Tuesday, February 24, 2015

February 2014 Birchbox

Back into the swing to catch up on all of my old Birchboxes! We're exactly a year behind now, so let's look at last February:

Previse HydroMilk: This is the one problem with doing these reviews so far behind, there's some products I just have no memory of. I usually remember if things are bad, so I'm sure it was pretty good, but in the end it's very expensive, which got to be kind of a theme for my box for a while (I think I changed my profile to stop that, but I can't remember now).

Joan Vass L’eau de Am├ęthyste: This was around the time I barely started dipping my toe into trying perfumes and wearing scents more regularly. I did use this sample until I'd used it up (and I got another scent by the same brand as a mystery bonus sample with an order, it was also nice but I liked Amethyst better). It was a bit stronger and a more traditional "perfume" scent than I tend to gravitate towards, so I probably won't be getting it any time soon.

Bain de Terre passion flower shampoo and conditioner: I'm a cheapskate when it comes to shampoo and conditioner. I keep flirting with the idea of actually spending a bit of cash on a higher end product, but I've yet to really try a more expensive brand that really felt worth the upgrade in price from the Herbal Essences that's working for me. Which is my long way of saying that while I liked both the shampoo and conditioner (and the size of the sample was pretty great) at the same time it still wasn't that miracle worker that's going to convince me to since $12 instead of $4 into my shampoo. It did smell quite nice though. I hadn't colored my hair recently when I got it so I can't speak to that factor.

Ruby Wing Color Changing Nail Polish: The color I got was called "Ride 'em Cowgirl" and it goes from gold to red as you go from inside to outside. The color change is supposed to be UV activated, and I was really skeptical at first, and the change probably is pretty slow but I did definitely notice a very distinct color change at least a couple times. It is a fun glitter, with very large pieces of glitter. In the picture below I put it as a top coat over a Wet 'n' Wild color called Red Black Red, which was a great companion color for it. The only thing I would grump about with it is like all large glitter top coats, it's pretty hard to remove. But you know, I'll put up with that for something so fun. $10 is a bit much for this polish I think, but if you've got points or a discount code, then it might be worth checking out if they restock it.

A photo posted by Elizabeth (@onegirlsreviews) on

So this box had fewer samples than usual, or at least it felt that way, but they were still pretty nice. I really did enjoy the nail polish, because I love glitter and fun stuff like that, so that alone was worth it for me, even if the other products weren't things I'll end up buying full sizes of. You never know if you like something until you try it! Speaking of, if you want to try Birchbox, please give my referral link a click!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

January 2014 Birchbox

We're moving into 2014 in my quest to catch up on reviewing all my Birchboxes! This January box was pretty fun, even if again the results of testing the products was only so-so.

A photo posted by Elizabeth (@onegirlsreviews) on

JUARA Candlenut Body Creme: This was a nice body creme, it was very thick and smelled lovely. The sample lasted a good long while, which was great too. The only thing is again the price. It wasn't significantly better than The Body Shop's body butters, which are only slightly smaller (0.6 oz less) and you can almost always get on sale for $10 as opposed to the $35 this costs. But if you're looking for a really luxury body creme and you want to spend a bit more to treat yourself, then by all means, this is a good one.

Klorane Dry Shampoo With Oat Milk: I'd been wanting to try out dry shampoo for a while so I was really happy to receive this, and it did do a good job for what it was. But what I discovered was that I don't really like dry shampoo, it doesn't really do much for me. I also found a blog post on how to use it properly and there were so many steps and tricks that I thought I may as well wash my hair at that point, really. So basically I only ended up bringing it out when I hadn't planned on going anywhere and at the last second had to leave the house so I didn't want to look TOO terrible. But with my type of hair it wasn't really a miracle worker. I still keep some around just in case though, it did help enough to keep it around, though at the moment I'm using up a different sample I'll review later. Of the two I've used, Klorane wasn't my favorite, but just because the other smells slightly nicer.

100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Mascara: This is a really nice mascara, and it actually even smells kind of good. It became my go to for a good long while, and I ended up using it until it started getting clumpy. But the only reason I could do that was because I only wear my eye makeup for a half a day most of the time when I go to work at my part-time job, so it doesn't need to last forever. When I did need it to last, it definitely would start flaking off, so I'd go with something else if you need longevity. And it's definitely not waterproof. But if you're wanting natural products, this is a good option.

Ahmed Assorted Teas: I actually can't really review this because I gave them away after I got them. I don't drink tea, for one thing I've been caffeine free for almost 10 years now and it can be hard to know what tea is caffeinated and what isn't, but also because I just never really liked the taste that much (I know, that makes me a heathen).

