April 2017 Boxycharm!

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An ok month for Boxycharm.

Boxycharm set the bar high for this year starting with January’s box. February’s was an even better follow up. March was still great, though not as great as the previous two.

And now, April.

April, unfortunately, is a definite downgrade from the previous boxes. That being said, there are some great items in here. It’s just that for a $20 monthly subscription, I expect to like at least the majority of the items. One dud is fine, but any more is pushing it.

The theme this month was “Boho Glow”, but there was really only one item that fit with the theme. I’m not sure what the purpose of the themes are if they’re not really going to run with it when it comes to what’s in the box.

Here’s what I got in my box:

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Keep vs. Pass

So I’m just keeping the highlighter and sponges and passing on everything else.

Even though I’m happy with what I’m keeping, it’s disappointing that I’m passing on so much.

May and June tend to be better months for Boxycharm and they’ve had much stronger boxes earlier this year, so if you want to sign up you can do so here.**

*Links marked with an asterisk (*) are 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. If you sign up through my link, I will receive reward points but no monetary compensation.

April 2017 Birchbox vs. Ipsy vs. Play! by Sephora

Are we really almost through April? This year is already flying by!

With another month comes another round up of beauty subscriptions. 2017 started off strong, but March was a definitely slow down. April is another hit or miss month (May’s the same), in my experience. And as you’ll see below, this year’s April offerings were a definite miss for me.

Granted, you may look at what I got and think it’s not really so bad. Fair point, but you also have to remember that I’ve been getting beauty subscriptions for four years. And for some subscriptions, you can clearly tell that they’re beginning to exhaust their sample bank.

Let’s dive in.

Everyone who’s in the loop on beauty subscriptions knows that it’s been a real struggle bus for Birchbox since major changes were made to the subscription service/online beauty retailer last July. The quality of the samples have been downgraded, with Birchbox failing to enlarge their brand pool. Plus, that beloved and amazing reward points system was taken away. And yes, Birhcbox, we old timers never forget and will probably never be over it.

They’re trying to address these issues, to their credit. For “Aces”, the most loyal group of Birchbox subscribers, Birchbox is now giving back 1.3 reward points for every dollar spent (including subscription billing) instead of the 1 point for everyone else. Here’s the thing, I still have to spend money to get that extra third of a point in rewards. This in no way makes up for no longer being able to earn rewards through sample reviews. Really, Birchbox would do better just offering 1 or 2 reward points through reviews.

The next thing they’re doing is trying a new beta program. For $12/month versus $10, you have five ways to choose your samples for the following month:

  • The standard for everyone: do nothing and be surprised; choose one of your samples beforehand with the other four being random; or picking a pre curated feature box where you’ll know all your samples beforehand.
  • A specialty box that focuses on one area of samples (aka, a whole box of SPF, or products for dry skin, etc.).
  • Pick one, skip one: Pick one category you absolutely want in your box and tell Birchbox not to include the other.
  • Skip the month completely and receive rewards points for the box value.

Almost all of the individual sample choices and the samples in the feature box were products I’ve tried before. I wasn’t tempted by any of it, but I wanted to see how this new algorithm would work so I decided to try out one of the newer options.

Again, none of the specialty boxes appealed to me because they were all things I’ve sampled in the past. Granted, if there was a specialty box that had a ton of my faves, I would absolutely go for it, regardless of repeat product. You can’t have too much of something you love.

So, I went with the pick one, skip one option. I asked for Birchbox to include a makeup product (this month’s category was a lip product) and to please leave out any hair styling creams.

Right off the bat, I wish Birchbox would let you eliminate a category entirely instead of having to pick a specific type of product. I really wanted to tell Birchbox to not include any hair products at all, because I’m so overwhelmed with them. I hope this pops up as an option next month,

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Birchbox’s first attempt at the new beta option didn’t work out for the best.

The box I got as a result of my pick one, skip one wasn’t impressive. Somehow, I ended up with two hair products so you can see why I would want an option to eliminate a whole category. The rest of the box was ok.

  • *Michael Todd Blue Green Algae Antibacterial Toner: This was the one sample I’m excited to try. I’ve been eyeing some of Michael Todd’s products for a while, so I’m glad this came in my box. The sample is a little on the small side, but there’s a good amount of uses in there.
  • *R+Co. High Dive Moisture and Shine Cream: I have way too many samples of moisture and shine creams in my stash. So many that I decluttered a bunch and set them aside for donation and friends. I have no clue why Birchbox included this, especially when I specifically told them I did not want a styling cream. I think it was included because technically the option was a “blow out” cream, which is very sneaky.
  • *Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Double the Lip in Pink Thrills: First of all, from following the online beauty community I already know this product is a dud. Second, I’m really not a fan of true pink lipsticks. Birchbox should know this from my beauty profile and should have sent a different color from this line (or a different brand).
  • *Vasanti Brighten Up! New Skin Amplifying Moisturizer: I’m not a huge fan of Vasanti’s skincare, which I’ve told Birchbox in sample feedback. Really, if I’m going to get excited over a moisturizer, it needs to be from a brand I like or from one I’ve been wanting to try.
  • *Number 4 Jour d’automne Sugar Texturizing Spray: This is an interesting product. I do use texturizing spray regularly and I’m intrigued by the fact that they use sugar instead of sea salt or powder. But, I’m also overwhelmed with hair product and am trying to pair down what I have. For now, this will be sitting in my donation bag, though I may take it out of there if I make my way through some product before heading down to the shelter.

