Birchbox: May 2014

May’s Birchbox’s theme was “freewheeling” and featured a coupon offer from Kate Spade Saturday. I loved the cheerful yellow. It screamed out springtime.
BB#1

I hoard the cardboard birchboxes. They have a million uses. Seriously.
BB#2

Now let’s get inside.
Open

Shampoo & Conditioner
Beauty Protector Protect & Shampoo
(8 oz. Retail: $21.95)
Description: In addition to honey pearl powder, Protect & Shampoo is packed with rich vitamins and a gentle mix of sulfate-free cleaning agents. This powerhouse lineup cleanses and nourishes your strands.”
Verdict: Miss
While I love getting hair products, when I tried this one out I felt like it stripped my hair a bit. I’ve tried so many other great shampoos and this one just doesn’t measure up for me.

Beauty Protector Protect & Condition
(8 oz. Retail: $21.95)
Description: In addition to honey pearl powder, Protect & Condition is formulated with natural ingredients like shea butter and apple, lemon, and orange extracts. Together, they hydrate and nourish hair with vitamins and minerals.”
Verdict: Okay
While I liked this better than the corresponding shampoo, I just didn’t find it particularly compelling. This brand is known for its beauty oil, (which I received and then promptly broke) so if you’re going to give something a shot from this line, I’d probably opt for that.

 LAQUA
LAQA & Co. Sheer Lip Lube Pencil
in Bees Knees (Coral)
(Full Size: $18.00)
Description: “Unlike some glosses that simply provide a nice shine, this lip lube channels softening shea butter, which moisturizes and fills in any unsightly lines, and is infused with refreshing mint. Available in an array of wearable, softly pigmented shades.”
Verdict: Hit!
This item made the entire box for me. These lip pens go on really smoothly and feel very moisturizing. It gives a soft pigment and while this shade was a little pale for me, it was perfect when I topped it with a gold glitter gloss. I think these would be great for summer when you want a hint of color and something hydrating for your lips.

Breath Crystals
32 Oral Care Effervescent Breath Crystals with IsoVoxy
(30 Count Retail: $14.75)
Description: “Unlike gum and breath mints, which only mask bad breath, these teeth-cleaning crystals pack zinc and IsoVoxy to kill odor-causing bacteria. Once dissolved, they leave a fresh scent courtesy of natural peppermint flavors.”
Verdict: Miss
Cause breath mints are so 2000? I have no idea why anyone really needs this. I don’t like that crystal texture and a regular old Altoid has never failed me in my quest for minty fresh breath. Although this is just the sort of thing MacGiver could turn into a bomb, so if you frequently need to escape Columbian drug traffickers add this and some dental floss to your bag as an escape plan.

Sunblock
Supergoop!® Everyday SPF 30 with Cellular Response Technology
(18 oz Retail: $48.00)
Description: “This lightweight sunscreen quickly soaks into skin—but since it’s noncomedogenic, it doesn’t clog pores. It’s loaded with beta-glucan for moisture and free radical-fighting antioxidants to keep skin looking young. And its scent—a subtle botanical fragrance with hints of citrus and basil—beats the typical sweet, pseudo-tropical sunscreen smell any day.”
Verdict: Miss
Listen Birchbox, we need to have a talk. I told you I was a ginger. A pale, soulless, burn at the idea of sun, ginger. Sunblock is wonderful, sunblock products with an SPF of 30 are a joke for me. If I walk outside with this stuff on, the sun will fall out of the sky from laughing at me and will say something like “You finally just gave up and decided to get skin cancer, right? I WIN.” The moral of my little fable is STOP SENDING ME LOW SPF SUNBLOCK. If it ain’t at least 50 I don’t want to see it. And I don’t care if they claim anything above 35 is bullshit—any redhead will tell you that’s a lie that the non-melanin challenged tell themselves so they don’t have to go to the part of the aisle where the 70+ sunblock lives.

 Full Box
OVERALL
Verdict:
Hit!

Although this box had very little I liked, the LAQA lip pencil made it worth it for me.  Without it, this box would have been a big miss. I’m also very tired of the low SPF sunblock products (if you hadn’t noticed). I’d really love to see things that are available in higher SPFs since those are the products I am always on the lookout for.

With tax I paid $10.70 and after reviewing each item, my points got me the equivalent of $5.00.

What did you get in your Birchbox?
How do you feel about “breath crystals”? Useless or the enlightened way to freshen breath?

