Sweet Jesus, I’m late on this! I’ve had this draft sitting around forever, but it’s been a busy summer. I still wanted to talk about it, because I’m about to make some changes to my subscriptions. Don’t worry, Boxycharm is sticking around for now! Plus, I want to showcase how great the summer boxes can be. Now, onto the review!
Boxycharm is a standout beauty subscription service because for $21 a month, you get full size beauty products. Most of the time, these are great quality with some products coming from well known brands in the beauty community. Whenever I’m unhappy with Boxycharm, it tends to be because they’ve lowered the quality of the products included in their box.
This time, my disappointment wasn’t because these were bad products but because these weren’t the best fit for someone who is already a beauty enthusiast. However, it’s perfect for beginners who are looking to expand their collections and skills.
If you’ve been wanting to venture into contouring and highlighting, then this was the perfect box for you!
The theme in May was “Makeup is Art”, which is a great theme. However, this theme leads me to believe that the box would be more colorful. Granted, the shading techniques of sculpting and highlighting are art! But, I feel like including an eyeshadow or blush would have completed the theme.
This months box included:
Crown Pro Round Contour Brush ($24.99): Dying to try those Artis brushes, but don’t want to splurge? This was the box for you, then. I was stoked to get this brush. I’ve tried my sister’s Artis Oval 7 brush, which is just as amazing as people say it is. I’m so interested in looking at more affordable alternatives.
The Brow Gal Convertible Brow 02 ($35.00): This is really great for someone just getting into brows. Brow powder is one of the easier brow tool to experiment with. I like that the trio comes with three tones, two cool and one warm, so you can customize it to your shade. I did pass this on, however, because I’m really happy with my Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Powder and have a ton to get through.
Brow Brush by The Brow Gal ($14.00): Glad they also include the right dual ended brush/spool you’ll need to use the powder! I also recommend buying some brow wax so that the powder has something to cling to. I did keep my brush, because I can always use another brow brush.
IBY Beauty Highlight and Contour Palette ($40.00): Again, another great product for someone just getting into contouring. The only problem that I see with this product is that the powders lean a bit on the warm side. I prefer cooler shades for contouring. Also, it’s not exactly versatile for POC. (See Anastasia Beverly Hills and how she has two separate palettes, one light to medium and one medium to tan.) I already have two contour palettes, so I don’t need to add more to my collection.
*Temptu Liquid Glow ($29.50): I do love liquid highlighters to mix into my foundations, lotions, and sunscreens. This is a really pretty rose gold shade that I will definitely get use out of. My one teeny beef with this is that the packaging wasn’t the best for shipping. My bottles started oozing product the second I opened it, and my sister’s just exploded all over her and her room. They need to find a way for it to be packaged without so much pressure.
Overall, this is a phenomenal box for someone who is building their makeup collection. For me, however, it was a good amount of product that I already have. I always love adding more brushes and tools, so those were great. The liquid highlight will also get some use, but I do wish we could have gotten some blush instead.
Still, this box showed a promising start to the summer boxes. So far, Boxycharm is delivering. June’s box was so, so good and I’ll be sharing that soon.
If you’d like to subscribe to Boxycharm, I believe there’s no waitlist right now for a limited time. You can sign up **here.
*Links marked with an asterisk (*) are MagicLinks affiliate links. I don’t receive any compensation for my product reviews. However, if you choose to buy products through these links, I will earn a small commission.
**Links marked with a double asterisk (**) are referral links to subscription services that any subscriber would get. I don’t receive any monetary compensation for my posts on subscription services. If you sign up through my link, I will receive reward points but no monetary compensation.
🍑 @colourpopcosmetics Super Shock Shadow: I Spy (base) & Melrose (crease)
🍑 @makeupgeekcosmetics Duo Chrome Pressed Pigments: Mai Tai & I’m Peachless (lid).
🍑 @marcellecosmetics Waterproof Eyeliner: Indigo
🍑 @covergirl Clump Crusher Mascara
🍑 @colourpopcosmetics Ultra Satin Lip in Jacquard + Lippie Pencil in Chi
Before buying the peach tones brands have launched, I looked through my collection and found some forgotten great makeup.
During a sale, I picked up some peach tones ColourPop Super Shock matte shadows. To give more of a glow, I pulled out some Makeup Geek Duochrome shadows that were sitting in a forgotten magnetic palette.
