Birchbox of the Month: March 2012

Have you heard of Birchbox? If not, go get yourself acquainted with it here.

If you have (and don’t feel like going to the site just yet) check out my unboxing of this month’s Birchbox filled with beauty booty for a monthly fee of $10.  Last month I got my first box and while it wasn’t all that exciting, it wasn’t dissapointing and for $10 you can’t beat it with a stick.  Then again, you could but why would you?

20120310-181924.jpg

Special delivery from Birchbox for March 2012!!

For March I opted to get the Teen Vogue Birchbox which contained items hand-picked by the Teen Vogue staff.  Granted I’m no longer a teenager but I love hip products so I went for it.  Please note this wasn’t my ‘regular’ box but Birchbox sent me a ‘do you want this’ email and I gladly accepted.  So let’s get to the goodies that arrived this month!

20120310-181933.jpg

From left: Kate Spade's 'Twirl', Tarte lip tint in 'Lucky', Keratase hair oil serum, Essie Luxeffects nail polish, Twistband snag-proof hair tie.

Twirl‘ fragrance by Kate Spade

Classified as a fruity-floral, I received a standard ‘sample size’ atomizer on a card.  This smelled absolutely delightful when sprayed but my body chemistry immediately turned it into sewage. Very disappointing as I love the complexity and sophistication of this fragrance.  This is definitely not a personal favorite for me but I wouldn’t hesitate to give it as an upscale fragrance gift.

Tarte Cosmetics Lipsurgence Lip Tint in ‘Lucky’

For me this was the star of this month’s Birchbox.  I’ve heard a lot about Tarte Cosmetics and while I’m in total love with their blush, I haven’t tried their lip tint before.  Lucky is a light pink with brown and if overdone can look chalky on dark skin (use a light hand).  Even so, this is a very pretty spring pink universal shade that should flatter cool as well as warm undertones.  I’m personally very happy with how the color looks on my NW43 skin and look forward to trying more of these from Tarte.

Keratase Hair Beautifying Oil

I’ve never personally used Keratase products but I have heard of their excellent reputation for hair care.  A small sample of ‘beautifying oil’ included in the box is going straight into my carry on for my upcoming trip.  As a woman of color with textured hair, hair oil is always a welcome thing.

Essie Luxeffects Nail Polish

Regular readers of my blog know I’ve previously reviewed my pics from the Essie Luxeffects line.  While fate saw fit to send me  something I already own, I was very glad t see the silver glitter Set in Stones in my box.

Twistband Hair Tie

How handy is this little sweet thing?  I’d never heard of this brand until it arrived in this months’ box.  BIlled as a snag-free elastic tie that is gentle to hair, I received a pretty spring blue hair tie that will also go in my trip carry on.  I’m always looking for great hair ties to keep my hair in place during sweaty workouts but won’t damage my hair when taking them out.  I can definitely see myself ordering a few of these in the future.

20120310-181939.jpg

Handy 'rundown' card of all Birchbox items and purchase information

Overall I am extremely pleased with this month’s Birchbox delivery. If you haven’t tried the service yet, it is a great way to try a variety of beauty products each month without paying a lot of money. For those of you who have tried the service, how do you like it so far? Have you tried it and decided it wasn’t for you?

Advertisements

Essie Luxeffects: The Rundown

Essie Luxeffects are a series of high-shine & glitter topcoats. Usually glitter and sparkle aren’t something I think of when I hear Essie so I was anxious to try these out. At $8 a bottle they are definitely cheaper than the Deborah Lippmann glitter polishes I own so I figured why not try them out?

20111226-174455.jpg

The store display in Ulta. So shiny and pretty!

I skipped the gold colors as they were too ‘yellow’ and on my cool-toned skin they would look like poo. Instead I opted to purchase Set In Stones (varying sizes of round and hex silver glitter), A Cut Above (a warm pink variegated glitter) and Pure Pearlfection (a gorgeous white shimmer).

20111226-174521.jpg

From left: Pure Pearlfection, A Cut Above, Set In Stones

Unlike with my higher-end glitter polishes like Deborah Lippmann and Rescue Beauty Lounge, Both A Cut Above and Set In Stones have that annoying habit of the glitter not going on smoothly. You have to do some maneuvering of the glitter on the brush to get it to go and stay here you want it to go. It’s more of a brush and ‘push to position’ rather than one swipe and done so make sure your nail color is dry before putting on this glitter. Once it dries, the glitter looks very pretty and is very eye-catching.

For me personally, A Cut Above was too warm of a pink so no matter what I wore under it the glitter looked great but the color looked absolutely awful against my skin. Performance-wise I had no issues with it.

20111226-174605.jpg

Essie Luxefffects: A Cut Above over SpaRitual Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.

Set In Stones didn’t have that problem as it is a very cool-toned flashy silver and looked great against my skin. The various shapes of glitter in this polish reminds me of Deborah Lippmann’s Today Was A Fairytale. I don’t own it myself but going by pictures I’ve seen it looks very familiar. The darker the base polish coat you use the more it pops out against it for a stunning effect. I used Esssie School of Hard Rocks (Winter 2011 collection), Trophy Wife and Dive Bar (permanent, Christmas 2011 repromote) as bases in the swatches below.

20111226-174719.jpg

Essie Luxeffects: A Cut Above over Trophy Wife

20111226-174816.jpg

Essie Luxeffects: A Cut Above over Sexy Divide (flash)

20111226-174839.jpg

Essie Luxeffects: A Cut Above over Sexy Divide (no flash)

20111226-174937.jpg

Essie Luxeffects: A Cut Above over Dive Bar (flash), my favorite!

Pure Pearlfection has to be my absolute favorite out of the entire collection. Best suited for use with light colors, Pure Pearlfection gives a ‘fresh fallen snow’ effect across the nail color. The closest thing to this that I own (but haven’t swatched as of yet) would be Deborah Lippman’s Bring On The Bling. I would definitely wear this in conservative office settings, and I also think it would look amazing on the nails of winter brides.

20111226-182920.jpg

Essie Luxeffects: Pure Pearlfection over butterLONDON's Lady Muck

20111226-182955.jpg

Essie Luxeffects: Pure Pearlfection over Cocktail Bling

20111226-183226.jpg

Essie Luxeffects: Pure Pearlfection over School of Hard Rocks

These are nice topcoats but they’ve been done before by various other nail polish companies. If I had to recommend one to purchase, it would be Pure Pearlfection. It is extremely versatile and well worth the price. When I first purchased these they were only available at Ulta. Now they are starting to show up in Target alongside of the Resort 2012 colors.