Monday, April 27, 2015

Birchbox Upgraded Beta Box Review: April 2015, Featuring Rifle Paper Co.

*Referral Link Included

This month's Birchbox was extra fabulous, because the print was designed by Rifle Paper Co.!  Even though the curated boxes were AMC's hit television show Mad Men themed, and had pretty fabulous contents, I already knew I wouldn't be getting one.  I HAD to get this pretty box, which will be perfect for repurposing as cute storage.

Turns out, since I decided to give the upgraded beta box a try, I couldn't have opted for a curated box anyway.  It's not an option when you get this new option Birchbox is trying out.  The upgraded beta box is an extra $20 a month, for a total of $30 a month ($10 month to month charge + $20 upgraded fee).  For the additional cost, you receive two full size products.  The extra products did make this a really full box!

Yet more shampoo & conditioner samples, BOO!  At this point, I've received so many samples like these that they could be the best ever and I would still be over it.  I unchecked every single hair description on my profile so fingers crossed I don't get more next month.  I recently went through an used up all of my samples, which resulted in a rather itchy scalp due to too much switching around.  I went out and bought new super sized Redken Clear Moisture products at my saloon and things have since returned to normal.

I was excited to see a Jouer sample of their Tint in Petal.   It's really sheer and buildable, but not a good lip color for my coloring.  On the cheeks it was a little drying so I'm glad I got to try it, but it's not something I would purchase.

Even though upgraded beta box subscribers don't have the option to select the monthly curated box, I did still get to pick one of my samples.  This is what I choose, a very pretty trio of eye shadows from the POP Portfolio Eyeshadow Palette.  The colors are shimmery but neutral so I think I'll get good use out of it.

One of the first Birchbox finds I actually purchased was by Paula’s Choice and I like the brand a lot.  This is the RESIST 25% Vitamin C Spot Treatment and it's meant to brighten skin tone and banish brown spots.  I would LOVE for this to work, and hoped it would be amazing, since the full size is $55 I was hoping to be really impressed.  The sample is just so small though, and with a week's use and not seeing much difference...

UPGRADED BETA BOX  FULL SIZE PRODUCT: Oh yay, mascara...said almost no subscriber ever.  I have so many mascara samples that even though it's one of my most used products, it will be quite sometime before I can go through them all.  On the plus side this Back in Black High Performance Mascara by Lord & Berry (listed as $23 but only available on Birchbox in a set) does recoup the upgraded price, in theory.

In reality, I would never spend $23 on a mascara, mainly because I think this kind of product is one thing drug store brands do really well.  Also, since you need to switch them out pretty frequently to avoid eye infections this is one spot in your beauty routine it's nice to save.

I do have a high end favorite that I do think is worth the money, Tarte's Lights, Camera, Lashes and this does not replace it.  It is however, a nice mascara.  I like the small brush for getting into my short stubby lashes.  I'll enjoy using it, since I have it.

UPGRADED BETA BOX  FULL SIZE PRODUCT:  I'm such a nail polish junkie and I love trying different brands.  This one I'd never heard of and wow did the bottle immediately grab my attention!  The Smith & Cult Nailed Lacquer - She Said Yeah ($18) is in such a beautiful bottle!  It's looks and feels like a luxury product, but upon closer look there are some drawbacks to it's gorgeous appearance.

For one, the design is pretty impractical.  The silver top is too bulky and unwieldy to leave on while polishing, I did give it a try just to see, but it was so large it completely blocked my view of my nails.  Good thing it comes off and there is a little black cap underneath.  However, this is small and since I'm used to an OPI bottle top to grasp - something similar, I could never quite get comfortable holding it.  

The bottle itself is nice thick glass but so short and wide, I have doubts as to if it would easy to get polish on the brush once the level begins to dip.  No, I have not ever finished a bottle of polish but for $18 I want to feel like I could, without having to pick it up to tip it around during application.

The polish itself went on so sheer and streaky for the first coat that I was immediately thinking this wasn't a good sign.  But the second coat I applied a little thicker and it went on beautifully, leveling things out, and fixing things on all but two of my nails.  I could see a faint bit of visible nail line on those but all in all, the formula was good and if the price point was lower and the bottle a little different, I would consider buying more.

I have to confess, I've already called to downgrade my subscription back to the $10 monthly charge.  I just wouldn't have spent $10 on each of the extra item so I didn't find it to be a good enough value for me personally.  While the polish is a beautiful color and the mascara fairly nice, I would rather take $20 and choose my own products to add to my collection or try a subscription service like Glossybox ($21 a month).

This may have also been a bad month to have as my first month for the beta box, because the Birchbox Plus items were also of high interest for me.  These are a preselected items you can add on to your box each month for a discount.  I am not usually tempted by them but I did once add a Ruffian set.

In April, you could add on either a Rifle Paper Co. tote bag for $28 or a set with Rifle Paper Co. notebooks and a cold drink tumbler for $20.  I REALLY wanted to order one of them but because of the already increased base price of my box, I had to restrain myself.  That plus not being able to select future curated boxes and not loving the full sized items just made this not for me.  What do you think of the upgraded beta box?


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