Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tutorial Tuesday: Scrubby Shampoo

I know, I know. Nobody wants to admit they have dandruff or any other less than awesome hair condition. But it happens, and as the weather starts turning colder here I know my head is going to get a bit (ok, a lot) flakey. I've tried some of the dandruff shampoos out there and have hated them all for the most part, one left a film on my hair so nasty I had to shampoo with dish soap for a week to get it off. So after much snooping around ingredient lists from very popular shampoos, I've come up with a homemade scrubby shampoo that will hopefully relieve all of out itchy head troubles.

One thing I noticed in most dandruff shampoo ingredient lists is tea tree oil, which I happen to have a giant bottle of. I also noticed a very popular shampoo from an overpriced bath shop that starts with an "L" contained a ton of salt for it's exfoliating effect. I already do a monthly pinch of baking soda into my shampoo to help strip off build-up, so making the leap to combining these wasn't difficult.

A word of caution, if you have never used tea tree oil in the past, please to an allergy test before trying this at home. mix a carrier oil (almond, olive, whatever) 4:1 ratio with the tea tree oil (so 4 parts oil to one part tea tree oil) and test it on the inside of your elbow. If you stay reaction free after 24-48 hours you are good to go on using it. You can make this recipe without the tea tree oil, it just won't be as potent. Tea tree oil has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, which can help fix chronic dandruff caused by ickies on your scalp. Warning also that tea tree oil is very strong smelling so try not to spill it everywhere like I did.

I'm making a small batch because I'm dyeing my hair this Thursday and I don't want to damage my new color so I'm just making a few days worth. You can double the recipe if you would like. For this you will need:

  • Shampoo. Use whatever you already have and love, no reason to go out and buy something new
  • Salt. If you have sea salt use that, I did not so I'm using kosher salt for extra scrubbing power. Think about this like a salt scrub for your head
  • Baking powder
  • Tea Tree Oil. Rosemary extract will also work if you can't use tea tree oil
  • 1/4 cup measuring cup, a teaspoon measuring spoon, and I used a plastic syringe to measure out my tea tree oil but you can use the 1/2 teaspoon for it if you want

Measure out 1/4 of a cup of salt and put it in a plastic container that you want to store the shampoo in.

Measure out 1/4 of a cup of your shampoo of choice then dump it into the container with the salt. Make sure you scrape the sides down in order to get all of the shampoo out. Give it a bit of a mix. The salt will sort of dissolve, don't worry about it.

Now mix it half a teaspoon of the baking soda.

And finally add half a teaspoon of the tea tree oil. If you are concerned about sensitive skin you can add less, like 1/4 of a teaspoon. Now give it all a good mix and your shampoo is complete!

To use just scoop some out and give your scalp a good scrub with it. Hopefully you will start to see an improvement in just a few days.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Mani Monday: Essie Sleek Stick Nail Wraps

Sometimes you want pretty nails but you either don't have the time or the energy to apply a fancy manicure. Nail wraps are a great alternative to painted nails, and currently there are tons of brands and types out there. I actually found the Essie Sleek Stick nail wraps at my local Dollar Tree, which was a great score since they're normally about $10 each, So today's Mani Monday is both a how to and a review of these colorful wraps.

First thing to do is clean your nails with rubbing alcohol and push your cuticles back. Each pack of stickers comes with a file and a cuticle pusher, which I thought was very convenient.

The backing on these are clear so it made sizing them up pretty easy. Each side had 9 different sizes, so these should work for a variety of nails. I picked a pretty teal color with silver dots for my nails this time.

You need to peel the stickers off, I used the cuticle pusher to do it so my fingers wouldn't goop up the adhesive part. Carefully place it on your nail and smooth it down with your fingers. I then used the cuticle pusher to smooth any wrinkles down.

Then you need to pull the sticker down do it covers the tip of your finger and, using your file, file the tip of your nail in a downwards motion to basically sand through the sticker. This only took a few strokes, so pretty easy.

