Glossybox: July 2014

The July box is a celebration of American beauty brands.  You might have guessed that it had something to do with the US given the stars and stripes box.  The items in the box are all from American beauty brands, and not really the big ones that you might expect, which is nice.   This was the first month without a printed magazine included, which I must admit I do somewhat miss.  However, the switch to an online-only magazine means they can do videos and things and update it too.

My July box had four full sized products and the other product was a decent sized sample too. I love it when they include the full sized stuff because I really feel like I’m getting good value for my Glossybox, plus, there’s enough of something to see if it works and you like it.  I like or at least can use all of the items this month, so this seemed like a decent box to me.  As usual, the lipstick and nail polish colours aren’t necessarily ones that I would have picked for myself, but it’s fun to be forced to try some new things.  The box though, is adorable with the stars and stripes theme and definitely one I’ll be keeping.

Bellapierre Mineral Lipstick
Bellapierre Mineral Lipstick

Bellapierre Cosmetics, Mineral Lipstick in Ruby, 3.5 gram full size tube.  This is definitely one of those lipstick colours that I never would have chosen for myself because it is bright, very bright.  It seems such a huge departure from my normal rose coloured selection of gloss and lipsticks, that I was thinking I would really hate it.  However, I gave it a try and found that it actually doesn’t look too bad on me and that I can handle the bright colour, occasionally.  I’m not saying this is going to be my new go-to colour, but it certainly makes for a nice change.  It also kind of brightens up my whole face, which is great for those days when you are feeling kind of blah.  The formulation is really nice though because it goes on very smoothly and doesn’t feel at all drying.  There’s a lot of pigmentation too, it seems, so the colour is very rich looking.  It lasts quite well too, even if you are eating and drinking.  Since this is a mineral lipstick it’s got nice things like Vitamin C and E in it too.  Along with natural waxes and mineral pigments, the vitamins will keep your lips in great shape, as well as give you a bit of sun protection.  Despite the colour freaking me out initially, I actually really like this lipstick because the formulation feels so nice on your lips and doesn’t make them get that dry, caked on feeling you get from so many lipsticks.  I’ve also found that I can tone down the colour a bit if I blot it after I put it on, which makes it a bit more like a lip stain.

While you can find some Bellapierre cosmetics at Amazon, for the full range of colours and products, it is best to just go directly to the source via the Bellapierre website.  They have six different colours of the mineral lipstick: Ruby, Catwalk, Envy, Fierce, Luminous, and Mandarina.  But no matter what colour you get it is going to be £20.00 per tube, though the shipping is £5.00 for FedEx next day.

Absolute New York Eyeshadow Primer
Absolute New York Eyeshadow Primer

Absolute New York, Perfecting Eyeshadow Primer, 0.28 ounce full size tube.  I like the texture of this quite a bit because it is very creamy and smooth feeling.  It goes on feeling totally silky smooth and glides across the very delicate skin around your eyes without even the slightest bit of pulling or drag.  And of course, that is so important when dealing with your eye area.  The primer is a light flesh tone, so it can even out your skin tone and brighten the eye area a bit, while giving you the perfect base for your eye shadow.  I’ve tried it a couple of times now and have to say that I find it easy to apply and it does make my eye area look a bit better even.  I don’t have a huge problem with my eye shadow creasing anyway, but this did seem to make my eyeshadow go on better and stay on longer; it was like the shadow colours seemed better/richer really.  This being Summer, and kind of humid recently, I’ve also tried this without eye shadow over it just to even out my eye lid area for a really super light makeup look and it worked perfectly.  It just gave my eyes that more even and finished look without needing anything else, plus the light formula feels like you are wearing absolutely nothing which is perfect for a hot, humid day.

Unfortunately it seems like you can only get this from US sites, and the international shipping rates might not prove worth it.  Glossybox lists Nicka.com as the place to get the Absolute New York primer for $4.99, which is a great price.  Since they don’t list international shipping rates, and their website quotes for shipping rates doesn’t seem to actually work, I’m reluctant to think of this as a viable source.  I haven’t found a place in the UK that sells this, so I don’t have any suggestions on where to get this product.

