I finally received my offer to join Birchbox a few weeks ago, and I was thrilled.
Why, you ask?
Here’s how it works: for a menial $10 each month, you receive a package of “luxe” product samples from a range of beauty brands so you can test them out before purchasing them through the Birchbox website.
Birchbox not only has its own online store, but it provides tutorials, has its own online “magazine,” videos and more (none of which I’ve used yet).
Okay, okay, sounds interesting, sounds right up my alley, right? Who doesn’t want free samples of the best beauty products delivered to their door once a month?
But, I was a bit disappointed when my first Birchbox arrived.
In it, I received:
- ShowStoppers Fashion Tape
- Viva La Juicy from Juicy Couture
- Jurlique Herbal Recovery Night Cream
- Kérastase Elixir Ultime
- Color Club Nail Polish in Age of Aquarius.
I have to say I was quite disappointed with this selection. The two stand-outs were obviously Jurlique’s Night Cream and the Kérastase Elixir because those products are the ones that I would have probably never gambled on for their full price tags without knowing they were worth it.
The Jurlique Night Cream couldn’t have been more lovely. I’m a sucker for rich creams and serums (even the ones that promise wrinkle-reduction: they’re just so much more luxurious), particularly Estee Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair Eye Cream, Olay Regenerist’s Micro-Sculpting Serum and Micro-Sculpting Cream, and Sensai The Eye Cream. Jurlique was a great addition to this family.
Kérastase Elixir Ultime is going to get it’s own separate review within the week. I’m still testing it to see how I feel about it.
Now for the bad.
Viva La Juicy literally makes me want to puke, makes girls smell like their butts should still be donning a huge pink “JUICY” circa middle school, and I’ve received samples of it (for free!) from Sephora too many times before. Not novel, certainly not luxe, and not anything I want to be paying for.
The fact that Birchbox includes perfume samples in their boxes disgusts me, since (a) they’re already all over the place (magazines, department stores, etc.)… for free, and (b) because you can walk into any Sephora and have them create samples from any single perfume whether or not the brand distributes samples or not.
Color Club’s polish wasn’t the most flattering color on my skin, but it was almost opaque in one coat, plus super shiny without top coat. Full-sized polishes are $8 on Birchbox and Color Club’s sites. But, a little internet trolling (aka a Google search) led me to colors for $2-4 dollars, so I can only imagine how much this half-sized sample would get on Amazon. Maybe $0.75? Again, nothing special.
And finally, don’t even get me started on the fact that companies are still trying to sell double-stick tape in fancy packaging and calling it “fashion tape.” ShowStoppers currently have a deal on their website for $10 that includes 48 strips, along with deodorant dissolver. Sound “luxe” to you?
The reason I was so excited to try Birchbox in the first place was because I believed I would be receiving a “curated box of luxe beauty samples,” as their website states. Instead, I felt that I could have received majority of these products in my Sephora/ULTA bag with purchase.
The concept is brilliant, of course. We’re paying to have (what should probably be free) samples put into our hands, which, given that you like the product, will drive sales. However, there is no way that this was “hand-curated.”
I’m going to continue using Birchbox, since it’s a mere $10 tacked onto my credit card bill each month. I imagine some of the products must be swoon worthy and will help me distinguish the good products from the bad before investing in an entire container of something. I’m having some faith.
Plus, I see pics on the internet that hopefully suggest that my subscription happened to start on a month with a crappy box.
Do you use Birchbox? What’s your experience been so far? Do you love it, or hate it? Let us know in a comment!