Thursday, August 21, 2014

Birchbox for CEW Prestige Headliners Limited Edition Box

This is the second limited edition box that Birchbox recently released that features finalist brands from this year's Cosmetic Executive Women (CEW) Insiders' Choice Beauty Awards.  I picked both the Mass Appeal box, reviewed last Friday, and this Prestige Headliners box using my Birchbox points, saving an additional $5 for buying both and 20% with a coupon code.

I was excited for this box because it features higher end brands that I might not usually splurge on.   Here is what came in the box, which sells for $18.  Right away I see $12 back in the bottle of nail polish.  The Fekkai creme is half the size of a full bottle, so you're getting another $10 worth of product right there too.

For me, these two combined made this box worth trying out.  Because even if using up Birchbox points mean nothing additional out of pocket, it's still my money that earned the reward points in the first place, by buying my monthly box and anything else from the store, so I want to get the most bang for my buck!

Lip and nail products are my two most favorite types of cosmetics and I was looking forward to trying out the polish from 100% Pure.  I sampled one of their fruit pigmented mascaras in a previous Birchbox and really liked it so I had high hopes for this product!

I got the nail polish in the shade Soul Mate and it just beautiful!  It is a great neutral pink color, subdued and perfect for year round wear.  It applied so smoothly and the brush fanned out nicely so I could get good coverage with little effort.  I am so glad Birchbox is now carrying this in so many colors.  It's my favorite product from this box.

I've already gotten this sample of COOLA Environmental Repair Plus® Radical Recovery™ After-Sun Lotion.  To be honest, I am pretty vigilant about applying sunscreen so I haven't had an occasion to use either the first or this second sample, but I saw on the description that it's also good for when you have dry skin.  I may have to try it out for that purpose instead.  It's been a cooler summer so we haven't been out by the pool or anything like that as much.  I have other COOLA products, love their Liplux especially, so I'm sure it's a really nice product and does what it says.

The Fekkai Brilliant Glossing Crème included is half the size of a full product so it's definitely a deluxe size!  You only need a pea size to help control frizz so this will last me a long time.  I just wish I'd gotten it back in spring instead of at the end of the most frizzy part of the year.  I really like how this has been working, I think it would totally be worth getting the full size, which would probably last me an entire year.

I've heard lots and lots about Josie Maran products, there is a ton of buzz about her products and I can't remember any that's been negative.  With all the raves I've been seeing, I'm glad that Birchbox sent this 100% Pure Argan Oil Light.  It doesn't look like they're carrying any of her other products yet, which is a same because I'm much more interested in the Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelee.

I've yet to try pure argan oil so I'm glad to try this out, as it's too expensive for me to purchase without a good trial beforehand.  I've been liking it a lot as a moisturizer at night, although it does feel weird to putting oil on my face versus moisturizer!  I'm not sure if this would be heavy duty enough for winter use but for now, it's working well.

The last sample is one I'm familiar with, having gotten samples from Philosophy when purchasing from them directly at Macy's.  I love their Miracle Worker Overnight, I've just never purchased because of it's price, but like all the Philosophy products I've used it works really well.  Hope in a Jar is still my favorite from them, it does wonders during especially dry winters! 

Along with the five samples, a pocket mirror and toe separators were also included.  They are nice extras.   I know I'll use everything, and I really love that nail polish, but even though I see the value in the box I am still more excited about the Mass Appeal box.    What do you think of the Prestige Headliners box?  Did you get either of the Limited Edition boxes?


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Julep Maven: August 2014

*Referral Link Included

Hello All!  It's Mani Monday on...Wednesday!  Sorry about that, I thought I had this set to post on Monday, but obviously something went awry.  Note to self, double check a post went live sooner rather than later!

The first weekend of the month, my August Julep Maven box arrived, and it was a great way to start off the month.  It came wrapped in the prettiest tissue paper with a metallic medallion design and at first glance, I was a lot more impressed with the colors than I thought I would be.

Along with the normal two bottles of nail colors, the third item this month was a Gel Eye Liner.  We each got to pick the shade and I got it in Smoky Taupe Shimmer.  I just could not resist the preview image and it did not disappoint.  I love how it defines without the harshness of black.

When the Maven window opened and subscribers can pick their box, I wasn't feeling any of the choices but once I realized one of the color choices for Classic with a Twist was actually named Katie, well I had to stick with that one!

On three of my nails above is Avni, an African violet shimmer.  This is a true deep purple shimmer and not as blue as it's appearing on my monitor.  It's super pretty, but I would probably be more excited about it if I didn't already have Purple with a Purpose by OPI.  While not an exact dupe, the OPI shade is a lighter purple shimmer it's not enough of a difference to really need both in my opinion.

