Tuesday, March 29, 2016

March 2016 Birchbox

It's hard to believe another month is winding down, although I have to admit I'm pretty excited for April to get here. The plants in front of my condo are starting to sprout little leaves and buds and I seriously can't wait for everything to be lush and green and colorful again.

While this month's Birchbox didn't have anything particularly spring-y in it, it definitely came with a few solid beauty staples that I'm happy to add to my collection. Come check it out!

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

If you caught the unboxing video that I filmed earlier this month, you probably already know my first impressions of my March Birchbox were mixed. There wasn't anything that really grabbed my attention or made me say YAS! I'm pretty stoked to see a Kiehl's product in my box, which means this cult classic brand is now going to be available in their shop. Kiehl's is another brand I've been curious about for years, but just haven't gotten around to trying. But that is the beauty of Birchbox - discovering up-and-coming brands, as well as the huge power players. Anyway, let's get into this month's samples:

This shadow crayon has a creamy formula that stays put for 12 hours, creating a smooth, crease-free look every time.

Full Size, 1.7g ($26)
Sample Size, 0.7g ($10.70)

I suppose I should get my grumbles out of the way early. I was pretty bummed to see this eyeshadow crayon in my box this month. I received this exact same sample last year in my June Ipsy Bag and ended up giving it away. It's not that it's a terribly ugly shade. I think this deep olive-y green is pretty (although maybe more fall than spring appropriate) and could probably make a great base for a smokey eye. I just never found myself in the mood to use it. I also was a little miffed by the fact that it never seemed to dry down. One of the biggest selling points of cream shadows to me is that they're usually incredibly budge-proof. Odds are I'll probably end up passing this one along to a friend as well, rather than have it just collect dust in my drawer.

Weightless spray in the brand's signature obliphica scent that refreshes hair sans residue.

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

I have to admit, I wasn't entirely impressed with this month's sample choices, but I decided to go with this product because I'm about to run out of my full sized can. Amika's dry shampoo isn't the best for making your hair look clean, but it smells amazing and is a nice way to refresh throughout the day. I also appreciate that it uses rice starch powder instead of aluminum to work its magic (which also means its less likely to leave a whiteish cast in your hair). I think Batiste may currently be my absolute favorite dry shampoo formula, but I will happily take a travel sized can of this one to keep in my purse for touch ups.

New! A lightweight lotion that instantly seals split ends, giving you that freshly-cut feeling.

Full Size, 3.4 oz ($24)
Sample Size, 1 oz ($7.06)

If there is one haircare brand that I've probably sampled more than any other, its got to be Living Proof. They're always launching new products and coming up with innovative ways to make your hair look awesome, and I feel like I've got at least 5 different sample tubes much like this one sitting at home. This product is specifically designed to seal in split ends and to help prolong the life of your haircuts. I am seriously overdue for a trim myself, so I think I'm really curious to see how this works once I finally make an appointment. On my less than freshly cut hair I did notice that this seemed to smooth things down a bit and make my hair feel soft. Is it anything revolutionary compared to every other styling cream I've tried? I don't think so. But I'm willing to give a proper trial run once my hair is in better shape.

This 5-in-1 lifts, firms, smooths, hydrates, and restores the sensitive skin around the eye for a more youthful look.

Full Size, 0.5 oz ($48)
Sample Size, 0.1 oz ($9.60)

Ah, the never ending struggle with me and eye creams (or, in this instance, eye serum). I don't know why I have such a hard time getting into them. And yet it seems like every other month I'm getting a new one in a subscription box. As my 29th birthday approaches (the horror) I am just starting to notice the appearance of lines in my undereye area, especially when I wear certain concealers that have a tendency to sink into them. So I think it's about time that I stop being a lazy bum and start making an effort to take care of the delicate skin around my eyes. Unlike a traditional, heavy eye cream, this serum is very watery and lightweight, which does make it more comfortable to wear under makeup. It claims to lock in moisture, firm, and smooth the skin - all of which sound great to me. I just think I need to force myself to give it a couple weeks of regular use to really determine if it makes any lasting difference.

A blend of bamboo and jojoba beads gently exfoliates, while botanicals smooth skin and purify pores.

Full Size, 2.5 oz ($38)
Sample Size, 0.27 oz ($4.10)

Exfoliation is probably my absolute favorite skincare step. A good mask or scrub makes my skin feel incredibly soft, and does wonders to decongest and keep the cell turnover process running smooth. This Juara scrub in particular seems really great, because it brings the best of both physical and chemical exfoliation to the table. You gently massage it onto damp skin, let it sit for up to three minutes, and rinse off. A blend of fruit enzymes help to break down dead skin and dirt at the surface of the skin, while the extremely fine jojoba and bamboo beads gently buff it all away. The wet scrub also gets a bit foamy in texture, and doesn't feel heavy or harsh on the skin like some other masks. My skin felt ever so slightly dry after using this product, so I would definitely recommend following up afterwards with a nice, hydrating moisturizer. It'd also be great for prepping your skin for a nutrient rich night cream or sleeping facial.

And that wraps things up! The total value of my box this month adds up to $34.86 with my samples being pretty varied in value. Performance-wise I think I liked the Juara Scrub the best, although the tube felt pretty empty on my first use, which leads me to believe I'm not going to get very many uses out of it. The Living Proof Split End Mender, on the other hand, will probably last me an eon, since you don't need to use a ton of product each time you style your hair.

Even though this month was a little blah, I am SUPER PUMPED about April's box. Birchbox is doing another collab with Rifle Paper Co. and the box design looks absolutely beautiful. If you didn't see last year's box, it was definitely a winner.

Do you subscribe to Birchbox? What was your favorite sample from this month?