Boxycharm September 2017

Boxycharm September 2017 Unboxing

My subscription boxes have become slim these days – I’m only subscribed to four, currently, which may be a lot for some people, but not for where I was at this point last year! My only monthly box is Boxycharm, which is a $21 per month beauty box that sends out 5 or 6 full-sized products which could be makeup, tools like brushes, sponges, or lash curlers, skincare, and hair care (but it is always predominantly makeup). It’s surprising that I’ve dwindled down to only Boxycharm as my beauty subscription because ever since I started really getting into subscription boxes in May 2015, Boxycharm had always rubbed me the wrong way. People raved about it, but they seemed to send out junk I could find in the TJ Maxx makeup bins. However, I think Boxy has been improving tremendously over the past few months, and they released brand spoilers for the rest of the year (including Becca, Dr. Brandt, Mac, Tarte, etc.) that assures me that they have really stepped up their game in the world of beauty boxes.

As a small personal aside, please forgive my photos for this post; I’m still figuring out my new camera and my new house and determining where workable light will be where, so photos should improve soon!

Studio Makeup Loose Blush and Mac Eyebrow Pencil in Spiked, a Rich Brunette Shade, from Boxycharm September 2017

Briogeo Don't Despair Repair Deep Condition hair mask, colourpop ultra satin liquid lip color in "mess around", and bareminerals face perfection foundation brush from Boxycharm September 2017
Swatches of StudioMakeup Loose Blush, Colourpop Ultra Satin Mess Around, and Mac Eyebrow Pencil in Spiked from Boxycharm September 2017

The September 2017 box included:

  • Studio Makeup Luminous Loose Blush (RV $17) | There is no loose blush on the Studio Makeup site right now, so I’m linking to a pressed blush in a similar shade. Though I am not a fan of loose powders, I do like the matte peachy shade of this blush and it’s a unique add to me collection, so I’m happy to have it. 
  • MAC Eyebrow Pencil in “Spiked” (RV $18) | The other shade offered this month was “Lingering”, which is a soft taupe shade. While I have never learned how to use an eyebrow pencil, I think it’s great that a full sized Mac product was included.
  • Briogeo Don’t Despair Repair Deep Conditioning Mask (RV $18) | I’ve received a truly exceptional amount of Briogeo thanks to subscription boxes. While I’ve bought some of their products on my own (I think their blow dry cream is exceptional), I’ve never needed to restock on the conditioning mask. I typically use this like standard conditioner due to how dry and damaged my hair is.
  • Colourpop Ultra Satin Liquid Lip in “Mess Around” (RV $6) | There were 5 or 6 different shades of the Colourpop Ultra Satins this month, and I love the one I received! The Colourpop site describes it as a midtone greige and Temptalia describes it as a neutral taupe, but on me (as you can see in the swatch above) it reads like a chocolate brown. It’s a great shade for Fall and the Colourpop Ultra Satins are one of my absolute favorite liquid lip formulas. 
  • BareMinerals Perfecting Face Brush (RV $28) | I love getting makeup brushes in boxes, mostly because 1) I’m lazy and hate washing my brushes and 2) I don’t want to drop around $30 a brush because 3) due to point 1, I prefer to own tons of brushes. I haven’t tried this guy yet because I typically apply foundation with my fingers & a beautyblender, but I own quite a few BareMinerals brushes and have always liked them. 
  • PUR Cosmetics Soiree Diaries Eyeshadow Palette (RV $34) | The star of the box, in my opinion! Look at that pretty marble packaging! The rose gold accents! Check out the swatches below. I think this is a great neutral palette – the bottom row is absolutely gorgeous and metallic and the mattes are buttery and not patchy at all. I only wish there was more of a difference between Private Party & Mogul and Snazzy & Epic, which seem too similar to be used to create unique eye looks. 
Pur Minerals Soiree Diaries Palette from Boxycharm September 2017

Inside Pur Minerals Soiree Diaries Palette from Boxycharm September 2017

Inside Pur Minerals Soiree Diaries Palette from Boxycharm September 2017

Top row swatches Pur Minerals Soiree Diaries Palette from Boxycharm September 2017

Middle row swatches Pur Minerals Soiree Diaries Palette from Boxycharm September 2017

Bottom row swatches Pur Minerals Soiree Diaries Palette from Boxycharm September 2017

As I have mentioned before, Boxycharm is really stepping up its game and is well worth the $21 a month. If you’re curious, check out the August Boxycharm featuring Tarte and some of my favorite fluffy makeup brushes.

