Sunday, 15 March 2015

March 2015 Birchbox Unboxing & Review

It feels like this month's box has come round super quickly, partly because I left my review for last month's so late, & partly because I've been so busy with work lately that time's just been flying by.

It probably won't come as much of a surprise to those of you who have been following my blog for a while that this will be my last Birchbox review because I have finally cancelled my subscription. It's not that this month's box is particularly bad, it's more just that Birchbox generally has stopped appealing to me, & at this point, I'd much rather save that £12 a month for investing in higher end products.

That being said, let's take a look at what Birchbox had to offer this month.

This month's box is a collaboration with trendy homewares retailer Habitat meaning there are lots of house-dressing tips on the Birchbox website. I actually quite like this collab - it fits in well with the whole beauty as lifestyle thing that's big at the moment - & Habitat is a brand that feels like a good fit with Birchbox's values & customers. That being said, as with a lot of these brand pairings, the whole thing feels a bit superficial & I would have liked to see more attempts to include Habitat into the box itself, rather than just the marketing.

I'm a fan of the box design though - the bright colours feel suitably spring-like without being loud or overbearing.

First up in my box & - let's be honest, the star of the show - is a sample of Benefit's new Roller Lash mascara (RRP £17.50). It seems kind of fitting to be reviewing a Benefit product in my final Birchbox, since the fact that the two brands work so closely was one of the big selling points for me when I first signed up. 

Benefit's They're Real is my go-to mascara although I'm proud to say I've never had to actually purchase it thanks to numerous samples & one very generous Christmas present, so it's hardly surprising that I'm a big fan of Roller Lash too. The curved wand does take a bit of getting used to, but it's perfect for getting a full coating of mascara, something that's particularly important to me as someone with blonde lashes.

I'm still not convinced I would spend £17.50 on a mascara, but if you're up for it, then Roller Lash is a great pick.

Next up is this perfume sample from Catherine Malandrino. I'm not a huge fan of receiving perfume samples in beauty boxes, just because I tend to find the fragrances they choose are super middle-of-the-road, presumably to appeal to as wide an audience as possible, & this is no different. I honestly couldn't tell you what it smells like (warm? citrus? who knows) & although I don't hate it, I definitely wouldn't pay the RRP of £50.

The third product in my box is this Phillip Kingsley Elasticizer (RRP £27.50). Now, I actually received a - far more generous - sample of this in my beauty advent calendar & really enjoyed it. I wouldn't say it's a miracle product, & honestly I'm not sure I'd ever buy a full-size version, but it definitely adds volume & I love using it when I'm getting ready for a night out as part of a pamper session.

The next product is a classic case of beauty boxes needing to go more in-depth with their customer profiles because we don't actually have a bath in our flat so these bath salts - however nice - are just going to go to waste. Technically the packaging on the Serenity Skincare Dead Sea Bath Salts (RRP £9.50) does say you can use them as an exfoliant too, but that seems like it could be quite harsh so I'm not sure I'll be giving that a shot. On another note, I'm pretty unimpressed with this packaging. I know £9.50 isn't a huge amount to some people, but I still expect something a little bit more fancy that a sandwich bag #justsaying.

The final beauty product this month is TanOrganic's Self Tanning Oil (RRP £24.99). I know I've been pretty down on tanning products in the past but with our holiday to Malta coming up I have actually been contemplating pre-tanning to avoid being quite so blindingly white when I step off the plane. I'm not sure about using this oil - it has a bit of a weird scent - but if I do take the leap I'll definitely let you know how it goes.

There are two "lifestyle" products in this month's box, & first up is a sample chapter from Penny Vincenzi's book A Perfect Heritage. I've spoken before about my frustration with these book samples: I love the idea of highlighting women authors but the samples they provide always end up falling flat. There are so many incredible women out there who are writing about the reality of their own diverse lives - I'm currently reading Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie & finding it simultaneously challenging & super enjoyable - that it's just disappointing that Birchbox instead choose to feature what is essentially chick-lit.

The final product, & the only one that has any relation to Habitat is this TINY notebook. Honestly, it's so small I don't even really understand what I'm supposed to write in it - I would have much rather received something with an actual connection to Habitat like a small candle or maybe even a mini catalogue of their beauty storage products. Whatever.

Like I said in my introduction, it's not that this month's box is particularly bad, I just think it's quite representative of the low quality of products that are generally included, & at this point I'd much rather save my money to spend on products I actually want to own. Beauty boxes can be great for people who are just getting into makeup & skincare, but after a couple of years the excitement definitely wears off, especially when it feels like you're just getting the same old products again & again.

If any of you are or have been subscribed to beauty boxes then I'd love to hear your thoughts on this - leave me a comment below.

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