Looking at this month’s subscriptions! Continue reading Beauty Box Battle: August!
Looking at this month’s subscriptions! Continue reading Beauty Box Battle: August!
Its that time again!
Last month, I called the winner as Sephora Play! so lets start there:
Sephora Play contained:
I actually have several of these tarte blushes, all of them from sample boxes actually. They are good quality, and very easy to use, and I never have gotten the same shade twice, so its always nice to add to my collection. Also, despite the packaging making me think this would be more of a bronzey color, when I swatched it (as you can see here), the color is a lovely natural pink flush.
As you can see, this is a very subtle tint, as its more of a lip treatment than a makeup item. I have had lipbalms from Fresh before, but never one of the Advanced Therapy ones, so I look forward to seeing if this makes any difference in the fine lines I get around my lips, as their copy promises it will do!
Next item is Youth To the People’s Superfood Air-Whip Hyaluronic Acid Moisture Cream , which is quite the mouthful for this little tub! I have actually received this moisturizer before, possibly from Allure’s box, and I found it felt nice enough, but I remember that I actually needed quite a bit to cover my entire face, so the tiny sample did not last very long. So its nice to have some extra moisturizer on hand, but this one isn’t very exciting.
Tarte Deep Dive Cleansing gel (rainforest of the sea collection) – My second skin care item is another one I’ve had before, but I got that one from a 500-point sephora reward kit that I selected. This is a nice cleanser that I liked using, not too drying or anything, so its nice to have more of it.
Algenist Genius Liquid Collagen the final skin care item in the box is not only new to me, but a fairly high end item, as I see that the full size bottle (one ounce/30ml) goes for about $115. The sample tube is .13 ounces, or 3.7 ml, which seems like a fairly decent size for a serum sample. I’m always happy to try some fancy skincare, and I love a nice hydrating serum so I’m sure I’ll enjoy this one!
The final item in the box is specifically cited as being the “bonus” item, but even so I find it disappointing. The Rahua Freestyle Texturizer is a foil packet containing 5ml of product, and the product itself is for creating a “voluminous, tousled look.” With my hair down to the small of my back, texturizers aren’t really something I reach for. So with the one-time use packaging, and the fact that its a miss for my hair type/style, this one is a bit of a let-down.
Overall this is not a bad selection, 4 out of the 6 items I’m quite pleased about. I would give this box a solid B.
Next up, Ipsy!
FEEL Restored Warming Clay Mask I love trying new face masks, and I especially love masks that warm up on your face as you use them, but I’m kind of suprised to get one in a summer bag, it feels like more of a cool weather item? But I do enjoy that in a face mask, so I’m delighted to try this one, totally new brand for me too!
AHAVA Facial Mud Exfoliator – this promises to be a gentle and moisturizing facial exfoliant, which is the only kind my skin seems to tolerate lately! I’ve tried a few things from AHAVA already and been happy enough with them, so I’m glad to try this one next.
LORD & BERRY Ultimate Lipliner in Mandarin – this lipliner feels very smooth and easy to apply, but the orangey tone is not my usual thing. But it is summery so I guess it makes sense for a July bag, and I’ll give it a try.
OFRA COSMETICS Eyeshadow in Exquisite I have gotten some OFRA products before, some highlight and blush, so I know they make good powder products, but I was quite happy to get this sparkly black shadow, as I don’t have a lot of colors like it:
As you can see, the swatch is kind of light, so this winds up being more of a charcoal color than a black, but I’m happy with that because I think that is a more versatile, wearable option. I can see myself using a damp brush to wear this powder as an eyeliner for sure!
SUGAR COSMETICS Stroke of Genius Heavy-Duty Kohl in 02 Purple Rain the final standard item in this box was this lovely full size eyeliner:
As you can see, this is a deep rich purple, which I was totally delighted to get. The formula glides on very smooth, and I can’t wait to use it!
Anyone who has gotten a beauty subscription for a while can tell you, its SO great to get a colorful liner instead of a black! Black eyeliner is useful, and a common standard for sure, but subscription boxes tend to send them far too often, so you can easily wind up with a larger supply than you need. I think Ipsy must have heard this feedback, because this item was only sent out to subscribers in purple or green, nice one Ipsy!
This month, I also redeemed some of the points I’ve accumulated on Ipsy. I dont’ really count this along with the rest of the bag, as I chose this item myself from a list of options. You get points by giving them feedback on your monthly items, and I chose to redeem mine in the form of a lip scrub:
The lipscrub is from Naked Cosmetics, and its their Vanilla Creme lipscrub. the scent is a nice rich vanilla without being super strong, and the sugar texture is present enough to exfoliate without being overly harsh,so I’ll definitely make use of this.
Overall I’m pretty happy with Ipsy this month. The makeup items are fun interesting colors (of good quality) and the skin care items look useful and are large enough samples to really get an idea of the products. While I don’t really include the lipscrub among the items they send since I chose it, I DO consider that Ipsy has a reward program generous enough that I can get a bonus item a handful of times each year. I’d give this bag an A!
Finally, lets look at the little red box:
Wow, Allure kind of went ham this month! I am not complaining, so lets take a look!
Ouai Haircare Leave-In Conditioner – I have tried Ouai before, but not this particular product (I got the wave spray previously). I am delighted to see that this has the same fresh, gently floral scent as their other product I’ve used, and I can’t wait to see if I like this as much as their wave spray!
