Birchbox September 2018

This one isn’t so late because I’ve been busy! This one is late because Birchbox is maybe the most boring subscription I’ve ever had. Actually, I’ve had two because I’m a reasonable person. Birchbox is definitely the most boring. Proof: I haven’t even opened my October box yet. It’s here. I have it. I just don’t care enough to open it.

I didn’t select anything special for this month. I think I looked. For October I didn’t even look at the email. November is my last box. I’m really glad that I’m not locked into a full year. I’ll probably take two or three months off from subscriptions to use up some products, then try Sephora play. I might be a masochist.

My birchbox products sitting on top of the September box. This box is dark blue and has some geometric shapes on it.

This month I took my pictures on my art table under my nice drawing lamp. I didn’t need to white balance anything. I think they came out better, considering I’m still using my cell phone for them. Unfortunately, Baker can’t get up on this table. I’ll find a way to sneak you guys some more pictures of him in another post.

What’s in my box?

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish™ Hot Cloth Cleanser

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser. It comes in a mint colored bottle. I love mint colored things.

Guys, we’re fancy. This came with it’s own cloth! Your washrags at home are too impure for your face, okay? You need this special 100% pure cotton cloth.

Oh, and the “Hot Cloth” part? It’s not a warming face wash. You use hot water to remove it. I’m glad it’s not warming, because that sounds awful for your face. I think some people were surprised about that, though.

A white cloth with mint trim. Fancy.

The border matches the bottle! It was more crisp when I first got it, but it bunched up after I washed it. You’re getting the reality pictures here.

I actually really like the product. It’s moisturizing and doesn’t feel like it strips my skin. I like the eucalyptus smell. It doesn’t irritate my eyes and removes my scary waterproof mascara very well. And it makes my skin feel so soft!

I don’t like how many times Birchbox used the word “pure” for them. That kind of skeeves me out. Usually excessive claims of purity have a tinge of “chemicals are scary!” or racism. I’m not here for either of those things. And they recommend throwing away each rag I mean, cloth after each bottle of cleanser. That’s wasteful. It’s a cloth. If you wash it, it’s fine.

Purchase or pass: I have to use up my current cleanser stash. Then I think I’ll try Pond’s cold cream. This is a fancy 5x the price version of that. If Pond’s isn’t as good, I would consider buying this.

Chella Eyebrow Pencil in Tantalizing Taupe

Chella eyebrow pencil. It's a little twist up pencil in a plastic tube. This picture is a little blurry, so if you're relying on captions please know that you REALLY aren't missing much.

TANTALIZING TAUPE. Taupe is never tantalizing, but okay. I’ve been using this pencil every day. I think at the beginning it was giving me more crisp lines, but I’ve worn the edge down. It’s hard to get it back because it’s such a small area. Oh well. My usual problem with brow pencils is that black is too dark for my hair, but the browns are orange. This one isn’t! I swatched for you, but don’t have a picture of it it in my brows. I need to shape them. Apparently that’s where my line for dignity is right now.

Chella eyebrow pencil swatched on my wrist. It doesn't quite draw smoothly. There are some darker, grittier parts. I don't have a problem with this because my eyebrows are so thick. If yours are thinner or lighter it may not look great.

Purchase or pass: It has microplastics in it. That’s a pass.

Number 4™ Jour d’automne Smoothing Balm

Number 4 Jour d'automne Smoothing Balm. It's just a white bottle. Minimalism means high quality, right? They've got a little cartoon bird with a snorkel on here. I'm not sure why.

Birchbox sent me a leave in conditioner type thing from Number 4 last month. This is technically a different product and works a little better for my hair. I’m still mad. I didn’t have my husband buy me a subscription (lol) to get repeats.

Purchase or pass: It’s so boring. I use it once a week and can only say that it doesn’t do anything detrimental. Pass.

M·A·C Cosmetics In Extreme Dimension 3D Black Lash Mascara

MAC Extreme Dimension 3D Black Lash. They sent this in a little squeezy tube instead of a normal bottle. It's black (surprise) with white letters.

This is my first MAC product! I was so excited! It’s another mascara that barely shows up on my lashes. Oh well. Here’s a brush picture because I know some of you are Very Into that.

The brush for the MAC mascara. It has A TON of skinny bristles. Maybe the most dense I've used.

I’m assuming it’s the same as the real product even though the sample packaging is that terrible pouch form that I hate.

Purchase or pass: Nah.

