Trial-Size Tuesday

I mentioned previously that I had renewed my Birchbox subscription after the start of the New Year despite having canceled it mid-way through the year last year because I was unsatisfied.

I finally got my January box yesterday, and it left a lot to be desired.

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First, the box was smashed. I understand that things happen in shipping but Birchbox already safeguards against those things by putting their box inside of another box. Not only does that seem to not work (I received a smashed box once before) but it creates a lot of additional waste. One of the things that is supposed to be fun about their subscription service is the reusable inner box. The bottom portion of my box is fine, so I may be able to use it to help organize things on my vanity etc, but the box as a whole is ruined. It also caused my shampoo sample to pop open and leak all over the box and my other samples. It has a nice scent, but it’s not much fun having to clean shampoo off your samples.

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I already knew what I would be receiving as I peeked at my box on their website. You do have the option to choose one of your samples which is fun; I haven’t found another subscription service that allows you to do that. I joined too late in the month to choose my sample for sample choice but I was able to see my box on the website around the time that it shipped. I wasn’t very impressed but decided to wait and make my decisions once my products arrived.

I’m disappointed. My profile states that I don’t like perfume samples and would like them in fewer than 6 boxes per year and yet I received one in my first box. It smells nice enough but it’s not a scent that I would wear and I have so many fragrance samples left from before that it felt like a waste of my money to get more. I already have a shampoo that I love and find it silly to get shampoo samples. They are great for travel and our guest bathroom but I already have a ton. My “bonus” sample of conditioner is just a small foil packet; with wavy hair down to the middle of my back I would get one use out of it.

I can’t use the serum as I’m allergic to one of the ingredients.

There are two samples that I’m halfway excited about and those are the peel and the eyeliner. However, having paid $10 for the box I can honestly say that I would NOT pay $5 each for these samples. The peel is a one use product that will likely only cover a single area and the eyeliner is a deluxe sample size.

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I have reviewed my products on their website and will be contacting them about my shampoo popping in my box; I lost at least a wash out of it. I am going to stick it out one more month and if I don’t feel satisfied by what I receive I will again be canceling it.

I really like the idea of Birchbox and am disappointed that this month’s box didn’t deliver, hopefully next month’s will. If you feel like it would be a good fit for you, don’t forget that we have a special promotion just for you!

If you would like to try Birchbox, follow the link below! Each month the sign up bonus is different. For January 2017 it is 50% off your first box. Just follow my link Select the monthly box, click “Get your box now” and use code BB17-0146 at checkout.

https://www.birchbox.com/invite/financiallyfrustrated

 

If you want to have some fun with sampling products but don’t want to join a subscription service, I have found another fun option!

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Ulta and Sephora both curate little sample boxes from time to time and Ulta has two out right now that are a steal! You can find them in-store and on their website.

I received a catalog in the mail a few weeks ago and was looking at it the other night when I noticed that they had my rewards points balance listed on the back and I had $12 in points!

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I decided to go with the Clean Slate box after debating between the two options for several minutes. The multi-pack of masks and eye gel pads ultimately swayed me.  I also paired it with a promotional offer I received through my email to receive a deluxe sample tube of the Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer. This is one of my all time favorite products. I have only purchased one or two tubes though because of how often you can find it as a similar promotion or included in a set and I use it every time I apply makeup.

After the sale discount, my point discount, and promotional offers the price was still under ten dollars even with shipping. Not too shabby! (After I opened my box I decided to go back and order the Fresh Start Kit and without using points or discounts other than the sale price it was just under $22 with shipping and considering the size and quantity of the samples I still felt that to be a reasonable price).

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My box was waiting by my door for me today when I got home from running errands and I was excited to open it up! Just opening the outer box I was impressed. It was packed neatly in the box with plenty of little air pillows to keep it secure and a ton of random samples!

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Before I even unwrapped the items I was far more impressed with this than I was with my January Birchbox. Ulta allows you to choose your free sample type from 3 different categories and I always choose variety as I feel that it will give me the best results. I received a skincare sample, a makeup sample, and a shampoo and conditioner sample, so it certainly held to the variety title!

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This box!!! It is amazing! It is sturdy, all of the labels are on a removable cardstock wrap (easy to recycle), and the pattern is simple enough that it could be re-used in any space. You could use it as a storage box, a gift box, or even a catch-all right in plain sight. It’s big enough you could store notebooks in it, but not so big as to take up a ton of room. I can’t say enough nice things about it. Having a quality reusable box was not something that I was expecting out of this purchase and was a welcome surprise.

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Compared to my Birchbox this box has tremendous value to me.  I will definitely use five of the seven samples that came in the kit within the next week or so and have no qualms about testing the other two they are just not products that I am experienced in using. The eyeshadow primer will be used once my current stash runs out, and at least one of my free foil samples will get used.

 

Out of the two I would repurchase the Ulta box without hesitation and may or may not cancel my Birchbox subscription next month. The whole point of me renewing my subscription to Birchbox was to get samples of products that I would use so that I wouldn’t feel a pull to go out and purchase something to mix up my routine and this box didn’t provide that in the least. Instead, I found the kits from Ulta and ended up spending $30 for 15 deluxe samples and what I can only expect will be half a dozen foil packets after the other box arrives. There just wasn’t enough excitement from my Birchbox to hold me this month.

I am trying to convince myself to stop seeking out these trial-size products to try. I know that I’m not harming our budget when I purchase them as I am using my budgeted allowance so it makes it hard to not look at those emails that come in and say things like “$62 value for just $15” as the second box from Ulta did, and jump on ordering them.

I am going to challenge myself to be content with my subscription services, as that is why I have them, and to save money from my allowance that I would spend on finding additional samples to purchase a full size product that I may want in the future. Other than my current subscriptions (Birchbox and Ipsy) I am not going to spend any money on beauty products for the next month. I am going to use up some of these samples! I may try to save my empties and do a review as Trial-Size Part Two.

If you have a subscription service that you love, please let me know! I may be looking to mix it up a bit in the future.

As always, I’ll see you tomorrow!

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