Birchbox November 2020 Unboxing

Birchbox was the first beauty box I ever subscribed to.  I’m sure there are many others who can say the same.  I don’t know if they were the first beauty box out there, but they were the first I heard of.  As I love the concept of trying a sample of a product before I buy the full one, I was all in.  In fact I kept my subscription for several years and had it in three separate states.

As my subscription universe expanded , It seemed like the Birchbox samples kept getting smaller and less attuned to my profile.  I also felt I was getting the same samples over and over.  And then they increased the price of the box. So I let the subscription go. 

I never really expected to go back.

Recently I heard there were some changes and so I poked around on the site. I saw some familiar favorites and thought it might be interesting, but then I left the site.

So Birchbox tracked me down.  I received an e-mail offering a free Birchbox Advent Calendar should I sign up for a year.  Since the price of the box with a yearly subscription was $13 ($15 if monthly order, $14 for a six month plan), I thought the subscription might be worth trying, even if only for a year.

Plus, I planned to pick up an advent calendar and the subscription came with one.  (I’m not sure if the code is still active but the code I used was ADVENT to get the deal.) So I signed up. (I will be reviewing the Birchbox advent calendar later this week)

Now as this was the first box, I made no choices regarding the contents, but on November 27th I was allowed to choose for my December box.  They had a choice of two curated boxes I could pick (neither of which really appealed to me), I could choose credit instead of my box (meaning I would be charged as usual, but wouldn’t receive a box, the money I paid going towards a purchase in their store), I could choose the one full sized item they offered in place of the box or I could choose one item and let them choose the other items in the box based on my profile.

It sounds like quite a lot of options.  However, I didn’t really like either of the two curated boxes and the one full sized item I could possibly choose was already sold out when I got to the site. I think I am going to have to see if earlier in the day of choice works better to have the item still available in the coming months.  They have tiers for their members (based on how much you purchase from their store, not the subscription box) and as I have clearly not been purchasing from them, I am in the lowest tier.  I ended up choosing a setting spray and letting them choose items based on my profile.

So it will be interesting to see if the full sized item is even a real  possibility for me. But that is for the future, after all I have an entire year of Birchboxes to sample before I make a judgment call on the subscription.

This is a post about my first box, November 2020.

It came in a nice sturdy box and had tissue paper over the items, which I appreciate.  It makes it feel like I am unwrapping a present.  The card is on top and while each item is listed with a little bit about each product, which I appreciate, all of the prices are for the full sized items. 

So to the items!

First up was a product from Oribe.  It is the Oribe Dry Texturing Spray.  It is essentially a dry shampoo that provides texture.  The Oribe mousse is one of my favorite styling products so I am happy to have a sample of their dry shampoo. 

Currently I am out of dry shampoo and waiting for my Klorane order to arrive (I’m trying a different dry shampoo from them than my go to standard so I’m kind of excited.) However the sample size is actually quite timely as it fills in the time between ordering and arriving.  So that was well timed and appreciated.

My second item was the Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Lengthening Mascara. I really like Benefit’s mascaras and I haven’t actually tried this one (that I recall).

The Bad Gal Bang is one of my top mascaras, but I am always down to try a new one. So I’ll add this to my makeup bag and probably use it for two to three weeks until it is empty and then I’ll know if I have a new favorite to order or if Bad Gal still reins supreme in the Benefit universe.

Next out of the box was a little tube of the Sunday Riley A+ High Dose Retinoid Serum.  It is a small tube but fully packed and should actually give me a week or two of use (especially since Retinoid are generally only worn at night).  Oddly enough this is one of the few Sunday Riley products I have never tried. In general, my skin is a fan of Sunday Riley, so I am always happy to try a something new.  And I am pleased to see it is actually a decent sized sample.

The next item I took out of the box was another box.  It contained a small Jade roller, which I believe everyone received in the November box.  I’m okay with that.  It seems like good quality and very nice.  I really like using my stone rollers. 

I do have several which is why this one is staying in the packaging and getting added to someone’s stocking this year. This year was apparently the year of the rollers for subscription boxes.  I have a rose gold quartz one, a metal one and this is my third jade roller of the year.  All are quality pieces and I will be parceling all but the one I’m using to new homes where I am sure they will be appreciated.

Finally the last item was from Kiss and Smink.  It was The Everything which is a multipurpose cream stick for use on cheeks, lips or lips. While I am liking cream blushes more, sometimes the sticks tend to blend away into nothing.  I look forward to giving this product a good try. I’ve seen Kiss and Smink around in various subscription boxes but never actually had it in one of my boxes, so I am eager to try out the brand.

So this was my November Birchbox, the first of twelve I have signed up for.  Since this was the first, and I signed up kind of late in the month, I know that this was probably not based on my beauty quiz. For next month I chose the one item from their selection with the rest of the box being built based on my quiz so I’ll have a better feel for the regular box after that.  All in all though this wasn’t a bad mix of items.  I received two makeup items, one hair care item and two skin care items.  This is actually not a bad mix of items for me.  It is well balanced.  All in all I am pleased with the mix and the size of the items I received in my $13 per month box. 

swatch from Kiss and Smink

Would I be less pleased if I paid the full $15 price? Possibly.

The thing is that Birchbox is sort balanced between categories.  At $13 the tax makes it $14.27.  Which clearly makes it less than a $15 box.  Allure was a $15 box and Macy’s (which I signed up to try out on a month by month basis and will start getting in December) is still $15 ($15.75 with Tax). So next month I will be comparing it to Macy’s and maybe cutting it a little slack because it is less than the Macy’s box. However at the full month to month price Birchbox becomes $15 ($16.27 with tax). Macy’s will still be its closest comparison, but no longer less expensive, so we will see how that works out.

For now I will say that I feel okay with receiving this box for $13. I feel like I got a pretty decent box for the price I paid. The issues I had with them before were the constantly repeating products, the ignoring of the beauty profile and the samples that were so small they were rather pointless. None of that applies to this box, so we are starting off our year long trial on a good foot. Let’s hope it keeps up.

A few Cyber Monday Deals for you:

Kerastase: 25% off $85, Plus Free Shipping! Use code CYBM20 at checkout. Offer valid 11/30-12/2.

Medterra CBD: 48 hours only: Get 50% off your entire cart!

NYX Professional Makeup: 40% Off Sitewide plus free blotting papers with every purchase. Additional free Ultimate Shadow Palette with $50 purchase! No code required. Offer valid 11/30.

And if you don’t quite make it in time today then…

Surprise Extension! 30% Off Sitewide plus free blotting papers with every purchase. Additional free strobing cream with $50 purchase! No code required. Offer valid 12/1-12/2.

Happy Shopping!

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