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I Experienced L.A.’s Most-Wanted Facial—and It Was Glorious

We fell hard for Natalie Alcala last fall, when the LA-based writer and blogger spent a week guest blogging for us. In fact, we loved her posts so much that we asked her to be a contributing editor. In addition to blogging for us once a week, she’ll also be writing for the Birchbox Magazine and keeping us up to speed on all things fashion, beauty, and fun. 

Yesterday will go down in history as one of my favorite days, ever. After years of reading about and driving by Sofia Coppola and Madonna’s favorite facial haven, Face Place, I finally booked a coveted appointment at their West Hollywood location. The trip was, in a word, thrilling.

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Birchbloggers Share Their Top Beauty Splurges!

We all have products that we can’t live without, no matter what the price. We asked our community of Birchbloggers to send us their blog posts about the items they think are totally worth the splurge. Check out what they had to say and check back later this week for your chance to have your blog featured here!

Blog: Sami’s Shenanigans

Worth the Splurge: DermaDoctor KP Duty, Kate Somerville EradiKATE, Clarasonic Mia, Too Faced Lash Injection Mascara, and Bare Minerals Buxom Big & Healthy Lip Polish

"I’ve only been using my Clarisonic since December but it’s done wonders for my skin. I’m not sure how I ever lived without it because it makes my skin feel incredibly soft and clean!" Read more on Sami’s Shenanigans

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Calling All Bloggers: What Products Are Worth The Splurge?

Earlier this week in her ‘Dollars and Sense’ post one of our editors, Mai, explained why she thinks the Clarisonic is worth the splurge—specifically why you should buy one instead of a pair of jeans. This got us thinking: what other beauty products are worth saving up for? Send us your blog posts and videos about the products you think are worth a pretty penny and we’ll feature our favorites on the blog on Monday. We can’t wait to hear from you!

- Rachel

Want to make sure you never miss a chance to have your blog featured here? Sign up for your Birchbloggers email list

Dollars & Sense: Why You Should Buy a Clarisonic Over a New Pair of Jeans

The best skincare products may not be cheap, but trust us: they’re worth every penny. Every week, we’ll break down the math and show you exactly why our latest pick is a smart splurge.

Our pick of the week: If you’ve yet to try the Clarisonic, drop everything and listen up. The entire Birchbox team agrees that this next-gen device is the best thing that’s happened to our skin since we learned to stop lathering up with bar soap. A bit like an electric toothbrush for your face, the oscillating bristles help dislodge twice as much dirt and oil (and six times as much makeup) as washing with your hands alone. In weeks, your skin will feel much smoother and clearer. And, unlike other investments (cough cough, your tenth pair of designer jeans), this evergreen complexion helper will never lose its appeal. Learn more about why we love the Clarisonic after the jump!

How long it will last: As long as you replace the brush head every three to four months, the Clarisonic will work as well as it did the first time, for years and years. No wear and tear to worry about here. 

Buy this, not that: At $195, the Clarisonic Classic rings in at almost exactly the same price as a new pair of Seven For All Mankind jeans. We don’t know about you, but our closets are already awash in a sea of interchangeable denim, while you only need one of these miracle-working brushes to snag glowing skin for years to come. 

—Mai

Looking for something more travel-friendly? Check out Clarisonic’s pint-sized Mia brush.

Clarisonic Mia: Gift of the Day

‘Tis the season, which can mean only one thing: You are in search of great holiday gifts. Well, look no further. Whether you’re stumped about what to get a co-worker, your dad, or your bestie, we have something for everyone on your list. Check back every day this month for a new dose of gift-giving inspiration — and get ready to deck your halls with much more than holly. 

Why this makes a great gift: Think of it as an electric toothbrush for your face, but better. This incredible tool removes up to twice as much dirt and oil and up to six times as much makeup as cleansing with your hands. Still not impressed? The brush uses a special sonic frequency technology to oscillate back and forth at an astounding rate of 300 movements per second. Best of all: this daily deep clean is exceptionally gentle.

It’s perfect for: Your teenage cousin, your skincare-obsessed friend, and yourself. (Yes, you. If you don’t own one yet, you absolutely should. This tool is will improve your complexion, guaranteed.)

Price: $119, available on birchbox.com

For more great gift ideas, visit our Holiday Gift Guide.

Pairing Up – Gift Ideas for Him: You’ve Got Male

Once a week, Birchbox’s resident Yoga and men’s product expert, Eric, will gives us girls some insight into his world in You’ve Got Male. Whether he’s giving his expertise on skincare (boys need advice, too!) or highlighting his new favorite grooming trend, this guy has got taste—so we’re lucky he’s on staff and willing to share.


Photo: Bella Sugar

For those of you who nabbed one of the coveted Birchbox Man limited edition boxes before they sold out, you’ve got an amazing gift for your guy that will help him upgrade his grooming and lifestyle game. For everyone else, there are still great ways to put together a thoughtful and exciting present. Pairing items together is a creative option that can show someone you really care and took extra time to help them find a new solution or a fabulous routine. Here are some of my favorite pairings:

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Necessary Objects: Guest Blogger

Dedicated to “what’s in your closet and on your vanity,” Samantha Fodrowski’s blog, Closet Vanity, couldn’t be more perfectly suited to our interests. This week, the busy blogger is lending us her talents and musing on some of our favorite topics like the fashion-forward red lip and au naturel makeup.



