Birchbox: January 2016 & a new Limited Edition Box!

So the first Birchbox of the year came in this adorable fill in the blank style box.
Box
Inside were a bunch of stickers you could use to customize it. Since I want a year full of all.the.things I opted not to choose one.
Open Box Box & Stickers

Open Box 2

Amika
amika Nourishing Mask
(Full Size $28)
Description: Paraben-free treatment that conditions and repairs with superfruit sea buckthorn berry.”
Verdict: Miss
I’ve liked amika products in the past so I expected this would be great but it left my hair pretty dry. If you’re looking for an amazing hair mask, the best I’ve ever tried is by Sabon, it’s only a dollar more than the amika and so much better.

Acne Pad
Cane + Austin 2%/5% Acne Retexture Pads
(Full Size: $60.00)
Description: These treatment pads contain 5% glycolic acid to fight the effects of aging, plus 2% salicylic acid to help clear acne.”
Verdict: Why?
I don’t understand why I received this. Outside of an occasional pimple around that time of the month, I don’t have any acne issues and I indicated that on my profile. And even if I did have an acne situation, would *one* “retexture” pad really give me an idea of this product’s effectiveness? This was a big miss.

EyekoEyeko TipEyeko Swatch
Eyeko Fat Liquid Liner
(Retail Value: $16.00)
Description: ”This eyeliner delivers the same smudgeproof, rich color in a thicker, bolder line than the original skinny liner.”
Verdict: Like
This was my sample choice and I regularly wear winged liner and am always on the hunt for awesome liquid liners that won’t smudge on my oily, hooded lids. This one is certainly a very saturated black, but I think I’m going to need to get used to the thickness of it. It isn’t quite smudgeproof on me, but it does a decent job. I still however, prefer my Kat Von D Tattoo liner in ink black.

Klorane
Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk
(Retail Value: $20.00)
Description: ”Award-winning fan fave that absorbs grease and puts the bounce back into second-day hair.
Verdict: Like
I’ve received this product before and I really like it. It does exactly what it says it will and I highly recommend it. I’m putting this one aside for my next trip.

Whish
Whish Three Whishes Body Butter
(Full Size: $24.00)
Description: “Lucsious, anti0xidant-rich formula that firms, softens and soothes.”
Verdict: I “wish” they’d stop it with this brand already
Forgive my pun, but am I the only one sick of getting Whish products? I don’t really care for them and I’ve gotten them over and over again. Birchbox, if I haven’t bought full sizes by now, I’m not going to do it so just send me something new to try.

OVERALL
January 2016 Birchbox
Verdict:
Okay
I paid $10.70 for this box and after reviewing the products received $5.00 in Birchbox points. Thankfully the sample I chose (the eyeliner) is more than worth the cost of this box and the Klorane is just a nice extra. I am really disappointed in some of the other choices and I’m just not quite feeling like Birchbox is really looking at my profile or the items I like and purchase.

How have your Birchboxes been measuring up?

BIRCHBOX NEWS!
LE Box

Birchbox released a new Limited Edition box called
Limited Edition: Why Not…Stay In
It’s priced at $45 and features some great items for a home spa day including masks, nail polish and even cozy socks. I am sorely tempted to grab one for myself, so we’ll see if my heart or my budget win out.

THE BACKSTORY
Birchbox subscriptions cost $10 per month or $110 per year (Women’s Sub)
$20 per month or $195 per year (Men’s Sub)

Points System:
Whenever you buy something at Birchbox they give you Birchbox points. $1.00 = 1 Birchbox Point.
Each 100 Birchbox reward points can be redeemed for $10.00.
You can also earn points by reviewing the samples they send you (10 points per sample) and referring/subscribing friends.

Birchbox: March 2015

For March, I opted to try out one of the special Birchbox plus items. Every month Birchbox offers a few additional items you can add to your box. The items vary each month and are offered at a special discount. I’ve never splurged on a Birchbox plus item before so I wasn’t sure what to expect with the packaging.

A much larger box…
Plus Box
which held my plus item and my regular Birchbox.
Open Box 1

BIRCHBOX PLUS
Earbuds Earbuds Close up
Triple C Designs smartBUDZ 2

(Retail: $24.99)
Description: Tangled earbuds are the daily bane of our existence. No matter how carefully we wrap them up, they’re always a hot tangled mess when we retrieve them from our bags. The solution: This next generation earbud-tamer. Like its predecessor, it has a retractable mechanism that stores wires neatly and compactly—and it comes in jazzy patterns like Peacock and Marrakech.”
Verdict: Love!
These were available for 19.99 (I paid $21.10 with tax) and in different prints during the selection process. I have a hardcore commute and my earbuds take a beating. They are constantly being taken off and on, being wrapped and unwrapped and the cables usually end up frayed where they connect to the earbud. The moment I saw the design on these I knew they were a must have. I’m giving my commuter bag a Spring overhaul and these little guys are going to help with keeping my bag neat and tidy and hopefully keeping me from having to replace my earphones as frequently.

