Monday, April 7, 2014

Birchbox - March 2014


Running on through the March beauty subscriptions! Haha, and I have to this THIS particular sub gave me SO much trouble! So if you're been reading along on my Facebook page or previous posts, you may have heard that the reason I'm late posting my monthly subscription boxes is because the weather has been so bad here, rainy, dark, etc. and I haven't had good natural lighting to take my photos for my finales (showing the products being worn). I've been meaning to get a photography umbrella and light, so I won't have to worry about that anymore, but you know, money money money. I did have a little chat with Hubby though and he thinks I should jump in and get it sooner rather than later, and I quite agree, haha. SO, this box's finale I actually took photos for on FOUR different days, and each one was unusable! It wasn't until the fifth attempt that I finally had a photo that was decent enough to post (not as fuzzy, better quality, etc.). Whew! So at last, I present my March Birchbox!...

"The season is changing, and we've got an extra hour of glorious daylight (woohoo!) and an hour less of shut-eye (blergh) on our hands. Whether you're a glass half-empty or half-full kind of gal, what better time to focus on maximizing your daily routine? This month we're talking about smart DIYs, clever beauty shortcuts, and even ways to improve your Birchbox experience. (Hint: it involves getting products for free!)

We'll show you how to get more out of everything, from helping your products last longer, to time-saving hair tricks. Prepare yourself - it's going to be a great Spring!"

Til next month!
Katia, Hayley & the Birchbox Team

Ahhhhhhh, Spring. Actually, I'm not a huge Spring lover, I'm such a Fall/Winter gal, but I can't wait to pull out some bright colors and refresh my look for the new year! 

On to the review!....


in Pie

"From the just-launched palette, a dual-purpose, creamy stain with just a hint of shimmer." - March 2014 Birchbox card

How RIDICULOUSLY adorable is this little booklet?! I mean....I's just that cute. This is just a small sample of one of the six shades from the full-size theBalm How 'Bout Them Apples palette, however, it appears to be a reprint of the full-size, with the only different being that it's much smaller and there's only one color (smaller size) and the font and type on the front description is a little different. 

The full-size contains six shades - Cider, Cobbler, Pie, Crisp, Candy and Caramel, all apple-colored shades. The palette is promoted as a "multi-functioning lip and cheek cream palette" to be used as blush or a lip color, that can mixed and matched during use as well.

The colors shown above aren't a good representation of what the actual shades look like. At first I thought it was the photo I took, but then I looked at the booklet and compared them to photos online of the palette and sure enough, the PRINTOUT on the booklet is completely off. Here is a photo of the full-size palette on

Cider: a light peach with pink undertone
Cobbler: vibrant blood orange-red
Pie: Indian red with pink undertone
Crisp: warm coral with gold shimmer
Candy: cool-toned bubblegum pink
Caramel: warm orange-caramel

and can I just say HELLO, sexy men all over the place? Haha, definitely a packaging feature that I know a lot of women will absolutely go gaga over, teehee. 

Now let's take a closer look at the shade I received, Pie!...

The color is SO gorgeous. The formula is smooth, easy to blend, and very, very buildable. The bottom swatch is two swipes and above it's two swipes blended out. 

The best way I found to apply as a cheek color is to swirl or dab your finger into the product, lightly pat it all over the area you want it on, then using a stippling, or blush brush, and blend it out till you're happy with the result. As a lip color, you can either apply with fingertips for a softer finish, or you could apply with a lip brush to build pigmentation easier.

Boy, does this product look PINK on my lips! Even more so than it does swatched on my hand.  It goes on very smooth when first applying, but as you can see, it does dry out a teensy bit. My lips are usually fairly dry with quite a bit of wrinkling. I'm always using very moisturizing balms to keep them soft and smooth, but if I ever use a slightly drying lip product, it's very apparent, very quick. 

As a cheek product - I tried it on over a liquid foundation, powder foundation and two different BB creams. Out of the lot, I preferred using this over a dewy BB cream. It just blended on a bit softer, a bit easier and looked much less patchy. It also helped to use a very smoothing face primer, it seemed much, much easier to blend out. Along with a setting spray, I had full color for 8 hours with no fading or smudging. Even at the 14 hour mark, I still had a lovely pink light flush. With this as my blush, I could totally feel confident in having a continuous blush for probably 16+ hours. Lovely!

