Birchbox September 2017 was all about “work hard, play hard and be kind” and was in collaboration with Oliver Bonas. I love Oliver Bonas and their quote! I actually have a framed picture of this quote that I bought years ago from Oliver Bonas. Couldn’t agree more!
If you were a Birchbox VIP you could choose from 2 possible box designs. Both were nice and I was considering to leave it up to chance but then I ended up choosing the one that spoke to me the most.
I remember seeing this print on an Oliver Bonas bag and so I feel that the box design is very Oliver Bonas, which is great. I also love that the “work hard, play hard and be kind” quote is printed on the side of the drawer box. It’s a very cute box overall, one that you can use in your living room as well and not just in your beauty dresser for cosmetics.
Did the theme match the beauty products contained? Well if you take the “work hard, play hard and be kind” quote as the theme, any cosmetic product would fit, so yes.
As always, this month’s box contained 5 products and they were from left to right as seen in the picture: a multi-use balm, an eye skincare product, an eyeshadow, a lip balm and a hair conditioner spray. The box came with some Oliver Bonas stickers and a 15% discount. Let’s go in a little more detail as to how each product performed.
Bear in mind that these are my personal opinions and as beauty is a very personal thing, we all have different skin, requirements and biological build which can influence things. What worked for me might not work for you and vice versa, please leave your comments below!
Dr Paw Paw Original Clear Balm
I reviewed this product in the May Glossybox and sadly enough, the one I received back then was 25mL, whereas the one I got in this month’s Birchbox was only 10mL. Unfortunately, I’m not surprised. Birchbox has made a habit out of containing smaller sized products and it can be a bit of a deal breaker, as Birchbox and Glossybox are the same price! (ok to be accurate Glossybox is £0.30 more). I put the two products together and the bigger sized tube would easily fit the smaller box of Birchbox, so I still don’t like that they insist with the smaller product sizes.
Anyhow, back to the actual product. This product is a multi-usage one, meaning that you could use it as a lip balm, a skin hydrator, a hair styling product and an oil for nails and cuticles.
I usually don’t like 3 (or more) in 1 products because they usually try to achieve too many things, of different functions, and they often fail. This one however does work for all things claimed. It is especially lovely for nails and cuticles but also works for hair if you are stuck somewhere with a frizzy mess that you must contain! I wouldn’t use this as my primary hair styling product but it is one of those emergency things that you might want in your hand bag instead of having 2-3 products on the go.
It also works on the lips, although as expected it feels quite oily. It is not sticky though and it does give a hydrated feeling. Similarly, I wouldn’t use this as my primary lip balm but if I was out and forgot to take a balm with, I would definitely pop this on. This can also be used as an eyebrow tamer. Personally, I think that this works best as a nail and cuticle oil.
The packaging is a standard, very yellow, tube with black writing. I wouldn’t call it pretty and maybe it is slightly on the uglier side. But this means that you won’t confuse this one with any other creams and you will easily find it in your handbag! Also, I remembered this product since I used it first back in May, so that’s a good sign!
It contains aloe-vera and olive oil and is cruelty free and vegan friendly. It is a 4 ingredient product and although this might sound bad and super cheap, there is something nice about its simplicity. Sometimes simple things work! The full size product (25mL) retails for £6.95. A very good price indeed.
The only difference in the two 10mL and 25mL tubes, other than the size, is the actual opening. The bigger, full size product has a standard tube opening whereas the smaller one has a typical lip balm opening. Bear that in mind if you want to buy this product as a lip balm, it might be more convenient to buy the smaller one. Maybe Birchbox wanted the smaller size/lip balm one on purpose? Both are very travel friendly though. SCORE = 9/10
Polaar IcyMagic Instant Eye Contour Energiser
I’ve tried Polaar products before and I really loved them and this one was not an exception.
This is meant to be an under eye roller product that wakes you up and helps contour the appearance of dark circles or bags. It is not a concealer, it is a thin, colourless cream that is fully absorbed into the skin and does not leave any residue behind.
It feels cold. Icy is definitely a spot on description for this. I thought that my eyes were slightly more awake and a tiny bit brighter but I am not sure whether it was the product, the cold feeling or I imagined it because I wanted that result so much. Either way, the difference of before and after wasn’t that big so don’t expect miracles here. It did wake me up though and the cold feeling was nicely soothing so it is worth it, even if it does just that.
The packaging is a standard tube of good quality. It is mainly shiny silver coloured and it stands out. I love that it has a roller, metallic ball. It follows the Polaar branding and theme and I immediately knew it was a Polaar product. It doesn’t smell of anything, which personally I liked. I don’t want a heavy smell under my eyes! SCORE = 8/10
Manna Kadar Fantasy 3-in-1 Blush, Highlighter, Eyeshadow
This is a 3-in-1 blush, highlighter and eye shadow product. It is a beautiful colour and it swatches nicely but bear in mind it is fairly light, not intense colour. That’s ok though, we do need lighter colours too.
