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Birchbox Subscription Box Review + Coupon – January 2016

Haley Faye
ByHaley FayeJan 14, 2016 | 57 comments


3.7 overall rating
659 Ratings | 190 Reviews

Every month, Birchbox lets subscribers pick between a curated box (all samples revealed) or a single sample choice and be surprised by the rest of the items. This review is of the sample choice box.

My Subscription Addiction pays for this subscription. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes).

BIRCHBOX JANUARY 2016 - all items

Subscription Box: Birchbox

Cost: $10 a month (get one month free and $10 to spend in the shop with an annual subscription!)

COUPON: Use code FIRST15 to save 15% off your first Birchbox purchase and get free shipping on $50+ orders! (Not valid for subscriptions).

The Products: Beauty and lifestyle samples selected by the Birchbox team.

Ships to: US, FranceSpain and the UK and Canada

Check out all of our Birchbox reviews and the Beauty Subscription Box Directory!


Each box comes with a card detailing the items included and some tips on how to use them.

BIRCHBOX JANUARY 2016 - items 1

I love these stickers they threw in as a bonus item! They’re encouraging, and I love that you can stick them on the lid of this month’s box to fill-in-the-blank.

BIRCHBOX JANUARY 2016 - items 2

Ciate London Mini Paint Pot – .46  Value: $8

I can’t find this shade for sale, but it’s a pretty navy glitter. I like it!

Meet Your Destiny .2 eau de parfum – sample

I don’t generally care for perfume samples in subscription boxes so I have my setting in my Birchbox Profile set to send them to me as infrequently as possible. Still, this one isn’t too bad! It’s not one I would normally pick up for myself so it’s kind of fun to try something different.

BIRCHBOX JANUARY 2016 - items 3

TONYMOLY Delight Tony Tint – 4.2 ml?, value: $3?

This was my selection for the sample choice this month! There’s not a weight listed on this sample, so I’m guessing a bit on the value. I like this stain – it’s a true stain, meaning it’s a liquid that dries and leaves your lips pigmented and feeling like you have nothing on. I’m picky about these kinds of stains because (for me) they often accentuate any dry patches or stain/wear off unevenly. I found that to be a little applicable to this one, but easily fixed with a second or third coat of the stain once the first application had dried.

Eyeko Fat Liquid Liner – .12 oz (Full Size!), value: $16

I love this liner! I was skeptical since felt-tip liners can be hit or miss, and I haven’t tried this brand before. But I really do like it. The opacity is nice and I didn’t notice any bleeding, which is one of my biggest pet peeves with liquid liners. The fat tip makes cat-eyes really easy, too!

Key West Aloe Gentle Aloe Facial Cleanser – 1 fl oz, value: $2.83

This seems like a nice cleanser! I have dry skin and it’s even worse in the winter. I’m happy to have a gentle cleanser that helps to leave my skin moisturized, too. I need all the help there I can get.

BIRCHBOX JANUARY 2016 - items 4

Here is the lip stain and the eyeliner on. You can see the lip stain is just a little patchy but this got better with another layer, as I said.

BIRCHBOX JANUARY 2016 - items 5

Here’s a better look at the eyeliner. When I wear liquid, I almost always do cat eyes, or a “kitten flick” when they’re little like this. This liner makes that really easy. I’m a fan!

Verdict: I’m really happy with this month’s Birchbox! All of the brands are ones I haven’t tried (though I’m familiar with Ciate and have seen their polishes before), so I’m happy to have some new discoveries. My favorite item this month is the eyeliner. The box has a value of about $36.83 – I’m happy with that!

What do you think of the January Birchbox? What did you pick as your sample?

