Tuesday, May 3, 2016

April 2016 Birchbox - Spring Awakening - Unboxing & Review!

It's Birchbox time! ...actually, it was Birchbox time a long time ago and I'm only just getting around to blogging about it now...
 For the second year in a row, Birchbox has paired with the Rifle Paper Co. (which is a weird name for a company) to celebrate the beginning of spring. The theme for April 2016 is Spring Awakening; if you've ever seen or read the play Spring Awakening, you'd feel as uncomfortable with that title as I do.

While I do love spring themes and collections both in fashion and in beauty, this Birchbox unfortunately fell a little short for me...
Quick Run-Down: $10 a month makeup/beauty subscription service; five deluxe to full size samples, though full sizes are very, very rare; mostly well-known brands, all of which can be purchased directly from Birchbox; best rewards program I've seen with sample boxes, 10 points per product review, minimum of 50 points per box (more if you get a bonus sample, like I did this month), 100 points equals $10 off any purchase in the Birchbox store (200 points = $20 off, 300 points = $30, and so on); more likely to get skin/hair/body care items than color cosmetics.
Birchbox also let's you pick one of your samples, or a special curated box for that month instead of a regular semi-mystery box. If you choose not to pick a sample (or forget and miss the sample choice window, or the sample you want 'sells out', which has happened to me a couple times now), you still get five samples, but what you get will be a compete mystery. In my April 2016 box I got my standard five deluxe samples, plus an extra foil packet that I was able to review for 10 extra Birchbox points.
Since this is another collab with Rifle Paper Co., they included a unique coupon code (which I have blocked out) for 20% off a purchase from them. The code is valid all the way through December, which I appreciate since I don't always get to use these codes immediately and it's annoying if they expire within a month or so.
On one side of the info card, Birchbox talks a little about the theme and/or the collaboration for the month. This card also talks about how Birchbox wants to focus more on natural beauty products this month, which coincides with some new value sets and limited edition boxes now on sale in the Birchbox shop.
As always, the back of the info card lists all the products I received, along with a little blurb about each one and the price of the full size. I wish Birchbox would add what the size of the full size is; then this info card would be pretty much perfect.
Going in the order of the info card, the first products are from Malin+Goetz. I've tried their Mojito Lip Balm before and loved it, but I'm not sure how I feel about these products. My actual sample is the Grapefruit Face Cleanser; I really don't like the smell of grapefruit, so I find the smell of this cleanser kind of off-putting. I also had the hardest time opening this tube; I ended up having to use one of those rubber things you use to open pickle jars and even then it was a struggle. The ingredients seem pretty good, though, so if the smell doesn't bother you as much as it bothers me, you might like this product. I also got a bonus foil packet of the Vitamin E face Moisturizer (normally, foil packets are lame, but I don't mind them if they are included as an extra, especially if I can review them and get more points!) As long as it doesn't smell like the cleanser, I will definitely give it a try. The full size of the cleanser is $32 for 8fl oz, making this 0.5fl oz sample worth about $2 (I did not calculate the value of the packet since it was a freebie/extra).
When I first saw this product, I was pretty disappointed. I thought it was either another Amika dry shampoo and Birchbox had given me a duplicate sample, or it was a hairspray or something. Turns out, it's actually a dry conditioner! My hair tends to get drier the longer I go without washing it (within reason; if I let it go four days or so, then it gets pretty greasy), so dry shampoos tend to work against me. A dry conditioner, however, sounds like the exact thing my hair needs, since it adds softness and manageability to next day hair. I've never tried a dry conditioner before, so I'm actually really excited to give this one a try (even though I'm not the biggest fan of Amika products). The full size is 5.1oz for $24, making this 0.75oz sample worth about $3.53.

Unfortunately, it's all kind of downhill from here (and we even started with a pretty meh product). This is the sample I picked, the Au Naturale Mini Face Palette in Lively. I know this sample would be pretty small, but I thought the presentation was interesting, and I liked the idea of natural cosmetics.
The sample compact came glued to a card that listed the three products inside, including what they are, the name of the color, the amount of product sampled, and their ingredients.

 Inside the compact, you get a sample of a lipstick, cream blush, and cream shadow. The full product is actually a trio of products; there are three different combinations, or you can purchase each product individually.
I really did not like the texture of these products; they felt very cheap, kind of like play makeup. They were also very sheer, which isn't nessecarily a bad thing, but I expected the lipstick and eye shadow to be a lot more opaque. The shadow was mostly just shimmer in what looked like a clear base and the lipstick took a lot of passes to build up to anything beyond a tint. If they had called it a lip balm or tint I wouldn't have minded so much, but when you call something a lipstick, I guess I expect a little more opacity. The only product I even sort of liked was the blush, but again, the texture was very off-putting and I found it hard to work with. I'm not sure if the texture of these samples are an accurate depiction of what the texture of the full sizes are like, but this sample definitely does not make me want to purchase the full sizes of any Au Naturale prodcts. It was a little tricky to calculate the value of this sample; the full size trio includes a 5.5g shadow, a 5.5g blush, and a 3.69g lipstick for $42. Each sample product is 0.1g, which gave me an approximate value of $0.86. Which is pretty lame.
I don't even know what to say about this product that I haven't said before. This is the Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair hair mask and I have gotten it in every. Single. Subscription box. I don't even know if this is a good product or not since I can't use it because it has argan oil in it. Regardless, I am over it and I don't want to get another sample of it ever again (...even though I will because it's going to be in the April Play! by Sephora box and I am exceptionally upset about it since then I really will have gotten it in every single beauty box I've ever subscribed to, minus Julep). The full size is $26 for 8oz, so this 1oz sample is worth about $3.25.
Lastly, I got two RMS Beauty The Ultimate Makeup Remover wipes. These were actually another sample choice for April and I did not pick them because I felt that two individually wrapped makeup wipes shouldn't count as a deluxe sized sample. So I am particularly disappointed that they found their way into my box anyways. These are makeup wipes made with coconut oil, but if I really wanted to use coconut oil to take off my makeup, I would use it straight from the jar, which is around $8, instead of using an overpriced wipe. I do see some value in these since they are a much easier way of traveling with coconut oil--lighter and simpler to carry, no worries about leakage, you can take them on an airplane in your carry-on bag--but at $16 for 20 wipes, I'd rather just leave my jar of coconut at home and make do with some Simple cleansing wipes for a short time. These two wipes are worth a total of $1.60.

Overall, I got five deluxe sized samples (though I personally don't count the RMS Beauty wipes as a deluxe sample) and one extra foil packet sample for a total of $11.24 and 60 Birchbox points. This was a pretty bad box for me, both product-wise and value-wise, though the extra 10 Birchbox points was nice. I'm not unhappy enough with this box to unsubscribe, but if I were to get a few boxes of this same quality in a row...I just might.

Thanks for reading! <3

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