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?

Rimmel Lasting Finish Colour Rush in Give Me a Cuddle Review

I’m still working my way through my lip color collection one week at a time. This week I tried to wear Rimmel’s Lasting Finish Colour Rush lip balm in Give Me A Cuddle for a solid week.

I mean, I succeeded. It just wasn’t the most fun.The tube of Rimmel's Lasting Finish Colour Rush in Give Me a Cuddle. The silver lettering is rubbing off.

This is where I confess to you that I bought this lip balm three years ago. That’s why the label looks so godawful. You can still purchase it, so I could have pretended that I bought it last week.

This blog isn’t about my dignity.

A shot of the opened gloss stick. It's sort of like a lipstick, but is supposed to be more hydrating. It looks like a balm and a lipstick had a baby. It doesn't act that way.

Three years ago I knew that I wanted to wear lipstick, but was having some trouble easing into it. This lip balm looked like a nice tame pink. At least on me. Some reviewers said it was too candy pink for them.

There is no flash in the image on the left. The image on the right has flash.

I can see the candy pink complaints. I do think this balm applies pretty thin, so you can adjust it to be less bright.

On my lips. A thin, baby pink.

It looks fine, right? Barely even there. That’s what I was going for three years ago. The problem is that this balm isn’t particularly hydrating. And while it’s not an in your face color, it does dry my lips out and the resulting flakes are BRIGHT PINK. I don’t have an at the end of the workday picture for you because I wiped this off at lunch every day. It didn’t matter that I used my lip mask the night before. It didn’t matter if I exfoliated and hydrated in the morning before the application.

In the trash it goes. It’s not a good track record for Rimmel’s lip products. I also trashed some of their glosses for drying me out.

Stay Glossy Lipgloss by Rimmel

Disclaimer: I got this from Influenster for testing/review purposes uh..two years ago? Three? It’s been a while. This blog post was not required because I had no blog at the time. They didn’t ask me for a good review. Obviously.

I’ve been on a long kick of clearing out my belongings. I started with books, then clothing, and now makeup. The lip products are getting purged first.

My lip product collection. There are a lot of them. My lip product collection. There are a lot of them. You can see at least part of 25ish tubes.

Look at this. It’s fine to have a lot of products that you use and enjoy having. I’m not going to get on my internet high horse and say that everything you do must be minimalist. I just don’t wear or like all of these. I can’t justify buying new products that I want to try when I have lipstick mountain in my closet.

So I’ve been running a little test. I pick one thing that I haven’t worn in a while and make myself wear it every day of the week for a week. If I haven’t figured out to use it in a way that works, or still don’t like it, it goes in the trash.

First up was Rimmel’s Stay Glossy 3D in Candy Floss.
Image of Rimmel's Stay Glossy 3D lipgloss in Candy Floss.

And since Influenster sent me two colors, I’m swatching Popcorn for 2 here as well. I didn’t wear that one for a week because I hate it.

Image of Rimmel's Stay Glossy 3D lipgloss in Popcorn for 2.

I’m not sure if they’ve changed their formula since I got this one, or if the images on their website are horrifically misleading. This is what their official image for this color looks like.

Official Rimmel image of Popcorn for 2. This one is baby pink, whereas my tube is very beige.
Mine is old, but it was never baby pink.

I arm swatched them so you guys could get a good look at the sparkles. Candy Floss is on the top, Popcorn for 2 on the bottom. The right image has no flash and the left is with flash.

 

Candy Floss has less shimmer to it. What shimmer is there is closely matched to the gloss color. It looks purple under flash, which I’ve never noticed in person.

Bright pinks have been growing on me. This isn’t the worst lip gloss.

Picture of the shade Candy Floss on my lips. It's glittery and bright pink, but not excessively so.

You’ll notice that I don’t have my typical “end of the work day” image for these. Despite Rimmel’s claims of “cutting-edge Shine Extend technology”, this lip gloss completely dissipates within two hours. No glitter left. No tint. Nothing. I guess if you remain perfectly still and don’t drink any water for six hours, it might still be there?

I really want a PowerPoint on cutting edge lip gloss technology.

That’s not sarcasm.

I’d also like a detailed explanation of how cotton moisturizes your lips. I’m not making this up, their website says: “Its lip-loving formula pampers lips with a caring complex of cotton and silk for increased lips moisturisation.”

Anyway, it’s a perfectly nice color that doesn’t stay on my face long enough to warrant spending the time to put it on evenly in the morning and keep my hair out of it.

Full face shot of me wearing Candy Floss.

More negatives: It makes my lips feel dry once it wears down. And it’s full of micro-plastics. Not cool.

Popcorn for 2 is a terrible beige color that is packed with iridescent shimmer. It doesn’t look awful when I first apply it, but unlike Candy Floss, the gloss wears down long before the shimmer. It leaves me with milky, fish scale looking lips. I don’t have a picture of that because I have self respect, weirdly enough.

Picture of Popcorn for 2 on my lips. It's much lighter and packed with shimmer.

It might work better as a topper for lipstick. I don’t want to make it work that badly.

A full face shot of Popcorn for 2. I think this color washes me out a little.

They’re both going in the trash before this post is published. I’ll have this post to look back on if I ever feel bad about it. (Edit: I don’t.)

But really,  why did I keep the beige one for so long? It smells like sunscreen.

