A shade of the dramatic, where different is all there is.

Posts tagged “Canadian Beauty Box

February Topbox featuring benefit!

Benefit Cosmetics Prive Box - February 2013 Topbox

Topbox won my heart over for a good long while with their February Prive Box featuring all products by benefit cosmetics!

benefit Cosmetics Topbox

As I mentioned in my January Topbox post, I opted in to receive a benefit Prive box instead of this months standard mystery box.  I knew they had limited quantities and wasn’t sure if I would get one.  But when I ripped open the brown paper and saw a bright fuscia wrapped Topbox and the words “benefit” written along the top, I actually let out  an excited victory yelp “eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!”

February Topbox review and photos

My excitement continued as I pulled out item after item.  This month was by far my favourite Topbox and I’m sure anyone who unsubscribed a couple of months ago due to a bad box (December), are kicking themselves now!

February Topbox Review, Haul and Photos


The first item I found at the top of my Topbox was “benetint”.  It is a rose-tinted lip and cheek stain.  One of my best friends Rachel actually turned me onto this product a few years ago, and like her, I fell in love with it immediately.  I have two mini’s of this product already from different Sephora value packs and I know I can put this sample to good use as well.  This is one product that I will definitely repurchase when my samples run dry.  The full-size version of this product is 12.5 mL and retails for $36 CAD making this samples value $7.20.

benetint sample - Rose

lip and cheek stain

rose-tinted lip and cheek stain

Total Moisture Facial Cream

Then out came benefit’s “Total Moisture Facial Cream” in the exact same packaging as the full size, an adorable small glass pot.  Said to “provide concentrated immediate & long-term hydration” this face cream may be just what one’s skin needs during the dry winter months.  Formulated specifically for normal to dry skin, this cream “contains exclusive tri-radiance complex to help develop the skin’s reserves of water.”  I’m personally looking forward to trying this out against my new favourite moisturiser from Burt’s Bees Intense Hydration line.  The full size version of this cream is 48.2g and retails for $42 CAD.  This sample is 8.9g making this samples value $7.75.

benefit face cream "total moisture"

normal to dry skin face cream

the POREfessional

Next up was “the POREfessional” face primer which I’ve been curious about trying for a long time.  This PRO balm is said to minimize the appearance of pores and can be used either under or over your makeup.  The full size version of this product is 22mL and retails for $34 CAD.  This sample is 7.5mL in size which makes its value $4.85.

"POREfessional" face primer by benefit cosmetics

"the POREfessional" face primer

Dandelion Wishes Powder and Lip Gloss

The largest of the samples was actually one of the last to come out of my Topbox.  This sample set featured a matching lipgloss and luminizing powder in one of benefit’s best selling shades “Dandelion”.  I was super stoked about receiving these as I’ve never actually tried any of their powder or lip products (excluding the lip/cheek stain) before.  The brightening face powder has a full size version that is 7g and sells for $36 CAD.  This 3g sample is an absolute steal valued at $15.43.  The corresponding lip gloss can also be purchased as a 15mL full size version for $18 CAD.  This 6.5mL sample has a value of $7.80.

Dandelion sample from Benefit

"Dandelion" face powder and lip gloss set

"Dandelion" blush and gloss


“Fine-One-One” is something I was also excited to receive a small bonus sample of.  This is a brand new product from benefit Cosmetics and is receiving some mixed reviews in relation to its value and its wear time.  So I’m stoked to be able to try it out for myself.  This sheer  brightening cheek and lip trio has a full size 8g version (seems small for a full size product) that retails for $36 CAD.  This sample is very small, only good enough for one use (maybe two if I stretch it out) and a value can’t be calculated.  I guess that is why they call it a bonus!  It came in a Chinese New Year envelope with a shout out to the Year of the Snake.  “Happy Gorgeous Year!” was labelled on the box wrapping as well as the flip side to this envelope.  Very cute touch!

