Tag Archives: allure beauty box

Subscription Showdown: February!

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!

Exciting!

Lets open them up and see who made the best February box. First up: Ipsy!

This month has a cute denim bag with a lip shaped zipper tab.

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:

love the color coordinated packaging!

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!

Six items!

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:

This is a full size sample!

The mascara in this box is from Beauty Counter:

A skinny brush and tube

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 month’s selection came in this cute pink satin bag- very nice!

This box contains:

This month’s sephora box included a mascara- their own brand, and i believe this is a new one:

Note the unusual paddle-shaped brush

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:

Tiny but cute packaging!

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:

Pretty packaging, a glass tube and brushed goldtone cap!

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!

December 2016 Subscription Box Showdown

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!

Boxes...assemble? :)
Boxes…assemble? 🙂

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?

And the bag is FUZZY!
Its so FUZZY!! 😀
  • Ouai Wave spray – I actually have a bottle of this in my bathroom right now! I received it from another subscription box a few months back. It has a lovely smell and when spritzed on damp hair, I find it does help encourage more waviness in my  hair, especially if i let it dry in a bun or braid. So even though this isn’t new for me, I’m definitely happy to get another bottle.
  • Nyx prismatic shadow in Punk Heart – I am no stranger to Nyx cosmetics, but I had not yet tried the prismatic line, and after this quick swatch I’m delighted to have it! This shadow is a rich amethyst with a gorgeous sheen, and the powder is a soft, smooth texture that was easy to swatch and I’m sure will be easy to apply and blend.
Nyx shadows have a cute bow detail on the package.
Nyx shadows have a cute bow detail on the package.
  • Ciate London Liquid Velvet Matte Lipstick in Pin Up – While I’ve heard of Ciate London, this product is totally new to me in all but reputation. I’ve heard excellent things about this company’s matte lipstick, and this is a generous sample in a pretty warm berry shade that I’m looking forward to trying out.
dries down to a matte finish more quickly on the lips
Swatchy!
  • Jersey Shore Cosmetics Peppermint Moisture Rich Hydrating Balm – I think I’ve gotten a hand cream or possibly another balm from this company in the past, but clearly not that memorable. Still, I like mint lip balms, and especially in winter its nice to have some extra on hand.
  • tarte cosmetics deluxe maracuja oil – i’ve heard loads about tarte’s oil, mostly about how versatile it is – face, skin, nails, hair etc can apparently all benefit – but what i was pleased with when I opened this up is that its nearly scent-free and absorbs quickly, but not so quickly that you can’t spread it out evenly. I use a serum or face oil as a part of my skin care routine, so I may try subbing this in to see how it compares.

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?

allure

  • Coastal Salt & Soul Heavenly Hand cream in Mediterranean Citrus – they are not kidding about the citrus! When I opened the seal on this lotion, a wonderful bright citrus scent hit me instantly. I am always in need of hand cream in the winter, and a bright cheerful scent like this is ideal for the dreary winter days ahead.
  • European Wax Center Oh My Brow brow highlighter – This product is new to me and honestly already quite nifty. Its a chubby pencil highlight that goes on very easily, it has a smooth even texture, and a flattering champagne sheen. Whats especially nice about this is that on the other end of the pencil, there is a smudger tip! Hidden under a smaller cap is a soft black sponge tip that makes quick work of blending. I love that kind of convenience in a product, makes it ideal for on-the-go!
This has a nice soft glow without being too obvious or glittery
This has a nice soft glow without being too obvious or glittery
  • Tula Advanced Neck Cream – Honestly this item surprised me, it never occurred to me to have a separate cream just for your neck, I usually just use my face moisturizer on it. But what the heck, its fun to try new stuff.
  • Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre –  I thought this was just a moisturizer, but apparently you can use it as a cleanser or shave cream, so I may save this for travel!
  • Beautyblender Liquid Blendercleanser – As a long time beauty blender user, i’m delighted to have a good sized sample of this to try out. I have a small solid version of their cleanser I got in a beauty blender multipack, and it works very well, so i’m curious to see how it compares to the liquid
  • Skinceuticals Blemish & Age Defense serum – This I am definitely excited to try, its a skin oil that helps with breakouts AND signs of aging. I have a serum right now that is supposed to work on various skin problems like breakouts, but it does not address aging, so it will be cool to compare to this one.

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:

sephora-play

  • Sephora Cream Lip Stain in Always Red – A long wearing, matte finish lip color, Sephora recently released a “vault” of 40 colors of this product, so I’m not surprised to receive this.  Its lightweight, and its a nice color that would probably work on most people.
Swatch: this is a nice bright red
Swatch: this is a nice bright red
The brush - you can see how its somewhat flat but curves at the end
The brush!
  • Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo – I don’t know much about Drybar’s products, but I love getting trial size dry shampoos. This one seems to have a strong smell, but I’ll still try it out.

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.

Mask Me Monday: Leaders Coconut Gel Mask with Orange

Its Monday again, so its time to review a face mask! Here’s this week’s selection:

IMG_20160821_214133311

The Leaders Coconut Gel Mask with Orange, which I received from Allure Beauty Box in June.

