Review: Indulge in Self-Care With the LUXSB Perfume Subscription Box

Fall is in the air and so is our collective desire to break out our best cozy sweaters, riding boots, pumpkin spice-flavored anything, and watch the leaves changing on the trees. As we dive deeper into the colder weather season and the enduring pandemic rages on, any forms of self-care are so very welcome to keep us sane during our favorite season.

It was a few weeks ago when I found an email in my inbox about LUXSB, an online perfume subscription service, with its monthly deliveries of more than 600 fragrances, including a few new scents that give me all the fall feels. From that initial message alone, I was instantly intrigued to learn more and test out some beauty goodies for myself. After all, self-care is needed now more than ever and that’s just a fact.

A little background for y’all: LUXSB (Luxury Scent Box) is a women-founded company owned by sisters, which it’s always so so so so amazing to see other women thriving and succeeding on their own as they disrupt the patriarchal nonsense of the world we live in (ugh) to shatter glass ceilings and make their dreams come true. After debuting its first brick-and-mortar shop back in 2010, thanks to COVID and lockdown, the brand pivoted to focus more on home deliveries and online orders. What separates this brand from other competitors is its vast beauty experience and deep knowledge to offer custom fragrance suggestions that are perfect for you and what you are looking for in a fragrance.

Each monthly box, starting at the reasonable price of $15, offers a selection of perfumes, in a luxe perfume case, which includes a personal choice of your favorite designer or scents. LUXSB partners with many iconic brands for niche and exclusive perfumes and once you find your new signature scent from the monthly miniature bottles in your order, you can order larger sizes when you find the scent of your dreams. I was lucky enough to receive a box of several of the brand’s newest fall scents from the company and was excited to try it out for myself!

Testing 1, 2, 3

Upon unboxing my shipment for the first time, I found four handheld, travel-sized perfume samples in total. Each came in a handy, interchangeable travel case in metallic red, teal, purple, and gold colors. What’s great is that as soon as you run out of one vial, you can swap it out with fresh ones super easily, not to mention that it’s the perfect size to carry in your purse or travel luggage. It also comes with a velvet drawstring bag that can hold one container for easy transportation.

In general, it’s super easy to use. All you have to do is twist open the colorful top and the spray top pops up almost like a tube of lipstick. Then, to close and seal you just twist it back up. Super simple to apply your new go-to scent over and over! Now, if you want to check which travel case has which fragrance insider or even to replace empty vials, it can be a little more difficult. But the box’s instruction card reveals that’s, in reality, quite simple. After you’ve twisted the top open, you can pull the black-colored top straight up and out of the case to reveal or replace what’s inside. Then, to put it back in, you just have place it back inside the container and twist to close again. In the end, there’s no need to stress that you can’t get it because it was a fairly simple procedure.

Now, onto the main event: the exclusive Eau de Parfums that were made in France or England and are just delightful for a quick spritz.

Quintessential Fall Scents

Now, my box sample came with four new fall arrivals that are each different but equally perfect for this crisp autumn season, so keep reading for my two cents based solely on my lil’ nose and its power.

Juliette Has a Gun – Lipstick Fever: Right off the bat, this name gave me serious badass slash strong females only vibes, which I’m always here for, every time. With a spritz and a sniff, I can tell it’s a very strong (that’s a hard yes, lol) but light scent. It’s not bad at all, in fact, I quite like it. It seems like a nice, basic perfume for those consumers who typically don’t wear much perfume, but yes, it does smell lovely with a slight floral tone.

It’s definitely a pretty feminine scent, naturally focusing on the historic notes used in lipsticks with aromas of iris, violet absolute, and raspberry, plus woodsy notes to give it refinement.


Shay & Blue Salt Caramel: Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, this was not 100 percent my cup of tea for my nose. It was very spicy and all those caramel smells come out strong here. It definitely could be a unisex scent because it’s less floral and almost cinnamon-y with such a rich caramel smell. It’s not totally my style, I’d much prefer Juliette Has a Gun – Lipstick Fever of the two, but I definitely feel all the fall vibes with this one.

This rich Eau de Parfum brings the flavors of glossy caramel, sea salt, tonka bean, and sandalwood for an indulgent, deeper, and darker scent.


