Friday, August 14, 2015

Limited Edition Birchbox For CEW Prestige Headliners Collection

Hi everyone! Happy Friday! I've already started my weekend early (which, not gonna lie, feels pretty darn fabulous) and am taking the extra time away from work to blog like a boss. For those of you who are Birchbox subscribers, you may have noticed that two new Limited Edition boxes have just become available. Every summer Birchbox collabs with the Cosmetic Executive Women to bring you two boxes of award-winning beauty products to try - one containing the best of the best from the drugstore, and the other offering high-end goodies. Anyone can make a purchase from the Birchbox shop, so even if a monthly sub isn't your jam, you can totally still snag one of these LE boxes while they last! You can purchase both boxes together at a discounted rate of $28 AND you can even layer on a coupon code to snag a freebie from the bonus shop. This time around I decided just to purchase the Prestige Headliner's box, as many of the products in the Mass Appeal box are things I already own or have tried. This box on it's own retails for $18 and contains over $50 worth of product. Shall we take a look inside?

As always, this Limited Edition Birchbox is packaged up beautifully and truly feels like a special present that you're gifting to yourself. Inside you'll find your product card that tells you a little bit about each item inside and also how much the full sized version would cost. Here's a quick list of all the goodies packed into each Prestige Headliners Collection:

This innovative gel liner pen hugs the lash line and easily smooths on a waterproof swoop.

Full Size, 0.04 oz ($24)
Sample Size, 0.003oz ($1.80)

I feel like I might be the last beauty blogger on the face of the planet to try this eyeliner, but it's FINALLY going to happen. You would think being as big a fan of the cat-eye as I am that I would have been all over this gel eyeliner pen when it came out, but I think the crazy hype really turned me off. Reviews have also been all over the place, with some people giving this holy grail status and others claiming its downright awful. Either way, I am really excited to finally give this a try and see for myself what the fuss is all about. I've got another disappointing products post brewing, so I'm sure if it's terrible you'll here about it again. Or maybe it'll be amazing and end up in my monthly favorites. Time will tell!

Antioxidant-rich facial oil that hydrates and soothes skin, smoothing the look of fine lines and wrinkles. Doubles as a primer!

Full Size, 50 ml ($78)
Sample Size, 5 ml ($7.80)

Facial oils are such a huge thing right now, although I still don't feel incredibly well-versed on the subject. Having done a little googling research on this particular one, it looks like it's been cold pressed from the nuts of the Marula tree (which are native to Africa), and is packed with unsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants to leave your skin feeling supple and firm. It's very lightweight in texture and has a very subtle earthy smell. It seems to sink into your skin really quickly and doesn't leave it feeling too greasy. All-in-all I think I'm still trying to figure out how I feel about skin oils and find one that works well with my complexion, but I'm happy to have another type aside from Argan to try.

This lightweight mist infuses hair with an addictive scent, plus tamps down static and bumps up shine.

Travel Size, 1 fl. oz ($5)

I've always thought hair fragrances were a bit froofy, so I probably wouldn't purchase this product on its own. The way I figure it, most hair products are already scented, and I often wear perfume, and I think adding a separate hair fragrance on top of all of that would be a little overkill. The scent everyone will receive in this box is Créme Vanillée, which is essentially straight up french vanilla. I think I would have liked this better if it had some added layers of complexity, maybe a little musk or citrus to cut the sweetness. Perhaps my tastes are maturing in my old age, because I'm sure the teenage version of me would have been all over this. But as someone nearing their 30s I'm not really sure I'll get much use out of this.

From the buzzed-about new makeup brand, this ultracreamy pencil works as a lip liner, lip color, and cheek color.

Full Size, 1.41g ($24)

I must confess, the full-sized Nudestix pencil is really what sold me on this box This pencil alone is worth more than what this entire box costs, so you could even just think of everything else as a bonus freebie. I received the shade Ripe, which is a pinky-apricot nude, and I am completely in love with it. The formula in these pencils is so creamy and blends out beautifully. It isn't insanely long wearing, but holds up for several hours and is really easy to touch up if need be. I often find that products that do double duty for lips and cheeks tend to suit one better than the other, but I think this acutally does both really well. It's not too glossy and not too matte, so it's comfortable on both lips and cheeks, but doesn't leave lips feel overly dry or cheeks feeling overly dewy. Having never tried a Nudestix product before, and knowing the brand is relatively new to the market I am so happy Birchbox decided to include this pencil. I will definitely be looking forward to checking out the rest of the line!

Sweat-proof, water resistant sunscreen made with organic botanicals (and a fun, fruity scent).

Full Size, 5 oz ($32)
Sample Size, 0.5 fl oz ($3.20)

I've been dying to try this product FOREVER, so I'm thrilled that it was included in this box. I love COOLA products, and I also love mangoes, so you can imagine that this would be right up my alley. This formula is very lightweight and sinks easily into skin without leaving any greasy white residue behind. You get broad spectrum SPF coverage and water resistance, making this the perfect beach-day sunscreen. The only bad thing is that a full sized tube is crazy expensive (especially when you consider how much sunscreen you should be applying to yourself). Knowing that there are other less expensive (and equally effective) alternatives makes it hard to justify shelling out $32 for sunscreen, so I think for now I'll just enjoy the one shot use of this deluxe sample.

A fast-acting mask for soft, dewy, intensely hydrated skin.

Full Size, 1.7 oz ($69)
Sample Size, 0.24 oz ($9.74)

Gently removes impurities with an innovative mud-to-oil formula.

Full Size, 1.7 oz ($69)
Sample Size, 0.10 oz ($4.06)

If you read my July 2015 Empties post, you'll notice that one of these masks looks mighty familiar. I just finished off a tube of the Glamglow Powermud DualCleanse Treatment, and did really enjoy it. The full sizes are crazy expensive for what you get, so I'm not going to be running out and buying a full sized jar anytime soon, however I will gladly take another sample for an additional session of pampering. Thirstymud, on the other hand, may be one of the only Glamglow products I have yet to try, so I definitely am looking forward to using it. With hyaluronic acid, raw honey, and ginger root this formula should both plump up skin and fight off blemish causing bacteria (which sounds pretty awesome to me). Unfortunately (or fortunately, I guess) right now hydration is the least of my skin's concerns, so I think I might save this sample for when the weather gets cooler.

All in all I would say this was another successful year for this series of limited edition boxes. I think this year's Prestige Headliners Beauty Collection blows last year's out of the water, although the box from two years ago was perhaps the best of all. Over the years it seems like full-sized products are less and less of a thing in these types of boxes, which is kind of disappointing although understandable. Still, the total value of everything in this collection is $55.60, so you seriously can't argue that you're getting your $18 worth. If you're even a little bit curious about the Nudestix Lip + Cheek pencil and are considering buying the full size anyway, purchasing this box is a great alternative considering not only the discount, but also how much other stuff you get along side it. Shades do vary from box to box, although all four options are very neutral and pretty and probably could be worn by just about anyone. While the Nudestix pencil definitely made this box for me, everything else is nice to have, and I was happy that the majority of the products were totally new to me.

Will you be getting this Limited Edition Box? Would you also consider purchasing the Mass Appeal version? What products would you be most excited to try?