Sunday, May 1, 2016

April 2016 Allure Beauty Box - Up Close and Personal - Unboxing & Review!

So many April subscription boxes to get through, so little time... Let's talk about the April 2016 Allure Beauty Box!
I've had some ups and downs with this box, but lately it's been all ups (and it seems like it will continue to be, especially if you've seen the spoilers for the May box)! While there are some products I'm not a big fan of, and there is an overall feel of 'discount beauty' to this box (this is hard to explain; a lot of these brands are mid-range, but they always seem kind of neglected in stores, both inventory and display-wise, like the line has been discontinued or something), overall this was a good, middle-of-the-road box.
Quick Run-Down (I can never remember how I punctuate and capitalize this phrase, so I apologize for the inconsistency): $15 a month ($16ish plus tax) makeup/beauty sample box curated by Allure magazine; five or more deluxe/travel/full sized products a month, wide range of products and brands, mostly mid/-high end but with drugstore products mixed in; no rewards program, but random extra samples occasionally mailed to you (this has happened twice now; once was three deluxe samples, once was a full box).
This box also includes one of the most informative information books that I've seen in these type of sample boxes. It has information about every product (except bonus/sponsored products) including how to use, why they picked it, where to buy, and how much/how big the full size is.
The info booklet also includes a Letter From The Editor, which explains the theme of the month; for April it's 'Up Close and Personal'. The products don't really adhere it any type of theme, and the themes are usually so vague anyways that it doesn't really matter. This is more flavor text than anything.
On to the products! Going in the order of the booklet, first up is the L'Occitane Almond Shower Oil. I've had samples of this product in the past (mostly from Sephora) and I've really liked it, so I was happy to get some more. I was surprised, though, by how big this sample was!
When I saw the spoilers, I was expecting to get the same size I've gotten in the past, but this sample is a hefty 2.5fl oz. It has a wonderful, soft almond scent and, as the name suggests, this is an oil you use in the shower for cleansing, though most people use it as a shave oil (which it performs beautifully as). The full size is $25 for 8.4fl oz, making this 2.5fl oz sample worth about $7.44.
Sorry about this weird photo; this bottle has a silver metallic cap and bottom and I had a really hard time photograph it without showing off my entire living room (and myself...). This is the DDF Wrinkle Resist Plus Pore Minimizing Moisturizing Serum.
I have heard of the brand DDF before, and I've seen it at Ulta and on DermStore.com, but I've never used anything from it. This is one of the brands that contribute to the 'discount beauty' feel; every time I see it at Ulta, it just looks sad and neglected. This product is like a primer serum; it provides the benefits of s serum (and you apply it as such), but it's also supposed to fill pores and smooth lines (it has silicone in it). A very intriguing product since a lot of pore-filling/shine-diminishing products are not very hydrating. The full size is 1.7fl oz for $85, so this 0.5fl oz sample is worth about $25. Which...is kind of shocking!
Fekkai  is another one of those brands that feels neglected and kind of sad; my Ulta used to carry it, but they discontinued it a bit ago. I believe you can find this product at Target, but I think this is one of those salon brands that you can find at regular stores, but they're not authorized retailers so the quality isn't guaranteed. In this box, we got a travel sized sample of the Fekkai Brillint Glossy Styling Creme.
This is a frizz-fighting, shine-enhancing cream, which are two things my hair actually needs! I have naturally curly hair, so not only do I suffer from frizz, but I also suffer from dullness (especially after bleaching my hair to platinum blonde). I normally don't like Fekkai products, but this is one I'm interested in trying out. The full size is $20 for 4oz, so this 2oz size is worth $10.
Another brand that feels a little "discount beauty" to me is Mally. There's nothing wrong with Mally as a brand, I've actually liked some of the products I've tried, but I've never actually bought any products; everything I own I got from a sample box. And most of them have been full size products, too! I know Mally has been trying to build up a customer base, and offering products in sample boxes is a great way to do so, but if you do it too much, people are going to start to wonder why you're so willing to give away products for cheap/free. I will say, though, this is the first time I've ever gotten this product, the Evercolor Shaping Pencil, so at least it's a unique sample.
This is a standard automatic lip liner pencil, and you could have gotten one of eight different shades. I ended up getting the shade Warm Red.
I don't think this is a 'self-sharpening' liner (where the cap forms a fresh tip each time), but it's thin enough for precise lining.
I try to avoid a lot of warm reds since they can lean a little orange which looks weird on me (unless the color is actually orange, then it seems to look fine, which is weird...), but this red is warm without being orange, which is impressive! I think I will get some good use out of this liner, so I'm very happy with it (and the color I received). This is a full size liner, but according to my info book, these are sold in sets of three for $26, making this individual one worth about $13.
I'm going to be honest, I'm really over these Bulgari perfume samples. I do like that they're the little bottles instead of the cheap vial samples, but I don't like how any of these smell and they just feel like a waste of a sample to me. I don't like a lot of 'traditional' perfumes, and these Bulgari perfumes are about as traditional as they come.
There is also an advertisement for this product on the back of the info book, so I get the feeling this is a sponsored sample.
It's a floral-oriental scent (this is actually a very accurate description), with notes of orange blossom, ylang-ylang, jasmine, and patchouli, which all sound really nice, but I guess I don't like them in this specific combination. It smells more mature than something I would wear, so I'm going to pass this one on to someone else. The full size is $155 for 3fl oz, so this little 0.17fl oz sample is worth about $8.80 (which is also kind of shocking...).
I also got an additional, bonus sample that wasn't listed in the info book; a L'Oreal Voluminous Original mascara in 305 Black. Allure seems to be including random drugstore products as extras, which is nice, though I tend to just pass them on to other people (not because I think they're bad, but I just have so much makeup that I prefer to use that I would rather give them to other people to use, especially since they're brand new, instead of just hoarding them). According to Ulta, this mascara is worth $8, which is a nice little bonus to the value of this box.

Overall, I got two full size products and four deluxe/travel sized samples with a total value of about $72.24, which is kind of unexpected; I wouldn't look at this box and think that it was worth over $70, but, if my math is correct, it is! Some hits, some misses, but the misses are more for personal reasons than any actual flaw in the box or the included products. I'm excited to try out most of these products and to see what the next Allure Beauty Box will bring!

Thanks for reading! <3

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