Tuesday, 23 December 2014

December 2014 Birchbox Unboxing & Review

Honestly, if it wasn't for the fact that I follow Birchbox on Instagram I probably would have completely forgotten about this month's box. December has just been so busy: I aced my probation at work; attended my first work Christmas party; travelled down South to see my Mum for the first time in months; & prepared to spend the holidays with my boyfriend & his family. So, it was a nice surprise to come home to a little box of festive treats.

That being said, I am a little disappointed in the general theme of this month's box. I get that some people just don't want to be reminded of the holidays, but the packaging - which I love - conjured up images of jewel-toned eyeshadows, bright lipsticks & lots of sparkle while the contents of the box fell a little flat.

This month's box is a collaboration with accessories designer Sophia Webster & while I love the design of the information cards & the hot pink accents on the drawstring bag, I would have liked some of the products to feel a bit more personal too.

 The first product is Elemental Herbology's Facial Glow Radiance Peel, which retails for £40. Now I'm super skeptical about at home peels. My general feeling is that either they're super powerful, in which case they should be applied by a professional who knows what they're doing, or they're so weak that they have zero impact. Having tried this on the back of my hand, I suspect this falls into the latter camp. The peel itself is a clear gel with a scent that falls somewhere between herbal & chemical which isn't necessarily unpleasant but I can see this sitting on my shelf & getting forgotten about.

The next product is the Perfect Balance Shampoo from BiOrganics, which retails for £9. I feel like I say this a lot, particularly when it comes to the haircare products I receive in these boxes, but this is probably just going to sit in my cupboard until I need some sample size products to travel with. The scent is inoffensive (although I'd be a lot happier if the beauty industry got over lavender) & really, shampoo is shampoo (which doesn't really help justify the price tag).

Third out of my box is this Eyeko Fat Eye Stick, which retails for £8. Although I'm a big fan of the soft, smooth texture of this cream shadow pencil I'm super bummed out by the colour I received. I have quite small eyes so tend to avoid dark smoky looks, instead sticking to taupes & mauves, meaning I just don't see myself getting much use out of this. That being said, I might pick up the pencil in shade Satin Taupe which looks like a lovely, sparkly nude.

Birchbox were hyping this exclusive Benefit Christmas cracker HARD on social media, but despite its cute festive charm, they literally could not have included a worse product from my perspective. High Beam is a liquid highlight which retails for £19.50 & in the tube it looks beautiful, slightly shimmery with a opalescent glow. However, whenever I've tried to apply it - over, under, or mixed in with my foundation - it sits strangely on my skin, so I've basically given up on it. That being said, if anyone has any tips on how to get the most out of High Beam then I'd definitely love to hear them.

Just after last month's box arrived we were asked to select which Models Own nail polish shade we'd like to receive in December's box & I'm so happy with my pick. Obsidian (which retails for £5 - very reasonable) is a matte black polish containing varying sizes of silver glitter & I think it's what I'll be putting on my nails for Christmas day (although possibly with a top coat for extra shine). The only thing I'm not a fan of is the velvet lid - it just feels bulky & a bit tacky.

The final beauty product this month is the Trilogy Certified Organic Rosehip Oil, which retails for £16.50. In the past I've been wary of adding extra oil to my already oily skin, but recently I've been enjoying the instant hydration an oil can give. I don't really suffer from dry skin, which is what this oil is targeted at, but because it's basically scentless it's a great multi-purpose product & the dropper makes it easy to apply on the go.

Sophia Webster's main contribution to this month's box is this small purse, with leopard print & baby blue on the front, & black & white stripes on the back. Little bags are always useful, but I honestly can't imagine anyone using this as a purse on a night out - it's tiny (only just larger than a credit card) & the Birchbox logo is so prominent, it would just be a bit weird.

Honestly, there have been better boxes this year but the overall quality has definitely been good enough to keep me subscribed into the new year. As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts - both on this box & Birchbox more generally - leave me a comment below.

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