Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Birchbox Review - December 2014

I like pleasant surprises. Like finding a Birchbox in my mailbox on Christmas Eve. What perfect timing :)

What: Birchbox contains 4-6 samples of high-end beauty and lifestyle products
When: Ships on the 10th of each month
Cost: $10/month or $110/year upfront
Fun fact: Birchbox has an awesome points system where you can review products or make purchases from the Birchbox shop to earn points. Every 100 points gets you $10 credit in the BB shop.

Okay I know it's almost a week past Christmas eve, but that's how lazy I am during the holidays. This box was sitting on the table for dayssss but I just kept looking at it and then got lazy and took a nap. I blame the food.

Birchbox scored automatic brownie points for December before I even knew what was inside because the box is just SO pretty. I'm normally not a fan of polka dot patterns but I love the azure/silver combo plus the dots are all different sizes so it just looks like snow in my eyes. :) 
December's theme is "Decked Out" and contains festive samples to help get the celebrations started a bit early. There's also a $10 coupon for Gap - no strings attached, no minimum purchase. It's been ages since I've set foot in any Gap store so I guess it's about time I see what kind of stuff they carry nowadays.
December info card
Davines Naturaltech Replumping Shampoo, Conditioner & Superactive (Total sample value: $23.00) - Davines is an Italian hair cosmetics company whose products are found primarily in salons and spas (and now Birchbox). I've tried the Davines brand before in my September box and was impressed with how hydrating the OI conditioner was. The Naturaltech line is new for me and I'm excited to see how it compares to the OI products. These are all referred to as "replumping" which means they should...add volume? According to the shampoo and conditioner product pages they're supposed to compact hair and add elasticity. Does elasticity = volume? I'm especially curious about the Replumping Hair Filler Superactive. First of all, I wasn't even sure what that meant. Hair filler...is it for bald spots? Davine's product page explains that hair will look compact, replumped, and shiny. Not to mention have longer lasting hold. So it's part hair spray? The overall gist I'm getting is that this set is intended for limp hair. Mine is anything but. Sure, it lacks style, but it's already pretty thick and at times frizzy. I wonder if replumping thick hair will result in a bouffant?

Mirenesse iCurl Secret Weapon 24Hr Mascara (0.14oz sample value: $11.60) - Okay so I've got these annoying hooded eyelids that make my stick straight eyelashes point downward. Like, a lot. Even if I curl them, they straighten out with the first swipe of mascara and stare at the ground again. Every single mascara that promises to hold a curl has totally failed me. Until now. You won't believe how ecstatic I was when this only made my eyelashes point halfway down instead of down down dowwwn. It doesn't quite hold a nice curl, but it's a heck of a lot better than other mascaras. My only beef is with my wallet. It doesn't really want to part with $29 just for a tube of mascara. I can't say I blame it, either. Twenty-nine is pretty much the same as saying $30, and there is no way I'd ever hand over $30 for 0.35oz of cosmetics, no matter how great it works.
I love this little wonderbrush and formula
Manna Kadar Lip Locked - Lucky (0.01oz sample value: $0.20) - This is a tiny tube. That's okay, though, because it takes me forever to get through lip products anyway. This particular Lip Locked stain got rave reviews. I'm not sure if it's because I'm not too familiar with stains, but I didn't care for it as much as everyone else seems to. It felt too oily for me. I personally don't care if my lip glosses have staying power or not because I really don't mind reapplying if I need to (in reality I just end up throwing on some lip balm by the end of the day and I'm cool with that). That said, this stain does last longer than a lip gloss, as it should. I licked my lips several times before the color even started to fade. But it was no match for happy hour - martini in one hand and pupus in the other. The color was completely gone by the time I got home :(
Swatch of the Manna Kadar Lip Locked stain in Lucky
SeaRx Microdermabrasion Face and Body Scrub (0.30oz sample value: $2.50) - I got this in Ipsy a couple of months ago. My thoughts? It's alright. But nothing special. This is a microdermabrasion scrub made with minerals derived from the Dead Sea. I thought it'd have a salt abrasive because (duh) Dead Sea. But that doesn't seem to be the case. The grit doesn't really dissolve like sea salt should. Like other facial scrubs, this should be used 1-2x a week to exfoliate and reveal brighter skin. I personally prefer more abrasive scrubs because those tiny microbeads don't seem to do anything for me in terms of exfoliation, but if you have sensitive skin you may want to give this a shot.

English Laundry Signature for Her (~2ml approx sample value: $2.80) - I'm going to be honest. I don't know what this smells like. I haven't taken it out of the sealed envelope because I'm not planning to wear it. C complains that 99.5% of my perfumes give him a headache so I've succumbed to not wearing any. From what I can smell through the envelope, this smells floral with a hint of musk. But I could be totally off-base because my nose sucks and all perfumes are either fruity or floral to me. Actually, sniffing this through the envelope is giving me a headache now. Nope, definitely not for me.

So was December's box a wonderful Christmas present after all? First off: I love the variety in here: haircare, skincare, makeup for eyes and lips, and even some fragrance. This is probably the highest value box I've had in a long while at $40 thanks to the Davines Superactive. Unfortunately, I don't think I'll be getting use out of it because I don't have limp hair. I think the Mirenesse made this whole box for me and if I didn't already open the lip stain, the mascara be the only thing I'd be keeping. Definitely not one of my favorite curations, but Birchbox is safe for now. I'm trying to cut down on boxes, we'll see if it makes the cut in a few months.

Do you like what you see in this box? If you want to sign up for a Birchbox, use my link and start discovering some awesome beauty products.

There's also a points special going on now -
NEWYEAR5 - Spend $30 and get 20 extra Birchbox points
NEWYEAR10 - Spend $50 and get 50 extra points
NEWYEAR20 - Spend $75 and get 125 extra points
But hurry, this deal ends tomorrow (12/31)!

Note: Post contains referral links. All opinions contained within this post are my own.

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