Review: Birchbox June 2014 “Away We Go!”

It is quite late I know for me to be doing this review but I’m hoping it still might help others who are just now starting to search for their ultimate beauty box subscription. I have only started to subscribe to Birchbox in the U.S. last 23rd of June after my April 2014 Glossybox was re-routed accidentally (?) which I mentioned in my post here. Due to this mishap I was searching for other boxes that I can subscribe to in case something goes amiss again thus my finding Birchbox this late.

Anyway, as they say in MMA, “let’s get it on!” Presenting to you my June 2014 Birchbox:

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This box held 7 (yes, seven!) items because of the 2 extra items enclosed. I shall tell you more later.

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June’s edition has the theme “Away We Go!” Mighty fitting for the summer as most of us are going on trips to other places or even just off to a beach somewhere. It included 5 must haves for when you go out this summer. And of course, the items they sent me were based on the profile I filled.

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LAQA&Co. Lip Lube is the first item I tried on. The photo on the left is when I swatched it on my inner skin on my forearm. The first swatch was a triple strike while the next swatch was one stroke only. It has an orange-y tint to it which I like because as you can see it brightened up my skin here. Moving along, on the upper right photo are the swatches I made on my hand. As you can see my complexion here is darker and more yellowish. I think if one has a yellow undertone to their skin this Laqa&Co. Lip Lube will bring it more into focus so I’d advice against this lip lube tint. Furthermore, on the last photo, I tried it on my lips. I like how it looks against my unmade face. It felt good as well as it glides smoothly during application. And it smelled minty which is totally cool for the summer!

The downside for this Laqa&Co. Lip Lube is I had to apply it many times over my lips to achieve the color on the photo. Unlike on the hand swatches I can already see its color right away but on my lips I had to reapply it many times. Perhaps many will not like the added time for application. As for me, I hope they could make it that the lip lube already colors the lip in one or two strokes only. Although I’m thinking it may be because of its hue? Or perhaps it should be applied together with a lipstick or lip gloss? I’m really not sure as I did not read its online description this time. Nevertheless, I tried it and liked it and whether I’ll buy it only time can tell for now. But I shall be using it when I go out to run errands this summer for sure. [Size received: 2gm]

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The second item I tried on was the Harvey Prince Hello perfume. It came in a tiny transparent bottle spray as shown in the photo above. I’m grateful that it did not leak or spill. So kudos! for that Harvey Prince. When sprayed, the scent is not defined. But after several seconds the flowery scent can be smelled. I like the scent. It is fresh smelling and cheerful. You know what I mean? I think this is great for when you’re lounging by a pool or beach. I haven’t tried it that much yet but I think it will also do very well when I go out under the heat of the desert sun to run my never ending errands.

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Thirdly, this time I tried Davines Love Smoothing Shampoo. As shown, it is not full but I guess it helped in not spilling the contents all over the box which would be most unfortunate, right? As per its sticker, it is meant for dry and frizzy hair which is just right for me as I have noticed I now have due to being under the desert sun most days. I have used this shampoo for three times now and I’ll say it’s a must have. Opening the bottle, its fragrance reminded my sister and I of the fruit Soursop or Guyabano as what we Filipinos call it. Reading the sticker further it says it has Indian Fig extract. Maybe it is the fig extract but it really smelled like I have soursop on my hair. I’m still not sure if I like the smell although it’s not a turn off.

On application, Davines Love Smoothing Shampoo is foamy and refreshing to the scalp. I have long hair so I had to use I’d estimate about 3-4 teaspoons of the shampoo to cover all of my hair. I left it for several minutes and rinsed it after which helped in keeping the fragrance stay for more than a day. It made my hair silkier and more manageable. Frizzy less? I’m not sure as I used it with the accompanying conditioner. Anyway, I’m really thinking of buying its full size. That’s how much I like it. [Size received: 75ml]

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I mentioned in my first few lines that I got 7 items in this box. This is because I got the Davines Love Smoothing Conditioner [Size received: 12ml] and the Davines All in One Milk [Size received: 4ml] as well. These two items came in sample foil packs as shown above. I believe this was included to enhance the effect of Davines Love Smoothing Shampoo which was definitely a plus in my opinion.

