Tag Archives: Birchbox

Birchbox: September 2015

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Happy Birthday Birchbox! This month the beauty box subscription service celebrates it’s 5th Birthday and have marked the occasion by putting together a special box to treat subscribers to a taste of the best that America has to offer in hair, beauty and make up brands. I am reasonably happy with my samples overall so I am trying not to succumb to box envy once again when I see pics of other peoples’ box contents on social media! Here’s what I received in mine:

Bliss Lemon + Sage Body Butter

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I have always had a healthy interest in Bliss products but have only got round to actually trying one or two for myself so I was pleased to see this body butter in my box. Nothing beats the feeling of freshly cleansed and moisturised limbs but I often skip the moisturising part due to lack of time. I made a conscious effort to slow down and give this body butter a try post-shower and i’m certainly glad that I did. Slathering on a generous layer of this gorgeous smelling lotion left even the driest patches on my body feeling noticeably softer and smoother.

Laqa & Co Cheeky Lip Pencil in ‘Humble Brag’

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I’m rarely disappointed by the inclusion of a make up item in any of my boxes and this was no exception. This multitasking, easy to use pencil adds a flush of colour to both lips and cheeks. The shade is quite a bright pink and I was worried that it’d look a bit full on at first as I don’t usually go for such shades but once I got used to it I quite liked it. I own quite a few various lip pencils as they are great for adding a quick flash of colour when you are in a hurry or out and about but the formula rarely lasts very long so it constantly needs to be reapplied. If this isn’t really an issue for you then I would say that this is a good product, though I have tried others that are just as good and far cheaper (the rrp for this one is £17).

John Masters Organics Citrus Neroli Detangler

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Regular readers will know that hair products are not one of my passions, but since I have such short, fine hair I am grateful for anything that will help to protect what little I have to work with! I often fret about the amount of hair that I lose in the shower due to knotting and tangling and here is a product that promises to tackle that problem. It is applied to wet, clean hair and can either be rinsed away after 1-3 minutes or used as a leave-in treatment. I chose to rinse it out since my hair can sometimes look greasy quite quickly and I didn’t want to risk that. The product smells divine and really helped to keep my hair tangle free.

Beauty Protector Beauty Wash

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This exclusive-to-Birchbox brand has impressed me in the past with it’s Protect & Detangle Spray back in June, so I was interested to see if their body care was just as good. It has a rich, foaming texture and felt luxurious on the skin. The Birchbox leaflet also suggested adding a dollop to your bath, which I will definitely be trying next time!

Benefit the POREfessional: License to Blot

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I have been eyeing up this product since Benefit launched it but the price was putting me off buying so I was thrilled to receive this mini so I could try it out and see if it justified a little splurge. I’m pleased to report that it does! I often suffer from an oily t-zone and this ingenious little stick instantly mattifies shine right before your eyes! It can be worn alone or to touch up your trouble zones over makeup. I’m in love!

The Birchbrush

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This month’s beauty bonus is the ‘Birchbrush’, a cute ‘Tangle Teezer’ lookalike of Birchbox’s own design which works out knots, tames and smooths the hair’s surface. Its a nice useful addition to the box and although I already own two Tangle Teezers there’s no harm in having a brush for every room of the house, right?

Well that’s it for this month’s special Birthday Birchbox. I am pretty pleased with the box’s contents although they didn’t completely wow me when I first opened it up. As an added bonus, I participated in the Birchbox Bonanza promotion on the site and bagged myself an extra 100 points to spend on my next order from the Birchbox shop! License to Blot, i’m coming to get you!

