Monday, December 14, 2015

Holiday 2015 Allure Beauty Thrills Box - Unboxing and First Impressions!

Hello! I hope you're having a great day! For this post, I want to share with you my Holiday 2015 Allure Beauty Thrills Box.
Such a mysterious white box...heavy, too. According to my tracking it was a little over 13 pounds. If you read my post about the last Allure Beauty Thrills box (or if you just know about the Allure Beauty Thrills boxes in general), you'll know how jam packed this box is with goodies! Everything in this box is full size and add up to a total value of over $400. These boxes come out three times a year (approximately every four months) and sell for $49.95 each. Shipping is $10 and, after tax, my total for this box was about $67. For over $400 worth of products, it was totally worth it! This is not a subscription box, though you can pre-order all three of them for the year; I believe it is a little more expensive to do it that way, but it also saves you the headache of trying to order them when they release (since these are high value boxes, they sell out incredibly fast and not everyone is able to get one).
One thing that's nice about these boxes is that they are not a mystery; you know exactly what you're going to get. Allure posts spoilers well before hand, so you have time to consider if the box is worth or not for you.
While I do love a good mystery, I don't like an expensive one. Since this is more of an investment, I'm glad you can see what's in it and not have to make a snap decision to get it or not. That's not to say that you don't have to move fast when the time comes to order, but you do get time to think before they become available. The only time you won't know what's in the box is if you pre-order them or if they change an item in the box. This has only happened once before (at least in the boxes I've ordered) in the August 2015 box, and the substitute was a more expensive product from the same brand, so I wasn't too bummed.
Inside the box, everything is packaged snugly and mostly safely. I did have a product arrive broken, but I'll talk more about it in a little bit.On the top was a layer of kraft paper, two pieces of tissue paper (this amuses me greatly; it's not doing anything besides adding a little flair), and the info booklet. This booklet isn't as informative as the mini mag in the Allure Beauty Box subscription boxes, but it does give you a little blurb about each product along with where you can purchase it.
First layer! This layer includes some of the more delicate items, though I'm surprised the nail polish nor the hair oil was up here. The two most expensive items, the face serums, are in this layer, along with the face primer from Touch In Sol.
I thought it would be fun to shake things up and go through the items based on the layer they're in, so let's start with the Algenist Power Advanced Wrinkle Fighter Serum!
This was one of the items I purchased this box for; I love Algenist products and this serum is worth over $100! After I purchased this box, I did a little more research on this serum, and I was a little worried. Based on the reviews at Sephora, people love this serum, but the dropper/applicator is so terrible that it makes this product incredibly frustrating to use. Some people speculated that the reason why Allure was able to include this serum in the Winter 2015 Beaut Thrills box was because Algenist wanted to get rid of their old stock of the bad applicators before they released a revised version.
My fears were assuaged, however, since there was a pump included in the box! I read that some people complained to Algenist about the faulty packaging and Algenist mailed them pumps to use instead, so I'm really happy that Algenist included it automatically. It's still likely that Algenist wanted to clear out their old stock to revise the packaging, but since they included a quick fix, I don't feel like I'm getting a faulty product.
The other big reason why I wanted to get this box was the Michael Todd Knu Anti-Aging Face Lift Serum. This serum retails for $85 at Ulta Beauty (it's $150 on the Michael Todd website), though I have seen it for as low as $30 on Groupon.
I was super excited about this serum since it does have a lot of good ingredients, but I read some reviews that imply it might not be as good for your skin as it says. What I found especially worrying is that it has lemon and orange extracts, which are photoreactive and can cause skin damage when exposed to the sun. I also read that, while this serum is beneficial at first, it can actually be harmful when used for a long duration. I will still use it, but I may just use it at night and then use the Algenist serum in the morning.
Unfortunately, my bottle arrived broken! It had cracks all the way around and when I first took it out of the box, even though it was heavily cracked, it was still intact.
However, when I went to show my husband...
It had broken completely in half! I got in contact with Allure customer service and explained to them what had happened, including these photos. They said they would investigate the matter and get back to me. This morning I got an e-mail back from them apologizing for the delay and that they had sent out a replacement bottle (they included a tracking number and said I should expect it in 5-7 days). They were very kind and professional, and I greatly appreciate them sending me new one.
The product I wanted to try the third most (see a pattern?) is the Feel Like Honey Moon skin base by Touch In Sol.
This is a Korean skin product similar to the YSL Touche Eclat primer that I sampled from Influenster; it's a moisturizer and primer in one and it has gold flakes to add radiance to dry, dull skin. I ended up really liking my YSL primer, so I'm hoping I will like this one as well.
