Saturday, March 26, 2016

March 2016 Birchbox - Ready For Anything - Unboxing & Review!

Normally, I try to avoid spoilers for my subscription boxes as much as possible (with the exception of my Allure Beauty Box), but for the month of March, I decided to mix things up and go for the curated box, which includes no mystery what-so-ever.
Actually, I didn't like any of the sample choices and figured this looked like a pretty solid box, so I went with a box filled with things I know I will use instead of a box that I wasn't sure of. It's not the highest value box I've ever gotten from Birchbox, but it's still pretty good.
Quick Run-Down: $10 a month makeup/beauty/lifestyle sample subscription service; five deluxe sized samples, sometimes a bonus sample (no foil packet samples, except in the case of a bonus one); more skin care/hair care than color cosmetics; all products available for purchase from the Birchbox store; one of the best reward programs ever, 10 points for every product you review in your box, at least 50 points a month, could be more if you got bonus samples, 100 points equals $10 off any purchase in the Birchbox store; can use coupon codes along with points to get really good deals (I recently purchased a Foreo Luna Mini for $60; I had a 20% off coupon code and $20 in points); if you're interested in signing up for Birchbox, I'd appreciate it if you used my referral link here, otherwise you can go directly to the Birchbox website.
I'm not sure what the theme was for the mystery boxes this month, but this specific box is themed as "Ready For Anything". I actually do think that the products in this box fit the theme; you can whip up a neutral, everyday look quickly by using all the products. Plus they're travel-sized, which means you can keep them in your bag and be, well, ready for anything (...that involves you using skin care and/or putting on makeup).
There are five samples in this box, all of which are deluxe sample sized (Birchbox is not known for including full sized products often; if you're more interested in full sizes, I would recommend checking out Ipsy or, if you're willing to pay more a month, Boxycharm).
Going in the order of my info card, the first sample in this box is the Parlor by Jeff Chastain Smoothing Blowout Spray. This is the second product from the Parlor line that I've tried, and it seems to have the same unique scent as the first one (though it smells a little softer, so maybe they toned it back a bit; it was pretty intense in the sea salt spray I had). This is a pretty standard heat protector and volumizer, so nothing too exciting, but a useful product. The full size is 4.9fl oz for $24, so this 1fl oz sample is worth about $4.90.
I was super excited to see that there was a sample of a MILK Studios product in this box! I had seen the brand on Urban Outfitters a while back, but wasn't too interested in it. Then, suddenly, it was popping up at Sephora and on Birchbox and all over Instagram, so I figured it was time for me to take a look at it. I didn't realize that the sample was going to be this teeny, though...
What you see is what you get; this is not a twist up lipstick. The little nib at the end is all the product you get to sample. Granted, you will get enough uses out of it to decide if you want to purchase the full size or not, but it's still a little disappointing.
The color sampled in this box is C.R.E.A.M., a nude.
Even though I like bright, bold lip colors, I do like that Birchbox decided to sample a very wearable, flattering color for many different skin tones. It's not too warm, not too cool, and not too light. The texture and pigmentation are quite nice, too. A full size is 0.1oz for $22, so they are a bit on the pricey side, but I could see myself purchasing one, especially if I used points and/or a coupon. This itty bitty 0.014oz sample is worth about $3.08.
Oddly enough, this most disappointing product in this box, is also the most valuable one. And by "disappointing", I mean product that I am least likely to get a lot of use out of; I knew exactly what was in this box so I wasn't disappointed that I got it.
This is a mini Smashbox Photo OP Eye Shadow Trio in the color Filter (which includes Vanilla, Sable, and Sumatra). Smashbox makes these trios in a few different color combinations, and this is the least appealing one to me (mostly because I own shades very similar to these; these are actually quite useful if you don't already own shadows like them).
All three of these colors are matte, so they make good base/transition colors, and the two darker colors can be used as brow powder as well. These are not bad shadows; in fact, many people will probably find this trio quite useful, especially to keep in a bag or purse to use in makeup emergencies. It's just not something that I personally find particularly useful. The full size is 0.09oz for $28 (and comes in four different colors), making this 0.04oz mini worth about $12.44, which is more than I paid for this box.
Another product I was excited to try in this box is this deluxe sample of Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream. I hear a lot of good things about Kiehl's products, but I've never actually tried any (...even though there is a whole store of Kiehl's fairly close to me). After reading the ingredients, I think this will be pretty nice face cream; It has some good ingredients, like squalane, apricot kernel oil, and avocado oil, and it doesn't seem to have any added colors or fragrances. The full size is 1.7oz for $26.50, so this 0.25oz sample is worth about $4.04.
And lastly, I got a pair of Hydrating Collagen Eye Pads from Wilma Schumann, a brand I've never heard of before. I love these kinds of masks since my under eye area is the location of my biggest beauty struggles (dark circles and fine lines from dehydration). If you don't want to use them under your eyes, you can also use them on the sides of your mouth to help with smile lines.
I love how simple the ingredients are, though I'm pretty sure a topical application of collagen does little to nothing for your skin. Regardless, the glycerine, allantoin, rosa canina oil, and hyaluronic acid are all effective skin care ingredients and, at the very least, your skin will look hydrated after using these pads. Technically, this is a full size product since it's a complete, self-contained mask, but Birchbix sells them in packs of five pairs for $18, making this individual one worth about $3.60.

Overall I got five deluxe sized samples, none of which were a mystery (sadly). The total value of all my samples is about $24.02, which is approximately one and a half times what I paid for this box. Again, not the biggest value box ever (though Birchbox rarely goes over $30, and I've had boxes worth as little as $16), but all the products are relevant and useful to me (plus I earned 50 points for my reviews!).

Thanks for reading! <3

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