These don't need to be topped with a top coat and should last for a bit according to the instructions. Do this for all of your nails, it took me about as long as doing a base color normally takes. And once it's on you can go and do whatever, no waiting for the polish to dry.

My nails look really great right now, hoping they stay looking this good for at least 4 days but we'll see. To remove them just peel a corner up and slowly peel the whole thing off your nail or use cuticle oil to loosen the adhesive. I imagine hot soapy water will help them to loosen so you might want to wear gloves while doing dishes (which you really should do anyways) or cleaning. Overall I'm pretty happy with them right now and will for sure pick up some more from the Dollar Tree for both my own personal use and for a future giveaway.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Weekend Tips and Tricks

Last weekend of September, and its finally fall yay! Time to bust out the sweaters and scarves and my boots. Autumn is my favorite season, so I'm super happy right now. Here are some tips and tricks to help your days go a little smoother.

Tip #1: Teeth less than pearly white but no time to bleach them? Use a blue based lipstick (like a great vampy purple) to make them appear whiter than they really are. Yellow based lipsticks will make them look yellower so keep that in mind as well.

Tip #2: Nail polish getting a little dried out? Put a few drops of nail polish remover in it to help thin it out and make it easier to apply.

Tip #3: Your mascara should be replaced every 3 to 6 months. Bacteria from your eyes will grow in it, making it dry and clumpy looking and increase your risk of an eye infection. This is why you don't use the "eye drops to thin your mascara out" trick. If the mascara is dry and clumpy it means it's a petri dish of nasties and you really need to toss it.

Tip #4: With Halloween approaching, make sure you test your skin for sensitivities or allergies before you walk out in that awesome zombie makeup. Apply any makeup or latex or glue to your inner elbow, the skin there is sensitive like your face. If you get no rash, hives, skin melting off, or blisters after 24 hours you are good to go and can use it safely typically.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Ipsy September 2014 Review

My September Ipsy bag finally arrived yesterday, and this is my last Ipsy bag. I've been frustrated with the shipping times and how often I get things I either can't use or don't want. Add in just how much makeup I have and Ipsy had to go. I'll be doing a look back at all of my bags later to do a breakdown on what I ended up liking and not liking.

September's theme was Street Style, to coordinate with New York Fashion Week I guess. I personally don't feel like any of the items really conveyed the theme, they were just random makeup items to me. Some of the items offered this month were also drugstore makeup I could get anywhere, so that was a bit disappointing for the people who received them. My bag wasn't horrible this time but it wasn't really me as you'll see.

First up is the bag. I like the simple design of it and I'm a sucker for studs so this was a hit. It's bigger than my current makeup bag so I'm switching over to this one. I know a lot of people received damaged bags so I'm glad mine showed up in one piece.

I have very long hair, so I use a lot of hair masks and conditioners so you'd think this Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair hair mask would be right up my alley. But I actually hate it, it smells so bad, very chemically. I'll try it later just to see, but unless it turns my hair into spun gold I will not be buying more. A full size is 5.25 oz and retails for $26, so my 1 oz sample is worth about $4.95.

This is actually the first time I've received a tool in a subscription box. This is a dual ended eyeshadow brush from Crown, and while it's really nice and soft I'm annoyed by it. With it being dual ended one side is going to get squashed up in my brush holder, which is frustrating. I may end up storing it in my eye makeup drawer if it'll fit. If I traveled a lot this would be nice for a travel bag, and it is a really nice brush, but the dual ended just irks me. This is full sized and retails for $6.99 on the Crown site, which looks like a discount makeup page.

Pacifica is not high on my list of companies I like due to their insistence on putting coconut in EVERYTHING, but this eyeliner is actually coconut free. There were two color options, a gun metal grey or a brown. I of course got the color I DIDN'T want, the brown. I'm a black eyeliner kind of girl unless I'm doing an unusual color so the gun metal would have been perfect.

