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10 Things We Learned from May 2014 Birchbox Samples

Vanilla Helps You Feel Zen

You probably already know that vanilla has calming properties, particularly when it comes in the form of a buttercream cupcake. But the aroma is actually proven to have a relaxing effect: In one study, people exposed to the scent while undergoing MRI testing reported lower levels of anxiety. The next time you’re feeling stressed, apply Lifetherapy’s Chill Hydrating Body Lotion, which mingles warm vanilla with zippy citrus.

Physics Is Your Hair’s Friend

Number 4™ High Performance Hair Care uses the rules of physics to add volume to your mane. Their Volumizing Shampoo and Condition work by infusing hair with positive ionic charges, which push individual strands apart and give hair a fuller appearance. Go science!

Power Suit? More Like Power Serum

We love a beauty product that makes us feel like we’re the bosses of our skin. For an instant power trip, apply Marcelle’s New·Age 8 in 1 Power Serum every day for a week. The fast-acting formula uses peptides and xylitol to smooth, lift, and plump skin for a visibly dewy, even appearance after just seven days. Now that’s a fast turnaround.

Just Pre-Poo It

We’re happy to add a few extra seconds to our lather-and-rinse routines if it means protecting our hair color. Luckily there’s Nexxus Color Assure Pre-Wash Primer, a pre-shampoo or “pre-poo” product that you can apply to dry hair. A triple-oil blend seals the hair cuticle, locking color in and keeping water out so it doesn’t dilute or dull your shade.

Stinky Feet Aren’t Your Fault

While the spring weather is nothing to whine about, we do have one gripe: the funky foot smell that comes with wearing flats and flip-flops. While sweat itself is odorless, a damp, enclosed environment (like your sandals) allows odor-causing bacteria to multiply. To battle the stink, stay sweat-free with Jasmine Seven™ Fresh Feet Wipes. These scented, antibacterial cloths will get rid of germs, sweat, and unseemly smells.

We’ll Take Our Acai Over Easy, Please

While researching the ingredients in Whish’s newest shaving cream, Acai Grapefruit, we discovered that the acai berry—a grape-like fruit that grows on palm trees—has some pretty impressive nutritional stats. A single 100-gram serving has the same amount of protein as an egg. Something's getting added to our breakfast parfaits. (Oh, and acai is chock-full of antioxidants, which nourish and protect skin.)

Feel Better About Your Neck

Enough neck-shaming! Instead of joining Nora Ephron in her famous lament over neck wrinkles, we’re taking a proactive approach with Dr. Hauschka Regenerating Neck and Décolleté Cream. The formula uses herbs and botanicals to hydrate and tighten the skin beneath your chin so you can bare that area with pride.

We’re Upping Our Salt Intake

Unless you’re landlocked, you’ve probably experienced the magical effects that swimming in the ocean can have on your skin—fewer pimples, faster healing of cuts, and so forth. Two brands sampled this month harness the power of sea salt: Clarisea, an acne system that employs sea salt to heal and prevent blemishes, and Sumbody—its Salt Scrub Bonbon uses sea salt to gently exfoliate skin. Now that’s one versatile condiment.

The Sun is Your Skin’s Worst Enemy

Up to 80% of premature aging symptoms are caused by sun exposure. Yep, you read that right. Luckily, there’s an oil-free serum to help skin battle free radicals while you sleep: Caudalie Polyphenol C15 Overnight Detox Oil. Antioxidant grape-seed teams up with regenerating rose hip to help skin recover from the day’s environmental assaults, repairing and preventing damage from UV rays, stress, and pollution.

Long Hair, Do Care

Having Rapunzel-length hair shouldn’t feel like a burden. If your strands are feeling heavier than a Lars Von Trier movie, consider switching up your cleanser. Kérastase makes one specifically for longer styles: Their Cristalliste Bain Cristal Fine – Cleanse is perfect for adding major lift and volume to limp locks. For thicker strands, try Kérastase Cristalliste Bain Cristal Thick – Cleanse—and then tell us if you still think you need that trim.

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