Benefit Total Moisture Facial Cream fragrance but otherwise at a glance this looks pretty good. Off to EWG skin deep cosmetics database to get the score. I missed the BHT. So the score isn’t as good as I hoped here. It’s a 5 and there are other moisturizers out there that are just a little bit healthier and still good.
Number 4™ Blow Dry Lotion fragrance, cones, I can’t use this. I think I’ve smelled some the Number 4 products before and this is just too strong to even consider. Plus cones. Let’s see what this ranks with EWG. Looks like an another 5 here.
Real Chemistry Luminous 3-Minute Peel I deliberately chose this because I didn’t see another item I wanted more. I actually like this product enough to have purchased a full sized version and received it in a previous birchbox. I figured I might like a travel size or just a little extra here.
Whish Flawless Swipes the fragrance is a dealbreaker for me on this one. The whish products seem to be very fake sweet scented and not my cup of tea. And it’s not natural. But according to the EWG skin deep cosmetics database it’s not horrible, it’s a 3.
Chosungah 22 Flavorful Lipstick in vanilla berry fragrance but no parabens or cones so it’s on the the list of maybe to try. However it’s not exactly that healthy. Mostly it’s the fragrance though that brings it up to a 5 – a little more toxic than I’m usually willing to try. I’m debating trying this … and then I remember that I have a pixi lipstick that’s healthier and in the same shade range. I’ll probably do a swatch comparison.
Dear Clark Volumizing Tonic – ok I was most excited to try this product just because of the ingredient list and rightly so. It’s amazing and actually does what it says it will do. It gives your hair a little extra boost and it does it without a lot of the unhealthy junk that so many other products use. This is what I keep expecting dry shampoos to do and feel like. More volume, a little texture to help style your hair. I’m in love! And Volumizing sprays aren’t even the type of product I usually get excited about. And honestly I don’t want hair the size of Texas so the volume is very reasonable and fairly controllable for those worried about that. You can got big if you want or just give your hair a little oomph. It is not scent-free but it is scented only by the ingredients it uses. That does mean though that you will smell lightly of patchouli. No one else can smell it and after half a day I don’t even smell it really. So yes, if you sniff the bottle your first thought might be “hippie” but your hair won’t look that way.
Now here’s why I’m going to remind you to take the EWG score with a grain of salt. This product got a 4. But the ingredients are amazingly good and healthy! Clove oil alone gets a 5. I LOVE clove oil! It’s amazing. It’s healthy. I understand that if you put essential oil directly on the skin it could be a bad thing if it’s not diluted but that’s not what we’re doing here. Alchohol 40B … again … we aren’t drinking this in quantity so there’s less concern here. There are three ingredients I can’t identify as natural that are between a 2-3 each that aren’t great but are mostly contamination concerns so I’m not even really worried about those either. No parabens, no synthetic fragrances, no cones, this is a healthy product and not one that I’m going to avoid because it got a score above a 3. So I’m going to say that unless you have an allergy to one of the ingredients, you should just ignore the score on this product and really look at the ingredients here.
I’ve used this product pretty much every day since I’ve received it! Between this and my new hair brush, every day seems to be a good hair day! I’ll stop gushing now… 🙂
Laura Geller Beauty Baked Blush-n-Brighten – the first three ingredients are Talc, Mica, Mineral Oil, and Dimethicone. 3 of those are ingredients I avoid (hint, mica is the good one.) Two just feel weird on my skin (talc and mineral oil) and one seems to cause my skin to break out for some reason (dimethicone.) It also has parabens and “Imidazolidinyl Urea” which is a formaldehyde releaser. I haven’t even run it through the EWG skin deep database yet! However I thought it was going to be a lot worse than a 5.
Whish Three Whishes Body Butter – I have not been thrilled with any of the Whish products. They all contain fragrance and the scents have been … just not good in my opinion for the most part. If they would ditch or go with a natural fragrance though their products would be a lot better. However it’s most unhealthy ingredient is the fragrance which makes it a 3 with the EWG skin deep cosmetics database.
Supergoop!® Advanced SPF 37 Anti-Aging Eye Cream – dimethicone rules this one out for me. This is not the worst sunscreen though at a 4 but there are also healthier sunscreens out there. Also I think one of the active ingredients may be one of the sunscreens you want to avoid in the ocean due to how it can damage coral reefs. I’ll have to go back and look at that. I wrote a previous post on this.
derma e® Evenly Radiant® Brightening Day Crème SPF15 – you may already know that I’m a big fan of Derma e. Honestly it took some samples to get me to fall in love with them because the only thing I’m not a fan of is the packaging. I hate products I have to dip my fingers into! Despite this I have actually had some Derma e products that I’ve used the entire product and repurchased. That said, I’ve already tried this and while it’s good, it’s not my favorite moisturizer from this company. But it is good and it’s WAY better than many moisturizers from other companies. I think the real test will be when it’s summer. This seems like a better moisturizer for the summer months when your skin is less dry. Right now I’m actually using a night cream during the day because the winter has been harsh. When it comes to the ingredients though, the list on this product is great and scores a healthy 2 with the EWG Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. Yay!
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. 🙂
Alima Pure Luminous Shimmer Blush in Freja – This is a brand I’ve been wanting to try for awhile. The ingredients ARE all natural. My only disappointment in this sample is that I don’t really wear blush AND even if I did this shade pretty much disappears on my cheeks because it’s too close a match to what my cheeks already are. I’ll probably use it on my eyes for when I want a light pinky eyeshadow. For me I wish I had received a sample of the “Melon” color. Or the satin matte bronzer in Seychelles. IF you are pale or looking for a nice light blush and you aren’t naturally rosy, Freja IS an excellent color. Quality is there those so I will probably try some other products from this brand. – 4 out of 5 stars
Macadamia Natural Oil Deep Repair Mask – dimethicone ..
Stella Cadent Miss Me Discrete Eau de Toilette – stop sending me perfume, particularly scents that aren’t natural please!!!
Whish Shave Crave Shaving Cream (Blueberry) – The ingredient list looks good my only complaint would be the “fragrance” since but I’m going to give it the benefit of the doubt since all of the other ingredients look good and this will be going on my legs. It also doesn’t make my nose itch. UPDATE – tested. The bottle seemed to have a giant air pocket in it so there was just enough to use on my legs for shaving. I get a better shave using my everyday hair conditioner than this so I’m going to mark it down another star, I was just not wowed by this. I use a Schick Hydro Silk in case anyone is curious. – 2 out of 5 stars
Madewell for Birchbox nail file – it’s a cute design and functional nail file. I’ll use it but I will not be replacing it for their $5 price tag. Sure it ships free but I can get my nail files at Sally Beauty for a much more reasonable price. Ok … one caveat. IF for some reason I was putting together a nail gift bag for someone, the floral pattern on this would be that extra cute little touch I might spend the money on. – 4 out of 5 stars
Side note – I went to leave a review of the nail file and one of the questions was: “Did you use the $25 off $75+ Madewell offer? (emailed week of 3/11) *” and one of the options is “I haven’t received this offer yet” which has me suspect they are batch emailing this week. I haven’t received this offer yet but I wanted to mention it in case it gets caught by spam filters. I WILL probably use this coupon since I’ve wanted to buy some pants from them for awhile now to try.
Bottom line – another month with just enough products I’ll use. Not canceling just yet.