RCubed Reviews – Macy’s Beauty Box

Trying out another beauty box subscription after being subscribed to ipsy for 2 years and having a hit or miss experience with the Play! by Sephora did not seem likely. But of course, curiosity got me (again) and I decided to check out the Macy’s Beauty Box. The subscription launched August of last year, and I received their bags from September through this month. Be forewarned, this post will be a lengthy one. Majority of the products are currently unopened unless specified. I wish I could try everything, but I currently have so much other beauty items to get through!

September 2017 – Beauty Passport

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What’s inside: These products help keep you “looking fresh & fabulous on the go”.

Ahava Purifying Mud Mask – An invigorating mask that draws out impurities and purifies skin for a more even complexion. // I lean more towards wash off masks compared to sheet masts, so I look forward to trying this, especially if it helps detox the skin.

Burt’s Bees Hand Salve – Packed with botanical oils, herbs, and beeswax to moisturize dry hands. // I ought to toss this into my purse since I often find myself  with dry hands by mid-day. This would have come in extremely handy (no pun intended) while I was working at the clinic.

Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief – This cream-gel moisturizer helps to replenish thirsty skin instantly, and is an ideal travel companion. // I’m pretty sure I’ve tried this before. Either way, I love a moisturizer with this kind of formulation, so it’s definitely going into my travel bag.

Dermablend Loose Setting Powder (opened) – This translucent powder ensures long-lasting, smudge-resistant wear with a natural finish. // I’ve used this a few times and so far it’s been great at keeping a full face of makeup in place. I only wish the container wasn’t so messy.

Laura Mercier Radiance Foundation Primer – This preps your skin for makeup while giving it a sheer, healthy glow. // I get a bit apprehensive every time I see mention of “radiance” in any product. If you’re all about that glow up, good for you! As for myself, I like to keep things toned down. I did give this a swatch, which resulted in a bit of a sheen, but not opalescent, which what I was expecting.

Vince Camuto Ciao Au de Parfum – This contains notes of floral and citrus with amber and vanilla upon dry down. // I felt this had more of a powdery floral scent. Sadly, it’s not something I’d wear.

 

October 2017 – Face the Facts

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What’s inside: Samples from top brands to  help you discover what works best for your skin.

Elizabeth Arden SUPERSTART Skin Renewal Booster – This is to be used before serum or moisturizer. The “boost” comes from key ingredients (glasswort, sea fennel, and flax seed extracts, and probiotics) to help increase effectiveness of the other skin care products used. // I’ve only begun to understand the effects of essences and can only assume this has a similar effect. I’ll try to incorporate it into my evening routine.

Lancome Energie de Vie Water-Infused Moisturizing Cream – This product produces a cooling effect upon application, and increases skin’s moisture (beyond 24 hours according to its description). // I feel like this will be awesome to use during the warmer months of the year. Another one to toss in with the travel stash.

Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask – Charcoal, white China clay, and lecithin draw out pore-clogging impurities and environmental toxins. // I have acquired a few tubes prior to this one and use it at least once a week on my t-zone. It’s also worked great for me as a spot treatment to shrink down larger breakouts.

Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer – This light and oil-free primer blurs lines and pores, resulting in an even finish and longer lasting makeup. // I’ve used this a few times in the past, but don’t quite remember if it’s proven useful. I try to not use silicone-based primers often for fear of an oil slick occurring on my face later in the day.

StriVectin Stress Defense Hydrating Water Gel – Recharges skin while also diminishing lines and wrinkles. // Heck yes to another gel-based moisturizer! I can never have too many of these. I’ll alternate this with my current/HG from Garnier.

Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium Eau de Parfum – An Allure Best of Beauty award winner in 2015, this has notes of coffee, orange blossom, and vanilla. // Not a fan of the original Opium fragrance, but after sampling it at my local Ulta, this is actually not bad. I’d see myself wearing this on a night out.

November 2017 – Party Perfect

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What’s inside: Product with long-wearing formulas to  make touch-ups a breeze.

Beautyblender Blotterazzi Pro – A reusable alternative to blotting paper, this sponge absorbs excess oil to keep makeup looking flawless. // I’ve often forgotten to bring blotting paper on days when I wear face makeup, which caused me to resort to tissue or a napkin to blot my face (blah). I keep forgetting to toss this in my purse to try out (d’oh!). I’m hoping this does just as good a job, if not better, of keeping it shine free.

Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Lengthening Mascara – Long-wearing formula lengthens, curls, volumizes, lifts, and separates lashes. // I’ve received plenty of samples of this from other subscription boxes. Unfortunately the formula has smudged my bottom lids after a few hours. Blame the oily lids, I guess.

CHANEL Gabrielle Eau de Parfum – This floral fragrance contains notes of jasmine, ylang-ylang, orange blossom, and tuberose. // If you’re a fan of floral fragrances, this one’s nice. It’s a bit too much for me though.

Lancome Cils Booster XL Vitamin Infused Mascara Primer – Conditioning formula with microfibers and Vitamin E coats and conditions lashes for maximum mascara performance. // I’ve had pretty good experiences with mascara primers. Since Lancome is popular in this category, I’m willing to experiment with this.

MAC Prep + Prime Natural Radiance Makeup Primer – Delivers weightless hydration for a radiant, healthy look. // Again with the radiance! However, this primer is formulated for oily and combination skin. I haven’t used anything from this brand as a primer except for their Strobe Cream years ago. Fingers crossed that this performs well.

Tarte Tarteist Quick Dry Matte Lip Paint in Bestie – This liquid lipstick drys quickly for full coverage that’s transfer-proof. // I have another sample of this in a different shade. Not bad in terms of wear, but I found it to be a bit on the dry side.

December 2017 – Something Beautiful is on the Horizon

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What’s inside: “Fresh makeup finds and  revitalizing skin care” for a brand new you.

CHANEL La Creme Main – A hand cream that protects, brightens, and moisturizes. // First off, it’s freaking CHANEL. Second, I’ve been hauling hand creams more lately because these are the one part of my body that I wish could have less lines. The fact that the formula helps to diminish dark spots is a major plus. It’s the willingness to drop $50 on a full sized one that I’m not so sure about.

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Concentrate Matrix (opened) – This formula reduces the look of fine lines, wrinkles, puffiness, and dark circles. 360 Matrix technology strengthens the skin around the eyes. // I’m getting around to using more eye products at night as a preventative measure. I’ve started using it recently. It’s hard to tell if it’s actually working since I luckily don’t have issues with fine lines or dark circles, but it helps me look more “awake”, so I’m all for it.

MAC Liptensity Lipstick – Intensely pigmented and gel based with a satin finish. Long-wearing formula is said to last for up to 8 hours. // I actually got the shade Mulling Spices during Generation Beauty and have yet to use it. I’m not one to sport bright reds very often. This was actually a sampler of 3 shades, including the one mentioned.

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NUDESTIX Intense Matte Lip + Cheek Pencil in Belle – This all-in-one pencil can be used as a lip liner, lipstick, and blush. The matte finish is waterproof, kiss-proof, and non-feathering. // I’m a fan of this brand after discovering them at Generation Beauty. So far I own 4 shades of this pencil. Already have this one, but nice to have a replacement on hand once I’m finished with the other.

Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream  – 30% Hyaluronic Acid provides intense hydration that lasts up to 72 hours. // This sounds wonderful to use, especially with the current cold weather. Plus it’s oil-free. Travel necessity? I think yes. *thumbs up*

Tory Burch Signature Eau de Parfum – The first fragrance for the brand/designer contains notes of neroli, grapefruit, peony, tuberose, and vetiver. // I sampled this a while back at Sephora and liked that it’s not too heavy from either the floral or fruity side.

January 2018 – Kiss & Tell

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What’s inside: Skin care, makeup, and fragrance perfect for date night.

AHAVA Mineral Hand Cream in Sea-Kissed – Mineral-rich hand cream with allantoin and witch hazel extract protects and nourishes. // I think I know have enough hand cream to toss into every bag/purse I regularly rotate through. The scent reminds me of the beach. Me likey!

Clinique Pop Lip Colour + Primer in Nude Pop – Full coverage color with a satin finish keeps lips moisturized for up to 8 hours. // The packaging of this was part of a limited edition run with designer Jonathan Adler. If you’re already aware of my love for neutrals, you know I approve of this nude shade!

Michael Kors Sexy Ruby Eau de Parfum – The brand’s latest scent features notes of raspberry, apricot, jasmine, and cashmere woods. // I was surprised to get the raspberry when I smelled this. It’s on the warm side, which isn’t usually my favorite for scents.

Origins Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash – This gentle cleanser works to protect dry areas while also preventing excess oil production. // This is an HG for me! I love using it after oil cleansing, and the nice lather it creates leaves my face squeaky clean without drying it out.

philosophy Pure Grace Nude Rose Body Lotion – Notes in this lotion include blush rose, dewy greens, neroli, orange flower, cedarwood, and musk. // I’m fine with rose scents as long as it’s not overwhelming. Have yet to try it on my skin, but the smell of it straight out of the bottle seems OK.

