Birchbox Review, May 2017

Birchbox, $10 per month (US only)


This little cutie is a two-week-old Holland Lop.  It's her first time modeling!

Birchbox is one of the most popular beauty boxes.  At $10 per month, it's also one of the most affordable.  Subscribers receive five to six products each month.  Birchbox has you fill out a profile when you subscribe, which they supposedly use to choose the products for your box.  You usually get more skincare than makeup samples and the sample sizes tend to be on the small side.  Each month, Birchbox gives subscribers the option of choosing a product for the following month's box, choosing the curated box, or leaving everything to surprise.  They offer three to five different samples to choose from and sometimes the samples are the same type of product (e.g., different types of mascara or moisturizer), sometimes they are the same product in different colors, and sometimes the products are completely unrelated.  If you choose the curated box, you know exactly what you'll be getting, so there are no surprises with that one, but, if you like everything in that box, it's worth it.  I find that the curated boxes usually ship earlier in the month and often have high values. 


Here's what came in my May Birchbox:

My May Birchbox was worth $22.34.  That's on the low side, even for Birchbox!  I got two makeup products, two hair care products, and a body product.  Most of the time when Birchbox has given me shampoo and conditioner samples, they've counted them as one item.  This time, though, they counted each one as an individual item.  I thought that was a little annoying.


I've loved other The Beauty Crop products I've received, but I just wasn't impressed with their Fabulous Flocking Lashes.  At least the packaging is adorable.  This mascara gave me some length and volume and no clumps.  It's more of a daytime mascara as it isn't all that dramatic.  I would have been okay with that, but, by the end of the day, tons of mascara had flaked and I had lots of little black dots beneath my eyes.  I won't be using this again.


I got two different Vita Liberata tanning products this month!  One in Birchbox, the other in DermStore BeautyFix.  The Fabulous Self Tanning Gradual Lotion goes on clear, so you can put your clothes on after applying without worrying about ruining them.  This doesn't have that horrible self-tanner smell, fortunately.  You wear a mitt, apply this all over your body, and then rinse it off after four to eight hours.  This gave me a subtle but noticeable tan.  This gave me a little more color than the 10 Minute Tan that I got in the BeautyFix box.  I'm not that into tanning, but this wasn't a bad product.

Swatch of MAC Cosmetics Strobe Cream in Pinklite

Swatch of MAC Cosmetics Strobe Cream in Pinklite

The MAC Strobe Cream was my product choice for May.  I thought this was going to be your basic highlighter, but it's a little different.  It's a moisturizer that gives you a little glow.  You can use it under your makeup, almost like a primer, or you can use it as a highlighter if you prefer.  I used it to highlight and loved how it looked.  It's very sheer and has a little shimmer but no glitter.  It was very flattering.


Finally, we have the evo mane tamer shampoo and conditioner.   They smell great and did leave my hair slightly smoother.  My hair generally stays pretty smooth on its own, so this isn't the type of shampoo and conditioner I have a real need for.  If your hair can be on the unruly side, though, this is probably worth a try.  

The May Birchbox was a little lackluster for me.  The MAC Strobe Cream was my favorite product.  The evo shampoo and conditioner and the Vita Liberata tanner were okay, but smoothing shampoo and conditioner and self-tanner are very low on the list of things I need.  I thought that I would like The Beauty Crop's mascara the most, especially with the adorable packaging, but that ended up being my least favorite due to the heavy flaking.  This wasn't the worst Birchbox I've seen, but it's far from the best one I've gotten.

What did you get in your Birchbox this month?  Did you like yours more than I liked mine?

DermStore BeautyFix Review, May 2017

DermStore BeautyFix, $24.95 per month (US only)


Little Rosie is growing up so fast!  She was quite disappointed this wan't BunnyFix.

DermStore BeautyFix is a subscription box that sends subscribers $100+ worth of products each month.  All subscribers receive the same products with occasional scent or color variation.  Most months, you'll get multiple skincare products, a makeup product, a beauty tool, and sometimes a hair or nail product.  You'll get at least six products, sometimes as many as eleven.  BeautyFix is very heavy on skincare and is great for women who are 30+ and interested in fighting signs of aging.  


Here's what came in my May DermStore BeautyFix:

This month's box was worth $149.01.  You can't beat the value.  I wish there had been more makeup -- the only makeup item was the primer, which barely counts as makeup. We did have a bath product, two body products, and an eyelash enhancer product, so it wasn't all skincare, at least.


When I first heard that this product, the Daily Concepts Your Stretch Wash Cloth, my first thought was, "What the hell do you do with a stretch washcloth?!"  Now that I have it, though, it makes sense.  I thought it was going to be your basic square washcloth with a little stretch to it, but it's actually a long rectangle with loops on each end to grip it.  I wish I had taken a better picture of it.  It makes it so you can hold the loops and work it back and forth to clean your back or any other hard-to-reach spot.  This is the perfect product for someone with limited mobility.  It's also gently exfoliating and feels great on my back.  I've tried a number of daily concepts products at this point and this one is my favorite by far.


BeautyFix has given us several lash enhancers, but this is the first time, I believe, that we've gotten the SmartFX Smartlash Advanced Eyelash Enhancer.  You're supposed to apply this twice a day to either your lashes or brows and it's supposed to encourage hair growth.  You apply it twice a day.  I've tried it and haven't seen any results yet, but I haven't been using it for long either.  Has anyone used this long-term and had good results?


