Monday, January 19, 2015

January 2015 Birchbox - Let's Do This - Unboxing and Review!

Hello! Hope you're having a great day! I'm trying to get caught up again on all my blog posts because, yes, my desk is cluttered! Plus, I'm expecting some packages to come in the mail tomorrow, so I want to make sure I have room for them.

In this post, I want to share with you what I got in my January 2015 Birchbox! I've been with Birchbox for a few months now, and I'm really enjoying it. You don't always get the most value in products in your box, but I'm finding that I like the products themselves a lot and the reward program is pretty neat!
Overall, I was very happy with this month's box; especially since I got two bonus products that was I able to review for 20 extra Birchbox points (which is like an extra $2 to spend in the store!).
It's a box that comes in a box! Box-ception (also, I'm pretty sure I've made that joke more than once before).
Super duper quick info on Birchbox: $10 a month; you get a box of sample-sized products mailed to you; generally five samples, though I've been getting extras recently; these are sample-sized products so the total box value tends to be on the lower side, but the products you get are of generally good quality and the reward program is awesome; you can review all five of your samples (and sometimes even the bonus ones!) and you get 10 points per review; 100 points equals $10 to spend on anything in the Birchbox store, so it's like a "beauty savings account"; I've had great experiences with customer service and any issues I had were taken care of promptly and to my satisfaction. I would definitely recommend Birchbox if you're looking for a cheap makeup thrill!
We got another cute box this month! The normal Birchboxes are kind of a kraft paper brown, but this month we got one with a purple lid and white sides covered with multicolored confetti (which I don't have a picture of, sad). These are fairly sturdy boxes and I like to keep them to use as storage. One of them has all my indie eyeshadow in it!
The theme for January 2015 is "Let's Do This", which is kind of refreshing. I'm a little over "start over" and "fresh start" and "new beginnings" kind of themes This is similar, but it's more motivating. Apparently, there is a challenge you can do for January, but I don't know much about it.
On the back of the info card, it lists all five samples along with a little extra information, how to use it, and how much the full size costs. This is one of my favorite info cards since it has a ton of good info (infoinfoinfoinfoinfo) in a nice, compact form.
Sample time! The first sample I got is a bottle of the Davines OI/Oil Absolute Beautifying Potion. I have no idea how to properly pronounce the name of the product (the OI/Oil part; the rest is pretty self-explanatory). I can't tell if it's "Oi" or "O I" or "01" or what. Not that it matters when using it, but it makes me sound silly when trying to talk about it. Anyways.  This is a hair oil that provides both short-term and long-term benefits for your hair. Like all hair oils, it's supposed to tame frizz and strength your hair. This oil has silicone (which is a good ingredient for dealing with fly-aways and frizz, though it can build up) and roucou oil in it, which is a new oil to me. The full size is 4oz for $41, so this 1.69oz sample is worth $17.30. Which is intense!
I also got bonus foil packet samples of the OI/Oil shampoo and conditioner. Normally, I don't like getting foil packets, especially for shampoo and conditioner, but these didn't count towards my five samples and I got to review each one of these individually, which means 20 extra Birchbox points for me!
Next, I got a sample of the Dr. Jart+ Premium BB cream. Dr. Jart+ is a brand I know and love, and was the first Korean beauty brand I ever purchased (because you could get it at Sephora!). Dr. Jart+ makes one of my favorite BB creams ever, their Black Label Detox BB cream, so I am more than happy to get more from this line. I'm pretty sure I've tried this version before (it's the main BB cream in their line), but I will not say no to a sample of a Dr. Jart+ product. I believe this was also one of the first BB creams that was easy available in the US (at least, from a mainstream retailer and not a specialty or import store). It has SPF 45, which is great (what is even more great is that the sunscreen is titanium oxide and zinc dioxide, both physical barriers. There is some discussion that chemical sunscreens, which absorb the rays instead of reflecting them, can cause heat damage), and it has adenosine to promote skin elasticity and arbutin to brighten and even skin tone. The full size is 1.5oz for $39, so this 0.2oz sample is worth $5.20.
I'm actually going to go a little out of order here since I want to do the two products that came in my pillow pack together (and I made sure to leave them in the pack so I knew which two they were this month!). This is actually the sample I picked for myself this month; there were only three to choose from and they were all lotions, so I picked the one that sounded like it would smell the best (spoiler: I think I picked incorrectly). This is a tube of Noabay Body Radiance Lotion; not sure if it comes in any other scents, but I don't think it does since none are listed. This is apparently a favorite in Spain, where it is made. It has olive oil, shea butter, and avocado oil to hydrate. 98% of the ingredients are natural, and a little over 19% (but under 20%) are organic (which seems kind of silly to mention, but I suppose some people like to hear that even a small part of a product is organic). It is free of parabens, formaldehyde, petrochemicals, and synthetic dyes. It has a very off-putting, overly sweet, floraly lemon kind of smell. It smells like really sugary lemon sherbet candy in a bad way. I do like the formula, but I really can't deal with the smell, so this will be going to my mom. The full size is $18 for 250ml, making this 30ml sample worth $2.16.
