Saturday, March 22, 2014

Birchbox: March 2014 Review

Hey, friends! Today is the day for my monthly Birchbox unboxing! Woohoo! My box came a few days later than usual, since Birchbox shipped mine from Tennessee this month (weird), but it's finally here, and I'm excited to share it with you. 

Birchbox? What's that? - Birchbox is a monthly beauty and lifestyle subscription service. It sends 4-5 deluxe samples that are curated to your beauty profile. It is $10 a month, and has a wonderful rewards program, in which you can earn points for reviewing products and making purchases in the Birchbox Shop. You can then redeem those points for full-sized products in the Birchbox Shop! It's probably the best rewards program out there, in my opinion, which was one of the big draws in me signing up. If you're interested in subscribing to Birchbox, I would love it if you used my referral link. Thank you!

It came in the typical pink box. As you can see, the college mailroom has yet to spell my last name correctly, even though it's right next to the correct shipping label! I will never understand. 

In case their subscribers weren't aware, Birchbox decided to print over entire inside of the box that you can get points from reviewing your monthly products. I'm pretty sure (actually, I'm positive) a good portion of their subscribers are in it for the points, so I'm not sure how many people they're targeting here that don't know about this. But thanks anyway, BB. 

As usual, it came in a little cardboard box. These would make good drawer separators, if you had big enough drawers. I do not, so for now they are gathering in the corner of my dorm room. 

As usual, this month's theme (Spring Forward) doesn't exactly relate to the box. It's not like I only use shampoo in the spring. I mean, I love my box this month and I'm not complain, but I don't know why they bother. They tried so hard, and got so far, but in the end it didn't even matter. 

But enough about that. Let's get on to the good stuff~

(Full-size [1.7 oz]: $36) (Sample-size [.17 oz]: about $3.60)

I received a very similar sample in my July Ipsy bag and really didn't like it. It was very orange and it was more visible on my skin that other products I have used, which just isn't fair since it hardly provides any coverage. The packaging on this looks exactly the same as the SPF 20, only this one is SPF 30. On the packaging, it claims to be a "Natural BB cream" (is the an unnatural BB cream somewhere that I don't know about?), but on the website it just says it's a Tinted Sunscreen. Honestly, this is probably one of the more unnatural looking face products I've used in awhile. Also, the packaging on the full-size doesn't claim to be a BB cream. I don't understand! I probably won't be using this unless I run out of all other face makeup (LOL "run out" like I don't have like three other unopened BB creams in my drawer), and even then it's questionable. I'm sure Coola's regular sunscreens are great, so why do they have to put color in them?

Keims Cleanshine Energizing Shampoo 
(Full-size [8.5 fl oz]: $9.50) (Sample-size [1.69 fl oz]: about $1.90) 

I love getting shampoo! It means I don't have to spend more money to buy out and buy shampoo! This is not sulfate free (the first ingredient after water is Sodium Laureth Sulfate). Sodium Laureth Sulfate and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate are both very similar in that they dry out your hair since they're so sudsy and all that jazz. I'll still be using it, but I find that I get more flyaways than when I use a sulfate-free shampoo. Curly-haired girls, beware. If you're interested in finding out more about sulfate, I go on mini-rants here, here, and here. Someday I'll do a whole post of sulfates and my disliking of them, but alas, today is not that day.

(Full-size [3.4 fl oz]: $18) (Sample-size [1.3 fl oz]: about $6)

Every beauty guru on YouTube is shitting their pants over Michael Todd, so I really do have to get around to try their products. I receive their Jojoba Charcoal Scrub in an Ipsy bag back in August, but I haven't gotten around to using that either. I go through my collection of scrubs very slowly, since I use my Clarisonic almost every night and don't want to over-exfoliate my skin. I use a scrub probably once every week or two, and since I try to use my products in the order I got them, so I probably won't get to this one for awhile. It's a really generous size, though, much like the Charcoal Scrub, so props to Michael Todd for giving out great sample sizes!

(Full-size [6 pans that are 4.25" x 6.25" x .5"]: $32) 
(Sample-size [about 1/3 size of one pan]: about $1.50)

There was a really entertaining thread over on the Birchbox Facebook page last week about apparently "beauty bloggers and YouTubers get all the best stuff." This girl looked like she was in high school, judging by her profile page, and was cursing up a storm about how it wasn't fair and yada yada. I was kind of annoyed because my patience for stupid people is kind of non-existent, so I told her 1) You can't really say a group of products are the best across the board, since everyone has different preferences, and 2) Of course, because I'm sure the people at Birchbox have so much free time that they Google every single one of their subscribers to see who has a YouTube channel or beauty blog. She was dense. Whatever. Anyway, apparently this product was considered one of the "best products," by her and I received it, so my friends and I cackled into the sunset. This blush is smooth and pigmented (but not too pigmented--it looks scary in the pan but it creates a pretty flush when you apply and blend it out on your cheeks).

If anyone was wondering how this compares to NYX's Cream Blush in Red Cheeks, here are some swatches:

theBalm in Pie is on the left, NYX in Red Cheeks is on the right. As you can see, theBalm is actually the less-scary version of the two. I think Pie is more wearable on fair-to-medium skintones, while the NYX would look better on people with darker skin since it won't overwhelm their features. 

(Full-size [7.5 oz]: $13) (Sample-size [1 oz]: about $1.60)

This is a Birchbox find, basically meaning that it's a drugstore product. I've always wanted to try something from Jergens (mainly their self-tanner), so this gave me the opportunity. Jergens is jumping on the BB Bandwagon by introducing a BB Body Cream. It claims to hydrate, illuminate, even, firm, and correct your skin in 5 days. This lotion is a light skin-tone color (as this one is for light skin tones) and looks more like a tinted moisturizer. But, when you rub it into your skin, it looks invisible, and I couldn't tell the difference between where I applied it on my body and where I didn't. However, what it doesn't advertise on the bottle is that there is DHA in it, meaning that it is a self-tanner! That's so sneaky! Getting a slight tan does make the skin look firmer, "corrected" (I hate that word, like "Bitch I'm perfect"), even, etc, but nothing on this bottle says it is a self-tanner. I don't find that this comes off on sheets or anything like that when I'm wearing it on my legs. I like the feel of it and and I am in favor of self-tanning, but I don't like the fact that Jergens did not advertise this as a self-tanner. People just slap the term "BB Cream" on everything now, so it almost doesn't even have any meaning anymore. I like it nonetheless, but advertising makes me angry sometimes.

The Stats: 
  • Coola Orange Unnatural BB Cream: $3.60
  • Keims Shampoo: $1.90
  • Michael Todd Scrub That I May Never Get To: $6
  • theBalm Apple Pie (mmm, pie): $1.50
  • Jergens Fake Tan Stuff: $1.60
  • Total Box Value: $14.60
The Best: theBalm, because I love cream blush more than I love pie (actually, that's a lie, oops). 

The Worst: The Coola, because it makes my face look kind of orange, and The Jergens, simply because they didn't advertise it as what it is (a self-tanner). 

The Verdict: Despite the few flaws I mentioned in here (gotta say it like it is), I really enjoyed this box! I enjoyed receiving a mix of makeup, skincare, and hair. This was a good month for me, and I'm excited to see what I'll get next month! 

What did you get in your Birchbox this month?

Disclaimer: I paid for this Birchbox myself. Not affiliated or sponsored. So, there. 

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