Birchbox Review, April 2016

Birchbox, $10 per month, US only

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Here's a ten-day-old Holland Lop bunny hanging out in my April Birchbox.  Today was a special day for them because they opened their eyes for the first time!  Eye opening day is always one of my favorite days with baby bunnies.  They're a little squinty now, but they'll have them wide open in a couple of days.

Birchbox is the most popular monthly beauty box.  They customize boxes for subscribers based on a beauty profile people fill out upon subscribing and also on ratings that subscribers give to products.  The product sizes are often quite small, but the brands tend to be higher end.  I find most Birchboxes I get are worth between $20 and $30, which isn't bad for a $10 box.  Each month, Birchbox has a special curated box.  Subscribers can choose between the curated box and a surprise box.  Those who do not choose the curated box have an opportunity to choose from several products and the product they choose will be one of their five products.

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Here's what was in my April Birchbox:

My April Birchbox was worth about $28.40.  Neither the Au Naturale Mini Face Palette nor the Odacité serum had the sample size listed, so I had to estimate the values for them.  $28 is pretty average for a Birchbox.  This month, none of the sample choice products interested me, so everything was a surprise.

Isn't the box cover this month so pretty?!  I love when Rifle Paper Co. designs the Birchbox cover.  They do it maybe once or twice a year.  Each Birchbox subscriber got a coupon code for 20% off their next order of Rifle Paper products.  I will not be using my code, so I would be happy to give it to anyone who wants.  The code is one-time use, so, if multiple people want it, I'll give it to the first one who asked.

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I've gotten the amika Un.Done Texture Spray in beauty boxes before.  Texturizing spray has never been something I've liked, but Emily loves the stuff.  It doesn't do anything for my hair, but it makes her hair look amazing.  She thought this worked even better than other texturizers she's tried and thought it smelled really good, so this product will get plenty of use.

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Au Naturale is a brand I'd never heard of before.  Birchbox offers a few trios of blush, lipstick, and eyeshadow from Au Naturale.  They threw in a mini set of the trio so subscribers could try the products before buying the whole set.  I got the Lively trio.  I'm not sure if they were sending out the trios in the other colors in boxes, or if everyone who got one of these got the same colors.  

I wasn't impressed with this makeup at all.  Birchbox says these have great pigment, but I did not find that to be the case.  I've swatched the colors below.  As you can see, the eyeshadow, pictured on the left, is barely visible in the swatch.  I used a lot of cream shadow to build the color up to the level pictured and you can't even really see it.  The middle product in the swatch is a cream blush.  While it is clearly visible, I had to really build it up to get enough color.  The lipstick is pictured on the right.  When I put it on my lips, it looked more like a lip stain than a cream lipstick and I didn't like the look of it at all.  I thought this little palette was cute and I was looking forward to trying it, but it ended up not being for me at all.  

Au Naturale Mini Face Palette in Lively.  Left, cream eyeshadow in Ivory; middle, cream blush in Palermo; right, lipstick in Sangria.

Au Naturale Mini Face Palette in Lively.  Left, cream eyeshadow in Ivory; middle, cream blush in Palermo; right, lipstick in Sangria.

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I love Dr. Jart+!  Dr. Jart+ is know for making amazing Korean skincare products, so I was surprised when I saw that they had a contour cream.  I assumed it was cream makeup for contouring, but I was wrong.  Instead, this is a cream meant to firm and lift your skin.  I've tried it a couple of times so far, but not long enough to see if it is effective.  The sample is very small, so I doubt I will have enough of this product to see real results.  I hate when beauty box companies send you a teeny sample of an anti-aging product or some other beauty product that needs to be used for an extended period of time to see if it will work for you.  There's almost no point in trying it.  If they want us to spend $60 on their product, then they need to prove to us that their product is worth it.

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I've gotten several Marcelle products over the years, but I think this is the first time I've gotten their Micellar Solution.  This is supposed to remove makeup, clean your face, and also act as a toner.  It worked okay as a makeup remover, but this isn't something I would use regularly to take off my makeup.  I preferred it as a toner.  I don't see myself buying this product, but I will use it while it lasts.  

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Finally, there was this microscopic sample of Odacité Black Cumin and Cajeput Serum Concentrate.  If you have sensitive skin or use Retin A, you are not supposed to use this product.  This is a serum that is meant to be used in the morning to keep bacteria that cause acne from spreading.  I've used it once and have enough for one or two more uses, so I won't be able to determine how effective this is.  I would love to see how well this works because it sounds like it could be a great product for me.  Unfortunately, with a sample this small, I won't know if it works well enough to decide if I want to purchase this serum.

I had been looking forward to my Birchbox this month, but it ended up not being as good as I had hoped.  Emily liked the amika spray and I thought the Marcelle micellar solution was okay.  I did not like the Au Naturale palette at all.  My biggest complaint this month is that the Dr. Jart+ cream and Odacité serum seem like promising products that I would potentially want to purchase, but the samples are just too small for me to know whether they are worth the price.  If I can't see how effective a product is, then I'm not going to spend a considerable amount of money on it.  I get that beauty companies don't want to spend tons of money making samples and Birchbox doesn't want to spend much on the samples.  The purpose of beauty box companies is to allow subscribers to figure out which products work best for them so that they can purchase those products in the future.  Small samples are generally fine for makeup and items that give you immediate results (e.g., a facial cleanser, primer, makeup remover, perfume), but if a company wants to show you how effective their product is at fighting signs of aging or preventing acne, then they need to give you a big enough sample to use for a couple of weeks.  It might cost them a little more money to make the samples, but they're much more likely to gain a loyal customer.

The beauty boxes seem to be taking their time to come in this month, but I'll be getting reviews up as soon as I can.  The only other box I've gotten so far is DermStore BeautyFix.  You can expect to see that review in the next day or two.  There will be lots of teeny baby bunny pictures in the coming weeks!  You'll be able to watch them grow up.  They are so adorable!