Birchbox Review: September 2019

September 2019 including birthday gift of makeup bag and stickers

This month was an interesting box. For those who don’t know Birchbox is a monthly subscription box that sends you five samples a month.  The basic price is $15 but agreeing to a longer term of service can lower that cost. After your first moth they offer selection options.  Last month when I logged in to choose there was only one option left.  This month there was more of a choice. I was very pleased about that. I know it sounds strange but I either like having no choice or having a full choice, the in between of “we’re offering you a choice, but oh you just missed it,” kind of annoys me.

But that was last month. This month I had a choice.

Also it is their birthday month so there was a makeup bag in my box.  It is a good size and of decent quality.  I will actually get a lot of use out of it and appreciate them adding a little something extra for the celebratory month.

The first item in my box of choice was the Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin™ Cream.  This cream is supposed to:

boost your skin’s natural ability to retain moisture by strengthening its barrier. That means it stays hydrated, plump, and radiant for longer even in harsh climates.

I have to say it is a good cream from what I can tell from the small sample.  It has virtually no scent and once it sinks into the skin it is not greasy or heavy feeling. It does take a minute to sink in, or at least it did on me so you have to tweak your routine a little to adjust for the delay.  Also the suggestions call for a nickel sized amount to be used.  I would go with a dime instead.  You do not need much of this cream if you have normal skin. If you have really dry skin, lean towards the nickel, if oily shrink the dime a little. The full sized bottle is $48. While this is more or less in the standard moisturizer range, I didn’t have enough of the product to do a full test so I can’t say if I would actually purchase it or not.  It seemed fine, but you know me and skin care.

Moving on, I extracted a sample of Juliette Has a Gun Not a Perfume Eau de Parfum. I have to say this is the first time in a really long time that I have gotten a small perfume sample.  I’m so used to getting the month long supply from Scent box that the little sample came as a surprise. I’m also used to more complex details about the product.  The only description was…

The simple scent (based on a single note) is spicy, sophisticated, and doesn’t try too hard to impress whether you wear it to work or on the weekend.

Now most of the perfumes I’ve tried from the Juliette brand have had patchouli in their mix. Its one of the ways I found out that I didn’t like patchouli.  Their full descriptions are quite enticing. Just not the patchouli. So I was hesitant when spritzing, but I went forward. I have to say, I detected no trace of patchouli.  What I did smell was alcohol followed by a light but indistinct floral scent. The alcohol smell dissipated quickly but the scent itself remained sort of blah for me. It smells sort of like the perfume you would choose if you had to wear a perfume but didn’t really like perfume. It is not a strong scent and can easily be mistaken for a body product like lotion or soap. I would call it neither spicy nor sophisticated. So it is not for me.  Others may like it and if it is for you a full bottle retails for $100. Personally, it’s a pass for me.

Next up there was a Smashbox Cosmetics Always On Matte Liquid Lipstick in my box. My shade was called Stepping out.  It is also one of the smallest lipstick samples I have seen in a while. Seriously, it looks laughably small. The details though are…

Smashbox swatch and sample sized bottle

This lightweight and flexible liquid matte lipstick delivers bold color that stays fresh and locked in for eight hours. Filled with jojoba, apricot, and sunflower seed oils, the creamy formula is supercomfortable to wear and won’t dry or feather out.

I have to say it met every claim admirably.  Also I have been looking for a good neutral lipstick and I really like this one.  The color is fantastic.  When I put it on I hit the timer to see how long it took to dry down.  The answer (on me and in my climate) was 2 min 38 seconds. A bit long perhaps, but once it dried, it didn’t go anywhere.  I wore it for the entire day. I put it on and let it dry before coffee. It lasted through the gym, gardening and two meals.  When I went to take it off before my shower it was still in place.  A little faded, sure, but still in place. The fact that it is the perfect shade for me and was long lasting made me happy.  The fact that it is so small makes me sad. 

I will be adding it to my purchase list though.  The full size is $24 which is on the high side but given its positives, I think I can justify the purchase. I also have to say given its price point I probably wouldn’t buy it without being able to try it on first. Which is why I wish Birch box offered more lipstick samples. Since lipstick can be so much of a guess even though I laugh at the small sample size, I do appreciate knowing if a color works on me before I buy it.

