I have a couple more gift guides to share as Christmas is just around the corner and it’s crunch time to order items to have them arrive in time for the holidays. Finding gifts for the guys in my life is generally easy for me to do as there are tons of grooming, tech and shoe options to choose from. In general I would not recommend buying fragrance or clothes for someone unless you’re really close to them and have a good sense of their personal taste, exact size and style – but there are a couple of items I’ve found I think could be universally appealing regardless of age of fashion type.
Mr. Porter Grooming Kit for Winter 2016 ($95) has a gift set of 12 grooming products with a great selection of minis and travel-sized products, I like these types of sets because guys like my husband or brother won’t usually seek out products to try unless it’s gifted in a set to them, this is a nice way to help them explore skincare
Clarisonic Alphafit ($219) I bought this for my husband over a year ago and he says this is something he thinks every guy should own, and says he even the low maintenance ones will use it because it’s easy to use, convenient to have and store in the shower and is compact for travel, he says it’s also made a huge difference in skin texture and keeping it break-out free
Leica C Digital Camera ($629) comes with high ratings for a digital camera, I’m actually looking for a small one to travel with for myself too but also have this on the list for my brother in law
Art of Shaving Peppermind and Razor Set ($115) has the new Peppermint Shaving Cream, Facial Scrub and Facial Wash along with the Morris Park Razor, for the women who want the men in their life to up their shaving game, there are lots of sets, starter sets and razors to choose from
Harry’s Travel Dopp Kit ($25) is something I actually got for my husband from the Birchbox Man on the Move Gift Set ($55) which is a steal considering all the items packed inside, if you want something at the $25 price point you can buy the bag separately (and my husband has actually used it for travel), but if your budget can allow a bit more the gift set is a really great value
Cole Haan Grand Pro Sneakers ($130) come in a wide range of colors and finishes (also leather), these are among my husband’s favorite for comfort and quality
Dior Sauvage Gift Set ($118) is one of the fragrance sets for men I think is universally appealing regardless of style and age, the set has my husband’s favorite deodorant and while we were away his brother stayed at our place for the week and of course sampled all of his grooming drawers, the minute we got home he said, “I really like this scent – can you buy some for me for Christmas” – my husband and his brother are opposites in style so if both of them like this scent I think it’s a good sign that most guys will
Bose Soundlink Color Bluetooth Speakers ($129) are something I bought previous versions of as gifts, my husband had his in his office but just brought it back home to use in the bathroom while he showers, I think the colors are fun
Chanel Bleu de Chanel Shave Cream ($45) is something new to the Bleu de Chanel Grooming line, if you know guys who like this scent there are some new additions like this shave cream
Chanel Bleu de Chanel Travel Eau de Toilette ($77) comes with 3 0.7 oz Eau de Toilettes in a twist and spray canister you can refill, this was my husband’s go-to for years until recently when he decided to switch things up a bit, he still has the travel size ones and uses them
Island Slipper Leather Sandal ($94.95) might be something you can’t wear right now if you live anywhere that it’s cold or snowy, but planning for warmer weather is always something you can do ahead of time, especially if you’re planning a tropical vacation, I ordered these over the spring because they had overwhelmingly positive reviews, my husband said they’re the best sandals he has ever owned, he wore them most of our Florida trip and they are comfortable for walking and the beach (I went ahead and ordered this style so he can have a second pair)
If you’re looking for last minute gifts for the guys in your life I hope you found this roundup helpful! Many of these are tried and tested so know there are options above that have had actual success. If you have any good ones you’d like to share let me know in the comments!
I have my first holiday gift guide of the year today featuring some great discovery gift sets. Birchbox and Sephora each have their own curated box sets with hand-picked items. They’re often grouped and boxed by themes such as dry shampoos, berry lips, nude lips, sunscreen, skincare etc. They’ve basically taken their best sellers and packed them into sampler boxes with minis at a value price. I love these for myself because it allows me to try a lot of items without having to buy the individual full sizes I’m unsure about. Each store has their own exclusive selection which makes them unique.
There are tons of boxes and kits to choose from. Many are pretty affordable and tons at the $25 price point. This year I shopped sets early as I know there’s a good chance the value sets of them will sell out early. My friends this year are all about hair styling and highlighters. It seems like every single female friend I have doesn’t have time to wash and dry their hair on a daily basis. The good thing this year is that there are TONS of dry shampoo sets and holiday styling sets for all hair types. Highlighters are also as popular among my friends as they are on Instagram lol. Sets are great because even though I think I can find the perfect highlighter or dry shampoo for my close friends we all have different tastes and preferences.