As a lip product - I wore this on three different occasions. Each one being a different level of pigmentation/layers. When worn lightly in a thin layer, I had full color for a little over an hour, but my lips didn't feel at all dry. I still had a lingering tint for about 2.5 hours after application. When worn a bit thicker, for better pigmentation, I had about 4 hours of color till it began to fade, with still a nice tint till the 6 hour mark. I had some light drying, but nothing major. When I wore it in full pigmentation, with multiple layers, I had full color for about 5 hours, but still a bright tint till the 8 hour mark, and still a soft tint till almost the 12 hour mark, BUT it was much drying by the end of the day. I felt like I wanted to apply a balm over it to keep my lips from drying out too much.

All in all, I actually loved this product, and I love it's versatility! It's very easy to use, easy to blend, and the color is gorgeous. I'm so very tempted to buy the whole palette, I think all the shades look lovely, and the packaging is certainly a plus! ::blush:: How cheeky! (no pun intended...ok, maybe a little pun intended)

in Morelia Monarch

"A top seller from this brand, this nourishing formula restores skin without feeling greasy." - March 2014 Birchbox card

You know, this is one of those types of products that I don't buy enough of, but I LOOOOVE getting! Hand creams!

I was so surprised to see how ridiculously full this jar was with the product! Which is definitely a plus because I am MADLY in love with it! The scent is out of this world, it smells SO delicious. It's probably the best smelling hand lotion, I've ever used, I kid you not. The main essences in the scent are green tea and amber over a base of vanilla orchid. It's a very warm, rich fragrance, with something of a mix that reminds me of exotic flowers in a bakery...I know that sounds strange, but just go with it. Trust me. I LOVE breathing it in! It's not a super strong scent, but you certainly do smell it when you're working it into your hands, however it will fade a bit over time, just lingering enough to detect it if you bring your hands up to your face.

It's a super rich, thick cream that just feels luxuriously amazing. It's no balm texture thick, and not quite as rich as a body butter, but it's still feels just as moisturizing. It leaves my skin amazingly smooth, super hydrated and so soft. It doesn't quite moisturize my cuticles as much as I would like, I really need a thick, heavy balm to work on those bad boys, but it still provides decent moisture and boy, oh boy, do my hands feel fantastic for the rest of the day. I won't quite say a little goes a long way, but I'm not having to use a huge amount, so it will still last quite a while.

I absolutely LOVE it, like I said, it's the most amazing smelling hand lotion that I've ever used. I will MOST DEFINITELY be purchasing more after I use up this sample.


"This anti-aging serum, which creates a weightless UV shield, can be worn year-round." - March 2014 Birchbox card

Alas. ::giggles:: First of all, I've actually reviewed this product before, so I'll just insert my original review, which was from my July POPSUGAR Must Have box, and second, I was not a huge fan of it, so I'll probably just be setting this aside to gift it to someone. 

"I love love love that this fab product is a multitasker, however, it just isn't for me. I really never spend too long in the sun, as I burn so very easily. 30 SPF is actually on the low end for me. If I'm going to be spending any time in the sun at all, I'll put on a higher SPF, because frankly, my ridiculously pale complexion NEEDS it. The formula is very nice and light though, a little works in and goes a long way. It is listed as fragrance free, but as most sunscreens, it does have that sunscreen smell, so if you're not a fan of it, this product may not work for you. It does also leave a light shine on the skin, so if you were to put makeup over it, it would probably be best to use low-shine foundations or BB creams and a mattifying powder to set." - The Charming Cheshire July 2013 POPSUGAR Must Have post


"Botanical-rich formula that hydrates skin while providing a silky-smooth base for makeup." - March 2014 Birchbox card

 Such an intriguing product. Apparently, it's a multi-tasker. It can be used as a serum AND a makeup primer. Here's what GrandCentral Beauty lists as it's benefits:
Clinically tested wholesome complexes continuously deliver S.M.A.R.T. Skin Perfecting® results

• Instant hydration with 24 hour moisturization

• Provides a smooth, flawless canvas for makeup application

• Diminishes the appearance of fine lines

• Immediately softens skin texture

• Diminishes under eye dark circles and puffiness over time

• Makeup lasts longer & looks more finished

• Paraben-Free. Petrochemicals-Free. Sulfate-Free. Mineral oil-Free.

 So I've used this as a serum (between cleansing and moisturizing), as a serum AND primer, and as a primer. All three different uses in my usual routine definitely had some good results!

