Sunday, August 11, 2013

Looking Back: Birchbox 2012

Birchbox logo from
I joined Birchbox at the end of April in 2012. I had been watching unboxing videos on YouTube and considering subscribing for awhile but kept not doing it. At the time I had just started watching all the seasons of the Gossip Girl on Netflix and loved it, so when I heard the show was the inspiration for the May box I finally subscribed.
Before I really even start taking a look back at the products I have received and tried, I would say that I love my samples most months. Ocassionally there is a really blah month where I couldn't care less about anything in the box I get. But there is usually at least one (and often more) items I really enjoy sampling and I have actually purchased a few products I have sampled through Birchbox. I have a few more products on my list that I'm planning to purchase as well. I also have to mention, they sometimes include some really random extras and I have loved most of those!

I got an email from Birchbox earlier this week with a link to see my box history. I had looked on their website for a list like this before and couldn't find it. I don't know if this is something they have set up recently or if it was there all along, but I'm so glad to now have access to it! To see yours, log into your Birchbox account and select Box > Women's Box from the top menu. It will have a large photo of your current box (mine shows my August box now even though I haven't received it yet!) and if you scroll down it will show your box history.

Now, lets take a look back at my boxes from 2012.

**Birchbox logo above and all images of box contents are screenshots from www.birchbox.comThinking of joining Birchbox? Consider using my referral link!

May 2012

  • Color Club Foil Collection in Disco Nap (a sparkly gold) - mini bottle
  • Birchbox Notecard (mine was orange) - 1 notecard and envelope
  • Arquiste L'Etrog - sample vial
  • Dr. Jart Water Fuse Beauty Balm SPF 25 - 0.06oz sample tube
  • beautyblender blendercleanser  - Sample bottle (My guess is about 0.05oz)
  • twistband Headband (mine was blue) - 1 headband
As of now, I have used the Color Club nail polish, the Dr. Jart BB Cream and the twistband headband. The nail polish is fine, I have only used it once but I have kept it because I like the color. The headband was fine, I wear it sometimes while doing my makeup to keep my hair out of my face. I don't wear headbands out often and when I do they are usually fancier than this. But it works to keep my hair out of my face. This Dr. Jart Water Fuse was the first BB cream I have ever tried actually, and I wasn't sure what to expect from a BB cream but I liked this. This one is light in feeling and coverage but it did seem to even my skin tone enough that I would be comfortable wearing it alone. The color matched well and it didn't have a funky smell or anything. (That's always good, right?) I would consider purchasing the full size of this product. 

I actually don't know what I did with the notecard, maybe I did use it? Otherwise I misplaced it. (Maybe while moving last year.) The Arquiste L'Etrog sample is in a jar with all my other perfume samples. Every once in awhile I pick one out and try it. I haven't picked this one yet. (The name alone leads me to believe I won't like it, it just sounds like it will smell strong.) From the Birchbox website, the fragrance is described as follows:

This transporting scent will take you to an exotic Mediterranean cabin built out of palm leaves and foraged branches. Beneath these opening woodsy notes hovers a bright base of Etrog citron, which is native to Calabria, plus lush date and fragrant myrtle. The overall composition is warm and citrusy without veering into overly sweet territory.

Based on that, I still don't know if I will like it. Okay, I just pulled it out to smell it...I don't care for it. It's a little strong and kind of mature smelling to me, if that makes sense. The last item in my May 2012 box is the beautyblender beautycleanser. I don't have a beauty blender, but I have heard you can use this cleaner on your makeup brushes and that it works well for that. I should try it.

Tried: 4/6
Liked: 3/4

June 2012

  • Eyeko Fat Eye Stick (mine was Petrol Blue) - full size!
  • LUNA Bar (chocolate peppermint stick flavor) - sample size
  • Yu-Be Moisturizing Skin Cream - 0.1oz sample tube
  • Borghese Bagno di Vita Body Soak - 2 - 0.35 sample packets
  • theBalm cosmetics Staniac - sample tube
The only thing from this group I tried and liked was the LUNA Bar. I hadn't tried them before receiving a bite size sample from Birchbox, and I actually though it was so yummy that I went out and bought some.
The Eyeko Fat Eye Stick I got was blue. I haven't tried it yet, but the only way I can think I might use it is as an eyeshadow base. But I don't do blue that often, which is probably why I still haven't used this.
I gave one of the Borghese packets to my mom in her Mother's Day/Birthday Box I made for her and saved the other for myself. I haven't actually had a bathtub in almost a year (my bathroom has a stand up shower) so I haven't used it yet but I do look forward to trying it.
I don't have the sample of Staniac anymore so I must have given it away. I don't believe I ever even swatched it. I'm just not that into stains. (I don't care for the Benetint stains either.)
The Yu-Be Skin Cream had remained unopened until just now when I put a little on my hand to try it out. It feels thick like a vaseline and has a medicine type smell to it. The smell doesn't linger very strongly. I have heard this stuff is great, but still haven't tried it myself. Yet. 

