Sunday, December 27, 2015

December 2015 Birchbox

It's hard to believe that December only has a few days left. All the anticipation and festivities leading up to Christmas make this month fly by, although I can't really complain with all the good times that've been had. Today's post is all about my favorite gift that keeps on giving year round - my monthly Birchbox! This month's theme is All Wrapped Up, and the box is beautiful as any present you might have had under your tree. So, without any further rambling from me, let's see what's hiding under that tissue paper!

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 appreciate it <3

I'm not gonna lie, I was kind of hoping that Birchbox would give us a little extra treat for the holiday season. I know that we're only promised 5 samples in our monthly box, but who wouldn't love a little chocolate bar or some tea at this time of year? Anyway, my being spoiled aside, the five samples that I got in this month's box were pretty excellent. Here's the breakdown:

Serge Normant Dream Big Instant Volumizing Spray
Soap & Paper Factory Shea Butter Hand Cream in Green Tea
The Beauty Crop Highlighting Crew Highlighting Cream
Beauty Protector Protect & Oil
Coastal Scents styleEYES Eyeshadow Palette in Formal Eyes

This formula lets you get the effortlessly tousled hair look - full of volume and worthy of any occasion.

Sample Size, 1.8 oz ($10)
Full Size, 4.5 oz ($25)

This is actually not my first go round with this texturizing spray. I'm pretty sure that I snagged another travel sized can of this in a LE Birchbox at one point or another, and definitely have been loving it. It's the perfect product for fine, silky hair like mine, as it gives you a bit of grit and texture so your hair can build on itself and have more volume. It's also great to make your hair less slippery if you're trying to work it into an updo, but don't want the stiffness that comes from a traditional hairspray. For the amount of product you get in a full sized can this is actually quite expensive, and if I was going to splurge on this type of product it would probably still be the Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray, however I'll definitely still love using this travel friendly can in the meantime.

A rich cream moisturizer that soothes even the driest of hands, in a fresh, gentle green tea scent.

Sample Size, 15 ml ($3.97)
Full Size, 68 ml ($18)

This is yet again another product I've had the opportunity to try from Birchbox before, although in a different scent. This hand cream is nothing revolutionary, but it feels nice, is not too greasy, and gets the job done. The full-sized tube I have is in the Verbena scent, which a lemon lover such as myself can totally get behind. This Green Tea fragrance is not as appealing to me, but is still fresh and pleasant.

Full of natural antioxidants, this highlighting cream is perfect under foundation or body lotion for a luminous glow.

Full Size, 0.34 fl oz ($18)

I was shocked to find when I was researching the ounces of this product that this is actually a full-sized tube. It's quite small, although to be honest you need such a small dab of this product a bigger tube would be entirely unnecessary. I've never tried a natural liquid highlighter before, and was really impressed by how awesome things looked while also having great ingredients. Considering that this goes on such a small area of your face it probably isn't going to work any real magic for your skin, but I can at least appreciate that it's less harmful and likely to cause breakouts. This highlighter has an almost coppery tone to it, but is actually really light reflective and soft on the skin. I'll definitely be using this a bunch in the days to come, but I highly doubt I'm going to need to repurchase any time soon.

This customer-fave hair oil defends against UV rays, heat, and breakage.

Sample Size, ?1.0 oz ($6.49)
Full Size, 4.0 oz ($25.95)

The Beauty Protector Protect and Detangle Leave-in Conditioner was one of my first Holy Grail Birchbox discoveries, so I'm always curious to try other products from the line. So far I can report back that the shampoo and conditioner were good, but the dry shampoo and hair mask were sub par. This oil seems to have rave reviews, so I've got high hopes that this will impress me. I'm actually holding off from trying it yet because I just cracked open another hair oil sample, but I'll definitely report back if this ends up being amazing.

A bold, beautiful eye shadow palette in always-fashionable pinks and mauves.

Sample Size, 0.65g ($0.61)
Full Size, 12.89g ($12)

I haven't tried a ton of products from Coastal Scents, but the Revealed 2 Palette is definitely one of my favorites in my makeup collection. I had high hopes for this palette too, but I honestly was kind of disappointed with the quality of these shadows. They weren't as creamy and blendable as the ones in my Revealed 2 Palette, nor were they as pigmented. One would think that the quality of shadows across the brand would be consistent, but considering how much more expensive the Revealed palettes are I'm guessing that they also significantly upped their game. Regardless, just for shade selection alone I think the Revealed series palettes are a way better investment anyway, so I would recommend one of those palettes over this series any day.

Value-wise this box was definitely solid at a total of $39.07. It's always fun trying new products, so I'm slightly sad to see things I've already tried or own in full size. At the same time, it never hurts to have a mini version of a product you already love. I'm also still pretty impressed/confused about the full-sized highlighter, but definitely won't complain. It's super pigmented and probably going to expire before I can use the whole tube.

And that about wraps things up! It's been a pretty great year for me with Birchbox, and I'm really looking forward to seeing what kinds of fun things they cook up for 2016.

What did you get in your Birchbox this month?