Tuesday, November 19, 2013

November 2013 Blush Mystery Beauty Box - Unboxing and Review!

Hello! You may notice that I have a new header on my blog! I really want to make my blog more aesthetically pleasing but sadly haven't had the time to work on some new graphics. The new header is actually from my etsy shop (which explains the more crafty spin on it) so it's not a 100% match, but it will do for now (plus it looks way better than just having a title up there). If I get some time off for the holidays (I get Christmas Day off for sure, but we have an incentive right now where we can earn the 24th and 23rd off, too, which would be awesome) I'll make one just for this blog!

And now onto the meat and potatoes of this post, my November 2013 Blush Mystery Beauty Box. I was really excited for this month's box; Blush hyped it up, saying it would have $250 worth of products, the most they've ever had. Overall, I've been pleased with my monthly mystery boxes from Blush, so at $250 sounded like it could be amazing. Unfortunately, it fell a little flat and it seems like a lot of people are pretty upset about it (if you go by the reviews of the box on blush.com). November's box was a mixed bag for me.
There are some products I'm excited to try, and there are others that I'm really disappointed with.
I never know if I should go over the basics or not, but I'll do a quick refresher. The Blush Mystery Beauty Box is a monthly subscription offered by blush.com (which is part of a trio that includes dermstore.com and hairenvy.com). It's $24.95 a month, shipping included, and you're guaranteed to get at least $100 worth of products. You can also purchase a single box (no subscription required) for $34.95, but I personally think it's worth it to be subscribed.

Since your subscription box shipment technically counts as an order from blush.com/dermstore.com/harienvy.com you get two free samples.
I've gotten both foil packets and actually, teeny sized bottles/tubes of products, so it's a good mix. This time I got a sample of NHEB-05's Angel's Magic lotion and NeoStrata Skincare Firming Collagen Booster. NHEB-05 (which stands for Natural Herb Extract Blend; the 05 is for the five herbs in said blend) is a Korean brand and it makes baby skin care products!
The Collagen Booster came in a little tube with a pump, which is really nice, especially for a free sample. It has amino acid peptides, lavender, Clary sage oil, and glycerine.

Every month Blush.com features a product in their mystery box, and this month it was the Cargo High Pigment Pencil in Brown.
Blush also makes a video about their featured product for the month showing how to best use it. They showed off the versatility of this product by using it as a liner in a natural "no makeup" makeup look and creating a brown smokey eye.
This pencil is made of 70% pigment (so...very highly pigmented) in an oil-based gel formula to help it glide on and not tug. It also has a very subtle sparkle to it which help adds some "pop!" without going too overboard. This is the full size and it's worth $16.

This is the back of the info card, showing the other six products included in this month's both. Blush seems to put 7-8 samples in their mystery boxes, which is quite a lot compared to other sample boxes (which normally have 4-5 samples). I'll go through the other products in the order of the card for organization sake.

Which means I'll start with the Pur-Lisse Pur-Protect SPF 30 Essential Daily Moisturizer.
When I first saw this product, I was a little disappointed. It seemed pretty small for an SPF moisturizer (you have to use a lot of an SPF product in order for it to actually work and protect you), but it I found out that you can use this as a facial moisturizer, so it's actually a good size. It's a chemical-based SPF so you do need to apply it at least 30 minutes before sun exposure. It came sealed and stamped with an expiration date, which I really appreciate, especially with a sunscreen. It has a special "Lotus Lupine 5" complex which includes blue lotus, white tea, soy proteins, sea silk, and lupine peptides to hydrate and soothe skin. This is a full size product at 1.7oz and is worth $55.

Next is this very small Anastasia Beverly Hills Mini Hydrafull Gloss in the color Sorbet.
I'm actually surprised by how small this sample is, especially considering that this isn't too expensive of a product to begin with (the full size is $18, but it was on sale at Sephora for $10). I've also gotten a sample of this product before, in the exact same color even, in one of those Sephora Beauty Insider sampler gift sets. Moving beyond the sample size, I like this lip gloss. It has a lot of less than stellar reviews, but that's because it has kind of a weird applicator. Instead of a regular doe's foot, it's a rubber paddle. It's supposed to allow for better control over the product and there is a bit of a learning curve to it, but once you get it, it's a pretty nifty way to put on gloss. This lip gloss also has jojoba oil and shea butter for hydration, so yay! This sample is worth $7.71.

The forth product in this months box is a travel size of Nick Chavez Horsetail Root Lifting Spray.
This is basically just a hair volumnizing spray. I've never used anything by Nick Chavez, but I have heard of the brand before so I'm interested in giving this a try. The first ingredient is alcohol, and it smells really alcohol-y, which is kind of worrisome (alcohol is very drying for your everything), but I definitely need help with volume at my roots, so hopefully this works well with my hair. This is a travel size, which you can buy on hairenvy.com for $9 (the full size is 8oz and is $22).

The most controversial item in November's box is the next product on our list; the SmartLash Eyelash Enhancer.
This was this month's big ticket item, valued at $125 (which is more than some of the past boxes are worth in total). I was at first pretty disappointed that Blush.com would include two eyelash enhancers in a row and, after reading the reviews for the November box, I was even more disappointed that Blush.com artificially inflated the value of this product to artificially inflate the value of this month's box.

