Allure Beauty Box October 2020 Unboxing

The October 2020 Allure Beauty Box

Okay my darlings, buckle up this is going to be an interesting unboxing. The highly anticipated October Allure box has arrived. As you can see above, the box itself has changed. No longer is it the reusable box of yore but a cardboard mailer.

This was the first month of the NEW Allure Beauty Box if you will remember.  Originally It was a $15 subscription box which put it into competition with both Birchbox ($15)  and the Regular IPSY Glam Bag ($12). In October the price of the Allure Beauty Box went up to $23 per month.  With the price increase you are guaranteed six or more products valued at $100 or more (previously 5 products with a $70+ value) and at least three full sized items (previously 2).

While both Boxy Charm and IPSY have $25 boxes, those boxes are all full sized items (5 full sized items).  By contrast, Look Fantastic ($19/ month) has a mix of full and deluxe sample sized items as does GlossyBox ($21/ month).  Since I get BoxyCharm Premium and IPSY Ultimate instead of the regular boxes (and because of the sample and full sized mix) I am going to be comparing the new Allure Box to this month’s Look Fantastic and Glossy Box as they are its closest competitors. Just remember they are both slightly less in cost.

So let’s talk about what arrived this month.

Item number one is the The Nue Co Topical C (full size) (Retail $70). It is a vitamin C powder that you add to a moisturizer or mix with a little water.  According to the little write up in the magazine the powder is supposed to help prevent it from being too heavy on the skin. 

I can’t say I’ve ever had issues with serums being too heavy.  Moisturizers and occasionally oils, yes, but not really serums, but I can see the logic.  If you add it to your moisturizer, it is like you are only layering one product (sort of) onto your skin. I’m game to try it as I do like Vitamin C serums and I have never tried it in powder form. I am just going to have to look it up on the brands website to get more information when I do.  The Allure booklet tells you only what one of their beauty editors thought of it and doesn’t give you a lot of product information.

The next item in the box is the Verso Super Eye Serum (full size) (retail $65).  I like Verso products in general.  I’ve used several before and find it to be a really good brand. I pick them up now and again from Alyaka when they have sales. As far as eye cream goes, it is a good size and one that would take me quite a while to get through.  I have no complaints about that. Speaking of Alyaka, they too have an Advent Calendar out (and I forgot to add it to my advent post yesterday. I knew as soon as I posted I would find more, anyway you can click on the link to see it. It looks kind of amazing and Alyaka specializes in vegan and cruelty free beauty products. The advert with the photo of products is posted at the bottom of this post if you want to get a look at the goodies offered)

Alyaka Beauty Advent Calendar Luxe 2020

The third full sized item is the Static Nails Liquid Glass Lacquer in Irene (full size) (retail $16). It looks to be a nice color and one I will use.  I like nail polishes. As I recently purged several no longer usable nail polishes from my collection I have plenty of space for it. 

However, it does not look full sized.  It may be full sized, but if it is I would take issue with Static Nails.  Since it is hard to get a visual on it by itself, I put it with two other nail polishes.  The Smith and Cult which retails for $18 and which came in a $15 Birch Box and a Nails Inc which came in a Glossy Box. It may be a pretty color, but it does not look full sized. Of course I haven’t tried it. It could be the best nail polish I’ve ever tried where one coat performs unexpected feats of magic. I don’t know and won’t until I try it. Yhis is however an unboxing. I sometimes forget to report back about nail polishes, but this one, I will be remembering to review. As you can tell in some of thes photos, I really need to take off my old polish and repaint them so a review may be coming fairly soon.

Moving on we come to the La Roche-Posay Lipikar Balm AP + Body Cream. It’s a sample so there is no price given for it, but the full 400 mL size is $19.99 and the sample is 15 mL so basic math gives us a value of $0.75. 

Now, I like La Roche-Posay products.  Their sunscreen is really good and very lightweight on the face and their cleanser is amazing for anyone with sensitive skin.  Well, it is good in general, even if you don’t have sensitive skin. (Incidentally their 20% off sale starts tomorrow, I’ll post reminders, but on 10/21 use the code EXCLUSIVE20, on 10/22-23 use code HURRY, and on 10/24 use the code SURPRISE to get 20% plus two deluxe samples.)

Enjoy 4 deluxe samples of your choice on orders $65+ Bonus! Free makeup pouch with orders $95+. Valid: 10/15-10/20.

Since you can now pick up an array of the brand’s products in Walgreens I tend to run out and pick it up when I find myself low on cleansers and don’t have another one lined up.  It is consistently good. I have even used this moisturizer before. 

This exact same size was given out as a free sample from Walgreens when the brand first started being sold there. It is a good moisturizer.  I prefer it on my body rather than my face as I find it a little heavy on the face, but it is a good product. As Allure claims that they are the box that sends products you can’t find anywhere else,  I can’t say I am wowed by its presence.

in this box

The same goes for the Dr Jartt Ceramidin Cream sample (again basic math $48 for full sized 50 ml Tube, sample size is10 mL with a value of $9.60) .  It’s a nice cream.  I’ve tried it before.  I’ve even had a sample of it from Allure before.

compared to previous sample

Admittedly the previous sample was a bit smaller in size.  But I have had so many samples of this cream from so many different sources that I have lost count of the number of times I’ve used or passed on these tubes of cream. Because it has been repeated so many times by so many different boxes, it doesn’t feel all that special.  And quite frankly it is an okay cream that I will probably not be picking up in the full sized versions any time soon. As this was their first higher priced box, I would have expected them to try to make it a little more special.

I will say that the Sigma Liquid Lipstick in Venom did feel special (full size $20, sample $4).  It is a beautiful color and I can not wait to try out the formula. I’m okay with it being a sample size. 

Would I have preferred the full size?  Of course.  If given the chance I would have made the lippie a full sized and the nail polish a travel sized.  As the nail polish already looks travel sized it probably would have looked ridiculous any smaller though.

My next items was the Wilma Schumann Hydrating Collagen Eye Pads (1 pair)($18 for 5 sets, 1 pair is $3.60).  I like eye masks and I am always willing to have another pair to try.  I have no complaints about this product. I look forward to using it and hope it turns out to be something I enjoy using.

The Rusk PUREMIX Native Fig Replenishing Shampoo & Conditioner I sort of have an issue with (at Ulta it is $26 for the set – here the math gets fun, 12 ounces is 354.882 mL the shampoo and conditioner are both 12 ounces so combined for $26 you get 709.762 mL. There is 10 Ml of shampoo and another 10 of conditioner in the foil packet which means the foil packet is valued at $0.73).

Again this is nothing against the brand.  I have used many Rusk Products before and I enjoy almost anything fig so that’s not the problem.  The problem is that it is a foil packet. 

First, of all I hate foil packets of shampoo and conditioner in general.  For me there is no middle line with that. There is no ‘well it is a really pricey product and this is a cost effective way to try it.’ No, I’ll let you get away with that for serums and well most any other product really, just not shampoo and conditioner.

I don’t care how good the dotted line is, opening them in the shower with wet hands is always a pain so if you don’t remember to cut them open before you get in the shower it just becomes a struggle.  And you have to separate the shampoo and conditioner first, otherwise you end up squirting both into your hand at the same time.  However, when you separate them, sometimes the packets tear weirdly and you end up with shampoo dribbling out of the side of the packet.  And then you have too much product to use in one sitting and if you try to keep it for your next shower so you don’t waste it then sometimes the edges dry out and get nasty so you just throw it away, or someone else uses the shower, ends up setting their shampoo on top of your semi flat foil packet thinking you just accidentally left the empty in the shower, thus causing a spluge of product on the wall.

