Birchbox sends samples (and sometimes full sizes) of new and exciting beauty products from top brands for $15/month. 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 is a review of Box #1 of the 3-part Birchbox x Awesome Woman At-Home Skin Lab Box.
This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we review boxes.)
The Skin Lab is a series of three boxes that contain science-based skin tests, skincare products, tools, and supplements to help you learn more about your skin and how to take care of it. Let's take a look at the first box.
The products arrive in a sturdy pink box with a magnetic lid. A good first impression for sure.
The box includes two information cards: one gives a quick introduction to Awesome Woman, whereas the other explains what you’re supposed to receive with the Skin Lab.
Not included in the box: email “toolkits” that educate you about your skin and instructions for how to redeem the second box.
Speaking of emails, the first one taught me that each person has a unique skin microbiome. This is a relatively new concept for me; I knew of gut microbiomes, but skin? Consider me intrigued.
I'd like to take a moment and appreciate the sleek zippered pouch included in the box. It's spacious, structured but bendable, and soft to the touch! Perfect for storage or for travel.
What's Inside The Box
Birchbox Jade Roller - Retail Value $12
Would you believe it? Despite seeing them featured in multiple beauty boxes, this is my very first jade roller! Birchbox says that jade rolling “stimulates the lymphatic system’s natural detox process” and that it can “boost circulation and blood flow under the skin.” I tried the process as instructed: use after face wash and moisturizer and then roll across your face from the bottom up. I enjoyed the coldness of the stone for the limited amount of time I could handle. I don’t see this being a regular step in my routine just yet. That said, a once-in-a-while skin treat is justifiable.
Korres Foaming Cream Cleanser, 5 fl oz - Retail Value $26
I have used this cleanser before! The formula is a thick cream that transforms into a small but dense lather once massaged onto my face. It washes off easily and leaves my skin feeling clean but never dry. The brand says that it is formulated for all skin types, but people sensitive to fragrances may not enjoy the cleanser as much. It smells strongly of what the formula is inspired by: greek yogurt.
This Works Stress Check Kind Hands Hand Cream, 2.5 fl oz - Retail Value $12
This hand cream is just what my hands need to survive the wintery months. The formula is a moderately thick white cream that absorbs very quickly and doesn’t feel greasy at all. It provides light to medium hydration and requires reapplying for the same effect once every few hours. The formula includes lavender, patchouli, bitter orange, camphor, vetiver, and ylang ylang essential oils. The most prominent note is lavender. Although I’m not overly fond of lavender fragrances, the other essential oils make it more enjoyable, plus the hand cream leaves my hand so so soft!
KNC Beauty All-Natural Collagen Lip Mask - Retail Value $5 (Buy a pack of 5 for $24.99)
I’m a big fan of gel lip masks and tried this on as soon as I finished taking photos. The mask is a pale pink color and adheres well to the skin. Upon wear, it exuded a pleasant cooling sensation. To my surprise, after a few minutes, that pleasant cooling sensation had turned into a mild burning sensation. I removed it three minutes into the 15-min mask session feeling confused and disappointed. This has never happened with a lip mask before. My lips did feel more hydrated and plumper even though I had to stop prematurely.
Oil Test Card
Products in the first At-Home Skin Lab box are meant for all skin types. The second delivery, though, is curated for your specific skin type. This means taking a science-based skin test (ooooh) to determine what types of skincare get delivered to your door next.
This is the oil test! The card comes with easy instructions on how to test your skin and includes two paper strips for absorbing skin oils: one for the cheek and one for the forehead. Now, I was expecting the science-based skin test to be more… state-of-the-art. “But Nancy,” I said to myself, “just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it isn’t scientific.” Oil blot, here we go.
The results are on par with what I had expected. My forehead has the most oil, which makes sense given that I’ve lived with an oily T-zone since high school. My cheeks have a smidge of oil as well. Now to redeem the box that fits my skin type!
Redeeming the Next Box
As long as you have the instruction card on hand as you go through the steps, redeeming the next box is a breeze. I selected the oil blots that most closely resembled my own test results, and then Birchbox matched me with the “Oily/Combo Kit.” As soon as I entered the redemption code provided on my card, the price of the kit (sticker shock!) went down to $0.
I have mixed feelings about my first At-Home Skin Lab box. My favorite item was the creamy dreamy Korres cleanser. The jade roller was a fun addition to my usual routine too. I just kinda wish the curation had more fragrance-free skincare. Fragrances can be hit or miss (and may be irritating for people with sensitive skin), and it just so happens that two of the four products have a strong fragrance. What’s more, the lip mask that I was very excited about ended up irritating my usually hardy skin. The total value was $55. However, Birchbox values the overall 3-box experience at $525! Even though the first box sputtered a little right out of the gate, I’m anticipating that we’ll see much more out of the second and third deliveries.
Keep track of your subscriptions by adding this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
Value - Was This Box Worth It?
The Cost: $129 for 3 boxes
Value Breakdown: The first box had a value of $55. This is not counting the value of the oil test if any. Since this 3-part box costs $129, we'll have to wait and see how the value adds up across all three boxes!