October 2014 Birchbox Unboxing & Review

It definitely doesn’t feel like a month since I reviewed September’s Birchbox – I guess time flies when you’re loving your job (or something!). 
This month’s theme is ‘Work It’ & the box is all about getting motivated, meeting your goals & figuring out your work/life balance – all super relevant since I’m now in week three of my new job! The box is also a collaboration with charity CoppaFeel! so there’s some great info on taking care of your breast health included in the booklet (which looks fucking fantastic by the way – pink & white with This girl is on fire written on it in block capitals).
I actually really like these more loosely themed boxes as I find the ones with more concrete themes can end up feeling a little forced (see June’s World Cup themed box), but as always, the proof is in the products…

Opening up the box I was greeted by a very pleasant surprise: instead of the usual drawstring bag, this month’s products were contained within this zippered makeup bag. Although I prefer to keep my makeup in something see-through when travelling I think this would be great for keeping things like nail files, cotton-buds & all those other miscellaneous items contained on the go.

The first product in the bag is this Balance Me Cleanse and Smooth Face Balm which retails for £20. I remember trying a Balance Me product in one of the Glossyboxes way back when & not being particularly impressed, & I’m afraid it’s a similar story with this cleansing balm. Although I like the texture (it’s oil-based & contains oatmeal powder for added exfoliation), it has a really strong scent which I just don’t like. That being said, if you’re less fussed about strongly fragranced products then this might be worth checking out as Balance Me’s products are all natural & always seem to have great reviews – plus the full size version comes with a muslin cloth.

Ever since I got my hair cut to a shoulder-length bob I’ve been keen to find ways to add a bit of texture to stop it from looking quite so dull but I’ve been seriously struggling as my hair is so thick that it takes industrial amounts of product to make any styling stick. Enter the KMS California Hair Play Playable Texture which retails for £15.50. I haven’t had a chance to fully try this out but my first impression isn’t great – it’s basically just an extravagant hair spray, definitely lightweight but without an ingredient like salt I think you’ll be hard-pressed to get any dramatic styling out of it, especially if you have thick hair like me.

I immediately fell in love with the retro styling of this Cool Fix Gel from Shaveworks which retails for £11. It’s also a really interesting product, the idea being that you apply it after shaving to combat ingrown hairs, razor bumps & razor burn. I’m super guilty of using my razors long after they should be thrown out & while I’m trying to get better I definitely think I’ll be getting a lot of use out of this product. I can’t quite pinpoint the fragrance in this one, but judging by the cooling & tingling sensation there’s definitely some peppermint in there. It also contains a light exfoliant & salicylic acid to help tease out ingrown hairs & decrease scarring. This has a big thumbs up from me.

Another example of great product branding is this lip balm from Pixi in the shade Natural Rose, which retails for £8. I really love the ’50s pastels & the gold lettering keeps it from being childish. When I opened it up, the balm itself is surprisingly opaque & a beautiful dusty rose shade. It’s fairly opaque when applied to the lips too, although obviously being a balm it quickly fades & rubs off. My only issue with this product is the super strong vanilla scent – ideally I prefer my lip balms to be scentless but anything more than a hint of vanilla puts me right off.

The final beauty product this month is this Lollipops Nail Lacquer which retails for £7. Although this will be joining my already out of control red nail polish collection, at least it’s a more wearable shade than the previous two lacquers I’ve received in Birchboxes. Having not worn it yet I can’t report on how chip-proof or long-lasting it is, but the formula does seem a little thin so I suspect it’ll need a couple of coats to build up a solid colour.

This month’s lifestyle product is this hilariously kitsch lipstick pen. Something tells me this won’t be replacing my trusty Uniball pens at work but it definitely beats last month’s dried fruit.


Overall, I’m pretty happy with this month’s box – it’s full of products I’m genuinely interested in giving a go & I can definitely see me repurchasing the after-shave gel if it works out. What did you think of this month’s box? Let me know in the comments below!

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