First impression: As you can tell, I was not impressed with Birchbox’s first attempt at this new beta option. Somehow, I ended up paying slightly more for a box I didn’t like. In hindsight, I wish I’d just skip the month entirely for the reward points.

However, if you’re looking at my April box and it seems like something you’d like, you can sign up for Birchbox here.**

May’s sample choices look to be a bit better than April’s, so maybe Birchbox will be able to redeem itself.

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Ipsy also failed to impress in April.

Up next is Ipsy. Ipsy has been killing it since last fall. March was a little less impressive, but April has set the bar for bad glam bag in 2017. Again, the products just failed to excite me, were too small, or products I didn’t want.

  • *Tarte Tarteist Quick Dry Matte Lip Paint in Delish: I’m one of those people who loved the first generation of Tarte’s liquid lipstick because it was more of a satin formula that didn’t dry out the lips. I was bummed to see that they were phasing that formula out for this more matte formula. I do love a good liquid lipstick, though, so I’m willing to try out this new version. I’m a wee bit worried about the shade, because it might lean more pink on my skin tone. Also, Tarte could be more generous with their sample size. That’s one tiny tube.
  • Elizabeth Mott Show Me Your Glow Shimmer Shadow and Highlighter: This is a pretty shimmer shade, but a little light for my complexion. On top of that, the sample is really tiny, so getting a highlighter brush in there is annoying. Into the pass on pile you go!
  • Glamour Dolls x Lisa Frank Angle Blush Brush: Ok, this brush is really cute for nostalgia purposes. And of course, I love getting tools in subscription bags. But if I’m being perfectly honest, this blush brush doesn’t feel very well made. The lightweight and construction makes me feel like I’m using one of those kid’s makeup brushes from the toy store. I’ll still try it out, but I may pass this along to one of my young cousins.
  • Theorie Marula Oil Transforming Hair Serum: I have too many hair oils. I don’t need another. Bye, girl.
  • Dream by PS Cosmeceutical Infused Nail Lacquer in Southern Sand: This is a really pretty nude nail color, which I’m happy to see Ipsy include in their bags. However, I do own similar polish colors and tones, so I’ll be passing this along to someone else.

First impression: Overall, this bag is a dud for me. Again, not bad products but nothing exciting. Ipsy was just a little off this month.

Ipsy tends to do better in the summer months, so if you’d like to get on the waitlist you can sign up here.**

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I knew it would happen eventually.

And finally, we have the first dud box from Play! by Sephora. I knew it would happen eventually, but it’s still sad to see that even what is arguably the best $10 beauty subscription can’t escape bad box months.

  • *Make Up For Ever Aqua XL Eyeliner: To be fair, this is suppose to be a great eyeliner formula. Unfortunately, Sephora opted to send a black liner, which I have way too many of. I don’t need another one and will be setting this aside for donation.
  • *Sephora Collection Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover: I really do like this makeup remover and go through my supply like candy. Perfectly happy to have another one on hand.
  • *Philosophy Purity Made Simple: Both Ulta and Sephora keep trying to push this cleanser on me. Honestly, I’m not a fan because I find it strips my skin too much. I think this is more for people with truly oily skin.
  • *Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer: Why, yes, this was already in a subscription box last month. While I like this primer, I don’t need so many samples lying around. Setting aside for donation.
  • *Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream: I’m excited to try this. My skin loves hyaluronic acid, so I’d love to see how this moisturizer works out.
  • *Miu Miu L’Eau Bleue: This fragrance just didn’t work out for me. The scent is just a bit off and way too “fresh” smelling. I wonder if Sephora is really taking what we name as our preferences in our profile quizzes.

First Impression: Yeah, this is a dud box. Luckily, there are two samples I’m happy to have, but the majority of the box just didn’t hit home. However, I believe future boxes will go back to being the great quality they’ve been in the past.

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Keep vs. Pass On

So as you can see, I’m keeping six samples and passing on 10. Not a great month.

If you’re thinking about starting a beauty subscription, in my experience March through May are the worst months, sample wise. I would hold off until the June subscriptions to get a good feel for what beauty subscription services have to offer.

*Links marked with an asterisk (*) are 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. If you sign up through my link, I will receive reward points but no monetary compensation.

February 2017 Beauty Subscriptions!

