Category Archives: Birchbox

Product Girl's Top 11 of 2011

Narrowing down the best beauty releases of the year can be a daunting task. But when it comes down to choosing the best of the best, all we really had to do was look in our makeup bags and on our bathroom counters. From there, it was pretty clear what products we can’t live without and will happily  carry into the New Year. Without further ado, we present to you the Product Girl Top 11 of 2011.  

While this list is officially in no particularly order, NARS Velvet Gloss Pencil is definitely our favorite lip product of the year. We can’t get enough of these. Frivolous and New Lover are my top two, but the deep raspberry of Baroque is a close third.We absolutely love how these look and feel on the lips – the subtle gloss, burst of color and moisturizing properties make them a major winner.

We purchased countless tubes of Burts’s Bees Tinted Lip Balms this year. For ourselves and for others. The Rose is the perfect tint of sheer red, and Honeysuckle is a lovely peachy nude. The formula is 100% natural and the price, at $7, is just right. These are a standout drugstore buy of 2011.

We continue to be mesmerized by this seafoam green tub of youth! Kiehl’s Rosa Arctica is such an  interesting moisturizier. It’s thick in texture, very balm-like, but doesn’t feel like it on the skin, and seems to instantly make our skin look brighter and healthier. Plus, we love the way Rosa Arctica looks on our bathroom counter!

Thank you, Dr. Dennis Gross, for reviving our pale skin and helping me fight my Vitamin D deficiency with the Alpha Beta Glow Pads. Since these launched in February, they’ve been a constant in my beauty routine. I don’t let actual sun rays get near my face, so these were a godsend. Unlike self-tanner, these are skin care. They give you a legit bronze and unleash anti-aging + exfoliating properties into your skin.

Perhaps the most difficult category for us to choose the “best of” was nail polish. But, Chanel Black Pearl managed to take home the honors. This gunmetal green is like an edgy accessory that goes with everything. It looked good no matter the season, and on fingers or toes.

Benefit Cha Cha Tint was worth waiting until 2011 for. It is a delicious mango-colored stain that looks intimidating in the bottle but is like magic on the skin. If you think you can’t wear coral, Cha Cha Tint can prove you wrong. Plus, it’s a stain so it lasts forever.

Another cheek product that dominated our makeup bags the majority of 2011 was Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush. We can’t pick just one favorite, so consider ALL of them the best of 2011. (Although, we might be partial to Amused and Tipsy!) They are the longest wearing powder blush you’ll ever use and the color stays vibrant all day. And the colors are phenomenal and importantly, flattering on the skin.  

2011 will go down as the year the U.S. got a taste of the BB Cream. And we couldn’t be more smitten with Boscia’s B.B. Cream SPF 27 PA++, a skin perfecting “blemish balm” that is like a super-powered tinted moisturizer. It manages to blur out imperfections and moisturize our skin. In the summer, we could get away with using this for coverage, moisture and SPF!  

A serum that actually helps repair and heal damaged hair and split ends? Yes, it exists.  The exotic oils and silk peptides in Phyto Phytokératine Serum  helps strengthen strands and restore moisture to dry hair (and is silicone-free). I truly believe that by slathering the ends of my hair in this, I can go a lot longer without a trim.

The central weapon in our fight against aging is sunscreen. It may not be the most exciting part of our beauty routine, but it’s very necessary. Skinceuticals Sheer Physical UV Defense is the best facial SPF we’ve ever used. We like that it contains only physical blockers and a special extract that increases skin defenses and resistance to UV and heat stress. But the best part? It feels weightless on the skin.

Each month, we looked forward to the arrival of the pink Birchbox! What a treat – which is why this beauty delivery service deserves a spot in our best of 2011 list. We’ve been introduced to some great brands, like Sunday Riley and Oribe, and fabulous products, like Orofluido Elixir and Atelier Cologne Vanille Insensee.

What beauty items topped your list this year? Let us know what you loved!

Just Another Mani Monday: Zoya Izzy

I’m ready to give this week’s manicure, featuring Zoya Izzy, the title of official color of holiday 2011. I wish I could wrap all of my Christmas presents in this exact shade of nail polish. It looks like fuschia metal! How cool is that? So cool that I think I need the other two shades in Zoya’s Gems and Jewels Holiday Collection. These are straight up  party in a bottle. While I meticulously change my mani every Sunday while watching The Good Wife (last night’s ep — SO good), I think even I may have to do a mid-week change next week and reapply this in time for my office holiday party. The month of December was just made for colors like Zoya Izzy.

This tiny bottle was a nice surprise in my November Birchbox! We know many of you subscribe. Did you get this shade, too? It may look unassuming in the bottle, but once you get it on, PARTY time.

