Friday, July 3, 2015

Bonus Birchbox Reivew

I asked my friend Sam to give me a second opinion on my first Birchbox selections.  

Full disclosure:  I threatened Sam with bodily harm if I didn't get the Marcelle Golden Glow BB Cream or Vasanti BrightenUp! back in enough quantity to use again.  

More full disclosure:  I have a thing or two to learn from Sam about beauty reviews.

Tell Us About Yourself:
Hi, I'm Sam, Jeanne's genderbending friend! 
I really have no idea what else to put here, because anonymity in the south!

What Types of Skin/Beauty Product Do You Usually Use?
My usual daily prettification is foundation (I like Cover Girl True Match, N2), powder (Rimmel Stay Matte), and - currently - the insane Manga mascara from L'Oreal, over a base of NYX primer, and finished as well as NYX matte finishing spray. I use Organix Eucalyptus Mint Shampoo/conditioner and Dr. Bronner's castille soap and an endless rotation of moisturizers, depending on what I can find. I haven't found one I really love, though a mix of Dr. Bronner's and coconut oil works nicely. I also use, usually, Organix Surf Paste on my hair (which is in a perpeptual punk pixie), and my wife is intending to color my gray into a lavender/mint/silver via either Ion or Pravana. Yay being married to a cosmetologist!

Kerastase Elixir Ultime:
I was so ready to hate this. My experiences with anything involving a) oil and b) my hair have all ended in tears and long sessions of shampooing. So ready to hate that, even though I completely forgot to style my hair one morning, I preferred to let it be a frumpy mess atop my head than try this until I couldn't stand it any longer. You know what wavy, gray hair does in humidity? It turns into a horror of coarse, uncontrollable strands. You know what the Kerastase did? Made it suddenly become a sleek, soft, shiny, agreeable pixie. Seriously, my hair is soft. It's never soft. I'm putting this on my "may seriously purchase" list.

ADDENDUM: As noted above, my wife's a cosmetologist. I got this out of my satchel and put on the counter and she did a literal spit-take about Kerastase being in her house. Apparently, we areordering this ASAP.

Vasanti BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Scrub:
After being out in the heat at Pride, chasing my daughter around Target, moving the lawnmower to the shed, and general daily filth, I decided to use this. I'm not sure it was the best decision for being objective, as I could have taken Lava soap and bleach to my face and been happy with the result, but at the time I was impressed with the cleaning. The real decision was the next morning, when my face was still clean, the skin was soft and happy, and even post-shaving it was toned and oh-so-soft. 
Monday, two days after the initial wash, it's still awesome. 
I found the amount of exfoliation to be perfect - not like the sandpaper experience of an apricot scrub, but somewhat more strident than most. Maybe my accurs'd Y chromosome toughens my skin a bit. It went on smoothly, and felt refreshing and very slightly tingly. If there is an objection, it's my standard one to face scrubs that someone needs to formulate them to rinse off more easily.

Marcelle B*B Golden Glow
It goes on smoothly and provides good coverage with only a little used. The instructions say it can be used as a makeup base, so I swapped it for my normal NYX primer. I use neutrals for foundation/powder, and the Marcelle provided warmer undertones to the overall look. That said...I'm not sold on it. Maybe in a different tone, I'd like it more. The formula was great, but the color wasn't for me. However, if you look good in warmer tones, definitely pick this up. The product itself was fantastic.

Laura Geller Baked Blush - Bali:
I've included a side-by-side with my normal blush for contrast. 
Formula and Application: Went on fine, wasn't too "dusty". I like the subtle amount of shimmer to the blush, and was pleasantly shocked that it was not as vivid on the skin as it appeared in the tray. It was definitely more vivid than my normal neutral-pink, and I liked the look - a subtle pink shimmer that really accentuated the cheekbones. It's not an everyday blush for me, but I'd pick it up for special occasions. 

La Fresh Eco-Beauty Makeup Removal Towelette:
Review: The package was easy to open (much like those moist towelettes they have at wing/rib/messy food restaurants). The product itself was your standard facial cleansing wipe with a lovely lavender scent. The feel was fresh and clean, no oily residue, but I'd have preferred to have the liquid itself more than the towelette, as end-of-day stubble turns those into a shredded mess. Again, stupid Y chromosome. It cleaned extremely well, though, and seemed to tone the skin a bit.

Personal pet peeve - La Fresh advertises itself as an eco-friendly company. They place a huge emphasis on water conservation.
I cannot find anywhere on their site or documentation that they are also cruelty-free. They say their products are free of animal byproducts, but that's not the same. While I confess to not being as observant of this as I should be, I do try to stick to cruelty-free products as much as possible, and their overall advertising and packaging actually made me check, because it seemed like this would be an ideal makeup remover if it wasn't tested on animals.
However, that doesn't seem to be the case, so I'll stick with my homebrew of Dr. Bronner's and Coconut Oil.

Individual Products get Stars!:
Kerastase: * * * * *
Vasanti: * * * * 1/2
Marcelle: * * * *
Laura Geller Baked Blush: * * * *
La Fresh Eco-Beauty Makeup Removal Towelette: **** for the product, ** for not bothering to be Cruelty Free while pushing all Eco everything

*This post contains referral links.  If you sign up for Birchbox or ipsy through the links I may receive points towards future purchases.  This is not a sponsored post.

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