Unboxing the August 2022 Birchbox

My August Birch Box has arrived. This box of sample and deluxe sample items is $15 per month ($16.46 with tax) and both your customization and your payment window are based on when you sign up. I signed up Mid-month in July so in August I was charged on the 16th and was able to customize my box that same day. I think the window for customization lasts for about three days. I am on the month to month plan since I am not certain how long i wanted to keep this box (i have had an off and on thing with Birch box for years). If you subscribe for a longer period, your subscription cost will be less.

The number of items in your box vary because it is fully customizable. You receive times for items. Birch box recommends items but you can remove them and replace them with other items in the list. last month there was a full sized item you could replace your items with but this time there wasn’t. Sometimes a sample will be worth one tile or if it is deluxe maybe two. I think the full size replaces all five items. So the number of items will vary and the choices are all yours to make. They do send one surprise item each month so I was able to choose four of my five items this month. For me, one of the items I chose was from Ouai and the surprise Item was also from Ouai.

Over the years I have tried several of their hair products and I really liked them. They tend to be a bit pricey so they aren’t my go -to hair care items since there are less expensive ones that I like just as much. But I do like them and am happy to have two samples, especially a they are two items I have not tried before. The item I chose from Ouai was the body cleanser in the scent Melrose Place. As I had not tried anything other than Hair products from them, I thought it would make a nice change.

The surprise item that BirchBox sent was the Ouai Detox shampoo. I haven’t actually tried their shampoos. I usually end up with leave in conditioners and masks from the brand so I am thrilled to try out a a shampoo. I am actually looking forward to trying both.

The next item I have tried before and love. I actually have a full size of this so I don’t mind having a sample as well to slip into my travel kit. It is the Byroe Bitter Greens Toning Essence. It is a good toner, but it works best as an essence. It really opens the skin up so that you are ready for additional skincare. I really liked this when I used it before and I think it is one of the best products the brand has to offer. Their other items are okay, but this is their rockstar.

This was a hair heavy month for Birchbox and the next item I have is the Luseta Biotin and Collagen Hair mask. I have tried the shampoo and conditioner from this Biotin and Collagen line and really liked it so I am excited about this hair mask. Plus I have been working really hard to clear out a lot of the hair mask and product samples so it will be nice to compare it to the others I am rotating through.

And Finally there is one makeup item in my box this month. It is the Milk Makeup Rise Mascara. I enjoy Milk Makeup Products and I really liked their Kush Mascara. I have not tried their Rise mascara so it will be interesting to see how this one compares to the one I already love.

And that was my Birchbox this month. Do I think it was worth the $15? Yes I do actually. I have several products that I really want to try out and one that I am ready know I love. I do wish that one was a little bit bigger. But that is always the case when I get samples of products I like. This one is large enough that it will work in my travel case. And as I am getting ready to pack my travel case, it is quite timely indeed. This was a good month for Birch Box and I am happy to keep it another month.

La Roche-Posay- ACD

It’s the return of Birchbox

I know, it was the subscription that both fascinated and irritated me all at the same time. I had Birchbox when it was one of the only subscriptions out there and when the tiny samples became too much, I let it go. Then they said they changed and offered a good deal so I gave them another year. At the end of the year, I canceled. There were many issues, however one of the things I liked is that I often did have samples that were different from the items I received in other boxes. even if the samples were small, it was nice to give them a try. I often found out about things I hadn’t known about before. However one of their issues is that they would offer selections that would be sold out before I was allowed to log in and I would often get repeats.

However Birchbox is under new ownership and the system has been revamped. After subscribing you are taken to your box. each item selected has a tile and they have one mystery item. The mystery item is one they select. I think that you can make the entire box a mystery box if you don’t want to know what is inside. Otherwise each of the items is a tile. You can go with what they selected or you can remove it from the box and go to their list of available items. You can then use your tiles to select from the offered items. Some items on the list are worth one tile, others two. There was one full sized item on the list that I think took four tiles. I am on the month to month plan as I test it so my box is $15 per month.

Because of this, you have a lot of freedom in your selection. The number of the products will vary and while you can accept their selection, you are not stuck with the one box that didn’t sell out. There is no information about the products in the box, but there is a QVC code to scan for more information or you can just go to your account and it lists the items you received with all of the details, plus ordering information if you want them in the full size. So what was in my July Box?

The first item is a mystery item. It is the Gentle Facial buffer from So Eco. I have had one of these before and I really liked it. It is a sustainable and ethically sourced reusable facial buffer. I love that it is a minor exfoliation, but not as much as using an actual exfoliating product would be. I did notice that they do stain though. On my last one I accidentally got some mascara and a little lipstick on them and the stains remained. I was testing a makeup remover that just didn’t make the cut. I tended to wash it by putting it in a mesh bag and putting it in the washing machine with my reusable cotton rounds. It worked well and the buffer lasted a really long time (over a year before it was worn to the point of needing to be let go). Just remember it stains and it is a great tool to have around.

The second item was the one item Birchbox suggested for me. I kept it because I was surprised by it. It is the Wander Beauty All inclusive shampoo and body wash. I did not realize Wander beauty made shampoo or body wash. I will be poking around their site to find out more. There is 55mL worth of product inside which is enough to get a feel for it. It smells of lavender which is nice. I am curious to see if it does prove to be more of a body wash or a shampoo. either way i am intrigued. I am also it is a large enough sample to test out and at least see if it is worth trying in the full size.

One of the items I chose is also for the bath it is the Aromatherapy Associates Revive Morning Bath and Shower oil. It is an oil that can either be added to the bath, or put on the skin before you shower and then rinsed off. Bath oils are not something new to me, there are several I like.

Body oils that you apply after your shower instead of body lotion are likewise not a new to me idea. I don’t think I have ever had an oil that I apply before the shower and rinse off. That was what interested me and why I chose it for my box this month. As a bath oil I don’t think it would last long, but applied directly to the skin I should be able to get a few uses out of it and give it a try. I am honestly quite excited by this.