Late again, but only because my Play! By Sephora box took so long to get here! I’ve been dying to talk about the February boxes for a few weeks now. Guys, it’s so good, which is so surprising because February usually sucks. Each subscription had a majority of products that I’m excited to try. Let’s get into it.

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Probably the best February Birchbox I’ve ever gotten.

Right when I’m ready to say good-bye I get sucked back in. While I did downgrade my subscription from year round to monthly, I am going to stick it out with Birchbox. From emails and surveys I’ve been getting from them, it looks like they’ve noticed the customer dissatisfaction with the changes (and shadiness) and are going to do something to address it. What exactly? I’m not sure. Plus, Birchbox is now carrying MAC cosmetics. I’d like to see what MAC samples pop up in our boxes.

Anyway, let’s look at what I got in February. I opted for the preselected box this round since there were more items I wanted to try.

  • Bumble & Bumble Repair Blow Dry. This is a styling cream that’s a throwaway sample for me. I love Bumble & Bumble but since I have short hair right now I avoid using a lot of styling cream to keep my hair from being weighed down. Still, I’ve used this in the past when I had longer hair and it’s an excellent product that does a good job of helping the hair to be styled and heat protected.
  • The Beauty Crop PBJ Smoothie Stick. Keeping it 100, this sample is why I went for the box. I was so bummed when last spring I was sent a color of this that was totally unwearable on my skin tone. This time around I got the shade Saucy Marsala, which is a beautiful brownish brick red — which is exactly how I like my red lipsticks. And it’s full sized. So pumped!
  • CLEAN Reserve Amber Saffron. You may notice this sample is missing. It’s because Birchbox failed and only sent me the cardboard holder of the perfume sample without the actual perfume. Of course, the fragrances are never my favorite, but I do like a lot of CLEAN’s scents and have been wanting to try this one for a while. Bummer, but at least Birchbox gifted me 50 reward points for the missing sample.
  • Acure Organics Purifying Fruit Peel. This was the second reason I went for the pre selected box. I love a lot of Acure’s skin treatments and this peel has been on my wishlist for a while.
  • Vasanti Eye Wonder 2.0 Super Powered Eye Cream with Ceramic Tip. Talk about a mouthful! Geez, what a name. Vasanti’s skincare isn’t my favorite (I much prefer their makeup tools), but I’m always down for trying a high end eye cream. I have yet to find one that tempts me away from my affordable and awesome Cerave Eye Cream.

Excited about three out of the five samples, I’m happy with this Birchbox. I’m also glad they replaced the missing samples with reward points that amount to $5 in their shop. It’s good customer service. The pre selected box for March wasn’t as exciting and had a lot of repeat products that I’ve already sampled, but here’s hoping their generator picks some good stuff at random.

If Birchbox seems like something you’d like to try, you can sign up here.

Moving on to Ipsy.

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They just keep killing it.

The physical bag itself is nothing to write home about. It reminds me of the denim + bright orange trend that was around when I was in middle school. I have a feeling 13 year old me would have been very into this bag (even though I only wore eyeliner, lip gloss, and a shit ton of glitter. Pretty sure I have some still embedded in my skin from the glitter explosion that was the early 2000s.). Bag aside, this was a great roundup of samples from Ipsy:

  • Briogeo Rosarco Blow Dry Perfection Heat Protectant Creme. I’d be excited to get this if Boxycharm hadn’t just sent a full sized version! Of course, since a lot of the same brands send their products to the different subscription services, this was bound to happen. I’m going to set this aside to give away since I don’t use blow dry cremes anyway. Briogeo products are legit tho. I love their moisture mask and volumizing spray.
  • NYX Butter Lipstick in Ripe Berry. Another lip product in the same month? Yes please! And it’s a berry shade, which is totally up my alley. I love NYX’s lipsticks, though I haven’t tried the butter formula. I’ll definitely get some use out of this.
  • Seraphine Botanicals Luminude in Primrose. I’ve been really into liquid illuminators, especially under my BB cream for a luminous look. I’ve swatched this and am pretty impressed with the shade and finish. On initial swatch, it also looks like this formula might be great for those with more oily skin.
  • Hikari Cosmetics Cream Pigmented Eyeshadow in Latte. I love getting individual shadow pans to fill up my Z Palette! This is a really pretty bronzed copper shade, which is perfect for the more natural, bronzy looks I’ve been into.
  • Luxie Beauty Rose Gold Blush Brush 514. I love brushes in subscriptions, especially complexion brushes. And ones from Luxie just make it extra special. Holy smokes, I’m so happy this was in my bag and that Ipsy listened to my feedback for more complexion beauty tools!

Yeah, this was an amazing Ipsy. I’m excited to use each sample, and the sample I’m passing on isn’t even bad. It’s just something I don’t use, but I know whoever gets it will love it.