The eyeliner is high quality and applied nice and smoothly, which was a plus. There seems to be a tiny amount of shimmer to it, but I don't think anybody is going to notice unless they're creepy close to your eyes. I'm trying to like this, I really am, but I'm just not a brown liner kind of gal. If I'm doing a softer eye look I'll use this but I won't be buying another one it's done. A full sized eyeliner is $11 and this looks to be about half that size so I'm giving it a value of $5 since the site doesn't say just how big a full sized one is.

This was one of the items I was excited to receive, an NYX eyeshadow single. I got Rehab, which is a dark forest green (perfect for fall), but there were 10 different colors offered and I'd have been happy with any of the colors. I didn't take a picture but the clasp is this cute little bow, which I love.

I thought there was good color pay off, easily buildable and once applied over primer it'll be even darker green. I've already worn it out and about and I love it, I can see myself picking up more of these for sure. This was a full sized sample and retails for $4.50 each so super affordable. And Target now carries them as well so they're easy to find, though I'll purchase mine at Ulta so I get points.

Cailyn is a brand I like, but I think whoever names their products needs to take a class in lip products. I got a lip balm that was solid lipstick and actually dried my lips out. This time I received one of their Art Touch tinted lip glosses, which is so not a gloss. It's more like a liquid lipstick, SUPER pigmented. Not sticky at all, which is a huge plus for me (wind plus long hair equals bad). There were two color options, a coral color or a red. I would have preferred the red, but the coral isn't bad.

On my lips it becomes a decent neutral color, though to be truthful it's more of a summer color than a fall color so I'm confused by their color choice. As you can see the color payoff is amazing and it slightly stains your lips I've noticed. The lasting power was closer to that of lipstick than gloss, it stayed on for most of my work the other day. I'll wear this quite a bit next spring/summer but right now it's not going to get used a lot which is to bad. This was a full sized item and retails for $19! Almost double the price of the whole bag.

All total I got 3 full sized items and 2 deluxe samples, so not bad in that department. But only one item is something I'm happy to use now and another will be great in a different season. I didn't completely hate this bag, but I'm glad it's my last. My total came to $40.44, so a very high value bag, though not the highest I've received.

Since I was canceling I decided to cash in my 500 points and get some bonus items. I picked the Miss Adoro set, which came with eyelashes, adhesive glue, and an eyeshadow duo.

Yeah....I didn't know these were real human hair so I'm actually a bit freaked out by these. I don't wear eyelashes so I was going to trade them anyways so it's not a big loss there. They look really nice though and are worth $1.99.

It's glue, not a whole lot to say here. This is worth $2.

I picked this set because I wanted this eyeshadow, and I'm a little disappointed. The colors looked much darker so I thought I was getting a gold and a pink champagne shadow duo, but in reality I got a sheer champagne and a light light light shimmery baby pink.

They will make a decent highlighting color but are not what I was expecting at all. Over my primer they just looked shimmery white so I'm majorly bummed. The color is called Fairy Tail and is worth $7, so not an expensive item at all. All total my bonus pack had a value of $10.99.

I'll write more about my overall impression of Ipsy at a later date and some more of my reasons for leaving, as well as a look at all 6 bags I received. Anybody else quite this month?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Thursday Thoughts

It is finally Fall here, my husband's birthday (and week long vacation from work) are right around the corner, and I'm slowly getting caught back up after a really rough month. This week is pretty awesome. And of course Thursdays are awesome anyways, because I get to right about what's on my mind instead of scouring the Internet for a price on some obscure lipstick I want to talk about. And like always, I'm participating in the weekly link up with Ramblings of a Suburban Mom. Let's get this party started!

