Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Birchbox May 2014 Review

My Birchbox was devastatingly late this month, not rolling in until yesterday. Luckily, they made up for it by 1. having a super adorable pattern on the inside of the box and 2. giving me 100 Birchbox points unsolicited. Since that adds up to $10 in the Birchbox store, I essentially got this box for free. Given that I reviewed my items for 50 more points, you could even make the argument that I came out ahead. Of course, that's the "This item was marked down by 50% so I am basically losing money if I don't buy it!" argument, but let's not let logic get in the way, here.

Here's what I got this month:

Pixi Beauty Shea Butter Lip Balm in Pixi Pink (full size at 0.141oz), retail value $8.00

This is a bubblegum pink sheer balm.

When I first tried this lip balm, I couldn't help but think it was strikingly identical similar to Maybelline's Baby Lips balm in Pink Punch. Upon swatching them side-by-side, this Pixi balm is a little bit more pigmented and maybe a hair more coral (although neither read as coral at all). It's also a bit stiffer.

Here's how it looks on my face:

ElevenSkin Perfection Eye Cream + Concealer (full size at 0.5 fl oz), retail value $30.00

I was originally supposed to get one of the Cynthia Rowley pencil eyeliners. I'm not going to lie. I'm a little bit bitter about it. The Birchbox-supplied photo of my box still has the eyeliner displayed, mocking me.

Image source:
I'm guessing that they ran out of eyeliners. I appreciate the fact that the replacement sample probably wouldn't be considered terrible by Birchbox editors (it is a full size product, and they have previously sent out sample sizes of this eye cream), but it's still a gazillion times worse that an awesome silver eyeliner. Hell, the people who formulated this product don't seem to know what a "concealer" actually is.

First off, the product only comes in one color. There are things in this world that are true. One of those things is that, if you are going to make a concealer, it needs to come in more than one color.

To compensate for the shade range being literally as bad as it could possibly be while still existing, the creators of this product decided to make it super sheer.

A concealer, by definition, is not sheer. This is tinted moisturizer levels of sheer, right here.

The color is yellow on me, but it works fine. If this was actually a concealer, it would not.

I want that damn silver eyeliner.

Color Club Art Duo Pen (full size at 0.35 fl oz), retail value $10.00

For some reason, Color Club decided that the best way to express themselves with this product was to print black writing on a black bottle. When I asked my boyfriend, "Hey, I can't read what is written on this bottle... Can you?" he responded by yelling, "WHO WOULD DO THIS?!"

The premise of the product is that you can be all stripy and all polka dotty using the same nail art tool. Unscrew the cap and you get a striping brush...

…and pop off the cap to get a squeezy dotting tool!

Here was my first attempt at actually using this contraption:

I'm definitely not a skilled manicurist, so I wouldn't take my nail fails as an indication of a crappy product. Stripes. How do they work?

I did really like the polka dot squeezy tool, though. I found that the polish didn't rush out too quickly, so it was easier to make even polka dots than it is using a traditional dotting tool where you stick a teensy ball on a stick into your polish of choice.

Gilchrist & Soames Spa Therapy Relaxing Sea Fennel Body Lotion (1.35 fl oz), approximate retail value $2.53

This is a relatively thin lotion that smells like cucumbers and baby powder.

No one gets excited about lotion.

SmartyPants All-in-One Adult Complete Gummy Vitamins + Fiber (2 gummies), approximate retail value $0.53

Multivitamin use is pretty controversial among nutritionists, doctors, and other healthcare providers. There's a reason that "Multivitamins just give you expensive pee" is practically a slogan for many. A substantial number of studies suggest that multivitamin use is not associated with decreased mortality, and does not seem to protect against common illnesses like cancer or heart disease. Still, proponents of multivitamin use argue that multivitamins can help fill the gaps in people's admittedly imperfect diets. The Harvard School of Public Health concludes, "Looking at all the evidence, the potential health benefits of taking a standard daily multivitamin seem to outweigh the potential risks for most people."  The National Institutes of Health have essentially thrown up their hands, saying, "Based on current research, it's not possible to recommend for or against the use of [multivitamin and mineral supplements] to stay healthier longer."

In light of their dubious efficacy, I'm not sure spending a whopping $47.95 a month on a gummy vitamins is going to fit well into my life.

I actually do buy and like gummy vitamins, but only because they are a candy that I can pretend has some sort of health promoting value. "I'm not eating a gummy bear. I'm eating a gummy vitamin. I'm being responsible."

I found these gummy vitamins to be fine, but rather unremarkable. They were a little too tart for me; My candy needs to be downright saccharine.

I also want to note that if you specifically want the SmartyPants vitamins, the non-sugar-free version is available on Amazon for a much more reasonably priced $18.14 a bottle.

Total Box Value: $51.06

Overall, I'm happy, even if I am mourning the silver eyeliner that might have been.

If you are interested in joining Birchbox, you are always welcome to use my referral link by clicking here.


  1. Interesting mix of items. This one almost tempts me to sign up again, if only for the points. But I'm pretty sure I have a bunch of tubes of subpar Gilchrist & Soames lotion that I've brought home from mid-range hotels and never used because it's subpar. That's desperation lotion. Like, "I forgot my moisturizer and I guess this is free and sitting right here . . . never mind, it did nothing."

  2. At first glance, I thought I read "ElvenSkin Perfection Eye Cream" and I thought that had to be, hands down, the BEST name for a skin care line ever. In fact....(running off to trademark name and register web site).
    Thanks so much for doing these reviews; I realize that subscription boxes are not for me, but through you I get to enjoy the best part of it - the unboxing.

  3. I'm glad to know I'm not the only person who eats gummy vitamins as an excuse to eat candy. I started taking vitamin D at the suggestion of my doctor, and the giant bottle of gummy D I found at Costco is the first ever bottle of vitamins I've actually finished.

  4. I'm jealous that you got the black striping & dotting tool. I got the lavender.
    - Michelle

  5. Does it piss you off that they only sent 2 vitamins, and the serving size is 6? WHO SENDS A SAMPLE THAT'S ONLY A THIRD OF A SERVING??
    (Apparently, I am pissed off enough for both of us)

    1. I was also annoyed that they did not give a full serving. Mainly because I thought they were yummy.

  6. Is the eye cream meant to be used as a primer? That's the only explanation I can think of for its questionable functionality.

  7. I know it's not as much fun as a box, but I recently picked up a Nyx ScandalEyes silver liner (the "Kajal" one, which is super soft). It's extremely glittery, and easy for a relative noob to work with.

  8. I got the CR silver liner and found it to be useless. I'd be happy to send it your way! You can email me via my profile.

  9. I like your manicure result! And I think the lip balm looks great on your lips. I didn't expect it to be that pigmented :D Love it!


  10. I got the exact same box this month, complete with the eyeliner/concealer mix-up. I emailed Birchbox and they are sending me a new eyeliner sample. The concealer is nice and all, but definitely not as exciting as silver eyeliner.


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