Next we have the one makeup item I chose. The selections this month were heavily skincare, hair and body. I’m not sure if that will be a trend going forward, we shall see. This was in the box and I couldn’t resist adding it. It is the No Poreblem Primer from Touch in Sol. I have this in the full size and I do love it. I chose this specifically to add to a travel bag. Even if I am not wearing makeup I tend to put on primer, powder and mascara and this is a primer that works well for that as well as with makeup, so i am thrilled to have a sample size I can throw into my travel kit.

And finally this month i chose a hair product. It is the Amika Dream Routine Overnight Hydration treatment. I have actually tried this before and really liked it. It is great for mid winter when a combination of cold weather, less humidity and the drying of the central heating system have dried out my hair. I know a lot of people have drying issues in the summer, but for me that is a winter issue, so I will take this, and put it aside for use in the winter when my hair really needs it.

And so that was my July Birchbox. The subscription takes the day you subscribed as your starting day and the day moving forward where you will be billed. I signed up on July 16th so I will make my selections mid month and will more than likely receive this at the end of the month. I am okay with that actually. Most of my subscriptions arrive at the beginning or middle of the month. I kind of like having one that arrives later as an end of the month treat.

For me this was a good box and definitely worth the cost of the subscription. I got to choose the items so they are all ones I will use. There was a good selection during my time of choice and there were new to me products as well as familiar favorites. It will be interesting to see how thing progress moving forward but for now, I really like this box and am looking forward to the next one. Perhaps it is time for Birch Box to return.



Let’s talk Birchbox, October 2021 Unboxing

Oh my darlings, the October Birchbox has arrived. And with it, decision time. Last year I signed up for a full year’s commitment to the Birchbox Subscription. The agreement to keep it for an entire year meant that I paid $13 ($14.27 with tax) instead of the regular $15. I was still able to pay month to month, which was something I really liked. I just had to agree to continue paying for twelve months. And the October 2021 box is box number 12 of the subscription. So in addition to looking at this month’s post, I will be looking back over all of the boxes for the past year to decide if I want to keep this subscription for another full year or if I want to go month to month or if I just want to let it go completely.

Before we look at the big decision, let’s start with this month’s box. As always there is a selection that is made on the 27th of the month. At this point in time the selection process is choosing one item from four options and letting Birchbox build your box around it, choosing their curated box or paying your subscription fee and letting that fee go towards the purchase of something from their on-line store instead of getting that month’s box.

I chose the curated box because I didn’t know if I was staying so I didn’t want to go with credit and I didn’t really like any of the four options given to me. Thee were also two items in the curated box that I was curious about.

The first item in the box that interested me was the Strawberry and Poppy Seed Natural Cleansing Bar from Dr. Botanicals. In general I don’t go for cleansing bars when looking for facial cleansers. The one exception is the black soap from Erno Laszlo. I absolutely love that cleansing bar. It is the only one that has won me over. However, I have been receiving more Dr. Botanicals products in subscription boxes lately and they have been killing it. I have been very impressed by the brand. I also like that they are not an expensive brand. While I like many expensive products and with skin, hair and body products I don’t mind spending the extra money to get what i want, it is always nice to have a good reliable moderately priced brand that you can turn to. And honestly for me that brand is rapidly turning into Dr. Botanicals.

This cleansing bar was the first thing I smelled as well as the first item I took out of the box. A waft of strawberry and poppy seed greeted me as I opened the box. It was kind of nice.

The second item that I really wanted to try was the Sunday Riley Light Hearted SPF 30 Daily Sunscreen. I am always looking for a few good sunscreens. I love my Volition Prismatic Luminizer, but it is nice to have options. and I really like the brand Sunday Riley. My skin tends to do well with most of the products I have tried. I actually have several that I will repeatedly repurchase. Good Genes actually tops the list. Fantastic AHA. I think the sunscreen might be a new release. I haven’t heard of it before, so I am glad to try it out.

The third item in my box is the Comfort Zone Hydramemory cream. It is a moisturizer with hyaluronic acid in it. And we all know I love my hyaluronic acid. Or more accurately speaking the fine lines around my eyes and the stress crack across my forehead really like hyaluronic acid. I have tried many Comfort Zone Products in the past but honestly can’t remember if this is one of them.

Comfort Zone for me is one of those brands that works well enough that I can’t complain about them but not great enough for me to really remember them. They tend to fall into my category of ‘I’ll use them if they are here but i won’t go looking for them.’

It isn’t a great category, but it isn’t a bad one. I will put this in my samples drawer and at some point I will use it. I’m sure it will be fine. Not spectacular, but fine. Because of my designation I tend to fid Comfort Zone Products priced a bit high. On the card the full sized version of this is listed for $68. I find that a little high for something not bad, but easily outpaced by many drug store products.

In this month’s box there was a Gel-ous Cool Down Wash off mask from Fila. Now perhaps this is a well known skincare brand I have never heard of, but when I hear Fila I think Sportswear, most specifically shoes. This skincare has the same logo on it so I’m guessing the sportswear company branched out. I’ll have to do a bit more research, but I do like masks so this could be interesting to try.

And finally we have the Balance Me Radiance Face Oil. I have a bit of a past with Balance me. I have received many samples of various products and they always work really well. My skin loves them and is happy. My nose hates them and is miserable. I am a very scent oriented person and with every balance me product there is always a point where my nose just can’t take it. I love their samples because it is good skincare so I want to use it but I can only take the scent for the duration of the sample not in he full size. But I haven’t tried their oils. Usually I wait until I am ready to use a product before opening it and trying it out, but I am getting ready to need an oil so I thought I might as well just go with this one. Plus I was too curious not to open it.

The product is a roller ball which I really like in an oil. I would love if more facial oils came with roller ball applicators. I rolled out a little on my hand and it does have a slightly herbal scent with possibly a hemp note to it. At least i think that was hemp. I’ll double check once I start using it. But whatever it is, the scent is lighter than most of their products and I actually like it. If it works as well as the other products Balance Me produces then we might have a winner. I am happy I get to try this out.

