Play! by Sephora Review, March 2017

Play! by Sephora, $10 per month (US only)

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Could Apple be any cuter?  I love her baby bunny side-eye.  

Play! is Sephora's monthly beauty box.  At $10 per month, it is very affordable.  All of the products can be found at your local Sephora, so, if you really like something, it's easy to get more.  Each month, subscribers receive a makeup bag, a mix of five makeup, skincare, and hair care products, plus one perfume sample.  Sephora customizes the boxes somewhat based on profiles you fill out upon subscribing.  You also receive a card that will get you fifty extra Beauty Insider points with any purchase at a Sephora and an invitation to a Play Date, which is an event held at select Sephoras for subscribers to go and learn more about the products in that month's box.  Unfortunately, there are very few stores that have the Play Date, so you may not have one in your area.  There is a waiting list for this subscription, but they open it up every month or two.

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Here's what I got this month:

My March Play! was worth $54.64,which isn't bad at all for a $10 box.  This month's theme was The Gleam Team.  Most months, all subscribers get a few of the same items and then there are a few variations.  This month, though, the only product that all subscribers received was the GLAMGLOW GLOWSTARTER.  I got one hair product, one perfume, three makeup items, and a skincare/makeup item.  It was definitely heavy on the makeup, but that is pretty common for this subscription.  

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I was happy that Sephora was getting away from the plain white cotton bag and having different colors and fabrics for the bags, but they're back to the plain white cotton this month.  This material gets stained so easily, so it's a horrible choice for a makeup bag. 

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Swatch of GLAMGLOW GLOWSTARTER Mega Illuminating Moisturizer in Nude Glow

Swatch of GLAMGLOW GLOWSTARTER Mega Illuminating Moisturizer in Nude Glow

The only product all subscribers received this month was the GLAMGLOW GLOWSTARTER Mega Illuminating Moisturizer in Nude Glow.  This is a moisturizer that blurs imperfections and makes skin more radiant looking.  If you have good skin, you could use this alone and skip the foundation.  This made my skin glow, but it was hard to see the effects under my foundation.  It was very hydrating.  It has a sweet smell to it that I didn't mind, but I didn't love it either.  The scent is quite strong, so if you are sensitive to scents, this probably won't be for you.

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I got another volumizer, which is the last thing my hair needs.  The Living Proof Full Dry Volume Blast is a volumizing spray that has a sweet floral fragrance to it.  I quite like the scent, but it is rather strong.  I tried this and found that it gave me some volume, but not tons, and it held up all day.  If you need a volumizer, this is a good choice.

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Swatch of Benefit Cosmetics Watt's Up! Cream-to-Powder Highlighter

Swatch of Benefit Cosmetics Watt's Up! Cream-to-Powder Highlighter

Benefit Cosmetics' Watt's Up! is a highlighter that has been around for years, so I was a little surprised to see it in my Play! box.  It is a good product, but Sephora usually includes products that are a little newer to the market.  This is a cream stick highlighter that turns to powder after you apply it.  You can use a light hand for a subtle look or build it up some for a more dramatic look.  I like the formula a lot, so I'm always happy to get another sample of it.

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Swatch of Make Up For Ever Artist Shadow in I-544 Pink Granite

Swatch of Make Up For Ever Artist Shadow in I-544 Pink Granite

I'm a little annoyed with Sephora for including this next sample.  We got the Make Up For Ever Artist Shadow in I-544 Pink Granite in the August box, so I can't believe they would include the exact same sample again.  They should have chosen a different type of eyeshadow entirely, or at least a different color of this same type of eyeshadow.  The color is pretty enough, but it is more of a warm tan than a pink granite.  The formula goes on easily, has minimal fallout, and looks as good at the end of the day as it does at the beginning.  The pigment is okay, but not great.  I had to build it up quite a bit to get the color you see above.

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Swatch of Algenist REVEAL Concentrated Luminizing Drops

Swatch of Algenist REVEAL Concentrated Luminizing Drops

I know The Gleam Team is this month's theme, but two highlighters in one box is a little excessive.  Sephora seems to love putting highlighters in Play!  Algenist's REVEAL Concentrated Luminizing Drops can be used on their own as a highlighter or you can mix a little into your moisturizer or foundation for some all over radiance.  A little goes a long way with this, so start out with a teeny bit and build your way up.  This gave me a soft, pretty highlight and was easy to blend out.  I tried it in my foundation and it gave me a very subtle glow.  Play! subscribers received the color Pearl, which gives you a silver glow, but Algenist also makes Champagne, which gives you a gold glow, and Rosé, which gives you a pink glow.  Champagne would have been my choice, but I was okay with the Pearl.  

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This month's perfume sample was Atelier's Clémentine California Cologne Absolue.  I have liked most Atelier perfumes I've tried, so I was happy to get one of their newest fragrances.  Clémentine California has notes of clementine, mandarin, juniper berries, star anise, Sichuan pepper, basilica, vetiver, sandalwood, and cypress.  This reminds me a bit of Liz Claiborne's Mambo from the early 2000s.  I love the fresh citrus scent.  Unfortunately, this wore off by the middle of the day.  I expect better staying power from an expensive perfume.  I really like this, though, so I kind of want to buy it.  

This was a pretty good Play! by Sephora box.  The Living Proof volumizer was a miss for me, but that's just because I have thick hair and don't need more volume.  The Make Up For Ever eyeshadow was nice, but I'm annoyed with Sephora for including the same item in the same color that they had back in August.  I was very happy with the GLAMGLOW GLOWSTARTER, the Benefit Watt's Up!, the Algenist REVEAL, and the Atelier Clémentine California.  I liked two-thirds of the products, so that's not bad.  If I had to choose a favorite, it would be the Atelier perfume.

What did you think of this month's Play! by Sephora?  Did you get the same products or did you get one of the other variations?

