I'd read about Birchbox a few times and thought it sounded like fun, but hadn't taken the bait until my newest SIL talked about how much she enjoyed the subscription my BIL had given her for Christmas. So I finally decided, "What the heck?"
Birchbox is a monthly subscription service in which you get five samples of various types of skin or hair products to test out. As I've gotten into my 50s, my skin is definitely changing and some of the tried-and-true products from my past are not so tried-and-true anymore, so I'm game to find some new stuff. I also have difficulty finding products that will work well with my curly hair--defrizzing without leaving an oil slick behind. So, sure--lay some samples on me.
A monthly subscription is $10; you choose which categories you want to explore and they'll customize it to your wishes. Most of the samples are a pretty decent size--I had a couple of skin product samples that lasted a full week for me, so you can get a good idea of how they work. Once you try the samples, you can leave reviews on the site. You earn points for each month you subscribe, each review you leave, and for any purchases you make through the site--those points eventually turn into dollars off a future purchase. The prices for the full-sized products on the Birchbox site are competitive, although not discounted generally. It is helpful, though, to be able to read all the user reviews. You can either allow them to surprise you each month or you can customize your box. So far, I've got the surprise route, though I may try customizing next month just to see how it works.
I got two boxes my first month (an extra box as a gift for a new subscription) but didn't post a review then--I was waiting to see how I felt about it after the second month. I'm still having fun with it so I'll keep it going for a little while.
For this month's box, I got Kiehl's facial cleanser, Marcella gel moisturizer, Beautaniq Beauty blush and lip color serum, an eye liner (don't recall the brand), and Parlor curl defining cream. I've been able to try out the cleanser, moisturizer, and serum; not the eye liner (not a big eye liner person so need to be in the right mood to test it) and the curl cream (I'm not supposed to be showering right now with my foot all bandaged, so I'm leery of putting any product on until I know I can thoroughly wash it out again).
I've heard of Kiehl's so I was interested to try it. This cleanser didn't knock my socks off, though--no better than the Clinique I normally use--so I won't be switching over. The moisturizing gel was equally unexciting for me, although it could work beautifully for someone with less dry skin than mine--very lightweight. The blush serum made me look like a clown, so that was a definite no go. I think it was just too bright for my skin tone. I can't wait to try the curl cream--maybe next week.
In the first couple of boxes I got in June there were several things I really liked so I've added them to my wish list on the Birchbox site and, when I run out of my current products, I may start adding some of them to my skin and hair care routine. There's a nice detangling spray, a makeup primer (helpful when I'm traveling and have to be "on" from 8a to 10p) , and a wonderful facial oil I absolutely fell in love with but will need to save up to buy.
If you're interested in trying out Birchbox, here's my referral code.
As a side note, I'd also subscribed to Ipsy which is a similar idea, as I'd intended to compare the two. However, Ipsy put me on a "wait list" and then proceeded to hold me over a barrel by telling me I could jump ahead in line and get off the wait list if I promoted them on social media. What? Why in the world would I promote something I hadn't even had the opportunity to try yet? After waiting several weeks to see if I'd just get removed from the wait list naturally, but only getting more emails telling me to promote them to get off the wait list, I finally unsubscribed with a comment about exactly what I thought of their business model. Ridiculous.