Birchbox: December 2014

So I’m still catching up on some 2014 boxes so today I’ll be reviewing my December Birchbox.  Along with the ability to choose one of our samples, Birchbox has been giving us the option of specially curated boxes. For December I opted for box of “party-ready products” curated by Lo Bosworth in conjunction with Birchbox. This box is supposed to bring us a “..box of party-ready products, so you can get glammed up and out the door to your next event (and the one after that) in record time.” Truth be told, once I saw this box had red polish that I didn’t already own I grabbed it. I am sadly, very predictable.
Box
Box 2 Box 3

Slightly bummed that I got the usually brown birchbox that just had a different wrapper (other folks got some pretty festive boxes).

But like all things in life (or so Disney tells me) what really matters is what’s on the inside, so let’s take a look.
Open Box 1 Open Box 2

Cream
Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré (24-Hour Miracle Cream)

(75 mL Retail: $28.00)
Description: A makeup artist fave, this French moisturizer moonlights as a primer and makeup remover.”
Verdict: Hit!
I only tried this as a moisturizer, but I found it really helpful after some of the brutally cold days we’ve had this winter. My commute has me outdoors for quite a bit so my face can end up raw and sensitive. I found this moisturizer really helped in evening out those rough spots. It’s a bit on the heavier side so you may want to skip it (or use it only as a remover) if you have oily skin.


Perfume
Folle de Joie eau de parfum
(3.4 oz Retail: $98.00)
Description: A Birchbox customer fave, this fresh scent blends mandarin, rose, and sandalwood”
Verdict: Miss
As is typical for perfume samples, I found this to be too strong for me. I’m super picky about scents (and many give me headaches) so it’s a lot more unusual for me to find one I like.  I do think the floral notes would appeal to a lot of folks so I understand why this was included.

PolishSwatch
RUFFIAN Nail Lacquer – RUFFIAN Red

(Retail: $10.00)
Description: “This universally flattering scarlet polish dries to a glossy, streak-free finish..”
Verdict: Who can resist a classic red polish?
This product was really the reason I went with this box. It’s like I must have all the red polishes in the world (along with any of the polishes that reference mermaids, opals or my name). It’s a sickness I tell you.

Lip Stain
Cynthia Rowley Beauty Creamy Lip Stain in Heartthrob

(Retail: $20.00)
Description: ”A long-wearing stain from the NYC-based designer that gives unbeatable moisture and shine.”
Verdict: Gift
I didn’t open this because I knew I’d be giving it away. My lip product stash is enormous at the moment and I knew I just wouldn’t use it. Plus I’ve gotten this stain in another shade and I don’t really care for how it feels on my lips. (Plus I also found it to be drying). I’m passing it along to a friend who I think will get more use out of it.

Shampoo & Conditioner
Davines Replumping Shampoo
& Davines Replumping Conditioner
(Retail: $25.50 each)
Description: This plumping shampoo from the brand’s innovative Naturaltech line works to boost moisture and elasticity with the help of natural active ingredients, which breathes new life into limp, flat hair. This hydrating conditioner from the haircare brand’s innovative Naturaltech line works to detangle strands while it helps boost moisture and volume with a myriad of natural active ingredients. ”
Verdict: Miss
If you want this girl to purchase a shampoo for $25.50 then you’re gonna need to give me a larger sample size to judge it. I know this is a sample sub, and this is an extra, but I just don’t think foil packets should be included. If I can get it in a magazine, then I don’t think it should be in a box. The contents were enough for one shampoo and condition and I honestly wasn’t wowed. From what I can tell it’s not special enough to be worth that high a price tag, but maybe if you use it regularly you will see a better result.


Hair Filler
Davines Replumping Superactive

(Retail: $39.50)
Description: This leave-in treatment fortifies strands’ structure to leae them looking thick and shiny.”
Verdict: Like!
To start, this product was a great size and when I tried it I did feel like it gave my hair  more volume. Because of the high pricetag and the fact that my hair is already on the thicker side, I don’t think I’ll be purchasing this, but it does seem to do what it says it will.

OVERALL
Full box
Verdict:
Like!

While I didn’t love all the products, I feel like they all fit in with the box’s theme. The nail polish and the hair filler were more than worth the $10.70 I paid for the box. After my review, I received $7.00 in Birchbox points so this bad boy only set me back $3.70. Not bad at all.

For January, I decided to go all in with the surprise and didn’t choose a sample or curated box. So come back to see what I get.

Have you tried out any of the curated monthly Birchboxes? What did you think?

BIRCHBOX NEWS!

Birchbox has a couple new LE boxes with a fitness theme:

Limited Edition: Fresh Start
(Retail: $42.00)
Description: With a new year comes a whole new set of adventures, and you’re gearing up to tackle them head-on. This box is here to help. It’s filled with natural beauty finds to refresh your skin, body, and hair, plus chic upgrades to your gym bag (think: comfy socks and the perfect water bottle) to keep you motivated while you cross those resolutions off your list. Whether your goal is to pump yourself up or calm yourself down, these picks will help you do a little bit of both. A $107 Value!”

Limited Edition: Sweat the Small Stuff
(Retail: $54.00)
Description: After a long, balmy summer, a cold-weather workout can feel like a daunting challenge. To do our part in the fight against inertia, we assembled this box of active essentials, designed to serve as the Apollo Creed to your run-down Rocky Balboa. Every item was picked to give your workout an edge, from easy-access hydration to high-tech foot support. Just add water, and the will to succeed. A $110 Value.”

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. 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

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.