The AHAVA Dead Sea Water Mineral Hand Cream has a nice, fresh scent to it that I love.  The Dead Sea minerals are supposed to moisturize and improve the texture of your skin, plus it contains witch hazel to balance your skin and allantoin to heal your skin.  This is a little lighter and fluffier feeling than many hand creams, so it absorbs quickly.  Heavy hand creams can be a little much for the summer, so this came at the perfect time.


We got a NuFACE Prep-n-Glow cloth back in the November box.  That is one of the more annoying things about BeautyFix -- they will send you the exact same product just a few months apart.  This is just one cloth, though, so it's not too big a deal.  One side of the cloth is smooth and the other has little bumps on it to gently exfoliate your skin.  It's hydrating and anti-aging.  I like these a lot, but I can't imagine paying $1 for each one of these.


I got a different Vita Liberata tanning product in my Birchbox this month, so I was surprised to get the Vita Liberata 10 Minute Tan in my BeautyFix.  You apply this cream about ten minutes before showering, then rinse it off.  They say if you want a deeper color, it can be left on for twenty minutes.  Make sure you use a glove or mitt of some sort to apply this so you don't get hands that are a lot darker than the rest of your body.  This doesn't have that gross self tanner smell, fortunately.  After you rinse it off, your tan should gradually appear over the next four to six hours.  The results were extraordinarily subtle.  My skin ended up maybe a shade or two darker, but that was it.  If you want something subtle, this is the way to go.  I probably would have had better results if I had left it on for twenty minutes, but I didn't want to sit around doing nothing for that long.


DermStore sent us the Cōtz Face Natural-Tinted Sunscreen in the April 2016 box, plus I've gotten it in other boxes, so I wasn't all that excited to see it yet again.  This is tinted, but the color is too dark for me, so I always end up giing the product away to a friend that could use it.  

I apologize, but I had trouble loading the picture of the Manna Kadar primer, so you'll have to look at the picture of the entire box to see it.  Manna Kadar's Runway Ready Face Primer is silicone-based, so I was not a fan.  Silicone-based primers always make me feel like my makeup is floating above my skin.  It's hard to describe, but, even if I put on a very small amount, it feels like my skin has a coating over it and my makeup is just setting on top of that coating.  My makeup never looks as good toward the end of the day as it does when I use other primers that aren't silicone-based.  I know a lot of people love primers like this, so you could well like it.  I think this is better for those with dry skin.


The Replenix Enriched Eye Cream is anti-aging, hydrating, and brightening.  It seems to be a nice cream, but I was unable to see any effects after using it for a short time.  I would have to use it longer to see real results.  That said, the full size version of this costs $85.50, so I can't imagine ever buying it.


The final product was the TULA Hydrating Day and Night Cream.  This is both hydrating and anti-aging.  It felt hydrating, but it wasn't overly thick and heavy, so it absorbed quickly and didn't make my skin feel greasy.  It's a great spring and summer moisturizer.  I liked this moisturizer a lot.

The May DermStore BeautyFix box was a little lackluster.  I liked it for the most part, but it didn't wow me.  My favorite product in the box was the Daily Concepts towel with the AHAVA cream coming in second.  The Cotz sunscreen is too dark for me and I don't love to tan, so the Vita Liberata wasn't my favorite.  Overall, it's an okay box, but I would have loved to have seen a bright, fun lip color for summer or even a bronzer or eyeshadow to balance this box out.  

What did you think of the May BeautyFix?

Petit Vour Review, May 2017

Petit Vour, $15 per month for US orders, $23 for Canadian orders, $25 for other international orders


This baby bun loves that Petit Vour doesn't include products tested on her cousins.  She's a three-week-old Holland Lop.  

Petit Vour is a vegan, cruelty-free beauty box.  Each month, subscribers get four sample size products.  They are often heavier on skincare than makeup, but there is always a mix.  Oftentimes, subscribers get the same products with some scent or color variation, but Petit Vour has had some box variations recently.  You can e-mail them to get a profile to fill out if you subscribe so that they can better customize your boxes. 

Petit Vour sent me this box free of charge for review.  The link above is my affiliate link.


Here's what I got this month:

The May Petit Vour was worth $30.08.  That's just over double the cost of the box, so I'm happy with the value.  We got one makeup item, two skincare items, and a bath item this month, so it was a good mix of products.

Swatch of HAN Skin Care Cosmetics Eye Shadow in Sunset

Swatch of HAN Skin Care Cosmetics Eye Shadow in Sunset

First up is the HAN Skin Care Cosmetics Eye Shadow in Sunset.  HAN is one of the companies you see somewhat often in Petit Vour.  HAN describes this color as a "peach champagne with shimmer finish," which is pretty accurate.  The pigment in this was okay, but not amazing.  It did have good staying power, though.  This wasn't really my favorite color, so I don't imagine I'll get too much use from it.  I would like to try other HAN eyeshadows as I did like the formula.


The Mullein and Sparrow Balancing Face Mist is a toner that is supposed to improve your absorption of moisturizers.  The geranium in this makes it so that it doesn't smell very good, but the scent goes away quickly once it is applied to your skin.  This worked quite well as a toner, but it didn't really wow me.  The full size version is $36, which is expensive for a toner.


