Wednesday, May 16, 2012

My First Birchbox: May 2012, Gossip Girl Edition

So, I signed up for Birchbox* and received my first box on May 10, 2012. Here's my review of the items:

First, What I Got:

In the Birchbox reviews I've seen online, there tends to be lots of oohs & aahs over the packaging. Well, you're dealing with a cynic here* so my review of this packaging is: Yes, it looked good. They keep it simple and bright, and fun. It's a little like Christmas with the layers of tissue paper to work through, which obvs feeds into the excitement that one is splurging a little with a monthly gift of beauty goods. So that's cool & all. I'm a pragmatist, it could be shipped without the special wrapping if it got me another sample.

So it was themed: Gossip Girl. Is the theme a new thing for them? I haven't spotted any references to themes in previous months. ANYway, Gossip Girl. I've never seen a second of this show. BTDubs, I don't have cable TV, just cable internet. And I barely "do" makeup as it is* I'm totally Birchbox's target market, amirite?

So there was this theme, as much as anyone could have a theme when handing out samples of beauty products from any beauty product retailer that will give them to you. (I give Birchbox too little credit, probably. Somebody is obviously working ahead on coordination of such cross-promotional efforts. See? Cynic*)

Onto the products!

Arquiste L'Etrog parfum: Main notes are Headache, with an ethereal undertone of Nosebleed. Finishes with fruity notes and bronchial swelling. Sidenote: everytime I see the parfum name, I read "Le Frog." In all seriousness, the parfumerie's description of its product is: "Warm notes of citron, palm leaves, and myrtle combine in this transporting scent, inspired by the aromas of a medieval harvest festival in Calabria, Italy." Sure, that sounds about right. But the thing is, I have major perfume sensitivity. In fact, as soon as I made my Birchbox profile and saw there wasn't a "no perfume" option, I emailed them that suggestion.* Chances are they're never going to send me a perfume that doesn't give me a headache, because high-end perfumes are always full of emulsifiers, bonders, and colorants. You know what parfumerie doesn't use that shit? Demeter. I. Love. Demeter. And you know what else? Because they don't load up on that migraine-inducing crap, their perfume rarely lasts more than 2 hours (on me, at least). Which is perfect for me. But they're not likely to ever be a sample for Birchbox. But I digress...(Dear Demeter: SAMPLE-IZE FOR BIRCHBOX, PLEASE. Dear Birchbox: COURT DEMETER FOR SAMPLES, PLEASE).

Color Club nail polish in Disco Nap from their Foil collection: I'm really pleased with this. It is a good one-coat nail polish. In fact, I like it enough that I almost got over the fact it is gold (not a preferred color of mine). I thought I'd wear it again, but changed my mind to give it to a friend. I'll look at picking up a CC Foil in another color. It's a nice metallic with a subtle shimmer. If this were in silver, or a gun-metal grey, I could maybe even use half of a bottle (as I rarely paint my nails, I never see the bottom of a bottle. ever.). First chipping: approx. 27 hours after painting, pretty average for me (I've had worse, I've had better). Removes easily (i.e. no obnoxious glitter bits that won't come off).

Notecard: It's a notecard. It's designed well enough, and I'll use it (since I use every scrap of paper that crosses my path, ever). But, it's a notecard, and as far as stationery goes, I wouldn't buy this design as, like, a personal signature piece or anything.

Twistband: Annnnd, it's a headband. It holds my hair back as well as any other headband I've encountered, which is to say: If I wear it to ballet and start to do a series of fast turns, it will fly out of my hair. It is designed to avoid the headband headache, and it does do that. I'm not a fashion headband wearer, they are purely practical for me (well, I own fashion headbands, but I can never get them to look right). As I have a house to paint in a couple of months, this will do the job nicely keeping hair off my face.

beautyblender cleanser: Dirty little secret: I never washed brushes before this. However, I never did my foundation with a brush before this either (eyes, though, ewww. I know! I know!). So I used more brushes than normal this weekend, and washed them all with beautyblender cleanser, and am pleased with the product. It smells a little...vegetative, being soy-based and all, but I watched excess product buildup foam out of the bristles and wash down the drain, and the brushes are now clean and soft. 

Dr. Jart + Waterfuse BB Cream: GAH. OK. I'm in love with the concept of the BB cream, having now been introduced to it (in short: four-in-one moisturizer, serum, sunscreen, skin tint/blemish cover). Dr. Jart definitely evened out my skin and brightened my complexion. BUT this shit is for the driest of skins. I have combination skin, but can make it until 5 or 6 before I shine. With Dr. Jart, I was shining by 11 a.m., and positively lacquerous (new word!) by 2 p.m. It was RIDICULOUS. So...I'm hoping to get a new BB Cream sample, better formulated for combo or oily skin, in a future Birchbox.

So, that was my Birchbox for the month of May. I'll say this is... 2 out of 5, stars. I'm giving Birchbox at least 3 months until I evaluate the continuation of the subscription.

*for my general thoughts on Birchbox, the company, the concept, and why the hell I'm participating (spoiler alert: I don't know), and how that informs my voice/presentation of these box reviews, and how I rank them, see post: Birchbox: First Impressions

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