Birchbox is a monthly Beauty Box subscription service costing £12.95 per month. For more information or to subscribe visit http://birchbox.co.uk

Birchbox: August 2015

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Oops I’ve been slacking with my posts again this month! They’ll be coming thick and fast over the next few days as I scramble to get all of the August box reviews in before my September goodies start arriving!
I was eagerly anticipating this month’s special #BeautyJunkie Birchbox, which promised each subscriber 2 make up items in addition to their other treats. I can’t deny that I was pretty disappointed that both said make up items were teeny tiny samples rather than full sized products (i’m sure my boxes seemed much better value for money when I first started subscribing!) but I will try not to let that sour my review of the products in question!

theBalm cosmetics Balm Desert Bronzer

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I have come across a few theBalm products before and I think that its a quirky and interesting little brand. The sample is nicely presented, even for a miniature and the bronzer seemed nice enough when applied to the areas of my face that would usually catch the sun: my forehead, nose, cheeks and chin. Unfortunately I feel that the size of this sample hampered my ability to accurately test it, as well as being generally disappointing. The useage instructions recommend applying with a fluffy brush but it was difficult to fit any decent sized brush near the powder to apply it. I settled on a Crown blending brush in the end but I usually apply my bronzer with a nice big Kabuki brush for even and natural coverage and this just wasn’t possible to do. A big shame because I couldn’t really get a proper feel for the bronzer, therefore cannot assess whether or not I would be interested in buying the £15 full sized item.

Lord & Berry Blush in ‘Lotus’

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I love Lord & Berry cosmetics and judging by the size of this box I expected a full sized blusher so I was pretty disappointed when I opened it up and found just a little pan encased in plastic packaging. I understand that the full sized versions of these products are pricey and that the main aim of these Beauty Boxes is to introduce subscribers to a wide range of samples from various brands but when a box is hyped up as being make up focused as this one was, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect at least one of the products inside to be full sized. Is that just me?
Moaning aside, the shade of the brush is flattering and the Lord & Berry quality shines through but i’m generally not a huge fan of blush so I doubt that I’ll be purchasing the £17 full sized product.

Kebelo Clarifying Shampoo

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I received this ‘Ultimate Detox for Hair’ in a previous Look Fantastic box and I still hadn’t got round to trying it. At least receiving a second sample has reminded me of it’s existence! I did give it a go this time around and the results were pleasing. I don’t use many products on my hair other than occasional colourant and the usual shampoo and conditioner so there wasn’t much to ‘deep clean’ but I do love the idea of using a product like this once or twice monthly to give your hair the same sort of TLC as you do your face with regular face masks and treatments. After using this my hair felt moisturised and was shiny and more manageable. Better keep this tube somewhere close by in the bathroom so I don’t forget about it again!

Rituals Organic Rice Milk & Cherry Blossom Calming Body Scrub

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I really like Rituals bath and shower products and was pleased to find this in my box. It smells lovely and is nice and gentle considering its exfoliating properties. It transforms into a rich creamy foam upon contact with water and leaves your skin feeling soft and smooth.

BioNike Defence Tolerance Essential Cleansing Water

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As a loyal devotee of Garnier’s Micellar Water I have no real urge to find a new cleansing water, especially one that costs 3 times as much as my favourite, but I gamely gave this one a go. It is suitable for all skin types, is soothing and left my skin feeling clean and soft but i’m afraid that I couldn’t find anything that set it apart to justify the £12.20 price tag.

L. Erickson Grab & Go Ponytail Holder

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I am already a Popband devotee so I haven’t let a run-of-the-mill elastic and metal hair tie anywhere near my hair for months but this makes an attractive alternative to my usual no-snag hair ties. It is sturdy, flexible and metal free so it secures without damaging your hair and it’s a pretty silvery grey colour. I love my popbands but they sometimes slip out of my very fine hair unless I secure them tightly (thus rendering their ‘no kink’ characteristic useless) and I found that this tie held my hair more securely. I am sure to get some use out of this and it was nice to see something a bit different in a box for a change.

