Beauty Box Battle: January 2018 + December 2017 Update

New year, same(ish) face! This month, a bonus contender enters the ring and I look back at how December’s boxes fared.

Birchbox vs. Ipsy vs. Target!

“I love Target!” said every basic bitch ever. (Myself included.) While they don’t do monthly subscriptions like Birchbox and Ipsy do, they do sell similar boxes of samples on a regular basis. This month, I picked up the Target Beauty Box: Best of UK. It was a steal for only $7 bucks and it included a $5 off coupon off a $20 purchase of any of the brands inside. Score!

Anyway, here are this month’s contenders:



Packaging: 💄💄💄

Abstract. Cute. Modern art? I don’t hate it.

COOLA Mineral Face SPF 30 Unscented Matte Tint

Rating: 💄💄💄

This would be more exciting if I got it during the summer, even if you are supposed to use SPF every day. It’ll get put to good use at the tournaments I’m going to in the next month.

Real Chemistry Luminous 3-Minute Peel

Rating: 💄💄💄

This is the one item I got to request this month. None of the other options were that appealing, and I’m always down to try new skincare things.

R+Co BADLANDS Dry Shampoo Paste

Rating: 💄💄💄💄

Call me gross, but I don’t wash my hair every day. I do it 2-3 times a week, tops. But I’m going to the gym that at least much or more. (Yay me!) As a result, I’ve been washing my hair more and it’s starting to shed faster than usual. I’m looking forward to seeing if I can use this to extend my hair between washes.

Smashbox Cosmetics Always On Matte Liquid Lipstick in Driver’s Seat

Rating: 💄💄💄

Liquid lipsticks are funny and intimidating but this color is juuuuuust wearable enough that it might be worth it. We’ll see.

The Beauty Crop Espresso Yourself Eyeshadow Palette

Rating: 💄💄💄

Ugh, I hate this kind of flimsy plastic packaging. I struggle so hard to get it open. However, the shades are really wearable! I feel like they’d pair well with my favorite travel palette, which is all mattes. (It’s the Smashbox Photo Matte Eyes, in case you were wondering.)



Top: Smashbox Driver’s Seat. Bottom three: Beauty Crop Espresso Yourself.



Packaging rating: 💄💄💄💄💄

This baby is gonna be my new gym bag. Since I use the gym in my apartment complex, all I need to carry is my keys and the case for my AirPods. I also love the little card it came with. Still have to fill it in, though. Suggestions?

Real Chemistry Fresh-Start Foaming Cleanser

Rating: 💄💄💄

Oh look, another Real Chemistry product. Looks like they launched relatively recently, which might explain why I got their products in separate boxes. That’s one way to create a buzz, I suppose. I generally don’t like foaming cleaners (I use a cleansing milk in the morning and then a cleansing balm/cream duo at night because I am precious about my skincare like that) but I’m willing to give this one a spin.

Furless Loose Pigment in Sneaky


Ugh, loose pigments are such a pain to use. Give me pressed powders any day. The packaging is trying to look fancy but feels cheap. Not even being my favorite color will spare this from the lowest rating I can give.

Bellapierre Waterproof Gel Eyeliner in Metallic Green


Ipsy must have heard that I like colored eyeliner, they sent me a green eyeliner. I was seriously intimidated by the color but then the tip broke right off when I went to swatch it.




The Balm Cosmetics Mary-Lou Manizer

Rating: 💄💄💄💄

This is one of those cult products I’ve heard so much about but have yet to try, so I’m excited about this! I generally prefer cream highlighters but I can always use this as an eyeshadow if it doesn’t work out.

SLMissGlam L36 Tapered Highlight Brush


And look, a brush to go with the highlighter. Lovely. My favorite blending brush is from this brand, too. I got it in one of my first Ipsy bags and I still use it regularly.

Ipsy points bonus: Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask


It’s winter and my lips are chapped AF. Ipsy gives you points for reviewing things, so I spent some on this sample. It’s deceptively small and I’m worried it’s gonna be another case of not knowing if I like something because I didn’t have enough of a sample to properly test it. We’ll see.



Furless Sneaky, Bellapierre “Metallic” Green, The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer.



Packaging rating: 💄

It’s a box. So there’s that.

No. 7 Restore and Renew Serum

Rating: 💄💄💄💄

I’m just trying to maintain the face I have, so I’m always excited to try anything with antiaging properties.

No. 7 Airbrush Away Primer

Rating: 💄💄💄

As I mentioned last month, I don’t wear a lot of base products so primer isn’t a priority. That being said, primers that claim to blur your pores (not really a problem) and wrinkles (holy shit I am actively ignoring mine) are always on my radar.

Soap & Glory Righteous Butter Body Butter

Rating: 💄💄

It’s winter. My skin is often dry. So this feels like a practical choice.

