Birchbox November 2014 unboxing & ewg scores

Birchbox November 2014 unboxing & ewg scores •

Chuao Chocolatier Assorted ChocoPod – it’s chocolate and I really like this brand. Nice extra. I got the Maple Bacon … mmmmm bacon…. 🙂

DevaCurl 3-Step System – This is a three part product so I’m going to review each piece separately. No cones, no parabens but there is fragrance added to these and there’s no indication that it’s from essential oils.

ewg skindeep cosmetics database score 2No-Poo™ – Cleanse: The ingredients don’t match the current EWG Skin Deep Cosmetics database listing for this so I went ahead and did a custom report. It’s still a healthy 2 with the custom report. Good news here and there’s no fragrance or other nasties.

ewg skindeep cosmetics database score 4One Condition – Hydrate: This is a not-so-bad 4 with EWG’s Skin Deep Costmetics Database. So we’re still hanging in there with the ratings. Since this is a system I think I should try the whole thing to really judge it. I really wish I could easily open these and check out scent and consistency without needing to use them immediately…

ewg skindeep cosmetics database score 4Light Defining Gel – Define: Again with a not-so-bad rating of 4 with EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. I think if DevaCurl would lose the synthetic fragrances this would be even better.

My last comment on the DevaCurl system is that while it’s a great sample to be one sample in my Birchbox, I wish it had come in mini bottles instead of packets you tear open. It’s always frustratingly difficult to keep samples like this if they are more than one use. Also I kinda wanted to sniff them and have Tim sniff them to make sure it wasn’t a scent either of us was outright allergic to and since you have to cut them open I can’t just twist off a top to check.

ewg skindeep cosmetics database score 4Gilchrist & Soames Spa Therapy Body Lotion in “Relaxing Sea Fennel” – no parabens, phthalates, petrol-derived ingredients, mineral oil, urea, DEA, TEA or propylene glycol. But I can’t find the actual ingredient list anywhere online. So I’m going to type them up:

Ingredients: water, cetearyl alcohol, cocos nucifera oil, glycerine, ceteareth 20, helianthus annuus seed oil, parfum/fragrance, macrocystis pyrifera extract, chondrus crispus extract, crithmum maritimum extract, fucus vesiculosus extract, ulva lactuca extract, citric acid, dimethicone, glyceryl dilaurate, stearic acid, benzyl alcohol, dehydroacetic acid, acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, sodium hydroxide, tocopheryl acetate, alpha-isomethyl lonone, benzyl salicylate, butylphenyl methylpropional (lilial), citronellol, eugenol, hexyl cinnamal, limonene, linalool

So this has dimethicone in it which I can’t use. It’s not the worst product though as it ranks a 4 with the EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database.

ewg skindeep cosmetics database score 3theBalm® cosmetics Cindy-Lou Manizer® – this has dimethicone in it which makes me break out so this is a no go for me personally. Otherwise it’s fairly healthy. It ranks a 3 with the cosmetics database. It looks like it’s a nice color and should work well as a highlighter OR if you don’t like highlighters I would recommend trying it as an eyeshadow.

ewg skindeep cosmetics database score 4Not Soap, Radio Body Wash – fragrance and synthetic colors. I don’t think that synthetic colors in soap is really necessary. Actually the color is the only way I was able to tell which one I received. Since it’s yellow I received “Joy Inducing” Lemon + Sugar.  Or to complicate things further, it’s “Pheonix” in the ingredients lists listed on and “Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil” is not listed on the back of the bottle (I wish they would stop making me work so hard on these ingredients!) It’s a 4 with EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database.

ewg skindeep cosmetics database score 4Royal Apothic Cuppa Cuppa Firming Tea Treatment Mask – no obvious nasties except for fragrance. Then Phenoxyethanol is a preservative used in cosmetics and personal care products and it’s not great either. If they would work on these then it would probably be perfect. It’s low enough that if it doesn’t make my nose itch though that I will be trying this. It’s a 4 with the cosmetics database.

