Now that I have my last Birchbox of the year (and my annual subscription is over - thanks for the year of presents, Justin!), I thought it would be a good time to look back at the last year and ask the important question - is Birchbox really worth it?
Scroll down past the pics and quickie reviews if you want to know the best and worst of 2012!
March: The Teen Vogue was my first good box of the year. I already owned that Luxeffects Nail polish, but was fine with getting a double since Adriana loves that one.
April: This box was pretty decent, love the Pangea Organics stuff.
May: Can't argue with a full-sized Stila. 2/2 on a good partnership box. Full review here.
June: This box was okay, but it wasn't worth squat and the Dr. Jart was completely empty. Full review here.
July: The Glamour partnership was another solid box, 3/3. I was happy to try out the blinc mascara even though it didn't work out for me. This right here is why I love sample services...so many people had recommended the blinc to me that I would have considered shelling out the $24 for it. Which is TOO MUCH for a mascara, so I would have landed on no and always wondered what I was missing out on. I got to try a decent sample of it thanks to BB, and now I know I don't love it without spending anything extra. Yay!
August: This box had two of my all time favorite products of the year - the Miss Jessie's Quick Curls and the Pixi Beauty Lid Last Shadow Pen. LOVE.
September: Meh. But I was happy to get the brush guards, have been kind of wanting them since Michelle Phan featured them in her brush cleaning tutorial video.
October: Meh. The goop box was the first partnership box I didn't love (3/4 ain't bad). But I just realized something. Even though I have always thought I hate getting nail polish in monthly subs other than Julep, I actually really like all of the colors Birchbox has ever sent me. So I think I just don't like getting nail polish from MyGlam/Ipsy (I was so pissed they kept shoving the Andrea's Choice down our throats).
November: This box pissed me off (hotel soap, omfg), yet it did have one awesome product and one pretty good full size product, so I kind of like it better in retrospect. Full review here.
December: Meh to meh plus (it's growing on me after seeing some of the earlier, truly meh boxes). Full review here.
Okay, so to recap, I had 2 boxes I loved, 3 I liked, 1 that I liked but was so cheapo that it's hard to admit that, 5 that were meh, and 1 box that made me violently angry but was okay in retrospect. I didn't HATE hate any of them.
I received 6 full size products over the course of the year (2 nail polish, 1 lip balm, 1 eyeliner, 1 eye shadow stick, 1 mascara).
I got 15 antiaging / facial items, 15 makeup products, 9 perfume samples, 4 hair products, 4 nail products, 4 food items, 8 random items, and 2 twistbands.
Best box: August! I was SO EXCITED to get the Miss Jessie's (LOVE), the pixi pen was a pleasant surprise and is the key to my smoky eye look, the perfume was fun to try, the makeup remover was a win because I love innovatively gimmicky products (that's totally a thing), and who WOULDN'T want a razor? This might be the only month of the entire year where I actually USED every last product.
Worst box: This is tough, but I'm going to have to go with February (the Oscar Blandi saved November). The samples were tiny so it was impossible to tell if I'd actually want to repurchase any of it. The eyeliner stickers were pointless (but entertaining, I'll give them that), and the colorescience puff thing was just terrible.
Best value box: Out of the months I tracked, May wins with a whopping $52 thanks to the full size Stila.
Worst value box: June was barely worth the $10 for the box, at a mere $14. Lame.
Second runner up, worst product: The larabar. If you MUST give me food (please don't), it should at least be more than a tiny bite!
First runner up, worst product: The hotel soap. I really wanted to make it the VERY worst, as Birchbox is a total asshole for giving me leftover soap that was packaged for hotels, but the product itself wasn't terrible.
Winner, worst product: February's colorescience pro not only has a ridiculous spelling*, but it's the most worthless product ever. Somehow the fact that it was in a puff didn't fix the "mineral makeup gets all the f over the place" issue (perhaps because the case was a chintzy piece of junk). And it was a really weird color, indicating that BB completely ignored my profile (or that there wasn't a box for "pasty"). *I see it's made by the creator of bare escentuals, so that makes sense. Somebody get her spellcheck!
Second runner up, best product: Miss Jessie's quick curls. This is a GREAT product for keeping curl without making your hair all gross and crunchy, and it smells amazing. I had been eyeing it at Target but didn't want to spend so much money. So glad I was able to try it out so I could make an informed purchase!
First runner up, best product: The Pangea organics lip balm was a pleasant surprise. It really keeps my lips moisturized, leaving them soft but not sticky or slimy. It smells delicious (citrusy and savory at the same time). This is something I never would have picked up on my own, so I loved trying it. Would definitely repurchase it if I didn't have a billion other balms to work my way through first.
Winner, best product: Oscar Blandi Texture and Volume Spray. It turns out that I already had some of this from the Allure Fall Beauty Box, but I hadn't tried it until I got it in BB. This stuff is AMAZING - will hold your hair for days. I love, love, love having the little travel size so I don't have to lug it to the gym. LOVE.
Winner, best Birchbox-related tweet of the year: @ericahuff (this still makes me giggle):
So is it worth it, subscribing to a service where you only like half of what they give you (more like 1/4 if you do it on an individual product basis)? Well, to me it is. I love getting it in the mail, I love blogging and talking about it with you guys via twitter, text, and email, I love getting excited about new products and learning what products to avoid. I feel like it saves me money in the long run because it curbs my random beauty impulse shopping. $10 a month is one less lunch out, and I'd ABSOLUTELY sacrifice that for the Birchbox experience. Even when I hate it, I still love to hate it.