[ comfort zone ] Hydramemory Cream Gel

[ comfort zone ] Hydramemory cream gel. Yes, they insist on those awful brackets. This tube boasts 24 hr "double hydration", whatever that is. The color of the tube is great, though. A light purple that isn't lavender. I've been really into the millennial pastels trending lately.

I’ve kept this empty tube around for three weeks so that I could take faux unboxing pictures for you. Please compliment my blogging dedication.

The moisturizer was fine. I needed to use it twice a day, so the 24 hour claim on the bottle is a lie. My favorite part of it was the smell. It’s HEAVILY scented, but I was into it. It reminded me of a lot of k-beauty things I’ve tried.

Purchase or pass: I was fine with this as a mediocre entry level moisturizer, but this is $64. That’s hilarious. I am absolutely never buying it.

I mean..at least Birchbox isn’t making me angry, right? It’s a little weird to have mediocre products sent to your door every month, though. Is anyone else having this experience with Birchbox?

Birchbox July 2018

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My first Birchbox is here! Birchbox is a subscription box a lot like ipsy. For $10 a month they send you an assortment of makeup, skincare, and hair products. Birchbox is a little different from ipsy in that you get more choices for the box that you receive each month. You can choose a curated box, where you know all of the products ahead of time, or you can choose a product from a short list and have the rest of the box remain a mystery. I think you can also choose nothing and let the algorithm gods decide your box. There’s a lot of options here.

I chose the curated box. It had things that I wanted to try.

What’s in my box
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Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Daily Cleanser
People really like Kiehl’s. My skin generally likes clay. There’s one weird thing. This smells exactly like coleslaw. I like coleslaw, so I’m going to use the whole tube. But it doesn’t scream “CLEAN FACE” to me. The combination of clay and salicylic acid is a bit too drying for my tastes, AND it’s inexplicably got microplastics in it. So I wont be buying it. Also..that cole slaw smell.

Purchase or pass: Nope. I can only use it two or so times a week before my skin starts crying for moisture.

MakeupDrop Original
I thought I’d get on the silicone applicator train. I do love reusable items.

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It’s hilariously small. I thought for sure this was a baby size that they were sending out as samples, but it looks like this is their full $20 applicator. Um. Okay. You could buy a silicone cooking mat and cut it into fun shapes for less money.

It also, uh, doesn’t work. You can’t blend with it. Maybe you could use it for certain highlighters, but I’ll just keep using my fingers. It’s not worth the hassle. I also happened to drop it down the sink the first time I used it and had to get Mr. Grumpyskin to pull out a pipe to retrieve it. It’s that small.

I was going to ask if anyone wants it, but I don’t expect any bites now that you know it’s been down my sink drain. (Silicone is easy to sterilize!)

Purchase or pass: I will literally give this to you for free. Someone out there has to straight up spackle their face.

Benefit Cosmetics The POREfessional Face Primer

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I got a sample of Benefit’s Watts Up highlighter a while back and LOVED it. This, not so much.

So let’s take a close up look of my foundation over this primer. It looks like it definitely filled in my pores. It’s somehow making the foundation settle into my pores in a very not cute look. It did have staying power, because I had to bust out the face wash to get it to wash off.

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Purchase or pass: Some people swear by this. I am not those people. Nope.

W3LL PEOPLE Expressionist Mascara
Do you KNOW how hard it is to find mascara without microplastics in it? I’m surprised that this exists. It works..okay. I don’t know. My eyelashes are pretty intense. This doesn’t clump or flake, but it also doesn’t add much of anything. It is probably nice for people who have light lashes who want to go for a natural look. For $21 on my eyelashes..I probably just wouldn’t wear mascara.

Seriously, I’m not negative just to be negative. I’ve curled both eyelashes and am wearing THREE COATS of this mascara on only one eye. I even wiggled the brush during application. I tried. Tell me which eye in the comments.

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Sometimes I forget that I put this on in the morning and when I wash my face at night am momentarily terrified because something black is coming off my face.

Purchase or pass: This is $20. No.

Bumble and bumble. Don’t Blow It (H)air Styler
Is this a sign that not using a blow dryer is finally going to become cool? I feel like hairdressers give me shit all of the time for hating them. I haven’t personally used a blow dryer in actual years.

This just makes my thick and straight hair very fluffy. I spend most of my hair effort trying to make it more sleek. This is going into the giveaway pile.

Purchase or pass: Pass.

