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Birchbox Subscription Box Review + Coupon – August 2016

Haley Faye
ByHaley FayeAug 11, 2016 | 82 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).


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


Try any of these free gift with purchase coupons on orders of $35 or more!And don’t forget your free mystery sample pack on orders of $35 or more!


Now through 8/25 (or while supplies last), new subscribers can use coupon code EYEKOGIFT to get a full-size Eyeko Fat Liquid Eyeliner ($18 Value) FREE with your first month of a Birchbox subscription! Learn more here.

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!

Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!


Each box comes with a card that has a blurb of the month’s theme and focus. August is about good hair days and products that don’t slow you down. This month, each subscriber received 2 hair samples, matched to their profiles.


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


Bumble & Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil – 1 oz, value: $3.30

I’m loving this hair oil! It’s a blend of six different oils, actually. I already use some hair oils but I adore how this is a spray and not a pump or bottle – I find that I really like not having to get my hands covered in oily product, and I feel that it applies much more evenly and easily. I sprayed this oil on my towel-dried hair, combed through, and blow-dried. It made my hair crazy soft! I always use some form of heat protectant, so I’m glad this product does that as well. I’m really happy with this discovery.

Oribe Après Beach Wave and Shine Spray – 1 oz, value: $4.60

This was my sample pick this month. I generally don’t use or care for beach wave or sea salt sprays, but I’m obsessed with Oribe so I wanted to try this one. My hair is very fine, flat, and straight, with zero natural texture so generally products like this don’t do much except make my hair look like it needs brushed. I’m not sure this product does much for me when using it on clean, dry hair – no beachy waves or tousled texture. However, I do like it better on my second-day hair and I think this product would work well to add some texture and grip to help my styling when I use my curling iron or style my hair up.


Benefit Cosmetics Goof Proof Brow Pencil – .001 oz, value: $2.40

Benefit was tricky with this sample. There’s a pink cardboard fold that has information on the product, but that’s not what the sample is in. Inside the pink fold is a tiny silver cardboard fold and that’s what the sample pencil is in. More about this product and more pictures below.

The shade is a little too dark for me (very typical, as I’m usually ghostly pale), but thanks to a bit of a summer tan this was just barely workable for me. However, for under-eye concealers, I prefer to have them be just a bit paler than my foundation/tinted moisturizer for the sake of getting as much brightening power as I possible can.

Hey Honey Trick and Treat Cream Concealer – 0.27 oz, value: $17.06

It’s been a while since I’ve received a complexion-specific product from Birchbox. This concealer’s formula is great – it has great coverage for under-eyes and blends well. The formula is also packed with a resinous mixture that honeybees collect from flowers and trees, which is rich with amino-acids and hydrating and anti-aging properties.


Here’s the brow pencil! It’s tiny – you can get a couple uses out of this max. Which, I mean, I guess is the point of a sample, but something about it just feels comically small. It’s hard to work with because of the size. Also, as you can kind of see in the photo on the right, the product is just in the tip and there’s no way to twist it up, and it looks like there’s actually more product down inside the plastic case than above it. So that means the amount of product that you can actually use is probably about half of the listed weight of the sample. Because the sample is so small already, it seems like a waste to have that much of the sample unusable.


MannaKadar Cosmetics Eyeshadow from the Day Dream Palette – value: $14?

FYI – I’m kind of guessing at the value here because this shadow is a sample shade from their new Day Dream palette, and the only other eyeshadow they sell in a pan seems to be their 3-in-1 shadow/blush/highlighter in Fantasy.

Anyway, as you can see, this shadow came to me destroyed into a fine powder. Broken compacts are fixable (mix with alcohol and re-press, let dry), but I personally have too many shadows to put that much time and effort into saving one. I emailed customer service and am waiting to hear back, but in my experience with them, I’m confident they’ll either send a replacement or add points to my account. (In the case of my last month’s box, they sent a cleanser for oily skin when my account specifies I have dry skin. They didn’t have the product in stock to send to me so they gave me $5 in points – I’m happy with that!)