Birchbox Review, March 2017

Birchbox, $10 per month (US only)

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Little Miss Apple isn't so sure about modeling.  She doesn't really like to hold still.  Fortunately, she was nice enough to hold still for half a second so I could get this picture of her in this month's Birchbox!  Check out last month's Birchbox review to see how much this little girl has grown!

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. 

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Here's what I got this month:

My March Birchbox was worth about $34.84.  The size of the Beauty Protector product wasn't listed on the bottle, so I had to guess on the value of that.  Also, the ARROW brightener normally comes as a pencil that has a brightener on one end and black eyeliner on the other end. The sample I received had only the eye brightener, but the size listed for my sample, 0.28 oz, is bigger than the total size listed for the eyeliner/brightener, 0.2 oz., so I wasn't really sure if the listing was incorrect for the full size product.  I had no interest in the curated box this month, so I chose the ARROW ENHANCE Waterproof Eyeliner and Brightener as my sample.  I got two hair products, two makeup products, and one skincare product this month, so the mix was a little unusual for Birchbox as they tend to be heavier on skincare and I don't often see more than one hair product in a box.

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Volumizer, as you know if you've read my past reviews, is the last thing my hair needs.  Getting products like this is what makes me think that Birchbox pays no attention whatsoever to profiles.  Like all Beauty Protector products, this smells really good, so it has that going for it.  I tried this out just to review it and I saw some added volume, but not tons, so I didn't mind it.  Besides volume, this also provides your hair with protection from heat styling.  If you want a little extra volume and some great smelling hair, I recommend giving this a try.

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Swatch of ARROW ENHANCE Waterproof Brightener

Swatch of ARROW ENHANCE Waterproof Brightener

The ARROW ENHANCE Waterproof Eyeliner and Brightener was my product choice for March.  ARROW is Birchbox's new house brand and I like their mascara a lot, so I was excited to try another product from them.  The full size version of this is double ended and has a black liner on one end and the brightener on the other, but the sample included only the brightener.  This is very pink and I wish it was slightly more neutral.  I liked how this looked when I applied it to the inner corners of my eyes.  I used this on my waterline and found it didn't go on quite as smoothly there.  You could see teeny "crumbs" that it left behind.  Also, it was difficult to get it just right -- it was easy to go too light and not see any difference or go too hard and have it look very weird and fake.  After a little practice, I was able to get it down and have it look natural.  This is a good product, but not amazing.

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I love micellar water, so I was happy to see Bioderma's Hydrabio H2O in my box.  This is a moisturizing no-rinse makeup remover that you apply to your face with a cotton pad.  This might get light makeup off, but, if you have a full face on, I'd recommend using something a little stronger first, then using this as backup.  I also recommend washing your face after removing your makeup.  If you are tired and don't have the energy to wash your face, this is better than nothing.  It was quite moisturizing and had that nice, soft feel micellar water has.  Given that I use a stronger makeup remover before this and wash my face after using this, I don't think I'll be using this regularly.  It just adds an unnecessary step to my already long skincare routine.

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I love the Obliphica Professional Seaberry Hair Serum in Fine to Medium, so I was excited to try the serum in Medium to Coarse.  My hair is neither fine nor coarse, so I figured they would work equally well for me.  The two products contain the exact same ingredients.  The only difference is that the Medium to Coarse contains a colorant.  Both formulas gave me softer and smoother hair, so I was happy with the results.  These are definitely some of my favorite hair products ever.  Has anyone noticed a difference between the two formulas?  The worked exactly the same for me, but that might be because my hair is medium.

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Swatch of Cargo Cosmetics Swimmables Resistant Bronzer in Medium

Swatch of Cargo Cosmetics Swimmables Resistant Bronzer in Medium

Finally, we have the Cargo Cosmetics Swimmables Resistant Bronzer in Medium.  Cargo doesn't seem to make any other colors of the bronzer, so I'm not sure why it is called Medium.  This is quite buildable, so you can use a light touch for a subtle look or put more on to get something a little more dramatic.  This lasted all day and will even hold up in water.  Bronzer isn't my favorite product in the world -- it's more of a special occasion thing that an everyday product for me -- but I liked how this worked and will use it in the future.

March was a pretty good month for Birchbox.  The only miss for me was the Beauty Protector Protect and Volume.  The Bioderma Hyrabio H2O was okay, but it is not something I will use often.  I liked the ARROW brightener, the Cargo bronzer, and the Obliphica serum.  The Obliphica serum is probably my favorite product of the month, but the ARROW brightener came in a close second.  

What did you think of the March Birchbox?  Did you have any favorite products?

PopSugar Must Have Review, March 2017

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

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Emmett loves his PopSugar boxes!  They're some of the only boxes he will fit in.  When he's not standing up in them, he is rubbing his chin all over them to claim them.

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.

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Here's what we got this month:

The March PopSugar box was worth $111, or $136 if you count the "gift card."  It's more of a coupon than a gift card as it can't be stacked and the cheapest sunglasses they have are $45 (most being well over $100), so you'll definitely be spending some money to use it.  The value isn't as high as most months, but it's still over their guaranteed value of $100.  We got two home items, an accessory, a beauty product, and a snack this month.

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First up, we have the Kate Spade photo album.  This holds 80 4"x6" photos.  It's of good quality, but I never print photos anymore, so I don't really know what I will do with this.  It will make a nice gift for someone who does print photos.  It's also a little plain for my taste, but it's cute in its own way.

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The next product is probably one of the weirdest items I have gotten in a PopSugar box, a translucent red plastic camera bag.  The red appears to be an exclusive for PopSugar as Stephanie Johnson doesn't offer this bag in red on their website.  It is well-made, but I don't exactly like showing off the contents of my purse.  It might be good for the beach or for something like an NFL game where they require clear bags, but it's not something I would use regularly.  When I saw the spoiler for this, I wasn't sure what I would do with it, but I was hoping I would get it and figure it out.  Of course, I still don't know what to do with it.

