Lest anyone worry that I’ve given up my obsession with monthly subscription services, let me put your minds at ease and say that isn’t the case. Rather, I got a wee bit overwhelmed back in the days of the kitchen remodel and let things pile up. And since I don’t think it’s useful to anyone to simply post what I got without being able to give a truthful review of it, I’ve held back until now to give you the scoop.
Sure, I could drag this out in three posts, but that would just delay us further. Let’s face it, August is almost OVER people. I need to get this out of my queue so I’m ready for all the stuff that will show up in September! (Sigh. September means another Minneapolis winter is just around the corner, and I am SO NOT PREPARED.)
When you look at three months of Birchbox all in one place, it’s kind of amazing. Look at all these products I’ve tried! All these new brands of which I’m now aware! If there was ever any doubt about why it’s addicting to get these boxes in the mail every month, feast your eye on these fun things.
This is the June Birchbox. It included:
- Supergoop! Everyday sunscreen SPF 30. Birchbox sure does love themselves some Supergoop! products. How many times have they put it in my box? Half a dozen? I’m pretty sure I’ve given it a so-so review every time, and I didn’t even use this tube before putting it in the reject box. My skin is too weird about sunscreen.
- Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser. I’m really into the idea of a face cleanser that you slather on like a lotion and sponge off. Mostly, it’s because I’m lazy. Also, I hate making a mess in the sink with lathering and splashing. Seriously. I know it sounds crazy, but I hate it. Sadly, this cleanser didn’t work for my skin – even though it claims to work for everyone. My skin didn’t feel clean after, and half an hour after washing it felt sort of oily. I gave it a fair shake, but in the end it just wasn’t meant to be.
- Harvey Prince Hello eau du parfum. I love this! I was just saying to someone that one of the things I miss most about California is my Meyer lemon tree. It produced dozens of lemons a month year-round, so I never had to buy lemons. I’d just walk outside, snag one off the tree, and be ready to go. Man, I miss that tree! This parfum has a Meyer lemon base with just a tiny hint of florals, which is perfect for me. I’m not committed to wearing a fragrance every day, but I’ve been using this on special occasions.
- Cynthia Rowley Beauty Eyeliner. Yep, it’s another eyeliner. Straight into the reject box!
- Davines OI All In One Milk. It’s hard to know how a haircare product will treat you with only one application. I have a lot of hair, so the sample here was only good for one go-around. I put it to the ultimate test and didn’t use anything in my hair after the shower to see how it controlled frizz and/or added shine, and I was pretty underwhelmed. My hair didn’t curl at all – which it will, with even a dime-sized dollop of my leave-in – and it was super frizzy. Maybe it could be better with repeated use?
- Davines LOVE Lovely Smoothing Shampoo and Conditioner. These samples were big enough that I got two uses of the conditioner, and could have washed my hair with the shampoo for a couple of weeks. However, this is another of those non-foaming shampoos, which I’ve already said I don’t like. I tried to put that bias aside and used the combo of these two products for two shampoos, and it was not good. I could barely get a comb through my hair after each time, and my hair felt like straw for the two days before the next wash. I love the branding on these products, which they sell at my salon, and have always wondered about them. I’m sad they aren’t for me.
This is the July Birchbox, brought to us by Women’s Health. It included:
- Real Chemistry Luminous 3-Minute Peel. I love getting samples like these because using them feels like having a spa day at home, but something went seriously wrong here. Admittedly, the directions say to apply to dry skin. Without thinking about it, I splashed my face in the shower, and then patted it dry before applying. I guess it was still a little damp? Maybe that’s what happened? When I began to massage in the gel, it started beading up into tiny little rubbery pellets. I kept rubbing. The pellets kept forming. And when I rinsed it off, the pellets were stuck in the fine hairs along my jawline. It was so bad I had to scrape some of them off with my fingernails, which pulled out some of those fine hairs, and it hurt. Like, really hurt! I couldn’t even get them all off with water, I had to scrub with my towel to get them to come lose. I’ve read a bunch of really glowing reviews and haven’t seen anyone with this problem, so I’m willing to admit user error. But would slightly damp skin really cause this? It was such a bad experience I threw the rest of the sample away.
