Interesting Discoveries, Skin Care

June 2014 Birchbox Reveal

I just received my June Birchbox in the mail and was extremely excited to find out what was inside. This month is full of travel ready samples that range from lotions to shampoos. The theme this month is travel since Birchbox recently teamed up with JetBlue. It is very fitting as quite a few of us will be venturing off on vacation.

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1. Coola Tinted Matte SPF 30 for Face: This is a mineral-based tinted moisturizer with sun protection. It goes on smooth and creates a shine free finish. This is a great product for the summer months as it works to minimize oil production and shine. I really like the sheer finish and light feel. Unfortunately, there’s not much product in the sample. It was mostly air.

2. Gilchrist & Soames London Collection Body Lotion: This is an antioxidant-rich moisturizer with ingredients such as grape seed that help smooth and soften. It has a light scent and is not too thick while providing excellent moisture. It also creates a cool sensation. I like the product itself but wasn’t impressed with the presentation. The sample was messy and looked like it had already been opened.

3. Folle de Joie Eau de Parfum: This is a fresh blend of mandarin, rose, and sandalwood. It is a great light scent. I love the fact that the ingredients named can be easily distinguished without being overwhelming. Spritz on pulse points such as your wrists and neck.

4. Number 4 Hair Hydrating Shampoo & Conditioner: This is a sulfate-free cleanser containing botanicals and vitamins designed to repair and protect dry, brittle hair. One of the most frequent comments is about the fragrance, it is a little manly but it is fairly light. It is a good shampoo, although slightly pricey.

5. Vasanti Cosmetics BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator: This product mimics microdermabrasion and contains enzymes such as papaya as well as aloe vera, and coconut for cleansing. I love microdermabrasion in general. It is my must do in my skin routine. Again the presentation wasn’t great, the bottle was full of air and contained little product.

There was also a travel quiz with a chance to win a travel certificate with JetBlue. Overall, the content of the box was good. I wasn’t very impressed by the quality of some of the samples. They were messy, looked already opened and full of air. This is the first time I have been even slightly disappointed with Birchbox’s selections. My favorite is the Joie Parfum as I love good scents. It is a bit expensive but well worth it. I will update this post when I use the shampoo and conditioner.

If you have any suggestions, comments or questions please leave them below. I love hearing from you!

Beauty, Interesting Discoveries, Makeup, Skin Care

My Summer Beauty Bag

Since summer is upon us I put together what I will be carrying around in my beauty bag. This may change as I run across more products but for now watch to see my favorites. These will be hard to replace as we all know some oldies are goodies.

Products in my bag:

Silver eye liner: It’s so old I don’t remember the brand but I love using this in the corner of the eye to open it and about half way down my upper eye lash line. These techniques help make the eye appear more open and I love the dewy look with a little bit of mascara.

Marcelle BB Golden Glow cream: I received this product in a Birchbox and I fell in love with it. It is great as a mixer or base with my normal foundation or it can stand alone. It does have some shimmer in it so be careful if you don’t want to shine.

Pixi Shea butter lip balm: I have said this before but I love this product as well. It provides great moisture and a good pop of light color. It is also a Birchbox find.

Mary Kay Love Lash Mascara: This is my all time favorite mascara. It has a flexible wand and provides great volume and length.

Mary Kay cream highlighter: They don’t make this product anymore but I love to use it on high points I want to highlight on my face. My favorite place to put this is on my eye lids for a very natural look.

Mary Kay Poppy Love lip jelly: I just bought this color and it looks intimidating in the package but great on. It is sheer and not too sticky. I’m glad I tried this one.

Mary Kay CC cream with SPF15: This is also another new find. This replaced the tinted moisturizer so I wanted to give it a try. It is a little more robust than a BB cream but still lighter than my regular foundation. I love the pump on the tube and the fact that it has SPF in it. I really try to use face products with some sun protection.

I highly recommend all these products. If you have any products you love for the summer please let me know. I would love to try them!


Samples: Do they give an accurate picture?

We all love product samples. It is usually a free or cheap way of testing before buying. One thing I run across is most of the time the sample is not enough to get a clear picture of how the product will really work for you. This is particularly true for facial cleansers, moisturizers, shampoos and conditioners. Samples are really beneficial when determining what you don’t like.

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Usually, with hair products, I will use it and initially my hair feels great. A week after buying it the product stops working and I wonder why I purchased that. With facial products, your face can react fairly strongly at first but that doesn’t mean the product is bad. It usually takes at least a week to see definable results, especially with a cleanser and you normally don’t get enough in the sample to test for that long.

As a marketing enthusiast I can tell you companies use small amounts for a reason. Smaller amounts tend to give really good results with regard to taste or performance. A famous example is the Pepsi Challenge. It was a blind taste test between Pepsi and Coca Cola and the announced winner was Pepsi. The reason is Pepsi is sweeter and subjects tended to choose it in small portions, however Coke is still the number one soda. This is because Pepsi is sweet and Coke is more drinkable it larger amounts.

