Beauty, Reviews

Birchbox + Rifle Paper Co. April Box 2016 Unboxing & Review

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After making a commitment to clean up my skincare and beauty routine, I never thought I’d ever try Birchbox. However, they recently released a Limited Edition Box called “New Naturals” and it features big name green brands such as One Love Organics, Tata Harper, RMS Beauty, and Ilia Beauty. For $59, you get a box of 8 products (7 full-size and 1 sample-size) along with a makeup bag, making the box value a total of $215!

They had a 20% off coupon code*, which just makes the deal even sweeter. In fact, the only product that is sample-sized in the box is the Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask, so the value of this box is pretty spectacular. This release along with their recent collaboration with Rifle Paper Co. sparked my interest in the company. One of the things that I love about Birchbox is that they do collaborations with other brands and bloggers, so each month has something different and new to look forward to. I love that the box has a different design and theme each month, yet is customizable. Beyond the subscription service, I also love their short tutorial videos and that they often feature women of color. I took advantage of their Rifle Paper Co. promo and got 2 free pocket notebooks with my box, so I definitely feel like I got a great deal since Birchbox only costs $10 a month.

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In the April box, I received a total of  5 samples including:

  • Beauty Protector – Protect & Detangle (Full-size, $23.50) – It is described as a “best-selling elixir that locks in color, protects hair form heat damage, and adds silkiness.” While it’s not the “cleanest” product, it is cruelty-free. It smells really good and since I don’t wear very many hair products on a regular basis, I don’t mind trying this out. I’ve tried a lot of natural leave-in conditioners and while I do like Yarok and EVLOVh, I don’t find that they do much in the detangle department. If you know of any good natural detangler products, please mention them in the comments!
  • Burt’s Bees – Tinted Lip Balm in Sweet Violet (Full-size, $7) – I actually already own this exact lip balm! I was surprised that Birchbox chose a color I would actually wear and while I do like it, I still have so many lip balms to go through that I may end up gifting this to a friend. I first heard about this lip balm from the blog BeautyByBritanie. This was one of her favorites and the color is very pretty. It’s moisturizing and great for every day when you want to add a subtle pop of color to your lips.
  • rms beauty – the ultimate makeup remover wipes (full-size, $16) – I’m a HUGE rms beauty fan and was so excited that I received two packets to try. These are very luxe makeup remover wipes and I’ve heard good things about them. However, if you have any coconut oil sensitivities, you may want to skip this.
  • Vasanti – BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator (Full-size, $34) – It’s described as a “customer-fave face scrub that mimics the effects of microdermabrasion for glowing, smooth skin.” It is paraben free, sulfate free, 99% natural, vegan friendly, not tested on animals, and made in Canada.
  • W3LL PEOPLE – Expressionist Mascara (Full-size, $23.50) – This is one of my favorite natural mascaras even though I still manage to get raccoon eyes after a few hours of wear. I haven’t figured out if this is due to the mascara’s formula itself or my bad habit of rubbing my eyes during the day since this happens to me no matter which mascara I wear. I probably need to find a waterproof mascara to layer this with to prevent smudging. I love that it doesn’t weigh down or irritate my lashes. No spidery or clumpy lashes here! W3LL People also just came out with colored versions of this mascara, which I am excited to check out.

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I think what sets Birchbox apart from other beauty box subscriptions is the level of detail that is given to each box. Unfortunately, I feel like a lot of natural, green beauty box subscriptions tend to have a more general, cookie cutter approach to their curations. So after awhile, it feels like the boxes start to look the same and I feel less excited about it over time. It seems like Birchbox really listens to their customer feedback and they’re very good at discovering brands that not only perform well but also have great branding and aesthetics. The only green beauty box subscription that even remotely comes close to customization is the Boxwalla Beauty Box. While Boxwalla has an entirely different approach to beauty boxes than Birchbox, I think they’re definitely on the right track because they seem to really understand their target audience by the way they curate their boxes. I like that they feature brands that are already “hits” in the green beauty community as well as introduce new indie brands that are interesting and unique.

The only con I’ve noticed so far with Birchbox is that they do use a little more packaging than other subscription boxes. My first box was basically a box within a box within a box. Don’t get me wrong. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and design of each of the boxes, but I’m not sure if it’s the most eco-friendly design. It did protect the Rifle Paper Co. box very well though, so at least the packaging is effective in that regard. It is also recyclable. I’m curious to see what will be in May’s box and I will probably continue to subscribe as long as Birchbox continues to be consistent in their curation. I hope they do more natural/vegan brand collaborations in the future.

*****

Have you tried Birchbox? What are your current favorite beauty box subscriptions?

*For 20% off your purchase of $35 or more use any of the following coupon codes: TAKEALEAP20 or TAKEOFF20.

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