October was a pretty good box. In general this year, Birchbox has been pretty good. I have received several samples that I have enjoyed trying, some were brands or products I’d never heard of and would never have found on my own. There were however a lot of repeats. Part of that may be this year as many subscription boxes have struggled. However I had a Birchbox subscription before and well before the current issues started repeats were an issue with Birchbox.

I’m fairly certain the whittled down choice options are also due to current circumstances. When I opened my subscription there were between two and three box options as well as the four samples to choose from. There was also a product swap where a full sized item instead of your box was an option. As this year has gone on more and more of the options have dropped off. while it is understandable, it does affect my perception of the choices. That is as much a reality as shipping issues.

The biggest issue however is the cost I pay. I know the difference between $13 and $15 isn’t that great. But at $15 I start comparing it to other $15 boxes, like Macy’s Beauty Box. That is a $15 box and in a side by side comparison, Macy’s usually comes out on top and Birchbox feels like it is lacking something. With the $13 price my brain things, ‘well yeah, but it costs less.’ I have no problem paying $13 for this box. I feel that it is worth that price. I do feel that if I were to pay $15 each month I would constantly be making the comparison and i would become dissatisfied.

So for me a month to month option isn’t an option. For me to keep this box I would have to sign up for another full year. With so many other subscriptions that I want to try, I don’t think I will be signing up for another annual subscription to Birchbox. I think it is time to let this subscription go. At some point I may come back to it, as it is a good little box. But for me October will be my last Birchbox for a while. It is time to try something new.

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Unboxing the Birchbox for August 2021

I have to say I was very surprised to find my Birchbox in the mailbox yesterday. Usually they send an e-mail to let you see what is in your box around the time they send the box into the mail system and then they send you another e-mail with the tracking link. they are always good about sending those e-mails, so Birchbox rarely shows up as a surprise.

This month, there were no e-mails and the box just appeared. Funnily enough this morning I received an e-mail from them stating that the box was on it’s way. So I think there were some hiccups along the way. Still arrive my Birchbox did.

For those that don’t know, Birchbox is a $15 per month subscription and they send samples, deluxe samples and the occasional full sized item. You can get the subscription at a lower cost if you sign up for a six or twelve month subscription. You still pay monthly, it just costs less. I signed up for a full year as I was taking advantage of one of their deals (I received an advent calendar if I signed on for a year). So as a consequence I pay $13 per month ($14.27 with all taxes). This is the tenth box of my year long subscription so I have two more before I will decide if I am keeping the subscription or not. So lets see what goodies August has in store.

The first item in my box was the one item I selected during choice. It is the PCA Skin Weightless Protection Broad Spectrum SPF 45. I like the brand PCASkin and the few things I have tried from them have all been really nice. I am always looking for more sunscreens to wear. So many I try and don’t like that despite all the samples I go through I generally end up sticking with my Volition Sunscreen. I know we all talk about sunscreen in the summer, but it is a year round product. If you have sun, you need sunscreen, regardless of the season. So I have been looking for several different brands to add to my list to keep in rotation so I can trade them out every now and again. Thus far it is a short list. I have high hopes for this one. It contains caffeine in the mix.

I know you are thinking, “Does Mimsy’s coffee addiction know no bounds?”

Well, first off, no, not really. I actually just got in an order of coffee I placed with Amora Coffee and I did the happy dance when it arrived. So no, no real bounds there.

But the caffeine in is supposed to help prevent free radical damage. I will have to give that a bit more of a look before using it so I’ll be able to tell you exactly what it is supposed to do then. The notes on the Birchbox card are pretty sketchy on the subject.

Moving on we come to the Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Pink Dream Body Cream. I’ve tried many products from Glow Recipe, some i have liked better than others. I have however never tried a body cream. I just finished out the Dr. Botanicals Lemon Super Food Rescue Butter (fabulous stuff by the way, I was sad to see the tube emptied) so perhaps this one will be the next sample size I try out. While it does still have the foil cap on it, the scent of watermelon is still drifting out slightly. I suspect it will have a similar scent to it as the Watermelon Glow Sleeping mask. It has that same Watermelon candy scent to it. which I kind of like. it is a very summery scent so perhaps I will focus on using it up before the heat fades.

Aceology was the next brand pulled out of my Birchbox this month. It is a tube of the Brightening Treatment Mask. It has a different color to the tube, but the exact same name as a full sized tube I received in a different subscription box (I think Ipsy) I actually really like the mask, but still have plenty in the full size, already open tube. I’ll investigate and see if they are actually the same mask despite the different color tubes and if they are I will set this aside for use later. I will be happy either way actually. It is a great mask that I don’t mind having more of and I wouldn’t mind trying something new from the brand. So it is kind of a win win.

The Fourth little tube in my box this month is from a brand i have never heard of. It is the brand Minus 417. I know nothing about them and have heard nothing. This sample is of their Intense Volumizing Mud Shampoo. According to the blurb in the product card it nourishes the scalp while drawing out impurities. What is interesting is that I was using the Zent’s Shampoo and Conditioner set. I have finished the shampoo but still have conditioner left. I actually have several shampoo samples to work through so I have paired the Zents conditioner, which I love, with these random shampoos to use them up and clear them out. Right now I am finishing up the Davines Shampoo that came in last month’s Birchbox. But this may be my next sample as I am curious about both the brand and a mud shampoo.

In case you were wondering, I am generally slower to finish conditioners because I often use hair masks and treatments and when I do I skip conditioner on those days. (currently loving the Klorane Mango Mask BTW) Hence the slower usage of conditioner. Sometimes it is a pain, but this time it is actually a bonus. Since I know how the conditioner performs I can sort of see the differences in the shampoos. But that is another story.

On to the final product in this month’s Birchbox.

And it is quite an interesting one. It is also the only thing in the box that isn’t a little tube. It is the Art Naturals Vitamin C 3-in-1 Facial Treatment It says on the card that the full size is $3.99 and I am inclined to believe that this is the full size. It is a one use product but it has three steps to the facial. Step 1 is a brown sugar scrub. Step 2 is the Vitamin C Mask and Step 3 is the Witch Hazel Toner. The mask feels like a sheet mask in the package. I find this a really interesting trio. It has the potential to be fantastic. It also has the potential to be a complete mess. I think it will depend on how the package tears. If each product comes out on it’s own then it could be (depending on its performance) a fabulous idea. If I go to tear open the Step one Facial scrub and the package tears all the way to the Step 3 Which Hazel it will be a wreck.

