New Beauty Box Subscription: Birchbox April & May 2018 + Free Gift

Since Dollibox left my life after a very short run, I have been on the lookout for a subscription box to replace it. I loved Dollibox as it offered mostly full sized products at an affordable price, but I wasn't looking for the same thing again. After many months of research I ultimately decided on Birchbox for the following reasons:

1. The price and offers
At £10 a box plus £2.95 shipping, this was a similar price to Dollibox and I didn't want to spend any more than that. I wanted an affordable box and most seemed to be hovering around this mark, but the shipping cost more. So this was point in Birchbox's favour. They also give you freebies for things as simple as filling out reviews, referring friends and loyalty discounts. You also have the option of buying something you have tried in full size with a discount.

2. The ability to customise the contents (to a degree)
Some boxes don't allow you to input any requirements, you simply get what you're given. However, Birchbox had a moderately detailed quiz in which you input your colouring, style and needs and they base the box to some degree on your answers. Which I think is a good idea as, for example, I have thick, wavy hair and products for fine hair won't do a thing for me. It stops waste and allows the user some control over what they're getting. You can also choose between shades and box styles via email, which is ideal if you're a collector.

3. A mix of high end and affordable, well known and lesser known brands
I like that they don't solely give you one price level of products. You can get a myriad of different things in the same box, ranging from indie to cult classics. I think people get too bogged down by brand names, so it's great to try new things. The most well known isn't always the best...

4. Sample sizes instead of full sizes
It might seem a bit silly to prefer sample sizes over the full thing, but I hate having full sized products I don't like. I'd rather get a smaller product, test it out and see if it's worth it. Then I can use my aforementioned discount to purchase the full size, if I like it after all. The website states you will get at least one full sized product a month, so that's a bonus.

I signed up around 28th April with an offer of 2 boxes for £10, which I received on 1st May. On 3rd May, the next box was shipped. The payments are taken on the 1st of each month, which is good as with Dollibox it depended on when you signed up and I would often get confused about when the payment would go out.

I really like the drawer style for the boxes. They're something I don't want to throw away and I think they'll come in handy for storage - which is something I'm struggling with as I've just about run out of space on/in my dressing table. They would also look nice as a collection once I get my spare room converted into an office. I might glue them together into a set of drawers and use them to store lightweight things.

New Beauty Box Subscription: Birchbox April & May 2018 + Free Gift

In each box you get a pamphlet of the full price of each item, which I ignored completely, and a discount for whatever brand is featured. As this month was Cath Kidston, I got 15% off things I won't be buying. I'll pass this on to someone else who might like it. I'm not a fan of Kidston, its a bit 2006 and I didn't even like it then.

The packaging for this hand cream is the same style as the box and it's definitely middle aged chic. Sorry not sorry. Hand cream is an okay product and I will always get use out of it, but I never really go crazy for it. It smells nice but not strongly enough to call it rose scented. It's balmy but doesn't leave a film on the hands, which I appreciate.

2. Beautaniq Beauty Fill + Tame Brow Gel in Blonde
This was the first thing I tried and I really liked it. Despite being labelled blonde, it's an ashy brown-taupe shade that fills in the sparse gaps of my brows without drying crispy or remaining gloopy. I did need to even out with a pencil, but once in place it stayed put until removed with a makeoff mitt, approximately 7 hours later. I like the size - it's quite petite but it will definitely last me a while. I'd never heard of Beautaniq before and I look forward to potentially trying more from them.

3. ModelCo Baked Highlighter in Frose
I was so excited as the pictures online looked gorgeous but when I opened it, the compact was empty. I got in touch with Birchbox via Twitter who referred me to their customer services email and within a couple of days I received a reply telling me that they had sent out a replacement which they said would be with me in 5-7 working days, which was a surprise as the box itself was sold out on their website. I assumed this would be coming in my May box, or at least in an envelope. It finally arrived on 12th May - 2 weeks after I received my April box. It's so tiny, smaller than a 50p coin, but it's pretty and I'm excited to use it.

This is presumably a mini and I'm not mad about it - I was thinking about picking up some more of these types of cloths so it's saved me some money at least. I don't like the texture, it's very fluffy and when wet it drags across the skin, not even removing much makeup. I don't think I'll continue to use this, but it was fine to test out.

5. Marcelle Gentle Makeup Remover for Sensitive Eyes
I don't tend to use these types of products as oil based eye makeup removers always seem to irritate me. I have sensitive eyes that get very dry and I don't know why, but oils seem to make them worse. I will most likely end up donating this to a friend.

As I mentioned above, I also got a free mystery box with this order as part of a 2 for £10 deal. It turned out that it was leftover stock from October, which I'm not upset about. I was really pleased with the majority of the items. From the paperwork in the box, it seemed like it was raising awareness of checking for breast cancer.