So that’s my verdict on this month’s Birchbox. What do you guys think? I may have been extra critical because I should probably pick another of my subscriptions to dump in order to save a bit of money, but I just wasn’t blown away like I hoped I would be. I am not a big blush user and I have plenty of bronzers already so I don’t think I could get over the disappointment of not finding a make up gem that I was really excited about nestling inside that familiar drawstring bag. Anyone else a subscriber? What did you guys get? I’d love to see some more reactions/posts.

Birchbox is available as a subscription service costing £12.95 per month. Check it out at http://birchbox.co.uk

Birchbox ‘Birchbag’: July 2015

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There’s nothing like some fresh new make up and skincare products to shake up your routine during the warmer months and with Birchbox’s latest offering they’ve gone one step further and even given their traditional box a revamp! July sees your samples displayed in a lovely bright ‘Birchbag’, perfect for toting around your holiday essentials. Overall I am quite happy with my samples this month, although I am envious of a couple of things that I have missed out on after looking at pics of other peoples’ bags on Instagram! Oh well, here’s a closer look at what I received:

Soigné Nail Lacquer in ‘Menthe’

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I have been receiving a lot of nail polishes in my boxes lately, though most have been bright shades so I was pleased to see this dreamy pastel one in the bag. At first glance it looked blue but when applied it looks more of a duck egg bluey green. This may be the perfect shade to complement my dress at my friend’s Lake Garda wedding next month! The polish itself is easy to apply due to a quite large, quite flat brush, although you definitely need two coats to build up a decent colour and even coverage. It really is a pretty shade though!

Unani Aloe Vera Gel

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Aloe Vera gel in it’s purest form is known for it’s soothing properties and while I suspect this is far from it’s purest form, there are still benefits of using products such as this one. Great as an after sun treatment to soothe and moisturise skin after a little too much UV exposure, it can also be used to alleviate the itching caused from eczema or as an after shave balm. I have a big tube of pure Aloe Vera Jelly which I use for these things so I don’t see myself needing this product as an essential part of my life, but the tube is much more portable so I will keep it around for when I go on my travels.

Benefit Cosmetics Dream Screen

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Quite honestly I didn’t want to like this product as much as I did. Sun Protection is essential, especially on your face, and Benefit have come up with a lightweight but heavy duty sunscreen formula with SPF 45 that also manages to look and feel invisible on your skin! This means no waiting around for ages for your cream to sink in and no walking around with a greasy looking face for the sake of protecting your delicate skin from the sun’s harmful rays! Although the product is excellent, I have to pick and choose what I spend significant money on and where I can cut costs and in this case I don’t feel like I can justify £25 on a 45ml bottle of this stuff when the Eucerin cream that I received in the Glamour Summer Edit box was great and costs £10 less for 50ml.

POP Beauty Eyeshadow Trio in ‘Peach Parfait’

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Summer is definitely a great time to experiment with a lighter make up look, particularly when your go-to smokey eye will more than likely end up halfway down your face if you attempt to stick with it whilst abroad! These three shades are perfect for creating a softer and more subtle look, whilst really opening up and brightening your eyes. They have a slight shimmer but are not too full on so they are great for both daytime and evening wear. The dinky little pallette is very portable too so you can sneak it in anywhere, even if you are short on space. All in all, a nice little product.

Indemne Eau de Genie Spritz

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This spritz is intended to be used alongside your usual cleanser to give it an extra boost and leave your skin clean, soft and glowing. A facial spritz certainly helps to leave your skin feeling soothed and refreshed, although if you are using a good cleanser and moisturiser anyway, I’m not completely sold on the fact that you would need this product as well. It is suitable for all skin types and I always welcome the opportunity to try things that I wouldn’t usually, but on this occasion it hasn’t really left a lasting impression on me and I won’t be rushing out to spend £11.20 on the full sized product!

