Birchbox December 2014 Review!

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I love the Birchbox box this month! They have a way of branding themselves that makes them seem very upscale, classic and trendy all at the same time and I love it. This carries over to their boxes. I think their classic brown boxes are great and I also look forward to the fun box designs they release every so often.

For this of you who may not know, Birchbox is a monthly subscription service where, for $10 a month, you receive a box of beauty samples curated for you based on your beauty profile. You can review each product in your box for ten Birchbox (BB) points. 100 points=$10 off products in the BB store. Their rewards system is amazing!

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This month’s theme is Decked Out. As has been the case the past few months, subscribers were given a sample choice. We were able to choose one of our samples and although I don’t always choose, this month there were quite a few that I wanted to try. Not to mention that this is the second time I have taken advantage of the sample choice and both times I have been completely wowed by my box. I think I should choose start choosing a sample every month!

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Vasanti Cosmetics Kajal Extreme Intense Eye Pencil, full size $18

This was my sample choice this month. I had a difficult time choosing, but rose gold is so in right now that I had to go for this one. I really love the color and although I wore it on my entire lid, I think I will use it more to highlight my tear ducts. I need more time to play around with it.

I was able to find full dimensions for this eyeliner on Amazon. According to that info, this sample has a value of $1. I find that hard to believe because it is a great size!

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Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder and Mini Fan Brush, full size $37 and $30.

These two items really made this box a home run for me. I love Laura Mercier and that fan brush is so cute! I am so excited to use them as I have lived everything from this brand that I have tried.

A bonus sample of the Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer was included as well. When I saw it was in my box, I had hoped for a bigger sample but wasn’t surprised that it was a little foil packet. I didn’t include the value if this in my box total but it was nice of them to include it!

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Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre, full size $16.

This is a moisturizer that is apparently a makeup artist favorite that goes well under foundation. I am overloaded on facial creams right now so I am going to save this for a few months in the hopes that I will need it at some point. It felt nice on my hand–moisturizing without being greasy or thick.

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Whish Shave Cream in Acai Grapefruit, full size $20.

The scent if this isn’t completely awful to me, but I don’t love it either. Synthetic fruit scents are typically a huge no no for me. I did like the lather of this but my legs are very sensitive to razor burn, especially this time if year, and so far LUSH’s Ambrosia is the only shaving cream that soothes them. I think I will save this for my travel bag.

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Beauty Protector Protect & Oil, full size $25.95

This hair oil protects against UV rays, heat and breakage. It smells just like the brand’s de tangling spray, which isn’t my favorite. It smells like fake brown sugar and butter. This is a nice enough hair oil but I got a Davines hair oil in my September box that already has my heart!

I was so thrilled with my box this month. Not everything was a hit but there were some amazing products included. I had a hard time calculating the value of the box. Two samples didn’t have a weight on them (the hair oil and the fan brush), so I pretty much guessed on the values for those two items. I value the box to be right around $22.37. It doesn’t sound that high but factor in the 70 points I will get for reviewing these products and I essentially paid only $3 for the box.

What did you think of your December Birchbox?

-s

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November Birchbox Review

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Sigh. I always wait with such impatience to unbox my monthly Birchbox on the 10th of every month. It is one of the first things I do when I wake up! This month, I was met with such disappointment. This was my least my favorite box to date and for once I actually liked my ipsy bag better!

I went through my beauty profile to see where I had gone wrong but I had said I would prefer no perfume samples (this is the second month in a row I have gotten one!!) and I would prefer no shower gel. I tweaked my preferences a little but to hopefully avoid another month like this one.

For those of you that are new to Birchbox, it is a monthly subscription service. For $10 a month, you get a box full of deluxe size beauty products. You can review these products on the BB site to receive BB points, which can be redeemed in their store for product. The point system is amazing and the reason I would never chance my subscription.

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Joie Folle de Joie Eau de parfum, value of sample $2.06.

I am super picky about perfumes, so I prefer not to get them in my subscription boxes. When I told a coworker I was getting this in my November box, she told me she bought the full size after getting this in a box. She said she gets complimented on it all the time and she won’t even tell her best friend what it is because he friend loves the scent so much. So I was like ok, maybe I will like this after all. Unfortunately, I didn’t see the appeal when I wore it. It smelled like any department store perfume to me. Even my husband agreed it was nothing special. Oh well, now I don’t need to shell out $98 for the full size!!

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Not Soap, Radio Joy Inducing Body Wash, sample value $1.76.