 Still not signed up for Birchbox? :D

Birchbox affiliate link
{ yes it’s an affiliate link, I get 50 points which equals $5 credit – share the love! }

Birchbox unboxing March 2014

Birchbox unboxing March 2014

 I’ll come back soon and do cosmetics database reports on all of the products anyway. Some items with cones may still be healthy. Cones just cause terrible breakouts for me.

Gilchrist & Soames London Collection Body Lotion – cones rule this one out for me.

theBalm® cosmetics How ‘Bout Them Apples?™ – cones rule this one out for me

Curly Hair Solutions™ Curl Keeper – no cones. But it does use synthetic fragrance AND I received this from Birchbox once already back in August. The scent was so strong and it gave me a headache so I had to throw it out. UPDATE: Birchbox apparently noticed my mention of a duplicate and gave me 100 birchbox points (value $10) so I believe if you don’t have a blog but received a duplicate, you may want to contact their customer support.

Screen Shot 2014-03-17 at 3.31.46 PM

Jurlique Herbal Recovery Eye Cream – no cones, fragrances are from essential oils, this one I’m excited to try BUT this is like the amount for one use (or least the packaging makes that likely) and I’m a bit disappointed since this is so thin and small.

Jurlique Herbal Recovery Night Cream – another that I’m excited to try. Good ingredients, no cones. This one is a more reasonable sample size.

Ghirardelli Intense Dark Cherry Tango – chocolate … nom. Fine as an extra.

Sooo a little disappointing on this one this month since one of the samples I can try is super small, the chocolate extra was three bites, and then I have some night cream.

I’m a little concerned that since I’m turning 35 this year I’m going to have to go back and lie about my age to continue to get better boxes. I do not care how old I am but I’ve heard rumors that if you’re over 35, Birchbox seems to think all you need is wrinkle cream. I hope I’m wrong.

 Still not signed up for Birchbox? :D

Birchbox affiliate link
{ yes it’s an affiliate link, I get 50 points which equals $5 credit – share the love! }


Reviews Influenster Voxbox #RoseVoxBox

I just received my first Influenster Voxbox in the mail. It’s the “RoseVoxBox” and it’s filled with an assortment of items I’ll be reviewing below. But first…

“I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.”

But here’s the deal. I ALWAYS believe in reviewing authentically and not based on the fact that I was given something for free. I pretend that I paid for it or I’m deciding on whether I would be buying more. In some cases it will be reviewing ingredients to determine if I even want that on my skin or in my body. If you read this blog regularly, you also already know that I tend to check ingredients A LOT.

Reviews Influenster Voxbox RoseVoxBox

In this Influenster Voxbox RoseVoxBox:

  • Rimmel London Scandaleyes Retro Glam Mascara
  • Dr. Scholl’s For Her Cozy Cushions
  • belVita crunchy Breakfast Biscuits
  • Kiss Gradation Polishes
  • Lindt LINDOR Milk Chocolate Truffles
  • Vitabath Hydrating Lotion


Rimmel London Scandaleyes Retro Glam Mascara (MSRP $5.99) Well first things first…. what they sent me is not waterproof and you know that what I wear daily is waterproof. It’s the one and only product that I sacrifice the healthy quest on for the tradeoff of being waterproof.  And they do not appear to make the “Glam Retro” in a waterproof mascara. They do have a “Scandaleyes Waterproof” but the brush shape is different and brush shape is VERY important with a mascara. I’m fairly certain that the ingredients for this mascara are the same as several of their other mascaras. A custom report with the cosmetic database gives this a 5. For mascara that isn’t waterproof that’s a bit on the high and unhealthy side here. So since it’s raining out and this isn’t waterproof mascara, I’ll just be reviewing this on the brush and initial application. It’s ok but I’m not wowed.


Rimmel London Scandaleyes Retro Glam Mascara review and swatch

If I’m going to wear a non-waterproof mascara it would probably be either the Physicians Formula organicwear because it’s a super healthy 1 with the cosmetics database and still makes my lashes look good or I would go with the Dior Diorshow Extase mascara because the brush shape does amazing things to my lashes. For reference, what I’m wearing 90% of the time at the moment is the Dior Diorshow Waterproof Mascara (if they had the “Extase” in waterproof, the shape of that wand is better.)

