Tuesday, December 23, 2014

December 2014 Birchbox - Unboxing and Review!

Hello! Hope you're all having a great holiday season! We're in the final few days before Christmas, so things are pretty crazy around here. I am feeling a little worn out, but today at least I get to relax and recover a bit.

And I get to make blog posts! I want to share with you guys what I got in my December 2014 Birchbox! This is my third (I think) box now and I'm still enjoying the service. It may not have as great of samples as other boxes, but the rewards program and the Birchbox store are pretty awesome.
You can watch my video here, or click below to keep reading!
How cute is this mailing box? Very.
Quick Birchbox facts: $10 a month including shipping; 5-6 samples (mostly deluxe sized, some foil packets); you can review your samples on the site and earn 10 points per review; 100 points = $10 to spend in the Birchbox store.
The box itself this month was very pretty! These are surprisingly sturdy boxes (I like to use mine to organize my growing indie pigment collection) and they're normally a kraft paper brown color. For December, Birchbox went with a blue and gold-theme; it's both holiday appropriate without being cliche. Impressive!
They extended the blue and gold-theme to their info card; apparently, the theme for this month is "Decked Out", which I can kind of see with the products I got (though admittedly, you can include a lot of different things in a "Decked Out" theme when it comes to beauty).
We also got a card from the Gap letting us know that if we signed up to receive e-mails from them, we would get a $10 voucher to use at the Gap. I initially wasn't going to, but a couple people commented on my Youtube video that the Gap has some nice accessories and with all the sales going on right now, you can get something basically for free. I like free things, so I went to the site and gave them my e-mail. I still haven't gotten an e-mail back with my $10 voucher (I checked my spam inbox as well) so I'm worried that something got messed up and now I won't get it. It's kind of funny; I didn't want it in the first place, but now that I do and can't have it, I'm kind of upset. Human beings are weird like that.
Here's the other side of my info card; the info cards list all your samples, gives you a sentence or two about them, and says what the price of the full size is. Pretty useful. As you can see, I got lucky again this month and got six samples! Not only do I get a bonus sample, but I also get to review another item, meaning I earned 60 points with this box. Nice.
The pillow pack was also blue-themed this month (it even says December 2014 on the side, which is kind of cool. That way you know they're not just reusing old ones). I...forgot what specifically came in this, but I wanted to show it to you anyways.
Going in the order of my info card, first up is the amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo. Like the other amika products, this one contains Obliphica (sea buckthorn berry) oil, which provides antioxidants, vitamins, fatty acids, Omega 3,6,9, and Omega 7, which is generally only found in fish oil. It's supposed to moisturize, strengthen, repair split ends (except that's not really possible without cutting them off so it just glues them back together), enhance shine, and restore balance. With all my subscription boxes, I'm pretty much drowning in dry shampoo, so I don't really need another one, but I'm curious about the amika line of products, so I'll try it at least once. The full size is 5.3oz for $21, making this 0.75oz sample worth $3.
Next is the Lord & Berry Paillettes Glitter Eye Pencil in Black. I've seen a lot of people get this product in the past, and generally people haven't been too wowed by it. It's just a teeny black eyeliner with sparkle in it. It's not bad per se, but it's nothing special, either. It's supposed to be smudge-proof but I found that it smudges pretty easily, even after giving it a little time to dry. The full size is 0.04oz for $18, making this 0.01oz size sample worth about $4.50 (it's pretty comparable in size/price to the Sephora Nano eyeliners).

