(Beauty) Products: Review 6 of 12

I’m sort of over the whole Birchbox experience. Twelve of these is a lot of random free samples. At first I was like “FREE THINGS TO TRY! MAIL! WOO HOO!” But after a few times it just feels like… “wow, things I don’t need. Woo. Hoo.”

I wish that the service surveyed me after reach box, found out what I liked and didn’t, what I need and don’t, and then adjusted what was sent to me from there. It has been good at finding out what I don’t like and letting me experience words and phrases I didn’t understand.


The latest Birchbox came with a deep hydrating balm, a curl product, a BB cream (exciting!) and a microderm abrasion face wash.

First, I didn’t open the curl product because I had just bought some product from my hair lady and I thought it would be nice to add to the giveaway box at the end of this journey.

I was super excited about the BB cream though, because I love the idea of BB cream and am looking for a really good quality option. It is the perfect product for me: makes you look just a TOUCH better than you do when you roll out of bed, but the amount of effort spent is that of putting on face lotion. Done and done.


Remember last time I did a beauty product review? And there was that weird matte finishing product? And I couldn’t figure out if it even did anything? Well I’m starting to feel like maybe the term “matte” in makeup means “doesn’t actually do anything.” I mean, we all want to not look shiny, but a little finishing powder can take care of that. This BB cream just disappears on my skin. It is nice to think that I have a sunscreen on for daily, walking around-ness. But aside from that? I was so disappointed! What are you doing on my skin BB cream? Or should I say “BB Cream” because I saw nothing! Poof! And it had a weird powdery YET oily feeling on my face. Matte finish yes, texture… weird.

So what BB/CC cream do you use? I’m leaning towards the Smashbox one. I’ve heard really great reviews but I haven’t been able to pull the trigger on a product that is so expensive. At this point though, I feel like it is worth it. Thoughts?

The next item, similar to something that was sent to me before, was the deep hydrating balm.


I am a self-proclaimed sucker for anything that has to do with dry skin, as I am a dry skin sucker. Dry skin is my plague. It gives me bumpies on my arms, it makes my back break out, it makes my skin taught and uncomfortable. Drrryyy skkiinnnn!! So rescue balm, you say? I spread that shit all over my upper arms before bed. And it was …. ok. I don’t get how you can use something that is so sticky and oily? Like you have to put it on your feet and then wear special socks or something. But it says for all body parts! So how can that be! It also smells kind of herbal-y. Which is fine, it reminds me of a spa. It actually reminded me a lot of massage oil, so it wasn’t bad… it just wasn’t awesome. I don’t see how I could actually (in real life) use it without getting stuff all over my sheets or clothes. And it did not seem appealing AT ALL to use on my lips. That is for sure. If I’m going to use some sort of oil for moisturizing, I would rather go with coconut oil, hands down.

Maybe I am just feeling grumpy about this whole process, but spoiler alert: I didn’t really like this next one either. I love love love love exfoliation. I am all about scrubbing the shit out of your skin and then rubbing shea butter all over it. Anyways… this is my second type of face wash like this.


So I started out my skin care life with apricot scrub. Now we all know that stuff is way to course for the dainty skin of the face. And then I went into small, gentler face washes like aveeno and other things. Now they’ve come up with even smaller grains to tear at your skin with. Micro-crystals! Washing my face with these things actually gives me a jolt of “oh god, oh god!” anxiety. It feels like sticking my face in a sand blaster. Like the top layer of my body is being power washed away and not in a “yay refreshed!” way, in a “even the water rinsing it off my face burns!” It probably is doing amazing things for me, but I don’t think I NEED a sandblaster. Has anyone else used face washes like this for a regular period of time? What did you think?

Maybe I’m just getting lazy, but I feel overwhelmed by the barrage of new products to experiment with. Am I turning into those people who have the same hairstyle for 40 years and don’t realize how out dated they look? Am I headed down the path of fuddy duddy? Well I did get this crazy curl mousse stuff that makes my hair GIANT unless I round brush it… so at least there is that. And ya know, how can sheer eye shadow ever really go out of style? Ha. Ha. Ha. AmIright? or AmIright? Sigh.

14 thoughts on “(Beauty) Products: Review 6 of 12”

  1. Recommendations! I have ’em!

    BB cream – the only one I’ve liked so far is the Tarte BB Cream. I use it in the summer when I need less coverage. BUT, I have to say… It still doesn’t get an A+. The texture isn’t quite what I wish it’d be.

    Have you tried the NARS tinted moisturizer? In my experience, this stuff is AMAZEBALLS. Easy to apply, barely there coverage, but gave my skin an incredible glow. And lots of shades! Unfortunately… It has a chemical sunscreen in it, which made my super-sensitive skin breakout. Hello, heartbreak. I know lots of people who use it without this issue though.

    And facial exfoliators! Look for one with jojoba beads. Gentle exfoliation + moisturizing. I use one by REN, but it’s a little pricey.

    (You have confirmed what I suspected about birch box – I’m SO picky, I think all the freebies would be wasted on me.)

  2. I’m glad you are reviewing these, even if it has become kind of tedious! When Birchbox first came out, I was super jealous of everyone getting samples all the time, because everything I ever use on my face comes from Target or Proactiv. But I can see how the samples can add up really quickly and just be extra clutter, especially if you don’t love them! I’ve never tried BB cream beyond magazine samples, but I really used to love Proactiv’s sunscreen moisturizer, and they don’t make it anymore! Grrr! So now I don’t wear sunscreen every day, which is okay since I never go outside, but is probably not a good habit to be in.

