Birchbox is probably the most well-known of the beauty sample services – it was the first one I heard of, and the first one I looked into joining. They put me on a waiting list (they are very popular), so I decided to try some others in the meantime so I would have something to compare… and here we are. I’ve already reviewed some of the other services: New Beauty Test Tube (and contents), myglam bag) – so on to Birchbox.
Birchbox is a subscription service, like the others, and runs $10/month with free shipping. You receive one box a month, with four or five full or sample size products. They arrive toward the middle of the month. You can then get points for reviewing them, which you can trade for credit at the Birchbox store – where you also get a discount on anything that is in the current month’s box.
The box for May was inspired by Gossip Girl – a show I don’t watch or even know anything about. Luckily, for me, that doesn’t really matter – the products are still useful and interesting. Here’s what May’s box looked like:
As a side note, I totally love the little gift box. I’m stashing this one away (minus the Gossip Girl wrapper), because it’s very sturdy – enough to go through the mail, if I wanted, and pretty enough to be a gift box.
Everything was wrapped up inside, so it really was like opening a little present. Super fun!
Once I unwrapped everything, here’s what was included:
A note card, a fragrance sample, a conditioner sample, nail polish, and an anti-aging moisturizer. Plus a card explaining what everything is, although no instructions on how to use the samples. So, on the the reviews:
BVLGARI Omnia Crystalline Eau de Toilette Spray (sample)
So, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a huge fragrance person. And this one smells okay to me – not really too strong, but a little too perfume-like, if that makes sense. (I was trying to explain it to Chad last night, and I think I hit on the idea – I like to smell like nice things that you could possibly smell like by accident. Like fruit or soft flowers or vanilla). This fragrance is billed as being fruity, but I couldn’t smell the pear scent in it at all.
BUT. the sample bottle was way cooler than the other typical glass vials they send – it was the same shape on size, but actually had a spray top on it. Which is awesome, and worth mentioning I guess.
Verdict? Nice fragrance, but not really my thing. And more than I usually spend (isn’t that the story of my life?) $64 for 1.33oz – but something I might be willing to pay if I loved the scent.
Kiehl’s Abyssine Cream + (sample)
This is a moisturizer designed to fight aging and free radicals and all that other good stuff that moisturizers do these days. While I;m not really noticing aging per say on my skin, I do have problems with certain parts of my face being super dry and/or flaky sometimes, while other parts of my face are really oily. It’s hard to find a moisturizer that balances them.
This one managed to do just that, for the most part. I liked the scent – it didn’t smell artificial or gross, just clean. And it sent on really smooth – I just needed a tiny bit to cover my whole face and neck. It left my face smooth and clear, and didn’t make me break out (a big problem with similar products). However – it doesn’t have any SPF, so I’m hesitant to use it as a day moisturizer. As a night moisturizer is works fine, and I only find the tiniest bit of greasiness right around my nose when I wake up.
Verdict? A pretty good product. There are some other similar products I’m trying now as well, though, so I’m keeping my options open. $48 for 1.69oz is a little pricey, but not too bad for how good it makes my skin feel. I’m not ready to buy today, but it’s in the running at least.
Color Club® Summer Pastels Collection – Clambake Coral
First, coral is not a great color for me. Other than that, this was a pretty decent polish, it sent on smooth and even – although it takes a while to dry. It needs a clear topcoat, or it will chip – but a good topcoat seemed to keep it in place pretty well.
Verdict? I liked the quality of the polish, and at $8/bottle, it’s not very expensive. Some of the other colors look interesting, so I may pick up a bottle in another color for the summer.
Ojon damage reverse™ Restorative Conditioner (sample size)
Y’all, I am a sucker for salon-quality hair products. Especially conditioner. My hair is frizzy, and tend toward being dry – but too much product makes it limp and weird. I love deep conditioners, but hate when they leave my hair feeling oily or weighted down.
So i was anxious to try this one. It’s billed as being natural, and it smells kind of organic – not unpleasant, but a little on the green side. It’s thick, but I managed to get it distributed through my hair, as well as fully rinsed out several minutes later (the rinsing was a little difficult). And… my hair feel softer, more manageable, and not too weighted down. I like the way it feels, and the scent didn’t stick my my hair.
Verdict? I wouldn’t use this every day, but it’s the type of thing I’d keep around to use once a week, or less often if my hair didn’t need it. At $25 for 8oz, this is similarly priced to some salon brands – so not something I would buy all the time, but a nice treat now and then.
Birchbox Notecards (1 sample card)
These are actually kind of cute, and very simple. They don’t say Birchbox anyplace obvious, and would be cute for a thank-you note or something similar and handwritten. The hot pink envelopes make them kind of fun, too.
Verdict? I liked it, and will use the card they sent me (it says XOXO on the front, so probably not for a thank-you note, lol) – but I don’t do enough real correspondence to buy a package of them
Regarding the Birchbox service in general, I wasn’t as impressed as I thought I would be with the number of products I got – and half of them, while nice, were not really things I use a lot of or am really looking to buy. But – I think I’ll give them one more month to try it out. Getting points for reviewing things is a nice incentive, and given a different set of products, I might feel differently.