May 2017 Ipsy Glambag Review

At long last (well, a little over a year, to be more precise), I think my love affair with Ipsy is coming to an end. Nothing has changed about the service and I still think it can be a fun way to treat yourself every month, but my makeup collection is expansive. I have reached the point where it is rare for me to receive something I don’t already own in a similar shade and finish. This month even contained two items I very specifically wanted and was very specifically excited to try, but … not because I need  it. I was just curious about the formula! While for many people that is the point of beauty subscriptions, I have a humongous backlog of samples that I am never going to use up. I will definitely still be receiving a June bag, but I am actually considering cancelling for July … at least for a little while! 

Urban Decay Afterglow Powder Highlighter in “Sin” | RV $9.57. This was one of the products I was most excited to try this month, but also a product that made me realize how little I actually need to continue trying your typical champagne highlight. In the photo below, it’s the third swatch from the top – it’s shimmery and pigmented and really lovely, but it’s simply not a product I need now or anytime soon. The sample alone would likely take me a year to finish.
It Cosmetics Superhero Elastic Stretch Volumizing Mascara | RV $$13.60. This was the second product I was excited to try! The It Cosmetics Superhero Mascara gets consistently great reviews and I look forward to sampling it, but yet again … when will that be? I’m currently working through a mascara stash and have ten I’d like to use up before starting on this one. 
JellyPongPong Supercharged Super Intense Eyeshadow Duo in “Electric” | RV $22.95, Full-size. I have been on an overwhelmingly huge eyeshadow kick lately, so I was glad to be receiving this duo. In the photo below, the shades are the top two swatches on bare skin. They don’t look too impressive, but I’ll be trying them over primer before writing them off. The compact they came in is charming, but I do think $22.95 is quite an inflated price. If I’d been able to choose, I would have picked the teal and bronze variation of this duo for a little more contrast. 
Cailyn Cosmetics Pure Lust Extreme Matte Tint + Velvet in “Practicable” | RV $19, Full-size. You may recall my previous experience with a Cailyn Cosmetics Extreme Matte Tint, as conveyed in my Lip Hoarder Part Three post which was basically that it’s a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad matte lipstick. “Practicable” was better. Described as a “cinnamon nude”, the shade was much more flattering and the application was a breeze. As you’re applying, it feels like it’s going to be a perfect matte lip paint … but then it dries, and it isn’t. Though better than my first experience, Cailyn’s Matte Lip Tints still dry your lips out so badly they pucker, which is universally unflattering. It’s also impossible to remove – I tried my face wash, a lip scrub, a cleansing oil, and a scrubbing brush, and my lips are still tinted. Shade – beautiful. Product – stay far away. 
Adesse New York Gel Polish in “Surfer Girl” | RV $18, Full-size. I love nail polish (obviously, I have a Julep subscription) and I like this shade and the fact that it’s a gel-like finish. My only qualm with receiving this polish is that just last month I received a nail polish in almost the exact same shade from Ipsy. It’s not a big deal and I prefer the Adesse polish to the Defy & Inspire polish, but I’d prefer to diversify my collection. 

Total Paid: $10
Total Retail Value: $83.12

That value is wild for a $10 subscription bag, but again, I think some of the values were inflated, particularly on the JellyPongPong shadow duo. I also think $18 is an awful lot to spend on a single polish, but it’s not unheard of – the gorgeous Smith & Cult polishes are also $18 a pop. Regardless, this bag was well worth $10, but it’s just not meeting a need anymore. I’m at a point where I would rather spend more to have exactly what I want than $10 to have a variety of new items to try. I’m sure it’s a pendulum, but for now I plan to pause my Ipsy subscription. 
To try Ipsy yourself, sign up here for a monthly beauty bag! 

April Birchbox Review

Well, well, well Birchbox, funny seeing you here. Y’all know how I feel about Birchbox (overrated, under delivers), but every now and then they run a promo that is worth paying $10 for. I ended up getting one sample I have really been wanting to try, too, so it wasn’t a total wash. However, if I were you, I would wait until Birchbox is running a free gift with subscription deal that is worth it to you (like Lipstick Queen lipsticks or, in this case, the Smashbox mascara) and subscribe then. That way, you are getting a higher end beauty product for $10, plus samples. That’s the only situation that makes Birchbox “worth it” for me. That being said, here is my April Birchbox!


