Unboxing the Birchbox (and a broken e.l.f.)

14 Sep

Last month, I was contacted by Birchbox to become a member after being on the waitlist for two months (yes, there is a waitlist for Birchbox).  I had read about Birchbox on a few blogs and vlogs and if you know me at all, you know I love, love cosmetics (ever since I was a little girl with four much older sisters and used to steal lipsticks and scratch my 3 year-old fingers in their 1980s blue eyeshadows), so I was excited to give it a go.


Birchbox is a beauty subscription service where for $10 a month, they send you a selection of “on-trend” beauty and “lifestyle items” (what this is exactly, I may never know).  You don’t choose your items, so each month it’s a little surprise in your mailbox.  Most of the items as deluxe-sample size, such as ones you would get via Sephora, but I’ve heard that once in a while, you’ll get a full-sized gem (such as a Stila gloss, etc.).  You can read more about what Birchbox is here.


Some people seem to think that Birchbox is hit-and-miss, but I wanted to give it a solid 3-4 months to try it out for myself.  Last month’s selection was alright — I liked the deluxe-sized Miss Jessie’s Original Stretch Silkening Crème (which works exceptionally well for my curly hair) best.  The rest of the items were rather unmemorable.  I didn’t hate anything, but judging from the photos on the Birchbox website, I was expecting better items from Stila, Kate Spade Beauty, NARS, Kiehl’s, etc (items that I have used and loved).  Most of the brands of the items I received I’ve never heard of, but I suppose that’s the point — to try something new.


I just received this month’s Birchbox and thought I would do an “unboxing” review.  (Note: I haven’t used these products yet, so I really can’t comment on them as far as that goes.)


The cover of the box of goodies is really pretty and simple, which I like. I appreciate that it doesn’t look like something for a teenager or a 65 year-old woman. Classic is best!


After taking the lid off, a monthly “greeting” welcomes you to your Birchbox.



Birchbox September items: Brush Guards, $25 gift card for Madewell, Vasanti BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator, Color Club nail varnish in Insta-This, Dr. Jart+ BB cream, Twistband, Fekkai Advanced Color Care shampoo & conditioner


Review: I think this month’s Birchbox is better than last month’s, but there are a few items that I could do without, primarily the brush guards (which are supposed to hold your makeup bristles in place after cleaning) — which I couldn’t care less about — and the twistband (what?) hair tie (there is NO way this little dinky thing will fit all of my hair — it’s laughable).  I’ve used Fekkai products before and liked them, so I plan to throw the shampoo and conditioner samples into my travel bag for my upcoming trip to New Orleans in October (for my book signing/reading).  The Dr. Jart+ BB cream looks promising, but I’m afraid it might be a shade or two too dark for my pale skin.  I like BB creams, particularly this one from Mark.  The Vasanti BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator (which, at first, I was like WTF is an “enzymatic face rejuvenator?!”)  looks like it might be a great product for my skin — it’s apparently a microexfoliator, which I adore, so we shall see.  I am also excited to use the Madewell $25 gift card because I’ve read so many positive things about their jeans and I’m in the market for a new pair of awesome-fitting jeans since I’ve lost weight post-operation (and plan to keep it off once I my doctor says I return to Pilates and the treadmill/elliptical at the gym).  Finally, the Color Club nail varnish in Insta-This might be fun, but I don’t know how practical this bright cobalt shade is for work.  I think it might be one of those products you just have to try on to see if it works or not.  I know that cobalt is a hot color trend for fall, so I give Birchbox an A in the trend department.  Overall, I would give this month’s Birchbox selection a B-I don’t need the Brush Guards or the Twistband, but I do appreciate the other products and  the gift card from Madewell.  I plan to keep with Birchbox for a couple more months and then make my final decision to stay with the membership or not.  Stay tuned.




If you know me, you know about my undying love for e.l.f. (eyeslipsface) cosmetics.  They’ve been offering great sales and promotions, lately (as they almost always do) — such as 50% off their Studio line and $20 free in mineral makeup and brushes.  I received one of my orders (yes, one of my orders) in the mail today.  It’s a small order (for me) and I had a promo code for free shipping (their shipping is normally $6.95).  Here’s what I got:


Nail varnish in Chocolate, Cuticle Pen, waterproof eyeliner in midnight, eye makeup remover pads, angled blush brush, Studio Maximum Coverage Concealer in porcelain, and the new Studio Baked Eyeshadow Palette in NYC.


I was also supposed to get the Studio small stipple brush, which I was really looking forward to, but it was marked as sold out on my invoice.  A lot of the e.l.f. products quickly become “cult favorites” sell out very fast, which I find annoying.  I was disappointed in the Studio Baked Eyeshadow Palette because it came to me broke, as seen here:



The navy blue shade, which I was really looking forward to trying, was completely broken down to the pan and there was blue shadow everywhere in the palette and on the mirror.  I’ve heard that this happens quite a bit with e.l.f. shipments, but I’ve been a loyal e.l.f. customer for years and have yet to encounter this.  I’m pretty sure it happened in transit, however, even though e.l.f. did wrap my products in bubble wrap.  It’s a bummer, but it happens.  I’m not too upset, because the item wasn’t expensive ($10 for an entire palette of very highly pigmented shadows).  I got this palette last week in the shade California and it came to me fully intact and I’m enjoying the great neutral tones, which work well for fall.

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