Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Limited Edition: Birchbox Finds - Review

Disclosure: Birchbox referral links are included within this post & I'd be very appreciative if you decide to join & use mine.

I know I just wrote about breaking up with Birchbox, but I've resubbed at least for the time being, more on that here.  While I was signing up for the month to month $10 plan I threw in a Limited Edition: Birchbox Finds into my cart because it shipped free with a new subscription.

There has been a bit of an uproar over this box, because Birchbox is usually associated with high end products.  I really don't see what the fuss is about.  Those who aren't into it, don't get it.  It's not like it's coming in place of your monthly box.  I thought Birchbox was very upfront about what the Finds box was all about, and think it was a great idea.

It has seven full sized mass retailer, think drug stores etc., products in it for $18 and is a $55 value.  I have been wanting to try both the John Frieda Frizz Ease® Nourishing Oil Elixir and Bioré Self Heating One Minute Mask anyway, and cost of those two alone add up to the price of the box.  I was interested enough in the other products to make it well worth it.

My Limited Edition box happened to show up on my actual birthday, making it was especially fun to unpack everything.  I'd read in other reviews that the normal sized Birchbox container was jammed packed for the Limited Edition and they weren't kidding.  I can't believe they fit everything inside.  I know there is no way I could get it all back in!

Here's what was inside of mine.  At first I was a bit thrown off because I had not looked at the listing closely enough to notice that there were assorted colors.  Silly me, of course there are, it is Birchbox after all!  But I was a little disappointed that they hadn't somehow matched up colors for me better.  I decided this was not going to bother me, reminding myself that everything beyond the Bioré & John Frieda Frizz Ease® were "free" in terms of cost.  I think these boxes were probably packed ahead of time and sent at random upon order.

Now let's take a closer look at the contents of this Limited Edition: Birchbox Finds: Italicized descriptions are from the information card included by Birchbox.

Bioré Self Heating One Minute Mask, $7.99 for 4: This warming mask uses charcoal to purify pores and control shine.  

I have used their deep cleansing pore strips since back in the day so I was familiar with the brand, even though I had not previously used this particular product.  I was interested in the mask because they're designed to work in just one minute.  Since any face mask I do means being without my glasses, I don't have time to sit around for lengthy periods in what is essentially a state of blindness.  I am glad the directions clearly state it's a warming mask.  I definitely felt warm right away!

I didn't think there was very much of the mask in the individually portioned packet.  I did not have enough of the mask to get as thick of a layer on my face as is shown by the model on their packaging.  Mine was much thinner, I took a picture but decided to spare everyone the actual sight of me with it on.  It felt nice on but I am not sure if I noticed any immediate difference.  My nose was a little red along the bridge so I don't think I will use it 2-3 times per week, but  will keep up a weekly use to see if I notice enough difference to keep using after this package is finished.

COVERGIRL Bombshell Volume by LashBlast™ Mascara, in Very Black, $11.99: Supersize volume in two steps: first with a thickening base coat, then with a lengthening top coat.

This is one BIG mascara!  It's a good thing Step 2 is supposed to seal in the color for an intense all day long finish.  There is no way you can just pop this into a evening bag.  As someone with puny little lashes, I was really interested in trying it.  I typically only wear black mascara so the color was perfect too.

However, I was underwhelmed by this mascara's performance.  It was super clumpy and I tried several times to see if I just needed to get the hang of it, you know cause maybe that giant wand was messing me up or something.  No go.  It did certainly lengthen my lashes, but into a longer clumpy mess.  No one wants that.  Thumbs down, glad I tried it for less in this box, for just a couple dollars more you could totally get a nicer mascara at Sephora so don't waste your money.  I never use mass market mascara, and now I remember why.

John Frieda Frizz Ease® Nourishing Oil Elixir, $9.99: Packed with nourishing argan oil this frizz-taming formula leaves hair ultra soft and shiny - never greasy. 

I am new to the whole hair oil thing, but like Bioré this is another familiar company and I've had good results with their serum in the past, so if I'm going to start putting oil in my hair this is a good place to start.  I've been blow drying my hair all winter and it's beginning to need a little extra help. Then when the humidity kicks in, if warmer weather ever shows up again - it feels like winter is just going on and on, I'll need help fighting the frizz then too.

You can mix in with your other regular products, which is what I did over the weekend.  I was think it helped quite a bit and will hopefully make it easier to style my hair until my next cut at the end of the month.  I was trying to stretch things out and wait a bit longer between but now I'm paying the price with at times, slightly unruly hair.  I also appreciate the pump, which is so much easier and less messy than having to pour from a bottle.  I think this bottle will last a long time & I'll get a lot of use out of it. I've also put some on my daughter's hair and it made it much easier to brush out throughout the day, she's been having some major static issues!

