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

Posts tagged “Topbox

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!



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!