I used Mai Tai all over the lid with I’m Peachless in the center for a soft spotlight effect.
For the messy brow, I used the Benefit Goof Proof pencil in shade 6 to fill them in a bit and then used the Gimme Brow, brushing the hairs in upward strokes and then using a brow brush to lay down the hairs that seemed too out of place.
ColourPop also recently launched their monochromatic collections. I really liked the swatches of Jacquard online. In person, it’s much more of a bright coral. It was much brighter than what I like to wear. So to tone it down, I laid down a base of Chi Lippie Stix, which is a neutral light brown pencil. Then, I used a lip brush to apply and mix in Jacquard. Boom. The muted coral I was looking for!
I really loved how this turned out and will probably be playing a lot with peach tones through Spring.
It’s time again for battle of the $10 subscription boxes! I’ve decided to change up my unboxings and try out this style. Boxycharm is really in a category all it’s own, since it’s twice the amount of these other subscriptions.
So were there any clear winners this month? Let’s find out!
First up is the OG beauty box. Y’all know about my rollercoaster with Birchbox. The last two boxes got me hoping they were on the uptick. Unfortunately, it seems that it’s “a two steps forward, one step back” situation.
I wasn’t impressed with any of the sample choices or pre selected box for March. And, yes, what I got were old, tired recycled samples and brands.
I do love that they did a collab with Reese Witherspoon’s company, Draper James. The box itself is absolutely adorable. The samples didn’t leave me excited, though.
I do like this brand, and volume is something I deal with, though mainly at the roots with second and third day hair. This could possibly fit into my routine, but I’m so overwhelmed with hair care products at the moment. It’s going to be a while before I can try this. Or maybe I’ll use it once and if it’s not impressive enough declutter it out of my collection.
Ah, how Birchbox loves throwing in perfume samples into non-pre selected boxes. This isn’t the worst I’ve gotten from Birchbox, but it’s nowhere near close to what my profile indicates I would like. A bit too fresh smelling, since I prefer warmer fragrances. It’s a waste of a sample on me.
Yes, Coastal Scents has come back to haunt me again. I decluttered this palette, which Boxycharm sent two years ago, out of my collection and now have two dinky shadow samples back in my possession. My beef with brands like Coastal Scents is that they just try to dupe high end brands instead of putting out unique palette. I don’t need a cheaper take on an Urban Decay Naked palette. Into the donation bin you go!
This is what I picked for the box. I have other brightening nude liners in my collection, so I wasn’t excited when I picked it. However, now that I looked at it, I’m intrigued. My other nude liners are a very true nude, which does brighten my eyes but sometimes is too much of a stark contrast (aka, they give me the crazy eyes). I wonder if this more pinky formula would work better. Color me surprised, but I’m really interested in trying this out.
Verdict: Birchbox was a definite miss for me. This tends to happen in February/March, but this was particularly disappointing because of the improvement in my January and February boxes. I hope they do better, because if not I will nix by subscription.
Maybe you’re looking at my box and actually think it’s pretty great. Hey, why not give it a shot? If Birchbox appeals to you, you can sign up here.
Up next, is Ipsy.
Ok, ok. That’s a bit of an exaggeration. But I am in love with this blush tone bag. It’s really cute for spring and the color is incredibly on trend. Plus, this is one of Ipsy’s bigger bags, so I’ll be able to stick a couple of more things in there when I travel.
The samples weren’t bad. I’m just not really enthused on first impression. If anything, I feel much better about this bag than I do what Birchbox sent.
Ipsy got the tone of this color collector just right, since I wear peachy correctors on my tan complexion to even out dark spots (especially in the under eye area). City Color is one of my favorite affordable makeup brands. However, I just don’t like cream concealers that come in compacts. It gets way too messy and unsanitary.
Doucce is one of those brands that you see all over the beauty subscription box market. I’ve tried some mascaras from them. Some I liked, others not so much. I’ve yet to try their eyeshadows, though. I was sent a wee single pan in the shade Marissa.
This is totally something I would wear. I also like that the pan is magnetized, so I can stick it in a magnetic palette. If the formula works out, this could be a great little addition to my eyeshadow collection!
Man, do I love getting Ofra products in my bag. I’ve heard great things about their blushes, so I was pumped when I saw I was getting one. This peach shade looks incredibly pretty.