February Topbox Review

Topbox February

"Fine-One-One" Sample

The Verdict:

Benefit Cosmetics Topbox Review, Pictures and Haul

I am absolutely ecstatic with my February Topbox and ALL of my new products from benefit Cosmetics.  This Prive Box struck a much better balance between makeup and skin care products than last months Clinique Prive Box did.  With two skin care products and 4 makeup related samples in my February Topbox, I couldn’t be happier.  All of the packaging this month is super pretty and all of the samples are in easy to use containers.  Total value of this month’s Topbox $43.03.  Not bad for the $12 my subscription.

There are so many great products in this February Topbox that I will do swatches and reviews in upcoming posts (seeing as this post is already long and super pic heavy).

If you are wanting to sign up so you can try a variety of deluxe samples every month too, you can do so here, online via their website.

I’d love to hear what you think of this month’s Topbox!  Did you receive a benefit box too?  If so, was it the same?


Benefit Cosmetics

My First Glam Bag by ipsy

ipsy glam bag review

So I know I’m a little late posting this,  I should’ve got this up last week when I received it, but I wanted to make sure I shared it with you all anyway.

As you can see, I subscribed to another beauty box, widely due to my love/hate relationship with Topbox.  I wanted to give ipsy a try and see how the value compared.

“ipsy” was started by Michelle Phan, one of the most widely followed YouTube Beauty Gurus in the world.  She has nearly 3 million subscribers to her YouTube channel and currently has over 727 MILLION total video views.  So she created ipsy to select and share some of her favourite beauty products for people to try.

If you are living in the US of A, you can subscribe to Ipsy for just $10/month, shipping included.  For those of us north of the border in Canada, we have to pay $14.95/month.  But given that I currently pay $12.00/month for Topbox, I figured if the value was there, I wouldn’t be upset about the extra $3.

My first Glam Bag (January 2013) from ipsy was shipped in bright pink bubble wrap packaging, so it got my attention right away.  It was small enough to fit in my small apartment sized mail slot too, so that is always a bonus!

my first "glam bag" by Ipsy (January 2013)

Inside, I found a small black cosmetic bag and a full-size make-up brush.

January ipsy glam bag

You get a different cosmetic bag each month with ipsy.  I was actually impressed that they took the time to brand them too.

ipsy Glam Bag review

It was amazing how much fit in this little bag.  Here are the complete contents of my January ipsy Glam Bag:

ipsy glam bag for January 2013

SOHO Eyeliner Brush

The first item being the full-size eye liner brush from SOHO with an ergonomic design.  This brush has very short, dense bristles and is designed for applying dry or wet eyeliners or can also be used to fill in eyebrows with shadow.  It retails for about $5-$8 depending on where you snatch it up.

ergonomic eyeliner brush by SOHO

Bloody Mary Nailtini

The “Tiny Beauty Lounge” features cocktail inspired cosmetics.  So they have nail lacquers, eye shadows and lip glosses that are all inspired by your favourite cocktails.  You’ve got to check out their website, its pretty cool!  This is a totally new brand for me too, so it is fun being exposed to new things.  That is what beauty box subscriptions are all about!  This full-size “triple free” nail polish from their line of “Straight up Color Nail Lacquer” retails for $13.00.

Nailtini straight up nail lacquer "Bloody Mary"

"Bloody Mary" nailtini

Big Sexy Hair Spray & Play

Big Sexy Hair products are available for sale at Canada in salons but in the US I see they are available for sale at Wal-Mart as well.  The full-size 10 oz version of this hair spray retails for $33.00, which makes this 1.5 oz sample valued at $4.95.

Spray and Play by Big Sexy Hair Products

Pacifica Tuscan Blood Orange Body Butter

Described as “Sparkling, juicy blood orange with notes of red raspberry and spicy sweet Italian mandarins.  The scent of Mediterranean beach.”  This body butter is 100% vegan and cruelty free.  It has a very refreshing and fruity scent, but isn’t overpowering.  The cream itself is thick and rich the way a body butter should be.  I see myself getting a lot of use out of this body butter over the remaining winter months.  This body butter by Pacifica is available for sale in two sizes, the smallest being the 2.5 oz version I received in my Glam Bag, for $7.00.

