September 2012 Birchbox Review

 

 

Is it just me or does it seem like Birchboxes come out later and later each month?! Then again, when you’re excitedly awaiting something it does tend to take awhile to arrive, so that could be a secondary explanation. In any case, the September 2012 Birchbox was not too bad! It was filled with great samples and…wait for it…not a perfume sample in sight!

In case you aren’t familiar with Birchbox, I’ll give you a little rundown. Each month a package arrives at your door. It contains about 4-5 samples of deluxe beauty products (skin care and make up) and a little something extra. The samples are usually generous and last for a few applications. If you love an item you can get onto Birchbox’s website and buy it. Each item you buy earns you some points, similar to how the Sephora rewards card works, and you can use them toward later purchases. I love samples, especially of beauty products that are on the pricier side, so if you do actually purchase something you have a good idea of whether or not you will be happy with it. Birchbox costs $10 a month or you can subscribe for the year for $110.

21 drops Focus Aromatherapy Blend
Sample Size: 2 mL, $8
Full size: 7.5 mL, $29

Birchbox says: Stay sharp with this mind-clearing blend of rosemary and peppermint essential oils. Apply to pulse points and breathe deep.

My thoughts: Aromatherapy has always been something I’ve been on the fence about…mostly due to my ridiculous allergies to the outside world. I was excited to see this sample in my Birchbox, though, because it’s the first time I’ve ever gotten something of the sort in a subscription box. Plus, I got the ‘Focus’ kind..how perfect! I really did like the scent, although I did not see a difference in my focusing. Perhaps my condition just surpasses the help aromatherapy can provide.  I doubt I would ever buy the full size product here,  but I still felt the item deserved a worthy review.

Rating: B+


Color Club in Status Update
Sample size: 7 mL, $4
Full size: 15 mL, $15

Birchbox says: We teamed up with Color Club to create this custom shade, inspired by the Fall 2012 collections.

My thoughts: When I saw that this month’s Birchbox would include a custom-made Color Club nail polish shade, I was super excited. I actually really love black nail polish (or dark gray, or whatever this shade actually is), but I am still on the fence with Color Club products themselves. Granted, I am not the most graceful individual, and have a hard time waiting for my nails to fully dry, but within 24 hours of using this nail polish I had a few nails chip. Plus, I was kind of hoping the color would be more on the gray side, like it appears to be from the bottle, but it dries as black. Eh, we’ll see.

RatingB

Nexxus Pro-Mend Split End Treatment System
Sample size: 0.33 oz./0.1 oz., $0.20-$0.30
Full size: 13.5 oz/4.8 oz., $9.99-$14.99

Birchbox says: The fragrance equivalent to a wink, this fanciful scent layers fresh citrus and jasmine notes over a base of lavender and pumpkin.

My thoughts: I love Nexxus products. They’ve always done a good job for me, even if Birchbox sent out the smallest quality sample of all time with this product. 20 cents for a packet of shampoo? I’m sorry, but unless a shampoo costs $100 a full-size product, I don’t think a ‘deluxe sample’ translates to a one-application-packet of product. However, I can’t dock the actual product because the sample size was shitty.

Rating: A

twistband Birchbox Custom Lace Hair Tie
Sample size: 1 twistband, $2.25 
Full size: 6-12 twistbands, $14-$22

Birchbox says: Designers went gaga for lace this season and we don’t blame them. Get on board with these ouch-free hair ties.

My thoughts: I think these hair ties are cute, but every time I get one they start fraying after just a few uses! I really loved the lace ones that Birchbox sent out and kind of considered using some Birchbox points on ordering a pack of them, but I’m afraid they will just fall apart on me.

Rating: B
Vasanti Brighten Up! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator
Sample size: 20 mL, $5.75
Full size: 120 mL, $34

Birchbox says: This exfoliating cleanser uses professional-grade (read: effective) microderm crystals and papaya enzymes to brighten dull skin.

My thoughts: I’m always on a personal mission to find the best ‘brightening’ facial skin products, so I was super excited to see this cleanser/exfoliator in my Birchbox. It smells awesome and the sample size was impressive! I’ll definitely be able to use this for a week or more. So far, I think it has given my face a ‘brighter’ look, but I will have a better idea in a few days.

Rating: A

Lifestyle Extra
Mighty Leaf Tea Company Teas
Sample size: 3 teabags, $2
Full size: Pack of 15, $9.95

Birchbox says: Swap your afternoon latte for these yummy tea blends, made from natural, ethically sourced ingredients.

My thoughts: Food is not something I get overly excited about when I see it in my Birchbox, unless it has some kind of beautifying properties. I’m not going to lie, I haven’t even tried these yet, so I won’t say anything more about the product!

 

Overall, September’s Birchbox wasn’t my favorite, but not a total disappointment either. The total value of the box was $26.75, so value-wise it definitely surpasses the $10 monthly subscription fee, which is always a plus!