Derma-E Essentials Mineral Powder (SPF 30) This powder can be used to set your makeup, or simply combat shine, and as a bonus contains SPF. I usually wear a sunscreen under my makeup, but its nice to get a little extra SPF boost in your finishing product, so I’ll definitely try this out.
Feel Harmony Rose Petal Facial Mask Ok guys, this is funny. I’ve got a second product from Feel! I’ve gotten doubles from different boxes before, but this time I got two different items from the same line in the same month, and i’m amused! This mask looks like its right up my alley. Its super hydrating AND reduces redness according to their copy. They even recommend putting this gel formula in the fridge to make it extra refreshing in the summer weather, so I cannot wait to try this out on a hot day.
Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil I am so excited! I have tried several Sunday Riley products before, including a full size of their vitamin C serum from a prior Allure box. This has been one of the most talked about items in their line, so I’m super excited to try it out, this is a hydrating retinol oil that is supposed to alleviate fine lines and wrinkles, and dryness and rough texture, all things that I have been dealing with.
Olay Regenerist Whip Moisturizer – I’ve been familiar with Olay products since I was a teen, and they’ve always had nice lightweight moisturizers. This new “whipped” line promises a super light finish, but with powerful moisturizers and anti-aging, so I’ll definitely give this a go and see if they’re as good as I remember.
The Organic Pharmacy Antioxidant Lip Balm – This is a new brand to me, but I always like getting another lip balm, I keep them everywhere! This one has some excellent ingredients, like shea butter and rosehip seed oil, with a light texture that doesn’t feel too greasy, and little to no fragrance, so I will definitely make use of it.
Make Up For Ever Artist Color Pencil in Full Red – At first glance this may look like a lipliner, but to my delight its far more interesting than that:
According to Make Up For Ever, the Artist Color Pencils are safe for use anywhere on the face, so it can be eyeliner, eyebrows, lip liner… anything you decide! I’m curious to see how well it serves these different jobs, so I will definitely have to play with this.
Doucce Ultra Precision Eyeliner in Blue – I guess Allure was tipped off to black eyeliner overload too, because here’s a bright royal blue liner!
This is a nice rich, bright blue color, in a lovely smooth formula. I am again delighted to get a fun bright color over having another black eyeliner, so this does not disappoint.
Guess what? Allure didn’t stop there. They emailed me a week before the box came to alert me that there was a “loyal subscriber” gift on the way, and it was included with the regular box:
A lovely set of earrings! These are a genuinely fun surprise, and I like them a lot! Also included was a $20 off coupon for Bauble Bar, but I’m not sure if that came along with the earrings, or if it was part of the regular box. Either way, little surprises like this are an awesome part of getting the allure beauty box. I’ve gotten surprise gifts from them at least two other times prior since becoming a subscriber.
Honestly, not a single item in this box was a disappointment. I’m floored at the sheer amount of products, usually its between 5-7, but to get EIGHT samples and a bonus gift? I can’t help but wonder if they saw my C-grade review of last month’s box!
Considering everything in the box, I think I have to give the Allure box an A+, winning the July battle! Quite the upset from them being my least favorite last month. This is exactly why I like getting a few different ones, I never know which one is going to be the best.
One of the most common questions I see regarding subscription boxes is “which is the best one?” I always think the best way to make that determination is to compare the contents. They vary month to month, so lets compare Ipsy, Allure Beauty Box, and Sephora Play, and see which box was the best for June!
Doucce Lucious Lipstain in Passion Peach, which is an incredibly bright coral color. This color is outside my normal comfort zone, but does seem summery. I have seen this brand before but previously had only tried their eyeshadow. Also it was really hard to get this swatch entirely off my hand, so I can see this formula really stays put!
Firma Beauty 102 Elite Blush Brush -this brush seems well constructed, and densely packed while still having a soft feel and good movement. The brand is new to me but I’m happy with the brush.
Soo Ae Charcoal Clay Bubble Mask –another new-to-me brand, but it is packed with both trendy and well established skincare ingredients, such as charcoal, green tea, and kaolin clay and bentonite. And a bubble mask is always fun! I’m also pleased that they sent two packets, since each one is a one-time use item.
KVOSSNYC Macaroon lip balm – another new brand for me, this seems like a standard tub of lip balm, but doesn’t have much scent or flavor, which is a little disappointing. Given that its called macaroon, I was hoping for a vanilla or almond scent, or at least something more cookie-like, and the balm itself is a bit thin, so not my favorite.
Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizing Hydrating Primer – now here is a brand I know! I have gotten samples from them before, but never this item. I’ve been having a lot of dry skin issues lately, so I’m rather please to get this hydrating version of their primer!
Overall the ipsy bag is ok. Its a nice variety of products, a tool, some skin care, some color makeup, but nothing that really excited me. I’d say the bag overall is maybe a B.
Allure beauty box (Kat Von D collab)
I know, you’re thinking, “when did Allure Beauty Box go goth??” As I mentioned above, this month’s Allure box was a special collaboration with Kat Von D cosmetics, so not only are four of the five products from Kat Von D, we even get a unique box design, very removed from the usual bright red with Allure logo. This was not a special edition box, this came with a normal subscription.