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I've gotten a few Sunnylife products in PopSugar boxes and they are always fun.  The watermelon lunch box is cute and dishwasher safe, but not microwave safe.  It was bigger than I expected.  The lid snaps on somewhat tightly, but it also comes with a huge rubber band to secure it completely.  I wouldn't recommend putting a liquid in this as it would probably leak a bit.  I wish it was microwave safe, but it's still cute and will get some use.

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Swatch of Thrive Causemetics Brilliant Eye Brightener in Stella

Swatch of Thrive Causemetics Brilliant Eye Brightener in Stella

You may have noticed that the Thrive Causemetics Brilliant Eye Brightener isn't pictured in the box at the top of the page.  That's because this was missing from my box and PopSugar had to mail it out to me separately.  They did get it to me pretty quickly, so I will give them credit for that.  Thrive donates a product to a woman who has cancer or is escaping domestic violence for every product purchased, so it's a great company.  This brightener didn't do much brightening for me as it was almost the exact same color as my skin.  It added a little shimmer, but it would probably look better on someone who has a darker complexion than I do.  The end pops off to work as a sharpener.  This stayed on all day and wasn't a bad product, but it just wasn't for me.

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The snack this month was Smash Mallow in Cinnamon Churro.  Smash Mallow makes gourmet marshmallows in a variety of flavors.  I've never liked marshmallows that much, but I thought I might like these as they are supposed to be of better quality than regular marshmallows and I love cinnamon.  Unfortunately, I didn't like these at all.  I started eating one and had to spit it out because I thought it was so bad.  The texture was slightly different from regular marshmallows (and not in a good way) and it tasted very strongly of vanilla.  I like vanilla, but this was too strong.  I was quite disappointed as cinnamon is one of my favorite flavors, so I had high hopes for these.  Perhaps other flavors are better.  Has anyone else tried other Smash Mallow products?  If so, what did you think?

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PopSugar, as I mentioned above, threw in a gift card to Velvet Eyewear.  They make pricey sunglasses, but they do have a cheaper Trends line with sunglasses that are $45-$55.  You can't stack these with other gift cards or coupons, so it's more of a coupon than a gift card.  If anyone wants this, send me a note in the Contact Me section of the site and I'll e-mail the info to the first person who asks for it.

This was definitely the worst PopSugar box I've gotten.  I had gotten a discounted three-month subscription when they were on sale for the holidays.  I was happy with those boxes, so I decided to continue on as a subscriber paying full price this month.  That was a huge mistake.  It'd be one thing if I had gotten this box for half off, but the fact that I paid $40 for this does not make me happy.  The only product I really liked and will use regularly is the cute little watermelon lunchbox, but I could have bought that for $18. The photo album, bag, eye brightener, and marshmallows will all probably end up in my giveaway pile.  It really felt like it was missing an item as PopSugar usually has six items and the gift card didn't really count to me.  This also had a very summery feel to it.  The bag, lunchbox, and sunglasses gift card are products I would expect to see in June, not March.  I decided to cancel my PopSugar subscription after getting this box.  I might restart it at some point if a good spoiler comes along, but I'm going to wait and see.  There is a cute cutting board spoiler for the April box and that almost makes me want to reactivate my subscription, but I am trying to hold out.

What did you think of the March PopSugar box?

ipsy Review, March 2017

ipsy, $10 per month (add $4.95 for Canadian orders)

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My baby Mickey is growing up way too fast!  He wouldn't even fit in the March ipsy bag!  He's about to turn two months old.  I wish they could stay babies.

ipsy is a monthly beauty subscription.  It costs only $10 per month.  Subscribers receive five items per 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 and most items are deluxe sample size and occasionally even full size. 

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Here's what came in my March Glam Bag:

My March ipsy was worth $44.32.  This month, I used my ipsy points and got a full size Hourglass Ambient Light Correcting Primer in Mood Light, which was worth $44, and, if you include that, it doubles the value of my March ipsy bag.  The bag this month was bigger than usual.  It's a dusty pinky-peach color with mesh on one side and soft velour on the other side, and it works as a foldover clutch.

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This month's bag was kind of cute.  I like that they gave us a slightly bigger bag this month and the style was a little different.  The color wasn't my favorite, though.  The non-mesh side is so soft!

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First up, we have the LadyKin Affinitic Snail Cream, which I have gotten in a box before.  Isn't the snail container the cutest?  This cream contains 80% snail mucin.  If you're not familiar with snail mucus, which, I know, sounds gross, it's actually fabulous for your skin.  Korean snail farmers noticed that the cuts on their hands healed much faster than cuts on other parts of their body and realized it was due to the snail mucus.  It's great for healing your skin, fighting signs of aging, and hydration.  It doesn't smell bad or feel slimy.  Snails aren't harmed during mucus collection, but, obviously, if you're vegan, this won't be for you.  I like to use snail products to help my skin recover faster from a breakout.  This worked well and I highly recommend it.  

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Swatch of Dirty Little Secret Cosmetics Blush in Kitty Pink

Swatch of Dirty Little Secret Cosmetics Blush in Kitty Pink

ipsy has been featuring Dirty Little Secret Cosmetics products a lot recently.  I hadn't heard of them before I started seeing them in ipsy bags.  Their blush in Kitty Pink (which, based on the company name and their product names, I assume is not an innocent name) isn't really pink at all.  Their website describes it as a dusty rose, but it is more of a dusty peach.  The color wasn't my favorite and didn't look all that great on me.  It also didn't hold up all day.  I would recommend passing on this.  

