December 2016 Beauty Box Wrap-up Review!

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It's that time again!  I'll give you mini reviews of all the subscription boxes I got in December, then choose my favorite box(es) and product(s) at the end.  Sometimes, after I've had a chance to use a product more, my opinion of it changes, so I'll make a note of that here when that's happened.  I include only monthly or quarterly subscription boxes, no special edition or mystery boxes I may have reviewed this past month.  If you want to read the full review of a particular box or product, or you want links to the box or product websites, I've included links to full reviews of the boxes.  Just click on through and you'll have all the information you need.

Top: ipsy.  Bottom, left to right:  Glossybox, Birchbox.

Top: ipsy.  Bottom, left to right:  Glossybox, Birchbox.

My December ipsy was pretty good.  I absolutely loved the the tarte cosmetics Tarteist Glossy Lip Paint in WCW!  The color, a deep berry, was gorgeous on me, and it went on smoothly and stayed on all day without feathering.  The color range of this line is very limited.  I hope tarte expands the color selection soon.  Surprisingly, I liked the Hikari Cosmetics Felt Tip Liquid Eyeliner in Iris.  This gave me a very fine line, perfect for tightlining, and this stuff won't budge once it's on.  You won't need to retouch it at all.  I loved the deep purple color, too!  It's nice to get eyeliner that isn't black.  I liked the REN Clean Skincare Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask quite a bit.  I was impressed that I could see an improvement after one use!  The other two products in my ipsy bag were a disppointment.  I've gotten Benefit's POREfessional Primer more times than I can count.  I don't hate it, but it's not one of my favorite primers.  The final product was the Cake Beauty Heavy Cream Intensive Hand Repair Balm.  That was a fantastic moisturizer and made my hands feel soft, but the strong French vanilla scent was not for me at all.  Overall, though, I'm pretty happy with my December ipsy.

December Glossyboxes are usually the best Glossyboxes of the year.  I no longer have an active subscription to Glossybox, but I had a ton of Glossydots when my subscription ended, so I will be able to get boxes for a few more months.  I decided to get two December boxes because I usually love December so much.  Unfortunately, that was a mistake.  In both boxes, I got the MeMeMe Beat the Blues Skin Illuminator in Oyster Gold.  I liked this highlighter a lot more than I expected I would.  It gave me a beautiful but subtle shimmer.  You paint this on with a brush that is attached to a cap, much like nail polish, so it's a little different from other highlighters I've tried.  I also got the MDMflow Semi-Matte Lipstick in Bossy in both boxes.  The formula of this lipstick was very dry, the pigment was lacking, and the tan color was not flattering on me, so I was not a fan.  The third product that was in both the boxes I got was the Luxie Beauty Onyx Noir Small Tapered Blending Brush 231.  This is a soft brush that blended my eyeshadow well, but brushes are always so boring to get in my boxes.  In the first of the two boxes, I got Kristals Cosmetics Diamond Select Anti-Gravity Spark Eye Mask and Vichy Laboratories Mineral Pore Purifying Clay Mask.  The Kristals eye gels costs $33.33 a pair!  I liked them and found them to be very hydrating, but I can't imagine paying that much for them.  The Vichy mask was drying but effective.  If you have dry skin, this won't be for you.  I'll get more use out of this mask in the summer than I will in the winter.  The second box had La Roche-Posay Toleriane Purifying Foaming Cleanser and Harajuku Lovers Pop Electric Baby Eau de Parfum Spray.  The cleanser had gentle foaming action and it felt like it got my face squeaky clean without drying it out, but Glossybox gave us the tiniest sample ever of this stuff.  I wish the sample had been bigger.  The Harajuku Lovers perfume was horrible.  The smell was straight sugar and it had that cheap perfume smell to it.  If you like sweet perfumes, you might like this, but this probably isn't for most people.  The December Glossybox was okay, but not my favorite.  I'm sad that Glossybox has gone so far downhill this year.

