Birchbox: June 2016 Review

Today I’m back from my brief hiatus to review one of my last Birchboxes.  Because of the very controversial changes to the Birchbox subscription that I discussed in my last BB review, I opted to cancel my subscription after July.
So let’ see what June brought inside my very cute box.
Gimme BrowGimme Brow Swatch
Benefit Gimme Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel
(Full Size $24.00)
Description: “This innovative, water-resistant fiber gel has a precision tip for shaping and buildable formula for thick, lush brows.
Verdict: Like
This was the sample I chose and I got the medium shade.  The product seems to work decently but I actually really prefer Julep’s eyebrow product.  I think it’s easier to apply.  I also hate that redheads never get our own shade.  Yes, I know eyebrows are typically darker than the hair on your head, but I’d love to see an option that gives a more reddish tone.

Coola Sun
COOLA® Environmental Repair Plus® Radical Recovery™ After-Sun Lotion
(Full Size: $32.00)
Description: This soothing lotion uses agave to moisturize protect and calm any post-sun woes.”
Verdict: Déjà vu all over again
Is it a Birchbox if we don’t get anything from Coola?  Since the sun and I are mortal enemies, I do not need “after sun” recovery, because I load myself up enough sunblock and protective clothing/products.  I really hate these “recovery” products.  Just use enough damn sunblock the first time and save yourself $32 extra dollars and those wrinkles.

Evologie® Intensive Blemish Serum
(Full Size: $35.00)
Description: ”Aside from obliterating blemishes (as if that weren’t enough), the serum also tackles scars and hyperpigmentation.”
Verdict: Not the best fit
I don’t really have much of a problem with acne and I’ve indicated that on my profile. This says it tackles scars and hyperpigmentation too, but those aren’t problems for me either.  I do get the occasional pimple so I’ll set this aside, but it really wasn’t a good choice for me.

Oribe Côte d’Azur Eau de Parfum
(Full Size: $95.00)
Description: ”Enjoy the scent you love form Oribe, now in a perfume that lasts all day.
Verdict: You know they give these away for free at makeup counters?
Oribe makes fabulous hair products, the only problem with them is they have a very strong perfume scent.  I don’t use a lot of the Oribe products I own just because the scent gets to me.  Now, this product right here is a perfect example of why I canceled Birchbox.  Fragrances should not be included in the 5 products.  Every makeup counter will give these to you for free, plus so many people cannot handle strong scents.  Birchbox lets you select a “least” option for getting perfumes.  Out of 6 months of boxes, I chose a curated boxes twice.  Out of the remaining 4 months, I received a perfume sample 3 times.  Is it really worth me paying $10.70 a month to consistently receive a product I can’t use or opt out of?  When I got points for reviews it offset the cost, but now?  No way.  You can keep your tiny little vials of headaches, Birchbox.

Parlor Shampoo
PARLOR® by Jeff Chastain Moisturizing & Repairing Shampoo

(Full Size: $22.00)
Description: “A lightweight, sulfate-free cleanser infused with softening and strengthening ingredients.”
Verdict:  Again?
I don’t know how many products are in the Parlor line but I feel like I’ve gotten them all 10 times already.  For the love of god, try a new brand.

Birchbox June 2016
I’m a Sad Panda
This box came while Birchbox’s old review policy was in place so I paid $10.70 for this box and received $5.00 in Birchbox points with my reviews.  Even with the discount, this one was a stinker.  The only item I really liked was the Benefit product I chose and that product is super tiny.  The products don’t match my profile and it’s the same brands over and over again.  Where are the cool fun finds?  Hello, Birchbox if we haven’t bought Coola or Parlor by now, WE ARE NEVER GOING TO DO IT.  Birchbox is never going to last if they want folks to pay full price for such badly curated boxes.  They have a lot of great brands and unique products, they can do better.  At this point the only thing I’ll really miss about this sub are the cute cardboard boxes.

How do you feel about fragrances in beauty subs?  Are they appropriate as key items or should they only be used as “extras”?

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.
You can redeem reward points for money toward your Birchbox purchases.
You can also earn points by referring/subscribing friends.

Birchbox: May 2016 Review & the Birchbox Controversy

So along with my May Birchbox review, I’ve got some news about the latest controversy from Birchbox.

The main thing that set Birchbox apart from other sub boxes, was its awesome rewards points system. Birchbox offered subscribers the opportunity to review the items they received in exchange for points that you could spend on purchases at  Each item in your box could be reviewed for 10 points, and every 100 points earned you $10 in the Birchbox store.

