Birchbox October 2015 Review

Birchbox October 2015 Review

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Birchbox, it’s a monthly beauty subscription service.  For $10 a month with free shipping you get 4 to 6 beauty, grooming and/or lifestyle samples.  You fill out a beauty profile when first signing up, letting them know what your preferences are.  Birchbox also has a rewards points system.  You will earn 1 point for every dollar that you spend in the Birchbox shop, 10 points for every review that you write on samples that you have received in your box and 50 points for every person that you invite who purchases a Birchbox subscription.  100 points = $10 in the Birchbox store.  The points can add up fast!

2Here’s what I received in my “Positive Force” box this month:

Avene Thermal Spring Water
Full size, $12.50-$18.  “This hydrating mist is your best bet for curing dryness and irritation in a snap.”

3OK, yes, it’s fancy water in a spray can. I don’t mind this sample, but I will probably not purchase it. Great for refreshing throughout the day or whenever you get hot and need a pick me up.  Also helpful in refreshing makeup later on in the day when your makeup starts to look rundown.  This would have been a nice summer sample.

Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Cream
Full size, $48.  “This lightweight, ceramide-packed cream calms and deeply hydrates skin.”
6
Eh, I don’t know. It just didn’t do anything for me.  I love moisturizers that are for dry skin, but for some reason, this one just didn’t feel special on my skin at all.  The scent reminds me of some of Origins products, clean/herbal.  Probably not going to run out and buy this cream.  The packaging isn’t fun either.

Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk – Natural Tint
Full size, $20.  “Naturally tinted for brunettes, this formula absorbs grease and revives second-day hair.”

1Unfortunately, I didn’t receive the tinted version in my box.  Bummer.  Mine is white as milk.  You have to go easy with the regular version of this dry shampoo or else you will be left with white hair. The blast from the bottle is pretty intense, so don’t hose a section too much or else you’ll be sorry. The smell is nice though, powdery/floral.  This version is great for blonde hair, not so much for darker hair.

Stila Huge Extreme Lash Mascara
Full size, $23.  “One coat of this jet-black mascara gives you a major boost in volume, curl and length.”

5I have a favorite Cover Girl mascara that I always use, but after trying this one, I was amazed. My lashes looked full and curly with two light coats. I really love the hourglass brush shape which seems to help with the full look to the lashes.  The only thing that I didn’t like was that it did give me minor raccoon eyes after a few hours, which I absolutely hate!

Too Cool for School Dinoplatz Highlighter
Full size, $33.  “This illuminating cream is formulated with tiny light-catching flecks to perfectly contour your face.”

7This liquid highlighter is very pretty on the skin. I applied it with a beauty blender on the top of my cheek bones for a great glow without looking shiny or greasy. The color “Baby Pink Clam” would probably work with most light to medium skin tones.  It can also be used all over the face under foundation or with a little mixed into your foundation.  A small amount goes a long way, so the full size of this highlighter would last a long time. 

 

That’s my Birchbox October 2015 review for you.  My favorite product of the month is the Dinoplatz Highlighter and least favorite is the Klorane dry shampoo, just because it was too white for my hair.  I’ll definitely toss the Avene Thermal Spring Water and the Klorane dry shampoo into my my pro makeup and hair kit.  Maybe the highlighter too, or I’ll keep that for myself!  What did you get in your box?

If you would like to sign up for Birchbox, please use my referral code and I will receive 50 points.  Thanks for helping with my beauty product addiction!

All photo rights:  www.tracysotirakis.com

*I purchased the Birchbox monthly subscription with my own money and did not receive any of these products for free.*

 

Birchbox September 2015 Review

Birchbox September 2015 Review

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Birchbox, it’s a monthly beauty subscription service.  For $10 a month with free shipping you get 4 to 6 beauty, grooming and/or lifestyle samples.  You fill out a beauty profile when first signing up, letting them know what your preferences are.  Birchbox also has a rewards points system.  You will earn 1 point for every dollar that you spend in the Birchbox shop, 10 points for every review that you write on samples that you have received in your box and 50 points for every person that you invite who purchases a Birchbox subscription.  100 points = $10 in the Birchbox store.  The points can add up fast!

