Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Birchbox: April 2012

This month my box came an entire week and half later than it had been since Birchbox switched to UPS-MI! Even my tracking code would not work until a few days ago. I was getting a little impatient since I vowed not to peak at the website before my box came. I loved having my box be a complete surprise (okay, okay, I sort of half peaked, but I only saw two products before I closed the window). From now on I'm going to promise to myself to not peak. It makes it so much more fun and rewarding.

Don't know what Birchbox is?
Birchbox is a monthly subscription service that delivers a little, heavenly box of premium beauty samples to your doorstep. Each month you will receive 4-5 samples (sometimes even full-sized products) and generally a goodie (energy booster, granola bar, etc). The samples range from make-up, polishes, skincare, body, hair, and fragrances. All from luxury, quality brands. Every month is a surprise, but the samples picked for you are based on a survey you fill out letting the gals know your style and skin-type. Birchbox costs just $10 a month, and your box will always be valued way above!
Click here to join Birchbox.

April 2012, Box #20
Birchbox was inspired by the upcoming Earth Day (4/22) for April's box. The box is filled with fresh products that take inspiration from the world around. They state in the card that the products will get us excited to take on everything from garden parties to spring cleaning. I'm not entirely impressed with their interpretation of the theme. I wouldn't consider an alcohol based fragrance anywhere near being wholesome or environmentally friendly. But the other brands I received are committed to using natural products, environmentally friendly practices, and are cruelty-free. So they got it mostly right.

Information Cards:

WillaClear Face Moisturizer
This healing cream is made with aloe, mango extract, and eucalyptus to balance moisture levels without clogging your pores.
Full Size: 1.0oz ($11.50)
Size Received: 0.5oz ($5.75)
It was interesting to read that this small startup company had to deal with big bully, Procter & Gamble, suing them. PG sued Willa because their name is too similar to PG's own Wella line. Willa skincare was started by Christy Prunier when she and her daughter (Willa) realized there wasn't any natural skincare options for preteen girls. It seems only natural to call the skincare line Willa, luckily in October the two companies settled and they won the rights to keep the name! Apparently it cost Willa almost a million dollars in legal fees to keep the name. I applaud them for taking on the powerhouse and beating them at their own game!
Now to the sample!  All Willa products are free of all nasty chemicals and are cruelty-free. As already mentioned, the line was developed by girls for girls. But moms keep stealing the products for themselves, which is why Birchbox picked these products up! The first thing that I noticed about this moisturizer is that it has a serum-like, runny consistency. It truly does absorb on contact and doesn't make my face feel greasy at all. Aloe soothes irritated skin and reduces redness, eucalyptus balances out skin tone, and mango gives skin a shot of Vitamin C to help brighten and reduce the appearance of scars and blemishes. I absolutely loved this moisturizer. I used 3 pumps of it for my entire face and it really did dry in seconds. After a long day my skin is still hydrated and I noticed that my redness has stayed away all day. The fact that this moisturizer is only $11.50 makes it an amazing contender for a summer moisturizer. Adore!

Benta Berry: G-1 Exfoliating Facial Cleanser
Overhaul your skin with this Parisian brand's creamy exfoliator, which has finely ground apricot seeds to sweep away dead cells.
Full Size: 1.0oz ($16.00)
Size Received: 0.1oz ($1.60)
Benta Berry is a French natural and cruelty-free skincare company that also focuses on young skin (12-24 years). When I saw apricots in the description I was expecting St Ive's thick, heavy formula with giant amounts of ground up apricot. But as advertised the apricot seeds are VERY finely ground. You can still feel and see them, but just barely. The liquid is nice and liquidy rather than thick which I like in a cleanser. It has burdock, jasmine, and mandarine to help control oil and purify skin. The exfoliant supposedly has a mattifying effect which is awesome. During the humid, summers, I can't have enough products that help keep my face shine-free! I absolutely adore the fragrance too, it smells like blueberries and clean flowers. I wish I had a lotion in this scent! I'll use this tomorrow and see how it works. The sample is probably enough for just two uses.

Taylor Swift: Wonderstruck
The pop-country songstress' scent is as catchy as her lyrics. We think it's worthy of a standing gig in our vanity.
Full Size: 3.4oz ($59.50)
Size Received: 0.04oz ($0.70)
This perfume reminds me a lot of Viva la Juicy. It may be because they are both sparkling fruity-florals with base notes of amber and musk. Wonderstruck's top notes are raspberry, dewberry, green tea, freesia, and apple blossom. The raspberry makes this note special and the others make it sparking and fresh. It mellows out pretty quickly to the middle notes of vanilla, white hibiscus, and honeysuckle. And at the base is amber, musk, peach, and sandalwood. The peach is actually a really nice addition, it calms the musk and amber down a notch. It is a nice fragrance.  But I don't think it is anything special. I can see a younger girl loving this perfume. It is very youthful. But I don't see myself ever buying this for myself especially since the parent company (Elizabeth Arden) still tests on animals.

