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Beautycon Summer 2017

I think this is my last Beautycon box on my year-long subscription, and I’ll admit that I was thinking about unsubscribing since this subscription has been a bit more miss than hit since it seems to cater to a younger demographic.  This box though?  Pretty freaking amazing.  There are a bunch of cruelty free companies I know and love in here, sheet masks, lip colors that are PERFECT, and blue eyeliner?  It’s like I put the box together myself.  If they keep on this track, I’ll totally stick around for a quarterly box that looks like this!  It’s a bit of a smaller box, but I feel like the quality of the items is much higher than past boxes that contained cheap drug store or dollar store items.  There were two box ambassadors this time, Kim Thai and Aidette Cancino, both of whom I’ve never heard of before and weren’t even mentioned on the box insert.

  • Deco Miami Cuticle Oil – 6 mL / $12.50 – (Product is full size)  The scent is “Lemon Blossom” and it does smell sweet and lemony without smelling like a kitchen dish soap.  It’s also vegan and cruelty free and is a company I know and love already, so it’s great to get cuticle oil from this company!
  • Deco Miami Crystal Nail File – 1 file / $10.50 – (Product is full size)  More Deco Miami, and again, a great inclusion to go along with the oil.  The crystal nail file is pink (eew) but it’s a nail file, so, the color isn’t as much of a deal breaker, but I’d still have preferred any of the pretty blue colors they have on their website.
  • Feel Brilliant Sheet Mask – 4 masks / $35 – (2 masks included, value of $17.50)  The mask is meant to be a detoxifying mask, removing oil and minimizing pores.  I just don’t believe the detoxifying bit, but if it helps keep breakouts away, I’m here for it.  Plus, sheet masks are just a fun pampering sort of thing to do when you need some me-time.
  • Dirty Little Secret Eyeshadow Crayon – 3 g / $14 – (Product is full size)  The color is “Gold Plated” and is a perfectly neutral shimmery gold color.  I love this sort of color for summer, and the formula goes on smoothly and blends out easily.
  • ColourPop  Ultra Satin Lip – 3.2 g / $6 – (Product is full size)  The color is “London Fog” and is this gorgeous, perfect red.  It does take a little while to dry, but once it does, it feels like the color will easily last hours and hours.  It’s also matte without feeling too drying, and I seriously love that color.
  • Jonteblu Eyeliner Pencil – 1.2 g / $5 – (Product is full size)  The color is “Electric Bleu” and is a metallic blue color.  I tend to go for blue eyeliner since it makes the greens in my eyes pop, so this is definitely going to be used right away!
  • Makeup Drop Silicone Makeup Applicator – 1 applicator / $20 – (Product is full size)  What a neat idea!  I’ve used beauty blender sponges before, but the idea with this is that you waste less product because the silicone applicator won’t absorb makeup, and the non porous surface allows for a more even application.  It can be used for foundation, blush, highlighers, concealers, moisturizers, and primers, so I’ll have to give this a whirl and report back, but I love the idea.
  • Doucce Lush Lip Gloss – 1 tube / $22 – (Product is full size)  The color is “Glistening Petals” which is a neutralish shimmery pink.  For a gloss, it goes on creamy and smooth, not sticky at all, and is rather well pigmented.  The color is very tame and really rather lovely as an everyday wear sort of shade.
  • Freeman Cucumber Peel-Off Gel Mask – 6 oz / $4.29 – (Product is .5 oz, value of $.36)  Peel off masks are so much fun, and this is going to be great to use after an icky hot summer day out.  It is a second mask product in the box, but it’s not a sheet mask, so I’m okay with a sort-of duplicate item since it is different enough.
  • Manna Kadar Flutter Mascara – 10 mL / $29 – (Product is full size)  The color is “Jet Black” and is from a company I already know and love.  I haven’t yet tried this mascara, but I’ll have to report back once I do.  The ingredient list is short and simple, most of them being silicones and waxes, so it looks like this will be okay for my sensitive eyes.