I love Juara so I'm always happy to see a product of theirs in a box.  This is my first time trying their Java Plum and Avocado Nourishing Mask. This is a cream mask that you can either rinse off after 10-20 minutes or you can use it as an overnight mask.  I decided to try it out as an overnight mask.  It doesn't have any real scent to it, which surprised me.  This is very hydrating.  I wish I had gotten this in the winter when I really needed the hydration, but I can save it for whenever my skin is feeling a little on the dry side. 


The final product was the Aromatherapy Associates De-Stress Muscle Bath and Shower Oil.  This oil is a blend of rosemary, black pepper, lavender, and ginger essential oils.  You're supposed to massage a capful of the oil onto your torso, then breathe the scent in from your hands, and shower.  This smells okay, but I didn't really notice any effects on my muscles.  

This was an okay month for Petit Vour.  My favorite products were the Juara mask and the Mullein and Sparrow toner.  The HAN eyeshadow wasn't quite my shade, but I liked the formula, and the Aromatherapy Associates smelled good but didn't do anything for my muscles.  

What did you think of the May Petit Vour?  Did you have a favorite product?

ipsy Review, May 2017

ipsy, $10 per month (free shipping to US; add $4.95 shipping for Canadian orders)


The little ears poking out is just adorable! 

ipsy is a monthly beauty subscription that costs only $10 per month.  Subscribers receive five items each month plus a cute makeup bag.  ipsy customizes the products based on subscriber profiles, but they tend to be heavier on makeup than skincare.  You'll get a mix of both drugstore and higher end brands in an ipsy bag.  Most items are deluxe sample size and occasionally even full size. 


Here's what came in my May Glam Bag:

My May ipsy was worth $60.83.  It's not the most valuable ipsy I've gotten, but it's definitely not bad for $10.  The bag this month was a little different -- it's a clear plastic with ice cream cones and popsicles printed on it.  It's perfect for the beach when you have a few little things you don't want to get wet.  ipsy went really heavy on the makeup this month!  Four of my five items were makeup and the fifth was a hair product.  I wish they had thrown in one skincare item.

Swatch of Urban Decay Afterglow 8-Hour Powder Highlighter in Sin

Swatch of Urban Decay Afterglow 8-Hour Powder Highlighter in Sin

Most ipsy subscribers got Urban Decay highlighter this month.  I think this is my first time trying Afterglow.  I was quite impressed with the formula.  It went on evenly and was very easy to blend.  It gave me a pretty but subtle highlight and it held up all day.  I like highlighter, but it's not my favorite product ever. I've been getting tons of highlighter in boxes recently!


I've gotten quite a bit of mascara this month!  IT Cosmetics Superhero Elastic Stretch Volumizing Mascara is one of the better mascaras I've tried recently.  It gave me lots of length and volume, didn't clump, and didn't flake over the course of the day.  Best of all, it contains collagen, biotin, proteins, and peptides to make your lashes look their best.

Swatch of Starlooks Artist Edition Luxe Longwear Star Stamp and Liner Pen

Swatch of Starlooks Artist Edition Luxe Longwear Star Stamp and Liner Pen

ipsy knows I'm 35, so I'm not quite sure why they would think I would want a star stamp eyeliner.  I can't imagine any situation that would make me think a black star on my face would be a great look.  This does have a regular eyeliner on the other end, fortunately.  The eyeliner is a deep black, so it's not something I would use every day, but it'll be perfect for when I need something dramatic.  I was able to do a great tight line with this.  This didn't wear off or bleed and looked as good at the end of the day as it did at the beginning of the day.  While the star thing is a little strange, at least the eyeliner itself is good.


I've gotten Briogeo's Rosarco Milk Reparative Leave-in Conditioning Spray before and loved it, so I was happy to see another one in my ipsy bag.  This is a leave-in conditioner that does a little bit of everything -- it hydrates, minimizes flyaways, strengthens, increases manageability, and protects from heat and UV rays.  It contains a blend of ROSehip, ARgan, and COconut oils, if you're wondering where the Rosarco name came from.  It can be used on wet or dry hair.  This makes my hair so soft and shiny and makes it easy to style.  It's one of my favorite leave-in conditioners.

Swatch of Caked Makeup Lip Fondant in Low Key

Swatch of Caked Makeup Lip Fondant in Low Key

This is my first time trying something from Caked Makeup.  I think Caked Makeup might be one of the worst cosmetic company names I've heard because all it makes me think of is caked on makeup.  Fortunately, the product itself is amazing.  Caked describes Low Key as a "dusty, muted terracotta," which is pretty accurate, although it has more red in it than orange.  This is a liquid lipstick that was easy to apply, didn't feather, and stayed on all day.  I was really impressed by the formula.  I hope to see more products from this company.

This was one of the best ipsy bags I've gotten!  I loved everything in the bag.  The Starlooks liner could have done without the silly star stamp, but I liked the eyeliner itself.  The Caked Makeup lipstick, the Briogeo Rosarco Spray, the IT Cosmetics mascara, and the Urban Decay highlighter were all fabulous.  If I had to choose a favorite product, it would be the Caked lipstick.  Part of me wishes ipsy could have thrown in at least one skincare item this month, but, at the same time, there isn't one product I would want to trade out of this bag.  I hope ipsy continues to put together such fabulous bags!

