Good morning bloggers, and happy Friday!
It is once again that time of the month where my two subscriptions roll in, and having now received both my Glossy and Birch boxes, I start writing my reviews. Unfortunately – as you can probably tell from the title – it’s not gonna be a good one.
So, if you’ve been reading this little blog, you may know that I started both of these subscriptions back in May, meaning that August has been my fourth box received for Birchbox [but fifth for Glossy, who offer an introductory box on signup]. That doesn’t seem like much of an amount of time, but it’s enough for me to make up my mind about this, especially when you take into consideration that given the money I’ve spent at £10 a month over 4 months, I could’ve bought myself a decent eyeshadow palette or something [not including the P&P of the boxes, of course].
As usual, I received my Birchbox before my Glossy Box (no faulting them on delivery times here). I was kinda “meh” with it to start off. In fact, I’ll use my usual format for these reviews, and then go into my first and second impressions that came along.
[Can I just say, first off, that I really need to find some better places/surfaces/lighting to take pictures. I know that.]
So the overall feel of this Birchbox/bag is cool. I like the pastel colours and how the peachy-pinky tones actually match a couple of the products. It has a fairly nice vibe. But let’s get into how I feel about each individual product:
Birchbox Makeup Bag
So this month’s box didn’t actually come in a box at all, but a bag. I was quite excited about this when I saw it on the website, as I think the design is pretty cool.
However, when it actually arrived, I was surprised to find that it was like this in the delivery box as is. Now, I’m very environmentally conscious. I hate package waste. But I did think that maybe this would come in a box, or a bag, or some bubble wrap or I don’t know what to protect it. But it was just in the delivery box like this, and delivery boxes get dirty. I have actually seen lots of comments on Instagram complaining about their bags being dirty, marked, etc. and I reckon this is probably the cause.
Luckily, mine wasn’t actually marked, but that didn’t matter to me much once I got a good look at it. The material is that scuba type stuff, which actually a lot of people hate the feel of. I’m a bit nonplussed about it, but what I wasn’t impressed by was how poorly this bag is made.
Don’t get me wrong: I know it was a “free” bag inside a subscription, but I do pay for this subscription. To me it’s kinda unacceptable to be sending out product with uneven stitching, loose threads hanging out everywhere, and not even being bothered to do a proper stitch, or even just to trim the hems. Put it this way: I’d’ve just preferred the box.
Anatomicals The Buff Stuff Citrus Body Scrub (RRP £3.99; this size worth about £1)
The good: Paraben-free, nice packaging, nice smell.
The bad: everything else.
I liked seeing this in my birchbag when I pulled it out. I’d seen this stuff in Superdrug and Morrisons, but never been grabbed by it enough to try it, and that’s the reason I signed up for subscription boxes: to get me trying something new. The packaging is lovely, as is the scent, but the problem for me comes when I use it.
It just doesn’t work for me. There’s plenty of people on the hyperlink above reviewing it and loving it, but I’m not particularly impressed. The formula feels like a gel. I would say shower gel, but it doesn’t seem to foam or bubble or cleanse you in anyway. This surprises me, as I checked the ingredients on the back and discovered it does actually contain Lauryl Sulphates (the ingredient that makes things bubbly/foamy).
But that’s fine. It’s an exfoliant, not a shower gel. Well… it didn’t really feel that exfoliating to me. The exfoliants in it appear from the ingredients to be grapefruit and pumice, and the most similar comparison I can make (to the actual exfoliant bits, not the surrounding formula) are St Ives scrubs, however because of this gel like substance, I found they kinda glided over my skin rather than scrubbed it, or just stuck together and didn’t really work evenly. In the future, I’d probably just stick to sugar scrubs.
Philip Kingsley One More Day Dry Shampoo (RRP £6.50)
The good: Nice packaging, nice smell, works well.
The bad: Can go on quite chalky.
This was the best product received this month. The packaging is lovely and simple, it smells beautiful, and it works, well… as well as any other dry shampoo I’ve used.
The only thing was that I held it the right distance away and still got a lot of chalkiness in my hair our of the product, however I am very aware that this is kinda expected of dry shampoos.
