Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Birchbox July 2014

Birchbox is a monthly subscription box service. For $10 a month, they will send you 4-5 'Beauty and Lifestyle' samples. 
They also have a points system, which is the best I've seen. 100 points = $10 to spend in the Birchbox shop. Earn 1 point for every dollar you spend (monthly boxes don't count, except for the first one) and they offer a lot of promo codes to get extra points. You can also earn 10 points for each review of your monthly samples. That's like getting $4-5 back each month! You also get 50 points for each person who signs up through your referral. If you would like to try Birchbox, please consider using my link: https://www.birchbox.com/invite/pdwbx
This month's theme: Power Up

This month, Birchbox partnered with Women's Health Magazine. They included a little booklet of "challenges" to try, including "Get out of your color comfort zone" and "Take a cold shower". Personally, I'm not that motivated. I've been washing my hair in cold water since I dyed it a couple weeks ago and that's long enough for me. 

They also included a card for a free one year subscription to Women's Health. I haven't decided if I want it yet or not... I don't really read magazines, but it's free. But here's what else I got!

Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk: ($19.50 for 3.2oz) I've been using dry shampoo a lot since I dyed my hair again. It's great for the days in between washing, which helps hold the color in. This particular dry shampoo is supposed to be pure and blah blah... it performs like any dry shampoo. Maybe it's better if you have long hair and you're trying to keep curls from the day before. But for my short hair, it's just another dry shampoo. It also claims to not leave residue, but it still does. Oh well. Nice travel size. I love dry shampoo so this was a great sample, but I won't be buying it.

Marcelle New-Age 8 in 1 Power Serum: ($34 for 1oz) I have to keep looking at what the 8 things are, so I've just copied the description off the Birchbox website: "The lightweight formula boasts five peptides, the amino acids that amp up collagen production and improve elasticity, plus xylitol, a natural sugar alcohol that helps skin retain moisture. These potent ingredients work in eight great ways. When it comes to lines, they smooth, provide a filling effect, and visibly reduce even deep wrinkles. They also firm, lift, and strengthen, while working to boost radiance and improve the texture of your complexion. Even better? It does all of this without parabens or fragrance." I haven't noticed much of an effect, except that it makes my face feel smooth. I also haven't decided if I should use a moisturizer on top of this since it's a serum, or by itself because it's supposed to "retain moisture". Overall, I really like this but I don't think I can justify spending $34 on something that I'm not sure all what it's doing. Maybe in 10+ years when I need help with wrinkles?

Cynthia Rowley Beauty Creamy Lip Stain in Sugar: ($20 for .17oz) This month we got to choose one sample from a selection given to us. I liked the Cynthia Rowley Stain in Valentine I got last month so I decided to try Sugar this month. At first I was disappointed because the color looked like the plain glosses I've been getting from Ipsy - kind of made my lips disappear. I figured out that it was just my horrible bathroom lighting and it natural light, it did add a nice natural pinkness to my lips. I love the texture and the stain left behind. I would buy the full size, but I have a lot of lip products I rotate so this little size will last me a while. It also fits very nicely in a pocket or purse.

Naobay Body Radiance Lotion: ($24 for 250ml) So this lotion is all natural with olive oil, avocado oil, and shea butter. I'm not someone who only buys organic and natural (I'm not that Californian yet... lol but kudos to you if you are!) so to me, this is just lotion. It smells kind of like my BeeKind lotion did - lemony but not bad. This is a good size tube so I think I will leave it in my desk at work. 

100% Pure Gingerade Shower Gel: ($15 for 13oz) Like every other Birchbox subscriber, I was disappointed in the amount of product in this package. The package is small enough, but there was barely a teaspoon of product in there. It doesn't lather like it claims, and the smell was just ok. I only used one of these packets so far, but it's enough to know that I do not like nor need a product like this. Wasted sample if you ask me.