PopSugar Must Have Review, May 2017

PopSugar Must Have, $39.95 per month (US only)


Emmett loves PopSugar boxes because they're some of the only boxes he can fit in.  Isn't he the cutest?

PopSugar Must Have is a monthly lifestyle box.  While PopSugar always has at least one beauty product per month, they also have home goods, accessories, jewelry, snacks, and sometimes even books.  PopSugar is one of the more expensive boxes, but its value is always over $100.  All subscribers receive the same products in the monthly box.


Here's what came in the May PopSugar Must Have box:

The May PopSugar box was worth $138.50.  PopSugar's value is always fantastic.  We got one beauty product, a piece of jewelry, two home items, three cards, and a food item.  There was a good mix of products, but I would have liked to have seen one more beauty product.  PopSugar forgot my little product information booklet, so that was annoying.  That's the second time they've done that to me.

Swatch of Lipstick Queen Mornin' Sunshine

Swatch of Lipstick Queen Mornin' Sunshine

The only beauty product this month was Lipstick Queen's Mornin' Sunshine.  While this looks like a bright yellow lipstick, it goes on as a faint coral, as you can see from the swatch above.  It is very sheer and just makes your lips look a shade more coral.  This is way too subtle for me, so I won't be using it.  Emily likes it, though, so it will get some use.


The Samantha Faye cuff was made exclusively for PopSugar.  It has be good. do good. feel good. engraved into it.  It is adjustable.  Inspirational things aren't my style, nor are cuffs and silver, but I tried wearing it in hopes it would grow on me.  It is quite uncomfortable to wear.  I noticed while wearing it for the second time that the silver plating had already started to wear off!  I know it will wear off eventually, but it shouldn't after just two uses. I was very disappointed in this product.


My favorite product this month was the TOCCA Montauk Candelina.  I love TOCCA perfumes, but I don't believe I've ever tried their candles.  TOCCA describers Montauk as having a salt air and cucumber scent.  The scent is a little sweeter than I was expecting, but I like it.  It fills the room with the scent when it is burned, but it isn't overly strong.  At $20 for this little candle, it's on the expensive side, but it's a nice treat!


PopSugar always includes a snack and this month's was the Southern Culture Strawberry Muffin Mix.  I prefer the snacks that you can eat immediately without having to make them, but it was nice to get something a little different.  You just add milk and eggs to the mix then bake the muffins.  This was a little light on the strawberry flavor, so they weren't my favorite, but they were okay.


The Swing Design Essex Frame is your basic picture frame.  It holds a 4"x6" photo.  I'm not really one to put up photos everywhere, but I will use this.  It's well-made and attractive.


We got three cards from PopSugar this month -- one that says Hello, one that says Sunny Birthday Vibes!, and one that says Merci Bouquet.  All are blank on the inside.  They are nice cards and I will use them.  

This month was okay for PopSugar.  The only product I loved was the candle.  The muffin mix, cards, and picture frame were nice, but they weren't that exciting.  The Lipstick Queen lipstick didn't work for me, but at least Emily loved it.  I was very disappointed in the bracelet because the plating rubbed off so quickly.  The bracelet was the most expensive thing in the box, so I wasn't expecting it to be so poorly made.  This isn't as bad as the March box, but it's certainly not one of the better boxes I've seen from PopSugar.  The spoilers for the June box make it look like that will be a lot better than the May box, fortunately.  

What did you think of the May PopSugar box?  Did anyone else have the plating on the bracelet wear off after only a couple of days?

Kloverbox Review, May 2017

Kloverbox, $25 per month (US only)


This little bun thought the sizzle in this month's Kloverbox matched her well!  She's about two weeks old here.  Isn't she the cutest?  I love her teeny nose.

Kloverbox is a monthly beauty and lifestyle box that focuses on natural products made by small companies.  Each month, Kloverbox has a loose theme and sends subscribers a mix of four to six beauty products, home goods, cleaning products, and/or pieces of jewelry.  This is a great way to discover small businesses that you probably wouldn't encounter on your own.  All subscribers get the same products with occasional color and/or scent variations. 

Kloverbox sent me this box free of charge for review.  The link above is my affiliate link.


Here's what came in the May Kloverbox:

My May Kloverbox was worth about $61.94.  That's not bad at all for a $25 natural lifestyle box.  We had a accessory, a nail product, a hair product, a supplement, and a bath product this month, so we had a great mix of products.


First, we have the I was a Sari scarf.  I was a Sari is a company that pays women in Mumbai slums to upcycle saris into things like scarves, jewelry, bags, and headbands.  No two pieces are alike.  The loop scarf (or infinity scarf) I got was of excellent quality and I got quite a few compliments on it.  I would have preferred to have gotten a brighter, prettier print than the one I got as navy and tan aren't really my colors, but I like this and will definitely use it.  It's a fabulous cause and the products are gorgeous, so I might just have to pick up a few more if they start selling their products online.


