Birchbox December 2017 Review

Sometimes, a beauty box is filled with fabulous goodies that fill you with joy and seasonally appropriate cheer. Other times, it’s a beauty blogger nightmare that is so boring that it’s difficult to even say anything about it.

This is a story about the latter scenario. Y’all are lucky you didn’t get a blank page and a shrug.

Here’s what I got:

FusionBeauty Lash Fusion XL (0.28 oz), approximate retail value $16.00

I was already giving this product a little of side-eye before I tried it, since it’s not-exactly-stunning two out of five-star average review is enough to raise a few eyebrows.

Sure enough, this mascara is a flop. Except, you know, flops have drama. The most hilarious part about this mascara, to me, is Birchbox’s rather banal claim that “You’ll only need one coat for long, glamorous lashes.” This is just blatantly false. A single coat of this mascara is invisible. If you reeeally coat on that dry-as-hell formula, you can get some very natural looking lashes. Whoever labeled this “XL” needs a new size chart.
The one thing I will say about this mascara is that it would be a good choice for anyone who goes head-over-heels for the “no makeup makeup” look. Unsubtle mascara and glossy lips are the two things that most easily ruin the makeup-free illusion. This product won’t betray you there.

Benta Berry G1 Exfoliating Facial Cleanser (0.1 fl oz), approximate retail value $1.60pThis… is… a facewash. You can wash your face with it. I have literally nothing of note to say about it. It’s exfoliate-y. If you put it in drugstore packaging and told me it cost $3, I would believe you.

Dr. Lipp Original Nipple Balm for Lips (0.1 fl oz), approximate retail value $2.90
If you have ever pet a sheep, you are familiar with the feeling on lanolin, a secretion from wool-producing livestock comprised mostly of waxy esters. Dr. Lipp’s Nipple Balm is just a big tube of lanolin.

As the product name suggests, lanolin is frequently used to soothe the sore nipples of breastfeeding mothers. (Dr. Lipp is really embracing the “nipple” theme by adorning their website with drawings of pin-up girls patting a small doctor-man on the head.) On your lips, it works as an emollient.

Even though the ingredients are different, I found it striking how similar this product felt to a tube of Carmex with the word “nipple” on the front. (Carmex usually includes lanolin as the fourth ingredient.)

Styled by Hayadi Pure Happy Smooth (1 fl oz), approximate retail value $4.38
I have no idea what this product is. Is it a heat protectant? Well, it doesn’t have any of the ingredients that heat protectants have… (For more about the science of heat protectants, click here.) It’s got keratin in it, but that means absolutely nothing. You might be able to use it for styling, but, given that I style my hair literally never, that’s not very helpful. Birchbox is calling this a “hair lotion”, but I have no idea what that even means.
It smells kinda nice, so I guess there’s that…?

Emily’s Chocolates Chocolate Covered Fortune Cookies (1), approximate retail value $1.00

This was definitely my favorite thing in this box (not that it had a shitload of competition). Although it’s not an intuitive combination, the milk chocolate plus fortune cookie pairing is basically brilliant. I will probably throw in a few of these the next time I make an order from the Birchbox shop.

I seriously doubt they’ll last very long, though.
Total Box Value: $25.88


If you are inexplicably struck with a desire to subscribe to Birchbox, you are always invited to use my referral link by clicking here.


1. I find the word “nipple” fun to say for both aural and juvenile-sense-of-humor reasons, so I am in favor of more products being labeled thus. It’s hard to see how that could be widely relevant, though. . . Also, I’m tempted to bring fondue next time I go to a Chinese restaurant. Chocolate-covered fortune cookies = delicious prospect.

2. (Easier solution: just take the fortune cookies home!)

