Review: Birchbox (August 2013)


Hey, ladies! I just received my August Birchbox in the mail and I’ve been thoroughly enjoying my Birchboxes lately, so I was really excited to get my hands on these samples.


In case you don’t know, Birchbox is a monthly subscription box of 4-5 beauty and lifestyle samples that costs $10 per month (with free shipping). Birchbox allows its subscribers to complete a personal beauty profile so that they can receive samples tailored to their needs, which also allows them to send out dozens of box variations. Birchbox samples usually are not full size, but they do tend to be quite high-end products that I wouldn’t have the opportunity to try otherwise.


Personally, I really love subscription boxes because they allow me to build up my beauty collection without spending too much money in one sitting. Thanks to subscriptions like Birchbox, I’ll never need to buy eyeliner, eye cream, or blush ever again. Of all subscription boxes, I think most people would agree that Birchbox easily has the best points/rewards program available and that is one of the biggest reasons that I keep it around. You can earn $10 worth of credit to spend in their store just by reviewing 10 samples (2 boxes). This is probably the biggest selling point for a girl who likes to sample products but can rarely afford to buy them without a serious discount (AKA me). If you are interested in subscribing after reading my review (or my past reviews), then please reach out to me so that I can send you a personalized invite.


This month’s box theme was “Finishing School” which is all about the finishing touches to a great look. I couldn’t care less about the themes, and I don’t even know why Birchbox bothers with them since the products never seem to be related to the theme at all. Seriously, how random is the meaning behind “Finishing School”? The theme this month could have been ANYTHING and the products would have fit the theme.


This month Birchbox also teamed up with Ann Taylor to offer discounts on her clothing for Birchbox members. The discount code is BIRCHBOX to receive 20% off one item and 30% on two or more items. I’m super broke right now, so I won’t be using this discount. Even if I weren’t super broke, I probably would not use the discount.



This month there were five products in my box.

1. Model Co. Party Proof Lipstick (Disco Fever)


I was absolutely ecstatic to receive this lipstick. After seeing spoilers at the beginning of the month, I had my fingers crossed so hard for this lipstick. I have been loving Model Co. products lately (their eyeliner and cheek/lip stain, specifically), so I was so happy to see this in my box. As soon as I opened the lipstick, a lovely strawberry scent wafted into my nose. Yum! Honestly, this lipstick is highlight of my box. Unfortunately, this orangy-coral color will NOT work with my skin tone. I’m not even going to swatch this or try it on because I can just tell from that color that it will not work with my pale skin. I’m really disappointed that Birchbox sent me such a mismatched color, but luckily I’ve found another subscriber to trade colors with! There is light at the end of the tunnel!

Full-size product price: $24.00 (set of three)         Sample value: $8.00

2. Dr. Jart + Premium BB Cream (SPF 45)


Ugh, I have so many problems with this product being included in my box. Birchbox has sent me a Dr. Jart+ BB cream before (the Black Label version) and it was too dark for my pale skin. Yes, I’m very pale. I made it clear in my review/rating for the product that it did not work for me, but they have still sent me another. Luckily, this product is a little less dark than the previous BB cream and it works for my complexion when mixed with a little bit of lotion to bring the color down. I really wish Birchbox didn’t send nearly identical repeat products, especially when it didn’t work the first time around, but I am glad that I got to try a better version of the first product. Nonetheless, I’ll still be sticking to my Missha BB Cream that perfectly matches my pale skin.

Full-size product price: $39.00       Sample value: $4.42

3. Violet Oasis Organic Pure Argan Oil


I’ve mentioned my love for Argan Oil before, so this product was nothing new to me. In fact, I’ve come to discover that all “100% pure argan oils” are exactly the same. I love using argan oil as a daily moisturizer, but there is no difference in quality between authentic brands, besides packaging. So, I just poured these 4ml into my bigger 30ml bottle. Great. I definitely like having more of my favorite products, but this is a sampling service I’ve subscribed to because I want to try new things. C’mon, Birchbox. I’ve even purchased argan oil from their shop before. Uh. Another disappointing sample.

Full-size product price: $39.95        Sample value: $2.66

4. Tan Towel


I’ve mentioned it many times on this blog, but I just don’t use artificial tanning products. I have learned to embrace my pale skin. I cannot wait for summer to be over so that subscription services will stop sending me this stuff. I also received a Tan Towel in the HauteLook Summer Beauty Bag, so now I’ve got two Tan Towels awaiting a new owner.