None of the March samples piqued my interest so I went into this box as a full surprise.
You know what that translates to: a guarantee of shampoo and/or conditioner.
Let’s see if I’m wrong.
Small Box
Colorful Box Open Box 2
Open Box 3

Amika
amika Bombshell Blowout Spray

(Full Size: $24.00)
Description: Lightweight styler that volumizes, smooths and protects for a sleek yet bouncy ‘do.”
Verdict: Not for me
I rarely blowdry my hair. I have thicker wavy hair and typically air dry and finish with a sea salt spray or leave in conditioner. Now that we are moving toward warmer weather I’m even less likely to blow out my hair. I did indicate that I “air dry” on my profile, so if Birchbox paid attention to our preferences this shouldn’t have been in my box. Amika is a nice brand, but I’m probably not going to get much use out of this.

BlushBlush Swatch
Cargo Swimmables™ Water Resistant Blush in Los Cabos

(Full Size: $26.00)
Description: This water-resistant pigment stays put and gives skin an effortless glow.”
Verdict: I’m not sure you could have found a worse blush for me..
It’s like Cargo took everything I hate in a blush and put it into this one. This is orange on me. Very orange. Like the color of Michael Kors’ fake tan or oompa loompas. I’m not sure the picture adequately captures it. It also has quite a lot of glitter which is not what I look for in a blush. Lastly, there is no way on earth this thing would stay on my skin in the water. It didn’t even last 5 minutes after I swatched it. I know some folks adore this blush, but it just didn’t work for my coloring or skin. Super disappointed. On the bright side this was a good size sample and a warmer toned person who likes glittery blushes would probably enjoy it.

Shampoo
Number 4™ Clarifying Shampoo

(Retail 8.5 oz: $32.00)
Description: Vitamin-rich botanicals gently purify hair while restoring lost moisture and shine.”
Verdict: Boom goes the dynamite!
See I told you there’d be shampoo. You have to be some super special extra insider to avoid shampoo and conditioner in your Birchboxes. That being said, this is probably the item in the box I’ll get the most use out of. I normally don’t like shampoos without conditioners but a clarifying shampoo will pair really well with my deep conditioning masks and treatments. So for once I’m happy with the shampoo.

Supergoop
Supergoop!® Daily Correct CC Cream ​SPF 35+ in Fair/Light SPF 40

(Full Size: $32.00)
Description: ”Next-generation SPF 40 CC cream that triple protects against UVA, UVB, and infrared-A rays.
Verdict: Please stop sending me Supergoop stuff. Please. No quiero.
Birchbox really, really, REALLY loves Supergoop. I feel like Supergoop products are forever showing up in my boxes (including the limited edition ones). I just don’t care for the brand that much.  (I also hate the name Supergoop.  It makes me think of slime or Gwyneth Paltrow’s blog).  Their product feels a bit greasy to me and I don’t think it blends well with my skin. I’d really love to see less repeat of brands. I like trying out new brands I may not have heard of, not ones that are constantly in beauty boxes.

Whish 2
Whish Shave Savour Hair Inhibiting Gel

(Full Size: $26.00)
Description: ”All natural formula that slows hair growth while deeply hydrating skin.
Verdict: On the Fence
I’ve gotten Whish shave gel before and it was okay. I still preferred my cheapie Eos brand to it, but it was useful. I’m not sure how my skin will like a “hair inhibiting gel”. It just sounds like it would be harsh on my skin and I don’t see it as the type of product I would be interested in regularly buying.

RANDOM EXTRA??
This wasn’t listed on my card so I’m assuming it’s a random extra which is fine by me since it’s just a foil packet.

Masque
Number 4™ Reconstructing Masque

(Full Size: $58.00)
Description: Soy protein works to reconstruct and strengthen hair while natural conditioners like shea butter, jojoba seed oil, and sunflower oil nourish and moisturize. Don’t forget about the silkiness factor — for that, there’s silicone polymer, which smoothes and detangles.
Verdict: Like
Since this is just a freebie, I’m not going to get annoyed that it’s a foil packet. I’m happy to try this out since there is no way I’d spring $58 on a full size without a guarantee this will make my hair amazing.  And when I say amazing I mean full out Little Mermaid singing on a rock with flowing tresses or Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman awesome.  (So now I guess you know redhead hair idols).

