Wednesday, September 4, 2013

August 2013 Blush Mystery Beauty Box - Unboxing and Review

Hello! Guess who's super behind on her blog posts again? If you guessed me, you'd be right! I just got back from Seattle, WA and have a lot of things to catch up on (seriously, I have like...four videos to make and five blog posts and just...ugh). Since I'm only working two days this week, I'm hoping I can get everything I want to recorded, typed, photographed, and uploaded by the end of the weekend. Hoping. My husband and I are still surprisingly tired from our trip. We're not sure if it's jet lag or if we just over-exerted ourselves or what, but I'm just super happy I decided to take an extra day off from work to recover.

But that's not why you're here (though I will be making a post/video about our trip to Seattle/PAX); you're here to check out what I got in my August 2013 Blush Mystery Beauty Box! This is my very first Blush Mystery Beauty Box and, so far, I am very happy I subscribed. I'm actually a little sad I missed July's box because it had a full sized Deborah Lippmann nail polish in it, which would have been awesome to get. This subscription service is going to replace my Glossybox subscription. I got my final box, the August 2013, and once again it was underwhelming. I just don't feel like I'm getting back what I pay for with Glossybox. My first box was amazing, but pretty much everything after that has been disappointing. I'm going to make a post/video about my final Glossybox this weekend as well.

If you don't know what the Blush Mystery Beauty Box is, it's a mystery box that you can either subscribe to for $24.95 a month OR you can buy just one box for $34.95, shipping included for both. Since it's guaranteed to have at least $100 worth of products in it, either way you get your money's worth. I opted to subscribe since I watched a few unboxings on Youtube and really liked what I saw. If you're interested in checking it out and learning more, you can go to blush.com, which is part of the beauty trio that includes dermstore.com and hairenvy.com. I'm not sure why they have three different sites since you can go to any of them and search for products from any of the other sites (if that makes sense) AND they all share the same checkout, but they do. I was initially interested in signed up for the subscription service dermstore.com used to offer called Beautyfix, but they discontinued the service.
Here we go!
Since you're technically ordering something from the online store, you get free samples with your order!
I thought I was only getting one sample, but I got three. I got a restorative shampoo by Intelligent Beauty Labs, a full body SPF 50 sunscreen from etta MD, and emu oil. Yeah, emu oil. This was probably the most interesting thing in my box, and I'm not sure how I feel about it. It says it's a 100% emu oil serum and that it's supposed to be amazing for your skin. I just...don't know. It's oil. From an emu. For my face. I'm definitely curious to see if it will live up to its claims, but. Yeah. Hmm. I also got a code for 20% off a full size (DREMU-20 if you're interested, it's good until October 31st). Even though these are just tiny samples and they don't count towards my box value or anything, I thought I'd calculate their values anyways. The shampoo is $16 for 9fl oz, so the sample is worth $1.78, the sunscreen is $44 for 8oz, so the sample is worth $0.39, and the emu oil is $149 for 2oz, so the sample is $7.45. That's a good value for free samples!

