When they say first impressions are everything, it’s true. I wanted to love this box so much, but in reality I can’t.
Let me start by saying, I don’t want to bash a company and make it seem horrible. However I do want to share my experience to help others decide if they want to venture into a Birchbox subscription or not. For any newbies to the subscription box scene, Birchbox is a $10 a month subscription that sends you four to six sample (usually deluxe) sizes of assorted beauty products. They have their own shop which includes makeup, skincare, haircare and more, where you get rewarded for purchases. Plus they also offer lifestyle items such as anything from headphones to picture frames. For more information, a sneak peek at the March box, and all of their add ons you can check it out here!
The date night box caught my interest right off the bat, considering I wanted to try three out of the five samples so badly. I could have left it up to chance but I already knew I’d be happy with this box so I thought why not?
It included samples of:
- Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tar in Strumpet
- Cynthia Rowley Beauty Brightening Illuminator
- Whish Renewing Mud Mask
- Amika Bombshell Blowout Spray
- Catherine Malandrino Romance de Provence fragrance sample
I was very interested in the first three, but not crazy about getting a hair and perfume product. I still thought three out of five would be great instead of leaving it all up to chance!
So of course the minute I got the box I ripped open the cardboard packaging (which was soaking wet since it was left in the snow by the mail man,) and dove into the thankfully not soaked pretty box. I immediately wanted to try the lip tar, so of course I did. Let me also say that this sample was shockingly small, and I have to say I was expecting it to be slightly larger than the perfume sample at least. However, when I opened the cap there was product already on the tip and in the cap, which I thought to be strange. I had a hard time getting any product out, like almost squeezing the entire tube flat, which again I thought… strange. Not to mention a little frustrating that there seemed to be hardly any product in an already extremely small sample.
I tried it out anyway and the shade, which is called Strumpet, is quite lovely. It is a berry colored stain and as they say, a little goes a very long way. Although this sample is very tiny, I feel like most peoples sample (not my slightly defective one) would last for quite a while considering how little product it takes to achieve a nice stain. It didn’t seem to dry out my lips and the color lasts for a while. You can use very little for a light coloring or layer it for a deeper, more prominate berry color. Despite the lack of product I still enjoy the shade and formula of this lip product.
The second thing I wanted most was the Cynthia Rowley Brightening Illuminator. Words cannot express how much I actually like this product. The sample came in a little squeeze out tube, and I mention this because the full sized product seems to come in a pen form which seems inconvenient to me considering the consistency of the product. I would definitely repurchase this if it came in a tube one day, I’ve heard nothing but bad things about the pen form.
Anyway, the product itself is liquidy and very easy to work with. It appears to have a slight pinky- peach coloring to it, but on the skin it just looks like your skin is glowing from within (at least my skin did!) I typically use the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Pearl, which also is gorgeous, but is less natural looking and more, well, pearly. This Cynthia Rowley product is so natural looking and adds just the right amount of dewy highlight with out looking like you are trying to highlight your face. I would recommend this to anyone who wants a glowy, subtle sheen and especially to those who have never worked with a highlight before. Very easy to use and very flattering on the skin.
The Amika Bombshell Blowout Spray wasn’t something I was terribly interested in, but with a name like Bombshell I thought alright I’ll give it a try. Boy was I sorry I did. For starters my hair is pretty curly and I rarely blow dry it, so I can keep it healthy. I usually use Miracle 7 which is very similar to It’s a Ten products and that always leaves my hair tangle free and smooth.
This stuff however, dried my hair out so badly I actually stopped using it mid way. Since I blow dry my hair in sections, I divided up my hair and sprayed onto the section ready for drying. I combed it through, began to dry my hair, and I noticed almost immediately my hair starting to frizz. I powered through the first section and when I was done my hair was so dry and brittle I couldn’t justify using it on the other sections of my hair. The only positive I have to say about this product is that it smells very nice. Other than that, I can not recommend this product. Perhaps if you have greasy prone hair this may work better for you. Or as a freshen up product to use in between washes.
Another sample I could live without would be the Catherine Malandrino Romance de Provence perfume. As soon as I opened the box, this thing perforated my senses, and not in a good way. It is so heavy and thick just sitting there in the tester tube. I reluctantly tried it on my wrists anyway for review purposes, but soon after I had to wash it off. It is obnoxiously strong and not even all that pleasant smelling. I hate to say it but it reminded me of those little old ladies who you can smell ten feet away. Perhaps some people like heavily scented perfumes, but not me, so this was a waste of sample to me.
Now for the ultimate disappointed of this box, the Whish Renewing Mud Mask. Sadly this came completely empty and I wish I had realized it sooner. I don’t even know how this is possible, but I’m guessing somewhere in the factory I got the one in a million dud. I was looking forwards to this mud mask as it was one of the three reasons I wanted this box. After writing to customer service, which I’ll delve into soon, I looked up reviews on Birchbox’s site to see what I was missing out on. Well I guess it was a blessing in disguise because most reviews I came across said this mask burned their skin, and they don’t even have sensitive skin. Reports of peoples faces burning and turning red flooded the comments. So I guess not receiving any product saved my semi-sensitive skin from being damaged.
As for customer service I was impressed with how quickly they got back to me. When I realized my Whish sample was non existent I had emailed them explaining what had happened and included my experience with the OCC lip tar as well. Of course they were very sorry and they also said they would mail replacements asap. I was very happy to hear this, especially in such a timely manor. So the next day I got an email saying my lip tar replacement had shipped. A week later the tracking link still didn’t work and there was no sight of the package or any information on the mud mask replacement. I decided to email them again to check in and ask for a working tracking link.
Unfortunately the response I got back was not one I was expecting. I was told that while the lip tar had shipped out, they lost communication with the mailing service and I probably wouldn’t receive it. Don’t necessarily know how this happened but I was not too pleased. I was then told that I wouldn’t be receiving the Whish sample due to inventory issues at the warehouse. Now I completely understand it wasn’t customer services fault and they did compensate me with points which they did not have to do. It’s just a little unnerving that this was my first experience with Birchbox. I don’t feel like it was a good first impression to start off with. With that said I understand mistakes happen and customer service was very responsive and did try to help.
With this experience in mind, I’m going to give it a couple more months to see how I like getting these types of products. In other news I may have signed up for Ipsy as well… oops! Till next month…
What are your thoughts/experiences on Birchbox?