OVERALL
March 2015 Birchbox

Verdict: Miss

Aside from my plus item, (which I selected) this box felt like it was made for someone else. We fill out profiles on Birchbox and I wish they’d use them more closely. A pale cool/pink toned redhead who air dries her hair does not need an orange blush and blow out spray. We also rate items and I don’t think I’ve rated any of my supergoop items too highly, so you’d think that might discourage them from continuing to send them to me. I’ll use the shampoo and mask, but those alone can’t really make this box a win. I paid 10.40 for the box and I received $6.00 worth of BB points after reviewing each one. $4.40 isn’t a ton to spend, so it’s not a huge loss, but I’m just a bit underwhelmed by the curations I’m receiving lately.

How was your last Birchbox? Did the items fit your profile?

THE BACKSTORY

Birchbox subscriptions cost $10 per month or $110 per year (Women’s Sub)
$20 per month or $195 per year (Men’s Sub)

Points System:
Whenever you buy something at Birchbox they give you Birchbox points. $1.00 = 1 Birchbox Point.
Each 100 Birchbox reward points can be redeemed for $10.00.
You can also earn points by reviewing the samples they send you (10 points per sample) and referring/subscribing friends.

Birchbox: November 2014

Lately along with the option to choose one of our samples, Birchbox has been giving us the option of specially curated boxes. This month we were able to snag the OMG box curated by BuzzFeed Life in conjunction with Birchbox. This box is supposed to bring us “a slew of double-duty products, morning-after saviors, and problem solvers—all the beauty hacks you need for a stress-free holiday season.” A stress free holiday season? That means this little box will magically buy 16 individual children’s presents, bake a bunch of cookies and mail all my Christmas cards. MAGIC.

Box

Oh so I guess Birchbox’s version of “Stress free holiday” is not the same as mine. 😦 So sad, but let’s open the not-quite-so-magic box and see these aforementioned beauty hacks.
Box 2 Open Box

Balm
Dr. Lipp Original Nipple Balm for Lips

(Retail: $14.50)
Description: First made for nursing moms, this ultrahydrating lip and skin balm is a makeup artist fave. HACK: This stuff endows you with pillowy lips and super smooth cuticles. Take that winter!”
Verdict: Heh, you said nipple
So I love the name of this, but I’m sort of meh on the product. I love balms and have a ton so I’m a tough customer in this department. This is hydrating but a bit thick and I’m not crazy about the feel of it on my lips. It’s not a terrible product or anything but I much prefer Rosebud salve for my winter lip needs.


Dry Shampoo
amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo
(1 oz Retail: $9.00)
Description: Weightless spray that revitalizes second-day hair with obliphica oil. HACK: Whoever invented dry shampoo deserves a Nobel Prize, and this one volumizes too.”
Verdict: Like
I’ve gotten this guy before, but last time I added into to a travel kit for a friend.  This one I will be hoarding for myself. It has the most adorable packaging I’ve ever seen for a dry shampoo and this size is great for your gym bag or travel.

Candle
Greenleaf Signature Candle in Silver Spruce

(Retail: $17.00)
Description: “Cozy flame with the fresh, wintery scent of an evergreen forest. HACK: Can’t fit a 9-foot Douglas Fir in your apartment? (Us either.) Fake it with this candle.”
Verdict: Love!
I’ll be honest, I’m a candle junkie and this item was half the reason I opted for the curated box. I also have a fake tree, so despite the festive atmosphere in my apartment, all pine scents need to come from candles. Even though this is just a votive size, it totally makes the box smell like a Christmas tree. If you want to “spruce” up your holiday décor (bad pun, I know) grab one of these in the full size.

Mascara
Mirenesse iCurl Secret Weapon 24 Hour Mascara

(Retail: $29.00)
Description: ”With its unique sculpting brush, this long-lasting formula gives lashes a dramatic lift. HACK: So you have to put on makeup, clothes, AND shoes? At least you can skip the eyelash curler.”
Verdict: Like
I have a huge problem with mascara and eyeliner flaking and smudging. This one did flake a little, but that was only toward the end of the day. What’s great about this product is the brush design – it really does help curl your lashes and I noticed a difference as soon as I used it. The formula went on easily and didn’t smudge.

