My Birchbox: August 2013

It’s that time of the month again, when all the stars align and the birds are chirping and my lovely Birchbox makes it’s way to my doorstep. In case you don’t know what Birchbox is, it is a monthly subscription service that sends you 4-6 beauty and lifestyle samples (and sometimes full size products!) for you to try and review and it only costs $10 a month, and what is really great is that for every product you review you get 10 points which equals to one dollar, so basically you get $5 a month to spend at their store. I’ve been saving up my points for something nice and I think I have about $25 worth to spend. Just for girls? Nah! They now have boxes for men so everyone can join the fun.

Depending on the beauty and lifestyle info you fill out on your profile determines what samples you will receive that month and also depending on their theme. This months theme was “Finishing School” so it’s all about getting a fresh start to a new season.

Now lets get down to my box. I recieved 3 samples, one full size item and lifestyle extra which isn’t to shabby. I’ve had this box for a week so I’ve been able to really test the products and give you a fair opinion, so lets get to it!

First sample I grabbed was the Dr.Jart+ Premium BB cream. Right off the bat I was pretty disappointed with the tiny sample size but I still gave it a good ole’ try. This product claims to even out skin tone while is contains SPF and antiaging benefits, so right away I’m hooked. Now I have to be honest, I am not a BB cream fan, I find them to be oily and not very long lasting. This one however went on smooth and didn’t leave my skin feeling slick, in fact, this is the first one I tried where I didn’t have to layer foundation over it. Unfortunately I can’t tell you about benefits because the sample was too small to tell. This will not be a full size purchase for me because the price isn’t what I would spend on a BB cream but if you are looking for a really good one, this might be for you.
* Dr.Jart+ BB Cream retails for $39 for a full size

Next we have the Jasmine Seven Fresh Foot Wipes’. This was the product I was least excited about because while I understand the idea behind cleaning your feet off during the day, they just don’t work for my life. By the time I get home and get my shoes off I’m in the shower anyways. I did, however, find them as a nice excuse to get my husband to massage my feet. They claim to soften your feet with aloe, peppermint and vitamin e and while that might be the case they just have no use to me so, big dud.
*Jasmine Seven Fresh Foot Wipes retail for $25.95 for a full size pack

Next I got the Number 4 ‘Super Comb Prep and Protect’. This is a leave conditioning spray that also protects color and protects from UV rays. I have to say I loved this product. I really felt as if my hair was being protected, it didn’t feel as dry after a day in the sun and it did make my hair easier to comb through and the sample size I was sent was a really nice size as well. The only downside for me was the smell. It was an almost overwhelming cocoa butter smell which isn’t my favorite, but I have to say the pros outweighed the con. Best of all it only takes a couple little squirts to saturate my hair so I feel this sample will last me a while!

*Number 4 spray retails for $32 for a full size

Last product I recieved was a full size lipstick! ModelCo Party Proof Lipstick in “Disco Fever’. It was a beautiful matte lipstick in a very wearable peachy orange shade. I was worried that it would go on too orange but it actually has become my favorite shade to wear because it really compliments my olive skin. Plus is was full size, so it was practically the cost of the box entirely (this did make up for the DUD foot wipes!) I also found this lipstick to be very buildable and super pigmented and lasted a good amount of time.  I will probably find myself repurchasing this brand.

*ModelCo Party Proof lipsticks come in a set of three and retail for $24

Now we come to the lifestyles extra. This is a little something extra that Birchbox likes to pass on to their subscribers and this month I got the TanTowel. TanTowel is a self tan towelette that claims to give an even natural tan with just a swipe. I do not tan, I do not sun tan, I do not self tan. If I ever need some extra glow I always go to my Lorac tan lotion so I was nervous about this one, but it was a bonus so why not. It takes a few hours and up to a day to see the full effect and I didn’t know if it was me and my lack of tan knowledge but it left giant streaks on my arms. As suggested I did shower and exfoliate before hand so who knows. On the plus side, it didn’t smell funky and was easy to apply so maybe this will work for a tan enthusiast.

*TanTowel wipes retail for $24 for a full size pack

So that’s it for my August Birchbox, I have to say that it wasn’t my favorite because I feel like I got a few things that aren’t new to Birchbox and stuff I’ve seen other bloggers talk about getting in their Birchboxes months and months ago and I’m all about NEW NEW NEW, so we’ll have to see how next months box shapes out!

