Friday, December 11, 2015

Not FOTD Friday: December Birchbox Plus Some Extras

Happy Friday!

Since I haven't worn makeup this week - until today, that is - I don't have a FOTD for today. You'll get a bonus post tomorrow. Instead, since it's here and I have the pics ready, I'm bringing you my Birchbox for December (cue the crickets).

That's right. It's yet another disappointment courtesy of Birchbox. I did purchase an add-on and also received a free gift for doing so.

I do like the box for December, though. Very holiday-ish, even if the bottom is a funky apple green.

Let's do the December Box first, shall we? Get the bad part out of the way so we can move on to the good. Like removing a bandage.

Going from left to right (from the pic above), let's start with the small bottle - from a brand called Beauty Protector, the Protect & Oil, um, oil.

This is a hair oil that is supposed to protect the hair from UV rays, heat and breakage. I don't normally use oils on my hair since it is fine and thin. If I had super curly or rough-textured hair, I might but as it is, I probably won't use this at all.

I had to estimate how much is here since the bottle didn't indicate. The full size is 4 ounces and sells for $28.95. I estimated there was about a quarter of an ounce here, which makes the sample worth around $1.60.

Next, an eyeshadow sampler from Coastal Scents.

Birchbox offers this three palette set from Coastal Scents for $25. The three sets are Formal Eyes, Social Eyes and Glamour Eyes. Not sure if it's a Birchbox exclusive or not. Everyone received a two shadow sampler in their December box.

There were three choices of shadow. I liked all three so I decided to see what Birchbox would send and I'm not unhappy at all with the colors.

Based on the indicated size for the three palette set, I calculated the value of the sample size to be around $1.45.

Next, from Marcelle, a BB Cream in Golden Glow.

This looks kind of too dark for me but when it's blended all the way out, it more or less disappears. In a good way, though. I can't explain it. Since I'm writing this yesterday, I'll use this for today's FOTD and you can see what I mean. Or not since it completely disappears. You'll see what I mean.

A full size of this is 1.6 ounces and sells for $27. The sample is 0.24 ounces and would be worth around $4.05. 

I did end up with three of these samples. Two came in the Complexion Perfection Sampler that I purchased as an add-on for December. I ended up giving one to my mom but I have included the extra in the value of the sampler, which we'll go over after reviewing the normal box contents.

Okay. Next...from Coola, their Classic SPF 30 Cucumber Moisturizer for Face.

The only other Coola product I've tried was for hair and it worked pretty well. I'm looking forward to trying this. I've only found one SPF moisturizer that doesn't break me out and it's the one from Pur-Lisse for $55. This one is a bit less expensive so I'm hoping it won't break me out, either. Since I don't always wear foundation and since what I use for moisturizer doesn't contain SPF, it would be nice to find something I could depend on that doesn't break me out.

This has a nice cucumber scent and goes on very light. Leaves a bit of sheen behind but I don't think that will be a problem. The full size is 1.7 ounces and sells for $32. This sample is 0.24 ounces and would be worth around $4.52.

And finally, from the brand MSC Skin Care + Home, the Lavender and Bergamot Body Nectar.

This is kind of an interesting product. I've never heard of the brand before but they do offer scented oils for both body and home. Lavender and Bergamot sounded like an odd combination to me, but it actually works. If you've ever had Earl Grey tea, you'll know what this smells like but with the addition of lavender. There are even lavender petals in the oil - I thought it was the plastic applicator that had broken until I got a closer look. 

The full size is 4.2 ounces and, according to the Birchbox card, sells for $27. However, I have found it on the brand website, the same size, for $30. But then Birchbox is selling the very same thing, size and all, for $12. Confused much? I know I am. Still, no matter how I calculate it, the approximate worth of this 3 ml (0.1 ounces) sample is around $0.75. Yep. 75 whole cents.

Have you been doing the math right along with me? If you have, you've discovered that this box is worth a paltry $12.37. Just $2.37 over the monthly cost. Really, Birchbox? What's the deal?

Now, I have watched several unboxing videos on YouTube and found that other boxes held much more value than this one and only one I watched had also purchased the extra that I did. Let's take a look at that extra now.

You can clearly see the main attraction that tempted me to shell out the $20 this extra cost. How about a closer look at everything?

I had been resisting getting that pink thing because I really like the Real Techniques sponge that I've been using. But since this sampler included a lot more than just the Beauty Blender, I took the plunge.

Starting with the Beauty Blender.

This thing is a lot smaller than I expected but then I've been watching it in action and it does get much larger when fully saturated. But even dry, it's quite squishy.

