Building my own Birchbox!

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About a month ago I was in New York, doing some shopping in the SoHo district.  I came across a Birchbox store and knew I had to go in.  The store was nice inside but I was kind of disappointed in their selection of products – many of them seemed older and the testers seemed in need of replacement.  There were a small selection of newer products as well as ones by some brands I had never heard of before or seen in Canada.  Nothing really caught my eye though and I was about to leave when I noticed what I thought was a clearance section at the back of the store (always looking for a sale!) and decided to investigate further.

Turns out what I thought was a clearance section was actually a “Build your own Birchbox” station.  The cost was $15 USD and they had bins filled with various skin, hair, body and beauty products.  You could pick up to 2 products from each category to a maximum of 5 products total.  I took a look at the products they were offering and I saw a few that I was interested in so I thought I might as well do it!

The first step is to pick your box.  I picked this simple pink one:


Then it was on to the products, first up:

Amika Undone Texture Spray (My size: 0.75 oz; Full-size: $24.00 USD for 5.3 oz)


I’ve been eyeing up this Amika Texture Spray ever since I saw Kate Bryan of the Small Things Blog rave about it.  My hair is super fine and falls flat super easily so I was hopeful that this might give me some much-needed volume.

It definitely does add volume but I’m not sure I’m crazy about how it does so.  It kind of clumps and tangles my hair together and leaves it a bit of a dry, matted mess.  It does have a nice scent and I recently cut my bangs and I find it works ok on them specifically but I don’t like using this on the rest of my hair.  I find I can get a similar result using Batistie’s XXL Volume Dry Shampoo without the matted tangles.  Plus it’s cheaper!  So ultimately I don’t see myself purchasing the full-size of this.




Serge Normant Dream Big Instant Volumizing Spray (My size: 1.8 oz; Full Size: $25.00 USD for 4.5 oz)IMG_0544

I always like having travel size hairsprays on hand as I go through them pretty quickly.  I had never heard of this brand before but apparently Serge Normant is a celebrity hair guru.

When I saw “Volumizing” I scooped it up.  Unfortunately this was another disappointment.  The scent is pretty strong and very perfume-like.  It did nothing to hold my style nor volumize my hair.  Plus it left it feeling dry, crunchy and sticky.   Despite my hair being fine, I need a strong hold hairspray to keep my style in tact.  But finding one that offers strong hold without being crunchy and sticky is no easy feat.  Sadly this one didn’t fit the bill and I wouldn’t purchase the full-size of this.



Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick – Venezia (My size: 0.05 oz; Full size: $24.00 USD for 0.1 oz)

IMG_0553This was the first item I picked up and added to my box.  I haven’t tried any lip products by Stila but I have used their eye products and been impressed with them.  The fact that this claimed it was long-lasting drew me in and I was intrigued by the color of course!

When I first applied this I loved how creamy this felt on IMG_0559my lips; then ten seconds later it started to set and that changed.  It felt so uncomfortable and dry!  It did last a while but once I drank or ate with it on it started to fade in the center of my lips which is never a good look.

On the positive side the colour is gorgeous – a bright, vibrant coral and I own nothing like it.  I don’t see myself purchasing the full-size of these but it’s a fun item to add to my collection to wear once in a while.


Masqueology Brightening Mask (Full Size) – $8.00 USD


I’ve only tried a few sheet masks and I haven’t been overally impressed with any of them.  I find the one-size-fits all thing doesn’t really work well for my face (do they work well for anyone?) and the slimy texture of them is a big turn off for me.

Despite that, I haven’t been scared off of sheet masks all together.  I thought I’d give this one a try, mainly because it stated it was brightening which is something I feel like I could really use.  My skin is naturally pretty pale and can look a little dull and drab, especially as we head into cooler weather.

I used a Boscia sheet mask months ago and I hated the consistency of it – it was so slimy and jelly like it creeped me out.  This one was still a little slimy but not enough that it felt weird.  I wasn’t a fan of how they cut they mask though, it honestly looked like a clown face.  The eye, nose and mouth cut outs were huge and they didn’t remove the extra material so I found it difficult to apply.

I left this on for 20 minutes as instructed; it was quite saturated with product and did drip a tiny bit if I didn’t have my head set all the way back.  Once I removed the mask, I rubbed the leftover product into my skin and was surprised that it didn’t take that long to absorb.  The Boscia version left a lot of product behind and I couldn’t get it to absorb, and it left my skin feeling pretty tacky and sticky afterwards.  This felt slightly tacky but nothing uncomfortable.

Overall, aside from the cut out, I liked this mask.  My skin definitely felt moisturized afterwards.  I didn’t really see a bunch of brightening effects but it did seem to even my skin tone out, if only temporarily.  It’d be interesting to see if the brightening benefits would increase with regular use of these.  Overall, I think I’d buy another one of these for sure!

The Balm Cosmetics The Balm Desert Bronzer/Blush (My size: .028 oz; Full-size: $21 USD for 0.225 oz)

the balm

The Balm is another brand I’ve never tried so when I saw this bronzer I snatched it up right away.  This stated it could double as a blush and I’m all about versatile products so I couldn’t wait to try this out.  The formula of this is really smooth and buttery however this is such a tiny sample I found it hard to get a proper amount of this on my brush.  I think this works well as a bronzer but I personally don’t like this as a blush on my skin tone – I lean more towards pinks and corals and this is a bit too beige for me.  I do like that it has a subtle pink shimmer in it though, you definitely don’t need a highlighter when using this!  Not sure I’d repurchase this particular shade but I’m interested in seeing what shades of blush they have that might work for me!

And that was my box! I can’t say I was super impressed with the products I selected but I’m glad I was able to give them all a try for much less than the full sizes would be.  Plus I had fun making up my box so I’d say the $15 I spent was worth it.

Thanks for reading!



  1. Valentina Sofía says

    I’m surprised you had those issues with the stila lipstick, I got that very same one in my birchbox and it got me hooked on their lipsticks! Sorry it didn’t quite work out for you! 🙁 xx

  2. itsjordanleigh says

    I had no idea you could go in a build your own box- then again I haven’t been to NYC yet! I used to have an IPSY subscription for a little over a year before I moved across the pond and I really liked it:)

  3. stashmatters says

    So neat you got to build your own Birchbox.
    Sounds like this custom box was just ho-hum… kind of like most beauty subscription boxes if you get right down to it! 😛
    I would have wanted to pick just makeup for my own box but I bet the categories were all separated so that people couldn’t do that!
    That bronzer / blush from theBalm is probably the only one I would have chosen myself… I bet you could try that as an eye shadow.

    • ClassicMaggie says

      Haha yah I was kind of disappointed but at least it was fun to make. I wanted to choose all beauty as well but you can only choose 2 products in each category. They’re very strict about that too!
      That’s a good suggestion to use the bronzer as eyeshadow – thanks! 🙂

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