Birchbox August 2018

*checks watch*

Yeah, this one is a little late. I’d say it was because I was moving, but it’s not. This box is just super boring. Is Birchbox always boring? This is my third month. I’m already leaning toward not renewing the subscription.

Image of the Birchbox. This month has some abstract purple and pink hills. The inside card says

I do think the box is cute, though.

This month I opted to choose one specific sample and have the rest of the box be a surprise. I wanted to try the pH changing lip gloss. I’m a little bummed that I chose it this month, because one of the options for September is a plain pH color changing balm. I would have liked to skip the sparkles. Oh well.

What’s in my box

I've laid out the box contents and lid on the floor. Baker is rolling around and takes up half the image. He's a chubby tabby cat.
Baker is making some appearances! I was going to use the nice purple flowers my friend Christine gave me as a backdrop because they match the box, but..Baker was annoying and I couldn’t really muster the enthusiasm this month. So cat pictures it is.

Number 4™ Super Comb Prep & Protect
I've nestled the little spray bottle of Super Comb Prep & Protect in Baker's fluffy white tummy.

This makes my hair easier to brush when it’s wet. Once it’s dry I don’t notice that I’ve used anything. I don’t think it’s worth using if I have to use a second conditioner when it’s dry.

MALIN+GOETZ grapefruit face cleanser
Malin + Goetz is good. I’ve enjoyed using their samples. This is gentle and smells like someone ate a grapefruit on a pool float. I’m kind of into it. I wont be purchasing it because it’s full of microplastics. I’m sure that’s unrelated to the smell.

Pretty sure, at least.

I’ve been keeping the tube in the shower for the nights when I want to be a little lazy and not wash my face in the sink.

amika Phantom Hydrating Dry Shampoo Foam
I've also stuck the amika bottle right up against Baker's tummy. He just wants to be close to whatever I'm doing.

This works..okay. It still leaves a white residue in my hair, like conventional sprays. I don’t think it works quite as well. The texture is also a little off for a mousse. It’s not blended as well as I would have expected.

Erno Laszlo Multi-Task Eye Serum Mask
Baker is laying on his side. I've put the foil package for the eye serum mask on top of him.

Water, glycerin, niacinamide…as far as ingredients go, this is basically what I’m already putting on my face twice a day with my Cerave lotion. I haven’t tried them yet, so I don’t know how well they stay put. We all know that undereye masks do nothing for the long term by now, right? Cool. Good. Get an eye cream.

Winky Lux Disco Gloss in Far Out
The Winky Lux tube was harder to balance on him, so I'm holding the tube out while he rolls around on the floor in the background. I got the color Far Out, which Birchbox says is blue. It's definitely purple. There's some glitter mixed in.

I just did a google to explain to you how pH lipsticks work and..it’s not pH. It’s just a dye that changes a universal shade of pink. Any differences in color have to do with your lip color and what other colorants are mixed into the base. That’s a bummer.  The color IS long lasting, but you’re going to get the same result from literally any “pH” lipstick.

Anyway. This is Far Out. Birchbox says it’s blue. I say it’s purple.

This is an image of the applicator. It's stained bright pink. Baker is laying on the floor in the background, out of focus. We keep our opened products away from the kitty here at Grumpy Skin.
I suspected that there might not be a pH mechanism when I opened it and saw that the applicator is bright pink. Surely the applicator is at roughly the same pH as the gloss? Oh well.

Here’s an arm swatch for good measure. I took some lip pictures, but you can’t really tell that I’ve got anything on. I think that it’s noticeable in person. Even looking at selfies from other days of me wearing it..maybe it’s in my head.

Winky Lux Disco Gloss in Far Out. It's a thin, light pink with some subtle glitter. I used the flash here to try to pick up more of the color, so you can't really see Baker in the background.

What do you guys think? Is this a standard level of boring for Birchbox? Or was this box a fluke?