I think I might ear mark this for my Friday Face mask this week, just because I am curious and want to see how it works. I also suspect that if I add it to the sheet masks I am trying to work through and clear out, it will very easily get buried. But I am looking forward to giving it a go.

And that is this month’s Birch Box. While it is a collection of small tubes and a sheet mask, I have to say I am kind of excited to try some of these products this month. There is quite a bit of interest in seeing how they perform. The samples are small so it will mostly be a test it out and see if it is worth bothering to try out a full sized version, but hopefully there will be enough product in the tubes to let me know that. This month all of the tubes feel relatively full. On several occasions this has not been the case, but I think that is more brand related rather than Birchbox.

So two more Birchboxs before I have to decide if i want to keep the subscription. The difficulty I am having is that for $13 I can see the value. At $15 I start comparing it to Macy’s and Macy’s generally comes out ahead. So if I decide to keep it, I would have to sign on for another year. And I will have to decide if i want to commit to another full year. I’m going to have to look back through my cards and products and see if that will be the case. But even though time is drawing near, it has not yet arrived so I still have two more months to decide. This month however, I am quite happy.

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Unboxing the July 2021 Birchbox Beauty Box

We have reached the point in the month where subscription boxes have started to arrive.  So brace yourself for a slew of unboxings.  They really do seem to come in waves.  The Underclub and Jersey Shore Cosmetics came at the beginning of the month and then mid moth the bulk of subscriptions arrive with a few stragglers trailing towards the end of the month.  The first in this mid-month block is Birchbox.

For those that don’t know Birchbox is a $15 per month beauty subscription.    There is a discount if you sign up for a longer term.  In order to give myself a full trial of the subscription I signed up for a full year and pay $13 per month ($14.27 with tax). Each month you receive five sample sized products to try.  I believe my subscription runs until October so that is when I will have to decide if I want to keep the subscription or not.

Usually Birchbox provides several different avenues for options.  You can choose one item from their list of choices to be included in their box and they will build around it, you can choose one of their curated boxes or choose not to receive a box and merely have our subscription fee go towards something in their store.  Often there is the possibility ow swapping your box for one single full sized item.  I’ll be honest, by the time I manage to log in to make my choice, the full sized item is almost always sold out.

This month there was no full sized swap option.  There were individual choice items but none of them appealed to me.  There was also only one box.  I think they are trying to lean towards more clean beauty items so the box was a Clean Beauty Picks theme.

This month instead of coming in a box, the items came in a mesh makeup bag.  It is a nice bag, sturdy and usable.  It is quite nice actually.  The bag is the sort of one I tend to throw my reusable makeup rounds in when I put them in the wash so they don’t get lost in the clothing. While nice and reusable, I did find them a little overly enthusiastic about the bag.  Earlier in the month Birchbox sent an e-mail detailing fifty ways you could reuse this pouch. 

As a spoiler, most of them involve using it as some sort of pouch.

So nice, but a little over hyped.

And it is about the elements within isn’t it?  So lets give them a look.

First up we have a familiar favorite with the Sunday Riley CEO Brightening Serum.  I think I have several sample sizes of this serum in my skincare drawer at the moment.  I think at least one of them came from Birchbox.  It is a good serum though so I am not overly upset to see it. It is a serum I will always happily use. I just have seen it many times before. 

The next item is the Supergoop Play Everyday Lotion in SPF 50.  I’ll use it, in fact I may even give it a use this week.  Over all I haven’t been massively impressed by Supergoop in the past, but I am always happy to try a new sunscreen.  At this time of year it feels like I just go through it so fast.  Mostly because of the length of time I end up spending outside. I don’t think I’ve tried the Play so it will be interesting to see how I feel about the formula.

The third item in my box I am also on the fence about, due to the brand. The brand is Arrow and it is a brand owned by Birchbox. While I don’t have an issue with them sending items from their own brand, I haven’t had the greatest luck with Arrow products. They are okay. None of them have been bad. They generally perform well. They are just also very forgettable. For me they tend to be a brand that I can use if I run out of something. I tend to think of them as place holder products. Something to use when I run out of something and haven’t yet picked out a replacement.

But this month they did send a lip oil. I do have a fondness for lip oils so perhaps this is the month where Arrow shines. The color of the lip oil is Enhancing Pink and that is actually an accurate color. Swatching it just looks like a shiny spot on the skin, hence no pics of the swatch, but it does have a barely noticeable tint that enhances the natural pink of my lips. So I will use it and perhaps, this is the moment when Arrow finally has a product i really love. I will keep my fingers crossed.

The fourth item in this months beauty box is the Megababe Space bar Detoxifying charcoal underarm bar. Which is a long title that I’m pretty sure means soap. A soap designed for your underarm and to help with odor, but still it is a small bar of soap. I’ll happily give it a try, but to be honest, it doesn’t actually excite me.

And finally We have a shampoo from Davines. It is the SOLU Shampoo designed to remove the residue of styling products from your hair. I find Davines an interesting brand. I tend to really like their shampoos and conditioners, but don’t really care for any of their other products. I haven’t used this shampoo before and am happy to give it a go since I have had good luck with their shampoos before. This is also a good sized sample so I can get several washes out of it which will help me determine how I feel about the product.

I actually just re-ordered a bunch of hair masks from The Mane Club (mostly Crybaby as it is my favorite and added a new bottle of the One Hit Wonder Spray while I was there) and with the masks, I like to use them in place of conditioners on the day I use them so I don’t mind having a seperate shampoo with no paired conditioner (although in general I really do prefer to try out sets just so I know that my hair feels the way it does because of the product and not because The Mane Club’s hair masks always make my hair feel nice. I’ll have to remember to think about the shampoo separately, but I have high hopes.