The serum is fairly thin, but not too watery. As you can see when applied on my hand, it doesn't look that runny. 

So let's break down those benefits to see how they held up:

1) Clinically tested wholesome complexes continuously deliver S.M.A.R.T. Skin Perfecting® results: S.M.A.R.T. stands for Smooths, Moisturizes, Anti-Aging, Redness Reducing and Tones. This product definitely smoothed both as a serum and a primer. It gave decent moisturization, but not as much as, say, a moisturizing serum that is made JUST to moisturize. Hard to say with anti-aging, but I'm always happy to see that included in my skincare. I wouldn't necessarily say it's redness reducing, I didn't see any major flare-ups, but it didn't calm my rosacea as much as a calming/irritation soothing product does. I did see a bit of toning happening, but not too much.

2) Instant hydration with 24 hour moisturization: As I said, it DOES give good moisturization, when used before your moisturizer, it certainly amps it up and boosts some hydration. When used as a serum AND a makeup primer, I did feel my skin stayed softer longer throughout the day.

3) Provides a smooth, flawless canvas for makeup application: Yes, I definitely would say my skin looked much smoother and it made applying foundation/BB cream over it much easier.

4) Diminishes the appearance of fine lines: Just baaarely. I have laugh/smile lines around my eyes that can be pretty hardcore when they want to be, and I didn't notice a huge improvement, but they did lessen a teensy bit.

5) Immediately softens skin texture: I didn't notice any huge amount of softening, but what I did notice was when I used this before a moisturizer, the moisturizer worked double time and provided so much more hydration. It's like the serum prepped my skin for the moisturizer in a way. It really boosted it!

6) Diminishes under eye dark circles and puffiness over time: Unfortunately, I didn't notice any changes at all under my eyes with this product. Dark circles is one of those things I'm constantly battling, as my are just horrible! It did lessen a little bit of puffiness but not as much as my favorite under-eye products.

7) Makeup lasts longer & looks more finished: I will say it did help my makeup stay fresher, longer, and certainly helped my makeup look more set and less patchy. It didn't last quite as long as my favorite primers, but it definitely did help.

So, it didn't work as well as some of my other die-hard products that I adore, but as I'm usually using different products to do different things, with this being a multitasker, it wasn't bad. I think if GrandCentral Beauty were to come out with a single product that focused JUST on priming or JUST on being a serum, or JUST for the under-eye area, it'd be fantastic! I know people love multi-taskers but this one just didn't blow me away in any one aspect, it just did well enough in all the categories to be OK. I'm very curious to see what other products GrandCentral Beauty will come out with next though!



"Inside this month's box is a Birchbox Find, a mass-market discovery we've come across that we think is awesome. Don't worry - these products are in addition to your usual samples, never in place of them." - March 2014 Birchbox card

"BB Cream isn't just for your face. Meet the new JERGENS BB Body Perfecting Skin Cream, an all-in-one formula packed with natural shea butter, skin tone evening technology, and a proprietary Firm Perfecting Complex.

It goes on sheer, absorbs quickly, and delivers visible benefits in just five days. Think: luminous, firm skin with fewer imperfections and overall hydration. Watch out, your complexion might get jealous." - March 2014 Birchbox insert

Something new and interesting! So we're all familiar with BB cream for face, well now we have a BB cream for body! 

This lotion comes in two different selections, one for all light skin types and one for all medium to deep skin tones. Here are the five benefits for the two, with the main differences being underlined:

Lighter Skin Tones:

  • 1) HYDRATE - Superior level of hydration for all skin tones 
  • 2) ILLUMINATE - Provides subtle sheen to illuminate all skin tones
  • 3) EVEN - Proprietary Skin Tone Evening Technology evens redness in fair to light skin tones
  • 4) FIRM - Firm Perfecting Complex
  • 5) CORRECT - High blur effect to hide skin imperfections
Medium-Deep Skin Tones:
  •  1) HYDRATE - Superior level of hydration for all skin tones
  • 2) ILLUMINATE - Provides subtle sheen to illuminate all skin tones
  • 3) EVEN - Proprietary Skin Tone Evening Technology evens discoloration in olive to deep skin tones
  • 4) FIRM - Firm Perfecting Complex
  • 5) CORRECT - High level of light reflecting particles to hide skin imperfections

The lotion that I have (for light skin tones) has a fantastic amount of ingredients in it meant for softening/moisturizing, including shea butter, mango seed butter, cocoa seed butter, petrolatum and dimethicone (both used to lock in moisture), ethylhexyl isononanoate (emollient), aloe vera, dimethiconol, panthenol, and hydrolized elastin, to name a few. It also contains some extracts that are great for anti-aging, brightening and calming.