No, no shampoo and conditioner foil packets.

I can tolerate foil packets for other products, but absolutely hate them for shampoo and conditioner.

But pet peeve aside, when you get a foil packet, it always feels like an extra.  Something they threw in as a bonus item. Now, it is the eight product in the box and technically could be considered as an addition.  It is listed as an item on the site and advertised as such not as a bonus.  It is even listed as a sponsored item. 

While the value is there, the included products having a value of $169.68, and there were more than the six promised items and technically three were full sized, it still felt like a $15 box and not a $23 one. 

By contrast Look Fantastic had six items this month and Glossy Box had five. These links will take you to my reviews of the boxes if you want to do a more indepth comparison of items. The value of the $21 Glossy Box was $91.44 and the $19 Look Fantastic Box had a value of $76.11. Despite this, both Glossy Box and Look Fantastic felt far more lux than this upgraded $23 box.

It isn’t one major thing, but a lot of little things that make me feel this way.  To be honest, once I received the box, I went ahead and called to cancel before the next box.  They did offer me a deal.  For the next two months I would get the old price.  So November and December I would receive the same box for $15 instead of the upgraded fee.  I suppose they are planning to get better and hope to convince me to stay when the deal is over.

I accepted the terms and they charged November’s box right away so I have prepaid ($15) for November.  I will then pay December regularly (still at $15).  That will give me two more boxes to decide if it is worth keeping around. As I was planning to reassess my subscriptions in December/January, I am fine with that. If they step up in the next two months, I may keep the subscription, if they don’t then I may cancel.

However, an interesting thing happened shortly after I had my conversation with Allure about my subscription.  I received an e-mail saying that the new price of $23 will take effect December 1st.  I don’t know if this means that enough people cancelled that they had to rethink the box or what.  I know that anyone else I talked to about their box this month was not happy so I imagine there was a lot of push back.

Personally, if I was increasing the price of a subscription I would make sure to knock it out of the park the first few months so people would get comfortable with the new price increase. Mostly because there are a lot of people who can justify a $15 box but who might be skeptical of something over $20.  This was not an out of the park hit.  There was no home run. And I will spend the next two months with a very critical eye to the box to see if it will be worth the price increase or if this box will not be following me into the new year.

Alyaka Beauty Advent Calendar Luxe 2020

Ipsy Ultimate October 2020 unboxing

Today we start off the week with the arrival of the IPSY Ultimate Glam Box.  Ipsy has three tiers of Glam Bags (the Glam Bag – $12, The Glam Bag Plus – $25 and the Ultimate Glam Bag – $50).  Inside this bag I am supposed to receive eight full sized products, four deluxe samples and a makeup bag.

This month’s makeup bag is very much on theme for the month, which is Magic, and has a pseudo mystical gold design emblazoned on a black background.  The material is a nice faux leather type product and the zipper is nice with a gold toggle that does not feel flimsy. 

Makeup items replace the mystical symbols.  It feels an looks nice and lux.  I will say that as much as I like the look of it, I find these square makeup bags useful more for storing items like headbands rather than useful for makeup. 

They are good for travel, but I tend to put things like bathing products (shampoo, body wash) or skin care items in them rather than makeup.  I just find the shape harder to work with when dealing with makeup items. It is a good size for travel skin care and bath products though so I am happy to have it.

I will say that this is the month where the pandemic seems to have caught up with IPSY.  This October, I received three repeat items and a couple of the items were clearly ones that have been circulating in the IPSY-verse for a while.  IPSY sent me a nice e-mail basically saying ‘Sorry, Pandemic’, and then gave me some points to redeem to make up for the repeats.  The points are nice, but as everything in the redeem points section is something I already have, I’m going to hold onto them for a while. I’m guessing that’s also due to the pandemic. As long as I get to use them before they expire, I’m okay with waiting. Which is also why I currently have a lot of points.

But let’s get into what I received, shall we?

My first full sized item is the Air Repair Skincare Super Hydrating Eye cream (retail $24.50). I have tried Air repair moisturizer before and I really liked it.  I have not tried their eye cream and I’m sure I will enjoy trying it out at some point.  I am happy the tube looks to be packed with product as well so when I do get around to it, I will be able to do a full test.  I have several eye creams awaiting their turn for trial at the moment.  Because it takes so long to actually work through a tube of eye cream, it will take me a while to get to this one though.

The next item out of my bag was my first deluxe sample sized item and it is the Barefoot Venus The Vanilla Effect Instant Hand repair.  I know hand sanitizer is doing a number on everyone’s skin, but it seems like every subscription box has used this as an excuse to send hand creams. I literally have a box of hand creams to try out. 

I’m also sending them to people as stocking stuffers this year as well just to share the wealth because there is only so much hand cream I can use. I’m sure it is lovely hand cream, but I deliberately checked rarely send this to me, so having another hand cream appear is not exactly thrilling.  Still, at least it was a deluxe sample size and not a full sized product.

One of the products that has been seen in many people’s IPSY Bags but has never appeared in mine before is the Dominique Cosmetic Sweater Weather Eyeshadow Palette (retail $29). I like the shadows I’ve tried from Dominique Cosmetics before but usually don’t like the color stories and have a hard time figuring out what look to do.  This one looks like the color story is leading down a very clear path.  Despite the name, the pastels make me think spring more than fall. I also think $29 for such a small palette is a bit much, but I do look forward to giving it a go.

Another product that I am pretty certain everyone else except me has gotten before is the Dr. Brandt Skincare PoreDermabrasion (retail $58). I have seen it a number of times on lots of reviews, but I have never received it before.  As I like Dr. Brandt products in general, I’m happy to finally get to give it a go.  Besides, you know I love a good exfoliate.

My next full sized item was the Watermelon Glow PHA + BHA Pore Tight Toner (retail $15).  I have in general enjoyed Glow Recipe products and I am looking forward to testing out a pore tightening toner. 

I will say that the bottle seems a little on the small side to be a full sized item though.  That is nothing against IPSY actually as several Glow Recipe products I’ve tried have that issue. Some of their packages just looks a little small for full sized items even though I know they actually are. I think it might be because in the ads they tend to feature the extra large versions (which they also sell). It gives the full sized items a ‘medium’ look to them. At least that is how it always seems to me. Still it is very nice glas packaging and as I also have the Watermelon Day cream and the night cream in my skin care drawer, I might just choose a section of time and have a watermelon themed skin care ritual for a month. I’ve had a sample size of the watermelon night cream before and really liked it, which is why I used Boxy Charm points to get a full sized version. Plus I’ve recently been using Glow Recipes avocado night mask and I wanted to do a comparison. so I am happy to have this.

My first repeat item was the Huda Beauty Lip Contour in Trophy Wife (retail $19).  I have this same shade from a few months back still in my dressing table.  I’m not mad at it though.  The formula is really nice and creamy and it tends to last a really long while on the lips.  The color is also one I will reach for repeatedly.  So as a repeat, I am okay with receiving it. I know I like it and that I will use it.

I was less enthused about seeing the Naked Cosmetics four piece pigment set (retail $39.99).  I received these a while ago and I just didn’t get along with them. 

each is a square container

I don’t know if I am just not a loose pigments sort of person or if there was something amiss with the product.  It could be both, but the only thing I made with these pigments was a mess. 