Tried: 2/5
Liked: 1/2

July 2012
  • Harvey Prince Hello - sample spray vial
  • Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint - sample tube
  • blinc Mascara - 0.141oz sample
  • Tea Forte minteas - 1 tin
  • Alterna Bamboo Color Hold + Fade Proof Finishing Gloss - 0.25oz sample **
  • Birchbox Earbuds - 1 set of earbuds
**As far as the Alterna Color Hold + Fade Proof Finishing Gloss goes, I'm not 100% sure if I have the same product. The sample I have that I believe came from this Birchbox is called Bamboo Color Care UV+ Fade-Proof Fluide. It is a 0.25oz sample size spray. I don't know if I got a different item than listed or if maybe the name of the product changed. 

I loved the Harvey Prince Hello fragrance sample.  According to the Birchbox website it has notes of Meyer Lemon, Satsuma Mandarin, Forsynthia and Pink Plumeria. It smells nice and I have worn it many times.
I can't find the Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint sample, but I think I swatched it when I got it. If I remember correctly, I didn't like the color and/or consistency of it. I may have just thrown it out when I moved last.
I have the blinc Mascara still, unopened and yet to be used. I have a ton of mascara samples and recently I have been trying to use some of them to see what I think. This is a tubing mascara, and I'm just not sure how I feel about that. I haven't used a tubing mascara yet though, so I should definitely give this a try. The whole concept just sounds weird to me.
I did eat the Tea Forte minteas, I carried that little tin around in my purse for quite awhile. They had a very light cocoa-mint flavor, so I would eat a few at a time. They were good and did their job.
I have used the Alterna Bamboo spray a few times, mostly because of the UV protection. I figure I put UV protection on my skin, why not on my hair too? I don't seem to notice the difference but if it will help prevent damage to my hair I'll keep using it when I'm about to spend lots of time in the sun.
The Birchbox Earbuds were awesome! I loved them, mine were bright green and pink. They worked well and I liked having the fun colored earbuds for the gym. Unfortunately, I washed mine and killed them. Sad day. I would totally buy them again though, just for the fun colors!

Tried: 5/6
Liked: 4/5

August 2012
  • Beauty Fixation Make Up Remover - 3 swabs
  • Schick Hydro Silk Razor - 1 razor
  • Comodynes Self Tanning Intensive - 2 individually wrapped towelettes
  • Comodynes Hydra Tanning Face Moisturising Summer Glow - 2 - 0.10oz sample packets
  • Juicy Couture Viva La Juicy La Fleur - sample spray vial
  • DDF Brightening Cleanser - 2 oz bottle
I love the little makeup remover filled cotton swab idea, I actually have the Bare Minerals version and they are awesome. I never used the Beauty Fixation ones that came in this Birchbox but I may as well...  they are one of the many things I need to pull out of this giant bag of samples to remember to use.
I took the Schick razor on a trip actually, since I could use it and throw it away when I was done. It worked well but I normally use Venus since I can get refills pretty cheap at Costco.
I haven't used the Comodynes towelettes or face moisturizer yet. I am fascinated with the idea of self tanning towelettes though, so I do want to use these soon. (Another sample I need to pull out so I remember!) My towelette samples are actually called Self-Tanning Natural & Uniform Color by the way. Again, I don't know if I got a different product than what Birchbox lists or if the name was changed.
I enjoyed the Juicy Couture Viva La Juicy La Fleur sample, in fact I used most of the little vial up. It's a soft, sweet and slightly sexy floral scent. It's nice and light.
The DDF cleanser is in that aforementioned bag of samples still... yet to be tried. 

