31 May 2012

Drive By Swatching - NARS Moscow/ Born This Way

Lookie what happened to land on my hand at Sephora! NARS Moscow Matte LS + NARS Born this Way Larger Than Life Lipgloss. I purchased the lipgloss, I'm physically incapable of leaving Sephora without at least a sample (speaking of samples, I also got a sample of Alien Aqua Chic, too) I really like it!

30 May 2012

Glossybox - May 2012

This is the inaugural beauty subscription box offered by the US branch of Glossybox.  The beauty community was given preview boxes to generate buzz over the coveted pinkbox crossing the pond.  The box is offered on a monthly or subscription basis (if you purchase months in bulk you get a slight discount off the monthly price of the box).  I opted to purchase my box monthly, purely because I was unsure how this was going to go down.  So lets get down to the nitty gritty... shall we?  

First off - to address the full size product conundrum that was brought to light i.e. Bloggers received all full sized products in their boxes, would paying customers be treated to the same perk?  Short answer no, not entirely.  I received two full sized products in this months box, which were less than $10 USD retail each, but when combined with the other deluxe samples it evens out to being worth more than the retail price of the box - which is $21.  So, it depends on how you view value for your money if this will bother you or not.  I don't mind because the entire reason I like beauty subscription services, is that I want to try new things and I don't need giant full sized products sitting around, especially if I don't like them.

Shipping

I was pretty pleased with the shipping on this box.  I did notice that it ships from the same Post Office/ region that the Birchbox does, so I guess its based in NYC?  Anyways, I was e-mailed my "Your Box has been shipped E-mail" on 25 May and the box was waiting for me when I got home from work today!  So, 5 days including a holiday weekend.  I expect shipping on this will be faster next month.  But overall, not bad.
The Box

I'm going to picspam you.  Because really I could expound but, pictures worth a thousand words!  So, here ya go! For the record, all of these photos were taken on my iPhone and edited in Google Picasa for contrast, exposure, sharpness and color temperature, as well as watermarking.

It's the infamous pink box!
Anticipation is building! 

Getting to the crux of the matter.
Goodies!  The Marvis and Zoya Polish are FS, the rest are not.

Phyto Paris Hair mask - Deluxe/ Travel Size
Amore Pacific Face Gel - ASIAN SKINCARE! (:D)
This is from Zoya's Summer Collection and is FS.
Italian Whitening Toothpaste - FS, and pretty useful.
BURBERRY! 
I'M NOT KIDDING! IT'S MINI BURBERRY!
Impressions

I'm glad this was the selection of products that was sent to me.  I wasn't super jazzed with the selection of products that was sent to the beauty blogging community as gratis, even if they were full sized, because they weren't things I was interested in.  The Burberry and Amore Pacific? Totally my scene.  I'm really thrilled with those samples.  Also, I'm kinda pumped about the Toothpaste, because I ran out and now I don't have to buy it!  It's the little things, chiclets.  I'm least excited about the Zoya Nail Polish, but that's more that I'm not a fan of Zoya polishes even though the color is really nice for summer.  As for the Phyto Hair Mask, I need to try it out before I make a decision, but I really like the product size that was chosen.

Overall

I'm glad I purchased my box.  It was on par with reviews I had watched on YT from British Beauty Vloggers who had been purchasing Glossyboxes for a while now.  I think that this is a keeper for me, at least for another couple rounds.  I can't make claims as for the product consistency or shipping consistency as this is the first box, and I'm sure Glossybox is trying their best to make a really positive impression.  In terms of value for money, I also think that $21 for what I was in my box is not a bad price point.  I think if it was knocked down to $20 it would be exciting.  But that's just me, there's something about paying that extra dollar that takes some of the sheen off the experience, but it's not going to stop me from buying the box.  Or getting excited over my shipping confirmation e-mail.  Or racing inside to rip open the box.  Or squealing like a little girl over the fun goodies I'm going to get to play with.  Which is the whole point of the subscription box.  In that aspect, I think that Glossybox definitely lives up. 

