Monday, January 6, 2014

Birchbox - December 2013


Haha, if you couldn't tell this was the last of the December posts, I think this picture might give a good hint, wouldn't you say? Here we have the final official post for 2013 (even though, yes, it's 2014, haha!) but it's the last subscription box for that year! I actually received this box first before all the others but I needed a bit longer to review the products so I held off from posting. 

Here is what Birchbox has to say about December's box!....

"We've been stockpiling ornaments and fanciful wrapping paper for months, all in anticipation of this moment. The holidays are finally here! Forgive us if we can't stop jumping up and down - this time of year brings out the little-kid excitement in all of us.

It's time to celebrate, whether that means corralling your family for a midnight screening of It's a Wonderful Life or dusting off your flounciest frock and taking a spot underneath the mistletoe. 

Of course, it it's presents you're after (and we're sure it is), you'll want to head straight to the Birchbox Holiday Shop - see you there!"

Warmest of wishes,
Katia, Hayley & the Birchbox Team

Ok, so Christmas may already be over (I'm seriously a sad Cookie and so is Hubby, we just took down the tree and decor yesterday and it's our favorite thing to see in the house)...but we can squeeze out the last, final Holiday cheer with this last final Birchbox Holiday review, can't we?! Here we go!....
 I received: face cream, a hair tie, lip gloss, face serum and hairspray


"Botanical whip full of vitamins to banish dryness and give slackening skin a lift." - from December 2013 Birchbox card

You may be having a bit of a deja-vu here, and you wouldn't be mistaken, I just recently reviewed a Nuxe Body Scrub in a Glossybox review! I absolutely loved the body scrub and if it's even possible..I love this Fondant Firming Cream EVEN MORE. Ohhhhh my goodness....this stuff is absolutely amazing! It's a bit on the thicker side, which is fantastic for these cold wintery days which totally dry your skin out, and it's rich and spreads so well so a little goes a long way. It's main purpose is to be used on areas of the skin that sag or don't feel firm, but honestly I love using it all over my face as well since it's so rich and moisturizes so deeply! It has a sweet light aroma, very similar to the body scrub, which is probably from the almond oil and orange flower petals. The smell lingers nicely throughout wear but isn't overpowering. It's active ingredients are:

Instant lift effect (Brazilian Mimosa, Barley Sugars). 
Firms and strengthens the skin structure  (Kigelia Africana, Extracts of Rye Flakes). 
Skin protection against premature aging (Extracts of Jasmine and Vitamin E).

It's paraben free and 85% of the ingredients are of natural origin. The coloring is a darker ivory with a slight lean towards a pale creamsicle.

As for it's firming effect, it's hard to say. I really didn't notice much of a difference, but I will say that it hydrates the skin so well that I'm sure it makes a huge difference in skin elasticity. My skin has felt super soft, smooth and all the winter chapping has gone even though the weather is still freezing. I'll definitely be continuing use of it and I'll probably be buying more soon! Can I just complain for one minute though....FOILS! Large foils, but still FOILS! They were so big, and with there being two you would think they could have put them in a small container. I know NUXE probably may not have known about Birchbox giving two in a box, but I feel that could have been done better.

in Foreign Intelligence Flirt

"Shimmery formula that plumps with sacha inchi oil, peppermint oil extract, and menthol." - from December 2013 Birchbox card

Ehhhhhhhh.....Hm. I'm just not a big huge fan of plumping lip glosses. Maybe it's because I'm big on featuring the eyes, maybe it's because I feel my lips are big enough...maybe both...just not a huge fan. I will say, though, this particular gloss isn't all that bad for a plumping gloss.

I've tried some plumping glosses that REALLY don't feel good at all, but this one really didn't even have much of a tingle on me at all. The sample I have is a squeeze bottle but the full-size is a tube with a applicator stick. It has the most unusual fragrance. It's a mix between a slightly fruity note powder. I know, right? HOW does one mix those two together? I am not sure...I feel like my nose is playing tricks on me! As you can see it's fairly pigmented when you add a lot. The rows are: squeezed straight out of the tube, swiped with fingertip and the last is blended. Blended you can BAAARELY see (on top). It blends very very easily, possibly a little too easily since it almost disappears. It is a nice color, though!