If you’re interested in learning more about Birchbox shoot over to their page, and while you may not always be happy with a product or two, half the fun is trying new things and making an opinion of your own. Also, if you got a box this month let me know below what you got and how you like it! Don’t forget to subscribe because I just had a big birthday and oh man did I get spoiled with products from the hubby so I will give you all the rundown soon!

Lots of love!

Kate

Birchbox Homepage

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e.l.f Hits and Misses!

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Like every girl I have been known to blow a great deal of time (and money) in Sephora and while I love my cosmetics I love finding beauty products that amaze me at little cost to myself even more.  Over the years I have to come to collect quite a few e.l.f products because who can resist getting full size products that range from $1-$5 especially if they can be a dupe for the high end stuff I normally go for.  I first saw e.l.f products in Target and was really drawn to the packaging, I think their marketing team did something very smart, they made a simple logo, black with white lettering that is very reminiscent of MAC labels.  Like most beauty brands there will always be hits and misses, so I pulled out my large collection to give you my rundown!

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Left to Right: stipple brush, small stipple, bronze brush, face brush

Lets start off with products I tried first.  I was looking up and down for a stipple brush that would be dupe for MAC’s because I couldn’t see myself paying so much money for a single brush, so behold I found this large stipple brush.  This use to be my go-to brush but I have since moved on to buffing brushes, I mainly use this now for heavier foundations because I find with this brush I don’t need to use as much product.  Now onto my favorite e.l.f brush which is the small stipple brush.  It is perfect for blending out under eye concealers and cheek tints and does a great job of blending into smaller areas!  And then finally we have the face brushes, the bronzing brush’s bristles are a little uneven which I was concerned would cause a messy contour but it didn’t.  The full face brush I had originally bought as a powder brush but because the bristles are so dense I use it mainly as a blush brush.  All in all I was pleased with the brushes and best of all they don’t shed when you clean them which means they have longevity!  All four of these brushes cost me $8.  Not too shabby! 

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e.l.f Eyeshadow Pallet

I received this pallet as one of those ‘rainy day’ surprises from my husband.  At first I was a little bit nervous about it because the colors were all shimmery and most times of the year I go for matte, but it was a gift so I just kept strutting on.  This pallet has colors ranging from pearls whites up to jet blacks and everything in between.  To be honest, the only shades I have used are the natural colors so I can’t get into specifics with the bright colors, but as far as those go they were great!  They held up pretty well throughout the day and the only major bug I have with them is that because they are so shimmery when they do eventually wear down that all that is left is sparkle.  Overall I would say I was pleased with this pallet and I look forward to playing with the colors a little more! This pallet retails for around $5.

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e.l.f shimmering face whips in lilac pearl and white

Next we come to our first miss!  These cute little tubes are e.l.f shimmering face whips and are suppose to add hints of shimmer and color to your cheeks.  At first I really liked the dewy look of these on my cheeks and highlighted areas but the love soon wore off.  After about an hour these turned super cakey on my face and fell into pores and the last thing you want to do is bring attention to your flaws!  That was only day one so day two I decided to give them a second look..and then I opened the tube.  Instead on the cream “whip” coming out when I squeezed it a big glob of oily liquid came out.  The only thing worse then a cake on your face is a pile of oil.  So these unfortunately are headed for my makeup graveyard.  If you’re bold enough to try them they retail for only $1 a piece.

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e.l.f. bronzer in Sun Kissed and all over color stick in Golden Peach

Here we come to a couple more of my dreaded misses.  First we have the e.l.f bronzer in Sun Kissed which is a really light shimmery  bronze which I was really excited to try because yes, I am a bronze queen.  As fast as I was to try it I was equally as fast to dislike it.  It could be a fault of my own but the shade didn’t not show up on my skin whatsoever.  All that appeared on my face was a bunch of glitter which looked totally awkward on my contour lines.  Next we have the all over face color in Golden Peach which is like a color stick which can be used for eyes, lips and face (AHA clever!) I was looking to use this to add slight color to my cheeks and instantly after I applied it I had a big problem, it was sticky!  I could literally feel it pulling at my skin and falling into fine lines and worst off all after a day the entire stick dried up!  If you are in a daring ‘let’s go for it’ mood both of these retail for $1.