Moving on we come to the EXO Supply Co. Pure Remover Wipes a full sized purchase of this product retails for $12 and has ten wipes in it.  My sample is a one pack.  The description…

Unopened packet with my manky nail polish

Polish chips are a fact of life, but with a few of these remover wipes packed in our bags, we don’t have to walk around with gnarly nails until the end of the day. The acetone-free remover is made of organic, plant-based ingredients and conditioning essential oils that don’t leave us feeling lightheaded like traditional removers. It’s safe on natural and acrylic nails, and even takes off most gel polishes. The best part? The gentle scent means no one has to know when you’re taking it off.

I have to agree there is no smell.  And even though my very chipped polish was a lighter color, I think it was a heavy duty one.  The cloth when it came out of the package felt quite dry and I thought it would do nothing.  As I moved it around it started to get oily and my nail polish pretty much melted off.  It took less than a minute and no really hard scrubbing and the polish was gone.  Unfortunately it left my hands so greasy I had to immediately go wash them and avoid tyouching anything and leaving cartoon style crime fingerprints on things. While I can see the benefit of having these at work as there is no smell and they are quick and efficient.  That oil is something else.  I tried it at my desk but had to avoid mu papers and move to the bathroom to rinse so my work wasn’t soiled.  I can see slipping a pack in your bag and using it in the ladies room.  Not so much at your desk.  That being said, it is a good product and not overly expensive.  I could certainly see myself picking up a pack, just not using them at the desk.

Opened packet showing cloth, clean nails and very greasy fingers.

And if we have polish remover, we need polish. Smith & Cult Nailed Lacquer in Glass Souls was in this box. I’ve mentioned it before, I love this brand.  It retails for $18 and after all of the small sample sizes in this box I was thrilled to get a full sized item.  While glitter polish isn’t really my usual thing, mostly because it is such a pain to remove, the holiday season approacheth. Despite being September, the seasonal stocking has begun.  While I would wear this polish over another nail polish, probably something dark so it could really stand out, I tried it on over bare nails to show it on its own.  Even though it looks like it would be rough to the touch, the silver is flatly in the polish so it lays smooth. I really like the silver spangles and will be wearing it at an upcoming party

Holidays here I come. Although I’m thinking over a deep berry shade rather than on bare nails.

Finally we get to the amika 3D Volume and Thickening Shampoo and Conditioner pack.  It is supposed to add…

…fullness and lift to your fine, limp, or flat strands. It also contains a patented blend of ingredients that promote hair growth and natural shine, so your hair will not only be thicker, it’ll look and feel healthy long term.

I was really excited to try this as I love the amika dry shampoo and hairspray.  The shampoo came in a small plastic tube and the conditioner in a foil package. There was enough of each for two washes.  I have a lot of rather thick hair. (I use this kind of shampoo for body and volume rather than thickening)I also forgot to cut the foil packet before entering the shower and having just washed my hair with the shampoo my hands were in no shape to tear the foil packet open.  It took forever to get it open and I was rather frustrated. Note to self (and others) cut foil packet before turning on the shower. Always. Otherwise you look like a chimpanzee trying to figure out a rubix cube that someone glued together in the 1980s. Not pretty.

Oddly enough I really liked the shampoo, but not the conditioner.  And no I wasn’t basing it on just the foil packet (although seriously, you know people are going to be using them in the shower do something other than a dotted line where they are meant to be torn. Okay nipping the rant in the bud.) I used it a second time when I didn’t have to fight the package and came up with the same conclusion.  While the shampoo and conditioner come in separate bottles, I’m not sure if they are sold as a set as the retail price is listed as $24.  I don’ know if that is for the set or individually. Either way, yes to the shampoo, no to the conditioner.  At least for me.

That is my September review of the September Birchbox. There was some good, some not so good and some that I just didn’t think through. It was an interesting mix and it reminded me why I started getting sample boxes in the first place. I got to test things I was interested in as well as things I never heard of and decide independently if they were for me or not. Personally, I’m very excited about the lipstick. But then, when am I not excited about the lipstick?

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