Saturday, November 5, 2016

October 2016 Allure Beauty Box - Season's Best - Unboxing & Review!

I don't know if it's always been this way, but I just discovered that Allure lists the credits for the front and back cover photos of the Beauty Box mini mag next to the spine on the page with the Letter From The Editor. I think it's a photographer credit (there are two models on the cover, but only one name credited), but still--no more mysterious photos!
The October 2016 Allure Beauty Box shipped a bit late this month due to a special limited edition item. Allure sent out an e-mail letting everyone know that the boxes would ship late; I did start to worry when it got to October 17th and I still hadn't gotten a shipping notification, but my box arrived safe and sound two days later. On a side note, the Allure Beauty Box is probably one of the least consistent boxes when it comes to ship/arrival dates; when I first subscribed, it came almost on the 1st of the month, but now it can be anywhere from the first few days to within the first two weeks.
The Allure Beauty Box is a $15 a month (plus any applicable taxes; I end up paying around $16) beauty/makeup subscription service curated by the people behind the Allure magazine. This is one of the more variable subscription boxes, both in terms of value and types of products, though the longer I'm subscribed, the more I'm starting to see a handful of the same brands getting sampled (lots of Mally and lots of Bulgari, for example).
One big positive for this box is its very informative 'mini mag'. This booklet is formatted just like when Allure does product reviews in the magazine, and you get a lot of information. I will say, though, it has gotten slightly less informative since Allure started leaving out the size of the full size products and just have the price (similar to Birchbox).
You get a fancy picture on the front and back, though sometimes there will be an advertisement on the back cover (which is a good indication if a sample is a sponsored product or not).
You also get a Letter From The Editor, which explains the theme for the month, along with why they picked the products they did. It's a little hit or miss; sometimes it makes sense, other
This is every box now, right? I don't have to worry about getting a sample of the Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair mask ever again....right? This probably isn't a bad product--in fact, I've heard some people say they really like it--but it has argan oil in it so I can't use it and I've gotten it in every. Single. Box. I think I've even gotten a full size of it in a subscription once. The full size is 8 oz for $36, making this 1 oz sample worth $4.50.
Next is the Spongelle Freesia Pear Body Wash Infused Buffer, the limited edition item that made this box a little late. When this product was first spoiled, I thought it was exclusive to the Allure Beauty Box, but it's actually just created in collaboration with Allure; you can purchase it online from Spongelle, but it does say it's limited edition, so I don't know how long it's going to be around.
As the name says, this is a special sponge that's infused with body wash! It lasts for multiple uses and it helps cleanse, exfoliate, and hydrate your skin in one step. I've tried a foot-version of this before and really liked it (a Spongable from Ulta, which I assume is kind of like the budget-brand version of Spongelle), so I'm very interested in giving this body-wash version a try. Normally I don't like pear scents, but it's not very strong and the freesia (I scent I do like; so much so that I had it in my wedding bouquet) and yuzu, edelweiss, and vetiver extracts overpower it enough that it doesn't bother me. This is a full size product and it retails for $15.
Out of all the brands sampled in this box, this was the only one that I had never heard of before: this is a Doucce Freematic Eyeshadow in the color Kristi.
Allure describes this shadow as a 'brown with a tinge of shimmer', but it's really just a warm bronze (they even call it bronze in the latter part of the info section so...not sure why they just didn't describe it as bronze in the first place). This shadow applies smoothly and has good pigmentation, but I already have a ton of similar shades that work just as well, so it's not really adding anything new to my collection.
Allure lists a value for this as a single shadow, but based on the website, Doucce either sells these shadows in pre-made quads (which are $35) or as a part of their Freematic system, where you can create your own quad (which is also $35). I kind of wish they sold these as singles, since they're really convenient if you do like to make your own palette; the pans are encased in plastic which makes them feel sturdier and easier to manipulate but there's not a lot of excess so you're not wasting space, the shadows are rectangular so they fit together snugly, and they're already magnetic so you don't have to worry about buying extra bits to help them stick in your palette. Based on the $35 for a quad price, this single is worth about $8.75.
