Sunday, June 28, 2015

June 2015 Birchbox

It's Birchbox time yet again! I have to say, it always bums me out a little bit that I tend to receive my boxes towards the middle of the month, because I hate to be rushed in trying everything, but I also like to actually get my reviews out before the end of the month. What a conundrum, I know. Still, I suppose good things are worth waiting for, as was this month's box. Shall we take a peek inside?

The Skinny on Birchbox

Birchbox is a beauty and lifestyle subscription service that sends a personalized box of of 5 deluxe samples to your doorstep every month.

What it costs: $10 monthly

Why it's special: After completing your in-depth beauty profile, Birchbox will send you a specially curated box of samples that they think you might love to try. It's the perfect way to discover new brands, or products you might not have thought to try yourself! Birchbox will also occasionally throw in an extra lifestyle goodie like a granola bar, tea, or hair tie to your box as well.

What you get back: Birchbox gives you the opportunity to review each of the samples in your monthly box for 10 Birchbox points a piece. 100 points is worth $10 in the Birchbox shop, which is full of everything from makeup and skincare, to adorable stationary, to jewelry and more. Since each Birchbox has at least 5 samples, you can easily earn 100 points every two months you're subscribed!

Want to know more? You can read about all of the awesome perks of Birchbox here. You can also view all of my previous Birchbox reviews here.

Interested in becoming a subscriber? Use my referral link to join and let Birchbox know I sent you their way!

This month Birchbox is encouraging all of it's subscribers to say yes to adventure. It's summer, the perfect time of year to get out and live. Climb a mountain. Sleep under the stars. Or maybe something less outdoorsy like tackling a fancy recipe you've been eyeing for ages. Aside from a bright blue eyeliner, the products I received this month didn't strike me as very adventurous, but they're all still quite lovely. Not to mention the fact that in addition to my 5 normal samples I also got a cute hair tie, AND a foil sample of a new Caudalie face mask. I will totally say yes to all of these things!

Shall we dive into this month's samples then?

Plant-derived formula that gently removes makeup and dirt, leaving skin calm, clean, and oh-so-soft.

Full Size, 200 ml ($28)
Sample Size, 30 ml ($4.20)

I have so much love for Caudalie skincare, so I was understandably thrilled to see this cleanser in my box this month. This is not your heavy duty makeup removing kind of face wash, but rather a gentle and nurturing formula to cleanse and rebalance the skin. I think this would be the perfect kind of cleanser to use in the mornings to sort of perk up and refresh your skin. It's got a very soft, creamy texture and doesn't leave your skin feeling tight or dry. I love to have these mini sized products for my travel bag, so I think I'll be saving this to use when my current cleanser in said bag runs out!

Birchbox also threw in a sample of the new Caudalie Glycolic Peel Mask ($39) which I thought was pretty excellent! I've seen this around and was interested in trying it, so I'm looking forward to giving it a go.

This lush, paraben-free shampoo infuses hair with volume and shine.

Full Size, 250 ml ($39)
Sample Size, 30 ml ($4.68)

This rich conditioner detangles hair, boosts shine, and repairs damage.

Full Size, 200 ml ($42)
Sample Size, 20 ml ($4.20)

When I first saw that I was receiving this haircare duo, I was pretty pumped. First of all, Kérastase is a super luxe brand that I've yet to try, AND this formula is specifically designed for long, fine hair. How could things get any better?!

And yet, they totally could.

First off, a quick peek a the ingredients list in the shampoo puts Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate at the first ingredient in this after water. I know I hate a lot on sulfates here, and it's not that I'm opposed to using them, it's just that I personally feel that they dry my hair out with repeated use. I think if you're someone who uses a lot of product in your hair, they can be helpful to remove build up, but otherwise I think they're way too harsh for daily shampooing.

Sulfates aside, I really didn't find the shampoo formula to be anything spectacular. It smells nice, and lathered all right, but I didn't find that it washed my hair any better than a less expensive drugstore shampoo. The conditioner was a similar deal. It had a nice medium bodied texture and didn't weigh my hair down, although I didn't feel that it was smoothing enough to leave my hair detangled post shower. Considering how insanely expensive the full sized versions of these products are, I would have expected them to be much better than they were and to use more luxurious ingredients in their formulas.

