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Battle of the Beauty Boxes- Beauty Army July Box

When I reviewed my June box from Beauty Army I gave them a bit of a bad rap, I decided to give them another month to redeem themselves and boy have they! I love this months box.  The advantage of Beauty Army is that you get to pick 6 out of 9 products to receive the following month. You also have the option for them to surprise you.  What I also learned is that while you are making your selection a description pops up letting you know exactly what you will be getting. They even added an opt out feature so if there is nothing you are interested in you won’t be charged for that month. My only complaint is I wish they gave you a better selection.  Below is a picture of what was offered in the August box.

You can see that 4 of the 9 options are for Bath and Body Works Body wash, each a different scent. If you like scented body wash this a great deal but if you don’t you are not left with too many other choices.  In this case I would normally opt out for a month but I thought the body washes would be good for gift baskets, etc.

So onto July’s Box!

M academia Nut Hair Healing Oil Treatment 4.2 oz $18.95 Our Healing Oil Treatment is a therapeutic hair oil perfect for all hair types and is especially beneficial to dry, damaged hair.Intense nourishment for tangle & frizz free hair, Hair that is ultra-smooth, manageable & shiny, Natural UV protection extends the life of color treatments, Reduced drying time by an amazing 40-50%

Review – I am in love with this Hair Treatment. I only use a very small amount, about 1/4 tsp so 4 ounces will last quite awhile. It smells good, leaves my hair shiny, soft, silky, and with less frizz and fly aways. I try to let my hair air dry as much as I can and I feel that the hair oil did help reduce drying time. I absolutely will buy this product again.

Cellceuticals Ceractive 2 oz $47.50 CerActive Moisture + barrier repair skin treatment is a deep penetrating moisture and barrier repair treatment that works between surface cells to soothe dry skin and provide long-lasting hydration. This moisture and barrier repair treatment replenishes essential barrier lipids (ceramides and fatty acids), humectants, and anti-irritants to help stregthen skin’s water lipid barrier while providing deep hydration and skin-soothing properties.

Review – This was a nice light lotion that gave the perfect amount of moisture without feeling greasy. Do I look 10 years younger? Are my fine lines gone? Can’t really say but I did like this lotion, it absorbed well and didn’t leave my skin feeling coated.

Atzen Lip & Eye Emulsion .5 oz  $75 Calms tired eyes instantly; numerous peptides & retinyl palmitate energize wrinkle reducing activity. Dark circles & discoloration due to hormones & sun damage virtually disappear over time. Reduces puffiness & hydrates.

Review – I love this eye cream, first off it is very light and a little goes a long way. You may balk at the $75 price tag but that small amount will probably last you a good 6 months. I didn’t notice much around my eyes but I did notice that my lips felt softer with less pealing and cracking.

Delizioso Skincare Mangosteen & Acai Super Anti-Aging Facial Cream 1oz $58 100% Natural Mangosteen & Acai extracts along with Alpha Hydroxy Acids use a potent anti-aging system of antioxidants to perfect dull skin. Organic oils nourish while aloe and pure juices of cucumber and blueberry rehydrate. As you apply the moisturizer Vita Burst Beads infused with a potent dose of Vitamin E, Acai, and Mangosteen pop and start to act immediately. This technology helps keep the potent ingredients at their very peak of action.

Review – This is a nice cream but it has a strong vanilla scent that I find a bit overpowering for a face cream, as a scented hand lotion fine but not on my face. The scent lasts quite awhile also. I found myself sneezing throughout the day.

Indie Lee Squalane Facial Oil 1 oz $32  A naturally occurring oil that promotes elasticity in the skin. As we age, its production diminishes. This key component of our sebum helps boost cell regeneration and oxygenation, leaving your face looking healthy and radiant.

Review– I don’t know what I like more, this or the Macademia nut oil. I was a little surprised since I have oily skin whether I would like this or not. The sample bottle came with a built in dropper that took up the perfect amount. Probably about 0.25 ml. A really small amount. It was a light oil that absorbed quickly into my skin. I felt well moisturized but was amazed that after a minute or two there was no oily greasy feeling like I have with other facial lotions. I have been very happy with this product and will be purchasing more in the future!

