Way late on this one. I couldn’t even manage to get a Birchbox review out in the month that I received the effing box but there have been childcare issues, a mother-in-law hospital visit and a wedding thrown in there sometime last month not to mention me falling dead in an autoclave because of working so many stupid hours as of late. Excuses aside, at least this gave me 19 days to play with my shiny new toys, no?
Birchbox is a monthly subscription that delivers five samples (sometimes deluxe sized) items to your apartment buzzer for $10 a month. This is a great subscription box if you are conscious of brand names, sample size doesn’t really bother you and you’re very into skincare or haircare items. In my experience, Birchbox isn’t very makeup heavy (unlike Ipsy), however that could just be due to my preferences there. Birchbox also gives you the option to pick one of three sample options (the other four items will be selected for you through the service), opt to not select your sample and have five items chosen for you based on your profile, or a curated box which has all items revealed, usually selected by the editorial staff (though this month the Curated Box was curated by Reese Witherspoon and her Draper James lifestyle line). If you’re interested, insert referral link here.
This month surprised me. It felt like the Birchbox FINALLY took some of my preferences into account when choosing items for me and I was actually pretty excited to feel acknowledged. I also ended up with two cosmetics items, pretty uncommon so far as I’ve seen in my last four boxes. My samples in March included:
- Arrow ENHANCE Waterproof Eye Brightener in Bright Now ($8.50?, CF, V)
- Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream (sample choice, $4.04 value)
- Coastal Scents Revealed Smokey Eyeshadow Duo ($0.46, CF)
- Curl Keeper Original ($2.19, CF).
I was instantly thrilled to see that I got something for curly hair instead of the ever present dry shampoo that I cannot use. I’ve never tried Curl Keeper products prior to this month (I’m pretty partial to Shea Moisture and Carol’s Daughter when I want to splurge) but why the hell not. The packaging isn’t exactly a foil packet. It’s from one of the display stands you can buy to sell samples at a small beauty supply. One ounce is pretty generous though as a sample. I can definitely get more than one use out of it. It smells fine, like a salon almost, but the texture was just crazy slimy feeling. Like an annelid on a rainy day in a bowl of jello. It didn’t penetrate my hair at all and upon first application I just laughed and set it aside for the kids. After my failed attempt to use the Curl Keeper Leave-In Conditioner from my March Ipsy bag I’ve decided this brand just isn’t for me. Perhaps it is better suited for less ethnic curls, because this was a struggle for even the 3B child. The website says it should be adequate for my hair type so now I'm just wanting to find someone to teach me how to style and care for my natural hair (or pay someone to do it for me because I'm lazy). Wasn't one of my New Year's Resolutions to take better care of my hair? Barely April and that resolution has already gone to shit... like 2 months ago.
Keeping up with the hair care trend, holy crap am I excited to see Shea Moisture in this box. I feel like most people would be disappointed seeing a brand readily available in Target or Walgreens in a subscription box but the sample is a pretty solid size (3.2 fl oz) and something I know I love and will get some use out of. I’ve used this so many times in the past. The smell is to die for and I feel like it really gets to the root (no pun intended) when cleaning my hair.
I wasn’t sure whether or not I wanted to be excited about the Arrow ENHANCE Waterproof Eye Brightener because I don’t usually use eye wideners. This has a very faint pearlescent shimmer and is a very light pink on lighter tones. On me it just comes off as a bit ashy but that just means I would need to add a shadow to my lower lash line to look less dead. This little guy is not joking about being waterproof either. It took some effort to get rid of this swatch. It’s also very creamy so it applies easily to the waterline. Lastly, I can only assume this was an error on the part of Birchbox but I received two of these little guys so I gave one to my coworker who is fair complected. The full sized double ended product (black liner on one end, eye brightener on the other) is listed as being 0.02 oz on the Birchbox site but the packaging on my single eye brightener says it is 0.028 oz, making it impossible for me to guess a value since I highly doubt Birchbox would offer a sample size larger than the full sized product. As a result, I just lifted my estimated value from My Subscription Addiction-I liked Liz’s rationale.
I chose Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream this month for my spoiler sample because why not? Face moisturizer is very boring, I know but I’ve never tried Kiehl’s products but I pass their store longingly from across the mall whenever I have to wander out that way on an expedition. There was the sex appeal of trying something high end, something costly, and the knowledge that I will always have a want and need for a face moisturizer, regardless of how many I currently have open and actively in use. This face cream is teh sex (my old, nerdy gaming ass is showing, sorry). It is everything I look for in a moisturizer formula: It is lightweight, absorbs very quickly and without leaving a greasy or coating residue and it smells slightly fragrant, very nice.
The final item I got was a two-bangy of the Coastal Scents Revealed Smoky Palette. The two shades were an almost silvery-champagne color and a deeper taupe shade and I’ll be honest, I was underwhelmed. The shades look nice but I’m dark enough that they don’t exactly stand out on my skin tone. They ended up looking like all of the other mid-range brown shades I already own, just slightly ashier. My other complaint is just how powdery the two shadows are and how they do kick up a lot of dust and result in an amazing amount of fallout somehow. While I appreciate the effort in considering the shades for me, I have way too many shadows too similar to these two shades and it wasn’t worth me getting upset with the amount of fallout or lack of pigmentation. I ended up passing this on to my coworker as well.
On the whole I am happy with my March Birchbox. I feel like they finally started trying to customize my boxes to fit my personal style, from product types to shades pulled. Everything was great quality except for the Coastal Scents and even then, I want to chalk that up to my being overly aggressive during application while trying to create a look that doesn’t look like Satin, You’re Toast, Desert Sunset #2, Bedroom Eyes or Desert Sands. The total value of my box came out to $17.90 (not including the second eyeliner) so I’m still in the plus. Not just that but the only thing I gave away that I knew I wouldn’t use was pretty basic and It’s not like I don’t have more of those shades.
Below are the two shades from the Smoky Revealed duo and the Arrow liner in Bright Eyes. All face and no base. Below I am wearing Smashbox Full Exposure, Tartist liquid lipstic in Vibin', Tarte lippie in Wonder (on the cheeks), and some pretty aggressive eyebrows. I could use at least one resurfacing mask in April's bags/boxes.
Editing Morgan: I apologize for any ramblings and rantings. I’ve been sitting at this computer for a very long time just nodding off on occasion and praying I can even hold together a coherent thought, form a full sentence or just make it back into bed crawling.