Goodebox November 2014

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Another new fulfillment company this month (First Mile), but the box arrived on November 3rd without an issue!  It’s also a much better box this month with a range of products from face/skin to bath/body which is nice.  No real theme this month, other than a general idea of dry, winter skin and taking a break from the havoc of the holidays.  Anyway, on to the contents!

  • Zosimos Raspberry N Honey Face Mask – 4 oz / $28 – (sample is 1 oz, value of $7)  I’ve mentioned before that I love clay masks, and I generally use one about once a week.  That fresh, clean, tight skin feeling after the mask feels great, so I’m happy to see this sample in the box!  The price is pretty reasonable for the volume.  There was a little kerfluffle over the labelling since the product card said the product was vegan, but honey is kind of a hot button issue in the vegan community and from what I can tell, is largely not accepted as vegan.  It doesn’t make a bit of difference to me since I don’t follow a vegan lifestyle, but just in case you do, this product is definitely not vegan.  I gave this a test already (right after using the Tatcha powder).  I added enough water, but it clumped up in a few spots and the clumps wouldn’t work into the mask nicely – maybe those are the honey bits?  Not sure why it came out lumpy even though I mixed it in my palm well, squishing out the lumps as best as I could.  It’s definitely not as smooth as other masks I’ve used.  Dried up nicely, washed off easily, left me with that clean, tight skin feeling.  Followed up with the DN Unik day cream from last month.
  • Tatcha Polished Classic Rice Enzyme Powder – 2.1 oz / $65 – (sample is .35 oz, value of $10.83)  I wasn’t sure at first what this was, but it looks like a face wash/scrub.  A really expensive face wash/scrub.  It’s not something I’d buy because it’s crazy expensive, but it will be fun to try something so spendy.  I did give this a try and didn’t notice any difference – it didn’t feel like it even cleaned or exfoliated.  The powder is very fine instead of coarse like a sugar scrub, so it doesn’t feel like it had the same effect that a coarser scrub would.  There’s also an offer for a free travel size product with purchase.
  • MyChelle Clear Skin Spot Treatment – 15 mL / $16 – (sample is 15mL, full size, $16)  A full size sample!  And, something I’ll definitely use.  Even though I’m in my mid-thirties, I  have breakouts (making up for my teenage years when I had so few pimples, it was almost criminal).  I love that it’s sulfur based because sulfur products seem to work better and quicker than anything else I’ve tried.  I gave this a quick dab on a spot and it doesn’t smell strongly of sulfur like other products do.  There’s also an offer for a free Argan Oil with purchase of the Perfect C Serum.
  • Lauren Brooke Corrective Concealer – 7 g / $14 – (sample is approx 3.5 g, value of $7)  I ended up liking the Finishing Powder from the July Box more than I thought I would, so I’m willing to give this a go!  I do have pretty dark under eye circles, but I find most concealers to be thick and cakey and feel weird.  We’ll have to see how this one works out.  There’s also a code for 20% off all products.
    Update 9 November 2014 – I actually really like this!  It’s not too thick of a concealer, so it tones down the dark circles without feeling cakey and blends in really well with my skintone.  Lauren Brooke is on the fast track to becoming a favorite brand!
  • EO Everyone Yoga Bubble Bath – 600 mL / $12.99 – (sample is 44 mL, value of $.95)  So here’s where I admit that I hate taking baths.  The idea of sitting in warm water in our teeny bathtub does nothing for me, and I can’t wash my hair in the bath tub, I have to shower because of my long curly hair.  If I’m using that much water, I might as well have clean hair too.  So, I don’t use bubble bath, except maybe once a year on vacation if the place we’re staying at has a fancy whirlpool tub.  I may try to use this as just a regular body wash instead and see how that goes  The scent is nice, herbal and fresh with just a hint of citrus.   The ingredient list though is amazing and I’m thrilled they don’t use SLS or ALS in the product at all.  There’s an offer for a full size bubble bath with $20 purchase.
  • Blissoma Scentless Stick Natural Deoderant – 2 oz / $14.99 – (sample is .15 oz, value of $1.12)  Yet again, I hand over my natural fanclub card when it comes to deoderants.  These just NEVER work on me, and a scentless one is going to have no smell to even try to cover up any stink that is bound to happen.  Also, the information on the sample says to wait several hours after shaving before using.  Just how is that supposed to work?  If I don’t put on deoderant right after a shower (which usually involves a pit shave), I start to stink within the hour.  Do you go out of the house without deoderant on and then apply it at 10am?  No, that just doesn’t work.  I do appreciate that the sample is in stick form instead of in a pot (smearing deoderant cream on my pits is just the grossest thing ever).  I mean, I’ll give it a fair try, but I’m not holding out hope that this will actually work at all.  There is a coupon code for 20% off.  
    Update 9 November 2014 – 
    Yeah this didn’t work beyond two hours.  It’s weird.  I’m not the sort of person who needs clinical strength deoderant.. good old standard Dove is fine.  This stuff went on chalky and left bits all over the floor and then offered no protection from odor or wetness.  Total failure.  If someone knows of a natural deoderant that works, I’d love to try it, but so far, I’m striking out.

