Sunday, August 31, 2014

2014 Birchbox for CEW Limited Edition Boxes

There are lots of things that I've learned about the beauty world since becoming a Birchbox subscriber. From handy tips and tricks, to discovering Holy Grail products, to meeting new and awesome bloggers, I owe them a lot of credit for expanding my beauty brain. And when it comes to the Cosmetic Executive Women Insider's Beauty Choice awards they were the ones who lifted the rock I'd been living under.

Every year the CEW Insider's Beauty Choice Awards award the best products in an array of categories, with separate competitions for prestige and drugstore beauty. Each year Birchbox teams up with the CEW to create two amazing Limited Edition Birchboxes filled with the products that were finalists and winners in their respective categories, giving us a little taste of the best of the best in beauty that year. One box is full of affordable drugstore finds, while the other samples luxury and high end beauty. I reviewed these boxes last year, and they were pretty amazing, which of course meant I couldn't pass up this year's boxes. Here's a closer look at what you get.

Cost - $15, Box Value - Approximately $36.50

Each box contains:

Dove Go Fresh® Restore Body Wash
Simple® Protecting Light Moisturizer with SPF 15
L'Oréal Paris Voluminous Butterfly Mascara
Vaseline® Lip Therapy® Rosy Lips
Burt's Bees® 100% Natural Lip Gloss in Spring Splendor
TRESemmé® Keratin Smooth Keratin Infusing Serum

For $15 you get so much bang for your buck with this box. Almost everything is full sized and you get a nice array of different types of products to try. Here's a closer look at each of the products you receive.

This gentle cleanser leaves skin feeling soft and revitalized, with a  fruity scent that'll perk you right up.
Deluxe Sample ($0.50 value) 
Full Size $6.00

Since I discovered (and consequently fell in love with) the Dove Pistachio Cream with Magnolia body wash back in the spring, I was quite happy to try this formula. It's very creamy and moisturizing, and has a deliciously fruity smell. This mini bottle will be handy for throwing in my travel toiletries bag.

This nourishing gloss offers pearly-pink color and shine, courtesy of all-natural ingredients.
Full Size, ($9.00 value)

Burt's Bees is one of those brands I used to use a lot more when I was younger, and somehow fell away from. The line has really expanded quite a bit since then and now includes some really awesome color cosmetics. I'm a huge fan of high quality, natural beauty products, so I think it's about time I revisit and see what else they have to offer. This lip gloss is a very pretty, dark shimmering pink with a sheer glossy finish. It's not too sticky or tacky and has a light botanical smell. I think I'll definitely be rotating this into my purse for regular use!

Gentle enough for sensitive skin, this oil-free, vitamin-rich hydrator creates a lightweight shield against UVA and UVB rays.
Full Size ($10 value)

Simple is definitely a very affordable drugstore option if you're in need of gentle skincare. I can't say that I've ever been blown away by any of their products, but they certainly get the job done. This is a very basic, lightweight moisturizer. It offers some sun protection, although I tend to prefer a higher SPF (at least 35) and also physical sunscreens over chemical ones. It also does have that sunscreen-y smell. It's not too greasy a formula, which is nice, but I did start to feel oily throughout the day. Long story short, this isn't the worst daytime moisturizer I've ever tried, but it's certainly nothing to rave about either.

Adorable packaging aside, this balm deeply moisturizes lips and ads a lovely rose tint.
Full Size ($2.00 value)

Vaseline is one of those things I generally tend to avoid, just because I'm not a huge fan of petroleum based products. However, this little guy is pretty stinkin' cute. The sheer pink tint is a nice bonus, and it does have a hint of rose fragrance. A little dab goes a long way, as vaseline can feel really goopy if you overdo it. It definitely does provide quite a bit of hydration to chapped lips, I would just prefer to use natural ingredients instead.

A silky formula, paired with a breakthrough volumizing brush, makes for gorgeously thick, winged-out lashes.
Full Size ($8.99 value)

If you read my Spring CVS Haul post back from April, you would see that I actually have tried this bad boy before and was quite a fan. I think the brush is super unique and quite effective at giving your lashes that fluttery look. I just threw away my old tube of this, so it's nice to have a replacement!

This lightweight formula fights frizz for salon-rivaling sleekness and shine.
Full Size ($5.99 value)

I must confess, I have not had a chance to try this one out yet. Luckily my hair is pretty good in the frizz department, but I think this will still be able to add some shine and smoothness. I'm also curious as to see whether repeated use starts to make my hair feel weighed down or not. From a quick test it does smell pretty lovely and has a very silky feel. Long term review to come!