Body Butter by Pacifica in "Tuscan Blood Orange"

Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil

This product is a huge cult favourite in the beauty industry and I was really excited to receive it in my Glam Bag.  I’ve had Argan Oil before, but only ever used it on my hair.  This one is promoting multiple uses:

  • Daily Moisturizer (apply on clean face)
  • Hair Treatment (apply to split ends)
  • Body Moisturizer (apply to skin)
  • Nail Treatment (apply to cuticles)
  • Bath Oil (add to your bath)

I really love the eye dropper applicator too.  Whenever I’ve used Argan oil in the past, it seems to get everywhere, but this dropper is great!

Josie Maran’s highly sought after Argan Oil is available for retail in 3 different sizes at Sephora, allowing me to calculate the value of this sample to be about $6.12.

Argan Oil Sample by Josie Maran

eye dropper argan oil (Josie Maran)

So there it is – my January Glam Bag by ipsy!  Total value of $36.07.  I paid $14.95 and got a lot of cool items I’m excited to try from brands I’ve never tried before.  I’m especially excited about the Argan Oil by Josie Maran and the Nailtini nail lacquer.  The hair spray and body butter are less “exciting” and are mainly just useful additions that will get used regularly until they are gone.  🙂  So I have no doubt I will get my money’s worth out of this Glam Bag by ipsy!

ipsy glam bag review

ipsy vs. Topbox

Topbox seems to do a better job of customizing their boxes to the individual.  The box variety from ipsy is very small (usually just a different color/model of one item, with all other items identical).  For this month, I believe the only variation was what type of SOHO makeup brush you received.  But, ipsy mainly gears themselves towards makeup, with less skin care offerings.  So depending on what type of samples you are wanting to receive, ipsy may be the better choice for you.

Topbox only ships once a month, so if your subscription starts mid month, you will be waiting until the following month to have your Topbox shipped.  Whereas ipsy ships at different times of the month.  I signed up on January 13th and still received a January glam bag.

On that same vein though, about mid-month ipsy actually shows what was in their glam bags that month directly on their website.  So by the time I subscribed, I knew EXACTLY what items I was going to receive (kind of takes the fun out of it).  But now of course, February will be a surprise.  🙂  And I can’t wait!

ipsy supplies coupons online for each of the items featured in the glam bag, so if you want to go out and buy the full-size products, you shouldn’t have to pay full price.

For a packaging stand point, I’ve always thought the Topbox tubes were really cool, but for me I actually think the ipsy cosmetic cases are going to get more use in my house, than the Topbox tubes will.

And lastly, I wish ipsy featured the item list card with their glam bags.  Topbox features an itemized listing of what you received (telling you a little bit about each product and brand) as well as the value of the full size products.  I find that very helpful when calculating the total value of my Topbox each month.  If I want to do the same with ipsy (like I did above) I have to go on-line and search for each individual product to find the costs first.

Overall, I need a couple more months of ipsy glam bags before I can tell you whether I like them better than Topbox.  But so far, they are off to a great start.  I love the items I received and I really believe it was worth the $15 this month.  So if you live south of the border and only have to pay $10…WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!?!?

And if you are already an ipsy subscriber, I’d love to hear how long you’ve been a subscriber and what your experience has been like!

Thanks for reading!



Topbox’s First “Prive Box” – Clinique

Clinique Prive Box, January 2013 Topbox

A couple of months ago Topbox announced that they would be adding a Prive Box to their offerings.  The Prive Box is a beauty box featuring products all from one brand, Topbox members would be able to see the box ahead of time and decide if they wanted the Prive Box that month, or the regular mystery box.  For January though, as their first Prive Box, it would be a surprise and everyone was to get one.  No one knew who the brand was ahead of time or what would be inside.

So when I saw the little cylindrical box in my mail box last week, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I unwrapped the brown shipping paper to find personalized paper featuring the name of a high-end brand – Clinique.

Clinique Prive Box - January 2013 Topbox

In Canada, Clinique is available at both Sephora and department stores and generally speaking costs a pretty penny.  The only time I purchase Clinique is during the bonus time’s where you spend a certain amount of money and get a beauty bag for free.  So, over the years I’ve ended up with a variety of Clinique samples, some of which I’ve used until they were gone, others I have hardly touched.  But nevertheless I was happy to see a well known brand in January’s Topbox and knew before opening it, that the value would be there this month.

