Review: BeautyFix Monthly Subscription Box (through Dermstore.com)

Well, it’s been a loooooong time since I’ve posted.  I got a full-time job a little over a year ago and my brutal work schedule didn’t leave me a lot of free time or energy for posting – or much of anything else.  A recent family emergency caused me to seriously re-assess my priorities and (long story short) I’m working less now, so I have more time for other things. Onto the review…

So, I’ve been dying to do a monthly subscription box for a while, but I wasn’t really very intrigued by any of them.  I mean, if I dedicated $10 or $20 a month to trying new beauty products, I’d rather just go buy things I know I might like, instead of relying on “luck of the draw”.  So far, my only foray into the subscription box arena was the Julep Maven box, which I didn’t love.  The BeautyFix box seemed like a better deal to me, since it contains some full-sized items.  The “previous months” offerings looked pretty good to me, too.  Seems that I might have missed out on some of the better selections…

Price:   The first box is discounted to $12.48.  The monthly subscription is $24.95.  You can also buy a one-time box for $34.95, if you like.

Pros: 

  • Contains some full-size products.  (Others are tiny samples and travel size.)
  • Good overall value.
  • Comes in nice packaging with a card that has information about the products.
  • Has a large variety of product types (hair, skin, makeup, body care).

Cons:

  • A little more expensive than some others.
  • Contains products you might never use – or want/need.
  • Have to call a hard-to-find customer service number to cancel.
  • Website is a little hard-to-find, too.
  • They advertise what’s coming in the box when they’re about to go out, so it’s not a surprise when it shows up.
September 2015 BeautyFix Box

September 2015 BeautyFix Box

October 2015 BeautyFix Box

October 2015 BeautyFix Box

 

Who This Would Be Great For: 

  • People who want to try new products and are open to pretty much anything.
  • Anyone who doesn’t have specific skincare/hair care/beauty needs.
  • Those who don’t like shopping around to try new things.

In Summary: The idea of this beauty box subscription is great – if you have very diverse tastes and skin/hair/beauty needs.  However, I have oily skin, so I can’t use any of the anti-aging products that have been included.  I have thick hair, so I really don’t need all the hair re-growth and “thickening” products that have come in the last 2 boxes.  You get the idea.  Additionally, I’m a little picky about the products I use (don’t use stuff made in China, anything with parabens, etc.) so some of the stuff that has come in the boxes aren’t things I would normally spend money on.  I knew this was going to be an issue for me, but I thought there would be enough products to offset the things I won’t use.  Yeah, not so much.

FYI:  After wandering Dermstore.com a bit, I found that many of the products in these boxes are on sale or clearance.  I think this beauty box subscription is their way of getting rid of products they overstocked or can’t sell.

Rating:  3.5 out of 5 stars  3.5-stars

Random Suggestion:  If you want to try some products and don’t want the commitment of a subscription, try BeautifiedYou.com  They have sample bags for $5 – $15 (free shipping is usually available for these items) and you can choose based on your skin type, or a variety of others that are sometimes available.  As of this post, there are 6 different bags available.  I ordered 3 different ones when I ordered mine several months ago and was very impressed by the products that were included.  And they even came with a cute, re-useable gift bag!

 

 

 

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Why So Secretive, Origins?

So, I recently expressed my irritation (emotional, not physical) with the Origins Modern Friction scrub.  Another sample I got on the same trip was a moisturizer that made me break out.   So I started searching around online to get ingredients lists.   Guess what?  They’re nowhere to be found…

That’s Odd:  When shopping online, most major retailers have ingredient lists available.  It’s commonplace on Sephora and Beauty.com’s websites.  However, the Origins products listed on their websites don’t have complete ingredient lists. Origins items on Sephora.com do have a list of select ingredients, explaining what they do for the product.  (Those aren’t the ones I’m concerned about.) Even the Origins website has no ingredients listed for the products – not even “select” ingredients, unless you count the “Ingredient Gallery”.

I Thought I Should Ask:  Not wanting to assume they were intentionally trying to hide their ingredients lists, I reached out to Origins on their Facebook page with this question:  “Is there someplace (online) I can get a COMPLETE list of ingredients for Origins products?  I prefer to shop online, but can’t find anywhere with complete ingredients listings, so I can make sure to avoid things that are problematic for my skin.”