The conditioner has a very subtle smell so the shampoo’s fragrance stays. It has to be applied after the shampoo has been rinsed off and the hair has been towel dried. After leaving Davines Love Smoothing Conditioner on the hair for a few minutes, it should be rinsed off properly. I’d say it adds more time to my morning routine as I am more used to conditioners being applied to wet hair after shampooing. Regardless it is well worth it. It clearly smoothens my hair and when my hair is set and styled, it is silkier than ever which I really, really like. It also tamed the frizziness after going out under the sun. Which is another plus. I cannot say if it is the shampoo or the conditioner that made my hair less frizzy because I used both together. All I can say is it worked on my hair! I am also not sure if it will work that well if you’re in a cool climate area. My review is how it worked for me. [Note: My hair is straight, thin, dry and dyed and I live in the desert.]

As for the Davines All in One Milk Beauty Treatment, it added shine to my hair and it helped in making it manageable to style. Just a plus I’d say but unnecessary if you already have the shampoo and conditioner. But it is still up to you.

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The next item I tried in this box was the Egyptian Magic All Purpose Skin Cream. It contains honey, beeswax, royal jelly, olive oil to name some. It smells more of the olive oil and when applied it gives an oily look to the skin. Even after several hours, it stays on the skin and moisturizes it most definitely. What I didn’t like about this cream is its texture. It is quite greasy feeling and greasy looking as well. I used it once only on my hands which are my problematic areas and it was moisturized most definitely. But I will only be using it before going to sleep for hydration of my skin. Sadly, I don’t think I shall be buying its full size anytime in the future. [Size received: 7.5ml]

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Last but not the least, the last item I tried in this box is the Suki Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser. It came in a cute little jar as pictured above. Its texture reminded me of the home concocted scrub I’m currently using to reduce my pores. This cleanser smells lemony which I so like because I love lemons. 🙂 And although it felt rough on my finger pads, it was not rough when applied on my face. It really is foamy and leaves the face fresh afterwards. I don’t know how the exfoliation works as I only used it once as I don’t want to break out. I’m not saying I will but only this time I have to avoid the risk as I have somewhere special to go to this weekend and cannot afford to be looking nightmarish. Anyway, I’ll reserve my opinion on how it exfoliates in the next few weeks.[Size received: 6gm]

All in all, I really love my Birchbox June 2014. I got my money’s worth back and much, much more. My July 2014 Birchbox has arrived as well and I will unbox it this weekend with a review, of course.

So, if you still are not subscribed and interested to do so, here is my referral link: https://www.birchbox.com/invite/f41k2. Or if you are not sure you’d want me to receive rewards points, you can visit Birchbox here. For $10 every month, you get to sample lovely products from companies that sometimes you have not heard of yet.

Until next beauty box. Thank you for reading.

 

*Disclaimer: I may have used links that are affiliated.

 

 

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Beauty Blogger of the Month Nomination

I am taking a break from letter writing and was checking up my blog when I saw that some comments are on queue on my spam folder. Opening it I find that I’ve been nominated for a Beauty Blogger of the Month award. Seriously?!?! I still can’t believe it for I am such a neophyte when it comes to beauty products and such. Anyway, I’d like to say THANK YOU to Cecilia of Cecilia’s Corner for thinking of my blog.

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Let me tell you what a Beauty Blogger of the month award is before I get into my entry. This award recognizes the bloggers of beauty around be it in makeup, skin care, hair care, nail care, among others. Cecilia has created this award to allow fellow beauty bloggers nominate the bloggers they like and follow. At the end of this month (or every month that follows thereafter), 4 nominees will be randomly selected by her and entered into a poll to let the rest vote whom they think deserves the award for the month. Of course there is a giveaway with being chosen as the winner. This month it’s the Benefit They’re Real! Push-Up Liner. Who wouldn’t want to get such a prize at no cost, right? So, what are you waiting for? Join now fellow beauty enthusiasts! Here’s the link if you’re interested: http://ceciliascorner.net/2014/07/04/the-beauty-blogger-of-the-month-award-benefit-push-up-eyeliner-giveaway/

Perhaps you may be wondering why the hell am I joining as I know next to nothing about beauty products and such. Well, I think to join is fun and I have great bloggers of beauty that I really want to nominate. So there. Besides, nominees get the chance to win, too!

