Saturday, March 12, 2016

February 2016 Birchbox - What's The Occasion? - Unboxing & Review!

Hello! I hope you're having a great day! For this post, I want to share with you guys my February 2016 Birchbox.
The box is exceptionally cute this month; I love the minimalist, almost cartoony graphics, and I think it's pretty neat that they actually reflect what could be in your box (an OCC lip tar, the Arrow beauty products, etc.). A subtle touch, but it adds a sense of cohesiveness.

I missed out an sample choice this month because I forgot to do it right away (...), so everything in this box was a mystery to me.
Quick rundown on Birchbox: $10 a month beauty/makeup subscription service; at least five deluxe size samples a month, sometimes bonus sample packets; less color cosmetics, more skin care/hair care than other $10 a month services; less full size, but more higher-end samples; one of the best rewards systems for a subscription service: 10 points for each product review and 100 points is equal to $10 off  any purchase in the Birchbox store.
For being a complete mystery (I was upset that I missed out on the Arrow lip balm...), I'm pretty content with this box. Nothing steller, but some good, useful products.
 We also got an advert for the new Dew The Hoola liquid bronzer from Benefit. I like the idea and the design of Benefit products, but I'm not the biggest fan of the actual products, so I'm giving this a pass.
On the back there was an offer to get minis of their Lollitint and Lollibalm with any $35+ order. I like the color of the Lollitint/balm, but I find Benefit's tints difficult to work with and the balms have a weird texture and flavor. I'm kind of surprised they didn't have an offer to try the new Dew The Hoola, but I didn't see it sampled anywhere else, so I think Benefit just didn't want to promote it that way.
The sample card is kind of dull, but it's clean and has a retro-fell, which works with the overall design for February. They also included a reminder to review your sampled products to get points, which is helpful since I've heard some people comment that they didn't know they could do that and have been missing out each month.
I got the standard five deluxe samples this month with a nice variety of products.
First up is the Arrow Revive Cooling Cheek Tint in the color Berry Flush. Arrow is a newer brand made by Birchbox, similar to the LOC line (though I think it's marketed as being a little more higher-end). This is a jelly-type cheek tint that leaves you with a sheer wash of color when you blend it out.
Berry Flush is nice raspberry shade that works well with a lot of different skin tones; it's deep enough to show up on deeper skin tones, but easy enough to sheer out for paler ones. The cooling sensation is very pronounced and kind of off-putting, at least for me. I can see people liking it in the summer when they want to feel refreshed, but I find the effect to be way too strong and kind of uncomfortable. If this product did not have the cooling sensation, I might be inclined to purchase a full size since I like the color and texture of it so much. The full size is 0.09oz for $18, so this 0.04oz sample is worth about $8.
If this next sample looks familiar, that's because it is; this is the Hey Honey Take It Off! Exfoliating Honey Peel Off Mask and I've gotten this exact same sample in a different subscription box (I think it was Ipsy, but I'm not 100% sure). I don't mind getting a dupe, though, because this is one of my favorite peel off masks (...and I've used the other one up already). It's clear, so if you miss a patch or two when peeling it off, it doesn't look weird or obvious. Plus it doesn't stain my sink like the black/charcoal peel off masks do.  This mask also peels off a lot more cleanly than others I've used; I'm not sure if it's because of the slightly different directions (the directions for this mask say to put a serum on first, the other masks I've used don't) or because of the formulation, but regardless, it's a lot more user friendly! The full size is 50mL for $29, so this 10mL sample is worth about $6.40.
Ah, ModelCo. ModelCo is one of those brands that I feel is more drugstore/mid-end in quality, but that wants to charge high-end prices. The products aren't bad, but I don't think that they perform as well as their price tags suggest they would. This is a sample of the Lip Enhancer Illusion Lip Liner.
It's a standard, sharpen-able wooden lip liner pencil in a neutral shade that's supposed to work with a wide variety of lip colors. I can see this working well with nudes, peaches, and pinks, but I'm not sure how well it would work with bright reds or vampy purples. I also see this working well under lip glosses if you're going for a more natural/neutral look, so it's definitely a useful product, it's just not as universal as a clear lip liner would be.
Not very long ago, I used to be really opposed to getting body wash samples; I never used them and I thought they took up a spot that another, more useful product could have occupied. Slowly but surely, I've been working through my stash of body wash, and I'm finding that I actually enjoy some of them; I particularity don't like body washes that are heavily scented because they irritate my skin and nose. This body wash is in the Liquid Freud, which is the same scent I got the body lotion in a few boxes back. It's a calming scent of coconut milk and mango, with an infusion of St. John's Wort, which apparently acts as a natural anti-depressant. It also interacts with and reduces the effectiveness of birth control pills, so that's definitely a concern. I doubt if there's a high enough concentration in this product to really effect anything, and I used the lotion without any issues (which I probably absorbed more from since it sits on the skin for a lot longer), but it still worries me a little. The full size is $16 for 402.5mL, so this 33mL bottle is worth about $1.31.
And finally, I got a sample of the Obliphica Professional Seaberry Serum for fine to medium hair. I've seen this brand at Ulta, and I've been interested in trying it since I've heard good things about sea buckthorn berry oil, but after reading the ingredients, I'm probably going to pass this product on without even trying it. It's just a silicone hair serum (with a cyclo- ingredient at the very top; they are very volatile chemicals and can be quite drying) with sea buckthorn oil at the very bottom (it's the second to last ingredient, right above fragrance). The full size is $38 for 65mL, making this 15mL sample worth about $8.77.

Overall, I got five deluxe sized sample products for a total value of $33.81. This was a pretty solid box and, while it wasn't "wow", I am quite content and will happily continue to be subscribed.

Thanks for reading! <3

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