I think you would have guessed by now that I'm not normally one for subscription beauty boxes. I always figured that I'd be better off buying products that I really want, rather than spending £10-£15 on samples. However, around Christmas I noticed that they had £5 off for all new subscribers at Birchbox and the samples being shown looked pretty decent (Laura Mercier Caviar Sticks and Bobbi Brown Mascaras? Yes please!), so I decided to put in an order.
I was quite excited to receive my first box, I already knew that all the December boxes would include a Ciate eyeliner and I couldn't wait to see what else there would be. When I received my box in the post, my first thoughts were 'Wow that's some pretty cool packaging'. I've seen people using their Birchboxes to store brushes in, but my Sister's an avid stationary collector so I knew she would like the box. The lid comes off to reveal the drawstring bag underneath, and the box is the perfect height to store brushes/makeup upright, or pens and so on.
However, this is where I was left slightly underwhelmed. There was the Ciate eyeliner as expected, however I wasn't too keen on the other samples. I think the Bene-tint sample has been done far too often, I personally don't think the product offers much and I still have my (much larger) sample that I got in Glamour ages ago for £2. I wasn't impressed with the Anatomicals body lotion either, I feel like I could have got something similar in Superdrug, and I guess I was expecting more beauty products instead. I also got a small sample of the Elemis day cream. Lastly, I got a Percy and Reed Wonder balm (which I also received in my M&S advent calendar), and whilst I have heard good things about it, I'm not sure if it's a good match for my 'beauty profile' that you set up in order to get beauty products personalised to you. I've also seen these last two samples in magazines quite often, so it really made me think about whether I was actually getting 'luxury' beauty samples, or samples that couldn't be shifted elsewhere.
I was also quite gutted that there were no Bobbi Brown/Laura Mercier samples to be found in my box (oh well).
At this point I was really contemplating unsubscribing, but then I checked out their website and saw that the January box looked like it had products better suited to my beauty profile, e.g. the eye cream for my dark circles, or the Nuxe oil. So I decided to give the January box a go. Again, the packaging was fantastic, a printed box with a drawer that slides out, a really multi-use product! However, I opened the drawer and was left underwhelmed again. On their website they promised to have two full size products, but my samples were tiny! Also, with me not being familiar with Birchbox, I didn't realise I had been short changed until the next day. My box only included 4 samples, instead of 5. I had to email customer services and they realised the hand cream wasn't included, so they sent that out later.
This time I got the Lord and Berry Concealer stick. I think this may well be a new product as I can't find much on it online, but the reviews on Birchbox are a bit of a hit and miss. I also got a Nails Inc sample in Richmond Terrace, the shade does look pretty nice but the sample size is only 4ml! Even with the Nails Inc samples in Glamour you get 10ml. I also got a sample Clarifying shampoo by Kebelo, which I wasn't really expecting as I wrote that my hair was dry on my beauty profile so obviously I wouldn't want to use anything that might strip it further. I then got a Whish shave cream, which again didn't match my profile. Lastly, I got the Merci Handy Cherie Cherry hand cream. This does look like a really cool product, but I do already have plenty of hand creams lying about.
Overall, personally I wouldn't really recommend the Birchbox subscription service. I found that there was a lack of beauty products, the samples weren't really personalised to my profile, and I've seen the same/even better samples in magazines, so I wouldn't say it was value for money! Although this isn't to say that someone else might not have a better experience, but it just wasn't for me. The main perk for me was the packaging really!
I hope you enjoyed this post!
Have you ever taken out a beauty subscription, and what were your experiences?