Here's the first of what I hope to be monthly wrap-ups of the boxes. Which ones were my favorites and least favorites in December? Which products can I not live without and which can I not wait to throw out? I will only be doing the monthly boxes in this monthly column, so the holiday boxes aren't in this. All thirteen monthly beauty boxes I reviewed in December are pictured above, but I'll go through them each individually below.
Sometimes, over the course of a month, I will end up having a different opinion on an item I previously reviewed. A product that seemed great for a couple of uses ends up having some issues that weren't immediately apparent after I've had a few weeks to use it. Other times, a product that I didn't like will get a second chance and I will discover that it was better than I initially thought. When that happens, I'll mention it in the monthly wrap-up.
In my review of Terra Bella Box, I liked everything except the Zen Redhead Zen Gloss. The gloss was meant to be a general highlighter, but I didn't feel it worked all that well and the scent bothered me. The Live Beautifully Blackberry Wine lip balm jelly smells so good, but it ended up not being my favorite lip balm formula after using it for a while. It works and it's acceptable, but I would be unlikely to buy this in other scents. I do love Live Beautifully's stick form of lip balm, though. The R Devine facial cleanser and serum, the Moody Sisters body scrub, and the Indigo Wild bar soap in the lovely, seasonal scent of frankincense, were all fabulous. Overall, I was very happy with the December Terra Bella!
Allure's December box review was so-so. There were a few products that I have gotten multiple times in beauty boxes and have gotten a little tired of (namely, Klorane dry shampoo, Pop Beauty Kajal Pen, and the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer). On the other hand, the Skinceuticals Blemish and Age Defense Serum was amazing! I hear from so many other women who, like me, are in their 30s and are still dealing with pimples and are concerned about preventing signs of aging. It can be nigh impossible to find skincare products that address both issues simultaneously, so I was excited to see this in my Allure box. The Avene Body Oil and the Illume Blackberry Absinthe candle were quite nice, and the sponsored extra, the ChapStick Total Hydration balm, was okay. The four items I liked were more than enough to make up for the three items that I'm tired of seeing in beauty boxes.
The DermStore BeautyFix box was wonderful for the second month in a row! In my review, I mentioned how much I liked the Harry Josh brush. Unfortunately, after using it for a few weeks, I don't like it as much. The bristles aren't quite as strong as I had thought they were and it can't get tangles out of my hair. The Dermalogica Skinperfect Primer ended up being a big favorite of mine, as did the LiftActiv Serum.
In the picture above, we have the three Korean beauty boxes! Korean skincare is so innovative, fun, and effective, so those are always exciting to get in the mail.
My review of Beauteque's Mask Maven was good, as always. I'm a sucker for sheet masks. Their theme was A Little Bit of Everything, which I thought was a fun theme. It gave them a chance to throw in masks that wouldn't fit well in other themes and there's sure to be something for everyone in this Mask Maven. There were brightening, healing, wrinkle, acne, and hydrating facial sheet masks, and even a hand mask! The only issue with Mask Maven is that you end up with more masks than one person can reasonably use, so I always recommend having mask parties with friends.
Beauteque also puts out another beauty subscription, BB Bag. In my review, I wrote that this was a good month, but not a great month for BB Bag. The brush and the Pig Collagen Jelly Cream just were not for me, and the nail polish and the Tony Moly lipliner seemed nice enough, but the colors weren't for me. On the other hand, I quite liked the Ladykin Elmaju Natural Broccoli Brightening Cream and the keratin spray for hair.
The 3B Box was my new Korean beauty subscription this month. In my review, I wrote that it was okay. Two of the five products I had gotten in my Beauteque boxes recently. The Skin Prestige BB Cream has ended up in regular rotation in my makeup routine, so that was a great discovery. The hair ampoule and the toner were good, but they weren't wonderful. I could have done without them. If 3B doesn't knock it out of the park in January, they're going to end up on my cancellation list.
On to the "mainstream" boxes! What did I think of Glossybox, ipsy, and Birchbox in December?
In the December Glossybox review, I mentioned that last year's December Glossybox was absolutely amazing, so I had very high expectations for the 2015 December Glossybox. Did Glossy meet those expectations? Sadly, no. It was okay, but not my favorite box by any means. The Simple Sugars scrub was in Candy Cane scent, so I could not wait to try it out. It left my body feeling very greasy, so, while it was very exfoliating and smelled yummy, it wasn't for me. The Glossybox brand eyeshadow was nice enough, but not all that special. I do like the color and have used it a few times. The Gold Label lipstick was a beautiful pink color and had wonderful pigment, but it didn't have the staying power I was hoping for. I have to note that many subscribers, including myself, found the tip of the Gold Label lipstick was stuck to the top of the tube upon opening our Glossyboxes, but it was still usable. I love that Gold Label is marketed toward women of color, so I really hope to see more of their products in the future. The Color Club nail polish in Feverish was a bit of a disappointment. I found the application to be streaky, even after two coats, but I thought the color itself was gorgeous.