COVERGIRL Bombshell Shine Shadow by LashBlast™ in Ice Queen, 8ml, $8.99: A long-wearing cream shadow, that's oh-so-blendable and adds subtle shimmer.

Cream shadow is always fun. This one looks white straight out of the bottle but the real beauty is how it blends in and adds a little shimmer, perfect for catching the light.  It is great for layering on top of other colors, look for it on sale.  Covergirl can often be gotten on discount because for some reason almost nine bucks seems like a lot to me, but it's possible I 'm feeling cheap at the moment.

NIVEA Kiss of Care & Color in Sheer Caramel, $4.99: Enriched with shea butter, this balm preps and hydrates lips while adding a sheer wash of color.  

Okay, this is the first of three color products which is I got a little messed up by not noticing the (assorted colors) that followed.  Now I thought what I was going to get was more of a sheer berry color, in doing some research after getting the caramel color, I saw that there is also a coral tint.  Either of which would have been preferable.  The caramel color does not show up at all on my lips, basically it's a clear balm for me, regardless of how it looks in the tube, but it is supposed to moisturize so it's still something I will use.

I have been wanting to try a Nivea lip product for some time anyway.   My normal place to browse is Target and mine only carries their products without any color.  I tend to only buy lip balms & glosses if they provide at least a little color or have a scent I absolutely adore like peppermint, lemon or other fruity ones.  I'm sure I'd probably like the other sheer washes so I'm doubly bummed I didn't get one.  I'll have to try to broaden my horizons and venture out to a Walgreens or CVS to see I can find one there.

Rimmel London Stay Glossy 3D Lipgloss, $4.99: Color-shifting sparkles create the illusion of fuller lips - one application lasts up to six hours.

I am honestly not sure which shade this is, I think it's Lights, Camera, Action because it has a peachy look to it.  I ripped off the packaging in my eagerness to get a closer look and I'm not about to go dig through the trash for it.  In seeing the other colors available, it wouldn't be my pick but it's what I expected as I think this is the (assorted colors) shown in the preview pic on Birchbox.  I don't think it necessarily makes my lips look fuller and I doubt it will last six hours but it's a very pretty and neutral shade on me.  The color doesn't show up at all on my lips but I do see lots of sparkles.  It's also not super sticky, so I'm pretty happy with it.  It'll be great for wearing on top of lipstick.

Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure™ in Pink a Card, $7.99: A base coat, top coat, and color gel polish in one, this multitasking wonder lasts for up to 10 days.

Third color product and again not one I would pick for myself.  It is much lighter than what I normally wear, but I liked the idea of it being an all in one polish.  Other than remover, I haven't bought a Sally Hansen product in years, I mainly purchase Essie or OPI and this didn't make me a convert but was a fun color to try.  I might pick up another bottle on impulse at the store if I see a shade that catches my eye because it is a time saver.  I will wear it again but since my daughter is already asking for it, I'll most likely be using it on her more than me.

When I do, I will add my normal layer of ridge filler by OPI.  I have really yucky nails, which is why I like nail polish so much.  I think skipping filler with such a light shade was a big mistake.  Maybe it's just me but I find that any mistake with pale color is so much more noticeable.  I wanted to show the polish straight out of the bottle for my review, but I will most likely add a coat of either a sheer pearlescent or glitter over it to make it more me.

So that is my Limited Edition: Birchbox Finds.  What did you think?  Even if I don't love all the colors I will still use almost everything and both Rimmel & Nivea are two brands I have never tried before.  I haven't quite given up on the mascara, yet.  I'm sure I'll try it at least once more, but I'm not very hopeful it will be less clumpy.  Even taking that into consideration, I think it was well worth the price and I'd be quicker to buy a Finds box if Birchbox does one in the future.


2 Friends Said:

Katy said...

so glad I read your review of the mascara. I have bought 2 other brands and, they too, clump...who wants that!?!?! So glad I won't be wasting money on this one, thanks to you!

Katie said...

Katy - I'm very glad you found the review helpful and took the time to tell me! As I was typing up this whole big long thing, I was wondering if A) Anyone cared and B) If it would help anyone.

I have been enjoying the sample of Fruit Pigmented Mascara I received in a couple months ago: http://www.birchbox.com/shop/100-pure-fruit-pigmented-mascara/ but it is not waterproof. Looks like from the other reviews, that if you are at sensitive you might want to skip, however.

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