Sunday, March 22, 2015

Birchbox March 2015 Review and Unboxing

 I received so many packages from Birchbox this month you'd think I was a millionaire! But really- I had a bundle of Birchbox points saved up and I was just dying to use them up. I got some beautiful candle holders that I've been using as a background in some of my photos, a stunning ring, some Whish body lotion and shaving cream, and that's just the tip of the iceberg! When my March Birchbox showed up, I had almost entirely forgotten it even existed! This is a good thing because I normally ruin the surprise and peek at what I'll be getting on their website, but this month I was able to hold off and finally have a surprise Birchbox unboxing!

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 "Creativity." It seems like Birchbox is using the theme to create a unique box each month as well- some of them have been so pretty it's been hard to put them in the recycling bin- although I'm on a mission to stay as clutter-free as possible so they have to go there unless I can find a good use for them immediately! If you do have extra room in your house though, these would be beautiful boxes to hold onto for gifts!

Amika: Bombshell Blowout Spray
 This was my sample choice this month, and I am so incredibly excited to try it! I love Amika products. The scent of their hair oil, shampoo and conditioner is heavenly. If I could turn it into a perfume and wear it every single day, I would in a heartbeat! This spray is awesome because it volumizes, smooths and protects the hair while you blowdry. I genuinely cannot remember the last time I blow-dried my hair, but lately I've been wanting to try to do a sort of "at home blowout" to see if I can tame some of the frizzy ends I have going on. I had a bit of extra time before work this past Friday, so I decided to go ahead and use this stuff on my hair. It definitely volumizes! I could actually feel my hairs texture was thicker! I don't feel like it made my hair any less "poofy" once the blowdrying was done, but after I straightened and styled my hair, I have to say it looked better than it ever has. Definitely a fantastic product!

Number 4: Clarifying Shampoo
 Ugh. Womp. I'm sorry, but I am so SO tired of seeing Number 4 shampoos and conditioners in all their endless varieties in my Birchboxes. It's even worse when they just toss in a shampoo with no conditioner to go along with it. This one contains vitamin rich botanicals that purify hair while restoring moisture and shine. It'll go in my "travel" pile, but I will most likely give it away. I've got way too may shampoo minis as it is!

StriVectin: Instant Retexturizing Scrub
 This is a generously sized sample of face scrub. It evens skin tone and texture, buffs away dirt and oil and provides you with a fresh, bright complexion. I rarely use any kind of manual exfoliation or scrubs on my face unless they are microdermabrasion scrubs, so I passed this one on to my mom. It might be a fantastic product, but I'd rather not mess with the success of my chemical exfolaints!

Jouer: Lumizing Moisture Tint
Cargo: Swimmables Water Resistant Blush in "Los Cabos"
 Ah. Speaking of brands I am incredibly tired of seeing in my Birchboxes, Jouer is at the top of that list. Their samples are measly-tiny, and I have never tried anything from them that blows me away. This "luminizing tint" is no exception. Just look at this swatch against my skin:
 Even blended out it looks orange on me. It's an oil-free tinted moisturizer with SPF 20. That's it. The full size is $40. Hard pass, Jouer. 