There’s a whole lot more to beauty than blushes, eye shadows, and lipsticks. Though I do occasionally apply my makeup with my fingers (who doesn’t love finger painting?), there are tools of the trade that make application, organization, and skin care so much more manageable — and fun!

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Fighting the Winter Blahs: Guest Blogger

Blame it on the West Wing, but for a short period of time we were convinced we wanted to be White House staffers. That whim has long past, but we’re still excited to welcome this week’s blogger, Belle of Capitol Hill Style. The DC-based blogger is out to dispel the myth that you can’t be a serious Capitol Hill staffer and also love fashion. We love her sharp, funny style observations and practical advice (to wit: three ways to wear this season’s cropped sweater). All week, she’ll be sharing her best beauty advice.

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As winter approaches, the humidity dissipates and the air dries — and my skin dries out right along with it. By February, the chilly air and the constant barrage of central heating has taken its toll on my epidermis. Luckily, there is hope for those of us afflicted with dull, dry, flaky, and ashy skin.

Step 1: Exfoliate

It may sound counterintuitive, but the way to combat dry, flaky skin is to exfoliate. Because it doesn’t matter how aggressively you moisturize, if you don’t scrub away the dead skin, you’ll never fix the problem. 

When exfoliating your face, you need to find a happy medium. Too much scrubbing, and you’ll look like you were attacked by a sand blaster. Too little, and your skin will look tired and dull. If you’re clueless about exfoliating (I was), the solution is the Clarisonic MiaClarisonic has mastered the balance between gentle and powerful. The oscillating brush transforms dull skin into a brighter, smoother complexion. And unlike a serum or cream, which must be used every day for maximum effectiveness, you can use the Clarisonic as much or as little as you need.

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My Wish List: Guest Blogger

The moment you start reading Alex Yeske’s dreams + jeans blog, you know one thing for sure: the girl has excellent taste. Musing on everything from fashion to beauty to design, the recent Syracuse grad has a knack for spotting pretty things — a skill that no doubt serves her well in her day job as a graphic designer for Madewell. This week, we’re lucky enough to have her guest blogging for us about everything from her beauty must-haves to how to get the perfect blow dry.

As I mentioned in Monday’s post, I absolutely adore testing out new products. I always have a running list of things I want to try and these are at the top of it:

1. Carol’s Daughter Monoi Hair Mask: I actually read about this product on the Birchbox blog a month or so ago and have been dying to try it ever since! I’m completely obsessed with testing out new hair products.

2. Nars Orgasm Illuminator: I love NARS’ Orgasm blush and think the shimmery version would be a great addition to my cosmetic bag.

3. Rodin Face Oil: This face oil comes up over and over again in magazines and on blogs. If that many people like it then it must be a great product!

4. Clarisonic Mia: I’m all about finding ways to make my skin noticeably better, and the technology behind this tool is genius.

5. Twistband Hair Ties: I’m never without a hair tie and these look so cute on your wrist, too!

Another must-try: Dr. Dennis Gross’ Extra Strength Alpha Beta Peel.

A Love Letter to the Clarisonic Mia: You’ve Got Male

Once a week, Birchbox’s resident Yoga and men’s product expert, Eric, will gives us girls some insight into his world in You’ve Got Male. Whether he’s giving his expertise on skincare (boys need advice, too!) or highlighting his new favorite grooming trend, this guy has got taste—so we’re lucky he’s on staff and willing to share.


If there is one skincare item that has become a necessity in my life, it is my Clarisonic Mia

As I have said here before, I am blessed with good skin. I don’t often get breakouts or have problems with my complexion being imbalanced, but a few years ago, I found myself at a crossroads. I knew I loved the cleansers I was using and I had a good spot treatment for the occasional blemish, but my skin looked dull and never felt totally clean. Then, I was lucky enough to meet Dr. Robb Akridge in the green room at QVC. Dr. Robb is the co-Founder and VP of clinical affairs for Clarisonic, not to mention the face of the brand. He is one of the angels who developed sonic cleansing for skin and helped birth this amazing innovation in skincare, which uses a patented frequency of more than 300 movements per second to deep clean. He explained to me that not only is there no better way to flush out pores and eliminate dirt and oil, but that it’s incredibly gentle (more so than washing your face with your hands!) and it’s the best way to not damage or stretch skin while you wash. He also gave me my Clarisonic Mia. 

Within a few days of using the tool, my skin was noticeably brighter, felt squeaky clean without being dry or stripped, and any blemishes or breakouts that I had been suffering were clearing up. The best part is that you can use the Mia with your favorite cleanser, so no need to invest in new products. My faves to use with my Clarisonic are Anthony Logistics Glycolic Facial Cleanser and Clark’s Botanicals Skin Clearing Face and Body Wash, but any gentle facial cleanser works great. For all of my guys out there, this is a totally non-girly way to upgrade your cleansing and do a great thing for your skin.

Learn more and pick up Eric’s favorite, the Clarisonic Mia, or the Clarisonic Classic for face and body in the Birchbox Shop.