All in all, the box value comes to $136.86.  Historically, the boxes have ranged between a $100 and $150 value, so this is right around average.  My monthly cost is only $26.79 including shipping since I caught a great special a year ago, but the regular price is $35.99 a box which still makes this a great value.  It’s pretty much on par with cost to value ratio as the Benevolent Beauty Box and this month it was completely cruelty free as well, so that’s an extra big win in my book!  If they can commit to delivering cruelty free products in these quarterly boxes, I will DEFINITELY be staying on for more.  The big winners for me in this box were the ColourPop lip color, and the Jonteblu eyeliner for sure, but I honestly love and will use absolutely everything in this box.  SO SO glad to see all these wonderful cruelty free items!

Beautycon Spring 2017

Beautycon’s Spring box is here and right off the bat, I have to say this is a HUGE improvement over the last three boxes I got from them.  It’s much more up my alley, has some great cruelty free brands, and has a huge eyeshadow palette which is SO nice to see.  There’s even a special just-for-Beautycon item in this box, the brow powder set.  The theme for this quarter was, “Spring Essentials,” which, as usual is not so much of a theme.  Winter’s box was, “Winter Essentials,” so.. There are three curators this time – Sayria Jade, Dacey Cash, and La Demi – and just like all the other curators, I’ve never heard of them before.  They’re all relatively young, so again, this is probably just an age gap thing since Beautycon mostly targets an audience nearly half my age.

  • Cargo Around The World Eye Shadow Palette – 1 palette / $34 – (Product is full size)  Hey!  An eye shadow palette!  I think I was all but begging for something like this, so I’m pretty jazzed to see this in the box.  The palette is a neutral oriented set of colors in a range of mattes and shimmers which is nice since it will probably suit everyone.  There’s a small dual-end brush included (eye shadow end and an angled end), and the palette itself is cardboard with a magnetic closure and mirror.  Cargo might not be a super luxury brand, but it’s a nice, affordable, cruelty free brand that falls right in line with NYX and e.l.f.
  • OGX Orchid Oil – 4 oz / $7.99 – (Product is full size)  SIGH.  The first ingredient is cyclotetrasiloxane which is a silicone, an ingredient I don’t use on my curly hair.  The oil part of this product doesn’t even come in until ingredient number 5 out of 15, so it’s primarily a silicone based product.  It’s pretty heavily fruity scented too, so between the ingredients and the scent, this is a nope for me.
  • Luxie Powder Brush 516 – 1 brush / $22 – (Product is full size)  It’s a synthetic brush, so it’s cruelty free and vegan.  I don’t mind getting brushes in boxes and after getting a few of these, I have a really nice inventory of a number of different brushes I may not have bought otherwise!  Now only if it wasn’t pink…
  • The BrowGal Brow Brush – 1 brush / $14 – (Product is full size)  One end is a spoolie to brush your brows and the other is a firm, angled brush to fill in brows or apply eyeliner.  I really like the angled brush end since it’s a very thin brush and works perfectly on brows.
  • The BrowGal Convertible Brow – 1 set / $35 – (Product is full size)  This is an exclusive set of colors put together just for Beautycon.  The regular BrowGal eyebrow sets are sorted by hair color (dark, brown, and light), and this one looks like it combines one from each to give a good range to fit a wider range of hair colors.  Both the middle and the right one are pretty good matches, but the left is far too dark.  I get that putting these together on one brow palette makes it fit a wider range of people and so that you can custom blend a color, but now I have a pot of brow color that’s useless to me.  I do like the formula – it’s a thick powder that almost feels like a gel and goes on super smoothly.  From what I can find, the brand is cruelty free as well!
  • Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Or – 1.6 oz / $36 – (Product is .33 oz, value of $7.43 by volume)  I’ve gotten this before from Glossybox, and it’s a dry oil with a gold shimmer.  I still haven’t used up the one I already have since the oil is super glittery and it’s just not my thing.  I keep meaning to drag it back out to use on my hair, but then it gets gold glitter all over my hands too.  The oil blend is nice though and definitely not greasy at all.
  • IBY Beauty Mineral Blush – .12 oz / $16 – (Product is full size)  The color received is, “Peach Sheen,” which is almost a coral color with a gold shimmer.  I just don’t like shimmery blushes, and the color doesn’t at all work with my skin tone.  But, like all blushes, this can be used as an eye color too, and I think it’ll work out just fine as an eye shadow.  This arrived with the pot having come unglued from the compact, but that just saves me the time I would’ve spent depotting it anyway, so that’s okay for me!
  • Garnier SkinActive Micellar Makeup Removing Towelettes – 25 towelettes / $6.99 – (Product is full size)  We received the liquid version of this last cycle, so this is almost a repeat item, but in a different delivery method.  They’re okay – nothing spectacular and not cruelty free.  I prefer to use a natural oil based makeup remover so I don’t have to scrub away at eye makeup, but I guess it’s nice to have these for travel.
  • Dirty Little Secret Matte Lipstick – 3.2 g / $14 – (Product is full size)  The color received is, “Rust,” which I was a little worried would tip over into the warm/orange zone and look terrible on me.  Surprisingly, it’s almost like a deep raspberry/strawberry color – really hard to describe, but I LOVE the color!  This dries nice and matte and has great staying power too.  What a nice surprise.  The company is cruelty free as well, so this is an extra big winner in my book.
  • NYX Bright Idea Illuminating Stick – .21 oz / $7.99 – (Product is full size)  The color received is, “Rose Petal Pop,” which is a bright pink color.  I’ll admit that I’m not big into highlighter and illuminator type products since I just feel like they don’t look right on me.  This is SUCH a bright pink that I can really only see it working as a blush, and it would be a nice color for that if it weren’t for the gold shimmer.  I really do like matte blushes only, but I like the color on this so much that I may have to give it a go.  NYX is cruelty free, but their parent company is L’Oréal who does sell in China and tests on animals.  While NYX is still committed to cruelty free beauty, the parent company is not, so it’s kind of a grey area.

