birchbox review

Birchbox Chose 6 Clean Beauty Samples for Me [October 2020 Review]

Birchbox is designed for women who don’t have a lot of time to spend thinking about beauty and researching products. Their goal is to show you some of the best products for your skin and hair type by sending you a selection of sample-sized items that are popular right now. Those recommendations help you save time that would otherwise be spent searching for beauty products. They base their product selections on your beauty profile, and you can ask them to focus on makeup, beauty, skincare, or all three.

In my October box, I received a Saint Jane CBD facial serum, High Beauty cannabis moisturizer, Balance Me hyaluronic plumping mist, Georgette Klinger eye cream, Davines hair butter, and an Arrow oil cleansing spray. My favorite is the Saint Jane CBD serum, because it’s very hydrating and made a noticeable difference after just one use. I recommend this box to anyone who wants to get a customized selection of beauty samples.

What We Like About Birchbox

Birchbox Yes! box

The packaging at Birchbox is a standout. The cardboard shipping box is bright and cheerful, and the Birchbox inside has a unique design each month.

Birchbox october 2020 Inside products
Birchbox october 2020 inside

Inside, there’s a paper with an affirmation printed on the front and detailed descriptions of all your beauty picks on the back.

Birchbox october 2020 Inside Flyer
Birchbox october 2020 Inside products

Birchbox sent me a Clean Beauty box. I marked my beauty routine as low-maintenance, meaning I don’t usually wear elaborate makeup looks, so they sent me lots of skincare products instead.

For Birchbox, clean beauty means products free of certain ingredients: parabens, phthalates, sulfates, mineral oil, paraffin, formaldehyde, and others. You can see the full list at the bottom of the info card above. My box included a Birchbox exclusive, which was an unusual cleansing oil spray.

I think these products all match my beauty profile well. Since my skin is on the dry side, they sent me plenty of oils and hydrating products. They even sent a cleansing oil, and I was excited to try it out.

With 6 items for $15, the products come out to $2.50 each. That’s an affordable sample size price, and there’s the added bonus of products catered to your specific needs.

This subscription seems like a fun way to try new things and develop opinions on different kinds of beauty products. Lots of people don’t have the time to research products, find ones compatible with their skin types, and buy samples on their own. Birchbox streamlines the process and makes it easy to buy full-sized versions in their store, if you’re interested.

What We Don’t Like About Birchbox

The samples that come in each Birchbox are pretty tiny. Ipsy Glam Bag is at a similar price point ($12) but they send deluxe size samples that are noticeably larger. In that respect, I’m not sure if Birchbox is the best deal available.

You can preview your Birchbox order after it ships, and the descriptions and user reviews can give you a pretty good idea of what to expect. However, Birchbox doesn’t allow any user choices for what you get in your box. The company uses your beauty profile, which you can update at any time, to select items for you. I did find their selections to be pretty close to my own preferences.

Luxury CBD Beauty Serum by Saint Jane

Luxury CBD Beauty Serum by Saint Jane Box
Luxury CBD Beauty Serum by Saint Jane Open
Luxury CBD Beauty Serum by Saint Jane Dropper

This hemp-derived CBD product has gotten a lot of attention on social media and among beauty fanatics. It uses cannabinoids from the flower, stem, and leaves for a full-spectrum effect.

The website instructions say to apply a full dropper to your face, morning and night. I applied less than that, though, because 4 or 5 drops felt like plenty, and I didn’t want to overdo it.

My skin hovers between normal and dry, but during winter it tends to tip over into dry territory. I tried this product a few days in a row, and it made a noticeable difference in my skin texture. It felt much softer and more hydrated, in a way that moisturizers don’t always accomplish.

I don’t see myself buying the full size of this product, though. My skin felt good after using it, but is it $125 good? I think my skin responds positively to oils in general.

It includes oils from sunflower seed, grape seed, avocado, and more. There are also 20 botanical extracts, including rosemary, frankincense, myrrh, calendula, and rose. If you have any allergies, you might want to look at the full ingredients list before trying this, because there are a lot of oils and extracts here.

high five Cannabis Facial Moisturizer by High Beauty

high five Cannabis Facial Moisturizer by High Beauty Tube
high five Cannabis Facial Moisturizer by High Beauty On Skin

Despite the company’s name, this moisturizer doesn’t contain THC, CBD, or any psychoactive ingredients from cannabis. Instead, it makes use of the soothing properties of cannabis sativa seed oil. It also has aloe, shea, cranberry, milk thistle, rose hip and other natural extracts.