These next three products are, for various reasons, a little disappointing.
If this product looks familiar, that's because I've gotten it before. Exact same product in the exact same size. I was actually pretty upset when I first saw it because I assumed I had gotten it last month in my Birchbox and thought it was incredibly lame for them to send it to me again. After I checked my older videos, I realized that I had gotten it in my Ipsy bag and not Birchbox, so it's not Birchbox's fault I got it a second time. Same thoughts/feelings as last time: not a product/brand I know much about, weird website, not sure if I'd use a body scrub on my face. Thanks to a commenter on my Youtube videos, I do appreciate the warning on the back (the one that says not to be used my children or expectant mothers). There are essential oils in this product which may be harmful to some. Birchbox had more info about the product than ipsy did, and it has dead sea minerals, aloe, green tea, grapefruit seed oil (which I suspect is the reason for the warning). Based on my calculations from the info I got from ipsy, the full size of this product is 3.3oz for $28 so this sample is worth about $2.72.
 This is the sample I picked for this month: the W3LL People Bio-Brightener Stick in Moonstone. The sample I got came in a little jar, but the full size is a stick. As the jar says, this is a 100% natural highlighter. It has aloe, green tea, and chamomile, and it's a very pretty, subtle highlight. I really like this product, except...
There was something funky going on with it! This was taken right after I opened it for the first time. The center was a different color/texture and it was full of black and grey splotches (not sure how well they show up in the picture). I dug my fingernail in to see how deep they went and it seems like they went all the way to the bottom. I did not feel comfortable using this product on my face since I wasn't sure what was wrong with it, which was sad because, again, I do really like this product! I e-mailed Birchbox about it and they got back to me within 24 hours, which is impressive, and they said that they unfortunately did not have any more of the sample in stock, but that they would credit my account with 100 points and if I wasn't happy with this resolution then I could e-mail them back. They were very polite and I am very happy with the solution they offered to me, so thank you very much Birchbox! It was a very good first experience with their customer service and it makes me feel even better about continuing with this subscription. I thought about using the points to purchase the full size of this item, but it is kind of pricey and I really don't need another highlighter right now. The full size is 0.4oz for $33; I wasn't about to calculate the value for this sample since I couldn't find the weight of it anywhere, unfortunately.
Here are the swatches of the two color-items I got in this month's box. The top is the Lord & Berry liner and the bottom is the W3LL people highlighter. The pencil is okay; like I said, nothing spectacular, but the highlighter is soooo pretty! I am really, really sad I wasn't able to get another sample, but again, I am happy with the resolution Birchbox offered me and, if I really want it, I can use my points and purchase the full size in the store.
The last disappointing product I got was this sample of the Yu-Be Moisturizing Skin Cream. I've tried this product before (I don't remember if I got it in a set from Sephora or if it was a deluxe sample...) and I really don't like it. It's from Japan, and is actually one of the top selling skincare products there over the last 50 years. It's one of those creams you can use pretty much everywhere and it has glycerin, sodium hyaluronate, and vitamins B, C, and E. The biggest reason why I don't like it is that it has camphor in it; the smell really bugs me and I don't find it all that moisturizing. If I hadn't tried this before, I would have been really excited to get it (and then would have been disappointed after trying it, but I would have been excited at first!) since I love Asain skincare products. I wouldn't say this is a complete "don't buy, don't try", but if you don't like the smell of camphor, I'd pass. Full size is 1.25fl oz for $16, making this 0.10fl oz sample worth about $1.28.
Fianlly my bonus product, and the one I'm probably the most excited about! This is a (very generous) foil packet sample of the Miss Jessie's Jelly Soft Curls gel. Surprisingly, I have never heard of this brand before (though one of my subscribers on Youtube says it's available at Target, so I'll have to look for it next time) but I'm always open to trying new things for curly hair! Not sure if only people with "curly hair" in the profiles got this or if everyone who got my box version did, but I'm definitely excited to give it a try.
There is also a giveaway going on with this product! If you post a picture of it to social media and use the correct tags, you could win all of the Miss Jessie's products that Borchbox carries! You know I totes entered. This gel has wheat proteins, which are great for curly hair, and it's supposed to be a lightweight gel that won't leave your hair crunchy. The full size is 8.5fl oz for $14, so this 1fl oz packet sample is worth $1.64.

Overall I got 6 samples, though one was technically a bonus. I earned 60 points for my reviews, which is the equivalent of $6 to use in the Birchbox store. The value of my box, minus the W3LL People Bio-Brightener, was $13.14, which is definitely on the lower end of things. I did still get at least what I paid for back, along with the extra $10 Gap voucher (...if it ever gets to me), and the $6 to spend in the Birchbox store. I do agree with people that the sample value isn't really there with Birchbox, but I do really feel like the rewards system/Birchbox store make up for that. You will get bigger samples in ipsy bags, but the reward system is pretty lame and impossible to get anything out of without getting referrals (my points are due to expire and I have not earned enough to get anything for them). If you're looking for a cheap thrill and something kind of like a "beauty savings account" (I'm not clever enough to make that up on my own; I heard it somewhere before), I'd highly suggest giving Birchbox a try!

Thanks for reading! <3

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