Overall this month wasn’t the most exciting month for me. I love the Sunday Riley CEO serum, but already have several samples of it. And while I am always happy to use it, I kind of like trying some new things. There were three items I am ho-hum about and then a shampoo I am excited to try. I really hate to feel down about a subscription box. And truthfully there is nothing really bad about this month’s box. It is just a little blah to me. Perhaps when I get into using the products I’ll feel more excitement, but Birchbox has had much better boxes in the past. Hopefully next month, they will bring back a little excitement. For now, July was good, but not overly exciting.

Birchbox June 2021 Unboxing

That’s right, the beauty box arrivals keep coming. This morning we are looking at Birchbox. Birchbox is a subscription that costs $15 per month. If you sign up for six months then you can get it for $14 and if you sign up for a year it is only $13. I am on the yearly plan at the moment (my year runs out in November if you are keeping track). With tax my cost comes to $14.27 under the yearly plan. You don’t have to pay for the entire year at once you simply agree to a year long subscription and then pay each month. I signed up for a year to give it a try and at the end of the year I will decide if i am keeping it or not.

Thus far it has been interesting. Over all I have been happy with the subscription but I think that I am happy with it at the $13 per month rate. I don’t think I’;d be as happy if I was paying the $15 rate and I think that is because at $15 it is almost a direct comparison to the Macy’s Beauty box. But each month has been different, so let’s see what five items this month’s Birchbox has in store for me.

This month I received the Clean Beauty Picks box. All of the items are clean alternatives to regular products according to the card. The first item in this month’s box is a sample of Milk Makeup’s Hydro Grip Primer. I have to say I am really excited to have a sample of this to try. I have heard a lot of things both good and bad about the primer and it will be nice to judge it for myself. In general I like a lot of Milk’s products. The Kush Lip glaze is something I keep on my repurchase list. And you know I love a good primer. I am looking forward to trying this one out.

The second item kind of made me laugh a little bit when I pulled it out of the box. One thing that Birchbox has been kind of mocked for in the past are their sometimes super tiy sample sizes. This PMS Soothing Oil sample size kind of brought me right back to that. I think what I found odd about it though is that the reason they usually put such small samples in boxes is due to the expense of the full sized item.

Birchbox has a tendency to put small samples of really expensive items in the boxes. This was a tiny sample of something that, in a full size, only retails for $17.95. Which made it seem a little strange to me. I’ll still try it, after all a roll on oil that relieves cramps would be an definite keeper in my medicine cabinet. I just found the size a little strange.

Next up is the Lighting Wand from Hero Cosmetics. It is a serum designed to lighter dark spots. The sample size is small but you are supposed to be able to see a difference after just one use. To test the claims I will try one use and see how the before and after look. Personally I rarely expect skincare to work with just one application, but the serum looks like it has maybe a week’s worth of product in it so perhaps if a single use doesn’t show any difference a week might. I’ll have to try it and see if it lives up to its claims. If it does I will be thrilled and add it to my line up of skincare heros.

Next we had something i was very happy to see. it is the Purlisse Matcha Green Tea + Lemon Detoxifying Charcoal mask. In general my skin gets along with Pur Lisse products. I used the Matcha moisturizer and really ended up liking it. It was one of those moisturizers that worked well for me in the transitional months where the weather was changing and the seasons had a difficult time deciding whose turn it was to rule. It didn’t do well in the heat of summer or the cold of winter, but it worked well with the fluctuations in temperature and humidity. While I haven’t tried the mask, I am always willing to try a new mask. Perhaps this one can be tried out this Friday.

And finally we have the Lemon Superfood All-in-one Rescue Butter from Dr. Botanicals. It is a body cream. I like Lemon and citrus scented products and I’ve tried a couple of Dr. Botanicals products that I liked. But I’ll be honest, it is rare that i actually get excited about body lotion. Or at least seeing them in subscription boxes. Sometimes I try them and the product is fabulous, but they just don’t really excite me. I will add it to the list of body lotions i plan to try and who knows, maybe its lemon scented fabulocity will astound me.

That was this month’s Birchbox. I have to say it kind of left me feeling a little flat. There are several products that I am looking forward to trying out. There are several brands i routinely buy and there are some new ones That I am curious about. I think that some of the sample sizes were a bit on the skimpy side this month. I am okay with it being a $13 per month box, but I think if I paid the full month to month price i would be kind of disappointed. This month even though the Macy’s Beauty box had small samples the box felt abundant, where as this just felt skimpy. I know it is hard to compare subscriptions but as these two are more or less the same price t is hard not to compare them, and this month, Birchbox just felt a little short.


Beyond Clean Beauty. Ogee is plant powered, vegan, gluten-free, GMO free and certified organic ingredients.

Ogee

Birchbox Beauty Box May Unboxing

The May Subscription boxes are starting to arrive.  The Underclub was the first, but hot on its heels is Birchbox.  Birchbox is a $15 per month subscription box however you can get the price lowered if you sign up for a six month or a yearlong subscription.  I signed up for a year so I pay $13 ($14.27 after taxes are added).  This is my seventh box in the twelve month subscription.  I had Birchbox for a long time.  It was actually my very first subscription box.  I then gave it up to try something new.  They changes dome things around so I decided to come back and give myself a year to decide if I wanted to keep the box a while or let it go to try out something else.  Over all I’ve had some really interesting products in the last few boxes.  

So let’s see what came in the may’s box. 

At the top of the listed products on the included card it says ‘A garden variety of casual beauty picks to prep skin for warmer weather and sunnier days.’ As May has been quite cool and rainy thus far but in my area June always drops the heat like a hammer, I like the general thinking behind that.  Now’ let’s see about the products.  The first Item out of the box was the Bondi Sands Dark Foam. 

It is self-tanning foam.  Which I find a little amusing.  I have the sort of skin that soaks up the skin and tans even through SPF 50. So my upper body is already starting to get a little bit of summer hues to it.  However I generally run around in pants or long flowing skirts in the summer time.  It means that my legs tend to be several shades lighter than the rest of me.  Which doesn’t really matter, but it makes me feel a little skittish about shorter skirts and shorts.  So this year I decided to try some self-tanning on my legs. 