Also included in this box was a little rose sticker that matched the product card and outer packaging.  Overall, the box value comes out to $165.40 which is really pretty amazing when you consider that the box cost me a total of $31.74 including shipping.  This one in particular was a big hit with me since they included a number of cruelty free brands and I feel like they listened to some of the feedback about the last batch of boxes.  Not only do we have a nice eyeshadow palette, but there’s also an exclusive-to-Beautycon item and fewer drugstore brands.  The value for the cost is pretty incredible and it’s nice to see this box deliver something so nice, finally!  I think I have one more quarter left on my subscription, so we’ll have to see how that one goes before I make a decision on renewing for another year.  I’m kind of on the fence about it since I’d like to swap this sub for the Vegan Cuts quarterly box, so we’ll have to see!

Beautycon Winter 2016

Another Beautycon Box has landed!  This is the Winter edition, curated by Dulce Candy, another curator I haven’t heard of before.  The theme was, “Winter Essentials,” and while I’d say it doesn’t all really fit in a theme, some of it does, but most of it seems pretty random.  I’m really rather sure at this point that I’m not their target audience at all (I’m probably double their target audience’s age) and this is going to be miss after miss, but I’m stuck with two more boxes.  Plus, I didn’t realize that they’d be charging $6.99 for shipping every month, so the cost for the yearly subscription is $24.75 per box plus $6.99 for shipping, making the box cost a total of $31.74.  I’m not even taking the freebie box into account here since it was a duplicate of a previous month I had already received.  Anyway, on to this month’s box contents!

