BoxyCharm Premium February 2021 Unboxing

This month I was surprised by Boxy Charm.  Normally they send out e-mails with tracking links when the box ships.  This month I received the e-mail in the morning and then that afternoon my box arrived on my doorstep.  I’m not complaining, it was actually quite fun.  Just a little surprising. 

While Boxy Charm has a couple of different tiers at the moment I am only subscribed to the Premium tier which is $35 per month.  At one point I had a box in every tier and quite frankly it was a bit much for me.  I ended up evaluating which box I routinely enjoyed the most and pared it down to the one box.  Since the Premium was the most reliable for me, that is the one I chose.  There are still items in the other boxes that I like, but most of the time they are also offered for sale at a discounted price in the Boxy Pop up and add ons. So if there is an item in another box that I find I really want to try, often I can pick it up then so I never feel like I am missing out.

This month’s theme is Hugs and Kisses (XOXO).  I don’t know why it bothers me when people read that out as XOXO instead of Hugs and Kisses, but it sort of does. It’s the same impulse that makes me twitch when people don’t conjugate their verbs correctly.  But don’t worry, I only correct grammar in my head, not out loud. It may bug me, but I’m not rude enough to correct it out loud.

While the theme is appropriate for February, I can’t actually see how it relates to the contents in the box. I will say however, this month, I received a good box.

The first item I pulled out of the box was the one I chose.  It was the Elemis Muscle Ease Active Body Oil.  (retail $63.50). I chose this because I have been trying to expand my exercise routine and as a consequence have had many sore muscles in the past few weeks.  In addition, while I really like Elemis as a brand I have only used their face products, never anything from any of their body line so I was eager to try it. 

At the moment nothing is sore, but as the week goes on, I am certain that will change.  The bottle the oil comes in is a very lovely blue with a silver cap.  On the cap only the finial turns so there is only a small hole for the oil to be poured from, which I really like.  It contains maritime pine, sea buckthorn, sea fennel, and rosemary and when taking a sniff of the oil it does smell rather medicinal.  I actually sort of like the scent.  It will be interesting to see how the scent changes or lasts when it is applied, as well as if the product actually eases muscle ache. But for now, it awaits my next bout of sore muscles.  It is at least a pretty bottle to have out and waiting.

The second Item out of my box this month was the Farsali Rose Gold Elixir 24K Moisturizing gel cream. (Retail $39). While I was not a fan of the rose gold setting spray from Farsali (the scent isn’t my favorite) I did just start trying out the Unicorn Essence serum and thus far I am liking it.  That right there is all I really know about Farsali products so I am pleased to have another one to try. 

It is a very loose gel formula and there are sparkly gold flecks in it.  I’m not sure whether they will stay on the face when the moisturizer is applied, but it could be fun to try out.  The scent is actually quite pleasant as well.  It is slightly sweet but I’m not quite sure what it reminds me of.  As I just finished a moisturizer, I went ahead and opened this one to give it a sniff as I was moving it into the bathroom. I like the scent and will begin the 30 day trial of the moisturizer in the morning.  So it was a well-timed arrival.

Surprisingly a Rodial product also arrived in this month’s Boxy Charm Premium.  It is the Rodial Soft Focus Glow drops (retail $60).  It is a makeup/skincare hybrid which according to the card claims to be a cross between a serum and a primer.  With the Glossy Box Rodial Limited Edition box I received as one of my Surprise boxes from Glossy Box, let me try out several products from Rodial I am looking forward to giving this a go.  I found Rodial to be interesting. 

With the sheet masks I hated the mask material but loved the serum that was in it.  I didn’t care for the lip masks and found the under eye masks to be just okay.  However the Dragon’s Blood Sculpting Gel I just finished using was absolutely fantastic.  With Rodial I am finding that I like the formulas of their products, but their delivery – like the mask paper – isn’t always to my taste.  This gives me high hopes for this makeup/skincare serum/primer as it is just a bottle of liquid with a dropper. Hopefully my love of their formulas holds.

Next we have the Bali Balm Sweet Orange and Coconut lip balm (retail $33).  Now we all know I like lip products in almost every variety they come in, but if this lip balm retails for $33 it had better be a fantastic lip balm. Because that is a high cost for lip balm. While I will no doubt get use out of it, I believe this lip balm was also in the Boxy Charm Base box last month, which sort of makes it feel like a left over.  And that is slightly disappointing.  It is however the only disappointment in the box this month and like I said it is a slight one.  I will probably be very critical of the lip balm when I try it though as it is so expensive and I will want to see why it is $33.

Next up is something I have wanted to try for a while and have not gotten around to it.  It is the REN Clean Skincare Perfect Canvas Clean Jelly Oil Cleanser. (retail $32).  REN is one of those brands that I have seen around but never actually tried anything from.  I have heard good things about them and I love that they are a clean skincare brand so I am very happy to give them a try. 

At the moment I have about half a tube of the Fresh Soy Face Cleanser to use before I open another cleanser, but this one definitely makes the line up to open after The Fresh Soy Face Cleanser has been used up.  I’m not rushing it though.  The Soy Face cleanser is one of my top five cleansers (Elemis Foaming Cica Face wash, La Roche Posay Toleriane Purifying foaming Facial Cleanser, Erno Laszlo Black Soap cleansing Bar and Olay Regenerist Daily Scrub are the other four at the top of the list and there is almost always one of the five in my skincare drawer.)

And finally we come to the one makeup item in this month’s box.  It is the Tarte Double Take eyeliner.  (retail $24). For now, mine is remaining unopened, because I have this eyeliner already and I really like using it. I don’t use a lot of eyeliner these days, but this is a good one.  It has a pen style of liquid liner on one side and a soft pencil liner on the other side.  The pencil side is soft and applies well and easily and the liquid liner has never seeped into any fine lines or faded on me.  It is a really good eyeliner and I am very pleased to have a back up.

My February Premium Boxy Charm was heavily skincare with only eyeliner in the makeup category.  For my $35 I received $251.50 worth of products so looking at it from a strictly retail perspective, the box was well worth the price.  Personally I will get a lot of use out of all of the product.  Several of them I am rather eager to try actually.  So it has a very good personal value for me as well.  While I am happy with the products, and I love trying out new skin care items, it would be nice if there was a better balance of makeup to skin care next month. Other than that, I have no real complaints. This was a good month and I am happy to keep up my subscription to the BoxyCharm Premium box.

If you are interested in doing a little shopping of your own, The Olay Regenerist Cleanser I mentioned is now on sale. As are a bunch of their other products. Everytime the Regenerist line goes on sale it tends to sell out of products very quickly, but I think this cleanser is still in stock.

BoxyLuxe September 2020 Unboxing

My September Boxy Luxe Box has arrived.  The Boxy Luxe is a quarterly upgrade to the regular box. Four times a Year, March, June, September and December to be exact, there is an extra cost for those who sign up for the Boxy Luxe and instead of your regular box for $25 you pay an additional charge (Bringing the cost up to $50 for that month) and you get a luxe box. The theme this month was Glam Vibes although to be honest, my box this month felt more like Spa Vibes. But maybe that is just me and partially due to my choices.

