Wednesday, March 25, 2015

PopSugar Must Have Box March 2015 Review and Unboxing

 I'm usually obsessed with the PopSugar Must Have Box on a scary level. I sit on the makeuptalk forums debating with other ladies on what is going to be in the box each month, and we all wait with anticipation to see the first spoiler. We pick apart each item and whether or not the curation is up to snuff. I'm almost always impressed and my feelings are almost always positive. I'll cut right to the chase: this month was a massive, stellar let-down for me. I always hope that the boxes that come on my birthday month are extra special, which is silly, I know. It was just an epic let down to open my favorite subscription box to find almost nothing I was remotely interested in.

The Deets
PopSugar Must Have Box is a subscription that sends you full size "must have" items from all areas of interest: fitness, beauty, skincare, home decor, books- you name it! You never know what is going to show up in these boxes, and that's why they're always so much fun to recieve! 
PopSugar costs $39.99 per month, however you can save more by buying a longer subscription, or if you gift yourself a box each month, you can use the frequent coupon codes they have available (usually monthly) that range from $5 off ( use code: REFER5), to sometimes up to $20 off on rare occasions!
Each month, Lisa Sugar (PopSugar's Founder) will put all of the things that inspired the box on the info card. 
This month was inspired by: 
Renewal, Citrus, Spring Break, Fresh, Traveling

Samudra: Pink Pina Zip Pouch ($40)
 I had to show this beauty off as the first item because I am still in absolute disbelief over this thing. First off, it's made of the thinnest, cheapest see-through pink plastic of all time. It reminds me of those drawing pads from the 80's that looked like this:
As a matter of fact, I would be willing to bet that this pouch is actually made out of that same pink plastic. Here's the kicker: This cheap plastic pouch has a retail value of forty. dollars. I don't even have words. If this was included in the box and had a value of say, $5 or heck, even $10, I would have been a lot less harsh regarding my intense dislike for this thing. But because it took up $40 of the overall box value, the rest of the box seemed to suffer.
 Here's a very quick picture to show you how big the pouch is- everything in the box this month can be stuffed inside, although not zipped up. It could probably hold an iPad or a book easily. If I wasn't so blinded by my hatred for it I would say it could be a cute little bag to take to the beach to hold some beauty products and a good book.

Wet Brush: The Squirt ($5)
 I'm usually fine with PopSugar including lower-value products or things you can find at the drugstore, as long as there are nice, more luxury or boutique brand products to offset it. This $5 brush is not something I feel like fits in a PopSugar box unless it's an "extra" like they've done in the past with drugstore or low-end products. This is a wet brush, which has special bristles that make it more gentle on wet hair. I'll give them credit and say that this is a nice travel-friendly brush to take on vacation or to the beach and it fits with their overall theme, but it's not very appealing to me personally. I'll be passing this on to someone who might enjoy it.

 Greenmarket Purveying Co.: The Archivist Lemon+Cucumber Reed Diffuser Kit ($20)
 This reed diffuser is pretty much the only thing in the box that I was very happy with. I think diffusers are a bit overdone and kind of past their prime in regards to their popularity, but a really nice-looking one can be a classy inclusion to a gift or a subscription box. This one has a lovely scent of cucumber and lemon. I put this on my dining room table and within an hour, my entire house smelled of it! The scent does die down within a few days, but it's still pretty apparent in whichever room you decide to put it in. It's a very fruity scent that kind of reminds me of candy, but it puts me in the Spring/Summer mood, which is a good thing!

Bliss: Micromagic Microdermabrasion Treatment ($48)
 This is a pretty expensive product from a popular brand, so I can see why they would include something like this, however it seems like there are mixed emotions regarding this product with PopSugar subscribers. This is your basic "microdermabrasion treatment" which is essentially a facial scrub that has incredibly fine granules in it rather than big, rough particles. It's used to smooth and soothe the skin, and is best used about once a week. Having said that, many people have decided not to use this product because it contains quite a few parabens. They are listed at the very bottom of the ingredients list, so there's a very tiny amount going on here, however you might want to skip this if you're avoiding parabens all together in your beauty products. I've done my research and honestly, my feelings on parabens are: avoid them if you can, but it's not a huge deal if they are in small amounts. I was going to pass this product on at first, but I'm actually interested to see how it works for my skin.

