Birchbox & Ipsy for October 2013

Birchbox & Ipsy for October 2013

In my Ipsy Glambag for October 2013:

Zoya Nail Polish in Neve – as always, another great Zoya color. Perfect for fall and winter and really great because it’s a classy cobalt blue shade. All Zoya polishes are 3-free.

Sexy Hair Blow Dry Gel – dimethicone, can’t use it personally. Cosmetics database rates it a 6! Remember, lower is better!

Coastal Scents Medium Shadow Brush – this is going to be my goto eyeshadow brush. I love this shape brush and previously had been buying the ELF brushes that are this shape (a brush doesn’t always have to be expensive to be quality.) The quality of the ELF brushes has gone downhill however as my last purchase of these brushes from ELF, the brush bristles were a little mis-shaped. The Coastal Scents brush is a little long but otherwise it’s a real step up from the ELF brush in terms of quality. The bristles are in the perfect shape and size and the handle coating is much better. This seems like it will last a much longer time and I’ll probably be buying a few more in the near future. It is a synthetic brush in case that is a deciding factor for you.

La Fresh® Eco-Beauty® Oil-Free Face Cleanser Wipes – I haven’t used this yet but I’m looking forward to trying it. I think they’ve changed the ingredients some since the last time I checked out this product because the current ingredients are healthier than what I remember. I’m already a big fan of the LA Fresh nail polish remover wipes. Cosmetics Database rates this a 4 … I suspect the real life rating would be lower if EWG would account for natural scents. Checked without the “fragrance” this was a 2.

Wet n Wild Photo Op Eyeshadow – dimethicone, can’t use it personally. Cosmetics Database rates this a 1! I’m surprised! But I still can’t use it personally. :/

 


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In my Birchbox October 2013:

Bain de Terre macadamia oil NOURISHING CONDITIONER – argh dimethicone, so I can’t personally use.  Cosmetics Database score is a 4.

POP Beauty Aqua Lacquer – nothing to keep me from trying this but it’s not exactly healthy either. It uses mineral oil, propylparaben, and fragrance. The color is a fun color that reminded me of a cherry lollipop but goes on a little more subtly like a thin layer of something that should pop over neutral lip tone. The color is good. It is fairly sticky sticky however so even if I hadn’t looked over the ingredients, I’m not sure I would choose to wear this regularly. Cosmetics Database score is a 4.

ChapStick® Hydration Lock – dimethicone, can’t personally use. Cosmetics Database score is a 5. Remember, lower is better.

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish™ Hot Cloth Cleanser Starter Kit – INCREDIBLE ingredient list. The only one I wasn’t sure about in terms of personal allergies is hops. I know I have some problems consuming hops but I’ve never had the occasion to try anything topically so I don’t know if I have a skin sensitivity to it. I HAVE used this though for the last 4 days both morning and night and so far no problems. I’m in love with this. My face looks and feels healthier. It doesn’t cause my face to get oily, it doesn’t strip away like a regular soap cleanser might AND I still feel clean after using it. This is a tough thing to accomplish, healthy natural ingredients and not left feeling like you still need to clean.

Really – my face has a nice healthy glow to it now. I can’t tell how much of that is the muslin cloth and how much is this cleanser but this cleanser is definitely good still. Liz Earle has done an excellent job with this product! Cosmetics Database score is a 3. 

Liz Earle Pure Muslin Cloths – LOVE this. Already tried this and absolutely love love love it. This is just the right amount of exfoliation for 1-2 times per day use. It’s surprising because holding the cloth I really didn’t think I was going to be that impressed by it. It doesn’t feel like it’s going to scrub much but somehow it does. I don’t know if all muslin would be scrubby or if Lis Earle has just sourced the perfect cloth but I think I’m in. As long as I can find a better way to store / dry these I think I’m going to buy a few more to have on hand / keep as backups!


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February 2013 subscription boxes – Birchbox VS Ipsy

The last few months I’ve been very unimpressed with what I’ve received in my Birchbox. Worse is seeing other people get things that would have been perfect for me that THEY hate. EVEN worse was getting the January box and getting a headache because of the perfume … and I didn’t even open the perfume sample!!! Anyway, I had posted a photo over on instagram and had several recommendations to try ipsy.

Ipsy is comparable to Birchbox in that it’s $10/ month including shipping.
I looked over recent boxes and the contents looked better than what Birchbox has been sending me so I signed up. Birchbox finally redeemed itself a little this month though.

birchbox-v-ipsy

Bear with me now … this is going to be a long post.

Ispy:

Coastal Scents Shadow Palette Sample: This was the item I was most excited for and most disappointed in. Apparently Coastal Scents has a separate mineral makeup line but they also have a regular line – one with talc and mineral oil in the ingredients. I gave it a try anyway (it’s on my eyes and neither talc nor mineral oil breaks me out quickly) and was still disappointed. It applied like a cheap drugstore product – a lot of fallout for something that was pressed. In fact I’ve used a few drugstore products that were better quality (try L’oreal Hip if you’re not trying to stick to mineral makeups.) It was just such a disappointment on so many levels.
starstaremptystaremptystaremptystarempty
 – 1 star

POP Smokey Lash Kapow Mascara: I prefer Waterproof mascara (mascara is the one thing I’ve given up going organic/natural on.) This is not a waterproof mascara however the brush on this is excellent so I’ll probably keep it on hand just in case.
starstarstarstaremptystarempty – 3 stars