I also finally took advantage of the Birchbox Plus offer this month. This is the Triple C Designs Power Card Ultra Thin Battery in Blush. I had been looking to order a portable phone charger (for those long days at Disneyland and whatnot) and this seemed perfect. I was a little more expensive at $28, but it's very thin. So thin that you need to push open the USB slot to make it large enough to fit the USB cord. It also has a small button on the side that lights up with how much power is left. I've used it a few times now and it's been really nice. You also receive Birchbox points for your Plus items. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Ipsy Glam Bag July 2014

Each month, subscribers will receive a beautiful Glam Bag with deluxe samples and full-sized beauty products. Members can watch and play along with the stylists with the same products that they are using. All for only $10 a month. 

When you sign up, you take a "beauty quiz" to let them know what you like. I guess Ipsy is kind of a social network-type beauty website, but I don't do all of that. There's also some sort of points system that I haven't quite figured out. You get 10 points for each review, but you usually need 1000 points to get some kind of bonus product, of which they only have 3 to choose from at a time. There are points for referrals too, but I don't badger my friends into signing up. If you would like to sign up, please consider using my referral link: http://www.ipsy.com/r/4q7r

This month's theme: Sensationally Sunkissed

The bag this month is a little bit bigger. Closer in size to the April bag, kind of square. I really like this size to use as an actual makeup bag. It's soft on the inside and plain white, but I wish they would've spent a little more time making them. Two of my three "scalloped" sides don't line up.

This month was much better than last month. I'm pretty ok with everything I got. There wasn't much else that I would've rather had either. I'm not sure how well most of it fits with the theme, but whatever.

bareMinerals 5-in-1 BB Advanced Performance Cream Eyeshadow Broad Spectrum SPF 15 in Divine Wine: I was so excited to get this! I just saw it in my Ulta ad and was curious about it, then saw it was an option for this month's bag. The 5-in-1 is supposed to be: long-wearing color, primer, brightening, smooths lines, and protects with SPF.  I'm really impressed with the long-wearing claim - this swatch has not moved in the few hours that I've had it on since I took the picture. Once it dries, it is on there. There is a faint shimmer to it that I didn't notice until it dried too. The color seems pretty dark but I've started using this with a blending brush - just swipe on one line of product, then blend out with a brush so it's not so intense. Makes a nice soft shadow color that lasts all day! I hope they start making this in other colors, not just neutrals. I may go buy one of the pinks I see on the package though.

Clear Clinic Laboratories Vanished Clear Spot Treatment: I guess I didn't even know this was an option but I can always use a spot treatment. I think it has menthol in it, because I saw some people complain about it, but I like the cooling effect that happens once you put it on. I can't really tell if it does anything. I think it does. I don't have too many problem areas at the moment though.

Lord & Berry Kajal Stick in Black Silk: A teeny tiny eyeliner that a lot of people seem excited about. Looks just like a perfect travel size eyeliner for me. But I guess it's supposed to be closer to the kohl that Egyptians used or something? I don't know. It's smooth and smudges easily. Nice and dark. Don't see much different than other eyeliners I have. Will keep this in a bag for travel I think.

Hang Ten Dark Tanning Oil SPF 08: A LOT of people complained about this product when I was announced as an option. "Blah blah skin cancer blah" over and and over again. Or "blah blah I'm too dark to use tanning oil I can't believe you sent this to me blah" but others used it as a moisturizer. Personally, I'm glad I got it. I like tanning. I usually only use about SPF 8 or 10... the lowest I can find at the time. I got the Hang Ten SPF 50 sunscreen in one bag and have not used it, but this I will definitely use. I wouldn't say it has a great smell, but it's horrible either.

Models Own Nail Polish in Red Sea: This is the only product I'm not happy with this month. I like glitter nail polish but this is just cheap. The description says you can wear it alone or on top of your favorite color for a "glistening top coat". Clearly, I can't. I expected the red to be more clear after reading that but this was one coat. And it doesn't apply evenly either. It's thick and doesn't spread very well - the red itself... not because of the glitter chunks. This will go in the back of the cupboard and I'll forget about it. I don't have anyone younger to give stuff like this to like others so I'm stuck.
*Update: I did legitimately try this on all 10 fingers and it was terrible. Hard to spread, took hours (yes, HOURS!) to fully dry - it didn't wipe off or anything, but stayed very gel-y for a long time. And it is the worst to take off! I've taken off glitter before but this was chunks of confetti. Awful.