beauty samples

November 2012 :: Birchbox #7

039

Ugh. I’m not going to waste a lot of time on this post. I have better boxes with better goodies to review.

This is my absolute last and final Birchbox that I will ever receive. Since signing up in May, I have been disappointed every single month. In October, my disappointed reached it’s peak and I just couldn’t take it anymore. After being reached out to by the Birchbox Operations team, I found their lack of concern for their subscribers opinions absolutely disgusting. I also think they should have more pride in the crap their peddling instead of sending the shit samples and then blaming the lameness on the companies who provided the samples. With so many subscription beauty services saturating the market right now, Birchbox just doesn’t have the luxury of sitting back and sending out lackluster boxes. Just like me, other subscribers can, should and will move on to better services. (Ipsy is $10 a month as well and all their samples are cosmetics and truly deluxe). So here is what I found in my November 2012 Birchbox:

045

Kerastase :: Chroma Sensitive Shampoo. :: Full Size $42 – Two, one-time-use samples of color safe shampoo by Kerastase. Haven’t used it and I won’t. (I use biolage products by Matrix and alternated with the Moroccan line of hair care.)  zero ♥s

044

MCMC Fragrances :: Phoenix – Full Size: $45-$95 – This smells… and not good. The company is based out of Brooklyn though. American made by an American company… that’s nice. But I will not be buying this. zero ♥s

051

ModelCo :: Fibre Lashxtend lengthening mascara :: Full Size: $24 – I like ModelCo products. I like that there is a mirror on the bottle for on-the-go touch ups. But, it’s a black mascara. I didn’t find any distinct difference between this mascara and other lengthening mascaras. I was happy with this sample though. It also seems to be a full size sample… I’ll have to investigate this further. ♥♥♥♥

046

One Love Organics :: Aromatic Body Serum – Full Size: $39 – A decent sized sample and I really like the smell of this body oil. I prefer the feel of the body oil I received in my October GlossyBox but the scent of this one by One Love Organics is delicious. It says it’s made with pumpkin seed oil and maybe that’s what I’m smelling but it smells very citrusy and you all know I like my citrus smells! ♥♥♥

041

EXTRA – Chuao Chocolateir :: HoneyComb – Full Size: (7 assorted) $7.95 – This was tasty. Small but delicious. Won’t be buying these in the future (at least not from Birchbox) and these “lifestyle extras” are part of the reason I’m leaving Birchbox. If you want to give me an extra, awesome, I’ll take it but don’t give me “extras” of shit that is non-cosmetic when you haven’t fulfilled the promise of 5 DELUXE beauty samples first. You can keep your chocolates, mints, headphones, tea bags, etc… I want beauty products! zero ♥s

November 2012 Birchbox total: 7♥s/20♥s (plus “extra”)

Also worth mentioning: Birchbox provided a chintzy little cardboard gift box to give one of your crappy samples to a friend for the holidays. A.) I wouldn’t gift any of the crap Birchbox has sent me. BC I, for one, don’t consider a one-time-use item a decent gift and B.) I can afford a real gift bag, Birchbox… keep your tacky shit.

Birchbox would be the perfect subscription beauty services for a freshman in high school (or younger). I feel that the overall Birchbox mentality is that of a tween anyway and the tiny products sent to be sampled would be great for a newbie.

… and that’s why I cancelled my Birchbox.

Thanks for reading! Keep coming back for my monthly GlossyBox US and Ipsy bag reviews!!!

Love, GK

Boxy Lady

This month, November 2012, I will receive FOUR subscription beauty boxes. I’ve never received more than two per month and I will finally and officially be cancelling two of my current subscriptions before December… at least, that’s the plan.

I’ve come to find that my most popular posts are those in which I discuss what I like and dislike about my monthly sample box subscriptions so, here’s another one for you to read! Before I cancel the two boxes that I’ll be cancelling, I figured I’d share a little bit of what I know about all four subscriptions before they are shipped out. Since I hate showing favoritism [insert telling wink here], I’ll present each subscription service in the order of which I signed up for them. First up: Birchbox.

Let us all join together in a communal groan over what has quickly become the worst beauty sample subscription service. At $10 per month, I was excited to sign up for this service back in April of this year. I took my beauty survey to give the folks at Birchbox a better idea of what products I need and would love. The first box I received was for the month of May and I have to admit that my disappointment started pretty early on. Aside from the fact that May’s box was a Gossip Girl theme (which I luh-uh-uh-oved) the goodies inside weren’t exactly what I was expecting.

