Birchbox: February 2016

Kicking off my “catch up with February boxes” spree is my monthly Birchbox.

Let’s see what Birchbox thinks I need in my life.
Box Open Box

Argan Mask
Corioliss Argan Conditioning Mask
(Full Size $40)
Description: “This nourishing mask is packed with argan oil, fatty acids, vitamin, and tea tree oil to add softness and shine.
Verdict: Meh
Birchbox really REALLY thinks my hair needs help since I just got an Amika mask in last month’s box. I know “Argan oil” is an ingredient beauty folks everywhere buzz about but I feel like it’s in everything. Maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised but even if I love this I doubt I’d be willing to fork over $40 for it.

ARROW BOOST Color Enhancing Lip Balm
(Full Size: $14.00)
Description: This superhydrating formula adjusts to your pH, enhancing each wearer’s natural lip color to create the perfect hue.”
Verdict: Disappointing
The reason why you won’t see a swatch of this is because it pretty much came off clear. I’m not sure about this “adjusts to your pH” nonsense because apparently my pH level is invisible (on the bright side, maybe I’ll end up with my own superhero movie). I chose this sample and I’m disappointed that it’s pretty much just a slightly fancier Chapstick (although I’m thrilled I didn’t shell out $14 for it). This is Birchbox’s new brand and honestly it’s not worth close to that price point. I’d say maximum you could charge for this would be $8. For $14, there are much better lip treatments with more luxe packaging and better pay off.

Clay Cleanser
BORGHESE Fango Purificante Clay Cleanser
(Retail Value: $30.00)
Description: ”This gentle, foaming formula deep-cleans like a mask as it soothes skin.”
Verdict: Like
I don’t know why but “Fango Purificante” sounds so pretentious to me. Like something some super fancy spa tells you is in the seaweed they are saran wrapping around you. In any case, this at least is interesting since I can’t say that I’ve used a clay cleanser before and I’m happy to try this one out.

Color ClubThat's My Jam Swatch
Color Club® That’s My Jam
(Retail Value: $8.50)
Description: ”You’ll love the lush lacquer color in this vegan, 100% cruelty-free nail polish. Plus it’s made in the USA!
Verdict: You had me at hello, (sniffle) You had me at hello
Red polish totally is my jam and I thought this shade was really lovely. The mini polishes are also a great size and this little bottle will actually last for quite a few manis and pedis. This is hands down the best item in the box.

Catherine Malandrino Romance de Provence Eau de Parfum
(1.7 oz: $80.00)
Description: “An ode to Provence, this timeless scent mixes fruity and floral nuances with vanilla and patchouli.”
Verdict: For $80 you too can piss off strangers in elevators
So based solely on the scent of this perfume, I assumed that Catherine Malandrino was the old lady hanging out in subways, buses and elevators overwhelming the rest of us with the stench of dying flowers. Color me surprised when I googled to find out that she was a French fashion designer. Why? Why did she do this? This perfume is unbearable. It was like an assault. This perfume is probably single-handedly responsible for half the asthma attacks in France. Floral + patchouli + vanilla + fruit? Is there some random thing this perfume doesn’t have in it? Dear Birchbox, STOP SENDING ME !*$UY!*)$& perfumes that smell like death. Please.

Birchbox 2.2016

Verdict: Disappointing
I paid $10.70 for this box and after reviewing the products received $5.00 in Birchbox points. While I liked the polish, it’s really the only standout in this box and for $8.50 I could have gotten a full size. The clay cleanser is okay but not something I would have necessarily sought out. This box just doesn’t suit me and I’m super tired of the perfumes. I’ve decided to start keeping track of when I get them. December was perfume, January thankfully perfume free and for March I chose the curated box, so I am off the hook. My guess is that April is going to deliver some other godforsaken scent that’s going to require me to take an aspirin.

How do you feel about perfumes in subscription boxes? Love them? Hate them?
Do you think they are a necessary evil or an allergen that needs to be left out of most boxes?

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.

New Beauty Test Tube: January 2015 & 30% off!

