Birchbox: July 2014

So it’s almost time for the August Birchboxes to ship, so that means it’s time to get my July Birchbox review posted. This month’s theme was “Power up” and featured a free Women’s Health magazine subscription (or rebate) and some “Power up Challenges” that are supposed to inspire us to “maximize your workouts, sleep, and everything in between.”

Box

So the usual cute Birchbox has been spruced up with a cute theme.
Box#2

Now for what’s inside.
Box3 Box4

The offer card and little booklet of challenges. I appreciate that if you don’t want the magazine, Birchbox will send you a rebate instead. I opted for the latter since I already get some great magazines that I never get around to reading.
Offer

Let’s move onto the products…

Juice
Juice Beauty® Stem Cellular™ Repair Moisturizer
(1 oz. Retail: $65.00)
Description: This organic hydrator uses fruit stem cells to firm as it smooths fine lines and wrinkles…”
Verdict: Like
I thought this moisturizer went on nicely, but I found it to be slightly heavy for this time of year. I think it will work better for fall as we’re heading into cooler weather. But I did find that it hydrated my skin and the scent was pleasant.

Shave Cream
Whish Shave Crave Shaving Cream in Acai Grapefrui
(150 mL Retail: $20.00)
Description: A shea butter packed shaving cream in a pick-me up grapefruit scent..”
Verdict: Like
Lately I seem to be getting a lot of shaving cream in my sub boxes. I actually love the size of this since it will fit in my shower without taking up too much space. I’m still working my way through a giant container of Eos, so I haven’t given this a shot yet but I’m doubtful it will wow me enough to go from my under $4 purchase to $20. But hey, it could end up being the bestest shave cream ever and then I’ll have to fork over the dough.

Marcelle
Marcelle New Age 8 in 1 Power Serum
(1 oz Retail: $34.00)
Description: “This peptide-packed antiaging gel hydrates, irms, lifts a, and plumps fine lines.”
Verdict: On the Fence
I don’t know, do I really want my fine lines “plumped”? I’d rather just have them go away, thank you very much. I generally like getting serums since you can change them up in your beauty routine and it’s nice to have a variety for different purposes (like when you need extra moisture or brightening or targeted anti-aging). I didn’t really notice much of a change when I used this one, but I may just have to use it a bit longer.

PolishPolish Swatch
RUFFIAN Nail Lacquer – Rosary

(Retail: $11.00)
Description: “”Streak-free metallic polish in a trendy, summer-perfect shade.”
Verdict: Like
I got to try Ruffian for the first time with my Birchbox LE Mermaid box and I liked the formula. I actually got to choose this shade, since Birchbox sent me an email with a couple options. I really like the rose-gold color and I think it’s actually a nice transitional shade for fall. I enjoy getting these polishes in my box, but I probably won’t purchase them on my own at the $11 pricetag. I feel like Zoya has a better formula and so many more interesting color options and their polish retails at only $10.

Polish Wipe
RUFFIAN Dressing Room Nail Lacquer Remover Towelettes
(Set of 10 – Retail: $12.00)
Description: These black wipes will brighten up your next polish change. Free of acetone, they have a subtle lily scent that’s fresh and elegantly floral. Bonus: They’re infused with vitamin E to strengthen nails.”
Verdict: Hit!
I keep a ton of different types of polish remover and I love wipes. I try to keep a few in my work bag so when I end up chipping my nails horrifically I can run to the bathroom and remove my polish, so I don’t spend the day with a hot mess on my nails. I love that these don’t have acetone and they contain vitamin E. I haven’t had a chance to try them, but if they work well I could easily see myself picking up a set.

Coastal Coastal Swatch
Coastal Scents® Revealed 2 Palette Set
(Retail: $34.00)
Description: “From the just-launched palette, these matte and shimmery shades will have you tickled pink.”
Verdict: Love!
I’ve seen a lot of bloggers review different Coastal Scents palettes (particularly as dupes for the ubiquitous and pricey Urban Decay “Naked” palettes) so I was psyched to try this out. This little quad was ballerina inspired and I actually loved the shades. They applied easily although the lightest shade blended right into my skin. I found the shades not to be super pigmented, but nicely blendable. I have a ton of palettes I am working my way through so I won’t be buying the full size of this, but if I had space I would definitely consider it.