-/L.

NOTD - a England Ascalon

I've tested all of the varnishes I've purchased, review to follow. Meanwhile enjoy some grey-lavender holographic goodness!

29 May 2012

Two Fragrances to Wear When It's Balls Friggin' Hot

Excuse the salacious title. But it's true.  These two fragrances are my go to scents when it is ungodly hot (ie 85 +) and everything that is not a Tea scented EDP is so cloying and drudge to wear.  Heat is great for light fragrances, it increases the sillage and blooms the fragrance faster.  Heat is the best time to wear single note or simply blended fragrances as you really can smell every detail and nuance and it does wonders for cheaper scents (mainly because heat increases the probability of the fragrance to be in a gaseous state, which increases your ability to smell the fragrance).  These two scents are available from the Body Shop and I feel like they are classic scents anyone can wear and feel pretty despite the heat, and are great formulas for summer because they are Eau de Toilettes, which are inherently lighter in composition.

NEROLI JASMIN

This is a staple Body Shop fragrance and what I like about it is that it's a floral that doesn't smell like a floral.  I'm not a huge fan of overly flowery fragrances, unless they have Violets or Jasmine in them. If it tends to smell like Roses, Tuberose or Gardenia - I'm automatically turned off.  Jasmine, to me, tends to read as a musky type scent, and comes off with evoking a more sensual mood while not being overbearing or loudly floral.  That being said, the main component is orange blossom, which gives a nice clean finish and lends a warm powder effusiveness.  When I wear this, I think of the beach and warm sunshine and sea breezes.  The fragrance itself is warm, soft and refreshingly feminine.




VANILLA

I can't find this product on the Body Shop website... maybe it's discontinued?  I'm not sure.  But this is a single note example of a great summer fragrance.  When I smell Vanilla I think of Americana, because it is a pure sweet fragrance, almost reminiscent of apple pie.  There's no mistaking that it is Vanilla. It's a scent that is recognizable no matter how its formulated, but whats nice about this particular fragrance is that it's light in all of its distinctness.  Instead of a heavy slog through mucky pits of cloying sticky sweetness - Vanilla is more like floating through some lovely Vanilla Creme Anglaise with crystallized Vanilla Orchids floating on top.  In the heat, the scent burns off most of the sweetness rather quickly so whats left is a light touch of the fragrance and I rather like it, its almost nostalgic.

26 May 2012

Upcoming - Illamasqua Naked Strangers (Summer 2012)

I love me some Illamasqua!  My favorite collection thus far has been their Spring 2011 Toxic Nature showing, and I always enjoy the visuals that are created for each collection.  I like that its avant garde editorial makeup, kind of like an edgier, British MAC, without the commercialized lame (which some people hate hard-core against, much to my amusement).

This model is awesome.  She can still look sexy with rubber necklaces and a Gold Leaf Skull Cap.

I always think stock photographs like this are hilarious.  I doubt it's even a photo, but someone with a deft hand at computer graphics/ photoshop.  It's way too perfect and unnatural looking.

Anyways, this is set to drop 31 May on Illamasqua's website .  I personally want a gander at the Platinum Intense Lipgloss and the Monogamous Nail Lacquer.  Too bad they aren't selling the Skull Cap, because I'd totally shell out some Benjamin's for that.

25 May 2012

FOTD - Maybelline Natural Smokes

Remember when those quads were all the rage? I still have one - the Natural Smokes Quad, and it was always my favorite. Other notables NARS Pure Radiance Tinted Moisturizer in St. Morritz and UD Big Fatty Mascara. This is typically how I style my hair, its pretty much air dried with some Redken Spray Wax and Aussie Scrunch Spray thrown in for seperaion and volume. Its dead easy in the summer and I enjoy showing off my natural hair texture.