I  chose the curated Birchbox in December.  My favorite product in the box was the IPKN Flash Cream Radiant Primer.  I had been almost out of primer and then I got tons of it in my boxes this month, so that worked out for me.  This is a lightweight cream that blurred imperfections and gave me the perfect base for my foundation.  I think this is my favorite of the primers this month.  The Rene Furterer Lumicia Shampoo and Conditioner smelled fabulous and gave me a little extra shine without giving me additional volume.  The formula is perfect for my hair.  I wish the samples had been a little bigger, though!  I've gotten The Organic Pharmacy Double Rose Rejuvenating Face Cream before and liked it, so I didn't mind seeing it again.  This is a lightweight moisturizer that is better for summer than winter.  It has a strong rose scent that I love, but, if you don't love rose, you will not like this at all.  At $88 for a full size, it's very expensive, so I would never buy it.  The final product was the LOC One and Done Shadow Stick in Rock Steady.  This has fabulous pigment, but it's a little difficult to blend.  The color wasn't really for me, but I'd love to try this product out in other colors.  Birchbox also threw in a small mirror and a few gift tags in the box as an added bonus.  I liked the December Birchbox a lot more than I expected to.

Top:  DermStore BeautyFix.  Bottom:  Play! by Sephora, Julep.

Top:  DermStore BeautyFix.  Bottom:  Play! by Sephora, Julep.

The December DermStore BeautyFix was pretty good.  The first product, the Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Miracle Multiplying Volume Mist, wasn't for me, sadly.  I love Alterna products and I found this one made my hair so soft and shiny, but it gave me an incredible amount of volume.  My hair doesn't need added volume, so I gave this to a friend.  The Glytone Mild Cream Cleanser exfoliates and helps fight signs of aging in addition to cleaning your skin.  I loved this cleanser, but the packaging made it hard to use.  The DHC Velvet Skin Coat was my least favorite primer of the many primers I got this month.  This is a silicone-based primer, so it had that gel texture I hate.  Gel primers always feel like they are floating on top of my skin.  This dried to a powdery finish, so it wasn't as bad as some silicone primers.  I've gotten the REN Evercalm Global Protection Day Cream before and liked it, so I was happy to get another one.  This is a lightweight moisturizer that absorbs quickly and combats signs of aging.  It also is supposed to make sensitive skin less sensitive.  I always love a good charcoal mask, so I was happy to see the Dermalogica Charcoal Rescue Masque in the box.  Charcoal masks suck impurities out of the skin, so it's fun to watch them work.  This made my face feel squeaky clean, got all the gross stuff out of my pores, and somehow didn't dry my face out in the process.  I've wanted the Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse OR Multi-usage Dry Oil since Glossybox advertised it would be in everyone's boxes in July, then didn't actually include it in most boxes.  This is a shimmery oil that absorbs very quickly and is non-greasy.  It can be used in your hair or on your skin.  I noticed a slight shimmer when using it on my skin, but I couldn't see it when it was in my hair.  I wish the sparkle was a little more obvious, but I still like it.  Most months, DermStore BeautyFix has a beauty tool, and it's often from Danielle Creations.  In the December box, we got the Danielle Creations Nail Clipper, which was plated in 24k gold.  This is the prettiest set of nail clippers I've owned!  Subscribers received a Dermelect ME nail polish this month and I got the color Hold ME Sparkled Midnight Noir.  This is a beautiful black polish with rainbow sparkles in it.  I love it!  It chipped after a couple of days, but that always happens with nail polish on me.  The final product was my favorite!  We got a full size Kevyn Aucoin The Sensual Lip Satin in Velvet.  This was a beautiful color on me and it held up throughout most of the day.  I can't imagine spending $48 on a lipstick, but I'm happy to have this one!   Overall, I was very happy with my December DermStore BeautyFix!  

I was also happy with my December Play! by Sephora.  Two of the products, the Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo and the Elizabeth and James Nirvana Bourbon Eau de Parfum, weren't for me, but I loved everything else.  The dry shampoo was very heavily scented and I didn't like the scent at all.  I also had a hard time getting the white powder out of my hair.  While I love Elizabeth and James' Nirvana White, the Bourbon wasn't for me.  It had a vanilla base to it, so it's not a perfume I would ever want to wear regularly.  I was surprised by how much I liked the Bobbi Brown mascara.  It gave me lots of length and volume and didn't run or flake.  The Make Up For Ever primer made my skin smooth and it was a fabulous base for my foundation.  It is a cream foundation with a slight tint to it and it worked perfectly on me.  The Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain in 01 Always Red was one of my two favorite products in the box.  This has amazing pigment, didn't feather, and stayed on all day.  The color was flattering on my skin tone.  The final product, the Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray, was my other favorite product in the box.  Once I sprayed this on my face, my makeup was set for the day.  I might have to buy this!  This was one of the best Play! boxes I've gotten.