Etat Libre d’Orange – You or Someone Like You: This makes me think of a traditional perfume that you’d smell at a makeup counter and was always envious of your mom for having when you were growing up because this hits all the notes of what you’d think a perfume should be. In terms of scent, this one is quite minty and smells of pine-ish. This light perfume is nice, and I definitely like this one the most for its subtle scent. It gives off winter vibes, thanks to its minty smell, and that’s when I’d want to wear it the most. Like, it’d be perfect for any holiday parties you attend, you know, if Corona doesn’t cancel them all.

This light perfume brings a fresh and crisp aroma to your skin when you spritz this on yourself. Its primary notes include mint, anise, bergamot, and grapefruit, all of which come through tenfold.


Mancera – Jardin Exclusif: This strong scent reminds me of some big-name designer perfume, which isn’t awful and I actually like the aroma. It has a little floral smell to it, and in general, it’s the type of perfume I’d choose to wear to work slash the office and feel like a strong, powerful woman and a total girlboss.

This perfume brings a bewitching citrus scent that’s just delicious and indulgent. The fruit scent contains notes of pear, caramel, lemon, peach, black currant, and green apple. Plus, sprinkling of notes of jasmine, rose, violet, grey amber, sandalwood, and vanilla that complete its lovely package and final smell.


All in all, my order of favorites would likely be Etat Libre d’Orange – You or Someone Like You, Juliette Has a Gun – Lipstick Fever, Mancera – Jardin Exclusif, and Shay & Blue Salt Caramel to round out the quartet. Each scent gives me *all* the fall vibes, and I can’t wait to wear these fragrances all season long while I don my coziest sweaters and drink copious amounts of hot cocoa. That being said, while these are great fall scents, I’m not still totally sure if I found my ideal scent just yet, but I guess there’s always next month to make sure…

What Happens When a Natural Makeup-Type Girl Tries a Bold Beauty Look In Real Life

Following up on part one of my blog post about trying a non-traditional, bold lip color for me, a girl that tends to stick to the neutral and natural look, my test continues here: where I wear my new purple MAC “Evening Buzz” matte lipstick out and about, as I go about my day-to-day activities within the city of Manhattan. How will it go? Keep reading to find out how I feel, the potential confidence I’ll need in order to pull it off, and if I get any strange or positive reactions from strangers I pass? Let’s try this and see how it goes…

It is such an edgier look for me, so I needed to make sure I found an edgy or trendy-enough outfit in my closet that would somewhat go with the lip color. (I mean, it was one thing to see how I felt and others reacted to the lip color alone? But if it doesn’t go with my outfit? I’m afraid of looking foolish, clown-like.

Some thoughts before I begin: I think I’ll need to have a lot of confidence to walk outside with *shudder* purple lipstick; and I’m nervous about that, because I normally walk with my head down and with purpose to get to my destination as quickly as possible to avoid drawing any attention to myself. So, this is definitely new for me: not just wearing the purple hue on my lips, but acting like I have complete confidence in myself when trying something new and different.

My nerves are kicking into overdrive as I prepare to apply my new lipstick. But, I’m trying to face more of my fears, one thing at a time, on this blog, so I want to cast those nerves aside; and so, I swipe on the lilac hue and walk out my apartment door.

HERE. WE. GO.

Taking My Test Into The Real World

The first application is always the hardest…

I had to remember to breathe as I walked down the street, my mind couldn’t help my wonder if I could pull off such a look like the throngs of trendy Manhattanites do everyday.

…And here we go.

What It’s Like to Wear a Non-Traditional Bright Lip Color For Someone That Sticks to The Natural Look

A few months ago, it was National Lipstick Day and to celebrate, MAC decided on a free lipstick promotion (no catch, just a free lipstick for anyone that shows up to collect). Naturally, this seemed like a good idea and one I’d definitely take advantage of.

So, story time:

As it turns out, there’s a MAC kiosk inside Grand Central (only a short distance from my apartment), so it seemed to be worth it to check out this promotion. And since there was no earthly rhyme or reason I’d wake up at the crack of dawn to stand in line, I called around noon to ask about availability. Turns out, the Grand Central one had been “shut down” (IDK what that really meant), but I could come by now and get one. Utterly confused but hopeful, I schlepped down to the store and saw a short-ish line forming throughout the tiny store. As I stood in line, a few more people followed, until the number of people reached the door. To which the MAC employees (total troopers BTW for dealing with this craziness!) shut the door behind the last person in line and stood guard so no one else could join the line (OR wait in line outside). Because, apparently the cops/military personnel had already shut down the line earlier that morning at 9:30 a.m., when the line snaked through the terminal and blocked people from getting to their train platforms. Talk about insane. I only had to wait less than 20 minutes, and when I was about second in line: there were only about six colors left (they started with over 300 shades that morning): different hues of gray, blue, and purple.