Mask
Dr. Jart+ Pore Minimalist Mask

(5 Pack: $35.00)
Description: A Korean import, this single-use mask is soaked in a charcoal serum to clear and smooth skin. HACK: After too much eggnog, this mask detoxes your skin so you can wake up like Beyoncé”
Verdict: Like
Wait, hold up..if I use this mask I will wake up like Beyoncé? Guess, who’s taking a lot of selfies and going on a shopping spree? Now I have a great infatuation with Korean sheet masks, so I was psyched to get this. I gave it a whirl and while it was a nice mask, it wasn’t anything special. You can find similar (or better) masks at a much lower price point. I don’t think a 5 Pack should be more than $20.

OVERALL
Full Box
Verdict:
Hit!

This box wasn’t a surprise, but I did enjoy trying all the products. Every single one was something I was interested in, even if I didn’t fall in love with all of them.  As for the value, I paid $10.70 and received $5.00 in Birchbox points after reviewing each item, just the dry shampoo and the candle alone were worth the $5.70 I spent.

BIRCHBOX NEWS!

Birchbox has a great assortment of LE Boxes for the Holidays (including some for men).  I’ll have reviews on a few of them soon so be sure to check back. They are great for breaking up into separate holiday gifts, surprising that hard to shop for someone, or even treating yourself.

Limited Edition: Home Sweet Homespun
(Retail: $40.00)
Description: We’re taking “cozy at home” to a whole new level with this heartwarming collection. Everything in this box is dedicated to the handwritten, the homemade, and the personal. From a decadent cookie mix to a DIY photo display kit, we’ve got just the products to help you revel in the rituals of winters past—and perhaps forge a few new traditions along the way. This box is perfect for gifting or keeping for yourself—either way, there’s plenty of warm fuzzies to go around. A $96 value!”

Limited Edition: Vanity Affair
(Retail: $98.00)
Description: Our vanity isn’t just a shelf for storing your odds and ends—it’s a place of honor for your prettiest lotions, potions, and keepsakes. It’s also the space where you go to tinker and try, primp and play. This collection is designed to give your vanity a glamorous update. It’s filled with top-shelf beauty picks, from a luxurious French bath oil to a just-launched volumizing spray from celebrity hairstylist Serge Normant, as well as supersparkly ways to display your latest treasures. A $309 value!”

Limited Edition: Conscious Commerce for Birchbox
(Retail: $68.00)
Description: Good deeds come in many forms. Why shouldn’t shopping be one of them? Enter Conscious Commerce, an online marketplace dedicated to products with a purpose. Curated by the actress Olivia Wilde and her best friend Barbara Burchfield, Conscious Commerce makes it easy to find stylish, thoughtful products online. Everything on their site—from luxe accessories to must-have beauty items—gives back to an important cause, and this special collection includes some of the duo’s favorite products. Starting now, you’ll never have to choose between doing good and looking good again. A $180 value!”

Limited Edition: Conscious Commerce for Birchbox Man
(Retail: $88.00)
Description: ”Buying a product can do so much more than fill a spot on your shelf. Enter Conscious Commerce, an online blog and marketplace founded by Olivia Wilde and Babs Burchfield, which strives to turn everyday shopping into a chance to do good. This collaborative box highlights brands with a greater purpose—because being a positive force in the world can still come with perks. A $225 value.”

Limited Edition: Decked and Dashing
(Retail: $39.00)
Description: Holiday party season is a time to bring your A-game: in style, swagger, and especially grooming. Give your sink ledge a facelift with these winter-ready upgrades, handpicked to keep you looking your absolute best, from the first Thanksgiving course to that last New Year’s toast. A $115 value.”

THE BACKSTORY

Birchbox subscriptions cost $10 per month or $110 per year.

Your options: Women’s Box or Men’s Box

Points System:
Whenever you buy something at Birchbox they give you Birchbox points. $1.00 = 1 Birchbox Point.
Each 100 Birchbox reward points can be redeemed for $10.00.
You can also earn points by reviewing the samples they send you (10 points per sample) and referring/subscribing friends. If your review all the items you receive in your box each month, you’ll receive 50 Birchbox rewards points!
If you purchase a full size of one of the sample items they sent you in that same month, you receive free shipping on them and often extra points.

Birchbox: August 2014

As we’re heading into this warm September, I still have a few August boxes to show you guys. Included in these stragglers is my August Birchbox.

Box

So the usual cute Birchbox.
Box2

Now for what’s inside.
Open Box

Anyone else tired of the unbiquitous “keep calm” memes? Show of hands?

Open Box 2

This month’s theme is “Lighten up.” And it’s supposed to help us keep “cool” and laugh “our way into fall”. Interesting. Let’s see if it lives up to the hype.

