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.

 

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.

 

Play! by Sephora – The Minimalists

Throwing it back to June’s Play! box, which was the last that I received from this subscription.

What’s inside:

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bareMinerals BareSkin Bronzer – This liquid bronzer can be used on the face or body. Very easy to blend on its own or mixed in with foundation or body lotion. It was still a bit wet and wasn’t blended in entirely on the swatch, but the color looks promising. I have yet to actually use it on my face.

Becca Backlight Priming Filter – The fact that it contains shimmer makes me a tad hesitant to actually use it. Might not be too bad if it’s a small amount. According to the product description in the box’s insert, this adds a “soft-focus filter” which blurs imperfections and add a luminous glow.

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Swatches of bareSkin Bronzer and Backlight Priming Filter.

Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Mascara – I’ve received samples of this a few times in the past and used it occasionally. The formula is a bit wet compared to other mascaras I’ve tried. This one however gets a bit smudgy on me after a few hours. I’ll be passing this along to my mom.

Bumble and Bumble Don’t Blow It – This leave-in cream supposedly adds volume to fine-to-medium hair. Just apply to towel dried hair and let air dry. The smell of this is awesome, but I didn’t see a very significant result once my hair fully dried.

Tarte Tarteguard 30 Sunscreen Lotion – My favorite product from this box! There’s always a year-round need for SPF, plus the mini size is perfect to take on trips. I’ve tested it out prior to one I’m going on next month. No irritation and the texture is light.

Tocca Beauty Florence – Upon first smelling this, I had assumed it had jasmine in it. Nope. It’s actually a blend of bergamot, violet petals, and blonde wood. I found myself sniffing my wrist numerous times during the day. I’m not always a fan of floral fragrances, but this is pretty subtle if I don’t over apply and won’t give me a headache.

I decided to discontinue this subscription mainly because I would rather purchase full sized items that I’d actually need rather than receive small bunches of deluxe samples and most likely not use everything I get. The price for the subscription, however, is great ($10 USD with free shipping to select states), and it includes products from brands I’m more familiar with since I shop at Sephora often. Visit the Play! site here to check out what they’ve included in past boxes, and to sign up for their wait list if you’re interested in subscribing.