Hello, everyone! As some of you may know, I used to write my beauty box review columns for Jezebel’s subsite Millihelen before it was eliminated. I now write my beauty box reviews on my own site. I’ve had people ask me about putting my beauty box review column up here, so I figured I might as well put the end-of-the-month wrap-up review on Groupthink. If people like it, I’ll do it every month. If people aren’t so into it and I don’t put it up on Groupthink again, you can find it on my regular site, Brandi’s Beauty Box Review.
I’ll give you a quick rundown of each subscription box I got in March (regular subscription boxes only — no limited edition or mystery boxes). At the end, I’ll choose my favorite box(es) and product(s) for March. If you want to read the full review of a particular box, I’ve linked to each of them below. Links to the box and product websites are in the full reviews, so click on through if you need those. Occasionally, my opinion of a product has changed since I wrote the original review. Whenever that happens, I will note it here.
My March Birchbox was pretty good. I liked three out of the five products, thought another product was okay, and then there was one product that wasn’t for me. My favorite products of the month were the Obliphica Professional Seaberry Hair Serum in Medium to Coarse and the ARROW ENHANCE Waterproof Brightener. The Obliphica serum made my hair softer, shinier, and more manageable. The ARROW brightener is meant to be used along the waterline and in the inner corners of the eyes. It worked great on the inner corners of my eyes to give me a brighter, more awake look. It was a little difficult to apply to my waterline. If I went too light on it, you couldn’t see it, and if I went too hard on it, it got a little crumbly and looked fake. It was hard to get it perfect, but I eventually got better at it. I wish it was slightly less pink, though. The Cargo bronzer is buildable, so you can go dramatic or go for a more subtle look. It’s in their Swimmables line, so it’s even waterproof. I don’t imagine I would wear bronzer to go swimming, though. Bioderma’s Hydrabio H2O was okay. I like micellar water, but it adds a step to my already long skincare routine. It is supposed to remove makeup, but you’ll need a stronger makeup remover if you wear a full face like I do. It says you don’t need to rinse after using it, but I would definitely recommend washing your face even if you do use this. If you wear minimal makeup or if you have a long day and just want to get most of your makeup off and go to bed, this is a good option. The final product was the Beauty Protector Protect and Volume spray. Hair volumizer is the last thing I need, so it’s stuff like this that makes me think Birchbox doesn’t pay attention to profiles. It smells good and gives you some volume, but not tons, so it’s perfect for those who want just a little extra volume. This certainly wasn’t my best Birchbox ever, but it wasn’t my worst either.
The March ipsy Glam Bag was pretty cute! The bag design was very popular this month. It was bigger than most ipsy bags and was a foldover clutch in a dusty peachy-pink. One side had mesh on it and the other side was velour. The color wasn’t my favorite, but I liked that they did something different. My favorite products in my March ipsy were the LadyKin Affinitic Snail Cream and tarte cosmetics tarteist Quick Dry Matte Lip Paint in Delish. The snail cream is 80% snail mucus. If you’re not familiar with snail mucus, it is common in K-beauty skincare products because it heals skin quickly and has anti-aging effects. I love using a good snail cream on a breakout, so I’m always happy to get more. The snail container this cream came in was so cute! I love tarte lip products, but I had never tried the Quick Dry Matte Lip Paint formula. When they say quick dry, they do mean quick dry! Make sure you get this on right because it doesn’t budge once it’s on. You’ll have to touch up a bit after eating or drinking, but it has good staying power. The color I got, Delish, is a rosy mauve. It isn’t my favorite lip color, but it’s okay and is good for when I need a more conservative look. The other product I liked was the Chella Tweezers. This is a good, basic set of tweezers and has a design that makes it easy to grip. The Dirty Little Secret Blush in Kitty Pink was more of a peach than a pink. The color wasn’t all that flattering on me and it didn’t hold up all day. The final product was Marc Anthony Deep Repair Aloe Vera Jasmine Conditioning Treatment. My hair has been dry lately, so I was excited to try this. Sadly, I didn’t see any difference after using it. I was quite happy with the March ipsy. While two of the products weren’t for me, I really loved three of the products! My favorite product, though, wasn’t even technically a part of my March Glam Bag. I used my ipsy points to get the Hourglass Ambient Light Correcting Primer in Mood Light. This primer is like your own personal Instagram filter. It blurs imperfections. Sadly, you can’t really see the effects under full coverage foundation. The reason I loved it so much, though, was because my foundation looked great all day when I used this. Normally, my foundation gets a little weird looking on my oily chin in the middle of the day, but that wasn’t an issue when I used this primer.