Nail Rock manicure glitter: I was so excited to get this because I'd been really wanting to try this particular style of nail art. Plus of all the options, I got the one I would have picked on my own. Red is my favorite color, and I only really like the glitter option (the fuzzy one is just odd). So I was super into it and went to use it almost right away. Sadly, I can't say I really liked it at all. The polish itself wasn't that great, it felt kind of cheap. The process of using the glitter was a disaster, actually getting any kind of coverage was difficult and like glitter always does, it got everywhere. It looked pretty when I was done, but I only did one accent nail on each hand because it was a mess. And then the texture was just...not good. It was super bumpy and chipped off in big pieces rather quickly because it got caught on stuff. I ended up selling it at a yard sale shortly after, I knew I'd never use it again. But hey, I learned that this type of nail art wasn't for me without having to invest any money into it.

So all in all, a great way to start out my first calendar year with Birchbox, even with the disappointment of the nail polish. The body creme was a good addition to a winter box, and I never would have bought one that expensive for myself. As always, if you think this looks like fun, use my referral link please!

Friday, February 20, 2015

December 2013 Birchbox

I'm still going back and reviewing my old Birchboxes so that people can decide on products they might want to buy that are still available. Next up, December of 2013! I have to admit this one was only so-so on reflection, but I still liked getting it. I'm actually one of the least picky Birchbox customers I think, because I don't sit and nitpick sample size or get upset about very much. It's a surprise box of goodies once a month and that's all that matters to me.

Nelson j Beverly Hills Argan Oil 7 Non-Foaming Shampoo: So there's no polite way to put this, but I hated this stuff. I get the idea behind non-foaming shampoo, but I don't know if it's the thickness of my hair or my water here at home but I couldn't actually get it to really go through my hair to feel like it was shampooing anything but the very top surface of my head, which honestly isn't enough. It wasn't slippery enough or something. The other weird thing that's not mentioned anywhere in the description and took me by surprise is that this actually had little beads mixed into it. I don't know what they were, they seemed like the same plastic microbeads that I dislike in other products (and that are currently being banned by different places because they're so bad for the environment) but I have no idea. What I do know is that more than once after thinking I had completely rinsed my hair I got out of the shower to find those stupid plastic beads still in my hair. They were super difficult to rinse out, partially because the shampoo wasn't really penetrating the thickness of my hair. I didn't even finish the sample.

ARCONA Magic White Ice: This was a really nice moisturizer, I did quite like it. It blended in easily without feeling too thick or sticky. It's probably one of my favorites that I've tried, but I just can't get over the price of it. The full size is just over one ounce and it's $40 and that's just too pricey, especially considering that there are plenty of facial products that are also really good but half or even a quarter of the price. This was just out of my league I think. But like I said, worked well, I liked it a lot.

Salt of the Earth Whipped Body Creme: I got this in the white ginger scent, and it smelled nice and I really liked it. It was a good texture and a very nice lotion. The packaging for the full size is really pretty too. The only reason I haven't considered buying a full size is because I already had so much lotion and I'm only JUST getting to the point where I might buy a full priced full size thing of body creme. This is on the short list of what I'm considering buying though.

Salt of the Earth Aroma Bath Salt: I also got these bath salts in the white ginger scent and I really, really liked them. The smell is fantastic, and I think maybe I'm aging out of the idea of bubble baths, because lately I'm enjoying a nice soak using salts or bath bombs much better. I liked these so much I bought the full size not long after, and hoarded them for bad days and when I wanted something really fabulous. The container is so pretty I've even kept that once I used it up and put it in my office to use in there because it's just so nice and has such a sleek, modern design. I'll probably buy more soon, I just have a few other bath products I need to use up first.

Chuao Chocolatier Chocolate Bars: I got the popcorn pop flavor for this one, which was unfortunate. Basically, Chuao chocolate is fantastic, and there's a lot of really fun flavors. I even would have liked the popcorn flavor except it has something in it that's basically Pop Rocks, and I hate Pop Rocks. That popping and cracking makes me think of getting dental work, I have no idea why they were so popular when I was growing up. But I guess if you like Pop Rocks then this flavor would be awesome? I have gotten the honeycomb flavor on another occasion and I really loved that, so like I said, it's a great brand, just not this flavor for me.

