May Birchbox – Gossip Girl Edition

I’m going to be totally upfront with you this month – I’m kinda disappointed. My first Birchbox was exciting and awesome and I loved every bit of it. Last month was a bit lackluster, and I definitely found myself wishing I’d gotten the Teen Vogue box (even though I’m definitely not a teen). This month… well, I enjoyed the products, but I have some suggestions for improvement (at the end of the post).

Okay, enough complaining. To the box!

This month, there was a theme: Gossip Girl. I don’t watch the show so that was rather irrelevant. I had (ultimately unfulfilled) hopes that this would mean blingy stuff, inspired by on-the-town young’uns. Honestly, not seeing the connection, other than in the color of the nail polish I got.
Dang, okay, seriously no more complaining.

And here are the contents of my box! There on the left you can see a card with 4 trivia questions about the GG finale that aired earlier this week. It sounds like a very *drama* show. The trivia questions were the basis for a contest they ran over on their facebook page for a shopping spree in the Birchbox shop. I may or may not have googled for the answers (unsuccessfully), eventually made up some answers up, and entered. 😉 Also, you can see this month’s “lifestyle extra” – a little postcard. I think I’ll include it with the prize for my Giveaway Week winner next week.

This perfume sample is Arquiste L’Etrog. I assume from the price of the fullsize product that it is quite fancy indeed. This is how it describes itself: “A bright blend of citrus and other fruity notes, L’Etrog captures the aromas of a family harvest celebration in medieval Calabria, Italy.”
My thoughts: I like it! I usually find floral scents overpowering, and gravitate to earthy scents like this one. It’s got a richness to it. I am not a professional and have no idea what a harvest smells like in Calabria, but I can see the medieval connection – it smells very “natural,” more like the sort of scent that an ancient princess would procure, instead of the overly chemical perfumes of our time.

Allow me to introduce you to Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse Beauty Balm SPF 25+. It’s a real multitasker: “A moisturizer, sunscreen, and treatment serum all-in-one, this tinted balm even helps hide imperfections—so there’s no need for foundation or cover-up. Think of it as the Swiss Army Knife of your beauty cabinet.”
My thoughts: Well, first of all – maybe next time they ought to put a bit more in the bottle. I had a bit of trouble getting some out! Maybe it just settled weirdly. It’s tinted a light brownish color and has a very faint scent, similar to most sunscreens (I like that scent so that’s a plus). It was smooth and went on easy; my skin felt smoother and looked a little more even afterwards. I think I’ll cut open this little bottle to dig it all out and apply all over my face when I go out tomorrow, and see what I think. Overall, I’m pretty positive about this.

You may know that I am a nail polish fiend, so I was quite happy to find this sample of Color Club Foils in Disco Nap in my box. It’s a really shiny metallic gold polish. (There’s also a gorgeous purple in this collection.)
My thoughts: New favorite gold! The previous incumbent was Bling Dynasty by OPI, but this one easily beat it out. I’ve always loved the texture of Color Club lacquers (bonus: they’re cheap!), and this was no exception. The color was solid with one coat, and it really does earn the title “foil” – it was almost as if I’d applied gold leaf to my nails. I am picturing using it with stamping plates to create some gorgeous blingy designs for fancy occasions. Definitely highly recommend this one if you’re in the market.

This is a bottle of beautyblender blendercleanser – a special cleanser for your cosmetic brushes and makeup sponges and the like. It’s scented with lavender, earth-friendly, and apparently designed to remove oils and deposits from any implement that touches your skin.
My thoughts: First, I have to register a dislike of the scent. When I was a child, I got a horrrrrible Poison Ivy rash, and had to bathe with this special soap to remove the Ivy oils from my body. This cleanser smells EXACTLY like that soap. Which I suppose makes sense, since they’re both designed to remove unwanted oils. Scent aside, though, this stuff worked really well! I tried it on an eyeliner brush (just dipped it right into the bottle, and rubbed the brush in my fingers). The cleanser sudsed up and then rinsed away clean. Then I gave it a real test and tried it on an eyeshadow applicator. I have a really dark blue Ulta eyeshadow (their applicators are the same texture as those sponge wedges you can buy). To my complete surprise, this stuff cleaned the applicator to like-new condition! Not a trace of color on the sponge!

Last but not least, this here is a Twistband Skinny headband, sold in a 6-pack at Birchbox. Mine is brown, but they come in many colors. It’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like – an elastic headband to hold your hair.
My thoughts: I actually wear elastic headbands a lot. My hair is fluffy and frizzy and I hate when it gets in my face. I always choose headbands that are MUCH wider than this though – this width is just not enough to control my thick hair. It’d work well for lighter, thinner hair, or if it’s just being used as an accessory, not for functionality. Also, I’m kinda ambivalent about the “knot” in it – it gives it a too-casual feel to me, and I’d only want to wear it around the house or to the gym.