  • Skinvolve Body Karate Cream – 8 oz / $39.99 – (Product is full size)  It’s a pretty huge tube of skin cream, and bonus points awarded here for being cruelty free as well!  The scent is a little heavy, and I honestly doubt the whole skin texture improving stuff, but if it keeps my dry winter skin hydrated, that works for me!  The ingredient list is really rather nice, so outside of the scent which is a touch too strong for my linking, this is a really nice product.
  • Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water – 13.5 oz / $8.99 – (Product is 3.4 oz, value of $2.64 by volume)  It’s a pretty simple makeup remover.  The directions say there’s no need to rinse, but knowing how sensitive my skin can be, especially my eyes, I’ll still follow-up with a face wash.  Nothing ground breaking here, not a product I’d buy for myself nor would I buy again, but it’s makeup remover, so I’ll still use it.
  • Kate Somerville ExfoliKate – .5 oz / $24 – (Product is full size)  I haven’t had a chance to use this yet, but I’m looking forward to it!  The brand itself is cruelty free, but is owned by Unilever, so when you consider that the money flows uphill eventually, they’re not really cruelty free anymore.  Anyway!  The product is basically an exfoliating mask, so I’m definitely jazzed to try it.
  • Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer – .35 oz / $30 – (Product is .08 oz, value of $6.86 by volume)  I received this in, “Medium/Deep,” which seemed way too dark for my skin since I’m definitely rather fair.  I think with a super light hand, I could make it work, mostly because it smells like chocolate and I really want to be able to use this.  Even if it’s too dark for a bronzer, it’ll be just fine as an eyeshadow!  This is another brand that’s cruelty free themselves but were bought up by a non cruelty free parent company.
  • ColourPop Lippie Stix – 1 g / $5 – (Product is full size)  A Beautycon exclusive color, and just what I’ve been asking for all along!  This box has time to work up exclusive colors and products, and I’m glad to finally see one!  The brand is cruelty free as well, so double bonus points here.  The color?  I’m not so sure about.  It’s a pinky neutral, but it’s just a wee bit lighter than my natural lip color so it makes me look even more pale than I am.  The jury’s still out though.. I think this might work better in the summer with really light eye makeup for a sort of natural look.  I do like the formula though, creamy, but still mostly matte without being drying.
  • Biobelle #BeautyScoop Sheet Mask – 1 mask / $4.99 – (Product is full size)  Looking forward to using this!  It’s supposed to help fine lines (I’m slipping into my late 30’s, so there are lines, but I honestly don’t care about them – it’s a mark of the times I’ve smiled, tears I’ve shed, lessons learned, etc), but it sounds like even if it doesn’t, the mask will leave my skin hydrated which is just fine for helping dry winter skin.
  • Artist Couture Illuminati Diamond Glow Powder – 6 g / $26.99 – (Product is 2.35 g, value of $10.57)  It’s a pale champagne colored shimmering powder, meant to be a highlighter.  I’m not big on super sparkly highlighters, so I’ll repurpose this as an eyeshadow.  Interesting to note that this is from a company created by one of the curators for the Fall box, Angel Merino, so I have to imagine that maybe this missed the deadline for last cycle’s box and ended up in this one?  Weird.
  • Rimmel London The Only 1 Lipstick – .13 oz / $6.99 – (Product is full size)  I received the color, “Cheeky Coral,” but it basically looks like it’s neon pink on me.  I kind of like the formula, but the scent and color are pretty off-putting, plus this is an animal-testing drugstore brand that I have no interest in, to be honest.
  • Luxie Beauty Highlighting Brush – 1 brush / $24 – (Product is full size)  The brush is #522 and it comes in the rose gold color (see also: pink, ugh) and is synthetic, so cruelty free and vegan to boot.  I don’t use highlighters a lot, so I’m not quite sure how much I’ll use this, but hey, it’s a brush and you can never have too many of those, right?  Plus, it goes well with the included highlighter.
  • L’Oreal Voluminous Lash Primer – .24 oz / $7.99 – (Product is full size)  The second ingredient in both this and the mascara is Paraffin, so that’s a hard pass for me and my sensitive eyes.  Paraffin (I’m assuming wax) is derived from petroleum, and I just don’t trust the ingredient not to irritate my eyes.  This is going straight to the trade/give-away pile since I don’t want to take the chance (and I have enough mascara already, really).
  • L’Oreal Voluminous Feline Mascara – .27 oz / $8.99 – (Product is full size)  Just like the primer above, this is going to the trade/give-away pile because I don’t trust the ingredients.  Cheap mascara means eye irritation and it’s just not worth taking the risk and ending up with three days of red, itchy eyes.
  • Ali & Jay $50 Coupon – This has a zero value for me because they don’t make clothes larger than a size Large and it’s only for orders over $100.  If anyone wants the code, holler.