Tell me what lip gloss you really need to throw away in the comments.

Maybelline Lip Studio Color Blur Lipstick in Orange Ya Glad

There was a brief period of time when I couldn’t go into CVS without grabbing a new lipstick or nail polish. This is one of those impulse buys, as evidenced by the gimmicky applicator (not pictured because I don’t use it) and the fact that it’s ORANGE.

The idea of these lip pencils is that you can color the inside (or edges, I guess) of your lips and then create a gradient using their weird blender. This does not work for me with this color. It just evenly smudges. The pencil itself goes on pretty creamy and I have small lips. It doesn’t work.

Maybelline Lip Studio Color Blur lip pencil in Orange Ya Glad. Top swatch is solid color, the bottom is my blur attempt using their blur tool.

So, the “blur” is a no-go for me. The orange, though. Orange lipstick is awesome. I didn’t know this. I thought I looked better in “blue” reds, but now nothing makes sense. I love the color…when I wear green shirts. I haven’t been brave enough to wear it with other colors, but I think it would also look good with black. Black is safe.

Image of me wearing Maybelline's Lip Studio Color Blur lipstick in Orange Ya Glad.
Say hi to my septum ring!

So, yeah, it’s cute. But does it stay put? You guys know by now that I’m not going to reapply mid day. Are you ready for these gritty shots of my lips at the beginning and end of my day?

Here’s the before:

Image of me wearing Maybelline's Lip Studio Color Blur lipstick in Orange Ya Glad at the beginning of my day.

And the perfectly acceptable after:

Image of me wearing Maybelline's Lip Studio Color Blur lipstick in Orange Ya Glad at the end of my day. It's faded a little on the inside of my lips, but still looks presentable, especially when you aren't zoomed in like on these pictures.

This is $9 lipstick after something like 10 hours and a full lunch. I need it in red now.

 

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.

June 2018 Ipsy Bag — LAST IPSY BAG!

This is my last ipsy bag EVER! I’m kind of upset that I’ve so clearly loathed them this year. I don’t get to act like I’m rage-quitting because they got a little TERFy this month.

Ipsy just finds another way every month to make me more disappointed. You would think that I’d be numb to them by now. But no, they post a video where one of their ~collaborators~ refers to cisgender women as ‘authentic women’ and then delete a bunch of people’s Facebook comments telling them that isn’t cool. It’s PRIDE MONTH. They are also working with transgender people. Multiple people had to okay this video. No one thought that might be a terrible phrase? Come on, ipsy.

What’s in my bag?
Picutre of my June 2018 ipsy bag and contents.

My least favorite color is yellow so OF COURSE I get that bag.

PACIFICA Mineral 5 Eyeshadow Palette in Tomboy Vibe
Image of Pacifica's Tomboy Vibe palette.
Someone please tell me what this green is. Is it for when I cosplay as kitchen appliances from the 70s? It’s so bad. It’s so bad that on its page ipsy tells you how to do an eyeshadow look that uses every color but the green. Pacifica is fully aware of what they did and named the color “1970”. I am dead.

Ipsy says that the dark brown is matte. It’s not really. Swatches aren’t labelled because I immediately threw away the box with the color names. Boxes are a waste.
Pacifica Tomboy Vibes palette finger swatches without flash.
Pacifica Tomboy Vibes palette finger swatches with flash.
The formula of these actually seems okay. I haven’t tried them beyond the initial swatches because a friend offered to trade me some skincare stuff for it.

Purchase or pass: This palette has the unforgivable green, but Pacifica’s website doesn’t seem so bad.

M·A·C Prep + Prime Skin
Aww, Grumpy Skin’s first MAC product! I thought the foundation that I bought sucked, but it was this primer. My Hard Candy primer that I bought actual years ago works a lot better. Both primers are silicone based, so it’s not a water vs silicone issue.

Purchase or pass: It’s got microplastics in it. It doesn’t play well with my makeup. No thanks.

BIOBELLE #UnicornGlow Perfect Radiance Tencel Facial Mask
Ipsy has heard me yelling about single use items and sent me a biodegradable sheet mask! Maybe one day we’ll get biodegradable packaging so that’s not completely useless.

Purchase or pass: Despite no longer buying sheet masks, I still have an awfully big backlog of ones to try. I’ll get to these.

HEY HONEY Come Clean: Propolis & Minerals Facial Scrub
I actually like this SO MUCH. I suspect that it’s breaking me out. BUT — It smells delicious and is scrubby without feeling abrasive. It’s also got microplastics in it. And, you know, its basically just rubbing salt on your face.

Purchase or pass: I would say “womp womp”, but that’s apparently for Nazis now.

FINDING FERDINAND Mini Lip Stick in Flaming Fuchsia
Finding Ferdinand mini lipstick in Flaming Fuchsia. SO MANY F'S.

I laughed at how small this tube is. They didn’t even bother with a design! Just stuck their name on it.

Finding Ferdinand mini lipstick in Flaming Fuchsia. SO MANY F'S. They've got their logo stamped on the lipstick. A nice touch.

Full face shot of me wearing Finding Ferdinand's Flaming Fuchsia. It's very bright but not awful on my skin tone. I've got raccoon eyes from trying to wash my mascara off.
Purchase or pass: This formula seems not terrible. You can customize colors on their website. *heavy breathing*

And with that, I am freed.