Friday, October 7, 2016

Recent So Choix Subscription Highlights

Disclosure: Affiliate links.
Recent So Choix Subscription Highlights

I'd originally planned to review each of my boxes separately, but with moving and starting a new job, I've got pretty far behind. Instead, I decided to just write about some of the highlights of my last three boxes. This approach has the added benefit of saving me from having to review boring things like truly mediocre foundations (I'm looking at you, Hourglass Veil Fluid foundation).

If you'd like more information about how the So Choix subscription works and how it's packaged, etc., check out my previous posts. One change for the better, in my view, is that now instead of sending the smaller box inside a bigger box, the small box is just shipped in a bubble mailer. This is a plus for me, because it means it fits in my mailbox, and I don't have to go down to the apartment complex office to pick up my box.

Here's a list of all the things I sampled--let me know if there's something here I don't cover that you are curious about):

Clinique Cola Pop blush
Hourglass Veil Fluid Makeup in Porcelain
Nars Eye Paint in Solomon Islands
Lancome Juicy Shaker in Berry in Love
Benefit They're Real Mascara in Black
Laura Mercier eyeshadow in African Violet
Estee Lauder Sculpting Lipstick in Carnal
Lancome Teint Idole Ultra 24H Divine Perfection Foundation in Ivoire N
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light
Benefit Lemon-Aid Eye Primer
Guerlain l'Or Radiance Concentrate
Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire Deliciously Shiny Lip Colour in Red Heels
Chanel Joues Contraste Blush in Malice
Ellis Faas Eyes Lights in Green Gold
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Mood Light

First of all, let me give a shout out to So Choix's impressive customer service (Melanie and Jason). I had trouble with the packaging on two samples. The Nars Eye Paint dried up completely within a couple of days of receiving it, and the Lancome Juicy Shaker came in a twist-up pen tube, which is designed to keep air out, so it couldn't be shaken. I send a short email to So Choix's CS suggesting that they might want to rethink how they package those products in future, because I'd heard that they were very receptive to feedback and interested in improving their packaging. I got a quick response and they sent out new samples of those two things along with some random foil samples. Nice! Then, right after I moved I got paranoid that I hadn't changed my address in time for my box to come to the right place, so I emailed to ask about that. I got a response within 2 hours confirming that the address was correct. It's just really nice to get prompt responses that indicate that the person on the other end has actually read what you wrote. That's depressingly rare.

Now for my thoughts on a selection of these samples. Here's what the Nars Eye Paint in Solomon Islands looked like when I first opened it. As you can see it was dry enough to begin cracking a bit. (Unfortunately the replacement sample, though carefully packed with an extra seal on the little jar, also dried out before I could use it.)

I did use it the day it arrived, however, but I just applied it with the stiff little brush that So Choix provided, so it's not the most precise work I've ever done.

Isn't that color fucking stunning!? I'm surprised I haven't heard more about these Eye Paints. Even a little dry, it applied very smoothly and was extremely pigmented. And it didn't budge, even though this was during the height of summer. I'd hope that the actual Nars packaging would keep the contents soft longer, but the lowest ratings on the Sephora listing are about it drying up in a couple of months. Boo.

Here's the first iteration of the Lancome Juicy Shaker in Berry in Love. When I twisted it up, I would mainly get just translucent gloss, since shaking it didn't mix in the pigment, which is kind of the whole point.

The replacement works much better (though I guess maybe it contains less product--still, it provides a more accurate sampling).

I like this stuff quite a bit. It comfortable and even a little moisturizing, and it provides a pretty, subtle tint, though not so subtle that it doesn't show up. The only thing I don't like is the strong fragrance which I can taste when I wear it. I guess it's supposed to be berry-scented, but it's also quite floral. Maybe the other shades taste better.

