Saturday, September 20, 2014

September 2014 Birchbox

September is a special month in the Birchbox world, marking the company's four year anniversary. These past couple of weeks have been full of surprises (including the first ever Customer Appreciation Day) in celebration of the company, its subscribers, and all the awesome brands they partner with. Our monthly boxes were even dressed for the occasion, sporting a fashionable geometric pattern. Check out what goodies Birchbox picked for me in this month's "Fresh Paint" themed box.

Harvey Prince Ageless Liquid Loofah Exfoliating Shower Gel, $1.00 Value (Full Size, $22)
Infused with a grapefruit-vanilla fragrance, this wash hydrates and softens skin.

After receiving the Harvey Prince Hello lotion in my July Birchbox, I was pretty excited to get to try both a different product and a different scent from their bath and body collection. Ageless is a refreshing, yet soft scent, balancing the tart citrusy notes of grapefruit with sweet vanilla and warm sandalwood. The shower gel itself was nothing particularly amazing. It lathers decently well, and leaves skin feeling clean without overly dry. I think the exfoliating claim is a bit of a stretch, though. Perhaps it does have some gentle exfoliating ingredients, but I personally like the feeling of a good scrub. I was also a bit disappointed in the amount of product you get in this sample. I felt like the tube was a decent size, but it wasn't very full. Alas, I'm not too attached to this product in the first place. I think that I'd much rather invest in the Harvey Prince lotions or perfume sprays.

TEMPTU S/B Highlighter in Champagne Shimmer, $2.75 Value (Full Size, $27.50)
Liquid shimmer that illuminates and contours your complexion or gives an all-over glow.

I've never used an airbrush makeup system before, but the idea does sound pretty neat. While this highlighter is meant to be used with Temptu Airbrush System, you can certainly utilize it without it. It's got a very liquid-y texture that I find makes it a bit tricky to apply over foundation. I find that it's much easier to mix it right in to my base before I apply it for a bit of all over luminance. The color is a very pretty warm bronze-champagne with a sheer, shimmery finish. It does not alter the darkness of my foundation, but may be a little less forgiving of those with extremely pale complexions. This sample is itty bitty, but a little product does seem to go a long way.

Acure Organics Day Cream, $11.40 Value (Full Size, $18.99)
Made with goth kola stem cells, this anti aging moisturizer firms and protects skin.

A good daytime moisturizer is a must-have in my book. Our faces are exposed to a lot throughout the day - from pollutants, to the sun, to makeup, to everything in-between. This organic powerhouse uses a combination of different plant extracts, oils, and Gotu Kola Stem Cells to fight against free radicals and return elasticity to the skin. Impressive ingredients list aside, this rich and hydrating moisturizer feels good on the skin, and has a pleasant citrusy scent. The only thing that seems to be missing from this formula is sun protection, which you can easily add with a serum or SPF rated foundation. The full-sized bottle of this product is very reasonably priced (for a moisturizer) at $18.99. While I've got a little ways to go before I'm in need of another full sized bottle of day cream, I am definitely interested in checking out the rest of the Acure Organics line.

Macadamia Professional Healing Oil Spray (Travel Size), $14.50 Value (Full Size, $29.50)
Lightweight, quick-absorbing formula that combats frizz, boosts shine, and blocks UV rays.

This is by far, my favorite product of this month's box. Seriously, I'm in love. This lightweight spray adds crazy shine and softness to your hair and smells abso-freakin-lutely amazing. Having very straight, fine hair I was a little worried that an oil would leave my hair looking greasy or weighed down, but that was not the case at all. This travel sized bottle will certainly last me a while, as my hair only requires a few sprays, so I'm hesitant to pick up a full sized bottle just yet. I did, however, come across this at half price recently at my local Marshalls, along with several other products from the line. I'm not sure how long I can hold out splurging with that kind of price tag!

Real Chemistry Luminous 3-Minute Peel, $4.80 Value (Full Size $48)
This acid-free peel gently exfoliates for instantly softer, smoother, brighter skin.

I'm always up for a pampering session with a good face peel or mask. I have to say that I haven't had time for one of those nights recently, so this sample is still sadly untried. I have heard some great things about this peel, though, and how well it helps to remove dead skin and impurities from your face. I've got quite a bit of acne scarring and clogged pores that I think will be helped considerably by this, so I'm definitely excited to try it.

Birchbox Find: ChapStick Dual-Ended Hydration Lock (Moisturize/Renew), Full Size, $2.99 Value

This is a fun freebie that I'm happy I got to try. ChapStick isn't my favorite brand (mostly because I don't love petroleum based moisturizers) but it's still widely used to keep chapped lips at bay. Many months ago Birchbox sent us the original hydration lock, and this time around we get to try the newly released duos that protect and hydrate lips. I got the Moisturize/Renew duo, which is targeted at preventing signs of aging (a thing that I begrudgingly accept I should probably start worrying about). Looking at the ingredients list for the two different sides is quite interesting. The moisturize side is chock full of your usual petroleum ingredients, chemicals, parabens, and the like. The renew side has a much shorter (and easier to pronounce) list of ingredients, that primarily include different fruit oils and butters. I've noticed that my lips sometimes end up becoming more chapped after this product wears off, but I haven't been paying attention to which side I've primarily been using. Perhaps I'll have to do a little bit more experimentation to see if there is any difference in the quality or feel of these two different formulas.

Total Box Value: $37.44

The verdict? I was really impressed with September's box. It's probably been one of the best I've gotten in quite a while. Once again Birchbox has given subscribers the option to choose one of their samples, and I was more than happy with my selection of the Macadamia Healing Oil Spray. Even though I do love my makeup, I appreciate that Birchbox has introduced me to a lot of new Skincare and Haircare brands that I might not have normally tried. I'll definitely be getting quite a bit of use out of all of this month's samples.

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