Birchbox ($15 per month) was one of the very first beauty subscription boxes—we’ve been reviewing it since 2012! Each month, subscribers get a new mix of 5 beauty samples, such as makeup, skincare, haircare, and fragrance items. Birchbox lets you choose whether you’d like a box of items picked just... read more.
Haley Faye
Haley Faye
Haley Faye first discovered the wonderful world of subscription boxes in 2012 and began writing for MSA in 2014. Over the years, she has found many subscriptions to love. Now a mom of three, her favorite boxes are ones that dress her kids, help her get organized, feed her family, send her snacks, and offer educational fun for her children.

Haley Faye
Haley Faye
Haley Faye first discovered the wonderful world of subscription boxes in 2012 and began writing for MSA in 2014. Over the years, she has found many subscriptions to love. Now a mom of three, her favorite boxes are ones that dress her kids, help her get organized, feed her family, send her snacks, and offer educational fun for her children.
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I was receive my first Birch box using a promo code and just received it today. I was really disappointed! I liked nothing in the box, absolutely nothing! I don’t know if I got these particular products because I only paid $5, but even Wal-Mart and Target give better things for $5. I search everywhere to see if anyone else had received similar products like me, but I only found one YouTube video title birch box promo. Hopefully next month would be better.

Victoria D.

I loved my Birchbox again this month! I had picked the primer, so I was really happy when I received both that and the eyeliner. Always nice when you can get your first and second choices in samples 🙂


I love when you review boxes and show pictures of items on! Thank you!!! This is the first makeup one I’ve seen and I love it! My box was very similar to yours. I like the eyeliner pen too.


I’m happy with my box. Eyeko eyeliner was my choice, also got ciate polish (True Blue -pretty glittery blue polish with silver and magenta flecks ), whish almond body butter, my daughter always loved perfume sample, and Embryolisse multifunction nourishing moisturizer. I’d use all so nothing I’m really unhappy with.

Just wondering, for add-ons, I ordered two of the same thing ($15 each so $30 total) but I only got 15 birch box points. Do we not get points for the second one?


Is anyone else seeing weird delivery dates?

My tracking notice says that my box shipped six days ago but isn’t expected for delivery until the 20th or 21st.


Followup: Mine arrived today! Hooray! Weirdly, the tracking page says it has 4-6 days to go.


Yeahhh mine said it shipped on june 30th… I was like, what the heck? But it arrived two days ago, so whatever.


Yes. I think mine was shipped on the 9th, expected delivery date was 19th-21st, but actually arrived the 14th.


Yes! Mine shipped on the 9th but is estimated to arrive between the 16th and the 20th. It didn’t start moving until the 13th, so I was worried it got lost like my Glossybox last month!


This month’s birchbox sealed the deal for me. I’ve been a subscriber almost four years (my last box in that four years will be my March box) and they used to be amazing. I’ve hated all my recent boxes and this box was the absolute worst.

I got the same nail polish in neon yellow-green. Straight to my nail color obsessed kid. I’m a chemist and rarely wear nail polish as it is due to constant solvent exposure washing it off, and if I do put nail polish on I’d never pick neon lemon lime. The formula smells god awful too.

I’m still irked I had to pick the dang eyeliner pencil as a sample choice to get it when we were promised it in July. It should’ve been in everyone’s box as a sixth sample.

I got a face wash for dry skin. My profile is oily acne prone.

I got moisturizing shampoo for curly hair. My profile is oily straight hair.

And yet another Harvey prince perfume sample. I can’t believe one company makes so many different scents. Surely by now I’ve reached the limit of their collection.

The point system was awesome but more and more I’ve found I buy products from sephora birchbox doesn’t carry (urban decay, nars, too faced for makeup, lush cosmetics for skincare) and more and more I feel like the days when I could get high end products (shiseido for example) with points have watered down to drugstore quality (Pacifica, coastal scents) products and more water bottles than one person could ever use.

The ONLY thing I’ve bought with points in a year is clarisonic brush heads.

So I’m out. It’s been great, birchbox but you dug your grave in 2015 and nailed the coffin shut with my January box. I requested my annual auto renewal to be cancelled and it went through today.