 

Full Box
OVERALL
Verdict:
Hit!

Everything in this box was an item I could use and most were new brands for me. I’m quite happy with the selections and can’t wait to see what August includes.

With tax I paid $10.70 and after reviewing each item, my points earned me the equivalent of $6.00 which I think is a steal for the items I received.  And that’s not counting the $10.00 rebate from the magazine offer, which means I made some money this month.

What did you get in your July Birchbox? Did you opt for the magazine sub or the rebate?

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: June 2014

Since I haven’t gotten my July Birchbox yet, I’m not behind with this post of my June one. June’s theme was “away we go” and the idea was to include “travel-ready samples.”

Let’s bust into Birchbox’s super cute packaging and see what we got.

Box Box 2

Open BoxOpen Box 2

Egyptian
Egyptian Magic Skincream

(4 oz. Retail: $38.00)
Description: Celebs and health professionals alike swar by this all-natural, al-purpose salve. Use to moisturize, fight wrinkles and treat burns and bruises…”
Verdict: Gift
I actually already own a jar of this. I find it to be more of health product than a beauty one. I use it for heat rashes and to help with chaffing as well as a treatment for burns. It’s like a thicker type of Vaseline, but it doesn’t have much of a scent and just doesn’t have that luxury spa feel I go for in my beauty items. Since I have a big size of this, I’m going to add this little one to a travel kit I’m making for a friend.

Gloss
Cynthia Rowley Creamy Lip Stain in Sugar
(Retail: $20.00)
Description: A long-wearing stain from the NYC-based designer that gives unbeatable moisture and shine.”
Verdict: On the Fence
Well this is certainly sized for travel. I don’t care how tiny your bag is, you’ll be able to fit this little guy in there. This lip stain is a nice neutral shade of pink, but I’m not quite sold on the feel of it. For me it doesn’t feel moisturizing and the texture on my lips is a bit odd. I’ll have to try it out for a while and see.

Wash
Antica Farmacista Bergamot & Ocean Aria Body Wash
(Full Size: $25.00)
Description: “Made with sweet almond oil, this nourishing cleanser has a captivating seaside scent..”
Verdict: Love!
I love all scents and products that remind me of the ocean and this one is lovely. The size is large enough for me to get a few uses it of it as well.

Liz Earle
Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser Starter Kit
(Retail: $24.50)
Description: “British award-winner that uses a two-step ritual to gently purify all skin types.”
Verdict: Love!
I’ve heard a lot about the Liz Earle cleansing system but haven’t had a chance to try it so I’m super excited to use this. I’m setting it aside for a “spa day” where I can use this cleanser and then give myself a facial and a mani/pedi.

Curls
Miss Jessie’s Original MultiCultural Curls
(Retail: $16.00)
Description: “First formulated for multiethnic hair, this styler smoothes and shapes curls of all types.
Verdict: On the Fence
I’m of Italian descent, but I look Scottish, does that mean my wavy hair is multi-cultural? As you know I’m always happy to try hair products since I need all the help I can get but I’m not sure this will work for me. I’ll give it a try and see what happens.  I also hate these packages since it’s so hard to use just a bit of it and save the rest.

 Full Box
OVERALL
Verdict:
Hit!

Except for the Egyptian Magic, all these items were things I hadn’t tried before and I’ll have fun testing them all out.

With tax I paid $10.70 and after reviewing each item, my points got me the equivalent of $5.00. The Liz Earle Kit alone was worth the $5.70 I ended up paying.

What did you get in your June Birchbox?

