Sunday, January 8, 2017

January Birchbox First Impressions

I'm trying this new thing where I do things in the month that they're due. I've gone 32 years without doing this once. Ever. Fortunately, Birchbox samples are so tiny that they're pretty easy to blast through and I don't have to worry about getting too thorough of a feel for them because they're gone before I can ever really get to that point, where I'm still working on a lip balm I got from a subscription box back in August. And just in case that was a strong enough selling point (it wasn't, it really wasn't) here's a referral link to get you started.

Birchbox x Self January 2017

This month's box included 6 items; one was a single use bonus foil packet. The box itself, hosted by Self Magazine was pretty cute and supposed to inspire a New-Years-Resolution type vibe in me. It did, for about 5 minutes until I remembered how much work, and ultimately disappointment, would be involved in any New Years Resolutions and I quickly abandoned that idea.

Birchbox seems to know that my face has recently exploded in acne like a 15 year old boy 4 days before Homecoming Dance. It's pretty awful, actually and I was worried that I was pregnant (acne explosions are one of the first signs of pregnancy in my past 2 experiences) but then I quickly realized I'm just fat and blemished. Crisis averted. Tangent aside, I received the Evologie Intensive Blemish Serum ($23.33 value, cruelty free). This 10mL little guy was damn near full sized. A full sized version is 15mL and costs $35. Who the hell would want to spend that much on a blemish serum if you can buy a drug store brand or Clean & Clear for under $10? Well, let my face tell you, this stuff was pretty magical. It smells pretty strong (tea tree oil) but it was more or less like spreading unicorn semen over my blemishes. I tend to think "Welp, it will just clear up in a few days anyway" when I use any topical benzoyl peroxide (which this product does not contain) or salicylic acid treatments on my face, but this cleared up any fresh acne within about 36 hours. Way better than my usual 4 day recovery time. I *might* consider buying the full sized, but I'm not sure. Now I've been using it daily to reduce the appearance of acne scars (one of the product's claims). I will get back to you on that one.

I can't say I hate Eyeko, but I'm never happy to see them. This month it was the Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner ($10.29 value). The tip appears to have the same width as my Eye Do liner from September, but this one seems to draw a little more precisely than that does. I chalk that up to the used Eye Do liner tip making it too soft and flexible. Either way, I am thoroughly displeased with the thickness of this liner. Maybe if I did not have small beady eyes (Paris Hilton, anybody) or motor skills comparable to those of a toddler. Their website states "we are against animal testing" but I think I will call bullshit on that very vague, general admonition of animal testing.
Update: This link states that Eyeko is indeed cruelty free. I just wish the Eyeko website was more forthcoming.
Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner 

Number 4 Super Comb Prep & Protect ($4.30 value, cruelty free) was a bit of a wasted sample. So I've mentioned several times in the past that my wool-dupe hair just laughs at most sprays. I used it on the tots but it's a waste on them too since I'm not really using any heat tools on them and it doesn't do much to soften or detangle super soft baby hair anyway. Lizzie is closer to having real people hair, but there's still a noticeable difference between her and say a 7 year old. At least I will never have to buy more (somehow even more useless) Johnson & Johnson's for them. Kudos to you for trying, Birchbox. Keep working at it.

Parlor by Jeff Chastain Moisturizing & Repairing Shampoo ($2.80 value, cruelty free)-It shampooed. In that sense it worked and it was nice. I do like that the bottle is big enough to get at least two washes out of it, and this includes using the wash-rinse-repeat method (I never get a good lather on the first try). It smelled like shampoo. That's a win?

Bonus Item: Parlor by Jeff Chastain Moisturizing & Repairing Conditioner ($1.20, cruelty free)-So I'm not really sure how I feel about this foil packet. I mean, great, thanks for including a bonus item. And seriously, thank you for giving me an item that complements the shampoo. It is annoying to get a shampoo or conditioner without its counterpart and I suspect I would be annoyed if one of my samples was wasted on a product duo; I'm already getting two hair care items in one box. The foil was large enough to get 1.25 shampoos out of it but I went balls to the wall and just killed off the entire thing and let me just say it smelled amazing! That entire shower just kept smelling phenomenal for like an hour after I stepped out. It reeked of lemongrass and maybe a hint of citrus. Did it work though? Not a damn bit. It did not detangle, it was not overly moisturizing for my hair, I probably did more damage trying to comb my hair out in the shower than I would if I had used one of my usual products (Hey, Shea Moisture. How you doin'?).  But goddamn if it didn't smell good while it was doing nothing.

My final, laughable sample was the Glow Tonic To-Go by Pixi by Petra ($0.60, cruelty free). The full size is 60 pads for $18.  So doing the math, I got a whopping 2, count 'em, 2 pads. That's the perfect size for getting an idea of whether or not it's worth buying a product, right?

All in all it wasn't a bad box. The total value of this month's box was $42.52 which does crush the $10 cost of the box. Less the cost of the products I won't be using on myself, I'm sitting at $37.22, which doesn't count anyway since the Number 4 is going to be used on the wee ones. I'm waiting for the day that Birchbox decides to chill on the hair care, at least for me. I'm just grateful there wasn't a dry shampoo in this box or my co-worker who's starting a collection of these will try to asphyxiate me while dual wielding these things. I've been enjoying the skincare I have received so far, overall and I love how many of the companies and products are cruelty free though. That is very refreshing. Now, to alleviate the guilt of killing the environment through useless packaging.

Final thoughts: I love this acne treatment and holy hell, did that conditioner smell wonderful. Telling that the thing from this box that I was most enthused about was the freebie foil packet though.

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