My shipment didn’t have a tag # this month, so I’m not sure what box # I received.  But it was definitely customized for my combination skin.  Let’s take a closer look at what was inside:

Repairwear Laser Focus

Clinique Topbox

Said to be “A second chance for skin against sun damage and wrinkles.  At 12 weeks, the visible wrinkle-reducing power is remarkably close to a dermatological laser procedure.  63% to be exact.”  I guess that is how it gets its name.  I actually received this exact sample in my last Clinique Bonus Time beauty bag (months ago) and I haven’t even given that one a try.  So it will likely be some time before this seal gets cracked, but at least I have it for when I need it.  And honestly I probably should start incorporating these types of products into my regular routine.  This wrinkle and UV damage protector is 7mL in size.  The full size (30mL) retails for $57.00 CAD which makes this sample valued at $13.30.

Clarifying Lotion 3

Clinique Topbox (Prive - January box)

Part of Clinique’s 3-step skin care program this is actually for step 2 (the 3 refers to the skin type).  This is to be used after you wash your face and before you apply your moisturiser.  Again, this is my second time receiving a sample of this.  I received a larger sample (double the size actually) of this quite a while ago during a Bonus Time and still use it a few times a week.  So it’s nice to know that I won’t need to rush out and a buy a new one.  I can use this up as well…  This sample is 30mL in size and with the full size being 200mL and retailing for only $16.00 this puts this sample’s value at  just $2.40.

Rinse-Off Eye Makeup Solvent

Clinique Topbox offerings - January Prive Box 2013

This eye makeup solvent is to be used for quick removal or quick change.  It says that it leaves no oily residue so fresh makeup adheres immediately.  To me, that sounds like MAC’s Pro Eye Makeup Remover (the purple bottle) which is okay for some products, but won’t work well on anything with waterproof or waterproof like formulas (because of the lack of oil).  If you’ve tried this product already, let me know what you think of it below?  I’m curious about it and I have no doubt I will try it.  But considering I have both an oil-free and waterproof makeup remover on the go right now, I don’t have an immediate use for it.  This sample is the largest sample in the January Topbox, at 60mL.  The full size is 125mL and retails for $25.00, making this sample valued at an even $12.00.

Color Surge Eye Shadow Duo in 02 Like Mink

Clinique Topbox

Clinique Prive Box, by Topbox

This neutral toned eye shadow duo contains two “go-together” shades in a chrome slide compact.  I’m not sure how much use I will get out of this, given that I am such an eye shadow hoarder and already have far too many, but it can’t hurt to try it out…I just need to remember I have it.  🙂  The full size 2.5g version of this product retails for $25.00, so this 1.6g sample is valued at $16.00.

Total value of January 2013 Prive Box featuring Clinique = $43.70.  Not bad for a $12.00 investment.

Clinique Prive Box for January 2013

Overall, for this month, I see myself using 2, maybe three of the products regularly and can’t really say that I’m disappointed, but I can’t say that I’m super excited about it either.  Just sort of content with it I guess.  The value is there, the products are definitely high quality and generally speaking I love Clinique.  There just wasn’t anything in this box that put a giant smile on my face that I couldn’t wait to try out.  It’s just a variety of useful high-end products.  But really, that is good enough for me!  If you’d like to sign up to become a Topbox member, you can.  It is $12.00 a month with free shipping and you can cancel at any time.  Join here.

For February, they are featuring three different Prive Boxes.  One of which contains the highly sought after brand benefit.  They don’t have enough for everyone though, so I believe the people who receive it will be selected randomly from the people who requested it.  Should be interesting…I really hope I am lucky enough to get one!

Were you happy with your Beauty Boxes this month?

I signed up for Ipsy as well, so I should be receiving my first glam bag from them soon!   Can’t wait!



