december birchbox review

I am totally obsessed with subscription boxes. If I could afford it, I would get every single subscription box that I could get my hands on. I have always been obsessed with sample-sized products and trying new things every few days, and while my skin may not love the constant switching around, it sure makes me happy! I used to get Birchbox a few years ago, but cancelled it when money got tighter. For the past year I was only getting Sephora Play Box, but I ended up not being able to get the December one (don’t get me started…), and because I was so sad that I would be missing out, I signed back up for Birchbox.

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They had a promotion going on where new subscribers received a bonus box with their first month’s box, so I ended up getting two boxes in December! There was one product overlap, and one product definitely not made for my skin tone, but besides that I was pretty happy with the products! Let me tell you what I tried…

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Let’s start with the actual December box I received. First of all, I LOVE the look of this box. The pale colors with the rose gold accents, reminiscent of a present… gorgeous.

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The first product I noticed in the box was the Oribe Gold Lust Dry Shampoo. I was so excited to try this out – I absolutely love Oribe products, but I never buy them because of the price. And look at this amazing packaging! I was originally wary that there would actually be gold dust in the spray, but don’t worry, no shimmer! The smell is amazing and it left my hair feeling clean but still just dirty enough to actually do something. It will be very hard to stop myself from buying this product in full-size, seeing as I used up the sample in under a week… oops (can you tell I wash my hair pretty much never).

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The second product I reached for was the Dr. Brandt Pores No More Cleanser. I have a problem with very visible pores all over my nose, yet I’ve never really tried a product to help with this. After a few days of use, I honestly couldn’t tell a huge difference – maybe the sample size doesn’t offer enough product to use it for long enough to really get results. But, as a general cleanser, I did like it. There was a nice Aveda-like scent and it was pretty moisturizing for a cleanser.

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The other hair product in this box was the Beauty Protector Protect & Tangle – basically a leave-in-conditioner/detangler spray for after washing your hair. I wouldn’t say this product was necessarily disappointing, but it was underwhelming. It had a pleasant scent and felt soft on my hair, but once my hair dried, I didn’t notice a difference in comparison to when my hair dries with no products. I’ll probably try it a few more times, but I wouldn’t buy this product.

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There is usually one product that surprises me a little bit. This month, it was the Real Chemistry Luminous 3-Minute Peel for Body. I’ve done peels on my face, but never on my body. This product was also underwhelming. They say that after you rub the gel on your skin for a few minutes, balls of dead skin will form. I’m not sure if I totally believe this – it kind of felt like the balls were just the product coming together. I used it on the back of arms where I have a problem with the classic little red bumps, and I guess this area seemed a little softer after, but not significantly.

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The one main disappointing product in this box was the Mally Beauty Volumizing Mascara.  The fact that “volumizing” is in it’s name completely floors me… it did absolutely nothing to volumize my lashes! The brush is small and weak, and the formula either clumped or didn’t stick to my lashes at all. Total fail – and ugly packaging (sorry if that’s harsh!).

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There were also a couple fun bonuses in this box – a cute little compact mirror in a “Shine On!” case, and a sheet of gift tags. I love the style and colors of the gift tags. I usually tend towards pastel and metallic gift wrap, so these will coordinate perfectly! I also really needed a new mini mirror for my makeup bag… perfect timing!

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My extra box was an interesting mix of products. I received a second package of the Real Chemistry Luminous 3-Minute Peel for Body. This time I tried it on my bikini line before shaving. Again, same results – maybe a little bit softer and a little bit of a smoother shave, but overall, underwhelming.

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The hair product in this box was the Curl Keeper Original. I’ve been straightening my curly hair for the past few months (I go in waves of liking it curly and straight – no pun intended!), but I figured I’d let it go curly so I could try this product. I was pretty shocked when I squeezed this product out of the tube – the consistency was super thin, almost like water. I ended up using a ton of it in order to cover my hair because it seemed SO thin, and I was worried that my hair would end up looking like I coated it with gel. I didn’t have to worry though – this product did basically nothing. I feel like it was almost too thin in consistency to actually make a difference, and I was pretty disappointed. It claims to be a frizz-fighter, but I had just as much frizz as if I didn’t use any product.

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I received a lip and cheek stain (called Staniac) from a brand called The Balm in the color Beauty Queen. I liked how buildable the color is, and while it looks very red in the tube, it comes out more like a pinky-red mix, as you can see in the swatch. The applicator is perfect for lips, but is super awkward for cheeks – I ended up just scooping out product and putting it on my fingertips and then dabbing on my cheeks. Overall, an “okay” product – probably wouldn’t purchase on my own.

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A nice surprise in this box were two tea bags – Harney & Sons Tea in the flavors Hot Cinnamon Spice and Organic Green. I’m pretty sure that in the past I hadn’t received any food products from Birchbox, but I like it! The teas were super yummy, but nothing special – basic flavors, but definitely enjoyable!

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The most disappointing product was Supergoop! Daily Correct CC Cream in Medium/Dark. When I signed up for Birchbox, I definitely chose that I had a “Light” skin tone, so I have no idea why I received this color – you can tell how extremely dark it is for my skin in this swatch. The formula seems great, and I love trying out BB and CC creams, so that made me extra disappointed! I probably should have contacted Birchbox to see if they could send me one in my color. Maybe I still will…

Overall, I was very pleased with my first two boxes from Birchbox. I feel like they are still doing one higher-end product from a very popular brand, one low-end product from a mostly unknown brand, and then a mixture of things in-between. I can’t wait for my next box – I picked a curated box from Self, and I think it’s going to be great!

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