Monday, September 7, 2015

New Beauty TestTube September/October Review and Unboxing (Plus 30% off Deal!)

 It's time for another New Beauty Test Tube!
Since I got the last tube later on in August, this one seemed to show up so quickly! NBTT is sent out every other month, so while I won't be receiving the next one until November, the wait will probably go by super-fast! Anyone think this year has just completely flown by? I feel like my birthday just happened and that was all the way back in March! I miss the days when I was 10 years old and Summer Vacation felt like an eternity! I guess the one good thing about the months going by quickly though, is getting my subscription boxes sooner!

 New Beauty TestTube is considered the "first beauty subscription service" in the beauty box world. It all began when readers of New Beauty magazine began asking where they could try/buy products that were featured in the magazine- and the test tube was born through the idea that readers could try the editors favorite products for themselves rather than just reading about them. It was a great idea of course, considering a massive, seemingly endless market of beauty subscriptions has risen out of it. New Beauty TestTube has partnered with some really great brands and has had some outstanding curations in the past. I've subscribed on and off to TestTube for many years now, and they might be the beauty service that I'm most up-in-the-air about. Some tubes I was blown away by to the point where I wished I had purchased more than one. Other tubes I was incredibly disappointed by and wish I had never purchased.  Lately I've had the feeling where I'm not insanely happy or disappointed- but somewhere in the middle.
Recently, they seem to be coming around again and picking up more high end brands and making better, more valuable curations, so I'm interested to see how they progress.
New Beauty TestTube costs $29.95 plus $8.95 S+H for a total of $38.95 per tube. The reason why this review is labeled "March/April" is because New Beauty TestTube comes out once every other month, so you would be receiving 6 tubes per year rather than 12 in a monthly subscription. Each box includes the Test Tube, which is filled with beauty samples and full-size products as well as a detailed informational booklet on the products. You also automatically receive a subscription to New Beauty magazine when you subscribe to the Test Tube. The magazine is delivered separately from the Test Tubes, 4 times a year.

Save 30% off Every Tube As Long As Your Subscribed!
This is a totally new thing here- Apparently when you use my referral link, from what I understand in the fine print, you will not only save 30% off your first tube, but EVERY tube that you receive during your subscription! This is an awesome deal!
Sign up with this link to save 30% off for every tube you receive!
  Of course for some people that is a good chunk of cash for a box of beauty samples. The good news is it only comes every other month, so it's a price equivalent of having a $15 per month subscription (after the 30% off discount). On top of that, they usually include higher-end items and full size products that other subscriptions do not.
I think the test tube is perfect for beauty junkies, but especially for women who don't have time to shop for beauty product or read pages and pages of reviews on a product. Getting the tube sent right to their door removes the hassle when shopping/discovering new beauty products!
I will say that while New Beauty does provide makeup in their tubes (many times it's full size!) they are usually a skincare-heavy subscription. If you're looking for solely cosmetics, this might not be a good choice for you.
  A great thing about New Beauty TestTube is that they provide a large booklet filled with tons of details about each product included that month. Not only do you get information about the brand, but you can get detailed info on the product as well as tips and tricks to using it properly! It's a really helpful little handbook that I wish more subscriptions took the time to do!

Now let's get on with this month's tube!
Grande Lips: Collagen Boosting Plumper ($10)
 We've received the Grande Lash Mascara more than one in past tubes, so I was actually pretty happy to see the lip plumper this time! I still think that this company has absolutely terrible packaging, though. As someone who is sort of obsessed with nice packaging, I think that this company looks like it's straight out of the 80's. It's always a shame when a good product is packaged poorly- because less people are going to be drawn to it. I personally feel like this is your standard lip plumper. There is some tingling involved, but it's not incredibly uncomfortable and it subsides quickly after application. I don't think my lips were noticeably bigger to anyone else by myself, although I did see a bit more "volume" in terms of my lips lines being less deep etc. 

Donell: Lip Saver ($7)
 I mean...I don't want to be ungrateful about receiving a nice beeswax SPF 15 lip balm's a lip balm. Not only is it weird to me to receive 2 lip products in the same tube, but a lip balm? This seems like a good time to mention that NBTT includes "bonus" items that are not listed in the info booklet, and this happens to be one of them. I personally don't consider them "bonus" items because without them, the tube would not be worth it price-wise. I don't think this is the kind of product that belongs in this subscription. As someone who has subscribed on and off to NBTT for years, I know that the entire idea behind it is to give subscribers samples/full sizes of products that are creating a buzz in the industry, or things that are hidden treasures. a lip balm. 

Lumene: BB Cream Sample
Another bonus item, obviously. Definitely not a bad thing to get a few foil packets here and there, especially if they're not included in the overall value of the box, but this BB cream sample says it's "medium" which I am definitely not. I will be passing this on to my mom to try, though!
Macadamia: Flawless Cleansing Conditioner ($10)
This is a product that I know has been repeated more than once in past tubes. This wasn't in the info booklet, so I suppose it's a "bonus item", but really- Regardless of whether or not it's a good product, it still irritates me that they continuously send repeats. What is even more concerning is that I received this product in a tube sometime last year. Is this bottle I'm getting now from that same batch? I know people have received expired products in their tubes before, so I can't help but feel a bit iffy when I get a repeat item like this. Having said that, this is Macadamia's Cleansing Conditioner, which is sort of their answer to the whole Wen craze. I tried this product out last year, and I while I love Macadamia hair products usually, I was not a fan of this. I have very fine, thin hair, and this left it feeling weighed down and greasy. My roommate, however, has very thick, coarse hair and he is really enjoying this product! It definitely seems like it's not for all hair types, but it could definitely help you manage your hair if it's on the thicker side.