Faves & Fails: Friday Edition

So... If you follow me on twitter, you'll know I got sucked into Klout.  Why?  I'm not sure - but it sorta was a kick in the pants to make me realize that the ability of this blog to reach people is dependent entirely upon me.  That being said - Something kinda cool happened that I was unaware of as a result of my May Birchbox post, but my review was linked to the website for The Sarah McNamara Miracle Skin Transformer Blog as a product feedback type thing.  Also, it was not my intention to completely wipeout my previous layout - I just wanted to update it, and Blogger decided to reset it back to white/ black Times New Roman font and will not let me change it despite my desperate attempts to make it not look like this.  However, it's growing on me, so I think it may stay until I can make a layout/ design/ cohesive visual statement.  Just think of me as a hipster of blogging - I'm going back to basics in an ironic way (except for this is entirely unintentional on my part). 

FAVES

- Kat Von D Triple Threat Tattoo Liner Pen Set - By far the best thing her makeup line has to offer.  Three superblack, smudgepoof, free-flowing, felt tip pen style eyeliners in fairly airtight packaging.  My favorite is the "Saint" pen (for the record you also get "Sinner" and "Poetica" tipped pens as well), and I use it every day when I want a quick, low slung cat eye that is appropriate for work.  Of all of the products I've tried, these don't smear, burn, leave latex based goop in my eyelashes, or make the process of winging liner any more complicated or thought consuming than necessary.  In fact, if the "Saint" pen (which is the finest, longest nibbed of the three) was sold seperately, I would preferentially purchase it.  I've had these pens for four months and because I keep them stored upside down have had no dry-out problems, despite everyday use.





- Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser - It's clear.  It's a chemical exfoliant.  It retails for $12 for 8 oz.  It's literally lasted me months and gives me smooth, glowing skin and is a great cleanser to use with the Tanaka Facial Massage in the shower, because the prolonged exposure of the cleanser to the skin clears out pores more effectively when allowed to actually sit and treat the skin.

- NYX Matte Bronzer in Medium - While not as good as NARS Laguna in terms of color nuance, for $10 you can't beat it.  It's soft, finely milled, blends nicely and can be used for contouring and bronzing.  The compact is a nice size, and has a really good mirror in the cap.  The shade is a tad too orange/ red based for me, but if I sweep the excess on the brush after contouring onto my cheeks, I get a nice not too crazy bronzed cheek.  All I need is some highlighter and I can skip blush altogether!


FAILS

I've got nothing.  I purged my stash a while ago and since then have found it really hard to hate on anything.
RANDOM

Mblog

From now on, if a post is labeled with Mblog (as a label, not title), it means I blogged from my iPhone.  I'm going to try to include several posts like this a week, and they're designed to be quick.  Usually with a main photograph to illustrate what I'm talking about.  I feel like it would be fun to see what gets my beauty ADD going. 

Mail Call

I received my a England order, which I've been spamming the blog with.  I need to do one more manicure to test out the last color before I can blog about it.  But trust me, its coming.

I also received my Drugstore.com/ Beauty.com order from their 20% sale.  This will be featured in another post to come.  I plan to draft a lot of posts this holiday weekend.

I'm waiting for shipping notification from Glossybox - but expect that in the near future as well.  Assuming the box actually ships in the near future.

Music

My Apocalypse by Escape the Fate.  This song has been doing it for me lately, namely its been helping me sink into the ether required to not mind running so damn much when you're running.  If you choose to listen you'll totally see why this would be an excellent song to run to.
Magazine

Lots of 'M' subcategories this post.  Runner's World.  Expect to see posts about my hilarious fail running exploits, too.  But I enjoy the hell out of this magazine.  Nothing gets me more pumped to run than reading it.  It also has lots of great workouts, tips, inspirational stories and awesome content to get you stoked about running, even if you're just starting out pounding the pavement (or treadmill/ trails/ pavement as it were).
So!  That's it!  Check back for a daily dose of awesome - and for my Friday FOTD Mblog post.   :D!

24 May 2012

NOTD - a England Holy Grail

Another a England polish from my recent order. I'm giving them all a go before I formulate my opinion. Lovely gold color!

