Kitty Blackadder

A Scottish blog about making art, too much eyeshadow and becoming a grown up.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

What was my Birchbox Welcome Gift?

** This post was updated in September 2017 with product reviews added underneath each product description**

 I'm so excited to be starting off the first of my Birchbox posts!. Birchbox - for anyone who isn't familiar with them - is a company that sends out beauty boxes to it's subscribers once a month. The products in the boxes are cosmetic or beauty products that are either high end, less known brands, or more famous (but still fancy) names like OPI and Molton Brown. There are around 5 products each month which can be full size or sample size. If you'd like more info, you'll find it here, on their UK website.

Anyway, I didn't know anything about Birchbox until about a month ago when I happened upon a mention of it on a blog somewhere. My initial reaction was that it was a fantastic idea, but, not being someone who uses a lot of beauty products (I go through eyeshadow like nobody's business, but lotions and potions... I don't use a wide variety), I kind of filed it away in my head and moved on. Except I didn't. That night I was making chit chat with the boyfriend and happened to drop it into the conversation; that I thought it was a great idea. Anyway, two days later the boyfriend, in an unprecedented act of spontaneous expenditure, reveals he's taken me out a one year subscription - that twelve beautiful Birchboxes are coming my way! I am a lucky girl, though I'll admit, I did initially panic - he'd bought me this lovely gift and what if I didn't like the products? What if I didn't know what to do with half the creams and balms? I'd feel so bad if it turned out to be a bust! I don't want to kill the intense suspense I'm sure you're all feeling right now *ahem*, but lets just say I needn't have worried. Anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself!

At the time we signed up there was one of those "sign up and get a free gift" offers going on, so before I start talking about the monthly boxes, I thought I'd quickly show you what my free gift was... though I haven't actually used the stuff yet so I'll have to review later. Sorry. So my free gift was actually not THE free gift. Nope for some reason the Universe decided once again to deprive me of the bottle of OPI that was coming my way. There was a little note in the Birchbox bag saying this (well, it was addressed from Birchbox, not the universe, but you know what I mean) and telling me they'd replaced it with two other samples. So in total, I was getting four things instead of three - but I actually don't know what the other subbed item was, as I can't find any info on the original offer! Oops. 

Weleda Skin Food

This is a 10ml tube of Weleda Skin Food. The full size tube (which is 75ml) retails in the Birchbox shop for £8.95, making it one of the cheaper items on there. The sample comes in a metal tube, like Bonjela, and that did make it feel a little medicinal to me. The smell, wow, well, you're not going to miss it. It's scented with sweet orange and lavender and  in my opinion, is really overwhelming. I had hoped to use this cream on the inevitable winter dry patches on my face, but actually I worry that I'd find that smell, that close just far too much. Obviously though, this is just personal opinion - I'm sure lots of people love the smell and don't get so many mouth ulcers that they associate every metal tube with Bonjela. Due to the smell issue I think I'll try it on other dry skin areas like my feet or knees. I'll let you know how it works; 'cos if it's good, an unfavorable smell would be worth enduring at this price tag.

**Updated September 2017. 

To add my review to this, I honestly could never deal with the smell of this and over the years found products that a) smelled a lot less offensive and b)were a lot more effective. Particular favourites would be Elbow Grease and Lemony Flutter both from Lush **

The Balm Costmetics, InstainBlush in Swiss Dot

This is a 0.5g sample of the Instain blusher by The Balm Cosmetics, in "Swiss Dot". First off the packaging is super cute - designed like a little book - it even has the colour written on the spine. 10 out of 10 for packaging here. It's a very small sample, so small it's marked on the back as a free sample, not for resale. However it does seem like a good quality product and I am looking for a new blusher so, y'know, I may soon be purchasing a bigger version soon anyway. In terms of colour it's not perfect for me, but it's close enough that I can experiment with it and to be honest, with it being autumn now and my palette leaning towards that; it probably won't look too noticeably out of place on my face. At the moment (and for a while) I use one of the Maybeline mousse blushers. I think it's drying out my skin though, so, even though I love it, I am looking for an alternative. At the moment, based on how long the swatch stays on my hand without wiping off, and yes, also the cute packaging, this could very well be a contender. The full size version is 5.5g and retails on Birchbox for £21.50.

**Updated in September 2017

Honestly, I remember being so excited to recieve this: my first ever high end blush but the pan was tiny and awkward to get on a bigger brush (I found I ended up with a dense, pigmented dot on my cheeks instead), and the shade was never really for me, so it didn't get used a whole lot. Forumla wise, I do like these blushes though ** 

Item Number Three - LAQA & Co, Lil' Lip

This is a 2g trial size of LAQA & Co Cosmetics Fat Lip, lip pencil, in "Ring of Fire". The full size version is 3.7g and retails on Birchbox for £14. This shade is a bold, slightly purple red - certainly looks a bit outwith my comfort zone. But actually, when I swatch it, it's such a lovely, glossy, warm colour, that I think (with the right look) I'll be able to pull it off! While it's not a colour I would choose for myself; I tend to stick more to berry shades, it's not a colour that I avoid either. I'm happy to have got this as part of the gift as it seems like a product that I'll certainly get use out of, even if I don't go on and actually purchase it. 

**Updated September 2017

I actually really disliked this product! On the lips I found it smeared around a lot and for me, this is too dark a colour for that to be happening with! I would recommend the Clinique Chubby Lip Sticks instead!** 

Item Number Four - Reverence de Bastien, Nail Lacquer, No 15

As some kind of cosmic apology for the OPI abduction, the universe has sent me a fancier nail varnish. This is a full size bottle of Reverence de Bastien's Nail Lacquer in "No 15", that retails on Birchbox for £16. It is a truly amazing shade of sapphire blue, so shimmery that even in the low/grey light that fills my room constantly at the moment, it glistens, shines and almost glows! At this point, I've only been able to test it out on my boyfriend's finger nail. What? Mine were all painted. Anyway, the applicator brush isn't great; it's a really skinny one like Models Own uses and drives me mad - I like them chunkier/flatter. But that's just personal preference I guess. In terms of coverage, from what I could tell, it covered pretty well. Two coats and it was great; could have gotten away with one coat, but it would have been a waste as it wouldn't have had the same WOW factor. In terms of wearability, the boyfriend has had it on for three days now. Hehe. Told him I've lost the nail varnish remover! Anyway, there's no sign of chips, peeling or fading - and he's not exactly delicate, so that's definitely a good sign. Very happy to have received this - it's not something I would have bought on my own. Partly due to the cost, and partly because I've never encountered the brand before either online or in store anywhere. Really looking forward to wearing it - I'll report back when I do. 

**Updated in September 2017

This nail polish was pretty darn good on the nails. It applied well and wore well. Truthfully, it never made it to Holy Grail status, as I realised I definitely prefer cream finishes to shimmery finishes** 

That was my welcome to Birchbox gift. The free gift sign up offer has now ended - probably business booms this time of year - but if you're thinking about joining keep your eyes open for a little while first (unless like me you'd be far too impatient), it seems likely to me there might be a similar thing again. 

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