I tried out Birchbox back in 2011 and after a while I became bored with it because my focus at the time was primarily makeup. As the years have gone by and my sights have shifted slightly, I felt like this service would better suit my current needs since I'm more interested in higher end brands and finding skin care and hair care that I actually like instead of just use out of convenience. This box marked the 6 year anniversary of Birchbox and they teamed up with the new and über trendy brand Milk Makeup. Apparently people that were previously subscribes were able to choose which of the Milk Makeup mini sizes they could receive, which to me is pretty rad! Being able to choose what comes in your box is a nice little perk so you know you'll get at least one thing your little heart desires.
The theme of September's box was "Top-Rated Time Savers", which is basically is my beauty philosophy in a nutshell. I was pretty pumped about this one for that aspect on top of the Milk Makeup items. This box has 5 products in it, most of which are deluxe sample sizes. I'm pretty satisfied with 4 of the sizes, but one of them is laughably small.
I really appreciate that the card that comes with this has product information and prices for full-sized products - it makes researching products and working out values SO much easier because I don't have to go on a product hunt across the interwebz.
First up we have the product I'm most excited about; Milk Makeup Ubame Mascara, a "curler-free lift", thickening, deep black mascara that uses ubame oak charcoal as pigment. A full-sized, 0.37 oz mascara will run you $24, but this mini is super generous at 0.25 oz making it a value of around $16.22. The tube is squishy, which I find endlessly entertaining, and the packaging is delightfully minimalistic. The wand is quite strange with it's three balls. I've seen wands like it before, but I haven't tried any and I'm kind of kicking myself for it because the effect it gives my lashes is so natural, yet defined. I haven't had much time to test this out because I want to reserve my trial period for an upcoming Mascara Monday, but I will say that this is certainly not waterproof in the slightest.
Dry Shampoo is something that I don't particularly find works for me, so instead I enjoy using it as a texturizer and for some much needed volume. This Perk Up Dry Shampoo from amika claims to absorb oil, add shine, be weightless, and repair split ends (which is impossible, btw) all while not leaving a residue. The full-size retails at $24 on the Birchbox website and $22 at Sephora for 5.3 ounces and this 0.75 mini is valued at around $3.40, which is funny because you can buy a 1 oz travel size at Sephora for $10. *sips tea* The scent of this is pleasant, feminie, and sophisticated, but it still has that underlying aerosolized, dry shampoo smell that honestly makes my stomach churn. This dry shampoo uses rice starch to soak up extra oil, but it gets ev-ry-where. After using this I have to wipe off a thin layer of tiny rice granules from whatever surface I was near. It does a decent job of adding volume and texture to my hair and is a good day-after-washing pick-me-up, but it doesn't work on anything past day 2 hair for me in terms of refreshing.
SPF for your lips is something that I often find to be overlooked, which is why I was pleased to see that I would be receiving one in this box, however when I actually got a glimpse of the pip-squeak of a sample my heart fell and it kind of went downhill from there. Supergoop! Shine-On Lip Screen SPF 50 retails for $22 for a 0.14 tube, which is already a puny amount of product, but this 0.05 oz sample, which clocks in at $7.86, is dismally tiny. I'm no stranger to high-end lip balms, but I don't like ones that charge an arm and a leg for such a tiny amount, which is precisely what a full sized Supergoop! Shine-On Lip Screen is. Bad value for product purchased aside, I still don't like it much. The formula feels alright on the lips. It has a sheer gel-like texture which sits pleasantly, but it has a cooling effect which I find annoying and the SPF scent is definitely prominent. Not my bag, baby.
I'm definitely a BB cream or tinted moisturizer kind of gal, but I know for a fact that this Dr. Jart+ one isn't for me. It sounds great on paper... light coverage, hydrating, anti-aging, and it contains SPF, but the truth of the matter is that it's too darned pink. There are only two shade options for this - light-medium, which is what I received, and medium-deep, and that leaves a LOT of people unable to find the right match. A full-size is 1.5 oz and costs $39, and the tiny sample is 0.2 oz, which makes it about $5.20. Like most other Korean or Korean-inspired BB creams, this one does have a dewey finish, which I don't mind much, but it does mean I'll need to keep blotting sheets of powder handy. The coverage is light, which is what is to be expected, and slightly blurs over my freckles and subtly takes down the appearance of hyperpimgentation or blemishes, but the redness around my nose and my dark circles are still pretty evident. I like how light weight this is, but the coloring is way off because of that I don't feel like shelling out $39 for it would be prudent.
There were a few duds in here, one product that I'm kinda "meh" about, and two that really worked out well for me! I don't really have any other boxes to compare this to in order to give a "this is the best box" or "this is the worst box" verdict, but I liked it enough to stay subscribed and I'm pretty excited to see what I get for October.
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