Inside Influenster’s #SunshineVoxBox

voxbox-blogimageThis has been a lovely summer, filled with all the things that make this season so wonderful: weddings, barbecues, days at the beach, nights out with friends and lots of time spent outside, soaking up as much sun and beautiful scenery as I can before the summer comes to a close. The fun continued when I learned I was selected to receive Influenster’s summer-themed Sunshine VoxBox, filled with tasty treats and warm weather beauty essentials. I’ve spent the last few weeks tasting and testing to my heart’s content. Here’s the scoop:
SunshineVoxBox
Infusium 23 Moisture Replenisher Leave-in Smoothing Crème Enhanced with Avocado and Olive Oil (#Infusium23Smooth): This is definitely one of my favorite products in the Sunshine box, and it has quickly become a beach bag staple. This leave-in conditioner works best if you air dry your hair. It keeps frizz at bay and leaves your hair smelling amazing. I tried using it as part of my everyday styling routine and wasn’t blown away, but when I brought it with me for a day at my favorite swimming spot, everything changed. I applied it generously to my wet, gnarly strands and used my fingers to comb it through. My hair instantly looked and felt better, and within minutes it started to dry in the prettiest, beachiest waves – with no frizz to be found!

Dickinson’s Original Witch Hazel Refreshingly Clean Cleansing Cloths (#SelfieReadySkin): I’m usually a big fan of cleansing cloths, and from what I can tell these were non-drying and did a fine job of removing makeup and oil without irritating my skin. However, I could barely stomach the smell of them. I’m not sure what it is, but it made me a little queasy. I was only able to use them a couple of times. If you’re sensitive to scents of any kind, I would avoid these.

Blue Diamond Sriracha Almonds (#BlueDiamondAlmonds): I was worried that these spicy almonds might be too hot for me, but I was happily mistaken! The chili-garlic flavor combo is addictively delicious with just the right amount of kick. I’d recommend them as a tasty and healthy way to satisfy a chip craving.

barkTHINS (#breakupwithboring): The Sunshine box came with a coupon for a free bag of another tasty treat, barkTHINS snacking chocolate. I chose the dark chocolate, almond and sea salt variety, and thought it was really good. The bark was filled with crunchy almond bits and the chocolate was good and dark, not too sweet. My only complaint? I wish there was just a little more salt – I could barely taste it.

Beach bag beauty essentials from Influenster's #SunshineVoxBox

Beach bag beauty essentials from Influenster’s #SunshineVoxBox


SinfulColors Nail Polish (#ColorOutsideTheLines): I received a bottle of polish from the SinfulColors Silk collection, a sheer turquoise called Real Teal. Unfortunately, it was a real dud. The polish seemed cheap from the get-go; the brush deposited color unevenly, making the sheer shade almost imperceptible in some spots and dark and blobby in others. Also, the combination of it being a super sheer, matte blue polish left me looking less like I’d just given myself a manicure and more like I’d just been pulled from the deep freeze. The whole experience was a mess.

Vaseline Intensive Care Aloe Soothe Spray Moisturizer (#VaselineSprays): I’ve been wanting to try one of these spray lotions for a while, and I was not disappointed when I did. This aloe spray is perfect for summer, leaving skin cool and refreshed, especially after a day spent in the sun. Plus, it allows you to moisturize your entire body in ten seconds – so convenient. It’s very lightweight, surprisingly hydrating, and smells fresh and clean. It’s a perfect daily lotion for summer.

I received these products free for testing purposes. All opinions are my own.

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July 2015 Empties

July was filled with lots of fresh-smelling summer beauty products. I used up a lot of drugstore staples and found a couple of new favorites. Here’s what I finished last month:
July 2015 Empties
Not Your Mother’s Deja Vu ‘Do Style Extender: Thanks to Influenster, I received this little tube in a VoxBox. I already wrote about it here, but to recap: it smells magnificent and adds nice, lightweight volume, but I can’t say that it extended my style any.

Dove Go Fresh Cool Moisture Beauty Bar with Cucumber and Green Tea Scent: Believe it or not, I am still using up bars of soap that were in my stash when I started my beauty ban back in January 2014. This is one of them. It’s a decent cleanser, featuring the classic Dove hydrating lotion, and the cucumber/green tea scent feels fresh on a hot summer day.

Colgate MaxClean SmartFoam Toothpaste: I really like the way this toothpaste foams up and leaves my mouth feeling extra clean. It claims to be a whitening toothpaste, but I wish it was more effective in that regard. Although, to be fair, I do drink a lot of coffee.

Suave Naturals Juicy Green Apple Shampoo: I can’t say enough good things about this shampoo, which cost me 97 cents. It smells amazingly good – a lot like old school Herbal Essences shampoo – and it left my hair and scalp clean and moisturized. I will definitely buy this again. A summer favorite for sure.

Rite Aid Renewal Aloe Vera Body Lotion: I purchased this after I got way too much sun early in the summer. As far as aloe is concerned, I don’t think it has much, because it didn’t do much to soothe my burned skin. As a daily body lotion, however, it’s a great summer pick. It’s lightly moisturizing, non-greasy, and has a mild, clean scent.