Kat Von D: Tattoo Liner in Trooper Black, Studded Kiss Creme Lipstick in Double Dare, Everlasting Lip Liner in Lolita, Wax Seal Travel Mirror – (not available on her site,but they do have a full size version)
Honestly this selection was a little underwhelming. I have multiple samples of the Kat Von D tattoo liner in trooper (black), and the mirror felt like a bit of a cheap-out. I got a similar mirror to this in a 500 point reward from Sephora. The lipstick and liner are nice, and the full size of the Henriksen face scrub is definitely a cool item, but the super common liner, and the mirror left this box feeling a bit meh, so maybe a C.
Sephora Play for June:
Milk Makeup Kush High Volume Mascara in Boom Black – this mascara has some interesting claims. It states that it contains cannabis oil, and that it has heart shaped fibers. The fibers apparently prevent the spidery look that more cylindrical fibers can cause, and are supposed to help provide length and volume. The hemp-derived oil is supposed to provide hydration, and help make your lashes healthier over time. I’m always wary of hydrating mascara formulas, as most tend to smudge or transfer on me rather quickly, but I’m always willing to try a new mascara.
Clinique Take the Day Off Makeup Remover – this is not only a familiar brand for me, but a solid product. Getting a trial size of an effective makeup remover is always great, good for travel, or for keeping by my makeup for quick corrections. Always great to have!
Too Faced Melted Matte Liquified Long Wear Lipstick in Queen B. This is a familiar brand but a new product for me, and I have to say I’m impressed. Its a lovely color, dries quick, and stays put and stays comfortable! Plus I think this color is wearable for a lot of skin-tones, so I appreciate that consideration for inclusion in a sample box.
Belif the True Cream Aqua Bomb -I have tried this before, but I am not mad to get a new sample! This is a really nice moisturizer that has a light feel but is still powerful enough to provide some serious hydration, happy to get more of it!
Alterna Haircare Caviar Anti-Aging Miracle Multiplying Volume Mist funny enough, i’ve gotten this before too, I still have a bottle with my hair products! It has a nice scent, and I think it does give my hair a bit of a boost, so I definitely don’t mind more of this one!
Prada Candy Sugar Pop this is considered the “bonus” item, but most Sephora boxes include a perfume sample. I do appreciate that this one came fully sealed in a plastic packet, which protects your other items from leaks. However, this scent confuses me. According to their own copy, its key notes are Green Bergamot, Apple and Vanilla. And the scent is a “powdery floral,” something I wouldn’t expect from the name Candy Sugar Pop. But further into their description, I see them referring to the scent as having an “ironic twist”. This is not a bad scent, but it was so far removed from what the name and packaging made me expect, that I really think its misleading, and could be a very unpleasant surprise for someone.
Overall, I like the products from Play! this month, although only 3 of the six products are new to me, everything I got is pretty good. I do love the cloth bag they sent with the fun 80’s neon design too. So this box didn’t deliver too many exciting new things, but it did deliver some good products, so I’d say it’s a B+.
Looking at my grades, looks like Sephora Play! had my favorite collection this month, but it was pretty close! One of the reasons I get each of these is that often times, they are very similar in quality, like this month, and I find it hard to choose a clear favorite. But I look forward to comparing them month to month to see what major differences and similarities become apparent about them.
Yes I know its March, but whats my favorite thing to do while I wait for this month’s subscriptions to arrive? Compare last month’s subscription boxes!
Lets open them up and see who made the best February box. First up: Ipsy!
In this month’s Ipsy glam bag I got:
Not a bad haul! The thing that immediately caught my eye was the NYX lipstick. I already am a big fan of the brand, and this lipstick definitely didn’t let me down:
This lipstick is lightweight and goes on creamy and smooth. There’s no shimmer to it, but its a moisturizing formula so the finish has a nice shine to it.
The Bellapierre mascara looks promising as well:
This mascara has a full, straight bristle brush, dense enough that I think it will easily get every lash. The formula doesn’t seem too wet either, which I like because it makes it a little harder to accidentally smudge some on your skin. Since my eyes are a bit oily, I prefer waterproof mascaras in general, as they are less likely to transfer during the day, so I think this will be a good one for me.
The makeup brush is either the second or third I’ve gotten from Luxie, and I was happy to see it. Their brushes are super soft, dense, and well constructed; this will definitely be well used. The finishing powder from Naked Cosmetics is very nice, finely milled and smooth, and will do fine job setting foundation & concealer. I have a number of setting powders, maybe I should do a comparison breakdown sometime, see if these higher end ones are worth the money – comment below if that is of interest to you! The final item, the face mask, looks interesting. It promises to exfoliate and hydrate, so I’ll definitely have to test this out and see how their promises hold up.
Next up: Allure Beauty Box!
This month, Allure sent:
First off, the Cargo color stick, which is a cream color you can apply to eyes, cheeks or lips. The color we got is Champagne, which is a highlighting shade (a pretty soft pink) and gives a beautiful, not glittery sheen when applied:
The mascara in this box is from Beauty Counter:
According to Beauty Counter, this is a lengthening mascara that will condition lashes when you wear it. The brush is very tiny, so it will be easy to get to every lash without getting mascara smudges all over while applying, which I appreciate. I’m concerned that the oils and hydration in it will make it more likely to transfer, but maybe I’ll be surprised!