In my first Julep box, I got two nail polishes -- Bree and Kristjana -- and a primer, Julep Blank Canvas Mattifying Primer.  Bree is described by Julep as a golden gardenia multidimensional glitter polish.  This was a pale gold glitter that gave my nails much better coverage than most glitter polish.  This is one of my favorite Julep colors ever.  The other color, Kristjana, is described as a sweet plum holographic polish.  I didn't love this one quite as much as Bree, but the deep plum with glitter was very pretty.  As I mentioned above, I was almost out of primer, so I selected a primer from Julep as my third item.  If I had known I was getting so much primer this month, I wouldn't have chosen it, but I had no idea!  This is a cream primer with a little bit of tackiness to it when you first put it on, but it dries and gives you a smooth finish.  This isn't my favorite primer ever, but it's not bad.  I was happy with my first Julep box.  I get to choose my own products, so that makes it easy to be happy with the box.

Top, left to right:  Kloverbox, Petit Vour.  Bottom, left to right:  Terra Bella Box, Goodbeing.

Top, left to right:  Kloverbox, Petit Vour.  Bottom, left to right:  Terra Bella Box, Goodbeing.

The December Kloverbox had a Happy Holidays theme.  The first product was the Yoganics Holiday Cheer Blend Essential Oil.  This had a warm, spicy scent to it that was perfect for the holidays.  To go along with the oil, we got a Drops of Joy Jewelry Lave Stone Amazonite Diffuser Bracelet.  The bracelet had a mix of green amazonite beads and lava stone beads.  You can add essential oil to the lave stone beads and it acts as a diffuser.  The essential oil that came in the box is more of a home scent than one I would want on my body, but you can use whatever essential oil you might like on the bracelet.  The Wild Plants Love You Rosy Cheek Stain is a very buildable cheek color.  You can go from very subtle to somewhat bold, depending on how much you build it up.  You can also use it as a lip color, but I prefer my lip colors to be a little bolder and brighter.  The Timeless Organic Skin Care Timeless Muscle Soak is a packet of bath salts, oats, lavender, and almond oil, and it's supposed to be good for sore muscles.  I didn't have sore muscles when I tried it, so I can't say how well it works for that, but it was relaxing and made my skin feel soft.  I wish it had a stronger scent, but I still enjoyed it.  The final product was the rå goods Refresh Your Face Toner.  This toner smelled strongly of frankincense, but I liked it.  Due to aloe and glycerin in this toner, this toner is actually moisturizing instead of drying.  This is one of the better toners I've tried.  The December Kloverbox was fabulous!  The toner was my favorite product, but I liked everything.

In my December Petit Vour, my favorite product was the Shamanuti Activated Charcoal Cleanser.  Besides drawing out impurities with the charcoal, the cleanser also contains maple extract to exfoliate.  I didn't love the scent of it, but it worked wonderfully.  The Aromatherapy Associates Revive Morning Bath and Shower Oil is new to me!  To use this, you apply the oil to your torso before getting into the shower or bath, breathe deeply and smell the oil that is left on your hands, then get in the shower and the oil is supposed to be aromatherapeutic.  I couldn't smell this at all once I got into the shower, but I don't think I used enough.  All subscribers received Juice Beauty Phyto-Pigments Luminous Lip Crayons, but the colors varied.  I got Salinas, a brownish rosy color.  This was an MLBB (My Lips But Better) type lipstick -- it gave me a little bit of color, but it was very close to my natural color.  I had to build it up quite a bit to get enough color.  I prefer a bolder lip color, so this just wasn't for me.  The final product was the OILLE Volumizing Intelligence Hair Serum.  I don't want added volume, so I used this to keep my flyaways in check and it worked well.  I was worried it would make my hair greasy, but it didn't at all.  This wasn't my favorite Petit Vour ever, but it wasn't bad.  

The Terra Bella Box in December was a lot of fun.  The Artistic Solutions Ink Moisturizing Lotion Candle in Sugar Plum Spice was my favorite product.  You let the candle burn for 15 minutes, then you can use the warm oil for massage or as a moisturizer.  It's a very romantic little candle.  The Indigo Wild Bah Hum Zum bar soap in peppermint almond smells so good that I almost don't want to use it.  This is moisturizing for a bar soap and leaves your hands lightly scented.  The Jersey Shore Spa Whole Body Balm is a stick that can be used on your hair, nails, and skin -- wherever you need moisture.  It's surprisingly non-greasy.  It kept my flyaways in line when I used it on my hair, so I loved that about it.  It's a small tube that is the perfect size for your purse, so you can use it anywhere.  The final product was the GLOW for a Cause Perfume Rollerball in Wish.  This fragrance has notes of light florals, bergamot, white tea, and musk.  I liked the top and base notes, but the mid notes weren't my favorite.  