I have included a link for all of these products to my Amazon store in case you are interested in trying them yourself!

If you would like to subscribe to Beauty Army and receive your own beauty box, please click this link! Beauty Army.

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Battle of the Beauty Boxes- Birchbox-July Box

So I finally found time to write up a review of the July Beauty Box from Birchbox.  Just a recap- Beauty boxes are a subscription service where you pay a fee and each month you receive a nice box in the mail full of sample beauty products and occasionally a full size product. So far I am having a lot of fun with these subscriptions, it is like getting a fun surprise in the mail each month that isn’t a bill.

I currently have two beauty box subscriptions and Birchbox is by far my favorite. If you are interest in signing up for your own subscription please click on the link so I get points for recommending you. Birch Box Subscription.  You can also read my original post about beauty boxes here. 

Below is a list of the products I received, a short description and my review. Enjoy!

Tea Forte Minteas 3 pack $9.95  Tea Forte, known for their stylish tisanes, is introducing clever mints that have both wellness and breath-sweetening properties. All-natural and sugar-free, Minteas are infused with organic green tea, herbs, and fruit extracts to give you an instant antioxidant boost.

Review- SO not impressed, the mints do have a nice light flavor but it is so light I don’t know how they would freshen your breath. I will stick to Altoids which are also a lot cheaper.

Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner $15 Twiggy fans, rejoice: this London-based brand’s liquid liners let you create mod looks in a flash. Rather than frustrating us with hard-to-control brush tips, they feature a pen-style applicator that’s completely goofproof. Give your basic black a break and experiment with rich Olive or punchy Turquoise. They’re guaranteed to make your eyes pop.

Review – This was  a very nice eyeliner pen, easy to use and apply. The eyeliner also lasted all day with no smudging or flaking unlike the brand I used to use. I am trying to lighten up my eye look and don’t use black eyeliner anymore otherwise this would certainly be on my list.

Alterna BAMBOO® UV+ Color Protection Fade-Proof Fluide 2.5 oz $24 This fade-proof finishing gloss is the next generation of hair protection. Not only does it strengthen dry or brittle strands, but it also helps protect your hard-earned color from sun damage. Use it regularly to keep your hue true and healthy until your next appointment: it’s clinically proven to help retain color and brightness for 60 washes. If you don’t color your hair, you can still use this product to keep strands supple and shiny.

Review- I have only used this product twice and must say I love it, it goes on nice and light, smells good, and it seems to help keep my frizz down. I color my hair red which fades quickly, since I have not used this product regularly I cannot attest to the fade protection properties. Honestly would I purchase this? Probably not, mainly because of the price and I prefer another product I received in a later beauty box called Macadamia hair oil.

Supergoop!® City Sunscreen Serum – 1.5 oz $42Day-to-day sun exposure requires the same precautions as an afternoon spent poolside. This light yet powerful serum fulfills that everyday need. Both a moisturizer and a broad-spectrum SPF 30, it fights the signs of premature aging—think fine lines and sunspots—and prevents future photo-damage from UV rays. Built for year-round use, it’s great for layering under foundation. The mattifying formula can also stand alone on the days you’re not wearing makeup.

Review – None, sorry, I have to honestly say I have not tried this product yet, I put the sample in my purse to have for emergency sun screen.  I do like the idea of having a moisturizing sun screen that is also mattifying.

Harvey Prince Hello – 50 ml $55 Allow us to introduce you to your new warm weather scent. For their latest fragrance, the brother duo behind Harvey Prince decided to mimic the joy of waking up to a warm day with the sun shining and the flowers blooming. The resulting blend is an energizing mix of citrus and floral notes that will keep you optimistic even when you get up on the wrong side of the bed.

 

Birchbox Exclusive Earbuds $10 Whether we’re jogging through the park or powering through a laptop session, earbuds are one of our constant accessories. So we started thinking: why stick with the same boring white pair we’ve been using for years? We designed these custom pink and green or pink and blue neon earbuds so we can rock out to our favorite tunes in style. They’re extra-durable and extra-comfy—now that’s music to our ears.