Up first are some of the Birchbox Kits. Birchbox is known for their monthly subscription boxes and for the longest time I thought that was all that they offered. Not true. The Birchbox Collection has an entire shop of discovery kits, limited-edition box sets, and much more. If you visit their store you’ll see their products grouped by product type and then brand. An entire wall will be dedicated to suncare and they’ll split it by types of sunscreens. Their value sets are really cute and well put together. You can also buy individual full-sized items as well.
Up first is The Dry Shampoo Starter Kit for $32 ($74 value) you get an amika (Fort)Tress Shower Cap, amika Perk Up Dry-Shampoo, R+Co Death Valley Dry Shampoo (one of my favorites), Oribe Gold Lust Dry Shampoo, Living proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo, Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk.
To date the R+Co had been my favorite but has been replaced with the Oribe Dry Shampoo that just launched a couple months ago. Neither leave my hair looking dusty or matte and there is no white residue. One of my friends swears by the Living Proof one which I tried. It left my hair looking too matte. As this set is a gift I won’t be reviewing the other items but thought you would like a peek at this one.
Next is the one I’m just beyond obsessed with. In my What’s In My Bag post I mentioned this Birchbox + Oribe Styling Kit. It has five minis of Oribe – cute beyond words!! I ordered two of these, one for me, one for a friend. I suspect I will be ordering a few more as you just can’t go wrong with Oribe. It’s priced at $35, each bottle is tiny but if you’ve never tried Oribe before this is a great way to try out the line without having to buy individual bottles which are around $20 each for the minis.
One kit I received as a press sample was the Complete SPF Kit. When I visited the Birchbox Soho Store over the summer I was just blown away by the presentation and display of the store. If you’re in NYC definitely make a stop there. The bottom floor is for men’s grooming and skincare so bring your boyfriend, husband, brother or male friends with you. They can build their own Birchbox too!
This one is priced at $18 – you get mini sample sizes of Supergoop! Advanced SPF 37 Anti-Aging Eye Cream, MDSolarSciences Mineral Moisture Defense SPF 50, Dr. Jart+ Every Sun Day SPF 30 UV Sun Fluid, Supergoop! Defense Refresh Setting Mist SPF 50, COOLA Face SPF 30 Unscented, COOLA Daydream SPF 30 Mineral Makeup Primer. I have yet to try all of these but I’ve tried both the Coola ones and find them suitable for my sensitive skin.
Next are the Sephora Favorites. I think one could seriously get carried away with the sets because they have SO MANY good things in them! One of the complaints my friends have about makeup is that the size of some things are just too big and it take them forever to use something up. Minis are popular among friends who like to rotate items frequently because you can use them up faster.
Up first is the Sephora Favorites Scouted by Sephora set which is $24 for five minis. This one features 5 up-and-coming brands at Sephora. I received this one as a gift and haven’t had a chance to try the items yet, but have been really curious about Milk Makeup so I’m eager to try the mascara. It has a Bésame Cosmetics Red Matchbook, GrandeLIPS Hydrating Plumper, Makeup Eraser Mini in Pink, MILK MAKEUP Ubame Mascara, Wander Beauty Lip and Cheek Mini in Pink City.
Next is the Sephora Favorites Glow for It. This one sold out online but I spotted it in store and picked up two. It’s since been restocked online and I can see why it’s been a popular one. For $30 you get minis of Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Liquid in Moonstone, Benefit Watt’s Up, Cover FX Custom Infusion Drops in C+ Lemongrass – Radiance, Hourglass Ambient® Strobe Lighting Powder in Incandescent Strobe Light, MILK MAKEUP Sunshine Oil and a full size Lancôme Glow Subtil Silky Crème Highlighter in Glowing Lights 06. The Lancome blush itself is $30 so the set is a steal.
I already have 3 of the items in the full size (Hourglass Strobe Powders swatched here) but almost want one for myself.
