Sephora Play! May 2017

May’s Sephora Play! has arrived!  For those of you that are avid Sephora Play! fans, my box variant was #264, and my profile is set to dry skin and dry hair.  Unfortunately, it seems like the profile went out the window this month since I got products that are all for “Normal to Oily” skin or oily scalp.  Complete miss on the product selection there, Sephora.  The theme this month was, “The Rising Stars,” and I think this might be the first theme that they actually paid attention to the theme.  All those brands are relatively new and are gaining popularity, so, well done.  The bag is different this month too – it’s a clear vinyl bag, perfect for stashing away on vacation (possibly airline carry-on safe as well?).

  • Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub – 2.7 oz / $19 – (Product is 1.35 oz, value of $9.50 by volume)  This is actually a combo sea salt scrub and shampoo.  There is no chance that I’d ever use anything like this on my dry scalp since it contains sea salt (REALLY?!) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate.  I haven’t used a product with SLS on my hair in years since my curly hair doesn’t need to be stripped of all of its oils with such a harsh surfactant.  It’s funny because this is the only product the company makes that contains SLS.  And the very idea of rubbing sea salt on my scalp when I have a terrible problem with dryness.. that’s just a disaster waiting to happen.  I saw other people report that this strips out color (I dye the ends of my hair a vibrant red using semi-permanent vegetable-based hair dye), so this is a HARD pass for me.  It’s also pretty heavily perfumed.  I think I may repurpose it as a plain old body scrub or exfoliator, but this isn’t going anywhere near my hair.  The company is cruelty free though, so that’s awesome!
  • trèStiQue Highlight & Perfect Multipurpose Stick – .21 oz / $34 – (Product is .04 oz, value of $6.48 by volume)  I’m not a big fan of highlighters to begin with, but this is one of those light, opalescent highlighters instead of a glitter bomb.  It’s subtle, so I actually like this as a brow bone highlighter to set of eye makeup.  It may be just a hair too light for my skin tone, and I’m pretty fair-skinned, but it’s also the only color they offer.  The company is also cruelty free.
  • Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip Clay Cleanser – 4.2 oz / $45 – (Product is 1 oz, value of $10.71 by volume)  SUNDAY RILEY!  I know and love Sunday Riley already since they’re a wonderful cruelty free company.  This product says it’s for normal to oily skin, but I love the brand so much, I don’t even care, I’m going to use this up and not even worry about the fact that it doesn’t at all fit my beauty profile.  The product dispenses as a cloudy liquid gel that works into a gentle, light lather (not super foamy, just every so slightly bubbly) and rinses away cleanly.  I didn’t find it was drying, and the scent was very light.  I’m not sure I’d go in for the $45 full size version, but it’s great to be able to try this out!
  • Nudestix Magnetic Matte Lip Color – .1 oz / $24 – (Product is .088 oz, value of $21.12 by volume)  I’m not sure why we couldn’t get the extra .012 oz to make this a full size?  It seems kind of silly.  But, maybe it’s all for the better since this color, “Greystone,” is quite possibly the most hideous color in the history of lip colors.  It’s brown.  Poop brown, dirt brown, disgusting brown.  I’m not sure this color would look good on anyone.  I heard people have tried layering other colors over it, but the formula is so opaque and strong that there’s nothing that can make it look good.  I mean, all of that would be awesome if it was a pretty color, but this isn’t.  It’s terrible.  The company though is cruelty free and there are other colors in this line that I actually like, but brown lipstick?  No.  Just no.
  • Maison Margiela Replica Eau de Toilette – 3.4 oz / $126 – (Product is .04 oz, value of $1.48 by volume)  The scent is, “Beach Walk,” and is actually not terrible!  The bergamot definitely comes out on top, and while the floral ylang ylang is there, it’s tempered a bit by the musk and cedarwood.  It’s a light scent that isn’t a stinky floral and I could absolutely wear this without wanting to scrub it off my skin.  It’s not enough of a hit that I’d ever pay $126 for a bottle, but it’s nice enough that I’d use up the sample.  Unfortunately, the parent company is L’Oreal, and this company does test on animals.
  • GrandeLips Hydrating Lip Plumper – .05 oz / $27 – (Product is approx 1.2 mL?, value of $20?)  I’m totally guessing on the product size – it looks about the same volume as the perfume once you remove the applicator.  It’s pretty close to being full size though, just in different packaging.  I tried this out already and while it does tingle, it doesn’t burn.  I can never really tell if these plumping products actually make a noticeable difference, but it works well enough as a hydrating gloss that I’ll use it regardless.  This company is cruelty free too!

