March 2014 Birchbox review

 

March is here and so I have another Birchbox review and round-up post! This month, I received the following 5 items:

 

Jergens BB Body Cream

Stila Lip Glaze in Fig

Harvey Prince Cherie Blossom

Air Repair Rescue Balm

Supergoop City Sunscreen Serum

 

Overall, this was kind of a mixed bag (mixed box?) On the positive side, there was nothing I absolutely hated and all of the samples could easily be used more than once. Hooray! Nothing is worse in these boxes than the tiny, one-time use samples on cheap little cards. HATE. Even the perfume sample could easily be used at least 3 times if not more.

 

On the negative, I have to say I didn’t love anything. There was nothing in this box that I would want to purchase later. Let’s get to the reviews.

 

Jergens BB Body Cream: OK, this was just a weird concept in general. I don’t see the point of wearing tinted body lotion. It was a good lotion in that it’s not heavy, sticky, etc. and it felt moisturizing. But I’m just not that insecure about uneven skin tone on my body. Maybe I should be? Hah. I should also add I’ve tried other Jergens products in the past and much like their gradual self-tanning lotions, this product has quite a strong scent. It’s not unpleasant but it is a strong powdery floral scent that is quite noticeable on skin.

 

Stila Lip Glaze: This is my 3rd shade of Stila lip glaze and each time it seems like no matter what the color looks like in the tube, it’s going to show up mostly clear on my lips. The fig shade looks like a light pinky purple in the tube but pretty much completely disappeared on my lips. I don’t have anything like that so the fact that it didn’t show up on my lips at all was a huge disappointment because I feel like it would have been a cool color. I realize these are supposed to have sheer color but I mean … this was really, really sheer.

 

Harvey Prince Cherie Blossom: I don’t really like getting perfume samples in my Birchbox because it’s so easy to get them free with your Sephora online orders. This fragrance was nice, but I barely  got any blossom scent from it at all. Instead it smelled very strongly of amber and vanilla, to me at least. It seemed more appropriate for the winter. It did last a very long time on my skin and I could still smell it 8-10 hours later.

 

Air Repair Rescue Balm: I really liked this on my hands. It moisturized well without feeling sticky or slimy. But it also said it could be used on lips and I don’t know about that, because the scent is incredibly strong. It has an herbal, slightly citrus-y scent that would be really inappropriate and gross up near your face. It’s fine on your hands but I wouldn’t want to smell it right up by my nose!

 

Supergoop City Sunscreen Serum: This felt very moisturizing, but also rather heavy. I don’t really like heavy moisturizers during the day time. It also smelled strongly of, well, sunscreen! Just like the scent you’d expect to go along with sunscreen. I tend to prefer unscented face products so that wasn’t a great point for me. I do think I will keep this sample around for the summer because I’m always on the lookout for good facial sunscreens that last a long time and don’t make me break out — and this product did seem rather long-lasting which was great. At this point  in the year, however, I will stick to my normal moisturizer which also contains SPF. It just sadly hasn’t been warm or sunny enough to justify wearing SPF 30 sunscreen during the day!

 

These products are available in full size on Birchbox.com, or you could have a chance to sample them with a Birchbox subscription! A subscription is only $10.00 per month, and you can cancel at any time. I’ve found some really great products through Birchbox, such as pretty much all the Beauty Protector hair products, and some great nail polishes from brands like Color Club and Ruffian.

 

Did you get a Birchbox this month? What products did you get? 🙂

Butter London Jack the Lad

Time for a nail polish post!

 

Today I tested out Butter London’s Jack the Lad which I picked up on the cheap from HauteLook. In the past, I’ve been impressed by BL’s shades (glitters! duochromes! holos!) but not necessarily by their application. I’ve found that they tend to take 3 or even 4 coats for full opacity, and at $15.00 a pop at full price, I just think they should be 1-2 coaters, rather than 3+.

 

 

Jack the Lad is described as “Opaque, moss green shimmer with gold, turquoise, and green microglitter.” Overall, I would say this description is accurate as it comes to the microglitter. It’s mostly green, but you definitely have turquoise/blue and gold in there as well. However, I would say the color is more forest green than moss green. When I think of moss green I think of something lighter and this is fairly deep. In fact, in dimmer lighting, it looks almost black.

 

As for opacity, this was definitely a three-coater. But I felt that it looked better after 3 coats than some of my other Butter London shades.

 

 

Ignore my short middle nail, I had a nail breakage problem mid-week! Ugh!

 

The finish is glittery, but not in your face — it’s more of a fine shimmer. There isn’t a duochrome or shift to this polish, but as I mentioned the glitters are blue and gold in addition to the dominant color of green.