Another one is the Sephora Favorites Hair Rescue Masks on the Go ($25). This one is listed as being an $85 value. It has quite a lot of product to sample – to date I’ve tried three of the items from Ouai, Phyto and Christophe Robin and all three are great. This one has Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Balm-to-Oil Pre-Shampoo Masque, Phyto Phytokératine Extrême Exceptional Mask, Gloss Moderne High-Gloss Masque, Christophe Robin Regenerating Mask with Rare Prickly Pear Seed Oil
, Living Proof Perfect Hair Day® Night Cap Overnight Perfector, Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair!™ Deep Conditioning Mask, Ouai Treatment Masque, VERB Hydrating Mask, and two packet sets of Rita Hazan Weekly Remedy Treatment For Deep Hydration & Superior Shine Treatment Step 1 & 2.
I wish I had this set last year when I was traveling for a month. It would have been perfect as it has packets small enough to pack in a carry on. One of my friends is obsessed with masks – skincare and haircare. She is going to freak out when she gets this one.
Last but not least is the Sephora Favorites Ready, Set, Style! This one was a bit pricier at $29 but the sizes of each spray was pretty impressive. You get five sprays for hair refreshers, volumizers and texturizers. It includes Bumble and Bumble Thickening Dryspun Finish, Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo, IGK Down and Out Dirty Spray, Ouai Texturizing Hair Spray, Living Proof Flex Shaping Hairspray.
That wraps up my first holiday gift guide. I hope these give you a better idea of what the sets look like compared to stock photos although I do think that both Birchbox and Sephora do a really good job at giving us accurate stock images on their websites.
The Sephora VIB Rouge 20% off sale starts tomorrow November 4th and runs through November 7th. If you’re shopping online use code 20ROUGE. I received an early code from a Sephora employee so was able to shop the sale early. I’ll have my Sephora shopping recommendations roundup up later this afternoon for those who are trying to research early.
For now I hope this sets post give you some ideas for affordable gift options. The ones I featured are all very reasonable in price ranging from $18 to $35 which won’t break the bank if you buy multiples. They’re great for holiday gifts or to treat yourself. I’m seriously tempted to keep a few of these for myself – I may order one or two more once the Sephora sale starts.
The Birchbox Complete SPF Kit and Scouted By Sephora Set gifted as press samples. Remainder featured purchased by me.
Birchbox launched their own makeup line called LOC (Love of Color) and today I have a review of their new summer colors from the Dream Team Collection. I was able to play with the items at the Birchbox Soho Store while in New York and they were kind enough to ship a set out for me to try out. For those new to the LOC makeup line, the products launched so far are in pencil format sized at the right size to ensure you can easily use up the color by the end of the season. It’s perfect for those who like to stay on trend. There are a number of ways to try these – individually or in multiple curated sets. Price point wise, I find them reasonably priced and the quality is on point.
I have the LOC Dream Team Ultimate Collection ($52, a $95 value) swatched to review for you today which has 5 Ultra-Gloss Lip Pencils and 3 One and Done Shadow Sticks. In the set you also get a large pencil sharpener. If you’re the kind of person who really likes value sets, I think this one will be a winner in your book.
The Ultra-Gloss Lip Pencils come in two kinds of formulas. One is a sheer glossy shades and others are full coverage creams. All the ones I tried are non-shimmers and apply flawlessly with smooth coverage. Colors are as follows:
Birthday Suit is a pale nude, on me it’s a bit pinkish in color and very pale. The formula is pretty flawless though which I found surprising for such a light color. Most pale lip colors end up looking chalky on me or require a lot of blending or added liner. This one is an easier-to-pull-off nude compared to the Charlotte Tilbury Kim KW Hot Lips (at least on me).
Cupid’s Bow is an ultra-cool blue-based fuchsia. This one is full coverage with a glossy sheen. The formula is really good, color is not my cup of tea. I usually find colors this cool-toned to be very hard for me to pull off.
Cherry Bomb is a perfect cherry red. It’s warm toned but not orangey. Coverage is full.
Punch Line is a sheer bright pink which I’m obsessed with. It gives a healthy pink glow to the lips that looks natural because of the transparency.
Purple Reign is a sheer cool-toned purple which I also really like.
As far as I can tell, there is no detectable scent or taste. Texture is medium to thick but doesn’t feel heavy. They hug the lips well so they stay put and don’t bleed. Lasting power is better than a glossy or sheer lipstick but not quite as long as a matte lipstick.
