Shauna McCrudden reviews the beauty subscription box
I don’t know about you, but my beauty routine has gone haywire during lockdown. I’m out of my usual schedule and not wearing makeup or washing my hair as much as before. And because I’m not doing this, I feel I don’t have to cleanse as much or go through the tone and scrub portions of my skincare routine. So to get back on track, I wanted to try out some new products and treat myself a little. But which ones?
Well, I love a sample as much as anyone else, so after looking for new products, I stumbled across the Birchbox beauty subscription box. For a monthly fee, you get to sample around five new products from several different and, always fascinating brands, and figure out whether you want to commit to the full-size version available on their website.
Here is how I got on when I got my Birchbox*:
- Not well-known brands
- Can be for skin or hair
- Can cancel anytime
- You also get full-size products
- Has a beautifully designed box
- You are left with products you may never use
I received my Birchbox and it had the most beautiful artwork on the box. For this month, they partnered with clothing brand Anthropologie to create a pretty, patterned box of red, white, and blue. As they celebrate themes every month, from International Women’s Day to collaborating with top brands, the theme for this box was ‘celebrating your individuality’.
Inside were five products: KNDR Beauty Mood Balm in the colour Positivity Pink; Huygens Infusion Blanche Purifying Face Wash; Brushworks Silicone Cleansing Pad; LAPCOS Hyaluronic Moisturising Mask; and Percy & Reed Eau My Goodness No-Fuss Fabulousness Dry Shampoo.
I tried all the products one-by-one and while some were items I would definitely try again, others went into the drawer of skincare regrets and unused items. Thankfully the box came with a handy booklet telling you what everything is and how to use it, which is good because the writing on the packaging was so small on some items. I almost couldn’t tell what they were.
My skin is quite sensitive and acne-prone so whenever I try a new face wash, I tend to know by the next day whether or not I’m going to like it, or if it’s going to like me. When I tried the Huygens Infusion Blanche Purifying Face Wash, I was pleasantly surprised. I usually double cleanse, so during those rare days when I wore makeup anywhere, I would remove my makeup with my usual oil-based cleanser and then use a face wash. Since this has a blend of tea tree, aloe vera, and glycerin, this wash took every last scrap of leftover makeup away.
You always have to be careful about face washes as sometimes they can leave your skin dry and flaky, but this left my cheeks very soft. So I continued using it until it sadly ran out of product! I’m not sure if it was vastly different from other cheaper brands I have used before (RRP is £21!), so I don’t know if I’ll fork out to buy another just yet.
While using the face wash, I also used the Brushworks Silicone Cleansing Pad for the first few days. With this, you cleanse your skin normally and pat dry, then sweep the pad across any areas you feel need exfoliation or a more thorough cleanse. This was actually pretty handy to use, it’s small and has a little suction cup on its back, so you can stick it to a mirror to let it dry. However, I stopped using it, not because it wasn’t working, but because I just kept forgetting to use it! Anytime I washed my face, I would be in the middle of moisturising when I remembered that I forgot to use it again. So I might give this another try, but only if I remember!
The skincare products were teamed with the LAPCOS Hyaluronic Moisturising Mask. Of course, this was a one-and-done product as it had only one mask, but it made me want to research more from this South Korean brand which seems to specialise in face masks. I left the mask on for 20 minutes, took it off, and patted the remaining serum into my skin. As it is filled with hyaluronic acid, it left my skin completely hydrated and moisturised. In the booklet, it mentions all the prices of the products and it lists this mask as RRP £13! I loved it but that seems like a lot for one once-off mask you will use for 20 minutes and then throw away.
Moving onto lips, the KNDR Beauty Mood Balm in colour Positivity Pink is a moisturising and wonderfully packaged lip balm, with a slight pinkish hue. And when I say slight, I mean barely. You have to really balm to your lips to get any colour. But it worked so well on my usually chapped lips that this is one I will definitely buy again. If I want a colour, I’ll buy a lipstick!
Last, but certainly not least, Percy & Reed Eau My Goodness No-Fuss Fabulousness Dry Shampoo. Whenever someone asks what my beauty holy grail is, I always say dry shampoo. It’s a faithful friend and doesn’t judge you for your greasy hair, but instead makes it look like it was freshly washed. As anyone with a fringe can attest, it can look greasy and messed up when waking up in the morning. But one spritz of this dry shampoo and it looked great. The worst thing about some dry shampoos is the white residue, which if left behind on the hair, can be a little embarrassing. But Percy & Reed’s doesn’t leave any white streaks and smells of peony, rose and rhubarb giving off a sweet fragrance. As this was travel-sized, I wanted to keep it for travels away, but that likely won’t happen for a while! This is definitely another product I would buy again.
As Birchbox was made to create a better way to shop for beauty products online that “allows customers to try a range of beauty products at home, then buy the ones they love at our online shop”, this means they have a convenient way to allow you to buy the full-size products you love from them.
The Birchbox is £12.95 or around €15 for one month. There is a 3-month subscription for £38.85/€44 and a 6-month subscription for £74.75/€84. You can cancel the subscription at any time.
As I had filled out a Beauty Profile on birchbox.co.uk, which asks a number of questions about your skin, hair, personal style and what you are most concerned about, I figured I would receive samples that would address my individual concerns while exposing me to brands I have never heard of before. And even though they specifically state it is a ‘box of five personalised beauty treats’, I’m pretty sure I received the same box as everyone else did, as they only list these products on their site for this box, with one or two different products which depend on availability. But I can’t exactly hold that against them as they likely have thousands of subscribers, so it’s not possible to painstakingly hand-select products for everyone individually. But who knows, maybe they felt I needed the dry shampoo more than another product?
This product gets FOUR stars out of FIVE from me. I genuinely liked all the products sent to me and while I don’t use all of them all the time, I loved getting to try out new brands. My June box is on its way!
For more information, visit birchbox.co.uk
*Note: This was the April Birchbox and I tested all the products throughout May