Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Birchbox October 2014

It's only Tuesday, but it's already been one of those weeks.

Yesterday was the Monday of all Mondays. I overslept. The woman in front of me at Dunkin' Donuts ordered a million things, and after a cash versus card miscommunication at the register, had to be rung up twice. I hit construction on the way to work (because I wasn't late enough, apparently). Work itself was crazy, and with my hormones being all in flux a la that time of the month I had zero emotional resources to deal with people and their general unpleasantness. I tried to relax when I got home - spent some time catching up on my Bloglovin' feed, had a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch (because I'm an adult), took a nice soak in the tub, and slipped into some comfy pjs. But all the stress must have gotten to me, because my throat became increasingly angry throughout the night, and lo and behold I woke up this morning in full-on cold mode.

10 very long hours later I am more than thankful to be snuggled up at home on my couch. I'm definitely a homebody even on a good day, but when I'm sick there is nothing I want more than sweatpants, a cup of tea, and a big fluffy blanket. Even though I'm a bit under the weather, my current state of cold induced coziness is perfectly fitting for talking about my October Birchbox. This month's theme is Fanfare, paying homage to the Netflix binge watcher in all of us, and encouraging subscribers to share their favorite books, shows, and movies. And what better time to catch up on your favorite forms of entertainment than on a sick day (or night)? There might be some catch-up happening with my DVR later this evening, but for now it's time to show you what products I'll be playing with this month!

Mally Beauty High Shine Liquid Lipstick in Melon
Full Size, $20.00 Value

This ultra shiny formula acts as a lip gloss, lip primer, lipstick, and liner all in one.

Ever since Birchbox instated a sample choice option, I haven't been able to resist customizing one of the products in my box. This lipstick pen was what I picked from the available options for October. It's a full-sized product, which with a $20 retail value is more than double what I paid for my entire box! I chose the shade Melon, which is a bright, warm toned pink. It's a decent size, and the packaging is pretty (although I can't say I'm a huge fan of the snakeskin print). The product itself I'm slightly less impressed with. The claims that this acts as a lipstick, lip gloss, primer, and liner in one seems like a bit of a stretch for me. It has a very thick texture that's much more akin to a liquid lipstick. However, it appears very sheer and gloss like on the lips. It feels nice, and is not too tacky, but definitely will transfer to cups and mugs, and fades quickly with eating or drinking. It doesn't appear to have any flavoring, but it does have a nice fruity smell. Long story short, if this labelled itself as a lip gloss pen, I would say that it is quite nice. However, I would expect better pigmentation from something that considers itself a liquid lipstick.

Lord & Berry Paillettes Glitter Eye Pencil in Sparkle Black
Sample Value, $4.50 (Full Size, $18)

This blend able pencil from the UK brand is studded with bits of silver shimmer.

I have to admit, I was a little bummed to see this product in my box. This eyeliner was one of the other sample choices we could pick from, and I opted not to get it because I wasn't sure that I would use it much. I have actually tried eyeliner from Lord & Berry before and was a fan, but the glitter in this particular version made it less appealing. While it does glide on smoothly, it also smudges very easily, and does not seem to have the greatest lasting power. I think I'll save this liner for special occasions (New Years or Christmas perhaps) and may wear it over a longer lasting black liner that will hold up all night.

ClariSEA Rapid Detox Charcoal Exfoliant
Sample Value, $4.50 (Full Size, $18)

Made with sea salt and scorched bamboo, this all-natural scrub battles blackheads and oil.

Just when I thought I'd seen it all when it came to exfoliators, Birchbox sends this little guy my way. This all natural scrub is actually in a powder form that you can either apply directly to the face with water, or mix into your favorite cleanser. It's got active bamboo charcoal to absorb excess oil and dirt from your skin, and salt crystals to fight off acne causing bacteria. So far I've only tried this product on its own, and I did notice that it made my face feel extra smooth. The salt crystals were a little intense, so I think sensitive skinned individuals might find this to be a little harsh for their liking. With my face being acne prone I'm personally curious to see with regular use whether or not I notice a reduction in breakouts.

Ellovi Vanilla Butter
Sample Value, $2.52 (Full Size, $26)

Made from just six all-natural ingredients, this lush cream moisturizes and soothes.

I'm definitely pleased that Birchbox has been sending me lots of natural products to try lately. While I'm not too fussy about going all natural or organic, I do prefer putting things in and on my body that I know aren't full of nasty chemicals and preservatives. This tiny pot of "butter" is simplicity at it's best. It's made of only 6 ingredients - Macadamia Nut Oil, Coconut Oil, Shea Butter, Vanilla Bourbon, Non-gmo Corn Starch, and Marula Oil. While I've often come to think of body butters as being a thick, creamy lotion, this ellovi butter is a lot more reminiscent of the real deal. It's a thick balm that melts into skin and provides tons of hydration. It also smells divine - like a scrumptious vanilla dessert. With such a simple formula, it's a great multitasker and can be used for everything from removing makeup, to smoothing rough cuticles. The full sized jar may seem expensive, but will probably last quite a long time, and can easily take the place of quite a few other products you may have on the shelf.

Atelier Cologne Cedrat Enivrant Cologne Absolue
Sample Value, $3.25 (Full Size, $65)

This elegant, oh-so-citrusy scent mingles aromatic essential oils from around the globe.

Atelier Cologne is one of those brands I keep meaning to explore more, but just haven't gotten around to yet. I've received one other fragrance sample from this brand in a Birchbox, and although it wasn't particularly my cup of tea, I was really impressed by it's quality and lasting power. If you're in the market for unique scents that are incredibly concentrated and will last all day, I have a feeling that this brand is exactly what you're looking for. While Cedrat Envirant calls itself a citrusy fragrance, the actual scent is way more complex and interesting. I'm really terrible at describing the way things smell, and perhaps the product page will do a much better job than I can, however, I can say that this is very much a unisex scent, and is fresh and summery. I think, being as girly as I am, I tend to prefer perfumes that lean toward the soft, sweet, and feminine side. However, I might try this out for a few days and see if it grows on me. Regardless, there is no denying that Atelier Cologne knows how to make a quality fragrance. The smell of just a tiny dab of this on my wrist lingered for eons. Even after I washed my hands and did things that would normally wear away my perfume I could still smell this on myself. I really would like to see what their other fragrances smell like, because I have a feeling if I found one I fell in love with it would be totally worth the investment.

And there you have it. Another month of being a happy Birchbox subscriber. I think the product I'm most excited to continue to use is the clariSEA exfoliant. I think the powder format is really unique, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it works mixed in with some of my favorite cleansers. Perhaps a little extra pampering will be in order anyway, what with my body generally being germy and miserable.

Total Box Value: $34.77

Are you a Birchbox subscriber? What was your favorite product from this month's box? Not a subscriber yet? Let me refer you!