Carmex Lip Balm
Carmex Lip Balm

Carmex, Lip Balm, 7.5 gram full size pot.  Carmex has been around since 1937 probably because it works so well.  I remember this from being a kid when it was pretty much either this or Chapstick to soothe your chapped lips.  It’s got a really distinctive vanilla with a hint of camphor smell about it too that every time I smell it, it just magically transports me back to being a kid.  Carmex is made with menthol, camphor, and lanolin to keep your lips moist and healthy, no matter what time of year it is.  It has a fairly thin consistency but it reallyprotects your lips to keep them moisturized and chap-free.  You can also use it on any rough or dry patches, like elbows.  Presumably you could use it on minor cuts or scrapes too because the camphor would act as an antimicrobial.  It’s great on lips though and really will get them feeling better fast, even when they are super chapped and dry.  I tend to go for thicker lip balms because I feel like they work a bit better, but they are usually more pricey than this.  So I guess you could just keep reapplying it and probably still come out ahead money-wise.  The only other problem I have with Carmex is the little pot that it comes in which has just always seemed unsanitary to me.  You have to put it on with your fingers and that means germs in the pot and then on your lips, all of which seems a bit too germy for me.

You can find the original little pot of Carmex at Graftons Beauty for £2.60.  If the original pot creeps you out like it does me, they also have a variety other lip balm products now too, like flavoured balms, like cherry and green tea, plus they even have tinted lip balms now all of which are in sticks or tubes.

Color Club Glossy Seal Polish
Color Club Glossy Seal Polish

Color Club, Glossy Seal Polish, 0.5 fluid ounce full size bottle.  Color Club is a New York-based company and this deep blue colour, Glossy Seal, was created solely for the July Glossybox. Though it does look quite similar to their Chelsea Girl polish colour.   The nice thing about Color Club is that their polish is made with only non-toxic, cruelty-free ingredients, so you can have pretty, guilt and worry-free nails.  This colour fits in with the latest nail polish trend for darker colours and blues in particular, so that’s nice.  It’s definitely not something I would have picked up for myself, but I actually think it is a fun change.  I was worried it would look weird against my paleness but it doesn’t.  The polish is really nice though because it goes on very smoothly and dries pretty fast.  I also was impressed with how long it lasted without chipping or peeling or anything bad.  I was impressed that even with all of the typing that I do during the week it lasted for a week without looking ratty by the end of seven days.

This is another item that I can’t seem to locate in the UK, just the US.  I’ve read a couple of places that there is a Color Club website in the UK, but I can’t get it to work for me.  Glossybox directs me to buy this at the Color Club site in the US, unfortunately, they don’t ship internationally.  So, the $8.50 price in the US is great, but you have to live in the US to get it apparently.

Dr. Bronner's Lavender Bar Soap
Dr. Bronner’s Lavender Bar Soap

Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, Lavender  Bar Soap, 34 gram sample bar.  I love the smell of lavender and find it immediately relaxing and destressing.  The smell of this soap is really nice too because it is a gentle lavender, not too potent or over the top.  Aside from the gorgeous smell, it is actually good for your hands and skin too.  The soap is made with organic coconut, palm, olive, hemp, and jojoba oils to leave your skin feeling lovely and soft.  The soap is great and I actually think I might get the big bar for my shower.  This would be so great to shower with right before bed to just get a head start on relaxing and resting.  The soap is nice and so is the company.  Dr. Bronner’s soaps are made with organic and fair trade ingredients, plus they use a lot of recycled materials to create their packaging too.  For instance, the lavender soap comes wrapped in 10% hemp-flax / 90% post-consumer recycled paper from Living Tree Paper Co.

The full sized bar is 140 grams/5 ounces and you can get it at the Dr. Bronner’s website for £3.99.  It’s certainly a bit more than regular bar soaps, but the ingredients and overall quality of the soap warrant it, I think.  If you like lavender, they have a whole range of cleansers and lotions that are made with the same types of organic, fair trade ingredients.  I might get some of the liquid hand soap next time I run out after enjoying the bar soap so much.

How do the numbers stack up for the box this month?  Here is the breakdown:

  • Bellapierre Cosmetics, Mineral Lipstick in Ruby, 3.5 gram full size tube: £20.00 value.
  • Absolute New York, Perfecting Eyeshadow Primer, 0.28 ounce full size tube: £2.95 value.
  • Carmex, Lip Balm, 7.5 gram full size pot: £2.60 value.
  • Color Club, Glossy Seal Polish, 0.5 fluid ounce full size bottle: £5.03 value.
  • Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, Lavender  Bar Soap, 34 gram sample bar: £0.97 value.
  • Total Value: £31.55

The mineral lipstick more than covers the cost of the Glossybox, which is great.  I think the box this month was quite good because I like pretty much all of the products.  I’m a little on the fence about the Carmex but it will work great for keeping next to my bed.

