I found out about Birchbox through a friend of mine on Facebook. A youtube channel called Popsugartvbella (Popsugartvbella on Youtube) was holding a contest to win a years subscription to Birchbox. I entered every day for two weeks and won! I got my starter box in March 2012. I have recieved such brands as Stila, theBalm, Juicy Coture, Jouer, Color Club, Eyeko, Ojon, fresh., etc.
I have a serious love hate relationship with Birchbox and there are many factors to this which I will explain thorualy...
Before I won my subscription I was researching Birchbox because I had never heard of anything like it. I was really excited because they listed brands such as Benefit, Boscia, Essie, fresh., Juicy Couture, Origins, Smashbox, theBalm, and Tarte. Basically you get 5-6 deluxe samples every month from varying brands suited to your "beauty profile" which is your hair color, skin type, hair type, etc. I already listed some of the brands that I have gotten in my box but one of my beefs with Birchbox is they have all these super expensive, mediocre brands I've never heard of. Given that wouldn't be a bad thing if I got a product I liked from these companies, and I have a few times but for the most part I only get a couple products in my box I actually like and use.
On top of that I have gotten so many foil samples, samples in small tear open packets, it's sad. To me a deluxe sample of a hair mask should be one I can actually cover my hair with, and more than once would be nice. I need to try something a few times to decide if it's working or not and when I get a sample I can't even use once its a horrible disappointment. I have had that problem with moisturizers as well. I just feel like the sizes of samples they give aren't "deluxe" all of the time, especially when they need to be.
Another HUGE problem I've had with Birchbox is damaged products. Half of the boxes I have received have had damaged products. That is ridiculous and completely unprofessional in my eyes. Even though I didn't personally pay for this subscription someone else did and I worked hard to win it so I expect my boxes to arrive undamaged.
I also wish the boxes were more customizable. I received a hideous nail polish this month and that was the big ticket item in my box. I am never going to use it and I feel it's a complete waste. When you receive a nail polish or an eye liner I wish you could chose the color you get so you don't receive a pointless product.
On the plus side...
Birchbox has EXCELLENT customer service. Every time I have received a damaged box when I call or email they get back to me right away and I either receive points or a new box as compensation for the damaged one. The girls over there are so nice and I love that my problem always gets resolved.
I love the fact that you can review your products from your Birchbox for points. You get 10 points per product review so in two months, since you usually get 5 samples, you will have $10 to spend in the BB shop! I have gotten so many full size products for free because of this. I've gotten nail polish, mascara, a lipgloss set, concealer...It's awesome that they reward you just for giving your opinion.
I am a beauty junky so receiving this every month is awesome. I get to try new things and there's usually at least one thing in the box that I love.
Overall I love having Birchbox and every month I feel my boxes get better. Given I wish all of my boxes would arrive undamaged the issue is always resolved so I don't get nervous about being screwed over one month because something leaked/broke. I will probably purchase this myself when this subscription runs out.
As far as beauty subscriptions go I really think, if you are thinking about getting one for the first time, try Ipsy. I am subscribing come tax time. They give out amazing bags, a lot of the time you get more than one full size product, they have an amazing beauty team of guru's, an interactive beauty community, rewards, and so many other awesome things. Ipsy is really the holy grail of beauty subscription boxes in my opinion and it's the same price as Birchbox, $10 a month.