These will be passed on without opening, hopefully never to return. I just opened the top of the box in case you were wondering what they looked like. They are little cuboid containers and the shades are nice, I just make a mess with them.

I found it strange in general that I received two eyeshadow products in the same box, but as I also received two blush products (sort of) I suppose the pandemic skewed the product selection in more than just repeat products.

Speaking of blushes, the first blush I extracted from my IPSY box was the OFRA cosmetics Blush in Blini (retail $29).  In general I like OFRA products and this is a shade I don’t have.  It is also a lighter toned blush which will work well for me in the winter when my tan fades.  As I looked through my blush collection this past week I realized that most of my blushes are more for my summer tanned skin rather than the winter pale version of me, so I am happy to give this shade a try. And luckily it wasn’t broken, although it was a close call. When I took it out of the box, the pan was rattling around. The man came loose from the plastic backing. It got a little banged around but didn’t break. I put a dab of glue on the back and it was fine, but I am kind of amazed that there was no breakage.

The second blush product is a deluxe sample of the blush-highlighter Will Powder in the shade Worth the Wait. It is from The Balm Cosmetics and I generally like their products.  I am also less worried about getting two blushes in this box as this may claim to be a blush-highlighter hybrid, but it looks like a highlighter.  I honestly can’t see me using this as a blush.  I’ll give it a go, but I’m guessing it will be more highlighter for me.

There was a perfume sample in my IPSY this month.  It is the Juliette Has A Gun Vanilla Vibes. It is a deluxe sample and the size is definitely a deluxe.  It looks like a jumbo version of the tiny perfume sample tubes.  Which looks a little strange to me.  I have no reason why it looks strange, maybe it is just because it looks exactly the same as the smaller ones so it looks like part of a 1950s radiation based sci-fi movie with the scale. 

I like perfume and now that the weather has cooled I am wearing it more.  I have an iffy past with the brand Juliette Has a Gun perfumes though.  Their descriptions always draw me in so I try them, but as many as I’ve tried, none of them have ended up appealing to me. I haven’t opened this one yet as I am finishing out a trial of ano0ther perfume at the moment, but I have high hopes.  I like the scent of vanilla.  So who knows?  Perhaps this will be the perfume from the brand that I actually like.

My choice item this month was the Milk Makeup Cannabis Hydrating Face Mask (retail $26).  I like Milk Makeup, I like masks… okay, I love masks…and I am intrigued by a mask in a stick formula.  I think this one will be a fun one to try. Of all the things in the bag this month, this is the product I am actually excited by.

And finally we come to the final product and the third repeat.  This is the Yensa CBD Superfood Dual Cleansing oil (retail $38).  I’ve actually been using this one for the past few weeks and will be reviewing it later this week actually. 

the opened one

It is an interesting product, good but not one I really feel I need to keep a backup of in my skincare drawer. Very little is needed and it is a large bottle.  It will take me a while to work through the bottle I’ve got open.  So I may just pass this unopened one along so that it will get used in a timely manner.

So that was my IPSY Ultimate this month. Monetarily, I paid $50 and received $249.49 worth of product.  The $39.99 Naked Cosmetics shadows will be passed along without opening and I will be passing along the $38 oil Cleanser from Yensa. So the end value to me is $171.50.   I’m okay with the value to be honest. 

I will use the other products in the bag.  I am actually looking forward to a few of them.  I still can’t say I feel wowed by this month.  Somehow it still feels ‘just okay’.  It’s not bad, just okay. Perhaps it is the repeat products, but I kind of expected more. That has sort of been the theme for subscription boxes this month. I think it was because two of my boxes were each missing items and Boxycharm had items I wasn’t ever going to use. It just feels like everyone sort of felt tired when packing the October boxes. Well, except Look fantastic. they didn’t forget anything and it was a killer box this month. The disappointment is slight with IPSY, the disappointment is really based on so many repeat products in one box. and I’ll easily get over it as I put the products I plan to use to the test. It just didn’t wow me this month. Ipsy choice is this week so on the 22nd I’ll get to see if the wow factor is back. As IPSY has been really good lately, I think that the off month clunked a bit louder as well. Over all, Ipsy has been consistently good with me. I just hope that whatever kinks the pandemic threw into IPSY’s supply chain can be worked out by the time the November bag gets assembled. I like when I am wowed by subscription boxes.

For now, I have an interesting assortment of products to try, and several I get to pass on. Nothing was broken or missing. And at least I got an back up Huda Lip contour. As I’ve been using it quite a bit, I will probably need it sooner rather than later. Still, fingers crossed for November.


Lilysilk's Semi-Annual Sale

Look Fantastic Beauty Box October 2020 Unboxing

The arrival of the beauty boxes continues.

The Look Fantastic Beauty Box is a $19 per month beauty subscription.  I have to say it is one of the boxes I am always eager to see and this month was no exception.  This month’s box, a sturdy cardboard I always end up reusing, was a beautiful blue tone. In my opinion the dark and light blue color contrast is just beautiful.  It is also one of my favorite colors. The prices listed in the pamphlet are actually listed in pounds rather than dollars as it is a British based subscription. To keep things honest I will list the prices in pounds and then do a conversion at the end of the post as a tally, that way if my conversion is wrong there is still the listed price with the product.

But as with most things, it is what is inside that counts.  So let’s see what is in this month’s box.

First up is the E Cooking overnight Foot Cream (Retail 8.10).  I love the brand e cooking.  They are vegan and dermatologically tested. Every product I pick up from them I have absolutely loved.  They are also one of those brands I need to remember more often.

Shop Prime Day Deals at Ecooking!

They are one of those quiet killer brands; excellent products that aren’t showy, but do fantastic things for your skin.  I am very happy to give the foot cream a try. 

The glass jar is lovely and I like the thought of having it on my night stand for a while.  The product smells a bit like Vicks vapor rub from the menthol included in the product. While I am not a fan, my baby doll loves the scent.  As it is on my feet and far from my nose, the scent is less of a concern than in another product.  I put my feet through a lot of stress as my most consistent workouts involve walking.  I’ve tried a lot of foot creams and thus far the Soap and Glory Foot cream has retained its title and place in my night stand.  It will be interesting to see how this one stacks up. 

The second product in my Look Fantastic box this month was actually last month’s spoiler.  Each month the pamphlet teases you with one of the items that is going to be in the upcoming month’s box.  The By Terry Baume De Rose Flaconnette (retail 14) was the September spoiler.  It is essentially a clear lip gloss.  I’ve tried it before and it is a really good lip gloss.  The problem is that the rose scent is so overpowering that I just can’t take it.  As it is a lip product, it is right under the nose so there is no avoiding the scent. It is strong and it lingers.  So I won’t be opening it and I will be passing it along to my mother who absolutely adores this lip gloss and it’s scent.

I will however get much use out of the Glov Hair wrap (retail 14.99).  It is as the name suggests, a hair wrap.  It is soft and sturdy and big enough to actually cover all of my hair. 

I really like hair wraps, especially when the material is good.  I’ve tried many cheaper hair wraps and end up preferring my towel.  This may give my towel a run for it’s money.  I am very much looking forward to using it.