Overall the value of the box this month comes to $69.29 which is pretty huge for a box that only costs $10.60 a month including tax.  Definitely one of the bigger value boxes!  I do have to give Sephora some credit this month too since I’d been ranting on about wanting a cruelty free box, and this one was SO close!  The only thing that was from a non-cruelty-free company was the perfume.  I’m not sure if it’s just because newer indie brands understand that their consumers are looking for cruelty free cosmetics and there’s no need or reason to test cosmetics on animals or sell in countries (*cough-China-cough*) that require the barbaric practice, or that Sephora actually aimed to include cruelty free products this month.  Either way, I’m glad to see it happen, and LOOK!  No Estée Lauder products this month!  It’s like they were listening to me!  So, out of 6 products, two were complete failures which leaves me with 4 products I’ll use.  I am a little disappointed that they seemed to not have bothered looking at the profiles this month, and I’m kind of sick of getting highlighters already, but I still want to hang on to this subscription for a bit since the price point is low and I’m still getting enough wins to make it worth it.  Looking forward to the next month!

Vegan Cuts Beauty Box May 2017

I decided to try out a new box, the Vegan Cuts Beauty Box, and this month was my first box.  I’ve known about this one for a while, so when they ran a 6th birthday special last month, I hopped right on!  While I may not be vegan (I still eat meat, but for the most part it’s from local farmers that I know and trust who run smaller scale farms), I do make an effort to buy only cruelty free beauty products and find that vegan products are a little gentler on my skin.  May’s box is themed, “Beauty and the Beach,” and features summer go-to beauty products.

  • Salis Skincare Blackhead Removal Mask – 2 oz / $14.99 – (Product value $7.50 per product card, possibly 1 oz?)  Three simple ingredients create a unique mask that is meant to remove blackheads and make your pores look smaller.  You’re supposed to use this as an overnight treatment on problem areas, and the added sulfur means that it will no doubt make a great acne treatment too.
  • Little Moon Clear Mind Mist – 2 oz / $6.30 – (Product value $3.15 by volume)  The scent contains eucalyptus, grapefruit and rosemary, but I don’t like eucalyptus at all as a scent, so to me, it smells more like Vicks VapoRub and cough drops rather than anything that would make me feel alert and focused.  Huge pass for me, but I know I have a friend who will like this.  The company does have a “Sleep Comes Easy” mist that’s definitely more my speed though with bergamot, chamomile, lavender and lemon, and “Beach All You Want” is coconut, sandalwood, and tangerine which sounds perfect!
  • Nubian Heritage African Black Soap – 5 oz / $4.99 – (Product value $3.49 by volume)  This soap came at just the right time!  I usually use a charcoal soap on my face and it was just about done for, so this is a welcome replacement.  The soap smells delightful, mostly like shea butter I think, and contains oat flour and tea tree oil to help clear up breakouts.  My skin is usually dry, but I like a soap like this to give my face a solid clean before applying moisturizers, and the tea tree oil helps keep those occasional breakouts in check.
  • Luxie Dreamcatcher Foundation Brush – 1 brush / $20 – (Product card says $20 value, but I can’t find this online)  The brush is the #510 foundation brush in the Dreamcatcher color which is this pretty bluish purple.  I’ve gotten a couple of Luxie brushes before and love them, so this is another great addition to my brush arsenal!
  • Lauren Brooke Cosmetiques Eyeshadow – 1.8 g / $14.50 – (Full size product)  I’ve gotten a couple of things from Lauren Brooke before, so I’m happy to see this show up in the box!  The color is a really lovely matte dusty rose or orchid kind of color.  The formula goes on perfectly matte and smooth, and the color works really well for a light, every day sort of look.
  • Pair’d Beauty Dry Shampoo – 2 oz / $6.00 – (Full size product)  Okay, I’m not into dry shampoos, but this is a wet, dry shampoo, if that makes sense!  It’s a liquid instead of a powder, so there’s no need to brush it into my hair to distribute it, so no ruining my curls.  The scent is “Sweet Cali Orange” and contains just four ingredients – water, maize, ethanol, and essential oils.  I’m going to have to give this a solid try out as a second-day-hair product.  My hair doesn’t ever get greasy (it actually gets drier and drier the longer I go without washing it), so I don’t need the maize to soak up oil, and I’m a little concerned about the ethanol further drying out my hair and making frizzies.  So, the jury is out on this one so far.  The scent is nice though!

