Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Birchbox January 2015 Review and Unboxing

Birchbox and I have had a rocky relationship, lately. I am always on the fence about whether or not I actually want to keep my subscription, because there are some issues I have with their service, but there are also some big benefits to subscribing, like their fantastic points system, that keep me hanging around.
Usually, as a subscriber, you're able to see what your box is going to contain on the Birchbox website on the 10th of each month. However, each month without fail, my account seems to be one of the very few that never updates. While this may not be a big deal to anyone who likes to keep their box a mystery, I like to participate in forum chat about my box contents. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to do that for months and months, and even after repeatedly e-mailing Birchbox about the issue, they continue to hold off on responding until halfway through the month when my box has already (finally) updated. Not to mention, I haven't had a ton of luck with the samples I've been receiving recently. I'm still roped in because of their unbeatable points system, but even that isn't going to keep me for much longer unless they start addressing some of my issues!

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 "Let's Do This."

From Birchbox:
We're speeding full force into 2015 with a voe to make the most of every minute- starting now! Flip the card to learn more about the samples that are going to help you start the year feeling and looking awesome.

Key West Aloe: Gentle Aloe Facial Cleanser
This is a decent sized sample of cleanser that is made with 30% aloe vera. It's a foaming wash that cleanses, calms and rebalances skin. It might be just me, but this really looks like something I would get in the shower at a Key West hotel suite, doesn't it? Something about it just kind of makes me feel "meh." I have an absurd amount of cleansers, so even if this is a good one, I'd probably choose a dozen different ones before I reach for this.

Essentiel Elements: Wake Up Rosemary Body Lotion
The sample choices this month were for 3 different hands creams (if I remember correctly) and while this one is nice, I actually chose a different one entirely, a Tocca hand cream that I like very much already and wanted a backup of. While I really like the cute apothecary bottle this lotion comes in, the rosemary and mint scent is just way too medicinal and herb-y for my liking. I did e-mail Birchbox about the lack of my sample choice, so we'll see if I actually get it!

REN: Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask
This mask is made with fruit acids and papaya enzymes and it's used to gently exfoliate and brighten the skin. I love masks, but I rarely go through an entire container of one, so I'm happy to have this fun sample size. I should be able to get 3-4 uses out of it, and it sounds similar to one of my favorite western masks, the June Jacobs Papaya Enzyme Mask!

Sweet Science: Invisible Daily Tint SPF 35
This is a mattifying cream that evens skin tone, blocks UV rays and protects skin from pollutants. It looks quite dark in the container for my pale skin, but since it's not really a foundation, it blends out evenly and looks more like a slightly tinted primer. There's only a small amount of product in this little tub, but I'm interested to see how this works underneath my makeup.

Katherine Cosmetics: Everyday Eyeliner
This eyeliner is full size and retails for $26, so considering this entire box was only $10, I feel like I got a great sample here! This pencil applies super smoothly, and is waterproof. It also has a little brush on the end to smudge and blend out harsh lines, which I like when I'm going for a smokey look. I've actually been really into using brown liners lately. I used to immediately go for a sharp, winged liner look, but recently I've been using a brown liner, applying it thickly and then smudging it out well to give a really gorgeous smokey look. Brown liner really gives nice definition without looking to harsh or obvious. This is by far my favorite item in my box this month!

Overall Thoughts
While my box didn't blow me away this month, it certainly wasn't terrible. I've seen some pretty lackluster boxes this month, so comparatively speaking- this is a good one. Since there are dozens of box variations (sometimes 70 or more) I feel like I lucked out, but I think I will really only use the mask and eyeliner regularly. The other items will probably be tossed in my "travel" box, or given away to friends. While I don't expect miracles from a $10 subscription box, I do wish that Birchbox would have a more detailed survey so that I would get things that were of more interest to me more often. Right now, I don't think I'll be cancelling since I have quite a few points building up, but I'm keeping a close eye on the how many samples I'm actually using over time. If I end up giving away more than I'm keeping, I'd rather keep my $10 a month and buy a few extra lattes.
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.


  1. I got the exact same box as you and I also had the same issue where I picked the Tocca. I was definitely on a rampage about it not listed in my box online but when I actually got my box it was shipped in a bigger box and the hand cream was just loose in the box! I think they definitely had issues with their system this month and they just seemed to not have caught yours!

  2. From what I've been reading it seems like there were a lot of shipping issues with Birchbox this month? I hope they give you your sample, or at least some points!

  3. I had the same thing happen to me as the first commenter. Was worried when I didn't see the tocca in my box preview since I'd been wanting to try it and I had selected it for my sample choice.