Now, for someone like me, those colors terrified me. I was thinking this free lipstick deal would allow me to choose a pale pink, deep red, or a nude shade (as I typically stick to), but alas it seems the early bird really did get the worm. But, considering MAC lipsticks typically retail for $17 a tube and this was $0, the deal was too good to pass up and abandon my place in line. So, I inspected my choices, which revealed a pretty lilac color. Now, I’ve never ever worn purple lipstick in my lifetime, but I love the color purple in general and have seen social media trends starring this shade, so why not? Let’s give it a shot?

Now armed with a purple “Evening Buzz” matte lipstick in my makeup bag, I wanted to try it out. Not just snapping a few pics in my apartment to see how it would look on me, but in the real world — wearing *gasp* an edgy makeup look (something I never do), because as you know, I tend it to keep it au natural when I wear makeup at all. So what was it really like to swap my Plain Jane beauty rituals for something a bit more edgy?

Testing 1, 2, 3

First steps, time to test, to see how it looks on me before I go out in public with such a look. I swipe on the purple shade and inspect my handiwork in the mirror.

It’s definitely edgier than I’ve ever worn before, you can say that again. But, the color is actually really pretty, but will it feel ridiculous out in public? Will I look foolish with bright purple lips? These are the questions that cloud my brain as soon as I swiped on the sample. But the point of this blog is to try something new, so here we go, trying something new…

What’s next? I’m going to attempt to go out in public with my new shade and document it on here.

Disclaimer: I’ve been holding onto this post for awhile because that means I have to ditch my natural makeup routine and try something new and bolder, something that requires more confidence than I’m afraid to admit I don’t yet possess about myself in comparison to others around me. Now, I’m not trying to change who I am, but merely I just don’t want to be afraid to try new things; things that are outside the comfortable bubble that I live my daily life inside. And by posting this article, it’s a way to hold myself accountable to physically try it, and not wuss out at the last minute, as I’ve been doing for months already. And one step into gaining that confidence about myself? Taking a chance, trying new things. And that’s exactly what I want to do more on this page of my blog.

So, here we go, facing my fears– one purple-colored lipstick at a time…

Now read Part II, where I take my test out-and-about as I go about my everyday life.

What’s all the fuss about? Reviewing the Kylie Lip Kit.

So, for almost a year, the beauty and pop culture sphere (which I frequently follow, almost religiously) have been abuzz with news of the mystical Kylie Jenner Lip Kit, how to get it, how it’s amazing– and at last, I was able to purchase one of these now-famous kits, and so, I thought I’d review my first experiences with the kit.

Off the bat, getting my Kylie Lip Kit in the mail, I felt instantly cooler, like all the teens of the world would definitely approve of my newfound coolness.

Color: So, after careful research, I purchased the Koko K lip kit (which comes with a lipliner and matte lipstick). I chose Koko (named for Khloe Kardashian, Kylie’s half-sister) because the nude-pink color would look best on fair/pale skin (aka me).

It’s here! It arrived!

                                IMG_1640 IMG_1641

Within the well-known design of the KLK box, I opened it up to find my lipstick (looking more like a lip gloss) and matching lip liner.

IMG_1644

The application:

Time to try it out!

As Kylie indicated on the box, “for the best result, fill in your lips with the lip liner then top with one coat of Matte Liquid Lipstick.”

IMG_1708

Lips filled in with Koko K liner

The liner is barely visible and appears to lose its sharpness after just one use. So, what happens when it runs low? Is there a mechanism to sharpen it? Or do you just have to buy more?

I go to apply the lipstick, as I open it, I notice how good it smells. It smells like a fruity Lip Smacker (makes me miss my childhood!) and goes on easily and really fast.

IMG_1710

At first, the lipstick is really glossy.

But very quickly, the lipstick becomes more matte-looking and dries just as fast. Woah. Immediately, I really like the color, it’s a cute nude-pink color that pops a bit against my skin, more than a completely nude color would, which I like.

IMG_1714   IMG_1717

After some ten minutes, I notice how it doesn’t seem to be coming off at all– let’s see how it holds up when I test how well it lasts going about my regular day.

IMG_1715

Ta Da!

