Sunday, September 29, 2013

September 2013 Birchbox

So, I know it's a bit overdue, but I finally had a chance to review my September Birchbox! As September marks Birchbox's 3rd anniversary, this month's theme was appropriately Heritage. Birchbox paid homage to it's loyal subscribers and brand partners in a variety of fun ways - from a special "Golden Ticket" esque giveaway, to this awesome tribute video. Here are my thoughts on the treats I got from Birchbox this month.

Racinne Ultimate Youth Power Eye Serum
$32 Full-Size (10 ml), Sample - $16 value
With plant stem cell technology, this conquering serum targets fine lines and dark circles.

I'm not a big eye cream or serum user, but I suppose now that I'm in my mid-twenties it probably wouldn't hurt to try to become one. I (luckily) don't suffer from dark circles or wrinkles (perhaps the one perk of having super oily skin) so I don't often see much of a difference from using these types of products. Still, this Racinne eye cream does feel really nice and soothing around the eye area. It's a gel-cream consistency, and you need just the tiniest dot to cover the entire eye area. This small sample is half the size of the full-size product, but considering how little you need to use at once I'm sure even it will last quite a long time.

Benefit Ultra Plush Lip Gloss in Sugarbomb
$16.00 Full-Size (15 ml), Sample - $6.93 value
Nonsticky gloss that provides the icing to our look (minus the sugar rush).

When Benefit claims this gloss is "ultra-plush" they really weren't exaggerating! Thick and rich without being goopy, this gloss feels super moisturizing and pillow-soft on your lips. It has just a hint of a pinkish-nude tint to it with a bit of shimmer, and has a very glossy sheen. The yummy fruity smell reminds me a lot of the scent of their Bella Bamba blush (which I am also a big fan of). It doesn't have the greatest lasting power, but that's about what I would expect with this type of product. The price point is also on-par with other high end lip glosses, although I don't know if I would personally invest that much money on a gloss in general.

Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel Sensitive
$39 Full-Size (2 oz), Sample - $4.88 value
An amazingly effective (and gentle!) peel with fruit-derived acids to dissolve dead skin.

I always get a little nervous with peels and exfoliants having sensitive, acne prone skin. The Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel has always intrigued me, but I feared it might be too irritating for my face and actually exacerbate my acne situation instead of helping it. This new sensitive formula, though, is right up my alley. The directions do state that some tingling is normal upon first applying this product. For me tingling felt a little more like burning (although not intensely), but the sensation faded fairly quickly. It smells delicious on your face while you're waiting for it to dry, though! After rinsing the peel off my skin did feel super smooth without being overly dry or tight. I think I'd need to use this weekly for at least 4-6 weeks to start to notice any significant change in my skin, but I have been happy with the short-term effects. The price tag on the full-sized version of this is a bit on the high side. Since I tend to change up these types of products in my skincare routine pretty frequently, I think I'll be holding off on buying the full size for a while.

Ruffian Nail Lacquer in Delirium
$10.00 Full-Size (5 ml)
Bold purple from the fashion label's first lacquer collection. Exclusive to Birchbox!

I do love a good purple nail polish, but the combination of a bright electric shade with a frosty, pearlescent finish is a little much for me in the everyday. I guess for me it's the same principle that I often apply to makeup - if you're wearing a bold lip, pair it with a  neutral eye, or a smokey eye with a nude lip. If you're going to go dramatic in one aspect, tone down the others so you don't look overdone.  If I'm going to wear a bold or funky polish color, I'll usually stick to a creme formula, and leave the shimmer and glitter for neutrals and accents. Quality-wise, this polish was decent, but not the most amazing that I've tried. It's about the consistency of Essie polish (a little on the thinner side) but the brush is a bit bigger and easier to work with than Essie's. The unique rounded handle was interesting, and I suppose does make it a little easier to maneuver. I think I made it a couple of days without major chipping - about what I'd get from OPI or Essie. For a full size, this polish is also pretty darn tiny. In the end I probably won't be buying another of these polishes, especially at this price point.

Coola Face SPF30 Tinted Matte Mineral Sunscreen
$36 Full-Size (50 ml), Sample - $2.16 value
Mineral-based tinted moisturizer that softens, evens skin tone, and has a matte finish.

I've tried quite a few products by Coola now, but this is the first geared toward those of us with oily skin. While the online reviews of this sunscreen are mixed, I am actually a really big fan. I was actually a little bummed that we only got this small cardboard sample pouch because it seemed to be gone after only a couple of uses. This mineral sunscreen has got a whipped mousse-like consistency that leaves your skin feeling really silky and smooth without being greasy. The tint is very, very sheer, to the point where I don't really notice a difference at all. I actually think of this product as more of a makeup primer with sunscreen than I do a stand alone product. In fact, the consistency, feel, and color are all very close to that of Benefit's The Porefessional. I wear this under my foundation or BB cream and my skin stays a lot matter throughout the day than it would without it. I feel like this is the perfect product for someone who has oily skin that isn't getting SPF protection from their moisturizer or foundation already, or is looking for a natural ingredient based alternative to their current primer.

Total Value: $39.97

I feel like this was a kind of average month for me Birchbox-wise. The eye cream was definitely my most valuable item, but the one I'll probably end up using the least. I was also a bit disappointed by the nail polish. All of the other products were likeable and I will enjoy using my samples, but I'm not sure that I'm excited enough by any of then to buy the full-sized versions. In the end, I'm still really happy to be a Birchbox subscriber, and I've been enjoying my experience with them overall. They sample such a wide range of products and have such an amazing points system that I really highly recommend them to anyone who is either looking to learn about or experiment with new beauty products, or who is just a general beauty junkie like myself. Plus, who doesn't love getting something other than bills in the mail?!

If you're interested in joining Birchbox, I'd really appreciate it if you used this special link to let them know I referred you.

And as always, if you have any questions about Birchbox or any of the products I got in my box this month, post in the comments below or send me an email! I love to hear from you :-)

So many more posts to come. Today is the first day since I don't even remember when that I have any time to do anything around the house or blogging wise. Perhaps today will be a double post kind of day even :-)

Until then, stay gorgeous!