Speaking of the bath there was a Bubble T Earl Gray Bath Tea (retail 5.99) in my subscription box this month. I am always willing to try new bath products.  While I love the Kniepp products I use, there are limited scents that I will buy from them (although those scents I buy routinely) and it is nice to try something new.  I’ve heard of Bubble T but never tried their products so this should be fun.  Hopefully it won’t be as bergamot forward as actual Earl Gray tea. 

This month there was one variable item and that was with the eye masks.  There were two types you could receive, one was from Starskin and the other from Beauty Pro.  I received the Starskin (retail 4.25) one and I am really looking forward to trying it out. 

I’ve used a Starskin sheet mask before but never the eye masks.  I am really starting to love eye masks.  I started really using them when my eyes were getting puffy from the rag weed and found many of them worked well at relieving the puffiness. So it’s nice to have a new one to try out.

Finally there was a deluxe mini size of the Balance Me Bakuchiol Serum (retail 11). Bakuchiol is apparently a plant based retinol alternative. I’ve just started looking into retinols so it will be interesting to see how this works. 

I tried a Balance Me Vitamin C serum recently (which I think also came in a Look Fantastic Box).  It worked well, but smelled like lemon pledge (at least to me) which I couldn’t get past.  (I know, my nose causes so much trouble.) I’m holding off opening this serum until I actually use it so it doesn’t go bad, but hopefully it will work as well as their Vitamin C without any troubling scent.

Okay so that was my $19 Look Fantastic box for October.  I have to say I am very happy with it.  There was one product I won’t use.  It makes me very sad because the product is nice but the scent just kills me.  So the end value in pounds is 58.33 which according to my currency converter (okay the internet’s currency converter) is $76.11 which is a pretty good value.  As I did with boxycharm I am going to have to take off the 14 pounds from the price as I will be passing along the By Terry lip Gloss without using it, so that would bring my personal total down to 44.33 or $57.84 in US dollars. As everything that remains will be well used, I am rather pleased with what I received in the box.  Its a rather nice return on my $19 box. And to be fair I know my mother will giggle with glee when she gets the By Terry lip gloss so I can’t really be too sad about not using it. Its just that rose scent. It is a strong one.

I am a big fan of this beauty subscription.  I also like the Look Fantastic website and often do a lot of my shopping there.  They have weekly deals going on and is one of the reasons I started keeping a list of products I like. Currently they are doing their Exclusive! 22% off Sitewide Sale (use code PREMIER). Today is the last day of that sale. There are also two other sales that are for today only: the 3 For 2 on Christophe Robin and the 3 For 2 on Grow Gorgeous. No codes are needed for either of those but the sale ends at 5:59 pm EST. And until Halloween they have mystery boxes on sale. There are three: a $20 (worth $100), $30 (worth $200) and $40 (worth $300). If mystery boxes are your thing they are worth looking into for you this month.

Look Fantastic also has an advent calendar this year, which sadly has already sold out.  I was planning on talking about them in an advent calendar post that will becoming on October 19th, but alas it is too late.  However all is not lost.  They currently have the Holiday Beauty Chest still available.  Since the Advent Calendar already sold out, I wanted to make sure I mentioned it in case it sells out before the 19th as well.  Next year I think I’m going to have to do my advent calendar post in September just to make sure all the information is out before things start selling out.  I just have a hard time turning my thoughts to the holidays before the summer heat breaks.  This year it held on longer than usual so I am a little behind. But the Beauty Chest is definitely worth looking into as an Advent Calendar alternative for those interested.

As a final mention the sneak peek for the November box was posted on the back of the pamphlet and next month’s box will feature a Naobay Detox Oxygen Light Cream worth 16 pounds. I’ve never heard of them before, but I am always up to try a new moisturizer. For now, I am going to enjoy October’s box.



October 2020 Glossy Box Beauty Box Unboxing

This month Glossy Box has two boxes that were possibilities, Enchanted Spirit and Midnight Fantasy.  Clearly I received the Enchanted Spirit and I have to say the box is lovely.  Normally, I reuse these boxes for storage, but this one I am actually going to be using to ship some Christmas presents.  I think the twelve year old I plan to send it to will adore the box and put it to good use. 

Glossy Box is a $21 per month subscription box but if you sign up for a year (which I did) you get the box for $18 per month.  You are still charged monthly, which I like so you don’t have to come up with a year’s worth of subscription fees at once. If you are a new subscriber you can sign up and get your first box for $16 with the code BEAUTYTALES.

Thus far I have found it to be well worth the price. And because of the box, the ribbon and the tissue paper it always feels like unwrapping a gift. The pamphlet that comes with it is also substantial and breaks down each item by cost as well as how to use it, how much the full size will cost and where the full size can be purchased. It is a very well thought out pamphlet.

The items and pamphlet

I will say that this month there was one disappointment with the box.  I’ll cover it first and get it out of the way.  This month the Deluxe Mini KVD Vegan Beauty Studded Kiss Lip Cream Lipstick in the shade Love Craft (retail $14) was missing when my box arrived. 

I searched high and low, but alas it was nowhere to be found.  Which is a shame.  I like the KVD Vegan Beauty formula and from the picture in the pamphlet the color was one I would wear.  I have contacted Glossy Box about it and they will be sending out a replacement for it. I think it might be a different lipstick, but it is still a lip product so I’m okay with that.

So we move on to what actually arrived in the box.  First up, is the Ona New York Spotlight Radiant Glow Gel mask (retail $9).  It is a sheet mask.  I actually really like the gel sheet masks so I’m sure I will have fun testing this one out. I’ve never heard of Ona before so it will be my first experience with the brand which is nice. I love finding new companies as well as new products to try.

The next item out of the box was a full sized Earth Harbor Aurora Superfood Luminance Ampule (retail $32).  It is designed to soothe redness and reduce dullness in the skin.  I have never heard of the brand Earth Harbor, but I am a big fan of serums, essences and ampules so I look forward to testing out this.  I love that it is a full sized product too as that gives me ample time to try it out on my skin.  Especially since I’ve never heard of the brand before.  As the product seems very reasonably priced if I like it I may have to look deeper into the brand. I also like that it does include cannabis sativa as I have been trying out more and more products including the ingredient. It is actually an interesting ingredient. Some companies use it well, and for others it seems to be just the ingredient d’jour. It will be interesting to see what category this falls into. And yes at some point soon I will be doing a cannabis sativa, CBD ingredient run down in full.

One brand I know I like and was happy to see is Generation Clay.  That’s right, another tube of the Generation Clay Ultra-Violet Brightening Purple Clay mask ( retail $14.44) has appeared on my doorstep.  It is most certainly welcome.  While it is termed a deluxe mini, it is quite a large tube.  I actually just finished a tube of the Charcoal mask and it is labeled a deluxe sample and so much smaller It was 15mL while this sits at 50 mL.  This is one of those products I know I’ll use and am always happy to see. I know there are two masks in this box, but honestly I can’t be mad at it. they are two very different masks, a gel sheet mask and a clay based mask. I know I’ll use them both so I am okay with having them both.

The final product in my Glossy Box this month was the Ciate London Loose Translucent setting powder.  (retail $18.98).  While there is a little flash back in pictures from this powder, it is a really good powder that I am happy to have around. 

It is a smaller size than the full sized version (obviously, as it is a deluxe mini) but there is still quite a lot of product in the container (7g of product versus 15 g of the full size).  And personally I really like using the deluxe minis of powder to travel with since they take up less space and contain a lot of product.  At the moment I have several open powders so I am going to set it aside for later use. 