Here’s what I received in my “Pssst…You’re Beautiful” box this month:

100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream
Full size, $24.  “An instant pick-me-up that reduces the appearance of fine lines and dark circles.”

When I first tried this eye cream, I looked around my bathroom, wondering who was drinking a sweet smelling coffee near me because the scent is very noticeable. It did de-puff my eyes after only sleeping for 6 hours a night for a few nights, which is not cool in my book.  It works under makeup as well. I just wish it wasn’t as strongly scented, but I will continue to use it as the sample size that I received was very large. I probably won’t throw it in my pro makeup kit because of the scent.  Some clients may not like it.  It is 100% natural and 100% vegan.

Amika Bombshell Blowout Spray
Full size, $24.  “A deluxe sample of lightweight styler that volumizes and smooths for a sleek, yet bouncy ‘do.”

I tried the spray on wet hair and blew it dry. I loved the scent but it left my hair somewhat dry feeling. I’ll try to use it on dry hair as a re-styler or for texture instead. It almost felt like a light hold hairspray, so I’ll use it as I would that type of product.

Benefit Cosmetics Gimme Brow in Light/Medium
Full size, $26-$55.  “The water-resistant fiber gel adheres to hair while the precision tip lets you shape and blend with ease.”

I have a similar product from another line, but I was still excited to receive this in my box because it’s Benefit. My brows are a medium brown color and I received the light/medium color. It is a very neutral taupe color and works perfectly with my brows. The little mini spoolie brush combs through my brows, fills them in and makes them look thicker. Love it!

Harvey Prince Hello Perfume
Full size, $26.  “Best-selling spritz that mingles cheerful citrus with floral notes.  Well, hello there!”

Usually I like citrus and floral scents, but the Hello scent, I just can’t stand. I don’t know what aspect of the perfume doesn’t appeal to me, but it kind of makes me nauseous. Sorry Harvey Prince!

POP Beauty POP Portfolio Eyeshadow – Sugar Plum
Full size, $27.  “A trifecta of long-wearing, blendable eyeshadows in bold, pigmented purples.”

I received the trio Sugar Plum, an ivory, plum and dark taupe, all shimmery. Unfortunately, plum eye shadow makes me look like I was punched in the eye, so I avoid the color. The other two colors I can deal with. They are very pigmented and have great staying power. May try different colors in the future.

 

That’s my Birchbox September 2015 review for you.  My favorite product of the month is the Benefit Gimme Brow and least favorite is the Harvey Prince Hello perfume, it’s being donated to a friend.  I’ll probably de-pot the eyeshadows and add them to my pro makeup kit.  What did you get in your box?

If you would like to sign up for Birchbox, please use my referral code and I will receive 50 points.  Thanks for helping with my beauty product addiction!

All photo rights:  www.tracysotirakis.com

Birchbox August 2015 Review

Birchbox August 2015 Review

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Birchbox, it’s a monthly beauty subscription service.  For $10 a month with free shipping you get 4 to 6 beauty, grooming and/or lifestyle samples.  You fill out a beauty profile when first signing up, letting them know what your preferences are.  Birchbox also has a rewards points system.  You will earn 1 point for every dollar that you spend in the Birchbox shop, 10 points for every review that you write on samples that you have received in your box and 50 points for every person that you invite who purchases a Birchbox subscription.  100 points = $10 in the Birchbox store.  The points can add up fast!

Here’s what I received in my “Soak it up!” box this month:

Air Repair Complexion Boosting Moisturizer
Full size, $20.  “Packed with antioxidants and humectants, this rich cream hydrates and revitalizes dry or dull skin.”

I wanted to save this sample for an upcoming plane ride so I don’t feel like a lizard during my trip, but I decided to test it out beforehand. It absorbs easily and really sinks into the skin, refreshing and hydrating it.  Very nice for skin that is on the drier side or needs some TLC. 

dr. brandt Microdermabrasion Skin Exfoliant
Full size, $78.  “Breakthrough at-home treatment for a glowing complexion, no pricey derm appointment required.”

