You guys will know that I’m a long time Glossybox subscriber, and you may remember that earlier this year I signed up for a Birchbox subscription, as they launched in Ireland in February. I’d been reading about Birchbox on UK blogs for years, so I was excited that us Irish gals were finally getting the opportunity to sign up to another beauty box service! However, it didn’t really float my boat at all, and after a rather rubbish offering in the June box, I cancelled my subscription after 5 short months.
Why? Well, lets break it down here….
Very Slow Shipping: This was my major gripe with Birchbox. I mentioned it from the first month onwards, their shipping speed was really desperate altogether. For a tiny box that was being sent from across the pond in the UK, it took a ridiculous amount of time to reach me here in Dublin. On most occasions, I was waiting around 2 weeks after dispatch to receive my box, whereas UK subscribers were receiving theirs 2 days after they were sent out! This was really annoying.
Spoilers: As I mentioned above, as UK customers were receiving their boxes up to 10 days ahead of me, I was finding it impossible to avoid spoilers as the different box contents were splashed all across social media for me to see. Also, Birchbox release the month’s possible contents on their website before the box is dispatched, so subscribers are able to check out what items they might receive that month. However, on more than one occasion, I didn’t get any of the items advertised, which was pretty disappointing. I prefer the suprise element which you get with Glossybox, as it’s much more exciting!
Cost: I was on a rolling monthly subscription plan, meaning every month the fee was taken from my bank account. The cost was usually between €16.80-€17.80 varying on the currency conversion rates with Sterling (maybe with the whole Brexit ordeal Irish customers may get theirs a bit cheaper?) Now, I think €17 is a reasonable price to pay for a beauty box including shipping, but comparing it to Glossybox which is around the same price, well Birchbox just couldn’t compare.For me, the contents weren’t worth the money most of the time. Apart from woefully slow shipping, the product sizes just didn’t cut the mustard….
Product Sizes: Now, I was well aware when I signed up to Birchbox that the products I received would be mainly sample or travel sizes. I was ok with that, as I knew Birchbox sent out a lot of really good brands like Benefit and Caudalie, so I was happy to receive deluxe sample sizes of these kind of products. However, I don’t think I was prepared for the positively miniscule size of some of the items I received. Seriously a 0.04oz sized tube of highlighter isn’t gonna be much use is it? Not to mention the odd sachet or teeny vials of lotion I was also sent. I just felt that sometimes, for the €17 price tag, the product sizes were pretty piddly.
Product Variety: Well, there was always a good mix of products, and different brands which was good. The same brands weren’t always repeated, but when they were, they were always decent items for example Benefit and Spectrum products. Most boxes came with 5 (sometimes 6) items, usually with 1 or 2 makeup items, skincare, haircare & bodycare. I also enjoyed how there were sometimes brushes or tools included too. The only slight disappointment in the product variety was that within 5 months I received 3 sample sized leave in conditioner sprays, from different brands, but basically the same product.
Within the 5 months, I received 29 samples from Birchbox. 6 haircare products, 9 makeup items, 6 skincare products, 4 bodycare items, and 5 other random items such as hairbands, sponges, brushes, pillow sprays etc. Out of those 29 items, 5 of them were full-sized. Now, that’s not bad, but to put it into perspective, within the same 5 month period I received 28 products from Glossybox, 19 of which were full sized items.
So for the above reasons, I decided to cancel my Birchbox subscription. As much as I loved the surprise element each month; I found that I was disappointed more often than not, and that I was not getting many uses from the tiny samples before they ran out. It just didn’t feel like money well spent.
However, I will say that there were some really good aspects to Birchbox, such as the inclusion of well-known brands like Benefit Cosmetics, Caudalie and The Balm. I have discovered some really great items from Birchbox, such as the LOC Shadow Stick, the Model Co Brow Gel, and the Spectrum brushes. I also liked how Birchbox changed the design of the box every month, collaborating with brands, and creating different box styles like the June edition which was a drawer type box, which is great for storing your products in.
Another seeminly good thing about Birchbox is how they award you points for reviewing the products in your box, and these points are redeemable against items in the Birchbox store, which is great as you can buy the full sizes of your samples, or other items from really good brands. However, the snail’s pace continues with their online store, as before I cancelled my subscription, I redeemed my £30 worth of points against some products in the store. This was over 2 weeks ago, and the order is still processing, which is just another indicator of their pretty crap service.
Perhaps if I wasn’t already subscribed to Glossybox I would be a bit more impressed with Birchbox. Yes, as I’ve mentioned, there are alot of good aspects to Birchbox, but for me, the bad outweighs the good, and I’d rather keep my €17 each month to treat myself to something I really want in Boots or Penneys instead!
Are you subscribed to Birchbox? Have you had better experiences than me? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
If you are still interested in signing up to Birchbox you can do so here.