THE BACKSTORY

Birchboxsubscriptions 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 Limited Edition Modern Mermaid Box: Summer 2014

Here’s another little secret about me. If you slap the name mermaid on a product, I’ll probably buy it. So when Birchbox introduced their Limited Edition “Modern Mermaid Box” I jumped right on it and ordered it at the beginning of June. I was going on a work trip to Baltimore and was excited to get the travel sized items. After a few weeks I realized I hadn’t received my box yet (although I got another item from the same order). I contacted Birchbox and it turns out there was a mixup and my box should have been sent but wasn’t. They apologized, gave me 100 points on my account and rushed the box to me. Unfortunately they couldn’t guarantee it would come in time for my trip. Luckily it arrived right before I had to leave, so it all worked out.  Birchbox’s customer service was very nice and quite helpful so if you run into any problems with an order, be sure to give them a call.

Now enough about the shipping saga, let’s get into the box.

Box 1 Box #3 Box #2
First the packaging is even cuter than the regular Birchboxes. I am totally recycling these for my OCD organization projects.

Mascara
Anastasia Beverly Hills Lash Genius Waterproof Topcoat
(Full Size Retail: $21.00)
Description: This waterproof topcoat makes any mascara water resistant…The clear lightweight gel eradicates flakes, drying, and clumping, while the high-tech formula adds a glossy finish to lashes.”
Verdict: Love!
This waterproof topcoat does exactly what it says it will. I have the worst time with mascara and eyeliner smudging on me—even waterproof brands. This one turned my regular old mascaras into fabulous waterproof products. I will be buying this in a full-size when it runs out. If you have a tough time finding waterproof mascaras that work for you, I can’t recommend this enough.

Cologne
Atelier Cologne Cédrat Enivrant Cologne Absolue
(30 mL Retail: $65.00)
Description: his fragrance celebrates citrus in all its forms, from the sour sweetness of lime to the sharp, rindy smell of Calabrian bergamot. If your favorite things in life come with a dash of citrus—like the twist of lime in a gin and tonic—this scent will strike a chord..”
Verdict: Like
I am in love with the Orange Sanguine cologne from this brand, but it’s a little out of my budget. (Although I’m probably going to break down and buy the travel size spray from Sephora). This scent isn’t sweet despite the citrus. It’s kind of got a bracing lime scent with a touch of something almost musky. It reminds me a lot of a cocktail and I think the gin and tonic comparison they use as a descriptor is apropos. I like this scent but don’t love it. It definitely feels summery and is very different than most perfumes and doesn’t give me a headache, so I’m happy to have it in my collection. I do wish that Birchbox would sell the Atelier colognes in individual travel spray sizes, since the full size bottles are a bit on the pricey side.

 Salt Spray
Captain Blankenship Mermaid Mane Sea Salt Spray

(Full Size Retail 4 oz: $24.00)
Description: “This all-natural mist gives you sexy beach hair—minus the sand in your swimsuit. Use it year-round for the perfect combination of body, natural movement, and a touch of grit, plus a lovely beachy rose scent.”
Verdict: Love!
If this is my year of hair product exploration, this is my summer of sea salt sprays. I loved this spray and thought it did a great job of making my wavy hair more defined.  The scent was light, airy and not intrusive. When I work my way through my sea salt spray collection, I think this is the brand I’ll be repurchasing.

Coola Lip
COOLA Liplux SPF 30 Original Formula
(Retail: $12.00)
Description: “…SPF 30 balm…comes in a travel-friendly tube and provides broad spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays. Made with 70 percent organic ingredients, the food-grade (read: practically edible) formula is enriched with vitamins and antioxidants to moisturize lips and combat fine lines.”
Verdict: Like
While I have lip balms and products with SPF none are this high. I’m happy to have this for days when I’ll be out in the sun for a while.