Here are my bare lips (just clear balm):

Lancome Juicy Shaker in Berry in Love

Clinique's Cola Pop is a blush that I've been curious about for a long time. Maybe it's just how the plummy red flower looks that appeals to me. But I'm glad I never got around to buying it, because it's all wrong for me. It's very deep and pigmented. I suspect it would work well for people with deeper skin tones. On me, it's difficult to use a light enough touch and to blend it out smoothly, especially over foundation. Below are swatches comparing it to a red blush, Stila Convertible Color in Poppy, and a plum, TheBalm InStain Blush in Pinstripe. Those two blushes both work well for me, but Cola Pop is too warm/brown (as the name would suggest).

Swatches of Clinique Cola Pop, Stila Poppy, and TheBalm Pinstripe
Swatches of Clinique Cola Pop, Stila Poppy, and TheBalm Pinstripe
I don't have a swatch of the next sample, because it would be invisible, but I have to say that I like Hourglass Dim Light much better than Diffused Light (reviewed briefly here). Dim Light actually seems to do the thing that these Ambient Lighting Powders are supposed to do, which is to blur "imperfections" and add some subtle radiance to the skin, especially after applying foundation. Mood Light, on the other hand, didn't really wow me.

I was also pretty excited by Ellis Faas Eyes Lights (I think that's what it's called?) in Green Gold. It's a liquid eyeshadow (or eye-whatever) that came in a jar almost too tiny to fit a brush inside. But it was stunning when I applied it. The macro shot here makes it look patchier than it did in person. In general, I don't think my photos do it justice. It wore pretty well, except that I had an itch on one eyelid at one point during the day, and where I scratched, the gold completely flaked off. But imagine the amazing Egyptian-style eye makeup you could create by combining this with the Nars Solomon Islands! Unfortunately, this sample dried out too before I could use it a second time. I know that So Choix is only promising one use per sample, but I hate to let something useable go to waste.

Besides Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light, the only other thing from this selection that I've actually thought about buying is the Guerlain Primer (sorry, l'Or Radiance Concentrate). It has actual flakes of gold in it, you guys. That's ridiculous, and I have to flick the chunks off my face after I apply it. But it works really well for oil control and my foundation looks great on top of it. Maybe it's the alcohol in it. Not sure I could bring myself to buy something that's mostly water, glycerin, and alcohol for $74.

Anything I didn't specifically describe here ranged from mediocre to fine--but if you have any questions, just ask! I'm still enjoying this subscription, but I am starting to run low on things I really want to try (why don't they stock the lightest shade of Tarte Shape Tape Concealer?). I don't know if it will be able to keep me interested after my year is up. I'm halfway through, now.


  1. The chanel blush!! African violet!!

    The nars eye paint is fucking stunning!! I would hate to let a huge pot go to waste like that though.

    1. The Chanel blush is nicely pigmented and easy to use, but the color I got is a little grannyish, which makes it hard for me to love it. It's like a red-pink-coral? But one that my grandma might have worn. It's fine.

      African Violet is also fine. Pretty color but quite sheer. I need to play with it some more, to be honest. I wasn't blown away.

  2. Dim Light is my fave of the Ambient Lighting Powders, I've re-purchased it twice. I hardly ever hear anyone talk about it, I don't know why. I definitely think it's the best of them, and the only one that does (at least on my skin) the magic that they are supposed to do.

    1. Yes, I'd hear more about Diffused Light and it was nothing at all on my skin!

  3. I would be interested to hear your take on the Benefit They're Real Mascara esp how it compares to the covergirl or Maybelline mascaras.

    1. I must admit that I picked that sample to compare to the They're Real primer, and haven't had a chance to do that yet. It's possible that the sample has dried up by now--I haven't even checked it! But I've used They're Real in the past and thought it was good but not spectacular. There's a comparison of it here somewhere with Urban Decay Big Fatty and Jordana Extreme something mascara. (If you use the search box on the right side of the page, it should come up.) For drama, I liked the Jordana mascara better (and it's much cheaper). I hate the They're Real brush, because it has long, stabby spikes, and the mascara itself is difficult to remove. It works pretty well otherwise, but I prefer Corvergirl for everyday mascara. I haven't used a Maybelline mascara in ages! Is there one you'd recommend?


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