Is Birchbox, the company that started the curated subscription beauty box trend, worth it? If you’re not familiar with Birchbox, for $10/month you set up a profile and each month, you get shipped 4 samples picked special for you (based on your profile) by beauty specialists and 1 sample you get to pick yourself from 3 options specific to a theme for the month. Also, you earn 10 Birchbox points per each product review that you can use towards a future purchase.
I decided to find out if Birchbox was worth it and signed up in March 2015. The reason I decided to try it was because I was in search of some new beauty products and just wasn’t sure what I was looking for specifically but I knew I was up to trying new products. I needed inspiration! I wanted to try some serums, masks, etc. The cost of trying multiple new items from skincare to make up was daunting so Birchbox seemed like a perfect way for me to try new products without the big price tag. The plan was to try it for a year.
My last box was March 2016 and here is what I found the pro’s and con’s of Birchbox to be.
- It’s an efficient way to try new beauty products from skin care to make up to fragrance
- The samples are often large enough in size to last longer then a few tries
- Samples are handy to have around for travel purposes
- You find new products you like but you wouldn’t have tried otherwise
- Sometimes they send you a sample that is NOT a good color for you
- You can receive the same type of product a few months in a row, i.e. I received dry shampoo 2 months in a row
- If you miss the date to select your sample for the month, they pick for you
- You can get products you’re completely not interested in (The key here is making sure your profile is filled out completely)
So, what is my take after the year? Well, I think in the end, it WAS worth it. I was turned on to some great products that I would never have tried otherwise because I didn’t know the item existed or because the price tag kept me from trying it. But, I think a year was PERFECT. I started to get bored by the last few months when some of the products I received were the same types I’d already received but not that interested in, i.e. eye shadow and sunscreen.
I have mentioned in a previous post back in the Fall (find it here) about some of my favorite samples from Birchbox I’ve received but here is a general run down of my overall favorites from the past year.
1. Marcelle Waterproof Eyeliner in Midnight ($11)– It goes on smoothly and lasts all day. It comes in a bunch of nice colors so I may try it in another color at some point.
2. Marcelle Clay Mask ($16)– You wear it for 10 minutes and my skin really did feel great after.
3. 100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Eye Cream ($25) – I like how this product goes on but truth be told, I’m not sure HOW well it works but I like the texture of it and the idea of it so I use it in the AM and am happy. 🙂(PS I actually owned this a few years ago!). Just a note though that the smell is either loved or hated but there isn’t a lot in the middle.
4. Liz Earle Eyebright™ Soothing Eye Lotion ($25) – Honestly, I find the idea of this product so appealing but, again, I’m not sure if it really makes a difference! That being said, I definitely use it on the mornings that I just look, you know, ugh! There is just something soothing about it, maybe it’s the combination of witch hazel, aloe and a pleasant smell. Either way, I’m sold!
5. Visanti® BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator ($34) – Very good gentle, exfoliator. I know it’s not the cheapest but I love how my skin feels after using it and there is something I like about the smell of it, too.
6. Harvey Prince Hello fragrance ($28 for 8.8ml) – I surprisingly liked this scent! I tend to lean towards sweeter scents (i.e. Marc Jacobs Daisy) and this one is sweet and floral and perfect for my taste.
7. Marcelle BB Cream Gold Glow ($28) – I like this product so much and mentioned it in my first beauty post here. It just has a nice color and feel to it so that it quickly became one of my make-up staples.
8. Camille Beckman Glycerin Hand Therapy™ ($13.95) – I fell in love with this sample right away. The smell and the consistency were a perfect combination so it was actually the first sample I bought in the full size. I genuinely felt like my hands felt soft for longer then with other hand creams I’ve used. I use it nightly before I go to bed.
9. Antastasia Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel ($22) – I had been thinking about trying a brow gel and knew that this brand is one of the best. I went through the sample fast and am convert. I use it daily now.
Since I canceled my Birchbox subscription, I decided to give Ipsy a try. It’s a similar company but they offer samples from different companies then Birchbox. After just signing up and receiving my first box, I’m finding the company to be run very differently. My feeling is they are trying to make the company seem like it’s more exclusive to be a part of. When you sign up, you get put on a “wait list.” Then, you are encouraged to promote the company on social media and to your friends to get off this supposed wait list faster. This really turned me off. (I opted out of this. I signed up March 11 and my first box was sent in April). Then, the sizes of the samples were small and not enough to give a product a good enough try (this is comparing this to sample sizes from Birchbox) AND the packaging of a few of the samples was odd. An eye shadow came in a flat package and one of the serums didn’t have a seal on the end like I would have expected. I’m giving it one more month and then I’ll decide if I want to continue with it. I realized that I may be over trying new products for the time being anyway.
In the end, if you are looking to try new beauty products in a simple and cost effective way, I highly suggest trying Birchbox for at least 6 months.