Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Birchbox "Beachy & Bright" July 2015 Review

This marks my first Birchbox after my annual subscription ran out. I got my initial subscription through a special holiday promotion, so I was a little hesitant to let it auto-renew. In the end though, I did let them go ahead and renew it. 

With all the points you get from reviewing the products in your box and sharing your box via social media the $100 annual subscription comes down to more like $40 (or $100 plus $60+ free product). In that case, I definitely thought it was worth it. I may not get around to using up every single sample each month, but it's definitely a nice monthly pick-me-up getting a box of little surprises in the mail for less than $10/month.

I had avoided the curated boxes for a while because I missed getting surprises, but this time I did spring for the curated "Beachy & Bright" one. For those of you who are less familiar with Birchbox, you have two choices. You can either pick 1 item in your box (from among that month's sample choices) and receive 4-5 surprises, or you can pick a curated box and know in advance which 5-6 items you are going to receive.

My box contained: Juara Radiance Enzyme Scrub, Stila Look at Me Liquid Lipstick, Oribe Apres Beach Wave and Shine Spray, TheBalm Balm Desert Bronzer/Blush, and Supergoop! Anti-Aging City Serum SPF 30

Oribe Apres Beach Wave and Shine Spray (full-size $39, purse size $22)

I definitely more of a polished waves than beachy waves kind of girl. For the other Drybar addicts out there, that means I usually go for the "Cosmo" rather than the "Mai Tai". This spray gives that nice sea salt texture that creates a great "I woke up like this" look, but it does make your hair dry rather than silky and matte rather than shiny. So, it just depends on the type of look you prefer - or the occasion. 

This spray definitely emphasized my natural waves which was pretty flattering. It's a great way to get a new look in a matter of seconds. 

I will say, with most of the sample aerosol sprays I've received from Birchbox - and this one is no exception - I've found that there really isn't much product in such a tiny aerosol. It's mostly air. Perhaps for the samples they'd be better off putting them in plastic spray bottles? If the sample is any evidence of ratio of product to spray bottle, I would recommend investing in the full size of this product rather than purchasing the purse spray.

Juara Radiance Enzyme Scrub (full-size, $38)

To be honest, this was the sample I was least excited about this month. While Juara has a strong brand reputation, there are a number of other skincare brands I prefer at the moment. 

The product is odorless which is appealing to most, but I thought that the lack of odor - or at least lack of a pleasant odor - was kind of disappointing. Since the product contains some cinnamon and apple enzymes, I had hoped it would have some nice natural scent. 

My skin type is dry/very dry, so I think this product isn't exactly designed for me. I do try to use an exfoliant at least once every 1-2 weeks, but I usually have to use a mild one. I've been told ones that are too rough actually bring extra oils to the surface of your skin. So, I definitely want to avoid that. I wouldn't say this one did that, but I did feel like my skin felt especially dried out after using it. 

I can't speak for the long term effects though, since I've only tried it once. Just a little bit of product seemed to go a long way when applied to damp skin. So, although this sample looks pretty small, I think it will last for at least 4-5 uses.  So far, I still prefer some of my Liz EarleCaudalie, and Nuxe masks and cleansers - or event the Vasanti one I received in a previous Birchbox. I think just about all of those are cheaper too. But, I'll give this one a few more chances.

Stila Look at Me Liquid Lipstick (set of 3, $20) in Bella

This month's sample choice was the same Stila Liquid Lipstick in three different shades, all of which are included in the full-size trio set. Part of the reason I went for the curated box was because I'd planned to pick the bright pink Bella shade anyway, which is the one included in every "Beachy & Bright" curated box. The color has got a matte finish and is very long lasting, almost like a lip stain. I anticipated that it would have a sticky texture but it's actually not sticky at all. Since I have dry lips/skin I found that I actually wanted to apply a moisturizing lip balm on top of it.

I wanted to do a close up of this product swatch so you could get a feel for color and texture. This color is bright! If you're not into bold hot pinks, then Bella is definitely not the shade for you. It's a Barbie-bubble-gum hot pink. It's definitely not suitable for work, but will certainly make a statement on a night out. 

I really like the texture because it is extremely thick. It felt like paint when I swatched it. Because it's so thick, it's not particularly easy to remove. I tried my Dr. Jart+ Dermaclear Micro Water from last month's box and that didn't do the trick. I needed a cleansing cloth for this one.  

I found that the pigment only really clung to the front of my lips, so you could see a bit of a divide in color when I smiled. Also, because the color is so strong, it's not a great one to smudge with your finger. I would definitely recommend using a Q-tip or beauty blender to wipe away any access product around your lips. Otherwise, you'll need to use some heavy-duty make-up removing wipes to get the product off of your hands.

TheBalm Balm Desert Bronzer/Blush (full-size, $21)

I usually steer clear of bronzers because my skin is so fair. However, I really love TheBalm and thought this product might be worth giving a try. I like it a lot better than other bronzers because rather than creating a dark streak on my face, it blends in quite nicely like a blush would. 

It is relatively translucent and has a nice rosy sun-kissed shimmer, which you can see a bit on the far left of the photo where I swatched it on my hand. I think this sample will last a while, so I look forward to experimenting with it. The two great things about TheBalm's products are that the packaging is always really convenient for travel and that most of the products can serve multiple functions (like a 2-in-1 blush and bronzer).

Supergoop! Anti-Aging City Serum SPF 30 (full-size, $42)

I've received this sample before, perhaps at a Birchbox I received at a special blogger event. I love the Supergoop! brand and believe all the products in their line-up are very high quality. 

Unfortunately, they're a little out of my budget. As I said last month with the Coola one (full-size $32), I don't typically splurge on sunscreen products unless they are multi-function make-up products.  They also tend to have a shorter shelf life than other beauty products. Regardless, I don't mind getting a sample. It's always nice to get to try something that would otherwise be fairly inaccessible. 

I like that this serum acts as a moisturizer and is safe to use on your face, neck, and chest. It doesn't cause breakouts or leave a greasy residue. I have very dry skin so I appreciate the moisturizing aspect of this product, but also find most sunscreens on the market fairly moisturizing. 

I definitely feel very protected when I use this product, but again think the price tag's a little high. I'll enjoy it for the 3-4 uses I'll likely get out of this sample but don't think this is something I would purchase for daily use, as the description suggests you might.

I have a soft spot for palm trees and love the packaging for this month's box. I definitely want to re-purpose it. Let me know in the comments if you've repurposed any of your Birchboxes and what creations you made!

May your waves be beachy and your outlook be peachy!

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