Well, here goes my entry…

1. Where does your make up inspiration comes from?

I am inspired by my sister, Jocelyn‘s love of cosmetics and how she tried to learn thru YouTube and other blogs since 2012 (or maybe 2011?). She has used my other sister and I as models for new and interesting looks and we have never complained. I wish I can convince her to create her own vlog for others to be inspired as well for she is now so proficient. Secondly, I am also inspired by how beauty bloggers on YouTube get transformed by just a swish of a brush or a “bounce” of a BeautyBlender sponge that makes me want to try them all out. One at a time, of course. Special mention goes to Sineadycady over at The Makeup Chair. She never forgets to do tutorials/lessons for beginners such as myself even though most of her followers are very proficient make up enthusiasts already.

2. What are 3 of your makeup Holy Grail products you cannot live without?

Well, simple, I can’t live without my eyebrow pencil/liner, lip balm and concealer. I might be persuaded to forego the lip balm and concealer but the eyebrow pencil/liner? NOOOO!!!

3. What is your makeup signature look which you have on most of the time?

During the day, I opt for the more casual and cool look with only my eyes as the highlight. I don’t think the hospital where I work for will take kindly to me causing erratic ECG readings on patients in the ER. Lol. Just kidding. However, when I go out for a date with hubby or a night out with friends, I try the sexy, sultry look which I have yet to perfect. Of course, the main feature again are my eyes. Really, I just think they’re lovely. Haha.

4. Let us know your favorite makeup brands?

I still don’t have a favorite for I am still trying them all out. Maybe in 3 months’ time???

5.  Your ultimate makeup pet peeve?

Seeing lipstick stain on another person’s teeth? I don’t know how to tell them that they got it, but I really do try to tell my very close friends when I spot it on them.

6. You’ve heard about all the hype on this makeup item, bought it, tried it and don’t understand what all the fuss is about…Name that product

I don’t know if you know Avon but I bought their Extra Lasting Liquid Eyeliner Pen and boy! was I disappointed. It not only smudges when applied but it sure does not do its name credit for I can erase it with my bare fingertips in seconds. Tsk tsk.

7. Concealer OR foundation ONLY for the rest of your life. Choose one and tell us the reason! 

As I said in Q2…concealer is one of the 3 Holy Grail of products that I cannot live without. I can go out without a foundation but without a concealer, I don’t think so. I don’t have eyebags even with all the less-than-eight-hours-sleep daily but I have dark circles that I really hate. It would take me to really get enough sleep (minimum 8 hours daily) for two whole weeks before these dark circles lighten up and I just don’t have that kind of luxury.

It was fun answering all the Qs for this award entry. I’m not expecting to win for its randomly picked but I hope others will be interested enough to nominate.

My nominees are (in random order):

Caryl Almelor, Polkadotparadiso, Diana Reese, Look Beyond Beauty, Emlotabblog, iBlushBeauty, & AlleyHope. If I could nominate Cecilia herself I would ‘coz I dig her blog, too!

Have fun y’all! Thanks for reading.

 

Getting Out of the Shadows

I have neglected my letter writing among the other hobbies for the past several months because of self-diagnosed depression. Really. Honestly, I’m ashamed that I kept everybody who sent me missives hanging without a reply. But what can I do? All I wanted to do was sleep and sleep and sleep. I didn’t have the enthusiasm or even the slightest motivation to do the things I know I love such as writing, stitching, blogging and reading. Even household projects which I usually like to do on a good day has been relegated to the sideline. Sigh. However, finally, I’m coming out of the shadows one day at a time. Thank goodness! Hopefully, I won’t give in to the darkness anytime soon. Please pray for me, will you?

Yesterday, I started writing my friend, Kalliopi, in Athens. Of all my new pen pals, she is one of the three that have always been patient. I’ll be telling her this nasty episode in my life, of course. And I know she’ll understand. I need my friends to keep fighting this darkness. But I am still not willing to see a professional because I am afraid.

There I’ve said it. Yes, I am afraid of what he/she might say. I’m even afraid to tell my family. So, I am doing the next best thing – writing letters and blogging. I’ve even started a new diversion – subscription boxes. Fingers crossed I’ll never go back to those months.

Thank you for reading. Sharing by writing has always helped me.

 

Review: Birchbox UK June 2014

So, the next beauty box that I subscribed to was Birchbox UK.  For £10 monthly plus £2.95 P&P, I should expect to receive 5 luxury beauty products in the mail. What more, you get to earn 12 reward points just by subscribing. Of course, there are the 6-month and yearly subscription options you can also choose from with several perks to it. If you’re interested, subscribe to Birchbox now using my referral link.