Review – This was a nice surprise since I needed to buy an extra pair of earbuds to keep in my gym bag. These work great and were very comfortable. I just wish they came in pink!

I am still in love with Birchbox and plan on keeping my subscription for awhile, I find that I always get my moneys worth from them, Heck my monthly subscription is $10 and I probably would have spent that much on earbuds alone!

Finally a cure for dandruff!

For most of my adult life I have had a terrible time with shampoo. I have a very sensitive scalp and at times will have severe allergic reactions to various shampoos. I also have very oily hair that needs to be washed almost every day.  My reaction to shampoos will be a mild dandruff to full on itching burning, flakey red skin. I get huge red blotches on my forehead and have scratched so bad I get sores.  The worst was one shampoo that felt like someone poured acid on my scalp.

Over the years I have tried cheap shampoos, expensive saloon shampoos, Tar shampoos(man those stink), special scalp treatments, washing my hair more and less often, even dish soap. I would get some relief but then after a week or two my scalp would flair up again and my sholders would look like I just came in from a snow storm. After spending a ton of money on expensive shampoos I came across a pin on pinterest about using apple cider vinegar to cure dandruff.  The pin lead me to this article 4 Reasons to Use Apple Cider Vinegar on Your Scalp Treatments by Josh Peterson, Planet Green

I had the vinegar so I thought why not. I had an old applicator bottle I kept from the last time I colored my hair. I liked the bottle because it has a comb tip that was easier to use. I recomend you buy some Loreal Excellence hair color just to get this great applicator bottle,  I filled the bottle with half vinegar and half water. After washing my hair I used the applicator bottle to apply the  vinegar rinse  directly on my scalp. It was a little hard to do so I took a bit of conditioner add it to my hair and the applicator ran through it easily. I let it sit while I finished my shower then rinsed.  Cider Vinegar is supposed to be a natural hair conditioner and helps to close the hair cuticle to cut down on frizz and breakage. My hair felt dry so I added another bit of conditioner and rinsed. My hair felt clean and smooth but I smelled like a salad.  This scent worried me as I didn’t’ want to spend the day smelling like vinegar. Later that day I was worried so I asked my co-monkeys and my favorite husband if I smelt funny and they said no funnier than usual.

A bit about dandruff. Dandruff can be caused by multiple things dry scalp, skin irritation, fungus/yeast, and/or a build up of oils.  Vinegar helps to clear away the excessive oil and is a natural anti-fungal. It is also supposed to restore the ph level to your scalp which keeps it healthy and prevents dandruff.

After I dried my hair my scalp felt great, my hair was shinny and smooth and my head didn’t burn or itch! Yeah! There were still some small flakes but I was thankful my shoulders didn’t look as if I had a staring role in an Al Pacino movie.

I continued to do some research on several sites and put together this treatment plan.  I used an old dish soap bottle to keep the vinegar mixture well stocked in my shower. In the picture you can see the applicator bottle that I love, the comb makes it so much easier to get the vinegar to my scalp.

Prep hair – Wash hair as normal, apply a small amount of conditioner and rinse, this helps the applicator bottle go through your hair easier.  Use an applicator bottle to really get into the scalp, you may want to massage in slightly so it gets in. If you don’t have an applicator bottle you can just use a cup and pour it slowly onto the scalp.  Let the vinegar sit on your scalp 5 minutes or longer. Rinse with cool water.  Warning! Be very careful to not get any in your eyes, believe me it is not fun. 

Week 1 -Start with a 50% vinegar solution (1/2 vinegar and 1/2 water). Use the vinegar rinse each time you wash your hair. I found I only needed about 1 ounce of the rinse to cover my scalp. I wash my hair every other day and noticed that with this treatment my hair seemed less oily on the second day. If this irritates your skin you may want to add more water.

Week 2 –  Use the rinse every other shampoo.

Week 3 – Use once a week.

Week 4 – Use once a month or as needed.  If you notice your dandruff acting up use the rinse more often.

