Saturday, September 17, 2016

August 2016 Birchbox - Can't Stop, Won't Stop - Unboxing & Review!

There have been a lot of changes at Birchbox--some good, some not-so-good--and it's been interesting to the see the gradual evolution of both the subscription service and the company as a whole.
The August 2016 Birchbox feels like a return to the old days; the July box was a little worrying since I only got four deluxe products and two foil packets and it seemed like Birchbox was trying to cut corners, but it seems like we're back to the standard five deluxe sized samples. There is a lot of competition in the beauty subscription world, and it seems like Birchbox is trying their best to stay on top.

Since there have been so many changes at Birchbox, even from month to month, I can't say for sure what the service will be like in the future, but right now it's still the $10 a month, five deluxe/full size samples beauty and makeup subscription box that we're all familiar with. With Birchbox, you're more likely to get deluxe sized samples over full sizes, but you're also more likely to get products from mainstream brands (and all products should be available to purchase though Birchbox). One of my favorites aspects of this subscription service was the reward point system for reviewing your samples, but now you only earn points through referrals and purchases (though they did change it so you can redeem any amount of points for discounts on your orders instead of only being able to use them in increments of 100).
Birchbox has continued to use a different box design each month (they used to come in plain, brown boxes), though the designs this year have felt a little less inspired than the ones last year. Or it could just be that they aren't to my taste, which is just as likely.
One more subtle change that I've noticed is that the info cards have increased in size, but decreased in cardstock weight. They're a lot thinner and floppier and now are the about the same size as the box itself. I believe this was a cost-cutting measure since the lighter cardstock weight is probably cheaper than the heavier paper, even though the card itself is bigger. It's still well designed and printed and it doesn't feel any cheaper, so I think that was a good move on Birchbox's part.
The front of the card includes a blurb about the 'theme' and the back lists all the products you got, along with the price of the full size product and a little information about it.
First up is the Derma E Purifying Daily Detox Scrub. It seems like Birchbox is including more 'drugstore' brand products on their site; that or they are just sampling them more in the subscription boxes. This isn't a bad thing, Derma E is a great, affordable brand for ingredient-conscious consumers--it's just another subtle change that I've noticed. While I want to like Derma E, I haven't been really impressed by any of the products that I've sampled; at least not enough to purchase any full size products to include in my skin care routine. This scrub uses powdered apricot seeds as the exfoliant, so no worries about plastic beads; since the seeds are powdered (instead of in bigger chunks, like in the St. Ives scrubs), they will hopefully be just as gentle as the beads. The full size  is 4 oz for $15.50, making this 0.5 oz sample worth about $1.93.
I'm getting pretty used to seeing Manna Kadar Cosmetics products in sample boxes, but I'm still not sure how I feel about it. The products are good, but the brand feels like one of those 'online only, more expensive than mainstream mid-range' brands where the quality of the products doesn't justify the higher price tag.
This time, we got an eye shadow single sample called Fantasy. You can't buy this shadow individually; it's part of a bigger eyes and face palette called the Day-Dream Palette.
Fantasy is a pretty, shimmery rose gold color, but it's not unique enough in my collection to justify having it as a single since I tend to reach for palettes when doing my makeup. You can also use this as a highlight/blush, but again, I already own a bunch of other highlighters in a similar shade.
Like the other Manna Kadar products I've sampled, this shadow performed well, but it's pretty easy these days to find good shimmery shadows for cheap, especially in this rose gold color. The Day-Dream Palette, which includes six eye shadows, a highlight, and a blush/bronzer/highlight trio retails for $25 (compared to the prices of the other products from this brand, which includes $24 eye liners and $21 lip sticks, this is surprisingly inexpensive); based on product weight (2.24 oz for the palette, maybe 0.25 oz for the single), I'm estimating the value of this sample to be about $2.80.
This is the sample I picked for August, the Oribe Apres Beach Wave and Shine Spray. Whenever there's an Oribe product in the sample choice, I usually go for it since I like the brand but can't really justify purchasing the full sized products because they're expensive. This is an interesting product; it's a texture spray, but it also adds shine. All the other texture/beach sprays that I've seen and used have a matte finish. I have no idea how it works, but if it does, this might be the perfect product for me; I use a lot of dry texture sprays in my hair for hold and style, but I'm starting to move away from them because the matte finish makes my already dry hair look even more dull and damaged. The full 8.5 fl oz is $39, so it's going to have to be pretty magical to entice me to buy it (if it does work, though, I won't think twice about purchasing it); this 1 fl oz sample is worth about $4.60.
Next is a sample of the Profile PRO Ultra Nourishing Oil. This is a new brand to me but, unfortunately, I won't be able to try it since it has argan oil. This is a hair oil made with a combination of natural oils (moringa, sunflower, and radish seed oil along with the argan) and silicone; if it wasn't for the argan oil, I would be interested in giving it a try since it doesn't include any alcohol or added colorants. The full size is 3.4 fl oz for $22.95, making this 0.34 fl oz sample worth about $2.30.
The last sample in my August box is a Purifying Seaweed Clay Mask from The Organic Pharmacy. This is another brand that is completely new to me--based on the prices of the products in the Birchbox store, this also seems to be a higher-end brand. This is a pretty standard 'apply to clean face, wait 10-20 minutes, rinse off' clay mask, and while I like most of the ingredients, I might end up passing this on since it does have alcohol as the fourth ingredient (that, and I already have a ton of other masks I should try and use up first!). The full size is $70 for 40 ml (see what I mean about pricing?), making this 7 ml sample worth about $12.25...which is a surprisingly high value.

Overall, I got five deluxe sized samples with a total value of about $23.88. I like that I got the regular five samples this month, but the value of my box is on the lower end; I'm used to lower values when compared to other services like Ipsy and Play! By Sephora, but this seems exceptionally low, especially when $12.25 of the value is in one sample that I'm likely not to use. Actually, the only product I'm going to get any use out of for sure is the Oribe spray, which is the one I picked for myself. I've gotten low value/disappointing product-heavy boxes before, but I've always been able to justify remaining subscribed due to the reward points system (it was like paying $5 for your box if you promised Birchbox you would spend at least $5 in the store); without being able to earn points, this is the first box where I feel like I actually lost money...If I get a few more boxes like this...hmm.

Thanks for reading! <3

No comments:

Post a Comment