Birchbox May 2016 Review
I don’t think that either Amika or Birchbox would have thought that I would be interested in this product if they knew quite how much hair I have. This 0.67oz sample was one use. In other words, I put a full DOLLAR SIXTY worth of conditioner in my hair in a single shower. Let’s think about this a bit further. I wash my hair about twice a week. There are 52 weeks in a year, so that’s 104 hair washings. That adds up to ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY SIX DOLLARS AND FORTY CENTS on conditioner alone. My TRESemme Anti-Breakage Conditioner costs $3.48 for 32oz. Using the same volume and frequency of TRESemme, I would end up spending a mere $7.58 on conditioner per year.
With that price differential, you would have to give me some damn good reasons why Amika is going to be better for my hair than TRESemme. I saw no differences. It didn’t even make my hair smell extra special.
I am sure there are women with long hair who spend lots of money on hair products. (I am not one of them. My hair is long because I am lazy.) But clearly Amika does not think that long-haired ladies will be buying their products. I judge this based on the fact that the rip off top could not expel sufficient conditioner to put through my hair; I had to cut it open with scissors. Thus, I assume that even Amika doesn’t think I should be spending $166.40 per year on conditioner.
Sumita Color Contrast Eyeliner in Suman/Black (0.024oz), approximate retail value $5.25
Even though the website suggested that I was getting a lime green eyeliner, which would have been adorable and fabulous, I found that I actually got boring black, presumably to match the literally dozens of black eyeliners that I already possess.
It has perfectly adequate lasting power, and I would argue that this is a suitable inexpensive alternative to Urban Day’s 24/7 Pencil Eyeliner in Zero. At $11, it’s a good price for a pretty successful liner. However, I do already have many more pencil liners than I need, given that I am a gel eyeliner kind of lady. This is a totally fine product, but it still isn’t valuable to me if it is virtually identical to products that I already own.
Run Guyausa Tea (4 bags), approximate retail value $1.75
Runa Guayusa Teas Taste come in four flavors: traditional, mint, cinnamon-lemongrass, and ginger-citrus. I received one of each in my Birchbox. These teas are advertised as having more caffeine than a cup of coffee and more antioxidants than a cup of green tea. Both claims are a bit irrelevant to me, since I have an adenosine receptor mutation that prevents me from being affected by caffeine (I can literally drink five Monster energy drinks in a row and then fall asleep, much to the chagrin of those who doubted me) and I believe the evidence for health benefits of antioxidants is dramatically overstated, especially given the fact that you need to drink like fifteen cups of green tea a day to see any health benefits… and I just don’t drink tea that frequently.
Thus, all that really matters to me is whether or not these teas are delicious… and they are not. These are bland as hell, even when you let them steep for more than ten minutes. The “traditional” flavor is absolutely the worst. It takes like absolutely nothing. It tastes like vaguely tea-flavored water. The others are better, but still incredibly underwhelming. This is tea for people who don’t actually like tea but feel that they should chug it down in case it benefits them in some way.
COOLA Classic SPF 30 Cucumber Moisturizer for Face (0.23oz), approximate retail value $4.33
Judging by the fact that the Sephora Sun Safety Kit is still not released and that Birchbox is sending sunscreen samples out in mid-May, I can only conclude that companies have no fucking idea what time summer starts. By the time that it reaches the mid-90s, you have probably already invested in some good sunscreens and/or you are a lobster. I know it’s not hot everywhere but it is too goddamn late to send me a sunscreen and expect that I will test it out, decide I like it, purchase it, and wait for it to ship. I would have already died of skin cancer if I waited that long.
This is a totally adequate sunscreen. It didn’t do anything weird to my face and I didn’t get a burn. It smells nice and cucumber-y. But it absolutely did not demonstrate to me at all why I should pay $32 for 1.7oz of this sunscreen ($18.82 per ounce) as opposed to $10.99 for 1.4oz of Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Liquid Daily Sunscreen ($7.85 per ounce). There is nothing about this that is vaguely special except that you get to smell a faint cucumber scent for like six seconds every day while you get ready.
Marvis Toothpaste in Classic Mint (0.5oz), approximate retail value $2.10
Maybe I am just a picky woman, but I hate mint-flavored toothpaste. I absolutely cannot stand it. Along with cooked tuna and lemon-y desserts, mint-flavored toothpaste is one of the tastes, beloved by many, that makes me want to hide under the bed to escape. I would rather just let my teeth rot out of my head.
Luckily, there are other flavors of toothpaste that mean I don’t have to do that. (EXCEPT THAT I JUST DISCOVERED WHILE WRITING THIS POST THAT CREST CITRUS ZEST HAS BEEN DISCONTINUED. OH MY GOD. WHERE AM I GOING TO BUY MY TOOTHPASTE, YOU GUYS?!?! I CANNOT JUST BUY A LIFETIME SUPPLY BECAUSE I DO NOT KNOW HOW LONG I AM GOING TO LIVE!!!) This is not one of those flavors. This is so minty, it’s like a nail through the head. Marvis has other flavors that sound less miserable (I would have been okay trying the Ginger Mint flavor), but this is a generic, over-the-top mint and I am just not interested.
Total Box Value: $15.03
In summary, this box contained products that did not perform any better than stuff I can get at Safeway. I like my own conditioner. I like my own eyeliner. I like my own tea. I like my own sunscreen. I like my own toothpaste.
Both Ipsy and Birchbox were big losers this month. However, Birchbox comes out on top for one big reason: the Birchbox points system is worth it. Because Birchbox recently added my one true love, Paul and Joe, to their store, I will likely be buying a buttload on there. Getting 10% back in points prevents me from feeling like I lost out just because the bag itself was a dud.
If you do decide to join Birchbox despite my dissatisfied review and you are feeling generous, please feel free to use my referral link here.