birchbox favorites

My sister gave me a gift subscription to Birchbox for Christmas last year. Birchbox is a monthly subscription service that sends you a box of 4-5 beauty samples a month for $10 a month. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it.

I’m not really an experimenter when if comes to beauty, in fact I’m the opposite. My goal is to find the perfect version of whatever I need and never have to look for it again. Turns out that I love getting a present in the mail each month, and I really look forward to it. Even on months when I don’t like most of the samples, I still love getting my box. But there is usually one standout that I’m so glad to have tried (hello bb creams!). Here are my favorite new products from the first half of 2014:

This stuff is supposed to be mix into your moisturizer or serum and used to fade dark spots. I used it directly first on two small recent burn scars (on my arm from my curling iron and on my hand from a hot pan), and I swear I could see the difference right away.

Supergoop! is my new favorite sunscreen brand. It goes on smoothly and absorbs without leaving a white residue. I used it after washing my face in place of moisturizer when I’m going to be outside or exercising and haven’t had any breakouts or dryness. I’ve sampled the Everyday and the Anti-aging City Sunscreen Serum and they are both great, but I prefer the Everyday because it’s water-resistant.

I adore the matte texture of this spf, and it’s one of my sister’s favorite products. It goes on so smoothly that I was ready to order the first time I used it, but then my face broke out right afterwards. I’m not sure if it was this product, my new exercise routine, or just a coincidence, but I’ll probably hold off on using it, just in case.

The first (and only, so far) alphabet creams I’ve ever tried came in Birchboxes. This one is comparable to a sheer tinted moisturizer – it doesn’t provide much coverage – mixed with an illuminating lotion and is great for a very natural look. Bonus: It’s got a nice scent and SPF.

This BB cream is thicker than the Origins and provides a bit better coverage, with the same glow effect. I don’t know if the one universal shade with self-adjusting pigments would actually work on everyone, but it did on me. I like to mix it in with my liquid foundation (to get the coverage and the glow) and I love that it’s perfume- and oil-free.

I’d never heard of Coastal Scents before, but I loved the 4 eyeshadow colors in my sample so much that I found myself looking for duplicates of the colors at a beauty store, then ultimately decided just to purchase the Coastal Scents palette when I finish my Urban Decay Naked palette. This is the most excited I’ve been about eyeshadow in a long time.

Even though the Pixi Pink I sampled wasn’t the best choice for my coloring, I still really loved this lip balm. It’s soft and moisturizing, but not greasy, with buildable color that really lasts. Bonus: it’s inexpensive and available at Target.

I am a die-hard jet black liquid eyeliner fan, but Birchbox sent me this eyeliner in silver and it’s absolutely beautiful. The pencil is more like a gel than a pencil –  it’s creamy rather than hard It glides on and blends well, doesn’t break, and hasn’t dried up after several months. What more can you ask for? Plus, the silver is just so sparkly and shimmery. It won’t replace my stila, but I would definitely recommend it to others.

In Midnight Monarch, which is described as having “top notes of jasmine and bergamot over a base of patchouli and sweet vanilla amber”. This is really thick and way too scented for me to ever use as a hand lotion, but I love the scent and wore it on my pulse points like I would a solid perfume. (This is the only perfume/scented product that I’ve gotten from Birchbox and liked.)

Hands down the best dry shampoo I’ve used, and I’ve used a lot of different brands. Expensive relative to most, but this is one product that lives up to its reputation.

Birchbox isn’t perfect. Annoyingly, their website never lets me write product reviews (using my computer, although I can from my hubby’s iPad). And these 11 products are the only ones I’ve liked, less than half of the samples I’ve received. (This could be improved greatly by asking about scent and color preferences in the user profile.) But, it’s still a fun experience and I’ve found some products that I love, so I consider that a win.

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