I might end up using it in my everyday makeup bag, or it might end up in my travel bag.  At the moment, I disassembled my travel bag because I know I won’t be traveling for a while and didn’t want the products to go bad waiting.  Anything open I’ve worked on using up anything sealed I’ve left temporarily sealed.  For now the powder will wait until I have at least worked through a couple of open powders. But I am very happy to have it in my dressing table.

In the end even though I was missing a lipstick (which is being addressed) I really liked this month’s Glossy Box.  All of the products are ones I will use.  There are a couple of brands I have never tried like Ona and Earth Harbor and a couple of long term favorites.  Over all, not a bad mix of makeup and skincare. 

The full price of the Glossy Box is $21 but like I said earlier I get it for $18 as an annual subscriber and new subscribers can get their first box for $16 with the code BEAUTYTALES.  My annual subscription runs through July and I have no problem keeping this box until then and more than likely well beyond.  The value of the products included comes to $88.42.  And that does include the missing lipstick. As all of the products are ones I will use, and the lipstick is being replaced, there is no need to subtract anything from the value. I’ll keep you posted on the lipstick and what it turns out to be, but for now I’m giving Glossy Box the benefit of the doubt and feel confident they will deal with the issue. I’ll have to update you as that moves forward.  Over all I am very happy with my October Glossy Box.

Incidentally, Glossy Box also has their annual Advent Calendar available for purchase. They tend to sell out very quickly. You can click on the link just above to go to the Advent Calendar page (all other links take you to the subscription box). The advent calendar is $99 but subscribers get a $10 discount. Plus if you are a subscriber you can also put your Glossie credit towards the purchase of the advent calender. Just something to think about if you are looking to purchase an advent calendar this year. I am planning a post (to be up on October 19th) focused on the 2020 advent calendars so stay tuned. i just wanted to mention this one now as the Glossy Box Advent Calendar sells out quickly.



Unboxing the October BoxyCharm Premium

This month I decided to do something different with my Boxy Charm account.  For a while now I have been signed up for both Boxy Charm and Boxy Charm Premium, with Boxy Luxe once a quarter.  I decided to pair this down so I cancelled my regular Boxy Charm and Boxy Luxe and just retained the Boxy Charm Premium subscription.  It is $35 per month.

The reasons I retained this one and not the others is that I went back through previous boxes and realized that over all I was happier with the products I received in the Boxy Premium box more often than the regular box.  They more consistently had products I wanted.  Plus, I also realized that most of the items that I liked in the other boxes were offered for sale at discounted prices from either the add ons or the Boxy Pop up. So chances were pretty good that if I saw a product I really liked that I didn’t receive, I could pick it up then. So I chose the subscription box that had the most items I favored and figured there was a good chance I could just pick up anything else I really wanted in the add ons. we’ll see how that ends up working out.

So this is my first month with just one Boxy Charm subscription.  I have to say, it was an interesting box this month.  First off the box arrived looking like someone decided to use it for an impromptu soccer game.  It was beaten up and one side was re-taped somewhere in transit.  I was quite nervous when I opened the box and I have to admit, I went straight for the eyeshadow palette. 

This month I received the Illuminati Cosmetics x ISA Eyes Shadow Palette (retail $48).  Surprisingly not a single shadow was damaged.  No breaks no cracks no crumbles.  I have to say I was shocked it was in such good condition. 

I am also surprised at how much I like the color story of the palette.  When I saw sneak peeks of the palette, I wasn’t that impressed.  However in person, it looks like an arrangement of shadows I would use and just looking at it I was able to come up with several ideas of how to put looks together.  Hopefully the formula proves to be as appealing as the colors.

I was somewhat disappointed to find that even though the insert card listed the Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch primer (retail $39), it was missing from my box.  While the shadow palette made it through unscathed, the Clarins was MIA. I was kind of sad as I was really looking forward to trying it out.  I did contact Boxy Charm and they immediately sent out a replacement product.  However, the replacement they sent was the Murad Toner not the Clarins.  They were apparently out of the Clarins.  That is nothing against the Murad Toner, I’m sure it is a lovely product.  I’m just a little disappointed.

You know how much I love primers.

Speaking of disappointments, I might as well mention the other disappointment of the box.  This month I received a pair of MAC Cosmetics 43 Lashes (retail $18).  They look lovely.  MAC is a good brand with many fine products.  I do not wear lashes.  I do not like lashes and in every survey Boxy Charm sends me I ask them never to send me lashes. So this product will be passed on.

Also being passed on is the Laura Geller Fifty Kisses Lip Locking Liquid Color (retail $21).  The formula is fine.  It isn’t the most long lasting liquid lip, but it isn’t drying and the colors are generally very nice.  I have a couple that I routinely use.  The one I received in this month’s box is in an orange shade that is particularly unappealing on me.  That’s the reason I didn’t swatch it for this post.  I’m just leaving it sealed and sending it to someone who might like it more.  It is a pretty good formula, not my favorite, but good.  I just can’t take the color.

Next up is the Go-To Skincare Exfoliating Swipeys (retail $35).  They are pre moistened toner pads designed to exfoliate.  I had something similar from Elemis which I loved and am currently using a version from First Aid Beauty, which I don’t particularly care for.  Since these pre-moistened pads tend to start drying out as soon as you open them, I am leaving them sealed until I finish out the First Aid Beauty.  Perhaps knowing there is another version to try as soon as I finish these will make me more diligent in using them.

Finally we come to the item I chose in this month’s box and I have to say it looks to be the hero of the box.  It is the Kosas Tinted Face Oil Foundation (retail $42). I have wanted to try this for a while and in fact I have been eyeing the Alyaka Kosas sampler kit for months. 

The only reason I haven’t ordered it is because I wanted to work through my open foundations first and eliminated some of them from the dressing table before adding more. Incidentally the Alyaka sampler kits are great ways to try out brands to see if you like their products before you purchase a full size of anything. I have gotten a couple in the past and highly recommend them. Incidentally, if clean beauty is your thing (or even if you just like high quality products) the Alyaka Advent Calendar looks amazing this year. I’ve put the link below, you can also click on it to just go to their site.

But now I have a full sized foundation oil from Kosas to try out , so clearly it was meant to be.  So let’s look at the box as a whole.  For my $35 my box was to contain $203 worth of product.  The $39 Clarins was missing but it is being replaced by Murad which I’m guessing has a similar value so I will leave that in the end price. It is just delayed arrival. Mac ($18) and Laura Geller ($21) are both being passed on so I get no real value from them.  Which leaves me with $164 worth of products that I will actually use. 

I know that is a different way of calculating price, but I decided that for me, this is a better way to decide what is of value to me.  While I did cancel the regular Boxy Charm (and Luxe) subscription, at the end of the year I will be evaluating all of my subscription boxes to see what is worth keeping and what I might want to let go.  There are several boxes out there that I want to try, but getting them all would just bury me in products and cost far too much.  So any product I intend to pass on without using, is going to get a $0 value in my estimations as I try to figure out what subscription to keep, what to modify and what I just want to cancel.  To be honest, while I like the eyeshadow palette and will enjoy trying it out, the Kosas foundation is the star.  I wanted to try it and now I have it to try. 

Would this be a different conversation if the Clarins product was in the box?  Possibly. But I am willing to lay the fault of the Clarins with the Postal service rather than Boxycharm and enjoy the products that I do like from this box.  Hopefully next month will be a bit better.