This month also included a lip plumper from GrandeLips. I myself have found many lip plumpers to be rather uncomfortable, with overpowering mint or cinnamon scents and strong tingling sensations. This one has a softer vanilla scent, and contains hylauronic acid to maintain moisture, so I’m optimistic that this one will prove to be more comfortable than some I have previously tried.
Also this month, we got a trial packet of First Aid beauty “radiance” pads, which promise to exfoliate, tone & brighten. I’ve tried this sort of product before, and while I found them effective, they do cause some sharp stinging right after use. Since First Aid beauty always has sensitive skin-friendly products, I am hoping these will be a bit gentler.
Next up, we got a tube of Olay Pro-Retinol Eye Treatment. They make some great skin care products, and I have some fine lines around my eyes, so I was quite happy to receive this, I believe its a full size sample, which is pretty great too! The final product was a tea-light size candle from Red Flower. I’m not really big on scented candles so this is kind of a take it or leave it product for me, but it does have a nice rose scent.
There was one final item included in the Allure box, a card indicating a code that would provide subscribers a free month with a custom prescription skin care company called Curology. I did not include it in the photo because both sides of the card include the code. Since the box already had six items without this, its not a bad bonus.
Last but never least, we have Sephora Play!
This box contains:
This month’s sephora box included a mascara- their own brand, and i believe this is a new one:
As you can see, this mascara has an atypical brush, it is a little similar to the Lorac Cobra mascara brush, only that one is also curved. I have found that this paddle-style brush offers a surprisingly good amount of control in application, so I look forward to trying this one out.
This month also included the tinted lip balm from tarte, a very light, basic color:
Its very sheer, lacking in fragrance, and feels very moisturizing. This looks to be a great one to throw in my bag for quick touch ups when I just want a bit of color and need some moisture.
Next, this box also included a plumping lip gloss, this one from Too Faced:
This is a creamy, glossy lip gloss, a bit stickier than I generally go for, and the color is kind of pale too, but it might be fun to layer with a brighter lipstick. This also didn’t remind me of some of the harsher plumping lip glosses I remember, which were very uncomfortable, so its nice that plumping can be achieved more comfortably.
Sephora’s box always includes a perfume, and this month’s is Prada Candy. I was not excited about this, because I’m picky about cologne, and honestly I expected this to be a very sweet, light & flowery young fragrance. And i was genuinely surprised! This has deeper, vanilla and caramel scents to it, and was a stronger, more mature scent that I think I may actually wear. Fun surprise!
The last two products, an eye cream and a moisturizer, I’m happy to get. I don’t really have a favorite of either right now, so i like trying new ones. The clinique moisturizer is apparently also something of a primer, and I love products that can do multiple things, so this i may keep with my makeup to use when I need a more hydrating primer. The “refreshing” eye cream sounds great for the morning, so I will be trying that out soon.
It was fun to discover that for February, all these boxes had some things in common! Each box had at least one lip product, and each had a mascara. All three boxes had some great stuff this month, and I’m pretty happy with all three. I feel like both Sephora and Allure had a focus on skin care, or a natural look, whereas my ipsy bag was decidedly more makeup focused. So for that alone, i’m hailing Ipsy as my February winner! Being more of a makeup lover, Ipsy had the stuff i was most excited about this month.
What were your favorites? Did I get anything you want a more in-depth review of? Let me know in the comments, or drop me a line on my Facebook page, I’d love to hear from you!
Happy New Year everyone! With a new year, I’m hoping to do a lot more posting, so lets get right back into the goods!
Even though it is already January, and new boxes are making their way to our homes, I though I would take some time and see which box ended the year with the biggest bang. Subscription Box Showdown Time- Sephora Play vs Ipsy Vs Allure Beauty Box!
First box: Ipsy!
While it is technically a bag not a box, Ipsy was one of the first, and for $10/month, they seldom disappoint – and the bag is part of the subscription, every month we get a cute new design. This month’s is intended for party time, and to my surprise? Its fuzzy! And whats inside?
All in all, this was a pretty good box. While I did get some familiar items, everything here is good colors, good quality, and products with strong reputations. Good variety of items too, hair & skin care as well as cosmetics; December was definitely a good month for Ipsy.
Next up: The Allure Beauty Box. This one comes in an actual box, every month you get the same bright red box, but they are very well constructed and could be useful for storage, or as gift boxes. One thing unique to this box is the “mini-magazine”, which is simply a booklet with an entry for each item in the box. I really like this because they often provide advice on how to best use the product, and they give thorough explanations of what each item is. While it’s always a simple task to look things up online, I rather enjoy the experience of sitting down with a new Allure box and opening each product and reading about them without having to hunt down information on the products one by one. So what did I get?
This month’s Allure box is full of things that are new to me! The cleanser is the only thing I was previously familiar with, so its great to learn about some new stuff I might not have found otherwise.
Last and certainly not least, its the Sephora Play! Box.
Sephora’s Play! box is relatively new to the scene, but it is already popular thanks to their name recognition. The subscription is $10/month, and arrives in a black & white striped box; inside of which there is a cloth, drawstring pouch (each month with a new design) holding all your samples:
This month’s Sephora box is exciting! The majority of the stuff in here I may have heard of, but its almost entirely composed of things I wanted to try, which is awesome.
