Thursday, August 18, 2011

Birchbox Review: August 2011

Hello all!

As promised, I've tested out each product in my August 2011 Birchbox, and now I'm ready to give my thoughts.  I'm not being paid to do this, and the Birchbox subscription is paid for by me.

What is Birchbox?  Glad you asked!  It's a monthly subscription service where, for 10 dollars per month, you receive 4-5 deluxe-size samples of higher-end (think luxury) beauty products.  This is a perfect idea for people who like to try new beauty-related products but hate wasting money on full-size products that end up not being a good match.  It's also a great way to try products that are specifically chosen for your needs that you may not even know existed!  More information can be found at the Birchbox webpage here.  Last month was my first month, and I got a couple of real gems, but this month was even better!  I posted the contents in an earlier post, but now it's time for the results of The Reasonable Test Lab!

First up is the Smashbox Photo Finish foundation primer.

I am a primer promoter.  I currently use Makeup Forever's HD Primer 1 (green) to cover the red tones in my skin from rosacea (more on my battle with rosacea in a future post!) and to keep my foundation from sliding off my face.  So, when this little gem arrived in my Birchbox, I thought, "what the heck, let's give her a shot!"  It reminds me a bit of the Bare Minerals Prime Time with its slick, greaseless feel, but I find better staying power with the Smashbox.  After a few days' use, I did notice a couple of minor blemishes, so it's not a product I would continue to use on a daily basis, but my best friend just purchased this (she got the one to cover uneven pigmentation) and I won't discourage her from trying it.

Next up is the Cool Fix, by Shaveworks.
I admit I didn't read the handy little card from Birchbox, so I initially thought this was aloe gel for soothing sunburn.  Upon closer inspection, hooray!  It's actually something I want to try out!  I've used it on my bikini area after shaving (TMI?), which is the only place I experience persistent irritation after shaving.  The smell is pleasant, it's easy to apply and isn't sticky or oily.  I definitely like it and had noticeably fewer bumps and signs of irritation.  I'm going to use a few more times before making a solid verdict whether or not to purchase the full size, but things are looking positive for this little gem.

The next product is one I wasn't thrilled about when I saw it:
While I still maintain that the packaging lends itself for limited use (it can't travel and the product can easily dry out), I did try it the other day and it's not bad.  Although the front of the packaging doesn't specify that it's for curlier hair (my hair is naturally wavy), the directions indicate that you're to use the product before styling your curls as usual.  I don't know about the rest of you, but in humid weather, my hair holds curl WAY better than any straight style.  So, I used this before blow-drying my hair straight.  It did, indeed, help my hair refrain from going rogue wavy on me, but I found that my ends were dry and awkward looking.  I didn't see much of a difference from any regular hair gel, except that this product didn't leave my hair stiff or gross feeling.  Just... not soft.  I can't describe it.  If your hair frizzes badly, you may have better luck than I, but for now, this product will remain off my shopping list.

The last two things are probably the ones I use most.  One is a hair tie, which is basically just a piece of thick black elastic cut and tied off to make a circle.  It's a simple idea really... yet it works.  I like it, but I like my generic Goody hair ties too, so I see no reason to pay 5 dollars for three when I can pay 2 dollars for 10.

The last item in my August Birchbox is the piece de resistance!
The June Jacobs Papaya Purifying Enzyme Masque is fantastic!!  The price is steep ($62 for a full size 3.7 fl oz) but OH. MY. GOODNESS.  I put this lightweight cream on my face and I'm instantly transformed to a luxurious spa.  It feels cool going on, and it seems just like you're putting on any regular moisturizer.  However, when you rinse it off (I wipe it off with a warm wet washcloth), the results are mind-blowing.  My face, which again has rosacea and has a long history of flakiness and irritation, has never felt so soft and smooth.  I can moisturize until the cows come home, but I've never ever felt skin this smooth.  It's just fantastic.  Normally, I like to share my new favorite products, but this item?  I'm hoarding it... it's just that good.

Well, I hope you have enjoyed this review.  Now that we're getting settled into our new house, I'll be able to post more often.  Follow me on Twitter for more updates and Reasonable Blonde goodness!