Onto the actual box! I got eight items in my box, three full size products and five deluxe size samples. I'll start with the featured product, the Philip B Maui Wowie Beach Mist and go from there. I looks like every month there's a special "featured" product that they reveal and talk about in a Youtube video. A lot of people were put off this month by the featured product since I think people are a little over-saturated with beachy hair sprays right now. I got...three already, I think, from various subscriptions and sets this summer and I really didn't need another, but I went ahead and got the box anyways because, hey, it's only a $22 value and I still had $80 worth of stuff heading my way.
This is the front of the info card they included with the box, which shows off the beach mist.
And here's the actual mist. It's full sized and worth $22. It has sea salt, coconut oil, kakui oil, extracts of algae, orchid, Tahitian gardenia, and aloe in it. I works like any other beach spray; you can spray it on either wet or dry hair and it gives texture, volume, and a sort of...roughness to your style, like you've been at the beach all day and your hair's gotten tousled and wet. It's basically a calculated imperfect look. When I got my first mist I wasn't sure if it was something I could use since I already have a texture to my hair, but I found that it actually helps enhance my natural texture and also gives my fine hair some much needed volume. I haven't found this mist to be anything special, but that's not to say it isn't bad. I just have a lot of beach mists. I'm not a big fan of the smell; it's a little too floral for me, but if you're a fan of floral smells, especially gardenia, then you will really like it.
This is the back of the info card, showing the remaining seven products. I thought there was a nice variety in this box (it's actually bag, so sometimes I refer to it as a bag), though there weren't any "color cosmetics". While I do like getting things like eyeshadows and lip glosses, I find myself using the skin care and hair care samples I receive more often. I think it's because I just don't use up color cosmetics that fast. Some people prefer getting "actual make-up" in their boxes, but I can go either way.
This is the first product from the back of the card, an Emporium Hand Cream from the brand MOR in Snow Gardenia. I do apologize for the weird lighting in the photo, I was trying really hard to not get a picture of my reflection (not sure how well I succeeded at that) and my camera just wasn't feeling the gold on black color scheme. This is a full size product, with a value of $20. This was kind of a weird product; I couldn't find it on the blush.com website and on the official MOR site, it's temporary unavailable. It also looks like Ulta carries the brand, but when I clicked on it to find out some more info, it said it was no longer on the site. On the MOR website, it also looked like it was supposed to come in a box. It didn't come in a box, but it was still sealed, so maybe they removed it to make more room in the bag? Not sure, but as long as it was sealed, I'm not too worried. This lotion has shea butter, cocoa butter, glycerine, sesame oil, allantoin (I had no idea what this was so I looked it up on wikipedia: "Allantoin is present in botanical extracts of the comfrey plant and in urine from most mammals...It is frequently present in toothpaste, mouthwash, and other oral hygine products, in shampoos, lipsticks, anti-acne products, sun care products, and clarifying lotions, various cosmetic lotions and creams, and other cosmetic and pharmaceutical products." Neat.), and irish moss. It is free of parabens, mineral oil, and synthetic dyes. The scent is gardenia, juniper berry, and angelica with a base of ylangylang, vanilla, and sandalwood. It's a strong floral scent with a lot of the gardenia coming through (which, being called "Snow Gardenia", I would hope so). It's almost overpowering, but not quite, and I actually like it. It's a pretty run-of-the-mill hand cream, but the bottle is very striking and the fragrance is pretty unique.
Next is the Anastasia Beverly Hills Lash Genius Waterproof Topcoat (whew, that's a mouthful!). This is basically a clear topcoat for your mascara; it helps seal it, adds extra gloss, and it makes any mascara waterproof. I've had items from Anastasia Beverly Hills before, and they're best known for their brow products, though they have expanded into other cosmetics like eye shadow. I really like their clear brow gel, so I figure this will be equally as good. I used it on my normal lashes to see what it would do by itself, and it made them glossier and more obvious (which I was a combination of the gloss and that it made them stick out a little more since it has no color). I haven't tried it over a regular mascara yet to see how that would work, nor can I attest to it's waterproofing ability, but so far I like it. It's not quite a full size (full size is .19oz and is worth $21, this sample is .11oz) and is worth $12.16.
One thing I've noticed is that Blush likes to include products from Skylark in their boxes. Skylark is a make-up brand created by Youtubers Elle and Blair Fowler (website can be found at http://skylarkcosmetics.com/ ) which includes nail polishes, eye shadows, and now a fragrance. I'm not too sure how I feel about Skylark; I'm not very familiar with Elle and Blair since I've only recently gotten into make-up and Youtube (Julia Graf and Korin being the two beauty gurus I originally watched) and I've never tried any of their products before. I heard there were mixed reviews for their nail polish; some people thought the formula was a little streaky, but otherwise, I don't really have any info.

This is a special set of three different fragrances that Elle and Blair have come up with that are "inspired by specialized fragrance notes" and "evoke whimsical romance and modern femininity". What they want you to do is to try all three, pick which one you like the most, and then vote for it. Whichever gets the most votes gets made into a full sized perfume.
Unfortunately, my "II" (they're numbered I, II, and III) leaked but it luckily stayed inside the box. I think the rollerball is loose, I didn't mention it before but these are rollerballs, since it's fine while it's standing up and only leaks when it's on its side. "II" is my favorite out of the three, which makes it even more sad that it's leaky.

Fragrance-wise, I find these to suffer from "fancy perfume" syndrome; they smell like every other fancy perfume ever. There's nothing special about them and they smell generic. Not bad, just generic. I think it's because Elle and Blair tried to squeeze too many different scents in at once. I think they would have been much more interesting if they had focused on only one or two notes each. According to the little info booklet included in the box the scent notes are:

I: Sicilian lemon, black currant, Macintosh apple, jasmine, white flower accord, violet, cedarwood, sandalwood, patchouli, and musk accord

II: bergamot, lemon, cassis, honeysuckle, jasmine, lotus, musk, cashmere woods, and iris

III: marine accord, anise, jasmine, lily, freesia, sandalwood, amber musk, vanilla, tonka

It just feels like too much and it all muddles together into "fancy perfume" scent. I feel like, in fragrance, simplicity is always key. But then again, that may be just me. Like I said, these smell very nice, just generic.

