Birchbox January 2021 Unboxing

This month Birchbox had quite the delay in shipping.  In addition to the current delays I believe one of their warehouses flooded. At least according to the e-mail I was sent.  I was also sent an e-mail saying that next month they will be shipping out between the 1st and the 10th which is their usual schedule, so hopefully their troubles are behind them. 

For those that don’t know Birchbox is a beauty subscription that has five sample sized beauty products in the box per month. If you order month to month the cost is $15.  If you order for 6 months, then the price drops to $14 and if sign up for a full year then you can get the subscription for $13. I am currently signed up for a yearly subscription. 

This was my first beauty subscription when I started with beauty boxes and I sort of have a soft spot for it.  I kept the subscription for a long time and then decided to take a break and move on to other subscriptions.  In November, they were offering a free Advent Calendar with an annual subscription so I decided to come back for a year to see if some of the issues that cause my dropping the subscription were addressed.

I know you are probably expecting me to complain about the small sizes of some of their samples, and I will admit that their samples can sometimes be laughably tiny.  Those are usually the more expensive products.  But truthfully that didn’t bother me as much as the moment of choice.

Each month on the 27th you can log in and make a choice for your box.  They do have a variety of options.  They have two curated boxes, one that features clean beauty options. There is the option to exchange your box for a preselected full sized item. You can choose one sample from a selection of options and know that that item will be in your box or you can decide that nothing in that month’s box interests you and thus instead of getting a box you can put your subscription price towards a purchase in their store.

One of the things that irked me about Birchbox was that no matter how early I logged in the full sized item was almost always sold out (I think I managed to catch it once and that was by accident), and usually at least one of the box selections was no longer an option. I found it very frustrating to expect a wide variety of choice options and end up with very limited ones.  Technically they send you e-mails letting you know choice is open, but if you wait to receive the e-mails then you will most likely find your options limited.  My e-mail always comes in around noon, but I found I can log in at nine. The system won’t let me in earlier than nine am.  On December 27th I made a deliberate effort to get in as soon as possible.

Which I did. I logged in at 9:02 am on choice day. And found that one of the boxes was already sold out as was the full sized item. The remaining box didn’t appeal to me so I chose an item from their list of selected. I chose the Verb Ghost Shampoo and Conditioner.  This apparently counted as two items out of my five.  While I really do want to try the Verb shampoo and conditioner, I find it a little off putting that the set counts as two items. 

The tubes are 25 ml and I’m pretty sure I’ll get one hair wash with the set. I’m happy to get the chance to try the shampoo and conditioner and as they are used together I would be a little upset if I got one and not the other, but I think if the pair is going to count as two items, they should have at least had enough product for two washes.  But, regardless, I am looking forward to trying another product by Verb.

the spoolie end

My next item was from the brand Marcelle.  It is the Nano Eyebrow liner.  It is in a shade that I will use and I love that the pencil has a spoolie on it so that I don’t have to go looking for one when I use it.  Marcelle products are sometimes hit or miss for me, but the ones that hit I end up falling in love with while the misses are just kind of so so.  Their mascara is one of my favorite formulas actually. So I am happy to have this to try.

The next item in the box was the Dr. Botanicals Pomegranate Superfood Regenerating sleeping mask. I love pomegranate and I love sleeping masks so this hits right into my zone of products.  I have never tried anything from Dr. Botanicals and am happy to give them a try.  I am also pleased that it is a large enough sample that I can get at least a full week-long trial out of it before making a call on whether or not I like it enough to purchase a full size. I’m hoping I like it as the full size is only $12 which is really reasonable for a sleeping mask. Fingers crossed that it’s a good one.

And this brings us to out last item and it is the KNDR Luxury Hand Sanitizer.  A little over a year ago I would have been upset to see this in my beauty box but these days I go through so much of it that having an extra is not a bad idea.  I will say that I did open it and use it.  It is an aggressively floral scent.  A chokingly aggressive floral scent.  If you are going to use this hand sanitizer, use it in an open space.  I opened it in my office and initially thought that as the hand sanitizer did its job that the scent would fade. 

It did not. 

It lingered.

And made my eyes water. 

The scent is very much like my grandmother’s linen closet sachet (the one stored for too long next to the mothballs so that the floral scent was a little off) was dipped in the sanitizer alcohol gel.  It is not pleasant and I had to air out my office.  I am putting this tube of hand sanitizer in the carport and will use it when I go get the mail, or move the trashcan around, but the carport is an indoor/outdoor space where the fresh air will blow the scent away. Do not use this in enclosed areas.  Even if you happen to like the scent, know that it is strong and it takes a long time to fade.  Anything this potent needs a lot of space to run around in.

with the rainbow prismatic paper inside

Now while those were all of the items in my box this month, this month Birchbox did a keepsake box and so instead of their usual cardboard boxes they had a clear plastic box.  Instead of their normal tissue paper they used a rainbow sheen plastic which gave the box some depth and shimmer. It is a simple plastic box.  It is fairly sturdy. I left the rainbow sheen plastic in and it looks nice. I’ll reuse it just as I will reuse all the other boxes, but from the massive hype they were giving the box I was expecting something more.  They really talked up their keepsake box. I know it isn’t a terribly expensive subscription but I would have thought maybe hinges on the lid. It is just a plastic version of their cardboard boxes. And while useful, not quite worth the hype they gave it.

I know I did a lot of complaining in this post, but at the end I received several products that I will use and that I wanted to try. The only real clunker for me was the scent of that hand sanitizer and while I don’t care for the scent I will still use it, just not in enclosed spaces.  To be honest the scent was so overpowering I didn’t have any thoughts about the moisturizing aspect of it, so I’ll have to try it in the garden and report back.  Other than that scent it was a good box.  I was annoyed by the items being sold out before I was allowed to choose and by the shampoo and conditioner counting as two items when there is only enough product for a one time paired usage. But otherwise I am actually pretty happy with January’s selection ad looking forward to February. I have signed up for a full year of Birchboxes and I believe my last one is in November so I will be getting this box through then. I plan to keep track of both my delights and frustrations to see if I will keep the box past November or finally let it go.




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