I was already having a good day last Friday, so when my Birchbox showed up in the mail my day got even better! Unfortunately I gouged the top of my Birchbox as I was opening the shipping box a little too enthusiastically with scissors. FAIL.

March 2016 Birchbox

I’m actually surprised I’ve never done that to a Birchbox before…I’m not the most dexterous person around (good thing I’m not a surgeon). Anyway, the March Birchbox design is adorable as per usual. The graphic designer seems to have taken cues from Pantone’s Color of the Year, Rose Quartz and Serenity. Easter-egg pastels plus some gold foil make for another attractive box.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that this review marks my first anniversary of reviewing Birchboxes! The first time I ever wrote about Birchbox was in March 2015. I can’t believe it’s already been a whole year! In case you’ve never heard of Birchbox, I explain what it is and how it works down at the bottom of this post.

For this month’s sample I chose the PARLOR by Jeff Chastain Volumizing & Texturizing Shampoo over the “Ready for Anything” curated box. I like the PARLOR Moisturizing Sea Salt Spray (I even bought it full-sized!) so I figured I’d try out the shampoo because my baby fine hair could seriously use some volume and texture.

The March theme is “celebrating strong women,” seeing as how this month is Women’s History Month—and International Women’s Day also falls in March. The samples are meant to “amplify your features, not cover them up, and work with your hair texture, not against it.” So let’s take a look at my sample card:

March 2016 Birchbox Sample Card

And my sample reveal:

March 2016 Birchbox SamplesIncluding the bonus PARLOR packet, that’s six samples, including two cosmetics. Score!

I’ll begin with the Cargo Land Down Under Eye Shadow duo. I will say that when I first opened my Birchbox and saw the Cargo tin I was worried that they sent me another sample of Swimmables Water Resistant Blush, which I already received last March. My fears were unfounded, as I opened the tin to uncover two very neutral, matte eye shadows that look and feel like velvet. The full sized palette includes a dozen Aussie-inspired shades, a black eyeliner, and a double-sided brush for $34. The lighter shade in my duo is called Joey and the darker is called The Rocks.

Cargo Land Down Under Eye Shadow Palette - Birchbox

Here are the shadows swatched on my arm; Joey, which you can hardly see, is on the left and The Rocks is on the right.

Cargo Land Down Under Eye Shadow Palette swatch - Birchbox

These shadows are silky smooth and apply effortlessly. Though Joey is barely noticeable on my skin, it makes for a perfect base color. I think this duo will be excellent for achieving a no-makeup makeup look.

Next up? theBalm Cosmetics Stainiac in Beauty Queen (full-size, $17). Though I love lip products, I wasn’t super excited about this one because I received a lip stain, TONYMOLY Delight Tony Tint, not that long ago in my January Birchbox. This gel formula is meant to be used on lips and cheeks; here’s how a swatch looks on my arm:

theBalm cosmetics Stainiac swatch - Birchbox
Apologies for the flaky arm skin…

I wiped the swatch off with a tissue but it did leave a faint stain for the rest of the day, so this stuff definitely has some staying power. I used the wand to apply a couple coats to my lips, and while it didn’t turn out as patchy on me as the TONYMOLY lip tint, it still didn’t apply super smoothly. It did leave a subtle cherry color on my lips, though, and it feels more moisturizing than other tints do when used on their own. Here I am wearing the eye shadow duo on my lids (which you can’t really see in the pic) and the tint on my lips:


Then there’s the Catherine Malandrino Style de Paris fragrance sample (full-size, $80-110). You know how I feel about fragrance samples…generally not great. However! I do like this scent, probably because it has notes of jasmine and gardenia; I even wore it on a date night to Orchid Evenings this weekend. I won’t buy it full sized and it will never replace my Marc by Marc Jacobs perfume, but I will get use out of this sample.

I believe this month is the first time I’ve received a Kiehl’s sample from Birchbox: the Super Multi-Corrective Cream (full-size, $62). I used to LOVE Kiehl’s and used a lot of their products regularly, but I’ve been phasing them out because they were generally not rated well on EWG’s Skin Deep website (though for some reason the site currently only lists one Kiehl’s product, a BB cream). I am giving this stuff a try, though. I used it before bed for the past two nights and while that’s not long enough to tell if it has made a difference on my skin, I do really like the scent. I don’t say that often about skin care product samples that I receive!

Last but not least we have my sample choice, the PARLOR by Jeff Chastain Volumizing & Texturizing Shampoo (full-size, $22) and bonus Conditioner packet (full-size, $22). I tried both products out in the shower this morning and let my hair air-dry without using any additional products in it—the end result is what you see above in the pic with the eye shadow and lip tint. I’d say the shampoo and conditioner work pretty well, though they offer more texture than volume on me (volume may be a lost cause on my dumb hair). The scent is the same as the sea salt spray, and while I like it, it might be a little much if I used the spray on top of the shampoo and conditioner. It’s a fairly strong fragrance and I’d be worried about it attracting bugs in the summer. So for that reason I probably wouldn’t buy these full sized.

So, as I do with my Birchbox samples every month, let’s find out where these products net out toxin-wise according to Skin Deep!

  • Cargo Land Down Under Eye Shadow: unlisted, but other shadows from the brand are on the low end of the medium hazard range
  • theBalm Cosmetics Stainiac: Medium hazard, limited data
  • Catherine Malandrino Style de Paris: unlisted
  • Kiehl’s Super Multi-Corrective Cream: unlisted
  • PARLOR by Jeff Chastain Volumizing & Texturizing Shampoo: unlisted
  • PARLOR by Jeff Chastain Volumizing & Texturizing Conditioner: unlisted

Overall I feel pretty neutral about my samples in this month’s box; nothing to get overly excited about but nothing that I hate, either.

How did you fare with your March 2016 Birchbox?

You can browse through my previous Birchbox reviews here.

What is Birchbox?

Birchbox is a $10/month subscription box that includes five sample sized products based on your preferences (makeup, skin care, hair care, fragrance, etc.). They also have an online store filled with full sized versions of all the products they include in their monthly subscription boxes, so if you fall in love with a sample they sent you, you can go back to their site and buy the real thing. Use my referral link to sign up for your own subscription!