Knock Knock: What to Pack Pad ($7)
 While this product is pretty cute and serves the travel theme of this box well, it's just not something that is very practical for most people. This is essentially a note pad that has a little checklist that you can use when you're packing to go on a trip to make sure you have everything. I feel like this list is a little too generic to be efficiently used for everyone. "makeup" is not detailed enough of a check point for me. What if I forget eyeshadow, or mascara but remember everything else? Also, who travels enough where they need an entire pad of these checklists? I can count on one hand how many times I've traveled in the last decade! This is a cute idea for a travel-themed box, but I'll be giving this to my sister who travels a lot more often than I do!

Halfpops: Halfpopped Popcorn in "Chipotle Barbeque" ($1.69)
PopSugar very regularly includes a snack in their boxes, which I'm always excited to try! Sometimes they include full size bags of snacks, although this one is just a little sample bag. HalfPops are like the Naturebox "Pop Pops" snacks. They're essentially half-popped pieces of popcorn, so they have a bit of a light airiness to them, but also a bit of crunch from the kernel. These aren't as hard as a full-blown popcorn kernel, though. They're easy to chew, and actually pretty tasty! I thought this particular flavor was a little too intense for me, but I still think they're delish and would consider buying another bag in a different flavor.

Benefit Cosmetics: Roller Lash Mascara and POREfessional Deluxe Samples ($5)
PopSugar also regularly includes a "Special Extra" which is usually a sponsored product from a drugstore brand, a deluxe sample of some kind, or an edible. This month it was a cute little pink box from Benefit that included a sample of their new Roller Lash Mascara and their popular POREfessional primer. I've received the Roller Lash sample in my Sample Society box this month and have still yet to try it, but I'm happy to have another one in case I really like it! I use the POREfessional every single day on my nose. While I use a less-expensive primer on the rest of my face, I have incredibly large pores on my nose that are super-obvious even with foundation on. This primer does an amazing job camouflaging my pores without clogging them or making me breakout. I only need a tiny bit to cover my nose, so these small sample tubes last quite a while for me!

 Overall Thoughts
PopSugar Must Have boxes cost $39.99 per month, and the March box has a total retail value of $126.69.
While PopSugar always delivers an outstanding value, I can't help but notice that if this month's box didn't include the crappy $40 pouch or the Bliss face treatment, everything else in the box adds up to around $38. The value lessens even more when you consider $5 of it is coming from the special extras.
I'm not usually the kind of blogger that obsesses over "value" in subscription boxes, but I do want to feel like I got more than my money's worth when I get a subscription. I feel like that is kind of their big draw. You want to open the box and think, "Wow I can't believe I only paid $40 for this!" and not, "Wow what a waste of $40."
I still don't feel like I completely wasted my money on this month's box because whatever I don't like is definitely giftable. The only item I think will go at the very back of my closet is the pink pouch. I can't imagine gifting it to anyone, nor can I imagine myself using it often. 
Overall, this might be my least favorite PopSugar box ever, and I've been getting them for about a year and a half now. It's not a terrible box objectively, and I'm sure there are people that would love every item here- I'm just not one of them. 

April PopSugar boxes have a reputation for being pretty fantastic (last year we got a Too Faced Palette!), so I'm staying positive and hoping on a really amazing box next month to make up for this one. Don't let me down, PopSugar!

If you're interested in signing up for a PopSugar subscription, you can do that HERE.
(Use code REFER5 to get $5 off your first month!)

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All thoughts and opinions in this blog post are genuine and belong to Harlot Beauty. No monetary compensation was received, although goods and/or services may have been provided and accepted for purpose of review. Post may contain affiliate or referral links.


  1. That pink pouch is just ridiculous. Fortunately for me, my daughter saw it and loved it. Not worth $40, or evn $1, but it made her happy.

    1. haha I agree, it is ridiculous. It would have been find as a little $5 toss-in kind of item, but it seems like they made it the star of this months box, which is just embarrassing!! Glad your daughter enjoyed it though- it seems like something that a younger girl would like, I think!

  2. I LOVE Roller Lash! I didn't like benefit's they're real mascara much so my expectations were low, but this is my new favorite.