I love microdermabrasion scrubs in general and the dr. brant one is no different. It smooths over the face easily and doesn’t fade away quickly like other scrubs. The strong lemony scent is refreshing but a little overwhelming, reminding me a little of lemon floor cleaner.  My skin does look and feel wonderful afterwards. However, there is no way that I can justify paying $78 for a scrub.  I like the Derma E Microdermabrasion scrub better because it has less scent to it.

LAQA & Co. Charm School Kit
Set of 3, $20.  “This creamy crayon delivers a rich, easy-to-apply color for both lips and cheeks.”

I received the color Cray-Cray, a matte peach. First, I tried it on my lips and it was a little scary. Too matte for me, rather chalky looking. After blending a few dots on my cheeks, I was in love. It blended into my skin well, didn’t clump or look patchy and looked awesome all day. Definitely a “love” product for cheeks.

Macadamia Professional Style Extend Dry Shampoo
Full size, $25.  “Weightless, translucent spritz that instantly absorbs product build-up and excess oil to refresh your ‘do.”

I love that this dry shampoo is made with translucent powder. Even though my hair is a light golden brown, I hate the white cast that some dry shampoos can leave. Not this one. My hair was shiny and refreshed after using. The scent was fine, not too strong or overwhelming for me. I will definitely toss this into my pro hair styling kit for work.

R + Co Park Ave Blow Out Balm
Full size, $16-$28.  “This smoothing styling cream adds bounce to your blowout while protecting hair from heat damage.”

BirchBoxAug15-1000268This product is not greasy, slightly on the drier side for blow out balms/creams. I worked a small amount into my hair and did a full blow out with one of my favorite tools of all time, the John Frieda Hot Air Brush. My hair was shiny and bouncy afterwards without the oily feel that other blow out balms can leave.

 

That’s my Birchbox August 2015 review for you.  My personalized box really didn’t reflect the “Soak it up!” theme, but I don’t really care.  I’m not disappointed with my samples this month, I actually really like everything and will use all of them either for myself or my pro makeup and hair kit.  What did you get in your box?

If you would like to sign up for Birchbox, please use my referral code and I will receive 50 points.  Thanks for helping with my beauty product addiction!

All photo rights:  www.tracysotirakis.com

Birchbox July 2015 Review

Birchbox June 2015 Review

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Birchbox, it’s a monthly beauty subscription service.  For $10 a month with free shipping you get 4 to 6 beauty, grooming and/or lifestyle samples.  You fill out a beauty profile when first signing up, letting them know what your preferences are.  Birchbox also has a rewards points system.  You will earn 1 point for every dollar that you spend in the Birchbox shop, 10 points for every review that you write on samples that you have received in your box and 50 points for every person that you invite who purchases a Birchbox subscription.  100 points = $10 in the Birchbox store.  The points can add up fast!

Here’s what I received in my “Go Bold” box this month:

Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel Sensitive
Full size, $39.  “An amazingly effective (and gentle!) peel with fruit-derived acids to exfoliate dead skin.”

The Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel Sensitive was easy to use and didn’t bother my skin.  The texture was a little on the runny side, but it still glided on my face smoothly and dried quickly, not in a tight uncomfortable way.  After washing it off, my skin felt smooth and looked radiant.  I would definitely need to use it more often to see any diminished hyperpigmentation.

Davines MINU Shampoo
  Full size:  $25.  “Richly foaming wash that gently cleanses hair and safeguards color.  Bonus!  We’ve added in this Davines duo to protect color, smooth hair, and add shine.  (Full size, $23.30-$29)”

This shampoo lathered up nicely even with only a small amount in my hair.  It didn’t leave my hair feeling like straw either.  I wish the scent wasn’t so strong though.  I can only describe it as herbal/leafy, but not in a good way.  Other family members liked the scent.  My hair was super shiny and soft, so I’ll continue to use it until it’s gone.  The scent did dissipate some once my hair was dry.

