At the end of January, while scrolling through Facebook, I spotted an ad from Birchbox, where they announced that they were finally to begin shipping Birchbox UK to customers in the Republic of Ireland. This immediately piqued my interest, I read a lot of blogs and I’m always envious of Birchbox and My Little Box subscribers as we haven’t got them here, so I decided to sign up for a monthly subscription to see how it goes. I’m already a Glossybox subscriber for the past year, so I knew how these kind of subscription services worked, but I was keen to see how Birchbox differs from the others.
So, if you’re an Irish subscriber you’ll probably be aware by now that the whole launch process was a bit of a shambles and left a lot of customers really annoyed. I’ll get into that whole drama later, firstly lets look at the box itself shall we?
I really like the box this month! The box itself is a lot slimmer and more compact than Glossybox, and I love the colours and design of it. I’ll definitely reuse this box again, perhaps to store jewellery in. The mint green, grey and silver are a definite winner for me.
Along with a welcome note, inside was a little Birchbox magazine, which is a great touch. In Glossybox you get a product card with details on it, but I definitely prefer this method of including a little booklet, which gives subscribers in depth details on the products included, along with how to use them, some features and competitions. Also, the products come in a little drawstring bag, which is a great idea, and could be handy for travel!
So here are the contents of my box! I was lucky enough to receive 7 items in my selection, ranging between makeup, tools, haircare, skincare and bodycare products. I’m really impressed with the mix of items included, and glad that it doesn’t lean heavily towards one type of product. Two of the items which I received are full sized, the others being deluxe sample sizes. It’s good to see brands I recognised (Benefit Cosmetics) and also to discover some new brands!
Firstly, lets look at the makeup items. The first full sized product I got is this gorgeous Spectrum Collections Tapered Powder Brush. I just love the pink handle and blue bristles, it will definitely stand out amongst my other black and silver brushes in my collection. I haven’t used it yet, but the bristles feel so soft, and the tip is nicely shaped, I think it will work really well at applying highlighter or setting powder. Also included was the LOC One and Done Shadow Stick in ‘Champage Problems’ which is Birchbox’s own brand new makeup line. We got to choose which shade we wanted when we signed up, and I’m really pleased with this silvery, shimmery shade. Its pretty pigmented, and although I’ve only swatched it on my arm so far, I can testify that it doesn’t budge once applied. It feels so creamy and soft, I’m sure it will be easy to apply on the lid. The product design is really nice too, I’m really pleased with this addition. The final makeup item is the Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real Tinted Primer, which was an added bonus item for new Irish subscribers. I love the Benefit They’re Real mascara, it is one of my all time favourites, so I have high hopes for this lash primer. It can be worn alone for a natural look, or underneath mascara for a more dramatic look. I’m really looking forward to trying this out!
Swatched above: LOC One and Done Shadow Stick in Champagne Problems
Now on to the rest of the items included! Firstly I noticed this random hair-tie floating in the bag, its been billed as the ‘Beauty Bonus’ from L.Erickson its the ‘Grab & Go Ponytail Holder’ which is a fancy name for a hairband, but its pretty good. I tried it straight away, and its a sturdy hair elastic that holds your ponytail really secure without snagging or leaving any major kinks in the hair. A nice little addition! Staying with haircare, the Number 4 Lumiere d’Hiver Comb Prep & Protect was also included. It’s billed as a do-it-all wonder product that you spray in towel dried hair, that de-tangles and tames flyways. I shall report back once I try it out! For skincare, I received the Doux me Comforting Face Mask & Exfoliator, which is in a little 15ml tube. This can be used as a mask for 10 minutes, or as an exfoliator and is meant to leave skin brighter, but is even good for sensitive skin. It contains marshmallow, apricot oil and rice powder, but it doesn’t have any noticeable scent. Finally, the Cochine Water Hyacint & Lime Blossom Body Lotion, which I’ve tried out already. It has a funny scent, reminds me of baby powder mixed with something… it definitely doesn’t have a strong lime scent like I expected from the name. Its a light formula that absorbs quickly into skin and leaves it feeling pretty soft and hydrated!
So lets get on to the good, the bad, and the ugly….
I love the packaging and box design, the little booklet and drawstring bag are a great touch too.
I loved the Spectrum Collection brush and LOC Shadow Stick, they’re great additions. The Benefit tinted primer is something I’ve been dying to try, and the hair product and face mask look interesting too.
Birchbox have a shop where they sell products from their own LOC line, along with tons of really popular brands. When you subscribe you are given £5 worth of points towards spending in store, and you can collect points by completing surveys, referring friends etc, to spend on whatever you choose, which is great!
Well, the body lotion is a bit of a rubbish inclusion for me. I think it looks like a sample that you’d find in a hotel bathroom, and nothing special at all. Also, although I liked the hair tie, it was just randomly thrown in the bag, I think it should have had a tag with the brand name or something on it. Might sound silly, but its the little things eh?!
As I mentioned above, you can collect Birchbox points to spend in their online store. So far, I cannot actually work out how to do the surveys to gain points? Despite searching all over the site I can’t find where to do it? I’m hoping something will pop up over the coming days!
Well, you saw I mentioned at the start of this post that there was a few hiccups along the way with Birchbox’s Irish launch. Basically, my story goes like this….
I signed up to subscribe on 4th February. It cost £12.95 which converted to €17.45, comparable with most subscription boxes. Anyway, I got an email on 12th February to say that my box had been dispatched and would be with me within 5 to 7 days. By this stage I had seen UK customers posting about their boxes since the 6th February, but I thought as I signed up a bit later that this was to be expected. 3 days later, I received an email from Birchbox saying there were issues with their delivery service for Irish customers, but I should receive my box on 17th February at the latest. Yet, no sign of my box at all by that stage. Flurries of very frustrated tweets were now flying around amongst Irish subscribers by this point. On Friday 19th I got an email saying it will definitely be there by Wednesday 24th, or else I could get a full refund. Anyway, I finally received my box on 22nd February, but it definitely took the shine off the whole experience for me. A lot of Irish subscribers were very unhappy with the customer service that they received, saying that Birchbox weren’t doing much to help, and that they were (and some still are) waiting more than 3 weeks for their boxes. There was a feeling amongst customers that we were being ‘fobbed off’ and I’ll admit, its very frustrating to see UK customers sharing their photos and reviews of the February box online for 3 weeks before receiving your box, especially as subscription boxes offer a ‘surprise element’ for most subscribers. It can feel a little bit annoying as a blogger, writing up my review of the box weeks after everyone else, just before the March box is released! However I will say, the Birchbox team responded to any of my tweets really quickly, which was good.
So although a lot of Irish customers were unhappy, I think I will stick with Birchbox for another month to see how it goes. Sure it was a bit of a bumpy start, but I did like most of the contents of the box this month, and I definitely want to see what else Birchbox have to offer. Hopefully they can work out how to improve their delivery service to Ireland, as they have started out on a bit of a bad note, and need to redeem themselves slightly! I hope this didn’t seem overly negative of a review, I just thought I would highlight my disappointment of how it panned out for Irish subscribers.
Have you signed up to Birchbox? What are your thoughts on this month’s box? Let me know in the comments section!
If you are interested in signing up to Birchbox you can do so here. If you sign up using my link, you will receive £5 worth of points to spend in the Birchbox store!