Hikari Cosmetics – Blush in Tango – I’m not much of a blush person because I’m naturally a bit pink. Add in talc and mineral oil and parabens and I’m even less of a blush person. A few of those aren’t harmful but they feel weird on my skin (talc and mineral oil.) I will say the packaging is sleek though. Simple and elegant on the packaging. No fragrance or parabens either. It ranks a 4 with the EWG Skin Deep Cosmetics database. Not great but not the worst (0 is the best, 10 is the least healthy.)
LATHER – ultra light face lotion – All the ingredients look good here at a glance. But bam, Vitamin A which increases skin sensitivity particularly to light. You know that Vitamin A is something I don’t mind in a peel and even an exfoliator, but maybe not something you want in a product you are going to wear all day… I’m half and half on this. I might try it as an overnight moisturizer still even though it ranks a 4 with the EWG cosmetics database.
theBalm Cosmetics – NUDE Dude Eyeshadow Single in flirty – cones rule this one out for me because they cause me to personally break out (allergy?) otherwise the ingredient list is pretty sound here. Usually theBalm products seem to rank as healthy but have cones I can’t use. And I’m right, it’s a healthy 2 with the EWG Cosmetics database. Too bad I can’t personally use this one.
MicaBeauty – Eye Primer – no cones, no fragrances, no parabens, nothing bad here as far as I can tell. I’m excited to give this a try. I really loved the black micabeauty eyeliner I bought previously. The downside of the eyeliner though was that I tried to stock up and since it’s a natural product, it dried out. Even the one container I was using dried out before I was halfway through it. It’s something I keep thinking about re-purchasing but haven’t since I have kinda fallen for the Pacifica eyeliner and a few others. So back to the eye primer. I AM excited to try this one out. And it’s also a healthy 2 with the EWG skin deep cosmetics database.
Mullein & Sparrow – Mini Lip & Cheek Tint – two blushes in one bag? Well at least it looks like it would make a better lip tint anyway. 🙂 So this is again a very natural looking product. Nothing bad stands out on this ingredient list and many of the ingredients are organic (maybe all of them actually.) It’s as healthy as it can get, ranking a zero with the EWG skin deep cosmetics database. 🙂
Bonus time! Since I had enough bonus points to earn a reward, I chose to get the Pacifica natural mineral coconut eyeshadow in treasure. I received one of the other color previously and liked it but thought this color would actually be something I would use even more.
Product details and rating are below my Birchbox vs Ipsy August 2013 unboxing video:
Birchbox August 2013
Curly Hair Solutions™ Curl Keeper – no cones yay! A custom report with the cosmetics database returns a 4 which is ok but it would probably rank lower if they didn’t have synthetic fragrance which as an ingredient on it’s own is an unhealthy 8. As long as it doesn’t make my nose curl though I will be trying this one but I would encourage the company to consider going with natural fragrance sources or no fragrance. 4/5 stars – docked one for fragrance
Whish Hair Inhibiting Deodorant Swipes – anything “hair inhibiting” creeps me out a little. And although this has a lot of natural ingredients, it also has a lot of questionable ingredients. One ingredient didn’t even register with EWG which was Amino-esters. This one is one that although it doesn’t have a lot of the usual suspects when it comes to ingredients I avoid but it’s a 7 based on a custom report and fragrance isn’t the only ingredient that concerns me a little. Plus if it’s supposed to help inhibit hair growth, how are you going to be able to tell if that’s actually happening with one wipe? I think I’m going to pass on this one. 0/5 stars (creepy and toxic! in my opinion…)
Whish Exfoliating Body Wash in Coconut Milk – So this product is a winner in the quality ingredients category with the exception of about 4 ingredients. The overall score for a custom report was a 4 with the cosmetics database but the four ingredients that on their own rank a lot higher are: fragrance (again), geraniol (which is a natural fragrance but possible allergen … I’m not too concerned about this one personally), citral (which is a skin irritant … but it’s natural and I suspect they are using this as a natural preservative), limonene (again natural, again low on the list and I suspect used for preserving.) So overall other than the synthetic fragrance on this one this is a good one. I’m going to give it a try. 4/5 stars – docked one for fragrance
OC8® Professional Mattifying Gel – holy cow I’m actually excited about this one. No cones, no parabens, no fragrances, no other major nasties AND it ranks a 2 with the cosmetics database! AND mattifying products are something I’ve been casually looking for. Birchbox you are redeeming yourself with this one! 5/5 stars
CAILYN Cosmetics Gel Eyeliner – dimethicone is on the ingredient label. Here’s the thing though, on their website the ingredient list does not include dimethicone so I’m wondering if a) they haven’t updated their labels, b) this is an old batch of eyeliners c) well it’s possible they missed it in the ingredient list on their website. I sent them an email and I’m waiting to hear back. MEANWHILE there is a redeeming quality here – the brush lid that it comes with fits my Mica Beauty eyeliner jar! So I’m going to give the brush a try. Honestly these two look so similar that it makes me wonder (if the ingredients don’t actually include dimethicone) if Mica Beauty and Cailyn are using the same supplier. 3/5 stars Response from the company about the ingredients: “We are updating our website recently and the new ingredients hasn’t [sic] been updated yet in the ingredients section. I apology for the confusion. The ingredient label in the gel eyeliner label is the most updated one.”
