The April 2017 Allure Beauty Box Challenge

Megan Salerno, Allure special projects editor and self-proclaimed creature of habit, challenges herself to snap out of her beauty rut with an Allure Beauty Box subscription. Come back monthly to find out how she uses the items in the box—the ones that earn a permanent place in her medicine cabinet, and the ones that don’t quite make the cut.

Starting out 2017 in a new house, in a new town, I rationalized that I’d wait a few weeks to scout out a local gym, or at least until the New Year’s Resolutioners started losing their steam. February rolled around, and the frigid weather was a perfect excuse to hole myself up indoors. Then March seemed to slip by in the blink of an eye and somewhere along the way, my own resolution — to keep my skin healthy and well-hydrated — fell to the wayside. Now it’s April, and both my body and my skin are not exactly what you’d call “beach-ready.” Fortunately, the April Allure Beauty Box came packed to the brim with skincare essentials to remedy dry, flaky skin. As for the neck down? I’m still trying to find the motivation to get myself back into a fitness routine.

Ahava Mineral Body Lotion

A little over six years ago, I found myself floating in the Dead Sea in Israel after a whirlwind trip through the Middle East. Upon arrival at the lowest point on earth (1,380 feet below sea level!), I took the requisite dip, then slathered my entire body from head to toe with mineral-rich Dead Sea mud. I looked like Swamp Thing, but so did everyone else; and the epidermal effects were almost immediate and near-miraculous (as in, my skin has never, and probably will never, feel so soft ever again). Since I can’t realistically fly half-way across the globe whenever a pimple rears its ugly head, investing in skincare products infused with Dead Sea minerals is the next best thing. Enter the Ahava Mineral Body Lotion that’s conveniently tucked in this month’s box. Squeezing just a dollop into my hand, I expected a salty, ocean scent, but the faintly floral fragrance was as pleasant as it was surprising. Much to my disappointment though, it’s not a fragrance that lingers on your skin for very long. That was the downside; the upside is that silkiness this luxurious lotion imparts lasts all day and seriously softens rough knees and elbows.

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Verdict: Thank you, sir. May A-HAV-another? (Get it?) But seriously, jokes aside, this body lotion is going to be become a mainstay in my routine.

Skin & Co Roma Truffle Therapy Eye Concentrate

One would fully expect to find truffles in the creamy risotto entree at a fancy Italian restaurant. But in your eye cream? Now that’s a first. Nonetheless, truffle extract is the secret sauce that makes Skin & Co Truffle Eye Concentrate so damn good. Curiosity got the better of me, so I did a little digging (pun intended) and found that truffles are rich in antioxidants, which help combat skin-damaging free radicals, while the essential fatty acids found in these unearthed mushrooms can help to smooth fine lines. The eye concentrate itself had a milky appearance and a satiny texture that felt heavenly as I dabbed it around my eyes. My skin immediately felt quenched, and that hydrated sensation lasted straight through the next day. I haven’t been using it long enough to speak to its line-diminishing properties, but let’s just say that I’m hopeful that with continued use, I’ll be saying “Arrivederci!” to my crow’s feet.

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Verdict: I’d like seconds, please. It may cost a pretty penny, but it’s worth every red cent.

Follow Megan's Journey below:

  1. An Editor Looks to the Allure Beauty Box to Break Out of Her Beauty Rut
  2. The March 2017 Allure Beauty Box: One Editor's Brutally Honest Review
  3. Tonya Crooks 5 Best Tips for Perfect Brows

The BrowGal by Tonya Crooks Highlighter Pencil in 02

Eyebrows are a bit of an obsession for me. Thankfully, I was blessed with a pretty low maintenance pair. Not to say that they’re perfect — I have some permanent gaps from over-tweezing in the 90s — but they don’t require any shaping and I can get away with plucking out the strays once every two weeks. For the in-between times, it’s a brow highlighter for me, so I readily introduced The BrowGal by Tonya Crooks Highlighter Pencil into the mix of brow products I already use. The pencil is double-sided — matte on one end and shimmery bronze on the other — so basically, the best of both worlds. It’s creamy and glided on easily, but while the matte, peachy side worked well enough with my complexion, the shade on the opposite end was too dark and not quite shimmery enough to pick up the light and draw attention to my arches.

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Verdict: It had the conceal part down, but the shine was a bit, shall we say, lackluster. I might try the 01 highlighter because I did like the creamy consistency, but the 02 is a no-go.

Laritzy Lip Pencil in Cabernet

When you see someone — a friend, or even a complete stranger — slaying it in a bold lip color, it might be tempting to ask them what shade they’re wearing. And it might be even more tempting to run home and order it on Amazon Prime. Well, take it from me, do not do that. The rush of endorphins you feel when you click “Confirm My Order” will set you up disastrously for the moment of deep disappointment when you rip into the box and swipe on a color that is just all kinds of wrong. When it comes to lipsticks, stains, and pencils, I’ve learned that those so-called “universally flattering” shades are few and far between, so I focus on what’s right for me, and more specifically what will complement my fair skin with cool undertones. Unfortunately, Laritzy Lip Pencil in Cabernet — a deep burgundy — was just a smidge off from being my perfect hue. A wine-stained lip is among my favorite looks, but the hue must have berry (purplish-plum) undertones to make the cut. This one had more of a rusty (brownish-red) undertone that did not play nicely with my complexion.

Verdict: I’m sticking with my forever favorite M.A.C. Lip Pencil in Beet, but I’d highly recommend the Laritzy pencil for someone who has a medium to olive complexion.

Dr. Brandt PoreDermabrasion Pore Perfecting Exfoliator

A corner that cannot be cut in my skin-care routine is exfoliation; and I’m no stranger to Dr. Brandt’s products — they’re simply the best when it comes to renewing your skin. In fact, the brand’s exfoliators keep popping up in the Allure Beauty Box; most recently in January when Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion helped to solve my winter skin woes. Similar to that exfoliator, Dr. Brandt PoreDermabrasion Pore Perfecting Exfoliator is infused with aluminum oxide crystals, which gently buff away dead skin cells leaving your skin feeling fresh, slightly tingly, and sublimely soft — definitely not rubbed down or raw. But this one also promised to deep clean and to reduce the appearance of pores within four weeks. There’s not quite enough of the formula in this deluxe-sized sample to test out that theory, but I’m willing to try.

Verdict: Two enthusiastic thumbs up; it’s a hefty price tag, but it preps my skin perfectly for a full face of makeup.

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