My June Birchbox arrived the day after my birthday, so in a way it was like an extra box of birthday goodies! Yippee! I’m in love with the June box design, though one of the corners of mine got a little squished in transit. 😦
This month’s sample choice was one of three Benefit Cosmetics Gimme Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel shades. My eyebrows are naturally dark so I went with the shade “5 Deep.” There also may have been a curated box option, but I honestly can’t remember. It’s been a bit of a month. 😛
The June Birchbox theme is “everyday kind of magic.” I’m totally down with transformative beauty products that give, according to Birchbox, “that presto-chango payoff.” So! Let’s see my Birchbox sample card for June 2016:
Here are my June samples posing along with the gorgeous box:
Let’s start with the sample choice that Birchbox is pushing HARD this month: Benefit Cosmetics Gimme Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel (full-size, $24). Birchbox even emailed around a video showing how to use this eyebrow gel, which is the first time I recall them doing so (though I could be totally wrong).
Benefit is releasing a collection of NINE eyebrow products, which tells you just how huge the strong brow trend is right now. I can’t say I was all that excited about the sample choice this time around, because my brows are naturally dark and full so I really don’t need to use anything more than my clear Maybelline Great Lash mascara to keep them in place. I know, I know, that sounds like a humblebrag, but trust me: when the pencil-thin brow look inevitably comes back in style, the sparse-browed ladies are gonna be all #mybrowswokeuplikethis.
I figured I might as well give Gimme Brow a shot and see if it did anything for me. I do think the sample tube is totally adorable. Look at that teeny tiny wand! It’s like makeup for a doll.
I applied the product using the technique described in the aforementioned video: I used the tip of the wand to fill in and shape my brows, then used the length, such as there was, of the brush to groom and define them. The video also suggested “teasing” your brows by brushing against them to achieve more volume, but I in no way need more voluminous brows so I skipped that step. Lo and behold, you can actually see a difference in the before and after photos below:
The effect wasn’t super dramatic on me, but it did indeed make my brows look fuller and darker. I’d use Gimme Brow if I was putting a full face of makeup on for a special event, but it’s certainly not something I feel like I need to wear every day.
Next up is a brand that’s new to me: Evologie Intensive Blemish Serum (full-size, $35). My skin doesn’t break out much, but I have been getting pimples more often lately so I was happy to receive this sample. I’ve applied this serum to small blemishes for a couple days now, and it does seem to shrink them somewhat. The serum smells strongly of tea tree oil, which reminds me of toilet cleaner—but that’s my own fault because I make my own toilet cleaner by mixing up vinegar and tea tree oil! I don’t mind putting products with tea tree oil on my face, as it is supposed to be great at fighting bacteria and zapping zits. This serum is also supposed to help fade scars and hyperpigmentation, so I’m going to try it as a spot treatment on one of my many dark spots and see if it helps lighten it at all. If I find that that actually works I’d buy it full sized, but otherwise $35 feels expensive for a straight up pimple treatment.
The sole makeup sample I received in this month’s box is Laura Geller New York Baked Gelato Swirl Illuminator in Gilded Honey (full-size, $26). Laura Geller’s products are always beautiful, and this sample is no exception:
However…is it makeup blasphemy for me to say that I have highlighter sample fatigue? I now have at least five highlighter samples from Birchbox alone, and I still have some from my very early boxes. I love the packaging of this product, but the golden shade is not one that works too well as a highlighter on my skin tone; I prefer more pearly or light pink shades in my highlighter. I’m sure this product would be lovely if I weren’t already oversaturated with illuminating products. For what it’s worth, here’s a swatch on my arm:
My last two samples this month are hair care products: the first is Oribe Supershine Moisturizing Cream (full-size, $49). I actually don’t believe I’ve ever received an Oribe sample from Birchbox before, and I know it’s a pretty cult classic brand. My problem with this sample is that it’s meant for coarse, thick, or fuller hair—so basically, the opposite of my hair. This is the second time that Birchbox has sent me a hair care sample for the wrong hair type, which is slightly annoying. I’ll try this stuff out, but I’ll use it verrrry sparingly because my super fine hair can’t handle a lot of product in it.
The final sample is Parlor by Jeff Chastain Moisturizing and Repairing Shampoo (full-size, $22). When I opened my Birchbox and saw this shampoo sample I thought, “dammit, they’ve sent me this before!” It wasn’t until I read my sample card and then looked back at my March 2016 Birchbox review that I realized it was simply a different shampoo formula (my March sample was the Volumizing & Texturizing Shampoo). Again, this sample is not quite right for my hair type, so I don’t know what happened with their sample matching algorithm this month…or whatever it is they use to select products for subscribers. This shampoo has the exact same scent as all the other Parlor by Jeff Chastain samples I’ve received, and my opinion of the fragrance stands the same: pleasant but a bit overwhelming and not something I want wafting off my body in the summer because MOSQUITOS. I’ll give this shampoo a whirl, though, and see how it makes my hair feel.
In my past reviews I’ve searched for my samples in EWG’s Skin Deep database to see how they rate on toxicity levels. I’m going to discontinue this feature of my reviews, as I’ve recently read that EWG’s database results aren’t based on rigorous scientific research. I’m not saying that I completely discount the information they provide, but I’m skeptical of how accurate the info in the database actually is. That said, it’s always a good idea to read labels and be conscious about what’s in the products you put on your body.
Overall, I was underwhelmed by my June 2016 Birchbox. I wouldn’t say there’s anything I hated but I’m not super thrilled by any of the products, either. I think the most interesting (and generously sized) sample is the Evology serum. And I’m a little frustrated with the seeming lack of care in matching hair product samples to my beauty profile.
How was your June 2016 Birchbox? Did you receive any samples that you fell in love with?
You can browse through my previous Birchbox reviews here.
What is Birchbox?
Birchbox is 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!