Ann Taylor discount codes … so I’m going to treat this like the ipsy bag and not count it in the star rating because I do have to still spend money for this to be of benefit but I did just want to quickly mention it. 20% off one product or 30% off two or more products from Ann Taylor. Valid from August 12 – Sept 16 2013. I’m wondering if this can also be used with Ann Taylor Loft but it’s a nice little extra here since I like the brand. UPDATE: Nope, it doesn’t work on the Ann Taylor Loft site.
Ipsy August 2013:
Pixi Beauty Lash Booster Mascara in Blackest Black good looking set of ingredients, no dimethicone, no fragrances AND after checking out there website I found out it’s waterproof which I prefer. Waterproof mascara is one of the few times I will accept a slightly less healthy score since I have yet to find a natural AND waterproof mascara rolled into one. But I don’t have to sacrifice on this one because it’s score is only a 3 with a custom report on the ingredients. I will probably be doing a waterproof mascara review post sometime in the near future. 5/5 stars
Michael Todd Jojoba Charcoal Gentle Exfoliating Facial Scrub excellent list of ingredients. Michael Todd True Organics – I’ll have to do a little research and see how organic this brand is but this particular product has no dimethicone, no parabens, no synthetic fragrances, no other toxic ingredients. It’s a 3 on a custom cosmetics database report. I’m a big fan of facial scrubs so I’m really looking forward to this one. Stress and dimethicone have the biggest effect on worsening my breakouts but exfoliating either with a scrub or something like an exfoliating glove helps to keep breakouts at bay when stress and dimethicone aren’t playing a role. 5/5 stars
City Color Cheek Stain dimethicone and parabens and paraffin and synthetic wax – this one isn’t natural or as healthy for you. It’s only a 4 with the cosmetics database (keeping in mind one ingredient wasn’t found in the database) but because of the demethicone though I’m not going to be trying this one. 0/5 stars
noya Lip Balm excellent list of ingredients. I’ve already tried this one and it’s REALLY moisturizing. I’ve been leaning towards lip glosses more instead of chapstick types more lately though so I’m not sure how much use this will get. I’m going to throw it on the desk and see if I end up reaching for it. It’s a really good quality product though and rates a 1 with a custom report (natural flavor shows up as “flavor” and as such I think this is a real world zero for being healthy.) 5/5 stars
Pacifica Alight Multi-Mineral BB Cream LOVE this brand and with them I feel fairly certain (given their stance on fragrances and the fact that they started out as a natural fragrance company) that when the ingredients say “fragrance” they aren’t likely to mean synthetic. However this product has dimethicone in it so this product is ruled out for me. IF however you are looking for a BB Cream, I hear this one matches skin tones well and has a dewy shimmeryness to it so if that’s your cup of tea, you might want to give this a go. A custom report ends up getting it a 4 BUT it doesn’t distinguish that this company only uses natural sources for fragrance so I re-ran the report without “fragrance” and it gets a 2 which is more realistic for this product. For the box and how this product fits for me I give it 1/5 stars – I gave it a star because if it simply didn’t have dimethicone in it I would try it in a heartbeat.
