It’s time to review my December 2018 Birchbox! Birchbox gives at least 5 deluxe beauty samples each month for $10. Some boxes have more than 5, but anything over 5 is usually a foil. Boxes get customized to your beauty profile, and you can opt out of one type of sample per box during sample choice. All boxes are a mixture of haircare, makeup, and skincare. There are times when body care items pop up, and you can select an option to receive no more than 6 fragrance vials a year in your profile. You could get a box with 2 haircare items, 2 makeup items, and 1 skincare item or any similar variety, but you will rarely see more than 2 items from any category unless the third is a foil. If you are looking for a box that is mostly makeup or mostly skincare, this is not it. Those looking for a well-rounded sample box may enjoy this subscription.
See a synopsis of a year of Sephora Play Box reviews vs a year of Birchbox reviews. Every year, I review my $10 boxes against each other, so I can declare the annual winner. This is also helpful for those who would like to see a year of reviews for either box in one place.
About the Birchbox Subscription
The $10 charge processes immediately for new subscribers and on the 1st in succeeding months. Boxes usually ship from the 8th through the 12th. At the end of every month (actual date varies), Birchbox will email an option to select a sample (from a choice of 3-5 items), or the featured box where you know all samples up front. Those who respond to that email can also opt out of one type of sample. If you want a sample choice and the featured box, read this article. Subscribers can review 5 samples for 10 points each once during the lifetime of the account. Those who pay full-price for their subscriptions up front get points to use toward shop purchases. People who use a discount code on up front subscriptions will not get points. No one on a month-to-month plan gets points for the subscription either. The amount spent for the subscription goes toward the $300 annual minimum to achieve Aces status.
This Month’s Theme
Birchbox makes a custom box design for each month.
The first thing you normally see when you open a Birchbox is a product card. It lists the items in the box and the price to purchase the full-size.
The back of the card goes over the theme, which is, What’s Meant to be will find a way.
Contents are loose inside the box with a single piece of black foam at the bottom. As you can imagine, fragile samples move around too much inside the box and are subject to breaking.
The three items to choose from were: Davines OI All in One Milk, Benefit Cosmetics Roller Lash Super-Curling & Lifting Mascara, or Whish Vanilla Lip Scrub. Roller lash is one I get all the time. I just received a Whish lip scrub in my FabFitFun Fall Edit Mystery Bundle. That left the Davines, which I have a sample of but have not yet tried. As they were all duplicates (to me, not my subscription), I figured that is the one I was most likely to keep. Those who selected the featured box got all five of these samples: the The Beachwaver Co. Great Barrier Heat Protectant Hairspray, Sunday Riley C.E.O. Rapid Flash Brightening Serum, stila Cosmetics HUGE™ Extreme Lash Mascara, MAC Cosmetics Strobe Cream in Pinklite, and Klorane Smoothing and Relaxing Patches with Soothing Cornflower. As I already own 4 of those 5, I do not need it. Subscribers can always purchase this curated box separately for $10 if they want that and a sample choice. Everyone else can purchase a featured box for $15.
My December 2018 Birchbox
The Box I ended up with is 60894756. It has three hair product (2 are bonus foils), one skincare product, one makeup product, one lip balm, and one perfume. This is well-rounded, but I prefer boxes without perfume.
The 1.69oz Davines OI All in One Milk is worth $12.60. As I mentioned above, I already owned all the sample choices and 4 of the 5 samples in the featured box. That made selection a little difficult this month. There were three reasons I selected this. I love every Davines product I’ve tried so far. Davines is a somewhat expensive brand that typically gives very generous sample sizes making its samples valuable. Leave-In Conditioner is something I use every time I wash my hair, so it is the duplicate I am most likely to use. If I have not given it away by the time I finally try my original sample, I will keep this assuming I love it.
The Davines OI Shampoo is a 0.4oz foil. While I appreciate receiving foils, especially for my Foil Challenges, I never place value on them. Foils are free samples and Birchbox agrees as this is a bonus, not one of the regular samples for this box. I received a sample of this in the Limited Edition Travel-Ready Treasures Box I purchased over the summer. If I like this foil, I will keep those deluxe sizes. Getting foils like this lets me keep the deluxe sizes in new form for gifting if I do not like them.