This is a lemon scented shower gel with a nice muskiness that elevates it and makes it more dynamic. It still can’t compete with my LUSH shower gels though, especially because citrus is not my thing. I find most citrus scents to be boring and less complex.

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Bain de Terre Argan Oil and Passion Flower Color Therapy Styling Oil, sample value $2.06.

I told Birchbox that I color treat my hair and that I love haircare products, so I can’t fault them for including this. I got the Davines hair oil in my September box though and fell in love with it, so I really don’t need another hair oil. Plus it smells like a generic shampoo you would get at the drugstore. The scent alone ruined it for me.

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Eslor Firming Collagen Day Cream, sample value $17.

I just changed my profile to exclude anti aging products. I am open to anti aging products but the branding and scent of this just screams old lady to me, so if those are the types of products I will get I would prefer to stay away from anti aging products.

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The Balm Cosmetics Cindy-Lou Manizer, sample value $.30.

I have wanted to try The Balm Cosmetics for awhile so this was the one thing in my box that I was actually excited about. The packaging is just adorable! The sample is very small, so it is difficult to use with my makeup brush. It doesn’t apply easily because of that, so I wish the sample were wider to allow for easier application.

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Dang Coconut Chips, sample value $1.47.

This was a bonus item. I wasn’t excited about it, especially when I saw some lucky people got chocolate! These were surprisingly good though. Even my two year old approved, and she is picky! They are very expensive, but if I saw a box for less at Costco I would definitely buy them!

Overall, I was disappointed in this month’s Birchbox. I feel that my beauty profile wasn’t really followed. I am sick of the perfume samples especially! I would never quit Birchbox because of their amazing point system, but I am hoping next month is better!

What did you think if your November Birchbox?

-s

Birchbox Review: October 2014

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For the first time ever, I received my Birchbox before the contents were revealed. I was shocked and excited because I couldn’t spoil my samples for once!

For those who don’t know, Birchbox is a monthly subscription service. For $10/month you get a box of beauty samples curated for you based on your beauty profile. Birchbox is amazing simply for their points system, because every sample you review gets you 10 BB points. Every 100 points equals $10 to spend in the BB store. To sign up, click here (this is a referral link).

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This month’s theme is about sharing your passion. There was an extra insert where you can list a favorite tv show and share on Instagram for a chance to win 1,000 BB points. I listed Ink Master because it is the one show my husband and I watch together now that Big Brother is over, so typically I paint my nails while we watch it so he can hold the baby.

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Here are the contents for my box this month. I wasn’t wowed or disappointed. This box fell in the middle for me and now that I have gotten to try everything, there were definitely some hits.

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Vasanti Cosmetics BrightenUp! Enzymatic Fave Rejuvenator. Full size $34, sample value $5.67.

This cleanser mimics the effects of microdermabrasion. I really do not need another cleanser. I mean, it’s bad. I have more than enough. I will use this sample but I haven’t been wowed by it thus far. It does give a really nice exfoliation though.

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Camille Beckman Tuscan Honey Glycerine Hand Therapy. Full size $13.95, sample value $.58.

I was pretty ruthless when I reviewed this product online. As a hand cream, it works. It makes my hands feel soft and silky. But that is all this cream has going for it. It smells like something my grandma would use. Ditto for the packaging. It is just ugly. But I am partial to the flower on top. That’s kind of cute. But yeah, I’m thinking my grandma would love this.

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Dr Lipp Original Nipple Balm for Lips. Full size $14.50, sample value $2.86.

This stuff is awesome! As a nursing mom, I have used nipple creams before. Never on my lips, but it actually works really well! It is super thick and somewhat sticky. The staying power is great! I wish this sample were bigger because I have almost run through it. I will probably buy the full size. Unless I can use my lansinoh nipple cream as a lip balm too, because I already have some of that hanging out around here somewhere.

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Tocca Eau de Parfum in Florence. Full size $68, sample value somewhere around $4.06 (long story!)

I hate perfume samples, so usually this would not be welcomed. I do like Tocca though plus my youngest daughter is named Florence, so I had to like this! Unfortunately, I don’t. It smalls of gardenia, which I love but something else in there mixed with the gardenia makes me not love it. Maybe it’s the jasmine? I don’t know. But I think my mom might like it so hopefully it will find a good home.

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Coastal Scents Revealed Eyeshadow Palette. Full size $34, sample value $2.72.

These colors are gorgeous and right up my alley. I love neutral browns and that’s pretty much all I wear. The sample size is a bit hard to use because they are so small that my brush has a hard time picking up the color. Other than that, total win.

