Wednesday, December 23, 2015

October Birchbox with PARLOR

Okay from the title you already know I am so behind on posting about this Birchbox, but I decided to take some time to try the products in the box first!

Birchbox is a popular beauty subscription box service, and can you believe this is actually my first one ever? October's box is extra special because it has products from a new hair care brand exclusive to Birchbox, PARLOR by Jeff Chastain.

The box is definitely a keeper, by the way. The pattern reminds me of a cross section of pink agate.

More importantly though, here's what was inside:
  • Egyptian Magic All-Purpose Skin Cream - 7.5 ml jar (~$4.38 value)
  • Eyeko Black Magic Mascara - 4 ml tube (~$14.34 value)
  • Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel Sensitive - 7.5 ml tube (~$5.46 value)
  • PARLOR by Jeff Chastain Moisturizing & Repairing Shampoo - 30 ml tube (~$3.13 value)
  • PARLOR by Jeff Chastain Moisturizing & Repairing Conditioner - 12 ml packet (~$1.28 value)
  • Vasanti Cosmetics All Star 2-in-1 Face and Eye Primer - 5 ml tube (~$8 value)

The Egyptian Magic All-Purpose Skin Cream is more of a thin, scentless balm, made up of just a few ingredients (olive oil, beeswax, honey, pollen, royal jelly, and bee propolis). It's nice to use as a lip balm or on dry cuticles, and the cute mini jar makes it perfect for throwing in my bag.

I struggled with the Eyeko mascara, even though a quick Google revealed that many people recommend it for the straight, stubborn lashes Asians often have (hello!) Some days it was great at defining my lashes, without smudging or clumping. Some days, to my annoyance, it smudged under the eyes. The curl hold was okay, not the same as my favourite Lancome Definicils.

Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel Sensitive caught my interest early on. AHAs are a staple in my skin care routine, and I wondered how it compared to my NeoStrata Glycolic Renewal Lotion. The texture of the Juice Beauty is super, super runny, making it a little hard to control dispensing and application. I tried using this on one side of my face and NeoStrata on the other side for a couple nights but honestly couldn't tell the difference. Maybe it's because glycolic acids are already part of my routine? I still prefer the NeoStrata.

The PARLOR shampoo promises weightless hydration that's safe for color treated hair. It's also formulated without sulfates, but still has a couple gentler surfactants so it lathers up okay and cleans hair well. I thought my hair had some decent bounce after using it, but my problem was that it really worsened my dry, flaky scalp. Way worse than if I was using my normal shampoo, which I think has a lower concentration of surfactants. If you struggle with a dry scalp, I would avoid this one. I won't finish the tube I have, but I will definitely miss having the bright, deliciously fruity scent in my hair.

I was looking forward to trying the PARLOR conditioner because maintaining dyed hair for almost a year now has really dried out my hair. I thought the polyquaternium-37, rice bran wax, sweet almond oil, and sunflower oil would really boost the hydration in my hair. While I do think it helped improve the appearance of my dry hair, the trade-off was that my hair would become oily faster than normal: I would start reaching for dry shampoo on day 2-3 rather than day 4-5. It's nice, but not quite right for me; I would beware if you have fine hair that gets easily weighed down like mine.

The only one I didn't get around to drying was the Vasanti primer, sorry! I'm not in the habit of wearing primer and I kept forgetting. It's a pale beige colour and felt nice and lightweight when I tried it on the back of my hand.

The total value of this box was about $36.59 USD, not bad for $10 (plus $4.95 shipping if you're in Canada). The current CAD/USD exchange rate sucks right now though, which puts a damper on the value.

Overall I can see why people can get hooked on beauty subscription boxes like Birchbox: it's fun and surprising to discover new products in low-commitment sizes! This time, there wasn't anything in this box that was absolutely a must-have for me, but I'll be giving the Eyeko mascara another try after my lash extensions fall out.

(PS this is a perfect last-minute Christmas gift too.)

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