To see what I’ve received in my last few Topboxes, feel free to follow these links:

October 2012 Topbox

November 2012 Topbox

December 2012 Topbox

December 2012 Topbox

December Topbox Contents

The middle of the month has rolled around already and that means that my December Topbox has arrived.  After November‘s amazing Topbox, I was so excited this time, I started ripping off the paper in the elevator, I couldn’t even wait to get up to our apartment.  I was pretty surprised to see it in my mail box when I got home from work, considering the boxes shipped out Thursday and it was in my mail box on Friday.  🙂  Thank you Canada Post!

Topbox Review for December 2012

Unfortunately though, that is where my “thank you’s” end.  I was disappointed with sample after sample from this month’s Topbox…and I will tell you why I’m particularly irritated this month.

Box 32 Contents from December 2012 Topbox

Let me start by sharing a little bit of background.  Being a Topbox subscriber, you have the opportunity to fill out survey’s every month so Topbox can better personalize your box for you.  I think this is an incredible feature and is the main reason I signed up for Topbox in the first place.  So you have your standard beauty profile in your account, which is very limited and only consists of about 6 questions.  But, every month, about two weeks after your last Topbox, they email you a survey to help them personalize the next month’s box for you.  December’s survey featured a few different questions, two of which I remember the jist of quite clearly.  One asked if I was suffering from acne breakouts recently.  I answered “no”.  The other question I remember pertained to how often I blow dry my hair.  My answer would’ve been “very rarely” or “close to never”.  I think the last time I blow dried my hair has to be close to 9 months or a year ago.  I have hair almost to the small of my back that dries bone straight, so my blow dryer sits in a rarely opened drawer.

So what were two out of the four samples I received?  Acne treatment cream and styling gel for blow drying your hair.  *sigh*  The spray gel is particularly frustrating because the Topbox card says “for short or long hairstyles” but the bottle itself says for “short” hair.  I suppose if I actually ever blow dried my hair, I could use it for hair my length…but I personally have zero use for this sample.  Thank you Topbox for completely ignoring my survey this month…

If my other two samples had been incredible, I probably wouldn’t have cared so much, but I received another perfume sample…..and a small pigment sample (equivalent to the sizes you can get from MAC or Sephora for free just by asking).  So this month was a complete and utter disappointment for me.  The packaging was cute for the holiday season, but that is where my excitement ended.

Enough ranting, let’s take a closer look at the items I received in Topbox #32:

Kellett Clarifying Acne Treatment 

kellett Clarifying Acne Treatment

5% Benzoyl Peroxide Gel

Dosage: Apply a pea size amount twice daily to affected areas or as directed by physician.  Fair skinned individuals should begin with one application. 

I personally hate these types of packaging for samples, because there is too much product for just one use, but there is no way to reseal them after you’ve opened them.  So it takes some effort to ensure they don’t spill all over the place or dry out before you can even finish trying them out.  I really think it would’ve been great if the samples were instead in a mini bottle or tube.  

These two packets are 3mL each, for a total of 6mL.  The full size bottle available for retail sale is 50mL and costs $75.00.  This sample is valued at a total of $9.00.

Chloé Eau de Parfum

Chloé Eau de Parfum

This perfume sample comes in the cutest little bottle and though it is hard to see in the picture “Chloé” is etched on the top plug which is an adorable touch.  The scent itself is a strong floral, rose scent that smells very fresh and sophisticated.  It in no way smells cheap or “old ladyish”.  It seems to be quite long-lasting in my first experience with it and is quite elegant and classy.  So although I wasn’t at all wanting another perfume sample, this one is lovely.  I just hope I don’t get any more for a few months because my stock pile of perfume samples is growing too large and I can’t keep up!

The full size version of this perfume is 50ML and retails for $90.00.  That means this 5mL sample of perfume is valued at $9.00.  

Goldwell  Style Sign Jelly Boost

Goldwell Jelly Boost spray gel

Easy-to-use spray gel for creating instant body and texture.  

Directions: Spray onto towel-dried hair and finger style.

Full size bottles (150mL) retail for $18.95, making this 30mL sample valued at $3.79.

