Birchbox: June 2015

My bout with the plague (otherwise known as an upper respiratory infection) has really taken a toll on my blogging and so I find myself with lots of boxes and products to tell you about. I’ve still got a few June boxes left amidst all the new July hoopla so I’m going to start this week with my June Birchbox.

Adventure was the theme of the June box, so let’s dive in and see what “adventurous” products are included.
Box
Open Box 1 Open Box 2

Caudalie
Caudalie Vinoperfect Day Perfecting Fluid SPF 15

(Full Size: $49.00)
Description: This ultra light weight moisturizer preps skin for makeup, minimizes pores, and blocks UV rays.”
Verdict: Miss/Gift
Caudalie is a great brand, but no way is SPF 15 enough for me. I’ll have to pass this along to someone who isn’t a soulless ginger.

Perfume
CLEAN Fresh Laundry

(Full Size 2.14 oz: $69.00)
Description: Citrus, floral and wood notes make this fragrance as crisp as your just-folded linens..”
Verdict: Miss/Gift
Perfume is typically a miss for me as many scents can give me headaches. This one was a bit strong for my taste, but I can definitely see the appeal of it so I’ll  pass it along to someone else who’ll appreciate it.

Microwater
Dr. Jart+ Dermaclear™ Micro Water

(Full Size: $32.00)
Description: ”Made with active hydrogen mineral water, this cleansing water removes makeup and brightens skin.
Verdict: Love!
I chose this sample for my box because cleansing water has been such a huge trend and I wanted to see what the hype was about. I honestly didn’t expect much but this is a really refreshing cleanser that does a great job of removing makeup while still being gentle on the skin. I think this would be a perfect cleanser to throw in your weekender for a summer getaway.

Shampoo & Cond.
Klorane Shampoo with Mango Butter

(Full Size 13.4 oz: $20.00)
Description: Made with rich mango butter, this creamy formula nourishes, smooths and hydrates parched strands.”
Klorane Shampoo with Mango Butter
(Full Size 5.07 oz: $16.00)
Verdict: Like
I know, I know, I usually complain about getting tons of shampoo and conditioner from Birchbox and I’m always talking about my hatred of foil packets, but since Nina Garcia blew my entire haircare budget on fancy hair masks, I need to get some basics wherever I can. In this case the foil packet is just an extra and since it’s for the conditioner, I can just use the excess shampoo with one of my oh so numerous conditioning treatments and masks. I like Klorane and fruity scented things so this one is a win for me.

Eyeliner
Marcelle Waterproof Eyeliner

(Full Size: $11.00)
Description: ”This blendable waterproof eyeliner goes on smoothly and stays put all day.
Verdict: Like/Gift
I love blue liners, but I currently have a plethora of them so I’m going to pass this along to a friend. It’s still a nice item to receive and a great size for a sample box.

BONUS ITEM

Hair Tie
Erickson Grab & Go Pony Tube

(Full Size: $18.00)
Description: ”We’ve added in this ponytail holder from L. Erickson for a chic pop of color.
Verdict: Hit!
This is a bonus item and I’m really happy with it. I have long hair and am constantly looking for hair ties to use around the house. The ubiquitous elastic ribbon style we get in so many sub boxes stretches out in no time at all, so I’m hoping this type will be more durable.

OVERALL
Full Box
Verdict:
Like

Okay you caught me, I’m giving this a “like” just because it had no Supergoop. But really, although a lot of the items weren’t a fit for me, I think they made sense in the overall box and were good picks for summer. I’ll use the shampoo and ponytail holder and I really enjoyed trying out the Dermaclear.   My box cost me $10.70, and I received $6.00 worth of Birchbox credits after my reviews, bringing the total down to $4.70. I think that’s a fair price for the samples I’ll use.

Have you tried any “cleansing water” yet? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!

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.

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.

Birchbox: August 2014

As we’re heading into this warm September, I still have a few August boxes to show you guys. Included in these stragglers is my August Birchbox.

Box

So the usual cute Birchbox.
Box2

Now for what’s inside.
Open Box

Anyone else tired of the unbiquitous “keep calm” memes? Show of hands?

Open Box 2

This month’s theme is “Lighten up.” And it’s supposed to help us keep “cool” and laugh “our way into fall”. Interesting. Let’s see if it lives up to the hype.

