Saturday, October 12, 2013

September 2013 Blush Mystery Beauty Box - Opening and Review!

Hello! This post is going to be all about my September 2013 Blush Mystery Beauty Box (or Bag...it comes in a bag in a box so it could be either)! ...Yeah, I know it's October (and even the 8th already!) and that I actually just got my October 2013 Blush Mystery Beauty Box/Bag today but I just haven't been feeling eloquent enough to blog lately. I think it's the change in seasons; it's finally starting to feel like fall (and I even got my first cold...yay...).
But enough about that! Want to see what I got in my September Box? Then click below!
I want to start by apologizing about the quality of some of my photos for this mystery box. With the changes in daylight it's been a little tricky finding appropriate times where I can take pictures/film videos using the (sparse) natural light from our patio windows without having to resort to waiting for the weekends (when I'm home during the day when the sunlight is brighter and directly coming in). Hopefully things will improve a little when Daylight Savings happens, but with winter on its way, I have to accept the fact that, if I want to keep doing videos and making blog posts, I'll need to invest in some other form of lighting. I'm also not the best photographer (as you probably have noticed...) and sometimes my camera likes to put up a good fight.

As always, the Blush Mystery Beauty Box can be found at http://www.blush.com/ and is either $34.95 for a one-time box or $24.95 if you sign up for the monthly subscription. I personally think it's worth it to sign up for the subscription, even if you're a little unsure about getting the box because you can cancel at anytime (at least as far as I know...I know some boxes that, even if hey say "cancel at any time!" they make it as difficult a process as possible) and you're guaranteed at least $100 so it's worth it in monetary value. Shipping is free/included, though I did notice that they started charging me tax, which is kind of annoying. Because getting a mystery box counts as an order from blush.com (or dermstore.com or hairenvy.com, they're all basically the same site) you also get free samples with your mystery box, which is pretty neat! With this months box I got two samples:
This sample of LiftActiv Eyes by Vichy...
And this sample of Airbrush Eye Cream from Dremu. If you read/watched about my first box, you'll know I got a sample of another product by Dremu, their namesake Emu Oil (100% pure emu oil. From an emu). The LiftActiv is an eye cream that has vitamin E, caffeine, and Rhamnose to help restore firmness and elasticity and to encourage collagen production around the eye area. You can also use it on your lids. The Airbrush is also an eye cream that's formulated with emu oil (from an emu!), vitamin E, green tea, aloe, and panthenol. It's very thick and a little goes a long way. While these two products don't count towards the value of my mystery box, I priced them out for the fun of it; the LiftActiv is worth $4.55 (it's $45.50 for a full size of 0.5oz, this sample is 0.05oz) and the Airbrush is worth $9 ($68 for a full size of 0.75oz, this sample is 0.10oz). Not too shabby.

So in this months Mystery Beauty Box, we got seven different products. Like most subscription boxes (at least the good ones...) Blush includes an info card with all the products on it. Each month they have a featured product that they reveal early on and they talk all about it on the front of the info card.
Like so! This months featured product is the Pop Beauty Pouty Pop Crayon in Fuchsia Pink. To be honest, this was kind of a weird product to feature. It's not very high end and it's not very...special, I guess. This lip crayon doesn't have the best reviews, and it's in a pretty intense color, which might not be very wearable for some people. It came sealed, but it had a "GWP" sticker on it which, if you don't know, stands for "Gift With Purchase" in the world of retail. Ulta actually was giving away a Pop Crayon in a different color (Rose Romance) with any $25 Pop Beauty purchase when this box was being mailed out (I don't think they are now), so I think this color was maybe a left over or something from a different promotion. Another reason why I think this is a weird product to feature is that it's just not that "valuable"; these Pop Crayons are sold in a set of six for $25, which makes this little guy worth $4.20.

On the back of the card, they show all the other products, along with pictures of their full sizes.
One thing I wish Blush would include on their cards is the value and actual size of the full-sized products, like Glossybox did (even though they were wrong sometimes...), though it's not that hard to look things up since all of the products are on the blush.com website. I'll go in the order the items are on the card like always since it helps keeps things organized!

