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Birchbox Curated Box #1 Review + Coupon – February 2020

Birchbox 1 Spotlight on Fragrance January 2020 beauty box review

Birchbox sends samples (and sometimes full-sizes) of new and exciting beauty products from top brands for $15/month. They allow subscribers to pick between a curated box (all samples revealed) or a single sample choice with the rest of the items arriving as a surprise. Birchbox is one of the original beauty subscription boxes and is a great way to discover new makeup, hair care, and skincare products without breaking the bank.

This review is of the ‘Spotlight on Fragrance’ curated box.

FYI – sign up to get email alerts for our Birchbox Spoilers to learn about Birchbox Sample Choice and Curated box options each month!

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

About this Curated Beauty Box

The Subscription Box: Birchbox

The Cost: $15.00 a month + free shipping. Save with longer subscriptions.

Check our Birchbox Coupon List to get the most up-to-date coupon!

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

Ships to: The US, France, Spain, and the UK

Birchbox ‘Spotlight on Fragrance’ Curated Box #1 Review – February 2020


Per usual, this month’s Birchbox came with a single info card that lists the products on the front, with a Birchbox Tip listed on the back.


Juliette Has a Gun Not a Perfume Eau de Parfum, 1.7 ml – Estimated Value $2.30 (Buy a full-size 100 ml for $135.00)

This perfume seems to be a regular in these boxes, and as a perfume nerd I still think my write up from a previous review does this scent more justice than I could write now:

I first became aware of this brand when they released Not A Perfume in 2010. The whole idea was that the perfume wasn’t a perfume because it was a single note, Cetalox, which is an alternative to ambergris, a costly perfume ingredient traditionally made from whale digestive tract waste. (This is 100% true!) Ambergris and its alternatives are commonly used in perfumery as a musky base note and to give it longevity. In the Not a Perfume scent, Cetalox was the only note, making it delightfully minimal, edgy, and perfect for someone who may not be your typical perfume wearer.

This isn’t my favorite perfume on myself (I like a complex scent) but this is a wonderfully simple and spicy perfume that would win over even those who don’t love perfume. I also think the blend of amber and musk is delightfully unisex!


Thisworks Deep Sleep Pillow Spray, 0.17 fl oz – Estimated Value $1.97 (Buy a full-size 2.5 fl oz for $29.00)

This is another perennial Birchbox favorite. I am less enthusiastic about a pillow spray being included in what I hoped was a purely perfume-centric box, but at least I do enjoy using this stuff. It smells like pure relaxing lavender and does go a long way to turning your bedroom into a sleepytime escape. A spritz or two across a pillow and under my sheets is heavenly.


CLEAN Original Eau de Parfum, 0.03 fl oz – Estimated Value $1.11 (Buy a full-size 2 fl oz for $74.00)

While I generally love most of the perfumes from this brand, I really, really didn’t like this original scent. It smells like a bar of soap, flakes of laundry detergent, and not much else. It is so harsh and abrasive to my nose and very much an in-your-face sort of scent for the first 15 minutes after application. I feel like if you are someone who likes highly soapy and powdery scents, this might be more of a favorite to you, but I actually couldn’t handle wearing this and scrubbed it off.


Oribe Côte d’Azur Eau de Parfum, 0.05 fl oz – Estimated Value $3.09 (Buy a full-size 1.7 fl oz for $105.00)

If you love the scent of Oribe hair care, you are going to love this perfume. It is a blend of woods, citrus, and a few petals. It also has a little bit of a laundry vibe, but in a very nostalgic way. I think this one is easily my favorite of this month’s offerings.


Lavanila The Healthy Fragrance Vanilla Grapefruit Eau de Parfum, 0.05 fl oz – Estimated Value $1.41 (Buy a full-size 1.7 fl oz fl oz for $48.00)

I feel like this perfume would have been more of a favorite for me if it had been more tart than creamy, but the vanilla aspect of this scent greatly overtakes the grapefruit and bergamot notes. There is also a little woodiness happening in the base which elevates the whole scent into something more special than a typical vanilla and citrus fragrance.