August Birchbox 2013: 3.2/5 stars
August Ipsy 2013: 3.2/5 stars
We’re on pretty even ground for the two boxes this month and I’m really happy with the selection that I got from both Birchbox AND Ipsy this month. For only $10 per box I got a variety of products that I’m actually interested in trying and I’m introduced to several new brands I’ve never heard of before that I’m going to check out to see what else they carry. 🙂
So let’s just start off by saying there are some excellent things in this bag but I don’t buy a lot of pink eyeshadows and I have a natural pink to my cheeks so I opt for bronzer over blush. That said, I’m going to judge based on ingredients moreso than color this go round.
In my bag:
MicaBeauty Mineral Eye Shadow – mica and no bad stuff. Excited to try this though pink isn’t something I jump up and down over most of the time. First I’ve heard of this brand though so I’ll be checking out their other products. I actually like the color as well. It’s got some sparkle to it but it’s not overkill either.
Sexy Hair Soy Renewal – nope … soy and I don’t get along and if that weren’t bad enough it has dimethicone as an ingredient. Moving on.
Miss Professional Nail Sation Nail Lacquer – this is a 3-free brand. Three free means no: dibutyl phthalate, toluene, or formaldehyde. I got the “Love At First Byte” color and it was the color I wanted of the two they shipped but the shade doesn’t wow me. I thought it was a dup to Zoya’s Lulu at first but it’s just very similar only a little darker. It’s very similar to my skin tone. Two coats shown in the Love at First Byte swatch below. I’ll update later with how long this lasted before chipping.
Be A Bombshell Blush – I checked out the ingredients …. talc and mineral oil…. I didn’t even read any further, it’s also bright bright pink so this is not for me.
In the glamroom but NOT my bag:
Sexy Hair Powder Play – this scored a 1 when doing a custom report with the cosmetics database. No dimethicone and I WAS really excited to try this!! BUT it’s NOT in my bag!! This was the item I wanted the MOST. More about this in a minute.
Two Cosmetics Duo Eye Shadow – first ingredient is talc and the last is “synthetic” something … usually means the eyeshadow isn’t going to be that great and will crease as the day wears on. So this product is not for me.
Overall I’m good with the bag. It was love it or hate it but I found out about some new to me brands and this bag also showed me that SOME of the Big Sexy Hair products could be good and acceptable ingredients-wise (though some of their products are also not going to touch my head.)
Now here’s where I’m REALLY annoyed – Sexy Hair’s Powder Play: It’s that whole “other people got it but I didn’t” thing. The product I wanted to TRY the most, I didn’t get. I tried using the sexy hair store locator on their website but I couldn’t get it to select the state from my iphone!!!!! I wanted it enough that I decided to hit all of the drugstores on the way home from the mail (business mailbox) because I knew I had seen the product lines those places.
I tried Rite Aide, I tried CVS, I tried Walgreens, I tried Target, I tried Meijer. I’m not kidding.
I could not find the Sexy Hair “Powder Play” any of these places. So … back home I check online and the one place I forgot was Ulta. So I’ll try there soon. If I don’t find it there, I’ll buy it on amazon.com (Ipsy’s $5 off of $25 purchase of the product from the ulta site isn’t a “deal” when you have to pay shipping… plus spend more money.)
Almost forgot. A discount code to GenBeauty in LA. The fact that it’s in LA I won’t be attending but the coupon code can be used by multiple people so I thought I would post it:
And the unboxing video (this time I remembered the tripod! But my angles are a little off):
If you like what you see, don’t forget to pin it or share the link!
Tweetable! http://clicktotweet.com/3e20d Click the tweetable link to share this blog post quickly on twitter. There is a preview so you can make alterations before it posts.
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.
Bear with me now … this is going to be a long post.
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. – 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.
– 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. – 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. – 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. – 4 stars
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. – 4 stars
Miss Jessie’s® Original Pillow Soft Curls: Fragrance was on the ingredients list butI 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.
– 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. – 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. 🙂
– 5 stars
Lancôme LA BASE PRO primer:
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 – 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.