Wednesday, December 9, 2015

November 2015 Birchbox

So, I sat down at my computer last night and thought to myself, "What do I feel like blogging about?" I've got a ton of ideas for content, many of which involve filming videos and creating fun new makeup looks. But I was tired, after having kind of a miserable day, and realized that what I really felt like writing about was my super amazing Birchbox from last month. As you may know, these past few months have been a little rough for me, and it's kind of thrown me off my blogging game. I decided that the best way to preserve my sanity was to give myself permission to break some of my self-imposed rules, even if that meant blogging less, or not creating the same content that I was used to making every month. That being said, Birchbox has always had a special place in my heart, and I do genuinely enjoy sharing my thoughts on my monthly box. As much as I would like for my reviews to go up in the appropriate month, I realized that I'm way happier to actually write these posts when I've had ample time to test and try everything. So as much as there is a part of me that feels bad putting this post up over a week later than I ideally "should", there is a much larger part of me that realizes it's okay to let it go.

So, with all the good vibes being channeled, let's get to the fun stuff!

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

Birchbox seriously knocked it out of the park last month. First of all, how gorgeous is that box? November's theme was Feeling Fancy, and the chic floral design, copper detailing, heck even the berry toned tissue paper made me feel like I was opening an extra special package. Inside were 5 samples, all of which are perfect for a little extra pampering and feeling glam. Here's a quick link to each of my individual product reviews:

Dr. Jart+ Water Replenishment Cotton Sheet Mask
Davines This is a Relaxing Moisturizing Fluid
Ayres Body Polish in Pampas Sunrise
LOC One & Done Shadow Stick in On Point
theBalm FratBoy

This refreshing cotton sheet mask is loaded with a hydrating serum great for nourishing dry, parched skin.

Single Mask, $7.50

While this may be a single use item, I was SO excited to see it in my Birchbox. If you visited my blog during last month's Skincare Week, then you may have seen my post chatting about my absolute favorite masks and peels. Notably missing from that collection, however, was a sheet mask, as I somehow miraculously had yet to ever try one. As a serious fan of Dr. Jart+ BB Creams, I felt perfectly happy giving them the honor being my first-ever sheet mask experience. This particular mask is meant to soothe and plump the skin, reducing redness and giving you a nice dewy finish. I popped it on right before getting into the bath, and had myself 30 minutes of blissful me-time. I have to say, it was definitely a bit of a weird experience, and did require a bit of readjusting from time to time from slipping and around my mouth and eyes. It also made my face feel ever so slightly warm and tingly, but not in such a way that I feared it being irritated. Once I removed the mask and massaged in the extra serum, I do have to admit that my skin felt SO incredibly soft. Much like a bath bomb or other luxury item, this is not the kind of thing I think I would use on a daily basis, but I could totally see myself keeping a small stash on hand for special occasions.

This formula adds shine, eliminates frizz, moisturizes, humidity-proofs, and preps hair if you're using heat tools.

Sample Size, 50 ml ($10.40)
Full Size, 125 ml ($26)

Oh, Davines. I feel like we're developing a great relationship. We first became acquainted through my September box, and the lovey dovey feelings are only growing stronger. I was a bit unsure of how this product was going to work for me, because I have pretty fine, straight hair that doesn't get particularly frizzy or fried. However, after recently investing in this Amika Curling Wand (which I'm kind of obsessed with...just sayin'), I've come to appreciate this product greatly for smoothing out my curly 'dos. It's not too heavy, nor does it make my hair look greasy. It just imparts a nice bit of shine and keeps frizz at bay. It also smells flippin amazing (like I just spent $200 getting my hair done at the salon amazing).

This body polish goes on smoothly and rinses of cleanly, leaving behind only soft, fantastic-smelling skin.

Sample Size, 1 oz ($3.70)
Full Size, 6.75 oz ($25)

Ayres is another brand I've heard about through Birchbox and have yet to sample, so I was pretty pleased to see this little tub inside my box. Exfoliating is also one of my pre-shaving musts, so I'm always up for trying a new scrub. The formula on this was definitely good, but nothing absolutely mind blowing. I appreciate that the scrubby bits stay scrubby (as is the problem with sugar or salt based products) and that the cream formula rinses off clean. Texture-wise it reminded me a lot of my beloved Body Shop Coconut Scrub, minus the intoxicating scent. Speaking of which, that was the big let down about this product for me. It didn't smell bad by any means, but it didn't really appeal to me, either. I generally tend to gravitate towards brighter, sweeter scents, while this is much more earthy and musky. From reading the descriptions of the different scents available, I think Midnight Tango (a combination of orange blossom and vanilla) would be right up my alley.

From Birchbox's new brand. A creaseless, waterproof shadow with shades created by YouTube beauty star Tati Westbrook.

Single Shadow Stick, 0.05 oz ($10)

Dear Tati, you make my life. This shadow stick is THE FRIGGIN BOMB and I could not be more excited that Birchbox chose you for its first collab. Seriously, though. If you don't know who Tati is, please go check out her YouTube channel. Like now. Are you doing it? Okay, good. As a beauty blogger I have so much respect for everything that she does, and if I'm having a crappy day or feeling anxious and need to de-stress, I know I can just put on one of her videos, chill out, and feel better about life. Also, as someone who is quickly approaching the ripe ol' age of 30, when the beauty world is dominated by fresh faced teens and early 20 somethings, it is nice to know that us older, experienced beauty junkies can still totally rock the scene. Anyway, back to this shadow pencil. Birchbox seriously nailed this debut. The formula is SO on point (ha...on point...lolz), and totally delivers as promised. Subscribers actually got a choice of which LOC product they got in their November box, and I immediately was drawn towards this shimmery champagne shade. I figured it would be perfect for creating a stunning inner corner highlight on the eye, and I was totally not disappointed. The pigmentation is crazy, and once this stuff sets down it absolutely does not budge. For $10 these seriously rival similar products that are more than double the cost.

This talc-free, finely ground blush and shadow formula gives skin a fresh radiance that makes you look, and feel young.

Sample Size, 0.57g ($1.40)
Full Size, 8.5g ($21)

I love theBalm, and I'll never be sad to see one of their products in a subscription box. This particular blush especially is one that's been on my to-try list for ages. I'm such a sucker for anything in the peachy-pink family, and I thought that this might be something I'd totally fall in love with. As far as I can tell the formula on this blush is great, my only issue is that this sample is so teensy that it's almost impossible to distribute product evenly onto a normal sized blush brush. From what I have been able to tell, though, this formula has a nice, medium level of pigmentation that gives your cheeks a healthy flush without being easy to overdo. It's also pretty long wearing (although I think their Instain blushes might be a little bit moreso). Since I have more blush than a normal person can ever wear in their lifetime, I don't think I'll be buying the full size of this anytime soon, but I'm glad that I finally got to satiate my curiosity and give this shade a proper try.

Left, the Balm FratBoy, Right LOC One & Done Shadow Stick in On Point

And that about wraps things up! There were so many really great products in this box that I had to share it with you guys. The total value of my samples was $33, which is a great return on my $10 investment (plus that box though...). As I mentioned in my earlier post about blogger burnout, I'm thinking about having a serious overhaul of my subscription boxes for the new year. Birchbox, however, is the one I'm definitely planning on holding on to. I've been a subscriber for years (you can read all the reasons why here) and I think of all the options out there, they've made me the happiest. I'm pretty pumped about my December box, which should hopefully be arriving by the end of the week.

Are you a Birchbox subscriber? What were you loving from November's box?