Dove Go Fresh Cool Essentials Cucumber & Green Tea Scent Anti-Perspirant Deodorant: Apparently I was drawn to cucumber and green tea last month! Again, it has a fresh, clean scent that really works this time of year. However, I wasn’t wowed by it as an anti-perspirant. I didn’t feel like it really lasted all day, particularly on warmer or more active days. I don’t know that I’d repurchase this.

Supergoop Everyday Face & Body Lotion and Everyday Sunscreen: I received the tube of SPF 50 sunscreen in a Birchbox and fell in love with it, which prompted me to dig out the packet of SPF 30 lotion for a subsequent beach day. They are both fabulous. This sunscreen is very effective and doesn’t feel sticky or greasy on the skin. It lasts through hours of sweating and swimming, and didn’t make me break out. It’s pricey, but totally worth it.

Summer Skincare: Lip Balm Edition

Hawaiian Tropic Tropical Flavor Lip Balm (top) and Coppertone Sport Sunscreen Lip Balm (bottom) will keep your lips soft and sunburn-free, all summer long.

Hawaiian Tropic Tropical Flavor Lip Balm (top) and Coppertone Sport Sunscreen Lip Balm (bottom) will keep your lips soft and sunburn-free.

For those of us that live in seasonal climates, our skincare needs can vary greatly from season to season. Case in point: my blotchy, flaky, can’t-get-enough-moisture winter complexion tends to get clear and smooth in the warmer months, with nothing more than a waterless cleanser and my favorite BB Cream to keep it in check. Of course, summer also requires the addition of some serious sun protection. And while (I hope) it goes without saying that time in the sun requires a slathering of sunscreen (like this one), I’m guilty of frequently forgetting to take care of a particularly sensitive area: my lips.

Perhaps it’s because my mouth never feels naked; I don’t leave the house without first swiping on a lip color of some sort, and I have several glosses and balms stashed away for on-the-go touch ups. And because I switch up my lip products whenever the mood strikes, I don’t necessarily think to introduce a summer-friendly version when beach season hits. It’s easy for me to go the whole summer without remembering that my poor mouth needs some extra TLC, too.

But not this year! I’ve found not one but two fabulous balms that are packed with sun protection. The first, Hawaiian Tropic Tropical Flavor Lip Balm, features an SPF of 45 and a delicious coconut-y scent that smells like an exotic vacation. It has a silky smooth texture, a subtle sweet flavor, and leaves lips looking and feeling soft and healthy. This is definitely my beach bag pick.

The second lip-saver, Coppertone Sport Sunscreen Lip Balm, features an SPF of 30 and a slightly thicker texture that helps it stay put much longer than the Hawaiian Tropic version. This one has no scent or flavor; it’s a very unobtrusive lip balm. It doesn’t look like much on its own, but its texture makes it an ideal base for lipsticks and this no-frills balm is the perfect thing to swipe on before an outdoor sweat session.

How do you keep your pout pretty and protected in the sun?

Birchbox Best: Supergoop Everyday Sunscreen

Supergoop Everyday SunscreenI’m just going to say it. The name “Supergoop” does nothing for me. In fact, in the past I’ve been so put off by the name that I simply did not want to try the sunscreen. That all changed last weekend. Having been quite literally burned by an ineffective sunscreen earlier this summer, I turned to this little tube in hopes of making it through the holiday weekend without being scorched by the sun. I slathered it on and headed out for a weekend of sunning and swimming.

First things first: it felt good. It absorbed quickly, wasn’t greasy and left my skin feeling nice and smooth. It also had a mild, citrusy scent that I liked a lot. Other than those two initial observations, I didn’t think about this product at all until I realized, after two sunny days spent largely outside, that I didn’t have the faintest hint of a sunburn and my skin looked and felt great. It’s a fantastic sunscreen, and I only wish there was more in my sample – this stuff is expensive!
Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo
Runner Up: Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo. I’m a real tough customer when it comes to dry shampoos, but I was instantly impressed by this one. I really love the scent, which is feminine and clean, and it’s super easy to use. You simply spray at your roots and then massage it in; within seconds it adds volume and removes oil, leaving clean, weightless hair. My one complaint is that these results only last a couple of hours – you’ll want to bring it with you for touchups!

Caudalie Make-Up Remover Cleansing Water: Summer Skincare in a Bottle

Caudalie Make-Up Remover Cleansing WaterI’ve always liked the idea of waterless cleansers. In theory, they require very little effort and make your skin clean and flawless with the swipe of a cotton pad; in practice, they are often either ineffective or far too harsh. Yet my inner lazy girl keeps me going back again and again, trying to find the holy grail of cleansing waters: one that removes makeup, cleans effectively, and isn’t overly drying.