Tried: 2/6
Liked: 2/2

September 2012
  • twistband Signature Lace Collection (mine was red lace) - 1 hair band
  • BVLGARI Mon Jasmin Noir - sample spray vial
  • WEI to Go Sleep Over Kit - 2 - 0.01oz  packets Real Clean Gelled Oil Cleanser and 1 - 0.10 Ideal Skin Perfect Finish in Light
  • Vasanti BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator - 0.7oz tube
  • Birchbox & Color Club Custom Collection (mine was Put a Pin In It - a light metallic pink) - mini bottle
  • The Brush Guard Variety Pack - pack of 3 assorted sizes
The twistband is fun, I liked the lace print. I don't use it though. (It's almost prettier to just wear on your wrist!)
The BVLGARI Mon Jasmin Noir fragrance is another more mature, kinda stronger scent that just isn't one I wear.
I like the idea behind the WEI to Go kit since it is two little packets of cleanser packaged with a reusable packet of tinted moisturizer. It would be great for travel, if only I can remember to take it with me next time I go somewhere!
I haven't used the Vasanti BrightenUp! yet. It's in that big bag of samples. If I was better at washing my face every night before bed maybe I would have gotten through some of these skin cleansers by now. But I suck at it. I usually use a makeup remover wipe and call it good. (So bad! I know!)
I have only used the Color Club polish once I think... I do like the color though! So it is in my nail polish drawer. (Part of the problem is that I am always buying new nail polish so I don't get back into my stash as often as I'd like. I'm an addict. lol)
I think the brush guards are a cool idea but I have not used them on my brushes yet. I should leave them out and give them a try though, at least on three brushes. 

Tried: 3/6
Liked: 1/3 

October 2012
  • Harvey Prince Eau Flirt - sample vial
  • theBalm Cosmetics Mary-Lou Manizer - 0.035oz sample
  • Mox Botanicals Lip Butter in Pomegranate & Fig - 0.1oz sample pot
  • Mighty Leaf Tea - 3 teabags, different flavors
  • LiQWd The Perfect Wave - 0.25oz packet
  • LiQWd SiLK Professional Deep Conditioning Treatment - 0.25oz packet
This was a decent box for me. I love the Harvey Prince Eau Flirt perfume. Next time I want a new bottle of perfume, this would definitely be on my list of scents to consider. (I have so much perfume right now it's ridiculous, I am trying to get through some of that before buying more!) It's really strange to me that I like this so much though. The scent is described as Lavender & Pumpkin. Those are two of my least favorite scents. I absolutely hate pumpkin anything (smell, taste, actual pumpkins...) and I'm not very fond of lavender on its own. But apparently together with whatever else is in this perfume, it really works for me! My boyfriend even commented that he really likes this scent.
I have also enjoyed using the sample of theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer. I use this pretty often, it is a great highlighter. I switch between this and my sample of Benefit Watts Up! that was in my Sephora Birthday Treat. I am pretty sure both samples will last me forever, so I don't know that I would have to purchase a full size.
I have used the Mox Botanicals lip butter a little bit. This lip butter is nice, smells good and lasts decently. I tend to switch lip balms often, to whatever is closest to me and easy to find. This one is now in rotation again after being used a lot at first and then forgotten in a drawer for a few months. (This is what happens when I actually put stuff away! haha!)
The Mighty Leaf Teas were good. I drank them and never took a photo of the packages so I don't remember what flavors I got. From looking at the listed flavors on the Birchbox website, the flavors that sound familiar are Organic Earl Grey, Organic African Nectar and Green Tea Tropical. I think thats right. They were delish. But I'm biased, I love tea. Especially Earl Grey. (My favorite!!)
I haven't tried the LiQWd products yet but have actually already set them out where I can see them so I remember to use them soon. I'm sure I'll let you know what I think when I use them!

Tried: 4/6
Liked: 4/4

November 2012

  • SOYJOY Cranberry Bar - 1 bar
  • Lulu Organics Lavender + Clary Sage Hair Powder - 0.18oz packet
  • ModelCo SHINE Ultra Lip Gloss (I believe I got Showgirl Red) - full size (?)
  • Sumita Color Contrast Eyeliner (I believe I got Black) - full size (?)
  • Jouer Signature Fragrance Rollerball - mini rollerball

This was not a great box for me. It's weird because November has always been my least favorite month. I don't have a good reason for that, but I really don't even like the word November. I love Summer so I'm sure this month is one of my less favorites because its getting into really rainy crappy weather here in the Seattle area. I like bright fun colors and November is Fall which is typically associated with browns, oranges and reds. I do like the feast of food on Thanksgiving, but usually I have to work all day because I work at a restaurant that is open and serves a turkey dinner. In my post where I looked back at past Ipsy bags, November was one of my least favorites of the actual bags I have received. (Boring dark brown!) Just an interesting (to me at least) observation. On to the contents of this box.
Let me start by saying that the only thing from this box I still have in my possession is the Lulu Organics hair powder sample sample, which I do still need to try. I am a fan of dry shampoo but haven't used it in this form yet so that will be interesting.
I gave away the ModelCo lipgloss, Sumita eyeliner pencil and Jouer rollerball. I think the lipgloss and eyeliner were full size, which is a great value. The lipgloss was red, I don't wear red. I gave away the eyeliner because I have found I just don't care for pencils that much, and when I do I like the kind that twist up rather than have to be sharpened. Just wasn't worth the hassle for me when I knew someone else would enjoy it.
The Jouer rollerball had notes of jasmine, honeysuckle and gardenia. I love jasmine normally, but I must not like the honeysuckle or gardenia... or maybe just the combination. I didn't care for the smell and gave it away.
The SOYJOY bar is gone because I ate it. It was actually kinda good. Since sampling SOYJOY through Birchbox, I have purchased them occasionally in a pinch when I needed a snack.