    1. I'm totally with you on this! I didn't like the They're Real either and was NOT expecting to like the Roller Lash but I ended up really liking it!

    2. It's good to knwo that both of you like the Roller Lash! I was worried because I've seen some mixed reviews on it. I'm almost done with my L'Oreal Butterfly mascara so I'm excited to start using the Roller Lash Next!

  3. I agree with you. the pouch is WAY over priced. I know we take a gamble with this box but it would be nice to feel like you got your money's worth. The diffuser is nice, love the smell. Still a bit disappointed with this box. Hope April is better.

    1. You and I have the same feelings on this situation haha. The pouch is my major anger spot this month since it took up $40 of the box value, but I do love the diffuser as well! It smells like lemon starbursts! LOL :) Excited to see what April has in store- hope it's much better than this one, although it would be hard not to be!

  4. This box wasn't as great as the last few but I wasn't totally disappointed with it. I was a little surprised by the outrage over the Bliss product because, like you said, the parabens are the very last thing on the ingredients list. More recent research has shown that the initial results were overblown and that they aren't so bad for you (besides, there are parabens in a lot more things than just beauty products). I'm fine with anyone who chooses not to use them, but to me it seemed like it was a lot of people repeating unfounded claims and freaking out over nothing.

    Wow...long comment...guess I wanted to get that off my chest, lol!

    1. Totally agree- At first I was like, "ooh ok a Bliss product! I'm excited to try!" and then I saw comments EVERYWHERE saying "OMG 5 PARABENS?! I'm tossing this in the garbage!!" least sell it on ebay or give it to a friend or a women and children's shelter, y'know??

      I'm not super well-versed on parabens so people's reactions freaked me out a little bit, although I did my research and it seems like they're not quite as scary as people make them out to be, especially in the tiny amounts they include in skincare. So It's an added bonus if they're not included in a product, but not something I'm going to freak out about!

  5. Haha! Your first photo of the pouch does the BLARING NEON SUPER BRIGHT EYE BLINDING pink absolutely no justice. The other couple photos with the pouch in it come a lot closer.
    You know what's worse? That thing is kind of growing on me. It's a nice size and has a real zipper... Except I can barely look at it without my eyes watering. :D

    1. hahahah seriously though the light would not catch it when I was laying it flat- no matter what I did- I think it just looks less blinding in natural light LOL ;)

      The thing is, I don't dislike the pouch, honestly. I find it feels pretty cheap- even the zipper feels cheapy. I don't even care about the blinding neon (hey it matches the bandeau bra that Wantable sent me! LOL) I just think that it took up $40 in value for the box, and that makes me hate it. As I mentioned, if you take the pouch and the Bliss out of the equation, you get a $38 value, which is pretty skimpy to me when you think about how many other boxes we've received where we get lovely items across the board. This one just felt cheap all-around.

  6. I really want to subscribe to a lifestyle box and was highly considering popsugar, but now I am having second taught... is it always this "average/bland" or usually more exciting?

    1. Actually Tia, If I had to cancel every other subscription and only keep one, it would be PopSugar. I have been subscribing for about a year and a half now, and I can honestly say this was the ONLY box I was disappointed by. There are some that are better than others, of course, but I always feel like they're worth the money, and I'm always really excited about what they include. I love that with PopSugar, ANYTHING could be in the box! I love the excitement of what is going to be inside, and I especially love the mix of products from lifestyle, to home goods, to beauty and skincare.

      This box was just a bummer for me, but I'm confident in PopSugar. I know their Spring/Summer boxes are usually really fantastic, and they're already sold out of April, so if you ARE thinking of subscribing (and I would highly recommend them, even after this meh box) I would do so now since they're already waitlisting people up until May! You can also check out my PopSugar Pinterest Board to see some of the old boxes, or search "PopSugar Must Have" to find my other reviews! <3

  7. I am going to subscribe and use your discount code, I have been thinking about it this whole time so I will just go for it!

    1. Yay! Thank you Tia! :D And I have a good feeling you'll really love PopSugar! At first I thought it was a bit too pricey for me, but when I finally gave in, I ended up canceling other subscriptions and happily keeping PopSugar! It's just the best overall box in my opinion. I already saw a great spoiler for the May box (It's a Kitsch Necklace and I LOVE their jewelry!) so I think it'll be a good one! :D

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