Final tally gives us a box worth $42.90 (calculated by volume, not taking into account sample size packaging costs).  Aside from the deoderant, I really like everything else and will definitely use up the samples.  Even if some of them are things I wouldn’t buy or use in my daily routine, the box still brings me some nice treats and splurges that I get to try for the fun of it!

Petit Vour September 2014

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If I had to put together my own subscription sample box, it would look a lot (if not exactly) like this!  After this month’s disappointment with Goodebox, I decided to try Petit Vour for a change of pace.  They started out by sending me the September box which was a nice treat!  No waiting for the next month’s box, total instant satisfaction.  The box costs $15 per month and includes 4-5 products.  I will absolutely use everything in this box, and the cruelty-free, vegan products are right in line with what I like to see in the products I use.  I’m not a vegan myself, but for health/beauty products, I prefer to use non-petroleum based as much as possible, and by now you know how picky I am about hair care products (no sulfates or silicones).  The box, “Beauty & The Box,” was a collaboration between Petit Vour and Logical Harmony, a blog about vegan beauty and lifestyle.  Anyway, on to the contents!

  • Ellovi Tinted Lip Butter – $5 / .07 oz – Full Size product!  Only six ingredients, four of which are oils, then Shea Butter and a natural colorant (alkanet root).  It doesn’t have much of a scent or flavor which is fine with me because it leaves behind a subtle raspberry colored tint which is great for everyday use.  LOVE this to bits, and it’s going right into my bag for use as a daily lip balm (I go through those like wildfire, and this may be my new staple lip balm).  The price is reasonable too.
  • Lily Lolo Mineral Eyeshadow – $12 / 2 grams – Another full size product!  The color I received is “Sidewalk” which is a basic matte grey color, great for day or night.  What’s even better is the packaging – the inside has a twisty cap that allows you to turn the lid to open or close the sifter.  Really handy.  I haven’t yet tried this outside of a quick swatch on my hand, but I’m sure I’ll use it since it’s such a great, basic color.
  • Root Science RS Detox – $50 / 2 oz – Half-size sample, 1 oz.  It’s a powder mostly consisting of various clays that you combine with water to make a mask.  I gave this a try last night, and it smelled a lot like chamomile tea, very pleasant.  I’ll admit that I’m already a big fan of clay masks, and this was no exception.  It was a little weird at first that it comes in powder form, but it saves on packaging, and keeps the ingredients fresh until you add water.  It left my skin with a nice and tight, clean feeling, and following up with a moisturizer was perfect.  It is kind of expensive for a mask, but if you’re using it once a week, it will go a good long way which makes the price more reasonable.
  • Yarok Leave-In Conditioner – $13.20 / 2 oz – Sample size is 2 oz, but product is available at many sizes.  It’s like the people at Petit Vour know me.  I’ve got long, super curly, dry hair, and this is JUST what I’ve been looking for!  The ingredients are mostly oils in a water base which somehow don’t seem to separate.  This is perfect for second-day hair to control frizz and moisturize dry ends.  I already gave it a try, and it’s just the right balance of conditioning without being greasy, and smells lemony/herbaly.  Honestly, this is going to be a new staple in my hair care routine.  I hadn’t found a second-day hair treatment I really liked yet, but this one is perfect.