I’m not sure if that tone will show up on me. If it has enough pigmentation, I think it’ll be fine. But with peachy shades, I need a saturated blush for it to work. Still, I’m a big fan of Ofra and am glad to at least try out the formula.
I love getting masks for pampering in my subscription boxes. Of course, the majority of the time they don’t make any real difference, but they’re still fun to try. The ingredients look good for this mask, minus the inclusion of fragrance. I really don’t understand skincare brands’ desire to add so much fragrance to facial skincare. Body stuff, I get. But the skin on our face is so sensitive and the majority of the time we want ingredients that will fight inflammation and treat skin.
I can always use a blending brush, especially since I get lazy about cleaning my brushes. (Don’t worry, I do wash them. But it’s still such a pain in the ass.) This one from Elizabeth Mott is a nice, synthetic brush that’s soft and seems well made. I prefer synthetic brushes for the type of eyeshadow I use. I also love the aesthetic of the brush. The Tiffany Blue is a nice touch.
Verdict: Ipsy did a solid job. Again, this isn’t my favorite bag, but they’re still doing a good job of matching up products with my profile and feedback. In theory, all of these should be a hit with me, but there are some personal preferences that just don’t line up with a few of the samples. Still, I love the eyeshadow, brush, and the mask. Plus, this is probably the prettiest bag I’ve every gotten from Ipsy. It’s nice enough that you could probably get away with using it as a party clutch.
Ipsy really does get better with each feedback I give them. I think they’re doing a great job of offering a variety of samples so each month it really feels like you’re getting new things. Birchbox could learn a thing or two from Ipsy. If you want to try them out, you can sign up here.
Now, we have Play! by Sephora:
It was all about the glow over at Sephora this month. Personally, I love the theme because they’re showing how to achieve the radiant, glowy look without having to resort solely to glittery or shimmery highlighter.
I have to say, though, now that Sephora is doing box variations, I was a little disappointed with some of the products I received in my box. They’re not bad, but not as good as what was previewed for some boxes.
Apparently, this can be used as both an illuminating primer or a cream highlighter. I don’t think I would use this quite as an illuminating primer because Josie Maran’s products tend to be slightly too oily to go all over my skin. Still, I’ve been loving using cream highlighters lately under powder to boost the glow.
I haven’t had much luck with GlamGlow masks in the past (I just don’t see anything to justify the price), but maybe I’ll have better luck with this. I do love using an illuminating primer under matte foundation. The combination gives a beautiful finish to my skin without leaving me looking to oily. I’m excited to try this.
This is where I give Sephora the side-eye. Yes, Urban Decay Primer Potion is a cult classic, which is great for makeup newbies to try. (Though personally, I prefer Milani’s formula.) But, the other option in box variations was a Bobbi Brown shadow stick.
I’d much rather get the Bobbi Brown product. This is the original formula, and not even one of the new primers that have come out. I just think if you’re going to offer this as an alternate to Bobbi Brown, at least make it one of the newer launches.
I really like what I’ve sampled from Atelier Cologne. It’s a pricey fragrance brand, but if you’re a citrus lover you should really take a look at what they have to offer.
This isn’t my absolute favorite of their citrus scents, but it still smells really good. It’s a great fragrance to include in the box as we hop into spring. Very season appropriate.
Verdict: Sephora did a great job with this theme, with the exception of the variations that don’t really act as good alternates to some of the products in the other boxes. Still, there are some really interesting products in here. Sephora continues to offer a strong beauty subscription.
Sign up for the waitlist as soon as it’s available in your area. This beauty subscription is absolutely worth it.
So out of the three, were there any clear winners this month?
Honestly, Birchbox was the worst but both Ipsy and Sephora were good, though not terribly exciting. If I had to pick one, I’d give it to Sephora this month for having a few more samples that I’m enthusiastic to have. Not really a stand out, but not a bad month for subscriptions either.
I’m really glad Play! By Sephora included this cult classic in one of the monthly boxes. People who are new to makeup may be asking themselves, “What’s the big deal with eyebrow gel?”
Well, as a gal with unruly brows, let me tell you that this can be your best friend, especially now that brows are so important and the bushy boy brow is all the rage.
So really, what’s all the fuss about?
If you’re like me and your brows have a mind of their own, this is your new best friend. Yes, I understand that the fact that Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Gel runs $22.00 for the full size is off putting. But honestly, this stuff is like super glue for your brows without feeling like hairspray on the face.