This treatment reduces dark circles, depuffs undereye bags, blocks UV rays, and minimizes lines.

Full Size, 15 ml ($45)
Sample Size, 2 ml ($6)

For some reason eye cream is the one skincare product that I haven't been able to get myself into. Part of the problem I think is that I haven't been able to find a formula I can fall in love with. This one, though, I've really been enjoying using! It doesn't irritate my eyes, and it's light enough to wear under makeup, plus it also has SPF to protect the delicate skin in that area. It smells a bit sunscreen-y, but the scent goes away as soon as it absorbs into your skin. My only gripe is that the full sized version is so darn expensive! I'll definitely wait until I have a coupon code/points at my disposal to pick up the full size of this.

This blendable waterproof eyeliner goes on smoothly and stays put all day.

Full Size, Set of 4 mini liners ($18)
Sample Size, 1 liner ($4.50)

This eyeliner was an unexpected win for me. Normally I don't gravitate towards blue eyeliners or shadows, as they can be a little too intense for everyday wear. However, I've found this metallic, vibrant blue shade to be quite striking when used minimally and in combination with neutral toned shadows. In fact, I shared a selfie on instagram while wearing this recently, if you'd like to see what I mean! The formula is also pretty excellent. It's very creamy and the color builds up easily. It's also crazy waterproof once it dries down. If you're looking to add some colored liners to your collection, the full sized set of these looks like a pretty great deal. You get four different blue and purple toned mini liners for $18. As minis the sizes of these are still pretty decent, and honestly, how often does anyone finish full sized liners in vibrant colors before they start to get old or dry out?

We've added in this chic hair tie from Emi Jay for all your summer 'dos.

Full Size, Pack of 5 ($11)
Sample Size, 1 Tie ($2.20)

Honestly, I can never have enough hair ties. They always end up disappearing, or getting stretched out and grubby looking over time, so I'll always welcome a new one. Also I love purple, so Birchbox basically wins. I can't say that this is any different or more special than a twistband or one of it's knockoffs, but it's cute and functional, so what's there to dislike?

And that about wraps things up! My total box value rings in at a very respectable $25.78. Even though the shampoo and conditioner were kind of disappointing, they're definitely not throw away samples and I'm sure they'll make their way into my travel bag rotation at some point. I just can't understand why anyone would spend $80 to buy the full sized set. Otherwise I really loved everything else I got in my box this month, and I'm seriously stoked about getting two extra little freebies. If they weren't awesome enough on their own, I also can review each one on the Birchbox website, giving me the opportunity to earn 70 points from this month's box alone (does happy dance)! Those points are definitely going to come in handy for my next Birchbox shopping spree, which may happen sooner rather than later thanks to the handy discount code I also got in this month's box.

Speaking of which, I totally have neglected to mention the one other cool thing Birchbox did this month! Inside every box was a card with a special code. Some redeemed for awesome prizes (alas, mine did not) while others would give you a special discount code for a percentage off your next shop purchase. Mine will give me 20% off, which is pretty excellent. I know that some people were kind of bummed that their card only redeemed for a 10 or 20% off code, because Birchbox emails out discount codes with relative frequency. However, I will say this much. Sephora and Ulta only send out discount codes on their prestige brands maybe once or twice in a year. When you consider how much brand overlap there is between the Birchbox shop and them, how amazing is it that you can get 10, 20 or 25% off your Birchbox shop purchase every month or so on top of being able to use your points? At this point, I'll almost always look to Birchbox first when I'm shopping for new beauty products, and will only go elsewhere if whatever I'm looking for isn't carried there. So yes, it would have been way awesome to win a tote bag full of goodies, but don't overlook being able to get 20% off your purchase, because you're not going to find a sweeter deal elsewhere!

That being said, I'm gonna step off my soap box and wish you all a wonderful start to your weeks!

Are you a Birchbox subscriber? What products are you loving from this month's box?