Overall, my Birchbox had an estimated value of $15.89. I won’t use the Tocca perfume but everything else will be enjoyed by me so even though there isn’t anything I am super excited about, I am still happy with my box.

What about everyone else? I’d love to hear what you got in your Birchbox this month!

-s

Build Your Own Birchbox Review

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My sister E knows what a big Birchbox fan I am, so since she lives in NYC she decided to swing by the Birchbox store and make me a BB for my birthday. I was super excited to hear about her experience and see what she picked out for me!

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Obviously I haven’t been to the store myself, so I can only go by E’s experience. There is a section of the store where, for $15, you get to customize your own box. There are five separate sections, each with 3-5 choices according to E. She was a little annoyed because there was a fragrance section and she would have preferred to not include a fragrance in the box.

Here is what she chose:

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Folle de Joie eau de parfum.

I am very particular about my perfume. I like interesting, unusual perfumes and typically stay away from anything in the department stores because they all smell the same to me. For that reason, I wasn’t excited to see a perfume sample in my box. This actually isn’t bad though. It has a mustiness to it that makes it a little warmer and tones down the perfumey smell. I wouldn’t buy a full size but I will wear this until the sample runs out.

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Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel Sensitive.

I haven’t tried this yet but I am excited to. Peels always interest me and I like Juice Beauty. This is a pretty small sample though. I would say two uses.

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Frederick Fekkai Brilliant Glossing Conditioner.

This is a great sized sample. Again, another one I haven’t gotten to yet but I will definitely use it!

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Stila Lip Glaze in Shortcake.

Stila Lip Glaze isn’t my favorite because it feels pretty sticky and the colors I have tried do not have a good payoff. I wouldn’t buy one but I will use this for sure. I love the neutral color and it is nice that BB included a full size gloss amongst their choices.

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Ruffian Nail Lacquer in Ruffian Naked and Ruffian Dressing Room Remover Towlette.

This is my first Ruffian color. I know they get included in BB a lot and I was happy to see this in my box. I love nude colors. They are trendy but sophisticated at the same time. I also like lighter colors because they are more forgiving to nicks and chips. I can’t wait to use this.

Overall, I was super pleased and excited to receive a customized Birchbox. I think there are some flaws with the current set up.

The biggest issue I have is that I can’t review the products for points. At least I don’t think I can! One of the things I love most about BB is their points system. Usually, for every product in your box you can submit a review and earn 10 points. 100 points=$10 and you can redeem the points on products in the BB store. Their points system is seriously amazing and probably the main reason why BB rates so much higher than ipsy for me. Ipsy points are much higher to redeem to the point where I am not sure I am even going to bother submitting reviews this month for my ipsy products. If there were some way to review these five BB products for points I would be so happy!

Secondly, it sounds like there isn’t much selection for the build your own BB. Obviously I can only go by E’s experience, but she wasn’t really impressed and when I asked her if going to the store was worth it, she said not really.

Lastly, the box is $15 as opposed to $10. I get that you pay more for the novelty of making your own box and I would actually gladly pay the $15 if the above mentioned issues were taken care of.

If I am ever in Soho, I will certainly stop in the store and make my own box. I wouldn’t be able to help myself! I do think though that it would be something I would only do once.

Have you been to the Birchbox store? Please share your thoughts!

September Birchbox Review

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I feel like I am always the last person to get my Birchbox! When I got to work Saturday, all my coworkers were talking about their BB and what they got. I was green with envy since I was still waiting on mine! Lo and behold, it was waiting for me when I got home that evening!

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For those who don’t know, Birchbox is a monthly subscription box. For $10 a month, you get a box of curated deluxe samples tailored to your beauty profile. To sign up, please click here (by signing up through my link, I will receive BB points).

The cool thing about Birchbox is that you can review the products in your box in exchange for BB points. Those points can then be applied towards purchases in the BB store. Their rewards program is extremely generous.

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Beginning three months ago, Birchbox started letting subscribers choose one of the samples in their box each month. This was the first month I chose a sample, as last month’s options didn’t really interest me. I chose the Davines Oi Conditioner because I have been on the hunt for a new conditioner. I’ll admit, it was very difficult to choose between this and the Liz Earle cleanser. Hopefully I don’t regret my choice.

Along with a good sized tub of the conditioner, foil packets of the Davines Absolute Beautifying shampoo and hair oil potion were included. I would have been fine with just the conditioner, as I have no problem mixing and matching hair products, but I am excited to try all three. The conditioner smells amazing. Very fresh with a hint of mint.

I calculated this sample to be worth $9.61. It is definitely a generous size!