New Beauty Box Subscription: Birchbox April & May 2018 + Free Gift

1. R+Co Badlands Dry Shampoo Paste
I am so intrigued about this and cannot wait to try it. Products like this are right up my alley.

2. Balance Me Pure Skin Face Wash
As someone who is always trying new cleansers, I was really happy to find this, especially as it's a generous size and the tube is more or less full. It smells like chamomile, and contains a lot of natural essential oils, which I love. I've used it a couple of times and found that it does actually balance out the oils in my skin. I went through a 12 1/2 hour shift on the hottest day of the year so far  without getting overly oily in my t-zone, which normally happens in about 2 hours. I've also used this at night, then applied a heavy moisturiser and oil on top and when I've woken up in the morning my skin is soft but not overly oily - as it would be any other time.

3. Whish Three Whishes Almond Body Butter
I really don't like the smell of this as it reminds me of marzipan and do I have a lot of body butters so I know I'll never get around to it - it's going into my donate pile.

4. Anatomicals Boob Tube Grab Your Melons Shower Gel
I've had Anatomicals products before and they're okay, nothing special. You can't really go wrong with a shower gel though. This smells very strongly of melon which is very refreshing considering it's currently so hot. The issue is it doesn't lather too well unless you use a ton of product. In one usage, half the tube was gone. I don't feel like I've really cleansed unless the shower gel is foamy, which is my problem I suppose. Either way, this is nice but not something I will be repurchasing.

5. ModelCo Contour Stick
At first I thought it was a lipstick as it's so chocolatey, but it's a contour stick. I tested it on the back of my hand and it blends out beautifully but it might be a tad warm for me. I'll still try it out but I've got a feeling it might end up going to a new home.

New Beauty Box Subscription: Birchbox April & May 2018 + Free Gift

This is possibly the tiniest sample of a bronzer I've ever seen. I already have the mini and thought that was small. Either way, I like this bronzer and will get a lot of use out of it. I know Hoola gets a lot of face time because it's a cult favourite - but it really is good.

I was happy to see a Spectrum brush in this month's box. I have a set of them and a few singles and they are definitely a good addition. It's an angled blush brush which will definitely get a lot of use.

You don't know how happy I was to see a hair care sample that wasn't in a foil packet. I've never heard of this brand but I'm always in the market for a good conditioner. As soon as I opened the box I could smell it and it reminds me of the Mark Hill Argan line that I love. I tested it out that same night and it's hydrating but not overly softening. My hair got greasy faster than it usually does after using this, so it's going to be a day off work and can't be bothered product.

This is definitely not red. It's more of a deep peach with a pink to it. I'm not mad about that. I swatched it on the back of my hand and it dried down quickly, a half shade darker and does look more red toned - but still not what I would call a red lipstick. I do like it though and it seems like it would be comfortable to wear as the formula is very thin, it feels almost like an oil until it dries.

When I opened the May box, this had leaked on everything and I lost about a third of the bottle, which is only sample sized to begin with, therefore very annoying. It smells floral with a definite soapy undertone which I'm not exactly thrilled with,

The Verdict
Overall, I'm really happy with the contents of these boxes. Obviously as April 2018 was my first box, the contents had already been fully determined by Birchbox (I subscribed at the end of the month), meaning my profile wasn't taken into consideration. However, almost all of the items were things I would buy on my own. The Marcelle Eye Makeup Remover is the exception to this as I'm more of a cream/milk based cleanser or makeup cloth sort of girl. With sensitive eyes you have to be careful. The free gift being a previous box is a great idea as if you're new, you get to test out products you've already missed. I also like that you get a choice of shades. I picked a highlight colour, a lipstick shade and for June, they're offering a choice of two different eyeshadows.

There are two things that I'm a little concerned about - the fact that I received an empty product that still hasn't been replaced, and that I received one that leaked quite a bit. It smacks of a quality control problem. My boxes definitely weren't checked before shipping. I'm not usually too bothered about stuff like this as it happens occasionally but I've only had two monthly boxes and there was a problem with both of them. It doesn't exactly inspire confidence. But I'm willing to give Birchbox a few more chances. However, based on this, I decided to remove the bath product option from my beauty profile as I don't want to risk it again - plus I'm not that bothered about shower gels etc.

I think having three boxes to look at for my first month has definitely been helpful. It's given me more of an idea of what to expect and whether I will like what I get regardless of my profile. I'm pretty pleased with the contents - I didn't bother to work out the value because the prices given are for the full sizes and most of the items are not. My favourites are definitely the Beautaniq brow gel, the Balance Me Face Wash and the Spectrum brush. I'm really looking forward to June!


  1. I'm happy to hear they replaced your product! I would have been so gutted too if something came empty. That hoola bronzer is so small! :o

    1. The Hoola sample really is tiny but not unexpected. I've seen them before on youtube videos but it was even smaller in real life. The highlighter is stunninnnng! I love a pink highlight, but I don't think I could spend £23 on the full size when MUA do amazing ones for £3....


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