As the months passed by and I continued to receive my monthly Birchboxes, the samples seemingly got worse and worse. This all came to a head last month when I received their Goop.com partnered box. IT. WAS. WRETCHED. If you haven’t already, please go back and read my review of the the products in the latest box: Birchbox #6 :: October and then take a peek at my post regarding Birchbox’s absolutely disgusting customer service: Bad Bad Birchbox Ops. If you’ve been considering becoming a Birchbox subscriber, this may cause you to rethink that.

As I stated in previous posts, I will be cancelling my Birchbox subscription. I had wanted to cancel before being billed for the November box but I’m a procrastinator and didn’t. I also redeemed the Birchbox credits I had earned for some products off their site and didn’t want to cancel before they were shipped out to me. Now, I MUST remember to cancel before December. (I sincerely doubt the November box will be able to get out the horrible taste left in my mouth from the October box and subsequent customer service debacle.)

Overall comments: $10 a month membership (very affordable), minuscule samples from less than stellar brands. Horrible customer service.

Status: CANCELLING – because they suck.

After signing up for Birchbox, I became a Julep Maven. Being a Julep Maven means have 3 Julep nail polishes shipped to me monthly for $19.99. Now, I’m a huge nail polish fanatic but I wouldn’t have signed up to be a Julep Maven had I not been able to redeem a coupon code to receive my first box for $0.01 (How can you beat a penny, really?) I wasn’t exactly unimpressed with what I received my first month (July 2012), so I maintained my membership for an additional month. 2 boxes for $20 total. Not too shabby but I was ready to cancel. Something inside told me to hang on for one more month, so I did. After receiving and reviewing my 3rd Julep Maven box in September, I vowed to cancel before October’s box. I should’ve read the cancellation terms because the day before I was to be billed, I logged-in on-line and found that I was supposed to call before 5pm.

Luckily, Julep allows members to skip a month if necessary. In fact, you can skip multiple months or have your months box shipped to a friend instead. I really like this about Julep. It came in handy too because I opted to “skip” my October 2012 box and would cancel during regular business hours before Novembers box… yeah, right.

When Julep launched their new and improved site for members, they award their members “Jules”, their version of accrued customer credits that can be used to purchase items off of Julep.com. I had more than enough Jules to cover the cost of my November box so I figured, why not receive one more box since this one is free to me anyway.

In addition to the “skip a month” feature, Julep also allows you to choose to receive a different box than the one you were due to if you prefer to colors in a different box. Much like other subscription services, when you first become a Julep Maven, you take a beauty quiz and you are categorized as a specific type of girl. (IE: “It Girl”, “Boho”, “Classic”, etc.) When I took my survey I was classified as an It Girl; I believe I only opted for the It Girl box my first month. After that, I opted for another box each month. I love that Julep shows you exactly what you are scheduled to receive and allows you to swap for another box if you’d like.

I simply wasn’t impressed enough with the quality of the polishes to continue my subscription and although I enjoyed and will continue to enjoy what I’ve received as a Julep Maven, it’s time to explore other subscription beauty boxes.

Overall Comments: $19.99 per month (there’s always a coupon code available to get your first box for less; just google it). Fantastic customer service.

Status: CANCELLING – time to explore other subscription services. When I was exploring beauty subscription boxes back in May, before signing up for Birchbox, I read up on GlossyBox. I liked the look of it but wasn’t sure if they were shipping to the US at that time. It also carries a higher price tag each month so I passed. In September, I decided to go for it when I found that they do indeed ship to the US for $21 per month. Its more than I would prefer to pay but boy is it worth it! I was so flipping happy with my very first GlossyBox (October) and if the boxes continue to be so damn fabulous, I don’t think I’ll ever cancel.

Like I said, I’ve only received one box so far from GlossyBox but I’m excited to find whats in store for me in the future. Check out what I got in my October box: GlossyBox #1 :: October. I highly recommend signing up if you love having luxe beauty products delivered to your door each month. I originally decided to sign up once I had concluded I would be cancelling my Julep Maven subscription (no additional spending).

Overall Comments: $21 per month. AMAZING products.

