Birchbox March 2016 Review

It’s Birchbox time!

Birchbox all together.
The Benefit Fake Up cardboard do-dad, as it turns out, is just an advertisement… for a product I have already purchased.

This month I received:

Whish Shave Crave Shaving Cream in Blueberry (0.75oz), approximate retail value $2.93

Whish Shave Cream

I usually just shave my legs with conditioner like any classy and elegant lady might do. Drugstore shave creams leave me with weird rashes, clog up my razor and smell unpleasant. Thus, I had low expectations for this product.

Honestly, though, I loved this. It gave me a closer, easier shave than using conditioner. Also, the blueberry scent is really pleasant, avoiding any medicine-like twinge. I also want to point out how cute the 1960s-style packaging is. I will probably buy the full sized version of this product… as soon as I decide what scent I want to try!

To me, this sort of product epitomizes what I like about Birchbox. This is a brand I hadn’t heard of and a product I wouldn’t have picked out for myself, but it ended up working really well for me.

Madewell for Birchbox Nail Emery Board, approximate retail value $5

Madewell Emery Board

This print is all kinds of adorable. Unfortunately, I am always afraid to use emery boards that are super cute, lest I ruin them with yucky nail shavings.

I am also having an awfully difficult time justifying the $5 price tag, since I don’t tend to pay for emery boards and since glass nail files (which are far superior) usually cost less than $5.

Benefit Stay Don’t Stray Primer (0.09oz), approximate retail value $7.09

Benefit Stay Don’t Stray

I have already reviewed Benefit Stay Don’t Stray in my eyeshadow primer comparison post here. I didn’t find it to be an impressive product. It performed slightly worse than Urban Decay Primer Potion and theBalm’s Put a Lid On It, despite being more expensive than both. I had put it in my “medium performers” category.

Evologie Intensive Blemish Serum (0.17oz), approximate retail value $11.90

Evologie Intensive Blemish Serum

The product smells like tea tree oil, which I like but I know can be bothersome to others.
It contains tea tree oil and salicylic acid, which are both effective acne-fighting ingredients. However, it does not have active ingredients or drug facts, meaning it does not seem to be regulated by the FDA, which it should be based on the claims they are making and the ingredients that they are using. This seems really slimy to me. I assume the reason they have bypassed FDA regulation is because they don’t want to have to provide proof for their “patent pending YS3 Complex”. Remember, wise consumer, that having a patent does not imply efficacy and that something that is “patent pending” is even less reliable and empirical.

I decided to check out the website to see if I could learn a bit more about what this “YS3 Complex” actually is. Unfortunately, the website is super vague and doesn’t say anything meaningful. There is a section called “How It Works”, but the section doesn’t actually tell you how it works.

The website has three claims about the product’s mechanism. Firstly, “Transepidermal absorption enhancers rapidly transport powerful natural
ingredients deep below the skin’s surface where they are needed most.” So, in other words, “It absorbs better”. How? Why? What is in the product that allows this to occur? Not explained. Claim number two: “Specially sourced healing and reparative natural ingredients are reduced
to tiniest particles so they can be rapidly absorbed and transported
deep within skin layers directly to the root of the specific problem –
without irritating skin’s surface.” In other words, “We use smaller parts”. You reduce effective molecules into smaller parts without disrupting function? How would you do that? Not explained. Claim number 3: “Increases blood flow to nourish and heal your skin. Keeps skin hydrated by reducing Trans-Epidermal Water Loss (TEWL).” HOW? HOW? HOW? THIS DOES NOT EXPLAIN HOW YOUR PRODUCT WORKS. ALSO THE PICTURE OF THE LADY SPLASHING HER FACE WITH WATER DOES NOT HELP EITHER.

Given the fact that there are no drug facts as required by the FDA, that the “How It Works” section has no mechanism, and that there is no available research on this supposed “YS3 Complex”, I would strongly recommend pursuing a blemish serum that is empirically supported. As a nice bonus, an empirically supported product likely will not cost $70 an ounce, which is absurdly expensive.

Twistband Headband, approximate retail value $3.17

Twistband Headband

Twistbands are not mysterious products. They are what they are. If twistbands get you excited, god bless you. I have a rough time getting all googly about them.

Twistband Headband on Human Head

That being said, these are super comfortable. I have a very large head, so headbands frequently give me headaches from being too tight. This is nice and stretchy, so it will be great no matter how bulbous your cerebrum may be. Thus, I doubt anyone who buys these will be disappointed by them.

Total Box Value: $30.09

This is a great Birchbox in terms of retail value. I do think that a significant percentage of the products were atrociously overpriced… so that’s worth keeping in mind. But overall, I am quite happy with this box. Everything I got will either be used or displayed for its floral pattern.

If you are interested in joining Birchbox and are feeling generous, feel free to use my referral link here

Figures the month I quit it gives you some good stuff! Oh well, I get my Ipsy box next month!

2. I’m so jealous that you got the benefit eye primer. It’s such a great product. I just posted the review of my March Birchbox on my blog too. It is the best Birchbox I’ve ever received!
– KW

3. I love your sense of humor 😀
I recently unsubscribed from BB and Ipsy, but I think I’ll keep reading your blog, at least for the entertainment value!
I really like your critical evaluation of the claims that companies make about their products. I am a grad student in biology, but I am too lazy to check things like this myself 🙁
Keep up the good work!

4. Thank you! Let me know if there is anything you need investigated!

5. I, too, smelled the tea tree oil in the Evologie blemish serum, and decided to try and find the ingredients to confirm. Which is how I stumbled upon your blog. Which I’m now in love with.

I think it’s so cool that you use science to explain makeup and hair products, and how you calculate how much beauty products REALLY cost.

I have a general girl-geared blog ( and I want to feature your blog in my next post! I think readers should know exactly what they’re getting into when they make beauty purchases.

Thanks for the awesome read!



6. Aw, thank you! Let me know if you need any info from me.