April Birchbox: Au Naturale

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When I saw that the theme of this month’s Birchbox is “all natural,” I wasn’t quite sure what to think. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely not against all-natural products, and I’m all for things that will supposedly be better for me. The thing is that I usually don’t have the money to splurge on the chemical-free, organic versions of products when I’m already pinching pennies when it comes to things I buy anyways. Be that as it may, I figured this would be a great opportunity to try some of these natural products without having to pay the premium price tag!

While I didn’t love this box as much as last month’s, it was still pretty much a success. Here’s what I got:

Befine Exfloliating Cleanser & Daily Moisturizer:

Birchbox Description: “Easy does it. This exfoliator and moisturizer duo uses gentle ingredients like rice and brown sugar to keep skin supple and healthy.”

You know how they always say you should start with bad news? Well, the bad news is that I really didn’t like either of these products from Befine. Which is ok, because the purpose of a sample is to figure out what you like and what you don’t like. Suffice it to say that these are just not for me. At all.

For starters, the sample packages were difficult to open. Especially with wet hands (you know…that happens when you’re planning on washing your face) and it was extremely difficult to get the exfoliator out of the package at all. Then on top of all that, the exfoliator smelled super weird. Not in a “oh, I can’t place that scent” sort of way, but a “I need to get this off of my face NOW” sort of way. We weren’t off to a great start, the exfoliator and I. Sure, it worked just fine. But there are so many other products out there that do exactly the same thing without all of the negatives that I definitely won’t buy this one.

Next I tried the moisturizer. Again, the package was extremely difficult to open (maybe it’s just me?). When I finally got the top torn off, I realized that there was WAY too much in the packet for it to be a face-only cream, but I slathered a bunch on anyway. Too much, actually. I had to take some of it off with a towel. Even after that, there was enough left in the package to adequately cover both of my legs. The weird thing is that it doesn’t say “body lotion,” and usually lotions advertised with SPF are meant for the face. This moisturizer isn’t so bad, particularly as a body lotion. The smell isn’t nearly as obtrusive as the exfoliator, but it’s still not what I would consider “nice.” At least it’s more subtle. And the cream is just a little too oily for me to use on my face, especially in the summer. While I think it would be an ok body lotion, I’ll probably pass on this one in the future as well.

Update: After I originally made up my mind that I was not a huge fan of the Befine products, I got an email from Birchbox saying there had been a mishap and some people had received moisturizer packets that had expired. Birchbox said they were giving 100 Birchbox points (aka, $10 credit to their online shop) to anyone who had received an expired packet. I checked mine, and sure enough the expiration date was 2009! While I don’t think that it will change my mind about that particular product, now I have enough credit to make my dream purchase (at the end of this post) a reality! So thanks for your screw up, Befine. I appreciate it.

Lulu Organics Lavender & Clary Sage Hair Powder:

Birchbox Description: “Laced with organic lavender and sage, this sweet-smelling dry shampoo revives flat or second day hair.”

When I first saw this product, my initial reaction was, “what the hell is hair powder?” Turns out, it’s the same thing as dry shampoo. This is something that I’ve always wondered about, but never had the overriding urge to purchase. Would it be nice to have something to remove the oil from my hair if I decide to wait until the afternoon to shower? You bet. Was I willing to splurge on something that I had no idea if it would work? Nope. So this was definitely a great inclusion in my Birchbox, and one that I was really excited to try.

As you probably know by now, I have very thick curly-ish hair that tends to be very dry on the ends, but very oily at the roots (especially if I haven’t washed it yet that day). I’ve tried a lot of combinations of shampoos and conditioners to help with these problems, but a lot of it depends on how “hard” the water is wherever I’m living. I tend to have better luck with my hair when I’m at my parents house, because they have well water and a water softener, as opposed to my apartment where we have plain ol’ city water. This powder definitely made my roots feel less oily when I used it on a day that I hadn’t washed my hair. However, it didn’t really help with the problem of my roots looking oily, and so I doubt that this will make an appearance in my regular hair-care repertoire. On the plus side, it smelled amazing and was pretty easy to work with, so for people with a different type of hair, it might work wonders. It’s not for me, but it was a fun product to try out!

Yes to Blueberries Brightening Facial Towelettes:

 Birchbox Description: “These nifty wipes remove all signs of makeup and grime. Plus, they refresh skin with a fruity blend of apple, blueberry, and lemon peel extracts.”