 As you can see it didn't go completely overboard with the plumping, it's very subtle. I wore this for a good 5-10 minutes taking photos and comparing them and I saw no noticeable difference. The shimmer is also quite subtle but the color is lovely for a natural glossy finish. Keep in mind, my lips are quite pink on their own, so this shade only enhanced that pink to a small extent, but if you have paler lips it may look different on you. Another great thing about it is it's not sticky in the slightest to me. It's not overly thick so you don't feel like you're lathering on glue, and it doesn't just hang heavily on the lips.

All in all, I'm not a huge fan of it since I don't typically like plumping glosses or lip glosses at all for that matter. I do think it is nice for a gloss though, and if you're looking for a plumping gloss that doesn't burn and is only mildly tingly then you may actually prefer this product!


"Antioxidant-rich truffle extract helps smooth wrinkles and replenish parched skin." - from December 2013 Birchbox card

I have a funny feeling Birchbox thinks I'm old! Hahaha, firming fondant cream, wrinkle serum. It is always good to use preventative products though at my age....actually, truth be told, I started using preventative anti-aging products about 8 years ago! Woman in their early 20's don't typically think of doing that, but it's really the best thing to do. That way you PREVENT the problem instead of having to treat it! 

This Truffle Serum is quite nice, although, I've been using it for weeks and haven't seen much of a difference other that slightly softer skin. I don't really have wrinkles though, so it's just not right for the type of product I need exactly. The coloration is slightly off-white but not unusually looking for a creamy serum. It has a very light, slightly earthy smell - which I'm assuming comes from the truffle ingredient. It's very mild though, and isn't at all a bad aroma to me. Some interesting ingredients that really popped out at me in regards to aroma were:
 Irish moss extract, horsetail extract (plant, not really horsetail LOL), hydrolized hibiscus extract, TUBER MELANOSPORUM EXTRACT (the truffle), and a climbing rose extract.

I'm guessing that these particular ingredients give it that slightly earthy scent that I'm detecting. Since it is a serum, I've been using it after I wash my face and before I moisturize and I noticed that it just gives my moisturizing a little boost for softening my skin. Other than that I haven't noticed any major differences with use. I will continue to finish up the bottle though, since I do enjoy that light hydrating boost!


"Earth-friendly, botanical-rish spray that gives you flexible hold (read: no crunchiness) - from December 2013 Birchbox card

If I had a choice between aerosol and non-aerosol hairsprays I would, unfortunately, pick aerosol. They just work better with my hair. Non-aerosol hairsparys tend to make my hair a bit wet, and they never have quite enough of a hold for the big volume that I am constantly trying to obtain. I do like that it isn't as crunchy as most hairsprays, but then again, the aerosol hairspray I use doesn't make my hair crunchy anyhow ::wink, wink::

This hairspray DOES have a use for me though! Being a ballet instructor, I DO prefer to use non-aerosol sprays for my student's buns for performances. The spray wetting the hair a bit assists in slicking it back so it's smooth with no wispies. I do like the fragrance of it, it's unusual for a hairspray - 

Notes of: Tonka Beans, Amber Patchouli and Spanish Moss

It's fragrant, light and doesn't have the typical harsh almost chemical smell that you can practically taste when spraying. The only thing I was disappointed about was it didn't hold anywhere near as long as I had hoped. It IS very much a flexible hold. This hairspray just wouldn't work for a very precise hair-do that needs good hold for longevity. There isn't much crunchiness but the hair sprayed will be hard-ish, but the weight will move it or pull it down easily. 

As far as being pleasant to use, it is, very much so. I just wish it had a bit of a stronger hold, though. I may recommend this to the parents of my younger students as I think they'd enjoy the fragrance and ingredients for their child, but for myself and older students who need to look more pulled together, I'm not a big fan of. 


in Signature Lace Collection - Purple

"Colorful snag-free bands to keep hair secure - without leaving telltale creases." - from December 2013 Birchbox card

Is it a hair tie, or is it a snazzy super-duper adorable scarf for Miss Reindeer?! Haha, she just HAD to wear it for the picture. That being said...::sigh:: oh Birchbox, Birchbox, Birchbox. I really do wish they'd have a hair accessories option that you could select that says: I never wear hair accessories or pull my hair up in any updo or ponytail during the day.....