Ipsy is definitely on the up and up, so if you want to try it out you can subscribe here.

The last of the $10 subscriptions I get is Play! By Sephora (which took its sweet time getting here).

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Great theme and product selections that are growing on me…

Now that it’s bigger, Play! is doing more box variations. Great, because they can be customized to our beauty profiles. Not so great, because sometimes there are items I really wanted but didn’t get. I absolutely loved February’s theme, which is about the softer, more neutral side of makeup (all about those nudes, y’all). Overall, I’m happy with it, though I’m left wanting one sample in particular.

  • TARTE Rainforest of the Sea Quench Lip Rescue in Nude. This is a great sample from Tarte of one of their tinted lip balms. I’m happy with the nude shade, but I’m more into full coverage lip products. I really wanted the Bite Beauty Multi Stick that some other subscribers got. Still, I’ll give this a chance.
  • Prada CANDY. The perfume sample was a bit of a miss for me this time around. I know some people absolutely adore this sent but it’s a bit too sweet for me. Luckily, my sister wanted the sample so I passed it on to her.
  • Clinique Pep Start Hydro Blur. I’ve been really curious about this moisturizer, especially since it’s the gel formula that I prefer. My sister just gifted me a deluxe size that didn’t work for her (she has drier skin), so I’ll use that first before deciding whether or not I want to open this sample.
  • Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream. Again, I love trying high end eye creams. My mom swears by this one, which has some light reflecting particles to brighten the undereye. I love a lot of Origins products and am happy I get to try this one.
  • Too Faced Lip Injection Gloss in Milkshake. Y’all know I’m not about the Lip Injection formula. I got a sample of the clear gloss in an Ipsy and was not a fan of the allergic reaction look it left behind. (But man, I love the scent that reminds me of Children’s Motrin Liquid — my fave medicine as a kid.) I’m tempted to just put this aside unopened, but the shade is a really, really pretty nude that’s right up my alley. Maybe I’ll give it a go and then pass it. Or maybe I’ll force myself to like it? Maybe the formula won’t be as strong as the clear??? Man, I wish this wasn’t lip plumping!…Or that I’d gotten the Bite Multi Stick in place of the gloss. #NeverGonnaBeOverIt
  • Sephora Lash Craft Length & Volume Mascara. Lord, Sephora continues giving out the dinkiest sample sizes for their in-house brand! C’mon, Sephora, you really need to step it up and at least give a size comparable to the Urban Decay or Too Faced sample sizes. I don’t believe you when you say the sample is worth $12…lies…

While I’ve gotten a little snarky with Sephora, this month was still good. I’m happy to have four out of the six samples, though I do wish there was a way to opt out of lip plumping products. Still, they’ve given a great box for $10.

I can’t refer y’all to Play, but check out Sephora’s website to see if it’s available in your area. If it is, I highly recommend getting on the waitlist. Once you subscribe, you can also earn reward points towards VIB/VIB Rouge status for what you pay for the subscription.

So we’ve looked at the $10 subscriptions. Now let’s look at $21/month Boxycharm.

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Yes, yes, and YES!!!

Boxycharm is setting the bar HIGH right out of the gate in 2017. I was expecting the box to be a little more lackluster after such a great January box. But I was so wrong. Boxycharm already outdid January and I’m so happy!

  • Realher Moisturizing Lipstick in I Define Beauty Myself (Mauve). Oh my god, Boxycharm actually sent me a neutral nude shade lipstick that can work on my skin tone. I’m PUMPED. Out of all the lip variations, this is the one I was hoping to get! The company also seems to have a great philosophy of empowering girls. I hope the formula is as great as their company philosophy.
  • Makeup Geek Eyeshadow Pans. Two eyeshadows from MUG again!!! I hope this becomes a regular thing, because I’m loving this trend. Honestly, they could include any products from MUG and I’d be happy. I got the shades Bitten (earthy maroon) and Desert Sands (medium caramel brown with yellow undertones).
  • Royal & Langnickel OMNIA Eye Kit. You know I love my brushes in subscription boxes! These feel soft and super well made. I cannot wait to put them to the test.
  • Z Palette (small). Despite the recent poor decisions Z Palette made in their PR department (pro tip: don’t insult your customers on social media, even if they’re giving you negative feedback), Z palette still makes an amazing product. I’m glad to get this travel size small palette, which is perfect when I want to take a few of my individual pans to compliment a palette I take on vacation or a business trip. It also pair very well with the two MUG shadows for those subscribers who don’t have an empty magnetic palette in their collection.
  • Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion. When I saw we were getting the full size version of this, I was surprised. I’d gotten sample sizes in past subscriptions and in Sephora rewards, but the full size? Wow. I say this because it retails for $79. That’s not an inflated price that you can then use an affiliate link to get a “discount” that reflects the real price. It’s really almost $80. That’s impressive, Boxycharm.