Soap & Glory Pillow Plump Lip Gloss in Mother Pucker

Rating: 💄💄

I’m not much of a gloss person, but hey, I’m here to experiment, right?

Botanics Shine Away Ionic Clay Mask

Rating: 💄💄💄💄

I love face masks. The play a regular part of my nightly ritual. Can’t wait to add this one to the rotation!

Sleek MakeUP Eyeshadow Palette in When the Sun Goes Down


Knowing that this sample would be coming was the reason I ordered this box. I was hoping that I might get lucky with a full sized palette, but this teeny tiny thing is so cute that I’m not even mad. The shimmers swatched like a dream, but the two mattes gave me a little trouble. The matte cream color barely showed up on my skin.



Top row of Sleek’s When the Sun Goes Down


Bottom row of Sleek’s When the Sun Goes Down, Soap & Glory Mother Pucker

January’s winner so far?

Target! Great bang for my buck ($7 instead of $10 like Ipsy and Birchbox) and far fewer duds.

December updates!



Sunday Riley C.E.O. Rapid Flash Brightening Serum

Original rating: 💄💄💄 // Updated rating: 💄💄

This lasted me seven mornings worth of uses. The directions said twice daily, but I already have a night serum that I really like. As expected, I used this more sparingly than I would have if I didn’t have such a tiny sample. It didn’t make my skin worse, but seven days probably isn’t enough to see if it would make my skin better.

Clark’s Botanicals Deep Moisture Mask

Original rating: 💄💄💄💄 // Updated rating: 💄💄💄💄

I’ve been using this as my night moisturizer and it’s been great! But as much as I like this, 72 bucks is too damn high.

Whish Botanical Primer

Original rating: 💄💄 // Updated rating: 💄

Ugh, the package was mostly air! I got three uses out of this. Three. But considering that it did nothing for me, I suppose that was for the best.

Beauty Protector Protect & Volume Spray

Original rating: 💄💄💄 // Updated rating: 💄

This smelled as good as the detangler from the same brand, which I really like. However, this stuff left my hair stiff and sticky, not voluminous. Hard pass.

Marcelle Ultimate Volume Nano Mascara

Original rating: 💄💄 // Updated rating: 💄

Ugh. Not sure if the teeny tiny applicator is to blame or if it’s the formula, but this left my lashes hella clumpy. I didn’t even bother to take a photo.

Christmas Bonus! Birchbox eyelash curler

Original rating: 💄💄💄 // Updated rating: 💄💄

I used this a few times when I had the time. I didn’t notice enough of a difference.



Luxie Beauty Precision Shader Onyx Brush 239

Original rating: 💄💄💄💄💄 // Updated rating: 💄💄💄💄💄

I love Luxie brushes and this was no exception. It’s earned a spot in my regular rotation.

NIP+FAB Dragon’s Blood Fix Plumping Serum

Original rating: 💄💄💄💄 // Updated rating: 💄💄

I couldn’t say that my skin is noticeably plumper. It felt a little sticky on my face even after I rubbed it in. I’ll hold onto it but I’m ready to try other things.

TONYMOLY The Chok Chok Green Tea Watery Cream

Original rating: 💄💄💄 // Updated rating: 💄💄💄

Average moisturizer does average job. Surprise. I finished off this sample and went back to my usual average moisturizer.

NYX Faux Blacks in Black Olive

Original rating: 💄💄💄💄💄 // Updated rating: 💄💄💄💄💄+

I liked this so much that I went out and bought three more colors at Ulta. So yeah, I guess you could say that I liked it. I might do a more in-depth review of these later.





City Color Cosmetics Shimmer Shadow in It’s A Girl

Original rating: 💄💄 // Updated rating: 💄💄

Used it once. It was nice. It’s probably gonna languish in my eyeshadow drawer, though. I don’t mind getting eyeshadow singles, but this was nothing special or anything I’ll remember to reach for.

December’s champion is…

Ipsy, if for no other reason than the eyeliner. Getting me to get the full size or repurchase something from a subscription box is hard enough. Going out and buying three different colors is a first.

3 Comments on “Beauty Box Battle: January 2018 + December 2017 Update”

  1. Any thoughts on BoxyCharm? I am thinking about signing up for it so I can have different products to review for my blog. I think the price is right for full-sized products compared to other boxes out there!


    • I had BoxyCharm for a few months last year. The price is absolutely right for a box of full-sized products, but the boxes aren’t personalized like Ipsy or Birchbox so I occasionally ended up with full sized products that I hated. I’m glad I tried it and there are a handful of things that I got and really loved, but 5 full sized products a month starts to take up space quickly.

      Tl;dr: BoxyCharm is good for the price but not the best in the long-term or if you want something personalized.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Beauty Box Battle: April 2018 + March 2018 Update | Barcelos Knows

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