Smashbox Always On Liquid Lipstick in Bawse – This light, non-drying liquid lipstick stays put for up to 8 hours. // This shade was created in collaboration with YouTube celebrity Lilly Singh. I’ve only tried another shade (Stepping Out, a deep nude) and it lasted a good while. I’m hoping this looks alright on me when I get around to using it.

Phew! Still with me? If you’re interested in subscribing to the Macy’s Beauty Box, here’s what you should know:

  • $15/month – This is more compared to ipsy and Play! by Sephora, but I enjoyed it because I was already familiar with the brands of the products I received.
  • Each box includes 5 deluxe samples, plus a bonus (spoiler, it’s a fragrance).
  • Includes a coupon for $5 off a beauty purchase either in store or online. I would use this if I shopped at Macy’s more. Unfortunately I don’t.

If you’ve subscribed or currently subscribe to this box, let me know what you think of it.

 

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Japan Crate Mini, Volume 21

Just slightly behind with what I’ve received in my Japan Crate Minis (whoops). March’s theme was Spring Picnic. I received 4 sweet items and 1 savory one.

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What’s inside:

Bon O Bon: Ccreamy Cream – This was a milk chocolate covered bon bon with a wafer layer and creamy peanut butter filling inside. Pretty good!

Country Ma’am Chocolate Chip Cookies – As a self-proclaimed cookie monster, this pretty much made the whole box for me. 20 mini cookies in both vanilla and chocolate flavors. The back of the packaging is in Japanese, but it basically explains that the cookies can also be warmed in the microwave. Still have to try them that way.

Diamond Ring Pop – Nothing too spectacular here. It’s the Japanese version of a Ring Pop. Looks exactly the same too. I received the grape flavored one.

 

Melon Pandaro – This cute panda shaped cookie has a subtle flavor of melon. I kind of wished there were more than just 1 in the pack.

Umakamon Mayonnaise – Not everyone likes mayo. I don’t mind it, and I can definitely tell the difference between the US and Japanese version. These puffs bring on the umami from this popular condiment, making them too easy to finish.

The mini crate is 1 of 3 subscriptions available. Check out Japan Crate’s website for more information. If you choose to subscribe, you can get $5 off either your first Original or Premium box by using code MSA5 (code courtesy of My Subscription Addiction)

Sanrio Small Gift Crate – Friendship

The second crate for Sanrio’s collaboration with Loot Crate is Friendship. Sanrio was founded with the purpose of social communication. They wanted their brand to connect people, nurture friendships, and bring happiness to the world. This makes complete sense since their products constantly bring smiles to those that have them, and also when they share them with others. I received 7 items in this crate. All of them are exclusive to this subscription and are absolutely adorable.

 

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What’s inside:

Hello Kitty & Dear Daniel Mamepuchi Plush Set – These two make the cutest couple. And those outfits! I’m not an avid collector of these Tsum Tsum-like toys, but I’ll consider them an exception.

Hello Kitty & Mimmy Letter Set – The one thing I loved bringing back from any trip to the Sanrio store was stationary. This set comes with a writing pad, die cut pad, stickers, and envelopes. It’s everything you need to get your snail mail on.

Little Twin Stars Infinity Scarf – A great thing about this subscription is that it includes wearable items. Even better when they come in my favorite color (yes, I love black). The material of the scarf is lightweight, and the foiled design adds a nice touch.

Little Twin Stars Stackable Mugs – I have a small mug collection at home, and these will be an awesome addition to it. Although there aren’t any warnings written on the box on how to use them, I’ll play it safe and only hand wash them and not use them in the microwave.

My Melody Charm and Friendship Trinket – This exclusive charm can be attached to the Hello Kitty key chain from the first crate or used by itself. Each crate shipped included a small tape dispenser (colors and characters varied). Funny thing is I also received the same one a while back from a friend.

Patty & Jimmy Enamel Pin Set – According to their bio on Sanrio’s website, Patty & Jimmy are from Kansas city. Patty is the athletic one and loves playing sports, while Jimmy is more of the nerdy type and enjoys studying, chess, and playing board games. This 3 inch pin set is the largest I own (I also like collecting pins).