Rimmel London Scandaleyes Retro Glam Mascara review and photo of wand

Rimmel London Scandaleyes Retro Glam Ingredient list

Dr. Scholl’s For Her Cozy Cushions (MSRP $12.49) These are not going to replace the real shearling insoles in my uggs (the real shearling insoles cost $15 a pair for comparison and they are REAL shearling) but these might be suited better for non-ugg shoes. I would prefer real shearling because shearling has natural moisture and oder wicking properties. These only claim to help keep feet warm and dry so I’m not sure how they will smell over time. I trimmed them down to a size 8 (I wear typically an 8.5) and I’m throwing them in some other boots I own and we’ll see how I like them after a week. Oh wait … now I remember why I haven’t bothered buying fuzzy insoles for my other shoes. Last time I tried to put a pair into any of my other shoes, they all seem too narrow for this kind of insole. It says that they will work in dress boots … I did manage to cram them in but then the shoes were too tight and that was without a pair of socks. Ballet flats? At least with mine that was also a no-go. Unless you do a LOT of extra cutting dress shoes don’t seem reasonable (maybe on a wide width shoe they would work? Maybe?) But over all I think you need a pair of shoes that are loose or maybe even a half size too large for your foot in order to comfortably use these fuzzy insoles because they are thick. :/

Dr. Scholl's For Her Cozy Cushions

belVita crunchy Breakfast Biscuits (MSRP $3.69 for a box of 5 packats of 4 biscuits) These are pretend healthy. Ok fine, they’ve tried here: B-vitamins, and whole grains and No HFCS and 230 calories. They are better than what most Americans call breakfast. But to me this is still a horrible breakfast choice. Personally I need some proteins and fats to start my day right. This is mostly grains and sugars. I also just don’t eat a lot of grains that aren’t accompanied by meat or eggs anymore. Proteins and fats to help even out my starches / grains. Some of this may be a bit of me personally so if you are looking something to replace cereal with, this is going to be SO much better than that. It is crumbly or at least the one I received was so I’m not sure that this is a “eat while driving” food. I received the blueberry and it does smell intensely of blueberry and the flavor is a bit like blueberry muffin meets a cookie. Tasty sure … will I be buying these anytime soon personally? No.

belVita crunchy Breakfast Biscuits

Kiss Gradation Polishes (MSRP $6.99) I think this is 3-free. I had three different polishes to read the ingredients on since this doesn’t note that it’s 3-free on their website or anywhere. Three free means no: dibutyl phthalate, toluene, or formaldehyde. I received “Film Noir” though my base polish is more a silver than a white as shown on their site and in other pictures. Just in case the product number on my box is 58085 MGE01. This reminds me of the reverse of my nails that I did last year for halloween. I followed their instructions and applied step 3 polish before step 2 polish was dry and ended up with a smudged nail that wasn’t a gradient. I’ll try again when I have more time and not follow the directions as exactly. Tip: be sure to get all of the nail polishes out of the package’s plastic tray before you start – if you’re doing all of your nails you might smudge the first coat trying to get to the rest out. For $7, if you like all of the colors, this is still a decent deal on nail polishes.

Lindt LINDOR Milk Chocolate Truffles ok it’s Lindt and it’s chocolate. I know it’s not super healthy but also not super bad. I’m not going to scrutinize the ingredients on this one (though I prefer dark chocolate over milk chocolate.) Ate it first thing. It was tasty. That is all.