Liner Swatch
Vasanti Kajal Extreme Eye Pencil in Electric Navy
(Retail: $22.00)
Description: This kohl pencil glides on easily, adding instant drama to your look, while the waterproof formula stays put for up to eight hours. Plus, each pencil has a handy built-in smudger and sharpener, so you can create well-defined or sultry looks.”
Verdict: Hit!
I’m in love with blue liners this season and am building up quite a collection. I was so enamored with this color I featured it in my July Blog Hop Post. It goes on smoothly and lasts for quite some time before smudging.  The shade is just a bit different than the usual navy.

Mirror
Stephanie Johnson Mermaid Round Snap Mirror
(Retail: $22.00)
Description: With this mermaid-inspired iridescent compact, we landlubbers can capture a bit of that shimmering allure. This colorful compact has a slim silhouette, and its mirror is large enough to show your entire face. The case snaps shut to keep the mirror scuff-free.”
Verdict: Hit!
Did I need another compact mirror? No. But is this super adorable? Yes. It definitely screams out summer and mermaid and I just love it. I’ll definitely be tucking it in my bag this summer.

Trio Box Trio Trio Swatches
RUFFIAN The Endless Summer Collection
(Retail: $26.50)
Description: With hues like glistening sand, glimmering water, and a shimmering sunset, all the best parts of summer (and, thankfully, none of the hair-wilting humidity) make an appearance in Ruffian’s new polish collection, available exclusively through Birchbox. The collection includes three beach-inspired shades: Blue Lagoon, a metallic blue; Endless Love, a metallic pink; and Sahara, a metallic nude.”
Verdict: Like!
We know that I need more polish like a fish needs a bicycle, but I actually haven’t tried the Ruffian brand before so it was nice to get this sampler. My favorite of the three, turned out to be Sahara. I think it will be a great base for fun topcoats like Julep’s Max or Tania. The formula went on smoothly and was pretty opaque with one coat, although I’d probably use two when doing my manicure.

 Full Box
OVERALL
Verdict:
Love!

Everything in this box was something I loved or liked. The travel sizes were quite generous and will last me for some time. I paid $44.00 and feel like I got a great value. This box is still available and I highly recommend picking it up. I love the balance of practical products (like the lip balm and mascara topcoat) with the more whimsical fun items (like the compact and the eyeliner). If you’ve got Birchbox points saved up, this is a great pick.

What did you think of this Limited Edition box? Are you also a sucker for Mermaid/Ocean inspired beauty products?

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: 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: April 2014

April’s Birchbox theme circles around “Rainy Days” and using them as an excuse to hole up inside trying out beauty samples. (Who are they kidding, I spent a sunny weekend swatching my nail polish collection so this girl does not need any excuse to spend quality time with beauty products.) Let’s jump in and see what Birchbox has sent me.
Box #1Box #2
Open Box #1 Open Box #2

Eyeliner Swatch
Cynthia Rowley Beauty Eyeliner in Silver

(Full Size Retail: $16.00)
Description: These creamy pencils glide on velvety-smooth, and the smudge-proof formula lasts all day.”
Verdict: Like
Birchbox actually sent me an email giving me a choice of black or silver. I opted for the silver because I rarely wear black liner since it tends to make my super pale skin look even paler. When I swatched it, this liner went on smooth and didn’t smudge at all. I prefer gel and liquid liners, but the consistency of this pencil was quite nice. I’m not sure how often I’ll use it, but it’s something fun to experiment with. I really would have loved this in a charcoal gray or dark green.

Colorclub
Color Club Polish in Aquamarine

(Full Set of 4 Polishes: $13.00)
Description: “…Gala Gonzalez…the Spanish-born blogger, stylist, and DJ teamed up with Color Club to launch this four-piece nail polish collection. Perfect for spring, these pastel hues are inspired by the retro lacquers of the 70s and 80s, complete with a luxe pearl finish. Paired with on-trend, opaque color, the results are both modern and sleek.”
Verdict: Like
I like the idea of a company pairing off with a blogger to create a collection as it  seems this could create a lot of unique, fun trends.  I liked the aquamarine shade I received and the application went on smoothly on the swatch. I will probably end up wearing this underneath some fun topcoats (like Julep’s Max.).

