Tuesday, November 4, 2014

October 2014 Birchbox - Unboxing and Review!

Hello! It has been a time! A long time. Not that long, actually, in the whole scheme of things, especially considering that the whole of human existence is pretty much meaningless when compared with the timeline of the Earth. Not even going to get into our insignificance when you take the whole universe into account...

ANYWAYS. This is about existential crisis-es; it's about my October 2014 Birchbox (nice transition, no? Probably no...). This is my very first Birchbox and I am...warily excited about it. I know this is a love-hate kind of subscription service; some people think it's the best thing ever and some people rage-quit after the first couple boxes. It's a lower-priced sample service/subscription box at $10 a month, shipping included, and you generally get five sample products. It's a very. very rare thing to get a full size and a lot of the samples are super teeny-weeny. Like, one-use teeny-weeny. BUT. Birchbox also has a really awesome rewards system; you review every item you get (kind of like Ipsy) but for every 100 points you get to spend $10 in the Birchbox store (which has a ton of stuff in it) so it's kind of like $5 a box and then you get $5 to spend in the store (but you can only spend points in $10 increments). I found a deal (not sure if it still works, but I got it off of Retail Me Not, which is a great place to look for coupon/discount codes) where I got 100 bonus points on sign up, so...my first box was kinda-sorta free!
I really dig the Birchbox logo. Is that weird?
I pretty much covered the bases of what Birchbox is in the opening paragraphs, and since this is probably one of the most well-known and reviewed subscription boxes out there, we'll leave it at that.
This is the box that came in the pink box! I was actually surprised at how sturdy this inner box is; definitely reusable.
Continuing to peel away the layers, this is what was in my Birchbox! Packaging is a little on the sparse side; no worms or padding or anything, just a pillow pack and a piece of tissue paper, but I'm not too miffed. Everything came safe and intact and, while extravagant packaging is nice, with a $10 subscription box I would prefer the value of my box to be in the samples, not the packaging.
The theme for this month is "Products We're Obsessed With", which is an...interesting theme. Most of these boxes don't really adhere to their monthly themes in any real sense of the word, though if you do watch the spoiler videos Birchbox puts up on Youtube they seem to play it up.
Unlink Ipsy (which is the subscription service everyone compares Birchbox to since they're the same price and offer a lot of the same things, though Ipsy is slightly more makeup-focused were Birchbox seems to include a lot of things loosely associated with "beauty"), the Birchbox info cards actually list the product you got, gives a short description of it, and shows the price of the full sized item. It doesn't say how big the full-size actually is, so if you're going to calculate sample values you still have to rely on the internet. I was actually surprised to see that Birchbox included info since there are so many different box variations. I was told by someone on Youtube (the comment is on the video) that there can be up to 60 different box versions! The blog "Evolution Of A Foodie" tries to list all the different variations. It's fun to look up! As I said before, it is very, very rare to get a full sized product in your Birchbox, so everything you see I got in sample size.
 They also included this extra card as a fun social media game-thing. Activity? Hmm. I ended up putting in "Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law" because I can watch that show over and over again and never get tired of it. Same goes for "Tom Goes To The Mayor".
And yes, I totally did this, because $100 free online dollars sounded nice. Don't think I won, though.
 Now on to the actual products! The first product I got was the Ellovi Vanilla Butter!
You can basically use this for everything; skin, hair, nails, whatever you have on your body that needs moisture. It's kind of like a solid oil product; it's solid in the jar but immedietly melts and starts absorbing as soon as you put it on. It only has six ingredients (neat!) and it smells like vanilla. I find the scent of vanilla to be very soothing, so I really dig this product. I'm happy to have it, especially with winter coming (...no memes, please). The full size is 3.5oz for $26, so this 0.34oz sample is worth $2.50.
More ModelCo mascara! Yes, like in my Ipsy bag, I got a ModelCo mascara deluxe sample (do they ever come not deluxe? I'm sure you need to have a certain amount of product to make it even usable), except this time I got the Power Lash High Impact (Long Wear? It has a different name on the info card and the website) black mascara. This is another volumnizing mascara, which is great since volume is what I need! It's supposed to be flake-free and it's made in PRC, the People's Republic of China. Which seems weird for a mid-high range mascara (at least that what it seems to be going by price). My experience with ModelCo is pretty minimal, though I feel like they're more of a higher drugstore kind of brand than a true mid-range (if that makes sense...it probably doesn't...). The full size of this mascara is 10ml for $20, so this 5ml (at least based on conversions; it only gave the weight in grams and the volume in fluid ounces) is worth a surprising $10!
The last free floating item (so not in the pillow pack) I got was the Vasanti BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvinator. As the picture shows, this is an exfoliating cleanser that will (hopefully!) brighten up your complexion. I've heard a lot of good things about this product, so I'm excited to give it a try, especially since I do have issues with dark spots and lackluster skin. It has papaya enzymes to help whiten; papaya enzymes are normally the main whitening ingredient in those whitening soaps and it's generally considered a safer alternative than other whitening agents (at least from what I've read). There are also micro-crystals that act as a physical exfoliant, which is a great one-two punch. You can use this 3-5 times a week, which is more often than a lot of other exfoliants recommend. It also includes aloe vera, coconut, and vitamins B and E to help soothe and moisturize. The full size is $34 for 4.23oz, so this 20g (again, I had to do some conversions) sample is worth about $5.58.
Pillow pack time! This are kind of cute and fun; it's like an extra surprise in a surprise! A lot of times, the teeny-weeny samples are in here, so maybe it's like a buffer to prevent you from being super disappointed the moment you open your box (...again, I've heard some very conflicting opinions about Birchbox).
In my pillow pack, I had a surprisingly nice-sized sample of the Ojon Rare Blend Oil Total Hair Therapy oil!
Hair oils are great super-multitaskers, though they can be hit or miss if you're like me and have very dry, frizzy hair but also very fine hair. I have to be careful not to use too much (you only need 1-2 drops and sometimes even two drops is too much) otherwise I run the risk of looking oily. This is a tricolored oiled that you have to shake up before use (even in the little vial it's tricolored!). It apparently has "Ojon Oil" which is trademarked for some reason, and then there are six other oils in it as well. I read the ingredients and didn't see any argan oil, which I was worried about, so that's good. I've heard that this product is a little misleading and that it's not really the oils that do anything but the dimethicone in it that does all the smoothing. It's the first ingredient so...I'd believe it. The full size is 1.5fl oz for $35 so this 0.07floz sample is worth $1.63.
And finally, the teeniest-weeniest sample in my October 2014 Birchbox, this is the Jouer Matte Moisture Tint Sunscreen in the color Nude. Birchbox was running a special where you could buy this product with the beautyblender for a special price, but I'm not sure if it's still going on (...I've been negligent with my blogging so this is super late). There are five different shades and Nude is right smack dab in the middle. This product is oil-free and has an SPF of 15. This is a very tiny sample, so I'm not sure if I'm going to get even one full use out of it. Considering though the sizes of the other samples, and the fact that I don't really like this product from what I've tested of it, I'm not too disappointed. The full size is $38 for 1.7oz, so this 0.17oz sample is worth $3.80.

Overall, I got five products in my Birchbox; all of them were sample-sized but they were all pretty big samples except for the Jouer product. The total value of my box is $23.51, which is a little more than double what I paid. Taking into account that I earned 50 Birchbox points after I reviewed the products in my box, that's not bad! I can see how some people would be disappointed with this box due to sizes and values, but right now, I'm enjoying it!

Thanks for reading! <3

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