It's a 10: Miracle Leave-In Lite ($8)
While this is also another repeat product (also not listed in the booklet), it's one of my all-time favorites so I'm totally fine with getting it again! This is the perfect leave-in treatment for fine hair. It smells amazing, is a fantastic detangler and is also great at protecting my hair from heat-styling. I have repurchased this product many times, so having a smaller travel-size is awesome!
Altchek MD Eye Gel Pads ($4)
My obsession with under eye gels knows no bounds, so I was insanely excited to see these! They contain lots of goodies like retinol, collagen, vitamin E, glycerin, allantoin and aloe. These are slightly different than the typical eye gels you'll see within the kbeauty market. These are actually dry on one side (sort of like a dry sheet mask material) and have a sticky gel pad on the other side. What I like about these types of eye patches is that they stick for a long time- you could put these on in the morning when you wake up and leave them on for hours! I wasn't blown away by the results of using these, but they definitely made my eye area feel moisturized and more awake. I mostly likely wouldn't repurchase these, but they were a nice addition to the tube. I only wish we received more pairs!
Dr. Brandt: PoreDermabrasion Pore Perfecting Exfoliator ($5)
 While I think some Dr. Brandt products are pretty good, I don't think any of them are particularly worth the hype that they're given. I tend to avoid any exfoliators, especially from Western brands since they tend to be too abrasive for my skin. This one is supposed to provide a "deep clean" which to me says "stripping." I also read in the info booklet that 97% of consumers said that this product gave them a "matte finish" to their skin after 4 weeks of use. Maybe I've been in the Korean beauty game for too long, but I definitely don't want my skin to have a matte finish. I want to be oil-free, of course, but I want my skin to look healthy, and matte skin is not healthy. Using makeup to achieve a matte look is fine, but matte skin is non-moisturized skin, and that is a no-no! I know plenty of friends that swear by Dr. Brandt products, so I'll probably pass this on to them- of course all the while reminding them that moisture=skin health!

DermaQuest: Essential B5 Hydrating Serum ($71)
Woah. $71 for this serum? Could it be youth in a bottle? I have no idea if that is a typical price for a serum like this, but I can't imagine it being any better than my $15 Missha Ampoule. Having said that, the ingredients list on this serum looks pretty great. It's used basically to encourage collagen products and cell regeneration to firm the skin and reduce wrinkles. The info booklet says it's also good for all skin types, so I'll definitely give it a whirl. Although I have to admit I'm a little worried about liking it- I don't think there will ever be a time in my life where I willingly spend $71 on a small tube of serum!
L'Occitane: Creme Divine ($15)
 This is another insanely expensive product. $108 for the full size, which is only 1.7oz. This is a lightweight cream that moisturizes the skin. It's paraben and sulfate free and helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles while fighting the signs of aging over time. While I have seen absolute rave reviews for this product, I can't help but think it's an over-hyped anti-aging moisturizer. There's nothing in the ingredients list that makes me see why they charge as much as they do for this product, and I'm willing to bet most of us have a product in our skincare stash that would rival this cream for a fraction of the price. I did pass this on to my mom already and she messaged me to tell me how much she loves it, so maybe there's something here...although I won't be spending $108 to find out!

Bio-Oil ($3)
This is a product I have seen time and time again and have always wanted to try, but never picked up. That's the great thing about subscription boxes! This product contains lavender, chamomile, and purcellin oil as well as vitamins A and E. It's used to fade scars and stretch marks as well as helping tired, aging skin rejuvenate. I've seen some great reviews of this product, especially on stretch marks (which I have a bunch of) so I'm excited to give this a try!
Overall Thoughts
New Beauty TestTube costs $29.99 per month and has a shipping charge of $8.95, making it about $39 per tube. (Less if you use my 30% off coupon!) The total value of the September/October TestTube is $133.
While that is a fantastic value, let's take a closer look here.
Since only some of these products are actually listed in the info booklet, some of these products are considered "bonus items" by the company, therefore we could potentially not consider them as part of the full value of the tube. Granted we also have an insanely over-priced serum to think about here. If the serum is $71 on it's own, that means the rest of the tube is value at just $62- less than the cost of the serum by itself! And if we take the serum out, just for kicks, as well as the "bonus items" the value of the rest of the items is only at $37.
I do a cost breakdown like this because it's important to not only look at the big picture. a $133 value is great and all, but not when more than half of it is coming from one product, and especially not when 3 of the larger products are considered "bonus items" and not even listed in the info booklet.
Objectively, I think this is a pretty good tube. I liked the variety of products and brands represented, and while not everything is something I will use, I still think it's worth the cost of the tube itself. What I wish NBTT would do though, is stop throwing in random items and calling them "bonus items." I feel like this is just a sneaky way of getting rid of old stock- but the tube itself suffers in the meantime, because as I mentioned above, removing the bonus items from the value of the tube shows that what is actually listed on the info card really isn't that wow-worthy at all. The only exception would be the pricey serum.

While I'm always a little over-critical of "value" with subscription boxes, I think that its super important. As a consumer, we purchase subscription boxes for a multitude of reasons, but one of them is for value. They're supposed to save us money. We want to try beauty and skincare products without having to buy full sizes and be disappointed. I will still happily recommend this subscription- especially to someone who is completely new to TestTube (b/c the repeat items will be less of an annoyance), however I do wish that they would try a bit harder in terms of curation and overall value. I'm not disappointed, just not wowed like I wish I was.

If you're interested in trying your luck with New Beauty TestTube, you can do so here, and save 30% off your Tubes EVERY Month your subscribed!
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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.

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