As for their value, that I'm not too sure of. On blush.com, you can order this sampler pack for $59.99, but you also get a full-sized bottle of the winning fragrance and a chance to win a $250 blush.com gift set. I can't call this a $59.99 value since I don't get the full-size bottle. I'd assume it'd be around $10-$20 since they're pretty good sized rollerball samples and a regular rollerball usually sells for $15-$20.
Next up we have a sample of Eminence Organic Skin Care Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant. It sounds fancier than it is; it's a powdered facial exfoliant, not unlike LUSH's Herbalism or Angels on Bare Skin. You put a dime sized amount of powder in your palm, add water to make a paste, efoliate your face, and rinse off. This product promises to purify and brighten your complexion and has a blend of strawberries, lactic acid, and rice. It's sealed, so I wasn't able to see (sniff?) what it smells like, but I'm hoping you can really smell the strawberry. There's just something so soothing about strawberry scented cosmetics; I think it stems from how much I like strawberry flavored chapstick. A full size of this product is 4.2oz and sells for $48, making this sample worth $5.71.
This is one of the smaller samples; it reminds me of Birchbox/MyGlam deluxe sizes. It is Coola's SPF 30 Classic Face Sunscreen in Cucumber. This little guy is sealed (I really appreciate it when sunscreen products are sealed) and it even has the expiration date clearly printed on it (which I also appreciate; a lot of times these types of samples won't even have expiration dates, which makes it hard to know how old the product is, an important factor for sunscreens). It has organic strawberry extract (more strawberries!) and plankton extract. A full size is 1.7oz and sells for $32, making this worth $4.33. After my Sun Safety Kit and all the other sunscreens I've gotten in boxes this summer, I'm pretty sure I'll have enough to last me through the winter.
This is the third (and last) full sized product in this box; it's a Pixi Endless Silky Eye Pen in No. 5 Deep Plum. For some reason, my box was all smashed up. None of the other products (besides the Skylark perfume) were damaged, so I'm not sure if it happened during shipping or if it got smashed in the warehouse or something. The actual eye pencil is totally fine, however, so no worries. I'm really glad I got a purple eyeliner; I have plenty of black ones now (though I do still want to try a gel liner) and brown seems kind of boring. I want to try experimenting with color a little and have been interested in getting a purple liner and a blue liner (I'm surprised I haven't gotten a blue one yet since cobalt's been a trendy color). This liner is waterproof and has vitamin E for happy skin. It's a full sized product and is worth $15.
And for the final product in my bag (another smaller, deluxe sized sample), Colorscience Sunforgettable Face Primer with SPF 30. This is exactly what it says, a face primer with sunscreen. It does have a tint to it which looks pretty dark in the tube, but it sheers out pretty well. Not sure how well it would work with darker skin tones, though. Oddly, this tube wasn't sealed, which kind of sucks since it's a sunscreen. It does have an expiration date stamped on it for 08/14, so it can't be too old, which is good to know. This primer has essential oils, blue algae, and antioxidants (kind of...vague, huh?). Face primers don't really agree with my skin; they tend to cause me to breakout and make my skin very red and angry. I think it might have something to do with the silicone, but I'm pretty sure I'm not allergic/sensitive to it (I've had special effect make-up done with silicone based wounds and didn't react) so I don't know what's up. I did try this on the back of my hand (I accidentally used a lot and then I found out how much this stuff costs and kind of regretted it...) and it gives a nice, smooth finish. I think this brand, as well as Coola, has been included in Birchboxes/MyGlam bags, which would explain the smaller sample sizes (at least compared to other deluxe sized samples I've gotten in subscription boxes). The full size is 1fl oz and retails for $50, making this little guy worth a whopping $16.50!

And that's my August 2013 Blush Mystery Beauty Box! My box's total value MINUS the perfume was $95.70, so with the $10-$20 supposed value of the fragrance trio, my box was worth over $100 as promised. Overall, I am very pleased with this new subscription service. For just a few dollars more than I was paying for Glossybox, I get a gaurenteed value of at least $100 and I get the backing of dermstore.com, blush.com, and hairenvy.com. All the products in the box can be easily purchased from their sites (well, except for the hand lotion, but I feel like that one's kind of a fluke), which is really nice if you end up falling in love with a product. I also really liked that I got free samples with my order, as well as free shipping. It really bothers me when box companies say that their box is a certain price but then make you add on the shipping, too. Why not just include shipping in the price? If this box was $19.99, but then said I had to add $5 shipping, that would bother me. Saying it's $24.99 with free shipping makes me feel like I'm getting a deal ( I know, I'm fully aware of the ruse and still fall for it. Humans are bad at this kind of thing). I really feel like I am getting my money's worth with these products, and even if there's something I don't like/won't use, it doesn't feel like a total waste. I like the variety of products and companies offered, and I especially like that it included both companies that I know and am familiar with as well as companies that are new to me. If you're looking for a new subscription service, or aren't really feeling your current ones, I highly recommend looking into getting this box! You can purchase just one month and see if you like, or you can jump in headfirst like me and save $10 by subscribing.

Also, I got emu oil, so that's cool, too.

Thanks for reading! <3

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