Amazing! After all the money and experiments I had tried something that costs just pennies cleared up my dandruff. My skin reaction to shampoos has even calmed down a bit. It still flares up but no where near as bad as it used to be!  The best part is no one can make fun of how flaky I am! Well, perhaps just a little. 🙂

For even more dandruff fighting power try adding some dry herbs or essential oil to the vinegar rinse. Thyme, Rosemary, and Sage are supposed to be great for dandruff as well as Tea Tree oil.  Place herbs in a cheese cloth and let steep in the vinegar overnight. If you don’t have cheese cloth just strain before using.

Homemade (wet) Dry Shampoo spray! Greasy hair miracle.

It is no secret, I am a very oily person add to this that I have severe hair issues. If I wash my hair too much it irritates my scalp, causes itching, dryness and major dandruff. If I don’t wash my hair often I end up with a icky oily mess.  That is until I found this miracle of miracles. Wet dry shampoo spray.

My adventures through Pinterest and general boredom led me to this wonderful site called wellnessmama.com and her homemade recipe for Dry shampoo and dry shampoo spray 

I have used commercial dry shampoo sprays in the past. Some work better than others but all leave my hair feeling coated and looking a bit dull. I was skeptical when I read the posting but since I had all the ingredients on hand I thought why not give it a try.  The commercial brands can cost over $5 this spray costs just pennies.

Here is her original recipe

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot or cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup vodka, rubbing alcohol or witch hazel (what I use, from here)
  • essential oils or a spritz of your favorite perfume to scent

What to do: Mix all ingredients in a small spray bottle and shake well. Shake before each use and spray on roots or oily parts of hair. Let dry and style as usual.

What I did.

1. I used cornstarch because arrowroot sounds like some fancy herb I have to go to a specialty store to buy and I didn’t want to spend money on something I have never heard of and might never use again.

2. I used 91% isopropyl alcohol again because that is what I had on hand. I couldn’t see wasting good vodka on my hair but heck if you have a party and someone leaves a bottle of the cheap stuff this is a great way to get rid of it. Witch hazel is just basically watered down rubbing alcohol.

3. Lavender essential oil.

I poured everything into a spray bottle and shook well, then doused my hair. I got about 6 applications out of the bottle. make sure you shake well before each use as the cornstarch will settle.

Spray hair, brush through and voila! Good smelling, clean looking hair. It was that easy.

Miracles! My hair looked and felt great, it also dried fairly quickly when using this product.

Here are the before and after pictures. Yeah I know a need a hair cut and have a ton of split ends. I told you I had serious hair issues.

 

 

Battle of the Beauty Boxes – Beauty Army

So last month I signed up for two beauty box subscriptions, Birch Box and Beauty Army. For a subscription fee I receive a box in the mail each month filled with designer beauty products. This is a great way to try out new products with minimal investment.

Yesterday I reviewed the box I received from Birch Box. I was happy with my subscription and feel I really got my money’s worth. Today I will review the box I received from Beauty Army. Here is the original post. 

Beauty Army

Subscription:  $12 per month (no extra fees for shipping and handling)

Something that is nice about Beauty Army is that each month you are given the opportunity to pick what samples you would like to receive, you are shown 9 products and are allowed to choose the 6 that you want.  My first month I don’t feel I was given much of a selection. I don’t remember all of my choices  but I remember being disappointed. I figured this was my first month and perhaps the choices will get better. (Sorry for the bad pictures, I am still learning how to use my camera)

When I received the box I was very excited. It is a very nice black box lined with pink camouflage paper.  The box itself is a nice decorator item. I opened it up peeled back a layer of black tissue paper then a layer of pink. Everything was packaged so nicely, I couldn’t wait to see inside. Boy was I disappointed. That’s it? They samples were really just small samples, something I could get for free if I went to a department store make up counter.  I hadn’t remembered what I had selected but I was surprised that I selected 2 perfumes.  Below are the products I received and my reviews.

Young Blood Mineral Primer  – Youngblood’s Mineral Primer is the perfect all-over primer for flawless make-up application and skin rejuvenation. The light-weight, silky formula is packed with vitamins and minerals that smooth the appearance of fine lines and pores creating an even surface for foundation. This colourless base helps enhance the performance of makeup through the day while providing intense skin protection.  1 oz $41.00

This was actually the  best thing in the entire box the sample size was o.1 oz which is a little over a teaspoon. It doesn’t sound like much but you need so little of the product That it will probably last about 30 days or more. I like using a primer as it helps to control oil and helps your foundation go on smoothly. I like the added bonus of helping with fine lines and wrinkles. A girl needs all the help she can get.  I am enjoying this product and would probably purchase it again.

