Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Birchbox for CEW: Prestige Headliners & Mass Appeal Limited Edition Boxes Review and Coupons!

I always get excited when Birchbox releases new Limited Edition boxes. Sometimes they're pretty expensive, but many of them are under $60 and have an insanely good value. The CEW collaboration boxes are always a big hit for me because they are both affordable, and include lots of great samples from a wide variety of brands. CEW (Cosmetic Executive Women) collabs with Birchbox to create two collections: Prestige Headliners and Mass Appeal. Here's how the products are chosen each year:

It’s hard to cut through the clutter in the drugstore beauty aisle—but that’s why we have the Cosmetic Executive Women (CEW) Insiders’ Choice Beauty Awards. Every year, over 6,000 industry pros come together and vote on the year’s best and brightest products. 

What is great about these boxes is that they're both very affordable- however Birchbox will also automatically take off $5 from your total if you purchase both at the same time! So rather than spending $33 for the pair, both boxes only cost you $28!


Try one of these coupons to save 20% off your purchase of $35 or more:

ALSO: Don't Forget to Add a Sample Pack! (They're free with a $35 purchase!)

Since these boxes will only cost $28 (after Birchbox takes the $5 off for purchasing both), to reach the $35 limit to use a coupon and get the free sample pack, check out the "under $25" section HERE to find some low cost items you can add to your order!

Now onto the boxes!

 (Cost: $18)
This exclusive Birchbox collection features honorees from the 2015 awards—you’ll get an indulgent glow-ifying face mask, a legendary liquid liner, and much more.
Benefit: They're Real! Push-Up Eye-Liner 
 This is a gel liner pen that sits close to the lash line and smooths on a waterproof line with ease. I have heard some varying opinions on this particular liner- mostly because the sample size seems to be packaged differently than the full size product, and because of that packaging change, is quite difficult to use. I haven't tried this yet so I can't speak on how well it goes on, although I'm assuming it's similar to the Smashbox gel liner that I tried a couple of months ago. I usually have great luck with Benefit products so I'm hoping this works for me- I'm in desperate need of a really good waterproof liner!

NUDESTIX: Lip/Cheek Pencil
 According to Birchbox, this brand is "buzzed about" yet I haven't heard very much about them at all. Maybe I'm out of the loop? *shrugs* Regardless, this is a creamy pencil that is multi use in that it can be used as a lip liner, lip color and cheek color. The shade that was sent out is a nude shade with a pink undertone.
I think it's a really wearable shade, and it does feel incredibly creamy with a bit of a shine. I think it's too soft to actually work well as a lip liner as described, however it's a great wearable nude and actually looks nice as a cheek shade when blended out as it comes off more peach. I wish it was a twist up pencil rather than one you sharpen, but I think I'm going to really like this!
COOLA: SPF 50 Sport Fresh Mango Moisturizer
SPF50 is my ideal, so I'm happy to have this travel sized tube for travel. I also love the mango scent of this! It's sweat-proof, water-resistant and made with organic botanicals. I wouldn't say it's the most exciting product ever, but everyone (yes EVERYONE) should be wearing sunscreen daily, especially if you're going outside a lot! Don't forget you can get sunburned from sitting close to a window as well!

Fekkai: Hair Fragrance Mist in "Creme Vanillee"
I LOVE this idea! I know these hair mists have existed for awhile already, but the fact that this one is made specifically by a hair product company fools me into thinking this is an ultra fancy one! It has a really creamy, warm vanilla scent and the size is perfect for your purse or glove compartment. Not only does it make your hair smell lovely, but it also smooths down static and boosts shine. 
GLAMGLOW: Thirstymud Hydrating Treatment 
(with POWERMUD Dualcleanse Treatment bonus foil)
 I'm not going to lie here- I'm honestly not a fan of Glamglow products. I really think they're overpriced (an insane amount) for what they actually are, and I have found so many other clay masks that are just as good or better at a fraction of the price. Having said that, I still think they're pretty nice to have on hand sample-wise for a little spa night! The tube that is included in this box is the "thirstymud" which is a fast acting mud ask for dry skin that replenishes moisture and "intensely hydrates" which is a great option considering there aren't a lot of mud masks out there for people with dry skin! the foil packet included is a mud-to-oil product that removes impurities, dirt and oil.

Marula: Pure Marula Facial Oil
While I don't currently use a facial oil in my routine, I know how many wonderful benefits they have (yes, even for those of us with oily skin!) so I've been thinking about researching them more and testing them out a bit to find the right one for me. This marula oil is rich in anti-oxidants, hydrates and soothes the skin while smoothing out the look of fine lines and wrinkles. Birchbox also says that it doubles as a primer, although I'm not sure how well it would work for someone like me with very large pores. I suppose I'll need to test it to find out!
Overall Thoughts
I think this is a really great box for $18! There's lots of variety here- makeup, skincare and hair products, and everything is sizeable enough to get more than one use (the foil packet is a bonus/extra). Even though I'm not a massive fan of GlamGlow, I will still definitely use these samples, and everything else looks really great! Really pleased with this one!