Shampoo
Keims Cleanshine Energizing Shampoo
(Full Size Retail $9.50)
Description: “This refreshing cleanser has peppermint leaf extract to boost circulation in the scalp, stimulating healthy hair growth. The formula causes a delightful cooling sensation on the scalp. Macadamia nut nourishes weak hair for touchable softness and shine, while silk protein works to strengthen strands and repair damage.”
Verdict: Hit!
Part of why I decided to subscribe to Birchbox was to try out lots of hair products. I have scalp issues so I’m happy to try out this product and see if it helps. I also appreciate that we got a generous size so we can get a few uses out of it.

Kind Bar
KIND Healthy Grain Bars – Maple Pumpkin Seeds w/ Sea Salt
(15 count: $11.88)
Description: “Sweet or salty? Don’t worry, KIND won’t make you pick a favorite. These wholesome snack bars are the ideal mix of both flavors (and, of course, they’re also nonGMO and gluten-free).”
Verdict: Hit!
I know a lot of folks don’t like getting food samples, but I enjoy them. This bar made a great work breakfast and was quite tasty. I have added them to my “snacks for work” shopping list although I’ll probably try one of the flavors that include fruit.

 Nyakio #2 Nyakio

Nyakio Trio
Kenyan Coffee Face Polish
(Full Size Retail $34.00)
Description: The coffee extract and jojoba oil in this scrub buff away dull skin. But unlike some exfoliators, this gentle formula isn’t drying: Neroli, lemongrass, and macadamia oils provide intense moisture for smooth, dewy skin.”

Kenyan Coffee Body Scrub(Full Size Retail $55.00)
Description:”The blend of Kenyan coffee beans and nourishing oils exfoliates and hydrates, leaving skin renewed and ready for the day ahead: Think of it as skincare’s version of espresso.”

Hydrating Face Oil With Kola Nut(Full Size Retail $49.00)
Description: Just a few drops of the lightweight formula, a blend of eight oils and the African kola nut, last a full 12 hours. Its powerful hydration keeps our skin looking more luminous, even, and youthful all day long.”
Verdict: Like
I enjoy trying out new scrubs and I’m completely intrigued with the face oil, but the size on this is just annoying to me. I really would prefer to get just one of the items with a sample size big enough for a few uses so we can really decide if we like the product – especially products with a price point as high as these.


Full Birchbox
OVERALL
Verdict:
Hit!

This box had a lot of interesting items in it and I will use all of them. My only real complaint was with the size of the nyakio samples, but the rest of the box still made up for it.

With tax I paid $10.70 and after reviewing each item, my points got me the equivalent of $7.00.

What did you get in your Birchbox? How do you feel about the food samples? Yeah or Nay?

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.

Birchbox: March 2014

Box
This month Birchbox’s theme this month is “Spring Forward”.  Let’s get into the box and see if Spring has finally arrived.
Open Box 1 Open Box 2

 

Coola
COOLA Tinted Matte SPF 30 for Face
(Full Size Retail – 1.7 oz. : $36.00)
Description: COOLA suspended two skin-safe mineral sunblocks—titanium and zinc dioxide—in a moisturizing base to ensure a smooth, even application. Shea butter naturally softens skin. Age-reversing antioxidants like evening primrose extract and borage seed oil deflect free radicals, while naturally water-resistant plankton makes the formula extra-durable.”
Verdict:  Miss
I am a pale redhead who burns at the idea of sunshine, so SPF 35 is just not strong enough for my face.  My daily routine includes a CC cream with SPF 50.  Maybe for someone who’s not translucent.

 Tea
Mighty Leaf Tea Pouches
(Full Size Retail – 15 Bags: $9.95)
Description: “All five flavors are made with natural ingredients, and packed with antioxidants, blending organic tea leaves, dried fruits, and spices in a silken biodegradable pouch. Each satchel is cleverly marked with its caffeine content and brew time, ensuring you always make the perfect cup.”
Verdict:  Love!
I am not really much of a tea drinker.  I usually reserve it for times when I’m not feeling well or I’m freezing at work.  Since it’s been super cold, I took these to work and gave the Earl Gray (hot) a try.  First of all the bags are super fancy (some type of silky fabric) and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it.  They also had instructions on each bag for how long you need to steep them. 

