Saturday, January 16, 2016

December 2015 Birchbox - All Wrapped Up - Unboxing and Review!

Hello! Hope you're all staying warm! The temperature has finally plummeted here to "normal" winter levels, which means lows of -10°F with a windchill of -30°F. Yay. SO. Instead of focusing on the negative side of things, let's instead take a peek at my December 2015 Birchbox!

Was the final Birchbox of 2015 a good one?
Quick Birchbox rundown: $10 a month beauty subscription service; five sample products per month, very rarely will you get a full size, though sometimes you will get bonus samples; all products available for purchase in the Birchbox store; can review your samples to earn at least 50 Birchbox points a month (sometimes you can review your bonus samples and get points); 100 points equals $10 to use in the Birchbox shop, which also offers a lot of coupons and discounts; not the highest value of samples, but the best reward program of any subscription service that I've tried.
The box itself for December is super cute; the bottom is chartreuse and the lid is white with silver faux stitching. Very December appropriate! I really enjoyed all the different boxes we got this year; I had heard we were supposed to save them and then do something with them at the end of the year to be entered into a contest or something, but since I haven't heard anything about it since, I'm guessing I was wrong.
We also got a special coupon card for $10 off a $35+ purchase from the Birchbox shop! If you use this in conjunction with your points, you could theoretically get $35 worth of products for $5 (I don't think you can redeem points in less than $10 increments). This is one of the reasons why I will stay subscribed to Birchbox; they always offer a bunch of coupons (the best one I see regularly is 20% off a $35+ purchase) which you can use along with your points to score mid-range to high-end beauty products on the cheap.
The theme for December is "All Wrapped Up" which, again, is very appropriate for December. The card also has faux stitching on it to match the lid. Birchbox says the December box is kind of like a gift you get to unwrap early; I always assume that the December edition of a sample box will be the best one since, you know, it's the last one of the year and a lot of gift-giving holidays are happening. Unfortunately, this is not the case with my December Birchbox.
This was a pillow pack month, which I'm starting to associate with getting not the greatest samples; mostly because they tend to contain fragrance samples. I have nothing against fragrance samples per se, but I don't think they add any value to my box. The silver color is appealing, though.
The info cards for Birchboxes are moderately informative; they include the name of the product, a little blurb of what to do with it, and the price of the full size. I don't mind the limited information since all the products are sold in the Birchbox shop and it's very easy to find them from your account. I got the standard five samples this month.
First up is the Beauty Protector Protect & Detangle leave-in conditioner. I'm pretty sure I've gotten Beauty Protector products before, but I don't have a positive association with them entirely based on their packaging (I know, don't judge a book by its cover and all that). But! My friend said that she really liked this leave-in, and it does smell really nice (it's fruity, but not overly sweet or strongly), so I will give this one a try. The full size is $21.95 for 8oz, but I couldn't calculate a value for my sample since it doesn't list how much is in the bottle.
Next I got a sample of Catherine Malandrino Romance de Provence perfume; see what I mean about the pillow packs? In your profile, you can (sort of) chose how many fragrance samples you will get throughout the year; the options are you either don't care how many you get, or you want four (or something like that) or less. I have the four or less option selected, so I wonder why they held out until the very end to send me my final one. Unless they use perfume samples as a last resort if they don't have anything else to put in your box, which makes sense.It's a fairly boring scent; it says it's a fruity floral, but it's more like a citrus-tinged heavy floral and it smells uninspired and a little grandmotherly. The full size is pretty expensive; it's $80 for 1.7fl oz, making this 0.06fl oz sample worth about $2.82.
For the December sample choice, Birchbox gave you the option of one of three different eyeshadow duos from Coastal Scents styleEYES palettes. I picked the duo from the formalEYES palette, which is a nude matte and rosy pink shimmer.

The whole formalEYES palette is based on pinks and mauves, not unlike a certain high-end palette.
The eyeshadows are super tiny, but can still fit a brush. I'm not against inexpensive eyeshadow, but I find that I never reach for it over my other, higher-end ones.
The rosy pink shimmer performs well and is a pretty color, but the matte was disappointing. Granted, I'm not a fan of matte shadows in the first place, but I found this one to be chalky and difficult to work with. The full size formalEYES palette is $12 (the other two are $12 as well, or you can buy all three together for about $25), making this sample worth about $0.61.
A common sample item in my subscription boxes recently has been hand cream (which makes sense; in the winter everyone goes through a ton of it), and this box is no exception. This is the Soap & Paper Factory shea butter hand cream in Green Tea. This is one of those hand creams that leaves a film on your skin, which makes my hands feel weird and papery dry, if that makes sense. This scent wasn't available in the Birchbox shop when I was looking up prices (though the other scents were all there); in the tube it smells nice, but when it's on, it has this weird sharp note. The scent mellows down quickly, but it's still a little off. A full size tube is 2.3oz for $18, making this 0.5oz sample worth about $3.91.
Last up is the Beauty Crop's Lighting Crew Highlighting Cream. Like hand creams, these highlighting creams have been a popular beauty sample box item. In the tube it looks peachy pink, but when it's on it sheers out almost completely and leaves behind a ton of very fine glitter. These cream highlighters are nice since you can mix them in with your foundation or body lotion to get an all over glow, but since they are creams, they will go bad faster than powders; I don't think I'll be able to use up even this small tube in time, along with all the others I have.
My tube also had a lot of gunk on the end of it; the tube was sealed when I got it, so I don't think it was mine that leaked, but it's still kind of weird. I don't have a swatch photo to show you because I had a hard time getting it to show up on my camera, but it's really just a highly concentrated glitter. A little goes a very, very long way, but it still seems way to shimmery for me to use except for very precise highlighting. Surprisingly, this is the full size of this product at 0.34oz, and it's worth $18. Which also seems to be a trend with cream highlighters; a tiny bit for a big price.

Overall, I got four deluxe sized samples and one full size product, with a total value of $25.34 (without the value of the Beauty Protector leave-in conditioner since I couldn't calculate it); $18 of that, though, is the highlighter, which I really don't think is worth anywhere near that much. I did get my 50 Birchbox points, which equals $5 to spend in the store, so my box still has value, but I was pretty disappointed in the products that were included this month.

Thanks for reading! <3

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