Yarok's Feed Your Ends acts as a detangler, a texturizer, a heat protectant, and a leave-in conditioner.  You can apply this to wet hair for detangling or heat protection or to dry hair to texturize.  I don't blow dry or heat style and my hair is too short to get tangled, but this did give me some good texture and made my hair softer and shinier.  I highly recommend this product, especially if you have longer hair.


The New Chapter Perfect Hair, Skin, and Nails Dietary Supplement contains biotin to help with keratin product for stronger and healthier hair and nails and astaxanthin to fight signs of aging.  These are big capsules, but they were pretty easy to swallow.  I haven't used these long enough to see any effects, but I'm always happy to try supplements that help with hair, skin, and nails.


Meadowlark Botanicals' Organic Cuticle Cream contains a mix of coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, orange essential oil, vitamin E, and grapeseed oil.  This is supposed to moisturize and repair skin, help strengthen nails, and soften callouses.  I love the orange scent!  This was very hydrating and helped my damaged nails look their best.  I've been using nail polish and nail polish remover so much lately that my nails really needed some love.  This was the perfect thing for them!


The final product was the Ballerina Botanicals Green Beauty Barre Spirulina Soap with Matcha Green Tea and Peppermint Oil.  This smells quite strongly of peppermint, but I liked the scent.  This cleanses your body without drying your skin out.  

I'm loving the May Kloverbox!  My favorite product was the scarf, followed closely by the cuticle cream, but I liked everything in the box.  Kloverbox puts together such fabulous boxes.  It's always a treat to get it in the mail!

PopSugar Must Have Mother's Day Mystery Box, May 2017

PopSugar Must Have Mother's Day Mystery Box, $29.95 (no longer available)


Can you believe how big Mickey has gotten?  He was so teeny when he was born that we were worried he wouldn't make it, but now he's a big, strong 3.5-month-old bunny.  

PopSugar Must Have is a monthly lifestyle box.  While PopSugar always has at least one beauty product per month, they also have home goods, accessories, jewelry, snacks, and sometimes even books.  PopSugar is one of the more expensive boxes, but its value is always over $100.  All subscribers receive the same products in the monthly box.  Occasionally, PopSugar puts out mystery boxes with items from past monthly and limited edition boxes.  They put out a mystery box for Mother's Day this year.


Here's what came in my Mother's Day Mystery Box:

The mystery box was worth $267.33.  We got a perfume, a bath product, a makeup item, jewelry, and three home items, so there was a good mix of products.  PopSugar usually throws a snack in, but there wasn't one in this mystery box.  It appears that all of the Mother's Day boxes contained the same items.  


The only spoiler for the Mother's Day Mystery Box was the Derek Lam 10 Crosby Fragrance Collection.  This was originally in the 2016 PopSugar Must Have CFDA Limited Edition Box, so I already had this perfume set.  With a set of ten perfumes, there should be something for everyone, but, of course, you're probably not going to like every one of them.

Here's my description of each fragrance that I've copied from my review of the CFDA box: 

I'll give you a quick overview of the perfumes from left to right.  The first perfume, Silent St., is a white musk and is my favorite perfume of the bunch.  It was very long-lasting, but wasn't overly strong.  It reminded me a lot of one of my favorite perfumes, CLEAN Skin.  The next perfume was Looking Glass, which was a very floral scent.  It had notes of magnolia and tonka bean.  I liked it, but it was faint after a couple of hours.  Hi-Fi, a perfume with notes of peony and narcisse, had soft but pretty floral top notes.  As I wore the perfume longer and the mid and base notes came out, it got a little stronger and it was a gorgeous scent.  This is another one of my favorites.  Drunk in Love is an apple and honeysuckle perfume, so it had fruity top notes with a hint of floral.  I liked this more and more as I wore it.  Afloat, which Derek Lam describes as having mimosa and orris notes, had a sweet floral top that I didn't like much at all as sweet perfumes aren't for me.  As the day wore on, though, very clean and fresh smelling mid and base notes came out and I ended up loving the perfume.  Rain Day, a neroli and vetiver perfume, had top notes that were fresh and floral but there was a bit of greenness to it. I don't like green florals that much, but the base notes smelled floral and lost the greenness, so I liked it more after wearing it for a little while.  After Rain Day, we get into the spicier perfumes.  Something Wild is a perfume with notes of cedarwood and vanilla bean.  I thought I was going to hate this perfume as vanilla usually isn't for me, but this wasn't that bad.  The top notes were all spice; once the top notes were out of the way, warm vanilla mid notes came through, and then the perfume finished off with base notes that were both spicy and vanilla.  Vanilla isn't a scent I would think of as "Something Wild," but it ended up working.  Ellipsis is a sandalwood- and jasmine-based scent.  There was a lot of sandalwood in the top notes, strangely enough, but the mid notes were floral and extraordinarily sweet.  I couldn't handle the sweetness and had to take it off soon after putting it on.  Blackout is an osmanthus and chai scent, and it is very spicy, warm, and dark on the top notes.  It mellows out a bit over time, but this is a bold perfume.  I didn't love it, but I liked it more than I thought I would.  Finally, there was 2am Kiss, a salty wood and crystallized amber fragrance.  This was sweet and spicy in the top notes, but the sweetness worked for this perfume and didn't bother me.  Go light with this perfume as it is quite strong.  I don't think I'll be wearing 2am Kiss often, but it's a sexy scent and will be perfect for some occasions. 