What did I tell you? An AMAZING Boxycharm. If they’re performing so well at the start of the year, I can only imagine what’s in store. If you want to subscribe, you can do so here.

With several lip products (my fave), great brushes, and some good skincare, I’m absolutely floored by February’s subscription services. How did your subscriptions leave you feeling?

January 2017 Beauty Subscriptions

Posting this a little late, but my subscriptions didn’t trickle in until the end of the month.

It’s a new year and we have 12 months of beauty subscriptions to look forward to! And these days, I could use as many little joys as I can get. January isn’t always the most exciting month for subscriptions. I feel like companies are tired from the holiday offerings, so January can be a little lack luster. I try not to set my expectations too high.

True to form, January’s beauty samples were a mix of good and ok. Though, there were some that surprised me.

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A good mix from Birchbox.

Man, the box is super cute this month. It helps that I’m a yoga and workout enthusiast. I’ll definitely be hanging on to this one. The contents of the box were a mix.

  • Juliette Has a Gun Mmm…: “Mmm…” is right. Yet another perfume sample that I hate. The scent is just way too sweet and sickly for my taste. Birchbox does a pretty terrible job of picking perfume samples. They also feel like such a waste of a sample, since I almost never use them. I have my profile set to limit my perfume samples to five times a year, though I wish I could opt out of them all together.
  • R+Co OBLIVION Clarifying Gel and Restorative Conditioner: I don’t mind shampoo samples in my boxes, and I love clarifying shampoo as I’m a heavy texturizing spray and dry shampoo user. I need something to get all the residue out of my hair when I finally wash it, so I can really appreciate this sample. I know the conditioner is in there as a bonus sample, but I wish I either wouldn’t get it at all (I prefer using hair masks) or getting it in a non foil packet. Even a smaller bottle would be better.
  • ARROW ENDURE Waterproof Mascara: I was about to roll my eyes at a mascara sample, but this one was really generous. Plus, (spoiler alert) the formula of this mascara pleasantly surprised me.
  • Sunday Riley Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment: This is the sample I picked out, and I’m really happy with my choice. Sunday Riley is a really expensive brand with a great reputation. I’ve been wanting to incorporate some of their products into my skincare, but they come with a hefty price tag. Good Genes alone is $105 for the full size. Of course, the sample size is super tiny, but you don’t need to use much of this.
  • Avene Soothing Moisture Mask: I want to like Avene products because they mesh well with my skin. But….that mineral oil and fragrance in the ingredients keeps me from doing so. Yet again, like in their other Hydrance line products, this has both of these offenders. It’s really too bad.

Overall, three products I want to try, one that I want to like but already know I hate the ingredients, and one that’s a complete throwaway. Three out of five isn’t bad, but in my opinion 90% of the samples should be good to justify a $10 subscription.

My Birchbox subscription is up for renewal in March, and I’m still on the fence about quitting. I’ve been with them so long and the loyalty is holding me back from cutting ties. But then again, the sample offerings haven’t been as varied or good as the other subscription services. At this point, especially after getting my January Box, I’m leaning towards changing my subscription to a monthly payment basis and seeing where they go. If the boxes don’t pick up, I’ll cancel.

Still, if Birchbox seems to speak to you, you can subscribe here.

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Ipsy’s starting off the year strong.

The bag itself wasn’t anything super exciting, which is too bad because there were some super cute bags last year. Still, the bags aren’t always eye pleasers. This one isn’t ugly, but I’ll probably be passing it on.

Now, the samples are another story.

  • Sally’s Box Loverecipe AcaiBerry and Aloe Masks: I love trying sheet masks, especially those from K-Beauty brands. Ipsy is always generous about including two sheet masks whenever they put it in a bag. Aloe masks have actually become some of my favorite for their anti inflammatory properties. I cannot wait to try these.
  • Manna Kadar Paradise Blush: I love Manna Kadar, and this blush is a beautiful warm tone that I’ve really been favoring in my blushes these days. The sample is generous, but  packaging was hell to open. I finally figured it out, but geez! They definitely need to choose better packaging.
  • SLMissGlam Blend Beauty Brush L34: You know I love my brushes in subscriptions! SLMissGlam is the newest in trending internet brands on Youtube, so I’m glad Ipsy is giving us a chance to sample the brand. This is the second brush I’ve gotten from the brand and so far I’m really enjoying them.
  • TEMPTU Base Smooth and Matte Primer: I’m not a fan of receiving Temptu samples, because their makeup is made to work with an airbrush. So while you can absolutely use their makeup on its own, it’s kind of a bummer because you can’t test it to its full effect. Also, this is a dimethicone based primer, which I don’t like to use all over the face because I inevitably get blackheads and small breakouts. Though I have discovered that using a little in my under eye area keeps my concealer from creasing. I’ll find a use for this.
  • Naked Cosmetics Mica Pigment in Desert Sunset: Loose eyeshadow pigments aren’t my favorite because of how messy they can get. The pro is that they tend to be more vividly pigmented than pressed shadows. This is great for makeup artists, but personally I’d rather sacrifice a little color impact for the convenience of a pressed shadow. Still, this shimmery light gold shade is really stunning and I will definitely play with it.

