*Birchbox is a monthly subscription service that sends you 4-5 deluxe beauty samples, delivered to your door and customized to you for $10 per month* (I have no affiliation with Birchbox, other than being a happy customer).
If you’ve ever been to this site before you probably already know that I’m a big fan of Birchbox. I’ve been a member for the past nine months now, and I always post a preview and later a review of my box each month. In this post I also wanted to show you what I like about Birchbox as a whole, and talk a little (okay, alot) about the service itself. I know some people have had mixed reviews about it, which is to be expected since you can’t please everyone. Personally though, I think it’s a pretty amazing service. First things first: The Products:
These are some of the products I’ve received in my Birchboxes during my time as a subscriber. (Same items, two different pics so you can get a good look). These pictures do not include products I’ve already used up, things I’ve given away, and things that are scattered around in various purses and whatnot. In fact every time I tried to take a picture, I’d find another item laying somewhere that came from Birchbox. Off the top of my head I know there are two hair ties, two coasters, mineral powder and dress tape not pictured here that I still have. If you look at the pictures you can see that there’s quite a variety of items, without even counting the things I’ve used up. During my time with Birchbox I’ve also received full sized items like Tarte Lipstain, Essie nailpolish, Incoco nail appliques and a Stila eyeliner. (That’s about $60 in full sized products).
The Points – The next thing I love about this service is the points that you can redeem in their online store for full sized items. For every product in your box that you review, you receive 10 points, for every dollar you spend in the online store you receive 1 point, and for every person you refer you receive 50 points. 100 points equals $10 in the online store. If you review 5 products from your box, you’ve already got 50 points. The reviews are extremely simple to do, you just answer a few multiple choice questions which takes about 2 minutes.
The Shop: The first thing I bought with my points was this Ahava foot cream (love!). This full sized bottle costs $26. I used 200 Birchbox points and a coupon code, and it cost me only 80 cents! (It also shipped free because the sample was in my box that month). Pretty awesome, right? After that, I racked up another $40 worth of points, mostly just from reviews, and a referral or two. The points system is absolutely fantastic, especially since you can also use coupon codes and get free shipping on the featured items of the month – not to mention that orders over $50 ship free anyway. They have emailed me a coupon code for my 3 month, 6 month, and now 9 month anniversary with them which is pretty cool, and the shop frequently has codes for a bonus item (headphones, journal, a water bottle) if you spend a certain amount. Basically, there are alot of rewards for being a subscriber, which definitely sets them apart from other services.
The Box – I’m a big fan of the packaging from Birchbox. They send simple, yet sturdy cardboard boxes with a separate top and bottom that can be reused in a number of ways (like giftboxes, drawer organizers, etc.) I always save the boxes and find a use for them, and each box has tissue paper and a little ribbon too. It’s just a very pretty and practical package and I think it’s brilliant. I also like that some of the items are wrapped separately in tissue so you get to unwrap them.
The Survey – Some of the other subscription services have a survey too… the kind that you take and then find out it has no bearing at all on the products you get. With Birchbox, it does seem like your survey answers are being taken into consideration, and if you aren’t happy with the products you’re getting they encourage you to change up your survey answers and see if that helps. Sometimes a few items may miss the mark, but overall I feel like my boxes have included alot of products that suit me very well. They send out many different boxes each month, so even if you watch a YouTube un-boxing video you still don’t know for sure what you’re going to get.
The Brands – The best thing about a subscription sample service (say that ten times fast) is getting to try high end brands that you wouldn’t otherwise try. I’m not going to go spend $115 on face cream, but it’s definitely fun to get to use one for a while. And yes, that does occasionally mean falling in love with a product that you can’t afford, but some of the samples are so generous that you can use them for a good while (and there’s always points to lower the cost of the full size!) Not all of the products are outrageously expensive either, they have a good mix of price ranges, but it is fun when you know you’re getting a little extra luxury in your routine.
The Surprise – For me, getting a little box of beauty goodies in the mail every month is very exciting. I like not knowing what’s in it, and it’s alot of fun to unwrap everything – especially when you find a really great product in your box or a full size. They email you when your box ships out, and it comes with a tracking number so you’ll know when it’s going to arrive.
Drawbacks? – If I had to choose something negative about Birchbox, it would really only be that I don’t like when they include food in the box. They occasionally throw in a granola bar, packets of tea, or some sort of snack. These count as your ‘treat’ or lifestyle extra, which is cool, I just prefer when they put more practical extras like a hair tie or a nail file. (I’m still hoping for a beauty blender in one of my boxes, Birchbox!) Some people love the food items though, it’s just not my thing. But other than that it’s been a totally positive and fun experience for me and I’ve happily bought gift subscriptions for friends and family. That doesn’t mean that I absolutely love every single item from every box, but I know I’ve gotten my moneys worth and much more. There’s a reason I’ve stayed with Birchbox for 9 straight months and only stayed with that other service for one month… and that bag is still sitting on my desk with only one product used.
But Why Pay For Samples? – This was my first thought when I heard about beauty sample subscriptions. Why would I pay for something I get free with orders at other stores? If all of the above reasons didn’t convince you, consider the fact that these are deluxe samples, not the tiny packets you usually get. With a deluxe sample, you can get several uses out of a product and really see how it works into your routine and reacts with your skin, so you know if you love it or hate it before investing in the full size. Plus, as I said, there’s always a chance for full sized items and the samples you get with Birchbox are often items you would never find a sample of from a department store.
Lastly, Birchbox customer service rocks. Anytime I’ve had a question or an issue, they’ve always responded quickly and kindly. If you’d like to sign up, you can do so here with my referral link (thank you!!) They’ve also recently launched Birchbox Man and my dear friend Camophile signed up and will be reviewing it here when his box arrives, keep an eye out! If you have any questions about the service or my experience, let me know in the comments!