I was relieved that my September 2016 Birchbox arrived yesterday, because that gave me enough time to write this review of it before I leave for a two week vacation! September’s box design is comprised of cute, colorful confetti:

September 2016 Birchbox

September’s theme is multitasking: “celebrating the versatile, time-saving products that help us juggle everything on our to-do lists.” For this month’s sample choice, subscribers could pick one of three Milk Makeup samples or a curated box. I wasn’t that into the curated box items, so I chose the Milk Makeup Highlighter (the other Milk options were Ubame Mascara and Lip + Cheek). I’d been hoping for a Milk sample ever since the brand launched on Birchbox, so I was excited to see them finally offer some Milk products as a sample choice!

When I opened the box and checked out the sample card, there was nothing that made me go “meh,” which was a good sign. Even the hair care sample sounded up my alley!


And now, here’s my September 2016 Birchbox sample reveal. Ta-da!

September 2016 Birchbox Samples
That’s a good-looking set of samples!

First, I’ll start with my sample choice for the month: Milk Makeup Highlighter (full-size, $24). Seeing as how I’ve received SO MANY run-of-the-mill highlighter samples I would have preferred to try out Milk’s brand new Holographic Stick, but I guess beggars can’t be choosers, right?


The brand uses a “Milk Melt Technology” that supposedly causes the product to melt on contact with skin (I think it’s actually called body heat, heh). But in all honesty, I really was pleased with how easy it is to apply this highlighter directly from the stick. The color is a light gold with tiny flecks of shimmer that aren’t overly noticeable or 90s-glittery. Here’s a swatch on my arm:

Milk Makeup Highlighter swatch
Subtle but illuminating

I tried the highlighter on my cheekbones, eyelids, down the bridge of my nose, and Cupid’s bow, and you can see the results in a photo at the end of this post. Guys, this highlighter is legit! It’s coming on vacation with me for sure. Extra credit: the product contains mango butter, peach nectar, and avocado oils for extra moisture.

Next up is the derma e® Microdermabrasion Scrub (full-size, $32.50). I’ve only used one product by this brand before—the Evenly Radiant Brightening Cleanser, which was just okay—but I was happy to receive this generous sample in my Birchbox. This scrub contains Dead Sea salt which supposedly mimics the effects of microdermabrasion. I appreciate that this is an ingredient conscious brand that’s cruelty-free, paraben-free, and vegan. This facial scrub smells like fresh lemon and isn’t too rough on the skin. I would definitely consider buying it full sized once I run out of the scrubs in my shower!

derma e® Microdermabrasion Scrub sample

My next sample is the Bioderma® SĂ©bium H2O (full-size, $16.90), a micelle solution designed for acne-prone skin. I (fortunately) don’t have oily or acne-prone skin, but seeing as how this is a gentle no-rinse makeup remover, I’ll forgive Birchbox for sending me a sample that’s not exactly on point for my skin type. I wish this sample came in a bottle like the last micellar water sample I received, but it’ll be going with me on vacation nonetheless.

Bioderma® Sébium H2O sample

I feel like eye makeup samples from Birchbox are few and far between (though I probably get them more than I realize), so I was excited to see a mascara sample this month: Elizabeth Mott It’s So Big Volumizing Mascara (full-size, $15). I’d never heard of this brand before, and the product name is pretty clearly trying to ape Benefit’s double entendre style, but it’s always fun to get something in my box that’s fresh and new to me. The wand has an hourglass shape that’s meant to “deliver just the right amount of volumizing formula.” Bonus: the mascara is cruelty-free.

Elizabeth Mott It's So Big Volumizing Mascara sample

This mascara is perfectly serviceable, but it’s nothing special. I certainly wouldn’t call it volumizing, as the wand deposits a fairly light coat on lashes. You can do more than one coat for a more dramatic look, but many other mascaras provide that dramatic look in one quick sweep of the wand. I’d say the mascara is really good for those days when you want to at least put something on your face but don’t want to look made up, because this stuff gives lashes a very natural, slightly defined appearance. At the bottom of this post you can see a pic of the mascara in action on yours truly!

My final sample this month is another hair care product: R+Co ANALOG Cleansing Foam Conditioner (full-size, $29). By my count this is my third or fourth R+Co sample from Birchbox, but it’s the first one that I think I might fully use up because it’s a cleansing conditioner, not a hair styling product or dry shampoo. Cleansing conditioner is a whole new type of product for me! Because this is a foam it comes in a metal can, which seems like an odd thing to keep in your shower (hopefully the can is rust-proof). The cleansing conditioner contains argan oil for nourishment and softening along with green tea for shine and protection.


I tried the cleansing conditioner this morning in the shower and was surprised to see that the product looks more like a conditioner than a foam, as billed. I worked it into my hair from crown to roots and it didn’t lather, which is always a bit disconcerting because we’ve all been conditioned to think that lather is what gets the job done. But in this case, lack of lather is a good thing because the product is sulfate-free. It’s also paraben-free, cruelty-free, mineral oil-free, and vegan (yay for ingredient conscious brands!). I haven’t been all that into the fragrances of the other R+Co products I’ve tried, but this one smells fruitier and less powdery, so I’m on  board with it. I rinsed and let my hair air dry as per usual without adding any other products to it, and the result was very soft, shiny hair. At $29, this cleansing conditioner is a little on the expensive side, but considering it does double duty it could be worth buying full sized.

As promised, here’s a photo of me after using the cleansing conditioner to wash my hair. I’m wearing a bit of under-eye concealer, plus the Milk Makeup Highlighter and the Elizabeth Mott mascara. And I used my new Bite Beauty Multistick in Biscotti on my cheeks and lips.  🙂


I’m very happy with my September 2016 Birchbox, and I would go so far as to say that it’s one of the better boxes I’ve received. I think my favorite product might actually be the R+Co cleansing conditioner, but the Milk highlighter is also a strong contender. The scrub is pretty great too!

How did you fare with your September 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 it full sized. You can also earn 1 point per $1 you spend at Birchbox.com and earn points for referring friends, then use those points toward future purchases. Use my referral link to sign up for your own subscription!