3. I get rather a vicarious thrill from watching people open their parcels of sample-y goodness, working their way through brands and items that either do not exist or are impossibly difficult and expensive to get in this country…

…and yet even I was underwhelmed by even the first picture of the contents of this box! :-S I’m sorry it was a dud! (Maybe it was because there wasn’t much makeup…i always get more excited if there’s, you know, an eyeliner pencil or a mini lipstick or something. Even if they’re not great. I’m strange like that)

4. Makeup is always more interesting than skincare!

5. Wow. That was a stunningly awful box. It’s reminiscent of the boxes I used to get from them. I remember the month they sent everyone Beauty Blenders…except I just got a tube of cleanser.

6. Awww noooo! That would be so disappointing!

7. Mmm, nipple Carmex. Just what I’ve always wanted.


9. Sorry your box sucked. I was ridiculously excited because mine included both the LAQA & Co. lip pencil *and* a twistband. I can’t believe I got so worked up about a piece of metallic elastic!

10. Do you like the twistband?

11. I actually do! My hair used to be much longer but now I can barely make a ponytail out of it, but it doesn’t leave the obvious hair elastic lines that your generic Goody hair elastic does. I don’t think I’d purchase them (it’s already getting stretched out after about a week) but it’s better than a self-tan wipe any day.

12. I just want that chocolate fortune cookie. I could leave the rest.

13. It was pretty delicious.

14. I did receive a better box this month, but only marginally. Every product went against my profile requests. So done with Birchbox. I could be using that subscription money for a fancy Sephora gift to myself every year or another, superior box instead. Ipsy hasn’t been too impressive, either.

15. That’s frustrating! I feel like Birchbox usually does okay at following profiles, but that doesn’t guarantee a good box.

16. I read the intro and thought “There’s no WAY her box was more underwhelming than mine this month.”

It was the exact same box.

17. Twins!

18. My box was completely different. Eslor Skincare System (nice, but prohibitively expensive), Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk (I guess it’s okay? I don’t use dry shampoo), Camille Beckman Body Butter (it’s body butter!), Secret Agent Beauty Lip Affair Nourishing & Plumping Lip Gloss (looks fine, but I don’t care for plumpers and it’s messy) and Kusmi Tea Paris Beauty Beverage Detox Tea Bags (this is where your box could have gotten worse. It smells fantastic…and tastes like hot water. Chocolate-covered fortune cookie would have been awesome.)

19. I love that dry shampoo. Find someone who uses it and give it to them! They’ll appreciate it for sure.

20. Every time I’m tempted to subscribe to birchbox I see a review from someone like this…sigh.

21. The birchbox points system makes the duds worth it to me.

22. This review actually makes me feel guilty about getting my sister a Birchbox subscription for Xmas. :/

23. Don’t feel guilty! If we didn’t like it, we wouldn’t be subscribed.

24. Have you heard of Lip Factory? It seems like a really awesome sub box, but it doesn’t seem to be all that popular for some reason.

25. I have heard of it, but haven’t paid much attention, to be honest.

26. I thought that you should know that you and your blog are loved by a lot of people. I just saw it mentioned on the Sephora forums. Thanks for being great!

27. Thank you! I’m glad you guys are enjoying it!

28. Well, my dear, I canceled my Birchbox sub. It’s not worth the money per year. Instead, I think I’ll just use the money I saved at Sephora, Ulta, or any number of indie beauty retailers. I don’t need yet another crap-quality mascara or skin-inappropriate product or gross fragrance sample. Thanks for helping me come to that decision, bb

29. I’m sorry it didn’t work for you but am glad you are spending your money on stuff you’ll love, instead!

30. It’s okay! I still think it’s a great box for some people, but there are just so many options out there with more consistency now. I hope your next Birchbox is better. Even the high-value boxes just had too much inconsistency for me, but that, of course, that doesn’t negate anyone else’s intangible value in loving their Birchbox sub.

31. I got the same box. The only thing I liked was the Dr. Lipp. I think i probably like it better than Carmex because it doesn’t have that awful methol in it.

32. I finally canceled after I got some weird hair contraption, a coconut and chocolate covered pretzel, a tiny lip gloss, and some other meh stuff. Including the hair lotion. But I did cash out my points for stuff I know I love already, like a beauty blender and some Vasanti face wash. Sooo that’s a plus!