I Bought the Amazon Beauty Box Because I’m a Sucker

“Ugh, subscription boxes.” I do like trying new things (boy do I ever), but I’m also a Picky Bitch who has a strong distaste for a lot of colors and also has extremely tetchy skin. Despite my misgivings, I tried Ipsy and Birchbox for a couple of months a while back, because we can’t be immune to hype 24/7. And despite claims of “curated just for you, based on your preferences!” they both left me cold. I don’t think I got anything in either box over those two months that made me go “ooo, A) I have never heard of this or B) I like this and would actually consider purchasing it.” Granted, $10-15 isn’t a lot of money, but if the majority of the stuff in every box is getting immediately given away or tossed, that’s no kind of value and not very much fun. I’d rather buy something I actually want, you know?

So I said “NEVER AGAIN.” But then, Amazon had a Beauty Box of their own for $11.99. HMMM. Judging from the photos — which allegedly showed the actual products they were including! — there would be at least one or two things I’d be keen to try. And, the big selling point : you also get an $11.99 credit that could be used on any of a selection of products from the companies whose wares were in the box. And since one of those companies was Acure Organics, whose stuff has shown up here a couple of times to solid reviews, I figured this was a completely reasonable expenditure (I’m much better at rationalization than I am at self control).

OMG WHAT’S IN THE BOX?

Quite a lot of boring crap, but also a few pretty good things!

This guy contained :

– Neutrogena Hydro Boost cleansing gel (.5oz)
– Aveeno Protect + Hydrate lotion SPF 30 (.5oz)
– Aveeno Absolutely Ageless daily moisturizer SPF 30 (.5oz)
– e.l.f. Beautifully Bare Satin Lipstick in “Touch of Nude” (full size)
– Neutrogena Hydro Boost lip shine in “Radiant Rose” (.17oz)
– Acure Coconut + Argan Oil cleansing towelettes (12 ct)
– Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes (7 ct)
– Proactiv Renewing Cleanser (1oz)
– Fekkai Brilliant Glossing shampoo & conditioner (10ml ea)
– Crest 3D White 1-hr Express Whitestrips (1 set)
– A tube of effing Crest toothpaste, WTH
– A tiny travel box thing of Glide dental floss
– And a 1oz bottle of TheraBreath Oral Rinse which, like the damn toothpaste and floss, has no business being in this box IMO.

OMG IS ANY OF IT GOOD?

Some of it actually is! Let’s break it down :

The Aveeno body lotion (appx $8 for 3oz) is fine, but not my thing. It smells like blackberries and shampoo, which is way too fruity-sweet for me. It does have a nice light texture that absorbs well and isn’t greasy or waxy, and actually makes your skin feel rather silky (and not sticky!) on dry-down. If you’re okay with the scent, this would be a pretty good lightweight body moisturizer for summer. The Aveeno facial moisturizer (about $15 for 1.7oz) is also light and absorbs cleanly, and has a much less pronounced scent (vaguely perfumey but not overly sweet) — which is odd because *this one* claims it has “blackberry complex,” which sounds like something you get when you’re used to a full physical keyboard for your mobile phone and are thus angry when your company switches to Apple. Broad-spectrum sun protection with avobenzone and oxybenzone, so that’s nice.

The Neutrogena cleanser (appx $8 for 6oz) is fairly nice and reasonably effective, although I did have to use a bit more than with my usual cleanser when I washed off a full face o’ slap. This does have SLS, though it’s way down in the ingredients list — my main beef with it is that the scent is LOUD and FRUITY-SWEET, which seems uncharacteristic / off-brand for Neutrogena, whom I usually associate with low-key fresh/clean scents. I was actually considering this one as my Throw It In The Shower cleanser (inexpensive, not full of nasty shit, and a rather narrow aesthetically pleasing pump-top bottle that would fit well in my cramped shower), but that fragrance makes it a big nope for me.