In Luxe months you get to choose two items in your box.  This month the two items I chose were the Byroe Tomato Serum (retail $150) and the Osea Malibu Atmosphere protection Cream (retail $48).

For those who think that the brand Byroe might be slightly familiar, a previous Boxycharm box featured a toner from the company.  I did not get it in my box, but this time when add ons opened up I saw it listed in possible items and snapped it up as an extra for $12. I also added the Grace and Stella Eye gel patches.

I am really starting to like eye masks in general.  This rag weed season they have been a life saver.  I haven’t tried the Grace and Stella ones but the add-on section had a twelve pack for $6 and I couldn’t resist. Plus I also blazed through my supply this month and needed a restock.  Since I like Grace and Stella it was kind of a win for me.  I got to restock my eye mask supply, checking out the masks from a brand I really enjoy and I got to add the toner I was hoping to get in an earlier month’s box but didn’t.

But that was my unexpected shopping spree and not the box.  This month I received the Byroe Tomato Serum which I am looking forward to testing out. (although seriously, when am I not happy to test a serum out? They are a weakness of mine).

The Osea Atmosphere protection cream I was very excited to see as a choice as well.  I really like Osea products.  They are clean, vegan and non-toxic.  The cleanser is amazing so I am pleased to try out the moisturizer that goes with the cleanser.  I also have a travel sized bottle of the cleanser that I will be using when I test out this moisturizer. If any additional add ons feature the Osea cleanser I will be snapping those up.  The cleanser is pretty expensive (I think it is around $44) for a cleanser so I tend to pick up travel sized and sales of it whenever I can.

There was a third skin care item in my boxyluxe this month ant it is the 111Skin Rose Gold Brightening Facial Treatment Mask (retail $135).  It is a five pack. I don’t know if you remember but a while ago I tried this mask and the accompanying eye gel masks from 111 Skin.  The under eye mask was fantastic, but I wasn’t overly impressed with the face masks.

They were good, but not as good as the price would lead you to expect.  It was a single mask I tried out though, maybe with repeated use I will feel differently about the mask.  I have been trying out a lot of 111Skinproducts recently and it is always interesting.  Some of them work really well and it is easy to see why they are so expensive.  Some work well, but are on the same level with much more affordable products and are hard to justify in terms of expense and others I like less then much less costly products. It is one of those brands that really runs the gamut with me. But over all I really do like their products. So we will see which category these fall into when I have five to use instead of just the one.  I will say though, for the record, while I may be on the fence with the face masks, the black eye masks from 111Skin are definitely worth the cost. If you ever see them, I highly recommend picking them up. Those may be pricey too, but they are worth their price.

The next item in my box is the Fenty Beauty Killawatt highlighter (retail $36).  I think everyone got one of the highlighters this month.  Mine is the dual shade in the shades Ginger Binge and Moscow Mule.  They are both rosy tones that actually suit me well.  I am very pleased with the shade I received. I like this a lot better than the gold one I received as part of the Fenty Box a while ago. That one just did not work well with my skin tone and was kind of chunky. I tried using it as an eyeshadow like everyone suggested when it didn’t work as a highlight for them, but I didn’t care for that either. Not only did it migrate down my nose gilding it like a reverse contour but it also was chunky enough that it scratched my eye. That was not fun. This is not only a better color for me but it has a much finer consistency to it. It doesn’t feel as chunky to the touch so I think I will get a lot more use out of it than the ill fated gold one.

I am also thrilled by the Hipdot Zion Eyeshadow Palette I received this month.  I picked up the Hipdot’s Sponge Bob palette for a younger cousin of mine as a gift a while ago and she absolutely loves it. While I like Sponge Bob (and used to watch the show with her), the colors weren’t ones that I would gravitate towards using while they are definitely in her wheel house.  This palette is definitely more in my color scheme and one that I will enjoy trying out. So I am very happy with that. 

Then we come to the next three products.  First, there is the Cuccio Somatology yogahhh calm and clean Epsom Salt Hand and body wash with Lavender oil.  (retail $39.95).  While I will try it in the bath, I really think this looks like a hand soap dispenser.

Which is fine.  With all the handwashing at our house, a nice hand soap is not a bad thing to have around. I just can’t honestly say I am all that excited by it. Maybe I will try it out and it will end up being something fabulous. I’ve never tried anything from the brand before, but I will keep an open mind. Maybe I will fall in love and seek it out in the future. We shall see.

Next up is the Persona Cosmetics Power Brush retail $24).  Now, I like brushes, I use a variety of them on a daily basis.  I am not a fan of this.  First off, I hate dual ended brushes. I really do.  I store my brushes in jars, so one end is always going to be in the jar.  Sometimes it gets squished, and sometimes I forget it has the second end, but I rarely use both ends.  Even if the brush is good. 

Because whatever end I put back in the jar will get product all over the other brush handles and the jar and when I take out any brushes whatever was on that brush when I put it away will be all over my hands. So I don’t like them. The bristles feel nice, not excellent, but nice.  The handle feels super cheap and it in no way feels like a $24 brush. So it is somewhat disappointing. 

Perhaps I will use one end of it and like it enough that I ignore my hatred of dual ended brushes and use one end a lot. Perhaps I will like it so much that give it its own space where I can use both ends without contaminating other brushes.  Stranger things have happened. But on first glance it feels super lightweight and cheap. 

This brings us to the final item and that is the Teami Blends Tea tumbler (retail $24). And I’m happy to end on a more positive note.  It looks nice and well set up. I like the double walls and the clear plastic. I drink a lot of tea in the afternoons and since I grow a lot of herbs, I tend to have a lot of loose tea around.  I think the set-up of the strainer is interesting and rather conveniently placed at the top to keep the herbs from being sipped up. I also think it is appropriately priced.

I also suspect the wrist strap is going to drive me bonkers rather than being thought of as a usable feature though.  Unless it’s use is to drive me crazy by clicking against the plastic every time I use it. Don’t get me wrong, I can see its function, I just don’t think I will be using the strap very often. So it might be quickly removed.

To be honest this is one of the things I really like about subscription boxes.  If shopping I might not have picked this up.  Having it here, I can see how well designed it is and I can see I am probably going to get a lot of use out of it. I may even have to try the teami brand teas to see how they work as well. 

Tea and coffee always go over well in our house.  We keep an entire pantry shelf stocked with both and are always looking to branch out.  This year in my garden only the mint grew well. Everything else fried to a crisp in the heat no matter how much I watered it.  As a consequence while we have jars of both dried peppermint and dried chocolate peppermint, we are rather low on the other herbals.  We have a lot of empty jars this year so we will need to purchase more tea than usual.

But ordering tea is for a later time.

To be honest, the only disappointment this month was the dual ended brush and even that was more of a personal dislike rather than a full upset.  There are a few companies where I do get excited for Hand soap.  Molton Brown is one of them.  I would squeal excitedly at their hand soap houlf it ever arrive on my doorstep in a subscription package. (Incidentally I believe Molton Brown is 15% off on the Look Fantastic site today.  I’m running out of bath gel and was looking to restock and saw the sale. I ordered the Rhubarb and Rose. It’s my absolute favorite as the tart rhubarb knocks down the sweet of the floral so something lovely and refreshing. Admittedly, I will give the Cuccio a try before opening a new product once the new product arrives). Perhaps once I try this, I will feel the same about this brand. 

