Sunday, December 29, 2013

Birchbox "Sparkle and Shine" December 2013 Review

Other than the *two* fabulous DIY Birchboxes I purchased from Birchbox Local this year, I hadn't ordered a Birchbox since April 2012. I was tempted to try again after reading some recent reviews. I thought, what better time to treat myself than for Christmas? ...and the free Birchbox pouch offer didn't hurt. Overall I must say, this month's box didn't disappoint!

I've taken a look at a few other bloggers' reviews of this month's box. I noticed that hardly any of them contained the same products as mine. I was really impressed by this because I think that since the last time I ordered a Birchbox, the company has taken greater efforts to really customize the boxes for each subscriber based on the profile questions they asked when I joined.

My box contained: Camille Beckman Body Butter in Morelia Monarch Scent (Full-size, $15), Joie Folle de Joie eau de parfum (Full-size, $98), Jouer Pink Glace Moisturizing Lip Gloss (Full-size, $20), Toni & Guy Casual Sea Salt Texturizing Spray (Full-size, $15), and a Chuao Chocopod (8-Piece Gift Set, $9.95).

The body butter seemed to be the one consistent product across most peoples' Birchboxes this month. I'd say about 1/2-1/3 of the reviews I've read included this product. I have to admit on first sight I was not overly excited about the product. I have a lot of similar products that I really like and wasn't familiar with the brand. However, Birchbox is all about trying NEW things. I was excited to see that this product is recommended for use on elbows and knees, since there are so many products already out there for hands. I look forward to testing it on my dry skin during the winter months. The scent is really pretty neutral, a bit on the sweet side but not flowery at all like I expected.

I was excited to see the Jouer gloss in my box! I had heard about the brand a lot lately and had considered purchasing one of their luxurious Christmas crackers. I love the subtle color of this gloss and the intense shine. I also like that it contains Shea butter and jojoba oil because my lips can get pretty chapped in the winter weather. I wish the sample was a little bigger, since it looks like it's only good for about 5 uses. However, I really like that the sample looks EXACTLY like a mini version of the full-sized product.

As you may have seen in my Birchbox Local review, I absolutely love Joie's new "folle de joie" eau de parfum. I first discovered the scent at the RewardStyle NYFW party, where Joie gifted me a tube of the "folle de joie" hand creme. I've been coveting the eau de parfum ever since! Unfortunately, a bottle does run around $100 and I have recently bought some other perfumes. So, I will definitely be enjoying my 2 samples from Birchbox Local and this new sample until I can justify purchasing a full-sized bottle. It's such a rich, sophisticated, and elegant scent. It reminds me of an English garden!

The Toni & Guy Casual Sea Salt Texturizing Spray was the largest sample I received in the box. It's a generous 2.5 oz bottle. I've gotten more into hair products lately. I have straight hair that I mostly like to style in a sleek, polished way. So, I'm not a big fan of "texturizing" products in general. But, I'm willing to give any new look a try. I've seen some photos from other bloggers and it looks like this product gives a fantastic beachy look! I was a little disappointed since this was the largest product, but overall I was very pleased with how well the other products in the box suited my taste and needs.

The "Lifestyle Extra" I received was a Chuao Honeycomb chocolate. I must admit that the "Lifestyle Extras" definitely look like they will be my favorite products overall. I just love hair accessories, home accessories, and gourmet food products. I was super excited when I saw some other blogger received 2 tea bags from Kusmi tea (one of my fave stores!!), but I was not disappointed getting the Chuao chocolate. I got two samples of a different flavor before at Birchbox Local and got one of their Spicy Maya bars recently at TJ Maxx. They are delicious! I love the creativity they put into their flavors. I saw in a previous Birchbox that another blogger received the Popcorn Pop flavor - that's definitely the next one I'd love to try!

As I mentioned before, there was a special offer for new subscribers this month. So, I got a cute little Birchbox branded mint & navy pouch. I thought it would be a make-up pouch but it's actually more like a coin pouch (the size of a credit card). It might actually work out well for stashing some of the tiny sample products like the Jouer gloss in my purse! There were a couple other items in my box this month too. There was a little Digimate sticker for your smartphone with details on how to download the Birchbox App and a promo card for the new Cynthia Rowley collection exclusively at Birchbox.

The verdict: This month's box was really interesting because no two seemed to be the same - and NONE were particularly similar to mine! I also thought that of all the products that I saw were sent out, the ones sent to me were the best suited for me. So, I will definitely continue to give Birchbox a shot. I think they do the best job at the moment of customizing the boxes for individuals which is really fantastic! The only products I envied that other subscribers received were the Tocca hand cream and the Kusmi tea. However, I was really happy with what I did receive and am sure I will get to try more products by them in the future!

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