Lindt LINDOR Milk Chocolate Truffles

Vitabath Hydrating Lotion IN BLOOM™ Asian Orchid & Coconut (MSRP $7.99) – We are off to a good start because it’s free from parabens, propylene glycol, phthalates, sulfates, mineral oil, and synthetic color. BUT then we kinda fail miserably on the overwhelming synthetic fragrance. Overall looks like healthy ingredients and when I have some time I’ll type them all up (couldn’t find the ingredient list pre-typed online) and run a cosmetic database report. Even if I’m wrong on the scent being synthetic (not likely) it the scent was still overwhelming for me. I put the lotion on one arm and immediately went to wash it off. … and it still smells like I have it on. And it’s not even that pleasant – there are some synthetic scents that are still nice smelling, but to me this smells like cheap cologne. Keep in mind that I’ve switched to all natural scents (no not hippie scents like patchouli, I dislike that too even though it’s tolerable and doesn’t give me a headache) and I even use unscented laundry detergent. Now that I’ve showered, I have to note that I can still smell it!!! I scrubbed down my arms and I used multiple kinds of soaps! I even used some harsh soap I keep on hand for when the natural stuff isn’t cutting it and I can still smell it – ugh!!!!!! I even slathered my arms in coconut oil in case it was an issue with the scent needing an oil solvent and scrubbed down with soap again – that helped the most but I can STILL smell it!! What a MISTAKE!!! Ugh. Do NOT I repeat DO NOT apply this to yourself if you do not like the scent!!!! Hours later and I’m still regretting that I put this on my arms simply because of the scent. Headache. This scent = epic fail.

Review of Influenster itself:

Honestly for the time investment I’m not entirely sure I want to participate in future Influenster boxes. While it was fun to get a big box of stuff to try, it’s mostly cheaper drugstore items. And while it’s nice that they are accessible at the drugstore, I’ve seen most of these products there and not been wowed enough to actually buy them before (LINDOR truffles excluded … I have bought those before and will buy them again.) I DO still shop at the drugstore some (have you noticed the number of $2 Sinful Color nail polishes I have reviewed?) but I have moved into healthier higher quality products and that has, in general, reduced my drugstore shopping.

I’m also not sure how many of these tasks (below) I would have to do in order to be invited back. And since I’m not ok with promoting products I don’t exactly like without a review, I’m hesitant to do some of these tasks. Great from a marketing standpoint for these companies because people are being prompted positively, not so great for someone who wasn’t wowed by the products in the box.

influenster voxbox checklist

I would have done a vine or youtube unboxing video if I had known about the PRIOR to getting the box in the mail. I had already opened a lot of it by the time I realized those were actual Influenster tasks (maybe I should have known.) I may still go back and to a post-unboxing video and submit that.

Oh wait – here we go … only REQUIRED part so you aren’t disqualified for future boxes is the survey at the end that hasn’t been sent out yet. 🙂


 “I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.” Yes, and I tested them and I wasn’t wowed by anything but the chocolate. Sorry Influenster! :/

Birchbox April 2013 Unboxing & Reviews


In my Birchbox for April 2013:

