Friday, December 19, 2014

December 2014 Birchbox

Of all the packages I typically get a month, Birchbox is my favorite. It really is like Christmas every month,minus the relatives causing drama and your pie not turning out perfectly. For those who don't know, Birchbox is a monthly beauty subscription program. For $10 a month you get an average of five deluxe sample sized higher end beauty items delivered straight to your door. I've been doing it since September and I love it. Even when I get a not great box, like last month, I'm still really happy that I'm a subscriber.

This month's theme is "Decked Out", and is all about being festive and party ready. As a cool little bonus gift to help you get in the celebrating mood all subscribers received a $10 gift card to the GAP, which minus technical difficulties was a really cool little surprise. I'll be popping in probably this weekend now that I have my code (the GAP website was having issues getting the codes to people) to pick myself up something, and by myself I mean get my son something because that's how it almost always works out.

The actual box this month is super pretty, I love when they do special boxes like this. I keep all my boxes anyways for storage options but this one is so pretty I'll have to find something extra special to do with it. I actually received an incredible 7 items this month, not counting the gift card, so this month is soooo making up for last month. Technically two of them were bonus items but I got to review them and get points so I'm counting them.

These packets of shampoo and conditioner are my "bonus items" (they go with the hair spray I'll talk about in a second) and are by the super fancy brand Davines. They are apparently a salon brand, and I had never heard of them before but I tend to avoid high priced places like salons and spas. I'm a $5 a bottle kind of girl, so when I saw the prices for full sized bottles I almost had a heart attack. A bottle of shampoo is 250 mL and is $25.50, whereas the conditioner is only 150 ml but still $25.50. These are suppose to plump up your hair and make it full and soft and awesome, which it did, but for $25 a bottle it better turn them into pure gold. For maybe half the price I'd consider buying them, but they are just to expensive for my budget. My sample of shampoo has a value of $1.22 and my conditioner had a value of $2.04.

The actual hair item was this really interesting hair spray stuff by Davines. I use and love hyaluronic acid for my face, so when I saw in the sneak peaks that this was a hyaluronic spray for you hair I was super hoping I'd receive it. This is suppose to plump up and compact your hair, which sounding intriguing. I think by compact they mean reseal the hair follicles but I could be wrong. One treatment is suppose to last through a whole week of hair washings, so this sample should last me a while. According to Birchbox this use to only be available to professionals, so that makes it extra exciting. I've only had one treatment so I haven't seen a big difference in "plumpness" but my hair is way shinier than usual so I'm pretty happy with it. The major issue I have with it is the smell. You know that really sharp chemical scent most salons have? That's exactly what this stuff smells like. It fades obviously but can be a bit overpowering for a while. A full sized bottle is 100 mL and is $39.50 (ouch), making my 50 mL sample size worth $19.75!! That's almost twice the value of the box right there, and as I said this should last me forever since it's a once every week or two sort of thing.

This was another sample I was hoping for just because I'd heard so many things about the scent. This is a Essentiel Elements shower gel in the scent rosemary mint, and you either love it or hate it from all the other reviews I've read. I personally love it, the smell is super refreshing and really kicks you awake in the morning. I'm actually going to try and recreate the scent for some bath bombs after the holidays, they'd be perfect for next time I'm sick. As far as the actual shower gel goes, it lathers really well and didn't dry my skin out, so a win in my book. It is expensive compared to what I normally spend on shower gel, so I doubt I'd buy more buy I will enjoy it for sure until I run out. A full sized bottle is 8 oz and retails for $19, making my 1.5 oz bottle worth $3.56.

This was another sample I was interested in trying because where I live it gets very cold, very dry, and very windy during winter months. This product was created in 1957 by a Japanese pharmacist to replace the petroleum based products that were so popular then and it a favorite among mountain climbers and snow sports people in Japan for protecting their skin against chaffing due to the wind and the cold. Last winder my toddler's cheeks became so chaffed it looked like I took a cheese grater to them, so as soon as this arrived I started using it on his face. So far I've been really happy with this product and I will for sure be buying a full sized one next month. It does smell strongly for a minute or two due to the camphor in it, but to me it smells just like carmex so I don't mind it. A full sized tube is 1.25 oz and retails for $16, making my .10 oz tube worth $1.28.

I'm an odd duck, I'll wear just about any shade of lipstick but I only really wear black eyeliner. So I'm not to sure about this eyeliner from Sum!ta. The brand is a really nice one and I'd be doing a happy dance if I received a black liner from them for sure, but I'm just not sure of my color. It's called Jaipur (gold), and is more of a burnished gold than a gold gold. It's actually not listed on the color list on, so not really sure what's going on there.

It isn't an ugly color at all, I wear jewelry this shade quite often and it looks good against my skin tone, but I just don't know how to wear it. I may consult a makeup artist friend and see what she thinks. It stayed put pretty well for a pencil liner when I tried to rub it off, and is just the right balance of hard and soft, so it is obviously a really nice brand. A full sized one is 1.6 grams and retails for $11 (comes in ten different colors according to BB), making my 0.7 gram sample worth $4.81.

My last item is actually one I have to call bullshit on. This is a BB cream/mineral sunscreen by Coola, which is a nicer brand of sunscreen I guess. It's suppose to give you a matte tint, so sounds awesome all around right?

I stuck a bit on my hand to test out the color and it blends out to clear. Like, there was no evidence that I had makeup on my hand at all. It super reminds me of my Dr Brandt primer, looks colored but blends clear and gives you a sort of velvety look. This is not a BB cream, I'm sorry. Not even close Coola. Unless your skin is flawless you'll have to top this with an actual foundation if you want to hide your imperfections (or holiday related stress breakout). My tube is also basically empty I discovered as I was writing this post. I will get maybe two full faces out of what's actually in the tube, which really pisses me off. The tube itself is a good size, I was really excited, so now I'm doubly annoyed at it. I will never buy from Coola because of this, I hate being lied to. Use a smaller tube if you want to include a tiny sample, don't stick a teeny amount in a big tube to look better. A full sized tube is 1.7 oz and retails for $36, so my 0.17 oz tube is worth $3.60.

All total my box had a value of $36.26, which is crazy high! That's over three times what I paid for it, and that's not including the $10 gift card to the GAP or the $7 in Birchbox points I received for reviewing everything. Minus the Coola I am really happy with my box and it more than makes up for my last box. If you want to sign up for Birchbox here is my referral code, I love Birchbox and cannot wait till next month to see what we get!


  1. Nice box this month. Still waiting on mine lol! For the colored liner, I would use it to line the lower lid with a neutral eyeshadow on the upper lid to give a fun pop of shimmer/gold. It would also look nice with a brown smokey eye, blended out. :)

  2. Nice box! I got the superactive as well and literally took a double take when I saw how much it was worth! Sucks about the coola though :( I get annoyed when companies do that as well.

    1. I literally cannot spend more than $10 on a bottle of shampoo without some serious guilt so a $25 price tag just about gave me a heart attack.