  • I've decided to start hosting my own link up, this one will be a monthly Mani Monday one. I'll post more details about it later, but basically on the first Monday of every month I'll have a themed Mani Monday and other bloggers can submit their take on my theme (like desserts or haunted). I may post the theme early on like Saturday via my Twitter account to give people more time to participate. Still working out the details
  • I'll be dyeing my hair probably next week, getting excited to do it. I use to dye my hair all the time in crazy colors, but them I got pregnant and had to stop for safety reasons. I won't be doing a funky color this time, but it won't be a naturally occurring hair color either. It will be a rich mahogany color, I may take pics of the process and post about it, I haven't decided yet.
  • My Instagram hit 100 followers today, yay! I'm so excited to be building up the social media accounts for this blog. I'll do some sort of giveaway once it hits 250 followers for sure.
  • My no buy is almost over, the first thing I'm going to buy are those new lip crayons by NYX. The Simply Vampy line has been calling my name since I first saw the announcement, can't wait to get my hands on them. This no buy was harder than I thought it would be, didn't help I picked the same month as the 21 Days of Beauty event at Ulta. I'll do some better planning next time.
  • I'm debating adding in a Sunday post, would you guys be interested in that? Right now I'm posting 6 days a week, so an extra day won't really add that much more work to my schedule. I may give it a try in October and see how it rolls.
  • Lastly, I'm looking for a really good eye cream. What are you using and why do you like it?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Apothecary Extracts Tea Tree Oil

*I received this product for reviewing purposes. All opinions expressed are my own*

If you've been reading this blog for a while you know I like to make things at home instead of paying through the nose to buy them in a store. There are certain items that you need if you're going to make bath and body products at home, like a good oil, citric acid, sugars, and essential oils. Go take a peak at the ingredient list for most of your acne creams and you'll see the same ingredient pop up over and over and over: Tea Tree Oil. Tea Tree Oil is pretty sweet in that it's multi-purpose, you can use it for just about anything. Dandruff, acne, fungal infection on your nails, cleaning your counters, the list goes on and on.

Apothecary Extracts is a brand that distributes many different products, but I'm going to talk about their Tea Tree Oil, which they were kind enough to send me a bottle of. It's bottled in the USA, but the oil itself comes straight from Australia and has no nasty stuff added to it like preservatives, artificial colors or scents, mineral oils, any of the things I really don't want in my natural products. This is pure, 100% Tea Tree Oil. It comes in a brown glass bottle to help keep the oil from breaking down and getting all gross, which is another plus for me.

The company also gives each of it's customers a free ebook with 53 different recipes for things to make using their product, which I thought was a very nice touch. I'll be adapting a few of the recipes to use here on various Tutorial Tuesdays for sure. I'm thinking a facial toner and a dandruff shampoo for sure, especially with colder weather coming. You can buy this off of Amazon here

Soda can for size reference, and because I was thirsty
I've greatly enjoyed using the product so far, loving that it's a giant 4 oz bottle so I won't be running out anytime soon. And the folks at Apothecary Extracts have graciously agreed to let me run a giveaway for a FREE bottle of their Tea Tree Oil! You must be a US resident with an Amazon account 18 years of age or older to enter. All you have to do is post a comment down below stating what you would use the Tea Tree Oil for and share this link on your Facebook page, and on Tuesday September 30th I'll pick a winner using a random number generator.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tutorial Tuesday: Nail Vacation

One of the perks of being a beauty blogger is that I get to do really creative designs on my nails each week. The downside is that I'm putting on then stripping off nail polish on a weekly basis. That puts quite a strain on my nails, and sometimes they need a vacation (and some stunt nails). This week I'm going to show you how to give your nails some TLC.

Your supplies are going to be things you should already own if you do your nails on a regular basis. You need nail polish remover, nail clippers, a cuticle stick, a file, a buffer, some oil for your cuticles, and some good hand cream. Now I'm using a file with a smaller grit side as my buffer because mine has apparently disappeared. If I had to guess I'd say it's in the same place as my missing comb, thank you small child (my son is 3 and sometimes "helps" me put things away).