There will be some products you try once and know immediately it’s not for you. There could be allergies you were unaware of or you see things you don’t like after one use. Samples can save you a bundle of cash by weeding out the products you may have been thinking about purchasing and pointing you in the direction of ones that work. If you aren’t careful you could spend a lot on trial and error.

There are always giveaways online and you can sign up for samples. This is also a way for companies to get your information to eventually use to market to you. I am a huge fan of my Birchbox subscription because for $10 a month I get a targeted number of larger samples and I don’t have to struggle through the weeds to find them. I get a great mix for a low price.

If you have a favorite way of getting samples please let us know. I love hearing from you!

Beauty, Beauty on a Budget, Makeup, Skin Care

Beauty on a Budget: The art of finding a good deal

We all know beauty products can cost a fortune and many of us are on a tight budget. Spending the extra cash for the good stuff can be very difficult, especially if you like to try new products. Large chain stores have a wide array of products, however they only carry certain brands and if you are looking for a specific one you might be out of luck. There are many different ways to buy beauty products ranging from a specialized store, online,and to independent consultants.

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Join the club!

Many stores such as Sally Beauty Supply and Ulta offer rewards program benefits. Some programs give you points based on dollar amounts, others have a small membership fees. There are other types but these are the most common. In return for shopping you can get discounts, free samples, gifts and more. Loyalty programs are a great way to get extra savings if you already plan on spending the money. Once you sign up you can watch your email for good deals.

Free Samples

Many stores, consultants, and salons offer free samples when you make a purchase. This gives you an opportunity to try before you buy. There is usually only one or two uses in them but the information you get can be invaluable. They can turn you onto a great product or keep you from buying a bad one.

Subscription sites

Birchbox and other sites have become increasingly popular as a way to try products at a low cost. If you consider yourself a maven on a budget you may consider looking into this as an option. There is usually a subscription fee involved and in return you receive a monthly package with different sized beauty products. Some are samples and some are full sized products, it depends on the site.

Multitasking products

One way to stretch a budget is finding out how to use products you have for new purposes. There are plenty of resources online to go to when looking for a way to revamp your cosmetic bag. You may find tips and tricks you would have never thought off. It is important to do research in the buying stage if this is important to you.

These are just a few ways to save your hard earned cash when it comes to beauty and they are the most readily available. Online shopping is also a good option but I don’t recommend buying anything online unless you have previously tried it. Almost nothing is worse than spending money on a product that has great reviews and it doesn’t work for you.

This is my favorite way to save, what’s your’s? Let us know below or ask any questions you may have.


Beauty, Interesting Discoveries, Makeup, Skin Care, Social Media

What is a Maven and could you be one?

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What is a Maven and are you one? You may have heard the term thrown into conversation and questioned what exactly that is. A maven is an information specialist or someone you rely on to connect you to new information on a specific subject. Given the definition, if you are reading this and participating in sharing your beauty knowledge as well as the knowledge of others using social media, you could be a maven.

Where are Mavens and why are they important?

Mavens are everywhere. Social media makes it very easy for them to put the information out there and for you to receive it. They are watching the trends, and writing relevant information for interested people to use. They have large social groups and companies love to engage them in conversation. Being a maven takes hard work and dedication, it’s not for everyone.

I have noticed there have been quite a few subscription services popping up recently regarding beauty products. These online services charge a monthly fee and either send you sample products or hold the fee in your account to use on whatever you like. One of the better known beauty subscription sites is Birchbox. For $10 a month they send you a box filled with product samples that match your beauty profile.

I became very interested in these services and have recently subscribed to two of them, Birchbox and Julep. I wanted to see what it was all about, especially since Birchbox has been popping up frequently in conversations. I just received both boxes but have yet to use the products. Birchbox contains 4-5 sample sized products that are available for purchase in their store. Julep, which is more expensive at $20 per month, sends two full-sized nail polishes and one beauty product. Their products are also available in their online store.

What sparked this topic idea was the title of the Julep box, a Julep Maven Box. This tells me they are looking for those who want to be ahead of the curve when it comes to beauty products. These sites are usually on top of the current trends, as well as looking forward to future trends. This is important to their business because the people who are subscribing want the latest and greatest. They are also hoping that you will fall in love with a product they sell and become a regular customer. The sites are open to anyone who wants to join.

What will this do for you?

If you are branding yourself as a beauty expert, it may be highly beneficial to look into these services. If you don’t want to subscribe to the service the least you can do is browse the site because there are blog posts on current and future trends, Birchbox does this particularly well. This gives you insight as to where the industry is moving. If you just love beauty products you might be interested as it keeps the costs down and allows you to try many different types of products before buying.

If you found this helpful please share or leave a comment if you have suggestions or questions.