I am tickled pink by the Osea moisturizer and very happy with the Byroe serum.  I am also happy with everything else.  And as a return on investment for my $50 purchase price I ended up with $486.95 worth of items.  They are all things I will use (even if I only use one end of the brush) so quite frankly this was a really good month.  As the last two Boxy Luxe months weren’t exactly my favorites it is really nice to have a good month. This month Boxy Premium really stepped up as well.  I don’t know if pandemic based adjusted shipping threw them for a complete loop, but if it did, they seem to have gotten things worked out. 

I am still considering dropping down to one Boxy charm box in January so I can try out new subscriptions without being overwhelmed with product, but at the moment I’m not sure which I am planning to drop.  I think part of it may depend on the Allure box. This is the last month the Allure box is the regular box.  Next month they go up in price and their price point puts them about even with the regular boxycharm box.  They might fall flat and be the subscription box I drop in January or they might make giving up one of the boxycharm boxes a lot easier. Starting in October there will be a more direct comparison between the two.  It will be interesting to see where that ends up landing. For now I am quite pleased with this quarter’s BoxyLuxe Box.

Molton Brown (US)

September 2020 Boxycharm Premium Unboxing

Boxycharm Premium is a monthly beauty box subscription.  It costs $35 per month and generally has six full sized beauty products in the box. This month’s theme is Glam Vibes only. To be honest, most months I’m not really sure if the theme actually relates to the contents of the box.  This month I’m guessing that that the theme is because pretty much everything in the box is rather high end.  Although to be honest as it is a premium box, I would already expect that. Theme confusion aside, I am rather pleased with my selection of products this month.

The first item I took out was The Queen Eyeshadow Palette by Eloise Beauty (retail $46).  I have never heard of the brand, let alone tested the shadows, but it is a vibrant palette that looks like it would be fun to play around with.  As most of the palettes I’ve received lately have been more neutral in tone, it is kind of fun to have some brighter colors available.

The second item I pulled from the premium box was the item I actually chose for my selection.  It is the Marc Jacobs Youthquake Hydra-full retexturing gel crème.(retail $59).  I have to admit, I have been lusting after this crème since its release.  I really enjoy Marc Jacob’s products so I really wanted to see what the brand did in the realm of skin care.  When makeup brands lean into skin care it is very rarely a neutral middle of the road product that gets produced.  It is either really good or really bad.  I have my fingers crossed for the really good.  I have about a week left on my Dior Dream Skin Moisturizer trial and there is a very good chance that instead of sticking to my plan I will jump this ahead of the line.  I may try to resist, but I am not entirely certain how well that will work out.

Next was the Emma Hardie Brilliance Facial oil (retail $55).  I dimly recall hearing the name Emma Hardie before but for the life of me I can’t remember where or in what context.  I’m fairly certain I have never tried anything from the brand (or if I did it wasn’t all that memorable).  So I am thrilled to find a new brand I’ve never really heard of and to test out the product.  With first the Malin + Goetz Recovery oil and now the Timeless Skincare 100% Squalane Oil I have to say I am really starting to like incorporating oils into my skin care routine.

The fourth item in the September premium box was the Kitsch Ice roller ($18).  Apparently this is the month of the rollers.  I received one Jade roller in my Look Fantastic Box this month and a second Jade roller in my Glossy Box. I already had a rose quartz roller which I really like.  I keep it in the fridge and it is marvelous when I come in from the heat or when my allergies have me all puffy eyed. 

At the moment it is rag weed season where I live so puffy eyed is kind of my default state at the moment.  I will be passing on the unopened Jade rollers, since I already use my quartz one, but I will try the metal Kitsch one as I want to see if there is a difference with using the metal one versus the stone one.  Currently it is chilling down and getting ready for its first use. To be honest I enjoy the roller tools more for the depuffing and cooling rather than the serum application.  I find the serums work better with a vibrating cleansing tool like a Fereo or a PMD wand. Not that I won’t try it with the serum.

The next product in my September Premium box I was very pleased to see.  It was very shiny and hard to photograph as it kept throwing back light, but it is the Milk makeup Kush Lip Scrub (retail $22).  I have used this before.  It is extremely mild and very soothing. 

With most lip scrubs you sort of have to rinse or wipe the exfoliate off of your lips once you have used it which sort of removes the balm agent as well.  With this you don’t.  The grains are fine enough that after applying you rub your lips together and they sort of disappear.  This is a great product to use every night as it won’t over exfoliate and it softens as well. I was very happy to see it.

We’re sending you 7 FREE Vegan Milk Moisturizer Samples with ANY purchase so you can moisturize the Milk way every day of the week. While supplies last. Offer starts 1/27.

Finally, the last item I removed from the box was the Stila smudge stick Waterproof eyeliner (retail $22).  Do I need another eyeliner? No.  Is it a good eyeliner? Yes.  I’ve used it before and if I remember correctly it was nice and creamy and while smudgeable when applied, once set, it stayed put. And unlike my liquid eyeliners it won’t really dry out.

I may have to take stock of my open eyeliners before deciding it I am going to use it right away or keep it unopened for a while. For now it is staying in the box so that I know I haven’t used it. This is actually the perfect excuse to go through my liners.  I know I have several that have dried out or that I just don’t like enough to keep. I was planning to do a big fall declutter of my dressing table as well as my wardrobe as I switch to fall and winter clothes.  I was aiming for the first weekend in October to do this, but there is no harm in starting my eye liner perusal a little early.

But that is another topic. Back to the Boxycharm September Premium Box.

So was this a good box?  Yes.  Every item in this box is one I will use, or that I would like to try out.  There are brands I love and a few I have either never heard of or only dimly recall.  It was a nice mix of products that actually felt premium.  On occasion some of the premium boxes haven’t really felt that way.  I’m hoping to chalk it up to quarantine shipping issues and hope that they now have a workable system in place.  The boxes certainly are getting better.  Last month and this month were both a welcome relief from the not so great boxes the few months prior.  So the end balance is that for my $35 I received $222 worth of products.  While the price is fair, I am happier that they are all products I am more than happy to try out and use.  That for me makes the box worthwhile.  Don’t get me wrong the return on investment is nice, but there really is no point in getting expensive things you aren’t going to use. These are from quality brands and they are products I will use. So I have to say, for me, September was a five star box.

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BoxyCharm Unboxing August 2020

Finally my Boxy Charm box has come in.  Technically I received notice that it shipped on the 8th, so it feels like I have been waiting forever.  I actually didn’t get a notification for my Boxycharm premium, however both boxes came in on the same day.   Well not to me they didn’t.  My boxes were delivered to one of my neighbors a block over, with the same street number but a different street name. The boxes were labeled correctly, but the mailman just made a mistake.  Sadly not the first time.  Last week I walked over a large box from Wayfair for her that was delivered to me.  It was also addressed correctly, just mistakenly delivered. 