First you want to remove your nail polish. I like a gentle formula that is also antibacterial, but you can use whatever style you prefer. I recommend soaking a cotton swab or ball and letting it sit on your nail for a bit (especially if you are wearing glitter polish) to soften the polish up, you'll have to do less scrubbing which is better for your nails in the long run.

Now take stock of your nails. Mine are awful right now. They are stained from certain colors, a bit cracked, and there are some ridges forming as well. Because of this I'll be giving them the full treatment and I'll be continuing some of the steps everyday for the next week to help them heal and get back to where I want them to be.

Grab your clippers and give your nails a trim if they need it and cut off any hang nails you see. I trimmed mine down quite a bit due to some split ends and some staining on the ends of two of them. I went back after I took this picture and trimmed them some more so they are very short right now.

Now you are going to file the ends of them to get rid of any unevenness and rough edges. Make sure you only file in one direction, never back and forth. This can actually make the nails weaker and more prone to breakage. A gently curving edge is less likely to break than a flat edge or the pointy nails that have been popular lately, so keep that in mind as you shape them.

If you want you can soak your hands in a bowl of warm water for a bit before this step, but I skipped it. You want to push back (GENTLY!) your cuticles with either a cuticle stick or an orange stick. Just be careful not to tear your cuticles or skin open, an infection under your nail bed is painful and takes a very long time to heal so be extra careful. Don't let the nail technician at a salon tell you its fine when they make you bleed while doing your nails. That is never OK and can lead to some nasty health issues.

Next comes the buffing. If you have a buffing block, use the finest grit you have if you just need to buff them. If you have some ridges like I did you can go a little coarser to help buff them out. I used the finer side of my file and went in gentle circles till I had smoothed them out to my liking. Buffing will help to stimulate blood circulation to your nails, promoting healthy nail growth. I will do this step again in about 4 days.

As you can tell, I gave them a pretty thorough buffing and filing. I wanted them to be pretty smooth and to get rid of the cracked areas.

Now you want to apply some sort of cuticle oil to your nails. I'm using the Caudalie sample that came in my September Birchbox, I've been really happy with it as a cuticle oil so far, but you can use any sort of cuticle oil here.

You want to massage the oil into your cuticles and also your nails depending on the oil you use. The Caudalie has stuff in it that will benefit my nails so I made sure to rub it into my nails as well. I will be doing this step everyday for the next week.

And lastly you will apply a really good hand cream or lotion to your whole hands. I'm currently using the original Nivea Creme, which I like for my hands. It's nice and thick and seems to be doing a great job moisturizing them, I'll do this step everyday forever, I can be pretty rough on my hands so I'm trying to take better care of them. Give your nails (and hands) some TLC and you might be surprised at how nice they look even without polish.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Metallic Striped Mani Monday

I used Maybelline Mirror Mirror for my base coat (if you can find it still it is the BEST silver I have ever found) and Sinful Colors in a metallic teal (label is scrubbed off, oops) for my stripes.

Step one is to do your base coat, use the lighter of the two colors for this. Make sure your coat is nice and smooth and completely dry before you move on to the next step.

You can buy nail art tape that comes in thin stripes, but I just used some scissors to cut up some painters tape. I laid down two stripes, make sure you smooth them down completely.

Lay down your layer of the second color, make it nice and thick so the base coat doesn't show. Then peel off the tape before the polish starts to dry. Do this to all of your nails, then clean up your edges and you are all done. The metallic colors were hard to photograph, but they look really great in person.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Weekend Tips and Tricks

This weekend is comic con weekend, so I'm super excited! I wait all year for this, I'm to excited to sleep right now. Let's get this party rolling!

Tip #1: That great deep conditioner you like to use in the shower? Put it in your hair before bed and you'll wake up to the softest and shiniest hair ever once you wash the mask off of it.

Tip #2: Just because you have oily skin does NOT mean you can never use moisturizer. Actually, many times the oil is an overcompensation from your skin to make up for dryness. Try an oil free moisturizer, it may make a big difference in how your skin looks and feels.