I liked most of the perfumes and would wear all of them except Ellipsis again.  The sweetness in Ellipsis was just too much for me. 


The Kendra Scott Elaina bracelet was originally in the November 2016 PopSugar box.  This is the fourth one I've gotten as it has shown up in PopSugar's mystery boxes multiple times.  It's a pretty bracelet that is easy to adjust.  I like that it is rose gold, but I wish the stone was a color other than white.  It's pretty, but it's not my favorite.  I've kept one for myself, given one away, traded one, and now I have to figure out what to do with this one.  They do make good gifts, at least.


The Odeme Catchall and Ring Dish were originally in the December PopSugar box.  I already had these, but it's always nice to have more little dishes, especially when you have so many beauty products to organize.  They're made of porcelain and feel quite sturdy.  They're cute, but a little on the plain side.


The Lalicious Brown Sugar Vanilla Shower Oil and Bubble Bath was in the October 2016 PopSugar.  I love this product and was happy to get another one.  Vanilla has never been my favorite scent, but it goes great with the brown sugar.  It takes quite a bit of this to get a good amount of bubbles, though.


I was sad that I missed out on the April PopSugar box, so I was happy to see the Tonic Australia Lavender Sachets in this box.  These have a very strong lavender scent.  They'd be perfect to throw in a drawer or closet.  Lavender isn't my favorite scent, but it has been growing on me.  Emily loves lavender, so she was happy to see these in the box!

Winky Lux Lip Velour in Bunny

Winky Lux Lip Velour in Bunny

The final product was the Winky Lux Lip Velour in Bunny, which came in the December 2016 PopSugar box.  It's a pinky-red with lots of pigment and pretty good staying power.  The formula is really smooth and isn't drying at all.  It's a bold color, so I quite like it. 

This wasn't my favorite mystery box.  I had every product in the box except for the lavender sachets.  Having gotten lots of PopSugar boxes in the past, though, I knew that it was likely I'd have most, if not all, the products in the box already.  They do make great gifts, though, so I will set some of the products aside for friends and family.  

Did anyone else get this mystery box?  What did you think?

Glossybox Review, May 2017

Glossybox, $21 per month US (has many international versions)


Rosita's ears are fully down.  She's growing up so fast!  She's never seemed to like modeling all that much, but she held still for a second for Glossybox.

Glossybox is a beauty box that sends subscribers five to six products each month.  The samples are often full size or deluxe sample size.  You tend to get more skincare than makeup in this box, but there is always a mix.  Glossybox used to send mostly higher end brands, but their boxes for the past year have included a lot of brands I've never heard of.  Glossybox likes to include products from European brands that don't sell their products in the U.S., so, if there is a product I really like, I may not be able to buy it.  There is a lot of product variation, so some subscribers receive boxes that are worth much more than those other subscribers receive.


Here's what I got this month:

My May Glossybox was worth $65.37.  That's on the low side for Glossybox.  I got a hair product, a nail product, a makeup item, and two skincare products, so there was a good mix of stuff.

I had gotten an e-mail from Glossybox saying that May boxes would have four full size items and noticed that the website mentioned only two full size items, so I guess the website was right.  Glossybox has a bad habit of sending e-mails to former subscribers (and sometimes current subscribers) promising that every box will have a certain value or product when that is true only for new subscriptions.  If you complain about it, they will say it was meant to be seen only by those who weren't currently subscribed, despite the ad saying "every box" and not noting anywhere that it was only for people who weren't currently subscribed.


My hair has been a little drier than usual, so I was happy to see the Kevin.Murphy Hydrate-Me.Masque in my box.  This contains rosehip and evening primrose oil, plus it has teeny capsules in it that contain kakadu plum, seaweed, and vitamins.  The capsules burst when the masque is applied and give you added moisture.  To use this, you apply it to your hair after shampooing, massage it in, allow it to set for five to ten minutes, then rinse.  This gave me a good amount of hydration and made my hair shinier and softer.  

Swatch of Rodial XXL Lip Liner in Nude

Swatch of Rodial XXL Lip Liner in Nude

All subscribers got the Rodial XXL Lip Liner in Nude.  The color matched my lips somewhat well, so I could use this with most lipstick colors.  I prefer clear lip liner, though, so I can overline my lips a bit to prevent feathering without giving me that horrible overlined look.  This is a pretty basic lip liner -- it worked fine, but there wasn't anything special about it.


The Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm smells so good!  It has sweet orange, neroli, and mandarin in it.  You mix the balm with a few drops of water and apply to your face to remove makeup and dirt.  They recommend using it for dry or mature skin.  My skin isn't dry and isn't quite yet "mature," but this worked quite well for me.  It was a little hard to remove it, but I rubbed it off with a dry towel as suggested then followed up with some water to get the rest of it off.  I still remove the bulk of my makeup with a makeup remover wipe, but this gets the rest of it off without drying out your skin.


Vitry Nail Repair Care is a nail treatment that is supposed to rejuvenate your nails.  You apply it to clean nails every two days and it's supposed to make your nails look like new in two weeks.  You can use it as a base coat under polish and it is supposed to help prevent chipping.  I haven't used this for the full two weeks, so I haven't really seen any drastic results at this point.  Has anyone used this for an extended period of time?  Did it give you good results?