The March PopSugar Must Have box was a disappointment. It was the worst PopSugar box I have ever gotten. It was just bizarre and seemed more like a summer box than a spring box. The Kate Spade photo album was cute, if a little plain, but I almost never print pictures out and I don’t need a photo album. One of the weirdest items I’ve ever gotten in a PopSugar box was the Stephanie Johnson Camera Crossbody Bag. This is a translucent red purse and it’s kind of tacky. You could use it at the beach if you don’t want your stuff to get wet or you could use it for something like a sporting event that requires see-through bags, but that’s about it. I don’t really want people being able to see the contents of my purse. My favorite product in the box was the Sunnylife Eco Lunchbox Watermelon. This little lunchbox is cute and well-made. The Thrive Causemetics Brilliant Eye Brightener gives you a lot of shimmer, but it didn’t work for me as a brightener as it was the same color as my skin. It would work better for someone with a darker complexion. This month’s snack was the Smash Mallow in Cinnamon Churro. I have never been a marshmallow person, but I love cinnamon, so I was hoping that I would like the snack. Unfortunately, I couldn’t even finish the one marshmallow that I tried. The marshmallow texture and strong vanilla flavor were too much for me. PopSugar usually has six items, but this month, they threw in a $25 gift card to Velvet Eyewear. I don’t even count this in the value as the cheapest glasses are $45 (most being $175+) and you can’t stack them, so you’re going to have to spend a good amount of money to use this. I won’t be using it, but if you want it, just send me a message via the Contact form and I will give it to the first person I hear from. There was only one PopSugar item I ended up loving this month. When you spend $40 on a box, you have high expectations, and PopSugar just didn’t meet them.
I loved my March Julep! Of course, when you are able to pick all the products in your box, it makes it easy to love it. I got the Julep Boost Your Radiance Reparative Rosehip Facial Oil back in January when it first came out, but the glass bottle shattered after I used it a couple of times, so I wanted to try it again. It’s very moisturizing, absorbs quickly into your skin, and doesn’t leave your face feeling greasy. I haven’t used it enough to see any increase in radiance, but I’m liking it so far. I also chose the Julep When Pencil Met Gel Long-Lasting Eyeliner in the newest color, Fig Shimmer. I love their eyeliner formula as it goes on smoothly and easily, has great pigment, and is long-lasting, so I’m always up for trying a new color. Fig Shimmer was a deep mauve and it was gorgeous on me. This color didn’t hold up as long as other colors in the line, but it held up for most of the day. The March nail polish collection wasn’t my favorite, so I chose only one polish from it, Lara, which Julep calls a “shell pink with gold shimmer.” This is a very pale pink, almost white, when you put it on, but it is pretty. I selected three add-ons this month, so that means I also got a free gift. My three add-ons were Julep Nail Colors in Rosie (charcoal grey with magenta glitter), Nayely (papaya nectar crème), and Pam (tigerlily holographic). My free gift was Julep Nail Color in Jenna, a “tangerine burst crème.” Pam was my favorite polish of the month! The bright orange holographic shimmer was beautiful! I didn’t like Jenna at first, but it grew on me and I’ve worn it a couple of times. Nayely and Rosie were just okay. I’ve really been loving orange nail polish lately.