All that being said, this shadow is very pretty. It’s shimmery and has great color payoff. It also stayed perfect all day with an eyeshadow primer (I never go without one).


Here’s some swatched. Top to bottom is the concealer, then a thick and thin line of the brown pencil, and lastly a swatch of the eyeshadow.


Here I am, using every product in the box! This is my hair after using the Bumble and Bumble invisible oil, and finishing my styling off with the Oribe spray. I don’t really love the look, but I know I will get use out of the spray for things other than beachy waves. I’m also wearing the eyeshadow, concealer, and brow pencil.

Verdict: Overall, I’m really happy with my August Birchbox! I’m really happy with the hair samples (I know I’ll use both, and I’m a little obsessed with the Bumble and Bumble oil) and I’m glad I got to try another product from Benefit’s new brow line. Based on my (many) past experiences with Birchbox’s customer service, I’m confident I’ll get a satisfactory resolution to the broken shadow, and I’ll probably pass along the concealer to a friend who’s complexion it really works for. The value for my box adds up to ~$42, which I’m happy with!

What do you think about my August Birchbox? What was your sample pick this month?

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 looked nothing like this. Not a single item listed was in my box. It was my first month so I wonder if they have a standard box they send new subscribers. Needless to say I was not impressed with what I got so I will cancel and still with my other boxes. Just an FYI my box was :
Death Valley Dry Shampoo
Real chemistry 3 minute peal
Cynthia Rowley eye liner
Marcel Mascara
Dr Brandt face wash


My Manna Kadar was smashed too. Not only that, this is the third time birchbox failed to send me my choice sample. Last time they claimed I did not choose anything, so this time around I was smarter and saved the confirmation email.Now I am waiting on their customer service to email me back. So angry. I think I am done with birchbox!


Mannakadar shadow was smashed too. Waiting for customer service o respond. I think they were sent out this way maybe not on purpose but already damaged since so many people had issues?


That Benefit sample is ridiculously small.. maybe you can take a small brush and scoop out the insides to use it still?


Add me to the list of folks with smashed shadow. Considering that it was banging around in a half-empty box with a can of Oribe and no pillow pouch, I’m not surprised. I’m not going to bother contacting customer service about it, because to me that’s more trouble that it’s worth, but I imagine a lot of subscribers will. I also imagine the cost to ship out replacements will be substantially higher than the cost to properly package the originals would have been. Birchbox seems to be overlooking or miscalculating the longer-term effects of their decisions a lot lately.


They sent a replacement to me very quickly. It is a really pretty shade. Definitely worth the effort to contact them.


I’ve got some extra tiny travel containers, so I’ll probably just dump it in one of those and use it as a loose powder. The shade does look pretty.


Mine was also packed with the Oribe and was in perfect condition when it got to me in AZ.


I got mine yesterday. The MannaKadar was intact! Wearing the highlighter today.


My manna kadar came completely destroyed also. I sent photos to customer service but haven’t heard back yet.


Their sending another box cause my was damaged. Their customer service took a 2 days to send a email to tell me that I’ll get a email when the replacement box will be shipped. About 10 days. No guarantee that I’ll get the same products just ones that fit my profile. It’s ok as long as they replace it.


Does anyone know the email address for customer service? Mine came smashed too but I can’t find their email! Thank you!


Smashed here too…waiting for reply from BB CS.

I received:

Beauty Protector Oil (choice).

Manna Kadar shadow/highlighter/blush -smashed up ?

Marcella Hydra C 24H Energizing Hydrating Gel

Oribe Gold Lust Transformative Mask and bonus foils of shampoo and conditioner- also Orbie

I’m happy enough- just wish for more makeup all around tho- but still happy, all new products for me!?
Vasanti Brighten Up! Enzymatic Fave Rejuvenator scrub


My shadow came smashed as well. They emailed me back right away saying they’d send a replacement within 10 days.


