Subscription box reviews: Ipsy Glam Bag and Julep Maven

I love the idea of the beauty box subscriptions, so while I’m in the States, I’m trying a few of them out! I signed up for Julep Maven because I found a coupon code for the first box free (FREEBOX, I think it still works, you just pay shipping), and then I chose what seemed like one of the best values from the others, the Ipsy Glam bag. I might try another one or two before I head back to Germany in August–any suggestions?

Now, I’m going to tell you about what I got. First up, the Glam Bag from Ipsy. This is a beauty subscription service, where for $10 a month, you get 4-5 full-sized products or deluxe samples every month, packaged in a cute reusable makeup bag. I received the May bag as my first bag. The bag itself is really cute, with a nice orange and blue chevron print.

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Inside, I got 5 great products. First up, a Yaby concealer refill in buff–this is meant to go in a palette, which I don’t have, so on that count the packaging is less than great, but the concealer itself is really nice. The color matches my skin perfectly, and it covers really well. Second, I got a Zoya nail polish, in a pale pink shimmery color called Gie Gie. This isn’t a color I’d pick for myself, but I do like it. I also got a Mirabella Color Sheers Lipstick in Posy–again, this isn’t a color I’d typically choose, but it’s nice, and the formula of the lipstick is really good. The fourth product I received is a Pacifica Roll-On Perfume in Tahitian Gardenia. I actually already own and love this, so it means they’re picking good products! And now I have one for my home and one for my purse. The packaging is really convenient, and the scent is lovely. Finally, I got a mini Anastasia Clear Brow Gel. I’ve never used a brow gel before, and I’m not sure I absolutely need it, but it is nice. By my calculations, these products are worth a little more than $50, plus the makeup bag–not bad at all for only paying $10! This is a great beauty subscription, and I liked everything I got, so I stayed subscribed for the June bag.

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The June makeup bag is another fun pattern, animal print and neon this time! However, the contents of the bag were a little disappointing, compared to last month’s. First, there were two items from J.Cat Beauty, a brand I’d never heard of before: false eyelashes and the Sparking Cream Palette, which is not actually eyeshadow but body glitter. Glitter and false eyelashes are fun and all, but not exactly something I’m going to incorporate into my daily routine. These are novelty items, cheap novelty items at that, and when compared to the quality and usefulness of everything in the May bag, I’m pretty disappointed with these. Perhaps I’ll have an occasion to try them out, but I definitely could have lived without them. I wish I’d gotten the highlighter pencil that I’ve seen some people got in their bags instead of the eyelashes. Next up, I received a Cailyn Line Fix Gel Eyeliner in Iron. I don’t particularly love the color, but I’ll probably wear it, and the formula is really nice–draws a great smudge-proof line, and the built-in brush is really convenient. The fourth product I received is the Starlooks Lip Pencil in Tickle Me Pink. I really like this lipliner! The color is great, and the formula is creamy and matte and very pigmented, and I think it could be worn as a lip color on its own. Finally, I received an NYX mosaic powder blush in Dare. Unfortunately, this was broken in transit so I don’t really have much to say about it, but I sent them an email and they said they’d send me a replacement product (either the same one or a comparable product). I use blush, so assuming whatever I get has a nice color, I’ll be glad to have it. Overall, this box was worth about $47, which is still a good deal, and I’ll use 3 of the 5 products. I’m not as impressed with this month’s package as last month’s, but I still want to see what ipsy has to offer in July!

Next up, the Julep Maven box. This box gives you some combination of nail polish and full-size beauty products; it depends on what “style” you sign up for (you take a quiz, but you can also choose your own). Some boxes have three nail polishes, some have two nail polishes and a beauty product, and some have two beauty products. I got the “Classic With A Twist” introductory box, which included two nail polishes (a khaki and a bright pink) and a hand scrub.

