birchbox unboxing; february ’17


“If you’re sad, add more lipstick and attack.” – Coco Chanel

To be completely honest, I’ve been giving some slight consideration of canceling my Birchbox subscription. It’s not that I hate what they offer, but I think about the boxes I get monthly and realize that there aren’t many “make-or-break” products that I’ve discovered from them. I think there’s been maybe two or three mainstays out of the seven months I’ve been a member…

When I reflect on what I receive in past boxes, I realize that there are some products I do love from brands I’ve never heard of, which is my favorite thing about discovering and dabbling with make-up and skincare. Whenever people ask me what the best beauty subscription program is, I describe it as Ipsy being mainly makeup, Birchbox for hair and skincare and SephoraPlay for discovering favorites.

The one thing I really do like about Birchbox is that at the end of the month, you have the option to pick one of three products that are guaranteed in your box, pick an already pre-made box or to be completely surprised. I usually opt for one product that I know I’ll like, but one of these days, I’ll let them completely surprise me!


This month’s box is not necessarily my favorite (besides for the adorable box itself!), but I do like how they incorporate several products to coincide with one another. For example, obviously the shampoo and conditioner work together, but the microdermabrasion treatment and the face mask can be used together, while the lip products can work together too.

Number 4 L’eau de Mare Hydrating Shampoo and Conditioner


Number 4 hair products are starting to become a staple in my collection, though not necessarily by choice. I’ve sampled a few of their products, including the Elixer I received last month and their Prep and Protect spray and I’m still not entirely sold on making them mainstays in my hair routine.

This product is color-safe, and I didn’t notice a lot of wash-out when using it, which is a major-plus in my book. As we know, my hair is heavily color-treated, dry and brittle and this combo insists on leaving locks soft, hydrated and shiny. After the first trial and styling my hair using the other No. 4 products aforementioned, my hair lived up to its expectations.

The scent of this shampoo/conditioner combo is almost masculine-smelling, which isn’t terrible, but throws you through a loop when you’re expecting something else. The shampoo takes some elbow grease to lather, which makes me hesitant of considering of  purchasing it in the future.

The conditioner is a highly concentrated formula, so a little does goes a long way. Immediately, I noticed my hair felt softer (especially testing it after four days in-between my last wash, copious amounts of dry shampoo, and hair spray!).

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Dr. Lipp Miracle Balm


As much as I like the convenience of having an all-in-one product, sometimes products just aren’t meant to be everything under the sun.

The Dr. Lipp Miracle Balm is predominately a lip balm, but has multiple uses including taming eyebrows, instant hydration and even helping soothe a sunburn. All of these things sound fantastic, if you can get the product out of the tube!

This formula is incredibly thick. I’m talking molasses thick. It’s a miracle if you can get it out of the packaging thick. When I did manage a tiiiiiiiny bit out, I applied it to my lips, which was even harder to spread around. This product is claimed to be a cult-favorite, but I just don’t see the hype.

After reading reviews on Birchbox’s website, I had a revelation: This product is essentially a glorified petroleum jelly, but much thicker. Did it moisturize my lips? Sure, but with its price tag, I’d much rather opt for Vaseline.

Rating: 1 out of 5

Vasanti BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator


It’s no secret that I have problem skin. I might not have a lot of noticeable acne, but I do have a lot of blackheads that clog my pours and leaves my skin looking dirty or freckled, especially on my chin and nose. I could spend hours extracting them!

When I worked at a local salon as a receptionist, I quickly became a guinea pig for our esthetician for treatments and services. Microdermabrasion became a favorite of mine because I could feel the little diamonds buffing away those problem areas, but once I left the salon, I didn’t love the price tag for services!

I’ve used the Dr. Brandt microdermabrasion treatment and LOVED it, but again, hated the price tag. This is a really good dupe for it, and nearly half the cost. I like the Vasanti one a little bit more, because of the aloe vera that will combat redness and coconut that will help hydrate.

After using this treatment once, I noticed immediate results, primarily that my face looked brighter. The packaging also says that it can be used 3-5 times a week, which is much different than any other microderm products I’ve used before. It didn’t completely dissolve all of my blackheads in my problem areas, but this is definitely something I plan to purchase in the future and implement into my skincare routine.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Manna Kadar Cosmetics Lip Locked in Rosette


Nudes seem to be the trend this spring, which I love and hate. I love because springtime is all about natural looks and bright colors, but I hate because I cannot find a perfect nude lip to compliment me. Whenever I think I find one, it just doesn’t cut it and I’m back to the drawing board.


Statement lips are my thing and I live for bold colors of all aspects of the rainbow: Reds, pinks, even blues! However, this shade from Manna Kadar did not compliment my skin tone  and it made my lips look too light. I’m not sure if it’s because it was too pink-based and I usually opt for mauves, but it made me looked incredibly washed out with the make-up look I sampled it with. However, sampling it with a more natural face like the ones posted here made me second guess my original assessment.


post-gym selfie with Manna Kadar Lip Locked Stain in Rosette

It insists on being a lip stain and a swipe-and-go formula, but I felt that it faded quickly and I was eating it more than I was wearing it. I had to reapply it multiple times throughout the day and it didn’t live up to its hype as a stain.

The only positive I give it is that it did hydrate my lips, as promised. I want to like this product because it really is moisturizing but it just doesn’t feel like it does anything for my lips. If you’ve ever used a lipstick that wears off quickly, you’ll know exactly what I mean and that’s the epitome of this product.

Rating: 2 out of 5

BioRepublic Skincare Cucumber Breeze Soothing Fiber Mask


Sheet masks are the perfect way to give yourself a pick-me-up without a major commitment! My favorite thing to do is to spend a quiet night watching Netflix or reading and zoning out with a sheet mask. It’s 15 minutes of no distractions while it benefits with my skin!

I’ve used the BioRepublic Cucumber Breeze mask before in an Ipsy Glam Bag and was stoked to see it in this month’s box. A little bonus is to pop this mask in the freezer before using it, this way it’s even more cooling! (These would be great to stock-pile for the upcoming summer months!)

As much as I love sheet masks, I think they’re more frivolous than they are practical. I have yet to find a sheet mask that actually provided major benefits to my skin, but moisturizing my skin in a hassle-free way is always a bonus for my skin.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

If you’re interested in signing up, use my referral link here!

About sarah

28. writer. obsessed with makeup, traveling, nyr and sparkle.
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2 Responses to birchbox unboxing; february ’17

  1. Pingback: ipsy unbagging: march ’17 | life with sarah

  2. Pingback: birchbox unboxing: september ’18 | life with sarah

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