Yup, same here?


Re the Oribe Wave and Shine, I have naturally curly hair but actually love this product used exclusively as a shine spray. When I want a sleek look I pull my hair back in a low pony tail or bun, spray with this Oribe spray, let air dry, and it gives it an awesome shine when it’s dry (which is not always easy to get when you have curly dry hair) plus it smells great. Sometimes I then take it out of the bun after it’s dry and the top of my hair stays controlled since I used the spray while the bottom has glamorous loose waves. Thought I’d throw that out there in case it helps anyone find a different way to use it!

Trish M.

My box just arrived ( Ipsy did too – my mailbox was crammed with hot pink!). Luckily my Mannakadar “Fantasy” was intact – just not sure I’ll really use it!
Also in the box: the ACURE towelettes, Amika Nourishing Mask, Beauty Protect & Oil, and Marcelle Hydra-C Gel.


My shadow looked exactly like yours. You could see dust underneath the shrink wrap, so I knew it was broken. First time I’ve ever had damage.


Mine too! Seems like this was a big issue with this product for a lot of people. I emailed them & got an almost immediate response, stating they would replace it & will be sending a shipping notification when it ships out. Still waiting for that, though.


I can’t believe anyone thought they would receive a full pallet from Birchbox..


This is my last month with BB I have had it since January, and some of the boxes I have gotten were ok, but most of them didn’t fit my profile at all, and this is the 4th month I have had to email them about a product being damaged upon arrival, and most products are really tiny, and have not been something I’d use, the size of the samples doesn’t really bother me that much because it is a sample box, but the fact they havnt based everything I get on my profile, I don’t like. I have gave most of what I’ve recieved since I started with BB away to my daughter, and my neice. But my shadow sample came destroyed and all over the inside of my box, they said that they have informed the warehouse of the issue and would send a replacement, and be sure to let them know if it arrives damaged as well, and if so they would give proper compensation. I hope it comes undamaged cause I really like the color and would use the color. But good luck to you ladies keeping them as a sub. I might resubscribe later but not sure. I believe I could get a better experience getting a 2nd ipsy sub, or trying a different 1. I have ipsy, bb, sephora, allure, walmart, target when I can get them, glossybox and julep. But this month is also my last month for glossybox and allure. Good luck ladies.


So I received a second box this month out of the blue. It was the exact same box I had received a week earlier. I’m hoping I didn’t get charged for it. I emailed CS yesterday but haven’t received a response. Has this happened to anyone else before? I picked the curated box which I did like so I’m happy to have another one but not if it cost me an additional $10 haha


I picked the curated box this month and am very happy with it! I actually picked it because of the repeats. I was wanting more of the Beauty Protector spray and I love the Marcelle golden glow. I take it on trips with us instead of my usual bb cream. I haven’t gotten to try the hair oil out yet and the Stila Patina is a gorgeous color on! The HUM tho…not so much. I couldn’t drink it. YUCK!


You know, my tastebuds must be a bit strange. I usually don’t like healthy powder drinks as they leave an aftertaste. I enjoyed HUM! Lol. I blended with almond milk and popped in an ice cube. The mixture satisfied my after dinner chocolate craving. Birchbox is already sold out and Sephora’s ratings were very good.


I thought it smelled really good. It seems mixing it with almond milk is super popular. I had brought it to work with me so all I had was water. Hopefully I can score a sample of it again and try it in a smoothie.


Hi Haley, I have fine straight hair too and have found that if I apply to damp hair it works beautifully. I learned this from watching Rachel Zoe on Facebook. You just spray in damp hair and scrunch up. I then just let it air dry or you can dry on low while scrunching the hair


I received the eye shadow in fantasy NOT smashed.

Kellie Murray

Lucky you…mine is smashed to bits…UGH!!!