But all is well now.

And I am getting to know one of my neighbors, sort of.

So what was in my Boxycharm box this month?

Well, the first item I took out of the box was the item I chose.  That was the QMS Medicosmetics Active Glow Tinted Day Cream (retail $105).  I know, I didn’t have the best time with the eye cream however I have a cousin who swears by this cream so I figured I’d give it a shot. 

She and I generally have similar skin issues.  She also wasn’t a big fan of the eye cream, so I have high hopes for this product. As it seems like a very summery type of product, I might use it as my ‘foundation’ next week and go for a really light and natural look.

Next up was a Cargo Eyeshadow palette, the Nude Beach eyeshadow Palette to be precise (retail $39.99). I’m not going to lie, I was a bit disappointed.  All month long they were advertising an either or with a Violet Voss Palette and a Butter London Palette.  I had my fingers crossed for the Butter London. 

the Cargo palette

I know it is always a gamble as to what you get, but I didn’t realize Cargo was an option.  I’ll get over it, but I have to say even without the general disappointment, this palette wouldn’t exactly send me into spirals of rapture.  It looks kind of boring to be honest.  I’ll still give it a go and who knows, maybe it will surprise me.

The next product did send me into spirals of rapture.  It was the Clarins Velvet lip perfector. (retail $26).  I really like Clarins.  I tried their water stain last week and really liked it so I am happy to have this product to try.  I’ve also tried one of their moisturizers before and I ended up really liking it. I think that next week, this too might end up in my makeup bag.

This month was apparently my month for lips as I also received the Trestique A matte for every mood mini matte lip crayon (retail $58).  As I have already been using a different lip kit from Trestique off and on all summer, I know I’m going to enjoy using this. 

The other shades I have are more sheer in color though and these appear to be actual pigments rather than a sheer wash of tint so it is nice to have the mix.  At this rate I’m just going to need to keep out a jar just for my Trestique lips.  I’m not complaining though, if I had more space in the bathroom, I’d happily keep them out.

They are easy to reach for and always feel good on my lips. At this point I am actually close to being able to do a full face of Trestique. I’m missing foundation and blush. And eye products, although i don’t know if they do those. I’ll have to look into it. Then maybe I’ll take advantage of their shade matching service and pick up a foundation. (I’ll link that below in case anyone else is interested.)

Selfie Shade Match

Finally there was a Definer Brow Pencil from Real Her (retail $16). I have a Palette Trio from Real Her that I really like (blush, bronzer and highlight).  I actually need to find a better place to store that so I reach for it more often.

Hopefully the brow pencil will be good and when I reach for it I will remember the palette and pull it out more often.  It’s one of those rare palettes where all three products actually work for me, but it is somewhat smaller than the other palettes near it so it gets hidden.  Seeing the brow pencil might remind me to use it more.

So that was my August Boxycharm.  For my $25 I received $244.99 worth of products. It was a pretty good box this month all things considered.  I was a little disappointed in the eyeshadow palette, but that was mostly because I adore Butter London’s shadow formula and had my fingers crossed and hopes up. (I love their Power Up mascara too actually, it is on my list of top five mascaras).  Truthfully, I am okay with Cargo’s formula as well.  Sometimes it is hit or miss, but it is generally okay. The color scheme of it just doesn’t thrill me. If it weren’t so beige I’d be happier. But that is just me doing a bit of whining and not really a very valid complaint.

It was a good box this month, better than it has been in a while actually. I’m still thinking of pairing it down to one box at the end of the year, but this doesn’t make it easy to choose as to which one has to go. I think I just might wait until December’s boxes come in and sit down to look at hits and misses throughout the year and see which one ranks higher before I make up my mind. It will probably be a last second decision. For now, I am content with what I received. And I can’t wait to try out the all the lip products from both Clarins and Trestique.

BoxyCharm Unboxing: July 2020

It seems like subscription boxes are finally starting to come in.  For a little while there I thought all of July would arrive in August.  Admittedly, I still haven’t gotten any tracking information on my Boxy Premium so August is still a possibility.  But the regular box did arrive.  For those curious the regular Boxycharm Base box is $25 per month and inside you should receive five full sized items. 

I’ll be honest, this month was not that exciting.  I found myself looking at the items and being somewhat disappointed in the box as a whole.  But let’s get into what arrived in the box shall we?

The first item was the one I chose way back on the choice day for the Boxy Base box.  My choice was the 111 Skin MAC Y2 Pollution Defense Booster (retail $135).  I have had an interesting time with 111 Skin (pronounced, I believe one eleven skin for those wondering) products. 

Some I really like, some I like, but wouldn’t choose over other products due to their really high price. In other words, their products tend to be good on the whole, but not all of them can justify their price tag. It will be interesting to see which one this will be.

This product is supposed to protect against blue light pollution (ie from computer screens).  I’ve never tried it before, but as a writer I spend a lot of time typing away at my computer so perhaps I will notice a difference.  Admittedly, I’m not entirely sure how you test for that.  So I’ll have to do a little research before I use it so I know what signs to look for when I try it out.

The second item in my box this month was the Hourglass Arch Brow Micro sculpting pencil (retail $28). Hourglass is a good brand and I am always up to try a new brow product.  It is nice that it is in here and I do like this product. I think it is great that it has a spoolie on one end so I don’t have to reach for another brush and can just use this. That is a really helpful trait for a brow pencil, especially when I am traveling. Not that I’m doing much traveling these days, but still it is nice.

Next up is the Ace Beaute Bronzed in Paradise palette (retail $30). I don’t always have the best of luck with Ace Beaute products, so I can’t say I was terribly excited to see this here. I usually end up passing them on to someone else.  Admittedly the bulk of what I’ve tried has been eyeshadows (I find the ones I’ve tried both powdery and splotchy).  But perhaps the bronzer will be better.

The fourth item in my July Base box was the Alamar Cosmetics lip gloss in Birthday suit (retail $15).  It is listed as a universally gorgeous pink diamond dripped gloss. On the lips it is a clear gloss with a slight pink tinge that is pretty much unnoticeable. Like the other Alamar lip products I’ve tried, it is a little sticky. 

It is a nice gloss that smells of vanilla (I think for the birthday cake feel).  It’s okay, but nothing fabulous.  If I am going to buy anything from Alamar cosmetics, it would be their brushes.  Their brushes are fantastic.  Their lip products are only okay.

The fifth and final item in my bag is the Make Waves liquid metallic eyeshadow from Beauty by Popsugar (retail $23).

It didn’t look the best when I pulled it out of the box, but following the instructions, I shook it and it became less stagnant pond water esque in the tube.  The hand swatch came out okay after several swipes of the wand. That one swatch has about five brushes of product on it instead of a single swipe swatch. I’m not sure how that will translate to eye application but the color did turn out well on my hand eventually. Maybe it will do better on my eyes.

As I know, swatches aren’t always reliable.  I’ll give it a go and see how I feel about it then.  I wasn’t a fan of the regular Beauty by Popsugar shadows I tried, maybe I’ll like this one more.

