Birchbox | Collective Review #1


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I’m Makena, the creator and editor of Makeup By Makena — a beauty blog dedicated to empowering others through the art of makeup.






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Before beginning my post, I would like to apologize for not posting in such a long time, but I have finally acheived my college dreams, so I am back to blogging! For today’a post I will be reviewing my past four Birchboxes! For my 18th birthday, some very special family members gave me a one-year subcription to these monthly beauty boxes so I thought I would review all of the products I received and give you my opinions. If you are thinking about purchasing a Birchbox subscription for yourself or gifting one to someone else, or are simply curious about the quality of some unique makeup products, then please keep reading!

January 2017


Since this was my very first Birchbox, I received an array of customer favorites rather than products tailored specifically for me. The very first thing I received in my January box is a travel-sized Dr. Brandt Pores No More Cleanser, which claims to minimize the size of pores, control oil, and dissolve impurities;  I have used this foamy product a few times and I like how clean it makes my face feel and I do think it may have made my pores slightly smaller. I am saving my pair of Wilma Schumann Skin Care Hydrating Collagen Eye Pads for a pampering little boost before a special occasion.  The travel-sized NUXE Moisturizer Cream Crème Fraiche de Beauté is one of my most favorite products so far because it moisturizes my dry skin, reduces redness, and preps my skin before foundation by smoothing it out. I am so happy I had the opportunity to try this French skincare item, and hope to purchase a full-sized one day! The mini Ardency Inn Modster Smooth Ride Supercharged Eyeliner in “Black” has such a high quality, pigmented, and creamy formula, making it easy to use and long lasting; I really love this one, too! The adorably yet ridiculously tiny Coastal Scents Blush and Highlighter Duo features a bright pink blush and a soft warm champagne highlighter. Although this initially seems like a great idea, it is almost too small to use and the quality was decent, but definitely not the best with a powdery and stiff finish.

February 2017



February’s Box was intended to be all about giving your lips some love, but the only lip product I received was the sample-sized Manna Kadar Cosmetics Lip Locked Stain in “Rosette,” a lovely peachy pink color, bright enough for Spring, but still wearable. It is not drying on the lips, lasts a long time, and has a good doe foot applicator, but has an unexpected glossy finish. I really admire how this lives up to its description as a three-in-one lip product because it was like “a primer, stain, and gloss all in one”! Since I prefer sweet and feminine perfumes, this sample of Juliette Has a Gun ‘Not a Perfume’ was a disappointment for me – it smelt like very masculine cologne and gave me a headache. However, I am really excited to continue to sample this mini Beauty Protector Protect & Detangle, which claims to moisturize hair, combat frizz and tangles, add shine, maintain color, and protect against the sun and heat styling. I am not sure if it lives up to all of these things, but it works amazing on my wavy and dry hair and smells nice, too. This tiny sample of Supergoop! Daily Correct CC Cream SPF 35+ was underwhelming because I easily could have gotten something this size for free and it had almost no coverage considering it is meant to color correct. It has a nice texture and skin benefits, but I would rather stick to my drugstore products for now. Even though the Real Chemistry Luminous 3-Minute Peel for Body would not be something I would pick for myself and the packaging resembles a baby’s apple sauce, I am looking forward to using this on a special occasion when I get dressed up, so I will let you know what I think.

March 2017


March’s box was a collaboration with Reese Witherspoon for Women’s History Month, filled with high-performance products. I was really excited to receive the Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream since I have heard so much about this brand before! This little pot packed a punch with a wonderfully hydrating face moisturizer! It is very effective on dry patches and feels refreshing around my eyes, as well! The Number 4 Super Comb Prep & Protect is a unique leave-in conditioning mist that protects hair from heat, whether it is a blowdryer, straightener, or simply the sun. I’ve always wanted something to protect my naturally dry hair from UV rays, so this perfect to bring on my tropical vacations! I was excited to try the W3LL People Bio Brightener because I thought the cream formula would be similar to the new RMS ones that many YouTubers rave about. But instead of providing a dewy and non-glittery sheen, it had absolutely no pigmentation or glow, leaving behind a trace of silvery glitter. This sample was a pot was a major disappointment and hopefully the full-sized stick is better quality. I’ve tried mini versions of the Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Lengthening Mascara before and this one is just not for me. I know a lot of people like this mascara, but the rubber bristles are sharp and I have so many drugstore mascaras that perform so much better. If you suffer from dry hands or cuticles, I am sure you would love this JUARA Coconut Illipe Hand & Nail Balm because even though the consistency can be thick and almost sticky, it really does soften skin and it smells like a tropical vacation.

April 2017



This time, instead of gambling on a customized box, I chose a pre-made box because I was interested in the majority of the products, which focused on having the best ingredients. The first was a sample of the Bumble and Bumble Don’t Blow It – Fine, a hair product claiming to give texture and volume to hair when air-drying, something I am always looking for. I applied it on damp hair after my shower and since I my hair already dries wavy, I honestly cannot tell if it added any texture, but my hair did have more volume and it seemed to dry faster. I think having a travel-sized version of this is a great idea because I never have time to blow dry my hair on vacation with those tiny hotel blow driers! One of my favorite things featured in this month’s Birchbox is this Derma E 2-in-1 Purifying Charcoal Mask. I have never actually tried a charcoal mask before, but this was such an amazing experience; I have sensitive skin so I did feel a slight burning sensation at first, but once it dried and I rinsed it off it exfoliated my skin so well, felt like it really cleared my pores, and made my skin feel so clean, glowy, and healthy! I would definitely consider purchasing the full size! The TOCCA “Emelia” Eau de Perfume is not something I would choose, but it had a powdery floral scent with fresh citrus notes for Spring. I have not heard the best reviews about the Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Double the Lip in “Lusty Rose” so I was expecting to dislike it, but I surprisingly really liked it. The matte formula was silky, the soft rose pink was beautiful, and although the two different shades were not as precise as an actual lip liner and lipstick, if you put in a little more effort, the added contrast between the shades makes my thin lips look much fuller. I am not sure of how well the actual product will execute multiple uses due to the way I have to apply it to ‘line’ my lips, but so far I have to admit I am impressed! I have not used the Vasanti BrightenUp New Skin Amplifying Moisturizer enough to notice a difference in my skin tone, but it did feel smooth and had a nice consistency.

 Overall, I am so grateful for my Birchbox subscription gift – as a beauty blogger, the opportunity to try and review new beauty products that are out of my comfort zone is really special! However, many of these samples could easily be acquired for free and are not something I would repurchase. I personally would not purchase a subscription for myself because I would rather save the $120 to purchase makeup products I specifically want and know I will like. However, I would highly recommend gifting a year subscription to Birchbox, or even Ipsy, to a beauty-obsessed family member or friend because it is a really great experience! Thank you so much for reading, I would appreciate any requests below, and I love you!


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Read the Comments +

  1. Of all the subscription boxes I’ve tried birchbox has been my absolute favourite! So jealous you got a years subscription xo

  2. I love seeing 4 months at once because beauty boxes can be so up and down between months. This is an awesome way to get a better idea of the types of products included! The boxes are always so cute and I agree, this is a great way for bloggers to try out products without spending a fortune!

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Hey, I'm Makena.

I’m Makena, the creator and editor of Makeup By Makena — a beauty blog dedicated to empowering others through the art of makeup.

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