This subscription costs $39.99 USD (includes shipping) before tax, includes merchandise worth $75, and crates are shipped within the US and also internationally to select countries 4 times per year. Subscribers can choose from 3 different subscription plans. For more information on those options and to learn more about the Small Gift crate, visit Loot Crate’s site.

Japan Crate Mini, Volume 20

February’s Japan Crate theme was Comfort Food.  I received 2 savory and 3 sweet items which are known to be either popular or exclusive in Japan.

 

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What’s inside:

Cheetos BBQ – Man, do I love me some Cheetos. I was excited to get this Japan exclusive flavor. As for it tasting like BBQ? Let’s just say this isn’t anything like how we interpret it in the US. The flavor was sweet/savory, and I also got a hint of ginger in it. It’s good, but I wished they were coated more with the seasoning like the regular cheesy and hot Cheetos.

Fue Fue Ramune Grape – I believe I received something similar to this in a past box. This life saver looking candy can be placed between your lips and emits a whistling sound when you blow through them. The small box with the package contained a small toy (there was a top inside).

Garibori Spicy Garlic Ramen – Have you ever eaten instant ramen straight out of its package? I honestly never gave it a second thought. The crunch and spicy kick that this had was surprising. Good stuff! It can also be cooked in hot water, but I figured it wouldn’t taste as good.

Mashuro – I often get skeptical when I see marshmallows that are different from their plain, white predecessors. My initial thought is that they wouldn’t taste anything like them. Thankfully this one did, the result being that it was the first item from the box that I finished.

Puku Puku Tai Strawberry – I have received the chocolate version of this in a past box. Why I haven’t gone out of my way to look for these tasty cream filled fish shaped wafers is beyond me.

 

The mini crate is 1 of 3 subscriptions available. Check out Japan Crate’s website for more information. If you choose to subscribe, you can get $5 off either your first Original or Premium box by using code MSA5 (code courtesy of My Subscription Addiction).

Kira Kira Crate, Volume 3

The 3rd crate for this subscription will be the last one for me. I’ve accumulated so much product between this and past beauty subscriptions that I can take a break from them for a good while. For those unfamiliar with this crate, it is the latest to be added to Japan Crate’s lineup of subscription boxes. Every month, between 6-8 products are delivered to your door directly from Japan. Sometimes there’s a few Korean beauty items thrown in as well. A booklet with information about the products and how to use them is also included. The price for this subscription is $29/month before shipping and taxes.

 

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What’s inside:

Avance Tweety Eyeliner – As cheesy as it seems to have a cartoon character on a makeup product, this looks pretty legit. I’m not the best with handling pen liners, but the felt/brush tip on this one might make this one easy to use.

Biyou Shoukan Towel Set – They look like wipes, but instead they’re cloths meant for drying your face after washing it. I like that there’s a good amount in the package (20 sheets), so I plan to take this with me on an upcoming trip.

Dear Laura Lip Gloss – This reminded me of a Caboodles lip gloss that I used to own years ago, except the packaging of the tube was different and it was Strawberry flavored. This one is flavorless, fragrance free, and leaves a slight pink tint. I dig the cute bunny on it.

Hot Gel Face Mask – The initial question to myself when I looked at this was, “Why on earth would I want hot gel on my face?”. It’s actually a warming mask that can be used on the face or upper body, preferably while taking a bath. I tried this while in the shower and felt the warming effect immediately, which was tolerable and not anywhere near hot (thank goodness). My face cooled down when I massaged it before rinsing the mask off, and it felt wonderfully smooth afterward.

Mebika Hair Care – This packet contains a shampoo and conditioning mask. Unfortunately I couldn’t tell one from the other since it has Japanese written on it. I’ll eventually find out once I decide to use it.

Pure Smile Red Wine face mask – Another face mask to add to my growing collection. I’m intrigued by this one, but I’m probably going to be disappointed in that it doesn’t contain any actual wine. Could you imagine how relaxed you would be if it really did have it? OK, maybe not that much. Why not take it up a notch and actually have a glass while you wear it? I like that idea.

Teapod Hand Cream – In addition to face masks, I’ve also managed to gather up a small arsenal of hand cream. I should be using them since my hands have been getting drier than usual due to the cold weather. This was offered in either Earl Grey, Lemon, or Rose scents. I received the rose one which smells like the real deal. I’m curious about the Earl Grey since I love the tea itself. Maybe I’ll snag it if I ever come across it.

The variety in this box was nice compared to the first 2 boxes I received for this sub. I’m sad that I’ll have to discontinue it, but I feel it’s good for the price, especially if it includes free shipping from another country. Do you subscribe to this box? Let me know what you think of it. More info about the Kira Kira Crate subscription can be found here.

