Treat Yo Self: A Birchbox Review

birchbox boxes

I heard about Birchbox several years ago, but was always hesitant to sign up, thinking it wasn’t worth the money for such little product. In April, I finally gave in and signed up for a three-month subscription to give it a shot.

If you haven’t heard of it or don’t quite know all the details, Birchbox is a beauty subscription service. For $10/month, you receive five personalized high-end beauty samples, delivered to your doorstep in a beautiful little box. You fill out a profile on their website, answering a set of questions about your hair, skin, and sample preferences.

While visiting my best friend in DC, we stopped at the Birchbox store in Georgetown within Rent the Runway. There are currently two storefront locations, the one in DC and the flagship store in New York City. At the store, you can pick all five of your samples and in some cases, even try them first. The DC store associate was knowledgeable and gave us helpful suggestions based on our hair and skin types. And! The April box was created in collaboration with one of my favorites, Rifle Paper Co., so, of course I had to have it. At first I only intended to pick out my five samples for the one box but was so intrigued that I decided to sign up for two additional months. (Plus I was on vacation, so, treat yo self!)

birchbox boxes

I loved my first box, so as soon as I got home from my trip, I completed my profile for my next two. The profile was easy, fun to do, and thorough. They ask you all kinds of questions, from “How would you describe your skin?” to “How often would you like to receive fragrance samples?”.

A few days before each new month begins, you get an email from Birchbox giving you three options for your next box:

  1. Have all five samples be a surprise
  2. Choose a featured item and allow the other four to be selected for you
  3. Choose a specialized box with specific curated items (you’re shown all items in that box before you select it)

For both of my additional months, I chose one of the featured items and allowed Birchbox to pick my remaining four samples based on my profile. It sounds cliche, but it was totally like Christmas each time a box came in the mail, reminiscent of my 6-year-old self unwrapping Mall Madness—pure childlike bliss. The surprise factor added some extra fun to sorting through the pretty boxes each month. I was a little bit disappointed when two of my boxes came with a fragrance because I’d indicated that I wanted minimal perfume (they give me headaches a lot of the time), but otherwise, I thought they mostly got my preferences right.

When my May box arrived, I opened up the package and was surprised to find another April box in the mail instead. I contacted Birchbox through email support to find out what happened. Their customer service was fantastic! They responded right away, apologized, and assured me that there was a mistake; I would receive my two additional boxes that I purchased and could keep the extra April box! Score! Two Rifle Paper Co. boxes to decorate with or use as gift boxes?! Can’t complain about that…

The May box came shortly after, and I received my June box as promised. Here’s a list of the samples I received. You can always look back at your profile on their site to see what products you received each month; I love that feature!

*My favorite samples

birchbox georgetown

FIRST BOX FROM THE GEORGETOWN STORE

april 2016 birchbox

APRIL BOX

may 2016 birchbox

May Box

june 2016 birchbox

June Box

My two favorite samples, hands down, were the amika Silken Up Dry Conditioner and the Benefit Gimme Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel. My hair is dry and frizzy at the ends, so the dry conditioner helps bring it to life. It’s quick and easy to apply, doesn’t leave behind any kind of powder or residue, and smells great! I’ve been a dry shampoo fan for a while, especially since I have bangs, but I swear by the dry conditioner now too. I’ll definitely be buying the full-size version; I used the sample prettttyyy quickly. And the brow gel…amazing is the only word to describe it. I’ve always skipped filling in my brows because it takes too long and ends up looking fake. This stuff is SO quick and easy to apply and doesn’t leave any sort of lines, clumps, or streakiness. It simply enhances and fills in your natural brows. Here’s a before and after picture to give you an idea of the difference.

And the brow gel…amazing is the only word to describe it. I’ve always skipped filling in my brows because it takes too long and ends up looking fake. This stuff is SO quick and easy to apply and doesn’t leave any sort of lines, clumps, or streakiness. It simply enhances and fills in your natural brows. Here’s a before and after picture to give you an idea of the difference.

gimme brow before and after

My normal brows on left. Quick application of Benefit Gimme Brow on right.


After trying out the samples, you’re able to provide reviews on the Birchbox site in exchange for points that can be spent in their online shop. There, you can purchase full-size versions of your samples as well as other beauty products. They’re 
changing up the point system as of July 11, so you may want to read the details if you’re interested in earning points.

Overall, I enjoyed my first Birchbox experience and the samples I received. I was exposed to products and brands that, otherwise, I would never have encountered. Three months of Birchbox was a great introduction. I built up a nice little collection of new beauty products—some fantastic that will become staples in my routine, and others that I won’t use too much. All in all, though, there were more products I liked than ones I didn’t.

I wasn’t going to continue my subscription in July, but then I looked at the featured products. Shit. They got me; I’m so tempted (three mascaras to choose from!). I’d wondered if receiving boxes each month might cause the thrill to die down, but now I’m not sure! Once you have so many products, does it just become mundane, or do you still become giddy for your box’s arrival each month? If you’ve been a Birchbox subscriber for a while, please comment and tell me how you feel! With products like the brow gel, though, Birchbox might just keep hitting home runs. They also do a great job with temptation, clearly, giving you a peek into what’s to come the next month; there’s no way you can miss out on that mascara! (Right? No? AHH!)

If I don’t give in for July (and August and September…), I’m sure I’ll revisit Birchbox again in the future once my supply runs out or I’m looking for some new products to try. And, now that I know what it’s like, I think a subscription would make a great gift too. Sorry friends and family, you know what you’re getting for Christmas!

If you’re like me, and don’t live near one of the stores, you can subscribe to or gift Birchbox on their website. If you do sign up to give it a try, already use Birchbox, or have used it in the past, let me know what you think of it and what your favorite samples are/have been!

So, are you gonna treat yo self too?

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{I am not paid by, nor affiliated with Birchbox. I did not receive compensation for this post.}