I don’t travel light.
For our long weekend in the south of England, for instance, Terry wanted us just to take carry-on luggage, to make the whole process both cheaper and faster. Terry was very, very right about this, as it turned out, but that’s another story for another day, and by that I mean, “It’s a really freaking LONG story, and you’ll probably need wine. I certainly did.” Suffice to say that for future trips of this kind, I will most definitely be ditching the suitcase. For this one, however, I not only insisted on taking one, I also complained about having to share it with Terry, because I obviously needed ALL the space, in order to bring ALL the clothes and ALL the products with me. (I didn’t bring ALL the shoes, though, and that, my friends, turned out to be a huge mistake, seriously…)
(I did share the case. I wasn’t happy about it, though.)
The issue is mostly with the products. I, you see, use a lot of them, and I’m one of those people who just can’t conceive of the idea of traveling anywhere without my super-special shampoo and conditioner, and foundation, and body lotion, and nail polish remover, and eye-makeup remover, and… basically everything you CAN’T take into the cabin of an aircraft.
(Yes, I know you can always buy these things at your destination, but who wants to start their trip by immediately having to trawl round a supermarket buying a bunch of stuff you already own, but didn’t bring? Who other than my dad, I mean?)
All of this is to say that when Birchbox offered to send me one of their July boxes to try, it couldn’t have come at a better time. Literally, I mean: like the skirt I was wearing in this post, the box arrived just a couple of days before we left, thus allowing me to (slightly) lighten the load of my poor suitcase, with a bunch of miniature products perfect for travel.
Birchbox, as you probably know, is a monthly beauty box subscription service: for £10 per month, you receive a box of goodies every few weeks, which allows you to try products you might not otherwise have picked up. I love the idea of this, especially given my renewed interest in beauty products, but although I was sent a sample of one of the other boxes back in my beauty blogging days, I’ve never signed up to any of these services, purely because my particular combination of pale skin/red hair makes it quite hard to find products that suit me. With makeup, I find I really need to pick things out myself, or they’ll be completely the wrong colour (I’ve found that when brands send out samples, they normally pick colours from the middle of the skin-colour spectrum, so if you’re at either end of it, the products won’t be suitable): I’ve never been keen on allowing other people to select either clothes or makeup for me, because no matter how well people THINK they know what you like/what will work, it’s very easy to get it wrong, which is one of the reasons I’m so late to the beauty box party.
Luckily, however, my Birchbox contained mostly non-makeup products, which meant I was able to use almost everything. The one item I didn’t use was the lip colour pencil, which looked like a nice product, but which was totally the wrong colour for me – basically a neon orange shade, which was pretty horrifying. I think this could work either way, though: I’m very guilty of always sticking to more or less the same colours when I buy makeup, and while this particular shade didn’t work for me, it did give me an opportunity to try something different, and venture out of my comfort zone: I guess there’s as much chance of discovering something that’s an unexpected success as there is of something NOT working out, which is the whole point of this kind of service.
I received samples of:
I took all of these, with the exception of the Lip Lube, with me on my trip, and JUST managed to eke out the shampoo and mineral bath over the four days (I actually used the mineral bath as a shower gel: I rarely take baths, but found this worked just as well in the shower, and left my skin feeling nice and smooth). To be honest, I don’t think sample sizes give you the opportunity to do in-depth reviews of products, but had no issues with any of them, and really enjoyed getting to try them.
The one thing that would make this service even better, in my opinion, would be if users were allowed to select which samples they received, which would eliminate the issue of sometimes receiving items you can’t use. I’d have LOVED to try out the Benefit ‘Porefessional’ primer, for instance, which was one of the possible products this month (Not everyone receives exactly the same items in their box), and which has been on my wish list for a while now, but the products I did receive were really useful for my trip, and I felt a bit like it was my birthday or something (although without the pesky “ageing” bit) when my box arrived, so I was pretty happy overall.
You can find out more about Birchbox, and sign up to the service here.