Thursday, November 7, 2013

Birchbox November 2013 Review

I was very surprised to find my mailman at the door handing me a pretty pink box today, but it seems my Birchbox arrived super early! This is my second month with Birchbox in 2013, although as I mentioned last month, I was a subscriber for about 6 months when they first launched. I'm looking for Birchbox to impress me, as I cancelled on two other occasions (yes this is my THIRD time giving Birchbox a chance) and as I am a huge Ipsy fan. Last month was very impressive. So how did they do this month?

This month's theme was "More Good" which is more specifically referring to how you can do more good things during this holiday season. Here's a look at what the entire box looked like!

I received 5 product samples this month as well as a "lifestyle extra" product. Birchbox also included a holiday "gift guide" which is already available to view on their website. I was a bit irritated that they wasted paper to print a gift guide on the month that is themed "more good" especially when you can just view these things on their site. Regardless, I have tried a few of these products before, and there are a few I have yet to try, so I will update the "review" section of this post as I try the new products out. For now you'll just get my first impressions of the products and my opinion of the box overall.

1. BeeKind Body Lotion
I love lotions. More specifically I love lotions that stand out from the run-of-the-mill, and honestly, I was really hoping for the Tocca lotion. No such luck. This is a hand/body lotion made with honey and organic chamomile. It smells like sweet lemons, which is pleasant, although not what I expected when reading the description. It also has a VERY thin, watery texture which I found strange for a body lotion. Even so, because it's thin, it absorbs quickly and doesn't leave a greasy feeling, but I just don't see this being something that I'm wowed by.

2. Chella Ivory Lace Highlighter Pencil
As much as I love this pencil, I really wish that companies wouldn't peddle one product to a bunch of different subscription services. I received this pencil in my Ipsy bag back in July. I did not like this pencil when I first received it, but I think it was because that particular month Ipsy had sent me a disappointing bag overall. However, I have found this highlighter pencil to be one of my most used products. I have had one now for about 4 months and I haven't even sharpened it obviously the last thing I need is yet another Chella Highlighter Pencil. A major issue I have with this product is that it is such a strange size that it doesn't fit in most sharpeners. I guess it's good I have the new one to use because my original one is dulling. Application is very smooth on this product and  can be used on the cheeks, around the lips and brows etc. My favorite place to use this is in my lower water line when I want that really wide awake look.

3. Joie: Folle de Joie Perfume
Ugh. The dreaded perfume sample. One of the main reasons why I cancelled Birchbox all those years ago. This should NOT be an included sample, but more of an extra. You can get perfume samples ANYWHERE, and almost always get them for free. Just walk into any Sephora and ask them for a few! I do love perfume however, so I was at least intrigued enough to try this out. It's described as a Mandarin, Rose and Sandalwood scent. You can smell each of these thing in that order. Upon first spritz, you smell the sweet mandarin. As it begins to dry on the skin it smells of a sweet rose and dries down to a light sandalwood. I am not a huge fan of Rose in any perfume unless it's almost undetectable, so I'm not a huge fan of this scent, however it's a very light, flirty scent for anyone that likes florals.

4.Wei Golden Root Purifying Mud Mask
This is one of the 2 products I haven't tried yet. Even though it comes in a tiny little plastic pod, this may as well be a foil packet. It's only enough for one application. I try to remain positive when I get foil packets and perfume vials in sample subscriptions, as I tell myself I am paying for the service of being sent samples each month to try, and not for full size products, but when I get multiple tiny samples in one box, I get a little bitter toward the product, haha. Either way, this is a mud mask that claims to be non-drying and deep cleaning. I am obsessed with masks, so I'm excited to try this and get back to you with my thoughts!

EDIT: I tried this mask tonight and did a bit more research on it. Apparently these pods are single use, and you get 8 of them with a brush applicator for $42. That's about $5.25 per pod. I applied this mask with my own brush applicator (flat foundation brushes work nicely) and it's a very smooth, cooling mask with a gentle tingle. It took quite a long time to dry (about 20 minutes) and was a pain in the butt to wash off. After I finally got it off my face, my skin felt very soft, but it was exactly how my skin feels when I use a lower cost Freeman mask. This was nice, but definitely not worth the $5+ per application.

5. Wei Pomegranate Buffing Beads
Err...OK? Seriously, I HATE gimmicky products. First Lash Cards (pieces of freakin cardboard you hold on your eye when you apply mascara) and now these stupid beads. This is a little tiny packet of dried pomegranate peels that you mix with your non-scrubby cleanser to make it a scrub. I guess this is an OK product, although I don't understand why you wouldn't just purchase a scrub instead of a cleanser and then having to add this product. I have no issues with purchasing my separate face wash and my face scrub, I don't think spending $20 (for the full size) for some pomegranate beads to put into my cleanser is worth it, when it's less money to just go out and buy a good scrub. I'll try these out and let you know if my opinion changes, but I think my original idea of "these are pointless and gimmicky" is going to stand strong.

6. Lifestyle Extra: Mighty Leaf Tea Pouches
This was just a little extra they put in which is nice, but I'm just completely over teas. I am a coffee person, and I am BURIED in tea. People gift me teas, I get them for free all the time from samples etc, and I just stick them in boxes and stack them on the shelf with my coffees. I never drink them. Mighty Leaf is a neat brand because their tea bags are like little hand-sewn fabric pouches. I remember we had them at the bookstore cafe I used to work at. But these little guys will go directly into my cigar box filled with teas and will most likely never see the light of day.

So what do I think overall? While I think last month was a 9 out of 10, this one is more of a 5/10.  I can appreciate the box overall, but there is nothing in my box this month that wows me, or anything that I'm excited to try or even consider purchasing a full size of. I have seen some of the sneak peeks for Ipsy this month, and I just don't think there is any way that Birchbox can win that battle this month.While I can imagine this box might be ideal for someone else, it didn't thrill me at all. Not enough for me to wash my hands of Birchbox all together, but definitely wondering if October was just a fluke. I guess we'll have to wait and see what December holds!


  1. If I were to get your box, it would be a 2 out of 10. The only item that peaked my interest was the lotion. I already have the exact same Chella pencil and it lasts forever. I also disliked the other items for the same reasons that you stated. Disappointing.

    1. I agree with you, definitely. I gave it a 6/10 as I think if I look at the box objectively, it's a nice box for someone who is into skincare/fragrance. I try to review the box with my opinions but give it an objective review overall as it might be a good box for someone else. For me personally, I was not a fan at all. I really hope for a better box in December.

  2. This would be an OK box for me. I love that tea, I've been dying to try that particular perfume, and would like to try the mask and the scrub beads. The body lotion and the highlighter don't seem so appealing to me, I would probably give them away.

    1. See and the only things I really liked in the box were the body lotion and the highlighter! haha :) I think Birchbox needs to make a more detailed questionnaire. I gave it a 6/10 because I knew that the box would be decent for some people, it's just not my cup of tea (no pun intended haha)