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: February 2014

This month Birchbox, paired up with editors at US Weekly to curate their box.  The theme is focused on the glitz and glamour of award season and being” red carpet ready”.
That’s a lot to pack into a tiny $10 box, so let’s see how they managed.
BoxBB Box

Open 1Open 2

Perfume
Harvey Prince Hello Perfume
(Full Size Retail: 50 ml for $55.00)
Description: Made with eco-friendly ingredients, this scent has all-day staying power. A top note of Meyer lemon captures the scent of fresh-squeezed lemonade, while Satsuma mandarin adds a double fruity note. Next up, summer forsythia and pink plumeria—traditionally found in Hawaiian leis—give the scent its heady floral layer.”
Verdict:  Hit!
As I mentioned in my last blog post, I’m super sensitive to fragrances so I selected to only get them “6 times or less per year” on my Birchbox profile.  At first I was bummed to see the sample, but once I tried it I actually liked it.  I favor fruity light scents and  love citrus notes so this covers both.  I’m not going to run out and buy a full size, but I’ll use up the sample when I want some variety.

 

Polish
Ruby Wing Color Changing Polish in Ride ‘Em Cowgirl
(Full Size Retail: $10.00)
Description: “Formulated with SolarActive® Technology, each polish transitions from one shade to another as soon as you step out into the sunlight and come into contact with UV rays. Walk back indoors, and your nails will return to the original color. Each Ruby Wing polish is non-toxic, vegan, and environmentally safe.”
Verdict:  On the Fence
I also selected to only get nail polish products minimally from Birchbox (since I have a Julep subscription) yet this is my second month in a row with polish. On the bright side, I’ve never tried this brand before and the gold looks fun.  On the down side, I’m not exactly enthralled with the color change aspect because if I go to the time and effort to paint my nails a color, I really want to actually see that color.  It’s something new to try, but I’m doubtful it will make it into my regular polish rotation.

Liner
Cynthia Rowley Beauty Liquid Liner in Black
(Full Size Retail: $18.00)

Description: “…fashion designer Cynthia Rowley…the style whiz has created…this smudgeproof liquid liner. The pen-style tip makes for ultraprecise application, whether you’re stippling your bottom lash line or flicking to create the perfect cat eye.”
Verdict:  Love!
All these subscription boxes seem determined to get me into using black eyeliner and so far their conspiracy is working.  This is a wonderful pen.  Its tip comes to an extremely fine point so it’s perfect for tightlining.  When I sampled it on the back of my hand it stayed all day with no smudging.  It’s great for subtly defining the eye and it came in what appears to be a full size.  This one item was already worth more than the cost of this box.

Cream
Juara Candlenut Body Creme
(Full Size Retail: $35.00)
Description: “Traditional healers of Indonesia weren’t messing around when they pinpointed candlenut oil as a cure for severely dry skin. The centuries-old balm is rich in fatty acids, which makes it a great natural hydrator and all-around skin-smoother. It’s velvety formula, inspired by venerable Balinese recipes, penetrates deep into dry, rough skin for instant, nongreasy softness that lasts and lasts..”
Verdict:  Miss
This had a nice scent to it, like a hint of cinnamon, but there was nothing about the product that wowed me.  The sample was so small that I really couldn’t get quite enough for even a full body application.  At a $35 retail price, I can’t imagine purchasing this.  I infinitely prefer the Tokyo Dark body butter that came in my Popsugar Holiday box.  At only $5.00 more and with gorgeous packaging it’s a much better splurge in the body cream department.

Oil
Beauty Protector Protect & Oil
(Full Size Retail: $25.95)
Description: “This nourishing formula uses star ingredient argan oil to protect, strengthen, and add a pretty gloss to strands—all without heaviness. Armed with UV and heat protection, it stands up to two of our favorite past times: heat styling and spending hours in the sun. The paraben-free formula is also cruelty-free.”
Verdict:  On the Fence
I’m always excited to try hair products, but this one might need to be put aside until summer.  I typically let my hair air dry and don’t heat style much.  I’m not spending much time outdoors right now so the UV protectant is also wasted.  My hair tends to be combination with oily roots so I’m not sure I really need to add more oil.  I’m going to set this one aside for summer.

 

Full Box
OVERALL
Verdict:
  Hit!

With tax I paid $10.70 and after reviewing each item, my points got me the equivalent of $5.00.  I am thrilled with the Cynthia Rowley eyeliner and excited that I found a perfume sample I didn’t instantly hate.  I’ve got some new products to try out when I finally venture outside during daylight hours.

I’m not sure that these items all scream out “red carpet ready!” to me, but I really did enjoy the box and found it to be a lot of fun.

Would you be intrigued by a color changing polish or do you prefer to have the polish you chose be the polish you see all day?

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 extra points.