Birch Box Bliss, say that 5 times fast

Last week I was browsing through my Facebook feed and saw that Birchbox (a beauty product monthly subscription service) was doing  a couple of limited-edition boxes with CEW. The phrase limited-edition just takes a hold of me and forces me to make bad decisions. I'm really not sure why the fact that a product is limited-edition makes it sooo much more appealing, but it just does.

Anyhow, getting back to the limited-edition boxes...Birchbox teamed up with Costmetic Executive Women (CEW) Beauty Insider's Awards to put 2 extra-special boxes together for beauty junkies like me. These boxes are in addition to the regular monthly subscription box sent out by Birchbox. The boxes are made up of items that beauty industry pros have agreed are the best mass products (i.e. drugstore products) of the year and best prestige products (high-end product; think Ulta, Sephora, department store buys) of the year. The Mass Appeal box, full of drugstore items, was $12 while the Prestige Headliners box, full of high-end items, was $18. Needless to say, I got both.

Let 's explore my favorite-- the Mass Appeal Box. Being a huge fan of drugstore beauty products, this was very appealing to me. Over the last couple of years, drugstore items have really explodes in the beauty community. Not only are the available products more innovative than ever, but they are at a price point that make them accessible to most people. We are now seeing products in the drugstore that are equivalent to higher-end items*.

The Mass Appeal box contains Burt’s Bees Ultimate Care Hand Cream, Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain, L'Oréal Paris Infallible Eyeshadow, Nivea A Kiss of Olive Oil & Lemon Moisture Rich Lip Care and Olay Pro-X Spot Fading Treatment. Sadly, I already own the Revlon Balm Stain in the same shade and the L'Oréal Infallible shadow in the same shade but I do like both products-- just wish that I got them in different colors. I've been applying the Burts Bees hand cream after I wash my hands throughout the day. It absorbs quickly and is moisturizing yet feels light and non-greasy. I also really like the Nivea lip product because it is really comfortable on the lips and I love the subtle fragrance. I think that I need more time to test the Olay spot treatment since I've only used it a few times. As far at the Simple Eye roll-on goes, I really don't see how this product could do very much. It feels good going on due to the cool metal roller balls but I think it's a bit gimmicky for my liking.

The Prestige Headliners box contains JULEP Essential Cuticle Oil, JULEP Nail Color, IT Cosmetics Brow Power Universal Brow Pencil, Living Proof Prime Style Extender, LA FRESH® Eco-Beauty Oil-Free Face Cleanser and Elizabeth Arden PREVAGE Anti-Aging Triple Defense Shield Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 50. I already own the Living Proof Prime Styler Extender. I only use this when I heat style my hair, which is not often, but I think it really does work to extend the life of my style and keep my hair looking and feeling cleaner for longer. The LA FRESH face wipe works pretty much like any other face wipe that I've tried. I used this product to remove my makeup-- nothing spectacular in my opinion, but the light scent is pleasant. I was a little bummed about the shade of JULEP polish I received (Sally: a very sheer, beige-y nude) because it's like a million other shades that I already have in my nail polish collection. I'm wearing gel polish so it's going to be a week or so before I get a change to try it out on my nails and formulate an opinion. The JULEP cuticle oil is a nice light oil in roller ball packaging. I like the applicator better than the product which doesn't seem as moisturizing as some other cuticle oils I've used (shout out to Orly Smart Gels Cuticle oils, which I use after I give myself a gel mani) but it's not terrible. I also didn't love the IT Cosmetics brow product. It's just a cool taupe twist up pencil with very little staying power. Finally I have something nice to say: I really like the Elizabeth Arden SPF. The formula is very liquid-y and feels light on the skin once applied. It is virtually undetectable under make up and didn't make me break out. Best of all-- no SPF scent!

The Mass Appeal box really impressed me while the Prestige Headliners box was a bit of a fail for me. Up until recently, I never thought that I'd prefer drugstore beauty products over high-end products. There are some really good, affordable drugstore products out there now. Not to say that all cosmetics are created equally but the gap in performance and quality is small than ever. All in all, I'm glad that I ordered both Birchbox CEW boxes. It's always fun to see what's out there. If you didn't get a chance to purchase these boxes, don't fret. You still have your pick of these products (and other CEW finalists) in their full-size versions on (not affiliated or sponsored) and you can get 35 extra Birchbox points when you use the code CEW35 at checkout.


*This is most likely because they share a parent company with the prestige brand we're comparing them to. For example, L'Oréal owns both L'Oréal Paris (sold in drugstore) and  Giorgio Armani, Yves Saint Laurent, Shu Uemura among others (sold at high-end department stores)...this is something that I will be discussing in the future.


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