In an extremely confusing email, Birchbox let current subscribers know that starting in July they’d only get five more reviews that would be eligible for points.  New subscribers would simply get rewarded for their first five reviews of products they received.  That’s it.  No more points for reviews.  The only ways to earn points would be to refer other subscribers or just buy items on the Birchbox site.  The only positive change to the policy was that subscribers no longer had to spend their points in $10.00 increments, (for example, if you had $5.00 in points, you were free to use that on their site).

As you can imagine, the backlash was epic.  Many subscribers (myself included) didn’t think that the value of the box was worth $10 without the added bonus of store credit.  Adding fuel to the fire, one of the founders, Katia Beauchamp, gave an interview where she was quoted as saying, “We are not in the business of selling people samples.  That would be a really boring business.”  Many subscribers felt that Birchbox was abandoning its core market in some unattainable quest to compete with brick and mortar retailers like Sephora.

Birchbox was the pioneer in the beauty box world and while I understand the need for cost-saving measures, cutting the review promotion entirely was not a smart move.  Simply lowering the value of the reviews, or offering something like a 15% coupon off any full size purchase for reviewing all your products would have gone a long way in retaining subscribers.  Birchbox also sent a purposefully confusing email and then kept stating on social media that it was giving subscribers what they wanted, which caused countless angry social media posts.  Couple that with Beauchamp’s tone deaf interview and you end up with a recipe for disaster.  With Play by Sephora competing in the $10 beauty box slot, and offering much better quality and size of product, I don’t think Birchbox is long for the subscription world.  Birchbox is going to need to make some huge changes to stay competitive.  We’ll have to wait and see if they are up for the challenge.

Apologies on the dissertation, now let’s get to the fun stuff and take a look in my May 2016.
Open Box 1 Open Box 2
The samples for may were all sunblock oriented, and since I am a pale redhead and particular about my sunscreen, I opted to choose none of them and be surprised instead.
Beauty Protector
Beauty Protector Protect & Detangle
(Full Size $23.50)
Description: “This best-selling elixir locks in color, protects from heat damage, and adds silkiness.
Verdict: How about some new brands?
I know tons of people swear by the Beauty Protector brand, but it’s never done much for me and it’s shown up in a ton of my boxes.  I really wish we could opt out of certain brands – there are a handful that we just keep getting over and over again.  Basing it solely on the product – I don’t color my hair and I almost never heat style – both of which are indicated on my Birchbox profile, so there’s really no reason for this to be in my box.

Cool Mango
COOLA® SPF 50 Sport – Mango
(Full Size: $32.00)
Description: Sweat-proof, water-resistant sunscreen made with organic botanicals (and a fun, fruity scent).”
Verdict: Why do we need scented sunblock?
On the brightside, this is an SPF 50 and sweat proof–on the other side it smells like mango. Ordinarily I love fruity scents, but I don’t want them in a sunblock. I actually didn’t want a sunblock at all which is why I opted not to choose a sunblock sample.

CoTZ® Face Natural Skin Tone SPF 40
(Full Size: $20.00)
Description: ”Silky-smooth to the touch, this formula blends in quickly and leaves behind a sheer matte finish.”
Verdict: Because when you don’t want a sunblock sample, they send you TWO
So my reward for not choosing a sunblock sample is…to get TWO sunblock samples.  Again, why include two of the same type of product?  Yes, summer = SPF, but this product is too similar to the Coola.  Try something else.

JouerJouer Swatch
Jouer Long-Wear Lip Crème Liquid Lipstick in Lychee
(Full Size: $18.00)
Description: ”This weightless liquid lipstick glides on smooth and dries to a soft touch finish that will last all day.
Verdict: Hit!
Finally a product I like.  The Lychee shade is really pretty and liquid crème lipsticks are something I actually don’t have a ton of, so I’m quite happy with this.  This sample is itty bitty, but at least it’s something I’ll use.

Well People
W3LL PEOPLE Bio Correct Multi-Action Concealer in Light
(Full Size: $22.99)
Description: “This ultralight, full-coverage concealer blends easily while hiding imperfections and providing a bright look.”
Verdict:  So close, but no
I’m actually always on the lookout for concealers that work with my skin and last all day so I was excited about this product…but it’s in “light”.  Being a pale redhead, I am almost always the palest shade, so I think “fair” would be the right choice for me.  Again, I have this info on my beauty profile.

Birchbox May 2016
This box came while Birchbox’s old review policy was in place so I paid $10.70 for this box and received $5.00 in Birchbox points with my reviews.  Even with the discount, I’m disappointed. There was repetition of brands and types of products, multiple items that didn’t fit my beauty profile and the one item I liked was quite small.  If Birchbox wants me to pay $10.70 a month for their sub, they are going to have to do better.

For the Birchbox subscribers – How do you feel about Birchbox’s new review policy?  Are you going to cancel or stick with them?

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.
You can redeem reward points for money toward your Birchbox purchases.
You can also earn points by referring/subscribing friends.

