Saturday, 3 June 2017


Beauty subscription services are something that have been around for a while now, with Birchbox being one of the most well known. The only subscription service I've had before is Love Me Beauty, which I subscribed to for about 3-4 months at the end of last year. I loved the idea of getting credits each month and being able to pick out my own products from a fairly wide range. Within a few months, however, I became disenchanted with the whole experience; you knew exactly what was coming your way, which takes away from the excitement of it a bit in my eyes, not to mention that there was a constant repetition of products. A quick glance at their website confirms that 6 months after I cancelled my subscription, around 20% of the products available remain the same. This experience kind of put me off the whole idea of a beauty subscription box. However, after seeing a post on Facebook advertising that if you signed up to Birchbox, you would get two boxes for the price of one, I was intrigued to give it a go.

With this offer, I paid £12.95 for two boxes including postage, which I think is an excellent deal if you fancy trying the service out, even if you decided to cancel it afterwards. As part of the deal, I received April's box as well as May's.

April's Birchbox
May's Birchbox

When I received my package, I was quite surprised by how small it was as I had expected the boxes to be bigger. However, what they lack in size, they both definitely make up for in terms of design. Both boxes are absolutely lovely and sturdy enough to use as storage if you wanted to do so.

The contents of April's Birchbox

April's box was in collaboration with the online brand Boden. There are 5 products in both boxes and the range of products seems to be pretty good, with this box containing a hair product, a skincare product, a body lotion and two make-up items. The first product inside is the Luseta Beauty Keratin Smooth Conditioner, which claims to help strengthen hair, lock in moisture and boost elasticity. As I have fine hair that tends to get quite frizzy, I really like the sound of this product and it smells great. This 40ml tube retails at £5, with the full sized 500ml version retailing at £19.

Next up is the Polaar IcePure Gentle Scrub with Arctic Cotton. This is probably the product that I like the look of the most from this box; Arctic cotton is known for its moisturising properties and the scrub claims to soften the skin as well as exfoliate. The scent is really nice and I can tell just from putting a bit on the back of my hand that it's not an abrasive, harsh exfoliator. The full-sized 75ml version is £23.50 and this sample size is 25ml, which I think is quite generous. The other skincare item that you'll find in the April Birchbox is the Baïja Paris Crème Moana in the Fleur de Tiarè scent. In all honesty, this is probably my least favourite item in the box, which is a shame as I had high hopes. The packaging is absolutely gorgeous and the lotion itself does have a really nice consistency, however I find that the floral scent is far too overpowering for me - I sneezed when I opened it! However, I think it's lovely if floral scents are your thing. Again, it's a generous sample size at 30ml, as the full-sized 70ml tube retails for £15.90.

The last two items in the box are both full-sized beauty items, with the first being the ModelCo Eye Define Crayon Liner. Along with the face scrub, I'd say that this is my other favourite product in the box; it's a twist up eyeliner which saves the hassle of constantly having to sharpen it. It has a really fine nib which makes it perfect for really precise lines and from testing it on my hand, it glides on really easily. I can't say anything about the longevity, but I'm hoping it'll be a nice product to add to my collection. The final product in the shop is the Manna Kadar Cosmetics Radiance Split Pan Bronzer and Highlighter Duo, which is a product exclusive to Birchbox. To be honest, I thought this was an eyeshadow duo until I read the leaflet, as the compact seems far too small to be a bronzer and highlighter. The bronzer is so gold-toned and shimmery that I would never put it anywhere near my cheekbones, although I will say that I think the highlighter is lovely if you're looking for more of a subtle glow. This duo costs £17, which is really expensive in my opinion, especially considering the packaging is really cheap looking, not to mention difficult to open!

The contents of May's Birchbox

Much like the previous month's box, the May Birchbox contains a hair product, a skincare product, a body lotion and two make-up items; obviously I can't comment for sure, but I think this may be the standard Birchbox formula. The hair product included is the Beauty Protector Protect and Volume, which is a spray that 'increases volume without stickiness', adds 'beautiful shine without weight' and 'creates soft, smooth, full texture'. I'm not usually a big fan of haircare products like this as I find that they weigh my fine hair down, however I must admit I really like the sound of this one. It can also be used as a thermal protector for heat styling and is both Vegan and free from parabens. The packaging doesn't actually state how much product it contains, however the full-sized version contains 236ml and retails for £18.50.

My favourite item in this box is without a doubt the Doux Me Pure Spring Mist. I am a huge fan of these sprays as a way of cooling down your skin in the hot summer months; I love the Avène version and carried it around with me constantly last summer. What interests me about the Doux Me one in particular, however, is the fact that it also says that you can set your make-up with it for a dewy look. I can't wait to try it out and see if it works in this way! There are tonnes of negative reviews on the Birchbox website asking why they are giving away what is essentially water in a can; of course, it is a luxury, however I can attest that these sorts of products are highly refreshing and so, so handy when you're out and about. Unfortunately I can't seem to find it anywhere online, however if you want to check out the Avène one which I have tried, tested and loved, you can find it here. The other skincare item in the box is the Whish Rice Milk Firming Body Cream. Apparently, it 'smoothes blemishes' as well as firming and moisturising... I'm a little bit dubious about this claim! I've tried it on and in all honesty, I don't really like it. It leaves an odd feeling, tacky film on my skin and I'm not keen on the scent. The full-size version is £27, which seems incredibly pricey for a brand I've never heard of! I think I'm going to stick to my cheap and cheerful Garnier body lotions thanks...

Next is a sample size of the Doucce Punk Volumizer Mascara, which is another Birchbox exclusive; I have tried this item out and I have to say that I really like it. It has a huge wand, which initially put me off, however it's easy to use and it adds both volume and length to my lashes. I've had it on for a while now and there has been no smudging either, which is always a bonus. Also, it's a pretty decent size for a sample. The full-sized version costs £18. The last item was the Marsk Mineral Eyeshadow in Vanilla Frosting. This item is full-sized with an RRP of £14.49. I would comment on the product itself, however the packaging is incredibly fiddly and I haven't actually been able to prise it open yet - I'm scared of pulling too hard and ending up with a white, shimmery mess everywhere! One thing I hate about mineral products like this is that they're simply not very practical, especially when you're as clumsy as I am! However, the colour does look really pretty and like it could be a good inner corner/brownbone highlight.

All in all, I'm not quite sure about how I feel. It goes without saying that the boxes are really good value for money if you're a beauty junkie and like trying out new things from a whole host of brands. I think that beauty subscription services like Birchbox are a great way to do this. I'm torn because I love trying new products, but I can't help but feel a little bit disappointed by the products included - there are probably 3 products that I won't use and only a couple that I really love. I think I'd enjoy it more if some items from more well-known brands were included as well, as the only brand I had heard of was ModelCo! However, I am sure that Birchbox carefully pick the items that they put in these boxes and obviously not everything in each box is going to work for every subscriber.

Do you subscribe to Birchbox/another beauty subscription service - what do you think of them? Have you tried any of the products mentioned in this post? Let me know in the comments below! X

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