TOCCA Voyage Candela in Montauk, 1.2 oz – Estimated Value $5.04 (Buy a full-size 10 oz for $42.00)

Our last item is a mini candle from TOCCA. The notes here are cucumber and salt, which I quite like, but it would have been nice if this was a perfume instead of a candle. TOCCA has loads of wonderful scents (Colette and Florence are my faves) and though I liked this candle well enough, I do wish it has been in perfume form.

Verdict: My curated Birchbox this month has a total estimated value of $14.92… which isn’t great. I expected a box of perfume samples to land on the lower end of value (as it was kind of more of an “experience” sort of box), but this was much lower than I would have thought. All of these scents feel very “Birchbox” and I am just not sure I have the same sort of perfume vibes. They were all a little too clean, sweet, and fruity for me personally, but most folks out there aren’t into the truly odd scents I cherish. It would have also been great to see a full-size something or even a mini rollerball.

To Wrap Up: 

Can you still get this box if you sign up today? If you subscribe to Birchbox now, be sure to check the image on the sign-up page. The box design pictured at the bottom is the first month you’ll receive. You can’t pick a curated box like this one as your first box, but you’ll be able to pick it every month moving forward.

Check our Birchbox Coupon List to get the most up-to-date coupon!

Value Breakdown: At $15.00 for this box, you’re paying about $2.50 per item.

Check out all of our Birchbox reviews and our favorite beauty boxes!

Keep track of your subscriptions by adding this box to your subscription list or wishlist!

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Written by Megan


I love natural/vegan beauty products, Korean skincare, unique jewelry, and weird candies from far away places. When I am not waiting for my next exciting box you can find me painting or taking photographs of interesting people. I never leave home without pug hair somewhere on my shirt and a bold lipstick on my smile.

Posted in Beauty Subscription Boxes, Birchbox Reviews, Cheap Subscription Boxes, Subscription Box Reviews, Subscription Boxes for Women| Tags: birchbox | 15 comments

Comments (15)

  1. I know many people don’t want perfumes in subs, but there are plenty of people who love them! I hope Birchbox does more curations like this box in the future.

    This box sold out during the Aces selection day, so it was clearly a hit.

  2. Well, I probably would have liked this box, however I’m never able to choose any of the curated boxes since they’re always sold out. Swapped for points yet again, not sure why I even bother with BB.

  3. The name of the box is “Spotlight on Fragrance,” not “Spotlight on Perfume.” I think it met its mark.

  4. Well obviously some people loved it because this box option was sold out very quickly. To me, that is the beauty of Birchbox. Not everyone got this box. You had to choose to receive this box. So if you didn’t want it then you could have chosen one of the other curated boxes instead. Or you could have chosen one sample product and been surprised by the other four items. Or you could have picked the complete surprise box. Or you could have applied your monthly box cost to your account and used it to purchase something in the shop. I personally feel like you can’t lose with Birchbox with so many options. I always find it so interesting that people who don’t subscribe to this box have such negative things to say about it when they obviously don’t realize how it works.

    • Agree!!

  5. I love Juliette Has a Gun Not a Perfume, but I can’t imagine getting those and not even equally the value of the box. Wow.

    • *Equalling

    • Nice review. I would have loved this box but it was sold out when I went to make my choice. Unfortunately, this seems to be a common issue.

      • (Sorry, I didn’t mean for this to be in reply.)

  6. 4 free samples and a 1 ounce candle. Whew.

  7. I was thinking the same thing Michelle. I get 3 perfume samples with any cosmetic purchase form Nordstroms online, or in the store free..

  8. 4 give away try me size bottles and a candle? Who thought this curation up? I would be unhappy had I paid $15. for this.

    • It was a choice box. Some of us WANTED it.

      • Just because people wanted it doesn’t mean the value for it is very good

      • Actually that is EXACTLY what that means! That is literally the meaning of the word value. LOL! The value of ANYTHING in this world is simply what a person assigns to it. So while this might not be a good value to some people, the people who *WANTED IT* and *Chose IT* felt it was a good value. 🙂

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