On my ring finger accent nail is Katie, an orchid iridescent shimmer.  This is a pretty color but the formula is difficult to work with, a little clumpy.  It also looked bumpier on the nail and even a top coat didn't smooth it out as much as I'd have liked.  This was kind of disappointing since it's my "name" polish.

I am skipping the September box, even though that was a tough one to forgo, so this might be the last Julep Maven review for awhile.  I just didn't like any of the combinations of polish in the boxes, even though I loved the make up bonus - a super Plush Pout Lip Crayon.

Not sure about the future of my subscription for this one.  I don't really want to commit to another three months or pay the $5 up charge to customize on a monthly basis.  Since I'm not getting two colors I absolutely love each and every single month and there are so many other polishes I want from OPI, Essie, etc. and there are only so many bottles of polish that I have room for.

I don't know if it's worth it to continue getting what are essentially two mini bottles of polish and a third item for the same price I could get two full sized bottles of colors I absolutely love and can pick out in person.  The main thing holding me back from cancelling completely, is that I do love the unique polishes and finishes that I have gotten from Julep.


Friday, August 15, 2014

Birchbox for CEW Mass Appeal Limited Edition Box

Birchbox released two new limited edition boxes earlier this week.  Both feature winners from the Cosmetic Executive Women (CEW) Insiders’ Choice Beauty Awards.  I knew right away I wanted the Mass Appeal 2014 Birchbox for CEW.  It is $15 but when you buy both this box and the Limited Edition CEW box: Prestige Headliners you save $5.  That is what I did, along with redeeming Birchbox points to pay for them.

Both of the new limited edition boxes are around twice and tall as normal Birchboxes and the Mass Appeal was just packed with products, six total.  Five are full size and more that equal the price of the box.

This is my second 100% Natural Lip Gloss by Burt's Bees (Full Size, $9) so I knew I would love it.  This is Spring Splendor, a pearly pink color.  It is a little light on my lips, but it's perfect for every day wear.  I think Ruby Moon remains my favorite but Spring Splendor is a color I've debated purchasing several times so I'm really glad to finally add it to my collection.  It gives me a pretty hint of color and shine, with mid level stickiness.  

This cute Lip Therapy Rosy Lips(full size $2.95) looks just like a mini traditional Vaseline container.  It's also already a favorite of mine, and I'm on my second container.  My daughter has been wanting one of her own so I'm sharing this one with her.  I like it for a quick hint of color and light rose scent.  This is perfect for throwing on as you head to the bus stop so you look a little more polished.  It's especially great during the winter to prevent or treat chapped lips.

The Dove Go Fresh Restore Body Wash in Blue Fig & Orange Blossom scent is the only trial or travel sized product in the box.  It looks like a full size is around $5.99.  I haven't tried it yet, but the body wash is a creamy pale blue with a pleasant enough scent.  It seems more floral than anything else to my nose, even though the description card says it has a fruity scent.  

I have heard lots of really great things about the Simple brand but have yet to try any myself.  I am always looking for affordable every day moisturizers and was excited to see a full sized bottle in the box.  The Protecting Light Moisturizer with SPF 15 (full size $9.99) feels lightweight and is oil free and should be safe even for sensitive skin so it shouldn't break me out.  It doesn't have any artificial perfumes, so while it has a smell it's just kind of a generic lotion smell.  I like it and am planning to add it to my morning routine.

L'Oreal's Voluminous Butterfly Mascara  (full size $6.99-$8.99)  is a favorite with several of the YouTube Beauty Gurus I watch and I already had it on my list to try.   It's supposed to fan out your lashes, while giving you volume and thickness.  All things my eye lashes are in serious need off.  I am hoping for a look that is gives me extra oomph without looking too dramatic for every day wear.

The last product is also full sized.  TRESemme's Smooth Keratin Infusing Serum (full size $5.99) can be applied to wet hair or on the ends as a finishing product, and it helps reduce frizz for a sleek and shiny hair.  I use a hair oil so I go through this kind of product quickly.  I do not usually use a product with keratin so I plan to add this to my regimen every other day and see how it goes.

That's it for this limited edition box!  I can't believe how fast it came, I ordered it on the 12th and it arrived on the 14th!  For $15 I think it's a great value, the product are easily worth twice as much!  I used Birchbox points to get mine along with the Prestige Headliners box.

In that purchase I saved the $5 for purchasing both limited edition boxes, used a coupon code for 20% off my total purchase, got a free Mystery Sample Pack with $35 purchase, and also picked up a CO Bigelow Lemon Lip Cream and CO Bigelow Lip Tint all in the same order.  Everything came to a grand total of $4.40 so this was a great way to use 300 of my Birchbox points!

What do you think?  Are you tempted by the Mass Appeal box?  Will you be picking one up?

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