I’m not counting the coupon in the box value, so the actual product value comes to $142.02 which is I think the highest value for this box that I’ve seen so far.  The big value items are the lotion and brush, and they make up almost half of the box value and still well exceed the cost, so that works for me!  I’m happy to see a box-exclusive item this month in the lipstick and am also pleased to see the inclusion of more cruelty free brands.  Overall, this is a better box with better brands than the last box and more of the direction I’d like to see it go!  I’d still not mind seeing less of the drugstore brands and more of the more prestige brands, even if it means fewer items in the box.  We’ll see what the Spring box brings us!

Beautycon Fall 2016

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I know, I know.  I said after the last Beautycon Box that I wouldn’t be doing this again, but damn if I can’t resist a good deal.  They were offering 20% off a year’s subscription plus a free bonus box, so I jumped.  I probably shouldn’t have.  The bonus box was the same as the Summer 2016 box, and this box?  Ehhh.  I mean, there are some cute things and stuff I’m interested in, and I’m glad there was a discount so the box only cost me $21.55 including shipping (not counting the bonus box in the subscription cost).  At regular price, the annual subscription costs $99 plus $6.99 for shipping per year, making each box about $26.50 which is a pretty good deal when they claim that each box is worth over $100.  If you’re going cycle-by-cycle, the cost is $35.99 per quarterly box.

Anyway, this month’s box was curated by Angel Merino and MakeupShayla, two makeup artists that I really don’t know much about to be honest, so I didn’t know what to expect.  They don’t seem to do a lot of press or updates about what’s going to be in the box before it ships which is a little weird.  I like having some advance notice, and it would be nice to have the option to skip a cycle if the curators aren’t ones I’m interested in, or if the spoiler products are just not my thing.