This month wasn’t as much fun as I am hoping for from my Birchboxes, but it still contained some great products. I still recommend to any of you readers out there to give it a try (it’s 10$ a month). However, I want to take this opportunity to make some suggestions to Birchbox (I’m submitting this post to their Birchbloggers program, so hopefully someone will read it):
Firstly, the boxes feel just a little bit bare. My first box, in March, felt like it was overflowing, while April and May just felt empty. I’m sure you’ve got budgets to consider, but please, just throw in one or two more things?
Second, more FUN please! That was my primary reason for joining Birchbox – I want to try fun new products! The cleanser worked great but it’s not anybody’s definition of fun.
Third, I think it’d help all of us be happier if there were a way for your subscribers to tell you what kinds of products they’re interested in. For example: I would like lip glosses, eye liners or eye shadows, lotions, body washes, nail polishes, and maybe the occasional hair product (that will actually match my hair type). Perfumes are okay too, but I rarely wear it to be honest.
(Oh, and fourth: can we get a “maybe” option on the “are you planning to purchase this item” question when we’re leaving feedback?)

Are you a Birchbox subscriber? What did you think of your box this month?
Do you have any suggestions or ideas you’d like to share? Or, are you thinking of subscribing? I’ll be happy to answer any questions you have, if I know the answers.

(In the interests of transparency, I’d like you to know that the two links at the beginning and end are my personal referrer links to Birchbox. If you click on them and then sign up, I will receive Birchbox Points. The other links go to the Birchbox shop, but I will not be compensated if you purchase from those links. There are also two links to my previous Birchbox reviews.)

Advertisements

Birchbox! (Updated!)

About a month or so ago, tons of blogs exploded about Birchbox. Most of the blogs I read (that relate to that sort of thing) were raving about this amazing subscription service that delivers a box of beauty goodies to your door every month. I tried to sign up then, but they were so swamped that they were temporarily “sold out!” Lucky me, I was able to sign up a few weeks later, and my first Birchbox arrived today!


My box!

Of course, I ripped into it immediately.


It opens flat and reveals a nice box inside, suitable to be kept and reused.


The big prize this month is this I Coloniali Tibetan Shower Cream with Rhubarb. It’s a really creamy shower soap, basically. It has a really exotic and luxurious scent that lingers even after rinsing. I’ll get quite a few uses out of this bottle, and I like it so much I may buy more when it runs out!


The second-biggest item is Miss Jessie’s Quick Curls. I’ve got frustrating hair – wavy in some places, but oddly flat in others. Not curly enough to be curly, not straight enough to be straight. I’m not really a fan of my hair, is what I’m trying to say here. And while I’ve never liked wearing it curly, I definitely have to say that it’s the easiest treatment for curly hair I’ve ever tried. This IS a positive review. It’s just that I just don’t like curly hair much. It didn’t get the crunchiness like gel does, isn’t oily like many frizz treatments, and is probably the best thing I’ve used on my hair for making it look presentable without much effort. Even so, I think I’ll be passing the rest of this bottle on to one of my curly-and-proud friends.


Another I Coloniali product! Having loved the shower cream, I was excited to try the Deep Massage Body Cream with Myrrh. This .35 oz sample was enough to do both arms, both legs (from just above the knee down) and both feet. It’s got little granules in it that absorb into your skin. Like the shower cream, it’s really luxurious and smells exotic and decadent. I really love this stuff as well.


This sample packet of WEI Pomegranate buffing beads actually contains 2 packets of .02 oz each. It’s meant to be mixed with your facial cleanser to buff and purify your skin of toxins. I have not tried them yet, but I will this evening when I wash my face (I use a Burt’s Bees cleanser, if anybody cares) and update with my review tomorrow!
Update: I love these! It isn’t “beads” so much as a fine grain sand. I really REALLY noticed a difference when I used it. Best of all, the packet contains enough for about 3 uses (for me anyway – maybe I’m using less than recommended, but it’s enough to notice a big difference). This is definitely an item I’ll be purchasing – it’s inexpensive AND makes a huge difference.


The One Love Organics Skin Savior waterless beauty balm is another treasure. The jar contains 15 mL, and I think it’ll last a long time. It looks to have a beeswax base, and other balms I’ve used of this type always last forever. It has a light, subtle fruity scent. I applied it to one of my notoriously dry patches (my left elbow). It was very smooth and light. This is another probably-will-purchase product! (The full size is rather expensive but will probably last for-ev-errrrr.)


This blurry picture shows a trial-size of Color Club nail lacquer in Jackie Oh! (Did other boxes get different colors, I wonder?) If you know me, you’ll know that I’ve been on a nail polish binge lately, so I was stoked, especially since I haven’t tried this brand yet. This is definitely not a color I would generally choose (I like earth tones and jewel tones; I’m not really a neon girl), but my almost-4-year old was ecstatic about it. The texture of the polish was nice – not too thin, not too thick.


It looks coral here, but take my word for it – it’s VERY neon and VERY pink. It’s kinda fun, actually. This is just one coat of the polish (gotta love lacquers that cover with only one coat – the bottle lasts so much longer).


I used a matte topcoat on the other hand, just for contrast. Lookin good. 🙂 I don’t think I’d purchase this color for myself, but I like the brand.

This box was only my first one, and now I’m sad that I have to wait a whole month for another one! Aside from the new and exciting products (that I never would have tried otherwise), it was amazingly fun to have a special day of pampering delivered to my door. 🙂 And did I mention it’s only TEN dollars a month? I purchased a yearlong subscription, which gives you one month free, AND a bunch of “points” you can use in their shop to purchase the full-size items. I am a VERY satisfied customer. Click here to find out more!

In the interests of complete honesty, I’d like you to know that all the product links here go to the Birchbox shop, but I don’t recieve any compensation for them. The links at the beginning and end that go to Birchbox’s website are my personal referrer link. If you sign up from that link, I do receive 50 points.