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.

Shop LovelySkin for high-performance skin care, hair care, makeup and more! Free samples, rewards and shipping with every order!

Unboxing the September 2021 Birchbox

Ah yes, the unboxings continue, for it is that time of the month when all of the subscriptions arrive. For those that don’t know, Birchbox is a $15 per month subscription box. Inside each box you receive five sample sized products.  Occasionally there will be a full sized one. While the subscription is $15 per month, if you sign up for a six or twelve month commitment then the cost drops, even though you still pay by the month.  I signed up for a twelve month subscription so I pay $13 per month ($14.27 with tax). In general I find it to be worth the $13.  This is the eleventh box of the twelve in my subscription.  Next month is the last one I have committed to purchasing and I am starting to look over the past years’ worth of boxes and decide if I want to keep the subscription for another year.

To be honest, I have had some issues with Birchbox.  There are a lot of repeat items and even though they seem to have a lot of choice options they are often sold out before I can get onto the site to choose.  Although recently they have had a lot fewer choice options available.  Usually there are two boxes that you can choose between, or you can choose one item from a selection to be included in your box.  You can also trade your box in for one full sized item or just skip the box, still pay for the month and put your box charge towards a full sized purchase in the store. 

For the past few months there has only been one box choice and a lot of the time there is no full sized item to choose instead.  I don’t know if there have been shipping issues or if it is an internal change.  I also don’t know if it is temporary or permanent.

This month the box offered didn’t really appeal to me so I chose one of the items from the choice selection.  The product I chose was the Good Genes Lactic Acid Treatment from Sunday Riley.  I have used this before.  Many times actually.  I have used the small sample sizes and I have used the full size one.  It is a product that I really love and if it is an option, I will almost always choose it.  I am happy to have this around in whatever size it appears.  And as soon as I whittle down my skin care collection, this is one of those items that I will be reordering.  My skin just looks and feels so good when using it. So as always, I am happy with this.  It is however somewhat of a repeat item.  While I don’t mind at all that this item is repeated, that is something I wanted to watch with this subscription.

The second item I am not entirely certain if it is a repeat item or not.  It is the Balance Me AHA Glow Mask.  In the past year I have seen a lot of Balance me products in subscription boxes, several in Birchbox.  I am not certain if this is one I’ve received before or something new.  I have a love hate relationship with Balance Me.  Their products are great.  They always work well.  They have a great ethos and I really like their ingredients lists.  However every product I have tried has had a really strong scent.  Most smell like furniture polish or floor cleaner.  That could just be me. But it is something I have noticed consistently.  For me it is always a personal battle.  I love the products but can’t take the scent.  So we will see how this one fares and if it is the same a the other Balance Me products. But for now I remain on the fence about this one. 

The third item I pulled out of the box this month really kind of annoyed me.  It is the Re.fil Beauty Balm.  Some of you may find this familiar.  I received it a couple of months ago from Birchbox.  It was a new launch for one of their in house brands.  That month you had no option about receiving this balm.  Your only option was to choose the color of your reusable container.  Which is fine, but it means they know everyone received one.  And the selling point of this product is that it is reusable and refillable.  They sell the balm refills. The point of this product is to reduce the waste of plastic lip balm containers.  If they sent one of their refill packs or made the refill pack one of the options then I wouldn’t have been annoyed.  I think that the reason this product sort of annoys me is because they made such a big deal about this being a reusable container and they made certain that everyone received one that they could reuse. And now they are sending a second one. 

It just bothered me. 

But now my mini rant is done. Thanks for listening. We shall continue now with the unboxing.

I am happy about the last two products that came in this month’s box. The first of these is the IPKN moist and Firm BB Cream.  I’ve used a couple of IPKN products before and really liked them.   I think it will be interesting to try out a BB cream.  Plus it is nice to get something other than skincare from the subscription. And yes I know that this month’s theme is ‘wake up to the skin of your dreams,’ but some change is nice.

The final item is the Onekind Dream Cream night time moisturizer.  I am always looking for a good night cream and the few Onekind products I’ve tried have been really nice.  So hopefully this will work out well for me too. I have to say I also like the kind of sleek clean packaging of the product as well. I find the packaging on both the sample and the full size aesthetically pleasing. I know that shouldn’t matter, but it is a nice addition. Plus I love squalane, so that helps too.