Alyaka Beauty Advent Calendar Luxe 2020

Facetory Four-Ever Fresh Subscription Unboxing

As I’m sure everyone who has even poked their head in to peruse one of my posts realizes by now, I have a fondness for facemasks.  It is an equal opportunity love and it lead me to Facetory.  They have several face mask subscriptions.  One, which I get, is the 4-ever Fresh subscription, which as you may have guessed sends four sheet masks out to you each month for $8.90. There is also the Seven Lux for$19.90 each month where you get seven sheet masks and 1-2 bonus items, which are skin care related (like non-sheet masks). Finally, there is the seasonal Lux Subscription level for $49.95 each quarter where you can receive five to six skin care products plus 5-6 sheet masks.

Four-ever Fresh Subscription!

While I love this subscription, one of the things I like about this service is the fact that I can pause it at any time.  If you go to your subscription page and click the delivery options button, you can see a list of several months lined up.  Each month has a button where you can click skip this month. You click it and boom, you’ve skipped a month no muss no fuss.  If you decide that maybe you were wrong, you can easily reverse the decision as long as the billing date has not passed.  Your billing date is the date you subscribed.  So I subscribed on the 18th of the month so every month after I am billed on the 18th and my subscription is sent a few days after billing is complete.  So you can decide when in the month you want to receive the subscription.  I really enjoy those options along with the fact that I get to try so many different sheet masks.

Seven Lux Subscription!

This month in addition to the four masks of the subscription there was a fifth bonus mask.  So in case you look at the photo and count five, that’s why. Your vision isn’t blurring, there are five masks.They do this on a regular basis.  Every few months they will add in an extra mask.  Personally, I’m a fan of this.  So what are this month’s masks?

First up there is the Orgena Collagen Mask (retail $2).  It is a sheet mask infused with collagen for extra moisture to help your skin feel soft and nourished. I’ve never tried the brand but I have liked some collagen masks in the past so I am sure I will have more to say about this one after I try it.

The second mask is the Jigott Pomegranate Mask (retail $2).  It is infused with pomegranate, mountain Berry and cucumber extract. All these are designed to boost your complexion.  I’m not entirely certain if mountain berry is a general or specific term. 

It could mean berries from the mountains or there could be an actual fruit named Mountain Berry.  I know there is a Service Berry so I suppose either is possible.  I do love pomegranate though so I’m okay with a little berry themed confusion.  Although my curiosity will end up making me look it up.

The third mask in my selection this month is the Ballon Blanc Blanc Therapy Avocado Mask (retail $2.50).  Blanc Therapy masks have featured in past months and they have always been really good.  This mask is said to brighten, moisturize and renew. This is a brand I hadn’t seen until I signed up for this subscription, but now their masks routinely land on my to be repurchased list.

The fourth mask in the subscription is the HaruHaru Prologue Soothing Mask. (retail $3.00).  It was one of three options you could receive.  One was the soothing (which I received) then there was a lifting and a moisture themed mask, all from the same company.

I’ve not tried this company before but I have to say I kind of like the image on the front of a girl wearing a sheet mask administering the Cool Down Drop Kick to the Heat Damage Demon. I also kind of like that while most of the description is in Korean they decided to translate both Heat damage and Cool Down Drop Kick.

The bonus mask this month didn’t come with a retail price marked but it is from Candy O’Lady and their masks are generally $2. The mask I received is the Little witch Candy Mask and it is designed to help with elasticity.  I know having a sheet mask decorated with a cupcake seems anti skin care. 

But I tried one of their other masks that was Cotton Candy themed and I have to say it was one of the best sheet masks I have tried. Its candy themed goodness put serious looking masks to shame. Admittedly only the name and the general purpose for the mask are in English, everything else is in Korean so I have no clue why it worked so well. 

This is the same.  Little witch candy mask and Elasticity are in English. That’s it. If it is as amazing as the Cotton Candy one, I may have to find a translation program to get some details. Or at least make certain that I am not unknowingly participating in some sort of demonic rite.

So if you add them all together (including the $2 bonus mask) the value of the product received is $11.50.  Since I paid $8.90 I am perfectly happy with that break down.  I am also happy that Facetory routinely has specials on their products (both masks and other skincare products) For example Masking Monday has a selection of their masks on sale for $1 each. So if you find one you like, you can wait until it is on sale and basically stock up for half price (since most of their sheet masks are about $2).  Although sometimes their pricier masks end up on the Masking Monday’s sales as well so it is really worth checking in on Monday to see what is available.  For me the question right now is, do I want to try the Little Witch Candy Mask first or start with the Cool down drop kick? Decisions, Decisions.


Petit Vour September Unboxing

Petit Vour is a clean and Vegan Beauty Box subscription with a monthly price of $18. They also have a Petit Vour Plus Subscription for $25 a month.  The regular Petit Vour Box (which I subscribe to) offers four to five products per month with the products worth over $50 each month.  You can get the subscription price lowered to $15 per month with an yearlong subscription. (the Petit Vour Plus box has five to seven travel and full size products with a value of $100 or more each month.)

Oddly, I think the Petit Vour Plus subscription might end up being an almost direct comparison to the new version of the Allure Beauty box that is coming out in October.  Allure isn’t guaranteed clean and vegan of course but the products and price might end up being comparable.  I’ll have to check into that as Allure gets going. But that is for future debate – and would require I have a Petit Vour Box to compare it to. 

And I am subscribed to the regular Petit Vour Box.  Thus far I have really enjoyed each box I’ve received so let’s see what I received this month to try out.

The first item in the September box is the Shine on Stick from KVOSS (retail $28).  It looks like it is full sized.  If it isn’t then the full sized one must be enormous because this looks full size to me.  It is a creamy highlighting stick in a golden shade. I’ve had cream highlighters before but they weren’t in a stick.  This should be fun to play around with. While the highlight is just streaked across my hand for the photo, I blended it out with my finger and it melted beautifully into the skin showing a more subtle glow instead of the gold streak.

I also like that there is a makeup item in this one.  While I am testing out more and more clean and vegan skincare, trying out clean makeup is a bit of a more daunting task. I’ve picked up several products that were just not good for me and I have also found a couple fabulous ones.  Because I don’t know how I will react to some of the changed formulas I like getting them in beauty boxes so I can try them out before committing to a full size.  It is far less wasteful that way of both product and money.

Moving on there are two products from Goldfaden, MD in this month’s box.  The first is the Needleless Smoothing Face Serum (retail $14).  It is supposed to plump skin and prevent fine line depth in a non-invasive way.  The second is the Detox Hydrating Gel (retail $10) which is described as a moisturizer that detoxes congested skin. 

I have to say both products sound intriguing.  I tried the Goldfaden, MD exfoliating scrub and found it a little too harsh for me to use more than once a month.  If I did use it once a month it worked really well.  More than that was overkill for the product. 

I also have a serum that came in this month’s IPSY bag from Goldfadden, MD that I need to try.  At the moment I am testing out several Timeless Skincare Products.  Perhaps when I am done I will give the a brand trial. I certainly seem to be collecting enough products to at least try it.

The next item is the Pa’akai Cleansing Cream (retail $12).  I have to admit, I have seen this around and been curious about it.  I have never tried the brand but I see them tucked into various places all the time. And a cream cleanser with Hawaiian salt, hibiscus and seaweed does sound quite unique.