Birchbox: December 2015 & a new Limited Edition Box Spoiler!

For the last Birchbox of 2015, the theme was “All Wrapped Up” and I opted once again to splurge on a Birchbox plus item, cue the giant box with lots of wrapped goodies inside.
Big Box Open Big Box
Birchbox Plus Wrapped Birchbox

Tool Box Toolbox 2
Umbra® Toto Storage Box
(Retail Cost: $30.00)
Description: “Just because you’ve decided to take a grown-up approach to storage doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your vibrant, contemporary style. Enter this cute, convenient catchall by Umbra. Featuring a slide-out tray, it easily organizes odds and ends in any room (from Q-tips to lipstick, earrings, or art supplies).”
I’m a sucker for the color mint and organizing so I snatched this one up right away. Unfortunately it’s a bit smaller than I had anticipated – it’s more like desk organizer size rather than say, toolbox size. I think I’m going to use it to organize some crafting items. I paid $26.75 for this so I got a bit of a discount. Plus the mint shade is not available on the Birchbox site anymore, but you can still get it in Eggplant.

(Retail Cost: $12.00)
Description: “There are certain shopping events—back-to-school, holiday gift binges, Whole Foods trips for your inevitably epic housewarming—that demand serious attention. For those times, we turn to this trusty BAGGU Big Tote, which is not only incredibly durable and eco-friendly, but ultrachic too.”
I don’t know why but I got this awesome Freebie with my order. (I think there was some promotion going on that apparently I was totally unaware of).  I actually own two Baggu items in this print, but I just have so many reusable totes like this so I ended up adding to someone’s Christmas gift.

Another pretty box & a coupon:
White Birchbox Open Birchbox Open Birchbox 2 Coupon

Style Eyes 1ShadowssocialEYES swatches
Coastal Scents® styleEYES Palette in socialEYES
(Full Size $12)
Description: A bold, beautiful eye shadow palette in alluring smoky tones.”
Verdict: Love!
I chose this item so it’s no surprise that I love it, but I didn’t anticipate how pretty and pigmented these colors would be. The whole palette only costs $12 so if you’re in the market for one and like these shades you may want to give it a shot.

COOLA® Classic SPF 30 Cucumber Moisturizer for Face
(Full Size: $32.00)
Description: Hydrator that blocks UV rays, protects against future signs of aging, and has a fresh cucumber scent.”
Verdict: Not for gingers
I wish there was an option to request no products with anything below SPF 45. Seriously it’s just useless for me. I’d need to reapply this thing every 5 minutes. I’ll pass this along to a friend who could use it.

JUARA Coconut Illipe Hand & Nail Balm
(Retail Value: $20.00)
Description: ”This fast-absorbing, long-lasting moisturizing balm hydrates, firms and plumps hands and improves nails and cuticles.”
Verdict: Miss
I’ve received Juara products in Birchboxes before and I just don’t care for the brand. I’m also a bit particular about the hand and nail products I like, so this one is a miss.

Oscar De La Renta Signature Eau de Toilette
(Retail Value: $26.00)
Description: ”Inspired by scents from lush gardens in the Dominican Republic, this perfume is feminine and floral, with woodsy notes.
Verdict: and to Grandma’s House we go.
STOP WITH THE PERFUME. Seriously. Please do us all a favor and let us just opt out of perfumes entirely. I chose the least possible amount of perfumes and still I get these fuckers like every month. This is another heavy old lady floral. How about you try some fresher cleaner scents? Or even a fruit one? Why do they all have to smell like your Grandma’s canasta game?

Balm 2Balm 1Balm Swatch
theBalm® cosmetics Frat Boy® Blush/Shadow
(Full Size: $21.00)
Description: “This talc-free, finely ground blush and shadow formula gives skin a fresh radiance that makes you look, and feel, young.”
Verdict: Like
theBalm is a fun brand and this blush has a very natural look on me. I keep hoping I’ll get one of their cream blushes to try out but so far no luck. Besides the eyeshadow this is the only other item I actually like in this box.

Birchbox 12.2015
Cue Sad Trombone
Outside of the sample I picked for myself, I can only really use one item. And not only do I keep getting perfumes, they continue to smell awful. I paid $10.70 for this box and after reviewing the products received $5.00 in Birchbox points. Because the eyeshadow and blush are so small, I don’t really think I got my money’s worth this month. I’m hoping 2016 will bring more makeup samples, less perfumes and some Korean skincare.

What do you hope to see in your 2016 Birchboxes?

A new limited Edition, box called Strong Start box is soon to be released!
Here’s a spoiler:
If you’re interested just keep checking back to the Birchbox LE Box page to see when it drops.

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 2014

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 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.

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. 

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. 

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.


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 

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?


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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