While not my favorite Ipsy bag (January’s never is), there are some great things in here. I love the two sheet masks, the blush, and adding another brush to my ever growing collection. I would have passed on the primer.

If you’d like to sign up for Ipsy, you can do so here.

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Even Sephora succumbed to the “meh” January trend.

Play! by Sephora is still, hands down, my favorite $10 subscription box. While this month was good, it definitely wasn’t as good as prior months. I do like that they changed the bag’s appearance and material to reflect the fitness theme for the month.

  • Tory Burch Love Relentlessly: Sephora always includes a sixth fragrance sample. Where is mine pictured? Well, mine arrived shattered. I’m not mad at this, as it was just a perfume sample and a scent that isn’t my favorite. Still, it’s always a bummer when a sample is lost in transit. I didn’t ask for a replacement because it was the fragrance sample, so I haven’t had to contact customer service yet.
  • Tarte FRXXTION Stick Exfoliating Cleanser: While Tarte’s makeup offerings haven’t been impressing me, I have really been enjoying the Maracuja Oil sample I got in a subscription box and am happy to try something else from their skincare line. I’m a huge fan of exfoliators, since I use them at least twice a week.
  • Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey: This is one of those “color changing” lipsticks that has light coverage. I personally prefer a fully pigmented lipstick, but I’ll give it a try. Plus, I’ve been wanting to try out something from Clinique’s honey collection.
  • Farmacy Honey Potion Renewing Mask Antioxidant Mask: I love a good mask! I’ve actually been eyeing a value kit from this line, so I’m glad I get to try one of the products before deciding to purchase the kit.
  • OUAI Treatment Mask: I’ve been loving everything I’ve tried from the OUAI line, so this was a welcomed addition to my bathroom counter. I’ve basically forgone conditioner in favor of hair masks since I only wash my hair twice a week.
  • Amore Pacific Color Control Cushion Compact: This is the sample I’m not in love with. When I saw I was getting a cushion foundation compact, I was really hoping it would be a mini cushion compact. Instead, it’s two single use pods with mini saturated cushions and one application sponge. That’s disappointing. I would much rather have a mini compact. Kind of a throwaway, which I’ve never really gotten from Sephora, but oh well!

No referrals for Sephora Play. You’ll need to sign up for the wait list and see if they’re available in your area.

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Boxycharm wins January!

And now for the $21 subscription. Boxycharm did an extraordinary job in January. While there was one product in the box that disappointed, overall this is an impressive job for what is usually a lackluster month. And yet again, they actually matched the products to this month’s theme of awards season! All of these products are perfect for being “red carpet ready”. I hope Boxycharm keeps this up!

  • Gorge Konjac Sponge: I’ve been dying to try this exfoliating sponge! My sister use to swear by it before she invested in a Foreo Luna 2. I do need some light exfoliation at the end of the day to keep my skin clear, and a facial sponge seems like a good option. I didn’t see this in any of the online spoilers, so I was happy to see it in my box!
  • So Susan Fan Brush: With a highlight in the box, it was perfect to pair it with a fan brush. While fan brushes aren’t my favorite way to apply highlight, I do like using them when I want a certain level of intensity. Absolutely perfect.
  • PUR Mineral Glow Bronzer. I love PUR cosmetics. Their bronzer was one of my OG favorites when I was in my “no makeup” makeup phase back in the day. I’m happy to see it again!
  • Vintage Highlighter Double: We got a warmer/peachier highlight from this line in a previous box. While the formula is a bit more sparkly than I like, it’s still a really good highlight. It was great to get two more cool toned shades from this line. I actually prefer to wear cooler tones in the winter.
  • English Laundry Pour Femme Deluxe Roller Ball: You guessed it. This was the dud product in the box. This perfume is too sweet and too mature at the same time. Not a good combination. It will definitely be passed on to someone who enjoys this more.

Despite the dud fragrance, I loved everything else in the box. Granted, this is just a first impression, but Boxycharm did a great job.

If you’d like to subscribe to Boxycharm, you can sign up here.

Boxycharm aside, January was an ok start to 2017. There are definitely some great samples in the mix, but there are just enough duds to take down my excitement a couple of notches. Hopefully, things will start picking up in February. (Though really, they don’t until March.)

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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  the 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.

October 2016 Beauty Subscriptions

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.

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Birchbox’s October offerings.

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.

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Cutest. Bag. Ever.

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.

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I’m still not over how cute that bag is.

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.

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Out of the park!

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.

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October’s Boxycharm offering.

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.