23 May 2012

Things You Can Learn From YouTube - Soft Winged Liner

I follow Killer Colours blog for two reasons 1) She's Swedish! 2) She's got mad skillz!  Check out this winged liner tutorial she posted, its great!


Giant Hand of Swatch Vol. 4

The GIANT HAND OF SWATCH is back! (Not that it ever went anywhere - I mean short of amputation it is attached to me.) This time featuring my favorite summer lip shades!  This was photo-ed on my iPhone w/ flash and edited for color temperature, contrast, sharpness and text in Picasa (See disclaimer below).  Anyways, I think for the month of June I may do a LOTD every day post, either through Instagram or as a mobile blog (mblog) for some fun content!  As always the picture holds the key to the photo!

So pretty! So lipstick-y!
1) Tarte Matte Lipsurgence Pencil - Lively
2) Beaute Cosmetics Liqui-Gel Stain - Flouron
3) MAC Icon (Frost - Perm)
3) MAC Plushglass - Bubble Tea (LE)
5) MAC Go For It (Cremesheen - LE)
6) MAC Desire (Lustre - Perm)
7) NARS Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil - Buenos Aires (Summer 2012)
8) Illamasaqua Intense Lipgloss - Facade (Fall 2011 - Theatre of the Nameless)
9) MAC Creme Cup (Cremesheen - Perm)

So, I've talked about photography before on my blog.  And suffice it to say, I want to make this an experiment in what you can do with a camera phone and some free photo-editing software.  You don't buy beauty products in a perfectly lit, composed, white out environment and I don't think photographing them that way, while showcasing the product, really does them justice as to how you will experience them in the store (i.e. - in less than perfect lighting, without zoom, photoediting, etc).  The photographs I will strive to post will try to provide what I think is credible visual information about a product on a nice background and swatched on a fairly common skin tone (my own).  Plus, I'm down with the challenge of seeing how decent a photographer I can become using a limited platform that is available to everyone.

22 May 2012

NOTD - a England Princess Sabra

I got my order in! Super pumped! Nail sandwich as follows: Nail Tek Ultra (1x), aE PS (2x) and Nails Inc KCTC (1x).

21 May 2012

NOTD - Color Revolution Risque

My nails = awesome. This is day three of wear. My product sandwich = 1 x Nail Tek Ultra, 2 x CRR polish and 1 x Kensington Caviar Top Coat by Nails Inc.

20 May 2012

The Lemming List Vol. 1

I like lists.  I get more accomplished when I compartmentalize my life into bullet points.  I don't know if that admission is sad or admirable or admirably sad.  However.  I dearly love lemming things.  Sometimes wanting things is more awesome than actually acquiring them because for a split second I've hallucinated that I get a pony with my makeup.  Which would be awesome - great beauty products AND gasoline free badass cowgirl transportation.... I feel like its a win, win!  Everytime I have delusions of cowgirl grandeur, and every time I'm let down.  So its vastly more awesome, and mentally questionable, to really, really get your jones on for an item(s) and think that you're going to get the moon in a bag than to purchase, be let down and then get hassled by salespeople when you return the item for being less than pony worthy.  Anyways.  On to this weeks list!

Illamasqua Bacterium Nail Varnish

I know this is old news.  I know it came out with Toxic Nature a year ago.  I know that it looks streaky and has increased likelihood to be a mess on my nails.  But its called BACTERIUM (organisms which, while in college I spent massive amounts of quality time with).  It's from Illamasqua, a brand which I own woefully few polishes from (if that is, in fact, a status which is worth being woeful about).  And every picture I've seen of it promises to give me slightly mannequin-esque hands (a nail trend I fully support and like).
 
It's a taupe-y greige green with silvery blue reflection.
MAC ProLongwear Bronzer - Sun Dipped

I really enjoy cool toned bronzers.  They tend to be more user friendly as all over face contouring products than redder toned counterparts.  That being said, I've yet to find a cool toned bronzer that isn't designed for fair skin.  Until now.  Based upon the research I've managed to rustle up about this product, its not all that deep, but it can layer.  Which means I may be able to make it deep enough for some face whittling sunkissedness with layering.  This product also claims to be long wearing, which I really don't care about, but if it works, it's a boon I'll gladly take.