Tried: 2/5
Liked: 1/2

December 2012

  • Juicy Couture fragrance - sample vial
  • Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner in Purple - full size (?)
  • Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Repair CC Cream - 0.17oz sample
  • Emily's Chocolates Chocolate Covered Fortune Cookies - 1 cookie
  • Nick Chavez Beverly Hills Advanced Volume Shampoo - 2oz tube
I just sprayed the Juicy Couture fragrance on my arm to sniff it. To me, it smells like lilac. It's a very strong floral scent. According to the description on the Birchbox website:

Top notes of watermelon, passion fruit, and mandarin combine with bright whiffs of marigold and green apple. Rose, vanilla, and yummy caramel undertones anchor the scent.

I don't seem to pick up the fruity scents in it though, I only really smell the florals. It's not bad but it's not my favorite scent and not very wearable to me.
I gave away the Eyeko Skinny Liner because it was purple. I just don't really do liner other than black and gel liner. (It's not that I'm opposed to other types of liner besides gel, its just that gel has so far been easiest for me. I would love to experiment with different types of liner though!) I don't like the way colored liner looks on me so I knew I wouldn't ever use it. I wish I had received the sample in black though, then I definitely would have given it a try.
The Juice Beauty CC Cream had a really strong scent to it initially when you put it on. I did use up the whole sample tube and I liked the product, it was just the strong smell I wasn't a fan of. It's a weird smell, it doesn't linger but when you first put it on you can definitely smell it. I can't figure out how to describe it. I was just able to get a little more out of the sample tube and had my boyfriend smell it. His quote: "That smells weird. Like a vegetable. It smells like squash!" (He may have thought it was a fragrance sample, lol! I have been having him smell those throughout this post and didn't tell him what this product was before asking him to smell it.) If it wasn't for the strange smell I might have considered purchasing the full size. I liked the product and the way it performed, just not the fragrance!
The chocolate covered fortune cookie from Emily's Chocolates was delish. I think I ate that pretty much right away. I love chocolate covered fortune cookies. There is a local bakery that I have had them from too. You can't go wrong, you get a fortune, a cookie and chocolate all in one treat!
I have the Nick Chavez shampoo sample in a basket of hair samples waiting to be tried. It smells really nice and it is supposed to be volumizing by cleansing product buildup off of your hair. I definitely need to try this one soon.

Tried: 3/5
Liked: 1/3

Because of my Birchbox subscription, I was able to try many different kinds of samples from many brands in 2012. I still have quite a few samples that I haven't used yet but am excited to try. (I have been kinda good at hoarding samples and only lately have really been pulling things out to use. Hopefully I will start getting through some of these samples a little faster!) If you add up all the stats above about how many products I tried from each box and how many I liked, you get the following:

I actually tried 25 out of 45 samples received in 2012. I liked 17 of the 25 samples I tried. If you figure out the math on that (Don't worry, you don't have to. I already did.) I received an average of 5.6 products a month in 2012 with Birchbox. Of those 5.6 products a month, I liked 2.13 of them. Basically, I like about 40% of the products I receive samples of and actually try. That sounds pretty good to me.

Before even looking back at this, I was already thinking I liked Birchbox for the variety of samples. I have received many products I simply won't use (for various reasons.. color, type, etc.) but still have been able to try many products I have ended up really liking. I know that I still have several samples I am looking forward to try as well. So overall, for $10 a month? It is a fun surprise to get in the mail each month, and while a few months have been disappointing, many have been great. I would definitely say Birchbox is worth it if you want to try new brands and products. Of the subscription services I have tried, Birchbox is probably the one I am most likely to stick with.

**Birchbox logo at top and all images of box contents are screenshots from www.birchbox.comThinking of joining Birchbox? Consider using my referral link! (I get points if you sign up through my link.) Thank you! :) 

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  1. Great post! It's fun to see all your boxes at once. FYI, you should really try the Vasanti Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator; it's probably my favorite sample I ever received from Birchbox (and I liked it so much I bought the full size)! :)

    1. Thank you Caroline! I have had a lot of fun looking back at the samples I got last year and I'm working on the post for the boxes I have received so far this year too. :) Good to know about the Vasanti... I will have to pull that out and use it soon! Thanks for reading! :)


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