The final product was the Spa To You Deep Pore Cleansing Facial Brush and Massager.  You're supposed to use this to clean your face, but the bristles were a little on the rough side, so it's not something I will be using.  I tried it once, but it's just very scratchy feeling, so I don't recommend this brush.

This wasn't a bad Glossybox, but it wasn't the best.  The only product I disliked was the face brush.  The Vitry nail care product may work well, but I haven't used it long enough to see results.  The Rodial lip liner was okay, but nothing special.  I quite liked the Emma Hardie cleansing balm and the Kevin.Murphy hair masque.  

What did you think of the May Glossybox?  Did you get the same products?

Goodbeing Review, May 2017

Goodbeing, $21.95 per month (free shipping to US; add $9 for addresses in Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand)


This two-week-old baby bun is making its modeling debut!  I love its teeny ears.

Goodbeing is a monthly natural beauty box.  Subscribers fill out extensive profiles upon subscribing.  Each month, you'll get four to five products.  Besides the expected makeup, hair care, and skincare products, you also sometimes get health foods and supplements.  Goodbeing allows subscribers to choose two products per month.  You don't have to choose any products if you don't want, but it's nice to have the option.  The one thing I find annoying about Goodbeing is that you get small product information cards for each product instead of one big card that has all the products on it.  They get lost easily.  I understand, though, that that helps make it so that Goodbeing can personalize boxes more easily, so I'm okay with it as I'd rather have a personalized box than one big card.


Here's what I got in my May Goodbeing:

My May Goodbeing box was worth $101.49.  That's one of the highest value Goodbeing boxes I've gotten!  Two of the products were full size and two were deluxe sample size.  I got two makeup items!  It's been a while since I've gotten makeup in a Goodbeing box, so I'm glad to see it's back.  


The Previse HydroFoam Hyaluronic Moisturizer is a very lightweight foam moisturizer that is fragrance-free.  When I put this on my face, it feels like I just put water on my skin and that's it.  Lightweight moisturizers are great for the summer, especially when my skin feels like an oil factory, but this is too lightweight even for then.  It doesn't feel like it's doing anything at all.  Every time I used it, I ended up following it with an additional moisturizer.


I love Honeybee Gardens' lipstick, so I was happy to see their mascara in the box.  This is a mascara that gives me more length than volume, so I like that about it.  There was no issue with it clumping and it didn't flake.  It contains saw palmetto and avocado to condition your lashes.  This is more of a daytime mascara as it's not all that dramatic.  It gave me a more natural look.  I liked it and thought it worked well, but I prefer my mascara to be more dramatic.  If you like something a little more subtle, though, you'll love this mascara.  


There was a second moisturizer, the Bella Aura Daily Repair Moisturizer.  I thought it was a little strange to get two moisturizers in the box.  Fortunately, I liked this moisturizer a lot more than the first one.  This wasn't a heavy moisturizer, but it wasn't nearly as lightweight as the Previse.  It gave me just the right of moisture without making my skin feel greasy.  My only complaint is that the scent is a little on the strong side because of the bitter orange oil in it, but it goes away once it is absorbed.  This looks like a small sample, but it is a little more than a third of the size of the $90 full size product!


EO Products' Lavender Hand Sanitizer Wipes uses sugar cane ethanol to disinfect.  It contains lavender essential oil, so it is quite strongly scented.  I don't normally use hand sanitizer as it kills of the good bacteria in addition to the bad, but I like to keep some in my purse just in case I touch something disgusting and am nowhere near a sink.  Lavender isn't my favorite scent ever, but it's not horrible.  I liked this product.

Swatch of NOTO Botanics Multi Benne Tint LIPS + EYES + CHEEKS

Swatch of NOTO Botanics Multi Benne Tint LIPS + EYES + CHEEKS

The NOTO Botanics Multi Benne Tint LIPS + EYES + CHEEKS is a highly pigmented multi-use product.  While it says it can be used for lips, eyes, and cheeks, I probably wouldn't use this on my eyes.  I like a good red eyeshadow, but this is a little extreme.  Red eyeshadows can often irritate the eyes, but this is colored with iron oxide, not carmine, so it shouldn't irritate you.  This is an orange-based red that was quite flattering as both a blush and a lipstick.  It was easy to blend out as a blush and gave me a healthy, natural flush.  It had pretty good staying power as a lipstick.  

This was the best Goodbeing I've gotten in a while.  I had had a few months of Goodbeing that weren't great, but it's back to being the box I know and love.  The Previse HydroFoam wasn't for me, but I liked everything else in the box.  The NOTO Botanics Multi Benne Tint was my favorite product.  I'm really happy with my Goodbeing this month!

Did anyone else get Goodbeing?  What did you get?  Did you like the products in the May box?

tarte cosmetics Custom Beauty Kit

tarte cosmetics Create Your Own Beauty Kit, $63 (no longer available)


Melba looks like she has a pink face, but it's just a reflection!  She's such a good model.

Each year, tarte has a deal where you can make your own beauty box.  They offer seven product categories (makeup bag, brush, blush, foundation/primer, lipstick, mascara, and eyeliner/shadow) and you get to choose one product from each of those categories.  If you like tarte, this is a great way to get their products at a reduced price and to try products of theirs you might not have tried before.