Next up are the One and Done Shadow Sticks. These are creamy shadow sticks that set quickly so once you apply I recommend blending fast because once they set, they do not budge. For those who find eyeshadow fades quickly, I highly recommend you check these out because I found the lasting power quite impressive. I would have preferred it if these were in a twist-up format, but I suspect being packaged that way might cause them to dry out.
Heavy Petal is a shimmering champagne color. Peachy Sheen is a soft golden peach. Haute Cocoa is a chocolate brown shimmer. The shimmer in these blends out to a nice sheen. I found they layered well together. Given the fact that they dry and set quickly though I found that layering powder shadows on top needs to be done quickly if you like blending.
I give all of these a thumbs up for quality, price and lasting power. They all perform really well. Had I been able to pick out individual colors versus the set, I would have skipped Cupid’s Bow just because I don’t usually wear colors that bright or cool-toned. All others get a thumbs up from me and I especially appreciate that the Birchbox stock photos on their website of this collection are very accurate.
Many of you have asked for an update on my current hair care routine along with favorites. I have a two part post planned. Part 1 goes live today with a roundup of shampoo and conditioners. Part 2 will go live next week with a list of what I use for styling and treatments. I did an hair care loves roundup earlier this year and have done a few review posts but some of you prefer routine types of posts. For hair care, I wash my hair daily most of the time. There are occasions where I skip 1 day in between washes but those are rare, especially in the summer. On days I work out, I wash my hair twice in the same day. I have thick hair prone to frizz, I heat treat with a blow dryer or flat iron frequently, it’s never been dyed. When it comes to shampoos and conditioners, I love trying new formulas and brands – smell is probably the most important factor for me. If it doesn’t pass the smell test then I won’t even try it (no matter how many raves it has).
For shampoos and conditioners, I like to rotate frequently and often times I have more than 2 sets in the shower which drives my husband nuts because of the space it takes up. He has his 1 go to, often times it’s a 2 in 1 kind of product for hair and body (his favorite is Jack Black Turbo Wash). I on the other hand find that I do need different kinds. There’s the everyday kind of wash, the weekly cleansing or clarifying wash and then the wash for days you need extra moisture. Not to mention the masks or leave in products. (Please tell me I am not the only one who is high maintenance with their hair.)
Today I have a roundup of 7 brands of shampoo and conditioner I’ve put to the test with thoughts on each one. I will say up front that when it comes to shampoo I’m the type who will keep one around even if it’s not mind blowing or amazing. As long as it smells ok, cleans the hair well and doesn’t make it fall out or dry, I just can’t bring myself to throw out a partially used bottle.
My all time favorite that I can use daily is the Moroccanoil Moisture Repair Shampoo and Conditioner. I stock up on this during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale because they either have larger sizes or value sets. (This year’s set shown in this haul post.) This formula lathers well, moisturizes, strengthens, cleans the scalp well and leaves the hair shiny and healthy. Full ingredients list of the shampoo here and conditioner here. A huge part of me wants to try out all the shampoos from the brand but as some say, when you find something you love, you stick with it. In this case I’ve stuck with this formula.
Next best everyday is the Kerastase Cristalliste line which is designed for those with long hair. There have been a few formulas for fine or thick hair, I’ve tried the one for fine hair and it worked perfectly for my thick hair. It’s a great everyday option and I use both the shampoo and conditioner together. It cleanses the hair and and gets the roots clean too. It’s got a lightweight feel that leaves the hair feeling clean and bouncy with a super soft feel. I gave a few partially used bottles to a friend with long fine hair because she was curious about it but didn’t want to splurge without trying. She loved it too.
One line I had high hopes for is Ouai created by Jen Atkin. I started out testing a few styling products from Birchbox which included the Ouai Dry Shampoo and Wave Spray. I adore both and think they are worth trying out. More on both of these in my upcoming styling post. Since I had such a great experience with a couple of the styling products, I bought the Treatment Masque (pack of 8), Volume Shampoo and Volume Conditioner from Space NK. The Treatment Mask is great but the packaging isn’t the easiest to use. Both the Volume Shampoo and Conditioner were just ok for me – perhaps my expectations were just too high. They are both described as containing “Smart technology” to replenish moisture and lift strands. I found neither added volume. That being said I have yet to find a volumizing shampoo that will actually add volume to my thick hair (I’ve tried formulas from Living Proof, Phyto, Drybar – all lines I like, but the volumizing shampoos just don’t work for me). I’ve read a lot of reviews that this does work for those with fine hair. For me the Volume formula does a good job at cleansing daily – I do need to use both the shampoo + conditioner because the shampoo alone can be a bit drying on my hair type. I won’t be repurchasing but it’s one I can’t bring myself to throw out. (If you have any Ouai on your list there are still a few more days of the SpaceNK Explore Online Promotion, enter code BEAUTYNOW at checkout to save $20 off orders $100 or more until Aug 2nd.)