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Swatch of tarte cosmetics tarteist Quick Dry Matte Lip Paint in Delish

Swatch of tarte cosmetics tarteist Quick Dry Matte Lip Paint in Delish

I love tarte products, so I am always happy to get another one!  I've tried a number of tarte's lip products, but I think this is the first time I've tried their Quick Dry Matte Lip Paint formula.  When they say quick dry, they mean quick dry!  This dried within seconds and once it was on, it was on.  I had the little swatch on my arm and tried to wipe it off right after photographing it.  It seriously left a stain for over a day on my arm, even after taking makeup remover to it and washing it.  It does wear off a bit after eating and drinking, but it has impressive staying power.  The color isn't quite as bold as I would like, but it's pretty and it looks good on me.  I would be interested in trying other colors in this line.

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My hair has been drier than usual lately, so I was hoping the Marc Anthony Deep Repair Aloe Vera Jasmine Conditioning Treatment would help give it some moisture.  This is a hair mask that you apply after shampooing, then let set for three to seven minutes and rinse.  Unfortunately, I didn't notice any difference whatsoever after using this.  

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The final product this month was the Chella Tweezers.  This has holes to grip them so you can have better control over them and get any hair easily.  This worked well and was quite comfortable to hold and use.  I don't know that I would pay $20 for it, but I liked it and am happy to have it.

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Swatch of Hourglass Cosmetics Ambient Light Correcting Primer in Mood Light

Swatch of Hourglass Cosmetics Ambient Light Correcting Primer in Mood Light

I used my ipsy points to get a full size Hourglass Ambient Light Correcting Primer in Mood Light.  This is a primer that is supposed to blur flaws and smooth out the skin, kind of like a personal Instagram filter.  Beside Mood Light, they also have Luminous Light and Dim Light.  Hourglass calls Mood Light a "soft, sheer pink that softens light to create the most forgiving mood lighting," Luminous Light a "champagne pearl that brightens light to create a luminous candlelit glow," and Dim Light a "natural beige that neutralizes light to create soft, dim lighting."  This did blur imperfections, but I didn't see much of an effect under my full coverage foundation.  If you skip the foundation or use something with very light coverage, you would probably have better results.  This worked well as a primer, though.  My foundation stayed on better than usual and held up all day.  

This was a pretty good month for ipsy.  I loved three of the five products, plus I also loved the Hourglass primer that I got with my points.  My favorite product was the tarte lipstick, but the Ladykin snail cream and the Chella Tweezers were close behind.  The Marc Anthony hair treatment and the Dirty Little Secret blush weren't for me, unfortunately.

What did you think of this month's ipsy?  What did you get?  Did anyone have better luck with the Marc Anthony hair treatment?

Terra Bella Box Review, March 2017

Terra Bella Box, $32.95 per month (free shipping to US, see site for international shipping rates)

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Little baby Mickey was all about digging in the squiggles.  He keeps hoping to find some parsley in a box.

Terra Bella Box is a monthly natural, cruelty-free beauty box that features products made by small businesses.  Subscribers receive three to four skincare, hair care, and/or bath products per month.  Terra Bella has started a second box, The Makeup Edit, so if you prefer makeup products to skincare, then that might be the box for you.  You are able to switch back and forth between The Makeup Edit and Terra Bella subscriptions if you want.  The Makeup Edit is $29.95 per month, so it's a little cheaper than Terra Bella.  

Terra Bella Box sent me this box free of charge for review.

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Here's what I got in my March Terra Bella Box:

My March box was worth $72.  That's more than double the price of the box, so I'm happy with the value.  Previously, all subscribers received the same products with perhaps some scent and color variation, but Terra Bella Box did something a little different this month.  All subscribers received the Cultivar moisturizer and then three different Wellsmith products.  The products you could potentially receive were the Extra Large Bath Bomb (in either Vanilla/Lavender or Green Tea/Aloe), Hydrating Lip Balm (flavors varied), Solid Perfume (scents varied), Herbal Bath Tea (in Relax, Detox, Sitz, or Basic), and Scented Shea Butter (scents varied).  I've linked to the Wellsmith store above, but it doesn't appear that they have any products available for sale at this time.

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The product that all subscribers received was the Cultivar Organic Deeply Nourishing Daily Moisturizer.  You may remember that we got a Cultivar product in the September Terra Bella Box, the Clean and Healthy Organic Dry Shampoo.  I was expecting this to be a cream, but it is actually a liquid.  This is a mix of moisturizing oils, including argan, meadowfoam seed, rice bran, peach kernel, Abyssinian, chia seed, prickly pear cactus, and a blend of essential oils.  The lavender in the essential oil blend is the strongest scent, but I don't mind it.  To use this, you apply a couple of drops to your face and massage in.  I found it took a couple of minutes to fully absorb, but it didn't feel greasy after it finished absorbing.  It was extremely moisturizing.  I would recommend this if you need a hardcore facial moisturizer.

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One of the three Wellsmith products I received was the Herbal Bath Tea in Relax.  I got the Detox tea in the January 2016 Terra Bella Box and loved it, so I was happy to get a new one to try this month.  There are two ways to use this bath tea.  As you can see, there is a muslin bag attached to the back of the packaging.  You pour the contents of the plastic bag into the muslin bag and let it steep in boiling water for fifteen minutes, then dump the water in your bath.  Alternatively, you can just dip the bag in your bath water.  The "tea" is a blend of Epsom salt, chamomile, rose, lemongrass, passionflower, and orange peel.  It smells great and is, of course, very relaxing.  This is a special treat!  It's the perfect thing for the end of a long, stressful day.

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The second Wellsmith product I got was the Solid Perfume in Patchouli/Orange Scent.  This was my least favorite product in the box this month.  The beeswax made it a little stickier than I was expecting.  While I love citrus scents, patchouli just isn't for me and this was heavier on the patchouli than the orange.  It held up all day, though.  I'm not sure what other scents of solid perfume Wellsmith makes, but I would be interested in trying them.

