Sunday, September 14, 2014

Birchbox "Fresh Paint" September 2014 Review

This month Birchbox again gave several options to choose from - pick 1 of various samples or go with the Birchbox x Fashionista box.  Although the Birchbox x Fashionista collab had a number of items I really like, I decided to go with the pick 1 option since I was pretty disappointed with my choice to pick the Birchbox x The Everygirl collab last month when other subscribers seemed to have gotten much better samples going the other route.

I'm afraid that again I may have made a blunder. I'm very impressed with what others received in the Birchbox x Fashionista box and extremely underwhelmed by everything in my box aside from the 1 sample I selected (Davines Conditioner). To note, the Fashionista box included a travel size Macadamia Oil Conditioner worth $15 (would love to try anything by this brand), a Dr. Brandt Pores No More Vacuum Cleaner Mask (like this brand!), Cynthia Rowley Silver Eyeliner (already have & love), Laura Mercier Mascara (like I was supposed to receive too), and  Naobay Radiance Lotion. The only item I wouldn't have been overly excited about was the Naobay.

My box contained: Acure Organics Day Cream (Full-size, $18.99), Davines OI Conditioner (Full-size, $32), Harvey Prince Ageless Liquid Loofah (Full-size, $22), Real Chemistry  Luminous 3-Minute Peel (Full-size, $48), Temptu S/B Highlighter in Champagne Shimmer (Full-size, $27.50), and 2 bonus items with my selected Davines sample - Davines OI Shampoo (Full-size, $26) and Davines OI Oil (Full-size, $41).

I received another Acure product just last month - the Brightening Facial Scrub. It was alright the first time I tried it but nothing extraordinary - at least for my skin type.  I was so underwhelmed by it that I actually ended up deciding to swap it before trying it a second time. This brand just doesn't seem to be my cup of tea, so I was surprised to get products from them 2 months in a row. Honestly speaking, I already have enough day creams so I think this one will be gifted or swapped. It doesn't seem like anything particularly unique. It's advertised as an anti-aging firming moisturizer made with gotu kola stem cells and seems to have a bit of a citrus scent.

This was the crown jewel of the box. The Davines OI Conditioner was the only sample that I personally selected. I picked it instead of the other options (many of which were very appealing!) because I absolutely loved the Davines LOVE Shampoo & Conditioner, and OI All-in-One Milk I received in a previous box. The OI Conditioner sample size (a 2.53 oz tub) looked very generous and this option came with 2 bonus samples, the OI Shampoo and OI Oil. So, it definitely seemed like the most bang for your buck.  The full size products are all pretty expensive so it was important to me to try out the samples before deciding to commit. The Davines LOVE Conditioner sample I'd received before was in a foil packet like the Shampoo & Oil ones this time, so I didn't have the chance to make sure I loved it equally after multiple uses. This deluxe sample will give me the chance!

I really liked the Harvey Prince "Hello" perfume sample that I received a while back, so I hate to say that I was disappointed by this sample. There's nothing wrong with it really. It's just that Birchbox sent out an email letting everyone know they could preview online what they were going to receive this month before it shipped. So, I took a sneak peek and was really excited to see that I would be receiving the Laura Mercier Mascara that those who selected the Birchbox x Fashionista box were also receiving. 

I wasn't super excited about the other randomly selected samples so that was going to be the big win that made this box worth it this time around (+ the Davines samples I selected). To my surprise, I opened the box and found out that I received this shower gel instead. Very disappointing. I'd never received an item in a box that was different than what was listed under my "Box History". I've contacted Birchbox Customer Service to let them know and hopefully I will be able to get the Laura Mercier product I was supposed to receive. That being said, the shower gel has a very nice grapefruit scent. I'm just more of a luxury bar soap person than shower gel person. This would be great for travel though!

I'd seen some other subscribers get this 3 Minute Peel a few months back and was intrigued.  However, my skin is extremely dry and can be quite sensitive. So, I'm a little bit wary about products that could be too harsh. This product is supposed to help with: controlling acne breakouts, diminishing dark spots, reducing ingrown hair, evening skin tone, brightening complexion, and smoothing & resurfacing skin texture. The box does say it is gentle unlike chemical or abrasive peels so I think it will be fine for me and I definitely plan to try it soon. This is probably the randomly selected sample I'm most excited about in this box.

The Temptu Highlighter is another disappointing sample.  It's hard to give you an exact idea about the size of this sample (.1 oz) but it is tiny.  For reference, the photo above shows it on top of the Birchbox lid. It's not even as large as the rectangular logo on the lid. The other odd thing about this sample is that most Temptu products are sold in pods and are supposed to be applied with the Temptu airbrush machine. This particular version of the highlighter doesn't have to be, but it is also sold in pod form. I think because Temptu is really known for its airbrush products, this won't really give me a good idea of what I think of them.  Additionally, it probably goes best with other Temptu products - which would not only cost me $30-45 per pod, but would also require the purchase of the airbrush applicator machine which is sold in a $170 kit. That's a pretty massive investment! My advice: if you're thinking of investing in Temptu products, go try them out at the Birchbox Soho store. I don't think this one itty bitty sample will give you an idea. On the plus side, this sample looks like it would work on all skin tones. It creates a sheer dewy look that glows but doesn't really adjust pigmentation at all. 

My overall verdict? Quite disappointed this month. It's so difficult to judge what's the right move to take, now that Birchbox gives you some choices.  The Davines samples alone probably did justify the cost of the box, which I got at a discount since I have an annual subscription.  I am seriously considering investing in a full size Davines product so that's really useful. However, I really could have done without all of the other samples. None of them were really for me this time. They were mostly skincare related and I was hoping for makeup, nail polish, or haircare products this time. It seems like the majority of products I get in my boxes (2/5?) are skincare which is the 1 category I said I was NOT interested in when filling out my beauty profile.

I hope Birchbox sticks to our preferences in the beauty profile a little more closely in the future and/or I get more opportunities to select products for my box that fall outside of that category. I don't mind some but 2 out of 5 products is not at all what I would like. Still hopeful for next time and over the whole subscription period have been generally very pleased with my Birchboxes.

Addendum 9/14: Birchbox customer service got back to me very quickly and kindly offered to send an extra Laura Mercier Mascara sample to replace the one I should have received. They really could not have been nicer about it. Just another reason to love Birchbox!

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