As a product, this is not bad at all. It's another "harsh side-effect free" lash enhancer (Latisse, the prescription lash enhancer, can turn your skin and eyes brown!), but this one works a lot faster. It says you can see results in as little as 7 days with twice daily application. You can also use it on your brows. On Blush.com, this product has 3730 reviews and they're all pretty much 4's and 5's. With a twice daily application, this fill size tube will last 30 days. What's bad is that this apparently used to sell for something like $30-$50, not the $125 that Blush.com upped it to when it was included in this box. Not cool. I really don't like it when subscription boxes inflate product values to make it sound like you're getting a better deal than you really are (Glossybox sometimes listed incorrect prices on their info cards) or misrepresent the value you're getting (Julep's done this to me a few times, sending me a box worth less than what I was promised). I feel like Blush.com did both by increasing this price of this product to $125 just because it was in the November box.

This next product is from a brand that I've been very interested in trying, Paula's Choice. This is the Ultra-Light Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum from the Resist line.
I first (and, really, only) heard about Paula's Choice from the beauty blogger on Youtube called Allura Beauty. She really likes the brand because they don't include notoriously irritating ingredients like fragrance (she really hates it when facial products with added fragrances, which makes sense since they're not good for your skin and are basically pointless to include). This is a pretty good sample size for a serum since you only need to use 2-3 drops of it at a time. It's anti-aging and is good for normal-oily skin (I think it also says you can use it with combination skin on the website). It has Hyaluronic acid and a bunch of antioxidants like Vitamins C and E (there's also Resveratrol in it, according to the ingredients). The box recommends that, if you use it during the day, that you wear a product with an SPF 15 or greater, to protect against UV damage. One of the shining stars of this box for me for sure! The full size of this product is 1fl oz for $30, making this .017fl oz sized sample worth $5.10.

And now for the final, and possibly most disappointing, item in the November box. This is an Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Color Maximum Volume Mascara in Black.
Sorry for the awful photo. My camera hates shiny things and I just could not get a picture that was in focus without using the flash; it was either blurry or harsh lighting and I chose harsh lighting. I've never tried anything from Elizabeth Arden before; I kind of associate it with "old people" so it's really a brand I've ever been interested in. I have heard they make some pretty nice products (especially their skin care), but I really can't shake that Elizabeth Arden = old people makeup. Not even sure why I have such a strong feeling about it; I do think my grandmother uses Elizabeth Arden and I know I don't like a lot of the fragrances from the brand so that might be it. But the brand is not why this product is so disappointing! What's disappointing is that I don't feel comfortable using it because this it how it came to me; completely unsealed.

Now, a lot of prestige brand cosmetics aren't technically sealed, at least not in the way that drugstore brand products are. Which makes sense; a lot of the time, prestige cosmetics are behind counters and you have the sales associates get them for you, so there's not really any way for people to mess with them. In the drugstore, they're all just hanging/sitting on the shelf and anyone could easily try a product out and put it back (I hear this actually does happen a lot with nail polishes, which are sold unsealed in drugstores). Even though the prestige products aren't sealed with plastic, they DO generally come in boxes and other forms of packaging. This mascara came with neither (in the store, it does come in a box). I was a little worried about it, like maybe mine was a mix-up, so I e-mailed Blush.com customer service. They e-mailed me back and said that yes, if I were to buy it, it would come in a box, but since this isn't a "full size", the product in the November boxes didn't. This is actually a full size, but it has a special "gift, not for sale" sticker on it,
so I suppose it technically counts as a sample and not full size. Still, I don't know who thought it would be acceptable to send a mascara with absolutely no packaging. Mascara is one of those sensitive products where it's difficult/impossible to tell if it's been tampered with without a seal and that, once opened, starts going bad pretty quickly. I have no idea what's been done with this mascara (I mean, probably nothing, and even if it had a box it's not like it would be hard to open and then close without me knowing, but it's the mental thing) nor do I know what's left of it's shelf life. Which is really sad because this is something I would have loved to try; like I said, I've never tried anything from Elizabeth Arden and maybe this mascara would have turned me onto the brand. Plus, I've been looking into volumnizing mascaras; I have very long lashes (it's kind of annoying, actually) but very thin so I need a lot of volume for them to look lush. I'm not sure what I'll do with this mascara. I might give it to my mom, but with the full disclosure that it came to me unsealed so that I can't vouch for it's safety or remaining shelf life.

And that's my November 2013 Blush Mystery Beauty Box! I got 7 products in this month's box; 4 full size, 1 travel size, and 2 deluxe sizes, not to mention the two little samples I got just for ordering. To be honest, this is probably the most disappointing box I've gotten to date (I think this is my forth one, now). Last month's box was pretty disappointing, too, so I hope that December's box really steps things up. I know a lot of people were unhappy with the November box, and they let Blush.com know, so hopefully they listen to us and make December's box special! After adding up the product values (and counting the SmartLash as $125), this box only came in around $237.31, which is not the $250 value we were promised. Obviously, even with the SmartLash being valued at $30, I still got my money's worth since I only paid $24.95 for this box, but I really, really hate it when box values are misrepresented. If Blush.com told me my box would be worth over $200, I'd be pleased as punch, but because they promised $250, I feel cheated. Once again, it's one of those mental things.

Thanks for reading! <3

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