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The final product I got was the Wellsmith Refreshing Bath Bomb in Green Tea/Aloe.  This was my favorite product in my Terra Bella Box this month.  This thing is huge!  I think this is the biggest bath bomb I have ever had.  The aloe scent was soft but noticeable and was relaxing.  The bomb was very hydrating.  I didn't want to get out of the tub because I loved this so much.  I might have to buy some of these once Wellsmith restocks their store.

I'm very happy with my Terra Bella Box this month!  I like that they did something a little different and had product variation, but had all the product variations be from the same company.  The Wellsmith bath bomb was definitely my favorite product this month, but the Cultivar moisturizer was a close second.  I also quite liked the bath tea.  The solid perfume wasn't for me, but that's just because patchouli isn't my scent.  The March Terra Bella Box was a lot of fun!

DermStore BeautyFix Review, March 2017

DermStore BeautyFix, $24.95 per month (US only)

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Baby Mickey thought he was modeling for DermStore BunnyFix, so he was a little disappointed to not find any bunny treats.  He is an extra special baby bun.  Don't tell the others, but he is my favorite.

DermStore BeautyFix is a subscription box that sends subscribers $100+ worth of products each month.  All subscribers receive the same products with perhaps some 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.

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Here's what I got this month:

The March BeautyFix was worth about $115.12, which definitely isn't bad for a $25 box!  I had to estimate the value of the SkinCeuticals Hyaluronic Acid Intensifier as the size wasn't marked on the bottle.  We got five skincare products this month, one hair product, a beauty tool, a body product, and a supplement.  This is my first time getting a supplement from BeautyFix.  We hadn't had beauty tools in a BeautyFix box for a couple of months, so I was worried they were going to stop including them.  I am happy to see one making an appearance again!  

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We got a full size Dr. Brandt product this month!  I've tried quite products from Dr. Brandt's Pores No More line, but I think this is my first time getting the cleanser.  This cleanser uses salicylic acid, tea tree oil, and willow bark to gently exfoliate the skin and clean out your pores.  This helped me get a breakout cleared up faster than usual, so I was impressed by it.  My only complaint is that this stuff really burns if it gets into your eyes!  Occasionally, facial cleanser is going to get into your eyes when you're washing your face, but it doesn't usually burn like this does. 

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The second full size product this month was the EVOLVh SuperFinish Polishing Balm.  I've tried some of EVOLVh's products before and loved them, but this is my first time trying their balm.  You can apply this to damp hair or you can use it for a little extra polish when your hair is dry.  This moisturizes, adds shine, prevents frizziness and flyaways, and protects hair from UV.  My hair looked extra soft and shiny when I used this and I found it made my hair a little more manageable.  I imagine the effects would be even more dramatic on someone who has hair that is prone to frizziness.  I highly recommend this product.

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The SkinCeuticals Hyaluronic Acid Intensifier is moisturizing and ant-aging. It looks like strawberry juice, but I think the weird reddish color must be from the purple rice that is in it.  It's a small sample, but I got a few uses out of it.  I found it to be very moisturizing, but I couldn't see any anti-aging effects after using it only a few times.

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This month, the beauty tool was beautyblender's Blotterazzi.  This is a reusable blotter that is supposed to remove excess oil from your face without messing up your makeup.  It's made out of the same spongy material as the regular beatuyblender.  Blotting papers are my friends in the summer because my oily skin goes into overdrive.  Blotterazzi works well and everything, but it's not for me.  You have to wash these very regularly or they can get gross as they're soaking up sweat and oil.  I'm not good about washing my brushes regularly, so I imagine that I wouldn't be good about washing these regularly either.  If you do wash your makeup brushes and tools regularly, this might work well for you.  It is nice that it doesn't disturb your makeup online some paper blotting papers.

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HUM makes supplements that are supposed to help make you more beautiful from within.  Many of their supplements contain vitamins and minerals that help make your skin, hair, and nails healthier.  This supplement contains melatonin and B6 to help you get your beauty rest.  You take them 20 minutes before bed and it helps you fall asleep faster.  These worked pretty well.  These aren't sleeping pills, so they probably won't help with real insomnia, but if you have a little bit of difficulty unwinding and falling asleep at night, these are worth a try.  This is the first time I've gotten something like this in my BeautyFix box.  I like it.

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I'm not really into self tanning, but I gave the Sun Bum Self Tanning Towelette a try.  To use it, you rub the towel in a circular motion over the parts of your body you wish to tan.  The tan will slowly appear over two to four hours.  These also exfoliate and moisturize your skin. This doesn't have the stinky smell that many self tanners have, so that was a big plus.  It gave me a slightly darker color and went on evenly.  If you like self tanners, I would recommend this.

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I've tried a lot of neroli products and I usually don't like the scent, so I was quite surprised that I loved the scent of the June Jacobs Neroli Hydrating Mist.  It had a softer scent to it, so that helped.  This is a toner that is supposed to stimulate cell regeneration, protect skin from toxins, and combat signs of aging.  Many toners are drying, so it was nice to have a hydrating toner.  This winter has really dried out my skin (except my chin -- my chin will never dry out!), so I need all the moisture I can get right now.

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The Jouer Essential Lip Enhancer is a lip balm that hydrates your lips, plus adds a little fullness and helps fill in fine lines.  It had a bit of a rose scent to it, but it wasn't overly strong.  It wasn't sticky at all and felt nice on my lips.  I don't normally like lip plumpers as my lips are already quite full, but the plumping effect was minimal and there wasn't the burning or stinging feeling a lot of lip plumpers have.  It filled in lines, so I liked that.  