  3. Like you, I love to give my face a good scrub. Something about it just feels right. Or, I could be a weirdo. Either way though, a few years ago I bought myself a Clarisonic Mia, and haven’t looked back. It’s definitely a bit pricey, but the Mia 2 has a two year warranty, and if you go to skinstore.com they usually have a 20% off sale going on. When my original Mia broke (the warranty was expired) and I called their customer service, that’s the site they told me to use to buy the new one. You can get all the different types of heads too, which I like. Once I get home from work I usually make a beeline to the bedroom to a) take off the work clothes and put on comfy ones, and b) wash off all my makeup. I actually look forward to using my Mia because I feel like it does such a good job on my face. When I don’t use it for a few days (like oops, I forgot to order the soap I like), there’s a noticeable difference in my skin. Not to mention that just washing with my soap and rinsing it off does not get my skin nearly as clean. I totally swear by it. It gives you that “I just scrubbed my face, but didn’t rip off layers of skin” feeling. it’s nice.

    I haven’t used any BB or CC creams at all though. But that’s because I like a fuller coverage in my foundation. I think it all depends on personal preference though. I’ve heard good things about the Urban Decay BB cream, and it comes in 3 shades, but it’s expensive. Maybe you can hit up a Sephora or Ulta and try a few out? That may be helpful.

    1. I have to say — I no longer use my Clarisonic (it didn’t seem to do much for me), but their customer service is outstanding. Mine broke before the warranty was up, and they sent me a new free one, no questions asked.

      1. I actually have a clarisonic! And I do really like it. But I am that person who likes to have multiple facial scrubbing options. Haha. I use my clarisonic about 3 – 4 times a week with Clinic face wash for dry skin and I think my skin has never looked better. I think it is just long enough with the little timer washer that I am not over scrubbing.

        I don’t have any different heads though – what do people recommend?

        1. I use the deep pore brush head and really like it. It was a toss up between that one and the sensitive one, but the deep pore won out. I don’t know if it really gets any deeper than the regular brush heads though, but it’s my preference.

  4. Ahh, I miss the Apricot scrub days, when I could spend less than $5 on a bottle and feel like I was treating my skin better than it had ever been treated (because I was!). You’re right, though, it is way too harsh for non-teenage skin. Now I use a gentle, natural cleanser (Burt’s Bees Orange Essence) with no beads or scrubbies or crystals at all and I think my skin is relieved. It’s clear, soft, and smooth, and I am not someone who comes by those qualities naturally. When I get a hankering to scrub my upper epidermis off, I use Lush’s sea salt scrub. It’s pricey, but I use a tiny bit no more than 2x/week (apparently you’re not supposed to exfoliate more than that, according to a facialist I saw one time), and it makes my face glow.

  5. I am a recent convert to BB Cream Land and I will say I love my Garnier BB Cream from Target. I bought it on a whim after hearing about it from various friends/family members for months and then I came across it and was like, ok, yeah, I should buy this just to see. I LOVE IT! I think it does exactly what you described – makes me look a little better than rolling out of bed with the effort of putting on face lotion. I notice I look a little tanner or smoother or something-er when I catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror and yet I don’t feel it at all and it requires no real work on my part. WIN. (I will say that I put it on before going to work and stick to regular face lotion if I’m headed for a run because with the BB Cream, you sweat neutral onto white T-shirts. (I mean like when I lift my shirt up to wipe my sweaty face, so duh, I guess.) But I don’t have a problem if I’ve worn it all day and then run in the evening… so it’s not major or anything. But it’s more than face lotion.) Also, the texture on the Garnier BB Cream is not quite lotion… very light and not noticeable at all for me!

  6. I don’t even know what BB cream is. I put Jojoba oil on face when I run out of Lancome moisturizer samples. I only buy foundation when they are giving away samples.

  7. For anyone curious about the Curl Keeper product, it’s actually pretty great. I had a sample in my box a few months ago and it’s one of the only things I bought a full size bottle of. I have wavy curls and it did a pretty good job of taming my frizz while keeping everything really lightweight.

  8. I get all my mum’s Clarins samples as she buys most of their products and they send her some pretty awesome free stuff. I REALLY like their Beauty Flash Balm, which I use just by itself but is also meant like a primer under foundation. It makes my skin glow (but not in a sparkly vampire kind of way). I think I’d be willing to invest in the completely ridiculous cost if my mum wasn’t handing over samples of it all the time. The only thing I’m not so fissed on is that it doesn’t come with a sunsreen but I just mix it with my normal one before applying and still get the “flash/glow” effects.

  9. I use the Smashbox CC which is good, although I don’t believe that its done anything for my dark spots. Like one of the above ladies, I loved NARS tinted moisturizer, but it broke me out prettyyyy badly. I have also tried Bobbi Brown BB (thumbs up), Dr Jart BB (Thumbs down), and Laura Mercier tinted moisturized (loveeee it but it’s only 20 spf). I think I will be buying the Bobbi Brown BB when I run out because its still moisturizing (I also have dry skin), SPF 35, and doesn’t smell terribly sunscreen-y (can you tell I really like makeup???)

    I used to have a birchbox subscription but you’re right… it gets old. I STILL have samples hanging around even though I haven’t been a subscriber for almost a year.

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