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Birchbox Subscription Box Review + Coupon – March 2016

Haley Faye
ByHaley FayeMar 22, 2016 | 38 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 MARCH 16 - all items

The Subscription Box: Birchbox

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

COUPON: Get $5 (50 points) to spend in the Birchbox shop when you subscribe with coupon code SUBSCRIBENOW50

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!

BIRCHBOX MARCH 16 - info 1

Each box comes with a card that has a blurb of the month’s theme.

BIRCHBOX MARCH 16 - info 2

And on the flip side, it details the items included and some tips on how to use them.

BIRCHBOX MARCH 16 - items 1

The Balm Cosmetics Staniac – .04 fl oz, value: $2.27

I love love the Balm Cosmetics. The Staniac has never been my favorite item by them, just because I personally don’t care for lip stains. I did notice that they’ve reformulated since I’ve tried it last – now it’s a gel vs just a liquid. That makes it a lot easier to spread on as a blush.

Smashbox Cosmetics Photo Finish Primer Oil – .13 fl oz, value: $5.46

I’m really happy to try this! I love using oils on my face, and Smashbox knows their primers. I think this will cut out a step for me! It feels really good, too.

BIRCHBOX MARCH 16 - items 2

Living Proof Perfect Hair Day – 1 oz, value: $7.06

Living Proof is a brand I like, and this product is supposed to really help heal split-ends. I’m excited to try it!

Number 4 Hydrating Conditioner – .25 fl oz (foil packet), value: $.78

Number 4 Hydrating Shampoo – 1 fl oz, value: $4

I chose these Number 4 products as my sample choice this month. I’ve never tried their products but I’ve heard really great things about their brand. Also, I know Birchbox lets you review foil samples separately so you get extra points that way, too.

BIRCHBOX MARCH 16 - items 3

Wilma Schumann Skin Care – 1 pair, value: $3.60

I love under eye masks, and these have some great reviews on Birchbox. I also have dry skin so I love soaking up all the hydration I can get. I’ll be trying these tonight!

BIRCHBOX MARCH 16 - items 4

Here’s me wearing the Staniac on my lips. In person, I thought it looks a little patchy – like it colored dry spots differently. It looks okay in this photograph, though, so I’ll have to try it again to see if it was really as bad as I remember. It’s also worth trying a lip scrub before hand!

Verdict: I’m pretty happy with this month’s Birchbox. I got a couple brands I’ve heard of that I’m really looking forward to trying myself. This box has a value of about $23.17. It’s actually a little on the low side for Birchbox, but I’m not disappointed with it.

What do you think of my March 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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My box had no tissue paper too. And it was also tiny samples except for the freebie eyekoliner. The only thing am happy about was the Staniac which I use as a blush. I did try the shampoo and the mask. I only used the mask twice and I ran out of it. Not sure if am happy with the shampoo. But mask was okay.

I cancelled after my first box and am trying Allure for April. Will see how it goes.


Decided to try Birchbox based on their long track record. Bad decision. March, my 1st order shipped 4/17, finally delivered 4/29.

Received: 1- a tiny vial of Cartier perfume, don’t use perfume this is in my ?aire. However, they promise to only send perfume 6 out of 12x per year, and they took advantage right off the bat. 2- Kiehls Ultra Facial Cleanser 1 oz, 3- Packet of Shisheido Ultimune, barely enuf for 1 use, 4- Shisheido Ultimune eye .18 oz, 5- the Balm Stainiac .04 fl oz, this product was not my fav when it 1st came out in the 90s as a thick liquid, but now it looks like jelly, yuck!

At least I recvd the promo Eyeko fat eyeliner, and I cancelled before April billing when I saw what was offered. Don’t like the ‘choice’ program, or having to purchase full size products or add ons to be happy with a box. Walmart Spring is shockingly much better than Birchbox, and I’m a brand snob.

The biggest disappointment was the Birchbox sample sizes. I can get most, if not all of these free at dept store beauty counters.

Finally, box waste is huge, a few little items shipped in a big box, inside another box, inside the ‘gift’ box.


I agree with the waste! So many boxes that are not necessary. You would think they could provide more/better samples and ship for WAY less if they reduced the amount of packaging.

