I have been a Birchbox subscriber for over a year now and I just never get around to posting about my monthly Birchbox until it’s way too late. I swear I am going to have much more time to consistently post from now on, and I’m super excited about it
So, for those of you who don’t know, Birchbox is one of those monthly beauty box subscriptions where they send you about 4-6 deluxe beauty samples a month for a flat rate of $10, and they also often add in what they call “lifestyle extras” including candies, treats, etc. If any of this interests you, you can request a subscription by clicking this link. There is a wait list, but I don’t think you have to wait TOO long, probably about a month or so.
Anyway. I’ve been pretty happy with my Birchbox subscription. I’m always super excited when it arrives because I don’t know what kind of goodies will be inside. Some months are definitely better than others, and I’ll often find products that I absolutely love and run to buy the full-size version immediately.
When you sign up for the company, you fill out a mini “beauty profile” so that they know what kind of products would be best suited for you. For example, if you have dry skin, you won’t be sent any beauty products that are specifically for people with oily skin. I have a few friends who receive monthly Birchboxes and the products in our boxes often differ.
What I find with Birchbox is that they pick out really really GREAT products that I otherwise wouldn’t have known about. I am often surprised to find a product that works so well, and, on top of it all, I think that the deluxe samples they send out each month are well worth a flat rate of $10, whether I am ecstatic about the products or not. Oh, also, if you buy any of the full-sized versions of products in your monthly box, they ship for free. Pretty sweet.
Every month, Birchbox picks out products based on the “theme” of the month. For March 2013, Birchbox settled on the “March Madness” theme: products “that make the cut” for “your ultimate beauty starting lineup.” It includes basic beauty necessities like dry shampoo, shaving cream and body lotion, as well as easy on-the-go nail polish strips. These products are supposed to help you start your glamourous day easily.
This month, Birchbox sent out four deluxe beauty samples, plus one “Beauty Extra”: a pretty nail file by Madewell made exclusively for Birchbox with a spring floral print.
The first product in March’s box that caught my eye was a dry shampoo by Serge Normant. I am always looking for a great dry shampoo and I have tried countless products that never really seem to make the cut. I tried out this dry shampoo quickly and I was pleased with the initial results. I’m going to have to use it a few more times before I make my final judgement on it (and if I love it I am totally heading over to Birchbox.com to buy the full-sized version).
Serge Normant Meta Revive Dry Shampoo (Full-size, $25; Birchbox.com) was created by A-list stylist Serge Normant to “give second-day locks a lift.” This dry shampoo boosts volume while cleansing hair for those days where you don’t have the time to do the whole washing, drying, styling routine. It absorbs excess oil while revitalizing the hair, giving lifeless locks a lift. It is perfect for all hair colors and textures and combines strengthening Moroccan cedar extract with amplifying cornstarch for “a fresh, volumized finish with no heavy powder residue.”
The next product I was eager to try out is the blueberry-scented shaving cream in a vibrant Tiffany-blue tube I saw in my March Birchbox. Whish Shave Crave Shaving Cream (Full-size, $20; Birchbox.com) smells absolutely delicious, but the sample size was a LOT smaller than it looks. I honestly wasn’t even able to try enough product to really see how well it works. This shaving cream contains organic shea butter and it is foam-free to make for an “insanely close shave”, leaving skin incredibly soft, with a blueberry scent exclusive to Birchbox.
It contains “eco-friendly” ingredients, with a “moisturizing base of omega-rich squalene, organic shea butter, jojoba oil, and coconut oil” that “protects against the redness and irritation associated with shaving, while organic green tea extracts infuse skin with antioxidants.” My skin definitely felt smooth after using this product, but not enough that I would shell out $20 for a shaving cream.
The next products in my March box are a trio of “elegant” body lotions in three “ethereal scents”: Tea Olive Lime, Aloe Water Apricot and Coconut Fig. Caldrea Body Lotion (Full-size, $22; Birchbox.com) focuses on “plant-based botanical ingredients that you can feel good about applying to your body.” They are formulated with rice bran, “a staple in Japanese skincare,” which stimulates collagen to increase elasticity and hydration and nourishing chia seed oil that “optimizes skin health.”