Lately, I’ve been doing the bushy brow technique where I brush brow gel through my hairs in the reverse direction and then taking a brow brush to arrange the hairs that look out of place. It’s a great way to get the runway boy brow without looking crazy in real life. The ABH clear brow gel has been great for me, because it keeps my work in place through a full day, including 2 hours of working out. The rest of my makeup may be faded but at the end of the day my brow hairs are still in place.
Alright, I can admit that if you have very sparse brows that easily stay in place, this probably isn’t the product from you. I can safely say you can pass on this and be alright. You’re better off just investing in a tinted brow gel and some brow powder to get a polished, but full brow. You can find great brow products at both high end and more affordable prices (personally, I love Essie’s brow gel, if you need more cool toned shades).
I’ve been on the search, but I just can’t find an affordable alternative that does for me what ABH does. If I could I would, but for now I’d say this is a purchase worth your money. Plus, it lasts a really long time before it either dries out or gets gross.
Bottom line: Yes, it’s just a clear brow gel. Yes, you’re paying over $20. But honestly, if you have unruly brows that don’t stay in place, this is worth while.
Lately, I’ve been wearing a lot of warmer tones paired with nude lips. That makes for great, easy every day looks but I wanted to venture into my cooler toned shadows and pops of color.
I decided to go for pink toned shadows from the Lorac Pro palette blended with Bitten from Makeup Geek to bring in subtle red tones (yes, red compliments cool pinks beautifully). I also did a natural eyeliner look right against the top lashline and the outer corner of the bottom lashline.
All week, I’ve been sporting nudes and browns on the lips. Time for a pop of color.
Voila! Daytime friendly pinky/red eye look.
🌸 Maybelline Matte + Poreless Foundation in 238 Rich Tan (great for neutral toned medium tan skin!)
🌸 Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer
🌸 Benefit Hoola Bronzer
🌸 Studio Makeup Soft Blend Blush in Wildflower
🌸 Essence Pure Nude Highlighter
If you’re a makeup newbie, you may not be aware of just how great Make Up For Ever eyeshadows are. Since one was included in a Play! By Sephora box, you may want to sign up for the subscription service (if available in your area). It’s a good way to try Sephora’s brands.
Those of us who are enthusiasts already know, so do I even need to talk about it?
I’ll be brief, but there’s a reason MUFE’s single shadows are pricey (one will run you $21.00). They tend to be very pigmented, smooth, and incredibly blendable. I’ve used a few in different finishes and have yet to run across a bad shadow. So the good news is that even though you’re paying $21 a pan you’re getting a quality product made in Italy.
That being said, is it really worth paying the full price for the shadows?
I think full price could be worth it if there’s a really unique shade that you know you’ll use all the time. Otherwise, there’s a better way to try out these shadows.
Though you’ll be getting a slightly smaller pan size, I think newbies to MUFE should go for the collection palettes they put out every new season. MUFE will look at the trends and put together colors that exist in their catalog into a pretty palette that comes with instructions.
Some palettes will come in a particular finish. The fall’s version, Vol. 4, was all matte for the matte eye trend. These palettes are $44 and have 9 shadows, a great value. The florals collection is currently on sale for $34. If you’re a real novice and aren’t adventurous enough to try colors, go for Volume 1 Nudes. It’s got great basic colors that are user friendly as you build up your eye makeup skills.
Bottom line: While pricey, MUFE shadows deliver. Personally, I would go for their collections for the value, but if you already have the basics and none of the collection colors speak to you I’d swatch the colors that have caught your eye in person and invest in a pan or two. Can you find similar colors for a lower price? Yes. But if you see something unique, I think you’ll get your money’s worth.
Stila was offering matte liquid lipsticks way before they went viral in the beauty community. These days, every brand is offering their take on the trend made popular by Kylie Jenner.
Personally, I love a good matte lipstick. I also enjoy the occasional liquid lipstick, though I’m more picky about the formulas I go for. My first introduction to liquid lipsticks was also through Stila (and Birchbox), but this is before they were truly popular and I didn’t understand how they worked. This was also back when the shades offered were much brighter. I received a color that ended up looking clownish orange. Needless to say, I was not impressed.
Luckily, I didn’t give up on liquid lipsticks and got to try many more formulas and colors. Now, given the right formula and shade, I love them. Stila’s Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick (USD $24.00, full size) is very well known in the beauty community. The formula is one that people either rave about or don’t like at all.
