Beauty · Beauty boxes

Birchbox UK review – November

Happy November everyone! The nights are drawing in, we’ve danced around our bonfires, I’ve had to dig out my scarf, hat and gloves and I’ve had to de-ice my car for the first time this year. The team at Birchbox seem to be thinking along the same lines as me as this month’s theme is Cosy at home. So without further ado, come join me at delving into my box.

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The first thing you will probably notice from the picture above is that the box is seriously bulging with all of this month’s goodies, that’s because I received two full sized products – and it’s not even Christmas yet! Let’s take a look at it all on display.

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First out of the box was a full size O.P.I red nail polish. This is part of their limited edition Coca-Cola collection and I really love it. It helps that I was in the market for a new red nail varnish anyway as my trusty MAC red finally gave up for good last month. O.P.I are a well loved brand for a reason and when I tried the nail varnish it went on evenly with good coverage in one coat.

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It dried quickly and hasn’t smudged, which is very important as I can never wait long enough for my nails to dry properly and I always end up rubbing them on clothes or doors. The full collection can be seen here (I’ve got my eye on that metallic silver) and it’s shipping for £11.95 from Selfridges so this box has already almost paid for itself!

Next up this month is Beauty Protector’s Protect and Treat hair mask. Birchbox and Beauty Protector have a long history now, I first received their leave-in conditioner last summer and I’ve since tried their shampoo, conditioner and hair oil all through Birchbox. 

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All of Beauty Protector’s products smell amazing, and this hair mask is no exception. It’s hard to tell from my picture but it is a very pale pink and leaves your hair smelling wonderful. It’s essentially a deep conditioner and you apply it after shampooing in the shower and then leave it for 5-10 mins before rinsing out. At this time of year central heating and going regularly from hot to cold temperatures can really dry out the ends of your hair but this mask is a nice little boost for smoothness and shine.

Product number 3 this month is a pomegranate body wash from Weleda. This is another brand Birchbox has good relations with as I’ve tried their Millet nourishing shampoo before.

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The sample is a pretty standard size, the body wash is white with a creamy texture that lathers up easily in the shower. The smell is quite strong although I’m not sure I am a big fan. I don’t think it smells too much like pomegranates, it’s a bit more musky. As samples go this one is nice, nothing too special but a great sample to take with you if you’re packing light for a weekend away.

My second full size product this month is Dr. Jart’s Water-Act Skin Mist.

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It’s a very generous 150ml and retails for £18 (!) so if you’re all about value for money this month’s box really is a bargain! I noticed a bit of a discrepancy in the instructions; Birchbox advises you to apply to cleansed skin ‘gently spray from 20-30cm distance away from the face with your eyes closed’, whereas the packaging and bottle advise ‘spray away from the face onto a cotton wool pad, gently wipe over face and allow to dry’. Don’t panic, I’ve tried both options and I can safely say it doesn’t make that much of a difference. I choose to use it with a cotton pad as you get a more even coverage across your face and you’re much less likely to get some in your eyes.

The smell is fresh and clean and it does leave your skin feeling more hydrated and without that ‘tight’ feeling you sometimes get after cleansing.

The last product sample this month is a mini bronzer from Lord & Berry in sunny.

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Birchbox have written a post all about applying bronzer this month so if you’re not sure what to do with this sample it’s worth checking it out. I’ve included the second picture for an idea of size, it’s not huge but it’s possible to swipe a full sized bronzer brush over the palette a few times and get good coverage. The colour is good for me, my skin has a slight olive tint to it (Italian heritage) and it gives me a bit of colour, which I lose in these dark winter months.

It seems like the bronzer is quite pigmented so a little should go a long way – we’ll have to see. I don’t really see much difference between this and my Benefit Hoola bronzer so I will probably just keep this for packing light.

This month’s lifestyle extra is a pack of Drinkwel capsules.

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I have never heard of these before and I’m completely unconvinced. The packaging is quite ambiguous and the description from Birchbox isn’t much more use. From what I can tell they are meant as a food supplement either daily (take 3 capsules) or use them for an added boost if you’ve been drinking (take an extra 3 capsules). From what I can tell the drinking link is because the capsules contain powdered kudzu flower which has been used to treat hangovers; however it may also have a negative effect as it can encourage the build up of acetaldehyde in the body. These capsules won’t do you any lasting harm but I also doubt they will do anyone any good either. For example a disclaimer on the back of the pack says

Long term intakes of this amount of vitamin B6 may lead to mild tingling and numbness

I think I might pass on this one.

All in all November’s box is brilliant, I will use every one of my samples (except for those capsules) and I’m very impressed with the generosity in sample size. I give this box 9.5/10

Did you get November’s box? How did your samples vary from mine? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

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