All in all, December was a good month subscription-wise. Since I didn’t really feel like any of the items I received were failures this month, choosing a favorite simply comes down to which box I am the most happy about, and I think this month that would have to be Sephora Play! Even though I do not particularly care for the perfume from that box, everything else I received was either something I knew of and wanted to try or something that I am now looking forward to trying.
Do you disagree with my ruling? Do you have a favorite subscription box I’ve never mentioned? Tell me about it in the comments!
Subscription showdown tally: Sephora: 1, Ipsy 1, Allure 0*
* Allure has been my favorite before, but that was prior to my 3 box showdown format, so I did not include it in this tally.
Disclaimer: I pay for these subscriptions with my own money.
This month, I thought it would be fun to compare all three of the subscriptions I got, head to head (to head?) and declare a best of the month. Lets just dive in and have a look!
To start off, here’s Ipsy:
This month I received:
theBalm Cosmetics Meet Matt(e) Trimony eyeshadow in Matt Kumar – a small version of one of the eyeshadows from this palette, this is a generous sample and I know from experience, a good quality shadow. I own a handful of the Balm products, and they never disappoint.
bareminerals Gen Nude Matte Liquid Lipcolor in Swag – this is a liquid lipstick that dries down to a matte finish for that long wearing style that has been very popular lately.
Sedona Lace Synthetic Blender, EB13 – I’ve only heard of the Sedona Lace brand from some makeup artists online, so its neat to get one to try out. The brush feels solidly constructed and the bristles are soft but not too flimsy or sparse, overall the quality seems very good.
Not Soap, Radio When life gives you one too many lemons (and you’ve misplaced your happy place) joy inducing hand/body lotion – and yes, that is the actual name of the product! I love getting hand cream in these boxes! The sample sizes are always great to throw in my bag, and this one has an especially nice texture, absorbing very quickly, and it has a great lemon scent to it, so that was a big favorite for me this month.
Bellapierre Cosmetics Banana Setting Powder – I’ve gotten products from Bellapierre from Ipsy before. One was a loose powder blush that I quite like, so I am looking forward to trying out their setting powder, its quite soft and blended very smoothly when I swatched it. (see the swatch below with other swatches from this bag.)
I’m a big fan of the Balm, and do not have this palette, so getting a color from it was pretty cool. Its a nice, warm shade:
I’m only loosely familiar with bareminerals, but everything I’ve tried from them has been very nice quality. This liquid lipstick seems to be no exception. It has no noticeable scent, and the color is a soft, neutral pink I am sure to get plenty of wear from:
And of course, the setting powder:
This month from Ipsy I also redeemed points for a bonus – a very nice one too!
With the Ipsy subscription you have the opportunity to earn points by answering short surveys about each item you get. The points are not the only benefit, your selections each month are also affected by your survey responses, so if you like a brand (like I mentioned Bellapierre), its likely they’ll send you other samples from it, or send you similar products to ones you like. You can also earn points from sharing your bag on social media, or referring friends to sign up. (I get most of my points from the review surveys.) I was lucky enough to have enough points saved up when they announced they were offering the TooFaced Born this Way concealer as a bonus for July, before it was even available for sale.
I guessed at my color – its always hard to tell online isn’t it? – and it looks like i guessed well.(Obviously it doesn’t match my hand, but it matched my face very well) This concealer is very pigmented but super thin and lightweight, and I haven’t noticed any creasing so far. As you can see it came in a glass tube with a doe-foot applicator. A full-sized, high-end concealer is pretty sweet bonus item in my book.
Overall the Ipsy selection this month was pretty fun. It was a mix of brands I was familiar with and brands that I’m not as familiar with, and none of the items were a repeat. The bag was also a mix of useful and fun items, which I always like.
Next up, Sephora Play!
This month included:
beautyblender – blotterazi: This is a flat sponge designed to replace blotting papers. I actually already own the full size of this, which is a compact with mirror and two sponges, so its nice to have an extra sponge for my compact! This is a cool sample to send out, because it is exactly what you get in the full size product, simply without the compact and the backup sponge, so you can really get an idea of whether this product is for you.
First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser: I have used some really fantastic moisturizers from this brand so I’m happy to get one of their cleansers. This has a nice creamy feel to it, and the scent reminds me of ivory soap. A travel size of a mild cleanser good for all skin types.
Ouai Wave Spray: a texture mist for hair, for those low-maintenance, soft wavy looks often referred to as “beachy waves”. I love doing this sort of easy-going hair style, so I am looking forward to testing this one out. This has a light, clean scent to it; many sprays of this style tend to have beachy scents like coconut, this one feels a little more versatile to me.
Smashbox Photofinish Primer: a foundation primer, and its one I’ve gotten samples of a number of times before, it is very welcome, as it is a fantastic primer! It smooths the skin texture and helps your foundation last.
Nest Fragrances in Citrine: Every Play box includes a fragrance sample. This one claims that it layers fresh lotus flower, freesia, bright citrus with a base of “precious” woods. This is a clean, bright floral scent without being overly cloying. I don’t usually like floral perfumes but this one I could actually see myself wearing. The vial has a sprayer on top, which I also really appreciate.