Davines conditioner
I wish this sample was a little bigger, especially compared with the size of the shampoo that I received.  The conditioner was nice and thick and I didn’t need to use a lot.  My hair was shiny and smooth after, but I can’t stand the scent.

Davines serum 
This serum made my fine hair silky smooth, without any greasiness.  The foil packets are not my favorite, but I will be able to get about 4 uses out of it.  Same unpleasant scent, hair looks good though!

Masqueology Brightening Mask 
Full size:  $24.  “This refreshing sheet mask nourishes skin and leaves your complexion luminious.”

I love single use masks because they are so easy to use.  When I opened this one, there was plenty of serum or goo, so much that I actually had to squeeze a bit out of it before applying it to my face.  It mostly fit well, flattening down easily in areas that didn’t quite fit.  I left it on for 20 minutes then massaged the remaining serum/goo into my skin.  My face felt a little slimy, but that went away after applying some moisturizer.  I even received a comment later on in the day that I looked like I had a facial!

Stila Look At Me Liquid Lipstick Trio
Set of 3:  $20.  “This creamy formula glides on like a gloss yet lasts (and lasts and lasts) like a stain.”


I received the color Bella, which reminds me of my hot pink clothes from the early 1990’s.  I’m no sissy with lipstick colors, usually able to rock a red, coral, dark plum, raspberry…whatever suits my mood or outfit.  I like to switch it up.  My favorite formulas are the ultra long lasting as well.  I want to know that my lipstick isn’t all over my face after drinking and eating.  But this VIBRANT BRIGHT PINK is a little on the “cray cray” side.  Being a makeup artist, I will just throw it in my makeup kit.  I didn’t even have the nerve to test it on myself while blogging in the house.  One day, a client will need that shade of pink.  One day…..

Harvey Prince Hello Body Cream
  Full size:  $22.  “Infused with the best-selling citrus-floral scent, this hydrator leaves skin silky smooth.”

The Harvey Prince Hello Body Cream has a nice sweet citrus scent.  Not too perfumey or overwhelming to me.  It absorbs quickly with no greasy feeling and left my skin soft.  Not too keen on the $22 price though.

Well, that’s my Birchbox July 2015 Review for you.  I’m not disappointed with my samples this month, but I do wish that I got the red color of the Stila lipstick.  Once again, my pro makeup kit benefits from me not personally liking something.  What did you get in your box?

If you would like to sign up for Birchbox, please use my referral code and I will receive 50 points.  Thanks for helping with my beauty product addiction!

All photo rights:  www.tracysotirakis.com

 

 

Birchbox June 2015 Review

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“Adventure is a State of Mind”

photo by tracysotirakis.com

 

Who doesn’t like adventure?  I sure do!   Is there a kayak in the box along with the beauty goodies?  Nope, just beauty products. (Rats, I really need a kayak!)

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Birchbox, it’s a monthly beauty subscription service.  For $10 a month with free shipping you get 4 to 6 beauty, grooming and/or lifestyle samples.  You fill out a beauty profile when first signing up, letting them know what your preferences are.  Birchbox also has a rewards points system.  You will earn 1 point for every dollar that you spend in the Birchbox shop, 10 points for every review that you write on samples that you have received in your box and 50 points for every person that you invite who purchases a Birchbox subscription.  100 points = $10 in the Birchbox store.  The points can add up fast!

Here’s what I received in my box this month:

Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo  .75 oz.

photo by tracysotirakis.com

 Birchbox description: “Weightless spray that refreshes sans residue, in the brand’s signature obliphica scent.”  Full size:  $21

I first encountered this brand at a beauty convention in Las Vegas where my friend made me go back to the booth several times to get their free trade show bags because they were so cute.  Over the years, I have sampled Amika’s products and they all work and smell great.  I hadn’t tried the dry shampoo and was really excited to receive one in the June box.  Yes, a small bottle of dry shampoo excites me.  The smell is really nice, not too perfumy or fruity.  Unlike some brands of dry shampoo, this one does not leave a white cast to your hair that you have to really scrub to make it go away.  Definitely a keeper and getting put into my pro hair styling kit for work.