Overall the value of the box comes to $54.64 which is well above the cost of even a month-to-month subscription at $22.95 per month.  I did have some trouble finding some of the product values since the product sizes weren’t listed on the products themselves or found discrepancies between the product card and value on the manufacturers’ websites.  The only thing that I’m passing on out of this box is the Little Moon mist, but everything else I’ll use or at least give a fair try.  The big winners for me are the brush, black soap, and eyeshadow for sure.  It’s funny, the box has been sitting at my desk most of this week (it arrived.. Tuesday I think?), and the soap smells SO nice, I almost want to leave it at my desk a little longer!  Anyway, this was a great first box from Vegan Cuts, and I’m looking forward to next month!

Espionage Cosmetics BOOM!Box May 2017

Oh hey, it’s May, that means another edition of the Espionage Cosmetics BOOM!Box has arrived!  I completely forgot this was a May thing, so when I saw the box on my doorstep this morning, I was pleasantly surprised.  This month’s theme was, “Battle of the Badlands,” and was teased as featuring items from our favorite dystopias.  The theme was right up my zombie-loving alley, and may be one of my favorite boxes so far!


  • Drylands Map – SO much awesome in one little map.  This came rolled up in a tube, but flattened out pretty easily.  Both sides are printed with the back being a plain surface that looks like a distressed parchment paper.  It was designed by Jessica Freaxx who did an AMAZING job.  The map design is a collection of cities from all kinds of different dystopias from WALL-E to The 100, Shaun of the Dead, and even Zombieland to name a few.
  • You’ve Got Red on You T-Shirt – Created as a collaboration with Jordandené, this t-shirt has that classic phrase from Shaun of the Dead.  This is one of my most favorite movies ever, so I’m absolutely IN LOVE with this shirt.  The fabric is a super soft cotton, and I’m beyond over the moon for this.  I have .. plans .. for a better photo shoot for this shirt that I couldn’t quite accomplish today, so I’ll probably post that at a later date.  [insert evil cackle here]

  • Heda Necklace – Made of two layers of faux leather on a ball chain necklace, this necklace is amazing.  I am a huge fan of The 100 so this is perrrrfect.  The black faux leather top layer is imprinted with “Jus drein jus daun,” and lays over a brown faux leather layer to make the Trikru symbol.  The back of the card lets you know that the chain was left extra long, but you can easily snap off the excess length to shorten it to your liking.

  • Twinkie – It’s a Twinkie!  Definitely a reference to Zombieland, this addition to the box gave me a good laugh.  The unsinkable Twinkie also made an appearance in WALL-E, and just like in the movies, I’m pretty sure Twinkies will outlast us all (although this one may not last a week).  Such a great reference to two excellent movies!
  • Wasteland Wanderer Nail Wraps – These glossy nail wraps are a reference to the Fallout video game, specifically to Vault Boy’s outfit.  I can’t say I’ve ever played the game myself, but I’m familiar enough with the franchise to have picked this out right away.

  • Dead Inside Nail Wraps – OHBOY OHBOY.  ZOMBIES.  This is just such a neat take on The Walking Dead and I’m going to need eleventy more of these.  The nail wraps have a glossy finish with silver foil accents that make it look like you’re watching for zombies behind the (apparent) safety of a fence.  There’s even a glow in the dark accent! (Click here to see)
  • Borderlands The Pre-Sequel Nail Wraps – This is another video game franchise I haven’t yet dipped my toe into, but I keep seeing references to the game everywhere, so it might be time!  These are glossy nail wraps in super bright colors, and even if I don’t know much about the game, they sure are pretty.

