May. Can you believe it? Summer is right here! Cupcakes and Cashmere blogger Emily Schuman curated this month’s box, and it has a seasonally appropriate creamsicle orange design on it. Following her blog’s motto to “Elevate Everyday Life” she has chosen simple beauty products that can have a “profound impact” on your mood.
Each month, Birchbox subscribers receive a variety of beauty samples to try for only $10.
I’m just going to go ahead and get this one out of the way because I kind of hate this company. I received a body lotion from this same brand in my July Birchbox, and off the bat I felt they were a bit misleading about what they were selling, as it was not completely natural and organic the way most people would like to think of it these days. This has become a pretty common practice lately because “natural” and “organic” are very loosely defined terms that can be used to take advantage of those who aren’t paying any attention to what they actually mean. These words make it too easy to bend the rules in a market that doesn’t regulate these types of claims. In case you’re wondering, a measly 12% of the ingredients are from organic farming and 98.83% are from natural origin, whatever that means. Honestly, I just want to know what the other 1.17% is. Magic? Because isn’t everything from natural origin?
This “eco-conscious” Naobay Oxygenating Cream Moisturizer is packed with avocado and olive oils to nourish and hydrate the skin. Eco-conscious. Let that sink in for a minute as you zip on over the the Birchbox website and see that the full-size version of this is completely packaged in wood. From trees. Trees that need to be chopped down in order to make the containers. But since wood is biodegradable, and wooden packaging gives me warm, fuzzy, one-with-the-universe hippie vibes, I’m gonna forget about Ferngully for a second and pretend I’m doing something nice for the environment. What?
Last, but not least, “oxygenating”. Please tell me I wasn’t the only one who found this intriguing. If you’re wondering what that means, too bad, Naobay just slapped it on the front of the tube to sound all science-y and didn’t bother explaining. Since we’re talking about something that has basic ingredients “from natural origin”, I can only assume this simply means it’s breathable, so I’ll just go with that.
Grumble, grumble. Negative Nancy rant over.
All gripes aside, this is actually a pretty good moisturizer and I feel this brand is only hurting itself with all of its bogus claims. Instead of trying to force the product into a popular market, they need to just let it speak for itself. It has a light lemon scent and it’s thick and balmy, but not greasy or heavy. My makeup stays put really well over it, and my skin feels nice and hydrated throughout the day without getting any oilier than it already does. It would be perfect for winter when my skin gets especially dry. Unfortunately, protecting your skin from dangerous UV rays is apparently not “natural”, so like so many other moisturizers in its class, there isn’t any SPF in it. Since I spend a lot of time outside running and going on walks, this is a deal breaker for me because I would rather not look like a leather purse when I’m 50. 0.67 oz, $14.19 value
The POREfessional by Benefit Cosmetics was actually one of my first big beauty splurges. In a desperate attempt to control the oil on my face, I marched on down to Ulta to buy it after reading blog after blog about it being a miracle worker for oily skin while minimizing the appearance of pores to boot (its intended purpose). There is so much praise surrounding this product that I can’t help but feel like maybe I’m missing something. I have revisited it more times than I can count and I am always met with disappointing results.
It’s a translucent balm that can be used as a primer to give your skin a smooth appearance and hide pores or it can be used for mid-day touchups. Since reducing oil is not its purpose, I can’t be mad that it isn’t effective in that way. However, it does actually make my skin oilier and causes my makeup to migrate very quickly, making it useless as a primer. On top of that, it causes my foundation to oxidize after only a few hours, leaving me looking like a carrot for the rest of the day. As for my pores, it doesn’t do squat to soften their appearance. And finally, every time I use this, I break out high school-style. 0.1 oz, $4.13 value
The Harvey Prince Sea Salt Texturizing Mist was my sample pick this month. I know what you’re thinking–I voluntarily chose this product after all of my complaining about the constant stream of hair products and Harvey Prince perfumes? Tsk, tsk. The sample picks this month were a snoozefest and I’ve always wanted to see what the sea salt sprays were all about, so I reluctantly chose this in fear of receiving one of the lesser-appealing samples instead.
Since my hair occasionally does annoying flippy things when I wear it straight, I really dig the beach waves concept and I like the way it looks on my head. This is the first sea salt spray I’ve ever used, and I just wasn’t very impressed. I like that it doesn’t make my hair all crunchy and dry-feeling like I expected and it adds a nice texture and shine, but it didn’t take long for my hair to fall completely straight again. I would have to use a ton of product just to keep it styled throughout the day. Since this is a Harvey Prince product, I expected it to be scented. I wasn’t wrong. The fragrance is less beachy like I had anticipated and more incense-drenched hippie, and it is completely overwhelming. Even if this stuff did work for me, I would never buy it because the scent is awful. I don’t mind looking like I’ve been hanging at the beach, but I don’t want to smell like I’ve been squatting there for a week without a shower. 0.27 oz, $0.99 value
Speaking of Harvey Prince, Hell must’ve frozen over. I finally got a perfume that isn’t Harvey Prince! From the Birchbox website:
This fresh, classic scent opens with notes of bergamot, mandarin, and cassis. The heart of the fragrance is pure walk-in-the-garden bliss, blending jasmine, rose, and cyclamen with herbal and green notes. Warm wood, vanilla, and amber round out the scent.
A fresh spritz of this English Laundry Notting Hill Femme Eau de Parfum instantly reminded me of some hip old grandma. I was undecided until it dried down to reveal a warm, mellow, unique scent. The citrus and vanilla stand out without smelling too fruity or sweet, and it’s definitely suitable for warmer weather when used sparingly. It’s long lasting, and only a tiny bit is necessary, otherwise it’s overwhelming and not very pleasant. I need another fragrance in my medicine cabinet like I need a hole in the head, but I might have to make an exception for this one because I love it so much. 0.07 oz, $1.85 value
I almost fell over when I twisted this Chosungah 22 Flavorful Lipstick in Guava Tint Jello out of the tube. I’ve never seen anything like it before. I’ve always wanted to try some of the Korean cosmetics I’ve seen floating around the internet lately because some of them look really interesting, so I was excited to get this. It’s described as being part lipstick, part lip balm, with a hint of color.
LOOK AT THAT. It looks exactly like orange jello and smells like gummy worms. The name is a little misleading because it is completely flavorless, which is never a bad thing.
I was expecting this to have an orange tint, so I was really surprised when I swatched it on my wrist to reveal a pale pink. Since the color is so subtle, it’s nice to wear when I just feel like wearing something that doesn’t take a lot of effort to maintain. It adds just enough pink to make my lips look less pale. The formula is super smooth and slick, and it has more of a greasy texture than a sticky one, which I really like. My only issue with this is that I find myself having to reapply it constantly because it wears off so quickly and my lips start feeling dry. While the color usually remains on my lips, the moisture just isn’t there after about 10 or so minutes of wear. Because of that, I don’t think I’d ever purchase another. I can achieve the same tint with something like Benefit’s Posiebalm for the same price and have it last for a significantly longer period of time. Full size, $18 value
Here’s how it looks:
Total box value is $39.16. I know. I’ve been acting grumpy. But 3/5 of this box works for me, and two out of those three products have the highest values out of the whole box, so I’m content. More than anything, this box was like a breath of fresh air. It was nice to try a couple of completely new brands and product types for a change, and I hope Birchbox keeps it up in the months to come.
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