The last product that I was super excited to try (I'm excited to try everything, but these first four are the ones I specifically bought this box for), are the Simple Micellar Make-Up Remover Wipes.
I love the Simple Micellar water and, while I do prefer the Korean make-up remover wipes I get from Forever21, the Simple wipes are my favorite wipes from the drugstore. This product combines both into one; while I do really like the Micellar water, I don't like all the cotton rounds I have to use, so I hope these will be just as effective but less wasteful. This is also a brand new product and, when I ordered this box at the end of November, I had not seen them in stores yet.
We're going to do a 180ยบ here and talk about the product I wanted the least from this box. This is the Suave Moroccan Infusion Styling Oil and nothing about this product really interests me.
I'm biased towards Suave products (no offense to anyone who likes them; my mom and dad use them all the time. I've just never liked anything I've used from them) and I can't even test this product out since I'm allergic to is. I don't mind, though, since this product is such a small portion of the value of my box and I can just give it to my mom.
Surprisingly, two of the only makeup products (depending on what you consider makeup; you could also count the primer, the nail polish, and the eye shadow brush, but they still only comprise a small part of the box) we got are from elf.
 Not that elf is bad by any means; I really like their brushes and some of the makeup products I've tried, especially for the price. I've actually used this lip exfoliator before and loved it, so I'm happy to get another. I like that it's in the shape of a lipstick so I don't have to worry about dipping my fingers in a pot to scoop some out.
I don't have much experience with elf lip products beyond the scrub, so I'm curious to try this moisturizing lipstick in Bordeaux Beauty. Everyone got the same color and it's like a sheer berry. It's not as vampy or opaque as I was hoping, but sheer lipsticks can be a lot more wearable. The packaging feels super cheap, but for $3, I'd rather have good lipstick and bad packaging than bad lipstick and good packaging.
The last product in this top layer is the Dove Advanced Care Anti-Perspirant. I was pretty surprised (and delighted!) by how much I loved the aerosol anti-perspiratant from Dove we got in the last box, so I am interested in trying more products by them.
I'm not a big fan of solid anti-perspirant anymore since I've had such a good experience with the aerosol (and mostly not very good experiences with all other kinds of anti-perspirants), so even though I want to try this, I'm leaning towards just giving it to my mom or even a shelter; I don't want to give used anti-perspirant to anyone so if I do try it and hate it, it's basically wasted.
Second layer! Again, everything was packaged well and anything that could leak had its cap and/or lid taped closed.
It's going to be a little trickier to keep things organized by layers since I did group some products together, but I'll do my best. We got another shampoo and conditioner set from Clear Scalp & Hair; this time it's the Total Care Nourishing duo.
These are fairly standard drugstore shampoo and conditioner; the shampoo has SLS and the conditioner is pretty heavy with silicone.
Both products do contain some good ingredients, like coconut oil and sweet almond oil, but it's not enough to outweigh the negative things. These are two more products that will either go to my mom or to a shelter (I'm actually like the idea of donating these products more the longer I think about it).
The other shampoo we got is the Naked Volume Shampoo by Herbal Essences.
I like that this shampoo is free of silicones and dyes, but it still has SLS and I know I'll hate the scent; I already dislike grapefruit and mint on their own, combined they sound absolutely awful. If this product had a different scent, I actually might have given it a try. Another product that will be given to my mom or donated.
We actually got this exact same product in the last Beauty Thrills box, but I don't mind getting it again because I really liked it. I liked it so much, in fact, that I bought a full size of it!
Even though this vial is pretty small, you get a lot of use out of it since a little goes a long way. They say you can get 20 uses out of a tube, but I've gotten a lot more; it probably helps that my hair is on the shorter side, but it's dry and curly so maybe things even out. Plus, it smells really good!
Now that I'm going through the items I got like this, I'm noticing that this is a very hair care heavy box. Next up is the Not Your Mothers Clean Freak Refreshing Dry Shampoo Unscented. I'm really happy this product is unscented since I don't like it when my hair is fragranced. It can get kind of annoying and overwhelming when my hair care products have strong scents that don't quickly dissipate.
I know a lot of people really like the Not Your Mothers brand and my experience with it is pretty limited, so I'm curious to see if I end up liking this dry shampoo (I have so many sample size bottles of dry shampoo laying around right now that I don't even know when I'll get around to trying this one!).
This product has been around for a while now, but it's still a fairly recent addition to the Redken line. This is a mid-size bottle of the One United Multi-Benefit Treatment.
It's basically a less expensive It's A 10, with fifteen more benefits apparently. I'll believe a product can deliver ten benefits, but twenty five seems like it's pushing it. They put all twenty five benefits on the bottle and yeah, some are kind of cheating: "7. Instant Results", "11. Safe for color-treated hair", "Safe for ombre hair (isn't that the same as color treated?)", "25. Lightweight results". I'm still happy to try it (I love It's A 10, but I would love a less expensive alternative even more), but I do think its claims are a little inflated.
