Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Rifle Paper Co + Birchbox April 2015 Review

I'm posting my monthly Birchbox review a little late for two reasons, one good and one not so good. On the bright side, I decided to splurge on a Birchbox Plus for the very first time, which arrived separately but just shortly after my Birchbox. On the not-so-bright side, my sample choice this month did not arrive in my box, despite receiving a confirmation on my selection. So, I had to wait a few weeks for the Birchbox customer service team to kindly send it separately. This is the second time I haven't received an item that was supposed to be in my box. 

However, it's really never a big deal. Birchbox's customer service team is the absolute best. In both cases they immediately acknowledged the error and shipped the product separately. They also let me keep all the original products. So, I basically got an extra item in my Birchbox each time they made this mistake. That's fine with me and certainly makes up for the extra wait time.

My box contained: Supergoop Advanced SPF 37 Anti-Aging Eye Cream (Full-size, $45), Cynthia Rowley Beauty Brightening Illuminator (Full-size, $28), Temple Spa Peace Be Still Calming Face & Body Balm (Full-size, $29), Whish Shave Crave Shaving Cream in Blueberry (Full-size, $20), Beauty Protector Protect & Oil (Full-size, $25.95), and my replacement sample choice item - Jane Iredale Just Kissed Lip and Cheek Stain (Full-size, $25)

I love Supergoop products, and you may remember I received the CC Cream in a previous box. I have really fair skin so anything with a high SPF is a huge plus for me, especially in the spring and summer. Although this sample is teeny tiny (2ml), it does hold up for a few uses since you only need a drop of product each time. This cream attacks all of my worst skincare nightmares - dark circles, puffiness, fine lines, and sun damage. I love how energized my whole face looks after I use the product. I also like the really neutral powdery scent. At $45 I don't think I can splurge on this just yet, so I am excited to have the opportunity to enjoy a sample of this little luxury.

I was really intrigued by this new Cynthia Rowley beauty product and almost selected it as my sample choice. So, I was pretty excited to see it in my box even though I did not initially received my confirmed sample choice. This is another tiny sample (.04 oz) but also only requires a small amount per use. It's a sort of brightening contour product. You can use it to add dimension to our forehead, lift your brow, energize your eyes, make your cheekbones pop, align your nose, plump your lips, and accentuate your natural face shape. I found that it shimmers a bit like a mix between Benefit's Watt's Up and High Beam. It looked best around my eyes and eyebrows and helped "wake-up" my face in general.

Temple Spa is another brand in the Gilchrist & Soames family. As you may remember, I have already received heaps of Gilchrist & Soames or "distributed by Gilchrist & Soames" body lotions under their various labels this year (Gilchrist & Soames - March 2014Spa Therapy - May 2014, Bee Kind - October 2014). It seems to be Birchbox's favorite brand. I've also received the same samples for free at hotels throughout the year. So, I wasn't overly excited about this one. I've also put in my Birchbox profile that I don't want body lotions anymore, and yet another appears! To be fair, this one has a nice aromatherapy element to it. The scent is indeed pretty calming. It reminds me of lemon, chamomile, and lavender. However, it doesn't seem so out of the ordinary to me that it would merit a $29 price tag. As a point of comparison the consistency/texture is pretty much identical to the other Gilchrist & Soames products I've received.

So, I've actually received Whish Shave Cream in a Birchbox before (May 2014). Although Birchbox cannot repeat samples in your box, it can give you the same sample in a different scent. To some people, this would seem like a major cop-out on Birchbox's part. However, to me in this case, I was pretty excited to receive a dupe. I absolutely love Whish Shave Cream. It's so smooth and luxurious. These samples are also perfect for travel, when you don't want to bring an aerosol shaving cream can with you. I'm pretty much a budget shaving cream girl, so again couldn't justify the $20 price tag - but that just makes receiving the second sample sweeter! Admittedly, I love grapefruit so the other scent was definitely my favorite. However, the blueberry scent wasn't quite as I expected it would be - it's actually pretty sweet with hint of sour grape.

I have received a few Beauty Protector products in previous Birchboxes including the detangling spray, shampoo, and conditioner. They were all pretty great, but I  have hair that is very dry and prone to tangles, so I like heavy-duty products. This product does the trick. Just 1-3 drops will do to protect your hair against UV rays, heat, and breakage. I love the high quality of this sample. It's a pretty decent size and comes in a durable leak-free glass bottle. It has a lovely vanilla bean smell. It will definitely last me a while. I applied it to my hair when it was still damp and noticed that it became much easier to manage and style when it started to dry.

I was so pleased to receive my Jane Iredale lip and cheek stain, albeit a little late. I've been a huge fan of the brand ever since I received a Starter Kit to review courtesy of Vogue Magazine last May. The products create such a natural look and feel really great on sensitive skin. This sample is also extremely small so I plan to use it sparingly. I prefer it as a lip stain rather than a cheek stain because it is so deeply conditioning and moisturizing. I have very dry lips and prefer more of a subtle matte look on my cheeks most of the time. Despite the product's translucent coral appearance, it actually creates a striking magenta lip color. I love how great it makes my lips look and feel.

(Birchbox Plus Price $28, Regular Price $35)

Last but not least, my Birchbox Plus! I have never splurged on one before, but when I heard this month's partner was the ever-adorable Rifle Paper Co, I just couldn't resist. This bag is so distinct and very high quality. I love that it is double-lined, making it extremely durable and well suited for carrying heavy books or transporting groceries (come on, it was just Earth Day, get with the program!!). It's absolutely lovely and although I really didn't need another tote, I think this one will become not only a collector's item but also an everyday favorite.

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