Benefit Cosmetics Dew the Hoola soft matte liquid bronzer: This is a light cream that gives a soft bronze tone to the skin without any shimmer or sheen. I’ve never done much with bronzers, so I’m pleased to get a sample to play with and try the look.
The only product with color to it in this box, so here’s a quick swatch:
This is a pretty nice selection of products, and in my opinion, seasonally appropriate. The cosmetic related items are all things I would use in warmer weather, the blotter, the primer and the bronzer. The hair product is designed for giving your hair that “beach day” look, ideal for weather where its too hot to heat-style. The fragrance is bright, clean and not too heavy, definitely a good choice for summer. And the skin product, a gentle face wash in a convenient size, is perfect for a season when you might not only need something gentle for your face, but something portable!
And finally, Allure Beauty Box!
This month’s items:
Smashbox Photofinish Primer: No, I didn’t accidentally type it twice, I actually got this sample in two of my subscriptions this month! As I said above, this is a wonderful product, and I know I’m definitely not the first or last person on the internet to talk about liking this primer. Since I became a fan of this primer through a sample, I am never surprised to see it pop up, and never disappointed with it either.
Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Color Balm in Super Strawberry: I have tried this line of lip crayons before, but I’ve never had this shade. These are very moisturizing, sheer lip color with no noticeable fragrance or taste, but very comfortable to wear.
Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II : a nighttime skin serum that claims to reduce signs of aging. I like using serums, especially in summer, since they absorb quickly and you can layer them with other products more easily. This serum is no exception. It has a very light consistency and absorbs very fast; there is a subtle scent when you first apply but it seems to fade quickly as the product sinks in. I’ve received some other items from this line before, so I’m curious to try this one out.
GlamGlow SuperMud Clearing Treatment: a facial mask for oily or combination skin that claims to clear up skin imperfections. I have been hearing about how amazing the products from this brand are for ages now, but their high prices have kept me away. I was legitimately excited to receive this, and can’t wait to use it!
La Mer The Moisturizing Soft Cream: This is a luxury skin cream, which claims to provide intense moisturization and restore radiance to the skin. The sample is small, but given its high prices ($170 for one ounce!); that is not too surprising. The cream is rich but spreads easily and absorbs nice and quick. I think I will be able to get a decent couple of uses from it, and I can come back to you guys with a full review and let you all know if I think this cream is worth the hype (and price)!
Not going to lie, Allure’s box impressed me this month. All the products are things I’m happy to receive, and frankly, fancier than I expect from these subscriptions, which is pretty cool. This box is pretty heavy on skin care, so the variety is not as exciting as the other boxes, but despite that I was still very pleased with this month’s selections. When I reviewed the mini magazine however, my opinion of the box this month dropped. It turns out there was another item available this month, but it had to be redeemed in person at a Nordstrom’s. There is no Nordstrom’s convenient to my home, so I was never able to pick it up. For me, one of the major benefits of these subscriptions is to arrive home from work and have a happy little parcel of new things to try waiting for me. Discovering I missed out on an item because I wasn’t prepared to go on a road trip to track it down is rather disappointing.
Deciding on a winner this month actually took me quite a while, but when I really thought about it, I realized that this month’s winner is definitely Ipsy! This month’s bag was full of interesting and fun products I was excited to try when I opened it up, and that excitement definitely put this subscription above the other two boxes. The Sephora Play! had some great products this month, and definitely kept my interest, but just didn’t have the same “wow” factor as Ipsy. Allure nearly had it, as I’m definitely looking forward to trying those samples; but my disappointment in the in-store item I missed out on really drove my opinion of the box down for the month.
All in all, I still enjoy all three subscriptions, but right now, Ipsy, I am totally playing favorites for you!
Do you disagree with my ruling? Do you have a favorite subscription box I’ve never mentioned? Tell me about it in the comments!
Disclaimer: I pay for these subscriptions with my own money.
The June beauty box from Allure and the Sephora Play! box arrived within days of each other, so I thought, rather than just review them, why not compare them?
What Allure sent me:
What Sephora sent me:
First comparison is dead even: both boxes sent six items. One might argue that the Allure box has a lesser value because it includes a drugstore bronzer and a one-use sheet mask. However, Sephora’s fragrance sample is unfortunately the same simple vial you would get for free if you requested a sample in-store, and the mascara sample is even smaller than the travel version of the same mascara they sell in store, which goes for a nearly drugstore level price.
In variety of items, I would have to say the boxes are pretty close there as well. Even though Allure sent two products from the same skincare line, they have different purposes; and the remaining items are varied enough to keep the box interesting. Sephora also did well on variety, sending three different makeup related products, a skin care product, a hair care product and a fragrance.
Lets take a closer look at the products:
This bronzer from the Allure box is a standard powder bronzer. The powder is silky and goes on smoothly, and the three stripes of color in the compact allow for a lot of control – you can adjust how light or dark it goes on by controlling which colors you put your brush into.
Here we have the serum bronzer from the Sephora box. As you can see this is a lightweight liquid that you blend into the skin. I included several shots because I realized you can control how dark this appears as well, it starts out dark, and the more you blend it, the lighter it gets. I also noted that, given how thin the product is, you could probably use this to deepen a liquid foundation, to compensate for a change of skin tone due to sun exposure. This product is extremely lightweight and had the barest hint of a sheen to it, definitely not as much shimmer as the powder bronzer.
