Saturday, January 10, 2015

November 2014 Birchbox

Happy New Year, friends! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season. I took a little bit of a blogging break to focus on baking, crafting, and all things festive, as well as to spend time with people in person and away from my computer. I'm feeling quite refreshed and ready to write, but I also realize that I've got quite a bit of catch up to play. I got really fabulous Birchboxes in November and December, so I just can't skip over writing about them.

November's Birchbox theme was all about Giving - giving back to subscribers, to the community, and even giving yourself a little extra TLC.  With a campaign to raise money for AIDS awareness and jam packed birchboxes, I think Birchbox did an amazing job with spreading the love.

Speaking of jam packed Birchboxes, there are seven, yes, SEVEN products in my box this month. Basically, I felt like I won the lottery of sample boxes. It appears that when my original Birchbox was curated my sample choice (the Cuppa Cuppa mask) was left out. However, rather than shipping my box and waiting to see whether or not I grumbled about the missing mask, it was actually shipped separately along with my Birchbox. I wasn't able to earn points on this sample, although I did receive a foil sample of Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer as an extra freebie that I was able to review. Long story short, hats off to you Birchbox for being one step ahead and having the best customer service ever.

 Now, on to my box! Here's a quick list of everything that's inside:

A long-wearing stain from the NYC-based designer that gives unbeatable moisture and shine.

Full Size: 0.17 oz ($20)
Sample Size: 0.079 oz ($9.30)

While I haven't ever gotten this lip stain in a Birchbox before, I have gotten it as one of my mystery sample pack items. It's not my absolute favorite lip item, but it definitely has its upsides. The formula is sheer and glossy, and has a very wet feel on application. There's no stickiness, and is very lightweight on the lips. It's prone to fading with eating and drinking, but you can easily reapply and build up the color, as it leaves a faint stain behind. As with all stains, you may want to alternate with a lip balm for added hydration if you don't want to keep increasing the color intensity. There's no flavor or scent, which is friendly to those of you who like to go fragrance free. I also adore the packaging (because polka dots). On a sidenote, despite my best photographing efforts, this picture looks way more pink than the actual product. Heartthrob is actually a true red, and is quite lovely if you are looking to go for that classic chic without being overly bold.

The designer's first-ever scent mingles summery fruits and florals for an elegant vibe.

Full Size: 3.4 oz ($110)
Sample Size: ?

Can I just say that it totally bugs me that perfume samples often don't have size information on them. I love to be able to breakdown the value of my samples, but this one is a mystery (grumble grumble). Anyway, as for the fragrance myself. This was an interesting one. From the bottle I got more of a spicy, sexy kind of smell than fruity or floral, but it smelled totally different once applied to my skin. It takes on a very green, fresh sort of scent that is very spring appropriate. I wasn't a huge fan of how this mixed with my own body chemistry, but if florals or grassy scents are your jam then you may love this.

Water-resistant formula that lengthens, volumizes, and curls, wthout clumping or flaking.

Full Size: 0.35 oz ($25)
Sample Size: 0.2 oz ($14.30)

When it comes to prestige cosmetics, I love me some Laura Mercier. The whole line is top notch quality, with extremely wearable colors and products that are excellent for the everyday. And this mascara is just one more example of how she continues to do things right. It leaves your lashes looking lush, extra black, and it doesn't clump, flake, or smudge. The only complaint I have is that something about the shape of the brush leaves me more prone to rogue mascara while I'm applying.

I also received a bonus freebie sample of Tinted Moisturizer in Nude (which I actually own). It's one of my summertime favorites for those hot, lazy days where I want to look polished without trying too hard.

With a one-two punch, this formula removes makeup and soothes delicate skin.

Full Size: 4 oz ($22)
Sample Size: 1 oz ($5.50)

I find it perfectly fitting to get a heavy duty eye makeup remover sample in the same box as a mascara. Let's face it, if you're a mascara junkie (and prefers those super amped up, volumizing formulas), a good eye makeup remover is an absolute necessity. No matter how awesome your cleanser is, it's never going to be sufficient to rid you of raccoon eyes on its own. This MAKE Dual-Phase Eye Makeup Remover does a pretty excellent job of breaking down heavy duty eye makeup, and doesn't leave any greasy residue behind. I do know of some less expensive and equally effective options, so I'm most likely not going to be purchasing the full size of this any time soon. However, this mini bottle will be perfect to keep in my travel bag!

This radiance-boosting, paraben free cream boosts elasticity and keeps wrinkles at bay.

Full Size: 1.7 oz ($85)
Sample Size: 0.34 oz ($17)

If you blindfolded me and asked me to put on this moisturizer I'd no doubt be able to guess it's a luxe formula with a matching price tag. I'd also probably look pretty ridiculous. From the rich, creamy texture, to the perfumey smell that high end skincare somehow always manages to have, this day cream has special treat written all over it. It leaves your skin feeling supple without a trace of greasiness. I'm not sure I can speak much to its anti-aging properties, as my face is fortunately pretty free of the fine lines, but it does make it feel lovely and doesn't increase breakouts. The price tag is a little scary, and I'm not sure if I love this $85 worth, but I will definitely enjoy using up my sample.

This clay-based formula is packed with antioxidant-rich black, green, and white teas, as well as other beneficial botanical extracts including acai, pomegranate, coffee, and goji berry. It firms, reduces darkspots, helps skin retain moisture, and gently exfoliates to reveal a refreshed, luminous complexion.

Full Size: 6, 0.33 oz tubes ($58)
Sample Size: 1, 0.33 oz tube ($9.67)

As a tea fan I really couldn't resist picking this as my sample choice this month. I'm also really appreciative to Birchbox for sending it to me even though it accidentally got left out of my monthly box. Instructions say that the entire tube is meant to be applied to your face and neck for a single treatment. Maybe I've got a small face, but I think that would be way overkill, and could easily get several uses out of this sample. It definitely has a yummy sort of earthy tea scent, and has a slightly gritty texture. After one use my skin certainly felt pampered and soft, although I think it'll take repeated uses to see a visible difference in things like dark spots.

(Bonus Birchbox Find)

Full Size: 8, 0.39oz assorted Chocopods ($9.95)
Sample Size: 1, 0.39 oz Chocopod ($1.24)

This is not my first go-round with Chuao, and I am not disappointed to see another one of these tasty treats in my box. Maple Bacon may sound like a weird combination with chocolate, but it's surprisingly delicious. It brings smoothy, creamy chocolate, and a little bit of a salty crunch that is kind of addicting.

In my year and a half of being a Birchbox subscriber, this month was definitely one for the books. Even though none of my products were full sized, I got such a lovely assortment of makeup and skincare goodies, and even some delicious chocolate. I definitely feel like I have a lot to be thankful for as a subscriber! My total box value came to  $57.01, minus the mystery perfume value, so I'm going to estimate this one at an even $60. For the $10 I spent I definitely got my money's worth!

Interested in becoming a Birchbox subscriber? Use my referral link to let them know I sent you! You can also check out all of my previous box reviews here.