Without further ado, here is my June 2014 Birchbox. Many of you must be aware that the football fever is very high in most countries right now, thus, this month’s Birchbox came with the cute football theme namely Global Strikers.

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As you can see in the photo above, the small pouch came with Brazil’s colors because the FIFA World Cup is being held there. Like my other previous review of a different subscription box, Birchbox came in a sturdy small box that held my five items. The cute pouch and the box itself are reusable so really there is no waste here.

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I received five items in the box with a welcome card, description card detailing the products and a very cute keychain following this month’s theme as well.

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The first item I tried out on my box is theBalm How ‘Bout Them Apples? cheek and lip cream. I had the PIE color for my sample. [Original size: £26.00 / 20g]

In my opinion: This cute cheek and lip cream is great to use. My sample although small (0.57g only) was enough for a few times’ use. It was easy to apply with a brush and the color sent to me was just the right tint for my skin color. It also has a lasting effect after application which is what I’m always looking for in such a product as I am not one to fuss about redoing or reapplying. I was very happy with this product and will definitely buy one in its full size. I just wish my sample was a bit bigger. Haha.

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I know of OPI Nail Lacquer even before I received this sample in my Birchbox. So, it came as no surprise that I was happy to receive it in my box. My sample of 3.75ml is part of the OPI Brazil Beach Sandies Mini Pack. Mine was in the shade of a fun, bright yellow with the cute name of You’re So Flippy Floppy. [Mini Pack of Four Shades: £14.50 / 4×3.75ml]

In my opinion: OPI Nail Lacquer never fails to make me smile with the names they come up with for their shades. I loved my yellow nail polish and have definitely used it more than once this summer. It brought a cheerful look to my hands and well, the polish itself was easy to apply with the brush it came with. However, I had to remove it right away because I am not allowed to have nail polish while on duty at the hospital. Just a friendly tip also, once you finish applying the polish make sure to apply a coat of transparent varnish to seal in the yellow polish.

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The third item in my Birchbox was Caudalie Vinoperfect SPF15 Day Perfecting Fluid. It came at the sample size of 0.33 fl oz. It’s supposed to be applied in the morning and can be used when going out under the sun this summer! [Original size: £38.00 / 40ml]

In my opinion: This is a perfect product to use during the daytime. It has a matte finish and prevents face and neck to be oily. I loved using Caudalie Vinoperfect SPF15 because it isn’t oily and I can see that my pores were minimized after applying. Sadly, the sample was very small and it looked like the content was a fifth of the package. Tsk tsk. Anyway, I’ll use it until I can buy it in its original size. Then I can splurge in my use!

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The next item I tried on was Naobay Body Radiance Lotion which came at its 30ml sample size. [Original size: £14.00 / 250ml]

In my opinion: This product didn’t do well to make my skin ‘super soft’ as advertised. I applied it on my hands which are the most problematic areas of my skin and the results were okay. It moisturized it for a little while, but didn’t seem to have seeped into the next layer. Although I love the feel of it on the skin – certainly brought something fresh. And the smell was lovely if you like that organic-fruity kind of scent.

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Last but not the least, inside my June 2014 Birchbox is the much talked about BeautyBlender + Cleanser. [Price: £ 26.00]

In my opinion: This BeautyBlender certainly made me rethink about how makeup is done these days. As I confessed in my other post here, I am a neophyte when it comes to make up and beauty trends. Certainly this BeautyBlender did not disappoint. I tried it once and my foundation was spread evenly that my fingers or some of my brush fail to do. Additionally, my pores were not made to stand out. In fact, with this cute li’l sponge I was able to hide away my pores and some dark spots nicely. I’d definitely order more of this product to have on hand in case one gets lost (gasp!) or gets mangled by something. And if my sister is not using a BeautyBlender at present I will introduce it to her most certainly.

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By the way, the photo of the flip flop keychain is shown above. I have attached it to my flat’s main door keys. It’s a keeper for it brightens up my key ring. Hehe.

Overall my first Birchbox UK was not a disappointment. I think I got back my money’s worth.I hope my next box brings about more inspiration to my quest of learning about makeup and beauty trends.

Finally, a note to self: stop looking at Instagram posts of not-received-yet boxes so that there will be more of the surprise element. I can’t wait for my next box!

Thank you for reading.