Cost - $18, Value - Approximately $43

Each box contains:

Fekkai Brilliant Glossing Crème
Josie Maran Cosmetics 100% Pure Argan Oil Light
100% Pure Creamy Nail Polish (colors will vary)
philosophy miracle worker® overnight
COOLA Environmental Repair Plus® Radical Recovery™ After-Sun Lotion
Lifestyle extras: Pocket Mirror, Toe Separators

I was a little disappointed in the lack of makeup offerings in this year's Prestige Headliner box, although the products in it are generally pretty solid. The lifestyle extras are also a cute finishing touch. Here's a closer look at the products you get.

This fab-smelling cream leaves hair brilliantly shiny and frizz-free. A pea-sized drop is all you need.
Deluxe Sample ($10 value)
Full Size $19.99

Fekkai is another brand I've been meaning to try forever, so I'm pretty pumped to finally have a sample of this famed glossing creme. I've only had a chance to try it a few times and I think it generally works pretty well. It has a very herbaceous smell that I don't particularly care for, but doesn't bother me either. I've been using it on damp hair, and I do find that it smoothes things out after blow drying. I also am luckily not one who battles a lot of frizz, so I feel like my opinion might not be as weighty as someone else who could benefit more from this product. I probably won't be buying the full size of this anytime soon, although I'm still curious to try more from the line.

This powerhouse moisturizer has a blend of marine algae, peptides and vitamin C to fight the signs of aging while you sleep.
Deluxe Sample ($13.60 value)
Full Size $68.00

Philosophy is one of those brands that I keep trying to love but just can't seem to have a good experience with. I think their packaging and branding is awesome, and the products they create often sound so appealing. But once I actually try them they tend to disappoint. I have not yet tried this night time moisturizer, but I definitely will be giving it a go. The full size carries a hefty $68 price tag, so unless it truly does work miracles for my skin, I will probably not be investing in it regardless.

Sourced from Morocco, this 100% organic oil feels ultra lightweight and soothes everything from dryness to eczema.
Deluxe Sample ($4.80 value)
Full Size $48

I'm so happy to see a Josie Maran product in a Birchbox! I've been quite a fan of her line for years now, and was first turned on by the original formulation of this very product. Argan oil is a multitasking wonder, offering healing moisture to any dry part of your body. I used my last bottle mainly to nourish the ends of my hair, my cuticles, and occasionally added it to my night time face moisturizing routine. I did find that, given my oily complexion and very fine hair, it could be a bit heavy. This lighter formula is right up my alley. I can't wait to use it more and see how it compares.

Rich in organic hydrators, this replenishing lotion instantly takes the sting out of sunburn and heals dry skin.
Deluxe Sample ($2.67 value)
Full Size $32.00

I wish I could have had this guy when I went on my festival trip earlier this summer. All that time parked out in the sun watching bands perform got me pretty toasted. Unfortunately I've spent most of my time since then indoors, and haven't had to worry much about sunburn. Still, with claims to also heal dry and irritated skin I am sure that I can find use for this product as the weather cools down. Coola is a great all-natural brand, and I've yet to come across a product of theirs that I dislike. The only thing that makes me sad is that with such a small bottle it won't last long if used over large areas of the body. Hopefully I'll get a couple of good uses!

This 5-free polish offers luscious, chip-free color without harmful chemicals. Find more shades in the Birchbox shop!
Full Size ($12 value)

I can never get enough nail polish, so of course I was excited to try this offering from 100% pure. I wasn't sure how this extra gentle vegan formula would perform, but I was very pleasantly surprised. I received the shade Velveteen, a mauve brown creme, and it was very well pigmented. It went on smooth without any streaking, and the second color coat glided on with ease. It has a very glossy finish and didn't take long to dry. Since I just recently tried this, I'm still unsure of the chip-resistance factor, but so far so good! I think I would definitely be interested in trying more shades from this line.

Lifestyle extras: Pocket Mirror, Toe Separators

These little extras are both adorable and handy. I made use of the toe separators almost immediately to write my DIY Pedicure post for Birchbox. I currently don't have a mirror in my bag either, so I will be putting that to good use too!

So there you have it! Another winning limited edition set from Birchbox. If you snag both boxes you'll automatically receive a $5 discount, no coupon code necessary. And don't' forget, because they're a limited edition run, once they're gone they're gone for good. Snatch them up now while you can!