Ferro Cosmetics “Blush x 3” Mineral Pigment

Whisky Rose Ferro Cosmetics Mineral Pigment

Whiskey Rose swatch by Ferro

Ferro Cosmetics is a brand founded by Celebrity Makeup Artist Krissy Ferro.  They make 100% natural mineral makeup.  Their Blush x 3 line of mineral pigments are multi-purpose pure mineral pigments that can be used on the cheeks, eyes or lips.  Advertised as saying “every shade matches every skin tone”.

The packaging of this sample is a nightmare.  Because there is no plastic cover or anything inside the vial, the pigment gets everywhere.  So as soon as you open it, it spills all over and as soon as you close it the same thing happens – it gets all over your hands and everywhere else in close vicinity.  

To give you an idea of sample size, it is the very close to the same size you would receive at a MAC store or counter.  Except the MAC vials have a much better seal and don’t spill all over the place.  

It was hard to find a value of this sample because there is no measurement of weight or contents on either the sample or the full size products (retails for $17.00) on the Ferro Cosmetics website.  They do however have samples of other products available for sale on-line, so I can estimate that this sample’s actual value is somewhere between $3-4 dollars.  

Bottom Line

Value wise for this Topbox, it is safe to estimate this box at about $25.  But as I’ve said before, it is only worth it if you actually plan to use the products.  Otherwise the $12.00 invested could be better spent somewhere else…

That makes 2 out of 3 boxes from Topbox complete misses for me.  I was really disappointed that my December survey responses were ignored.  I only have one or two more Topboxes in me, before I cancel my subscription.  I really hope January’s box is better!

What did you receive in your beauty box(s) this month?  Does anyone have a suggestion for another Canadian Beauty Box that I might like better?  I’m curious about Loose Buttons, Glymm and Glossybox.  If you are a subscriber of any of those, I’d love to hear if you are happy with the service!  Please leave a comment below or send me an email.

Thanks for reading everyone!



Related Posts:

November 2012 Topbox

What I got in my November 2012 Topbox

After receiving my first Topbox last month and being a little disappointed, I wasn’t sure what to expect for this month.  Topbox customer service had assured everyone that it was going to be a great month, but I still didn’t want to get too excited in case I was setting myself up for a let down.

November Topbox

When I’d received the email saying it had been delivered, I ran right down to the mail box to get it.  It only took two days this time, instead of the 4 last month too, so that is always a bonus. 🙂

My husband was watching “Rumble in the Bronx” (an absolutely terrible Jackie Chan movie) in the living room in the dark, so I snuck in beside him on the sofa to open up my Topbox.  It felt very dramatic, because I couldn’t see anything when I pulled the cap off.  I reached in, pulled out my first item and………..was so freaking excited!

My first item was a deluxe perfume sample of Vera Wang’s “Lovestruck”.  At 4ml this generous sample is the perfect size.  I honestly never buy perfume because the bottles are so large and take absolutely forever to use up, I just can’t stand the same overpowering scent everyday.  So I always love receiving perfume samples because I can keep variety in my life and never get tired of a certain fragrance.  Lovestruck Floral Rush is a mainly floral scent, with soft hints of fruit and musk.  The 50ml full size of this product sells for $79.00, meaning this sample is valued at $6.32.  WIN!

perfume sample in November Topbox

I stuck my hand back inside and felt around….and thought to myself “is that a full-size nail polish?!?” as I pulled out “I’m Not Lion” from China Glaze’s On Safari Collection.  I was SO stoked about this.  There were two shades that I was really sad about missing out on from this collection this past fall.  One being Exotic Encounter (a jade creme) and I’m Not Lion, this stunning glitter!  I immediately started applying this one and ever since have been staring at the pretty glitter.  China Glaze nail lacquers sell at salons for $8.00-$12.00, but you can pick them up at Sally Beauty Supply stores for about $5-$6.  This polish however was limited edition and the best place to track it down now would be on Ebay if you are trying to find it.  WIN!

nail polish swatch of "I'm Not Lion" by China Glaze

At this point, I already felt like my Topbox was a winner, regardless of the next two items.  But I dove back in and was graced with another amazing item.  Out came a Pari Beauty Lip Paint in shade “Red”.  At 4ml, this is almost full size (5.5ml for $14), which makes this sample valued at $10.18.  I was excited to give this shade a go and see what the formula was like as I’ve never tried any of their products before.  So the day after receiving it, I promptly tried it out.  It went on creamy with great pigmentation and then proceeded to persist through my meals and look fabulous – no splotchy or patchy wear as the day went on.  We are talking, I didn’t even need to touch up after lunch…ummmn what?  AND it didn’t feel at all drying, which is a huge accomplishment this time of year when my lips tend to dry out very easily!  BIG WIN!