Bumble and Bumble is a line I’m always keen on trying out. Some of the shampoos and conditioners are heavily fragranced though and too strong so I’ve often tried minis or sets, used them up, but never repurchase. Two that I started using are the Surf Foam Wash Shampoo and Creme Rinse Conditioner and WOW these get a huge thumbs up from me. Based on what I’ve read from other reviews it seemed to be best suited for those with thicker hair. I have thick hair and love this. It doesn’t necessarily add volume but it gives my hair that smooth fluffy beachy look. The scent is mild enough that I don’t notice it after rinsing. I can air dry my hair after using this duo and it gives a natural slightly beachy look.
Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil Shampoo in the Gentle Radiance formula for Normal Hair and Scalp. I previously reviewed the Shampoo and tried it by itself. The shampoo by itself is good once in a while as a clarifying shampoo, but for everyday I found it a bit drying. I used up a few bottles entirely and since I didn’t use it daily, they lasted a long time. I was just sent a sample of the Cleansing Oil Conditioner which is another rinse out product and was completely blown away with the combination of the two. The Shampoo by itself was good but not great. Add the Conditioner to the mix and my hair and scalp are left super smooth, tangle free, naturally shiny and also gives it the ability to air dry without any frizz. Most of the time I have to blow dry or add some kind of oil or cream to tame the frizz. I don’t use conditioners everyday even if I do wash the hair daily – I find most of the time I just don’t feel like I need it. This Cleansing Oil Conditioner is really a good one. I will definitely be repurchasing it once it’s used up.
Oribe Cleansing Creme for Moisture and Control is a favorite I’ve repurchased multiple times. Unfortunately it’s sold out online at Space NK so you can’t buy it to take advantage of the promo going on right now, but you can find it at places like Birchbox or Neiman Marcus. It could almost go into the treatment category for me, I don’t use it daily because I just don’t need that much added moisture, but it helps rebalance and rehydrate the hair and scalp. It tames frizz, adds shine and leaves hair feeling super soft.
New to me is Gloss Moderne which I’ve seen at Space NK quite a few times. In terms of shine shampoos, I find a lot are great as a 1 to 2x per week use kind of product otherwise they get heavy-feeling and weigh down my hair. The R+Co Moonshine Shampoo and Conditioner were both at the top of my list in terms of scent, shine and performance. I’ve used up a few bottles of both but haven’t repurchased for a while. The Gloss Moderne High-Gloss Shampoo and High-Gloss Conditioner have a similar effect but they both have a lush vanilla scent. I have to say that I had low expectations on this one before trying because the reviews are so mixed. I was beyond impressed with how this performed on my long thick hair – it restored shine and left the hair looking healthy and super glossy. Even though my hair is not color treated, the summer sun and heat has turned it into a reddish color about 2-3 shades lighter than it normally is. The heat from the sun also leaves the ends of my hair looking dry so they need a little something extra to get it back to it’s normal state. I really liked how the High-Gloss Shampoo and Conditioner added shine without weighing it down. I was able to use it three days in a row without it feeling heavy or without giving the hair the weighed down look. I will use these up to the end and I do really like these. Although for the shine and gloss effect, I think a styling product could provide the same result.
If you’re looking for a good shine/gloss finish shampoo, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with the Gloss Moderne Shampoo and Conditioners – some may feel they are overpriced but I do think they are solid performers. I’ve totally been in that place where I really like a product but don’t repurchase because of the price. It doesn’t mean something is bad – just that there are other alternatives I’d rather spend my money on. I hope this won’t deter you though – the Gloss Moderne line is really quite good.
If you’re looking for good travel-sized or trial-sized sets, I find that some brands will occasionally have a good travel set to try items out. Birchbox has sets of minis by product type with a mix of brands for you to test out multiple formulas which is nice. They’re $18-$28 each, some options include the Frizz Fighters Kit, Wavy Curly Hair Kit, Coily Curly Hair Kit and Beachy Keen Hair Kit.