Speaking of seaweed, the final item is from the Seaweed Bath Co and it is the Firming Detox Body Cream (retail $4).  It is skin plumping so maybe it will help with my stretch marks.  Either way it looks interesting and I am willing to give it a go.

While there is no set theme for these boxes this month seemed to have an underlying theme of detoxification. With the exception of the highlighter pretty much every item in the box had the words repair, renew or detox in the description.  Apparently someone at Petit Vour Central realized that after the brutal summer we all suffered though we could all use a little self restoration. I can get behind that. It feels like this summer took a lot more out of me than I expected.

I have to say, this, for me was a really good box. The value ended up being $68 which is more than they promised which I like.  Plus they are all products I am going to enjoy trying out. If you are just starting to dip your toe into the clean beauty scene as I am you might want to take a look at the Petit Vour Box.  Through them I have managed to find several products I would never have tried on my own but now will actively seek out.  Almost as important I have tried things that I thought would be absolutely fabulous, but turned out, weren’t for me (although occasionally I find they are for someone else and I end up adding to my gift idea list).  To me that has equal value.

At the moment in addition to their regular subscription Boxes, Petit Vour has several curated boxes available.  Not only can you get some fun and fabulous products but 10% of box sales go to Austin Pets Alive. Just use code DONATE10 when you check out.

Cruelty-Free Beauty Box

Allure Beauty Box September 2020 Unboxing

This was an interesting beauty box to open this month. The entire time I was opening it and taking items out I couldn’t help but remember that this is the last of its kind. Currently the Allure Beauty Box is $15 ($16.80 with tax). In October they will start costing $23 (I’m guessing between $24 and $25 with tax). I find this really interesting. $20 seems to be some sort of threshold in beauty boxes. Under twenty is one category, over twenty is something else. It should be an interesting change to watch. They will be going from the realm of Birchbox to costing more than Glossy Box and Look Fantastic but slightly less than Boxycharm and IPSY Plus. I have no doubt the cost was carefully chosen. It will be interesting to see how they compare as they move forward.

But what does the last $15 Allure Beauty Box hold?

Seven items this month as it turns out.

The first item is a full sized Wander Beauty mascara called unlashed. It retails for $24. While I like a lot of Wander Beauty Products (Foundation and Eyeshadow) the last mascara I tried from them was kind of average. It wasn’t noticeably spectacular. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good mascara. It didn’t flake or smear. It was a good working mascara. It just wasn’t noticeable for lengthening or volume or curling. It wasn’t a stand out, just a good solid chorus member. I don’t object to having a good solid chorus member on my team. And if this proves to be another good trustworthy stalwart product, I have no objections welcoming it into my collection. The other Wander Mascara I have is currently on its way out so I can compare them before it goes.

One of the amusing things about this box is that two of the items it contains are also currently in my empties bin. The first is the La Roche Posay Anthelios 50 Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid. I had a tube exactly this size before I started trying out the Polaar sunscreen. It was enough to cover my face for two or three days actually before the tube ran out. I was going to review it when I did my August empties bin but I forgot to write that post so next week there will be an August and September Empties bin post. Incidentally, today is the last day of their fall sale if you are interested in their products. I’ll past the code below.

Fall Sale: Enjoy 20% Off all Orders + 2 Deluxe Sample with Orders $65+. Use Code: FALLSALE. Valid: 9/18- 9/22.

I really liked this sunscreen. It was light enough that I didn’t mind applying it to my face. It sat well under my makeup as well. Interestingly it is recommended that you shake the product before applying. Even though it is a tube, you need to squeeze it a little and mix it up before applying as it does tend to separate in the tube. I honestly don’t mind having another tube of this sun screen to keep on hand. It will probably end up in my purse though.

The second product that is also in my empties bin is the Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm. It is the travel size. That is exactly the same size I had before and I was more than happy to see it reappear. It is one of my favorite cleansing balms. It makes my skin fantastically soft and delightfully clean. And it takes so little to remove an entire day’s makeup that it will last a while. So I am thrilled to see it. Also this is the last day of an Elemis Promotion as well in case you are interested. Get a Free 3-Piece Pro-Collagen PM set with orders of $150+ with code DREAM1 or Size up with $250+ and code DREAM2 at Elemis. (Valid 9/19 – 9/22)

This month I received an ELF Highlighting Brush in my box (full sixe $4). The options were between Elf and NYX (the NYX was the Pro Contour Brush). I have to say I was very impressed by the quality of the brush.

It actually felt like a better quality brush than the $24 brush I received in the Boxyluxe box this month. Admittedly I haven’t tried either out so that test is still to come. But for a $4 brush I was floored by the quality feel of it. I’ll be testing it out this week and letting you know with my makeup bag this week how it performed.

Receive 10% off when you place your order through the e.l.f. app and redeem code ELFAPP at checkout

Next there was an eyeliner from Cleo Noir. The full size costs $18. I am not sure if this is a full sized or not. While it seems a little short for a full sized eyeliner, it is a twist up and they always seem to be a little short. There is a lot of product in it so it will last a while even if it isn’t full sized. And if you are wondering why I’m not doing my usual ‘sigh, its an eyeliner’ it is because it is not another black eyeliner.

Those I seem to be stockpiling incase there is an eyeliner emergency. Like several punk bands losing their luggage on the way to a festival. This is a purple eyeliner. I haven’t tried the brand before and I am am looking forward to giving a purple eyeliner a go. This week’s shadow palette is a bit more on the neutral side, but next week I may choose a more colorful one just so I can give this a trial run.

There was a sheet mask in my Allure Beauty box this month as well. I think most month’s there is some sort of sheet mask. This month I received the Glam up Revitalizing Japanese Sake Sheet Mask. (it costs $9.98 for a ten pack). It was one of two masks I could have received. The other was a Soothing Aloe from the same brand. As I’ve tried soothing aloe masks before (and in face hace one in my masking drawer) but never tried a Sake based mask, I am okay with my option. And I am always willing to try out a new sheet mask.

Finally we come to item number seven. It is the Waterless Dry Conditioner. Now me and dry shampoo are pretty tight. Once again I am almost out of my favorite Klorane and need to reorder. I have however never used dry conditioner.

NEW! Klorane’s Award Winning Dry Shampoo NOW in Jumbo Size!

Part of me is interested, and part of me thinks this might be a bad idea. Dry shampoo takes the greasy look out of unwashed hair by absorbing the excess oils. Conditioner in general provides shine and body to hair. I’m not so sure about adding shine on a no wash day. It might undo the anti grease factor the dry shampoo achieved.

Or it could be a fabulous new product I decide to add to my hair care collection. I don’t know. I do know it is going to be interesting to try out. It is a little odd though that in the pamphlet provided it shows both the waterless dry shampoo and the conditioner and labels them step one and step two. I think you have to use a dry shampoo before using a dry conditioner. At least that is my take away. I’ll have to visit the website before spritzing away.

Over all I am pretty pleased with this box. I know that the travel size of the Elemis Cleansing balm is around $15. (It may be $16). Which means that I paid for the Elemis and got everything else for free on top of it. At least that’s how my brain sorts it, because I would have just ordered it for the Elemis and be happy with whatever came with it if I am being truly honest. However, this month it also came with several other fun new things to try out so I am really happy with this as a $15 subscription box. But as I said at the beginning, this is the last time this box will be $15. October 1st it becomes a $23 Beauty box. Expectations will shift and things could get very interesting.It should be fun to see.

