Wednesday, May 27, 2015

May 2015 Birchbox

Hello friends! It's that time again where we delve into my favorite little box and chat about my next round of curated samples. This month Birchbox paired up with none other than Emily Schuman from Cupcakes and Cashmere to help subscribers discover products they could use to "elevate their everyday life". I've read quite a bit of Emily's blog in my day, and I think it's really awesome to see Birchbox reach out to her and show it's support for the blogging community. It's always really inspiring to see the opportunities and successes of other bloggers, and the kinds of doors that open up for you with years of hard work. Maybe it's a bit of a stretch to believe that I could achieve that level of recognition, but hey, no hurt in dreaming big.

This also happens to mark a very special time in my Birchbox subscription history. I got my first box two years ago in May, which means this is my 25th Birchbox! It's kind of crazy to think about. To honor the occasion I'm planning on writing another post to look back and reflect on my Birchbox experience so far and share some of my favorite product finds to date. Hopefully I'll have it written up soon! In the meantime, let's check out the products in my May box.

As you can see, this appeared to be a pretty decent box. I got to try a nice variety of products from some really high end lines, including Juice Beauty and Marcelle. I also got a full sized eyeliner, which I was super excited about. I also suppose all of these products could be considered beauty staples, which I think fits in well with the Cupcakes & Cashmere "elevate your everyday" mantra.

Here's a quick list of all the samples I received this month:

This styling spray delivers beachy texture, big volume, and a summery treat.

Full Size, 6 oz ($22)
Sample Size, 0.27 oz ($0.99)

After having a chance to sample the Harvey Prince Hello Body Lotion and totally falling in love with its fragrance, I was more than happy to try something else from the line that sports the same scent. This texturizing mist adds a little bit of grip without making your hair sticky or crunchy. I've been mainly using it on dry hair prior to braiding or putting it up in a bun so that I'll have natural waves later on in the day. I don't think it's the most volumizing product I've ever tried, and believe there are better options out there if big hair is your goal. However, if you love the musky, citrusy scent of Harvey Prince Hello, and want to give your hair a bit more of that messy, beachy look, this would be a great product to have on hand.

Lightweight, vitamin-packed hydrator that brightens skin and goes on cucumber cool.

Full Size, 1.7 oz ($24)
Sample Size, 0.24 oz ($3.39)

A good hydrator is always important to have on hand, and I sit in sort of a neutral place with this one. I like that it's got no allergenic ingredients and is free of perfume and parabens. It also feels light and cooling on the skin. But so far I haven't noticed it do anything amazing for my face. Since things have warmed up a bit I'm usually reaching toward moisturizers with SPF or with some kind of mattifying properties, so that I can layer on SPF without feeling like a greaseball. I'm thinking I'll try using this more at bedtime as sort of a soothing, cooling way to refresh my skin at the end of a long day.

The allergen-free, minimalist scent has a single note: elegant, spicy Cetalox.

Full Size, 50 ml ($90)
Sample Size, 2 ml ($3.60)

Since I joined Birchbox two years ago, I've seen this fragrance all over the place, and was definitely curious to finally try it out. I also totally did not expect to become as obsessed with it as I did. Unlike most traditional perfumes, this fragrance is comprised of only one note - Cetalox. I'm not sure how something so simple can smell so lovely and complex, but it totally does. Maybe it just blends well with my body chemistry, or maybe its particular character is right up my alley. Either way, this fragrance has a slight musky/spicy quality to it, without being heavy or masculine. It's also got a sort of subtle freshness that balances everything out. It's so hard to properly describe the way something smells, so I'm probably not doing this justice. Either way, I really like it. The price tag on a full sized bottle kind of hurts to think about, but maybe this is something that would go on my birthday wishlist.

This multitasker moisturizes, primes, protects, conceals, and provides sheer coverage.

Full Size, 1.7 oz ($39)
Sample Size, 0.17 oz ($3.90)

Juice Beauty is a great brand, and I love that they use the best natural ingredients for their products. I just wish I was a little more wowed by this particular product. I'm totally on board with the SPF coverage, and the fact that it comes from a physical sunscreen (zinc oxide). But I think it also is therefore a bit on the heavy and greasy side. The shade Desert Glow is also not a perfect match for my skin (it's a little too warm) but the pigmentation is sheer enough to be workable. I think my ideal product would have a little more coverage and be a little less sheen-ey, so I probably won't be purchasing the full size of this.

This pencil delivers vivid, smudge-proof color - and never needs sharpening.

Full Size, 0.01 oz ($18)

Full sized eyeliner? Heck yeah! Who doesn't love to see a full sized anything in their box? I love purpled toned products, so I was really looking forward to trying this black cherry shade. However, I feel like it totally lacks in pigmentation. For something that appears so dark in both the packaging and right from the stick, I don't understand how it ends up being so sheer. Did I maybe get a dried up liner? I'm not entirely sure. Maybe I'll do some research to see if others have the same complaint. Either way, I'm a bit grumbly because I really want to love this product, and it's kind of a huge disappointment. Maybe I can work with it for daytime wear, but it might also be more trouble than it's worth.

In the end I'd say this was an all right box. I definitely loved the perfume, and the texturizing spray smells pretty excellent as well. The CC Cream and Moisturizer were decent but nothing that blew my mind, and the eyeliner was a bit disappointing color payoff wise. Most of my samples were also relatively low in value, being offset by an $18 full sized liner. The total value of my box rang in at $29.88, which would have felt even more valuable had the eyeliner worked out better for me.

Still, I always get my 50 worth of points back from each box, and that to me makes every box worth the $10 I spend. Birchbox always has such great promo codes, and you can really save a lot with your reward points. I can't wait to share my latest haul with you all when it comes in!