Looking at the products in the box, I have to say if it hadn’t been for the Re.fil product I would have been pretty happy.  I’ll be passing it on because I already have a refillable Re.fil balm and I don’t think I need two.  Again, if it had just been the refill pod or it was an option I would have been less annoyed.  For some reason it really just bothers me.

I’ll get over it though.

Otherwise it was a pretty decent box of products.  I have one that I love, two that I am interested in trying out and one that I am on the fence about.  Seriously if Balance Me didn’t have a history of smelling like furniture polish and floor cleaner, I would be all over them.  Perhaps sample size is the way to go with them, at least for me.  I can generally tolerate the scent long enough to get through a sample tube.  I never order the full size because despite the fantastic results, I know I would find excuses not to use them because of the scent.  If scent doesn’t bother you, they are fantastic products.

Over all I am pleased with the box this month.  I don’t know if it inclines me to keep the subscription for another year or if next month’s box will be my last.  I expected by this time in the subscription to have a very clear answer.  However Birch box has had more highs than lows this year.  It will be an interesting decision.  At least I still have one month left to decide.


Engagement rings and fine jewelry.

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.

Get a bag of Amora Coffee, Pay Just $1.00 Shipping.

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 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 January 2021 Unboxing

This month Birchbox had quite the delay in shipping.  In addition to the current delays I believe one of their warehouses flooded. At least according to the e-mail I was sent.  I was also sent an e-mail saying that next month they will be shipping out between the 1st and the 10th which is their usual schedule, so hopefully their troubles are behind them. 

For those that don’t know Birchbox is a beauty subscription that has five sample sized beauty products in the box per month. If you order month to month the cost is $15.  If you order for 6 months, then the price drops to $14 and if sign up for a full year then you can get the subscription for $13. I am currently signed up for a yearly subscription. 

This was my first beauty subscription when I started with beauty boxes and I sort of have a soft spot for it.  I kept the subscription for a long time and then decided to take a break and move on to other subscriptions.  In November, they were offering a free Advent Calendar with an annual subscription so I decided to come back for a year to see if some of the issues that cause my dropping the subscription were addressed.

I know you are probably expecting me to complain about the small sizes of some of their samples, and I will admit that their samples can sometimes be laughably tiny.  Those are usually the more expensive products.  But truthfully that didn’t bother me as much as the moment of choice.

Each month on the 27th you can log in and make a choice for your box.  They do have a variety of options.  They have two curated boxes, one that features clean beauty options. There is the option to exchange your box for a preselected full sized item. You can choose one sample from a selection of options and know that that item will be in your box or you can decide that nothing in that month’s box interests you and thus instead of getting a box you can put your subscription price towards a purchase in their store.

One of the things that irked me about Birchbox was that no matter how early I logged in the full sized item was almost always sold out (I think I managed to catch it once and that was by accident), and usually at least one of the box selections was no longer an option. I found it very frustrating to expect a wide variety of choice options and end up with very limited ones.  Technically they send you e-mails letting you know choice is open, but if you wait to receive the e-mails then you will most likely find your options limited.  My e-mail always comes in around noon, but I found I can log in at nine. The system won’t let me in earlier than nine am.  On December 27th I made a deliberate effort to get in as soon as possible.

Which I did. I logged in at 9:02 am on choice day. And found that one of the boxes was already sold out as was the full sized item. The remaining box didn’t appeal to me so I chose an item from their list of selected. I chose the Verb Ghost Shampoo and Conditioner.  This apparently counted as two items out of my five.  While I really do want to try the Verb shampoo and conditioner, I find it a little off putting that the set counts as two items. 

The tubes are 25 ml and I’m pretty sure I’ll get one hair wash with the set. I’m happy to get the chance to try the shampoo and conditioner and as they are used together I would be a little upset if I got one and not the other, but I think if the pair is going to count as two items, they should have at least had enough product for two washes.  But, regardless, I am looking forward to trying another product by Verb.

the spoolie end

My next item was from the brand Marcelle.  It is the Nano Eyebrow liner.  It is in a shade that I will use and I love that the pencil has a spoolie on it so that I don’t have to go looking for one when I use it.  Marcelle products are sometimes hit or miss for me, but the ones that hit I end up falling in love with while the misses are just kind of so so.  Their mascara is one of my favorite formulas actually. So I am happy to have this to try.