Tip #3: Using a nail base coat seems like an extra step, but it can not only help to prolong the life of your paint job but prevent certain colors from staining your nails. Making sure your nails are free from oil can also help prolong the life of your manicure.

Tip #4: Not exactly beauty related but I found this one helpful the other week and thought I'd share. Get superglue on your fingers? Vaseline rubbed in and left to soak will help break it down. It works slowly but it's easier on your skin that some of the alternatives. It was gentle enough I could use it on my 3 year old.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Best Face Mask for only $4

I use to take really terrible care of my skin. I'd sun bathe with no sunscreen, never take my makeup off before bed, and I'd hardly ever use anything besides hand soap to wash my face. So by time my mid-twenties came around my face was showing signs of just how beat up it was. Now I try and take the best care I can, and part of that is doing a weekly facial mask. I have several I rotate through but my favorite is the Freeman's Charcoal and Black Sugar Facial Polishing Mask. It pulls all the nasty gunk out of your face AND exfoliates all at the same time. Best part? It's $3.99. Seriously.

Basically what you do is smear this scrub onto your face, leave it on for 5-7 minutes, exfoliate you face, then rinse it off. All total you're looking about about 10 minutes, so this is a quicker mask for those who don't have half an hour to spend on a mask.

The activated charcoal helps to absorb the oil and gross stuff from your skin while the black sugar makes for a nice and scrubby exfoliator. You can feel it working right away, the charcoal makes the scrub get warm when exposed to air. It smells nice, feels great, and my skin always looks great after using it. I try and use it once a week in addition to whatever other mask I use and I've really noticed a difference in how my skin looks. I've had less break outs and the black heads that I normally get in the middle of my forehead have all but disappeared. Several other companies make similar products, but why spend twice as much when this works just as well?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thursday Thoughts

Wow, Thursday already! This week has gone by so quickly, I can't believe it. This weekend is Rose City Comic Con, and while my costume didn't get finished I'm still excited to go. Any who, like all Thursdays, I'm linking up with Jen of Ramblings of a Suburban Mom for her weekly link up.

  • Makeup companies are starting to release sneak peeks of their special holiday sets, anything you're specifically looking for? So far I'm not dying for anything, but that can change in a heart beat of course.
  • Its finally almost sort of Fall here, yaaay! Time for some fall time colors. The new Essie Fall Collection is amazing, I love the deep, rich colors. I seriously need to pick up one of the ox blood colors that has been so popular lately, any suggestions?
  • My son is finally feeling better. To elaborate on what I've briefly talked about, my son had an allergic reaction to his antibiotics and developed serum sickness from it. Made for a very long and very stressful week.
  • I got my very first Birchbox this week, and I love it. I cannot wait for next month's box, its like Christmas! The Vasanti cleanser I got is a new favorite and is something I'd never have tried without Birchbox. What favorite item has Birchbox introduced you to?
  • I'm thinking about starting a monthly manicure themed link up. Each month there would be a picked theme and people can do their own interpretation of it. Any blogger interested in maybe doing it?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

My Very First Birchbox!

What's better than getting a box full of awesome goodies? Getting a box of awesome goodies customized specifically for you every month. That is exactly what Birchbox is. Every month you get 4-5 deluxe samples (or sometimes full sized items), usually skincare but also makeup products or only $10. Birchbox tends to have higher end items, so the value of your samples can be very high. Birchbox also has an amazing rewards program. Each time you review an item (or purchase items from their shop) you get points. For every 100 points you earn you get $10 to spend in the Birchbox shop. So basically every other month you get $10 to use to buy stuff you loved, or you can save them up and get a big haul. The whole system is really amazing and there are TONS of great items in their shop, including everything that's in your box that month.

September is their 4th anniversary, so the box was extra special this time. Your Birchbox comes in an actual cardboard box each month and this month's box was amazing. Apparently there were several different colors you could get as well. The theme this month was "Fresh Paint", sort of a put your best face forward sort of thing.

