Saturday, October 17, 2015

September 2015 Allure Beauty Box - Unboxing and Review!

Hello! I hope you're having a great day! For this post, I want to share with you guys the newest subscription box I have subscribed to:
The Allure Beauty Box! After seeing all the goodies that were in the September box, I decided to try this service out. It's a little more expensive at $15 a month instead of the $10 each for Birchbox and Ipsy, and it doesn't offer any reward programs (at least to my knowledge), but you seem to get bigger samples and/or full sizes of more expensive products. September seemed especially jam-packed:
See? All that for $15? And that includes shipping? Yes, please!
Unlike my other subscription box posts, I don't actually have a video for this one. I don't know why, but every time I tried to film one, I was very unhappy with how it turned out. I eventually gave up in frustration and decided this would be a blog-only box for this month. As I was saying before, this is a slightly more expensive subscription box than my normal ones (I have been subscribed to even more expensive boxes, namely Glossybox and the Mystery Beauty Bag) at $15. Based on this month and the October box (...which I have already gotten. I'm very behind...), the value of these boxes seem to be higher and included bigger samples/full sizes of more expensive products. There is no reward program, which is kind of disappointing since a lot of the value of my Birchbox (and some of my Ipsy) comes from their rewards, but again, you seem to get a lot of value in the actual products you receive.