Shop Now!

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)

Glossy Box Unboxing: The September 2020 Spa Edit

Glossy Box September 2020

It’s September Spa Time, is the theme of this month’s glossy box and I think it an apt theme.  Glossy Box tends to lean towards skin care over all, with a few makeup items here and there but this month it is both skin care and self care oriented and who doesn’t need a little bit of that? But first the basics. 

Glossy Box is a $21 per month subscription box based in the UK. I kind of like that as they tend to send products I’ve heard about, but never gotten around to trying because they aren’t readily available where I live, or that I’ve never heard of.  Of course there are also several brands I have heard of and like included as well. 

With this subscription you can sign up for a year and get it for the price of $18 instead of $21.  What I like about this is they still charge you monthly so you don’t have to pay the lump sum of a year’s worth of boxes up front to get the discount.  I’m actually on this plan, I signed up for a year and will be getting these boxes at least through July 2021 for the $18 rate. Honestly I’ll probably be getting it longer as I really enjoy this box. If you are new to Glossy Box, you can get your first box for a discounted price as well in order to try it out. Just use code GLOSSYSPA16 from now until September 30th.

But what came in this month’s spa edit?

Well I opened my box, untied the lovely little ribbon, opened the tissue paper and picked up the jade roller. I really like this one, it is smaller and more compact than the others as it doesn’t have the secondary smaller roller on the bottom of it. 

As I quite frankly never really use the small roller on the bottom, I’m quite pleased with its compact size.  Of the two jade rollers I received this month, I believe this one is the one that I will keep while I will pass the larger Jade one along.  (My quartz roller is the exact same size as the other jade roller). This Magic Jade Roller is from Melusine Cosmetics and retails for $21

The next item out of my Glossy box this month was the Rosen Skincare Break out spot treatment (retail $12).  Like the Jade roller it was a full sized item.  This is an overnight treatment that you put on breakouts before bed and let sit overnight. 

At the moment my skin is relatively clear (I have no illusions about that lasting, I just haven’t gone anywhere I need a mask for a few days and thing have cleared up), but I do have one break out on my chin that I might try this on to night to see how it works. I did open it and it smells very peppermint-y and looks like whiteout.  I am very curious.  As it is a one time over night treatment, I may be reporting back on it in the morning.

The next full sized item in my Glossy Box was the Daily Concepts Daily Beauty Headband (retail $12).  It is a giant pink scrunchie designed to hold your hair back while you wash your face or use a dace mask.  I hae one very similar that I use all the time  As a matter of fact I have used it enough that it is starting to wear along the elastic lines so it is nice to have a replacement.  I know I will get a lot of use out of this item.

The next item is a deluxe sample sized item and it is the Banila Co Miss Flower & Mr. Honey Cream. (the Deluxe size is worth $6 while the full size is listed at $42).  I’ve used the Banila Zero Clean before and really found it to be an excellent cleansing calm.  I can understand why they went with a deluxe sample size rather than a full sized version of this cream in a subscription box (aside from the cost). Although it is a really good sized deluxe sample.

I opened it and tried it out as a night cream last night (mostly because I was frustrated with my current night cream). While I will continue using it and report back after a week or two when I have used up this sample, I think the scent is going to be polarizing for some.  It smells like whipped honey.  Clover based honey to be exact. 

Honey is one of those scents you either love or hate I’ve found.  To be honest I really like the scent.  But I could see those who aren’t honey fans hating it just based on scent alone.  But then again, I like it so I am very happy with it. I am also happy to try out something else from Banila Co as I really did enjoy their cleansing balm.

This month there is an Exfoliating Wash from Codex Beauty It too is a deluxe size (value $18, full sized product $45). And what would a spa themed box be without an exfoliator or a face wash?  I’ve never heard of the brand Codex before but I do love a good exfoliator. And a good face wash too for that matter.   I have a few weeks left on the Avant exfoliator I am currently using and when I finish it I will replace it with the Codex to give it a whirl.  Oddly enough I think the Avant might have come from a Glossy Box as well. 

And finally an element no spa visit is without, the face mask.  This one is a Ruby Sheet Mask from Vitamasques (retail $7).  The name sounds familiar.  I believe on my first box this was one of the oprions for the face mask.  You could either get this one or something else.  If memory serves I got the something else.  So I haven’t used the mask but the image is familiar. And when am I not happy to see a new mask? Glossy box seems to include a face mask in almost every box actually.  At least I don’t think I’ve gotten a box without one, admittedly I haven’t been subscribed all that long.

I have to say I am very happy with this month’s Glossy Box selection of items.  It fit the theme very well and included all items I am willing to try out or will get a lot of use out of.  Even though all boxes seemed to have gone roller happy this month, I really like the fact that there is a skin/self care tool in the box that I can use repeatedly over time and not just use up. The same goes for the headband which I’m sure I will use quite a bit. The mix was well curated. As for price well for my $18 (or $21 if you are paying full price individually) I received $76 worth of items. As they are all ones I will use I am extra happy with the value.

I also like knowing that once I’ve used them I can review them on the Glossy Box site and get credit back (about $0.40 per review) to use towards a purchase.  I love that I can actually use the Glossie Credit in the Look Fantastic site as well since they transfer over and it is a HUGE site with weekly sales. Plus Glossy Box just released their own affordable skin care line that Glossy Box subscribers get extra discounts for as well. I’m currently using the eye serum (which came in last month’s box) and debating over which of the cleansers I want to try out first.  They have several different ones available and I can’t make up my mind as to which I want to try first.

Free GLOSSYBOX Water Bottle when you purchase any skincare with code GLOSSYSKIN

Ah the conundrums of skin care Junkies. I have a little while before making a decision as I have a few deluxe sample sized cleansers I want to clear out before purchasing a full sized one. So it gives me a little time to think and plan. Plus the seasons are starting ever so slowly to change so I can plan for my soon to be autumnal skin care needs rather than my summer ones. But plotting and scheming aside, I really enjoyed this box and I am very glad I signed up for a year. Not only did it save me money, but as these boxes tend to sell out fairly rapidly I am assured I will be on the receiving list for the next year.

Oh and speaking of selling out quickly, the Glossy Box Advent Calendar is now available for pre-sale for subscribers.  I know, it’s September so not everyone is ready to plan the holidays, but these advent calendars sell out FAST so if you want one you need to get on the list. The products are always an amazing mix of skin care and makeup.The promotional photo in the link looks like a really good mix of products included this year. So if you are looking at beauty themed advent calendars this year, this might be one to look into, just do so quickly if you want to get on the list. 

Plus then you can feel virtuous for starting your holiday shopping early. Which let’s face it, may be for the best this year.  I think both on line and in person shopping this holiday season are going to be absolutely insane. Normally November first sees me frantically making my lists and creating shopping themed battle plans.  This year I am going in early and shopping strategically.  Anything that can be planned early is being planned.  I have several family members with December and January Birthdays as well as the holidays, so those are on my list as well. 

One of the birthdays indicated that even though she normally eschews holiday themed birthday gifts, she would be willing to make an exception for the Glossy Advent Calendar so I’m getting my order in quickly so I can at least check one birthday off the list. So one down and quite a few more to go.  And yes I felt very virtuous putting in the order for a January 3rd birthday present in September. After all If I can do holiday planning early, I can do anything.

Except fly like superman. That I still can’t do.

But I can wear the heck out of a cape.