So, final tally gives me a value of $55.20 by volume!  Really an incredible value for the cost of the box, and personally a great value because of the variety of products (lips, makeup, skin, hair) which all suit me perfectly.  VERY happy with this box – it’s probably the best subscription box I’ve ever received, EVER – and I can’t wait to see what they put together for October.

Goodebox October 2014

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The October Goodebox has arrived!  And, it arrived in the first week of the month, on time (even if it shipped September 18th).  I’ll start with the good since I was so critical last time.  I’m SO, so glad that Goodebox didn’t fall prey to all the pinkwashing going on this month.  Besides the fact that I hate the color pink, I’d rather see real progress with breast cancer research and meaningful donations instead of BUY THIS THING BECAUSE IT’S PINK.  ALSO, BOOBIES.  (When, really, the majority of the profit goes to the company, not to breast cancer research)  The monthly product card points out that being mindful of the ingredients in our products is important, saying, “we’d like to remind you all to take your health, and what you put on your body seriously.”  Huge kudos for that, because that matters more than buying something that’s pink.  Now, that out of the way, I can tell you that this box was a miss for me.  I’d gotten accustomed to seeing full-sized products in the boxes, so when I opened this one, I was a little disappointed because all those samples are kinda tiny – the largest is 1/2 of an ounce.  It’s silly and superficial, but it was the first thing I thought.  Checking around Instagram, it looks like there’s only one product different between the different boxes which is again, disappointing.  Why have a huge survey about preferences if everyone gets the same box anyway?  There had been a much broader range of products in prior boxes, so it feels like maybe they were rushed to get this out on time (after last month’s shipping issues with Newgistics).  I don’t know.  I feel like I want to give them another chance because I have been pretty happy with the other boxes and support green/natural products, it’s just that the last two REALLY missed the mark for me and it almost feels like they’ve cheaped out.  Anyway, on to the contents!

  • Jillian Wright Congested Skin Cleanser – 4 oz/$38 – (sample is .5 oz approx, value of $4.75)  This smells almost exactly like the Suave Strawberry shampoo which is a good thing!  Lathers up nicely, smells really great, but unfortunately isn’t that reasonable in terms of price.  Coupon code for 20% off all Jillian Wright products.
  • Earthwise Beauty Pumpkin & Papaya Seen Organic Face Scrub & Mask – 2 oz / $32 – (sample size is .25 oz, value of $4.00)  Smells earthy and sweet.  I haven’t tried this yet, but it looks great and is the one product I’m really interested in trying.  At $32 for 2oz, it’s really spendy, but would be something I’d splurge on occasionally for a treat for my face.  I really love masks and deep scrubs, so this is right up my alley.  There’s also a coupon code for 20% off.
  • Unik Anti-Aging Day Cream – .34 oz / $18 – (per abesmarket.com, 1.69 oz is the full size product at $57.95, so the sample is worth $11.66, not $18)  I don’t use day or night creams like this and have no interest in anti-aging products, so this is a wash.  I’ll still use the sample because it’s here, and hey why not, but this is just something I’m not interested in.  The misleading pricing information from the product card is just the icing on the cake.  There is a discount code for 20% off.
  • Unik Anti-Aging Night Cream – .34 oz / $18 – (per abesmarket.com, 1.69 oz is the full size product at $59.95, so the sample is worth $12.06, not $18)  Same as above pretty much.  Even with the discount, this is so expensive for a type of product I don’t already use daily, so this is a complete miss for me.
  • Angel Face Botanicals Lavendar Oil Free Clarifying Serum – 4.3 oz / $48 – (sample size is .5 oz, value of $5.58) This smells really great, and will be fun to try, but isn’t something I include in my day-to-day routine and have no desire to at that price.  I did give this a try, and it sinks into my skin quickly without feeling sticky or heavy.  There’s a 20% off coupon, but I think I’ll just enjoy the trial size.
  • DSC_0797Vapour Mesmerize Eye Shimmer or Color – .11 oz – $20 – (sample size is .0096 oz, value of $1.74) This sample is probably the worst one in the box.  It looks like someone just cut slices of a full product and put them in little plastic snap boxes.  The slice measures 11mm across and 3mm high, which is how I got the sample size.  Fine, I’m a nerd, but this is ridiculous.  I’ve put a photo of that sample to the right (click to see full-size photo) because it was just that absurd.  How am I even supposed to apply that?!  The color I received is “Dusk 625” which is a nice color, and the price is decent, but that sample?  Seriously, what the hell.  No coupon code either.