This was the best DermStore BeautyFix box I’ve gotten in months! I had three favorite products in the box and two of those three were full size. The June Jacobs Neroli Hydrating Mist was the one item of the three favorites that wasn’t full size, but even that was a deluxe sample size. I don’t normally like neroli, but this had a softer scent and smelled good. It was a hydrating toner, which was exactly what I needed after a cold winter. The EVOLVh SuperFinish Polishing Balm moisturizes hair, protects it from UV rays, prevents frizziness and flyaways, and adds shine. I loved how this made my hair look. I was excited to get a full size version of Dr. Brandt’s Pores No More Cleanser! This face wash contains salicylic acid, tea tree oil, and willow bark to help clean out your pores. This helped me clear up a breakout faster than usual. Be careful, though! If this cleanser gets in your eyes, it really burns. We got two serums in the box this month. The first was SkinCeuticals Hyaluronic Acid Intensified, a hydrating and anti-aging serum. Obviously, I can’t see anti-aging effects after just a few uses, but it was very moisturizing. The second serum was the Vichy Idéalia Radiance Boosting Serum. This was a teeny sample, so I was unable to tell if it smoothed out skin, minimized pores, and boosted radiance. Vichy says you should see effects after only eight days of using it, so it would have been smart of them to send us a sample that would last for at least eight days so we could see the effects. They’d get more buyers that way. DermStore didn’t send us a beauty tool for a couple of months, which is strange for them, so I was happy to see on in the March box. We got a beautyblender Blotterazzi. This is a reusable blotter made out of beautyblender sponge. Because it’s made of beautyblender sponge, it doesn’t mess up your makeup when you use it. While blotters are nice in the summer, I prefer the disposable kind as I know I won’t wash this enough. The HUM Beauty zzZz is a melatonin supplement that you take twenty minutes before bed to help you sleep better. These worked pretty well. The Sun Bum Self Tanning Towelette gave me a subtle, even tan and didn’t have the gross smell self-tanners usually have. The final product was the Jouer Essential Lip Enhancer. This is supposed to plump your lips a bit, fill in lines, and hydrate your lips. The plumping effect was minimal, but I liked that it filled in the lines and was very moisturizing. I hope that the April BeautyFix box is just as good!
The theme for the March Play! by Sephora box was The Gleam Team. All subscribers received a GLAMGLOW GLOWSTARTER Mega Illuminating Moisturizer in Nude Glow. This has a strong, sweet scent to it that I didn’t love, but it was tolerable. It blurs imperfections and gives you a bit of a glow. You can’t see this under foundation, but if you have flawless skin and don’t need foundation, this would be perfect for you. I got another volumizer, the Living Proof Full Dry Volume Blast. This has a sweet floral scent to it that is quite strong. I tried this and found it gave my hair a little extra volume, but not tons. Volume is the last thing my hair needs, so this product isn’t for me. We got not one, but two, highlighters. I knew with a theme like The Gleam Team that we would get a highlighter, but two seems a little excessive. The first one was Benefit’s Watt’s Up! Cream-to-Powder Highlighter. The formula is fabulous and it’s very buildable so you can go subtle or more dramatic. The second highlighter was Algenist REVEAL Concentrated Luminizing Drops. You can use this as a highlighter or you can mix it into your moisturizer or foundation for an allover glow. This was a beautiful highlighter and looked great mixed in with my foundation, so I was very happy with this product. I was annoyed that Sephora sent us the Make Up For Ever Artist Shadow in I-544 Pink Granite. They sent us this exact same eyeshadow in the August box. It’d be one thing if they sent us a different shade of it, but to send the exact same shade is strange. It goes on easily, has minimal fallout, okay pigment, and stays on all day. The March perfume sample was the Atelier Clémentine California Cologne Absolue. I loved this perfume! It has a fresh citrus scent. Sadly, it wears off pretty quickly and needs to be reapplied in the middle of the day. This was just an okay month for Play! by Sephora.