  • Milani Bella Eyes Gel Powder Eyeshadow – 1.4 g / $4.99 – (Full Size Product)  I received the color, “Bella Caffe,” which is listed as an ash-brown satin matte and advertised as vegan.  It doesn’t seem particularly heavily pigmented, but it will make for a great all-over base eye color since it’s just a wee bit darker than my skin tone.  It goes on evenly and is pretty nice given the cost.  The compact feels a little cheap and like it would shatter into a million pieces if dropped on a tile floor though.
  • Luxie Large Angled Face Brush – 1 brush / $16 – (Full Size Product)  The brush is a “rose gold” color which is really code for pink (eew, pink).  Cruelty free bristles, and it’s fairly soft for being synthetic.  The angle is perfect for blush or contouring.
  • OFRA Liquid Lipstick – 8 g / $19.90 – (Full Size Product)  The color I received is, “Mocha,” a warm darker neutral color.  The first thing that jumped out at me was the pleasant vanilla scent.  In the tube, I didn’t think the color would work for me at all, but it’s honestly just right for Fall – not too flashy, not too dark, really just right.  The formula is a cream that takes a little bit to set – you’re not supposed to eat/drink for 15 minutes after applying – but it does last and doesn’t feel sticky or too dry after it’s set.  I’m honestly much more impressed than I thought I would be at first!  There’s a coupon code on the tube for 30% off OFRA products on their website.
  • The BrowGal Highlighter Pencil – 6 g / $20 – (Full Size Product)  I received the Gold/Nude variant, but it sounds like the Cherub/Champagne would’ve been a better fit for my fair skin.  The color is definitely too yellow and dark for my skin tone, but I guess I could use it as an eyeshadow stick or eyeliner pencil?  The formula is nice – it glides on easily and blends well.  The gold isn’t too flashy either.  I think maybe with a really light hand, I could make this work, but it’s just not quite the right set of colors for me.
  • Mystic Tan Mocha-Kyssed Bronzer Lotion – 6 oz / $35 – (Product is 1 oz, value of $5.83 by volume)  Did I mention how I’m Fair McPalerson?  I don’t bronze or tan (deliberately anyway), ever ever ever.  Pale is a beautiful skin tone and I have no need to make myself into something I’m just not.  Beyond that, this is WAY WAY WAY MILES too dark for my skin – I did give it a test in fairness, but it shows up as an awful dark fake brown-orange on my skin and it smells terrible, like they over-perfumed it to cover up the chemical smell that self tanners usually have.  I’m not quite sure why we’re getting bronzer when it’s September either.
  • Simple Cleansing Wipes – 25 ct / $4.49 – (Product is 7 wipes, value of $1.25 by volume)  I like the idea of these for on the go, but most times I’d rather just wash my face to make sure I’ve gotten all my makeup off.  I like that they’re formulated for sensitive skin and all, so I may have to stash these in my travel bag, but they’re not something I’d use every day.  There were also coupons included in the packet for other Simple products.
  • Jouer Lip Enhancer – 10 mL / $16 – (Product is 4.5 mL, value of $7.20)  The website says that for optimal results, apply 3 times a day for 29 days.  I’m not quite sure there’s enough product in the tube to really do that, but I appreciate that they’re up front about how long it takes for the product to work.  It’s heavily perfumed and not in a good way – it’s like putting grandma’s perfume on your lips and it’s slightly irritating to smell right below your nose.  It didn’t make my lips tingle, nor was there any visible effect right away.  It didn’t feel too sticky though and may be something I could use as a night treatment like they suggest on their website.
  • Duo Eyelash Adhesive  – .25 oz / $5.99 – (Product is .09 oz, value of $2.15 by volume)  No parabens, so that’s good.  I’m going to wait to try this with the lashes when I have a big night out.
  • Flutter Lashes – 1 set / $10.96 – (Full Size Product)  The set sent out was, “iSlay,” as created by MakeupShayla.  I have pretty thin and short lashes, so this is miles longer than what I’m used to – even for falsies, I go fairly conservative.  I guess they’ll work for Halloween or masquerade parties, but for everyday type use?  Wayyy too much for me.
  • Sugarfina Gummy Lips – 1.2 oz / $2.50 – (Taster Size Product)  These are 5 little sour gummy lips, and a fun thing to include in the box.  I LOOOOVE sour gummy candy, so needless to say these disappeared pretty quickly!
  • Laser Kitten Pin – 1 pin / $12 – (Full Size Product)  It’s cute!  It’ll probably end up on my knitting bag like the rest of my pins.  I do like having a few non-makeup items in the box to round things out.

Also included was a sticker sheet and the product card/curator portrait.  I can’t really assign a dollar value to those since I kind of think of them as bonuses.  So, the total value, by my calculations, comes out to $102.78 which is just over the advertised $100 value.  The brush, lipstick, and eyeshadow are nice, but the rest of the box really doesn’t thrill me much.  The cost of the box is covered, but I’m really just kind of lukewarm about this box – there’s nothing really thrilling, no big, major, hot, or popular cosmetics brands, no items that are on everyone’s WANT list, no new or exclusive items that you can’t get anywhere else.  For a quarterly box that has time to put together something spectacular and do some fun collaborations, this one keeps falling short.  Honestly?  I should’ve gone with the Vegan Cuts quarterly box instead!

