Heads up, we’re heading into slightly darker territory today on All That Glitters. My Birchbox review for March won’t be so positive. In fact, I can describe it in three words: pretty darn disappointing. I think this is one of the worst Birchboxes I’ve ever gotten. While there are products that rate well individually (and really only 2), the fact that I’m seeing near duplicate samples month after month, where the only distinction is that it is from a different brand, is quite frustrating. Let me preface that I understand we only have one face and one body. Realistically, there’s only so much cream, liner, and color you can apply to yourself on any given day. There are tons of products targeting only a select few areas on the human body. As such, it’s expected to see similar products…under certain circumstances. For example, I expect to see things like lipsticks and nail polishes more often than not, but I also expect not to get them in the exact same shade every month. I mean, do you know how many colors there are in the world?
So outside this contention, underwhelming products overall, and terrible sample sizes – March was a total miss, unfortunately.
Here’s the breakdown…
#1. Gilchrist & Soames London Collection Body Lotion | This Gilchrist & Soames lotion epitomizes luxury. It has a subtly refreshing scent that pleasantly melts into the skin, leaving it thoroughly moisturized. On a personal level, I quite like it. On a larger level, this is the 3rd month in a row that I’ve received a lotion-type sample in my Birchbox. While the skin is the largest organ and needs much attention when it comes to hydration – it’s slightly disappointing and uninspiring to start seeing near similar products arrive months in a row. I only have so much skin. However, I shouldn’t hold this against the review of the actual product either. In the name of objectivity, this lotion is impressive. It’s a bit pricey (saying “a bit” is a stretch) at $16.00 for a mere 8 ounces. Given that this is a body lotion, one would get through it much faster than, say, a bottle of St. Ives (which does the trick just as nicely at 75% less in cost and almost 3 times the amount of product). This is clearly a case where you’re paying for the brand and the experience of having that brand’s name on your bathroom counter at home. Gilchrist & Soames is used widely in exclusive spas and hotels around the world. Admittedly, it also uses high-quality ingredients, while supporting an eco-friendly footprint for the environment, reasonable reasons for its higher price point as well.
Overall: A nice choice if you can get behind the cost. I’m going to pass.
(And P.S.: If I keep receiving lotions month-after-month, consecutively, this may be grounds for cancellation. Get it together, Birchbox. I still love you though.)
#2. Keims Cleanshine Energizing Shampoo | The most disappointing product of the month was this “energizing” shampoo from Keims. Let’s just say, I felt anything but energized after using it. Perhaps I’m a sucker for chemical-induced lathering because I’ve been brainwashed by the hair industry to believe that just because something lathers, it’s doing its job more effectively. What was the most generous-sized sample of the month was also half gone after just one use. I couldn’t get this shampoo to really lather, no matter how much I tried. I didn’t feel it was doing anything much despite the lack of soapiness, and was hugely bothered by the fact that it had a non-discerning scent. You’d think something as playfully (and deliciously) labeled “peppermint & macadamia” would at the very least make a splash on the scent front in the shower. Furthermore, I didn’t like the way my hair felt as I worked the product into my scalp. Naturally, I have very dry hair (being of American American descent) and it’s of the utmost importance that I feel hydration when using a shampoo. Simply put – I used this product, rinsed it out for said reasons mentioned, and promptly re-washed my hair with my go-to Aussie Moist Shampoo. Problem solved.
#3. Jurlique Purely Bright Radiance Serum | I just love saying the name, “Jurlique.” It reeks of elegance and class and rolls off the tongue in such a sexy manner. Unfortunately, I can’t say it did much else for me. I very much enjoyed the scent and the texture of this light serum, but didn’t necessarily see a drastic improvement in my skin. I wouldn’t say it was very moisturizing either. The caveat when using skin products that tout “radiance” often take weeks before physically seeing results, if there are any. As such, I can’t say that I was at all impressed. Perhaps this product would work better applying just before another more potent moisturizer in my situation. At $58 full-sized, I’m not inspired to go any further with the serum at this time. And though I’ll finish the sample, my skin should always feel well-hydrated after use. I don’t care how much it costs. I’d suggest using a back-up form of moisturizer if you have drier skin while using this product.
#4. INIKA Certified Organic Eye Liner | The first word that came to mind when I unearthed this pencil out of the box was, “genius!” It’s not much, but to have an actual pencil sharpener conveniently located on the liner in cap form is not only practical, but clever. Never again will you have to dig through your make-up bag to find a sharpener when your eyeliner needs to be sharpened. I can’t be the only one who grunts in frustration the moment you need a pencil sharpener and can’t readily find it? (Bueller?) Aside from this nifty function, the liner itself is not too shabby. I received the eclectic “Green Lagoon” color and found the iridescent factor gave it a unique glow. The color is not something I would have naturally gone for, but it brought a pop to my eyes as well as a change of pace. I liked it! Where this liner is on the weaker side is in longevity. Sure, the color was still there, but not nearly as strongly as when I’d first applied. Points for it still showing up though. And bonus points for the essential oil and plant-based ingredients making this liner natural and easy to apply.
Overall: Is it wrong to like this more for the gimmick of the sharpener attachment, than for the liner itself? It’s not a bad liner and the whole organic aspect helps. I’d spend $20 on this liner, but in a more everyday wearable shade. Bright green eyeliner works, just not daily.
#5. Ghirardelli Intense Dark Cherry Tango | Hey, it’s chocolate. What more is there to say!?!
Overall: Win. Win.
#6. Jurlique Purely Bright Cleanser | Complaint #3 this month (outside similar and under-performing products) is sample sizes. Look, I get that Birchbox is designed to introduce you to, then sell you high-end beauty products. However, I have a huge problem when receiving sample sizes so small that I can’t get a real read or feel for them. This Jurlique sample might as well not have come at all. I barely got 1.5 uses out of this cleanser and the sad thing is that I liked what I did use. It had a luxurious, creamy texture, an enticing scent, and the fine exfoliating beads were a pleasant addition when washing my face. Again, I surely won’t be detecting any “radiance” or new-found “brightness” after 1.5 uses so I can’t comment on that aspect. I must admit that even after such a pitiful excuse for a sample, my skin felt clean and rejuvenated at the very least. However, this stuff is $28 full-sized. In an ideal world, I would like to use it at minimum 3-5 days before committing to spending this much money on a cleanser. This is pretty crucial in such a competitive section of the beauty market. Do you know how many facial cleansers there are in the world?
Overall: Pitiful sample size = not happy. A pretty positive experience despite said pitiful sample size. I’ll pass on principle alone.
Many month’s are fantastic, some not-so-much. This was a not-so-much month.
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(I’m not affiliated with Birchbox outside of just being a fan…with an opinion.)