Birchbox UK: September 2016

Another month, another parcel that the delivery man leaves on my porch in full view of passers-by (can I do some sort of click and collect thing? eh).

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This month’s UK edition of Birchbox brings the theme “Heroes” – an implication that the products inside are of hero-level quality (we’ll see). The box itself has a fairly unassuming geometric pastel design that gives a rather summery vibe for September, and a pull-out drawer (I like to keep these types of boxes, they make for cute storage).

The products included this month are – again – a mixed bag of things, but there are some exciting items and brands that I’ve wanted to try for a while, and luckily no hand sanitiser this time…

STARSKIN Eye Catcher™ Smoothing Bio-Cellulose Second Skin Eye Masks

First up is a single pack of gel-like undereye masks from cult brand STARSKIN. Face masks are definitely having a moment all over social media, with loads of odd and innovative masks available for every part of your face, and STARSKIN’s bright and funky packaging often makes an appearance. The brand advises that you stick these in the fridge before using them to add to the cooling effect, and the little gels are supposed to decrease puffiness and improve dark circles (always welcome).

I hadn’t tried any undereye masks until I got this, and it was certainly an odd and enlightening experience. The patch-like masks are suspended in the sachet, which is full of serum/goo – you could probably apply this after using the mask to get more use out of the product. The product had a nice, fresh skincare-y scent, although the little patches were awkward to handle – they were very thin and floppy, and you have to peel the outer layers off before applying which is super-fiddly.

Once I placed these on my face, they definitely felt cooling and soothing, although the patches were too big to fit well under my eyes and kept sliding down (protip: don’t use these while walking around and doing chores – one nearly fell into the dog’s food). I took them off after about 10-15 minutes, and my undereyes felt a bit more hydrated than usual, however I don’t know if I’d pay £8.50 for single use eye masks (I have just bought the Cucumber Slice eye masks from Dirty Works, so we’ll see how those compare).

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ModelCo® Highlighting Trio

This is the item I’m most excited about this month – a gorgeous trio of shimmery multi-purpose cream products for bronzing, blushing and highlighting, as well as the lips and eyes. Subscribers were, again, offered a choice between two ModelCo items. The other product was the Creme Rouge, which I already have (and adore), so the obvious choice was the highlighting trio.

This did not disappoint. The formula of the creams is divinely smooth, and they are perfectly pigmented with a gorgeous glow, without any chunky glitter. The brown shade is a little warm for me as a bronzer, but it looks lovely on the eye, as does the pearl shade which gives a pretty wash of highlight that’s perfect for the inner corner. At £17, this is definitely on the higher end of the makeup scale, but the quality  and versatility of this product does match up to the price tag. ModelCo is one of those brands I’d usually skip over since the packaging looks and feels cheap, but their eyebrow gel is another one of my favourites so there’s some definite hidden gems in their range.

NUXE Prodigieux® Shower Oil

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Nuxe make loads of great products, like their hydrating face mask and luxurious body oil (highly recommend). This “shower oil” is intended for use in the shower and the instructions advise that you massage it into damp skin, and then rinse it off – a bit of a faff for me personally. However, this smelled lovely (like suncream and holidays) and definitely left my skin softer and a bit more lively looking due to the hint of golden shimmer – no mean feat, as I am the colour of A4 paper.

The full size tube is £10 for 200ml, which is actually pretty reasonable for such a luxe brand and pricey-feeling product. I would  definitely consider repurchasing this once summer (eventually) rolls back around.

Jane Iredale Smooth Affair Facial Primer & Brightener

More makeup! Yay! Jane Iredale is a brand that I’ve never tried, although I’ve heard plenty about it and assumed that the products were all far too pricey for me. It’s definitely not bargain friendly – the full size is £36 – but this primer is one of the best I’ve ever used. It smells INCREDIBLE, like all grapefruity and fresh, and goes on so easily. The effect is certainly brightening and hydrating, as well as smoothing my skin out while feeling lightweight and nourishing.

What this primer is not is a primer that prolongs the longevity of your makeup and holds everything in place all day. I’m fairly oily at the moment, so I’m reaching for blotting and mattifying products rather than anything overly hydrating. However, I think this primer would be perfect for anyone having an issue with dull, dry skin (and anyone with the cash to spare).

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amika Bombshell Blowout Spray

The last item this month is something from the haircare brand amika. When it comes to haircare, I like minimal effort and things I can just chuck in and tousle a bit. This spray is meant to add volume and texture during a blowdry, but can be used on dry hair. I did the latter as I prefer to let my hair air-dry, and I was quite impressed with the results. The spray was fine and had a delicious scent and the effect on my hair didn’t feel too heavy or sticky – it gave just the right amount of hold and volume, although I don’t know if I’d repurchase it as I already have products that do similar things -the full size is £14.99 for 237ml (a random amount), a fair price for a good product from a relatively small brand.

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Overall, I definitely liked this month’s selection more than last month –  I’ll definitely get use out of all five items (and the cute drawer/box), even if I don’t repurchase them. I don’t necessarily know if the label “Heroes” can be applied to all of these things, but there’s enough interesting discoveries to keep me subscribed (for now).

Birchbox UK is available here for £10 + £2.95 shipping a month.

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