This month Birchbox slightly disappointed me. My choice was the IPKN primer which I love. Also got a Wish moisturizer and a pomegranate mask, both of which are welcomed. And a dry shampoo. And the eyeliner that it seems everyone got – I don’t like it. It smears and smudges easily on my (oily) skin. Absolutely no staying power on me. Just seems weird to get a sample that I specifically didn’t choose.


I received the Eyeko liner last month and it seems I shake it? I like how it applies I just can’t seem to get enough out! Ugh!


Try shaking it, Desiree, but honestly I would recommend contacting Birchbox Customer Service about it. =]


Great review! I’m really happy with my box this month. I tried a little of the IPKN and it went on really nice. The eyeliner is awesome! The which body butter in lavender smells great. And I haven’t tried the peel I got yet. The amika dry shampoo sample is smaller than my other dry shampoos. It looks so teeny.


Has anyone else had issues with missing product lately? I’ve had missing product, incorrect product and missing bonus items. BB has great customer service and has been helpful but I don’t like that this is becoming a pattern – it’s time consuming.


Lori a couple months ago I had a missing product. It was a body wash so it wasn’t the end of the world but it’s so disappointing still! I wrote CS and all the gave me was 50 points. A family member of mine got an eyeliner without the cap on it… Just the cap was missing and they sent her an entire new box with 5 new samples. I also read online about many customers with missing products getting 100 pts and a new box! I let them know I was disappointed by the outcome but never received anything else.
How have they been handling your issues??


My regular sub boxes have been fine but it is when I place an order for items in their shop that I have an issue. I ordered a brush set and it was missing a brush (they sent an entire new brush set), ordered some items and also used a code for a bonus gift but the order was missing the bonus gift (they are sending the bonus gift), and yesterday I received an order missing some product (still waiting to hear back from them). They are good about making things right it is just that I have had several orders have items missing. I understand it happening once but 3 times in a month? Like I said, they have exceptional customer service it just takes time. I guess they are having issues in their shipping facility.


They used to always do a replacement (plus keeping the original item) and 100 points, now it’s just 50 points and the original item has to be returned most of the time. Which I’m fine with, I wonder if people were taking advantage (or if they’re just getting too big).


That happened to me with my very first box (eyeliner without the cap), and Birchbox replaced only the eyeliner (not the whole box) and gave me 100 points.


I’m a HUGE fan of this eyeliner. I’ve been using it for 3 days and it’s AMAZING!!!


If you find that polish let us know! Its soo gorgeous! Will be cute on my toesies with a softer blue on my fingers ( i have little raccoon hands and dark colors make me look six I swear! ) The tonymoly stain is kind of awful on its own, but I put a layer of chapstick under it, or bareminerals moxy then dap just a touch on it seems to apply smoother and not dry my lips out which was odd at first cause I am pretty careful to moisturize my lips and never chap or crrack. To the commenter debating Birchbox, it takes it a few months to cater better to you, but getting to choose a sample or a curated box is amazing! The points system is awesome especially when you hit Ace status ( I think its 1000? Points? I can’t recall off the top of my head.) I dropped Ipsy last month and don’t miss i because Boxycharm comes through big time on cosmetics birchbox usually does more of a variety with.maybe one or two cosmetics.


Gosh Haley, I can’t thank you enough for actually modeling with makeup, etc., rather than the swatch method. It really gives a well rounded picture of how items such as a lip stain looks in terms of coverage while depicting a better sense of color and style. A picture really is worth a thousand words or a hundred swatches, hehe.


Agreed! It made for a terrific review!


I love your box and review! Mine was bah. I am getting the ance pads (not even a concern for my profile), klorane dry shampoo, amika mask, eyeko liner (my pick) and whish body butter. Oh well, maybe next month will be better. Come on Birchbox, pretty please.