For the first time ever I picked up a gradually tanning cream.  I haven’t gotten around to using it yet because I didn’t pick up any gloves or mitts or anything.  Luckily, the second item that came in the Birchbox this month the Bondi Sands Application Mitt to be specific. It is washable and reusable. And will keep my hands from staining a I try out the tanning foam. With luck I’ll be able to get my upper and lower body to match when I wear shorter skirts.

The third item was actually the item I chose this month.  It is the Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Magnet Extreme Lengthening Mascara.  I tend to like several Benefit Cosmetics products, including several mascaras and I have wanted to try out the magnetic version that they recently came out with.  I can’t wait to see how it performs.  Perhaps it will give Bad Gal Bang a run for her money. Incidentally Benefit Cosmetics has a deal up on their site right now. You can get a set of the full sized Bad Gal Bang and a travel Size of the same for the same price as the regular Bad Gal Bang Mascara. This link will take you there – not sure how long the deal will last though.

The Balance Me BHA Exfoliating Concentrate was the next item out of the box.  It is a chemical exfoliate and you know I love my exfoliates.  I also have a strange love hate relationship with Balance Me Products.  They always work really well but they always have scents I just can’t get past.  Hopefully as this is not a use everyday sort of product, whatever scent it holds won’t be problematic.  I really do like how the brand performs.  I’ve never had a poorly performing product from them actually. They just get me on scent.  So fingers are defiantly crossed on this one.

Moving right along we come to the Pūrlisse Radiant Glow Illuminating BB Cream SPF 30.  I’ve tried the non-illuminating version of this BB cream and I really ended up liking it.  I actually have a full unopened version of it in my dressing table.  It is awaiting a time when I have worked through a few products and cleared out some space.  It will be interesting to try the illuminating version of the BB cream.  I’m not generally one for illuminating creams but I have found a couple that I like.  Since I know I like the matte version I am glad I get the chance to give this one a try.

And finally there is The Body Shop – Ginger Scalp Care Shampoo.  It is a small bottle rather than a foil packet which I appreciate.  At the moment I am in the middle of a shampoo and conditioner Trial with Zents Shampoo and conditioner products.  Actually it is getting close to the midpoint of that trial so very soon there will be an update.  Since I still have a ways to go on the trial, this sample will go with the other shampoo samples to be tested in between larger trials.  I am a sucker for ginger though.  I did open this up and it smells very gingery (I couldn’t resist) so I am looking forward to giving it a trial.  I’m not usually big on The Body Shop’s products as the ones I’ve tried tended to go overboard on the scent, but I am still willing to give it a go.  And truthfully I don’t mind if they go a little overboard on ginger. Personally, I think it is a scent that isn’t used often enough.

And so that was this month’s Birchbox.  Overall I am quite pleased with the selection of products.  In fact all of the items are ones that I really want to try out.  Because I am testing out Versed Skincare’s Press Restart Retinol I’ll have to hold off on the Balance Me Exfoliator and the shampoo will have to wait a bit, but the Benefit Cosmetics mascara will be rolling into rotation ASAP along with the Purlisse BB Cream and I will give the Bondi Sands a trial this weekend.  It will be interesting to see what sort of learning curve there is with self tanner.  I suspect my first attempt will feature much user error.  I’ll keep you posted.  For now, I am quite pleased with the box of products I received and I am happy to have five more months with the subscription.



Birchbox April 2021 Unboxing

This was an interesting box this month for me. But before we get into it, let’s go over what Birchbox is, what it costs and what i should expect. So Birchbox is a monthly beauty subscription. They send samples with the occasional full sized item thrown in. They are often kind of mocked for the small size of some of their samples. To be honest some of them are ridiculously tiny. Recently I’ve gotten small samples but none of the really tiny ones. The cost varies depending on if you get a month to month subscription, a six month subscription or an annual subscription. They usually have deals running about the subscription and I ended up signing up for a year subscription in November of 2020 because of their signing bonus which at the time was an advent calendar.

Because I signed up for a year I pay $13 per month ($14,27 with tax). If you sign up for six months then it is $14 (with tax) and if you go month to month it is $15 per month. If you are looking at subscription comparisons in terms of which one that you want to spend your money on, the Macy’s box, which I also get is $15. It also charges tax so the month to month cost for Birchbox and Macy’s are the same. I just reviewed Macy’s April Box if you’d like to look at it for comparison.

So now that we know what we are looking at, let’s get into it.

Usually Birchbox comes in a sturdy cardboard box. This month, due to Earth Day Celebrations it came in a reusable Stasher bag. I have to say I like this much better, although i doubt it will be repeated. I have been wanting to try a Stasher bag for a while. They are reusable bags that can go in the microwave, freezer and even in the oven. So it isn’t just a good storage item it is multi functional. And yes, I will be putting it to the test to see how it works so stay tuned for that review once I’ve put it through its paces.

However as fantastic as the Stasher bag is, it isn’t one of the five items in the box this month. The first item in the box is the only item that I knew would be in the box. Usually Birchbox gives you a multitude of choices and options, this month you could either trade in your box for points or a natural deodorant kit or you could choose the color of your Re.fil refillable Beauty Balm. I wanted the Stasher bag so I didn’t trade in the box and I am happy with my Native deodorant so I chose a green case for my refillable beauty balm.

I’ll admit, I was kind of annoyed that that was my choice. Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of reducing waste and have been taking steps to reduce it in my own life. I use Makeup Erasers rather than disposable makeup wipes. I’ve started using washable faial rounds instead of disposable cotton rounds. And I can see that having a reusable balm would cut down on a lot of plastic waste. But the thing is, I have a lot of balms and part of reducing waste is using what you have instead of buying new, so I would have chosen something other than a balm if given the option.

I am also leary of reusable balms like this. I like the concept, but often times the product isn’t one I want to repurchase. Clearly I haven’t tried this one, so I don’t know how it performs, but if I am going to keep this around and reuse it repeatedly, it needs to be a good product, not just a good package. I actually have my fingers crossed that it will be a good product as it is a sturdy and reusable looking container.

But the jury is still out.