I think the reason I find this a little disappointing in my bag is that a single shadow always seems like something you’d get in a $12 IPSY bag, not a Boxycharm $25 box.   I was disappointed when I received a single KVD Vegan Beauty Shadow in my Boxycharm and it is one of my favorite single shadows.  So I really think it is the single shadow appearing rather than the brand or shade.

So this month I received five products in my Boxy Charm Base Box.  Two of them I am excited by three I’m reserving judgement on.  The overall retail value of the July box was $231, which isn’t bad for a $25 box.  Admittedly, one of the items made up the bulk of the value and the rest of the items just sort of fluffed it out.  Maybe that’s why it seems slightly disappointing.  It feels like I got a lot of filler in my box.  That’s no reflection on the companies or their products, it is just a reflection of how the box felt when I opened it.

It is a sensation I have been feeling more and more with the Boxycharm base box lately.  It has me on the fence with the base box although I still like the premium one.  Or at least I have, I’ll have to see what turns up this month.  Because of the extenuating circumstances of the pandemic I’m willing to cut people a little more slack than usual as they try to readjust with their shipping and product orders, so I won’t be cancelling.  I am however starting to consider opting out of the base box and just keeping premium. For now, I’ll allow the readjustment time and hope it gets better.  Fingers crossed that the base box will arrive and be fantastic.

June 2020 BoxyCharm Luxe Review

The June 2020 BoxyLuxe Box

Four times a year, the regular BoxyCharm box is replaced with a larger one and the price doubles so it is essentially a $50 box (it’s something like $54 with tax).  There are also supposed to be more lifestyle themed items mixed in with the beauty. The last box, was not one of their better ones, so I was hoping for a good box this month.  Truthfully, I think this may be one of the best boxes I’ve received in a while.This month there were eight items in my box. 

The first item was more of a life style item and it was the Hallmart Collectables Satin Pillow and Mask Set (retail $50).  It is essentially a standard sized satin pillow case with a sleeping mask.  Mine came in a nice pink shade. 

Personally, I’m happy about that because the others featured were more animal print and I’m not really an animal print kind of girl.  I chose this because I actually do use a sleep mask every night.  I am a very light sleeper with chronic insomnia and the shifting light from someone driving down the street will wake me up. 

Using the sleeping mask is quite helpful.  My usual sleep mask is a silk one from WhisperSilk actually. Because I use it every night I thought having an extra around would help keep it from getting worn out as fast since I can swap them.  Which I am doing.  The Sleep mask is fine.  Personally I prefer the silk to satin, but it is nice to have a back up.  The pillow case is a little on the small side, but it too is fine.

In case you are interested: whisper silk

The second item in my luxe box this month is more than fine.  It is the Malin + Goetz Recovery treatment oil.  I love Malin +Goetz (retail $82).  Their grapefruit cleansing oil is one I consistently repurchase.

enjoy 10% off your first order + free shipping with code MGWELCOME at MALIN+GOETZ.

I actually tried a sample of this oil a while back and it was amazing, I just hadn’t gotten around to picking up a full sized version to give it a complete trial.  Once my current skin care test is through, I will be rotating this into my line up and personally I can’t wait.

This month there was another m. greengrass product.  I received the CBD Head to Toe cream (retail $56). A while back I received one of their oils in a boxycharm.  I liked the oil but it came with very little instruction on recommended usage.  I fumbled about and tried several different things, finally finding a method I liked.  I suspect I will have to play around with this cream as well. 

Part of the description makes it sound like it is a facial moisturizer while the name and the rest of the description just makes it sound like a body moisturizer.  I’ll have to see how I like using it and play around with it to see if it is going to be a face cream or a body one.  I do like that it comes in a nice pump though and look forward to using it in whatever capacity it ends up skewing towards.

The next item in my box made me smile.  It was the Purlisse Beauty Perfect Glow BB Cream with SPF 30 (retail $35).  I like many of Purlisse’s products. Their Blue Lotus Moisturizer is fantastic as is their Matcha Green tea Moisturizer.

A little while ago I picked up a small trial sized tube of this BB Cream to test. In th photo the small one is the sample I picked up and started using this week while the larg is the one that came in this month’s box. I planned to see if I liked it enough to purchase the full size.  The trial size is the one I am using this week as my foundation product trial.  Thus far I like it so I am glad I already have a full size on standby.  I am going to resist opening the full size until I’ve worked through more of my open products, but I like knowing it is around.

lip liner swatches, very creamy

The bodyography lip pencil set (retail $28) included two lip pencils in the shades Pouty and Rosewood.  Both are colors I would use and I am happy to see them.  The only Bodyography product I’ve tried was an eye pencil.  While it was a nice formula it was a teal color that I’m just not going to reach for.  These are colors I will use. 

I’m also trying to remember to use my lip pencils more.  I tend to remember them more in the winter and forget them in the summer.  I’m not entirely sure why. Maybe its because I tend to use more glosses in the summertime.  Who knows, but I do like using them when I remember. So I’m trying to remember.

The Tula Skincare Glow and Get it Cooling and Brightening Eye balm (retail $28) was in my box this month and it was one of the items I chose.  I am almost at the end of my Dr. Brandt eye cream so it was perfect timing for another eye product to appear in my life.   It is a stick formula which interested me.  I have heard people raving about Tula for a while.  I tried a sample of their face wash and while it worked well enough I found the scent a bit cloying. I’m hoping I like this better.  I’ll have to let you know.

Next we come to the Kylie Skin by Kylie Jenner foaming Face Wash (retail $24).  To be honest, I don’t really know too much about Kylie Jenner products.  I was never a big fan of the show and while the lip products interested me I never got around to picking them up.

I’m sure eventually I will, but to be honest I am more inclined to pick up new colors from Lime Crime. But this is about face wash.  I am almost done with my Elemis Foaming Face Wash (which I love) so I might transition to this foaming face wash.

Admittedly the Elemis is a hard act to follow. But part of the fun of these subscription boxes is trying new products I might never have picked up for myself.  Sometimes I find new unexpected favorites.  So I will keep an open mind and give it a try.

Finally, we come to the product I was super excited to receive.  It is the Tarte Tarteist Pro Amazonian Clay Palette (retail $49). I know Tarte gets dinged for putting out the same colors in different formats and I know this is not a new palette. But I absolutely adore Tarte’s shadow formula. 

I have several of these colors in my favorite Tarte travel palette and I am really looking forward to putting this palette to use.  It was one of those palettes I wanted but never got around to picking up.  Now  I have it. I’m sure it will end up being in next week’s makeup bag. At the moment I am trying hard not to reach for it now. But I will do my best to resist. At the moment it is sitting with my new Too Faced Contour Palette waiting for it’s chance to be used. But my will is strong.

Well strong ish.

I have to say this was a pretty good month as far as the BoxyCharm Luxe Box went.    My $50 box held $352 worth of products.  All of them are products I will use or am looking forward to trying out.  After the last BoxyLuxe month I have to say, I am greatly relieved that the level has once again risen.  This month’s box is one I definitely enjoyed. It is in fact better than BoxyCharm has been for a while. This makes me very happy.

