MAGIC BOX: Birchbox

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I had debated for some time about trying out the makeup sample subscription boxes that seem to be everywhere.  Birchbox was one of the first I think that really made its presence known to the American consumer.  I wasn’t sure if paying for samples, which up to that point, you could get for free, direct from the company that manufactured it, was worth paying for.

The whole point of samples was that it was a sample, it was free, and you could try it without breaking your bank account.  I paid $10.00 for this box, which is not exactly breaking the bank, but it’s for samples, not full size product.  I am now paying for something I used to be able to get for free.  Now some companies still do offer free samples, and I suppose companies like Birchbox will offer the reason that they look for these freebies for you, this takes research, and they assemble five samples and put them in a box and this costs money to ship, hence the $10.00 tag.

I bought it because I wanted to see what the fuss was all about.

Birchbox has a points system, and a refer a friend program.  They also have tutorials and beauty guides for men and women on their site.  They have a women’s and men’s beauty product sections.  Each sample has a product page on the website if you want to get a full size version and has a bit more detail on the product along with an ingredient list and member feedback/critiques.

The box comes with a positive vibe, a big YES! scrawled across it.  The box is a peachy pink.  I opened the box and there is….a second box with a pretty blue pattern inside with a Benefit’s  “They’re Real” promotion card and a small perfume sample box lying on top of it:

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So a box within a box.  OK.

I take the lid off the blue box.  I find another card, this one explaining the “theme” of the sample collection for the month of November.  This one is called The Finishing Touch and the blurb reads:  “This month is all about those extra, just-because details that make all the difference.”  Within the design of the box you will find the phrases “A sweep of mascara”,  “A swipe of lip color”, “A stroke of brow pencil” and “A flick of eyeliner”:

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Juliette has a gun (not a perfume) I tried as a perfume.  I noticed this was not included in the description above as a “scent of” or something.  Hm.  The scent is immediate, strong and sweet to me.  The scent reminds me of a candy scent I had a long time ago when I was 12, but can’t place my finger on.  Sometimes I wonder if all the perfumes in the world are already done, and the perfume people just repackage them under another name after retiring it for a bit. The scent was too juvenile and strong for me.  But for those who are interested in staying power and sugary sweet scents, this one may be for you.  The packaging for the bullet spray would have been more promising, but I don’t put perfume on for packaging, I put it on for the scent and how it makes me feel.

This is their description — apparently it is owned by the famous RICCI family, the great-grandson in this case (L’Air du Temps, anyone?)

JULIETTE HAS A GUN

Has several scents in its perfume line, and the one that’s called (not a perfume) is because it has only one note – it’s not mixed with others to make a more complex scent.  So it’s not perfume as we know it by today’s standards but perhaps once upon a time wayyyy back.  It’s supposed to be unique and the scent never known before.  I admit I haven’t run the gamut and worn or sniffed of every perfume in the world, but this one seems just so….familiar.  The one ingredient is called Cetalox and is normally used as the base scent to other perfumes, and is considered an ambergris (musk, amber, animalic smells).  So perhaps there’s some truth in my getting this “hey I’ve smelled this before” initial reaction.  As time goes on, “not a perfume” does change with your body chemistry.  Mine got softer and less sharp/strong.  Perfume usually smells a bit sweet on me anyway so a sample to try is always good before buying a full bottle.  On their website I see they have a sample set called The Discovery Kit – The Essentials that houses 8 of the brand’s scents – Gentlewoman, Miss Charming, Not a Perfume, Lady Vengeance, Anyway, Oil Fiction, Another Oud, and White Spirit.

Juliette has a Gun is a fragrance house based in Paris and founded in 2006 by Romano RICCI. Products currently include perfume, scented candles and accessories. All products are made with a distinct focus on craftsmanship and quality. Click here to discover the complete collection.

The full size price for this not perfume is $100-$135.00 (U.S.)

MODSTER Smooth Ride Supercharged Eyeliner

The full size is priced at $20.00 (U.S.) — and no wonder.  The quality of the pencil is such that it stays in place for a long time.  Your makeup remover may have a challenge with this one as it’s waterproof.  But I like the black color they sent and may consider buying the full size, another in grey.  The reason for its smoothness and durability may lie in what’s called a Volatile Oil and a Silicone Oil and Carnauba Wax. The product claims to give you “time” for blending but I wouldn’t linger or give it a minute, you should move fast with this as soon as you glide it on.  It set on me pretty quick.

