Saturday, December 21, 2013

December 2013 Blush Mystery Beauty Box - Unboxing and First Impressions!

Hello! Hope you're all having a great last weekend before Christmas! I love this time of year, even if it can get pretty crazy out in the wild (and by the wild, I mean at the mall). Everything just seems so sparkly and bright and full of potential, and it can be very uplifting!

This post is, as the title subtly hints at, going to be about my December 2013 Blush Mystery Beauty Box. Blush started shipping these super early in the month, so I've had this for a while now and have been able to try out some of the products. This months box is soooo much better than last months. I was worried that Blush was slipping and going the way of Glossybox (which I do not regret at all cancelling; I've been watching unboxing videos on Youtube and don't think that it's worth the $21 a month when you could get something like this box for just a few dollars more), but they brought things back around!

Blush Mystery Beauty boxes are $24.95 a month if you subscribe, or you can get a one-time box for $34.95 (it's worth it to subscribe) and they have $100+ worth of products (this month they went back to saying it was a $100+ value, instead of a more concrete number like they did last month. I prefer the vague "$100+ value" over any actual number since, as long as it's over $100 I'm happy. If they promise a certain value and then don't meet it, like last month, that really irritates me).

I'm sure you're just itching to see what was in this months box that has me so pleased, so without further ado, let's get started!
Extra big box this month means it's even more exciting!
Like every order from blush.com, hairenvy.com, and/or dermstore.com, I got two free samples with my order. This time they were both foil packets.
I got a packet of elta MD nighttime face moisturizer and some Cotz Face natural sunscreen. Both are products I'm interested in trying, though I think the Cotz Face sample is older since it also came with a coupon code...but the code expired in June. The sample itself is still perfectly fine, and it even has an expiration date stamped on it, which is important to know for sunscreens.

Every month, Blush features a product in the mystery box (I think a few months back they actually "featured" three products, but it;'s usually just one). They release a short video that talks about the featured product and they reveal it on the website. It's not always the biggest or most valuable item in the box, either. This month it was the Lisa Hoffman Beauty Body Wash.
There were two different fragrances you could get, Madagascar Orchid or Japanese Agarwood. And now that I'm looking at my body wash again, it also seems like they are two different products. I got the Japanese Agarwood scent and it says it's a body wash, while the picture of the Madagascar Orchid says it's a moisturizing body cleanse. Hmm. That would also explain the price difference since the Japanese Agarwood is $28, while the Madagascar Orchid is $30. I wanted the Orchid scented one because I had no idea what Japanese Agarwood would smell like, but now that I have it I'm glad I got this one. It has a very fresh and clean scent, which I find appropriate for body washes; I don't know how floraly the Orchid one is, but I'm not sure if that's something I'd want to smell like all day. The Japanese Agarwood has notes of Japanese agarwood (obviously), amber, and bergamot spiced ginger. It has coconut derived cleansers to remove impurities and botanical extracts to soften and condition skin. This is the full sized product and is worth $28.
Here's the rest of the info card (the back of it, anyways), which shows the other eight (!) products int his months box. I'm going to try and go through them in the order of the card. Which means the next product is...
this NYX Love in Paris eyeshadow palette! I got the set called "Je Ne Sais Quoi" (it's funny because the back info is in French and English and they actually wrote "Je Ne Sais Quoi" twice as if it wasn't already French); there were 5 different palettes you could have received. "Je Ne Sais Quoi" is a collection of shimmer and matte brown, cream, silver, and plum and while it is quite pretty, I might have liked another palette a little more (specifically, "Madeleines and Macaroons"). All the shadows seem to be pretty good quality; I was surprised by how pigmented the black was. I've never used any NYX eyeshadows before, so I don't know if this palette is a good representative of their quality. This is a full sized palette and is worth $10.

This next product is why the box was so big this month!
This is a Sultra Hair Palette Clip-In Color Hair Extension in the color Lapis Blue. There were four other colors you could have gotten, but I'm not sure what they were. I couldn't actually find this product on hairenvy.com, so I don't know if this was some extra stock they had laying around, but I did find them on the official Sultra website. This clip-in is 100% human hair and is heat stylable (is that how you spell that? It looks wrong to me...). Unfortunately, I don't have clip-in hair extensions, but my sister does, so I'm going to give this to her to use. Honestly, I don't even mind that this is a product that I can't use because it's only one of nine products and it didn't eat up too much of the value of my box. This is a full sized product and is worth $9 (according to the Sultra website).

Continuing along, the next product I got was the Neova Make Up Remover Face and Eyes (weird name but that's what it says on the card).
 This, as the name suggests, is a make up remover. I really like removers that I can use on both my face and eyes as I feel like it saves me a bit of time and hassle. This remover claims to be able to remove all make up, even waterproof mascara, while still being gentle on your skin (it has aloe in it). It also says it is safe to use for contact lens wearers and people with sensitive skin, like me. There's no added fragrance, which is good (and in line with the "safe for people with sensitive skin"), so it has a very soft clean sort of smell. I haven't tried this out yet so I can't say how well it performs. If it can remove waterproof mascara, that'd be pretty awesome (one thing that stops me from wearing make up on a daily basis is having to clean it off and being unable to get everything off sometimes). A full size bottle is 5.7 fl oz and sells for $18, making this 2 fl oz sample worth $6.30.