Japan Crate Mini, Volume 19

The theme for January’s mini crate was Indulgence. The items in the crate were curated to make you “feel like royalty”. OK, that’s stretching it a tad, but I will say they were all pretty good.

 

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What’s inside:

 Double Ice Cream Lollipop, Chocolate & Vanilla – Ever had a Chupa Chups lollipop? This reminded me of it. They suggested putting it in the fridge prior to eating it to have an experience similar to having actual ice cream, but I was too lazy. Anyway, it was fine as is.

Fruit Donuts – This made me laugh. It basically looks like the Haribo gummy rings that I see almost everywhere. I thought this would be apple flavored, but it turned out to be lemon-lime.

Kajiriccho Grape & Soda Soft Candy – This chewy candy stick was grape flavored on the outside with soda flavor in the middle. I have yet to have a grape flavored candy that I didn’t like.

Umaibou Chocolate – The maker of those puffy snack sticks from previous boxes I’ve received also has sweet ones. This corn snack is covered in chocolate. Too bad it was smaller than the other sticks I’ve had. I finished this way too quickly.

Umai Ring Mentai Flavor – This product is also from the same company that makes the Umaibou sticks. Mentai is marinated fish roe, said to be popular in Japan. The resulting flavor is pretty unique, but I’d describe it close to the masago that often tops sushi rolls, if that helps at all.

 

The mini crate is 1 of 3 subscriptions available. Check out Japan Crate’s website for more information. If you choose to subscribe, you can get $5 off either your first Original or Premium box by using code MSA5 (code courtesy of My Subscription Addiction).

Kira Kira Crate, Volume 2

If Japanese beauty products are your thing, you may want to check out this latest addition to the Japan Crate line of subscriptions. Each month, subscribers will receive between 6-8 items shipped directly from Japan. Although this is mainly a Japanese beauty subscription, there will sometimes be a few Korean beauty items included as well. Following them on their Instagram account or Facebook page will give you a heads up on what items will be featured in upcoming crates. With that said, let’s check out what came in December’s crate.

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What’s inside:

Ashirira Sheet, Lavender – I’ve often come across this item when I shop at Daiso/Ichiban Kan. The concept of these patches is to help rid your body of toxins. Sounds a bit too good to be true, yeh? Had I remembered that these in particular were formulated to help relieve foot pain, I would have brought them with me to Vegas last week. My tired feet would have loved them!

Dear Laura 9 Colors Lip and Cheek Palette – Upon first glance, I already had the feeling that these colors would be used solely on the lips because I don’t use blush very often. That, and the product itself looked like it could be cream based. Upon swatching the colors, the texture is more like a balm, so these would definitely be used solely on my lips. They’re also pretty sheer, which is nice.

Ichigo Milk Flavor Bath – If it was ever a dream to draw up a bath that looked like the color of strawberry milk, then this is the item for you! I don’t see myself reaching for this any time soon since my schedule only allows to much time to unwind at the end of the day.

Ichigo Milk Flavor Soap – This was more up my alley. You can never have too much bar soap (at least that’s what I think). A cute strawberry is embossed on it, and the initial scent is pretty concentrated. Thankfully it turned out to be much lighter when it was used.

Morning Surprise Monroe Peach Hand Cream – I was very entertained by the packaging of this item. Although it says Monroe (as in an ode to Marilyn Monroe, I assume), the character looks more like Madonna during her Like a Virgin phase, which I cannot unsee! As for the cream itself, it has a legit, albeit very light, peach scent.

Pure Smile Green Tea Essence Mask – Besides chocolate, I love practically anything with green tea. I will have to save using this mask for a later time since there are several that I currently have that should be used before it. Note to self for this year: up the sheet mask game. Seriously.

Pure Smile YOGRIP Rose & Honey Face Pack – Yogurt…for my face? OK, I suppose I’ll give it a try. This is actually a gel based moisturizer with a nice light rose scent. The size of the product looks like it can last at least a month.

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Each box comes with a booklet with more information about the products and how to use them, since the instructions are written in either Japanese or Korean. The price of this subscription is $29/month before shipping and taxes. Japan Crate has planned to relocate its headquarters from the Bay Area to Japan, so I’m expecting even more awesome products from them this year. Not only that, they’ve also informed that shipping is now free worldwide to select countries. If you’re interested in trying this or any of their other crates, now’s the time. Check out what they’re offering on their website.