There is no deliberation on the second item. The second item in my box was a box of 2 Magnitone London Wipe Out Swipes. I couldn’t be more pleased. I received a set of these in a Look Fantastic Box and then accidentally ended up with two of the same boxes so I have four of these that I currently use. I really like them and am happy to add two more to the collection. They will immediately be put into rotation. They aren’t perfect, they do have some issues to get used to, but I really like them.

I also like that Birchbox has them listed for sale. You can buy a six pack for $20. One of the reasons I haven’t posted a review of these is because I couldn’t find them listed for sale in the US. I found other products from Magnitone london that I could buy, but not these swipes. Now I know at least one place I can buy them. So i am very thrilled about those.

The next item is a Comfort Zone Remedy Cream to Oil Ultra Gentle Cleanser. I like cleansers and we don’t always see a lot of them in subscription boxes so I don’t mind seeing it. The cleanser has at best two uses in the tube which is enough to let me know if I like the fragrance and if I have any initial reactions. It isn’t really enough to let me know how I’m going to like it on my skin.

A few months ago I used a Murad Cleanser that I loved for about a week and then found my skin dried out and flaky in week two. (It isn’t actually Murad’s fault, I didn’t realizing it was an acne wash for oily skin. It is great for one time use here and there for me but not a daily cleanser. It is fantastic for drying out oily, acne prone skin though). So I can get an initial impression. I think I may have heard of comfort zone but I can’t recall trying anything from them. So it will be interesting to see what I think of the one day use.

I have tried Grace and Stella before many times. Their under eye masks are one of my absolute favorites. This month I received a small Rose Water Facial Mist. I sprayed it and while I like rose, this was a little much for me. I am sure it is a fabulous product, but I know I wouldn’t use it because of the scent so I will be passing it along.

Finally there was a sheet mask from Vitamasques in my box. It is the Hydrate Blue Agave Sustainable Sheet mask. I’ve used Vitamasques before and liked them. I think I have one currently in my masking collection that I was planning to use this week actually. I don’t know the difference between their regular sheet masks and their sustainable ones. What I might do is use the regular sheet mask for my Wednesday evening face mask and then use the Sustainable sheet Mask on Friday and do a comparison between the two. I figure using them that close together will at least let me know the difference as there won’t be too much time between uses.

So that was the April 2021 Birchbox. To be honest I love the Magnitone Wiper Out Swipes and know that I will use them. I love the Stasher bag and know I will use it. I am pleased with the sheet mask and feel kind of okay about the cleanser and Beauty Balm. Maybe I’ll be more excited once I try them out. While I love the swipes I really have to say I am most excited about the Stasher. Overall this wasn’t the most exciting box. It was okay but not spectacular and mostly saved by the Stasher. But that’s okay. Not every box is going to be fantastic. This one was just mediocre. I am signed up for Birchbox until November when i will have to decide if I am going to keep it for another year or let it go. seeing the good, bad and mediocre boxes throughout the year will certainly help me decide if this is a box I plan to keep long term or one I will need to let go so that I can try a different one.

And either way, I will end up using the Magnitone Wipe Out Swipes daily and get to see if the Stasher actually does all that it claims. So that’s something.


My Little Mascara Club

Birchbox Beauty Box March 2021

This is apparently the week of the subscription boxes. As February’s subscriptions seemed to all come in at the end of the month it feels like I just reviewed a bunch of boxes. Today’s review is of the Birchbox Subscription box. As you may recall from previous posts I decided (after a break) to try out a year long subscription of Birchbox. Thee were a lot of changes announced so i wanted to see if it was a better subscription or if I should leave it again once my year was up. With a year-long subscription my box is $13 per month. If I had a six month subscription it would be $14 and if I went month to month than it would be $15. There is tax added so my $13 box comes to $14.27 each month.

While they have many options that you are allowed to choose by the time i log in on the 27th of the month often times many of the selections are gone. This month however All of the selections were available. This is the first time this has happened and I was thrilled to have the full variety of selections at my disposal. From the Options I chose the Clean beauty heros. It had a couple of things I tried before and liked and a couple of things that looked interesting and that I wanted to try. Let’s go through them shall we?

The first item in my boz was the Australian Caly Pink Clay Flash Perfection Exfoliating Treatment from Sand & Sky. Oh yes, my darlings, it is a clay mask. I have gone through large jars of this mask before and liked it. In case you are thinking it sounds more recent a mention than my last jar, then yes, well done for spotting it. I actually received the same mask from Birchbox last month. One of my issues with Birchbox was the repeat items.

Yes, this was my choice, but the single choice items, the regular box and the one full sized item didn’t appeal to me and this box did. I’m not upset that this item is repeated, because I know it is one I will ue, but it is something I will be monitoring for November when I have to make a choice about keeping or leaving the subscription.

Moving on I was happy to see the Wander Beauty Baggage Claim Gold Eye Masks appear. I used to not think much of eye masks but then I tried them in the middle of allergy season and they were amazing. Some eye masks perform better than others of course, but all I’ve tried so far have been pretty good at depuffing. My two current favorites are actually 111Skin Celestial Black Diamond Eye Masks and Grace and Stella’ energizing Eye Masks should you be interested (the links will take you to their sites and the masks) but I really do like the Wander Beauty Baggage Claim Masks as well. They stay in place and really hydrate the under eyes. As my garden seeds are sprouting in the greenhouse I am starting to gather up and inventory all of my eye masks in readiness for the spring pollen onslaught, and these will be a welcome addition to the gathering.

The next item, if I am honest, is one of the main reasons I chose this box. It is the bareMinerals Gen Nude Potent Lip Lacquer in Pout. I will more than likely be wearing it today when I put on my makeup post workout. I really wanted to try their lip formula. I had a liquid lip of some sort from the brand a while back and loved it. I am currently loving their hydrating lipstick formula, but it has been a while and this is apparently a new release So I was eager to try it. It will be nice to see how it performs.

I have never tried anything from Loum Beauty of Calm before although I have seen them around. This Pure Serenity Golden C serum is supposed to be used around the eyes. I’ve tried eye creams and I have an eye oil in my to try line up, but I have never tried an eye serum. I am always happy to find new products to help me defend against the advance of fine lines. I know in the end it will be a loosing battle and I’ve accepted that, but I also intend to put up a good fight first.