MicaBeauty Gel Eyeliner: Ok so I typically use my waterproof mascara as a liquid eyeliner – a trick I picked up trying to cut back on liquids for the airlines. This is definitely better both in quality of ingredients as well as speed of a good application.  If I hadn’t already had a good liner brush I might have been disappointed because you can’t exactly apply this with a finger. Running a custom report on this with the cosmeticdatabase.com brings this up as a 2 AND it’s waterproof! It does have talc in it but that’s not too bad in this type of product’s case. I wish they would use this set of ingredients and make a mascara out of it! (I checked, their mascara ingredient list isn’t even close.) Full size is $30 and I think I would actually buy it – it should last awhile. Think MAC Fluidline but better, and healthier.
starstarstarstarstar – 5 stars

Lash Card: I was interested in this one but in application I’m underwhelmed. Also I somehow thought this was a reusable plastic card. Instead it was a disposable cardstock (thick paper.) Makes sense though because this feels like it might be more useful to a makeup artist. I feel like this would be helpful if I were applying mascara to someone else but not that useful for me. Granted I like mascara that has a nice bristly brush so this might help more if you’re using a mascara brush that has those funky spiky rubbery brushes. So it’s not totally useless but I just can’t see the need for them personally.
starstarstaremptystaremptystarempty – 2 stars

All products except primer (left eye makeup, right eye just powder foundation):

Pixi Flawless & Poreless Primer: I wasn’t jumping up and down over this one initially but when I read over the ingredients and there was no dimethicone I gave it a try and was fairly impressed. I don’t have a lot of experience with primers simply because so many have “cones” for ingredients. I was pleasantly surprised by this one. I don’t think I would wear it daily because I feel a bit more like I have more makeup on but I do think I’ll be using it for special events or situations where I’m more likely to have my photo taken. I’m giving it 4 stars because for a really matte look you would still need some sort of finishing powder.
starstarstarstarstarempty – 4 stars

Birchbox:

Ghirardelli Milk & Caramel squares: who dislikes chocolate? (I’m sure there’s someone but please don’t respond if you’re that person.) They did not go wrong here. Is it the best chocolate ever? No but it’s pretty darn tasty and you could pick some up at the drugstore.
starstarstarstarstarempty – 4 stars

Miss Jessie’s® Original Pillow Soft Curls: Fragrance was on the ingredients list but I was interested in this one because I didn’t see dimethicone. So I ran it through the cosmetics database and it came up a 6… and then I noticed it: “AMODIMETHICONE.” Ugh. Another “cone” so another I won’t be trying. In the process of looking up the ingredients list I felt a bit ripped off because you can get free samples directly from Miss Jessie’s website. Granted it’s not clear if they charge for shipping but I thought I should mention it for anyone interested in trying this product.
staremptystaremptystaremptystaremptystarempty – No rating – Dimethicone causes breakouts for me.

Vasanti BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator: I love a good exfoliator. When I looked over the ingredient list the one item that really stood out as something to avoid was “parfume.” I did a quick run through the cosmeticsdatabase.com and with the exact list of ingredients it gets a 5. A little higher than I like to go but it seems like scrubs and peels, even when they are more natural, tend to go a little higher because they contain ingredients  that remove the top layer of skin and increasing skin sensitivity. Part of the reason “parfume” concerns me has to do with toxicity but the other part has to do with my allergies and it will sometimes rule out even trying a product. I sniffed the product and didn’t react so I decided to give it a go. On the one hand it IS being washed off afterwards, on the other hand you are abrading the skin increasing your ability to absorb toxins … so I’m definitely going to mark it down a star for the perfume. It’s an excellent exfoliator though and I would have given it a 4.5 if they had lost the added fragrance.
starstarstarstaremptystarempty – 3.5 stars

Color Club Fiesta Collection in “Wild Cactus”: LOVE this color. It’s a wonderful emerald / kelly green which is something I’ve been looking for. Perfect shade, no sparkle, and a color I’ve been looking for. It’s hard to find a green that isn’t too muddy, too apple-y, too minty, or is just plain a shimmer or glitter nail polish. I like it with navy or hot pink in my outfit (a bit preppy) but it’s not something I expect to be able to wear all the time. Oh, and emerald is 2013’s Pantone color of the year. 🙂
starstarstarstarstar – 5 stars

Lancôme LA BASE PRO primer:

Screen Shot 2013-02-17 at 6.13.00 PM

I was excited about this one because of some of the before and after photos I had seen online. Click on the image at the left to watch the HSN example. Until we get to the Ingredients: Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone crosspolymer, F.I.L. (B26685/1) Since the tube didn’t have the info and I had a hard time finding them , here’s the source of the ingredient list: http://beautyreductionista.blogspot.com/2012/11/sample-month-day-17-lancome-la-base-pro.html
staremptystaremptystaremptystaremptystarempty – No rating – Dimethicone causes breakouts for me so we’ll just leave this one at that.

Final verdict for the February Boxes?

Ipsy products overall average 3 stars
VS
Birchbox products overall average 2.5 stars

Birchbox gave me enough good stuff this month not to cancel. That little perk of points for product reviews means you can recoup half of your money to buy other products from their website, IF you remember to do the reviews on their site. 1 out of 4 boxes being decent isn’t going to cut it though Birchbox – you need to get your act together a bit more. I thought the initial survey was to understand our tastes and preferences and that seems to have been ignored. When you get 3 boxes (15 products) in a row with nothing you can use or even try, it starts becoming that thing in your mail that you dread. “How are they going to disappoint me this time.” “I’m paying $10 for this?”

AND, in case Birchbox is reading this, I also REALLY want an option to opt out of all perfumes since it’s clear I’m never going to get the organic/natural perfume samples. I’d rather not get a perfume headache like I did with the January box!!!

Ipsy gave me a complete package, baggy and all. Even though I was really dissappointed in the eyeshadow, I don’t expect 100% of the products to work out perfectly for me or always be to my tastes. Looking over their past boxes this one looks like they have had something each month I would be interested in. I’ll definitely be sticking with this one for awhile. VERY happy with my first month with them.


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