Monday, March 3, 2014

February 2014 Birchbox

I don't know about you, but when it comes to Monday evening, doing anything more than lounging around in my sweatpants feels a little bit like torture. If there are fundamental laws which run the universe, I'm pretty sure one of them is that Mondays must have a comparatively high percentage of bad juju compared to any other day of the week.

Fortunately for me, this particular Monday evening has afforded me the opportunity to forget the frantic and stressful happenings of the work day, snuggle up on the couch, and review my February Birchbox.

(While wearing totally mismatching sweats, I might add. Sometimes comfort > fashion. Especially on Monday.)

In celebration of awards season, Birchbox teamed up with US Weekly in February to help all of us subscribers master how to "Step and Repeat". That is, step, strike a pose, and repeat, as many a celebrity demonstrated on the red carpet last night. I'm not usually one to watch awards shows, but my friends threw an Oscar watching pj party last night that made the five hour process pretty enjoyable. Also, Ellen.

(Let's be serious, a pizza party and crashing twitter on the same evening? If you didn't think she was awesome before, how can you possibly disagree now?)

I was pretty pleased with all of the products that I received this month. While there were a few particular stand outs,  I wasn't disappointed with anything either. On that note, let's get down to the finer details.

Serge Normant Meta Revive Dry Conditioner
$25 Full-Sized (sample value, $9.38)
Weightless mist that softens strands and adds silkiness - no running water required.

While there are many things I love about my hair, the amount of time it takes to go from gorgeous to greasy is not one of them. Fortunately, in my many months of Birchbox-ing, I've been exposed to the wonder of dry shampoo. Dry shampoo has been a godsend for those times where my hair has been looking a little less than fresh, but re-washing just isn't an option. Until now, I never thought to add conditioner to my waterless hair reviving routine. Even though my scalp tends to be oily, the dry winter air often sucks the moisture out of my ends, especially now that my hair is on the long side. A few spritzes of this conditioner returns silkiness to my hair without making it feel weighed down or greasy (and it smells nice, too!). I don't know if this is quite as mind blowing to me as the dry shampoo was, but it is definitely a nice counterpart.

W3LL People The Universalist Color Stick in Dusty Rose
$33 full-sized (sample value undetermined)
The high-performance, all-natural formula adds a touch of color to eyes, cheeks, and lips.

How do I love thee, Colorstick? Let me count the ways. From the 100% natural formula, to the multitasking abilities, to the gorgeous color range, W3LL People is definitely doing a lot of things right with this product. Super creamy and pigmented, the Universalist Color Stick blends beautifully into cheeks and lips for a natural, matte flush. While I don't think I'd be rocking the shade Dusty Rose on my eyes any time soon, it is pretty neat that this all-natural formula is full-face friendly. This may feel little bit dry on the lips for some, so I suggest prepping them with a nice moisturizing balm first.

Juicy Couture Couture La La Malibu
$72 for 2.5 oz, (sample value, $1.44)
Breezy SoCal-inspired scent that mingles sparkling mandarin with pink sugar.

I've been on a bit of a fragrance discovery kick lately, so I was definitely not sad to see a perfume sample in my box this month. While I'm totally in love with my Viva La Juicy fragrance, Couture La La Malibu just wasn't quite up my alley. I'm really terrible at describing "notes" and the differences between different smells, but I think that I tend to be drawn towards what I think of as warmer, spicier and sweeter smells (think Flowerbomb, Tresor, or Boyfriend). The clean, citrusy notes in this perfume are nice, and will definitely appeal to some, but just aren't my personal cup of tea.

Benefit It's Potent! Eye Cream
$34 Full-Sized (sample value, $7.18)
Lush hydrator that brightens dark circles and boosts skin's elasticity over time.

Every time I get sampled a new eye cream I tell myself I'm going to get better about incorporating such a thing into my skincare routine. I haven't ever had much to complain about in the dark circle department, so necessity hasn't been a motivating factor. I've always been a bit curious about Benefit's skincare products, as I'm mildly obsessed with their makeup line, so I was still happy to get to finally try out their eye brightening cream. While rich and creamy, I also felt that this soaked up well into skin and made my eye area feel a little bit more firm. I don't know if I'll ever become enough of an eye cream junkie to invest in a full-size of this, but I will certainly enjoy using my sample (plus the tiny little pot is freakin' adorable!).

$28 Full-Size (sample value undetermined)
New from the cheeky makeup line, this oil-free complexion perfector smooths and balances.

Any time I see a small foil packet in a subscription box, I can't help but feel a little disappointed. I do, however, have so much love for Benefit that I was still quite happy to get a small taste of their newest product as my February Find. I have to say that I was really impressed by the texture of this foundation/BB alternative. As much as I love BB and CC creams, I find that many of them have a dewy finish, and my oily skin doesn't usually need any help in that department. The Big Easy, however, has a liquid-to-powder finish that balances and mattifies your complexion without drying out skin. I found this to have a medium coverage, letting your natural skin shine through while still managing to minimize the look of imperfections. Unfortunately there wasn't enough product in this sample to really cover my entire face, and ideally I like to use foundations a few times before I develop a solid opinion on them. I think I'll have to make a trek to Sephora to get a bigger sample once this hits stores. It is possible, though, that this could become my new go-to face product!

All in all I would call this a pretty solid box. I'm definitely looking forward to giving the Big Easy another try in future, and the Universalist Colorstick may be one of the better performing natural makeup products I've tried.

I had a bit of trouble determining my overall box value, as I couldn't find any measurements regarding how much of the colorstick our sample contained. But given that the full size is $33, I'd be safe to assume it's worth at least a $1 or two.

Total Box Value - approximately $20