I added in the value of the samples to see what the box was actually worth as calculated out from the full-size products (Full-Size price divided by Full-Size volume then that number multiplied by the Sample Size).  Final total?  $39.79, most of which is the two anti-aging creams.  Take out the two creams, and the total comes to $16.07.  The box costs $18 per month.  Goodebox commented on my Instagram post to say, “We thought it might be helpful to share the actual value of the products you received. Angel Face Serum – $10, Vapour Organics Shadow – $3-5, DN Unik Day Cream – $14.98, Night Cream – $14.98, Earthwise Scrub – $4, Jillian Wright Cleanser – $6.33… For a total value of $53.29 (for $18),” but my totals don’t math out the same way.  I get that the “sample size” can be sold as a travel size at a higher price per unit than the full size, but that’s a big difference in numbers.  I’ll probably still stick in for one more box, but if it does nothing for me, it’ll be my last.

GoodeBox September 2014

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I should say first off that I’m not feeling this one at all.  The shipping delay really irked me – the box shipped August 28 and took 15 days to arrive.  Newgistics, you suck.  This was the first time Goodebox used Newgistics for shipping, but after having heard about all the issues Birchbox subscribers have with Newgistics, I’m not surprised it didn’t go well, by no fault of GoodeBox.  That said, if the box was better, I might not be on the fence about cancelling, but the box isn’t all that great for me.  I mean.. a wee tin of sea salt?!  Really?!  The full-size nail polish is fun, but the color isn’t really me – it’s sort of a glittery beige and just looks weird.  I saw other people got boxes with a pretty aqua blue color, so I was really disappoited to see muddy glitter in mine.  The blush color is all wrong (way too yellow), I already have a soap vendor I LOVE to bits, and the Barre 3 stuff just isn’t me.  Free trial, so I’ll still give it a go, but eh.  Their website has photos of only svelte, toned women, and there are no gals who look like me in any of their videos.  While I’m sure they offer modified poses, it’s nice to see folks of all sizes on fitness videos instead of Mr. and Ms. Perfect.  It’s disappointing and makes me want to hide my voluptuous ass in baggy sweatpants instead of working out with three perfectly toned people.  I’ll admit that the shipping delay made my review of this box tainted with a big old pair of grumpy pants, so, it’s a little more critical than usual.  Anyway, on to the box!