 Rejuvinator
Vasanti BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator
(Full Size Retail 4.23 oz: $34)
Description: “This powerful exfoliator mimics the results of professional microdermabrasion, minus the potential for redness and sensitivity. First, papaya enzymes break down dead cells while evening out your skin tone. Next, dermatologist-approved microderm crystals fade the appearance of fine lines and acne scars, leaving skin smooth and free of imperfections. Finally, aloe vera, coconut, and vitamins B and E nourish and soothe skin.
Verdict:  Hit!
I love trying out different scrubs and exfoliators so I was happy to see this sample in the box. 

CurlCurly Hair Solutions Curl Keeper
(Full Size Retail – 100 mL: $10.00)
Description: “Curls and waves are notoriously temperamental, and this hardworking serum fights off the frizz-inducing effects of humidity and dryness alike. The water-activated formula provides weightless hold and brings misbehaving strands into line.
Verdict:  On the Fence
I saw the word “curly” and I got a little nervous.  I have wavy hair. How wavy it is depends on the weather, my haircut and the product I use.  When I read the description on the birchbox site it included “waves” with the curls so I’m going to have to see if this product will do much for me.  My other issue is I hate the packaging on this.  The size seems quite generous – way more than you would use on one application of medium length hair.  I don’t know how I’m supposed to store the excess when I’ve got this one time use container. 

 Balm
Air Repair Rescue Balm
(Full Size Retail – .9 oz: $12.00)
Description: “This ultrarestorative salve works its magic by preventing transepidermal water loss, a primary cause of dry skin. Sweet almond oil, fatty-acid rich lanolin, and vitamin E hydrate and nourish skin upon contact. Anti-inflammatory lavender helps quell irritation, while geranium promotes circulation and rejuvenates skin.
Verdict:  On the Fence
I have a lot of balms and salves already and I’m not sure how this one differs.  I also think that item feels a bit “winter” to me, like this would have been much more helpful going into December than April.

FREE TREAT:

Chocolate
Ghirardelli Intense Dark Cherry Tango
Description: “These delicious chocolate squares are filled with cherry and almond bits, offering rich, no-holds-barred flavor.”
Verdict:  Hit
Dark Chocolate, cherry and almonds.  I don’t think I need to say much else.

Full Box 
OVERALL
Verdict:
  Miss

This box was way too unbalanced for me.  My Birchbox profile has skincare unselected and I received THREE skincare items and two food items. 
I understand that they have a lot of skincare and I truly don’t mind one with each box, but this was overkill.

With tax I paid $10.70 and after reviewing each item, my points got me the equivalent of $6.00.  I hope next month’s box has some makeup and a better balance of products.

How does your Birchbox stand up to your profile preferences?  Are your products fairly balanced or do you end up getting a plethora of the same stuff over and over?

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. 

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.

Birchbox: January 2014

I had promised you exciting new things in 2014, so along with my new product review feature, I’m also going to be featuring a few new subscriptions.  Because I tend to do things backwards, I’m finally getting around to subscribing to Birchbox, which was the first company to really start the trend of subscription boxes.    They are a beauty subscription and have both men and women’s options. “The women’s subscription includes everything from skincare to makeup, as well as fun non-beauty extras.”  Each month they’ll send subscribers trial and deluxe samples of high end beauty products.

There are two huge selling points on this sub:
1. They are very affordable at $10.00 per month (or $110 for a year) and
2. They have a great point system that offers you the ability to buy high end beauty products at a discount.  For details on their subscriptions and how the point system works jump down to the Backstory.