Which means I'll start with the Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Dry Shampoo!
Alterna is a brand that I've used before and have had good experiences with, so I was pretty excited to get this sample. This is also my first sample of dry shampoo, which unfortunately came a little too late since I had already bought a full sized bottle of Pssssst! dry shampoo from Ulta. What I like about this product the most is that it's not an aerosol, it's just a fine powder that you shake onto your roots. There's a lot of gross stuff in aerosols like butane and propane, and I don't like using them if I can avoid it. To be honest, though, I don't think this is a particularly special product; it's really just a straight up dry shampoo, though it is talc-free. This is also the least valuable sample in the box; a full size is 2.65oz and sells for $22, making this little .10oz bottle worth a mere $0.83!

Next is a full sized bottle of nail polish from the brand LVX. There were five different colors you could get and it looks like all five were part of the Fall/Winter 2012 collection. I got the color Midori, a bright lime green.
 This picture is surprisingly close to what the color looks like in real life. It's a very yellow green, almost a chartruse.
Here it is swatched on my nail wheel. I think it would be a little more toned done on a natural nail just due to the fact that your nail is pinky-brown, not white like the wheel. I'm a sucker for nail polish, so I was pretty happy to get this, but then again, I don't think this is a color I'll get much use out of. I'm also kind of surprised that this was from a Fall/Winter collection; was lime green in last year? I don't really remember since I wasn't as into nail polish then as I am now. This full size polish is worth $16.

Weirdly enough, this next product may be my favorite in this mystery box...
I know, I know, it's kind of...boring to like a foot cream, but this is actually a really nice foot cream! This is Amlactin's Triple Action Alpha-Hydroxy Therapy Foot Cream! This tube came sealed with a little foil sticker, which is always nice. It's an intensely hydrating lotion for dry, callused feet and it has a lactic acid based "Ultraplex" formula. It also has, as its name suggests, alpha-hydroxy acid to help with exfoliation. Because it does have AHA, you do need to be more careful about sun protection while using it since it can mess with your skin's natural sun barrier. One of my favorite parts about this foot cream is that it's unscented! I generally don't like the pepperminty smell that's always associated with foot products; they usually either smell way too sweet and artificial or they're waaaaay too minty and powerful. Even though it's unscented, it doesn't smell medicinal. I feel like it has a subtle, almost brown sugary kind of smell to it, which is pleasant. I use this cream daily now and my feet have never felt soft nor looked better! This is a full sized tube at 3oz and is worth $10.

And then we have my second favorite product from this box!
Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel! Sorry about the picture; I couldn't seem to get a non-blurry photo without having harsh glare from the flash. ...I also didn't want my reflection to show in the tube. I've used this product before and I'm super happy I got another tube of it! I first tried this product when I was trying to find something random to add to a Sephora.com order to get free shipping; there is a little $10 set where you get a travel sized brow gel and a little tweezers. I was a little leery of a brow gel, but this stuff is really amazing! It's clear, so it doesn't color your brows or anything, but it makes them look really well groomed and polished! It works just like a mascara; you use the spooly brush wand and just run the product through your brows in the direction of the hair growth. I will admit that it does make my brows feel a little crinkly and lacquered, but they look completely natural, which is what matters. They still move naturally and it doesn't look like you have any product on them; they just look polished! I'd recommend this product for anyone, really. Even if you don't wear a lot of make-up regularly, your eyebrows are a big feature of your face. If your brows look well groomed then you do too, and this product gets the job done quick and easy! This is a deluxe-size product; the full size is 0.28oz and sells for $22 making this 0.085oz size worth $6.68.

Now for the biggest item in this month's box (both in size and in value!), the Racinne Deluxe Skin Care Travel Set.
This set is quite big! I was really surprised they were able to fit it in the bag along with all the other products. This is a four piece set from Racinne's "Ultimate Youth Power" anti-aging line. Before this box, I hadn't heard of Racinne before. Here's a little blurb about them from their U.S. website:

"At it’s roots, Racinne, a Canadian Beauty Company, believes that the source of all beauty is life.  Racinne also views growth as being a vital aspect to beauty, and has strategically put itself at the forefront of biotechnology in the skin care industry by partnering with world leading Korean skin care laboratories in developing Racinne.

