Although I have generally mild, positive feelings about this month’s Birchbox, I can’t help but notice that the Birchbox staff are not particularly adept at picking out ridiculous claims made by their brands.

Here’s what I got:

Birchbox all together.

Lumiere d’hiver Clarifying Shampoo (1.75oz), approximate retail value $6.67

Lumiere d’hiver Clarifying Shampoo

Birchbox offered some awfully ridiculous claims for this shampoo: “Rich in vitamins and antioxidants, this clarifying shampoo restores
health and shine to overworked tresses. Black currant and soy restore
vibrancy; acai berry and vitamin C deliver youth-boosting antioxidants;
Oolong tea and Irish moss defend against environmental damage; and
lemongrass and oatmeal gently cleanse and purify.”

Vitamins and antioxidants? For hair? Do we have to go over what hair is again? Hair is dead, dearest Birchbox. That is just not how hair works.

So let’s ignore all the overblown claims and focus on the more important question: Is this an adequate shampoo? The texture is very thick and a little bit sticky. Imagine rubbing honey into your scalp, and you will have a good sense of the thing. Since I have such long hair, the texture made this a rather arduous process. I did love the musky, floral scent, however. As for the shampoo-y-ness of the thing, it performed… fine? I don’t see how it did anything different from my normal shampoo.

The TREsemme I typically use is $5.99 for 32oz (so $0.19 per oz). This costs $32 for 8.45oz (so $3.79 per oz). That means that this product is almost 20 times more expensive than my normal shampoo, ounce per ounce. If it were offered in the same size packaging at TREsemme, a bottle would cost $121.18. I have long hair. Long hair requires an awful lot of shampoo. Thanks Birchbox, but no thanks.

Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream (0.14oz), approximate retail value $3.48

Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream

 Oh goodness. Birchbox really needs to do a few quick google searches before they start drinking the Kool-Aid. According to Birchbox, “This brand-new moisturizer from Fresh is
made with a proprietary blend of seven actives to prevent and treat all
the signs of skin aging while keeping skin moisturized day and night.” Apparently, these ingredients qualify as “actives”, even though, legally, there are no active ingredients in this product. Is that because these “actives” are snake oil? Why, yes. Yes indeed. It’s also apparently, “Clinically proven to… immediately improve skin radiance.”Skin radiance is apparently super objective, you guys.

I also couldn’t help but notice that I had already received this sample (for free) from Sephora. So Birchbox gets double eyebrow raises for that.

All that being said, it smells pretty damn nice.

Harvey Prince Skinny Chic (estimated at 2ml), approximate retail value $1.82

Harvey Prince Skinny Chic

More bizarre claims from Birchbox: “In lieu of downing yet another cup of coffee or
reaching for a sugary treat, we’ve been spritzing on this chic new scent
from Harvey Prince. The fresh and fruity blend of apple, mint, and
grapefruit is specially formulated to keep us energized—and curb
cravings to boot.”

I sprayed this on my decolletage and proceeded to eat a bowl of bacon. So obviously it didn’t work. Not to mention: it would take an awfully nice psychological study to show that this actually “curb[s] cravings”.

Even more bafflingly, the product description reads, “We craft exceptional fragrances that empower women to feel young, happy, slim, and beautiful.” Did you empower me to feel slim? Thanks, random perfume. I’d like to keep fat-shaming out of my fragrance collection, though.

The product smells pretty nice. It’s crisp and apple-y and unexpected. I would really like it… but the “skinny” pushing eliminates my interest in this product entirely.

Lashem Double Trouble Mascara (estimated at 1ml), approximate retail value $4.76

Lashem Double Trouble Mascara

This is actually not supposed to be a mascara. It is supposed to be a lash-growing serum by the same company. There was a mix-up, and I got the mascara. I was looking forward to writing a Beauty Bullshit post about the serum, so I sent Birchbox an email and I am getting a replacement. That means extra samples for me, so I am not exactly complaining.

I was expecting to hate this mascara, but I actually kind of love it. The name is a bit misleading since it makes it sound like it will be super lengthening and thickening and it just… isn’t. But it adds nice definition and looks a little more natural than the mascaras I normally use.

TheBalm Hot Mama (1g), approximate retail value $3.11

TheBalm Hot Mama

This was the product I was most excited for! Since I wanted it as a blush, the small sample size was a bit of an impediment, but overall it was workable. I generally love theBalm products and it looked like a great color.

My only concern was that Hot Mama would be a little bit too close to my go-to blush: NARS Orgasm. However, closer examination revealed this to be an unwarranted worry.

Hot Mama vs. Orgasm

Although both Hot Mama and Orgasm are peachy, pinky, coral-y, gold-y colors, the actual product is definitely different. Hot Mama is a bit less pink, and it doesn’t have the same sort of glitter that Orgasm displays.

Swatches of Hot Mama (top) and Orgasm (bottom). You can see both the difference in color and the difference in glittery-ness.

By the way, theBalm Hot Mama is $20 for 0.25oz (or $80 per oz). NARS Orgasm is $28 for 0.16oz (or $175 per oz). So NARS is about twice as expensive, ounce per ounce.

If you are interested in seeing this makeup on a real, live, human face… I can provide that.

TheBalm Hot Mama + Lashem Double Trouble Mascara

Total Box Value: $19.84. How Orwellian! (Plus the value of the yet-to-be-sent lash serum.)

Edit: If you are interested in signing up for Birchbox and generously want to give me credit for referring you, click here.


    1. Wow. I got absolutely none of those things in my Birchbox this month. I did get an eyelid primer from TheBalm, but not much else I’m interested in touching. Also, I have about a thousand Viva La Juicy samples from working the fragrance counters, so getting another one was kinda… bleh.

2. Mia! I didn’t know you got a Birchbox… or that you read my blog! I am sorry that yours was non-ideal.

3. Aha, so that’s what was going on with the mascara/serum…. I got the serum when my card said that it was going to be the mascara. I was very confused!

4. If you send Birchbox an email they will probably send you a mascara. From what I can see, it looks like the two samples look identical, so I am surprised that they got a bit jumbled.

5. Totally agree about the slimming perfume! I like the scent because I don’t have any fruity perfumes right now, but all of its claims and benefits completely turned me off. (Plus, if you don’t want me to be hungry, then don’t smell like apples)

I also though that Fresh cream smelled waaaay too strong, like cucumber overload. I felt like I was smelling it for the entire day after putting it on.

I did get a nail polish and TheBalm eye primer from this box, though, both of which I really enjoy.

6. That sounds like a quite nice box, actually!

7. Thanks for your comment on fat shaming! In my opinion I would enjoy the ipsy box way more than this one.

8. I loved my birchbox this month. I did get a perfume samples, WHICH I AM SO OVER getting perfume samples. I mean, really. But I got a lot of other good stuff that I was really stoked about. Check out my blog for my review. I know BB is so hit or miss, but I think it has been worthwhile for me!

9. Sorry for the fat-shaming, too. That shit really irks me.10. My Birchbox was the same and i’m pleased your planning to discuss the Lash ’em in the future. it makes my eyeballs feel dry in the morning.