Alima Pure: Organic Nourishing Lipbalm in Rhubarb
Both wholesome and chic, this tinted balm is made with plant butters and delivers a natural flush of color. 
Full Size: 0.07oz ($7.00)
Size Received: Full-size! 0.07oz ($7.00)
My March Goodebox introduced me to this company and I've already purchased a full-size of their mineral bronzer. I love the philosophy of the company: they are certified safe and natural, are cruelty-free, and have many programs set up to help the environment. All of their products are vegan, except the lipbalms do have beeswax. We all know that I do use bee products when they are from companies like Alima that ensure the safety of the colonies. The size of the lipbalm head is similar to Softlips, very teeny. I need to apply it a few times over my lips to get full coverage. But the lipbalm itself is amazing. Rhubarb is a sweet, pink blush color that just adds a pop of color to my lips with a gorgeous sheen. Plus it has sweet almond oil to reduce fine lines and peppermint oil that leaves a refreshing tingle. The product reminds me of my beloved Alba's TerraTint Lipbalm in Bloom which also has SPF 8. TerraTints has better pigmentation and is cheaper, but Alima's formula has a more even application. Either way a great addition to my box!

Le Palais des Thés: Tea Bags in Thé des Alizés and Thé du Hammam
Little known fact: the French take teatime just as seriously as their coffee breaks - as evidenced by these sophisticated Parisian green tea blends.
Full Size: 20 bags ($12.50)
Size Received: 2 bags($1.25)
I love tea and currently have a sore throat, so this is the best lifestyle extra for me! The Thé des Alizés makes me want to drool. It is a green tea blend laced with white peach, watermelon, and kiwi. Does that not sound divine!? The Thé du Hammam is a Chinese green tea with rose petals, green dates, and orange flower water. I'm not sure I'll like this one as much, but it may still be delicious. The teas can be served hot or cold and have a small amount of caffeine. I've now tried both of them and let me tell you they are delicious. Although I would recommend using smaller coffee cups. I used them with my giant Amy's and they were very diluted, no matter how long I steeped. But I can imagine they would be packed full of the flavors if only an 8oz serving. The price is a bit steep for 20 bags but they may be nice to have as a luxurious treat.

Total value of my April 2012 box:$16.30
Not the best valued box I've received from Birchbox, but not terrible. As long as I like the products I received I'm okay with a lower value. And I have to say I am satisfied, there are a ton of great products that are AFFORDABLE! To me that beats out having a box worth a ton of money. I love that two of my products are geared toward younger skin and our troubles. Plus all of the beauty brands (aside from the fragrance) are from natural, cruelty-free brands. I don't get why the fragrance is considered earthy/natural when it comes from a company whose parent tests on animals and uses so many chemicals. It would have been nice to see a fragrance from say Pacifica or Lavanila. 

What do you think of my April Birchbox? How does my box compare to yours? Let me know in the comments below!
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  1. Great box! After reading what you put about Willa battling P&G, it makes me want to support them even more. I loved the face wipes I got in my box, so I think I might pick up some. :)

    1. I think it is so awesome that they took them on! Most would give up and change their name. Im thinking about buying the full-size moisturizer when I finish this guy. It's so amazing!

  2. Thanks for pointing out the expired items in my box! I think I like yours better. I LOVE tea too and love tea samples!

    1. Of course! Even though they are bad, I LOVED my Befine exfoliating cleanser. It smelled so yummy and did a great job! Ever since I bought the Tea Forte in Cherry Marzipan I've been drinking tea more. I realized how much I love green tea!! It's so light and refreshing!

  3. i have a question for you (and anyone else here, really). i am new to birch box and am wondering what you selected when they asked if you were more interested in makeup, fragrance, skincare, etc.? i chose skincare and that was all i got. i'd like a bit more variety..you seem to always get a nice well-rounded box so I was just curious as to what you selected. =)

    1. Some months the boxes are really skincare heavy, but like you I want a variety!

      Here's my answers to the profile questions:
      I get my beauty intel from: blogs
      My level of beauty knowledge: Semi-proficient
      If I'm going to splurge: The perfect foundation
      Signed up to: Experiment, don't have time to shop
      Beauty Style: Classic and Low-maintenance
      Hair: Fine and Oily
      Skin Concerns: Acne, Sensitive, Sun-protection
      Other special interests: natural/organic, active lifestyle

      But I say just go for what you like, some months you'll love your box and it'll be varied, and other months it'll be meh. I got a beauty blender a few months ago, some awesome tinted moisturizers, and primers that I bet are due to my love of anything foundation related. So if you wait a bit you'll see you'll get better, more rounded boxes.

      Hope that helps.

  4. thank you! that definitely does help. =)


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