Total Value (excluding bonus): $22.85
The sample I am most looking forward to trying is the R+Co Dry Shampoo, but otherwise I am … unimpressed by this month’s box. The retail value, while double the cost of the box, is much lower than the retail value of my April Ipsy. However, I bought the box for the Smashbox mascara, so from that perspective, I got the mascara for $10 + some fun samples, which is much more worth it. 

April Ipsy Glambag Review

april 2017 ipsy glambag reveal
The amount of beauty boxes I receive has decreased quite a bit over the past few months, but Ipsy has done a great job of satiating my desire for cute mail and new products without blowing my budget. April’s Ipsy Glambag was pretty on target for me. I even thought the kitschy little ticket bag was cute and different, though a lot of people have been complaining about it. Different strokes! 

mica beauty highlighter 3 skin and co truffle therapy face toner  tonymoly pantone liptone lip care stick lip balm honey moisture

This month, my Ipsy bag contained:

  • Mica Beauty Highlight #3 | RV $13.88, Though pretty and pigmented, I think the loose powder may be too difficult to use as a highlighter, and the shade is a little too rich of a gold to look right on my skintone. I considered keeping it as an eyeshadow, and I think it would work great as one, but I have enough gold shimmer eyeshadows, so I’ll be passing it on. 
  • Skin & Co Truffle Therapy Face Toner | RV $4.05, I could see how this would be the least exciting item to some, but I’ve been hoping to get a toner I could travel with for a few months now. It’s perfect for me! 
  • TonyMoly Liptone Lipcare Stick | RV $10, “Honey Moisture”, These TonyMoly balms are your ordinary lip balm, but I adore the Pantone-inspired packaging. 
  • Lisa Frank x Glamour Dolls Unicorn Angled Blush Brush | RV $5, I specifically requested this silly, nostalgic brush. It is beautiful and fluffy and I’m glad to have it. I have had good luck with Glamour Dolls brushes (specifically this sperm whale blending brush) in the past, in spite of their low prices. 
  • Defy & Inspire Nail Lacquer | RV $7.49, “Paradise”, I love nail polish pretty indiscriminately and am skipping Julep in May, so this was a happy filler polish. 
  • POINT REDEMPTION: Vintage by Jessica Liebeskind Illuminating Face Highlighter | RV $32, “Crystal Pink”, A gorgeous, full-sized, pink-toned highlighter that I received for free due to redeeming Ipsy points. Swatched below.  
Total Retail Value: $40.42
And that’s excluding the $32 bonus highlighter!

jessice liebeskind vintage highlighter crystal pink lisa frank glamour dolls unicorn blush brush defy & inspire nail polish paradise

Ipsy April Glambag Swatches MicaBeauty Highlighter Jessica Liebeskind Vintage Highlighter

April Julep Maven Box

April 2017 Julep Maven Subscription Unboxing
As always, Julep’s beauty box is a delight and one of my absolute favorites. Their monthly subscription is $25/month, though I choose to purchase three months at a time for $20/month. You are able to swap out every item they curate for you and build your own box, as well as add on items from Julep’s shop at a steep discount. I’ve been subscribed to Julep for almost a year now (mostly because of the ability to skip months without cancelling!) so I’ve become quite familiar with Julep’s house brand, and I’m consistently pleased. 

Julep Eye Glider Gilded Gold Radiant Amethyst Electric Teal Shimmer Fig Shimmer
I love the items I chose for April’s Julep Maven box. I swapped out my original items (I can’t remember what they were, but they’re typically two makeup or skincare items and a nail polish) for two of Julep’s eyeshadow duos (rosé & vacay and moonlight & starlight) and one of their new eyeliners. I added on three more “eye gliders” (so in all I have gilded gold, radiant amethyst, fig shimmer, and electric teal shimmer – swatched below in that order from top to bottom). I’d been lusting over the new color options and was considering purchasing a variety of stila eyeliner shades, so this made more sense financially.  
  