At first, I wasn’t too excited about these being included in the box…mostly because I didn’t really understand why I would want to use one instead of just washing my face. (Once again, reading the Birchbox provided description helped me in this area.) Boy, am I glad I gave them a try! The fabric of the towelette itself is strong and soft, so it doesn’t scratch your face but it also doesn’t fall apart. They’re also quite large compared to othe similar products that I’ve used in the past, which is helpful.

Lately, I’ve been using this after I workout – my face gets super sweaty and I don’t want to use my regular face wash (which is kind of expensive, and it tends to dry out my face if I use it too many times per day), so these little guys are perfect for helping me get the grime off of my face. Unlike other towelettes that are meant to clean your face, this one didn’t leave my face overly dry or tingly, and it also wasn’t too lotion-y (which leaves my skin oily). It was a really good balance, and did actually leave me feeling refreshed each time I used one. An added bonus is that they smell great! If I end up ordering any full size products from Birchbox this month, I’ll probably throw a pack of these in my cart as well, because they’re not too expensive and work really well.

Zoya TRUE Spring Collection in “Bevin”:

Birchbox Description: “Lighten up for spring with this fresh shade. The non-toxic formula goes on opaque and lasts 50% longer than traditional polishes.”

If I wasn’t on nail polish overload from my recent China Glaze Hunger Games splurge, I would have had this color on my nails right away! It’s a pretty pale turquoise for spring (much more subdued than last month’s neon purple polish). In fact, it kind of reminds me of Easter eggs. Too bad it didn’t come in time for easter.

Overall, it’s a really pretty color. It went on pretty easily, although I needed 2 coats to even everything out because the polish itself is a little thinner than the China Glaze that I’m used to now. It does dry pretty quickly, which is nice because that’s one of my biggest problems when it comes to nail polish – smudging it before it’s dry. However, I must be a little too used to China Glaze now, which has a special hardening agent in it that keeps it from chipping and smudging even after it’s dry…because that’s exactly what happened with this one. I know that it technically takes most polishes a day to actually “set” to the point where you can’t screw it up anymore, but once my nails are dry to the touch, I like to be able to use them without destroying the fresh polish entirely. About an hour and a half after I applied this polish, I got a package in the mail…and the mere act of opening that package (with a pair of scissors, no less!) put huge smudges on 4 of the nails on my left hand, and a pretty significant one on my right thumb as well. Which was really too bad. I think the next time I use this polish, it will be on my toes where I have less chance of ruining it…because it is a really pretty color!

Wonderstruck by Taylor Swift:

Birchbox Description: “The pop-country songstress’ scent is as catchy as her lyrics. We think it’s worth of a standing gig on our vanity.”

One of my favorite parts of the Birchbox so far is getting to try different perfumes. For me, perfume is one of those beauty things that I want to learn more about, but it’s difficult to figure out what you like. Smelling too many of them at once defeats the purpose. They’re expensive, so it’s not like you can buy a bottle just to try it out. These and other reasons really make me look forward to seeing which scent is included each month – especially since I’m still looking for a new “special occasion” scent to wear for the wedding and other special times after that.

I’ll tell you what…I really think “Wonderstruck” might be that special occasion scent. If it wasn’t for the price tag, I would have added it to my collection within a couple hours of receiving the April Birchbox. It’s fruity, but not in a “body spray that 12-year-olds use” way. The fruit mixed with hints of vanilla definitely make it a sweeter smelling perfume (which I like), but it’s also got something in it that makes it feel a little more “grown up” than most fruit-scents do to me. I know that these descriptions may not be terribly helpful for people who actually know things about perfume…but like I said before, I’m not one of those people. So I can only describe what it smells like to me. And to me, this scent is a little bit romantic and sweet, and a little bit mysterious and sexy. A perfect blend. Now to debate the price tag.

What was your favorite inclusion in your Birchbox this month? (If you haven’t signed up yet, you should!) Would you try any of these products?

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About Kimberly H.

I'm a Wisconsin girl born and bred - a 2L at the University of Wisconsin Law School and a former member of the UW Marching Band. I married my best friend on 7/7/2012 and am an avid lover of nail polish, corgi pups and historical fiction novels!

2 responses »

  1. Pingback: Who Am I? « Life. Love. Law.

  2. Pingback: Julep Maven « Life. Love. Law.

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