Status: Continuing Subscription. (FOREVER AND EVER AND EVER)

Finally, as of today, I am to happy to say that I am officially and Ipster. I have signed up to receive the Ipsy (MyGlam) bag each month. I had been researching this service for several months and never have I seen a bad review of the 4-5 samples they send their subscribers each month. The products are great quality and also a substantial size. (Unlike the evil Birchbox).

Obviously, I haven’t received my Ipsy products yet but my first delivery isn’t too far away. To give you a better idea of what you can expect to receive monthly, goodle Ipsy reviews and see what other Ipsters have been receiving. (Looks pretty sweet).

For the same price monthly as Birchbox, I look forward to receiving much much more.

Overall Comments: $10 per month. Previously known as MyGlam bag.

Status: Brand new Ipster; awaiting first delivery.

This month, I will receive and review all four subscription deliveries. As of December 2012, I will only be a subscriber to GlossyBox and Ipsy and I think that is the right combination for me (and for you!)

I hope you’ll check out my previous reviews of these products boxes and I especially hope that you will check back to see what I get for November and beyond!

Thanks for reading! Please feel free to comment on how you feel about these services if you are a current member of any or if you’re planning on becoming a member.

Love, GK

PS: a note to my regular readers. I have been lacking hardcore on my Daily Threads posts. Recently, with the cool air we’ve been enjoying in South Florida, I’ve been channeling my inner Amy Pond and rocking some awesome jackets and straight hair (straightening in this humid state any other time of year is just pointless). I’ve been having so much fun in my awesome outfits that I have been blowing off my picture-taking and posting responsibilities. This will change because, frankly, I’d like to brag about and show off my awesome ensembles instead of the office appropriate outfits I was showcasing in previous weeks. -Check back!!!

September 2012 :: Birchbox #5

Here it is. My review of the Septmeber Birchbox. Finally.

I received my September Birchbox on Sept 28… Yeah. BUT: Better late than never! Here goes.

Color Club – Birchbox Custom Polish in “Status Update” :: Full Size – $8 – I actually really like this color. I usually choose dark colors over lights and I love that this polish is dark enough without being too dark. Theres hints of blue, grey and green in Status Update and I had to slap on a coat immediately after receiving my box. ♥♥♥♥

Nevermind the crappy paint job and band-aid, this color is awesome.

Nexxus – Pro-Mend Split End Treatment System :: Full Size – $9.99-$14.99 – This is the one sample, this month, that I have not tried as of publishing this post. Regardless, these samples are nowhere near “premium”. I could find a similar sample in a magazine or at a retail sales counter. For that reason and that reason alone, having never tried this product, I’m giving this sample 0/5 ♥s. Zero. I’m not happy with this sample strictly based on size. Even though it boasts that this treatment system will bind 92% of split ends together in one use, I don’t feel this sample provides enough to even make a true judgement of quality and effectiveness. I will eventually give this system a try, of course and I may decided to buy full size bottles to really give them a try, but as far as September’s total Birchbox score is concerned, this sample will not contribute any points.

twistband – Birchbox Custom Lace Hair Tie :: Set of 6-12 – $14-$22 – ANOTHER F*CKING TWISTBAND! First of all, I’ve already received one of these in my first ever Birchbox (May 2012); I was not impressed then and I’m not impressed now. Second, it’s neon-f*cking-orange. I’m a ginger. I filled out a beauty profile. They know I’m ginger. Another 0/5 ♥s.

Vasanti – Brighten Up! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator :: Full Size – $34 – This exfoliating cleanser is amazing. Almost too amazing because after my first use, I experienced a [very rare] breakout. The microderm crystals and papaya enzymes worked harder than my usual products to remove the dirt and oil that was left behind. ♥♥♥♥♥

Youngblood – Mineral Primer :: Full Size – $41 – This primer makes my skin feel the way Soft Lips makes my lips feel (if you’ve ever used Soft Lips, you know exactly what I’m talking about.) Containing vitamins and minerals to sooth skin, this primer does it’s job of preventing makeup melt-away. ♥♥♥♥

September Birchbox Score :: 13♥s/20

In spite of issuing a zero score to 2 of my 5 samples, the products I loved, I really loved and September’s box earned 13 out of 20 total possible ♥s.