I know that February has been a slow month here at Subscription Therapy. I’ve been dealing with work deadlines, a few illnesses and a wonky digital camera. But I have tons of new boxes to share with you so March should get us right back into our groove. The first new box is from New Beauty Test Tube who graciously sent me a box to review. (Follow my link for 30% off your subscription.)

I’d seen a lot of other bloggers talk about this box so I was very excited to try it out for myself.
“TestTube is an exclusive, one-of-a-kind sampling program enabling members the opportunity to try a variety of the latest breakthrough beauty products before investing in them, and then share their feedback about the products. Six times a year, for just $29.95 (plus shipping and handling), subscribers receive a TestTube filled with deluxe and full-size products from the hottest beauty brands. Members will also receive a subscription to NewBeauty magazine, delivered quarterly.”

So inside the cheerful pink box is an actual tube and a product insert.
Open Box 1 Open Box 2
Insert Tube

Tell me I’m not alone in being a sucker for packaging?  I love the pretty design on this and I know the colorful cardboard tube is going to be turned into something crafty.
Side Open Tube
But enough with my toddler like fascination for actual cardboard boxes, let’s see what’s inside this bad boy.

Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant (.45 oz)

(Deluxe Sample Value: approx.: $8.97 Full Size 2.6 fl oz: $52.00)
Description: Rejuvenate your complexion with this gentle exfoliating powder that activates the second it touches water. Thanks to salicylic acid and rice enzymes, this top-selling microfoliant rids skin of dead cells and perfectly polishes any and all skin conditions.
Verdict: Like
Dermalogica is a high end skin care brand that I’ve actually tried out in a spa before. I know a ton of people that swear by it, especially those with skin allergies. I exfoliate regularly so this will definitely get used.

Dry ShampooKlorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk (1 oz)
(Deluxe Sample Value: approx.: $5.94; Full Size 3.2 oz: $19.50)
Description: Whether you have superthick or ultrafine hair, extend and refresh the life of your blowouts with this instant dry shampoo that revives lifeless, oil locks in less than two minutes.”
Verdict: Hit!
I have oily roots and when you couple that with constantly wearing knit hats (thank you Old Man Winter) my scalp is an oil slick. Klorane is one of the few dry shampoo brands that I have yet to try so I’m happy to find this item in the box.

Eraclea Ever-Moist Lip Balm (.35 fl oz)

(Full Size 4 oz: $16.00)
Description: Thanks to a high concentration of emollient ingredients, dry, distressed lips don’t stand a chance against this moisturizing lip treatment.”
Verdict: Like
This winter you really can’t hoard enough lip balms. This brand is completely new to me so I’m interested to see how it stacks up against the other balms I’ve tried. This is listed as a full size product on the New Beauty insert, but a full size is listed as 4 oz while my tube says 3.5 oz. It does appear to be a quite large for a balm so I’ll consider this one as “full size”. The scent is sweet, almost like a fruity cotton candy and it goes on easily. It’s not at all goopy or sticky and the consistency was near perfect. I found that it hydrated my lips quite well. The only thing I don’t really like about this product is the look of the packaging. It feels a bit too clinical for my taste (which made the sweet fun scent all the more surprising). I’m not sure I’d pay $16 for this, but I really do like it.

Chi Argan Oil Plus Moringa Oil (3 oz)

(Full Size 3 oz: $22.00)
Description: Create healthier hair with this lightweight moisturizing oil that also doubles as a protectant against thermal styling and UV rays.”
Verdict: Like
Hair oils have been on trend for a while now and they are a great way to combat dry hair due to things like heat styling. Chi is a well known brand for hair tools and products and this is a full size so the value is there. I don’t heat style my hair too frequently but I’ve been growing my hair out so I’ll use this on the tips to keep split ends at bay.

Balanced Guru No Frizz Oil (.5 oz)

(Deluxe Sample Value: approx.: $13.00; Full Size 1 oz: $25.00)
Description: Reduce frizz and add shine for more manageable hair with just a couple of drops of this silicone-free oil. No matter the climate, you can finally fight frizz—for good.”
Verdict: Hmm, why another oil?
So this is an new brand for me, and according to their company blurb they are certified organic, cruelty-free and environmentally sustainable. Now this hair oil is used to fight frizz. The New Beauty folks must think we all have super dry hair, because this is our 2nd hair oil in the same box.   The Chi is full sized and this product is actually pretty generously sized as well and sells for $13 on its own. The item is nice, but I think it would have been better to include something different and perhaps move one of the oils to another mailing.