Details

A creamy waterproof eyeliner supercharged with pure pigments. The soft and creamy formula of MODSTER Eyeliner glides on effortlessly, allows enough time for blending, then sets to a long lasting finish that won’t budge, no matter what trouble you get into!

The pigment level has been maxed out to achieve a color payoff that is second to none. The formula is soft enough to glide-on easily yet firm enough to precisely draw thin lines.

Volatile Oil adds glide to the formula, then evaporates to set to a long lasting finish. Silicone Oil adds glide to the formula and contains moisturizing properties. Nylon 12 provides a silky smooth, creamy texture. Carnauba Wax increases long lasting wear. Made in Germany.

100% cruelty-free product.

0.04 oz

NUMBER 4 Jour d’Automne Smoothing Balm

Full size tube is $30.00 (U.S.) and claims that “this formula minimizes frizz, gives hair a soft touchable texture and even protects against humidity and heat damage.  Simply apply to damp hair and dry as usual for a smooth polished look”.  There’s a mention on Birchbox of it being like a hair mask.  I love hair masks.  They do emphasize to only use a little to damp hair.

There is a light lemony smell to it, not overpowering.  I have not used it yet. On the link provided, there is an ingredient list, which I note provides a lot of flowers and herbs at the end of it (sunflower seed, oat salvia, coltsfoot, black currant, pea, kelp, goldenseal).

There is currently a promotion for this product at birchbox:  Can’t get enough of Number 4 Hair Care? We feel you. For a limited time, get a free Number 4™ Texture Styling Créme sample with qualifying $25+ purchase of any full-size product(s) from the Birchbox Shop. Use code: NO4CREME at checkout.

BENEFIT “They’re Real!” Lengthening Mascara

Full size container is $24.00 (U.S.) and I believe it’s worth it.  It’s one of the better mascaras out there.  I have mentioned this before in a prior post when I did the Tarte Limited Edition Claypot Eyeliner in Unicorn Kisses post.  Those are my lashes, improved with just this mascara — I don’t use falsies and with this product, I definitely don’t need to.  Consistent in quality, provides the thickness without too much clump, and stays put.

BALANCE ME “Tinted Eye Cream”

Balance Me’s Tinted Eye Cream in full size would cost $38.00 (U.S.) and smells a little “clean” like “Cover Girl” scent clean.  As an eye cream, it is to refresh the delicate area under your eyes and give you a rested look.  It also is tinted, which may or may not work if you are a deeper color.  Birchbox also suggests to use it as a makeup base for eyeshadow for the eyelids!  Contains vitamin E, cucumber, aloe vera and rosehip oils as part of its ingredient list.

I am currently using the “Take A Breath” for the eyes by philosophy which goes on clear.  I’m debating to use this Tinted Eye Cream when I put makeup on versus putting it on for day/nighttime before going to bed so I don’t smear the pillows when I sleep.

And that’s it for this month’s Birchbox.  There was nothing for the lips, no lipstick or balm for the lips.  So no “swipe of lip color” that the Birchbox theme card mentioned.  Interesting.

Would I spend another $10?  Is it worth a subscription?  It does provide products from around the world as well as American.  So it’s interesting to try them out.  There is no shipping charge if you get the subscription — but why would there be when you’re paying $10 for what are essentially free product samples to begin with?

Is it worth $10?  I would say no.  The production selection wasn’t very interesting or diverse.  And I can’t help but feel I’m paying more for the box and the shipping costs than I am for samples.  Maybe if it were 10 samples I’d feel better, or five samples and a full size product, I don’t know.  But I did say I would try a full size of one of the products, so it’s not a total washout.

I may stay on for another month before deciding to cancel altogether.  I’m always willing to give a company a chance to show me what they’ve got and why they exist.

If you don’t have the $10, I’d say it’s OK to pass. (Apologies, I kept writing $20 when it should have been $10.  Whether 20 or 10, my point still stands)

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