Thursday, March 26, 2015

March 2015 Birchbox - Creativity - Unboxing & Review!

Hello! So. Wow. Yeah. Been a while! It's been a little crazy here with work and life in general, but things have evened out again, so here I am! ...also there's a lot of stuff on my desk and I need to clean my brushes so I need to get things cleared out so there's that, too.

This is the unboxing and review of my March 2015 Birchbox! This month's theme was "Creativity" and, spoiler alert, this is one of my top favorite boxes!
Some quick Birchbox info: Birchbox is a $10 a month (including shipping) beauty/lifestyle subscription service where you get about five (I've gotten more than five, but not less than five) samples to try. While Birchbox tends to only give you deluxe sample sizes (you can get full sized products, but it's pretty rare) and the "box value" can be a little on the lower side (though I've never gotten a box that was worth less than what I paid), they have an awesome reward system! For every product you review from your box, you earn 10 Birchbox points (so a minimum of 50 points per box; I've been able to earn up to 70 points from a single box). You can then use those points to get money off products in the Birchbox store (100 points = $10). On top of that, if a product or brand is featured in that month's box, it will ship for free!
Whatever Birchbox lacks in the sample department (and from what I've received, the samples are generally pretty good!), they definitely make up for with their rewards and discounts.
First off, how cute is this box?
Before, Birchbox boxes (boxboxbox) were normally a kraft paper kind of brown, with a special colorful one thrown in here and there. For 2015, Birchbox is doing a "catch 'em all" type of promo where each month's box is different and if you collect all 12, then you can win something (at least that's how I understand it. I haven't actually seen any info about it on Birchbox's website, I've only heard about it from the internet, so that that as you will). I've seen quite a few different versions (palette swaps) of the March 2015 box, so that's pretty cool.
There was also another 'fill-in-the-blank' card that you can use when you post pictures to social media (you can win full-sized versions of all the products in your box), this time asking you when you feel most creative. I took this picture before filling it in, but I said I felt most creative when I crochet cute things!
As always, Birchbox includes some quick facts and usage instructions for all the products in your box, along with the value of the full-size. The only thing that I would add to this card to make it perfect (at least for people like me who like to calculate box values) would be the sizes of the samples and the sizes of the full-sizes (sizesizesize; a lot of repeating in this post).
The first product I got was a sample of Elite Theraputics Rosemary Eucalyptus Creme! This product is made with 70% organic ingredients, which include aloe vera, sweet almond oil, shea butter, and vitamin E. It also includes a blend of botanical oils, including rosemary and eucalyptus to help stimulate circulation and boost collagen production. I haven't tried this product yet since it's sealed and I want to use up some other body lotions before opening it, but I am definitely intrigued. The full size is 8fl oz for $19, making this 0.5fl oz sample worth about $1.20.
Next is the sample I picked; each month Birchbox lets you pick one of three samples (or you can choose to receive a curated, non-mystery box). They reveal the sample choices a few days before you're allowed to pick and this was the sample I wanted the most! I've tried, and loved, the It's A 10 Miracle Leave-In product, so I picked it just so I could have more of it. The name "It's A 10" comes from the fact that it's supposed to offer ten benefits for your hair, including frizz protection, adding shine, heat protection, and preventing split ends. I like to call it "hair magic". You can spray it directly on damp hair, or you can spray it into your hands and use it on dry hair as a styling cream/pomade. When I clicked on the full size on Birchbox, it took me to the 4oz size (which is $18), but you can purchase this 2oz size for around $10, so I count this as a full sized product!
Oddly enough, this is not the first product I've tried from Jelly Pong Pong; it's the third! The other two products I've tried have been lip products, so it's nice to get something a little different. This is the Glow Getter Highlighter (on the bottle it says it's a 'luminizer gel') in the color Ibiza.
It's a weightless gel highlighter made of 80% water and pearlescent pigments. It's similar to Benefit's High Beam in form and application, though it applies a little more sheer/glittery.
 On the left is a swatch in shadow and the right is in sunlight. The top swatch is a swipe right from the bottle and the bottom is it blended out. It looks really pigmented on first swipe, but blended out it's very thin. This product is free of mineral oil, phthalates, triclosan, and sulfates; it has kind of a weird smell, but you have to put it right up next to your nose so you probably won't notice it during normal use. Surprisingly, this is the full size of this product at 0.14fl oz and is worth $12.75 (for comparison purposes, a full sized High Beam is 0.45fl oz for $26).
Next is a product I've heard about but have never tried (until now!): this is a sample of the Liz Earle Cleans & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser. Liz Earle is a Birchbox exclusive brand, which I didn't know! This product is a cult favorite and has won over 100 beauty awards; it's a special cream cleanser that you use in tandem with a muslin cloth. The cleanser has cocoa butter, eucalyptus, and rosemary; the cloth is 100% cotton muslin that gently exfoliates. You put the cleanser on a dry face, soak the cloth in warm/hot water, then use it to wipe off the cleanser using circular motions. You then rinse off any extra cleanser and bask in the glory of your clean, exfoliated face! The full size is 3.3fl oz of cleanser plus two 36cm x 36cm muslin cloths and it retails for $25.50. My sample is 0.5fl oz of cleanser plus one 36cm x 36cm muslin cloth, so I estimated the value to be about $3.50.
My final product was in my pillow pack! The pillow pack this month is white with black dots and pale pink sides; not sure if the color of the pillow packs varied this month as well, but it matched the pattern on the box, which is a nice touch.
My final sample of March is two full sized treatments (I'll explain what that means in a second) of the Roloinx Lift Revitalizing Face Masque.This is a very interesting product, and probably the sample I'm most excited to try! I've read about this technology in an Allure magazine ages ago so I'm not sure how new this product is, but I haven't seen it commercially available until now. This is basically an instant, temporary, needle-free facelift/botox treatment! You can use it any time of the day, but it's best to use it in the morning since the results will last for 24 hours, or until you wash your face again (since these treatments are kind of expensive, if you use it in the morning you'll get the most wear out of it).
The instructions are both on the back of each packet and on a handy info card they included. Essentially, this product creates a lattice-like invisible structure on the skin that helps pull it taut, smoothing out irregularities, fading the appearance of wrinkles, and minimizing the appearance of pores. I haven't tried this yet since I want to save it for a special occasion (I might use one before going home for Easter and seeing if anyone notices, or I might use one before my 10-year high school reunion this summer), but if it works, the hefty price tag will be totally justified. The full size of this product is 10 of these single-use masks and it retails for $110, which means these two masks are worth $22. Crazy!

Overall, I got three deluxe samples and two full sized products, a first from Birchbox for me! The total value of my box was $48.45, which I think is the highest I've ever gotten from Birchbox. On top of that, I also got 50 Birchbox points for reviewing my products! This is one of, if not the, best box I've gotten from Birchbox, both sample-wise and value-wise. I highly recommend signing up for Birchbox if you enjoy these types of subscription services ( you can do so by using my referral link or by going to the Birchbox site); you don't get full sized products often, but you get to sample a lot of really awesome products and year earn at least $5 worth of points with every box, which add up quickly and can be used on anything in the Birchbox store.

Thanks for reading! <3

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