So I am fairly new to subscription boxes. I have been doing Ipsy for about 4 months, and Boxycharm for going on 3 months. I love both of those, and am currently considering starting Birchbox (though I really am going the opposite way of saving money by doing so…)
Anyway, I am trying to decide if Birchbox is for me. This is the first month I have considered it, I would LOVE to have that Eyeko eyeliner. I love the makeup that I get in Ipsy, but am not sure if I would get products I would use from Birchbox, It seems they are more skin products. Is that true? What are some other benefits from doing Birchbox? It seems like perhaps their points would be more useful than the Ipsy points.
Thanks for the feedback!


Honestly? In my opinion I would keep IPsy and boxycharm and save your ten bucks. Especially with those two boxes birchbox will be a complete disappointment to you. Their sample choice and curated boxes always sold out and I canceled and never looked back. I too kept IPsy and boxycharm and it was the best decision I made. I’m being honest.. I had BB for a year and got maybe one decent box.


I really appreciate the feedback. I haven’t seen anything in previous reviews to really get me too excited about it. But I loved that eyeliner. I guess I could just break down and buy it. But then again, I have that eyeliner coming in this month in Boxycharm…


Amanda, I started ipsy at the ripe old age of 40 (decided I needed to start wearing makeup, and didn’t know what to pick for myself). A year later, I added Birchbox. Overall, most months, my Birchbox beats ipsy for me. Like Annie said, Birchbox really “gets” me – I usually try all five products and use them up, whereas with ipsy, I’ll gift or try out and trash at least one each month. My advice: For 10 dollars, give Birchbox a try for a few months. Make a spreadsheet and compare the two each month – which was a better fit for you? After a few months, decide whether they are complementary for you and both should stay, or whether you want to dump one. Yes, ipsy will send you more eyeliners and lipsticks and shadows. But Birchbox will also add haircare, skincare, and perfume. I like having both. Good luck!


Thanks! I think I will just have to try it out, like you all suggested. Worst case is I cancel. I am hoping they are easy to cancel?


Birchbox sends a fairly even mix of skin, hair, make-up, body care and fragrance with the occasional nail polish. You can select your favorite categories from those six, which might lead you to get 2 items per box in those categories.

There are two things about Birchbox that set them apart from some of the other subscriptions. First, they are a discovery service, meaning they send you samples of stuff they think you will want to buy after trying. In my experience they pay close attention to your beauty profile and do a great job of sending both stuff I hope for (bronzer, lipstick, facemasks) and things I wouldn’t expect to get excited about, but end up loving (texturing spray, body scrub, cleanser). I think other services in the $10-20 price range tend to send larger sizes of products that are less customized to your profile, and tend to have lower quality or lesser known brands than what Birchbox sends (though not always).

Second, Birchbox has a superior reward system; you get 50% of your subscription cost back in store credit as long as you provide some quick feedback to BBox on whether the sample was a good fit for you, and to the manufacturer on things like packaging, value, scent and effectiveness. Over the year I have been subscribed, I have been impressed by how much my boxes have improved due to survey feedback.

Ooh! There is a third thing; Birchbox lets you choose one of your samples every month, or you can buy a pre-set box where you know all of the contents. Search “Birchbox January Sample Choice” and you will find a video that explains.

TLDR: Birchbox is cheaper, sends smaller sizes, and is relatively more targeted to a detailed profile. I am a huge fan! They also have a great shop and impressive social media accounts (youtube, snapchat, instagram), so it’s fun to participate.


I cannot get the stain to stay on! When I applied it, it only stained my bottom lip and only a tiny, tiny bit of my top lip (just the inner part of my top lip). I tried to do several layers with the same result. My bottom lip got darker and nothing for the top one… very odd look. Tried it last night and this morning right after I woke up. So excited for this stain, but it just won’t apply 🙁 Anyone else experience the same thing?


I also had the same problem. It looked like I had eaten a cherry Popsicle and it stained only part of my lips. There were also cracks in the stain so it made my lips look super dry.