Because seriously I never do. The ONLY time I wear my hair up is to teach ballet, to wash my face at night and to work out (which seriously hasn't happened in forever, shame shame). Other than that, my hair is ALWAYS down with no accessories in it. I'm a crazy gal, I know. I have about 20 hair ties that I've received in subscription boxes and gifts and I just don't know what to do with them all. This particular tie isn't really my style either, I'm not a huge fake lace person. If it had been real lace pattern (see-through), then sure, I probably would have loved it but this one isn't quite right for me. 

In regards to not leaving an indention or crease in the hair, that's not ENTIRELY true for me. When I DO pull my hair into a bun, I have tried to use hair ties for it, but because I'm very active I have to make the ponytail part quite tight so it wont come lose or fall. When I do that, it DOES crease my hair. Not to worry, I'm not yanking my hair out or anything! So even if I use the hair tie, it's not really much different that a regular hair band, it's just more of a fashion statement! 

I'm not really against hair ties, but I'm not crazy about them either. I do prefer hair bands only because I've had a few ties come undone on the knot while putting my hair up, so I have to take them off and redo the knot, which isn't that big of an inconvenience but it's something I didn't have to do with hair bands. I do like some of the funky colors though, and I love that they're thicker than hair bands so if I do enjoy wearing the color, I like that it stands out. However, when wearing my hair in a bun you can't see it at all! Well phooey, haha!


1) NUXE Fondant Firming Cream:
  • Full-size (6.9 oz) - $55
  • I received two large foils that were 0.24 oz each (0.48 total) - $7.97

2) Secret Agent Beauty Nourishing & Plumping Lip Gloss in Foreign Intelligence Flirt:
  • Full-size (0.15 oz) - $18
  • I received what appears to be a 5 ml tube - $18*

3) Skin&Co Roma TRUFFLE THERAPY SERUM Boosting Anti-Aging Serum:
  • Full-size (30 ml) - $75
  • I received a 10 ml sample tube - $25

4) Number 4 Non Aerosol Hairspray:
  • Full-size (200 ml) - $30
  • I received a 1 fl oz sample bottle - $4.44

5) twistband Hair Ties in Signature Lace Collection:
  • Signature Lace Collection set of 6 - $14
  • I received a single hair tie - $2.33



Ok, so let me explain my Secret Agent Beauty dilemma. A full-size tube is 0.15 oz. That is WITH an applicator in a typical lipgloss bottle. The squeeze tube I received had no size listed on it but I compared it to about a gazillion other bottles and tubes I have around the house and I'm coming up to the same size over and over again of around 5 ml or 0.17 oz. HOW, I don't know....WHY...I don't doesn't seem quite right that the deluxe sample lipgloss is actually worth MORE than it's full-size. It would be worth around $20 in that case. I put $18 to minus the applicator and because seriously...I don't know what else to do??? Regardless, with or without the $18 this box is very highly worth (um...thanks Truffle Serum, wowie!). Oddly enough I'd pay more for the foils, much less for the serum (hello...$25 for that tube?! crazy!) and much MUCH less for that hair tie. Everything just seems oddly priced this month. Not that I'm complaining too loudly, for my $10 I feel somewhat OK with what I received worth-wise. 


Alas, there is no makeup finale as the only makeup I received is lipgloss and a makeup finale it does not quite make! To sum up this month's box....hmmmm.....not exactly my favorite. I adore the Fondant Cream and that's about it. I'm not positively thrilled over the lip gloss, hairspray, hair tie and serum as they really don't do much for me. I'm actually almost done with the serum and I'll probably put away the hair tie to gift to someone. I may give the lipgloss to a friend if they're interested and I've used most of the hairspray for performance time at my studio. 

Here's hoping next month will be better!

I hope you enjoyed this review! If you're interested in trying out Birchbox for yourself, you are more than welcome to use my referral link, just click HERE.

Happy Makeuping! and Happy 2014 since it's the last December post!


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