The Spring FabFitFun box was, well, fabulous! I let the “fit” part of the name scare me away from this box for the longest time, but I’m so glad I started subscribing. My favorite product in it was the Gypsy05 Roundie in Yellow Paisley. This is a huge round blanket made out of thin cotton. You can use it on the beach or at a picnic, as a tapestry, as a drape to go over your furniture, or even as a shawl. I was hoping to get the Warm Geometrical pattern, but the Yellow Paisley is also quite nice. Subscribers could get one piece of jewelry, or they could pay $10 extra to get both of the jewelry items. I paid the extra $10 and got both the Luv AJ Diamond Kite Crawler and Stud Set in Rose Gold and the Emerald Duv Joshua Tree Cage Bracelet. These aren’t jewelry items I would have chosen for myself, but they both grew on me and I like that they pushed me out of my comfort zone a bit. Subscribers got a MILLY pouch in one of four styles — white Slay All Day, green Resting Beach Face, blue Beach Please, and pink Haute Mess. I thought they were all pretty cute, but I was a little sad I got the Slay All Day just because the white was boring. I would rather have had a pink one. These are waterproof bags that are quite big and can be used to hold your wet bikini or toiletries that could leak. The only product I didn’t like was the Deborah Lippmann Like a Virgin and Shape of My Heart Duet. The nail polishes went on streaky and took quite a few coats to get them looking good. The Karuna Hydrating+ Face Mask set contained four masks. They were very hydrating, but they are on the expensive side at $28 for four. All subscribers got the RealHer Lip Kit, but the colors varied. You could get Deep Red, Pink, or Deep Nude. The kits come with a lip liner, a matte lipstick, and a lip gloss. I loved the liner and lipstick. The gloss was, surprisingly, not sticky and it had good pigment, but, like most glosses, it didn’t have the best staying power. I got a full size Dr. Brandt product in this box, too! The Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Age-Defying Exfoliator gently exfoliates skin, fights signs of aging, and contains aloe, jojoba, and chamomile to protect and sooth skin. This is one of my favorite exfoliators, but it is quite expensive. I have gotten tons of Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! masks, but this is my first time getting Briogeo’s Rosarco Milk Reparative Leave-in Conditioner Spray. This made my hair shinier and gave it some much needed hydration, so I was very impressed by this product. FabFitFun usually has a sponsored extra and this quarter’s was Nature’s Bounty Hair, Skin, and Nails Gummies. These were strawberry flavored and were okay tasting. They contain biotin and vitamins C and E to keep your hair, skin, and nails healthy and strong. As for the fit part of the month, FabFitFun has started FabFitFun TV, which is open to subscribers only and lets you watch exercise videos online. I’m not all that into fitness (bad, I know), so I don’t imagine I’ll be using this. FabFitFun really hit it out of the park this month!
The March Kloverbox theme was Stop and Smell the Klovers and was all about making you smell and feel great. The first product was the Love Myself Organics Natural Deodorant in Forever, a lavender scent. Natural deodorants are just deodorants, so if you sweat a lot and need an antiperspirant, this won’t work for you. Fortunately, I don’t sweat much, so this worked well for me. The scent wasn’t my favorite, but it covered body odor well. The Cuccio Somatology Yoga Elixir Calming Spray can be used as an air freshener or you can spray it on a yoga towel to relax you. It had a lavender and cardamom scent that was nice and soothing. I like some of Harvey Prince Organics’ perfumes, but Sincerely, which is the fragrance we got in the March Kloverbox, just isn’t for me. It has a very sweet floral fragrance and it is just too sweet for me. The final product was VagMagic, a homeopathic treatment for yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis. I wasn’t able to try this product out as I don’t currently have either of those issues, so I don’t know how well this works. It takes seven days to treat a yeast infection with this and twenty-one days to treat BV with this, which is a little longer than I would like, so I will probably stick to more conventional remedies. The deodorant and room spray were hits for me, but the VagMagic and perfume were misses.
I thought that the March Mommy Mailbox was a lot of fun! My favorite product this month was the Lulu’s Jewels My Happy Place print. This print has succulents on it and would be cute framed. I also loved the Parlo Cosmetics Shave Whip in Field of Dreams. This is an airy pink whipped shaving cream that has a sweet floral scent to it and gave me a smooth shave. The Bellápierre XII Go Natural Eyeshadow Palette had great pigment. The colors were neutral and a little boring for my taste, but they’ll be good for when I need to be a little more conservative with my makeup. They held up all day when I used them with my Urban Decay eyeshadow primer. The final product was the Your Tea Happy Tea, which is supposed to improve your mood. Tea isn’t my favorite thing, but I tried this and it wasn’t bad. This tea contains chrysanthemum, barbary wolfberry fruit, hawthorn fruit, lemon, rose flower, and Chinese red tea. I was definitely happy with the March Mommy Mailbox.