I had the exact same problem. I had some success after applying one coat, allowing to dry, and then adding a second coat. It seemed to even itself out.


I saw a video where Charlotte Cho kind of dotted it all over her lips and then tapped around the lips with her pinky to distribute the stain. That’s how I’ve been applying it. It would take a lot of layers to get that much color however.


Lol, I did this with my ring finger because I wanted a more subtle look — and ended up with a pink fingertip for several hours. I scrubbed my finger really hard with soap almost right away, and it wouldn’t come off!


Great review. It’s nice to see the product applied instead of just a swatch.


I had the same problem, Alice! I cannot figure out how Haley got it to look so uniform and pigmented. I applied three layers and it just looked like a splotchy barely pigmented mess. If anyone has tips on how to apply this correctly, I’m all ears!


Joy, I found that exfoliating my lips -beforehand really helped!


My birchbox came frozen this month.


mine too! the stain exploded.


Your eye makeup looks awesome! Great job! I have two Eyeko fat eye liners and a third on the way (I know), but I haven’t used any. I’m about to run out of my regular eye liner, so I’m thinking about using one of those instead of one of the Marcelle ones that I have in waiting. I was afraid they would look too dramatic, but your look is about as dramatic as my current daily eye makeup, so I might brave it. If I don’t like it, then I’ll have two to trade or give away or something.

I got the curated box for my existing sub but picked the TONYMOLY lip tint for my new sub even though I knew I’d be getting it in the curated box. I figured if I liked it, I’d have two, and if I didn’t, I’d have one to trade or give away. I think I’m keeping both of them.

Otherwise, when my box arrives, aside from the lip tint, I’ll be getting:

Ciate Mistress Nail Polish
nugg De-Stress Mask
Cartier La Panthere eau de parfum (my second sub is now two for two on perfume samples, though to be fair I did really like the first one and may buy it)
Cynthia Rowley Beauty Eyeliner


Your eyeliner is Adele worthy ? It looks great on you! Now I really wish I had picked that sample.


Yasssssss love the liner


Unfortunately, BAGGUGIFT coupon code is no longer valid.

Liz Cadman

Sorry about that! I’ve updated the review with a working coupon: SUBSCRIBENOW50 will get you 50 extra bonus points ($5) when you sign up!


Haley, I love your reviews because of your photos! The one with hair color was the bomb!!! Your hair color was so perfect, as is always your makeup. I can’t do liguid eyeliner, but I will try. You inspired me with your cat eye, really pretty!


Your makeup is gorgeous and so are you! Thanks for modeling for us and please do a eyeliner tutorial! haha! #makeuponfleek


Hi Haley.. The Ciaté polish is not full size, thats the mini. And agreed your makeup is on point! Love it!! Good box this month.


Seconded. The mini paint pots retail for $8 and the full size for $15.

Liz Cadman

Thanks – we’ll update that!


Haley, can I hire you to teach me how to apply eye makeup?

Again, Birchbox hit it out of the park for me this month. They really “get” me. And I stuck all the stickers on the lid too LOL.


Haley, what shadow(s) are you wearing? It’s very flattering! I’m looking for new shadow ideas to work with the kitten eye look. So far I haven’t gotten too much past a lid wash of a single highlighter color. I like the flick but I don’t go for the overdone “Instagram look”. Any ideas? You seem to have hit that perfect medium!


I’m actually wearing shadows from Too Faced’s Chocolate Bar Palette! If you’re looking to learn some new looks, I really recommend their Natural-Eyes palette or any of their 9-shadow palettes because they all go together cohesively and come with a booklet of 3 little color-by-number guides for your eyes to help you try new looks! I like the Natural-eyes palette because it gives you the ability to control how natural or dramatic (or in between) you want your look to be. Hope that helps!

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Our reviewers research, test, and recommend the best subscriptions and products independently; click to learn more about our editorial guidelines. We may receive commissions on purchases made through links on our site.