Control Corrective Anti-Wrinkle Face & Neck. For all skin types showing advanced signs of aging.  This advanced cocktail  of high performance ingredients helps stimulate collagen synthesis – thereby easing the look of fine lines, deeper wrinkles and textural irregularity – while promoting smooth, even pigment and tone. $96 for 2 oz

Good face creams can be very expensive, the sample size only has about 3 applications which is not enough to determine if it works or not. I find that it has a strange smell it is not strong, sort of medicated. The cream doesn’t feel heavy or greasy, it actually feels nice on my skin but for For $96 it should include a mini face lift.  Personally I will stick with my Oil of Olay.

Aquolina Pink Sugar EDT Natural Spray – Two drops of perfume and the world is tinted pink. Pink is the color of femininity, sweetness and passion. Pink is the color of emotions, of sensuality and indulgent innocence. Pink Sugar is a cloud of sweetness that lasts long on the skin.A unique olfactory experience interlacing fantasy and reality. The encounter of femininity and inner childhood. The earliest memories in life are also the most addictive. Nostalgia of cotton candy tinted with gourmand raspberry, tickled by the greenness of fig leaf, and lifted by the citrus notes of bergamot and Sicilian orange. $45 for 1.7 oz.

Not a bad perfume if you want to smell like a confection. The description was spot on when compared it to cotton candy. It smells good but I found myself craving dessert. Use this and you will smell good enough to eat.

Yuko Bella Shampoo and Conditioner– A gental shampoo that utilizes a blend of natural plant extracts to gently cleanse the hair and scalp while restoring moisture to the hair for a smoother and healthier shine.  Not listed on web site.

I find it strange that I am sent a sample but then cannot find the product on the web site. I did try this shampoo and it was shampoo. It washed my hair. I didn’t notice any great difference. I actually prefer my Dove conditioner and think I get better results.

Lucy B – Wild Jasmine eau de parfume – Top notes of pineapple and white ginger play with middle notes of wild jasmine. Bottom notes of water lily and magnolia. Infused with natural flower essences.  $48 for 3.34 oz.

I received a typical sample vial of this perfume. Jasmine is one of my favorite scents and I was excited to try this. I found it to be a nice light scent. I could smell the water lily more than the jasmine. I found it very pleasing, reminding me of a cool summer day.

Fiafini – Divine Hydration Moisturizer – A hydrating and healing moisturizer that firms, minimizes wrinkles, and restores elasticity.  $38.50

Like the lotion above it is really hard to judge a lotion on such a small sample. There are about 3 applications in the sample. This was a little heavier than the Control Corrective and I must say the price is much more appealing. It also had an interesting scent. Not bad but not appealing either.

I mentioned I was disappointed in the sample sizes, when I made my selection for July I noticed that a description of the sample size I would receive was listed an pictured so I should have paid more attention. I decided to give Beauty Army another month in the hopes that some of my choices get better. I really would like to see more make- up and variations in my choices. So far it is mostly skin care and perfume. While I love sampling skin care products, I don’t wear perfume so would prefer something else.

Beauty Army does have a referral and review system where you can receive discounts on future products. There are also discounts for your subscription anniversary, the longer you are with them the higher the discount. Their web site is a bit plain and they don’t offer the tips, and videos that I find on Birch Box. There is also the difference in price. It isn’t much but with Birch Box I feel I got more than the price of my subscription. With Beauty Army I don’t feel I got my money’s worth. As mentioned the sample sizes I received I can get something equivalent from any beauty counter at a department store. If I were to choose only 1 company between Beauty Army and Birch Box it would be hand down Birch Box at this point.

If you are interested in trying out either Beauty Army https://beautyarmy.com/account/registration/?referral_id=5add667ce367328099c5ad5dedc5e6e3

or Birch Box

https://www.birchbox.com?raf=5hkw7

for yourself please use these links so I can receive credit for referring someone. I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you.