I've seen this brand at Sally Beauty Supply before and have considered purchasing it, so I'm excited to be able to give a product from it a try! This is the One 'N Only Island Essentials Awapui Intensive Treatment.
I love that this mask is silicone free (I think all the products in this line) and I know my hair reacts favorably with Awapuhi extract. My only concern is that my hair doesn't seem to take to masks very well and it usually ends up feeling worse instead of better, but since this is silicone-free and has good ingredients I'm willing to give it a try.
A non-hair care product! This is a Sonia Kashuk Medium Eye Shadow Brush No. 28. A lot of people really like the Sonia Kashuk brand brushes, both because of their quality and because they go on clearance a lot at Target so you can get them for cheap.
This is a pretty standard eye shadow brush, but I do like the ergonomic design of the handle. I'll never turn down a good makeup brush, so this will definitely get some use.
I feel like I'm in the minority, but I'm not the biggest fan of the Yes To... products. I especially don't like the Yes To Cucumbers products since I hate the smell of cucumbers (and the wipes irritated my skin), but overall I haven't been impressed with the other lines.
I haven't tried anything from the Yes To Tomatoes line, so maybe this will the game changer! I do like that this is a medicated acne cleanser, and it uses jojoba beads for exfoliation instead of something harsh, but way at the bottom of the ingredients, it does have alcohol in it, which is kind of weird for a cleanser. It's like the second to last ingredient so there's hardly any, but it's still there.
I'm actually not 100% sure this product is on this level, but since I didn't see it anywhere else, I'm assuming it is. This is a bottle of Jessica Custom Nail Colour in the color Graceful.
Everyone got the same color and, while pale, milky pink isn't really my thing, I'm still happy we got a nail polish.
We got three nail polishes in the August box, so I was a little sad to see that there was only one polish this time. I've never heard of this brand of polish before, so I am curious to try it, but I don't know when I'll get around to using it since, again, I'm not a fan of the color.
The final product on this layer is another two-for-one! This is the Colgate Optic White Express White Toothpaste and Optic White Toothbrush with Built-In Whitening Pen.
I still have a sample of this toothpaste from Target that I still haven't gotten around to might be a while before I get around to using this. I never thought that I would have too much toothpaste because of subscription/sample/value boxes but apparently now I do.
It sounds very "grown up" and boring, but I'm actually excited to try this toothbrush. Specifically, the whitening pen part (let's be honest, how exciting can a regular toothbrush be?). My teeth aren't terrible, but I love coffee and Diet Coke so I'm doing my moderately pearly whites any favors.
The third and final layer! This layer had the heaviest products and provided a good foundation for the other products to rest on. I've already talked about a couple of these products, so this last part will go by pretty quick.
In this box we got two body washes. As I said before, I've been pretty impressed with Dove products, so I'm looking forward to give the Deep Moisture body wash a try.
This body wash claims to have mild cleansers and, since there's no SLS, I'm inclined to agree. It does have fragrance, which can irritate my skin, but it's in the last third of the ingredients list. You also get a ton of product in this bottle so this is going to last me a while.
I ended up give the Caress body wash I got in the August box to my mom since it was so heavily scented and I was afraid it would irritate my skin. I'm a little concerned about this body wash as well since fragrance is the sixth ingredient (SLS is also the second). I might hang on to it and see how long the Dove body wash lasts me, but I might also give it to my mom/to a shelter.
More hair care! Out of twenty four products, ten are hair care related, so that's a significant percentage. We got an Aloxxi product in the August 2015 box and we got another one in this box! This time we got the Volumizing Whip.
I used to use mousse all the time, but I stopped since I didn't need the volume and wanted to try other styling products. Recently, I've come back to mousses, and I'm questioning why I ever stopped using them. The texture works well into my hair, especially when it's not super damp (gels spread better the wetter your hair is) and I love the hold I get; it's defined, but it's not stiff.
The last product in this layer, and in the whole Holiday 2015 box, is the Rusk Working Spray hairspray.
I've only recently come to appreciate hairspray and have been quickly using up all the sample/travel sizes that I have laying around. I haven't settled on a favorite yet, but I want to keep trying different kinds. I don't have a lot of experience with Rusk, but their products seem interesting and fairly good quality.

And that's everything! I'm sorry this post was so long, but there were a lot of products in this box! In the Holiday 2015 Allure Beauty Thrills box we got twenty four full size makeup and beauty products (though mostly beauty); some of the products were high-end, such as the Algenist and Michael Todd serums, but most are drugstore. Allure claimed that the products in this box add up to an over $400 value, and, even though I didn't calculate it out, I believe it, especially with the two face serums.

Unfortunately, this box is no longer available to purchase, but there should be a new one out around spring. If you're interested in snagging one of these boxes, keep an eye out for spoilers and a release date (I get my info from the blog Nouveau Cheap).

Thanks for reading! <3

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