Their Reply:   “Hi Bridgett–Our Origins Global Consumer Care Team will be happy to provide you with the most current list of ingredients for our products. Simply call us at 1-800-ORIGINS (1-800-674-4467) option #4 between the hours of 9 am-5pm (EST) Monday- Friday or via email anytime at  consumercare-us@gcc.origins.com.  We’ll be in touch to assist.” 

What the…  It’s 2014.  Why do I have to call or e-mail someone to get information I should be able to get online when I’m shopping for the products?

For the Sake of Convenience:  I went back to the Origins store – since I was already in the area – wanting to see what ingredients were in the samples I received.  The moisturizer in question was also labeled with the wrong product name, making it even harder to figure out what I was putting on my face. (The offender was glycerin, by the way.)  When the store associate saw me picking up and reading a bunch of different containers, she asked if she could help.  I explained the predicament and she was very annoyed, saying the Origins website used to have complete ingredients lists available and she had been telling customers they could go there to get them!

I Guess I Shouldn’t Complain:  The samples were free.  The store associates are always helpful and generous with the freebies.  But I honestly wouldn’t have put a moisturizer containing glycerin on my skin, because I know it clogs my pores and causes blemishes.

But…  People shopping online should be able to see the ingredients (and country of origin, in my opinion) for the products they’re buying.  It definitely doesn’t look good when you’re one of very few companies who doesn’t share this information freely with your online-shopping customers.  Even stranger that you expect them to call during business hours or e-mail and wait for a response to get the information. Not cool, Origins.

Bargain Store Mini-Haul

While I love “prestige” beauty stores like Ulta, Sephora, and L’Occitane, I’m no snob when it comes to buying beauty products.  If you told me I could get products I love at a significant discount but I had to drive into the worst neighborhood in town to get it, I would probably go.  One of the stores I regularly check for bargains is Big Lots.  This is a very-not-upscale chain of stores that carries everything from dog food to furniture…

Drugstore Brands:  Big Lots regularly carries a good selection of drugstore brand products, sometimes ones that have been discontinued and are often in atypical packaging.  Typical brands carried:  Revlon, Maybelline, Almay, CoverGirl, and e.l.f.

Prestige Brands:  While this probably isn’t the type of store you imagine yourself shopping at, you might be missing out on some great deals. Every now and then you can find amazing deals on prestige brands of beauty products.  In the past, I’ve gotten/seen products from Philosophy, China Glaze, eos, and Stila.

My Recent Mini Haul:  Managing to control myself somewhat, I only picked up a few items.  (Unable to resist the deals, I’ll probably be returning in the next couple days to get some more.)

Note:  Selection varies greatly from store to store.   If you have more than one Big Lots store in your area, it might be worth your time to browse a couple of them.

My Mini Haul:

– e.l.f. eyeshadow brushes – 95 cents each

– Sephora/O.P.I nail polish – $1.80 each

20140212_102428

Have You Heard?

FINALLY Ulta is going to have a rewards program I like.  In the past, your spending has determined what free item you’d get after each quarterly spending period.  There wasn’t a birthday gift (who doesn’t love a free birthday item?), and you had to wait for your rewards certificate to come in the mail – a certificate that could only be used in a certain time frame – usually for stuff I didn’t really care about.  Here’s a quick rundown of the changes, according to the information in the most recent Ulta advertising flyer

Birthday Gift.   Members will receive a free birthday item and double points during their birthday month.

Platinum Status.  Spend $400 in a calendar year and get upgraded to platinum status, which earns you points faster, and they never expire.

Better Rewards.  You can use your points toward anything in the store, not just a selection of a half dozen items.

No More Certificates.  You won’t have to wait for your reward certificate to come in the mail, and you can redeem your points when you want. (Points are good for a year.)

So, Basically:  Ulta is trying to compete with Sephora by having a much better rewards program than they’ve had in the past.  I’m very happy about this because I shop at Ulta more often, since they carry “drugstore brands”, have a clearance section, and offer coupons for store purchases – sometimes even on “prestige” brands.

Unknown:  I’m not sure if points can be used in-store only, or you’ll be able to use them for online purchases as well.  Unfortunately, the Ulta Rewards website still has the information about the old rewards system.