Dry shampoos aren’t something I use much, simply because if I have any problem with my hair, it’s that it’s too dry, rather than getting oily or greasy quickly, however this will be good to use for volume. I won’t buy it again, cos despite smelling and looking nicer than Batiste, the latter is much cheaper and works just as well.
Marcelle Waterproof Eyeliner in Mulberry (RRP approx. £8.45; est. £4.25 for this size)
The good: Seems like it really has good staying power, hypo-allergenic.
The bad: Patchy colour application, colour not as expected.
Birchbox subscribers this month got a choice of colour in this Marcelle eyeliner, between Mulberry and Brown. I opted for Mulberry because hey, I love experimenting with colour. I think I chose wrong.
This eyeliner has a lot of good stuff going for it: it glides nicely on with no drag, it’s smudge-able, but it also seems to stay put once on. There’s just a couple of things I’m disappointed about. First off, you can see that the eyeliner looks to be a lovely plum-like purple shade. This is what it looks like on my hand:
It looks like I’ve actually given it a rub there, but I promise, I hadn’t.
I mean, it looks kinda purple, but I really don’t think you’d notice that it was at all on the eyes. Secondly, you’ll be able to see that the pigmentation is kinda patchy. Maybe you wouldn’t notice this on the eyes either, but if I go for a colour liner, I’m usually looking to make an impact, and I just don’t feel like this does.
Merci Handy New Wave Hand Cleansing Gel (RRP approx £2.50)
The good: it’s a hand sanitiser.
The bad: IT’S A HAND SANITISER.
I honestly don’t have much to say. It’s a hand sanitiser. Birchbox, what are you doing? This is a beauty product to you? Okay it’s got a cute bottle. It comes in different fragrances (black vanilla sounds nice), but I got one that smells like a hand sanitiser. I just don’t get why I’m being provided something I can pick up anywhere for less than a quid.
Balance Me Treatments Radiance Face Mask (RRP £18 full size; approx. £3.60 for this size)
The good: “98% natural”, smells lovely, refreshing
The bad: doesn’t seem to do much
This is one of the better products in this box, but I’m not sold on it. The one really good thing about it is the smell: it’s reminiscent of products you would find in a spa, so makes you feel really relaxed. It’s also quite soothing to use.
But to me this doesn’t really feel like a mask. It contains Kaolin clay, but it doesn’t feel like clay. It’s more like a thick moisturiser with exfoliating bits. It kind of feels like it’s trying to be too much at once, but maybe that’s what makes it work for so many people?
This one I’m loathe to be negative about, as I’m sure it’s actually an amazing product – it does seem it – but unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to agree with my sensitive skin.
English Laundry Pour Femme Sample (RRP £60; sample worth approx. £1.20)
So this is a little extra, I guess. I’m not doing a good/bad for this, as perfume is subjective. I liked the smell of this initially as it’s very sweet, but the fragrance does hang about somewhat, and changes after a few minutes in oxidation, which I don’t like as much.
Total worth of products: approx. £19.05
So now I’ll move on to why I’m cancelling after such a short period of time.
I just don’t feel like I’m getting what I want from this box. I pay £10/month plus P&P and a lot of the stuff received are travel/sample sizes. I understand that that is standard for these subscriptions, but I seem to get a lot of stuff that I won’t use, or there’s just not enough of for me to justify paying £10 for. I’ve also gone through and compared the “likeable” factor of the products I’ve received from Birchbox v Glossy:
Look at the difference. It just doesn’t make sense for me to continue receiving products that just get stashed away unused, or given to someone else.
I also compared the worth of the products between Birchbox and Glossy, as this is something that I have suspected: I feel like I get more out of Glossy. More full size products, and more expensive ones. Turns out I was right:
Total worth of Birchbox products since May: £94.14
Total worth of Glossybox products since May: £260.49!
So, thanks for the run, Birchbox. It was nice to try some new stuff, but for someone who doesn’t have a great deal of money, I feel like I’m better investing my £10 elsewhere.
What do you guys think? Are you still loving Birchbox, or have they been disappointing you too recently?