My goodies even came wrapped in tissue paper, so it really did feel like a present. I actually got 6 items this month, 5 normal and one Birchbox Find (which I'll explain in a bit). My breakdown is 3 skincare and 3 makeup items, which works great for me. I have a ton of makeup but my skincare collection is a tad small right now. There is an information card included with the items I received and how much a full sized one costs, which I think is such a smart idea.

While this looks like a perfume, it is actually Caudalie Divine Oil. Caudalie is a French skincare company that makes really high end products, this one is a dry oil you can use on your skin, hair, whatever basically. I'm using it on my cuticles currently, and it is super hydrating. A little goes a long way and oh my god does this stuff smell amazing! And the smell lasts all day I swear. The only downside is that a full sized bottle (50 mL) is $32, making it a bit spendy. My sample is 3 mL, giving it a value of $1.92. I'll be on the lookout for a cheaper dupe for sure.

I was hoping I'd get a BB cream, and I got one in my very first box. Dr Jart is a Korean brand, and apparently a really nice/well known brand at that. I received the Dr.Jart+ Black Label Detox BB Beauty Balm.

At first I thought the color was way off for me, but it blended in really well with my face. The only problem is it's very thick, I had to buff it in to make it look good. I'm going to try again tomorrow using my stippling brush to apply it, but I think I just need something lighter than this. A full sized tube is 1.5 oz and $36, making my sample worth $4.80.

Temptu is a brand I've been reading about lately, they have an at home airbrushing system that looks pretty good, so I was excited to receive a sample of their highlighter. This Temptu S/B Highlighter is very different from other highlighters I've tried, this one is a silicone based liquid.

The color is called Champagne Shimmer, and looks great on my cheekbones but because it's colored it can look a little weird in other places if you don't blend it out. While I like it I don't love it, so I won't be repurchasing it once my sample runs out. A full sized is $27.50 and is only a fluid oz, so my sample is worth $2.75.

This is my favorite sample that I received, the Vasanti BrightenUp Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator. This is basically a microdermabrasion cream, with lots of added goodies. It smells so nice and made my face feel amazing. You only need a pea sized amount so this sample should last me a while, but I will be purchasing a full sized one after Christmas for sure. A full sized tube is $34 and 4.23 oz, making my sample worth $5.38.

This Whish Shaving Cream in Acai Grapefruit was creates specifically for Birchbox, which I thought was pretty cool. According to Birchbox, this is an ultra hydrating, shea butter packed shaving cream, but I'd call it more of a shaving lotion. If you've ever used conditioner to shave with it's basically like that. The scent is great and it did give me a slicker shave, but I haven't noticed any lasting effects. This is the item I'm least happy with, but I'll still use and enjoy it while I have it, I just won't be running out to purchase it. A full sized is $20 and is 150 mL, making my sample $2.93. Whish is a pretty affordable company and I've heard good things about their lotions so I'll be checking those out later.

This is a Birchbox find, which is basically a mass-market discovery they think is awesome and want to share. It's an extra for my box, which is super awesome. This ChapStick Hydration Lock Day and Night is a dual ended lip balm, one is day and has SPF 12 while the night end is infused with plant butters, antioxidants, and oils to really hydrate your lips. I've been doing some allergy therapy to help with my coconut allergy so I was actually able to use this product without dying (YAY). It made my lips a little ouchy, like I had scrubbed them to hard, but other than that I had no ill effects from the coconut. The Night side is super hydrating and I really like it, the Day side is a bit drying I thought but I like the SPF in it so I'm very happy with it over all. It retails for $2.99, so a great price and it takes up less room than 2 different lip balms in my bag.

Overall I was SUPER happy with my box and cannot wait to see what I get next month. My total value came to $17.78 without counting the ChapStick. I also get 70 points for reviewing all the items, so that was almost $10 worth of points. If you want to join, here's my Subscription Link to sign up, we'll both get points for doing it. If you got a Birchbox this month, what did you think of it?