November Topbox lip sample

Pari Beauty Lip Paint in shade "Red" (swatch on lips

swatch of Red Pari Beauty Lip Paint

For my last item, I was sure it was going to be a dud.  But NO!  I was pleasantly surprised with a good sized mascara sample of “They’re Real!” by benefit.  I already have and love this mascara (follow this link for before and after pictures), so I will likely use it for an upcoming give-away   But I still absolutely love that it was something I knew would be put to good use and is a product I’m happy to have.  With the full size mascaras retailing for $29.00 this makes the value of this sample a whopping $9.67.  WIN!

November Topbox sample mascara

So if I total everything up, that means my samples are valued at about $32.00.  This Topbox only cost me $10.00 plus taxes.  Are you freaking kidding me?  What a great deal!  Thank you TOPBOX!

November Topbox

Given this amazing box I received for November 2012, I was definitely curious to see what other people got in their boxes and as I started snooping around, I was shocked to see so much variety.  Completely different items.  Looks like they really tailored the items to the individual’s beauty profile this month.  My box was labelled “Box 21” meaning there were at least 21 different boxes going out and there could’ve been more.  I really think that is fantastic!

Please note: Starting December 2012, they are increasing their price to $12.00 plus taxes (shipping is still free).  I want you all to know that I feel no bitterness surrounding this price increase.  When they started out a year ago, they only had products from 6 brands, now they have working relationships with over 40.  Their customer service is fantastic too!  They are quick to respond to your inquiries and are continually seeking feedback so they can make sure they are going in the right direction.  If you are interested in becoming a Topbox subscriber, you can join the waiting list here.

Topbox November 2012 - Box 21

Hope you guys found this interesting!  And if you are one of my Canadian readers and are trying to decide whether you should sign up or not, leave your questions/concerns below and I will answer them to the best of my ability and try to help you get off the fence.

If you are already a subscriber of Topbox beauty boxes, let me know how this compares to your beauty box and what you thought of Topbox November 2012!

Thanks for reading 🙂



My First Topbox

October Topbox contents - review and unboxing

What is Topbox?

Topbox is a Canadian beauty box where you spend $10/month and they mail beauty samples to your door.  Shipping is included (taxes are extra) and you can have your beautiful little package shipped anywhere you like.  Your subscription automatically renews on a month to month basis, so as long as you are happy with it they will continue to send you little “presents” every month. I’m not sure about you guys, but I absolutely LOVE getting mail…and packages are the BEST kind of mail.  It makes me so happy when a little box filled with fun beauty products arrives…which is even cooler when you have no idea what to expect.

More About Topbox

You fill out a beauty profile on-line in regards to hair colour/length, skin colour, eye colour, etc so that they can customize your box every month to best suit YOU.  Topbox offers you these beauty boxes, with a super wide variety of brands:

  • benefit
  • MUFE
  • China Glaze
  • Pari Beauty
  • Yves Saint Laurent
  • Stila
  • Deborah Lippman
  • Lise Watier

…just to name a few!  For a complete list, check out their website here. What is also great is that they even offer discounts on full size products from these brands as well.  So if after you’ve tried out a sample and you are absolutely in love with it, you should be able to pick up the full-size at a good price.

How do I get a Topbox?

The big draw back?  Topbox has a waiting list of several months.  I signed up middle of April and am just now getting my first box now, in October.  So, my recommendation is, if this interests you at all, go ahead and sign up (you don’t pay anything now) and if you change your mind by the time you reach the top of the list, you can just withdraw, easy as that.  They don’t start your subscription until you confirm you’d like to proceed. If you want to sign up, you can join here on their website simply by using an email address and creating a password.  It will show as “sold out” but you will get an email telling you that you have joined the waiting list.  Then you can check out what I am receiving every month and decide if Topbox is for you.