I got to give Stila a second chance when the shade Patina was included in a Birchbox. Patina is a cult favorite dusty rose shade that you can find all over Instagram and YouTube. I can see why. It’s just muted enough to be a good neutral without washing out the skin. The dusty rose shade is a bit pinker on tan and deep complexions, yet still works wonderfully.
I have nothing bad to say about this shade. The color payoff is wonderful and I got full opacity with just one stroke. I don’t think that’s constant across all shades (you tend to get more patchiness with the lighter and darker colors), but there were no streaks in this neutral.
This is an especially great shade if you want to wear an on trend muted color, but don’t want to venture into the concealer colored nudes or the more cool toned gray/taupe shades. It’s safe, but not boring.
Now as for the formula. There are some very polarizing views. Some people say that it’s one of the best formulas out there. Others say it’s way too drying. I’m somewhere in the middle.
Whether you like this formula is going to depend on what you want out of a liquid lipstick. This is not the thinnest, drying formula I’ve ever tried. While thinner in comparison to OFRA or Lonely Planet (which are more mousse like), it’s still whipped enough that I don’t cringe when I put it on. Now, because it’s slightly thinner it’s not going to be as moisturizing or comfortable as the more mousse like liquid lipstick.
That being said, Stila’s formula wore really comfortably on me for about 6 hours. I’d say it’s a step above the Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in comfort.
Because it was a little thinner, it had a bit more staying power and did fade quite nicely. Of course, after several hours of wear I started noticing some breaking down around the inside of the lip. I personally prefer fully removing a liquid lip and applying a new coat versus layering. But I did try to layer in the areas that had faded and it did apply well. There was bit of residue, but nothing I couldn’t brush out once the new coat had dried.
So while this isn’t my favorite liquid lipstick formula (that title belongs to both Smashbox and Lonely Planet), it’s still solid.
Bottom line: If you’re looking for a true powder matte finish, but need something with a bit more comfort, I would try out Stila’s liquid lipstick. Though it doesn’t have the same staying power as the more drying formulas, the finish is beautiful and will feel better on the lips while still lasting a good bit. You can layer it as it fades, though I don’t recommend doing this with any liquid lipstick. And yes, Patina is just as beautiful a shade as everyone claims it is. It’s one of those nudes that’s going to be extremely universal, from the fairest to richest complexion.
I received my sample through Birchbox*. If you’d like to sign up, you can do so here.
*Quick update on my Birchbox subscription. Just as I was contemplating saying good-bye Birchbox has offered another option. For and additional $7 per month for monthly subscriber and $6 for yearly subscribers, you can now get access to a “premium subscription”. What this means is (from Birchbox):
Monthly Category Choice: Select a product category you’d like to receive a sample from in your next box and/or a product category you’d like to exclude (i.e. “Send me a cleanser this month, skip the shampoo!”). The samples themselves will still be a surprise!
Beauty Fix-It Boxes: Choose from a selection of curated boxes filled with samples that address specific beauty needs (i.e. acne-prone skin or frizzy hair). Try out something you’ve had your eye on—or give a new trend a go! You can opt to receive one of these boxes instead of your personalized box.
Swap for Points: Opt to receive Birchbox Points in place of your Birchbox for that month. We’ll add your Points (matching the value of your monthly subscription payment) into your account on the 1st of the month.
Exclusive Shop Discounts: As part of the premium subscription you will get adiscount on the full size versions of the samples you receive so you can save on new and familiar favorites.
Fast Track to ACE status: Your monthly subscription counts towards your dollars spent towards ACE status, so you’ll get there quicker with a premium subscription.
Very interesting. Also, I didn’t know they had taken away having the subscription count towards ACE status in the regular subscriptions. Way to be shady again, Birchbox. I’m intrigued by what they’re offering. I’ve already switched my subscription from yearly to monthly, so I’ll have to shell out the extra money. However, I’m willing to see if this makes the boxes any better. But at $17 a month, this is getting into Boxycharm price territory. And they at least offer full sized products. Plus, Sephora keeps their box at $10 (plus tax) and still counts what you spend on Play towards rewards points/VIB status. We’ll have to see just how this plays out.
In all honesty, unless Birchbox starts offering more sample variety and brings back some form of their reviews for reward points system, I’m not really seeing how this will be enough to tempt people into coming back.