Color Club Cocktail Hour Collection nail polish: I got the shade "Top Shelf" in my box, and my sister got "Dark and Stormy" and she happened to visit after we got our boxes so I did my manicure combining the two shortly after, which you can see in the picture below. I was also trying to use up some liquid eyeliner, which I heard could work for nail art designs and honestly it was such junky liquid liner that I can't tell you if that's a good idea or not. To be perfectly honest, I wasn't really impressed with Color Club's polishes in general. You can probably see in the picture that the application wasn't really smooth and didn't look great. Obviously I'm no pro when it comes to polish but I haven't had the same issues with getting good, even coverage when I use OPI polishes or other brands, so I think it was the Color Club formula. Maybe it was because they were metallics? Those are always a bit hard to get right, they're frequently very streaky. But whatever the reason, I generally wasn't impressed and probably won't be purchasing any of this brand any time soon. I ended up giving away this bottle of polish in the end.

So, like I said, the results were only so-so if you look at each product in the box, but still it gave me a chance to try several brands I wouldn't have picked up otherwise, and even though I ended up not liking the nail polish it meant I got an informed opinion on the brand without having to buy the polish specifically. As a bonus, on the left of the top picture you can see that this box came with a cute little Birchbox branded screen cleaner for your phone, and I loved that thing until it stopped sticking to my phone and fell off never to be seen again. And not to go on and on about the points system too much, but I had six products in this box, and got 10 points for each review, so that meant I got $6 worth of points back. Just the piece of chocolate is practically worth $4 on it's own, so it's absolutely worth it even when there's a dud or two in the box.

As usual, if you think Birchbox sounds like your kind of thing (and I do highly recommend it) then please use my referral link!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Birchbox Catch Up! - October 2013

I've decided that I'm going to be a bit weird and go back and review all my old Birchboxes that I didn't get around to reviewing the first time around because things got so hectic last year with the release of my movie and everything.

I figure most of these products are still available and it's still good info for people to have when making shopping decisions.

First up: October of 2013! I told you they were old. But the bonus is I have lot more experience with some of these products to review them.

12 Benefits Instant Healthy Hair Treatment: I did like this product, and the smell was quite nice. But it wasn't anything really amazing and I didn't end up wanting to buy a full size of it because I still love the awesome Number 4 Super Comb and Protect from my first Birchbox.

theBalm cosmetics Stainiac: I only just finished up using this sample recently because a little goes a long way. I only generally used it as a lip stain, because I don't need that much color added to my cheeks most days since my face is already rather pink in general. This was a really great stain, and it added a fantastic subtle bit of color to my lips. You couldn't exactly tell I was wearing anything unless I put it on unevenly or something. Which I liked, I think it looked great without looking too much like a "product." Now, it did take getting used to, it takes quite a while to feel dry, and that could be a turn off for some people. That's because of how it works as a stain, you need to be able to blend it for a bit after putting it on. So I was fine with that, but I could see how other people might want a more traditional product.

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser and Muslin Cloth: I really love this cleanser, it's probably the best one I've gotten in the last year between Birchbox and trying samples from Origins and other brands. The muslin cloth is awesome (though a bit overpriced, I admit, I'd only go for it in the package deal). My sister got me a full size version of this for my birthday last year, because she loves it too and I even picked another travel size for my sample choice a few months ago because I wanted one that was easier to travel with and was a TSA approved size. Definitely a good find.

Chapstick Hydration Lock: As far as I can tell this product has been discontinued by Chapstick for their new Dual-Ended versions. Which is fine as long as at least one of those ends is the same as this original formula. I thought it was so silly when I got this sample, I admit it. I buy cheap chapstick because I lose them so much or end up putting them through the washer because I left them in my pockets. I have a ton of chapstick, I use it a lot, but I just don't see the point in more expensive ones. Or at least I didn't, until this product ended up in my Birchbox. Seriously when this stuff says it lasts for eight hours, it means it. It's worth the price because it'll last longer since you don't have to reapply so often. It feels nice, it works, and it is seriously the best chapstick type product I've ever used. It's also a fantastic base for lipstick because then you don't end up with dry, icky feeling lips later in the day that you can't do much about without messing up your makeup. Huge win on this one.

So that was my fantastic October of 2013 box. I actually did review November of 2013, so next up will be December!

And I've had my Birchbox subscription for a year and a half now, and I can absolutely say it's worth every penny. The boxes are great, I love the surprise every month. They've added their monthly sample choice and Birchbox Plus program recently and those are both fantastic, then on top of their already best in the business loyalty points system, they've started up Birchbox Aces which is an even better perk. I've only dealt with their customer service very rarely, but when I have they've been absolutely stellar. It is absolutely worth the price, and I recommend them highly. If you want to give them a try, please consider using my referral link! Thanks!