The next item in the box was the Dr. Botanicals Pomegranate Superfood Regenerating sleeping mask. I love pomegranate and I love sleeping masks so this hits right into my zone of products.  I have never tried anything from Dr. Botanicals and am happy to give them a try.  I am also pleased that it is a large enough sample that I can get at least a full week-long trial out of it before making a call on whether or not I like it enough to purchase a full size. I’m hoping I like it as the full size is only $12 which is really reasonable for a sleeping mask. Fingers crossed that it’s a good one.

And this brings us to out last item and it is the KNDR Luxury Hand Sanitizer.  A little over a year ago I would have been upset to see this in my beauty box but these days I go through so much of it that having an extra is not a bad idea.  I will say that I did open it and use it.  It is an aggressively floral scent.  A chokingly aggressive floral scent.  If you are going to use this hand sanitizer, use it in an open space.  I opened it in my office and initially thought that as the hand sanitizer did its job that the scent would fade. 

It did not. 

It lingered.

And made my eyes water. 

The scent is very much like my grandmother’s linen closet sachet (the one stored for too long next to the mothballs so that the floral scent was a little off) was dipped in the sanitizer alcohol gel.  It is not pleasant and I had to air out my office.  I am putting this tube of hand sanitizer in the carport and will use it when I go get the mail, or move the trashcan around, but the carport is an indoor/outdoor space where the fresh air will blow the scent away. Do not use this in enclosed areas.  Even if you happen to like the scent, know that it is strong and it takes a long time to fade.  Anything this potent needs a lot of space to run around in.

with the rainbow prismatic paper inside

Now while those were all of the items in my box this month, this month Birchbox did a keepsake box and so instead of their usual cardboard boxes they had a clear plastic box.  Instead of their normal tissue paper they used a rainbow sheen plastic which gave the box some depth and shimmer. It is a simple plastic box.  It is fairly sturdy. I left the rainbow sheen plastic in and it looks nice. I’ll reuse it just as I will reuse all the other boxes, but from the massive hype they were giving the box I was expecting something more.  They really talked up their keepsake box. I know it isn’t a terribly expensive subscription but I would have thought maybe hinges on the lid. It is just a plastic version of their cardboard boxes. And while useful, not quite worth the hype they gave it.

I know I did a lot of complaining in this post, but at the end I received several products that I will use and that I wanted to try. The only real clunker for me was the scent of that hand sanitizer and while I don’t care for the scent I will still use it, just not in enclosed spaces.  To be honest the scent was so overpowering I didn’t have any thoughts about the moisturizing aspect of it, so I’ll have to try it in the garden and report back.  Other than that scent it was a good box.  I was annoyed by the items being sold out before I was allowed to choose and by the shampoo and conditioner counting as two items when there is only enough product for a one time paired usage. But otherwise I am actually pretty happy with January’s selection ad looking forward to February. I have signed up for a full year of Birchboxes and I believe my last one is in November so I will be getting this box through then. I plan to keep track of both my delights and frustrations to see if I will keep the box past November or finally let it go.




Birchbox December 2020 Unboxing

Birchbox was the first subscription box I ever signed up for way back when.  After a while I let my subscription lapse. At the time I was receiving many of the same products repeatedly and I wanted to try out other subscription boxes. Apparently they have made changes and so now I have returned to give it another go.  I signed up for a yearly subscription which means my price is $13 per month (if you sign up for 6 months it is $14, if you go monthly then it is $15). It will be interesting to see how I feel about it at the end of twelve months.  This is the second box in the yearly subscription. 

There were six items in my Birchbox this month.  The prices listed on the card that came with the box are all for the full sized items rather than the items in the box.  There is the possibility that the nail polish is full size, but nothing else was.I do like the information on the card though. it was helpful to know a little about each product.

The first item was a Beautaniq Beauty Velvet Rose Bud Soothing hand Cream. It has shea butter in it so I imagine it will be quite soothing.  It is a good size to drop into a handbag.  I know people are washing their hands more, at least I am, and as a consequence hand cream is becoming more necessary, but at the moment I am well stocked on hand creams. In fact I am overloaded with hand creams.

Rose is also not my favorite scent for hand cream.  Sometimes it can be overwhelming.  I’ve never heard of this brand or tried anything from them (obviously as I have never heard of them) so I don’t know what the scent is like.  I will keep it and try it though to see how I feel about the brand. At the moment I have several hand creams open and once I use up at least one more I will give this a go.  While I’m sure it is nice, I’m just never all that excited about hand creams.