Dr Jart+ BB Night Beauty Balm  .17 fl oz

photo by tracysotirakis.com

 Birchbox description From the Korean skincare pros, this BB cream delivers sheer coverage and fights signs of aging.”  Full size:  $38

When I got the sample, I thought “Oh cool, a night BB cream.”  I immediately put a little blob of it on the back of my hand to see what the deal was.  It was clear with little white beads, which looks kind of fun.  Then I spread it on my hand.  To my surprise, the white beads turned into a light beige color.  Maybe I looked at the product wrong.  Why would a “night” BB have color in it?  The product description says that “the color self adjusts when applied.  It’s even gentle enough to sleep in!”  Yeah, I’m not one of those women that doesn’t let anyone ever see her without makeup, even while sleeping, so I will not be using this sample at night.  Maybe I’ll mix it with some sunscreen for daytime use.  I really don’t see buying this product and using it as a night BB cream.  Color in a night product is just weird and wrong.  My pillow cases thank me in advance.

Marcelle Waterproof Eyeliner in Electric Blue  .028 oz

photo by tracysotirakis.com

 Birchbox description “This blendable waterproof eyeliner goes on smoothly and stays put all day.”  Full size:  $11

Yes, I have a ton of eyeliners, but I am always looking for a new great long lasting one that I can use on myself or throw in my pro makeup kit or set bag.  Of course I received the one color that would look a little too crazy on me, Electric Blue.  I tested it anyway, the 80’s are back right?  The Marcelle eyeliner is very creamy and easy to apply with no tugging on the eyelids.  I found that it was pretty long lasting and there was even a little leftover after washing my face.  It had a lot of staying power in my waterline also.  The color was very pretty (not necessarily on me) and would look awesome on someone with medium or darker skin tones.  I’m pretty impressed with the liner because of the creaminess and would be interested in buying some more basic colors for my kit.

Real Chemistry Luminous 3-Minute Peel  .17 fl oz

photo by tracysotirakis.com

 Birchbox description“This acid-free peel gently exfoliates for instantly softer, smoother, brighter skin.”  Full size:  $48

I read and re-read the instructions before using the peel, making sure I would do it right.  The bottle said to apply it in the shower, so that was my plan.  You are supposed to start with slightly damp skin, apply it, then massage it in.  The peel will activate and solids will form with your dead skin. Massage next for 2-3 minutes until all the gel has combined with the dead skin.

When I first spread it on my face it started to ball up almost immediately.  I kept massaging for a minute or so and then noticed that a lot of it had attached to the peach fuzz on my jawline.  No amount of scrubbing would get it off.  I had to resort to yanking the little balls of peel and peach fuzz off with my nails.  This was quite unpleasant so I will not be purchasing this product in the future.  A fail in my beauty book.  Sad face.  Sad face with less peach fuzz!

Supergoop! Everyday SPF 50 with Cellular Response Technology  .34 fl oz 

photo by tracysotirakis.com

 Birchbox description“This lightweight sunscreen provides water-resistant, SPF 50+ protection anywhere you need it.”  Full size:  $19-$48.

Many sunscreens are greasy and give off a white cast.  Not this one, it is oil free and rubs in easily.  Wonderful for everyday wear.  I did find that I really didn’t need much moisturizer under it, especially now in the summer.  If you are a little on the oily side, you could probably skip your moisturizer as well.  It also comes in a giant 18oz bottle with a pump for easy and convenient daily application.  This sunscreen will definitely go on my shopping list after I use up all the other sunscreens that I have now.  (My favorite face sunscreen is still CoTZ.)