The Proactiv cleanser I’m not even taking out of its shrinkwrap sleeve, because I have an innate aversion to clubby subscription-based as-seen-on-TV skincare BS, and because my face hates benzoyl peroxide, and I’m just not interested in risking it. (Anybody want an unopened bottle of Proactiv cleanser?)

Acure and Simple cleansing towelette things : both interesting enough that they’re gonna get a full review! Possibly with one or two other similar products to compare with! Woo!

The e.l.f. lipstick (about $6 on Amazon, $5 on elfcosmetics.com) is … okay. This is meant to be a lightweight satin-finish lipstick, and that’s what it is. It had pretty decent coverage, but these kind of formulas are usually a bit more slippy than I prefer and this one is no exception. The shade is, naturally, spectacularly unflattering on me. It also has a kinda fruity-sweet scent I’m not into (strawberry cake, maybe?), and while the case is certainly attractive, the lid pops off WAY too easily so I’d have zero confidence putting it in my purse’s makeup bag.

The Neutrogena lipgloss (about $7-9 for .1oz full size) is … also okay. It has a nicely thick creamy-cushiony feel, and is blessedly unscented. It’s not sticky, but it does have enough cling that it wears better than average for a gloss. This particular color is 10000% wrong for me, because of course. Also, my little tube says .17oz/4.8 grams, which, why isn’t this measured in fluid ounces/milliliters? The full size tube says .1oz, which is about half what most of my fave lip glosses contain, and at $9 a pop you might as well spring for a Clinique or Dior or something. Nah.

The Fekkai Brilliant Glossing shampoo (about $13-20 for 8oz depending on retailer) and conditioner ($18-22 ditto) are nicer than expected! The scent is very “olive leaf with a touch of lemon,” which is fitting because both contain olive oil and citric acid. However, the second ingredient in the shampoo is the dreaded sodium laureth sulfate. Still, I’d actually consider grabbing a small bottle of this to use as a “clarifying” shampoo for times when I’ve been using enough heavy leave-ins and styling products to generate a lot of build-up. The conditioner has dimethicone about halfway down its relatively short ingredients list, and is also of a surprisingly thin and kinda watery texture — my hair was pretty easy to carefully comb out post-showering, but it definitely doesn’t feel as “conditioned” as it does with my usual John Masters goo. Really probably the only time I’d ever buy this is if I were on vacation somewhere, forgot to pack my regular stuff, and my only immediate option was Walgreens. I LOVE the scent, but the SLeS and dimethicone make them both a “nah” for regular use for me.

The dentrifices are not really worth even discussing. Wait, I take that back — I tried the Crest Whitestrips 3D Mega Ultra 1-hour Professional Blinding Solar White Longname things, and you know what? I got obviously visible results, which is the first time that’s ever happened with drugstore whitening products for me (granted, I’ve only tried a very few over the years). So yeah, I might actually buy some of those! I’m still not opening that creepily-medicinal lookin’ TheraBreath shit, tho.

THE VERDICT : Good, despite its misses! This was definitely money well spent. The cleanser and moisturizer I’ll probably toss in my travel bag as they’re both acceptable if not stellar, the towelette things are both totally usable, AND with the $11.99 credit, I’ve already ordered a tube of Acure’s facial scrub stuff. ALAS, this particular box is apparently no longer available, and I haven’t yet been able to find out whether this was a one-off on Amazon’s part, or if it’s going to be a regular thing. There’s also a “luxury products” box for $19.99 (with a credit in the same amount, as with my box), but frankly it looks decidedly non-luxurious and contains a couple of pretty generic perfume samples, a L’Occitane hand cream, and a bunch of teeny skincare sample packets from brands I’ve never even heard of. Assuming you’re an Amazon Prime member, I’d definitely keep an eye out for new boxes, and take note of included brands and products you could apply the accompanying credit to!

Did you order this one? Tried any of this shizz? Can’t get enough of subscription boxes or nah? Share!