I was surprised to get only four products in my March Goodbeing. I know Goodbeing says you can get four to five products, but they always send five. We got both the Modicum Essential Cleanser and Modicum Essential Exfoliant. Given that these are supposed to be used in conjunction with one another, it felt like these were more like one item than two. The cleanser can be used on its own, but Modicum recommends mixing some of the powder exfoliant into the cleanser to exfoliate while you cleanse. They both have a natural scent to them, which I didn’t love. They do work well, though, and are non-drying and gentle. I got the Zabana Essentials Glow Stick in Bronze Bahama Mama. This has a strong nectarine scent. You have to warm this up a bit before applying or it can be a bit crumbly. It was a lot more subtle than I would have liked, but it can be used as a bronzer if you don’t want too much color. Finally, there was the Biodara Coconut Matcha Brightening Mask. This is a powder mask that you mix with water to make a paste, then apply it to your face, let it set for ten minutes, and rinse. It is supposed to help heal breakouts and minimize the appearance of acne scars. This made my skin feel soft, smooth, and tight. I would have to use it more to see brightening effects. This wasn’t my favorite Goodbeing.
The March Terra Bella box was a little different from usual. Normally, all subscribers receive the same products, but Terra Bella sent everyone a Cultivar Organic Daily Deeply Nourishing Moisturizer, then three Wellsmith products that varied. The Cultivar moisturizer was a liquid, not a cream. It smells pretty strongly of lavender, but the scent didn’t bother me. I found that it took a few minutes to fully absorb, but once it did absorb, it didn’t feel greasy. It was extremely moisturizing and would be perfect for someone who has really dry skin. The three Wellsmith products I received were the Herbal Bath Tea in Relax, the Solid Perfume in Patchouli/Orange Scent, and the Refreshing Bath Bomb in Green Tea/Aloe. To use the bath tea, you can either let it steep in boiling water for fifteen minutes, then add the water to your bath water, or you can just put it in the muslin bag and let it dissolve in your bath. It was very relaxing and smells great. Sadly, the Solid Perfume was not for me. I love citrus scents, but the addition of patchouli made me dislike the scent. The solid perfume was on the sticky side due to beeswax. It does hold up all day, though. I would like to try this in another scent. The final product was the bath bomb. This was my favorite product in the box. This was the biggest bath bomb I’ve ever had! I loved the green tea/aloe scent. It was very moisturizing. I hope Wellsmith starts selling their products online again as I would like to buy more of the bath bombs. Overall, I was happy with the March Terra Bella. The perfume wasn’t for me, but everything else was fabulous.
The March Petit Vour had two products I loved and then two that were nice but weren’t really meant for my skin type. My favorite product was the Kani Botanicals Galaxy Milk Illuminating Beauty Oil. This is a gorgeous highlighter that gave me an iridescent glow. A little goes a long way with this. It has a beautiful floral scent, but it goes away after it’s been applied. The other product I loved was the Formulary 55 Rosehip and Clay Facial Mask. This is a rose-scented powder mask that you mix with water. You can either let it set on your face for ten to fifteen minutes and then rinse, or you can let it set on your face for several minutes than use it as an exfoliating scrub. It made my skin extra soft. The other two products, Metta Skincare Intensive Replenishing Face Balm and Little Barn Apothecary Blue Yarrow and Geranium Cleansing Oil, would be better for someone with dry skin. The cleansing oil was difficult for me to get off my face. It removed makeup well and is moisturizing, but I don’t need quite that much moisture on my already oily skin. The Metta balm has a strong lavender scent. You warm it up between your fingers and then apply to your face. It is supposed to hydrate, fight signs of aging, and improve radiance. It absorbed quickly and didn’t leave me feeling greasy. This is a hardcore moisturizer, so it would have been better in the middle of the winter when my skin is at its driest. People with dry skin will love this balm. March was a pretty good month for Petit Vour.
My favorite boxes this month were FabFitFun, Julep, and DermStore BeautyFix! March was a good month overall, so it was a hard decision.
As for my favorite products this month, I’d have to choose the tarte cosmetics tarteist Quick Dry Matte Lip Paint in Delish from ipsy, the Hourglass Ambient Light Correcting Primer in Mood Light from ipsy, the Julep When Pencil Met Gel Long-Lasting Eyeliner in Fig Shimmer, the June Jacobs Neroli Hydrating Mist from DermStore BeautyFix, the Gypsy05 roundie from FabFitFun, and the Kani Botanicals Galaxy Milk from Petit Vour.
What did you think of the March beauty boxes? Did you have any favorite boxes or products? I’d love to hear all about them.