In terms of finding a good volumizing shampoo and conditioner for my thick hair, I’m still looking for one that has that wow factor. I think many work well for fine hair but hair type does make a huge difference in performance. Some may feel that if you have thick hair you don’t really need a volume boost, I sometimes do need it and that’s where styling products come into play.
Don’t forget there are still a few more days for the Space NK Explore Promotion (US online only). Details in this post here but you can enter code BEAUTYNOW at checkout to save $20 off orders $100 or more. A few of you mentioned the code did not work for you – the issues have been fixed and it should work as long as you have non-sale items in your cart. The Space NK team did tell me if it still does not work you should be able to call their customer service and they will be able to help you. Brands they carry featured in this post include Oribe, Ouai, Bumble and Bumble, Gloss Moderne.
What are your favorite shampoos and conditioners for the summer? Do you
change things up when the seasons change or do you stick to your go-tos
Press samples featured include items from the Ouai (styling products only), Shu Uemura Art of Hair, and Gloss Moderne.
While in New York I stopped by the Birchbox Flagship Store located at 433 West Broadway in Soho. Most of us know Birchbox for their monthly subscription boxes but if you were able to stop by one of their #Birchboxinmycity Road Trip Destinations last year you were able to catch a glimpse of what their store setup looks like road trip style (Los Angeles covered in this post here). If you’re in NYC I highly recommend giving this store a visit. For the ladies who travel with their husbands, boyfriends or brothers – it’s not just a store for women, there’s an entire floor dedicated to men’s grooming and lifestyle. You can bring your male travel companions with you, send him to men’s floor while you look at makeup, skincare and fragrance and don’t have to worry about him being bored or impatient while you shop 🙂
This store is really a one-stop-shop for beauty and skincare essentials. As mentioned in my last post, between Birchbox and Space NK I found that they carried all the items I would need for a week’s worth of travel. One of the nice things about Birchbox is that they have curated Discovery Sets stocked with minis in addition to travel-sized beauty items you can buy so you don’t have to worry about buying large full size items that you can’t bring put inside a carry-on. I will say though during my trip I ended up picking up quite a few full-sized liquids over the security limit. I ended up shipping items in a large FedEx box home so I didn’t have to check it. (More on this in my packing post soon.)
Onto a look inside the beautiful store. Birchbox organizes their store by product category rather than having brand-dedicated sections. The staff at the store is very helpful and knowledgeable – if you need help picking out items someone is there to guide you and give recommendations. There are two levels, the ground level is for women and there’s a lower level for me.
Skincare shown on the left, Discovery Sets on the right:
At the end of the store they have a Build Your Own Birchbox station where you can pick out 5 items to build your own box. You pick out 1 item from 5 categories covering skincare, body, fragrance, makeup and hair.
A look at the Men’s Shop with grooming, skincare, fragrance and body care and BYOB stations:
So happy I was able to stop by the store and that the social team let me take photographs to my heart’s desire. I visited bright and early right when the store opened and had a lot of fun exploring. I think I could have spent an entire day inside – everything is very clean and organized which makes for a great shopping experience.
If you are in the area I highly recommend giving it a visit for a fun yet relaxing beauty shopping experience. Hope you enjoyed taking a peek inside the store! For those planning a visit, check out their Birchbox Soho page for location, hours and store events.
Birchbox launched a new limited-edition box for spring called Beauty in Bloom ($64 for a $188 retail value). Many of you are familiar with the monthly subscription boxes they offer for both women and men, but they also have special Limited-Edition Boxes available that are really good deals. The Beauty in Bloom Box is one of those boxes you can purchase whether or not you’re a subscriber that has a pretty mix of makeup, skincare and accessories – all of which I will use. Sometimes pre-made kits can be a miss even if the set is a good deal – if there’s a good portion in the set you don’t think you’ll use or are interested in trying, even a good deal can be a waste. This one is a really good one and has a mix of full-sized items with trial-sized minis.