Next up is the Stone Crop Body Lotion by Eminence.
This is the second sample I've received from this brand in a Blush Mystery Box; the first being their Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant. This product came sealed and I haven't opened it yet (I have a lot of body lotions to go through and I didn't want to open it until I was absolutely ready to use it) so I can't say too much about it, other than I'm interested in trying it (which is lame, I know). This is a "gentle, lightening body lotion for sun-damaged and sensitive skin [...] Eminence Stone Crop Body Lotion nourishes and promotes clear, radiant skin. Key ingredient, stone crop, replenishes moisture as it combats hyperpigmentation and the formation of age spots, evening tone and smoothing texture. Refreshing lemon oil revitalizes as lavender oil calms and soothes for a long-lasting, comfortable feel," as quoted direct from the product info page on Blush.com. I would really like to try this product on my hands, as they seem to be the most sun damaged and oddly pigmented parts of my body (also I am slightly self-conscious of them). A full size of this product is 8.4oz and retails for $32; this 0.5oz sample is worth $1.90 and is the "least valuable" item in this months bag.

Over halfway through now! Next up is the Nailtiques Avocado Foot Creme.
Blush really likes to give out foot creams; this is the third or fourth one I've gotten. I'm still really digging the first foot cream I got, my AmLactin one, but this one is nice as just a basic, well, foot cream (the other one or two I didn't like because I really don't like peppermint scented foot products). It has avocado oil and it's a light green color. That's about it, really. I've used this a few times now and I like it; it leaves my feet feeling soft and it doesn't have a smell (it has a neutral, unscented cold cream smell). This is a full size jar and is worth $15.

Next is another product from a brand I've tried before thanks to Blush.com (they gave me a sample of NeoStrata's collagen serum); this is the NeoStrata Skin Active Exfoliating Wash.
This is a foaming face wash that's supposed to be anti-aging. It exfoliates with polyhydroxy acids, has maltobionic acid to hydrate, and a botanical complex to calm and refresh. I've used this a few times now; the bottle says to use twice a day, but I find it kind of drying so I only use it every now and then (when I want my face to be "extra clean", I guess). It doesn't have a scent (and there's no fragrance listed in the ingredients from what I can see, so yay) and besides being a little drying for my skin (I have acne, but dry skin...I don't even think it's combination skin since it's dry all over. But then sometimes it does get oily...I don't even know), I like this cleanser. I much prefer chemical exfoliants over physical ones, at least for face washes. A full 4.2 fl oz size sells for $35, so this 2 fl oz sample size is worth $16.60.

Almost to the end! Next is a deluxe sample of Ren Hydra-Calm Global Protection Day Cream.
I've used this product before (and a few others from this brand) and I really, really liked it! It made my skin feel soft and smooth, but not oily or greasy like some face creams. I even considered buying this full size of this product, but at $55 for 1.7 fl oz, it's a little out of my budget (though you should really spend most of your money on your skincare products and not necessarily your make up products; no matter the quantity or quality, if you don't have a nice base to start with, your make up won't look as good as it could). Also, this is apparently called "EverCalm" now, instead of "Hydra-Calm", so maybe Blush included it in this months box to clear out old stock...no matter, since this really is a great product! This 0.5 fl oz sample is worth $16.17, and I'm very happy to have it!

And last but not least, this sample of Murad Active Radiance Serum!
This serum is supposed to improve brightness, clarity, and radiance using vitamin C! ...a lot of vitamin C. I'm already a big fan of Murad products, so I'm excited to give this one a try. I'm trying to work through some samples of other serums, but I might set them aside to try this one (I don't think they're doing much for my skin, anyways). A full size of this product is $89 for 1 fl oz (so...not sure if I'll be buying the full size, even if I do end up liking it) so this 0.17 fl oz sample is worth $15.13.

And that's my December 2013 Blush Mystery Beauty Box! I got nine products this month; four were full sized and five were deluxe sample sizes with a total value of $118.10. And no foil packets whatsoever (well, except for the two free samples but they don't count). That's one of the things I really like about this subscription box and why I don't think I could ever subscribe to Birchbox, even if it is less than half the price; there are never any foil packets in these boxes. I also really like how Blush.com includes a mixture of well-known and well-loved products/brands (like NYX and Murand) with lesser known products/brand (like Lisa Hoffman and Neova. Which could be well-known, well-loved brands, but I've never heard of them before). This is still my favorite subscription box and, especially since this box was such a HUGE improvement over last months, I'm excited to see what's going to be in the January box!

Thanks for reading! <3

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