Birchbox: February 2016

I received my February Birchbox this past Saturday—a perfect little Valentine’s weekend treat.  Whoever is creating the graphic design on these boxes is just nailing it. February’s box is sort of a pastel neon peach hue with illustrations that would be really cute as tiny tattoos:

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I appreciate that Birchbox now gives subscribers a choice each month; if I remember correctly, sample choice wasn’t a regular monthly feature when I first subscribed more than a year ago—we simply got the samples that we got.

For February, we were give the option of selecting the “Date Night” box or one of four samples (Hey Honey Take It Off Exfoliating Honey Peel Off Mask, REN Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask, ARROW BOOST Color Enhancing Lip Balm, or Whish Revitalizing Cleansing Oil). The Date Night box included two samples I had received in the past and three other samples I wasn’t super interested in, so I clearly wasn’t going to choose it. The sample choice was pretty much a no-brainer for me: you know how much I love lip products…plus the ARROW sample is full sized (a $14 value!), so I went with that.

My box included a code for a gift with $35+ purchase for a deluxe sample of either Benefit Cosmetics Lollitint or Lollibalm. I probably won’t spend that much (if at all) on Birchbox this month, but it’s nice that they always include some kind of promo code with your box.

This month’s theme is “special occasion” (or, as it’s printed on the card that came inside the box, “ocassion”). The samples are meant to help you achieve “not-quite-everyday looks.” I’d say that only four out of five of my samples fit this theme.

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Birchbox clearly forgot to have someone proofread their sample cards this month, what with the misspelling on the front and the special characters (“â” and “®”) in place of apostrophes on the back. Such obvious typos are painful for me to look at…it amazes me that no one caught them!

Okay, now that I’m finished complaining about typos, let’s look at my February samples!

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First up is the Whish Revitalizing Cleansing Oil. This was one of the four sample choices for February and it’s also included in the Date Night box. Because I chose a different sample but still got this cleanser anyway, I’m guessing pretty much all Birchbox subscribers got one this month. I sound like I’m complaining but I’m really not—I’m nearly out of my travel sized Josie Maran Argan Cleansing Oil, which I use to remove makeup at night. So the timing on a new cleansing oil was just right for me! I haven’t tried the Whish cleanser just yet, but I like that it doesn’t have a strong scent (the Josie Maran stuff is verrrry citrusy). I also appreciate that Whish products are paraben, sulfate, and phthalate-free. I’m looking forward to trying this stuff out as soon as I finish off my JM bottle.

Next is the one sample that doesn’t scream “special occasion” to me: the oddly named brand Not Soap, Radio Body Wash – Liquid Freud. This body wash has coconut milk, mango, and St. John’s Wort to help calm your skin and your mind. Not Soap, Radio’s body washes are also paraben, sulfate, and phthalate-free so that’s a plus! While the scent of this body wash isn’t one I’d choose for myself, it’s pleasant enough. It’s actually rather beachy-smelling due to the coconut milk. We’ll see if this stuff aggravates my sensitive skin—hopefully it’ll be a-ok because it has a lot of natural ingredients!

The next sample is Obliphica Professional Seaberry Serum (Medium to Coarse).  Honestly, I don’t know why I got this particular hair care sample, as it’s described as a serum that revives damaged, colored, and unmanageable hair. My hair is very fine and I don’t color it, which are attributes I filled out in my Birchbox profile. Upon checking the brand’s other products, they do make a Seaberry Serum for Fine to Medium hair, which would have been a more appropriate sample for me to try out. I don’t see much point in me using this sample and will probably give it to a friend with thicker hair than mine (so basically, anyone). The serum also smells too baby powder-y for my taste…which I’ve found is a running theme with a lot of the hair care brands that Birchbox carries.

I was excited to see a nail polish sample in my February Birchbox! I haven’t received a nail polish sample since my first-ever Birchbox. I’m a big fan of doing my own nails, so opening the box to find a Color Club Mini Polish in That’s My Jam was a lovely surprise. The polish is a really great blood red color and I would have painted my nails with it this weekend but I had already done my nails the afternoon that the box came in the mail. I’ll use it the next time I paint my nails, though…so probably this weekend. This Color Club nail polish is vegan, 100% cruelty free, and made in the USA, so it’s a product I can feel good about using.

My final item this month is the full sized ARROW BOOST Color Enhancing Lip Balm that I selected to sample. ARROW is a new Birchbox house brand that currently has just a few products but is expanding soon. The brand is geared toward young, active women on-the-go—like an athleisure line for body and facial care products. I’m definitely not the brand’s target audience, but I had been eyeing this lip balm from the moment the brand launched. The packaging and design are on point (see what I did there?):

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Sitting atop my Rifle Paper Co. journal

The balm goes on very smoothly and turns a pretty rosy shade on me within a few minutes of application. This is one of those products that supposedly reacts with your own pH to produce a “customized” color unique to your body chemistry. It also has a nice, natural shine and reminds me of the jane iredale Just Kissed Lip and Cheek Stain that I discovered via Birchbox and love so much. Here’s how the ARROW balm looks on me:

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(My cheeks are so unhappy from walking around outside in the extreme cold yesterday! I used the RE:P calming herb mask from my January Birchbox before taking this photo to try and make my skin feel a little better.)

Back to the lip balm…I love the texture and color and will definitely get a lot of use out of this product. Bonus: it’s vegan, paraben-free, and cruelty-free. The only thing I’m not sold on is the scent. According to Birchbox it has a minty scent, but I don’t get any mint off of it at all. It’s hard to put my finger on, but it just smells kind of waxy. It’s not terribly off-putting, though, and once you apply the balm you can’t smell it. Not surprisingly, this color enhancing lip balm is the sample I’m most excited about this month!

Okay! Let’s see how (or if) my samples rate in EWG’s Skin Deep database:

  • Whish Revitalizing Cleansing Oil: unlisted
  • Not Soap, Radio Body Wash: unlisted
  • Obliphica Professional Seaberry Serum: unlisted
  • Color Club Mini Polish: unlisted
  • ARROW BOOST Color Enhancing Lip Balm: unlisted

All in all, I’d say this was a pretty good box of samples except for the hair product that doesn’t fit my profile. Birchbox is usually good about matching samples to my profile, so one misfire certainly isn’t the worst thing that’s ever happened.  😛

Which of your February Birchbox samples are you most excited about?

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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