Here’s what’s in the box, I’ve linked the full-size individual items from Birchbox in the image for reference if you’re only interested in some of the items but I’ll list them below as well:
The box comes beautifully packaged in a large pink box which makes it all ready to go for gifting if you’re looking for a spring birthday gift (or for any occasion):
NEST Fragrance Votive Candle (mini) in Grapefruit – I tried NEST for the first time over the holiday and was so impressed with the throw and strength of the candles, I find they are reasonably priced, this is my first time smelling grapefruit and it’s sweet but not overly sweet – the little votive fills our entire place with the scent in a matter of minutes
NEST Fragrances Indigo Eau de Parfum – this is my first time trying NEST fragrances, the little one comes with a rollerball tip which is really convenient, Indigo is a very sweet blackberry floral, along the lines of Jo Malone Blackberry and Bay but more floral, it’s very strong but doesn’t cause migraines for me, I’m undecided on this one because it’s extremely sweet, but I like having a decent sized mini to try out
Lollia Relax Shea Butter Hand Cream – Travel Size – my box has the lavender one which I have not yet had a chance to try but the packaging is really cute and I like lavender scents for hand creams, since the box is limited-edition I wanted to write about it and let you know before it sold out
Davines OI/Oil – I used this many years ago and did a blog post on this in the early days of the Beauty Look Book blog, my local salon carried the line but over the years they downsized what they carried in store so I never repurchased, it’s a versatile oil you can use pre-heat styling or after, I love the way it smells which is hard to describe but it adds shine and makes the hair super soft without feeling heavy or greasy, there are over 4,700 reviews on this one online at Birchbox, I really believe this one is worth the splurge of a full bottle, I need to make a note to myself to order
Laura Gellar Baked Blush in Maui (full size) – different boxes get different colors, mine had Maui inside which is a soft matte pink, in general I don’t like baked matte blushes because they almost always darken on my skin and make it look flat/lifeless, Maui is a soft buildable pink with a smooth texture that’s flawless, I’m still testing this out but it didn’t darken on my skin
Stila HUGE Extreme lash mascara – I love mascara minis but am the biggest skeptic when it comes to trying mascara, I have straight lashes and often times mascaras do not hold the curl or smudge like crazy on me, I had little to no expectation for this one and was surprised to find how amazing this one is, it held the curl, made lashes look huge without being clumpy and did not smudge, the only downside is I found it very challenging to remove at the end of the day, but given the effect and results I’m willing to overlook that
Mally Beauty Eye-Amplifying Shadow Liner (full size) in Stone – there are different color options for the boxes, I’m not sure if you’re able to pick out the color, Stone is a cool silver taupe that blends with impressive pigment, you do have to blend quickly because once it sets it does not budge at all, I like the formula but the color seems on the light side to be a liner, it works well as a shadow for me
Darphin Intral Toner (travel-size) is something I’ve always wanted to try but didn’t want to buy the full size without being able to test it, I haven’t used this one yet but it’s on my list to try out in the upcoming week
Smith and Cult The Shining Lip Lacquer in Hi-Speed Sonnet is a medium rosey pink with high shine and shimmer, as many of you know most of the Smith and Cult glosses are very sheer in color, this one had a lot more pigment and color payoff compared to the others I’ve tried
Umbra Prisma Tray is the cutest tray I’ve seen in a long time and well made for the price (it’s $15 separately), I love how the brass accent adds an edgy but classic touch to it while the neutral canvas base makes it look feminine and soft
Swatches of some of the color items:
Quick snapshot of the lips and cheeks:
One last look:
For $64 I think the Beauty in Bloom Box is a steal. I think it’s a well balanced kit that has a little bit of everything and all the items in it are products I can see myself using. I think accessories are sometimes hard to pick out for others or for kits – everyone has different styles or tastes. There have been some kits with hair accessories I would never ever wear. The tray in this one is one I think is possibly universal regardless of style or age – it makes a great accent piece. The minis are generously sized which gives you more than just a 1-3x use so you can give them a better test drive before deciding to buy any full sized version.
There are two new Oribe travel trios that just launched from Birchbox. I’ve been a lover of all things Oribe for a long time but if you’re like me you probably try items from the line piece by piece due to the splurgy prices. The two sets contain travel sizes of some styling products. One is called the Volume Set ($58) and the other is the Surf Set ($55). I die for minis so I think these two sets are just perfect. Both come in a compact clear zip case to hold for travel. All have that signature soft Oribe scent which is hard to describe but smells very distinct and heavenly.
First up is the Volume Set ($58, valued at $66) which contains three styling products for volume. I’m pretty low maintenance on my hair when it comes to volumizing because I have thick hair to begin with. Sometimes I like to use a texturizing product on the ends to add a bit of oomph to the hair, but I’m big on having soft touchable hair. Lots of volumizing products are great at adding volume but make the hair crunchy. Oribe manages to add volume but keep the hair still relatively soft.