Kaitlynn Marie

I literally just signed up for Birchbox. For some reason I didn’t think they shipped to the US for a while. I’ve been getting Ipsy since November and I love it. Can’t wait for my April box. But I love your review, because it tells me exactly what to expect next month. And as a blogger who posts her Ipsy bags and plans to post the birchbox too, I’m glad to see that it comes with a detailed card that gives retail pricing. Super convenient! Thanks so much, I love your reviews 🙂


I wasn’t happy with the way my box came this month. The no paper thing threw me off. It might not seem like a big deal but it makes me happy to peel back the paper and see what I get each month. Seems like they’re running on the cheap side. I got a nasty trestique eyeshadow pencil in aspen pine or something. And the collagen pads are worthless in my opinion for only one use. Birchbox really needs to step it up.


I’m new to birchbox and my first box is on its way ( soon I hope). The app says that I’m getting the following:
Kiehls ultra facial cleanser
Shisheido ultimune eye concentrate
Shisheido ultimune power infusing concentrate
Eau de Cartier spray
Soap not Radio
The Balm Staniac
This seems good to me and I’m excited.
I’m thinking some of these items are the left overs if previous month’s but since I’m new I guess that’s OK for me.


I got the same box for my first also and was excited about it. However, it came and was missing the Shiseido power concentrate. 🙁


If you email them, they should ship it to you at no charge. Their customer service is amazing! Much better than ipsy imo.


I’m really just not impressed with birchbox anymore. I plan to cancel when my prepaid runs out. The sample choice are really terrible lately and I don’t seem to ever get a sample that I’m excited about anymore. If I do get something that I like, then it is just so tiny.


I just had to post that that’s a stunning photo of you. Just stunning. 🙂


I guess it’s all based on how you fill out your questions and what you’re actually sent, but I see VERY few Ipsy boxes that give me FOMO. I’m typically not that impressed by the quality of the brands, and it seems like when there IS a good brand, you only have a CHANCE of getting it in your box.

I got a Trestique eye shadow crayon, the Smashbox Primer oil, Parlor sea salt spray, a Kiehl’s cleanser, and the Wilma Schuman eye pads. I was happy.

Rita A

I got
CARGO eye shadow sample
KIEL’S Super multi corrective cream – sample
PARLOR BY JEFF CHASTAIN…shampoo & conditioner sample
the BALM stainiac beauty queen lip sample

My box had paper…but the samples are tiny.


My box was also missing the tissue paper this month. And with how small everything was it looked kinda sad when I opened it. I loved the stainiac. Very subtle but buildable. Saw the reviews for those under eye pads but mine didn’t sting. Initially there was tingling but it went away. My box was just ok. I hope birchbox gets better like it used to be for me. I’m not sure if it’s them or me. Like maybe I get too many boxes now so I’m not as blown away. I loved birchbox when I first subscribed.

Hayley thanks for doing selfies. Most reviews show swatches on arms so it’s nice to see a beautiful, friendly face!


I would exercise some caution when you try the eye pads. For me, they burned like nobody’s business! I do not typically have sensitive skin, and have some other similar eye pads from another brand that I had no problem using. There are quite a few people reviewing on Birchbox that had similar or worse reactions. The burning sensation lasted for several hours after use, even after I washed the area thoroughly. Also, they are quite slippery and won’t stay where you put them, unless you are lying down.

Denise F Thompson

I was pretty disappointed with this box. Not sure if you noticed – but it looks like you didn’t get a piece of colored tissue paper in your box (neither did I!). I also was missing the cute Birchbox branded pillow box – which is like a surprise box within the box. Not to mention I’ve noticed they’ve definitely started sending only 5 samples per month unless you get a “packette” with a hair sample – and they’re using the 5 samples only verbiage.


I didn’t get tissue paper either. Which isn’t that big of a deal, but it’s still nice! My samples this month were so small that I can’t see my box retailing for more than $5. I’ve been nothing but disappointed with Birchbox! Plus the Stainiac burned my lips and made them swell (even hours after removing!) So be careful with that as well!! I also thought it applied extremely patchy.


Can you let us know if the living proof stuff works in a future post? I bought the dry shampoo and felt let down. It was supposed to clean hair but was really the same as all other dry shampoos. This brand seems to make tons of claims but for things that probably aren’t scientifically possible.

Haley Faye

Hi, Rena and Maggie! I actually just used this this morning. While I agree, it seems scientifically impossible to “fuse” split ends back together… I don’t think it did that for me, but I did feel like my ends felt a little less thin after my blow-dry. It may have just been me wanting to see a difference, too? I’ll be trying this for the rest of the week, though. Also, It says to put it on before anything else, and I usually do a leave-in/detangler to comb through my hair, so this time I didn’t and just put it on uncombed hair. It did help me comb through my ends much more easily, too, so there’s that as well, for what it’s worth. =]


“This brand seems to make tons of claims but for things that probably aren’t scientifically possible.”
Yes. Exactly why I can’t trust them. How might anything heal split ends? By cutting them off?