Where does my Topbox ship from?  How is it shipped?

where does Topbox ship from?

Topboxes ship from the Toronto area via Canada Post, so if you are located in Ontario you should receive your Topbox in 2-3 days, but if you are on the west coast, you could be waiting up to 5 business days.  They are a cylindrical box wrapped in brown paper.  The packages are small enough that they fit right in your little mail slot, so you don’t have to worry about being home to receive it!

The actual box itself is a cardboard tube wrapped in decorative paper with two hard plastic stoppers as ends.  Definitely reusable in my opinion.  I’m sure I can find something to store in these!

my very first Topbox - a review

My October Topbox

So, after waiting 6 months, I received my first Topbox.  The four samples come complete with a description card detailing what is inside your Topbox, where you can buy the products and what they retail for.  Here is mine:

(click to enlarge)

Topbox review

My samples:

October Topbox contents - review and unboxing


This is a two part sample.  The radiance eye contour comes in a sample size of 3ml.  It is designed to correct and brighten the eye contour area.  Full size retails at $72.50, which makes this sample valued at $14.50.

Endocare tensage radiance contour and ampoules

The ampoules (vials inside the boxes) are an intensive anti-aging regeneration serum for all skin types (to be applied to face and neck after cleansing).  These two samples (2ml total) are valued at $16.86 given that 7ml retails for $59.00.

This sample set is great value, but I need to actually use it in order to benefit!

Masker Aide

Hydrating Facial Sheet Mask.  Full size sample, retails for $4.99/mask.

Said to “awaken, refresh and replenish your skin.  The cooling effects of the mask will help de-puff and awaken your eyes, while natural Peppermint Oil awakens your senses.”

All Nighter Facial Sheet Mask by Masker AideMasker Aide All Nighter Mask from Topbox

This, I will absolutely be using and am excited to try out!

Stila Eye Shadow Palette

paper makeup palette from Topbox

This paper palette features 10 different shades by Stila from their “in the light” palette.

(click to enlarge picture so you can see recommend looks from Stila)

"in the light" palette by Stila

The full size product is 14g, sells for $50.00 CAD and comes with a full size eye liner.  There is no measurement anywhere on this sample pertaining to weight or volume, so it is impossible for a value to be calculated.

Vasanti BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator 

Vasanti BrightenUp! sample from Topbox

Said to “Dramatically improve your skin’s texture to reveal softer, brighter and younger looking skin!  Enriched with powerful papaya enzymes, micro-crystals and aloe to exfoliate, gently cleanse and add radiance.”

The full size product retails for $34.00 which gives this sample an estimated value of $5.67.

I am personally currently in love with my Lancome “Pure Focus” Facial Scrub, but am sure when I run out, I will give this a try…mostly because I love using up product I have laying around.  I try not to be overly wasteful.

My first thoughts

I’ve got to say that I was a little disappointed, after the big long wait.  I know with beauty boxes like this, that you usually get some things you wouldn’t normally pick out (that is part of the fun!), but generally speaking, you should get one thing you are super excited about as soon as you lay eyes on it…I can’t say that I did.  I was all pumped up after months of hype and was kind of let down.  But who knows, perhaps I will fall in love with one of the skin care products…  The Stila eye shadow palette was the biggest disappointment for me.  It’s cool that you can try multiple shades, but this sample isn’t anything better than what you might get in a magazine or free from Sephora.  I certainly won’t be cancelling my Topbox, I want to stick with it for a few months, but I am definitely hoping that November has a better showing than October.

I was also disappointed with the variety this box offered.  3 skin care samples and only one makeup sample?  Not ideal!  I would much rather receive a box with a bigger emphasis on makeup.  Or at the very least, some sort of balance between the two.  I’m hoping for a different experience next month – I’ve got my fingers crossed.  🙂

Are any of you receiving beauty boxes from Topbox already?  What did you think of your October Topbox?  Did you receive different products than I did?

Thanks for reading!