Funkless Deodorant Tangerine & Lime Review

You know the no plastic kick is getting serious when I start buying deodorant that comes in a glass jar.

A small jar that says "FUNKLESS NATURAL DEODORANT Tangerine Lime"

I’m no stranger to ~natural~ deodorants. I jumped on the no aluminum train about ten years ago when I started using the crystal. Now I think that the aluminum fears have pretty shaky evidence. Which is great, because the crystal deodorant still contains aluminum. That’s a different post. Greenwashing is real. The important part here is that I’ll rub a solid rock on my armpits. A paste wasn’t anything strange for me.

I quit using the crystal because it was a colossal pain to remember to use it while my armpits were still wet from showering. I’ve bounced around between other ~natural~ deodorants that irritated my armpits, and then settled for men’s deodorant. I hate smelling like flowers and I hate the pink tax. I also kind of hate how quickly I go through a stick of deodorant. That’s a fair amount of plastic that I didn’t feel was necessary.

So I went down the internet rabbit hole of eco-friendly deodorant. It gets little weird. There are lots of burnt armpits from essential oils being misused. I’m very wary of ~natural~ deodorants because of things like this. Funkless had good Amazon reviews, though. I decided to give them a try.

Back of the jar. Made in Brooklyn. Ingredients list: Arrowroot starch, baking soda, coconut oil, shea butter, magnesium oxide, citrus reiculatal, citrus auranfolia, and vitamin E.

The ingredients are pretty straight forward. A lot of homemade deodorants are basically baking soda and essential oils for scent. I think the arrowroot starch is just an added thickener, and then the magnesium oxide presumably acts the way that aluminum does in commercial deodorants. It keeps you from sweating by plugging up your sweat holes.

That’s scientific.

I’m not fussed about rubbing magnesium oxide in my armpits because I currently eat 200 mg of it a day in tablet form. If magnesium (a normal thing that we need in our diet) turns on us, this deodorant is going to be the least of my worries.

A look inside the jar. It's a plain white paste. The consistency depends on the temperature of the room. It's solid here, kind of like play-do.

So how does it work? At room temperature this deodorant is a pretty solid paste. I have to use some pressure to get it out. It smells lightly of tangerine and lime. The smell doesn’t linger. I kind of wish that it did. It smells like something I’d want to drink. I want to smell like a fancy drink.

"This amount" is a little pinch on my finger. A little bigger than a pea.

I usually get about this amount out, then rub it between my index fingers to warm it up so it spreads easily.

This picture is showing how the solid deodorant melts with body heat so that it can be easily spread. It looks kind of like a gritty lotion here.

One finger for each armpit. You don’t need a representation of me rubbing this on my armpits, right? Good.

It dries a little chalky, but I haven’t noticed any rubbing off onto my shirts. After a few wears it does leave a little white powder on my bra. That doesn’t bother me.

I haven’t had any weird armpit irritation. A+ safe use of essential oils here, at least for my body chemistry. I haven’t noticed that I get sweaty (but then again, I also don’t actively look for antiperspirants in my deodorant). I will say that when do get disgustingly all-body sweaty, my armpits still don’t smell. It’s pretty impressive.

Based on my current use rate, I’d guess that one jar of this would last approximately..forever. The pictures were taken when I had been using it daily for a month. A MONTH. A jar could easily last a year.

My only complaint is that it will melt during shipping. I received a pretty messy, but yummy smelling envelope. I gave the deodorant a good stir and let it return to room temperature. It’s been fine.

Ingredients are good. Performance is good. There’s not a giant plastic tube for me to buy, like, every week. We’ve got a winner here.

 

Stuff I liked: July/August 2018

Yeah, we missed July’s wrap up the first time around. July was the longest month of my life. Buying a house is no joke. We’re completely moved out of the apartment now. Settling and unpacking takes a bit longer. I’m working on a “what we did in our first month” post, as well. Sometimes it’s hard to feel like you’re making progress when there’s so much to do.

