May Birchbox Review

My May Birchbox from It’s the exact box that I received, except the eyeliner color was different.

This month I joined Birchbox. I received my Birchbox for May two days ago. The rumors were true: the theme was based on the television show Gossip Girl. Since I don’t watch Gossip Girl, or any CW show for that matter, as I’m well above the age of their target demographics, I was worried that my Birchbox might not contain anything that I could relate to. I was expecting to receive the excessively sparkly GG line of nail polish by Nicole, or the hair bands, but I didn’t. Instead, I received a very age-appropriate collection of skin care, makeup, and hair care. Maybe a little too age-appropriate.

Apparently there are different themes within the Gossip Girl theme. I got “Black Tie Ball.” Others received “Hamptons Beach Party” or “Chic Sunday Brunch.” What other ones are out there?

One of the questions Birchbox asks on their questionnaire is your age group. I guess it helps them decide who gets what items in their Birchbox. I received five items in mine: the Sparkle Liquid Waterproof Eyeliner by Stila, the Algenist Regenerative Anti-Aging Lotion, the Kérastase Age Premium Bain Substantif shampoo and Kérastase Age Premium Masque Substantif for mature hair, and a sample of Miss Dior perfume by Dior. I initially had mixed feelings about what I received, not in terms of the choice of products, but in the size. Since this was my first Birchbox, I was expecting five deluxe samples. While some of the samples were deluxe, I was disappointed to see that the Kérastase hair mask was in a packet, and the Miss Dior perfume was in a little plastic vial – both looked more like the free samples I would receive at a department store than in a beauty box I paid ten dollars for. But on the other hand, the Stila liquid eyeliner was full-sized. It’s a $22 value, and more than makes up for what I paid for the box. So overall, I was pleased with what I received.

My Stila eyeliner is in the shade called Rock Candy – a rich brown shade with gold sparkles. It’s a traditional liquid eyeliner with the small brush at one end that you dip into the liquid tube. I’m on the fence about this one. After I apply it, it feels sticky, and it makes my upper lash line stick to my upper eye lid whenever I blink my eyes. It still feels that way several hours later. I haven’t tried any other Stila liquid eyeliners, so I can’t say if it’s the glitter that’s making it stick, or if it’s the formula of the liner. Still, it looks pretty. The sparkles aren’t too obvious so even someone at my advanced age (ahem) can wear it.

The Algenist Regenerative Anti-Aging Lotion is a lightweight serum. It absorbs quickly into my skin and doesn’t clash with my facial oil and moisturizer. I haven’t been using it long enough to see any anti-aging benefits, but if feels nice. I’ll use up the generous deluxe-sample sized bottle before deciding whether I want to spend $75 for the full-sized bottle.

I haven’t tried the Kérastase Age Premium Bain Substantif shampoo and Kérastase Age Premium Masque Substantif yet, but I’m looking forward to trying them soon. They’re for mature hair. I wouldn’t necessarily call my hair mature yet. It’s not thin or brittle, although I have noticed a few gray hairs starting to come in. But my hair is dry, so hopefully “mature” translates into super-moisturizing. As for the sample of Miss Dior, I’m not crazy about it. It’s a little too rosey for me, and only after it’s dried down about three hours after I appled it does it turn into something soft and lovely. I wouldn’t purchase a full bottle of it, however.

Birchbox also included a little surprise in the form of a Birchbox note card. It’s not included as part of the five samples, thank goodness. I would have seriously been P-O’d if it had. Why? Because it’s cheap and ugly. The paper the card is printed on is too thin, not on the quality glossy cardstock that most greeting cards are printed on. The color is hideous – a greenish mustard yellow reminiscent of really bad retro interior design from the late Sixties. The graphic design of it is so simple that it’s like whoever designed it wasn’t even trying. I could make a better greeting card in Photoshop. But it’s a nice little “extra” to keep on hand in case I need to send a card to somebody. Somebody I don’t like.

I don’t know how any of the products I received in my Birchbox relate to Gossip Girl, so I’m kind of thinking it’s just a PR cross-promotional endeavor. But overall I’m happy with my first Birchbox. I’ll wait and see if the boxes I receive in the coming months will be equally satisfactory, as I’ve heard stories about disappointments with these beauty box programs. My outlook remains optimistic.

If you’d like to sign up for Birchbox, you can do so here.


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