January 2016 Birchbox Sample Choice Comparison

Birchbox’s sample choice has become a monthly staple now; you can find a description of the program here. This month there are 3 samples to choose from plus an awesome curated box filled with Korean beauty samples. Let’s dive in to this photo-heavy post!


The Eyeko Fat Liquid Eyeliner was supposed to appear in everyone’s boxes this June, but a shipping problem prevented the samples from arriving in time. They promised that the liners would appear in a future box, and here they are! I’m actually more pleased about the way they’re doing it this time around, with the Eyeko liner as a sample choice instead of a definite sample, since there are plenty of people who probably don’t particularly want another eyeliner, but those who are excited to receive it can opt for that choice.

The Eyeko liner looks nice because it’s fat and the nib is like a felt-tip pen, so it is easier to grip and to get an even line. However, the downside would be that you can’t get a skinny line if that’s what you wanted! I wasn’t able to find any reviews of this by bloggers, which surprised me. It looks like it might be full-size, so 0.12 oz and worth $16, but I can’t tell for sure and that feels pretty unlikely to me. It is more likely worth ~$9.


The TONYMOLY Delight Tony Tint is a tint that dries matte and is not moisturizing. It’s a water formula so it dries faster, but that means it’s a little more liquidy than some. It apparently has a sweet fruity scent, like grape candy, and lasts ~4 hours with eating. Reviews all say that it’s incredibly hard to remove and it stains anything it touches easily — which is a good thing in a lip stain! It looks like everyone will be receiving it in #2 Red. Sources and swatches: Claudia and Marxie. According to Bella, you can also use the product on your cheeks!

This sample is 1.5 ml, and is therefore worth $1. A pro to this tint is, if you end up liking it, it’s super cheap to purchase the full size! Just $6 on Birchbox.com, and cheaper elsewhere.


The IPKN Flash Cream Radiant Primer is a basic primer that contains SPF 15 and apparently feels like a moisturizer while being applied. It also contains pearl powder, which means it is shimmery. I guess that translates to “glowy” once you apply foundation on top of it, although the description says it can also be worn alone.

Apparently it’s been in the Birchbox shop and arriving in subscribers’ Birchboxes since August, although this is the first I’ve heard of it. Most people who reviewed it on Birchbox.com said that it was definitely nice, but nothing they couldn’t do without. This sample is 0.24 oz, and therefore worth $4.98.


The featured box this month is curated by Charlotte Cho, founder of Soko Glam (a curated online K-beauty store). First off, it includes two of the individual sample choices: the IPKN primer and the TONYMOLY tint.

Next up is the RE:P Bio Fresh Mask with Real Calming Herb. Interestingly enough, this isn’t in the Birchbox shop yet — I don’t tnink I’ve seen them send out any samples that you can’t also buy in the shop. It is on Soko Glam, though! This is a clay mask meant to calm irritated skin and reduce redness. It has an herbal scent. This sample looks like it’s about ~.5 oz, and is therefore worth $4.50.

Of course a K-beauty box includes a sheet mask, and the one they picked is the Manefit Beauty Planner Sheet Mask in Cucumber Soothing + Moisturizing. It is made out of very thin microfiber and is hydrating. It has fine reviews and just seems like your basic $2 sheet mask.

The fifth item is the Goodal Waterest First Essence. An essence is sort of like a serum, in that you use it between cleansing and moisturizing. Here are some sources to find out more about Korean skincare routines: Charlotte Cho for Into the Gloss and The Coveteur. Plus, there are plenty of awesome blogs out there focused on this topic!

This essence is thin, watery, and is supposed to be brightening and help with wrinkles. Unboxing Beauty has a positive review of this product. The Acid Queen thinks it is too thick for a first essence and Urban Outfitters is now selling it so you might be able to stop by and test it out. I am guessing that this sample is ~5 mL, which is worth $0.50.

The box also comes with two Goodal bonus packets. The Goodal Phytowash Yerba Mate Cleansing Foam is a hydrating foaming cleanser. The Goodal Phytowash Yerba Mate Bubble Peeling is a liquid that transforms into a foamy peeling exfoliator to remove dead skin cells. I don’t really get how this works, but it has excellent reviews, such as this one from Alene at Paper Kitties. Here are “how-to-use” instructions from Memebox for the cleansing foam and the bubble peeling. If I assume the foil packets are ~0.2 oz, then this duo is worth $4.50.

This gives the curated box a total value of $17.50, which is much lower than most Birchboxes, if that’s something you care about.

The downside to the curated box is just that — the box. January’s Birchbox design is so cute and adorable that it’s a bummer that the curated box is so boring next to it. Look, the regular box is shiny and bright and colorful! And it comes with stickers! And it celebrates the beginning of a new year! Why couldn’t the curated box just come in the same physical container, so we could get the best of both worlds?

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Sample choice will open on December 29th for subscribers (December 28th for Ace members and referrers).

This month I’m planning on selecting the Eyeko liner as my sample choice  (yes, maybe I’m a little influenced by the box design…) and also potentially buying the K-beauty box separately once it hits the shop (as curated boxes normally do —  I hope I’m not taking too much of a chance there!).

Which sample are you going to choose?

If you’re planning on purchasing a Birchbox subscription, please consider using my referral link: https://www.birchbox.com/invite/justabirchbox

3 thoughts on “January 2016 Birchbox Sample Choice Comparison

  1. I think I’m going to do the K-beauty box. I haven’t gotten into the K-beauty trend yet so this will be a good way for me to give it a try!

  2. Pingback: February 2016 Birchbox Sample Choice Comparison | Just A Primer

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