Birchbox October 2016 Review
It’s hard not to love a monthly present in the mail! I even love them when they are mild disappointments, like getting a gift card to Best Buy instead of a check. Hey, at least you can put that card towards a toaster oven!
(This philosophy may partially explain why I continue to subscribe to beauty boxes…)
Here’s what I got for October:
TheBalm Stainiac in Beauty Queen (0.04 fluid oz), approximate retail value $2.27
I was really excited to get this product in my Birchbox because theBalm is one of my favorite brands and I had previously considered purchasing this product sight unseen. Unfortunately, when I use it on my lips, I can find zero qualities that distinguishes this product from a tube of jello. Its gel-like consistency was really sticky on my lips and it applies in a manner that is patchy and unflattering. The stickiness did go away after a couple of hours (with the color remaining), but I don’t feel like that redeems it for its unpleasantness.
Interestingly, although I hated it on my lips, I really liked it on my cheeks. It adds a really natural-looking flush. To use it, I just dabbed the doe-foot applicator onto my finger and patted it onto my face. It is definitely a subtle look, which is nice for anyone who is worried about overdoing it on the blush. I think it would be more difficult to apply on someone with darker skin, since no one wants sticky cheeks.
|Using theBalm Stainiac on both cheeks and lips.|
I’ll definitely be using the rest of this sample, but I will be using it exclusively in its function as a blush. I don’t think I’ll be purchasing the full size, however.
Beauty Protector Protect and Detangle ‘Protect & Shampoo’ Daily Shampoo (estimated 0.75 fluid oz), estimated retail value $2.05
The Beauty Protector Protect and Detangle is one of my favorite products that I’ve received from Birchbox, so I was really excited about the prospect of trying their shampoo and conditioner. Both products smell… maybe like baklava? It’s hard to describe the scent. It’s pretty, though. Unless you hate Greek desserts, in which case you simply have no taste.
The shampoo is thicker than a drugstore shampoo, but not as thick as some of the practically-the-texture-of-honey shampoos I have received from Birchbox in the past. Unfortunately, the price is just unjustifiably high for me. Although the Birchbox website says that you should “apply a quarter-sized amount”, Birchbox has no goddamn idea how long my hair is. A quarter sized amount of shampoo might cleanse my pubes. I have so much fucking hair on my head! I am basically Rapunzel over here. This sample bottle was, like, one use. If I could buy shampoo by the gallon, I would.
I also couldn’t help but roll my eyes at Birchbox’s seriously silly suggestion about its function: “It’s powered by pearl powder, which is rich in conchiolin, an ingredient that acts like the hair protein keratin.” It would take so many fucking leaps of logic to get to ‘and thus this product is good for your hair’ that it’s a little bit hilarious. We’re not characters in the Phantom Tollbooth, Birchbox. We don’t like to jump to conclusions.
Beauty Protector Protect and Detangle ‘Protect & Condition’ Daily Conditioner (estimated 0.75 fluid oz), estimated retail value $2.05
It’s a similar story for conditioner, although the scent is much more fragrant!
Evologie Stay Clear Cream (0.33oz), approximate retail value $20.46
The feeling of wearing this moisturizer is very satisfying because it’s really thick, but it absorbs into your skin really quickly, leaving you with a nice, matte finish. Sadly, though, it seriously messed with my makeup when I put it on over it, making my foundation look patchy. I’ll be using the rest of this sample, but only as a night cream.
The price is also way too expensive to be reasonable, but y’all knew that already.
Chapstick Hydration Lock (full size at 0.15oz), retail value $2.99
This product feels really great on my lips. It is much more moisturizing than a traditional chapstick. The texture is really different as well. It feels very silicone-y. I did check the ingredients, and yup! There’s dimethicone (the ingredient that gives Smashbox primers that texture we know and love), which is not in traditional chapsticks.
Birchbox in particular is advertizing this as a lip primer, which I thought was a surprising choice because Chapstick sure as hell isn’t advertising it that way. (This is presumably because the average Birchbox member is a different audience than the average Chapstick customer.)
I decided to test its lip-priming abilities using MAC’s Just a Bite lipstick, which I wore through one working day (something like eight hours). I wore Chapstick’s Hydration Lock under the lipstick on one half of my lips and just the lipstick on the other half.
I was actually pretty impressed with the results. I was expecting either no difference or for the Chapstick side to do worse, since it’s kind of… slimy. I would say that the difference was mild, but I definitely see more color on Chapstick-primed side of my face.
|Admire my crooked teeth.|
It’s worth noting that this is just Chapstick Hydration Lock versus literally nothing. It’s perfectly possible that a regular lip balm will work just as well. That’s an empirical question that I would have to test. It does definitely do better than a control, though. At $2.99, it’s probably worth a try.
Total Box Value: $29.82
Overall, I’m moderately pleased with this box. I didn’t find any new holy grails, but I was generally happy with all the samples I got. If I was a rich lady and could justify spending $22 on 8 ounces of shampoo, the box would have worked a little better for me. (I can justify it on makeup, but not on something that I use up so quickly.)
You may have noticed that I like musicals…