Beauty Musings & Rogue Ramblings

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Power Play… BIRCHBOX: July 2013

Hi loves!

Ohhhh Birchbox… trying to seduce my inner control freak? Well, at least that was the apparent goal of July’s box of goods that were selected to “help you take control” of any situation. Meh. Sort of.

ArtsyArchitette July 2013 Birchbox Review

I was initially excited about the July box because they were partnered with SUITS!! And I love that show, BUT…

I may be a tad harsh on Birchbox in this moment considering they forgot to include my “Suits Pick!” I should have received theBalm cosmetics InStain Long-Wearing Powder Staining Blush, but it was missing! Being a fan of Suits and theBalm brand I was a bit peeved to not receive my product.

Granted, Birchbox did give me 100 Birchbox points for the mishap, but that only equals to $10 and the product retails for $22 – so not enough to buy one. I guess something is better than nothing though.

Onto what I did receive…


My favorite product of the bunch was the Number 4 Super Comb Prep & Protect Leave-in Conditioner! LOVED THIS STUFF! Seriously. No seriously loved it. With my very long, quite curly hair, hydration/ conditioning and all that are high on my list of hair needs, and this made a noticeable difference after the first use. Not something that happens very often. Total hair ends transformation, at least for me. It also has UV (and color protection) – to me that’s a great bonus benefit!

Though in thinking about it, I have also tried the Number 4 Reconstructing Masque and it was amazing as well. The only reason I don’t buy the masque is the price tag, but the leave-in conditioner is definitely more wallet friendly!

The only downfall is the smell. It is supposed to be floral, but comes across more artificial blueberry-clay-ish to me (sorry, bad scent description). Though the scent doesn’t linger.  Full Size Value: $32 USD (200 ml).


The extra in the July box were a set of Birchbox Bobby Pins. Heavy duty (needs a little extra effort to open and slide onto hair), strong, extra wide bobby pins with a cute print. You can get a set of six (6) pins for $5.


The next product I can’t really judge on because, thankfully I haven’t had much of a need for it as my skin has been behaving quite well. It is the DDF Acne Control Treatment. Technically a night treatment with Salicylic Acid that you can apply up to 3 times a day. It is non-comedogenic and paraben-free, though again, I can’t judge on its effectiveness considering I haven’t had a need to test it yet.  Here’s a little more info:

Formulated with three powerhouse acne-fighters, this high-tech nightly treatment quickly brings clarity to your complexion. First, salicylic gently purges pores of dirt and oil. Second, DDF™’s Clarifying Neutralizing Complex strengthens and protects skin from inflammation and free radical damage. Rounding out the winning formula, supermoisturizing glycerin soothes away irritation and quells dryness.

Full Size Value: $44 USD (1.7 oz). It has some good reviews, so I’m happy to have the product to try the next time I need a little skin savior.


Finally, I received a little sample pot of the Benefit it’s potent! eye cream. I was a little wary of this one at first, considering I tried the face cream from the same line and had a bad reaction, but luckily that was not the case with the eye cream. It is a good eye cream, hydrating, but not greasy and sinks into skin quickly. It has a “peptide complex known to help restore elasticity & firmness, a blend of hydrating botanical extracts and loquat extract, known to help protect the skin from free radical damage.” It is supposed to help lighten dark circles and help with fine lines, but I haven’t witnessed anything along those lines yet, not that I have too much to correct (plus I use a different night cream – one I will not give up).  Full Size Value: $34 USD (0.5 oz).

…more soon loves 😉



My Introduction to LUSH

So I was out at the mall (picking up a gift for a friend’s wedding and in search of shoes for that same wedding) and happened to stumble across LUSH. Now I have heard of Lush before and was definitely curious enough to stop by.

If you haven’t heard of Lush before [directly from the Lush website]:

We believe in making effective products from fresh, organic* fruit and vegetables, the finest essential oils and safe synthetics.

We invent our own products and fragrances. We make them fresh by hand using little or no preservative or packaging, using only vegetarian ingredients, and tell you when they were made.