In this set are purse-sized minis of:
Grandiose Hair Plumping Mousse (2.5 oz) – This is a shake and dispense kind of foamy product that you apply to damp hair before styling. I use this before blow drying my hair and it adds volume throughout like nothing else I’ve tried. Hair is full and voluminous after using this one. My hair was left with some texture but still soft. On my hair the volume lasted all day long when I tried this in the morning. It really gives the hair a boost at the roots (which is what I look for when I do look for added volume).
Thick Dry Finishing Spray (2.2 oz) – This is a product designed to add a boost to your hair if your hair is prone to getting limp after a blow dry. Out of all the Oribe products I’ve tried this is one of the few that didn’t really do much for my hair – but there is a chance I’m not using this correctly. I’ve tried this a number of ways – after a blow dry, as a refresher, as a touch up product, before going out. It doesn’t really add volume or oomph. It does act like a hair refresher if it’s a tiny bit shiny at the scalp area. If you’ve used this please let me know how you use it! Based on reviews I’ve read, if you have fine hair you will see results. For those with thicker hair like mine, you might not see much of a difference.
Dry Texturizing Spray (2.2 oz) – This is one of my favorite hair texturizing products EVER. It’s part dry shampoo and part texturizer – I wash my hair daily but sometimes when it gets a bit oily this is the best oil absorber that doesn’t turn my hair white/grey/dusty looking. I know all dry shampoos say to brush out the product and that the white will disappear. Not all dry shampoos are the same and many make my hair look dusty and grey. The one from Oribe just works. It adds texture and volume and smells incredible.
Next is the Surf Set ($55) which I really adore. This one has items that are good for creating that slightly undone beachy kind of hair look. My hair has a slight natural wave – when I air dry it, it often gets very big and frizzy. Two of these are miracle workers.
In this set you get:
Surfcomber Tousled Texture Mousse (2.5 oz) – This is a mousse product that feels on the sticky side on the hands. I find this one best used on wet or damp hair and it will give your hair the perfect piecey-beachy kind of textured hair. I found it easy to overdo so I recommend using as little as possible. You do have to give it a good shake before you dispense. I love the results when using this either blow dried or air dried. Hair is left soft but still feels like there’s some texture in it. For me this is more on the high maintenance side so I probably wouldn’t use this on a regular basis.
Après Beach Wave and Shine Spray (2.1 oz) – Is a product that is similar to the Surfcomber in the sense it gives your hair that beachy tousled look, but gives the hair a bit of natural shine. The Après Beach Wave and Shine Spray is my favorite beach-hair kind of styling product. I apply it to the hair after washing and towel drying. I let the hair air dry and the result is a natural wavy frizz-free textured kind of look. I really love this one.
Supershine Moisturizing Cream (1.7 fl oz) – This is just as the name implies. It adds shine and moisture to the hair making it look healthy. It adds shine without getting too heavy or greasy looking (even by late afternoon or evening). It helps tame flyaways and reduces frizz. I find it helps a lot when my ends get dry looking or feeling. It’s like magic in a tube. I use it as a styling/finishing product best, but it also works as a pre-blowout kind of product to work through damp hair.
Both sets are winners in my opinion. I’ve rarely been let down by anything I’ve tried from Oribe. The only item I’m not 100% in love with is the Thick Dry Finishing Spray – but I need to consult one of my friends on how to use it as I’m pretty sure I’m not using it correctly. I would buy the full size of all other items (I have multiples in the mini sizes).
You can find the Surf Set ($55) and Volume Set ($58) online at Birchbox. You can buy most of the items in the travel size separately, but you do get a bit of a price break by buying the sets. There’s also the Purse Collection ($72) online which has minis of the Superfine Hair Spray, Dry Texturizing Spray, Apres beach Spray and Anti-Humidity Spray.
I highly recommend both sets, they each focus on achieving different looks for the hair, but you can’t go wrong with either. I love the travel sizes in general because they’re really cute. Even is something is phenomenal and comes with high ratings, I still like to try smaller sizes first.
Do you have any Oribe favorites? Please let me know! I die for the Cleansing Creme.
Both Oribe sets sent courtesy of Birchbox for review consideration.