It is a shimmer shade and personally I think it is an eye shadow. I guess you could use it as a blush but the colour is off, it would be more like a shiny bronzer. You could also use it as a highlighter, because it is shiny, but then it’s like saying you can use any shimmer eye shadow as a highlighter. In my eyes, this is just an eye shadow.
The eye shadow doesn’t have name but it is a natural brown colour with a hint of pink. The packaging feels cheap, it is a made of thin plastic and is quite fragile. According to the Bircbox leaflet that came with this box, this is a full size product, which is a Birchbox exclusive (that’s great) and it retails for £15. There is no way I would pay £15 for a single eye shadow unless it is a brand that is known for their eye shadows, like for example Urban Decay or Mac and so I feel that the price tag is way too high for this. It’s not a bad quality shadow though. SCORE = 7/10
Arrow Boost Color Enhancing Lip Balm
I’ve been really liking natural coloured lip balms, lip tints and lipsticks these days. Autumn has come, the eye shadow looks are getting a bit darker and more intense and so a natural lip can be a lovely combination.
This product is a colourless lip balm that changes colour on you lips, to give you a little natural colour boost. My lips didn’t look like I had a lipstick on or anything heavy, they were very natural and just had a more pinky shade. Almost as if you bit your lips for a while and there is a little more blood flow in them. It is a very useful make up item indeed.
The packaging is a plastic lip balm/lipstick bullet type but it is fairly sturdy and doesn’t feel that cheap. Although I find the pattern design slightly strange for a lip balm, I actually like it somehow. This is a product that will stand out in my lipstick collection and I will remember it.
There is a fair amount of product in the bullet (see picture) and the lip balm glides effortlessly on the lips. It doesn’t feel sticky but it does make the lips feel softer and moisturised. It has an intense mint type smell which I actually liked but it can become annoying after wearing this for hours. You definitely have to be in a mint mood to wear this.
It is a Birchbox exclusive and a full size product that retails for £11. I can’t quite decide whether I think it is expensive or not but it is definitely not as cheap as normal chapsticks/lip balms.
I can accept that it is more expensive because it has a “technology element to it” as it changes colour based on the pH of your lips (=how acidic or alkaline your lip skin is) but on the other hand, you could get tinted lip balms that will give you the same end result (only a tiny bit of natural colour added) for much less money.
Overall it was a good product and there weren’t any negatives on it but if you are on a budget, you could achieve the same result with a lower priced product. SCORE=8/10.
Beauty Protector Protect and Detangle Leave in Conditioner
This is another Birchbox exclusive product! Nice!
It is a hair spray that acts as a leave in conditioner and helps detangle the hair, protects against UV, seals cuticles, smoothes hair, locks in color, adds shine, is weightless, non-greasy, it conditions and is suitable for all hair types and daily use. That’s a lot of claims that we can’t really test for unless we do laboratory testing.
Nevertheless, the spray smells very nice and sweet and the packaging is cute. I love that the bottle is dark red, it stands out and I will remember it. It will look nice if you want to place it on your beauty dresser or bathroom. The bottle is made of plastic and it has a spray pump at the top.
I might need to do a full ingredient analysis on this one day but for now I can tell you that it wasn’t exactly weightless. It took away a small amount of volume from my hair. Personally, I didn’t mind as I have too much volume to begin with. I was also not surprised about this, I was more shocked that they claim it is weightless as any hair styling product tends to reduce hair volume a little, unless it is a volumizing product. If you actually open the bottle you will see that the product is actually a slightly beige/orange thick cream type, like a typical conditioner so it makes sense that it removes a little volume.
The hair was soft and felt nice to the touch. There were no sticky residues or anything else left behind. It took a few minutes to dry, as it “wet” the hair but the softness was retained. I can’t say that I noticed any of the other claims but they are also difficult to notice. Without looking at ingredients I cannot tell you, for example, if this is UV protecting etc. My hair was soft and it felt nice and that’s I’m afraid as much as I can tell you without doing a full ingredient analysis on this. SCORE = 7/10
Overall, I think the theme was great and general enough to fit the products contained. I really liked the Oliver Bonas box design and their collaboration with Birchbox. This box would only get better if there was actually an Oliver Bonas item in it, not just stickers.
Initial box score, in terms of products and first feelings = 9/10
Overall box score after product testing (a sum of product scores) = 7.8/10
Star product = Dr Paw Paw Original Clear Balm
Did you get this month’s Birchbox box? What did your box contain? What did you think of the products? Have you tried any of the products listed? Let me know your experiences!
For general Subscription Box reviews see my: Birchbox, Glossybox, Look Fantastic and Cohorted general review posts. For help on how to choose the right subscription box for you check out “Which Subscription Beauty Box is right for you?”.
I am not affiliated with any company or brand. These are my views and experiences.
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