Saturday, August 8, 2015

July 2015 Birchbox

So, it may be super late this time around, but I can FINALLY review my July Birchbox. Apparently the flash tattoos that I ordered as my plus item this month were delayed at the warehouse, so my box was held up until the end of the month. Even though it kind of sucked that I had to wait so long to get my box, it was awesome enough that I'm not really that miffed about it. When my box was still MIA on the 17th Customer Service was really friendly and helpful and even credited my account 50 points for the inconvenience. Moral of the story, Birchbox isn't perfect, but they always handle their mistakes pretty gracefully.

Anyway, on to the box! This month's theme was Go Bold, which is pretty perfect for the summer when vibrant prints and colors are abundant in both the beauty and fashion world. I got five really excellent samples this month, and can't wait to tell you all about them!

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!

I really have to give it to Birchbox for curating an excellent box for me this month. I actually own full sizes of a few of these products already and love them, so I'm happy to have a couple travel sized minis for use on-the-go. All subscribers also got a sample of Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick, with a choice of one of three new summer shades. Here's a quick breakdown of everything I received:

Made with nourishing plant oils, this leave-in spritz detangles strands and prevents breakage.

Full Size, 8.5 oz ($22)
Sample Size, 3.3 fl oz ($8.54)

I looooooove the smell of Macadamia hair products as well as how soft and silky they make my hair feel. The Healing Oil Spray that Birchbox sent me a while back has been one of my favorite samples to date, but this might end up taking its place. It has all of the nourishing and detangling benefits of the oil spray, but is a slightly lighter formulation that won't weigh down my fine (and now shorter) hair. This sample bottle is also impressively huge, so I'm sure it will last me quite a long time. Definitely happy with this one.

Weightless, matte-finish mist that sets your look, hydrates skin, and blocks UV rays.

Full Size, 1.7 oz ($36)
Sample Size, 0.34 fl oz ($7.20)

When I saw that Birchbox was going to be carrying this new setting spray from Coola, I had a sneaking suspicion that I'd end up getting a sample of it. I actually bought the full size of this on a whim as soon as it launched because I thought the whole setting spray with SPF was a genius concept and couldn't wait to try it out. I've actually had a review on this planned for quite a while, but with life being crazy I haven't had a chance to write it up. Long story short I'm generally pretty happy with this, and I will definitely welcome a mini version to keep in my purse. Be on the lookout for an in-depth review later this month!

Styling spray that gives hair effortless, tousled volume, loads of shine, and a dreamy scent.

Full Size, 5.3 oz ($24)
Sample Size, 0.75 oz ($3.40)

This is yet another product I own a full-sized bottle of already, although getting a travel version is renewing my excitement to use it. I've always loved the idea of texturizing sprays, because my hair is incredibly straight and fine and always needs as much help in the volume department as it can get. While my hair was super long I think it was just so heavy that it weighed itself down no matter what products I used, but now that it's short I think they could make a big difference. Amika's dry shampoo is one of my favorites, and this spray touts the same amazing scent. From the few times I've used this I think this does add a bit of grip and texture to the hair without making it sticky or dirty feeling. Perhaps I'll have to do a texturizing spray overview comparing and contrasting the ones I've tried so far!

This creamy formula glides on like a gloss yet lasts (and lasts and lasts) like a stain.

Full Size, 0.1 oz fl oz ($24)
Sample Size, 0.05 fl oz ($12)

I have to give Birchbox some props for giving all of its subscribers such an awesome sample this month. These Stila lipsticks are known for being crazy pigmented and long-wearing, and they've just launched some new fun colors for summer that we got to pick from. I chose Venenzia, a bright coral red. This lipstick definitely makes a statement, but I think with my dark hair and golden undertones it's actually really quite easily wearable. The formula is really soft and almost mousse like, and sets down to a super matte finish on the lips. It does feel a little bit drying, which you might be able to remedy with some lip balm or gloss, however that will probably also make it more susceptible to fading and transferring. If the pigmentation and wear aren't good enough, it also sports a delicious creamy vanilla scent.

A blush and bronzer in one, this velvety powder gives a long-wearing, fresh-from-the-beach glow.

Full Size, 6.39g ($21)
Sample Size, 0.8g ($2.63)

I've always loved theBalm and their cheeky packaging, so I was definitely looking forward to trying out this new double-duty face powder. I found the formula to be quite sheer with a sheen-y satin finish, which would make it really great to add a subtle glow for those with lighter complexions. So far I've really enjoyed using it as a subtle contour, or to lightly warm up my features for a sunkissed glow. I haven't tried this yet as a blush all on its own, but I suppose if you were going for a natural look, or wanted to downplay your cheek colors to balance out a bold eye or lip this would be a nice option. It also seems to be very long wearing which is also a huge plus! The only downside to this sample is that the pan is teeny tiny and therefore less friendly to a traditional sized powder or cheek brush.

Top: Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Venenzia, Bottom: theBalm Balm Desert Bronzer/Blush

All in all I think this was a really excellent box. All of the products I sampled were top notch quality, and from brands that I already trust and adore. The total value of my samples also added up to $33.77 which is really great for Birchbox. As a general sidenote, I've noticed that the average Birchbox ranges around $20-$25 in value, while Ipsy Glambags are typically more like $30-$35. That may make it seem like you're getting a better deal with Ipsy, however I'm not convinced that's necessarily the case. Full-sized products are extremely rare in a Birchbox, but it makes sense given their whole strategy and try-before-you-buy philosophy. Ipsy will throw in full sized products more often, which ups their average bag value, but sometimes I think the prices on the products they sample are inflated to begin with. Anyway, before I get to rant-y, we'll leave it on the note that July's box was awesome, and I'm super pumped to see what August has in store!

Are you a Birchbox subscriber? What was your favorite sample from July?