The texture of this moisturizer feels like a standard lotion to me. It’s not especially creamy. It has an earthy scent that fades away soon after application.

Hyaluronic Plumping Mist by Balance Me

Hyaluronic Plumping Mist by Balance Me Tube
Hyaluronic Plumping Mist by Balance Me On Skin

This plumping mist is designed to hydrate the face and reduce the appearance of fine lines. The product description says that “it can be used all day,” so I assume it’s meant to be a quick, on-the-go way to keep your face hydrated and bright.

I found it a little hard to coat my face evenly with the spray nozzle, and it was difficult to spread it around with my hands for a more even application.

The key ingredient here is hyaluronic acid, but it also contains pineapple extract and several flower oils, including neroli, rose absolute, yarrow, bergamot, and others. Despite all those florals, the scent is very mild, and it reminds me of a flavored seltzer: water with a faint hint of fruit.

Plumping isn’t one of my main concerns, but even so, I didn’t see much of a difference in my face after using this product. I’d skip this product myself, but you may find a use for it if you want a way to freshen or hydrate your face on the go.

Georgette Klinger Marula Eye Cream

Georgette Klinger Marula Eye Cream Tube
Georgette Klinger Marula Eye Cream On Skin

This eye cream has a simple but effective formula including aloe juice, caffeine, and marula oil. Marula oil is rich in fatty acids and amino acids, and it’s considered a beneficial ingredient for both dry and oily skin, along with aging skin. The aloe hydrates skin, and caffeine reduces puffiness.

This cream has a thinner, less creamy texture than other eye creams I’ve tried, but it seems to be just as moisturizing. It seemed to soak into my skin quickly, which is nice. I don’t struggle with dark circles, so I can’t speak to its effectiveness there. It’s definitely hydrating, though.

OI Hair Butter by Davines

OI Hair Butter by Davines

This is a hair butter designed for use on all hair types. It hydrates hair and protects it from UV rays. They recommend people with fine hair apply it dry and leave it in for 10 minutes, and then shampoo after using it. Those with medium to coarse hair should apply it while the hair is damp, let it sit for 5-10 minutes, then rinse it out.

It contains lactic acid, bran wax, annato oil, jojoba oil, and other moisturizing ingredients. I have medium curly hair, and it left my hair feeling pretty much the same way it does after deep conditioning. The effect was nice, but not impressive. I think I’ll keep using it, though!

This hair butter has a natural, earthy scent. I don’t enjoy it, but if you like very green, outdoorsy scents you might like it more than I do. The scent does tend to linger, and I wish it wasn’t as strong.

Oil Cleansing Spray by Arrow

This is an oil cleanser designed for use at the end of the day, to remove the day’s impurities. The spray format is a little strange, and I almost felt like I was spraying Pam cooking oil on my face. Some people might find it convenient, though. When using this, I gave myself one or two sprays and then spread the oil around with my hands.

This spray doesn’t have much of a scent, but I don’t mind unscented products.

Even though I wasn’t sure about the spray part, I liked the effects of this cleansing oil. After using it, my skin felt normal: not greasy, but not dry, either. I usually apply a moisturizer right after I wash my face with a cleanser, but I didn’t feel the need to do that with this product.

Final Thoughts

I liked most of the items in my first Birchbox delivery, and I think the subscription is worthwhile. They seemed to follow my preferences closely, and I received a decent variety of product types. The box is primarily targeted at people who want to learn more about beauty, and the box introduced me to new ingredients. Next time I go shopping for beauty products, I’ll have a clearer idea of what to look out for, and what works for me.

Birchbox also offers makeup and bath products, but I didn’t choose those as my priority categories. I appreciate that they stuck closely to my top priority items, because I’m sure I’ll use all the products they sent.

I recommend this box to people who aren’t deeply knowledgeable about beauty. Beauty nerds might not get as much out of this box, unless they’re major fans of sampling new products.

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