  • Caudalie Divine Oil – “Fragrance“… otherwise the ingredients are good. I’ll have to try this for a day to see if I react to it. They have an excellent ethics policy on their website so I decided to check further and see if there was any chance that the “fragrance” was from essential oils – nope. Too bad. This is what their website says at the bottom of their FAQ page “What is the origin (natural or synthetic) of your fragrances? We prefer synthetic molecules for our face care products and Fresh Fragrances to prevent the risk of sensitization. Essential oils are indeed known for their photosensitizing and allergic risk.” I really disagree with this statement as it relates to allergies. Personally, I’m more likely to have an allergic sinus reaction to a synthetic fragrance than one from a natural ingredient. Synthetic cause allergic reactions as well and you could have an allergic reaction to the other ingredients + check out what the cosmetics database says about FRAGRANCE.  I’ll probably try this since it doesn’t make my nose itch. I’m still going to dock it a star for synthetics fragrance when there’s just no need. starstarstarstarstarempty 
  • Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Repair CC Cream – Excellent ingredients. I’m REALLY excited to try this one. Hmm except “Warm Glow” is not a match to my color. I’m going to dock it a star for two reasons: 1) I still get to try it but I can’t go around looking like an oompa loompa so I can’t try it for a full day 2) The product only comes in two color options (“neutral glow” and “warm glow”) seems like it would make it less likely work for people. $39 is a bit of a hefty price to pay to check a shade so with only two colors they should have either sent two samples OR included with the single bigger sample one of those peel back shade numbers they tend to use in magazines with all shades. Just sayin’ – it’s not like lipgloss and the goal is to get me interested to buy a full size version right? starstarstarstarstarempty 
  • Hail Merry Macaroons – More excellent ingredients. Gluten Free. Non-GMO. Vegan (this last one I don’t care that much about.) Made with Coconut and Coconut Oil – Nom. starstarstarstarstar 
  • Ojon rare blend™ Deep Conditioner – Seriously? What have you done with my birchbox, ingredients look good on this one as well and I’ll be trying it! Use like conditioner at the end of your shower except leave it in for at least 2 minutes before rinsing it out. I went ahead and tried this and I’m in love with it. Soft lovely hair. starstarstarstarstar
  • Supergoop!® Advanced SPF 37 Anti-Aging Eye Cream – Paraben, Fragrance,and Oxybenzone Free. BUT it has dimethicone listed as an ingredient (linked to ingredient list.) Without a doubt will break me out. :/ Ugh. So SO close but not for me. I am however giving it one star because it is so SO close and usually the ones that have dimethicone in them aren’t! starstaremptystaremptystaremptystarempty
  • Elizabeth Arden – 3 samples in one: staremptystaremptystaremptystaremptystarempty 0/5 stars for these next three.
    • Visible Difference Skin Balancing Exfoliating Cleanser – Fragrance and Parabens. :/ There’s no dimethicone in this one but I’m not sure I’m going to try it out. I checked it on the cosmetics database with a custom report using the ingredients listed on Birchbox’s site and it came up a 5. It’s on the higher side for me but it’s also not the worst product out there (they go up to 10.) FRAGRANCE and PROPYLPARABEN are the ingredients that really affect this one’s score – it would probably be around a 3 and acceptable with healthier versions of these. I’m giving it one star because despite the score I’m tempted to try this one. I love exfoliators and it’s not horrendous (but I won’t try it if the smell makes my nose itch.) starstaremptystaremptystaremptystarempty 
    • Visible Difference Optimizing Skin Serum – again with Fragrance and Parabens. Dimethicone means I won’t be trying this one. And when I ran it through the cosmetics database, the custom report generator based on the ingredients this one came up a 10. 10 is the worst score you can get. staremptystaremptystaremptystaremptystarempty
    • Visible Difference Skin Balancing Lotion – more fragrance and parabens but again the dimethicone is the killer for me. I ran it through the cosmetics database and it came up an 8 so it’s pretty bad for your health as well. staremptystaremptystaremptystaremptystarempty

AND OH MY GOODNESS — NO CRAPPY PERFUME SAMPLES!!!! THANK YOU!!!! Now the brands could work a bit on the synthetic fragrance IN products side of things but that’s notsomething Birchbox can control.

If you tally my numbers above we have a little over 3 stars for this box. starstarstarstaremptystarempty 🙂

Birchbox April 2013 is a good one for me.

I think the product I’m most excited about is the Ojon rare blend™ Deep Conditioner because my hair looks like this without using a curling iron or straightener.


What I used in my hair for this photo and video below:

  • Desert Essence Organics Fragrance Free Shampoo
  • Ojon Rare Blend Deep Conditioner – healthier, softer, nicer looking
  • Alba Botanica soft hold style cream – adds a bit of volume and a little control
  • Shea Moisture Organic Hold & Shine Hair Moisture Mist Coconut & Hibiscus – not really for hold, but acts more as a detangler for my hair because the Alba style cream seems to make it more tangle prone

Birchbox April 2013 Unboxing video below:

 Still not signed up for Birchbox? :D

Birchbox affiliate link
{ yes it’s an affiliate link, I get 50 points which equals $5 credit – share the love! }

Update May 16th: The Ojon has dimeticone in it -ARGH!!! I was trying to figure out what I had used  recently that was breaking out my chin and I’ve used this a couple times the last few weeks. I thought maybe it was stress but then I reviewed the ingredients and there it was. ARGH!