Crown Brush Professional Tweezers – nice! these seem pretty solid. We’ll see how they wear over time.
Octavio Molina Hair La Playa Salt Spray – fragrance/parfum. Sigh. So I’ll have to see if I can handle the scent. Can’t tell on this one without opening it which is a good sign. No parabens, no cones, nothing else that leaps out. Oh wait – a second frangrance hiding here. “Hydroxyisohexyl 3-cyclohexene carboxaldehyde” isn’t found by EWG by that name but is actually commonly known as “Lyral” – just noting it because I had to change it out in the ingredients to run the report. And another sigh – FD&C colors that are really unnecessary. So EWG gives this a 5. Not the worst, not the best. I think I may pass since I can make a healthier version of sea salt spray if I want it.
tarte deluxe Amazonian clay waterproof bronzer – dimethicone rules this one out for me personally – bah bronzers are one of my favorite things. None of the ingredients leap out as bad ingredients. No parabens, no fragrances etc. There are a couple that I can’t place though which is part of why I run them through the EWG Skin Deep Cosmetics Database – to learn more. This is a healthy 2 which makes it even more sad that I can’t try it! Ugh. Why must my skin react so badly to cones???
Vasanti Cosmetics Brighen Up! Exfoliating Cleanser – This one has killer perfume. I’ve received other things from this company before in either Ipsy or Birchbox and it gave me a headache then and it’s giving me a headache now. I can smell it without opening it which is the most annoying part about these things. The rest of the ingredient list looks sound though so if they were to drop the scent I might actually use it. This is a 5 and since fragrance is still the worst thing in here, if they were to drop that it would lower the score and I would try it. For now though it’s out of the question. I’m not using products that give me an obvious headache and I limit those that use synthetic fragrances as well just because they seem to over time have an effect on me.
Vasanti Kajal Extreme Intense Eye Pencil in rose gold – die dimethicone die! Why must you make my face break out? And yes this is an eyeliner and my eyes don’t break out but I can smear or the process of taking makeup off … yeah. Annoying. Because otherwise this isn’t that unhealthy and the color is gorgeous. It’s a 3 with the EWG Skin Deep Cosmetics Database.
Mirenesse iCurl Secret Weapon 24 Hour Mascara – more cones … and it’s not waterproof but it’s healthy. It ranks a 2 with the cosmetics database. And good reviews so you might want to try this. JUARA Turmeric Antioxidant Radiance Mask – 3 for 3 for me here with dimethicone again and my own personal problems with that. Not too bad on the rest though. This is a 3 with the cosmetics database. 3 for 3 is a 3! Hehe … SMH… nevermind. W3LL PEOPLE Bio Brightener Stick – I believe I chose this one because of the healthy ingredients. It gets knocked down a notch unnecessarily for “unspecified oils” because of the essential oil blend. Granted it annoys me a little to not have a full list for allergy related reasons but it’s not enough to worry me with this brand. This ranks a surprising 4 with the cosmetics database. This is one of those “take it with a grain of salt and review the full report” situations in my opinion though.
Davines Replumping Shampoo & Conditioner – So the ingredient list on Birchbox for both is not accurate. There’s WAY more than “Essential petit grain oil, plum phytoceutical, gentle surfactants” in each of these. And I just don’t have the patience at the moment to type out the ingredient list for both of these at the moment. The bad: fragrance. The good: no cones, no parabens and nothing else that looks too bad. I’ve been wrong before but I think this would be pretty healthy and I do want to try it.
Davines Replumping Superactive – I couldn’t identify 2 of the ingredients but even so this ranks a 5 with the cosmetics database without those. Cones rules this one out for me but it’s also not very healthy.
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.