Review: March (Teen Vogue) Birchbox

Kate Spade New York Twirl – I’ve said many times that I’m not a big fan of perfume samples in Birchboxes. I feel like we already get these at every beauty counter and online cosmetic store we shop at. Because of that, this is my second or third sample of this perfume. Alot of people enjoy it, but I just don’t like it. I almost wondered if this was included in the box less for the smell, and more for the fact that it coordinated well with the pink and red packaging for the T.V. Birchbox.

Kerastase Elixir Ultime – Hair oils have been a big trend lately, so I wasn’t that surprised to see one pop up in this box. It was a decent size, and I like the little pump dispenser as opposed to a vial. When hanging out with one of my nieces, I decided to let her try my Mythic hair oil from a previous Birchbox. She said it smelled like a burned candle, so I let her use this one instead. She liked the smell much better and it really made her hair look shiny. I didn’t have remarkable results with it myself, but it is nice, and I will definitely use up the sample. As you might expect, it’s easy to use too much though, so it’s something I use very sparingly even though I have long hair that gets dry.

Twistband Hair Tie – I have one of these from a previous Birchbox, and find myself using it quite a bit. If you aren’t familiar with Twistbands, they are basically just a little piece of elastic trim tied at the end with a knot. After a few uses they will definitely live up to their name, and kind of roll up on themselves into a twisted loop. You might fight yourself continually smoothing it back out. They look nice enough, but if your hair is heavy, they might have trouble holding it up all day. I use them for low ponytails and they work well for that, and don’t leave a ponytail dent in your hair. I just feel that these are typically a little overpriced for what you’re getting. I was happy to get another one in my box though, since I do find them useful for around the house.

Essie LuxeEffects Nail Polish – This was a FULL sized bottle of Essie polish, which normally retails for $8. It nearly paid for this months box on it’s own! I got the pink color called A Cut Above. This polish contains small glitter as well as large round glitter pieces. I used it on it’s own, and found that one coat just didn’t look very nice. Used over another polish, one coat would be a nice accent, but I just went with multiple coats for the whole ‘jewel encrusted’ look. It seems to be a really nice polish. Although, as with any polish that has large glitter chunks – some of the pieces hang off the end of your nails and make them sharp, so it takes a little more care to either push those back before it dries or deal with them later. It’s DBP, Toluene, and Formaldehyde free, which is always a good thing. I would definitely purchase Essie polish in the future.

Tarte Lipsurgence Lip Tint – This is a cool little lipcolor that resembles some sort of jumbo crayon. The best part of it? Another full sized product! These little beauties are $24 each, so having a full size included in the Birchbox was a fantastic deal. The color I received was Amused, a very bright pink. I was afraid it was going to look terrible on me, but it actually works and I like it quite a bit provided that I don’t use too much. These lip tints claim to increase moisture content 6000%. Yes, you read that right, and I’m not making that up either- six thousand percent. While I did not apply this and say, “My lips feel six thousand percent more moisturized!” I did find it to be both moisturizing and long lasting. It’s nice to carry with you because you won’t need a separate liner, and you could always layer this with gloss if you wanted a shinier look. Lipsurgence is also formulated without parabens, sulfates, and other chemicals, which definitely impresses me. I would be wary of the lightest pink shade, I’ve seen it look unflattering on a few people, but otherwise it’s a really nice product and I’d like to try more colors.

Overall, I think this was a really great Birchbox. I absolutely loved finding two full sized products, which made this box an exceptional value. If you count the $24 lip tint, the $8 nail polish, and around $1.66 for the hair tie, it’s already almost a $34 value even before the perfume vial and hair oil sample (Not to even mention the reusable box, the tissue paper, and free shipping that always comes with Birchbox…and, review points too!). I’m so glad I decided to select the Teen Vogue Birchbox, and I hope they’ll do other special boxes in the future. I would’ve loved to be able to purchase this box separately to give some as gifts as well. The only thing I would’ve liked to see differently was the perfume but I definitely can’t complain! There were also a couple of coupons included, one for a discount for a subscription to Teen Vogue magazine and another for a discount at ModCloth. Nice!