Spa to You Nail Buffer

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Here is where my bag envy comes in, having seen countless pictures of people displaying the beauty sponges that they received in place of this nail buffer. Don’t get me wrong, these are useful little things, but so much so doesn’t everyone already own one? They can be picked up in just about any budget chemist for a couple of pounds so it just didn’t feel very special to me. I have been wanting to try out a beauty sponge for applying my make up for some time but I wasn’t sure that I wanted to splash out on an original Beauty Blender so receiving an alternative in my bag would’ve been great. Oh well I’ll just have to keep an eye out for a cheaper alternative to purchase myself!

So there you have it, my July ‘Birchbag’. I love both make up products and the bag itself and I welcomed the opportunity to try the Benefit Dream Screen so all in all I’m still a happy bunny! I am also excited that once I complete my reviews for this month’s offerings on the Birchbox site, I will have amassed points worth £20 to spend in the Birchbox shop! Maybe I could treat myself to the Dream Screen after all…

Birchbox is a monthly subscription service which costs £12.95 per month. For more information or to subscribe yourself visit http://birchbox.co.uk

Birchbox Best of British: Tatler Limited Edition

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I ordered this Limited Edition Birchbox as soon as it was released at the end of March and was told that as I am already a subscriber to the regular Birchboxes it would be dispatched at the same time as my April box. However, this was not the case and after a week passed with no sign of the box and nothing by way of an explanation as to why I hadn’t received it yet I contacted Birchbox customer services myself to chase it up. I was informed that an error at the warehouse resulted in a delay in dispatch and that my box would be with me as soon as possible. I know that things like this can’t be helped but since it took around 3 weeks after my order was received (and my payment was taken!) for the box to actually arrive I feel that a courtesy email explaining the situation and apologising for the delay would not have been to much to ask for from a big company like this.

Anyhow, I finally got my hands on the box about a week ago and have since had the opportunity to try out the products inside. Here’s my verdict:

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First up I tried out the Percy & Reed Dry Instant Volumising Spray, which at a hefty full sized 200ml was too big to fit into the cute and compact specially designed box so had to be added to a larger box alongside the main package.
I have tried a few other Percy & Reed hair products in the past and have always been impressed by the cute packaging and the quality of the products so I was eager to give this a go. I always have a can of Batiste Dry Shampoo to hand for second day hair emergencies when my hair starts to look a little greasy or lacklustre but since my hair is very fine it tends to make it look flat and flyaway so I end up having to scrape it back anyway. I was pleased to find an alternative product especially since this spray promises to make my locks big, bold and beautiful! Since I prefer to wash my hair every other evening I used the spray on the morning of the day I was due to wash it and it was starting to look a bit lifeless. The spray goes on similar to a hairspray rather than the powdery formula of Batiste and other dry shampoos and you can instantly see and feel the volume that it creates. It was love at first application for me and I will definitely carry on using this product when my hair is in need of a bit of oomph. Although this spray is not specifically marketed as a dry shampoo alternative it was fit for the purpose in my case. It can also just be used on dry hair as a more lightweight alternative to wax or mousse to add volume to your style at any time. This product retails at £14 so the inclusion of a full sized can with this box is a bargain!

Next up I trialed the Bamford Body Wash:

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This is a 50ml sample so it will last for quite a few uses to enable you to get a good idea of whether you like the product enough to invest in the 250ml full sized bottle. The body wash contains Geranium, Lavender and Peppermint and has quite a heady scent when you open the bottle. I used this in the shower with my trusty body puff and a little went quite a long way. It did the job but nothing really set it apart from any other body wash in terms of results. In my opinion there are certain products that it is worth spending a little more money on and others where cheaper brands do the job just as well. Shower Gel and Body Wash is an area where I am not especially bothered which brand I choose. That being said Bamford is a London based company who use organic and botanical ingredients wherever possible in all of their products so if this is a deciding factor for you when choosing products like this then the body wash would be a good choice. I always like the idea of using natural products on my skin but in this case the price tag of £22 for the full sized product is just too steep for me to justify.

