Do you ever get stuck in a beauty product rut? Back in November, I did, so I decided to sign up for Birchbox. For £12.95 per month, you receive five beauty samples each month, and you can cancel at any time. It’s cheaper if you sign up for six months or a year, but a monthly payment with no commitment was exactly what I wanted, just in case I turned out to be rubbish at all this ‘looking my best’ nonsense.
Just a note: this is not a sponsored post, I’m just really excited about trying new things!
You can fill in a beauty profile – hair type, skin tone, what type of products do you want to try (I’ve asked for extra organic stuff) – and they try to personalise your box based on that. Your products come in a nice reusable card box, which I’m currently using to store the beauty products I don’t use.
I wanted to review the boxes I’ve received, partly for my own records of what I might like to buy more of, and partly because it might be useful for other people.
Moaning first: I find the delivery service they use quite irritating. They had my December box in the warehouse for about two weeks before I complained and it miraculously arrived the next day – not really sure my complaint did anything, but it was still a long delay, and the delivery company never bothered to reply to my email. From a purely selfish point of view, I wish they’d use Royal Mail because, if I miss a delivery, the sorting office is right by the train station so I could collect it on my way home. I missed one delivery from this company and the guy left my parcel under a pile of leaves by my front door – entertaining, but not exactly secure, and I feel like he might have been mocking my poor gardening/housekeeping skills.
The theme for November was Cosy at Home, which to me means no makeup, but not to the Birchbox folk. See – I’m learning already! There were five beauty products, plus one lifestyle supplement, which I won’t review because I gave it to my mum.
Révérence de Bastien Nail Polish No. 10 (normally £16) – Full size!
What: A premium lacquer that’s packed with pigment for a luxe finish, and is free from an array of chemical nasties.
Thoughts: I only applied one coat, because I am lazy. It dries the same colour as it looks in the bottle, and I imagine that two layers would give a nice rich colour – it’s a bit see through with one layer. I’ve had it on my toes for two weeks, and it’s a bit chipped, but not as bad as a lot of nail varnishes I own. I’m not very inspired by the packaging, which is a bit dated, and the lid feels cheap (as it’s full size, I assume the real product is the same), but I like that it’s a bit natural (I am uncertain how natural exactly). The colour I received doesn’t seem to be available on the Birchbox site, so I’m just linking to everything that is.
Would I buy: Honestly? No. I wouldn’t pay £16 for nail varnish. Besides, this one will probably last me for years.
Beauty Protector Protect & Treat Hair Mask (normally £16)
What: Rejuvenate and protect your hair with this luxurious mask packed with argan oil, honey, amber and crushed pearls (yes, really!).
Thoughts: This smells amazing, and I think my hair looks nicer than usual after using it. I got two little pots and gave one to my brother’s girlfriend (who is really into beauty stuff) in her Christmas stocking, so this one has been a big old win.
Would I buy: I’m not sure I’m a hair mask person. I didn’t really know what to do with myself while I waited in my freezing cold bathroom for 10 minutes while it worked its magic. Still, I’ve got loads left in the tester pot, so it might win me round.
Lord & Berry Mini Bronzer, Sienna (normally £19)
What: Super fine, matte bronzing pigments create a healthy glow for a burst of radiance (without the tell-tale shimmer!).
Thoughts: Confession time – I don’t know the difference between bronzer and blusher. I normally use Dallas by Benefit, which is the latter, apparently. I apply them in the same way, so I guess that’s fine. This is quite sparkly, so I don’t know what they mean about no tell tale shimmer. At first I didn’t think it looked that good with my skin tone, but I’ve got used to it now, and I really like it.
Would I buy: Dallas is £23.50 per pot, which horrified me when I just looked it up, but I get through about one every two years, so I suppose I can live with that. This is £19 for the same amount (12g), so it’s a bit cheaper, and the packaging is nice and smart (my sample is just in a little plasticky pod thing, sadly), so I might switch allegiances.
Pixi by Petra Shea Butter Lip Balm (normally £8) – Full size!
What: A full size nourishing lip balm packed with Shea butter – plus a hint of colour
Thoughts: This is nice! I liked the colour, which was subtle enough that I didn’t manage to smear it all over my face, but bright enough to make me look like I wasn’t dead. It’s pretty moisturising, and God knows I love lip balm.
Would I buy: Yes, I think I would. It bridges the gap between lip balm and Clinique chubby sticks. Since I hate Clinique and blame them for everything that is wrong and weird about my skin (clarifying lotion of maximum burn, I’m looking at you), I would be very happy to stop buying chubby sticks.
Dr Jart + Pore Refine Recover Primer (normally £18) – Full size!
What: Treat, heal and conceal with this mattifying primer that minimises imperfections for a flawless make-up base
Thoughts: I’ve been using Benefit POREfessional for ages, and I like it a lot. This is a bit different as I think it’s more about treating the problem, while providing some level of coverage for your saucer pores. This definitely leaves my skin less greasy at the end of the day (possibly less greasy than wearing no make-up at all). If you’re not putting anything on top of it, then I’d go for the POREfessional, since it has a bit of colour to it, but if you add on some extra makeup layers, then this really starts to impress with a silky smooth looking finish.
Would I buy: OUT OF THE WAY DR OETKER, IT’S YOUR PIZZAS THAT CAUSED THIS PROBLEM! DR JART IS MY NEW GP!!! Yes, yes I would. The bottle is massive, so I think it’s really good value. I’d also like to try the other products in the range.