Full-size product price: $24.00       Sample value: $2.40

5. Jasmine Seven Fresh Feet Wipes


Yes, these are minty antibacterial wipes for dirty feet. Definitely a genius idea for sandal season, and I’m sure I’ll get use out of these at some point. For now, I’ve put them in my purse to save for the moment when my feet are just so grimy that I can’t stand it anymore. I’m sure this will happen when my classes start back up in a few weeks. Even though I can see the usefulness of these wipes, they aren’t necessarily something I want to find in a sampling subscription. Maybe I would enjoy these more if they had been an “Extra” on top of other, better samples, but they just don’t make me particularly happy in this box. I can’t believe that these feet wipes and the argan oil are the only samples in the entire box that I can actually use for myself.

Full-size product price: $9.95 (3 packs)          Sample value: $0.66

So, my total Birchbox value was $18.14 (not including shipping), which is more than what the box costs ($10), but I’ve definitely had better valued boxes. Honestly, I wouldn’t even care about the value being high or low if the subscription sends me personalized, usable products, which Birchbox did not do this month.

As you can tell, this box was a total dud for me. I didn’t discover any new products, one of the color choices were totally inappropriate for my complexion, and the usability of my products was almost non-existent for me. I’m totally disappointed. There were 65 box variations this month and I would say that at least 60 of them would have been better than this variation. The ONLY redeeming quality of this box comes from that fact that I will receive 50 Birchbox points for reviewing these craptastic products.

If you’re a subscriber: what did you get this month? Did you love it or did you have any frustrations with BB this month?

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16 thoughts on “Review: Birchbox (August 2013)

  1. Cleo

    Hehe! I’ll totally trade with you, cause I can pretty much guarantee that I’ll get stuff I can’t use, and that coral is kinda calling my name, watch me get a nude I can’t wear, in both boxes! Mine isn’t shipping out till the 16th though, dunno if you want to wait that long.

    1. jocelynd123 Post author

      Well, I can’t really wear nudes either, but yes I can definitely wait until you know which colors you receive! Are you getting lipstick in both of your boxes?!

      1. Cleo

        I’m getting lipstick in both Birchboxes, and hopefully both ipsy bags. Fingers crossed! I’ll be posting the reviews on the new site so check it out there and let me know, Ipsy should be here any day now.

      2. jocelynd123 Post author

        My Ipsy bag is coming soon, too! I’m so excited! Can’t wait to get my hands on that Urban Decay lippie. I’ll definitely keep an eye out for your reviews. :)

      3. Cleo

        Yep, just saw my Glam Room, getting two lipsticks. Hopefully not the same colour. Both my bags are freaking awesometastic!

  2. marcela

    Hey there! I have an extra of the Stila lip product, I actually got it from Sephora instead of Birchbox but I own the full size LOL! Do you want to trade for your ModelCo? The color is Beso, and it’s red, not sure if you like red. I always have bad experiences with the BB creams, they are all terrible really :( I have tried so many. I’m sad this one isn’t even in your color!

    1. jocelynd123 Post author

      Hello! Thanks so much for the offer. I actually love the idea of the Stila liquid lipstick and I almost jumped at the gun to trade with you, but I just realized that “Beso” is a near identical dupe for Lime Crime’s Red Velvet Velvetine that I already own. :( Hopefully you’ll find someone else to enjoy it, though. And yes, I have had so many troubles with BB/CC creams.. they really aren’t easy to sample!

  3. Amanda Hevener


    I get two Birchboxes (because I’m addicted :-) ) and received the Model Co lipstick in both Peony and Kitty. Peony is very pink and Kitty is really light. I haven’t worn either of them, so if you want to trade, let me know!

  4. Sammi

    Whenever I read Birchbox reviews, they always seem so disappointing. Some people seem to love BB, but I just don’t see the hype (though their rewards system is nice–I wish Ipsy would jump on that).

    1. jocelynd123 Post author

      It’s totally hit or miss. As evidenced by this box, sometimes it is definitely a big miss. When a company sends out 65 box variations, there is going to be some serious bo envy and dissatisfaction. Honestly, I really enjoy Birchbox because of their points system, but I also think that their service has a lot of problems. I wish there were more $10 subscriptions out there doing it better than Birchbox so that I could replace it!

  5. Diane Taha

    I know what you mean by the bright coral – that color wouldn’t have suited me either. BB needs to have a section where you can choose what lipstick/blush/foundation colors work best for you.

  6. Suzanne S

    It sounds like this BB cream might be lighter than the other one you sampled. I received the same one that you did and it was a little light for me and I am pretty fair! It was ok but not my favorite!

    1. jocelynd123 Post author

      Thank you so much! This comment actually convinced me to give it a try despite the last Dr. Jart sample being so dark. This one was a much better match for my skin. It’s still a teensy bit dark, but I was able to cut it a little bit with clear lotion and it worked out perfectly. Good for covering up redness, but not quite thick enough to cover actual blemishes. I’m not in love with this product, but I’m also really glad that you suggested that I actually try it because it wasn’t that far off from my skin! Thanks again!


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