Extras

Mighty Leaf Tea Company :: Box of 15 – $9.95 – Chamomile Citrus (Herbal Infusion), Vanilla Bean (Black Tea), Green Tea Tropical. I love tea. Always have. Growing up, my mother was a tea drinker; we didn’t even have a coffee maker for the longest time. Tea was the choice in our house. Although I do love a good cup of coffee after dinner or as a mid-day treat, nothing beats a hot cup of tea. Of the three teabags I received, I curled up with my cup of Chamomile Citrus as I began reading my new book (J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy) and it was delightful. I can’t wait to try the Vanilla Bean black tea next and although I am not a big fan of green teas, I’m still excited to give the tropical blend a try as well.

Tristan Prettyman :: 2 song download – I haven’t downloaded these songs yet nor have I ever listened to Tristan Prettyman but I love music and always love giving new artists a try.

This month, the Birchbox team included their first ever Birchbox Lookbook. It was full of this fall/winter’s most popular trends and style ideas executed by staff members. It’s definitely no Vogue (or even Glamour), but it was cute and I look forward to receiving future “issues”.

I also got a $25 Gift Card to apply to any purchase of at least $75 from Madewell.com. Unfortunately, it had to be used between September 10-30. Just rub salt in my late-box wound why don’t you Birchbox. Birchbox Fail.

The products in this box that I like, I love. I will most likely purchase the full size bottles of the Vasanti cleanser and the Youngblood mineral primer. No lie. Love them both! Over-all, September’s Birchbox was pretty damn good.

I’m eagerly awaiting my October Birchbox which I hope will be one of the limited Goop Birchboxes!! -eek! I hope all the featured products are fabulous and I hope it comes on time! I’m also looking forward to receiving my very first Glossybox in October!

Thanks for reading! Love, GK

June 2012 :: Birchbox #2

I received my June Birchbox a few days ago. This was the second month that I’ve received a shipment of beauty supplies and frankly, last month, I wasn’t incredibly impressed.

One of the things that I expressed displeasure in last month was the fact that Birchbox says they send 5 deluxe samples each month yet these samples are all standard, small samples. I try not to get hung up on this because the samples sent are premium quality products that I might otherwise never try.

Last month, I also established a scoring system I’ll be using to express my satisfaction with each product and the overall box of goodies. I rank each sample on a scale of 1-5 ♥s; a box containing 5 samples can received a maximum score of 25/25 ♥s (provided that each sample received 5 ♥s.)

June’s Birchbox contained only 4 samples (and two extras), so it’s potential score would be 20/20♥s… However, I have not tried one of the samples yet and I can not issue a score. That being the case, for me, June’s Birchbox (so far) has a maximum score of 15/15♥s. Alright… enough with the explanation of the ♥s system…

June’s Birchbox’s theme was “Jet Set”. I guess I can see it: self tanner pre-vacation, detangler hair treatment for post-beach locks, a travel baggie… Anyway, here’s the goods:

1.) beautyblender – blendercleanser – full size: $17.95 – I gave this makeup brush cleanser a try on my eye brushes. It worked awesome! I usually use oily-like makeup removers on my brushes (although not my face); skin makeup remover isn’t recommended for cleaning brushes but it seems to work fine on my cheap-o brushes. This cleaner was thicker, more viscous, than cleaners I’ve used in the past and I think it worked better because of it.

It’s soy-based and promises to remove built-up bacteria and oil. I used about a quarter of a cap full to clean my (very dirty) angle eye brush. I swished it around for a bit and then rinsed… it was like new. I really liked this product but I don’t necessarily believe I would seek out and buy it. Never the less, a GREAT brush cleaner! ♥♥♥

2.) Comodynes – Self-Tanning Intensive – pack of 8: $14.99 – This is the product that I haven’t used yet. I definitely plan on giving these self-tanning towelettes a try. I’ve used various self-tanning products in the past and rarely achieve results I’m happy with. Whenever I get around to trying these out, I will be sure to let you know how they work out!

3.) Number 4 – Super Comb Prep & Protect – full size: $32 – This  leave-in treatment spray promises to detangle and defizz your hair. It’s packed with nutrient-rich botanicals and UV filters to strengthen and protect hair.

