Saturday, 10 January 2015

January 2015 Birchbox Unboxing & Review

I'm going to be honest here & say I'd been kind of dreading this month's box. As someone who has struggled with disordered eating & low self-esteem in the past, the idea of a Birchbox collaboration with Women's Health had me rolling my eyes & even contemplating cancelling my subscription.

I get it. In January, some people are filled with a sudden motivation to "get fit", "shed pounds" & "tone up". But they key word there is "some" (I'd also question how much of that motivation comes from the shame & stigma, but that's a whole other post). I feel like there's this weird assumption that on January first everyone suddenly becomes obsessed with their physical health, but it's just not the case. Personally my goals this year revolve around things like eating breakfast more often (in order to stop my mid-morning grumps); doing more activities at the weekends rather than just curling up in my PJs; & saving up for a holiday. 

& so, for Birchbox to have themed their January box around health & fitness just feels a bit lazy & it also means that a lot of this month's products just don't interest me.

On the bright side, the branding is cute this month & I thought the little booklet of "bite-sized challenges" was a nice touch, although a little wishy-washy. 

Anyway, on to the products.

First up is this lip glaze from Stila, which retails for £15 (I received the shade Glimmer). I'm not really a lipgloss person & I wasn't particularly impressed with the pigmentation of this - as you can see, it's essentially clear once applied. The packaging is nice, with a clickable top which pushes the product onto a brush applicator, however I had to click mine around 20 times for it to appear on the tip meaning it was much less full than it first appeared. I haven't been that impressed with the Stila products I've tried in the past & this certainly hasn't changed my mind.

Next up is the Protect & Detangle Spray from Beauty Protector, which retails for £14. This is essentially a leave in conditioner which is supposed to leave your hair smooth, shiny & protected from both UVA rays & heat damage. The scent is really nice & weirdly similar to the L'Oreal Kids Sweet Pear Detangle Spray (which I'm still a huge fan of), but the packaging isn't great. Rather than coming out in a mist, the spray is ejected in a single stream - kind of like one of those mini waterpistols - so I can see it being tricky to get this evenly distributed through your hair.

The third product is the Glycolactic Renewal Mask from REN, which retails for £30. I haven't used this yet & honestly, it might take me a while as I'm not really a fan of chemical exfoliants, especially in masks. I'd also be a little nervous about removing the mask properly as it suggests using a damp cloth, but on my skin at least, the product sank into my skin, making it hard to see where exactly it had been applied. On the plus side, this does have a really nice spiced orange scent & it is free from parabens & sulphates, which is always a bonus.

Product number four is one I'm still a little confused by, & it's the HealGel body lotion, which retails for an eyewatering £39.50. On the info card it says this is "packed with anti-inflammatory ingredients" but then goes on to advise using it daily, so I'm not really clear if this is a topical treatment for injuries & muscle tension, or just a glorified moisturiser. Either way, I definitely won't be spending £40 in a full-size version, especially as its main quality when applied seemed to be feeling damp.

The final "beauty" product this month is the activbod Feel Great Shower Concentrate, which retails for £5. Essentially this is a concentrated shower gel targeted at gym users, as it supposedly has extra deodorising properties. I quite like the fact that it's essentially scentless & it could be great for quick post-workout showers during your lunch break, but it's just not really for me.

This month we received two "lifestyle" products - although this one had been sneakily filed under "beauty" as if that might trick us. The Embrace Matcha Green Tea, which retails for £24.99 claims to have ten times the anti-oxidants of regular green tea & can be used with hot or cold water, & in smoothies. As someone who is not a fan of green tea & is eternally skeptical of "superfoods" I doubt I'll be giving this a go any time soon.

Finally, what the fuck is this. It's a Birchbox & Women's Health branded pilates band, of course. Personally, I knew this would be headed to the bin the second I saw it, but if you fancy one, they're only £7.99 in the Birchbox store.

I know this review is super snarky but this was just such a disappointing way to kick off the new year with Birchbox. Nothing really stands out & although it's nice to receive a product from a well-known brand like Stila, even that was a bit of a let down. 

I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments, particularly in terms of the idea of themeing a beauty box around health & fitness.

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