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e.l.f liners in silver, gold, black and e.l.f waterproof liner pen

Now onto my favorite beauty tool in the entire world, eyeliners!  I will take eyeliners any way you can give them to me.  First we have the three liquid eyeliners I tried in silver,gold and black,  Normally I would never buy silver or gold eyeliners but they came as a gift set so what the hell.  I only used the silver once because it was super bright and gave me really bad highschool flashbacks but the gold I surprisingly loved.  I use it on top of my black liquid liner to add a touch of sparkle for those special days.  The black eyeliner has to be my favorite e.l.f product of all time.  It is a brush tip liner which makes me feel like I have a lot of control over my lines and the black pigment seems to last me most of the day, I have to say this has been my go-to liquid liner for a year now and while I know they’re are better, more expensive ones out there I still find myself coming back to this time and again.  Lastly we have the waterproof lining pen, and while I’ve read reviews that sings it praises, I was far from impressed.  It did not go on smoothly at all and it caused a lot of skipped lines and worst of all (which seems to be a theme with my e.l.f misses) it dried out in a week.  These eyeliners retail for $3 a piece and the 3 piece gift set I purchased for $5.

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Left to Right: Matte Lip in Nearly Nude, Lip Stain in Crimson Crush, Jumbo Lip Gloss Stick in Pink Umbrella and Movie Star.

Lastly we come to the lips!  I have to say…I adore ALL of these products!  The matte lip stick feels more like a crayon which I didn’t think I would like but I found it gave me more control over the color.  I was looking for an awesome matte nude almost corpse like lip wear and this does the trick.  While it does seem to be drying I find that if I prep my lips first with a lip butter I can make the color stay on longer.  Next is the gorgeous lip stain in this super red color (If you saw my last post you saw me wearing this in my after pic.)  I love the way it feels on my lips and the color is so pigmented it really does stain and I only find myself re-applying after a long day.  Last we come to jumbo gloss sticks.  I bought these in the lightest shade and the darkest shade for contrast I these have quickly become my go-to’s for everyday.  The red isn’t too deep so I can wear it during the day without feeling like a clown and the pink is a perfect summertime shade plus the best part is these are super moisturizing and unlike most glosses these don’t make my lips feel like their covered in honey.  All in all these are a must have for me.  Each retails around $3.

There you have it,  My official breakdown of a brand and while it seems like I have a lot of misses I think the hits more than make up for it.  These products are super affordable so I encourage you to make your own opinions.  Instead of blowing that check on a couple high end products, this month test out the line and see what hits and misses you find for yourself!  

If you have tried the e.l.f line and have your own hits and misses I’d love to hear all about it so leave me some love below and don’t forget to subscribe.  If you want more of my quirkness follow me on instagram @mkateholmes or give me a shout out on twitter @RecycleRex and as always, happy blending!

-Kate

Date Night Red Lips

If you’re like me, you get scared of red lipstick because the last thing we wanna look like on a date is a clown.  That is why I have perfected the perfect date night lip routine to keep your lips soft and kissable.

To start you should buff your lips.  We buff our skin and rid it of dry, dead skin so why not do the same where it really counts?    What I do is I apply naturals chap-stick liberly all over my lips as a base, then in a small jar I mix 1TBS of honey with 1TSP of sugar.  I coat my lips with this sweet mixture and rub in.  After I let it sit and absorb the dead skin for about 2 minutes I take a washcloth and dampen it with warm water and buff my lips until the mixture and the dead skin is gone!

Next it’s time to choose your products.  I have very thin dry lips so two key parts of my date night lips are a good chap base and lip liner.   Lips are always the last thing I do in my makeup routine, especially with red lipstick because it can be a big mess!  So after my face is done up and perfect I base my lips with a all natural lip balm, this time I used Neutrogena all natural lip balm.  Then I lined my lips with Sephora cream lip liner in base which is a nude color.  I try not to use dark lip liners because those can often look tacky even with red lips so I stay as nude as I can, I don’t use lip liner for color but to just define my lips.  I prefer to use a lip brush when it comes to red lipstick because it is such a high pigmented color that any little bump and mistake will show without the right precision.  For the lipstick I chose my Maybelline Red Revival in the brightest red I could find, which is number 645.  Using the lip brush I start at the bottom lip and sweep up to the corners, but make sure not apply in the corners because that is how you get clown mouth.  I usually put a lot of focus into the top of my lip so I can really define the arch giving it a plump look.  To top it all over and glossed my lips with a clear sparkle Sephora lip gloss in pearl.  After my lips are done I blot them with some tissue and pull my finger through my mouth to take off any excess.

I have red hair so sometimes red lips can be a bit too much for a date so I try to make it whimsicle.  Here I added my Makeup Forever gel liner in teal and one of my handmade hair pieces.  This is my version of a 20’s girl in the city!

So remember, the key to perfect date night lips is for them to be kissable and soft, so always keep your lip balm and gloss on hand for touch-ups and the best way to pull off a bright red lip is confidence!  Happy kissing.