Want your own Birchbox? Go to http://www.birchbox.com?raf=s6h6z to sign up!

Note: I do not work for Birchbox or am affiliated with them in any way. By clicking on the link above, it works as a referral from me. My thoughts are entirely my own and do not necessarily reflect those of Birchbox.

Birchbox Reviews: April 2012 – June 2012

Everyone will be getting a little overdose of Birchbox sample reviews this month. I’m just now catching up on three months worth of product reviews so I hope you all don’t mind. Here we go!

April: 

Befine Skincare Sampler

 Full size price: $25

Birchbox says: Easy does it. This exfoliator and moisturizer duo uses gentle ingredients like rice and brown sugar to keep skin supple and healthy.

My thoughts: This box of both skin exfoliator and moisturizing had mixed results for me. The exfoliator I loved! Apart from the extremely strong scent of brown sugar and almond, if you could get past that, it worked wonderfully and my skin felt baby soft. The moisturizer on the other hand made my face feel really greasy. I later found out that the moisturizer in this packet was expired by about a year, so it’s possible that had something to do with it. Therefore I do not have a great review on the moisturizer, but the exfoliator worked so well that it would probably be worth giving the other Befine products a chance.

 Rating: B

Juicy Couture Viva La Juicy Perfume


Full size price: $69 -$89

Birchbox says: This scent will bring out your inner girly girl. Wild berries flirt with mandarin and soft floral notes to create a fragrance that’s fun and happy.

My thoughts: I will admit I have not always been a fan of strong vanilla scents and this perfume definitely has a strong vanilla component, even though that’s not mentioned in the description, but after about the third time I wore this I was in love with it. It is a very fun scent that made me feel a little “feisty” when I went out. The only bad thing about this is that it didn’t last long enough!

 Rating: A


Shu Uemura Essence Absolue Nourishing Protective Oil

Full size price: $68

Birchbox says: Stylists call this luxurious oil “liquid gold,” and we agree. It keeps strands soft and silky, with plenty of high-watt shine and volume.

My thoughts: This just seems to be a really fancy leave in conditioner. I’m all about the leave in oils for frizzy and curly hair because goodness knows I need them and run through them like crazy and I’ve tried all sorts. This one did not particularly stand out. Perhaps there was not enough to use for long enough to actually see a difference. It’s not that it didn’t work, it just did not seem to be as wonderful as the description would like you to believe, or perhaps my hair just has different standards.

Rating: C

 

stila Smoky Eye Card

Full size price: $45

Birchbox says: Take the guesswork out of matching eye makeup with this mini-palette of three shadows.

My thoughts: These colors were fun but a little too glittery for my likes. The good thing about stila though is that it seems to last a long while. It did not seem to fade and the colors blended fairly well. Just too much glitter for myself because I feel like it gets into my contacts and I spend more time rubbing my eyes without trying to mess up my makeup than I do having a good time.

Rating: B

 

Lifestyle Extra Hollywood Fashion Secrets Hollywood Fashion Tape

Full size price: $4.99 – $8.99

Birchbox says: These double-sided sticky strips help conquer wandering bra straps and unruly hems.

My thoughts: This stuff is awesome! I got two little packs of it and it’s easy to cut into smaller pieces if you don’t need to use the whole one or just need to make it all last. I used it to keep a rather flowy shirt in place when not wearing a bra and for as hot and sweaty of a day as it was, this tape didn’t budge and was even super sticky at the end of the day when I took it off. Just don’t forget to take all the tape off before washing and drying your clothes.

Rating: A

May: 

May’s birchbox was Gossip Girl Themed and even though I do not watch Gossip Girl I found the products very exciting!

Arquiste L’Etrog perfume

Full size price: $165

Birchbox says: Warm notes of citron, palm leaves, and myrtle combine in this transporting scent, inspired by the aromas of a medieval harvest festival in Calabria, Italy.

My thoughts: I didn’t know how I felt about this scent at first. It felt a little “old” for me but like before, after a few times of wearing it I found that I really liked it a lot and it definitely was more of a wear-to-work scent. Also, like before, this did not last long enough! Of course I know these are samples and there is very little to them already but they’re too expensive for me to buy a full sized bottle when I want so many perfumes.

Rating: A+

Beauty Blender Beauty Cleanser
Full size price: $17.95
Birchbox says: Keep your makeup sponges and brushes in prime condition with this soy-based formula, which removes built-up bacteria and  oil.
My thoughts: This cleanser was awesome for my makeup brushes! I didn’t even really realize how “dirty” mine were until I used this and it only really takes a little to get the job done so I feel like it’s going to last quite a while since I don’t give my brushes a thorough cleaning all that often.
Rating: A

Color Club Nail Polish in Disco Nap

Full size price: $8

Birchbox says: Give nails a gilded look with this luxe metallic polish.

