Monday, December 29, 2014

Birchbox December 2014 Review and Unboxing

Even though this was the Holiday box, and it's the time of year where we should all be in bright and merry spirits, I can't help but be a little miffed at Birchbox. My box usually arrives mid-month, however this year it didn't arrive until Christmas Eve. It wasn't an general issue, as most of my friends and acquaintances online had received their boxes long before mine. I messaged Birchbox since they usually have such amazing customer service, however I was basically brushed off and did not have any of my issues addressed. I may have gotten a not-so-great CS Rep, but needless to say, I was less than impressed. I was hoping that my Birchbox contents would at least make up for it. The beautiful blue box is certainly a lovely sight, isn't it?

What's Birchbox?
If you're unfamiliar with Birchbox, they are one of the reasons why subscription boxes are such a huge deal! They weren't the first beauty box, but they were one of the first, and definitely the original low-cost beauty box to hit the market.
For $10 a month, 4-7 deluxe beauty and lifestyle samples are delivered to your door. You take a little beauty survey when you sign up that helps them choose samples they think you would most enjoy. Birchbox is always fantastic for trying new up-and-coming brands, as well as some higher-end. I still use this subscription as a way to "try before I buy" because it's truly set up to be exactly that.

What's the Points System?
Each box you get contains a random number of samples, however the average amount is usually 5. When you receive your box, you can try out the products, and then go on the Birchbox website and review them. Birchbox awards 10 points per review, which is equal to $1 to spend in their shop. So at the end of it all, you're spending $10 on a box, and getting $5 or more dollars back in credit on their site. This pays off big when you find a product you really love and want to buy a full size. More often then not, you can pick it up for free with the points you've earned over time. 

 Each month has a different theme, and this month it was "Decked Out."

From Birchbox:
With apologies to Scrooge, we find it hard to feel anything but buoyant this time of year. There's anticipation of a pile of brightly wrapped presents, the glow of a family gathering, and of course the fizz of excitement before a big soiree. We designed this Birchbox to help you start the celebrations a little early. It's filled with festive beauty samples picked just for you, plus a special gift from our friends at GAP: $10 to spend at any of their stores- no strings attached!

There was a card in my box that included a $10 credit to spend at GAP, which I thought was pretty nice! I haven't shopped at the GAP in years, but I'm always down for using a coupon!

Lord & Berry: Paillettes Glitter Eye Pencil in "Black"
Number 4 Hair Care Shampoo and Conditioner
Jeff had received these exact products from Number 4 in one of his recent Birchbox Man boxes, so I wasn't exactly over-the-moon about getting them in my box as well. The good thing is, this is a sulfate-free line. Jeff loves the shampoo and uses the conditioner packets too, so I'm passing these on to him. 
The Lord & Berry eye liner is, for lack of a better word, boring. It's a very tiny sample size, less than half of a full size liner, it seems. It's a black liner with some silver glitter in it. It doesn't really go on incredibly silky, it doesn't stay on longer or better than any of my other liners, so while this may be great for someone who doesn't have a ton of makeup, it was kind of a let down for me.

Rusk: Texture Spray
Manna Kadar: Lip Locked
Embryolisse: Lait-Creme Concentre
This texture spray from Rusk is a medium-hold hair spray that gives volume and shape while keeping hair's nature bounce. I am ridiculously picky about my hair spray. There are only a few that I will use and love, although I tend to stick with my classic Tresemme Hair Spray. This Rusk spray is nice, but it doesn't really give much volume to my fine hair, so I'll be passing this on.
The Manna Kadar lip gloss is the sample that I chose this month, and despite it's tiny size, I actually really love this! It's a primer, stain and lip gloss all in one, and it packs an intense punch in pigmentation and shine. The color is very flattering and would work on almost any skin tone. I love that it leaves behind a bit of a stain so my lips still have a color on them once it wears away. I'm also loving the purse/pocket-friendly size!
I've seen this Embryolisse moisturizer show up in quite a few Birchboxes, so I'm not surprised that it finally made it's way into one of mine. This is apparently a pretty popular moisturizer that heals dryness as well as preps the skin for foundation. As you know, I have an insane amount of skincare products, so I will probably pass this sample on as well.
Left: Lord and Berry Eye Pencil / Right: Manna Kadar Lip Locked
Overall Thoughts
First off, can you see my cat Jonah peering creepily over the top of the Birchbox in this pic? I mean...why does he always feel the need to be lurking around whenever I take photos? This guy loves his beauty products!
Anyway, back to my Birchbox- while this might not be the best box I've ever received, I do think that objectively it's a nicely curated box. A little heavy on the hair products for me, but I still think you could use all of these items while getting ready for a fun holiday party. I don't think I will use anything in this box aside from the lip gloss, but that's not really Birchbox's fault- more so the fact that I just have way too many products that beat out the ones here. Overall it's a decent box, just not for me.

If you're interested in signing up for Birchbox, you can do that here!

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All thoughts and opinions in this blog post are genuine and belong to Harlot Beauty. No monetary compensation was received, although goods and/or services may have been provided and accepted for purpose of review. Post may contain affiliate or referral links.

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