A revolutionary discovery of rare medicinal herbs derived only from the “roots” of mature, wild plants was discovered, and so it began.

Racinne skin care is the result of a unique collaboration of cutting edge biotechnology and botanical stem cell cultivation spanning 7 years in the making. The line introduces a superior system of  “Anti-aging’, “Hydrating” and “ Brightening” skin care systems for all ages."

I like that they partner with Korean skin care labs since Korea seems to be at the forefront of skin care tech (just look at BB creams!). Here's another blurb about their Ultimate Youth Power line:

"Our unique, powerful anti-aging, super antioxidant formula that uses precious "Korean Ginseng Callus Cultivation Extracts", active ingredients, together with the powerful anti-aging agent Adenosine, enhances cellular repair.

The Ultimate Youth Power formula also contains anti-aging agent Neuropeptide, SH-DP-9 TM. The formula effectively activates collagen and elastin production minimizing fine lines and enlarged pores. It also promotes cell density by facilitating nutrient absorption and stimulates blood circulation, increasing oxygen and accelerating cellular repair.

Clinical studies have proven to repair damaged skin cells, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, bring luminosity, and increase the skin’s regenerative activities."

Sounds interesting! This kit includes a 0.34oz Ultimate Youth Power Serum (full size is $61 for 1.02oz making this sample worth $20), a 0.34oz Ultimate Youth Power Cream (full size is $56 for 1.7oz, this size is worth $11), a 0.34oz (see a pattern yet?) Ultimate Youth Power Neck Emulsion (full size is 1oz for $44, this size is worth $15, and a 1.07oz Ultimate Youth Power Mask (full size is 2.4oz for $46, this size is worth $19). Overall, this kit is worth, based solely on product amounts versus their full-sized counterparts, $65. I couldn't find a kit like this for sale on either blush.com for the Racinne website, so I'm not sure what it would retail for, but I assume it'd be something like $40-$50 based on my past experiences with kits like these. I haven't been able to try any products in this kit yet since I have just...all of the skincare samples and full sized products to work my way through and if I switch things up too often my skin gets grumpy and breaks out. I'm definitely interested in giving it a shot, though, and I'll try and follow-up with you guys and let you know what I think.

Last but not least is this deluxe-sized sample of Brad Biophotonic Skin Care's Ultra Peel.
I'm always a little leery of facial peels; I get worried that they're going to be too harsh for my sensitive skin and that they'll do more harm than good. I'm pretty sure that peel technology has improved in the last few years so that they're gentler while still being effective, but I just can't shake the image of fiery red, irritated, raw skin...("Maximum Performance Exfoliating Gel" doesn't sound the gentlest...)

This peel contains kojic acid, licorice, and bearberry extract to help diminish hyper-pigmentation and age spots and glycolic acid to removed dead skin cells and soften fine lines and wrinkles. Since this is another skin care product, I haven't been able to try it out yet (...also it scares me), but when I do, I'll try and let you guys know what I thought. A full size of this product is 1.7oz for $175 (...) making this 0.25oz sample worth $23.75... I'm not sure how I feel when samples this small are worth so much money. On the one hand, I get to try out a very expensive product that I would not have been able to afford, on the other, this little tube eats up $23 worth of the value of my box. Hmm.

Overall, Blush's September 2013 Mystery Beauty Box contained two full sized products, five sample/deluxe/travel sized products (the Racinne kit counted as one sample, which was cool), and was worth a grand total of about $126! For only $24.95 a month, that's a great deal! I was very pleased with this box; it included products from brands I know and love as well as products from brands I had never heard of before, which is what I really love about these subscription boxes! I'm looking forward to my October box (...which I've already gotten and still need to film/blog about...) and I hope that Blush keeps putting together boxes like this one!

Thanks for reading! <3

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