Amazon 2020

Reviewing BoxyCharm Premium for June 2020

June 2020 BoxyCharm Premium (and no the pickle jar wasn’t part of it)

Boxycharm Premium is a tier of Boxycharm and costs $35 per month. I have to say I was eagerly anticipating this month’s box.  Last month, to be blunt, it was a flop, would this be as bad or would it be redeemed? 

Let’s see shall we?

The first Item that appeared when I began unpacking the June Box was the Glow Recipe Avocado Melt Retinol Sleeping mask (retail $49).  I’m sure by now everyone realizes that I love sleeping masks.  I love a product that works while I sleep. And this is one I have been wanting to try for a while. 

At the moment I am conducting a Volition Skin Care test, but as soon as I finish my month long trial and start incorporating other products in, this Glow Recipe sleeping mask will be added to my line up. I’m hoping it is as good as their Watermelon sleeping mask, If possibly less jelly like in consistency.

The second item was one I actually chose during the selection day.  It was the Milk Makeup Glow Oil Lip+Cheek. (retail $15).  I know some of you may be thinking, didn’t you get that in your last box, and didn’t you complain that it was travel sized?  Yes and yes. Well spotted. 

It was a different color last month and last month’s shade was one I could use on my lips, but wasn’t very good on my cheeks.  This one looks like it will be a good color for the cheeks as well as the lips so I might give it a try.

Of the selection items it was also the only one that really interested me.  And I like Milk Makeup so I’m not upset at having a second one.  I wasn’t too enthused with the selections, but that is another story.

The Billion Dollar Brows sculpting duo brush ($30) was also in my box this month.  It is a decent quality brush.  I’m not terribly enthused with double sided brushes as one side always gets smashed or if I use both sides then when I put it back in the jar of brushes product gets all over the other handles.  Usually with dual ended brushes I’ll pick one end to use and just forget about the other side.  But it is a decent brush and it did go with the next product. So I could see why it as chosen for the box. It does show that at least a little thought went into the box’s makeup where the last couple have seemed very random.

This was the Too Faced Cocoa Contour Palette (retail $44).  As with most Too Faced products, the packaging feels super lux and the products smell absolutely delicious. The outer packaging has that soft touch feel that I absolutely love.  

I have held of swatching and playing with it because I want to get a solid first impression of it.  I will be adding it to this Friday’s makeup bag and trying it out next week so there will be a review of it soon. (Plus there is a limit to how long I can hold of playing around with it.)

It was very hard not to go ahead and add it to the bag this week.  I just kept wanting to touch the packaging.  So I was needless to say very happy to see this in my box this month. And I can see why it went with the Billion Dollar Brows Contour brush.  I may even use the brush with the palette.  I just don’t  like the dual ended part.

Also in this month’s box was the Living Proof Restore Repair Leave in (retail $30).  I used to use Living Proof products a lot, but I sort of got away from them and haven’t picked them up in a while.  I remember being fond of their shampoo mostly.  But it has been a while since I’ve used them.  I tend to gravitate more towards IGK and Klorane. Klorane is actually one of my favorite dry shampoos.  I go through a lot of their product.  But that is beside the point. 

I am happy to once again try a Living Proof Product. Especially as I can’t really remember why I stopped using them in the first place. Maybe this will jog my memory, maybe it will just be a good product to use. We shall see. Over all, I am pretty happy to see it.

Finally, we come to the box of Grace and Stella Anti-wrinkle +Energizing face masks (retail $25). The box was actually wedged into the bottom of my Boxycharm box and had to be pried out.  It just barely managed to fit.  At first it looked like a false bottom.  I actually tied this mask for last Friday’s Face mask post if you want to check out my review. 

I generally like Grace and Stella products and this one made me look like an ancient Mayan statue while doing great things for my skin, so I wasn’t mad.  I also like the fact that it is a full box of six face masks.  This feels like something that should be in a premium box.  If there was only one, I probably would have been upset.  But I like the six as it is clearly a full sized package.  I also liked the masks, so that helped my assessment.

So that was my June Boxy Charm Premium. I have to say I was far more excited by the products than I have been in the past couple of months.  I’m hoping that they are going to keep their standards high and that the lapse was because the world went insane and shipping was delayed rather than anything else. For my $35 I received a selection of products whose retail value was $193.  As I believe their promise is at least $170 for the premium, I am pleased with the value.  Even with my personal dislike of dual ended brushes, I believe I will end up using everything in my box. And let’s face it, that’s the true value of the box.  If you aren’t going to use the items, they are essentially worthless.  These are items I will use. So June was definitely a good month for Boxycharm Premium.

Hello Charmers Palette Review

maybe a black background wasn’t the best idea for the pic

This was my makeup bag palette pick for the week. Not only did this palette come in a Boxy Charm box, but I believe it was the first palette Boxycharm did on it’s own instead of as a collaboration with someone else.  Hence the name Hello, Charmer!

All of the shade names are ones relating to some aspect of Boxy Charm.  As the last few palettes I’ve talked about didn’t have shade names, I’m just relieved these do.  It’s much easier to talk about a specific shade, such as Cup’of Joe rather than the brown shade on the far right of the second row.

It is a really good mix of mattes, shimmers and glitters, which I like.  They all have their pros and cons.

Top row of swatches

First the Mattes. The Matte shades are Boxy, Spoiler, Unboxing, Premium and Cup of Joe.  As far as colors go, it is essentially three neutrals, one white and one red. Premium and Spoiler are both transition shades (depending on your skin tone with Cup of Joe being a nice brownish shade that is excellent for deepening the crease. It doesn’t swatch terribly well but it is quite pigmented on the eyes.  The shades are all highly pigmented and layer well.  They are also super powdery.  This is a messy pan to work with and you will definitely need to tap off your brush before applying and be prepared for some fall out during application. 

Second row of swatches

Once placed though, they stay in place throughout the day.  Just be aware that application is messy.

The shimmer shades are, to be honest more metallic looking than shimmery in many cases. They too are highly pigmented and blend really well.  They aren’t as powdery as the mattes.  They feel very creamy and they stay in place well.  They are not subtle.  Just no that. While you can create everyday looks with the mattes, the metallic shimmers are a pretty intense pop. If you work in a conservative office, you might be able to get away with using sneak peek and exclusive, but the others are definitely after hours shades.

There is one glitter shade and I don’t know if you can see, but my pan of Swipe Up already has a dip in it.  It is the smoothest glitter I have ever applied.  While it does go on without any glitter glue, I would advise using a somewhat sticky eye primer with this one.  (Or don’t let the concealer you use in place of an eye primer set too much so it is still wet.  It can use a little something to hold it in place.  It doesn’t need glue though and stays in place well.  I ended up with a little glitter in strange places on my face by the end of the day, but for the most part after a full day of wear it was still where I put it.