Values are always hard to assign with this box since most things are custom-made just for this box.  I know that the Jordandené shirt retails for $30, and the three nail wraps would be $10 each which makes for a running total of $60, so we’re already way over the cost of the box which is $30 per month plus shipping, making the cost $36.25 in total.  I can’t get over that t-shirt though!  I have a bunch of other Shaun of the Dead themed tees, but this one is so perfect and so different from the others.  And, that necklace!  I’m definitely wearing that out this weekend.  So yeah, yet another box that completely knocked it out of the park for me!  Next cycle’s theme arriving in August has already been announced and is, “The Perfect Storm,” which, YES PLEASE.

Benevolent Beauty Box May 2017

May’s Benevolent Beauty Box arrived on Monday (today is Thursday, lazy blogger is lazy this week).  Do you see how well-rounded that box is?  A lip gloss, eyeshadow, eyeliner, sheet mask, bath product, and an aromatherapy spray.  I swear they go out of their way to really make these boxes amazing every month and it absolutely shows.  And Hello Kitty eyeshadow?  I’m so here for this.

  • Armour Beauty Lip Gloss – 6.5 mL / $24 – (Full size product)  I received the color, “Nina,” which is described as a bright opaque coral.  Corals don’t work with my skin tone at all, so the color is a big miss for me.  There were other color possibilities, and I think “Barracuda” would’ve been a better fit, but this was just luck of the draw (or not, as the case may be).  The formula is thick and sticky, but highly pigmented and smells like a cupcake.  Unfortunately, it looks like the company Armour has closed.  There’s still stock available from other retailers, but probably not for long.
  • Franklin & Whitman Mineral Soak – 4 oz / $24.95 – (2 oz, I think, size isn’t marked, value of $12.48)  I already love this company thanks to this box, but I’m not too big on baths and we have this tiny, useless bathtub, so I’ll stack this away for a future vacation that comes with a fancy spa tub.  I know these soaks are good for sore muscles which is great after a day of snowshoeing or hiking.
  • ColourPop Super Shock Shadow – 2.1 g / $6 – (Full size product)  The color I received is, “Small Gift,” a shimmery pink.  I grew up with Hello Kitty, so this was neat to see in the box!  Somehow I missed when this line launched from ColourPop in November of 2016, but I’m glad I got this in the box now since they’re no longer available through ColourPop.  The shadow is super velvety and highly pigmented and goes on so smoothly.
  • Gypsy Soul Organics Aromatherapy Spray – 2 oz / $19.99 – (Full size product)  The scent is, “Son Rain,” and this is right up my alley.  It’s a musky and grassy spray that can be used on linens, pillows, as a room spray, or even as a body spray.  I absolutely LOVE this scent and will probably use it as a body spray.  Bonus that it has citronella as part of the scent, so it may help keep mosquitoes away too!
  • Seoul Mamas Revitalizing Mask – 1 mask / $8 – (Full size product)  Sheet masks are a nice treat for a pamper-yourself day, so I’m always happy to see these show up in subscription boxes.  The fabric in this one is 100% bamboo, and the ingredient list has a bunch of wonderful extracts.  I haven’t tried it yet since I’m saving it for a day when I need a little time-out to relax, so I’ll have to update once I do!
  • Ardency Inn Modster Easy Ride Supercharged Liquid Liner – 1.7 mL / $20 – (Full size product)  In the color, “Deep Black,” this liquid eyeliner has a really neat applicator tip that’s a lot like a flexible felt-tip pen.  The line comes out nice and even (even with my complete lack of finesse with drawing fine lines), but you can also add a little pressure to bend the tip down and draw nice, wide lines easily.  The color applies crazy dark black and dries pretty quickly.  I haven’t tried it out on my eyes yet, but the ingredients are all ones I’ve used before with no problem.

There was a bonus freebie included this time (not pictured), Viter Energy Mints.  I tried one, but unfortunately, they’re artificially sweetened with sucralose, so they’re a pass for me.  I find the flavor of artificial sweeteners really gross – I couldn’t even make it longer than 5 seconds with the mint in my mouth.  Fun to try, but please, just use regular sugar!  I’d gladly have a few calories than that nasty chemical taste.