We believe in buying ingredients only from companies that do not commission tests on animals and in testing our products on humans.

We believe in happy people making happy soap, putting our faces on our products and making our mums proud.

We believe in long candlelit baths, sharing showers, massage, filling the world with perfume and in the right to make mistakes, lose everything and start again.

We believe our products are good value, that we should make a profit and that the customer is always right.

* We also believe words like fresh and organic have honest meaning beyond marketing.

Now because Lush is a bit pricey (and their handmade products have expiration dates), I only purchased two things this last time, but the Lush sales woman did give me a few samples to try out. Warning if you have not yet seen a Lush, but they have TOO MANY products to sample/sniff in one visit – at least for me, so I only stuck to a couple of things (they have shower, body, bath , face, perfumes, lip, cosmetic and many other products).


Since I had just ran out of my hair mask, I opted for the H’Suan Wen Hua Hair Treatment ($20.95), plus I picked up the Mint Julips Lip Scrub ($9.95).

At checkout I got samples of  their North Pole holiday soap, Porridge soap, Dirty Springwash shower gel and R&B Hair Moisturizer.

Now I have only tried out the H’Suan Wen Hua Hair Treatment once, but here are the important things:

You apply it to dry hair for at least 20 minutes, which I guess is so that the ingredients are absorbed into your dry strands.

Apparently, with my very long hair, I was supposed to apply the ENTIRE pot, which I did not – it was too pricey to justify that, so I applied a third to the bottom half of my hair.

It has a strange smell, which I knew from sniffing it in the store, but thought the smell could be worth it.

The smell lasts on your hair for days!! Not fun, as it smells of clove, cinnamon and more of its ingredients.

Worked okay, but it wasn’t the miracle treatment I was hoping for and probably won’t purchase this one again.


I won’t entirely dismiss the H’Suan Wen Hua Hair Treatment yet, I’ll certainly finish out the pot (maybe one/two more uses), who knows maybe it will work better the second time around.

So next up is the amazing Mint Julips Lip Scrub, super simple, but definitely worth testing out a your nearest Lush if you can. Smells like a York Peppermint Pattie 🙂

It is straight sugar and oils, with a touch of vanilla and chocolate flavoring! Yum! Apply, rub, scrub and lick off the rest. They do have other flavors/scents, but this is by far the best one in my opinion!


So onto the samples:

Porridge soap

Damn it! I really wanted to love this, but sorry Lush, soap is soap! I tend to avoid any product that calls itself a “soap” and  this reminded me why I do. Porridge smells wonderful – a soft cream with caramel and a hint of spice, with a milky lather rather than a foamy one, but once it rinses off all you have is that dry draggy residue feeling 😦

It does have pinhead oatmeal for exfoliation, but that tends to make a mess of oatmeal bits at the bottom of your shower/tub.

North Pole soap

Again, soap is soap. My skin did not have such a dry draggy feeling as Porridge, but it still left a slight draggy feeling. Nice scent with a masculine edge. The pink side is a bit more feminine with a subtle peppermint and chocolate scent, with the white being more intense and woody, like an unconventional men’s cologne.

Dirty Springwash

If you love having that subtle men’s scent on you, then this is definitely for you! Apparently, it was formulated for men, but many women love it too and I can see why. It is a fresh, non-drying non-draggy shower gel, with a cooling feeling on the skin (from a bit of menthol) and smells fresh with a light spearmint scent.

R&B Hair Moisturizer

I haven’t tried this one yet, but the girl recommended I try this sample since I have very long curly hair and am always in search of a great leave-in treatment. It smells of citrus and jasmine, but I’m afraid it may be too overwhelming on someone like me who will need to use a bit more product on my hair than the average person. We’ll see…

Okay – so overall, I think it is hit and miss with Lush depending on the product.

I went through their catalogue – Lush Times and marked down a few things I definitely would want to test in store or possibly buy; but if you are thinking about trying out Lush products, my recommendation is to avoid online shopping and find your closest Lush shop, as they are pricey and almost all their products seem to be fragrance heavy.