  • Square Hue Nail Polish – three .5oz bottles per month/$14.99 – The color I received is, “Rodeo Drive,” and it’s just not me.  It’s a really peculiar color that looks kinda pinkish or brownish depending on the light and, ugh.  I hate pink.  Hate hate hate pink.  This is never a color I would’ve picked out on my own, but the formula covers really well in two coats, goes on nicely and is 5-free.  WAY better than Zoya, IMHO, in terms of coverage and smell.  Zoya takes sometimes 3 or 4 coats to cover and really stinks for being a 5-free polish.  I don’t think I’ll subscribe to the monthly box, but I do like the polish and may do a one-time order.  It’s just a gamble with mystery colors, and if there’s any pink in the box that month, I’m going to be wildly disappointed, and there’s no way to specify color choices.  Not good.
    Update: I like the coverage and it seemed to last about a week, but I hated the color more and more every day.
  • Weleda Skin Food – 2.5 oz/$19 – So, it’s a really expensive skin lotion, and the samples are silly foil packets.  I don’t like foil packets – you have to use the entire amount in the packet in one use and can’t save it if it’s too much.  Drives me crazy.  I’ll use the samples, but for skin lotion?  There are more affordable alternatives that are just as good.
    Update: I finally tried this and it REEKS.  There’s something about the scent that really turns me off.. I can’t put my finger on what it smells like, but it almost smells like some kind of industrial citrus cleaning product, and in a bad way.  Note to self, use only on feet and legs.
  • Homespun Northwest Himalayan Citrus Head-to-toe Cleansing Bar – 5oz/$13 – Soap.  A bar of soap for $13.  I have a favorite Honey Ale and Egg solid soap I use for shampoo that I buy from Sweets N Things on Etsy for $6 for 4oz.  I have no plans to switch since I LOVE that soap already, and it’s affordable and lasts me about 4 months.  This sample though is for a bar of soap for $13 that doesn’t contain unicorn hair or fairy farts.  Nope.  It also immediately shed salt that was sprinkled on the bar all over the place.  The product card offers a discount of 20% off $10 or more, but I’m really not interested.
  • Plantlife Arnica Relief Gel – 4oz/$15.90 – I’ve never felt that Arnica gel actually did anything for me.  I’ve tried it before on bruises and noticed no difference in healing time or pain relief.  So, this is really meh for me and not something I’d ever buy (and will likely be found months from now in the medicine cabinet, still unused).  There’s a coupon code for 25% off an order through their website, so I’ll have to see what else they make.
  • All Natural Face Matte Cream Blushes for Lips & Cheeks – .7oz/$5.75 – Reasonably priced, but the color of the sample I received is all wrong for my skin.  It’s, “Dark Rose,” when I’m more of a “Peachy Rose” or “Persimmon.”  It’s just too yellow and isn’t a color I can use as blush, and definitely isn’t a color I’d ever use on my lips.  The formula is nice though and I like that it can be used two ways.  There’s a 20% off coupon, in case I want to try one of the other shades.
  • Jacobsen Pure Flake Sea Salt – 1.5oz/$9.95 – It’s salt.  I don’t understand why this is in the GoodeBox at all other than that they, “procure pure salt crystals straight from the cold waters of the Oregon Coast using traditional, hand harvesting methods,” so that they can call it froufrou special salt and charge more.  Big deal.  It’s still salt.  And going out to dinner anywhere involves over-salted food (everyone uses way too much for our near-sodium-free home cooking), so why the wee little travel tin?  It’s all weird, and it’s just salt.
    Update: Put it on dinner last night, and yep, salt.  Nothing special about the flavor.  It’s just salt.
  • Barre 3 – $15/month – The offer in the box came with a wristband, Field Guide, and a month of free online classes.  I’ve done yoga and pilates before, even went to 6 months of sessions with a personal trainer.  I’m no stranger to fitness, but I absolutely hate when programs like this show only svelte, toned people in their website photos.  Okay, fine, image sells, but showing me that people of all sizes take their classes is much more encouraging than making me feel like I’m not the kind of person they want in their classes.  I mean, free trial, so as long as I don’t have to enter a credit card, I’ll give it a try.

I’m pretty bummed about not getting the tea – I would’ve definitely used that up.  I’m not sure how else to adjust my preferences on GoodeBox’s website to get better colors that work for my skin – this is a second or third time I ended up with colors that don’t work for me.  I keep going back and making sure I selected the right things, but it doesn’t seem to matter much.  Anyway, sorry for the downer of a review, but this month is hugely disappointing.  I’ll probably end up giving the nail polish to a friend and see if anyone else is interested in the cream blush.  After that I have salt, a teeny chunk of soap, and foil packets of skin lotion.  Yeah.  Not so good.  I’ll give GoodeBox another month to see if things turn around (Subscription boxes can be so hit or miss, so I like to give them another chance), but with Newgistics on board, this doesn’t bode well.