After trialing the body wash during my shower I decided to give the Aromatherapy Associates Renewing Rose Body Cream a try:

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The cream smelled of Turkish Delight when I took a whiff of it in the tube but when it is applied the scent isn’t quite as nice. The instructions on the tube recommend using this only after cleansing with Rose Body Wash and applying Rose Hydrating Body Gel and since these products are priced between £29 and £36 this would be a costly skincare regime indeed! As with body wash, I don’t really see the need to spend mega money on premium body creams and moisturisers when cheaper products do the job just as well so although this was a perfectly adequate cream and I will no doubt finish off the sample bottle, I won’t be rushing out to buy the full size version.

Next up I tried Dr Jackson’s Face Oil:

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I have combination skin and I have developed a few dry patches on my face lately, no doubt from the combination of the many different face products that I have been trying out as well as one fateful evening last weekend when I committed the number one beauty sin of sleeping with my make up on so I was excited to see what this product could do for me. The scientific looking pipette applicator immediately made me feel as if this face oil would really do my skin some good but since I also have grease prone areas on my face I stuck to the lower end of the 3-5 drop estimate when applying it. I was immediately impressed with how well it was absorbed into my skin (it really must’ve been crying out for some moisture!) and although I could no longer see it I could still feel the product on my skin when I touched my face. I really liked this as it felt as though the oil was continuing to penetrate deep into my skin and work it’s magic whilst I got on with my day. Although I felt some slight itching and irritation on my skin, absolutely every product I use on my face has this effect to some degree and this oil did not cause any physical signs of irritation such as redness or spots so I was happy to continue using twice daily to really get a feel for the product. After using it morning and night for two days the dry patches on my face had disappeared and my face looked and felt soft and smooth. I am really impressed with this face oil and I will continue to use it, although probably for occasional use when my skin feels particularly starved of moisture rather than every day. Unless you have very dry skin I don’t think it would be necessary to use it daily anyway.

Next out of the box was a beautiful Ciaté Paint Pot in the vibrant shade ‘Red Hot Chilli’:

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Any Nail Varnish fan would want a bright red polish in their arsenal and Ciaté is a well known and well loved brand which is easily identified by the cute signature bow on the front of each bottle. I am the first to admit that applying nail polish is not my forté but this one turned out to be practically foolproof. After giving the bottle a quick shake I unscrewed the lid, wiped off the excess polish and set about applying it to my thumb nail, fully expecting to need about a dozen strokes and at least 2 layers to get an even vaguely acceptable result. As it was, the polish glided on like a dream even between my inexperienced fingers, and just one coat produced a smooth and flawless result. This is a super fast drying polish as well so all in all painting your nails is a pretty effortless experience using on of these polishes. I will definitely consider painting my nails more often using Ciaté shades! This is a full sized bottle worth £9 so it is another bargain addition to this box and a very impressive one in my book!

The final product in the box is the Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser:

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If you have read my April Birchbox review you will already know that I adore this Cleanser. I already used it before I received a sample in that box and although I am a little disappointed that I received the same product in this box too, it will most definitely get used because it is a staple in my skincare regime. This is a more generously sized sample than the one I received in my regular Birchbox (at 50ml is is half the size of the full sized product) and it features the pump action nozzle found on the full sized bottle, allowing for precision application. I was also pleased to see a full sized muslin cloth supplied in this box, since you only got a travel sized one with the smaller sample in the April box. This is an innovative 2-step cleansing programme which leaves your skin feeling super clean and soft. All Liz Earle products feature naturally active ingredients and are suitable for all skin types.

Well that’s it for my review and though I didn’t fall in love everything that is included in this box I did discover some gems which I will definitely continue using and they more than justify the price of the box!

The Limited Edition Tatler Best of British Birchbox is still available here https://www.birchbox.co.uk/shop/tatler-limited-edition-box
The box costs £25 and can be bought on it’s own as a one-off purchase. You are under no obligation to subscribe to the monthly Birchbox service. However,  if you are already a subscriber or are interested in subscribing, the box can be purchased at the reduced price of £20.