Birchbox Review, July 2016

Birchbox, $10 per month (US only)

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I love this little fluffball!  Soon the baby bun is going to be too big to fit in my Birchbox!

Birchbox is one of the most popular beauty boxes out there.  At $10 a month, it's also one of the most affordable.  Each month, subscribers get five (occasionally six) sample size products.  Birchbox customizes boxes somewhat for subscribers, but, generally, they are heavier on skincare than makeup.  The sample sizes tend to be on the small side and the boxes are usually worth about $25 to $35.  I used to recommend Birchbox because of their fabulous points system, but they did a complete overhaul of that system a little over a week ago and it's not nearly as good now (details here).

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Here's what came in my July Birchbox:

My July Birchbox was worth $34.95.  I'm definitely happy with that value as it's on the high side for a Birchbox.  If I get more deluxe size sample items from Birchbox, I'll be less upset about the points issue.  Birchbox's teeny samples were annoying, but the points system made up for it.  They gave me a full size, three deluxe sample sizes, and a small sample size this month, which is pretty good for them.  They also had a good product mix with two makeup product, two skincare products, and a hair product.

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Clinique's City Block Purifying Charcoal Cleansing Gel was new to me.  Charcoal really gives your skin a deep cleaning, so I'm always happy to get a new charcoal cleanser.  This looks like a black gel in the bottle, but, once it's all lathered up, it becomes a white foam.  It made my skin feel extra clean without drying it out.  I would recommend this if you are in the market for a charcoal cleanser.

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Swatch of LOC Ultra-Gloss Lip Pencil in Punch Line

Swatch of LOC Ultra-Gloss Lip Pencil in Punch Line

LOC is Birchbox's new house brand of makeup.  I had to really build it up to get the color you see in the swatch.  I could barely tell I had anything on my lips.  It was more shine than color and it was on the sticky side.  I loved the other LOC lip product I tried, the Vibrant Matte Lipstick in Glam Life.  The pigment on that was amazing.  I would recommend passing on the Ultra-Gloss pencil and getting one of LOC's better lip products.

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I've gotten the Supergoop! Setting Mist with Rosemary before and have had good results.  It locks my makeup in and gives me added sun protection, so what's not to like?  The price, I suppose, but a little goes a very long way with setting spray, so the 3.4 oz full size should last you a very long time.  It's strange that the name of it highlights the rosemary, though.  This contains peppermint and spearmint and all I could smell was the mint, not the rosemary.  While you should be wearing regular face sunblock, it doesn't hurt to spray this on top so it'll hit any parts you may have missed.  You can never wear enough sunblock in the hot summer months!

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Each month, Birchbox allows subscribers to choose a sample for the following month's box.  They usually give you a choice of three to five products, which are sometimes related to each other (e.g., all the same basic product type, the same brand, or the same exact product but in different colors or scents) and sometimes not.  This month, they offered subscribers three mascaras to choose from. The three mascara options were:  Smashbox X-Rated Mascara, Elizabeth Mott It's So Big Volumizing Mascara, and Marcelle Xtension Plus Curl Mascara.  Usually, I've found, even if you don't choose one of the options, Birchbox is going to put one of them in your box anyway, so, if you have any sort of preference, you should just go ahead and choose.  I'm picky about mascara and I know that I love Smashbox X-Rated, so I chose that sample because I wasn't sure if I'd like the other two mascaras.  This mascara gives me lots of length, a little volume, and, most importantly, it doesn't clump.  This is one of my favorite mascaras, so I'm always happy to have a backup!  If you got one of the other mascaras, what did you think of it?

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The last product in my July Birchbox was the Lulu Organics Lavender and Clary-Sage Hair Powder.  This is a dry shampoo.   I wasn't expecting to like it all that much because lavender and sage just aren't my scents, but I actually liked how this smelled.  I guess the combination of the two scents works!  This sopped up the excess oil in my hair, didn't leave a white cast, and, surprisingly, left my hair feeling softer than usual.  At $30 for 4 oz, it's on the expensive side for a dry shampoo, but I'll enjoy using the sample while it lasts.

Besides the LOC lip color, I was very happy with my July Birchbox.  The Smashbox mascara was my favorite of the products, but I love the Clinique face wash, Lulu Organics dry shampoo, and Supergoop! setting mist as well.  I'm glad Birchbox sent me such a good box after messing with the points system so much.  They're going to have to really wow subscribers to keep us from canceling.  I'm hoping to see more boxes like this one from Birchbox because the points system isn't going to save them from the axe anymore.