December’s Birchbox theme was “Decked Out”, which makes sense given that it’s the holiday season. This month, I was pretty excited to see what was included in my Birchbox, and I thought that everything looked really awesome!
I loved the box itself this month! It’s definitely my favorite that I’ve seen so far — a beautiful shade of blue (darker than it looks in these photos) with tasteful shiny silver decorations. I’m using it on my vanity, since it’s far too pretty to store away somewhere out of sight.
Number 4 | L’eau de Mare Hydrating Shampoo
Number 4 | L’eau de Mare Hydrating Condition
These don’t smell wonderful, but I don’t dislike the scent either. It’s just sort of pleasantly oceanic. The shampoo has a slightly creamy texture. The conditioner is a bit creamier than the shampoo, but still not as creamy as the conditioner I usually use.
The shampoo was decent. It didn’t feel like it was deep cleaning my hair, if that’s important to you, but my hair did look clean afterwards. I had to use more shampoo than I usually do, though, to get the same result. Unfortunately, I had to use the entire conditioner packet at one time because my hair is so long and thick, so I don’t have a great sense of whether I liked that one or not.
Embryolisse | Lait-Crème Concentré
This is supposedly a multi-use product, but it came in such a small sample size that I expected to be barely able to test it at all, much less for multiple uses. However, it definitely surprised me by how far just a little bit went!
First, I tried it as a facial moisturizer. It took longer to absorb than I usually like for daytime moisturizers, but I do think it would be a good nighttime moisturizer. Despite taking a while to absorb, I didn’t find it heavy at all, and it played well when used as a moisturizer on top of a serum. Used during the day, it left my skin feeling plump and moisturized for the entire day. At night, it did the same thing and I woke up with skin that was still nicely-moisturized.
I also tried it as a body moisturizer, just applying it to my elbows since they’re the driest party of my body. I was really impressed by how my elbows started to feel much less dry, just by using this on them once a day.
I wasn’t able to try it as a true primer since I don’t wear foundation, but I did like the way my blush applied on top of it. I also tried it under a BB cream, and liked the results.
Next, I attempted to see if it truly had makeup-removing abilities. I used it to remove my daily eyeshadow, and while it did remove it, I also got some in my eye, which hurt — this is not intended to be eye-safe! Despite this experience, I then decided to try using it to remove mascara and eyeliner. While it worked, I wouldn’t recommend it. A true makeup remover or even a basic facial cleanser is so much more effective (and less expensive!).
I’ve heard this can also be used as a hair texturizer, but I decided to spend the rest of my sample using it as a moisturizer (where it excels) instead of continuing to experiment. I did try it on a tiny patch of my hair, and I will say that it absorbed into the strands and didn’t look weird at all, although I can’t speak for the texturing properties.
Overall, I think this is at its best as a moisturizer. I like that it is almost unscented but not quite, and the slight scent is definitely pleasant. I really didn’t want to like this, since it retails for $16 for just 1 oz, but I think I may have to pick up a full size tube!
Ruffian | Nail Laquer in Ruffian Red
This polish is a lovely bright red. It’s an absolutely beautiful color – at first I thought it would be too bright, but once I put it on I loved it. I was also really impressed by the texture and how easily it applied to my toenails. It did begin to chip on my nails after just a few days, though, which was unexpected because usually my toenail polish lasts for a week or two without looking beat up. After a full week, my toes looked pretty ragged. However, if you’re willing to redo your polish more frequently than usual, any polish with this formula would be a great buy!
Beauty Protector | Protect & Oil
Since this came in a vial, I wasn’t really sure how to apply it. I ended up just pouring a little bit in my palm and rubbing it in with my hands. My very first time using this I had a slight mishap. Since my scalp and the ends of my hair get frizziest and the sample is so small, I decided to just use it on those two parts. However, I started with the top and ended up with an oil slick on part of my scalp. After lots of brushing it became presentable-looking, but the next time I started from the ends and worked my way to the top. This worked much better, I’m glad to say!
This oil made my hair look nice and unfrizzed, although I don’t think it accomplished anything that the other hair defrizzing products I’ve received through Birchbox (from Davines and Toni&Guy) haven’t also done. The smell of this is similar to the other Beauty Protector product I’ve tried, Protect & Detangle, although not quite as delectable. Dispensing the oil from the vial was somewhat difficult because there is a risk of pouring out too much, but the full size comes with a spray top, which would be much easier to use.
Mirenesse | iCurl Secret Weapon 24 Hour Mascara
I was very excited to see this in my box this month, since I’ve been wanting to try a new mascara. The formula is flawless for me. It made my eyelashes look great! It stayed in place really well, but it was also really easy to remove at the end of the night. The only thing I didn’t love about it was the wand — it’s an interesting curved shape, and I just can’t figure out how to use it effectively on my lashes.
My box also came with $10 to spend at The Gap. At first I was pretty disappointed by this since I hardly ever go there and there’s not much to be found for under $10, but then I remembered that I get my jeans from Gap and am in need of a new pair! Therefore, I’ll put this towards something I needed anyway.
Update: Unfortunately, the code I received was only good until January 15th, and since I only ever jeans shop in person, I wasn’t able to get to a Gap store before it expired.
Verdict: I am always disappointed to see shampoo and conditioner samples, but these more than most since I didn’t even like the product. But the mascara, Embryolisse sample, and nail polish have all been items I’ve found myself using pretty frequently. Overall, I loved 3, liked 1, and disliked 2 of my 6 samples this month. I think that this is one of the boxes that I’ve had the highest “love” rate with! Another win for Birchbox 🙂
If you’re planning on purchasing a Birchbox subscription, please consider using my referral link: https://www.birchbox.com/invite/justabirchbox