Birchbox: December 2015

My December Birchbox review is a bit delayed—this box arrived three days ago! The December 2015 Birchbox design is a winter white with a silver metallic knit pattern (the metallic sheen doesn’t really come through in my photo):

December 2015 Birchbox

For December, subscribers were given the option to customize our box by choosing one of the following: a Coastal Scents mini eyeshadow palette (we could pick one of three color duos), a Serge Normant hair volumizing spray, or a Winter Essentials Featured Box. Not that I need any new eyeshadow, what with my recent Urban Decay Naked Smoky purchase, but I chose the Coastal Scents palette in “formalEYES.”

My December box came with a note and a code for $10 off any purchase of $35+ in the Birchbox shop, both designed in a similar “cozy-chic” winter sweater pattern. I appreciate that the design team went with a cool toned winter-y theme as opposed to a full fledged red and green holiday assault.

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Here’s my sample card for December 2015:

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Now, on to my December 2015 sample reveal!

December 2015 Birchbox samples

Looks like they decided to send me that Serge Normant Dream Big Instant Volumizing Spray anyway, eh? Not that I’m complaining…if my hair needs anything, it’s volume. I had picked the eyeshadow over the hair volumizer because I’m a little over getting hair styling samples in my Birchbox. I’m just SO not a hair styling person…but at least I didn’t get another dry shampoo! And the sample is a very generous 1.8 oz spray can. I haven’t tried this product out just yet, but I’ll give it a shot this evening—I have an event to attend so we’ll see if I can manage a head of volumized hair.

My next sample is the Soap & Paper Factory Shea Butter Hand Cream in the Green Tea scent. I’m a sucker for floral graphic design, so the packaging drew me in. The sample tube is small, but there’s still enough product in it to give me a good sense of its efficacy. I’ve mentioned many times how sensitive my skin can be, and I’m currently having some issues with a type of eczema that flares up on my hands when the weather gets chilly and dry, so I’m hesitant to use this cream at the moment. I did test a dab on the back of one of my hands and it smells lovely, so that’s a plus. We’ll see how well my hands tolerate the ingredients in the cream.

Sample number three is an interesting one: The Beauty Crop Lighting Crew Highlighting Cream. I’ve never heard of The Beauty Crop before, but I’m intrigued; they use many natural ingredients and enrich their products with plant-based extracts. This highlighter is free of mineral oils, phthalates, and parabens, and it contains pineapple and green tea leaf extract. The 0.34 oz sample size is quite generous for a highlighter (I’m still working on my 0.04 oz Cynthia Rowley Brightening Illuminator sample from my April 2015 Birchbox, so that gives you a sense of how much I use this type of product). Here’s a swatch of The Beauty Crop highlighter on my arm:

The Beauty Crop Lighting Crew Highlighting Cream swatch

And here’s what the highlighter looks like once I’ve blended it in:

The Beauty Crop Lighting Crew Highlighting Cream swatch

As you can see from the first swatch, the highlighter goes on with a very rose gold tone, but it blends out with a more sheer finish. It’s a little more sparkly than my usual preference, but it’ll be fun to try out when I put my face on for some upcoming holiday parties. The description on Birchbox’s website says that you can mix the cream with body lotion to give your skin a luminous glow. I probably won’t try that out, seeing as how I’m having some skin issues, but I do like the idea. I see that The Beauty Crop has a lip and cheek stain that contains beetroot…I may have to order that at some point and try it out!

The fourth sample in this month’s box is Beauty Protector Protect & Oil. Hmm…oil for my super baby fine, limp hair? I’m not overly excited about this product, to say the least. The oil is supposed to protect your strands from UV rays, heat, and breakage, which is all fine and dandy, but I hardly ever use heat styling tools on my hair. As we get into winter, though, I will bust out the hair dryer a little more often, so I’ll give this oil a try before blow drying. The instructions on the website say to apply one to three drops of oil from roots to ends, but I won’t go anywhere near my roots with this stuff; I’ll just stick to the ends. One last thought I have about the oil is that I don’t really like the scent; it smells just like the protect and detangle spray from the brand that came in my August Birchbox, and it’s too powdery for my taste. That’s just a matter of opinion, though.

Finally, we come to my sample choice for this month: Coastal Scents styleEYES eyeshadow duo in “formalEYES.” The shadows come in a cute little fold-up package that has one light, matte neutral shadow and one burgundy rose gold shimmer shadow:

Coastal Scents styleEYES eyeshadow duo formal eyes - Birchbox

I really like the pale color on the left—it’ll be a very good shade to use when I’m in the mood for a no-makeup look. Plus, the package is so small I can throw it in my purse and use it on the go (not that I do much makeup touching up while I’m out and about). The rose gold color is similar to the LOC eyeshadow stick that I got in my November 2015 Birchbox, but it’s less intense and blends out more easily. Here are swatches on my arm:

Coastal Scents styleEYES eyeshadow duo formal eyes swatch - Birchbox

Now let’s find out if any of my samples this month are rated in the EWG Skin Deep Database! (I do this for fun, but also to remain aware of the potential toxicity of the products I’m using.)

  • Serge Normant Dream Big Instant Volumizing Spray: unlisted
  • Soap & Paper Factory Shea Butter Hand Cream: unlisted
  • The Beauty Crop Lighting Crew Highlighting Cream: unlisted
  • Beauty Protector Protect & Oil: unlisted
  • Coastal Scents styleEYES Eyeshadow: unlisted

Zero for five on Skin Deep this month! That’s okay—Birchbox isn’t exactly a hippie dippie beauty service…and being unlisted doesn’t automatically mean the products are full of poison.  😛

I have to say, I’m feeling neutral about my samples this month. They all seem fine, but there’s nothing I’m overly excited about. I think I’m starting to get Birchbox fatigue-slash-sample oversaturation. I’m still working my way through many samples from past boxes, so it might be time for me to cancel my subscription soon. I know I’ve talked about doing so in past reviews, but I’m considering it more seriously now. It’s not that I don’t like Birchbox—it’s been a whole lot of fun!—but I think I might need a little break. We will see what I end up deciding.

Read My Previous Birchbox Reviews:

What is Birchbox?

In case you’ve never heard of Birchbox, it’s a $10/month subscription box that includes five sample sized products based on your preferences (makeup, skin care, hair care, fragrance, etc.). They also have an online store filled with full sized versions of all the products they include in their monthly subscription boxes, so if you fall in love with a sample they sent you, you can go back to their site and buy the real thing. Use my referral link to sign up for your own subscription!

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