Here's what I chose:

My box was worth about $183.60.  The makeup bag isn't for sale individually, so I had to estimate its value.  They also threw in a sample of four colors of their Rainforest of the Sea Water Foundation.


tarte offered two bags -- a purple one and a unicorn one, which is iridescent.  I had to choose the unicorn one because I love iridescence!  It's roomy and well-made.  It is lined and has some light padding inside to keep your makeup safe.  The only problem is that it's almost too pretty to use!  

Swatch of tarte cosmetics Empowered Hybrid Gel Foundation in Fair-Light Neutral

Swatch of tarte cosmetics Empowered Hybrid Gel Foundation in Fair-Light Neutral

I love tarte's Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Foundation, so I was hoping they would offer that as one of the foundation options.  It's always good to have a backup!  Unfortunately, though, they did not offer that particular foundation.  The options were Empowered Hybrid Gel Foundation, Amazonian Clay Airbrush Foundation, Confidence Creamy Powder Foundation, and the Colored Clay CC Primer.  You could also choose your color, of course.  I almost went with the Airbrush Foundation, but I've never had good luck with powder foundations, so I ended up choosing the gel foundation.  This gives me great coverage and holds up all day without looking gross from the oil on my chin a few hours in.  I didn't blend it in above so you could see what the color looked like, but it is actually a great match for my complexion.  My only complaint is the packaging!  This comes in a wide-mouth jar with a screw-on cap.  If it's open, it's very easy to make a mess.  I really wish they put this in a bottle or tube like their other foundation.


tarte offered six different brushes -- Timeless Beauty Blush Brush, Bronze and Glow Contour Brush, Swirl Power Contour and Bronzer Brush, Etch and Sketch Double-Ended Bamboo Liner Brush, Concealer and Finishing Powder Brush, and Double-Ended Camouflage Brush.  I had a hard time choosing the brush because I don't really need more makeup brushes at this time.  I thought a two-in-one brush might be nice, though.  The bristles are very soft and pick up a good amount of product, but not an excessive amount.  The big end is for bronzing and the small end is for contouring.  I don't bronze and highlight daily, but this will be a good brush to have when I'm getting ready for a special event.

Swatch of tarte cosmetics Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Natural Beauty

Swatch of tarte cosmetics Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Natural Beauty

The blush selections were the Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush, the Colored Clay Bronzer Blush, Cheek Stain, and Airblush Maracuja Blush.  The Amazonian Clay and the Cheek Stains were the two I had tried before, but I didn't find any appealing colors in the Colored Clay Bronzer Blush and the Airblush.  I've been wanting to try a good red blush for some time, so I went with the Natural Beauty Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush.  This has a lot of pigment!  You really want to use a light touch with this blush and blend it out after applying.  It gave me a healthy flush and was quite pretty.  It's quite bold for a color called Natural Beauty!  I have a number of colors of the Amazonian Clay blush and love them all.  This is definitely one of my favorite blushes.  The color always goes on smoothly, blends out easily, and holds up all day.

Swatch of tarte cosmetics smolderEYES Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liner in Gold

Swatch of tarte cosmetics smolderEYES Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liner in Gold

They had a lot of eyeliner options, so I had a really hard time choosing!  The one I ended up going with, the smolderEYES Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liner in Gold is more of an eyeshadow.  It is a very thick pencil.  This stuff has amazing staying power!  It has a lot of pigment and the color is beautiful.  I was able to blend this as long as I did it immediately after applying.  If you wait more than a few seconds, though, it will set and not blend easily.

Swatch of tarte cosmetics Drench Lip Splash Lipstick in Bikini

Swatch of tarte cosmetics Drench Lip Splash Lipstick in Bikini

tarte offered tons of lipstick choices, making this another hard decision.  I love their Quick Dry Matte Lip Paint and I was going to choose one of those, but they had only a few boring colors to choose from and I wanted something bolder.  The Drench Lip Splash Lipstick came in a number of colors and was an actual lipstick, not a gloss or tint, so that is what I ended up going with.  The color I chose was Bikini, a pink coral.  This color is gorgeous!   I had never tried tarte's Drench Lip Splash Lipstick before, but I was really impressed by the formula.  It has amazing pigment and staying power.  It doesn't have quite the staying power of a liquid lipstick, but it's close.  It was also very moisturizing.  The color is bright, but beautiful, and looked great on me.


The mascara choice was easy!  I chose the Best in Faux Lash Extending Fibers because I've never tried lash fibers before.  To use this, you apply the mascara, then apply the fibers, then finish with another coat of mascara.  This gave me serious length and volume.  I was worried it would look clumpy or weird, but it looks great.  It definitely gives you a falsie look, but it's great for a special night on the town.


tarte also sent out a free sample of four colors of their Rainforest of the Sea Water Foundation.  The colors were all too dark for me, so I wasn't able to try them.  Has anyone tried Rainforest of the Sea Water Foundation? Is it any good?

I'm loving my tarte box!  I wish more cosmetics companies would do this.  It's a great way to get their fans to try their other products.  All of the products were of great quality and had amazing pigment and coverage.  The brush won't get much use from me, but I'm loving everything else in the box.  I don't think I can begin to choose a favorite product.