The Balm- How Bout Them Apples (April) Verdict: Hit
This is a 2 in 1 lip and cheek tint product. I have to say this is my first encounter with The Balm brand after hearing much hype about their product range including the Mary Lou-Minizer high light. The quirky packaging reminds me of Benefit where the products often come fun prints and graphic. This particular blush and lip stain comes housed in a book like. The product itself is very vibrant red with a touch of something coral about it and I’d imagine to look quite intimidating to some. However it’s super light, thin texture allows the product to be blended into a sheer wash of colour. For me personally, I prefer it as a cheek stain rather than a lip stain. The tiniest amount dabbed and blended onto my fatty cheeks gives me a healthy flush of colour in no time at all, it’s pretty fool-proof, so easy to you. Whereas I find the product a little to thin as a lip product but I think that’s just my personal preferance. If you’re not much of a lippie wearer but want a subtle hint of colour on top of your lip balm to bring your lips back to life, then this might just be the perfect product for you.
Dr Brant Pores No More Pore Refiner (March) Verdict: Miss
If you’re a reader of my blog then you will know my feelings on pore busting products. Up until recently, I wasn’t really aware of my pores because although I have them, we all have them, they have never proved to be too much of an issue for me. So the plethora of pore refining/shrinking/blurring (insert adverb here) which has suddenly emerged and quickly saturating the market have done nothing but to make me scrutinise my face each morning post wash, pre makeup to see just how visible they are. I am determined not to become obsessive about it because there are bigger things in life like hiding that bulbous spot in the middle of my forehead which seems to have grown overnight. If I am totally honest, which I always try to be, I found the Dr Brandt Pores No More Pore Refiner Primer did absolutely nothing for me. The product claims to minimise the appearnce of pores by diffusing light and is also said to blur imperfections and lines and erases shine by absorbing oil and therefore provide a mattified base. It’s quite similar to Benefit’s The POREfessional in terms of texture, appearance and consistency and has that same slippy feeling. Applying it driectly over my pores which are most prominant in the area on my forehead above where my brows meet and also on my face either side of my nose, I barely notice any difference. Maybe a fraction ( as in minutely) blurred but nothing astounding. My pores were still clearly visible. It did nothing for the fine lines which reside under my eyes and by around lunchtime, a quick peek in the mirror reveals a shiny forehead and nose also. Oh dear, I don’t think that’s supposed to happen and I don’t particularly have oily skin, just a hyperactive T-Zone
English Laundry No. 7 For Her (March) Verdict: Hit
Id’ not heard of this frangrace brand before and that’s probably because it’s more renouned for their line of Men’s fragrances. This is a lovely blend of sweetness and fruit which was love at first spritz for me. You know how sometimes you smell a frangrance, you have to let it settle before you get the true aroma, with this I knew I liked it straight away. The sweetness from the vanilla and the fruitness from the pear, melon and apricot and various other components (i’m not going to pretend to know how perfumes are made) combine to create a light, fresh fragrance that’s perfect for this time of year. I’ve pretty much used up the whole lot and not suprisingly, it didn’t take very long.
Aroma Works Nurture Body Oil (March) Verdict: Hit
The cold winter months can be harsh on your skin, face and body. Sometimes I find that my body resists any type of moisture I apply after I shower even when I go in quite generously, my skin just refuses to cooperate. The results are often dry, even sometimes scaly and reptilic (gross). That’s where body oils come in and this one was just lush. It’s a shame the sample was so small but this is one of those times where I would definately consider buying the full size. The combination of May Change and Sandalwood transports me back to the spas in Mauritious where I was p lathered up pretty much every other day during my relaxed, stress and tension busting massages in exoctic oils. My skin lapped it up and felt revived, nourished and well moisturised afterwards. This is a definate hit for me.
Benefit Stay Don’t Stray (March) Verdict: Miss
Now I am usually a fan of Benefit products, I love their Bronzer in Hoola and their Watt’s Up Highlight is holy grail status for me. The Birchbox Februaury Benefit offering was The POREfessional which I wuite liked. Not for making my pores disappear but for making my makeup go that extra mile. This product was a complete disappointment for me particularly where I had high hopes. I do tend to have problems with my eye shadow creasing especially as I have a bit of a double crease (does anyone else have this?) which virtually makes it impossible for my shadow to stay kaput for longer than 10 minutes. This did nothing to help my eye shadow from creasing or for my under eye concealer from moving around. The only good thing I would say about this product is that because it’s tinted, it provides a nice uniform base particularly for those that suffer from veiny or darker lids but that’s as far as it goes. Sad but true.
Color Club Gala Gems Nail Polish in “Breakfast At...” (April) Verdict: Hit
This is such a beautiful colour. I think the first thing I did when I opened last month’s Birchbox is whipp off my chipped nail polish and went straight in with Color Club Gala Gem’s nail polish in Breakfast At… (which pays homage to the oh so similar colour of the Tiffany jewellery brand packaging and also a play on words with the film Breakfast at Tiffany). This polish has a pearlescent finish to it so gives it that more luxurious look and feel to it and the product is pretty fast drying although I still go in with a layer of Seche Vite on top.
TommyGuns Pomegranate & Orange Flower Shampoo (April) Verdict: So So
I’m not one who’s really into their shampoos. Sure I experiment with hair styling and protecting products now and again but I tend to stick to what I know works in terms of shampoo and conditioner. The one I’ve been using for a while now is the Aussie Volume Shampoo and Aussie Colour Insurance Leave-In Conditioner. Now and again I get dry, flaky scalp and haved dipped in and out of my boyfriend’s T/Gel Shampoo but I cannot stand the smell. I recently seeked out and subsequently bought the Klorane shampoo which was supposedly good for those with irritated scalps but the product failed to foam up or distribute evenly through the hair and after a few uses, I was already half way through the bottle. Not impressed. Now the TommyGuns Pomegranate and Orange Flower Shampoo is a nice one. I can’t vouch that the pomegranate protects the hair from the harsh environment or that the Orange Flower helps to soothe. What I can say is that it smells good enough to eat and for me it’s all about the lather. And this one does just that. My hair feels fresh and clean afterwards which is the very least I would expect from any shampoo (if it doesn’t clean, what the hell does it do?). My dry irritated scalp seems to have subsided but I’m not sure if it’s down to this or whether it’s down to the Klorane I used in the previous few weeks (if it was then the results were not instant) but it seem’s to have gone for the moment so I can’t complain.
Beauty Protector Protect & Shampoo and Protect & Conditioner (May) Verdict: Hit
Now the reason why I gave the TommyGuns Pomegranate & Orange Flower Shampoo a so-so was because it doesn’t compare to Beauty Protector’s Protect & Shampoo. Now this, along with the Protect & Conditioner , are both gorgeous products. This is my second encounter with the Beauty Protector brand, with the first being with their Protect & Oil which I fell head over heels for (also from Birchbox, read my review here). First thing you immediately notice is the scent. The blend of honey and fruit extracts is so deliciously sweet that I often find myself sitting there whilst sniffing my hair and admiring the scent to myself (loser). It foams up nicely, a little goes a long way compared to the TommyGuns offering. Combined with the conditioner, I felt a noticeable difference in my hair. It feels like running your fingers through silk fibres, no lie, it is THAT soft. I think I will almost definitely be purchasing this duo and it seems that Birchbox has the UK exclusives on these. Let’s hope its not sold out as I’m sure these will be a hit with those subscribers that received the duo in this months beauty box.
That’s all I have to say in this edition of Birchbox Hits and Misses. I’d be interested to know if you have used any of the products I’ve mentioned above and what your thoughts on it are?