Wednesday, November 14, 2012

November 2012 Birchbox Review

Can you believe I haven't talked about what's in my Birchbox since June?  CRAZY!  

Date of arrival: November 13, 2012 (no shipping notification - is it just me or do they only send one like every third box?)

Packaging: Standard pink outer box and brown inner box with pink tissue paper.  Boring! 

Theme: This month's theme is "all about giving: giving thanks, giving back, and of course giving treats".  In addition to the little card, they gave us a little box that we are supposed to use to give a gift to someone (lamest extra ever).  There was also a $15 off code for (BIRCHBOX15 or BIRCHFRIEND15).  

Maybe I'm just not in the Thanksgiving spirit yet, but all this box made me want to do is GIVE Birchbox the finger.  

Contents: Soap, anti-aging oil, mascara, texturizing spray, and man perfume.  

Let's just start with the item that really pissed me off.  Freaking hotel soap.  You have got to be kidding me.  Granted, it's fancy, triple-milled, pomegranate hotel soap, but it's hotel soap nonetheless.  Don't believe me?  The box says "REMEMBER YOUR STAY, TAKE ME HOME".  

Fuck you, Birchbox.  If I wanted hotel soap, I'd go stay in a hotel.  GIVE ME MAKEUP!!!

Plus it got little white flakes all over my box.  Grrr.  I haven't tested it out yet so no rating, but I'm sure it will be very soapy.  And I would never pay for bar soap as I prefer body wash.  

Item #2 is Omega Rich Pure Marula Oil from Marula - The Leakey Collection.  They claim higher antioxidant levels than argan or grape seed oils and that it is 16% more powerful than argan oil at fighting free radicals.  I think those are some East Africa vs. West Africa fightin' words.  I have tried all three oils, plus tarte's Maracuja's all the same to me.  I only tried this once (last night) and these oils typically take at least a week to notice any real difference, so I'm not ready to rate it.  I like the sustainable living / free trade / helping women of East Africa aspect of the company, so I would consider buying it in the unlikely event that I ever run out of fancy face stuff (I have TONNNNNNNS from when I was subscribing to every subscription box under the sun). 

Item #3 is one that mildly annoys me.  I'm not, like, anti-mascara or anything, although I am tired of that being Birchbox's go to item to send me.  I've gotten 4 now?  I think?  It's more that I am fairly certain that this is a case of a company dumping old packaging on us.  The mascara didn't have an outer package and there is no date on the tube to confirm, but I can't find this version for sale anywhere - it all looks like this now.  Although I do prefer this tube, the little mirror is a nice touch.  So, I don't know.  Mildly annoyed.  

I assume you want to see the detail on my legs, not the mascara wand.
The mascara itself is just okay.  It definitely lengthens, but it does it in a really thin, wispy way.  Which I guess is as advertised - the card says "This innovative mascara uses tiny lash-extending fibers to give you a lengthy fringe".  This is probably a good option for people who want to look like they naturally have super long eyelashes.  I prefer my mascara to lengthen AND thicken AND darken, not just lengthen, so I wouldn't repurchase.  C+

Mascara on the left, none on the right
Item #4 is an Oscar Blandi Texture & Volume Spray.  I was very excited to get this, as I use something like this whenever I actually do my hair (Paul Mitchell Worked Up) but it's in a giant bottle.  This is perfect for travel and I'll definitely use it.  The full size is over 5 times more expensive than the Paul Mitchell stuff, so I probably wouldn't repurchase it unless I had an amazing coupon or something.  