(Belated) September Beauty Subscriptions

Oh my goodness. Please excuse my long absence! It’s been an insane few weeks, with classwork, vacation, and a bachelorette party getting in the way of my blogging.

While I was away, I got all of my beauty subscriptions for September. Y’all, September was a really great month. I think September may have even beaten March (the best month of 2016) or is a very close second.

Let’s see what I got.

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Birch box’s September offerings.

September is normally a great month for Birchbox because it’s their anniversary and, therefore, customer appreciation month. This year, however, wasn’t the best.

First, we’re coming off of Birchbox announcing they’re getting rid of their beloved reviews for reward points system. That’s still left a sour taste in a lot of people’s mouths, and honestly I’m not completely over it. #NeverGonnaBeOverIt. On top of that, the Customer Appreciation Day sale was nowhere near as good as years past.

I wasn’t a big fan of this month’s pre curated box. Instead, I opted for a sample choice and four other surprise samples.

  • Milk Makeup Highlighter in Lit. This is the sample I chose, and I’m glad I did! I had a meh impression of Milk when it first launched at Birchbox, as they sent the tiniest lipstick sample known to man. This sample, though, is a great size that will last you a long time.
  • LOC Ultra Glossy Lip Pencil in Cherry Bomb. I love getting samples for Birchbox’s LOC brand, but I’m not so sure about this one. 1) It’s a very bright red. 2) It has an ultra glossy finish. I like wearing reds, but do not like them in glossy finishes. I much prefer a matte to counteract the brightness of the color.
  • Bioderma Sensibio H20. I already love Bioderma and was stoked to get a sample. I was thinking it would be a travel size bottle. However, I got a super dinky, plastic container much like the ones from single use eye drops. Which broke in transit. Not cool, Birchbox.
  • Avene Thermal Water. Ok, y’all. This is just thermal water in a spray bottle. I’m probably not going to bother reviewing this because there’s not much to review. In my experience, this is a great thing to drop in your purse if you’re going to be in the heat for a long time or working out. It does refresh the face. But it’s just water. There aren’t too many benefits to be had here. (For the best water benefits, DRINK IT.)
  • R+Co ANALOG Cleansing Foam Conditioner. Mmm, I’m not really in the market for a new conditioner, but I do like what I’ve tried from R+Co in the past. Plus, I’ve never tried a foaming conditioner. So none the less, it’ll be interesting.

Overall, an ok box from Birchbox. There are some great sample sizes, but I’m still bitter over the dinky, broken BioDerma sample.

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The September Glam Bag

In September, Ipsy always does a theme around Fashion Week. The bag has models in poses that spell out Ipsy. Not my favorite bag design, but still a cute concept. But seriously, we’re all here for what’s inside the bag.

Ipsy was definitely better than Birchbox, on first impression. My bag this month was more makeup heavy, with two skincare items. I do like it when my bags have more makeup. Here’s what I got:

  • Dirty Little Secrets Cosmetic Eyeshadow in Tease. I have a feeling this brand is going to pop up in more makeup subscriptions, as it was also in August’s Boxycharm. There, I got their liquid lipstick, which I will be reviewing. Spoiler alert: I wasn’t very impressed. However, I’m always down for a peachy toned eyeshadow, so I’m excited to see if their eye makeup formula is better than their liquid lipstick.
  • Too Faced Lip Injection Extreme. Not gonna lie, I’m a little terrified of this. I remember ten years ago trying a lip plumping product and ending up with a stinging mouth and a red ring around my lips. Not cute. I’ve heard this formula isn’t as bad as others, but it’s still a lip plumper that works by causing skin irritation. I’ll give it a go and report back.
  • Nuxe Moisturizing Mask Crème Fraîche de Beauté. Nuxe is one of those high end skincare brands I want to love, but haven’t been able to because of the heavy fragrance they put in all of their products. I’m a wee bit more forgiving of fragrance in wash-off masks, but already I’m a little skeptical.
  • Seraphine Botanicals Guava Butter Lip & Cheek Cream. Back in my “no makeup” phase, a creamy lip and cheek stain would have been right up my ally. These days, I definitely prefer keeping my lip and cheek products separate and opt for powder blushes over cream or liquid. Still, I love trying these out to see what I can recommend to those looking for very light, natural looking makeup.
  • BeFine Food Skin Care Exfoliating Cleanser. Since I saw that Marcelle has discontinued their old formula of their Hydra-C Exfoliating cleanser, I have been on the hunt for a replacement. I’ve found out that they’ve come out with a new formula, which I’ve ordered, but I don’t know if I’ll like it. So these cleanser samples have really been coming in handy to see if I can find a suitable alternative in case the new formula doesn’t work out. I like natural based cleansers, so I’m excited to give this a go.

All in all, a good Ipsy. I’m excited about that peachy shadow and the cleanser, and the other products are also solid (even the scary lip plumper).

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September’s Boxycharm.

