Sunday, July 21, 2013

Birchbox - July 2013


My poor little Birchbox had a hard time getting to me (as do all of my subs this month, so it seems), but I finally received it and now that this ridiculously long work week is over I can at last show you the awesome samples I received! I don't know what the deal is...I think my mailman has it out for me, or maybe he just wants to see me go bananas over an empty mailbox (SERIOUS ISSUES, my darlings...VERY serious, I jest not), regardless....intervention may be needed. Whether it's baking some cookies and making him a goody bag, or contacting Mrs. Mailman (I'm sure his wifey will be sympathetic to my plea), he and I SHALL see eye to eye and by golly, I have my mail. Right?!

::ahem:: moving on....

So this month's Birchbox theme is Power Play and if you missed my Birchbox July REVEAL post with product info and box links, here it is if you'd like to catch up!  -

So for this month, the theme is POWER PLAY and here's what Birchbox has to say:

"POWER Play"

"Noun. ....A move that puts an individual in a position of victory and strength...and/or maximizes one's happiness or confidence...and allows for extreme freedom.

Example: Booking a tripleheader nail, blowout, and BFF moral support session the night before her big presentation was a serious power play." 

"This month's box is dedicated to helping you take control of any situation, and to make the most of every minute - on the clock or off duty. We've even called in the experts - namely the characters of USA's hit series SUITS - who were the inspiration for some of this month's samples. Try their picks and don't forget to tune in to the season premiere..." 

- From the Power Play card in this month's Birchbox

Sounds intriguing, doesn't it? Props to Birchbox for not giving me a Beachy themed sub this month! I'm absolutely loving the theme, it's different, unique and very focused!

Here's what I received! - 

Acne treatment, face cream, blush, hair treatment and bobby pins

Let's take a look at Cookie's Power Play must have items!....

Birchbox Picks:


"A water-activated serum that gives you soft ringlets - even when humidity hits." - from Birchbox

So since this is a Power Play theme, of course, I decided to incorporate a little Cookie Style Power Play color into my pics, so I went with Teal and Black in the background to give it a little pizzazz! Thought I'd just let ya'll know ::wink wink:: Now, about Curl Keeper, let me just say, this is a VERY nice sized sample! It's quite large and I love the easy pop off tab at the top! It keeps me from trying to cut a perfectly small easy-to-use slit. I just popped on a tiny binder clip at the top to keep it from drying out. It's a little thin, which surprised me, I figured it'd be more like a heavy gel, but it was a teensy bit on the watery side, but still a gel. After pat-drying my hair with a towel, I scrunched this product in and let it air dry. My hair is so finicky, it hates being straight but it fights against being curly. Of course, I love curls, so I'm constantly trying out fun new products to enhance them. While this product didn't give me "ringlets" per say, it definitely gave me some fun boho waves and kept it from frizzing! It also gave me a bit of volume as well, which is always a plus. I didn't add too, too much, probably only a little more than a nickle-size amount (which isn't much for a thin product in long hair) so I'm curious to see what might happen if I add more, but for now, I was pleasantly surprised with it! I do have a pic...but you'll have to wait for the Finale! (No jumping ahead allowed...yeah, I'm looking at you!)


"An overnight treatment with purifying salicylic acid to trackle blemishes and inflammation." - from Birchbox

Sent from heaven. My face has been HATING me for the past few weeks. A note, my darling followers: STRESS can reek HAVOC on your skin. I kid you not, the past 2 weeks have been disastrously stressful and long, including double work loads, Hubby going on an overseas trip for work, late nights, spotty dieting because of the busyness, etc, etc....and my poor face paid the penalties. Thank GOODNESS, I finally have some fab acne products in my stash now, one being this awesome treatment! While the percentage of salicylic acid is not very high (1.5%) compared to others I have used and loved, it still gets the job done! The formula is a bit thinner than my usual salicylic treatments, but the bottle recommends using a thin layer over the problem area, so that makes sense. It seems more of a wider area treatment cream than a spot treatment, but you can probably use it for both to an extent. I used it on a pimple that I had recently gotten and it did lighten the inflammation a bit in a short amount of time. Since I don't really have large problem areas, only small spots on my chin, this sample should last me quite a while! It warns about drying out the skin, but I didn't have any problems with that, albeit my skin is not too sensitive in the first place. The bottle also recommends using the product 1-3 times per day (once your skin gets used to the formula) on trouble areas, and at the moment I've been doing an application morning and night. The difference isn't massive, but as I said it does lighten inflammation/redness. I will be continuing use with this product and see how well it does long-term! 

in Swiss Dot

"Inspired by the best-selling Stainiac, this budge-proof pigment lasts from sunup to sundown" - from Birchbox

I was simply tickled pink (or dot) to see that I received this product in my box! I was secretly hoping to get it. I mean, how could you NOT want it, look how fantastically adorable it is! Teeny little booklet of polka-dotted, chic cuteness! 