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Finally, there was the Vichy Idéalia Radiance Boosting Serum.  This was a very small sample, so I only got a couple of uses out of it.  This serum is supposed to smooth your skin, minimize pores, and make your complexion more radiant.  Vichy says that you should see results after only eight days, which is quite impressive for a serum.  It was not very smart of them to give us such a small sample -- if they had given us a big enough sample that we could use it for eight days, then we might have been able to see results.  They could have gained a lot of customers if they were able to show us how well it worked.  I didn't really notice any difference after using this for the couple of days I got out of this sample.

This is the best BeautyFix box I've seen in a few months.  Last month's box was a bit of a disappointment, so I'm happy to see a great box this month.  I liked everything in it.  The Vichy serum is probably a good product, but I didn't have enough of it to tell for sure.  beautyblender Blotterazzi works well, but it's just not for me as I know I wouldn't wash it enough.  As for favorites, it's a three-way tie -- June Jacobs Neroli Hydrating Mist, EVOLVh SuperFinish Polishing Balm, and Dr. Brandt Pores No More Cleanser.  Best of all, two of my three favorites were full size and the third was a deluxe sample size.  This was one of the better BeautyFix boxes I've gotten!

What did you think of this month's BeautyFix box?

Kloverbox Review, March 2017

Kloverbox, $25 per month (US only)

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Little Apple has her baby bunny side eye down!  She's just the cutest.  She was disappointed there wasn't real clover in the box.

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 changed owners over the summer, so, if you subscribed in the past and were bothered by the late boxes, you'll be happy to know that the boxes are always coming in the middle of the month now!

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

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Here's what came in the March Kloverbox:

The March Kloverbox was worth $59.89.  That's almost 2.5 times the price of the box, so I'm happy with the value.  We got a body product, a perfume, a home item, and then a health item this month, so we had a good mix.  This month's theme was Stop and Smell the Klovers and was about making you smell and feel your best.  

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First, we have the Love Myself Organics Natural Deodorant in Forever, which is a lavender scent.  The thing about natural deodorants is that they are just that -- deodorants.  If you sweat a lot and need an antiperspirant, natural deodorants won't be the right option for you.  If you have minimal sweating, though, and just want to cover up the scent, a natural deodorant would be a good option.  This deodorant is a blend of coconut oil, cocoa butter, arrowroot powder, baking soda, candelilla wax, and essential oils.  The Love Myself Organics deodorant covered the smell well and lasted all day.  The lavender scent isn't my favorite, but it wasn't bad.  

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We got several Cuccio Somatology products, a lotion and a yoga DVD, in the September Kloverbox.  This month, we got their Yoga Elixir Calming Spray.  The spray has a lavender and cardamom scent to it and is quite nice.  I don't usually love lavender, but I'm really liking how it blends with the cardamom.  This can be used as a natural air freshener or you can use it on your yoga towels to relax you.  This was my favorite product in my Kloverbox this month.

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The next product is the Harvey Prince Organics Sincerely spray.  This isn't your normal 1.5 ml perfume sample size -- it's 8.8 ml, so it's quite big.  I like Harvey Prince's Hello, but their Sincerely (formerly known as Journey) just isn't for me.  Harvey Prince says the perfume has notes of Indonesian clove bud, Australian sandalwood, Moroccan rose, French bergamot, Indian tuberose, Japanese orange flower, Lebanese cedarwood, Turkish cyclamen, and South African freesia.  This perfume has a very sweet scent to it and sweet scents aren't my style.  If you like sweet florals, though, this would be an excellent choice for you.

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The final product this month was VagMagic.  VagMagic is a homeopathic treatment for yeast infection and bacterial vaginosis.  There are four ingredients -- hydrogen borate, L. Acidophilus, vegetarian capsules, and water.  To treat a yeast infection, you insert one capsule a day for seven days.  To treat bacterial vaginosis, you insert one capsule a day for 21 days.  I prefer quick treatments for yeast infections, so I usually use the pill my doctor prescribes or the one day treatment you can get at the store.  If you want a more natural treatment, though, these would be worth trying.  I don't currently have any problems that would necessitate the use of these, so I was unable to try them out.  Has anyone used these?  If so, how did they work?

This wasn't my favorite Kloverbox ever, but it wasn't bad.  My favorite product was definitely the Cuccio Somatology Yoga Elixir Calming Spray, followed by the Love Myself Organics Natural Deodorant.  The Harvey Prince perfume wasn't for me, but scents are very personal, so you may love it.  I, fortunately, haven't needed a yeast infection treatment, so I can't tell you how well the VagMagic treatment works.  The products definitely fit the theme well!

What did you think of the March Kloverbox?  I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Goodbeing Review, March 2017

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

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Sweet little Apple isn't so sure about modeling!  She doesn't really want to hold still for even a second.

Goodbeing is a monthly natural beauty box.  Subscribers fill out extensive profiles upon subscribing.  Goodbeing seems to be one of the few beauty box companies that actually pays attention to those profiles.  It's clear they put a lot of thought into curating the perfect box for each subscriber.  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 recently began allowing subscribers to choose one to 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.

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Here's what came in my March Goodbeing box:

My March Goodbeing was worth $54.95.  That's a little under 2.5 times the price of the box, which isn't bad for a natural box.  We got only four items this month and normally we get five, so that was a little disappointing.  I know Goodbeing says in their information you get four to five items, but when you're so used to getting five, four seems a little weird.  I got a makeup item and three skincare items.  Goodbeing used to be more balanced, but I've found they've been going very light on makeup recently.

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Besides the fact that we got only four items, two of the four products, the Modicum Essential Cleanser and Modicum Essential Exfoliant, are meant to be used together, so it almost feels like they count as just one item.  You can use either one on its own, but Goodbeing suggests mixing a little of the exfoliant in with the cleanser when washing your face.  The exoliant is a powder.  They both have a very natural smell to them, which I don't love, but they work well.  The cleanser is non-drying and the exfoliant is very gentle.  They left my skin feeling very smooth.  All the pictures I've seen of other subscribers' March boxes have these products in it, so it's possible everyone got these products this month.