I am much more excited to see this Cargo blush in my box! I used to be a huge fan of Cargo, and I remember they were sold at Sephora quite a while ago and slowly moved out and over to Kohls. I haven't heard much from them since, but they seem to be popping up in quite a few subscription boxes over the past month or two! I own a full size Swimmables blush in a different color and it's one of my all-time favorites. These blushes are pigmented for the Gods! Seriously, look at this swatch!
 That is one very light swipe into the pan and then onto my skin on the left. On the right, I blended out a very light amount to show you how workable this blush can be. The best part? it's waterproof! Even if you're dripping with sweat in the summer heat, this blush is staying put. Love the formula, love the brand, and I hope to see more of them in future Birchboxes!
Overall Thoughts
I was pretty happy with the first impressions of my box, although digging a little deeper, I realized I can really only use the blush and the blowout spray. The Strivectin was potentially a nice product, but not something I would use on myself. I wouldn't say this was a total bomb of a month, but it's certainly not one of my better ones. it's such a shame too, because lately I'm having a hard time remembering any past Birchboxes that were home runs for me. I've mentioned it many times before, but it's their amazing points system that keeps me around. I can't tell you how many things I've gotten for free just by using my Birchbox points and a coupon code! The good news is, I'm never completely and utterly let down by my monthly boxes, but I do hope they start to pick things up a bit in the rest of 2015. They really need to retire some of these tired brands (Jouer, Number 4, Juicy Couture, to name a few) and start bringing in a wider variety of new and exciting brands. Since they are a lifestyle box, I'd really love to see them branch out and include more mini candles like they have in the past, or even some other small lifestyle items like hair accessories, notepads etc. I just want something to surprise me with Birchbox. Fingers crossed for next month!

If you're interested in signing up for Birchbox, you can do that here!
For a Limited Time:
Use the code JILLIAN at checkout to get an extra 100 points ($10) in your account when you sign up for a subscription! (not sure how long this will be valid for! Who is Jillian, though?? Mysteries.)

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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. It's funny that you feel overloaded with Jouer, because I don't think I've ever received a product from that brand. No. 4 haircare, on the other hand... blah. At least the Cargo blush looks gorgeous!

    1. Oh yea I've been getting Jouer stuff for almost as long as I've been subscribed. I've gotten at least 3 of their teeny tiny lip gloss samples, and 2-3 random tubed products that I have forgotten at this point, but they're also super tiny- never have been impressed with their products, either. I looove the Cargo blush! It's crazy pigmented, but I love how blendable it is!

  2. Cannot tolerate Number 4's scent. Would love to try the Amika. I cancelled my Birchbox a while back and haven't seen any reviews of late to make me regret that decision. Sample Society is so much better. I will say though, Birchbox's point system can't be beat.

    1. I think I would have canceled a long time ago if it weren't for their points system. Also each month, they come out with a new 100 point code, so I basically cancel my subscription each month and re-sign up with the 100 point code and just pay for my box in advance, essentially. That way, I get the free $10 in points and they add up incredibly fast!

  3. This month's box was the 2nd time I was sent a box different from what my emails and Birchbox profile said I should have gotten. I contacted CS and they were cool--adjusted my online profile so I could review the samples I did get and then sending me my sample choice, which I obviously didn't get. Secretly, I'm happy for the mix up because the box they sent me is waaaaaaaaay better than what I was supposed to get. I swear, if I get another highlighter....
    And ditto about #4. I really do not like their products. At. All. I've only received one Jouer item, which I still haven't tried. So we'll see how that goes.
    I love my Birchbox, and the point system is the bomb-diggity, but 2 box errors in such close succession, as well as last month's less than stunning compilation...I hope they're not slipping in their old age...

    1. I have had that happen to me a few times in the past- I always make sure to review the products that i was "supposed" to get and THEN contact them so I can get double the points LOL I'm a points hoarder I will do anything to get them hahah ;)

      The good thing is, no matter how many times they mess up my boxes, they are always amazing at fixing the issue in a timely manner, and sometimes I even get points to apologize for the mistake depending on the CS rep. One time I e-mailed them to complain about something small in a Birchbox Man box, and they refunded the entire box in points ($20 worth) which I thought was amazing!

  4. Is the blush a cream or a powder? I'm so intrigued by it and I dig the color, just wishing I could see it in real life before I buy it online.

    1. It's actually a powder!! A waterproof powder, who knew?? ;) The color is absolutely gorgeous. Now that i've played with it a bit more I keep falling more in love with it. I already own a different color of the waterproof blushes and they really do stay on all day, even when you're sweating up a storm in the dead of Summer. You should head over to your local Kohls and see if they have any out- I believe Cargo is exclusively sold there now!