Saturday, August 15, 2015

Birchbox "Soak it Up!" August 2015 Review

I like the beach theme of the August box and admittedly all five of the samples I received this month are perfect for chilling pool side. I also got a pretty good variety - one hair product, one perfume, one makeup product, and two skincare products. The only one that was a dupe (skincare) was because I selected one as my Sample Choice, the Coola Makeup Setting Spray. I wasn't too wild about any of the sample choices this month, but this one seemed like a good size sample (.34 fl oz) and was very practical. 

My box contained: Coola SPF 30 Organic Makeup Setting Spray (Full-size, $36), IPKN Flash Cream Radiant Primer (Full-size, $28), Juicy Couture I Am Couture Eau de Parfum Spray (Full-size, $74-94), LAQA & Co Charm School Kit Cheeky Lip in Cray Cray (Set of 3, $20), and Parlor by Jeff Chasten Smoothing Blowout Spray (Full-size, $24)

Coola SPF 30 Organic Makeup Setting Spray

My face is always the first place to burn when I got out sunbathing, but who wants to put sunscreen underneath or over their makeup? Also, most foundations I've seen with SPF just have it up to factor 15. This is SPF30 - so very good protection. When I followed the instructions to hold the bottle 10-12 inches away from my face and spray, I didn't feel like the single spray covered my entire face. So, I did follow up with a couple half sprays. I don't know what the means for sun coverage because I didn't use this on a day when I spent massive amounts of time outside in direct sunlight. I'm thinking that unless you use quite a few sprays, you might end up with some sunburn on certain spots of your face that the product didn't reach. It has a scent that isn't totally unpleasant but does smell a little bit like bug spray. I like the ingredients - green tea, aloe, and hyaluronic acid - since I have pretty dry skin. The spray didn't affect the appearance of my makeup at all which was nice as well.  Overall, I'm pretty pleased with this product and look forward to trying it again the next time I sit out by the pool or the beach.

IPKN Flash Cream Radiant Primer

I've previously gotten an IPKN product in a Sample Society box and to honest I really don't know very much about the brand. I did like that other product because it was a luminous BB Cream with SPF 45. So, I had some high hopes for this one. Unfortunately, I didn't end up liking it as much as the BB Cream. This primer blends in smoothly and does not have a powdery finish that dries our your skin. However, it had a little too much of a greasy/dewy residue for my taste. When I put on a primer, I want a blank canvas. If I'm going for a dewy look, I'll let my blush or foundation do that, thank you. This has a fairly neutral smell and is SPF 15 - both pluses. 

Juicy Couture I Am Couture Eau de Parfum Spray

Overall, I've liked all of Juicy's perfume scents in the past, so I was excited to see what the new one is like. If you've tried any others, brace yourself. This one is completely different. While I would say all the others are more spring or summer scents with light essences of flowers and fruit, this one is definitely more of a full-bodied winter scent. To me it smells like vanilla with exotic spices, which makes sense since it is described as having notes of "raspberry, gardenia, rose de mai, candied amber, and musks". The amber and musks are definitely the stronger notes. I definitely don't like this one as much as the other Juicy fragrances but that could be just because of my personal taste which generally favors floral scents over musks or because it is better suited for winter and I'm testing it in August.

LAQA & Co Charm School Kit Cheeky Lip in Cray Cray

The set that this comes in looks really cute actually. The clutch alone would likely be worth the $20 to me, as long as it's as cute in person as it is in the photos. Of the three crayons in the set though, I'm pretty sure the one I received in my sample box would be my favorite. It's a nice natural peachy pink that isn't quite as nude/coral/orange as I thought it would be. The other colors are a very bright red and a dusty rose. With some of the lighter LAQA colors I've noticed that they come off looking a little waxy on my lips. The color doesn't blend in as nicely with my natural lip color and there are some waxy kind of clumps or flakes that are visible when I apply it. However, this one seems to have a nice way of being bright but not loud.

As you may remember, I am obsessed with the LAQA Sheer Lip Lube Pencil in Menatour that I got before. Like the Menatour one, this one glides on really smoothly and has a nice dial at the bottom that moves very smoothly to pump up the crayon after a few uses. This one doubles as a cheek color too, which the other one didn't. This could be because it is more of a subtle color, but also perhaps because although both have a matte finish, this one seems to be a little bit less shiny and blends easily.

Parlor by Jeff Chasten Smoothing Blowout Spray 

The first comment I have to make about this one - it smells just like peaches! That was pretty unexpected actually, but the scent is quite distinct (and pleasant). I found that I had to use an awful lot of the product to spread it evenly on my damp hair, maybe 8-10 sprays. After blow drying my hair, I wouldn't say that my hair felt especially silky or smooth. It was fairly shiny though, because I did notice light reflecting off of some of the lighter tones a bit more - a look I'm always trying to achieve in the summertime. My hair's volume also looked roughly the same as usual, maybe slightly more voluminous but nothing drastic.  I usually use a heat protectant spray and leave-in conditioner when I blow-dry my hair. While this spray does protect your hair from heat damage, it did not - at least in my case - make it smoother and less tangled. So, I still needed to use the leave-in conditioner. I think for other hair types this could be especially nice though because it might eliminate the need for two separate products. It is also a great product if you are looking for sprays that are sulfate, paraben, gluten, or cruelty free and are safe for color treated hair.

Overall this was an okay box. I had picked out the Coola product and always like a LAQA lip color. The rest of the samples were pretty unexciting. I definitely would have loved another make-up item, a shampoo/conditioner, or a cleanser. Here's hoping for next month!

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