What they say about it: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.

Recommended For: Dull/Uneven Skin Tones + Blemishes

Though this mask says it is made of coconut gel, it applies in one piece, which is generally referred to as a sheet mask. These have gotten very popular lately, but I often have trouble positioning them, and keeping them in place. This one was just as awkward to open and place as other I’ve tried,  but, unlike some masks I’ve tried in the past, this one was not constantly dripping the whole time, and I didn’t have trouble keeping it on my face, so those factors definitely raise my opinion of this mask.  But, if we’re going to talk sheet masks we have to address this one fact:

Hello from Nightmare Town!
Can you stand the glamour on this blog?

Yeah, Sheet masks can look freaky and weird when you’re wearing them. But honestly, covering your face with colored goo doesn’t look totally normal either, so  I guess its just a question of whats comfortable for you.

This mask recommends you leave it on for 10-20 minutes, and once I had it in place, it was actually comfortable enough that I easily let 20 minutes pass before removing it.  With this mask, you’re directed to “gently pat your face until all serum is absorbed” after removing it.   This didn’t take too long, maybe 15 seconds at most, but it left my face feeling a little tacky, even five minutes later. I did notice a nice sheen to my skin though, and it looked brighter and fresher.  It wasn’t until I washed my face to get ready for bed that the tackiness subsided, but at that point I noticed that my skin did feel a bit softer and smoother.

Overall, this is a decent mask. It was a little difficult to apply, but it was comfortable to wear and easy to remove, and I did feel it provided some improvement to the skin. It was nice, but I didn’t find the experience or result all that noteworthy, so its not likely I will go out of my way to repurchase.

Disclaimer: I received this mask in my Allure Beauty Box, which I pay for. I have received no compensation from Allure or Leaders for this review.

Battle of the Beauty Boxes! Allure vs. Sephora

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?

Who will win the month?
Who will win the month?

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:

Kardashian Cabana Bronzer
Kardashian Cabana Bronzer-as you can see, there’s a nice hint of shimmer!

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.

PhotoGrid_1467337567311

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.

Don't Blow it by Bumble & Bumble
Don’t Blow it by Bumble & Bumble

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.

I CAN have the mango! (if you get that reference, bless you.)
I CAN have the mango! (if you get that reference, thank you.) 😉

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.

Tocca's packaging is very pretty, even for samples.
Tocca’s packaging is very pretty, even for samples.

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.

PhotoGrid_1467337503519
This brush is great at picking out every lash!

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”.

Regardless of anything else, the packaging is a great color!
Regardless of anything else, the packaging is a great color!

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!

Shine on you crazy diamond!
Shine on you crazy diamond!

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.IMG_20160622_235415859 IMG_20160622_235429356

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.

I also suspect this will smell great, like oranges!
I also suspect this will smell great, like oranges!

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!

"Orchid Irridescent Chrome" apparently - I just say its pretty!
“Orchid Irridescent Chrome” apparently – I just say its pretty!

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.

Allure Beauty Box for April!

The Allure Beauty Box comes with a handy booklet!
The Allure Beauty Box comes with a handy booklet!

I have been getting the Allure Beauty Box for a while now, and I’m a fan. I get to try a lot of products I might not have tried before, some because they are pricier than I would buy untested, and some because they are so new I haven’t heard of them yet! The box also comes with a booklet or “mini-mag” each month, giving a rundown of what each product is, and often, recommendations on how best to use it, which can be quite helpful when you get something you’re unfamiliar with. Also I’ve found that even on expensive items, the samples in this box are always generous, you can really use something for a while and form an opinion.
This month I’m very excited about the L’Occitane shower oil – it smells great and I’ve heard lots of good things about this, especially that its great for shaving!  I’m also quite excited to try the Fekkai glossing cream – I love a good styling cream, especially going into summer when I try to avoid heat styling at all costs.

I’ve never heard of DDF, but if the serum does as promised it I should be very happy with it. I noticed that the full size of this is fairly pricey, and the sample, especially for a serum, is quite generous!

The Mally lip pencil is nice,it seems smooth and creamy. I’m familiar with the brand (I have a great eyeshadow stick from Mally), but this pencil is a bit of an orangey red for me, so finding a way I like wearing it should be fun. (I find strange things fun…) And the L’Oreal mascara, while its not a new product, is actually one I’ve never gotten around to trying, so I’m pleased to receive a full size of it.

I don’t wear a lot of perfume, but I have to say I love that the sample of Bvgari Goldea is a tiny version of the bottle (pretty!) instead of just one of those hard-to-use vials. The scent is rather strong, but its not cloying or overly sharp or musky, so I’m going to give it a try.

Do you get this box? What do you think of this month? Do you want it?  If you’re interested in getting it, you can try it for $5 off the first month!  (I don’t get anything from that link, thats just their standard signup page)

 

I pay for this subscription myself, I have no relationship with Allure Beauty Box or any of the brands in this post.