Thierry Mugler Alien Aqua Chic

This one sort of surprises me, too.  Mainly because I'm so taken by the idea of the fragrance rather than the fragrance itself.  I really, really want to love Thierry Mugler fragrances, but they always come across as slightly off putting to me. I enjoy Angel, purely because NO ONE smells like Angel, but I only wear it in winter, when the cold shuts down the sillage of the fragrance so you don't gas everyone out of a room with its intensity.  Womanity - I hate. There is a distinct scent of cigarettes which ruins it for me.  Alien, on the other hand, I want to have a passionate, torrid love affair with.  If only it wasn't so HEAVY.  It's seriously denser than fruit cake, even the sunessence versions that were around a few years ago felt like cement blocks on your wrists.  I haven't smelled Alien Aqua Chic, so I'm not sure what I'm in for, but hopefully this will crank my tractor, because I want to love Alien.  I want to be that cool chick who is wearing a scent called Alien.  Who has a crazy bottle of bold, enchanting perfume so she can let everyone smell how much of a genius, badass she is.  But I digress, because this is a prime example of a lemming pony.  It's built up in my head like this great bastion of scent and it has every potential to be a miserable disaster.  Even if it does have Solar Accord and Jasmine and Vanilla and Amber.  Hopefully this new version complete with "sublimated aromatic waters" (are they using sublimated as creative exposition to refer to sublime... or are they talking about actual sublimation?  I'm dubious) will provide me with what I seek.

Unfortunately they also frou-froued up Aliens bottle.



YSL Rouge Pour Couture Vernis a Levris

I've actually tested this product out excessively and obsessively.  Every time I wander into Sephora, it spend a good 15 minutes trying this on, admiring myself in the mirror with my fun Orange de Chine or unexpected Pourpre Preview or lush Corail Aquatique lips.  I know that I will eventually procure this product.  In fact I bought Orange de Chine, but returned it when I found out I got the exact same effect by blending MAC Lady Danger, MAC Morange and some Carmex together.  It destroyed the illusion of necessity for me, and made the $32 sticker price seem carelessly overbloated.  I couldn't bring myself to keep it.  If I was going to purchase this again I would purchase Corail Aquatique because I literally have nothing like this color in my lipstick collection, and more often than not this is the shade I swatch and covet and layer.  So needless to say I want it.  Really badly.  The only other shade I would ever want would be Violet Edition, but I think that will be more of a birthday gift for myself in August so I have the perfect shade of dark Vampy purple lips for fall.  The other thing I really love about this lipstick is the glossy stain idea, its a shiny stain that doesn't look heavy or cake-y on the lips.  Instead it sorta gives the illusion that if lips naturally came in the shade you were wearing, it would be a natural texture with a bit of shine, which keeps the look sleek and modern.

This is Violet Edition - dark purple goodness.


All images were from Sephora.com, because they have super nice stock photographs.  Everything except for the MAC products is available for purchase at Sephora.com as well.  Please follow me on Twitter or Facebook!

-/L.

18 May 2012

Faves & Fails: Friday Edition

So... big things have been afoot since the last F^3.  Namely, I lost 40lbs (and am still losing!) and have taken up fail running.  I call it fail running because I run and suck at it.  I've done a 10k trail run, the Dirty Girl 5k Mud Run and am coming up on my 2nd 5k this weekend in the Philadelphia Navy Yard.   Generally, I track my diet and weightloss on MyFitnessPal, which has helped me immensely. If you want to be my friend, which I love because I always need motivators!, my username is lachesissss.