Overall, the total value this month is $90.47 which I think is on the lower end for the box, but it’s still three times the cost which is $29.95 on a month-to-month basis.  It’s hard to pick a favorite this month, but I’d say it’s probably a three-way tie between the eye shadow, liner, and aromatheraphy spray.  I do really love the scent of that spray – it’s just the right blend of scents.  As always, looking forward to next month’s box!

Kloverbox May 2017

The May Kloverbox arrived yesterday!  This is my last Kloverbox, and it’s a pretty awesome one.  I cancelled my subscription after getting two in a row that weren’t a good fit, but this one is pretty well spot on.  The Yarok product is a huge favorite of mine, cuticle cream is always welcome, and the Sari scarf is such a pretty color and pattern!  Okay, before I go on too much, let’s get into the details.

  • Meadowlark Botanicals Cuticle Cream – 1.5 oz / $7 – (Full size product) This orange-scented cuticle cream is right up my alley.  I use stuff like this right before bed usually because my hands end up a dry, parched mess by the end of the day.  This smells a lot like a creamsicle, and the consistency is that goldilocks zone of just solid enough, but not too solid that it’s a pain to dig out of the pot.  I really like this!
  • Yarok Feed Your Ends – 2 oz / $13.20 – (Travel size product)  I mentioned it above, but I’ve gotten this in boxes before, but it’s become a regular staple in my curly girl arsenal.  No alcohol, parabens, sulfates or silicones, and it smells lightly herbal and lemongrassy.  The ingredient list contains a blend of great oils that are perfect for dry ends, and a great second-day-hair treatment to tame down the frizzies.  Very happy to see this in this box!
  • Ballerina Botanicals Green Beauty Barre – 1 bar / $8.99 – (Product is a sample, value on product card is $4.50, but it looks to be about 1/4th of a bar [no weight listed for the bar on the manufacturer’s website], so it’s probably more like $2.25 by size/weight)  If only this didn’t have peppermint oil!  My skin seems to be a little sensitive to peppermint oil so this is going to be a pass for me.  Peppermint oil can be a skin irritant, so I’m not even going to try this out and risk being itchy.  It’s pretty pungent too, and I don’t like the smell of peppermint at all.  I’d have much preferred this without the extra scent!
  • I Was A Sari Loop Scarf – 1 scarf / $25 – (Full size product)  I couldn’t find this on the manufacturer’s website, so I’m just using the value off the product card.  What a gorgeous color and print!  The fabric feels like a rayon, and it’s got a nice sheen and drape to it.  The scarf measures 32″ square when laid flat.  The fabric doesn’t show any signs of wear, so if someone did actually wear this fabric as part of a Sari before, it was very lightly or gently worn.  I’d love to hear more about the process, where the Saris come from, etc, but there’s no information on the website just yet.  Still, the idea of giving jobs to women and reusing fabric definitely appeals to me, and that makes this so much more than just a scarf.
  • New Chapter Perfect Hair, Skin, and Nails Supplement – 60 capsules / $34.17 – (Sample is 15 capsules, value of $8.54)  This was added in as a free sample along with a coupon code for $3 off a purchase at the manufacturer’s website that apparently, you can’t actually shop through.  The site just directs you to local retailers or Amazon, so I’m not sure how a coupon at is worth anything when they don’t even have a way to purchase directly through them.  Beyond that, supplements like this have proven to be useless or downright dangerous by actual scientific studies, so these are going straight to the trash.  I won’t even put these in the trade box since I feel pretty strongly about how much money people waste buying into the supplement industry every year – an industry that isn’t subject to regulation or testing but is allowed to make wild claims about their ingredients with no scientific proof of those claims.  (Of course, I’ll recycle the glass bottle, but the pills?  Garbage.)

Overall, the value of the box without the vitamins comes to about $49 depending on how you count the soap.  This is a little on the lower end for the box, but not by a whole lot, and considering the box costs $25 on a month-to-month basis, the value of the scarf alone takes care of the cost!  I do really love getting the Yarok spray and the cuticle cream though, so I’m pretty well happy with this month overall.  I’m glad my subscription is ending on a pretty good note with this box!