Birchbox July 2013 Unboxing & Review

My first beauty subscription box of the month arrived over the weekend… BIRCHBOX!

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Birchbox is a beauty-themed monthly subscription box service featuring both well-established and budding cosmetic and skincare brands, hair care items and occasional snack items which boasts an ambitious tagline, “Discover your next EVERYTHING.”

For a flat $10 monthly fee, Birchbox promises between 5-6 items, ranging from sample sized to full-size items to help aid the discovery of your new favorite erh… everything.  After you receive your items, you can review each piece on the Birchbox site to receive 10 points per review (10 points = $1) to accumulate and use in the Birchbox store. The review feature is probably what keeps me coming back for more, since each month has at least 5 pieces for review, which drops my box price to around $5 monthly in the grand scheme of things. 🙂

Each month also has a different theme, and Birchbox often links up with magazines and TV shows (like Woman’s Health Magazine and USA’s ‘Suits’) to help support their themes.

Now Birchbox and I; we go way back. At least, we go back longer than my other subscription services: Birchbox and I have been ‘going steady’ since November 2012. And since we have a history, I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with this monthly service. I have had both STRUTS and STUMBLES with Birchbox and lately I have been feeling like this box is a bit… dull? I have felt a little short-changed by Birchbox, especially since they have developed a rather loathsome habit lately which will be discussed a bit later in this review.

On to this month’s box: Birchbox July 2013 “Power Play” Unboxed

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Looks like a good amount of stuff right? Here’s what I received in this month’s “Power Play” themed box:

Let’s start with the most offensive items in the box: Kérastase’s Bain Chroma Riche shampoo & Kérastase’s Masque Chroma Riche Treat conditioner in the LOATHSOME foil packets.

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My deep seeded hatred for foil packets has been around since my first job as a wee lass working behind a makeup counter. Clients would always ask me, “Why do you give us such puny  samples in these foil packets, don’t you know we can’t get more than one use out of them? How are we supposed to know if we really like a product?” My response was always to shove more foil packets their way as a means of appeasement, but now as a seasoned cosmetic consumer, I get it. The only thing that irks me more than a foil packet sample is a foil packet sample for hair product. Let me explain…

1) Unless the foil packet is the size of a snack-sized Ziploc, it isn’t going to be enough product for even one full use in my hair. I MIGHT be able to squeeze one use out of these particular packets, but come on Birchbox, you know I have 18ish inch hair… I took your survey plenty of times! If you are going to send me something and ask for my feedback, please at least send me enough to formulate an actual opinion about whether or not I like it…

2) These samples have NO real value. I am a member of the P&G sampling program, where (upon request) they send me FREE foil packets just like these ones, just because they want me to try out the products from their brand. I know Birchbox is only $10 a month, but putting these in the box on a monthly basis makes the box look cheap and I want to feel like I am getting value.

Fingers crossed it doesn’t happen again next month. Ok, rant over.

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The next item I pulled out of the box was a rather small (at least it wasn’t a foil packet!) sample of the BENTA BERRY G-1 Moisturizing Face Cream. I haven’t tried anything from this brand before, but as a first impression, I liked the texture of the cream and it didn’t have an off-putting aroma, so I will try it out and review it in a future post. The size looks like it is enough to get about 3 days use out of, so that should be enough to decide whether or not it is a strut or stumble.

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The next item in my box was teased in the Birchbox July Sneek Peek video: Birchbox Branded Hair Pins. These pins are cute and whimsical with the mint green pattern, so I can see myself getting some use out of them. I like it when companies send these little ‘surprise extras,’ since they give me a chance to try something new. Birchbox sent us a branded nail file a few months back as another “Beauty Extra” and it has come in handy as well. Would I have purchased printed pins like these on my own? Probably not. Will I give them a whirl? Certainly. They were a nice addition to the box and I have no harsh feelings toward Birchbox for shamelessly sending us branded product. 🙂

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When I saw another tube of product in my box, I was really hoping it wasn’t going to be just another face cream and to my surprise and delight, it wasn’t! This Pür Minerals CC Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 40 has me all kinds of excited to put it on my face. I have been looking for something a little lighter to wear on my face for the summer, and BB & CC creams are all the rage lately in cosmeticsland. The sample size is generous, so I will likely get a week’s use out of the tube and I will get a chance to really decide if I like it. The color also looks like it is on point and the texture didn’t feel the least bit greasy when I swatched the product, so Birchbox gets a high five for including this in my July box.

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Concluding this month’s Birchbox offerings was a FULL-SIZED ModelCo Party Proof Lipstick in “Get Naked.” This is the hat trick that keeps me coming back for more with Birchbox, you never know what will be in your box! This sheer nude lipstick is both lovely and functional, two of my favorite things in a cosmetic item. It glides on smoothly, has a pleasant scent and the packaging is pretty darn cute to stash inside any makeup bag. I also really like the ‘keyhole’ top of the tube that allows you to see the color of the lipstick, great for upright storage in my makeup kit where this little buddy will probably end up someday. For now, I plan to wear this and experiment with nude for a while and I will post a further review up at a later date. 🙂

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So that wraps it up for my July 2013 Birchbox unboxing! Here is a breakdown of the approximate value of each of the items in the box:

Kérastase’s Bain Chroma Riche shampoo: Value $1.90

Kérastase’s Masque Chroma Riche Treat conditioner: Value $4.58

BENTA BERRY G-1 Moisturizing Face Cream: Value $3.67

Birchbox Branded Hair Pins: Value $1.67

ModelCo Party Proof Lipstick in “Get Naked”: Value $8

Pür Minerals CC Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 40: Value $7.60

Total Value: $27.42 ($20.94 if you don’t count the stupid foil packets)

I have to say, this month’s Birchbox was a little shaky at first, but I am going to have to say they pulled it out with a STRUT in the final inning. Yes, I think the foil packets are lame, but the CC cream, hair pins and full-sized lipstick gave me a satisfactory return on my meager investment in this month’s box so I will be continuing my monthly subscription. And since I received 6 products in this box versus the usual 5 we have to review, it drops my actual sample box price to a mere $4. (happy dance) Bravo Birchbox 🙂

If you would like to join me monthly with Birchbox, please use my referral link to sign up! I get points when people use my link, so if you like my reviews, please pay it forward lovelies 🙂 Shameless, I know.

If you’re already subscribed, I would love to hear what you got in your own box! Also looking for suggestions as to which items you all would like to see reviewed, so don’t be shy and leave me a comment. 🙂

Until next time, thank you all for reading my post and I hope you’re having a wonderful day.

struts, stumbles, hugs & kisses- Nicole

Unboxing video for Birchbox July 2013!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBX8sSS58eM&w=420&h=315]