My shadow wasn’t smashed…first time in a lonnnnng time I received a shadow or blush that was smashed into a million particles of dust. I received the Beauty Protector Oil, the Marcelle Hydra C, Oribe Hair Mask, and Vasanti Brighten Up. I have been underwhelmed by Birchbox lately but willing to hang in there for the price.


I got the exact same box. I’ve never received a broken palette before and you could tell it was probably packed that way! Also I was so disappointed in the brow pencil. A couple of months ago with the other benefit brow product, they let you choose the color. I have dark brown hair and eyes. I even ended up buying the full size product. Yet, this month, they send a fairy sized eyebrow pencil in blonde? I contacted CS immediately and I’m supposed to get a replacement of both.


Hahaha fairy sized is a very accurate description


When i signed up, birchbox was getting good reviews and sounded like an awesome deal. 1 month in, they minimized the points system and i felt gyped and lied to.

However, i have a 3 box rule with subscriptions. Just cuz the first box sucked, doesn’t mean they all will; im willing to give companies a fair chance.

Birchbox is the first company ive tried to fail the 3 month test. Other companies i only cancled after 6-12 months cuz i wanted to try something new, not because i was dissatisfied in any way.

I have superfine, long stubborn hair that no product can tame. It does what it wants, i just try to make it cute. So my profile reflects that, no hair products. What have i gotten in my 3 months as a bb subscriber? Enough hair products to last me a decade, 1 lipstick, 1 smashed manna kadar eyeshadow, and 2 mascaras. Super lame.

It’s no surprise to me that the company is tanking. Especially when ive contacted customer service. The first time i contacted them, i got a snappy retort instead of any helpful resolution. The second time they’d sent me a stupid cargo blush/bronzer (i dont like cargo, their products make me break out) instead of a $49 bb cream i’d ordered, they helped but that was a pretty big oppsie-daisies.

Needless to say, im done. Shocked a company failed my 3 box test, that’s never happened before.


My birchbox was smashed and dirty in the box with stuff all over the foam and products but nothing was broke. Wasn’t closed right. I hope they can send another box I wanted the actual box. Last month I never got the correct box it was plain they resent me another plain box and then sent me a different box. They sent me 3 boxes 2 plain and one different I never got the box and gave up after 3 times. This is my fourth month with birchbox I hope they don’t keep sending the wrong box’s and damaged ones. Aren’t the pretty boxes part of the subscription.


I guess I should feel special that my shadow was intact based on everyone else’s responses!


Smashed shadow here too. Weird that the compact is packed tight and taped. I suspect its actually a flaw on Manna Kadar’s part. Maybe that’s how birchbox got tons of those samples for the boxes? Either way, it looks bad.

What’s weirder though for me is that the marcelle hydra-c gel was cut. Its a standard plastic container (I wish I could show a photo as I’m not good at describing so much) and about 1/4″ from the top, its cut in a straight line about half the way across. Its a clean cut, like from a knife, but only on the front, did not go through to the back side.

I just found that to be really weird. Maybe machinery? I had noticed something had leaked onto the card when I opened the box, but didn’t expect that. I’m not emailing birchbox about two items at this point. This was the last month of the my prepaid year sub and I’m just happy to get out of it now.


It from a box cutter. In the distribution center, they open hundreds of boxes an hour to prep for box stuffing and it isn’t abnormal when opening one that the knife nicks something in a box that is stuffed full.


Luckily my shadow was intact and I have yet to have damaged powders in any of my boxes. Now that I have said that my next box will most likely be damaged. Le sigh.

Aside from the eyeshadow I have a very different box. I gave a Key West Aloe (eye gel) , ProFilePro Hair Oil, TokyoMilk Dark parfum sample and R&Co Oblivion Clarifying Shampoo. Not a terrible box for $10 but hair samples do nothing for me as I have very very very thick hair so these samples wouldn’t be able to do anything of note to my hair.

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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.