FAVES

Urban Decay Big Fatty Mascara - This has been reformulated and from what I can tell, almost everything about this product is different.  The brush is different and more consistent with a spiky, rubber brush ala CoverGirl Lashblast.  BF is blacker than I remember and I *believe* it now is a tubing mascara, which makes the product buildable and volumizing. I love using it to give myself eyelashes a la Emma Watson in the November issue of British Elle because it layers a treat without clumping while giving length, curl and super thickness.  I prefer to layer it thrice over from root to tip, let it dry for a moment or two, and then layer some more, making sure to get the tips of the lashes coated.  Once fully dry, it's absolutely budgeproof/ sweatproof.

Image courtesy of Sephora.com


Urban Decay Afterglow Cream Highlighter in Sin - This is a huge favorite when transitioning to summer makeup, I love the glow it gives to my brow bone and cheekbones.  Sin is a beautiful champagne color and on yellow-y skin tones it blends in to a yummy candlelight sheen.  I really also dig Moonbeam for a hot pink funky unexpected highlight that works well to keep minimal makeup interesting.

Laura Mercier Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 20 in Sand - This is my favorite foundation.  It's more coverage than a traditional tinted moisturizer but still sheer enough that my skin looks like skin.  You can wear it dewy for an effortless look or dress it up with a finishing powder for a matte-er effect.  This product moisturizes my skin and soothes it without becoming too dewy with extended wear or sinking into my pores.

FAILS

Maybelline Color Tattoo 24 hour Wear Cream Eyeshadow - This is meh.  I've tried the orange shade (Fierce & Tangy?) and the electric purple one (I'm unsure of the name).  They're good for locking already super vibrant shades in place like MUFE #92 or MAC Off the Page, but they don't add anything to the colors either.  If you aren't using a crazy bright shadow on top of it, it tends to be a muddy, sheer, sticky, pastel color.

This is what Maybelline Color Tattoo wishes it did.  Like seriously wishes.



RANDOM

Future Mail Calls

-   a-England - I ordered three nailpolishes, and I'm not telling because I want to blog about them... :D.  My nails have been something of a recent point of pride, I've gotten them grown out and shaped very nicely. I also have perfected how I apply nailpolish and now no longer look like I Jackson Pollacked my hand.  I feel my nails are totally ready for some luxe British nail varnish.

I feel like this logo deserves a HUZZAH!


Favorite Song Right Now

- Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings) by Silversun Pickups I'm not sure what it is about this song, but it absolutely chills me out and make me reminisce of this bathroom from Elementary School where I actually played Bloody Mary and scared myself silly, even though she's not real (I think).  But it's very awesome :).

Books

- Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig - I follow a lot of authors on Twitter and Mr. Wendig (@ChuckWendig) of Terrible Minds, is one.  I purchased his book sight unseen because I saw a tweet of his, and I am not disappointed, if you like horror/urban fantasy you will appreciate this.  I also tend to appreciate when male authors write female protagonists, mainly because I like to see how women are perceived by men. In a bit of irrelevancy, Blackbirds, as it were has a very good cover jacket, which is a bonus in my book, because I absolutely judge books by their covers.

In a weird way, I covet her magpie hair.
Anyways... That's it for this friday!  Don't be afraid to say hi, follow, comment, etc.  I'd love to hear from ya'll.

-/L.

16 May 2012

Birchbox - May

Birchbox is currently the only beauty subscription service I have.  I say currently, because I jumped on the Glossybox bandwagon.  I know, I know.  I've gotten mixed signals about the awesomeness of the Glossybox, too.  But I'm gullible and am trying to use beauty subscription services to curb frivolous spending.  

May Birchbox Exterior

That being said, this is the 5th Birchbox I've received and after reading PinkSith's review for this months box, I was beyond stoked.  Alterna Caviar haircare samples, full sized Stila Sparkle Liquid Liner, Algenist skincare!?!  I want to try!! However, when I received my box, I received an entirely different set of samples alltogether.  Also, the box was Gossip Girl themed.  I follow Birchbox on twitter (@birchbox) and those girls love them some Gossip Girl, so it was apropos, and the box was designed to co-incide with this years GG season finale.

