10 Things We Learned from June 2014 Birchbox Samples

Never Leave Home Without This Lip Pencil

If there’s one product to take with you on your summer excursions, it’s the LAQA & Co. Sheer Lip Lube Pencil in Menatour, which we sampled this month. The semi-sheer purple shade looks reddish pink when you first apply it, but builds to a punchy plum hue. If you want to tone it down a bit, blot your lips with a tissue. When you need more, just twist the bottom of the chubby pencil—no need for a sharpener. It’s also infused with refreshing mint, so it’s the perfect midday (or mid flight) pick-me-up.

Got Acne Scars? Steer Clear of the Sun

While researching our story on how to keep skin breakout-free in the summer, we came across one fact that bears repeating: Sun exposure makes acne scars look worse. Like other forms of hyperpigmentation, the red spots left behind by blemishes will darken with exposure to UV rays. “The sun is your enemy for anything pigmented,” says Dr. Amy Wechsler, a dermatologist based in NYC. To avoid making our scars even more conspicuous, we’re slathering on COOLA Tinted Matte SPF 30 for Face for broad-spectrum sun protection. The formula’s subtle tint helps conceal any discolorations.

Mind Your Carbons, Ma’am

For those of you who sampled the shampoo, conditioner, and hair oil from Davines’ Curl Enhancing Kit, you’re probably touching your silky-soft ringlets as we speak. Here’s another reason to love it: every product in the kit is Zero Impact®, or carbon neutral. What’s that mean? In pursuit of sustainability, Davines offsets the carbon emissions that are generated during the packaging of these products, so the environment doesn’t end up being the losing party. Your curls and the planet win.

While Shaving Your Knee, Straighten Your Leg

Are we the last beauty editors on the planet to have heard this tip? When you straighten your knee instead of bending it, you create a smooth surface for your razor to glide over, leading to fewer nicks and cuts. (All these years, and we finally wised up to this no-duh beauty trick.) Here’s something we did know: After you shave, apply a moisturizer with soothing organic Shea butter, like Perlier’s Body Cream in Shea Almond.

Vitamin C Is an Antiaging Ace

If you were wondering what “C15” stands for in Caudalie’s Polyphenol C15 Anti-Wrinkle Defense Serum, it means the product contains 15 percent vitamin C. In addition to neutralizing free radicals, the antioxidant helps target wrinkles by stimulating the production of collagen. Here’s the key: Antiaging products with vitamin C need to contain a high concentration of the vitamin in order to penetrate skin effectively. 15 is the magic percentage that Caudalie has landed on, since it’s high enough to have a visible effect, but still low enough not to irritate sensitive skin.

Silver Eyeliner Isn’t as Scary as We Thought

We’ll admit that in the past, the idea of applying metallic liner has given us pause. But ever since we tried Cynthia Rowley Beauty’s Silver Eyeliner, we’ve uncovered endless ways to wear this shade without looking like a go-go dancer from Austin Powers. Two of our favorite techniques: layer silver liner over your regular black liner for a smoky, iridescent effect. Smudge it a little after applying (the Cynthia Rowley pencils are perfect for this). Or, apply the silver liner just to the inner corners of your eyes to instantly perk them up.

Robinson Crusoe Would Have Loved This Cream

If we ever found ourselves stranded on a desert island with just one skincare product, we know what it would be: Egyptian Magic All-Purpose Skin Cream. (Okay, it would actually be sunscreen—but this would be runner-up!) Made from just six natural ingredients, this salve may look like your basic moisturizer, but it’s far from being a one-trick pony. Among its many applications are healing sunburns, thanks to a hefty dose of honey, and acting as a hair mask to revive split ends. Pro tip: Before applying, warm it up in your hands to soften.

Like Earl Grey? You’ll Love This Body Wash

Here’s a fact to please your inner foodie: Earl Grey tea derives its bitter citrus flavor from bergamot oil, made from the rinds of bergamot oranges. Bergamot also happens to be a note in so many fragrances we love, including Antica Farmacista’s Bergamot & Ocean Aria Body Wash. The next time you lather up with it, sniff the air—that refreshing zesty-spicy scent is courtesy of bergamot.

Meet the World’s Most Versatile Curly Hair Product

When searching for a way to tame our ringlets, we wouldn’t automatically think to try Miss Jessie's® Original MultiCultural Curls, but it’s recently become our go-to. Originally formulated for multiethnic hair, it’s a highly adaptable formula—not too heavy, not too light—that works to smooth and de-frizz all types of curls, from tight coils to loose waves. You’ll have to adjust the amount you use depending on the density and dryness of your spirals, but we love it as a quick, wash-and-go product for achieving soft, bouncy curls.

Our New Answer to the Question, “What Are You Going to Wear?”

This month, the fashion designer Catherine Malandrino debuted her very own signature fragrance—and it’s only available through Birchbox right now. Like a silk scarf or a striped maxi dress, the sophisticated scent is a new staple in our summer wardrobes. What immediately caught our attention about the spritz is that it’s undeniably fruity, but still elegant, thanks to anchoring notes of amber and musk. It’s perfect for wearing to an outdoor soiree or a rooftop happy hour. We vote for both.

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