 

Butter London Jack the Lad nail lacquer can be purchased at beauty.com and each shade retails for $15. However, as I’ve said I picked these up on Hautelook a few months back, and Ulta will occasionally have them as buy one get one, I believe in the spring. So if you find a shade you like keep a look out for sales because they are out there!

 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

February 2014 Birchbox Reviews and Round-Up

As a follow-up to my February 2014 Birchbox Preview Post, I’ve now had a chance to try out all my products so I’m ready to give my thumbs-up or thumbs-down! Or thumbs-sideways!

 

Agave Oil Healing Treatment: I’ve had this in a sample from Sephora before and I’ve always liked it, but not loved it. Now that I have shorter hair, I do feel that it weighs it down a little bit more than I would like. But if you have longer, dry, or curly hair, I would recommend it.

 

Dr. Brandt Pores no More: Didn’t work for me. I didn’t notice any difference in my skin texture, pores, the longevity of my makeup, oiliness level, etc. I’m sticking to my regular primer (Hourglass primer, or Smashbox Photo Finish Light which is a lot less money!)

 

Benefit Fakeup: On the plus side, this concealer glides on easily and feels very moisturizing. It’s easy to use in its little tube, because you don’t have to use a brush or anything extra to apply it. But the coverage was just not enough for someone like me who has very dark circles. Seriously, I layered it on again and again and my dark circles were still very visible. This would be an ideal under-eye concealer for someone who doesn’t need too much coverage. But it was not enough for me.

 

Benefit Big Easy: I don’t feel that I can even review this because the sample size was so small. It came on a little card and the amount under the sticker was enough to cover maybe half your face, if you didn’t use much. So pointless. It seemed like a good product in theory but I won’t be purchasing this simply because I couldn’t tell how much it would cover.

 

OPI Sheer Tints: So this was the product I was most interested in. I received the teal shade, and there is also a magenta/pink, a light purple, and a … yellowish one. Which doesn’t look appealing. Anyway, I applied two coats of a light-medium bright blue — Elle Cosmetics Surfer Babe, available at Kohl’s, and then over the top halfway down the nail, I used the OPI Sheer Tints. The result was a two-toned look.

 

 

 

The OPI Sheer Tints dried quickly but applied somewhat patchy, and yes, it was DEFINITELY sheer. I think the blue shade could work well over red, pink, green, or blue, so long as it wasn’t too dark of a color. For fun, I tried a layer of it over Zoya Ki (a dark purple-green duochrome) and it didn’t change or transform the color at all.

 

So overall I would say this Birchbox was kind of a bust, between the tiny sample size of the Big Easy and the fact that some of the products just didn’t work for me. Hopefully next month will be better!

 

If any of these products look interesting to you, you can sign up for Birchbox and possibly receive them in a future month’s box! They do often repeat products (though never to the same subscriber! Knock on wood, I’ve been a subscriber for almost a year and have not received a duplicate!)

 

What did you receive in this month’s Birchbox? What were you happy with, and what was a disappointment to you?

 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Butter London nail post

Trying to take a photo of my nails was an exercise in frustration. I take pretty much all my pictures with my iPhone because I am too lazy to use my actual camera – not that my actual camera is all that great anyway. But I just couldn’t seem to focus up close and so all my pictures are kind of blurry. Boo. I think I’ll just have to use my actual camera from now on.

This is Butter London Fishwife. It’s described as a holographic turquoise and sage nail lacquer.

I have tried Butter London polishes in the past and the color range is great and very unique. They have tons of holos, duochromes, metallics, etc. And in the bottle, they look stunning!

But they aren’t necessarily the easiest polishes to use. At $15.00 a pop, I would expect, like, full coverage in one coat, maybe a thin second coat to cover any sparse areas. In these pictures, I used 3 coats, and I can still see nail  underneath. Yikes.

But the color is great, isn’t it? I don’t think the official description does it justice. There is definitely a holo finish to this polish. The base color is a light green, but there is a flash of gold, rose gold, and blue at certain angles.

I do typically get good wear out of Butter London polishes — close to a week, and I’m hard on my nails with typing all day, doing dishes, etc. But again, this polish could have easily used 4 coats. Fortunately, the application was easy as the formula was quite thin, and it didn’t pool or go on all streaky, so layering on multiple coats doesn’t become an issue.

 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Food review – Aunty’s Steamed Puddings

I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty obsessed with World Market. We can walk there from our condo and that’s dangerous. In addition to having really interesting kitchen supplies, home decor, accessories, jewelry, furniture, beer/wine … they also have a bunch of food. And every time I go in there I see a bunch of interesting-looking food and drinks that I just have to try.