The mattes like spoiler are quite powdery

This was a really fun palette to play around with this week.  And it is surprisingly more versatile than I expected it to be.  I thought I would just have wild eyes all week, but if I stuck to the mattes I could go for a neutral look.  If I wanted sparkly, well, I could get that too.  While the mattes are good, they aren’t my favorite formula with that fall out.  I have the same shades in different palettes so they aren’t unique but the shimmer s and glitters more than make up for it.  And you can see that they were chose mostly to be a back drop for the more spectacular shades.  If it weren’t for the powdery bits I’d give it a ten, with the powder it’s still an eight and a half, and that’s not bad.  Clearly this palette is staying in my collection for a while.

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BoxyCharm May 2020 Review

Bocy Charm May 2020

Some of you may be aware that all was not happy in BoxyCharm land this month. Lots of folks were not happy with what they received.  I have to say I posted my Boxy Charm Premium review last week and I was really not happy.  It actually made me feel better that a lot of folks were disappointed and that it wasn’t just me.

Misery loves company, eh?

As a consequence there was a lot of damage control being done for the company via Instagram and TikTok as explanations about shipping delays and all were explained.  While it didn’t make me any happier, it was an explanation.  It makes me feel a little more lenient in my judgement. Or at least willing to think of May as a one off.   If you are interested in all that, I’d suggest reading through the whole mess on Instagram.

Here, we will just move on to my Boxy Charm base box for the month of May.  Now for those who don’t know for the price of $25 per month BoxyCharm subscribers get five full sized products in their subscription box.  Usually there is a card explaining the prices of the products, this month there was not.

The first item in my box this month was one I actually already reviewed for you.  It with the Glam Glow Berryglow recovery mask.  (retail $49) I wore it as my Friday Face mask last week. It is the item I chose for this box.  (I did end up ordering the Elemis exfoliating pads during add-ons once I chose it those are amazing by the way, at least thus far and a review will be forthcoming). Even though the mask didn’t turn out to be my favorite, I was still happy to give it a try and happy to see it in this month’s box.

I was however a little surprised to see it was sort of beat up. I am chalking this up to the fact that the jar itself wasn’t in an outer packaging but just in the box as you see it here. I don’t know if that is a safety precaution of what as Glam glow always has a box around the packaging, at least as far as I’ve seen. I could be wrong. I am not a consistent enough purchaser of Glamglow products to know. It is however pictured with a box on the website where I looked up the price information.

The second item in my box, I was less enthused about seeing.  It was the Daily Concepts Shampoo Bar. (retail $24). I am not a big fan of shampoo bars in general.  They make me feel like I need an extra hand when washing my hair.  I know that sounds strange but my hair is a bit thick so I like to get my fingers into my hair and sort of give my scalp a massage as I wash my hair. No matter how good the shampoo bar actually is I never feel like I get it all the way through my hair.  I always feel like I am only washing the top.  I was surprised by the $24 retail price as well. Something about it seems like something you’d pick up for under $10. That could just be my perception of the brand and the packaging though. I think it looks kind of cheap, but maybe I am missing something. The world of shampoo bars is not one I play in. Also this particular one was not the scent for me.  It smelled very manly and woodsy.  As a consequence I gave it to my baby doll to use.

He says it is okay but not his favorite.  And it’s the sort of ‘its okay’ that means he doesn’t want me to keep it in stock for him.  For example, I tend to get the Dr. Squatch soaps for him to use and when he runs out  he sort of sighs and when asked if I should reorder he responds “That’s okay, you don’t have to.  I can just use some…other product.” And then he gives me the puppy dog eyes. Which means he really likes it.  And I have to admit the citrus cedar makes the entire bathroom smell fabulous so I don’t mind. (Plus it is reasonably priced).

I did not get the puppy dog eyes or the overly dramatic sigh with the shampoo bar from Daily concepts.  So he’ll use it and I won’t re order.

The next item in my box was the Pretty Vulgar eyeshadow primer. (retail $22) I like Pretty Vulgar. Their Feathers Mascara is fantastic and I enjoyed their foundation as well so I have no problem seeing this in my box.  I’m also relieved to see makeup once again making an appearance. I don’t use a lot of eyeshadow primers as I tend to use whatever concealer I happen to have out to use with the rest of my face as the lid primer, but I am willing to give it a go. Who knows, I may end up loving it. It is nice to try something I may not have picked up on my own, (And yes I realize this comes after I complained about the shampoo bar, I just don’t like that particular shampoo delivery method.)

Also in my May Boxycharm box was an eyeshadow palette.  I received the Studio Makeup easy to wear palette.(retail $35). It is, according to the website, a BoxyCharm Exclusive. While I am happy to see more makeup in my subscription box, I have to say I wasn’t all that excited by the palette.  They are all neutrals I have in other palettes. 

I have heard very good things about the formula, but I think I may be passing it on to my mom.  She tends to keep neutral shades in single shadow form and has been talking about getting an actual neutral palette for a while, so I think, I’m going to not play with it and just send it her way. I’ll have to report back about what she thinks of it.

Finally this leads us to the last item in the box.  It is a packet of makeup wipes from Ayam. (retail $17) It is infused with Dead Sea Minerals and Vitamin C Serum. I have to say I did use one of the makeup wipes the other day and my skin felt really good after using it. To be honest, I think $17 is too low a price for these. It is a thick packet and they are far nicer than many of the more expensive wipes I’ve tried. It is rare that I actually say this, so I’ll repeat it for those too shocked to register the first time. I would actually pay more than the listed retail price for these wipes.

Well if I consistently used makeup wipes any more that is.

I am of two minds about make up wipes.  They are super handy and convenient to have around.  I stopped buying them though because of the waste.  I generally dampen one corner of my Makeup Eraser so use when cleaning up shadow fall out or other make up mistakes.  These seem to be really good and my big issue with makeup wipes is that I really do like them, I’m just trying to be a less wasteful person. But they are here, so I will use them and then feel virtuous when I go back to my Makeup Eraser.

Buy 1, Get 1 30% off! Use code BYEBYEWIPES

That was my BoxyCharm for the month of May.  While not the most exciting of boxes it was an okay box.  It may not have filled me with excitement, but it didn’t make me mad. And to be fair, even with the explanations, the premium box kind of left me feeling a bit salty this month. I saw several much worse postings for BoxyCharm this month so I also feel pretty lucky with what I recieved. The unboxed mask was a little odd and the shampoo bar was something I was never going to like but it is not a box I am mad about. So I have to say, the regular box was much better than the premium box this month.  Hopefully that is not a continuing trend moving forward.  I suppose we shall see.

Save $25 off your Summer Box all season long at! Promo code: SUMMER25 (Valid 5/4-8/1 exclusions apply)

May 2020 BoxyCharm Premium: A Review

My Premium BoxyCharm Box for May 2020

For those who don’t know Boxy Charm is a beauty subscription.  The premium tier is $35 per month and for that price you are supposed to receive six full sized items with a minimum retail value of $120. This month’s theme was Mother Nature. I’ll be honest, I was not happy with my May box.  Generally I really like Boxy Charm.  They have a few months here and there where the box isn’t the greatest, but even then it is still fun to get. Other times it is super amazing.

For the record, I really hate writing negative reviews.  Usually even if I don’t like a product or a box, there are enough positives about it that I can see it working for someone else.  This month was different.