My Goodbeing was solid in December -- not my favorite ever, but certainly not bad.  The Good Medicine Honey Dew Youth Serum and the Bella Aura Skincare Antioxidant Booster were both great serums, but they were very heavily scented.  I was able to cover up the Good Medicine serum's scent with a scented moisturizer, but nothing would cover up the Bella Aura scent.  I liked them, but I wish they had gone for a little more subtle scent.  My favorite product in the box was the 100% Pure Pink Grapefruit Hand Buttercream.  This was a rich cream moisturizer that hydrated my hands and left them with a faint grapefruit smell.  I love grapefruit, so I was very happy to get this in my box!  The Slab Fresh Soap Avocado Butter Soap is an unscented bar soap that contains lots of vitamins and minerals.  It's supposed to be good for people with psoriasis.  I gave this to my girlfriend's mom as I thought it would help her.  I haven't had a chance to ask her what she thinks of it yet, but I'll let you know when I do.  The final product was the Balanced Guru Optimist Organic Aromatherapy Spray in Sensitive.  Aromatherapy sprays aren't really something I use, so I passed this along to a friend.  This smelled okay, but I didn't notice any added sensitivity.  That was the only real miss in the box for me.  

Top, left to right:  The Zoe Report Box of Style, FabFitFun.  Bottom, left to right:  PopSugar Must Have, Mommy Mailbox.

Top, left to right:  The Zoe Report Box of Style, FabFitFun.  Bottom, left to right:  PopSugar Must Have, Mommy Mailbox.

My first The Zoe Report Box of Style was amazing!  The only product I didn't love was the sponsored extra, the Juicy Couture Viva La Juicy Ea de Parfum.  The perfume was very sweet smelling and wasn't my style at all.  Everything else was fabulous, though.  My favorite product was the Dylanlex Zoey necklace.  This is a beautiful silver necklace with Swarovski crystals.  It can be worn as a choker or as a bib necklace, depending on tight you want it.  It has so much sparkle to it!  It's very dramatic.  I also loved the Clinique Pop Lip Colour + Primer in Berry Pop.  The berry color was beautiful and the lipstick stayed on all day without feathering.  It needed one touch up in the middle of the day, but that's not bad.  The Dagne Dover Leather Card Case was beautifully made.  I love the navy leather.  It can hold a few cards and some cash, so it's perfect to use for a night on the town.  While I don't normally wear winter hats, I've made an exception for the Soia and Kyo Olivia Cable Knit Hat.  The burgundy color is perfect and the hat is well-made and warm.  I normally hate how I look in hats, but I think I look pretty cute in this.  The D.L. and Co. candle was made especially for the box and it is called TZR Birch.  It smells more like pine than birch.  Pine isn't my favorite scent, but it's not bad and it was the perfect candle for the holidays.  The final product was the Sunday Riley Tidal Brightening Water Enzyme Cream.  This is pale green and has a cucumber scent to it.  It is very hydrating and feels luxurious.  I'm so happy I finally decided to try the Box of Style!

The Winter 2016 FabFitFun box wasn't as good as the Fall 2016 box, but I still liked it.  I absolutely loved the Gorjana Taner Toggle Lariat Necklace.  I didn't think I was going to like this necklace at all -- I really wanted to get the silver, which was a different style -- but it ended up looking amazing on me.  It's simple but sophisticated.  The D.L. and Co. Blackberry Nectar Gold Candle was also a favorite.  The blackberry scent was perfect for me.  I was surprised by how strong the scent was, but I liked it.  The O.R.G. Skincare Mineral Peel Face is an effective peel that got all the gross dead skin off and left me looking radiant.  I had been hoping to get the Anderson Lilley Body Cream in Sicilian Tangerine, but I ended up getting Winter in Manhattan Beach.  It ended up having a beautiful scent to it and I was happy that I had gotten it.  It was very moisturizing.  The scent is rather strong, so you may not like it if you don't like strongly scented creams.   I liked the Butter London Iconoclast mascara, but it gave me more volume than length and that's the opposite of what I want in a mascara.  If you want lots of volume, though, this would be the perfect mascara for you.  The Marie Mae Thank You Card Set and the Moleskin planner were misses for me.  I don't use planners and I already have tons of thank you cards.  This quarter, FabFitFun partnered with the Starlight Children's Foundation and sent subscribers a gold star pin.  It's cute, but I don't imagine I will ever wear it.  FabFitFun had gotten a lot of complaints that there was no fitness-related product this month, so they threw in a 2 month subscription to Barre3, an online workout class.  I won't be using that.  