Important Info:  This program is only available with e-mail signup.  Make sure you have your birthday listed in your profile information to get your birthday gift. All current Ulta Rewards members will be moved to the new system on February 23rd.

 

I Had No Idea…

I’m accustomed to buying my beauty products at my favorite stores – Ulta and Sephora.  I also enjoy shopping at Target and occasionally drug stores.  I regularly frequent “bargain stores” to raid their beauty aisles, but every now and then I happen to be in a store and stumble across some great beauty finds where I completely don’t expect it.  That happened to me a few days ago, in a store I never think to look for beauty products…

Kohls:  Yes, Kohls.  I had no idea!  I’ve seen the beauty section of the store – it’s right next to the jewelry, some of which I love.  But, I usually just wander through or past it, not really paying attention.  They have whole sections of brands I’ve never heard of – and a lot of perfumes – and I guess that’s all I’ve noticed before.

Interesting:  They actually have some pretty popular brands.  I saw some items from Pur Minerals, Earth Therapeutics, and Real Techniques.

Unfortunately:  I didn’t have a lot of time on this trip.  I was in the area and had a $5 reward that was expiring soon, so I planned on just running in quickly to find something to use it on.

So:  I bought the Earth Therapeutics blending sponge.  (Review coming soon!)  I think next time I have a coupon, gift certificate, or reward I’m going to try a Real Techniques brush, since I’ve heard good things about them.

Goes to Show You:  Almost any store can have something you want.  It doesn’t hurt to browse around different places you shop to see what they may have to offer.

Online Shoppers, Unite!

The holiday shopping season is in full swing.  To help you find the best deals on beauty products, I’m posting all the ones I find on my Facebook page.  Some will be in-store deals, but most will be online promo codes (since Cyber Monday is here already!)  Check it out:

https://www.facebook.com/BridgettsBeautyBlog

Lesson Learned: Read the Fine Print

I recently got a 20% off code for beauty.com – one of my preferred online retailers.  So, I went to order some Christmas gifts for my daughter.  Being a fan of Urban Decay cosmetics, I immediately noticed this “palette” and added it to my basket (I was in a bit of a hurry, and was kind of exhausted after going through item after item for my daughter, trying to make sure they didn’t contain parabens, weren’t made in China, etc.)  Knowing that Urban Decay palettes usually come with one eye shadow, I assumed the product image with this item was accurate.  I also assumed that “Rebound” was the color of the eye shadow provided.  Yeah, let’s just say that the old saying about the spelling of “assumed” is appropriate for this situation…

Product image:

actual image from beauty.com website

actual image from beauty.com website

 

Beauty.com Product Description Excerpt (which I clearly didn’t read, expecting the image to be enough information for my purchase decision):

Rebound- a pink, peach, green and blue flower design.

Pop your four favorite UD shadows out of their cases and into this collectible (and completely customizable) palette!

Urban Decay usually sells their buildable palettes with one neutral shadow, but this time around they’re letting you unleash your inner type A and call all the shots. With four empty spaces and a massive selection of shades, the options are limitless. (Plus, you can swap out shades whenever you get a craving for more.)…

Important Note:  This item is also sold at Ulta.com, UrbanDecay.com, and Sephora.com, but with a more accurate product image:

urban decay rebound ulta

actual ulta.com product image

actual Sephora.com product image

actual Sephora.com product image

However:   Other sites are showing the inaccurate product image, including Macy’s and BeautyBay.com.  Additionally, regular purchasers of Urban Decay cosmetics are accustomed to getting an eye shadow single with the palette, so there’s that.

It’s a Mystery:  Perhaps when Urban Decay started marketing the product, they sent out 2 different versions of the product images and retailers chose the product image they wanted to use.  It’s hard to know the reason for the issue.

Good News:  I contacted beauty.com about the inaccurate product image and they gave me a refund for the item.

Bad News:  They haven’t changed the product image.  Hopefully, my “review” on the product will serve as a warning to people, but if someone is in a hurry like I was, they probably won’t read the review, either.

Bottom Line:  Product images should match the actual product.  Yes, we should all be good consumers and read the fine print.  That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t expect the product shown to be the one that arrives in the mail (or comes in the box, if you’re buying at a store).  It would be very easy to include a “eye shadow shown not included” statement at the bottom of the photo.