The Davines OI Conditioner is a 0.4oz foil. My thoughts are the same as above.
The 0.05oz Lavanila The Healthy Fragrance Vanilla Grapefruit Eau de Parfum is worth $1.41. Part of the reason I dislike these fragrance samples in a Birchbox is because they usually do not hold their value. When I am paying $10 for 5 samples, I want each sample to hold at least $2 in value. Otherwise, I’ve overpaid for that item. Yes, the other items will make up for it, but I dislike ones that cannot pull their weight anyway. In the Sephora Play box, fragrance vials are bonus items (similar to the foils in this box). As they are multi-use samples, I value them (even for Play). That said, I fell in love with the scent on a deodorant I purchased from this brand. It’s too bad I hate the way the deodorant smells on me. If this can give me a similar fragrance without the body odor, I am all in.
The 0.1oz Benefit Cosmetics Roller Lash Super-Curling & Lifting Mascara is worth $8.33. This is my favorite Benefit mascara yet I rarely keep duplicates. My reasoning is mascara goes bad so fast, so I hate having too many open at once. When I only have 2-3 open at a time, I usually grab new ones or ones I love. Formulas I like are almost always skipped over. It does keep the curl in my lash with minimal transfer (like They’re Real), flaking (like Bad Gal), or clumpiness (like Bad Gal Bang!). There are just formulas I like more, so I would reach for something new to try or one of those first. Then again, keeping this just for its ability to hold a curl is worth it.
The 0.1oz Manna Kadar Cosmetics Miracle Balm is worth $9.50. This will get reviewed in my impending lip balm article, which is over two years in the making and delayed again. I keep getting new lip balms to test. While each one I get ultimately delays the article, it also means more comparisons and reviews will appear in it. It is also suggested for cuticles, so I will try it both ways and see which way I prefer it.
The 100% Pure Green Tea EGCG Concentrate Cream is worth $10.61. I have really dry skin, so I love trying new moisturizers. This one seems interesting, and I have not tried anything like it before. With green tea, acai, and olive, it promises to protect skin from environmental damage while softening and fortifying. If it really does, I will probably like it.
Value and Worth
This box has a $42.45 value. That brings the value of the average box for 2018 to $30.86. My personal value is up to $42.45, because I may keep everything in it. I will not know if I will keep the different leave-in until I try my original, but I have great experience with Davines and expect greatness from its products. After giving away all my previous Roller Lash Mascara samples, I now realize it holds my curl better than almost everything else. When I really want a defined curl, having that on hand is great. If someone really wants to try Roller Lash, and I decide not to keep it, my personal value would dip to $34.11. Trying new things is the biggest appeal of this subscription though, so I am happy three of the five main items are new to my collection. After seeing the sample choices and featured box, I thought for sure I was getting 4-5 duplicate items. One of the main things I noticed in 2018 is I got a lot of new things to try this year.
See my list of Birchbox subscription offers. Want to subscribe? Click that link to see the current start-up offers. If you’re reading this around the time I’ve posted it, a screenshot of the offers are below.
Product offer(s) are above and discount offer(s) are below.
Subscribers can also use the code SAVE10 for $10 off a $50 purchase through 01/31/19.
What are your thoughts on the December 2018 Birchbox? Let me know below. If your purchase is over $25 (longer subscriptions or purchasing something from the shop with the subscription), you can pick a free item from the bonus shop if you do not use a subscription start-up offer or discount code, which I cover on my Birchbox Deals Page. Some discount codes on that page will not work on subscriptions, but I will post any that work on my Birchbox Subscription Deals Page. You can always add a free two piece sample pack when spending $35, because it combines with any promo code. Tips For Getting the Best Deal lays out all the ways I know to save money at Birchbox. Product reviews do not always make it into the haul article, but you can always type the product into the search bar to see if I’ve mentioned it or reviewed it elsewhere. View my main page for the guide map to the site and deeper deal exploration.
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I'm Kimberly. Shopping is always more fun when I've found the best deal available, so I am always on the hunt. My father instilled that in me, and I love that I carry a piece of him. Sometimes, my husband and sons (12 and 7) let me shop for them, too. They do not use as many beauty products as I do. We can all benefit from nice products, even though their routine ends with moisturizer. That is when I can convince my 12-year-old to apply it.