Birchbox Review: January 2014

Nelson J Beverly Hills Argan Oil 7 Moisture Healing Mask – That’s kind of a long name, right? This hair mask comes in three scents; coconut, pomegranate, or rosemary mint. My box contained the coconut version. The package mentioned that it’s good for chlorine damage, but since I’m in the middle of an ice storm I haven’t been swimming lately. Even so, I have long, thick hair that tends to get especially dry this time of year so I was excited to try this mask. The packaging for this hair mask was an immediate strike against it. I really dislike when samples come in packets like these because they aren’t that practical (it’s frustrating to already be in the shower and realize you can’t get a conditioner packet open) and they’re also impossible to reseal. There wasn’t alot of product in the packaging so it was pretty much a one time use sample, but I think I have a tiny bit left. The coconut scent was nice, pretty much your typical coconut. I really wanted to love this stuff, and I did think it was good, but it just didn’t wow me. Maybe my expectations were too high being that it was an argan oil mask, but to me it seemed more like just a nice conditioner. The day that I used this, I let my hair air dry and now I’m wishing I had blowdried it because I may have had better results. Overall it was fine but not enough to make me want to purchase the full size. I would’ve really liked a bigger size to try this a few times and see if it fit into my routine. That being said, everyones’ hair is different and it might work great for someone else. For me, I like Amika hair masks better.

Ruby Wing Color Changing Nail Polish – Several months ago I received one of these polishes in a similar pink color, and at first I thought it was the same shade. It was a different one though so I was happy to have a second color. While this isn’t a polish I’d wear on a frequent basis, I do like it and all of my nieces loved it. I’ll continue to use my samples but I’m not sure if I’d buy it. I found it interesting that this also comes in a glitter version that changes color as well, I would’ve liked to try that since I already have a regular pink shade.

Camille Beckman Glycerine Hand Therapy – This is another product that comes in three scent variations; Midnight Monarch, Morelia Monarch, and No. 25. (Does it seem like No. 25 doesn’t really go with the others?) This hand creme came in an adorable sample jar that has been great to throw into my smaller purses that won’t fit a bigger size lotion. I received the Midnight Monarch and while it isn’t a bad scent, it’s definitely a bit strong. If you are sensitive to perfume smells this probably isn’t for you. Strong perfume tends to give me a headache but this didn’t bother me that much since it does fade pretty fast. The cream itself is very thick and I found it to be moisturizing without being too greasy. It won’t replace my L’Occitane hand lotion, but I do like it pretty well simply for the convenience of the little jar. When I got this, my hands were really scratched up from my kitten and the scratches were healed but still red and taking forever to fade. After a few uses of this lotion they started to clear up. Now, I’m not saying this will clear up scars or scratches or anything like that, it’s possible that my hands were just really dry and I would’ve had the same results using any lotion. This just happened to be what I was using at the time. I would love to hear from anyone else who had a similar experience. Overall I am enjoying the sample but probably will not purchase due to the scent, and the fact that I have quite an assortment of lotions as it is. (Kitty got a nail trim so hopefully I won’t have too many scratches now!)

Under Armor Braided Headband – I always say how much I love ‘useful’ extras in the boxes, and this is no exception. I would much rather have a hair accessory or something practical than tea or a snack in my box. When i first saw this headband I thought it wasn’t really my style, but I quickly realized it’s made for workouts and in that context it is kind of cute. I’m not crazy about the brand name printed on it, but I can live with it. This headband is three braided strands which is a nice look, but they don’t lay totally flat so it tends to look a little twisted in spots, but that’s fine. The real selling point, I guess you would say, is that these headbands have a silicone strip along the inside to keep it in place when you’re moving around and sweating. It’s just like the silicone strips you find in a strapless bra that helps hold it up. It seems to work well, each time I’ve put this on it really hasn’t budged, so if you have hair that slides out of ponytails and gets in your face during workouts this might be ideal. My problem with this headband is that it’s really tight. I can’t imagine wearing it for an entire workout. Maybe it just needs to be stretched out a little, or maybe it fits better on some people than others. So far I’m just wearing it when I wash off my makeup or put on a face mask, and it’s great for that and if you have bangs you won’t have to worry about pinning them back. I thought this was a great value to my box but I’m not sure if I would buy a second one.. the three pack does look kind of cute though.

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser Starter Kit – Holy packaging Batman, do these people know how to make a deluxe sample, or what? This was by far the best packaging I’ve seen for a sample in ages. It came in a pretty little blue box, and I guess it sounds silly to say this, but it was a nice box. You know the kind of boxes that are really thick, like something you would put jewelry in? I’m mentioning this because as soon as you pick up the box, it makes you feel like the product inside must be high quality. Next up, the box includes a little paper about the product folded up inside.. another nice touch. The cleanser itself was a really nice deluxe sized tube with a foil seal under the cap which I always appreciate because it keeps it from leaking in the mail. As if all that wasn’t enough, it comes with a muslin face cloth to use with the cleanser. This is so neat! The packaging stated that this cleanser will take off all of your makeup, including eye makeup. I was really wary about using it for eye makeup removal because most cleansers that promise this end up burning my eyes anyway. To use this kit, you apply the cleanser all over your face and then run the cloth under warm/hot water, wring it out, and ‘polish’ the cleanser off. (Obviously you don’t want to get the cloth TOO hot). This did a really good job removing my makeup, even on days when I had alot of dark eye makeup on. The cloth is a little bit coarse and feels very exfoliating, leaving your face soft and smooth, which is great in this cold weather when my skin tends to be dry and a little flaky in spots. What really surprised me is that I expected the white cloth to be an absolute mess after taking off makeup, but it rinsed out really well leaving only a few small mascara smudges on it. That may vary depending on what type of makeup you use, but my point is that it seems easy to keep clean. When I’m finished with it I just wash it out and hang it from a clothes hanger that has clips to dry. I really, really like this product. It did a great job of cleansing and exfoliating without burning my eyes or causing any breakouts. I’m tempted to replace my Kiehl’s oil free cleanser with this, but I feel like this might be just a little too exfoliating for my skin to use it every single day. I will definitely continue to use it several times a week and see how that goes until I finish my sample, and then decide if I want to purchase. I gotta say, its much nicer than using an oily eye makeup remover and having residue left on your skin. The best part? The full sized kit includes the cleanser and two cloths, and is only $24.50, which is a pretty good deal for a product that feels so high quality and gentle.

I was really happy with the January box I received and basically have enjoyed everything in it. While I won’t be purchasing the full size of all of the products, I’m pretty sure I will use up every sample and continue using the headband and face cloth for a long time. I thought this box was a great value and I got more than my moneys worth with this one. The headbands alone are $10 for one on the Birchbox site, so I was definitely impressed with this box and hope to see more like this.

Need a last minute Valentines gift? You can email someone a 1 month, 3 month, 6 month, or 1 year subscription to Birchbox! Or get a subscription for yourself. Check out the details here.

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