The Birchbox theme for November was “Giving”, which does make sense given that Thanksgiving is the major November holiday (although I’m definitely surprised that they haven’t used this theme already in the past). One of the things I was really excited about this month was the partnership with (RED). Birchbox donated $1 for every photo of the box shared on Instagram. However, the theme wasn’t apparent in any other aspect of the box.
Royal Apothic | Cuppa Cuppa Firming Tea Treatment Mask
This was my sample choice this month, because I have a newfound love for masks and an enduring love for tea.
The mask jumps out of the tube a little when you first open it (although that may be because I squeezed it slightly too much while figuring out how to open it — it turns out that you can pop the foil seal using the top of the lid). It’s a surprisingly pretty brown color, like a deer, or chestnuts, or… brewed tea. The smell isn’t distinctive, maybe slightly earthy, but not tea-like as I had expected. It feels a little gritty as you rub it onto your face, and then it dries very quickly. I did a pretty thin layer (hey, it’s a small sample!) and left it on for approximately the 8 minutes advised.
To remove, the instructions say to wet your fingers and rub in circles before rinsing, and I’m glad I did so. First, there are definitely tiny exfoliating particles in this mask, which I felt while rubbing it. Secondly, since it dried so quickly, the rubbing helps to loosen the mask enough to rinse it off.
After using it, my face felt really nice. It’s super soft to the touch, feels stimulated, and looks smooth and bright. I’m guessing that there are about 3-5 uses in this tube, depending on how much product I use each time. If this mask weren’t so darn expensive, I’d definitely be repurchasing it!
amika | Nourishing Mask
This hair mask was something I was very excited to see in my box, since I’ve only ever tried one hair mask and I was curious about how a different one would work. It smells unidentifiably pleasant, but the smell is pretty innocuous.
I was disappointed by how much I had to use for my thick hair. The texture is a bit stiff and didn’t melt into my hair easily, and so I had to use half the tube to sufficiently cover all of my hair. It did impart the same pleasant but innocuous smell to my hair after I rinsed it out, which was nice. And my hair did end up feeling very soft. However, I like the results of my current hair mask a bit better (if not the smell), and so I don’t think I’ll be purchasing this.
Cynthia Rowley Beauty | Creamy Lip Stain
I received this in the shade “Heartthrob”, which is a very pretty deep/bright orange-toned red. I really like the consistency of this, and it’s easy to apply. If I mess it up, it’s also easy to wipe away any excess. However, it doesn’t work as a stain for me. Even if I let it set for 30 minutes or more on my lips before eating, drinking, or touching my lips to anything at all including each other, the color just doesn’t last.
Gilchrist & Soames | Spa Therapy Body Lotion
This lotion is pretty “meh”. It’s a lotion. It does what a lotion is supposed to do. It does have a slightly soapy feel in that it doesn’t absorb into the skin straight away. The smell is pretty nice, though — vaguely sea-like, in a good way. I’ll use up this sample, but I won’t be buying more.
theBalm cosmetics | Cindy-Lou Manizer
This product is just “okay”. It’s a very shimmery rose gold. I love how pretty it is in the pan and swatched, but it doesn’t make me feel any prettier than usual when I wear it. I can see it on my cheekbones, and it does have a nice glow, but I just don’t think it’s as amazing as everyone else seems to. That said, it is something I will continue to use while I have it — this tiny pan will last me ages.
I’ve heard that this can also be used as an eyeshadow, but when I tried it didn’t look very good and faded really quickly.
Dang | Coconut Chips Coconut Original
I was interested to test out my first ever Birchbox extra, and I was happy that it was a savory treat. These smelled overwhelmingly of coconut when I opened them, and while eating the first few I couldn’t help but feel like I was eating oversized shredded coconut, sickly sweetness and all. However, once I got further into the bag, I found the coconut taste pleasant. The texture is quite crunchy, which I enjoyed. It was really nice to be eating a chip-like snack that wasn’t at all salty (although salt is an ingredient). And the chips ended up being the perfect balance of savory and sweet for a midnight snack. The package was also the perfect size for a snack!
Verdict: Out of my 6 samples this month, I loved 2, liked 2, and could have done without 2 but was happy to receive them anyway. To me, that’s a pretty great recipe for a Birchbox! Falling in love (although I wish the object of my love was MUCH cheaper), meeting a new product and trying to figure out what it’s all about, getting a lotion that I don’t love but can still use, and getting the chance to try a product I’ve heard a lot about and realizing it’s not that great are all sentiments I felt this month. Overall, I was once again pretty happy with my Birchbox!
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