. Maybe one day they’ll get their themes to line up with their products.

  • Studio Makeup Cool Down Palette. Yet another Studio Makeup Palette? YES PLEASE! I LOVED ┬áthe Warm Up palette we got in September’s box and this is its cool counterpart. I haven’t posted my in-depth review yet, so I’ll probably do a twofer on both of these palettes. But if it’s anything like the Warm Up palette, it will be absolutely gorgeous.
  • Skyn Iceland Icelandic Relief Eye Pen. I really like this brand’s cooling eye patches, so I’m excited to try their eye cream. The pen format isn’t my favorite, as I like to squeeze out every last drop of eye creams. That aside, I really hope the formula is cooling and hydrating.
  • Crown Brush C513 Pro Detail Brush. I love getting brushes! Crown, of course, isn’t the best quality (basically Morphe before they revamped their brushes and stopped private labeling). However, it’s not bad and will be a good addition to my collection.
  • Vintage Illuminating Face Highlighter in Rose Gold. This highlighter looks absolutely stunning! The color really reminds me of OFRA x Dupe That!’s You Dew You and Wet n Wild’s Crown of My Canopy. I haven’t swatched it yet to compare the formula, but I absolutely love the way rose gold highlighters look on my complexion.
  • Makeup Geek Blush Powder. YES YES YES! More Makeup Geek, please! I absolutely fell in love with the compact blush we got in May and am so happy with got another color in a pan single! This time, I received the shade Main Squeeze, which is a muted coral with a matte finish. While the Makeup Geek site says this is best suited for fair skin, I know they’re pigmented enough to build up on my medium-tan skin tone.

If you’ve been wavering on whether to sign up, based on this box I’d say go for it. You can sign up here.

November was absolutely amazing for beauty subscriptions! I’m extremely happy with what I got and cannot wait to see how these services close out the year. December can be hit or miss. Some subscriptions will end the year with a bang and others get lazy.

We’ll have to see which route they decide to go.


Boxycharm Review: Ella + Mila Nail Polish

That label is adorable!

When subscription services get nail polishes right, it’s such a good thing. (When they get them wrong, they’re just plain terrible.) Boxycharm definitely nailed it with this pretty pastel green shade from Ella + Mila (Pistache, USD $10.50 full size).

The packaging continues to be adorable. I just love that elephant.

Ella + Mila describes their nail polishes as being 7 free, which means it’s free of certain “bad ingredients” that can be found in other polishes. They’re also cruelty free, vegan, and certified by PeTa. If you’re an ingredient conscience shopper, this might be a good nail polish brand to try out. The price range puts it just 50 cents above OPI, putting this in the high end category.

The bottle and color were absolutely irresistible, so I couldn’t wait to put this on my nails.

A sage neutral green color.

The polish applied really well, especially for a pastel finish. I find that most pastel polishes can apply streaky. I got to full opacity with this one in two coats, which is exactly what I want. I’ll do three coats if need be, but rather not since the polish doesn’t last as long.

Over time, the polish had good staying power. Unlike a lot of other pastel or “cream” finish nail polishes, this one didn’t have a huge color cracking issues. That’s when the polish starts to break up into cracks under the top coat. I really appreciate that, as some of my most beloved pastel and cream shades still give me unsightly cracks after a few days.

I’m surprised at how much I like this!

Now, the website does say that the staying power of this polish is akin to gel manicures. I’m going to disagree and say that’s a bold claim. This definitely is not comparable to a gel manicure. However, I did get about 8 days wear time before I felt the need to take it.

For a $10, that’s the exact staying power I’m looking for.

Final thoughts: This was a great polish to get in Boxycharm. The color was modern and on trend, and the formula absolutely gorgeous. With the variety of colors this brand has to offer, this is a great ingredient conscious, vegan alternative to the more mainstream polish brands.

If you’d like to try Boxycharm, follow the link!