Saturday, June 30, 2012

(My first!) June Birchbox 2012 Review

After months of debating whether or not I wanted to commit to a monthly beauty subscription service, I finally broke and decided to purchase one.  I figured this way, I would force myself to have a treat every once in a while if I found something I really loved since I hate spending money unnecessarily.   Since I’m such a savvy shopper, I decided not to do a jewelry, fashion, or shoe subscription because I am very picky on quality rather than quantity and would rather wait for sales rather than spending money monthly to receive items monthly.  I decided on Birchbox, mainly due to a lot of the other companies being less than one year old and although there’s always some people who tire of services, no matter which company it is with, it seemed to me that Birchbox had the most consistent reviews.

For those who are unfamiliar with Birchbox, it is a monthly service that ships samples of beauty products for $10 per month.  Being a subscription service, as a consumer you can pay for the entire year for a discount at $110 or charged monthly via credit card.  Birchbox recently launched a men’s program for $20 per month.  Birchbox sends out 4-6 samples in the box, some sample sizes are one time use, some are deluxe sized, and if you are lucky sometimes you may receive full sized merchandise.  You can purchase products directly from their website and earn points for each purchase.

I have only received one box, so I cannot share my experience as a long term customer, but I can share my overall first impressions. The theme for the June 2012 box was Jet Set, which involved items great for travel.  My box looked like this:

Reviewed Items:

Borghese Bontanico Eye Compresses:  Haven’t used yet (saving for a stressful day)

Jouer Luminizing Moistere Tint:  Matched skin tone well.  While great for summer and going out, I would not use every day due to sheen on skin.  I will stick with my Smashbox Tinted  Moisturizer for daily use.

Scalisi Skincare Anti-Aging Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30:  Although this has a high price tag for a little bottle,  $110 for 1.7 ounces, a little goes a long way.  I love the feel of this product on my skin.  I received a deluxe size sample of .2 ounces and it has lasted so far 2 weeks once per day because you only need 1 pump.  Something I would buy in the future, but not now.

The Balm Stainiac in Beauty Queen: This was advertised as being a lip or cheek stain that gives builable color the more you apply.  I prefer to wear it as a cheek stain as the lip stain was very faint and did not wear well.  Would I purchase?  I can honestly say no with a certainty.  Not a bad product, I personally just did not see the purpose.

Lifestyle Extras

Band-Aid-Cynthia Rowley: I have not used, but I have no complaints.  There are Band-Aids meant to function as dressier options than the standard tan or kid Band-Aids.  Birchbox is selling for $15, which I would never recommend.  They can be found in stores or online for less than one third of that price.

Birchbox Man Extra- John Varvatos cologne:  Obviously cologne is a very personal preference, so take this with a grain of salt.  My husband loved the scent as I did, but more importantly I liked the idea of including this extra during Father’s Day month.  I thought it was a nice touch.

Possible Pet Peeves

Long waitlist.  I will admit I was initially annoyed when I tried to sign up at first.  I spent several weeks researching and decided on a service just to be told there was no space for me!  I hate waiting to spend my money, but this probably is a great marketing strategy as well because when I finally got the email letting me know I could join, I didn’t want to pass it up!  I requested to be on the waiting list for Birchbox for both versions.  Birchbox Man came back about 2 weeks later while my Birchbox took about 6 weeks.  I decided to try my Birchbox before getting one for my husband.  Oh, and after they send you the invite, you only have about 72 hours to respond before they go to the next person on the list.

From my research, there aren’t just a few different boxes that are sent out.  There is over 20 different boxes.  Personally I don’t care, that adds variety to the possibilities I could receive, but from reading different blogs and beauty forums this irritated quite a few persons. 

All boxes are not worth the same amount.  The various boxes part of the reason people are irritated.  They all want high dollar items. . For example, there was a $36 Stila bronzer in some boxes, full sized eye shadow pencils in some, and Band-Aids in others.  I got the Band-Aids.  This did not particular bother me.  Sure just to say I got the added value of the box was nice, but in fairness, I am more likely to use the Band-Aids. 

Repetitive merchandise.  As far as I know, part of the reason for the various boxes is so you will never get a repeat item.  You will receive “left-overs” from other months as some put it.  Again, I don’t see a problem with that because if I really wanted a nail polish that was going around last month and I didn’t receive it, I’d be more than happy to receive it later on.  You will receive repetitive things like perfume samples often (but in different scents) or different items from the same line (like a toner one month and a moisturizer the next month from the same company).

There are Lifestyle Extras included in the boxes that are not beauty related.  I received two, but from my understanding it is usually just one per month.  If you don’t want to receive energy bars, Band-Aids, or other products, this may bother you.


The greatest perk is trying high dollar items that you usually would not be able to try and having products sent directly to you instead of spending hours at a makeup counter or online trying to find products.   The moisturizer I was sent costs $110 for a little over 1 ounce.  It’s a deluxe sample and while I love it so far, I know there is a cheaper version out there.  I now know what to look for. 

Fill out your profile.  Apparently they are supposed to take this into consideration with the items they send out.  I think they do; they sent me a tinted moisturizer that was available in 4 different shades.  It matched my skin perfectly, which I was concerned about.  I was also hoping that they didn’t send me a self-tanner, as I definitely had no need/use for that!

Birchbox has a point system in which you can earn points to receive discounts on what is on their website.  You earn 10 points for each Birchbox you purchase, 1 point for every $1 spent on the website, 10 points for each item reviewed (only what you recived in your box), and 50 points for each referral. When you reach 100 points you get $10 to spend in the store.  That’s a great way to save up points and buy the products you really love or want to try!

Free Shipping is included with the price.  I don't know about you, but I love free shipping.  In my opinion, it adds value to the box and while some persons complain about barely getting $10 of products some months, shipping is included so I feel that the money will always be worth it.

You can cancel at any time by phone or website.  I hate calling to cancel because I feel I’ll be roped into staying or have to have a good reason.  I love the website option to have whenever I feel the need to cancel.

Stay away from You Tube and beauty forums if you get worked up easily.  While it is great to listen to rant/raves of others, make sure you are informed from your own opinions.  Don’t get worked up over other people’s issues that aren’t your own.

If interested in subscribing to Birchbox you can go to the website or use my referral link:
I am not sure if the referral link will speed up the waiting list process, but as a disclaimer I will let you know that I would receive 50 points for each person that signs up under my name. 
In a nutshell:  do your own research and decide first if subscription services are something you want to try.  It’s a great fad-there is a service for EVERYTHING lol.  I will try Bluum next, which is a service for expectant mothers and items for moms with babies.  Warning: wait list for this as well.  Also just keep an open mind and remember why you signed up for it in the first place.  Have fun!

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