Liner
Noir Cosmetics Long-Wear Eyeliner
(Retail: $15.00)
Description: Thanks to vitamin E and jojoba oil, the crayon has an uncommonly smooth texture that makes it easy to draw a rich line without pulling the sensitive skin around your eyes.”
Verdict: Miss/Gift
So Birchbox has been sending out emails to allow us to choose one sample in our boxes. Previously, I’d received my emails with no problem until the August choice, when my email didn’t take me to the selection page. I assumed that the email was only an announcement and the selection email would come later. Sadly, I was wrong. This eyeliner was one of the options subscribers could choose from.  Once I knew I’d lost my choice, I was sure I’d get this, since it was the one option that would be totally useless for me. I very very rarely wear black eyeliner. As a pale redhead I just look goth if I try to wear this outside of an evening look. I didn’t swatch this since I wanted to gift it. I’d love to see less black eyeliners in these boxes. Most subscribers have a ton of black (or don’t use it at all) and it’s not like there is much shade variation there.  How many black eyeliners do you really need?  At least with another neutral like brown or gray you have more shade variations to work with.

Shampoo
amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo
(5.3 oz Retail: $21.00)
Description: The weightless spray absorbs excess oil and dirt, leaving locks clean and deodorized as well as lighter and softer. Plus, it can be used on color-treated hair.”
Verdict: Gift
This may win the award for most adorable travel sized packaging. Unfortunately, I am well stocked with dry shampoo of both regular and travel size but I’m putting together a travel beauty kit as a gift and this will be the perfect addition.

Naobay Body Radiance Lotion
(250 ml Retail: $24)
Description: “Olive oil, shea butter, and avocado oil deliver serious moisture, while aloe vera soothes and protects skin.”
Verdict: Meh
For some reason I forgot to take a picture of this one (Sorry folks, guess old age is finally getting to me). There are so many lotions on the market, that for me to rush out and buy one it has to wow me and this just doesn’t. It’s light, the smell is inoffensive, and it seems to moisturize well enough, but it’s not compelling in any way. There’s nothing wrong with it per se, but it’s just not a win for me.

BBDr. Jart+ Dis-A-Pore Beauty Balm
(1.7 oz Retail: $36.00)
Description: “”This tinted BB cream, for use on combination to oily skin, treats and tightens pores and fine lines for a smooth, even complexion. At the same time, the all-in-one formula protects skin from harmful UV rays and hydrates as it works to keep oils at bay.”
Verdict: More Meh
For vampires like me, spf 30 isn’t enough.   I have combination skin and I didn’t find that this did much for my pores (which are quite large and noticeable). I also found the coverage on this just a bit too sheer for my taste.   Another miss.

Eye CreamBenefit It’s Potent! Eye Cream
(.5 oz – Retail: $34.00)
Description: Lush hydrator that brightens dark circles and boosts skin’s elasticity over time.”
Verdict: Meh Squared
So I actually love trying out eye creams. I think they are a really important part of a skincare routine, but these packets are so tiny there’s no way to determine if this cream is effective. There are some products that can work decently in foil packets (hair styling creams, shampoos/conditioners, perfumes, body creams, face masks, etc) but eye creams and anti-aging products do not fall into that category. And while those little cardboard containers may look kind of big there is only an itty bitty tiny amount in each one. There is no way for me to judge an eye cream adequately after only 2 uses. It’s just a waste to put this in the box. Now if this had been a small tube where I could at least get a week’s worth of applications, this would have been a “love”.

 Full Box
OVERALL
Verdict:
Meh to infinity & beyond!

I’m finding the theme here to be a bit mixed. I guess the dry shampoo and the spf 30 BB cream go with the lighten up, but how does a black liner called “noir” fit into that?  Nothing about black gel liner feels “light” to me.

This was probably the biggest miss for me since signing up with Birchbox. I was super disappointed that I missed out on picking my sample since there were a few options I would have loved and that on their own would have made this box a success.

Because I made a regular Birchbox purchase with a special coupon code, I got this month’s Birchbox for free and after reviewing each item, my points earned me the equivalent of $5.00, so despite my dislike of this box, I still came out ahead.

What did you get in your August Birchbox? Did the items jive with the “lighten up” theme?

THE BACKSTORY

Birchbox subscriptions cost $10 per month or $110 per year.

Your options: Women’s Box or Men’s Box

Points System:
Whenever you buy something at Birchbox they give you Birchbox points. $1.00 = 1 Birchbox Point.
Each 100 Birchbox reward points can be redeemed for $10.00.
You can also earn points by reviewing the samples they send you (10 points per sample) and referring/subscribing friends. If your review all the items you receive in your box each month, you’ll receive 50 Birchbox rewards points!
If you purchase a full size of one of the sample items they sent you in that same month, you receive free shipping on them and often extra points.