Both boxes also included a hair product. Here I initially gave the advantage to Sephora, because they had provided me with a sample size (indeed, handy purse size of 1oz) of a product I already use often. This is a simple cream product that you apply when hair is still damp, and it helps the hair to air dry into a smoother state, more like what you normally need a blow dryer to achieve (at least with my fine hair!). As you can imagine, this stuff is very welcome to receive as the warm weather comes in, because I am not using my heat styling tools much at all.
However, the Allure product is not to be dismissed. First of all, this shampoo smells EXCELLENT, and I say that as someone that doesn’t even like mangoes! I’d point out that its not just scent, this shampoo is made with actual mango butter as one of the moisturizers. The other point is simply quantity. I can say without a doubt, this is the largest shampoo sample I have ever gotten, at 3.36oz! As someone with long hair, I appreciate a shampoo sample that can last beyond 2 hair washings.
Lets look at the rest of the Sephora items. The Sephora box provided a perfume sample. While I did point out this is the sort of sample you can get for free in store, this happens to be a particularly lovely fragrance, so I don’t mind as much. The notes of the cologne are: Italian Bergamot, Grapefruit Leaves, Green Pear, Apple, Ivory Gardenia, Crushed Violet Petals, Jasmine, Tuberose, Blue Iris, Blonde Wood, and White Musk.
Next in the Sephora box, Benefit’s They’re Real! mascara. While this is a small sample, I would point out that this is a high end mascara, and an extremely popular one. With good reason! I have used it myself, and this mascara provides excellent length with minimal clumping issues. While I have experienced a bit of smudging with this mascara, my eyes are particularly hard on non-waterproof mascaras, and most people I’ve heard from about this mascara do not experience that issue.
The penultimate product from the Sephora box is a a facial sunscreen, the tarte Tarteguard. I have heard a lot of people rave about this product, so I am curious to see how it matches up to my go-to facial sunscreen – perhaps a drugstore vs. high end comparison will be coming soon. In tarte’s own words, “Tarteguard is tarte’s first sunscreen lotion to deliver the powerful protection of a non-chemical SPF 30 sunscreen, but that feels like a luxurious moisturizer that can be applied in the morning or before sun exposure. Ultra-lightweight and breathable with a signature fresh, ocean’s lily scent that feels like a day at the spa”.
Finally from Sephora, we have the Becca backlighting primer. Becca is a brand that’s quickly become famous for having high quality products, in particular their highlighting products. So I am looking forward to trying their take on an illuminating primer. In their own words, “Backlighting acts as an instant filter, creating a diffused, soft-focused radiance that allows your complexion to catch light for a glowing look. Infused with Becca’s proprietary blend of crushed pearls, this primer achieves a lit-from-within, healthy-looking effect. ” While I think you can quite clearly see sheen on my hand in this picture, I do not think it adequately captures the serious punch of shimmer that it gave off in person!
The Allure box still has a few things to share as well. There’s the Pur-lisse Blue Lotus moisturizer and eye cream. According to their website, “Blue Lotus extract is a powerhouse antioxidant with anti-inflammatory benefits known to combat against free radical damage.” Of course, the claims sound good, but I won’t know until I try it out. I kind of like getting complementary products like this, and the samples are generous enough to give the products a good trial run, so you can see if they benefit your skin or not.
Next in the beauty box, a sheet mask by Leaders 7. Honestly, their website explains it best: “This natural coconut gel mask with orange extract brightens the skin and improves skin texture by cleansing and tightening the pores. Orange extract is abundant in Vitamin C which boosts collagen and brightens skin, while AHA improves texture by exfoliating.” Sounds pretty good doesn’t it? While I have tried a number of sheet masks, and still have a handful in my collection to use, this one stands out to me because it indicates one of the longest wait times I’ve seen: 30-40 minutes. I do not know if this is a good or a bad thing, but i am certainly curious if this proves more effective than a mask that directs you to leave it on for 10 minutes.
And finally, from the Allure box, the most colorful item out of this whole post. a polish from Julep. While I initally considered this a standard item to be included (meaning, just a nail polish), when I looked it up, I was surprised at the description: “Breakthrough Oxygen Technology powers this fast-drying, long-lasting nail polish to get nails healthy and more beautiful at the same time. Our proprietary 5-free, vegan-friendly formula also includes strengthening Hexanal and antioxidant green coffee extract.” Pretty big claims for a little bottle of polish. I am looking forward to testing this out, and the bright, pretty metallic purple color definitely is part of that!
And now, as in every battle, a winner must be declared. These are both pretty great boxes, and initially I had some trouble trying to determine who would be the June winner here. In considering the pros and cons of each, I asked myself why I signed up for these subscriptions in the first place. The main reason I like getting these boxes is I love trying out new products; whether its a new type of product altogether or simply a brand I haven’t used before.
And when I look at it from that perspective, the June winner of this Battle of the Boxes is: The Allure Beauty Box.
While they are both excellent boxes, this month Allure simply delivered more unique things I haven’t seen or tried before. While I do like the items I received from Sephora, I was already quite familiar with 3 out of the 6 items sent.
I hope you enjoyed this breakdown, and if you disagree with my winner, please tell me why in the comments below, I’d love to hear your perspective!
