Is Birchbox Worth It?
When I first decided to join the beauty box bandwagon, I went with Ipsy’s Glam Bag as my subscription of choice (mostly because the products came in a cute little makeup bag each month). However, I decided to give Birchbox a try as well, just to see how it stacked up next to the competition—because, like Ipsy, it’s also a personalized sample-focused beauty box that costs $10 per month. Three Birchboxes and $30 later, is it worth it?
Box #1 Total Value: $24.52
The theme of the January box was “Moodboard Your Year.” The products inside included:
- Beautiful Nutrition Grapefruit Detox Shine Repair Shampoo: Approx. $5 value ($12 for full-size)
- Beautiful Nutrition Grapefruit Detox Shine Repair Conditioner: Approx. $5 value ($12 for full-size)
- Cargo Swimmables Shadow Stick (in Coral Reef): $7.33 value ($22 for full set of three)
- Derma E Hydrating Serum with Hyaluronic Acid: $3.44 value ($29.50 for full-size)
- Peripera Peri’s Tint Water (in Strawberry Juice): $3.75 value ($12 for full-size)
Every month, Birchbox gives you the choice between a completely curated box based on your personalized beauty preferences or a themed box that is available to everyone. For my first month, I chose the personalized box, just to see what I would get.
This box was a little hit-or-miss for me — there were a few things I liked, but most of the products ended up gifted to someone else or lost in the depths of my bathroom drawers. The two things I liked the most were the eye shadow stick and the lip tint. I wasn’t too thrilled with the smell or texture of the serum, though I was excited to try a new shampoo/conditioner combo. However, these didn’t really stack up compared to the brands I already use and love.
Considering the average value for a month of Ipsy is around $50, I was a little disappointed that a box for the same price only totaled to about half of that. I think it’s because Ipsy tends to send more full-size items, and the samples sent in Birchbox tend to be smaller than the samples found in Ipsy.
Box #2 Total Value: $37
The theme of this box was “Date Night.” The products included:
- Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tar (in Strumpet): $10 value ($16 for full-size)
- Cynthia Rowley Beauty Brightening Illuminator: $10 value ($28 for full-size)
- Whish Renewing Mud Mask: $11 value ($44 for full-size)
- Amika Bombshell Blowout Spray: $3 value ($24 for full-size)
- Catherine Malandrino Romance de Provence: $3 value ($80 for full-size)
This month, I opted for the themed box offered by Birchbox. Because the theme was all about date night, all of the products had something to do with getting ready to go out. I thought it was a neat idea, and I was definitely more impressed at first glance with this box than the previous month.
Upon closer inspection, although I loved the color of the lip tar, the sample size doesn’t come with an applicator tip that makes it easy to apply this extremely messy product. Following Birchbox’s instructions, I tried to use it once and it ended up EVERYWHERE. The perfume smelled okay, but the sample was so small it was also hard to apply. The remaining three products, on the other hand, I loved — the blowout spray smelled amazing (Editor’s note, the entire Amika haircare line is amazing), the mud mask worked great, and the illuminator was a neat product to try.
The overall value of this box was a little more impressive than the personalized box, leaving me to wonder if this is typically the case with the themed boxes.
Box #3 Total Value: $45.60
The theme of this month’s box was “Ready for Anything.” The products in the March box included:
- PARLOR by Jeff Chastain Smoothing Blowout Spray: $5 value ($24 for full-size)
- MILK Studios Lip Color (in C.R.E.A.M.): Approx. $5 value ($22 for full-size)
- Smashbox Photo Op Eye Shadow Trio (in Filter): Full-size/$28 value
- Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream: $4 value ($27.50 for full-size)
- Wilma Schumann Hydrating Collagen Eye Pads: $3.60 value ($18 for full set of 5)
For my last month of trying this subscription, I went with the themed box once again. Similarly to the previous month, this theme was focused on getting ready — for anything, apparently.
Out of all of the boxes I received, this was by far my favorite. Though it wasn’t specifically curated for me, it definitely felt like it was. I immediately fell in love with the blowout spray. After I ran out of the sample size, I ordered the full-size from Birchbox’s website (one of the best perks about Birchbox, in my opinion), and I plan to order more as soon as I run out. The teeny-tiny MILK lipstick sample has turned out to be one of my favorite lipsticks, and though it’s small, it still hasn’t run out yet. I love trying new products like the eye collagen pads, and the other two products are things I’ve had my eye on, so I was very excited to receive them.
On top of everything, this box was also the highest in value, so it was a very good month!
Verdict: Is Birchbox Worth It?
If I would have tried to answer this question after the first box I received, I probably would have said no. However, after sticking with Birchbox for a couple more months, it seemed to get better and better—though I will say, it definitely seemed like the themed boxes contain higher quality products and tend to total to a higher value than the personalized option — so that’s probably the route I would go if I decided to continue this subscription. So if you’re looking for something more personalized, Ipsy is probably a better option for the money.
One of the best things about Birchbox that isn’t offered by many other beauty boxes is the ability to order the full-size versions of the products you love straight from their website. Nothing is more annoying than trying a sample you love and then not being able to find the full-size to order. You can also add items from their store to your “wish list,” which tells Birchbox which products you want to try next.
Overall, Birchbox is a very solid beauty subscription service, and it’s obvious why they are one of the top dogs in the business.
Last modified on December 15th, 2016