Beautycon Summer 2016

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I decided to spring for the Summer Beautycon Box since there was a coupon code and the total came to $21.49 with shipping and it’s one I haven’t heard much about before.  It’s a box that is delivered four times a year, once every 3 months, so, March, June, September, and December.  I plan on doing this box as a one-off and waiting to see who is curating the next box before jumping on again.  Unfortunately, Beautycon makes it pretty difficult to unsubscribe.  Their policy is that when you purchase a box, you automatically sign up for the month-to-month payment system for all boxes.  In order to unsubscribe from the next delivery, you have to email within 7 days of receiving the current box.  It seems a little silly that you can’t just hit a button on their website to unsubscribe or opt in or out of the next box and that the unsubscription window is so short.  I much prefer being able to know the curator before making a decision about the next box, and being forced to make that decision before knowing anything about the next box is really troublesome.
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Anyway!  Inside the box, smiling up at you, is a portrait of Kandee Johnson, the curator of th summer box.  I had honestly never heard of Kandee before, but she’s apparently a famous beauty expert on YouTube.  On the back of this card is the rundown of the contents of the box along with social media links.  It might sound silly, but I really like how the box is put together with the packaging, product card on top, and a little message on the inside that says, “Oh Hey, Beauty!”  There’s also a cardboard insert on top of the contents that reminds you about social media links and tells you to make sure the lighting is just right for your unboxing video.  Cute.

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SO!  All of that in one box!  When I brought it in from the mailbox, I thought, Hey wow, that’s heavy, and there’s why!  Four full size products that were over an ounce with the Redken Spray at 8.5 oz.  Really pretty impressive!  I had seen previous boxes and there were some items that weren’t makeup, skincare, etc inside, but this one is ALL makeup and skincare.  From Kandee’s video on YouTube, it looks like they were all selected for being great for summer, and it definitely shows.  On to the details!