I was excited about the second item in my Birchbox this month.  It is the Lise Watier Magnifix Make up Fixative with white tea. It is essentially a setting spray with antioxidants.  I am beginning to lean into setting sprays with skin care benefits more and more so it is always nice to try out a new one.  The Birchbox came in early enough last week that I was able to add this to my makeup bag this week to try it out.

I was also able to add the Marcelle CC Cream Golden Glow with SPF 35 to my makeup bag this week as my foundation product.  I’ve tried Marcelle products before and always really liked them.  I think I’ve used both a mascara and a moisturizer that I have really liked before in the past and I am happy to have another  product from the brand to try out.  I will give it a trial this week and let you know how it performs.

The Nails inc Nail polish may be a full size or it may not.  It is one of the round bottles.  I’ve gotten the bigger rectangular bottles before and I believe those are full size while this is maybe a deluxe. I’m not entirely certain.  I would expect Birchbox to make a note of a full sized product in their box as it is unusual. I didn’t see anything, so I am guessing it is not full size. 

It is however perfect for the holidays.  The color is listed as FOMO and it is a lovely glossy red. I really like the formula of the Nails Inc polishes so I am happy to have it, regardless of the actual official size. They are really long wearing and don’t tend to chip for a while. I will be wearing it for Christmas this year as it is perfectly suited. So excellent timing.

I was also very happy to see the Verb Ghost hair mask in my box this month.  I tried a Verb hair mask before (not this one though) and I really liked it.  It left my hair soft and nourished.  I’m hoping this will do the same.  As we have entered the wet and drizzly part of winter where I live, anti-frizz products are in high demand in my bathroom.  It’s kind of fun, the wet air outside causes frizz and random curl and then the drier air inside causes all sorts of fly aways.  Where my hair is concerned, this is a very frustrating time of year. So I am happy to try out another product from the brand in the hopes it will help.

The final item in my box is the Arrow Radiant Skin moisturizer.  I believe that Arrow is one of Birchboxes brands.  One of the reasons that I dropped Birchbox last time was that I kept getting the same color changing lip balm from the Arrow brand.  My last year with them I think I ended up with eight of them. The formula was excellent, but the color turned my lips an odd pink that I didn’t care for so I kept one to use at my desk for the formula and passed them out to anyone who wanted them.  Oddly, everyone liked the formula, but no one liked the color so I’m not sure which skin tone the universally flattering tint actually flattered.  With moisturizer at least, color isn’t an issue.  And formula is everything.  So I am okay with the Arrow Moisturizer.  I just hope I won’t end up inundated with tubes of them this year. Variation is kind of key with this sort of subscription box.

Overall I have to say I am pretty happy with this month’s box.  For $13 I received a variety of products, some from brands I know and love and others from brands I want to try more from and one that I’ve never heard of. It was in a pretty good mix of categories as well.  Makeup, skincare and hair care were all represented. In general it makes me glad that I decided to give Birchbox another try. I have to say I am kind of excited about next months box. Apparently the box is a clear Keepsake Box. I can’t wait to see how that turns out, as well as what’s in it. After all the box may be interesting, but it is what’s inside that counts. Let’s hope they keep up the good product mix in the new year.


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!

Birchbox October Review

The October 2019 Birchbox

As usual I have mixed feelings about this month’s Birchbox.  For those interested it is a $15/month subscription.  If you sign up for more than just month to month then the price lowers even though you still pay month to month. You can find out more about their subscription by clicking HERE.

As usual, there were several boxes offered in the curated boxes this month.  If none of the boxes appeal you can swap the cost of your box for points or you can choose a full sized product.  This month they offered their Curly Hair Kit in place of a full sized product.  It looked interesting, but alas, sold out before it was my turn to choose the box I wanted.

Some months several of the boxes look good and I have difficulty choosing which one I like best.  This was not one of these months. This was one of those months where you were well aware it was October and there was the likelihood that after selecting an autumnal theme for the box, items were quickly selected so that whoever is in charge can get back to planning for the upcoming holiday season.

In all fairness that may not be the case.  Someone could have worked really hard on the selections.  It didn’t feel like it though. There were a lot of repetitions, and since it is a subscription box featuring sample sizes, I tend to treat it more as a discovery venue than anything else, so with a few notable exceptions, repeats aren’t my favorite.