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The scrub is nice, it works well on hands, body, and even face, and does a nice job of exfoliating and smoothing skin. It smells nice, too! The nail polishes I’m less impressed with; they’re good enough, but the pink is more neon than it appears online (good for toes in the summer, though), and the khaki color is sort of weird looking on my fingernails. The khaki color is well formulated, and two coats leave it nice and opaque, but the pink was kind of streaky (I didn’t use any base or top coat, though). I’m pretty happy with this box considering I paid $4 for it, but if I’d paid $20, I’d be less thrilled. It’s still nice, though, especially if you’re really into nail polish; I’m not, particularly. I mean, I wear it, but I usually buy really cheap stuff, and I get more excited about makeup. The nail polishes retail for $14 each and the scrub for $23 (although Maven members get discounts on all Julep products), which makes this box worth $51, so it is a pretty nice deal. As a subscription service, Julep has some nice features; you can see what you’re getting ahead of time, and change the “style” of your box whenever you want, as well as upgrading or putting add-ons for an additional cost, and you can easily skip a month whenever you want as well.

Overall, I really like the subscription box concept! Getting a package in the mail full of beauty products every month can’t be a bad thing, and they do offer good value for the money, as well as the chance to try new things that you might otherwise not have discovered. What are your favorite subscription boxes?

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Beauty Product Reviews! Hydroxatone BB Cream & Moisturizer and Perlier Bath & Body Products

I’ve never done beauty product reviews here, but I thought I’d give it a shot. I’m going to make one big post with several products I’ve gotten to try recently, and if you like my product reviews, let me know and I’ll do more in the future! I’ll also be writing up reviews of a couple of subscription beauty box/bag services this week.

Now, first I want to talk about two products from Hydroxatone that I got for review from iFabbo. Full disclosure, I got these for free, and as I’m a student, they’re not something I could have afforded on my own–but I wish I could! 

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First up, the moisturizer. It’s called AM/PM Anti-Wrinkle Complex, and while anti-aging isn’t a particular concern of mine (I’m 22!), I guess you can’t start too early. I really like this moisturizer–it’s very very effective, my skin feels great and I notice a difference after just a few days of using it (as opposed to my usual $5 drugstore moisturizer). However, it’s very thick and heavy, and it makes my face a little too shiny for use in the mornings, it takes awhile to fully sink in. But, that downside is fully made up for by how great my skin looks! It also has SPF15, which I know I’m going to appreciate when I’m working outside this summer. I do love this product, but not enough to drop that much cash that I don’t have. I recommend it only if the $70 price tag isn’t going to eat into your food budget like it would mine!

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Secondly, the BB cream. This is the Hydroxatone Anti-Aging BB Cream with SPF 40. Now, I have not been a fan of the BB cream before. I tried two cheap drugstore versions, and was thoroughly unimpressed. They didn’t seem to provide my skin any great benefits, and the coverage was essentially none–I get that it’s supposed to be light, but I didn’t feel like any of my blemishes were even less noticeable. Also they made my skin kind of orange, in the lightest shade. So when I got this in a “medium,” I was VERY skeptical. But I have to say, I’m a convert! I’m already dreading when it runs out, because I don’t know how I’m going to be able to afford to spend $40 on a BB cream…but I’ll have to make it work, somehow! My skin looks AMAZING with this cream, and it’s so light and perfect for summer. With a few dabs of concealer, and a dusting of powder on the shiny spots, I’m good to go! So much easier than foundation, and I think my skin looks even better than it does with my usual foundation. I am so ridiculously in love with this product! Plus, the SPF 40 makes it perfect for summer. If you can afford a fancy BB cream, try this one out! Even if you haven’t been impressed by some of the cheaper contenders, this product will make you see what all the hype’s about. For someone who never spends more than $10 on cosmetics, saying it’s worth the price tag is an incredibly enthusiastic recommendation, so try it out!

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Finally, I want to mention the Perlier Travel Set, also received for review from iFabbo. This set gives you travel-size body wash and lotion in four different lovely scents. I quite liked all the scents, and the formulas were really nice. The body washes are lovely, and the lotions work great–very moisturizing without being greasy, and they sink in really quickly. The Honey is my favorite scent, but they’re all great! I travel a lot, so I appreciate the small sizes; they’re very convenient! If you were to put these items in a nicer package (they come in a clear plastic pouch, which is practical but not pretty), they’d make a really nice gift set.

Disclaimer: I received these products to try free, but the reviews are my honest opinions.