Aside from it's looks, the product is 'da bomb, so to speak. I adore it! It's different from your usual blushes, as it's a staining blush. It comes in six different colors: 
        • Argyle:  petal pink
        • Swiss Dot:  peach
        • Toile:  strawberry
        • Lace:  bright pink
        • Houndstooth:  mauve
        • Pinstripe:  plum

Everyone who received the InStain sample in their Birchbox received the color Swiss Dot, and it's positively beautiful!
On the bottom left (towards wrist) is about 3 swipes of the powder, and above it on the top right is about 1-2 but blended out. As you can see, it doesn't blend out very well, so your best bet is to start lightly and really work it in before you add more. When they say it stains, it STAINS. I kept trying to rub it off or blend it more and it wasn't going anywhere! It feels very powdery when you rub your finger in the product in the pan, but on the skin it thickens a bit and gets stiffer for the stain. The color payoff is phenomenal, I mean, look how natural it looks on the skin, even when layered heavily. Swiss Dot is very feminine, bright and flattering. I tried it both with brushes and fingertips and I prefer fingertips to start, then I'll use brushes if I want to add more or widen the flushed area. It does, however, easily come off with a makeup wipe and it left no staining on my fingers, nails or skin once removed. 

SUITS Picks:


"Birchbox exclusive that repairs skin damage and provides hydration for up to 26 hours." - from Birchbox

Sometimes it's difficult to review items such as this since they would seem to be more effective after long-term use. I am playing around with the idea to add a new end-of-the-month post that includes a follow-up for products such as these. The only problem with that is sometimes I receive these subs late in the month. So perhaps I could do an end of the month post for the PREVIOUS month's products? Or is that too confusing? Thoughts? Ideas? Whatcha think? Would that be of any interest to anyone? 

So for now, here is my initial reaction to this cream. I like it! It left my face nice, supple and soft. It definitely is a good moisturizer. I didn't really see any difference as far as brightness or skin pigmentation, but the formula was nice and easy to massage into the skin. A little went a long way, so this tube should last a bit, and it did not have any noticeable scent that I could detect. I'm very curious to see if it will have any effect on my rosacea since it is supposed to help with redness, but for now, as I said, I am impressed with it's hydration!

Beauty Extra:


"We designed these patterned pins to add style to summer hair with minimal effort" - from Birchbox

I'm not typically a hair accessory lover, but these bobby pins were pretty darn cute! They come in a set of 6 at, with 3 different colors (2 each of blue, green, and white). I received the blue ones in my box. I only wear bobby pins when I'm teaching ballet (which, as it's my job, happens quite frequently), so I happily popped them on for my next class! - 

(Please excuse the bizarre glowy iPhone wouldn't focus on the bobby pin pattern very well in my hair!) 

These little babies will not budge once they're in! They are thick, tight and clamp down pretty hard without actually pulling your hair. Unless you're a seasoned bobby pin user, you might find these a little hard to handle as you can't really open them too wide, but I think they're fabulous. I love good strong bobby pins to hold back my layered hair for my bun. The kind that wont eventually slide out after dancing. Hooray for a Beauty Extra that I love! Well done Birchbox! I'm almost tempted to buy the set just so I can have the pretty white ones!