A Few of Our Favorite Things…Toolbox Edition

I’m known for gifting beauty tools. I find that they make amazing gifts because it’s often something we’re not willing to splurge on otherwise. I came to realize pretty early on as a beauty fanatic that we are nothing without our tools. So we pulled together some of our top tool picks for the holidays, in the spirit of gift giving. Be it for your wishlist or something for others, we think that these beauty tools in particular are pretty spectacular.

  1. Eco Tools Beautiful Expressions Kabuki Set – I can’t get over how cute and mini these are! Let’s also add incredibly functional. These brushes are shaped to target every area of the face, and at just under $15 a set, pick up one for yourself to keep! I found this at Target.
  2. Blow Out In A Box T3 x Living Proof Featherweight Styling Set – If you think about how often you use a hair dryer, it is so worth it to invest in a good one that will treat your hair well. The best set I’ve seen this season is easily the T3 x Living Proof Blow Out in a Box. For the price of the T3 Featherweight dryer ($200), you also get a set of T3 styling tools and a full size Living Proof Straight. This is exclusive to Sephora
  3. Twistband Hair Ties – Call it the anti-scrunchy, the next generation of hair bands. Ever since I received this innocuous stretchy ribbon in my Birchbox earlier this year, I’ve been obsessed. I’ve since abandoned all of my other elastics in favor of the Twistband, which doesn’t crease my hair and is just that much more interesting. You can find these in the Birchbox store.
  4. Chanel Le Coton – Fancy cotton pads are not something you’re likely to shell out the dough for, but what a delightful treat they are. Cushy, soft and embossed with the iconic Chanel logo. $20 for 100 at Chanel.
  5. Shiseido Foundation Brush – This brush may be what foundation-wearing skin dreams are made of. At $30, this is a perfect gift for any woman that wears makeup – be it liquid, cream or mineral. It makes getting an airbrush finish simple and will forever change you. It’s that good. It’s slightly hard to find, but is available on for $30.

For more of our favorite things, check out our previously posted gift guides:

Holiday Gift Guide, Part One
Animal Instincts Edition

Cyber Monday Beauty Deals, Take Two

Cyber Monday has officially sent me in to a beauty-deal-induced coma. For real…forget the electronics and video games, Cyber Monday is ALL about beauty. Here are the deals that we could not resist sharing. And, to see Cyber Monday deals part one, click here.

Forget a percentage off, Suki is offering BUY ONE GET ONE of the entire line. Suki’s Creamy Exfoliating Cleanser is about the best thing in the world, so this deal is a must in my book. A great chance to stock-up, or try for yourself and for a friend! Visit and enter code thanks2011 at checkout.

Butter LONDON is offering a 30% discount on all online orders today with code CELEBRATE11 at checkout.

Tarte Cosmetics is offering a staggered savings based on what you spend. Use code CYBER at checkout, where you’ll also receive your choice of a full-size gift. Free shipping over $40. May we recommed the Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush?

You have until end of day Tuesday, November 29, to take advantage of Dr. Dennis Gross’ Cyber Monday deal. Take 20% off all orders with code CYBER11 at checkout. If you indulge on this one, add a box of the Alpha Beta Glow Pads to your cart (I remain obsessed!)

Receive a FREE By Elizabeth Dehn Face Spray ($28 value) with the purchase of The Serum or Shea Cream. No code needed! These products remain among our 2011 skin care favorites! Check out our initial review here.

If you’re like me and hoard Birchbox points, then this deal is for you. With any purchase in the Birchbox shop (starting at $50+), you’ll receive bonus points. Remember, every 100 points is equivalent to $10 to spend in the Birchbox store. They have tons of new products and gift sets that are totally worth checking out. I am eyeing up this Atelier Cologne Vanilla Gift Set!

Happy shopping! Let us know if you take advantage of any Cyber Monday promotions.

What's in My October Birchbox

My Birchbox came while I was out of the country, so it was a welcome surprise to come home to a special delivery. I think it caught the attention of my neighbor, who picked up our mail for us. I told him he needs to order it up for his girlfriend! I thought I’d share with you the contents of my October Birchbox. This was an especially awesome month, I thought!

  • Befine Lip Serum. An uber-hydrating, vitamin-rich lip serum to heel crackewd lips and smooth them out. The scent is an interesting combo of Chamomile & Beets, and this is the perfect prep for a deep fall lip color! I woke up to the softest lips imaginable after using this. The sample is a big one too, bet it will last awhile!
  • blinc Mascara. I’ve used this before, and seeing it in my box reminded me how awesome it is. I like tubing mascaras (even though removing it makes me feel like all my lashes are falling out!), and this one is the original.
  • Pangea Organics Japanese Matcha Tea Facial Mask. A purifying mask, loaded with antioxidants. I like this, and I’ll get several uses from this tube!
  • Orofluido Beauty Elixir. Perhaps my favorite item in the box! Hair oils excite me, and the amber/vanilla sent is phenom.
  • Tea Forte Minteas. This was an extra, and the Lime Mojito flavor is delish. Reminds me of the Mojito Mint Orbit gum that I loved so much. A definite purse special:)

What did everyone get in their Birchboxes? Do tell!

