Wednesday, November 19, 2014

November 2014 Birchbox - Giving - Unboxing and Review!

Hello! Hope you're having a great Wednesday! It's cold but the sun is shining which kind of feels like nature is lying and messing with us. I hate it when it looks bright and sunny and then you go outside and your face hurts. I do like the bright and sunny part, though. Days like this I usually end up napping in the sun in front of our patio doors because I am apparently a cat. Who knew.

I got my November 2014 Birchbox this weekend and I wanted to share it with you guys! I love watching/reading subscription box unboxings, but I tend to avoid the ones that I know I'm going to be jealous of, if that makes sense. It probably doesn't and when I tried to explain it, it made even less sense, so I'm going to leave it at that.

I went with the "standard" Birchbox this month; there was an option to get a special box that was curated by Buzzfeed, but since I love surprises, I went with the normal box. I did get to pick one of my samples, though!
Ah, delicious point-and-click video embedding. This is why I will never, ever get the hang of HTML no matter how hard I try.
Fancy (RED) box!
This month, Birchbox partnered with (RED) for their normal box. (RED) exists to raise money and awareness for the global fight against AIDs, so it makes sense they would partner for the November/Giving-themed box. Admittedly, the only thing really "giving" themed with this month's box IS the (RED) partnership where Birchbox will donate $1 for every time a photo of the box is shared (and the mini Holiday catalog included with every box), but that in itself is pretty neat!
Oooo spoilery overview of what I got in my box! I ended up with six items and even though the coconut chips were counted as a "bonus", I still got 10 points when I reviewed them. Yay!
The front of the info card gives the details of the (RED) partnership and the promotion...
And the back gives you info about your samples, including the price of the full size item (though full-size items are very rare in Birchboxes).
This is the holiday catalog that was included with everyone's box! It's...kind of lame, actually. It's very artsy and overly-designed and it doesn't really feel like a catalog and more like an art project. I appreciate the attention to detail, but it doesn't make me inclined to shop. I don't feel like it presents the products on offer in a favorable manner. It ain't no Tiffany's catalog, is what I'm getting at.
Going in the order of the info card, the first product is a sample of the Amika Nourishing Mask for your hair. This mask has a special ingredient called Obliphica oil, which comes from Sea Buckthorn berries, which seem to be everywhere these days. The oil provides vitamins and omega acids to help condition and repair your hair. It works like any other hair mask; put on damp hair focusing on ends, leave in for 5-10 minutes, rinse out. I've started using hair masks more like regular conditioner; I'll put it in my hair after I shampoo while I'm still in the shower, finish washing, then rinse it out. It's been working well for my hair and I'm lazy so it's a win-win. The full size is 400ml for $40, so this 20ml sample size is worth $2.
Next is a creamy lipstain in Heartthrob (I thought for sure that this would be considered a misspelled word, but apparently it isn't) from Cynthia Rowley Beauty.
Everyone who got this sample got the same color, which is described as a "classic red".
To me, this looks a little too warm to be a "classic red", but now that I think about it, that might be because of the form it's in (a "creamy lipstain" instead of a lipstick). I also think calling this a "lipstain" is a little pushing it since I didn't notice it staining my hand after I swatched it. This is a vegan, cruelty-free product and it's paraben free. The product itself feels nice and the color looks pretty, but I'm a little biased against the Cynthia Rowley brand. I categorize it in "celebrity-brand" land, so it comes across kind of cheap-feeling to me, even though I have next to no experience with it. We'll see if things change after I actually try out the product. The full size is 0.17fl oz for $20, so the 0.079fl oz sample is worth $9.30, which is quite a lot.
To me, Gilchrist & Soames sounds like a hotel-suppler brand. The description of this lotion in the Birchbox shop says that they are suppliers of the "most luxurious spas", so that might be where I'm getting that impression from. This is a very decently sized sample of their Spa Therapy body lotion in Relaxing Sea Fennel. The full size of this lotion comes in a very funny-shaped bottle, so I actually prefer it in this form. It has Japanese Sea Fennel to soothe skin along with other minerals and botanicals (like every beauty product ever). I like the scent of this lotion; it's subtle and difficult to describe. I'm very sensitive to scents (picking out a deodorant is an insurmountable task for me) and this is light enough to not bother me. It also absorbed quickly and felt very moisturizing. It is free of pthalates, mineral oils, parabens, and petrol-derived ingredients. The full size is 8oz for $15 and this 1.35oz sample tube is worth $2.50.
I picked this sample! This is a tube of the Royal Apothic Cuppa Cuppa Firming Tea Treatment mask. And yes, I picked it in part because of the name. This is a clay-based face mask with green and black teas. It also has acai, pomegranate, coffee, and goji berry in it. It's supposed to firm, reduce dark spots, moisturize, and exfoliate. This one tube is one single mask; the full size is a tub with six of these little guys for $58 (which means each tube is worth about $9.67). I could probably get two uses out of this tube, but as far as single-use masks go, it's pretty standard price-wise. Excited to give this a try!
The final beauty-related product in my November box is a sample-sized Cindy-Lou Manizer from theBalm. I was also really excited to see this in my box because I've heard a lot of great things about theBalm's Mary-Lou Manizer (which is more golden honey colored) and this is like the peachy-pink sister shade to it! This is a multitasking pink powder that you can use as a highlighter, eyeshadow, blush, or anything else you can think of, really.
My only issue with it is that the sample is pretty teeny. The packaging is super cute; it's like a mini-version of the full size, and I can get a brush in there, but it might be a little tricky to use it as a blush since I like big puffy blush brushes for colors like this (I find they give me a healthy color and glow).
I did swatch it here, but it's very, very close to my skin tone so you probably can't see it too well. The full size is 8.5g for $24, so this 0.57g sample is worth $1.60.
And then I got a bonus sixth item: Dang coconut chips! This is another product I was super pumped to get; I love coconut and I've heard this is basically the be-all-end-all of coconut chips and I can't find them anywhere I buy food from (I'm pretty lazy and don't travel to other stores much, and I know my friends have found it at Targets and what-not, but my Target is lame and either doesn't have it or is hiding it really, really well). And now I can eat them. Which sounds creepier than I intended. I didn't calculate the value of this product, but I do like that you can buy stuff like this from the Birchbox store. More beauty stores need to sell snacks.

Overall, I got 5 samples and a bonus snack! I was able to review everything so I got 60 points this month, which is like $6 I can spend on whatever I want in the Birchbox store. Nice. Value-wise, my November box was worth about $25.07, which is 1.5x what I paid for the box. A win all around!

Thanks for reading! <3

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