  • Benzac Blemish Clearing Hydrator – 1 oz  / $8.99 – (Full Size Product)  Being the natural sort of nut that I am, the first thing I noticed was that this contains parabens.  Salicylic acid has really never done anything for my acne either, but this might be something to try during the uh, more acne-challenging week of the month, if you catch my drift.  I like the idea of combining an acne fighting ingredient with a moisturizer to keep your skin from drying out though.
  • Garnier Clearly Brighter Moisturizer – 2.5 oz / $14.99 – (Full Size Product)  It’s a moisturizer with a chemical sublock at SPF 15 which I know is something I should be doing more often.  Granted, I’m not out in the sun that often to begin with, but I really ought to be using a SPF15 on my face every day.  I guess now I have no excuse!
  • Neutrogena Ultra Light Cleansing Oil – 4 oz / $8.99 – (Full Size Product)  Another product that contains parabens.  I’m no stranger to cleansing oils, but the ones I use have far fewer ingredients!  (Is my organic/natural nerd snobbery showing?  I think it might be…)  It’s a huge product to include, and a far better way to clean your face than a soap or cleanser that strips away oils, not to mention that cleansing oils remove makeup really well.
  • Redken Fashion Waves Sea Salt Spray – 8.5 oz / $15.25 – (Full Size Product)  I was really excited about this until I read that the second ingredient is Magnesium Sulfate.  I have crazy curly hair and I’m super picky about what products I use in my hair and sulfates tend to be no-nos.  Tightly Curly lists that ingredient as an avoid.  I’m probably still going to try it to see how it treats my second-day curls since I have it.
  • NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil – .18 oz / $4.50 – (Full Size Product)  The color included is, “Cashmere,” and it’s a warm gold color that’s just perfect for some summer shine.
  • NYX Ombre Lip Duo – .004 oz / $12 – (Full Size Product)  The color included is, “Peaches & Cream,” which is a light yellow-orange on one end and a darker bright orange on the other.  The lighter end is a thicker tip and the darker orange is a thinner tip almost like an eyeliner.  Oranges really don’t work for me as lip colors.. I gave it a try just because an ombre lip color seemed like fun, and the effect is really neat and really bright!  I could see using this on a day at the beach, but, I’m not a beach person and have no plans to go to the beach this summer anyway.  I may stash it away for some future caribbean vacation or repurpose it as an eyeliner/eyeshadow since the formula is pretty matte and would work well as an eyeshadow color set.
  • Smashbox Brow Tech Shaping Powder – .03 oz / $25 – (Full Size Product)  This is the item I’m most excited about in the box, and the color includes was “Taupe.”  I have pretty thin eyebrows – not thin in width, but very sparsely populated, if that makes sense.  I’m already a huge fan of Benefit’s Gimme Brow, and this looks like it fills in the gaps in my eyebrows maybe even a little bit better since it’s a powder with fibers instead of basically an eyebrow mascara with fibers.  It doesn’t take much, and that little pot will last a long while.
  • Too Faced Waterproof Better Than Sex Mascara – .27 oz / $23 – (Sample is .17 oz, value of $14.48)  I’ve heard a lot about this mascara, but unfortunately cyclopentasiloxane is on the list, an ingredient I know irritates my eyes.  Anything with this ingredient sends me straight to having the worst puffy itchy eyes, but you know I’m probably going to try it anyway, just on the off chance that this is the magic formula that doesn’t bother me.
  • VersaSpa Gradual Tanning Face Moisturizer – 2 oz / $35 – (Sample is .25 oz, value of $4.38)  I’m just not into chemical tanning products.  Pale is a naturally beautiful color and I really have no use for something like this.  PLUS, there’s no ingredient list on the product, and even the website doesn’t have the full ingredient list.  That always makes me think they have something to hide.
  • LA Fresh Wipes – 4 wipe sample pack / $2.99 – (Sample is two wipes, value of $1.50)  Included were the wipes, “Instant Cooling Body Soother” and “Oil-Free Face Cleanser.”  Okay, first off, these are NOT compostable or biodegradeable because of the ingredients in the wipes, one of which is my arch nemesis again, cylopentasiloxane, which studies have shown can bioaccumulate in fish.  This isn’t something you want to stick in your compost bin and later mix into your garden to grow tomatoes, so it really bothers me that LA Fresh markets these wipes as compostable and biodegradable when it’s not at all safe to do either with these.  Anyway, I’ll probably still use them, but unfortunately, they have to go in the trash, NOT the compost bin.
  • Cover FX Contour Brush – 1 brush / $38 – (Full Size Product)  This is actually a really nice surprise!  I just got a contouring set in another box, so now I have the right brush to go with it!  This is the most expensive item in the box and easily covers the cost of the box.

Also included (not added into the box value) is a promo card for 15% off Seventeen’s The Edit shop when it opens later this summer.  Let’s face it, I haven’t been 17 for over 17 years at this point and even the curator is older than I am, so this feels a bit misplaced.  Either that, or I’m not really the target age group for this box.

When you add everything up, the total value comes out to $148.08 depending on how you calculate the value of some of the sample sizes, just shy of $150 which is really amazing for a box that only cost me $21.49.  On the other side of that, there’s really nothing new and super exciting in this box.  The big items are basic drugstore brands which isn’t terribly exciting, all the colors are standard, nothing special or unique that only comes in this box and can’t be purchased elsewhere.  I’m left feeling like I should love this box more than I do when all is said and done.  Really, what I’m coming to realize, is that I need to stick with vegan or cruelty-free boxes because this kind of box just isn’t me, especially as I’ve become more conscious of the ingredients in cosmetics and skincare products.  There are wonderful options out there that don’t contain two dozen ingredients, half of which are unpronouncable, and do the same thing just as well if not better.  So, I guess, mixed feelings on this!  Like I said, the value is really incredible, but personally, I’m left feeling like this just wasn’t the box for me.