Welcome to the review corner for the Birchbox UK version!
This is a general review, for specific month reviews, including product reviews, search by box name and month or look out for upcoming review posts.
Birchbox advertises itself as “UK’s No. 1 beauty box”. I am not sure on what terms they are making this claim, is it subscriber numbers? Value for money? I will keep you posted if I find out!
Weirdly, Glossy box also makes the exact same claim so I am interested to know on what basis these claims are on, or if they are just simple…promotional lies? I mean…there can only be one No. 1 so at least one of the two is generous with their claim. Or are they both No. 1 in different areas? One in subscribers, other in revenue? If you know, let us know!
Birchbox is currently £10 + £2.95 P&P a month (which you can cancel anytime) and it usually contains 5 personalised beauty treats each month and a leaflet that gives you more info about each product. Birchbox allows you to create a “personal beauty profile” so you can let them know if you are a blonde or brunette or if you have oily skin etc so that’s what they mean by personalised.
In reality however, there are usually 4 products that everyone gets and 1 that is different. They usually have 2-3 different products for the last piece position and they give you the one out of the 2-3 that is most suited to your profile. So personalised….to an extend.
The box has a different physical design each month, sometimes it is a standard “gift” box with a top lid and others a “draw” like box. So you can pull out the inside part and open it as a draw. Birchbox also has a different print design on the box every month and they can be very beautiful. However, out of the four boxes I subscribe to, the Birchbox is the least sturdy one, the thinner cardboard of the bunch. You can use them as storage boxes but they are not as strong as the Glossybox, Look Fantastic Box and Cohorted. It is also the smallest in size. At least, you do start receiving the box the same month you subscribed, unless the current box is out of stock, and you do get a one-off extra item as a subscription gift.
Each month, Birchbox hosts a monthly theme which can be exciting. The theme usually reflects the print design of the box but it is not always clear how the products inside relate to this which I found slightly disappointing. Additionally, there is no special packaging, no straw-like bedding material or anything to make you feel that little bit more special. The products come in the box, lying just on top of a thin grey sponge material that you will use for nothing. Now, but only sometimes, extra fragile items come further protected in bubble wrap which is good considering that finding broken items in Birchbox is not that rare. You can contact them though and they will replace them for you. On top of this however, most of the products do not come with their seal. This could be because the products naturally never had a seal (the brands are on the cheaper side) but I do also wonder if there is a possibility that the companies they buy from fill in the tubes with a little product rather than give out full tubes which also explains why they tubes are not always as full as their size. The lack of sealing not only gives you the “did someone else use this” feeling, it also increases the chances of leakage in your box and it makes the product best by dates not as accurate.
Birchbox is the “cheaper” of the four, I would say, the products fall under the “drug store” category. That’s neither good or bad, just depends what you like, just don’t expect fancy or expensive brands in this one. I also feel that Birchbox is the box with the smallest samples on average, even if some of the tubes look fairly big (10-30mL) they are not always full! However, the quantities are always enough to try out for a few days to a week and that’s fine with me personally. All you should aim to do with these boxes is to try products long enough to form an opinion on whether you will ever buy those products full size or not.
There are some positives about Birchbox in my opinion.
They seem to listen to feedback, which lets face it is rare for profitable beauty companies to do that these days! Are they loosing subscribers?Just a cheeky thought. They launched a new loyalty programme which gives you the following perks:
(a) 10% off products in the current months box.
(b) You can choose a product or your box design every month.
(c) Free delivery when you review your box.
(d) £5 when you refer a friend.
(e) Early access to limited edition boxes.
(f) A special birthday offer.
And if you are a subscriber for 6 months+ you become a VIP which means you get a first chance to choose your product or your box design every month and 15% off everything in their online store.
For more info: https://www.birchbox.co.uk/birchbox-benefits
Out of all four Beauty Boxes I subscribe to (Birchbox, Glossybox, Look Fantastic Box and Cohorted) I would say the Birchbox does give the best loyalty scheme.
Finally, a small drawback, something that I find slightly annoying, is that if you go to the Birchbox site, for whatever reason, you are confronted face on with the products that your box contains that month. I like the surprise element when I open my boxes, so it is slightly annoying that you have to actually open their their emails or website with half a closed eye in a weird, but hilarious, attempt to avoid spoilers.
Personal opinion: Is it my favourite? I have to say no. I would have preferred it if they mixed some “higher end” products as well as their “drug store” products to get a nice balance. I also really dislike that sometimes they include big tubes that are not full of product, it is a visual misinterpretation and a bit of a sales trick. Is it the box I most look forward to opening each month? No. Would I stop subscribing? No, I still think it is value for money and a nice treat.
For more info or if you wish to subscribe: https://www.birchbox.co.uk/
I avoid giving out my personal invite link, even though we would both get rewards from it, because I would like to avoid situations where my reviews are viewed to support my personal benefit.