Let’s talk Birchbox, October 2021 Unboxing

Oh my darlings, the October Birchbox has arrived. And with it, decision time. Last year I signed up for a full year’s commitment to the Birchbox Subscription. The agreement to keep it for an entire year meant that I paid $13 ($14.27 with tax) instead of the regular $15. I was still able to pay month to month, which was something I really liked. I just had to agree to continue paying for twelve months. And the October 2021 box is box number 12 of the subscription. So in addition to looking at this month’s post, I will be looking back over all of the boxes for the past year to decide if I want to keep this subscription for another full year or if I want to go month to month or if I just want to let it go completely.

Before we look at the big decision, let’s start with this month’s box. As always there is a selection that is made on the 27th of the month. At this point in time the selection process is choosing one item from four options and letting Birchbox build your box around it, choosing their curated box or paying your subscription fee and letting that fee go towards the purchase of something from their on-line store instead of getting that month’s box.

I chose the curated box because I didn’t know if I was staying so I didn’t want to go with credit and I didn’t really like any of the four options given to me. Thee were also two items in the curated box that I was curious about.

The first item in the box that interested me was the Strawberry and Poppy Seed Natural Cleansing Bar from Dr. Botanicals. In general I don’t go for cleansing bars when looking for facial cleansers. The one exception is the black soap from Erno Laszlo. I absolutely love that cleansing bar. It is the only one that has won me over. However, I have been receiving more Dr. Botanicals products in subscription boxes lately and they have been killing it. I have been very impressed by the brand. I also like that they are not an expensive brand. While I like many expensive products and with skin, hair and body products I don’t mind spending the extra money to get what i want, it is always nice to have a good reliable moderately priced brand that you can turn to. And honestly for me that brand is rapidly turning into Dr. Botanicals.

This cleansing bar was the first thing I smelled as well as the first item I took out of the box. A waft of strawberry and poppy seed greeted me as I opened the box. It was kind of nice.

The second item that I really wanted to try was the Sunday Riley Light Hearted SPF 30 Daily Sunscreen. I am always looking for a few good sunscreens. I love my Volition Prismatic Luminizer, but it is nice to have options. and I really like the brand Sunday Riley. My skin tends to do well with most of the products I have tried. I actually have several that I will repeatedly repurchase. Good Genes actually tops the list. Fantastic AHA. I think the sunscreen might be a new release. I haven’t heard of it before, so I am glad to try it out.

The third item in my box is the Comfort Zone Hydramemory cream. It is a moisturizer with hyaluronic acid in it. And we all know I love my hyaluronic acid. Or more accurately speaking the fine lines around my eyes and the stress crack across my forehead really like hyaluronic acid. I have tried many Comfort Zone Products in the past but honestly can’t remember if this is one of them.

Comfort Zone for me is one of those brands that works well enough that I can’t complain about them but not great enough for me to really remember them. They tend to fall into my category of ‘I’ll use them if they are here but i won’t go looking for them.’

It isn’t a great category, but it isn’t a bad one. I will put this in my samples drawer and at some point I will use it. I’m sure it will be fine. Not spectacular, but fine. Because of my designation I tend to fid Comfort Zone Products priced a bit high. On the card the full sized version of this is listed for $68. I find that a little high for something not bad, but easily outpaced by many drug store products.

In this month’s box there was a Gel-ous Cool Down Wash off mask from Fila. Now perhaps this is a well known skincare brand I have never heard of, but when I hear Fila I think Sportswear, most specifically shoes. This skincare has the same logo on it so I’m guessing the sportswear company branched out. I’ll have to do a bit more research, but I do like masks so this could be interesting to try.

And finally we have the Balance Me Radiance Face Oil. I have a bit of a past with Balance me. I have received many samples of various products and they always work really well. My skin loves them and is happy. My nose hates them and is miserable. I am a very scent oriented person and with every balance me product there is always a point where my nose just can’t take it. I love their samples because it is good skincare so I want to use it but I can only take the scent for the duration of the sample not in he full size. But I haven’t tried their oils. Usually I wait until I am ready to use a product before opening it and trying it out, but I am getting ready to need an oil so I thought I might as well just go with this one. Plus I was too curious not to open it.

The product is a roller ball which I really like in an oil. I would love if more facial oils came with roller ball applicators. I rolled out a little on my hand and it does have a slightly herbal scent with possibly a hemp note to it. At least i think that was hemp. I’ll double check once I start using it. But whatever it is, the scent is lighter than most of their products and I actually like it. If it works as well as the other products Balance Me produces then we might have a winner. I am happy I get to try this out.

October was a pretty good box. In general this year, Birchbox has been pretty good. I have received several samples that I have enjoyed trying, some were brands or products I’d never heard of and would never have found on my own. There were however a lot of repeats. Part of that may be this year as many subscription boxes have struggled. However I had a Birchbox subscription before and well before the current issues started repeats were an issue with Birchbox.

I’m fairly certain the whittled down choice options are also due to current circumstances. When I opened my subscription there were between two and three box options as well as the four samples to choose from. There was also a product swap where a full sized item instead of your box was an option. As this year has gone on more and more of the options have dropped off. while it is understandable, it does affect my perception of the choices. That is as much a reality as shipping issues.

The biggest issue however is the cost I pay. I know the difference between $13 and $15 isn’t that great. But at $15 I start comparing it to other $15 boxes, like Macy’s Beauty Box. That is a $15 box and in a side by side comparison, Macy’s usually comes out on top and Birchbox feels like it is lacking something. With the $13 price my brain things, ‘well yeah, but it costs less.’ I have no problem paying $13 for this box. I feel that it is worth that price. I do feel that if I were to pay $15 each month I would constantly be making the comparison and i would become dissatisfied.

So for me a month to month option isn’t an option. For me to keep this box I would have to sign up for another full year. With so many other subscriptions that I want to try, I don’t think I will be signing up for another annual subscription to Birchbox. I think it is time to let this subscription go. At some point I may come back to it, as it is a good little box. But for me October will be my last Birchbox for a while. It is time to try something new.

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