Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Birchbox October 2015 Review and Unboxing

I hate to start a review on a low note, but I gotta be honest about me and Birchbox. We broke up. I didn't want to do it so soon, but recently my car has needed a lot of work done on it, and that meant that a good chunk of my subscriptions had to be cancelled for the time being. While I've been subscribed to Birchbox for longer than any of my other subscriptions, I felt that it was time to take a break for awhile. I personally think that while I don't always love the samples I receive from Birchbox, their point system has made keeping the subscription worth it for years. I can't tell you the amount of free products I've received by simply using points and coupon codes!

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 (on average it's about 5) deluxe beauty and lifestyle samples are delivered to your door. You take a detailed 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. There are also many other ways to earn points that include: shopping on their site (1 point for every $1 you spend) as well as a variety of coupon codes that give you bonus points when they are used. 
September is customer appreciation month at Birchbox. They not only included a 20% off coupon in every box, but they also recently did a great sale to celebrate their customers. This month's box was created using inspiration from "mood boards" created by Birchbox subscribers as well. 
This month's theme was, "Positive Force"
At Birchbox we know firstahnd the power of beauty to inspire confidence, to change your mood, and to plain ol' make you happy. This October, we're harnessing the power of beauty in a different way: to raise money and awareness fr an important cause. We've partnered with the Estee Lauder Companies' Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation to fund one year of breast cancer lab research hours. 
Breast cancer is one of the most prevalent health issues women face, affecting 1 in 8. That number is astounding. We're proud to support the cause with dollars, awareness and volunteer hours. We hope you'll join us- and that you love what's in this very pink box! 
 R+CO: Death Valley Dry Shampoo
I read the description of this product hoping that it would have some interesting ingredient or use to speak of here in the review, unfortunately it's your standard dry shampoo. These have become insanely popular over the past few years- which is weird because you rarely ever heard about them before that. I don't have oily hair or a major use for dry shampoo, although I use them on rare occasions when I go a couple days without washing my hair for one reason or another. I'll keep this one on hand for those days!

Vasanti: Brighten Up! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator
This is one of my favorite products that I've ever discovered from Birchbox. I had 2 accounts for awhile, and I received this in one of the boxes on my other account. This isn't just one of my favorites, it's also a well known customer favorite as well. It mimics the effects of mircodermabrasion and gives the skin a glowing, smooth appearance. I love it because I normally hate face scrubs, and they're usually very irritating to my skin. This is enriched with papaya, micro-crystals and aloe- and while it's exfoliating, the micro-crystals are so incredibly fine and tiny. It feels like a gentle massage more than a scrub. I love it- it makes my skin feel baby soft, and doesn't irritate or cause redness. A must have!
 Jane Iredale: HandDrink Hand Cream
Some of my regular readers may know that I'm a little obsessed with Jane Iredale. While I've tried tons of makeup from the line, I haven't really gone too much outside of that. While I was excited to see this hand cream sample, I was admittedly a little disappointed at the teeny size tube. It's about the size of an eye cream sample, and it's only about half full. Womp womp. Regardless, I have some great things (and one not-so-great) to say about this stuff! Yea, it might be just a hand lotion, but it has this thin-yet-rich consistency that not only smooths over my hands nicely, but it absorbs incredibly quickly without leaving a greasy feeling on my hands. What's interesting, is that even without the greasy feel, you can actually feel you hands are immediately softer after using this. I would buy this lotion immediately with my Birchbox points if not for ONE problem: the scent. You'd think something called 'handdrink' would smell like a tropical fruit punch or something delicious, but it smells like roses. And I'm sure some people love roses, but to me this lotion smells like a funeral home, or an old ladies perfume. It's just awful. If they release different scents for this lotion I would buy it in a heartbeat!

Stila: Huge Extreme Lash Mascara
Subscribers had their choice of a few different mascaras this month, however there was a glitch in the system and I wasn't able to make a choice. I was still happy to see this mascara as it's probably the one I would have chosen anyway. This mascara claims to give a boost in volume, curl and length with just one coat. I've read some great reviews of this, however I wasn't blown away to be honest. One coat did give me a very intense black lash. Like this has to be the blackest mascara I've ever tried, if that's possible. However I didn't feel like one coat was giving me enough volume and length, so I went in for coat #2. That may have been a mistake, as I started to see a "spider lash" look where they were clumping together and just not looking super great. I also had a problem with how big and weirdly shaped the brush was:
 It really bothers me when companies make the end of a mascara wand wider than the rest of the wand, because it makes it incredibly hard to get at the lashes on the inner part of my eye without getting mascara all over my lids. It's just not easy to maneuver in my opinion. Honestly, this isn't a terrible mascara, but I've tried tons of better ones and for $23, it's not something I'd purchase.
BioRepublic: Pomegranate Crush Illuminating Sheet Mask
First off, I'm not entirely sure how many Western customer are looking at this sheet mask and thinking, "oooh how exciting!" I feel like most people have been exposed to sheet masks by now, so imagine my actual shock when I saw these sheet masks retail for $5 EACH. The fact that I have piles of fantastic Korean sheet masks that are less than $1 each, and super fancy Korean sheet masks that don't even reach $5 apiece in price. This sheet mask just doesn't seem that thrilling to me. It's a basic pomegranate sheet mask. No hydrogel, no silk or fancy fibers...not sure what I'm paying for, here. Having said that, the ingredients list is pretty decent, so I'll probably use it but definitely wouldn't repurchase.
Overall Thoughts
Even though I'm a little bummed out that I won't be getting Birchbox for the next few months, I am definitely pleased with this month! All the samples were nicely sized and there wasn't too much overlap in sample types. Makeup, skin, body and hair care were all equally represented, which I appreciate. As I mentioned above in the description, since I have 5 samples this month, when I review them I will get $5 in Birchbox points, which I will most likely put toward Christmas gifts this year! Little tip: Save your Birchbox points until the end of the year and go nuts on Cyber Monday and cross a few luck ladies off your shopping list!
While I'm taking a break for now, I still highly recommend Birchbox as an affordable beauty subscription for yourself, or as a gift!

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. thanks for the amazing review.. I hope your car troubles resolve soon so you can get back to getting your monthly presents.. I too was not able to pick which sample I wanted and my box should be here by Friday.. I am loving what you got. The Death Valley I am praying I get!

  2. Hi Rachel - I am so sorry to hear of your car troubles - I know how that can be! The Death Valley is a bit different from other dry shampoos as it doesn't leave a white cast - and the coconut scent! :)

    I love my birchbox month too - I am actually happy that birchbox sent me 2 k-beauty items (finally!!) I agree the sheet masks are the best for almost 5 bucks, but it is a start - at least it mine didn't have the heavy floral scent that was in the aloe version (I got that in the mask sampler from them)