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I also got the Real Chemistry Luminous Three Minute Peel. M got this in her BB a few months ago and said she didn’t really notice a difference after using it. I am excited to try it though to see what I think!

The Three Minute Peel is an acid free peel that gently exfoliates to reveal softer, smoother and brighter skin. It retails for a hefty $48, so I will have to be pretty wowed to spring for the full size.

I value this sample at $6.56

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Tempt s/b Highlighter in Champagne Shimmer. I wasn’t too excited about this one at first. I’m not sure why because I actually ran out of my last highlighter so I actually did need one. I don’t use highlighter as much as I should so maybe this will convince me.

It is pretty subtle but has a good amount of shimmer, and is a pinky champagne tone that should be good for most skin tones.

I value this sample at $2.75

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Acure Organics Day Cream. Acure Organics is becoming the Supergoop! Of BB for me. This was the second month in a row that I got one of their products in my box. I am ok with that though, as both products were hits for me and I love how generous their sample sizes are.

According to me info card, this cream is made with gotu kola stem cells to create an anti aging, firming cream. Ok then. I guess I will have to continue using it for awhile to see results, but either way I like it. It smells like fresh orange juice and is a little thicker without being too heavy for daytime use. It sinks in quickly as well without being sticky. I really like it!

I value this sample at $10.55

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The last sample in my box was the Harvey Prince Liquid Loofah in Ageless. This is the only product I was disappointed in. According to my BB app, I was supposed to get a Laura Mercier mascara, so I was surprised when this showed up in my box. I actually would have been excited for this product but I really hate the scent. It is supposed to smell like vanilla and grapefruit but it just smells so perfumey to me. I really dislike that in a shower gel. I don’t even think I will try this out because I can’t imagine liking it better on my skin.

I valued this sample at $.92.

Overall, I loved my box this month. I think Birchbox just keeps getting better and better. I valued my box at $30.39 (that does not include the foil packets of shampoo and hair oil) and with the exception of the Harvey Prince Liquid Loofah, I will use everything.

What did you think of your Birchbox this month?

M’s August Birchbox!

I’m always looking forward to my next Birchbox, I love the surprise of not knowing what I’m going to get (I don’t peek at the spoilers!) It’s kind of like Christmas except when I was a lot younger I definitely wanted to peek at my presents..After some years of maturing I’ve been able to hold back and enjoy the mystery!


The first item on the list is the Catherine Malandrino Fragrance. When you first sign you are asked how often you’d like to receive perfumes, and you are not allowed to opt out completely. I have a hard time finding a perfume I can wear everyday, maybe because I need a different scent for every mood, or because I get sick of them easily- not quite sure. Anyway, I chose to receive perfume sparingly. I guess I would rather receive skincare and makeup over perfume. Sorry for going off on that tangent. Anyway, the description of this perfume definitely sounds appealing  to me. I am a fan of fruity scents! I liked the scent at first, but as it settled into my skin, I felt like it wasn’t as light and summery as it started out and became heavier and mature smelling on me. The scent also lingers for awhile after, I showered a few hours after and could still smell it on me. What I do like about perfumes is that once scent could smell on way on me and entirely different on somebody else because of our different body chemistry. So, even though this perfume isn’t for me, it could definitely be a good fit for somebody else!

Next up is the Marcelle BB Cream. I am always looking for products to even out my skin tone and make my face look flawless. I’ve tried many different brands from drug stores to department stores, and this one is definitely a great product! It goes on smoothly and provides full coverage. I have splotchy skin and this cream was able to blend in well and give me a flawless and glowing face! This is one of the first product’s I’ve received in my Birchbox that I would consider buying a full size.


The third product I received was Long-Wear Eyeliner from Noir Cosmetics. Back when I was in High School I would wear eyeliner most days, and even through College as well. I don’t know what happened to my eyes since then but they have become super sensitive and the only think that doesn’t bother them is mascara. My eyes will become irritated and turn bright red. I’m not sure if eyeliner and eye-shadow will flake off in tiny chunks and get into my eyes and that’s what causes it, but I end up looking like I’m turning into a vampire from the TV Show The Strain- if you’re not familiar with it, trust me it is not a good look. Despite my vampire eyes, I decided to give this eyeliner a go over the weekend. This is an eyeliner pencil which I feel can be easier to control than liquid eyeliner but lacks the preciseness liquid eyeliner provides. It’s went on dark and opaque in one stroke, not patchy at all and stayed that way too. Luckily I bought eye-drops out with me too, so all in all I think it worked out well!

