Monday, April 27, 2015

April 2015 Birchbox - Fresh For Spring - Unboxing & Review!

Hello! Hope you're having a great day! It's still a bit chilly here in the mornings, but it's getting nice and warm by the afternoon, so we're on our way to summer! Until it snows in May. Which has happened.

For this post, I wanted to share with you my April 2015 Birchbox (this is my referral link so if you signup using it I get rewards, but you can also go to the regular website to sign up)! This month's theme was Fresh For Spring, though you wouldn't have known that unless you went to the website (which I assume you did because one of the main reasons to be subscribed to Birchbox is to earn points for reviewing your samples to get money off of products). Birchbox partnered with the Rifle Paper Co. this month and made that more of the focus of the box (at least in design).
And wow, did it end up being a very pretty box! I think I say this every month, but I'm really digging all the different box designs this year. Packaging is important to me (though I don't want to sacrifice quality or value just for packaging), so I appreciate the attention to details.
I also loved the seafoam green-blue color of the mailing box! I forget what they called me this month, but they are continuing with the special, random titles before your name on your shipping address which, again, is a great attention to detail. Unfortunately, despite the pretty packaging, this ended up being one of my more disappointing boxes...
But seriously, look at this box:
Gorgeous, right? I love how it's somehow both vintage and modern-looking at the same time. Going along with the vintage/modern idea, you could have opted out of your normal, mystery box and picked one of two Mad Men-themed boxes. Both boxes (one was California and one was New York, I think) had really great samples in them, but I'm a sucker for a mystery, which is not always a good thing.
The info card has a blurb about spring (but no mention of the Fresh For Spring theme) and some more info about the Rifle Paper Co. Along with opting into a Mad Men-themed box, you could add-on a full-sized product from the Rifle Paper Co. at a discounted price.
The back of the card contains summarized "what" and "how" info for each of my five samples, along with the price for the full-size product (though not how big it is). Out of all the subscription boxes I've gotten, Birchbox has one of the most informative information cards. As it should be. This month I was unable to pick one of my samples; I worked early in the morning so by the time I was able to pick my sample, they were all "sold out", so this box ended up being a complete mystery to me. I also never, ever received a shipping notification nor a tracking number for my box, so I had no idea it was even on its way to me!
We'll start things off with the most disappointing part of my box, which also ended up being two out of my five samples. These are sample sizes of the Beaver Professional Hydro Nutritive Moisturizing Shampoo and Repairing Conditioner. I've never heard of Beaver Professional before and I find the name really amusing; I actually like being exposed to new brands through subscription services, so that part I don't mind. But I am very particular about what kinds of shampoo and conditioner I use and these are not products I would have ever purchased.
The shampoo doesn't seem to know what it wants to be; it says it's gentle and moisturizing, but then it says it gently opens and purifies your hair cuticles, so it's also clarifying? It has SLS, which to me is a big red flag for a product claiming it's gentle. It also has dimethicone and a ton of protein, which I don't need in my hair care routine (I use a lot of products for curly hair, which have a lot of protein in them as well, so I don't want to OD on it). I do like that this shampoo is supposed to be pH balanced at 5.5-6.5, but it also has a fairly strong, salon-type of fragrance.  The full size is $15 for 258mL, making this 60mL sample worth about $3.50.
Ingredient-wise, the conditioner doesn't fare much better. It's supposed to be reparative for dry, frizzy hair and be full of vitamins and amino acids, but I just don't see that in the ingredients (at least in any way that's special or unique from other conditioners). "Cyclo-" silicones are actually something you want to avoid due to the fact that they are highly volatile and can deplete moisture. There are even three different kinds of silicone, from what I can see, and that's an ingredient in conditioners that I actively try to avoid. I don't mind the keratin in a conditioner so much since many of my favorite conditioners contain them and I find that I can use them daily without any ill effects. The full size of this product is $16 for 210mL (so they also do the annoying thing were you get less conditioner than shampoo), making this 40mL sized sample worth $3.00.
Now for something I enjoyed! Or will enjoy; I haven't actually used it yet... This is a sample of Whish's Three Whishes Body Butter in the scent Blueberry! This is a non-greasy body butter made of a bunch of organic ingredients (though the bottle itself doesn't make any organic claims) including aloe, shea butter, raspberry butter, seaweed extract, and rice bran extract (which includes tocotrienols, which are antioxidants, yay!). I've used a couple Whish products in the past and have been quite pleased with them, especially the hair inhibiting deodorant wipes, so I'm happy to try more. The blueberry scent is a little sweet, but overall is surprisingly natural and juicy. The full size is 150mL for $24, so this 22mL sample is worth about $3.52.
Pillow pack time! The pillow pack this month is the same awesome color as the mailing box!
Now we're back to disappointment-territory. This is a sample of the Harvey Prince Hello Liquid Loofah shower gel. For starters, I'm not a big fan of shower gels; I prefer to use bar soaps because I find using a washcloth or loofah puff to be kind of unsanitary (unless you use a different washcloth every day but that gets kind of annoying to wash). This is an exfoliating shower gel and, since it doesn't seem to have any particles in it, it's an entirely chemical exfoliant. It is scented with the Harvey Prince Hello perfume (which I don't think I've gotten yet, though I oddly can't remember for sure...) which is a mix of Sicilian Lemon, Spanish Mandarin, and Plumeria. It's nice and bright and I think I would (do?) like it as a perfume, but it's kind of strong for a body wash. It is free of parabens, sulfates, and phthalates, though. While filming my review of this product, I discovered that this tube is only half full; as long as the weight listed on the packaging is the amount of product I am getting, I don't mind all that much, but it is disappointing to think you're getting more product than you actually are. A smaller tube with the same amount of product would be much better, in my opinion. The full size of this product is 12fl oz (about 355mL) for $22, so this 15mL product is worth about $1.00.
We'll finish with on a high note! This is the other highlight of my April 2015 box (besides the Whish Body Butter), a deluxe sample of an LAQA&Co. Lip Lube in the color Honeypot.
Honeypot is an amusing name. This is a sheer lip color with a high gloss finish, which can be nice, especially for summer. After all the heavy, dark, opaque mattes that have been in style, it's almost refreshing to see something so different. These Lip Lubes include shea butter so they're quite moisturizing and they have a minty scent, similar to the tarte Lipsurgences. I'm not a fan of the mint flavor (it's the main reason why I dislike the tarte lip products so much), so hopefully it fades quickly and/or it isn't too strong.
It is a very sheer color, but again, that's not a bad thing, especially since that's what this product intends to be! I'm excited to try this in a more natural, summery look (though not super bronze; sometimes I like to go crazy with bronzer and gold eyeshadow). The full sized Lip Lubes are 0.1oz for $20, so this 0.07oz deluxe sample is worth about $14. Which is kind of crazy, but I'm not going to complain!

Overall, I got five samples, four of which I would call deluxe sample sized and one that's pretty much just a sample size (there is a distinction, though I don't know how to properly explain it without sounding crazy). The total value of my box for April 2015 was $25, plus I got my 50 Birchbox points for my reviews, so even though I'm not completely happy with it, I still got my money's worth!

Thanks for reading! <3

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