Subscription boxes are very much a 21st century phenomenon, I think. There are many different ones available, meeting many different interests and needs – not surprisingly, one of the most popular is hair and beauty, and there are several very popular ones. Having done my research, I opted for Birchbox. It seemed to represent the best value for money overall, and I already knew some of the brands which had featured in recent boxes. If you choose the month-on-month subscription (rather than subscribing for 6 or 12 months at a time), the subscription cost is £10 per month plus £2.95 P&P.
While I think about it, one side note of caution straight away: Birchbox use Hermes for their deliveries. I know a number of people who have had shockingly bad experiences with Hermes and simply will not use them as a result. If you’re one of these people, take note! I’m fairly lucky on this, I get my boxes delivered to work, and our regular Hermes courier is very good. Anyway – moving on!
My first Birchbox was the June 2018 one, which just happened to be the Birchbox 5th Birthday box. It came in the tin you see above, about 5.5. inches square by slightly less than 3 inches deep. Each month there is a theme, and for June it was “Tea Party”.
Before you order your first box, you go through a series of tick boxes in which you tell it what skin and hair type and colour you have, and what your primary concerns are in these areas. They then send you the samples from each month’s selection which are most likely to be useful for you. It seems that each month you also have a degree of choice with the full-sized product in terms of shade/colour.
So, off with the lid…
In the box, I found:
- A full size ella EDEN Compact Eyeshadow in “Faith” – RRP £12.99
- A full size Model Co Eye Define Crayon Liner – RRP £12.00
- A full size Smith & Cult “The Shining” Lip Lacquer in “Fade the Sun” – RRP £19.00
(Anyone keeping count? £43.99 worth of product so far from a box costing £12.95.)
There were also respectable sized samples of:
- Polaar Velvety Sun Fluid in SPF30
- No.4 Jour d’automne Hair Smoothing Balm
- Benefit Porefessional Pearl Illuminating Face Primer
and three Whittard tea bags! One Earl Grey, one Lemon & Ginger and one Mango & Bergamot. Here’s the list that comes in the box telling you about your products:
(If you’re particularly observant you’ll notice the Benefit primer sample is missing from the box in the photo above. This has a lot to do with the fact that I received the box a few weeks ago, have only now got round to reviewing it, and was so excited to receive the Benefit sample that I used all of it in the first week, and now can’t wait to buy the full sized one for bad pore days…)
The Smith & Cult lip gloss was an extra “thank you for signing up with us” thing which is why it’s not on the box list. £19 worth of free gift? Thank you! Next?
So far I’ve tested the ella EDEN eyeshadow, the lip gloss and the primer – with more testing still to come, and I’ve been very happy with everything I’ve tried. Honestly, I can’t get over the insane value for money! There’s also the little Christmas-like spark of joy when it turns up each month when you get to open it and find out what’s waiting inside. 🙂
Whether or not I’ll continue with the subscription in the long term, I don’t know. But while I’m still on a voyage of learning and discovery, getting the opportunity to try new products each month for what amounts to a really nominal cost for me is brilliant.
Since I had the idea to review the first box, I’ve actually received the second, and here I get the chance to talk about awesome customer service again. The July box is in a beautifully printed toughened cardboard box – photos to follow in due course. When it arrived, I opened the box to find that the lid had come off one of the items, the item itself was badly damaged, and the product was spread all over the inside of the box and the other items inside it. (The other items were sealed and unaffected, a quick wipe over with a makeup wipe and no problem.)
I contacted Birchbox straight away to say there had been a problem, and they were brilliant. They took a couple of days to reply to me (but during that time I had several “you’re in the queue and we’re getting to you as soon as we can” updates), but eventually I had an email to say how sorry they were, that I should discard the box and the damaged product, and they would send replacements out for me as soon as they could, but within 3 to 5 working days. Fantastic! Good job, Birchbox. As always with this kind of thing, it’s not the problem that matters as much as how they fix it.
Once the replacement box has been delivered, I’ll do a review on the contents of that one too, and I’ll probably keep doing it each month, with individual product reviews on anything that really lights my fire. 🙂
Birchbox’s website with all their subscription details can be found here. I’d love to hear from any other subscribers – let me know what your experience has been!