Quick recap of what was included for $10, because I feel it’s important to list this all out – One reusable cardboard box, several sheets of tissue paper, little cardboard sleeve around the box, shipping, 50 Birchbox points if you did the reviews (which equals $5 but you can only spend in increments of 100 points), perfume vial sample, deluxe sample of hair oil, a hair band (trying so hard not to make an 80s joke there), an $8 nail polish, a $24 lip color, and two discount coupons. If you can find a better deal for $10… please let me know! And if you’d like to join Birchbox, you can click here! (Shameless plug to earn points). They have had a waiting list for a while, but I considered making another account to get both my regular box and the T.V. box, so I signed up for the waiting list with another email and it only took about a week to get through. Ultimately, I chose to just stick with one account though. I know that not every box is as great as the Teen Vogue box, but it’s boxes like this that keep me sticking with the service and always feeling like I’m getting my moneys worth and then some.

Review: Limited Edition Birchbox for Men

Dear Groomers (and those who love them) – I must apologize that it has been so long since my last post. The holidays have kept me extraordinarily busy, and I’m sure that you can sympathize. This review will be on the items I received in the Limited Edition Birchbox for Men that I received in late November. I should note that this item went FAST. Only within a week or so of having put this box up for sale, they announced that they were sold out. I suspect they were both pretty surprised, and pleased with the reaction to this item. Anyway, without further ado, let’s jump in!

Anthony Logistics Advanced Formula Lip Balm – I really enjoyed this product. It’s not sticky like a lot of lip balms I’ve tried. It goes on relatively light. Also, guys who fear lip balm: don’t! This product does not go on shiny, so you don’t have to worry about the women in your life adjusting their hair in the reflection of your lips. It has a matte finish, which I personally find pretty attractive in a man’s lip balm. This particular one was “natural”, which I think refers to the fact that there was no scent/flavor added to it. They also offer citrus and vanilla types based on my research.  Although I do like this particular product very much, it was not impressive enough to unseat the one I currently use. (Lypsyl)

Anthony Logistics Shave Cream – I really enjoyed this shaving cream. It has a nice cooling effect when applied, which I completely appreciate. It leaves the skin feeling super soft and moisturized after shaving with it, which is great also. It doesn’t leave my skin irritated like others have before. Although, I am still loving Billy Jealousy’s Hydroplane more, and it is for one specific reason: it does a much better job on longer facial hair. This shaving cream would be great for me if I used it every day, but the truth is that I only shave twice a week at the very most, but once a week is even more typical. Anthony’s shave cream is a great product, but personally, it is not a good fit for my regimen. If you shave several times a week, or even like feeling like your facial hair is being ripped out, then this product is for you! Not recommended for guys who shave with 7 days worth of hair.

Jack Black Double-Duty Face Moisturizer SPF 20 – I’ll be totally honest: after my past experiences with this brand, I did not have high hopes for this product. I was pleasantly surprised though! This stuff smells pretty good. It’s got a light powdery scent, but nothing too overwhelming or feminine. The consistency is creamy, and it goes on very well. I usually have a problem with lotions, because I really hate the way it cakes on, or “sits” on your skin. Jack Black’s face moisturizer hits the mark in that it leaves your skin feeling soft, but does not leave any noticeable film on your face, in either feeling or appearance. This sample was a generous size compared the last ones I received in black box (1.5 oz vs .5 oz). I would seriously consider purchasing this in a full size once I use this sample up, but I suspect it’ll last a while!

BVLGARI MAN Cologne – I enjoy this cologne quite a bit. It’s very fresh and crisp smelling, which is made by what is in my opinion a perfect marriage of citrus and wood-type notes. As I have mentioned before, I don’t often wear cologne, but this seems like it would nice in both daytime and evening settings. I’m definitely going to shelve this one and use it for my next hot date. I just hope it’ll keep for a decade or two…

Field Notes (Notebook Mixed 3-pack) – These notebooks were maybe 3 x 5” in size. This was a cool little extra, but I’ll be frank and say that I have no use for it. I think it would come in handy if you like taking notes on the go. If you’re like me, then you typically write yourself notes on your cell phone. Call me old-fashioned. This is one of two items that ended up making a great prize for my family’s first annual Christmas bingo game.  Hopefully some lucky winner will have better use for it than I!

