Thursday, August 30, 2012

August Starbox 2012

I know what you’re thinking. Another box?? I broke down and subscribed to Starbox (by Starlooks) at the beginning of this month after watching a whole bunch of YouTube unboxing videos and reading a whole bunch of blog posts. In my defense, I’m planning to cancel one of my other boxes. Yes, you’ve also heard that before but this time I will. I Internet-pinky-swear it.

Before subscribing, I contacted Starlooks for more information since I had a difficult time finding a review from someone who had actually paid for the box. I know receiving a free product does not necessarily taint a review but I feel it’s important to have a perspective from some paying subscribers. Also, Starlooks has an extensive line of products and I was confused because I couldn’t find a company history or any other reviews for the products (such as on Makeup Alley). So I contacted Starlooks a few times, always receiving a prompt response, and was quickly put in touch with the founder and owner, Marci Star.

(Source: Starlooks)

// Company History //

Marci gave me a bit of history about the company. Starlooks was founded in 2006 as a makeup artist management company and eventually evolved into product company with its own makeup and hair care line. Starlooks had been formulating its brand for 3 years before formally launching its product line this year (along with the Starbox a few months later). Marci is in the process of adding a company profile to the website.

What I also found intriguing about this company is that its products are often compared to MAC. Marci mentioned that one of her friends used to work at the MAC lab and referred her to several chemists and manufacturers, which now also formulate the Starlooks line. I was very intrigued by the information but what pushed me over the edge to subscribe was really the responsiveness of the owner and the excellent customer service overall.

(Source: Starlooks)

Starlooks guarantees 3-4 full size products in each Starbox. The subscription is similar to Julep in that the Starbox exclusively contains products from Starlooks (as opposed to samples from various different companies). The website indicates that the products can be makeup, hair care, or accessories but I’ve only seen and heard about Starbox including makeup and makeup brushes so I will try to clarify this. Starlooks does have a hair modifying dust (which i *think* is a dry shampoo/root booster/texturizer) that I find interesting but I’d rather receive makeup in the monthly boxes with a bonus of hair care if Starlooks chooses to send something like that out. So far, the makeup products and brushes seem very high quality based on all the reviews, feedback on the Facebook page, and my limited experience.

There is currently no beauty profile to fill out and all subscribers receive the same products.

Each month, Starlooks puts together a “looksbook” – a photo session in which the models wear the Starlooks products that will be featured in the upcoming Starbox. The photos are always very interesting and I think it’s a lot of fun trying to guess which products will be included. It certainly creates some excitement and anticipation for the next Starbox.

(Source: Starlooks)

One additional note about the products: before I subscribed to this service, I inquired as to where the products are made and the response was Canada and the U.S. so I was very surprised when I received my first Starbox and the products were labeled with “Made in China” – I e-mailed Marci to clarify and she responded that the actual product/makeup is made in Canada or the U.S. but the containers/packaging are made in China (and U.S. regulation requires that statement somewhere on the box). Marci is now looking into alternate ways of conveying that message so subscribers don’t think the actual product/makeup is made in China. This may not be a big deal to most people but it was important to me because I’ve had a few allergic reactions to products made in China (namely, some of the shades in the Coastal Scents palettes).

// Price //

The price per month is $15 plus shipping.
Shipping within the U.S. is $1.98 so the monthly price works out to $16.98.
Shipping to Canada is $3.75 so the monthly price works out to $18.75.
Updated to add: I was just notified by a Youtube viewer that shipping to Canada has changed to $4.50 - please contact Starlooks for a quote.
These are U.S. dollars.

// August Starbox //

Here is what we received in the August Starbox (in order of appearance in the video):

1. Limited Edition Card Autographed by Lauren Bradley

This is the first special edition Starbox and it featured products curated by fashion designer Lauren Bradley. The theme of this box was Le Sang Bleu, which is Lauren Bradley’s new line of lingerie. Le Sang Bleu translates to blue blood and the idea is that a royal bloodline exists in every woman… which I interpreted as a metaphor to feel bold and empowered. The card has a lovely vintage aesthetic and features a photo of Lauren Bradley wearing a few pieces from her lingerie line (which matches the theme of the lookbook). The envelope was very classy, wrapped in copper thread with a wax seal. I liked receiving this little extra in the Starbox and I thought it conveyed a great message.

2. Lip Gloss in Pink Petal Rose // 4 mL or 0.14 oz // $11

This is a very pretty light pink shade that borders on lilac in certain lighting. That’s likely why I identified it as being blue-based and perhaps having iridescent shimmer. It comes with a doe-foot applicator and some subscribers had a defective tube (the stopper attached itself to the lid so the lip gloss got everywhere) but mine was ok. Apparently around 2% of the tubes are defective.