Coming soon! July’s Beauty Boxes.

Battle of the Beauty Boxes – Birch Box

A few weeks ago I was bored and flipping through youtube video’s. Isn’t that how most great stories begin? Last time that happened he had a Mentos version of Coke vs. Pepsi war in our back yard. That was a lot of fun and a big mess but boy was my grass green that summer. I digress, while surfing videos and trying to stay out of trouble I came across this video by All That Glitters 21 about beauty boxes.  I am very much a girly girl and I love playing with make up and experimenting with new products and ideas, sadly most are just experiments and don’t make it out of the bathroom.

I was intrigued by the idea of a monthly make up subscription and started to investigate.  My original fear that they would be like those old Columbia House CD Deals. Get 10 CD’s for a penny then get succeed into a contract that ends up costing you an arm and a leg. I was happily surprised to find this was not true and there was no catch. You sign up, pay your monthly fee and get a present in the mail each month. You can cancel at any time, no strings.

There are a few companies that have a beauty box subscription. You can sign up for one box, a monlthy subscription, or a year. The longer you sign up for the more you save.   Each month you get a small box in the mail with about 5 sample beauty products, some are the one time sample sizes and some are full retail sizes. The boxes range in price but average about $10 a month. From the video it looked like you get about $10 or more with of product each month.  I thought how fun. I love getting packages in the mail and love trying new cosmetics. So I decided to sign up with 2 different companies. I figured I probably spend that much trying things out with Walmart why not sign up and be able to sample higher end cosmetics.

Not all of the beauty box companies are available to ship in the US, just yet but keep checking back. Some also have a waiting list. I decided to try Birch Box and Beauty Army. Mainly because they shipped to the US. Both had a waiting list but I was accepted within 2 weeks so I didn’t wait too long.  Below is my review of the box I received in June  from Birch Box with a list of the products and my opinions.

Birch Box

Subscription Cost : $10/month or $110/year shipping is included

I found Birch Box very easy to sign up for you create a profile and are asked basic questions about your beauty preferences. The whole process took less than 5 minutes.  When I received the box I was a little disappointed, I thought it would be bigger. When I opened the box It was kind of fun pulling back the tissue paper. and finding another cute package wrapped up inside. I felt like it was my birthday.   With Birchbox you don’t select the products so you are never sure what you are going to get. The box is actually a nice study box that could be very useful, In fact I am already thinking of a craft project I could use it for.

Inside I found:

Designer Band Aids by Cynthia Rowley https://www.birchbox.com/shop/birchbox-1/june-2012/june12box26/band-aid-cynthia-rowley Klutzy fashionistas, we feel your pain and so does designer Cynthia Rowley. The fashion visionary teamed up with BAND-AID® Brand to create these haute band aids, which cover up life’s little boo boos and look good doing it. $11.00

What the heck? Band Aids, ok they are cute and different but I don’t really use band aids but you never know. It was a full box of 20 band Aids, I would probably pay $5 at the store so ok, I am getting half my money’s worth so far.  You get 2 boxes 40 band aids for $11. A bit pricey for me but once in awhile they are fun.

Melvita Eau Florale de Rosehttps://www.birchbox.com/shop/birchbox-1/june-2012/june12box26/melvita-floral-water These refreshing sprays combine lightweight hydrating properties with deliciously addictive scents. Powered by organic ingredients like rose petals and lavender (plus always-beneficial H20), each spray soothes, firms, and heals delicate skin. And, with light, fresh fragrances, they can also be used as a hair and home scent. $22 for 6.75 oz

Translation- fancy rose scented water. My bottle was 0.95 oz, not bad, so far I am happy with the sample sizes but this just smells like rose water. The rose scent is strong and personally I think rose scent smells like old ladies. It isn’t bad, just not my thing. I am not a big scent perfume person so don’t let my review put me off. If you like roses try it.