Birchbox US: August 2013

Birchbox US: August 2013
Birchbox US: August 2013

After I signed up for Glossybox I encouraged my sister to sign up for either that or Birchbox in the US since she is all about the cosmetics.  I figured it would be something she would really like because she enjoys trying all kinds of new products and this is the perfect way to try out new brands, as well.  She decided to give both Glossybox and Birchbox a shot, to see which would be more in tune with her.  Sadly, her Glossybox subscription hasn’t gotten off to a great start because it got lost in the mail or something, so they had to send it out again at the very end of August.  I’m hoping they have some really great products in there to make up for the lateness.  Her first Birchbox though, showed up in a reasonable time, but that’s where the good stuff stopped.

For those of you that aren’t aware, Birchbox and Glossybox are both subscription beauty boxes.  Once per month you get a box full of lovely little samples, or even full sized products, delivered right to your door.  It’s a great way to try new brands, new products, and step out of your beauty rut.  In the US, Birchbox is $10.00 per month and Glossybox is $21.00 per month.

My sister has this knack for getting great samples from all of the cosmetics counters in any department store.  It’s her super power really.  So, she was really hoping that the things in her Birchbox would be better than what she could get from the department store, for free.  Not so much.  She was vastly disappointed in the contents of the box, not just what was in it, but the sizes too.  Seriously, it was so much worse than what I get from Glossybox, I thought she was kidding at first.  But you can see from the photo of the box where she’s holding one of the items up, they’re all beyond small.

Birchbox US: Tiny Samples
Birchbox US: Tiny Samples

So, here’s what was in the box, all of the full sized prices are from the Birchbox shop:

  • Jasmine Seven Fresh Feet Wipes, 2 individual wipes.  Full size is 3 packs of 10 wipes for $9.95.
  • uniqONE All In One Hair Treatment, less than 1 ounce I’d guess.  Full size is $17.99.
  • COOLA SPF 45 Sport – Mango, 0.169 fluid ounces.  Full size is 5 ounces for $32.00.
  • Dr. Jart+ Premium Beauty Balm SPF 45+, 0.17 fluid ounces.  Full size is 1.5 fluid ounces for $39.00.
  • Color Club Nail Laquer from the Wanderlust Collection, 0.25 fluid ounces.  Full size is 0.5 fluid ounces for $8.00.

Pretty much the only thing that my sister liked in the whole box was the nail polish. She said it was a nice color and had good coverage too.  However, the rest of the samples were not impressive.  And really, what in the heck is a foot wipe?  Apparently, it is like a Wet-One for your feet.  I guess this is for people that run around a lot without their shoes on, but that seems a limited group.  And it seems like a lame sample to include in a beauty box.  They might have been better off just including one for you to try and throwing in something better, and bigger.  The COOLA people had a teeny little sample in my first Glossybox too, it seemed silly small in comparison to the other samples.  I guess they always just give out these ridiculously small smaples.  You’d think someone that has such expensive products could provide something a bit bigger than a single use sample.

I’ve done some digging around on the Birchbox site to see what the selection of items was for the August box, and was amazed to see that there were some really great things, including whole makeup palettes.  But my sister didn’t get any of those.  And actually, I found out that the nail lacquer that she received was one of a four pack that was in the July box!  So that is very,very uncool and seems a little shady.  So, not only were the sizes ridiculously small, but she didn’t even get a nice selection.  And then to add insult to injury, got leftovers from the July boxes.  I’m sort of shocked that they didn’t stick her with the cheap bobby pins too.

You would think that since this was her first box they would have tried quite hard to make it seem like something she wanted to continue.  Luckily, she has only signed up for the month-to-month subscription so she can easily drop it if the boxes continue to be so lacklustre.  Personally, I think I would cancel after discovering that they sent me leftovers and that the samples were so miniscule.  Actually, I was using her Birchbox as a gauge to see if I would try it here in the UK, but after such an abysmal first showing, I think I’ll just stick to Glossybox.   I’m just really hoping that the Glossybox proves to be much, much better  for her and that they include a couple of full sized items like I usually get here (especially since it is quite a bit more in price).  At this point though, I have to say I think it would be hard for her Glossybox to end up being worse than the sad little Birchbox.