Enter Caudalie Make-Up Remover Cleansing Water. I read about it in this article about how French girls do beauty, and I was intrigued. And after a few weeks of daily use, I have to say I’m hooked. Now that summer is finally here – and my skin no longer resembles the Sahara – I don’t have to worry so much about slathering on heavy moisturizers. This means that before bed I can soak a cotton pad or two (I usually use two – one to remove makeup and one to cleanse) with this cleansing water, swipe it all over my face and neck, and then hit the pillow. No extra steps. My skin never feels tight after cleansing, and in the morning I wake up with smooth, clear skin. Not oily, not dry. Just clean. I love it.

No wonder French-girl beauty seems so effortless.

May 2015 Empties

May tends to be a pretty exciting month, product-wise, because it’s the time of year when we use up our winter beauty staples and get to move on to lighter, more fun summer products. There will be plenty of those to discuss in the coming weeks, but for now let’s take a look at last month’s winners and losers:

  
Aqua Spa Relax Body Creme: I really loved this rich cream. Despite its thick texture it absorbed quickly, left no greasy residue, and kept my skin soft all day. Its lavender and chamomile aroma was quite perfumey when first applied, but it quickly diffused into a much more subtle scent that I really liked. 

Benefit Total Moisture Facial Cream: This tiny jar – from my Benefit Advent Calendar – saved my face during the last dry days of spring. When my tinted moisturizer just couldn’t provide enough moisture, I paired it with this thick-but-not-too-thick cream. It kept both dry patches and blemishes away while providing a perfect base for makeup. 

L’Oreal Volume Filler Thickening Shampoo: I found this shampoo incredibly disappointing. Since the ads for it featured Blake Lively, the queen of enviable hair, I was really hoping this shampoo would leave me with luscious locks. Instead it left my hair looking dry and dull, with no shine and a straw-like texture. 

Bliss Grapefruit & Aloe Body Butter: With its fresh citrus scent and rich texture, this body butter became my go-to hand cream throughout the winter and spring. It absorbs quickly and protects hands and cuticles for hours, even through the excessive hand washing of flu season. 

Aussie Moist 3 Minute Miracle: This deep conditioner isn’t new to this blog, and neither is my opinion of it. This is a high quality conditioner that can be used daily or as a weekly treatment. It repairs hair and leaves it silky and shiny without weighing it down. I still swear by it. 

Bliss Multi-‘face’-eted All-in-one Anti-aging Clay Mask: I decided to try this multi-tasking mask last weekend and almost instantly regretted it. It contains 10% glycolic acid, which was so harsh I had to wash it off after four minutes and still ended up with a chemical burn near my lip! Then my skin promptly broke out with several small pimples. Definitely not a fan. 

Whish Shave Cream: I recently wrote about this Birchbox find. I liked it more with every use. It really moisturized my skin and softened hair, leading to a closer-than-usual shave, less irritated skin and smooth legs that stayed that way for almost a week. 

Bath & Body Works Dark Kiss Body Lotion: This medium weight lotion featured a sort of sweet, sort of sultry scent and kept my dry patches in check through the spring. It didn’t clog pores and it gave my skin super soft all day. A perfect lotion for spring and/or fall. 

Beauty Protector Beauty Wash: This shower gel featured a sickeningly sweet scent and though it lathered up richly, it didn’t leave my skin feeling particularly clean. I’m a big fan of Beauty Protector’s hair products, but this body wash is definitely not for me. 

In other news, I finally came to the end of my body lotion stash last month! For those keeping track at home, it took me one year and five months to clean out that collection. So, now that I’m in the market for new lotions, please feel free to leave some recommendations in the comments below!

April 2015 Empties

Things have been very busy and exciting here at For the Love of Gloss with lots of new products to test – stay tuned for reviews and recommendations in the coming weeks. Unfortunately, lots of new stuff means I didn’t use up much of the old. Here’s what I did finish off this month:
April 2015 Empties
Listerine Healthy White Sodium Fluoride Anti-Cavity Mouthrinse: I was drawn to this mouthwash for two reasons. First, it’s a gentle version of Listerine, which has always worked well but is quite painful to use. Second, it’s a whitening rinse. While I did find it to be a decent mouthwash, leaving my breath fresh and my mouth clean without the traditional burn of Listerine, I can’t say that I noticed much in terms of whitening.

Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel Original Formula: These peels make regular appearances in my empties posts, because they work well and I use them often. Read more here.

Bath & Body Works Be Enchanted Shower Gel: I’m not sure if they still make this scent; I found this bottle of body wash stuffed in the back of my soaps and shower gels bin, which is nearly empty – hooray! As with all Bath & Body Works shower gels, I found it to be quite perfume-y at first but the scent quickly faded after rinsing. These gels clean well. I don’t find them to be overly drying or all that moisturizing. A pretty average but effective body wash.

Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid: I wrote about this a few weeks back and am still loving it. I received this bottle in a past Birchbox and have since purchased a full sized replacement bottle. Now that the weather has let up a bit and my skin is not quite so crazy, I’m finding that using this every 2 or 3 days is enough to keep things in check. One of my top product picks of the year so far!