Now that I’ve had a chance to try this lip gloss, I absolutely love it. There is no scent or flavour… hallelujah!!! The formulation is very creamy and non-sticky on the lips. I wore it over my favourite Revlon lip butter in peach parfait and it was a pretty combination. The shine is very lovely and it lasted all morning (a good 3-4 hours). Starlooks claims that this lip gloss is very similar to the Chanel lip gloss but I can’t speak to that since I've never tried the Chanel makeup line. :(

One thing I want to mention is that this lip gloss looks nothing like any of the shades that Lauren Bradley was wearing in her lookbook so I was surprised when I saw the colour. I later found out (via the Starlooks Facebook page) that the reason was that Lauren Bradley was wearing different lipsticks but Starlooks didn’t want to send out another lipstick because there was an issue last month with the product melting in the heat. Lauren Bradley instead chose a lip gloss in the shade pink petal rose to send to subscribers. While I am happy with the lip gloss, I think it would also have been nice if the colour was closer to the shades worn in the lookbook.

3. Pointed Slant Eye Liner Brush #844 // $12 (per the Starlooks website)

This brush is 100% synthetic and made from Japanese nylon hairs... which are super soft! I have an angled brush but it is nowhere near as small or as fine as this one so this brush is definitely a welcome addition to my collection. The card that came with the Starbox shows a retail value of $15 but I think that’s a typo because the Starlooks website shows a price of $12. Unless the website is wrong in which case we should buy them up, ladies! Just kidding.

4. Infinity Liner in Sculpture // 3 mL or 0.10 oz // $9

I don’t think I’ve ever used liquid, cream, or gel liner (I use eye shadow instead – wet if I want a more intense line) so this type of product is new to me and I am very excited to try it. The colour is just amazing – a metallic, gun metal/charcoal colour. I think this colour would be great with a lot of looks and work with both warm and cool tones. I think this may be a new addition to the Starlooks product line as I didn't see it on the website. I'm going to try the liner this weekend and report back with my thoughts.

I’m very glad the eye liner brush came in this box… otherwise I’d have to buy one (or make do with the one I have); however, I still think of the brush and the liner as a set so I would have loved one more product to try in this month’s box. Not complaining, just my honest reaction.

5. Quartz Crystal

I also received a small quartz crystal in my Starbox but I did not mention it in the video because I frankly did not see it. Each Starbox will contain one (or more) of these crystals and the idea is that subscribers can collect them in a glass jar to eventually build a brush holder. I wonder how many months it would take me to collect enough crystals?

// Past Boxes //

If you follow my blog, you’ll know I’m a little geeky anal crazy nutso detail-oriented with tabulating information so I’ve included below the contents of each Starbox since its inception.

May Starbox: Lip Gloss in Modest ($11), Lip Gloss in Pink Diva ($11), Lip Gloss in Cupid’s Charm ($11). Bonus: Lip Balm. With my penchant for lip products, I think this would have been my favourite box so far! I also really liked the May lookbook, even though many subscribers thought it was weird.

June Starbox: Eye Shadow in Caricature ($9), Precision Eye Pen ($13), Diamond Line Eye Pencil in Myth ($8), Small Precision Blending Brush #813 ($15).

July Starbox: Eye Shadow in Gold Dust ($9), Blush in Classy ($12), Lipstick in Citron ($11). Bonus: Mirrored Compact.

August Special Edition Le Sang Bleu by Lauren Bradley Starbox: Lip Gloss in Pink Petal Rose ($11), Pointed Slant Eye Liner Brush #844 ($12), Infinity Liner in Sculpture ($9). Bonus: Autographed Card.

If you miss a Starbox, the past boxes are available for a limited time on the Starlooks website but they will set you back $25 rather than the $15 subscription price.

I love the idea of special edition boxes and I also would love to see 4 products when a brush is included in the box (like the June Starbox).

(Source: Starlooks)

// Referral System //

This is still being developed but I believe the current system involves receiving 100 points per referral, which translates into $10 off Starlooks products (this is similar to Glymm in that you can’t put the points towards a box and they are instead applied to the online store). I think there is also a limited time promotion right now where if you refer one person, you will get an extra product in your next Starbox. Marci mentioned they will be having lots of other incentives and promotions to come so I think the referral system is still being tweaked.

// Summary //

Overall, I am excited about this new service because it provides full size makeup products rather than miscellaneous (sometimes tiny, sometimes drug store) samples of skin care, hair care, and the like. I think it offers a great alternative to the sample subscription boxes so I will definitely stay subscribed for the time being. One of my favourite things about this company is how forthcoming the owner is. She provides regular updates on the Starlooks Facebook page addressing any feedback or concerns from subscribers. It’s great when an owner is so invested in the company and makes it her business to be upfront and transparent.

If you are interested in subscribing to Starbox, please mention ellesy or petitepearstyle when you sign up. I would really appreciate it and, as always, send heaps of good karma your way! Also, there is a promo code available until September 1st for a free bonus product in your first box so definitely take advantage of that if you do sign up. The promo code is “frugalshopping1”. Thanks to Frugal-Shopping for this promo code.

Edited to add: Canadians who wish to subscribe to Starbox have to contact the company directly to get set up. I signed up by filling out the information on the contact form and a representative got back to me very quickly. I asked them to call me and I gave them my credit card information over the phone. I was just notified by a Youtube viewer that shipping to Canada has changed to $4.50 - please contact Starlooks for a quote.

FTC: I paid for the August Starbox and did not receive anything for free.

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