Liner
Noir Cosmetics Long-Wear Eyeliner
(Retail: $15.00)
Description: Thanks to vitamin E and jojoba oil, the crayon has an uncommonly smooth texture that makes it easy to draw a rich line without pulling the sensitive skin around your eyes.”
Verdict: Miss/Gift
So Birchbox has been sending out emails to allow us to choose one sample in our boxes. Previously, I’d received my emails with no problem until the August choice, when my email didn’t take me to the selection page. I assumed that the email was only an announcement and the selection email would come later. Sadly, I was wrong. This eyeliner was one of the options subscribers could choose from.  Once I knew I’d lost my choice, I was sure I’d get this, since it was the one option that would be totally useless for me. I very very rarely wear black eyeliner. As a pale redhead I just look goth if I try to wear this outside of an evening look. I didn’t swatch this since I wanted to gift it. I’d love to see less black eyeliners in these boxes. Most subscribers have a ton of black (or don’t use it at all) and it’s not like there is much shade variation there.  How many black eyeliners do you really need?  At least with another neutral like brown or gray you have more shade variations to work with.

Shampoo
amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo
(5.3 oz Retail: $21.00)
Description: The weightless spray absorbs excess oil and dirt, leaving locks clean and deodorized as well as lighter and softer. Plus, it can be used on color-treated hair.”
Verdict: Gift
This may win the award for most adorable travel sized packaging. Unfortunately, I am well stocked with dry shampoo of both regular and travel size but I’m putting together a travel beauty kit as a gift and this will be the perfect addition.

Naobay Body Radiance Lotion
(250 ml Retail: $24)
Description: “Olive oil, shea butter, and avocado oil deliver serious moisture, while aloe vera soothes and protects skin.”
Verdict: Meh
For some reason I forgot to take a picture of this one (Sorry folks, guess old age is finally getting to me). There are so many lotions on the market, that for me to rush out and buy one it has to wow me and this just doesn’t. It’s light, the smell is inoffensive, and it seems to moisturize well enough, but it’s not compelling in any way. There’s nothing wrong with it per se, but it’s just not a win for me.

BBDr. Jart+ Dis-A-Pore Beauty Balm
(1.7 oz Retail: $36.00)
Description: “”This tinted BB cream, for use on combination to oily skin, treats and tightens pores and fine lines for a smooth, even complexion. At the same time, the all-in-one formula protects skin from harmful UV rays and hydrates as it works to keep oils at bay.”
Verdict: More Meh
For vampires like me, spf 30 isn’t enough.   I have combination skin and I didn’t find that this did much for my pores (which are quite large and noticeable). I also found the coverage on this just a bit too sheer for my taste.   Another miss.

Eye CreamBenefit It’s Potent! Eye Cream
(.5 oz – Retail: $34.00)
Description: Lush hydrator that brightens dark circles and boosts skin’s elasticity over time.”
Verdict: Meh Squared
So I actually love trying out eye creams. I think they are a really important part of a skincare routine, but these packets are so tiny there’s no way to determine if this cream is effective. There are some products that can work decently in foil packets (hair styling creams, shampoos/conditioners, perfumes, body creams, face masks, etc) but eye creams and anti-aging products do not fall into that category. And while those little cardboard containers may look kind of big there is only an itty bitty tiny amount in each one. There is no way for me to judge an eye cream adequately after only 2 uses. It’s just a waste to put this in the box. Now if this had been a small tube where I could at least get a week’s worth of applications, this would have been a “love”.

 Full Box
OVERALL
Verdict:
Meh to infinity & beyond!

I’m finding the theme here to be a bit mixed. I guess the dry shampoo and the spf 30 BB cream go with the lighten up, but how does a black liner called “noir” fit into that?  Nothing about black gel liner feels “light” to me.

This was probably the biggest miss for me since signing up with Birchbox. I was super disappointed that I missed out on picking my sample since there were a few options I would have loved and that on their own would have made this box a success.

Because I made a regular Birchbox purchase with a special coupon code, I got this month’s Birchbox for free and after reviewing each item, my points earned me the equivalent of $5.00, so despite my dislike of this box, I still came out ahead.

What did you get in your August Birchbox? Did the items jive with the “lighten up” theme?

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.