low effort high impact // may birchbox

New(ish) month, new subscription boxes! As you guessed, I didn’t end up cancelling any last month… I’m too addicted, and I’ll admit it! The excitement of seeing the box arrive in the mail and the hope that I might find something new and amazing that I never would have discovered before are just too strong. I can’t fight it, and I don’t think I ever will! Not to mention, May’s boxes were a bit more impressive than April’s (who ISN’T it a rut in April though, you know?!), so that definitely helped. Summertime products are always a little more me – less fuss, more glow!

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The theme of my Birchbox this month was “Low Effort High Impact.” I love that motto for summer skincare and makeup. Summer is inevitably busier, hotter, and full of impromptu activities and adventures that don’t allow much time for preparation. I love throwing a few multipurpose products in my purse and knowing I’ll be good for wherever the day brings!

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The first product I obviously need in my bag EVERY DANG DAY OF THE SUMMER is a good sunscreen. It’s pretty hard to avoid the sun’s beautiful rays for three months, and why would you want to? But it’s important to protect our lovely, glowing faces from any damage, and that’s where sunscreen comes in. I specifically requested a suncare product in my Birchbox for May (perks of Birchbox Select!) and I received the Clarins UV PLUS Anti-Pollution Sunscreen Multi-Protection SPF 50. I’m pretty picky about face sunscreen because I feel like most are too heavy and greasy and end up making me break out. I don’t believe that breakouts should be a trade-off for protecting your skin from harmful UV rays, so I’m always on the hunt for a better option. I ended up totally loving this Clarins one! It is extremely lightweight (dare I say THIN? can you tell in the pic? but thin in a good way!), and has a nice, fresh scent – nothing like the typical sunscreen smell. I also love that it offers protection from pollution and free radicals – working triple duty! This sunscreen is a little pricy at $43 for a full-size, but when most drugstore brands don’t cut it (besides my classic go-to Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Weightless Face Sunscreen last seen in this post), I feel okay spending a little extra!

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Summer humidity + surprise thunderstorms + frizzy, curly hair = disaster waiting to happen. This is my life everyday from May through September. Having a dependable hair oil on me at all times is a must, and I am super impressed with the Beauty Protector Protect & Oil that came in the box. The texture is super light (do you see a theme here?!) but intensely moisturizing, and the intoxicating scent of the argan oil-infusion is to die for. I love how glossy my hair looks when I apply just a nickel-sized amount, and the frizz is kept at bay for hours. More bonuses of this product are the protection from heat styling (100% guilty of this everyday sin!), and the totally affordable price tag of $28 for a full-size.

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I’m totally about glowy skin all year round, but the summer season is when I’m especially in-tune to getting the best glow I can. I’ve been loving the multitude of glow-enhancing moisturizers hitting the market recently (like the GLAMGLOW GLOWSTARTER Mega Illuminating Moisturizer previously seen in this post), and the newest one to fall onto my bathroom counter is the Manna Kadar Cosmetics Glo Illuminator. I had never heard of this brand, but it’s pretty common for me to receive 1-2 products in each Birchbox from brands I haven’t heard of. Anyway, compared to the baseline glowy moisturizer (which is what you ask? I’m not sure, but let’s roll with it), I’d say the Manna Kadar Cosmetics Glo Illuminator is a bit more of a light sheen than an intense, all-over glow, and it also has a more pinky tone (see swatch on hand) compared to the orangey, yellowy shades of others. The full-size of this product comes in at $29, which doesn’t seem too bad, but the bottle is only 20 mL and you end up using a lot of the formula to achieve any desired result. I probably won’t be purchasing the full-size, but I’ll definitely enjoy the sample on more laid-back days when I just want a little glow!


Summer is when I break out all the bright lipsticks I’ve been hoarding all winter and finally put them to good use. And then I get sick of that and head back to my daily favorite, NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Rikugien. Described as a “rose sink,” I swear this color would look perfect on ANY skin tone. But that’s not the product I’m here to talk about – rather, a product I’ve started pairing with this favorite: ModelCo Illusion Lip Pencil. As you can see, there is no color in which I received this pencil, and that is because it’s made to be a neutral shade that works with each and every lip color! I’ve honestly only tried it with more nudey/light pinky shades, because it’s pretty light on me, but I love it! It adds a bit of brightness and pop to your lips, and goes on super smoothly. Definitely worth the $20 for a full-size!

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And last but not least, we have the Ouai Wave Spray. This product has been a staple for me for a few months now, and I just so happen to have thrown out my last empty bottle when this new sample showed up in my box. This is another perfect throw-in-your-bag-and-be-ready-for-anything product that I can see myself spraying in my hair after days at the beach or pool. The scent is similar to a fresh men’s cologne, and is made without salt so it leaves your hair feeling textured but not sticky. I tend to use this wave spray on my hair when it’s been curled/straightened/basically attacked for days on end, and I need to get one more day out of that messy-wavy style. The full-size is a median $26, but I promise the bottle lasts for a while!

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This is a classic daily look for me that I would do for a day of summer nannying. Hair is probably in need of a wash, but I have an oil and wave spray to work together to create something appropriate… skin is protected with SPF but lightly glowing from an illuminating moisturizer… and lips are simple but bright with a neutral liner!

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What are your favorite types of products for summer? Do you tend towards more daring looks or stick to what’s comfortable? Let me know in the comments below!!


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