Birchbox February 2015 “Rent the Runway” box including EWG Skin Deep scores for each of the products

This month I chose the “Rent the Runway” box because none of the other sample options were appealing and I really wanted to try the derma e glycolic scrub. I was also kinda crossing my fingers that there might be a beauty blender in the box that they hadn’t mentioned … but that wasn’t the case.

Birchbox February 2015 Rent the Runway box via - post includes EWG scores for each of the products here

ewg skindeep cosmetics database score 2Sumita Color Contrast Eyeliner in Raina (a navy blue) – no cones, no frangrance, no parabens. It does have paraffin which I have mentioned feels weird on my skin … when it’s in blushes or eyeshadows or foundations but since eyeliner is such a small amount I’m fine with it as of of the ingredients here. So the other ingredient that’s a problem is one that I think may have been mistyped. “Isodecodane” seems to be a typo. The closest I get for that is “Isododecane” which is the ingredient that shows up for Sumita eyeliner on the Glossybox website. So this scores a very healthy 2 with the EWG skin deep Cosmetics Database. I’m looking forward to trying this one!

ewg skindeep cosmetics database score 6derma e® Anti-Wrinkle Vitamin A Glycolic Scrub – so you know how I’ve mentioned that some of the scores should be taken with a grain of salt? This would be one of them. The “fragrance” in this case is from a natural source (oils) and the vitamin A … it’s supposed to be in this product. Your skin will be more sensitive after using this because it IS a scrub. So even though this ranks a 6 with the Cosmetics Database, I’m looking forward to trying it. In my opinion the fact that it was docked points for two ingredients isn’t a problem in this case. Yes, you should be aware you may more easily burn in the sun after using any scrub, exfoliant or peel.

ewg skindeep cosmetics database score 5Fekkai Blowout Hair Refresher Dry Shampoo  – no cones, no parabens but it does have added fragrance. The last dry shampoo I tried almost killed me with the fragrance. The ingredients are fairly simple though so let’s just check the ranking with EWG to see if anything else throws up red flags here. Isobutane which is what makes this an aerosol spray is also fairly toxic at a 7 on it’s own. So between the 8 it gets for fragrance and the aerosol delivery it brings the score down to a 5. Not the worst I’ve seen but also not the best I’ve seen. I may sniff and try this … but I’m not sure. It does make me think that surely someone could make a nice healthy dry shampoo though. One that also doesn’t turn brown hair white (which is another problem I’ve encountered with dry shampoos … throwing some corn starch into blond hair might work but not so much on brown hair.)

ewg skindeep cosmetics database score 4Not Soap, Radio Body Wash  in “the stuff that Cupid dips his arrows in” – so no cones, no parabens BUT it does have fragrance added. And coloring (for a body wash is this really neccessary?) And DMDM Hydantoin (Formaldehyde releaser). So although the  total score is only a 4 I’m not jumping up and down to try this product.  Meh. Could be worse, could be better. Not going to be adding this to my daily staples anytime soon though.

ewg skindeep cosmetics database score 5theBalm® cosmetics Read My Lips™ Lip Gloss in “Bam! – Rose Pink” – no cones, no fragrance, no parabens. But it does have added flavor (usually these are going to be synthetic flavors) and it does have Vitamin A in it. In this case the product is left on the skin so having something that increases skin sensitivity and is worn doesn’t seem like a good idea to me. BUT it also contains a sunscreen (titanium dioxide) so maybe it kinda crosses itself out. This is the kind of thing that the EWG score doesn’t take into consideration. So I’m on the fence on this one. I’m not a fan of added synthetics anything in any product and I suspect that’s the case here with the “flavor/aroma.” So while I debate, feel free to make up your own mind. The EWG score for this is a 5. 

So there’s also a coupon code for $30 off a $75+ rental from Rent the Runway in here too. And you know what? They have accessories and purses which I don’t remember seeing the last time I checked out this company.

