Birchbox August 2016 Review

It’s clearly beauty box subscription time at my residence! With Wantable rolling in yesterday, Birchbox coming today, and Ipsy likely showing up tomorrow, I have buttloads of new goodies to play with.

Here’s what I got in my August Birchbox:

Dr. Jart+ Premium BB Cream SPF 45+ (5ml/0.17 fluid oz), approximate retail value $4.42

Birchbox clearly has a weird fascination with sending me Dr. Jart+ BB Creams, since this is the THIRD one I have received from them. Unfortunately, since the Black Label BB Cream caused me to break out like no other, I am a little bit terrified of using them, lest my face devolve into a horrid mess of breakouts and scars.

Dr. Jart Premium BB Cream on the left, Black Label on the right.

The premium BB cream is a little bit lighter and pinker than the Black Label, which is good for me (although it’s still a bit too dark, even for summer). Otherwise, it seems pretty much indistinguishable. The coverage is very similar, and there are the same sorts of disadvantages (such as arbutin, a skin lightening product, as an ingredient and the bizarre fact that they offer literally exactly one color… if you lighten my skin, this product will be the wrong color even more than it already is!).

Jasmine Seven Fresh Feet Wipes (2 wipes), approximate retail value $0.66

At first, I thought that this product was a total throwaway, but I have decided that I actually kind of love the idea. It happens too frequently that I find my flip-flop-clad feet covered in awful dust and smelling weird and just generally being hot and disgusting. These wipes are big enough to wipe down both feet with one wipe.

I’ll admit that I find the smell a tiny bit offputting. The “peppermint” smell comes across more like a sugarfree mint.

ModelCo Party Proof Lipstick in Disco Fever (1 at 0.13oz), approximate retail value $8.00

It’s described as a coral, but Disco Fever seem much more vibrant and orange than a traditional coral color.

I like the lipstick. I think it’s very pretty and lovely. Unfortunately, I think Birchbox dramatically overstates its claims. Even super basic statements about this product are just factually inaccurate. For example, this lipstick has the word “MATTE” written on its side in all capital letters– but it isn’t matte! This is definitely a shiny satin finish. I have no idea why ModelCo would randomly decide to pretend that this is matte; it seems like a recipe for disappointing your customers.

Birchbox also seems to think that this shit “heal dryness”, moisturizes your lips, and lasts forever. In actuality, this is a super regular lipstick in a nice color. It didn’t quite make it through my four-hours and a meal test (the color remained, but it was patchy and not too pretty), and it is no more moisturizing than regular lipstick. If you buy this, may it be because you like the color.

I must add that the idea of packaging three full-sized ModelCo lipsticks together for $24 is great, since it is the perfect gift for a friend.

Violet Oasis 100% Organic Argan Oil (4ml/0.14 fluid oz), approximate retail value $2.66

I don’t use argan oil… but if I did, I would appreciate a more reasonable sized sample! At least give me a dropper or some way to extract a bit without just pouring the whole tube on my face! Also, who is going to pay $40 for argan oil? We have google, guys. It ain’t hard to find that for less money.

TanTowel Classic Formula Self-Tan Towlette (1 towelette at 0.25oz), approximate retail value $2.40

I also don’t use tanning products, so getting one in my Birchbox is kind of eye-roll-y anyways. Sadly, Birchbox decided to be weird and skin-tone-shame-y about this product. The Birchbox website states, “If your skin has an Edward Cullen-like
pallor, it’s time to consider a sunless tanner. But be careful, eager
beaver: Not all self-tanners are created equal (we don’t know about you,
but we’d rather be pale than orange).”

You know what? I would also rather be pale than orange. But I would also rather be pale than tan. I’m just going to go ahead and be the color that I actually fucking am and if you think I look like Edward Cullen, well… clearly I wore too much illuminating powder. The “look good naked” tagline for the product didn’t help. Bitch, I look good naked already. Actually, I look great naked. Now leave me alone.

I did find a use for this product, though. I tried to use it to help fade some of my boyfriend’s farmer’s tan. I also drew some pretty designs on his back (shh don’t tell him!) so that it would be obvious if there was a visible effect of the product. That was this morning. Nothing has shown up since. Obviously, we know that dihydroxyacetone does help darken skin, so that’s not in question, but it’s clear that one wipe isn’t enough to give a perceivable effect.