Caldrea has been “perfecting its body care line for a decade” and this nourishing lotion line comes in three “signature scents”: Tea Olive Lime, a “green citrus scent with vanilla and orchid”; Aloe Water Apricot, a “modern white musk with floral notes”; and Coconut Fig Leaf, a fresh and exotic scent with “top notes of white fig, plum and coconut.” I haven’t used any of these lotion samples yet; the sample sizes are probably big enough for one body application each. I’m excited to try them out, I have a feeling I will fall in love with these scents. Caldrea products are “vegan and free of phthalates, parabens, formaldehyde, and artificial colors.”
The last two products in my March Birchbox are both for my nails. I must admit, I’m not a fan of regular nail polish strips — I find that they don’t apply correctly and/or they flake off very easily. I’m excited to try these out, however, because Birchbox often sends me a specific product that I usually don’t bother with but from a brand I have never used before and it actually ends up working.
Incoco Nail Polish Applique (Full-size, $9-$11; Birchbox.com) come in three pretty colors and designs: Spring Vines, an “aqua blue base coat with a nifty art deco pattern” (this is the color I received); Freshly Picked, a “white base color accented with adorable pink flowers”; and Pink Parasol, a “chic pink print.” All three colors are perfect for early Spring. These polish strips are supposed to provide a flawless manicure “without worrying about smudging or streaking.”
Incoco’s nail polish strips aren’t stickers; they are actually “hyperthin layers of real nail polish.” They are supposed to bend and conform to “fit the contours of your nail” upon application. They are also better for your nails than real polish because they “contain less solvent and have small pores to let your nails breathe.” You can take them off easily with nail polish remover. Like I said, I usually don’t like nail polish strips because they never work for me, but Birchbox often surprises me by finding a specific brand that makes a product like this that actually works. I’m excited to try them out (once my gel manicure starts chipping).
The last item in my March Birchbox is probably the most practical — and one I will be able to use over and over again, unlike some of the small samples they send me. Madewell for Birchbox Nail Emery Board (Full-size, $5; Birchbox.com) is a super cute exclusive nail file with a pattern that seriously puts me in the mood for Spring (and Spring shopping!). At $5 per emery board, this is also a super affordable item that I totally wouldn’t mind paying for to replace my free one once it gets all tattered and worn out.
This nail file is inspired by Madewell‘s new Spring collection, which features “sun-ready prints and patterns like this one, the emery board is as practical as it is pretty.” This nail care essential is double-sided, perfect for daily maintenance and “as a quick fix for snags and breaks.” The file features a rough side for shaping and filing down breaks and a smoother side to “gently finish nail edges.”
I guess I never really knew how to properly file nails, because Birchbox suggests you “file in short, quick strokes, starting from the sides and working toward the center of the nail.” Apparently you are supposed to avoid “sawing back and forth” because that can weaken the tips of nails and lead to breakage and/or splitting.
I tried out this Madewell nail file and it works great. I actually used it as directed and, as long as the file you are using is of good enough quality like this one, you can produce great results with small, quick filing strokes. I might just add another one of these files to my online shopping bag if I make a larger Birchbox purchase soon.
A few days before receiving my March box (maybe it was actually a full week before), Birchbox sent me this leather keychain as a loyal customer gift. It has a little pocket in it for “your favorite beauty sample.” I think I can fit a small lipgloss or lipstick in it for sure. I have been a Birchbox subscriber for a little over a year, so I think it’s really nice of them to think of their customers like this, and I got so excited when I saw the little package in the mail — it was such a surprise.
And that sums up my March 2013 Birchbox shipment, complete with a free leather keychain for being a loyal Birchbox subscriber. If you aren’t a Birchbox subscriber and would like to be placed on the waiting list, click here. Like I said before, I don’t think the wait list is too long. Probably about a month or so. And, if you are a complete makeup junkie like me, the wait is totally worth it.
Even if I am not happy with a particular month’s Birchbox samples, I still think it is still worth it to pay a flat rate of $10 and be able to try out a bunch of beauty products. The company often adds one full-sized version of a product in that month’s box as well; I’ve gotten a full-size fiber lash mascara, Essie nail polish, black eyeliner and more. Birchbox is also a great way to find out about beauty brands and products I have never heard of before, all tying into a monthly theme. I don’t see myself canceling my Birchbox subscription service anytime soon. Thanks for reading!
P.S. – Any of the Birchbox links in this post will link to joining the company’s wait list with my account as a referral. I get points if you sign up with me as the referral and then stay subscribed for one full month. To view the main Birchbox website to shop or find out more about the company, simply go to www.birchbox.com.