FYI:  If you’re looking for an Urban Decay palette at a great price, check out “Melt” , which DOES come with an eye shadow, and costs $18 – the same price as an eye shadow single.  In the UrbanDecay.com sale section, there’s a great deal on the “Glinda” palette, which is a super-great bargain at $24 for 6 eye shadows – 2 of which are actually split into 2 colors, so you really get 8.

 

 

 

 

Thrifty Americans Wanted

If you live in the U.S. and love shopping for beauty products, consider finding me on Facebook.  When I find great deals on beauty products, I share them on my page so we can all save on the stuff we love!

Bridgett’s Beauty Blog on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/BridgettsBeautyBlog

(Recent post:  How you can get the Lorac Pro Palette for just $29.40!)

 

My Amazing Beauty Haul

I often see people bragging about their amazing collections of recent beauty product purchases (can’t say that I blame you – shopping is fun!) and I wanted to join in.  However, I don’t usually go on shopping sprees with beauty products, except for “everyday use” things like shampoo and shave gel. Now I feel I deserve to brag, since I got all this for a ridiculously low price…

All This for $17. AFTER sales tax. 

Each item cost just $2.99 and was an additional 25% off.  Wow, right?

My Beauty Haul:

Urban Decay Deluxe Eye Shadow – originally $18

Tarte Eye Shadow Duo (x2) – originally  ???, around $15

LORAC Eye Shadow – originally $19

Tarte Amazonian Clay Pressed Mineral Powder – originally ???, around $28

Sephora Perfume Atomizer – originally $15

Korres Face Primer – originally $28

Nope, Not Typos:  I really paid $17 for 7 full-sized items that each cost more than that originally (except the perfume atomizer).  Yes, I’m very happy.  Ecstatic, actually.

OK, So Maybe I Won’t Love Everything:  So what? The way I see it, at these prices I can afford to try something new.  Even though I’m pretty sure most (if not all) of these items are discontinued, I’m OK with that.  I needed face primer and I don’t want to spend money on it right now.  I needed to ditch some of my old eye shadows and this gives me the perfect excuse to throw them out.

Other Items I Didn’t Buy:  Ilamasqua nail varnish for $5.  Charlotte Ronson eye shadow kits for $11.  4-piece, full-size OPI nail polish sets for $18.  Also:  A bunch of Sephora brand stuff that just didn’t intrigue me.

Why The Good Deal?  Here’s the thing:  Sephora stores are amazing.  But if you want amazing deals like these, you have to shop at the Sephora “inside JCPenney” stores.  They had 2 sections of stuff (I resisted the urge to buy everything!) all on clearance PLUS an extra 25% the ridiculously low prices.

Funny Caveat:  While I was checking out, the cashier asked “Is this yours?” about the Urban Decay eye shadow that was lying by the cash register. (I hadn’t seen any in the clearance section.)  I said “No, but I want it!”  🙂

Shop Around:  Some of these kinds of deals are available on the Sephora website right now.  I didn’t see any in the Sephora stand-alone store.  I highly recommend you take some time to browse the website sale section and/or your area stores to see what you can get.  The holidays are right around the corner!

Review: Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer

I’ve started using these as a go-to product for when I don’t want a “made-up” look on my lips.   Decide for yourself if they’re right for you…

Pros:  100% natural. Cruelty-free. (Leaping Bunny approved, although the parent company isn’t.)  Made in USA.   Comes in a great selection of colors.

Cons:  A little expensive for what they are.  Not very good at moisturizing. (I usually put lip balm on before using these.) Can have a “heavy” look if you don’t apply the least amount possible. Not long-lasting color.

In Summary:  I like these as long as I can get them on sale.   (I got a bunch of different colors for under $2 each a while back at a discount store.)  They’re a happy medium between lipstick and lip gloss, which makes them good for everyday use.

Shopping Tip: If you love these, the best deal is to try to get the “kits” or “sets” that are often available at stores that carry full lines of Burt’s Bees products.  Of course, if you’re a discount store shopper, you may be able to find them at stores like TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, Ross, and Big Lots, too.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars  3-stars

Price: approx. $5 each (have seen them priced up to $7)

Available at:  Target, Ulta, sometimes at discount stores

BB lip shimmer