Pillow pack time! This month it's periwinkle colored! They even print the month/year on the side, so you know they aren't just reusing this (though I wonder if they have to throw a bunch out every month, which would be pretty wasteful). I think these are kind of cute, and a great way to package smaller samples to keep them safe. Also it gives you more things to open!
Ah, my first fragrance sample. Some people love to get them, most people don't. There's even an option you can select on your Birchbox profile where you won't receive more than four (I think) perfume samples a year. I do like trying new fragrances, and this is really the only way to know if they'll work with your body chemistry or not, but I have a ton of these types of samples and rarely, if ever, finish them. I was actually happy to see I got a Harvey Prince fragrance to try; I've never smelt any of their fragrances and I've seen a lot of people get "Happy". This is Sincerely.
The booklet that contained the sample was actually pretty informative and included the notes of the fragrance. Unfortunately, there are a lot of them, so this ended up suffering from "fancy perfume syndrome". There are so many different notes and it is so complex that it ends up smelling generic. I much prefer simpler, one or two-note perfumes. Or something so different it's unmistakable. Sincerely has notes of South African Freesia, Japanese Orange Flower, Moroccan Rose, Turkish Cyclamen, Indian Tuberose, Indonesian Clove Bud, Spanish Mandarin, French Bergamot, Lebanese Cedarwood, and Australian Sandalwood (whew!). Not sure if the "place of origin" really means anything, or if it's just there to sound fancy and worldly, but that's how they're listed on the card. It's kind of a spicy-green-floral scent but again, it smells kind of generic. It does smell pretty unisex, which is interesting. I am glad I got to smell it, but this is another product that will probably go to my mom. It's $55 for the 50ml size (which seems kind of high for a non-designer perfume. Unless Harvey Prince is considered high-end/designer. I don't actually know), so this 1.5ml sample is worth $1.65.
Finally, I got a sample of the Balm's Stainiac in Beauty Queen! I've been able to try a few the Balm products now through Birchbox, which is nice. I've heard a lot about the Balm, but I've never put the effort into getting any of their products to try, so thank you Birchbox! You help me be lazy. This is a cheek and lip stain, similar to the Benefit tints, but I think I prefer this formula a lot more. There are three colors, though everyone got Beauty Queen, a magenta-toned pink, and it's the only color you can purchase right now in the Birchbox store. It's a sheer, water-based gel product that will stain your skin. You can also layer it for more intensity.
Here's a heavy swatch and a more blended out swatch. This is fresh, so it has a nice, dewy finish. I found this product significantly easier to work with than my Benefit tints; the sheer, gel quality makes it easier to see how much product your layering on, it looks more natural, and you have more working time. The Benefit tints stain pretty much on contact, so I end up looking blotchy and unblended and gross.
Here's the stain after leaving it on my hand for a minute and then wiping off with a makeup wipe. You can see how adding more layers increases the amount of color. I like how sheer and natural this looks; definitely a good product and I am very happy I got to try it! The full size is 0.3oz for $17, making this 0.04oz sample worth $2.30.

Overall, I got five sample sized products and two bonus foil packet samples. I was able to review all seven products for 70 Birchbox points, which is the equivalent of $7 to spend in the Birchbox store. The total value of my samples (not counting the foil packets) is $28.60, which is on the higher end for Birchbox.

I'm starting to like Birchbox a lot more than Ipsy, especially with how bad my January bag was (that will be my next post! Or the one you saw before this one...). You get less "value" in products and you pretty much only get sample sizes, but over all I like the types of products, brands, and the quality of products I've been getting in my Birchbox much more than Ipsy. Yes, you do get full sized products in Ipsy, but they're from brands like Be A Bombshell and Hikari, which I really don't think are anywhere near worth the amount of money that they're charging for them. Id' much rather get sample sizes of products I'll use and love than full sizes of poor quality products that I will just throw/give away. I'm going to give Ipsy the benefit of the doubt since some people got some okay products this month, but if it keeps up, I might unsubscribe...

Thanks for reading! <3

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