Joya Âmes Sœurs Parfum –  https://www.birchbox.com/shop/birchbox-1/june-2012/june12box26/joya-ames-soeurs-parfumA Scent of Soulmates This new perfume has a storied pedigree. After reading The Book Of Lost Fragrances, a thriller that details the quest to locate a scent created in the days of Cleopatra, fragrance designer Frederick Bouchardy was inspired to bring the novel’s star scent to life. Even if thrillers aren’t your favorite literary genre, you’re sure to love the spellbinding blend of orange blossom, myrrh, and other exotic notes $28 for 0.34 oz

This isn’t a bad perfume, and it is a nice little sample size that I will be able to get several uses out of it. I think it has a nice clean scent with a hint of musky sensuality. 

Dr. Jart+ Premium Beauty Balm SPF 45+ https://www.birchbox.com/shop/birchbox-1/june-2012/june12box26/dr-jart-beauty-balm-premium-1-5-fl-oz We’re always skeptical when products promise the sun and the moon, but Dr. Jart’s Premium Beauty Balm truly delivers. A four-in-one primer, moisturizer, sunscreen, and treatment serum, the formula helps you cut down on the beauty cabinet clutter. Plus, it has advanced brightening properties and anti-aging benefits. Even Martha Stewart can’t boast multitasking skills quite like this. $39 for 1.5 oz

Now this is worth the $10 subscription price. I recently bought the BB Cream from Smash Box and I have to say I like this product better. It works better as a primer and covers up miner flaws better. It is not ment to be used as a foundation but provides light coverage if you just want a little something. It also has a higher spf the Smash box. I am sold on this product and am planning on purchasing it again when the sample runs out.  The sample size is 0.33 oz and you use so little it is going to last awhile.

theBalm® cosmetics Stainiac https://www.birchbox.com/shop/birchbox-1/june-2012/june12box26/the-balm-stainiac You wouldn’t know it from the state of our makeup drawer, but we’re actually beauty minimalists. Our motto: Why use two products when you can get the same effect with one? This two-in-one lip and cheek stain gives us a natural, understated flush and helps us get out the door faster. The gel formula looks dark in the tube but delivers a sheer tint. $17 for 0.3 oz

I love the idea of one product that does multiple things like the BB cream above.  I was excited about this product since it was called a stain, I thought it would be good to give a bit of color on my non make up days. Something light that would last.  It went on very easily with no streaks or problems and dried quickly. I then used some chapstick to give my lips some moisture.  The color was great and I was very happy. I was disappointed that the color didn’t last that long. In about 2 hours it was gone. I thought being a stain it would last longer.  I was happy to find that I received the full size and not a sample in my box.  It wasn’t bad but not worth $17 to me, if it had truly stained my lips and lasted longer than I would have been happier.

Oribe Shampoo and Conditioner for Beautiful Color https://www.birchbox.com/shop/birchbox-1/june-2012/june12box26/oribe-beautiful-color-shampoo Oribe, hair stylist to the fabulous, knows that you have to give color-treated hair special attention. He’s designed an ultra-gentle shampoo that effectively cleanses without stripping away any of that gorgeous color — while also delivering repairing ingredients that help tresses stay healthy. Shampoo $36 for 8 oz, Conditioner $39 for 6.8 ounces,

Wow, that must be some good shampoo and conditioner for that price. I received a single use sample size and decided to save it for when I took my next trip since the samples are easier to pack then small bottles that may leak in your luggage. So Honestly I can’t tell you anything about it.

My overall thoughts on Birch Box are that I love it. I think I certainly got my $10 worth. Even though I didn’t care for all of the products the ones I like were worth the money and it was nice to be able to try out the new products.

Some perks that I like about Birch Box, there are several videos and great information that show and explain how to use the products plus some great beauty tips.  There is even a Mens subscription box.

They also have a point rewards system. You can earn points towards discounts and free products by referring friends, purchasing products, and  for reviewing products you received.I got  60 points just for writing reviews.  There are also several deals and ways to earn double bonus points. Free shipping for orders over $50.  At 100 points you get $10 credit to spend on any of their products! Cool Beans to that!