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Swatch of Zabana Essentials Glow Stick in Bronze Bahama Mama

Swatch of Zabana Essentials Glow Stick in Bronze Bahama Mama

The next product was one that I chose.  Normally, I wouldn't have chosen the Zabana Essentials Glow Stick, but they didn't have that many good options for March.  I've gotten their Glow Stick before in the color Bare Beauty, but I wasn't all that impressed with it as it didn't really have any color and I didn't see all that much shimmer.  I was hoping I would see more of an effect with the colored stick, but, as you can see above, it's also quite subtle.  It smells strongly of nectarine, which I don't love.  I also found it very difficult to work with.  You really have to get the stick warmed up to use it.  A chunk of it broke off when I was trying to get the swatch.  I tried to rub the chunk in, but parts of it just weren't dissolving, so I picked those pieces off so I could take the picture.  This feels like more of a summer item to me.

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Finally, my other product choice for March was the Biodara Coconut Matcha Brightening Mask.  This is a powdered mask that you mix with water to make a paste.  You apply it to your face, wait ten minutes, then rinse.  It's supposed to help with healing breakouts and brightening the skin to minimize the appearance of acne scars.  I didn't notice any real brightening effects after just one use, but skin did feel smooth and soft.  I'll have to use it more to see what kind of results I get.

This definitely wasn't my favorite Goodbeing.  It felt like it was missing something.  I used to absolutely love Goodbeing, but the past few months have been misses for me.  I liked the Modicum cleanser and exfoliant and the Biodara mask and thought the Zabana Essentials Glow Stick was okay, but nothing in the box really wowed me.  I'm hoping April will be better.

What did you think of the March Goodbeing box?  Did you like yours more than I liked mine?  

Mommy Mailbox Review, March 2017

Mommy Mailbox, $33.95 per month (free shipping to US; ships to Canada for $10.50 extra)

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Little Pine is having fun in Mommy Mailbox!  He was hoping there would be treats for him inside.

Mommy Mailbox is a monthly box of beauty products, home goods, and snacks.  Don't let the name scare you away -- this isn't just for moms!  I've never seen anything in the box that could be used only by mothers.  The box reminds me a little bit of PopSugar in that it's more of a lifestyle box than a beauty box.  Each month, Mommy Mailbox has a different mom blogger curate the box.  This month's curator was Krysta Monet, who runs Crinkles and Dimples, and her theme was Happiness.  All subscribers receive the same products.

Mommy Mailbox sent me this box free of charge for review.

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Here's what came in the March Mommy Mailbox:

This month's box was worth $92.50.  That's close to three times the price of the box, so I am happy with the value.  We got a good mix of products, too, with beauty products, a home item, and a beverage.

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First up, we have the Your Tea Happy Tea.  This tea contains chrysanthemum, barbary wolfberry fruit, hawthorn fruit, lemon, rose flower, and Chinese red tea.  Tea isn't my favorite thing, but I gave it a try and thought it was okay.  This is called Happy Tea because it is supposed to improve your mood and decrease anxiety.  I can't say I noticed those effects after one cup of it, but I suspect you'd have to drink it regularly for it to work.

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Swatches of Bellápierre XII Eyeshadow Palette Go Natural, left to right: Frost, Sorbet, Last Call, Femme, Catty, Utopia, Coin, Ash, Melrose, Intrigue, Dagger, Embellish.

Swatches of Bellápierre XII Eyeshadow Palette Go Natural, left to right: Frost, Sorbet, Last Call, Femme, Catty, Utopia, Coin, Ash, Melrose, Intrigue, Dagger, Embellish.

Bellápierre is one of those brands you see all the time in subscription boxes, and I used to not be a big fan.  After the Bellápierre mascara I got last month in my ipsy and now this eyeshadow palette, I am liking the brand more.  The eyeshadows have great pigment and stay on all day with my Urban Decay primer.  The fourth eyeshadow from the left, Femme, was a little chalky and didn't have quite as much pigment as the other shadows, but that is just one of twelve, so it wasn't a big deal.  The neutral colors aren't really my favorite -- I prefer bolder colors -- but they're good to have on hand when I need to be a little more conservative with my makeup or need a brow or crease color.  The darker colors on the right side (Intrigue, Dagger, and Embellish) were my favorite colors in the palette.

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I've seen Parlo Cosmetics products a few times in boxes recently and I've liked what I've seen from them so far, so I was happy to get their Shave Whip in the March Mommy Mailbox.  This Shave Whip is in the Field of Dreams scent, which doesn't seem to be available on Parlo's website, so it may have been made exclusively for Mommy Mailbox.  If it was, I hope they eventually start selling this shave whip!  It has a beautiful, sweet floral scent to it.  This is an airy, pink whipped shaving cream.  It was easy to apply and gave me a smooth shave.  

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Finally, we have a beautiful print from Lulu's Jewels.  I love succulents, so I think this is adorable.  I am having trouble deciding on the perfect place to display it, but I will find a special spot for it soon.  This would look great framed or displayed on a little plastic holder.  I don't know that I have ever gotten a print in a box before, so I'm excited to be getting something different!  It makes me want to go out and get some succulents!  Unfortunately, I murder every succulent I so much as look at.  I have a green thumb and can grow a gorgeous garden, but I cannot keep a houseplant alive to save my life.  I always end up watering them too much or too little.  