Now here’s the deal.  All of the products in this month’s box are ones I like.  The products are fine, but this isn’t a product review, this is a subscription box review. Even though each product is individually fine, it is their sum taken as a whole that makes up the subscription box and determines whether or not the subscription is worth paying for.  

This month not only did the box not feel premium, but when I opened it my first thought was ‘They must have forgotten to pack something.’  The box felt incomplete. It was light weight and the items sort of rolled around looking a little lost in the large box. Even when I counted the items and read over the card, I still pried out the bottom of the cardboard to make certain nothing else was hidden because it really felt as though something was missing. I think I would have felt that even if it was a regular box.  The fact that it was a premium one made it even worse.

But let’s get into the box. 

We’ll start off with the high note of the Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer (retail $30). It was the item I chose for this month’s box.  It is gorgeous.  It looks luxe.  I love the packaging and it felt very premium. I look forward to using it.

The second item was the Pure Heals Centella 90 Ampule Serum (retail $28). I’m always up for trying new skin care.  At the moment however I am completely awash with skin care so it is going in my skin care drawer and will be used at a later date.  I am happy to have it to try, but lately there has been so much skin care in subscription boxes it is really hard to get all that excited.

Next there was the Kevyn Aucoin The Expert Mascara (retail $29).  It is a good mascara.  I’ve used it before and really like it. It is actually in my top five mascaras. It is one I would purchase on my own. In subscription boxes, however, mascaras always feel like filler. It is something that gets added in because there are already several higher priced items in the box. I got a mascara last month as well, so even though I like this mascara, I wasn’t terribly excited to see it in the box.  I do hope this means there will be more Kevyn Aucoin in future boxes because I really like the company’s products and would love to have more of them to try out. Again this nothing against the product.

The next item in my box was the tarte sugar rush best bud lip butter balm (retail $12).  Do I like tarte?  Yes.  Is it pretty? Yes.  But it is a lip balm.

I like lip balm. 

I currently have a lip balm subscription with Jersey Shore Cosmetics. (incidentally even though their lip balms are also $12 each, their monthly subscription for a four pack of lip balms with tax and shipping comes to $13.  I actually received this month’s JSC subscription on the same day as Boxy Premium which invited direct comparison, just so you know where I am coming from.)

But in a box like this, a lip balm is still a filler item.  Like mascara it is something that gets added to the box when the value is already high. Will I use it?  Yes, it’s a nice lip balm. But that’s not why I get BoxyCharm.

Following the tart lip balm was the Milk Make Up Glow oil lip and cheek (retail $15).  Again, I like Milk. There are several of their products I use and repurchase on a regular basis.  I’ve even used this product before and loved it.  It is an excellent lip oil and gives the cheeks a naturally flushed look for a no make up makeup look.  It’s a great product. 

And if it was full sized, you might be reading a different post.  Despite the fact that one of BoxyCharm’s claims to always provide only full sized products, this was a travel size. I won’t lie, I felt cheated.  The size of it made it feel like a chubby lip balm, which it kind of is, but it also made it feel like a quick add on not a featured product. which is not something I like saying about Milk because again, I do like their products.

So at this point I am looking at the last item in my May box to not only get the value for the box in the way Boxy Charm is known for, but to make up for two filler items and a travel sized product.  A tall order in general and one not really fulfilled by the final item; a set of Battington Beauty powder and contour brushes. 

Before I even mention the retail value of these brushes lets go over something. Last month, I received the 5 piece Lavish eye brush set (which I love by the way and will be posting a review on soon) It retailed for about $30.  The month prior I believe I received the brush trio from Alamar Cosmetics. Those are also great brushes.  A few months ago (late last year sometime I can’t remember which month) I received a set of the Boxy Charm Brushes.  They are fabulous as well. These brushes set the bar relatively high for the kinds of brushes I expect from BoxyCharm.

These Battington brushes have soft bristles, and really light weight cheap feeling metal handles. In addition, the handles are really fat. It is like gripping one of those chubby pencils little kids use when they are starting to learn how to make letters for the first time.

Because I have so recently gotten brushes from BoxyCharm, I had plenty of items to compare them to. In fact a direct comparison was inevitable.  The Alamar and BoxyCham brushes both beat these hands down for quality and usability.  The bristles are fine. I can’t complain about those, but I do not like those handles. Even if you neglect the quality issue, the fat handles are not for me. There needs to at least be a dent or something in there for better gripping. I know I have relatively small hands to begin with, these just made my hands look tiny and they felt awkward to use.

If the set of two was listed as retailing for $30 I would consider that fair value for the duo. I wouldn’t consider it a particularly good value, but I wouldn’t think I was being rooked. When I looked at the card and realized they were listed as retailing for $90, not only was I floored, but I was kind of mad.

If you add up the retail value of everything in the box without the brushes it comes to $114.  With the brushes it comes to $204. Boxy Charm Premium is listed as having a minimum value of $120 per month unless it is a brand take over month.  This was not a brand take over month. I understand that not every month is going to be a super fabulous month.  Subscription boxes are a gamble. Sometimes you get products you want, other times you get products that don’t work for you. I kind of like the gamble which is one of the reasons I purchase subscription boxes instead of just putting the cost of the box towards a product from Milk or Kevyn Aucoin.  Sometimes I get products I would never have purchased on my own and I enjoy stepping out of my comfort zone with them. Sometimes the new products become favorites that I repurchase on my own again and again. Sometimes I try them for fun and decide they aren’t for me.

This month not only am I disappointed, but I sort of feel as though someone at BoxyCharm is taking revenge for not letting them win at Dodge Ball in elementary school or something.  (Admittedly I never defeated anyone at dodgeball. I always deliberately missed because I wasn’t a big fan of actually hitting other people, so maybe it’s vengeance for not helping them win.)Its like they put in the item I chose, selected the cheaply made over priced brushes and then added enough items to consider it complete.

While I have noticed that the boxes that come the month before a Boxy Luxe Month are never the greatest, this was a new low.  It should have been a warning not to expect too much when they started showing spoilers for the June Luxe month at the end of April.  That should have been the moment when expectations were lowered for May.  Maybe that’s it.  They were so excited about June that they rushed through May. But quite frankly if they aren’t going to pay that much attention to Premium the month before a Luxe box then maybe they shouldn’t have a Premium category. 

At the moment I am not happy, and at the moment am seriously considering cancelling my Premium box. I am willing to concede that times are a little strange with everything going on in the world. That is at this moment one of the primary reasons I am not automatically cancelling my Premium subscription. Truthfully, if it was any higher than $35 I probably would have cancelled it, but as I would have paid more than $35 for the products in this box that I like, I’ll let it ride for a few months to see if it is just a sign of the times or a continuing trend. The premium tier is also less than a year old so they still may be working out a few details and learning to juggle their various subscriptions. So I will be watching and at the year mark (which was my initial re-think marker for this subscription) I will decide if it is worth keeping or not. As I have loved having BoxyCharm, even in the somewhat boring months, I really hope this is just a sign of the times and a temporary slip up.

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