(Cost: $15) 
This exclusive Birchbox collection features drugstore-available honorees from the 2015 awards—you’ll get a luxurious overnight mask, a lip pencil that packs a wallop of creamy color, and more. A $68 value!
Olay: Regenerist Luminous Dark Circle Correcting HydraSwirl Eye Cream
 I received this product in another box (possibly a Target beauty box?) and even thought it looks small, it's actually a full size, which is awesome! This product instantly brightens dark circles and hydrates the skin for a more firm and smooth appearance. It's also supposed to permanently lighten dark circles with continued use. I've read mixed reviews on this product in that the "lightening" swirl is too lightening and looks like "reverse raccoon eyes" however I have tried this 3 times and did not see that kind of effect. I also didn't notice much lightening instantly as it claims, however I'm interested to see how it works long term. If I get results I promise a full review on this because I'm always looking for eye products that actually work well!

Cetaphil: Gentle Skin Cleansing Cloths
I wrote a quick note about this product on the Harlot Beauty facebook page, and let's just say I was NOT happy. Cetaphil as a company is a complete joke in my opinion (seriously, just look up some reviews) because they are touted by dermatologists as gentle and natural etc, yet their products are loaded with chemicals and truly nothing beneficial to your skin. I've even found out that Cetaphil pays dermatologists to recommend their products to patients and provides them with free product and incentives, which is just shady as hell to me. The only good thing about the Cetaphil cleansers is that they have a ph of 5 (as do these facial wipes) but that's where it ends. These wipes are literally made up of nothing but water, varying types of alcohol, parabens and sulfates. There's nothing even beneficial in these wipes- don't put them anywhere near your face. I have been using them to clean my feet before I use a foot mask, and I'll probably use them to wipe down my laptop keyboard or something...but that's about it.
Simple Skincare: Ultra-Light Gel Moistiurizer
 If you're looking for a Western skincare line that is drugstore priced and not absolutely terrible for your skin, Simple Skincare is probably a much better way to go than Cetaphil. While they're not perfect, their products at least contain no incredibly harsh chemicals and have beneficial ingredients in them. this ultra-light gel moisturizer is a really generous size- it's either a full size or the full size is really large. It has a pump-top applicator too which is awesome. The formula is a hypoallergenic gel that doubles skins hydration without overloading it with a heavy cream or causing irritation. This would be a great option for someone with combo/oily skin for sure!

Laneige: Water Sleeping Mask
Woo! A kbeauty product appearance in a pretty western-product-heavy box! Laneige's Water Sleeping Mask is insanely popular, and for good reason! It reminds me a lot of my all-time-favorite sleeping pack: Lioele Waterdrop Sleeping Pack. It's a gel formula that turns to an almost water-like feel once it hits the skin. This particular pack hydrates and replenishes skin overnight. It works really well and this little jar is just too cute!
Rimmel: Scandaleyes Rockin' Curves Mascara
 When it comes to mascara, there is rarely a time that I think a high end version beats out a drugstore one. While my current favorite is the Benefit Roller Lash mascara, I still have really great luck with a lot of drugstore mascaras. Maybelline and Rimmel seem to have the most consistently good formulas for me personally, so I'm happy to see this in the box! While I normally prefer rubber bristles, the Rimmel brushes do a great job getting in-between each lash and really lifting them up well. The "broken heart brush" on this mascara seems a little bit gimmicky, however it promises to be that shape so that it can hug your lash line and get right into the corners to really pump up the volume. Excited to try this one out!

Burts Bees: Lip Crayon in 'Sedona Sands"
I love a good lip crayon, don't you? Seriously nothing is easier to toss in my purse and reapply as needed. They give a nice wash of color, moisture and shine, but don't require a mirror and a steady hand to reapply like lipstick does.  This one is made with shea butter and offers a creamy, semi-matte finish. I didn't open/swatch this one yet because the color is very similar to the pencil in the previous box, so I might swap this one or possibly just save it for later- either way, the color looks really wearable (a pinky nude tone) so I think it's a great fit for a box like this that will be going to lots of people with varying skin tones.
Overall Thoughts
Is it just me, or is the "drugstore" box a little bit better than the Prestige box? I don't know- the products are so much bigger in size (lots of full sizes here!) and there's a great variety with only haircare missing from the bunch. With the exception of the Cetaphil wipes (that I'll still use-just not on my face) there's nothing in this box that I won't use. Pretty much everything is something I can see myself buying on my own. Very, very happy with this one. If you're only going to get one box I would highly suggest this one over the Prestige Box simply for the value overall. 

If you're interested in picking these up, I would highly suggest grabbing both as Birchbox takes $5 off when both are added to your cart! Check out these and the other limited edition boxes HERE. If you're only interested in one or the other, you can grab the Prestige Headliners box for $18 HERE, or the Mass Appeal box for $15 HERE.
(also: don't forget to try a coupon and grab a sample pack like I mentioned earlier in this post!)
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All thoughts and opinions in this blog post are genuine and belong to Harlot Beauty. No monetary compensation was received, and goods and/or services have not been provided. Products in this review were purchased by Harlot Beauty. Post contains affiliate and referral links.

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