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Birchbox September unboxing 2013

Birchbox September unboxing video 2013:

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Birchbox September 2013 REVIEW & SWATCHES • RUFFIAN Nail Lacquer in Fox Hunt • Dr. Lipp Original Nipple Balm for Lips • amika Obliphica Perk Up Dry Shampoo • VOESH New York Aroma Spa Pedicure Lotion


In my September Birchbox • a rundown of my items and reviews:

• RUFFIAN Nail Lacquer in Fox Hunt – This is a lovely fall shimmery burnt orange color that I’m really happy to get. Not too orange so you don’t look like you’re ready for halloween a little too early. I expect this to be a very versatile color to wear. I saw photos of some of the other colors and I may just have to go back and buy the olive-y green called Hedge Fund that I saw in some other box photos. These nail polishes appear to be “5-free” so they are less toxic than some of the nail polishes on the market (it was a PAIN to peel off that label to get to the ingredient list so I’ve posted that below. So tiny!)  I’m not quite ready to switch to fall colors yet but I’m really happy to get this in my box! Swatch of Ruffian Fox Hunt shown below side by side with the Nailtini Mai Tai swatch.

Ruffian-Nail-Polish-ingredients-Fox-HuntRuffian Fox Hunt Nail Polish swatch next to Nailtini Mai Tai swatch

• Dr. Lipp Original Nipple Balm for Lips – 100% Medical Grade Lanolin… that’s it! It’s a 1 with the cosmetics database. This company apparently makes one product from one ingredient and it’s healthy. If you are opposed to sheep wool, you’ll be opposed to this but animals are not harmed in this process (so it depends to what extreme you take your “no animal products” stance.) For more info on how it’s processed, visit: So aside from the strange name this stuff is awesome. This actually should be wonderful come winter for chapped winter lips!

• amika Obliphica Perk Up Dry Shampoo –  No dimethicone – yay! Still has synthetic perfume so there’s that but overall I was excited to try this. It IS however a 6 with the cosmetics database as a custom report which is a little higher than I prefer to go.

Review: is that it really does what it’s supposed to do even on brown hair. The main drawback is the scent – it’s a bit overpowering for me so this relegates this product to occasional / emergency use only category. Absolutely going to keep this product around but I would be happier if they also offered a scent-free for those times when you just want to use dry shampoo for added volume and for people like me who are trying to avoid a lot of synthetic fragrances because it can mess with my sinus allergies.

If they could get rid of the fragrances it would have a better score with the cosmetics database as well (hint hint.)

• SARAHPOTEMPA The HALF-UP™ bun tool – No ingredients here to worry about. I sometimes wear my hair in a bun so absolutely going to try this. I DO wonder how long it will last since it seems to be a combination of foam and metal but otherwise looks like a pretty nifty and useful hair styling tool.

This does a decent job of making a bun and it’s comfortable. Where it’s a problem is layered hair – it’s really hard to bring the tool towards the bottom of the hair without loosing pieces IF you have layers. Not impossible but something to keep in mind if you’ve had problems with other bun tools as a result of your layers. I think I’m most impressed with how comfortable it is to wear. We’ll see how much use I get out of it over then next couple of months. I’m curious how long it will last simply because of the materials it’s made of as well. I have a plastic bun tool somewhere and though this is easier to use because it grips the hair a little more it just doesn’t seem as durable.

SARAHPOTEMPA The HALF-UP bun tool in hair • easy low bun

• VOESH New York Aroma Spa Pedicure Lotion – Dimethicone … but it goes on your feet and since I’ve never had my feet break out in acne and my feet are REALLY far away from my face I may still give this a try (if you’re new to this blog, dimethicone causes major acne problems for me.) The synthetic fragrance is the other concern but … my feet could really use some hydrating and pampering after the summer sandals so and I might just have to try it anyway. It is a 5 with the cosmetics database as a custom report. I really prefer scores below 5 … again synthetic fragrance is keeping this from being healthier.



So my birchbox rocked for me this month. It has it’s ups and downs but the last few months have started to make up for the crappiness that was last fall’s boxes. Now if you got the same box as me this month but you were looking forward to makeup, well there was no makeup in this particular box but it looks like a few had makeup items available. This September seemed a little light on the makeup inclusions though based on what I’m seeing in the Birchbox “Shop September” section though. But I’m good with hair tools, nail polish and natural lip treatment. Particularly since they are things I CAN try and I’m not flat out allergic/have a reaction to. YAY!

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