As I looked in the mirror, I noticed how it looks good when my mouth is closed, but not so much when you open your mouth or smile (that’s when you can see cracks). I mean, I don’t think Kylie ever smiles wearing her KLK, so I guess that makes sense…But, it still smells good while I’m wearing it, so there’s that.

And to all my fellow pale girls: Koko K is the perfect shade for my super fair skin tone. (Finally! A shade for us ghostly pale people that looks perfect!

IMG_1706

BEFORE

IMG_1720

AFTER

Wearing it all day:

Side effect of wearing a Kylie Lip Kit: you can’t stop taking selfies, or maybe that’s because I feel so much cooler now (like teens would approve of me now)…

Day 1 wearing the KLK, after eating my salad for lunch, the lipstick almost all came off, but the lipliner remained. Hm, interesting. Everyone on social media has raved about its lasting effects… well, clearly Kylie and her fans that wear her lipsticks, don’t eat food, because it did not hold up at all to me just eating a salad. Point one for the negative column, Kylie. Great message, Kylie: if you don’t eat, your Kylie Lip Kit will last all day! You just have to sacrifice your lipstick for satisfying your hunger, right?!? Nope, sorry Kylie and her loyal followers– that’s not a good thing. (Sorry to burst any bubbles…) Well, let me explain: after eating lunch, almost all of the color is gone, yet a faint stickiness o from the lipstick remains on my lips.

I decided to test the KLK all day at work, to see how well it would hold up when working full-time. That morning, I applied my kit and then some eos lip balm on top because I heard that helps it stay longer? (Could be an urban myth– but it did make it shinier.) Then, at 10:37 am (about forty minutes into my work day), I started noticing little crumblies in the lower corners of my lips. By noon, the kit had officially dried, there was no sticky parts left (color still there).

IMG_1887

IMG_1892

Then, by 1:30pm, it was basically all gone after running errands in the heat and drinking a lot of water (NYC life. Fashion intern life.), BUT there was no visible residue on my water bottles (but none left on my lips), so I’m confused about WHERE exactly the color went?!? Then, I put more of my eos balm on, which helped preserve the color a little (I didn’t reapply, as I read you’re not supposed to with the KLK).

IMG_1896

At 3pm (hardly the end of the work day), the lip color was completely gone and my lips were completely bare, except they were stained a little darker than normal. However, the lip liner was still there, just the matte gloss/ lipstick, not really– but I still felt stickiness from it. I wonder how well the lip liner would work with other lipsticks?

IMG_1897

IMG_1898

All in all, I LOVE the color (and I instantly feel cooler wearing it, so bonus??), but practically? It’s just not very long-lasting, which I don’t like or want in a lipstick.

Well, I tried it… Will I wear it again? Yes, but not for an extended period of time, because KLK can’t handle it.

Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 1.33.02 PM

My Make-up Tips

Who knows what Covergirl is? I know the answer: DUH. Who doesn’t know what Covergirl is? So, let me ask again. Who thinks Covergirl is just like any other makeup brand?

Your answer: No. Covergirl, while selling makeup, tries to EMPOWER women, not pressure them to wear so much makeup it changes who they are. Covergirl tries to enhance one’s NATURAL BEAUTY.

And guess what? That’s what we should be focusing on. Not wearing loads of makeup that it looks like it’s caked on your face, but minimalist, so your personality is what sparkles.

MAKEUP TIP: On normal days, I literally wear the tiniest line of eyeliner, a small swipe of mascara, and a little lip balm. No glamour. Just me. And I’m confident enough in myself that I’m okay with that. I’m not trying to look like I’m going to the Oscars, when I’m really just going to Target or Starbucks.

Photo on 6-24-14 at 10.50 AM

(See? Very minimal makeup. And I’m still happy in the way I look.)

And that’s one thing we need to work on: making women and girls feel confident that they don’t need so much makeup to feel beautiful and special. You’re special all on your own… Just YOU and your PERSONALITY. Because that’s what SHOULD matter.

Let’s stand up to society and prove we know how to make girls feel confident in their natural beauty. Let’s tell the world, “Who cares? My personality can outshine all this makeup. And I’m confident in myself not to wear so much.”

Who’s with me? As I read on CNN’s Girl Rising initiative, if one girl can make change, then what’s stopping thousands of girls? Let’s stand up for our future and for the future of all the little girls to come.

#wecan #girlscan #empowerment #iamagirl