I received the Happiness Inducing Body Wash from Not Soap, Radio. Here’s another that I would consider buying a full size of! This smell is amazing, like I said earlier, I adore fruity scents and that is exactly what this is! It is crisp, lemony, and I can definitely see how this would put someone in a good mood. It reminds me of a bubbly lemon cocktail in summer time, seriously, how could that not cheer you up? What makes this Shower Gel even better is that the scent sticks with you well after you get out of the shower! I find not many products do that, so to find a scent you love that lingers on your skin as well? That’s just amazing!

The last thing that made me love this product was the description on the back of the bottle, I don’t know about you but I know I definitely wanted to bitch-slap my boyfriend the other morning when I found out he bought whole bean coffee when we don’t have a grinder.. Thank the heavens for this shower gel was able to help me recover from that mood!

Last on the list is SeaRx Birch Sap Moisturizing Lotion.  I am constantly trying different moisturizers to see which gives me the best results. This can be used on the face as well as body but the sample is small so I decided to stick with using it on my face. It has a subtle yet enjoyable grapefruit-y scent to it. I have been alternated between using this before I go to sleep at night, and before I apply my makeup in the morning. I have not noticed and huge changes to my skin since using this product. 

All in all it was a good month! My boyfriend was intrigued by the whole idea so we signed him up for a one month subscription to see if he likes it. I’ll let you know how that goes!

Are any of you Birchbox subscribers? Did you get anything you love in your Birchbox this month?

Thanks!!
-M

August Birchbox Review!

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Yesterday I finally got my August Birchbox! It actually didn’t take that long to arrive, but seeing everyone get theirs early made me restless for my own to come! I really wanted it last week so that I wouldn’t have the opportunity to peek at my box before it hit my doorstep, but it wasn’t meant to be.

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For those of you who don’t know, Birchbox is a monthly subscription service. For $10 a month, you get a box of 4-6 samples (typically deluxe sized) shipped to your door. They are chosen based on a beauty profile quiz that you complete on your account. The best part is that you can rack up points (both by referring people to Birchbox as well as writing reviews on the samples you receive) that can be applied to purchases on the Birchbox site, so it is a great deal!

Anyway, on to my Birchbox!

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First up, a very generous sample of Acure Organic’s Brightening Facial Scrub. This is a paraben free cleanser and exfoliater in one. Truth be told, I already have two facial scrubs in my shower but I couldn’t wait to try this one out! It is dark in color, almost black, and has a good amount of exfoliation. I will need to use it a few more times before I decide if it’s love, but the full size is affordable at $14.99. I calculated the sample to be worth $3.75.

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Next up, LAQA & Co Sheer Lip Lube Pencil, retail price $18 for full size. This is hands down my favorite product in this month’s box. It looks intimidating because it is so purple, but it goes on almost sheer with just a hint of color. It has a minty smell too, which I really like. Lip crayons are my thing, and this one is as good as any of the others I’ve tried. It is a generous size too. This sample is worth $9.69.

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Marcelle BB Cream Golden Glow, $27 for full size. I have only swatched this on my hand so far, but the color was perfect and the formula is creamy and easy to blend. I will definitely use this. Sample has a value of $4.74.

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Supergoop! Forever Young Hand Cream with Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 40. Full size retails for $29.50. This was my second Birchbox and my second time getting Supergoop! I don’t mind, because so far their products have been great. This is a rich hand cream with an herbal smell that protects against UVA and UVB rays. It’s a nice bonus that this lotion protects against sun damage, but it’s not something I typically look for in a hand cream. I liked this well enough but I doubt it will ever take the place of LUSH’s Helping Hands! And honestly, the sample was so small I will probably only get a few uses from it. I valued the sample at $.49

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Last up, Atelier Cologne’s Orange Sanguine Cologne Absolute. The full sizes bottle of this on the Birchbox app is $170. I would have to be insanely in love with it to spend that much on a fragrance. And even then I doubt I could justify it. Lucky for me, this was just ok. It is a cologne, and thus had a musky, manly scent. There was still the bright pop of orange in there, so it was refreshing and the manliness didn’t bother me at all. I would still wear it myself and will use the rest of the sample. I personally am not the biggest fan of fragrance samples though, so this was the one item I wasn’t that thrilled about getting.

Overall, I was super impressed with this month’s Birchbox. The estimated value I calculated came up to $20.37, which is double what I paid. I also received a bonus offer for a free Marcelle Lux Gloss Cream with any purchase of a Marcelle product.

What did you get in your Birchbox this
month? Any hits or misses?

-s