I’m not really sure why Boxycharm continues with these random themes that don’t really seem to apply to the products inside. This month’s theme was “Glamping” (glamorous camping). Not really sure what these makeup products have to do with bougie camping, but alright.

Regardless of the random theme, I was very excited about the majority of this box. It’s been the best I’ve seen in a while.

  • Hikari Cosmetics Eye Liner. We’ve reached that point in the year where I’m sick of receiving eyeliner. I have this organizational thing where I can’t stand having multiple mascaras and eyeliners of the same color and formula open at the same time. I’ve tried a lipgloss from Hikari in the past (too sticky, IMO), so it’ll be interesting to revisit this brand. I think this is a good combo with the eyeshadow palette in the box, especially for subscribers who are just starting to build their makeup collection. It’s just going to be a while before I get around to trying this black eyeliner.
  • Studio Makeup On-The-Go Palette. This is the star of this month’s box. The YouTube beauty gurus have been hyping this eye palette up so much, it’s piqued my curiosity. At first glance, I can see that this looks like a possible dupe to the Kylie Cosmetics eyeshadow palette. More obtainable and in a subscription box? That’s pretty exciting. The colors are great neutrals that are right up my alley, so I’m very happy to get this in a box.
  • PÜR Cosmetics Lip Lure. I love PÜR and am always more than happy when we get one of their products in subscription boxes. I’m also a lip product junkie, so a lip color from this brand speaks to me. I got the color Belle, which is a pinky nude. When I got my box, I was very tan from a late summer beach trip and the shade was too light for me. But now my tan isn’t as intense and I think I’ll be able to make the color work as my skin lightens.
  • butterLONDON Trend Nail Lacquer in Yummy Mummy. Polishes from this brand are very pricey, but also some of my favorite. This color is absolutely PERFECT and so on trend for the fall. When I get nail products, this is what I like seeing in my subscriptions: season appropriate shades that are on trend, not throwaway colors you can find in the discount session. I’m in love!
  • Project Beauty Hairgurt – Smoothing Yogurt Hair Masque. This is the one product that kind of felt like a throw away. It’s a hair conditioning mask you could probably find in your drug store. I love a good hair mask, but I’m also loving what I’m currently using, so I’ve kind of reached my limit with hair masks in subscription boxes. This will probably get one use for reviews, but then will be passed on to someone else.

Aside from the hair mask and eyeliner, this was a phenomenal box. Not quite as amazing as that March box, but still pretty up there. Boxycharm was definitely the winning beauty subscription in September.

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September’s Sephora Play!

Last, we have Sephora Play! The best part about this subscription is that you can easily find all of these mainstream brands in September. Sephora’s theme (which actually goes with the products — take note, Boxycharm) is all about the basics in beauty. There are some truly fantastic samples:

  • SEPHORA Collection Rouge Shine Lipstick. I like getting samples from Sephora’s brand, because I feel like I don’t hear or know enough about it. Their eyeliners are some of my favorite, and we did get a decent sample size of it last month. But keeping it real, this is a super dinky lip color sample. The packaging itself makes it look like it might be a good size, but when you twist up the lipstick it’s so tiny! The color is somewhat pretty, but it might be too light for my complexion. I do wish Sephora would take our skin tones more into account when picking samples.
  • Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Gel. I’m already a huge fan of this clear brow gel (my holy grail), but I’m so glad I’ll be able to review it for you guys! The sample is incredibly generous and will last you at least two months before you’ll need to pick up the full size. This is a great makeup basic everyone should have in their collection.
  • Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper. After bitching about too much eyeliner earlier, I’m a little more excited to try this one. Kat Von D’s Tattoo Liner is a lot of people’s holy grail. My black pen eyeliner just so happens to be running low, so I don’t mind replacing it with this sample to see if it’s worth the hype.
  • Ole Henrik Sheer Transformation. This is an oil-free moisturizer (great for combo/oily skin) that is suppose to include AHA exfoliants to brighten the skin tone. I’m running low on my day time moisturizer, so I’ll be glad to include this in my daytime routine and give it a try.
  • Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Overnight Cap. I’ve tried this in the past and have enjoyed it. I don’t really see this overnight conditioning treatment as an “essential” (you can also just use a hair oil), but I can vouch that this is a solid product for people to try. The sample size is also very generous.
  • Atelier Cologne Sud Magnolia. The fragrance sample this month is absolutely divine! The notes are magnolia, bitter orange, and cedar would. It’s citrusy without being overpowering and I’m thoroughly enjoying the bottle. The only thing keeping me from purchasing this is just how pricey Atelier is! But this might be on my Christmas wishlist.

Phenomenal job, Sephora. This is a great way to introduce makeup newbies to basics they should have in their collection and more seasoned user to different brands and products.

While not the most impressive month, I really enjoyed most of what I got in September. I’m hoping October will be even better. The mailing notifications have started to come in, so I’ll be back soon with another monthly first impressions post soon.