1) Curly Hair Solutions Curl Keeper: 
  • 8 oz bottle is $17.50
  • Sample size is 1 oz, so it is roughly $2.19

2) DDF Acne Control Treatment:
  • Full-size (1.7 oz) is $46
  • Sample size is 0.5 oz, so it is roughly $13.53

3) theBalm cosmetics InStain Staining Blush:
  • Full-size (0.09 oz) is $22
  • Sample size is 0.018 oz, so it is roughly $4.40

4) Dr. Jart Ceramidin Cream:
  • Full-size (50 ml) is $48
  • Sample size is...unknown! Unfortunately, the tube does not list the product size, so I'm going to have to guesstimate....I've compared it to various sample product tubes that I have that are similar sized and I'm thinking that it's about 5$4.80

5) Birchbox Bobby Pins:
  • Set of 6 is $5
  • Sample came with 2, so it is roughly $1.67

Total Paid for Box$10

Total Worth of Box:  $26.59

A teensy bit above last month, still no where near as high as other boxes I've received, but my goodness, the DDF sample alone covers the cost of the box! I'm very pleased with my sample sizes as well, as they are very generous. Well done this month Birchbox!


Did you skip ahead to the Finale?! Tsk tsk...I hope you at least skimmed through the review! So I did technically use 4 of 5 products for my final look, but honestly, you'll only notice about two!

I did use the Ceramidin Cream and the DDF Acne Treatment prior to putting on makeup, but what you WILL obviously notice is the InStain and the Curl Keeper! As you can see, the Curl Keeper DID give my hair some boho waves and all this was without blow drying or adding any other product at all. (Heavens, I didn't even blow dry my bangs, which is absolutely unheard of!) My hair stayed nice and soft, but just had a little definition throughout and some light OOMF in volume. Now, here's the fun bit...where am I wearing InStain? If you guessed EVERYWHERE, then ding!ding!ding! you are correct! I used it on not just my cheeks, but my eyes as my eyeshadow and on my lips as well! It's a fantastic eyeshadow since it stains. I didn't use an eyeshadow primer or a setting spray and it lasted hours. For the lips I used a clear conditioning lipstick beforehand since stains can be drying, then I dabbed the stain on top with my fingers, and lightly coated a clear balm over it to set it. It lasted about 2 hours before needing touchups. I really love how versatile it is, I mean, I could easily stick this in my purse for emergencies and voila! Blush, lip color and eyeshadow all rolled up in one. I know this look is a little soft and feminine for a Power Play theme, but it's such a flirty, girly shade that I wanted to keep it light and soft for summer. I added a brown mascara and eyeliner to finish the easy, simple and natural look.

That's it for this month's Birchbox! Let me know if you'd enjoy an end of the month product review update post as I may start one up! 

Not subbed to Birchbox yet? Care to try it out? The monthly fee is $10 (NY, NJ, MA & VA may have sales tax), and is available in the US, UK, France and Spain. Please feel free to use my referral link provided HERE! Thanks!

Happy (Power Play) Makeuping!
Love, Cookie


  1. The packaging of swiss dot is divine, I have the full sized one but that tiny one is way cuter!

    1. I know, right?! I kind of want to see if I can find all of the colors in the cute little booklet lol

  2. That swiss dot product is amazing! I also think the bobby pins are super cute. You could maybe do an empties post when you use up your products to show how you felt about them? I like those. I don't think you can get birchbox in Canada but this was a really nice one!

    1. Oooooo, good might take forever though LOL, I've been using it for a few days now and I can't tell if I've even made a ding it it! XD

  3. Great reviews! The bobby pins are so sweet!

    New follower :)

    Xo, Michelle

    1. Thank you very much! I'm following you now as well. I absolutely love your blog, so chic and feminine <3 Cheers!

  4. Hey Cookie. I did a whole review on the Curl Keeper after buying the large bottle. I wish I had saved my money. It didn't do anything and I think it actually made my hair more frizzy because it seemed to make my hair dry faster...I didn't like it but I hope you have good luck with the things you got.

    1. Isn't that so crazy how some products can react so differently on different hair! Crazy! I'm not completely sold on it yet, I want to try out other methods of use before I truly decide whether or not to keep using it :-)

  5. Oh I wish I had received the blush and the DDF! Thanks for the post! xo Kelly

    1. Have you tried theBalm InStains yet? If not, you should definitely consider getting one, I absolutely love them!

  6. I would love posts about product updates for the products that are likely to take more time to fully form an opinion. I don't think that you would have to be tied to an end-of-the-month time frame, just whenever you feel you've used it enough to know if it's worthwhile or not.

    1. That's an excellent idea! I've already put some products aside that I've decided to continue use with over a certain time frame. Thanks for the input! :-D