Wednesday, February 15, 2017

February Birchbox First Impressions

Birchbox is a $10 a month subscription that sends 5 samples of mid-to-high-end products right to your doorstep. The samples are on the small size by if you like high end and skincare, keep reading. If larger sample sizes and more makeup oriented subscriptions are more your thing then check out my Ipsy reviews.

I won't Bullshit you, I prefer Ipsy because they have a superior points system (Ipsy gives you points for every item you review, Birchbox only offers points for 5 reviews throughout the lifetime of your account), Ipsy offers larger sample sizes (though you run the risk of getting drugstore brand things which honestly doesn't bother me), and Ipsy leans more toward makeup while Birchbox is pretty haircare (boo!) and skincare (yay!) heavy. That being said, Birchbox gives me the opportunity to try different brands that I otherwise wouldn't splurge for blindly (Hi, Dr. Brandt!) I would say my biggest Birchbox complaint is paying $10 for frequently getting foil packets. Or the inability to opt or of something like dry shampoo (more below on this). Ok, maybe more than one complaint. I would complain about shades but it took Ipsy a very long time to hit a stride with my profile. Now that I can check turning people off from potentially subscribing (sorry) on to this month's samples.

Birchbox promised to make lips February's focus and they certainly delivered. I did not choose my sample this month but I ended up with two of the possible choices in my box, which was almost awesome.
The first lip product I got was the Dr. Lipp Miracle Balm. It is extremely sticky, super thick, and I wouldn't use it for a fraction of the uses recommended (brows, anyone?) unless I maybe wanted to seal an open sore I sustained during surgery or a jaunt through the tundra or maybe waterproofing in a jungle. Really, breast feeding nipple chaffing. This looks like a rebranding of the Dr. Lipp Nipple Balm for Lips and the formulation is 100% Lanolin aka the shit you slap on your nips when you're breastfeeding so you don't die of suckling. The packaging is cuter though, and you're definitely paying for that. If thick, waxy balms aren't your thing (as they aren't mine) dodge this. This tiny 5ml sample is so small that I will power through and use it up. Does a damn great job of sealing in moisture (even overnight and in biting Chicago winter winds), I just hate the feeling of it on.

The Manna Kadar lip gloss was an instant loss for me. The formula was very thick, super pigmented and a little sticky but the color was such a rich super Barbie pink that I just couldn't do it. I had to give it to a coworker. And I must say I believe this product overstates its abilities a bit. It is a thick creamy liquid lipstick that doesn't dry down to matte. It had a cream Finish, not gloss, it might pass as a stain just due to the fact that you have to scrape the layer off, and why the duck would this ever be called a primer? (Shittily swatched below.)

The one actual win for me this month would be the Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Skin Exfoliant. Oh my god I fell in love at first use. It has what I look for in an exfoliant, a very fine grit (in this case aluminum oxide) to remove dead skin. "You know it's ripping off a layer of your face, right?" "You know you can just fuck right off, right?" I understand some people prefer chemical exfoliants but I'm a little wary after a brightening peel mask I've used in the past. It did brighten (about as much as a physical exfoliant) but I had to check and see if I was actually on fire or not.

I've been working on the Embryolisse 24-Hour Miracle Cream and I'm just not loving it. The tube is metal and just teeny so what little product that's in there just spooges out at me. It smells slightly like melted plastic and cat anus and it never fully absorbs into the skin, just sits like a thick greasy layer. I feel like the pole in a strip club when the cleanup girl goes on vacation and nobody could be found to replace her on short notice.

And finally, dear sweet Amika. Can't use, no thanks. All I can offer is that it smells like hair spray. I ended up giving this to a friend. Please note, I've already reached out to Birchbox about not getting dry shampoos ever and they so expertly shot down my request, didn't acknowledge I even made a request and provided a generic answer and the proceeded to ask me to fill out a survey asking whether or not I found their response helpful.

Total box value: $19.45
Total value of stuff I would actually use: $15.51
For a box that tries to focus on high end brands the total box value is pretty fucking sad. But then, I just keep telling myself it was only $10. This month though that $10 could have gone to a paper shredder and have been put to better use. Except for you, Dr. Brandt. You're still ok in my book. 
Piss poor lighting but just know it was way too light

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