Now enough business, let’s dive into my very first Birchbox.
Box

To start let me just say I love the adorable little cardboard boxes the gifts come in.  I will be saving these for organization projects.  (You say hoarder, I say upcycler).
 DSCN2729Open Box Open Box #2

 

Fekkai
Fekkai Advanced Brilliant Glossing Shampoo & Conditioner
(Full Size Retail: 16 oz. for $39.00; 8 oz. for $19.99)
Description: “Get the glow back in your mane with this luxurious shampoo from Fekkai. Natural olive oils encapsulate each strand to soften, hydrate, and add megawatt shine.  Fekkai’s award-winning olive oil formula coats strands in lightweight moisture, so hair looks healthier, shinier, and decidedly frizz-free. A special encapsulated shine-release complex renews shine all day long.”
Verdict:  Love!
I was so so so so so happy to see this in my box.  A huge reason I subscribed to Birchbox was the chance to try out different hair products.  I’ve tried a sample of this shampoo before and it did amazing things for my hair.  I have a really dry scalp, oily roots and thick wavy hair.  Finding hair products that work for all parts of it have been problematic so when the shampoo alone managed to give my hair more vibrancy and keep my scalp from itching I put this set on my wish list.  With the birchbox rewards system I can get free shipping and extra points so I’ll finally be splurging on a full size.

 

Reviver
Reviver Dry Deodorant Packs
(Full Size Retail: 6 pack for $17.99)
Description: “Reviver wipes use a blend of dry, deodorizing compounds to remove persistent odors, replacing them with the scent of just-washed laundry. Their reuseable formula is designed for versatility, tackling everything from smoke, food, and pet odor to post-workout funk.”
Verdict:  Hit!
Okay so I would never pick this up for myself, nor would I pay $17.99 for six of them, but I’m happy to receive a sample.  Sadly, I spend a huge portion of my day navigating the bowels of NYC’s subway system.  I’m going to tuck this pack into my little emergency work kit for the times when the not-so-fresh subway smells have leached onto my clothes.

 

Nail Rock
Nail Rock in Blue Glitter
(Full Size Retail: $7.00)
Verdict:  Miss
Description: “Every kit comes with two pieces: a polish for a solid foundation and a pot that houses a textured topper. Accent options include Nail Sequin, for the ultimate disco-ball mani; Nail Glitter, to create serious sparkle; Nail Caviar, for a rich encrusted look; and Nail Velvet, which leaves a luxe matte finish.”
If you’ve read a lot of my posts you know these nail art kits with little bits of glitter or beads are not my thing.  I am still working on keeping normal polish on my nails and not all over my hands, so I don’t think I’m the target audience.  The glitter would just end up being a huge mess, inevitably I’d miss bits of it during cleanup and end up finding blue glitter in random places around the house for the next few months.  I really don’t get this look since there are so many great glitter polishes and specialty finishes that don’t require this much effort or mess.  If you love special finishes but don’t want the hassle of this type of kit I’d recommend Zoya’s Pixie dusts.

Mineral
Inika Mineral Eyeshadow in Eternal Marine
(Full Size Retail: $20.00)
Verdict:  On the Fence
Description: “Made using the highest quality ingredients, including mica and zinc oxide, these shadows are rich in pigment for vivid colors that stay on all day.”
I’m intrigued by this color, although I’m not sure that it will work for me or how exactly to use it.  In general I’m not a fan of mineral makeup because I feel like I just tend to make a mess with it.  In the spirit of experimentation though I’ll give this one a shot and see how it goes.

 

Full
OVERALL

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 shampoo and conditioner and I can use the clothing deodorant.  The mineral eyeshadow steps me out of my comfort zone and will be fun to experiment with.  The only product I can’t use is the polish, but I’m sure I can pass it along to someone who will enjoy the glitter challenge.  I reviewed all my items and was able to pick up 50 reward points to use toward products.

Overall, I’m really happy with my first Birchbox and excited to see what shows up next month!

Do you subscribe to Birchbox?  If so, what goodies popped up in your box?

 

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.