My November Birchbox came exceptionally late this month, so here I am, trying to cram a review in at the last minute before December. The theme of the November box is all about giving back. Birchbox has partnered with (RED) to raise money and awareness for the fight against AIDS and has committed to donating $15,000 plus an additional $1.00 every time a photo of the facts on the box is shared on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #shaRED. It’s easy and I think it’s a great way to get people involved.
Each month, Birchbox subscribers receive a variety of beauty samples to try for only $10. After a couple of disappointing months, I finally received a few things I think I can live with and a couple of products I absolutely love.
The Royal Apothic Cuppa Cuppa Firming Tea Treatment Mask was my sample choice this month. Royal Apothic makes some of my favorite fragrances, Hothouse Peonie being one I wear most regularly. What I love about their fragrances the most is that they are unique, high quality, and very affordable. I was not aware that they had branched out to skincare outside of lotions and body washes, so I really didn’t know what to expect. My feelings about the other sample choices weren’t very strong, and although I rarely have any luck with or time for face masks, I was genuinely curious about this one.
My holiday boozing left my skin looking pretty rotten, so I tried this out a couple of nights ago because I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. The mask had a nice cooling effect as soon as I applied it and it smells amazing. For the full 8 minutes that I left it on, I felt like my face was taking a nice, long drink of water. The kind you take when you’re so dehydrated, you can’t believe you just gulped down an entire liter in a matter of seconds. It felt so nice and refreshing. I rinsed my face when the time was up and found the mask didn’t strip my skin of all of its natural oils like most masks tend to do. My face felt smooth and hydrated, making this THE BEST mask I have ever used. As an added bonus, I woke up the next morning with smaller pores and brighter looking skin. And hey, it still looks and feels great.
The Birchbox website is a little misleading unless you’re the type of person that reads things, so originally, I thought the full size tin only included 3 tubes this size for $58.00, which seems a little steep until you’ve tried it. It actually contains 6, and I feel it’s safe to say one tube will give you 3 uses if you’re just using it on your face like I did. Based on the results I got, the $58 is well worth it to me, considering I would probably only use this every couple of weeks or so whenever my skin needs a little pick-me-up. This is undoubtedly one of my favorite Birchbox samples by far, and I’m so glad I chose this one. 0.33 oz, $9.67 value
At the risk of sounding like a broken record-Hair products. Meh. If it’s not a dry shampoo or something that allows me to go more than 24 hours without washing my hair, I’m just not that interested. There really isn’t much of a noticeable difference between the amika Nourishing Mask and my regular conditioner. It leaves my hair feeling soft and light, which is usually what I aim for in a hair product. The only thing really special about this is the smell, and that’s always a personal preference. It smells like a body spray I used to wear when I had just graduated high school and was trying to figure out how to be an adult, so obviously, I have a lot of memories attached to it. Translation-it smells like creamy vanilla and citrus. 0.7 oz, $1.60 value
The Gilchrist & Soames Spa Therapy Body Lotion is the second lotion by this brand I’ve received from Birchbox. I threw the first one away because all it did was make my skin greasy and it wasn’t really effective in moisturizing. This one is a bit better and doesn’t have a greasy feeling, but I’m not crazy about it because it has a strong cucumber smell. Since I wear perfume, I like to only use lotions that are mainly fragrance-free. I would carry it in my purse for when I’m out and about, but the cap is defective and won’t snap shut, so I guess I’ll be saving it as a backup in case I run out at home before I make it to the store. 1.35 oz, $2.53 value
I already own the full size version of theBalm cosmetics Cindy-Lou Manizer, but I stopped using it for a while because it just wasn’t working for me after my first few times trying it out. I absolutely love some of the things this brand has to offer and their packaging is ridiculously cute, but I’ve run into a few issues with the Cindy-Lou Manizer. I’m glad I was pushed to revisit it to see if anything has changed.
The Cindy-Lou Manizer is a multi-use pressed powder that can be used as an eye shadow, a highlight, or a shimmer anywhere you may find necessary. I generally enjoy multi-use products because they encourage me to experiment outside of the box, but not all of them play out well.
It was insanely difficult to capture an accurate photo of the color, so I will just describe it and hope you get the gist of it. It’s a peachy-pink shimmer with a pearly shift. I thought I would like this because I’m all about the peaches, but I feel it’s too dark to use as a highlight on my fair skin and it gives off more of a frosty shimmer than a glow, so it looks heavy and unnatural on my face. I tried it as an eye shadow, and while it lasted throughout the day without creasing, I’m just really not fond of the color.
To make matters worse, the texture of this powder is so incredibly soft that it crumbled in my full size compact for no good reason at all. I have never dropped it or travelled with it. It has been sitting in the same drawer untouched for nearly a year, and this is what it looked like when I opened it up to try it out again. Apparently, this is pretty common, so if you’re considering purchasing a full size, you might also want to educate yourself on how to fix broken powders. Just in case. 0.02 oz, $1.60 value
Alright, so I thought this was lipgloss and spent a couple of seconds grumbling about it until I tried it out and realized it was something entirely different. I wasn’t even aware that there were creamy lip stains out there, so Cynthia Rowley’s Creamy Lip Stain is totally new to me.
Heartthrob is a classic red with a touch of coral and shine. The stain definitely has a thin, watery texture on the lips, but an added creaminess to keep it from running all over the place while you’re trying to apply it and for extra moisture. This is the first stain I have ever used that didn’t require some kind of gloss over it to keep my lips from drying out or looking dull. It is seriously hydrating. It works great completely alone and applies evenly without much fuss. While it doesn’t come close to surviving meals, I can sip on water and it stays pretty intact for a few hours. I’ve been carrying it in my purse quite a bit because it’s so simple to use and it looks great. 0.079 oz, $9.29 value
Here is how the highlighter and lip stain look on my face:
As a bonus, Birchbox sent me some Dang Coconut Chips. I know there’s a really lame joke in there somewhere, but I don’t really feel it’s necessary to elaborate.
These are pretty delicious, and upon looking at the back of the package at the list of ingredients, I figured out why. Cane sugar is a main ingredient. I really hate companies that are deceptive in their health claims. They’re vegan! Gluten-free! Non-GMO! Only 3 ingredients! Just 115 calories! I get it. If I had a coconut tree of my own, I could probably make these in my kitchen and they wouldn’t have a bunch of unnecessary crap in them, no animals would be harmed in the process, and they’d be gluten-free because, you know, coconut, cane sugar, and salt are not grains. But cane sugar is still sugar, and it’s going to affect my body the same exact way any other kind of sugar-laden junk food will. I’m not mad these were sent to me or anything, I’m just really annoyed by bogus health food claims in general at this point. Especially if they come at a high price. Let me make it easy for you-If you are looking for an expensive, sweet snack, buy these. If you’re trying to be healthy, these are not for you. You may as well be scooping sugar-coated coconut chips out of the bulk food bin at the grocery store for a fraction of the price. 0.7 oz, $1.47 value
Total box value is $26.16. Between the mask and the lip stain, this box paid for itself. And since I love them so much, I’m pretty happy. Everything else I’m sure I will use eventually, so they’re not total losses.
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