 

I found this in the post-Christmas clearance section last week. No they were not $3.99. I’m not made of money, hah. Like I said, clearance.

 

 

I thought … STEAMED PUDDINGS?! I need that! So it made its way into my basket.

 

The puddings came in two individually wrapped plastic cups covered in foil.

 

 

You just take the foil off and microwave for about 40 seconds. Super easy. You could also make them in the oven or in a steamer basket, I think, but who has time for that? After you microwave it, the top layer of the pudding puffs up like bread and splits in the middle. It’s actually really cute.

 

 

So now it was time to try it.

 

Mmmm, delicious!

 

 

As you can see, the top part is bread-like, and the under-layers are, um, kind of syrupy? So there was nothing about this that was like American pudding. But that’s ok, I wasn’t really expecting that anyway. Here’s what it looked like when I stirred it around a lot in its cup.

 

 

Since my husband is a lot smarter than I am, he actually flipped his pudding out onto a plate.

 

 

The bread part was sweet. The syrup/caramel part was REALLY SWEET OMG. Overall the whole thing was a huge sugar bomb. I would not recommend this if you have sensitive teeth that ache when you eat anything too sugary because this was all sugar, all the time. But I happen to really love sugar, caramel, and whatever sticky toffee is I’m sure I like that too, so this was perfect for me. I couldn’t really taste the dates that were mentioned on the packaging, though.

 

The pudding was heated all the way through (in fact, it was a little too hot) after only 40 seconds in the microwave, and once I was able to stir it a bit, the “sticky toffee” sauce mixed well with the bread-like layers. Portion size was on the small side, but with something this rich/sweet you almost don’t want a huge portion of it.

 

Overall I would say it was worth the few bucks (less than $2) that I spent on it. So yay World Market and your weird food. I will be back to try more weird food items in the future!

 

What’s your favorite type of dessert? Would you try pudding from the clearance food section? 😉

January 2014 Birchbox reviews

I’m sure you all know what Birchbox is by now, but just in case you don’t, it’s a monthly subscription system where you can get anywhere from 4-6 samples of mid-range to high-end beauty and lifestyle products. The samples range in size from single use pouches to about half the size of a normal product, and in some boxes one of the samples may be a full-size product. If you don’t already have a subscription, you can sign up here.

Here is my haul from this month’s box!

I received Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish starter kit, an Under Armour braided headband, Ruby Wing color-changing nail polish, Nelson J Argan Oil hair mask, and Camille Beckman hand therapy lotion.

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish: This kit contained the cleanser, which was a decent sized sample and will probably last me a few months with occasional use. It also contained a muslin cloth, which was kind of like a thin washcloth. This is a different kind of cleanser, because you actually apply it to dry skin, and then use the cloth dampened in hot water to rinse off the cleanser. It was pretty good at removing makeup without leaving my skin super dry, but I did feel like I needed to go back over my face with toner or eye makeup remover afterward to get rid of all my makeup. In the mornings that’s obviously not an issue at all!

Under Armour braided headband: It holds hair in place but I felt it was a little tight. Maybe I just have a big head, lol. I think it could work for working out but it did leave a “dent” in my hair.

Ruby Wing color changing nail polish: I have to say, I … didn’t notice a color change? I wonder if that’s because I used my normal Sephora Pro X base coat and Seche Vite top coat. The color change is supposed to be due to exposure to UV rays outdoors and with top coat over it, maybe the UV rays couldn’t reach? Maybe? I’m just making things up here. Anyway, I actually did like the formula. It was on the thin side but I still needed only the standard 2 coats for full color coverage. The color is a fun hot pink/magenta. I would use it again despite not noticing a color change.

Nelson J Argan Oil hair mask: I didn’t try this. OOPS. I just got my hair cut and since it’s much shorter and healthier now, I don’t feel that I need a hair mask. In fact, I just went back into my beauty profile and took “dry hair” out of my profile. I mean, I’ll probably use it eventually but not this month.

Camille Beckman hand therapy: This stuff really works! I have major dry skin in the winter and this lotion is very hydrating without feeling greasy. It absorbs quickly into skin so that’s why there’s no greasy feeling. 🙂 Also, the scent is great. It may be a little too strong for some but I really like the scent and it’s very long-lasting.

All in all, this was one of my better Birchboxes. It seems like every other month is really good and then the off months are kind of … well, off. Hah. But for $10 a month I’m really happy with it. The Camille Beckman hand therapy might be one of the best lotions I’ve ever tried, for real.

Do you subscribe to Birchbox? What was in your box this month and what did you think? I love to hear about all the different options available each month!

Disclosure: This post contains referral links.