My December PopSugar Must Have box wasn't my favorite.  The Odeme Catchall and Ring Dish have been very useful for organizing my many beauty products, but they're a little plain for my taste.  The Mane Message The Date Night Bobby Pin Package is very cute, but I have a hard time making them work in my thick hair.  Once I get them in, they're fine, but it's not easy getting them into my hair.  I liked the beautiful cranberry color of the Winky Lux Lip Velour in Bunny.  The baby bunnies were confused by the name as none of them are close to being that color.  The lipstick held up most of the day and was a great color on me.  I'm not sure what PopSugar was thinking with the BaubleBar Snowfall Pendant that was made exclusively for the box.  The design is a little on the weird sign and is plain.  I've worn it a couple of times, but it won't make it into my regular rotation.  The Dessange Top Coat Serum is meant to help hair that has been dyed, but it added a lot of shine to my hair, so I'll use it even though I don't dye my hair.  The final product was the Sisters' Gourmet Baker's Dozen Classic Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix.  I still haven't made these as I still have tons of treats left over from the holidays, but I'm looking forward to it.  My friends who have tried them say they are yummy.  This wasn't a horrible PopSugar box, but I've seen them do better.  

The December Mommy Mailbox was a fun box.  My favorite thing in the box was the Olive + Piper Classic Crystal Bangle in Rose Gold.  The rose gold color was made exclusively for Mommy Mailbox.  It's pretty and sparkly and should fit most wrists as it is surprisingly flexible.  I also loved the GLOW for a Cause Facial Nourishing Cream in Calendula and Citrus.  The fresh citrus scent was perfect.  The cream is very thick and hydrating.  I'd never tried a brush like the Sweep Beauty Oval Face Brush before, but it did a fantastic job applying my highlighter.  It was easy to use and helped give me a subtle glow.  The Manna Kadar Paradise Blush gave me a peachy pink flush that reminded me of a matte version of NARS Orgasm.  It's buildable, so you can go as subtle or as bold as you want.  The final product in the box was Jo's Candies Peppermint Bark. I love peppermint, so I enjoyed this treat.  I wish it had been a bit sweeter, but most people would probably think it was perfect the way it is.

Top, left to right:  Dylanlex Zoey Necklace, D.L. and Co. Candle in Blackberry Nectar.  Bottom, left to right:  Gorjana Taner Toggle Lariat Necklace in Gold, Dagne Dover Leather Card Case.

Top, left to right:  Dylanlex Zoey Necklace, D.L. and Co. Candle in Blackberry Nectar.  Bottom, left to right:  Gorjana Taner Toggle Lariat Necklace in Gold, Dagne Dover Leather Card Case.

This month, I did something a little different with my favorites.  Because I got a lot of jewelry, accessories, and home goods in boxes this month, I chose my four favorite products from those categories, and, below, I have my four favorite beauty products.  My favorite products this month were the Dylanlex necklace from The Zoe Report Box of Style, the D.L. and Co. Blackberry Nectar candle from FabFitFun, the Gorjana Taner Toggle Lariat Necklace from FabFitFun, and the Dagne Dover Leather Card Case from the Box of Style.  They're all classy and beautiful and have gotten a lot of use over the holidays! 

Top, left to right:  Kevyn Aucoin The Sensual Lip Satin in Velvet, Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain in 01 Always Red.  Bottom, left to right:  tarte cosmetics Tarteist Lip Paint in WCW, Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray.

Top, left to right:  Kevyn Aucoin The Sensual Lip Satin in Velvet, Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain in 01 Always Red.  Bottom, left to right:  tarte cosmetics Tarteist Lip Paint in WCW, Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray.

My four favorite beauty products were the Tarteist Lip Paint in WCW from ipsy, the Kevyn Aucoin The Sensual Lip Satin in Velvet from DermStore BeautyFix, the Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain in 01 Always Red from Play!, and the Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray, also from Play! by Sephora.

Top: The Zoe Report Box of Style.  Bottom, left to right:  Play! by Sephora, FabFitFun.

Top: The Zoe Report Box of Style.  Bottom, left to right:  Play! by Sephora, FabFitFun.

My favorite boxes this month were The Zoe Report Box of Style, Play! by Sephora, and FabFitFun.  It was hard to choose favorites as there were so many good boxes this month, but I think these are top three.

What did you think of the December boxes?  Did you have favorite boxes or products?  I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!