My May 2015 Birchbox + Cupcakes and Cashmere collab arrived yesterday and it’s a good one! I started following Cupcakes and Cashmere awhile back (probably waaaaay after everyone else did) so I was excited to hear about Emily’s collaboration with Birchbox. The box design, as always, is on point, with a cute peachy graphic and a golden logo:

May 2015 BirchboxThis time around before the box went in the mail, I received an email asking me to select one of four products to be included in my box (usually, we don’t get to choose any of our products):

I also had the choice to say no to the C and C box and choose a more standard “Beauty Solutions” box instead, which included:

At the bottom of the selection page, there was a note that said “Prefer surprises? We don’t blame you! If you don’t make a selection, you’ll receive our May “Elevate Everyday” Box, curated with Cupcakes and Cashmere and tailored to your Beauty Profile.”

As a C and C reader, I definitely wanted to get the special box with my selection! When I went to select a one of the four products, three were no longer available so I chose the remaining product. When my box came yesterday, however, none of those four products was inside. So that’s slightly disappointing, although not really a big deal—I actually can’t remember which product I chose so I couldn’t have been all that excited about it. Judging from the contents of my box, I think they may have sent the “Elevate Everyday” box that they said they’d send to people who didn’t make a selection. My items seem to be a combination of the Beauty Solutions and C and C boxes. Okay, I’m totally overthinking this.  🙂

Anyway—after all that buildup, are you ready to see what I got in my May box?

IMG_4890May 2015 Birchbox samplesFirst up: Parlor by Jeff Chastain Moisturizing Sea Salt Spray. I have ridiculously fine hair. Like, it’s so fine that when I went for a recent physical at a new doctor’s office, she asked me if my hair was so thin because of the Prednisone I took late last year. “Nope,” I said, unfortunately it’s always been this way.” What I’m getting at is that my hair needs A LOT of help in order to look unlike a sad limp mop. I’m a fan of the sea salt sprays I’ve tried in the past (bumble + bumble Surf Spray and Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Texturizing Sea Salt Spray), which definitely help give my lame hair some texture. I spritzed some of this Parlor spray on my dry hair this morning; it smells incredible and gives good texture plus a bit of MUCH-needed volume without feeling crunchy. I also found that if I twist my hair up into a loose bun after using the spray and let the bun hang out for a bit, I get really nice beachy waves when I take it down. Other sea salt products have not been able to make my hair look so wonderfully beachy! Also, I’m picky about and sensitive to fragrance, but this spray smells fresh, clean, and inoffensive. I think a full-sized bottle of this sea salt spray might have to make its way into my bathroom….dare I say I found my Hair Holy Grail? Post-bun evidence:

wavesNext is the Marcelle Hydra-C 24H Energizing Hydrating Gel. I smoothed some of this on my face this morning because I’m definitely in need of some energy. I can’t say that it made my face feel particularly perked up, but I liked the light texture and the gel absorbed quickly. This is definitely not a product I’d use on its own because I need sun protection, but it does seem like a nice thing to use in the summer underneath an SPF moisturizer. I’m also wearing this gel in the #nomakeup selfie above, along with the sea salt spray.

Okay, next sample: Jurlique Herbal Recovery Advance Serum. I haven’t tried this yet, but I’m looking forward to it. The serum smells nice, but it may be a little floral for something meant to go on the face. I’m interested to see if it has any effect on the fine lines I’m starting to get around my lips (Aging! I shake my fist at you!). The full-sized bottle is gorgeous, so if this stuff works well it is something I’d be happy to display in my bathroom as well as put on my face.

Oh…fragrance samples. How I don’t get excited about thee. This month’s box included Raw Spirit Fragrance by Citadella, which is described as a “…modern interpretation of a classic vetiver fragrance…sensual blend of premium Haitian vetiver, marigold, pear, bergamot, lemon, cinnamon, nutmeg, amberwood, musk, and cedarwood.” I just Googled vetiver because I wasn’t sure what it was, and it’s described as patchouli with a touch of lemon. Eh. I dabbed a touch of this fragrance on my wrists this morning. Time will tell how I feel about it, but so far it’s a little too musky for me. The reason I don’t get excited about fragrance samples is that I am a die hard original Marc Jacobs by Marc Jacobs user; it has been my daily fragrance for at least a dozen years if not more. Fragrance is one beauty product arena where I really don’t experiment.

Last but certainly not least is the sample that I’m most excited about this month: The Expressionist Bio Extreme Mascara by W3LL PEOPLE. This is a beauty brand that pops up on eco-friendly beauty websites and I’ve been interested in trying this very mascara! At $23.50 a pop, though, definitely costs more than what I usually spend on mascara—I’ve stuck with Maybelline (Great Lash, usually) for a long time now. So a sample of this higher-end mascara is perfect for me and I am REALLY hoping it lives up to my expectations! It would be great to add an eco-friendly mascara to my beauty arsenal. This mascara is listed as a medium hazard (but low medium) with limited data on EWG’s Skin Deep Database. Let’s see how my other May products rate, shall we?

  • Parlor by Jeff Chastain Moisturizing Sea Salt Spray: unlisted
  • Marcelle Hydra-C 24H Energizing Hydrating Gel:unlisted
  • Jurlique Herbal Recovery Advance Serum: unlisted
  • Raw Spirit Fragrance by Citadella: unlisted

I did not honestly expect any of these products to be listed. Jurlique did pop up in the database, but none of the other brands were recognized.

A couple more things to note before I finish up here. The May Birchbox includes a card with a 15% off code to use on all purchases at, which is a nice bonus. And if you spend at least $55 on Birchbox, you’ll get a free copy of Emily Schuman’s new book, Cupcakes and Cashmere at Home. The card also includes Emily’s recipe for Linguini AL’Arrabiata, which sounds absolutely delicious. I think I’ll try cooking it this week!


What is Birchbox?

In case you’ve never heard of Birchbox, it’s a $10/month subscription box that includes five sample sized products based on your preferences (makeup, skin care, hair care, fragrance, etc.). They also have an online store filled with full sized versions of all the products they include in their monthly subscription boxes, so if you fall in love with a sample they sent you, you can go back to their site and buy the real thing. Use my referral link to sign up for your own subscription!