I find it hysterical that Birchbox decided to send me both a skin whitening product (the BB cream) and a skin tanning product in the same box, as if the same person would be interested in both of those products. Make up your mind about in what way the color of my skin is inadequate, Birchbox.

Total Box Value: $18.14

Overal, I am not pleased with every product in my box, but I am pleased with the lipstick. Since I would have gladly paid $8 for the lipstick, and since the other products were communally worth $2 put together, I am not dissatisfied with my Birchbox even though I was unhappy with a few of the products.

If you are filled with a sudden compulsion to try Birchbox for yourself, please feel free to use my affiliate link by clicking here.


1. They sent me boob tape. I don’t know what kind of life they think I lead but it is not one that ever requires tape to prevent nip slips.

2. I got one of those about six months ago, and it’s sitting in my makeup thing still. I figured I’d keep it for emergencies, but I still can’t think of any situation where I would need them. I’m not skinny, and don’t wear gappy, plunging or strapless clothes. Maybe if a hem comes undone or something…? Or if I run out of scotch tape at Christmas haha!

3. Maybe one day you’ll have a wacko dress to wear for a fancy occasion…?

4. Haha possibly.. but 5 years of Marine corps ball, and I found the most comfortable dress possible, with wide straps, every single time! I will bring it with me for a girls weekend type thing though, because I like to be prepared for other people too. lol

5. OK, complete derail here: but your lashes look AMAZING in this photo. Are they false? Do you mind sharing what mascara you’re using? Thanks, enjoy your blog!

6. They’re falsies! Sorry to disappoint.

7. That’s not disappointing, what kind? They look great.

8. Red Cherry #43

9. Birchbox’s pitch for the tan towelette is hilarious. I agree with you, I am happy with my natural skin tone, even if it could be considered too pale for summer:D

10. I agree with everything you said about the TanTowel. I have Dutch, Irish, and English ancestry, so clearly I was meant to be pale and I don’t give a fuck who has a problem with it. I have a cousin who is almost 41 and, thanks to tanning and the sun, her skin looks like cheeto-colored, worn boot leather. I’m glad I won’t look like that at 41.

My dad died of melanoma at 43 (which is only 10 years older than I am right now), so ever since, I’ve been a sunscreen nazi. My kids are annoyed by it, but I’m sure they’ll thank me someday!

11. They definitely will.

12. RIght on! I mean, nobody was really a fan of when Lindsay Lohan, a lighter skinned redheaded (therefore probably Celtic or Nordic) girl started tanning a ton. Not only do some of us look good untanned… we look outright ridiculous with a tan!

13. Ugh… I got this same box. I swapped another product for the lipstick last month, with a Reddit user, so this box was a HUGE disappointment. The first time that I’ve been truly let down.

14. Bummer! Without the lipstick I would have been unhappy as well.

15. I received that lipstick last month, only instead of coral they sent me this weird white/sheer color. And I have a feeling the TanTowel was sent to all of us pale folks; it’ll never be used by me, though!

16. DUDE DUDE DUDE, zomg, don’t dismiss the argan oil – the stuff is fucksocks amazing when summer’s over and moisturizer is actually a thing. Argan oil rubbed on with some water is one of the few things I can wear at night and not wake up with a fresh crop of zits.

17. I am not a fan. I know it works for some people, but not for me.

18. “Obviously, we know that dihydroxyacetone does help darken skin” — phrases like this are why I visit your blog every single day. MWAH.

19. I got the same box and I’m disappointed with it that I cancelled and subscribed to ipsy.

20. You may have mentioned at some point, but I’m not sure – do you have an obvious preference between Birchbox and Ipsy? Does one pay better attention to your preferences survey than the other? Does one have obviously better samples than the other? I’ve subscribed to both – I’ve gotten one Birchbox so far, and am still on the waiting list for Ipsy. (Also I subscribed to Wantable at your suggestion… and I used your reference link for each of the three. Hope it helped you out with referral points – least I can do for all your awesome information.)

21. I think they have different purposes, and I think that largely explains why people have strong preferences for one or the other. For me, Birchbox is a great way to find new things I love that I might consider purchasing. I have a bought a lot of full sized products based on my Birchbox samples. If you just want to get some makeup to play with, though, and the quality of the products isn’t your #1 concern, Ipsy is good for just a monthly present of stuff that might only use a few times.

And thank you for using my referrals!

22. This is great content.I like this one. You certainly have a way with words!
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