One of the biggest selling points of this box, after knowing that I will get my money's worth in product, is the information booklet.
It's like a teeny little magazine and it includes a letter from the editor about why they picked the items they did (the "theme" if you will) along with very in-depth descriptions of the products including what they do, their key ingredients, how they look/feel/smell, how to use them, how much they cost (including how big a full size item is, with a few exceptions), and where you can purchase them. Out of all the boxes I've seen, this is the most informative I've seen. Admittedly, Allure kind of had to go this route since I don't think there's a place on their website to get this information like Birchbox (in the store) or Ipsy (in your Glam Room), but it's nice to have all the work already done for you (again, with a few minor exceptions where I had to find the size of a full size product; they always include the price of the full size, though).
Going in order of the products in the booklet, I'm going to start with the Kaplan MD Cellular Rejuvenating Concentrate. As you can see, you really do get a ton of information about the products included in this box. I've tried some samples of the Kaplan MD lip products before (the exfoliator and the balm) and really liked them, so I'm excited to give more products a try; especially since they are quite expensive and aren't something I would normally be willing to purchase and try blindly. This is a little bottle of serum that has hyaluronic acid, a combination of anti-aging plant stem cells called BioFusion 3-S (I really love how Allure tells you exactly what these proprietary compounds are made out of), Juvinity (a patented antioxidant), and Matrixyl Synth'6 (which is a peptide that stimulates collagen production). The full size of this product is $170 for 1oz (so...yeah, pricey), making this 0.10oz sample worth $17. Which is more than the price of the box!
Next up us the Soap & Glory Pillow Plump XXL lip gloss in the color Pinkwell. I love Soap & Glory and I know about the original Sexy Mother Pucker lip plumper, but I don't think I've ever seen it in a colored form before, at least in the States.
 Sephora used to carry Soap & Glory, but now it is currently being sold by Ulta. Soap & Glory is more of a drugstore brand, so I think it makes more sense for Ulta to carry it (I think it's also slightly less expensive now, but I'm not 100% sure). I still have yet to see the colored lip plumpers, though, and in the information booklet, it says that you can find this product at (which I hadn't heard of). Pinkwell is a very sheer petal pink and it's quite sticky. It also made my hand a little sore, so I'm worried about how this will feel on my lips (I seem to be kind of sensitive to plumping glosses; my Buxom ones really hurt my lips). This was one of the products that didn't list the weight of the full size, only the price, so I did have to look it up to calculate its value. The full size is $14 for 0.34oz, so this 0.13oz sample is worth about $5.35.
 While pretty much everything in this box made me want to get it, this was probably the biggest draw for me. This is the Original Tangle Teezer!
Basically, this is a super lightweight (like, almost to the point of feeling kind of cheap) handle-less hairbrush that can be used on wet or dry hair. It's supposed to be super gentle to prevent breakage and can be used on all hairtypes, including curly. To be honest, I prefer my Wet Brushes (I have the big one and the mini) over this guy; the Wet Brush is a lot softer both on my hair and scalp and it leaves my hair feeling brushed but not bushy. The Tangle Teezer, however, feels a lot more rough and kind of prickly on my scalp and after using it just once, my hair felt very rough and kind of frayed. I'm not sure if that's just because I have curly, chemically processed hair and that it would work great on other types of hair, but I don't feel like I can really recommend this brush, especially since the Wet Brush is about the same price and so much better. This is the full size (I suppose you can have sample sized brushes, but that would be kind of weird) and it is worth $15 (again, the entire price of the box).
I'm pretty familiar with the Alterna line of hair care products, but since they are pretty expensive, and I already have a ton of hair stuff laying around that I need to use up, I haven't been able to try anything from them recently. So! I was quite happy that the September 2015 Allure Beauty Box also included a sample of the Replenishing Moisture Milk from the Caviar line.
I was slightly less excited, though, when I found out that dimethicone was the second ingredient, after water. Dimethicone is not a bad product in and of itself, but it does not get along well with my hair (it makes it feel straw-like) and it feels kind of like a cheap filler, especially in a higher end hair care product. This product also includes glycerine (again, not the most special ingredient, but a good one), caviar extract, and "Seasilk", Alterna's damage-repairing marine botanical blend. It also smells kind of...weird. Allure describes it as a sweet lime scent, but to me to smells kind of like a floral lime. It's not offensive, but it's not a scent I'd associate with a haircare product. The full size is 5.1fl oz for $30, making the 0.85fl oz sample worth $5.
 Another product I was excited to see in this box (and one of the products that convinced me to subscribe), this is a sample of the Pixi by Petra Glow Tonic. This product is currently (or, at least, it just did) having a small bout of social media buzz since Target just started to carry a smaller size of it in store (before it was only available in the U.S. online and in one size for $29). This tonic is apparently very well loved by the people who use it and it has been compared to a cult-favorite french product (you can read more about on Caroline Hirons blog here). I did purchase the Target-sized version of this product as soon as I heard about it and how awesome it apparently was, but even though I already own it, I love it so much I'm happy to have a travel sized version! This is an alcohol-free toner (which is hard enough on it's own to find in the drugstore) with 5% glycolic acid (to exfoliate), aloe vera (to soothe), and witch hazel (an antiseptic). Allure says it smells like soap, but to me it smells like wild flowers. To the best of my memory, fragrance is one of the last, if not the last ingredient, so I think it's just there to help mask a scent than it is to add anything so it shouldn't be too irritating to those with sensitive skin. The full size (at least the one available at Target) is 3.4oz for $15, so this 0.5oz sample is worth about $2.20 (making it the least valuable, price-wise anways, sample in this box).
 Down to the last two products! There was a lot in this box, so I do apologize if this is getting kind of long. This next product is a sample of the Erno Laszlo Firmarine Bar Soap for your face.
This is a, well, bar soap for your face! It both cleanses and softens your skin with ingredients like Spirulina maxima (an algae extract packed with lots of good things for your skin), shea butter, and vitamins E and C. I kind of like these solid forms of beauty products (things like bar soap and solid shampoos and conditioners) since there's a lot less waste than with bottled products (think of all those plastic bottles you've thrown away; and that's just from one person!), they don't really spoil since there's little to no water for bacteria to grow in, and they travel really well since they won't spill and they don't count towards your liquid limit for carry-on luggage. Admittedly, this is a pretty pricey bar of soap, $45 for 5.3oz is not in everyone's budget, but again, that's why I love getting samples like this since I actually get to try it without having to worry about wasting my money! This sample is 0.6oz and is worth about $5.
 Finally, we have the Jane Iredale Sooth Affair Facial Primer and Brightener. I'm not a big fan of Jane Iredale products (her ads actually kind of scare me; she either has a super creepy smile or someone needs a little more training in Photoshop), but that might be because I haven't tried many of them.
This primer is unique in that it provides lightweight hydration while it primes your skin. It won a Best Of Beauty award from Allure because of it's skincare benefits and it's "jack of all trades" nature. I'm a little skeptical since the more a product promises to do, the less it does well. I'd rather use three products that do three different things well than one product that does three different things so-so. I'm definitely curious to see if this is going to live up to its award. The full size is 1.7oz for $48, so this 0.24oz sample is worth about $6.78.

Overall, for my $15, I got 1 full sized product and 6 sample sizes (!!) with an overall value of about $56.33. Since this is a slightly more expensive box, I do expect a higher value of products, and I do think the September 2015 Allure Beauty Box delivered! I'm going to see what October and November brings until I make a decision on whether or not this box is really worth it, but things are looking pretty good for it.

Thanks for reading! <3

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