I’ve been doing a lot of swimming recently, I’ve also been spending a lot of time at the beach. The other day, between swimming and the pool and showering, I used this spray on my hair and combed through. It definitely allowed me to be able to comb through my chlorine soaked hair before I was able to wash and condition it, which is good. After washing and conditioning my hair, I sprayed my hair with this treatment again before adding product; I didn’t notice a difference.

It seems to work well enough but I won’t be purchasing the full size bottle. Other than the convenience of bringing this bottle to the beach or on vacation as the theme of the box implies, I don’t see myself needing this product. For others who may use a detangling spray more often, I believe you can find the same or similar quality in more affordable, more easily accessible brands. ♥♥

4.) theBalm cosmetics – Stainiac in Beauty Queen – full size: $17 – I absolutely LOVE this lip/cheek tint! It’s fantastic!!! The results are subtle, yet noticable and it is super easy to blend! I’ve tried some other lip tints and I thought they were a little too thick, a little too similar to glosses. This “hint of tint for cheeks and lips” is exactly that!

This is by far my favorite product in the entire box! I would definitely, and probably will, buy the full size of this product. ♥♥♥♥♥

To show just how subtle, yet effective, Stainiac is, I took a picture of myself before applying this product and after. The makeup on my face before applying the Stainiac was the everyday makeup I had worn to work that day, applied 10.5 hours earlier.

Now, the lighting in the “after” picture is definitely a bit better, however, I think it’s still pretty obvious how much “glow” this added to my whole face after lightly being applied to my lips and cheeks.

I swept one layer of the stain across my lips blended together. Then, without re-dipping the applicator, I dabbed little dots of stain on each cheek and rubbed/blended upwards across my cheek bones. I think the results are noticeable. In fact, I can’t say I like that “before” picture very much; my face looks washed out and tired… wah.

Extras

5.) Extra – John Varvatos – Star USA – full size: $55-$70 – This mens cologne was added to my sample box “in honor of Fathers Day” (meaning: to promote their new Birchboxes for Men). I gave it a sniff and I can’t say that I’m digging it that much. Fragrances always smell different on people and even more different on individuals. I’m going to ask one of my guy friends to give it a try and report back with any negative or positive results.

7.) Extra – tili – Bags – pack of 9-12: $8.49-$9.49 – Its a baggie. That’s all. A plastic zip-lockable baggie. I think the idea of adorably patterned baggies is cute, but I’m definitely not going to pay $10 for a few. Thanks, but no thanks, Birchbox. … I’ll totally use this since I now have it on my dresser with my cosmetics though…

June’s Birchbox total: 10/15♥s … not too shabby. (That Stainiac really boosted this boxes overall score.

I’ll, of course, be reviewing another Birchbox next month and as long as it doesn’t completely suck, I won’t cancel my Birchbox subscription.

Thanks for reading! I hope you’ll SUBSCRIBE up top! I also hope you’ll follow me on Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram!

Love, GK

Birchbox Subscription!

I have been a very busy girl recently and I have seriously neglected my precious blog!

 My mind has been kind of all over the place over a split from my guy of 6 years (which sucks), packing & moving (which also sucks), working late, friends & family that have been visiting me (thanks guys, I love you!) and over-all go-go-going… I’m pretty much worn thin right now.

I did, however, finally get my official invite to join Birchbox! I signed up today and will now eagerly await my first box of samples! For those of you who may not know, Birchbox is a beauty products site with a monthly subscription costing a mere $10 per month; each month you receive a box of 5 premium (large) beauty samples. It’s easy to sign up for an invite (just visit Birchbox.com to get on their invite list) and within a few weeks you should receive your invite to subscribe. Once a subscriber, you are also eligible to earn Birchbox Points by referring new subscribers and purchasing products that you’ve sampled and enjoy. So if any of you want to help a sister out with earning some Birchbox points, let me know and I can send you an invite to join! (Or at least mention Ginger-Kate.com when asked “How did you hear about us?”)

I can’t wait to receive my first box of samples! I will, of course, let you all know what kind of goodies I receive and how I like them!

 

As always, thank you so much for reading.

Love, GK.

 

—-If you like what you read, please subscribe up top.

—-You can also follow me on Twitter @xGingerKate as well as on Tumblr (gingerkate.tumblr.com) and Instagram (@GingerKate)!! I welcome all readers and followers and will follow back if you mention Ginger-Kate.com!!!