All in all, this wasn’t a great first box. The mascara is the only truly usable item, and that might be because I literally cannot tell that I’m wearing it. I think a lot of people were disappointed by this month’s box. I’m not angry yet, so I’ll toss in my referral code: I get $5 to use in their store if you sign up with my link.

My Birchbox Free Gift

Mr. Grumpyskin reads the blog. That’s not really news. What was is that he reads the blog enough to know that I was thinking about getting Birchbox next.

I mean, we also talk. But this showed up on my birthday shortly after I posted the poll for which subscription I should try next.

Picture of my free gift Birchbox + contents (listed below).

My first official Birchbox didn’t arrive until a few days ago. In the interim they sent me a box of their fan-favorite items, along with a sample of micellar water as a free gift.

What’s in my box

Davine’s OI All in One Milk, Shampoo, and Conditioner
We’ll talk about the milk first, because it’s a multi use item. I like it a lot. It has a nice spray cap, doesn’t require half the bottle for my thick hair, and smooths my hair without making it feel greasy. I feel like I have to wash my hair less when I use this. I’m not sure how it’s doing that, but I wont complain. The fragrance is REALLY strong, though. Like, it’s the third ingredient strong.

I do have a request. Can we stop calling things “milk” that aren’t milk? I don’t like thinking about what nipple created this. I have a biology degree so that is exactly what I go to. And I don’t mean like “let’s make the FDA regulate it” because they have more important things to do. I want a cultural milk shift.

Purchase or pass: I’m considering it. I need to see how long it lasts first. Buying a $32 bottle of hair milk every month isn’t in the budget, money or plastic bottle-wise. The sample is still going strong a month later, though it’s hard to tell exactly how much I have left because the bottle is so dark.

The shampoo and conditioner are also both good, though they have the same strong smell and the shampoo has microplastics in it.

Jouer Cosmetics Lip Enhancer
This is okay? I’m not sure that it’s performing any better than Chapstick would. Birchbox says that its tinted pink, but it’s definitely not. It’s more milky. I know, I used the “m” word. It was descriptive!

Purchase or pass: Pass. It’s got polyethylene in it. Boo, microplastics.

NUFace Prep-N-Glow Cloths
Confession time: I’ve never used a proper makeup remover wipe. I haven’t been missing out. It takes your makeup off, sure. I don’t think its a good substitute for washing your face.

Purchase or pass: I don’t buy single use items. My apartment is so small that I can handle walking over to the bathroom.

Stila Cosmetics Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner
Birchbox insists that this does not budge. They’re right. I wore this on my oily eyelids with no primer on the sweatiest day in recent memory. This is after about 10 hours, and twenty solid minutes of soaking sweat:

Close up of my eyes with little baby winged eyeliner. It's crispt and hasn't smudged at all.

Purchase or pass: Does anyone with a beauty subscription actually buy black eyeliner anymore? It’s also got microplastics in it, surprise. I think microplastics might be a component of most long wearing makeup.

Sunday Riley CEO Rapid Flash Brightening Serum
Every vitamin C cream smells EXACTLY the same. Apparently costing nearly $100 (full sized is $85) means that it still smells like a CVS vitamin C supplement. I don’t mind it, but I expected money to smell differently. It’s a decent lotion, if a little greasy. I definitely felt like it gave me a little glow that I’ve started to associate with skincare items that contain microplastics. I’m not sure if my theory is correct, but I do wonder if the plastics are added as a thickener because they can sort of sit on top of your skin and hold shine there.

I know they say it’s a serum, but it’s a creamy lotion consistency.
After about a week of use it started to break me out.

Purchase or pass: lol no.

Bioderma Sensibio H2O
I’m not sold on micellar water yet. It’s a cool idea. In theory it works exactly like, you know, soap. I can’t use this with my konjac sponge and refuse to buy cotton rounds. It’s not super impressive with a rag. Doesn’t touch the eyeliner that’s close to my eyelashes, but scrubbing my eyes with my sponge does.

Purchase or pass: Eh.

Malin + Goetz Vitamin E Face Moisturizer
This stuff is my Cerave on steroids. It was awesome. Moisturizing but not greasy, didn’t pill with my sunscreen. I’m glad it has microplastics in it, because I was trying to figure out how to budget for a $50 lotion.

Purchase or pass: My wallet has been saved by my commitment to the ocean.

I’m considering buying something on the first box! Birchbox is looking like a better decision. I have a referral link if you’re looking to join. I get $5 to use in their store if you do.