Birchbox UK: November 2016

Another month gone by this year, and it’s finally starting to feel like Autumn – the leaves are falling, my lips are drying out (hooray), and everyone is cracking out the burgundy lipstick. With the arrival of November comes the delivery of another Birchbox – this time in collaboration with Tatler magazine (which I have actually never read). This round of products and samples, curated by a team at Tatler, are intended to help out during the festive party season – I have a few office events coming up, so at least I can put this month’s offerings to the test.

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I mentioned in my Glossybox review that I would miss the funky designs of the Birchboxes, and this one is certainly no exception. Titled “Shake Your Tail Feather”, the drawer-style box is coloured a rich indigo, with peacock feather patterns and gold-emblazoned text. I’m definitely keeping this one – snazz factor 10/10. The contents this month are yet again varied, and feature some familiar brands from previous boxes, although I’m of the opinion that trying new things is always good, especially in beauty.

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OCC Lip Tar Primer

OCC Lip Tars are a fairly well-known product these days. I’ve watched countless videos of people trying to figure out the best way to apply them – they look like a right pain in the backside to get right. It’s advised that they’re used in conjunction with this, the Lip Tar Primer. Intended to prolong lipstick wear, as well as condition and hydrate the lips (it contains Vitamin E and hemp), this primer can be used with any lipstick you might be having longevity issues with.

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I love to wear bold and dark matte colours at this time of year, so a primer to improve the wear time of liquid lipsticks (which I’m still obsessed with) has a lot of appeal. As with the Lip Tar colours, it’s advised that this is applied with a small brush (the full size edition comes with one), but can be patted onto the lips with fingers – which is what I did. This is quite a thick product and smells of peppermint, which is people will either love or hate. You don’t need a lot of this either, as it needs to be patted thinly and allowed to dry down a little before applying anything on top of it. Afterwards, I used the NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Copenhagen (a dark purple shade). I found it harder to apply than usual, as the primer grabbed onto the colour and it wouldn’t glide on easily. However, the colour looked more intense and opaque than usual, and the primer seemed to improve the longevity a little bit. I suspect that this primer works better with the Lip Tars themselves, but it does make a soft moisturising base for those typically drying matte lipsticks, especially in these colder months. The full size primer, which comes with a brush is £15 for 9ml.

Wet Brush

I’ve been looking into buying one of these for a while now – I currently use a little Tangle Teezer for stubborn knots, but have heard that these are excellent for brushing through damp hair – good for me, since I like to let mine air-dry. This brush is actually the Midi size, so not as big as a standard hairbrush. This doesn’t really seem like an issue, however, and makes it more portable and handy. I tried this out after getting out of the shower and applying a little hair oil – it worked an absolute treat. The bristles didn’t catch or drag in my hair, and seemed to tackle even the worst tangly knots with ease – I’ll definitely consider buying the larger version of this (and gifting them to my sisters). The Midi Brush is available for £8.99 in a variety of colours.

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NUXE Creme Prodigieuse

Nuxe make great products, so it’s no surprise that this moisturising cream is delightfully thick and effective – and probably much-needed in the colder months. The product itself has a subtle floral, clean smell due to boosting flower extracts, and a silky but non-sticky texture that applies thickly and needs to be massaged in a little. Personally, I’ve had to use oil-free anti-blemish products recently due to my skin, so I would typically only apply this at night to dry patches such as my cheeks and forehead. However, Nuxe do claim that this “gently mattifies while it hydrates”, so it may not all be doom and gloom for me. I gave it a more thorough road test underneath my makeup, and my foundation went on perfectly smoothly over it – as for helping to keep my face shine-free all day, it didn’t seem to have much of an effect. I think this would make an excellent moisturiser for normal to combination skin types, although if you’re seeking to reduce oiliness there are other, more suitable options on the market. The full size tube is £21.50 for 40ml.

Beauty Protector Protect & Detangle

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I seem to have collected an endless bounty of sample-size hair detanglers/protectants/leave in conditioners from Birchboxes over the past year. I’m not really a fan – the only thing I bother using these days is a tiny bit of hair oil after showering, to smooth and lock in moisture. I tried this out with my new favourite (the Wet Brush!!!), but the spray was a bit chunky and not too effective. A noticed a little bit of difference with my hair – slightly improved moisturisation, but I wouldn’t justify purchasing the full-size version of this at £18.50 for 236ml.

Marcelle BB Cream Golden Glow Illuminator

Marcelle! I have a lot of love for this brand, after trying one of their Waterproof Eye Pencils in a previous Birchbox, and ordering another shade because it was so good. This little tube is a BB Cream – intended to illuminate and give a golden glow (it has light-reflecting pigments), without perfume or oils. In theory, this sounds amazing. Unfortunately, this was wayyy wayyy too dark for me – I tried blending it out with my fingers, a sponge and a brush before giving up and washing off the orange mask that was my face (seriously Tango-ed). The texture and coverage were good, and I could definitely see the glow and boost it gave my skin (apart from the traffic-beacon orange). Somebody with more of a tan would love this, but steer clear if your skin tone resembles A4 white paper (like myself). The full-size tube is £25.50 for 45ml – not too bad for a high-end BB cream.

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I feel the same about this box that I did last month – there just isn’t enough makeup. This month’s box is incredibly pretty though, and definitely one for keeps, but I just won’t get a use out of most of the products (although I am very happy with the hairbrush!). Next month will be my first anniversary with Birchbox, so I’m interested to see what that will bring. As usual, Birchbox is available here for £10 + £2.95 shipping per month.

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