May Birchbox Contents


The Breakdown

Shipping - I was notified on the 9th that my box had shipped, which is per Birchbox's policy.  However, the box wasn't delivered until today (16 May).  Shipping is perhaps my biggest beef with BB, it is terribly inconsistent and oftentimes slow.  I've never been e-mailed my shipping notification on the same day twice (even though I am billed consistently for my box on the same day every month), and I've never had my tracking information for the box be accurate... EVER.  In fact my tracking says that my box is to be delivered tomorrow, but I have it today..... (and for the record no, I don't have a Tardis or a Delorean that can go 88 mph).  I've had boxes arrive in two days and some take two weeks, which is crazy if they are all shipping from the same location with the same carrier and type of shipping.  But I digress, I'm paying $10 for the box with free shipping (I'm choosing to assume it's free shipping and not bankrolled into the price of the box), so I try to marginalize this annoyance and desperately hope for something neat and unknown to me each month.

May's Products

 After reading Elvira's review of this months box I was hoping for similar parallels in awesome (BB does not ship the same products to everyone), and unfortunately I was slightly disappointed... Womp, womp.  But others might not be with what was sent out in my box... so here's what it contained!

Dior Miss Dior Perfume Sample - This is a typical perfume sample size, with an atomizer instead of a hollow cap/ blotter thing.  I haven't sniffed it yet, so I'm reserving my opinion, but it's nicely packaged.  Completely, useless exposition, I know.

DiorShow Exstase Mascara - This product has been out for a while.  At least a year if I recall, if not more.  The sizing is probably what you would get as a Sephora Beauty Insider 100 point perk gift.  But I really feel indifferent towards this.  I have an HG mascara and I doubt this sample will alter my opinion.

Shu Uemera Art of Hair Cleansing Oil Shampoo - Clever SU, trying to capitalize on the cleansing oil craze!  This is a huge sample packet, at least enough for two to four cleansing sessions.  The product itself is clear and has the consistency of a normal shampoo, and smells nice as well.  When in the hair it behaves as a regular shampoo, it lathers and cleans well and does not appear to be function as an oil based product (which I strongly suspect it isn't).  It has a light non-invasive scent and rinses clean away without stripping.  When the hair is left to airdry it becomes shiny and soft.  In more damaged areas of the hair, you probably need a split end serum or hair oil to make the hair pliable and smooth.  I have super short hair that is chemically treated and wavy in texture and my hair responded decently to this product.

Shu Uemera Art of Hair Cleansing Oil Shampoo product packet
Sarah McNamara Miracle Skin Transformer Body SPF 20 - A really fancy, shimmery, glowy sunscreen/ lotion/ skin perfector designed to make you look smooth, sleek and vaguely J.Lo-esque.  This has a faint sunscreen scent, which I love and reminds me of what I would imagine a shimmery BB cream would be, except you're supposed to slather it on your legs, arms and decolletage instead of your face.

Sarah McNamara Miracle Skin Transformer Body Unblended on forearm.

SMMSTB Blended - see the slight sheen?

Extras - Birchbox Thank You Card stationery and a postcard detailing the contents of the box with a coupon code for Romeoandjulietcouture.com.

Rating - I don't really have a ratings system, but I thought this box was a bit lackluster coming off of last months super cool organic/ all natural jam packed product box.  I think if this is your first box from BB, you'd be impressed.  I'd be impressed.  My favorite sample is definitely the shampoo, because it's something I've never heard of before and would never buy without the opportunity to sample it.  My least favorite samples are the Skin Transformer and the Miss Dior perfume.  I think these are generic.  Everyone has Miss Dior perfume and everyone wants shiny, glowy legs/ various body part, so while it's nice that it appeals to a broad audience I can't help but feel bored by it.

Anyways, for $10 USD a month you to can have your own Birchbox!  Just go to www.birchbox.com and sign up!

If you're interested, please follow me on twitter (@lachesissss) - I tweet about beauty, science, exercise and general things I think are cool/badass.  I also have a Facebook page, if you're interested :).

-/L.