Birchbox is a great way to discover new grooming, beauty and lifestyle products. Sample top products from high-end brands, get expert advice, buy new favorites and earn points with every purchase. So if you like trying out new products and getting cool surprises in the mail I encourage you to sign up. I chose the monthly subscription for $10 which includes shipping so there are no strange hidden fees. If you sign up for a year you end up saving $10.  If you are interested please use the link below, I won’t lie if you sign up with this link I will receive 50 Birch Box Points. https://www.birchbox.com?raf=5hkw7

There is a cool perfume called Juliette Has a Gun Not a Perfume, sounds like something made just for me.  It would make a cool birthday present. Hint Hint!  

Nine Inch Nails (Almost)

A few days ago I has hanging out with my second favorite niece (this is a term of endearment) and she was asking me how to grow long nails. #2 niece was graced with brains, beauty, natural talent, long graceful fingers but short stubby nails. I shared some of my advice with her and decided it would make a great blog post.  In this post I am going to share with you tried and true methods to grow wicked long natural nails.  Yes the pictures are of my natural nails.

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  1. You need great genetics.  Sorry to disappoint you ladies but a major part of having long strong nails is genetics. I am thankful to mother  who passed on the long nails gene to me. Heck I got my fathers big manly feet, thankfully I got my mother’s long graceful hands and nails but I can’t complain, my father always said people with big feet make better lovers.  Weren’t blessed with good genes? Don’t hate on your mother, at least you didn’t get your dads giant feet or Aunt Hazels big butt.  Below are some of the things I do that make my nails grow even longer and faster.
  2. Eat right – Ya you heard me, I know you don’t like it but you need to eat your green vegetables. I noticed a huge growth spurt when I started eating broccoli and spinach on a regular bases. A very notable difference. My nails were longer stronger and had fewer ridges and white spots. Or perhaps I lost weight and my fingers just looked longer and skinnier. Nope luckily my hands are the one place I haven’t gained weight over the years.  Along with eating right increase your water intake and cut back on the soda and fake sugar drinks, these are full of chemicals and week splitting nails and dry brittle hair are the first signs of poor nutrition.
  3. Exercise your fingers – Sounds silly I know but you need to get the blood flowing to those nail beds.  When I started teaching I started doing a lot more typing as I typed up all my lecture notes and lesson plans. It seems that I have to trim my nails back about every two weeks otherwise they get caught in the keys as I type. If you can’t type, learn, or play the piano,  or start tapping your fingers everywhere, just don’t do it around me as it can be very annoying.
  4. Get pregnant- Ok you may not want to go this far to have nice nails but you might want to try taking a daily prenatal vitamin. Nothing fancy just some generic store brand will do.  Many pregnant women notice a huge increase in hair and nail growth and attribute it to the prenatal vitamins. They are also probably avoiding bad foods and eating more spinach and broccoli.

Things that damage your nails so stop doing it!

  1. Taking care of your nails – Yup you read that right, stop taking care of your nails and fretting over them and they will grow.  People tend to over file their nails and this can cause flacking, splitting and eventually breaking. I can almost guarantee that when I get bored and decide to really file and shape my nails they will all break within about two weeks. If a nail breaks or chips, I clip it to a basic shape and give it a quick smoothing file in about 5 seconds, nothing major.
  2. Spending money on expensive wraps, polishes, manicures, or fake nails. – All of these things actually weaken your nails so stop doing them.  Even if it says special strengthen polish, have you ever read the ingredients? What about the nail polish remover?  Save your money and use it to buy some broccoli or better yet send it to me so I can buy broccoli.  If you want your nails to look nice keep them clean and try using a buffer, this gives a nice gloss to your nails and helps increase blood flow.  I use a simple buffer I got from Revlon a million years ago for about $5
  3. Clean your house with bare hands – Have you ever read the warning labels on the back of cleaning products? Don’t do it or you may never clean your house again. Hmm, sounds like a good excuse not to clean. If you use any type of chemicals even natural products to clean your house wear rubber gloves to protect your skin. Those chemicals will sap the strength out of your nails before you can smack a toad. I never personally tried to smack a toad but I assume you have to be very quick.  I good trick for taking care of your hands is to cover them with you greasiest hand cream or Vaseline then put the gloves on, when you are done cleaning your hands will be nice and soft.

So these are my tips for growing long healthy nails.  Good luck to you!

P.S. this is my first blog with pictures!