My thoughts: This is a somewhat dark gold and super sparkly! I love it! I especially enjoyed pairing with black nail polish in the new trend of one nail of different color. This brand didn’t seem to last very long though. It started chipping after a couple of days even with base and top coats of polish

Rating: B+

Dr. Jart+ Waterfuse BB Cream 

Full size price: $32

Birchbox says: Think of this four-in-one moisturizer, serum, sunscreen, and skin-protecting tint as the (extremely stylish) Swiss Army Knife of your beauty lineup.

My thoughts:  I absolutely love this product! Definitely my favorite so far from Birchbox. It spreads and covers very well and just feels good and clean and I didn’t feel the need to add any other product to touch up or help it do its job. I will definitely be purchasing the full size of this soon!

Rating: A+

Twistband Skinny Headband

Full size price: six pack, $20

Birchbox says: Keep your hair perfectly in place with these colorful elastic headbands.

My thoughts: I got this in lime green and as far as headbands go it’s pretty awesome. It stays put and doesn’t give me a headache after a couple of hours of wearing it. It’s good for a ponytail holder as well and is a nice splash of color.

Rating: A

June: 

Comodynes Self-Tanning Intensive

Full size price: pack of 8, $14.99

Birchbox says: Who needs the sun when you can get a safe, buildable, and natural-looking tan with these bestselling European towelettes?

My thoughts: These are little towelettes that I honestly haven’t used yet. There’s only two in my box and I’m saving them for a special day or occasion, but also when my other self tanner fades away so that I can tell just what sort of job these little ditties can do. So an actual review of these to come later.

Rating: ?

Eyeko Fat Eye Stick

Full size price: $15

Birchbox says: A Birchbox exclusive, this UK brand’s too-cool shadow stick combines creamy color and long-lasting wear.

My thoughts: This is probably my second favorite birchbox treat. The color is “old gold” which is a dark gold tone (there seems to be a trend here). This goes on very smoothly and creamy and can be used as an eyeliner or eyeshadow. I tend to put it on as eyeliner and smudge it upward over the rest of my eyelid and use a powder eyeshadow over it for a nice effect of one color fading into another. This also has staying power and with the size of the eye stick it will last a really long time, which is awesome because apparently this color is a limited edition and for as much as I love it I won’t have to complain about it not lasting long enough.

Rating: A+

Likewise Facial Moisturizer + Sun Protectant SPF 50 Normal to Oily

Full size price: $44

Birchbox says: Get sun savvy with this zinc-infused cream. It acts like a hydrating toner to mattify skin while deflecting UV rays.

My thoughts: I really liked this product. It wasn’t anything super special but it didn’t leave my face feeling greasy and had a very pleasant sunscreen scent that I love. It also acts as a toner and this I could tell a slight difference in my skin while using it, however I don’t know that I would shell out the money for it, but it was definitely a nice edition to my box.

Rating: B
theBalm cosmetics Stainiac in Beauty Queen
 
Full size price: $17
Birchbox says: We’re crazy about this two-in-one lip and cheek stain: the sheer gel formula delivers a subtle, long-wearing flush.
My thoughts: This red stain works for both lips and cheeks. I personally can not use stain on my lips because they dry out so easily but I really enjoy it as a blush. It goes on lightly and then you can just add as you please to get the right color your looking for, whether a light pink or dark rose. However, I would not recommend using this for too many days in a row if your skin is prone to drying out easily; a few days here and there seem to work well for me.
Rating: A-
Lifestyle Extra tili Bags
Full size price: pack of 9-12, $8.49 – $9.49
Birchbox says: Breeze through airport security with these too-cute plastic bags. They’re perfectly sized for storing all your travel essentials (and beauty samples).
My thoughts: I love this little bag. I currently have all of my birchbox products in it and I plan on using it in my travel bag for makeup, contact supplies, and ibuprofen the next time I go anywhere. It’s colorful and holds quite a bit and is somewhat waterproof. So it’s pretty much perfect as a little catch-all.
Rating: A
Birchbox Man Extra
John Varvatos Star USA
Full size price: $55 – $70
Birchbox says: In honor of Father’s Day, we’ve included this dapper cologne, a blend of ginger, juniper berries, and vetiver. Pass it on to a lucky guy friend or family member.
My thoughts: This cologne smells really good! If only I had a guy in my life to share it with. This was actually included in the box for father’s day and to promote the new men’s line of birchboxes. So basically, if I don’t have anyone to share it with soon (boyfriend or just a guy friend who actually wears cologne) I might just end up wearing it myself, so I’m not too upset that it was an addition to the box.
 Rating: B
If you’re interested in any of these products or in joining Birchbox yourself, visit this link:
And enjoy!
Note: I do not work for Birchbox or am affiliated with them in any way. My thoughts are entirely my own and do not necessarily reflect those of Birchbox.