    Swatches of Julep Eye Glider in Gilded Gold Radiant Amethyst Fig Shimmer Electric Teal Shimmer
I chose the eyeshadow duos because I’d been looking for blendable matte shades since nearly my entire collection is full of shimmers. Rosé is so much more beautiful than I could’ve imagined and is going to get a ton of use. So far I’ve worn it in my crease with UD Fireball on my lid and I love the combo for Spring. I haven’t played with Vacay yet, but I’ve needed a matte brown. Starlight is extremely sheer but really pretty on the eye. Moonlight seemed difficult to blend, but I was using it with a new eyeshadow primer that was quite sticky on my lid, so I’ll be giving it another go soon with a different primer. I wore Moonlight & Starlight a couple of days ago for the entire work day and they never creased. Swatched below, from top to bottom: Rosé, Vacay, Moonlight, and Starlight. 
    Swatches of Julep Feels Like Velvet Eyeshadow Duo Rose Vacay and Moonlight Starlight
Finally, Julep included two additional nail polishes. One was sent to all subscribers as a special bonus, and the other was sent because I added three add-on items to my box. I already own Tatiana (a golden, burnt orange microglitter) and consider it my favorite shade for Halloween. Eliza (an “infinite ocean” holographic) has a beautiful rainbow effect in the bottle, but I have yet to try it on my nails. It’s highly rated though, and I’m looking forward to trying it! 
Julep Nail Polish in Tatiana - Burnt Orange Microshimmer and Eliza - Infinite Ocean Holographic, Blue Holographic

March Ipsy GlamBag 2017

march 2017 ipsy glambag glam bag reveal spoiler unboxing

Ipsy is a $10 per month beauty bag which contains a mix of beauty, haircare, and skincare products that are mostly deluxe samples or full-size. Though it is consistently my favorite of its affordable subscription box competitors (such as Birchbox, Sephora Play!, or Allure), I have mixed feelings about my Ipsy bag this month.

My March 2017 Ipsy GlamBag contained:

Total Paid: $10
Retail Value: $41.58

mPrincess eyeshadow & tarte lip paint

This month’s GlamBag is pretty blah for me. The eyeshadow is a fine shade, but that brand name reminds me of a creepy fedora-wearing “nice guy” calling someone m’Princess & I truly cannot get over it. 
I love all things First Aid Beauty, so I’m pleased as punch to have a sample of their new facial moisturizer. I don’t find it all that different from their Ultra Repair Cream, but this one is sold in a pump bottle, so I’m a fan. 
The tarte lip paint fit my profile so I understand why it was sent to me, but I had to pass the shade on to my mom. In spite of how pale it looks in the packaging, it dried much darker and warmer. 
The blending brush is nice; I’ve already used it a couple of times and washed it with minimal loss of hairs. 
I used to love getting Marc Anthony deep conditioners from ipsy (and using them as daily conditioners for my damaged hair) but now that I have my Function of Beauty bespoke shampoo/conditioner, these have become a less-exciting, overall neutral item to receive. I’ll still pack this for travel! 

My First Boxycharm

march 2017 boxycharm unboxing spoiler reveal

This month I tried a new-to-me beauty box, BoxyCharm, which is $21 per month for primarily full-size items. There is a waitlist, but I was only on it for about 3 weeks before getting a notification that I’d be receiving a box. For a long time (i.e. since last May), BoxyCharm didn’t appeal to me. They send out a lot of indie brands, and I wasn’t sure that I cared to have that many full-sized products. However, now that I’m on a bit of sample overload & have unsubscribed to everything but Julep & Ipsy AND have come to find that I like the quality of quite a few of the regular beauty box indie brands, Boxy started to make more sense for me to try.

The March 2017 BoxyCharm box contained:

Total Paid: $21
Retail Value: $97.50

boxycharm march 2017 swatches naked cosmetics urban rustic trio realher
Swatches of the lip liner, matte liquid lip, and eyeshadows

The lip products are described as a “rose mauve”, which falls perfectly into my preference for pinky-nudes. They’re more dark & neutral than the pink RealHer set I received in the Spring FabFitFun
I was … well, nervous is a bit of a strong word, so maybe unsure … about the Naked Cosmetics palette when I saw spoilers. I have a rose gold pigment from Naked Cosmetics that I think is fantastic, but these shades were so deep and autumnal! However, I’ve been looking for a nice olive green shadow, and while burnt orange & burgundy don’t look wonderful on me, they’re on-trend & I’m willing to try them. I doubt I’ll ever wear the shades together, but I think each shade could be a fun pop of color with some neutral browns or taupes. Also, yes, that’s one single swipe of each shadow, so the pigment on the orangey shade is super impressive. 
Finally, the Smashbox primer is a classic, but I have multiple primers to use up so it won’t be opened anytime soon (and may be gifted). The brush is fat and fluffy and beautiful, and my first fan brush, so I’m looking forward to learning how to  using it! 
I don’t think BoxyCharm is for everyone. I completely understand wanting to subscribe to beauty boxes in order to sample new products (a la Sephora Play! and Ipsy) rather than build up a collection. For $21 a month, though, this is a great sub for affordably filling out a makeup stash.