My review of the December Birchbox was better than my usual Birchbox reviews. I liked three of the products! One of the two I didn't like so much, the Serge Normant volumizing spray, was an effective volumizer, but I don't need volume in my hair. It's a great product if volume is what you need, though! The Coastal Scents eyeshadow I recommend against. I'm all for quality drugstore/lower-end brands, but Coastal Scents hasn't had the quality I expect from cosmetics. This eyeshadow was no exception. The pigment was seriously lacking and it had no staying power. I liked the gorge* I'll Make You Look Amazing Daily Spray because of its detangling properties, but reader nyt picks picker mentioned in the comments on my review that gorge* is rumored to have some bad business practices. Do your research before ordering from them. The Jouer Matte Moisture Tint is fantastic and I would probably buy it in full size if I didn't have a million similar products in my makeup drawers. I also really enjoyed the (MALIN + GOETZ) Clarifying Clay Mask. So, overall, Birchbox gets a passing grade. The sample sizes weren't even microscopic this month!
ipsy's December review was also better than the usual ipsy review! I liked three of the five items in this Glambag. I thought the Glambag itself was a little on the ugly side, but the products inside weren't bad for the most part. The Klorane Floral Water Eye Makeup Remover is a product I've gotten a number of times from beauty boxes. It's okay, but I really prefer oil-based eye makeup removers. The Pacifica Power of Love lipstick was the other product I wasn't crazy about. I got the color Nudie Red, which I thought was rather hideous. I didn't think it was in any way red. It was more of a warm tan color with some pink in it. Besides not liking the color, it didn't stay on my lips for long. Pacifica is donating one of these lipsticks to women in shelters for each one that is sold. The Formula X nail polish in Revved Up was a stunning rose gold. It went on smoothly and evenly and lasted for days. I'm now a huge fan of Formula X. I was already a fan of Elizabeth Mott, but I'm an even bigger fan after trying the Thank Me Later eyeshadow primer. It worked as well as the Urban Decay primers I usually use. Finally, I loved the Acure Cell Stimulating Face Mask. Acure is an amazing organic skincare brand that has drugstore prices. I can't recommend Acure enough.
The always amazing Amor Naturals put out their winter box in December. They are a quarterly subscription box that sends customers high quality, handmade organic skincare, hair care, and bath products. The love they put into each product is evident. In my review, I again raved about their fabulous box. The winter box's theme was Ice Queen. The products in the winter box aren't currently available for sale in their online shop, but keep an eye on their website and they'll be up for sale eventually. The beautiful snowflake-shaped bath bomb was broken during shipping, sadly, but it still worked perfectly well, so no complaints there. The peppermint lip balm was so moisturizing and smelled like a candy cane, one of my favorite scents. The Chocolate Espresso Body Polish, the Almond Coconut Balm, and the Daily Nourishing Oil were all fabulous products that I highly recommend. Unfortunately, the winter box is already sold out, but if you subscribe now, you can get the spring box in a few short months!
December was my first month getting LaRitzy to review. I was impressed! I am in love with Trust Fund Beauty nail polish, so I was elated to get their glittery top coat, Boy Tears. I can't believe how much glitter they packed into that little bottle and how evenly the glittery top coat goes on! So many top coats with glitter are a pain in the ass because the glitter is unevenly distributed and doesn't coat the nail uniformly. The Studio Aroma Cuticle Oil was moisturizing and healing. This was my first time getting cuticle oil in a beauty box. I liked the GlamNatural Mascara in brown more than I thought I would. I prefer the blackest mascara I can find, but this brown ended up being very dark, flattering, and the formula didn't clump. I'm always happy to get another konjac sponge! The m.o.t.d. shader brush was nice enough, but it hasn't made it into my regular rotation of makeup brushes. Besides the five products LaRitzy sends per month, they also threw in two small bonus items! I did not like the Bodisafe Hydrating Night Cream at all. It felt like I had rubbed wax all over my face, but I loved the GlamNatural Cream Blush. I'm really happy with LaRitzy, one of the newere natural/organic boxes on the scene.
Petit Vour had an okay month, as you can see in my review. The Blissoma Deodorant just was not for me. I've tried many a natural deodorant and I have yet to find one that I like. This one was in stick form, at least! I hate the pot kind. This had a very gritty feel to it. I found it uncomfortable. My lovely girlfriend, Emily, really liked it, though. The Zabana Essentials Glow Stick had a strong apricot smell, which I was not a fan of. The color I got, Bare Beauty, was too light and too subtle for me. I want a highlighting stick to not be glaringly obvious, but to be a little more noticeable than this glow stick was. I loved the Kani Botanicals Petal Polish Mask. It helps with aging, acne, and brightening, so this mask helps with almost everything! Definitely give this a try if you have the chance. Finally, there was the Mai Couture Blush Papier. This was easy to use, but I feel like it is more of a travel beauty product and not an everyday thing. This wasn't my favorite month for Petit Vour, but it wasn't bad.
Last but not least, there was the Kloverbox review! I absolutely loved Kloverbox this month! I was surprised to see Harvey Prince Hello in the box as that is a product I associate with Birchbox, but I was happy to see it. This was a good size travel spray, so it wasn't a teeny vial that you always get in a beauty box. The scent is beautiful, but not extremely long lasting. The Dermadeli Calm Chamomile Exfoliating Scrub is a new favorite. It has a light scent that isn't my favorite, but it's not an overwhelming order. It exfoliates really well and feels so luxurious. The Kiss Me Honey lip balm in Cooling Mint is a high quality lip balm that stayed on for longer than most and smelled great. Kloverbox had released a spoiler for the December box showing Balanced Guru's body balm, but there was a last minute change to the Balanced Guru Body Oil. Kloverbox communicated with subscribers about this and promised that the balm would appear in a future box. They handled the problem well, I felt. I, personally, am happy to have gotten the oil instead of the balm.
Choosing an overall favorite box for December is so hard! If I had to choose, it would probably be a tie between Amor Naturals and Kloverbox. I think the 3B Box was my least favorite box this month, but I didn't hate it. As for favorite products this month, I think Trust Fund Beauty Boy Tears, Amor Naturals' Almond Coconut Balm, Formula X Revved Up, Dermadeli Calm Chamomile Exfoliating Scrub, and the Dermalogica SkinPerfect Primer were the best.
What did you think of all your December boxes? Did you have favorites or least favorites? I'd love to hear what you think in the comments!