As you can see, it's not a white cream, it's definitely like a skin tone. I haven't seen the lotion for all medium to dark skin tones, but I'm going to assume it's darker. Once you rub it in, however, you can't see it at all. It's not an extremely heavy or thick lotion, but it's not terrible thin. It's very soft, smooth and works in easily to the skin. My skin just loves to soak up that hydration right away. It smells delicious! It has a slightly sweet scent, a little like honeysuckle, but a bit yummier. To me, the smell isn't at all overwhelming but if you're used to a body lotion that doesn't have a fragrance, you may not like it. 

I really loved using this product! Although, I don't have much redness on my body, I think it definitely provided fantastic moisturization, brightened up my skin tone a bit, and hid some of my discolorations here and there. I really loved using it on my elbows because I tend to get a lot of discoloration there since I'm so pale-skinned. My skin has been feeling soft, smooth, and has been smelling delicious! I didn't get much of a chance to use it on my legs, because frankly, I have a 37" inseam, my legs go on forever and this little bottle wasn't going to cut it for very long, so I've just been using it on my arms, neck, chest, hands, etc. but I'd LOVE to get a full-size soon!


1) theBalm How 'Bout Them Apples? Check & Lip Cream Sample:
  • Full-size (20 g total, six shades) - $32
  • I received a unknown size, guessing around 3 g (one shade) - $4.80

2) Camille Beckman Glycerine Hand Therapy in Morelia Monarch:
  •  8 oz size - $16.95
  • I received 0.25 oz sample jar - $0.53

3) Supergoop! City Sunscreen Serum:
  • 1.7 fl oz - $42
  • I received a 10mL sample tube - $8.35

4) GrandCentral Beauty S.M.A.R.T. Skin Perfecting Serum+Primer:
  • Full-size (30 mL) - $68
  • I received a 6 mL sample bottle - $13.60

5) Jergens BB Body Perfecting Skin Cream in All Light Skin Tones:
  • Full-size (7.5 fl oz) - $7.99
  • I received a 1 fl oz deluxe size tube - $1.07

Total Paid for Box:  $10

Total Worth of Box:  $28.35

Not too bad! Nearly three times what I paid, although, I'm kind of disappointed that the items I wasn't too fond of - the Serum+Primer and Sunscreen Serum were the most expensive ones! (Um, hello, I just realized that I got two serums in this box). My absolute favorite product of the bunch, Morelia Monarch Hand Therapy, was only $0.53! Eep! So not the most amazing worth for this box, but still on the plus side.



I just have a simple finale for you today, especially since I'm only really showing you the theBalm How 'Bout Them Apples Pie sample in Pie.

Haha, yes, yes I DID actual use this photos a few days ago in my review for StudioGear Cosmetics CC Cream! When I kept having to take photos over and over again because they came out horribly in the bad weather, I decided I needed to do a few multiple use photos with different products on! My eyes were inspired by the How 'Bout Them Apples palette. I thought it'd be fun and spring-like to do a green and brown for the stem and leaves of the apples! I really love the freshness of this look. Pie on the cheeks just gives a soft, natural flush, but woooo, like I said, on my lips, it is PINK! I love it. 

I hope you enjoyed this review! 
Birchbox is a monthly beauty subscription service that provides four to six beauty, grooming and lifestyle samples monthly for the low price of $10 per month (no shipping, however NY, NJ, MA and VA may have sales tax). They have a beauty questionnaire at the beginning of your subscription sign-up so your profile and samples are better suited for your likes and preferences. Birchbox is available in the US, France, Spain and the UK. They also has a fantastic points system that builds up points that you can redeem towards Birchbox Shop purchases by reviewing the items from your subscription box each month. Every review gets you 10 points, every dollar you spend at the shop gets you one point each and for every 100 points you earn, you get $10 towards Shop purchases! You can also earn 50 points by referral when your friends join Birchbox by using your referral link! So what are you waiting for? Join Birchbox!
If you'd like to join, please feel free to use my referral link, just click HERE to start the sign-up process!

Happy Makeuping!

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