Saturday, June 18, 2016

Birchbox - The Complete SPF Kit - Review!

Out of everything I do for my skin, the two most important steps that I try to never skip are washing my face and wearing sunscreen. Layering products over a dirty face is just going to make things worse rather than better and sun exposure (or any kind of UVA/UVB exposure, including tanning beds) can lead to cancer and skin aging. It is much easier to prevent damage than it is to fix it so, as Birchbox says, wearing SPF is one of the best anti-aging treatments available.

There is a lot of debate about sun protection, such as chemical versus physical, and some people even think wearing any sunscreen at all is worse for you than just being exposed to the sun. I think that it's very important to always wear sunscreen, especially one that is rated SPF 30 or higher, but I also want to encourage everyone to do their research and to make the best, informed decision for themselves.

Because I always wear sunscreen, and go through it so quickly, one of my favorite yearly sets from Sephora is their Sun Safety kit. Unfortunately, it took a long time for it to become available this year (it's currently up on the website and is actually sitting on my desk right now...), so I had to slake my thirst for SPF with some other sets; one of which is the Complete SPF Kit from Birchbox!
This kit includes six deluxe sized samples of SPF products and is currently available for $18. I purchased some other items along with this kit in order to get a Mystery Sample pack and a free deluxe size sample product.
Because I think it's interesting to see what people get in their Mystery Sample packs from Birchbox, I wanted to show what I got before diving into the Complete SPF Kit.
This is the second Mystery Sample pack I've gotten from Birchbox (at least as far as I can recall) and, I have to say,  I'm pretty impressed with them! I've heard some negative things about them, so I've generally ignored them, but now I'm kind of disappointed I did! One thing I really like about these packs is that you can add them to your order as an item, not as a promo code, so you can still use a code, too (which I only just found out and was the main reason why I avoided them in the first place).  In this pack I got deluxe samples of the Paula's Choice Resist Perfectly Balanced Foaming Cleanser and the Peter Thomas Roth Mega-Rich Body Wash.
Along with my Mystery Sample pack, I got a deluxe size sample for spending over $35. I had a tough time deciding which sample to go with (there were a lot of options and, even though it's free, I still want to get a product that I will use a lot) and ended up with the Dear Clark Finishing Salve.
On to the kit itself! It comes in a large, fairly flimsy pillow pack. Actually...does Birchbox still use pillow packs in the subscription boxes? I don't think I've gotten one in a while now...
In this kit you also get an info card similar to the ones in the regular subscription boxes (info about the theme on one side, product info on the other).
There are six samples in this kit from four different brands. Coola and Supergoop! have two products each, with the remaining two from Dr. Jart+ and MDSolarSciences. No new brands or anything, but there are a couple products that I haven't tried before, which is exciting.
First up are the Supergoop! products. This is the Advanced SPF 37 Anti-Aging Eye Cream. I've used this product before and liked it; it can be kind of tricky to find products for the eye area that have SPF that aren't irritating, so this is a good find. This tube looks like a pretty good deluxe size, but it's barely full. Normally, I don't mind too much when tubes aren't filled all the way as long as you get the amount of product printing on it, but this just seems like way too much excess packaging for the amount of product you actually get (it's only 2mL).
The other Supergoop! product is the Defense Refresh Setting Mist SPF 50. I'm really excited to give this a try since it's a form of sunscreen I haven't used before (at least for my face; I really like to use aerosol/mist sunscreens  on my body). This product is supposed to  provide the benefits of a regular, matte-finish setting spray and an SPF 50 PA+++ and since it's in a mist form, I can see this being a very easy product to use to refresh your makeup and sun protection throughout the day.
Next are the Coola products; this first one is the Daydream SPF 30 Mineral Makeup primer. This is another dual purpose product in that it's supposed to be a primer and sunscreen. I also like that it's a mineral based sunscreen since I prefer physical sunscreens over chemical ones. Like the Supergoop! eye cream, this is another tube that's barely full; it's about twice the size of the Supergoop! tube, but it only has 3mL of product. Again, unnecessary large packaging for a small amount of product.
The other Coola product is the Face SPF 30 Unscented Matte Tint. I'm glad this is the unscented version; there's a cucumber-scented one that I probably would have just given away since I hate the smell of cucumber. Since this is a mineral sunscreen as well, as I like that it has a tint since some mineral sunscreens can leave a white cast to the skin. This product is foil-sealed, so I haven't tested to see how dark the tint it; I just hope it's not as dark as the one from Cotz. Like the primer, this is another product with a big tube and just a little bit of product (5mL this time).
Out of all the products in this kit, the one I am most excited to try is the Dr. Jart+ Every Sun Day SPF 30 UV Sun Fluid. Dr. Jart+ is one of my favorite brands, and was the brand that introduced me to Korean skincare. I think the products from this brand are very high quality and perform well, so I have high expectations for this sunscreen. It is a chemical sunscreen, which is disappointing, but if you don't like the heavy feeling of sunscreen, these type of fluid sunscreens are great since they're lightweight and dry down quickly. The is also the only product in this kit that doesn't feel like it has any excessive packaging; you get the amount of product you'd expect from this bottle.
The last sample in this kit is the MDSolarSciences Mineral Moisture Defense SPF 50. I don't know why, but I'm weirdly biased towards MDSolarSciences as a brand. It could be that I'm just unfamiliar with it, but it doesn't scream 'mid-range/high-end' to me. Regardless, I'm defintiely interested in giving this product a try since it's another mineral sunscreen and it's SPF 50. Unfortunately, this product follows the trend of 'big tube, small amount of actual product', though you do get more than in the other tubes (0.25oz).

Overall, I'm not sure how I feel about this kit. You do get a good selection of products, all of which have an SPF of 30 or higher, and I like that it's not all just sunscreen: you get a setting spray, an eye cream, and a primer as well. When I bought this kit, it had one review, and it was not a positive one: the sample sizes were very small and you could only get a few uses out of them. Most of the time, I ignore reviews of sample kits that talk about the sample sizes being small since I generally don't mind small sizes as long as the weight/volume is correctly printed and the retail value is properly calculated. But these samples just feel...small! I'm pretty sure that the printed weights/volumes are correct, but I feel like the tubes were made so large on purpose (or the companies just didn't want to make special small tubes, which also makes sense). Had the Sephora Sun Safety Kit been available when I purchased this kit, I would have hands down gotten that instead and now that it is available, I would recommend that kit over this one (it's a little more expensive at $32, but you get a lot more and a portion of the price goes towards a good cause).

Thanks for reading! <3

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