Monday, December 7, 2015

November 2015 Birchbox - Holiday Pampering - Unboxing & Review!

Hello! Hope you're having a great day! For this post, I want to share with you my November 2015 Birchbox!
Ooo, pretty! This was actually a really good box, despite the fact that I got a dry shampoo (from a brand that I really don't like, no less) and a shower gel; two things that can really bring down a box for me.
Super duper lighting fast run down: $10 a month, shipping included. Five (or more) deluxe sized samples, very rare but sometimes a full size. Amazing rewards program; every review gets you 10 Birchbox points, 100 points equals $10 in the Birchbox store, which sells all the products that are sampled. Can stack points with (very frequent) coupons, plus free shipping on featured brands (free shipping on everything for Aces). Currently my favorite subscription service, would highly recommend it if you're interested in a beauty subscription (though less so if you only want color cosmetics; then Ipsy is probably a better service for you). I'd really appreciate it if you used my referral link here to sign up if you're interested, otherwise you can go to the Birchbox website directly and sign up from there.

On to the November 2015 box!
The box itself this month is super pretty! All the special boxes this past year have been really great; I hope they continue on with it next year. I'm curious as to what they're going to have us do with them at the end of the year; I assume we'll have to take a picture of them all or something and maybe get entered in a contest. Even if they end up not doing anything, it was still fun to collect all the boxes.
The pillow pack was also super pretty; it's not metallic, but it looks like a burnished gold. There's not month on it, so you can reuse it if you want to put some small gifts in it. Recycling is cool!
The info card matches the design of the box, though I'm not 100% sure what the theme is this month. I kind of assumed it was Holiday Pampering since that seems to be what this paragraph is getting at. Normally, when I go to calculate the value of my products, I go to my box on the Birchbox website and it says exactly what the theme is; since I waited too long and my December Birchbox already shipped, I had to look at my past samples, which did not include a note on the theme. Not that it matters anyways since the products only loosely, if ever, match up with the theme.
A moderately informative info card; you get the name, an info blurb, and the price of the full size (but not what the actual size is). I'm still flabbergasted that I never noticed these were in alphabetical order, even though I figured that out a few months ago...
The first product this month is a dry shampoo! From Living Proof! Two things that you'd think wouldn't excite me, but I'm actually kind of interested in this product. Most dry shampoos leave a reside at your roots that help absorb oil. They can help extend your look for a day or two, but they build up and end up looking pretty manky. This dry shampoo, however, claims to actually clean your hair; it absorbs oil, sweat, and odor and then, when you fingercomb/brush through your hair after waiting 30 seconds, you knock the particles off and, ta da, clean hair! Not sure how long you can use this before things start to go south, but it definitely intrigues me. I am sad that it has to be Living Proof since I can't stand how their products smell (I also don't like Jennifer Aniston), but I will give this a try. The full size is 4 fl oz for $22, so this 1.8 fl oz sample is worth about $9.90.
Next up is the Liz Earle Superskin Moisturizer with Natural Neroli. I always thought that Liz Earle as a brand was exclusive to Birchbox, but I think only a few products are (it doesn't say BB Exclusive next to it like it does when it's, well, a BB Exclusive. I know the hot cloth cleanser is exclusive, not sure what else it). This is a morning moisturizer (it explicitly says to use it in the mornings, but it doesn't have SPF in it so you can use it whenever you want) that has pomegranate extract, borage oil, cranberry seed oil, and neroli oil. I'm always happy when I see pomegranate-based ingredients since they seem to work well with my skin, and I am intrigued by the neroli oil. I don't think it's a very common ingredient in skin moisturizers, except at LUSH (neroli is also orange blossoms, which is a big part of the special LUSH smell); I see it a lot more in hair care products. This moisturizer is also on the pricey side; a full size is 1.6 oz for $72, so this 0.5oz sample is worth $22. Nice!
Next up is the sample I picked and a brand new line at Birchbox! This is an LOC (Love Of Color) One & Done Shadow Stick in the color Impress Me.
LOC is apparently going to be Birchbox's new in-house makeup brand and right now they have a bunch of eye shadow sticks and lip crayons. You could have picked either a shadow stick or a lip crayon and then you had a choice of two or three colors. I went with the shadow stick because I have way too much lipstick the way it is (...not that I don't have a lot of shadows, either, but I have significantly less cream/stick ones) and I went with Impress Me because it looked the most unique and interesting.
These are sharpen-able sticks and they are apparently full sized, even though they seem a little short (which is not a bad thing; I'd rather pay more per ounce and get a smaller sized product than invest in a huge jumbo thing that I will end up wasting anyways since I won't get through it fast enough). They say <3 Tati on them because Birchbox collaborated with her on the collection, though I'm not sure if it's a collab with the collection as a whole or if she just picked the launch colors. I'm not a fan of Tati, so I kind of hope it's just for these initial colors.
Impress Me is described as a deep rose gold and I included two swatches since the color changes depending on the light (I wouldn't call it a duochrome, but in the shade you can see the rose and in the light it looks more gold and metallic). These are cruelty-free, waterproof, and crease-proof and you can use them as a base or an all over lid color (you have 30 seconds to blend before it sets, so work fast). You can purchase these in various value sets, but if you just want one, they are $10 each (I used a value of $8.33 when I calculated the overall value of this box since you can get a trio of them for $25).
Now this is a weird one; this is a sample of Make Face Gloss. This is literally just clear gloss that you can put on your face to highlight it without having to use highlighter. It adds no color, only shine, so it's about as no-makeup-makeupy as you can get. You can use this on your natural skin or layer it over foundation and powder, and you can apply it all over. It's an excellent idea, especially if you have more mature skin and want to avoid glitter/shimmer at all costs or if you want a glow without adding any color, but you don't need to purchase a product like this to do it, especially with how expensive this is. I feel like any clear cosmetic gloss will work; you could probably even use Vaseline. The only thing that I could see that would set this apart is if it had a lot of good skin-friendly ingredients in it, which it does claim to have, but Birchbox did not have them listed. A full size is 0.4 fl oz for $25 (daaaaaaang), making this 0.1 fl oz sample is worth $6.25 (extra daaaaaang).
Last, and kind of least, is a sample of Temple Spa La La Lagoon Aromatic Bath and Shower Gel. I really don't like getting shower gels in sample boxes because they always feel like afterthought products; like Birchbox needed to throw in something else to bring the sample to total to five and this was the least expensive thing they could find. This actually is the lest expensive thing in this box, so at least it didn't take up a lot of value. It has a mint, peppermint, and basil smell and it is way too minty for me. I don't like mint scents and flavors at all, but if you're really into them, you might like this. One nice thing is that the full size has a pump, which is not something you see often with bath and shower gels. The full size is 5 fl oz for $18, so this 0.84 fl oz sample is worth $1.98.

Overall, this was a great box, even with the dry shampoo (which I actually want to try) and the shower gel (which is going to go to my mom). I got four deluxe size samples and one full size product, which is pretty good for Birchbox. The total value of this box was $48.43, which is awesome (and over $15 more than the value of my November Allure Beauty Box, even though Birchbox costs $5 less and doesn't charge sales tax...). Again, if you haven't tried Birchbox, I highly recommend it!

Thanks for reading! <3

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