Nail Dryer
Color Club Dry Ice Drops (.5 oz)

(Full Size .5 oz: $11.00)
Description: These fast-drying formulas dry your polish faster than ever before for your shiniest nails yet. Whether used together or applied separately, your fingernails will thank you.”
Verdict: Love!
This is another full size item and while I’ve tried Color Club polish before I’ve never tried any of their standard manicure products like topcoats or drying drops. I think drying drops are a great addition to the box since I know a lot of women who aren’t familiar with them, but are amazed at how much easier their manicures go once they finally do try them.

Now these next two products weren’t listed on the insert, so I’m guessing they vary from subscriber to subscriber.

Liner TipSwatch
YBF Plum Noir Eye Liner

(Full Size: ???)
Description: Your plum noir eye liner is the perfect deep plum hue! You will love the built in sharpener cap too!
Verdict: Miss
To start I couldn’t find this eyeliner available for sale on its own, so I have no idea how to estimate the value. The only place I could find it was inside YBF’s “sultry eyes & lips collection”. I have a highlighter from YBF that I use regularly so I’m familiar with the brand and I do like their products. The good points for this eyeliner were that it went on smoothly and didn’t smear. Unfortunately the color is not plum noir, this color is purplish red. As a pale redhead this will make me look like I’m possessed by a demon, or at the very least like I have pink eye. The only folks that I think could potentially pull off this shade would be those with a darker complexion, and even then I’m not convinced. I’m going to try to pass this along to a friend because it’s a nice formula with a built in sharpener, but I’m not sure anyone could pull off this color.

Algenist Firming & Lifting Cream (.5 oz)

(Deluxe Sample Value: approx.: $23.50; Full Size 2 oz: $94.00)
Description: An ultra-firming and restructuring cream that tightens and lifts while reinforcing skin structure.”
Verdict: Love!
Algenist is a brand I’ve seen around and never tried because it’s pretty pricey. I can always use a little extra “firming and lifting” so I’m excited to try this one out. The deluxe sample is quite generous and I think there is definitely enough product for me to get an accurate idea of how it will work for my skin.

Full Box

So I got this box for free, but it would normally cost $29.95 plus shipping. Not including the YBF liner that I couldn’t find a price for, we received $100.41 worth of product. The box included four full size items and four generously sized deluxe samples. Except for the liner in the crazy shade, all the items were super practical and something I think most women could use in their beauty regimes. This box feels a bit more mature and I think it will appeal to a lot of ladies in the 30+ group that maybe aren’t so keen on getting items like body glitter and neon polish in their beauty boxes. Beauty Test Tube seems to be focused more on the practical beauty finds rather then the uber trendy.

Besides the color of the liner and the fact that this one box included two hair oils, I had no other problems with it. Because I have so much volume in beauty products, I probably won’t subscribe to this regularly, however it’s definitely on my list if I opt to cancel some of my other beauty subs.

If you like Birchbox but maybe aren’t interested in super small samples or are overwhelmed with a monthly box, this might be a good option for you. While the cost is a bit higher than Birchbox or Ipsy, you are getting a lot more product and it’s arriving every 2 months, instead of monthly.

Have you ever tried New Beauty Test Tube? If so, what did you think?

I just got the scoop from New Test Tube Beauty that they are offering new subscribers 30% off! Just use my link to pay only $20.95 per tube!


Six times a year, subscribers receive a TestTube filled with deluxe and full-size products from the hottest beauty brands. Members will also receive a subscription to NewBeauty magazine, delivered quarterly. TestTube subscribers receive video emails, demonstrating how to achieve optimal results with the products. With 25,000 subscribers, TestTube has built an unprecedented community of beauty enthusiasts and informed women who sample and share their product favorites.

Cost: 29.95 plus shipping and handling per box
Special Deal! For a limited time use my link to pay only $20.95 per tube!


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.

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.).

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

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?


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.

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