Sunday, May 17, 2015

Cupcakes and Cashmere + Birchbox May 2015 Review

I am not going to lie. I was extremely disappointed with my Birchbox this month. As you know from my other reviews, I'm getting a bit sick and tired of receiving a ton of body and hand creams (especially fairly mediocre ones). Lo and behold in this month's box I received not ONE, but TWO of them! I also received several items that were extremely similar to other samples I've received in the past. 

So, this box combined with the slight disappointment of last month's have made me rethink renewing my annual subscription again - which ends next month I believe. Yes, the argument is that Birchbox is just $10 and that's not very much. However, if you're disappointed with even just five of your boxes in one year, that's $50 you could have spent on full-size products that you love...All that aside, here's my honest take on each of the products.

My box contained: Beauty Protector Beauty Cream Body Lotion (full-size, $15.95), Juliette Has a Gun Not a Perfume (full-size, $90-120), Macadamia Professional Nourishing Moisture Oil Treatment (full-size, $40), Naobay Oxygenating Cream Moisturizer (full-size, $36), and Well People The Expressionist Bio Extreme Mascara (full-size, $23.50)

This month's box was in collaboration with Emily Schuman of Cupcakes & Cashmere. I'm not quite sure what the collaboration entailed other than Birchbox putting her logo on the box. This wasn't a curated box so the items weren't individually picked by Emily. They are promoting her new book Cupcakes and Cashmere at Home through the Birchbox Book Club and offering up a copy for free with any purchase of $55+ in the Birchbox Shop. That's a pretty good deal if you don't have another coupon code you're planning to use, because the book is worth $19.95 retail! There was also a promo card in the box for Domino Magazine. It had a code for 15% off any purchase on their website, an offer for an annual subscription for just $12, and a recipe for Linguini Al'Arrabiata. I haven't read Domino Magazine before but it looks like they did a recent feature on Emily Schuman which is likely why the promo card was included.

Beauty Protector Beauty Cream Body Lotion

I have received at least four Beauty Protector products in previous Birchboxes. While the brand is pretty nice, I wasn't overwhelmed and I've never really considered purchasing a full-size product. This product is suitable for use on hands and body. It has a powdery vanilla scent, nothing particularly distinctive. It smells almost identical to the Minus 417 Hand Moisturizer in Ocean that I received in a Sample Society box in October 2013. It's sort of like a sugary sweet cakey scent. Like the Minus 417 one, this one has a nice thick texture that does feel like it deeply moisturizes, as opposed to many of the other lotions I've received from Birchbox that were much more thin / runny. To its credit, I will say that this lotion pleasantly surprised me - the brand and scent didn't do much for me, but I did like the rich texture.

Juliette Has a Gun Not a Perfume

I have definitely received this before in a previous Birchbox. I don't think it was through my subscription though, perhaps at a Birchbox event or in a blogger gift bag sponsored by Birchbox. This perfume comes from Paris and is allergen-free. It is made from a single element called Cetalox. I'm guessing it is called "Not a Perfume" because it is single element and that element is something usually only used in base notes of other perfumes. It has a soft spicy scent that reminds me of powdery, lighter, more feminine version of Kiel's unisex Original Musk eau de toilette.  I like how the sample was packaged with care in a sealed envelope with a note. It is definitely a pleasant sample that I will certainly use, especially in Fall & Winter, but I don't think I love it enough to purchase a full-size bottle.

Macadamia Professional Nourishing Moisture Oil Treatment

This was my sample choice so I can't really complain. It's definitely the best thing in the box, in my opinion. The sample choices this month weren't overly exciting, so I thought this one was my best bet. I trust the brand and I have dry color-treated hair, so am always looking for good products to add some moisture. This product is loaded with antioxidants. It is lightweight and doesn't make you hair look greasy. I put just a couple drops into my palm and applied it on my hair from mid length to ends while is was damp. Be careful not to put it higher than mid length - I can imagine it might make roots look greasy! It has a pleasant but not very overpowering smell. I found that it pretty instantly added softness and shine to dull hair. I like that the sample came in a glass bottle and contains a full 1 oz of product. That's nearly 1/4 of a full-size bottle, worth about $10! It should last me a long while.

Naobay Oxygenating Cream Moisturizer

This was a huge disappointment. I had seen lots of other subscribers get this item before I did and have read a number of less-than-stellar reviews, so I was dreading the day this would be one of my 5 samples. The products is made in Spain and contains avocado and olive oils. It is 98% natural. This one is the typical thin, runny kind of lotion I've gotten in multiple Birchboxes. It does not feel particularly deeply hydrating like the Beauty Protector one did. You can use this one on face and neck though, which you cannot with most of the rest. It's got a strong lemon citrus scent that reminds me a bit of my kitchen soap. I read some reviews that it made subscribers with oily skin feel like it made their face even more oily and greasy. Well, I have very dry skin and it did the exact same thing! Overall, you can tell I was not a big fan of this one. I can't believe a full-size is $36! That's more than twice the price of the Beauty Protector lotion and nearly as much as a luxury body lotion brand like Molton Brown ($42), which I'd much rather purchase instead. Plus, with Beauty Protector you're getting a 7 oz tube and with Molton Brown you're getting a 10 oz bottle - with this you're only getting 1.7 oz. Can you believe it?!?

Well People The Expressionist Bio Extreme Mascara

I received another Well People mascara in a previous box (February 2014) and was fairly unimpressed. This was another huge disappointment. I'm all for all-natural, but I don't think they make the most effective make-up  products. They don't tend to last as long or create dramatic results. If you mainly go for the ultra all-natural look and want to wear some make-up rather than none, I would go for Well People products...but, you're probably lovely au natural anyway and this doesn't make a huge difference. All I found with this mascara was that it darkened my lashes a little, which did indeed "make them look longer". I wouldn't quite call this an "Extreme" mascara by any means. If you have very light lashes and just want to make them more noticeable but like the no make-up look, then this is the right mascara for you.

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