I have some post card paintings to mail out and more to work on. I don’t have a good set up for painting as of yet. I kind of, uh, threw a lot of stuff away in the move. Like my office chair. I figured it would make me buy a new one quickly. I needed a new one.

I have not bought one.

ICYMI/Blog Stuff

Meg Cosmetics Good Night PM Mask
9 Apps That Help Me Organize My Life
Ipsy, A Year In Review
Aritaum Ginger Sugar Overnight Lip Mask
My Birchbox Free Gift
eShakti Review
Birchbox July 2018
Maybelline Lip Studio Color Blur Lipstick in Orange Ya Glad (uncharacteristically for Grumpy Skin, I LIKE this one!)
Valjean Labs Facial Mist in Clarify
We bought a house!
The Chok Chok Green Tea Watery Mask Sheet by Tonymoly

I’m almost caught up on my reader. I’m actually writing posts (like this one!) instead of relying on my queue. We’re getting back to normal.

I’m low on media recommendations for you guys. Next month!
Stick your best blog post of the past two months in my comments so I make sure I don’t miss it.

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.

The Chok Chok Green Tea Watery Mask Sheet by Tonymoly

This sheet mask makes me bummed that I’m quitting sheet masks.

A spoiler, I guess. Sometimes I have to put nice things on my face, okay? I can’t just squirt lemon juice and baking soda all over my skin and then go sit in the sun every day.
(Don’t do that. Get off Pinterest. Your skin thanks you.)

Image of the front of Tonymoly's The Chok Chok Green Tea watery mask sheet (sheet mask). It's pretty minimalist and touts that it contains 100% pure green tea ferment extract.

My friend in South Korea sent me that good Tonymoly shit! And it’s good. So good that I’m letting the weird little blurb about tea being cultivated throughout four seasons slide (kind of). Tea plants don’t like winter.

I, too, thought that I would tone down the science snark when I left my research job. It turns out that it just means that I have more energy at home to look into random plant biology.

And the back of the packaging. It's mostly in korean, aside from the ingredients list and instructions. Nothing interesting in English.

I, uh, still don’t read Korean. Who knows what claims they’re making on the packaging. Let’s rip this bad boy open.

It smells so good. I want my entire skincare routine to smell like this product. The scent is all of the nice parts of green tea without the bitterness. Maybe a little lemon, too. I want to cover my body in it.

An unflattering picture of me wearing the sheet mask. I've got my giant weekend septum ring in.

The mask material is solid. It’s one of the thick ones that feel like cloth. Maybe it is? It’s not one of the ones that are super flimsy and dry immediately. You can hang out with this one for a while.

My face felt moisturized after using this mask, but wasn’t greasy or sticky. I’m into it. My friend is an angel and sent me multiples, so I can confirm that nothing bad happens with repeated use. It’s straight up nice.

I’m also quitting sheet masks. They create more waste than I’m comfortable with. I don’t need a foil packet and a cloth/paper face cover for half an hour of use. I don’t believe that they’re any more effective than a traditional mask or lotion, so I’ll be switching over to those.

I was hoping that I could just transfer my love of this product over to the rest of Tonymoly’s green tea line, but after a quick glance it looks like everything contains microplastics. Boo.

I’ll be scouring the internet for a green tea mask that smells similarly. Do you have any suggestions?

We bought a house!

Or more realistically, we are now renting our living space from the bank for an amount of time that I cannot conceptually understand because it is longer than I have been alive.

This has been me for the past two weeks:
I'm sitting on the floor but only my feet are in the frame. I'm in my empty new living room surrounded by a few boxes and stacks and stacks of books.

We are mostly moved out/in. Our lease isn’t up until the end of August, so we didn’t have to do the mad August 31/September 1st dash. I’m so happy about that. It’s A Thing in Boston.