This month I chose the Curated box: After Dark as my option. The first item in this box was the Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Daily Cleanser. It is described as:

This foaming face wash gives pores the deepest clean possible (without any dry out) using a clay-based formula, which clings to bacteria and dirt before gently washing them away.

Both samples I’ve tried and liked and both went directly into my travel case for Thanksgiving

I’ve used this before and have to say it is a really good cleanser. It smells a little like damp earth, but in a good way. The scent dissipates quickly.  It rinses off without leaving a residue on the skin and you do not need much product. This makes the deluxe sized sample actually quite useful.  I am not currently using it though, but adding it to my Thanksgiving travel bag so that I don’t have to pack my big bottle of cleanser with the pump.  Somehow the pumps always get bungled when I travel with them so I am happy to leave it behind.

Next up is the amika Supernova Moisture and Shine Cream.  It too I have used before.  It is a leave in conditioner that works really well and doesn’t leave the hair feeling heavy.  It is not as good as my Mistress leave in conditioner, but it is a close second.  And it is travel sized so it went directly into the travel bag.

The Love of Color Liquid Shimmer Shadow was the only makeup product in the box this month.  In all fairness they did have one box that was entirely makeup but I didn’t choose it because the products offered did not appeal to me. I’ve used LOC shadow sticks before but I have not tried the liquid version.  I actually really liked this one. It has a doe foot applicator and I can see using this on the inside of my eye on top of darker shadow to finish out a look.  It dried down relatively fast and stayed put. Here I have put it all over my lid to show the shadow in situ as it were as well as to show the applicator.

Hand swatch of color
The light champagne color on the eye. Definitely use for a shimmery pop rather than as an all over color.

Next we come to the shampoo and conditioner samples included in my box.  Here is where I am uncertain how I feel about it.  On one hand the products provided were both deluxe samples useful for multiple washes so a better feel for how the product works can be attained. In addition, the conditioner is not in a foil packet.  Like the shampoo it is in a bottle which makes it much easier in the shower. On the other hand instead of the shampoo and conditioner being one sample they are two.  The shampoo is one sample and the conditioner counts as a second.  Usually shampoo and conditioner count as one of the five samples not two (and yes I know this is because they made the conditioner a bottle and not just a foil packet.  I am allowed to be both pleased and grumpy about the same thing).  Personally I don’t think it should count as two.

shampoo and conditioner, no foil packets this time at least.

Having said that, the shampoo and conditioner included in this month’s box were the Love Beauty and Planet Volume and Bounty Coconut Water & Mimosa Flower Shampoo and Conditioner.  (the conditioner’s name is exactly the same as the shampoo but with the last word changed. I just didn’t feel the need to type it twice in a row.)

I have seen this product on racks in my local Target and thought it looked interesting. The shampoo created a rich lather and smelled lovely. The conditioner had the same nice scent and didn’t weigh down my hair.  My hair came out soft and bouncy.  It is over all a good product. I really liked it and will more than likely be purchasing it in the future.

It is however a product I would expect to see in a Target beauty box, not a Birchbox. In fact a few months back, I think it was offered in a Target beauty box. I know a $9 shampoo (the full sized retail for this product) is on the more expensive side for the drug store, but typically when Birchbox sends samples for shampoo and conditioner they tend to be for products that are between $18-$25 per bottle. For example last month’s box had an Amika shampoo sample with a retail price of $23.

Target not only sells the Love Beauty and Planet line, but they sell samples of this size in case you want to try it out before you spend $9 on a shampoo. In fact I almost picked it up this weekend when I went to target and decided not to because I remembered I had a sample coming in Birchbox. I think my feelings are mostly due to the fact that I use this as a discovery platform.  I want to see products that I don’t see when I run to Target on my weekend supply run. You know, things I wouldn’t have simply come across in my daily life.

I know it is a small complaint in the grand scheme of things, but it is leaning me towards cancelling when my subscription is up.  I am signed up through November so once I receive the November box I will be deciding whether or not to cancel this subscription. With two duplicate products, two products I can find at Target and one shadow I’ve not tried before, I admit, I am leaning more towards the cancellation side. While they are all good products, my need for sample sizes, especially ones I’ve tried before, isn’t all that great. But who knows, November’s box could knock my socks off.  We’ll see, and then I’ll decide.