Disclaimer: I pay for these subscriptions myself.
This month’s bag had some serious winners!
To start off, the item I was most excited about, this eyeshadow from Urban Decay, in the shade Lounge. This is a duo-chrome style shadow that is reddish-brown topped with teal-green shimmer. The shimmer and shift of this shadow is absolutely gorgeous, but it is incredibly hard to capture with a standard phone’s camera. So, like in my last post, I got some much needed help from Stats Kravetz Photography. All the photos of this eyeshadow are by Stas Kravetz Photography.
Urban Decay really does some great eye-shadows, so I’m quite happy to receive this little beauty.As you can see, depending on the light and the angle you look at it from, this shadow’s appearance can totally change. And just to help show that these colors do exist together,here’s a swatch:
Next up, is the cutest little bottle of nail polish. Formula X nail polish in the shade Wing woman to be exact:
I know some people would not be happy to get a mini polish, but as someone that does not wear a lot of nail polish, I’m sort of hoping this is one I might actually use up before it goes bad. I’m glad its such a fun bright color, perfect for summer!
Next, we have this nice little blush/bronzer/highlighter compact from Crown Brush. This is a sample size, and the standard product is slightly different in appearance.
They do make of point of explaining how you can use the three shades separately,but in a compact this small I think its a bit easier to just swirl them together, and that produces a very pretty shade that works very well for summer.
Then we have this little compact of cream lip color from Liptini, in the color Pinktini. (Maybe over using that naming convention a wee bit?) This is a satin-finish lip color, in a nice neutral mauve-y pink. According to their site, it can be used on the cheeks as well, and the color would definitely work well for both.
The final item is another one I was happy to get, but not because I wanted to try it, but because I was happy to have more of it! This is Marc Anthony Dream Waves Beach Spray.
This product is also great for summer because you can spray it into your hair after a shower, and it helps the hair air dry in good condition, and encourages any natural curl your hair has (my hair is a bit wavy, so this works out very well for me).
Overall I am quite happy with this month. While nothing was full sized, the samples are all quite ample, and good quality products. Nice one Ipsy. 🙂
If you enjoy my ipsy posts and think you’d like it too, you can sign up here – I will get some bonus points if you do! (This is a standard customer feature, I have no special arrangement with them.)
DIsclaimer: I purchased this subscription myself.
This month’s ipsy doesn’t have the most colorful items, but its still a solid selection, one made even better by the fun and unique bag we got this month. Not only is the pattern great, but the envelope style opening is unique (especially among ipsy bags, most have a top zipper) and a fun way to change things up.
What did I get this month?
First up, the Organic Pharmacy antioxidant lip balm. This is a basic, clear lip balm with a thin texture. Its packaging is a familiar plastic tube with angle tip applicator. Its fine, and its handy to have, but not ground-breaking. I will probably throw it in one of my bags for use on the go.
Next, the Bella Pierre lipliner. I feel like lip liner is something incredibly useful that I am always forgetting to add to my collection, so I like receiving neutral ones in these subscriptions (Sephora Play! helped me out with this too!) This is a nice neutral pinky-brown, and goes on very creamy and smooth. Unlike the sephora sample (from tarte), this is a full-size pencil, which is nice, because I don’t have to wonder if I will run out of product mid-application.
I feel like hair oil can be a sort of polarizing product. Some people can’t live without it, some people won’t touch it! I haven’t really formed an opinion about the stuff myself, so I’m glad to have a small sample of this oil from Eva NYC to try out and play with. The oil has a very light, clean, almost powdery scent.
I was actually excited to get this next item, because its something I’m familiar with. I have gotten a single of these shadows before, and I’m happy to say the texture of these is just like the single I have. The Pacifica Natural Mineral eye shadow trio is not only a good sized sample, but its also a good trio! I plan on wearing these soon, these shadows have a lovely, creamy, rich texture, and a beautiful sheen.
Final product, we have a Smashbox mascara. I have never tried the X-rated one before, so I will give it a try. In addition to having very wispy bristles, as you will see below, the brush is also triangular (so there are three sets of bristles positioned around the wand), which is interesting. I am curious, but many mascaras that are not waterproof smudge on me, so I tend to be skeptical of new mascaras.
But WAIT. That is not all i received this month! One thing that is cool about Ipsy is that you can give them feedback on each item you receive, and for doing so you accumulate points. The points section of the site has a selection of rewards that is constantly being updated, so I decided to get myself a bonus, the Folium Medica Healing Oil
From the website, this oil is supposed to
These are all things that appealed to me, since I do still have to deal with breakouts. (Adult acne sucks, its true.) So i’m hopeful trying this as well. Its a fairly large bottle for a free bonus,5 ounces, so I definitely feel like I got a good value. It has a fairly strong scent, an herbal, almost medicinal smell, but it seems to fade fairly quickly.
All in all, this may not be the most exciting bag I’ve ever gotten, but its definitely a good haul, I feel I’ve gotten a good value and some interesting new stuff to try, which is all I ever really want out of a subscription sample box.
Like the sound of Ipsy? If you are interested in signing up, this is my referral link. I get points for anyone that signs up using it, which I could redeem for more bonus items! You can just go to ipsy.com if you would prefer not to use my link.
Disclosure: I pay for my ipsy subscription myself.