Baker is adjusting well. We have some stairs for him now. For some reason he loves the stairs. I had to get him a nice, heated bed to try to tempt him to stay on the first floor with his food and litter box. He’s old. Our stairs are steep. He’s also an idiot, so we’re terrified he’s going to fall down them.

Image of Baker curled up in a large cat bed. It's almost not big enough. He's fat, even with all of the extra exercise.
I have room for plants and cooking now! I can open my oven while standing in front of it. For the past five years I’ve had to stand to the side because the apartment oven opened directly into the cabinet across from it. I’ve been baking and tending a little herb garden in the kitchen window sill.

Grumpyskin is gonna be getting some hecka domestic posts coming up, if you can’t tell. Just look at my cilantro coming in!

Image of a little biodegradable pot with 15 cilantro sprouts.

We’re super pleased with how it ended up. Our lease renewal window closed before we closed on the house, so we were going to have to move either way. I wasn’t saying much publicly because I was terrified I’d jinx it. My commute is better. We’re closer to a library. We didn’t end up as far away from the city as we thought we’d have to be. It’s all great.

So this is why I haven’t been commenting on your posts. I was without internet for the first week of moving because someone inexplicably cut. the. wire. from the outside of our house. We think that it happened when they painted the siding before it was sold. No other reason made sense. It took a little while for RCN to understand that yes, we did actually need a pole person and not a technician to come over.

It might be a little while before I’m caught up on my reader. I’ve got things queued up, so you shouldn’t be able to tell a difference other than my lack of comments on things.

And yes, I will post more pictures when I get my life out of the boxes. It will be a few weeks before we’re cute.

Valjean Labs Facial Mist in Clarify

The beauty aisle at TJ Maxx got me. TJ Maxx is such a dangerous place. You can get amazing deals, but you’ll never be able to repurchase the products ever again. This is where brands go to die. I was just going to go in for a silly mask as a treat, but I came out with this replacement for the witch hazel toner that I had run out of.

Valjean Labs facial mist in Clarify. Contains Vitamin A and witch hazel. Comes in a spray bottle.

It’s not strictly marketed as a toner, but it has witch hazel. I figured I could use it for the same purpose. I didn’t realize at the time that vitamin A is retinol so it might not be great for morning use. Wear your sunscreen and don’t impulse buy, kids.

Back of the Valjean labs facial mist bottle. It was it soothes, refreshes, and hydrates the skin. It also tells you that Vitamin A helps balance oil production and that witch hazel reduces redness and inflammation. Use instructions are to use it after cleansing before moisturizing, or throughout the day over makeup.

The instructions seem super weird to me knowing that vitamin A is retinol. Use it to balance oil production? Spray it over your makeup? No. Don’t do that. Use it at night and wear sunscreen the next day because it sensitizes your skin.

Having said that, I love it. It has a light, generic smell that I’m a fan of. I get a sweet glow in my skin from using it regularly. Bare skin photo below for evidence:

Frumpy hoodie selfie after washing my face and giving it a spray.
I also really love that it’s a spray. Misting your face is surprisingly soothing.

So I’m going to buy this again and live the glow life forever now, right? Well, no. I think this spray is only sold at Urban Outfitters. We’re overdue for another Urban Outfitters controversy so I’m preemptively not a fan.

And then there are the ingredients. I don’t mind that there’s added color and fragrance. My skin doesn’t get irritated easily, so it’s just silly that the extra ingredients are there instead of harmful. Instead, I’m bummed that the second ingredient is glycereth-26. Also known as polyethylene glycol 26. You might recognize the word polyethylene from microbeads. If not, let me point you in the direction of my handy microplastic reference sheet.

Yep. The second ingredient is plastic. So the product isn’t tested on animals, it’s just terrible for anything that comes in contact with the ocean. Cool.

I’m going to finish using it and then banish it from my memory.
You bet that I’m putting my next toner into a spray bottle, though.