I put some on after my hair FINALLY dried enough to hit with a flat iron.  Man, that tiny can packs a lot of power!  It smelled a bit weird, like...celery?  But it did the trick for sure.  My hair is super grippy, feels like it would stay in an updo for days.  And it magically made the stupid bangs I'm growing out blend better with the rest of my hair.  I was sad I didn't have my curling iron to play with it even more.  Love.  A+

Before on the left, after on the right
Item #5 is another one that pissed me off.  It's a sample of the John Varvatos Artisan scent FOR MEN.  If I wanted to give my man cologne samples, I would have signed him up for the Birchbox for Men.  These samples are MINE MINE MINE, and I do not appreciate you forcing me into the spirit of giving, Birchbox!  Although, this is the lightest, fruitiest man perfume I have ever smelled - I can smell the citrus and maybe even orange blossom.  In fact, I was a wearer of CK one in high school, and this is definitely girlier than that.  I don't know if Justin would even like it, it's so light.  And I prefer my man to smell like (this is embarrassing) Old Spice or Drakkar Noir or (since it's not the 80's anymore, haha) Axe.  MANLY man scents.  Not fruit.  But whatever, I'll give it away in the spirit of Thanksgiving.  But YOU OWE ME, Birchbox!    B-

Bonus points if you spotted the toddler using my legs as a tunnel.
Value: This box was a decent value at $33.97, primarily driven by the full size mascara (BB says it's worth $24, I only gave it $19 since that's what Model Co sells it for in the different packaging).  B

Overall impression of the box: I got Box 11; you can see all of the boxes here.  All of the boxes either had the mascara, a lip gloss, or a highligher, and I will likely get more use out of the mascara.  Wouldn't want to give up the texturizing spray either so I guess my dream box is #5 to get that cute bath bomb?  I don't know, none of them are particularly amazing this month.  I am super annoyed at the hotel soap and man cologne, so I'd say this was a disappointment.  C-

Overall impression of the service: I really have no complaints about Birchbox's service.  They gave me 100 points towards my account when I called to complaint about the empty Dr. Jart back in June, which works out to $10 in their store.  A free month for one bad product?  Not too shabby.  And for as much whining as I do about the contents of my box, even the shitty ones are still worth the $10.  I don't think it's my favorite service, but I do like it and will likely ask for it for Christmas again.  B+  (I gave it an A- a few months ago so it's definitely losing some ground).  

Like what you see?  I would be forever grateful if you use my referral link if my review inspires you to sign up for Birchbox ($10 a month).


Jessica said...

Looks like a terrible value. For one, I expect hotel soap to be FREE. For two, I never spend more than $5 on mascara, though either couponing or eBaying sample sizes (which last just as long before drying out as full sizes).

I am kind of excited about the texture and volume spray, though. (I looked and I'm getting it. Plus more gloss - they've sent me TONS of gloss and I've never gotten mascara! Which is fine, I guess, I don't need mascara, but I also don't need gloss. I want makeup!)

I'm getting box 3. I'm also excited about the Miracle Skin Transformer Vanish Instant Imperfection Corrector, since I've liked all the miracle skin transformer stuff I've gotten (This will be the third product. I guess they're into sending you the same stuff all over and over?)

My big problem with them is shipping. I ALWAYS get my box a full week after you. Plus, as I mentioned, due to hurricane Sandy + Thanksgiving I won't get this month's until almost DECEMBER. I can give them a pass for the hurricane, but what about all the other months I don't get it until the 20th or later?

I shouldn't complain about what's free (the shipping), I would just prefer less of a range in arrival times. No one wants to talk about boxes anymore by the time mine arrives.

CharlieSue said...

It's REALLY too bad my first Ipsy box came on the same day as my Birchbox. SUPER cute pouch, full size polish, full size eyeliner with smaller sizes of gloss, eyebrow gel and eyeshadow. No man's samples! No hotel soap! USABLE PRODUCTS!!

Semi-Wicked said...

Finally, someone who received a worst BB box than me! Victory is mine!

But seriously - that hotel soap would have sent me over the edge. As it is, my man fragrance did that already.

About two months ago, I received a sample from Birchbox with the word "FREE SAMPLE" stamped on it. And it counted as one of my real products (not a "lifestyle extra"). I was so pissed - especially since all my samples were foil packs!

I'm not sure why I'm still with them... except I want to use my points!