Bonobos Pocket Square – Another cool little extra. I’ve never owned a pocket square before, so now I can say that I do! Although, I am not sure how or when I will use it, since I don’t own a tux, or even a nice coat. For note, it’s something that sits on my desk and looks cool. It is identical to the photo above – the red background with white polka dots. After doing some research, it’s pretty expensive for what it is, though. I don’t know how I would justify spending so much money on a pocket square. Check out http://www.bonobos.com if you dare!

Bonobos $25 Gift Card – If you looked at the above link, you’ll see how expensive everything is there, and most of it doesn’t really appeal to me. So I began my search for something under $25.00. What did I come up with? Underwear! Olive colored boxer briefs that were $22.00, with free shipping. One of my favorite colors, so I thought that was pretty cool, and the fact that they paid for my shipping despite only using a gift card. Cheers, Bonobos!

Kerastase Pate Capital Force Densifying Modeling Paste – I’ll begin by saying that I don’t generally use hair pastes or gels at this stage of my life. I used some anyway just to test it out. I like the smell of it, it’s got a very musky, manly, incredibly masculine smell to it. I think this stuff works great for keeping your hair where you want it, but even with trying to be as conservative with it as possible, the white, creamy consistency was very apparent. I found that pretty disappointing, especially with a product that sells for $30.00 for 2.55 fl oz. This appears to be a higher end L’oreal brand, but was not worth what they ask for it at all. By densifying, do they mean we’re going to coat your hair with white stuff to make it look thicker? Hmm! Moving on.

Kerastase Bain Capital Force Densifying Shampoo – This product has an identical smell to the aforementioned modeling paste, which is a good thing. This stuff, however, didn’t really stand out to me as anything special either. It smells good, and it cleans your hair, but I’m not sure I would have described it as “densifying” my hair. Trust me, I wouldn’t mind a bit, and I was looking for it! Not too sure about this brand, other than it is incredibly overpriced. A regular bottle of this goes for about $36.00. The verdict? It’s not for me! In its defense, however, I keep my hair pretty short (about ¼” all around), so maybe the results would be far more effective on someone with longer hair.

Kerastase Gym Bag – Another that ended up being a Christmas bingo prize. This was a cool little bag though. If I didn’t already have bags and numerous other types of storage, I would’ve considered keeping it. But I thought it was pretty generous of Birchbox to include another nifty item with the box.

Supersmile Whitening Toothpaste – I’ve yet to really give this product a fair shake. I want to try a long-term experiment with it and see if it really whitens my teeth. Look for a more in-depth review in the future for this product.

EBOOST Super Berry Shots – I don’t normally consume items like this (5 Hour Energy), or even energy drinks like Red Bull or Monster. Based on that, maybe I’m not the best qualified to say much about it, but I will tell you that it tasted only slightly better than Nyquil. I wasn’t impressed with the taste of it. I also did not really notice much of a difference in my energy level, but again, don’t take my word for it. I’m not an energy junkie!

Skullcandy Earbuds – Yet another cool bonus. These things are usually pretty pricey, so I was surprised to find these in a box. I don’t personally like in-ear earbuds, so I never did use them. Instead, I decided I would sell them on the Amazon Marketplace, for which were sold at a steal of $43.00! Basically, that paid for this special edition Birchbox for Men, which I was pretty stoked about. And they made a lovely birthday present for somebody in South Carolina. Win-win, I guess!

Final thoughts – this Birchbox was an incredible value for its $45.00 price tag. While I didn’t love everything inside, I enjoy the thrill of trying to new things, and even if I find one or two things I love, I think it is a worthwhile experience. Birchbox seems to be toying with the idea of offering a monthly box to men, of course at a lower rate closer to what women pay for boxes ($10). I’m pretty excited about this prospect, and will be the first in line to subscribe. All in all, I enjoyed this box very much, and look forward to more things geared toward men in the future.