This looks like a great box! I feel like sometimes when the box values are a little low, I actually end up using (and liking) all of the products. Don’t get me wrong, I love saving money and seeing how great of a deal I’m getting, but at the end of the day, I’d rather use all the products versus having to gift them or throw them out. I actually just cancelled Ipsy because I had been using only about 1/3 of the items I received. I compared that with Birchbox, and there’s only been about 1/4 of the items I received that I didn’t like, which in the end, helped me cancel my Ipsy subscription. I also got off the waitlist for Play! by Sephora and decided to try that out instead of Ipsy going forward.

Jessica Brewer

I’m so jealous! I live in KY and I don’t think Play is here yet. I feel ya though.. I think i am canceling my smaller ones and maybe going with Boxycharm.


I used those eye pads and they did nothing for me


This was my first month with Birchbox. Thought I would switch over from Ipsy and try. Boy am I glad I didn’t cancel my Ipsy. I was totally disappointed in the samples. Nothing was bigger than my thumb except the eye pads. I promptly cancelled Birchbox and will stay with Ipsy. At least with Ipsy I feel as if I’m getting my money’s worth.


The points for reviews actually make Birchbox a better deal, IMO. Every 2 months, you earn $10 back to spend in their shop, and you can save your points up. I subscribe to both the men’s and women’s boxes, and that totals out to $10 per month.

Jessica Brewer

No I agree with you.. that’s the only reason I’ve stayed so long because between my box and my boyfriends subscription I get about $10 a month which is nice. Sometimes, I feel like I’d rather just spend the $10 towards something I know I want but I also like the surprise every month. I just really want that Play box! 🙂


Looks like a pretty good box. I hope I get the LP product in a future box – I’ve been wanting to try it.


Please don’t take this the wrong way, but I really wish you wouldn’t use such a heavy beauty filter on all your photos when you are showing makeup products. It makes it much harder to get a sense of the real application of the products since a blurring filter makes everything look more even and less pigmented.

Haley Faye

Also, the whole image may look a little blurry from how much it’s cut down + sized up a bit when cropping and fixing the size for the post. For what that’s worth. =]


Oh also, you clearly have beautiful skin 🙂 The fuzziness extends throughout the entire photo though (including your hair) so I don’t think it’s the makeup.


Ah yes, I think this must be it then. Maybe a closer photo to start would help things be a little crisper in the end product. Normally I wouldn’t care in the least, but that fuzziness makes a huge difference when it comes to seeing beauty products as they actually wear – it’s HD or nothing! Thanks for responding!

Haley Faye

Raindrop – First of all, thanks for reading and the feedback, but being 100% honest I don’t use a filter at all! Seriously. All I do to my photos is crop and increase the contrast a little bit. Here’s the link to the raw, full-size photo of the image I took, straight off my cell phone.

For the record, in this photo, the foundation I’m wearing MAC face & body makeup in C1 (I think it might just barely be a bit dark on me), and the “blurring” is probably being helped from a product from Make Up Forever called their HD setting powder. It’s made to blur light coming off your face (in person or especially in photos) because the molecules are actually round, so there’s no shine. It’s one of my holy grail products I found while working at Sephora.

It’s not a beauty filter – it’s my makeup. =]

Thanks, though! Haha, that’s actually really flattering. Again, thanks so much for reading, girl!


Yes, completely 100% agree with Jaime – your complexion and skin are so gorgeous! I’m beyond jealous. I almost don’t want to read the reviews you do bc i just wish I had your complexion 🙂 but I always do read them.
And I know almost everyone has made comments about seeing makeup on a real face instead of swatches on an arm, but I really actually like the swatches bc makeup will never look the same on me as it does you. When I see your face with makeup, sometimes I think oh maybe that would work for me, but then the actual swatch is a color that just really doesn’t work for me. I’m also don’t have the makeup application skills that you have so that’s another reason it’ll never look as good on me as you.
So Liz, I hope you still continue to do some makeup reviews too! It seems like lately you two have each been doing a BB review which is nice.


Your skin is gorgeous! I’m extremely fair skin and have yet to find a foundation that works for me. I going to check out the products you mentioned. Thanks!

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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.