- Coastal Scents eyeshadow sampler. I almost never wear makeup, but in a former life I was part of a performance community that required exaggerated eye makeup, and Coastal Scents was my go-to brand. Their eyeshadows are high pigment and never flake. Mixed with water, I think they are every bit as powerful as MAC products (though, seriously, I know very little about makeup). I’ve recently thrown all of my stage makeup away – it was way past its six-month prime – so this little palette was a welcome hit of nostalgia. I used it for the first time on my birthday, and the colors are perfect. We’ll see if I have eyeshadow-worthy events before it gets too old to use again!
- Beauty Protector Protect & Treat hair mask. I received two little jars of this in my box, and had already used one – in two applications – before I took this picture. My hair felt really lovely after, soft and shiny. I just used the last bit of a different mask, and I’m very tempted to buy this one!
- Naobay Body Radiance Lotion. The fragrance in this lotion is so delicious, a light citrus, so I really wanted to love it. However, after using it every day for a week straight, my arms (and, strangely, the insides of my knees) broke out in little bumps. They’re gone after a week back with my Aveeno Daily Moisturizer, so I feel pretty confident blaming the Naobay lotion.
- Marcelle New-Age 8 in 1 Power Serum. Am I the only one who thinks “8 in 1” should be hyphenated here? Anyone? It’s kind of making me crazy! I will admit that I’ve only used this serum once, and not because I didn’t like it. It’s because I also got a serum in the August box, and I also just got a full-sized bottle of Philosophy’s Time In A Bottle, which I have always wanted to try and gets crazy-good reviews. My skin felt great after one use of the Marcelle product, though, so I’m looking forward to giving it a better shot.
This is the August Birchbox. It included:
- Neil George shampoo and conditioner. I’ve used this combo a couple of times now, and all is well. I wouldn’t say it’s been an amazing experience or anything, and I’m not going to be in the market for shampoo/conditioner for a little while, but I’m going to put these in my travel bag and be happy to have them on my next trip.
- Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate. I’ve been giving this a try instead of the Marcelle serum from July. In the morning I’m using the Philosophy and at night I’m using this. Do I really need more than one product? Will I even be able to tell which product is making me look fabulous, should I actually look fabulous after a couple of weeks of use? I dunno. This gel does have an off-putting chemical smell, and my skin feels a little sticky until it’s totally absorbed. I can’t see myself falling in love.
- Benefit They’re Real! push-up liner. Okay. There is one exception to my no-eyeliner rule, and that is for liquid liner. I love a good liquid liner, and mine is about past its prime. I’m not sure I’ll get along with this one, though. I’m not very skilled at applying eyeliner, and the tip on this is a bit unwieldy. I found the size of the sample hard to hold onto. My first application did not go well, unless Sad Clown is on trend right now.
- Dr.Jart+ BB Dis-A-Pore SPF 30. What a hilarious randomly punctuated name for a brand. The marketer in me weeps, truly. I’m not sure how I’m going to sample all these skincare products in a way that gives me any indication of their longterm benefit. I have this and the Marcelle waiting to try, and if I don’t give them at least a couple of weeks – or until the sample runs out – I don’t feel like I’m learning anything about it. I tried this once, and felt vaguely oily. It’s been hellishly humid here, though, so it’s possible I would be oily anyway. I’m putting this in line behind the Marcelle, and hoping I don’t get more competing products in September!
Whew! That’s so many things!
This month I also got rid of all the samples that either didn’t work after one/two tries or which I never used (like eyeliners). I brought it all into the office and sent an email to my female colleagues, and they snapped it all up within an hour. It was nice to be able to share!