Tatcha is a brand that I'm interested in trying more from, so I was quite happy to see that we would be getting a product from them this month. This was also a variant product; you could have gotten the Indigo Soothing Silk Hand Cream, or you could have gotten a sample of the Indigo Body Butter. I feel like I'd get more use out of a hand cream right now (I have a lot of body butters laying around), so I'm glad I ended up with it!
Tatcha is a made in Japan brand and this product gets its name and blue hue from the inclusion of Japanese Indigo, a botanical ingredient that helps soothe irritation and encourage skin's natural healing abilities. I was kind of hoping it would smell like indigo, but it has an added fruity-floral scent that kind of smells like Fruity Pebbles to me...
This hand cream does absorb quickly, and a little goes a long way, but it leaves me hands with that weird, dry, papery feeling that some silicone-heavy lotions do. I'm not a fan of that feeling, so...I might end up passing this one on. At 0.34 fl oz, this is actually the travel size you can purchase directly from Tatcha, and it's worth $8 (the full size is 2 fl oz for $38, so if you go by the price per ounce, this sample is worth about $6.46).
Mally is a brand that we've seen a lot of in the Allure Beauty Box (for better or for worse), and for October, we got a Volumizing Mascara. I always feel kind of weird about getting full size, but box-less and unsealed mascaras in subscription boxes; mascara is one of those products that you can never really tell if it's been tampered with without a seal (even a box is mess-with-able but it adds a little protection at least).
Even after all the Mally products I've gotten, I'm still not sure how I feel about the brand. Overall, I think the products work well, but I still wouldn't purchase anything from Mally on my own. This mascara is formulated with a combination of waxes and powders to help add volume without clumping and the brush is supposed to help separate lashes. This is the full size product and it retails for $20.
The last product in this box was also another variant: you could have gotten a Klorane Dry Shampoo With Nettle (which I got), a Klorane Dry Shampoo With Oat Milk (which I wish I got), or a Kevin Murphy Volumnizer (which I'm glad I didn't get since I've already gotten a sample of it). If memory serves, I didn't have to fill out a beauty profile when I subscribed to the Allure Beauty Box and, since there's no way to review or provide feedback about your samples, I don't think Allure knows anything about me or my beauty preferences. When there weren't any variations, it wasn't a big deal; sometimes you'd get a product that wasn't meant for your skin or hair type, or maybe it was a color you didn't really like, but everyone got the same thing.
 With a variation, not only did I get a product that doesn't work with my hair type (I have very dry, frizzy hair and this dry shampoo is made for oil control), but someone with oily hair may have gotten the oat milk version, which is the opposite of what they need, too. Variation is a very dangerous thing; it can be fun since, even though you know all the products, you don't know which ones you're going to get, but it can be frustrating if you get products that don't work for you or if the variants have different values (which has happened before as well). Since I don't want to dry my hair out anymore, I'm going to pass this dry shampoo on to a family member. The full size product is $20 for 3.2 oz making this 1.0 oz sample worth about $6.25.

Overall, I got three full size products and three deluxe size samples with a total value of about $60.96, which is great for a $15 box. Nothing in this box was particularly bad, but it ended up falling a bit short for me. The only product that I'm going to get much use out of is the Spongelle sponge, but then again, it alone retails for $15, so it's almost like I bought the sponge, and got everything else for free. In general, I've had a good experience with the Allure Beauty Box, and I do want to recommend it for people looking for a less expensive makeup/beauty subscription, but I know that there have been issues with it, both customer service-wise and with the subscription in general, so it's difficult for me to give it my stamp of approval. If you're interested in this service, I highly recommend checking it out at My Subscription Addiction since they post a lot of valuable information about past and future boxes (and the comments are helpful, too!).

Thanks for reading! <3

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