A lot more squishy than the Real Techniques sponge. On the other hand, the Real Techniques sponge feels a lot more substantial. While the color of the Beauty Blender is very bright, there's a reason for that. It's dyed. Boy, is it dyed. I decided to give it a wash before using it and there was a lot of pink going down the drain. So much so that I was hesitant to put this anywhere near my face. I did use it for today's makeup so I'll have my opinion on how it compares to the Real Techniques in your bonus post for tomorrow. Still not happy that it bleeds pink so bad. Never saw any color bleeding out of the Real Techniques sponge. But I digress.

As we all know, this little pink sponge sells for $20 while the Real Techniques sponge sells for $6. Just sayin'.

Next, something I have been wanting to try.

This is the Porefessional primer from Benefit. I've heard a lot of good things about it and I can already tell how good this stuff is. When I tried it on the back of my hand, all of the pores, lines and freckles went bye-bye. Ok. Maybe not completely but the primer blurred them all out enough that they were very hard to see. I will have used this for today's FOTD, so I'll let you know tomorrow just how much I love this stuff.

They even included some directions on how to use it.

For someone new to primer, this would help explain how to use. Or you could just watch a YouTube video like I did when I first started using primers.

Now for the bad news. The full size of this is 0.75 ounces and sells for $31. Ouch! I'll definitely be using this sample sparingly. It's 0.1 ounces and would be worth around $4.13.

Then there's that BB cream from Marcelle again.

Since I received two of these in the sampler pack, that's $8.10 added to the total worth of this sampler pack.

There was a second full sized product in here - and I was surprised this little tube was a full size.

From The Beauty Crop (never heard of that brand before this), the Lighting Crew Highlighting Cream with Pineapple and Green Tea. 

Lots of shimmery shine in here. Definitely, a little dab will do ya.

As I said, this is the full 0.34 ounce size that sells for $18. This was also included in some normal boxes, which makes me wonder if I hadn't purchased this add-on would it have been included in mine. It would certainly have made a huge difference in the value.

The last thing in this sampler is the Bio Brightener Invisible Powder from W3ll People.

This is a loose powder product that has some glittery properties.

Kind of reminds me of the HD Undereye Setting Powder from ELF. 

Claims to be invisible over foundation. We'll all see if that's true tomorrow.

This is the sample size - says so right on the back. Don't know how much is here but I did find that they actually sell this sample for $1.50 on their website. The full size costs $24.

Because I purchased this add-on, Birchbox also sent me this nylon tote bag from Baggu.

I have to say that I really like this perk. The bag is made of 100% Ripstop nylon and is guaranteed for one year. It is supposed to hold up to 50 pounds or 2-3 plastic grocery bags worth of groceries. I even like the design. This tote comes in a wide variety of designs and sells for $9. What you see here is the convenient little pouch that it came in. Really handy and I didn't have any trouble getting the bag back into the pouch, either. 

Now we do the math. I paid $20 for this add-on that is worth $51.73. If I add the free tote bag that normally sells for $9, that brings the value of the add-on to $60.73. So while the total value of my December Birchbox experience is $73.10 for the cost of $30, I'm still very disappointed in the box itself and continue to wonder what I would have received had I not purchased the add-on.

Now, Birchbox did include a $10 off code with the normal box. I'm sure they count that toward the value but since everyone got one it doesn't really help. Even without the code, my box is worth way less than some others. Plus, I still have to order $35 worth of products to take advantage and it doesn't sound like I can combine this with my points. 

This sample/box choice and the add-ons seem to be a permanent thing with Birchbox so for January, I plan to refrain from choosing or purchasing anything extra. Hopefully, I won't be tempted away from this decision. I really want to see if things improve with January's box. If not, I will not be continuing with Birchbox once my yearly subscription ends. I feel rather cheated at this point and I hate to say that because previous boxes have been so great. One reason I think my lack of choosing and/or purchasing something extra has made the difference in what I've been receiving.

I'm sorry if this post sounds so whiney. The whole purpose of subscribing to these monthly boxes is to get something of real value for your money. Lately, Birchbox has been dropping the ball with what they've sent to me. I do realize that the first few boxes included full sized products while these last two did not and that does make a huge difference. 

Maybe this is typical of how these things normally work. Since this is my first year of trying subscription boxes, I have no way of knowing. But we'll see what happens through the rest of this year's Birchbox subscription. Maybe they'll bounce back and I'll be able to say wonderful things again. I sure hope so.

That's it for today. I will have some new ELF to show you next week and I'm pretty excited about it. So until then, thanks for reading and stay tuned.


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