I have to say that Krysta Monet did an excellent job curating a box that captured happiness!  The tea wasn't quite for me as I am not a tea drinker, but it fit in well with the theme, and I loved everything else in the box.  It's hard to pick a favorite item as the print, the palette, and the shave whip were all amazing, but I think the print wins by a nose.  I get so many beauty and makeup products, so it's nice to have something a little different.  I'm so glad that Mommy Mailbox asked me to start reviewing their box as I never would have discovered it on my own.  I thought it was strictly a parenting box, but it's not like that at all.  It would make a nice treat for a busy mom, but it would make a nice treat for a woman without kids, too!

What did you think of the March Mommy Mailbox?  If you're a tea drinker, did you find that the tea helped improve your mood?  I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Julep Review, March 2017

Julep, $24.99 per month (US and Canada only)

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Marco didn't want to get out of the Julep box!  It was the perfect size for him and he loved sitting in it.

Julep is a monthly beauty subscription that contains a mix of nail polish, skincare products, and makeup.  Originally, Julep did only nail polish, but they've branched out over the years.  Subscribers are able to customize their boxes, so you can get all nail polish, all makeup, all skincare, or any combination of the three.  If you don't want to customize your box, Julep will put together a box for you based on your profile.  Each month, Julep releases a new collection of nail polish and then either a new product or new range of products.  You can choose any three of those or they also have a selection of products from past months that you can choose from.  You can also add on additional products at a discount.  Julep lets you skip a month or have a month of your subscription sent to someone else.  Besides the monthly boxes, Julep also has a secret store for subscribers and offers subscribers a discount on all of their products.  Normally, I don't like beauty boxes that feature products from only one brand, but Julep's skincare, makeup, and nail polish are of really great quality, so I make an exception for this box.

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Here's what I got this month:

My March Julep was worth $124.80.  I added on three products -- the Rosie, Pam, and Nayely polishes -- and Julep gives you a free gift when you order three add ons.  My free gift was the Jenna nail polish.  Julep also throws in either a piece of candy or a small product sample each month, and the Clean Slate pads were my free sample.  

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Swatch of Julep When Pencil Met Gel Long-Lasting Eyeliner in Fig Shimmer

Swatch of Julep When Pencil Met Gel Long-Lasting Eyeliner in Fig Shimmer

Julep added a new color to their When Pencil Met Gel Long-Lasting Eyeliner line this month.  The color was Fig Shimmer, which Julep calls a "wild mauve shimmer."  I love the When Pencil Met Gel liners, so I always love seeing the new colors they have available.  They are pencil liners that actually go on smoothly and evenly.  You'll never have to soften the tip with a lighter!  I was worried that this might be a bit of a weird color for an eyeliner, but it actually looked great on me and really brought out the green in my eyes.  I find that I sometimes have to retouch the eyeliner later in the day, but it usually holds up pretty well.

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You may remember that I got the Boost Your Radiance Reparative Rosehip Seed Facial Oil back in January.  It was a new product that month and I was excited to try it.  Unfortunately, it fell on the floor and the glass bottle shattered after I had used it only once or twice, so I wanted to try it again.  This is a face oil that absorbs quickly and doesn't leave you feeling greasy at all.  It was very moisturizing, which was perfect as the dry winter air has really gotten to my skin recently.  I haven't used it enough to see an effect on radiance yet, but I'm liking what I'm seeing so far.

Julep Nail Color in Lara

Julep Nail Color in Lara

Swatches of Julep Nail Color, left to right: Lara, Rosie, Nayely, Pam, Jenna.

Swatches of Julep Nail Color, left to right: Lara, Rosie, Nayely, Pam, Jenna.

Normally, I choose two nail polishes and then either a skincare or makeup product, but the new March nail polish collection didn't do much for me.  The only two colors I liked were Lara, pictured above, and Faith, a "mauvewood microshimmer."  I wasn't completely in love with either Lara or Faith, and I decided I liked Lara just a little bit more, so I just went with that.  Julep calls Lara a "shell pink with gold shimmer."  It looks almost white in the picture above, but it is a very pale pink.  It's a pretty color, but it's not my favorite.

Julep Nail Color in Rosie

Julep Nail Color in Rosie

Julep Nail Color in Pam

Julep Nail Color in Pam

Julep Nail Color in Nayely

Julep Nail Color in Nayely

Julep Nail Color in Jenna

Julep Nail Color in Jenna

I decided to get three add on polishes this month.  Julep has a section of items that can be added to your box at a discount and you get a free gift if you order three of them.  I chose Rosie, a "charcoal grey with magenta glitter," Pam, a "tigerlily holographic," and Nayely, a "papaya nectar crème."  These were nail polishes from past months.  Strangely enough, my favorite color was Pam, which is one I almost didn't get.  It's just such a bright, happy color with tons of sparkle.  Plus, it's the perfect color right now as I live in Syracuse!  Rosie was quite pretty also.  It took two coats to get full coverage glitter.  Nayely was okay.  It's pretty but not really my style.  My free gift was Jenna, a "tangerine burst crème."  I didn't like Jenna at first, but it has grown on me.  It's a medium reddish orange and it's quite pretty.  Crème finishes aren't my favorite -- I love sparkle! -- but I'll definitely use this occasionally.

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The little extra Julep threw in this month was two packets of the One-Step Polish Remover Pad.  This is an acetone remover.  I found it worked pretty well.  It wasn't even all that difficult to remove glitter polish with it!  Best of all, it contains aloe to help keep your nails healthy.  At $1.40 per pad, these are pretty expensive, so I doubt I would ever buy them.

I'm very happy with my March Julep box!  I loved everything!  That is one of the wonderful things about Julep, though -- you're going to love most, if not all, of the products as you get to choose them yourself.  If you're someone who prefers surprises, you can still do that with Julep, though.  My favorite products this month were the Fig Shimmer eyeliner, the Pam nail polish, and the face oil, but everything was fabulous.  I can't wait until March 20th when I can see the April collection!

What did you think of Julep this month?