So I thought that would be interesting to try And although the sample is quite small, not a lot of product is used around the eyes so it might actually give me a pretty good idea what to expect from a full sized version of the product. That is of course the reason I love sample sizes so much. It’s like taking the product for a test drive before bringing it home. It saves wasted product and wasted money.

Moving along, I found a Hair Product in my BirchBox this month. It was the R+Co Rodeo Star Thickening Foam. I have used a lot of different styling products in my hair but I don’t use a lot of foams. I really like the Oribe Grandiose Hair Plumping Mousse for volume (and even that I use sparingly), but other than that I don’t really have a lot of foaming products. Also I have rather thick hair to begin with so thickening it usually isn’t my plan. I’m hoping it means volume which I can sometimes use as my hair gets straighter and flatter the longer it gets. My mother has very fine hair though and I told her about it and she is excited by the prospect.

Amusingly, I asked if she just wanted me to send it on and she said, ‘No you try it first and then tell me what to expect’. Which means she wants to know what problems to expect and if my hair is going to fall out when using it. It shouldn’t surprise me. As I am willing to try a lot more things I was always the product Guinea Pig of our household. I could have lived without being the first to try the first version of the Epilady when it came out, but in general it works out well. So I will try a small amount to see what it does and how it performs and expect that i will be passing the rest of it on.

Finally, there was a small added extra in this month’s box. It was the EXO Supply Nail Polish Remover Wipe in Lavender. I have used one of these in a different scent and I was thrilled with the way it removed nail polish. It is very easy to use. I never picked up a full size of them after trying and loving the sample because I wasn’t sure how biodegradable they were and I didn’t want to eliminate my use of Makeup wipes just to add in Nail Polish cloths. Recently my nails have looked pretty banged up in photos because I have been testing the limits of a couple of nail polishes, Primarily, Sally Hansen, Smith & Cult and OPI. Usually though I paint my nails once a week, except when the garden is in full swing and nail polish is laughable as it is always destroyed in a single day of pulling weeds. Next week I’ll start posting my findings, for those following along.

So that was my March Birchbox/ Overall I was very happy with my box. I was thrilled I was able to choose from the full selection of options. I will be watching and monitoring the repeat items. Everything except the R+CO thickening foam will be used and some I am very excited I get a chance to try. I think I can say that this was a very good month and while decisions will be made in November, at the moment i am happy to keep receiving Birchbox.

Say I Love You Gifts

Birchbox February 2021 Unboxing

I know some of you are reading this and thinking, wait didn’t you just do a Birchbox unboxing?  I did, and thank you for remembering. The January Birchbox was delayed so I reviewed it quite late.  This month’s Birchbox came in on time.  Typically they are sent very early in the month.  For those that don’t know Birchbox is a $15 per month subscription.  If you purchase a six month subscription the price drops to $14 and if you agree to a full year of Birchbox then the cost drops to $13.  While I had this box a while ago and cancelled, I am currently signed up for the full year and this is my fourth month of the subscription.  In previous months I have to say I am happy with this being a $13 per month subscription.  I think I might be less happy if I was paying the full $15.

Each month on the 27th subscribers can log in and choose from several options.  You can choose one of two curated boxes, you can choose one item in your box and let them choose the others based on your beauty profile, you can choose to exchange your box for the one full sized item they offer or if you don’t like any of the options you can pay your subscription box price and just  put it toward a purchase in their store. While that sounds like a lot, for the first three months, when I logged in to make my selection the full sized item was always sold out as was at least one of the box choices which was somewhat frustrating.

This month there was no offered full sized item and surprisingly both box options were available.  So this month I chose their Clean Beauty Curated box.

I’ll be honest, the reason I chose it was because of the Bare Minerals Bounce and Blur Blush in Mauve Sunrise. I saw it, clicked the button and then thought, “I should probably look at what else was in the box.” I did and I liked the other items so I kept the selection. 

swatch

This blush feels like a cream when you touch it but applies like a powder on the face and is fantastic color.  I love Bareminerals blushes and am so happy to have one regardless of the size. They are just a great makeup brand. So I was thrilled.

I was also pleased with the Naturelab Tokyo Perfect Repair leave In treatment. I used up a full size of this during the summer actually and found it was excellent.  It was light weight and never got sticky in the hair no matter how high the heat and humidity rose.  It was an excellent product and I am happy to have a travel sized bottle of it. 

I have gone through an entire large size of the Australian Pink Clay Porerefining face mask before as well and really enjoy the mask.  It is one of those clay masks that is so fabulous in the summer time because it cools as it dries so you feel very refreshed after wearing it – along with all of the skin benefits as well. This is always a mask I am happy to see, but I may hold off on using it for a while as I work through other open products.

While I have tried many Balance Me products, I have not tried the Congested Skin Serum.  Balance me and I have a strange relationship.  I like the products and I enjoy using them, except for the scent.  It is almost always the scent of them that gets me.  The last two products I tried I really liked and they worked excellently well, but I just couldn’t get past the scent to use them on a daily basis.  I haven’t opened this serum yet, but I am sure it will work just as well as every other product in their line.  I just have my fingers crossed that this one has a scent I like.

My final item was the Too Cool For School Egg Mellow Cream.  Now I have seen this cream flit in and out of subscription boxes yet somehow it has never landed in one of mine.  After seeing it around for so long I am happy that I finally managed to get a tube to try out. Hopefully it will perform well and end up on my list of moisturizers to try in the full size.  Here’s hoping.

So that was my February Birchbox.  I have to say that thus far it has been the best one I have received this far.  I don’t know if supply systems have had their issues worked out or if somehow the fates aligned or what, but I really enjoyed this box. I like the items in it and I was not frustrated by my lack of options when I went to make my selection. It is a nice mix with a mask, a serum, a moisturizer one makeup item and a hair care product. While technically that does mean there are three skin care items in the box, they are all from different categories so I don’t mind it. All in all, this, my darlings, was an excellent month.


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