Birchbox, $10 per month (US only)
Aren't these little guys just the sweetest? They are 3-week-old Holland Lop buns. They're sneaky little things! I'm lucky I got any pictures of them in the Birchbox because they kept trying to run off. Aren't their little ears the cutest? They're lops, so their ears will be going down soon.
Birchbox is one of the biggest beauty box subscriptions. At $10 per month, it's quite affordable, and it's a great way to get a basic introduction to beauty companies and products. The sample sizes tend to be smaller than those of ipsy, but the products are generally higher end. There's a mix of hair care, skincare, and makeup products, but Birchbox tends to be a heavy on skincare, while ipsy is heavier on makeup. Subscribers fill out profiles and Birchbox customizes boxes for subscribers based off those profiles. Each month, Birchbox allows subscribers to select one item that will go in their box for the following month. Subscribers are generally given a choice of three to five items -- sometimes the selection of products appears to be random, other times it's the same product type but made by different companies (e.g., mascara, moisturizer, hairspray), other times it's a few different products from the same company, and still other times it's one product, but you get to choose the shade or scent. Many times, even if you decline to choose a sample, you'll still get one of those items in your box, so I recommend choosing one if you have any sort of preference. Instead of choosing a sample, subscribers can opt for a special curated box. The boxes are curated either by a special guest or they are curated around a theme. Birchbox shows you which products will be in the curated box, so you won't be getting any surprises, but, if you like what you see, you should go for it. The curated boxes are usually sent out earlier in the month than all the other boxes, so that's an added bonus.
As I mentioned last month, one of Birchbox's biggest draws, the points system, is no more. It technically still exists, but it's nothing like it was before. Previously, you could get points for referring friends, points for purchasing items in their online shop, and points for reviewing the samples you received each month. You'll still get points for referrals and shop purchases, but you won't be getting points for sample reviews. Subscribers will be able to review five products for points and then will never be able to review products for points again. If you reviewed your July box after July 10th, you won't be able to receive points for further reviews. If you reviewed your July box before July 10th as I suggested, then you'll be able to review your August products for points. Points will now expire after six months. The only good change Birchbox made to the points system was that you can spend the points in $1 increments instead of $10 increments -- 10 points = $1, so you no longer have to save up 100 points if you want to buy something in the shop. Birchbox lost a lot of subscribers over this change. Many subscribers didn't care that Birchbox values were on the low side because they knew that they would get $5 worth of shop credit for reviewing a $10 box. I often wondered how Birchbox could afford to be so generous with points, but I guess the answer was that they couldn't. I wish that they had reduced the number of points subscribers received for reviewing samples (e.g., 5 points per review instead of 10) before eliminating points for reviews entirely. This change also makes getting Birchbox Aces status harder, which means not many people will get sample choice a day early. I want to keep my early sample choice, so the link at the top of the page has my referral link. If you don't want to use that, though, here's the regular link: Birchbox.
I chose the curated box. Here's what I got this month:
- Living Proof No Frizz Nourishing Oil (small sample, worth $2.24 ; full size costs $38)
- Beauty Protector Protect and Detangle (deluxe sample, worth $5.88; full size costs $23.50)
- Marcelle BB Cream Golden Glow (small sample, worth $4.49; full size costs $26.95)
- Acure Organics Coconut and Argan Oil Cleansing Towelettes (12-pack, worth $2.80 ; 30-pack costs $6.99)
- Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Patina (deluxe sample, worth $12; full size costs $24)
- HUM Nutrition Raw Beauty Green Superfood Powder (teeny sample, worth $1.28; full size costs $39)
My August Birchbox was worth $28.69. That's a little on the low side, but it's not unheard of for Birchbox. It's still worth almost three times the cost of the box. Oftentimes, I've found that curated boxes are worth more than the regular boxes, but that wasn't the case this month. The curated box was called Endless Summer, but I don't really see what the samples had to do with the theme. I chose it because I wanted to try the Acure towelettes and the Marcelle BB Cream.
I don't get frizz, so I didn't think that Living Proof's No Frizz Nourishing Oil was going to do much for me. It gave me some added moisture and helped minimize flyaways, so it helped some. I'll use this on my hair when it's feeling particularly dry, but I wouldn't bother buying it. If you have a lot of frizziness, this might be more useful for you than it was for me.
I've gotten Beauty Protector Protect and Detangle in my Birchbox before and have had good luck with it. I try to keep my hair short enough so that it doesn't tangle. I always know it's time for a haircut when I'm getting rats' nests at the back of my neck. This is a great product to have around when I'm due for a haircut but haven't quite had time to make it into the salon. Besides detangling, it'll also protect your hair from the sun and heat, give you some added shine, and keep your color locked in. I love the scent of this stuff. If you have a Birchbox subscription for an extended period of time, you're going to get this sample at some point. I think every Birchbox subscriber eventually gets this product and Harvey Prince Hello for some reason.
Marcelle usually isn't my favorite brand, but I wanted to try this BB cream. It's supposed to give your skin a universally flattering golden glow, plus it's supposed to even out your complexion, moisturize your skin, and fight signs of aging. I've swatched it above. I wouldn't use this alone on my skin, but it worked when I used a foundation over it. Once you've put foundation over it, though, you can't exactly see the glow. I'll just stick to primer.
I like Acure Organics, so that was the main reason I chose the curated box. These are supposed to have a coconut scent, but I'm not really getting that from them. They're scented and I know the scent from somewhere, but I just can't place it. I like the smell, though. These are quite small and dry for makeup remover wipes, so I was skeptical that they would work. One wipe was able to take off a full face of makeup, though, so I was impressed. At $6.99 for 30 wipes, they are on the expensive side. They are vegan and organic, however, so, if those things are important to you, this might be worth the money.
I've found Stila Day All Day Liquid Lipstick to be long-lasting and have great pigment, so I was looking forward to trying another lipstick from the line. Less than a year ago, Birchbox sent every subscriber one of these lipsticks, so I thought it was a little strange to see one in this month's curated box. Patina is a gorgeous dusty rose color, as you can see above. I took pictures of it applied directly to my skin and then a picture of it rubbed out a bit so you can see what it looks like on. The color was very pigmented and it was flattering on me. While I don't believe any color is truly universal, I think that this color could look good on a lot of different complexions. I had to touch this up once after eating, but it stayed on for most of the day. OCC lip tar will always be my favorite lip product, but Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick is also a good choice.
The last product was HUM Raw Beauty Green Superfood Powder. This is a mint chocolate chip flavored powder that you are supposed to mix into your drink to give you energy, boost your metabolism, and make your skin radiant. While I get that HUM is saying that you need to be healthy to have beautiful skin, I still think this was a strange thing for Birchbox to include in a box. I can't bring myself to try this, but I'm trying to get Emily to throw it in one of her drinks. I'll let you know what she thinks if I can get her taste it.
This month's Birchbox wasn't amazing, but it was pretty good. I loved the Stila Stay All Day Lipstick and the Acure towelettes. The Beauty Defender detangler is something I need every couple months, so it'll be good to have around. The Living Proof oil was okay, but isn't really for my hair type. The Marcelle BB Cream didn't do much for me and the HUM drink powder is definitely not for me. What did you think of your August Birchbox? Has anyone tried the HUM? If so, how was it? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!