Beauty VIP of the Week: Jouer Lip Enhancer

Like a flip of a switch, the seasons have changed. The lows are getting lower and the forecasts are downright chilly. This means that every part of your body is going to soon demand more moisture. For me, I notice it right away in my lips. One of my favorite products, for day or night, is Jouer’s Lip Enhancer. It’s like a deep conditioner for the lips, with vitamin E, shea butter and jojoba oil. So luxe — it’s not your ordinary Chapstick. This treatment actually works to increase blood flow to your lips, and the formula is long lasting and truly hydrating. And, as an added bonus, it has a teeny tiny hint of pink color.

Imagine my delight when I saw a mini Jouer Lip Enhancer in my September Birchbox! It’s such a cute tiny thing. I love having the mini around now, so I can keep one on my nightstand. It’s a tried and true VIP, and my unofficial survey of coworkers who received this in their Birchbox have affirmed my stance. Let us know if you’ve tried this as well, and what you think, too!

Check it out on or Birchbox.

Birchbox for Fashion's Night Out

Fashion’s Night Out is coming your way, this Thursday, September 8. And while it may have started in New York in 2008, courtesy of Anna Wintour, events are cropping up in cities throughout the country. I know Chicago’s got quite the blitz planned.  But, no matter where you happen to be, our pals over at Birchbox have something exciting that everyone can get in on!

Starting on September 8, Birchbox will sell a limited-edition FNO box that contains a lovely mix of full-size and sample beauty items. For $42, you’ll get:

  • Bliss Blood Orange + White Pepper Hand Cream
  • Faux Lashes
  • JOYA Studio Composition No. 1 Parfum
  • Lipstick Queen 15 Minutes of Fame Pop Art Gloss
  • Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse® Multi-usage Dry Oil
  • Pureology Strengthening Control Zero Dulling Hairspray
  • Scoop NYC Gift Card for 25% Off

If you happen to be in Scoop’s NYC West Village Women and Men’s boutiques or at the Dallas location on the night of FNO, the Birchbox & Scoop box will be given to all customers who spend $150. And of course, it’s available to all on

Win a 3-Month Birchbox Subscription!

Preview of July Birchbox with Cynthia Rowley

We are huge fans of Birchbox here at Product Girl, and we know some of you are as well. Which is why our next giveaway is so exciting! If you’ve always been wanting to sign up, but aren’t quite sure what it’s all about, now’s your chance!  Birchbox is teaming with us to give away three 3-month gift subscriptions. The deadline to sign up for the July box closes today, but if you are one of the three lucky winners, your first box will come in July. And we know it’s going to be a good one — it’s designed and curated by Cynthia Rowley!

Here’s how to enter:

Leave a comment on this post from now until Thursday, July 7 (U.S. gals only). If you want extra credit, “Like” Product Girl on Facebook, leave a comment here and let me know for an extra entry. You can also follow me on Twitter and tweet about the contest for an extra entry, just leave another comment and let me know about it. But, note: any comments made as “extra credit” without mention of your name on Facebook/Twitter will be discarded.

Good luck!

Birchbox Teams With Cynthia Rowley for July

Birchbox does it again! They have somehow brought back the excitement of getting mail. I feel like I’m 12 years old again, waiting for my YM Magazine to come every month. And for the month of July, Birchbox subscribers will be getting a special box curated and designed by Cynthia Rowley with her beauty faves.

While the monthly boxes are always a surprise, we have a few tidbits to share on what Cynthia Rowley picked for subscribers. We’ll get a hair product that is a must for all of her runway shows to an eye-changing brow pencil, and even the designer’s go-to snack. If you haven’t subscribed yet, you have until June 30 to sign up for the July box. We cannot wait!

P.S. Birchbox just added RMS Beauty to its store! Two words: Living Luminizer.You need this…

Birchbox Launches New Box, "Just Because"

The joy I get each month from receiving that iconic pink Birchbox in my mailbox is nothing like the joy my mom got when she received her first box this past May for Mother’s Day. Birchbox is a great gift, no doubt, but the new limited-edition “Just Because” box is brilliant!

It’s filled with a mix of deluxe samples and full-sized products — beyond just beauty.

  • Full-size Jouer creme eyeshadow
  • Full-size Lipstick Queen Jean Queen lip gloss
  • Shu Uemura’s luxe hair serum, dubbed “liquid gold” by hair stylists
  • NEST’s gorgeous block print coasters, made by women artisans in India
  • Artisanal fruit preserves from a husband-and-wife duo (from Wisconsin! Cheese-state love!)
  • Artful sweets from New York’s Papabubble
  • Letterpress stationary from Tiny Prints

This box will be available for a limited time on for $38 beginning May 26. What woman would not want this to show up in their mailbox, courtesy of a loved one? I think Carla and I might exchange them to each other ya know, just because:)