L. Erickson Narrow Grab & Go Ponytail Holder  
Blonde/taupe color, 1 hair band

photo by tracysotirakis.com

 Birchbox description “We’ve added in this ponytail holder from L. Erickson for a chic pop of color.”  Full size:  $12

Socks, bobby pins and hair ties seem to fall into the same black hole, never to appear again.  Where do they go?  Another dimension?  Is there some other planet out there in another galaxy that is simply littered with single socks,bobby pins and hair ties?  I think so.  On this planet though, the L. Erickson hair band is cute and will make your pony tail look like you actually care about your hair style.  It even looks nice as a bracelet because of the bead.  My long hair held well during a furious kickboxing workout, which is the ultimate test.  I will definitely keep using it until it gets transported through the black hole to the “sock, bobby pin, hair tie” world.

So that’s my Birchbox June 2015 review.  I’m pretty happy with my samples this month.  Let’s face it, you’re not going to love every single product, every single month.  It is definitely fun trying out new beauty goodies though.  Looking forward to next month’s treasures!

If you would like to sign up for Birchbox, use my referral code and I will receive 50 points.  Thanks for helping with my beauty product addiction!

Tracy’s Makeup

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Ipsy Glam Bag April 2013

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There are a ton of new beauty subscription companies available now, offering a bag or box filled with samples, trial sizes and possibly full size products.  I hate to waste money on crap that I won’t use, but I figured that I would give a few companies a try and see how it went.

After doing some research, one company that I decided to go with was Ipsy.com, which is supposed to have more makeup products rather than skincare.  Their cost is $10 a month.  You are supposed to get 4-5 deluxe samples and/or full size products.

The April Glam Bag’s theme is Pretty in Pink.  Ugg, already turned off.  I’m not really an “all over pink” type of person.  The Glam Bag included the zippered pouch, Big Sexy Hair Powder Play, Station Nail Lacquer in Love At First Byte, Two Cosmetics Eye Shadow in Heartache and Be A Bombshell blush in Sweet Cheeks.

Big Sexy Hair Powder Play .07 oz.
I like Sexy Hair products so I was happy to get this sample.  The small bottle feels light as air, but it’s a fine powder so that’s to be expected.  Powder Play, when sprinkled into your roots, gives you added volume and texture.  I like this stuff and will definitely be using it with my clients.  It’s easy to use and really helps create volume in the hair.  Made in the USA.

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Be A Bombshell blush in Sweet Cheeks .17 oz.
This is a full size product.  The color is a bright pink with a rich pigment.  It is incredibly iridescent and very easy to go overboard with.  It did not look good on my skin.  Way too frosted.  I will probably never use this product on either myself or clients.  Maybe I’ll mash it up and make it into a Glow Lotion, see previous posts for recipe.  Maybe I’ll give it to a teenage girl somewhere.  The real turn off, other than the hideous crazy frosted color, is that the packaging feels very cheap and says “Made in China” on the back.  I would maybe pay $1 for this blush, if I was feeling generous.

Station Nail Lacquer in Love At First Byte .50 fl oz.
Another full size product.  From the bottle, the color is a peachy pink.  Pretty neutral, nothing that knocks your socks off.  On the nail it is very sheer.  There are two coats on my nail in this picture and you can still see through it.  I’m not into it.  Either make it very sheer or opaque, not somewhere in between.  If I ever use this, I will only use one coat.  Made in the USA.

Two Cosmetics Eye Shadow in Heartache .035 oz.
Sigh, another pink product, half frosted, half not.  The frosted part is almost exactly the same shade and frostiness as the blush.  Come on Ipsy!  What were you thinking?  You want me to put this color on my eyes?  Hah!  I would look like I got punched in the face.  Not going to happen.  The non frosted side would maybe be alright as a blush, but it’s too small to get a blush brush into without getting all the frosty pink all over it.  Cheap packaging again, made in China.

Ipsy does include discounts for the products in your Glam Bag if you choose to order them.

You may have received this bag and absolutely loved it, I just didn’t.  I may cancel my subscription in fear that next month’s bag will be more of the same.  Ipsy, please give us some good quality products!

**Update:  I just cancelled my subscription.  In the forum for this particular Glam Bag on the Ipsy site, I complained about the product.  My comment was deleted by Ipsy so others could not see it.  How nice!

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Copyright of all photos:  Tracy Sotirakis